There's trouble at The Piston!
Laughter poured out from the McCloud household as Vincent, Throttle, Modo, and Alexis began their sleep-over festivities. It was late, a little too late for these kids to be up. Oh, Jewel and Axle knew this, but despite their constant badgering to the kids that it was far too late, they rebelled and continued their all-night laugh-a-thon.
Jewel heard them laughing in the next room, and grinned, moving a bit closer to Axle, putting her head on his furry chest.
"They really need some sleep." Axle said.
"Oh, you know as well as I do they won't get it. We can go in there and yell at the them a thousand times and you know for a fact that they won't listen."
He grunted. "Kids."
"Yeah. Speaking of which, what's up with Throttle lately?"
He shook his head. "I don't know. I've had other things on my mind..."
She moved her head up, resting her chin on his chest. "Oh, and what's that?"
"The bombing yesterday. I heard that Sentry City was rocked pretty hard when those four buildings exploded for no reason. I can't help but think our intergalactic guest have something to do with it."
She perked an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Yeah. I know the Plutarkians are saying 'peace,' but when things like this happen...I just don't know. I'm staring to sound like Stoker, but I mean-"
"Calm down, sweetie. Whatever is going on, it's thousands of miles away from us."
He sighed. "I hope you're right."
"You need to relax." she sighed, running one small hand across his chest.
"I can't seem to." Axle grunted.
"Then let me see what I can do..." she said, nuzzling her lips against his neck.
Axle sighed happily.
Somewhere between the third horror movie "It Came from the Dark Side of Phobos" and when Vinnie got popcorn stuck up nose, the guys finally began to get a little worn out.
Alexis was already dozing off, huddling into her oversized pink and blue pillow covered with tiny hearts.
"Aw, widdle girly need her beauty sleep?" Vinnie teased crawling over to her, drawing his blanket along with him, wrapping it around his shoulders like a cape.
"Shut up you macho meat-head." Alexis grumbled, tossing her pillow at him. Unfortunately, Vinnie was quick to duck and the pillow went sailing over his head and straight into a very unsuspecting Modo.
The grey mouse was thrown backwards onto his sleeping bag and laid there flat for a moment. Vinnie was giggling madly and pointing while Alexis had her mouth covered. Modo sat up, feathers stuck to his fur and grinned evilly, "Oohhh, it's a fight you want is it?" he asked, picking up his own pillow and heaving it a Vinnie in a flying tackle.
But once again, Vinnie managed to save himself by ducking under the coffee table, and Modo crashed straight into Throttle, who was engrossed in one of his hand-held video games.
"AHH!" Throttle cried as he was sent face-first into the carpet as Modo landed on top of him. "Modo!"
"Sorry bro!" Modo gasped, looking quiet embarrassed. "It's Vinnie's fault!"
The two mice grinned at each other and then turned slowly towards Vinnie. "Oh Vincent..."
Vinnie gulped and screamed like a girl as both his bros pounced on him with every pillow available, faithfully supplied by Alexis.
By the end of the battle the room was covered in feathers.
"Traitor." Vinnie grumbled as Alexis curled up in her bag to go to sleep. She stuck her tongue out at him and giggled playfully.
"I wuv you Vinnie." she teased.
"Ick!" Vinnie cried, recoiling in fear as though she were a flesh-eating virus.
Two heckling snickers came from the other side of the room as Throttle and Modo struggled to contain their laughter. "Vinnie and Alexis sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
"Shut up!" Vinnie hissed.
Alexis then went in for the kill. She jumped up, threw her arms around Vinnie's neck and planted a big wet kiss right on his cheek.
Vinnie abruptly fell over, face beat-red.
Throttle and Modo were inconsolable for the next five minutes with laughter.
By the time Stoker had reached Cody's bar, the weather had taken a turn for the worst. Dark storm clouds had formed overhead and the rain was coming down in torrents and the wind was threatening to throw him off his bike.
"Now where in the hell did this come from?" he grumbled as he wiped the rain off his visor once more. Finally, the driving rain became too much to handle. Stoker pulled off to the side of the roar, and waited for a break in the weather as he stood there shivering.
It was in this momentary lull that the mouse heard the rumble of another vehicle coming down the road towards him. He watch it approach, seeing the headlights through the veil of rain.
It stopped then as it's headlights fell on him, blinding him for a moment. The jeep pulled over to the opposite side of the road then, and Stoker watched warily as someone jumped out of the drivers seat.
The mouse that approached him was one that Stoker only knew by acquaintance. He rushed towards Stoker, looking quite frantic. "You've gotta come help! Plutarkians at The Piston, making trouble!" he gasped. Stoker felt his stomach bottom out for a moment, and then he gritted his teeth. "Lead the way!" he said. The other mouse nodded, rushing back towards his jeep.
Forgetting the dark and weather, he saddled up again, heading once more towards Cody's bar.
A few miles down the road, the (bar's name) came into view. From his vantage point, Stoker couldn't see anything amiss. But drawing closer there seemed to be some kind of commotion outside. He abandoned his bike and headed towards the small crowd that had formed outside the doorway of the bar.
A small pack of mice, mostly regulars, were looking inside as there came the sounds of yelling and things breaking.
Before Stoker could get any closer, someone came tumbling outside, and landed upon the wet muddy ground. It was Cody.
"Bro!" Stoker gasped, bending down next to him. Cody lie there on his back in the mud, wet and shivering, and obviously beaten.
"Sons of bitches!" the red-haired mouse cursed, rubbing a steadily swelling and bleeding lip. The chocolate-furred mouse bent down next to his friend. "What the hell is going on?!" he gasped. The next moment another figure appeared in the doorway. A hulking male Plutarkian stood there, brandishing a club, grinning triumphantly over Cody's sprawled form.
"That'll teach you to mess with our affairs, hairball!" he cackled. Behind him, two other fish, one tall and skinny, one average with a bulbous head snickered.
Cody bared his teeth and started to get up, then screamed as his leg gave out from under him, and crouched there in the mud, nursing his knee. The Plutarkians just continued to laugh at him, while the bystanders looked on in fear and pity.
"Get out!" Stoker growled then, standing up and staring the biggest fish down. "Get out of this bar!"
Behind them, the other fish whistled lowly at the Martian's boldness. The man looming in the doorway, simply sneered. "You want some of this, muskrat?" he asked, waving his club.
Stoker slid his tongue across his teeth as he smiled and cracked his knuckles. "I thought you'd never ask."
He swung his left leg forward abruptly, sending his heel into the fat fish's bloated belly. He grunted, and then spewed beer on the ground in front of him.
Stoker didn't wait for him to retaliate, he brought his elbow down on the man's neck, forcing him flat on the ground and then gave him a hard kick in the gut. In the background, the other two aliens rushed to defend their partner. But Stoker was waiting for them. As the tall one charged him, he grabbed his extended arm and effortlessly flipped him onto his back. And ironically, onto his friend's back as well.
The other Plutarkian hung back, looking apprehensive. "Scared, blubber face?" Stoker asked, stepping forward, ready to fight.
The last fish seemed like he was thinking about it, when suddenly a bottle broke over the back of his head. Stoker watched as his opponent's face went completely blank for a moment before he tumbled to the ground with a thud.
Behind him stood Tawny, holding the remains of the bottle in her hand, her shirt torn and in disarray. "How'd you like that, bitches?" she cured, giving him a kick in the butt.
Stoker blinked. "Tawny-?" he started, she looked at him furiously, and then her expression softened and she sprinted towards him, throwing her arms around him. "About time you got here!" she gasped, hugging him hard.
Stoker held the young woman in his arms for a moment, and then pulled back looking at her curiously. "Sweetheart, what happened-?"
"Oi!" Cody shouted from outside.
Both mice turned around to see him still crouched there in the mud. "Anyone care to help a poor mouse up?"
Stoker threw Cody's arm around his shoulder and hoisted him. Cody yelped again and grabbed his knee, seemingly unable to stand on it. The chocolate-furred mouse helped him hobble back inside, where the light of the bar gave the situation more clarity.
"Damn it, I leave for five minutes and look what happens!" Stoker grunted as he eased Cody into a chair.
"Hey..." Cody panted, "I had the situation well under control..." he nodded.
Stoker patted his shoulder. "Sure, bro. Sure." He paused, looking around him at the bar. Several tables had been turned over, surrounded by a handful of frightened looking patrons. Next to the turned over table a shattered pitcher of beer lay on the floor.
"Anyone want to tell me how this got started?" Stoker asked, looking around.
"Yeah...I was stupid enough to let them in here." Cody grunted. "Someone get me some ice, huh?" he barked back to his help behind the bar. "I know there's a whole damn cooler of it back there!"
"Quit whining, you big baby." Tawny scolded him lightly, taking his face in her hands and looking over the various cuts and bruises before examining his swollen knee. "No major damage...lucky you." she winked. She looked back at Stoker then, "They came in here, wanting a drink. We figured they'd leave if we just left them alone...but they got drunk, and a little too friendly." Tawny explained, attempting to cover herself, although her bra strap was broken. "So Cody jumped them."
She scowled at him and slapped his swollen knee, which made Cody nearly scream again. "You idiot! They could have killed you!"
Cody looked at her incredulously. "I was trying to protect you!" he screeched.
"Fuck them, look at you! What good are you to me dead?" she asked, little hands on her hips. She kept this angry front for a moment, and then hugged him hard. "You are so stupid, you big brave lug..." she sighed.
"This-" The sandy-furred mouse said as he looked over her shoulder at Stoker, "is why I prefer men!"
Stoker laughed aloud. "Alright bros, lets get this place cleaned up."
He looked back at the unconscious Plutarkians lying on the floor. "Some one should gives these boys a lift to the nearest ditch." he added.
There were several mice that were all too happy to oblige.
It was long past closing time for Stoker and Tawny had everything swept up, mopped up, and put away.
Cody sat with his leg bandaged and propped up against the table, adding up his loses and accumulative damage. He realized it would do him little good to report it, however. The Plutarkians had a very bad habit of making claims against them disappear. As well as the people who had filed them.
"Thanks bro," he said as Stoker walked past him. "I appreciate it, you know I do."
Stoker squeezed his hand. "Nah, don't mention it, bro." he said, brushing it off. He bent over then to pick up a stray piece of broken bottle, and felt a hard pinch on his butt.
Stoker yelped and spun around, broom in hand. Cody smiled innocently at him, eyeing him appreciatively. "Mmm-mmm-mmm. That is one fine piece of man meat, right there."
Stoker waved the broom handle at him, "I'll bust your other knee for you if you do that again, smart ass." he warned. It was all in good fun, of course.
Cody laughed, and set down his pad of paper and sighed. "Quite an exciting night, huh? Haven't had a good bar fight here in awhile."
"And that's a bad thing?" Tawny's voice drifted from behind the bar where she was taking inventory. "I'm telling ya, Cody, you need to report those drunk bastards."
"Wouldn't do no good, sugar." Cody sighed. He looked back at Stoker, who's face had gone somewhat somber.
"I don't care if they have galactic-diplomatic immunity! They can't just come to our planet and disrupt our lives like this!" she ranted.
"Why shouldn't they?" Stoker scoffed. "They can get away with murder here, and yet somehow it all gets swept under the rug..." He paused then, staring at the floor. "I'm gonna get some fresh air."
Cody reached to grab him, but Stoker was already out the door. Tawny poked her head out from behind the bar. "Something I said?" she asked.
The red-haired barkeeper sighed deeply. "You just don't know, sweetie. You just don't know."
High above Mars, large vessels came into position. They were huge, almost majestic as they entered high orbit. Their hulls appeared like gigantic fish, with space as their ocean. On board, a few members of his race, the Plutarkians, met with Stilton.
"The bombs worked perfectly. The buildings were almost completely leveled," the skinny Plutarkian said, standing in front of Stilton.
"Excellent. Then, any evidence of our true purpose here on Mars has been destroyed?"
"Yes, sir." the Plutarkian answered.
Stilton walked across the large room and through a metal door. Inside, the other Plutarkians-all commanders and agents of Stilton's-followed him to a large monitor. Stilton gracefully pressed a few keys, creating an up-link with his home world Plutark.
In less than a minute, the newly elected leader of the Plutarkian Empire-High Chairman Camembert appeared. Stilton grinned at his illustrious leader. He, like others before him, had bribed his way into becoming High Chairman, and was sure to keep himself there with many other forms of trickery and deceit.
"Prepare for the Plutarkian greeting," Camembert addressed.
Stilton sighed, then join the other Plutarkians in pressing his ass against the vid-screen.
"Cheek to cheek and stink to stink! As Plutark grows the galaxy shrinks!" They went on to make strange arm-pit noises and then blew raspberries at each other.
When the official greeting was over, Stilton was more than happy to give the High Chairman his report. "We destroyed four buildings that had evidence of our alliance with the Sand Raiders."
"Excellent. Are things ready for our takeover of Hellfire City?"
"Almost. Thanks to Kent, we have information regarding population and neighborhoods."
"And what about the Camps? Are they ready?"
"Yes. Mozzarella just informed us that he would be fully loaded by the end of the week. We can move in then."
"Good. I want any resistance crushed, so be prepared. I want nothing to go wrong."
Stilton scoffed arrogantly. "Why High Chairman, with you as our leader, what is the worst that can happen?"
"Just remember that, Dominic. Plutark out."