Disclaimer: For the full disclaimer, go to the beginning of Chapter I. Otherwise, I do not own the Biker Mice, and I'm not makin' a dime off this! Okie, this chapter contains racial slurs and derogatory comments , just to warn ya. And they are NOT MY opinions, they are the opinions of an evil character! I just wanted to make that clear to everyone. [:-{> (dude with a mustache smiling *grin*) Now, you may read onif you darehehehe

An Adventure

Copyrighted to Danya, ©1997, all rights reserved, etc., etc.

Chapter V:

The Storms Begin

Playful wind today. Lots of updrafts. Love updrafts. Love to go higher. 6,000 feet. Higher, and higher. 8,000 feet. Up, up, up, up. 10,000 feet. Into the clouds. Above the clouds. Beautiful clouds. Always beautiful. Fluffy and soft, but cold. Refreshing and cold. Love to fly through. Can't see, but feels nice. Bright sun. Bright sky. Clear moons. Beautiful moons. Rise moons. Rise high. Rise for the festival. For the holiday. For the celebration. For the sisters. For life. Life. Help life, moons. Help. Bring life. Bring green life. Green. Spread, green. A patch. Love it! Green patch. Blue line. Thin line. So thin. So blue. So beautiful. So clear. So high. So playful, wind. So fast. Carry me faster, wind. Carry me farther. Carry me away. Carry me home. Carry me there. We're almost there.


"YAAIEE!!" Jayla screamed and jerked at the furious female voice abruptly shouting in her ears, the wings of her black Jet Wing dipping slightly as she snapped back to reality.

"You airhead, will you snap out of it!!" The angry voice shouted again through the radio in her helmet.

"I'm out of it! I'm out of it!" She yelled back, looking to her right at her wingmate flying her own black Jet Wing.

"We're almost there, dust-for-brains." Skydancer said, looking back at Jayla. "You think you can remain conscious long enough to land?"

"Ma'am, yes MA'AM!!" Jayla yelled, saluting with a grin.

"Remind me to beat your empty head in when we get down." Skydancer half growled, half laughed.

"You got it, sis!" Jayla said cheerfully.

"Darkfire Wing reportin' in." Skydancer said. "Joshua, you there, or what?!"

"I'm here, I'm here!" A male voice said, laughing. "Jeesh! No patience! Go to block E-71, and high tail it to headquarters. The Captain's requested you for a meeting with General Carbine."

"This is a joke, right?" Jayla asked hopefully.

"That isn't funny, Josh!" Skydancer said.

"Sorry ladies." He replied. "No joke."

"Oh man!" Skydancer moaned.

"Why us?!" Jayla pleaded.

"Wish I knew." Joshua said. "Any last requests?"

"Just have my remains buried in the Satchka." Skydancer said sadly.

"Sure thing, Sky." He said. "How `bout you, Jay?"

"Tell my bro and cuz I love `em, Josh." Jayla said as she and Skydancer broke through the clouds and headed for the air base below them.

"I will. Good luck. Out."

The two mice looked at each other and sighed, then started their descent to block E-71. Shutting down their engines, they gracefully, noiselessly glided toward the ground. They landed gently next to the `E' on block E-71.

"What's the penalty for disobeying a general's order?" Jayla asked, not moving from on top of her black aircraft.

"Probably death." Skydancer sighed, taking off her helmet and dark brown jacket. Her sky blue hair fell down her back in a long braid, off-setting her pitch black fur. She wore a dark blue t-shirt, black leather pants with three silver stripes across the right leg, and dark brown boots. There were two silver hoops with gold bands in her left ear, and she had a silver ring set with a black stone on the middle finger of her right hand. The ring was attached to a silver bracelet by a chain. Standing at 5'8", she was one inch shorter that Jayla. She turned her bright red eyes to her friend.

"Is it a quick one?" Jayla asked hopefully, leaning against her handle bars.

"I doubt it. Come on."

"I'm coming." Jayla sighed, slowly walking to the ground. "I wonder what she wants us for this time." She said, taking off her helmet as they walked toward the main building complex.

"She probably just needs someone to yell at."

"Wonderful." Jayla said, running her fingers through her close-cut, dark violet hair and looking up at the tall HQ building fearfully with silver-green eyes. Absently, she tugged at the silver half-hoop dangling from a gold hoop high in her right ear, next to two gold studs. Her dark green fingerless gloves made a strange contrast to her bright orange-red fur. She was wearing a faded, black leather jacket over a short, white tank top, faded jeans, and black boots with dark green stripes up the sides. A blaster hung at her right hip.

"`You're too young! You're too reckless! You don't take your missions seriously!'" Skydancer said in a mocking voice as they started to climb the stairs to the tall building.

"If she doesn't trust us as much as she claims to, why is it always us she calls on for missions?!"

"We're the best. Mac knows it, and so does she. She just doesn't want to admit it."

They reached the top of the stairs, turned down a hallway, and stopped in front of a door. Skydancer reached her hand up to the circle carved in the center of the door.

"You ready?" She asked, turning to Jayla.

"I hope so." Jayla said.

Skydancer pressed her hand in the center of the circle on the door and the circle began to glow green. After a few seconds, the door opened and they walked into the large room. They stopped immediately, their eyes going wide, and their mouths dropping open. There were three humans in the room! Neither of them had ever seen a human before. An adult woman turned away from the large windows to look at them with pensive, midnight eyes. The gray-green shirt she wore brought out the red in her short, auburn hair. A boy with jet black hair, wearing a long sleeved, dark green shirt, looked up at them from the map table with the same deep blue eyes. Another woman was sitting cross-legged in a chair, completely absorbed in her laptop. Her wild, curly hair was partially tied back in a little ponytail, and she was wearing a short, black tank top and black leather pants.

"Ahem!" A woman's voice said impatiently.

Skydancer jerked her eyes away from the humans and turned her attention to the familiar voice. General Carbine glowered at her from beneath her black bangs, her brown eyes snapping with impatience. Skydancer concentrated on Carbine's eyes, to keep her own eyes from wandering to the scar across the officer's pale gray face. When the general didn't say anything, Skydancer shot a glance at Jayla. She was still staring at the humans, oblivious of Carbine's growing anger. Jayla!! *STOMP*

"OUCH!!" Jayla shouted, jumping at the sudden pain in her foot. Back in the present, she instantly turned her attention to the general.

"So glad you could join us." Carbine said dryly.

"Give `em a break, Carbine." Mac said as he stepped in from an adjacent room. "They've never seen humans before." He turned to the two girls. "This is Kaitlyn, her son Jordan, and that's Static." He said, pointing to each in turn. "How was the sweep?"

"Not much to report, Captain." Skydancer said. "It's pretty quiet out there today."

"The wind was playful, though." Jayla said, smiling up at the tall mouse. "Lots of updrafts."

"Was it now?" Mac asked, smiling back down at her.

Carbine sighed quietly and rolled her eyes. They're such good pilots, why can't Mac discipline them into good soldiers too?! "If we're done with the weather report, maybe we can get to the reason we're here?" She said, turning to the map table.

Jayla lowered her eyes, trying to hide the sting she felt at Carbine's comment. Featherhead! Why can't you just keep your stupid mouth shut?! She felt someone ruffle her hair, and she looked up to see Mac wink at her before walking to the large table to stand with the general, Jordan, and Kaitlyn. The table suddenly lit up, and a hologram of Mars appeared above it. A large section of the planet was glowing blue.

"We are here." Carbine said, pointing to the southeastern edge of the blue splotch. "The blue area is the possible range of where the transporter could have dropped her."

"That's a big chunk of land." Mac said, lifting his hat and absently scratching his head with the same hand. "It'd take at least five days to sweep that whole thing."

"Isn't there any way to narrow the field?" Skydancer asked as she and Jayla walked up to the glowing table.

"Static and Kickstart are work---"

"TRIUMPH!!!" Static abruptly shouted as she jumped to her feet, interrupting Mac.

"Static!!" The two other humans scolded, scowling at the grinning, dark-skinned woman.

"The battle is won!" Static said enthusiastically, ignoring the dark looks of her friends and walking up to the table. "Look!" She pointed to the small, semi-transparent planet as the blue area shrank to a quarter of its former size.

"I love you, Static." Kaitlyn said, wrapping her arm around Static's shoulders. "You're a lunatic, but I love you."

"She's in the northwestern quad of the Satchka!" Skydancer said quietly, her eyes going wide.

"This does change things a bit." Carbine mumbled to herself, then looked over at the two young pilots.

"Forget it, Carbine." Mac said before the general could say anything.

"Do you realize how dangerous the Satchka is?!" Carbine demanded angrily, turning to the taller Martian.

"Yes, and that's why we need them! Sky can navigate that desert blindfolded."

"I am not sending two reckless teenagers---"

"They are not reckless!"

"They're kids!!"

"They're 17 and 19! If I recall right, you were actually younger than them when you joined the army."

"That's different!"


"It just is! They are not going!!"

"No one else can fly it better, Carbine!"

"I'm sure you can find some much more experienced pilots to run this mission!"

"Sky is the most experienced pilot with the Satchka!"

"SHE'S 17!!! You can not possibly tell me that she is the ONLY PILOT YOU HAVE!!"

"No, just the best!"



"RRRRRFINE!! I'll send Skydancer, but her partner in crime stays!"

"You can't split a wingpair like that, Carbine!"

"Why not?! Just find her someone else to fly with!!"

"It doesn't work that easily!"


"You have to! There's no none else who can do it!"




"No, she won't." Mac said lowly, his silver eyes flashing. "These two have more flying skills in the tips of their tails than any other pair of pilots have in their entire bodies! And they do not botch missions, you know that!"

Carbine stood there with her hands on the table, glaring up at the tall, silver-eyed Martian. She shifted her dark-eyed glare to the young pilots. Skydancer's anger and pride flashed in her red eyes as she glared right back. Jayla avoided Carbine's eyes, and the general pushed back the guilt that suddenly bit at her. Damn it, I shouldn't have said that in front of her! Blast! I hate it when he's right like this!! I don't have enough soldiers to spare, and the only other option is to send in flyers to search. He wouldn't put those two into this kind of danger if he wasn't sure of their abilities. She sighed and looked back at the map of Mars. How much longer till I do have soldiers to spare? How much longer till you're free again?

"Send them out when they're ready, with ground support!" Carbine said, turning to Mac. "I don't want them going out alone."

"Stoker should've found a few rider's to spare by now." He looked at the three humans. "The mess hall is on the way there, so why don't all of you come with, and you can get a bite to eat."

"Not that it's worth it." Skydancer mumbled softly, and Jayla poked her in the ribs with an elbow as Carbine threw an angry glance their way.

"That's probably a good idea." Kaitlyn said, intervening before Carbine could scold the young pilot again. "We haven't eaten since we got here."

"You're right. Sky and Jay can take you." Carbine said and turned to Mac. "I need to discuss something with you, Captain."

"All right." Mac sighed and turned to the others. "I'll meet you down there."

Jordan grabbed his backpack from under the table and slung it over his shoulder. The two pilots led the three humans down the hallway and out into the courtyard in front of the mess hall.

"What exactly is the Satchka?" Kaitlyn asked as they walked.

Skydancer and Jayla looked at each other hesitantly, then turned to Kaitlyn.

"It's one of the natural deserts of Mars." Skydancer said. "It's half surrounded by mountain ranges, and these create very unpredictable winds and sudden sandstorms. It's the most dangerous area to fly on the whole planet. That's why General Carbine didn't want to send us." She shook her head in frustration. "But I was raised on the border of the Satchka, so I've been flying it for as long as I can remember, and she still thinks I'm not experienced enough!"

"What does the name mean?" Kaitlyn asked.

"Death's Courtyard."

"The name doesn't imply just the winds, does it."

"No." Skydancer sighed after a pause. "The population of sand squids is pretty high in the Satchka. It's their breeding ground."

"What's a sand squid?" Jordan asked.

"It's a big, three-headed creature. It travels under the sand, kind of like burrowing."

As they neared the mess hall, the noise level increased dramatically.

"Sounds like quite a crowd." Skydancer said. "I wonder who all is back."

"I hope it's Brent's crew." Jayla said, looking half fearful, half hopeful at the loud building.

"I'm sure he made it back okay, sis." Skydancer said, wrapping her arm around Jayla. "We'd've heard something if he hadn't."

They pushed open the doors and walked into the chaotic mess hall. The noise level dropped almost immediately as nearly every head turned to the most unusual group walking up to get something to eat. A wiry, brown mouse with long light brown, graying hair and a metal tail walked in through another door, curiosity and shock written all over his face. He was dressed in a brown vest over a black t-shirt, with a pair of brown pants and black boots. Seeing the reason for the sudden lack of noise, he turned his red eyes to glare at the mass of gawking, amazed faces.

"Well, as long as you're not eating, maybe we can get to those training exercises I mentioned earlier." He said, glowering at the crowded mess hall.

Instantly, the noise level shot through the roof as all the gawking mice returned to their previous activities with added fervor. The brown mouse shook his head and shot another glare at the furiously eating mice as he walked toward the cause of the disturbance.

"Sorry about the rude welcome, lovely ladies." He said apologetically and gave them all a little bow. "I'm Stoker, and you must be Kaitlyn, Jordan, and Static. Throttle, Modo, and that little punk friend of theirs told me about you."

"Punk?" Kaitlyn asked, smiling and raising an eyebrow curiously.

"Yeah." He said laughing. "That kid'll be a punk till the day I die. I sent them to take a look at the plans for tomorrow, and they asked me to tell you that they'd be back as soon as they were finished." He grabbed five trays and handed them out. "Here, let's eat before I waste away."

"Did Brent's crew come back, Stoker?" Jayla asked hopefully as they got their food and sat down at a table.

"Not yet, sweetie. They're supposed to come in today, though, so don't you worry. Where's Mac?"

"Carbine needed to talk to him about something." Skydancer said, picking at her food. "When are they gonna get a decent cook?"

"Soon, I hope." Stoker said, scowling at his plate.

A large group of Martians walked into the mess hall, heightening the noise level. Jayla scanned the group intently, but she didn't find who she was looking for, and her worry and disappointment were obvious. Stoker gave her ear a tug, and she smiled weakly at him.

"Don't worry so much, sweetie." He said. "Your cousin'd never die on you. He wouldn't give Breaker the satisfaction."

"I know, Stoke." Jayla said. "But I can't help it. He's been gone almost four months and I miss him."

"I know you do, dear, I know you do." He looked around impatiently. "Where is" He spotted Mac walking through the door and waved him over. "Well, it's about time!"

"What'd I miss?" Mac asked Stoker, nodding at Jayla, who had gone back to fearfully searching the crowd of mice.

"Crew 879 hasn't reported in yet." Stoker said.

"They're due back today, right?"

"They were due back last week."

"Give it time, doll." Mac said to Jayla as she turned back to the table. He reached out and touched her cheek. "He'll come in today."

"I hope so." Jayla sighed, turning back to her food.

"What did you find out?" Stoker asked as Mac pulled up a chair.

"It's the northwest quad of the Satchka." Mac said.


"I convinced her to let them fly it, but we need a few riders as ground support. We need `em as soon a possible, too. A sandstorm's kicking up."

"I thought they said the weather'd be quiet today."

"Jay mentioned a lot of updrafts on their sweep in the West. That's a pretty sure sign of a storm."

"Hell!!" Stoker rubbed his chin and looked thoughtfully at the door. "Now, how am I gonna get that clown off kitchen duty this early in the day?!"

"What'd he do this time?"

"He was driving a wrecker, and it somehow got out of control." Stoker shook his head and rubbed his temples. "He smashed three bikes and hit several buildings before finally crashing into a wall and totaling the wrecker."

"Ouch! So that's why Carbine was so snappish."

"You haven't heard the interesting part yet. While they were cleaning up the wall he destroyed, they found a trunk that had apparently been hidden in the wall for quite a long time. The rough estimate was at the very least 500 years."

"You're kidding!"

"Nope. There were about seven books, and a few artifacts inside. They took everything to the historians at the monastery to take a look at." He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "That kid has the most bizarre luck I have ever seen!"

"You don't have anyone to cover for him for the day?"

"Everyone's going out on that mission tomorrow and they need to get ready."

"I'll do it." Kaitlyn offered.

"Oh, no. Kitchen duty is a punishment, beautiful." Stoker said, turning to her.

"And eating this individual's cooking isn't?" Kaitlyn asked, gesturing to everyone's half-eaten meals.

"It's kind of you, but I'm sure I can find someone to do it."

"Kind of me? Don't be ridiculous, I'm offering out of purely selfish reasons. I can't stand being useless, and I absolutely refuse to wait idly by with nothing to do. So, where's the kitchen?"

Mac and Stoker looked at her, their expressions changing from surprise to outright laughter.

"You're sure?" Stoker asked, chuckling.

"Very sure." Kaitlyn said, pushing her plate away in disgust.

"All right, sweetie, I'll show you to the kitchen." Stoker said, standing up and stretching his back. It cracked several times.

"You're getting old, friend." Mac laughed, slapping Stoker on the shoulder.

"Hrmph!" Stoker snorted, glaring at Mac as he led the way through the crowded mess hall.

They reached the doors to the kitchen and the sounds of shouting were clearly audible. Stoker shook his head and sighed, then turned to Kaitlyn.

"You're sure about this, Kaitlyn? If you're just looking for something to do, I can think of a lot of things much better than this hectic assignment."

"And pass up this challenge?" Kaitlyn asked, smiling and walking through the doors.

The large kitchen was a disaster! Food and ingredients were scattered around on the counters; a pot was boiling over on a stove; the faint smell of smoke was in the air; and in the middle of all of it, two mice were having a very loud argument. The shorter, and older of the two stood at about 5'8", and he wore silver spectacles that matched the silver stud in each of his ears. He had dark blonde fur speckled with gray, and his greenish-brown army uniform was as faded as his ancient boots.

The younger, 6'1" mouse he was arguing with wore a black, sleeveless shirt, dark brown boots, and black leather pants over his brown fur. There were two silver hoops connected by a silver chain high in his right ear above a gold stud, and two more gold studs in his left ear. His long, white hair and white goa-t made a stark contrast to his jet black bangs, and he had a short, silver chain around his neck with a red crystal attached to it. Kaitlyn ignored them and walked purposefully to the stove. She removed the over-boiling pot, and searched the three ovens till she found the bread that had begun to turn black. She turned to the still-arguing mice with her hands on her hips, and a very determined look.

"GENTLEMEN!!!" She shouted. They jumped and turned to her, extremely surprised, and she gave them a tolerant smile. "That's better. Now, I'm going to take a brave leap and say that you are the one in charge." She said, turning to the older mouse. He nodded, his pale red eyes still wide in shock. "My name is Kaitlyn, and I'll be replacing this young mouse for the day."

"You will?!" The taller mouse asked, amazed.

"Yes, I will." Kaitlyn said, looking him right in his gold eyes and giving him an `if you don't get out of here right now' glare.

The young mouse needed no more prompting. He smiled, half fearfully, half apologetically, and dashed for the doors of the kitchen. Kaitlyn sighed and laughed to herself at the poor mouse's eagerness to get away. She turned to the other Martian and smiled mischievously. The old mouse had a stubborn glint in his pink eyes.

"Do you have a name, or do I just call you `sir'?" She asked, folding her arms and looking at him.

"The name's Dice, Miss Kaitlyn." He said, looking up at her sharply.

"So, what did you do to get stuck in here, Dice?"

"Took a gamble and lost, a' course." He chuckled, smiling slyly back at her. "What about you?"

"Self preservation. You keep cooking, and I'll starve to death."

Dice laughed and shook his head, pushing his glasses back up as they slid down his nose. "We're gonna work just fine together, Miss Kaitlyn." He said, extending his hand to her. She took it and smiled in agreement.

* * *

The young mouse burst out of the kitchen doors, halted abruptly as he came face to face with Stoker, turned immediately on his heel, and tried to run back into the kitchen. Stoker grabbed the back of his shirt, effectively stopping the mouse's escape attempt.

"Oh no." Stoker said, pulling the white-haired mouse along as he walked to the exit door. "You've got a mission to go on, my dear Crosswire."

"Please, Stoke!" Crosswire pleaded. "I didn't mean to trash the wrecker, honest! Don't send me on another recon training mission, please! I'll go back in the kitchen, and I won't argue with Dice, I promise!"

"As much as I'd like to send you on a recon, it'll have to wait." Stoker walked a little ways from the door to the mess hall as they got outside and stopped, waiting for everyone to gather. "You are going on a search mission as ground support for Sky and Jay to the northwest quad of the Satchka."

"The Satchka?!" Crosswire asked, his gold eyes going wide. "You can't be seriou---"

"You are going to help search for that woman's daughter," Stoker interrupted, glaring at him and pointing to the mess hall. "And his sister." He said, pointing to Jordan. "And you will find her, Crosswire, understand?" Crosswire nodded quickly. "Good. Well, that takes care of everyone but you two." He said, turning to Static and Jordan.

"Oh, don't worry about me." Static said, smiling. "Kickstart `n me are gonna duke it out with the computer mainframe today."

"I could probably find someone who could use an extra pair of hands with all the preparations for the mission if you wanted, Jordan." Stoker said.

"Sure." Jordan said. "I'd be happy to help."

"Jayla?" Static asked, a curious look on her face. "Do you have a brother?"

"Yeah, a twin brother, actually." Jayla said, surprised. "Why?"

"No reason." Static said, smiling innocently at the confused girl.

"But ho---AAAIIIEEE!!!" Jayla screamed as she was suddenly lifted off her feet and spun around. After the mouse set her down, she whirled around and flew into his arms. "CHAOS!!! They said you weren't coming back till late tonight!"

"Looks like the rest of the Psycho Squad is here." Mac said as three more mice walked toward them and started talking all at once.

"Crosswire?!" "How'd you get paroled out of the kitchen, dunce-cap?" "BRENT!!" "How they been treatin' ya, cuz?" "What brings you guys back so early?!" "What's this big mission everyone's buzzing about? Our commander wouldn't tell us squat about it!" "You get stuck on another recon, bro?" "How di---"

"SILENCE!!!" Mac roared.

"You know," Stoker said, wincing and rubbing his ear. "You could've yelled that away from me."

"Oh, you're half deaf anyways."

"Well, I am now!" Stoker said, glaring at him.

Mac grinned back and turned to the group of mice that were now gawking at the humans, seeing them for the first time. "If I can have your attention, please?" He asked, scowling at the amazed group. They turned to him quickly, looking a little guilty and embarrassed. "Thank you. Now, this is Static and Jordan." He said, pointing to them. "And this bunch of rag-tag misfits is Shadow"

He pointed to a slim, red-eyed mouse that was just as tall as he was. His short, dreaded hair and his fur were red-gray, but the rims of his ears were black. He wore a faded, black leather jacket with the arms torn off over a greenish-brown t-shirt. His fingerless gloves, and army pants were the same color as his shirt, but his boots and the band of cloth around his left thigh were black.

"Brent Reaper"

The aloof, red-eyed, dark sandy-brown Martian was 6'7", and very well built. A black hoop hung from each ear, and his t-shirt was so dark brown it was almost black. On each shoulder of his shirt there were three green stripes and a black mouse's head outlined in red. He wore black leather pants and black boots, matching his black fingerless gloves and black dog-collar wrist band.


The pale blonde-furred female mouse stood at about 5'11", wearing a simple brown and blue jumpsuit with a red cross on each arm. Her curly, dark brown hair was tied back in a loose ponytail a little past her shoulders, and her silver bangs were braided, framing her face. A dark brown tiger stripe with a silver streak in the center went across her nose, just below her maroon eyes. Two similar stripes were on the rims of each of her ears. She had a gold hoop and a gold stud in her right ear, and a silver hoop in her left ear. A black satchel was slung over her shoulder, and she had a short, metal rod hanging at her right hip.

"and, Chaos."

The 6'3" mouse's fur, short hair, and eyes were the same colors as Jayla's. He smiled politely and bowed his head as a greeting. He wore a greenish-brown vest over a faded black shirt with the sleeves torn off, dark brown pants, and matching boots. A leather strap, holding extra charges for the rifle slung across his back, was wrapped around his right, upper arm. There was a light brown bandanna tied around his neck, and another around his left wrist. He wore a fingerless glove on his right hand, the same color as the bandannas. In his right ear was the same gold hoop with the silver half hoop as Jayla's, and he had a gold hoop and a gold stud in his left ear.

"Well, now that that's out of the way, I have a little surprise for all of you. You are going on a search mission as ground support for Jay and Sky in the northwest Satchka." He raised his hands, stopping the immediate barrage of questions. "And you are leaving in 30 minutes, so go grab something to eat, get ready to leave, and meet me at block E-71 on the airstrip in 25 minutes." None of them moved right away, they just stared at him, open-mouthed. "You are dismissed, soldiers!!" He ordered, scowling mockingly and pointing in emphasis.

All seven mice scampered off, laughing and talking as they ran. Chaos glanced back over his shoulder and caught the sad, longing look in Jordan's eyes as the human watched them leave. He slowed down and came to a halt, Jayla stopping with him.

"What is it?" Jayla asked, confused.

Chaos tapped his arm and nodded toward Jordan.

"What's the hold up?" Shadow asked as the rest of the group stopped and turned to the lagging mice.

"He wants to bring Jordan with." Jayla said.

"Why not?" Crosswire said, shrugging and turning toward the two humans and two adults across the courtyard. "HEY STOKER, CAPTAIN!!!" He shouted, waving his arm to get their attention. "WE CAN TAKE JORDAN WITH US IF HE'S NOT BUSY!!!"

"You know, you have a real talent for being discreet." Maaki said sarcastically.

"I can be with the right things, sweetheart." Crosswire teased, smiling meaningfully at her.

"You're delusional!" She said, glaring at him.

"And you're gorgeous when you're mad."

Maaki swung her satchel at him, but he ducked out of the way, laughing.

"Come on you guys, cut it out!" Shadow said, snatching Maaki back with his tail before she could throw another swing at Crosswire. "He's coming over."

"I'll go get us some food." Brent said as Jordan trotted quickly over to them. "I'll meet you at the airstrip."

"Wait." Jordan said. "Let me get it. I have to tell Mom I'm leaving anyways." He ran off to the mess hall before the others could respond.

"'Mom'??" Shadow, Maaki, and Brent asked together in amazement.

"Yeah, his mom took my spot in the kitchen." Crosswire said. "That's how I got out."

"What is his mom doing here?" Shadow asked, confused. "Come to think of it, what are all of them doing here??"

"All I know is we're searching for his sister." Crosswire said.

"She was transported here somehow." Skydancer said. "But something must've gone wrong with the signal, because no one knows the exact location where the transporter dropped her. All we know is it's somewhere in the northwest quad of the Satchka."

"Am I the only one here who finds this mission utterly pointless?" Brent asked. "That desert has swallowed entire armies. They can not seriously expect us to find one human girl alive in the remotest section of that death-trap!"

"Well, apparently they do." Shadow said. "Because if they didn't, I doubt they'd be sending her brother with us."

"We will find her alive!" Jayla said, her eyes flashing in determination as she held onto Chaos' arm.

"Okay, cuz." Brent said, sighing and smiling slightly as he lightly tousled Jayla's short, violet hair. "We'll find her."

"Maaki, do you have all the supplies you'll need?" Shadow asked.

"Yeah, but I'd feel better with a few more things, so I'll meet you all there." Maaki said as she turned and ran down a street.

"All right, Jay, Sky." Shadow said, turning to the two girls. "You take Jordan to the airbase and we'll go get the bikes."

"Sure thing." Skydancer said.

"Okay." Shadow looked past Skydancer and saw Jordan coming out of the mess hall with a large leather satchel. "We'll meet you there."

"I wonder what's in the bag." Crosswire said curiously.

"You'll find out later!" Shadow said as he and Chaos each grabbed one of Crosswire's arms and took off running toward the garage to get their bikes.

Jordan jogged up to the remaining two girls and they took off toward the airbase. Mac was sitting on the wing of Skydancer's black Jet Wing as they arrived. Four bikes came racing up just as they reached the aircraft. Crosswire screeched to a halt in front of them, riding a dark red-black bike with blue flames. Shadow stopped next to him with Maaki on the back of his bike. Shadow's bike fit his name, it was all black and even the chrome was a dark silver. Brent's bike looked like it might have been black at one time, but the paint was faded and scratched to a drab, dark gray. A section of paint on the top of it had been deliberately sanded off down to the metal. Chaos was riding a dark, forest green bike with a silver stripe down the center.

"Okay, now that everyone's here," Mac said, standing up and facing them. He pulled out a map of the desert. "This is the area you will be searching. Jay and Sky will sweep it ahead of the bikes with high frequency sonic blasts to keep the sand squids underground and runnin'. However, at no point in time will any of you lose sight of each other! Got that?" He looked at each of them and they all nodded in understanding. "Good. Now, Chaos, you're the sure-shot, so you be sure and bring up the rear, and I want Jordan riding with you." Chaos nodded and threw the bag that was on the back of his bike to Brent, and Jordan climbed on behind him. "All right, I want you all skirting the mountains on the first sweep. Don't go into the heart of the desert till you've gotten a good feel for the area. And at any sign of a storm, you are all to fly back to the mountains and wait it out!" He stood there and looked at them for a moment. "Okay, good luck."

Mac stepped back and watched as the four motorcycles and two Wing's took off toward the desert. Find her quickly. Please find her quickly, before it's too late. He watched them disappear and remained standing there, staring at the spot he had last seen them. The radio at his belt beeped. He sighed and turned back to the city, taking the radio off his belt and hitting the communication button.

* * *

Molly strutted proudly out of the school yard, relishing and basking in all the pity she had received throughout the day. The only disappointment the day had held was the fact that Jordan was not there, but she had anticipated that. That delicious young man cares far too much for that wretched sister of his. She smiled deviously to herself as she stepped into her fathers black limousine. I'll break him of it, though. He has to come back to school sometime, and Carter is never returning. She laughed softly, keeping her facial features under control to avoid bothering the stitches down the right side of her face under the bandages. Sighing happily, she leaned back in the plush seat and picked up the car phone, dialing her office.

"Stratford Enterprises, may I help you?" A courteous female voice asked through the phone.

"Jeniffer, are there any messages for me?" Molly asked briskly.

"Yes ma'am, several in fact."

"Well, fax them to me right away."

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I can't. The computers are completely down."


"The computers are down, ma'am. Someone got into the system and planted a virus this morning."

"This morning?!" Molly demanded, her mind racing through all the possible people that could hack into a system that sophisticated. "How bad is it?" Who could pull that off?!

"The entire network crashed and rebooted itself earlier this morning. When it came back online, we did a standard virus check and it showed a clean system, so we thought it was simply another power outage. Then calls started coming in about missing files. Within five minutes, nearly the entire system was erased, the fire alarms and sprinklers had gone off, and we were almost completely without lights. The elevators and door locks, however, were not effected. They're still trying to get back into the system to try and repair it, but the latest estimation is saying it will be over a week before they can get everything operational again."

She sat there, gripping the phone furiously. You meddling bitch!! Why couldn't you have stayed in your slave quarters like a good little nigger!! "What are my messages?" She asked after a pause, her voice tight with anger.

"A Doctor Karbuncle called to say that the package had been sent. Another doctor, a Doctor Varnon said he wished you to contact him. He said he did not receive his assistant. A Mr.---"

"WHAT?!" Molly shrieked into the phone. "What do you mean he didn't receive his assistant?!"

"I do---"

"DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!!!!" Molly screamed, wincing at the pain in her face and slamming down the phone. She picked it up again and fiercely dialed Limburger Tower.

"Limburger Industries, may I help you?" A nasal-sounding woman's voice asked from the phone.

Molly rolled her eye at the annoying voice. Why does he insist on keeping that woman? "This is Miss Stratford, I need to speak with Mr. Limburger."

"I'm sorry, Miss Stratford, but Mr. Limburger is not in at the moment."

"Then, where is he?" She demanded quietly, biting down on her fading patience.

"Hold please and I'll check."

Boring elevator music floated across the phone line, and it took everything Molly had not to start screaming in frustration.

"Miss Stratford? I'm afraid Mr. Limburger has been placed under arrest, and is currently down at the police station. Would you like me to leave a message for him?"

"No." Molly said shortly and slammed down the phone yet again. "SHIT!!!" She screamed, and hit the seat cushion in frustrated rage. That nappy-headed cunt is going to pay for this!! The limo stopped and she stepped angrily out of the door as it was immediately opened for her. She stormed up the steps of her family's mansion and breezed through the door as it was opened for her. "Hold all my calls!" She ordered to her personal maidservant, and slammed the door to her room in the woman's face. She walked immediately to the 20 inch screen sitting at her desk and pressed the center button. The screen did not light up, but she had expected that.

"Aaahh, Miss Stratford." A deep, silky voice said from the speaker next to the screen. The voice spoke slowly, enunciating his words calmly and patiently. "I am glad you called."

Molly tried to suppress the icy shiver that went up her spine at his emotionless voice. She feared this man more than any other living thing in the universe, and she had done nothing yet but listen to his eerie voice. As irrational as the fear was, she did not argue with it. Instinct, she had learned, could be a very powerful ally, and it was the only thing she trusted.

"My secretary said you didn't receive the girl." She said, keeping her voice under control.

"No, I am afraid I did not." Varnon said in a tone that might have been sad. "Very disappointing."

"Karbuncle contacted me earlier and told me that he had sent her successfully."

"Yes, I received that message as well. Unfortunately, something interrupted the transfer signal and the transporter deposited her somewhere in the desert. I have a search crew out looking for her at this very moment, but this desert is a very dangerous place. Oh yes, there is one more thing you might findsignificant to know. Not a long while ago, there was another transportation signal to Mars." He paused, letting Molly collect her suspicions. "Your human acquaintances are here, and they came with the Biker Mice."

"What?!" She whispered, shock and rage filling her mind.

"They undoubtedly used Karbuncle's transporter." He paused. "Shall I inform the local Plutarkian Ambassador to expect you?"

"Yes, I'll be there in two hours."

"Very well."

Molly pressed the center button again and the communication was cut with a `click'. A beautiful antique vase sat on her desk, holding freshly cut flowers. She ran her finger along the gold trimmed painting on the side of the ceramic vase. Smiling slightly, she picked up the fragile container and threw it viciously against the wall. It shattered loudly, and her maidservant instantly rapped on the door to see if her mistress was all right.

Molly ignored the knocking at the door and walked into her closet, picking up an already packed suitcase. She opened her bedroom door and brushed past her worried servant and roughly handed her suitcase to a sharply dressed man. A butler opened the front door of the house for her again and she quickly walked down the steps to the limo that was still parked in front. Another servant opened the door of the black limo and she stepped back in without so much as acknowledging any of the servants' existence.

"Limburger Tower." She said tersely to the chauffeur. The large vehicle pulled away from the house quickly but smoothly. She stared out the window, her icy blue eye sparkling in fury. Don't you die yet, you dirty little street rat. You have a life filled with pain ahead of you, and I will not be denied the pleasure of witnessing it. So run, little rat. Run across the red sands. Run into the open arms of the terror and agony awaiting you. Run

* * *

fast! Don't stop. Don't look back. Just keep running!! Carter topped another dune and slid down the other side of it. She kept her eyes on the mountains ahead of her. They were her only chance for survival. Gasping for air, she gave into her body's insistent cry for a rest and slowed to a fast walk. As she warily looked around at the quiet desert, she tried not to think of how extremely thirsty she was, and how raw her throat was from the dry air. She tried not to think of how tired she was getting, and how her lungs burned and her legs ached. She tried not to think of how the mountains in the distance just didn't seem to be getting any closer.

A sudden strong gust of wind blindsided her and she was thrown to the ground by the force of it. Immediately, she curled up and covered her head to try and protect herself from the harsh, biting sands flying through the air. The wind stopped and she jumped up and took off running toward the mountains again. She had learned early that one did not stop moving in this desert if one wished to stay alive. Gotta keep moving! Don't stop!

As she ran, she swept the desert with her eyes, searching desperately for another group of boulders where she could rest. Reaching the top of another dune, she spotted an island of rock in the sea of desert, and would have cried out in relief if she had any kind of voice left. An all too familiar shrieking sound reached her ears and she could feel the ground vibrate slightly under her feet. Gritting her teeth and pushing past all the pain, she sprinted to the safety of the rocks. She heard the snapping of teeth just behind her as she jumped onto the boulders. The strange, three-headed creature gave another shriek to announce it's disappointment at losing a meal and dove back under the sand.

Carter flopped back on the warm, blood red rock, panting and gasping for air. I have to make it. I have to make it to the mountains! She lay there, staring at the moons in the sky and fighting to catch her breath. As her pounding heart slowly regulated itself, and her ragged breathing calmed down, she sat up and took a good look around. The wind was picking up more and more, she could see the strong gusts creating dust devils on the dunes. Biting back an angry sob, she glared up at the moons in frustration. You're going to put me through a sandstorm, aren't you! She curled up in a ball and covered her head to shield herself from an abrupt, biting wind. She sighed and hit her head against the rock. Figures

* * *

"There would be a big storm kicking up now, of all times." Mac grumbled, looking at the computer screen in front of him. "Is it gonna be an over-nighter?" He asked, turning to the mouse at the main console of the computer.

"There's no way to tell for sure, sir." The adult, male mouse said, turning his serious, dark green eyes to Mac. His fur was dark gray, but if the light hit it just right, it would shimmer like polished copper.

Why does he always have to call me `sir' like that? I feel like I'm 250 when I'm around him! Mac sighed. "Could you give me a rough estimation?"

"Well, sir, the probabilities of this storm---"

"In English, Rick?"

"Right, sir." Rick said, slightly apologetic. "There is a good chance of the storm lasting the night. However, storms of this nature in the Satchka are extremely unpredictable. This particular storm could dissipate in a few hours, or it could remain stable and at peak wind velocity for days, sir."

"So, what you're saying is you don't know."

"Yes, sir."

"Thanks Rick, you've been a big help." Mac said blandly, slapping Rick on the shoulder lightly as he turned to walk out of the room.

"Any time, sir." Rick said solemnly, not catching the sarcasm of Mac's statement.

Mac walked out of the room, shaking his head and chuckling silently to himself as he headed to the mess hall. Passing the main doors of the large building, he opened a door marked `storage' and was instantly bombarded with the overpowering scent of spices. He closed the door behind him and turned on the light. The room was large, the walls lined with boxes of all shapes and sizes. Rubbing his hands together, he headed for one of the far corners of the room and began to rummage through a large box.

"Ah-HA!" He shouted triumphantly as his hand wrapped around smooth glass.

The door to the storage room suddenly opened and Mac jumped in surprise and guilt, the bottle he was holding flying out of his hand as he spun around. Giving a frightened shout, he dove after the fragile container before it could shatter on the ground. He hit the floor, catching the glass bottle and skidding to a halt on his stomach.

"Was it that vital?" A female voice asked, sounding on the verge of laughter.

Mac jerked his head up and followed the two pairs of black boots in front of him up to the faces of their owners. Kaitlyn and another female mouse looked down at him with their eyebrows raised, and amused smiles on their faces. He smiled guiltily up at them. Kaitlyn reached down and took the bottle out of his hand and examined it, her smile getting wider.

"I think it was." Kaitlyn said, turning to the mouse next to her and showing her the label on the bottle clearly reading: `whiskey'.

"I think you're right." The mouse laughed, her bright blue eyes sparkling. They both turned back to Mac, who was still on the floor. "Need some help up, dear?"

"That was quite a save, Anakin." Kaitlyn said, her eyes glittering with suppressed laughter as the two women gave him a hand off the floor.

"Well, I do try my best." Mac mumbled, brushing off his clothes in an attempt to hide his embarrassment.

"I'll bet you do, handsome." The 5'10" mouse said slyly, winking at him and giving the brim of his hat a little tug as she and Kaitlyn walked past him into the storage room.

Surprised, Mac turned and watched the two females rummage through the boxes along the walls. The unfamiliar mouse's long, white, slightly wavy hair reached just below her waist, and her fur was a blonde/gold. She wore a short, red t-shirt and black leather pants with a broad belt that had a silver buckle at the front and a dagger hanging at the right side. Around her neck was a gold circlet, and she had a silver hoop in each of her ears. She had black leather wrist protectors on both her forearms. Feeling his eyes, both women turned toward him, the amused expressions still on their faces.

"Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to help us?" Kaitlyn asked.

"Oh, uhhI'll, um, help." Mac said, feeling like he had gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar again. "What are we looking for?"

"These." Kaitlyn said, pulling out a sack of powerful smelling spices and handing it to Mac. "I've already used up what little spices were in that kitchen and I need some more."

"Won't this be enough?" He asked, holding up the three-pound sack.

"To feed all those hungry warriors?" The female mouse asked in amazement. "Not on your life! And besides," She said, handing him a small wooden crate the size of a shoebox. "That's only one spice. We need as much variety as we can get."

"You're helping Kaitlyn in the kitchen too, uhh" Mac left the question hanging so she could fill in a name.

"December, but most people call me Deej." She said, smiling up at him and handing him another small box. "And yes, I'm helping her for a little while. Why? Are you afraid I can't cook?" She asked, giving him a slight glare.

"No, I---"

"Oh, so you're afraid I can't cook." Kaitlyn said, putting another sack and a small box in his loaded arms and scowling at him.

"No! I---"

"So, you don't think either of us can cook?!" December demanded, giving him a small bag and glaring at him.

"No! I mean, yes! I meanisn't this enough spice?" He asked, desperately trying to change the subject.

The two women looked at each other questioningly, then turned to the tall, male Martian.

"I think he's been through enough." December said.

"Yeah, he does look a bit frazzled around the edges." Kaitlyn said. "Come, Igor." She said, grinning at Mac and taking another strong smelling bag out of the box she had been digging through as she headed for the door of the storage room.

"Yeessss, massster." Mac said, hunching over and speaking in a raspy voice.

Both women laughed, holding the door open for him, and they walked to the main entrance of the large building. He put the many packages of spices onto a wheeled cart inside the doors of the crowded mess hall.

"Thank you, Anakin." Kaitlyn said.

"Good boy." December said, patting him on the head like a puppy.

"Do I get a treat?" Mac asked, smiling slyly at the blue-eyed Martian.

"Maybe." She said, smiling up at him just as slyly. She reached under a bag of spices and pulled something out, throwing it at him over her shoulder as she and Kaitlyn wheeled the cart into the kitchen. "Don't spend it all in one place, handsome."

Mac caught the object, and immediately put it in his jacket as he realized what it was. He smiled at the closed kitchen doors and laughed to himself. Patting the glass bottle, now tucked neatly in a pocket on the inside of his jacket, he headed toward Stoker's office.

"Hey Stoke!" Mac said loudly, opening the door to his friend's office without knocking.

"Wha---" *THUD* "Yeeeoooooowwww!!!" Stoker looked up from under his desk, rubbing the top of his head and glaring balefully at Mac. "Do you HAVE to come in like that?!"

"Sorry." Mac said, trying to look apologetic around the grin on his face as he shut the door softly. "What are you doing on the floor?"

"I dropped my pen." Stoker grumbled, giving his head a final rub and throwing another dark look at Mac before returning to his search. "Help me look for it, will ya."

"Why don't you just use another pen?" Mac asked, getting on his knees and scanning the floor for the elusive pen.

"Because this is the only pen I've got!" The radio on Stoker's desk beeped and he stood up and picked up the receiver. "Yeah."

"Where is he?!" A female voice shouted from the small speaker.

"Just a second." Stoker said, wincing at her loud voice. Grinning evilly, he brought his hand down on his desk, hitting it hard and loud. *WHAM*

*THUD* "Oooowwwch!!!" Mac looked up from under the desk and gave Stoker a glare of death as he held the top of his head.

"Call for you, top gun." Stoker said sweetly, handing Mac the receiver.

"Thanks." Mac growled, snatching the receiver from Stoker. "Yeah."

"I want them back here now!!" The woman shouted.

"Carbine?" Mac asked, jerking the receiver away from his ear.

"How DARE you send that kid out there!!!"


"He knows jack-shit about this planet, and YOU SENT HIM OUT WITH THE SEARCH CREW FROM HELL!!!!"


"And I can NOT believe you sent the walking accident out with them, KNOWING a storm is on the way!!!"


"That storm isn't going to just blow over, I want them back here, NOW!!!"


"No waiting, no but's, no argument, BRING THEM BACK TO BASE!!!!!"


"BECAUSE THEY AREN'T LISTENING TO ME!!!!!!" Carbine shouted in frustrated rage and cut the connection.

"Okay." Mac said, looking at the dead receiver in confusion. "Boy, she has just been on the rampage lately! I mean, it's not like we intended to send Jordan out."

"I know, I couldn't say `no' to him any more than you could." Stoker said, shaking his head. "And, for the life of me, I can't figure out why she's so upset about us sending Crosswire. If that girl is out there, he's the only one who can find her, and Carbine knows that."

"You'd think she'd be happy to have him out of her hair for a little while. She's probably ju---"

"Don't say it, Mac." Stoker said before his friend could finish his sentence.

"Why? I mea---"

There was a soft knock on the door and Kaitlyn poked her head in. "Coffee's on if you want some." She said, holding up a coffee pot.

"That's why." Stoker said pointedly to Mac.

"Good reason." Mac said, scratching the back of his head in slight embarrassment.

"I'd love some coffee, beautiful." Stoker said, turning to Kaitlyn with his coffee cup.

"I thought you might." She said, giving Stoker a slight scowl as she filled his coffee cup. "It's been five minutes since the last time you asked for some." She turned to Mac and gave him a curious look as he stood there, still looking a bit uncomfortable. "You just aren't having a real ego-boosting day, are you?" Kaitlyn laughed.

"You could say that." Mac said, then looked pityingly at her. "You wouldn't have an extra cup for a poor de-egoed mouse, would you lass?"

"Always carry a spare." Kaitlyn said, smiling and holding up a coffee cup.

"You are a true heroine, my dear." Mac said, bowing elegantly and kissing her hand.

"Thank you." She said, blushing slightly, then turned a questioning look to Stoker as he scanned the floor intently while he sipped his coffee. "Did you lose something, Stoker?"

"Hmmm?" Stoker said, looking up. "Yeah, I lost my pen." He said, turning back to the floor and glaring at it.

"You did, huh." She said, walking to his desk and giving the floor around it a quick search.

"It must've fallen through a crack in the floorboards, cause Ican't" He sighed and took his pen from Kaitlyn as she picked it up and handed it to him. "find it. How did you do that?" He asked, looking at her suspiciously.

"I'm a mother, it's part of the job description." Kaitlyn said, smiling. "I'll leave you two military brains alone now to plot and plan." She said, walking out the door and closing it softly behind her.

"So, when are you going to tell her?" Stoker asked, sitting down at his desk.

"About what?" Mac sighed, sitting on the edge of the desk. "About how both her children are about to experience an extremely deadly sandstorm, and only one has any chance of surviving? Or about how a scientist, whose experiments would make a Plutarkian executioner run screaming, is looking for her daughter?"

"Tough choice."

"I'll tell her about the sandstorm, if you tell her about the scientist."

"Not a chance. I can't even fathom the thought of having to answer the question: `What will he do to her?' I'd rather have all my limbs torn off than be faced with that."

"Me too."

"So, what are we doing? I mean, assuming a miracle has occurred and she has somehow survived this long, are we hoping she gets caught by the storm and dies fairly quickly? Or are we hoping she gets caught by Varnon and stays alive long enough for us to rescue her?"

"Now, that's a tough choice."

"I know."


Carter buried her face in the side of the boulder, squeezing her eyes shut and covering her head with her arms as the vicious winds tore at her. The flying sand snapped and bit at her tattered clothing and exposed skin. Her shoulders shook with sobs of pain and frustration as the sandstorm howled and shrieked around her.


"What are her chances to last the storm, Stoke?" Mac asked.

"Do you want an honest answer?"



Only the pain and noise made her believe she hadn't been buried alive already. The air had turned to red sandpaper, and she choked and coughed as her burning lungs inhaled the tainted air. She was getting tired, every muscle in her body shook with exertion as she desperately tried to hold her position at the base of the boulder. The fierce wind pushed and pulled at her, trying to force her away from the scant protection she huddled next to.


"She might make it if she finds some cover." Stoker said.

"And if she doesn't?"

"Then all we can do is hope she suffocates from breathing in all the sand flying in the air before she is literally skinned alive by the winds."


Pushing her exhausted body past all its limits, Carter fought and clung to the rock. She could feel her clothes disintegrate beneath the biting winds as the storm clawed and screeched at her. The pain lashed agonizingly at her entire body. Her chest, lungs, and throat burned like she was breathing in acid instead of air. Tearing, slashing teeth ripped at her back, legs, and arms, slowly eating away at her flesh.


"Not a very pleasant way to go, is it." Mac said.

"No, and with any luck, she isn't going through that right now at all."


The shrill, howling wind wrestled with her fading strength, draining her trembling muscles of all their power. Ragged sobs of rage and frustration wracked her beaten frame. Stubbornness kept her from letting go of the boulder, but even that couldn't replenish her withering strength. When the wind abruptly stopped pulling at her, she thought she had finally passed out and she was dreaming. Cautiously, she opened her eyes and saw a strange, glowing field next to her hand, keeping the sandstorm at bay.


"Then, we're hoping she gets captured?" Mac asked.

"It is not even remotely possible for me to hope that, no matter how painful dying from the storm is. You know what that `scientist' will do to her if he catches her, Mac."

"Yeah, I know." Mac said, shuddering slightly. "Then, what are we hoping?"

"We are hoping that she hasn't survived this long, and that she died a quick, painless death the moment she arrived."

"Sounds reasonable to me."


Shaking from pain and exhaustion, Carter looked warily over her shoulder at the source of the force field. She caught a brief glimpse of a large dune buggy with two fat, hyena-like `men' in it before a jolt of electricity tore through her body. As her world went black, her only thought was how relieved she was to finally get some rest.

* * *

Continued in Chapter VI