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!! :->

An Adventure

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

Chapter II:

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 through."

"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."

"All right!!"

"Jordan, did you pack some old clothes?" Kaitlyn yelled from their balcony.

"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 empty highway.

"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 said.

"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 getting caught."

"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, what happened?"

"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. Thank you."

"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 in Chicago."


"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 his feet.

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."

"Dangerous pastime."

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, Carter?"

"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 ya, sis?"

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 forest.

"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.

"I know."

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 for confirmation.

"Er, yeah. I'm a mouse, ma'am. Please don---" Throttle said to Kaitlyn.

"IT TALKS?!" Kaitlyn yelled, interrupting him.

"`He', Mom." Carter said. "Throttle's a `he'. Can we keep him?"


"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 like that."

"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 yet."

"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---"


"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 lake."

"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 garage.

"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."


"Artificial Intelligence."

"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 again.

"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 moving!"

"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, I'llI'll"

"You'll what?" Throttle asked, grinning at his two friends from the couch.

"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 his weight.

"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?" Charley asked.

"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 back.

"I thought you were kidding!" Jordan said.

"What do you mean you found him at the bottom of the lake?!" Charley demanded.

"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 found me."

"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?" Kaitlyn asked.

"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 down."

"Yeah. It's amazing they lasted the first day together!" Modo said.

"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 said.


"Yeah." Vinnie said angrily. "Big, fat, ugly, stinkin' fish!"

"Two fish own companies in Chicago and Detroit, and no one's noticed this?!"

"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!"

"That's disgusting!!"

"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 that!!"

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 quickly.

"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 her backpack.

"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 car lift.

"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. "Thank you."

"You're an amazing cook!" Charley said, taking the last bite of her food.

"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 get them."

"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 to change.

"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 wrong!"

"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 what happened?"

"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 like that!"

"Do things like what?!" Kaitlyn asked. "What are you talking about?!"

"We're someplace else!" Jordan whispered. "This is a different Chicago!"

"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 that!"

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 this."

"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 I need."

"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