Experimental Partnership

Chapter 4:

The Hunt

-SWAT Kats!-

Max dropped the last piece of scrap metal onto the newly move pile of junk in the far off reaches of the scrap yard, while Jake examined the contents. Max jumped down with ease and looked at Jake with curiosity.

"So you really built that jet of yours and other equipment from junk that you pick out of here?" the tiger asked.

"You bet, but not everything is salvageable and sometimes the parts we need are hard to come by." Jake answered.

"Wow, you must really be smart." Max mused with a tone of amazement.

"I guess you could say that. Anyways now that's done, we've got cars to tend to."

"Cars? But I'm not a mechanic, I don't know the first about how they run, let alone how to fix them." the tiger stated, totally surprised by what Jake said.

Jake sighed for a moment, thinking of what he should say. The brown kat then looked Max in the eye and smiled.

"Fixing cars is part of the business that means I need a mechanic, not just somebody who is strong. Not only that, sometimes the employer needs to train his employees, that's just how business works, so you may not know how to works with mechanics now, but when I'm done with you you'll be able to pull apart an engine and put it back together blind folded."

"You really think so?" Max asked, facing the ground and scratching the back of his head in nervousness.

"Hey, anybody can learn, but how well you learn depends on how willing you are. So are you willing to learn?" Jake responded, putting his hand on the tiger's shoulder to show his support.

Max lifted his head to look the brown kat in the eye, they were gentle and comforting, giving the tiger a feeling of ease. Max then shook his head up and down to say "yes", and gave Jake a small smile.

"That a boy, now let's head back, those cars won't fix themselves."

The two kats then made a small hike across the junk field, littered with hollow car shells, parts, and miscellaneous jet scraps. While they walked they chatted about what needed to be done, both with the cars and fixing up the house. When they came close to the building Jake hurt the alarm going off and instinctively ran inside and grabbed a phone on the wall.

"Yes Ms. Briggs?" the brown kat answered with a serious tone of voice that had a hint of concern.

"Razor, Viper's back and this time he's got a monstrous wolf running wild!" the deputy mayor reported.

"A wolf? That's not Viper's usual." Jake commented with curiosity sounding in his voice, "I'm on my way Ms. Briggs."

Jake hung the phone up and rushed to the secret man hole in the kitchen, climbed down, ran to his locker and began changing his clothes to become Razor. Max followed behind him and stood at the latter looking around gingerly, working up the courage to form his words.

"Do… do you want any help…?" Max asked with concern.

"What?" Jake questioned, turning around while zipping up his blue flight suit, "This is dangerous Max, and I can't baby sit you."

"But Jake… I'm… I'm already trained for combat… after all… that's what I was created for…"

"Look, bud, I appreciate that you want to help and all, and even if you are trained, we don't have any experience together, so we can't know what the others thinking, so we could just get in each other's way. It'd be better if I just went solo." Jake stated, clipping his harness together then reaching for his mask and helmet.

"But what if you need help?" Max asked, giving Razor the look of worry.

"Max… I… I made a promise with Chance to fight crime and help make MegaKat a safer place… I have to honor that promise, and that means I can't afford to worry about your safety. And I can't promise that everything will be okay, because the world isn't all ways that way. It can be cruel, unforgiving, and you can loose a lot. Please try and understand."

"Okay… I'll stay…" Max responded, letting his ears fall down.

"Don't worry, I've been doing this for a long while now, besides I made a promise that I'd make you into a top ranked mechanic, and I have to honor that promise too. I'll be back." Razor smiled, walking over to the tiger and resting his hand on his shoulder.

Max looked at Razor and gave him a nod and a faint smile, the brown kat smiled back then headed towards the cycletron. The genius SWAT Kat revved the engine a few times then speeded out into the secret tunnel, off to fight for MegaKat City and for the memory of his lost partner.

-SWAT Kats!-

Viper cackled his evil reptilian laugh as his creation ran amok on the city. It was at least 9 feet tall on four legs, sea-foam green fur, wily and untamed, piercing yellow eyes, fangs that shot out past it's lower lips, and muscle that bulged giving the beast a large bulky appearance. It sight was terrible and struck the fleeing katizens with fear, making them loose all sense of anything except for their survival. But the beast had no interest in them, it ran from street corner to street corner, sniffing, smelling, searching.

"Yesssss my pet. Keep looking and ssssoon I should have project "Maxsssssssimum Performancsssssssse Kat" within my grasssssp!" Viper said, pulling a plastic bag out of his lab coat and observing the contents that he used to give the mutant the scent he wanted to find, "Yesssss Professssor BlackLuck wasssss brilliant, but lacked visssssion, but from his creation I sssssshall reap the benifits!"

Then off in a distance a noise was herd, and the next thing Viper knew was an object flying past him that hit dead on the mutant wolf and released a powerful explosion that forced the reptilian kat to brace himself from the powerful gust of wind as an after effect. Viper then turned to see Razor driving on the cyclotron with it's rocket launcher exposed.

"Ssssswat Kat!" Viper roared with anger, remembering all those times that his plans were foiled by him and his 'deceased' partner. But then his frown turned into a smile as the though of a chance to rid himself of the lone super hero once and for all.

"Give it up Viper, you're through!" Razor proclaimed, stopping his motorcycle in front of the reptilian kat.

"Really Sssswat Kat, have you learned nothing? I factored in you little rocketsssss, ssssso do you really think they will ssssave you thisssss time?" Viper boasted, with every shred of confidence he had.

A load howl then emitted from the pile of rubble were the mutant wolf monster lay under, and then exploded from the force of the creature rising to its feet and assuming a predators pose and attacked at Vipers command. Razor cursed under his breath, as he revved his engine and shot from the mutant's targeted position to prevent possible harm to him.

"Mini-missiles deploy!" Razor shouted, as several missiles shot our from the launcher and hit the mutant dead on, but did little damage. "Crud, leave it to viper to mutate something with fur harder than steel!"

The lone SWAT Kat then turned around and sent a entire barrage of missiles flying at the beast, in an attempt to do some damage, creating a massive gust of wind swirling between the building. But before the dust could even settle, the wolf mutant sprang out at Razor and nearly took his head off.

"If that doesn't work then how about this? Mini Mega-Volt missiles deploy!" Razor shouted, firing a couple of missiles at the mutant beast.

The missiles exploded with electrical rage, sending a fierce shock though it's entire body. But, to Razor's dismay, the wolf stood there standing, eyeing Razor for a minute, sending chills down the brown kat's spine.

Crud! Is this impervious to everything I have? It's worse than those veggie mutants he conjured up before. Razor though in panic, but then got an idea. "Mini Frost Missiles deploy!"

The lone SWAT kat then fired several missiles at the mutant wolf and released super rocket coolant on contact, freezing to the beast were is stood. Razor then cheered say his famous phrase "Bingo!", but then he heard a sound that sent terror though his entire body. Crack... crack... the ice was cracking and in one instance shattered and the wolf shook it off like is was water.

"It'sssss ussssslesss SsssssWAT Kat! I've factored in all of your little missilesssss, you're jussssst wassssssting you're time. You've LOSSSSSSST!", Viper cackled, as Razor gave an attempt to other missiles he had in his inventory.

"Crud! Come on! Something work!" Razor shouted in frustration, fear, and desperation, but he only manage to stun the mutant, and cause no real damage.

It then came to the point were the lone SWAT kat had no more missiles or ammunition of any kind. With a last few attempts to fire Razor began to fall into deeper despair as the wolf mutant began to shake of what little damage was dealt to it, and began creeping towards Razor with a snarl, and look to kill. Razor was stunned by fear, he had tried everything that he had, there was nothing left for him to use, no last minute ideas came to mind. Run! Was the thought that came to his mind, but his legs wouldn't comply, fear had paralyzed him.

"I'm sorry Chance... " Razor shakily uttered under his breath, as he looked towards the ground and closed his eyes, not wanting to see what was to come next.

The brown kat heard the wolf howl and lung at him, the sound of it's fur brushing against the air and the breath leaving it's mouth were vivid in his ear, but at the last possible millisecond, he heard a loud crash, and cement cracking at a rather fast pace. Razor slowly opened his eyes, and looked forward to see the wolf mutant flat against the ground with a figure in a blue g-suit standing over it. Razor instantly recognized the suit and was filled with excitement for a brief second, T-bone, but no, as soon as his eyes readjusted to the light he realized that the figure was taller , orangish red furred, had more stripes that were black, the sleaves of the g-suit were torn off and he had no helmet on.

Max! Razor realized before shouting, "What are you doing here?"

The tiger then turned to face Razor, and gingerly shyed his eyes away before responding very nervously, "I... I'm sorry... you looked like you were in trouble on the the TV, so... I thought you could use my help. I'm sorry..."

Before Razor could respond the wolf beneath Max struggled and flung the tiger off of him. Sending the Goliath of a kat to the ground a few yards away. Razors eyes grew big and he shouted no and ran to Max as fast as he could fearing the tiger may have taken damage. He was fine though he had hardly taken a scratch, and to Razor's surprised any and all scratch Max had healed rapidly before his eyes as the tiger sat up.

"Max, are you ok?"

"I'm ok Ja... Razor..." Max corrected himself before revealing Razor's real name.

Razor took a sigh of relief, and smiled at the tiger. A feeling of relief quickly disappeared as the mutant wolf began to howl, and in an unusual key. Both kat's looked at the beast as it sniffed through the air and and howled in the same pitch. Viper looked at his mutant monstrosity then to the SWAT Kats, curious who this new feline was, but then something clicked.

"Maxsssssimum Performancsssssseee Kat!" the reptilian kat shouted, in an evil cheer.

Razor was confused by what Viper just said, but Max on the other hand knew instantaneously what he was referring to, "How does he know my project name...? the tiger whispered to brown kat.

"What?" Razor responded, "He's looking for you?"

"I guess so... Maximum Performance Kat, Max for short... that's me."

"Crud! Then we lead Viper right to what he wanted." Razor cursed.

"Get him my pet!" Viper ordered to his wolf monster.

The mutant crouched down on it's haunches, preparing to strike. Max recognizing the warning sign, sprang to his feet and charged at the wolf, as the beast pounced at them. The two crashed into each other and fell to the ground, beginning to fiercely wrestle each other. Tumbling around, scratching, biting. growling, surprisingly Max growled like a primal tiger. They struggled till finally they tumbled onto Max's back, then the tiger place his feet under the wolf's stomach the pushed with everything he had sending the wolf flying a few yards where it hit the ground hard. Max then got up a and took a battle stance, his cut and gashes healing up rapidly before they could bleed out more than a few drops. The wolf also got up and prepared to lunge at Max again, bleed at the neck from where the tiger had manage to cut it with his strong claws.

"That'sssssss enough pet!" Viper shouted, the wolf raising to a more relaxed position.

Both Max and Razor were baffled by this choice, but didn't let their guard down for a minute. Wondering what the venomous kat had in store now.

"We'll finissssssssh thissssss another time." Viper stated, as he walked to mutant wolf then jumped on, "Sssssee you again sssssoooon SsssssWAT Kats." With that said the mutated scientist rode off on his wolf monster.

"Viper wait!" Razor shouted, but before he could do anything the megalomaniac had gotten away, with the sound of Enforcer jets in hot pursuit. Feral and the enforcers finally arrived.. and this time it was up to them. "Crud..."

"You ok?" Max asked, walking over to Razor, and placed a comforting paw on his shoulder.

"CATS ALIVE NO! If T-bone was here we would have never let him get away! WE WOULD HAVE FOUND A WAY TO KILL THAT BEAST AND STOPPED VIPER!"

Max stepped back in shock, not sure how to react to Razor's outburst. The brown kat immediately realizing that he had unjustly lashed out at the tiger, and began to frown.

"I'm sorry Max... it's just... when T-bone was around..."

"It's ok... you miss him... and you probably would have stopped Viper all ready if was here... I'm sorry I'm no substitute..." the tiger said, looking to the ground ears flat against his skull.

"You are no substitute for T-bone... No one ever could replace him..." Razor said, but then smiled at the tiger, "But you know... I owe you my life. I was in real trouble back there and you saved my tail in the nick of time. Thanks buddy."

Max looked up and returned Razor's smile. Then they heard a familiar sound a certain green sedan, Then they saw Callie Briggs pull up to the scene and practically jump out of the car to run to Razor.

"Razor are you ok?" the deputy mayor asked, but then was suddenly taken back by the unknown kat standing next to him, "Who.. who are you?"

"Ummm... I'm M..." but before the tiger could finished, Razor placed his paw in front of his mouth before he could tell her his name, then shot him a look telling him to keep quiet.

"This is my new friend... he saved my tail after I couldn't beat Viper's mutant." Razor answered.

"I see... Thank you..." Callie responded, observing the tiger, taking noticing, the mutant wolf's blood drip from his claws. "Must have been some fight..."

"Yeah, he shredded into that beast." Razor reported.

Callie smiled at the new kat, "Well I'm glad you came... err... umm... I'm sorry I didn't catch your name. I'm Callico Briggs, but you can call me Callie."

"Umm... I'm... My name is..." the tiger started.

"Shred Claw!" Razor interjected hastily. "This tom right here is Shred Claw." Catching Max, now Shred Claw by surprise.

"Nice to meet you Shred Claw." Callie smiled again, then grimaced, "Are you... T-bone's replacement?"

"Umm... well.." Shred Claw started

"Of course not. He's a new addition to the team." Razor interjected again, "You know no one could replace T-bone."

Callie and Shred Claw both looked confused then smiled at Razor, the tiger feeling especially happy... like he finally found a home. Then they hear Enforcer sirens disturbing the their moment.

"Sorry Ms. Briggs me and Shred better get going. Come on Shred Claw." Razor said, running to the Cyclotron, and started it up, motioning for the tiger to get on.

"Right! Nice to meet you!" Shred said running to bike hopping on, holding on to Razor's waist. Then they drove off from the scene leaving Callie there smiling. She knew he was no T-bone... but Razor needed a good partner to watch his back, and hopefully Shred would be that partner.