Title: Fueling Up
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: September 25, 2023
Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Fuel. It had always been one of the biggest problems with their crazy plan. They’d been spit-balling ideas from the start. From the unlikely – finding enough leftover in destroyed Enforcer jets – to the outright impossible – making their own. He had some only slightly crazy ideas on the latter, but chemistry wasn’t really his specialty. And, Chance had pointed out that he liked not being blown up. Plus, there was the obvious raw material problem.
But, after the load of jet engines had come in from Puma-Dyne, he thought one might be the solution to their problem. If it was what he thought it was. And, if it wasn’t a total failure.
Oh, please let it not be a total failure. If it worked, it would be exactly what they needed. As well as very, very cool.
He tried not to get his hopes up. Or Chance’s. He’d told Chance exactly that and to give him some time to look it over. Then, as soon as they’d managed to maneuver the engine in question down into the hangar, it had become his pet project every day after work.
It was an oversized, awkward creation, but, after a few minutes of examination, he knew it was definitely one of the prototypes he’d hoped it was.
A few years ago, when he and Chance had still been in the Enforcers, he’d sometimes traded notes with a few guys he knew from college. They’d gone to Puma-Dyne while he went into the Enforcers’ R&D division. (At first anyway.) But, there was a lot of overlap between the two. Joint projects and stuff. A lot of opportunities to trade notes and ask advice, officially… and, well, not entirely unofficially.
Which meant he knew Puma-Dyne had been trying to design a highly efficient, flexible fuel engine that could run on a variety of fuel types. Possibly even natural gas. At least, that was on the list of wild ideas tossed out in some of their, “So, theoretically, if I was working on an engine that could burn any fuel…” sessions. (When it got really late, the suggestions for antimatter and mana-based engines came out.)
Because MegaKat City was isolated, and often enough under siege from mega-fauna and criminals even before Dark Kat rolled into town and upped the stakes. Having backup fuel sources was important to more than just the Enforcers.
Except the last he heard about the engine development was grumbling over cut funding and internal politics killing the project.
They’d thought they were close though. After a week with the engine, he thought they were too.
“So, what’s the word? Does this thing run on milk or cola or what?” Chance asked, coming down the hangar access ladder.
“I wish.” Jake grinned. “I think it can… or will be… able to run on jet fuel or diesel.”
Chance eyed the engine skeptically.
Which was fair. It was bulky and ugly. Even the aging Enforcer jets would look graceful and state of the art beside it.
“It’s a prototype,” Jake defended. “If it works, I can streamline it.”
A lot. And, he was sure the developers never got to the “make it efficient” stage. They barely got to the “make it work” part from the looks of it. But, they’d gotten it close enough he thought he could get it over the finish line. Someday, he’d have to work out a way to thank them.
He was pulled out of his musing by Chance’s voice.
His friend had a funny look on his face. “This plan of yours is actually going to work, isn’t it?” There was something fragile in his voice.
Jake’s face softened. “Yeah. Yeah, I think it is.”
Author's Note: Yes, cartoon physics are in full effect here. ...Also, I kinda wanted to tie this into how they powered the TurboKat off volcano fumes that one time. I'm gonna say Jake did a lot of perfecting.