Chapter Eight: Rescue
"Biker Mice do not sneak." The white-furred mouse repeated with his arms folded across his chest.
"Roddie, Charley, and Throttle's lives are on the line. We do not have time to explore your psychological hang-ups about being quiet!" Tala brushed past Sparks as she stormed out of the More Hot Stuff's cargo hold.
Biker Mice don't use doors. Biker Mice don't sneak. I think I may have found a career path. Sparks grinned to himself as he went to the workstation set up in the corner of the cargo hold. He opened the upper cabinet, then the hidden compartment, and pulled out a laser pistol like his while Vinnie continued to complain.
"Back me on this, bro. It's no fun to sneak!"
"Let's hear her plan out first. Then we can modify." Modo turned to Sparks. "What are you up to?"
"Gettin a gun. This is where Tala keeps 'em." He shut the cabinet; gun now strapped around his waist. "Mine's back in my room."
Vinnie smirked. "Can you shoot one?"
"Can you moan and groan about everything in orbit? Roddie's been teachin' me since I was big enough to hold one." Sparks left the cargo hold and headed down the hall. The two older male mice followed. Tala and Axle were in the lounge area of Tala's ship.
"I demand to know where you received those plans to the ship!" The cream-furred mouse with white hair was as unyielding as she could make her vocal cords sound.
Tala sighed as she used the vidcom to scroll through the blueprint plans for the Fury. "Axle, I know you're just worried about Roddie, Lance, and Clutch, so I'm gonna be nice. Get out of my face."
"Those plans are only available to the command crew. And I am positive My Captain did not authorize you access to them." Axle turned and her red eyes focused on the new arrivals to the room. "Sparks."
I'm space debris. "What?" He said, hoping his I'm-completely-innocent tone was convincing.
It wasn't. "What did you get from her for the plans of the Fury?"
"You're not my mom or Roddie. I don't have to tell ya anything." He folded his arms across his chest and stared up at her stubbornly.
She turned back to Tala. "You made a deal with a child?"
"I don't believe in age discrimination. Now we need to get Roddie, Charley, and Throttle out of Exhaust's clutches; free the hanger bay so the Rock Squad can return; take back the bridge; and capture Exhaust. I'm thinking a divide and conquer might work best."
"Which do we need to do first?" Modo asked.
"Getting our people out and in is most important," Axle said.
"I think we should hit the hanger bay and Internal Security cells at the same time." Tala frowned at the vidcom screen. "The hanger bay won't be a problem. But I can't find a way into the Internal Security section of the ship that they won't see coming. And Exhaust is consolidating most of his people there, at the hanger bay, and at the elevator to the bridge."
"It don't take much to beat those guys," Vinnie declared.
"That may be, but they still out number us. And you guys are two bikes and a scout short," Tala retorted.
"Throttle always picks the worst moments to get captured," Modo grumbled.
Sparks walked over to the vidcom and stared intently at the section of the Fury it was focused on. "What about the maintenance tubes?"
"We don't have time to reprogram a maintenance bot to open cells. And we're too big to fit through them."
Why do grown-ups always miss the obvious? "I'm not."
Tala shook her head so hard her short blonde hair actually lifted off her head. "No. No way. No way in hell!"
"They're not any smaller than the ventilation shafts and I can fit through those just fine." He had to stretch to point out the ventilation shafts and the maintenance tubes on the vidcom display. His heart pounded with excitement. He was gonna help. There was no way they could rescue Roddie and the others without him.
"Roddie'll have our heads!" The human woman insisted.
"We have to get her away from Exhaust first. And if the endless complainer over there is causin' a loud and violent distraction, they shouldn't see me comin in."
"This plan has potential." Vinnie's ears perked up.
"My Captain would never approve," Axle declared.
"All I have to do is crawl through with some weapons and let them out. It's not like I'm tryin to cut my way through an entire troop of stinkfish." Tala was wavering; Sparks could see it. "I thought you didn't believe in age discrimination."
That did it. "All right, Axle and me will take the hanger bay. Vinnie, you go knock on Internal Security's front door and keep them busy while Modo drops Sparks at the maintenance tube entrance. Then Modo can help with the distraction while Sparks frees the prisoners."
"Keep 'em busy on what?" Vinnie demanded. Then he grinned--an ear-to-ear, taking up his entire face, showing every tooth in his mouth grin--and turned to Tala.
"Get that idea out of your head right now," she ordered.
"It's an emergency. Just till I rescue my bike. I won't scratch the paint. I won't even use flight mode."
"I don't like you enough to let you use my bike!"
"Hey, you admitted you liked me in front of witnesses!" He sobered quickly. "There isn't another option, Tala."
She stepped up to him, keeping her balled-up fists down at her sides. "Let me make this crystal clear to you. If anything happens to my bike, I will space you so fast, you'll be dead before you realize what happened."
The white-furred mouse took hold of her cheeks and planted a deep kiss right on the stunned human woman's lips. "I wouldn't expect anything else, Doll-face." He said when they parted. He grabbed her hand and pulled her from the lounge and down the hall.
Charley rested her head against Throttle's shoulder. He tightened the grip his tail had round her waist. Everything is going to be fine. We just have to wait for Vinnie, Modo, and Tala. They'll get us out of here.
Roddie curled her knees up her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. "You guys spent three days like this with the Plutarkians?"
"It only took us ten seconds to get bored. The rest of the time was used to figure a way to break loose and crash the ship." Throttle sighed. "Usually the high point of any stay of capture is taunting the captives. Exhaust hasn't been by once."
"He always struck me as a lousy villain."
"Three days with the Plutarkians and crashed the ship? I don't know this story." Charley squeezed him slightly.
"It was about a year after the Battle for the Tug Transformer. The Plutarkians captured the three of us and decided to ship us to Plutark for execution. We weren't real thrilled with that plan, crashed the ship into a planet that makes the Pits look like a walk in the park, and spent the next three years trying to get back to Mars. Made it to Earth and the rest ya know."
"You guys have a knack for crashing ships. Does the record stand at three or are there others you forgot to tell me about?"
He counted them off on his fingers. "The prison transport, the Thunderpipe, the Stench Carrier. That's the only ones with us at the helm. I ain't takin responsibility for Rimfire's."
"You macho mice aren't going near my bridge again," Roddie muttered.
Throttle started to reply but stopped and cocked his head. "They're coming."
Charley swallowed hard as she and Roddie helped Throttle to his feet. The heavy door of their cell slid open. Five Internal Security officers stepped inside. Two carried rifles aimed at them. The spokes-mouse was one of three that didn't have one. "The human is to come with us now."
"Like hell." The tan mouse growled and stepped in front of both females.
"We are prepared to use violence if necessary." The two male mice with the rifles stepped closer.
Charley grabbed hold of Throttle's arm, briefly allowing herself the pleasure induced by the texture of his fur. "No. I won't let them hurt you again."
He turned to face her, the expression stricken behind his field specs. "Charley."
"Let me do something dangerous just once." She kissed him quickly. "I'll be waiting for that nick of time rescue you guys love pulling off," she whispered. She stepped away and walked into the arms of the waiting officers. The other two mice seized her arms and pulled her out of the cell.
The spokes-mouse smirked as they pulled her out of the cell and started down the hall with her. "I hope you two can be just as cooperative when it comes time for your executions," he tossed in before sliding the door closed again.
"NOOOOO!" from Throttle echoed and slammed against the metal walls of the hall. Charley clenched her teeth, recognizing his anger and despair. You bastards aren't going to find me that easy to kill. And I'm going to enjoy watching him rip you apart!
Modo glanced over his shoulder at the kid. Sparks readjusted the extra guns he had strapped around his waist with an excited and scared expression on his face. Best get his mind off it for a bit. At least, till it's time to get serious. "What happened to your folks?"
"Momma died when I was three. Her and Roddie were friends for a long time, so she gave custody to her. I never knew my father; he got left behind on Mars."
"My old man wasn't around when I was a kid either."
"Roddie said he died. Maybe you guys knew him. He was a Freedom Fighter."
Modo pulled his bike up to a manhole cover mounted on the wall. "This is it, right?"
"Yeah." Sparks pulled his lower lip between all his teeth as he slid off the back of the bike.
"We'll figure out who your old man was later. You might still have family on Mars." The kid continued to stare at the maintenance tube cover. "Of course, we need Roddie to tell us who your old man was."
"I'm going, I'm going." He lifted the hatch and listened intently. "Sounds like Vinnie found the opposition."
"That's what he's good at. Now remember no fighting. Just get in there; free Throttle, Roddie, and Charley; and let them handle it."
"Right, right, I know. And if trouble finds me, run. Cheese, you're as bad as Axle."
"Hardly," Modo said, remember the coaxing necessary to get her to agree to this plan. "What's her deal?"
"Half her brain got replaced by a computer. It makes her anal, but," he shrugged, "it beat the alternative. Roddie saved her life so she completely loyal." Sparks grabbed hold of the tube's sides and pulled himself into it. "See ya on the other side."
Modo gently shut the hatch behind him. "Good luck, kid."
Internal Security officers flew out of Vinnie's way aided into the air by the explosion of a missile from the blue racer. He laughed wildly. "I gotta start shopping where Tala buys her ammo!"
He double-checked the viewscreen built into the crankcase of the bike. Two mousehead silhouettes blinked ahead of his position on the map. He shot away the wall in front of him and rode through the hole before the smoke cleared.
His red racer and Throttle's black and chrome bike strained against the chains bolting them to the floor. "The bastards!" He got off of Tala's bike and pulled out his gun. He shot the chains off both bikes, then lovingly ran his hands over the body of his. "Are ya alright?"
The red racer beeped and flashed its headlight.
"Good." Vinnie quickly mounted it, pulling on his helmet. "There are some things a biker can shrug off and forgive. Stealin' his bike ain't one of 'em! Come on, sweethearts! Let's go teach 'em a lesson. Biker Mice style!"
All three bikes popped wheelies and revved in response. The white-furred mouse laughed wildly and blew a hole in an intact wall. Driving through it, he paused next to a groaning Internal Security officer on the floor. "Which way to the holding cells? I'm expected."
Tala cocked the laser rifle against her shoulder. Her red and black armor
suit was sealed. Her grey biking helmet was in deep space mode. "Axle?"
"I am in place, Tala."
"I am in place, Tala."
The human woman took a deep breath, checked her gun belt around her waist one last time, and looked out at the cargo hold of her ship from her transport booth. "Okay, MC. Let's do it."
"Yes, Mistress Tala."
The blue energy deposited her in a larger hanger bay. Her laser rifle erupted as soon as the blue light faded. Internal Security officers surrounding her fell. She turned and ran through the hole she had created in their ranks.
Officers yelled and gave chase, shooting at her. She ducked behind some barrels of fuel. As Vinnie would say: "Light my fire!" She kicked a barrel away and into the group of mice.
A stray laser bolt hit it. The resulting fireball scattered most of the mice and threw Tala against the hanger bay wall. She grunted as she fell back to the floor. "Now Axle!" She activated her magnetic boots.
The huge outer doors of the hanger bay opened into the vacuum of space. The alarms sounded and warning lights flashed. Tala felt the pull as the atmosphere exploded away, but the soles of her boots clung to the metal floor.
The Internal Security officers weren't that lucky. They all flew out the hanger bay door along with the loose equipment scattered around the bay.
Tala watched. "Damn, I hope this works," she muttered to herself.
Five of the sleek winged one-man fighters swooped into the hanger bay, each carrying a few Internal Security officers in their docking tractor beams.
The Rock Squad had made it home. Tala sighed with relief as the twenty ships landed and the hanger bay's doors closed. Air started circulating again once the door sealed.
She turned off her magnetic boots and ran to the lead ship. The sorrel-furred mouse dressed in a black flight suit jumped down from the cockpit, somersaulting in the air, and landed in front of her. "Where's Roddie?"
She palmed off her face screen. "Vinnie and Modo are handling getting her out."
"And Sparks," Axle added as she stepped up to them.
Tala shot the cream-furred mouse a dirty look. "Are you programmed never to leave anything out?"
"Sparks? Roddie's going to have your heads," Lance announced.
"She has to get away from Exhaust first," the human pointed out. "And we didn't have a choice. But we're supposed to take back the bridge now that we have your squad."
"What happened to the bridge?"
"Internal Security officers escorted My Captain off and surrounded it. We have not been able to contact Commander Clutch," Axle swallowed hard. "Or anyone else on duty inside."
Lance ordered three of his fighters to guard the recovering Internal Security officers. "After you, ladies."
Two mice forced Charley through a door at the end of the hall. It was another cell only it contained a tilting table hooked up to a waist-high control panel. Exhaust turned from the control panel. "Strap the alien down."
Charley dug the heels of her cowboy boots against the solid metal floor. The two officers holding her regripped her arms and dragged her forward. She cried out involuntarily as their fingers dug painfully into her flesh. They slammed her back against the vertical table. One mouse held her in place as the other cinched the straps across her ankles, her thighs, her lower arms and stomach, and her upper arms and chest just below her breasts. The officer grinned down at her as he felt her up while cinching the last. She tried to twist out of his reach but the straps were almost too tight to breathe.
Exhaust stood next to the table as the mouse who had held her down started working the controls. The table tilted back slowly becoming horizontal. "You should feel honored, human. You are the first one to test this machine."
"I don't deserve it. Wanna trade places?"
"Does humor make it easier to face your death?"
"Who said I was joking?"
The white and black-furred mouse lifted her head, pulling her chestnut hair away from her neck. He pulled it all to the top of her head and held it there while he pulled the collar of her blue shirt away from the base of her neck. "From what I understand of human anatomy, your central nervous system is set up basically the same as a mouse's. Which means if we place this electrode on your spinal column." A cold metal knob pressed against her spine at the base of her neck. "It will override your entire system until you die." He pressed her head back against the table and tightened a cinch around her forehead. "I'm not sure exactly how it works. It's supposed to create the same type of electricity a nervous system does. And I was assured that it is a long, slow, painful way to die. Which, I can assure you, you fully deserve, alien." He nodded to the mouse at the control panel.
I won't scream. I won't scream. I won't give him the satisfaction. Vinnie and Modo are coming. Throttle'll be here soon.
The first jolt sent convulsive spasms through her body. The pain overwhelmed everything she concentrated on and she screamed to try to rid her body of it.