Disclaimer: I, the Stoker1439, of the Unofficial Biker Mice from Mars Fan Club, in Order to form a more perfect FanFiction, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty and Throttle/Webmaster to myself and my Posterity, do ordain and establish this Disclaimer.
Whoo-hooh! The last disclaimer of the story! Yahoo! Yipee! I'm turnin'
cartwheels here, people!
I do not own "Biker Mice From Mars" (if I did, I'd probably be rich by now, or at least setting Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie up on dates with members of the Unofficial Biker Mice From Mars Fan Club), and I make no profit from this story save the hopefully bounteous joy of my bros in said Fan Club when they read it. This story was written for pure enjoyment, in honor of the show. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
Note: The characters and situations created in this story do belong to me (thanks to the copyright, ha ha!), so please restrain from writing any FanFics using them. All the subtle foreshadowing I throw in could go straight down the tubes with one well-meaning little story. Please respect this wish and don't be mad. You're welcome to try your hand at sketching any of them, however!
We're in the home stretch now, people! The Biker Mice and the Freedom
Fighters have swarmed on the Shelter in a desperate effort to stop the
Plutarkians from killing every mouse inside! But it looks like there
efforts may come to naught, as the deadly gas which destroyed every
living being in Ash has been unleashed upon the innocent citizens inside
the Shelter! Can the Biker Mice save the Shelter, or will they be
The tank-like vehicle that had killed the Dumasians trapped in Ash was now busily doing its work on the Shelter's inmates. It was an old truck originally used to haul large quantities of compressed gases to be used in the Martian space program in its infant days (way before JFK ever stood up in front of a podium and, while fantasizing about Marilyn Monroe, said anything about landing a man on the moon). Now retired with the advent of special devices which formed oxygen and eliminated the need to haul massive quantities of the gas, such vehicles were nearly unused.
Today, though, it was getting a work-out. The old tanker shook, shivered, and bounced as it pumped the deadly gas into the Shelter. It appeared as though the Plutarkians and the Martian government had jointly rented a truck with chronic epilepsy.
"Got any threes?" asked one of the hyper-vigilant Plutarkian guards assigned to guard the tanker of death.
Shaking his head, the guard's companion, also a guard, fanned his cards out (which actually contained a three) and replied, "Go Human."
Grumbling, the first fish pulled a card from the pile sitting on the small card table erected between their folding chairs and added it to his hand (fin?).
"Why did we get stuck with such a boring watch?" the second fish asked.
"Hey, be grateful. We could be out there with the others, fighting those idiotic mice. Now, are you going to Go Human or not?"
"Dammit, you've got to have a three! One pair's already out, we've taken all the cards from the pile, for God's sake, you've got to have the other three!"
"No, I don't," the other Plutarkian corrected. "The deck might not have a fourth three in it, after all."
Sighing, the first Plutarkian dug through his pocket and pulled out a fistful of flat cards that appeared to be made of pure gold. He tossed these at his comrade, who eagerly scooped up the gold-gills and stuffed them into his belt pouch. Once securely hidden away, he handed his opponent the three.
"Now, got any twos?"
The first Plutarkian looked at his hand, which did indeed contain a two.
NO! he thought to himself, panicked. If I give him my two, then he'll win! There has to be some way I can avoid giving this to him!
The two fish turned their heads, the one requesting the two just in time to take a laser-blast to the head. His cranium exploded in a rain of greasy blue skin and blood.
"A little more drastic than what I was thinking of," the surviving Plutarkian said, shrugging and whipping out his pistol, "but I guess it'll do."
But all his frantic firing was useless against the young Biker Mice, who had the element of suprise and were moving too fast for their fat foe to draw a bead on them. Within seconds, they had managed to destroy him (probably a little bit more drastic than what they had intended, but it'd do).
"Now all we gotta do is get in," Vinnie shouted quickly.
"How?" Bingo asked. "The other Fighters have been throwing lasers, grenades, bombs, et cetera, at the dome, and haven't even put a dent in it! Crud, the one at Ash was thinner than this one and it took lightning to put a hole in the roof!"
Throttle, chin in hand, said, "Let's try tearing away the seal, where the tube meets the dome. That should work."
Nodding, Modo wrapped his arms around the huge metal seal. He gritted his teeth and planted his feet in the sand. Taking a deep breath, he tried desperately to tear the tube away from its seal.
But for all Modo's growing strength, he was unsuccessful. The tube and its seal remained firmly in place.
"Won't budge," he sighed, dropping his arms limply at his sides.
"Don't worry, big fella," Vinnie encouraged. "At least it looked cool."
"Yeah!" Bingo chimed in. "The one vein in your neck was standing up three inches!"
Throttle whipped the pistol from his holster and fired straight at the tube. There was alot of smoke, but not a single inch of the rubber monstrosity melted or even heated up.
"What is this thing made of?!" the young mouse asked, scratching his helmet.
"Does it matter?" Chaos asked, dashing down to where the mice stood, puzzled.
Vinnie snarled, "Kinda! If we don't get in there, everybody's gonna die!" His voice softened as he added, "Although the thought of death and destruction on a huge scale is somehow appealing."
Chaos raised an eyebrow.
"You're sick, you know that?"
"His Dad was mentally disturbed," Bingo explained quickly.
"I'd believe it," Chaos laughed.
Modo asked, "Why doesn't it matter what it's made of, Chaos, ma'am? Ah mean, whatever it's made of, it's too tough for us to blast through and get into the dome!"
Shaking her head, Chaos smiled and said, "Think about it. You don't have to go in right where the original hole was." She pointed to the tube and said, "See? It's like a tunnel. A tight fit, true, but--"
"We can go through it and into the dome!" Throttle shouted, eyes lighting up with the relevation. "But how can we get into the tube? We can't make a hole in it!"
Chaos smiled, stepped over to the machine, and cautioned the young mice, "I'll take care of that."
She assumed a fighting stance, picked her leg up off the ground, and sent a round-house kick at the pump-tank.
"Oh, like this is gonna work," Vinnie laughed, crossing his arms.
"S'impossible," Modo chuckled.
"Can't happen," Bingo agreed.
"No way," Throttle said, nodding.
The tank disintegrated the second Chaos's foot collided with it. It changed from one large tank-shaped object into tens of pieces, then hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, etc., until all that remained were particles smaller than the dot at the end of this sentence. The pieces are only this big: .
It was as if a bomb had detonated inside the vehicle. A cloud of the poisonous yellow smoke rose up into the air in the shape of a rutebega.
What, you were expecting a mushroom cloud? This ain't Hiroshima, pal.
The four young mice just stood there, jaws dropped in shock.
"H-how.....?" Throttle asked.
Chaos smiled and said, "Consider it a combination of some martial arts skills of dubious origin and this."
She pulled up her right pant leg to the calf, revealing, instead of a white-furred leg, one constructed completely of metal.
"What the--?" Bingo started to ask.
"No time," Chaos said, pointing to the end of the tube, now freed from the tank.
"You heard the lady, bros," Throttle said, grinning. "Let's ride!"
The four young mice disappeared through the tube.
Chaos grinned and crossed her arms over her chest before plucking a small black box from her belt.
"Harley?" she said quickly. "Go ahead and set up a First Aid station. Something tells me we're going to be in need of your skills."
Without waiting for a response, Chaos replaced the walkie- talkie on her belt.
Now I just have to catch up with--
PHISH PHISH PHISH PHISH PHISH PHISH!
Without warning, a flurry of lasers strafed the ground at Chaos's feet.
Chaos looked up to see a Plutarkian sniper on the crest of the low hills surrounding the Shelter. He wore a blue pair of tracking goggles, and the white-furred mouse had a bad feeling that she was his target.
"This always happens," Chaos sighed, leaping hard to her left. She deftly avoided the first few lasers, moving an arm out of the way or dodging. When one struck her right leg, however, the force reverberating through the metal limb knocked her down.
The lasers suddenly began striking in a path straight toward Chaos. She scrambled to her feet just in time to avoid getting her good leg burned off.
Now the fear of death was upon her. It was much easier to be jovial in a battle when you had the upper hand.
And when lasers are nipping your tail, that is most definitely not considered having the upper hand.
Chaos could feel the heat off the lasers as they zipped by her head. They surrounded her like a merciless swarm.
And it only takes one....she thought, panicked, to herself. Gods give me speed!
But the last thing Chaos would get is speed. Despite the urgency of the situation, the leg which had allowed the white-furred hacker to destroy the tank was heavy and slowed her down considerably. If a laser didn't get her, then she was almost certain to trip herself up instead.
As it turned out, it was the laser. A red-hot beam nailed her squarely in the rear.
"AGH!" Chaos yelped, falling face-first into the sand. She struggled to her feet and muttered, rubbing her sore tush, "That can't be fair play!"
The Plutarkian sniper smiled as the sight of his gun appeared on Chaos's forehead.
"HEY!" a voice shouted.
Looking up, the Plutarkian saw Jimmy on a nearby ledge astride his bike.
"I won't forgive anyone who burns the bottoms of innocent girls!" he shouted. Making absurd arm motions, he cried, "Agent of love and justice, pretty bartender Jamespolychronopolus! In the name of Mars, I will punish you!"
Chaos was as suprised as the Plutarkian. Fortunately, the distraction gave Stoker just the time he needed to zip across the battlefield and pull Chaos up out of the sand and out of danger.
"He is such a ham," Stoker chuckled.
"No argument there," Chaos agreed, pulling herself up onto the biker behind Stoker.
Thanks to a well-timed shot which blew up the fish's rifle, Jimmy joined the two of them promptly beside the dome, where they had stopped for a moment so Chaos could catch her breath.
"What took you?" she asked, smiling.
Lasers suddenly began striking the ground nearby.
Jimmy looked up to once again see the sniper firing at them, with a new rifle.
He pulled the sliver knife from his hip-sheath and tossed it casually over his shoulder. Despite the fifty feet between the gold-furred mouse and the Plutarkian sniper, the blade still buried itself several inches in the fish's skull before the Plutarkian slumped over his small sandbag wall and died.
"Ain't that just like a woman?" Jimmy laughed. "No appreciation."
Meanwhile, our young heroes had made their way through the tube. They had to ride single file, all in a line. Modo had to duck and was nearly riding with his chin on Lil' Hoss's headlight. Their helmets protected them from the deadly affects of the gas, though they all wondered just how long they would be effective. It wasn't the most pleasant trip, but hey, you can't win them all.
"How long do you think it takes a mouse to die from this gas, Bing?" Vinnie asked .
Bingo shrugged her small shoulders and said, "Probably not too long. After all, the Plutarkians in Ash probably had gas masks in there somewhere, but they obviously didn't have enough time to reach them. But maybe since all the mice in Ash were starving, that speeded up their deaths.
"I just don't know. I mean, on one hand, since the fish-faces wanna turn this place into gravel, it wouldn't make much sense if the gas took a couple hours to kill a mouse. On the other hand, though, the Plutarkians're just twisted enough to enjoy watching someone die, watching innocent mice clutching their throats as the gas eats away at their esophaguses and tears apart its delicate lining, like they've all been stricken with some super-fast version of leperosy and are choking to death on their own disintegrated organs--"
"Uh, Bingo, do you mind?" Throttle asked, annoyed, as the end of the tunnel approached. "That's my Dad's esophagus you're talking about."
"An' my Momma's!" Modo added.
There was a moment of silence before the young mice all realized that Vinnie hated his mother and just didn't give a damn about her throat.
"Okay," Throttle said quickly, filling in the awkward silence, "get ready, bros."
They zipped through the opening.
Inside, the gas hung heavy, like some monstrously deadly fog. It was completely still in the absence of wind. The thickness of it was amazing. For a few minutes, the young Biker Mice couldn't see a thing save each other, and only because they were so close.
Throttle turned to his bros and said, "Okay, here's what we're gonna do. Look around and grab anybody who looks like they're alive. The ones who look like they're gonna survive. We can't afford to waste any time on anyone who isn't going to make it once they're outside."
Slightly more softly, he added, "Even if it's someone you care about."
The other three young mice looked at each other nervously as if to ask, "Are you serious?" But in the end, they decided to trust Throttle's judgment.
"Throw `em on your bike and let it take `em out," Throttle concluded. "As soon as your hog comes back, throw somebody else on. Got it?"
Modo, Vinnie, and Bingo nodded.
As luck would have it, they didn't have to go far before they found the victims of the gas. Vinnie tripped over a body which turned out to be one of the mice's teachers.
"Holy--" Modo whispered. "Ah didn't think it was gonna be this bad."
All the unfortunate victims were still gathered in the center of the camp, waiting for the Freedom Fighters to come to their aid. Thousands of them laid on the commons, unmoving.
Would it be cliched to say that not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse?
No one, it seemed, had been spared; male and female laid still together, as if, despite its failings for the living, affirmative action worked for the dead. Children and the elderly had fallen as well. None seemed to breathing, and a few were twisted as the corpses in Ash had been, already beyond saving.
"No," Throttle whispered, shaking his head.
"Momma," Modo said softly, a tear at his eye.
Vinnie, however, never had time to whisper someone's name sadly, as a hand suddenly reach up and grabbed his ankle. He screamed like a little girl.
"Even I can't scream like that!" Bingo commented, looking down. Her grin disappeared as she shouted, "Hey! This guy's still alive!"
The four mice leapt off their motorcycles and found that the fellow who had scared the piss out of Vinnie (literally, he would later discover, much to his chagrin) was indeed still among the living, but just barely.
On top of that, it was Alkali.
"Dad!" Throttle shouted, dropping to his knees immediately and pulling his father into a sitting position. "Dad! Wake up! I'm here! Dad! For God's sake, say something!"
Alkali coughed, spitting up a small clot of blood which Throttle found more than just slightly disheartening, and asked weakly, "Throttle?" He smiled weakly and whispered, "Where've you been? Your mother would be worried sick--"
He moaned suddenly and fell unconscious, growing limp in his son's arms. A droplet of blood surged up onto Alkali's lower lip and trickled down his cheek.
"Hang on, Dad," Throttle said quickly. He struggled to lift Alkali to his feet. His father, however, was too large for Throttle to life alone, despite the young mouse's heroic efforts.
"Little help, bros?" he asked, straining.
Modo quickly stepped in front of both Alkali and Throttle and motioned for Throttle to back away. Back turned to the only mouse in the Shelter taller than he, Modo grabbed the Alkali's skinny arm. Hoisting him easily over his shoulder, Modo drug Throttle's father over to Lil' Hoss and threw him onto the bike's seat.
"Go on, Lil' Darlin'," Modo said, motioning toward the hole. "Hurry."
The bike honked its earnest assent and zipped to the hole.
Throttle looked pale under his fur, and somewhat shaken.
Vinnie put a hand on his shoulder and said, "He'll be okay, bro. Come on."
Bingo nodded and said, "This place's gonna turn into another Ash if we don't hurry."
"Let's get on it," Throttle agreed, nodding quickly. He kept nodding, as if to assure himself that he would be okay.
While Bingo and Vinnie zipped off to start throwing bodies onto the bikes willy-nilly, Throttle grabbed Modo by the arm and said, "Bro, you got that walkie- talkie they gave you, right?"
Modo nodded and pulled one nearly identical to Chaos's from his pocket.
"Buzz Stoker or whoever and let `em know we need a hole in that roof."
"Why?" Modo asked, raising an eyebrow.
Throttle sighed and said quickly, "Think about it, genius. The longer this gas hangs around, the more likely everybody's gonna bite the big one. We get it outta here, there's a better chance they're gonna make survive."
Modo nodded quickly and made the call while the other mice continued evacuating their sick and dying fellow citizens to safety (or at least, as close to safety as a mine-strewn explosion-wracked battlefield comes). It was slow work, despite the speed of the bikes, especially since the young mice not only had to check pulses to see who was still alive, but also had to decide who was well enough to be evacuated. The power of God was in their young hands; who would live and who would die.
Much more responsibility, they would later decide, than they cared for.
Quite a few times, as one of the young mice would come across a school chum or an adult they had known whose life had been choked away by the saffron gas, they would find themselves wiping away a tear. Modo, the most sentimental of all the mice, did this more than any, but was too focused on finding his mother (which he didn't seem to be able to do) to dwell on the deaths he had seen so far.
"Y'know," Bingo commented, throwing a pair of infants onto the back of Vinnie's bike and tying them on with a piece of twine, "if that hole the fighters said they'd make disrupts the electrical current like at Ash, I can black hole everybody outta here."
Vinnie grumbled, "Let's hope it doesn't take much longer, then!"
"Gettin' tired, bro?" Modo asked, grinning. He picked up multiple numbers of adult mice with no apparent difficulty, which irked his three younger bros to no end, who had to work in tandem to pick up most adults.
"Nah!" the young mouse panted between great gasps of breath. "This mouse never gets tired!"
"Well," Throttle chuckled, "you do a great impression of a tired loudmouth, then."
"Am I always the comic relief?" Vinnie mumbled, shaking his head.
"How many are left?" Modo asked, attempting to wipe his brow but forgetting his helmet was on.
Bingo looked over her shoulder and said, "By my count, a couple thousand. But I could be off by a couple hundred."
"Fabulous," Throttle muttered. "We'll only drop dead from exhaustion by then."
"Or those guys might waste us," Bingo commented, pointing.
The three other mice turned.
There, standing behind them, was an entire contingent of Plutarkians, led by--who else?--Amadeus Scamorze, a few years older (but no wiser), chest decorated with ribbons commemorating battles which had gone much better for him than the invasion of Hellfire. All the Plutarkians wore small gas masks over their mouths and their gills.
"Well, well, well," Scamorze laughed, "it looks like four loathesome little lemurs survived."
" `Lemurs?'" Bingo asked, raising an eyebrow. "We're mice, numb-nuts!"
Scamorze, undaunted, continued, "Well, I guess we'll have to put off our looting for a minute to annihilate these annoying adolescent anthropoids."
" `Anthropoids?'" Vinnie mumbled in disbelief.
"These guys gotta be packin' dictionaries," Modo said, shaking his head.
Throttle pulled the gun from his hip and snapped, "Come on, fish-belly. You couldn't beat us back at Hellfire; no way you're gonna waste us now."
Aghast, Scamorze snapped, "So, it was you four who cost me my first promotion! Total success at Hellfire could've gotten me started on the road to Planetary Poo-bah-ship! Thanks to my troop losses, I had to spend a year under Stilton!"
" `Under Stilton?' " the four young mice asked, barely able to repress an adolescent giggle.
Frustrated, Scamorze cried, "More of your puerile pandering! I've had it with you Biker brats! Now you're going to die!"
"Come on!" Vinnie laughed. "Cool guys like me never die!"
"At least, not for very long, if we're going by the examples of death set by comic books," Bingo agreed.
"Get them!" Scamorze screamed, eyes wide with fury (though not as wide as the rest of him was with fat).
The mice leapt on their bikes and began criss-crossing across the commons, trying to draw the Plutarkian fire away from the piles of mice in the center of the Shelter.
"So what's the plan?" Modo asked, ducking a laser.
Without hesitation, Throttle shouted, "Diversion 166!"
Much to the Plutarkians' suprise, the four mice turned, faced them, and stopped dead in their tracks. They all pulled can-shaped grenades from their belts and tore the pins out with their teeth.
Before anyone could blink, the grenades were airborne. Half a breath later, they landed at the Plutarkian forces' feet.
"Scatter!" Scamorze screamed, leaping hard to the right, swallowing sand as he struck the ground, pork belly first.
As the fish dispersed, tripping over mice's bodies, the unexploded grenades began hissing. But instead of turning into bright balls of fire and releasing deadly shrapnel in all directions, they released thick plumes of dark gray smoke, filling the already-clogged air and making visibilty a joke.
"Can't see!" Scamorze cried, terrified.
It was impossible for the Plutarkians to gain their bearings in the artificial fog. They kept running into one another. Shapes in the smoke were attacked ferociously, the assailants assuming that they were striking out against the young Biker Mice, and finding out in the end that they had just killed a fellow soldier. Deaths in this manner accounted for almost half the Plutarkians who fell at the Shelter.
"Hold your fire!" screamed Scamorze. "You idiots! This is just what they want!"
Scamorze heard the sound of engines racing behind him. He spun around quickly on his heels.
There, through the haze, he spied three mouse head-shaped blue lights coming straight at him. Lasers flew out of the fog from them, striking down Plutarkians left and right.
Grinning, Scamorze ripped the laser from his hip. The tracers were almost too easy to follow to their source.
"Ha ha!" he laughed, firing remorselessly at the lights. His cackles were like those of a mad scientist who has finally succeeded in reanimating the stitched-together corpse before them. "You die now, you brats! The Plutarkians will take this planet! We're going to tear apart your cities! We are going to drain your precious canals dry! And I will personally make sure that every last one of your ugly, wretched kind is sold into bondage !"
The lasers certainly struck something, producing a ting-ing sound.
" `Ting?' " Scamorze asked, puzzled.
Suddenly, the lights came through the haze. They were indeed the headlights of the young Biker Mice's bikes, sans riders (for the readers who don't know what that means, the Biker Mice were not on their bikes, `kay?).
"Bondage?" Modo's voice asked as his brown-booted foot flew from the haze and connected with Scamorze's hand. The Plutarkian screamed as the gun flew out of his hand, slid across the ground, and disappeared into the smoke.
"Sounds kinky!" Throttle added, leaping on the Plutarkian and driving him to the ground. The young mouse delivered a powerful punch to Scamorze's jaw, knocking out a few of his sharp, jagged teeth as he did.
"But we ain't got time for that kinda stuff," Bingo said firmly, tearing a long slit in the Plutarkian's stomach with her sword, slicing with ease through the thick layers of fat.
"'Cause we got bigger fish to fry," Vinnie told him, stuffing a grenade into the cut. He left the pin in but kept his finger around it, a frightening grin on his face. "Though how a fish could be much bigger--"
He slapped Scamorze's belly playfully with his free hand.
"--is beyond me!"
Scamorze's eyes were wide with terror. His abdomen ached. He felt moisture pooling in his groin, and something told him he hadn't wet himself.
There was a bizarre quality about it. As he stared up at his assasins, he was aware, for the first time, of what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of death.
"How can--" Scamorze hissed, finding it more and more difficult to breathe, "--children--be capable--of--this?"
"We aren't children," Bingo whispered, face firm.
"We're Biker Mice," Vinnie hissed.
"An' here's something that every Plutarkian in the galaxy is gonna learn if they try to do what you've done to Mars," Modo added.
Throttle grabbed Scamorze by the shirt collar and pulled him so close that the smell wouldn't knocked the tan-furred mouse unconscious if he hadn't been so terribly focused. "We'll do whatever it takes to get you and your stinkin', planet-pilfering, sister-screwing race off Mars. You and any other dumbass bunch of whatevers that get a wild hair up their ass about taking away our home. Anyone who tries it is gonna get their tail whipped courtesy of the Biker Mice From Mars. We'll never stop fighting for our freedom and for our world."
Vinnie grinned and said, "Now that we've finished our big dramatic speech, it's time to go!"
He ripped the pin out.
Scamorze never saw the Biker Mice mount their motorcycles and ride off. The last image he beheld of the world of the living before his one-way trip to Hell was the roof of the dome shattering into huge black chunks.
Then he became so much popcorn fish. Breaded and available for $1.99 at any participating Long John Silvers. Limited time offer. Add 35 cents and get the extra value meal, which includes a medium root beer, french fries, and Hush Puppies.
"No time to celebrate, bros!" Throttle shouted as they drove away from the scene of their recent carnage. "We gotta get the rest of these mice outta here before it's too late!"
An explosion rocked the Shelter, nearly throwing the young mice from their bikes.
"What the--?" Modo asked.
Bingo looked up.
"Bros!" she shouted. "Check it out! They finally blew a hole in the roof!"
"Gettin' us some ventilation!" Vinnie chuckled.
Throttle turned to Bingo as the four mice pulled to a halt.
"I think it's your time to shine, Bing-bro."
"And to save our backs!" Vinnie added, rubbing the small of his spine.
Bingo nodded and dismounted Vinnie's bike. She closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath.
Before a full second had passed, bodies began falling into nothing. The other Biker Mice watched as a huge, dark circle raced to the outside edge of where the bodies of their fallen fellow citizens laid. It stopped a few feet short of the Biker Mice. Plutarkians were swallowed up just as were mice. When all the bodies had fallen into it, the hole closed in on itself.
Bingo swayed for a moment before joining Vinnie once again on his bike.
"How's that?" she asked, grinning weakly.
"Kick ass," Vinnie laughed, knocking on her helmet.
"Where'd you send `em?" Throttle asked.
Rubbing the back of her neck, Bingo answered softly, "They're all just outside the dome, about twenty feet from the tank. If the other Freedom Fighters don't find them, I'd be suprised."
"Well then," Throttle said, looking around, "I guess we've done our job. Let's get out there and see if there's any fish-faces for us to clean up."
And if Momma's safe, Modo thought to himself nervously as the mice rode out through the hole and its tunnel.
Outside was a scene of triumph. All of the Freedom Fighters, it seemed, were gathered and celebrating whole-heartedly. Guns were being fired into the air. Loud whoops filled the plain. The young mice's noses picked up alcohol on the wind, and it didn't suprise them to see brown bottles being opened with reckless abandon.
Stoker was among those celebrating, flanked by Chaos and Jimmy and surrounded by his gleeful comrades. Everyone the mice had met at Freedom Fighter headquarters seemed to be shouting or laughing or drinking.
There's Haywire! Modo thought happily as he watched the white-furred mouse patting Scoot on the backside, and then getting a serious glare from Smoke.
But before Modo could say a word to the new object of his affection, Smoke's cold face broke. He wrapped his arms around Haywire, who didn't struggle one bit. They kissed passionately, and as much as Modo hated to see it, he couldn't miss the loving look on her face.
His heart sank.
Maybe it just ain't meant to be, he thought sadly as the mice parked their bikes.
Suddenly, a hand clapped on his shoulder.
Modo spun around and saw Vinnie behind him.
"Bro," he chuckled, "you okay?"
"Just a little shell-shocked," Modo replied, smiling.
Stoker broke though the crowd around him and dashed to his new young friends, eyes light and laughing.
"Bros!" he cried happily. "You made it! Not bad!"
"We do our best," Throttle replied, shrugging.
"Is it always this much fun?" Vinnie asked hopefully.
Smiling, Stoker explained, "Actually, today was a little slow. Don't worry. It'll pick up. Welcome to the Freedom Fighters, boys."
Modo leaned over to Bingo and hissed, "Ain't you gonna point out that you're a girl?"
Bingo shrugged and said, "What's the point? May as well just learn to live with it. At least until I get some boobs. Then I'm apt to start knockin' heads."
Modo smiled and shook his head.
Suddenly, Harley raced down the hill, breathless.
"Harley?" Stoker asked, face becoming serious in a second. "What's wrong? Who'd we lose?"
"It's not that," Harley said, panting. She rubbed her side, which hurt from running. "Do you have any clue how a couple thousand mice just suddenly appeared next to the field hospital?"
Throttle patted Bingo on the back and laughed, "Your aim's improving."
"You four got a couple thousand mice out of that Shelter alone?!" Stoker shouted, amazed.
"Just us bein' our usual fantastic selves," Vinnie said, ego running rampant.
Stoker laughed and clapped the young mice on their shoulders, perhaps a little harder than he needed to (Throttle fell face-first into the sand).
"I love these kids!" he howled happily.
"Stoker," Harley moaned, "this is serious! A couple casualties, I can handle by myself. A dozen, yeah, maybe. A couple dozen, uh-uh. A hundred? Forget it. And--"
"I get the point," Stoker said gently, putting a hand on her shoulder. "I'll get everyone up there ASAP." He turned to the young Biker Mice and said, "Give the lady a hand, would ya?"
Vinnie's grin spread from ear to ear, crying, "Yes, sir!" He would do anything if it meant being around Harley, up to and including extracting bullets from bodies with his teeth.
"Thanks, Stoke," Harley whispered, tired face smiling.
"No problem, kid," he replied, kissing her on the forehead before she disappeared up the hill.
Vinnie's heart sank.
Lot of sinking hearts in this story, ain't there?
Looks like ah ain't the only one in Heartbreak Hotel, Modo thought sadly as he spared one last mournful glance at Haywire before mounting his bike and following his bros up the hill.
"Dead," Mace concluded, putting his fingers to the neck of an elderly mouse lying on the ground before him.
Chance nodded and made another line on his paper.
"How many is that so far?" the red-haired Freedom Fighter asked, pushing his hair out of his eyes. The strange bulge on his right hand under his glove remained unnoticed by the young mouse Mace was working with.
Counting the marks, Chance concluded, "By my count, we've found forty-six dead so far, and about seven still breathing. Not good."
"That's like a--what?--better than a six-to-one ratio, isn't it?" Mace said thoughtfully, grabbing the mouse's wrists.
Nodding, Chance put his hands around the mouse's ankles and said, "I hope everyone else is doing better than we--"
He stopped suddenly, eyes widening.
"Something wrong?" Mace asked, raising an eyebrow.
Chance said quickly, "His ankles are real warm for a dead guy. Still pretty pliable, too. Mace, are you sure he's dead?"
Mace nodded quickly and said, "Come on, let's throw him on the burn pile."
"Drop him," the mohawked mouse snapped. "I wanna double-check."
"Don't you trust me?" his companion asked, a hint of anger in his normally joking voice.
Frankly, no, Chance thought to himself.
He said nothing as he dropped the mouse's ankles. Mace was caught off-guard and let his end of the old mouse drop.
Carefully, Chance pressed the first two fingers of his right hand against the mouse's throat, searching out the carotid artery. He assumed that Mace had simply touched the wrong place. An understandable mistake, after all; Mace was a computer expert, not an RN. Perhaps he just hadn't paid enough attention in his high school health class.
Imagine Chance's suprise to find the old mouse's throat warm to the touch, with a strong heartbeat coursing through his veins.
"Mace!" Chance snapped, outraged. "This guy's still alive!"
"Sorry," Mace sighed, shoulders slumping. "I'm just not much good at this."
Chance said, an edge to his voice, "Well, after we haul this guy over to the field hospital, I think I'll check pulses and you can start markin' the sheet."
Mace walked off, leaving Chance to pull the old mouse to the hospital alone. When the two of them were about fifty feet away from it, Chance's barely-rescued friend awoke. He was weak, and vomited twice (said spew with small clots of blood in it), but able to stand on his own two feet after a few moments.
"What happened?" the old mouse asked, gazing up at his savior.
"Nothing much," the Freedom Fighter said softly. "Just consider yourself lucky, pal; you almost ended up being burnt to a crisp."
And I got a bad feeling Mace wanted it that way.
"Do you see that big canopy over there?" Chance asked, pointing to the large green tent that marked the small field hospital.
The mouse nodded.
"Do you think you can walk over there yourself?"
He nodded once again.
"But where are you going, young mouse?"
Chance began jogging away, and his voice was nearly lost on the wind as he shouted, "I gotta do some double-checking."
Harley watched miserably as yet another old mouse hobbled into the hospital.
I know it's wrong, God, she thought sadly, turning her eyes skyward, but I wish a few more of these guys had died. It'd make my work a whole Hell of a lot easier.
Please give me strength.
She needed it. Harley was, as Stoker had made all too clear to Mace, indispensable to the Freedom Fighters. In addition to being a skillful mechanic, she was also the only field medic among all the mice who had made their home in the monastery the Biker Mice had chanced upon. The survival of her fellow fighters who were injured as they defended Mars against those who would rape and pillage its scarce resources rested solely in her young hands.
Today, of course, she was overwhelmed. Several Freedom Fighters had died in battle as they fought. Three, by her count. For the Army, it would have been a piddling loss, but for a small group of mice like the Freedom Fighters, three was a high death toll. It was her responsibility to prepare these corpses to be buried, though today's dead (including Jude, who would never get in that game of Tetris) would be burned with the dead of the Shelter.
And many more had been injured. Scoot had been brazed by a laser, as had been about a half-dozen other fighters. A few had taken direct shots to the chest, but the distance was great enough that the wounds were not fatal. Harper had been knocked off his bike and was covered in scrapes. One mouse had the terrible misfortune to sprain his tail, an injury which could take a full year to heal and required months of near-total stillness.
Now, on top of all this, Harley had to take care of a quarter of a city's population, and while the other Freedom Fighters were aquatinted with First Aid, she was basically alone in knowing how to treat the sickest of the sick, the ill-est of the ill, and the nearli-est dead of the nearly dead. She was lucky only in the respect that one survivor of the Shelter was a doctor, and was well enough to help her out.
Still, the young mouse was nearing exhaustion, and wouldn't be able to keep going much longer without rest.
And this is the age when I'm supposed to have "the mindless energy of youth", she thought wryly. I can't wait to see how much get up and go I've got when I turn a hundred.
Harley shook her head and downed a glass of water before turning to deal with another one of her "patients." She was suprised to find Throttle standing there behind her, helping to hold his father up while the older mouse drank deeply from the mug his son held.
"Oh!" she said, smiling. "Hello....um....Throttle, right?"
The young mouse nodded and said, "Yeah. How's it goin'?"
Laughing bitterly, Harley flopped down in a nearby chair and chuckled, "Do you really wanna know?"
"It's all right. I'm just a little overworked, that's all. Kinda tired."
Shrugging, Throttle said, "Look on the bright side. Any mouse can kill someone, but you're bringing life back to mice who would've died otherwise. That makes you more important than any other Freedom Fighter here or anywhere."
Harley smiled and blushed a bit. She wasn't used to such compliments.
Alkali laughed weakly and said, "Your mother always said that if you didn't turn out to be a Biker Mouse, you'd be a writer!"
Suddenly, Vinnie stumbled inside the hospital with rather overdramatic flailing and cried, "Catch me, I'm gonna fall!"
Harley and Throttle both watched Vinnie fall flat on his face.
"You could've made an effort," the white-furred mouse sputtered through a mouthful of dirt.
Throttle shrugged dismissively and said, "You look tired. Been haulin' our fellow citizens in?"
Vinnie rose to his feet and nodded wearily.
"Take a load off," the older mouse encouraged, nodding toward a chair. "We're gonna be here a long while. You gotta keep your strength up."
Being a tad over-dramatic, Vinnie fell into the seat and slumped over.
"So," Harley asked wearily, "there alot left out there?"
Nodding, Vinnie said, "Tons. But I don't think you've got too much work ahead of you. Most of the mice here were real old or real young, and......I guess the gas worked on them faster."
Real young, Throttle thought to himself nervously. Dad made it okay, but....
Cautiously, Throttle dipped his shades ever so slightly and asked, "You...didn't find Rush out there, did you?"
Shaking his head, Vinnie answered, "No such luck."
More than slightly worried, Throttle turned to ask his father if he knew Rush's whereabouts, but Alkali had already dozed off, still weak from the gas.
You little brat, Throttle thought to himself, unconsciously clenching his fist in anger. You'd better not be dead.
Suddenly, a voice said from behind, "Throttle? You busy?"
Throttle spun around and saw Stoker standing behind him, hands on his hips.
"No, not at the moment," he answered, shrugging his shoulders. "I was just helpin' fix my Dad up, s'all."
"Why don't you come with me out to the field and help bring mice back for awhile?" he asked. Motioning toward Vinnie with a grin, Stoker added, "You'll probably last longer than your skinny little pal over there."
Vinnie just sneered at the older mouse.
"Sure," Throttle replied, following the older mouse outside.
Which left Harley and Vinnie, if you don't count the hundreds of dead and dying mice in the field hospital, alone.
And, amidst his sweaty palms and raging hormones, Vinnie surely did not count them.
"Well, cutie," Harley said, rising to her feet and dusting off her pant legs, "let's get busy. "Follow me."
I'd follow you anywhere, Vinnie thought to himself, a stupid grin rising on his face.
For the time being, however, we are going to follow Throttle and Stoker. Don't whine. We'll catch up with young Vincent's efforts to get into Harley's heart a little later.
Don't give me that look! I'm in charge here, dammit!
Anywho, the two of them walked through the rocky hills together en route to where the remaining citizens of Hellfire laid, waiting to be treated. Fortunately, a few Freedom Fighters had been intrepid enough to begin caring for those who hadn't yet made it to the tent, taking some of the burden off Harley and saving lives in the process.
Throttle could see this on the plain they were approaching. His sharp eyes easily picked out Flail and Haywire among them. Somehow, it didn't suprise Throttle a bit to see Modo helping out. But he had to wonder: was it because of the older mouse's moral code (the "my dear-old gray-furred Momma" stuff), or Haywire's presence?
"You comin', kid?"
"Huh?" Throttle asked, looking up.
Stoker stood about fifteen feet ahead, hands on hips. The light of the dying sun lightened his dark hair, and made the older mouse's toothy grin seem all the brighter.
"Sure!" Throttle shouted, sprinting up to Stoker's side and walking with him once more.
"What was that all about?" Stoker asked, smiling.
"Just thinking," the tan-furred mouse replied. Keeping up with Stoker was a harder task than he had bargained for. Even when the leader of the Freedom Fighters was walking casually, Throttle had to quicken his own strides just to keep up. He was nearly out of breath.
"Nothing wrong with that." Stoker chuckled a bit and added, almost sourly, "Not enough of that in the world these days."
Throttle laughed a little in agreement.
"Just thought you'd spotted a Plutarkian or something," the older mouse continued. "I mean, we won the day, but there could be--and I'd be suprised if there weren't--some still around here, waiting for us to let our guard down."
"I'll keep my eyes open," Throttle replied. He paused for a moment, then asked, "Y'mind if I ask you a question, Stoke?"
"Fire away," the older mouse encouraged.
"How long have there been Freedom Fighters? I mean, is this just the most recent incarnation or what? Were there Freedom Fighters during the Century War? Or the Clan Wars?"
Shaking his head, Stoker laughed, "I haven't had so many questions thrown at me at once in a long time! Forgot what it was like to be around kids."
Kids? Throttle thought to himself, puzzled. We helped save a city's worth of mice and he calls us kids?
Shrugging, Throttle took the small blow to his self-esteem and let Stoker speak.
"Well," the older mouse said thoughtfully, "there weren't always Freedom Fighters per se. I formed these Fighters about two and a half years ago, nearly three. I figured that the Army couldn't beat the Plutarkians, or at any rate, they needed someone to show them how it's done."
"But in a sense, there are Freedom Fighters in every war. Because an Army usually doesn't have an emotional attachment to where they're fighting. When they fight, it's sort of detached. It's not their homes that are going up in smoke, their children or lovers lying dead in the street. If they don't beat whoever it is they're fighting, in the end, it doesn't matter, because their own cave is still waiting for them. Their life is safe.
"But the mice who have grown up on the streets of that city, got their education at that school, met their wife in that park, they won't surrender to those who are destroying it. And they won't accept defeat. They'll fight to the last mouse if they have to. And sometimes, they do.
"Those are Freedom Fighters, Throttle. Ordinary mice who take up the battle. Because they can't stand idly by and watch their lives be destroyed."
Throttle just blinked.
"Damn," he whispered. "You're--you're sharp."
Stoker snickered and shrugged his shoulders.
"That's nothin'. You should've seen the last paper I wrote as a graduate student.
"Seriously, though. You're pretty slick yourself. I'm impressed, and I'm not an easy mouse to impress. Otherwise the Fighters would be everybody you see plus a leigon of drunkards from Jim's bar."
"No," Throttle sighed, shaking his head. "I mean, I suppose I'm smart, but--"
Stoker's hand suddenly clasped on Throttle's shoulder. He kept walking, but spoke at the same time.
"Throttle, do you realize that right now, with this war going on, it doesn't matter how elegantly you can speak, or what the effects of the Industrial Revolution were, or even which president we had before Abrahams!"
Puzzled, Throttle asked, "We had one before Abrahams?"
Shrugging, Stoker sighed, "You wouldn't think that.
"But that's not what's important. Facts are nothing in a war like this. Knowing your times tables won't keep a laser from frying your brains. What's important is a mouse's ability to survive, to fight, and to get those around him to believe in him. Now it seems to me that you have all three of them down pat. You're a leader, kid, and a good one."
A leader? Throttle thought to himself.
"I've seen the way you and your bros operate. Like a well-oiled machine, almost. Like when you four were fighting with Smoke. Granted, Modo was getting the shit kicked out of him, but the rest of you just zipped in and took him out. You told `em all what to do, right?"
"And you can get mice behind you. I mean, I doubt you had to convince your bros to save Hellfire, but you managed to get the Freedom Fighters, who barely know you kids at all and might have had some serious misgivings because of your age, to back you up. That's something."
Shrugging, Throttle tried to clear away the blush on his cheeks mentally (losing battle).
"Hell, just getting the four of you from Hellfire to here couldn't have been a small feat! That's alot of responsibility for someone your age. You're gonna turn out to be a great leader someday, Throttle."
See? the annoying voice asked, making a comeback. There's been a reason behind my constant pestering!
Throttle didn't answer the voice, but turned to Stoker and asked, "Stoke, have you ever had a little voice in your head--"
"--that annoys you to no end and forces you to take on responsibility, to do what's right by those who care about you, et cetera?" the older mouse concluded, raising his eyebrows.
"Yeah!" Throttle cried joyfully.
"Crud, I had one of those for years!" Stoker laughed. "Way before the war was even a twinkle in a Camembert's eye. Pissed me off all the time. Thought I was going nuts. I called him `Steve.' "
"That's the one," the younger mouse sighed, wiping off his brow. "Except maybe for the Steve part. I dunno, I never asked him.
"I was afraid I was the only one it was happening to."
Stoker shook his head and clapped Throttle on the back warmly.
"You'll go far, kid. You'll go far."
The two mice were approaching Modo. Throttle called out, "Hey, bro," and knelt beside the older mouse, who was himself hunched over a body.
Modo didn't answer Throttle's call.
Puzzled, Throttle tapped Modo on the shoulder. Again, Modo seemed oblivious to his younger bro's presence.
Dammit, Throttle thought to himself. Don't tell me Rose is dead.
Throttle peered around Modo's side and saw that his eldest (not counting the newly-acquired friend Stoker) bro was deep in conversation with his mother, who, luckily, had survived the gas and was doing just fine. Modo's eyes were filled with joyous tears. His helmet sat at his feet.
"I knew you'd be back," Rose laughed softly, stroking her son's face. "You're a good boy, Modo."
Modo smiled ear-to-ear and sighed happily, "Oh, Momma."
Stoker grabbed Throttle's arm and whispered gently, "Come on, kid. Leave a tender moment alone."
The two mice walked off, with Modo never even knowing that they had been there.
"Ah was afraid you might be--" Modo started to say.
"Modo, you know I wouldn't leave you," Rose whispered. "I could never leave my baby boy. You know that."
Modo smiled back contentedly.
"But what's with your new clothes?" his mother asked with a smile, fingering Modo's olive green vest. "I don't think I ever bought you one of these made of Kevlar."
Caught off-guard, Modo stammered, "Well, Momma, ah--that is--"
"Take a deep breath," Rose encouraged, putting an arm on Modo's shoulder. Modo did.
"Now, tell me what it is you want to say."
Nodding, Modo said softly, "Momma, ah know how you feel about me fightin' in the war an' all, but.....well.....ah got to, Momma! Ah can't just sit here while the Plutarkians turn Mars into gravel! Ah mean, who knows what could happen next? They almost killed you--next week they could be after Kathe! An' Gossie! An' Rimfire, too! They can't take my family away, Momma. Ah won't let them!"
Rose sighed heavily, and Modo couldn't help but wonder what fury would be in her eyes when she looked back at him. He hadn't learned much yet in his short life, but the one thing that had been made clear from day one was this: don't screw with your mother.
But angry eyes rarely found a setting in Rose's face, and they didn't today. Instead, they were smiling at Modo, a little sadly, but certainly without anger.
"Modo," she said, taking his hand in hers (Modo's of course dwarfing Rose's own), "I'm not keen on the idea of having my only son fighting in a war with lasers flying around everywhere, grenades going off, mines exploding underfoot--"
Ah think she just described all of Vinnie's dreams in one sentence, Modo thought to himself, smiling.
"--but at the same time, I know what you're saying. Truth be told, I'd like to fight myself, but I'm afraid I'm a little too old for that."
"You're not old, Momma," Modo said, smiling.
Rose chuckled, "Flatterer! But seriously, Modo, I know what it's like to be young and to want to fight. I fought in the Battle for the Cerise River against rats when I was in seventeen, so don't think I've never been where you are now."
"But what about the whole `family dying in war' thing?" Modo asked, puzzled. "Didn't your parents fight you about it?"
Shaking her head no, Rose explained, "Well, Modo, I was the first woman in my family to fight in a war. We didn't know if a girl would fall under the family curse. As luck would have it, I didn't. Obviously. And, yes, my father--your grandfather--wasn't keen on the idea, but when he realized how much I wanted to fight, how much I wanted to defend my family and my home, he couldn't refuse me."
"Okay. But ah thought you ran away from home when you were thirteen," her son said thoughtfully.
"And that played a major part in it," Rose agreed. "The point is, Modo, I'm not about to refuse you. You've got my blessing. Just don't do anything stupid, and do your Momma proud."
Modo grinned happily and hugged his mother tight against him.
"Ah love you, Momma," he whispered.
Rose smiled as she pulled away and laughed, "Besides, if it's a gene that decides whether male members of our family will survive a war, maybe we'll luck out and you'll have gotten yours from your father!"
Laughing, Modo agreed.
What neither had noticed, during their entire conversation, was that a Plutarkian, one of the number that had fallen into Bingo's black hole with the mice but had not yet run away into the hills to avoid the wrath of the Freedom Fighters, had been carefully sneaking up behind them.
He knew he was going to die. Before he ever signed up for the Plutarkian Planetary Conquest Army (3239th battalion), our friend had been diagnosed with an inoperable cancer hidden deep within the twisting fibers his brain stem which would fell him within the space of a year. Since Plutark isn't particularly picky about the physical condition of their soldiers (motto of the medical examiners: "Hey, they're gonna die anyway, right?"), he had been sent off to Mars with a unit of his own to command.
Now, they were all dead, thanks to the efforts of the young Biker Mice, and so, their leader thought to himself, "Hey, why not me, too?"
And he'd decided to take a few Freedom Fighters with him.
Care to guess who he picked?
His slimy hands grasped the barrel of a rifle one careless Fighter had dropped while pulling another mouse to safety. The Plutarkian grinned and held it over his shoulder like a baseball bat as he tip-toed over to where Modo knelt with his mother.
Modo looked up just in time to see the rifle crack down on his skull.
"MODO!" Rose screamed.
Ha ha! Fooled you! This is the last part. No cliffhanger ending!
If there is one bad thing about holding a half dozen boxes in your arms when you aren't allowed to put them down, it's that it makes particularly inaccessible areas, especially if it's rude to touch them in public, very, very itchy.
Such as Vinnie's right but cheek.
Must.....refuse.....urge to.....scratch! he thought miserably, gritting his teeth. Can't be....rude in front of....beautiful.....girl! But must do something......soon. Starting to....think....way William Shatner.....talks!
It was completely maddening. For ten minutes, as Harley moved from bed to bed, took this temperature with that thermometer (and who knows where that had been), Vinnie tried desperately to first ignore the itch, then to scratch it unobtrusively with his tail, and finally to reach it with his hand. But it was no use--he couldn't let go of the boxes, lest he should drop their delicate cargo.
"Are we about done yet?" he asked hopefully.
Harley laughed bitterly and sighed, "Don't I wish. Just be patient."
That's the one thing I can't do! he thought miserably.
At this point, only one thing was keeping the young mouse sane.
With the combination of her constantly having her back to him and just as frequently bending over "patients," Harley unwittingly afforded Vinnie an absolutely smashing view of her butt.
I've had.....dreams like this, he thought to himself, gritting his teeth in misery. Only with....more nudity and.....less sick mice....around.
I didn't think my....butt.....would itch.....like this, either.
"What're you looking at?" Harley asked suddenly as she turned around and plucked one of the syringes from the topmost box, utterly destroying Vinnie's daydream in the process (it did nothing to alleviate the itching, however).
"Nothing?" he said weakly, hoping she would buy it.
Either Harley was too work-addled or she just didn't care, for she didn't reply.
Maybe....trying to have a....whatchmacallit?....conversation....will take my mind off the damnable....itch! Vinnie thought, clear proof that the itch was driving him out of his mind.
"So, how long you been with the Freedom Fighters?" he asked quickly.
"Hmmmm," Harley muttered thoughtfully. "Well, I think it's been a little over a year now."
So far, so good! Vinnie told himself, nearly panting. Now.....to ask as.....subtly as possible......if she has a.....boyfriend.
"So, you got a boyfriend?"
That's Vinnie for you. Subtle as a freight train being shoved down your pants.
Harley silently pondered the question for a moment. She was not trying to figure out if Vinnie was just making a casual inquiry or was actually interested, nor was she trying to find a way to spare Vinnie's feelings if he did have said feelings for her.
The truth of the matter was, Harley was uncertain what the answer to the question was.
"Well....." she began.
Fortunately, although it never seems to happen enough in the life of this The Writer, something came along to disrupt the awkward silence.
"HARLEY!" a voice shouted.
Before the mouse-mechanic can ever ask what was going on, she found Stoker grabbing her arm and dragging her off into another section of the tent, one curtained off for the most ill of the mice.
Vinnie watched her being drug off. He shrugged, threw the boxes into the air, and scratched his ass with wild abandon.
God, he's so handsome, Harley thought to herself, almost moaning mentally as she gazed up into Stoker's face. It might not have been gorgeous by most accounts, but Harley couldn't help but swoon a little bit as she watched the older mouse's long hair whipping behind him and gazed upon his strong, square chin and (usually) laughing eyes.
The answer to Vinnie's question might not have been "Yes," strictly, but perhaps, "There's a guy I like," would have sufficed.
Get ahold of yourself, Harley, she thought hard, gathering her senses about her. Something's gotta be majorly wrong, or Stoker wouldn't be dragging you off like this.
God, he's so cute.
"What's wrong, Stoke?" she managed to ask, finally dragging herself up out of the depths of her infatuation.
For the time being, anyway.
Stoker tore the curtain opens and said quickly as Harley stumbled in behind him, "It's Modo. Plutarkian clubbed him with a rifle without a helmet on."
Harley glanced around, and, true to Stoker's word, there laid Modo on a makeshift pallet, out colder than a blizzard in Antarctica. Nearby stood his mother, in tears, crying something about a curse. Throttle had his hands on her shoulders, trying to reassure her, and Bingo stood on the other side to give additional support.
Stoker rushed out of the room to get Vinnie. If Modo wasn't dead, then he might very well be brain damaged. The blow may have crushed his skull, or cracked it, at any rate.
"How long has he been out?" Harley asked quickly.
"Since he got hit," Throttle said quickly. "We drug him back here after the fish-face konked him. He hasn't been conscious since."
"My baby!" Rose howled, eyes filled with tears.
Biting her lip, Harley circled around Modo carefully. There was no blood, it seemed, but he was very unresponsive. Screaming in his ear did no good, nor did anything in her medicine bag. His skull felt relatively intact through his fur, but that was no sure indication of whether or not he would wake up.
Oh God, she thought to herself miserably. We've lost a few already today; this kid's too young to go!
Vinnie suddenly dashed into the room, a half-eaten sandwhich in one hand. His face was whiter than normal, but looked a bit more annoyed than worried. Stoker jogged up from behind and motioned him over to Throttle and Bingo.
"What's goin' on?" he asked.
"Modo got whacked," Bingo said softly.
"He might be dyin,' " Throttle added.
Glancing over to his still bro, Vinnie snapped, "He can't do that! For crud's sake, we've been through too much together for him to cop out now!"
He dashed over to the bed and stood next to Modo's head, asking, puzzled, "How could somebody with a skull this thick get killed by a bonk to the head."
Harley shook her head and said, "He might not die, but he could be in a coma for the rest of his life. Nothing's waking him up."
Vinnie thought the situation over carefully until a sudden idea came to him. He plucked his small, cobalt bottle of Plutarkian Bloodleaf Extract from his right pants pocket. Shoving the sandwich into his mouth, Vinnie uncapped the bottle and held it under Modo's nose.
Tense moments passed, with no sign of life from Modo.
Oh God, Vinnie thought to himself, if you bring Modo back, I promise, I'll stop being such a narcissistic jerk. I swear!
Immediately, Modo sat bolt upright, looking as though he was about to vomit from the stench of the chemical beneath his nose.
"Holy shit!" Bingo cried. "It's a miracle!"
God, Vinnie thought hopefully, please don't hold me to that promise.
"And now," he added, with all the showmouse-ship of a game-show announcer, "to prove there's been no permanent damage (beyond what was already there)...."
He casually strolled over to where his bro sat, practically convulsing, and said off-handedly, "Hey, bro?"
Modo looked at him, eyes glassy, glazed over, and quite possibly mentally retarded.
"Smoke scratched your bike's paint job."
"HE WHAT?!" Modo howled, jumping to his feet. Practically screaming with rage, he charged out the tent, shouting, "AH'M GONNA KILL THAT BASTARD!"
As Throttle and Bingo watched Modo go off on his errand of death, they congratulated him heartily. Of course, what the young white-furred mouse really wanted was Harley's approval.
Vinnie smiled proudly and winked once again at her.
Unfortunately, her attention was diverted to Stoker, who wasn't exactly oblivious to it, if having his hand on her ass was any indication.
"This is gonna be harder than I thought," he muttered to himself, frustrated.
Chaos, whose presence had gone mostly unnoticed by the mice in the tent in their joy at Modo's survival, turned on her heel and walked out without so much as a word. Jimmy, however, followed her out and caught up with her easily. One thing was for sure; that bionic leg definitely slowed her down.
Of course, Jimmy was no slouch himself. For a mouse who had served as the best barhop in Ash for thirty years straight with little or no additional physical activity thrown in, he was in better shape than most of the other Freedom Fighters.
Maybe his fast-paced sex life had something to do with it.
"Chaos!" he shouted, finally catching up to her.
She stopped and asked, as if she knew what he was going to say, "What?"
"You okay?" Jimmy asked softly.
She didn't sound very sure of the answer.
Poor kid, Jimmy thought to himself as Chaos walked off into the desert. I wonder if Stoker's got any idea....Probably not. Wouldn't suprise me in the least if he didn't have a clue. Bright mice are usually complete idiots when it comes to stuff like this.
Glad I never hopped in the sack with that one, the gold-furred bartender decided of Chaos. McKlash is a good kid, great friend, smart as a whip and cute as you get, but much too deep for me. I'll take my shallow-spur-of-the-moment love-'em-and-leave-'em romances any day of the week.
It was at that point that he happened to notice a rather lovely young refugee with a mane of flowing blonde hair walking out of the field hospital unescourted.
Here comes one now, he thought to himself, grinning.
"Hey, hot stuff," Jimmy called out, grinning.
She looked back at him and smiled warmly.
"Hey," she replied, walking over to him. "I guess you're one of the he-mice that saved our tails."
"You could say that," Jimmy replied coolly, shrugging. "You busy?"
"Not exactly," she answered. "Why?"
He locked eyes with her, and without so much as a trace of humility, asked, "Wanna screw?"
"Sure, why not?"
She wrapped her hand around his and walked off together to some slightly secluded rock formation, yet another victim of the strange animal magnetism of Jamespolychronopolus.
Meanwhile, back at Union Block, Abrahams was getting reamed out by Klaus Black.
"I'm disappointed in you," Black said coolly. He sat in one of the plush leather recliners bought with Plutarkian money, his gigantic form creating an appearance not unlike an adult sitting in a tiny child's chair. "You didn't keep your end of the bargain."
Abrahams was frustrated beyond frustration.
"What are you upset about? I put the Dumasians in the camp, I told the Plutarkians to kill them, and they did!" he howled back, stalking angrily around the room. "Of course, it took them two extra years to do it, but they're gone now! How was I to know the Plutarkians would betray me like that?"
"You're a perfect fool, Abrahams. The Plutarkians will betray anyone if they can get something out of it for themselves."
Black rose from his seat and flicked his wrist casually at the Martian President, who was suddenly lifted into the air by some unseen hand. He floated there, and clearly against his will, if Abrahams' flailing limbs were any indication. The strange, wolf-like creature's spell was holding him suspended in mid-air, and simultaneously created a terrible, splitting pain throughout the elderly mouse's entire body.
"I did my best," Dahmer whispered weakly. He felt as if red hot irons were being thrust into his body.
"Your best was not good enough. I've got half a mind to destroy you, Abrahams, right now. I've wasted years of my power and influence on you, grooming you for your role as leader, and this is the thanks I get? Failure! Failure! Everywhere I turn! Thanks to your incompetence, Azrael has survived and now posesses the Inferno Sword! The entire rest of the Order could be allowed to live if the Holy Knight had been destroyed!"
Abrahams gritted his teeth and moaned as the pain continued its journey through his body. His was certain his head was about to explode.
Suddenly, he fell to the floor.
"But," Black continued, "as I've said, I have sunk alot into you, mouse. I'd hate to lose all that work, when you still may amount to something. Damned if I know what, though.
"So I give you another chance. I want you to accomplish just one task, one simple task. Succeed, and I will spare you."
"Anything," the President whispered wearily.
"You must find for me the Holy Knight of the Order of St. Dumas. Find them, tell me their true identity, and I shall give you the weapon with which to destroy them. Do you understand?"
Abrahams nodded weakly.
"Good!" Black cried happily, clapping his hands. He placed one mammoth paw on the mouse before him's prone head and healed the growth of the tumor he had created to stop and then reversed its growth.
While the Martian President laid weakly on the ground, recovering his strength, Klaus continued cheerfully, almost giddily.
"Now, I know you're a busy mouse, what, with selling your planet to the Plutarkians and all, soooooo I'll cut you a break. You have five years in which to uncover Azrael's identity. Fail, and the tumor starts to grow again. Faster, even, than it would now. Making up for lost time, you understand. It's only fair."
Abrahams pushed himself weakly up to his knees, coughing.
A hand suddenly grabbed him under the chin, and the President found himself staring into Black's eyes; hard, cold, and yet burning with a dark, alien fire.
"Don't disappoint me."
With a wave of his cape, the leader of the White Wizards' Guild disappeared.
Slowly, Abrahams managed to rise to his feet. He wearily walked over to his desk, head still pounding. Klaus Black may have posessed the ability to heal, but it felt like he had only made things worse.
He sat carefully in his plush leather chair, nearly knocking over the small vase which contained Lewin's ashes (a momento and reminder of Black's power), and flopped his head down on his desk.
Glib folded one of her few shirts that had survived the attack and placed it in the small green suitcase before her.
"So," she sighed, "you're staying with the Freedom Fighters, then?"
Vinnie, standing in the doorway, nodded, a sullen expression clamped onto his young face. His arms were crossed over his lean chest. The wound he had received yesterday showed all too clearly on his arm. Yet as ugly as it was, it paled in comparison with some of the marks Glib herself had given her son.
"If you nodded," Glib said, "I didn't see it. My back's to you, remember?"
Glib's young son wanted to shout, What do you care where I go?
Instead, he muttered. "Yeah. I'm stayin'. Everybody says I'm good at this, and it's better than buryin'' with my head in the sand waitin' for the war to end."
Vinnie's mother wanted to wrap her arms around his neck and say, I'm proud of you. And your father would be, too. And I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for everything. Please don't hate me.
"Good," Glib replied.
"I don't know if we'll ever see each other again," Vinnie continued. You're probably thrilled, too.
"It's hard to say."
"Where are you gonna go?" he asked, pretending to examine the backs of his knuckles.
God I hate you. How can you be such a bitch?
"I'm going to go stay with one of my aunts in Firestone."
You never took me to meet any of my great-aunts, Vinnie thought angrily. I didn't even know I had any! Thanks for robbing me of another facet of my childhood, Mom!
Glib closed the suitcase and walked out the door slowly.
Suddenly, she threw her arms around Vinnie, who was caught off-guard.
Despite all his vehement hatred of her, despite the anger, despite all the years of abuse, his hard face softened and, slowly, he put his arms around her. A tear coursed down his cheek slowly, tracing a path nearly identical to the one on his own mother's face.
I never thought I would lose you, they both thought to themselves. Never thought I'd miss you, either.
They pushed apart slowly. Glib whispered, "Be careful," and Vinnie replied casually, "You know me."
Then, she picked up her suitcase and walked away, out of Vinnie's life.
He watched her go, and although he didn't immediately acknowledge her presence, Vinnie was fully aware of Bingo joining him.
"You know," he said sadly as his mother closed the door behind her, "I always thought this would be the happiest day of my life. But it ain't."
Bingo shrugged and sighed, "I just don't get why you aren't jumpin' for joy."
"I think I learned somethin' today, Bing-bro. That no matter how much you hate your blood, they're still family, and you still care about them, no matter how much of a jerk they are."
"Buck up, bro," Bingo chuckled, trying to cheer him up. She punched him in the arm and laughed, "That life's over; that life of bein' beat up on, abused, and all that. Now you got a new one, one with your bros and guns and ammo and explosives and grenades and all kinds of good stuff!"
Vinnie smiled and laughed, "You know, Bing, you always find a way to put it all in perspective!"
"That's what I'm here for!" Bingo replied, shrugging happily. "Cheerful irreverence."
The younger half of the Biker Mice soon joined up with Throttle and Modo, who were preparing for the long haul back to the Serene Monastery with the rest of the Freedom Fighters. The bikes had to get the once over from Harley to make sure they didn't break down on the way back, weapons had to be stowed (though care was to be taken so that they stayed handy in case of sneak attack), and the doctor rescued by the Freedom Fighters wanted to make sure no one was going to die of internal blood loss on the way home.
Wouldn't that just ruin the jubilant mood of victory?
"So," Stoker asked, joining up with the four mice, "you guys about ready to roll?"
"Yeah," Throttle replied. "We've been ready."
Stoker nodded and said, "Good. If we're lucky, we'll get out of here before--"
Chaos suddenly jogged up to the leader of the Freedom Fighters and said, "Stoker, your little pal is here."
"Ugh," Stoker sighed, shaking his head. "You know, just once--once!--I'd like to finish up a battle without Scabbard coming around and giving me a hard time just because we're doing his job for him!"
Shrugging, Chaos chuckled, "You knew the risks when you took on the job."
"That I did," he laughed sadly. "And I wouldn't give it up for anything. Where is that happy, happy mouse that we all love and treasure?"
"On his way over," the hacker replied. "And he wants your head."
Modo asked curiously, "What? You and Scabbard got some bad blood between ya, Stoker?"
"You could say that," Stoker replied, shrugging his shoulders. "I don't like him, he doesn't like me, we both wanna save Mars but it ain't gonna happen unless he opens his eyes, you know. One of those kinda deals. And every time we manage to stop the Plutarkians, Scabbard goes all he can go to get out to wherever it is we are and tries to has me out."
"You could probably beat him senseless and be done with it," Vinnie pointed out.
Chaos said, smiling, "He has. And you see how much good it's done?"
"You boys wanna watch?" Stoker asked, tightening the bracers on his wrists. "Should be good."
Jimmy jogged over and added, "Odds are 12:1 for Stoke to stuff Scabbard's own tail down his throat within the first five minutes of the fight!"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world!" Bingo piped.
As the four young mice followed Stoker to where his fight would commence, Throttle stopped for a moment on a ledge and said, "C'mere, bros."
"We're gonna miss the fight!" Vinnie howled.
"Just come here."
The Biker Mice gathered on the ledge. From it, they could see a small pink canal tracing its way to the horizon across the wind-swept plains below. A sprinkling of small scrub bushes and short, gnarled trees grew along its banks.
"Lemme guess," Vinnie said, crossing his arms. "This is the part where you make some dramatic speech, right?"
"Well, I was," Throttle snapped, "but I think you just ruined any drama that was building, so what's the point?"
Vinnie smiled and said, "I'm glad that I kept us from having to listen to that."
Shaking his head, Throttle looked out onto the plain and sighed, "We did good today, though, bros. We saved an entire city."
"Or at least a fraction of its population," Bingo added under her breath.
"Details, details," Vinnie laughed. "We were whippin' some serious tail! I can't wait to start doin' this on a daily basis!"
"Ah think this is gonna be fun," Modo chuckled.
Suddenly, Scabbard's body was thrown just past the young mice. Throttle had to leap out of the way so he didn't trip of the older mouse's body skidding past him.
"Out of the way, bros!" Stoker howled gleefully. "He's mine!"
As the four young mice watched their new mentor beat the crap out of Scabbard, Throttle smiled and thought to himself, I think we're gonna be alright.
And that, little children, is the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end. How the Biker Mice first faced off against the Plutarkians, battled with their inner demons, joined the Freedom Fighters, and saved the majority of the citizens of Hellfire, all the while growing up and developing morals and all that crap. These won't be the last hard times they'll face together: not by a long shot. Before they would see another half-decade pass, they would suffer great injury, be betrayed by one they trusted, and end up exiled from their home planet. And yet, despite the constant persecution from mutant haters everywhere, the students of Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters would continue to fight in a world that hates and fears them.
Oh, no, wait. That's X-Men.
The Biker Mice just kick Plutarkian ass and have a good time doing it.
Suddenly, in current time, Limburger Tower blew up.