Throttle, Charley, and Vinnie look up just in time to watch something
more interesting than the talk show on TV. A very ticked off Vikki storms
into the garage with a confused Modo right behind. Vikki spins on her heel
and faces Modo. "You don't understand!" Modo shouts back, more
to be heard than out of anger, "How can I when you won't explain?!"
"No! You don't understand WHY I won't explain!" Modo counters, "No, I don't! Why won't you explain?" Vikki spits out, " 'Cause there are some things you don't need to know!"
"I don't care if I NEED to know; I WANT to know!" Vikki turns so Modo won't see her tears. She calmly says, "You don't know what you're asking." She walks into her room and slams the door before Modo can say anything else. Modo stares at the door for a moment. "RAAAHHH!" He storms back out of the garage.
Charley turns off the TV and looks at the others. "I'll take Vikki. You see about Modo." Throttle and Vinnie take their cue and head out.
Outside, Modo is sitting on his bike but doesn't seem to be in a hurry to leave. Throttle speaks first. "Wanna talk?" Modo shakes his head. Vinnie puts his hand on Modo's shoulder. "Come on, Bro. What happened in there?" Modo silently gets off his bike. He moves a few steps away. Then yells, "I don't know!" while ramming his metallic fist into a light pole; causing it to topple over with a huge piece of concrete still connected to its base. Modo rubs his face with his hands. "One minute we were talkin' and laughin'. The next, we're yelling at the top of our lungs at each other." He slumps to the side of the sidewalk and holds his head in his hands. Throttle quietly sits on Modo's left side; Vinnie does the same on his right. Throttle asks softly, "What about?" Modo shakes his head again. "It all happened so fast. I guess it started 'cause I tried to get her to talk about what had happened to her while.... She tried to change the subject but..." Vinnie finishes for him. "You wouldn't let her." Modo nods. "She went off! Yelling that I had no business prying. That I don't own her. Then..." He waves to the garage. Throttle pats Modo's back. "Don't worry, Bro. She just needs some time to cool down." He smiles. "Believe me. I speak from experience." Vinnie shakes his head. "It always has to come back to you, don't it, Bro?"
"Only 'cause you DON'T have any experience with this." Vinnie reaches behind Modo and yanks Throttle's tail; causing a wrestling match that Modo inevitably, though halfheartedly, gets dragged into.
When Throttle and Vinnie went to talk to Modo, Charley walked over to
Vikki's door. Charley knocks gently but doesn't get an answer. She tries
the doorknob. It turns and Charley slowly opens the door. She finds Vikki
sitting on her cot, her arms wrapped around her legs, and her forehead resting
on her knees. Charley taps Vikki's shoulder. She looks up, her pink eyes
red from crying. Charley wraps her arm around her friend's shoulders. "It's
all right. Men are men, no matter what the species. Even Modo." Vikki
smiles and wipes her eyes. "Yeah, they can be pretty stubborn."
"And. I didn't grow up with a twin brother and not learn a thing or two about being stubborn myself." Charley asks, "What does that mean?"
"It means that Throttle and Vinnie will have a bet going to see which one of us begs the other first." Charley shakes her head and laughs. Soon, Vikki joins in.
Just talk to him. Vikki glares at Vinnie's reflection in the wall mirror
in her room the next morning. She can't help but remember that Modo helped
hang it. Vikki grabs her brush and runs it through her unruly brown waves
and curls. If he wanted to talk, he should've came in here himself. Vinnie
cocks an eyebrow. In your bedroom? Vikki ignores his remark. Giving up on
her hair, Vikki reaches for and puts on a denim vest over a black tank top.
She looks over the rest of her outfit: dark blue jeans, black belt with
a silver buckle, calf boots, her biker gloves and shades, and, of course,
her necklace. Her bandanna is tied just above her right knee.
Vikki? Do you remember when me, you, Throttle, and Carbine got detention for the itching powder? Vikki snickers. Yeah. Me and Carbine put it in the cheerleader's pompoms and you and Throttle put it in the football team's... JOCKSTRAPS! Vikki falls back into a chair and laughs into Vinnie's head. Vinnie breaks through the laughter. Yeah. Yeah. But do you remember why Modo got detention then too?
Of course. He said he got it 'cause he got into a fight.
'Cause the other guy was insulting a friend of his.
Who? Vikki sighs heavily. I don't know! Some guy friend I guess. Vinnie shakes his head. Vikki. You were the one that guy was insulting. Vikki stares at him. Vinnie continues. I was there. The guy was saying some pretty rank stuff about a lot of girls. Then, while me and Modo walked past, he started in on you. I turned around to make him pay for what he had said but Modo already had. The guy was sprawled on the floor with his face covered in blood and Modo pulling him up to give him more! Modo was holding the guy a good three inches off the ground and goes, 'You take that back or I break every bone in your body.' Vikki stares at her brother, unbelief shining in her eyes. I'm not making this up, I swear. I thought Modo was gonna KILL that guy! Nobody could get him to let that guy go until he took it back. Vikki stands. Why didn't he tell me?
'Cause he was embarrassed that he blew up like that. And, 'cause you always said you didn't want anyone fighting your battles for you.
What are you trying to prove?
That Modo has cared about you for a long time. So you should at least talk to him. Vikki sighs. Vinnie, what's the bet? Vinnie's eyes open wide. No bet.
Yeah sure. Vikki walks out of her room and freezes. Modo is standing a few feet away from her door looking as shy as the day he said he loved her. Vikki hooks her thumbs in the front pockets of her jeans. "You wanted to talk?" Modo looks pointedly to Charley, Throttle, and Vinnie who are waiting with baited breath. Vikki sighs, grabs her helmet, and climbs on Modo's bike. Modo does the same and they ride away. Vinnie grins. "Pay up, Bro." Throttle turns to Vinnie. "Nu-uh. She asked him." Vinnie shakes his head. "Nope. He asked me to ask her which is the same as asking himself."
"No it isn't."
Charley sighs, goes into her room, and turns on the radio to drown out the bickering Macho Mice beneath her feet.
Vikki and Modo have been riding silently for five minutes. "So?
We gonna talk or not?" Modo nods and turns a corner. Suddenly, they
come face to face with a stray missile; then everything goes black.
Modo holds Vikki's upper body close to him, on the floor of a cell. He
listens to her shallow breathing and silently prays, Please come back to
me. Please come back. I'm SO sorry. He looks at the small bloody gash on
her forehead. He slowly unties her bandanna from around her leg and carefully
ties it around the gash; silently cursing himself for not paying more attention
when Vikki had tried to teach him this. He never dreamed he'd have to work
Faint groaning brings Modo back to reality.
Vikki's eyes open slowly and look Modo in the face. "Modo?" She notices that their surroundings are unmistakably that of a Plutarkian holding cell. Vikki jerks up, fear replacing confusion. Her head spins and throbs. She closes her eyes to the pain and Modo gently leans her head to his shoulder. He softly strokes her hair. When the pain subsides, Vikki quietly asks, "Where are we?" Modo holds her closer. "Detroit."
"Detroit?" Vikki looks up into Modo's worried face. Modo nods. "Yeah. I guess we got in the middle of Limburger and Brie trying to destroy each other."
"Brie? Another Plutarkian?" Modo nods again. Vikki tenses. Modo tightens his hold, protectively. "I'm all right, Modo." She notices Modo's arm cannon is chained shut. "Your arm! Maybe I can..." Modo puts his fingers over her mouth and points with his eyes to his left. Vikki follows his gaze and finds a security camera positioned on the wall and aimed at them. So not to arouse suspicion, Modo asks, "How's your head?" Vikki automatically touches her forehead and finds the bandanna. She slips it off her head and touches dried blood. Vikki looks at her bandanna. Not much fresh blood. She looks at Modo and grins. "I'm O.K. Its not deep. I'm not even dizzy." To prove her point she stands, wobbling, but does stand. Modo looks relieved and stands as well. Suddenly a smug, lisping voice calls, "Seven, Seven, Five, Two." Vikki spins to see a tall, pudgy Plutarkian in a lab coat standing at the cell door with three armed goons. Vikki glares at the nightmare from her past. "Dr. Switzl," Vikki smirks, "or should I say Spittle?" Dr. Switzl returns her glare. "Oh, so you want to use nicknames, An Inul Ka Mu."
Modo freezes. The Universal Translator in his earring translated what the Plutarkian had called Vikki. "White Angel of Death." Modo looks from the smug fish face to Vikki. Vikki stands with her back straight and jaw set. Dr. Switzl laughs. "Oh, yes. I might have only known you when you were a blind lab rat," Vikki holds her hand in front of Modo's chest, "but I like to keep up with all my creations. I heard you used the enhanced agility, speed, and strength I gave you very well in the Games. The perfect little killer weren't you? Petite but deadly." Dr. Switzl looks to a dumfounded Modo. "She can and has killed a mouse twice your size barehanded and with barely breaking a sweat."
Vikki feels like dying. Modo knows now. But there is no way she is letting that stink fish scientist see her break. She takes a deep breath. "Over-exaggerating to make yourself look better again I see, Spittle." Dr. Switzl laughs and sighs. "Now don't be modest, O' Queen of the Plutarkian Slave Games." He laughs again and leaves with the goons.
Vikki turns to Modo. Her voice cracks as she says, "Now you know." Modo pulls her into his arms just as her tears start to fall. "Oh, Modo! I couldn't... the submission collars... I should have fought harder to control...." Modo strokes her head. "Shh. Its all right." Vikki shakes her head against his shoulder. "Some were my best friends and I ...." Modo makes her face him. "Vikki, listen. Its all right, really."
"No it isn't. I killed them! The collars let you remember! I remember everything! EVERYTHING, Modo! Every drop of blood!" Modo shakes her. "You didn't kill anyone. The collars killed them. The Plutarkians killed them. Not you." He holds her chin in his hand. "And NOTHING the Plutarkians did to you could make me love you any less than I already do. With all my heart and soul." Modo pulls Vikki to him and holds her as emotional exhaustion takes over. He sits with his back against a wall and falls asleep while holding Vikki asleep in his arms.
Hours later, Vikki is awakened by a shove and a voice calling, "Wake up, Wodents." Vikki is awake and standing in seconds. She looks from the goon with a gun to the short man with horrid features. She didn't need the stench to tell her that the short one has a Plutarkian face under that mask. "Let me guess. Brie?" Brie smiles wickedly. "Woo have the adwantage. Woo know me, buwt I haven't had the pweasuwre. Woo awre definitewy new. I would wemembewr a wovewy wodent such as woo." Modo, who has been awake and standing for a while, tenses close by Vikki. Vikki could almost laugh. Modo knew a 'come-on' line when he heard one. Vikki returns her focus to Brie. "I'd be lying if I said the pleasure was all mine."
Brie, overacting, places his hand over the area his heart would be. If Plutarkians had hearts, thinks Vikki. He speaks. "The siwen speaks again. Woo awre faw too wovewy to be wocked away hewre. I couwd make you vewy comfowtabwle, my wady."
Vikki moves forward, threateningly. "I'm not you're ANYTHING! And as far as your invitation's concerned, you pompous...uhn!" the butt of the goon's rifle is slammed against Vikki's head, causing her to fall to her hands and knees. She barely heard the rifle cock as Modo advanced. Vikki is staring at the floor trying to concentrate on focusing her eyes. A drop of blood falls to the floor from her reopened wound.
Brie's clammy hand clamps hold of Vikki's chin and forces her to look up at him. "Contact my gawd when woo've cawmed down and awre weady to wisten to my pwuposawl." His insane laughter rings in her ears even after Brie leaves.
The second the cell door locks in place, Modo falls to his knees in front of Vikki and puts his hands on her shoulders. "Vikki, I'm so sorry! I shouldn't have let him touch you! I should've beat him..." Vikki stops him. "No! No matter what happens to me, don't provoke them unarmed. I shouldn't have." Modo gets up and starts to pace. "We have to find away out of here."
Vikki looks carefully at the camera above them. No microphone. She walks the wall. Still no microphone. "Its OK to talk. The lights would cause too much static and the floor would only pick up vibrations." Vikki tries to hold back the memories of similar events. She notices Modo watching her worriedly. "I'm OK." Modo nods. "We need to find my bike. Vikki? Do you feel up to..."
"Modo, no. We can't go blasting through this place. We don't know where your bike is. We don't know the layout of this place, and we're probably outnumbered fifty to one on foot. The only way out of here is to think our way out." Modo looks into Vikki's face and has a heart-wrenching feeling that she's been through this kind of thing before. "So what do you suggest? Going to Brie and asking him to take me to my bike?" Vikki's eyes light up and a mischief shines in them. "Exactly."
"I'm so gwad woo've weconsidwred my invitation." Brie guides
Vikki into his plush office. He sits behind his desk and Vikki leans against
"Well, I realized I was a little harsh. You were only trying to be a gentleman." Vikki is about to make herself sick; and the smell isn't helping. Brie laughs. "What weawy changed woowr mind?"
Show time, thinks Vikki. She sits on Brie's desk and slides around to face Brie and crosses her legs. Vikki forces a seductive smile. "Actually," a sultry giggle floats out of her throat. "I've learned over the years that the ones with the money have the power. And those with the power have the ability to keep me safe." Vikki leans a little closer. "And I deserve to be safe. Don't I?"
Brie suddenly seems to be feeling a few degrees warmer. "Aw, yes. Ummm. But what about woor fwiend?" Vikki lazily runs her fingertips along the desktop. She notices an intercom button within easy reach. Bingo! Vikki makes sure to hide her excitement. "He was useful but you proved him," she smiles seductively again, "inadequate security." Brie leans back and laughs. Vikki leans forward and swings her legs around so she is lounging on Brie's desk. The hand she is propped on is very close to the intercom button. Vikki takes a unnoticed deep breath. "Brie, baby? You know," she lifts Brie's chin with her pointer finger. "I would be ever so grateful if you do me one itsy, bitsy, little favor." Brie cocks an eyebrow. "How gwatefuwl?" Vikki just smiles her seductive smile. Brie takes the bait like a good little fishy. "Wha... what's the favowr?"
"Let the other mouse go."
Vikki disguises pressing the button with her palm by leaning forward just as Brie continues. "Wet the mowse go?!" Vikki slumps back, pretending to pout, and stops pressing the button. "What would woo have me do newxt? Tewwe my," Vikki leans forward again, "gawds too take him to his bike?" Vikki stops pressing the button, sits up, and pouts. "But Brie!"
Vikki gets off Brie's desk, walks a few steps away, and turns her back to him.
"Fwuffy, Dawwing, why awre woo so upset?"
Vikki turns. She defiantly didn't like being called Fluffy. Suddenly, a male voice comes over the intercom. "Mr. Brie! The mouse is blasting his way to your office! We can't stop him!" Brie stabs the intercom with his finger. "What awre woo wapping about?! Who said to wet him go?!"
"You did, Sir."
Brie freezes, then looks up to see Vikki sneaking towards the door. "Thank woo, Numbewr One."
Modo is just outside Brie's office when he hears a laser firing from
inside. He blasts open the door and finds Vikki lying on the floor, still
conscious, holding her left shoulder with Brie aiming a laser gun at her.
"Fweeze wodent! Owr this time I won't miss."
Modo stops but Vikki has other plans. Her eyes fire a blast that knocks the laser gun out of Brie's hand. Then, Vikki scrambles to her feet and slams into Brie, knocking him into a wall. Brie then falls to his knees and Vikki wraps her tail around his neck.
"Take a good look, Plutarkian. Your people turned me into this. A killing machine. The PERFECT killer. An Inul Ka Mu. I've decided its time for payback." Brie's eyes widen and his breathing becomes ragged and shallow as Vikki's tail squeezes his neck. Modo sits paralyzed with shock as he watches. "Vikki?"
Modo's call would've been barely audible but Vikki's hearing has been enhanced as well. She turns to face Modo. His features numb with shock. She turns back to the Plutarkian who is seconds away from oblivion. A wave of disgust, more of herself than of Brie, sweeps over Vikki. She quickly releases Brie, who starts to roll, coughing and gagging, on the floor. "No." Vikki shakes her head. "You won't make me a freewill killer." She picks up Brie's laser, sets it on stun, and fires. Brie lays on the floor unconscious.
Vikki tosses the laser aside and climbs onto Modo's bike and puts on her helmet. Modo is silent as he guns the engine. They ride through a window. The bike's rockets fire and they land safely on the ground and speed towards Chicago.
The sign stating Chicago's city limits is past and still neither Modo
nor Vikki have spoken. Suddenly, Vikki has had enough. "Modo, stop."
No response. "Modo, stop or I jump." Modo immediately pulls over
and stops. Vikki gets off before Modo can say anything and leans against
a wall of a building. She looks at Modo with solemn eyes. "Modo, we
need to talk."
Equally as solemn, "About what?"
"About what was said at Brie's." Vikki turns her head. "I know you, Modo. You'd lie through you teeth, even to me, if it was needed. So I need the truth about us. Now."
"Vikki, I..." Modo reaches for her but she dodges him. "I told you the truth before. There's nothing those stink fish could do to you that could change the way I feel about you."
"What about what I did?" Vikki looks into Modo's face and sees confusion. "I could've killed Brie back there and be happy about it." Modo reaches for her again. This time she doesn't move away, but she doesn't move to him either. Modo lays his hand on Vikki's right shoulder. "You have every reason to see Plutarkians dead. But you didn't kill him. You wanted to. You could have, easily. But you didn't. That's new reason for me to love you. Through all that hate, you won't kill on purpose. And I do love you, Vikki. Maybe even more now than before.
Vikki snaps. She jerks out of Modo's grasp and screams, "You don't love me! You love a memory! The person you loved has been dead for years. She died in an experimental testing lab. I'm all that's left. A two bit copy trying to pass for someone she's not. I can shoot lasers from my eyes. I can redirect the flow of electricity. I'm faster, stronger, more agile, and more deadly than she ever was. I'm not Martian. I'm not Vick. I'm not any thing more than a Plutarkian lab rat!"
Vikki falls to her knees and rolls up into a ball. She starts to shake from hysterical crying. Modo drops to his knees beside her and tries to pull her into his arms. She breaks free and starts beating her fists on his chest, still crying. Modo is too busy trying to calm her to notice that her punches really hurt, even through his chest protector. Modo grabs Vikki's wrists. She tries to pull away and Modo starts to realize how strong she really is. Even his bionic arm is having trouble holding her in place. Vikki is trying violently to break free again. Modo has had enough. "Victoria Graven! You stop this bawling and shut you mouth this INSTANT!"
Vikki stops immediately out of shock and looks at Modo's stern but worried face. She starts to giggle. "You sound like my dad?"
"I thought it was your mother that caused all the trouble."
"Mom did the yelling, but Dad did the real disciplining." Vikki's giggling turns to quiet sobbing. Modo pulls her closer and slowly rocks her. He tries to find the words needed. "Vikki, you're right and wrong. You're not the person you used to be, but neither am I. Neither is Throttle or Vinnie. The war has changed us all. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well." Modo holds her face in his hands and looks into her eyes filled with pain but more so with love. "And I don't care who it has turned you into. Vick, Vikki, or Victoria. I wouldn't even care if it had turned you into a Plutarkian because its still you on the inside."
Vikki cocks an eyebrow. "Not care about me being a Plutarkian?" Modo smiles. "Not enough to keep me from doing this." He puts his mouth to hers and puts all his love into that kiss.
Modo pulls away, but when Vikki reaches to bring him back, pain sears through her body from her left arm. She clamps her shoulder with her right hand and is greeted with a large amount of fresh blood; completely covering her shoulder and soaking her vest and top. Even Modo has a smearing of blood on him. Modo takes one look at Vikki's shoulder and goes, "I'd better get you to Charley's so she can see to that." He stands and helps Vikki to the bike. He sets her in front and starts the engine.
"Oh, Modo. One other thing. Never, EVER call me Fluffy! Please."
They head for the garage with Modo silently mouthing 'Fluffy' and shaking his head most of the way.
Vinnie and Throttle stop there bikes just outside the garage's closed
doors. Vinnie is fuming out of worry. He hasn't been able to contact Vikki
all day. She has been blocking him this morning, but this was ridiculous.
"What could those two be doing that could take all day?" Throttle
opens his mouth to answer. Vinnie stops him. "Don't answer that."
Moments later, Charley's truck pulls up. Charley is driving and Mrs. Davidson is in the passenger seat. Charley reaches for and activates the remote for the garage doors. They all go in. As Charley and her mom climb out of the truck, Charley sighs, "I guess you can tell we didn't find them. Vinnie slumps into the armchair. "I can't believe they'd..." Mrs. Davidson walks to him, maternal instinct taking over, and pats his shoulder. "Now Vinnie, when I met Vikki I got the strong impression she was a very smart and responsible young woman, and Modo just isn't that type of mouse."
"At least SOMEONE has faith in us!" calls Vikki from the doorway leading to the kitchen. A towel is covering a sloppy bandage on her shoulder. Modo, who is standing beside her, asks, "Ma'am, What are you doing here?"
"I came to see my daughter and was dragged into a search for you two."
Vinnie makes his way to his sister. "Now, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" Before Vikki can answer, though, Vinnie hugs her.
"OUCH! Vinnie! Stop!" Vinnie pulls away startled. The towel slips off. "Vikki! What happened, Sis?!" Vikki sighs. "Long story, Vin. Charley? Could you help me with this? Modo doesn't know the difference between a sling and a slingSHOT." They all laugh and make their way into the kitchen. Vinnie turns to Vikki. "So? About this story?"
One story; minus the mush; later, nearly all are sitting at the table. Vinnie is rolling on the floor laughing at what happened in Brie's office. Modo is a little angry at himself for letting her go in the first place, even though he hadn't known her entire plan. Vikki glowers at her brother. "Bro, I still have one good arm." Vinnie replies by singing, "Brie li-ikes Vi-kki! Brie li-ikes Vi-kki!" Vikki starts to get up to fight despite a better bandage on her shoulder and her arm in a sling. Throttle interrupts. "Vikki, Sweetheart. Why didn't you tell us about those Games before?" Vikki lowers her eyes. "I didn't know how. It kinda makes me sick thinking about it, especially when..." Vikki looks up at her friends. Vinnie has stopped laughing and asks, "Especially when, what?"
"Especially when I remember that the Games where probably the reason... you... were transported to CammenButt's cruiser. They would've added you to the Games."
Modo, who is sitting beside her, wraps his arms around her shoulders. Vikki leans her head on his shoulder. Vinnie cocks an eyebrow. "Looks like you two made up." Vikki smiles at her brother. Then she grabs the mustard bottle on the table, aims with her right hand for his face, but squirts the contents on his chest. "That's for what you thought happened today." Vinnie grins. "Lucky for me your a southpaw." Before Vikki can react, Vinnie grabs the ketchup and squirts double-handed right in her face. Throttle shouts, "Food Fight!"
Charley and her mother's protests come too late.