Cold War Outline/Premise - Shard's Back!
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:48 am
This will be my second summary of a story that wasn't used for the show, even as an unfinished episode, and unlike Blowout!, which was a full script that was redone wholesale and given a new title as season one's Katastrophe, this and Blackout never made it past outlines. So, Blowout! technically was used, just in a different form, restructured with a new title by a different writer.
So, all the episodes were first done as basic outlines detailing the plot, with key dialogue and such, submitted as a premise and then expanded into a full-length episode script if it was accepted. Apparently, all the episodes were done this way. In the Tremblays' art book, there is a glimpse of the first page of the story outline for season two's The Deadly Pyramid, and currently all we have of the unfinished episode The Doctors of Doom is its original outline.
But for whatever reason, Cold War and Blackout were never actually accepted. I'm assuming they were written to be season one episodes. Both were written and submitted by Lance Falk, and the reason we have them is the same reason we have the script for Blowout!, namely that Falk, in the early days of the fandom, provided them, and they were posted to the SWAT Kats Fan Fiction Archive of all places, I'm assuming for lack of a better place to put them.
Cold War would've featured the return of Rex Shard from Chaos in Crystal. Falk always had the idea that Shard would keep returning and trying to gain new powers in order to get revenge for his previous defeat, only to be bitten again, gradually losing parts of his body. An eye here, a finger there. Unfortunately, this unused premise represents the only attempt at this that I'm aware of.
So without further ado-do, let's dress warmly and get into Cold War!
We begin with the SWAT Kats testing a flight simulator thing where they fight holographic versions of past enemies. Sort of a more ambitious precursor to the reflex room, I guess. Our heroic duo are sitting in a mockup of the Turbokat's cockpit facing a big video screen (Falk describes it as resembling Star Tours), and Razor is controlling which enemies they're facing. Even though the two are seated as they'd be in the actual Turbokat, with T-Bone "flying" and Razor behind him as the weapons officer, T-Bone is the one who "easily defeats the first few targets." I'm guessing this is to hone his skills at using the auxiliary weapons panel, for those many times Razor is out of the jet and T-Bone has to use the aircraft's weapons.
Anyway, after effortlessly defeating some generic targets, T-Bone, always a thrill junkie, demands "a real challenge," so Razor activates a part of the simulation called "The Works," which basically puts the SWAT Kats up against a boss run. "You asked for it, big buddy!" Razor says.
T-Bone finds himself assaulted by Dark Kat's Fear Ship from The Wrath of Dark Kat (which subsequently to this I've confirmed is his airship's name, not "The Doomsday Express"), "the giant C-Kat-A" (I'm guessing the queen?), the flying Plantimals from Destructive Nature, the Red Lynx (simply called "The Ghost Pilot" and not his actual name), the Megasaurus rex, the Macro-Bots, a cyclops from Bride of the Pastmaster, a bacteria monster, Madkat in his giant octopus form, and lastly Rex Shard, "the dangerous crystal colossus."
The Plantimals seem like an odd addition. Difficult to defeat, yes, but hardly boss fight material.
The inclusion of Madkat and the Macro-Bots, both from late season one episodes, plus Cold War's date (October 10th 1993) has me rethinking which season it would've been considered for. October 10th seems too late to have gotten Cold War into production if it'd been accepted, so I'm going to assume it was intended by Falk to be a season two episode.
Anyway, T-Bone easily defeats all the enemies except Shard, who uses the move where he shines sunlight through his crystal hand to create a laser beam. It "bathes the hangar in a flash of light" and the screen goes dark. Game over. T-Bone got his butt kicked by Shard. Why didn't he just use another sonic boom to shatter him like he did in the original episode? Needless to say, T-Bone is a sore loser and whines that it wasn't fair, although he does have a point, pointing out that Shard in the simulation was a lot faster than the Shard in real life. This seems like he's accusing Razor of having made Shard faster for the test, something (kinda) confirmed when his partner just shrugs and says T-Bone needs to "keep sharp."
As they get out of the mockup cockpit, he wonders what ever happened to Shard. T-Bone doesn't give a crap. "After we zapped away that crazy power of his," he was restored to normal and arrested. That much we already know. But I'm assuming this quick oral recap of the end of Chaos in Crystal is for the benefit of people who didn't catch that episode, especially if Cold War was intended to appear in season two. What we don't know, though, and what we subsequently learn in answer to Razor's question, is that Shard was returned to prison - the Megakat Maximum Security Prison, specifically, which was rebuilt after being pretty much destroyed (and I also assume it has a new warden, too!).
And this is where Falk decides to have an act break. I can't remember if Glenn Leopold's Doctors of Doom outline specified where act breaks would've gone. This seems like it would've been a really, really short first act for this episode, devoted entirely to the SWAT Kats in their flight simulator thingie. Falk must've really been banking that the producers would love his idea of a "greatest hits" compilation of past monsters before getting to the actual story if he was willing to devote the entire first act to it! And, again, as with Blowout!, regardless of what the first act is devoted to, the big revelation (which isn't really that big) that, once returned to normal, Shard was sent back to prison, is an odd place for an ad break...
When we return, we find Shard as part of a chain gang working at the Megatech Power Station, an alternate energy research lab "on the edge of town." What? Why is Megatech using convicts to work around delicate equipment like this? And, we'll soon learn, while an important experiment is being conducted! Yeah, they're being watched by armed guards, both lab security and from the prison, but it still seems like way too big of a risk just avoid paying contractors to do your construction work for you.
I'm reminded of the movie Ricochet, where the prison guards are allowing the inmates to use power tools like drills and saws to do construction work in the hallway outside the room where John Lithgow's character Earl Talbot Blake is having his parole hearing. And do you know what happened there? Yeah, they used the power tools to kill the ridiculously inattentive guards, free Blake, and stage a murderous prison break.
Anyway, Shard is ranting to his fellow cons as they're working, complaining that such menial labor is beneath him. He had godlike powers, he insists! He basically lectures the other prisoners that "power is the key," and he needs to get some. "Watch out, Megakat City!" he promises. This passes without comment from either the other cons or from the guards, so I'm assuming he rants like this a lot, to the point where everyone just ignores him.
How he escapes is that one of the lab guards "stumbles over Shard's chain." Shard attacks him and takes his gun and his keycard. He rushes through the facility--Wait, how did he get unchained? Or are the prisoners not chained together, only chained with one ankle to another? If so, running fast enough to outdistance the pursuing, unchained guards would be really difficult, and it also makes me wonder how you trip on a chain between someone else's feet. Either way, we'll just assume that Shard gets free somehow, and now he has a gun and a keycard granting him access to secured parts of Megatech.
The guards - both lab security and the ones from the prison - chase after him. Sloppy security here at Megatech, and I don't mean the clumsy guard. You'd think that as soon as they realized he got a keycard, they'd radio the control room and either do some kind of emergency lockdown, or get that particular card deactivated. Which may actually be what happens, since, despite taking a keycard, Shard is described as needing to use the guard's gun to shoot his way through a door. That's one of the drawbacks of these pretty basic premises (and Falk's are more basic than Leopold's; no offense, Lance, I'm well aware of why); we have to kind of assume some things.
So, anyway, now Shard is now in the room containing Megatech's experimental power reactor. The guards in this part of the facility are in radiation suits, so I'm guessing the escaping con is exposing himself to some pretty lethal stuff here. They "look on in horror" as Shard shoots and blows up the reactor controls. Only then do they think to surround him and attempt to apprehend him. I'm wondering what his end game is here. If he wants to get away, why does he run deeper into the building? If he's after the experimental energy Megatech is fooling with, which would make sense given his earlier comments about wanting to get more superpowers, why does he blast the controls, which would risk shutting the reactor down, denying him access to that precious, precious energy? Considering his approach to opening the storage compartment of the Gemkat 6000, a device he knew nothing about, was "hit it with a rock," I don't think Shard exactly qualifies as a criminal mastermind and, his rant about wanting powers aside, I'm going to assume his mindset here is just "run around creating as much chaos as he can until he's stopped."
Anyway, the radiation-suited guards surround him. Rather than gun them down, he simply declares he isn't returning to prison, shoots the remaining control console, and then "dives into the glowing heart of the reactor." An enormous explosion takes out the entire building, and since we're never told what became of them, we're left to assume all the Megatech scientists and personnel, plus the other prisoners and the guards who came along to oversee them, died in the explosion, which, short of any scenes or dialogue calling for a mass evacuation, would mean the biggest confirmed loss of life in this show since the subway train being eaten in The Giant Bacteria, had Cold War been made.
In the garage, Chance and Jake are "enjoying a Scaredy-Kat cartoon." I'd say it should say only Chance is, but we've seen in Metal Urgency that Jake enjoys them too sometimes, just not as... enthusiastically as his friend. The cartoon is interrupted by an emergency news bulletin. The edge of Megakat City has been suddenly consumed by "an area of sub-zero temperature," and glacial masses accompanied by huge blizzards are "spreading by the minute." In what direction(s), we aren't told, but I think it's safe to say it's Megakat City. All disasters, natural or otherwise, make a beeline for that burg.
Suiting up as T-Bone and Razor, the SWAT Kats hop into the Turbokat and fly out to the affected area on the edge of town, where they encounter Shard, who has been transformed into what Falk describes as a two-hundred foot tall black giant surrounded by fire, "a humanoid eclipse with a raging corona." Hey, there's kids present! Watch your language--Oh, a corona is an aura of plasma surrounding a star. Nevermind. Carry on.
"Hi, SWAT Gnats!" sneers the villain, using the one clever insults he managed to come up with last time. "Remember your old pal Shard?!"
Wow, who'd have thought that the very villain they were discussing before, and failed to defeat in their training simulation, is the one who'd be behind this latest attack against the city? Small world.
Oh, and still no further word on Megatech, the people working there, the other members of the chain gang Shard was part of, or the prison guards overseeing them. I guess they all did either die in the explosion or get flash-frozen to death. Yikes. Anyway, this is a much better place for an ad break than the one Falk chose, so I'll choose it to leave off. Cheerio!