Notes: Takes place at same time as 32.

Rimfire looked up as the ship landed, smirking at the man getting off it first.  "Hey," he said, hugging him.  "Throttle and Xander are back.  Finally."

"Where did they go?  I know they went to the West Coast and all.  What kept them the extra week?"

"Sturgis.  It's a huge Harley festival and rally," Dawn said with a grin, getting her own hug.  "No kids?"

"Nope, no kids.  Not on this trip."  He got out of the way, letting the others get off.  "Any word on the future punk?"

"She's due within a few weeks," Dawn reminded him.  She showed him a picture.  "Since you weren't here for graduation," she teased.

"You look happy," he said, grinning at it before handing it back.  "Okay, we're sure where he is?"  Rimfire nodded. "Absolutely positive?"  Dawn nodded.  "Then we can go once everyone is off.  This is a pretty bold plan."

"He went and threatened my sister," Dawn snorted.  "She let Fred kick his butt.  He ran back to his limo crying in misery because little, shy, nice Fred kicked his butt."

"Fred's shy?" Stoker asked.  Dawn nodded.  "Wow.  She seemed kinda blunt to me."

"Only if she knows you pretty well.  Vinnie bragged about you a few times so you were put into the category of friend fairly quickly."  She waved at the others coming off the ship.  "Hey."

"My, Rimfire, she's a beautiful girl," one mouse told him, kissing him on the cheek.  "You chose for beauty and brains?"

"Yeah, he did," she said dryly, holding out a hand.  "Dawn Summers."  The councilwoman shook it.  "Oh, hey, Stoker, catch," she said, tossing over two textbooks.  "Hide the other one with Willow. Maybe she can help make it rain now and then."  She grinned at the woman who had kissed Rimfire.  "Were you his trainer?"

"In some things," she admitted, smiling at her.  "In some things he trained us, mostly in patience."

"There are still some who blame him for a lot of Freedom Fighters not having kids," Stoker said dryly, handing the books to one of the other men.  "The filtering one I forgot and one for that new temple of the M'dreth and that spirit."

He looked through it.  "Interesting.  I'll hand our engineers this one tonight."  He put them into the back case on his touring bike.  "Are we nearly ready?"  Dawn nodded.  "How far is it, child?"

"I'm a Dawn and not that young," she said dryly.  "It's about two miles.  All street, well paved at that.  No one's dug up anything around there yet.  The bug Micah put in there said he's gloating over being named acting High Chairman because he's the last of the greater lines."  She looked over as Enamel joined them.  "We got a plan for the clones?"

"Yeah," he admitted, handing over a syringe.  "He's not immune to the flu.  I saw one of them breaking down because he had it.  That's a live-virus dose of the vaccine.  It should be more than enough and it's spreadable."  She nodded, tucking it into her bra.  "Need me?"

"No, we're good, but Throttle and Xander just got back," Rimfire assured him, smirking at him.  "Besides, you have to be ready to get there for the baby."

"Yeah, it'll come now that Xander's back.  He'll know who to go to for spoiling stuff fairly quickly," Dawn agreed.  Stoker chuckled and nodded.  "Oh, Stoker, did you get to see the pool?"

"Just through a small viewing area.  It was pretty dim."

"He's opening it tomorrow so you can come look."  She winked.  "I'm told I'm not allowed to bring any smelly girl stuff near it.  It's all for minerals and stuff."

"He has a thermal spring down here?  I didn't know there were any in Chicago," one of the men coming off the ship said.

"No, Xander made him one," Dawn said smugly.  "Then Xander took Throttle to San Francisco and rode back through Sturgis.  They just got back," she offered at his moan.  "They're probably in with Vinnie right now."  She looked around. "We all here?"

"But one who couldn't come," Stoker admitted.  He counted tails then nodded. "Let's head, kids."  Dawn got on the back of Rimfire's bike.  "Where's yours?"

"Not armed," she reminded him.  "For things like this, I ride behind him."  They pulled out and Stoker pulled out beside them. "Besides, how else do I get good cuddles?"

"I said I'd ride behind you now and then," Rimfire reminded her. "You're not nearly as bad as my sister and I helped pick out your bike.  I like her."

"Me too, but she still needs to have guns and stuff put on."  She kissed the back of his neck, making him shiver.  "Let's go threaten the bad guys so I can have cuddles."

"I like that you're very goal oriented," Rimfire teased.  He heard a piece of gun be unwrapped and started on, and some light music started.  "What is it with you and Xander and music during assaults?"

"We get easily distracted by the sound of gunshots.  This way I can ignore them.  I do the same thing with major pain."

"Sure," he agreed.  "Just no gum in the fur, please."

"I'd get it out," she complained, swatting him gently.  "Go left, there's an accident ahead."

He nodded and switched them to the next block over.  They'd be able to get to the headquarters just as easily.   Actually, he saw the big set of windows and pointed at them for Stoker's benefit, nodding.  Stoker blew the windows in and the bikes rushed in, arranging themselves facing the desk in a pretty arc formation. "The Council of Mars wanted to have a word with you," Rimfire told him.

The head of the Council, Carbine, moved forward slightly.  "You're a pitiful species now, Marshal Limburger.  Your people are dying.  Your whole species is dying."  She sneered at him when he opened his mouth.  "We'll give you one chance to save your pitiful hides.  Not that we want to, but we're better people than you'll ever be."

Dawn snapped her gum and smirked at him.  "So we've designed an evacuation plan for your remaining people on this and every other planet, including Plutark.  You've got enough ships to take everyone."

Stoker nodded.  "More than actually.  Then again, if you don't take it, you'll be wiped off the planet and all we'll have to do is sit back and laugh."

Carbine raised a hand.  "Some of us won't laugh, Stoker.  Some of us will howl and roll around on the floor at the sight of the former conquerors being decimated by their own stupidity.  By the arrogance of this one young Plutarkian boy who wouldn't take a warning."  She sneered at him again.  "So, take your people and head off," she said, flipping a disc at him.  "This is your safe passage all the way to Octet 4."

"But..." he started.  "That's a dead world."

"The humans call that Karma, babe," Dawn told him.  "Payback if you're not that literate."  She smirked at him then looked over as the door opened.  "Goons and look, a Karbunkle clone."  She slid off the back of the bike, strolling over there.  She pulled the needle out and stuck it in his neck brutally.  "There, karma for what you did to my bros," she sneered.  "I hope it hurts when you bubble up and burst."  She kicked him, then glared as Greasepit tried to rush her.  She sidestepped his rush and then backhanded him, sending him to the floor.  She kicked him, then got him in the cheek with her delicate, pointy-toed high heeled boot.  He screamed but she stepped back, waving him on.  "Get up if you want.  I can give you more."  He sat there and cried.  "You don't deserve a touch of Xander, Greasepit.  He's worth more than fifty of you."  She looked at Karbunkle, then backhanded the shaking clone.  "You too."  She blew on her knuckles on the way back to Rimfire's bike.

"Rimfire, I like your choice more and more," a male council member told him, smiling at Dawn.  "Are you joining us when you come up?"

She nodded.  "When we've finished our education and we come up, I'm going to insist that I'm working with him.  Either in the intelligence field or as a Freedom Fighter, sir."

"Stoker, start training her," the guy ordered.  He looked at Limburger.  "Touch the button, son, I dare you.  There's twelve bikes here to take you down."

Carbine nodded, popping out her blaster.  "Plus twelve mice and a human girl.  You have forty-eight hours to evacuate this planet and every other one, Limburger.  We can transport the Bringers to find the others and will.  The enemy of our enemy and all that.  After all, Dawn's sister and that Xander mouse defeated many more Bringers than what are currently on Plutark."

"They actually went in to where the Bringers live and fought them," Dawn agreed.  "Fortunately I didn't have to walk into hell that time."  Limburger shuddered.  "Forty- eight hours, sparky, or you'll be very dead.  The associated Martian Council and us humans who know about you are gonna get pushy on this point.  As Robin Williams said, take your pimp shoes and go."

He looked at the bikes and knew he didn't have an alternative.  "I can't move them that fast."

"Projections state that your species will be dead within six days," the female council member who had kissed Rimfire on the cheek noted. "There's not enough of you on other worlds to keep your species going.  We're more than willing to enforce a quarantine around your planet today, which would mean you're all staying there."  He shuddered.  "Most of us would want to do that I might add.  Some of us do have a shred of ethics left though.  Even those of us who lost most of it in the war have *some* left.  Therefore we're giving you two days to get whoever you can off that planet.  Then we're enforcing a quarantine.  After all, they won't eat mice."

"We're not sure why they like you so much," Stoker said bitterly.  "But it doesn't make us unhappy.  In two days, Mars is launching a quarantine offensive.  If you're not off the planet, you'll be dead."  He looked around.  "So says the Martian Council?"

"So say we all," Carbine stated firmly, still sneering at him.  "Your choice of course."

"Octet four is a dead world!" he complained.

"As you made it," she agreed blandly, smirking now.  "Reap what you sow, Limburger.  Remember this in the future."  He backed his chair away.  "We will be watching.  We'll be here actually.  In the city, hidden, watching you."

"In other words, pack your shit and get out," Rimfire told him.  "But, of course, if you have any slaves left, we want them, their bikes, and your computer files so we can fix what people like Karbunkle did."

"Speaking of, Stoker, Meg and Oz cracked the code on the one we found," Dawn told him.  "Modo's mother's been checking through it."  He nodded, smirking at her.

"You found one of their mainframes?" Carbine asked, looking at her.

"Xander went salvaging at the old tower.  They found Karbunkle's system in working order, all it needed was a cord and the code broken.  Meg and Oz worked on it."

"I was bringing it home my next trip," Stoker told her.  He looked at them.  "Anything good?"

"Yeah, he's got about five slaves and about seven bikes worth of parts around here somewhere."  Everyone stared at Limburger, who was whimpering in the corner.

"We want them now," Carbine said calmly. "Even if they're hurt, we can fix them."

"Even the programmed ones," the other female ordered coldly.  "I can help fix them with Shell's help.  She helped me after all."

"Anything, just save us," Limburger pleaded.  He hit a button on his desk.  "Bring the mice and their bikes up here immediately.  They're being handed over."  He let it go, looking at them.  "As a show of good faith."

"You have your exit strategy," Rimfire told him.

"If you use it, some of you will live," Dawn finished.

"Be lucky you got that much," Carbine sneered.  The door opened and slaves were brought in by their collars by the remaining goons.  The bikes were walked in or carried in in boxes.  She hissed, shaking her head.  "Zoom, Excelsior, Overthruster, take the parts.  We'll work on them back on Mars.  The rest of you grab the poor ones and we'll bring those who aren't riding back."  She glared at Limburger.  "The time started ticking when we entered.  Time's wasting and your people are dying."  He started hitting buttons, calling his people to make moves.  "We do mean all of them."

"Any left on this planet will be picked up and handed to the government," Dawn told him. "My boss said he'd gladly hand them to the Martians for trial and probable execution."  He looked horrified.  "As you'll face if you're not on that ship in about," she looked at her watch, "forty-seven and a half hours."  She looked at him.  "Otherwise, we'll be back."  He nodded, sweating now.  "Let's go, Rimfire, the stench is turning m stomach."

"Sure, Dawnie."  He looked at the one slave standing there staring at him.  "Need a lift?"

"I'm dangerous."

"So was I," the other female assured him, grabbing him with her tail.  "We can help fix you, son.  We have the capabilities now."  They turned in a fancy military maneuver, heading out through the wall instead of the already broken windows.

Limburger looked at the disc, then called his home world.  "I've just been ordered by the Martian Council to leave this and all other planets.  They're giving us forty-eight hours to leave Plutark and every other planet or else they're going to hold a firm quarantine over the planet.  Their projections state we have six days of life left."  The remaining council looked upset.  "Load everyone, we're going to Octet 4.  If we deviate, they'll blow us up.  We'll start over from there."  They nodded.  "They have said that if any remain on this planet or any other planet that Mars can contact, they'll be tried and put to death.  Probably on Mars for war crimes."

"Understood, High Chairman," one of them agreed.  "How long?"

"Just under forty-seven hours.  They gave us forty-eight when they broke in and it's been about half an hour.  That gives us a small safety cushion."   He straightened himself out, taking off his mask.  "I'm leaving now and will join you in space."

"Very well. At least this will save some of us and we can work in an unused direction."  He signed off.

Limburger looked at his goons.  "We're leaving.  We're leaving now.  Pack everything that doesn't belong here, leaving the computer setups and anything Martian, and let's go to the stench carrier.  Those who want to stay, go."  They ran out through the broken windows.  "Fine.  Greasepit?"  He whimpered.  "Let's go."

"Yes, Mr. Limburger sir.  What about the doc?"

"They injected him with some chemical weapon.  He'll be dead soon.  Besides, there's other mad scientists in the galaxies.  They're relatively cheap."  He walked out after his minion, going to pack his personal belongings.


Micah looked up as Rimfire and Dawn led Carbine and Stoker up the stairs.  "I heard.  Good job.  He did leave already."

"Good, one less smelly thing stinking up my city," Dawn said dryly.  "How's the baby?"

"Vinnie called a few minutes ago over the vid link and he's fairly cute," he admitted, showing her the picture he had saved down.  "There."

"Oooh!  A little tiny pudgy tail and furless," she cooed.

Rimfire shook his head, looking at Carbine.  "What is it about girls and babies?"

"They're cute," she sighed. "I was like that once too."  She patted him on the back.  "Can we bargain with the leftover technology with you?"

"Sure.  I've already been authorized to give you weapons, building supplies, grain supplies, or food beasts in equal trade," Micah promised.  "The president was most impressed that you took that preemptive action."  Dawn snorted.  "You, behave.  You do have a higher chain of authority because I do."

"You're my boss.  As far as I'm concerned, you head my chain of authority.  Anyone else can go through you as their high priest."  She shrugged, grinning at Carbine.  "The president asked me if I had an abortion when he was told I was on medical leave."

"She threatened him," Micah said grimly, shaking his head.

"I'd have done more than threaten," Carbine noted.

"We didn't bike over," Dawn said with a small shrug.  She looked at Micah.  "So, the *whole* council is here, bossman.  Where's a good place to stick them and have the meeting?"

"I've got a spot," he admitted.  "Let me get Lorne and Max.  I'll be there tonight once I get the lists of what we have and can get."  Stoker nodded at that.  "By the way, Vinnie was trying to call you but Switch told him you were heading down here."

"We should be back within a few days," Stoker said dryly.  "Old warriors never take long to fight over anything."

"Almost all the council is Freedom Fighters," Rimfire agreed.  "I'm impressed."

"Me too," Carbine agreed.  "It's a nice change too."  She looked at the picture and smirked.  "He looks just like Vincent as a baby.  He's got a baby picture in his wallet that makes others laugh."

Micah smiled.  "He is very cute."  He stood up.  "Max, Lorne?"  Their heads popped up.  "Take these nice mice to the safehouse.  We're holding a negotiation session.  Send Meg and Oz to the building to see what's left there so we know what we've got."

"Yes, sir," Max called, making that call then coming up to walk them back to the door so they could head.  "Did you guys fly?"

"Yes, and I'm driving so they don't crash," Carbine assured her.  "I don't know why Martian men can't land, but it's pitiful."

Max grinned at her.  "Down here, they say the same thing about women drivers."

"Remember, you're the exception to the rule," Lorne taunted.  Dawn pinched him. "Ow!  Be more nice to me or I won't help you with your unarmed combat."  He looked at her outfit.  "Heels?"

"I broke Greasepit's cheek," she said proudly, grinning up at him. "I like my heels.  I'm to the point where I can start learning how to fight in them, even if Throttle doesn't like it."

"Fine," he agreed. "Every woman has to make that decision for herself."  He looked at Rimfire.  "You look comfortable."

"Yeah, Xander made me buy more than two outfits," he admitted.  "Said it was necessary."  He shrugged, plucking at his t-shirt.  "She got me this one.  I let her do any and all shopping, it makes her happy."

"Good idea," Carbine agreed.  "She has good taste."  She stole Dawn to walk with her.  "Let's talk about your training, young lady.  Once you've learned the human styles, we'll have to teach you Martian ways of fighting."

"Cool."  She grinned at her. "Can I have some gloves like Throttle?"

"If you can find any," she offered.  "We'll see."  They headed back to the ship, letting Max give them directions on where to go.

Dawn looked around the farm. "Hey, this is where the nightmare was," she complained.

"We raided it and took it over," Lorne promised.  He glanced at Rimfire, who was growling.  "We cleaned it too.  Remember, that was a nightmare."

"Yeah, mine," he said grimly, pulling Dawn to him to kiss her hard. "Mine, all mine," he reminded her.

"Well, he's certainly got Throttle's style with women," Carbine sighed, shaking her head.  "Possessive."  Stoker chuckled at that, and the rest of the Council just laughed as they walked past them. "Rimfire, not now.  We have work to do.  Besides, she can't have a baby this year, she's got too much training to go through."

"We found a method of birth control that works," Max told her.  "It's an IUD device.  It basically irritates the womb so no babies can be carried."

"Yes!" Stoker shouted, looking up.  "Thank you, Mars!  Three is enough!"

The councilors who heard laughed, having to lean on each other.  Stoker's kids were going to be legends, but they were rather annoying at times.

Lorne looked at them. "Let me guess, Anya's been sucking up to you?" he asked with a small grin.

"Spike growls at everyone.  He'll be a fierce fighter, but he's one surly baby," Carbine told him, walking them inside the barn, which led to the house.  "Interesting."

"Yeah, we thought so too.  These guys were selling weapons on the black market.   They're the ones who Xander got the grenade launchers off of indirectly."

"Interesting.  He's been working on designing things for us," Carbine told him.  "He had a very nice housing one done.  Plus one for the bike plant."

"Who is Xander?" one of the councilmen asked.

"Throttle's boy," Stoker told him.  "White mouse.  Vincent adopted.  Changed from a human?"

"Oh, him," he said, nodding.  "I'd like to meet this mouse.  He sounds very interesting and my son said nothing but good things in my book about him during that rescue."

"I'm impressed that he left your son living," Stoker told him.  "The boy insulted him to his face."

"So am I, that's why I'm impressed," he agreed, grinning at him.  "His mother took a strap to him for that, Stoker.  He's very sorry," he assured him.

"Good.  He should be.  He even pissed off Modo."

"That's saying something," Carbine agreed.  She looked around. "I like this."

"Yeah, it's tastefully decorated," Lorne agreed.  He smiled as a rumpled Dawn and Rimfire joined them.  "You two done for now?"  They nodded.  "Good.  Go find Max, get the lists, and help everyone settle in."

"We're not formal, we'll sleep nearly anywhere," one of the men noted, flopping down onto a couch.  "This smells like someone was rutting."

"Yeah, they did that here too," Dawn said grimly, glancing at Rimfire, who was growling again. "Oh, quit!" she said, swatting him on the arm. "I'm sore!"

"Sorry," he said, pulling her closer to nuzzle.  "Just making sure you know you're mine."

"Of course I am.  Who else cuddles me during wind storms?"  She kissed him gently.  "Let's go to work, Rimmy, then we can cuddle more."  He nodded, heading off to follow Lorne's orders.  She sighed and shook her head, following along behind him.

The adults waited until they were gone to laugh.  That was so bad!


Stoker strolled up the ramp to the lounge area, smirking at them.  "Someone looks cozy," he taunted, smirking at Vinnie.  Who only grinned and held out his son.  "You're furless," he said in greeting, looking at him.  The baby let out a loud, smelly fart.  "And just like your daddy too."  He handed him back.  "Sorry, we had a small negotiation to do."  He sat down next to him.  "How would you like to come back to Mars?"

"For good?" Vinnie asked, thinking quickly.  "Uah, well, I don't know.  I know I want to, but Dawn's got a life down here and Rimfire's still got some training to do, plus Charley's got her life down here."  He looked at his kid, then at Stoker.  "I don't want him to starve."

"I know.  It shouldn't come to that.  That's part of what we were negotiating for."  He grinned at him.  "Not for good.  Not yet.  This city still needs you."

"Yeah, there's still stinkfish."

"Not actually.  They all left for Octet 4. We're enforcing the quarantine around Plutark with some help."  He smirked at him.  "I was talking for a vacation, Van Wham.  You know, bring him home, show him off to the cousins, destroy another club or three?"

"I could stand that," he admitted with a small grin.  "Can we bring everyone?"

"You'd have to if you bring him."  He gave him a nudge.  "You okay?  I know how hard that first week is."

"We're good.  He's sleeping some and he's been letting us all play with him.  He loves to let Staff and Xander play with him most of all though."  He grinned.  "They just sit there and coo while they hold him.  His little ears twitch and he grunts back.  Xander lets him do whatever he wants to on him.  He's even puked all over him and Xander just smiled and nuzzled noses with him."  Stoker chuckled at that.  "Xander would make a great daddy mouse.  Nearly as great as I'll be."

Xander walked past them still listening to his walkman radio. He suddenly grabbed his cellphone and hit a number, smiling in triumph as he headed into the spare room and closed the door.

"I wonder what that's about?" Stoker asked, looking confused.  He looked at Vinnie, who shrugged and patted his son on the back when he snuffled.  "Here, let me."  He took the baby back, laying him on his lap.  The baby stared up at him, sucking on his thumb with his tail curled in his fist.  "He's got a good grab already."

"Yeah," Vinnie agreed, rubbing a spot on his shoulder.  "He'll never drop his blaster."


Xander grinned as the disc jockey they all loved came on.  "Who has the best music in your life?" Sweet Georgie Brown asked happily.

"You do, Georgie, and WBKR," he said happily.  The disc jockey laughed.  "Am I in time for the tickets?"

"You sure are, the last set is going out right now.  What's your name, dude?"


"Really?  'Cause I know Modo.  He sounds a bit more Southern than you do," he taunted.

"Okay, well, I'm winning them for Modo," he admitted.  "I'm a Xander."

"I've heard him talk about you in the past, dude.  You're winning these for Modo?  Why?  They're hot properties."

"We're not on, right?"

"Nah, not yet, there's a four-play of Guns and Noses."

"Cool.  I'm winning them so he can take his girl on their first date.  She's sweet, man, she loves his bike.  She gets up early each and every Saturday to help him polish and wash her.  She even detailed her without Modo hinting that it was needed."

"Whoa," he said in awe.

"Plus, his momma likes her.  She's a sweet lady and he needs somewhere special."

"That's so cool, dude.  I'll make sure we don't announce who won 'em, but I still need your name."

"Xander Harris."

"Cool.  When can you come by to pick 'em up, Xander?  I get off shift in about an hour and you sound kinda cool, like the bros."

"Sure, we can be there then.  Later, dude."  He hung up and bounced out of the room, heading down the stairs.  "Modo, go take a shower, we've got to pick up something I won and you're really sweaty."

Modo gave him a hurt look.  "I'm not."

"You are."  He leaned down to sniff him.  "A gentleman should never smell worse than his date," he said with a grin.

"Throttle might get mad."

"You're only taking me to pick up the tickets, Modo," he promised, raising his right hand.  "I swear, I won't hit on you or anything."

"Sure."  He still looked confused but went to take a shower in the downstairs bathroom next to his nephew's room.  He knew Xander usually had a reason for such things, that's why he wasn't complaining more.  He came out and found his favorite, tightest, jeans waiting on him, no underwear, new socks, new boots, which were really nice and he'd been wanting and thinking about buying, and a tight navy blue t-shirt that belonged to Xander.  "Why am I dressing up?"

"Because you won't have time to later," Xander said from outside the door.  "Don't argue, just do.  Time's wasting and we've got to be there in about forty minutes to pick up what I won."

"Fine," he agreed mildly.  Xander would clue him in soon enough he guessed.  He came out and his bike revved for them, moving to let them climb on.  "Where are we going?"

"To visit Georgie Brown," he said happily.  Modo stared at him.  "He said hi by the way and said to show up when he got off work, which is in thirty minutes, man."

"Okay," he agreed, heading off toward the radio station.  Now he was intrigued.  What had Xander won and why did *he* have to dress up?  They pulled up outside the station with just minutes to spare.  Georgie was handing the show over to his coworker and said he'd see them at the show, especially the special winners.  Xander got off and tugged on his wrist until he followed, making him follow him into the radio station.

"Hey, Modo," the receptionist said with a grin.  "Who's your buddy?"

"This is Xander, he's Throttle's guy."

"Oooh, I know why you're here," she teased.  "Georgie should be done in just a minute, guys.  Sit."  They nodded, Xander dragging him over there while she chuckled at that.  Georgie had said this Xander guy was winning the tickets for the big guy.  They were so cute, Modo obviously liked him.  Plus, Throttle had very good taste, he was a hottie.  She buzzed the break room.  "They're here, Georgie."  She hung up and grinned at them, waiting while the jockey came out with the envelope.

Xander grinned and hugged him.  "We love you at the lair and at the garage, man.  You're one of the great ones."

"Thanks.  I'm assuming you're Xander?"  He beamed and nodded.  "That's kinda cool.  You related to Vinnie?"

"By adoption," he admitted with a grin.  "I turned like this and he adopted me.  We go do fun stuff together.  Is that them?" he asked, taking the envelope like it was a sacred object.

"Yeah, but you've got to sign some forms so we can report the winnings to the IRS."

Xander snorted.  "Not an issue.  I already pay a bunch of taxes each year."  He turned and looked at Modo, who still looked confused.  "There's a concert going on all weekend," he said with a grin.  "The Metal Monsters Tour."  Modo gaped.  He had wanted to go but it had been sold out since ten minutes after the tickets had went on sale. "I just won the last tickets for you and Staff to go on your first date."  The receptionist cooed at that.  "I thought you'd like somewhere really special to take her instead of just Six Flags tomorrow night."  Modo's gape got bigger Xander grinned brighter and winked.  "I have it on good authority that your mother likes her like a future daughter.  That your bros think she's hot and just perfect for you.  That we all wanna see little Modo and Staff babies soon."  He handed over the envelope, again like it was a sacred object.  "Go, the first show starts in two hours.  Like I said, you wouldn't have time to change, big guy."

Modo stared at the envelope, which had his name on them.  "Xander?" he squeaked, looking at him.  "How did you talk to Momma?"

"I called."  He smirked at his buddy.  "I'm sneaky like that.  Remember?"  Modo gave him a crushing hug and hurried out to his bike, those precious tickets going inside his t-shirt so they couldn't go any further than his waistband since he had it tucked in.  Xander grinned at the DJ.  "Forms?"

"You'll need a ride back."

Xander smirked.  "Not an issue.  Dawn's out on her bike and I'll catch one from her."  He pulled out a pen.  "Where do I sign my soul over for his happiness?"

"Man, you're one special mouse," he said in awe.

Xander nodded. "I know.  I took Throttle to Frisco on a plane, then we rode back through Sturgis."  Georgie smiled and nodded, getting him the forms.  "So, how long before I can win something else for his happiness?"

"A month at least, dude.  Where you from?"

"Sunnydale.  The first time I really listened to you was the day you told me about the ghosts.  I still like you though," he admitted with a small grin.

"Thanks, man.  You're special.   I haven't seen the big fella that happy since his mother came down a few months back."

He nodded, filling out the forms.  "She loves his girl.  She's the sweetest, most shy little mechanic you've ever met.  She looks at him and blushes."  Georgie even went 'awww' at that.  He handed the forms back.  "There you go, one soul already delivered.  It was more than worth it to him.  Oh, hey, tomorrow can you play a special song for Vinnie?  About two or so?  Maybe something he's always requesting?"

"Sure, another special occasion?"

"Yeah, his boy'll be a week old then."

"That's definitely a reason to celebrate with some good tunes."  He clapped hands with him then watched him go, shaking his head at the receptionist.  "I never woulda guessed Throttle for likin' boys, but if you've got to like a boy, that's the one to have as yours."  She nodded and he went back to file the paperwork.  He noticed on there that the boy had put that they were a special first date gift and grinned.  Yeah, he was a good friend to them.


Throttle looked up as Xander and Dawn came back, tossing over cans of soda to them from the outdoor fridge in their lounge area.  "Where did Modo take off to?" he asked casually.

"You know the contest Georgie's been running all week?" Xander asked with a smirk.  "I got the last set two and a half hours before the show started."

"Wow," Vinnie said as he came out.  "That's one special first date."

"Yeah, and I had a delivery guy deliver a nice hotel room card for a nearby hotel suite, with two bedrooms I might add, for the entire weekend so they don't have to lose the vibe," he said proudly. "His momma adores her.  Plus I got to meet Georgie in person."

"He's still bouncing," Dawn agreed dryly, sitting down in her favorite lounge chair. "He even made Modo take a shower and get dressed before he knew why they were going."  She popped her soda and took a sip.  "Sit, Xander, before you start to Snoopy dance again."

Xander cackled and broke out dancing, picking up Vic to dance with him.  "Some day I'll teach you how to Snoopy dance too, little mouse.  Yes, I will," he cooed.  The baby gurgled so Xander sat down to cuddle him, getting a very happy baby for it. "I'm good," he said proudly.  "Very, very good."

"We knew that with the mineral spring," Dawn assured him, reaching over to pat him on the arm.  "Hand over the baby."  He was handed over and she settled him in her lap.  "There.  Now you're safe from giant white goofballs until your daddy wants you back."

"I heard that," Vinnie said tolerantly.  "So, what else did you do?"

"I arranged for some nice stuff for tomorrow's birthday."

"He's only a week old," Dawn protested.

"Exactly," Xander agreed happily.  "We'll have cake."

Vinnie grinned. "Thanks, Xander."  He looked at Throttle.  "Stoker wanted us to come home for a vacation."

"That might be nice," he agreed quietly.  "Xander?"

"I'm good but I've got the building opening I have to go to in about two weeks," he reminded him.

"You didn't finish that project," Dawn said patiently.

"As the designer I should go anyway," he said dryly, staring at her.

"We could stand a short vacation," Stoker offered as he joined them.  He took his own rootbeer and sat down, looking at Dawn. "Don't have one of those yet.  Rimfire would never come down from the roof."

"Not a problem," she said patiently.  "I'm not some baby factory, guys. Really."  She got up, handing back the baby so she could head into her room.

"Something I said?" Stoker asked quietly, staring after her.

"Mice go through hormonal birth control," Throttle told him.  "She miscarried recently."

"Damn, I'm sorry," he sighed.

"She says she's fine but she's still grieving," Xander offered.  "It'll be okay soon."  He stole the baby back, grinning at him.  "You and daddy are gonna listen to the radio all day tomorrow, little guy, so you appreciate good music.  Then I'll teach you about other musics too.  You'd probably like Jazz and the Blues."

"I've never seen a depressed white mouse," Vinnie joked.  "I don't want my son to be the first.  No Blues.  Jazz may be fine, but no Blues, no polka, and no country."

"Fine," Xander agreed quickly, grinning at him.  "Just let him listen tomorrow."

"Sure," he agreed, knowing something was going on, but they were celebrating.

Throttle just shook his head.  They needed other stuff for Xander to do before he went insane trying to celebrate and make all these little happy plans.  He'd have to either find him a new bad guy or get him to work on a new project.


Modo looked at the envelope Georgie handed him, looking confused. "What's this?"

"The other part of your special weekend.  I saw a kid putting it on your bike."  He winked and walked off.  "Read the letter."

"Sure."  He opened the envelope, reading the letter inside.  "A nice suite for the sweets this whole weekend.  Two rooms so you can be a gentleman and she can be a lady.  A hundred dollars credit for food so you don't starve because you can't live on staring at her beauty alone," he read, then he grinned, looking at his lady.  "Xander," he said, that explained everything to her.  She and Xander were a lot alike and they both liked to spoil him.

She smiled and giggled, leaning in to give him a gentle kiss on the mouth.  "I'm all for it."  She walked him through the gates, taking him to their great spot.  They had reserved seats right up front.  She could see up the guys' noses. And up one guy's kilt, which made her blush but he comforted her with an arm around her shoulder.  "Modo, since your momma loves me, would you bond with me?" she asked during a song change.  He just stared and she beamed up at him. "Please?  Before I have to get mean and pounce?"

"Um, yeah, sure," he agreed, starting to grin.  Then he pulled her closer to kiss her as hard as he dared, still very gently by Vinnie or Xander's standards.  "You're my lady now," he promised in a throaty whisper.  "We'll call Momma when we get back."  He looked up as the music stopped, finding the MC, Georgie, grinning at him.  "She asked."

"He said your momma loved her."  He winked and introduced the next group over the applause for the new couple.  This was almost as good a weekend for him as it was for Modo and his lady.  He'd have to introduce himself later.


Stoker tapped on Dawn's door, hearing the grunt so he walked in. "Hey.  I'm sorry, kiddo."

"Not an issue, Stoker.  I'm fine."

"I can tell. You wanna talk?"

"Nope."  She looked over her shoulder at him, then went back to reading her book on her stomach.  "I'm fine."

"I'm sure.  What about when they take a short vacation home."

"The city's nearly barren of bad guys," she pointed out dryly.  "Rimfire and I can handle it."  She glanced back again and grinned.  "Besides, then we can club all night without parents getting involved."

"Sure, kiddo," he agreed, coming in to hug her.  "I'll be on comm while they're up there."  He left her alone, going to talk to Rimfire.  "Hey."

"Hey."  He looked at him.  "I agree, we'll have it covered while they're on vacation on Mars.  I am that good."

"You are," he agreed.  "The Council was really impressed with you, Rimfire.  Even Carbine."  That got a small smirk.  "How long before you bring her home?"

"Ten years probably.  Enough time to get working for Micah out of her system."  He tossed him something.  "The next few books in that desert farming techniques class."

"Thanks, Rimfire. You're an all right Freedom Fighter."  He nodded and left.

Rimfire got up and danced.  That was the best compliment he had ever gotten!  And from Stoker, who was his mentor and hero!  "YES!" he shouted, going to pounce his girl.


The Mayor of Chicago opened the letter in front of his council, smiling at it.  "As my last act in this beautiful city, I and my lover, Guyere, are entrusting this letter to my son, Marshall Limburger," he read.  He cleared his throat at the shocked noises.  "As my final act of promises to my lover, I am deeding all that was once mine in the city back to the city.  Not only should that take care of any tax debt I had remaining when I got ill, but it should also go back to the city that I fell in love in.  Guyere and I were both agreed, the main tower's lot should become a park. It's a beautiful spot to stare at the downtown from and the downtown area could use a beautiful park for sunny lunches, for children to play in, and for lovers to stroll in and be unafraid of who sees them.  As I once had to hide who I loved from the world, no one should have to again inside Chicago's boundaries.  Please, do what is needed with my land to take care of any remaining debts I owe and then turn the rest into useful, beautiful, pleasing, and populous things for the city's lovers and those who simply need the space to find love.  Yours, Laurence Limburger and Guy Guyere, married men and happy father to Marshall Limburger, who does not realize what this letter states.  Please let him down easy for us.  I couldn't break his heart that way."

"Is it another hoax, like the lover's letters?" one of his council members asked.

"Yup," the Mayor said fondly.  "Who cares?"  No one raised their hands.  "He does have a tax debt.  We could use the park.  No one else wants it because of the leftover stench from that stupid tower.  Anyone opposed to treating this like it's real?"  No one raised a hand or even shifted.  "No one?" he asked again.  Then he banged a gavel.  "Record this into the official records on behalf of our former leading citizen and let's talk park designs, ladies and gentlemen."  They cheered and he smiled back.  "At least he's doing something nice for us.  We can use a few of the factories as sale items to fill in some of the potholes he left.  Possibly even for that new housing project we need built."  That got a round of applause.  "Do we have any idea who sends these?"

"This one was sent from DC, sir," his secretary offered, smiling at him.  "Apparently our forger has a few friends out of town or he was on vacation when the younger Limburger left."

"Eeehh, that's fine.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a real letter from the real Limburger and will stand up if his son comes back."

"How about we sell these six lots?" one woman asked, getting up to point at the map on the wall.  "They're all industrial, we could use them to tempt a new business in.  Maybe even a bike shop or something.  Plus, WBKR needs a new home too.  They've been planning one and one lot is next to their present station."

"I like that," the Mayor agreed.  "Give me more ideas like that, people."


To part 34

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