Like F-14s gone berserk, the Radical Bomber and the 6 Cosmos ships twisted, dived, and rolled their way through laser and ballistic weapon fire.
They hadn't gotten into any trouble until they crossed over Kansas City, Missouri; that was when a large group of robots, getting ready to assault the next state over, decided to take the fight to the good guys. It had taken a lot of fancy aerial manuevers and weapons locks to make it through that encounter, stopping the enemy advance temporarily; but since then, it had been smooth sailing as they systematically took out anything that had come too close.
Teasy gazed at the chronometer on one side of the transport; within a minute, they should be approaching Manhattan Island, the most heavily fortified area of Chester Korbi's empire. He understood that they had to succeed on this mission; failure would mean a disasterous fate for the United States.
Making up his mind, he pushed the communications button. "Cosmos #7, this is Teasy Melika. Come in."
The pilot's cold voice sounded over the speaker. "Cosmos #7, standing by."
"Lieutenant, I have some new orders for you. As soon as we're in the building, I need you and your group to fly around and do what you can to minimize the amount of robotic troops heading to defend Korbi. If you ever run out of missiles, then you're going to have to settle for lasers; the less resistance we meet, the better."
There was a short pause; the Lieutenant was obviously mulling over this order. "Alright, then," he said. "Why don't we just hit the main robotics factory? Robots are coming out of there at a rate of 10 per second, and going up quickly. If we take the outer defenses with lasers, and then strafe the factory with missiles and torpedoes, the points we earn would be enough to scare some of the offending groups out of commission."
Daniel, from where he was sitting, grinned. "The audacity of these guys never cease to amaze me."
"It's a talent," replied Cosmos #7. For a moment, Teasy imagined a smile on the pilot's face.
A beeping noise from his console shook him out of his stupor. "Stay frosty, guys," the Rad-Cat yelled. "This is it!"
A group of missile turrets on the west side of the island acknowledged the presence of the 7 aircraft and welcomed them with open fire. Teasy, though, having learned a thing or two from Cosmos Squadron, pushed the Bomber to its limits and rocketed several missiles of his own. One by one, each missile smacked against its target, doing substantial damage to the turrets and putting them---at least, temporarily---out of commission.
Teasy watched as Cosmos Squadron took out the incoming missiles, then smiled. "I'm just curious. Why am I so good?"
Daniel, meanwhile, just stared out the side window, towards Cosmos #7. "I gotta get me one of those things," he said dreamily.
"Yeah, well, you know who one of the best pilots in the fleet is?" Cosmos #7 laughed. "Yours truly!"
"Everybody's gotta die sometime, Red," a metallic voice sniffed.
Moments later, punctuated by multiple signals from the radar, a virtual fog of missiles appeared on the horizon, heading straight for the long arm of the Super-Cats. Daniel gasped in horror; Teasy, though, ignored the protests of his brothers, armed every piece of weaponry they had, slapped the lever that activated the afterburners, and let the thrill of combat take him.
A minute later, it was over, as Cosmos #7 finished, "We are the invincible. That's right!"
Chico, Daniel, and Runner didn't share the pilot's statement. They all just stared angrily at Teasy. "Way to go, you Terran Lunatic!" Chico snapped. "You could've gotten us killed!"
Daniel snarled, as well. "That's right, and a Swat Kat you're not!"
"Bingo," Runner added bitterly.
"Oh, really," Teasy remarked drily. "Computer, damage report."
"Superficial damage on right wing," the computer said in a monotone voice. "Besides that, no other damage to report. Auto-repair systems are handling it now, and it should be fixed within 2 minutes."
Chico and Runner looked surprised, and Daniel's mouth fell open. "I saw it," Chico declared, "but I refuse to believe it!"
"Now, if they were HEAT-SEEKING missiles, we would've had more of a problem," said Teasy. "Since they were just your normal, everyday missiles, they were only used to try to intimidate us. I had to prove to the Cosmos Cronies over there that I wasn't afraid to back down from a clear challenge."
"Funny," said Runner. "You're not scared of going up against an estimated 9 dozen missiles, but you're frightened to death of standing on even ground with Polly Esther."
"SHE can connect the dots," Teasy shot back. "Those missiles couldn't."
"Yeah, well, those people must have awfully good scanners on them," Cosmos #7 cracked. "That guy who was speaking to us correctly guessed what color my fur was."
"Here's what you're going to do, then: you go launch a strike against that guy and do as much damage as possible to anything that registers on your scopes as Korbi's men. This way, you get to have a little fun."
"Right on," Cosmos #7 purred. When they heard this, all 4 Rad-Cats smiled.
Abruptly, as the speaker clicked off and the 6 Cosmos ships broke formation, Teasy turned to his brothers. "In the meantime, bros----New York Pizza Cats Headquarters at 12:00!"
Sundance and Cosmo looked out the window, gaze fixed on the green-blue aircraft as the landing gear settled onto the ground. Smoke kicked up around the craft as it landed. "Who is that?" Cosmo asked.
"Doesn't look like anything of Korbi's," Sundance remarked. "All their craft are either gray, silver, or some shade of monochrome."
"Are the Rad-Cats here yet?" Abigail asked. She was sitting at a table on the far side of the parlor, trying to avoid notice.
"That's probably them right now, isn't it?" DeeDee asked Sundance. She was applying an adhesive to the Kitty Whip that she wielded during a battle.
The hatch popped down on the craft's underside. The second that the leader, Teasy Melika, stepped out onto the sidewalk, Sundance turned his head over his shoulder and grinned. "Correct, as always."
In single file, Teasy, Chico, Daniel, and Runner started strolling casually towards the entrance of the pizza parlor. A cylinder-shaped drone started to charge towards them, but Daniel quickly torched it before it could do any harm.
Cosmo looked at the young cat, a bit surprised but hiding it. "Not bad. He's gotten better since we last saw him."
At last, the 4 of them reached the door. "AHOY THE PIZZA CATS!" Teasy shouted.
Almost immediately, all 4 Pizza Cats raced madly for the door, Cosmo reaching it first. With a shove, it opened smoothly, and the 4 walked on in.
"Hi, Sundance, everyone," Teasy began. "Outside of the metal nightmares hanging around outside, how are things going?"
"Fine, thank you," said DeeDee. "Have you thought of how we're supposed to get in Korbi's office?"
Teasy blinked, suddenly nervous. "Drat. I should've thought that far ahead."
"Well, you didn't, and now we're stuck until we can find a way in." Chico, ever the pessimist, glared at his brother.
"Well, we came across some missile turrets and a number of Korbi's aircraft, so they obviously know we're here."
"My, my," said a metallic voice. "I had originally thought that organics weren't that clever!"
An 8-feet-tall robot, resembling very much a human skeleton, faded out of its immediate surroundings, and began charging up the laser cannons in its hands. Seconds later, all around them, square-but-squat drones popped into the parlor, focusing their needles on the collective group.
Cosmo did the deepest voice he could, trying to sound like a High Templar. "We've been surrounded!"
"If I hear one more impression out of 'Starcraft', you can just say 'May Adun watch over you,' because you'll be seeing stars!" Runner growled at the tall cat.
"Lower your weapons and come with us," uttered one of the smaller drones. "You will dispense with the arguing immediately."
Abigail, Sundance, and Daniel looked at each other, and then at the drones surrounding them. All in all, they were outnumbered 4 to 1. Not very good odds. Daniel began to say, "Starting to sound like a----"
He never got to say anymore. A small copper-colored frisbee floated lazily into the parlor through one of the busted windows, almost in slow motion. "Where'd that frisbee come from?" Chico demanded.
No one else said a word in reply. The frisbee nailed one of the drones solidly---and almost immediately, all havoc broke loose. All the drones, plus the skeletal robot, began shaking violently. Some began to overload and explode; and the remaining ones tried to totter towards the group. Several drones began tossing the needles at them; and as one, all 8 cats leaped out of the way.
As Abigail scurried to find cover, the 7 that were left vaporized the last of the scout group; Super-Saber, needles, lasers, and seven-shooter, all without breaking a sweat.
"All right, what in the world was that all about?" Abigail spoke aloud from her spot under a table.
"I don't suppose this is the wrong time to sign up?" asked someone.
Runner looked around, and then spotted two forms underneath the Radical Bomber outside. "Whoever you are, come on out of there!" he shouted at them.
Both of the figures came out. One was wearing apparel somewhat similar to the Rad-Cats'; but was copper-colored, and instead of a baseball cap was a pair of pearl earrings. The other one wore the same apparel, but in a light shade of blue. One of the faces was chocolate-point Siamese, and the other was white domestic longhair. The white longhair, Sundance noticed, had some gloves on that left the tips of the paws exposed, leaving enough room for the claws.
The faces of Teasy, Daniel, and Runner were transformed with shock. Chico, meanwhile, maintained his sarcastic demeanor. "Let me guess," he said. He pointed to the Siamese----"Alice..."-----and then to the white longhair----"and Sylvia. Am I right?"
Sylvia waved. "Hi, guys. Mind if the two of us join the action?"
Teasy looked at first his brothers uneasily, and then the New Yorkers. "Well?"
"We've come prepared," Alice added. "And if it's a fight Korbi wants, then it's a fight he's going to get."
"Whatever your decision is going to be, Rad-Cat, we'll back you up on it," Sundance said to Teasy. "It's not like we have anything else to do."
Teasy nodded, took a deep breath, and turned toward his sisters.
Chester Korbi's scream echoed throughout the room. He looked at his robotic commander. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'MANHATTAN ISLAND HAS A SUPER-CAT INVASION?!?' WE TOOK OUT THE ENTIRE BACKUP BRANCH OF THOSE BLASTED SUPER-CATS!!"
"That's the thing, Mayor," said the robot, taking care not to say "Major" again. "The Super-Cats that arrived aren't from what's left of the backup branch. This was a group sent directly from the main branch in Little Tokyo."
Korbi paused his tantrum long enough to think, then checked the readings on his computer monitor. "You'd think with all the attacks going on in Little Tokyo, they wouldn't be able to send any help over here. Who did they send? Did you find out?"
"Yes, sir," said the robot commander. "They've sent the 4 Rad-Cats and half of their vaunted starfighter elite, Cosmos Squadron. Already we're receiving reports throughout the city of fighters destroying the troops deployed here."
"Tell the people at the robot facility to quicken their pace," Korbi said angrily. "We'll send every robot we can produce down their throats until they're destroyed, and then resume our attacks on the front! They've gotten in, but they'd better not get out!"
"Yes, sir." The robot spun around 180 degrees and bustled off.
They were met, surprisingly enough, by a Ninja Crow wearing the uniform of one of Korbi's security agents. He looked like he was in his mid-to-late twenties; but it was hard to tell.
Still, though, Teasy had to admit that this was the most ingenious idea that Jerry Atrick had ever thought up.
"Sounds like ol' Atrick," Chico commented as looked around at the streets of New York City. All around them were wreckage of various robots: all of them destroyed by Alice Melika's EMP Frisbee. "Sounds like him to send someone to spy on Korbi's activities without being noticed."
The Crow nodded. "Right. Korbi's base of operations is at Gorgonzola International HQ. I presume you know where that is?"
Cosmo was puzzled. "Yes, we do, but wasn't it destroyed by that huge Cheese energy overload?"
"Right as rain, Pizza Cat," said the Crow. "They've managed to rebuild it, though. They've lined the walls with protective shielding in case such a thing ever happens again." He paused. "Be careful, guys. If he's not at the International HQ, he's probably at the old mayor's office; but the chances of that are low. You'll need every trick in the book to beat him."
"Thanks, Crow," said Teasy quietly. "Head over to the Radical Bomber; it's parked right outside the NYPC's parlor. You stay there and wait for us, but make yourself scarce if anything of Korbi's shows up. Don't try to do anything rash."
"Right!" the Crow cawed, dashing off. Getting up to speed, he half-flew, half-ran towards the transport jet.
Teasy smiled as the Crow ran off; he certainly had a lot of energy for his age. He turned his stare towards his brothers, his sisters, and his allies. "Heads up, people. We've got a country to rescue!"
With that, they scampered off towards the unknown.