VANISHED

Prologue: The Lost Zone

The morning was bright and clear as most days were in Megakat City during high summer. As the city rose for the day, a horror on the level they had never experienced before greeted them. Sometime during the night or dawn hours, one-third of this great city had vanished.

When the Katizens beheld the site, it was as if someone had come along and used a huge spatula to simply scrape a big piece of the city off the ground as if scraping food off a skillet.

Where Enforcer Headquarters had once been only a cement surface that hid the deep basement where the armory, prison cells, and storage areas were located was visible as well as the holes that showed where the elevator shafts and stairwells were. In one large section of the cement surface, water spewed skyward into the air mixed with arcing electrical lines that had been sheared off at ground level.

The scene was repeated everywhere a building had been. It was a shocking thing to see the new skyline that once held the soaring buildings that were the landmarks of Megakat City. City Hall, Megakat Park, Pumadyne, Biochemical Labs, MASA, the salvage yard, and so many other well known places......gone with only their basements left to let anyone know where they once sat.

There were huge patches of bare ground where lawns, parking lots, sidewalks, roads, and houses had been. From many of those spots, open holes for basements, sheared pipes spewing water, and sparking electrical lines could be seen.

It took many days, but the remaining enforcers, emergency services and volunteers pieced together how big a section of the city had disappeared and how many Katizens were lost. The Lost Zone, as it was beginning to be called, was approximately sixty square miles in size, starting about two blocks north of Enforcer Headquarters and running length wise in a narrow band to the bay, just missing the nuclear power plant and refineries. Approximately 100,000 Katizens had disappeared.

Of the important Katizens missing were: nearly half the military including Commander Feral; Ms. Briggs who lived in a condo near the park, Dr. Sinian, and all those other elite members of the wealthy and city council members who lived near her; Ann Gora of Katseye News; and a huge complement of ordinary Katizens.

Mayor Manx escaped because he lived outside the city limits in a mansion in the hills. Professor Hackle wasn't touched since his home was across the bay. The Megakat Natural History Museum and The Megakat Broadcasting System had also been spared.

Two very important Kats were also missing but it would be many more days before the survivors would realize it. The names Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson were just two of so many missing and meant no more than that to the census takers who were collecting the names of those lost. It was only after some of the shock had faded that people noted the absence of the SWAT Kats. This fact added to the recent information that only half the enforcers were still around, heightened the populace's fear on how they would defend themselves if any of the omegas were still among them.

If that wasn't bad enough, the loss of the enforcer building meant no jets or tanks. The only good news was the armory was still intact. Crippling the enforcers further was the lack of upper rank officers, most of whom had vanished. Of the handful that was left, only one was of sufficient rank and experience to lead the enforcers. Major Clawmore and his special ops squad had been out on an away mission in another country when the incident happened.

Mayor Manx had ordered Major Clawmore to return and take command of the enforcers. Clawmore and his squad had been horror struck when they heard the news and had flown back as fast as they could. His first order of business was to gather all those enforcers still remaining, take inventory of what equipment they still possessed and give the list to the Mayor. Manx would do his best to beg, borrow or purchase the replacement equipment that would be needed to protect the city from the surrounding countries.

Without Callie to handle all these details, the Mayor was feeling overwhelmed. He ended up relying rather heavily on Callie's very bright and well organized assistant, Regina Twist, who had also managed to survive, to help him keep on top of what needed to be done to get the city through this crisis.

As the few city leaders left attempted to keep the government running and find ways to fund their meager military force, while the Katizens tried to cope with a huge section of their city gone and mourned their missing loved ones, the main thing on everyone's mind was.........what had happened......were the missing Kats still alive......did the omegas have something to do with this......would whoever they were come back to take the rest of them....... that unknown frightened them most of all.