Chapter 8“We'll need a cheat code next time”

The Swat Kats, Matthew and Professor Hackle stood at the shore near the Professor's lab waiting for the Turbokat to arrive, or at least what was left of it. An automated carrier ship appeared at the horizon. It looked a bit like a ferry boat but it was much larger and more hi- tech. On board it had the parts of the Turbokat and Cybertron-2, a repair robot which Hackle had developed a few years ago.

The robot was about two kats high and had torso like a bodybuilder. Instead of feet he used tracks similar to those of a tank in order to move around. Hackle had offered him as a gift to the Swat Kats once, but they declined because he had too many glitches back then, not to mention his enormous size.

The Swat Kats assumed that the Professor had used him to pick up the parts of the Turbokat from the water somehow. As the carrier ship came closer they saw that it was accompanied by two small automated submarines which had salvaged the parts of the Turbokat from under the sea. From the look of it the jet had been broken into three parts on its crash landing, its hull and its wings.

“Looks like the Turbokat has survived the impact rather well,” T-Bone said. “But it will still take quite a while to put her back together.”

“Don't worry, lad.” Hackle replied confidently. “The Cybertrons will take care of the repairs. Your plane will be operational again in no time.”

“That's great. But she won't be of much help to us anyway.” T-Bone said depressed. “Next time we encounter a squadron of drones she would be shred into pieces, including us.”

“That's why we have to put our heads together.” Matthew pointed out. “There must still be a way to outsmart them. But first, let's head back to the lab.”

In the meantime the carrier ship had arrived at the shore and Cybertron-2 moved onto the beach and then directly towards the lab. T-Bone and Razor looked a bit surprised for a moment as the carrier ship also moved onto the beach. Then they realized that it also had a pair of tracks which allowed it to move on land.

“Impressive.” Razor commented as the ship drove past him.

Then he followed the others to the lab.

The lab featured a repair bay large enough to get the Turbokat inside. The carrier ship had stopped directly at the entrance so that Cybertron-2 didn't have to go far to get the parts inside. Once the parts were inside Cybertron-1 came out of a service hatch. T-Bone and Razor remembered him well. Like his big brother, Hackle once offered him to the Swat Kats as a gift. While Razor was excited about him right from the start, T-Bone didn't like him at first. But he changed his mind when he saved their lives. Unfortunately, he was almost destroyed during that rescue and Hackle needed quite some time to get him operational again. Now he seemed to be working better than ever.

“I assume, you remember Cybertron-1?” Hackle asked with a smile on his face. Cybertron-1 directly moved towards T-Bone and Razor, reaching them his mechanical hand.

“Sure, how could we every forget?” T-Bone answered, while he replied the gesture and shook hands with the robot.

“How are you doing, little fella?” Razor asked when it was his turn to shake hands. Cybertron-1 replied with a series of beep-sounds.

“You don't say.” Razor said amused.

“I think we should start right away.” Hackle said and then turned over to the Cybertrons. “Cybertron-1, Cybertron-2, please initialize repair procedures. This jet has to be fixed right away.”

Both robots replied with a series of positive beep-sounds and then went over to the parts of the Turbokat. Cybertron-1 scanned the pieces in order to analyze the damages and to determine what was necessary to get them fixed. When he had finished his analysis he made another series of beep-sounds towards Cybertron-2. The large robot gently picked up the small one and placed him on the jet's hull. Then he picked up one of the wings and held it against the spot where it had been broken off while Cybertron-1 started welding it.

“Okay.” Matthew said. “While they are busy repairing the Turbokat we should discuss what we can do against the drones.”

“After what happened I don't think we can do much about them.” T-Bone replied. “Razor fired our best stuff at them without success and next time they will also be prepared for the mosquito drones as you said yourself.”

“I agree, as much as I hate to say that.” Razor added. “As long as we don't know where Dark Kat and Hard Drive are, we cannot do anything. I guess we'll have to wait until the two of them come out under their rocks.”

“But even if they do we won't reach them without being shot down by their drones.” T-Bone said disillusioned and joked: “We'll need a cheat code next time if we want to stand a chance against them.”

“Yes, that would be very helpful.” Matthew agreed. “But unfortunately there's no such thing in real life.”

“Maybe not, but this gives me an idea!” Razor suddenly said excited. “What if we could create an impenetrable force field around the Turbokat. You know, like the one Dark Kat used on his plane or the one that had been installed in the Behemoth Tank.” Then he turned over to Professor Hackle. “Professor, would you be able to build such a device?”

“If I had the blueprints and the parts, most certainly, yes.” Hackle explained. “But since I wasn't active in this field of research I don't have such kind of blueprints and I doubt that I have everything in stock we need either.”

“And since we don't know where Dark Kat is keeping his plans we won't get our hands on them.” T-Bone added.

“That's true.” Matthew replied. “But what about this Behemoth Tank?”

“Hard Drive once got control over it when he broke into Puma-Dyne,” Razor started to explain.

“Oh please, not him again!” Matthew complained.

“And we had a hard time getting through this force field back then.” Razor continued ignoring Matthew's complain. “We cracked it with a Scrambler Missile. As it turned out, one million volts were too much for it and the Behemoth Tank short circuited.”

“In other words,” Matthew started to determine. “We have to get the plans from Puma-Dyne if we want to build such a device.” He turned over to Professor Hackle. “Alfred, do you still have any contacts at Puma-Dyne which might help us?”

“I'm afraid not. When I left Puma-Dyne I was very, very angry at my colleagues.” Hackle answered. “You see, they were never questioning what they were doing and never thinking about what purposes their inventions would serve in the end. So I broke off any contact to them.” Then he sighed as he seemed to remember what happened in the past. “But who am I to judge? I wasn't any better until I realized it myself.” And after making a short pause he added: “Anyway, most of the staff has been replaced by younger scientists as the years have passed. I don't know anyone of them personally.”

“Crud.” Matthew said and turned over to the Swat Kats. “Any chance to contact somebody at the Enforcers? Maybe that Lieutenant... Commander Feral's niece?”

“You mean Felina.” T-Bone replied. “I'm certain she would try to help us, but we don't know how to contact her.”

“And with Callie being inside the Leviathan there is no way to reach her as well.” Razor added.

“Same goes for Commander Feral.” Matthew assumed. “Although I doubt that he'd give us the plans anyway. So I guess we have to do it the hard way.”

“What do you mean?” T-Bone asked.

“I mean, we have to infiltrate Puma-Dyne.”

“What?!” T-Bone and Razor asked surprised.

“Think about it. It's only a matter of time until Dark Kat makes his next move. Until then, we have to be prepared and I doubt that we'll get our hands on these plans in time if we try to get them legally.”

T-Bone and Razor looked skeptical at each other. After thinking about it for a while Razor confirmed: “I agree. Although I have a very bad feeling about this.”

“Okay, then let's get these plans.” T-Bone replied.

“And I'll be joining you.” Matthew added, like this was self-evident.

“Oh no, you don't!” Razor protested. “You haven't been trained for such a risky operation and you don't have any combat experience at all. No offense, but you would be just in our way. This won't be a walk in the park, you know. We could get caught.”

“And what are you going to do once you're inside?” Matthew asked. “Do you have any experience in hacking into sophisticated computer networks? I don't think so.” Matthew turned over to Razor. “Look Razor, I understand your concerns and under normal circumstances I wouldn't be even thinking about infiltrating a heavily guarded research facility. But we don't have much of a choice here, do we?” Before Razor could answer to that Matthew continued: “I think we can agree on that I don't have any combat experience and you Swat Kats don't have the necessary hacking skills which are needed for this job, right? Therefore I propose that we should learn as much as we can from each other before we start the infiltration.”

“But wouldn't it also be possible for you to hack into their network from outside?” T-Bone asked.

“Unfortunately not. I'm pretty sure that the Puma-Dyne network is isolated from the web. It would also be pointless to plug a wireless sender into the system once you are inside the building. As you surely know, most of the facility is sealed off from any signal that comes from outside.” Matthew explained. “Believe me, I don't have any wish to infiltrate Puma-Dyne. But I don't see any alternatives if we want to get our hands on that blueprints.”

“Alright, alright.” Razor replied. “When the Turbokat has been repaired we'll take you to our hideout. But I warn you, if you ever tell anyone about it,”

“You don't need to tell me that!” Matthew interrupted him. “If I would mean any harm to you I wouldn't have send the mosquito drones, remember?”

“That's the catchword I've been waiting for!” Hackle said all of a sudden, after watching the ongoing discussion for a while.

Matthew turned around to him and asked: “I'm afraid, I don't know what you are referring to, Alfred. Could you please explain what you mean?”

“The drones are currently operating only on the surface.” Hackle explained. “As long as Dark Kat only has a few of them he won't be able to control the sewers.”

“Interesting thought.” Matthew admitted. “But do you have some kind of map of the sewers? I assume it's like a maze down there.”

“Not yet.” Hackle replied. “But we could use some of the mosquito drones to scan everything down there. With the information they'll be collecting I could create a map which can be used by a navigation device, like your mobile phone.”

“That's a great idea, Professor!” Razor complimented.

“I agree,” Matthew said. “But what if Dark Kat already controls the sewers once we're ready to go there or what if we need both approaches for some reason? I think, we should consider them both.” To Matthew's surprise Razor didn't protest this time and it seemed that he had come to terms with the fact that Matthew would accompany them on their way back to the salvage yard. “So does anyone have more ideas what we could do?”

All of them thought about this for quite a while, but no one had any further suggestions. While everyone was still thinking, Cybertron-1 suddenly made a sequence of beep-sounds, sounding joyfully. When the Swat Kats, Matthew and Hackle looked at the Turbokat they saw that the robots had successfully completed their repairs.

“I think that's our call.” T-Bone said happily, knowing that the Turbokat was operational again.

“Yep, let's go!” Matthew confirmed and stood up from his seat.

Cybertron-1 approached Matthew and performed another sequence of beep-sounds that sounded like a question.

“No, Cybertron-1. There is nothing more you can do right now. You better stay with Alfred and assist him if he needs any help.”

Cybertron-1 made some confirming beep-sounds.

After the Swat Kats got into the cockpit Razor turned over to Matthew: “C'mon! There is just enough space for you to get in.”

“Okay...” Matthew replied a bit skeptical, but did as Razor told him.

After Professor Hackle and the robots had moved to a save distance T-Bone started the engines and carefully maneuvered the jet outside. Once there, he performed a vertical take-off and the Turbokat was back in the air.