What's That Sound?
While the SWAT Kats Band was taking top priority over the use of Konway's Korps, the Sergeant proved he would be faithful to the Korps all his life. It was evident in his drumming and his stern personality, also taking into account the fact he spoke so seldom. "That's my Sergeant for you," Commander Feral once told the press during an interview after a rock concert. "As my now-trusted police detective Lenny Ringtail puts it, 'he's way too patriotic to rock and roll.' But this is a good thing; the Sergeant is a great role model for cats and kittens everywhere in Megakat City and around the world." Though true to his image, the Sergeant would occasionally be seen listening to the rock music of the SWAT Kats Band. "I don't mind," he once told the press. "My boss is one of the guitarists, as it so happens to turn out. Most of the time you'll see him play acoustic guitar, however, and often it helps him to relax if stress is driving him batty. But Sousa will always be my role model, musically speaking."
"No doubt about that," Fango once echoed. "The Sergeant is fantastic. It doesn't matter who is playing 'Yankee Doodle,' 'The British Grenadiers,' or 'Garry Owen.' He could accompany anybody."
Being a member of the SWAT Kats Band himself, Dr. Konway started devoting more time to his role of playing the saxophone when the song needed it. When he needed a horn section to back up his solos, Jonny K. would always perform it on his keyboard. As Konway put it, "some rock songs don't work without a horn section. Chicago was the first band to emphasize such a thing."
On this day, Chance and Jake had their electric guitars out just jamming for fun. The other band members were enjoying listening to them sing and play their guitars, as well as occasionally proving extra vocals and instrumentation themselves. Chance first introduced the group to the fact he also played the harmonica, and grew up listening to those 12-bar blues legends such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters. As a result, he and the band came up their own rendition of B.B. King's hit song "How Blue Can You Get?", which he didn't expect to be a top ten hit because his last composition, "Smoked!" (sung by Captain Grimalken as the lead vocal) was pushed down to #2 after the Martian Freedom Fighters (starring the Biker Mice From Mars and co.) performed their rendition of the Led Zeppelin tune "Stairway to Heaven" (with Rimfire on lead), which peaked at #1.
"Excellent!" said a voice from behind. The group turned around to see the single cat who was clapping. They didn't recognize him, but the Sergeant would have, because this cat belonged to the same drum and fife club he was part of. This was evident by the band uniform he was wearing.
"Glad you think it's fantastic," said Chance. "But who are you?"
"Forgive me for not introducing myself," said the bandscat. "I am Col. Drake Sims Parkinson, and I happen to be friends with your Sergeant, Commander. But I see he's not here today."
"He's not part of our rock band," Commander Feral replied. "But I don't blame for not doing so. It's what makes him so great. What can we do for you?"
"I reckon the question really should be, 'What can I do for you?'"
"What do you mean?" asked Felina.
"My band and I—I am the drum major, you understand—we had a bit of confusion. There seems to be some activity going on out there in the abandoned forest areas, and it seems to us like something only Dark Kat would do, but he's not evil anymore."
"I thought I was hearing a strange sound," said Jake. "Listen. It's getting louder." The sound's volume continue to increase by the second.
"It was disrupting our practice session so much, we had to abandon it for the day," Col. Parkinson continued. "Hate it though I do, it happens sometimes. What could be causing it? I wish I could give you more information, seeing as how you—some of you anyway—are the Enforcer officers."
"Thank you for what you were able to tell us, Col. Parkinson," Commander Feral replied in gratitude. "It may be enough to help us crack the case." Putting down their instruments, everybody ran to their respective places to prepare for the action. Chance and Jake dropped into their hangar and put on their suits, emerging as T-Bone and Razor a few seconds later. They jumped into their Turbokat and prepared for blast off. Feral and Felina drove back to H.Q. to call Lenny Ringtail and Hard Drive (now working as Lenny's assistant) into action. Having used his electric guitar in combat twice, Grimalken packed it and the amplifier in the back of his car's trunk. Fango went with Grimalken. Jonny and Al rejoined Ann Gora in the news van and followed the group towards the source of the sound.
As the new mayor (after Manx's reign of lies had finally ended), Callie took a look out her window and tried to determine what the sound was herself, as well as who was responsible for it. "Don't know," she said to herself. "Dark Kat and Hard Drive have rehabilitated from their evil ways, Dr. Viper's in jail, and that sounds nothing like the time vortex the Pastmaster jumps out of. It obviously is not Madkat, because his soul has been banished to the ninth circle of hell. Wonder if that Johnny Hemmingway creep is at it again?" She reached for her communicator and pressed the button. T-Bone was the first to respond. "No need to call us, Miss Briggs," he reported. "We already got the news from some marching band friend of the Sergeant's, who had to cancel practice because of it."
"Oh, sorry," Callie replied. "It's a force of habit. Besides, it was driving me nuts. But at least now I can call you from the position of mayor and not deputy mayor. Answer me this, however: where is the sound coming from?"
"It seems to be coming from some abandoned forest area that no citizen in their right mind dares to even think about entering," Razor spoke up. "We're heading there right now."
Since it was Enforcer policy to bring along the citizen who reported the act if it was a citizen, Col. Parkinson rode in Feral's sedan, and was reminiscing with the Sergeant.
When the group reached the area where the sound was coming from, Col. Parkinson announced, "Yes. That's it. That's where the sound is coming from. Being a drum major, I wish I wasn't so frustrated so easily, as music sometimes does to you."
"Well, this ain't music to our ears either," Lenny replied. "We're all going to go deaf if we don't stop it!"
The group came across the large generator that was causing the high-pitched sound. It seemed to be warming up for phase one of the operation, but it wasn't evident that any beams would go into effect. "There has to be some plot behind this," said T-Bone. "Who brings an invention to the forest and then just leaves it?"
"True enough, buddy," Razor replied. "No villain in his right—or wrong—mind would leave a machine out by itself. Even bad guys know that!"
"Parkinson," Commander Feral called, "did your troops know anything about any previous machines that have made sounds like this one? I recognize from several years back when Dark Kat wanted to make it nighttime all the time."
"Wish they did," said Col. Parkinson. "At least it's familiar news to you. I just wondered if there was any way to turn it off. Mr. Ringtail, since you are the detective, and I'm sorry to barge in while you are listening for signals over the radio, but were you able to turn off the machine similar to the one that Dark Kat used?"
"We did," said Lenny, "and this one looks like it can be done the same way."
"Have you picked up any signals yet?" asked Al.
"All I could make out was something regarding a deactivation code with the fruit sequence, 'cherry, apple, grape,' before the signal went dead. Whoever thought of 'cherry, apple, grape,' as a combination? Whatever happened to good old numbers?"
"Just what I was feeling," said Feral. "SWAT Kats! Any luck finding the deactivator?"
"No, my radar can't pick it up," T-Bone replied. "It has to be hidden somewhere."
"Should I try blowing it to pieces with my guitar at full power?" Grimalken called from further back.
"Not now, Captain," Feral replied. "It may go off if you do, and it would not be pretty for the city. Callie would hate it."
"I know, and thanks for asking." Feral turned back to the machine. "It just has to be there somewhere. With the one Dark Kat used, it was on the bottom."
"Nothing on the bottom of this machine," said the Sergeant after taking a look. "Maybe it's on top."
Hard Drive climbed to the top of the machine and scanned the surroundings until he came upon a small door. "Wonder what's in here?" he said to himself as he opened the door. "What luck!" he exclaimed. "Hey, you guys!" he called. "I found the deactivator! It's up here!"
"Okay, tell it to go, 'cherry, apple, grape,' and that should shut it off," Lenny called back. Hard Drive do so, and the machine promptly shut down.
"Phew, glad that's over," said T-Bone.
"Me, too," said Parkinson. "Now my band can march in peace once again. We still don't know who the criminal is yet, though."
"Or do we?" Razor replied. "Look what I found." He tossed a piece of paper towards Lenny, who unfolded it and read it. "It says, 'To all the forces of evil: if I am not back within 20 minutes of this machine going off, set it to full power so that Megakat City will crumble to pieces, and on its ruins I will build Hemmingwayland, the ultimate city, where I will rule it all!"
"Oh, great!" Hard Drive exclaimed in frustration, clapping a hand to his head. "I should've known my evil twin was behind this!"
"He sure comes up with the most unique attempts to capture the city yet," Feral commented. "In this case, we all would've died from the explosion. Good thing we shut it off." He turned to the SWAT Kats. "SWAT Kats," he ordered, "see if your fighter jet can drop this thing somewhere so that it will be the only thing that blows up."
"You got it, Commander," said the SWAT Kats as they climbed back into their jet and took off. Razor used one his inventions to grab the machine and drag it towards an abandoned desert area where he proceeded to drop the lethal machine towards ground zero. The resulting explosion, only destroying the machine, created a gray mushroom cloud that left an impact for days and weeks to come.
Meanwhile, as the Kat's Eye News Three (Al, Jonny, and Ann) gathered all information for the six o'clock news that night, the Enforcer officers and Parkinson continued to search for Hemmingway. Five minutes had passed before they found him stuck to a pole. Feral parked his sedan and everyone exited. No one bothered to point a gun at Hemmingway because he was tied to the pole. The SWAT Kats flew by in their jet and caught sight of Dark Kat's pink Creeplings, who had abandoned their master after he turned good in order to continue shredding havoc on the town.
"All right, Hemmingway," Feral bellowed. "We know you are behind this noise problem the city finally got over. At least I don't have to read you your rights because we have arrested you so many times before."
"That may be," said Hemmingway, "but this time I experienced what it was like to be double-crossed."
"By the time the machine started warming up, the Creeplings tied me to this pole and took charge of the mission themselves. Guess Dark Kat is the only one they're willing to obey."
The Sergeant and Parkinson helped untie Hemmingway before Felina cuffed him for the seventh time in a row. "I think you do the best at breaking out," she said to him, "but security is tightening, so you won't have a chance this time."
Without saying a word, Hemmingway got in the back seat.
"Another crisis averted!" Feral announced.
"Yeah, put another one in the books," Lenny added.
"Couldn't have done it without you, Parkinson; thank you, sir," Feral continued. Parkinson and the Sergeant saluted one another as the Sergeant replied, "And I'll be seeing you at the next meeting."
"Same here," said Parkinson, walking on home.
After meeting back at the hangar (and waiting for the SWAT Kats to don their normal clothes again), everyone drove over to the nearest Chinese buffet restaurant to eat dinner.
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network
Biker Mice From Mars © Rick Ungar, Tom Tataranowicz, Tom Tataranowicz Animation, Brentwood Television Funnies, and whoever else owns the rights