Lyrics to "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns 'n Roses, "High Enough" by Damn Yankees, and "Heaven Can Wait" by MeatLoaf are used without permission.
This story contains cussing, graphic depictions of violence, drinking of alcoholic beverages, and sexual situations. If you're not mature enough to handle it, go read something else.
This story takes place in 1995, one week after Biker Mice From Mars: Put Me Back Together.
WARS ARE WON BY THOSE WHO DARE
Chapter One: Hot Rod
Mice eased back from the floating silver sphere. The Captain frowned down at it and then at the salvaged transport booth it had just arrived through. "It reeks of stinkfish. Fry it," she ordered from the metal catwalk above.
The two closest mice pulled out their laser guns. Two shots and the blackened and cracked sphere fell to the floor.
The Captain marched down the metal stairs and strode over to the transport booth set up in the back corner of her bridge. "Well, the damned thing works this way at least."
Her second-in-command, a six-foot-seven-inches-tall mouse with coppery-red fur, joined her. "The stinkfish can send whatever they want but we can't send anything anywhere." Clutch frowned thoughtfully. "It's dangerous to keep it here on the bridge."
"I want it here."
"But Captain . . .."
She cut off his protest with a quick gesture of her hand. "If we put it anywhere else on the ship, Internal Security will demand to help guard it. The last thing we need to do is give Colonel Exhaust a way to secretly deport beings."
Clutch sighed. "It's dangerous as long as we don't have control over it."
"Because the stinkfish can send stuff here?" It was her turn to sigh. "Give the good Doctor time, Commander Clutch. He'll get it functional as soon as possible. And those stinkfish won't keep sending stuff here if we keep destroying it." She turned to two ensigns. "Take that probe down to Dr. Fender and tell him I want it taken apart and a report on it ready in two hours or less." The ensigns surged forward, grabbed the sphere, and hustled it into the elevator off the bridge. "It's probably the stinkfishes' way of checking on their ships, but let's make sure." She tossed her black hair over her shoulder and went back to the business of running her ship.
On Earth, in the United States' city of Chicago, a scientist monitored his equipment. The thin, small humanoid with an unnaturally large head stood up and slapped the computer a couple of times. The reading didn't change. A large smile twisted his sharp facial features around the black-lens goggles strapped over his eyes. Karbunkle giggled evilly and jumped onto the express elevator to Limburger's office.
His Plutarkian boss was sitting behind a desk going over his books. He was also cursing the existence of Martian mice--three in particular--in his native language. He looked up as the scientist popped up through the hole in the floor of the office. "My dear doctor, have you come up with some way of ridding Chicargo of those do-gooding pests?"
"Perhaps, your malodorous maliciousness. I just sent a probe to a transport booth that was on board the ship that went missing last week. It was vaporized."
"They'd just find a way to transport back." Limburger shuffled all his papers together with his white-gloved hands, then shoved the stack into a desk drawer. "They always find a way back!" He slammed the drawer shut. "Then what do those rampaging rodents do? They demonstrate to me in a most ingenious and unpleasant method just how displeased they are, which usually involves the destruction of my Tower." He mournfully reached into the ever-present bowl of slime worms sitting on his desk. "So what's the point of trying that plan again?"
"If we sent the Biker Mice to the same location as the probe, they would be vaporized too." The evil scientist cooed to his employer.
Limburger paused the handful of wriggling worms between the bowl and his mouth. "Did you say vaporized?"
"Yes, your stagnant spitefulness."
"And you have every reason to believe the same fate will befall those galling gerbils?" He asked very slowly as he concentrated on his lackey, completely oblivious to the escaping worms plopping onto his desk.
"Yes, your rancid rottenness."
"Then by all means, Dr. Karbunkle, let's hurry them on their way. To eternity."
Charley climbed down the ladder from the trap door in her bedroom floor into the surprisingly quiet and empty garage proper of the Last Chance Garage. She glanced at her watch. It was late for the Biker Mice, which meant they were off beating up Limburger's wrenchheads. She sighed as she opened the garage doors. "No good complaining about getting left out of the hero stuff. Besides, their macho egos can't handle the competition."
She turned to her waist-high tool chest. She estimated that she probably had enough time to start the tune-up on her bike before they got back and laughed aloud as she unlocked and lifted the tool chest's lid. "Maybe if I'm covered in grease, they'll fix their own hot dogs for once." Suddenly two muscle-bound and grease-covered arms wrapped around her, pinning her arms to her sides and lifting her up. "This isn't what I meant!"
Greasepit, Limburger's head goon, held her tightly. "De Boss wants to see youse."
"And I don't get a choice?" Charley grimaced and started kicking. The tool chest fell with a resounding crash. The wrenches inside clattered across the concrete floor. Greasepit swung her around and more objects in the garage hit the floor. Finally, another goon managed to catch her feet and hold them.
"Nose, youse don't." Greasepit laughed as he and the goon carried her out of the garage.
Vinnie pulled his bike to a stop and turned off the blue-tinted face shield on his helmet, laughing. "Look at those wrenchheads run!"
Two more Martian mice on motorcycles pulled up beside him. "I don't like it," Throttle frowned.
"What's not to like?" The smaller white mouse astride a red racing bike gestured at the men fleeing the demolition site. "We whipped some tail!"
"And we stopped the Big Cheese from grabbing more land from Chi-town." The larger grey mouse twisted around on his bike to look at his tan-furred bro. "So what's botherin ya?"
"Something about this reeks, bros." Throttle frowned harder. And I just can't pin my tail on it.
"Sure it reeks," Vinnie assured him. "Limburger's a Plutarkian. In case you hadn't noticed."
"But he doesn't smell as bad as your jokes." Modo scratched under his grey jaw. "Ya know, we didn't see Greasepit's oily mug here."
"That's it, Modo! Limburger always sends Greasepit out to do his dirty work. Why wasn't he here?"
Vinnie shrugged off the observation. "Maybe ole Fish-lips got tired of watchin us whip Lard-butt's tail."
"I don't know," Modo grinned. "I always found it pretty entertaining."
"Bros, you're readin too much into this." The white mouse complained, gesturing with his white-furred hands. "So what if Greasepit wasn't here. Let's go back to the garage, grab a couple of dogs and root beers, and tell Charley how I whipped some tail!" He kicked his bike into gear and roared up the street from the demolition site.
"Didn't we help?" Modo frowned as he revved his bike.
Modo and Throttle followed their younger bro's lead, the latter deep in thought. I hate to admit it, but Vinnie's probably right. If only I could shake the feeling that this was a set-up job. Maybe I'm just gettin paranoid.
"For once you did a job right, my dear boy." Limburger sneered down at the captive red-haired woman struggling to free herself from the chair they had tied her to. "Do try to make a habit of it."
"Duh. Make a habit out of what, Boss?" Greasepit pulled off his red cap and scratched his bald head. Large globs of oil fell to the bare floor of Karbunkle's lab.
Limburger slapped a hand to his forehead and pulled it down his face. His human mask shifted down under the hand, but it jerked back into place once he let go of his face.
"Do you really think you're going to get away with kidnapping me, Fishface?" Charley snapped. "Once the Biker Mice find out, they'll blow your stinking hide back to Plutark!"
"My dear Miss Davidson, I'm afraid you don't understand. I want those rampaging rodents to discover that I have you in my clutches. For you are the proverbial bait," he leered, "for my mousetrap!"
"Charley? Charley-girl, we're back!" Vinnie pulled off his helmet inside the empty Last Chance Garage. "Where are you, sweetheart? I hope she isn't mad we didn't take her." He jumped off his bike and ran through the swinging door on the back wall that led to the kitchen. "Charley?"
Throttle pulled off his helmet as Modo poked his confused head into the garage's office. The tow truck was still parked on the right side of the garage. "Look at this mess." The tan mouse said, staring around. Someone had knocked over a large metal tool chest mounted on wheels, the table they ate at, Charley's bike, and a stack of tires. "This ain't like Charley." He managed to get out through the sudden tightness in his throat.
"She don't leave puddles of oil all over the floor like this either." Modo dipped a metal finger into the puddle he knelt down beside.
Vinnie climbed down the ladder from Charley's bedroom into the garage. "Charley ain't upstairs."
"She ain't down here either." Throttle righted the tall tool chest.
"Did she say she was going somewhere today and we forgot?" Modo picked up her bike and set it back on its wheels and kickstand.
"Don't think so." The white mouse quickly shook his head. "Sides both her rides are here and there's no way she'd leave the garage like this. She's made us clean it up too many times to forget that."
Throttle stared down at the tool chest. The top part had a hinged lid and space above a set of drawers. The set of wrenches kept under the lid had scattered to either side where the chest had fallen. But someone had unlocked the chest, not broken into it. If someone was just interested in mindless destruction, why bother unlocking a tool chest? "I think Charley's been nabbed."
"But who would take Charley?"
"Who do you think, Vincent?"
The three mice stared at the oil on Modo's metal index finger. "Greasepit!" they yelled together.
Greasepit ran/slid into Dr. Karbunkle's lab. "Da Biker Mices is comin! Da Biker Mices is comin!"
"Excellent," Limburger freed the gagged human woman from the chair. He checked that her hands were bound behind her back, pressed a laser pistol against her temple, and stood with her beside the transport booth. "Activate the machine, Doctor."
Karbunkle wrapped both hands around a lever and yanked it down. The booth's door slid open, spilling bright blue light into the lab. "Prepared and primed, your pungent piscineness."
The wall blew open and the Biker Mice rode into the room past the smoke and rubble. "I'm only saying it once, Limburger," Throttle growled. "Let her go."
"Certainly, my esteemed enemies." Limburger grinned and half-bowed with flourish. "But may I propose a little game?" He pulled the gun from Charley's head and waved it at the transport booth. "Of fetch!" He twisted and tossed a struggling Charley into the bright blue energy the machine contained.
"Charley!" Throttle gunned his bike and followed her through the lighted portal. Modo and Vinnie hesitated for a second, then followed after them.
Karbunkle shut the doors of the transport booth once the grey tip of a tail vanished. Limburger laughed. "I hope they enjoy oblivion."
"Dey not comin back?" Greasepit asked.
"They're not coming back," Karbunkle cackled.
Limburger wiped a tear of joy from his eye and turned to Greasepit. "Start digging up Chicargo. Plutark needs it."
Charley felt a tail wrap around her waist, stopping her forward flight across a large metal room. Bodies scattered out of the way as Throttle's bike skidded to a stop.
His muscular arms pulled her in front of him. "Are you okay?" His fingers
brushed against her cheeks as he gently untied the gag.
We haven't been this close together since last week.
We haven't been this close together since last week.Her skin tingled and her heart beat harder. Vinnie and Modo landed their bikes beside them. Down girl! Just friends, remember? "I'm all right," she answered as soon as her mouth was freed. Then the shooting interrupted her. Throttle threw himself to the other side of his bike, pulling Charley with him. He pressed her tight against his chest. "But I'd be even better if they weren't aiming at us!"
Vinnie and Modo ducked beside them and behind their rides. "I can stop 'em real quick, sweetheart." Vinnie grinned and pulled out his gun.
"No." Throttle's tail grabbed Vinnie's arm; his hands busy untying Charley. "Those guys are mice!"
"Can't they see we're mice too!" Modo ducked as a laser bolt whizzed over his helmeted head.
"Cease firing!" A female voice screamed with authority. The snipers listened and an eerie silence fell over the room. "I step off the bridge for five minutes and all hell breaks loose! Who fired first?"
"Captain, you said to shoot the next thing sent through the transporter."
"The next Plutarkian thing, Ruger! If those bikes are Plutarkian, I'll eat them!"
"I know that voice," Throttle murmured. He stood up and pulled off his helmet. His bros followed his lead and Charley stood up behind him. "Roddie?"
A black-furred female mouse with ebony waist-length hair stood on a catwalk in front of them. She almost blended into the endless night framed by the large expanse of windows behind her. She looked down at their group and gasped, "Throttle?" She ran down the metal stairs leading from the catwalk to the floor. "Throttle!" He had moved around his bike by the time she reached him. She embraced him tightly around his neck. He wrapped his arms around her, lifting her off the floor. "I knew those stinkfish couldn't kill you guys! I knew it!"
"We should have known the same about you." Throttle's husky voice was thicker than normal.
Charley felt a sharp pang in her gut. Throttle held the strange mouse tight enough to crush ribs. Her face was buried against his neck. And they both seemed to have forgotten anyone else was present.
A laugh erupted from the black mouse. Throttle set her back on her feet and she enveloped Vinnie. "Vinnie! You finally lost the training wheels." She laughed at his dark expression and embraced Modo. "Good gods, Modo. You got bigger!"
"So did you, Roddie." The grey mouse swung her off her feet and put her back down with a huge grin spread across his face.
"Welcome to the Olympian Fury." A male mouse almost as tall as Modo with coppery-red fur said as he leaned against the railing of the metal catwalk.
"The Fury?" Vinnie's mouth fell open. "But it was destroyed."
"Stories of our destruction were greatly exaggerated," Roddie quipped. She
grabbed hold of Throttle's hand. "Come on, I'll tell you guys all about it.
Clutch, you have the bridge. And no one touches their bikes." The male mouse
with coppery-red fur saluted and turned back to something that looked like
steering controls mounted in the center of the catwalk to Charley.
She's short. I wonder if they would be that happy to see me if I dressed to work like
She's short.Charley was surprised by how spiteful the thought sounded, even if it was true. This girl mouse Throttle was so happy to see was only as tall as Charley's shoulder--not counting the antennae and ears.
I wonder if they would be that happy to see me if I dressed to work like that.Roddie's gold shirt was completely unfastened, exposing a triangle of black fur between her breasts until the shirt ends were tied tightly at the waist. Form-fitting black pants accented at the outer seams with a fiery red and gold design wrapped around her trim legs. The red and gold shimmered as Roddie led them up the stairs. I bet she doesn't have any trouble getting men to follow her orders. Probably only too happy to please the Captain.
Roddie's knee-high black boots clumped onto the metal catwalk and right up to a door in the wall at the left end. It opened into a small office furnished with a steely-grey metal desk and a red couch. A portable radio on the desk was playing softly.
Vinnie and Modo grabbed seats on the couch as Roddie dragged Throttle to the center of the room. "Eight friggen years. This ought to be good." Her red antennae were glowing. So were Throttle's. He bent his head so he and the shorter female touched each other's skulls with the red appendages.
They were sharing memories. Charley remembered the times Throttle had touched her forehead with his antennae when explaining what happened in the past would take too much time. Then there was last week when he accidentally showed her his own interpretation of the past: his pain, his guilt, and his loneliness. She had been the one who helped him, not this two-bit tramp that Throttle recollected from his childhood.
She blushed thinking of just how she had helped him and turned to the nearest
wall before anyone could notice. He wouldn't tell her about that! He wouldn't
even tell Modo and Vinnie. He wouldn't tell her--not if he expects to pick up
wherever he and the sexy Captain left off. The wall she stared at had four
eight-by-ten photographs mounted in etched metal frames hanging on it. Vinnie
and Modo remained silent and she could hear a familiar song
She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories.
Where everything was as fresh
As the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face,
She takes me away to that special place.
And if I stared too long,
I'd probably break down and cry.
One of the pictures was a studio portrait of Roddie and a sorrel-furred male mouse with his arm draped over her shoulders. Throttle must be one of many. Thinking like that wasn't helping to ease the sharp pang in her gut, Charley realized. I'm jealous. I have no right to be jealous--we're just friends. And Throttle's happy. He's found someone he cares about who he thought was lost forever. I should be happy for him. I shouldn't feel like I'm losing him. He won't leave Chicago until Limburger is finally dealt with. Who am I kidding? I know how loyal he is.
Sweet child o' mine
Sweet love o' mine
She's got eyes of the bluest skies,
As if they thought of rain.
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain.
The other studio portrait had four mice, child versions of Throttle and Roddie--Charley realized with a start--and an adult couple. Throttle looked about ten-years-old with his hair carefully gelled out of his eyes. Roddie looked about six-years-old with a black braid draped over each shoulder. His sister? Charley had never felt so worthless before. The woman mouse in the picture had Roddie's coloration, but the older male had more dun-colored fur than honey-tan like Throttle's. He never said he had a sister. But he wouldn't, not if he thought she was dead.
Her hair reminds me of a warm, safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain
To quietly pass me by
Sweet child o' mine
Sweet love o' mine
The other two pictures were snapshots enlarged to the eight-by-ten size. One was the adult Roddie with a grey-furred boy mouse that looked like a pint-sized version of Modo with thick grey hair falling into his red eyes. They sat in a swing and grinned at the camera. Roddie had the swing pushed back as far as her legs would let it go. The boy had his tail wrapped around her waist and arms around her neck, turning his head so his expression was completely visible to the camera.
Sweet child o' mine
Sweet love o' mine
The other picture was a group shot of a gang of teenagers. Charley recognized the younger and leaner versions of Throttle, Vinnie, and Modo. Modo had his left arm draped around the shoulders of a dark-grey-furred female mouse with shoulder-length grey hair. Their tails were also twined together. Vinnie was sticking Vs made of his fingers behind his bros' heads. Roddie was draped in Throttle's arms like he was carrying her over the threshold, and was sticking her red tongue out at the camera. Throttle had a pair of shades perched on his snout, but they were pushed down so he could gaze over them. It was so fun and innocent; something they never shared with her about Mars. But what if they did? Would it stop you from feeling jealous? Face it, you'd see green even if Throttle was hugging Bola. It's stupid and pointless and I feel bad enough about it, all right!
"Oh Throttle." Roddie's voice was thick, holding back tears. Charley turned around. They had broken their connection and now the black mouse had her arms around Throttle's neck again.
"You're not gonna spoil the reunion by doing something girly like cryin, are ya?" He asked lightly.
She pulled back and punched him in the stomach. "All right, you macho mouse. Just keep it up."
"If you two are finished with your Martian mind tricks, ya could try tellin us some stuff." Vinnie folded his arms across his chest.
"What do you wanna know, Vin-man?" Roddie jumped up on the edge of her desk.
They forgot about me again. What do I do, blend in with the background? Charley cleared her throat. Throttle smiled at her apologetically. "Sorry. Charley, this is my cousin Hot Rod. We haven't seen each other for eight years. Actually, we thought she was dead."
"Call me Roddie or call me Captain. Hot is an adjective." She grinned, flashing white teeth.
"An apt one with that shirt." Vinnie growled appreciatively, unabashedly staring at her cleavage. "If I had known you were gonna grow up this good, I wouldn't have been so mean."
Throttle dropped his field specs down his snout and glared at the white mouse. "She's married."
Modo's jaw dropped. "Married? You're too young to be married!"
"I'm over my majority. But then you probably think I'm too young to be Captain, too."
"Pleased to meet you," Charley said in the brief silence as the males processed this information. Roddie winked at her with a smile. Her eyes were different from other mice Charley had met. The pupil was round and black and the sclera was a bright blue with no iris.
"Come on, spill!" Vinnie tried not to bounce. "The stinkfish said they destroyed the Fury."
"They hit us hard. And then they started boarding. That was a mistake." Her black tail lashed at the memory. "The last thing you wanna do is give guns to a bunch of pissed-off, space-dog miners. We beat them back."
"We?" Modo grinned. "They let you help?"
"Help? I was the first one to get a gun. First one to kill a stinkfish too. And Mom wanted your tails for teaching me how to shoot."
"Aunt Vev never could appreciate how target practice would keep you outta our fur." Throttle leaned against the desk with a chuckle.
"Gods forbid that you macho mice get labeled as baby-sitters. But it was a damned good thing I did learn. Only a handful of civies knew how to hold a gun, much less hit what they aimed at. We beat the stinkfish back and got away to hide and clean our wounds. That took a while. The Captain made me his second-in-command. His old one died in the fight."
"You were thirteen!" Vinnie protested.
"Unlike you, Bonehead, he could see potential. By the time we realized the Plutarkians had written the Fury off as destroyed, we couldn't contact Mars. The news must've hit Mom hard." She turned to Throttle, her expression suddenly pensive.
The amusement vanished from Throttle's face so quick it was like it had never been there. "She never heard it. It wreaked Uncle Cutlass though. He kept saying he should've let you be a Freedom Fighter."
"Fate's in the driver's seat. We're just along for the friggen ride. We've been hitting the Plutarkians ever since we could, freeing prisoners and slaves, and hiding in the asteroid field. We did hear that you guys got captured and then the ship crashed, killing everybody on board, five years ago about. I guess we ought to find a more reliable source of information than Plutarkian propaganda."
"It wasn't completely inaccurate," Modo pointed out. "All the stinkfish died."
"Yeah, it was just wishful thinkin that we bought it, too," Throttle said.
"We never heard any different so we assumed it was true. But then we don't get much news from Earth out here," Roddie replied with a shrug.
"We try to keep a low profile. Other than destroying Limburger's Tower once a week." Roddie doubled over with laughter. Throttle looked annoyed. "Aw Roddie, you've seen their movies. Even good aliens are hunted and sent to the lab."
"Been there, done the scientific experiment already." Modo clenched his metal fist.
"Even Charley tried to crack open Throttle's head when we first met her."
Charley glared at the white mouse. "Are you guys ever gonna let me live that down? I was having a very bad day."
"And I'm sure having these macho mice bust in to rescue you really improved it." The black mouse straightened but her face still wore an amused expression. "I just can't see you guys keeping a low profile anywhere!"
"They do try actually," Charley jumped in defense of Throttle's suffering countenance. The usual technique of starting a biker brawl when you couldn't come up with a reply to the teasing probably wouldn't work. There wasn't enough room in the office. Besides, they all had duties back on Earth. "When they're not fighting Limburger, they stay at their pad or my garage. Both of which are in serious danger from Fishface."
"Yeah, he's probably havin a field day in Chi-town. You're gonna have to send us back, cuz."
"Now, Roddie. We know you've missed us but Chi-town's countin on us."
"No, Modo, I meant I can't send you back any more than I can grow another tail. That transport booth only works one way--to here." Roddie snapped her fingers. "Limburger must have been the one who sent that probe earlier."
"Probe?" Charley asked.
"Yeah, we recognized it as Plutarkian and vaporized it."
"No wonder he sent us here. He expected us to get vaporized too." Throttle sighed.
"It almost happened anyway," Roddie said.
"Hey, you're the Captain," Vinnie said brightly. "Can't you just fly by Earth and drop us off?"
"If this was my personal ship, I would in a heartbeat. But with all the Plutarkian ships in that area, I can't risk the lives of the civies, not even for you guys. There are some supply runners scheduled to come in at the end of the week. Maybe one of them can give you a lift back."
"A week? Do you realize how much damage Limburger can do in a week?"
"Yes, I do, Bonehead! But it's the best I can do!"
"We know that." Throttle wrapped his arm around her shoulders and squeezed. "Limburger'll pay for anything he does."
"It's not too bad here. You can come to my party." Roddie smiled, flashing her white teeth again.
"Party?" Modo's ears perked up.
"Yes, the Captain's Ball. A formal and dignified affair, which means you have to dress up, be on your best behavior, and no blowing things up."
"Dress up?" Throttle groaned.
"Best behavior?" Modo moaned.
"No blowin things up?" Vinnie cried.
"What kind of party is that?" They demanded in unison.
Roddie planted her hands on her hips. "I haven't see you guys for eight years. The least you can do is put on a suit and come to my party!"
"Honestly, you're too much." Charley matched Roddie's exasperated tone. I always do what they want to do and the only time I get to pick the event is on my birthday! They're not getting out of this, not if we're stuck here! "Just pretend your James Bomb for the evening."
Throttle glanced at one annoyed female to the other, then turned to his bros. "I feel outnumbered."
"Mama always said 'it's better to do what the lady wants than to make her mad.'"
"All right, Roddie. You win." Vinnie buried his face in his fingerless-black-gloved hands and groaned when his tan-furred bro said that.
She grinned. "Great. So I have to get you guys rooms, clothes." A knock on the door interrupted her. "Enter."
A female mouse as tall as Throttle entered. Her fur was a dark cream color that lightened to snow-white the closer it got to her hair. Those snow-white curls were pulled back into a ponytail that brushed against her shoulders. She was dressed in a drab, olive-green, one-piece jumpsuit and had a gun strapped to her left leg. "Pardon, My Captain." Her speech was odd, a noticeable pause between each word.
"It's all right. This is my cousin Throttle, his bros Vinnie and Modo, and their friend Charley. Guys, this is my aide Axle."
"A pleasure." The cream-furred mouse bowed her head once.
"There was an incident at the school. The principal, he demands to speak with you."
Roddie's hand came up to her face and started massaging the spot between her solid blue eyes. "By the interstellar void, what happened this time?"
Axle spread her hands in a helpless gesture but her face remained impassive.
"I was not told, My Captain. But the impression I received was
that another fight had taken place."
I know I don't know a lot about military protocol, but what business does the
Captain of the ship have over a school?
I know I don't know a lot about military protocol, but what business does the Captain of the ship have over a school?Charley frowned slightly with confusion but kept silent.
"Okay, I'll go deal with it," Roddie answered with a sigh. "You see about getting these guys some rooms and clothes. They're coming to the party tonight."
"Of course, My Captain. This way please." Modo and Vinnie left the office right behind Axle. Charley followed them but turned back at the door.
Throttle paused as the others filed out of Roddie's office. "Is everything okay?"
"It never ends for the gal in charge, big bro-cuz. We'll catch up more later."
"All right." He seemed surprised to see Charley waiting in the doorway. He smiled and gallantly gestured for her to step out first. The others were waiting on the catwalk. Axle's gaze followed the large coppery-red male's back as Clutch moved from one computer terminal to the next on the floor below. She jerked it away guiltily even though there was no matching facial expression. She led them down to a large elevator in the back of the metal room in the adjacent corner from the malfunctioning transport booth. They gathered their bikes and the elevator took them down.
"So how come the Captain of the whole ship is getting bugged with school problems?" Charley asked conversationally. "Isn't she a little busy?"
"When the problem involves My Captain's child, it is necessary for her to become involved." Axle worked the elevator car's controls and it smoothly descended.
"Roddie's got a kid?" Modo's red eye opened wide.
"Adopted or somethin," Throttle answered. "She didn't tell me much about him."
"There are multiple room suites available. How many rooms will you require?"
The tan-furred mouse glanced over at Charley. "Uh, two I guess; one for Charley and one for us. We're used to bunkin together."
"Makes it harder to sneak up on us," Modo explained.
Axle nodded once. "Clothing for the party. Is there anything else you require?"
"Yeah, for the duds not to make us look like dorks." Vinnie uttered darkly. "I still can't believe we got roped into a formal and dignified affair."
Axle smiled but it didn't quite reach her red eyes. "You should know My Captain well enough not to trust that description of any party she is giving."
Charley noticed that one wall of the elevator car was made of a transparent metal--Plutarkian glass steel. She started to ask why when the elevator shaft opened. "Oh my god," she gasped as the elevator car seemed to descend unsupported from the ceiling of the huge metal room.
Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie crowded to her side to see. The twelve-story tall hold contained mostly ten-story tall stone and metal buildings arranged on a grid of streets. It looked like the thick metal walls contained roughly forty city blocks. A long green park complete with trees, sidewalks, and a playground stretched out below the elevator. Mice were everywhere conducting their business like they would in any other city.
"Welcome to Olympian City," Axle said quietly.
Modo swallowed hard. "All the refugees?"
"Yes, and other slaves and prisoners of war we have rescued."
"How many?" Throttle tore his face away to look at the young mouse.
"Roughly fifty thousand civilians. Plus six thousand troops and crew."
"There's barely seventy thousand mice on Mars," Vinnie said awed as he watched the city grow larger and closer.
"We are not extinct yet." Axle declared.
Charley's heart ached. They never talk about how few of them are left. More than that live in Chicago. Fifty-six thousand would fit on a street. And for them it means their species may survive.
The elevator came to a stop inside a pavilion in the park. Axle led the way down the street and into one of the buildings. The Biker Mice sent their bikes to the parking garage next door and followed her inside. The manager quickly escorted them to a fifth-floor suite that reminded Charley of a set of nice hotel rooms. The main room was divided by placement of furniture into a sitting room and a dining room. Each bedroom had an adjacent bathroom. The only thing that seemed off was the rough stone walls. The manager left them information on room service, restaurants, and special events taking place, and then made himself scarce. Axle disappeared to find clothes for the party.
Throttle collapsed on the couch and laughed. Laughed hard. Vinnie and Modo glanced nervously at Charley. "He's snapped," Vinnie concluded.
"Nah," Throttle straightened his back and quieted to chuckles. "I just pictured Limburger's face once he realizes we didn't get vaped and he sent us to the Fury. Though tellin him about the Fury is probably not that smart."
"Provided we get back to Chicago to prove him wrong."
"We'll get back, Charley." Throttle promised, looking up at her solemnly.
"Yeah, and even if the worst happens we got that money Tala gave us," Vinnie added. "We can help ya rebuild."
"Right after we pound the Big Cheese into next year," Modo declared.
Axle arrived at that moment, bringing garments and tailors.