Disclaimer: In the words of the immortal Seinfeld, "Yadda yadda yadda."
I, Stoker1439, 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!
In our last installment, the young Biker Mice's plans for a relatively
innocent afternoon watching Super-Ultra-Hyper-Deathmatch on
Pay-Per-View were utterly annihilated when a battalion of Plutarkians
burst into Throttle's home, all armed to the teeth and bent on destroying
our young heroes! Will they succeed?
"Stay still," the Plutarkian in the lead said, jiggling like Jell-O as he stepped slowly through the hole into the den. His form was slightly difficult to make out behind the giant white spotlight behind him, but the young mice saw plainly that he had several more gold stripes (more than slightly reminiscent of stretch marks) on his skin-tight purple uniform than did any of the fish behind him.
And unless Vinnie missed his guess, that fish somehow smelled worse than his subordinates, too. Maybe that was how he earned his rank.
Oooo, bad pun.
"Surround the exits," the leader said quickly, advancing toward the young mice.
"Right, Mr. Scamorze," one of the others said, disappearing and taking a small group of soldiers with him.
"Now," the Plutarkian, Amadeus Scamorze, said firmly, pressing the barrel of his rifle under Modo's chin, "you're all going to be good lads and cooperate, aren't you?"
"Uh, no," the big gray-furred mouse replied.
"And I'm a lass," Bingo corrected, somewhat annoyed.
"Really?" Scamorze asked, raising an eyebrow. "Hmmmm. Well, you don't look it."
Vinnie elbowed a sour Bingo in the ribs and chuckled, "Bet that just sends your self-esteem flying."
Unfazed, the Plutarkian continued, "You're going to let us tie you up and throw you in a closet so we can loot this place unmolested, aren't you?"
The four mice looked to each other, horrified.
"DUDE!!!" Throttle snapped, face drawn down into the most gaping mouth he had ever been possessed of. "I don't even wanna touch you--"
Sighing, Scamorze corrected, "Un-disturbed!!!! Un-disturbed!!!!"
"Oh, okay," Modo said, nodding.
"That's better," Vinnie chuckled, relieved.
"Really had us goin' for a minute," Bingo agreed, wiping her brow.
Suprised, Scamorze asked, "You mean you're going to cooperate?"
"Hell no," Throttle concluded. "Look, buddy, why do you keep asking us questions you know we're going to say `no' to in the first place?"
Sighing, the lead fish put a hand on his hip and sighed, "Because, in accordance with the Geneva Convention, I have to let any civilians in a home I'm preparing to raid know that they have the option of cooperation, or I can be executed."
"Executed?" Vinnie asked, excited gleam in his eyes. "How?"
"Oh, well, it'd either be electrocution or I'd be placed in a plastic box and have small rabbits thrown into the box with me until the level of rabbits was above my head, at which point I would suffocate. I'm allergic to rabbits myself, so it would be a particularly nasty death, you see. I'd get all kinds of hives and that sort of thing."
Throttle nodded, then said, "We need a minute to discuss this."
"Now wait, I-I didn't say you could--"
The four young mice quickly gathered around each other and began to whisper in voices too low to be heard.
Sighing, Scamorze muttered, "This always happens. I hate working with juveniles." He pulled a magazine from his pocket and, brushing the dust from it, sat down in a nearby leather recliner to wait for the young mice to finish.
A few moments passed, and Scamorze became thoroughly engrossed in his issue of PQ--Plutarkian Quarterly.
"Uh, Sir?" one of the soldiers asked his commander, trying to steal his attention away from his magazine.
"Don't bother me."
"Sir? It's urgent."
"I said let me be."
Grimacing, the leader stood up and snapped, "Look, if you have to go, just go around back and--"
That's when he noticed that the room was totally, 100% free of Martian mice (a condition Lawrence Limburger would strive for all his life, unsuccessfully).
"Gack! They escaped!"
"That's what I was trying to tell you, sir!" the soldier replied.
"Why didn't you go after them?!"
"You didn't order us to."
Sinking down on his knees in frustration, the young Plutarkian came to understand why his father, also an active member of the military, had suffered a fatal stroke from stress at the tender age of twenty-nine.
"Okay, I get it now," Vinnie growled sarcastically, fingering the pink silk curtains beside him. "As opposed to fighting the Plutarkians, we're gonna hole up in your parents' bedroom! Brilliant! Then what? We start chuckin' your mom's underwear at `em?"
"Ha ha ha, very funny," Throttle snapped, hands on his hips.
Modo said quickly, "Vinnie's right, bro; what's your plan?"
"Huh?" the gold-furred mouse asked. "Wha'd'ya mean, `plan'?"
Vinnie, Modo, and Bingo looked to each at each other, puzzled, before the youngest of the three turned to Throttle and said, "Well, we figured you led us back here, you've got a plan. Something really really dangerous. You're the idea mouse, bro."
"Noooo, I didn't actually have anything in mind when--"
"Great," Vinnie sighed, sinking down on the corner of the bed. "I'm gonna be dead before I'm old enough t'get my bike license. I hate t'think o' how deprived the world's gonna be without me."
Why does this always happen? Throttle thought angrily to himself. Every time we get into trouble--when we got lost a year ago on that campin' trip, when we flushed that cherry bomb down the toilet at school, crud, even that time when we accidentally voted for Reagan--I always have t'come up with some way to get us outta it! Man! And I ain't even the oldest! This ain't fair!
Glancing back at his bros, though, Throttle could feel his indignation fading. Vinnie was, after all, not even a teenager yet; he was on his way, true, but an eleven year-old, even with all Vinnie's ego and braggadocio, was bound to look to an elder for instruction in this sort of situation. The same held true for Bingo.
But that didn't even come close to explaining why Modo's face looked as nervous and edgy as those of the two younger mice. After all, Modo was three years older than Throttle, and just two years scarce of being an adult himself. Why did he look to Throttle for advice?
Because he respects you, nitwit.
Oh, crud, Throttle thought, face looking like he had just bit into a particularly sour lemon. Not you again.
You are correct, sir! Now, whether you like it or not, Mr. Whiny-pants, your friends look up to you because you're smart and they know you can handle anything that life throws at you. You're the ultimate, "when life gives you lemons" guy. You oughtta be workin' at the mall, makin' lemonade, you're so good.
Don't even think that word around me.
That's the one.
Okay, just remember; you can handle this.
Oh, sure. There's only a whole platoon of Plutarkians better armed than the entire Army on the other side of that door! Yeah, this should be a snap!
Hey, don't give me that lip. I may be just a voice in your head, but I'm obviously the voice of wisdom, so give me some respect or I'm gonna open me up a can of metaphysical whoop-ass.
Better. Look at it this way; you got your friends into this mess; you brought `em over here for the match, you led `em back here when the fish-heads attacked. Big question now, kid, is can you get `em out?
I dunno. I mean, the odds are pretty heavy against us...
Okay, lemme interrupt you for a minute. Two things; one, the bad odds only make it more fun--
You sure about that?
Trust me. You'll understand when you're older, though I think your little white-furred pal over there already does. And two; that was a rhetorical question, okay? You weren't supposed to answer--just act! Now!
"Modo," the tan-furred mouse sighed, "how close are they?"
Cocking one of his ears like a satellite dish, the older mouse replied, "Ah think they're in the hall, searchin' the rooms. They're off t'the right."
Pondering this a moment, Throttle said thoughtfully, "Then they're in Rush's room. Hmmm. Okay. That gives us a little time."
"For what?" Vinnie snapped, now too irritated to be frightened.
"T'get our tails outta here. Modo, you keep an ear open and tell me if they get much closer. I know how to get us outta here, but it's gonna be dangerous."
Bingo asked thoughtfully, "Why don't we just go through the window?"
"Bing," Throttle interrupted, "you've got a long way to go before you'll ever be a Biker Mouse. We've gotta do everything in the single hardest possible way there is!"
"Why? Our lives are at stake here!"
"If you have to ask, you'll never know," the older mouse explained.
Raising an eyebrow, Bingo snapped, "Oh, that made sense."
Shrugging, Bingo sat down on the bed, opened a small black hole and pulled out a piece of string. She began making cats' cradle shapes from it with her quick fingers before accidentally tying them together.
Throttle turned and shouted, "Vincent! Come here a minute."
Vinnie jogged over to where Throttle was standing, just outside his mother's closet. He had already torn the door open and was reaching for something on the top shelf.
"Don't call me `Vincent!' " Vinnie snapped, joining Throttle at the closet. He smirked, then added, "And I hate t'tell you this, but I don't think your Dad's Playmouse collection is gonna be much help."
Throttle glanced down for a moment to stick his tongue out at Vinnie, then turned his attention back to the closet. His fingers slid along the bare, smooth-hewn rock shelf, but found no purchase, save the aforementioned stack of magazines.
Modo, who was still braced against the door, muttered, "Whatever you're doin', bro, hustle!"
Squinting, Vinnie asked, "What are you lookin' for?"
Silent for another moment, Throttle's hands suddenly found their goal. The young mouse pulled a tiny cedar chest down from the shelf and dashed over to his parents' bed, throwing the box down on top of it. Springing the clasp, he asked Vinnie if he remembered when Throttle's mother had gone on her major tirade against Vinnie's own mother about keeping guns in their home (even if they were Vinnie's only momentoes of his deceased father).
Throttle pulled a large-caliber pistol from the box and replied, "Don't you just love adult hypocrisy?"
"YES!" Vinnie howled.
"What're we gonna do with that?" Modo shouted. "Ah mean, ah suppose the gun helps, but ah don't think one's gonna do a whole lotta good against all them!"
Shaking his head, Throttle replied, "Bro, it's not what we are gonna do with the gun; it's what our main mouse Vincent is gonna do with the gun once we're outta here."
Throttle passed the gun in open palms to Vinnie, who snatched it from Throttle's hands with a strange zest in his eyes. Smiling an odd, somehow insane smile, Vinnie pointed the gun and looked through its sights lovingly.
While Vinnie admired his new toy, Throttle joined Modo and Bingo by the door.
"Are you sure about givin' him that thing?" Modo asked nervously. "You know his dad wasn't stable."
Waving a finger, Throttle replied, "That's what I'm counting on. Nobody but Howitzer VanWham would teach a kid to use a gun at the tender age of four."
Bingo grumbled something, and Throttle consoled her, "We can't all be child prodigies, you know. Now, I don't suppose you could black hole us some more guns, couldja?"
Bingo shook her head no.
"I dunno. I tried it a second ago, and it didn't work."
Blowing his bangs out of his face, Throttle sighed, "Uh huh. Okay. I think we're ready to git now."
"An' how're we gonna do that?" Modo cried, frustrated. "They're right outside!"
"By callin' in the cavalry."
Throttle winked, and Modo slowly nodded an understanding nod. Bingo and Vinnie looked at each other and shrugged in their innocence.
The two older mice placed their thumbs and forefingers into their mouths and drew in a deep breath.
Outside, meanwhile, the Plutarkians had just finished ransacking little Rush's room, and found nothing of any consequence inside save a large collection of the Martian predecessor to the Beanie Baby (forget savings accounts; there's no better way to finance a college education than the Bean), least of all their would-be captives.
Quickly, Scamorze led his troops through the cave. It's ceilings were large enough for two Plutarkians to stand one on top of the other and they still wouldn't quite hit the ceiling. Alkali's great height necessitated such a tall cave. But despite the headroom, the Plutarkian soldiers were having a difficult time getting through the narrow halls. They had to move in single file, which led to slow going as they stalked their prey.
"We've checked all the rooms, commander," a young recruit said. "They've got to be in there."
He motioned toward the bedroom with his overly bulbous head.
"Shhh," Scamorze cautioned, leaning close to the door. "I'll be the judge of that."
Voices, young ones, frightened and angry, chattered back and forth behind the door.
Heh heh, Scamorze thought happily. They're in there, all right.
The prattle continued as the lead fish silently ordered his troops to prepare their rifles. After all, these three had already passed up the opportunity to be taken as prisoners (later to be sold as slaves to the Sand Raiders, turning a large profit for both parties), so as soon as the door came down, BLAMMO.
Suddenly, all the noise in the room stopped dead, leaving a wave of silence in its wake.
What? Scamorze wondered, puzzled. This certainly wasn't in the training manuals (actually, it was, but very few Plutarkians in the military read them with any sort of scrutiny).
He leaned in close to the door.
Whole lotta silence goin' on.
"AGH!" Scamorze cried, stumbling away from the door. He held the sides of his head and wished in vain that he had ears to cover.
"Sir, what was that?" a soldier asked.
"Nothing," the commander growled back, "but a whistle."
"A whistle, sir?"
"Yes, a whistle."
"You mean, we're standing out here, ready to completely annihilate them, and they're whistling?"
"Apparently so." Scarmoze shrugged, then quipped, "I suppose impending doom can evoke such strange behavior in inferior creatures such as these."
The commander quieted his troops and said in a voice just above a whisper, "On three. One...."
Inside, the young mice waited anxiously, their hearts beating in their throats. Had the distance been too great for their plaintive musical calls to be heard?
Far away, the silence gave birth to something powerful. The something did not cry out like an infant, but roared. A second passed, and with the roars came a rumbling sound, like thunder. It grew louder and somehow closer to the site of the mice's stand in mere seconds.
But would it come fast enough?
Hurry, all four young mice thought in perfect synch.
The rumbling grew louder, and with it came the growl of a wolf and the roar of a lion rolled into one. If the commander had looked behind him, he might have seen that the thunder had brought some form of lightning with it, lighting up the dark halls with its sudden brilliance.
The commander spun around, suprised by the scream. He watched as bright blue lightning zipped through the narrow corridor, striking down his troops and sending the others into a panicked stampede, dashing both forward and backwardin the cave's narrow hall, making escape from whatever was coming impossible. Arms reach out desperately, pushing and shoving. Legs spasmed outward as adrenaline corsed through the bodies of the fish, fight or flight. The commander was not immune to the fear, but there was nothing to be done. He was at the very back of the hallway, and was effectively trapped.
The thunder reached its climax.
Scamorze reach for his gun and was too late in the doing to avoid the oncoming lasers. One struck him high in the shoulder, another caught him in the thigh, burning and tearing deep tissue as it struck. The pain doubled him over immediately, and before the commander could scream, something black and moving slammed down on his face, nearly crushing his skull as it did.
And unless he missed his guess, the great Scamorze concluded it was made of rubber and looked suspiciously like tire tread.
"They're here!" Modo cried, the ghost of a smile on his face.
"Hurry!" Throttle shouted. "We haven't got time to waste!"
Modo tore the door open, and in his enthusiasm, accidentally tore it from its hinges.
"Just go!" Vinnie shouted, pushing a chagrined Modo through the door. "I don't think Jewel's gonna care, given the circumstances!"
"Why not have the bikes go around to the back?" Bingo asked, raising an eybrow.
"Needed somethin' to beat back those fish, Bing-bro!" Throttle explained quickly as they ran into the hall. "And there ain't no finer tenderizer than these babies!"
There, waiting patiently in the hall, were two of the finest examples of Martian technology that had ever been built. They were motorcycles, and yet, to describe them simply as that did them no justice. Hand-built from Martian steel, known for its strength and incredible lightness, both were engineering marvels. Underneath the chrome and the decoration, the hogs engines throbbed with raw power and screamed of untapped potential. They were able to run in all of Mars' temperature extremes, from its hottest days to its coldest nights. Gravity was a joke thanks to the lightweight yet strangely durable alloys used in building the bikes. Zero to sixty? Pheh, these bikes could pass that starting cold. Laser canons sat exposed on the front of one of the bikes, threatening death to those that crossed the Martian motorcycles.
And yet, all they wanted to do was ride.
"Hey, Lil' Darlin'!" Modo shouted, planting his hands on the rear of his bike and leapfrogging up to the low-rider seat. "Thanks for the assist!"
"Yeah," Throttle agreed, stroking the black crankcase of his birthday present. "Talk about a three-pointer at the buzzer."
Vinnie grabbed Throttle's shirt and used it to help haul himself up, being too short as yet to get on Throttle's bike with any ease. Grabbing his bro's waist, he shouted, "Let's get outta here before we get dribbled!"
"These jokes are really foul," Bingo muttered, climbing on behind Modo and donning his spare helmet.
Throwing a helmet over his head, Modo gunned the engine and led the charge out of the hall. Throttle followed suit, with Vinnie hanging on to the rather inexperienced rider's waist for dear life.
Almost immediately, streams of laser-fire erupted around the mice. Modo yelped as he got knicked in the shoulder and cursed himself for not getting those rear lasers installed on his bike when he had last taken it in for a tune-up. He could only fire front. Throttle's bike was even more defenseless, without even the forward lasers of Lil' Hoss.
Which left only one alternative.
"Vincent!" Throttle shouted as he pulled hard to the right to make it through the narrow kitchen. "Do you think I gave you that gun just for the Hell of it? Little defensive fire might be nice!"
Grinning, Vinnie pulled the pistol from his belt loop.
"Whoo-hoo!" he howled, holding the trigger in and laying down a wide spread of fire behind him, face alight with pleasure. "This is billion times better than target practice!"
"Yeah," Bingo shouted from ahead, "'cept these targets shoot back!"
"That's what's better!"
Vinnie easily found his targets, Plutarkians who had barely survived being run over by the two Martian motorcycles. What he could see, he could shoot. And boy howdy, could that boy see.
"Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!" he crooned, punctuating each word with a shot. "Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, it's not my thing so let it go-o!"
"There's a pleasant little anachronism," Bingo mumbled.
He continued to cover the mice's rears as they suddenly found themselves plowing through the front doors (taking out a set of rare antique stained glass panels that had cost Throttle's mother over four thousand dollars (US), money that a social worker couldn't afford to throw around lightly) and into the great wide open desert just outside Throttle's home.
But outside, it seemed, was to offer no more safety than the cave had.
Modo and Bingo, at the lead, took in the sight before Throttle and Vinnie emerged, the latter's gun still blazing behind the pair, maniac grin pasted to his face.
"Oh Momma," the gray-furred mouse whispered, coming to a dead stop.
Tires screeched in the sand as Throttle and Vinnie joined their bros.
"What is--" Throttle started to ask, but found himself speechless when his eyes beheld the same sight.
Vinnie pushed up the front of his over-sized helmet to see for himself.
The attack on Throttle's home, it seemed, was not a solitary one, nor were the four young mice who had been about to enjoy an innocent afternoon of televised blood and gore the only victims caught off-guard. For all around, Plutarkians were firing on cave walls, lobbing grenades at windows and launching missiles into homes. One exploded near the mice, igniting the sand nearby on fire. The immistakable scent of napalm and ash hung in the air. Windows submitted and shattered at the butts (no pun intended) of Plutarkian rifles. Mice were ripped from their homes, children crying and fathers fighting back with righteous indignation against the Plutarkians destroying what they had worked their whole lives for.
That's when it happened.
One mouse who had decided to fight back found himself caught in the grips of two large, Plutarkian soldiers. A third took a few steps back and pulled a laser pistol, not much different from the one Throttle had commandeered for Vinnie, from his hip holster. With as casual an expression as one might have glancing at a menu, he cocked the gun and pulled the trigger.
The mouse's head exploded in a bright red rain of blood and skull chips.
His widow screamed.
His decapitated body spasmed as the two Plutarkians holding it dropped it casually on the sand. It continued shaking until another Plutarkian pulled out a gun of his own and blasted through the mouse's chest, turning the heart into hamburger.
It wasn't the first time the young mice had seen death, but it was the first time they had ever realized that death was, not even with your head blown off, never quick.
Modo's jaw hung slack.
This ain't real. We were just watchin' TV. This can't be happenin'. This kinda thing doesn't happen on Wednesdays. Thursdays, maybe, but not Wednesdays! How's Momma gonna get to Tag-Team Bingo-- Momma! Oh God, Momma!
Gritting his teeth, Modo gunned the engine as Throttle shouted, "Bro! Where're you goin'?"
"I gotta find Momma!" Modo howled back. "I gotta make sure she's okay!"
"You coulda told me about that!" Bingo snapped as they jetted forward toward the highway.
Throttle, unsure of a better course of action, followed Modo as he raced off in a mad rush to find out if his neighborhood was under such siege.
Around them, the battle continued. Even when the mice found themselves able to get up onto the elevated highway that had nearly cost Modo and Throttle their lives only two weeks before, the signs of battle were still there. Missiles arced across the sky, their tracers leaving a burn on any observer's retinas. Gunfire, both laser and archaic bullets, peppered the air and ripped open bodies on both sides of the road. As far as the eye could see, nothing was untouched by the invaders.
Even the road was becoming less reliable. As bigger missiles struck the ground around the supports, the huge cement trail shook with the rhythm of the battle.
What battle? Throttle found himself thinking as he watched two entire families blown apart by Plutarkian lasers. This is a massacre.
Modo was clearly in panic. His pulse was racing, his breathing much quicker than usual. In a head that his bros often accused of being empty, a single thought raced through; the desperate need to make sure his beloved mother was okay.
Suddenly, a missile tore through the pavement, ripping open a huge gash in the highway, easily fifty.
Focused as he was, Modo easily leapt his bike across. As he landed, a section of pavement cracked and fell away, widening the gorge.
Modo looked back and saw Throttle and Vinnie approaching the gorge, both frozen by fear.
Dammit! Modo thought, gritting his teeth in frustration. What's wrong with--Aw Hell, that's right! He ain't been ridin' long as me! He doesn't think he can make the jump!
"Do it, bro!" Modo shouted. "Your bike'll get you across!"
Throttle gritted his teeth and gunned the engine. The front wheel suddenly popped up, and he found himself soaring over the gulf.
But not soaring far enough. The two mice found themselves once again under gravity's uncharitable domain, falling down.
The bike's rockets fired, orange as...uh....oranges. The thrust they provided began pushing it and its passengers skyward once again. The motorcycle struck pavement and the fire in the pipes hissed away.
Throttle pulled to a stop, panting.
"Nice jump!" Bingo commented.
"Easy, bro," Modo said softly, pulling up and stopping by Throttle's side. "You didn't know the jets would fire themselves?"
Shaking his head no, Throttle turned off the face shield and wiped his sweaty brow with an even sweatier palm.
"Easy," Modo consoled, trying to put away his frustration and remind himself that his bros were alot younger than he, and more inexperienced. Smiling, he added, "You'll catch on as we go."
Vinnie, meanwhile, was having a decidedly different reaction to the event. Instead of Throttle's panic when he found himself approaching a brand-new cliff, the white-furred adolescent had felt adrenilen pumping into his body, fueling his arms, legs, everything with incredible energy. He could have done anything in that instant.
"That," Vinnie whispered, shaking with joy, "was so cool."
Modo, Bingo, and Throttle looked back at their excited peer before agreeing that he was nuts as party mix.
"Now what?" Modo asked, trying to make sure Throttle was still good to ride.
"L-let's roll," Throttle answered, confident but still a little shaken.
Five minutes later found the young mice approaching Modo's home. They passed skimmers trying to escape the carnage that had erupted in Hellfire and were barely able to warn them of the damage done to the road. As powerful as their air-jets were, skimmers, after all, couldn't skim over what wasn't there.
Throttle's characteristic cool had returned by the time they found themselves just outside Rose's home. The young mouse recognized the need for a calm state of mind quickly and had once again taken the lead.
They roared off the road a few feet from the off-ramp that would have taken them to the sandy streets below, so urgent was their quest. Throttle remembered what Modo had said about the rockets and was only in a mild state of panic as they fell toward the ground before he heard the characteristic hiss of the boosters lighting up and slowing the descent. His bike's artificial intelligence would just take some getting used to, that was all.
"Man," Modo whispered, pointing in the distance.
Blue lasers streaked through the sky, whistling, while bullets flew closer to the ground. But that was off in the distance. As the young mice rode up the side of a hill, they found no Plutarkian soldiers to stop them. The bodies of Modo's neighbors and others lay in the sand, rigor mortis already freezing them into a sick picture of their death, and the eldest of the three mice found himself glancing at the stiffening bodies with sad sentimentality.
Oh Momma, Modo thought, closing his eyes for a moment. That's Cord! Ah used to play ball with him when ah was six. And that's the girl used t'sell Mouse Scout cookies to us every year. Please, Momma, don't lemme find you out here, too.
Meanwhile, Vinnie had noticed that the mice weren't the only ones who had met a violent end this day. Plutarkians lie among the bodies, their icy blue corpses sticking out like sore blue thumbs against the rusty red Martian sands and the few sparse clumps of pale brown grass that struggled to survive in the dry climate.
Most of them had laser burns on their backs or heads. Some had holes burnt clean through their skulls. Others had no heads left of which to speak. Curiously, some had a conspicuous lack of a leg or an arm, as though something had blown the limb away.
Weird, Vinnie thought as they rolled onward. Kinda cool, too. But who coulda nailed them?
The white-furred wild child pondered the question for a moment before he finally dismissed it. After all, as his father would have said, thinking was no damn good. And Vinnie's father was, and always had been, his hero, and in Howitzer's only son's eyes, had always been right. There had been no better racer on the track by anyone's standards, and no finer father off it. Howitzer VanWham was braggadacio incarnate, slightly "touched", according to some, but all heart, the sort of father all young men (and mice) wish for.
Just wish you were here now, Dad, when I need ya.
Vinnie fingered the gun longingly, then shook the sentiment from his head and waited for the first Plutarkian to open fire.
It wasn't a long wait. After cresting the hill, the mice rode into a large, shallow valley with sharply-sloping walls. It was frequently used as a baseball field by the local children. Of course, no one would be hitting any pop flies today.
Lasers flew at the young mice immediately like bright, flashing bullets. A few yards away, the battle may have been abandoned, but here, it was still raging.
Throttle's eyes darted across the battlefield, trying to get a visual survey of what was going on, exactly. On his far right were the caves and cavern homes that the Plutarkians were obviously in the process of looting. To the middle of the small, sunken valley were the Plutarkians. Small trenches had been dug by the conquistadorial carp, and most of them were holed up inside these, firing steadily outward.
But at who?
Something zipped across Throttle's line of vision hard from the left. It caught him off guard and nearly sent him flying from his bike.
"Y'okay, bro?" Modo shouted.
Nodding hard, Throttle replied, "Someone's attacking the Plutarkians!" He snorted, "Where were these guys at my place?"
Vinnie chuckled, "Hey, we handled them okay!"
Throttle wondered if he had been as stupid as Vinnie was at eleven before Bingo interrupted, "Look, bros! Whoever's nailin' `em is really movin'!"
Modo was just about to agree when a small beam of light, as if playing some deadly version of tag, clipped the side of his bike and kept going. One of the forks snapped at the impact site and sent both the gray-furred mouse and his young passenger flying off Modo's bike.
"MODO! BINGO!" Throttle and Vinnie shouted in perfect unison.
Vinnie looked up and saw a Plutarkian with a small group of soldiers behind him coming straight towards the mice. He got off a few rounds. He was lucky to hit two soldiers in the chest and another in the arm, but a few of his shots went wild as he was.
"Man!" he shouted. "Only eleven and I'm already gettin' rusty!"
As Vinnie and Throttle rushed to help their bros, Throttle's front tire struck a seemingly normal patch of sand.
It was incredibly ordinary. Just as rust-colored as the patch next to it, and the sand surrounding it for a full mile away for all three-hundred sixty degrees was just the same. In fact, if you were on Mars and you happened to see this patch of sand yourself, assuming the lack of oxygen and the incredibly low pressure of the red planet hadn't already killed you, you might look at it thoughtfully for a moment and say, "Looks like a perfectly ordinary patch of sand to me," your hands on your hips in a jaunty pose, as you know everything there is to know, you big sand expert you. Why, you might even go so far as to step on the sand to prove its normalcy.
Then you'd be dead, because it's not the incredibly normal sand that's important, it's the land-mine underneath the incredibly normal sand that's the thing.
Throttle, Vinnie, and Throttle's bike all went flying. By luck (or a forced coincidence by The Writer), they landed near Modo and Bingo, who were unhurt but a little dizzy.
"You bros....okay?" Modo asked. He had pulled a small pack of flex-plate shielding from a hidden compartment in his crankcase and placed it over the break in the fork. It flowed over the break and fused the prong together perfectly. The surface was as smooth and shiny as it had been before the fork had broken, with nary a hint of the accident left behind.
"Of course we're all right," Throttle snapped sarcastically, rubbing his arm. "I mean, just because somethin' blew up under us while we were doin' seventy in a warzone, why shouldn't we be okay? This concussion's gonna be gone in no time."
"Thank you, smart-ass."
"You're perfectly welcome."
Bingo turned to Vinnie and asked, "How's your arm, bro?"
"I'll live," Vinnie muttered.
"No, you won't," a voice boomed from above.
All four mice looked up.
Scamorze stood before them, pistols in hand. His face was black and blue from the onslaught the Martian motorcycles had wrought on him. Poorly-wrapped bandages covered his wounds. Although most of his troops had fallen prey to Vinnie's careful shots or the onslaught of the two Martian motorcycles,
more than a few soldiers had survived, and all of these were well-armed, sidearms pointed at the four young mice and set to rock n' roll.