Chapter 1: A Perfectly Executed Plan
Sharp eyes watched from an outpost on a tall building not far from the tech district. The plan was to cause a suitable distraction to make a certain pair of vigilantes appear. The watcher spoke softly in her hands-free mike.
"Am in position, commence operation," she said softly, her eyes staring through her high powered binoculars. She wore all black, even to her helmet, making her invisible against the night shrouded rooftop.
"Roger!" A voice answered, equally soft, in return. Moments later an explosion lit up the night only a block from the watcher's position.
Alarms filled the air but the watcher never stirred from her post. About ten minutes later, sirens added to the noise of people screaming and the roar and smell of something burning as the fire department and Enforcers arrived on the scene.
The first responders were greeted by an inferno of fire that had turned the skeleton of a new skyscraper under construction into a flaming torch that was tossing pieces of itself into the gathering crowd below which scattered like frightened chickens when the first of many girders fell with a thud to the asphalt street below.
As the fire department got in position then began to pour water and fire retardant chemicals on the blaze, the fire chief watched as one side of the framework began to collapse with the rest threatening to follow. It caused a huge plume to spray upward as it fell in on itself.
To add to the danger, another high rise sat next door to the burning one and was now endangered. Enforcers were in the process of evacuating all the residents. It would have been less stressful if it had been another office building but luck was not on their side. And it being evening, the building was more than likely nearly full of people.
The chief shouted at his crews through a bull horn and radio to get more hoses and pour all the water they could on the other half of the framework, hoping to avert disaster. He also had hoses firing water on the threatened buildings nearby to prevent sparks from lighting them on fire as well.
Commander Feral had arrived on scene almost immediately behind the fire department and was now taking in what needed still to be done. He kept on top of the evacuation of the area, setting up a perimeter to keep others away from the scene, having choppers carry people off the roof of the most threatened building, and his own officers backing up the firekats efforts to evacuate the building from inside.
Once he had things rolling, he took a moment to stare at the burning construction site, worried they might run out of time to get everyone to safety before it collapsed.
At that moment, a familiar sound roared over the noise of the fire...the SWAT Kats had arrived. The darkness nearly hid it until the flames highlighted its form as it deliberately hovered very close over the burning framework. As soon as the jet came to a halt, fire licked its underbelly but it didn't move as an odd device dropped from beneath the jet and began spraying a thick foam over the area. It was their most effective weapon, smothering the fire nearly instantly.
The firekats cheered at how quickly the fire had been put out but all were worried about the skeleton coming down and doing damage to the other buildings around it and/or the people still gawking at it from the side lines.
Before Feral and the Fire Chief could decide what the best course of action should be to thwart this possible danger, the SWAT Kats in their usual fashion, made their own decision about what to do.
Razor eyed the blackened and weak framework below them and said, "T-Bone, we need to push that still remaining section over to the center before it can fall onto the building next door."
"Roger." T-Bone moved the jet with jets of air, easing it forward until it was at an angle from the section of the framework in question. "We're in position, buddy, how do you want to do this?"
"I'm going to warn off the people below then fire the laser at that middle section just hold the jet steady," Razor ordered. He switched frequencies and managed to get a hold of Feral.
"Commander! Clear the area! I'm going to bring down the skeleton to reduce its threat."
"Don't do that..." Feral began to shout back when he was interrupted by the Fire Chief.
"No! Let him! It's too big a threat. I'll give you the go ahead as soon as my people are clear!" Without giving Feral a choice, the Fire Chief raised his own radio and called a retreat.
Just minutes later the site was clear of both Enforcers, civilians, and firekats. Reluctantly, Feral gave the go ahead signal. "Whenever you're ready SWAT Kat but you better not blow this," he warned.
Razor didn't respond with words, letting his laser speak for him. He took careful aim. A bright blast shot forth and cut the still solid section of the skeleton. For a moment nothing seemed to happen then like a slow falling tree, the section fell into itself, crashing into the foam covered heart of the building site.
Ragged cheers greeted the end to the threat. The Fire Chief was relieved as he said, "Wow! What precision shooting. Now there's no more danger to the surrounding area." He called on his radio to order his crews to get back in and put out the smoldering ruin.
Feral fumed impotently. Though, he appreciated the SWAT Kats putting out the fire, it was their typical behavior of barging onto a scenet without warning anyone of what they intended to do and taking action whether it was the right one or not and usually without notifying or asking what needed to be done first from the professionals. However, they had given warning when they struck the other part of the building down but, in typical fashion, they hadn't asked the Fire Chief if this action was desired.
Their uncanny luck had worked again but he worried that luck of theirs might fail spectacularly one day, leaving him to deal with the messy aftermath. That was what rankled and upset him the most.
Shoving that aside as he was forced to do often, he roared orders to keep the spectators back and sent some officers to gather information from the crowd that was watching. They needed to know if anyone had seen anything that might explain how the fire started. There had been a report of an explosion but until the building was declared safe to enter, they would have to wait to find out if that was true or not then figure out whether it had been deliberate or accidental.
Looking around, he realized the SWAT Kats hadn't left the scene yet. As he reached for his radio to order them off, out of the corner of his left eye he caught the glint of a missile hurtling toward the Turbokat. Though he raised his radio to shout a warning, he already knew he would be too late.
Some minutes before...
"Great shot, buddy, that took the threat out. Now the fire department can finish up," the pilot congratulated his partner. "So should we stay or go?"
"No, over the radio, I heard someone had reported an explosion just before the fire. We should stand by and be sure things are safe," Razor decided.
"Humph, that's all we need is an arsonist," his partner grumbled.
"Well, we don't know that yet, buddy. There's...evasive Alpha 4!" Razor barked, interrupting himself as his eyes had caught something streaking toward them on his scanner.
Without asking why, T-Bone responded instantly, sending the jet upward on a blast of air fast enough to allow the missile to skim their belly and strike a water tower on a building a mile away. Water cascaded to the street below but the force of it was blunted by numerous balconies and store canopies it struck on its way to the sidewalk turning it into less of a threat, sort of like a heavy down pour of rain, though that didn't mean the water tower's debris wouldn't have been more of a threat if there had been people below it when it struck the ground. Fortunately, the street had been empty.
Feral barely registered the jet's narrow escape, too concerned and intent on finding where that missile had been launched from instead. Changing frequencies on his radio, he contacted a team in the location he suspected of being the launch site.
"This is Feral! All units in vicinity of Heartford and Jepson, check out the high rises in that block for the culprits who fired that missile...NOW!"
"It missed us, buddy, and no one on the ground was harmed. Circle the area and let me see if I can spot where the attack had come from," Razor snarled.
"Copy that! So someone was targeting us?" T-Bone asked, not having seen the missile.
"Oh yeah, we were definitely the bullseye. Since there's no unknown craft in the area, I have to suspect the missile came from a personal rocket launcher. Triangulation says it came from the four o'clock position...one of those high rise roofs in that area."
"Now who the hell would do that?" T-Bone growled as he guided the jet in VTOL mode to glide toward the suspected area. "None of the omegas, not even Dark Kat would bother trying to fire on us from hiding, like that." His eyes stared through the canopy, trying to spot someone on the roofs.
"You're right. They're all about getting credit for their work not sneaking around," Razor agreed, pushing some buttons on his console. "Might be some gang that wants us out of the picture though I have no idea why since our focus is on the omegas," he mused, troubled.
The x-ray device smoothly appeared below the belly of the jet and began scanning the surrounding area.
"It's a possibility," T-Bone grunted, not seeing anything yet.
"You know, I'm getting a bad feeling about this...," Razor muttered, eyes on his x-ray scanner.
"Besides the obvious, what else about it is bothering you?"
"That the explosion happened to have brought us on scene."
"You're thinking it was a diversion all along for the purpose of tagging us?" T-Bone demaned, shocked and angry.
"It just seems too much of a coincidence," his partner responded, distractedly. "Nothing so far...move us toward the west..."
"I'm sure whoever it is, they've changed position and I'm beginning to feel like a sitting duck!" His partner groused, but did as commanded.
"Oh, I'm sure we are but..." Razor began to say when the proximity alarm wailed.
His fingers quickly flew over his weapon's console, firing a missile. "Bingo!" he snarled as his missile cancelled the one sent at them but his victory cry was cut off as he immediately detected yet another missile heading for them.
He repeated his action, taking that one out as well but wasn't fast enough to stop a third missile from a totally different direction, fired at the exact moment the explosion of the second missile distracted them for a moment.
"T-Bone, evasive Alpha 4," he shouted.
Again, the pilot sent the jet bolting upward but this time the missile managed to be close enough to cut a deep scratch along the belly making a hellacious racket as it passed. This missile struck a huge signboard on top of a high rise, sending it toward the street.
Reacting quickly, T-Bone switched from VTOL to forward motion and sent the jet flashing toward the falling sign so Razor could snag it with a net. They caught it just in time before it fell more than ten feet then carried it back to the roof. As Razor was disconnecting the line to drop the sign, at that very moment they were targeted yet again.
Unable to get out of the way, as they were still engaged in dropping the net, the missile struck their tail section. T-Bone wrestled his controls to keep the jet from crashing onto the roof with the sign or plowing into the side of the next building over, managing it just barely as he turned the nose enough to land on a lower roof that he hoped would hold the jet's weight. It was a hard, jolting, landing but the pilot made it, the jet in one piece, down and safe.
The attacked happened so fast and continued in such rapid succession that Feral was left too far behind to do more than watch in anger as the jet fought back then was struck forcing it down on a roof two miles from them.
"Choppers...search all roofs, spreading out from my location...snipers with rocket launchers have fired on the Turbokat and I want to find them found before they start firing at someone else!" He barked.
His chopper squadron and backup had been already on the move when they received the order, spreading out quickly, searching with spotlights trying to find essentially a needle in a haystack.
While the air search was going on, Feral climbed into his cruiser and ordered his ground forces to search for any suspicious characters trying to escape the area and any witnesses that might have seen them while he drove to the building where the SWAT Kats ended up at.
It was obvious to him now that the bombing of the high rise wasn't random. It was a setup meant to catch the SWAT Kats...but why? He couldn't come up with a viable reason but hoped those two might know.
When he finally arrived on the rooftop, he was dismayed and confused to find an empty jet, locked and secured but no sign of the SWAT Kats. This wasn't like them at all.
So where were they? Did the ones planning this attack take them? Evidence showed it was a team effort but the number involved was unknown. He was left with too many questions and no answers.
His teams came back with the information that the attackers had been very careful to leave no trace of themselves except for warm spots their infrared goggles detected that showed someone had been at five rooftop locations and one on the ground.
It was a ground patrol that provided them with a surprise.
"Commander!" His radio shouted. "Feral here!"
"Sir, we've found the smaller of the two SWAT Kats. Apparently, he'd been knocked out and was waking up when we found him."
"Hold him for me," Feral ordered then jumped into his sedan and raced to the location, peeling rubber in his haste. Pulling up to the alley, he saw the SWAT Kat standing and rubbing his head, an angry and worried expression on his masked face. There was no sign of his partner.
Screeching to a halt, he barely got the car in park before he was climbing out and hurrying to the scene.
"Report," he barked to the officer who had called him.
"Sir, we had two wits tell us of a dark green panel van being parked here. The driver was dressed all in black including mask. One of the wits said the masked kat was alone for some time then suddenly a group of six dressed the same way arrived, carrying something. The wit took fright and ran inside their building. We found the SWAT Kat sprawled behind that dumpster as if he'd just been tossed aside," the officer reported briskly.
Feral gave a sharp nod of his head then turned to Razor. "What happened SWAT Kat? Do you know what's going on? Who was shooting at you and why?"
"Not a clue! I think it was a trap all along but I've got no idea who's behind it but they've got T-Bone and, no, I don't know why," Razor snarled, angry at what happened making him antsy to go looking for his partner.
For once Feral was not interested in taking the SWAT Kat in. He suspected a much larger danger had been dropped into his lap. It had to be an omega but which one?
Muttering his thoughts aloud, he said, "This doesn't feel like Dark Kat or Viper..."
Surprised, Razor eyed Feral thoughtfully. The Commander was obviously not concerned that he had a SWAT Kat in his paws. To his relief, the big tom was realizing just as he was that something big was going on but why take T-Bone and not him? Wait...!
"Commander! Is Turmoil still in jail?" Razor asked, urgently, fear riding up his spine.
Feral blinked in surprise. "As far as I know she is...why?"
His fists clenched at his side, Razor snarled, "Because, she swore to have revenge on him for tricking her and blowing her airship up!"
Feral pulled out his cell phone and made a quick call. Moments later he was thanking someone and flipping his phone closed, anger and annoyance on his face. "She escaped more than four days ago."
"Obviously they were reluctant to tell you," Razor said, bitterly.
The big tom nodded. "Do you have a way to track your partner?"
"Only if his helmet was left on...," Razor muttered as he raised his glovatrix and tapped into his portable computer for a moment. "...and it was removed as it shows his helmet is nearby." He raised his head and looked around.
"Here it is!" An officer announced, picking up a familiar helmet from a pile of cardboard boxes. He carried it back to them.
Razor took it and shook with anger. "She's got him! But I have no idea how to find her!"
"Well it looks like plain old police work is the only way we're going to get a line on her whereabouts," Feral grunted. "What are you going to do?"
Gritting his teeth. "Find her and him before she can do him harm!" Razor said tightly, then stalked off to see what shape the Turbokat was in and begin his search for his partner.
Shaking his head, Feral let the tom leave. Pulling out his radio, he ordered a CSI sweep of the area, ordered his choppers to return to base, and had his ground forces continue searching for clues and interviewing everyone in the area. It was tedious but the only method they had.
The SWAT Kat could be her target but he wondered what else Turmoil had in mind now that she was free. He hated waiting to find out but knew it couldn't be helped.
For once, he actually hoped the smaller SWAT Kat would actually come through and find that she-kat before she threatened the city. If she had the size army she'd come here with before, they were screwed. She was smart and a good leader. She would have learned from her mistakes and no way would she let her guard down the way she had the first time. It had only been because T-Bone had set bombs throughout her airship they'd been able to take her the first time...this time however, she just might succeed in raping their city of its money and there would be nothing he could do to stop her.