Red, White, and BOOM!

It was the 4th of July in Station Square, and everyone was happy. Americans all over town were celebrating their victory over the British Empire, in old and new traditions. Leo the Patriotic Lion and his band played in the park (and had other appearances from Leo's sidekick, Tom the Patriotic Tiger) as part of the daytime festivities (and parades they participated in earlier). For the Thorndike family, it was nothing more than a family reunion. Since Chris had an actress for a mom and a CEO for a dad, he didn't get to see them often. But the company which Lindsay acted for had merged with another one, so it would be a while for her to go back into the business. Nelson was home for the 4th today, so Chris was satisfied. Both Nelson and Lindsay were used to seeing Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends with Chris, since they had nowhere to go.

"Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad," Chris greeted when they got home.

"Hey, it's the proud parents!" Sonic exclaimed.

"Hi, Chris," said his parents. "So glad to see you again, and you too, Sonic."

"Pleasure," said Sonic, smiling. "How's your jobs?"

"Oh, company's been merged with another, so I've got quite a bit of off time," said Lindsay.

"Not for me," Nelson added, shaking his head. "Had a lot of customer complaints based on something to do with a few employees quitting their jobs and living like you, as far as lying on top the roof and stuff. But we hired 1,200 new people, so it's okay."

"Sorry I was a bad influence," Sonic replied humbly as the group made their way to the cars. They planned to eat at the nearest Stake & Shake™ to eat. Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream and Cheese, Shadow, and Silver joined Sonic.

When the group got to the Stake & Shake™, there, to no one's surprise but Lindsay and Nelson, were the SWAT Kats, as mild-mannered Jake Clawson and Chance Furlong! "This happens to us a lot," Sonic explained to the startled parents. "Don't freak out over the idea, but you're looking at the secret identities of the SWAT Kats, the most awesome fighter pilots on Earth. And those motorcycles belong to the Biker Mice from Mars. The fact everybody's coming here is purely coincidental."

"Okay, and your secrets are safe with us," Lindsay and Nelson promised. "Just wish we kept up with the stuff, seeing as how you and these two other groups are the top rock bands in the country."

"Yep," said Tails. "We had #1 with our hit 'Chaos in Burbank' until the SWAT Kats Band came out with their take on that Boston hit, 'Amanda.' It peaked at #1 for weeks!"

"And that song 'Beat It!' by the Martian Freedom Fighters peaked at #2," Shadow added. "I tell you, Rimfire more than knows what his intentions are with that one."

Everyone walked inside and got seated at the appropriate tables. The Thorndyke family sat diagonally to the right of Jake and Chance, and Sonic sat diagonally to the left of Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie. The Biker Mice had already said "hi" to the two mega-mechanics, but Vinnie was the first to notice Sonic. "Hey! It's the speed demon!" he exclaimed heartily.

"Give me five, bro!" Throttle added, high-fiving Sonic.

"How you doin' today, Throttle?"

"Fabulous. Everyone's got that 4th of July spirit, and we showed it just a minute ago totaling Rump's tower. I guess old moneybags has finally lost his touch."

"Heh, heh, yeah," Modo laughed. "That was something I needed front-row seats for!"

"I wouldn't have missed that for all the hot dogs at Quigley Field!" Vinnie put in. "What a rush! Couldn't resist waving my small American flag as we passed by some cars on the way up."

"Sweet!" Sonic grinned. "You know, several times Leo the Patriotic Lion has praised me for showing the spirit. Just look at my body, including my shoes. There's red, white, and blue everywhere. He says I'm a natural national symbol pride, unofficially, of course."

"If he says so, he's not lying to you," Modo replied. "He loves this country and its principles so much he'll do anything to protect it, even if it means doing something extreme."

Meanwhile, Jake and Chance got acquainted with Nelson and Lindsay, telling the story of their unfortunate case of being expelled from the Enforcers (by this point, however, Feral gave up trying to unmask them and began cooperating with them for his sake).

"So that's how we ended up as the SWAT Kats," Chance concluded. "We're glad it happened, because now we have superhero status, and more recently, rock star status."

"It is a sad story," said Chuck (Chris's grandpa), "but at least that blowhard Feral is done trying to ruin your fun. Did he ever find out about your identities?"

"Eventually, he did," said Jake, "but when he did, he wept over it, realizing we were once troops under his command. He's kept it a secret to everyone except to all others who found out: Lt. Felina Feral, his niece, his Sergeant, the mayor and his deputy, and the Kat's Eye News Three, Ann Gora, Jonny Katrino, and Al Gorshon. All of the above mentioned minus the Sergeant and Mayor Manx are in our rock band. The Sergeant says he's 'way too patriotic to rock and roll;' it'd ruin his image."

"And the mayor?" asked Shadow, who had been listening.

"He's playing golf too much of the time."

"I see." Shadow turned to give the waiter his order.

Everyone had a great time relaxing at Stake & Shake™, and that night, all three rock bands performed for the public as part of a 4th of July celebration that ultimately led to the best fireworks display the city ever had. Above all, Sonic was glad Dr. Eggman was currently in prison, but on the flipside, couldn't wait to frustrate him again.


Sonic the Hedgehog © SEGA
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros.
Biker Mice From Mars © Rick Ungar, Tom Tataranowicz, Tom Tataranowicz Animation, Brentwood Television Funnies
Leo the Patriotic Lion, Tom the Patriotic Tiger © me