Chance Furlong looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, after washing his oil-soaked paws, and for the first time in years he noticed with some horror his own awfully tired expression. Shocked by the realization, he took a deep breath, and sighed. How could this have happened to him? Was he really that tired, after just half a day working in the savage yard with Jake? Sure, it had been a slow day for the two, but maybe their endeavours as masked secret vigilantes might have started to take its toll on him.
Together with his partner-in-crime and best friend Jake Clawson, Chance became an Enforcer, an élite of militar soldiers, to protect Megakat citizens from any dangerous evildoer. But after being thrown out of the Enforcers by no other than Lt. Feral himself because of a 'misunderstanding' regarding Dark Kat, both found themselves working at the savage yard. Although, Chance thought, in this case Feral was the only one who 'misunderstood' everything, and thanks to that knucklehead he felt he almost had lost everything he held dear.
And for a moment, everything seemed lost, if only for just two things: having his best friend by his side to encourage him, to reject admitting defeat, and to take the best of the situations for themselves... and of curse, his old Kat Commandos comic book, one of his most valuable possessions. He remembered that, back when he was a kitten, he spent whole hours reading about his favourite superheros, that not only were able to fight against thousands of evil-doers at one, but they went to great lengths to protected every kat, no matter what. They truly were an inspiration to him, he truly wanted to be like them and help those who couldn't protect themselves.
And so, unable to do anything else, both he and Jake decided to use the scraps they could find to build a combat ship, the Turbokat, and became the dynamic duo known as the SWAT Kats, taking the aliases T-Bone and Razor respectively. Ever since, they have fought many fiendish and extremely dangerous foes, including reptilian maniac Dr. Viper, the robot gangsters Metallikats, space cicadas, crystal giants, the powerful sorcerer Pastmaster...
Of course, the Pastmaster! It was his fault that he was so tired. Earlier that day he opened one of his time portals above Megakat city to summon one of his monsters... Why he had to open it at 3AM in the morning? Nevertheless, they had to go and fight a giant octopus monster, while figuring out how to close that portal and prevent any other 'visitor' to come by. Fortunately, Razor launched an experimental rocket designed to send an electromagnetic... pulse... whatever, towards the portal, in order to destabilize it and close it.
Thinking about Razor, Chance had another concern that had bugged him lately. Jake was the real genius of them two, and if it weren't for him many of their missions might have failed. Of course, he was a lot muscular than him, and his prowess flying the Turbokat was unlike any kat has ever seen, but Razor was the one that ultimately gave the villains the 'coup de grace'. Getting fixated on that idea, he began to think that maybe he was just 'carrying the real hero'. Wouldn't that make himself into a choffeaur?
So beginning to feel tired and depressed for considering himself useless were placing Chance on a dark place. He wished he could do something more, that he had the power to directly confront the villains, that he had energy to fight and fight, all night long if necessary, and being able to withstand his double life more easily. But the truth was that he was just an ordinary kat, a mere mortal, and there was nothing he could do , for now, to alter his fate.
-Well Chance, time to go back to work- said Chance to himself, looking to himself one last time in the mirror before turning back. Little did he knew, that night things were going to be different...
Meanwhile, a couple of miles away, a hungry toad was waiting for a big, juicy fly to pass by. It might haven't choose a real good place to look for flies: it was just outside Megakat Water treatment plant, where the local dam powered the city generators via huge underwater turbines, and with all that noise and kat activity there probably weren´t so many flies.
Another reason for the absence of flies should be mostly because of all the debris that fell from the sky after that big fight in the morning, even flies that surrounded the trash cans outside the facility disappeared, and the toad was so desperate that it was willing to eat anything placed in front of him. All of a sudden, the toad spotted it: A graceful, big fly landed on some wooden object, rubbing its front legs as if praying.
Carefully, the toad looked at the fly. It was almost sunset, so there wouldn't be any light source after that. If it had to catch the fly, it had to do it now. Everything became silence, neither of them moved a single muscle. And suddenly, the toad propelled its long, sticky tongue towards the fly... SPLAT! it landed on the wooden object, unfortunately it missed the fly, who escaped unharmed.
The toad tried to retract its tongue as it normally would, but for some reason it remained sticked to the wood. The object was so heavy, that retracting its tongue was actually driving itself towards it with an increasing speed. It looked as, for some reason, the object shined brightly, as it became closer and closer... until the toad fell face first against it.
Not far from there, a lonely guard heard a loud noise similar to a thunder, followed by a massive gust of wind.
- It seems a storm is approaching...- said the guard to himself.
- So Chance, have you finished with that car's engine?- Asked Jake, who just entered the kitchen to fix himself a sandwich -
- Like, an hour ago - Chance answered from the couch in the 'living room', so ironically called because they barely had any time to 'live' on it - Same old, same old, a couple of broken cylinders, you know...-
- At least it didn't take that much time to fix. Fancy a tuna sandwich?- Jake said, walking towards the couch and sitting next to Chance
- Actually...-Chance stood up, holding his head a little - I'm kind of tired, bud. I'm seriously thinking of calling it a day.
- This early? Man, it's been, like, five minutes since dusk. Also, Scaredy kat is in half hour... - Jake tempted Chance, knowing how much those cartoons amused him, despite his age.
- I guess so, but for today I'll pass. Please call me only if the alarm...- A huge, lousy alarm began to ring, warning both of them that Miss Briggs, the Mayors assistant, was calling them due to an emergency-...rings. Damn, that's untimely!-
Being the closest to the SWAT Kats communicator, Chance decided to answer the call. It was a bummer that the only time he could talk with Callie Briggs, his secret crush ever since the Mayor was elected for the first time, was during one of the many emergencies Megakat city had to face. Worse than that, he wasn't talking to her as Chance, but as his alter-ego T-Bone. He closed his eyes for a couple of seconds to slip into character before answering the call.
- What's wrong, Miss Briggs?- Said T-Bone, with a heroic and slightly deeper voice than Chance's own.
- SWAT Kats, there is a green monster wreaking havoc outside the treatment plant, please help us deal with it!- Said Callie Briggs from the other side of the communicator.
- We're on it, over an out!- Answered T-Bone before hanging up - Are you ready, Razor?
- You know it, pal - Jake said, leaving the rest of the sandwich on the tray.
Chance and Jake headed towards the hangar, opened their lockers and changed their mechanic outfits for their SWAT Kat costumes.
- Wanna bet on the villain? My bids are on Dr. Viper. It's been a while since we fought against him. What, about three weeks ago?- Razor asked while he fastened his mask.
- Either that or Dark Kat, I'm not sure. - T-Bone said while putting on his sleeveless gloves. - Either case we must be ready, just in case. There is enough gas on the Turbokat for another trip - He turned towards Razor -Let´s go.
Five minutes later, all geared up and flying over Megakat city, the Kats arrived at the water treatment plant. It wasn't so difficult to find, mainly because of the visible trail of destruction and smoke leading towards it. At first it looked like a hurricane decided to selectively destroy a specific region of the area, sparing the surroundings, until...
- Razor, over there!- Chance pointed towards a fire stream that consumed an entire tree. He decided to approach the side from afar, to see what they were against while keeping distance. And then... - Holy Kats! What the hell is that green thing?-
What they thought it was a 'green thing' was actually a big, breathing monster. If they had to guess, it looked like some sort of freakish giant toad... but there was something weird about it. not only it had shiny scales covering its body, and the front paws covered with extremely sharp claws, but also it looked like the toad was the one that burned said tree, as it appeared to be fire-breathing, too. On top of it all, its face was different from the rest of the body. It looked somewhat cartoonish, and covered in a light green tone that differed from the rest of its dark-green body.
The monstrous toad threw its massive tongue against a metallic fence on the treatment plant, and quickly lifted it from its place. After that, it opened a big, fang-filled mouth and engulfed the fence in seconds. - Looks like someone is hungry!- Razor remarked.
From the ground, the toad looked upside and noticed the Turbokat, but for the toad was nothing but another little fly that he needed to feed himself with. As soon as it swallowed what was left of the fence, he turned towards them.
- Heh, looks like Dr. Viper outdid himself this time, eh T-Bone? I recall bidding $50 - Razor said with a big grin on his face.
- Not so fast, bucko, you need to prove fist that it's Viper's. And we never agreed on $50 - T-Bone pointed out, watching carefully at the monster's next move.
All of a sudden, the monster threw away its sticky tongue towards the turbokat, which thanks to a fast maneuver T-Bone dodged. However, when they turned back, they noticed something weird: the tongue has switched directions in midair, and was still following them like some sort of magical rope.
- I'm launching some missiles...- Razor warns, as he calibrated the aim of the Turbokat's rocket launcher. - Let's see if my explosives are enough for Mr big toad!
A compartment below the Turbokat opened, placing a missile on a small platform ready to be launched. - Steady, steady...- Razor aimed for the base of the tongue - ...FIRE!- He yelled as he pushed a red button on the console. The missile propelled itself towards the toad, who was so concentrated on using the tongue - that it was almost impossible now for it to avoid the missile.
However, after the missile blew off, the tongue stopped chasing them, but stood exactly in place. The explosion had done nothing to the monster... untill the tongue quickly retracted, and then it loudly roared.
- It did nothing but to upset it! What really is this thing?- Said T-Bone. - I'll fly higher to be safe from... what now?- He stopped in mid-sentence, as he noticed the monster was mysteriously sprouting wings from its back, and started giving chase.
- Holy cow! now I've seen it all... T-Bone, watch out!- yelled Razor as the giant tongue missed by inches the Turbokat. Even while airborne, the monster had an amazing aiming skills and speed.
- Now, how we get rid of this? Any idea?- Asked T-bone, while making a barrel roll to dodge again.
- Actually, yes!- Exclaimed Razor - You have to fly close to those turbines, i'll deal with the rest.
T-Bone turned he Turbokat towards the turbines, untill they were just some feet away from the closest one. The noise was really loud, fortunately they both could listen to each other thanks to their helmets intercom. The toad was approaching them from behind, getting its tongue ready for another hit. Razor set a different kind of missile on the platform.
- Stunning missile. Count on three, I throw this baby and you lift off the Turbokat, and with some luck he will be stuck on the turbine! Genius, eh?-
- Let's hope it works, Razor- said T-Bone, getting ready -
- One... Two... Three! NOW!-
As T-Bone ignited the propellers to rise the Turbokat up, the toad got confused by a giant flash, and without knowing he got its tounge stuck inside the turbine.
-Rock'n roll! - said Razor, as the toad got dragged towards the turbine and started to spin really fast. The only thing they could see was a green mass spinning over and over... until there was a bright green flash, and the thing disappeared
- Well, that was easy enough - remarked T-Bone. - We should go back before we're out of fuel, though - As he started turning, without any of them noticing, an object was thrown from the turbine and into the Turbokat's rocket launcher engine, who was slowly closing. As the Turbokat flew away, a small toad fell into the water, watching the jet disappear into the horizon.
- So, $50 bucks, yes or no? - Asked Jake, stripping off his flying attire
- Dude, It would've been Viper's, as much as Dark kat's or even some leftover from the Pastmaster's attack. - Chance argued
- Just kidding Chance! Just kidding - Jake laughed as he closed his locker. - But anyways, it's your turn to fill up the tank.
- Oh man! Could you do it, instead? Please? As a solid from kat to kat? - Asked Chance, wanting to do nothing else but sleep.
- Sorry, that's the rules! I think that a small walk from here to the gas station might bring you some fresh air and cheer you up a little. Also, I have unfinished business regarding a delicious tuna sandwich... I'll see you inside! - Said Jake, heading to the living room.
Chance sighed again, and picked up a pair of canisters to carry some fuel. It was amazing how the Turbokat, a state-of-the-art combat jet, could be powered by using only premium fuel... the problem was that, in order to fill it's tank up, they had to do it manually. After all, parking the Turbokat on the side of a gas station would mean a lot of trouble with the 'local authorities' and the such... and he wasn't going to waste the truck's gasoline for something as menial as that.
It took Chance 15 minutes to reach the gas station walking from the Savage Yard, and as soon as he arrived he started filling the canisters right away. The owner of the gas station, watching from afar, wasn't even bothered about this. He knew the Kat mechanic used to buy big amounts of fuel so often that he even had a 'tab' just for him. He scribbled on a small notepad before nodding to Chance.
After filling both canisters, he picked both of them and head back. They were very heavy, fortunately his musculature allowed him to carry them with ease. - At least that makes it up for all the years working as a mechanic - thought Chance, who estimated to arrive to the garage in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, as he turned around a corner, a couple of undesirable kats spotted him... and headed towards him. Chance never noticed them until it was too late.
- Well, well, well... look what came out of the trashcan, Burke!- Murray, the shortest of the pair, chuckled.
- Yeah, hehehe... hey Chance! Why are you walking now? Weren't you a pilot or something?- Taunted Burke, the taller one.
"Just what i needed, the dumb brothers" Chance thought. He wasn't hurt for the comment, but he was annoyed by their presence alone, and he wanted to get away from them as soon as possible. - Weren't you supposed to be "Working", or whatever you should be doing right now?-
- We are on vacations, kit.- Murray said contemptuously - Of course, because some of us DO work instead of playing all day on that garage. Besides, tonight is Poker night!-
- Wanna join us? Oh wait... you can't, we admit no LOOOOSERS - Burke remarked on the word 'loser' really high - We'll see you tomorrow, maybe in front of the garage, maybe with some... scraps to drop 'by'!- Both them started to laugh fanatically, as Chance decided it was not worth it to keep provoking them and just walked away.
For years now, he had to endure their bullying, and he really hated them both. Deep inside, he always had wanted for them to know he still was a butt-kicking action pilot, so they could feel humiliated and teach them a lesson, but their egos were so big that it would be useless anyway. If anything, the only consolation was knowing that they were responsible for cleaning up any disaster caused by monsters in town... specially those that the SWAT kats fought on a daily basis.
When he arrived at the garage, he installed a hose in the fuel tank of the Turbokat, and began pouring fuel on it. Just when he reached for the second canister, he noticed something odd: the hatch below the Turbokat wasn't entirely closed. That was odd, because he himself had recently given maintenance to it, and he was sure as hell they were supposed to close all the way without trouble.
As soon as he emptied the second canister, he squatted under the Turbokat and verified both of the hatch doors. He pushed a button to override the automatic control, and slowly pried open both. Effectively, they both opened with no problem, while a wooden object fell from the door's control engine. It must've got stuck on the engine, preventing the doors to close all the way, as he checked by activating again the automatic control and watching them close as always.
-What do we have here?- Chance said, picking up said object. But it was no common object. It was made of wood entirely, except for a piece of "L" shaped metal bar on the top side. It had three holes in strategic places, and a small dent on the middle. Definitively, it was a mask, unlike any mask he had seen before in his life.
-Why was a mask lodged inside the Turbokat?-