Familiar Faces Haunting You.

Charley looked up as someone knocked politely on the garage door, looking at the mice sitting next to her.  They all shrugged so apparently they weren't expecting anyone and she definitely wasn't.  She got up and walked out there, opening the door to look at the woman standing there.  "Hi.  Needed a repair?"

"Well, yes, but not on a mundane car," she admitted, walking inside.  "Had a bit of an accident with a sunspot back towards Pluto and I needed a good mechanic.  I heard there's one down here and things to do while I wait."

Charley just gaped.  "I've got an intergalactic reputation?"

"Well, kind of.  You see, I had to stop on Mars to drop someone off and they said they couldn't, but that you could.  Oh, I have some mail too," she offered, putting down her bag and opening it.  Out jumped a large black cat, looking a lot like a panther, and she sat down to clear her paws then her ears.  "Sorry, I didn't want you to get hurt by wandering around down here.  Dreadful pollution, Sibra."

//I understand,// the cat sent telepathically, making Charley flinch. //Sorry, all my kind are like this.// She heard a sneeze and walked back toward the kitchen, staring at the three shocked looking mice. //Hmm, more Martians.  Interesting.  Were you here for repairs too?  We seem to have burned out our elevation coupling system.//

"Ah....," Vinnie asked, right before sneezing again.  "Sorry, I'm allergic to cats."

//I apologize.  Most aren't allergic to us."   She moved out of the way, letting him move further away from her.  She looked at Throttle, then at Modo. //The last one I saw of you wet himself when he saw me.  Said I was a predator.//

"No, you probably could be, but we've got a bit more bladder control than that," Throttle assured her.  "I'm Throttle, that's Modo, and the white guy's Vinnie.  Sorry about the sneezing."

//Greetings, I'm Sibra of the Ferganis.  I'm a huntress from the Dweok clans.  Recently relocated.//

"Cool, nice ta meet ya," Vinnie said, waving from his corner.

"They were just up on Mars," Charley called.  "They brought some mail."

"Oh, cool," Modo agreed, coming to see if he had anything.  He noticed Throttle headed for the bathroom first and grinned back at Vinnie.  "So, what brings you down here, Sibra?"

//We blew out the elevation coupling system near Pluto with a sunspot,// the cat sent, flopping down next to the large bag. //You forgot the box.//

"Good point.  Thank you, dear."  The humanoid pulled out a large box and looked at it, then around. "Modo Mouse?"  He raised his natural hand and she tossed it over.  "From your nephew."

"Thanks.  Anything else for me, Charley ma'am?"

"No, just that," she offered, handing Vinnie a letter and handing the other two to Throttle when he came out.  "Carbine apparently told her to come down here to get her ship fixed."

"You're a great mechanic," Throttle assured her, grinning at the new person.  "Hi, I'm Throttle, that's Vinnie and Modo."

She smiled and waved at them.  "I'm usually called Cypria."  They all stared and she beamed.  "You've heard of me?"

"Kinda," Vinnie admitted.  "You're some kinda techno priestess with odd skills and who has a hero complex."

"Only when I'm bored."  They all gaped at that and she beamed, giggling a bit as she clapped her hands.  "You really don't know!  How charming!  I'm a creationist mage from Dethronx."  They all gaped at that, including Charley.  "I'm off wandering at the moment because home was getting...complicated again."

"You're that princess they're always having to chase and capture," Vinnie said firmly, staring her down.

"Prove it," she said dryly.  He scowled and she beamed.  "That's a dangerous thing to call me.  Remember, our guardian warriors won't really care to tangle with others if I was. Then again, I did have some plans to help you boys if you're nice.  Mars is pretty low magic so I can't help much up there, but this planet's got some good power lines going in some places.  Not locally per se, but there are some good ones around here that I can pull from."

"So you can create whatever you need?" Charley asked.

She considered it.  "Within the range of my knowledge, imagination, and what power I can draw from," she admitted.  "On Mars, I could barely create grain.  Down here I can do a bit more and manifest a warrior shade if I need to."  She grinned at her.  "Of course, I know *nothing* about engines so I couldn't fix the ship.  I imagined it running, not how to fix it when I made it."

"Sure," she agreed, deciding it wasn't worse than three or more Martian mice living with her part of the time. "Where is the ship?"

"Oh, I can call it whenever you've got some time.  I've got it hidden at the moment."

"Sure. I've never dealt with an elevation coupling but I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you, my dear.  In return I can pay you a bit for it.  I usually carry some of the universal constants."  She dug into her bag and pulled out a pouch.  "Hmm, let's see what I've got on me."  She flicked through it.  "Maxed out credit card from Platima Bank.  Rubies from Choes.  Ah, paper based money."  She pulled out a wad of it and looked through it.  "Does any of this look native?"

Charley looked.  "British pounds, Canadian dollars.  Yen.  Rupees.  Nope.  But I can get the Canadian dollars changed over," she promised.  The whole stack was handed to her.  "You think it'll be that much?"

"That depends on if it's the flourite crystal or not.  I have *no* idea about such things," she assured her with a happy grin.  She looked at Vinnie again, then sized him up.  "So, what can I do to help while I'm down here?  This place isn't *swimming* in magic anymore but it's presently good enough for me to do more than conjure grains or fruit.  Unlike Mars, which will need to be rebalanced once you guys have won."

Throttle blinked a few times.  "Well, we're in a struggle against the Plutarkian down here," he offered.  "I don't know if you're a pacifist society or not."

She snickered.  "Not hardly, honey. We just go to war over stupid shit."  Modo blushed at that.  "Seriously.  Our last three wars were over a woman and who got to sleep with her.  It's mostly been inter-clan wars but still."  She walked over to hug him.  "You look like you needed it."  She flicked some of her light green hair over her shoulder, then wiggled and got out of her overcoat, showing off the thin and pale cream robe over her naked darker green skin.  "Sorry, really warm down here.  I was on a dark sun world the last time.  It was winter too."  She shivered and looked at Charley, who was just staring.  "Oh, dear, did I mix up the local clothing customs?"

"No, I'm good with it but you might want to put on something a bit less see through during the daytime."  She walked over and shut Vinnie's mouth for him.  "Sorry about him."

"Eehhh, the rule of the universe is you can look but only touch with permission, which I hardly give.  There's plenty of people who wear much less."

"So, how many solar systems are you from home?" Modo asked, trying hard not to stare.  She was fairly well built, if a bit pudgy around the middle.

"Hmm."  She scrunched up her face like she was thinking, then started to draw diagrams in the air.  "Hmm, about six galaxies," she admitted finally, using a hand to wipe away the glowing trails she had put in the air.

//Show off,// Sibra snorted, laying down and getting comfortable. //Could I trouble you for some water, Fixer?//

"My name's Charley, you can use it," she offered, going to get the big cat some water.  "Do you need a flat pan or would a bowl do?"

//A bowl would be fine.  Thank you.// She got up and padded after her, going to get her fill of drink in the kitchen. //Thank you for helping us.  She really isn't this big of an airhead.  She didn't think she should be her usual bitchness, that it would alienate the men.//

"That's fine.  I do the same now and then."  She started to reach down.  "May I pet you?"  The cat nodded, letting her pet her head while she drank.  "Thank you, you're quite soft."  She walked back out, going back to the group.  "Sibra's got very soft fur.  Even softer than Vinnie's."

"Hey!" he complained, shaking himself free of the barely clothed vision in front of him.  "I'm very soft."

"Ferganis are known for being one of the softest furs in the universe," Cypria teased.  "Are you Martian men more soft than a cub?"

//I'm not a cub, thank you,// Sibra sent at them.

"I know you're not, cranky.  Behave and I'll let you hunt or something later."

//Thank you, great one.  Can't you just *create* dinner, that way it's easier.  You could do meat the last time I knew.//

"Whine, Sibra.  I could let someone take you home."

//No thank you.  I happen to like sleeping in a bed.  My kin would be most upset with me if I drug a mattress behind the pack.// She trotted back out and looked at Charley. //Charley, may I sleep on a soft surface in your home?  The ship needs to be cleaned.  Frankly, Cypria doesn't do that very well.//

"Um, sure.  The guys can head home tonight and you two can have the guest room."  She looked at the other alien.  "Is that okay with you?"

"Sure!  Where should I undo my ship at?"

"Will it fit in here?"

"Only if I keep it shrunken."

"How shrunken?" Charley asked.  Cypria pulled the ship out of her top, handing it over. "Yeah, that's pretty small.  I'll need it a bit bigger to fix that part.  Oh, and it looks like you may have a bent wing too."

"True," she sighed.  "It didn't want to go into my top."

"I've had that same problem with keys," Charley admitted, taking it to the work bench to look at it.  "I'm going to try to straighten this out first, it'll be easier to do it now."  The ship in her hands lit up and shocked her.  "Ow!"  She put it down and stroked the back of it.  "I'm a mechanic.  I'm going to fix you."  The ship settled down and she carefully bent the wing back into shape.  "There, how's that?"  It beeped again.  "Good job.  How big is this ship, Cypria?"

"Um....."  She looked at the building they were in, then shook her head.  "It'd probably break the walls completely."

"Then we'll unshrink the poor thing tomorrow at the field," Charley offered, pulling down a small drawer from her table and putting some cloth into it.  She laid the ship carefully inside.  "There, you can rest in there for tonight," she offered.  The ship blinked a few times then settled down.  She walked it back over.  "Here, this way no one can hurt it by accident."

"Thank you, Fixer. You are truly understanding."

"So, are you the princess?" Vinnie asked.

She looked at him.  "Do quit."

"No, that's your name," he said dryly.

"Huh?" Modo asked.

"Her name, Cypria, translates as 'quit'."

Throttle made an agreeing noise.  "Sure."  He looked at her and beamed.  "As long as you're not here to kill us or Charley girl, we could care less."

"Except for Vinnie, who has no manners," Modo offered with a shy grin.

"If she is her, then there'll be a fight," Vinnie protested.  "We can't beat them, bro."

Cypria smirked at him.  "They're on the other side of the Neptune nebula at the moment, young one.  Don't worry about the warriors.  Worry about the smelly people outside.  They were having some sort of ...huddle I believe is the local word when I came in."

Sibra walked over and hopped up onto the lift to look out the door's windows, then snorted. //The smelly ones we walked around are still out there.  They're getting ready to attack.  They are graceless pups with little skills and no whelp to teach them.// She hopped back down and came over to nuzzle Charley. //I will protect you this time, Fixer.  Such people are rare and need to be protected.//

"Thanks," she said, getting down to stroke her head again.

//Hmm, you pet nearly as well as the child who had many hands.// Sibra tipped her head to the side to let her get an itchy spot she hadn't been able to reach for a while.

"Let's mount up, boys," Throttle ordered.  "If they're going to attack, we'd better be ready."  He looked at Cypria.  "Would you like to help?"

"Sure, I wouldn't mind," she said happily.  "Give me about three minutes to prepare."  They nodded.

"Let's Rock...."

"And Ride," the other two said, heading out and closing the garage's door behind them.  The goons on the other side looked startled but they had waited a while to attack.

"Get them mousies!" Greasepit yelled.  "We want the ones inside!  She's worth moolha to the boss!"

"Over your dead body!" Throttle said, hitting him.

Inside, Charley was watching while Cypria dug in her bag, coming out with a large staff.  "Is that like Mary Poppin's bag?"

She grinned at her.  "I made it as my final project at the Mage Academy."  She sat down and concentrated, holding the staff between her hands.  She hummed a bit and a hazy shade formed in front of her, taking the staff from her hands.  It walked out through the door and solidified.  "You go, warrior me," she whispered, directing the battle from her protected spot.

Throttle looked back as the warrior fleshed out, and then took a swing at Vinnie.  "Not at him!" he shouted.

"Sorry, had to try," she said smartly, then went after the nearest goon with a yip of pleasure.  He howled in pain as the staff came down, and he learned quite quickly that it was a sword, not a staff as it had looked.  In her hands, it was whatever she wanted it to be and he was soon diced in fine little pieces.

The bros had to stop and watch the warrior shade go at the goons.  It was a thing of beauty.  Clearly someone had trained her other selves to do the job efficiently.  Throttle stopped to hit one of them back toward the tower. The rest were mostly in chunks lying around the road.  "Good enough," he decided.  The warrior shade bowed then it slowly faded out.  "Let's get back inside," Throttle ordered.

"Sure, because this won't draw *anyone*," Vinnie said bitterly, heading back inside the garage first.  He saw Cypria crashed out on the floor, snoring gently into one of her arms.  "She all right?"

//It's always this way with those who follow the paths of power,// Sibra sighed, shaking her head while she watched her friend. //They do a lot, wear themselves out, then nap like newborn cubs on a hunt.  She really could have called a lesser warrior shade and not had to take this nap.// She looked over at Modo as he rode in. //She'll need to rest for a bit.  She wore her energy out.//

"It happens to the best of us," he promised, reaching down to scratch her behind the ears.  She wiggled them but let him do it.  "I don't mean to offend you."

//You have not.  Your hands are quite strong,// she promised, seemingly grinning up at him. //Among my clan, you would be cherished as one who brushed and petted.//

"Bros, let's move her up to the guest room," Modo suggested. "It's not polite to make her sleep on the garage floor.  My gray furred momma would be ashamed of me if we did."

"Sure," Vinnie agreed.  "Let me go untuck the sheets.  I'll get our stuff at the same time," he promised, going to do that.

Throttle looked at Sibra.  "Wanna follow or you gonna find the couch?"

//Couches are nice,// Sibra promised. //A bit of solidness to the softness.// She watched as Modo picked her friend up and walked up after her, going to make sure she was tucked in then going to find a couch.

Charley grinned at Throttle.  "Are you going to beat manners into Vinnie tonight?"

"Technically, if she's who he thinks she is, it could cause a lot of problems," Throttle admitted.  "But only if they find out she was down here."

"Yeah, because runaway princesses aren't usually the sort to pitch in and help," Vinnie said as he came down the stairs. "She's got her family's guards following after her, trying really hard to contain her and force her to go home again since she's the only heir left.  Unfortunately the princess feels that it's more *fun* to go out and act like us."

Charley snorted.  "Maybe it's got some use to it," she offered.  "She's learning a lot about many people."

"She could be, but she's doing things like entering cake baking contests and things," Throttle told her.  Modo came back down the stairs.  "She all settled in for the night?"  He nodded.  "Then let's head home.  We'll ride by every little bit, Charley girl, just in case they come to pick up the pieces of their buddies."

She nodded, letting them out of the garage.  Then she closed the garage door and locked everything up, heading up to her room.  She gave Sibra a gentle pet on the way past.  "I'm in here if you need anything."  The cat nodded so she went to shower and get ready for bed.  She laid down, smiling at the thought of the job she was about to do.  It was an interesting design for the ship and she was sure she could get it working in no time.  After all, she had fixed the Martian ones a few times.  Especially whenever Rimfire crashed.


Cypria stumbled in the next morning, heading directly for the coffeepot.  She poured a bit, then grimaced and put it down.  "Girlfriend, you make lousy coffee," she told Charley when she came in.  She waved a hand and a hazy form moved out, heading outside, coming back a minute later with a tray.  "Here, have good coffee."  She handed one over and looked at her.  "Good coffee should always be used when possible.  That stuff's enough to wake the dead."

Charley looked at her.  "You were really tired last night, I thought you might need it stronger."  She took a sip then looked at the cup.  "Starbucks?  You went to the evil empire to get coffee?"

"I own stock.  Sue me, I thought it was a good idea."

"You know Starbucks is one of the companies that point at the end of days, right?  That they're evil and manipulative?"

"Yeah, well, they can still make good general coffee."  She took a sip.  "Besides, I helped them get started.  I get it for free."  She grabbed the tray and reabsorbed the hazy spirit, taking her wallet back.  "More for me if you don't want it."

"No, I'm good with it," she promised, smirking at her.  "You've been down here before?"

"A few times," she sighed.  "Let's see.  Woodstock was *really* great.  Just a wonderful concept.  One I'm going to have to institute at home for major holidays.  The industrial revolution was pretty cool, but disturbing in how it was accomplished.  The pollution from back then is still hanging around some areas."  She took another sip.  "I was here during the Renaissance.   Not too shabby, but not nearly enough sex.  And I've had a few other trips down here now and then."

"How? You don't look that old."

"Yeah, well, with the magic, I can kinda travel back and forth a bit through what's already happened," she admitted. "Sometimes it's necessary."

"There's rules though, right?" Vinnie demanded from behind Charley.  "You've still got to answer to someone if you meddle."

"Yeah, well, I can only meddle when something clearly *has* happened but not *actually* happened.  That's why humans are walking upright," she said dryly.  "Also the board says that we can't interfere in major, timeline changing events.  Or else we'd have taken over this section of the world back during the Renaissance."  She took a longer sip.

"So, you're the intelligent creator?" Charley demanded.

Cypria snorted and shook her head.  "Nope, not even close.  That problem was that you guys had transitioned into moving on two feet instead of two feet and gorilla arms, but you weren't.  It's like looking at a discordant picture.  So I went and tinkered a bit so that the actuality was completed."  She shrugged.  "It's what I do in my other spare time."

Vinnie glared at her.  "Then why didn't you stop certain wars?"

"Because they were too important and too changing for any of us to fix, Vincent.  Major changing events like that are left alone by us, though we did go back and mitigate it.  People who weren't in the records and shouldn't have died, didn't after I got there.  It was all I was allowed to do.  They physically stopped me from going back to help any more people."  He nodded at that, accepting it.  "As for why we weren't on Mars.... you guys never asked."  She stared him down and he flinched.  "If you had asked, we would have stepped in *long* ago, Vincent."

"How do you know him?" Charley asked.  She couldn't imagine Vinnie socializing with her voluntarily.

"My uncle was a diplomat from a regional government and he got picked to be the diplomat to the great Empire," Vinnie said snidely.  "So he's probably still there."

She nodded, finishing off her coffee.  "The last I knew, yeah.  He was hoping all his family would run to him so at least they would be safe.  Then again, he was still begging for patience over the arranged marriage he had set up.  He kept saying that the male had to finish growing up and become more mature."

Vinnie blushed.  "Yeah, wasn't my idea either."  Charley just gaped and shook her head quickly at that news.  "It wasn't," he defended.  "I wasn't even told about it until I was fifteen."

"You would have only been a hair-holder," she assured him.  "Though I must thank you.  They wanted to do the political alliances first so I got to hold off on my many marriages until we finally gave up on you."

"You've got a husband?" Charley asked.

"Actually, I have both," she admitted, looking at the remaining coffee.  "I don't suppose you want some?" she asked Vinnie.  He shuddered and shook his head.  "Good.  More for me.  A little go-juice in the morning is always good."  She picked up the next one to sip, smiling.  "Ah, chocolate flavored.  My favorite.  My emez got it perfect."

"Your emez last night chopped the goons into bits," Throttle said from behind Vinnie, making him jump and glare at him.  "Sorry.  Maybe you should go take a nap, bro."

"I'm not tired."  He looked at her.  "I'd have hopefully been more than a hair-holder."

"No.  I doubt we'd have slept together that often.  Most arranged marriages aren't done out of feelings for each other.  So it'd have only been the obligatory once a year mating.  You'd have some position as a hair-holder, suitable with the arrangement, but nothing further.  Then again, keeping up with a hundred-eighty spouses is rather tiring now and then."  She took another sip.

"You...have..180 spouses?" Charley asked, looking stunned.  "Why!"

Cypria chuckled.  "It's mandatory and expected of me," she offered.  "The normal people of my planet can have up to twelve, depending on which clan and religion they were born into.  Being who I am, they were seen more as diplomatic tools.  I do have a wife I adore but she continually shrieks and yells at me, usually whenever I see her.  So therefore I don't see her much."  She took a longer sip, looking at Throttle.  "They're still on the other side of Neptune."

"Good.  I'm glad we don't have to run into them," he offered dryly.  "Our histories say we sent a delegation to the Empire."

"Then it never made it, babe.  I was in the home Court at the time and it never made it."  He nodded at that.  "Not even through the people who were already there."  He sighed and nodded and Vinnie muttered something.  "He said his hands were tied.  That the old royal family said they didn't need help, even though the rest of the government did.  He was appointed by the King, so therefore he had to do what the King wanted.  He made that very clear to us."  She finished off that cup and looked at Charley, who shook her head and sat down with her cup.  "Thanks, babe."  She took the last one and gulped it, sitting down as well.  "The next time I see anyone from there, I am going to be finding out why the information officer did not report the wholesale raping of Empire property.  I will be punishing someone for that," she assured them.  "I will also be kicking someone to come offer aid and tools to help Mars heal.  It's wrong of them to not have stepped in since you're inside our boundaries."

"We are?" Charley demanded.

"You didn't know that?"

"No!"  She looked at the mice, who both nodded. "Since when?"

"Since about fifty of your generations before you had to have help getting fully upright," Cypria told her honestly.  "We claim this whole galaxy and then some."  Charley gaped at that.  "Is this not common knowledge?"  Charley shook her head.  "Is it on Mars?"

"Used to be," Vinnie admitted.  "I don't think it's taught anymore."  He looked at her.  "What are we going to do around here, princess?" he asked quietly.

"The more you call me that, the greater chance they'll hear and show up," she said snidely.  "As for doing things while I'm here, I was thinking about going to interrogate the Plutarkian locally so I can find out who they paid off to make sure we didn't come to Mars' aid.  Then again, that could just be me.  I still need my ship fixed and Sibra and I can easily do it alone."

"No, we'll help any way we can.  We'd like them all off Earth and Mars," Throttle assured her.  "Even if we do have to help you."

"That's very charitable of you," she said dryly, smirking at him.   "You do realize he's sitting on top of a power spot?"  Throttle shook his head but Vinnie nodded.  "How did you know?"

"I've seen it help the destruction now and then," he admitted.  "It doesn't like him either."

"Good.  Then the earth won't fight against me punishing him for endangering my welfare and health.  Sibra, you're being lazy," she called.  "We've got to go visiting today.  There are Plutarkians down here."

//Woman, desist,// the cat sent back.  She padded in a few minutes later, glaring at her friend. //It is much too early for discussions of torture and meddling.// She sniffed at the coffee and huffed. //Charley, is there any meat here?  That liquid death only messes with my stomach and then I have bowel troubles for weeks.  Almost always on her bed.//

"Let me check.  Usually the guys only eat hot dogs," she offered, looking in the freezer.  "Hmm.  I've got a frozen pot roast," she offered, taking it out.  "I can thaw it for you."

Cypria looked at it for a moment then it was steaming.  "There you go, cranky.  And they say I'm not a morning person," she snorted when Sibra turned to get her breakfast.

Charley looked at her.  "If we're within the Empire, then why don't we know about this?"

"I'm guessing the people with that information were forcefully shut up," she said blandly.  "I was in France when I started to announce it.  Suspiciously enough, there was a revolution after that. Well, really a series of revolutions.  They killed the leaders of the first one and started over a few times."  She finished that cup of coffee.  Then she looked at Charley.  "May I borrow the bathing facilities?"  Charley nodded quickly.  "Thank you.  I need to change into something so they'll know it's me.  They cannot refuse to see me or else they know their whole planet is going to be forfeit when my uncle finds out."  She got up, heading upstairs to her bag and the shower.  She came down half an hour later working on pinning her hair back up.  "I hate hair," she muttered as she walked pat Charley.  She was back in nearly see through clothes, this time a two-panel skirt and a set of breast cups held up by some method that none of the guys or Charley could see.  Modo was still reading his magazine.

"Why is it so long?"

"Tradition and coercion.  Otherwise I can be put to death."  She worked on pinning up the stuff while her magic braided the rest.  "Ah," she said, finally settling the last pin.  She had one extra one and groaned, looking at her hair in the mirror. "Dirt, I missed one."

Vinnie walked over with a snort and took it, stuffing it into a spot that looked like it'd come down.  "There."  He walked off shaking his head.  "Whenever you're ready, *dear*."

"Let me grab my cloak," she offered, grabbing it off the work bench.  She looked at the ship.  "Soon, dear.  Let me go deal with the Plutarkians again."  She swung the cloak around her outfit, the motion drawing Modo's eye.  Which bulged alarmingly.  "What?  It's normal clothing," she defended.

"I can see that," he whimpered.

Vinnie looked at her outfit, then at Modo.  "They're all like that, bro.  To them clothes are redundant, that's why they've got hair."  He looked at Throttle.  "We got a plan?"

"Ride up, deposit the lady, then go be a distraction by causing mayhem and property damage?"

"Smooth and subtle, I like it," Modo admitted as he stood up.  "Ma'am, if you want, you can ride behind me."

"Thank you, dear."  She pinched him on the arm.  "That's what I always liked about you biker boys.  You're very polite and helpful."  She looked at Vinnie.  Then at Charley.  "Coming, dear?"

"I'm not allowed," she said bitterly.

"Why not?"

"Because she's not an experienced fighter," Throttle told her simply, glaring at her.

"Uh-huh.  How is she supposed to gain experience without being in minor and irritating battles?"  She walked over and looked at Charley, then smirked.  "Come, let's get you changed, dear.  I could use a secretary and if he knows you at all, he'll be pissing himself in fear."  She walked Charley back up the stairs and got her suitably fixed up in some of her spare clothes, bringing her back down.  "There.  Much better.  Now she looks like an underwife and can pass as a secretary."  She smiled sweetly at the boys.  "Sibra?"  The cat padded out.  "Come on, let's go talk to the Plutarkians," she cooed.

//No more coffee for you, brat.  You're hyper.// She looked at Charley, then nodded once. //You look like one of them.  Maybe if you take her she'll calm down.// She watched as Charley got on behind Vinnie and Modo helped the princess onto his bike.  She looked at Throttle. //I can follow behind.//

"Sure," he agreed, starting his bike.  "Let's rock...."

"And ride," the others agreed, heading out after him.  They went a little slower this time to make sure the cat could keep up and so the ladies wouldn't get too chilled.  After all, they were barely wearing anything.  A bra and a very thin skirt that didn't meet at the sides wasn't that much in their books.  They pulled up in front of the tower, pausing to let the ladies and the cat go in.

Vinnie looked at Throttle. "The cannons aren't out.  Where's the fun in that?" he asked with a stupid grin.

Throttle snorted.  "So make 'em come out, bros.  I'm sure they'll want to play once they realize we're here."  Modo chuckled at that.  "Open fire.  Hit the cannons."  They did and a pitiful number of goons came out to stop them.


Charley walked up to the receptionist, then looked at the princess.  "The Princess requests an audience with the smelly one," she said dryly, sneering at her.  The woman sneered back, then caught sight of what she was wearing.  She glared at the princess, then hurriedly pushed a button and spoke into the phone.

"I do hope this won't take long," Cypria said, examining her nails.  "Sibra, please stay close.  There's no telling what he's got lying around."  The cat huffed and moved closer.  "Thank you, dear."  She reached down to stroke her head, then sneered as Karbunkle came out of the elevator.  "Really, they send lackies?" she demanded coldly.  "Does the entire Plutarkian empire wish to insult me?"

"No, your greatness," he said, bowing.  "My superior is presently getting himself ready for you.  If you'll follow me."  He bowed again, then noticed Charley.  "You!" he sneered.

//I'd bite him for you but he'd taste funny, Fixer,// Sibra offered dryly.  The doctor looked at her and flinched. //Yes, I'm one of those.  Who else could keep up with this one and all her spouses?// She got up and walked over to sniff him. //This one smells of suffering, princess.  You'll want him taken in.  Should I call for the guards?//

"Not yet, Sibra.  Come, Charley."  She walked forward and the doctor backed away.  "Now."  He nodded, getting them into the elevator, pushing the button for the penthouse.  "This had better be going to his office.  This is not a social call."  The destination was changed and they went to the office.  Limburger had to rush in and had a lackey carrying a tray of drinks behind him.  She looked him over, then sneered.  "I do believe we should talk, Limburger.  You're my conduit. Sit and shut up."  He sat, looking quite attentive.  "You *are* aware this is Empire space.  I know you are."  He shook his head and she stood a bit stiffer.  "We have always owned this galaxy and the other fifty. You and every other Plutarkian was taught what was ours and what you may not touch.  Now I come here to check on my works and I find that you've stripped at least two worlds of the Empire."

"I assure you...."

"Shut up and don't interrupt her," Charley ordered.   He looked at her, did a double take, then glared.  "Try it, stinky."

"Don't worry, dear, he'd never dare," she soothed, stroking her cheek.  She looked at Limburger again.  "You are in violation of every single treaty your empire has ever signed with ours.  It's not that meaningful for me to declare war on your kind.  Why should I not?"

"You are alone," he noted dryly.

She shook her head and looked up.  "Idiots and of course they're men."  She touched her bracelet on her left wrist and two big, tall men appeared behind her, kneeling.  These two were so large they'd make Modo look up at them.  She turned to look at them.  "Ah, you two," she said fondly, stroking over their hairs.  "Dears, why are there Plutarkians within the empire?  Why have they damaged one planet nearly beyond repair and are trying on this one?"  They stared up at her.  She nodded.  She waved at Limburger.  "The evidence of his evil is already starting down here.  Also, I will have the nuts of the person who did not report when the Martian war started for real.  They are part of us, the same as Earth is.  They deserved our protection and our help earlier than now."  They both nodded, looking down again.  "Now, Sibra has identified the thing in the long coat as someone who tortures, and this one is responsible for most of Mar's destruction.  I will you to charge him and find out how much they have encroached into our empire.  There will be a war over this insult."

The one on her right nodded.  "Yes, Ki."  He stood up and sneered at Limburger.  "You are Plutarkian, aren't you?"

The one on the left stood up and looked at his princess.  "Why are you here?"

"The ship needed fixed and the Martians I talked to while handing over that prisoner said I could do so here with Charley," she said, waving a hand at her.  "Did you know they don't know about us?"  He shook his head, looking a bit disturbed.  "They don't.  They have no idea about the Empire.  I'm fairly insulted about that.  We'll have to set up diplomatic missions."  She looked at the doctor, who was trying to disappear down a hidden door.  "Get him, Sibra.  He is not to escape."  She pounced, dragging him back by his coat.  "Nice pounce.  It's good that you still keep in fighting shape.  Even if Stoker did piss himself at the sight of you."  She leaned down to stroke her, feeling the doctor trying to grab her.  "Eww!  This cretin just touched me!" she said coldly.  The guard she was ordering grabbed him and threw him against the windows, cracking them and breaking the doctor.  "Thank you."  She wiped off her stomach.  "How very rude of them."  She glared at Limburger.  "You have insulted the Empire for the last time.  I would call home and tell them that there will be a war."

He pushed the button and Camembert's head popped up on the screen.  "What do you want....."  He stared at the guards and the two beings, especially the Ki.  "Oh, dear."  He bowed properly.  "Princess, what may we do for you?"

"You've already insulted me," she said coldly.  "You've tried to take out part of the Empire's planets."

"Surely you wouldn't begrudge us...."

"Yes, I do."  She looked at the guards.  "I meant what I said."

"General Tashna is nearby, ma'am, I will order him such when I get back to my ship," the one menacing Limburger replied promptly.

"Good," she said smoothly, glaring at the screen.  "Your kind have insulted me for the last time.  I will know who your accomplices in the Empire are or else I will have your world destroyed just like you did to Mars."  He shivered.  "Now!" she snapped.

"Why, the good general herself helped," Camembert sneered back.  "How dare you threaten us."

She took off something from around her neck and connected the ends, creating a hole.  Then she muttered over it, getting her uncle.  "The Plutarkians have stripped one of our planets nearly beyond repair and are starting on a second."

"Niece," he said, smiling at her.  "Since when?"

"Since that problem with the Martians.  I had to drop a prisoner off with them."  She looked at him.  "You look well."

"Thank you.  Can your guards not handle it?"

"Uncle, put me on the big screen," she instructed coolly.  He nodded and did so, allowing her to see the actual Empress.  She was old but she could wait for a few more centuries.  "The Plutarkians are harming the empire.  I've called a hunt on them and they've accused General Tashna of complicity.  Mars is nearly beyond repair but I *will* have a support ship there within the next week.  Especially with food and water."

"Ki," she said, smiling at her.  "You're sure?"  She walked the portal over, showing her the view of the city.  The old Empress hissed.  "I see you are. I will find out who did not bring the Martian's plight to our eyes.  Bring the ambassador."

"Tell him his nephew says hello.  He's down here," she said fondly, smirking at her.  "I've called a hunt.  I'll need a new general in this area."

"Within the hour," she agreed.  "Someone do recall Tashna to answer these charges," she called.  "She is correct.  No one harms what's ours.  I hereby do declare war on the Plutarkians.  It should enliven our lives for a mere week, but still, some amusement."  She looked at her niece again.  "When are you coming home?"

"When you die and probably about ten years after that.  You know the Empire runs itself and I would go further insane while being there."  She smiled sweetly.  "I'd never get the chance to practice my arts."

"Point," she admitted.  "I'll have General Ostrat there by tonight, princess.  Your guards can hold the ones down there?"

"At least the ones locally.  There's a few down here already."

"Very well.  I'll have the General sent immediately and General Twaofet's squadron sent to Plutark."  She nodded.  "Did you need anything else?"

"Not at the moment.  Oh, the humans don't know about us."

"Really?  Why not!" she demanded, sitting forward.  "Are you sure?"

"Quite," Charley agreed.  "If the humans knew about real aliens we wouldn't have the paranoid masses who believe you're coming to harm them."  She stepped forward.  "Some of us do know a bit.  I'm helping the Martians who've crashed down here, ma'am."

"I see.  I will let the General deal with that as well," she decided, leaning back.  "She is pretty."

"She is, but I believe her taken with someone else already," the princess said dryly.  "Besides, you know most of my wives scream about getting too much sex and their backaches afterwards."  She disconnected the loop and put it back around her neck.  "Unless I was wrong?  You do have a fascination for the hair-holder?"  Charley blushed.  "Ah.  One of those."  She patted her on the back.  "It's not unheard of.  You are compatible.  I made sure of that when I did that bit of tinkering."  She looked at her guards.  "You have your orders.  You will follow them."

"Yes, princess," they responded.

"One of us should go with you, just so you're safe," one of them offered.

She smirked.  "There's three Martians here, Charley here, and I do still have Sibra around here somewhere."  She looked around.  "Sibra!  Where are you this time?"

//Looking for hostages.  There are prisoners and slaves, guards.  They need medical and food.// She came back and pissed on Karbunkle, making him scream when the acidic urine burned through to his skin. //You deserve more than that.//

"I will call the general as soon as she is within reach," one of them promised.  "Are you sure we cannot accompany you?"

"Hell no," she snorted.  She took Charley's arm and walked out with her, followed by the cat.  "You can stay if you'd like, Sibra.  I won't leave without you."

//I shall then.  Thank you, dear.// She went back to checking for more prisoners.

Cypria smirked at Charley.  "Think we can get the ship working by tonight?"

"Maybe.  Let's go see."  She walked her back outside and whistled, bringing the bros. "We're done.  They're going to war against Plutark."

"Wow," Vinnie said, blinking at her.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome.  There will also be a supply ship going to Mars immediately.  They should be there within the week and I will be checking on that," Cypria said as she got on behind Modo.  "We need to get the ship and fix it," she told him.  "That way I can disappear before the General gets here.  The guards know what to tell him."  He nodded, taking her back to the garage.

"We'll head to the field," Throttle called.  He looked at Vinnie, who was still staring at Charley's outfit.  "Come on, bro.  Let's get the lady off again."  He nodded, helping her onto the back of his bike then heading off after Throttle.

"Have I told you how pretty you are?" he called back.  "You look good in their clothes, sweetheart.  Good enough to nibble."

"Try it and I'm knotting your tail."

He chuckled.  "Can't blame a guy for looking, sweetheart, not with the dishes you've laid out on your buffet."

"Keep it up, Vinnie, and I'm going to switch over to riding behind Throttle."

"Sure, sweetheart.  He'd stare too."  He sped up to pull beside Throttle, smirking at him.  "Doesn't she look good in that?"

"Very, bro.  If she keeps that and wears it in public we'll have to go armed to protect her."

"Some of us are always armed," Modo called over the radio.  "We're heading to the field now."

"We're nearly there," Throttle promised.  He sped through a yellow, wanting that princess off the planet. It was nice that she had helped them but she usually brought a lot of problems with her.  It'd be nice if there wasn't any clean up this time and she didn't have to take Vinnie with her to carry her hair around.


Charley finished installing the new crystals, then stepped back to wipe off her hands. "Okay, they're all in.  Is there any sort of tuning?"

Cypria chuckled.  "No dear.  Not in the least.  After all, I *created* this ship."  She winked and got on board, then looked out and raised a hand, muttering.  Sibra plopped down beside her.  "Ready to go?  The general's within contact distance."

//If you want.  I'd rather stay for a bit.  We haven't been feted for a bit.// She smiled at Charley. //That would be the job of diplomats, not you, dear. We'd never make you live with the insanity we can bring.//

"Thanks.  I think."  She looked at Vinnie.  "I'm good with insanity anymore."

"Funny, sweetheart," Vinnie smirked back.

"Ooh, did the truth hurt?" she taunted.

Cypria leaned out her ship.  "Are you sure you won't come with me?  The other wives would love you and the husbands would be more than willing to bow at your feet and be sane for you."  She grinned.  "It'd be a hell of a lot of fun.  I'd even be talked into a six- month trial marriage."

"Tempting but they need me," Charley admitted.  She dug the rest of the cash out and Cypria waved it off.  "Are you sure?"

"Absolutely," she promised, tossing her something else.  "For putting up with us and them.  No normal person should have to be made to be the diplomat."  She walked back inside her ship, then came out and handed something over.  "Here, another one so they *have* to drool over you now and then," she said with a wicked smirk, leaning closer to her ear.  She whispered something, making Charley shiver.  "Try that whenever you're ready.  I find it quite fun."  She hugged each of them, getting in a pinch to Modo's side, then winked and headed back into her ship, closing the door.  She twinkled then the ship lifted off, the engines nearly unheard.  They zipped off.

Charley looked at the outfit, then shivered and shook her head.  "I've got to get back to the garage and change.  Who am I riding with?"

"Oh, we're all going with you, sweetheart," Vinnie said dryly.  "Before one of the guards or the general herself gets any ideas."  He picked her up with his tail and put her on the back of his bike, then got on and handed her back her helmet.  "Can you wear that this weekend?  Just so we can see?"

"Not if you're going to be there.  I don't feel like drowning in drool."

"Hey!" he complained.

"Ease off, bro. She'll wear it when she's comfortable," Modo assured him.  "We'll hand him a mop," he said with a grin for her.  She chuckled and tucked everything between her and Vinnie, then they took off.


Charley answered the curt knock on the door, looking at the person in uniform.  "She already left."

"You don't bow?" she demanded.

"We don't know a thing about you, sister.  For all I know you're trick-or-treating early."   The general gave her a harsh look so she stared her down.  "She left right after we left the tower and you were ordered here."

"Fine.  May I?"  She nodded, letting her inside with the agent behind her.  No one else would be wearing an all black suit and sunglasses at night.  "He insisted."

"Miss Davidson, we'll have to do something because you do know about this," he said, looking sad about the fact.

"Hey, guys?" she called.  They came out of the living room, smirking at the agent, who freaked out.  "It's been a few years.  I doubt you can do that anymore.  Anything else?"  He shook his head.  "Then get out of my garage unless you're going to set up a support fund for them and their hotdog addiction.  They eat me out of house and home."

The agent blinked.  "I'll see what I can do, ma'am.  Do you have any contact with Mars?"  She nodded.  "Oh, wonderful."

"I've been there too," she said dryly, smirking at him.  "Anything else?"  He shook his head and walked off.  So she looked at the general, smirking a bit. "That was fun."

"It was, I enjoyed it immensely," she agreed.  She looked at the mice, then at Charley.  "Now I see why the princess didn't freak you out."

"These three crashed one night and needed a repair job," she said with a small shrug, nodding.  "Come into the kitchen if you want."

"I really don't have time.  We're cleaning the Plutarkians out at the moment."  She shook her hand.  "I welcome working with you in the future.  You could almost be one of us with your strength.  Human women often bother me by being weaker."  She looked at them.  "We need to know if you know where the others are."  Throttle nodded, tossing over a diskette.  "Thank you."  She tucked it inside her uniform.  "Who was the information officer around here?  Do any of you know?"

"Thrims," Vinnie told her.  "Or at least that's who my uncle used to send with messages for us."

"Hmm. Interesting.  Were you going to honor the political alliance marriage?"

"Only if it's the only way to heal Mars," he said bitterly.

"You do realize that if you did, you would be entitled to have up to three spouses of your own?" she offered.  The others stared at her.  "It's traditional."  She looked at him again.  "You could easily take in those here, at least in name only except for that one time and the yearly reupping of your vows."

"I'll think about it," he said dryly.  "I'd hate being in the court."

"Most of the rest of them aren't," she advised him.  "I asked because your uncle has said that it's a good idea and he's pushing for it.  He's not that much in favor, but you know how the political fields go."

"Yes, and it gives us hives so we have to scratch all our fur off," Modo assured her.

"The benefits might outweigh the bad," Throttle offered calmly, "but it's not our style."

"If you say so."  She bowed to them, then to Charley.  "I look forward to working with you, Fixer.  Sibra spoke of your kindness to her."  She walked off, heading to stop the other Plutarkians.

"We should call Mars," Charley told them.

"We'll wait until the ship comes," Throttle told her.  "Their version of a week can be a bit longer than ours, depending on where it came from."

Vinnie nodded.  "Unfortunately.  It will be there but if it comes from the nearest planet, it could be almost a year.  Their time runs slower."  He walked over to hug her, grinning at her.  "We're sorry we eat so much."

"I'm sure you are," she said, pinching him on the arm.  "Let me go."  He let her go.  "Good boy."  She patted him on the cheek.  "Now, let's get back to the movies."  She led the way to the living room, getting comfortable once they all curled around her again.

Modo leaned over to Vinnie.  "How would you do that with two guys?"

"I'll tell you later, bro," Throttle assured him. He chuckled since Vinnie was now a pink mouse.  "We'd be in the lap of luxury but so bored."

"I couldn't stand being stared at anyway," Charley assured them.  They all hugged her.  "Thanks, guys.  Not even a broken rib this time," she teased.

"You know, you could sponsor all sorts of motocross events," Cypria said from behind them, making them all jump up.  "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you.  I had to duck back since they were trying to catch me again."  She smirked at them.  "May I crash here again, Charley?"

"Sure.  We'll have to get Sibra something."

"I already fed her today," she assured her, coming to sit next to Modo.  "The court isn't that bad, and you'd have your own house.  You'd only have to show up to be bored once or twice a week.  Each."  She smiled at them.  "From what I hear, Vinnie's uncle is getting quite insistent. Is there anyone I should send them to who'll negotiate on your behalf?"

"Stoker, or Modo's momma," Vinnie told her.  "Neither one would dare give me up."

"Please don't ask for my ex Carbine," Throttle added for good measure.  "She would sell us off."

"The bride price for you three would be quite high I'm sure," she teased, tickling his ear.  Throttle blushed at that.  "So, what are you three doing tonight?"

"Just watching movies," Charley told her.  "You can have the chair."  Cypria grinned and flopped down, getting interested in the movie.  Charley looked at the guys, then beamed at Vinnie.  "I can't imagine you in formal clothes.  A tie on you."  She snickered.

"More like really thin pants," Cypria told her.

"Thin?" Modo asked.

"Thinner than my skirt yesterday."  All three mice shuddered at that.  "You could be pleasantly groomed each day and put in the finest and most delicate of silks.  Either that or leather pants.  I'm sure we could do that instead.  Your bikes would be feted by the elite and those who race ships.  Then again, the price agreed to in the paperwork for the alliance marriage is total support for Mars before, during, and after the war until they were able to stand on their own.  We were going to raid one of the over populated worlds of trees to move some there and other things."

"My gray furred momma would appreciate that," Modo said quietly.  "But we still can't give up our bro, even for a year."

"Political marriages are for five years, usually without issue," she told him.  She shrugged.  "He could easily bring you two with him as spare spouses.   That way you three, or four, could be bored together."

"You know, if you chose someone like Stoker or Carbine, they could coordinate the rescue and help efforts more efficiently," Charley offered smugly.

"Stoker wet himself when he first saw Sibra," she retorted dryly, smirking at her.  "I doubt he could stand staying at the palace since there's a few more up there."  The bros burst out laughing at that.  "Then again, who is this Carbine?  Stoker mentioned her when he said she suggested I come down here to get help."

"The former general," Throttle told her.  "My ex."

"Is he adorable?"

"Um, she," he said, blushing a bit.  He pulled out his wallet and tossed over the picture he carried of him and Carbine from a few years back.  "That's a bit old."

"She is rather pretty," she admitted, staring at her.  She looked up at Throttle.  "Do you think she'd mind?  I am rather hard on my wives.  I do expect them to like sex at least three times a week and to like what I do to them quite a lot.  The same as my favored husbands do.  Or will she be like my present favored wife who complains about the backaches after I get done making her lose her mind?"

"What are you doing to them?" Vinnie asked in awe.

Cypria smirked and winked at him.  "I'd share but you might not be able to sleep alone tonight and I doubt Charley wanted you with her.  Or else you'd be holding her hair by now."

"I don't have enough hair to hold," she snorted, shaking her head.  "Go ahead and tell him, we've got a bathroom he can hide in."

"Hey, that's cold," Vinnie complained.

She kissed him on the cheek.  "No less than you deserve, Vincent.  You're a naughty mouse with a very dirty mind."

Throttle and Modo both laughed and nodded at that.

Cypria stood up with a small moan and walked over, putting her forehead against his antenna to shoot the vision to him.  He shivered and got up, heading for the bathroom.  She took his place next to Charley with a grin.  "There, just to save you."  She looked at Modo, who was beside her.  "Do you think she would agree?"

He nodded.  "To save Mars she'd sell her soul," he offered gently.

"I'm not like that," she said with a teasing grin.  "She's just got to want it and to be able to keep up in the bedroom."

"We can call her down so you can talk to her," Charley offered.  She looked at Throttle, who got up with a groan and went to call.

He turned on the special receiver.  "Earth to Mars.  Carbine, you there?"

"No, Throttle, she's in bed," Rimfire offered.  "How's my uncle?"

"Doing good."

"Oooh, is that the adorable one?" Cypria called.  "He was very thoughtful and nice when I was on Mars."

He pushed the button.  "Cypria said hi."

"Cypria?  The princess is down there?" he demanded.

"Yeah, curled up between Charley girl and your uncle.  Can you get Carbine up and have her yell our way?"

"Sure.  Mars out, temporarily."

Throttle chuckled and put down the handset, sitting on the edge of the desk to wait.  He noticed Vinnie come slinking out and smirked.  "Was it good?"

"I definitely learned not to tease her," he moaned, going back to flop down in Throttle's spot on Charley's other side.  He wrapped her in his arms, giving her a gentle squeeze. "Sorry for my bad manners."

"It's all right, bro.  I understand," Modo offered with a bright grin.  "Should we stop the tape?"

"Please," Throttle called.

"Mars to Earth," a pissed sounding Carbine called.

He picked up the handset and hit the button.  "Hey, Carbine.  The princess wanted to talk to you and Stoker about a new treaty to aid Mars.  It seems there was almost an alliance marriage before and she's thinking a different sort would be more acceptable.  So can you come down for a few days?"

"Why do you need me?" she asked patiently.  "Can't you and Stoker handle that?"

"She wants a female, Carbine."

"Interesting.  Fine.  I can help with the negotiations.  Give me a few days.  Mars out."

Throttle grinned.  "Thanks, babe.  We'll be at the garage probably when you land.  Earth out."  He hung up the handset and headed back, getting the chair.  "She'll be down in a few days."

"Cool," Cypria said with a bright grin.  "Would you share memories of her with me?"  He considered it then nodded.  She got up and went to share memories with him, pulling back with a very bright grin.  "She reminds me much of my favorite wife.  I should call her down here."  She walked over and closed the living room door, concentrating.  It glowed and she opened it and pulled her wife through, then closed it and canceled the spell, opening it to show the garage again.  "Dear."

"No, no more sex!  Not this week!" she said firmly, glaring at her.

"I wanted you to help me interview a new political spouse," she said with a small pout.  "There's a wonderful woman on Mars who's a general.  She reminds me much of you."  She stroked her face, tracing the edge of her chin, ending up in a gentle kiss.  "Please?"

"Fine," she complained, rolling her eyes.  "I'm still not having sex with you.  The last time you started off back spasms in three of us."

"If you wish.  I could just cuddle," she offered hopefully.  "Come meet the bros.  They're Martian, but Charley.  She's a human."

"Why me?" she muttered, walking after her wife.  She nodded at them.  "Greetings."

"Greetings," Modo said with a small grin.  "I can shift over so you two can cuddle on the last cushion."

"Please," Cypria said happily.  She sat down and pulled her wife into her lap, cuddling her and nuzzling the back of her neck.  "Sibra, are you going to nap in the garage?"

//Yes, wench, I am.  I'd rather not watch you molest your wife again.//

"Fine.  Grumpy.  You need a male."

//Then I'd have to deal with my mother.  I'd rather suffer or find a human cat.// She strolled in. //Greetings, First Wife.// She looked at the couch, then climbed up in Charley's lap. //There, now I'm sure to get the good petting.// She grinned at her and then at Modo. //Please?//

"Sure, Sibra," he promised, pulling her into his lap to pet her.

The First Wife looked at her.  "You are shameless."  She only got a feline smirk.  "Fine."  She looked at her wife.  "Who is this Martian?  I know there was an alliance marriage being pushed."

"Yes, but the future hair holder wasn't liking that idea and I doubt I could bed him routinely the way I do you," she said dryly, pointing at Vinnie.

"Well, he's adorable," she offered.  "But fairly young."  Vinnie glared at her.  "You're also her height.  In her males she prefers larger men."  She looked at Modo, then leaned over to test his muscles.  "He would do.  I could find myself liking him."

Modo blushed and shook his head.  "My gray furred momma would be quite upset with me, ma'am."

"Pity."  She looked at her wife.  Then at Throttle.  "You haven't tried for that one either?"

Throttle blushed and Cypria chuckled.  "I would but he has a fascination with his former lover, the one proposed that we'll be meeting in a few days."  She kissed her, then moved down to her neck.  "She is quite pretty and a general, so therefore quite tough and firm."

"Did she have enjoyable carnal relations?" the first wife asked Throttle, who blushed brighter and nodded.  "Would she join us in our complaints about too much sex?"  She pinched her wife.  "Quit.  I'm not being talked into bed.  Especially not in front of aliens."

"Dear, this is Charley's world.  We're the aliens," she said patiently, kissing her on the back of the neck.  "Besides, you can't resist me," she murmured into the skin.  Her wife shivered.  "We should give her a practical try as well."

"We should," she agreed, shifting on the lap.  "Please quit."

"Fine, spoil my fun.  You know my magic goes odd when I can't cuddle and kiss you lot."

"Yes, I'm aware of that and your uncle and aunt are quite displeased with you at the moment.  By the way, Plutark did surrender immediately but we think they're moving around it.  We're going to ban them to their planets at the least."

"They killed ninety percent of our population," Throttle told her calmly, gripping the arms of the chair he was in.  "They destroyed Mars.  There's almost no water there any longer."

"We'll do what we can to make them suffer for it," the first wife assured him, getting up to hug him.  "I will demand that the judges look at the worlds they have ruined, including starting on this one."  He nodded at that, swallowing hard.  "Those who are left will get their revenge and we will help you recover and become great again, warrior.  You have our help even without the marriage."

"Yes, but with it, we can coordinate so much easier," Cypria offered with a stroke up Modo's arm.  He shivered so she looked at her wife.  "Besides, it solves the problem of that alignment marriage.  That way no one's embarrassed and the ambassador is now free to do as is needed."

"Technically, there's a princess left," Modo offered gently.  "She's presently hiding but she did work with the Freedom Fighters.  She left her family to do that.  Stoker knows where she is."

"She would be another good candidate and it would keep the people from harming her if her parents didn't help," she agreed quietly. "Are you experienced in diplomacy."

He grinned and shook his head.  "I'm more of a totaler.  I total everything in my path when necessary."

She chuckled and stroked his arm again.  "There are times for destruction and times for rebuilding, and times to just sit and enjoy being around normal people.  Then again, there are also times to pounce your wife and make her beg for mercy."  She pounced her wife, knocking her to the floor and convincing her she wanted to retreat to the guest room for the evening.  By the time she had her convinced, she was moaning and even Charley was blushing over the noise they were making, and they were only kissing!  "Bed, wife, before they find out exactly why your back aches after most nights with me," she growled.  Her wife got up and nodded at them, then hauled her wife into the bedroom, closing the door.

"I'll sleep out here," Charley called, looking bemused.

"Sorry.  I can move her if you want."

"No, that's fine.  The other's a twin, you'll need more room."  She shook her head and looked at Throttle.  "I can't see Carbine not looking shocked the first time she pounces her," she teased.

"She always did when I pounced," Throttle admitted.

"That's because you used to pounce her in the middle of briefings," Vinnie taunted.

"Not always and she still looked shocked."

"Astria, why do you do this to me!" the wife screamed, then moaned at the end.  "I told you no more oral sex this month," she said, then the sound of a spank.  "I should discipline you."

"Yes, dear, whatever you want.  Here, let me clean that up for you," she offered in a content sounding purr.

//Shameless.  Purely shameless.  Her wife will not be walking right tomorrow.// Sibra shook her head and nuzzled Modo's stomach. //May I have some more petting?//

"Of course, Sibra," Charley offered, reaching over to stroke down her back, earning a content purr of her own.   "Are they all like that?"

"No, they've got some backward and shy people in the Empire too," Throttle assured her with a small grin.  "Martians being one."

"We may wear more clothes, but we're just as lusty when we're in private," Vinnie defended.  "The Akryia peoples only have sex in religious settings and only for procreation."  He looked at Charley.  "They use intermediaries.  The priests do all the work to transfer stuff over.  You never know who the other person is."

"Interesting," she admitted.  Someone knocked politely on the door and she sighed.  "Someone get that.  I'm comfortable."

"I knew you'd like me cuddling," Vinnie said smugly.

"Never mind."  She got up, going to answer the door.  The agent was on the other side.  "You're back already?"

"Yes, Miss Davidson."  He stepped inside and handed her a manilla envelope.  "Here you go.  For now, we will be considering this the Martian embassy.  There is all the paperwork you'll need and within two days there shall be a small stipend sent over for their comfort while things are worked out.  We had no idea that there were so many of them down here."

"Well, there's three main ones here in the city and a lot of visitors usually."

He nodded.  "We might be able to remove one from the public but more than that is often difficult.  Besides, half the city seems to have seen them out riding.  Thank you for helping them so often, ma'am, and I'll be your liaison with the State Department.  It gets me out of covert ops, so I thank you greatly."

She nodded.  "Sure.  Thanks for this.  I'll look over it tonight.  Come back with the check whenever you've got it.  I can feed 'em for the next few days.  I've got the big box of hotdogs still."


"They only ever seem to eat hotdogs and rootbeer," she said with a small shrug.

He just nodded.  "Sure.  We can make sure you've got plenty.  Thank you for your help and indulgence.  I'll be back in two or three days with that check."  He left, closing the door behind him.

She locked it and walked back in there, tossing Throttle the paperwork.  "We're the official embassy."

"It works for us," Throttle said as he opened it, looking at the paperwork.  "Nice stipend.  We'll be able to ship some stuff home."

"What're they hoping for?" Vinnie asked as he pulled Charley back into his chest since he was sitting sideways.  "Technology?"

"Probably.  It doesn't say outright.  We'll ask the guy when he comes back," Throttle said, tossing it aside.  "I'll let Carbine and Stoker deal with that too."  He smirked at them.  "Delegating is so much fun.  I'm glad Stoker explained it to me.  Let's get back to the movie, Charley girl."  She flipped back on the movie and they settled in to watch it.  It covered nearly all the moans from the bedroom.


Charley looked up as Stoker rode into the garage, grinning at him.  "You made good time."

"Carbine's on a rip," he muttered in her ear as he gave her a hug.  "Where's the punks this time?"

"Modo's out for a ride.  Vinnie's in the kitchen making himself a snack and Throttle's napping on the couch."  She grinned and walked over to hug Carbine when she rode in.  "Welcome back.  Cypria's out for about ten minutes with her wife.  They're looking over her ship."

"That's fine.  How are the negotiations going?" she asked blandly.

"We're basically waiting on you two.  Throttle said he didn't know what was the most urgent beyond water and food."

"Of course," Stoker agreed.

Throttle came out of the living room, handing over the packet.  "We got this too.  This is now the official Martian embassy.  They need to know if that's okay and probably negotiate something about that too."  He grinned at Carbine.  "She'll be right back.  She just popped back for her bag a moment ago and left with her tool kit."  Charley raised an eyebrow.  "Apparently she needed to recharge something."  He shrugged.  "I don't pretend to understand since she created the thing."  He looked at Stoker, then punched him on the arm.  "They're thinking that there's about two problems at the moment holding up some of the aid coming faster."  Rimfire rode in and he smirked at him.  "Hey, kid."

"Where's Uncle Modo?  I managed to hitch a ride with these two."  He took off his helmet and shook out his hair, running a hand over the stripe down the middle of it.

"He's out for a ride," Charley offered, giving him a hug.  "Vinnie!"

"Coming."  He came out, handing over some hotdogs.  "There's rootbeer in the fridge, guys.  Hey, coach," he said with a smug smirk.  He beamed at Rimfire.  "Let me call the old guy."  He went to call Modo back over the radio, getting a staticky response.  "She must be calling home too."

"Probably," Throttle agreed.  "Let's go sit. It's nap time."  They all headed in there after forays to get rootbeer, sitting around the living room.

Stoker read over the papers, then nodded slowly.  "Not too shabby.  I doubt she'll need an assistant here at the garage to handle us."

"No, if you guys get to be too much, I'll yell at you," she joked, smirking at him.  He chuckled and nodded.  "I do have a liaison and he's bringing a check either tomorrow or the next day probably."

"Sure, Charley girl.  We can wait on him," Stoker promised.  "It'll probably take a few days to deal with the other negotiations.  What's she want anyway?"

"Someone to control it.  See, there's this problem of a previously arranged marriage," Charley said dryly, glancing at Vinnie.  Stoker's mouth fell open.  She and Throttle both nodded.

"And why can't Vincent marry her now?" Carbine asked dryly.

"Because she doesn't want me.  She wants someone who can complain with her wives about too much sex," Vinnie said dryly, smirking at her.

"Besides, think about what they'll think about you guys after five years of Vinnie," Charley told her.

"Five years?" she asked.

"Political marriages are for five years, dear," Cypria said as she walked in.  She was back in her nearly non-existent clothes and the male mice all stood up hastily but gaped at her.  "Sorry, had to go native, I had to call home.  The First Wife will be in soon."  She looked at Carbine, then smiled at her.  "You're prettier than Throttle said.   He was bragging about how powerful you are presently."  She sat down next to her, smiling at her.  "So, we've got the problem of the arranged marriage so there'll have to be one or else your ambassador will be embarrassed and out of favor.  Then there's the problem of coordinating the aid situation.  The best possible combination that we could see would be a true combination of the two duties.  You two head Mars, basically, and I hear there's a princess left as well.  That would bring the best possible outcome, one of you three."  She looked at Carbine, then at Stoker.  "You are adorable," she told him, making him blush, "but there are Ferganis all over the home court.  Another reason Vinnie's not suitable, he's allergic to them."  She looked at Carbine.  "I would prefer a wife anyway.  I tend to get along better with other women.  I also tend to like to sleep with them better," she said honestly.  "All my wives complain of too much sex, constantly."  She grinned at her.  "So, I'll leave it up to you.  You would have the right to negotiate and add some stipulations to the aid pact.  It already states total support for Mars before, during, and after the war until you're able to stand on your own."  She kissed Carbine, then purred.  "I think you're quite delightful as well."

"I, um, dated Throttle, princess.  I like men," she offered.

Cyrpia chuckled.  "Have you ever tried it?  Then again, I'm fantastic in bed," she offered smugly.  "I can do things with my tongue that only those from Lavgsburg can.  I learned directly from them."

"No wonder your wives complain about too much sex," Stoker joked.  "Carbine, it would be a great help to Mars.  You could coordinate everything and all the shipments."

"At least one was moving into orbit when we left," Rimfire offered.  He grinned at his boss.  "Carbine, you said you'd sell your soul to save Mars.  It's only five years.  Unless you want to stay of course."

"Shut up, punk," Stoker hissed.

"Sure, boss."  He grinned at Vinnie and Throttle.  "So, how's the Plutarkian situation down here?"

"We went to war against them," Cypria told him, reaching over to ruffle his fur.  "You're so cute!"  He blushed.  "Right now they're hiding on their planets and having to retreat from every world near the empire.  We're trying to decide damages and how best to punish them.  My wife was talking to the person making that decision so he will come to Mars and see what they've done first-hand.  He's half Martian and half Pfroct."

"I know him," Stoker admitted.  "I remember when he was chosen and left."

"I was fairly young then," Cypria offered dryly. She grinned at him.  "He was always most complimentary about you biker mice.  That's one of the reasons I popped around."  She looked at Carbine again.  "It is up to you.  I would never take an unwilling spouse."

"You'd probably be gone for another few years mostly anyway, right?" Throttle prompted.

"Of course, and Carbine would be more than welcome to travel with me or stay at court and go back to Mars every now and then."  She grinned at him, he was helping her argument.

Carbine considered it, then looked at her.  "I would not put up with flighty behavior in anyone I date.  I'm not playful like Vincent."  She looked over as the other alien walked in, nodding at her.  "Welcome."

"Ah, you're her," she said, coming over to kiss her and scan her.  "Quite an admirable mind.  You can stay in my apartment while we fix you up one of your own, dear."  She swatted her mate on the hair.  "Your aunt is getting foamy again."


"Again," she sighed.  "You're needed home for a religious observance in two days."

"Fine, I'll travel back, do what I must, and then leave again," she said with a grin.  "After all, I've got to oversee this situation for a bit longer."  She looked at Carbine.  "I would be open to any reasonable negotiations."

She sighed and nodded.  "To save Mars, I would gladly give up my life.  Five years of it in a political marriage isn't as bad as it could be."

"Good.  Then let's go work out some details," Cypria purred, pulling them both up and into the bedroom.  "Sorry, dear."

"Not a problem, the sheets can be changed after you leave," Charley called, smirking at Stoker.  "We thought they might hit it off."  Carbine suddenly let out a squeaky moan that made Throttle blush.  "Sorry.  Want to go for a ride with the other boys?"

"No, I'm good," he squeaked, coughing to lower his voice again.  "Sorry.  Remembering the last time I heard that."  He looked at Stoker.  "That lets you off the hook, old man.  What'll you do now?"

"Date."  He smirked at them.  "Are you two coming home?"

"I'm not sure yet," Vinnie said, glancing meaningfully at Charley.

"Someone's got to watch for the Plutarkians to come sneaking back," Throttle agreed. "Modo probably would."

"I'm under strict orders to bring him home for at least a visit," Rimfire agreed.  "His gray furred momma wants to see him and see how much weight he's lost this time."

Vinnie grinned at him.  "I doubt he's lost any weight, but I can hear his bike coming up the street so you can check for yourself."  He looked at Charley.  "It'll probably be at least another year, sweetheart, that good with you?"

"Gee, another year of only hotdogs and rootbeer?" she taunted, smirking at him. "However will I survive."  He blushed.  "What?"

"You could probably forcefeed him other stuff," Stoker offered dryly.

"Just kiss her already," Rimfire complained.  "You're making me ill with the sugar."

Throttle swatted him with his tail.  "You have manners, use 'em."

"Sorry, sir."  He smirked at him, clearing it as his uncle walked in.  "Hi, Uncle Modo."

Modo grinned and gave him a hug, patting him on the head at the end.  He heard the moans and blushed, coughing a bit.  "I take it they're....."

"Interviewing," Rimfire agreed.  "Carbine's negotiating for Mars."

Modo blushed a bit more and nodded at that.  "Good for her then."  He sat down between his nephew and Charley.  "How did that paperwork look?"

"Pretty good," Stoker admitted.  "Pretty much what they've got now, with some limited interference. Plus some money.  I'm wondering what they want in return."

"So did I," Vinnie admitted.

"Hopefully it's not something like going on Leno," Charley said.

Stoker looked at her.  "I'd hope not.  He'd have to do a lot of tapdancing about that episode from the sponsors."

Carbine came wobbling out and sat down on Rimfire, unintentionally.  He wiggled out and over his uncle's lap to sit beside his feet, letting her have the last soft spot to sit down.  "I'm going to die," she told Stoker.  "She wasn't kidding about that tongue thing."

He grinned.  "Good!  You could use the tension break, Carbine."  She glared at him but it was a weaker one than usual.  "You could.  That's why we make you take vacations."

"I thought that was so someone else could do things," Rimfire said sarcastically.

"That too, punk," Stoker agreed happily, beaming at Carbine.  "So, what would you like for a bonding present?"

"Smirk one more time, Stoker.  I'll include you," she sneered back.

"Like I'd mind," he said smugly.  "A pretty woman is the balm to any man's scarred soul."

"You just want the sex," Rimfire teased.

"Yeah, well, I can't date with you and every other Freedom Fighter watching me," Stoker reminded him.  "Speaking of, when are you going to start dating that little mouse cadet?"

"Never," he said dryly.  "She's an airhead.  I prefer brains to at least match my own."

Modo ruffled his hair and Charley gave him a hug around the neck.  "Always aim high in matters of love, Rimfire," his uncle reminded him.  "It's always better when you find it."  Rimfire nodded, grinning up at him.

"Wife, I'm sore!" the first wife shouted, coming out and sitting on Carbine's lap.  "We'll have to protect each other," she said bitterly.  "She's in one of those moods.  The last time she wore out all her mates in two days time."  She snuggled in, getting held.  "You do like to cuddle.  Good.  I adore cuddles."

"I give good cuddles," Cypria defended from the doorway, licking off her fingers.  "I always have."

"Yes, but I'd rather just cuddle today.  I'm sore!" she defended.

"Fine, be that way.  We'll have to head home soon so I can pounce the rest of them."  She grinned at Carbine.  "Do those rules and offerings please you, dear?  If so, we can have everything set up by the time we get back home."

"Fine," she agreed weakly, looking at Stoker.  Then she looked at Throttle.  "Did you offer me?"

"No, we suggested," Vinnie said with a grin.  "After all, I wouldn't know what Mars needed the most."

"I still can't see you in a formal setting," Charley taunted.  "Having to play nice and politically correct all the time."

"Sweetheart, I was trained for that after they told me I was marrying her."

"Yeah, but that's been a while ago," she taunted.  "You still call me a chick now and then."

"You are," he defended.  He picked her up with his tail, turning her around to kiss her stupid.  "Shut up and quit complainin'.  You like it because I pay attention to you."

She slapped him.  "Put me down.  Now, VanWham."

"No, sweetheart, I don't think I will," he said, settling her in his lap and cuddling her.  "I need a cuddle too.  It's nearly as good a sex."

Rimfire looked at Modo.  "Should we help her?"

"No, she can whip his tail herself," he assured him.

"You know, Vincent, now that Throttle's truly free, you may have some competition, or even from me," Stoker joked.

"I'll whip both your tails," he assured him dryly, cuddling her harder.  She wiggled until she got free.  "Sweetheart, you needed a cuddle. You haven't been cuddled since the last time you got hurt."

"You can keep waiting too, or cuddle up to Rimfire.  I'm not a teddy bear."

"You're not nearly hairy enough," Modo joked, pulling her down for a cuddle.  "There, just so you know it gets better."

"I'm a champion cuddler," Vinnie defended, stealing her back.  "See?  I'm an excellent cuddler.  That's why I get chased by the girls."

"Guys, I think the cat cuddles better," she said, wiggling to get free.  She finally managed it and walked away shaking her head.  She was sure she had something she could do until Vinnie calmed down again.

"Too forceful, bro.  Be smooth and subtle, not a teenager," Throttle advised with a huge smirk.  "After all, that's how I got Carbine when I had her."

"Yeah, well, not all of us are you, Throttle."

"You're certainly not and you're shedding," Charley called.  "You covered me in fur, Vinnie! I should make you tape lift it off!"

"Sorry, sweetheart."  He got up and got the lint roller, going to roll her furless again.  He paused and had to shake his head to get that image free.  It was unbelievably kinky.  He went to roll her clean, grinning at the guy coming in.  "Stoker's in the living room," he told the agent.  "He's handling those things since he's our leader at the moment."

"Sure.  Thank you for calling him," the agent offered, now in a normal suit.  "I've got that check for you, Miss Davidson."   He handed over an envelope.  "Thank you for handling this so we don't have to."  He went that way, going to talk to the mouse he hadn't met yet.  He looked at Rimfire.  "You're Stoker?" he asked.  "You look so young."

"He's in the bathroom, dude.  I'm Rimfire, Modo's nephew," he said, leaning over to shake his hand.  "I'm the one who keeps crashing."

"Oh!  Okay."  He nodded, accepting that.  He looked at Throttle, who only smirked and waved.  "We do have some generals who are that young," he admitted.  "They're usually geniuses."

"So am I," Rimfire bragged.

"Only for getting into trouble," Stoker complained as he came out of the bathroom.  "Sorry about that.  Vinnie is just too much some days."  He sat down again, looking at him.  "So, what did you guys want in return?  We're pretty low on everything at the moment, including technology."

"Just to hide for at least another century if possible.  Humans aren't ready for the knowledge of the Empire or other aliens yet.  Had we known these three had crashed way back when, we'd have moved them to DC immediately."

"Actually, within the day we were fighting the Plutarkians here," Throttle told him.  "It would have been a battle."

"Are there any more?"  They all shook their heads.  "Are you sure?"

"We're still staying around to make sure that they can't sneak back," Throttle told him.

"That's fine.  I doubt you'd want to move to Iowa anyway."

"It's supposed to be pretty country for a ride," Modo offered, "but there's nothing to do there."

"Exactly," he agreed.   "Then no one would see you and no one would wonder why we had furry mutant people and start to get more paranoid.  The US government wants to carefully arrange the knowledge that aliens exist and aren't all bad, that way we've got the proper spin and can control the situation so the paranoid don't try to blow things up, like the garage."  They all nodded at that.  "So we'd like for you guys to lay low.  We'll gladly pay you to lay low while you're down here and help maintain this garage as the embassy.  After all, it's a more quiet one than we could have done.  We're just really glad she didn't go on Springer or sell you guys to the Star."

"You'd be surprised," Charley called.  "The thought had occurred to me, just to see them blush!"

"They'd probably have paid her well too," Rimfire noted.  "So, how well are you guys paying her?"

"A small stipend to run this garage and keep it afloat.  Food and drink allotment through the food stamp program.  Cable and internet paid for by us.  And now and then we get to come pick your brains about something or other that shows up down here.  By the way, have you guys ever seen the Stargate show or movie?"  Throttle and Modo nodded.  "Are they real?"  They both shook their heads.  "No chance of it, right?"  They shook their heads again.  "Cool.  Makes my job easier," he said smugly.  "So, I'm your contact if you guys need anything, like medical attention.  I will have a doctor briefed and here within a day, just to make sure everyone's healthy."

"We could use them on Mars, but I think the Empire's bringing some," Stoker admitted.

Cypria came out sniffling.  "She's quite good, Throttle.  Thank you, dear.  I should reward you for finding me a new mate I can play with.  It'll be a delight to make her blush and play."  She sniffed the agent.  "You're a bureaucrat."

"Ya think?" he taunted, smirking at her.  "Princess.  I'm the liaison for the garage as the new Martian embassy.  Before you announce yourselves we'd like to deal with that issue.  There's still too many paranoid people around.  Humans haven't figured out how to work together, much less not be paranoid that we're not the top of the food chain in the universe."

She nodded.  "I can see that.  We usually let planets within the empire go on a bit.  I tried to announce it during the Renaissance.  They decided to kill all those with knowledge."  She shrugged.  "It happens."

"Thank you.  Can you come back about this time next year?  That way we can start the slow process of introducing you guys?"

"Of course.  I'll just pop around, shall I?" she offered with a grin.  "That way no one catches me."  She winked at him then at Throttle.  "Is there anything else I can do before I leave?"

"Show her kevalah," Vinnie offered.  "That way she knows what coffee should be like."

"Hey, I tried," she pointed out, creating a cup of steaming liquid.  She walked it out to Charley.  "I don't make kevalah very well," she admitted.  "But this is what I was going for with coffee when I started it."

She sipped it and moaned, grabbing onto the counter beside her.  "Oh, damn, that's better than coffee."  She took another sip.  "This is nearly better than sex.  How do you make it?"

"Well, personally, I create it," she offered with a grin.  "Then again, I can ship some beans down.  It seems Vinnie's got a taste for it too.  He ordered me to tell you."  She kissed her gently.  "I wish I could take you with me.  You'd like the court.  It's like a really calm party with an orgy now and then."  She skipped off, heading back to Carbine's side.  After all, she needed to have a bit more sex and Carbine needed to be checked to make sure she could handle the strain.

"Princess, just call before you get here so I can put out food," the agent called, standing up.  He looked at Stoker.  "Can we agree to the terms without further haggling?"  He nodded at that.  "Good.  Thank you, Stoker.  If and when you need me, she'll have a phone that links directly to my cellphone.  Please, try not to crash too often.  It draws attention to what we don't want others to know."  He shook hands all around then left, handing Charley a card.  "Until we can get your special phone put in.  Would you accept being a pro-tem diplomat to the Empire as well?"  She shrugged and nodded, taking another sip. He grinned.  "Thank you, Miss Davidson.  Your country thanks you for not panicking the masses and handling them so well too."  He walked out, heading home.  He had to decorate his new office locally. Just in case something happened.  He still had to arrange for that doctor to be brought in, just in case.  That way someone would have a clue if they got seriously hurt in the future.  He pulled out some paper and made some notes while he waited at red lights.  It was an important post and he was not going to screw it up and get sent back to covert ops.  That would eat him until he had eyes that had seen too much combat, like Stoker's did.


The guard snuck up behind Cypria, grabbing her under the armpits.  She flipped him, making him yell in outrage.  She smirked at him.  "You knew I'd fight back. You should know better than to grab me."  She stroked up the sleeping Carbine's arm.  "This is the new Martian wife, Carbine.  Tell my aunt on your way back.  Also, this is the temporary embassy for the Empire.  We've been asked to let the humans deal with the knowledge first and to be quiet about it.  This is the Martian embassy as well."

"It's a garage, Fixers work here," he said, looking confused.

"Yes, she does," she agreed dryly, pointing at Charley.  "It's hers."  He nodded at her, then glared at his princess again.  "I'm heading home for the religious observance and to marry this one.  She's quite fun and I look forward to making her play now and then."  He gave her a look.  "Also, we'll need to put some supplies down here.  I've shown Charley what kevalah was and she adores it so include a lot of those beans and a machine.  Food's not really necessary, I find pizza, beer, rootbeer, and hotdogs quite satisfactory."  He gaped and she shrugged. "It's tasty.  Especially that beer stuff.  Just add some clothes in case there's a more formal visit.  She looks quite good in some of mine."  She smiled at him.  "Now shoo.  I'm leaving tonight.  I'll have to be back in about two years.  Get at least the kevalah and things here first."

"Yes, princess," he said.  "I'm still not leaving until you do."

"Fine," she sighed.  "Sibra, are you done being petted?"  She got a sleepy complaining noise.  "The guards won't leave before we do, Sibra.  You can come back and have him pet you, or possibly Carbine can.  She's got very good hands."  Sibra lifted her head and gave her a sleepy glare.  "Now, cat."

//Fine, wench.  Wake your women.//

"I can move them without waking them," she said smugly.  "I'll be back in a bit, Charley.  Stay safe and make sure Vinnie behaves."  She and her lapful of wives disappeared with Sibra.

The guard bowed to Charley.  "I will do as she instructed and send it to the local General working on things, Fixer.  Thank you for hosting our most troubled one."  He bowed again and disappeared.

"I didn't think she was troubled, just bored," Charley said dryly.  The mice around her nodded.  "So, how long before she comes back?"

"Probably just over a year," Vinnie offered, pulling her back into his lap.  "Sorry, I need it.  This is a scary part."

"Sure, Vinnie," she said, pinching him.  "Let me go."  He unwound his tail from her waist but kept holding her.  "I'm not your teddybear."

"I wouldn't mind if you would be," he whispered in her ear, then nuzzled the back of her head.  "You know you want me."

"Oh, no, I'm not getting into this again," she said, trying to wiggle free.  She felt him have to shift and why and stopped, glaring at him.  "Let.  Go.  You're not poking me with that thing."

He grinned.  "You're the one wiggling.  I was perfectly nice and calm before you wiggled, sweetheart.  Then again, you're more than enough to do it to any guy."  He wrapped his tail around her again and kept her where she was, shifting again so she'd be more comfortable.

"Modo, help," she complained.  "He's poking me."

Modo looked clueless but Throttle chuckled.  "Did you want the princess too?" Throttle teased.

"It's better than being poked by certain mice."

"Vinnie, toss her over here, I could use a teddy human too," Throttle offered.

"Fat chance, bro.  She's mine now."

"I am not!" she declared.  "I don't belong to any of you!"

Rimfire grabbed her and put her beside him, between him and his uncle.  "They're sorry they're such wrench heads.  Especially Vinnie, Charley ma'am."  He put an arm around her shoulders.  "Why do they kill the people with the big knife?"

"Because they're like that.  Either that or they're mad at them," she said, giving Vinnie a meaningful look.  "Go look up Lorena Bobbit online, dear," she offered sweetly.

"Yow," he said, holding himself.  "Then I'd never get to pleasure you until you screamed."

"Fat.  Chance."

"Bro, too thick," Throttle told him.  He whipped his tail out and stole Charley, settling her across his lap to stroke her back.  "Did the big white mouse scare you by...poking you?" he teased.  She wiggled but he continued to stroke her.  She yawned and went limp, nodding a bit.  "Shh, we'll protect you from big white mice with little poky things."  She snorted.  "I promise.  Those of us with normal size poky things won't let the inadequate ones bother you, Charley girl."

"You're in an odd mood."

"Of course.  My girl just got married to a woman.  I'm allowed."  He nuzzled her ear.  "You'll be fine.  We'll protect you from him in his hormonal overdrive moment.  That's all this is."

"My girl.  Unhand her," Vinnie demanded.  "No nuzzling my girl, Throttle.  You wouldn't like it if I did it to Carbine."

"She says she's not your girl, Vinnie.  That leaves her open to nuzzling," Throttle taunted.

"There's no 'open' for you guys," she said dryly.  "It'd be like sleeping with Sibra."

"Not really. She doesn't walk on two legs," Throttle offered.

She got off his lap and went back to sitting between Rimfire and Modo.  "Protect me from them," she demanded.

"Sure, Charley ma'am," Modo promised, putting an arm around her shoulders.  He smirked at Vinnie.  "Looks like she's decided to not go for the little poky things you two have."

Rimfire choked.  "Uncle Modo, please.  No more dirty thoughts.  I'll have to tell grandmomma on you."  He shook his head and looked at Charley.  "Did they get into the kevalah?"  She nodded.  "Huh.  No wonder.  I'll have to remember what it does to mouse brains, namely rots them."  He glared at Throttle.  "Aren't you supposed to be the smooth one?"

"Yeah, and she didn't even care that I was hard," he said smugly.

"That's it, no more kevalah for you two," Charley ordered.  "I can't and won't put up with this again."  She got up and headed into her bedroom.  "Ewww.  I've got to change the sheets.  I forgot."  She came out to get a new set and went back in there, not noticing that Throttle was behind the door.  She closed it and squeaked as he grabbed her.  "Throttle!  Let go!"

He moaned as he kissed her.  "Do you know how long it's been since I've smelled a real woman," he whispered, kissing her gently.

She pulled back and swatted at him.  "We're not compatible species!"

"We are so," he purred, moving closer.  "We can wait to change the sheets, let you mess these up more."

"Fat chance.  Your girlfriend had sex on it."

He smirked.  "It's all about the sharing right now on Mars.  After all, there's not that many mice left."  He pulled her closer to kiss her again.  She moaned into his mouth and he pulled back to grin at her.  "See, nothing like a full grown mouse."

She swatted him, then got free.  "Get out!  Now.  You're going to hate yourself in the morning."

"Only if you kick me out," he asked, looking pitiful.

Stoker opened the door and grabbed Throttle by the tail, dragging him off.  "No more kevalah for you, punk."

"But, coach!" he whined.

Vinnie chuckled and started to get up but found Rimfire had managed to tie him down without him knowing.  "Hey!"

"Shut up," Rimfire said with a smirk.  "You two need to detox first.  This is worst than a drunk mouse."

"Kevalah's a mild stimulant," Stoker instructed.  "It tends to make Martians horny and humans awake.  For them it's like really good coffee."  He sat down next to Throttle, making sure he stayed there, even though he was pouting. "I will be telling Carbine about this."

"She's married to a lady of her own now," Modo said dryly.

"I wonder if she's still complaining that she's sore," Rimfire told him.

Modo shrugged. "Maybe. I'm sure she'll get over it and get used it within the next year."

"You mean she might come back blissed out and happy?" Stoker said sarcastically.  "I've never seen her that way."

"I did.  She's a whole different mouse when she's calm and pleasured to napping," Throttle said smugly.

"I find most mice are," Vinnie countered.

Throttle snorted.  "That's a good reason not to let you at Charley girl, Vinnie. You've slept with half of Mars."

"I have not!" he shrieked, wiggling to get free.  He pounced Throttle, knocking him to the floor to pummel him.  "Take that back!"

"What? It was only a quarter?" he taunted.  He was giving Vinnie back as much as he was getting.  "Why are you on top of me?  Or do I do it for you too, Vincent?" he taunted.

Vinnie hopped up at that.  "I'm bigger, built better, studlier, and all around cuter," he sneered. "You can only pant at my tail."  He went to help Charley but her door was locked.  "Need help, sweetheart?"

"Not from you.  Not until you're back to normal."

"What causes this?" Rimfire asked Stoker.

"There's something in the mature beans that's cooked when it's brewed.  Raw it affects humans the same way Vinnie and Throttle are.  Cooked it affects mice. That's only when the beans are that reddish color.  If they're still green, then you can grind up an one and steep it like tea and it cures a headache. They're handy things."

Throttle and Vinnie shared a look, that gave them a very wicked idea.  They'd have to see who could get her to eat a bean tomorrow.

"So, this stuff is better than viagra for getting you hard?" Rimfire asked.  "Or is it just an aphrodisiac?"

"A bit of both. It mostly makes you horny so I'm guessing it'd be classified under aphrodisiac."  He looked at him.  "Don't expect there to be any on Mars.  We basically outlawed them bringing kevalah to Mars when we had regular trade and visits from the Empire."

"It's habit forming?" Modo asked.

"No, just so pleasurable when you're under it that you wanna do it again.  You don't *have* to do it again, but you want to do it again."

"Sure.  I'll remember that and watch out for my bros."  He looked over at them, they were too quiet.  "The beans haven't been delivered yet, bros."

Stoker looked over and got up with Rimfire to separate those two.  There was no way he'd let them sully Charley girl with their pouncing.  She deserved better.


Vinnie walked up to Charley's bedroom door the next morning, tapping gently.  "Sweetheart, I'm sorry.  I was under the influence of the kevalah last night."  He heard her moving.  "I brought you some breakfast."  She got up and opened the door, wearing her ratty old bathrobe.  "Here, babe.  Let me bring this in."  She nodded, climbing back into bed and covering up so he could put the tray across her lap.  "There you go."  He stepped back and grinned at her.  "The beans came and they're a delicacy so we ground some up for you.  I added them to the jam for the toast."  He kissed her on the forehead.  "Throttle and I are both sorry, sweetheart.  We didn't mean to make you uncomfortable or anything."

"Just don't do it again.  Go pick on Modo or someone else."

"Yes, sweetheart.  Try the jam.  It's a bit of a bitter first taste but after that it's wonderful.  The raw beans don't affect us that way," he said when she stared him down.  "It's only when they're brewed.  Stoker said so."

She spread some of the jam on her toast and nibbled it, grimacing a bit, but the second bite was better.  "Next time, let's try a different flavor from grape, Vinnie.  That's just odd."  She did finish the toast and jam though.  Then she dug into the eggs.  "Did you need to see me eat?"

"You know I enjoy watching you," he offered, leaning down to kiss her on the top of the head.  "You're amazing no matter what you do and we should tell you that more often."  He left, closing the door behind him.

She shook her head and went back to her breakfast.  It was sweet of him to do this for her.  "Maybe I'll forgive him today," she mused, scraping the plate.  She drank the juice then got up to get ready for the day.  She was in the shower when the funny feelings started, making her slow down her soaping.  She realized what she was doing and shook herself free.  "If he did that to me on purpose I'm killing them all," she muttered, hurrying up and getting out.  She grabbed a towel just in time because Rimfire walked in.  "Rimfire!"

"Sorry," he said, blushing bright red and heading out.  "I didn't hear any noises.  I thought it was empty."

"Next time I'll lock it," she called.  She came out in her towel, rushing back to her room.  She found Throttle dealing with the doorknob.  "What are you doing?" she demanded.

"Vinnie said it was sticking so I'm putting a bit of oil in the right spots," he offered, glancing back at her.  He grinned when he caught her eye.  "That's one less thing you've got to do around here, Charley girl."  He stood up.  "Are you all right?  You look a bit flushed."

"It's embarrassment and I can't change with you in here."

"Sure."  He stepped closer.  "I'm sorry about last night, Charley girl.  I didn't mean to embarrass you.  That stuff's just really strong.  Should I start a cup for you?  I promise not to drink any and to keep Vinnie away from it."

"Sure.  Thank you, Throttle, and for the door."

"Sure thing, Charley girl. You're special and important to us you know."  He kissed her on the cheek and left, closing the door behind him.  She had no idea he had just disabled the lock.  Or that he had done it earlier to the bathroom.

She slid into her usual jeans and blue work shirt, then her socks and cowboy boots before heading down the stairs while pulling her hair back.  Throttle handed her the cup on her way past and she looked at it.  "I usually leave a bit of room at the top so it doesn't slosh out and you can add some cream if you wanted."

"Thanks, Throttle."  She grinned at him and headed out to the garage part of the garage, finding it neat, tidy, and empty.  "Well, lets start the day," she sighed, opening the doors.  She sat down to sip her drink, moaning a bit at the taste.  She put her feet up and finished the cup of special coffee as she was calling it in her head.  She picked up a nearby tech manual and started going through it again, it'd give her something to do until the guys either decided their bikes needed work or someone else came in.  She felt herself getting warm and wiggled a bit, crossing her legs.  She would not give into those sort of things.  Not in the garage and not today.  She heard some lighter engines coming up the street and groaned.  "There's goons coming," she called. "I can hear the dune buggies."  The bros and guests came down the stairs and went out on their bikes.

Vinnie came back a minute later.  "They want to talk," he said bitterly.  "Wanna join in, sweetheart?"

"Sure."  She got on behind him, grabbing her helmet and letting him take her off.  They stopped across from the goons and Greasepit, who was looking very miserable.  She took off her helmet. "What's going on?"

"Tha boss got arrested.  We don't have no place ta go," he sniffled.  "No work or nothin'.  We don't wanna end up down in The Pits."

Charley looked at them.  "So you came to attack the garage?  He won't be paying you for it."

"S'not like he paid us anyway," Greasepit said miserably.  "We miss our low payin' boss."  He sniffled then burst out crying.  "We's got no place to go," he howled.

"Stop it!" she demanded.  Greasepit slowly calmed down and she got off the bike, going over to pat him on the back, then looking at her hand and grimacing.  "Greasepit, I can't pay you guys either.  I don't make that much at the garage.  Why don't you guys think about going back to school or something?  Learning a trade.  There's a really good trade school here in the city.  I'm sure they can help you and they might even have financial aid so you don't have to pay for it."

He sniffled and looked at her.  "Youse think I could do that?" he asked, looking a bit like a hopeful eight-year-old.

She nodded. "I think it's a good first step to rehabilitation and going straight.  Because if Limburger comes back down here, they'll be killing him."  He nodded, hanging his head.  "Now, you go to the trade school and talk to them.  I'm sure they've got people there who can help all of you.  If not, they'll tell you who to go to instead.  Okay?"  He nodded, starting his engine.  "Good boy.  You might want to stop and bathe first though.  Just to make a really good first impression."  She wiped off her hand again.

He looked clueless.  "Why?  I took my yearly bath three years ago."

"Sure," she agreed.  "Go ahead and head down there.  They can help you a lot.  They can probably even help you file for unemployment.  Maybe you can get that for a few weeks too."  He nodded, turning his tryke around and heading off with the remaining goons.  She walked over to Vinnie's bike and got on, wiping off her hand again.  "I almost feel sorry for them.  Let's head back, guys. I left the doors open."  They turned and rode back into the garage, letting her head back to the office after a good scrub.  She sat down to read her manual again, shivering a bit at the sight of the pistons.  "Maybe I should take a robotics class," she muttered.  "Make an obedient mouse."  She looked out in the garage as Rimfire walked past the doorway.  "Your bike okay?"

"Just fine, Charley ma'am," he said happily.  "I got a tuneup before I left so I wouldn't have to bother you any."

"Good."  She smiled and went back to reading.  She shivered at some of the pictures of gaskets.

Throttle came to the door and walked inside, shutting it behind him.  "Are you okay, Charley girl?  You look a bit flushed and tired."

She looked at him.  "The raw beans wouldn't have an affect like you guys had to the brewed stuff, would it?" she asked bluntly.

"In some species," he offered quietly, moving closer.  "Are you all right?  I can make you another cup if you think it'll help.  Last night it only made you cranky and resistant to Vinnie."

"And you."

"And me," he agreed with a gentle smile.  "I can if you want."

"No, that's okay.  It's not that bad."

He leaned down and kissed her gently, making her moan.  "If you think you can handle it, that's fine.  If not, Vinnie and I would gladly help you with that problem and not say a word about it to anyone."  He left her there, shocked expression and all.

She finally shivered and put down the manual to pick up a novel instead.  Something that couldn't make her horny.  Or hornier in her case.  She would get that white mouse later for doing this to her.


Vinnie looked up as Charley came upstairs after lunch.  "Should I go mind the garage, sweetheart? You look like you need a nap."  He sniffed her, smelling her readiness.  "Maybe you should go take a nap."  She nodded, heading into her room.  She closed the door and he heard the lock switch be hit, but not the lock engaging.   He smirked his most devious smirk and waited until she was good and ready to scream.  Rimfire came out of the bathroom.  "Go watch the garage for her, Rimfire.  She's taking a nap."

"Sure, Vinnie.  Remember, the cable guy's coming today."  He headed down the stairs, grinning at the others in the kitchen.  "I'm on garage watch."

"Sure, kid," Stoker agreed, putting down his card.  "Where's Charley girl?"

"Upstairs taking a nap," Rimfire reported, heading out there to shine his bike.  She needed some shining.   It's not like anyone was coming in today anyway.

Throttle heard Vinnie moving and got up.  "I'm going to check on Vinnie.  He's too quiet."  He headed up the stairs, finding him listening at the door.  He raised an eyebrow behind his glasses.  Vinnie nodded him closer.  She'd have to choose between them.  They had agreed on that late last night.  That's why she had gotten some ground kevalah beans in her lunch too.  It hid really well in the ketchup.  They heard the sounds of frustration and walked in, Throttle turning to jam the door.  Then he walked over and stood on the other side of her bed.  Saving the maiden was what they did after all.

***  To The Removed Sex Scene:

Charley came down the stairs that night, glaring at everyone.  "No one else touches the kevalah stash but me. Got it?"  They all nodded and Stoker beamed at her.  "You should have stopped them, Stoker.  Don't look so smug."

"I'm not, Charley girl.  It's just nice to see you happy and satisfied."  He sipped his rootbeer, looking at the boys following her down.  "So, which of you is going to whip the other one for touching your new girl?"

"She said it didn't mean a thing and she won't choose," Vinnie sighed, sitting down next to her.  He kissed the back of her hand.  "Charley girl, we love you.  Please, just pick one."

She shook her head, getting her hand free.  "I wouldn't even dream of dating one of you two after you were so sneaky earlier."

Throttle moved to work on her shoulders.  "Well, there is the option of taking both of us but there's going to be some disappointed female mice because you're taking more than your fair share."  He grinned down when she looked back at him.  "You would be."

"Shut up and go away."

He went back to work on her shoulders, making her moan and loosen up again.  "Relax, you've got time to tell us."

Vinnie nodded, taking her feet out from under the table to work on her feet. "You do.  I can be a patient mouse for a few days."

"Days?" she snorted, her eyes still closed.  "Try months.  If not years."

"I don't think even Modo could be that patient," Throttle warned, moving his hands a bit lower.  She moaned and went limp under his hands, wiggling her toes in Vinnie's hands as he worked on her arches.  "We're trying to take care of you, Charley girl.  We really are."

"Why don't you two leave the lady alone to make her own decisions," Modo said, staring his bros down.  "That was a dirty trick you guys did, putting kevalah into her breakfast."

"It's a delicacy," Vinnie defended.

"And last night, Stoker told you what it did to humans," Modo countered. "That's a very dirty trick.  Even if that sort of thing is something that everyone should experience at least once."  He sipped his rootbeer.  "Bros, behave.  You're setting a bad example for Rimfire."

"I'm not ready to be that tail swishy yet," Rimfire assured him, patting him on the arm.  "When I am, I'll gladly flirt my way into some pretty mouse's bed.   I might steal some lines from them, but nothing else, Uncle Modo."

"See, that's the sort of respect a girl wants," Charley said tiredly.  "Rimfire, wanna date me?  I know you'd never do this to me."

"Charley ma'am, my gray furred grandmomma might get a bit upset at that.  After all, she's looking forward to grandbabies and great-grandbabies."

"She's got a bit of a wait then, huh?" Vinnie teased.  "Modo's not even looking to date."

"I prefer mice," he defended.  "Once I'm home, I fully intend to start dating some nice mouse."

"I've got a few to set you up with," Stoker promised.  "One's a great girl.  Very sweet.  Your momma smiles at her all the time."

"If not, I can always introduce you to Trip," Rimfire offered with a grin for him.  "She's a sweetheart, but not my type.  I'm not quite as wild as she wants.  Besides, she wants an older mouse."

Modo blushed.  "Thanks, guys.  When I get home."

"Sure," Stoker agreed with a smirk.  "Of course if it's too long we'll have to bring a few of them down here to meet you anyway."  He and Modo shared a look and a smirk.  They looked over as Charley moaned, then shook their heads.  "Take her up to *nap*," he ordered.  Throttle got her arms and Vinnie got her feet, taking her back up to her room to lay down with her, but not doing more than holding her.  "That's just odd," he decided, taking a bite of hotdog.

"It is," Rimfire agreed.  "Then again we knew Vinnie liked her.  Throttle joining in I wasn't so sure about."

Modo shook his head.  "He's had a small crush on her for a while now, nephew.  She treats his bike like the lady she is and Vinnie tries to make her have fun with him."  He finished his rootbeer.  "Grab me another one?"  Stoker reached back into the fridge and handed over another can.  "Thanks, Stoker."  He popped it open and took a sip then went back to dinner.  "They can cook for themselves," he decided, digging into the pile they had set aside for the others.  Rimfire and Stoker greedily took theirs.


Charley woke up smothered by two large arms and sighed, wiggling a bit to get free.  There was a short slapping fight and she ended up being pulled against Vinnie's chest with Throttle curling up behind her, his arm over both of them.  "I was going to the bathroom," she said.

"Later," Vinnie murmured, kissing her on the forehead. "You can get more later."

"No, bathroom," she said, wigging free again.  Throttle must be more awake because this time he didn't try to stop her.  She headed out, then came back a few minutes later.  She looked at the two mice and got dressed, heading downstairs.  Throttle walked down a few minutes later and picked her up, carrying her back upstairs.  He snuggled her against his chest, letting Vinnie get her back this time.  She groaned but that only got her squeezed.  "I have work to do," she tried.

"Later," Throttle whispered in her hair.  "Tomorrow."  He gave her a gentle squeeze.  Vinnie squeezed them both and he grinned.  "Thanks, bro."

"Welcome.  My turn?"

"No, not yet.  You can be cuddled tomorrow," he said gently.  Vinnie groaned and moved closer, squashing Charley between them.  Charley wiggled free and moved to hold him, making him smile and get the warm chest in front of him.  "Fine, you can be cuddled tonight," Throttle offered gently.  He looked at Charley.  "We were just waiting for you."

"I figured that out earlier," she said, looking at the white mouse between them.  "Is he all right?"

"The usual.  A few nightmares now and then."  He gave Vinnie a squeeze then yanked Charley closer by her belt loop.  "It's always better when he's cuddled."

"Sure."  She wrapped an arm around Vinnie's waist again, making him a happy mouse.   She looked over at Throttle.  "You were waiting?"

"Yeah.  We figured out a few months back that we were attracted to you, and that it was almost as hot as being with each other.  We just can't stay together.  He and I would destroy each other, Charley girl."  She shivered.  "So we need you, and we wanted you.  Someone needs to be able to stop the white menace when he gets going.  The same as I need someone to ground me and make me play."

She nodded at that.  "I've seen him do that for you before."

"We kinda do it for each other.  That's what bros are for.  Modo's just shy and can't do it.  He's a bit too reasonable.  Sometimes you've got to be a bit insane and wild to be with either of us.  Modo's too much a nice guy."  She put a finger over his mouth.  He kissed it.  "We don't want to hurt you or anything."

"I know."  She snuggled in against Vinnie's back, letting his tail flop over her arm.  "Thanks, Vinnie.  Just what I needed - a tail."

"Our tails are very versatile," he offered with a shy grin.

"So I noticed earlier," she agreed dryly.  "Slowly, Throttle.  Anything that happens will have to happen slowly.  Remember, humans have this thing about sleeping with furry creatures, even if they're intelligent."  He nodded at that.  "I also won't be treated like property or used like earlier."

"Shoot, I liked it when you went wild earlier," he offered with a faint blush.  She pinched him, making him hiss.  "I understand, Charley girl.  We're sorry we manipulated you that way."

"You're forgiven, this time.  Otherwise I'd be pouted to death."  He nodded, grinning just a bit.  "Any hint of smugness and it lowers your cool rating."

"Sorry.  It's a nice grin, I promise," he offered, grinning at her.  He leaned across Vinnie's shoulder to kiss her.  "There, how's that?" he offered once he pulled back.

"Want one," Vinnie moaned, mostly still asleep.

She kissed him on the ear, making him wiggle it and sigh in happiness, then fall back asleep.  "He almost looks cute and sweet when he's sleeping," she offered.

He chuckled and kissed her again.  "He looks like a big kid," he corrected.  "He was never sweet or innocent, even as a toddler."  She chuckled at that.  "As opposed to me, who was always cute."

"Bragging lowers your cool rating with me too," she reminded him.  "Vinnie's already in the negative, did you want to join him?"  He beamed and kissed her again then settled in to hold Vinnie since he was making complaining noises into his pecs.  "Thanks."

"You're welcome.  We can move slowly, Charley girl.  I promise."  She nodded, pulling the blankets up some.  "Chilly?"

"A bit."  He used his tail to pull up the blanket from the foot of the bed, covering her up with it.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Anytime."  Vinnie blew a kiss then giggled.  He rolled his eyes.  "Bro, you're having another of those insane dreams," he said, waking him gently.  "Where were you?"

"The playboy bunnies thought I was a bunny so they were grooming me," he said with a sleepy grin.  He heard the snort and flipped over, pulling Charley against his chest.  "You're chilly!  That's not right."  He wrapped himself around her, warming her up.  Throttle leaned against his back, making sure he was still cuddled.  That was all he needed in the world.  He drifted off again, having normal dreams this time.

Throttle and Charley shared a look.  Sometimes Vinnie was his own worst enemy and sometimes he was the cutest and most loving thing.  Then again, they both knew that inside Vinnie was this little kid who just wanted to be held.  As long as they humored him, they'd all be just fine together.

The End.