the war goes on, and one forgotten nation is added to the scene.
17. ARC 3 - Road to Hell Raiser
A deep sigh escaped her throat, for the first time in years, she was free. Truly free! Mace was dead, she had seen him, as his heart slowly stopped beating, as his breathing came to an end, as life faded from his eyes.
And there... there right before her, the sun rose slow into the sky and set the Martian planes in fire.
O'Connell gazed at her with jealous and agony, for years this pumpkin furred woman was imprisoned; still she held no grief or hatred within her heart.
Tears dripped down her cheeks as she trotted slow and with grace towards the balcony of the little shelter and stretched out her arms. A ray of light touched her hands, feeling the warmth of the sun on her pumpkin coloured fur. Slow she turned her hands around to feel the warmth.
All held their breath as she stepped into the light of a new sun rising. There, covered in the sunshine of a new day, a woman stood who hadn't seen the sun in five long lonely years and smiled with joy in her heart. For she knew she would be free one day.
The sun touched her and set her pumpkin fur in flame and fire.
And Stoker felt his love for her building up again. Steady, but untamed as a wild fire, his love fired up again, as his love for her had lay dormant for years. Burning, but not as explosive as it became now.
She did everything outside, sit, eat, sleep, watch and talk. For years she had spend inside the prison walls and she couldn't spent a night within walls anymore. Even when the night fell once more - for even here night followed the day, like the moons always rose above and sunk beneath the horizon, she remained outside and enjoyed the shimmering light of the stars and the two moons of the red planet Mars.
He stumbled like a school boy when he tried to say something.
'It's okay Stoker... I missed you too... and I still love you.' She whispered to him and played with his bionical tail, 'I still love you.'
'I.... I....' He mumbled, 'Missed... you too...' and scratched the back of his head.
She giggled like a young girl as she gazed at him: he was older then the day she was kidnapped by Mace. A lot older. His dark brown chocolate coloured fur was somewhat lighter and more dull. His hair was almost almond coloured but still he had the twin ponytails. And still, he was one strong tough Mouse. Damn... she still loved him.
'the night will be cold.' Throttle stood behind the lover's quarrel and gave them a blanket. With a playful blink he left them behind. 'Hint, hint, hint.'
Stoker smiled like an idiot.
'As playful as always... just like you are.' She still sat on the balcony, enjoying the night and watched Throttle leave to spend the night with Carbine. Even Throttle had gotten older, five long years had even aged him. Throttle had gotten leaner, taller, stronger and cuter.
'Don't wipe yourself out.' Stoker smiled and covered her with the blanket, as he snuggled up with her, 'Where have you been... all this time?'
'In your heart.' She whispered as she broke down in tears.
Her soft body lay against his own, her weight, her warmth, every little curve and every little hump... all was so familiar to him and yet so strange. His mind remembered her, but his hands felt someone new.
She snuggled a little closer, with her head on his shoulder and her hand on his chest, she fell asleep, covered within his grasp and a bionical that held her secured by the waist.
Modo tried to find some sleep, but the knowledge that with opening the sluices he killed his nephew, didn't let him go. Exhausted he tried to find rest from the thoughts. The last thing Rimfire must have heard was sand... the shifting of sand like a sand dune collapsed underneath its weight. The pain was too heavy on him. And the other shoulder to cry on was gone as well. They had searched the castle from top to bottom and forced the surviving Rats to show every detail before Scabbard had them killed as the traitors they were. Wirrenth was just no more.
He needed his rest. He knew. Tomorrow morning, they would vacate the city forever. The Rats would go their way, battling their kin as the Mice, including the Hurricanes went with Scabbard and his men. The city was old, forgotten and hard to defend. A new stronghold was desired. Modo forced himself to sleep. He was needed. If only it was for revenge. And to win this war. After that... he would die.
Many worries overwhelmed Throttle. If there was a war to win, this little group was to small to win it. Indeed, a small group of Freedom Fighters had won the war against the Plutarkians, but that group was even larger than this group: 4000 Mice, each counting for three warriors. No, what they needed was all the help they could get. The battle for Aerynn was just the beginning. Who knew what Mace had up his sleeve if he had won this battle? They would never know.
One thing he did know. And that was to pick up his inheritance, to claim his rightful place among his people. The people of Hell Raiser.
'Charley?' A bit shy, the dark haired beige woman came over to her, 'Can I talk to you?' Vinnie held Charley like a precious diamond and kissed her neck before he let her go, 'see ya soon.' Charley whispered something sweet before she left him.
Still Carbine didn't think that this was the best time to talk. Charley had learned that her niece had died, along with her fiancÃ©e Rimfire, at the prison of Aerynn. Charley was still mourning, like Modo was. Dark circles around her eyes, her hair was a mess and her face was tear stained. Sure she was in no better shape than Modo. He didn't eat, didn't drink, but when he laid hands upon one of Mace' former officers, he almost ripped the Rat apart. Not a pretty sight.
'Are we friends?' Carbine took off immediately when Vinnie was out of hearing range.
'You saved my life several times, listened to me when necessary and spared the bros' when you thought otherwise. Yes... we are friends.' Charley answered, 'My friend, what is the matter?'
Carbine looked away, how to tell this? How to tell that you're afraid? How to tell that your worst fear comes to life?
'It's... Throttle.' Well, the big word was out, she gazed at the ground, 'he leaves for something. Doesn't want to tell me even when I ask him. Says it's something delicate.'
For a moment she didn't know what to say, 'What is so delicate that you don't know about?'
Carbine sighed as she held hands with Charley for support, 'His family. Throttle is half Hell Raiser half Mouse. The bond between his mother the Hell Raiser and his father the Mouse wasn't allowed by both their families so his family became outcast. But now he seeks help with his family and says I can't help him with that.'
'Hell Raiser?' never had Charley heard about this. What was a Hell Raiser?
'A Hell Raiser is a Mouse from some isle or several isles once hidden amongst the mountain lakes and only accessible by boat. Not many Mice have boats or know how to swim. His father washed up ashore, or so Throttle told me. His mother... he never told me anything about his mother. Like he just doesn't want to know or something. Both had died long before I met him.' Both walked through the corridors, busy and filled with Mice running from side to side, door to door and room to room. Everyone was busy with the oncoming battle and probably the end of the war at the southern hemisphere, but the leaders were very precocious with that and the Mice knew.
'Hell Raiser Mice are very thunderous and live for danger and excitement. But also do they love very intense and deep...'
Carbine jumped almost out of her fur when she heard Throttle speak, 'What did you think sweetie? Ask Charley if Throttle won't tell?' and hugged her from behind, 'Naughty Charley.' With his tail he pulled her near and lay an arm around her waist, 'what is you both want to know about me or Hell Raisers?'
'you could tell me on the way there?' Carbine suggested with a pleading look, 'Please?'
'Could be better for your relationship. Getting to know each other and stuff?' Typically Charley Throttle thought.
'But promise me one thing.' Throttle kissed them both on the cheek.
'And that is?' Carbine whispered soft.
'Don't be the General. You're my lady and outsiders are not allowed. I don't want you to get hurt.'
Well, his arguments are overthrown easily. Wow... never thought that it would happen so fast. Charley smiled as she hugged the overgrown teddy bear and left the two lovebirds alone.
'pack your stuff and a motorcycle. We're leaving. It's a long way to Hell Raiser Isle.' Back to the grim face he had all day long. Something was wrong. She lay aside the General inside her and followed her lover and long term friend.
Hell Raiser... A small isle hidden within a ring of volcanoes. Regular eruptions and even more Marsquakes that shook the soil violently. Mice living in the shadows of the volcanoes were never sure whether they would live to see the day of tomorrow, but that ring of Fire had proven to be one good protection against the Plutarkians.
Now was it a very, very long trip to reach that isle. Several days it took before Throttle felt that little bit of home again. The soil was different of colour and he could smell the sulphur of Olympic Mons again, Tharsis Mons was nearby as well as several smaller volcanoes.
'So this is where you're from.' Carbine whispered as she tried to breath normal. He nodded and seemed to be a-okay.
'Relax and just let it come over you... you should be fine within a few minutes...' Cuddling her he comforted her and her nerves, only for a few hours.
No one had ever entered the realm of the Hell Raisers and made it out alive. A very closed people who never came out, who never left. Throttles mother Barrage had done so... for Axle who was imprisoned and would be executed for trespassing. Washing up ashore was the right term, but he shouldn't be punished for falling overboard and then washing up ashore Hell Raiser Isle... Well... strange laws did they had there...
'Who are you and what is your business? Speak quickly boy.' A Mouse with a strange gun pointed at his head and a demanding look upon his face. He wasn't afraid of two heavily armed Martian Mice with heavily armed motorcycles.
'Boy? What the...' Carbine words were cut off by the roaring voice of Throttle.
'I am Throttle, Son of Barrage. Prince of Hell Raiser.'
Prince? Of Hell Raiser? So his mother would be the Empress? What the hell...
'Could have told me that...' she whispered to him as the Mouse came from behind the rocks and gestured them to come near.
'Let me see you boy...'
'I am not a boy.' He said to the Mouse, showing no weakness as he looked at the Mouse, 'I am Throttle of Hell Raiser, Son of Barrage.'
'Barrage is not known to us.'
'Barrage was formerly known as China... She took the name Barrage as she fled with my father, Axle, who washed ashore here... From that love my brother Smoke and I were born.'
Seconds long the Mouse stared at Throttle, 'China...' he held his breath in awe, 'The empress wishes to see you my prince.'
Throttle felt sad. According to his mother a gigantic lake must have been here, hidden amongst the walls of the canyon. Now the water was gone, vanished. The dark red soil was hard, dry, and contained no life at all. The only thing containing life was the city they were about to enter: Hell Raiser.
Once it must have been a beautiful city. Hidden, isolated. Like Charley would say: China or Japan. Isolated nations that create their own way of society, culture, language and art. From what he could see, the Mice were dressed as his mother had told him in her stories: long dresses for men and women, iron weapons with beautiful carvings and etchings and the old language. The Mice from Hell Raiser had their own language. Not so different from Martian Mice but yet different enough for an outsider not to understand one single word.
But even Mars had invaded this place. Throttle could see motorcycles, Mice from the outside world and guns. Tools of war. War had finally breached this sacred world of peace. He looked around at the place he had never visited, only within his mothers memories as she shared them with him. It was almost a shock when the guide had stopped and asked the guards for a safe passage to the palace. They were forced to leave the bikes and walk to the entry of the palace through the once beautiful gardens.
Now, without the water, these gardens were dry and dead. Rotten trees were the silent reminder of a flourishing time of peace.
These moments made him hate the Plutarkians and now the Catatonians even more.
Long have I lived with the blood of my father, wild and roaring. Mother... please... let your peaceful blood flow through my veins. Let me be calm and wise, as you were...
Stately he entered the stairs that led to the entrance of the palace, following the silent guard. The palace itself was no more beautiful than the city. The watchful eye could see that this was once a fortress, a stronghold for those from Hell Raiser in need and jeopardy. Now, it was good enough to defend, to hold the people of Hell Raiser as the enemy approached once more and was forced to retreat when they found out that the walls were not to be breached - made from the solid stone and Martian metal to enforce it from within.
Creaking the doors opened and the guide asked the two travellers to stay behind, until he would call them. Never afraid, but now for the first time in her life, Carbine slid behind Throttle. What if this empress decided to kill them?
An old voice came from the other end of the hall, hidden behind veils, 'Bring him forward for we wish to see him.' It was spoken in common Martian.
The guide turned around and gestured Throttle to come forth. Two guards blocked the way, Carbine wasn't allowed to enter, nor to say goodbye to Throttle as the doors closed between them.
Except for the noise of the shutting doors there was a complete silence in the hall.
Careful and at guard Throttle turned around to face the empress behind the veils.
'You claim to be Throttle Thornboy, son of China?' Spoken strong willed, but fragile due to old age, he heard the woman speak in a strange tone of voice, like she didn't master the language.
'I claim to be him.' Throttle said, with his eyes glued on the face behind the veils, an act of disrespect for someone who didn't belong to the royal family. An allowed act for someone who did belong to the royal family.
'Nonsense... We had no such daughter.' From behind the veils he saw a graceful gesture, to sent him on his way.
'Unfortunately,' Throttle bowed before her, 'you did had such a daughter. For in all the universe, there will be no other blacksmith than your own, who has the talent and the grace to make such a refined bracelet I have hidden underneath the scarf on my wrist.' He removed the red scarf and revealed a silver bracelet, made with the knowledge only a Hell Raiser Mouse could create, 'This, my empress, is the bracelet my mother China gave me before she died.'
'And now you have come to claim a place amongst your own kin?' The woman rose to her feet, the audience whispering for this never happened.
The woman strode to the veils and removed them with a gentle gesture, walking towards her self proclaimed grandson. Her long dress slid over the ground as she strode towards him; the material rustled soft with every step she made.
She was no ordinary Martian Mouse, she was an empress of Hell Raiser. Her husband had died a long time ago, when she was still young. After that, she refused to marry another man and grasped power all for herself. Where her husband had failed in the Plutarkian War - Axle and the missing of China as result - she created an empire hidden in solitude, in isolation. Her daughters were raised by herself and maidens, carefully selected from the best royal families alive. Her sons were in charge of the armies, but didn't do anything without her orders. One word, one gesture, and she could sent forth legions to destroy other nations, or to defend her borders. Her will was the law itself. And for fifty long years, she had ruled the isolated empire of Hell Raiser Isle.
'A true Hell Raiser Mouse,' she begun as she stood in front of him, 'allows the children to learn from history. Every mother and father passes their knowledge on to their offspring, before they die.' Throttle had to kneel in front of her - she had shrunken to the size almost half the size she once was - in order to allow her to see his memories.
'If you are a true Hell Raiser Mouse, your mother, my daughter, will have passed on her history to you before she died.' Her antennas touched his forehead and connected to his mind. From there, she explored him, searched every memory he had, leaving nothing, searching even through his deepest hidden memories, breaking the boundaries he had put up to keep unwanted guests out.
Exhausted she trembled and was thankful when Throttle guided her to the ground to sit. Unheard of again, no empress ever sat on the floor without her maidens to clean it through and through.
'Let us retreat to our quarters.' Two maidens came from the shades and helped her up. The tiny fragile woman retreated in a flock of maidens to her quarters. Throttle on the other hand had to pick himself up and retreated to the corridor outside the hall, where Carbine flung herself around his neck and held him. He could feel her trembling - the strange environment made her weary and frightened her. No matter, he trembled as well. The woman, he had seen her in the faint light of the royal hall. Old, fragile, graceful. Almost white hair with tan fur and pink eyes, a dress that hung loose around her, beautifully embroidered. She made slow movements, as if she was very old, nearly dying.
The guide tapped throttle on the shoulder, 'Her majesty, the Empress of Hell Raiser, Lady Athenry, offers you a place to stay. Follow me please.'
There was one thing that Throttle bothered, 'what about Carbine? I won't sent her back, nor leave her.'
The guide nodded, 'She can stay as well.' Than he led the way to their new residence, for who knew how long.
As soon as the guide had left, Carbine allowed herself to fall on the bed and snuggled into the pillows. Throttle fell down next to her, exhausted from the conversation with his grandmother.
'So... what happened?' Carbine asked him, playing with tip of his long tail, brushing it against her fur and her nose. She placed a kiss on it and giggled as Throttle stroke her face. He leaned in and shared his memories with her until she knew everything.
'And she was allowed to do that?'
Throttle shrugged, 'I don't know.'
'Only the empress herself is allowed to rip someone's memories.' A voice came from behind the chamber screen, 'a relative from Hell Raiser should know.'
'My mother, Barrage, didn't told me everything.'
'Barrage? Or do you mean China?' From behind the screen came a young woman, 'My mother, your mothers sister, told me about China. The rebellious sister.' She settled down next to Throttle on the floor, her hands resting on his knees.
Next to the woman, Carbine felt like a farmer woman from the northern planes of Mars. This strange woman was refined, her hands had never felt duty, her eyes had never seen death.
Yet Throttle didn't seem to be interested in her. This woman only knew about his mother's past as a child, before she met his father.
'you have another nephew, Smoke. My elder brother.' Throttle gave her information, hoping for more.
'I am afraid that you and your lady are the only ones allowed to be here present time. Lady Athenry will not allow any other strangers, here, at Hell Raiser.'
'May I know your name, aunt to Throttle Thornboy?' He spoke softly to her, 'For it is rude for a lady not to introduce herself.'
'how rude of me... I am the Lady Moonshade.'
'Moonshade... This young lady here next to me is my lady love, Carbine Blackruby, daughter to Stoker Blackruby. Both are legendary Generals.'
It was a proper introduction for a good general. 'A general? I'm so sorry... If I had known...' she stammered and made apologies she would have never made
Suddenly, the woman rose to her feet, 'So... this is my nephew... Throttle Thornboy, son of China?' she touched his face, his bangs and took off his glasses, 'Your eyes!' in shock she dropped the glasses.
For a second Throttle was lost. Without his glasses, he couldn't see well, thanks to Karbunkle. His bionical eyes weren't quite finished yet. Carbine helped him, as he searched with her for his glasses, and put them back on his face. He could still see the shock in his newly found niece' eyes.
'That's war, Lady Moonshade.' She slowly nodded, didn't understand. She had never seen war. Or had she?
'Come...' she took his hands, 'you too, Lady Blackruby, come.' She entered the corridor, 'we must be quick.'
None knew where Throttle's newly found niece led them to, but whatever it was, it was something secret and hidden. As she led them to a large hall with paintings and tapestries on the wall and large drapes, she pulled back a small statue on a column. A wall opened. As if she knew the way around, she picked up her many dresses she wore and disappeared into the darkness, 'follow me.'
When all three had entered, she pressed something else and the wall closed. For a few seconds panic struck, as they stood in perfect dark. Then, she made fire with two flints. A torch lit in the dark and with the heavy item, she went onwards to show them the way.
After many turns and stairs, they entered another room.
'These are the private chambers of Lady Athenry...' Moonshade whispered, 'you can have your own private audience with her here...'
'You don't need to introduce them to us, Moonshade. Bring them in, please.' Fragile, old and weak. Throttle knew exactly with who he was dealing, his grandmother, mother to all of the living royal family. Carbine slid behind him as her worst fear came to life: to loose total control.
The old woman smiled as she saw Throttle approaching, 'do you know... who China was?'
'She was a Mouse of Hell Raiser and had a high status amongst your people.' Throttle explained to her. Carbine just sat there and listened to them talking, sipping on a drink that Moonshade had give her.
'True...' Lady Athenry smiled at him and stroke his face, 'China indeed had a high status amongst her people. She was a princess of Hell Raiser, fourth in line of the throne, third daughter to prince Wyl.' She pointed at a portrait, across the room, 'that was your mother before she left with this Mouse Axle...' He gazed at the painting, a beautiful woman was painted on it, one he recognized as his mother, but younger.
'I knew that my granddaughter always looked beyond the horizon and was often found at the shores of the lake, gazing beyond the lake to the outside world. When she heard from her father that she was offered in marriage to the general, she run with Axle. I can only guess that she must have loved him.'
'Oh she did...' Throttle smiled at her as he walked over to her again, 'she did. And he loved her.'
Athenry smiled back at him, 'Than I know that her life was good.' She continued to talk, but this time about her own past.
'Long did I live under the rule of my husband, by marital status. He was not of the royal family but an officer,' she begun, 'and now that I am old, I have to live under the rule of my advisors. All wanted to remain Hell Raiser Isle in total isolation, hidden from the outside world.' She took a deep breath and allowed her young niece to take place at her side, 'the time has come to take stand in this ever changing world, torn apart in war. Now is the time to sent forth an army. Not for Hell Raiser nor her Empress, but for Mars.'
Lady Moonshade left her aunt's side and disappeared from the room, probably by the same way.
'You must understand, Throttle Thornboy, son of China,' she pulled him in by a small hand and stroke his face, 'Just like your mother... you have her features, her fur...'
Lady Athenry continued talking, but now about Hell Raiser itself. How it was that the realm was still isolated. That she had little power left and only had a ceremonial status now. That the true power behind her was a general who was more eager to let Hell Raiser remain isolated. And her fear.
'Who will come to the aid of Hell Raiser, as Hell Raiser didn't came to the aid of those in need in the war against the Plutarkians?'
'No one. Unless you can come to the aid of Aerynn?' Carbine suggested, picking up the general inside her.
'A remarkable young lady, you have at your side. Women from Hell Raiser never mix in the business of men.' Athenry stroke the bangs out of Carbine's face and gaze into her eyes, 'a scar...'
'From the battlefield, milady.'
'What brings me to something else... the Catatonian Troops are at your doorsteps within two days. Please grandmother, sent forth your army to defeat them.'
Again she smiled, life didn't bother her that much anymore. Soon, death would claim her and the living would no longer be interested in her, only to forget her; a women should never rule a land was the believe of the people of Hell Raiser.
'I can't sent forth an army. My power is limited.' The woman said and turned her gaze to the secret door again. Lady Moonshade entered the room once more.
'Lady Athenry, my battalions are ready to take their leave.' She spoke soft, 'and so are the battalions of Nightfall, Flower and Tree.'
'You hear that?' Athenry glanced at her newfound grandson, 'And the best is... you may lead them.'
Carbine already had visionaries of Mice with ancient weaponry and no technology. Lady Athenry came from the bed she sat on and rested on Throttle for support, 'lead us, Moonshade.' The woman nodded and left the room, as she guided them through another series of tunnels to a place amongst the walls of a large canyon.
'A crater!' Carbine whispered, 'from a dead volcano.' Athenry nodded and pointed to a large group of Mice fifty metres below, at the bottom. Two battalions were already formed and one other arrived just now. But there was one thing that both Mice got them dumbstruck:
Stunts had a hard time of saving his own tail as he threw grenades, two Catatonian claw bines exploded on impact. The debris flew past his ears, a metal shard embedded itself in his right upper leg when he performed his next stunt. As he lost control due to the pain he impacted on the Martian sands and remained there, a little dizzy.
Spark was right behind him, destroying several claw bines and killing Catatonians on the way, reckless for the outsider, overprotective towards the ever dizzy mouse. 'Up your feet.' He growled as he picked an unconscious Stunts from the ground and placed him over the hood of his motorcycle and drove off. Stunts' motorcycle followed immediately, thanks to the AI system.
Vinnie - the idiotic mouse - covered for them. Spark cursed the white fur bal as he destroyed everything on his path to cover his friends. Friends. Spark would never be friends with that white fur ball. He was worried about one thing: that big lug, Modo Maverick, was unpredictable since two days. Right now, he saw the huge Mouse in a fight with several Catatonians, risking his own life to defeat them. Not to safe other Mice, but for revenge. His nephew had died in Aerynn, along with Rimfire's fiancÃ©e.
Kickstart smiled wide, the plan was going well. The mobile Catatonian base - a tank like construction with tracks with room for one division - was going to be destroyed by an explosive device he and Charley had came up with. Centreline was going to deliver it. CarmÃn and Caith covered him as they took the heat of the battle. Driving along the explosions and shooting Catatonians they acted as if they were the ones who wanted them dead, while Centreline was happy driving towards the tank unseen and placed it on the weakest part of the tank: the entrance door. When Centreline was out of the picture - before the Catatonians spotted him - Kick-start pressed the button of his remote control and the tank exploded. Stoker, Harley and Charley cheered, it worked! Without the mobile base the Catatonians lost their way of communication and their leader. The battle would be won soon now! Scabbard sat on the ground, enjoying the view with his lady Nightingale.
'Too bad that Throttle and Carbine can't see this all...' Vinnie exclaimed when he got back. Modo just sat there, his face hidden in his hands as Charley tried to comfort him. She tried to avoid Vinnie's questions about Throttle's whereabouts. Throttle had gone missing along with Carbine and Charley was the only one who probably knew where both had gone to.
Life went on, as life always did.
A Catatonian reported to his senior officer, 'The scouts have been wiped out, sir.'
Cataclysm smacked him, and as the Catatonian hit the wall, his skull cracked on impact.
'Sent forth the 45th squadron!'
Without response, the 45th squadron was set in motion, accompanied with two tanks, the squadron moved to the battlefield. Cataclysm could already taste victory. The army of Stoker and Scabbard would move slow, the remains of the 600 mice had no motorcycles or dune buggies or whatever transportation.
'Their back!' Harley drew lasers as she saw dust in the distance and concentrated on the forthcoming battle.
'Catatonians or Throttle?' Vinnie asked, hoping that it was his friend approaching. His bike definitely needed oil and fuel, like he needed some rest. And Stunts was still out cold while the overprotective Spark had a hard time allowing Harley near him to tend his wounds.
Their worries grew as more Catatonian troops came from over the hills, the dust revealed more troops hidden behind the hills.
'Take positions!' Scabbard yelled to his men, as Nightingale and Murthag took stand with their own troops. This was no longer biker mice style, but army style, and Stoker had to agree that he had no plans right now.
Several explosions sounded and two other mobile bases were destroyed.
Dumbstruck Scabbard turned around, for as far as he knew, nor he nor his wife nor Stoker had given the order to fire, and roared, 'May I know who fired?' The one who did would answer several questions about loyalty and discipline and would be punished severely.
No one answered.
'Well? The sooner you'll answer, the better it is for you and your platoon.'
Still no mouse squeaked.
He looked at the air in despair, how on Mars was he going to punish them all?
'Sorry dad.' All eyes were glued on his son who felt like a rabbit in a pack of wolves.
'hmpf... dishwashing for the rest of the week.' Everybody breathed again and Scabbard gave them the signal to charge.
'Things are looking bad for Scabbard and Stoker.' Carbine lowered the binoculars, 'Right now, they can make a stand, but if your hunch is right and more troops will hide behind the hills, they are lost.'
Throttle nodded and shared his fears with two senior officers, 'go to your troops and await my command.'
One raised a brow, 'Sir, I don't think that our men are willing to follow you in battle for Mice they have never met.'
Throttle smiled at him, 'I know what I'm doing.'
'They follow your orders. But in their hearts they will fight for Hell Raiser Isle alone. Mars has never came to their aid. Many believe that they are doing the wrong thing.'
Carbine nodded, 'So did we, when we defended the shores of Hell Raiser at his request.' She pointed at Throttle, 'we were near and defended you against the Plutarkians. I was still in the army back then, he a Freedom Fighter...' memories flooded her mind but wiped them away as easily as an insect from her visor, 'when Hell Raiser sent out scouts, we already had won the battle.'
The senior officer nodded, 'I was one of those scouts back then. I trust what you are doing.' With that little bit of conformation the two young leaders took stand. Carbine at Throttle's side.
Throttle oversaw the crowd. It had taken him days to lead them to this exact location, when he found out that Stoker wasn't at Brimstone yet.
'Rise now! Rise now riders of Hell Raiser!' he roared with a voice that reached the far end of the entire crowd, 'soil shall be shaken! Bikes shall be splintered! A day of Guns, a red day! Ere the sun rises!' he took a deep breath and continued his speech to instigate the crowd in front of him.
'Ride now!' he roared a she drove up and down before the line of Hell Raiser Mice, 'Ride now! Ride! Ride for ruin! And the worlds ending!'
Suddenly he stopped in the middle and pumped the sky with his arm, 'Death!....Death!' The crowd answered with the same roar when Throttle roared again, 'Death!'
'Forth ARES!' He roared above the crowds roar and drove forward with high speed. The Hell Raiser Mice followed him with chilling roars and their guns ready for use. This was indeed the worlds ending!
The catatonians formed ranks under the lead of Cataclysm and his threatening words of injustice and hatred. All were ready to fire at the Hell Raiser Mice. They awaited the first command. Hundreds of Mice drove towards them, to run them over, to kill them.
'fire!' Cataclysm roared with confidence, now these pests would turn tail!
All fired and several Mice in the front of the line were killed at once, others fell wounded and were overrun by their brothers and sisters.
But they didn't stop.
Cataclysm grew afraid when he noticed the look upon Throttle's face. Pure love for his friends and pure anger towards the invaders of Mars. This was truly the worlds ending! Throttle wasn't about to hold back! And so was his army!
'fire at will!' Cataclysm roared in fear, but the Mice from hell Raiser kept speeding onward. Within seconds, they drove into the crowd, running Catatonians over as they drove onwards. Ploughing in bodies and machinery, swarming over the two tanks as if they were a bunch of insects - according to Cataclysm they were. Those who survived the first charge were killed by hand or gun instantly.
One of the two tanks came back to life again and made it's way for Carbine. Throttle hardly noticed, as Carbine did. From out of nowhere, a beige mouse on a black motorcycle made it's way to the centre of the crowd, to the tank and landed on top of it. The remainders of the Catatonians tried to destroy the Mouse with no success. He dodged every laser and bullet. Throttle recognized him as Centreline. A pumpkin furred Mouse followed him in and managed to open the tank. Quickly Centreline threw in something and both escaped the tank. Throttle did the same and alerted his troops.
Carbine felt someone yanking her tail; as she looked up she saw the tank only two feet away from her, 'Run!'
She did, like death was upon her doorstep she run, driving her motorcycle to the extreme. Vinnie and Stunts were just beginners compared to her and she stopped when she felt safe again. Carbine squatted as the tank exploded and the metal shards flew past her with dazzling speed and deafening noise. Somehow, she didn't know how, she managed to survive.
Throttle stopped beside her, 'You okay babe?' he quickly inspected her; ten fingers, probably ten toes as well since her boots were still in one piece, her fluffy ears and tail and frightened face.
she slowly nodded, afraid, 'yeah... I guess so... what about our troops?'
Throttle ordered his motorcycle to count the troops, 'their still alive. Athenry and Moonshade must have had good generals, their well trained and more disciplined than Scabbards troops.'
'Or Stokers...' she smiled soft at him, 'I'm glad your still alive.' Throttle kissed her in conformation.
The battle was short, but fierce. And no way he was letting his guard slip now the battle was won.
Stoker caught his attention immediately, 'Who are these guys?' Throttle had to admit that the Hell Raiser Mice all wore uniforms similar to the Military a long time ago.
'Lady Athenry, Empress of Hell Raiser, and the lady Moonshade, princess of Hell Raiser, offered him this army. They hope with this gesture for an alliance between Mars and Hell Raiser.' Throttle said him calm as the two senior officers came stand by him.
Scabbard and Stoker looked at each other, 'That must mean he is either from Hell Raiser or a long lost relative from that royal family?'
'I am just Throttle... no one else.' Throttle said, 'Stoker... how's life?'
'Well... we were kinda dying before you showed up.' Was the reply he got, 'got any medics? We need them.'
Everyone came back to life as usual. Just one small battle and already Throttle knew that with Hell Raiser the war could make a turn for the best. The mice were disciplined, strong willed and ready to die for their world - that just got a little bigger. They were also afraid, what to do and how to act if you came into a world you had never seen?
Two other didn't care for the Hell Raiser Mice as they entered the darker parts of the city named Brimstone.
'hahahaha!' Spark smiled at his younger bro Stunts. The young Mouse with the dizzy gaze was still a Kitten. At least, to Spark's measures, 'Today... I'll make a man out of you!' With his arm around Stunts' shoulder, he trailed off to some darker part of the town. The look in Stunts eyes told him that the poor Kitten didn't know what would happen next, but the grin on Spark's face told Throttle everything.
Just let them be, Throttle thought, let them have their share of fun, before there is no more time and place to have fun.
Brimstone, the city once taken from the Plutarkians, was still free from enemies. But the war had drawn all sorts of Mice to the city. Families who sought protection, people who wanted to join the FFA, and a darker kind of Mice. The criminals, the prostitutes and even Rats. Right now, Spark and Stunts trotted to that darker part of town.
'Hey pretty Mouse... Wanna have some fun?' A woman's hand touched Stunts chest, 'You look like a pretty handsome guy to me...' she licked her lips tempting and continued to trail her hands to his crotch.
'Not interested.' Grunted Spark as he shove the woman out of his way. Stunts almost tripped over his feet as he walked passed by her.
'Brute.' She sneered, but Spark was already forgotten as she turned to a new potential client.
So they continued through several streets, until they came to an odd place. From all of the houses in these streets, only this one still seemed to be standing upright and had decent doors.
'Milady Kala will not see anyone today.' A dark clothed Mouse said to them, 'Can I take a message?'
'Tell her Spark has come by.'
'Spark? Oh my...' the Mouse talked like he had no more balls nor a penis, squeaking all the time like a woman, 'Milady Kala must have some time for you I think.' He opened the doors and let the two enter, as he continued to stand guard. The girls inside the house, were priceless and the Mouse knew.
Spark smiled when he saw Milady Kala. Not your average prostitute as she was dressed decent and dignified, her hair knotted in the way that was fashion nowadays.
'Milady Kala!' he said with roaring voice, 'My beautiful Lady Kala.' Kissed her hand polite and smiled once again at her. Stunts remained behind him, a bit insecure of himself.
'My dear Spark.' She let out a small giggle when he kissed her hand, 'Still a gentlemouse, aren't you?'
'Only for you.'
'I won't marry you, if that's what you mean. Dirty Mouse.'
'That's not what I imply, Milady. My friend Stunts over here, saved the day for us all last night. And what better price does he deserve when the prices are with you, Milady Kala?'
'Flattering will get you nowhere, but since he saved our city... Give me every detail, and you... you may pick the sweetest girl there is for your friend. A day and a night, just for him, our saviour!'
How and why Spark and Kala got to know each other, is still unknown to Martian History. But Milady Kala was respected and always provided Spark with enough information and plenty of rest. Spark grinned wide, 'Thank you, Milady Kala.'
She clapped her hands and several barely dressed young women and men appeared from behind a voile curtain.
With experienced eye he overlooked them all, their shapes and figures, their insecurity and their vulnerability. He knew that the ones staring him in the eyes were the ones with diseases and the ones who looked down, where beginners. Finally, after what seemed hours, he tapped a young girl on the shoulder, 'she will be just fine.' A young red furred and haired woman stepped forward, not even looking him in the eye. But her appearance told him she had been through some experience. Trying to make a living by selling her body.
'Well?' Spark gestured to his younger bro' to come forward, 'she will teach you... she'll make you a man.' He smiled at the two, sweet if you didn't know that she was a prostitute.
Stunts gazed at the room. Hardly any decorations in the small room, just a large bed with clean sheets and pillows. The red beauty sat down on the bed, her legs spread and gestured with her tail to come forward. What to do with this beauty? Stunts was a bit lost for words and didn't know what to do or how to act.
She wrapped her tail around his wrist, 'shy?' a devious smile carved on her face, 'Don't be shy...'
Stunts reluctantly stepped forward, 'what am I supposed to do here?' he wondered out loud, drawing giggles from her, 'nothing, my saviour. Just lay back and enjoy the ride.' She said as she fiddled with his belt and looked up to him. He for sure was going to be fun, no reactions, just one big ride. And she'd be able to do everything with him she wanted...
Spark was just worried, what if Stunts made a fool of himself, like he used to do? Or wanted a man? Or...
'Sit back, or go and see Leila.' Milady Kala said agitated, 'she's free for tonight, but always has some spare time for you.'
He shook his head, 'What if Stunts...' Oh what the heck! Stood up and left for Leila, his favourite. He knew he was a fool, but promised himself that he'd marry her if this war would be over and settle with her...
Still flabbergasted he gazed at her as she let the voile dress slip of her shoulders. Naked to the fur she stood in front of him, naked to the fur as well. Her soft hands ran over his shoulders, down his arms to his abdomen and his phallus.
'Never seen a woman...' she whispered to herself as she kneeled and started a blow job. Stunts got the picture now, she was here to fuck him...
'Stop.' He said out of breath, 'just stop!'
'why? You want something else? Something more edgy?' Stunts shook his head, 'what!?'
He swallowed, why did he make her stop? 'I...'
'You're just shy... come and forget about tomorrow...' she wanted to start all over again, as he stopped her and cupped her in his arms and lay her on the bed.
'Just let me sleep, please?' and rested his head on her shoulder. Soon he was off to lala-land; flabbergasted as she was she just let him sleep. Gently she cleaned him and herself and got to sleep herself. For the first time in her life as a prostitute, she slept at night.
'what's your name?' Stunts asked her as soon as she was awake. He was dressed again. How did he do that without her knowing? Smiling he stroke her face, 'well?'
'I don't have a name worth to remember. But if you insist.' She giggled girlishly, 'Lullaby.'
'You are a lullaby.' He yawned and gave her a forgiving look, 'come with me.'
'I can't...' she said in sorrow, 'I am bound to this place... But I'll wait for you.' The common lie she gave every man who wanted to set her free. Something told her that Stunts wouldn't let it be.
'One day I come and set you free.'