Disclaimer: I do not own `Biker Mice from Mars' and I make no profit from this story. It was written for pure enjoyment, in honour of the show. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

For whom the bell tolls is by Metallica from the album Ride the Lightening.
Damage Inc. is by Metallica from the album Master of Puppets.

Note: The characters and situations created in this story do belong to me. I don't mind you using the people created in this story as long as you ask first. You are however, welcome to draw any of them `cos I can't draw for toffee.

This story falls about eighteen months after A Touch of Stone.
This story contains violence.

Damage Inc.

By Thorn

Copyright 1998

Earth 2499 AD. A man sits alone at a table in Ali's Café. Outside skimmers zip past heading for the suburbs of England. The whole country is now just one huge mega-city. Its tower blocks rise up over four miles from the ground. Their foundations run deep into the ground below tapping into the geothermal energy of the Earth. The energy they take is used to power the buildings and to heat up the huge gardens at their summits.
It begins to rain outside as the weather control system kicks in. The man away from the digitised newspaper he is reading and looks at his watch. The rain is bang on time as usual. The man looks about twenty-five as do most of the people living in the Alliance. His features are unremarkable but command an air of respect. Taking a slurp of his freshly replicated tea he goes back to reading the paper. His blue eyes scan the pages of the computerised paper, reading the articles of interest to him. A skirmish with raiders in the De Soto system, a new eye enhancement available, a new class of civilian cruise ship designed
A chiming noise begins to come from the man's pocket. He continues reading the paper trying to ignore the com-link making the irritating noise and hoping it will stop soon. Brushing a hand through his thick brown hair he lets out a yawn before taking another drink of his tea.
"Fleet commander Thorn?" A voice startles him. He looks round to see a dark lieutenant stood behind him.
"What?" he says in an irritated tone and taking another drink of the tea.
"Your presence is requested at orbital command sir."
Thorn makes an annoyed face at the lieutenant. "Oh go away. Tell them you couldn't find me. I'm on leave and I don't want to be disturbed."
"I'm sorry sir but Fleet Co-ordinator Jarrow insisted that I escort you to his office personally."
Thorn frowned. "Jarrow? Last time he wanted to see me Stone had just been lost."
Thorn downed the rest of the tea and got up from the table. "Lead the way lieutenant." He said suddenly interested.
The lieutenant pressed a button on the back of his hand. "Mojabe to transport control, open a portal."
The air infront of the two men began to move, as the fabric of space ripped open to form the transport portal. Thorn and Mojabe stepped through disappearing from the surface of Earth.
Stepping out of the portal, Thorn found himself in a large grey walled room. One of the transporter rooms of the giant space station, orbiting the planet Earth, known as orbital command. This was the nerve centre of the Galactic Fleet, where the co-ordinators planned their strategies for holding the Alliance together.
"This way sir." Said the lieutenant stepping through the doors at the far end of the room. Thorn followed. A few corridors and doors later they arrived at Jarrow's office.
"Go straight in Commander. The Co-ordinator is waiting for you." Said the secretary sat at the desk outside the office.
Thorn stepped through the door into the office. Jarrow looked up from the data pad on his desk. His young features were unable to disguise his old veteran image that he so loathed.
"Ah Commander. Long time no see."
"Like wise Co-ordinator." Said Thorn extending his hand to shake Jarrow's
"Well sit down Robert." Jarrow said gesturing to the empty chair on the other side of his desk. "I take it you've figured out why I sent for you."
"I should hope its something to do with Captain Mark Stone, formally of the Icon."
"Correct. A buoy came through the rift a couple of days ago. Observe."
Jarrow pressed a button on his desk. The lights in the office dimmed and a holographic screen descended down the left wall. An image formed. Stone sat in his fighter. It was obviously damaged.
"This is Captain Mark Stone of the Alliance star-cruiser Icon. I am in need of assistance. I have passed into some sort of parallel universe through an interdimensional rift. My ship has been damaged and I am unable to navigate back through. I am dispatching this buoy in the hope of rescue. I have included a copy of the ship's passage through the anomaly. Stone out."
The image of Stone cut off and a quick flash of computer data burst across the blank screen. Jarrow turned the screen off and the lights brightened.
"So he made it through." Commented Thorn.
"Yes but whether he's still alive is another matter. I want you to find out."
Thorn frowned. "The Paradise Lost is still being refit. She won't be ready for another three years. I might remind you this is my first shore leave on Earth in forty seven years."
"Yeah and your hating every minute of it commander." Smiled Jarrow.
"True, but it's the principle." Replied Thorn, not really serious "What about a ship, the Pantera is due in at Earth soon. A pulsar class vessel would be sufficient".
Jarrow smiled to himself. You're not gonna like this, he thought
"You won't be taking the Pantera. She's needed elsewhere. We've prepared a nova class vessel for you."
"Nova Class!" Said Thorn with a hint of distaste.
"It's called the Magnum. You are to rendezvous with the science ship Faraday. They have found a way of artificially widening the rift. Your mission is to retrieve Stone."
"When do I leave." Asked Thorn.
"Straight away."
Thorn smiled. "You know its been over a year and a half since Stone disappeared. What makes you think he's still alive."
"You know Stone as well as I do commander. Infact you should know him better. He's just a lucky son of a bastard."
"Too true. But luck sometimes runs out, even for bastards like me." Called out Thorn as he left the office, heading in the direction of the transporter.

Nova class vessels were the smallest class of capitol ship in the fleet. At just under twelve kilometres long the Magnum was like a barnacle on the back of an whale when compared to Thorn's usual ship, the Paradise Lost, a quasar class megacruiser. Still nova class vessels were still quite powerful for their size and were not to be trifled with. Taking just a couple of years to build as opposed to the nineteen years to build a pulsar class ship or the forty two years needed to build a quasar class, the nova class had become the backbone of the fleet.
The Magnum was quite an old vessel. It was in its one hundred and twenty-second year, a veteran of the galaxy war against the totalitarian Olympus State. Its inside was however far from old. Its recent refit had finally been completed. A brand new state of the art computer core now ran the myriad of new systems, designed by the Alliance's top scientists. A new crew occupied its interior, the old one having moved on to the brand new, pulsar class vessel, Draconian Times.

Thorn stepped onto the bridge. The Magnum's Captain rose from her command chair. Thorn waved at her to sit down.
"Your report please, Captain Yang." Asked Thorn, looking at the pretty asian captain. This assignment might not be as bad as I thought.
"All systems ready, course plotted. We will get underway in two minutes when orbital command clears us for hyper-drive."
"Captain, may I ask you a favour? Would you mind putting the Paradise Lost on the screen? I'd like to see how her refit is progressing.
Yang waved at the ensign manning the operations console. The viewscreen changed to show the Paradise Lost. The magnificent vessel dominated the tiny orbital spacedock attached to her front. The ship was strikingly reptilian in appearance. Its smooth sleek lines were almost delicate looking, disguising its rugged inner strength.
Thorn smiled. It was rare he ever got to see the view of his ship from the outside. The fleets flagship, his ship. He used to dream about commanding such a ship when he was young, before he developed the life extending nanites the Alliance now depended on.
"Commander Thorn, we are ready to depart."
"Carry on Captain. I'll be in my quarters reviewing the data on the Faraday's discoveries. Inform me when we arrive."

An hour later, Thorn stood on the bridge of the Magnum talking to the captain of the Faraday.
"Captain Jafrey, nice to see you."
"Ah Commander, I have been expecting you." Said the Indian Captain. "We stand ready to open the rift for you. However you are knowing that once we open the rift, you will be having only eighteen hours on the other side, before it is collapsing in on itself, never to be opened again."
"Yes I understand."
This mission just gets better and better, thought Thorn.
"At your discretion Captain."
A beam of focused energy lashed out from the small science ship stabbing the rift. The rift's maw opened. The Magnum's powerful engines manoeuvred into the waiting hole in space.

On a hill overlooking a small Plutarkian prison and lab complex a human male sat on his huge motorbike, watching. The bike was black as night and an impressive array of weapons were arrayed on its frame. The words `Heavy Metal' were inscribed on its flanks in silver stylised writing. Its rider also wore black. His uniform had black metallic armour running down the sides of its arms and legs. Two evil looking blades were extended from the armour on his right arm. He held a small pistol in his left hand. The man's hair flowed in the wind having grown quite long in the last year and a half. A neat goatee and long sideburns still adorned his face. Adjusting his shades, he looked down at the camp, eyes narrowed, intently observing its inhabitants.
Next to the human, a little to one side, a brown furred Martian mouse sat on his green freedom fighters bike. His hair was dark brown, a streak of orange running down the centre. He held a large disrupter cannon in one hand. The other hand tapped on the handlebars of his bike in anticipation of the coming action.
To the other side a white furred female mouse sat astride her freedom fighter bike. She carried a flag in her right hand. It showed the symbol of the Martian army. Underneath the symbol the name of their unit was written, a name feared by their enemies. `Damage Inc.'
A grey male sat on his dark blue rocket sled next to the white female. The words `Crazy Horse' had been inscribed on its sides. The rider glared down at the camp. Hate shone from his jet black eyes. His teeth were bared in anger. His short grey, almost black, hair stood on end.
Five other mice sat astride their bikes behind the other four.

"I think its time we got their attention." Said Stone to the others.
Rimfire pressed a button on his bike. A small black object flew out from its front landing somewhere in the camp.

A heavily built brown mouse stood digging the soil in the middle of the camp, loading it into large containers for the Plutarks to steal away. His body was weak from starvation and his muscles ached from the work. A young white furred mouse worked by his side. He weakly dug at the soil. This mouse was perhaps only eighteen and was thinly built. A year and a half of malnutrition and heavy labour had taken its toll. The crack of a whip was heard as it lashed across the young mouse's back. The youngster cried out in pain.
"Get working mousy, or you'll be cat food."
The whip lashed out again. The young mouse's strained body could take no more. His legs gave way and he collapsed to the floor. The Plutarkian guard sneered and begun whipping the young mouse mercilessly. The brown mouse could stand it no longer, as the guard continued to whip the youngster into unconsciousness. The brown mouse rushed over putting himself between the youngster and the Plutark. The whip lashed him but he stood there silent. Suddenly a small black object landed in-between him and the guard. The guard stopped his punishment and stooped down to pick up the strange object. Suddenly it came to life. The sound of a huge bell being struck rang out of it. It was a miniaturised speaker. The guard dropped the object in fright as the bell rang again. The brown mouse grinned as the sound of heavy metal music began to pour out from the speaker.

Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
On they fight, for they are right, yes, by who's to say?

For a hill men would kill, why? They do not know
Suffered wounds test there their pride
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Plutarkian guards around in panic. They were about to be attacked by the most feared or all freedom fighter squads. Some rushed around diving into the camp's defence bunkers or trying to find weapons to fight with. Some tried to find hiding places where they might survive the coming slaughter.

Take a look to the sky just before you die
It is the last time you will
Blackened roar, massive roar fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills your soul with a ruthless cry

Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they will see what will be, blinded eyes to see

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Prisoners rejoiced as they heard the music. Whispers circulated around the camp. Damage Inc. is here, we' re all saved. The Plutarks are finished lets attack them.
Freedom is here.

The song finished. War cries were heard from the top of the hill overlooking the camp as nine highly powered and heavily armed motorcycles tore down the hill towards the camp.
The big black bike fired its primary weapon, reducing the wall fortifying the camp to powder. The fighters blazed in on a stream of laser and disrupter fire.

Diamond planted her flag in the camp's soil and took out her laser with her now free right hand. A Plutark running towards her was the first victim. A neat laser shot through the brain killed him instantly. Charging a grenade, she lobbed it through the window of the building to her left from which Plutarkians had begun streaming out of.
A ball of flame erupted inside as it exploded, stemming the flood of soldiers.

Ice and Satin rode side by side down the centre of the camp weapons blazing. They left a trail of devastation behind them as Plutarkians were cut to ribbons by the deadly duo.

Cutter gunned his engine. The bike's rockets fired and he found himself flying over a Plutarkian bunker. Quickly charging a grenade he dropped it into the bunker as he passed overhead. He touched down and spun around, watching as the grenade exploded, silencing the bunkers guns. He patted the bike's handlebars.
"Good bike. Lets show these stink fish who rules around here."
The bike's engine revved loudly, a big smile spread across Cutter's face as he and the bike sped off to the next gun emplacement.

Harmony and Starline followed Rimfire, flanking him one on either side. As he used the disrupter to blow up Plutarkian strongholds, they moved in for the kill, wiping out any further resistance. Starline was also watching out for Rimfire's back. He'd developed the uncanny ability of letting Plutarkian Soldiers sneak up on him.

Spit roared round the camp on his supercharged bike. He popped wheelies, executed sharp turns and made his bike leap of the ground as if he were riding a bucking bronco. His bike's lasers blazed all the while as his bike sped about the camp taking out Plutarks wherever he saw them.
Racing into the middle of the camp he came to an abrupt halt as he saw a brown mouse tending a small white youngster. Spit dismounted his bike and crouched down beside the two mice. Large red welts could be seen under the white mouse's fur. Spit looked at them and growled angrily. Grabbing a hypo from the medical kit on his bike he injected the mouse. The brown mouse looked over at him.
"I knew you'd come for us eventually. `Damage Inc are the best."
Spit looked over at the brown mouse giving him the ok sign, smiling proudly.
The young mouse began to stir. Spit took the canteen from his bike and poured some water into the young mouse's mouth. He offered some to the brown mouse but he shook his head.
"You keep it. Others will need it more than me."
Spit growled and thrust the canteen into the brown mouse's hands. The mouse noticed the gleam in Spit's black eyes. He took a small drink and passed the canteen back. Satisfied, Spit grunted and put the canteen back on his bike.
"You don't talk much do you." Said the brown mouse looking up at Spit.
Spit raised his head and ran a finger along the scar starting under his chin and running down his throat.
The brown mouse looked away.
"Damn Plutarks have hurt everyone." He mumbled as Spit rode away.

Stone faced off with a Plutarkian guard stood in front of the lab complex's entrance. The guard held a long knife in his hand and was waving it menacingly at Stone. Stone smiled as he got off his bike.
"Let's make this a fair fight." He said holstering his pistol and extending the blades on his right arm, so that it would be blade against blade.
The guard lunged for him with the knife, expecting Stone to try and block the blow with his blades. Stone smiled and caught the blade of the knife with his hand. It cut through the flesh but stopped abruptly when it hit Stone's titanium alloy endoskeleton. Stone gritted his teeth against the sudden pain.
"I should have told you." He said to the surprised guard. "I don't do fair."
Stone laughed as he plunged the blades of his right arm into the guard's chest.
Letting go of the knife, Stone watched as the wound `zipped up' healing almost instantaneously. He wiped off the blood.
"As good as new." He commented, smiling.
He entered the building. Inside Stone stood shocked. He looked around his mouth wide open. In the last few months he had seen some horrible places, but this was worse than them all. Partially dissected mice lay on tables in the middle of the room. Others sat imprisoned in small, cramped cages placed round the edges of the room. The room was filled with the moans of suffering.
Stone looked on in disgust. A whimper caught his attention. It came from a young male tan mouse of about ten or eleven years old. The mouse was chained to one of the pillars holding the building's roof up. Stone walked over. The mouse cringed and backed up against the pillar in fright.
"Hey there little one. I'm not gonna hurt ya." He said softly.
The youngster eyed Stone warily. Stone put his hand on the young mouse's shoulder noticing as the youngster flinched. This child had obviously felt pain.
"Were gonna get you out of here. Just you see." Stone said with a warm smile.
Stone could hear the mouse's heart beating one to a dozen, his young muscles shaking with fear. Suddenly the mouse let out a cry and backed up against the pillar again. Stone looked around. A Plutarkian was trying to sneak out of behind him. The Plutark was obviously one of the people responsible for the lab. Stone glared at him.
"Are you responsible for this?" He asked dangerously.
The Plutarkian gulped and ran which was all the answer Stone needed. He turned and chased after the Plutarkian, his blades extending from his arm, a slow and painful death on his mind.
The Plutarkian raced through the door of the lab to the outside, only to be faced with a group of eight freedom fighters. They had already finished off the rest of the Plutarkians and were waiting for Stone. The Plutarkian raced across the open yard of the camp closely followed by a very angry Stone.
"Aaaarrrhhhh! Come back here ya slimy piece of shit! I'm gonna slice ya inta sushi."
The others watched, surprised. Stone had never behaved like this before. It was very rare he got angry and lost his cool.
Spit looked at the Plutarkian running past the back of his bike and grinned. He pressed a button on the bike's dash. The grapnel flew out of the back of the bike, hitting the Plutarkian and burying into his chest. The Plutark screamed and fell to the ground, hurt but still alive. Stone stopped running.
"Looks like Spit's decided to take up fishing as a hobby." Grinned Diamond, from her bike as she watched the still struggling Plutarkian trying to extract the grappling hook from his chest.
Spit began to sign. Stone laughed out loud, an evil smile lighting up his face.
"What did he say?" asked Harmony.
"He said `That wasn't fishing. I don't fish for Plutarkians. This is just my bait. Saber squid bait that is.'"
Spit grinned as he gunned his bike's engine. The Plutarkian screamed for mercy. Stone gave Spit a mock salute as he sped out of the camp dragging the screaming Plutark behind him.
Satin looked on disgusted
"Was that really necessary?" she asked.
"Come with me and you'll see." Stone scowled as he made his way back into the lab.
The others followed. Ice found himself having to clench his teeth together to stop himself vomiting as he noticed the remains of partially dissected mice laid out on slabs. Harmony looked around in horror as she heard the moans coming from the cages either side of the lab.
"This is disgusting." Commented Starline looking round.
Stone made his way over to the young mouse chained to the pillar. He pulled out his pistol. The mouse flinched and closed his eyes, whimpering. Stone frowned.
"Hey, I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm just gonna get these chains off."
Aiming at the chains, he blasted them, freeing the youngster. The young mouse opened his eyes. Finding he was free he dashed into the nearest corner away from Stone.
Stone sighed.
"Maybe he doesn't trust me `cos I'm human." He guessed.
Diamond looked over at the still shaking youngster.
"That Plutark deserved to be squid food for this."
Satin nodded her head.
"Whatever that Plutark is suffering its nothing compared to what these mice have suffered. I still think we should have just killed him though. We don't want to become like them."
Stone sighed again.
"You're right. I was just angry after seeing this. I shouldn't have let Spit drag him off like that."
"What are we gonna do about the kid." Asked Ice trying to avoid looking at the dissecting tables.
"I'll try to talk to him." said Diamond. "He needs the female touch."
She walked over to the corner where the young mouse was cowering, stopping about a metre away from him and crouching down. The youngster's eyes followed her movement.
"We only want to help kiddo. You're safe now. You don't have to be frightened anymore." She said softly.
The young mouse looked away. Tears began to run down his face. Diamond quickly shuffled over and put her arms around him.
"Now now, little fella. Everything's gonna be alright."
The youngster put his arms around Diamond returning the hug. Diamond could feel his small body shaking as he cried his heart out as she held him.
I hope Spit is having fun with that piece of Plutarkian filth, she thought angrily.

Spit was indeed having fun. He had only ridden a couple of miles when a large squid had leaped from the sand and devoured the Plutarkian. Speeding up the bike, he had managed to free the grapnel from the Plutark, inside the squid, neatly hooking it in one of its gullets. Thus, he was now engaged in a tug of war with a very large and very angry saber squid.
Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he opened the throttle of the bike again, trying to prise the squid out of the sand. The rope strained, the bike tyres spun. Spit dug his heals into the sand, trying to gain some ground. The squid suddenly gave in its attempt to bury its way to the next hemisphere and bolted upwards. Spit and the bike flew forwards, landing in a heap. The squid saw its chance and headed straight for them. Getting up off the floor, Spit fumbled for his laser. Looking down at the empty holster, he noticed it wasn't there, he must have lost it somewhere.
Oh SHIT! He thought silently
The squid reared up ready to strike. A burst of blue laser fire fried it. Its mouth fell to the floor inches, away from where he stood.
Spit looked around. The laser fire had come from his rocket sled. He gave it a thumbs up sign before collapsing on the sand exhausted.

Stone went outside and opened a channel to the military base at Hamden.
"Damage Inc. to base. Come in please."
"Carbine here. Go ahead Stone."
"I need a transport at sector 27 sigma. I have about forty-five prisoners to transport. You'd better send a medical team as well, some of them are in a bad way."
"Will do. Give us half an hour. Hamden out."

The transport arrived on schedule just as Spit rode into the camp, a huge saber squid being dragged behind his bike. He stopped by the transport and staggered off his bike exhausted.
Harmony rushed over and put her arm around him, helping him to sit down on a nearby bench. He kissed her on the cheek and made a sign with his hands.
Harmony smiled as he kissed her. She didn't understand the sign though.
"I'm sorry Spit, but I don't understand."
He sighed in frustration and looked away, embarrassed by his handicap. Harmony put a hand on his chin and turned his head towards her. She kissed him passionately. Spit grinned; he'd had an idea. He made the sign again but this time he wrote the words in the sand by his feet as well.
"Thanks my love."

Stone and Diamond stood by the door to the transport. They had been trying to coax the young mouse inside but he wouldn't leave Diamond.
"Looks like we're stuck with him." Said Stone.
Diamond sighed.
"Yeah. You got to admit it though, he is cute."
"You're not going all maternal on me are you." Said Stone smiling.
"Don't you believe it." She said tripping him up.
He landed on the floor hard.
"Umph! You know I'm sure there's a reason I like you. I just can't remember what it is."
Diamond chuckled.
"Perhaps I should give you a reminder." She said sexily.
Stone looked over at the young mouse stood closely behind Diamond.
"I think we'll have to wait until the umbilical chord is severed first."
Suddenly a chiming sound came from Stone's bike. Frowning, Stone got up off the floor and dug out the long forgotten Alliance com from his saddlebag.
"That's strange." he murmured.
He pressed the transmit button.
"Stone here."
There was a sudden movement of air, as the fabric of space ripped apart to form a portal. The young mouse gripped on to Diamonds waist tightly. A human male stepped out of the open portal.
Diamond looked at the man and then back at Stone. She blinked in disbelief. The two humans were almost identical. Only by the hair could you tell them apart. Stone's hair was long and wild, whereas the newcomer's hair was short and neatly trimmed. The portal closed behind the human.
"Stone! Looks like your luck is as good as ever." Said the stranger.
Stone smiled.
"Thorn you old war-dog. Long time no see."
The two humans embraced briefly.
Thorn grinned mischievously.
"You look terrible," he said. "-Sniff- And you're badly in need of a bath."
Stone laughed.
"If you hadn't noticed, there is a slight shortage of water round here."
"Any excuse."
Diamond was still staring at the two humans.
"You never told me you had a twin brother." She commented to Stone.
"We're not brothers." Stone replied. "It's a long story. I'll tell you about it sometime."
Stone turned back to Thorn.
"So you managed to bring the Paradise Lost through the rift."
"Not quite. The Paradise Lost is being refit. I've got the Magnum."
"Ain't that a nova class ship."
Thorn made a face.
"Yeah." He admitted
Stone burst out laughing.
"Ha. Now I've seen it all. The great and mighty Fleet Commander Thorn commanding a lowly nova class vessel.
Thorn narrowed his eyes.
"Don't rub it in, its better than nothing. On a serious note though, we've only got just over sixteen hours in this universe. The rift is collapsing in on itself. You'd better make your goodbyes brief."
Stone looked Thorn straight in the eyes.
"I'm not leaving."
"What!" Thorn said not believing his ears.
"I'm not leaving. This is my home now. My friends are here. I'm needed here."
Thorn shrugged his shoulders and took a deep breath.
"Well its your choice. We'll stay in orbit as long as we can incase you change your mind."
Thorn, as you are here, I need you to do me a favour."
"Name it."
"Things are coming to head here on Mars. The Plutarkians are gathering their forces, as are the Martians. There's gonna be one hell of a big fight when those forces meet and it'll probably determine the outcome of the war. I want you to do a planetary scan to find out where the Plutarkians are gathered and how many there are. I'd also appreciate a few supplies. You know, the essentials: water, food, clothingWeapons."
Thorn smiled.
"I'll see what I can do. How about joining me onboard for a while. Grab a bath, some decent food."
Stone looked over at the transport, where a dozen soldiers were trying to bundle the saber squid into a tiny cargo hold. Just thinking about another meal of saber squid made him start to gip. Every now and then was okay but when you had to practically live on the stuff
"Sure. As long as my friends are invited too."
"No problem."
Stone called over to the transport, where the rest of Damage Inc. had gathered.
"Anyone fancy a slap up dinner on my old friend Thorn here." He asked.
The unanimous vote was yes. Thorn tapped the com-link on the back of his hand and a portal opened infront of him. Thorn and Stone walked through the rift followed by nine weary Martians. The young tan mouse held on to Diamond's hand tightly as they entered. Passage through the portal however, was almost like walking through a normal door, from one place to another, the two places separated by a thin gleam of energy. The energy of the portal made your nerves tingle as you passed through it which is not a lot of discomfort for being able to travel half a million miles in a few seconds.
Once everyone had arrived, the portal closed to reveal the back wall of the transporter room.
Thorn turned to the group of freedom fighters stood behind him.
"Perhaps you'd like an hour or so to freshen up before you eat. You're all hungry I take it."
Thorn was greeted with nods and murmurs of ascent.
"Well I'll see you later on, say one hour, captain's dining hall."
Thorn turned to the transporter operator.
"Ensign, will you please escort our guests to suitable quarters. I need to go to the bridge."
The ensign nodded curtly to Thorn.
"Come with me please." He said to the new arrivals, leading them out of the room.
Stone turned to Diamond, the little tan mouse still clinging on to her as if his very life depended on it.
"Di, I think we ought to take this little chappie down to sickbay. I want to make sure he's okay."
Yeah. That's a good idea." Agreed Diamond. "There's no telling what those fish-faces did to him in that lab."
"Well then, lets see if I can remember the way."

The ensign gave each of the mice separate quarters, down the same corridor, except Ice and Satin, who as husband and wife shared a double room.
Rimfire lay on the bed in his quarters. He'd just finished pulling his boots off and was thinking about taking a nice long hot shower with proper soap and other nice smelly stuff. A knocking noise came from the door.
He sat up.
The door slid open and Starline walked in.
"Hi Starline, I was just about to take a shower.
"Me too." Replied Starline.
"Yeah, I thought I might join ya. You know, you rub my back, I rub yours." She said sexily.
Rimfire grinned. Starline grabbed him by the collar and kissed him. He put his arms around her, hugging her tightly. They collapsed on the bed laughing.
"Come on then. We've only got an hour." Rimfire said still laughing.
The two mice rushed off towards the shower room leaving a trail of clothes behind them.

Meanwhile Diamond had sat the young tan mouse on one of the diagnostic beds in the Magnum's sickbay and was trying to keep him still so that the physician could examine him. The youngster was terrified by the doctor's tri-corder. The doctor sighed as his attempt to scan the youngster failed for the fourth time.
"Would you do the honours." He asked Diamond.
"What do I do."
"Just point it at him running it down from the top of his head to the tips of his toes."
Diamond took the tri-corder and did as she was asked. The youngster let her do it without any fuss. She handed the device back to the doctor and ruffed up the young mouse's hair.
"There that wasn't so bad was it."
The doctor looked down at the tri-corder's readings.
"Hmm. Nothing serious. Just cuts and bruises mainly. A few muscle strains and there's a nasty burn on his arm." Said the doctor pointing to a small patch of blackened fur on the mouse's forearm. "He's also malnutritioned and a little dehydrated."
The doctor picked up a hypo-spray. The young mouse flinched for perhaps the fiftieth time since he had entered sickbay. Sighing, the doctor passed the hypo to Diamond.
"Put it against his arm and press the trigger. It should relieve any pain and help him to heal up faster."
The doctor went off to get a re-hydration drink.
Stone watched as Diamond injected the mouse with the hypo. The youngster didn't even flinch.
"Looks like he's developed a real rapport with you Di."
And you with him, thought Stone
"Yeah." Replied Diamond softly. "He hasn't said anything yet though."
"I'm sure he will in time."
The doctor came back with the drink.
"Give him this. It's a blend of vital nutrients, glucose and water. I've tried to make it taste as pleasant as possible, but its not good."
Diamond handed over the drink to the youngster. He drank it all with no complaints. The doctor raised an eyebrow.
"Must have been thirsty." He commented.
The doctor looked over at Stone and Diamond.
"Now for you two."
He waved away the protests.
"I insist."
He scanned Stone first.
"Everything is functioning within normal parameters. Your fine."
Stone gave the doctor a told-you-so look.
The doctor ignored it and proceeded to scan Diamond.
"Hmm, your healthy after a fashion.
The doctor pressed a hypo to her arm and pressed the trigger.
"That should clear you system out."
"By the way Captain I expect the rest of your people to pop in before tomorrow so that they can be examined."
Stone shrugged and headed for the door.
"I'll mention it."

Ice and Satin walked out of their quarters and into the corridor arm in arm. Both now wore smart Alliance uniforms that an ensign had produced from the replicator in their room. The uniforms were a comfortable fit. The ensign had even managed to make the tail holes right.
The door to Rimfire's quarters opened and Rimfire walked out with Starline at his side, also wearing new uniforms. A huge was grin emblazoned across his face. His grin soon turned to embarrassment however, when he noticed Ice and Satin looking at him knowingly.
Satin nudged Ice with her elbow.
"It looks like those two have been having as much fun as us."
Ice smirked.
"From the looks of Rimfire, I'd say they've probably had more."
The door to Harmony's quarters opened and Spit came out carrying a laughing and giggling Harmony in his arms. Noticing the sudden attention from the other four mice he stopped dead in his tracks and put Harmony down. His cheeks began to glow with embarrassment. Harmony stopped giggling and looked up at Spit. On seeing his expression she started laughing again.
The other four mice began to laugh as well. Ice walked over to Spit.
"Don't worry Bro. We just caught Rimfire and Starline coming out of the same room too. He had exactly the same look on his face as you."
Spit grinned and picked up Harmony again, dancing round the corridor with her, producing another fit of giggles from the light brown female.
Cutter walked out of his quarters.
"What's goin' on?"
Satin smiled.
"Oh nothing to worry about. Spit's just acting the fool as usual."
"Oh! An' I thought he'd just been laid."
Everyone burst out laughing.
Cutter just mumbled to himself.
"Typical. Everyone gets laid but me."

Finally Stone's door opened. He walked out wearing a new uniform and knocked on the door to Diamonds quarters.
"Are ya ready yet Di?"
"Just a second." Came the reply.
The door opened and Diamond walked out, the tan youngster at her side. There was a big smile on Diamond's face.
"He said something." She said excitedly.
"That's great." Said Stone smiling. "What'd he say."
"I asked if he had a name. He said it was Sandstorm."
Stone bent down to the youngster.
"So you're Sandstorm eh? You hungry Sandstorm?"
The young mouse just nodded without saying anything.
Stone shrugged disappointed.
"Let's eat then."
The members of Damage Inc headed off for the captain's dining hall in their smart new uniforms.

Captain Yang sat in her command chair, watching her people work. There was little to do at the moment. Commander Thorn had got them to initiate a planetary scan. That meant all they could do was watch the planet spin round while the Magnum's sensors made detailed scans of its surface. It was rather like watching old-fashioned paint dry.
The lieutenant manning the sensors suddenly raised his head from the console.
"Er, ma'am."
"Yes Mr Theosopolopolis."
Yang smiled. It had taken her ages to be able to pronounce the Greek officer's name.
"We're about to have company ma'am. A large fleet of small ships is heading this way. They'll intercept us in thirty minutes."
Yang's smile turned into a grin. At last something was happening. The last traces of boredom left her system as she prepared for action.
"Yellow alert. Commander Thorn to the bridge."

The freedom fighters were sat around the large table in the captain's dining hall eating. Thorn was sat at one end of the table.
"I've started the planetary scan but, as you know, it'll take a while to complete."
"What about my supplies?" asked Stone.
"I've looked through the ships stores manifest. We have a fair amount of food and water and suchlikes but our weapon supplies are low. We weren't expecting to find you in the middle of a war-zone. I've got someone replicating more but it takes time. I don't know how many there'll be."
"Contact general Carbine on the surface. She'll tell you where to send them."
Thorn nodded.
Suddenly Captain Yang's voice came over the com.
"Yellow alert! Commander Thorn to the bridge."
Thorn tapped the com-link on the back of his hand.
"Thorn here. I'm on my way."
"Trouble?" asked Stone.
"I don't know. Stay and enjoy your meal, I'm sure its nothing too important."
Thorn got up and left the room.
Cutter looked across at Stone thoughtfully.
"How come you and Thorn look so much alike if you're not brothers."
Stone sighed.
"It's a long story. Are you sure you want to hear it now."
"Yeah." Said Diamond. "I wanna know too."
"Well ok." Said Stone taking a deep breath. "As you know I'm 289 years old. I was born in 2210. Thorn was born in 1977, so that makes him 522 years old."
"You mean that guy is the fella who invented the nanites in the first place. Asked Rimfire.
"The very same."
"Wow 522 years old."
"Yep. Anyway, 2210 was about twenty years before the Alliance was formed. We had already colonised the moon and part of our Mars at that time but we were in a dark period of history. A democratic government no longer ruled the people. Huge mega corporations ran everything behind the scenes. We had just entered the second decade of war. Dubbed the gene wars, the mega-corps were brutally fighting each other for control over new genes. These genes were artificial genes, not found in nature. The mega-corps used them to engineer their own soldiers, which they cloned by the million. The better the mega-corps genes, the better their soldiers. The better their soldiers the more power they had.
"At that time Thorn was quite an important person. Being the sole distributor of the nanites, he had actually come to own his own mega-corp, Thorn Industries. However he kept out of the war, even tried to stop it a few times but to no avail. The other mega-corps saw his failure to the war as weakness, but by engineering a superior form of nanite, Thorn and his people were more than a match for a direct attack by clones. So a plot was hatched to take over Thorn Industries. Another mega-corp called Sirius stole a sample of Thorn's DNA and cloned him. The plan was to replace Thorn with a perfect replica, a puppet, with Sirius as its master.
"However Thorn was no fool. He knew the other mega-corps were after him. He had thus set up an intricate spy network. He found out about the plan and launched an attack on the cloning plant determined to destroy the threat to him.
"The attack came. His men broke into the plant and found the clone. It was about five years old and fully formed. An innocent. Thorn couldn't bring himself to kill it so he hatched it and raised it as his son. You've probably guessed that I'm the clone."
The other freedom fighters stared open mouthed at the story.
"So you're like Thorn's twin?" asked Cutter.
"Were genetically identical yes."
"How come you have different surnames then."
"Well, we don't really consider ourselves family anymore, were more like old friends. I changed my surname to Stone, the name of Sirius' chairman, partly to get back at him and partly because in a way he is my real father. Without him I wouldn't be here today. Plus having a different name tends to stop people getting confused between me and Thorn."

Thorn stepped onto the bridge of the Magnum.
"Report Captain."
Yang looked over at the commander.
"We have a fleet of thirty small vessels approaching our position. They will rendezvous with us in twenty-five minutes."
"Are they in visual range." Asked Thorn.
Yang waved to the operations officer. The view-screen changed from the view of Mars to show the fleet of tiny vessels. They were hard to make out but their fish like appearance could be seen easily.
"It would appear that these are the Plutarkians that Stone is fighting. Raise our shields and power up the weapon systems. Make sure security is standing by incase we are boarded. I want to be prepared if they decide to attack
"Should I summon Stone to the bridge Commander."
Thorn thought about it for a second before deciding.
"No. I think we can handle this by ourselves. Let Stone enjoy a little relaxation while he's here."

Back in the dining hall, Damage Inc. had finished eating and were relaxing on full stomachs.
The young tan mouse, Sandstorm, had fallen asleep and was resting against Diamond's shoulder.
"Poor little mite must be exhausted." She commented. "I better get him to bed,"
Spit signed over to Stone.
"Hey! You wanted to go saber squid hunting. Its not my fault if you're tired too." Replied Stone.
Harmony smiled as she whispered something into Spit's ear. Spit grinned shaking his head.
Stone smiled. He hadn't managed to hear everything that Harmony had said but he was sure the word `stud' came into it.
There's definitely something going on with them two, he thought.
"By the way everybody, the ships doctor wants to see you all before we leave tomorrow. Spit, with a bit of look he might be able to repair your vocal chords"
Spit made a face. He really hated doctors.
Suddenly the ship rocked. The computer sounded an alarm as yang's voice came over the com.
"Red alert! All hands to battlestations."

The fleet of Plutarkian ships surrounded the Magnum.
"We are being hailed." Said the communications officer
Yang nodded
The visage of a green fish like alien filled the screen.
"This is Colonel Barracuda of the Plutarkian Imperial Fleet. You are trespassing in our space. Surrender your vessel and we will be merciful."
Thorn snarled
"Open a channel." He barked.
"Open sir."
Straightening his uniform jacket he glared at the Plutarkian colonel's face and spoke angrily.
"This is Fleet Commander Robert Thorn of the Galactic Alliance vessel Magnum. The Alliance does not recognise your claim to this space. We will not surrender. Any attack on this vessel will result in your destruction. I suggest you leave while you still can."
Thorn waved to the communications officer signalling him to cut off the channel.
The lead Plutarkian ships opened fire. The ship rocked.
"Red alert! All hands to battle stations." Yang shouted. "Tactical, return fire."
The bridge was suddenly bathed in bright light. Plutarkian soldiers had begun to transport onto the bridge. The soldiers began to fire their lasers.
Thorn pressed a button on the com-link stuck to the back of his hand. An energy shield formed infront of him. The shield was a new invention that had been fitted to the Magnum and was about to be fitted to the Paradise Lost. Thorn smiled as the shield absorbed Plutarkian laser blasts rendering them useless.
The tactical officer however was not as fortunate, he'd been hit before he `d had a chance to react. He lay slumped over the console.
Yang had also activated her energy shield.
"Intruder alert! Security to the bridge!" she called
The air on the bridge began to move as a portal opened infront of the viewscreen. Security guards rushed out in full combat armour slicing and blasting the invaders.
Still the Plutarkians continued to transport onto the bridge.
Thorn made his way over to the weapons console trying to avoid the fights.
"Computer identify source of transports." He called
A Plutarkian rushed towards him a knife in hand. The shield could stop energy discharges but not physical force. Thorn grabbed the disrupter pistol from his shoulder holster and blew the Plutarkians head off.
"Sorry about that old chap but honestly I think you look much better without a head." Said Thorn in an over exaggerated English accent.
Two security guards rushed over to him to shield him from any more attacks.
The computer spat out its data.
Thorn quickly targeted a couple of antimatter torpedoes at the vessel and let fly. The first torpedo was enough to smash through the Plutarkian ship's shields and penetrate the hull. The second torpedo passed right through as the ship was vaporised by the blast from the first torpedo.
The flow of Plutarkians onto the bridge was cut off immediately. The security guards soon took out the remaining Plutarkian Forces.
Yang sat down in her chair.
"Lets show these Plutarkian scuzz-buckets what happens when they mess with the Alliance. All batteries open fireAnd can someone please turn the air conditioning up to clear away this pong."
Thorn was already stood at the weapons console so he filled the role of tactical officer. The actual tactical officer was still laid over part of the console. One of the security guards picked him up and laid him down at the back of the bridge. He was already starting to come around as the nanites in his body repaired the damage caused by the laser blast.
Thorn smiled as he directed the particle beams and antimatter torpedoes at the Plutarkian ships. The Plutarkians were ripped to shreds by the deadly onslaught as the weapons tore through their shields and vaporised their hulls.

Colonel Cuda sat in his chair at the centre of the bridge watching his fleet being destroyed by the Alliance vessel. The battle was lost. The Alliance ship was too powerful to fight directly and the transporter ship had been destroyed. His own ship was badly damaged. A plasma conduit was leaking its contents onto the bridge slowly poisoning everyone. There was only one thing left to do.
"Helm! Collision course. Full speed. I will not fail again."

The crewman watching the sensor console noticed the Plutarkian ships change in direction.
"Plutarkian vessel on collision course Captain."
"Antimatter screen." She ordered. The enemy ship was too close to fire upon safely.
The Alliance vessel's shields glowed bright white as antimatter was poured into its energy shields. The Plutakian ship hit the shield and exploded. Most of the debris was vaporised by the antimatter but a small piece managed to get through and hurtled towards the ship's hull. It struck, penetrating the hull. The ship shook violently before righting itself once more.

Two minutes later the battle was over. The debris of Plutarkian vessels surrounded the Magnum.
"Stand down from red alert and resume planetary scan." Called Yang from the command chair, a big smile on her face.
The door to the rear of the bridge opened and Stone walked in.
"What's going on?" He asked.
"We had a little run in with your Plutarkian friends." Replied Thorn. "Nothing to worry about. Its all over with now."
Stone looked around at the dead Plutarkian soldiers littering the bridge.
"How did they manage to get onto the bridge?"
"They used some sort of matter transportation device. Our shields weren't configured to block them."
"Have we sustained any damage?" asked Stone.
"I was just about to check."
Thorn tapped a few buttons on his console and the computer began to read of a damage report.
<Hull breach on decks 24 through 31, force fields in place. Minor hull damage to deck 13. Lateral thrusters 24 through 49 off-line. Replicator system off-line. Fire suppression system on deck 94 sections A through M off-line>
"Damn the replicators are off-line. I'm afraid your weapon supplies are going to be less than I anticipated. I'll get someone to fix them straight away."
Thorn looked at another display.
"Your scan will be ready in another eight hours. I suggest you get some sleep before you fall over."
Stone nodded his head. He had been up for almost three days and tiredness was catching up with him. Saying goodnight he walked off to his quarters.

It was morning, at least it felt like morning to the members of Damage Inc. The Magnum, like all Alliance ships, did not operate on a Morning, afternoon, evening system. Insteas it worked in eight hour shifts, alpha, beta and gamma. It was now alpha shift.
Spit entered sickbay reluctantly, Harmony giving him a shove through the doors. Spit looked around nervously ready to bolt back outside. He hated Doctors. Grabbing him by the arm Harmony dragged him over to a human working on one of the medical bay's many consoles.
"Excuse me."
The human turned round to look at her.
"Hi I'm Doctor Sanchez. How can I help you?" He asked with a warm smile.
"I've brought a friend of mine. His name is Spit. He can't talk.
"Ah yes Doctor Michaels told me you would be coming round. Go sit on the diagnostic bed over there. I'll be with you in a minute."
Spit went over to the bed and sat on it with a little encouragement from Harmony. He wasn't pleased about the situation though.
The doctor came across with a tri-corder and scanned him.
"HmmYes. Nasty, very nasty." The doctor mumbled. "Your vocal chords have been surgically destroyed."
Spit nodded
"Well normally I would just give you a dose of nanites tailored to your genetic code. However, one out of every three initial nanite transfers ends in failure. Malfunctioning nanites can have disastrous consequences if not treated straight away and as the Magnum is not likely to be here very long I don't think it would be wise to risk it.
"I can however give you a dose of temporary nanites programmed to reconstruct your vocal chords. They'll take a day or so to accomplish this before they're flushed out of your body. You won't be able to talk straight away though. You'll need to do lots of vocal exercises, which may hurt a little. Is that acceptable to you."
Spit shrugged non-commitedly.
"That will be fine Doctor." Said Harmony elbowing Spit in the side.
"Are you sure?" The Doctor asked looking at Spit.
Spit nodded sulkily and not very happy. The doctor went off to prepare the nanites.

Stone walked onto the bridge. Thorn was sat in the command chair having relieved Captain Yang so that she could go get some sleep.
"Ah Stone. Your scan is complete."
Thorn got up from the chair and walked over to a door to one side of the bridge, beckoning Stone to follow. They entered the room. It was bare with no furnishings. A holographic projection grid surrounded its walls.
"What do you think?" asked Thorn.
"It's a holodeck. But why so close to the bridge."
"Observe! Computer real time view."
The walls of the room dissolved away to show a real time view of space surrounding the Magnum. Stone looked down at the planet below. It looked like he could just reach out and touch it.
"This is amazing"
"Yes it is. It's the very latest idea. The Magnum is the first vessel to have its sensors directly plugged into a holodeck. It allows a fleet commander to get an accurate representation of what's going on in a battle. Before you had to picture most of what was going on in your head. The view-screen could give you an accurate two-dimensional picture but of course space is three-dimensional. This room allows you to see three-dimensionally."
Stone smiled.
"Its good for sight-seeing too."
"That too." Laughed Thorn. "Anyway let's get back to your scan. Computer give me a holographic representation of Mars and display data from planetary scan"
The view of space melted away as a small version of the red planet appeared infront of the two men. A screen appeared underneath the planet with scan data on it.
"From the scan data we estimate that there are about twenty-thousand Plutarkians on the surface of Mars. They are concentrated here." He said pointing at a shaded area on the planet."
"Have you relayed the results to general Carbine." Asked Stone.
"Yes. She is organising her troops already. We have been able to send her just over a thousand Disrupter units. Unfortunately the replicators going off-line have reduced the number we could supply."
"Well you did your best. When do you have to leave?"
"Six hours."
Thorn sighed
"Stone I'm afraid there is some bad news. The scan showed up something else."
"What?" asked Stone confused
Thorn took a deep breath.
"This planet is dying. There are too many people on it for too little vegetation. The computer estimates that if things go on as they have been the planet's oxygen level will become too low to support life within eighteen months."
Stone looked at the data on the holographic screen infront of him in anguish.
"There must be something we can do."
Thorn shrugged.
"The computer says that in order for the planets ecosystem to recover at least twenty-five-thousand people must leave. If you do fight the Plutarkians then the population might decrease enough but its risky. We could however play it safe and find some of the Martians a new home."
"What are you suggesting?"
"This ship can support an extra twenty-thousand people. We could take any volunteers back to the Alliance. We could terraform a planet for them. They would become full citizens of the Alliance. Think of it as insurance. If we take some of them with us and this planet still dies at least their race will have a chance to live on."
Stone thought about the suggestion for a moment. It was a good idea but not one the Martians would like.
"Ok I'll contact General Carbine and give her the news. I don't think there'll be many volunteers though. The Martians are very tightly bound to their planet, or what's left of it."
"If some of them don't leave they may be condemning themselves to extinction."

Doctor Sanchez put a hypo-spay against Spit's neck and pressed the trigger. A soft hiss signalled that the nanites were being transferred into Spit's system.
The Doctor stood back.
"There you go, all done."
"That wasn't so bad was it." said Harmony.
Spit coughed. Suddenly he grabbed his throat acting as though he couldn't breathe.
"Spit! What's wrong?" Called Harmony, worried.
The doctor whipped out his tri-corder, surprised at the sudden reaction.
Spit grinned and let go of his throat.
"Got ya!" he signed.
The doctor made a face before turning away to see to other things
"Bloody comedians!" He mumbled as he left.
Harmony slapped Spit on the shoulder.
"Don't ever do that again! I thought you were dying or something."
Spit signed that he was sorry and put on a sad face. Harmony smiled.
"Ok, I forgive you. This time." She said giving him a big hug.
Just then Satin came into sickbay with Ice supporting her. Sanchez rushed over to them.
"Is something wrong." He asked.
"Its Satin" replied Ice. "She's been feeling sick all morning and she just started going dizzy."
"Okay. Sit her down on the bed here so I can examine her."
The doctor pulled out his trusty tri-corder and scanned the Martian female. Looking at the tri-corder's results he smiled.
"I see the problem. Its morning sickness combined with a low blood sugar level. I've got some good news for you. You're pregnant."
Ice smiled wide.
"That's great."
Satin wasn't so pleased.
"It's not great. Mars is about to have the biggest battle in its history. How am I supposed to fight feeling like this?"
"You're not fighting full stop." Said Ice.
The sickbay grew loud with marital arguments. Spit and Harmony made a hasty departure.

It was about half an hour before the Magnum was due to leave. Carbine had gathered as many mice as possible that were willing to leave. They were mainly older mice, who were too old to fight of had been injured in battle, or young couples with children. A large orphanage with over three hundred children in its care had also decided to leave. The total figure was just over five thousand. The mice had already been transported up to the Magnum with the help of its transport portals.
Stone and Damage Inc. sans Ice and Satin, stood in the Transporter room waiting to be transported back to the surface. Thorn and Yang were there to see them off.
"Well I wish you luck Stone." Said Thorn. "You usually do anyway."
"Yeah, we'll do okay." Replied Stone. "Has anyone seen Ice and Satin"
Thorn shook his head
"Me an' Spit saw them in sickbay a couple of hours ago."
On Que. the door to the transporter room opened and Ice and Satin walked in. Both were red in the face. They had obviously been arguing.
"Ice, Satin, nice of you to join us. We thought you weren't coming for a moment there."
Ice began to chew his lower lip
"Er we have some news to tell you. We're going to be parents."
"That's great news." Said Starline giving Satin a big hug. "I'm really happy for you guys."
Rimfire shook Ice's hand.
"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
"Congratulations. I believe a celebration is in order when we get back to Mars." Said Stone.
"Well, that might be a problem." Said Satin. "We've been discussing the situation and we've decided that we want to go back to the Alliance with the Magnum."
Stone looked at them both stunned and speechless. It was Cutter that broke the silence.
"I'm gonna miss you guys." He said giving them both big hugs. Cutter had looked to Ice and Satin as pseudo-parents in the absence off his father. They, like the rest of Damage Inc., were part of his family now.
Stone finally found his tongue.
"Well I wish you all the best. You can't pick a much better place than the Alliance to raise your child. It's been a pleasure working with you."
The others said their goodbyes to Ice and Satin. Stone walked over to Thorn.
"Take good care of them won't you."
"Don't worry, I will. And you make sure you look after yourself. And make sure you kick some Plutarkian butt. You never know one day we may find a way to reopen the rift. Who knows what we might find."
"A new Alliance hopefully."
The two Humans embraced briefly.
Thorn smiled as he gave the transporter operator the order to open a portal
"See you in the future?"
"Ya can bet on it." Replied Stone before vanishing through the portal with the rest of his team.

Damage Inc emerged from the portal to find they were stood beside the military base at Hamden. The portal closed behind them.
Stone looked up to the sky just in time to see a bright flash of light signalling that the Magnum had gone to hyperdrive
"Let's get ready people. We're gonna have one hell of a fight ahead of us." He said with a sigh.

The Nova class Alliance vessel, The Magnum, entered the rift. Only a brief shaking signalled its passage through as the shields took the brunt of the anomaly's energy. A few seconds and the ship emerged into Alliance space.
"Captain Yang. We are being hailed."
"Open a channel ensign." Replied Yang.
Captain Jafrey's visage appeared on the viewscreen.
"Where have you been? The rift is about to close. I say to you be as quick as you can. We were fearing you had been lost!"
Yang smiled.
"Don't overreact Captain we had at least three minutes to spare." She replied as she watched the rift collapse in on itself on a secondary viewscreen set under the main one.
Thorn stepped onto the bridge.
"Our guests have settled in fine. Set course for Earth, it will take time for us to locate a suitable planet, so in the meantime I think we could organise suitable accommodations for them on the Paradise Lost, while she's in space dock.
"Yes Commander. Helm set course for Earth, hyperdrive at factor six."
"Course plotted ma'am."
"Would you like to do the honours sir." She asked Thorn.
Thorn smiled.
"Why not? Helm ENGAGE!" He said gesturing a forward motion with his hand.

The Magnum sped off into the void with the Alliance's newest inhabitants. Here the Martian species would have another chance to thrive.

Que. Music. Damage Inc. by Metallica. Master of Puppets

Dealing out the agony within
Charging hard and no one's gonna give in
Living on your knees, conformity
Or dying on your feet for honesty
Inbred, our bodies work as one
Bloody, but never cry submission
Following our instinct not a trend
Go against the grain until the end

Blood will follow blood
Dying time is here
Damage Incorporated

Slamming through, don't mess with razorback
Stepping out? You'll feel our hell on your back
Blood follows blood and we make sure
Life ain't for you and we're the cure
Honesty is my only excuse
Try to rob us of it, but its no use
Steamroller action crushing all
Victim is your name and you shall fall

Blood will follow blood
Dying time is here
Damage Incorporated

We chew and spit you out
We laugh, you scream and shout
All flee, with fear you run
You'll know just where we come from

Damage Incorporated