The Case of the Pizza Perpetrator (Crossover)
Perhaps no cat in Megakat City loved anything more than pizza. Whether it had pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, olives, or just lots of cheese and tomato sauce, cats loved pizza. It was evident in the way the pizza parlors thrived as the most successful business in the mega food industry, even though takeout pizza with a delivery driver thrived more than pizza available at buffets that also offered pasta and salad, plus a few desserts.
The same could be said about Station Square, and why not? The two towns were neighbors.
But there was no joy on this day. Nobody was ordering pizza or enjoying the irresistible taste pizza gave a cat's (or human's) taste buds. Why? Somebody had robbed all the pizza joints of their pizzas and ingredients. It was a crisis for the pizza industry. It would be a crisis for any food industry, but with the biggest one involved, it was treated like a national disaster. The bizarre part was that it was only happening in Megakat City and Station Square. The rest of the U.S. of A. watched and waited to see what would happen.
Sonic the Hedgehog asked himself and his sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower, this question while running around one day. "Bizarre, isn't it, Tails?" he said. "It's a bit of a relief to me that he wasn't stealing chili dogs, or in your case, mint candy, but there's nobody on this earth that doesn't like pizza."
"I thought about that, Sonic," said Tails. "One that likes pizza is going to have to settle for pasta. I'm not sure which the Mario Bros. like more, but this is one crime that would get their steam top blown."
"I think it would anger Mario more than it would Luigi. Mario is obsessed with Italian food, and pizza is a big part of that."
"I wonder if Commander Feral has found any clues yet?"
"I don't know, little bro, but one thing's for sure: you, I, and the rest of the gang better be willing to help out. We can all pitch in and solve the case faster. In fact, everybody else is waiting for us there. Let's go."
Sonic and Tails made their way over to Enforcer H.Q., where their friends, the SWAT Kats, and Commander Feral were indeed waiting for them. They were also discussing what they knew so far.
"He's robbed every pizza joint that does takeaway except Pizza Hut, and they do both buffet—at least during lunch—and deliveries for pizza," said Feral, reading his notes to the gang. "The crook can't be far from here if he's headed for Pete's Pizza Parlor next. I can't confirm that, but that is the rumor."
"That's the pizza joint T-Bone and I regularly eat at," Razor put in. "Usually we get the buffet. I hope they're taking precautions."
"They are," reported Lenny Ringtail, now serving as the head of the police detective department, with Hard Drive now as his assistant. "In fact, they're closed until the outlaw is caught, but that isn't going to stop him from robbing the place. Uh, do we know if he's taking any cash as well?"
"No, just pizza and ingredients needed to make pizza," Feral replied. "If my instincts are correct, he'll rob supermarkets as well once he gets to that point. They have frozen pizzas that only need to be cooked in the oven and eaten."
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Sonic asked.
"Yes, there is," Feral nodded. "If you see any suspicious activity regarding pizza, let us know. You're on the go all the time. You catch criminal acts happening, don't you?"
"Most of the time, it's because Dr. Eggman is the criminal," Sonic replied. "But he's in jail, all the usual baddies you SWAT Kats battle are in jail, and Dark Kat's rehabilitated from crime."
"That's not much to go on, but that's all the clues we got," Lenny added. "Hope someone's been keeping up with the news or something.
"Hey! Over here!" came a voice from a nearby alley. "Yes, you!" The group followed the sounds of the voice until they came into the alley the speaker was hanging around in. Although it was just a homeless kat (who just happened to be the first witness of Dr. Viper's flooding of Megakat City with Katalyst X-63)1, he seemed confident of his abilities.
"You're the homeless kat that was the first one to witness Dr. Viper flood the city with Katalyst X-63, aren't you?" T-Bone asked.
"Yes, sir, and although I'm homeless, I've actually managed to get a job at one of the pizza joints that was robbed, so it's not a total loss," said the homeless cat. "So I'm working towards a home, slowly, but surely. My name is Jack. Jack Jones. I overheard you discussing the pizza crisis. Would it help if I told you where the criminal is going to strike next?"
"Do you know?" asked Shadow.
"Wouldn't be much of an eavesdropper if I didn't," Jack replied. "Sorry if I'm guilty of any crime."
"You're not, if it will help us catch the crook," Feral spoke up. "It better not cost us anything, however; I hate it when I have to pay for information, although the last time I did pay a stool pigeon for information, he was telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
"It won't cost you a cent," Jack replied. "I'm broke, and I have but a minimum wage job that the manager of Pete's Pizza Parlor managed to help set up so that it goes directly into my bank account, which actually has quite a bit of cash, but it's not enough to buy a house or even a cheap used car or motorcycle, but I'm not worried. In fact, Pete's Pizza Parlor is where he is headed next. I'm not positive as to how he's going to strike. But from what I do know, he's either going to break the glass, use dynamite, or hack into the keyhole with a spare key. The newspaper said that's how he's been robbing previous pizza joints."
"The pizza joints restock for business as usual, but if the robberies continue, they will go out of business eventually," said Razor. "Thanks for the tip, Jack."
"There's a $2 million reward for catching the crook or for providing information that leads to the crook, and if you turn out to be the lucky winner, you may have saved yourself from your homeless status," Feral added. "That's how the reward is set up. Because of that, I require your presence until we solve the case. Leo the Patriotic Lion would have done the same thing if he were leading this parade, as he'd call it."
"I'm sure he would," said Jack. "I've seen him in the newspaper a lot lately. Must've been those speeches of his."
"Must be," said Sonic. "He praised me for displaying the red, white, and blue all over my body, including my shoes."
"He has a voice that can reach 750,000 people without the aid of a loudspeaker," T-Bone added. "Truly, he's proven that sometimes the best ways in life are the old-fashioned ways. That's not entirely true for Megakat City, but for his type, it is."
"Didn't he blow a hole in Mayor Manx's alibi?" Jack asked.
"Yes, when Mayor Manx decided he hated any technology invented after the radio," Feral replied. "He pointed out how the mayor's law was unconstitutional because it violated the citizen's rights to the press if that's how they get their news, and he's in Enforcer prison right now, serving his time. His deputy mayor, Callie Briggs, has since been elected mayor, and she repealed that law immediately before the Supreme Court could, although they sent Callie a letter stating they did indeed view it as unconstitutional."
"But some citizens who obeyed the law took it too far," Lenny added. "They threw away all their modern conveniences, even dishwashers, washers and dryers, toasters, and all that sort of thing. Now they are living the lifestyles of either Amish people or the people of the Old West and/or the pioneers who blazed the trails of the Old West. Portraying a Wild West marshal for three years on television, I somewhat appreciated that touch of nostalgia."
"I see," said Jack. "Well, that's not the path I'm taking if I end up with the reward money. I'm going to settle for a middle-class house and look."
"Hey, haven't I seen you at Pete's Pizza Parlor?" Razor asked.
"Not at the cash register," Jack replied. "I'm usually in the kitchen cooking the pizzas and then bringing it to the appropriate spot at its buffet station. Sometimes I'll clean the tables and bathrooms, too."
That night, at Pete's Pizza Parlor, everyone ate dinner. Although the pizza parlor closed at 10 p.m., their buffet service ended at 9 p.m. This gave the customers ample time to finish up and leave, and possibly get a to-go cup for their final refill of their favorite beverage (or water if they ordered that). Jack, having informed the manager about the plot and what he knew about it, got the manager's permission to be the one to lock up at closing time, although the manager out of his own curiosity stayed as well.
About 10:21 p.m., the perpetrator was ready to strike. Even though the lights were off and it gave him the idea nobody was home, Sonic and his friends waited inside. Feral waited inside his sedan, with Felina, Hard Drive, and Lenny also watching and waiting. When Sonic asked, Feral replied, "My Sergeant's on guard duty back at H.Q., guarding the database section that Hard Drive used to infiltrate."
"If it wasn't for my surge coat," Hard Drive put in, "I couldn't have pulled off such a stunt. Now that it's all back, my cell has been converted into an office, which would've happened anyway."
"But weren't you working for them while serving your sentence?"
"Yes. It was sort of like being at work all the time and never going home. But of course, I have a home. That reminds me to mow my lawn tomorrow, or the city's going to charge me a big fine and do it themselves."
Just then, the ear-splitting sound of breaking glass came into play. "That must be him!" Feral announced. He exited his sedan and ran to the entrance, with his fellow officers by his side.
The burglar alarms associated with the pizza parlor also activated. "Dang! I forgot to reset that!" the manager exclaimed.
The mystery crook managed to get away before he could be caught in the act. "Sonic! Shadow! After him!" Razor called. The two hedgehogs took off while the SWAT Kats ran to their jet and took off towards the skies. "We can't let him get away!" T-Bone said to his partner.
"Yeah, but if anyone else is worthy of catching him, it's Sonic," Razor replied as Tails pulled up in his X-Tornado, with Amy, Knuckles, and Cream riding shotgun. (Chris was at home, asleep for the night.) Silver appeared out of nowhere and came to the assistance of Sonic and Shadow.
Although it seemed like a chase that would never end, the end was in sight when the crook's getaway motorcycle started to run low on fuel. "We got him now!" Sonic snickered as he and Shadow performed their traditional spin attacks, causing the biker to fall off his bike. The SWAT Kats used one of their hooks to grab the criminal while his bike crashed into a telephone pole and exploded. Within minutes, the fire department was there to put the blaze out.
T-Bone flew the Turbokat back over Enforcer H.Q. while Razor dropped the criminal right into solitary confinement. Feral was not upset over the hole in the ceiling, because he had previous encounters with the SWAT Kats performing the same task.
After the respective thank-you's from the SWAT Kats and Enforcer officers (and Jack), Sonic and his friends returned home for the night. They stated they were not in the crime fighting business for the money, and Feral agreed. Besides, the entire reward was to go to Jack for his role in the affair, and it was his dream come true. He was no longer a homeless cat anymore.
"It can't be your twin because your twin's gone good," Lenny said to Hard Drive. "Just thought you'd want to know."
"I knew that," said Hard Drive. "He's finished his 100 community service hours, so he's looking for a job that uses a building with modular offices, even though it's in marketing and sales."
"Sounds like his alley to me," Lenny replied. "Now let's have a look at our criminal." The group ran to the solitary confinement cell he landed in and turned on the lights.
"Well, flip my pistols!" Lenny exclaimed in his Mitch Mathis voice.2 "If it isn't old slippery Mugsy Jackson himself, the most wanted bulldog in the country."
"And I wish you had minded your own business!" Mugsy replied grudgingly.
"It was police business in this case!" Feral snapped back. "Didn't anyone ever tell you crime doesn't pay?"
"Actually, it doesn't pay well, but it pays a little bit, and you get stock options!" Mugsy replied, using a joke Hard Drive's twin used to use, and was a joke almost all of Megakat City's criminals were using.
"All right, doggie! Bark! Explain your behavior!" Lenny spoke up. "And remember, this is the law you're talking to."
Mugsy went on to explain he wanted to start his own pizza chain but was low on dough, so the only way was to rob everybody else and put them out of business. Since he had been previously arrested for robbery charges involving banks, he decided it was time to take a different route. "If I'm to be in jail for life, so be it," he concluded. "I'm retiring from crime. It's just not worth it."
"Don't do the crime if you can't do the time," Feral replied. "You apparently can do the time. You've done it before."
At the court trial the next day, which was broadcast over radio so Sonic and the gang (plus the SWAT Kats) could listen in, Mugsy was given the option of his usual three-year sentence or pay $250,000. He chose to pay the fine, as it only lowered him from high class to middle class living. The $250,000 was money he was told to keep when the previous bank he robbed had been hiding emergency cash for such an occasion. As for his bank account, it would go untouched.
"I hope you will never return to crime again," Feral concluded as he and Mugsy left the courthouse.
"I'm not," Mugsy replied. "If Dark Kat can serve the forces of good based on his evil past, so can I."
"Be ready," said Feral. "We may need your help someday. As I believe, to solve the hardest crimes, hire the smartest criminals. Also, Dr. Viper is still at large."
"I'll remember that," Mugsy promised. "At least I didn't have to rot in one of those cells like last time. It stinks in there!"
"Well, we have had a bit of an odor problem."
Feral drove himself and Mugsy over to the diner where they were to meet with the others to eat lunch, also telling Mugsy, "As for your motorcycle, the insurance policy you have will see to it you get a new one free of charge, since you were able to pay the fine instead of live behind bars another three years."
"Okay, great," said Mugsy. "I don't want to buy a car anyway. Too many reckless drivers. Besides, I've been driving bikes all my life, especially ones by Harley Davidson. They're the best."
When the duo caught up with the rest of the group, they informed them of what was to be done with the motorcycle and the other details. Then Feral turned to Jack and said, "Congratulations, Jack! You're $2 million richer and you never have to be a homeless victim again."
"Oh, thank you," Jack smiled. "It was about time I got out of there anyway."
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros.
Sonic the Hedgehog © SEGA
Leo the Patriotic Lion © me
1 As dramatized in the Season 2 episode "Mutation City."
2 Mitch Mathis is the Western Marshal character Lenny portrayed in the Western series "Gunfighters of Carson City."