Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insert Radical Squadron of Heroic Felines Here

"Yahoo!" Drake shouted as he swerved around an oncoming truck. His blue and silver motorcycle hummed loudly as he again dodged an incoming car. His armor protected him from the wind chill and left him feeling secure, since he had after all survived an attack from Super-Sue in it. A grinning red mouth filled with sharp fangs and a tongue lolling out of it was painted onto the front of the bike below the headlights.

The Sue's bright red futuristic vehicle turned a corner, two wheels bumping over the curb. The robbery of the Bellagio was the latest of many crimes this Sue perpetrated. She made it into the vault, stole the money, and got it out all by herself, all before the protagonist's eleven men team could reach it.

The Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society had been tracking her for a while and quickly discerned a pattern. She hung around in crime-focused fandoms, particularly ones with big robberies and beat the heroes (or villains) to the big score working completely alone. She then escaped in a glamorous fashion always before the Society could reach the scene. Only extreme vigilance and lots of caffeine had enabled them to spot her presence this time.

Drake bounced over the curb, dodged an innocent nameless pedestrian, and pulled alongside the Sue. Pale skin wrapped around bones with no muscles whatsoever. Breasts that rivaled the watermelons they had last time for desert in terms of size. Blonde hair billowing dramatically in the wind. Yep, garden variety Mary-Sue.

"Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society!" Drake shouted, pulling out his badge with one hand. "You're under arrest for multiple counts of fandom manipulation, including stealing the Black Pearl, several billion dollars worth of gold, medical supplies, and the Diendriver. You have the right to parole and you're encouraged to shut the fu-"

She swerved over at him and his obscenity broke off as Drake pulled to the side. He hit the brakes and dropped back behind her. His spear appeared in hand and he swung it at the car. An arc of blue wind magic shot forward. The Sue ducked and the attack sliced off her windshield.

Drake dropped his spear, which vanished just before it could penetrate the windshield of the car behind him.

"Keep it up, Drake," Tash's voice said through the communicator on his ear. "The Writer's Block is set just a few minutes ahead and we've got all of the other routes covered."

"Yeah, yeah," Drake yawned.

The Sue flung something out the back of her car. Drake's smug confidence vanished for a moment as the grenade flew towards him. His helmet saved him some face, or rather hid his expression of horror. He pulled the bike into a wheelie and the grenade struck the bottom of it, exploding and flinging the bike and its rider backwards. Drake crashed onto the hood of a parked car and his bike went through the glass doors of a casino.

Cackling madly, the Sue turned a corner. She didn't notice the transparent wall in front of her until her car slammed into it. Her head smacked against the steering wheel. Fortunately, her boney skull was reinforced with Sue power. She groaned and kicked open her mangled door, stumbling out onto the pavement. The busted horn of her former vehicle droned in the background.

She looked up at the sound of footsteps. The blonde de facto leader of the Society glared down at her. "You are under arrest for fandom manipulation. You have the right-"

A blast of dark magic slammed into her and sent her flying back. Raven stepped out of an alleyway, sword in hand and trench coat billowing dramatically in the nonexistent wind. "I don't think so."

Tash growled in annoyance and stood up. The pendant around her neck morphed into a staff.

"Ha!" a red armored figure leapt from the alley directly behind her, foot thrust forward for a flying kick. Before Ekard's surprise attack could hit, Drake's own flying kick slammed into his side and knocked him to the ground.

Ekard groaned as he hit the sidewalk and rolled across it. He climbed back to his feet and raised his fists.

"All units move in on our location!" Tash shouted into her communicator.

"I bet you've always wanted to say that," Drake quipped as the two stood back to back with Ekard and Raven circling them.

Raven struck first, crossing the short distance between himself and Drake in the blink of an eye. He swung his sword at Drake's neck, but he raised an arm to block. Blue sparks exploded from the armor as the sword struck. Raven spun around and Drake barely raised his arm in time to block another swing, more sparks left his armor.

Ekard threw a punch at Tash, but she stepped around it and slammed her staff into the doppelganger's chest. A small cluster of sparks escaped with the impact. She swung the staff for a follow-up attack, but Ekard caught it, tugged on it and pulled Tash in close, before kicking her away.

"Now I will have revenge for last time!" Ekard exclaimed as he leapt over Tash and charged at Drake's back. A hand gripped his cape and tugged him back before he could get within striking distance.

"Not so fast," Tash said before slamming a kick into his side. "You're fighting me."

Drake ducked and twisted around Raven's slashes. He threw a punch, but Raven blocked it with the flat side of his sword. The gothic Stu kicked his stomach and Drake once again found himself on the defensive as Raven pummeled him with lightning fast blows.

"Storm Punch!" Drake exclaimed, drawing back a fist.

Black flames burst into life on Raven's sword and he swung it up and across Drake's chest. The impact sent him somersaulting backwards through the air. He landed on his back and groaned as his armor dissolved into a swarm of shining motes.

A gunshot sounded and Raven leaned back casually as the bullet whizzed past a few inches from his head. He glanced to side at the approaching squad of Society agents, Ben, Shirley, Pete, and Doug with a pistol drawn and aimed. Raven raised his sword and blocked another bullet.

The Stu glanced back at the car wreck. Drake followed his gaze and saw that the Sue had disappeared.
"Say it! Say uncle!"

"Never!" Drake and Raven turned towards Tash to find her with an arm wrapped firmly around Ekard's neck. The armored doppelganger was struggling against her grip without success.

Raven sighed and raised an arm, launching a burst of dark magic at Tash's head. She let go of Ekard and slammed the attack to the side with her staff. Ekard quickly rolled away from her.

"Our work here is done," Raven said, snapping his fingers to open a plothole. The two stepped into it.


The blonde Sue groaned as she regained conscious. A chandelier framed by a brick ceiling appeared as her eyes flickered open. She rolled over and glanced around. The brick construction continued down the wall and to the floor, which was covered with a regal purple rug. A tapestry depicting a raven hung on the wall next to her.

"Hi, I'm Marion. What's your name?" A pink haired girl stepped forward and offered a hand to her.

"Buzz off, brat," she said, swatting Marion's hand away and slowly pushing herself up.

"It's impolite to mistreat someone else's minions," Raven said, stepping out of a plothole and into the hall. "Especially after she dragged you to safety while my allies and I distracted the Society."

"What do you want out of it?" she asked, crossing her arms over her ample chest.

"I'd like to offer you a job," Raven replied.

"You couldn't pay me enough," the Sue huffed.

"You can pilot more than just cars right?" Raven asked as he began strolling down the hall.

She glared at his back. "Yeah, so?"

He didn't reply, just continued walking at a leisurely pace. The Sue sighed and started after him. Raven pushed the door at the end of the hall open and gestured for her to exit. She huffed in annoyance and stepped out. The sight that met her outside froze her in place.

A large red robot sat at the base of the castle's steps. Two thin legs supported a pointed cockpit, equipped with a pair of missile pods atop it, a Gatling gun on the left side and some kind of beam rifle on the right. The robot's armor looked thick, yet didn't look like it would cost it maneuverability or style. It was painted red and white. "Impressive."

"Isn't it?" Raven asked, stepping outside to join her. "Pull a couple of jobs for me and it's yours."

"You know you can tell the quality of a man by the quality of his giant mecha?" she purred, resting a hand on the gothic Stu's shoulder.

"So do we have a deal?" Raven asked, gently taking hold of her wrist and removing her hand.

"What do I got to blow up?"


"Oh, come on," Jared sighed as Drake pushed the busted bike into his workshop. "Look, Drake, I know I owed you for the loan of the guns before, but I repaid that favor by building this bike for you. I've already repaired it seventeen times."

"Sixteen," Drake corrected.

"You need to be more careful," Jared said examining the charred section the grenade had destroyed.

"I am careful!" Drake exclaimed. Jared stared at him for a moment. "Okay, I'm a little bit reckless. Look I owe you one or fifteen…"

"I'll see what I can do," Jared sighed.


Megakat City hadn't seen trouble in a longtime. (Probably because it was cancelled thanks to those meddling executives and their dumb dog.) Thus, the citizens were merry as they went about their jobs. Commander Feral credited the Enforcers for the calm and claimed the SWAT Kats had nothing to do with it.

A massive black portal ripped open in the sky and a red mecha dropped into the center of downtown. The pedestrians were well versed in giant robot attacks and knew just what to do in these situations. They screamed and ran for your lives.

Within the cockpit, the Sue raised a hand to her face. White fur covered her and pointed ears had sprouted from her head. "Yuck, I'm furry."

She grabbed the controls and the robot slowly pushed itself up accompanied by a low whirring sound. She moved the joystick on the right and guided the laser to a building. Energy crackled in the weapon's barrel as she pressed on the trigger. Once the rifle reached a satisfyingly loud hum, she pulled the trigger all the way back. A beam of blue energy shot forward and exploded against the skyscraper. The Sue was disappointed to see a massive hole in the steel and concrete. She had hoped to knock it over completely. Perhaps another shot would do it.

"This is the Enforcers!" The mecha turned and pointed skyward as a fleet of gray and white choppers approached it. "Step out of your robot and place your hands on your head!"

Missile pods whirred open and a barrage of projectiles shot from the robot's shoulders. Each missile split into four smaller ones and each struck a helicopter. In an instant, half of the force was plummeting out of the air, trailing parts, or reduced to a cloud of fire, smoke, and spare parts.

"Fire!" Feral shouted into his microphone. The remaining choppers opened fire, spraying lead from their Gatling guns. The mecha didn't move and the barrage bounced against its armored plating.

The Sue chuckled and lowered her craft into a crouch. The mecha leapt into the air, boosters on its legs firing to assist the leap. It thrust out a leg and spun around in midair, taking out a close-knit trio of choppers.

More boosters fired up and the mecha's Gatling gun whirred to life, blowing apart three more choppers and removing the tail from a fourth. The intact helicopter spun rapidly as it fell. It crashed on the roof of a small skyscraper. Somehow, the pilot managed to survive.

Feral groaned and placed two fingers on the mike of his headset. "This is Feral. Bring me chopper backup!"


Since Drake already owed Jared the world, he stuck around to help him with the repairs. Mostly he just sat around and played with a Rubik's cube, while occasionally handing Jared a tool or part if he happened to recognize what he asked for.

A pair of beeps filled the room and Jared went to get his communicator off a table. Drake pulled a bulky blue cell phone out of his jacket pocket. He'd had his communicator customized into this new shape recently.

A text message from Tash informed them of an emergency meeting in the briefing room.

"When is it not an emergency?" Drake asked as the two left the lab.

A few minutes later, they were searching for seats in the crowded room. Tash patiently waited for everyone to settle down.

"We've managed to locate the Sue from the Ocean's Eleven fandom," Tash said as the lights dimmed. A projector blinked on, illuminating the screen next to her. A shot showing the back of the Sue's car was slid into the projector. "Unfortunately, she's upgraded her equipment since this morning."

Another slide slid into the projector. Tash raised a pointer to the image and stopped halfway, her mouth fell open in shock, and a blush appeared on her cheeks. "How'd that get in there?"

The room filled with jeers, hooting, and wolf whistles before the unidentified projectionist removed the slide, found the right one, and put it in. The mood immediately became serious again as a picture of a giant red mecha appeared on the screen, surrounded by building rubble and black smoke.

"As I was saying, she's upgraded her equipment," Tash said, placing the pointer on the mecha. "We need a way to take this thing out."

"What fandom is it?" Ben asked.

"SWAT Kats."

"I might be able to take it out," Drake said slowly

"How?" Michael asked.

"My bike's got Jared's canonizing device in it," Drake said. "If I get it up to eighty-eight miles per hour I can morph it into a Cyclotron that might have some way of damaging the big red robo."

"Can you do eighty-eight on that?" Shirley asked.

"Sure, it travels at the speed of plot," Drake replied and the Library rumbled a bit.

"No, I mean can you actually go that fast, because every time before now you've crashed long before you reached that speed."

"A minor complication."

"I need a little more time to finish repairing it," Jared said.

"In the meantime, I'll go into the fandom and see if I can get the eponymous characters to help me," Drake stood and pulled out his portal gun. He aimed for the back of the room and fired, opening a plothole.

A low screech caused the group to turn their eyes towards the ceiling. A small winged shape swooped from the ceiling and through the portal.

"What was that?" several people said.

"I'll go find out," Drake said, stepping into the portal.

He emerged on a rooftop, off in the distance he could see the path of destruction blazed by the robot. Wind ruffled his jacket and newly acquired fur. His fur was dark brown with tabby stripes just like in the Warriors fandom.

A screech attracted his attention to the adjacent rooftop and he saw the small flying creature there. It was palm-sized and thin, seemingly pieced together from small black strips like a wooden animal skeleton model.

A plothole opened beneath the bird and Raven stepped out, a flare gun and a can held in one hand. "Yo."

"You again," Drake sighed. "Now what are you up to?"

He raised his unoccupied hand and the creature fluttered into it, folding up into a black computer disc. "Recognize this? It's the disc I gave you that contained the instructions to track Super-Sue. Only, it's also a neat little blend of the Disc Animal technology from Kamen Rider Hibiki and Transformer tech. It was programmed to locate the computer housing all your organization's research and download it onto itself."

"Why do you care about our research?" Drake asked.

"Well, most of my time is limited to fandom specific technology, I haven't conducted much research into plotholes and I wouldn't mind having the schematics of your Anti-Sue gadgets. A Stu's got to protect himself you know," Raven smirked and pocketed the Disc Animal. He took the flare gun from his other hand, pointed it into the air, and fired. "As for the other part of my plan, I recently hired a new employee and wish to test her performance. She's quite anxious to kill a Society agent, too. That flare is her signal and to keep you distracted until she gets here…"

He tossed the flare gun to the side and held up the red and white can, which Drake could now see had "EVIL" spelled on its side. Raven rifled through his trench coat for a moment, before dropping his arm to his side and rolling his eyes skyward in frustration. "In all the excitement I forgot to bring my can opener. I don't suppose you have one?"

Drake shook his head. "Sorry, looks like your evil plan has been foiled."

Raven sighed and tossed the can into the air. His sword appeared in his hand as Drake charged forward, raising his left arm. "Wardrobe Change!" Motes of light spread from Drake's bracelet across his body, forming his armor modified a bit to include ear and tail holes along with more space in the helmet for his muzzle. Raven's sword sliced through the can with ease and a cloud of darkness spilled out of it and slammed into Drake, propelling him backwards.

He groaned as he hit the ground and glanced up at the cloud. It settled on the roof and began compacting together into three humanoid shapes. The darkness solidified, forming a trio of overall featureless creatures save for the large purple eye in the center of their faces and the short, curved swords they carried.

"Gorram it," Drake muttered as he pushed himself up. He caught a brief glimpse of Raven stepping back into a plothole.


Chance "T-Bone" Furlong and Jake "Razor" Clawson were currently seated in the secret hanger beneath their junkyard home. On the table in front of them sat two plates each with twelve hotdogs.

"First one to finish all twelve is the winner," Jake said. He was shorter and skinny than his friend. His fur was a reddish color.

"And the loser's repainting the Turbokat," Chance agreed with a cocky smirk. He was pale yellow with brown stripes.

"Ready. Set. Go!" the two counted down together. They grabbed for their first hotdog, messily cramming it into their mouths in the hopes of outdoing the other. Chance managed to take the lead by half a dog before the Klaxon began blaring. The duo glanced at the flashing red siren, their contest forgotten as they leapt from their chairs and rushed to the phone on their wall.

Chance reached it first and answered. Jake leaned his ear next to the receiver to listen in. "Yes, Mrs. Briggs?"

Callie Briggs was the deputy mayor of Megakat City and the only cat who possessed any means of contacting the SWAT Kats though they still kept their real identities a secret from her.

"There's a giant robot rampaging through downtown Megakat City," Callie said breathlessly.

"Don't worry, we'll be right there."

They rushed to their lockers and quickly changed into their colorful red and blue flight uniforms. Fingerless black gloves were pulled on and a black bandana as a mask under a red and blue helmet completed the look.

Now properly disguised, T-Bone and Razor charged towards their jet, the Turbokat. Black paint covered the majority of it, except for the red rings around the boosters and red around the cockpit. Blue colored the nose of the jet, the flaps, and the edges of the tail wings.

They leapt into the cockpit, which slid closed. The platform beneath the Turbokat rotated and descended beneath the floor into a long dark tunnel. T-Bone, in the pilot seat, shoved a lever forward and the three engines roared to life. The jet launched down the tunnel, out of the secret entrance, and into the evening sky.


The shadow creatures brandished their weapons at Drake, muttering unintelligibly. Drake charged at them. He socked the middle one directly in its giant eye. The other two stabbed their weapons forward, but Drake raised his arms. The flimsy blades bounced off his armor. He grabbed the arm of one and poked it in the eye with two fingers. It exclaimed in pain and stumbled back, hands over its eye. The third creature swung its sword at Drake's exposed back and connected, however he didn't give any indication of feeling the blow.

"Storm Punch!" Drake exclaimed, spinning around and slamming his crackling fist into its head. The minion exploded into a cloud of darkness. The armored agent spun around and slammed his still charged into the chest of a second minion. Like the first, it exploded. Drake leapt towards the minion he had poked in the eye, which still had its hands over its eye and was unaware of its fate.

"Storm Kick!" He thrust his foot forward and descended on the shadow creature. Electricity surged around his boot as it slammed into his target. The minion stumbled back, raised a hand and waved bye before exploding.

"The potted plants in my room could have put up a better fight," Drake placed his hands on his hips and shook his head disapprovingly.

A loud crash sounded from behind and he slowly turned to find himself staring into the cockpit of the Sue's mecha. The Gatling gun focused on him. Drake gulped loudly.

"You're under arrest for-" The retort of the Gatling gun silenced him. He pulled up his cape, which hardened and turned silver. The bullets slammed into the shield, denting it and bruising the arm beneath it. Drake leapt away from the gunfire, his cape reverting to normal as his leap carried him off the side of the building opposite the walker.

Ride a first way became playing and Drake reached down and pulled his cell phone from his belt. He flipped it open as he watched the ground getting closer. "Yeah?"

"I finished fixing the bike," Jared's voice said on the other end. "How are you doing?"

"Oh, can't complain," Drake replied, his voice a little high pitched. "Listen, if I don't come back from this mission, tell Tyler he can have all my chocolate."

"Why wouldn't you come back from it?" Jared asked, sounding a little concerned.

"Oh, you know, I just want to be prepared," Drake said as he counted the floors rushing past. "Man, this is a tall building. Anyway got to go."

He snapped the phone closed and glanced back at the ground. He replaced the phone on his belt and pulled out a gold stopwatch. Before he could press the button, a net descended out of the sky and wrapped around him.

"What in the name of cartoon physics?" Drake exclaimed, glancing upwards to find the Turbokat hovering above him, the rope holding his net connected to the bottom of it. The rope quickly retracted, pulling Drake up into the belly of the plane. The hole below him closed and he vaguely felt the forward momentum as the jet resumed moving. He quickly untangled himself from the net.

A few moments later, the jet stopped moving and set down with a slight thud. The floor of the hold opened and Drake hopped out. The cockpit slid back and T-Bone and Razor leapt out. The duo faced Drake.

"It's not often we catch someone dressed like you out of the sky," T-Bone said, raising an eyebrow as he glanced over the agent's armor.

"My job involves lots of falling, bruising, bleeding, breaking, and exploding," Drake shrugged as though he was used to it. He pointed over his shoulder back in the direction of the walker. "Right now, my job is taking out that thing. You guys want to help?"

"That's what we're here for," Razor said.

"Great," Drake said, pulling out a pair of circular stickers and tossing one each to the SWAT Kats. "Paste those unto your helmets or something. They'll keep the pilot of that thing from messing with you with her powers."

They glanced down at the stickers, shrugged, and attached them to their uniforms.

"So do you have a plan for dealing with that bot?" Razor asked.

"Not really," Drake said, pulling out his cell phone and dialing four digits.

"Storm Blade come closer," the phone droned in an electronic voice and a plothole opened next to the Turbokat. Drake's motorcycle emerged from the portal and parked itself in front of its owner.

"Let's kick some tail!" T-Bone exclaimed as he and Razor leapt back into the Turbokat.

Drake swung a leg over the Storm Blade and sat down. He tenderly gripped the handlebars and sighed. "Okay, pal, you can't fail me this time."

The bike promptly stalled.

"No! Come on, this only happens in movies. This is a fanfic!"


"Do you think this guy is all there?" Razor asked as he watched Drake throw up his hands and probably rant at the top of his lungs.

"Well, he's got the gear," T-Bone said as the jet slowly lifted off.

A loud crash attracted their attention skyward. The mecha had just landed on top of the building above them. The laser rifle pointed down at them and sparkled with deadly blue light. The jet's central booster rotated back up and the other two boosters fired up as T-Bone took them out of hover mode. They shot forward just in time to avoid the laser blast.

"Bring her around, T-Bone," Razor said as he leaned towards his weapons panel, selecting one of the many buttons. "Let's see how she likes the Shredder Missiles."

The jet looped around and flew straight at the mech. Its Gatling gun rotated up and fired. Bullets riddled the jet. The bottom of the Turbokat opened and a pair of boxy missiles launched from it. T-Bone pulled back on the stick and the Turbokat shot near straight up. The Gatling gun tracked it, but they were quickly out of range. The covering of the two missiles ejected, a second later the three blades on the projectiles beneath flipped forward. The blades exploded harmless against the mecha's leg armor.

"Damage report!" T-Bone shouted as he leveled out.

"We were lucky," Razor replied, studying his screen. "Nothing major was hit. That thing's armor is thick."

"Cockpit's the only place that's not shielded," T-Bone observed.

"Guess we got no choice, but to try it," Razor said. "We can't let it do anymore damage."

"We'll come at it above, so that Gatling gun can't get us," T-Bone said.

"Watch out for those pods. They look like missile launchers," Razor said as the jet turned back downwards. He tapped the side of his helmet and a visor slid down over his eyes. A targeting display appeared on the glass before Razor's eyes. His finger hovered over the Tarhead Missile button.

The Sue laughed as she saw the jet approaching and turned to face it fully. She flicked a switch and armor plating lowered over the thick glass of her cockpit. Various sensors came alive to compensate for the lack of her naked eyes. The SWAT Kats saw the move too late. They pulled up as the missile pods whirred open and released. The projectiles split and followed the jet as it headed skyward.

With a maniacal laugh from the pilot, the mecha leapt off the skyscraper and fell towards Drake and his motorcycle. The armored agent glanced up as a shadow fell over him and saw the giant robot foot descending on him. He made one last attempt at starting the bike, this time it roared to life. He flipped up the kickstand and rode away. The foot landed an instant later, sending shockwaves through the street.

Drake watched the mirrors as he sped away, occasionally checking the speedometer. He made a note to try to find some sort of weapon to put on the bike.

The mecha leapt into the air. He glanced upward as the robot sailed over top of him. It slammed down at the end of the street. The Storm Blade turned onto its side and skidded to a stop. Drake spun it around completely and took off in the opposite direction. The Gatling gun trained itself on him and fired. Bullets riddled the macadam a few feet behind him as the mecha's missile pods whirred. Drake glanced back as the swarm of missiles launched. He turned back to the bike's controls and hit a button just as the missiles reached him.

The Storm Blade glowed brightly and morphed into a large missile. It launched forward out of the path of the descending explosives. The nose cone ejected to reveal a wheel and the center of the missile retracted to reveal Drake unharmed in the rider's seat. The rear wheel emerged from beneath the missile. The blue and silver Cyclotron skidded to a stop.

Drake glanced back at the cloud of smoke the missiles had left. He heard the whirring of the robot as it approached and then became visible through the cloud. Drake glanced at the bike's numerous buttons, each corresponding to a different trick missile.

He hit the Mini-Matchhead Missile button and a small missile launcher emerged from a hidden panel on the bike next to the rider. Drake turned and charged at the walker, pulling a wheelie to gain extra height with the missiles. The missiles burst into massive fireballs as they struck the mecha's shielded cockpit.

The laser rifle aimed down through the smoke and fired an uncharged shot. Drake swerved around the explosion it caused. Drake hit another button and a second missile launcher extended. The robot's foot shot out and slammed into the Storm Blade. The bike and its rider went flying. The machine hit the ground and bounced across it, loosing parts as it went. Drake skidded across the macadam, his armor sparking as it did. He stopped in the middle of the street and laid still.

"Ha, got you," the Sue chuckled as she navigated the mecha forward. She flicked a switch and the armor on the cockpit retracted.

"Hey, did you forget about us?" T-Bone bellowed over the radio as the Turbokat still being pursued by a swarm of missiles descended from the sky.

"Deploying Grappler Missile," Razor reported as he hit a button. A missile shot from the bottom of the jet. Just before hitting the mecha's legs, the head of the missile ejected and three thick steel cables emerged from it, wrapping around the robot's limbs.

The robot stood for a moment before loosing its balance. Drake groaned and regained conscious to see the colossus falling towards him. He rolled out of the way and the mecha struck the ground, the impact nearly enough to bounce him back to his feet.

The Turbokat swept low over the ground and pulled up a fraction of an inch from colliding with the robot. The missiles behind them weren't so agile. The Sue barely had enough time to slide the armor plating back over the cockpit before the missiles struck. The blasts' force blew Drake off his feet and he landed near his totaled bike.

"Bingo!" Razor shouted.

Drake groaned and raised his head. The robot's cockpit was mangled. Whatever they put in those missiles had been powerful. He pulled himself into a sitting position.

The Turbokat swept back around and shifted into hover mode, lowering itself down next to Drake. He placed his hands against his helmet as the hum of the engines made his head throb. Razor and T-Bone leapt out of the cockpit.

"Sorry about that," Razor said. "We didn't see you until the last second as we were coming in."

"It's all right," Drake said, waving a hand dismissively. "I've been through much worse."

"Need some help with your bike?" T-Bone glanced at the totaled machine.

"No, I can handle it," Drake assured. "My mechanic's not going to like that I totaled it again…"

"You need to take better care of your machine," T-Bone said. He pointed over his shoulder at the Turbokat. "This baby's lasted for quite a while."

"Yeah, but you needed the Mayor's help to rebuild it twice," Drake said.

He pushed himself up and stepped towards the robot. He headed towards the robot's cockpit. A segment of armor plating fell away from it with a crash and revealed the empty chair.

"Darn it," Drake said, slamming his fist into his palm. He glanced around hoping to check sight of the fleeing Sue, but knew he wouldn't. She'd already slipped through a plothole.


She gasped as she fell through the plothole onto the hard stone floor. She groaned and rolled to her feet. Raven sat at his desk, turned away from her watching a screen. Music and something that the tone deaf might call singing flooded the room.

"What is that?" she asked, wrinkling up her nose.

"My disc," Raven sighed. "Apparently they figured out what it was for and placed a recording of their karaoke Christmas party over it. I'm thinking of using some of the worse numbers in the torture chamber, but even I have standards."

"Well, I'm afraid I failed my first job," she said. "And the robot got trashed."

"Yes, I saw," Raven said calmly. "The deal was one giant robot up front for five jobs. You owe me four. I hope you don't plan to back out on your side of the deal?"

"No, I'll stay."

"Excellent," Raven said, standing up. "Marion can show you to your room. I hope you like it."

She turned to leave.

"Hold on, I don't think I caught your name," Raven said, a mere formality at this point since he already knew her from reputation.

"You can call me Persia," she replied.

"Pleasure to meet you," Raven waved her from the room and sat back down. He turned to the screen and hit rewind on his remote. He stopped at the beginning of Drake's rendition of Supernova and hit play. The singing was terrible, but Raven just couldn't get enough of it. He chuckled as a dog howled in the video's background.


"So she got away?" Ben asked.

"They always get away the first time," Drake sighed as he fingered the bandages on his forehead.

"Aren't you worried about all this shape shifting you do?" Shirley asked. "So far you've been a cat twice. Doesn't that do anything to you?"

"Nope," Drake replied. "I'm still as sane as when I came in."

Meg the Border collie burst into the barking loudly and headed straight for Drake, who pulled his feet back onto the coach and hissed at the dog, making scratching motions with his hand. Meg stopped barking and stared at Drake. He turned to the side to find Ben and Shirley giving him the exact same look.

"Well, I might like seafood a little bit more than I used to…"

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