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! And here is the missing link! *grin* Happy reading!! :->
Copyrighted to Danya, ©1997, all rights reserved, etc.,
A Day of Discovery
The next day, at about 10:45 am, Carter, Kaitlyn, and Jordan were awakened
by thunder. Carter leaped out of bed and sprinted to their 37th floor balcony.
It was like walking into a warm waterfall. She stood there and laughed as
the lightening flashing across the sky made the hair on her arms stand up.
"Wow!" Kaitlyn said, walking out and standing next to her drenched
daughter. "It feels great out here! That warm front must still be moving
"Let's go on a picnic!" Carter said.
"I don't see why not. We can go down by the lake and watch the light
show after we check out of the hotel."
"Jordan, did you pack some old clothes?" Kaitlyn yelled from their
"Yeah, why?" He called back from inside the hotel room.
"We're goin' on a picnic, bro!" Carter shouted, running to her
room to change.
They packed the leftover lasagna in their picnic basket, turned in the key
to the room, threw their bags in the trunk of the car, put plastic on the
seats, and started the drive to the lake.
"Did you see that sign?!" Jordan asked, turning in the back seat
and watching the fading sign from the rear window as they drove down the
"Which one?" Cater asked, turning to face her brother.
"The one that was supposed to say `Wrigley Field'."
"What did it say?" Kaitlyn asked, curious.
"I could have sworn it said `Quigley Field'."
"It was probably just the rain making it look strange." Kaitlyn
"No, look!" Carter said, pointing to another sign above the highway,
coming towards them. The large print clearly read `Quigley Field, next right'.
"Wee-eird!" Carter said spookily.
"It's probably a Halloween prank." Kaitlyn said as they passed
under the strange sign.
"They must have been real busy." Jordan said. "They would've
had to climb all the way up there, repaint it, and get back down before
"They did a good job, too." Carter said. "You can't tell
it's been altered until you read it."
"Well, at least they didn't change the signs for Lake Michigan."
Kaitlyn said, turning off the highway to the lake.
They parked the car at the entrance of the deserted park and sat under some
trees at the water's edge to eat.
"I'm going for a walk." Carter said after finishing her food.
"Want some company?" Jordan asked.
"No thanks." She said, starting to walk off into the trees.
"Wait." Jordan said, reaching into his backpack and pulling out
the stuffed kitten. "Take Sam with you." He tossed his sister
the little animal.
"I won't let him come with me so he sends you." Carter sighed,
catching the black, winged kitten and looking it in the eyes. She turned
to her brother and scowled at him. "You're strange, Jordan. I'll be
back soon." She called over her shoulder as she disappeared into the
woods, giggling as she heard Jordan's surprised `I'm strange?!'.
Carter worked her way to the far end of the park, enjoying the sounds of
the raging storm around her without getting all that wet. It was nice to
be alone sometimes. It was peaceful. She climbed a tree at the edge of the
little forest and looked out at the hazy lake. There was a long dock reaching
over the choppy water. She tied one of her braids around Samhain and set
him on top of her head so he could look out at the lake too.
The sound of an approaching car drew her attention away from the lightening
sizzling over the immense lake. Carter stared at the blue dune buggy in
amazement as it parked at the end of the dock. The owners of the blue vehicle
climbed out. Their heads were shaved, and they wore sunglasses. They're
wearing sunglasses and driving a dune buggy in the rain?! Are they crazy,
or just plain stupid?! Something about the two men irritated her. She
didn't like them. They reminded her of the street thugs that used to terrorize
her and her family before they moved to Chicago.
They hauled something out of the back of the buggy and tossed it in the
lake, smiling as they watched it sink. THAT WAS A PERSON!!! Carter
looked down at her watch and hit a button on the side, starting a timer.
Quickly slipping off her boots, she hung them on a branch. She was going
to have enough trouble dragging the tall man out of the water without her
boots weighing her down. The two men stayed there, leaning against the buggy
for almost a whole minute, smoking cigarettes. She started to get frustrated.
She was running out of time! After five minutes of being drowned, brain
damage usually started to set in from lack of oxygen, and it was very difficult
to resuscitate the person. COME ON!!! It's raining, you don't want to
stay out here!! You want to be nice and warm and dry at home!! GO HOME!!!
One of the men turned to the other and they got back in the buggy and drove
off. Well, it's about time!!
Carter jumped out of the tree and sprinted to the end of the dock, diving
into the cold water. She spotted a shadowy form and started swimming toward
it. Please!! Please, don't let me be too late!! Something was tied
around him, keeping him at the bottom of the lake. He wasn't moving. She
reached him, finally getting a good look at him, and screamed. Water filled
her nose and mouth, choking her. Frantically, she scrambled away from the
still figure lying amongst the seaweed. She burst from the lake, gasping
and coughing. The pouring rain wasn't making it easy for her to breathe,
but she managed. HE WASN'T HUMAN!!! DEAR GOD HE WASN'T EVEN HUMAN!!!!
Her watch beeped, and she looked at it. It read 1 minute and 45 seconds.
Well, he wasn't human, but he wasn't a fish, either. He's gotta have
air soon! She took a deep breath and dove back under the water. Man,
I hope I'm doing the right thing!!
Carter swam to the strange `man' again and immediately untied the ropes
around his chest, not looking at his face. She forced herself not to think
of the fact that she was touching tan fur instead of skin as she pulled
him free of the weight holding him down. He was all muscle, making him terribly
heavy in the water, but she held on to him, slowly kicking her way to the
surface. Her foot brushed against something and she looked down, thinking
she had to untie another rope. He slipped out of her grasp as she fought
the urge to scream again. HE'S GOT A TAIL!!! He only dropped about
two feet when she grabbed his leather vest and stopped his descent.
With a last burst of panicked energy, Carter struggled to the noisy plane
between water and air to relieve her burning lungs. She broke the surface
and gulped in the rainy air desperately. Almost immediately, she was under
water again, the stranger's dead weight dragging her down. Oh no you
don't!! She looped her arm around his chest and kicked her legs back
to the precious oxygen above. His head rested limply on her shoulder as
she started swimming to the shore that seemed miles away. She could feel
one of his oversized ears brushing against her neck, but she was getting
over the initial shock of seeing an alien and it didn't bother her. Okay,
whatever you are, no, whoever you are, you have to hang in there!! We're
almost to shore, just hang on!
After what felt like an eternity, her feet touched sand. She stood up in
the waist-deep water and dragged the helpless stranger the rest of the way.
The rain had lightened and it was only misting now. Carter got him above
the water line and laid him on his back. Her heart was racing and she was
panting with exertion as she listened for a breath she knew she wouldn't
hear, and searched for a pulse she knew she wouldn't find. How do I give
CPR to aaa mouse?! She gave a little sob, covered his mouth with hers,
and gave him two breaths. His chest went up in response to the air she was
forcing into his lungs. Well, at least that worked. Here's hoping your
heart is in the same place as ours! Her hands quickly found the right
place on his chest, and she started pushing in short, practiced bursts.
15 compressions, 2 breaths. 15 compressions, 2 breaths. Check pulse.
Come on, I don't have all day to do this! 15 compressions, 2 breaths. You
have to wake up!! 15 compressions, 2 breaths. Check pulse. Please, you have
to fight it!!! 15 compressions, 2 breaths. Please, fight!! 15 compressions,
2 breaths. Check pulse. I did not go through all of that just so you could
die on me, damn it!!! 15 compressions, 2 breaths. BREATHE!! PLEASE!!! 15
compressions, 2 breaths. Check pulse. The stranger moved a little and
started coughing, gasping for air. YES!!! She picked up the drenched,
winged kitten, still tied to her hair, and kissed it. And they say black
cats are unlucky!!
Then, Carter sat back, gasping for air herself, and wiped the sweat out
of her eyes. No one ever seemed to understand how exhausting CPR really
was. Just performing the chest compressions is tiring enough, but you also
have to work your butt off concentrating on controlling the force you used;
too hard and you'd break the person's ribs, too soft and you wouldn't be
pumping their heart. Then, not only do you have to struggle to breathe for
yourself, you had to breathe for them, too. She hated the way they always
made it look so easy in the movies!
She took a good look at him when the spots cleared from her vision. He looked
like a biker with his boots, jeans, earrings, and leather vest. He had a
red bandanna around his neck and another one around his right wrist, above
a fingerless glove with three bars on it. There was a funny looking tattoo
on his right shoulder, and dog-collar wristband on his left wrist. He was
covered head to toe in tan-orange fur, and he had two red antennae sticking
out of the tan hair on top of his head. He looked like he could pick her
up and snap her like a toothpick if he wanted to, but something about him
made her believe that he wouldn't.
"Wha-what happened?" He said faintly, squinting up at Carter.
It took her a second to register the question. He speaks English!!
"They threw you inin the water, andI had to carry youout, and---"
She was struggling through the sentence, still trying to catch her breath,
when he interrupted her.
"Wait, wait." He said, weakly trying to sit up. "Calm down."
"I am calm." Carter said, helping him. "I'm just out of breath.
You didn't come back easy."
"Come back? Hold on. Let's start at the beginning. What's your name?"
He asked, shading his eyes and rubbing his chest tenderly.
"That's pretty." He said, smiling. "My name's Throttle. Now,
"These two guys in ponytails and sunglasses drove up in a blue dune
buggy and threw you off the dock, over there. When they left, I swam down
and brought you back here. Does your chest hurt a lot? I thought I had the
right spot, but considering the circumstances, I could've been wrong."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, please don't be mad, but I kind of had to give you CPR, cause
you weren't breathing or anything, and I might have gotten the chest compressions
in the wrong place cause you're not exactly, um, please don't get offended,
but you're not, well, human, and I'm really sorry if it hurts a lot, but
I didn't know what else to do, and I had to try something, cause I didn't
want you to just die, and I---"
"Wait, stop." Throttle interrupted, laughing and taking her shoulders.
"It's okay, just take a deep breath and calm down. Why would I be mad?!"
"I've had lots of people get really wigged out at me about giving them
CPR. They say that they were fine, or that it was their time to go and I'm
wrong for trying to help."
"Well, I wasn't fine, and you weren't wrong. I owe you my life, Carter.
"Look, don't sweat it!" She said, embarrassed, and tried to change
the subject. "Do you live around here?" She closed her eyes and
slapped her head. I can not believe I just said that!!
"Actually, yes I do." He said, laughing.
"Well, not originally, but we stay with Charley at the Last Chance
"Me and my bro's. Wait." He reached in his pocket, pulling out
a damp wallet, and squinted at the contents. "It should be this one.
The white one is Vinnie, and the gray one is Modo."
He handed her a picture of him and two other mice. Vinnie was all white,
and smaller than Throttle. He had an overconfident grin, and a metal mask
covering the right half of his face. Two straps holding small, metal bars
were criss-crossed across his chest. He had earrings and fingerless gloves,
and there was a pink bandanna around his neck. The other one, Modo, was
steel gray, and bigger than Throttle. His right arm was metal, and he had
a patch over his left eye. He had earrings, a fingerless glove and a dog-collar
wristband on his left wrist, and he wore a strange thing that looked like
a chest protector. Neither of them had hair like Throttle.
"They're your brothers?!" Carter asked in amazement.
"No, they're my bro's, my best friends."
"You're wearing glasses in this."
"Yeah, I can't see real well without `em."
"And I thought you were squinting at me because I have such a bright
personality." She sighed, then grinned at him as he laughed. "So,
where exactly are you from?" She asked, handing the photo back to him.
"Well, I guess this throws the whole `little green men from Mars' thing
out the window, huh?"
Throttle gave her a surprised look, then threw his head back and laughed.
Carter smiled at him. He looked big and strong and tough, but he seemed
so nice. She liked his laugh. It was genuine, not like the forced giggles
she always heard at school.
"I guess so." He said, chuckling.
"Can you walk? My mom and brother are on the other side of these woods,
and we can drive you back towhat did you say? The Last Chance?"
"Yeah, the Last Chance Garage." He said, struggling to get to
Carter took his left arm and held it across her shoulders, putting her right
arm around his waist, and helped him up. "Lean against me. I'm a lot
stronger than I look, really." She said.
Throttle didn't put much weight on Carter's slight shoulders at first, but
as they started walking, he had no other choice. He could barely see a thing,
and his legs weren't doing a very good job of supporting him. A root caught
his foot and he tumbled helplessly toward the ground. He was very shocked
when her seemingly frail hand held his left wrist in an iron grip, and the
thin arm around his waist kept him from hitting the hard earth.
"I told you I was stronger than I looked, Throttle." Carter said,
laughing and helping him back to an upright position.
"I believe you!"
Throttle looked down at the slender, human girl in amazement and smiled
at her bright scarlet hair. It seemed to fit her. She came across as so
uninhibited and free, broadcasting her energetic emotions the way a fire
would broadcast light and heat. Carter's vigorous spirit was so refreshing,
that he couldn't help but feel happy, and it had been a while. The last
few months had been especially rough with Limburger and Brie joining forces
against them. Charley was running out of fuel, spare parts, and ammunition
for their bikes, and they were running out of the energy to keep fighting.
Nothing they did seemed to make a difference against the fish-faces. Limburger
and Brie would just keep coming back, day after day, night after night,
slowly wearing him and his bro's down till they started making mistakes.
He had made a mistake that day, and it had nearly cost him his life. He
shuddered at the thought.
"Are you cold?" Carter asked.
"What? No, I was just thinking."
He chuckled, shaking his head. "You know, I don't think your mother
and brother are going to take too kindly to me."
"Oh, don't worry about them. They'll be a little shocked at first,
but once they get over it, they're really gonna like you. You're nice."
Something about the way she said the last sentence made Throttle think that
meeting nice people was a rare occurrence for her. "How old are you,
"Tisk, tisk. Don't you know it's rude to ask a lady her age?"
"Oh, how could I forget!" He said dramatically.
"`Sall right!" She said, laughing. "I turned 16 yesterday."
"Happy late birthday. How was it?"
"It started off great, but I ended up getting into a fight with this
girl from my school. She doesn't like me very much, and the feeling is extremely
mutual!" She stopped and looked up into the trees. "We're almost
there, and they should've heard us by now. Jordan?" She called.
"Yeah." Came an answer from the canopy. "Who ya got with
Throttle looked up, surprised at the boy's voice.
"His name's Throttle. Where's Mom?"
Something suddenly dropped in front of them, landing lightly on the ground.
Throttle could make out a tall, muscular human form with jet black hair,
but that was about it. The boy stood there, not moving.
"She went to the car for a blanket." He said. "Umwhat happened?"
"I was scuba diving and found him in an oyster shell! Will you snap
out of it and help me?!"
The boy shook his head and walked over to them quickly. He looped his arm
around Throttle's waist, helping his sister support him.
"Throttle, this is my brother, Jordan. Jordan, this is Throttle, from
Mars." Carter said nonchalantly as they walked to the edge of the little
"Mars?!" Jordan said in disbelief.
"Don't argue, just accept it." She said.
Jordan looked up at Throttle and shook his head again, turning to his smaller
sister. "Mom's gonna freak!" He said.
A tall woman with short, dark hair walked into view and promptly came to
a dead stop, dropping the blanket she was carrying. Throttle really felt
bad for her. It had to be a terrible shock to see your kids standing there,
helping an alien.
"Mom! You're gonna get the blanket wet!" Carter yelled.
The woman snatched the blanket up off the wet ground immediately, but didn't
move or speak otherwise.
"Throttle," Carter said pleasantly. "This is our mom. Mom,
this is Throttle, from Mars."
"Carter found him in an oyster shell." Jordan said.
"WHAT IS THAT!!??!!" Kaitlyn shouted furiously, pointing at Throttle.
"Well, at least she's talking." Carter mumbled quietly.
"UmI think he's a mouse, Mom." Jordan said, looking to Throttle
"Er, yeah. I'm a mouse, ma'am. Please don---" Throttle said to
"IT TALKS?!" Kaitlyn yelled, interrupting him.
"`He', Mom." Carter said. "Throttle's a `he'. Can we keep
"Please, Mom?" Carter asked. "He's really nice."
"Yeah, Mom." Jordan said. "Please?"
"I promise, I won't forget to feed him."
"He can sleep on the floor in the den."
"We can get him a collar, and we'll be sure to walk him after school
every day. Pleeeeeaaase!!"
Throttle looked down at the two kids, horrified. They sounded completely
serious! They looked back at him and burst out laughing.
"How did I manage to raise such insensitive children?" Kaitlyn
sighed and started walking slowly over to them.
"I'm sorry, Throttle!" Carter laughed, hugging him gently. "We
only said that to get Mom calmed down, I didn't think you'd take it seriously
"Yeah." Jordan said. "We'd never do anything like that!"
"That's right! We'd let you sleep on the couch." She jumped as
Jordan kicked her shin. "OUCH!!"
"So, where exactly do you stay?" Kaitlyn asked, wrapping the blanket
around Throttle's shoulders.
"45th and Prospect, ma'am." Throttle said, chuckling at the two
siblings glaring at each other. "The Last Chance Garage."
"My name is Kaitlyn, Throttle. Call me `ma'am' again, and I'll be forced
to correct your overbite." She said, smiling. "I'm not that old
"Sorry, ma'a--- I mean, um, Kaitlyn."
"Thank you. I'll go get the car." Kaitlyn said, and walked back
to the entrance of the park.
"See, I told you there was nothing to worry about!" Carter said.
"You've got a very brave family." Throttle said.
"Fiddlesticks! Jordan's afraid of spiders!"
"I am not!" Jordan protested. "I just don't like them."
"Enough, you two." Kaitlyn said tolerantly as she drove up in
a dark green car.
They eased Throttle into the front seat. Carter jumped into the back while
Jordan sprinted into the woods after her boots. Throttle rested his head
against the back of the seat and looked out the window at the stand of trees.
He closed his eyes, picturing how Mars used to have trees like that, then
opened them and turned his head as a light hand touched his shoulder.
"Sorry to have to wake you, but we're here." Kaitlyn said.
"What?" Throttle asked, confused and turning to look out the window
at the familiar shape of the Last Chance Garage. "I didn't even know
I fell asleep!"
"Well, you looked exhausted, so we let you sleep while we found the
place. Carter, go knock on the door and see if someone's home while we help
him out of the car."
"His name's Charley, right?" Carter asked, getting out.
"Her!" Throttle said quickly. "Her name's Charlene Davidson,
but everyone calls her `Charley'."
"Boy, I'm glad I asked! I'd've made a dork out of myself!"
"It's not hard, sis." Jordan said, smiling sweetly.
"You are a barrel of laughs, you know that?" Carter said, shutting
the car door on her brother's grinning face.
She trotted up to the door and knocked on it. She heard some movement inside,
but no answer, so she knocked again harder.
"Hello?" She called, checking the door handle. It was locked.
"We're closed!" A female voice answered irritably from inside.
"I don't need anything fixed, I---"
"THEN GO AWAY!!"
"NO!!" Carter shouted stubbornly. "I'm looking for Charlene
Davidson, and I will not go away till you let me in or come out here!!"
Footsteps stomped to the door and an angry woman tore open the door. She
had mussed, dark brown hair that went past her shoulders, and her green
eyes were red from crying.
"What!" The woman demanded.
"Are you Charley?" Carter demanded right back.
"Yes." Charley said, surprised.
"Well, then I have a package for you. I found it at the bottom of the
"In an oyster shell." Jordan said from behind her.
Charley looked up at Jordan's voice. "THROTTLE!!!" She screamed,
running out the door and embracing the tall Martian being supported between
Kaitlyn and Jordan. "I thought you were dead!!" She sobbed.
"Come on, Charley-girl, you know better than that!" Throttle said,
putting an arm around her.
"Don't you ever scare me like that again!!" She said, backing
up and lightly hitting his chest.
"That hurt?! What happened?!"
A crash of thunder roared in the sky and it started to rain again. Charley
and Throttle were the only ones who jumped at the sudden sound.
"Come on inside." Charley said. "Sit down on the couch, I
have to call Vinnie and Modo back." She said as they walked into the
"Where are they?" Throttle asked from the couch as Charley picked
up her radio.
"They went out looking for you!"
A black motorcycle drove from the back of the garage up to Throttle and
beeped happily. "Hey, darlin'!" He said, patting the bike.
"It drove itself!!" Carter said, shocked.
"Yep. Martian bikes have an AI unit implanted in them."
"That's amazing!!!" She said, walking up to the bike hesitantly.
"She won't hurt you, sweetie." He said to Carter.
"BLAST IT!!!" Charley shouted, slamming down the receiver of the
radio. "They're not answering!!"
"Bike, do you know where they are?"
The bike bleeped, and a screen on the front of it lit up. Throttle squinted
at it, trying to make sense out of the chaos of bright light.
"These might help." Charley said, tapping a pair of sunglasses
on his head.
"My specs!" He grabbed them and put them on, looking at the screen
"We found `em with your helmet and bike."
"They're at Limburger tower."
"They're looking for you at a cheese factory?" Carter asked, confused.
Throttle smiled and looked up at her. His smile dropped to open-mouthed
shock as he got his first good look at her. He couldn't believe that this
fragile-looking girl had managed to pull him from the bottom of a lake,
then practically carry him through a forest!
"Well, I didn't think I looked that bad!" Carter said, putting
her hands on her hips.
"What? No!" Throttle said, shaking his head. "I just didn't
expect you to be thissmall!"
Jordan burst out laughing.
"I'm glad you think it's funny!" She said, throwing a small throw
pillow at her brother, who was sitting in a chair.
"I have to go after them." Throttle said, trying to pull himself
onto his bike from the couch.
"You most certainly will not!!" Charley said, pushing him back
down. "You can't even stand on your own!"
"Hey!" Carter said, looking at the screen on Throttle's bike.
"They're heading back here!" Charley said, surprised. "I
hope nothing happened." She said, opening the big garage door as the
sound of two motorcycles started getting louder.
A red bike, carrying a white mouse, skidded angrily to a halt inside the
garage. A much larger gray mouse, riding a blue low-rider, followed a little
slower, but no less angry.
"THEY WEREN'T THERE!!!" The white mouse roared, furiously
taking off his helmet and throwing it against the wall. "THE STINKING
COWARDS WEREN'T EVEN THERE!!!!"
"Vinnie!!" Charley shouted at the enraged white mouse.
"I swear, Charley," The gray mouse growled, taking off his helmet
and revealing his glowing right eye. "If anything's happened to Throttle,
"You'll what?" Throttle asked, grinning at his two friends from
"THROTTLE!!!!" They both shouted, running over to him.
Modo picked Throttle up off the couch and embraced him tightly, holding
him off the ground. Vinnie was a little more reluctant to reveal his relief
and happiness at seeing his friend alive, so he just hit Throttle's shoulder
as Modo hugged him.
"We thought we'd lost you, bro!!" Modo said.
"Modo" Throttle gasped painfully. "Please,I can'tbreathe!"
Modo set him down, apologizing. Throttle tried to concentrate on standing,
but his knees wouldn't listen to him. Modo and Vinnie caught his arms as
his exhausted body gave out on him and his legs folded helplessly under
"Throttle, what happened?!" Modo asked as he and Vinnie helped
sit Throttle back on the couch.
"Yeah! What gives with you going off and having all the fun?!"
Vinnie said angrily.
"Vincent," Throttle said, rubbing his sore chest tenderly. "There
is something very wrong with your perception of `fun'."
"Maybe I should get you some ice for that." Carter said thoughtfully.
She ignored the extremely shocked looks Modo and Vinnie gave her, and walked
into Charley's kitchen, coming out with an ice pack she found in the freezer.
"Where did they come from?!" The two mice asked, seeing the unfamiliar
humans for the first time.
"They brought Throttle back," Charley said. "And if you guys
would answer your radios occasionally, you'd have known that! Now, can we
please get down to what happened?!" She said, turning to Throttle and
sitting in a chair.
Carter handed Throttle the ice pack and sat between him and her mother on
the couch. Modo and Vinnie sat on their bikes.
"Well, this is Carter, Kaitlyn, and Jordan, and that's Modo, Vinnie,
and Charley." Throttle said, pointing to each in turn. "Now, all
I remember is chasing two goons around the corner of a building and something
hitting my shoulder. I must've been drugged, or something, because the next
thing I know, I'm lying on my back, soaking wet, on a beach, with her sitting
next to me." He said, nodding to Carter.
"If something hit you in your shoulder, why does your chest hurt?"
"Oh, that's my fault, sorry." Carter said.
"What?!" Everyone but Throttle shouted at her.
"I told you I found him at the bottom of the lake!!" She shouted
"I thought you were kidding!" Jordan said.
"What do you mean you found him at the bottom of the lake?!" Charley
"And what were you doing at the bottom of the lake?!" Kaitlyn
asked her daughter angrily.
"Okay, look." Carter said. "We were on a picnic---"
"In the rain?!" Charley and the three mice interrupted.
"Well, yeah! I'll explain later, okay? Anyway, I went for a walk and
I saw these two guys drive up to a dock in a blue dune buggy and toss Throttle
off the end of the pier. When they left, I swam down and got him and brought
him to the shore. His chest hurts because I spent forever trying to un-drown
him! After that, we drove him back here."
"`Un-drown him'?" Modo and Vinnie asked, confused.
Charley stood up from her chair and hugged Throttle, tears running down
her cheeks again. Then, she hugged a very embarrassed Carter.
"Thank you." Charley whispered to Carter.
"Hey, don't sweat it." Carter said, blushing.
"I don't get it." Vinnie said. "How do you `un-drown' someone?"
"CPR, Vinnie." Throttle said. "I was already dead when she
"What?! Man, it isn't fair! I miss out on everything!!" Vinnie
said, folding his arms across his chest and glaring balefully at Throttle.
"You---" Throttle was cut off as Modo wrapped his good arm around
Throttle's neck and hugged him again.
He let go quickly, though and knelt in front of Carter. "Thank you,
Carter." He said, holding out his hand to her.
Carter looked across at the huge gray Martian, taking his hand hesitantly.
He was almost impossibly big, and she was instinctively wary of him at first.
She looked into his one good eye and was shocked at the gentleness and sorrow
she saw. Unthinkingly, she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him.
It really hurt to see someone so big and strong, looking so sad and tired.
She smiled as she felt him embrace her back shyly and gently.
"It's okay, just forget it." Carter said, letting go and looking
at his blushing face. "What I want to know is, who would do this?!"
"Limburger and Brie!" Modo said angrily.
"Who are they?" Kaitlyn asked.
"Plutarkian scum!" Vinnie said.
"They're trying to buy up your planet and steal the natural resources
for their own dead world, just like they did on Mars!" Throttle said.
"I know some property they can have!" Carter growled.
"Be nice." Jordan scolded.
"Are they just two guys buying everything, or do they own companies?"
"Lawrence Limburger owns Limburger Industries in Chicago." Charley
said. "And Napoleon Brie owns a company in Detroit. They're usually
at each other's throats, but three and a half months ago they joined forces.
They've been after us, day and night, nonstop, and it's wearing all of us
"Yeah. It's amazing they lasted the first day together!" Modo
"You said they're taking our resources for their own world, right?"
Carter asked. "So, they're not human?"
"No. They're fish. They come from the planet Plutark." Throttle
"Yeah." Vinnie said angrily. "Big, fat, ugly, stinkin' fish!"
"Two fish own companies in Chicago and Detroit, and no one's noticed
"They wear masks that make them look human." Modo said.
"That all depends on your point of view." Charley grumbled.
Kaitlyn's watch suddenly beeped and she looked at it. "It's getting
late, we should probably get going." She said.
"You're right." Charley said surprised, looking at her own watch.
"I should start making something for dinner."
"You haven't made anything yet?!" Vinnie asked piteously.
"It's been kind of a long day, Vinnie!" Charley said.
"We have some leftover lasagna." Carter said. "You're welcome
to it, if you want it."
"What's `lasagna'?" Modo asked.
"You've never had lasagna?!"
"Are you kidding?" Charley said. "All they eat is hot dogs
and root beer!"
"What's wrong with hot dogs and root beer?!" Vinnie demanded.
"I'm not gonna get started. Just let me go get the lasagna." Carter
said, walking out the door into the light rain.
She was only outside for a matter of seconds, but she walked back into the
garage completely drenched from head to toe.
"Carter, what happened?!" Kaitlyn asked as Carter roughly set
their picnic basket down and squeezed the water out of her long hair.
"The awning we parked the car under decided to bust while I was under
it!!" Carter said angrily as she tried squeezing the water out of the
long sleeved shirt she had on. "Why did I bother changing?!" She
looked up and glared at Jordan, who was trying very hard not to laugh. "Oh,
don't hold it in, I don't want you hurting yourself! That's my job!!"
Jordan leapt out of his chair and scrambled away from Carter as she started
to run after him.
"Oh, no!" Kaitlyn said. "You two take this outside! Not like
Kaitlyn watched in frustration as Jordan grabbed a chain attached to a pulley
system, triggering the weight, and was lifted quickly to the roof of the
garage. He climbed onto a beam and looked back at his sister, still laughing.
"CHEATER!!" Carter shouted.
She sprinted to Charley's extended car lift, did one flip, landed lightly
on top of it, and jumped into the air, catching the chain Jordan had used.
Jordan gave a fearful shout and ran nimbly along the beam to a vent that
led to the roof.
"Come back here!!" Carter yelled, laughing and following her brother
"Wow!" Throttle said. "They're good!"
"They're half squirrel." Kaitlyn grumbled, then turned to Charley.
"I'm really sorry, Charley!"
"Please, don't be!" Charley said. "At least they don't tear
the place up!"
"So, what's this `lasagna' stuff?" Vinnie asked impatiently, looking
in the basket Carter had brought in.
"It's a pasta. Now, get out of there!" Kaitlyn said, taking the
basket from Vinnie and slapping his hand.
"Should they be on the roof like that?" Modo asked, concerned.
"I don't want `em falling and getting hurt!"
"My kids fall off this little building and get hurt?!" Kaitlyn
asked, amazed. "Did I mention they can fly, too?" She reached
into the basket and pulled out a pan wrapped in foil, handing it to Charley.
"It tastes better if you reheat it in the oven and not the microwave."
"Won't you stay?" Charley asked. "I mean, it is your food."
"Yeah!" Carter said, entering in the door on Jordan's back with
"No." Kaitlyn said. "If we don't leave now, we'll have to
spend the night in Chicago, and we've already checked out of the hotel."
"You can stay here." Charley said. "The couch is a hide-away,
and I've got some extra blankets in the attic."
"I'm not going to impose on you, Charley."
"You aren't, believe me!"
"Come on, Mom!" Jordan said as he set his sister down.
"You two have school tomorrow."
"We can get up early."
"I have to be at work early."
"We'll take a cab!" Carter said determinedly.
"We can drive `em back." Throttle said.
"I don't want to put you out of your way." Kaitlyn said. "We
live in the far suburbs."
"It's no trouble at all, ma'am." Modo said.
"Yeah." Vinnie piped in. "We'll have `em there in ten minutes!"
"Ten minutes?" Kaitlyn asked warily.
"Well, I could probably do it in five." Vinnie said proudly.
"Way to make her feel secure, Vinnie." Throttle said sarcastically.
"We'll drive `em back safely, honest."
Kaitlyn looked around at all the hopeful faces.
"Well, I'm obviously outnumbered." She sighed. "Why, I'll
never know, after the stunt you two pulled!" She scowled at her children.
"Sorry." Jordan said meekly to Charley. "I wasn't thinking."
"Not exactly an uncommon occurrence with you." Carter said, smiling
and evading her brother's swipe. "We really are sorry, though."
She said, turning to Charley.
"Please, don't worry about it, I'm used to it!" Charley said,
throwing a meaningful look over her shoulder at Vinnie, Throttle, and Modo.
"I'll reheat that." Kaitlyn said, taking the pan out of Charley's
hands and walking into the kitchen.
Vinnie flopped into a chair and Modo wearily sat on the couch next to Throttle.
Charley sat down on the couch next to Modo. Carter went to the bathroom
and changed into the last set of dry clothes that were in her pack, then
sat in the last chair, on her brother's lap.
"Where did you learn to tumble like that, Carter?" Charley asked.
"It was my sixth birthday present." Carter said, looking at the
"You've been in gymnastics since you were six?!"
"No. I was taught it on my sixth birthday, and I've been able to do
flips and things like that ever since."
"Did your mom teach it to you?"
"No." Kaitlyn said, walking in from the kitchen with a tray carrying
seven plates of steaming lasagna. "Actually, she taught it to us after
she learned it." She leaned on the back of the chair her children were
sitting in after passing out the food.
"This stuff is delicious!" Throttle said after trying a bite of
the hot pasta.
"It sure is!" Modo said.
"Mfgmfrmf!" Vinnie managed to mumble through a mouthful of food.
"I'm going to take that as positive, I think." Kaitlyn said, smiling.
"You're an amazing cook!" Charley said, taking the last bite of
"You should taste some of the things Carter can whip up. She can make
anything out of nothing!"
"I wish I could cook like that." Charley said. "If I don't
have a cookbook with specific instructions, I'm lost!"
"I can teach you how to cook without one in two hours." Carter
said. "It's easy!"
"I wish I had two hours to spare!" She gave a tired sigh and looked
at the three dirty motorcycles parked in the corner.
"They need to be fixed?" Carter asked.
"Yeah. I'll have to do it tonight."
"Can we help? We've fixed engines before."
Jordan glared at his sister, but Charley didn't notice, she was still looking
at the bikes.
"I don't see why not. Most of the major stuff has already been taken
care of. I just need to tighten a few bolts."
"You said you kept the blankets in the attic, right?" Kaitlyn
asked, taking Charley's empty plate.
"Yeah, Vinnie or Modo'll know where they are."
"That's okay." Kaitlyn said, taking her children's plates. "I'll
"Don't be silly, they---" Charley turned to the two mice and her
expression went from annoyance to a sad smile.
Modo, Throttle, and Vinnie were dead to the world. Vinnie was snoring softly,
sprawled in an awkward looking position on the chair, Modo was hunched over
with his head balanced precariously on the palm of his hand, and Throttle
was sleeping with his head leaning against the back of the couch.
"It's been so hard trying to find time to sleep with Limburger and
Brie on the rampage. Especially for them." Charley said sadly, reaching
over Modo and carefully taking off Throttle's glasses, laying them on the
little table next to him.
"Look," Kaitlyn said. "I'll clean up while Jordan and Carter
help you, Charley. Then we can all get some sleep."
She took the rest of the plates and Throttle's ice pack, and walked into
the kitchen. Charley showed Carter and Jordan what needed to be done, and
they started working on the bikes. After 15 minutes, Carter was done.
"Charley?" Carter asked, tightening the last bolt on Modo's bike.
"Is there anything else that needs fixing?"
Silence answered her.
"Charley?" Carter asked, looking over the bike.
Charley was sound asleep, leaning against Vinnie's bike with a wrench in
her hand. Carter turned to her brother.
"You done?" She asked.
"Yeah." He said, standing up and wiping his hands on a rag.
"I'll get the bags." Carter said as Jordan took the wrench out
of Charley's hand and gently picked her up, carrying her to her room.
Kaitlyn and Jordan were putting down a pile of blankets and pillows as Carter
walked in the garage with their small bags.
"How can he sleep like that?!" Carter asked softly, looking at
Vinnie's twisted form and putting the bags down.
"Beats me." Jordan said, tossing her a blanket, then spreading
one over Vinnie.
Carter wrapped the blanket around Modo and grabbed two pillows. She laid
one on the edge of the couch, behind Modo, and turned to Throttle as Kaitlyn
put a blanket around him. Gingerly, Carter lifted his head and put the pillow
under it so he wouldn't wake up with a stiff neck. She and Jordan carefully
pushed Modo back so he was leaning against the pillow on the back of the
couch, instead of hunched over. He stirred a little, opening his eye, but
not really seeing anything, and Carter absently stroked the soft fur on
his forehead and cheek. He blinked twice, still unaware of his surroundings,
sighed, smiled sadly, and fell back to sleep.
Kaitlyn looked at the almost comical scene as she unpacked her pajamas.
Her slim daughter was dwarfed by Modo, and yet it was Carter who calming
the huge, gray Martian the way a mother would calm her child. If the sight
wasn't so familiar, Kaitlyn might have laughed. But, as it happened, she
had far too many memories of the spirited redhead acting years older than
was right for any child. She closed her eyes, pushing back the images of
ten years of life that never should have happened, and walked to the bathroom
"Hey, sis, come look at this." Jordan said softly, staring at
a cd he'd pulled from his bag.
"Metallicrank?!" She whispered as she took the cd from him and
read the title. "What group is that?!"
"It's supposed to be my Metallica cd. The music is the same, but the
name is different."
"That's not the only thing." Kaitlyn said quietly, handing them
a map of Chicago she had taken out of her purse. "Take a look."
Carter opened the map and she and Jordan stared at it in disbelief.
"What happened to the map?!" Carter exclaimed softly. "Where
did all these extra buildings come from?!"
"I don't know." Kaitlyn said. "But look at this one."
She pointed to a complex not far from where they were.
"`Limburger Tower'." Jordan read.
"I drive that street to get to work, and I'm pretty sure I would've
noticed a building that size. It did not exist yesterday."
"Quigley Field is here, too." Carter said. "`The home of
the Nubs and Grizzlies'?!" She read.
"Mom, do you still have the paper?" Jordan asked.
"Yeah." Kaitlyn handed him a newspaper.
"Check it out." He said, opening the paper to the movie section.
"There's a `James Bomb' movie playing."
"This is getting a little too strange." Carter said. "Alien
mice that come from a supposedly `uninhabitable' planet, bikes that drive
themselves, fish trying to steal our natural resources, buildings that pop
up overnight, and the names for things just seem to have magically changed!
What is going on?! Why is everything like this?!"
Carter didn't want to believe the things she saw, but, at the same time,
she was hoping they'd stay that way. Everything was strange, and different,
and part of her wanted it back to normal, for everything to be familiar
again. Another, stronger part of her, was praying that it wouldn't change
back. If it changed back, then maybe Throttle, Modo, Vinnie, and Charley
wouldn't be there. Just like Limburger Tower wouldn't be there. I wish
I knew how they did get here!! I know I'm not dreaming!
"It's almost like we're in a different Chicago." Kaitlyn said.
"Oh no!" Carter whispered defiantly to herself as a sudden thought
struck her. "No, no, no, no, no, no! No, that is not possible!"
"What?" Kaitlyn and Jordan asked.
"There is just no way!" She gave a little laugh, trying to brush
off the thought. "It's impossible! This is the same Chicago!"
The laughter gave way to panic. "It has to be!! Mom, it's not possible,
because if it were possible, then it would have worked a long time ago,
but it didn't, so it isn't! It isn't!! We've just been reading everything
"What are you talking about?" Kaitlyn asked, concerned.
"It just doesn't happen like that!" Carter said, her panic shifting
to anger. "It can't! I don't want it to happen like that!"
"Carter, calm down. What do you mean? What's not possible? Do you know
"No. No. It isn't possible! Wishes do not come true like that! It just
does not happen!"
"Holy...!" Jordan whispered, covering his mouth and staring at
Carter with wide eyes.
"Don't look at me like that, cause I didn't do it! I can't do things
"Do things like what?!" Kaitlyn asked. "What are you talking
"We're someplace else!" Jordan whispered. "This is a different
"No it isn't! It isn't!" Carter hissed furiously, closing her
eyes and shaking her head.
"Yes it is!" He said.
Carter felt him hug her tightly. She kept her eyes closed, feeling tears
of disbelief, frustration, fear, and hope burn her cheeks.
"You did it! I can't believe you did it!" He said, laughing softly.
"Did what?!" Kaitlyn growled, frustrated.
"She wished us someplace else last night."
"She wished us someplace else and we're there!"
"No!" Carter sobbed. "It isn't possible! I don't want it
to be possible. I am an ordinary human being, and I can't do things like
She felt her mother's arms wrap around her as well. "No, you're not
ordinary." Kaitlyn said. "You never were, and that's how I want
you to stay! I'm proud of you, baby, no matter what you might think about
"I like it here, sis." Jordan said. "I'm glad we're here
and not in the old Chicago."
"Why?!" Carter choked.
"It's more interesting here." Jordan said, shrugging.
"No!" Carter laughed through her tears and hit him.
"Why is this happening, stupid!" She said, looking up. "I
mean, I can't help but be glad that it is, but why?!"
"I don't know." Kaitlyn said softly, looking at the three sleeping
mice, then glanced at Charley's room, smiling. "But I'll tell you one
thing, I really like them. They're fighters, just like us, and I'd like
to keep them as friends. I don't know who Limburger or Brie are, but I'm
going to find out tomorrow, and I believe Static can help me get the info
"They really could use a vacation, too." Jordan said.
"How long do you think it'll take?" Carter asked, yawning.
"I'm not sure with this place." Kaitlyn said, scowling at the
map. "I'll have to find out tomorrow morning. Let's get some sleep,
we need to get up early."
They changed into their nightclothes and used the rest of the blankets and
pillows to make a moderately soft bed on the cement floor.
* * *
Continued in Chapter III