Disclaimer: I wonder if the Constitution had a disclaimer. That's probably what all that
"We the People" stuff really is. "Preamble" my ass. Jefferson wanted t-shirt profits.
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!
In the last part of our story, Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie were reunited with their lost bro, Bingo, in Hellfire. She told them where she'd been for the past two years; in a Nazi-esque death camp run by Plutarkians because of her affiliation with the Order. In detail, she tells them of the mines the members of the Order were forced to work in and the death of her guardian Wallenczech. At the end, Bingo tells them of the sign which caused her to enter one of her black holes, something she had been afraid to do before; a horrifying night in which the rain forced up the level of the acid moat surrounding the camp and flooded the nearest bunkhouses, leaving its inmates burning, screaming wraiths as they die, flesh dripping from their bones.
Vinnie blinked and said, "Damn. That was disgusting."
Modo nodded, feeling rather queasy himself.
Shrugging, Bingo replied, "Oh, I don't know. I thought it was kind of cool."
Throttle grinned and put his fingers atop his eyelids.
"He's gonna do it again!" Modo howled, turning away.
The young mouse suddenly jerked his eyelids up. His pupils disappeared, making his eyes nothing but yellow.
Bingo broke out laughing, and Vinnie just shook his head, chuckling. Modo looked like he was going to be ill, but everyone else got a kick out of it.
"Not bad, bro!" Vinnie said, giving him a thumbs up. "Of course, it's got nothing on Bing's story. It's like somethin' out of a Stephen King novel!"
"With less sex, o' course," Modo added.
"Which reminds me," Throttle butted in, "you never finished, bro. Vincent took a break to go blow chunks--"
"Did not!" the white-furred mouse snapped, full of indignation. He self-conciously wiped his mouth and wished for a breath-mint.
Sighing, Throttle continued, "--and we never got to hear what happened next. Please, Bing. I wanna hear the end of this. That's a good cliffhanger you left off with"
Bingo took a deep breath and said uncertainly, "You sure you wanna hear it?"
"YES," all three of her older bros said at once.
Shrugging, Bingo muttered, "Okay. Where'd we leave off? Oh yeah. The black hole bullet train to Nowheresville...."
There was a sensation of falling, but it only lasted about two seconds, if that long. I didn't see some huge black dimension of nothingness, or a creepy other dimension where dogs wore pants. Nope.
I hit something soft and pretty giving. It was springy, and I bounced up, but by that time, the hole had already disappeared, so my fear that I'd end up right back where I started disappeared.
The first thing I noticed, other than how dark the room was, was how dusty it was. When I landed, it sent up a huge dust cloud. I must've sneezed for ten minutes straight.
While I was sneezing, I started to feel my way around wherever I was. I took two steps and found the edge of whatever I'd landed on. I climbed down off it carefully and found the far end of the thing. The end was wooden. It took me another minute to realize that it was a footboard, and that I'd landed on a bed.
I kept working my way around it, until I found a wall. I followed the wall to what felt like a window and found ruffled curtains. I grabbed them and yanked them apart.
It wasn't exactly a flood of daylight, but the moon and star-light that came in through the window at least showed me the rest of the room clearly enough that I could find the light switch. I couldn't help but notice that the layout seemed kinda farmiliar. Still, it was impossible to tell in the darkness.
Lucky for me, the electricity hadn't been disconnected, and when I flipped the switch, there was light.
The bulb overhead nearly blinded me when it came on. I hadn't seen artificial light for two years, and it hurt to look at it. I shielded my eyes and looked around.
I couldn't believe what I saw.
It was my room! My bedroom! Back in Hellfire!
To say I was suprised was an understatement. I wanted to shout something appropriate, something to portray my shock and wonderment. Something befitting the situation.
So I cried out, "Holy shit!"
Everything in the room was just like I'd left it the morning I went to your cave, Throttle, to watch the Deathbowl on Pay-Per-View. Dusty. Very dusty. But the same. My bed wasn't made, my dirty clothes were still on the floor, a slice of thrasher meat I'd snatched from the refrigorator for a midnight snack was on my nightstand, although I could hardly tell for the mold on it.
As I walked through the room, I think I started to understand my black holes a little better, or at least, part of their nature. Apparently, if I had been somewhere at any given time, and there was something at that place that I wanted or needed and I created a black hole to grab it, then a counterpart to the hole I created near me would appear near the object I wanted. That's how I could reach through and grab it.
And now I knew that if I wanted to, I could go through my black holes, too. And safely. Use them as a form of transportation. It's fun. That's the trick I pulled out in the hallway with that sentry we came across. Kinda creepy the first time, I know, but it's great after that. Maybe, when I'm older, there won't be any restrictions. I'll be able to black hole to places I've never been. I hope so.
I was trying to figure out exactly what to do when I suddenly realized there was someone behind me.
I can't describe how I knew, exactly. I didn't hear footsteps, didn't see a shadow, didn't smell a thing. It just dawned on me. Like someone said, "Hey! There's someone behind you!"
"I know the feeling," Throttle murmured under his breath.
I tried to figure a way to get out of there. But I was so nervous that I couldn't think of a place to open a black hole to.
Besides, I was interrupted.
"Hello, Little Knight," this voice says. I knew it was the guy behind me.
I gulped and turned around real slow.
And what I saw certainly wasn't what I expected.
At first, I thought some great wit had left a coat-hook in my room, and that there was a cape hanging on it. But there was no coat-hook in my room (duh), and anyway, when I took a second look, it didn't look like the cape was hanging up at all. I noticed it was hooded, and crimson, like blood. It looked like someone was wearing it, because the way it hung there was as if it covered a person's shoulder and head.
But there was no one under it. Nothing at all. Just black inside its folds and inside the hood, with no trace of a body at all. There were eyes, though; glowing white ones in the middle of the hood. They were kinda scary, but nothing compared to what I'd seen in the camp or during that Aliens marathon a couple years back.
What caught my attention most (except for the whole cape-floating-in-mid-air-
thing), though, was the clasp holding the cape together. It was like a broach, I guess. A big, cobalt blue gemstone, set in gold, with little quarter moons surrounding it. Gorgeous. I felt like I stared at it for ten whole minutes.
Bingo paused for a moment.
"What're you pausin' for, Bing?!" Vinnie snapped.
Bingo raised a finger to tell Vinnie to be patient (accidentally flipping him off in the process) and glanced to her left, where a small black hole had appeared. She reach inside and pulled out the sword she had nearly slain Vinnie with.
"This is what the clasp looked like," she explained, pointing at the part of the sword where the blade met the hilt.
Throttle looked over the blade thoughtfully, taking in its long, thin blade (at least as long as his own arm and probably longer) and gold ornamentation, then guessed, "The guy who snuck up behind you gave you the sword?"
Nodding, Bingo said, "But now you're gettin' ahead of the story, bro."
Vinnie snickered, "Yeah. That's my job."
Something about the cape-guy oozed importance. I don't know why. There was something.....venerable about him. It felt like being in church. I kept expecting Wallenczech to tell me to be quiet, sit still, and if you fall asleep one more time I'm gonna smack you upside the head!
Actually, the church analogy turned out to be pretty apt.
We just stood there for awhile, staring at each other. After awhile, I got bored and wished I had a comic book to read. But I didn't, and I couldn't think of where I had left any, so I kept staring and thinking about episodes of cartoons I knew by heart.
I was halfway through the second season of "He-Man/She-Woman/It-Dog" when he finally piped up.
"Congratulations, Azrael. You have conquered your fear of the unknown and have finally come of age to accept your--."
"Do I know you?" I asked. I knew I didn't, but I figured I'd ask anyway. "And my name is Bingo, not `Azrael.' " I snickered. "Who'd name their kid something stupid like that?"
Cape-boy got mad.
"At least `Azrael' is not a game senior citizens play!" he snaps, in that same booming voice.
Well, that pissed me off.
"I'm named after my Dad, pal!" I yelled, doing the Eyebrow Thing of Doom. Yeah, that thing when I scrunch up my eyebrows and look really really mad. I finally gave it a name. What can I say? I had lots of time on my hands.
The guy laughs, but it's kind of hollow.
"Your father's name was Ringo," he pointed out. I could almost hear him smile.
"It is?" Vinnie asked, raising an eyebrow.
Bingo, frustrated, turned to Modo and said, "Duct him, bro."
Modo nodded, picked up a handy roll of duct-tape, and placed a wide swath over Vinnie's mouth while Throttle held him in place. Vinnie cried indignation, sounding an awful lot like South Park's Kenny behind the tape.
"Sorry, bro," Throttle said, shrugging with a smile, "but we told you what'd happen if you interrupted again."
"I can't help it if he had sloppy handwriting and the nurse thought `Ringo Jr.' was Bingo!" I yelled. "And how do you know my Dad, anyway?"
There was this big dramatic pause.
"I know, Little Knight, because I know.....
(Organ sting here)
That shook me a little bit. Little Knight. What Wallenczech used to call me.
"I am St. Dumas."
That really caught me off-guard. It'd be like seeing God in the flesh, you know? Only to a lesser degree. I mean, I'd been raised all my life hearing about the guy, revering him and everything like that but never really believing in him, and all of a sudden, there he is. "Hi, I'm the god-like deity you've worshipped for the past ten years of your life. How's it going?"
What do you say to a guy like that? I didn't want to sound like an idiot.
"I thought you'd be bigger," I said.
"That is not important," he replies. "What you must know is that your destiny is before you.
"You, Bingo Ritziantanto--"
He kinda sighed there.
"-- `Ritz'--are the thirteenth descendant of your family to bear the honor of being Azrael, Holy Knight of the Order of St. Dumas, Protector of the Righteous, Executioner of the Baneful Leigons of Darkness, Light of the Trinity--"
"--Champion of Justice, and in the name of the moon, I'll punish you?" I asked, grinning.
"Uck," he groans. "I can see I'm going to love dealing with you. Why not another Dayvit? Or Affidayvit? Or even, heavens above, Ringo himself?"
"Waitaminute. You mean my Dad was this `Azrael' guy, too?"
"That's what I've been trying to tell you. The mantle of the Holy Knight is passed down through the generations to the child fated to carry the Inferno Sword and fight for--"
"--truth, justice, and the American way?"
If old St. Dumas had teeth, I'd bet they would've been gritted by now. He sighs and kept going.
"You're close, anyway. You are foredestined to battle the evil wrought on the universe by the Wicked Klaus Black and his White Wizards' Guild."
That puzzled me.
"But wouldn't white wizards be good?" I asked. "Not evil?"
He kind of shook his head.
"The name is a falsehood. Black thinks to keep a low profile by making those who might help his cause to spread evil like a great pestilence believe his is a good and pure fraternity. He promises wealth to those that would stand by his side. Your own President Abrahams has fallen under Black's sway."
"That makes sense."
Then I asked a question alot of mice at Ash had asked themselves over the years.
"Say, if you're a powerful being without a body and everything, why don't you fly your nonexistent butt up to Ash and bust everybody out? And why didn't you do it two years ago? Or stop it from happening at all?"
He didn't say a word for a few minutes, and I wasn't sure what was gonna happen next. Was he gonna smite me? And what exactly does "smiting" entail?
Finally, he says, in a kind of a sad way, "Little knight, despite all my power, all my great strength, I can do nothing to strike against the White Wizards' Guild. Over the years, my strength has ebbed greatly--"
"Oh, you're real useful!"
It felt like a tornado had touched down in the room. The force of it threw me into a wall.
St. Dumas started to calm down. The wind died down.
He whispered, "That is why you are needed, young one. You must be the arm, the hand, the blade of the Order, stopping Black where I can not. You must strike out against him, foil his schemes, destroy him!"
"Kind of a big thing to leave up to a ten-year old, isn't it?" I asked.
"You come from a long, long line of warriors, Little Knight, though it has been hidden from you and the rest of the world since your birth. You are specially prepared for your future. Surely you have noticed your own powers emerging? Your ability to carve away space and time to your whims?"
I laughed a little and said, "I always thought of it as a black hole."
"That works. Not the way I would have phrased it, but it works."
"That skill will aid you as you master it further. And, or course, there is this."
A bright gold light appears in the center of the room. It was blinding. I had to turn away. But at the same time, it was inviting, and warm. Comforting.
Thus tempted, I finally braved the light.
When I looked again, there was a sword hanging on the air, as beautiful as anything I'd ever seen. Since I just showed it to you, I rather not go into another description. The stone shined like crazy. Gorgeous.
Words can't describe the way I felt. It was such a deep, profound feeling, like I was coming into my own, or finding a piece of myself that I hadn't even known was missing.
"Holy Shit!" I cried.
"Behold the Inferno Sword."
It floated down toward me, then, and into my hands (I was lucky it didn't cut me!). I stared at the hilt for a few minutes, then tried a few practice swings. I swear, bros; I'd never held a sword before in my entire life, save those silly little wooden planks Wallenczech trained me with, but it felt so natural. For a sword so long, it wasn't a bit clumsy.
Maybe there was something to this destiny garbage all.
"You see?" St. Dumas says while I played with it a little more. He sounded a little cocky, like he'd finally proved his point. "You are the Holy Knight. You are the Avenging Angel. You are Azrael."
I turned around to ask him what I was supposed to do next, but he was gone, disappeared into thin air.
"St. Dumas?" I whispered. "Are you still here?"
He reappeared suddenly and sighed, "Yes. Listen, Little Knight, I must go. Your journey begins today. When you need me, I shall be there."
I thought about that for a second.
"What if I need a quarter to use the VidCom? Will you loan it to me?"
"If I can't find one of my socks, will you help me find it?"
"How about helping me find my bros at least?"
"NO! Dammit, Azrael, I am not a nanny! You must be independent!"
That miffed me.
"But then what did you mean about being there?"
He sighs and explains, "I mean, when you're in the grip of evil! When the leigons of Klaus Black threaten to destroy you!"
"Pheh! And how often is that gonna happen? Thanks a load!"
I guess he got pissed, cause he disappeared in a big ball of flame. I haven't seen `im since, and I say good riddance.
Modo rubbed his chin thoughtfully and asked, "So, what's it like to have a destiny?"
Bingo shrugged her thin shoulders and replied, "It's okay. I'd rather be pre-destined to be something else, you know, like King of the Universe or the Silver Surfer, or one of the Legendary Magic Knights. Hikaru, I think. But I'm not gonna go after this `Avenging Angel' deal until I'm older."
"Because it's dangerous?" Throttle asked.
Shaking her head no, Bingo replied, "Naw, because it sound kinda boring. Repetitious. Fight evil, fight evil, fight evil. I don't mind so much, but I get the impression that he thinks that's all I should ever do. I haven't got time for that! After all, I'm gonna be a teenager soon, and I have to practice being disrespectful to authority and bored with everything."
Vinnie mumbled something under the duct tape, either, "More power to ya!" or "Get this damn duct tape off my face!"
"Then what happened?" Throttle asked.
Bingo smiled and asked, "You're really into this, ain'tcha, bro?"
"Hey, we've been cooped up in that Shelter for two years with absolutely nothing happening whatsoever. At this point, anything is interesting. Besides, it's a good story so far."
Well, after my brush with Mr. Destiny, I wasn't sure what to do. I felt like I should do something. Like there was a reason, even more important than meeting St. Dumas (as fun as that was), for my escape from Ash.
But all thoughts of grandeur left when I realized how hungry I was.
I started picking through the cupboards, trying to find something to eat. There wasn't much. Everything was moldy, except for some of the canned stuff. I found a fruitcake, but.....it scared me.....Fruitcakes are kinda spooky anyway, but it'd been sitting out since the day Wallenczech left, and yet, there wasn't speck of mold on it. Undead food. Some kinda vampire fruitcake.
So I kept looking.
I finally found some crackers. They were stale, but at that point, I was dead on my feet and couldn't have cared less if they were made of lead.
After my little "meal", I decided to take a look around outside, to see if anyone was back in Hellfire yet. It had been two years, after all. Surely a few mice were back by now.
Hindsight's twenty-twenty, they say.
I opened the door, but before I could take a step, there was a mess of Plutarkian soldiers right in front of me! Fifty or sixty, I guessed. I would've tried for a more accurate head-count but I was too busy being terrified. I ran back inside, slamming the door behind me. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears, but I still heard the Plutarkians talking outside.
"Sir, I think I saw that door open!" one of them shouted.
My heart beat a little faster.
"Nonsense," someone else said. "You're jumping at shadows."
Please don't jump at shadows, please don't jump at shadows, I thought to myself.
"Come on," the same guy said. "We have too much looting to do to just stand around here while Private Chedda hallucinates."
"On the other hand, if there are any survivors left in Hellfire, it's our duty to destroy them. Stilton would be upset if we didn't do our duty."
"Come on, then. Chedda, it's your lead."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Scamorze."
They started stomping toward the door. I didn't know what to do. I mean, the odds couldn't have been worse, which I loved, but still, it was only me. That, and they had guns. I had my new sword, but....
Before I could come up with a plan, there was a loud crack right next to my head. I looked at the door and saw a rifle butt had broken through. A scaly blue hand reach through to turn the knob.
Whatever else I did, I had to do something to slow them down.
Only one thing came to mind.
A black hole popped up to my left, right on cue. I pulled out my sword. It almost seemed to wink at me, like it knew what we were going to do, and it couldn't wait to get started.
I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and ran at the door. The next thing I knew, I was swinging the sword in a broad arc, up toward the guy's hand.
"AGHHHHHHHHH!" the Plutarkian screamed. He jumped back, away from the door.
I took a moment to look at his hand, lying there on the floor. It took less than a second to cut through thick inches of flesh and bone. I was suprised how easy the sword had cut. I barely put forth any effort. It was like a hot knife through butter.
I just knew I was gonna have fun with this thing.
But there wasn't time to gloat, or even to stick out my tongue and shout, "Neener-neener-weiner!"
I immediately started running in the opposite direction, but even as I did, I could hear Plutarkians behind me, tearing the door off its hinges and following after. They couldn't see me in the dark (I'd turned off the lights while I ran), but I could see them all too clearly. They all had death on their minds and murder in their eyes. There wasn't any place that I could hide, and I couldn't outrun those stinkfish for long.
A black hole jumped up in front of me. I guess they respond to my subconcious, too, and since I did need to get away, I jumped through.
I fell out of that hole in a desert. The hole closed as soon as I fell out, without a sign of the Plutarkians behind me. I took a few minutes to catch my breath, then looked around.
I was just outside the camp at Ash. The walls were no more than a few hundred feet in front of me. There was something--a truck or a tank, I couldn't tell--on the right side of the dome.
Just then, something struck me. I hadn't put much thought into distance before, but with those two little black holes, I had just gone over one hundred miles in under two seconds! Not bad, eh? That's like 3,000 miles per hour.
Motorcycles are more fun, though.
Well, I didn't know what to do from there. I was safe, for the time being, but what next? Obviously, I wasn't in any great hurry to go back to Ash. I thought about trying to go get help from the Army, but I wasn't sure where to go.
The decision was made for me when the entire world started to spin. I couldn't keep my balance. When I fell over, I just laid in the sand for a few minutes.
The sand, by the way, was still a little damp from the rain the night before.
By the time the dizziness left me, I realized what was wrong. I was exhausted.. Apparently, these long-distance teleporting tricks take alot out of me, especially given the fact that I had almost nothing in my stomach. Before I knew it, I was dead on my feet.
I'd have to hole up somewhere for the night. So I started hunting a place where I'd be safe from the roving patrols the rats ran just outside the camp, and from the weather, in case it started raining again.
After a few minutes, I managed to find an abandoned cave, still slightly furnished. Looted, but furnished all the same. I stumbled in, locked the door behind me, grabbed a blanket off somebody's bed, and curled up in a closet on a shelf (I thought it'd be safer than sleeping somewhere obvious, like in the bed or under it).
When I woke up, it was past morning and nearly noon. I felt rested and even a little stronger.
I wandered around the cave, looking for something to munch while I tried to figure out what to do about getting everybody out of Ash. I mean, if I was the Holy Knight of the Order of St. Dumas, I probably out to free its members.
But first, I had to eat. Hey Modo, I bet your gray-furred Momma never said, "Never liberate a death camp on an empty stomach?"
She did? Wow, that's something.
As luck would have it, I found a freezer, and threw a steak in the oven.
You'd be suprised how fast a stone cave can burn down to ashes.
My breakfast scheme undone, I went outside and started walking toward the camp. I thought, who needs a plan? I'll make one up as I go.
See? I did learn something from you guys! Idiotic wrecklessness!
Then I noticed some strange yellow smoke pouring out of the holes in the dome that had been punched there by the lightning.
I knew it couldn't be a good sign, so I started running.
As I got closer, I noticed a smell. It was thick, terrible, and nearly stole the air from my lungs. I had to stop and catch my wind before I could keep going. I wondered if maybe it was from the smoke.
I did my best to keep out of sight as I ran. I thought about using another one of my black holes, but after the way they'd tuckered me out before, I was afraid to.
All my subterfuge was for nothing, as it turned out. There was no one around to even see all my hard work at staying unnoticed. Not a single rat was on guard. I guess it was okay in the long run--I didn't wanna be seen, but I was really pulling some good tricks! I was kinda disappointed.
When I got to the dome, I got a closer look at the vehicle I'd see pulled up to the side. It was a big, boxy tank. Brown, mostly, with silver treads. There was a thick black hose on the end closest to the camp's outermost wall, which lead from the tank into the camp
The smell was heavy here. I held my breath and ran around it to take a closer look.
There were signs all over the thing, warning about poisonous gases and toxic fumes. Skulls and crossbones. Mister Yuck stickers even.
The creepy part was that it also had a Martian Army emblem pasted on the front.
I decided that the only way I was going to find out what was going on would be if I went inside. Black hole express time!
I fell into the middle of the commons. The yellow smoke had thinned, but it was still there. I wouldn't be able to hold my breath for long, so I popped another black hole and prayed that I had found a gas mask somewhere along the line. If I didn't have one, I'd have to leave pronto.
I was kinda suprised when a gas mask did pop up, but after the last couple days, the unexpected was becoming so normal it was almost boring. I keep expecting to run up against a horde of flesh-eating zombies or something.
No such luck.
I threw the mask on over my head and took a good, hard look around.
There were bodies all over the place. Mice, rats, and Plutarkians, all just lying there, dead as doorknobs. I saw the fish-heads that used to whip us in the mines, rats who gave us the worst of the food they could find and kept the best for themselves, and mice I used to wrestle with, just for fun, all lying dead, twisted into horrible positions from their death agonies.
I almost threw up in my mask. It was all I could do not to.
It seemed pretty obvious that it'd been the gas that killed them all. It almost looked like everyone had come outside for work that morning, and they'd just fallen where they stood. Picks and shovels were lying around.
And on top of all that, there was blood. Everywhere. And everyone who I'd seen getting doused with that acid bath last night was still lying there. Rotting. It wasn't as bad as the night before--then, they'd been alive. Dead bodies can't hurt you, after all, and they're not suffering anymore. But it was still horrible. These were mice I'd known for years. And now.....
I had to find out what'd happened. I ran through the camp, searching for some kind of sign. Some one had piped that awful smoke into the camp to kill everyone inside. And they didn't care if Plutarkians died, too. But who would do it?
I never found Shift; probably all for the best. It would've killed me to see him lyin' there dead.
Then I rounded a corner and saw a mouse, wearing a gas mask like mine, standing there. He looked like he was counting bodies or something.
He was decked out completely in black. Black everything. Even wore a black hood. His tail was the only indication that he was a mouse, and I suppose that he could've been a rat. But I doubted it. The snout on his hood wasn't long enough.
Part of me was relieved. Here's an adult, I thought. He could help me.
I started walking over to him, waiting for him to notice me, since he was busy. I didn't want to interrupt him.
But before he saw me, he noticed some guy who, despite all the odds, had somehow survived the gas and was starting to crawl toward him. I thought I'd give the guy in black a minute to start tending to that guy before I made my presence known.
The mouse in black paced over to the guy who had moved was lying, put a gun right to his head. His brains exploded out the other side of his head like grayish-pink confetti.
That pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks. I guess I gasped or something, because the guy in black jumped up all of a sudden and saw me standing there behind him.
"So, another runt survived--" he started to say. Then he saw the mask and shouted, "Where did you get that?"
"Would you believe me if I told you I didn't have the slightest clue?" I asked with this stupid grin on my face.
He started to charge me. I knew what the look on his face meant. He was going to kill me, too.
But only if I gave him the chance, which I had no intention of doing.
I let him charge at me until he was about a foot away.
He kept running at me. I slid under him just as easy as you please and ended up just behind the guy. I didn't want him to have any kind of advantage, so I tripped him up with my tail on the way through. He slammed into the ground and twisted around to look at me.
"Brat! Hold still!" the guy growls. Man, he was pissed.
He didn't even know I had pulled the Inferno Sword on him until he saw me standing there behind him with it in my hands. His face goes white (or so I assume, since it was hooded) when he saw the blood on my sword. His patted his chest and his hands came up bright red.
I didn't cut him deep, though. The wounds were pretty superficial, but they looked serious enough to make him think he was mortally wounded, which was just what I wanted him to think.
"Talk fast, buddy," I growled, jumping on top of his chest and putting the sword at his throat (I've had practice, that's why I was so good when I jumped you guys in the alley). "What happened here? Who're you working for?"
At first, he didn't wanna talk. He said that his name was Chaki, but he wouldn't say anything else. I asked him why.
"According to the Geneva convention," he says, "a soldier captured by enemy troops has the right to give only his name and rank, and to not incriminate himself."
"Brother," I muttered, "You sound like that Scamorze clown. Look, do I look like an enemy soldier to you! For crud's sake, I'm a kid! And a mouse, just like you! We're on the same side here!"
The jerkweed whispered, "That's what you think."
It sent a chill up my spine. I was gonna have to be tough if I wanted any answers from this clown.
"Well, here's a newsflash, bucky. I didn't sign no Geneva convention, and I'm not about to play nice with some guy who'd just as soon fill me fulla led as look at me! Now, talk! Tell me who sent you to kill everyone here!"
"Why bother? I'm bleeding to death right now!"
"Yeah, well I can make it a whole lot slower and a billion times more painful! Now talk while you've still got time!"
I guess that convinced him.
"It was Abrahams," he whispered. "He found out the Plutarkians crossed him, that they had barely killed anyone like they had sworn to. He wasn't about to take it, so he sent me up here with the gas to eliminate everyone. Dumasians, rats, and Plutarkians all. The gas did the trick, obviously.
"They all deserved it."
That's when it struck me that Abrahams was just as ruthless as the Plutarkians. He wanted to control the entire planet, too. The only difference is that Abrahams doesn't need to dig up all of Mars to do it.
I pressed the sword up against Chaki's throat and snapped, "Maybe the Plutarkians deserved it, but--"
"Stinking Dumasians deserved it more than anyone," he said, grinning. "Baby-killin' blood-drinkin' atheists! I volunteered for this mission when I found out I'd get to destroy the Order for once and for all!"
Now I was ready to kill the bastard. Maybe he knew, and wanted to throw in a last parting barb. Or maybe he was just stupid. I don't know which. It's a moot point now, at any rate.
"Are you a boy or a girl?" he asked.
Off with his head.
I was starting to get lightheaded, so I got my tail out of there quick as I could. On my way out, I turned the pump off and saw where the big tube they used to pipe the gas in had been connected to the dome. It looked like a big hole had been cut out, a few feet wide and a few high. I could've walked through the pipe without stooping or anything. Vinnie probably could, too.
Not that you're short or anything, bro.
"That's pretty much it," Bingo concluded sadly. "Everyone at the camp was killed while I was gone. If there were survivors, I certainly didn't see them. I was lucky.
"I used another black hole to teleport myself back to Hellfire. I thought I'd rest there, build up my strength, until I was strong enough to go to the Shelter. That was three days ago. Then you guys found me and, as they say, the rest is history."
Modo patted Bingo gently on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry, lil' bro. We're back together now. Ain't nothin' we can't do together."
"If you don't mind sharin' the spotlight!" Vinnie snapped snottily. "Geez! You've been talkin' for like, twenty-seven pages! Nothin' but you!"
"Damn Writer's playin' favorites!" the white-furred mouse snarled.
Watch it, buddy-boy. I might play favorites, but you don't wanna get on my bad side, or I'll write your white-furred ass into a tutu!
"Sorry," Vinnie muttered under his breath.
"You been pretty quiet, bro," Modo said to Throttle, who had been largely silent for the past few moments.
"I've been thinking," the tan-furred mouse replied quietly.
"Don't hurt yourself," Vinnie chuckled.
Suddenly, Throttle's face went slack.
"Bros! The hole! The hole!"
Modo, Vinnie, and Bingo just looked at him, puzzled.
"The hole in the dome back at the Shelter! The Plutarkians getting close! It all makes sense!"
Before anyone could interrupt, Throttle shouted, "They're gonna do the same thing at the Shelter as they did at Ash! They're gonna gas everyone inside! That's why the hole's there! The Plutarkians are gonna waste us so they can dig up the land and get at the mines without evacuatin' everybody!"
"Oh Momma!" Modo shouted.
"We gotta do something!" Vinnie snapped, jumping to his feet.
Coolly, Throttle growled, "Oh, we're gonna. We're there."
"Nobody gasses my dear-old gray-furred Momma!" Modo agreed.
"Yeah, nobody gasses Modo's Mom!" he cried, pumping his fist.
"What about your mom?" Bingo asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh, they can have her," the white-furred mouse replied, shrugging. "But Rose is nice. They can't kill her."
Throttle turned to Bingo and asked, "Are you up for this, Bing-bro? You still look pretty weak."
Softly, but with a determined face, Bingo laughed, "You kiddin'? I owe those stink-fish!
"Plus, I wanna play with my new sword some more!"
"Then let's roll," Throttle said firmly.