Earth, Florida Everglades 1969 3:45 AM
Sargent Jerry Lambert, stood uncorfatbly, waist high in fishy smelling mud, which was odd it struck him, shouldn't mud smell like mud, insted of a mix of fish and week old cheese.
He had dismissed the smell a while ago and now as he was standing waist high in the muck it struck him.
His dark camo clored uniform was splatered with mud and other forms of slime and goo.
Mentaly he was telling himself that he was making one gigantic fool of himself, the USA, the SEAL and his team, chasing down some phanntom things here in all this smellly muck they were calling mud, and that he could swere was four and a half month old fish past on top of a chese sandwitch that you had just found under the sofa, and had tryed to crawl away from you twice already.
He turned around slowly, or as fast as the fish past/mud would let him, at the sound of the slow sloshing sound of some one trying to make their way through the mud.
"Cutter, report?" he said even before he saw Tony Cutter's mud splatered face.
"Nothing sir" Cutter panted, the stubbel of three days groath of beard on his chin,the short man tryed to pull his foot out of the mud with a slurrrp, his eyes were baggy and blood shot. "We found some stable ground about half a mile away though " he added thoughtfuly, as he tryed to wipe a smear of gritty mud off hiis four head and only managed to smear it even more."It's clean" he stoped "No pun intended sir."
"Thats good, all the men are drenched in this muck, move them over to there" Lambert waved his arm as some mounds of mud that stood around.
Some mounds of mud standing around with lots of gun poking out of them. The rest of the team shook mud off them as they moved out of their standing places.
Lambert looked up at the star strew sky, the planets and constalations sparkiling in all their hevenly glory. The moon hung on a high hook in the ceiling of a sky of painted velvet.( So swirly metaphors arn't my thing)
The mud splashed and splished, and sploshed, and sevrel other S involded words used to discrible the sound fish past makes when you step in it, around the feet of the the SEAL team as they tramped through the mud towards what Tony Cutter had said was a patch of solid ground.
But they wern't the only things suffering from the fish smelling mud in the swamp, and heading to the solid ground, I use the word things because people dose not dicrible the five inderviduals making camp on the solid ground very well.
Mice discribes them better, large, huminoid mice, with antelie, lotts of big blasters and a dislike for the smell of fish past discribels them even better then simply Mice.
"Smells like a goddamn Plutarkian stinkhole here!" Comander Adrian Tempest covered his white furred, well now a more muddy shade of gray, nose as he looked out from the small circal of elecric fire light that was on the small knole in the swamp that was less mushy then the rest of it.
There were four other of the mice sitting around the fire, all covered in mud, from head to the tip of their tailes.
Two of them were huge, one was gray, or a more muddy tint of color gray, that was Dorian Hammer, demolition specilist and family mouse.
The other was a slightly pattched shade of black with white strips, Felix Dane. There wepons recon officer
The other two mice there were smaller and more compact, and considrably more muddy, being closer to the ground.
One was a muddy shade of pitch black, her female figure barely visable under the uniform and all the mud, her short paler grayish hair was almost slicked to her skull with mud and water. Carmen Dante, the electronics and explosives expert.
And the last was the smalest there, a dark chocklet brown, his hair looked like it had been freshly cut, and maybe a few weeks ago he hadd been the mousie equivlent of a hippie, his name was Tory Stoker, a master stratagist even for a mouse in his early twentys. He was the youngast there.
Hammer snifed and a pained expresion crossed his heavy fetures, " Yeach, worse then that" he blinked and tryed to clean mud out of his left ear.
"Where the hell is the goddamn Warhound!!" Dane finised the exclamation with a nasty remark in old Martian, Tempest raised an eyebrow over his night vision glasses.
"Watch that talk there bro, there are young'uns here" he chastised the big mouse as he motioned behind him in Stoker and Dante's direction.
Dane's eyes narowed at Tempest in anoyence. "Kale shoulde have landed it an hour ago" Dane said in a low voice, "It smells bad" his nose wrinkeled.
"Really?" Dante looked up, wiping mud off her shirt. "It smells bad, I though it was just lovly" she winked at Stoker who sat slightly dijected next to her.
"Dante, your opion is not welcome" Dane snapped at her.
Lambert had seen the figures on the mound of solid ground. He motioned for the team to stop, pulling Cutter over to him " I thought you said it was clean" he hissed.
Cutter looked confused, "It was, when me and Davidson checked it out" he waved distractely at a brown haired man sanding a little way off looking misrible. But that wasn't unsal since the rest of the compeny looked very misrible, and that only Baily Davidson looking misrible insted of very misrible of a very inane abservation on the part of Lambert and Cutter.
"Lotta help you are, they could be the ones we'r out here looking for" Lambert said in Cutter's ear in a voice that was a medly of anoyence, frustration and anger.
"Smells like a goddamn Plutarkian stinkhole here!" A voice came from the encampment.
"Yeach, worse then that"
"Where the hell is the goddamn Warhound!!" this statment was followed by a statment in some forgan lauguage, Lambert was guessing Arabic or somehting.
And more laughter.
"Yeah, all units suround it!" Lambert managed to screach, quitly to every one else, and the slowly, mud covered, SEALs started to suround the knole of solid ground.
"Alright, you commie scum, come out wepons down and hands where I can see them!" Lambert raised his voice so to be easaly heard in the scilence of the swamp. The chatter around the fire on the knole imediatly died down.
A dark errie scialence followed the enouncmnet, the fire had died down and both partys were at a stand off, both waiting for the other to make their move.
Both lisaning to the drip- drip of the wet swamp and the soft crys of some unidentifyed night bird.
"Oh shit, goddamn,shit, all hell to phoboes and may demos curse us all!!!" some one swore just minets affter the ehoes had died down. "Tempest, I told you it didn't smell good!" the voice yelled.
"Hammer, shut your snout!"another voice said, and the sound of some one smacking some one else could be heard." I don't want no stinkin' Terrans capturing us!" the second voice, aparently Tempest, snaped at the voice named Hammer.
This was all Lambert needed "Alright, men fire!"
Automatic gun muzzel fire sparks lit up the dismaly wet seane.
"Oh, damn, every one scramble" the voice called Tempest yelled and the sound of large bodys landing in mud could be heard "Stoker, I need you over here!!" Tempest yelled, and a flash of movment ran across the SEAL's plain of vision, the few who caught sight of it could have sworne it had a tail was over seven feet tall, but then Terrans exagarate, Stoker was only 6'4" at the time.
Dane and Hammer were the ones who were over seven feet tall.
Stoker dove under a low hanging string of french moss, getting himselve even more covered in fishy mud then before, he grapeled his way over to where Tempest was leaning on a tree, pantting, his tounge hanging out.
Green blood was driping from a hole in Tempest's shoulder, sending a river of bright green down the black muddy uniform, the smell of drying Martian blood, a truly overwelming sent, was starting to hover over the swamp.
"Yes sir" Stoker gae him a half slopy salute and then dived down into the mud again, as another volly of shots ratteled over head.
" How can we get out of this, with out giveing all them Terrans a dose of paranoia?" Tempest grimiced as he dug the bullitt out of his flesh. Stoker looked slightly sick as the older mouse pulled the lump of lead out of his shoulder.
"We fight gurilla style" Stoker turned away. "Don't let them see us." Readying himself for a sneak attack,
Tempest nodded, and motioned to Dante and Hammer were crouched behind a tree a little farther away, Dane was on the other side of the Terrans and probably was thinking through the same gurilla style fighting as the rest of them.
Lambert droped one clip out of his gun and poped another in with a mushy sounding CLACK!
Who ever the other party had been they had scatered now, and affter the intel bout of cursing from them, they weren't making a sound, they were as quiet as mice so he thought.
"Alright, stop" he held his hand up signaling for the vollys of amunition that were peppering the undergroath were now unnessary. The muzzel flashing stoped and another scilence setteled over the swamp.
The Martains and the Terrans were at a stand off again, this time both had wepons drawn and the Martains had the advantage that the Terrans didn't know where they were.
An advantage they imediatly took advantage of.
Dane was standing stock still just behind Davidson. Dante and Hammer were a little farther away with in shooting distence of Lambert. Stoker and Tempest were only a few feet away from Cutter and another man named Daneil Ryan.
All the Martains had their wepons drawn and powered. All the Terrans had their wepons drawn and loaded. All of both of them were tense, and all of both of them were extreemly suprised when a battle ship let flood lights down on the swamp.
It was big, it was ugly, and it smelled like the swamp.
It's curved black and purpel fins knifed out to the sides, the underbelly was painted a sickley shade of green, the huge front veiwporst shone with the reflected lights from the swamp
It was truly a nasty looking ship.
Winds wipped their hair around, flattened the leaves and moss on the trees.
"Oh shit, a Plutarkian Trawler!" Some one yelled and two figures ran out from the cover of the trees.
Neither of them was human. And Cutter could have sworn that he saw tails on them.
Lambert disided he didn't want to know what, whatever they were, but he did want to know what a `Plutarkian Trawler' was, it sounded rather nasty.
Another pair of whatever they were, Lambert disided to call them mice in any in mind narative.
Another one ran out from some where behind him.
"I told you Tempest, somthing smelled around here!" the one whos voice Lambert regognised as Hammer yelled.
"Don't rub it into our noses already!!" another one yelled at Hammer. Lambert avoided calling it he or she or even it, but he setteled on HE affter a moments debating.
HE was the smallest of the mice there, his helmet covered his face, as did similar helmets to the others.
For some reason Lambert was glad of that fact.
He could hear Davidson yelling something at Cutter, he didn't pay attention.
"Shutup, Stoker!" another mouse yelled, the one who had run out from behind them.
"Make me Dane!" The small one called Stoker yelled.
"Shutup both of you!!" The other smallish one who had run out from behind the trees with the one named Hammer yelled at them " We'v got more importent things to worry about then your egos!" The mouse struck Lambert as a she and marked her so in his brain, tthough he was pretty sure the rest of them were male.
The mouse that was called Tempest was staning a few feet yelling at some kind of comunicator.
" Kale, you son of a blood sucking rat, get the Warhound down here now!" The outburst was punctuated but bursts of arabic sounding speach, Lambert though it sounded nasty and rather profane.
Finaly he cursed rather badly in english at the comunicator and whoever Kale was and turned it off, putting it in one of the pockets of his jacket.
Lambert aproched Tempest, hand on gun handel, the alien, he had disided thats what they were, he would apologise later if they werent. "Uh, do you want us to take you to our leader?" he looked up at the huge alien called Tempest, grinning slightly vacently, mentaly he killed himself. How stupid can you be, this isn't a bad B movie!
Tempest blinked solomly at Lambert." Yes we do come in peace, no we don't want to talk to your goddamn President Johnson, and no we didn't kill Kennedy!" Tempest snapped at the Terran, irritable that Kale wasn't responding and that a few seconds later the Plutarkain Trawler started feiring at the swamp.
Lambert felt somthign big and furry plow into his back sending his crashing into the mud.
"Dante, that wasn't smart" Tempest cidded the small black mouse, "Hes a Terran, hes bound to go report to the press about it."
"Your the one he asked if he could take you too his leader" Dante giggled, getting up "anyway, he's seen the fish, seeing us couldn't unbalence them eny more" she frowned, " wish we got thoes nurolizer thingies that IO(intergalactic oparations) getts" she looked down.
Lambert stared at the mud in front of his face. It really struck him as smelling like fish past. He could hear the one called Tempest talking with another called Dante (He wondered how an alien would be named affter some dead poet), they seemed to find the situation rather amusing. He spat out some mud and started to get to his feet in the slippy slime.
"Shoudda hit him harder Dante, hes comming `round" Tempest muttered to the alien staning next to him.
"I didn't want to hurt him" Dante protested, holding her hands up in front of her and, if it is ever possible to make a pressure helmet look inocent, she gave, Tempest a look like that.
Tempest sighed and lifted Lambert up by the back of his uniform.
"I guess, we should go easy on the Terrans, there not as sturdy as Martains" Tempest stood Lambert up on his feet, where his stood shaking and hacking out mud for a second.
"I resent the part about us being not as sturdy" he said and wiping a bit of moss off his forhead he hacked out some more mud.
Tempest looked down at him " On avrage a Terran is smarter then a Martian" he offered in consolation.
Dante looked at both of them incredusly. " Its universal I see" she sighed.
"What is?" Both Lambert and Tempest looked at her.
She blinked "Male lack of inteligence" she said matter-of-factly.
"Thankyou" Tempest blinked, and shoved her and Lambert out of the way of a blinding hair of white hot lasers from the Plutarkin ship.
"Where the hell in Kale?!" he swore as the three of them landed in the mud.
The bright flashes of light continued to cover the swamp below. Lasers they were called, Cutter had heard about them, magnified light or somthing like that, what ever they were, they hurt like the dicknens.
Cutter, Davidson, Ryan and a man named Samule Tommy were crouched almost under the `Plutarkian Trawler' what ever the ship was it was big, and smelled more like fish past and old chesse then the mud did.
Cutter noted that little trivial detail then, let his automatic go at the belly of the ship. he couldn't resist the urge to laugh manaicly, just for the irony of it.
Davidson was standing next to him his gun also flashing bright sparkes at the belly of the ship.
Ryan was screaming into a walkie talkie about aliens to Lambert, who aparently wasn't responding, and it resulted in sevrel profane objections from Ryan.
A few feet away three of the other party were also feiring at the Trawler, they didn't seem to use conventil wepons, theres discharged bolts of light, that freid anything in it's way. Cutter heard some profanity from one of them as his shots, failed to leave a dent on the ships tough hide.
Sudenly there were explosions above, around the top of the Trawler, Tempest's comunicator crackeled to life.
"Tempest come it, this is Warhound, Tepest, Soildeirs Of Misfotune, come in this Marcus Kale, Warhound come in, please" Tempest pulled his comunicator out of his pocket, flicking open he yelled someing into it that if writen down would probably sent you crying to momma. Which was followed by "Kale, you goddamn, little shit, where the hell were you, we'r getting our freakin' tails roasted here" Tempest's face seethed in anger, as if Kale could actuly see him.
"The Chupacawa, stupid fish attacked me, I had to take a detore" Kale yelled back, now oviosly in a bad mood too.
The anger crackeled between the two mice, one on the Warhound the other standing knee deep in fish past smelling swamp mud.
The Warhound _wasn't a partucularly big ship, it was just a small troop transport, it's once gleeming sides, now pock marked with rust and grime, the mouse head logo on the side helf worn off from continuas batterings, though it had been repainted slightly syalised on the side, and this time feured the moto "Life, Liberty, Freedom And Our Bikes!"
As the small craft slowly lowered into the swamp, mud splatering up onto it's belly, it wiped the wind around it's engeins, sending gusts of grimmy wind over the place.
" Kale, you little son of a rat!" Dane muttered, strightening up from his balance kneeling position.
"Alright mice, every one on the Warhound!!" Tempest yelled through all their comunicators.
In the back ground Kale commented: "What a lovley smell you found Tempest."
Tempest made an offhand swat at Kale and for the most part ignored him.
Dane and Hammer came running, dodging fire from the Trawler and plants being wipped around by the Warhound's landing and the Trawler hovering over head.
"Every one move, get out of there" Lambert yelled, he could see Davidson, Cutter, Ryan and Tommy. Still trying to punch a hole in the Trawler's underside with their guns. " You four get over here!!" He yelled, at them at the top of his lungs.
Davidson and Ryan heard him and started to rush towards Lambert, Cutter and Tommy on the other hand did not hear Lambert's cry for a tactical withdrawel.
The mouse called Marcus Kale was standing in the lowered gangplank of the Warhound_his wild black hair wipping around his face, his hands waving weildly for the rest of the mice to load on the ship, Tempest and Dane were already on board Dante and Stoker were half way up the gangplank and Hammer was a little further awy running towards the ship swereing at the top of his lungs and cursing any type of man, beast or flora that got in his way, any that did got plowed through.
Cutter turned and ran as a tree near him sudenly started to creak and bend dangarosly close to them, Tommy was only steps behind him.
As the tree swung down it's trunk a raging inferno of heat and hell, Cutter could smell the grousom smell of burning flesh and human fear, not to mention the fish past and chese which I have already gone into.
"Ohhhhhh Shiiitttt!!!!" The tree finaly crashed to the cround crushing Tommy behind him and the explosion from another volly of lasters propeled him forward, and a long bit of wood into his shoulders. Untill he was stoped,by crshing into Dane's back, the force of his impace sent the big mouse sprawling forward onto the gangplank, Kale only saw Dane land on the gangplank and started to lift it, as the Warhound started to lift off into the night sky.
Down below Lambert yelled somthing about they had never seen any of this, and that Tommy and Cutter had never existed.
Up in the Warhound, Tempest was very, very, mad.
"How could you lift off with a stinkin' Terran on board!?!?!" he yelled, Kale looked him stright in the eye. Well acruly it was like more in the chin, since Tempest was a very tall mouse.
"You got all your mice back safe and sound, we can kill the Terran on the way to mars!" Kale snaped at Tempest.
"You sadist, we'r suposed to protect the Terrans, not kill them!!" Tempest yelled back.
Dane shoved the unconsciance Cutter off his back and tossed his helmet violently on the ground. "Both of you, shut you fu***ing mouths, we've got more importent things to deal with, like why was the Chupacawa in the swamps?" he yelled at them both.
Kale, and Tempest both closed their mouths, even though Tempest could have punished Dane for yelling at a supirior officer, he didn't.
He knew Dane was right.
Martian Mothership Cristaning Of Fire, 5:23 AM
Cutter's eyes snaped open so fast he had to shut them again as bright light stabed into his eyes.
He was lieing on his back, on a stiff medical bed, he could smell the spicy tang of anathetics in the air, bright sterile lights where glaring in his eyes.
"Careful, hes comming `round" someone said near his left side.
The sound of some one cocking a gun near him jolted him back to nervos tension.
As his vision recovered, the light cesed to be a mass of wirling bright flashes and shapes started to become viasble.
His back was aching, that was the first thing that crossed his mind, so was the rest of his body for that matter, quickly followed the first stament. There was a stabbing pain in his shoulder, it felt unbearably hot and the burn of the pain was almost unbeareble.
An gentel mouseie face was staring down at him. Pale yellow hair, was tied up in a bun, creamy speckeled fur. She was smiling in a doctor with bad news way.
"Put down the gun, Stoker, I don't think hes going to hurt us" she waved to some one out of Cutter's vision. "I'm Doctor Julia Sparkel" she introduced herself "welcome to the Cristaning Of Fire, en route to Mars" she smiled at him.
"Mars..what?!" Cutter's eyes opened even wider.
"I told you, don't tell him stright off" another voice came from out Cutter's vision.
"Dante, while your complanining about cramps, I sugjest you don't talk" Sparkel snaped at the other voice.
"Hurmph" the voice named Dante said, this was followed by an almost hytrical giggle.
"Can..can I sit up here" Cutter mumbeled, he realised how much his back hurt right affter that left his lips. He started to try to pull himselve up into a sitting posiotion to regain his lost dignity.
"I wouldn't recoment it, you lost five pints of blood" Sparkel put her hands on his shoulders, holding him back, her arms where suprisingly stronge.
"Five pints? Thats impossible!" Cutter again tryed to sit up, and was again stoped by Sparkel.
"Martian technology is far more advanced then Terran" Stoker, out of Cutter's view, pointed out.
"Go to sleep now, you need it" Sparkel pushed him down harder on the bed.
"How am I suposed to sleep like this" Cutter sighed and lay back.
"Well there is another option" Sparkel cocked her head at Stoker leaning on the door,
"Tempest, hes awake, and very alert, you can talk to him now" Stoker leaned out the door and waved to some one into the room.
The two mice Cutter knew as Tempest and Hammer entered, Tempest came right to side of the bed and said somehting to Dante.
Hammer graped Julia Sparkel, hugging her, "Hi sweetie" he gave her ear a playful tweak.
" I see another member of the crew in another three months, the way their going" Dante muttered.
"Dante, your complaining about cramps, so I won't tell you how inapropriat that was" Sparkel glared at her. Dante shruged and elbowed Stoker.
" I think she likes you"Tempest muttered in Stoker's ear. Stoker's ears pricked up.
"Alright, this isn't a soap. Tell him" Sparkel shook Hammer off her back and looked expectently at Tempest.
"Well mister Cutter, you have three options" Tempest turned to Cutter. "You can die of blood loss, you can stay hooked up to that forever" Tempest motioned to a readout screen at the side of the bed, with a tube running to Cutter's arm "or, you can take a Martian blood transfution" he stoped and Sparkel picked up the last.
"Martian blood has difrent protiens in it then Terran blood, but a transfusion has been used, and the recipiant did survive" she faltered "with cirtin physical changes" she closed her eyes.
"What changes?" Cutter tryed to move his arm.
"All interal, non external, but big changes, such as a need for a difrent diet, air, and some metal side efects" Sparkel opened her big pink eyes and holding another tuble, she looked at him. "Well?"
"Martain's alow things like this to be done?" Cutter gave up on moving and closed his eyes.
"Out moral standerds are difrent from Terrans" Hammer hugged Sparkel again. "We'r still not very crazy about it, the dision is up to you Cutter."
"Either I die, or stay hooked up to thatthink, I think it's ovios" Cutter stared at the ceiling, knowing he was risking his life, but he didn't care, he didn't have any one or anything to live for on earth anyway. "Do it." he said, he some how knew he could trust them, he closed his eye, and he could just visulise Sparkel inserting the new tube into his arm and removing the other one. Darkness flooded his mind as he felt hot white fire in his veins.
Hi sight blured, Doctor Julia Sparkel's frowning face disapeared, in a flash of color and static.
Cristaning Of Fire, Recration Area 7:39 AM
Stoker took a drag at the weed, his brain buzzed with the drug.
The bar of the recreation area of the Cristaning Of Fire was hot and smokey.
Dante, Hammer and Dane were sitting across from him, Dane was drinking a large beer, he looked like he was almost at his limet.
Sparkel was standing over Hammer, a blanketed bundel in her arms, quiet bleats issued from the bundel ocanaly.
Hammer was holding her hand as they conversed in low tones.
Dante was nursing the half empty soda pop in front of her, she was grinning like a maniac, a little to widly for Stoker's liking.
He took another drag at the weed.
"Where's Tempest?" Dane sudenly said,slightly slurred, looking up, his big sleepy looking eyes almost closed.
"Seeing to Cutter, there was some unexpected changes" Sparkel, looked up, then returned to looking at the bleating bundel in her arms. "Arn't you a cutie wittile mousie" she tickeled the bundel.
"I've got it dearie!" Hammer looked up, scwesing Sparkel's waist. "Jonas Modo!" he said, standing up, and taking the bundel out of Sparkel's arms.
"Dante, don't comment!" Dane looked at her. Dante tryed to look inocent.
"Here, lemmie hold him" Stoker held his arms out, ready for the bundel.
"Here" Hammer handed the bundel to Stoker.
"He's got your eyes Hammer" Stoker waggeled his finger in front of Modo's nose, the little gray mouse grabbed his finger and stuck it in his mouth and begane to suck on it.
"I think he likes you Stoke" Dane said sluring and taking another glup of his beer.
Stoker blushed, and looked indignamt as Dante pulled the weed out of the side of his mouth and ground it into an ash tray. She opened her mouth to say somthing. Dane put his hand on her muzzel, holding it shut.
"Your complaining about cramps, we don't want your comantary" he patted her on the shoulder. "HEY Tempest!!" Dane stoped in the middle and waved at Tempest who came in looking teird.
"Cutter's ok" Tempest said, next to Hammer, Sparkel visably relaxed, like she had been holing her breath for the enteir time. "He'll have to get a new tailor though" Tempest also relaxed, grinning he shoved Dane aside and sat down.
Stoker looked at him " You want to hold the baby Tempest?" The younge mouse tryed to gently disloge his finger from Modo's mouth.
"Yeah sure" Tempest slowly pulled Modo out of Stoker's arms and bounced him on his knee, keeping his fingers far away from the baby's mouth.
"He's a big guy ain't he!" Tempest ruffeled Modo's fur.
" Yeah, hes a wonderful little mouse" Hammer patted his son. "Dosn't cry much" Hammer releived Tempest of Modo and handed him back to Sparkel.
"He needs his nap" Sparkel huged him and as she held him on her hip, she patted Hammer on the head. Modo wimpered and shoved his fingers in his mouth.
Dante rolled her eyes at Sparkel, who just glared at her. "Just because you don't like kids, dosn't mean you...." she stoped "ohhh cramps..." it was Sparkel's turn to roll her eyes.
"Don't rub it in already" Dante closed her eyes, sighing.
"Hey Wham, you like kids, you handel Sparky here" Dane sudenly grabbed a white mouse, who was walking by holding a large mug of beer in each hand.
Valarie Wham almost droped one of the cups as Dane grabed her.
"Dane, I hate kids" Wham almost spilled some of the beer on Tempest's head. Sparkel snikered, and Stoker almost fell over laughing.
"So, that baby likes guys who don't like kids" Tempest glared at Sparkel, and grabed Wham and ground his knuckels into her skull.
"Owww, Tempest, your messing up my hair" Wham complained and slaped Tempest lightly on the head.
"Sorry dear" he returned her slap on the head with a light tug on her tail.
"Owww you flirt!" Wham strougeled a moment more with the beer glasses and finaly managed to drop them safly on the table, Dane grabed one of them and took a long slurp. Stoker grinned at Wham's futile strougleing.
"Stoker!" Wham reached over and pulled on his ear.
On the other side of the bar some one complained.
Wham cocked her head over at him from her perch on Tempest's lap, "Hes not gonna be able to think tomorow" she said, grinning.
"Don't worry about Dane" Sparkel punched him lightly in the shoulder, then looked down at her watch, "Oh damn, I've got to get back to the infermiry, he'll be awake soon" she gave Modo a final tickel and handed the baby to Hammer and ran out of the bar, leaving the rest of them alone.
Modo giggled and grabing Hammer's thumb he started to chew on it.
Some where on the Cristaning Of Fire
Marcus Kale walked slowly and surely across the landing bay foor, his tail swishing back and forthe behind his, the famileir shape of the Warhound sat squat in one corrner, next to it were other team ships the Sheeva, the Troy and the ship of his pick the Vendetta, she was the fastest ship in the Cristaning Of Fire's little arsenal, but even though the loss of the little ship would make Alice Blade quite mad, most of the crew of the Cristaning knew not to make Blade mad, except Dane and Tempest of cource.
He steped into the control booth a little farther away, and started to prep the Vendetta;
"Computor, acknologe, Kale, Marcus, pilot first class" he said at the consule.
KALE, MARCUS, ACKNOLGED,ENTER COMAND..
At the end the light blinked at him.
"Prep scout ship Vendetta for departure, Kale, tango, charlie, charlie twelve." He stoped, waiting for the computor to acknolage his comands.
KALE,MARCUS ACKNOLAGED, PREPARED FOR DEPARTURE..
Kale grimiced at the computor screen "Can't they make things that work faster?" he muttered.
NEGITIVE, I'M AS FAST AS THEY COME..
"Shutup you heap of slag."
I RESENT THAT..
Steping out of the control booth he walked over too the Vendetta and poped open the hatch.
"Vendetta, prepare for lift" he said to the scout ship.
The bay doors slowly swung open reveling the dark melevolence of space and the great beyond. Stars twinkeled in the blackness.
Kale took one last look at the Cristaning's bay and opened his mouth "Go" he said quitly.
The Vendetta's engeins roared into life, blasting hot fumes across the bay, ripeling the air with white heat.
The Vendetta slowly lifted off the burnt pach under it and blasted out of the bay.
As it came out of the Cristaning Kale sat back in the Vendetta's seat, a screen blinked on over his head.
"Kale?" The green face resident of the screen said. Kale jerked his head up.
"Gordon Bleu, I was expecting your call" he recovered. He could practicly smell the Plutarkian from where he sat some fifty odd light years from him.
"Were you? good, then you'll know I want too know" the Plutarkian stoped "Do you have it?" he finished.
Kale grimiced. "Yes I have the information." He laughed, "and a bonus, but you'll have to pay me more for it" Kale grinned.
Crisaning Of Fire, 1:48 PM
Cutter turned over, his head hurt quite badly, so did his stomach, and he felt like some one had just washed his system out with red hot peppers or turpentine, or even Baily Davidson's hot chillie.
"Terrans call the feeling, heartburn right?" Sparkel was leaning on the end of the bed. "Good mourning, sleep well?" she was smiling.
"Yeah somting like that, got any antacid?" Some of th e humore failed to come across in the statment, he sat up even before realsing he wasn't hooked up to what ever he had been before, and Sparkel haden't stoped him.
"This is a good thing right?" Cutter patted his chest down in the timless motions of a man who has jut had a rather pretty doctor tell him he just made a miracululas recovery.
"This in an excelent thing" Sparkel rushed to his side, as he swung his legs off the bed, she suported him with her shoulder. "As Tempest said, you'll need a new tailor though" she suddenly looked down thoughtfuly.
"What" Cutter looked at her.
"Here, sit here for a second" Sparkel set him back on the bed and rushed to a panel next to the door. "Can you conect me to Jenny Splash?" she tapped the panner.
"Yeah, mom?" a younge female voice came over the panel.
"Splash, be a dear, go to the bar, and pick up, your father before Dane getts him drunk" Sparkel leaned on the wall. "See if you can get the rest of them here too, please dear?"
" Awww mom!" Splash wiend.
"Young lady, don't question your mother" Sparkel made a face at the panel.
"ok, I'll get get thim over to the infermiry" Splash make a pouty noise over the comunicator.
"Good girl" Sparkel grinned and turned back to Cutter. "Sorry about that, husbands and children are succh a hasel" she smiled.
"I wouldn't know" Cutter got too his feet again. "Armys the only family I ever had" he sighed.
"I'm sorry" Sparkel looked down.
"But I get the feeling that, that lifes dead now" Cutter wobeled slightly on his feet as he took a step.
"Whats a `Plutarkain Trawler'" Cutter took another step and said.
"Uh..uh Hammer will tell you" Sparkel looked up. "All you need to know right now is that Plutarkians are the enimies of all Martains" Sparkel closed her eyes and turned away from the Terran.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know" Cutter took another step, finaly regaining his balance. He stumbeled.
"It wasn't your place to know" Sparkel caught him and set him back on the bed. "Understand that, you and your SEAL team were just inocent bystanders"
"Thanks for the suport" Cutter ran his fingers through his hair "Is my hair longer?" he fingered a strand.
Sparkel plucked at the strand "Yeah it is."
"Wonderful, there goes my clean cut amarican boy scout image" Cutter grinned and got to his feet again slightly shakly he started to walk to the door. When sudenly a tiny pale yellow mouse bounded in from the hallway followed by the mouse called Hammer who was holding a crying bundel.
Dane, Dante, and Stoker followed him. Both Stoker and Dane looking lightly stoned.
Dante looked hungry and rather anoyed.
"Wheres Tempest and Kale?" Sparkel looked at the nine year old mouse. She was oviosly Sparkel's daughter, her coloring was the same, except paler, and her hair was a stripy mess.
"Tempest's getting freindly with Wham, and Kale isn't any where to be found" Stoker answered the question directed at Splash.
He grabed the little mouse by the tail and stoped her running around like a rabid racoon. "Calm down kid" he grabed her and hoisted her up on his back.
Splash giggled and gave Stoker a noogie right inbetween his antenie.
"Owwww!" Stoker complained good naturedly.
"Stop goofing off children" Dane muttered at Stoker and Sparkel's daughter.
Stoker put on his best "I hate you" face and Splash giggled.
"Ok, now that we have the insanity out of the way, what are we going about Cutter?" Dante pulled Splash off Stoker's shoulders and set her on the floor next to Cutter's bed, where she leept onto the med bed, grinning widly.
"Ok the problem, Cutter, with Kale missing, the Soiders Of Misfortune need another pilot" Hammer handed the bundel to Sparkel, who walked over to another bed,and started to change the contents of the bundel.
"If it's got thrusters, I can fly it" Cutter said confidently.
"Good, think you can fly the Warhound?" Tempest looked in.
"Kales gone, no where on the Cristaning Of Fire" Tempest said. "Blade's real pissed that the Vendetta is missing and was takin' out on Kale's authorization" he finished.
"Every one avoide Blade for a while" Dante muttered.
"Basterd" Sparkel muttered "I told you he couldn't be trusted" the mood in the room had quickly changed from jovial to grim.
"I owe you my life, and it's just cliche enough for me to join you" Cutter stood up, at his full hight, now at 6'7". "I'm SEAL's best pilot and I'm willing to be yours."
"Then it's seteled, we'll get you on the Cristaning's roster" Tempest smiled.
"I sugest you learn Martian wepons first"
"Dante, no comentery, ok?"
Earth, Chicago 1999 4:23 PM
"BAILY!" Charlyne Davidson launched herself on the older man who steped out of the truck. Hugging her Baily Davidson scwesed his little sister's waist.
"Ahh easy my neck!" Baily disloged his sister from her hug. "I'm not as young as I used to be" he smiled and ruffeled her hair.
"How longs it been?" Charlie grabbed her big brother's neck again, hugging him.
"Uh ten years" Charlie grinned, and this time let him disloge her "relirment suits you well" Charlie punched him lightly in the stomach.
"Ahh old war wounds" Baily limped across the room.
"It'll be good to have you banging around in the house again" Charlie followed him over to the couch.
"Well I'm not really here on plesure, I got a note, saying my old SEAL team was have a meeting here" Baily sat down, litsaning to the couch creak, "Hey you got cats?" he brushed white fur off a pillow.
"Uh, yeah, I was taking care of one for a freind" Charlie faltered "A meeting, of your old team? Wow, I thought they were all dead" Charlie stoped letting her bit about the cats settel in.
"Only Cutter, Ryan and Tommy, but letts not talk about that" Baily patted his sister on the shoulder. "How've you been holding out here?" He leaned back, and dug under the pillows for the remote.
Limburger Tower 7:34 PM
A small elderly man stood in front of Limburger, his small slight form dwarfed by Limburger's bulk, another man, perhaps in his fortys, with wide shoulders stood a little bit away looking extreemly boird with the situation, he shifted from one foot to the other, back and forth, back and forth. His nose was also wrinkeled up like he could smell the two Plutarkains in front of him.
"Bleu, I recognise your expeirence, but old timers like you have no place here" Limburger was saying.
"Misure Limburg`e I assure you I vill have results faster vith one man den, you have vith twenty" Gordon Bleu was saying,his thick accsent almost masking his words. He relaxed back in his chair, steepeling his fingers in front of him.
"Look Gordon, you may be decorated, but your in the past" Limburgrer stood up towering over the small elderly Plutarkain, Bleu. Bleu raised an eye brow.
"I beg tzo diffar. Eve`r heard of Marcu` Kale?" he leaned forward towards Limburger. " Ah can always take zis tzo Misure Bri`e."
"Yes, Kale, the most famos Martian diflector" Limburger said nervosly on the mention of Brie's name, but not knowing where Bleu was going with the discausion he continued. "But hes dead."
Bleu motioned to the tall man behind him "Izz that zo?" he asked. The man on cue pulled at the top of his long brown hair and pulled his face off.
Limburger jumped back, he was staring at the face that as a child he had seen in many an odd Plutarkain war history books, barely aged a year.
"Mister Limburger my name is Marcus Kale" the mouse gave him a stiff bow at the waist. "I sell my servise for the highest bidder" he finished and smiled.
"Am I living in za past now misure Limburg`e?" Bleu said the sides of his lips slanting up into a smile.
Limburger still mistrusting of his seinior said "But hes almost sixty years old. What good can he do againced three young strong mice?" he asked leaning back, trying to match Bleu's relaxed pose.
"`E knows stratagy an wepons better `zen any one ve have" Blue still managed to make Limburger look tense with his pose.
"How much can you pay `im?" Bleu continued.
The cold wind nipped at his jacket, biting his back with cold hard little fangs.
The man stood, his feet planted solidly on the asfault.
He was a tall angular man, his dark brown hair, mared only by a singel streak of pale yellow hair on the left side of his head, his long hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail the yellow streak running down to the very end of it.
His sharp ageless fetures were outlined with stark realisem in the pool of street lamp light.
He stood there staring at the buzzing neon sign out line Last Chance Garage in bright red letters in the night.
Tony Cutter was a man with out a planet, human form with Martian blood, the perfect combanation of the two spices.
He hadn't aged in thirty years. Nor had he been sick.
He had freinds on Mars, but he had to abandon the ones he had on Terra.
Living so long with Martains, and having so much Martian blood, he had come to understand their mentality better then he did a human.
When he told himself something, it wasn't Tony you good looking basterd. it was Cutter you good looking basterd. The Martian use of the last name had rubbed off on him.
But he needed human compenty, so he had sent invetaion to the to rest of the team, for all her knew they were all dead, but he had watched the house of Baily Davidson's sister and seen him arive, and he had found Jerry Lambert booked in a rather well to do hotel.
But on comming here, he had found he wasn't the only one with alien blood in Chicago, there were three biker mice, and one Plutarkain.
He could smell the slimy basterd Plutarkian's stink from here.
He had learned to hate them.
And I hoped they didn't know he was there, he was wanted just as badly as the rest of the Soilders Of Misfortune.
He steped out of the pool of light and walked away from the gargage.
He would talk to Davidson first, but later.
Quigley Feild, 4:45AM
Erin Throttle rolled over onto the floor as the howling instrment screamed in his ear.
"Owww, what?" he patted around on the floor for his glasses, he found them under his stomach and pushed them up his nose and found his way to the comunicator. "Yeah?" He slured half awake.
"Uh guys, I hate to bug you at this hour, but theres a strange man standing out side. I think he's with Limburger" Charlyen Davidson's voice came over it, she sounded shaky.
"Ooooo, dose he have to chose this hour of the night to do it?" Vinnie `Van'Wham jr turned over from his akward position on the beat up couch. "I need my beuty sleep" he turned over to face Throttle where he was leaning on his bike.
"Shadup!" Modo snaped from his position some where across the room, Throttle couldn't see him in the dim light, and he sure wasn't going to move any more then he had to, to get this fixed.
"Ok, ok, calm down Charlie-girl, whats he look like?" Throttle strougeled to sit up stright on his bike, where his comunicator was. "Getting a little paranoid ain't you?" he said, making a half hearted attemt to keep himself awake.
"Hes tall, brown hair I think, hes got some funny coloring in his hair" Charlie's voice was shaking.
" Hummm" Throttle did his best to sound awake and alert, even though he was almost at the point of hitting himself to stay awake. "We'll be right over." He finaly confermed, slaped himslf in the back of the head, and stood up.
The sleepy sound of mice, and the rather loud sound of bikes was an intresting sound.
Now you could wonder how they got down from the scoreboard, but I can't remember that all that well.
The streets were quietand still at that time of night, only the sond of loud engeins roaring could be heard in the stillen night.
Cutter heard them even before Charlie did, he turned away from his place in the shadows of the buildings and started to slowly walk away from the Last Chance his hard soled boots tapping forlorly on the asfault.
He could hear the bikes grow closer, and he could almost feel the heat of the engeins on his face, but that was only his imagination.
He didn't know if they would remember him, Modo had been thirteen, Vinnie was still (metephoricly) wetting the bed at the tender age of nine, and the leader, Throttle, though he had't known him well, had been about eleven when the Soilders Of Misfortune and Alice Blade's team Hellbound had left Mars for Venus and beyond. Most of them had come back, with the exception od Tempest, and two members of Hellbound, Slash, and Dozer all who had been killed in their attempt to break out of the Plutarkain Prisons.
For the voyage they had needed the Venusian Queen Varra's sublight ships to mount the attack on Plutark.
For all his knowlage Kale had ratted out on them about that attack too,since most of them hadn
t made it he sincerly hoped so.
Sighing he could now see the lights from the bikes shining off the buildings.
He continued to walk, pulling up the coller of his jacket up to his ears trying to hide his stripy hair, the one thing that stood him apart in Martian history was his hair, and it made him stand out in Terran socity too.
Sparkel had tryed to figure how it had happened. The hair coloring, his increce in hight, inteligence, mental capacitys.
And the antenie. They were truly anoying. The constent buzzing from un sheilded mindes on Terra was quite loude, Martains on the other hand had build in sheilds around their minds.
He unconacicly ran his hand through his hair, catching it on small snags and tagels in it.
His fingers stoped at the small lumps of his antenie.
He stoped and sliped back into the shadows as the bikes roared by, he could smell the sulfer fumes in their exaust.
He knew, they had the smaller AIs in there bikes of the types he rememdered hearing about the developing, back on Mars.
When he had been in active service on the Cristaning the smallest AI functoning had been the one that ran the Cristaning Of Fire's main drive, and that one had taken up a whole room.
He steped back into the light as the bikes tail lights started to dim in their own exaust.
He turned around and started walking back towards the Last Chance following the bikes.
He had known that the biker mice in Chicago were staying with a Davidson, he had hoped that they wern't staying with his Davidson.
His ill placed hopes had been killed by this little encounter with them, he knew the bikes they had, he had, had to know them, if he didn't want to accidently get in a brawl with them.
He was way to well known on mars, to not be recognised, and he was too unconfortable with the fact that he was with in ten miles of a Plutarkain and he didn't want any hyperactive youngsters geetting in his way if Chicago's Overlord actuly did find out about his existence.
Thats stupid! He told himself, why would Larence Limburger be looking for one M70 vetran.
But he betted that the Plutarkian's defences were up with the other mice there, and his slightly altered pysical structure might be ditected.
Ain't you the paranoid one today!
He told his brain it was a dork and smacked it, he continued walking.
The Last Chance's sighn flickered on dimly in the night.
Throttle stood transfixed on the spot. He could smell something very strange, somthing very strange indeed, the brown mouse, looked down at the wet asfault.
His ears were starting to hurt. That brought him out of the trace.
"Damn, hes good!" he swore spinning around to face Charlie.
He could hear Vinnie some where further down the road.
He walked slowly over to where Charlie was sitting on the steps of the Last Chance.
"I can't find any trace other then a smell" he frowned " but I don't like it, it's fishy" he finished, rubbing the back of his head.
Vinnie trotted back down the ally, his boots ringing on the asfault.
Some where a manhole poped. Modo made an irrated noise.
"If I didn't know better I'd swere it was M70 vetran we were chasing here" Modo said his face some how managing to turn a few shades darker.
"Oh yeah, M70 , don't we love thoes old storys" Vinnie's face suddenly took on an air of ingignation.
"I won't even ask" Charlie sunk her head deeper into her arms.
"Well now we'r on the subject M70 was the greatest Martian fighter unit in this centurey" Throttle seemed to enjoy telling about his for farther's exploites, he had the look in his eyes, a child dose when being told a story of bravery by a worshiped adult.
"Yeah, yeah....there we go again" Vinnie snaped at him "They were all such heros" Vinnie's face started to seeth with controled anger.
"Hey, my farther was in M70" Modo snarled in return.
"So was mine, but hes' still a dead basterd!" Vinnie's fists shook.
Throttle's frown became deeper and darker. "I don't care, who ever this is, hes as good as any of them" he said, his face blank, voice monotone.
Vinnie's eyes were dark at his freind "you know we'r no mach for an M70" Vinnie sighed, and sitting down next to Charlie on the step he eye'd her then, lay back on the door."Whats the point?" He asked, cyisisem in his eyes.
Silence followed them, hanging over the dark street.
In the distence motors ehoed.
"Dose that sound like what I think it dose?" Throttle's ears perked up at the sounds.
"Yeah, but I'm in no mood" Vinnie looked up, he seemed to be in a bad mood. His bros eye brows whent up, it was not like Vinnie to say somthing like that.
"Its getting near your birthday isn't it Vinnie?" Modo looked at him as he got to his feet. Modo momentaraly ran his fingers over his cybernetic arm, feeling the laser pop up out of his arm.
"Yeah, yeah" the moters drew closer, and Vinnie's mood seemed to sink deeper and deeper into depression.
"Yeah" Throttle "now about the goons who seem to be coming aproching us" His mood was also droping.
The roar of their bike's braught the three out of the nostalgic depression.
Throttle backed towards the garage where his bike sat, he patted the bike's handel bars. The bike's guns poped out under his hand.
"I'm really not in the mood for them right now" he sighed as the bugys roared into veiw.
Cutter hummed tunelessly as he walked quickly back towards the garage.
He could hear the sound of fire, and motors. This all, but hasened his pace.
As he strod quickly along the road, he patted down his pockets for his radio to Mars, just to make sure he hadn't lost the stupid thing.
Stoker(who had asumed comand affter Tempest's untimly demise) made sure he carryed it when he whent earthside. The raido was neseled in his jacket pocket, blinking silently to it's self.
He frowned, he had no wish to get in a fight with a bunch of young upstart bikermice, but he knew he would eventuly get to meet them, especily with a Plutarkain in the area, it might as well be on good terms.
As he came up on the garage he saw the three of them engage the bugys.
Momeentarly he watched their skills, marked them as good, and continued towards the battle. His left hand moving with trained, and automatic, presision, loading his blaster.
Charlie jumped out of the way as a bugy, and ocupent, slamed, rather painfuly into the wall, a mere foot away from where she had been standing.
Oooo, their gonna wake Baily! She thought misribly as the noise factor increced.
Glansing away from the fight, in the intention to see if any more bugys were coming(non were, a dozen seemed to be enough enough) But there was a man walking slowly, and with out fear towards the fight.
He looked a little smaller hen Modo, but with Throttle's lighter build. Outlined fetures, a quite striking stripe of blong in his hair, and Charlie could have sworn, he had antenie.
And he didn't seem to care that he was walking right into the middle of a very large fight.
Or at least he didn't care, untill a bugy drove up behind him, thinking he was an ally of the mice( which he inevitably would turn out to be) the bugy ramed him, in the back.
Charlie jumped out of the way of flying pavment, but then continued to watch this newcomer's performince in the fight.
The mice on the other hand seemed to take no notice of him.
The bugy had hit him square in the spine, then man landed, spraweled, on the hood. His fingers griping the windsheild, he stedyed himself and then sent his fists smashing through it.
Glass flew evry where.
He grabed the ocupent by the scruff of his neck , flinging him away, he gave the steering weel a quick twist and sent the vircle careening into a wall. Where it exploded with a very large noise.
Charlie was sure Baily was already awake and wonder what the hell was going on outside.
The man continued the fight, drawing a blaster(which looked suspiciosly Martian) from under his coat. He cominced to fire( with unnerving accuracy) at the half dozen goons still in their bugys.
Throttle frowned. Since when had there been four in his little fighting unit?
He could see Vinnie had disembarked from his bike and was finishing a goon near the entrence, Modo was just heaving past a bugy, his bike's motor roaring with glee.
Throttle himself had just disembarked and was sending a goon flying backwards with a good left hook to the jaw.
Then who was that that blew up that bugy was was now making it their mission to burst the bugys tires.
Some one who knew what they were doing, he concluded.
The man in question was a little taller then, him, with long brown hair, a curios discoloration along it, and never the less, he could have sworen had antenie.
Throttle's frown deepened as his fist slamed another goon's nose into a bloody pulp.
The man had just finished off the second to last bugy, and Modo was pounding the face of the last goon in when the roar of engeins almost deafened Throttle.
The goons had a backup plan. And the trio, plus one misterios stranger where all tierd from the fight they had just had.
"Oh damn!" He said for lack of anything better coming to mind.
With in minets all four of them were surounded, Charlie was in the back ground, with a gun trained on her forhead, Baily Davidson was STILL asleep.
The three mice and the man, were traped in a circl by the goons, who were showing more inteligence then usal.
"Alright take a Smoke an' Mirrors number 4, compencate for numbers" Throttle heard some one say. Since he usaly said things like that he looked back towards Vinnie and Modo.
Vinnie aparantly thought Throttle had said it and was ready and raren' to go, Modo a little disconcirted was looking at Throttle.
And it had been the Terran who had said it.
" Didn't you hear me kid?! Smoke an' Mirrors four!" The Terran snaped at Throtte, who affter a moment of reeling metal thought, noded.
Terrans shouldn't know stratagys like that!
Modo took the hint and Vinnie didn't even notice the whole exchange.
At Throttle's nod, the man's eyes seemed to brighten "good then, on my word" he stoped breifly scanning the advancing enemy forces. "NOW!" He said sudenly, jaring all three mice awake and into action.
The four of them exploded into action.
Vinnie hurled a smoke granade behind them, the foul gas billowing around them.
Another explosion followed them that, bright sparkes eroupted in the fog.
Charlie froze, the gun barral was still trained on her forhead, and the goon who was standing behind it was under orders to shoot her if the mice(plus misterios stranger) tryed anything.
She heard an audible CLICK as the hammer of the blaster came back, and the wirrrrrr-CAKrack.. as it hit the crysal.
Then somthing hit her. Somthing slamed into her shoulders, bashing her out of the way of the blast.
She heard the form grunt as the blast intended for her struch him in the shoulder.Dark green blood splatered over his jacket.
"You ok Mizz?" He asked. Well it wasn't Vinnie or any of the bros.
"Yeah...yeah" Charlie said distractedly, as she examined her savior.
A green stain had already formed on his jacket's left shoulder.
Vinnie leapt onto the hood of the nearest bugy, leaping over the windsheild he threw the ocupent out, pulling the cluch out he drove the bugy into another nearby two. Jumping out of the bugy, moments before it exploded he high fived Throttle as he slamed into another bugy
"Yhaooooooo!" Vinnie screamed as he slamed into another bugy, vaulting over the windsheild, he sent the goon within flying and he jumped from the bugy exploded, landing neatly on the ground to elbow a goon in the nose.
In no time the fight was over, and the surviving goons were limping back to the tower to lick their wounds.
Modo droped off a nearby lamp post, panting, and walked slowly over to where the stranger was standing, talking calmly to a very distraut Charlie.
Vinnie and Throttle, also quite exausted, (though Vinnie looked very pleased with himself) were also picking themselvs off the ground and walking towards the stranger.
The stranger turned to Throttle "I said compencate for numbers, kid" he frowned at him. "I expected Stoke would have thaught you better"
Throttle felt like he had just been told off by his father. Except that the man looked barely a day over thirty.
"Uh sorry" Throttle said, a slight amout of sarcasem in his voice, he had always dispised being called `kid.'
"Thats not a way you address your elders" the man's face became dark. His deep hazel eyes turned back to Charlie.
"Davidson eh? Any relation to Baily Davidson?" He asked, ignoring Throttle and the bros completly.
"Uh yeah....hes my brother" Charlie replied, her jaw sudenly didn't seem to have any will to stay attached to her face. "How did you know?"
"Old aquatince" the man's face brightened.
"Wait a minet, who are you exactly" Throttle pulled the man around to face him.
"Look familer?" The man held of his right hand M70-sm was burned black into the man's tanned palm.
Throttle steped back "An M70?" he said increducly. "There arnt any Terrans on Mars" his face became stark "let alone M70!"
"Guilty as charged, I'm an M70" the man looked at Throttle "You don't beleive me do you?" The man looked deeply at Throttle. He held out his palm "see for your self, it's authentic."
Vinnie pushed the two apart, which looked like it might have been a feat for him, the man looked like he was a full six inches taller them him.
"Wait a sec here" He stood stiffly between them "A Terran M70?" He said, his face blank.
"Yeah, remember Soilders Of Misfortune pictures affter `69, I'm the one with the scarf around my head" the man held his palms up momentarly "anyway what kind of Terran has..." he brushed his hand over his hair, his fingers parted around two, distenctly Martian, red antenie, poked their way out of his brown hair.
Throttle's eyes whent wide, Vinnie looked like he'd seen his father's ghost, and Modo looked like he would sudenly be sick.
The man smiled " believ me?" He asked them.
"I heard rumors about a Terran pilot" Modo sudenly said.
The man sighed "Modo, I used to change your dipers for Sparky" he looked at all three of them.
Modo turned a few shades darker and Vinnie skickered.
"You want me to tell more?" the man asked, eyeing Vinnie, "I know somthing about Vinnie's name"
Vinnie's skin turned a deep red, giving his white fur a distinctly pink sheen.
"Alright, now that you've embaressed us in front of our bros. Who are you?" Throttle looked a little stressed now.
"My names Tony Cutter" Cutter said looking at the trio. Charlie's eye brows shot up, and a crash eroupted from upstairs in the garage.
"Oh boy, he slept through the fight and he choses now to wake up" Charlie moaned and rushed inside.
"Damn, I didn't want to do this" Cutter turned around, he started to walk off.
"Wait!" Throttle yelled affter him. "Soilders Of Misfortune, right?" he asked.
"Soilders Of Misfortune" Cutter confermed as he turned around, staring at Throttle.
"That was Stoker's unit" Throttle said, awe creeping into his voice.
"Yeah, yeah, it was wasn't it" Cutter stoped momentarly "I always thought of it as Tempest's" Cutter turned again and started walking away.
Cristaning Of Fire II , in orbit of Mars
Stoker spun the chair around again watching the bay spin past him. He was board, nothing had happened in the past few months, not since that deal with the sandraiders a little while back, and he was starving for action. The Vendetta II was in for an overhaul, so that gave him some good conversation from the remaining members of Hellbound.
Dante looked irratable, even though she was asleep, her hands where clasped around the arms of the chair, indentations were already showing in the plexysteel. The tips of her fingers glitered, from under her fingerless gloves. Her gray hair, with it's streaks of white dangeled around her face, pulled out of it's headband. Her eyes were slits off green under her eyelids, he knew she was asleep though, she hadn't said anything in over twenty minets. An amused smile twitched at his mouth.
"Hey" Stoker heard some one aproche him. Stoker looked up at the mouse standing over him.
"How the rouge squadren doing?" She asked. Stoker spun the chair around to face her. He eyed Dante.
"Ageing" Stoker grinned "and tierd" he finished.
The mouse patted Stoker on the shouler. "How you holding up Tory?" She asked "army cracking down on your forces?"
"Yeah, there trying to bore us to death" Stoker grabed her arm. "How are YOU holding up Alice?" He asked her
"Fine, fine" Alice Blade responded absintly, she patted Stoker on the head. Her gold hair was already starting to turn gray, the strong black spekels on her fur were starting to dull.
"You ok?" He looked up at her.
"Yeah" Blade responded "fine" she repeated, Stoker's grin faded.
"Alright wassa matter now?" Dante opened an eye, the green globes sparked breifly as she rubbed her eyes.
Stoker glared at Dante "Ruin the moment wont you ,Carmen." Blade begen to massage Stoker's shoulers, "ahhhhh" he sighed "I'm getting to old for this job" he muttered.
"We all are" Dante forwned, her voice blank, the left side of her face twitched, and again.
Stoker gave her a mock frown, "you've got a lose wire there."
Dante's face twitched again "Yeah, I must" she tapped the left side of her head, her face gave one final twitch and setteled down.
"We'r defenetly getting old" Blade dug her fingers deeper into Stoker's tense shoulders. "God, Tory you are tense!" Stoker made a satisfyed noise.
Dante flexed her fingers, the tips sharpened and lengthened a good two inches with a satisfying swwwwissshshhh-chak! as she did so. The metal claws gleemed in the over head light.
"I feel like somthing out of a Terran slasher movie" she murmered streching her fingers, the claws lengthened as she streched.
"Thats nice" Blade looked up, Dante's green eyes glowed, she shruged.
Stoker smiled, we'r all still all looking to have fun.
"Weeeeelll, looks like the gangs all here" Stoker's raido beeped. He pulled it out of his pocket.
"Yeah, Cutter?" he said into the mic.
"Cutter? I'm insulted, this is Kale" the voice on the radio said.
"Kale" Stoker groweled "What are you doing on this frequency?" His snarled at the mic.
"Kale?"Dante jerked out of her seat.
"Yes Kale, all happy to hear me, I can tell" Kale's voice crackeled over.
"What are you doing you fu**ed up little basterd?" Stoker stood up, his hand twisted tightly around the radio.
"What am I doing? I'm trying to help a cirten Plutarkian" Kale said, a hint of a chuckel in his voice. The mic clicked off.
"Get me the guys on Terra!" Stoker yelled to no one in particular as he rushed off, leaving Dante and Blade standing, they could hear him yelling at some one because Cutter wasn't responding.
"Tally ho" Dante's face twitched again.
Blade frowned and muttered somthing about getting the Vendetta II _fixed faster.
"Ok Charlie, giant mice don't show up on some one's doorsteps" Baily sat on the couch, he took a drag on a ciggarett and blew smoke out. "I thougt you said it was cats" he said, his voice harsh.
Charlie sat cross legged on couch next to him, twisting a pillow in her hands. " I didn't want to upset you bro" she said slowly.
"Charlie, I've seen mice before" Baily said softly in her ear "where do you think I got that story from?" He leaned back.
Charlie stifened "that M70 guy, Cutter, he said you were an old aquatence!" Her hands tightened on the pillow she was holding.
"Cutter, was abducted by aliens!" Baily said, slowly putting the peices together."So your rodent freinds know the mice who I meet in the swamp" Baily snaped his fingers.
"Great, Vinnie will love this" Charlie frowned, Baily patted her head.
"Where are they staying?" He asked, standing up and strightening his back.
"Quigley Feild" Charlie confermed.
Baily's eye browns whent up. "Let me call Jerry."
Cutter lay back on the motel bed, his shirt off. His head kinna hurt, he must have gotten knocked on the head during the fight. And to top it off he had busted his radio. He wasn't going to try to fix it.
The only other Martian/Terran Simon McCyber would fix it for him once he got back.
He sat up and picking up his blaster, which sat next to him, he began to oil the blaster's chambers. He looked absently around the sparten room.
He scrached the back of his head, his face blank, he worked further into the barral of his blaster.
"I hate kids!" He murrmered to himself and set the blaster back on the dressing table.
He lay back on the bed, he patted his stomach, and closed his eyes.
And slowly he dozed off.
The raidio beeped again. Throttle swore, Vinnie fell off the couch and Modo just looked irratated.
"What is it with tonight?!" He groweled at the raido.
Vinnie grabed it.
"What? We'r having a kinna rough night here!" He snaped at the mic, Throttle droped his head into his hands. Modo yawned and made as if he was going back to sleep.
"Thats nice punk, but we have bigger problems then your beutey sleep" Stoker's voice snaped back,he sounded like he really needed sleep.
"What did you lose your cane again?" Vinnie's exaustion wasn't making the situation any more freindly.
"Shut up punk, I'm serios!" Stoker sounded like he was in a wose mood then usal. He usaly was rather forgiving to Vinnie's egotistic personality, but tonight he sounded like he's seen the ghost of some one he wasn't on the best of terms with.
Throttle crashed into the makeshift couch and lost his glasses. He momentarly stembeled around before Modo found them and gave them back to the irritated brown mouse. He hovered over Vinnie untill the white mouse looked adaquetly pissed to give him the raidio mic with out much resistence.
"Give me that!" Throttle grabed the radio away from Vinnie who backed up, triping over a wrench laying conveintly on the floor and fell backwards on his tail.
Throttle covered his other ear as Vinnie let go on a string of profanitys in Martian. "Sorry, Stoke" he said quitely, to tell the trush he wasn't exactlyin the mood either.
"Yeah, I'm sorry to" Stoker's voice soffened. "but look, I'm coming down on the `Detta Two I need you to contact a man named Tony Cutter, this concirnes all of the Team" Stoker stoped,aparently staring out into space on the other end of the line.
"Cutter?" Throttle's eyes narowed.
"Yeah" Stoker confermed, still a little distent. Somthing crashed in the background.
"M70?" Throttle asked.
"Yeah" Stoker's voice took a suspicios edeg to it.
"We've meet" Throttle waved at Vinnie to shutup and then turned back to the raidio.
"Hummm" Stoker sighed "Then tell him to get McCyber" Stoker finished. More noises ehoed in the background.
"McCyber?" Throttle was now disiding that he should have payed more atention in Wartime history in school.
"No time for a history leson now, Cutter will know what I'm talking about" Stoker, on the other end loooked around the base. All of the surviving memmbers of Hellbound and The Soilders Of Misfortune surounded him.
Hammer, Dane, Blade, Dante, Blink, Desperado, Shadowlie Redshift, Wham. Sparkel sat in her weelchair by the door. He daughter Splash grasping her hand tightly.
Every one was silent, they heard Throttle's responce.
"Will do Stoke" the young mouse said over the line. Every one let out a collective sigh. "But how do we contact Cutter" Throttle continued.
"You've got a telephatic link use it!" Stoker said slowly into the mic and slamed it down.
"Alright get the `Detta Two fuled and ready, the original Cristaning's crew is back!" Yvone Desperado turned from the crowd, her black hair swirling around her gray traced face. "Lets get off this dump the army calls The Crisaning Of Fire" her passion reignited the Martian captin strode off towards the docking bay.
"I wonder how she keeps that up" Stoker mused his brow furowing.
"No matter, she'll get us the ship, and the mean ol' army can't do nothing `bout it" Balde leaned forward, kissing Stoker on the forhead "we'r back in action weather they like it or not."
"Yes honey, then the knight killed he big old evil dragon, saved the princess Carla, and every one lived happily ever affter in a castle made from choklet, yes, I love you sweetie, good night, tell your mother good night for me ok? Yes I'll tell you another tomorow." The phone clicked back onto the receiver, Jerry Lambert lay back on his hotel bed, resting his eyes. He pulled his glasses of and placed them carefuly on the bedside table. He brushed his graying hair back
He patted his hand over the table untill his fingers came across his book.
The phone rang again. He sat up starteled, picking up the receiver he fumbeled to put his glasses back on. "Yeah, room 543" he said.
"Yeah, mister Lambert, a Baily Davidson calling for you, says it's an emergency" the voice at the reception desk said, Lambert imagined the speaker as a pimpeled faced adolecent.
"Ok" Lambert said, he had no idea why Baily was calling him, the two had never been best freinds, and he didn't even know he was in Chicago.
"Jerry, look, I know you don't ever want to hear from me again but I need to talk to you about that swamp run in `69, with the giant mice" Baily's voice came over the line, he sounded flustered and stressed.
"Baily, I thought we agreed that it never happened" Lambert said smoothly, he pulled a cigarett from a box on the bedtable and sliped it into his mouth.
"But it did happen, damnit Jerry, and now my sister has freinds who know them!" Baily almost screamed over the line.
Jerry stoped liting the ciggarett, "Your kidding me" he put the box back on the table, and forgetting about the one in his mouth, he let it drop from his lips. "Your sister, Shirly right?" He frowned and bent to pick it up.
"No, it's Char-leen!" Baily sounded exasprated, his temper almost getting the better of him. "Look Jerry, just come down to her garage, and I'll show you" he finished, the line clicked dead.
Jerry sat in silence for a momet with the phone receiver still to his ear, untill the dial tone beeping brought him back.
He stood up and walked over to the dresser, pulling open the bottome draw he drew out an old Colt. He frowned, loaded it, picked his coat off the chair he had disgarded it on earlyer and left the hotel room and the hotel.
Cutter fell off the lumpy hotel bed with a thump and landed, a rather unplesent expeirence for his nose, on the floor.
He lay there for a second head buzzing, his brain receiving information from some where, his eyes were rolled up into his skull.
If some one had happened to enter the room at the time that Cutter was receiving the information they would proabaly assume that he was in cardiac aresst, but then upon a closer inspection (Perferably by doctors) they would have noticed a great deal of unusal activity in the lower reaches of the brain, sections not normaly used. And they would also wonder why he had antenie and green blood but thats not the point of that little bit of information.
Finally he blinked and rolled over, he rubbed his injured nose, and looked crosseyed down at it to see if any damage had been done. He couldn't see and so he asumed that the fall had not left him worse for wear. He stood up frazzeled and with a rather bad headache.
How the hell was he going to get McCyber on a line with out a radio, scraching his back of his head the big human started to pace back and forth in his small room, his eyes straying to his blaster laying on his bed now and again.
He stoped and stared at the wall, his hand wound around in his pony tail.
"Oh damn! Ich hase deisen planet, es ist furchbar, ich hase, ich hase, ich hase!" he finished the swere off in russian, mainly because he doubted that anyone would understand the german or the russian, and his grasp of Martian wasn't all that hot.
He slammed his fist into the nearest conveint wall, drawing it back. Partly in pain and partly because the party on the other side of the wall objected to the disturbence to their newfound intimacy.
Cutter cursed, his mind made up he stormed ot of the motel, called a cab and told the driver ( a little italian guy who told him a story about how his son go his his head such in steel grating) to get him to the University Of Chicago and not to look look back.
UCI Campus, Chicago
The student stared at his profficer who hefted the box that he would have had problems with easly over his shoulder and followed the student down the hall.
"But, but Dr McCyber about my project" he started to slow down to let the old profeccer catch up to him, but aparently it wasn't nessesery, Dr. Simon McCyber had soon over taken the student.
"Wait till we'r in my office Shneider" McCyber said, shifting the wight of the box higher onto his thin shoulders. He dug a ladened key ring out of his jacket pocket.
They faced a door, mostly covered with politicly satirical comicstrips and a red sign that said Abandon All Inteligence All Ye Who Enter Here._The tag on the door read Dr. Simon McCyber, Sciance Dpt.
Peter Shneider waited as McCyber opened his door, the wood creaking open, a slip of paper sliped down off the door, the student bent down to pick the Dilbert strip up.
McCyber plucked it out of his hand and ushered the student inside.
The office looked like a disaster area, piles of papers stood around, books on every thing from the theory of relitivity to aliens lay scattered around.
The walls were painted a dreary white, pencil drawing of strange mouse like creatures hung around, a picture frame of army medals hunng lopsided over the desk, which was also heaped with papers.
Peter momentarly looked over the office, pictures, of freinds and family stood on a shelf that was slightly less covered in dust.
McCyber put the box down efortlessly on a chair and wiped dust from his brow.
He was thin and slight, his long sinuwy arms were corded with with mucels, his wide hands were worn and seemed to be perminetly dusty.
His face was creced with age and stress, still his big green eyes smiled at every one, though slightly sarcasticly. Long copper hair was pulled tightly into a pony tail at the back of his neck, gray streaks covered his hair.
"About the project Dr?" Peter asked hopefuly.
"Yeah, yeah" McCyber sat down in an old chair "Make yourself useful, unpack that case, and you can talk" McCyber waved at Peter.
Simon McCyber was the school black sheep, he was wild, given to missing whole weeks worth of classes then comming back smelling awful. And he also had this terrible habit of adressing every one by their last name, with no title and he even looked at you strangly if you adressed him as Simon.
Peter stared at McCyber then started to pull books out of the box. Frst came out standered sciance books, astronomy, biology, and other things, then came out a thik book on parasycology, and another on the paranormal. He set the books on the shelves, while telling McCyber about his the the project that he hoped would get him moved up to the next class.
Finaly in the box he came across a large dusty volume, it's green cover scarred, lage gold cerlicues covered the cover. Curios he flicked open the first page, the rest of it was covered with similar script.
McCyber looked up at Peter flicking through the volume.
"That was writen by a very good freind of mine" he pointed out. Peter quickly slammed the cover of the book closed.
"Sorry, didn't know" Peter started to put the book on the shelf next to the last one he had pulled out.
McCyber had pulled the book from his hands before he had noticed it. He waved the book at Peter. "THe author was brilliant beyond his years" he sighed running his fingers over the cover. "Don't get me nostaligic" he smiled and put the book in the on the shelf. He sat back down in his chair.
"What lauguage did he write it in?" Peter looked at the volume again then turned back to McCyber.
"Uh, Martian" McCyber looked up slightly suprised.
"Your kidding me" Peter's eyes narowed.
McCyber chuckeled, "Yes I am, he wrote it in arabic, now shoo!" McCyber waved his hand, dissmissing the student.
"MCCYBER!" SOme one yelled from the hallway outside.
McCyber jumped. Peter eye'd the man who entered, or rather bashed his way, into the office.
The man was almost a giant, probably verging on seven feet tall, his hair was dark brown exept for a strange streak of yellow running down the left side of his scalp. His face was outlined with his strong jaw bone, his dark hazel eyes bore down on the room.
"McCyber, there you are, Throttle buzzed me, Stoker needs us back on the Cristaning" he returned Peter's stare and turned to McCyber who sat calmly behind his desk. "Do you want me to carry you out?"He asked leaning forward and placing his hands flat on McCyber's desk.
"Uh?" Peter interjected, McCyber waved him off.
"Cutter what are you doing busting in here?!" McCyber stood up, staring the man down. "Can't you see I've got a student with me?!" He snapped at him.
"I don't care McCyber, you know how much pain being buzzed like that causes me?" the man,snapped back, he ran his fingers distractedly through his hair.
"Uh?" Peter tryed again. He had really lost track of what was going on.
"Who is that?" Cutter thumbed towards the student.
"That my freind, is Peter Shneider, one of my best students" McCyber motioned towards Peter who blushed slightly then slumped down on a chair, with out any intention of trying to figure out what the hell the two were arguing about.
Peter heard sniches of the argument, and frankly he didn't want to know what it was all about.
"-Screw you, Stoker's almost dead!-"
"-Mars needs you-"
"-My raidos busted-"
"-WHAT? THAT THING WAS BUST PROOF-!"
The argument ended in Cutter, litraly, draging McCyber out of the office.
Peter sighed and lay back "I hate collage" he picked up a volume of parasycology off the shelf and started to read through it.
McCyber was draged by Cutter out to his sedan, the old beat up vircle caughed to life, the blue car huffed out of the parking lot with McCyber at the weel, driving in a fashion suited to his excentrric old prefeccer image.
The Mercedes pulled up in front of the Last Chance, it's motor ideling, then clicking off, it lowered it's self to the ground with a contented sigh.
A gray haired man in a suit steped out, he looked around irritably and walked towards the garage's entrence.
"Baily!" He called, rapping his fist on the door, noting several places where holes had been fixed in it's surface.
The door was pulled up as Baily's sister walked out, grabbing him by the arm and led him inside.
Baily Davidson leaned on a beat up couch, a beer in one hand, his eyes dark.
"Whats going on Baily?" Lambert said, his face blank.
"Mice are going on Jerry" Baily stepped forward, putting the beer can on the couch "Aliens, called Martains, and Plutarkians fighting here in Chicago, the mice we meet in the swamp, thats whats going on" Bail finished shrugging.
"And you believe this?" Jerry turned to go.
"And Cutters involved" Baily said finally.
"Cutter?" Jerry stopped and looked back.
"Yeah, hes getting some guy named McCyber right now" Baily responded grabbing Lambert before he could get back to his car.
Charlie's eyebrows shot up "McCyber?" she mouthed.
Neither Baily nor Lambert heard and Baily continued to explain the situation to Lambert.
"So are we going to Quigley Field or not?" Charlie finally asked, clapping her hands together in a motion that that the discussion.
"Sounds good" Baily nodded.
"My car?" Lambert asked, still wary.
Marcus Kale steepeled his fingers and he leaned back on the chair facing the window, his once raven black hair was mostly gray now, his eye sight was dimming, his slick glossy fur was becoming dull and coarse, and he hated it. He hated the time passing from each and every hour to day to month to year to decade and so on, and he hated it all!
He wrinkled his nose slightly and turned to the room.
"Doctor are you finished with my instructions?" He asked, an aristocratic accent creeping into his voice.
"Yes sir" the doctor bobbed his head and motioned to the creation behind him.
"Good, my dear doctor, you may take some time off now" he stopped a smile tugging at his mouth "you deserve it, but if this thing doesn't work, you'd better have a very good mortician" Kale twisted the word `very' into a single syllable of hatred.
The doctor turned and scuttled out mumbling something about crazy, lunatic mice and why was he cursed to work for them.
Kale turned back to the window, his blood colored eyes staring out over the Chicago skyline, his fingers tightened on the chair's armrest digging into the plastic he pulled it off. And standing up he hurled it across the room to where it struck the wall with a resounding CRASH!
He settled back down into the chair smiling.
He hated it all.
Continued in Part Two: The Blazing Sky..