Caught in a Draft

It was a windy day in Wildcat City, Kansas, USA, and one of the windiest Charley could remember ever since the day she sold the Chicago Last Chance Garage to her sister in the Windy City so she could open one up in Wildcat City. "That was a windy day, too," she said to Modo. "I almost lost my official contract to the wind. Of course, all I had to do was print out another one and sign it all over again, but that's the frustrating part about the wind."

"I can understand that, Charley, ma'am," Modo replied. "But why is my intuition telling me this wind is not natural?"

"I don't know, bro, but I'm sensing it, too," Throttle spoke up. "Perhaps it's another one of Limburger's or Rump's traps, whichever one it is. I'm trying to base my guess on the fact he now also sees Leo the Patriotic Lion as a threat. And why not? Leo's a powerful force."

"The best," Vinnie added. "What a rush!"

"Battle mode, bros," Throttle announced. "We're going to rock the walls off this joint! It's time to ROCK…"

"…and RIDE!" everyone shouted, jumping on their bikes, gunning the engines, and racing to the scene Throttle's radar was indicating where the wind was coming from. Charley followed them on her bike.

The trail led them to an abandoned area that was used for the arrival of the population of Kriegland. "Hey, isn't this where those cats from Kriegland landed when they arrived?" Throttle asked in confusion.

"You bet your helmet it is, soldier," said a voice from behind. The Biker Mice turned around to see who was talking to them, and to their relief, it was Leo. "This is the place, and what a welcome they received. It was like greeting our own military as they return home from a war zone abroad, such as Afghanistan. Personally, other than being born on the 4th of July, it was the best day of my life."

"Talk about being caught in a draft!" Vinnie replied. "If we're not careful, we're going to end up going a-wall out of our military into yours!"

"What do you mean, Vincent?" Leo asked.

"This is a military base, isn't it?"

"It is, but nobody uses it anymore. The property owners haven't had time to figure out what to do with it yet now that they have full control, having paid the Army $25 million for the property. If you ask me, they should leave it as is for now, especially since we used it to greet the Star Fox team, the Star Wolf team, and General Pepper."

"I see," said Throttle. "If only we could find what was causing that wind. If it isn't Limburger or Rump, I don't know who it is."

"If the wind wasn't so strong, I could open the gate!" Leo grunted, struggling to open the gate against the direction the wind was blowing. Modo and Vinnie pushed with all their might, but nothing was happening. Throttle tried punching the gate with his battle gloves, but that didn't work either.

Watching from a safe place, Limburger chuckled to himself. "Those motorcycle riding morons and that loudmouth lion in the golden armor are no match for me now," he said. "And best of all, I didn't have to bother with that entirely unacceptable dork for a henchman I know as Grease Pit, or the stupid sycophant known as Karbunkle. Of course, they didn't tell me where they were going, so that's a bother. But not a reason of matter; it's in the bag now!" He ran off to attend to other business and make sure Rump didn't cross over onto his territory.

Still struggling to open the gate, Modo tried his bionic arm, and Vinnie improvised a few moves, although also trying his signature spin move and firing lasers from his battle gloves. Neither move worked, but when he grabbed a flare and threw it at the gate, the flare did the trick. "Hate to have to do that, but there's no other way we could've gotten in," he said as the group bravely made their way in.

While the Biker Mice were able to use their signature jump trick to get closer to the machine after Modo spotted it with his helmet's radar, Charley and Leo had to shield their eyes from the impact of the wind, as it was blowing dust in their eyes. All three searched around the machine until Vinnie confirmed there was no way to turn the machine off.

"We're going to have to blow up this thing!" Throttle shouted.

Vinnie laughed and executed his spin move again. Throttle fired shots from his pistol, and Modo relied on his arm. About 25 shots later, the machine finally exploded. The wind gusts came to a halt. When the fan collapsed, however, to the shock of everybody, out from the rubbish emerged John the Tiger in his Cat of Chaos costume! John, exhausted as ever, collapsed for a second as he fought his way out of the spare parts from the big fan.

"John!" Leo exclaimed. "How'd you get in there?!"

"Some wacko in a purple suit with a red tie who obviously hasn't bathed in his life took me hostage, mistaking me for someone else, probably your friend Tom," John replied. "It proved my plan backfired, but I felt this was my next big chance to be the Cat of Chaos for real, having done it in those anti-piracy ads and in real life."

"Hey, we saw one of those ads not too long ago," Throttle replied. "Excellent work!"

"Thanks. You aren't the Biker Mice From Mars by any chance, are you?"

"Yep, that's us!" Modo nodded.

"Miracles, Inc.!" Vinnie added.

"At your service," said Throttle. "You're the Krieglandonian bandleader, right?"

"Yes. John the Tiger. This is the first time I've met you in person," John commented as he shook each of their hands. "What about you?" he asked Charley when he got to her.

"Name's Charley Davidson," Charley replied. "Well, Charley is what you can call me; my name's actually Charlene. I ran the Last Chance Garage. I'm from Chicago."

"Chicago?" John pondered aloud. "Now it all makes sense. Anyway, I am a professional at being incognito when sneaking into enemy bases, but the stinky wacko was prepared. He trapped me inside the fan as it started up and then ran off. I can't say if he was holding me for ransom or not, but you'd think he'd wait to see if you showed up, Leo, since he knows you're just a big a threat as the Biker Mice are."

"Well, thanks for taking the initiative, John," Leo replied. "Was the machine all set up, and did it require someone in there?"

"It was all set up, and it would've worked without me being inside."

"Well, we can tell you, John, that the wacko you've described is one of our arch-enemies," Throttle spoke up. "His name is Lawrence Limburger, and he's actually a Plutarkian stink fish disguised as a human. That explains why he's never taken a bath."

"So he's part of the race of fish that destroyed your planet?"

"He didn't destroy it. His race wanted to do it in by buying Mars and tearing it apart for shipment back to Plutark. Meanwhile, we got the Catatonian Empire who just wants to rule us like Adolf Hitler intended to rule the world. But Stoker managed to build a Regenerator—a rechargeable one, as a matter of fact—that terraformed Mars and made it safe for all mice. We're still on Earth due to our commitments as allies of Leo and his friends, and our careers as rock stars."

"You got a rock band, too? I knew Sonic the Hedgehog and the SWAT Kats did."

"We are the Martian Freedom Fighters, which is also the name of the military we sort of belong to. We are a bit like one of those special commando teams they turn to in case of emergency; that's how Carbine sees us anyway."

"I see. Rock isn't my personal taste, but I'm used to it. So, you've been fighting this Limburger creep a lot, then?"

"He felt Chicago was too much trouble, so he came here. But we still destroy his tower on a regular basis and rock the night away. Chicago was the last stop on our last tour, as a matter of fact. But he never gives up. He has two henchmen, Grease Pit and Karbunkle. Grease Pit is the one always dripping oil, and Karbunkle's the mad scientist with the gravel voice."

"Okay, I'll keep an eye out, then."

"Have you always been the superhero you are?"

"Not until I came to America. I don't have any superpowers, but that doesn't matter. Batman and Robin keep Gotham City safe, and they don't have any superpowers either."

"That's true. You can sort of say we have superpowers, as Vincent and I have the battle gloves that light up and increase our physical strength, and Modo's got the bionic arm. The fact I have green sunglasses, Modo has a bionic red eye and the eye patch, and Vincent has the mask is a long story."

"You don't have to tell it to me now." John paused to cough. "First let's find this creep and finish him off. I apparently now have a score to settle."

"But we don't have any clue as to where he went," Vinnie replied. "That is, unless his body odor left a trail."

"Nope, don't smell it," Modo announced after sniffing a few times.

"Don't smell it either," Leo added. "He got away. But don't worry, John; we'll get him. Thanks to you, we know he's the one."

"Glad to be of service," John replied. "Next time you Biker Mice From Mars need an extra spy, don't be afraid to call on me."

"We'll remember that," Throttle nodded as the group left the army base. "We usually rely on Modo's nephew, Rimfire, for that kind of stuff, but if he can't do it, we know you can."

Back at the Last Chance Garage, Leo and the Biker Mice introduced John to Rimfire, Stoker, Carbine, and Harley. Mace arrived several minutes later. John got the details on each of them, then learned about Stoker's superpowers. "The difference is the green and yellow tetrahydrocarbons," Stoker said. "It permanently overrode the red ones' effect so that I'm not turning into that rat creature anymore."

"I see," said John. "How do you feel we solve the case?"

"Don't know. Had you been able to find out where he went, we would've captured him a long time ago."

The next day, the group began searching around town again, although John witnessed how the sun gave Stoker his superpowers. Stoker's outfit also changed into his red and blue supercostume, modeled after Superman's, though instead of an "S" inside the diamond, the mouse logo that represented the Martian military was present. "So do your other clothes magically change places then?" John asked.

"Yep," said Stoker. "It's a handy feature. Of course, it doesn't always happen; these antennas on my head help to clarify that. They're also proof I'm from Mars. In the meantime, how strong are you?"

"Not as strong as I want to be," John replied, "but I'm lifting weights now. Wish I was as talented with superhero work as I am with music, but who am I to judge?"

It felt the search was leading our heroes on the path to nowhere until Modo came across an oil trail. "Oil!" he exclaimed. "Grease Pit was here!"

"And where's there's Grease Pit, there's sure to be Limburger," Throttle added. "Better follow the trail." The group rode on. (Note that since Charley was driving her own bike, Leo rode with Rimfire, and John with Stoker.)

The trail led the fighters of justice to the site where Limburger's tower once was, prompting the Biker Mice to clarify to John that Limburger gave up rebuilding it, since the Mice would just destroy it again. Grease Pit was dangling from a sign, oozing oil everywhere. Leo was the first to notice, so naturally, he was the first to speak at the moment he walked up beside the sign. "All right, oil dunce! Speak to us!" he demanded. "Where's your boss?"

"Boss?" Grease Pit replied in confusion. "Why are you looking for my boss? He abandoned me. He doesn't want me anymore. I don't know where he went. I'm just ashamed. I always got the crappy jobs. Stay here and don't move! Get the mice! Shut up! What kind of career is this?"

"Talk all you want, Leo," Rimfire spoke up. "He's not giving us any clues."

"I can't judge whether he knows and won't talk, or genuinely doesn't know," Leo replied. "Of course, he has an I.Q. of -750, so that should be a hint."

Just then, a card dropped from Grease Pit's pocket. Carbine examined it after wiping off the oil. "It says '275 Jumping Jack Lane,'" she reported. "Wonder if that's where he is?"

"Only one way to find out," Throttle replied as the group drove on over to 275 Jumping Jack Lane. This was the street that, according to legend, was supposed to have a haunted house inherited by werewolves. Leo proved that legend false, but the town still associated the legend with the house.

Wind gusts began to pick up again. "So that was the first in a series, but it's taken him a long time to install them," John thought aloud. "Wonder if he trapped me in a prototype?"

"He might have, John, sir," said Modo, "but is he going to be sorry he messed with you!"

"Indeed," Leo replied. "Let's nab him!"

"Hurry, you hypocritical help meat!" Limburger had been screaming at Karbunkle. "This is only the second fan. I have to get these fans installed before those miserable Biker Mice and that loudmouth lion show up so that this town will be blown away! Then I can capture the city with my ships and deliver it to Plutark! The High Chairman may be dead, but I still have a race to impress. Maybe they'll elect me the new High Chairman."

"How do you like that?" Vinnie exclaimed. "He wanted to literally blow us away!"

"He's not getting away with it!" Rimfire bellowed. "Let's take it down!"

"I hear you, boy," Modo added. "Let's blast it!" He aimed his bionic arm at the fan and fired. The others used their artillery to add to the effect. Limburger, anticipating this, called for his goons, and Karbunkle worked frantically to keep the fan going. But to no avail; one last spin attack from Vinnie totaled the fan to pieces. Meanwhile, Rimfire's daredevil moves that made him hard to hit took out the goons.

"What?!" Limburger exclaimed in shock, seeing John. "I held you captive! How dare you escape my destruction! Who are you anyway?"

When John revealed the truth, Limburger shed a few tears. "Not another one! One die-hard enthusiast of this pathetic nation is bad enough, but two really drive me to the next level. You shall die with the world for this!"

"You take that back!" Leo scolded. "You are public enemy number one of the whole world. You ought to be the one dying for this!" At that point, the police arrived in a helicopter to send Limburger back where he belonged (in Leo's mind)—Alcatraz.

That night, at the diner closest to the Last Chance Garage, everyone celebrated their victory. "Couldn't have done it without you, John," Throttle smiled.

"Yeah! You the tiger!" Vinnie laughed.

"Thanks," John replied, grinning himself. "I think I'm getting used to the superhero biz."

"No stopping you now, soldier," Leo replied. "You're on your way to the highest level of greatness one can achieve."

THE END

Biker Mice From Mars © Rick Ungar, Tom Tataranowicz, Tom Tataranowicz Animation, Brentwood Television Funnies

SWAT Kats © Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros.

Sonic the Hedgehog © SEGA

Leo the Patriotic Lion and John the Tiger © me