Lazy Afternoon

By D.T.

Copyright April 13, 1999 to February 18, 2000. All rights reserved

Disclaimer: I don't own Biker Mice in any way, shape or form. I am making no money from this. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

(Note: I'm correcting the blood colour in this one and in my other fanfic from green to red.)

It had been over a month since Carbine, Stoker and Rimfire had left and things around the garage had settled down, but the Bros. and D.T. hadn't been idle. Limburger was rebuilding his tower again, as he wanted it stronger than the last one. The Bros had overheard something about "I want it fireproof!" during a meeting with the construction foreman. D.T. just rolled his eyes and grinned as they speed off. Charley and D.T. had cobbled together a sound module for his bike a couple of days after he arrived so it sounded like a normal engine and had also built an electronic muffler for the Bros bikes so with a flip of a switch, they were as silent as D.T.'s.

He and the Bros were getting along a lot better now with him not having to keep his being a were and sexual orientation a secret. Vinnie was still a bit uncomfortable with it, but was slowly getting used to the idea. He had made a few trips to the Library (Yeah, Vinnie can read something other than sport scores and TV listings.) to do some research on it and it answered some of his questions and he asked D.T. a few that he answered for him.

It was a lazy fall afternoon, no football games were on and everyone was just tinkering to keep busy. The Bros with their bikes, Charley with a car in for a tune up and D.T. was working on his log. Modo headed for the kitchen to get a rootbeer. "Hey, Modo? Could you get me an apple please?" D.T. called out.

"Sure." Modo got his rootbeer and grabbed an apple from the bowl on the counter. He came back in and tossed it D.T., who reached up and caught it without looking.

"Thanks, bro." He bit into the apple and kept typing with his right hand.

"You're welcome." Modo opened his rootbeer and took a swallow. The sounds of tools clinking and apple crunching filled the garage. "How can you eat without chewing up your mouth with your fangs?" Modo finally asked after D.T. tore a chunk out of the apple. He finished chewing and swallowed before answering.

"My lips have a toughened section there that's very hard to bite through." He set the apple down, reached up and pulled his bottom lip down. Modo came over and could see the bottom fangs fit inside of the upper fangs. Where the fangs were, the skin on the inside of his lip looked darker. The were held up the index finger on his right hand and extended a long black claw. He poked at the section and it dented the skin, but didn't cut it. He let go of his lip. "Besides, when I do bite myself, it heals up pretty quickly."

"How fast?" Throttle, Vinnie and Charley came over. D.T. sighed, pushed the laptop back, and then slashed his left forearm with his claw. Everyone gasped and Charley ran to get the first aid kit.

"It's okay Charley, it'll stop bleeding in a bit." Even as he spoke, the flow slowed, then stopped. Charley came over with a wet cloth, then blanched when the were lifted his arm to his mouth and licked the blood off, six inches of tongue cleaning it until there was no trace of blood left and a red line remained. The Bros were slightly repulsed at seeing him lick the blood off and fascinated to see such a long tongue on him. "It makes for a fun date," he said to their unasked question. Charley mopped the table off.

"That is gross." Vinnie said finally, shivering slightly.

"That's nothing, watch this." He pulled his shades off, looked at them, and then both his eyes went milky white. Eyes bugged slightly as he turned and looked at each one of them, then his eyes went back to normal. "Third eyelid. Handier than sunglasses."

"Wild. Do all you weretigers have it?" Throttle sat in
one of the chairs around the table.

"No, just the exotic werecats." D.T. finished his log and closed his computer.

"Exotics? What're they?" Charley put the kit away and sat, with Vinnie and Modo doing likewise.

"I guess I haven't really explained everything about my home before in detail to you guys. Back home, we have three species of weres: Werewolves, Werebears and Werecats. And three different groups in each: Kin, Weres and Exotics. Kin are weres that don't have the ability to change forms. Weres are normal people that can change form. Then you have people like me, exotics. Weres that the animal side comes through more."

"I would have thought everyone there would be weres?" Charley asked.

"We are. Kin are weres, but they don't have the ability to change forms like weres and exotics can, unless it is activated." D.T. picked up his apple.

"Activated? How?" Modo sat back. D.T. opened his mouth wide and bit down hard on the apple, taking a massive chunk out of it. Modo got the idea. "You mean like in the movies? A bite?"

"You got it. But if I were to bite someone right now, all they would have is just that, a massive bite mark on their arm or leg. I have to make a conscious effort to do it." He finished his apple and tossed the core over his shoulder into a bin.

"I thought all you had to do was bite someone?" Vinnie queried.

"Vin-man, you have been watching way too many horror movies. No, it takes a conscious effort on the part of a were to do it. We have a gland with our saliva glands that produces a compound that's a catalyst to trigger the change in a Kin, but only if they want it. We cannot force a Kin to become a were."

"How so?" Throttle leaned forward.

"We're all related, be you Kin, were or exotic. We respect each other and those person's rights as individuals. What would happen is a Kin would ask a were in their family or a close friend to do it. Once asked, the kin is asked three times over a period of three days if this is what they want and are sure of their decision. If they answer yes to all three, then they are bitten."

"And they change on the next full moon." Vinnie piped up.

D.T. shook his head. "Vinnie, I told you. The moon has no effect on us. Granted, we feel the full moon like you feel sunshine."

"How does that feel?" Vinnie sat back in his chair.

The were closed his eyes and a soft smiled played over his face. "Cool, soothing, like silk being softly brushed over your skin." He opened his eyes. "Sorry, I can't describe any better than that. Or, maybe I can." And held out his hand. They got the idea and reached out and touched his hand. The memory that came was just like he described. Silk, coolly stroking your skin, washing over you in a gentle caress. D.T. abruptly broke the contact. "Sorry, I forgot emotions can also be sent in a memory." He looked a bit sheepish.

"Then they change and you get a were." Vinnie rubbed his hand.

"Sometimes. The first change can happen anywhere from a few minutes after the bite to several hours later. Someone stays with them at all times as the first change is the hardest." D.T. stated.

"When did your first change happen?" Modo asked.

"The first change for all weres or exotics usually starts with puberty, 11 or older, it varies some."

"11?" Charley said, surprise showing on her face. "That's kind of young, isn't it?"

"Not really, we mature earlier from what information I have read about humans here. Mine happened three months after my 11th Birthday. I woke up feeling edgy, out of sorts and it just got worse as the day went on. My parents knew what was happening and called a neighbor who was a were over to help. It finally happened in the early evening." He took a deep breath. "The pain was indescribable, like my body was being torn apart from the inside out. We have someone around for the first change as the pain gives the animal side of our personalities full reign. It takes dominance and controls us fully. The people watching help calm the person down and we learn to blend our two sides, animal cunning and viciousness with human thought and feelings."

"And if this doesn't happen?" Modo scratched his face.

"Than you get a mindless, rampaging beast, like in your movies." D.T. hugged himself and closed his eyes, lowering his head to his chest.

"Has it ever happened?" Throttle leaned on the table with his arms.

"A few times in our past, but not anymore, thankfully. We can help those that can't do it right the first time so they don't have to be sanctioned."

"Sanctioned?" Charley asked.

"Killed, by either a gunshot or a lethal injection." He replied in a dead tone of voice. "Sorry, it's a part of our past we are not proud of. So many weres died because we didn't know how to help them back then."

"But, you healed so fast. How can a gunshot or poison kill you?" Modo finished his soda.

D.T. made his hand like a gun and held it to his head, then mimed shooting. "A bullet to the old gray matter seriously screws up anyone, even us. And a massive enough dose of a really strong poison, like snake venom, cyanide or arsenic will do the job. If you shot me in the body right now, you would have one seriously ticked off were on your hands."

"Ah, we're too fast for you, you'd never catch us." Vinnie bragged.

"Oh yeah?" D.T. grabbed Modo's empty pop can and leaned over, setting it in front of Vinnie. "Put your hands on either side of it, about twelve inches apart." The white mouse did so. "Throttle, start us off." the were rested his elbows on the table, chin resting in his hands.

Throttle watched the two of them, Vinnie watching D.T., the were sitting there with an unreadable expression on his face. "GO!" A blur and Vinnie's hands closed on nothing and the can was in D.T.'s right hand.

The were chuckled. "Like I told you, we are stronger, faster and more agile. I don't know how we would compare to a human here for reaction time." He set the can back down and leaned back in his chair, making it creak.

A thought hit Throttle. "How much do you weigh?" When they had been wrestling, he had noticed D.T. was surprisingly heavy for his medium build.

"About 240 or so. Why?" he replied nonchalantly.

"How can you be so heavy? I weigh 200 lb., Modo is heavier than I am, Vinnie is lighter and Charley--" he got a warning glare from her and gave her an ingratiating grin. "-Is the perfect weight for a lady." She smiled sweetly at him and he said a quiet prayer of thanks to whatever deity was present.

The were stroked his chin. "Hm, I never really thought about it before. I noticed you were lighter than you looked. I wonder..." and headed for his bike, coming back with a black case, as thick as a laptop computer, but about half as big.

"What's that?" Charley looked on with interest.

"Standard issue sample and analysis kit we all carry for field work. I'm rarely without it." He opened the case, revealing some strange looking equipment. "When we are out on rounds, we take samples as we go to check for plant and animal heath." He pulled out a small case the size of a walk-man and plugged it into his computer with a cable. The computer was switched on and he typed for a minute, then he retrieved a blue cylinder the size of a large marking pen from the kit. "I'll need a couple of volunteers." He fixed an inch long, narrow white tube to the end on the cylinder.

"Volunteers?" Modo looked at the cylinder warily. "Just what is that thing?"

"I need a tissue sample to run an analysis. It won't hurt." He held up the cylinder. "This is a tissue biopsy probe. It takes a small tissue sample that I can put it in the analyzer." He tapped the smaller case.

"No way is anyone sticking me!" Vinnie crossed his arms and glared.

"It doesn't hurt. Here, I'll show you." He put the narrow nozzle on his leg and pressed a button on the top of the cylinder. A soft, sharp hiss/click and the denim dimpled slightly. "Done." He put the nozzle into a hole in the side of the analyzer and pressed the button again. He took the nozzle off and replaced it with a fresh one. "Charley?"

"All right." D.T. massaged her thigh before taking the sample. "I barely felt it." She rubbed her thigh for a bit.

"The massage I did helped. You might find a small red spot if you looked. It won't get infected." He put the sample in the analyzer. "So, which one of you macho mice gets it?"

"Me." Throttle twisted in his chair. The were massaged his thigh and he felt it numb out. The probe was applied and sample taken. "You're right, Charley-girl. It didn't hurt at all."

"We learn massage techniques that allows us to relax muscles or alleviate pain." He turned back to the computer. "Now, we have it run a standard scan. Should only take a minute." He removed the nozzle and returned the probe to the case. He gathered up the nozzles, stood and walked over to a bare spot on the garage floor. Setting them down, he pulled his blaster. After making an adjustment in it, he fired at the nozzles, incinerating them. "Standard procedure when taking samples; destroy the probes so there is no chance of infection spreading." The computer beeped and he headed back to the table and sat. "Hm, that's interesting." Everyone crowded around D.T..

On the screen, the three red coloured samples came up, highly magnified. The cells were startlingly similar between three samples. "I take it this one is yours?" Charley pointed to the left side of the screen. D.T. nodded.

"Yes, if I didn't know any better, I would say you, me and the mice were related." He scrutinized the screen, using a touch-pad to bring up a couple more commands. "Ahhh, now I see why." He tapped the pad and the view pulled back. "It compensated the view so the magnification was identical. This clears up the weight mystery." The view pulled back and the cells of the three samples showed. The one on the left showed cells much smaller in size with the center and right hand one being larger in size.

"What? I can't see anything different." Vinnie looked closer.

"It makes sense. The analyzer compensated for cell size and magnified it accordingly. Mine needed more magnification than yours did." He got puzzled looks all around. "My cells are smaller, more compact than yours are so I have more in my body, that would explain why I'm heavier."

"So your earth has heavier gravity?" Charley straightened up.

"No, the G-force sensor on my bike says our planets have the same gravity." He stroked his muttonchops [Real big sideburns]. "One possible theory is that with my rapid healing, my cells are smaller so they regenerate faster. I'm no biotech, but it's the best explanation I can come up with. I'll send the data and the samples back with the next package." He pulled three small silver bottles of the case and pair of forceps. The analyzer was opened and the samples, looking like three red threads on clear tubes, were removed and placed in the bottles and labeled. He twisted the tops; a hiss sounded and frost appeared on the sides of the bottles. "Cryo-bottles. Great for preserving samples for further analysis." He packed everything back into the case.

"What's your home like? You know about Mars and here, we'd like to hear about your world." Throttle sat back down and so did the others.

D.T. smiled. "Sounds fair. I know about your two worlds, it's only fair you know mine. My world is a lot like here, but cleaner. We learned early on that we have to protect the environment and help nurture it and it would always be there for us. I told you that piston engines were phased out about 45 years ago?" Nods all around.

"Back then, we used electric motors and batteries, but they were heavy, didn't last long and took quite some time to charge. Farmers and truckers had special permits to run diesel engines in tractors and big rigs. Fuel cells were also primitive, big and low powered. Improvements were made and the performance rates increased and size decreased. When a breakthrough in super conductors was made, the cells made a quantum leap. The cell in my bike puts out 50 kilowatts with very low fuel consumption. From what I can tell, the motor is equal in power to your Martian bikes engines." Charley looked at his bike with renewed interest.

"With that kind of cell, I could power this entire garage and then some. What kind of fuel does it burn?"

"Fuel cells will use almost anything. Gasoline, diesel, kerosene, alcohol, propane, methane and hydrogen. Not much gas is used back home, mostly alcohol, methane and hydrogen." D.T. stated.

"Why those?" Modo queried.

"Because alcohol can be created from anything that can be fermented, then distilled. Grains, corn, wood chips and candy bars for instance. You can tell by the smell what a bike uses. Chocolate smells the best, with grain and corn next and wood chips last. Methane can be made from animal waste, food scraps and plant matter. Hydrogen, easy. Run an electric current through water and collect the hydrogen. Most of us brew our own alcohol back home. The residue can be used for fertilizer."

"But you said you still have mining and oil drilling back home. Why do you need that if you recycle?" Charley queried.

"Mostly for raw materials. Certain things we need raw materials for yet. Our mining and drilling techniques have come a long way so they aren't as destructive, plus we have refining techniques that aren't as expensive or hard on the environment. We extract more from the raw product without using more energy than needed."

Throttle nodded. "Cool. But what about something like electricity for your homes and businesses?"

"Our power is supplied by solar, hydro, wind, geothermal and a few atomic plants." D.T. said. "We also can have small solar, wind or hydro setups to supply power on our property."

"But, aren't atomic power plants dangerous?" Vinnie said, remembering the time Chicago's plant almost went Chernobyl.

D.T. leaned forward. "Our plants are more efficient and safer. They use up more of the fissionable material so the waste isn't so dangerous. We can also neutralize the radioactively and make it perfectly safe to handle." He dug in the pouch on his hip and pulled out a round flat, metallic gray disk about 1 1/2 inches across, a 1/4 inch thick and tossed it onto the table. It hit with a clunk that sounded heavy. Vinnie picked it up, surprised at the weight.

"What is it?" he turned it over in his hands.

"A chunk of uranium." Vinnie dropped it and jumped back, racing for the bathroom to wash his hands.

"Relax Vinnie. It's perfectly harmless. I've carried it for years now; it can't harm anyone, unless you throw it at them. Makes a great weapon." He passed it around. It was very heavy and harder than lead was.

"How do your get rid of the radiation?" Charley asked. Vinnie came back to the table and sat down.

"A process we developed that speeds up the decay, making it harmless and able to be handled. We use it in our weapons for weight. The stilettos use it to give them some heft. And in these." He dug in his pouch and puled out several black, flat, claw shaped objects about four inches long each with the wide end being angled down to the curve to form another point. The center of each had a smaller red area the same shape as the dart.

"What are they?" Throttle picked one up and found the points and edges razor sharp and the flat sides of the dart roughed up slightly.

"Claw darts, one of my favorite throwing weapons." He picked one up and gently fingered an edge. He frowned, pulled a hand wide, pencil thick gray rod from the pouch and touched up the edge. "I hate it when a tool gets dull." The rod went back in his pouch. Throttle looked puzzled. D.T. smiled, and, in a move that was hard to follow, scooped up four of the blades, pushed his chair over backwards, rolled, came to his feet and whipped his left arm sideways. A high-pitched singing noise, a loud THWACK and all four blades were buried in a vertical line in the throwing target mounted on one wall of the garage.

Modo whistled. "Whoa Momma. That would smart." D.T. pulled the darts out of the target and came back to the table.

"I've always had a way with throwing weapons and started tinkering with them when I was a kid. Anything and everything I could get my hands on I would try and throw. I got to be pretty good." He righted his chair and sat back down.

"Why do you carry throwing blades and a blaster? Seems like overkill to me." Throttle gently handled one of the blades.

"At the Academy, we learn to use a variety of weapons, from primitive to high-tech, like my blaster and can switch in an instant between them. Our one course has us going from throwing rocks to using the latest energy weapon. We learn to be highly adaptive in our fighting techniques and weapons." Modo nodded, remembering the one fight with Limburger's goons where D.T. had grabbed a metal pole and thrown it like a spear to stop a buggy by impaling it through a rear tire.

"You don't mind my asking, but what all do you carry in that pouch of yours?" Modo leaned forward to handle one of the blades also.

D.T. smiled. "Just some odds and ends." He started to pull stuff out. The candy box, two more of the spent uranium disks, a rolled up bundle of leather and cords, twelve one inch wide white spheres, a length of chain with bolts attached to the ends and several white stripes over a foot long and a quarter inch wide. "This," he picked up the bundle, "Is a sling." And unrolled it. A leather strip, oval shaped with long cords attached to the narrow ends of it lay on the table.

"A sling, like in David and Goliath?" Charley picked it up. The leather was well worn but still supple and showed signs of use. The cords were at least three feet long and the leather was about six inches long and three inches at the widest.

"Yep. Can sling a stone as big as your fist. I'm pretty darn good with it." Vinnie was rolling one of the spheres around the table. "Careful Vinnie, you'll blind or stun us." The mouse quit what he was doing.

"Blind or stun us? What is it?" Modo backed up a bit.

"Magnesium flash bomb, stun gas or smoke. Handy distraction when you need it. You throw one hard on to the floor or ground and close your eyes tight. With my having the third eyelid, it helps and the shades darken further so I'm not blinded in the process." He picked one up and tossed it high in the air, then caught it gently. He picked up another sphere. "This one is a stun gas bomb." He touched another sphere. "Smoke bomb."

"How can you tell?" Modo couldn't see any difference between the orbs.

The were smiled. "Touch one, with your real hand." Modo did and felt a circle. He picked it up and could see a raised symbol of a circle. "We use a simple touch code on them so we can know by feel what we grab, even through gloves. A line for the stun bomb and an X for the smoke bomb. I carry some smaller ones on me and have bigger ones on my bike I can throw by hand or fire with the variable load launcher on her. The stun gas will disable a person for only a couple of minutes, but it's enough to get the drop on them."

Throttle picked up the chain. It was about four feet long in total and the bolts were wore smooth from handling. "I've seen chains before, but not one with bolts on the ends, why are they there?"

"It's a fighting chain, the bolts are to help you grip it and let the chain hit extra hard. We're trained in using it." He held out his hand and Throttle gave him the chain. "Thank you." D.T. then stood and walked to a clear section of the garage, away from the bikes and anything that could get in his way. He then stood. Feet together, arms by his side in a relaxed stance, head down and the chain held in his right hand.

He then snapped his head up and stepped to the right into a wide stance, the chain dangling from his hand. He then proceeded to go into a practice routine with the chain, whirling it so fast; it whistled and was a silvery blur. He whipped and snapped the chain out at imaginary opponents, taking them down with blows from the chain or trapping an arm and pulling them down to be finished with a heel stomp, kick or punch.

He then started whirling the chain in a tight figure eight on either side if his body, then whipped it up between his legs from behind, catching if in front of him, then proceeded to wrap it around his body and switch hands at high speed. He finally returned the chain to his right hand, gave it a flip upwards and let it fall and collect into his palm. He closed his hand, brought his feet together, his arms to his sides and bowed to the mice and Charley, before coming back to the table and sitting down.

"Cool." Throttle sat back in his chair.

"Looks like you were taught a bit of everything at your Academy, did they also teach you to use a sword?" Vinnie smiled and crossed his arms over his chest.

D.T. looked at him oddly. "How did you know?" he stood and went back to his bike, grabbing something from the console on the handlebars and came back to the table. He set down a black, cord wrapped handle, about ten inches long and an inch and a half wide. One end was rounded; the other flat had a gray metal band around it with a single round stud on it. On the top of the band was a slot almost as wide as the handle was and an inch across.

Modo carefully picked it. The cord was wrapped in a criss cross pattern that gave a secure feeling in his hand. He peered into the slot and saw something nestled inside. "Easy Modo, you don't want to loose another eye." He jerked it away from his face and set it back down on the table.

"How can that be a sword?" Vinnie picked it up. It didn't feel that heavy. He saw the stud and moved to press it.

"Vinnie! Don't!..." D.T. shouted as a rapid series of metallic snaps and clicks sounded and a silvery blade appeared, about 2 1/2 feet long. Vinnie jerked back as the blade appeared, dropping the sword onto the table. Where the edge hit, a groove was cut into the surface. The were sighed and reached over to pick the blade up by the handle. "It's a switchblade sword. It collapses into the handle so its easier to carry on a bike." he rested the rounded end of the handle on the table and pointed the blade towards the ceiling. The blade itself was straight; with a slightly wavy line back from the single cutting edge. Like a katanna, but no curve to it.

Modo whistled. "Man, that looks sharp."

D.T. nodded. "Keen enough and strong enough to split a hair, and the head it's attached to with one stroke. Metal, bonded on the molecular level, much stronger than it looks." he turned it so they could see it was about as thick as a piece of cardboard. "The blade extends and unfolds to lock together. It can't collapse because of how the locks are constructed."

He stood and walked to the clear section of floor again, then stood in the same relaxed stance that he had been with the chain, before launching into a practice pattern, the blade screaming as it cut the air. It was almost hypnotic, the blade flashing as it caught the light. It looked almost like a dance as he moved, fighting some mythical opponents. He finally stood, lifted the blade and touched the flat of it to his forehead, before spinning the blade beside him. All wrist action. Then he retracted the blade and bowed to the mice, before coming back over to the table and sitting, setting the blade on the table.

Throttle half expected the air to fall apart when he finished the display. "Cool. Wish we had a few of you guys around during the war, we would have won in no time."

D.T. gave a lopsided shrug. "Hard to say. No one can predict the outcome of any battle." Throttle had to nod at that.

"What was that thing with touching it to your forehead, then spinning it?" Vinnie asked.

"The touching to the forehead is a salute to your fallen opponents for a worthy battle and the spinning was the ritual slinging of blood to clean the blade. The style is based on the samurai style of swordplay. Plus if I didn't, my teacher would whack me on the head with a wooden practice sword." D.T. explained, then he reached up to rub his head. "I can still feel some of those lumps."

Charley was examining the sword, keeping clear of the stud. "I can't believe how light it is for being that strong."

"We can manipulate metal on the molecular level, altering it so it is light, but amazingly strong. We also worked heavily with ceramics, graphite composites and laminated materials." D.T. leaned back in his chair.

"Ceramics? Like those weird blades you keep in your boots?" Charley set the sword down. D.T. reached down and pulled the four blades he kept tucked in his boots and set them on the table. They were matte black, six inches long and tanto shaped. They had seen him use the blades the odd time, but had never had a chance to examine them closely. The mice and Charley picked up one each, going over it carefully.

Charley gave the blade a more thorough examination this time. She could see blade and handle were one piece, not two. The pommel was pointed slightly, the handle knurled to give a secure grip. Where handle met blade, there was an enlarged are to act as a guard to keep the hand from slipping onto the blade when in use. "I've seen ceramic bladed knives before, but not one's like this."

"They aren't ceramic, Charley." The were leaned forward. "They're made of Carbon-14."

"Carbon? But I though carbon was a black, powdery material?" Modo said, remembering some of his chemistry from school.

D.T. nodded. "Yes, but carbon has two forms. One is a black powder like you said. The other is its crystalline form, better known as.."

"Diamond." Charley whispered. She looked up from the blade. "You mean to say you're carrying blades made from diamonds?"

"Industrial diamonds, to be exact. That's why they're black instead of clear. Carbon-14 is much stronger then regular diamonds. Normal diamond is a 10 on the hardness scale; these are more like a 12. I haven't run into much they can't cut or scratch yet. Didn't get a chance to test them on that cage we were in to see if they could have done any damage." He leaned back, making the chair creak again. "Remind me to reinforce these. Our furniture is built a lot heavier back home."

"Yeah, I noticed you working on your bed. Why did you add that extra bracing any way?" Modo asked.

"We've always built it heavier. Plus, a lot of us like to sleep in our full animal forms. Aaron used to curl up beside me. He weighed about 175 - 180 lbs in full wolf form. I weigh, in my full animal form, about 850 lbs. So when you have half-ton of weight on a bed, you don't want it to collapse on you in the middle of the night." D.T. chuckled. "Also, I have been known to shift forms in my sleep, so it is just a precaution."

Throttle chuckled. "Yeah, that would be a bit inconvenient. Why don't you sleep like that now?"

"Vinnie's allergies. I don't want him to be uncomfortable when he sleeps. Plus the bed isn't big enough for me to sleep like that."

"Do you always look out for those around you?" Vinnie leaned his elbows on the table.

D.T. smiled. "I was taught to be courteous, plus my Mom would box my ears for me if I didn't."

Modo had to smile. "Sounds like you Mom was pretty strict."

"She was and still is. She kept me and my brother in line pretty good." the were smiled.

"You have a brother?" Throttle pulled down his shades. "Why didn't you tell us?"

"Didn't think of it before." D.T. leaned forward.

"Well? What's he like?" Charley was now curious.

"Well, he looks a bit like me. His name is David. He's younger by 15 months. We have been taken for twins. He isn't a were, he's Kin. He's a bit head strong and stubborn, but not bad. He works on a reforesting project. He doesn't have the white in his hair, he wears it cut shorter and his eyes are green." D.T. chuckled. "My Mom and Dad were giving thanks we both weren't weres, she complained enough about me when I was shedding."

"I did notice you do that." Charley remembered how the vacuum bags were usually full when D.T. lounged around in one of his more animal like forms.

"Sorry. Just be glad I don't hack up a furball." D.T. laughed, then started to cough and hack. He leaned down beside the table and gave one massive cough. He came up; acting like he was holding something in his hand then opened it to reveal nothing. "Kidding." Modo leaned over, getting him in a headlock and gave him a noogie.

D.T. laughed and squirmed, then bulked himself up so Modo's arm was pushed out just a bit, then went back to normal and pulled free, rolling backwards so he landed in a crouch. The back of his jeans bulged, rippled and a long pink tendril grew out that was quickly covered with fur. He stayed in the crouch, tail tip twitching rapidly, before launching himself in one of those effortless leaps that cats do to land lightly on the table amidst his gear.

Throttle chuckled, remembering how playful the were could be at times when they were roughhousing. Then rubbed his chin for a minute. "One thing puzzles me, how do you do that bit where you seem to vanish, then reappear again?"

"Easy." Vinnie said, smiling smugly. "He just misdirects us and with as quiet as he is, he can easily slip away."

The were smiled toothily. "Think so, Vinnie?" he stood, back flipped off the table to stand just behind where his chair was, then bowed to the mice and Charley, and disappeared from sight. "Find me." Came a slightly eerie disembodied voice. Modo lunged for where he had been standing and hit the floor instead. A soft laugh sounded. "Too slow, Modo."

The gray mouse picked himself up. "Oh Momma. How did he do that? Hypnotize us?"

"Nope. Natural ability." Modo felt a feather light tap on his back and spun, grabbing empty air. Another laugh echoed softly around the room.

"I'll just use my bike's scanners to find him." Vinnie headed for his ride. He was suddenly grabbed and his hands tied together by one of the white stripes.

"No fair, Vinnie. That would be cheating. And don't struggle, the Plascuff is a lot stronger than you are. You'll only end up cutting yourself." D.T. said, still invisible.

"So, how are we supposed to find you?" Charley came over to see if she could undo the strip.

"A hunter learns to use all his senses. Use yours. I promise I won't leave this room. Here." An object appeared and arched towards Charley. She caught it. All black, shaped like a narrow rectangle, three inches long, one wide and a half-inch thick. The one end narrowed down to a cone shape. "Use that. Just uncap it and draw the tip over the cuff. It contains a chemical that will dissolve it." Charley applied it and the cuff fell off Vinnie's wrists.

"Thanks sweetheart." He rubbed his wrists. "Okay, smart guy. No one gets away from the invincible Vinnie van Wham." The Bros. and Charley joined in the search, but were soon getting frustrated and had been over the main garage at least ten times each. "No fair, stop moving around!"

"Okay, I'll stop. In fact, I'll help you." A slight shimmer appeared over by the hydraulic lift and two ice blue spot appeared. "That help?"

"Oh YEAH!" The Bros. bellowed and lunged, only to collide with thin air and each other.

"NO FAIR!" Vinnie jumped up. "Don't tell me you're like mist too?"

D.T. chuckled. "No, I can't do that. I kept my promise of (A) Not moving from this room and (B) I showed part of myself."

"You mind showing us a bit more of yourself? Seeing your eyes floating is a bit unnerving." The tan mouse dusted himself off.

"Certainly." And D.T. started to slowly appear. The first thing the Bros. saw was his head was upside down. As he fully reappeared, they saw he was hanging with his feet hooked over one side of Charley's lift. He flipped himself up and grabbed the other side, then dropped to land on his feet, tail idly swishing as he put his shades back in.

"How did you do that?" Modo came over to put a hand on the were's shoulder, just to be sure he was real.

"Natural ability. It happened not long after my first change occurred. Imagine waking up and finding out your left arm was gone." His left arm vanished from view, then faded back in. "I practiced with it and got to the point where I can even make several other people invisible with me, but I have to be touching them. But it has a flaw." Modo's arm and D.T.'s upper body vanished from sight before fading back into view.

"What kind of flaw?" Charley sat back at the table, the Bros. and D.T. joining her.

"For myself, I can stay invisible forever, but the more people I take with me, the shorter my time grows. I can feel it, like a muscle strain that gets steadily worse and worse. Plus it gives me a migraine like you wouldn't believe." He rubbed the side of his head.

"That's something that would have been real handy during the war." Throttle sat back. A flash hit and he closed his eyes for a minute. "Who's Ashaiya?"

D.T. looked at him over his shades, then lifted them back into place. "It's my middle name. I just don't use it."

"Why not?" Throttle leaned on the table.

"Because my initials would then be D.A.T.. My initials right now stand for Delirium Trenums, the after effects of a being drunk. I didn't want to be called Dat. I could imagine people walking around calling, Hey Dat! Or Dat guy."

"I can understand that. But why such an unusual name for you and your brother got a normal name?" Charley asked.

"Well, when I was born, my grandfather gave me the name Dejahken. In First Tongue." And he spoke in that weird language the guys remember him cursing in. "It means Warrior Born. Ashaiya means Angel. Talberson is a very old family name. So my full name in First Tongue would be Warrior Born Angel of the family Talberson. Or, to simplify it, Warrior Angel."

"That language you were just speaking, First Tongue. Do you all learn it?" Throttle scratched the back of his left ear.

The were nodded. "We learn it when we are young, with English and whatever other language we want to learn. Something from our past we help keep out past alive. We also learn some old songs in it that even though we can translate them to english, we don't. They are more beautiful in their native language."

"Can we hear one?" Modo asked.

"Okay." And D.T. started. His voice was beautiful. The words were eerie and seemed to float on the air, wrapping around them in a blanket of sounds. Words that were strange, but the emotions were clear, loneliness, hope, despair and then great joy. Charley wiped at her face, finding tears coming from her eyes. She looked around and could see the mice reaching up to rub their eyes. The last note faded away and D.T. bowed his head slightly.

Throttle coughed. "What was that you just sung?"

"Lonely shadow finds a mate, a story song or ballad if you prefer. About a werewolf who seems destined to be lonely for the rest of his life when he finds a beautiful female werebear who lives with a father that is very strict and doesn't think he is worthy of her. He runs away after the father defeats him in combat and the woman comes after him, saying she doesn't care what her father says, she will love who she loves."

Vinnie rubbed his eyes. "Must be some dust in here, my eyes are bugging me."

Modo wiped his eye. "Must be." He coughed. "You said a werewolf and werebear? But shouldn't it be werewolf-werewolf, werebear-wearbear, etc.?"

"No. We can intermix. My own ancestry contains werewolf, werebear and a several species of werecat. Sometimes it is random how the offspring of parents come out. I've seen werewolf children from werebears, werecats from wolves, wolves from cats, etc. It's kind of a genetic lottery. Sometimes it is predictable, sometimes it isn't. Like me. I could have been born a wolf or bear exotic, or another kind of werecat entirely." he scratched his one cheek ruff, closing his eyes slightly. "We can get the gender by certain genetic markers and the species of were if the parents want. But as to being Kin, Were or Exotic." He shrugged.

"So that is random?" Throttle rubbed his chin.

"Yes. It's like just as we're born, our type is chosen for us. No one really knows why." D.T. extended twelve inch long claws from his right hand. "But I ain't complaining. I love how my body is. Cold doesn't bother me, I have built in night vision and weapons." His claws retracted.

Modo chuckled. "I'm just glad you're on our side, bro." He slapped D.T. on the back and got a return slap. "But, why do you hold back when we roughhouse?"

D.T. stood and walked over to a clear part of the floor. His boots shimmered and long claws extended from his feet and hands. "So I don't hurt you guys. You don't heal like we do and I promised Throttle I wouldn't hurt you." He returned to normal.

Throttle nodded. "Just how selectively can you shift?" D.T. smiled and his legs shifted, jeans and boots flowing so his jeans now ended at his knees, boots vanishing. His foot extended with the same gruesome cracking and popping noise that usually accompanied a change. His shin shortened and his heel lifted so he was now standing on his toes. His foot widened to the size of a plate, maybe ten inches or so across. Fur sprouted and covered his exposed legs. When he was done, he walked around, a slight bounce in his step as he moved.

Vinnie sniffled and rubbed his nose, but watched D.T. move. "Built in snowshoes for winter travel, Aaron and I would often be on foot for some of our work in winter and modified ourselves so we could move about unhindered. To answer Throttle's question, I learned some selective shifting on my own and at the Academy I refined it even further." He walked over and sat, pushing his chair back and resting his feet on the table so they could get a good look.

The bottom of his foot was just like a cat's paw, but much larger. Five rough pads with fur between the toes. Modo twisted so he could run his real hand over the bottom of the pads. D.T. squirmed and stifled a giggle, his toes flexing to unsheathe long curved black claws. The gray mouse jerked his hand away, then went back, examining the foot better as the were squirmed and giggled. "You ticklish?"

D.T. gasped. "A bit." And Modo grinned. "You wouldn't dare." D.T. started to move.

"Yes I would!" Modo moved, closing his metal arm around D.T.'s legs and started to tickle his footpads. D.T. was soon lying on the floor, helpless with laughter. Modo was having a lot of fun, Throttle, Vinnie and Charley cheering him on. He let go of D.T.'s legs and let him recover, panting and gasping on the floor. After a few minutes, he got up and headed for the kitchen, coming back with rootbeers for all. Opening his, he chugged it in record time and sat back, breathing hard.

"Eecha! I haven't had my pads tickled in a long time. Thanks Modo." He reached over to gently thump his fist on the gray mouse's shoulder.

Modo smiled and thumped him back. "My pleasure. Just let me know when you want it done again." And reached for D.T.'s legs. The were pushed back and twisted away from Modo, pulling his legs up close to himself.

"Give me a couple days to recover, big guy." His legs went back to normal, boots reappearing to cover his feet. His tail switched about rapidly as he twisted back and put his feet on the floor, and then his tail also retreated back into his body.

"Eecha? What does that mean?" Vinnie asked, twirling one of his flares through is fingers.

"Uh, roughly translated, it means wow or amazing. It's a general exclamation we use back home. I just don't use it a lot here as I wanted to fit in and not seem like I was from another place." He grinned toothily and lowered his shades. "Which I am." He winked.

"AAHH! An invader from another dimension! Kill it!" Vinnie yelled, then laughed with everyone joining him.

Modo scratched his face, then frowned. "D.T.? You mind if I ask you something?"

"Shoot." The were stretched his arms up over his head.

"Well, when we were watching that movie, The Last Unicorn. Why were you crying?" Modo remembered well the sight of tears running down D.T. cheeks.

D.T. just smiled mysteriously. "I'll tell you, someday. This is one secret you have to learn to see with your eyes, and your heart." And wiped a tear from his face. "Come on." He said thickly. "I feel like heading for the Hoagie Diner." He pulled his shades off to wipe his face.

"That sounds good, it's getting near dinner time." Charley said, shaking her head at the guys who all were about to ask him why. They nodded and stood. D.T. put his shades back on, returning his equipment to his pouch and bike. Everyone got their gear and headed out. The sun was just starting to set and they merged with the traffic, heading downtown to the Hoagie Diner for dinner.

Throttle looked over at D.T. as they cruised. ~We can wait. This secret must be real important to you to choke you up so much.~ he sent to D.T.

~Throttle, you have no idea how important this is to me. I will tell you, someday. Just let me keep this one secret for a little while longer.~ Throttle moved closer and held out his right fist. D.T. smiled and held out his left, banging it against the mouses'.

"Well, what are we waiting for? Hoagie dogs await us. Let's Rock!" Vinnie yelled.

"AND RIDE!" everyone bellowed, popping wheelies as they sped off.