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. Okayerrhe, umm sorry this took so long. Well, let the mass confusion begin! >-)

An Adventure

Chapter: VI

A Tempest of Happenings

As the sun made its way through the orange sky, the tall buildings nestled at the foot of even taller mountains pulled back their long shadows as if to make room for the steadily increasing population of the city of Rhinestyke. Martians bustled throughout the streets in a bizarre organized chaos, electrifying the warming air with tension and anticipation for the upcoming battle. Three mice were adding to the electricity, absorbed in a heated argument as they walked through the crowded streets on their way to the mess hall. Their discussion was cut short as they entered the noisy building and saw a tall human woman setting more food out for the multitudes of hungry mice.

"Kaitlyn??" Modo asked as he, Vinnie, and Throttle walked up to her. "What're you doin' here?"

"I'm trying to feed these living vacuum cleaners." She said in frustration, watching the large amounts of food she had just set out disappear in something close to a feeding frenzy. "I swear, they're putting the blasted stuff in their pockets and stealing it!"

"Can't say I blame `em." Throttle said. "It smells delicious!"

"Oh sure, just encourage them!" She said, tossing her hands in the air. "You better grab yourselves a tray and get some grub before it's all goneagain"

The three mice looked at each other and dashed for the trays, muscling their way to the food and filling their plates. Kaitlyn rolled her eyes and shook her head as she walked back into the kitchen. Dice was peeling potatoes as fast as he could, trying to keep up with December as she snatched up the peeled potatoes, chopped them, and tossed them into a pot of boiling water.

"Good grief, don't go through all that pain Dice." Kaitlyn said, walking over to the largest oven and pulling out a large rack filled with loaves of bread. "Just leave the skins on, those louts won't notice and I know how much that must make your old bones ache." She said, giving him a sly grin over her shoulder.

"No need for me to do it anymore with your sharp tongue back in the kitchen." The shorter mouse retorted, pushing his spectacles back up on his dark blonde nose. "All you need do is stand over here and talk, and they'll peel themselves."

"Touché!" Kaitlyn said, putting her hand over her heart in defeat. "I'm wounded to the quick."

"I'm impressed." December said, her bright blue eyes sparkling under her white bangs as she quickly chopped up the rest of the potatoes. "You must have been working on that one the whole day."

"Yes, and I'm mighty proud of it." He replied, a mischievous glint in his pale red eyes. "Would you like to hear the other one I been workin' on?"

"Oh, I think I'll pass on that enlightening experience, but thank you all the same." December said immediately.

"Sissy" Dice mumbled, stirring a huge pot of stew.

"Watch it buster." The gold-furred mouse said, glaring at him playfully. "I don't care how much older you are than me, I'll still throw down with ya."

"I'll bet you would." He said, grinning evily.

"Why you dirty old mouse!!" December shouted, throwing a potato at him.

"Why thank-ye kindly, Deej." He said, grinning as he caught the potato, chopped it up and put it in the stew. "Compliments are so rare from you."

"And getting rarer by the minute." December replied, glaring at him as she walked over to Kaitlyn. "I'll feed the sharks if you take that stubborn old coot the dinner he still hasn't eaten."

"He still hasn't eaten?!" Kaitlyn demanded, slicing the last of the bread. "What does he do, plug his tail into an electrical socket and recharge himself instead of eating?"

"I wouldn't put it past him." Dice said, shaking his head and setting the pot of stew onto a cart. "He eats and sleeps about as much as hooker in a room full of sailors."

"Well, there's an analogy I'll just have to remember" Kaitlyn said sarcastically, taking the cart from the shorter mouse and putting the loaves of bread on the lower racks.

"It's one of my favorites."

"I'll bet it is" December growled, pushing the cart out of the kitchen while Kaitlyn grabbed the warm plate of food still sitting in one of the smaller ovens and followed behind.

Kaitlyn walked purposefully to Stoker's office door, heard a heated debate going on inside and figured they'd never hear her knock, so she just opened the door and stepped in. A large object came flying at her immediately and she sidestepped out of the way instinctively. The object hit the door solidly and slid to the floor, unfolding into Vinnie as he got back up.

"Oh, hey Kaitlyn." He said cheerfully as he leapt back into the pile of fighting mice that was rolling across the floor.

"I'm not going to ask" She said to herself, shaking her head and sitting on Stoker's desk. Thoroughly amused, she watched as the ball of wrestling mice eventually dissolved into its component parts, all still arguing as they struggled to disentangle themselves from each other's legs and tails.

"I'm tellin' you I can do it!" Vinnie insisted.

"And I'm tellin' you to forget about it!" Stoker said. "We need you at the Fyra-ithnull camp."

"The Firefields are miles away from the action!!" Vinnie shouted in frustration. "What am I supposed to do out there, pick wildflowers?!"

"You're going to protect our flank from an ambush!" Stoker replied, standing up. "Trust me punk, you won't be complaining once you get there. They've been getting attacked on a regular basis already, it's our weakest point, and your inexhaustible supply of energy is going to keep those attacks at bay. Got it?" He said, glaring at the white mouse as he got up and leaned against the filing cabinets along the wall.

"Yeah coach." Vinnie sighed.

"I still think taking half the forces through the Mueretho Canyon is a very bad idea." Throttle said.

"And I don't like the idea of using my home town as a battlefield!" Modo said.

"Neither do I, but we don't have a choice!" Stoker insisted.

"Excuse me." Kaitlyn interrupted before the conversation turned physical again.

"How long have you been in here?" Stoker asked, turning and looking at her in surprise.

"Oh, not long." She replied, giving him a scrutinizing look. "But if you insist on settling all of your arguments like this, I suggest you eat something before they get the upper hand."

"Oh, I'll eat in a minute--"

"You've been saying that for the last three hours." Kaitlyn interrupted, putting the plate of food on the desk pointedly.

"I just haven't had the time to--"

"Well, now you've got some time." She said, standing up and walking toward him.

"No I don't, I have a lot of stuff to co--AAAOOWW!!"

"Eat." Kaitlyn said shortly, forcing Stoker into his chair and releasing his ear.

"Now that hur--mmfr." Stoker's complaint was cut short as Kaitlyn shoved a spoonfull of mashed potatoes into his mouth.

"Oh, Charley and Tina called in for some food," She said, turning to the three younger mice. "Would one of you like to bring it to them? I thought Charley would appreciate a familiar face."

"Why don't all three of you go, we can finish our debate at the meeting tonight." Stoker said around a mouthful of food, he hadn't realized how hungry he really was.

The mice nodded and followed Kaitlyn into through the noisy mess hall and into the kitchen. She pulled a large covered pan out of an oven and handed it to them, along with a big thermos and a couple of cups. With strict instructions not to touch any of the food, she shooed them out of the kitchen and started making more bread dough. She tried not to let her mind wander, but it was difficult and she couldn't help but wonder where her children were at the moment

* * *

"Where are you going?!" A husky male voice demanded in Jordan's ear.

The human boy touched the side of his helmet and adjusted the volume control of his communicator, it took him a couple tries but he was beginning to get used to the Martian helmets. He drew his hand back into the long sleeve of the leather jacket Chaos had given him and hunched into the protective material, trying to avoid the biting sand that got through the force-field surrounding them. Carter, if you're out in this I swear on Dad's grave I'll rip that heartless whore's throat out

"Calm down Shadow, I'm just sweeping by these boulders." Replied a clear slightly deeper voice.

"You're gonna pick up a rock and it's gonna fry your engine, get back here!" Shadow's husky tenor insisted.

"I know how to ride, stop fussing!" Crosswire's clear voice said nonchalantly.

"I'm not fixing it when it blows." Shadow said.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah"

Jordan saw Chaos shake his head tolerantly and he felt the mouse's ribs move as if he were chuckling, but there was no sound. He tried to make out the other bikes in front of them, but all he could see was a faint glimmer of a taillight every now and then through the fiercely blowing sands around them. How can they navigate in this crap?!


"OH SHI---!!!"


"Your life would be much less painful if you actually took other people's advice, Crosswire." Brent's soft, deep voice said darkly as Chaos slowed but did not stop.

"Oh shut up" Crosswire's clear voice growled.

"Hurt anything vital?" A mellow female voice with a hint of an English accent asked sarcastically.

"No!" Crosswire barked.

"Well, one can still hope." Maaki's smooth voice replied.

"Now is not the time to stop for a chat folks, there's too much activity down there." A clear female voice warned.

"I'm coming, I'm coming" Crosswire's voice grumbled above the sound of a bike starting with some difficulty.

The hair on the back of Jordan' neck suddenly stood on end and he whipped his head around, searching behind him. In the next instant the ground beneath them began to move on its own accord. In one fluid motion Chaos wrapped his tail around Jordan's waist, laid the bike down into a turn so they were skidding backwards, grabbed the rifle out of the sheath next to his left leg, and fired three times at a huge shadowy form. A red three-headed creature with no legs and a massive body landed in a twitching heap a few inches from them, a bullet hole in the center of each of its skulls.

"So that's a sandsquid" Jordan said softly, gawking at the rows of long razor-sharp teeth in the creature's mouth as Chaos gunned his engines and peeled off after the others.

"Welcome to the Satchka." Skydancer's clear, almost musical voice said dryly.

"Lovely, aren't they?" Crosswire said.

"They make great house pets." Shadow's husky voice said sarcastically.

"And even better rugs." Crosswire's clear baritone added.

"I prefer them as boots, myself." Jayla's light soft voice said.

"How fast are they?" Jordan asked, feeling a bit odd hearing to his own soft voice so clearly in his ears.

"Pretty fast, but they're ambush hunters." Skydancer's liquid voice said. "They attack whatever they can get close enough to and they'll give up fairly quickly in an all-out chase."

"Do they have any predators?" Jordan asked, a slight hope loosening the knot in his stomach.

"They used to" Shadow's light husky voice said sadly.

"I've got some images you can look at as soon as we take cover." Skydancer said. "Follow our engine flares, the cavern's a little hard to spot in this mess."

Jordan could just make out the taillight of the bike in front of them through the blur of red sand, but he had the sinking feeling that they were approaching something big. In the time it took him to drop his jaw and look up at the jagged rock wall that suddenly appeared in front of them, they were going under it and into the dark mountain.

The temperature dropped instantly and Jordan became acutely aware of how worn down his jeans had gotten in the storm. He looked down to check the damage and found just a few tears, but the material wouldn't hold up much longer. When he looked back up, the narrow passageway had widened into a huge cavern and everyone was stopped, leaving their bike headlights on to illuminate the slick jagged stone walls. Only the fact that Skydancer and Jayla were stepping off of something dark and smooth let him know where their Jet Wings were.

Chaos pulled up next to Shadow's dark bike and Jordan climbed off, stripping off the jacket and his backpack while he stretched his stiff muscles and looked around. The floor was about 50 feet in diameter and moderately flat except for a handful of huge stalagmites littered across the room. The only thing he could see of the ceiling were the tips of a few stalactites. It was like being inside the mouth of a gigantic creature.

"Nice digs!" Crosswire said, taking off his helmet and shaking out his long white hair. "How'd you find it?" He asked Skydancer, brushing his black bangs out of his eyes with a brown hand and looking around.

"Pure skill." Skydancer said assuredly, tossing her sky blue braid over her black shoulder.

"Something of which you are completely lacking." Maaki said sweetly to Crosswire, running her pale blonde fingers through her tangled dark brown curls.


"Maybe we should start a fire and eat something." Shadow interrupted loudly, scratching one of his black-rimmed ears with a red-gray hand and giving Crosswire a meaningful look.

"That sounds like a good idea." Jayla said, shaking the sand out of her short violet hair till it stuck out at all angles around her red-orange face. "Where's the food?"

"I've got it." Jordan said, holding up the leather satchel his mother had given him as he walked to the portable stove Shadow was setting up on the ground.

"Sheesh, your jeans are thrashed Jordan!" Crosswire exclaimed, giving the human boy a scrutinizing look with his gold eyes.

"Terran clothes don't hold up well here, I should've thought to grab something for you." Shadow said, lighting the small stove.

"No worries, I still have an extra pair of duds in here" Crosswire said, rifling through one of the saddlebags on his bike. "I know they're in hereAh-ha! Here they are." The brown mouse stood up, brandishing a pair of black leather pants. "You're about my size, they should fit you."

"Thanks." Jordan said gratefully, taking the tough leather biker pants.

"They're a lot more comfortable than they look, trust me you'll learn to love `em." Crosswire said.

"I'll be back in a minute." Jordan called over his shoulder as he grabbed his pack and trotted off down the passageway.

He turned a corner, set his pack down in the dim light, and began to carefully remove his tattered jeans. Most of the bandages covering the road rash down his leg came off with the jeans, so he dug in his pack for fresh gauze and taped his leg back up as best he could in the scant light before slipping the leather pants on. Judging from the thick tough material of the pants, he had expected them to be stiff and difficult to move in, but they were surprisingly comfortable and supple.

"Now, I could get used to these." He said to himself, smiling.

Kneeling down, Jordan folded his jeans and stuffed them into his backpack. As he flung the pack over his shoulder and stood up, he heard something hit the ground softly behind him. Oh perfect, what did I lose Sighing, he got down on his knees and blindly searched the rock floor with his hands till his fingers came in contact with something soft and fluffy.

Sitting back against the cold wall and propping his elbows on his knees, he looked at the dark object in his hand. The only things visible were the shiny glass eyes looking back at him. He ran his fingers over the silky fur of the little stuffed kitten and closed his eyes, dropping his head down and resting it on the soft winged animal. He could smell the spicy scent of the shampoo they used at home, and his mind was suddenly flooded with memories of his sister. An overwhelming urge to scream his lungs out and rip down the mountainside with his bare hands came over him. I should've stopped you, I shouldn't have let you go!!

Biting back his frustration and rage, Jordan buried his face in his arms and cried. Vicious sobs racked him till he thought he would fall apart, but he let himself cry. He wanted to cry until he was all cried out, he wanted to be done with the lump that was always in his throat, he couldn't go on with the unbearable aching and weariness dragging him down, he had to get rid of his depression and clear his mind before it was too late.

He had no idea how long he sat there, but when the tremors stopped and he raised his head, his neck was stiff, his back ached from sitting so long in that position. Wiping his eyes, he stood up, put the winged kitten back in his pack, dusted himself off, and started walking back to the little camp, his midnight eyes glinting with a fresh clear iron determination. Never againby my soul, this will never happen again.

* * *

Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie had been continuing their argument since they left the mess hall and it made the going pretty slow, so it was a while before they reached the repair garage. The sounds of two women laughing hysterically floated out to them and they walked in curiously, halting their debate until later.

"What's goin' on?" Throttle asked, giving the two women an odd look as they sat on the floor laughing.

Charley and Bat looked up at his voice and burst out laughing again, falling back onto the floor.

"What?" Throttle asked, confused at their reaction.

"Come on, what's so funny?" Modo asked in curious bewilderment.

The two women shook their heads and laughed even harder, holding their sides and rolling on the floor.

"There's gratitude for ya!" Vinnie said in exasperation. "We bring you dinner and you sit there and laugh at us."

"We-we're n-n-not laughing a-at y-you" Charley stammered through gasping breaths, trying to compose herself.

"Th-that's r-right." The small strawberry-blonde furred mouse said, struggling to sit up. "W-we were justummlaughing a-atuhhh" She looked at Charley with her pale sightless eyes and both women dissolved into helpless giggles again.

"What are you guys laughing about?!" Throttle demanded.

"N-n-nothing!" Bat replied, desperately biting back her laughter and running her fingers through her dark gray hair.

"R-right." Charley agreed, wiping tears out of her turquoise eyes. "Ummw-what did you guys bring us to eat?"

"No idea, we weren't allowed to look." Modo said, putting the large pan on the floor next to the two women and giving them a funny look.

"It smells magnificent!" Bat said, opening the lid with her dark gray hand. "Dice didn't make this, it smells too edible."

"Kaitlyn and another woman are working in the kitchen with him." Throttle said.

"She was the mother, right?" Bat asked, taking the plate of food Charley handed her. "Why on Mars did they stick her in there?!"

"They didn't." Throttle said. "She apparently insisted on it."

"Well, thank the gods she did." Bat said around a mouthful of food. "I was dreading this meal."

"So, what's happening?" Charley asked, taking a bite out of her bread.

"They sent out two birds and some bikes to search for her." Throttle said. "We haven't heard anything back from them yet, but it's still early."

"And what about you guys? You're" Charley let the sentence hang, not wanting to say the rest of it. All three mice nodded.

"We can't stand here and pass up that kind of glory, Charley-girl." Vinnie said.

"Don't give me that ego-driven machismo--"

"Charley, Charley, Charley" Throttle interrupted calmly, smiling at her confidently. "You're forgetting that we are the baddest"

"Buffest" Modo added.

"Brawniest" Vinnie continued.

"And best bike-ridin' bros in this universe!" Throttle said. "We aren't gonna let a little war stop us."

"Absolutely." Vinnie said confidently. "Besides, they'd be lost without us."

"We gotta go out there and even the odds, Charley-ma'am." Modo said, smiling.

"Just be careful, okay?" Charley said, worry shining on her face.

"Oh come on, you know us." Throttle said lightly.

"Exactly my point!" She retorted.

"We're always careful." Vinnie insisted.

"Don't you worry about us, Charley-ma'am." Modo said. "We'll be fine."

"Promise?" She asked, real fear shining in her eyes.

"Biker's honor." The three mice said together, grinning.

On impulse, she jumped up and wrapped her arms around their necks. "Remember, you promised." She said.

They reassured her and walked away, resuming their debate. Bat's computer panel gave a loud beep and the lights began fading in and out.

"What's that?" Charley asked.

"The cities computer system is on a network, linked through the mainframe in HQ, and every once in a while the blasted thing just shuts down. Kickstart has been fighting tooth and nail to keep it up and running, the last thing we need right now is a blackout."

* * *

"Please baby, don't shut down!" Kickstart pleaded, typing furiously on the console of the mainframe computer with slender light gray fingers. "Please, please, please" Screens and lights flickered all around him, threatening to shut off. "I can't keep it up much longer Static, the code's starting to fall apart."

"Just a little while longer, said the spider to the fly." The human woman replied from the other side of the room, engrossed in her laptop.

"I'm losing medical." The tall mouse said angrily, trying to type faster. "Damn, why is that always the first to go?!"

"Don't give up on me now, I've almost got it."

"The walls aren't holding, we're losing power." Kickstart said, trying to ignore the lights dimming around him.

"The spider is victorious!!" Static shouted happily as the room went dark. She narrowed her eyes and glared at the mainframe. "Your mama was a vacuum cleaner you rusted out tin can!!" She yelled at the dead computer system. "You both suck!"

"Ten seconds and it should boot back up." Kickstart sighed.

"Well, at least I found the problem." Static said, her dark face illuminated by her laptop screen.

"You did??" The thin gray mouse asked, amazed.

"You had a doubt?!" Static said, looking shocked. "That trapdoor you installed was perfect, I got everything. Of course, fixing this mess is something completely different. You have a sister computer uplinked to this one and it's been rebooting the system." Static said, walking over to the shocked mouse and putting her laptop in front of him. "Look." She said, pointing a ringed finger at the screen. "See the repeated code lines? Those didn't come from this system, they started appearing just before everything started crashing."

"Great, now how is there another comp uplinked to this one?"

"As far as I can tell this is a closed network, no outside hardline links."

"Right, so it has to be something else Satellite?"

"Could they cloak it from your scanners?"

"It's possible, though it would be very difficult." Kickstart said, turning back to the console as it booted up. He typed in a few commands and a picture of Mars appeared with little blue and yellow lights floating around it. "The lights are our satellites, and here's where we are." He said, pointing at the screen. "The blue satellites are the only ones within our range."

"Well, at least that leaves us with only three to deal with." Static said, running a hand over her curly hair. "What are they for?"

"One's a communication satellite, the other two are military."

"So, the question of the day is `where is the invisible satellite?'"

"There're only two options." Kickstart said, beginning to type at the console. "It's either got an extremely advanced cloaking device on it that we've never encountered before"

"Or it's behind one of the other satellites." Static said, picking up on his thought line. "Can you turn the dishes 360?"

"Absolutely, and presto!" He said, smiling as a fourth satellite appeared on the screen directly behind the communications satellite. "We have viper in our back yard."

"Now all we have to do is de-fang it." She said, smiling back at him. "Where is the signal bouncing from?"

"Let's see Blast!"


"Yeah, this is gonna take some time." Kickstart said, shaking his head and rubbing the back of his neck.

"Hey, time we got." Static said. "It's food we don't, I'm starving!" A little red light blinked and beeped on the console. "What's that?"

"Severe weather alarm, looks like a sandstorm may be coming our way." He said as the map on the screen shifted and showed a layout of the area, severe weather outlined in blue. "Yeah, a big one's building up in the Satchka, we should start feeling the effects in a few hours."

Static touched the screen, tears falling down her cheeks. Please, please protect them! God almighty I'm begging you! Haven't they suffered enough?! She tried to picture what the storm looked like from the ground. Probably just a nightmare of sand and wind

* * *

screeching like a banshee across the darkest moors of Ireland. It howled and roared outside the cavern, red sand scratching and clawing against the rock walls of the mountain like some huge beast trying to get at its prey. Jordan watched it, hating it with every fiber of his being, wanting nothing more than to scream back at it in frustrated rage, but he remained quiet as he leaned against the wall of the large cavern. The only light was from the headlights of the four motorcycles.


Jordan turned to the voice behind him and watched the angry brown mouse remove his hand from inside his bike and shake it in pain. Crosswire blew his black bangs out of his gold eyes and glared at his bike from his position on the ground, rubbing his sore fingers.

"I told you not to get so close to those boulders, bro." Shadow said, shaking his red-gray head as he leaned against the cavern wall.

"What'd you do, pick up a rock?" Skydancer asked, tossing her light blue hair over her jet black shoulder as she sat down next to Jayla.

"Yeah, I think so." Crosswire growled, reaching his hand back into the engine of his bike and trying to dislodge the object. "Something's in here, anyways. And if I can justgeta gripon the stupidthingI can Got it!" He said triumphantly. He pulled out a metal cylinder and looked at it in fear. "Uh-oh"

"That doesn't look like a rock to me." Jayla said. "Are you sure you were supposed to remove that?" The violet-haired mouse asked, her silver-green eyes looking a little worried.

"I certainly hope so." Crosswire said, nervously examining the object. "'139-2 Marskin Special.' Thank the stars! It's just a tazer cartridge."

"You've gotta be kidding me." Maaki said, closing her maroon eyes and shaking her head, her silver bangs swinging next to her pale blonde face.

"You expected something else?" Shadow asked, shifting his wiry body to get more comfortable. "Who else but Crosswire would drive around in a sandstorm, across an endless desert, and pick up the only tiny object that doesn't belong?"

"Any guesses as to what a tazer cartridge is doing in the desert?" Maaki asked.

"Sandraiders." Brent said quietly. The dark sandy-colored mouse was sitting against the cavern wall looking up at the ceiling. "They use `em to capture squids and slaves."

"Is there a way to tell what it's been used for?" Shadow asked.

"Let me see it." Brent stood up and walked to Crosswire. He gave the silver object a quick scrutinizing look, shook his head and looked up at Jordan. "What was your sister wearing?"

"A white blouse, green skirt, and jean shorts." Jordan replied, his stomach twisting.

"Unbelievable" Brent said, smiling and leaning back against the wall. "She's still alive."

"I knew it!" Jayla cried, jumping up and embracing her bigger cousin.

Jordan closed his eyes, a small amount of painful relief washing over him. He had already known Carter was alive, but it felt good to hear it from someone else. Turning back to the mouth of the cavern, he looked out at the storm with cold glittering eyes.

"Will they sell her right away?" Shadow asked.

"There's no way of telling." Brent said. "They may have a buyer waiting somewhere, they may want to keep her, it all depends."

"What does she look like Jordan?" Jayla asked.

"Red hair and green eyes" Crosswire said distantly and Jordan turned to him in amazement. The brown mouse was sitting with his back against his bike, his gold eyes focused on something distant as he absently toyed with the red crystal at his throat.

"Hey, wake up!" Shadow called, throwing a rock at Crosswire's boot.

"Huh?" Crosswire asked, blinking in confusion. "What'd I say?"

"Never mind, just pay attention." Shadow said. "Go ahead Jordan, tell us about your sister."

"Well, Carter does have long red hair and green-blue eyes" Jordan said, giving Crosswire a curious look. "She's shorter than me by a couple inches, a lot slimmer, about two years older."

"So that would make her whattwenty-something?" Crosswire asked.

"No, Carter turned 16 the day before yesterday." He said, grinning slightly as he remembered the little winged kitten he still had in his pack.

"What?!" Crosswire laughed. "You're kidding, right? I mean that would make you 14!"

"Yeah." Jordan nodded.

"Man, I wish I had been that big at 14." Shadow said, whistling.

"You're 14?!" Crosswire demanded. "What do you do, eat steroids for breakfast?"

"Hey, who's got all the water?" Skydancer asked, rifling through the packs and coming up with only one small bottle.

Chaos looked at her in slight confusion and picked up one of the packs, his silver-green eyes went from confusion to fear very quickly as he searched through it. The red-orange mouse leapt up and started digging through one of the saddlebags on his bike.

"You did bring water, right?" Skydancer asked.

Chaos nodded emphatically, jumping over his bike and starting to look through his other saddlebag.

"I saw you grab a whole case of water Chaos, where'd you put it?" Shadow asked, grabbing a bag and opening it.

Standing up slowly, Chaos lifted his empty saddlebag and displayed the long gash in the bottom of it. He made a few gestures with his free hand and shook his head, a look of self-hatred on his face.

"Come on, you couldn't have known, don't beat yourself up about it." Shadow said, walking over to the slightly shorter mouse and putting a hand on his shoulder.

Chaos just shook his head, running his hand through his violet hair.

"We'll just have to go find water, stop sweating it." Shadow said, digging in his own bike's saddlebags and pulling out three flashlights. The red-gray mouse tossed one to Crosswire, another to Skydancer, and put the last one in his belt.

"We'd get our water from springs coming out of these mountains when I was little." Skydancer said, putting one of the packs on Chaos' bike. "All we have to do is find one of them." The black mouse said, looking over her shoulder at Crosswire.

"No pressure, right?" Crosswire said sarcastically, putting the two remaining packs on his own bike. "Okay, let's move camp."

The group turned their backs on the storm and began walking deeper into the heart of the mountain. Jordan gave one last scathing glance to the raging winds and turned his back to them, following the mice and wondering what color a sandraider's blood was.

* * *