I don't own Biker Mice in any way, shape or form. (Although it would
be nice.) I am making no money from this. Comments, suggestions or whatever,
are welcome. I owe a big Thank You to Rogue for all her help. Thanks Sis.
I owe you.
A lone figure slowly made his way through the streets of Chicago. The
scenes of demolished and burned out building reflected in his visor, making
him wearily shake his head.
The rider's movements were shaky, like he was beyond tired, but kept moving out of sheer need. As he turned a corner, the sight of the Last Chance being open would have made him weep with joy, if he wasn't so exhausted. 'I hope I can get some help there.' he thought as he made his way closer.
Charley was inside, having just finished a tune-up on her bike, and had just finished putting her tools away, when a soft growl and a headlight glare made her turn. The light blinded her for a second, then cut off. 'Not the guys, I'd have heard them a mile away.'
She watched as the rider lowered the kickstand and dismounted, staggering a little. 'If he takes his helmet off and he's another mouse, I'm going to scream!' Her garage couldn't handle another macho muscle mouse.
The figure reached for it's helmet and Charley drew in a deep breath. And let it out when a human face appeared. What was most noticeable was the white in his hair. Long, white, very curly sideburns ran down to almost the collar of his jacket and up to his temple. The rest of his hair, a medium blonde colour, was parted off center on the left side and pulled back. A white mustache, high cheekbones and a nicely proportioned straight nose. The eyes were hidden behind a pair of matte black, copper tinted sunglasses that wrapped part way around the side. Full, sensual lips with a hint of a smile and a firm chin completed the face. A gold hoop and stud shone in his left ear. 'He's as tall as Throttle.'
Even thought his eyes were hidden, Charley could feel them on her. "Ma'am." His voice was not as deep as Throttles' and was softer. "I hate to bother you this late, but I would be grateful if I could purchase some fuel for my bike. And if you direct me to somewhere I could get a bite to eat and a place to sleep."
Charley could see the biker was almost dead on his feet, but at least he was polite. "Sorry. Not much is open this late. And all the local hotels are closed for the night." The man slumped and moved to put his helmet back on and get back on his bike. "But would some hot-dogs and rootbeer be okay?"
The man gave a tired sounding chuckle and weak smile. "Sounds perfect, Ma'am." Tucking his helmet under his arm.
"Go have a seat on the couch and I'll be right out with them." Charley headed for the kitchen, after she saw the biker sit heavily on the couch. It didn't take long to microwave four hot-dogs and grab a couple of cans of rootbeer from the refrigerator. She headed back to the living room and saw the biker had removed his black jacket and laid it beside him. Two gold discs, maybe five inches across, were on the front of the jacket at chest level, with some kind of logo on them.
The biker himself was not that powerfully built, but was still nicely formed. 'He could pass for Stoker, but taller and beefier. Without the ears, tail and fur of course.' And she knew looks were deceiving, after seeing Stoker toss the guys around.
She could see the white sideburns, but the white also ran back in a finger wide stripe that stared at each temple and ran back to a short curly ponytail that hung to just below the neck of his black T-shirt. The shirt had a picture of a red rose on a background of a full moon on it. Loose fitting blue jeans covered his legs.
"Here you go." She set the food and drink on the coffee table.
"Thank You." He said, before tearing into the food. Charley blinked as the dogs vanished in four bites each and the soda followed almost as fast.
'I haven't seen food vanish that fast since the guys had a case of the mega munchies after the one football game.' The man leaned back and belched softly.
"'Scuse me." He covered his mouth and lowering his head in embarrassment.
'Polite. Nice change.' remembering some of Vinnie's sonic burps. She gathered up the plate and cans. "Let me put these in the kitchen and I'll get you that gas for you."
He grinned sheepishly. "Seems I already got the gas." And chuckled softly. Charley laughed and headed for the kitchen. After setting the plate and cans on the counter, she headed back to the living room.
"So, where are you.." The question died on her lips as she saw the biker was fast asleep on the couch, his head lying on one of the pillows and his feet on the floor. He was lying on his right side and Charley could see a blaster strapped to his left thigh.
'Might as well make him comfortable.' She reached out and gently removed his sunglasses and looked at them. The name in the frame read Gargoyles. 'Familiar enough name. ' But the rest didn't make sense. Level V Armor. 'Armored sunglasses?' She set them beside his black leather gloves on the coffee table. The black band on his left wrist turned out to be a watch. A black strap over his shoulders ran around to something strapped to his lower back.
She picked up the jacket and it was lighter than it looked, with a strange feel to it that made her shiver slightly. On the sleeves, sides and front were several pockets. The discs had a stylized logo of a wolf's head looking straight at you on a background of a medieval shield. She looked at the label in the collar. OutRider Level V Kinetic Armor. 'Armored jacket? Just who is this guy?'
She draped the jacket over him like a blanket, then removed his black motorcycle boots. They had almost the same feel as the jacket. Tucked inside the top of each were two knives. She pulled one and saw it was about six inches long and tanto shaped, but was way too light to be metal. She tested the edge and found it to be razor sharp.
She returned the knife, and became aware of a soft rumbling sound. It took her a moment to realize it was coming from the biker. 'Quietest snore I ever heard.' The last time the guys had stayed the night, it sounded like someone was drag racing in the living room. She lifted the man's legs onto the couch.
She then went over and looked at his bike. It was built like a Triumph Tiger, black with satin finish chrome, but there was no familiar Union Jack on the bike, like all Triumphs had. And no "Tiger" written on the gas tank, just the same logo as on the discs in gray. Instead of two round headlights, it had one large rectangular one.
'And where did he get this bike?' She noticed the saddlebags and pack strapped to the back, with what had to be a bedroll tied on top. She reached out to touch the bike, and got a bit of a shock. She pulled her hand back abruptly and rubbed it. 'Static? Or some kind of security system?' At least he had parked it out of the way of the main doors.
Charley yawned and stretched. 'I can get some answers in the morning.' She shut the lights off and headed upstairs for her bed. "Good night, whoever you are." She said softly, before getting to the top of the stairs.
The morning broke clear and sunny with not a trace of clouds in the sky, but it was not silent. The sound of three high performance engines shattered the stillness as the bros made their way to the Last Chance.
"Man! What a game!" Vinnie said, popping a wheelie.
"It would have been even better if you hadn't cleaned out the fridge last night." Throttle chuckled.
"Hey! I can't help it! Extra innings make me extra hungry!"
"We'll have to ask Charley-ma'am to pick us up some groceries later." Modo added, his stomach growling.
"She won't let her favorite Studly Macho Mice starve. She's sweet on us. Especially me." Vinnie admired himself in his bike's side mirror.
Throttle and Modo rolled their eyes and gunned their engines to make room for Vinnie's ego. As the Last Chance came in sight, they killed their engines, coasting the last hundred or so feet. Since it was early, they all knew how made Charley could get if they woke her. Throttle keyed the remote and the garage doors opened. They pushed their bikes in, parked them and put their helmets on the tanks.
"Whoa. Scope it out bros." Modo said softly, looking at the strange bikes parked in the garage.
Throttle gave a low whistle. "Quite a piece of hardware." Examining the bike closely. "Hm. Definitely not Martian manufacture."
"Been through a lot too." Modo said, seeing how dusty and dirty the bike was.
"Check it out! Variable pulse guns, missiles, variable launcher! This bike has some awesome weaponry! Wonder how she sounds?" Vinnie reached for the handlebars and got jolted. "Wo-OW!" Stepping back and shaking his hands.
"I think that means hands off, Vincent." Throttle grinned. The white mouse glared at him and shook his hands some more.
"Come on bros, let's get some breakfast." Modo's stomach growled again.
"I'll second that." Throttle added and they all trooped into the kitchen, unaware of the biker on the couch.
In the kitchen, Vinnie was trying to quietly get a case of rootbeer open while Throttle and Modo were taking care of the hot-dogs. "Hey! What's that?" Modo remarked.
"That red spot on the back of your hand, bro." Modo pointed.
Throttle looked at the hand he had leaning on the cupboard and there was a red spot on it. He moved his hand and it stayed on the cupboard. "What the?"
The bros went silent and turned slowly towards the doorway. A figure was standing there, with a blaster held in both hands aimed towards them. The red spot had been a targeting laser that was now moving from each of the mice at chest level.
"Freeze." The figure growled, literally. "I don't know who, or what, you are. But I don't think the owner of this business would appreciate you rummaging around her kitchen." And stepped forward. The bros saw what Charley had seen, but the boots and shades were back on. And there was a hard look on his face. Vinnie reached for his blaster and promptly got it shot out of his hand. "Don't." The man shook his head. Vinnie rubbed his hand and glared at the guy.
"Hey! What's going on in here?" Charley asked sleepily, coming in the door behind the biker. She could see there was large knife strapped upside down to his back and a large black pouch rested on his right hip.
"I found these three rummaging through you kitchen Ma'am. You might want to alert the authorities."
Charley came around to beside the guy and put her hand on his blaster. "It's OK. Their friends of mine."
He lowered his weapon. "You sure, Ma'am?"
Charley nodded and the guy looked at the bros for a moment, then his face relaxed and he holstered his weapon. "Sorry Ma'am. Old habits."
"Ah-hem!" Modo cleared his throat. "You want to introduce us, Charley-ma'am?"
"Guys, this is.... I never got your name last night before you fell asleep."
The man smiled. "Dejahken Talberson, OutRider. At your service." Gently shaking her hand.
"Charlene Davidson. But call me Charley." Her hand tingled slightly before he released it.
"Dejocken who?" Vinnie said.
He sighed. "No De-Jacque-ken. The middle is pronounced Jacque, the French for Jack. But call me D.T., it's easier.
Throttle stepped in. "I'm Throttle." Extending his hand and got a firm handshake. "This here's Modo." He released and clasped Modo's metal hand and shook it. "And that's...."
"The incredible Vinnie vanWham. The velocity atrocity. No autographs." Vinnie said, his usual arrogance returning.
D.T. rolled his eyes and snorted. "Is it just me, or did this room get crowded?" Throttle, Modo and Charley all chuckled along with D.T. while Vinnie looked annoyed.
"You mind telling just what the heck you guys are? 'Cause I'm either still asleep, someone whacked me with a two by four, or I'm not in Kansas anymore."
"We're the Biker Mice form Mars." Vinnie struck a heroic pose.
"Mars." Modo repeated.
D.T. stood there with his tongue in his cheek and a look of disbelief on his face. "Now I know I got whacked and this is an hallucination."
"I think some explanations are in order." Throttle said. Then the guys and D.T.'s stomachs growled.
"Over breakfast." The gray mouse patted his stomach.
"Hot-dogs and rootbeer coming right up." Charley headed for the fridge.
"You got any coffee? I like my caffeine just as much as the next guy, but I like it hot in the morning. And right now, I think I need it." D.T. said.
Charley smiled, nodding in understanding, and set about getting breakfast ready. Over the course of the meal, the bros and Charley filled him in on all the details about how they came to earth. He sat there, looking a little stunned, but was accepting it. When they finished, there was a look on his face like he felt their pain and loss. "Wow. You have been through a lot."
"Yeah, but nothing we can't handle." Vinnie puffed out his chest and flexed a bit.
"Oh, The Three Mouse-keteers." D.T. deadpanned. Throttle, Modo and Vinnie all groaned and Charley giggled.
"Again with the mouse jokes, spare me." Throttle groaned and covered his face with his hand.
"So now that you know about these guys, where are you from and what's an OutRider?" Charley asked after she got her giggling under control. The bros leaned close.
"It might be easier to answer the second question first. An OutRider is a combination law enforcement officer and a forest ranger with the same powers and responsibilities as both and a bit more. We were created over 70 years ago to help protect the land. Where I'm from, we learned a long time ago to protect the environment. You know, recycle and use renewable energy." He paused and took a swallow of coffee.
"We basically patrol an area to see if someone is still logging too heavily, mining or oil drilling where they shouldn't be. We also check the local animal and plant life as well as protect the citizens. We're trained in various forms of combat and weaponry, as well as riding. I take it you noticed my bike?"
"Oh yeah. Vinnie was 'shocked', to say the least." Throttle chuckled and Vinnie grumbled.
D.T. smiled. "Sorry, but the security system activates when I get off. If the bike doesn't recognize you, it will defend itself. You keep at it and it will steadily raise the intensity of the shock until you would look like you were deep-fried. The bike would have to scan you before you could ride it."
"That would explain the armored jacket and shades you have." Charley leaned back.
"Armored jacket? Shades?" The bros chorused.
"All OutRiders wear armored clothing. My jeans aren't, but the boots are to a certain extent. Let me get my jacket and I'll show you. "He stood and walked soundlessly into the living room. They could all see the knife strapped to his back.
"Man, is he quiet." Vinnie said. D.T. returned a moment later with his jacket draped over his arm. Charley cleared some of the dishes and he set it down in the middle of the table. Throttle touched it and felt it go hard, then soft, then somewhere in between.
"That is weird." Modo and Vinnie also touched the jacket and shivered slightly from the almost alive feel of the garment.
"Kinetic armor. Spreads out the point of impact over a larger area and diffuses it some, so what you feel is a fraction of the original impact. It'll work on both solid projectiles and energy weapons. Saved my life more than a few times. Both from weapons fire and road rash.
Throttle tapped the discs on the front. "What are these for? Extra armor?"
"Yes. And they're also weapons." D.T. took another swallow of coffee
"Weapons?" Modo was curious now.
D.T. reached across the table and grabbed Vinnie's empty soda can. "Borrow this?" He grabbed the one disc off the jacket and threw it at the wall to his right and tossed the can in the air with his left. The disc hit the wall, rebounded and hit the can, knocking it across the room. The disc hit the far wall, ricocheted and was caught by D.T. who never even turned his head. He returned the disc to the jacket.
"Not too shabby, Old Timer." Vinnie said.
D.T. sighed. "I'm not that old, Kid." Stressing the 'Kid'. Vinnie bristled and got ready to leap across the table.
"Just how old are you?" Modo defused the situation by elbowing Vinnie. Onto the floor.
"I'm only 31. The white started to show in my hair when I was two. When I started school, I was called Old Timer, Grandpa and Geezer. I was also the kid picked most to play Santa. Was pretty fast with my fist back then. And I have been know to throw a few punches rather quickly now." He leaned back and audibly cracked his knuckles.
"Well, you're older than any of us." The tan-orange mouse replied.
"Just how old are all of you anyhow?" D.T. leaned forward curiously.
"Me and Modo are 23, Charley is 22 and Vinnie is 21."
"And as my dear old, gray furred Mamma always said, Respect your elders."
"Geez Modo. You know to make a guy feel old." D.T. admonished.
Modo blushed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."
D.T. just smiled, putting his hand on Modo's shoulder. "It's okay, big guy. No harm intended or done." Modo smiled. "Big and strong. But a heart as big as he is and as soft as a marshmallow." Modo blushed again, turning bright red.
Throttle chuckled. "That's our Modo."
"How do the discs bounce like that." Charley prodded, getting the conversation back on track.
"Same principle as the jacket, but instead of diffusing the impact, it focuses it back to the point of impact to bounce. Like a rubber ball."
"And your shades are armored also?" Throttle took a swig of rootbeer.
D.T. tapped them. "Yup. Can withstand impact like the jacket, but can't diffuse the impact as much. It'll leave me with quite a shiner for a few days. But I figure it's better to have a black eye, than no eye, or head, for that matter."
"Well, that explains what an OutRider is, how about telling us where you're from." Vinnie said.
"Alberta, Canada, Earth. But not this earth." D.T. stated, draining the last of his coffee.
"Uh, you mind clarifying that, citizen?" Throttle was puzzled.
D.T. stood. "Let me get a refill and I'll explain. Who's up for another soda?"
A chorus of "Me." greeted him and he grabbed the cans from the fridge and tossed them to the four seated at the table.
"Thanks." Mod said, opening his soda and taking a swallow.
"Your welcome." D.T. finished with his coffee and sat back down. "Now. How I came to be here all started yesterday morning. I was out on patrol when I got a call about a robbery at the one research station of some experimental technology. I radioed my location and took off. I intercepted the truck on a section of highly and engaged it." He paused for a swallow of coffee. "They had a car watching their backs, so I took it out with a stiletto missile."
"What're stiletto missiles?" Charley asked.
"A rocket powered, high velocity dart. Can punch through most metals by speed alone. I used them on the tires. Fast take out with minimal fuss." Charley nodded, adding something else she could tinker with when business was slow.
"The rig was another matter. I couldn't take out the tires as the rig might crash and wreck the equipment they had stolen. So I Spiked them." D.T. lifted his mug.
"I thought you said you couldn't take out the tires without wrecking the rig." Vinnie stated.
"A Spike is a short range, controlled electromagnetic pulse. It's one of the settings on the bike's guns. Shuts down a vehicles electrical system for about 20 minutes. After that time, the vehicle can be restarted and driven off."
"What kind of range we talking about?" Throttle leaned on the table.
"About 35 - 40 feet maximum. After that, it kind of breaks up and dissipates. My bike is shielded from the effects. Anyway, the rig coasted to a stop and I lobbed a stun gas grenade to take out the driver and any passengers in there. By the time I was off my bike they were out cold. I had just finished securing them when I heard a couple of vehicles pull up. It was Angelic and Mich in a 4X4 and Greg on a bike. Fellow OutRiders. We got the prisoners in the back of Tiny."
"Whose Tiny?" Modo asked.
"Angelic and Mich's monster 4X4. Don't ask me how it got the name Tiny. That thing is more than eight feet tall."
"Don't all you guys ride bikes?" Vinnie cut in.
"No, it's personal preference in that department. Whatever you are most comfortable with. As I was saying, we had just gotten the prisoners secured and Angelic had opened the doors on the rig and hopped in. She called Mich and us over; we got in and noticed a lot of hi-tech equipment. Angelic was on the computer while we poked around. She called us over and we read what was on the screen. It said this was an experiment in the alternate dimension theory we had heard about." D.T. took a swallow of coffee.
"Huh?" Modo grunted.
"OK. The scientists on my world have theorized for years that there are alternate dimensions to our own. All earth like, but each one slightly different than our own. There has been a lot of papers on it, but no real evidence to prove it. We read that they succeeded in creating a window to see these other worlds. The power requirements were huge and the window could only stay open for a few minutes at most, before they had to shut down and recharge for next time."
"We wanted to read more, but we heard a boom outside and knew a storm was brewing. We can get some pretty bad ones. Since the rig was still out of commission, we decided to secure it and head for the nearest shelter. I was the last one out and had just secured the doors and got on my bike, when the hairs on the back of my neck lifted and I heard this kind of sizzling-crackling sound, just before my world exploded in pain. That was all I knew and I heard a scream and realized it was coming from me, just before I blacked out."
Throttle let out a whistle. "Must have been bad."
"Imagine getting a bath in electrified battery acid." And he shivered, hugging himself. The guys all knew what pain was and they touched where they had been badly hurt. D.T. pulled himself together. "I woke up, I didn't know how long I had been out. I was face down on the ground and thinking why hadn't one of the others picked me up? I lay there and realized I couldn't move and started to panic, but I remembered what my one instructor at the Academy told us. Fear is good, because it will keep you alive. But panic will kill you faster than a bullet from a gun." He toyed with his coffee mug.
"So I began a breathing exercise we had all learned and calmed down. The feeling slowly started to creep back into to me. It was worse than pins and needles. After what felt like forever, I found I could move, but it was pure torment. I kept at it and was able to roll over onto my back. The first thing I saw was trees. When I had taken the rig down, the nearest forest had been about 500 or more feet away. I thought I had been thrown that far. I laid there for a bit, then managed to sit up and get my helmet off."
"I looked around and saw my bike about 20 feet away and realized I was starving. I didn't have the strength to stand, so I crawled over and got out my emergency rations and scarfed down three bars and about a quart of water. I sat there and started to feel better after a few minutes and tried to stand. I was as wobbly as a baby, but got my balance after a minute."
"The first thing I did was try and get a message out to the others, so I managed to get my bike upright and on it's stand and sent a call. All I got was static. I tried again and still got static so I ran a diagnostic and everything checked out. I couldn't figure why a message wasn't getting through, so I set the bike to scan mode and just listened to what it picked up and started sorting through them all. I finally found a local radio station called WBKR and the DJ mentioned Chi-Town.
"Sweet Georgie Brown. Baddest DJ in the universe." Vinnie cut in again.
Modo frowned at him and D.T. said, "Didn't your Mom teach you some manners?"
Modo looked at D.T. and chuckled. 'That's just what Mamma would have said. She'd like him.'
Vinnie really bristled this time. "And just who are you, to tell me how to behave!"
D.T. leaned forward. "Someone who knows manners are supposed to be used, not a-bused."
Throttle piped in. "Chill bro. At this rate, Charley will have to make us lunch before we hear the rest of his story."
Vinnie looked at Throttle, crossed his arms and sulked. "Thank you. Now, as I was saying, I heard him mention Chi-Town and got the second jolt of the day. How the heck did I get from Alberta to Illinois? That's over 700 miles. I stood there and heard the DJ mention the time. 8:30 PM. I had taken the rig out at about 9:00 AM. I had unconscious for over twelve hours." He sat back in his chair.
"I knew I had to get some help, so I used the scanner on my bike to find which way Chicago was, as I knew there was an OutRider post there. I got my helmet and made my way here. I couldn't go as fast as I wanted to, I was still pretty shaky, it took me almost an hour to get to here. When I did arrive, I realized this wasn't the Chicago from my world. I figured that somehow I had been thrown through to another dimension, probably by the lightning strike. When I saw the Last Chance open, I hoped I could get some help. I met Charley and she was kind enough to give me something to eat. For which I am eternally grateful, Ma'am."
"It was nothing. Maybe I just have a soft spot for bikers."
"The last thing I remember is Charley heading into the kitchen, before waking up on the couch and hearing you three talking. The rest you know." D.T. reached for his coffee.
The guys and Charley leaned back, digesting this. "I know, it's a little hard to believe. Even I still don't believe it. And I want to apologize to you three for drawing my weapon on you."
"Ahh, don't sweat it. When we first met Charley-girl, she wanted to bash Throttle with a wrench." Vinnie grinned.
D.T. looked at Vinnie. "Gee, I can't imagine why? She was only confronted by six foot-plus tall, leather wearing, talking mice. Seems like a perfectly normal reaction to me." And grinned, before starting to laugh. The others joined in and it seemed to bring them closer together.
Modo began to notice something. Over the course of the meal and conversation, D.T. had never once showed his teeth or moved his shades. They seemed to be glued on. "What's with your mouth and shades? You don't show your teeth or take your shades off." Even Throttle had moved his shades to show his eyes from time to time during the conversation and their teeth all showed when they laughed or talked. D.T. seemed to do so with out exposing them.
The laughter faded from him and he looked at the table, his face neutral. "A lot of people find them..."unnerving", unless they're use to me." He said quietly.
"Well, we're all friends here now, so why not?" Modo leaned on the table. The others looked at D.T. as well.
He sighed. "Okay. But don't say I didn't warn you." He reached up and removed his shades and set them on the table. His eyes were closed, then he opened them. Blue. Ice blue. The same colour as deep ice. They were all shocked, then he opened his mouth and pulled his lips back. Fangs extended from top and bottom. All of them pulled back at this feral display.
"Oh Mamma." Modo said, sorry he had asked now.
"What the heck are you?! Some kind of vampire?!" Vinnie stood and took a couple of steps back from the table. The others were stuck between pulling back in fear and curiosity.
D.T. grabbed his shades and put them back on. "No, my eyes were like this when I was born. The fangs grew in with my permanent teeth. Besides, the sun is up. If I were a vampire, I would have burned up a long time ago. And vhy vould I vant to bite your neck?" He grinned and the others chuckled nervously at the old movie line. "Anyway, I love garlic and it's one of the ingredients on hot-dogs. I if had eaten that and I was a vampire, I would have burst into flames by now. Then you could've had a real cook out." That brought more chuckles for them all and they relaxed.
Throttle as still chuckling and had calmed down. "This is just..Wow! Those are your real teeth?"
"Yeah, they're real." He opened his again mouth and tapped them with a fingernail. "Are you're real?"
Throttle opened his mouth and tapped his teeth. "Yup, they're real." Then reached up and tugged his antennas. "These are too."
D.T. chuckled. "I kind of figured that out when I saw them move a few times." Vinnie had sat back down and Modo was smiling. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, but it has been in my experience that some people still judge others by their looks, not the person underneath."
"How so?" Vinnie took a swallow of rootbeer.
"When my fangs came in, a lot of people at school would have nothing to do with me. You have no idea how many times I was splashed with Holy Water, had garlic, silver items or crosses stuck in my face. One time, a bunch of bullies cornered me and tried to pull out my fangs with a pair of pliers and drive a stake through my heart. I showed them a trick or two and sent them packing. They learned two simple rules with me."
"What're the rules?" Modo found he still liked the guy. 'Hey. If he can accept Martian Mice, we can accept guy with ice blue eyes and fangs.'
"Rule one. Never underestimate me." and took a swallow of coffee.
"What's the second rule?" Charley asked.
"Study rule one. Closely." And smiled warmly.
Modo laughed and slapped D.T. on the back, knocking him forward. "Easy Modo. We don't want to put him in the hospital." Throttle leaned over to check on him.
He coughed. "It's okay, nothings broken." And sat back and stretched. "Hmm. I think you got that crick out of my back. Thanks big guy." And reached over and slapped Modo on the back, knocking him forward.
Modo laughed. "You give as good as you get, huh?"
"You got it, Modo." He smiled.
"So, now what're you going to do?" Charley asked, trying to prevent her kitchen from becoming a wrestling ring.
D.T. sat back and stroked his sideburns. "Standard protocol is that an OutRider has to make contact with the nearest base, to let them know they are all right and their location. But all I got on my radio was static. Even it doesn't have the power to punch through dimensions."
"What if we boosted the signal?" Charley was sure with the leftover parts from the guy's spaceship; she could cook up some kind of booster.
"No, even if we amped it to the ma.." D.T.'s face lit up, he slapped his forehead and you could almost see the light bulb go on over his head. "Of course! The Amp!" And raced out of the kitchen, heading for the garage. Charley and the guys were wondering what was up and followed. D.T. had the saddlebags off his bike and was rummaging through the one.
"What's up?" Throttle asked when they got closer.
D.T. kept digging. "Charley reminded me of the Amp all OutRiders carry." And pulled out a box the size of three audiocassettes stacked.
"I don't see how a stereo amp is going to help?" Vinnie leaned on a workbench.
"It's not that kind of amp." And opened the box. Nestled inside the padded lining was an inch-wide gold band with a thumb-sized, oval, milky white opalescent stone set in the center. "Back home, psychic abilities are very real. All OutRiders learn to use them. Mine are low level, but still there."
"You mean you read our minds?" Vinnie started to get mad.
"No! I would Never, force myself into another's mind! It goes against everything we learn. I'll admit I did very lightly read your minds when we shook hands. I have a kind of touch telepathy. I have to be touching a person for it to work. Even then, I could only read your very surface thoughts, like looking at the front page of a newspaper sitting on a table. I have to concentrate to even do that. On this, I give you my word."
The others were a little taken back by the vehemence of his words and could see this was important to him. "Have you ever forced your way into someone's mind?" Modo came over and looked down at D.T..
"Once. A lady on the street had some kind of seizure and when the paramedics came, she had a violent reaction to a drug they gave her. I had to force my way in and found out she had a drug allergy. Her Medic Alert bracelet had broken and she was going to get a new one when this happened. After they got her stabilized and she was recovering in the hospital, I went and apologized to her for my actions. She said it was all right and thanked me for my quick thinking." He sighed. "I hated to do it, but was a medical emergency. I could have faced some pretty severe charges in front of a Tribunal if I had done it for no reason or for malicious reasons." D.T. met Modo's eye.
"Modo, back home, when we learn about our abilities, we all take a vow, along with the vows we take when we become OutRiders, to never abuse or misuse the powers granted by this post. I would sooner die than break my vows or my word. If you want, I can swear a Blood Vow to you all." He reached around and pulled the knife from behind his back. "To break a Blood Vow means you could kill me for doing so." He added softly.
Modo was shocked and took a step back. "Your serious."
"Very." And moved the knife tip towards the palm of his left hand.
Modo stepped forward and grabbed D.T.'s hands, pulling them apart. "What am I thinking right now?"
D.T. concentrated for a moment and Modo felt a slight tingle in his antennas. "You're worried and scared for me, cause you know I'll do it."
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking." Modo smiled at him then released his hands. D.T. looked relieved and shyly smiled, re-sheathing the knife.
"You would have done that, just to prove you didn't poke around in our heads?" Vinnie said in disbelief.
"Uh-huh, but I would have probably seen a vacancy sign in yours." Everyone started to laugh at that, including Vinnie; even thought the joke was at his expense and the tension in the room faded.
"How is this amp going to help you?" Charley walked closer.
"Like I said, we learned about psychic abilities a long time ago. We have also made major breakthroughs in the field of room temperature superconductors." He lifted the band from the box and settled it around his head, with the stone centered on his forehead. "We found that certain superconductors will amplify psychic abilities. That's what the stone is. A superconducting psychic amplifier." And tapped it. "I'm guessing, and hoping, a psychic signal will get through." He finished adjusting the band. "I just hope I've recovered enough and have the energy to spare."
"Why?" Charley asked curiously.
"Because the Amp uses you as the powersource. The more energy you put into it, the further the signal will go. The further you want the signal to go, the more energy you have to put into it." D.T. sat cross-legged on the floor, resting his open hand on his knees. "Before I begin, are any of you psy sensitive?"
"We have a kind of telepathy we do with out antennas." Throttle pointed to his.
"Then I hope this doesn't hurt you." D.T. closed his eyes and relaxed, taking deep, slow, breaths. A sense of calmness came over him and the stone on the band began to glow white, then turned a brilliant green colour and a feeling of power filled the room.
His face was relaxed, but you could see he was concentrating. The mice's antennas were all tingling and Charley had a dull buzz in her head. Vinnie walked over and stood beside her. ~This is OutRider Dejahken Talberson, identification number 631 527 489 Delta, calling Co. Mike Devinson.~ They all heard in their heads. No reply. ~This is Dejahken Talberson calling Mike Devinson, come in Mike.~ Still nothing. ~ YO! Poppa Bear! This is Cub! Where are you, you lazy son of a throw rug!~
~You had better have a good reason for addressing me that way, Mister!~ A deep, booming voice made Charley jump and the guys almost come to attention.
~I don't need a reason for that cause it's true.~ D.T. replied smugly.
~Do you have any idea what the penalty for insubordination is?!~ Mike growled menacingly.
~Yeah! Shots at the local bar until we're both drunk as a skunk!~
Laughter roared from Mike and the guys and Charley experienced a kind of mental "hug". ~Good to hear from you Cub, you had us all worried! Where are you?~
~Chicago, Illinois, USA, but not our US or earth, for that matter.~ And began to give a quick, but detailed report.
Silence from the other end for a moment. ~Hmm. That would explain a lot. Angelic, Mich and Greg all reported they saw the Granddaddy of all lightening bolts hit the truck. It survived, but you had vanished. They did as thorough a search of the area as they could before the storm drove them to seek shelter. We have technicians going over the truck now. The power surge it registered would run a large town for almost a year. It's amazing you weren't killed.~
~I think it came darn close.~ and shuddered.
~The tech boys figure we can duplicate the power surge, but it'll take a month or more to build up the charge to bring you back home.~
~I'm not going through that again.~ And the others doubled over as pain raced through their bodies, but stopped after a second.
Throttle got his breath back. 'Man, I wouldn't want to go through that again either myself.' and slowly stood.
~Who said that?~ Mike asked and D.T. introduced them all and explained who they were and where they were from.
Mike chuckled. ~I would say the dimension theory was more than proven.~
~Yeah, it is at that.~ D.T. chuckled. Throttle could see lines of strain forming on his face and beads of sweat dotted his brow.
Mike must have sensed it too. ~Your pushing yourself doing this?~
~Just a bit.~ He replied, his mental "voice" sounding fuzzy.
Mike became all business. ~All right. Since these are unusual circumstances, I am officially releasing you from the vows of telepathy you took.~ D.T. started to protest and Mike cut him off. ~You will need all your training and abilities to make it over, if what you told me is any indication, since we can't bring you back without just about killing you in the process. Is there anything you would like sent to you when we get the charge built up?~ A list was rattled off. ~We'll contact you a few hours before we go to send it. Since the window works, we will use it to locate a spot to send your stuff. Is there anything else??~
~Tell my family I love them and tell Shawn, Sarah and Joey what has happened.~ His voice was fading.
~I will. You take care, Cub. May the Ancestors guide you.~
~I will, Poppa Bear, I will. May the Ancestor guide us all.~ The feeling of power left the room and the stone slowly faded back to it's original colour and D.T. slumped. Throttle moved forward to support him.
"Don't!" Throttle stopped. "Don't touch me right now." He gasped out. "My telepathy is supercharged and uncontrollable for a few minutes after using the Amp. I'll be okay in a few minutes. But right now, I need something to eat to get my energy level back up."
Throttle backed off and Charley headed for the kitchen with Vinnie in tow. D.T. managed to stand and took the band off, carefully replacing it in the box. He leaned back against his bike and wiped his face with his forearm. "Is it always like this?" Throttle asked, moving closer.
"No," D.T. said after a minute. "I'm usually not this exhausted afterwards. I guess I'm still not over yesterday and I did push it pretty good just now." He closed his eyes and breathed deep a few times, before pushing off his bike. He stood, then staggered and Throttle and Modo caught him. A slight jolt a contact and a flash of jumbled images in their heads shocked them before it quickly cut off. ~I'm sorry. I thought I had it under control. I guess the call took more out of me than I thought.~
~It's okay. No harm done.~ Throttle thought back instinctively.
D.T. looked at him, surprise showing on his face. ~You heard me?~ Throttle nodded. ~You too Modo?~
~I heard you. It's a little different from our telepathy.~ Modo thought back.
~How so?~ D.T. got his balance.
~With our telepathy, we have to be touching someone with our antennas.~ Throttle helped steady him.
~So it is a kind of like my telepathy. I have to be touching someone for mine to work also.~ And gently pulled free of the mice.
"Do you always have to be touching?" Throttle rubbed his hands together, a slight tingle running through them. Modo was doing the same thing.
"Not always. If we are with someone long enough, we build up a kind of link to them so we can talk over a distance, but I still have to make a conscious effort to talk over the link. My abilities are fairly weak compared to some of the real high-powered telepaths back home" D.T. rubbed his arms where Throttle and Modo had grabbed him.
"How high-powered?" Modo quit rubbing his hands.
"We have one girl, Lisa, who is so strong, it's kind of like standing in front of a speaker at a rock concert and the volume is cranked to the max. You can hear her for miles." D.T. chuckled. "But don't call her too small to be an OutRider. She may stand five-foot nothing, but I've personally seen her put guys bigger than Modo on their tails. She's small. But so's a grenade. And just as deadly." And grinned.
Throttle and Modo grinned with him and then all three headed for the kitchen. Charley had a platter of hot-dogs and cold rootbeers set out for all of them as she knew the mice were always ready for more junk food anytime. The three sat and D.T. did a repeat performance of the disappearing hot-dog trick from last night, making the guy's stare and Charley chuckle. "And I thought Vinnie was the chow hound." Modo remarked as a fourth hot-dog vanished.
"It's all in the teeth." D.T. grinned toothily. Then belched softly. "'Scuse me." Covering his mouth.
"Aah, that was nothing." And Vinnie proceeded to show him a real belch.
D.T. stared, then grabbed his soda can and downed the contents in one long swallow. He set the can down, looked at Vinnie, then let out a belch to match him. "Careful, fuzz-face. Just because I insist on manners, doesn't mean I can't be crude like the rest of ya." Grinning. Laughter made the rounds and Charley got refills for all.
"So why was he calling you Cub, anyway?" Vinnie opened his rootbeer.
"That was my nickname at the Academy. Mike, the guy I was just talking to, was always on our cases pretty good. He was always known as Poppa Bear, cause he was like a father to a lot of us. He might not have let on back then, but he did and still does worry about us. Anyway, I was in town. We had to be back at the Academy by 9:30PM for curfew. I had stayed late in town, as there was two old movies I really wanted to see at the local theater. By the time I got out, it was late, so I headed for my bike. I couldn't get a parking spot in front of the theater, so I parked in front of the local bar. Who did I run into but Mike." He took a swallow of soda to wet his mouth.
"He asked me why I was out so late and I was getting kind of torqued off at him always being on my case, cause he thought I was a kid. I told him I was old enough, Sir, but pronounced it Cur. It must have gotten him mad because the next thing I know, he's dragging me into the bar, saying we'll see just how old you are. He sat me at a table, went to the bar and came back with a bottle of whiskey and two glasses and we started doing shots." He chuckled.
"I don't remember the rest of the evening, but I woke up in my room at the Academy the next morning, wearing just my jeans, a hangover you wouldn't believe and a taste in my mouth like something had crawled in and died. I got up and just made it to the bathroom to do the technicolor yawn before the porcelain god. I staggered back to the small kitchen all the rooms have and gulped down six aspirin and a quart of tomato juice. I then staggered back to the bathroom, undressed, and took a long, hot shower until I felt better. I dressed, grabbed my shades and headed for the main hall. All along the way, all the other students were congratulating me and telling me way to go. I had no idea what they were talking about."
"It wasn't until noon that I found out why they were congratulating me. Seems I drank Mike under the table. No one had ever done that before. I wondered how I got back to the Academy and someone said Mike and I drove. I was surprised we didn't end up road kill somewhere. I met Mike later that afternoon and he looked in worse shape than I did. He looked me up and down, said I was some kind of Cub and patted me on the shoulder. The name has stuck ever since."
Throttle chuckled. "So that's what you meant by getting drunk."
D.T. chuckled with him. "It's weird. All I ever drank up to that point was the odd beer or glass of wine. Freaky metabolism I guess." And leaned back. "Now all I have to do is find a place to live."
The bros looked at each other and nodded one after the other in agreement. "How about moving in with us?" Throttle said.
"Where do you guys live anyway?" D.T. lifted his soda can and took a drink.
"The scoreboard at Quigley Field." Throttle smiled.
D.T. lowered his shades and looked at Throttle. Now that he looked, Throttle noticed the guy's eyes weren't cold, but warm, with a smile in them. "You three live in the scoreboard?"
"The ultimate macho bachelor pad." Vinnie flexed his arms.
D.T. shook his head in amazement and pushed his shades back up. "Sounds good to me." And finished the rest of his soda. The guys did the same and D.T. grabbed his jacket and stood with the others, putting it on. They headed for the garage and he repacked his saddlebags and put them and his pack on his bike, then grabbed his gloves and helmet and put them on.
The bros and Charley already had their helmet on and on their own bikes. Vinnie swept Charley onto his bike with his tail. "I want to hear that engine." D.T. complied and a deep purr came from his bike.
"What kind of engine is that?" Modo asked.
"Dynatec superconducting motor powered by a Longstrom fuel cell. We haven't had piston engines back home for almost 45 years now."
"Your bikes a kitten compared to my bike." Vinnie gloated and fired his bike, a roar filling the garage.
"Careful, Vinnie. This kitten is a lion in disguise." D.T. patted his bike's gas tank tenderly.
"We'll see about that." And Throttle and Modo fired up as well and they left the garage. True to his word, D.T.'s bike kept right with them, wheelies and jumps being no problem. They soon approached Quigley Field and rode up the ramp to the scoreboard and parked.
"Home sweet home." Throttle dismounted and pulled his helmet off, as did all the others.
"What was this place like before the tornado hit?" D.T. looked around at the clothes and junk food containers scattered around. Throttle, Modo and Vinnie were scampering around, cleaning up a bit. Charley was shocked, as it had been a while since she had last been to the scoreboard.
D.T. saw her expression and chuckled. "Don't look so shocked Charley. My room at the Academy was almost as bad, but I did make an effort to clean up from time to time." The guys had finished their fast clean up by stuffing everything under the furniture and came back over to where the two humans stood. He looked up and pointed with his thumb. "Whose shorts are those?"
They looked up and saw a pair of blue shorts were hung up on one of the fans. Modo blushed to the tips of his antennas. D.T. grinned and pulled one of the discs off his jacket and threw it. It knocked the shorts off the fan and D.T. caught them, then the disc on the one bounce. "Ever hear of a laundry hamper?" and tossed the shorts into an empty laundry basket beside the couch.
"Give us a break. We don't often get visitors." Throttle groused good-naturedly.
"Yeah. The last one was probably eaten by the dust bunnies." D.T. chuckled and looked around somemore. "Still, it is kind of homey and it'll be my home, now." Some sadness crept into his voice and a tear ran down his face.
Modo walked over and put his metal hand on D.T.'s shoulder and gave it a gently squeeze. He looked at Modo and patted his hand in a silent thank you. "You might have lost one home and family, but you gained another." Throttle walked over and stood beside him with Vinnie and Charley joining in.
"Great. Three little brothers and a little sister to take care of." D.T. said melodramatically.
"And just who are you calling little?" Modo got him in a headlock and gave him a noogie. Throttle, Vinnie and Charley all laughed. The rest of the morning was spent clearing some space, the clothes and the garbage up. They had lunch and Vinnie and Charley headed for the garage with the laundry.
D.T. showed them a trick about furniture. With Modo's help, some pallets and scrap lumber, he built a bed for himself and a side table out of two milk crates and a piece of plywood for the top. Vinnie showed up with the laundry and Charley came with a mattress and some bedding she had. D.T. also showed them he knew how to make a bed. "Yeah. And I even found the hammer and nails too." Smoothing the bedding.
"Now, for my bike." He headed over to where it was parked, removed the saddlebags and pack and started to clean it. The bros figured this was as good a time to do their own bikes and happily spent the time working on their beloved machines.
"Hey! Pass me a sponge!" Vinnie called from over by his bike.
D.T. picked up a sponge and a peculiar looked passed over his face. "Are you sure you want this sponge?"
"Yeah, I want that sponge!"
"Are you really sure you want me to let you have it?" D.T. was grinning now and Throttle, Modo and Charley had caught on and were trying hard not to laugh.
"Yeah! Let me have it!" Vinnie realized what he had said; a split second before the wet sponge hit him square in the face.
"Well, I let him have it." He said innocently, before joining in the laughter coming from the others. This went on for a minute, then a wet sponge hit D.T. in the side of the head. He turned and looked at Vinnie, who was standing there grinning. "Of course you realize this means war." D.T. reloaded the sponge and threw it at Vinnie, catching him in the chest. He returned it and the war went on for a minute before the two stopped and looked at the others, who were just smiling and watching them.
The two combatants looked at each other, nodded, and opened fire on the others. Sponges were flying, sometimes damp, sometimes soaked. By the time they were done, the bikes were dry, but they were soaked. Laughing, they cleaned up the mess and dried off. Then D.T. called them over to his bike and had them get on one by one and be scanned into the bike's memory. When it was Vinnie's turn, he made a sound like a short circuit, causing him to jump. Vinnie stared holes in him, "Sorry couldn't resist." then held still while he was scanned. D.T. held out his hand when Vinnie dismounted. "Forgiven?"
Vinnie looked at him, then smiled and grabbed the offered hand, "Forgiven." And gave him a hearty handshake.
D.T. smiled at him and returned the handshake. "Thanks, punk." Vinnie glared at him. "Sorry, it was right there at the front of your mind, along with someone named Stoker. If what I read is true, he sounds like a great guy. Can't wait to meet him."
"Stick around here long enough and you'll meet a lot of people." Throttle headed for the kitchen. They had dinner, then Charley had to head back to the garage and the bros and D.T. opted to stay at the scoreboard, as there was a game they wanted to see. They said goodnight and Charley left.
They all headed for the upper level of the scoreboard and watched the game for a while, then D.T. slid down the ladder and headed for his saddlebags. Throttle slid down the ladder a half-hour later and saw him sitting against the head of his bed, boots, jacket and gloves off and typing on a laptop computer. "What's up?" He came over.
D.T. looked up. "Just updating my log. All OutRiders keep one." He pulled his legs up. Throttle took that as an invitation and sat at the foot of the bed.
Throttle leaned back against the foot of the bed and pulled his right leg up across his lap. "What do you write in it?"
"Events of the day, personal observations, readings, thoughts. Mostly just a way for us to put down what we have seen and try and make some sense of it and maybe understand it a bit better." His fingers rattled the keys.
"You made any more sense out of what happened?" Throttle asked quietly.
D.T. finished typing and closed the computer, setting it on the side table. He pulled his knees up and hugged them, looking to Throttle like a lost child, which he was. He was silent for a moment. "I don't really know. Part of me is hoping this is all some kind of dream and I'll wake up tomorrow and everything will be like it was." He sighed. "But the other part of me realizes this is very real and I'm never going home again." He hugged his knees tighter.
Throttle reached over and patted his arm. "Hey, buck up. Like Modo said, you got a new family right now." and smiled.
D.T. looked at him, smiling also. "Thanks. You may be younger than me, but you're wiser than you let on." Throttle smiled at him and they just sat there. No words were exchanged, just quietly keeping the other company. "Nice tattoo." He pointed to Throttle's arm.
"Thanks. Got it back on Mars. You got any?"
"Just one." And reached for his right sleeve and pulled it up. A rose in extreme detail was on his arm near his shoulder and the stalk with leaves and thorns was wrapped around his arm. Two of the thorns were done so it looked like they were digging into his arm and drops of blood were showing where the thorns dug in.
"Whoa." Throttle shuffled closer for a better look. "Nice work. Who did it?"
"Buddy of mine back at the Academy. The others were getting tattoos the one day, so I figured I would get something unusual. The lady who drew it for me called it a Briar Rose. I liked the design and it took a few days to finish because of the detail involved. This one is nothing. There were guys and gals with tattoo body suits."
"Body suits?" Throttle leaned back.
"Imagine tattoos covering every part of your body except for your hands, feet and head. And I mean 'everywhere', if you catch my drift."
"You mean.." Throttle pointed to below his belt and D.T. nodded. He shivered. "Weird."
"People always seem to find new ways to do weird things to themselves." The click of boots announced the arrival of Modo and Vinnie.
"How was the game?" Throttle turned.
"Ah, dull. No action." Vinnie said.
"You didn't miss much. Nice tattoo." Modo said, leaning down and looking it over.
"Thanks." D.T. replied.
"Kind of wimpy if you ask me. You should have gotten something more studly." Vinnie stated, admiring his muscles.
Modo glared at him. "It's OK Modo. I got a lot of ribbing about it."
"Why'd you get something like that, anyway?" Modo stood back up.
"I got it because of a Grandmother I knew. She always wore this rose perfume, no matter what she did. She, passed away, about fifteen years; I got it to remember her." D.T. reached up and rubbed the rose.
"I'm sorry," Vinnie said, deflating some. "I didn't know."
D.T. smiled at him. "It's OK Vinnie. You couldn't have know." Then yawned, showing his fangs and stretching his arms up and head down. "I don't know about you guys, but I am beat. I'm going to hit the sack."
The yawn got the guys going. "Maybe it wouldn't hurt getting to bed a little early ourselves tonight." Modo yawned again. Throttle, Vinnie and D.T. copied him.
"Dang, you got an infectious yawn Modo." D.T. grinned at him. Modo grinned back and they all proceeded to get ready for bed.
It was about an hour later after they were all in bed. Vinnie in his hammock, sawing logs. Throttle and Modo in the bunk bed and D.T. in his bed. Throttle couldn't get to sleep. He lay there, hands behind his head and thinking. Images from the contact with D.T. flickering through his mind. Racing through forests, swimming in rivers and lakes so cold, they almost took your breath away. Seeing a full moon and laying under the stars. Playing in the first snowfall. A face also appeared. Youthful, gentle, bright green eyes, raven black hair. "Throttle?" You awake bro?" Modo called down softly from the top bunk.
"Yeah, I'm awake." Throttle answered just as softly. There was a minor shuffling from above and Modo's face appeared over the side.
"Couldn't sleep." He asked.
"Nah. Had something on my mind." Throttle pushed himself up a bit.
"What we saw from D.T.?" Modo said. At Throttle's surprised look, he replied "Wild guess." Chuckling softly.
Throttle chuckled back. "Yeah. They don't seem to go with what he told us."
Modo nodded. "Maybe they were from something he wanted to tell us, but couldn't."
"Or won't until he's ready." Throttle looked over at D.T.. He was sound asleep. They had all seen the dog tag shaped, gold medallion around his neck when he had taken his shirt off and asked him about it. He had smiled, saying it was a good luck charm.
"Or feels we're ready to hear it." Modo said, making Throttle turn back to him.
"Or understand." Throttle said thoughtfully. Modo gave another yawn. Throttle joined him. "He's right, you do have an infectious yawn." Chuckling softly.
"Probably." Modo chuckled. "I'll see you in the morning, bro. Pleasant dreams."
"You to Modo." Modo pulled his head back and re-arranged himself and Throttle followed suit. As sleep over took him, he thought, 'Just what secrets are you hiding?' looking at the object of his question, before sleep overtook him and he drifted off.
Just what secrets is D.T. hiding? And what's with the medallion? Tune in for the next chapter coming as soon as I get it done.