Disclaimer- Biker Mice from Mars belongs to Brentwood, not me. This short is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for language and mature themes.

In Sickness...

_Lord... those mice really have made a difference,_ Samantha Adams thought, as she climbed out of her car. The neighborhood around the Last Chance Garage had improved drastically in the past few years, ever since the Biker Mice had crashed in the area. Three large, muscular biker types were a major deterrent against crime, and the heavy, high-tech armament that their motorcycles carried helped scare off the few who might be brave enough to try anyway.

Things were much cleaner then when she'd first passed this way. The brunette woman smirked to herself as she headed up the walk. She wasn't likely to forget that first visit. She'd been Charlene Davidson's physician for years, so when the younger woman had called, telling her to bring her medical kit to the garage, she hadn't asked any questions. She certainly hadn't expected to be greeted by three Martian mice, two of whom needed broken limbs casted.

That had started her career as doctor to the Biker Mice, a job that was even harder work than hospital rounds, but a lot more interesting.

The garage's door opened before she could even knock, and Throttle waved her inside hurriedly. Sam raised an eyebrow at the normally unflappable mouse's behavior, but did not comment.

"Now... you said Charley was sick?" the doctor inquired, as the door shut. Throttle nodded.

"She just collapsed in the middle of the floor," he explained, guiding her towards the stairs. "Right as we were finishing a tune-up. The place has been swamped with work, but I didn't think she'd been working that hard, and besides she's burning up."

Laying one hand on a furry bicep, Sam gently cut off the flow of words. Sunglasses might hide Throttle's eyes, but his lashing tail and unusual babbling were clear indicators of the panic he felt. "Throttle" and "panic" were not words usually used in the same sentence, so Sam was beginning to get a bit concerned.

"Where are Vinnie and Modo?" she asked, looking around. "Are the three of you feeling well? And where's Charley now?"

The tan mouse nodded sharply, swallowing. "We're all fine. Modo's working on some of the bikes and cars that Charley's still got in for service, and Vinnie's doing nursemaid duty. Charley's up in her room-- Modo and I put her to bed."

Sam absorbed that with a nod. "Fine. You go help Modo out, while I go check on Charley." Absently, she patted him on the back as she headed for the stairs.

Vinnie, surprisingly enough, showed far less worry than his friend. He seemed concerned about Charley, but not on the verge of full- fledged panic. It seemed a little odd to see the usually bombastic mouse sitting quietly next to the bed, but Vinnie could be extremely maternal when someone he cared about was hurt.

"Hey, Sam," the white-furred mouse said quietly, rising to his feet. "She's asleep, I think... I've been keeping cold compresses on her."

"You've done a good job," she replied, moving to the bedside, withdrawing her stethoscope as she did so. Quickly, Sam checked the sleeping woman over, nodding her head approvingly.

"She's got a little congestion in her lungs, but nothing that would interfere with her breathing. Temperature's high, but it's not enough to cause brain damages. Try and keep her bundled up, keep her temperature down, and if her breathing worsens, call me. I'll get her admitted to the hospital. Do you think you can manage to keep her hydrated?"

The mouse nodded, a half-smile pulling at his metallic mask. "Hey, sweetheart, I'm the best at everything I do, including nursing. Just don't tell anybody about it, okay?"

Sam laughed. "You've got it, Vinnie. And that's DOCTOR sweetheart to you."

He snapped off a quick salute. "Yes ma'am, doctor, ma'am!"

"Mice. Sheesh." Chuckling to herself, Sam went back downstairs. It was time to find Throttle and Modo and get a few answers.

Poking her head into the garage, she found the two remaining mice working in silence, something that confirmed her suspicions. Mice without banter were worried mice indeed.

"Gentlemen?" As they looked up, startled, she continued. "Charley's going to be fine. She simply has a mild case of the flu, which has been going around Chicago. That, coupled with her habit of pushing herself without rest, is what caused her to collapse. If you can keep her in bed, and make sure she has rest and fluids, she'll be fine."

It was as though someone had cut a string. All the tension left Throttle and Modo, and they visibly sagged. Eyebrows raised, Sam beckoned the two mice into the kitchen, where she dug three root beers from the fridge.

"Sit," she ordered, tossing the first bottle to Modo. The large mouse obeyed immediately, and Throttle quickly followed suit. Sam sank into the last of the kitchen chairs, and fixed the two mice with a hard stare.

"Now," as she twisted her bottle open, "do you want to tell me why two hardened war veterans, macho mice who have faced everything from dragons to alien fish, absolutely freaked out over a mild case of the flu?"

Modo and Throttle exchanged glances, and then seemed to become very interested in their root beer bottles. Folding her arms, Sam simply stared. Finally, Throttle sighed.

"It's like this, doc. You know the Plutarkians bought the planet, and the war was really a guerilla action, fought by the army and the Freedom Fighters. What you probably didn't know was that the Plutarkians didn't just invest in guns and traitors. They also decided to dabble in biological warfare."

Modo nodded, his good eye flaring with the memory. "Stinkfish came up with a lot of nasty little viral cocktails. people all over Mars were getting sick. But for every disease the Plutarkians came up with, the Martian scientists came up with an antidote. It was a stalemate."

"Until the last one." Throttle's voice was grim. "The Red Sands Plague. A respiratory virus, it made people cough till they bled. Fever, chills, nausea-- sounding familiar?"

"Oh yes," Sam sighed. "Very familiar."

Nodding, Throttle continued. "Anyway, this stuff cut through the population. 95% fatality rate, and it was infectious as hell. If you got it. you were as good as dead, pretty much. We'd just joined the Freedom Fighters at the time. and all you could do was isolate people and watch them die."

"Lost a lot of good friends to the Red Sands," Modo added. "The doctors were doing the best they could, but they just weren't getting anywhere. And then..."

"Then Vinnie got sick." Throttle was impassive, only the tip of his tail betraying his agitation. "And he got sick bad. Collapsed right in the middle of the mess hall, right into his dinner.

"Somehow, we avoided getting the stuff; don't ask me how. By the time they let us out of quarantine, Vinnie was completely gone, talking to people that weren't there. They were sure he was gonna die... and they wouldn't even let us in to be with him."

The grey mouse's laugh was gruff, but reflective. "Throttle almost took the doctor's head off, and woulda done the same to Stoker if I hadn't held him back. Apparently Stoke realized we weren't gonna be any good to anybody anyway, so he told the doctors to let us in."

"We took care of Vinnie for another week," recalled Throttle, his expression distant. "I don't know if it was having us there, or what, but he stopped getting worse. And then, then he started getting better. It was a miracle, pure and simple."

Shifting, Modo took a long, reflective sip of his root beer. "It was about that time that the docs finally managed to come up with a vaccine and a cure. Vinnie got better; didn't remember a damn thing after passing out. Still doesn't, far as I know."

Throttle shrugged. "Anyway, Charley-girl passing out like that brought it all back. I mean, we KNEW it couldn't be Red Sands... but still, it was too close."

"I understand," Sam nodded. "I doubt any of you can be infected with human diseases, but don't push yourselves too much, just in case. The last thing we need is for the three of you to get sick."

"I dunno," Vinnie interjected, walking easily into the kitchen. "Bet ol' Lard Butt has never had anyone puke on one of his machines before."

That got a snort from Modo. "You're assumin' none of his drivers ever caught a whiff of his breath."

"How's Charley doin', Vincent?" Throttle asked, tossing Vinnie a root beer.

The white-furred mouse caught it expertly, twisting off the cap and taking a sip. "Sleeping like a baby," he replied, swallowing. "Don't worry; I'll hear if she starts breathing funny."

Collecting her bag, Sam rose to her feet. "In that case, I'll leave Charley in your capable hands."

"I'll walk you to your car, doc," Modo offered, rising to his feet. Vinnie slid into Modo's vacated chair as the larger mouse escorted the doctor out the door.

Throttle gave his friend a long look, sipping idly at his root beer. Finally, he asked, "How much of that did you hear?"

Vinnie played with his bottle idly, his expression unusually serious. "Enough," he replied. "I didn't know it still bothered you guys that much."

"Doesn't, usually. It was just... all the circumstances, you know?"

"Yeah. I still don't remember that much of being sick; it was weird stuff. But I knew I couldn't die-- my bros still needed me." Then he grinned.

"Besides, how could I possibly deprive the world of this handsome face and studly bod?"

"Not to mention tremendous ego," Throttle responded dryly. Trapping Vinnie in a headlock, he rubbed his knuckles vigorously over the smaller mouse's head.

"Ow, hey! Not the hair!"

Throttle chuckled. What would they do without Vinnie? Luckily, he'd never have to find out.