Contents Warning: none, just a little swearing, I think.
Music: none
Author's Notes: Pfeeeeew! This is the first story I haven't written in one long rush. I don't think it shows, though.
Thanks to Decembergirl for lending me Mac, thanks to Nikata for lending me himself. The Edward Nikata in this fic has nothing whatsoever to do with the one from 'Earth's Worst Nightmare', apart from the looks and the evilness.
Disclaimer: Oops, silly me, did I say they were mine? I didn't? Good, then I didn't lie. ;-) Throttle, Modo, Vinnie, Stoker, carbine, Harley and Rimfire belong to the creators of BMFM, whoever they are. All the SL characters belong to Decembergirl. But everyone else is mine. I made no money off this and I don't think I ever will. Bummer. ;-)

 

Chapter One: Curiouser and Curiouser

Some time later, they approached a small planet. As the ship went in for landing, Mac stepped into the force field for as far as he could, standing on his toes, trying to get as good a look of where they were going as he could.

The planet, which was actually about the size of the Earth moon, was barred, cold and deserted. The only thing that pointed out that there were people living there, was the building complex they were heading for.

Built around a large tower were small barracks, some obviously army barracks, others that looked like small, individual prison cells.
'A high security prison? For me? I'm honoured,' Mac thought to himself.

They landed right on top of the tower, which had obviously been designed for this purpose, having a large landing platform on top.

They landed right on top of the tower, which had obviously been designed for this purpose, having a large landing platform on top. Once inside, Sharpman got out and talked to someone Mac couldn't see. "Who have you captured this time, Sharpman?" The voice sounded British.
"Anakin and Skyrime MacCloud."
"Aha, two mice at once. An unusual catch, even for you."
"I'm afraid it is just one mouse."
"Are you trying to make a fool out of me, Sharpman?" Ouch, that guy sounded dangerous when he was angry.
"I wouldn't dream of it, Mr Nikata. But this peculiar mouse claims to be both Skyrime and Anakin MacCloud."
"Oh, he does, does he? Well, we'll see. Bring him out."

About a second later, Sharpman stepped back inside, accompanied by two uniformed plutarkians and a half mouse, half human male.
'I hate this war,' Mac thought, 'These plutarkians can turn everyone against everyone. If we can't even trust our own kind anymore, then who can we trust?'

"Mr MacCloud," the man said. "I hear you claim to be two mice at once.
"I never claimed that. I just said that I am both Anakin and Skyrime MacCloud."
"Those are two mice, aren't they?"
"Well, no, obviously, because I am both and last time I looked, I was just one mouse," Mac grinned. He was playing a dangerous game, but annoying this guy was so much fun. He got a weird little nervous twitch near his nose when he got angry.

"You think you are a smart guy, don't you, MacCloud? You think you're tough. Think you're so much better then me, because you fight for a 'good cause'?"
He walked up to Mac, so close he could almost touch him, if it hadn't been for the force field. Staring Mac straight in the eyes, he repeated: "Don't you?"
Mac just stared back, unphased by the anger that shone out of the man's eyes.

They stood there, staring at each other, each daring the other one to look away first and admit his defeat.
Then, the human, Nikata, spoke, still not taking his eyes away from Mac: "Put him in one of the maximum security cells." One of the plutarkians said: "Um, Mr Nikata, sir? All the maximum securtity cells are full, sir."
"Then put him in with someone else, I don't care. Two prisoners can hardly plan a revolt and who knows," He let out an unpleasant laugh, "Maybe the lack of space will get on their nerves so much they'll kill each other."

And even as the guards dragged him out of the spaceship to a nearby elevator, Mac could feel Nikata's eyes follow him. He resisted the urge to shudder. This was one dangerous enemy he had just made.

The guards pushed him into the elevator and pressed the '0'-button. Two seconds later, they were standing on ground level, outside. Mac looked around as much as he could, but all he could see were buildings, buildings and more buildings.

^^^^^^

His two 'companions' dragged him forth until he stood in front of a small building, apparently made out of plutarkian concrete, the strongest in the galaxy [It had to be, with all the acid rain on Plutark.], had a small window with plutarkian glass steel bars in it and a door in the same material.
Someone had spent a lot of money here and Mac got the unpleasant idea that this mightn not be an easy prison to escape from.

One of the plutarkians [Mac assumed they must be guards.] opened the door and the other one threw Mac in. 'Threw' being the operative word here.
He landed with his head and left shoulder against the solid concrete of the wall, his left knee scraped against the floor and he twisted his right ankle.

"Ouch! Hey, watch it, will ya?" Well, apparently, being 'useful' didn't mean he'd be getting any special treatment.
"You okay, bro?" A soft voice asked.
Mac rubbed his head, thinking: 'Two knocks on the head in a few hours time. I'm surprised I still have my memory.'
"Yeah, I think so," he answered out loud.

Then he got a good look at the face of his fellow-prisoner by the little bit of light that poured in through the window.
"Rimfire?" he gasped. 'Oh, man! I'm getting delusional!' he though.
"Mac?" Rimfire, who had been helping Mac up, almost dropped him when he recognised him. "They got you too?"
"Obviously."
"Oh, man, they're closing the net and fast!"
"Um, lad? How 'bout explainin' me what the hell yer babblin' about?"

Rimfire calmed down a bit and helped Mac sit upright. He sat down across him, his back against the wall, his legs crossed under him. Mac sat more or less in the same position and still there wasn't much room between them. Not quite a spacey room.Or a roomey space.

"You probably noticed this isn't a normal prison. It's meant for what the plutarkians call 'useful mice'. That means: mice they can use to force important resistance leaders to give up. Or important freedom fighters like you. I've heard Stoker's on the list, too.
They wanna use me to force uncle Modo to stop fighting. I've talked to some of the others. Husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, friends, …. I don't think there are many important resistance fighters on any of the planets the plutarkians are trying to conquer that don't have a loved one in here. Most are thought dead by their families.
They already have a lot of resistance fighters in their power. I was hoping they'd stay away from Mars for a while, but …"

"Are there a lot of other mice here?"
"I don't know. These are the full security cells, built specially for tough guys like me." Rimfire grinned weakly. "We can't talk to the others, but on the other side, we don't have to work."
"Work?"
"In the mines. You didn't think the plutarkians would let such an army of manpower go to waste, did ya? I've worked there too, for a while, before they put me here. I only saw one other mouse, but I never had a chance to talk to him. They're very strict on the 'No Talking' rule."

"So who're all the others?"
"Humans. Lots of them. I've been able to talk to some of them and apparently, the earth resistance against the plutarkians rivals the martian in manpower. They're not really organised and technically not as advanced as us, but their 'war history' is more recent.
They were kicking some serious plutarkian butt out there. Until the fish-faces decided to start 'Operation Puppet String'. Suddenly, Blam-o! Small groups are already starting to give up, probably thinking: 'Two or three people won't matter, there are hundreds more groups out there that can fight them.' Problem is, if enough people give up, …"
"All the cheese-brains hafta do is take the planet and run," Mac finished for him. "I get the picture."

Rimfire got up and stretched out, arms high above his head, joints audibly cracking. He got over to the small window and tried to look at the sky.
"You know, sometimes I think I can see it. Mars. Home." A short silence. "How are things back there?Are we winning the war? They never tell us anything here. How is everything going at the base?"

"You sure it's safe ta tell? Ah mean, no-one can hear us here, right?"
Rimfire shrugged and slowly sat down again. "Doesn't matter. They have a spy at the base anyway."
"A SPY? Who?" For some reason, he got a vision of that lad of Charley's, Paul, wearing a T-shirt of that old earth tv show. 'Trust No-One!' No kidding.
"I don't know, but it's gotta be someone close to the core. They knew things very few people at the base could've known."
"But who could've …"
"I dunno. I've gone over every possibility and I haven't come up with anything. I stopped trying, it's no use anyway. So, what is going on at the base?"

^^^^^^

"Well, there's been some changes since you've been gone," Mac said, glad he could distract the kid with something, take his mind of their situation. Thank goodness he wasn't in here alone. He'd have gone crazy. Mars knew how many times Rimfire had sat here, thinking, wondering, worrying about his family, his friends, his planet. Must've been hell.

"First of all, we've got some human company. Miss Charlene Davidson and her two children, Shelley and Paul."
"Charley? No way! What's she doing there?"
It's a long story, lad. I'll save it for a rainy day," Mac grinned. But to himself he added: 'Or for a dark night. You look like you've had too many of those.'
"Anyway, with Miss Charley coming to Mars, everything seems to have gone fast. Throttle found Vincent again and we've freed the slaves, including your uncle Modo."
"So the Biker Mice ride again …" Rimfire whispered, smiling faintly. "Now, there's a reason to hope again."
"You ain't heard nothing yet, lad. Take a wild guess what we've discovered out in the desert?"
"What?"
"The lost treasure, the forgotten city, the-"
"Brier-Rose? The abandoned city?"

"Well, we found Brier-Rose alright, but it wasn't quite abandoned."
And he told Rimfire about the Skywalkers, the battle they had fought in the city and how Rex and the others had come to the base with them.
Just as he was about to get to the interesting part, about his immortality and eternal youth, the door slammed open.

^^^^^^

"MacCloud! Come along! Mr Nikata wants ta talk ta ya," one of the guards barked, while the other grabbed Mac's arms, yanked him up and pushed him towards the door.
"Move!" He said, as he pushed him towards the other guard. While his companion had closed the door and moved a bit ahead of them, the latter put handcuffs on Mac.

"Move!" He echoed, pushing Mac towards the first guard again. They played Mac-pong like that until they got him in the elevator.
The elevator rose so quickly Mac barely had time to keep all his organs in place, let alone check what floor they were going to. As the doors slid open, they revealed a broad but short red-carpeted hallway that led to a wooden door.

'Edward Nikata, director of Runneymede prison,' a sign on the door said. One of the guards held his arms tight enough to bruise, while the other one knocked on the door.

"Yes?" a voice thundered.
"The prisoner you requested to speak, Mr Nikata."
"Bring him in."

The door opened and Mac saw the prison director sitting behind his desk. Everything in this office seemed to be made of wood or gold. Must've cost a fortune.
Nikata made a movement with his head and the guards threw him down in the chair in front of the desk.

"Well, Mr MacCloud," the man started in that cold, almost terrifying voice of his, "It seems that I have misjudged you. According to our sources, you are indeed both Skyrime and Anakin MacCloud."
"Your sources? And who might that be?"
"You don't really expect me to tell you that, do you? No, I'll let you agonise over that question, until it eats you inside. Until you no longer trust anyone, or anything, not even yourself, your own senses." Ice dripped off his voice as he spoke those last words. Mac wondered what had happened to this man that had made him such a cold, heartless monster. Surely no-one was born like this, and money may buy someone, but it can't make a man that cruel.

"Why are ya working with these fish-faces? How can ya do things like these to yer own people?"
"My people are the plutarkians, MacCloud. They raised me, they are my family. The creatures you call 'my people', Mr MacCloud, are losers. They had a rich planet and they let all that potential just lie there in the ground. The plutarkians did see the potential of the planet. They are winners, MacCloud. It may take a while, but eventually, plutark will win this war. And when they do, I want to be part of the winning team.

By Mars, his eyes were cold. Greed for money and power was all that laid beneath them. If the eyes were truly the mirrors of the soul, as the earthlings say, then this man's soul was cold and black. Unless he ws killed, he would not rest until he had conquered the universe. And even then, he wouldn't be satisfied.

"Take him back to his cell," Nikata said, apparently thinking he had tortured Mac enough, and to be honest, Mac didn't know if he could take the man's presence any longer.
The guards hauled him out of the chair and began pushing him back to the elevator.
"And while you're there," Nikata called after them, "Take the brat to the interrogation room. Perhaps this time, he'll be more co-operative."

^^^^^

Mac sat hunched in a corner of the cell, waiting for the guards to return with Rimfire, thinking, pondering, waiting, wondering.
He sighed deeply. 'My People' Two small words, eight letters, three syllables, and yet they held a different meaning for different people.
For him, 'My People' concisted of all creatures who fought against the plutarkians.
For Sharpman, 'My People' were the members of his clan who had died all those years ago.
For Nikata, My People' were the plutarkians, the creatures who had raised him, but probably just whoever was winning the war.
He wondered who Rimfire's 'My People' were. And that of all those others prisoners.

Turning his mind to more practical matters, he began to break his head over a plan to escape. It wouldn't be easy.
There was no way they could contact the base, or anyone for that matter. And even if they could, they had to keep in mind that there was at least one spy in their midst.
They would have to do it themselves.

They, the prisoners, a colourful collection of races, some of which held an age-old grudge against each other. But in order to escape, in order to survive, in order to keep their home worlds safe, they would have to unite.
Mac sighed. This was going to be harder then putting Humpty-Dumpty back together, he mused. And even all the king's horses and all the king's men …


"Wow. Sometimes I amaze myself."

"How's that, lass?"

"Well, this is nothing like my usual stuff. Normally, I do lots more dialogue and less thought."

"Well, I think it turned out okay."

 

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