Disclaimer: You know the drill.
Oh well, here it goes: 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!
Hey, Biker Buddies! Back to the Show!
The last part ended, predictably enough, with Throttle, Modo, and
Vinnie in the grips of a deadly cliffhanger. En route to their hometown
of Hellfire after a narrow escape from the Shelter where they've
been confined for the last two years, they're suddenly caught in
strange silvery metal coils by unknown assailants. Before they can
even get a glimpse of their attackers, they find guns at their heads!
Looks like trouble!
"Hey," Modo said thoughtfully, "didn't the last part end alot like that? Somebody gettin' ready t'off us?"
"That's just the nature of cliff-hangers, bro," Throttle replied, shrugging his shoulders.
"Get off the bikes," whoever had ambushed the mice snarled. "And don't make any false moves."
"False moves?" Vinnie asked, feigning shock, his tail snaking around the feet of whoever had put the gun to the back of his head. "Us?"
"Wouldn't dream of it," Throttle added, wrapping his tail around the ankles of his assailant.
"Never," Modo agreed, performing the same task.
The three young mice sat absolutely still for a moment, which is all the longer they can sit still.
"GO!" Throttle shouted.
The mice quickly jerked their tails upward, sending the aggressors sprawling to the ground, and knocking the guns from their hands. Easily, Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie caught the sidearms and pointed them directly at their foes.
"I love this stuff!" Vinnie laughed, now holding both his own pistol and the newly stolen one.
"Now," Throttle said firmly, "how about you fellas just mosy along and let us continue on our merry way?"
Modo nudged Throttle and said, "Bro! Check it out! They're Army!"
"Well I'll be damned," Throttle said thoughtfully, looking them over. Indeed, the four who had attacked them were all clad in the red, yellow, and green fatigues typical of Martian soldiers.
Most of them were obviously older than the Biker Mice, ranging from their thirties to their fifties, and were male. All save one. This pale-furred contemporary killer was female.
"You got a nice way of sayin' `hello', slick," she snapped, obviously meaning her barb for the leader of the threesome.
"Do I know you?" Throttle growled back, squinting at the black-haired mouse..
It was then Throttle made the connection.
"Aren't you that girl we met at the Shelter? Carbine?" he asked.
"You remembered my name," Carbine said, faint smile on her lips. "I'm impressed."
She accepted Throttle's extended hand as he helped her up.
"Hey, I never forget a pretty face," he replied, smiling.
Damn he's cute, Carbine thought to herself.
Damn she's cute, Throttle thought to himself.
Damn I'm cute, Vinnie thought to himself.
The Biker Mice looked around and found themselves surrounded by heavily-armed Army troops. Still, for military mice during a major war, their casual stances made them look as though they hadn't seen any real action in months.
"What are you Biker Brats doing here?" a voice snarled. All three Biker Mice recognized it as the one that had told them to freeze.
They turned and saw a mouse, roughly as tall as Modo but three or four times as old (for those who are poor at math, take Modo's current age, 19, multiply by the cosine of the arc of the tangent, add the by the standard deviation, and divide by pi). He had pale brown fur, a buzzcut you could set your watch by, and wore red cameoflague. A tiny pin on his right breast (hee-hee, you said "breast") proclaimed him to be "Sgt. Scabbard."
Before any of the young mice could answer, likely with some incredibly witty reply, Scabbard shook his head dismissively and said, completely unamused, "Forget it. I don't even want to know."
He turned to several of his soldiers and said, "Escort these three to base. You stay with them, Carbine. The rest of you, once they're all there, I want you at the rendevous point within the next fifteen minutes."
With that, Scabbard walked off, the rest of his troops following obediently behind him.
"What's up his butt?" Vinnie asked, offended.
"Ah'd guess a two-by-four," Modo replied.
"Yeah, now there goes a mouse who's just full of warmth," Throttle agreed. He turned to Carbine and asked, "Well, we got our rides, but how are you gonna get to this base of yours? I don't see any buggies or skimmers around."
Carbine dug through her pockets and chuckled, "Well, maybe if you three would hush up for five seconds, I could tell you."
Throttle smiled and said, "Your wish is my command."
She produced what appeared to be a pair of silver tubes one on top of the other, the top tube fitting slightly over the bottom one. Buttons, dials, and a small digital readout studded the top tube.
"Is that a--" Throttle started to ask
"Portable Transporter Beacon?" the girl finished. "Yes. The main unit is back at Army Base. This piggy-backs the signal. It'll pull us in there."
Taking a moment to check the settings, Carbine then twisted the top tube slightly and hit a red button.
Hours later, on Army Base, the young Biker Mice tried to figure out what their next move would be.
Per the instructions stated in the Army's latest briefing on dealing with citizens found in a war zone, Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie would be interred in one of the troops' bunkers until Scabbard's return, when their fates would be decided.
"Well, this is almost as fun as bein' back home!" Modo sighed, flopping down on an immaculately-made bed.
"I dunno, bro," Vinnie replied, leafing through a copy of Playboy imported from Earth. "Apparently, there're more perks t'bein' in the Army than we thought!" Under his breath, eyes widening all the while, he added, "Wow. These chicks don't have much hair at all. Except there."
Modo snorted, "Well, if girlie mags are the only decent thing about the Army, ah'll just keep failin' mah classes once we get home."
Throttle's ears perked up immediately.
"Is that why you haven't exactly been applyin' yourself, bro?" he asked, sitting up and dipping down his new glasses.
Sighing, Modo rubbed his neck and tried to trivialize the issue as best he could, saying, "Aw, bro, you know ah've never been good in school--"
Vinnie looked up from the huge-breasted humans before him and said, "Throttle's got a point, bro. Even you aren't that dumb."
"Gee, thanks," Modo snapped.
After ten minutes of pestering from both his bros, along with ten minutes of being pinned to a bed and threatened with Vinnie's smelly socks, Modo admitted, "Ah promised Momma ah wasn't gonna fight. She's afraid ah'm gonna get killed."
"And once you get your diploma," Throttle conjectured, "you'll be up for the draft, ergo, you'll end up in the Army, and, if your Momma's right, you'll end up dead."
"Bingo," Modo agreed.
There was a moment of silence as the young mice forgot the absence of their little bro and waited for her to ask, "What?"
"Wonder where she is?" Vinnie said quietly.
"Sound like you're gettin' sentimental," Throttle chuckled.
"No way!" Vinnie snapped. "I'm not into the mushy `sensitive guy' stuff! I'm one-hundred percent macho mouse!"
"Macho mouth, anyway," Modo corrected.
Throttle let out a long breath and stretched out on the bed.
"Chill, bros," he sighed. "May as well enjoy this while it lasts. If we get sent back to the Shelter, then we're right back where we started. Stuck in those suffocating little boxes they call `rooms', gettin' an education that won't get us squat, trapped." Throttle sighed again and added, "I'd almost forgotten how good it felt to be out in the desert, riding in open spaces, where there aren't four walls all around you."
Modo and Vinnie nodded somberly.
"How long's it been?" Modo said thoughtfully. "Two years?"
Nodding, Throttle said thoughtfully, "But I bet I can put it in an even better perspective. When we went in, Vincent, you couldn't straddle my bike. Now your feet touch the ground almost as easy as mine did when we first went through those gates."
There was a long silence as the three young mice thought that over.
"Wow," Modo whispered, staring at Vinnie's legs as if they were something completely new, like they hadn't been there before. "It has been a long time."
The silence was broken as the door swung open. In stepped Carbine without a hint of shyness, not knowing what a profound moment she had just interupted.
Vinnie quickly hid away his magazine (stuffing it into his pants pocket for later) and snapped, "Don't you ever knock?"
"Tact isn't my strong suit," she replied, shrugging her shoulders. She turned to Throttle and asked, "Can I talk to you?"
"Ain't ya doin' it right now?" Throttle questioned, grinning.
"I mean, in private."
Modo and Vinnie looked to each other and began whooping loudly.
Throttle grabbed their heads, knocked them together playfully, and walked out the door with Carbine, who shut the door behind her.
Carbine guided Throttle to another room of bunks and directed him inside. It was just as plain as the other, but slightly smaller. The clothes Throttle spied in a small, slightly open foot-locker, were of a smaller size and more delicate. The women's barracks, Throttle concluded.
The tan-haired mouse flopped down on a bed and asked, "So, what's up?"
"Well," she replied, pacing around the room, "if you really wanna know, I just wanted to talk. I haven't been around anyone my age in forever."
Smiling, Throttle joked, "Well, if you're so lonely, then why'd you join the Army?"
Carbine sighed, "In the first place, I didn't think I would be lonely. And in the second, it wasn't my choice." She sat down on the bed across from the one where Throttle sat. "My father is in the Army, and his father before him, yadda, yadda, yadda--I think you get the idea."
"So they made you sign up for military school. You could have just bombed all your courses. Then they'd expel you and WHAM--no more Army."
Carbine snapped, face more ashen than usual, "Are you crazy?"
"Some have said just that," he answered simply. He snickered and asked, "Seriously, though, how long are you in for?"
"Well, at least until I'm eighteen. Beyond that, I just don't know. I may stay in."
"Yeah. What can I say? It's all kinda....fun, in a way."
Throttle arched his eyebrows and dipped his glasses as he chuckled, "You like gettin' shot at by Plutarkians and riskin' your life for no particular reason whatsoever?"
Carbine considered the question for a moment before nodding, a rakish grin on her face.
"You're my kind of girl," he laughed.
As Throttle's laughter trailed off, an nervous silence filled the room. Throttle found himself inadverdantly caught in the fatigue-green rings of Carbine's eyes.
Wow, he thought to himself. She's smart, she's beautiful, and unless I'm sorely mistaken, I think she likes me.
Holy crow. I think I'm in love.
Beyond a few stupid little crushes in school, Throttle had never felt this way about a girl in his entire life. Suddenly, he wanted to know everything about Carbine, to spend every waking moment near her.
The memory of the "Carbine and Throttle, Sittin' in a Tree!" chorus suddenly interrupted his blissful daydream, and Throttle shook it away. Perhaps Carbine's fellow officers had subjected her to the same treatment, for he caught her shaking her head as well, as if she had a flea in her ear.
Then a tiny black tick dropped out, discounting Throttle's theory as it hopped away.
"So, you like it here?" he asked, trying to make conversation, wiping his sweaty palms on the bed below him.
Carbine shrugged and said, "Well, I've got a lot of responsibility, and every little mistake I make, Scabbard jumps my frame, but it's better than sitting in a Shelter like you were. God, I pity you."
Throttle started to say, "Yeah, well, it was pretty boring--", then abruptly cried, "Wait wait wait. `A Shelter'? You mean there's more than one?"
Obviously suprised, Carbine asked, "You didn't know? They're springing up all over Mars! The closer the Plutarkians get to a city, the quicker the government is to throw one up."
Unbidden, the image of Jewel buried under tons of magnesium ore rose up in Throttle's mind. He tried to force the image of her mangled corpse away, but to no avail.
"Carbine, do alot of these Shelters--that is--are they near places that have lots of different metals and stuff? In the ore? Near mines and stuff?"
She tucked her chin in hand for a moment, then replied cautiously, "Some. You ever hear about that big open-pit mine outside Borealis?"
Throttle nodded. It was one of Mars' most famous landmarks, aside from the galaxy's largest bottle of iced tea, formerly housed in the Megashopatropolis.
"Well, there's a Shelter about a quarter-mile from there. They give the mice stuck there a chance to work in it for little extras, you know. Better housing, food, clothes, that sort of thing. At least, that's what I've heard."
A new memory flashed in the young mouse's mind, this one of Alkali, fallen to his knees, wailing, just after the collapse of the mine. Throttle had never seen his father cry before that. It had been like losing his innocence, not so much to know that adults could be brought to tears, but to see one's own father in that position, reduced to a moaning wreck.
He shook his head.
What can I do? he wondered.
"Are you okay?" Carbine asked softly, eyes somewhat softer and clearly worried.
"Just thinking about my Mom," he replied simply. "And my Dad. My little brother."
"You mean the white-furred kid in the next room?" she asked, thumbing toward the other bunker.
Throttle smiled and asked, amused, "You mean Vinnie? No, he's not my brother! We're not even related! We're bros."
Carbine said, "Ahhh, now I remember. You've got a hard-on to be a Biker Mouse."
"Hey, I got the bike, I got the shades--all I need is somethin' leather and I'll be all set."
Narrowing her eyes, Carbine asked softly, "I don't mean to be rude, Throttle--I'm glad for the company and all--but if you're supposed to be in the Shelter, then what are you doing down here? Did you get a travel Visa or something?"
Shaking his head no, the young mouse explained, "We found a hole in the dome covering the Shelter. When we went to go out, take a little look-see--which should be okay, y'know? I mean, we're kids, we can't be cooped up all the time, we need our freedom, right?"
Part of Carbine thought, Geez, what does this guy expect? We are fighting a war here; you can't just go around and do whatever you please!, but she answered, "Yeah." "Well, we tried to go out through, and we end up getting shot at. By the guys in the gun towers."
"Maybe they thought you were Plutarkian--"
Rubbing his chin, Throttle conceded, "Maybe. But we kept going, all the same. We just kept rolling through the canyon until we met up with you guys."
"You know, Scabbard will try to get you back to the Shelter, if he can," Carbine assured him.
"Yay," Throttle cooed, waving a finger in the air somewhat less than enthusiastically.
"Believe me, Throttle, it's the safest place you can be right now. After all, the Plutarkians are spreading out their operation all over the planet. Nowhere is safe. They're everywhere. At least at the Shelter, you've got some protection, like the gun towers and--"
As Carbine continued, Throttle completely ignored her words as he watched her speak in her animated way, her small, delicate hands fluttering this way and that as she made her points. He was completely rivetted to her sparkling eyes, the way her raven black hair flew around when she whipped her head.
Not only that, but she was also fairly curvaceous. Lucious, almost. She could be a Victoria's Secret lengerie model.
If she isn't one already, Throttle thought to himself, gazing at her. I gotta remember to check our last issue. I think Modo had it last--
"--a word I said?"
"Huh?" Throttle asked, waking up out of his trance.
Annoyed but also amused, the Carbine snapped playfully, "You weren't paying a bit of attention to me, were you?"
"Nope. Sorry. You're too hot."
Carbine sighed grandly and pulled Throttle's sunglasses slowly from his face, which he didn't seem to mind. Gazing rapturously into his ruby eyes, she asked, "What am I gonna do with you, handsome?"
Throttle smiled, just as locked to Carbine's eyes, and replied coolly, "I can think of a few things, but you being an officer and a gentlemouse--"
With a catlike smile, Carbine stroked Throttle's face and whispered seductively into his ear, "And whoever said I was gentle?"
Very certain parts of Throttle went on alert as Carbine suddenly began to kiss him along the side of his face. He found himself being pushed backward on the bed, feeling suprised and a little frightened, then suddenly returning her advances passionately, kissing her full and on the lips, feeling the weight of her warm, supple body pressing against his as they pulled frantically at each other's clothes. Throttle never wanted to be undressed so much in his entire life.
YES! he thought to himself, heart racing, in the middle of the throes of passion. Bye-bye, virginity!
Somehow, I don't think this is gonna help you find out what happened to Hellfire any sooner.
Dammit! Throttle thought, grimacing. I thought you said you were gone!
Leave me alone! I'm gonna score!
So I noticed, horndog. Actually, my leaving was reverse psychology, but it turns out I can't leave you alone for five minutes without you trying knock boots with some girl you don't even know--
I do too know her! She's Carbine, that girl I met when we first went to the Shelter! And we know each other pretty well now! And if you'd just leave me alone for a minute, we'd know each other even better!
Uh huh. So you know her name. You could've got that from reading her dog-tags. What about her parents? What're their names?
Well, I--I don't know, but--
Well, if you know her so well, you should know that! Does she have any pets?
Strike two! What's her favorite color, wiseguy?
"What's your favorite color?" Throttle asked quickly between pants as Carbine wrapped her fingers around the elastic in his boxers.
"What?" she asked, her undone sports bra affording a generous view of her breasts. "Why in the name of God do you want know? Now, of all times?"
"Just, what is it, okay?"
Shrugging, Carbine replied, "You really know how to kill the mood. Blue."
There! Blue! You happy? Throttle mentally snarled as Carbine began kissing him again, trying to rekindle the passion of her distracted lover.
No. Kid, you gotta get back on the road to Hellfire. Don't you wanna know what happened to your hometown?
Not half so bad as I want this !
What about what your bros want? Don't they have a say in this?
Not unless it's a menenge-a-quatre! I'm the one about to score with Carbine, not them! They can wait!
What about your mother? What would she want you to do?
Throttle sighed loudly and pushed Carbine off him, sitting up as he did.
"What?" she asked, puzzled. "Did I do something wrong?"
"It's not you," he said quickly, pulling up his pants and throwing his shirt on as he did. "It's me."
"Oh God," Carbine sighed sadly, shaking her head. "You're gay, aren't you? I should've known any guy that good-looking--"
"NO!" Throttle shouted. "No! Believe me, I really want to screw you!"
Buttoning her shirt, Carbine muttered, "Gee, thanks. Then what is it?"
Throttle reluctantly explained as he dressed, "I have this little voice in my head that keeps telling me that there are certain things I have to do. If I don't do them, it won't leave me alone."
"Oh, so this is the part where you turn out to be some kind of serial murderer, is that it? You're gonna kill me, then dismember my body and throw the torso into a canal, right?"
"No!" Throttle cried, torn between his desire to see his home and his desire to finish what he'd started with the beautiful, half-dressed mouse before him. "Carbine, I gotta go to Hellfire!"
Puzzled, Carbine asked, "Hellfire? Why? That place is dangerous!"
"I gotta see what's going on," he replied firmly.
"Throttle--" she said, just as firmly, as though she were giving orders to a mouse of lower rank. "Don't. The Army can't even get close to that place. You three won't stand a chance."
He grinned and said, "You don't know me and my bros."
"Well, I want to get to know you. If you go in there--Throttle, it's suicide."
"Tough toogies, babe. We're gonna go to Hellfire, and we're gonna go now."
Throttle picked up his sunglasses and began to slide them on. Before he could, however, Carbine had wrapped her arms around his neck and was kissing him just as before. For no rhyme or reason, Throttle wrapped his arms around her shoulders and was kissing her back. Carbine's hands dropped down to Throttle's hips.
Oh great. Here we go again. I'm never gonna get on the road at this rate.
But I really shouldn't dissapoint her--
Suddenly, Carbine pushed him away.
Shocked, Throttle tried to ask what was going on, but Carbine beat him to the punch.
"You'd better get going, handsome. Scabbard could be back soon, and he's going to wonder why you three are gone. You can gas up your bikes around the back of this place, and grab some C-Rats out of the mess hall. It's marked--you can't miss it. But you'd better hurry."
Throttle looked down at his waist and found a brown leather gunbelt buckled across his hips. It was practically new, as was the bright red, yellow, and purple pistol holstered in it.
He looked up at Carbine, who was smiling wryly.
"Something leather," she said simply. "Call me."
Smiling, Throttle opened the door.
In fell Modo and Vinnie, who had been leaning against the door listening to the sounds of love (or something to that effect).
"And just what were you two doing?" he asked, mildly amused.
"Didn't you read that sentence up there?" Vinnie querried. "We were listening."
"Get your tails in gear," Throttle said, pulling them both to their feet. "We're goin' to Hellfire, right now."
Modo smiled and said, "Aw right!"
"Go ahead and get your bike ready, bro," the younger mouse continued. "I'll be along in a minute."
"Where you goin'?" Vinnie wondered.
"Bathroom," Throttle replied, grinning an embarassed grin.
Having stocked up on food, gas, and handguns, the three young Biker Mice continued their interrupted journey on to Hellfire. It wasn't a very long ride, as it turned out--they were only about ten miles away from their former home.
"Are we there yet?" Vinnie asked for the four-hundred and fifty-third time on the trip.
"Can ah kill him?" Modo grumbled. "Please?"
Throttle shook his head no and said, "We're almost there, Vincent. Should be right over this next hill."
"Come to think of it," the gray-furred mouse said thoughtfully, "shouldn't we've hit pavement by now? The highway shoulda started around that big rock that looked like a doughnut, and that was half a mile back."
Looking down at the rusty-red soil below his bike, Throttle muttered, "Yeah."
Vinnie said curiously, "The Plutarkians wouldn't steal a road, would they?"
"Could they?" Modo asked.
"I'm starting to wonder," Throttle muttered. "Hey, there it is!"
The three of them stopped on the crest of the hill that overlooked Hellfire.
To say that it was not the city they had known wasn't saying half of it. What had once been a sprawling metropolis (Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a Plutarkian Stingray!) was now a burned down hulk of its former self. The city's skyscrapers, once taller than any other artificial structures in the universe and famous for the aesthetically pleasing skyline they created, were all gone, ripped from their bases by some huge, unseen hand. Only a handful of small, ugly little buildings remained. Those that did were pocked with bullet-holes and covered with black soot. A few isolated fires raged, unattended, sending up gray plumes of smoke, changing the pink sky to hazy ash.
"Oh Momma," Modo whispered.
The stench was over-powering, even from such a distance. Smoke mixed with something even worse, something that was a combination of rotting flesh left to decay in the sun, dead skunk, a fleet of Port-a-Johns, and you know the way canned dog food smells? That, too.
"Again, oh Momma," Modo whispered, shaking his head.
Vinnie blinked, rubbed his eyes, then looked again.
"I don't believe it," he muttered. "If this was anywhere but Hellfire, this would be cool, like `Escape From New York!' But this sucks!"
"It looks like nobody's even tried to stop `em," Throttle snapped. "Not the Army, not nobody! We'd better investigate."
"Could be dangerous," Modo said thoughtfully.
"A city over-run with Plutarkians, fire, smoke, guns, death around every corner?!?!?!?" Vinnie cried, face lit up like a hundred suns. "What are we waiting for! Let's go!"
Throttle shrugged his shoulders and said, "You gotta give him an A+ for enthusiasm. Let's ride!"
Exhibiting a degree of carefulness they would soon abandon for the all-or-nothing-at-all approach they would use for the rest of their years, the three mice slipped down carefully into Hellfire's suburbs. They narrowly managed to avoid detection at every turn. Plutarkians were everywhere, digging and picking at the land with their strangely insectile machines. Vinnie realized as he watched one gigantic spider-like craft pass overhead that a digging machine like it had made the strange tracks outside the Shelter. The threesome were horrified to see a playground being ripped to shreds before them as they took refuge behind a building.
"Ah can't believe nobody's stoppin' these jerks!" Modo snapped, half in a whisper.
"Look!" Throttle shouted, pointing a few yards ahead. "The fish-faces are tearin' down the elementary school!"
"Well, maybe they aren't all bad," Vinnie chuckled.
They changed that opinion an hour later, upon arriving at Modo's home, or rather, The Large Pile of Rocks formerly known as Modo's Home. The large cave that had once been a warm sanctuary filled with love was now a big pile of broken stones filled with crushed dreams, destroyed innocence, and Rose's now-smashed collection of Instant Tea figurines.
Modo was so incredibly shocked that he couldn't even whisper, "Oh Momma."
Not even the component parts of "Oh Momma," those being "Oh" and "Momma". It was that bad. He merely sat there on his bike, aghast.
"What does `aghast' mean?" Vinnie whispered to Throttle.
"Shocked, Vincent, shocked," Throttle hissed back.
"I wish The Writer wasn't so damn verbose," the younger mouse snapped, crossing his arms across his chest. "Makes it hard to understand what's goin' on."
"You know what `verbose' means but you don't know, `aghast'?" Throttle querried.
Without warning, Modo swung his leg up off his bike and ran, panicked, toward the rubble. He neglected to put his kick-stand up, and Vinnie barely had time to jump away and avoid a broken leg under Lil' Hoss's big bulk.
"I think I'll ride with you for the rest of the way, bro," the white-furred mouse chuckled nervously.
The gray-furred mouse kneeled before what had once been the entrance to his home. He sat there for a few moments in silent contemplation before he was joined by Throttle and Vinnie.
"Bro?" Throttle asked softly.
Modo whispered, in a cracking voice, "Ah can't believe it's gone. Ah was born here. Ah've lived here all my life. Ah-ah-ah--" He let out a mammoth sigh and shook his head, rising to his feet as he did. Without a touch of self-consciousness, Modo wiped away a tear
Face set, Modo growled, "They're gonna pay for this."
"Come on," Throttle said softly. "Let's check out Vinnie's place. You lived downtown, little bro, so maybe your place is still intact."
"Why?" Vinnie snapped. "What's the point?"
"You still got your camera?" the older mouse asked.
Nodding, Vinnie pulled it from the pocket of the flack-jacket he had kifed from the base and opened the flash.
"Snap a few, bro," Throttle said simply. "When we get back to the Shelter, we'll need proof that Hellfire's being ripped up. This is as good a place as any to start."
"That the plan?" Modo inquired, angry and frustrated. "We're gonna go back to the Shelter and let `em shoot us up into Swiss cheese?"
"Don't bring up cheese, bro," Vinnie warned, "or you'll bring up my lunch. Those C-Rats ain't sittin' well."
Throttle said quickly, "Look, I don't have all the little details figured out, but we need these pictures. We need proof. We can figure the rest out on our way back."
Modo sighed and took a few steps back, to stand with the rubble.
"Say, `anything but cheese'!" Vinnie shouted chirped.
Soon enough, the mice were in downtown Hellfire.
Suprisingly, despite the Plutarkian invasion, it wasn't all that different from what they remembered. Narrow bullet-pocked streets led into small cul-de-sacs where it was all too easy for drug-pushers or gang members to hide. They were dark, dingy, and reeked of Plutarkians, but not as strongly as the outside of the city. Vinnie speculated that the fish-heads were afraid to enter these parts of the city, not unlike most of the mice who had once lived in Hellfire
. Vinnie, however, was completely at home. When he wasn't hanging out with his bros, he would pace through the streets alone to escape his mother's wrath, when she was home. He knew the alleys as well as he knew the back of his white-furred hands.
"Huh, where'd this come from?" Vinnie wondered aloud, picking at a scab on top of one of his palms.
"We're in trouble," Throttle muttered.
As they neared Vinnie's home, the Biker Mice had to dismount from the bikes, to allow them to follow behind. Lil' Hoss repeatedly got her handlebars wedged between the narrow walls, so eventually Throttle and Modo told their beloved bikes to head for the rooftops and follow from overhead, which they did.
"Ah feel naked without my lil' darlin' around," Modo mummured, clasping his arms.
"There's an unpleasant picture," Vinnie snickered.
"Better n' seein' your scrawny lil' butt!" the gray-furred mouse retorted.
Vinnie grinned in a superior fashion and corrected, "Au contraire, bro. It's a privelege to see the work of art known as my white-furred ass!"
"Don't bother, Modo," Throttle sighed. "His ego's impenetrable."
Throttle then grabbed the top of Vinnie's jeans and jerked them down to the young mouse's ankles.
"HEY!" Vinnie shouted, outraged.
Vinnie pulled his jeans up, face pink behind his white fur while Modo and Throttle laughed.
"Just wanted to use that privelege, bro!" Throttle said through his chuckles.
"Waitaminute," Vinnie said suddenly. He tested the air with his nose. "I smell somethin'.....farmiliar."
He walked slowly to the edge of a row of trash-cans at the end of the alley.
"Come on, Vinnie," Throttle sighed, hands on his hips and trying desperately to stifle his laughter before a Plutarkian noticed it. "Let's just go in the door, find your Mom's apartment, get a few snapshots, and go."
"In a minute!" Vinnie hissed. "And you guys say I'm impatient!"
"That's because you are!" Modo chuckled.
Vinnie advanced another step and, with his usual tact, kicked the garbage cans aside. His eyes widened.
"Bros!" he shouted, motioning for them to join him. "Look!"
Puzzled, Throttle and Modo dashed to Vinnie's side.
Among the bags of garbage that had been left rotting for the last three years (even before the evacuation, garbage service in Hellfire was notoriously poor) and broken-up cardboard boxes, there seemed to be a body beneath a pile of newspapers, stretched out as if asleep.
"I think someone's under those papers," Modo hissed under his breath.
"That would seem to be the situation, giving all the foreshadowing," Throttle replied.
Suddenly, the papers flattened out completely, as if whatever had been hidden beneath them suddenly sunk into the ground below, without leaving a single bump in the pavement.
"What the--?" Vinnie asked, picking up the papers.
Nothing was there. The ground was empty, and it appeared that it had always been so.
As Modo and Throttle took a step back to ponder what was going on, Vinnie heel-sat and tried to figure out where that farmiliar smell had come from.
I don't get it, he thought to himself, fingering the papers. I know what I saw, and I know what I smelled. Who I smelled. What's goin' on here?
He never noticed a strange shadow appearing suddenly on the fire-escape just above his head. The shape jumped suddenly with a fierce war cry and landed on Vinnie's shoulders, feet-first. He was knocked to the ground without even knowing what had hit him.
"VINNIE!" Throttle and Modo shouted.
"Did anyone get the number on that skimmer?" Vinnie asked, half-dazed.
Whoever or whatever had jumped Vinnie suddenly grabbed him by the shoulders, pulled him around to face his bros. A long, thin blade was pressed to his throat, its razor-sharp edge drawing tiny droplets of blood that beaded on his furry neck.
"Okay, you stinkin' sardines!" a strikingly familiar young girl's voice shouted. "One wrong move and your buddy here starts breathin' through his neck! Amateur tracheotomy night!"
Peering into the darkness, Modo asked in disbelief, "Bingo? Is that you, lil' bro?"
The form over Vinnie tilted its head curiously as Throttle pulled a flashlight from his pocket and shined it on their mysterious assailant.
And Bingo it was.
Clearly shocked to see her dearest friends there before her, the orange-furred mouse asked, "Modo? Throttle?" She smiled and shouted, "Bros!" She paused for a moment and asked, "But where's Vinnie?"
"Yo," Vinnie replied, face down in the dirt, as he raised his hand.
Looking down, Bingo cried, "Whoops! Sorry, bro!"
"No problem, Bing. Y'mind gettin' the pig-poker away from my throat?"
"Oh, sure, no problem."
Bingo threw the sword away, dropped Vinnie, then hugged him around the neck in a sort of sweaty deathgrip, with cries of how happy she was to see him after so much time. Throttle and Modo dashed over and joined them in a warm embrace, sort of a macho-hug in which ribs may or may not be broken.
Gets you right here, doesn't it?
"Good--ta--see ya--bros--but I can't--breathe!" the youngest of the mice cried.
"We missed you, baby-bro," Modo said, wiping a tear away without a trace of self-consciousness.
Throttle nodded and said, "Fancy meetin' you here."
Bingo just smiled, tears of joy at the corners of her eyes.
"What're you bros doin' here?" she asked happily.
"Oh, nothin' much," Vinnie replied. "Y'might say we're on a little field trip."
"Mind if I tag along?"
Modo pulled Bingo to her feet and replied, "We'd be offended if y'didn't." He looked her over and said, astonished, "Lord, you grew, Bing! You're almost as tall as Vinnie!"
Vinnie looked at Bingo and discovered that she, now ten, indeed was just a few inches shorter than he was.
Mental note: Have growth spurt sometime in near future so Bing doesn't shoot past me in height and make me look short.
Throttle noticed something somewhat less auspicious about Bingo's appearance.
"Bing, you're thin as a stick. I can see your ribs through your clothes. What's goin' on? What happened to you?"
Bingo looked down at her long brown shirt with its dark collar and cuffs. It hung off her like a sail, and indeed, the shape of her too-thin body was visible beneath it. She sighed and said, "It's kind of a long story, bros." With one slightly emaciated hand, she pointed into the apartment building to her right and said, "We'd better hustle our tails inside before a patrol comes by and finds us out here."
"Well, as it happens, that was our destination, anyway," Throttle said cheerfully. "Vincent, is the door open?"
Vinnie tested the door and replied, "Locked," even though it wasn't.
"I guess we'll just have to make a door," Modo said, grinning broadly.
Throttle tore open the holster at his hip and spun the pistol out.
Modo plucked a small sidearm from his belt.
Vinnie pulled a grenade from inside his shirt.
"On three," Throttle shouted, then immediately cried, "THREE!"
BOING SPROING BAM SPLAT!
The mice all dove for cover. When the smoke cleared, a hole roughly the size of Kansas gave in inviting view into a small apartment. Plates of food sat out, thick with mold, abandoned two years ago when the Plutarkians had attacked.
"And there we go," Throttle said, smiling. He tucked the gun away and stepped through the hole, carefully. Modo followed, then Bingo, then Vinnie.
Once inside, they walked carefully through the apartment and out into the main hallway.
"Okay," Vinnie said thoughtfully. "All we gotta do is go upstairs and--"
"You'll go no further!" a voice shouted, sounding like the person who owned it's throat was full of water.
"Aw crud," Bingo sighed.
There, behind them, stood a Plutarkian, carrying a large rifle in his arms and looking very smug at having found four young Martian mice. Perhaps a night back on Plutark full of wine, women, and song (not to mention a hearty helping of carnal delights) would be his reward.
Or at least, it might have been if, suddenly, a black hole, easily five feet across hadn't appeared beneath the Biker Mice. They fell into it and disappeared from sight just before the hole closed.
"Whu--?" The Plutarkian asked, suprised.
Behind him, meanwhile, another hole opened up, perpendicular to the floor, from which the foursome walked out. Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie were clearly puzzled, but Bingo quickly shushed them and whispered, "Hullo? Lives are on the line here! We got the element of suprise!"
"Right!" Throttle hissed. "Catapult Manuver 19!"
"Huh?" Bingo asked.
Modo explained quickly, "Throttle had alot of spare time on his hands back at the Shelter. He came up with tons of these."
"You'd better read up on `em," Vinnie added, handing her a thick hard-cover book.
" `Tactics of the Biker Mice from Mars Volume One'," Bingo read aloud.
The Plutarkian turned as Modo and Throttle linked hands. Vinnie climbed up onto their clasped palms and steadied himself just before the two mice older mouse threw him toward their aquatic agressor.
"HI-YAH!" Vinnie shouted, slamming his foot into the Plutarkian's head in a seemingly effortless jump kick that had taken years to perfect. All the trouble was worth it when the fish's head turned nearly 360 degrees before he fell the floor, unconscious.
"Kick ass!" Bingo shouted, face alight with childish delight.
"Ah, you liked that, didja?" Throttle chuckled.
"Let's just say I missed that kind of desensitizing violence," she replied happily, wiping a tear of joy from one cobalt eye.
Vinnie crouched beside the Plutarkian's still body while Modo tied his hands and feet. Just out of curiosity, the white-furred mouse opened the pouches on the fish's belt and dug through them, just to see what Plutarkians carried on their person when they were stripping a planet of all its resources.
There was little of interest--mostly packets of dried slime worms and a few grams of a homemade Plutarkian drug rather similar to crack, but he did come across a small, cobalt blue bottle with the label
Below, in tinier letters, was a disclaimer.
"Huh," Vinnie said, uncorking the bottle. "I wonder how it works--"
A stench that a thousand Plutarkians in a crowded room could not equal filled the room. It nearly killed the young mice before Vinnie was able to cap it again.
"I get it," he coughed, pocketing the bottle. "This could come in handy."
The young mice continued on their journey, which led them up two flights of stairs and down a narrow hallway to the small apartment Vinnie and Glib had once occupied. Dead light bulbs hung overhead. Cockroaches the size of footballs scuttled across the dirty carpet. The entire place reeked, and not just of Plutarkians.
"Just like it was when I left," Vinnie thought aloud.
"Ah still can't believe your Mom couldn't afford a better place than this!" Modo said thoughtfully.
Shrugging, Vinnie replied, "She always said that not all lawyers make a ton of money. That was usually when I'd ask for something expensive, right before she'd clean my clock."
"You're still havin' trouble with your Mom?" Bingo asked, clearly suprised.
Vinnie rubbed his neck and said, "Yeah, well....."
The door to the apartment was unlocked. And yet, for some reason, the Plutarkians hadn't had a chance yet to loot the small apartment. The dishes, still stacked by the sink, were covered with blackish mold. Flies flitted about here and there. Otherwise, though, everything looked just as it had before it was abadoned.
"Guess this won't work for a picture," Vinnie muttered. "Doesn't look like the fish-heads've been here at all!"
"True," Throttle agreed, "but it'll be a good place to hole up for the night. We can catch up on our sleep, rest up a little bit, get a little chow--"
"Chow?!" Bingo asked, eyes wide with hopeful glee. "You got food?!"
"That's what an optimist would call it," Modo replied, shrugging his shoulders.
Throttle dropped his ruck-sack to the floor. He pulled out two boxes of C-Rats--a horrible piece of Chai meat comparable to Spam, only worse, a pile of crackers, dried vegetables and fruit, and a tolerably wretched candy bar--and placed them on the floor while he dug for more of them. By the time Throttle looked up, Bingo had finished them both and was eager for more.
"Hungry, lil' bro?" he asked, smiling.
"She must be," Modo said, smiling grimly, "if she'll eat that crud."
Vinnie cried in disbelief, "I can't believe that crap didn't melt her tongue!"
"More?" Bingo asked, extending her hands.