Sitting in the cockpit of the ShadowKat with Cassie behind him Eric looked over their final checklist Erik and Cassie dressed in their fight suits. And a first for them masks under their helmets. Watched as the TurboKat was lowered to the runway below.
"TurboKat, LAUNCH!" T-Bone said and they heard the afterburners fire up below them.
As the sound of the afterburners died away, the lift came backup for us and with a small jolt; the je was moved into position on the lift. With another jolt, the lift spun and lowered to the runway and Eric snapped his oxygen mask in place.
"ShadowKat, LAUNCH!" Eric called firing the afterburners.
With a roar of the engines, the jet rocketed forward down, out of the tunnel, and into the sky. Breathing deeply he looked out the canopy at the ground shrinking below the jet as it rocketed into the sky. Exhaling he looked forward as the old rush came over him.
"Eric, Cassie you with us?" T-Bone asked over the comlink.
After giving himself, a shake he faced forward. "Roger T I'm with you," he said and banked the jet after the others.
"So how does to feel to be back in the sky buddy?" T-Bone asked as Eric leveled off next to the TurboKat so they were flying their wings almost touching.
Looking over Eric nodded. "I admit it…, it feels great," he said.
"This feels wonderful!" Cassie said behind him at her station and he glanced her.
Smiling T-Bone looked over at him. "Then how about some real flying, first one to tag the other wins!' he said then banked hard to the opposite side and after taking a breath to calm himself Erik followed.
For almost thirty minutes, both jets streaked across the sky with the ShadowKat keeping to basic maneuvers. And inside the ShadowKat Cassie stared worried at the back of Eric's seat as she also looked over her radar and scenery equipment. After she shook her head after Eric did a slow roll for him to avoid T-Bone from tagging them she switched her comlink.
"T-Bone, Razor you read me?" she said into it.
"We read you Cass," Razor replied.
"Guys I know you're hold back T-Bone, and frankly I get a better ride at an amusement park," she said.
"You think something more drastic is needed?" T-Bone asked.
"Maybe a year ago the way he's flying we would say it's an insult to a beautiful machine. And the ShadowKat is a thing of beauty and I can hear her screaming to be set free. And frankly he either needs to fly her right and use her or let her die," she said.
"What do you have in mind?" Razor asked.
About ten minutes later T-Bone let Eric get behind him after they had gained altitude. Then at Cassie's signal, he veered hard in front and across Eric's path.
At once alarms went off in the ShadowKat. "SHOOT WE WENT THROUGH THEIR JET WASH!" Eric shouted as the ShadowKat started to go into a spin and they plummeted to the ground.
"COME ON ERIC RECOVER!" Cassie shouted at him praying she had done the right thing.
Above them T-Bone circled as they watched them spinning back to earth. "Come on Eric, come on you can do it," T-Bone muttered and felt Razor's eyes on him.
In the ShadowKat Eric, both paws on the yoke he struggled to recover. "ERIC YOU EITHER RECOVER OR WE PUNCH OUT!" Cassie yelled at him.
Fangs bared he closed his eyes muttering to himself, "Come on Paul, Dan talk to me,"
"It wasn't your fault Lieutenant," Paul's voice said in his ear and he glanced over to see both Paul' and Dan's smiling faces.
Nodding Dan said, "Paul's right Talon this was our destiny, you need to stop blaming yourself, and if you ever get back tell our families that we love them," and the pair of them faded away.
At once Eric snapped his eyes open yelling. Above them both T-Bone's and Razor's heads went left and right looking for them after they had lost sight of them after sinking through some clouds.
"Where are they? You have them on radar?" T-Bone demanded looking back at Razor.
"I got nothing just us up here they must have punched out!" Razor said.
"CRUD!" T-Bone snapped throwing his head back against his seat then froze.
"Ah I think I found them," he muttered.
"What! Where?" Razor snapped.
"There!" T-Bone snapped pointing straight up and Razor after looking up froze at what he saw.
While flying upside down right above them Eric glared down at them from his seat in the ShadowKat. After the four looked at each other the two rolled the jets away and Eric firing the afterburners and tore after the TurboKat. Cassie giving a cry of exhilaration.
For the next twenty minutes, Eric and T-Bone flew their hearts out. They rolled they looped they finked all the while trying to get a lock on the other. After doing, a loop with a roll Eric swiveled to keep his eye on the TurboKat as they kept behind them.
Rolling again, he pulled hard on the yoke as they dived and looped back up and spun right around. "Dame these guys are good!" Cassie shouted swiveling in her seat to look behind them at the closely pursing TurboKat.
From his position, Razor worked to get a lock on the ShadowKat. Then just as he acquired it, the ShadowKat suddenly jerked upward, seemed to flip through the air up, and over them then leveled off behind them. And before T-Bone could maneuver out of the line of fire the alarm that they had been locked on sounded.
"Bang! You're dead!" Eric said coming alongside them.
"Now that was impressive," T-Bone said looking over at them as Razor clapped.
Smiling behind his oxygen mask Eric said, "ah just a little something that got me the top slot at Top Gun," and Cassie reached over the weapons and radar panel to pat his shoulder.
"Well I bet you can't pull that on me again," T-Bone said and Eric's head whipped around to look at him.
"Do I detect a sore looser?" he said and Razor cooed.
"Now that's a challenge if I ever heard one, TWO OUT OF THREE!" T-Bine snapped.
"You're on!" Eric snapped back and with Cassie letting loose a cry banked hard beneath them.
For the next thirty minutes they were once more engaged in an intense dogfight between the two then an alarm went off. "That's Callie!" Razor said and Eric looked over and they maneuvered into formation.
"Yes Miss Briggs?" Chance said into his comlink while Eric and Cassie listened in.
"SWAT Kats, Turmoil is back! She's attacking the Mayor's private jet!" they heard Callie say.
At the same time, a high-pitched accented voice screamed, "Feral this is Mayor Manx, HELP!"
"We're on our way," T-Bone said then looked at Eric.
"You two up for your first mission?" he asked.
Nodding Eric asked, "What are we armed with?"
"I outfitted you with a cement cannon and old fashioned missiles, didn't think you'd know what to do our custom made ones," Razor.
"You figured right, we'll hid in your radar signature on the way, LETS MOVE," Cassie said and both jets shot forward into supersonic.
Coming out of supersonic Eric gapped at the size of the armored airship with a giant cannon set underneath it. "That thing is huge!" he muttered.
"Yeah looks like T-Bone's old girlfriend hasn't lost her touch," Razor said.
"Ah stuff it Razor, LOOK!" T-Bone said pointing and they saw fighters trying to rein in a sleek looking private jet into range of the cannon.
"That's the Mayor Manx's jet!" T-Bone said.
Looking over Cassie barked, "Ok guys call it, you want us to go in with you or hang back?" and they looked at us.
"Are you kidding you guys are our secret weapon. Rig for silent running, approach with caution to attack the air ship's main cannon on our signal," T-Bone instructed.
"Roger rigging for silent running!" Eric said and flipping a couple switches the sound of his engine died away and while the TurboKat shot forward, the ShadowKat peeled higher into the sky.
Looking out her window Callie stared wide-eyed at the jet circling them while Mayor Manx cowered in his seat holding his golf club. "We repeat, you will alter course and follow us to the Valkyrie Airship," she heard the leader say over the comlink.
Face and eyes hard Callie pushed to the cockpit and snatched up a mike from between the pilot and copilot. "This is Deputy Mayor Briggs forget it!" she snapped into it.
At that, the jets peeled away then came back around. "Then we'll force you in," the leader said.
Eyes wide Callie watched as they came closer and closer and the alarm for a missile lock sound. "Deputy Mayor Briggs they have us lit up like a Christmas Tree," the pilot snapped.
"This is your last warning follow us to the airship or we will blow you out of the sky!" the leader snapped.
"I don't think so!"
At that, instant Callie's hands shot up to shield her eyes from the flash of light that exploded from nowhere. When she lowered them, she saw the fighters had scattered. Some fell to the earth in pieces their pilots ejected.
Turning to quickly scan the sky she cried in glee, "THE SWAT KATS!" pointing as the TurboKat rocketed toward them.
Inside the TurboKat Razor acquired locks on the other fighters. "Buzz saw Barrage deployed!" Razor called firing the missiles and the rest of the fighters fell from the sky with their wings clipped.
"Nice shooting sure shot!" T-Bone cried.
Then turned as Feral on the comlink commanded, "Back off SWAT Kats the Enforcers will handle this!" and he saw Enforcer Jets fly up to them.
"Turmoil this is Commander Feral, you are under…," Feral started then was cut short as a barrage of laser fire opened up on the enforcers.
"SQUADRON ENGAGE!" Feral ordered rolling to avoid being hit.
Leveling out behind one of the fighters he opened up on it the growled as it rolled away and slipped behind him. Before it opened up on him, a rain of laser fire shot down on it and it fell to earth in a blaze of fire.
"I guess it's my turn to say watch your tail uncle!" Felina said pulling alongside her uncle.
"Don't get cocky we still are outnumbered," he said thrusting forward and engaging another.
Just as he sent falling to earth a ball of fire he was hit on the side, sent spinning out of control, and forced to eject. "THIS IS FERAL GIVE ME CHOPPER BACK UP!" he called into his walkie-talkie.
Watching Feral's parachute float slowly drop Razor muttered, "Looks like Feral got his tail handed to him," then gave a cry as the TurboKat was put into a tight maneuver as the main vertigo beam fired on them.
"Yeah and if we're not careful we're next!" T-Bone snapped as he maneuvered to avoid more shots from the beam.
After doing a tight roll to avoid a shot a voice came in over the comlink, "T-Bone it is so good to see you again," and T-Bone groaned.
"Wish I could say the same Turmoil,' he muttered banking hard.
"Now T-Bone is that anyway to speak to one you so cared for, my offer still stands for you and your partner. You could still be my Flight Commander, and him my Weapons Officer," Turmoil said.
Fangs bared T-Bone pulled a tight maneuver to avoid a shot but a second caught them full on. "How many times… do I have to tell you…? YOU'RE NOT MY TYPE!" he barked as he tried to fight the vertigo.
"Then you will pay with your lives!" Turmoil screeched.
"Guess again!" Eric's voiced called out as a missile plowed into the laser and exploded and the ShadowKat burst from the cloud of smoke.
"You two ok?" Cassie demanded as T-Bone and Razor shook their heads.
"Yeah great timing you two," Razor said.
"Sorry we could wait for your signal," Eric said.
"Actually you got right on the button now let's take care of the rest of these fighters!" T-Bone said and the two jets shot forward.
"Buzz Saw Missiles Launched!" Razor barked acquiring a lock and fired the missiles.
As the two fighters dropped from the sky, they were fired on from behind. "Razor we got bogies on our tail!" T-Bone snapped banking hard.
"Don't worry buddy I got them, Drop Tops! DEPLOYED!" Razor snapped and the corded spinning tops dropped from the jet and slammed into their pursuers cutting them to pieces.
In their own fight, Eric rolled through the sky slipped in behind several fighters. "I've got… locks, FIRING!" he snapped firing the missiles, which slammed into their targets.
"WAHOO! Never took out so many at once!" he called out as the fighters dropped out of the sky their pilots floating down after ejecting.
"I'll say… WHOA! We got two behind us!" Cassie snapped out the last part twisting in her seat to look behind them as lasers fire came from behind and Eric banked hard.
"I CAN'T GET THEM OFF US!" he cried after looped upside down and they followed.
Looking at the panel in front of her Cassie muttered, "let's see what we got here… this is interesting," she said flipping a couple switches and a targeting display appeared.
"missile locked FIRING!" she snapped and a missile dropped out of the underbelly of the plane and shot forward slamming into one of the pursuing fighter's wing and exploded.
"YEAH!" she shouted as the jet dropped from the sky the pilot ejecting.
"But we still got one more on our tail! Let's try this!" Eric snapped and pulling hard on the yoke and throttle.
Immediately the ShadowKat went into a tight loop and faced the jet as it passed, he fired the cement cannon. Shot after shot hit the passing jet covering the canopy parts of the main body and finally over the engine nozzle.
"YES!" he shouted as the jet dropped without propulsion the jet dropped like stone.
"Nice going you two now let's finish this!" T-Bone said and both jets turned toward the air fortress.
"DO NOT THINK OF THIS AS A VICTORY T-BONE! I WILL RETURN!" a voice called out over the air fortress intercom and missile launched into the sky and exploded a great flash of light causing them to shield their eyes.
When they were finally able to lower them, they gapped. The Valkyrie was gone.
"CRUD! How could something that big just vanish!" T-Bone shouted as they shifted the jets into hover mode.
"Well somehow they did it," Eric muttered then turned as the Mayor's jet circles toward them with Felina's jet.
"Thanks SWAT Kats, but who are your new partners?" Callie's voice asked.
At that, the four heroes glanced at each other. "We're The Wild Kats, just call me… Talon!" Talon said jamming his thumb at himself.
"And call me… Merlin!" Merlin said as she nodded and with that and a final thumbs up and salute from Talon the two jets rocketed away.
When the group finally landed in the tunnel of the salvage yard Talon gave a deep sigh of content as the ShadowKat was lifted up and moved into place next to the TurboKat.
Leaping out the jets the friends looked at each other. "Wild Kats and I like the call names," Chance said slipping off his helmet and mask.
"It's was our collage hockey team and our call names in the military, but I gotta I haven't felt this good in weeks," Eric said slipping off his.
"I'll say but Eric we gotta go we got an appointment with Lynx in half hour for our blood tests," Cassie said looking at the clock on the wall.
Looking at it as well Eric nodded and unzipped his flight suit. "Alright but before the two of us go I have to thank you for breaking me out of my slump," he said looking at Chance.
Smiling at Kat waved it off. "No problem you would have…," said then was knocked off his feet as Eric's fist plowed into his jaw.
"Now that I owed you!" he snapped pointing at him before walking over to slip his gear in a locker.
"FOR WHAT?" Chance demanded.
Looking back at him Eric muttered, "For listening to Cassie's plan and purposely putting us in that spin," and glared at Cass before climbing up the ladder.
The three stood still looking after him then at each other. "Well I had a feeling he'd figure it out," she muttered.