Nothing Short of a Glorious Gun

"Just about there, buddy," Chance announced to his best friend as he and the gang rode towards Moo Mesa. There had been a call that the Masked Bull had been cooperating with one of the SWAT Kat enemies, and Marshal Moo Montana needed more information about the villain he wasn't used to seeing. Inspired by the earlier victory of putting Johnny Hemmingway to rest, Lenny Ringtail had dressed up as his Marshal Mitch Mathis character from his long-running Western, "Gunfighters of Carson City," and the SWAT Kats (though as mild-mannered Chance and Jake), Commander Feral, and Hard Drive had also dressed up in cowboy gear and were riding horses. Unlike the previous encounter, the Sergeant did not attend this mission (he was occupied with another duty, of which Lt. Felina Feral was helping him out).

"What's so special about this Masked Bull character anyway?" asked Jake.

"He's the enemy of Marshal Moo Montana and his posse," said Lenny, "and rumor has it someone's been helping him. If it's not Dr. Viper, I don't know who it is. It can't be Dark Kat because he's in solitary confinement for life, though I'm sure he's repented of his sins entirely by now. It can't be the Pastmaster because he's dead. It can't be Madkat because his spirit is in the ninth circle of hell right now, and it's obviously not you, Hard Drive, because you're with us."

"So what does that narrow it down to?" Feral spoke up.

"That leaves Dr. Viper as the most reasonable option, and there's always the possibility Turmoil came back. I wouldn't be surprised if that twin brother of yours is the criminal, but I thought we had him locked up good." Lenny paused to clear his throat.

"That's preposterous. We are doing better about tightening security," said Feral, "but he is the best at escaping when our backs are turned."

When the group reached Cowtown, Moo, Dakota, and Cowlorado, the C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, were waiting for them just outside Miss Lily's Tumbleweed Saloon, where they were explaining to Miss Lily the story behind Lenny's character of Mitch Mathis. "And for the occasion," Cowlorado concluded, "you can see he's dressed like the marshal. So it's a marshal-to-marshal cooperation. Nothing against you, Moo."

"None taken, Cowlorado," Moo replied. "I have a good feeling about this. Like the Code of the West says, 'Too many marshals may spoil the capture, but more than one guarantees a victory if the varmint will cooperate.'"

Chance and Jake were the first to get off their horses. "Well, you cats were right darn quick to get here," Moo greeted. "Did you get the message?"

"We did, through the telegraph," Feral nodded. "I know your community prefers to live like 1870 all the time, and I don't blame you. Keep in mind we may unveil it at a moment's notice; that's Enforcer policy."

"I didn't forget that," Moo replied. "So I see you brought the Marshal of Carson City with you. Or at least the actor famous for portraying him. I mean, we have no television up here, but we heard all about the legend of Mitch Mathis."

"Well, kudos to you, then," said Lenny with a smile as he dismounted his horse. "My real name is Lenny Ringtail, but I come across folks calling me 'Mitch' or 'Marshal' all the time. I've actually been able to put the character for real in capturing some wacko who tried to take over Megakat City, hoping to be able to revert its lifestyle back to the one you and this community are living."

"I may end up calling you 'Mitch,' then," said Moo.

"Yup," Dakota agreed.

"Same here," said Cowlorado. "Now then, the reason we called you is this: we weren't sure exactly who the Masked Bull is teaming up with, but they're stealing all the oil from the nearest gulch. It's getting dark and we got no choice but to call it a day and pick up the trail in the morning. We just wanted to know something. Who is this, and what's his tatics?" The adventure-loving deputy handed a picture to Lenny, and Lenny took a good look at it.

"Hey! That's my twin!" Hard Drive exclaimed after looking at it. "Why did I anticipate that? He has been acting like a Wild West outlaw lately. He can't distinguish fantasy from reality, like that Don Quixote."

"The one that thought he was a 13th century knight fighting a dragon, or whoever it was?" asked Miss Lily.

"Yes," said Hard Drive, "but remember it was actually sheep he was charging. When Sancho tried to explain the truth, he claimed his enemy had escaped."

"What a psycho he must've been!" exclaimed Cowlamity Kate, who had just arrived.

"Exactly," said Moo. "Oh, Miss Kate! What brings you here tonight?"

"Uh, I wondered who you were talking to at first, but I figured it out, so no introductions are necessary. I also happened to catch sight of that varmint helping the Masked Bull. Moo, I witnessed you unmask him, but I think I better keep that a secret for now."

"Do that," said Jake. "If we want to know his real identity, we'll figure it out ourselves."

"Well, if Miss Kate's found sight of the varmints, we'd better up and at 'em, then!" Dakota spoke up. "I am!"

"Good idea, Dakota," said Moo. "I know it's late, but justice can't wait for no one. Come on, everybody! Let's rodeo!"

"Yippie-eye-oh-ky-ay!" everyone chimed in, with Cowlorado adding a "Yee-haw!" at the end. The group rode towards the scene of the crime, with J.R., the Indian companion to the cowboys, joining the group halfway towards their destination. Moo updated J.R. on the situation and explained "why Mitch Mathis has teamed up with a modern commanding police officer and his organization's head detective."

The Masked Bull had been using one of his wagons he stole from a wagon train to hide the barrels containing the stolen oil. Johnny Hemmingway, in his outlaw disguise (also implying a mask), was doing his best to help. "Sure appreciate the opportunity," he said. "I haven't had a criminal act like this since that no-good marshal caught me, and I'm not talking about Moo Montana."

"I know," said the Masked Bull. "But I appreciate your help as well; those lame brains Saddlesore and Boot Hill Buzzard are no use to me anymore. The worst of the two is Boot Hill, but you probably knew that."

"I did. Where do you want to take the oil?"

"Some place where we can sell it for a big profit. Soon we'll be rolling in it."

"The only place you'll be rolling in is where you deserve to be…behind bars!" Feral suddenly growled as our heroes came into view.

"Drat!" the Masked Bull snorted in disgust. "It's those no-good cowboys again!"

"Why can't I do anything right?" Hemmingway added. "It's getting so a kat can't earn a dishonest living no more!"

"I do want to thank you two," Lenny commented, using his Mitch Mathis voice. "Y'all saved us the trouble of arresting you in the swamp!"

"Looks like I'm going to have to exterminate you the hard way!" the Masked Bull bellowed, drawing his two pistols. Moo and Lenny drew their own ammo while Cowlorado and Jake took their respective lariats. Chance teamed up with Dakota in terms of brute strength. Feral and Hard Drive ran to the sidelines and waited to strike while the iron was hot.

It seemed the battle was going nowhere until J.R. was effectively able to shoot one of the Masked Bull's pistols right out of his hand, using a bow and arrow. While the Masked Bull struggled to find his pistol, he kept firing with the other one, but Moo's golden stars coming from his two guns cancelled the action.

Meanwhile, Hemmingway was having trouble of his own dealing with Lenny. "You got me once, Marshal, but you won't get me again!" he grunted in disgust. "Nobody dares think about capturing me and getting the glory for it!"

"Well, just call me nobody!" Lenny replied, again using his cowboy voice. Not knowing Hemmingway had already said it to the SWAT Kats, he added, "Didn't anybody ever tell you crime don't pay?"

"Actually, it doesn't pay well, but it pays a little bit, and you get stock options!" Hemmingway replied, attempting to make a joke.

"Play ball!" Chance yelled as he pitched a rock at Dakota, who was holding a large log. Dakota swung at the rock and hit it spot on. The rock just barely missed the Masked Bull and Hemmingway but it hit the wagon they were protecting. The wagon collapsed and out came the oil of the now-broken barrels.

"Well, there goes the big payday!" the Masked Bull grunted to himself. "Maybe I ought to abide by their advice and give up crime. Nothing I do is worth it."

"No, we can't give up!" Hemmingway exclaimed, hearing the remark.

"Oh, yes, you will," Moo and Feral replied in unison. "You're coming with us!"

Cowlorado promptly rounded up the Masked Bull and thrust him towards Moo, and Jake did likewise with Hemmingway. "Hey, nice round-up!" Cowlorado smiled, turning to Jake. "You been practicing?"

"Little bit," said Jake. "I did that to him the last time we got him, but it was back home."

Moo fired some shorts to indicate to the people wondering what the ruckus was about that everything was all right.

When all was said and done, the Masked Bull was back in jail (Lonesome Gulch's jail, that is, as Cowtown never wanted to deal with him again after Moo's unmasking of him some time ago, revealing he was indeed Sheriff Terrorbull, as Puma had been claiming). Using one of J.R.'s tricks, Feral and Hard Drive launched Hemmingway back towards Megakat City "via air mail," as Feral put it. Having gotten a radio transmission from him, Felina and her co-pilot took the policy's precautions, grabbed him, and put him back where he belonged…in Alcatraz!

The next day, Mayor Bulloney took some time to congratulate the cowboys (again), and thanked Chance, Jake, and the gang for their help. Still using his Mitch Mathis voice, Lenny got acquainted with the folks of Cowtown, and later that day around lunchtime, finally a first time taste of his own of Miss Lily's famous homemade sarsaparilla, after making sure it wasn't alcoholic. "I don't drink," he told Miss Lily. "I don't know why it's the norm for cowboys to drink."

"That's why this is homemade," said Miss Lily. "Glad you like it."

THE END

SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros.

Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa © Ryan Brown

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