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19: Manhattan Blueprint
19: Manhattan Blueprint


Charging onto the scene with all weapons blazing, the Rad-Cats and the New York Pizza Cats made short work of the sentries that patrolled the outside perimeter of the Gorgonzola International HQ.  When the fighting was over, there was nothing but wreckage.

Wreckage, and the 9 superheroic cats.

Daniel blew on his flamethrowers, which were still smoking.  "Good thing these were fully gassed up," he said.

Teasy laughed, then pulled out the transistor radio that he carried.  "Time for a progress report."  He switched it on.  "This is Teasy Melika, calling Cosmos Squadron.  How's it going?"

"Like clockwork," purred Cosmos #7.  The roar of a missile echoed in the background.  "The robotics factory is operating at only 10% efficiency now.  One more run, and it's toast.  We've had some heavy opposition from the missile turrets and robotic defenses, but it's nothing our Knockout Torpedoes couldn't handle.  All in all, I'd say this global war is turning in our favor."

"Good.  As soon as you're done having your fun, I'll need you to clear away the last of the perimeter defenses so we can get the original mayor back in office.  We had to punch a small hole so that my bros and the New Yorkers could get in, but the rest of the area is swarming with robots.  I've got a feeling the main robot control area isn't here in Gorgonzola HQ."

"You're right.  It isn't," Cosmos #9 chimed in, snapping.

Everyone turned towards Teasy's radio.  "Huh?"

"We're picking up heavy sonar waves from deep inside Central Park," said Cosmos #9.  "There's a hidden transmitter from inside the Park that's inciting the robots to attack.  If we destroy it, there's a good chance all of Korbi's metallic operations will disintegrate on the spot."

"If you're going to destroy it, make sure it's the ONLY thing you destroy," Sundance hissed at the radio.  "I want as minimum as possible damage to Central Park.  It's the only nice area we still have around here."

"You don't need to worry about a thing, Pizza Cat," Cosmos #12, the youngest member in the squadron, meowed.  "If we have to, we can pick gnats off a wall with our cannons without even scourching the finish."

"Right now, that gnat in Central Park needs wasted," Teasy growled.  "As soon as you're done, get over there, pronto!"

"Acknowledged.  Cosmos Squadron, out."

----

Korbi slammed his fists down onto the table in front of him.  The latest news, straight from his robot commander, were getting worse.  "THOSE FOOLS CANNOT BE NEAR THE HEADQUARTERS!  YOUR INCOMPETENCE IS STARTING TO ANNOY ME, COMMANDER!" he shrieked.

The commander shook its head.  "I'm doing this job to the best of my ability, sir.  Has it ever entered into your head that the Rad-Cats could be more skilled at doing this sort of thing?"

Korbi nodded his head, slowly.  "Yes, it has," he said quietly, reaching under the desk and pressing something.

That was the last thing the robot ever saw.  Within seconds, a mysterious energy field materialized where the commander was standing.  The greenish-white field made short work of the robot, gears and all.  Within seconds, the machine disappeared into oblivion.

"Robotic idiot," Korbi muttered.  He reached into his desk and pulled out a remote.  With an evil smile plastered on his face, he pressed the button labeled "Activate".

----

Sylvia opened the front door cautiously, looking back and forth for any sign of metallic danger.  Not seeing anything outside of some artificial plants, she stepped through the door.  "All clear, guys," she whispered.  "Come on----"

Abruptly, some nearby voice sensors took note of the noise, and a group of box-shaped robots disassembled themselves from the wall.  Fully formed, they suddenly opened fire.

Flexing her fingers, Sylvia's claws popped out and began glowing.  Jumping over the attack, she slashed apart one of the robots, sending the pieces into the ground like shrapnel.  She proceeded to the next two robots and repeated the process.

Teasy raised an eyebrow.  "That sister of mine has no common sense, but plenty of attack power."

Immediately, Daniel charged forward.  Joining Sylvia, he joined fists with hers, and the two managed to deliver a crushing blow to robot #5.  Then, reaching up with his left hand, Daniel's flamethrower came to life, igniting the artificial plants.

"What is that kid doing?" DeeDee snarled.  "He might set the whole lobby on fire!"

"Beats me," Chico said in response.

"Hey, guys!" Daniel shouted, his flamethrower turning off.  "Look!  Over here!"

All at once, the 7 NYPC and R-C came dashing up, almost having to squeeze through the entrance hallway to do so.  They approached Daniel cautiously and growled to themselves, unhappy at what he had been doing.

Daniel responded by pointing a claw at once of the plants.  "These plants aren't artificial.  They're robotic voice sensors, linked to Korbi's office.  They HAVE to be; otherwise, those robots wouldn't have attacked when Sylvia showed up!"

Runner nodded as the thought occured to him, as well.  "This way, Korbi can't call on reinforcements to come up from behind and trap us."

Teasy and Sundance slowly nodded.  "Thanks, Daniel," said Sundance.

"Char!" Daniel replied in a high voice.  Cosmo took a look at him, and the young bengal tabby chuckled nervously.

Teasy rolled his eyes.  "That craze has gotten out of control.  Come on.  Let's just go and deal with a craze of our own.  One that doesn't involve cartoons."

----

The group split into two groups: The basic Rad-Cats and Sylvia formed one group, and the NYPC plus Alice formed another.  The two groups journeyed throughout the first couple floors, taking out handily whatever resistance they met.

At one point, when the two groups met again on the middle floor, Runner saw Sundance glancing at a nearby elevator, and walked over to find out what was going on.  "Something up, Sundance?"

Sundance slowly nodded.  "Yes, I thought we'd do the old "climb up the line above the elevator to the top floor" routine again.  It may be the oldest trick in the book, but it's the quickest way into Korbi's office, and----"

His thoughts were interrupted by a distant clanging.  At first, it sounded awfully quiet; but as it got closer, it started growing more and more thunderous.

The noises were starting to agitate Sylvia.  "Guys, what's going on here?"  The vibrations rumbling through the area emphasized her question.

Before anyone could answer, though, the wall directly behind her imploded.  Jumping back and to the left, she barely managed to dodge in time.  A spiked robotic tail swiped through the air where the Rad-Cat had been moments before.

There was a pause.  "What....was....THAT??" Chico half-yowled, half-snapped.

The machine that nearly demolished them appeared out of the rubble a second later.  It stood 9 feet tall, one foot shorter than the ceiling.  Along with the spiked tail, the entire robot was built to resemble a Chinese dragon.  It wore red armor plates and held a pair of blue orbs in its clawed hands.  Short bursts of flames periodically burst from the robot's nostrils.

"Well, if I didn't know better," exclaimed Cosmo, "this is the daily Cheese robot ready to waste us!"

"It's to be expected from a rat-fox that dunks the coffee on the doughnut, instead of vice versa," Sylvia mused.

Teasy turned his head, slightly to the left.  His gaze fixed itself upon Daniel, who was staring at the robot with a puzzled expression upon his face.  "Hey, bro.  What are you looking like that for?  Can't you see we have to get a move on?"

Daniel didn't look up at him.  "This robot seems kind of familiar....almost like it's out of a video game, or something...."

"Well, if this is the daily robot, no reason to see why it shouldn't blow up like one," Runner growled.  He tapped a button on his armored bracelet, releasing a pair of grenades straight into the armored body of the machine.  The grenades erupted with the force expected from a pair of grenades-----

-----and the robot remained unfazed.  Stomping towards them, it tossed one of its blue orbs out onto the floor in front of them, forcing them to scatter as the orb exploded against the wall.

"Okay, so it's NOT the daily robot," said Runner, shrugging his shoulders.  The others glanced at him, then prepared themselves for battle.

---------

Cosmos #12 piloted his patrol over Central Park, wondering again how he had gotten himself into this situation.  Why was it that HE always got the assignments that any half-wit pilot could handle besides him?

Expressing a deep sigh, #12 double-checked the sensors.  Again, there was nothing.  "Those fools have done a very good job of camuflaging that transmitter," he hissed to himself.

"Pick up on your visual scanning," Cosmos #7 snarled.  "You must be blind, because that transmitter is DIRECTLY below you.  There's a patch of dirt on there that looks like it's been moved not too long ago."

Cosmos #12 manuevered the ship so it was going straight down, but only at half-speed.  "So, what should I use?  Missiles, or lasers?"

"You heard what the New York Pizza Cat said," said Cosmos #9.  "He said to leave the park as undamaged as possible.  I would suggest using lasers."

"Hotcha, Flight Officer," Cosmos #12 purred.  Making sure his cannons were fully powered, he let loose with a volley of laser fire that tore into the ground before him.

Sure enough, there was an explosion as metallic shrapnel was heaved against his ship.  There was no need to dodge it; the Cosmos Fighter came equipped with a force field that prevented ballistic metals from touching it.  #12 perked up and forced his ship back up to avoid a collision with the grass, then set his ship to autopilot for a few seconds.  "Is that it?" he spoke into the radio.

"That's it," Cosmos #7 confirmed.  "The last of the defenses over where we are just shut themselves down.  And, judging from the reports that we're picking up, the Pentagon has perked up again and are sweeping away the debris already."

#12 turned his ship around.  "So, it's on to Gorgonzola HQ to help out the Radicals?"

"You got it," answered Cosmos #7.  "Since the robotics facility is toast and that transmitter is gone, the only thing that's left for us to do is cover up Korbi's only escape route.  After that, it's a quick stop at the jailhouse to free the cops, and then it's a quick trip back home.  Oh, right; and some specialists to clean up the mess in Central Park."

"YEE-HA!" Cosmos #11 shouted.  For a moment, Cosmos #12 was almost tempted to rebuke him; but he understood the times, that these were times meant to celebrate.  Pushing up the accelerator and deactivating the autopilot, he throttled towards the HQ.

----

The dragon repeated its charge, rolling forward at full speed.  This time, it made contact; it caught Sundance and Teasy with a swipe of its claws, leaving them dazed and vulnerable.

The robot was far tougher than anyone thought.  It had successfully warded off attacks from Alice's EMP Frisbee, Daniel's Starcross Scatterbolts, and Sundance's "Ginzu" seven-shooter attack.  The enigma of this machine was starting to worry the Rad-Cats.

"Man," Chico moaned, wiping his forehead clean of perspiration.  "What's it going to take to send this bucket of bolts to the scrap heap?"

"There is no way to defeat it!" the voice of Chester Korbi roared over the public-address system.  "It is invincible!  It is made of the finest metals and materials known in the world!  You can attempt to destroy it, but you do so at your own risk!"

The leaders of the two groups shook their heads dizzily, then returned to the real world.  "Well, guys," hissed Teasy, "I'm open to suggestions."

Runner stepped forward----which was a bad thing, in Daniel's opinion.  "Uh-oh," he murmured.  "Time for the Super-Cat of Super-Cats to flex his muscles."

Runner slowly nodded.  "I'm certain a number of you have never seen my Maelstrom in action," he explained just as slowly.

At that moment, one of the robot's clawed hands began to swipe at him.  Calmly raising up one paw, Runner grabbed it in mid-swipe, strained for a second, then snapped it off.

----

Korbi stared at the viewscreen, aghast.  "What....?  No cat could do that!"

----

"Stand back," Runner warned, tossing the hand aside.  "This will get messy."

He tapped a few buttons on his bracelet.....

At first nothing seemed to happen.  And then, DeeDee noticed, a small solar panel had appeared on the bracelet, absorbing the light provided by the florescent light bulbs up above.

The dragon opened its mouth.  "Runner, look out!" DeeDee heard Cosmo snap----

DeeDee acted quickly.  Yanking the Kitty Whip free, she used it as a lasso to keep the dragon from attacking again with its dragon breath.  The robot struggled, but simply could not break free of the choke-hold.

Daniel whistled.  "Nice move, miss.  Except, I see one problem...."

"What's that?" DeeDee asked, a bit upset by his interruption.

"Well, if you keep the dragon from shooting any fire, the flamethrowers inside the mouth are going to overload.  And, if it overloads...."

"Then the whole thing will explode," Runner snapped, cutting off his brother.  "I know that.  Maelstrom, however, should be strong enough to take care of it before it----"

A beeping sound from his right bracelet cut him off.  "Alright, guys," he shouted, "this is it!"

Runner tapped another button, allowing the bracelet to glow silver as its power began to build.  "This was all just the first stage.  The second stage is....NOW."

Runner's right arm, from the elbow on down, was glowing a bright silver.  DeeDee unwrapped the Whip from the dragon's mouth; and, taking the cue, he dashed forward and threw his fist in front of him, releasing the stored solar energy.  The energetic laser spun in a complete spiral and struck the robotic dragon square in the chest.

------

Korbi had to shield his eyes with his sleeve in order to block out the intense light.  "Those security cameras really need better light filters," he muttered.  As soon as the light faded away, he glanced over at the viewscreen.

Most of the parts of his most powerful robot to date was still intact.  However, the keyword there was "most".  Runner Melika's attack had blasted open a hole in its chest, exposing the dosage of heavy circuitry and wires given to the machine.  The eye cover had been destroyed, as well.  Slowly, the robot resumed a fighting stance, getting a solid grip on the stored energy it was holding.

Still, right now, he had to enjoy the reactions on each of their faces.  "Surprised, eh?  Well, don't be.  You'd have to---"

At that moment, the robot collapsed on the ground without any warning, simply falling apart.  A second later, other parts of the armor plating flaked off, weakening its own defenses.  And, just like that, the reactions of the Rad-Cats and New York Pizza Cats changed from confusion to joy.

At first, Korbi didn't understand.  "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU INFERNAL DRAGON?!  GET UP AND FIGHT!"

Sundance saw an opening, and took it.  Taking out his seven-shooter, he powered up his "Ginzu" sequence, his weapon glowing with pink energy.  Moving super-quickly, the laser blast that was fired pierced the robot clean through, rendering it unusable in seconds.

Korbi pounded his desk with a violent rage, slowly glowing red.  He was interrupted, however, by his telephone ringing.  Slowly regaining his bearings, he picked it up.  "Chester Korbi speaking.  Who is this?  Things aren't very good for me right now, and----"

A frightened voice almost screamed over the line, one that Korbi recognized.  "Korbi, your plan's a bust!" Shana Cheese shrieked.  "There's a Cosmos fighter hovering right outside my window, and no one's doing anything about it!"

"Then YOU do something about it!" Korbi yelled back.  "Use the deactivation weapons I provided you in emergencies!"

"THAT'S a bust, too!" Shana snapped.  "One laser blast....I repeat, ONE....took out the entire dresser that I had, destroying everything that was in there!  And, just for good measure, it demolished the vault that contained the rest of----"

Shana was interrupted by what was probably a searing laser blast.  Over the telephone, Korbi faintly heard the words: ".....false.....and this.....gonna....up..."

Then the line went dead.  "SHANA?!" Korbi barked.  "SHANA?!"

After a few more minutes, he realized that he would get no further response.  Angrily, he slammed the phone down.  "Well, he who fights, and runs away, lives to fight another day!"  He started to make a run for the door----

A maroon flash erupted in front of him.  A minute later, he found himself driven away from the door, which was blocked by a massive wall of fire.  "Game over, man," he heard Daniel Melika, who was standing right behind the fire wall, purr.  "Game over.  Whatcha gonna do now?"

"Not yet, it isn't!" Korbi snarled, spinning away from the fire and racing for the window-----

"Not another step," a voice purred.

The image of a Cosmos Starfighter dropped in front of Korbi's window.  "It's all over, Cheese," the pilot of the craft said darkly.  "Now, surrender yourself peacefully."

"It's either that, or I'm going to start a barbeque here in your office," Daniel chimed in.

"I won't let you take care of me that easily," Korbi growled, becoming rageful.  He barked into his intercom system.  "All robots, attack!"

However, instead of hearing confirmation orders from the robots that should be situated around the city, he heard only a maddening silence.  "Your 'bots won't be able to help you anymore," the Cosmos pilot said, his purring becoming louder.  "Less than a couple minutes ago, we located your transmitter in Central Park and promptly put it out of commission.  And, 7 minutes before that, your 'Robocop' facility met the same fate.  The long and short of it is: your continental quest is all over, Cheese-breath.  Either face the facts or freak out.  Either way, you make my job a lot easier."

"Medium, rare, or well-done?" Daniel asked.  "Reason I ask is because I prefer MY burgers rare."  He tapped a small green button on the side of his left flamethrower.

Through the flames, Korbi saw the rest of the Rad-Cats and the New Yorkers appear behind him, and they appeared fully ready to back the statements of the Cosmos pilot.  He decided to deny them this pleasant opportunity.  "Lose or win, you will NOT take me!" Korbi howled, slowly glowing red.

Daniel's eyes widened.  "He's going to overload!  Run for it!"

Everyone raced out the door, Cosmo slamming the door behind him.  The pilot of the Cosmos fighter must've been thinking along the same lines, because he immediately turned tail and fled, as well.  A wing of other fighters billowed out behind him, racing for the horizon.

<Seymour stood alone,> Korbi mused, his internal servometers slowly ticking towards the breaking point. <And now, so have I.>

-----

For a moment, the Ninja Crow looked a bit confused as the Radical Bomber lifted off and streaked into the distance.  Looking out towards where Gorgonzola International HQ was, he saw 6 distinct aircraft heading towards his general location like eagles.  "Alright, what's going on?" he wondered aloud.

In the distance, he spotted a brief flare of light.  Minutes later, the Radical Bomber re-appeared, surrounded by the other 6 aircraft in escort formation.  Clinging onto the wings of the transport were the Rad-Cats, with the exception of Teasy, and the New York Pizza Cats, minus Sundance.

The second that the aircraft touched down and the boarding ramp lowered to the ground, the Crow was running towards the craft.  "Hey, you guys!  Y'all okay?"

Teasy and Sundance walked down from inside the Bomber, grins plastered on their faces.  "Yeah, we're fine," said Teasy.  "We got nicked in a couple of places, but its nothing that Aldonza's medical skills can't cure."

Sundance nodded.  "Your job here is done, Crow.  You can go on back to the Flying Skull.  And when you see Jerry Atrick, send him my regards."

The Crow nodded.  "What happened to Korbi?"

"Went up like fireworks when his whole scheme tottered and fell in front of him," said the voice of Cosmos #7.  The 6 ships hovered in the air above the NYPC's pizza parlor, engines flaring and ready to go.  "His strength is down to the point where he couldn't even struggle when the rescued cops copped him.  We stayed long enough to learn that they're going to put him in a cell next to Chester Cheddar, and then we went back here.  As for that one other family member he was talking with.....I dropped her off at the police station personally."

Teasy paused.  "And as for the rest of the family?  Are they still running loose?"

There was a long pause; and abruptly, both cats and crow could hear the pilots laughing over Teasy's radio.  "We are thorough, Rad-Cat," said Cosmos #7, still snickering.  "We used our Quad Bursts to seal off any way of escaping the HQ.  All the Cheese family members got trapped in there, and became easy pickings when the police cleared away the debris.  All the robots are being taken apart to salvage anything useful."  The pilot finally stopped laughing.  "We sent some fiscal aid down into the States to help rebuild the damage they sustained, and the robots there are being cleared away, as well.  The Super-Cats from the backup branch are being treated as I speak."  The cat paused his monologue.  "The Cheese Crime Mafia has been demolished like Boston Garden.  You guys won't have to worry about those living time bombs anymore."

Sundance smiled again.  Against the odds, the good side of the battle had triumphed.  "Thanks for your help, Super-Cats," he said quietly.  "Are your jobs here done?"

"As done as they ever will be," murmured Teasy.  "Guess we'd better get going; as far as I know, there's still a crisis in Little Tokyo."  He smiled again.  "Great.  I'm starting to sound like Francine and Abigail."

"See you around, Teasy Melika," said Sundance.  "Thanks again for----"

"Hey, guys," Alice's nervous voice piped up.

Sundance and Teasy both looked up at the Radical Bomber; the other members of their groups were hanging on tight to the wings of the transport.  "Would you please get us down?" they all said in unison.

Teasy and Sundance looked up at their compadres, then at each other, then burst out laughing.