A Mouse Among Felsin 2:
Teenage Mutant Commando Felines

by Fur and Fantasy
PG-13 for M/M and M/F
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

The green and the three red guards sat in the passenger compartment of the shuttle as it headed to the surface and the slave market. Up front, two browns piloted the sleek craft as it descended swiftly. Aside from the slave control collar, Vinnie was naked as the green had seen no point in having him dressed when he was going to be undressed in the slave market. Pleasure slaves were always displayed nude. They left him his earrings though, all three going unnoticed as decoration they weren't about to bother with.

Vinnie remained quiet and controlled, watching everything as best he could.

The shuttle landed, and the green exited, followed by the guards leading and following Vinnie. The first thing to hit Vinnie was that the daylight was brighter than he was used to, probably due to having two suns; one yellow like Mars, the other a dimmer red. It was warmer, more like Chicago in the summer and it was humid.

As the group wound its way through the crowd, Vinnie noticed a higher number of races than he'd seen anywhere. Only a small proportion where naked like himself, though many were wearing collars of various designs. They stopped at what seemed to be some sort of registry, though Vinnie couldn't understand the language the green was using to talk with the light brown and green lizard who was running things. After a bit of discussion, the green Mephit nodded and pushed some glittering crystals across the table to the lizard who examined them carefully before putting them in a lockbox. The lizard nodded to a large bull who was standing nearby.

The bull walked over toward Vinnie and the guards. "You. Come with me." He pointed to Vinnie, he said waiting to see if Vinnie followed.

With only a small tension of resentment he did so, knowing know wasn't the time to move.

"You are number sixty-nine in today's auction." The bull said, as he attached a tag to the Mephit collar. "You will wait in here with the other slaves until your number is called." He said directing the mouse into a holding pen with about a dozen slaves of mixed races, mostly felines and canines. "When your number is called you will come promptly to that door." He said pointing. "Failure to comply will be punished. Attempting to escape will be punished."

Vinnie simply nodded and went where he was told. There was a time to fight, to take risks, and a time to be patient.

And if he said it enough times, he might even start to believe it.

Most of the slaves were fairly quiet, sullen might be a better word for the general mood. But one, an avian with the beak of a predator looked at him curiously several times. The male avian had brown feathers, with noticeable red bands on his wings when he spread them at one point to stretch.


Hawks eat mice.

Vinnie met it's gaze solidly, not giving an inch or showing anything but that he was a fighter in his own right and a match for any predator.

The Hawk smiled, and chuckled slightly as he walked over. "Primitive species behaviors to the contrary, I don't consider other sentient beings as food." He said politely. "I've just never seen a Mouse like you before."

"You probably won't again," he accepted the statement. "We aren't from around here."

"Probably a bonus for you." The Hawk smiled. "Novelty should boost your price."

"More like a bonus for the Mephit," he shrugged. "It's not like I get any of it."

"No, but it makes it more likely you'll get an owner who'll take good care of you. No guarantee of course, but the more someone spends on something, the less likely they are to break it, normally."

"I guess so," he nodded acceptance of the concept, no matter how much it countered his experience. It wasn't like anything on this side of reality made sense.

"Well, that would make logical sense." He said quietly. "Of course, this is my first encounter with slavery, so I could be badly mistaken."

"That would explain why you're not as sullen as everyone else," Vinnie said quietly.

"They may be able to buy and sell my body, but I refuse to let them change my spirit." He said stubbornly, looking every inch the proud warrior.

"With an attitude like that, the worst they can do is kill you," he smiled softly, the fire he had kept carefully concealed for most of the past weeks flicking to life in his eyes and voice. "They can't take anything from inside you don't give."

"Killing me is nothing of long-term consequence." He said simply. "My spirit will return to the winds of Avar, and in time return to this eternal dance."

"I know the feeling," he nodded, the sadness and anger flaring up for a moment before it settled. "It not like it matters much in the long run just when or how."

"Very true, though I would prefer to escape so as to exact a measure of vengeance." He smiled, predatorily. "But this is the wrong place to try that."

"That it is, as my Bro would be pointing out for the fifth or sixth time today if he'd been here." Vinnie closed his eyes slightly, desperately missing the tawny mouse and his ability to handle this kind of crap.

"I understand. I miss my wingleader. Long term planning was never my strong point." He shook his head and sat down as he watched another slave leave the pen.

"So did you have a specialty?" Vinnie prompted, realizing that for at least a few minutes he had someone who got it.

"Fast striker. Get in quick, hit the target and back out. Wingleader's job was to get us close enough for me to do it." He said easily. "How about yourself?" He asked as he recognized a kindred spirit in the large rodent.

"Reminding everyone there was more to life than the war," Vinnie almost chuckled. "We were only three for most of it, but Girl and I were the fast ones."

The Hawk laughed. "A most valuable position in a war. Someone to keep perspective." He nodded.

"Even if they don't like to listen to me," he managed something of a smile. "I had to party for all of us more often than not."

"A shame we didn't meet on the outside." The Hawk smiled. "I think we could've set new records in carousing."

"Maybe we will," he chuckled softly. "What's your name?"

"Cassius Sunrider, but Casey is good enough." He smiled. "Yours?"

"Vinnie Van Wham," he supplied without his usual flair. "Vinnie to most. What are you?"

"A Red-Banded Hawk Avar." He said proudly. "Just what are you?"

"Martian Mouse," he nodded. "It's a long way from here."

"Martian, as in the planet Mars. Fourth planet in the Terran solar system?" The Hawk asked curiously.

"Yes," he nodded, giving the avian a very curious look. "You know a world the Mephit don't?"

"Oh, they know where Mars is." The Hawk chuckled. "But they'd never believe you came from there. According to what I've read, Mars died fifteen centuries ago, by the Terran calendar. The atmosphere is only just starting to recover even now."

"Different Mars then," he said as hope died quickly. "We're still fighting for ours."

"Different universe, would be my guess." He said quietly.

"That's what I was told they snagged me from," Vinnie nodded slightly. "Didn't even get the critter they wanted for their trouble at that."

"What did they want?" The Hawk asked curiously.

"One of the shifters," he shuddered in disgust at the memory that he wore their eyes now. "Not a Mouse."

"Oh, that's an odd mistake for them to make." The Hawk said curiously. "It's not that hard to tell a shifter from a non-shifter."

"No, but they didn't believe it," he growled softly, his fists tightening. "Not until it all but killed me not to."

"Must be something odd about the shifter they're looking for." He said quietly. "Well, at least you're out of their labs."

"Yeah," he nodded. "How can you tell shifters around here?" Vinnie asked with a rather intense focus.

"Without a scanner, I don't." He chuckled. "But it's never really been important."

Vinnie nodded with a light sigh and let it go. "No, I don't expect it does here."

"Well, if it helps any, I'm not one." The Hawk smiled reassuringly and watched the white mouse jump in surprise strong enough to shock him out of anything but a wide-eyed stare at the Avar.

Vinnie managed a shaky nod as he forcefully pulled himself back together.

"You have a real problem with shapeshifters, don't you?" He asked quietly. "Is it all shapeshifters, or just the ones from your world?"

"Never thought about others," he admitted, still a bit shocked to go face to face with the idea. "Been fighting them so long."

"Long wars will do that to you." He nodded. "They're not all that uncommon around here. The Felsin average about one in three being shifters, and they're not alone."

Vinnie nodded, filing that information away and very quietly thanking the powers that be that he'd long ago accepted his death at their hands.

"Sixty-three." The bull's voice boomed out causing the Hawk to jump.

"Sorry, gotta go." He said as he stood and brushed himself off. "Clear skies, Vinnie. See 'ya round the galaxy." He said with a smile as he left.

"This is seriously fucked up," Vinnie shook his head, not sure whether to be amused or disgusted.

"Sixty-nine" The bull's voice announced about an hour later, causing him to shove off the wall and put on his best seduction manner for the crowd.

"Stand there on the circle." The bull advised as Vinnie walked on to the stage in front of a sizable crowd of a mixture of races. The circle was about on the middle of the stage making the Mouse the center of attention.

"Okay, folks." The bull said in his natural booming voice that needed no amplifier. "Here we have an excellent specimen of male Mouse. As you can see he's in excellent physical condition and would make a delightful addition to any stable. Since he's a unique specimen, I'll allow thirty minutes for you to take a closer look, before the bidding starts."

In the back of the crowd, a nine-foot tall shadow grey Dracon watched quietly. The Mouse was not of an unknown species to him, though he wondered at the Mouse's presence here. Usually, his kinsmen were more careful about the well being of the long-protected species. It occurred to the sorcerer that perhaps this Mouse could be of some value to him, other than a simple pleasure toy.

The bull had given them half an hour, so for half an hour Vinnie dutifully posed, postured and generally fulfilled requests to see him in various poses. He was not the least bit shy about flirting with the attractive females in the audience either. Especially the wealthier looking ones.

He also got a fair amount of attention from the males in the crowd, several whom were at least as interested as the females, and who he basically ignored when he thought he could get away with it.

"Bidding will now commence." The bull announced, causing the patrons to return to their seats. "His owners have set a minimum bid of 75K in gold or other commodities."

"Does that include the racing bike?" The shadowy robed Dracon asked in a deep male voice that was extremely calm and patient.

"The owners have not indicated a separate bid for it, therefore it's a package."

"Very well." The Dracon nodded. "Seventy-five."

"Thank you, Lord Sauros." The bull nodded. "Do I have eighty?"


"Eighty-five." Sauros said casually. He was certain he could outbid any present, including some of the bluebloods of the Independent Worlds Alliance. That was such an irony, he thought, an alliance of Independent Worlds. Almost as ironic as the Dracon Empire, which hadn't behaved Imperially in over twenty-five millennia.

"One hundred," A decidedly imperious non-Felsin Cheetah fem called out, causing a stir.

"One twenty," a second female, a relatively small silver-white Fox with black tips, called out.

"One forty." The Dracon said easily, taking the measure of the unfamiliar fox. The Cheetah was a technomage, he could see that even if he didn't know her, which meant she was likely a serious challenge for possession of the Mouse.

"One fifty." Came the growling bid from a snowy white Kodiak in traditional leather armor. His crest was familiar to those in the IWA as one of the Lords of Ice and Snow, an alliance of nobles who'd settle some of the colder worlds.

"Two hundred," The Cheetah technomage silenced most of those readying to bid, and earned her a vicious look from the white vixen.

"Two fifty." Sauros said casually, affecting an air of boredom. Most of those not silenced by the Cheetah were silenced by this bid.

"Three hundred." The silvery vixen growled in her high-pitched voice.

"Three fifty." The Dracon said casually, though he was a bit surprised at the fact that the other two were willing to put out so much for him. They couldn't possibly know what he really was. Not many outside of the Empire had met a Martian mouse, much less knew the history of them.

The white Mouse's flirting and showing off was also clearly directed at the two females, and definitely not him, which not doubt increased their interest, but this was still a bit much.

Then the vixen upped it again with a daring glare at the Cheetah. "Five hundred."

With a glare back the feline waved for a moment's hold and worked back to the shadow gray Dracon. "What are you bidding on, Mouse or bike?" She asked rather bluntly.

"Seven hundred." The Dracon said, thinking it was a good thing he'd made a habit of investing wisely over the millennia. "The Mouse," he said easily. "The bike is an AI, possibly a DS, though I'm not really familiar with them enough to be sure. In either case, not really my area of interest."

"Will you sell the bike for two hundred?" She asked even as the Vixen upped the bid to nine hundred.

"Certainly, I have no use for it." He nodded, and upped the bid to a thousand. "Do you recognize her?" He asked quietly, using a little magic to keep that bit of conversation just between the two of them.

"The bike for two hundred then, Deal?" She put her hand out for a sealing shake as the vixen debated how much she wanted this white one.

"The bike for two hundred. Deal." He shook her hand. Getting the bike off his hands for two hundred K was a good deal. Saved him the trouble of looking for a buyer for it, and the Cheetah was definitely pleased with the deal. Might be enough to use her goodwill for something later.

"One thousand K going once." The bull announced.

"Eleven hundred." The Vixen bid, glaring directly at the Dracon when the Cheetah indicated she was out.

"Twelve hundred." The Dracon upped the bid, meeting her gaze unwaveringly and saw he'd won even before she indicated it to the bull. That white Mouse's displeasure was rather obvious, even if he took it in reasonably good grace in public.

"Twelve hundred going one, going twice and sold to Lord Sauros for twelve hundred K. Please see the clerk to complete you purchase." He said, as a Golden Retriever in leather armor guided the Mouse off the stage.

Another brown and green lizard wearing a bluish robe was waiting as Sauros arrived to collect his purchase. The Dracon waved on robed arm over the table in front of the lizard and twelve bars of a glowing silver metal appeared. "Twelve bars of starmetal at the going commodity rate of 100K per bar." He said simply as he made a mental note to have more of the precious metal smelted into trade bars.

The lizard tapped a crystal rod to each of the bars. "Agreed. Twelve standard bars of star metal. Very well, your purchase is paid for. Do you wish to place your own collar on the slave now?"

"I do." He said walking over to the waiting Mouse. A casual gesture caused the Mephit collar to fall to the floor as it was replaced by a glowing silver metal collar studded with blue, red and clear gems. A second gesture put properly fitting jeans and a muscle shirt on the white Mouse. "Follow me." The Dracon commanded. "And bring your bike. Do not attempt escape, you will not like the results."

Vinnie didn't make a sound as he obeyed, but it was blatantly obvious he was a very unhappy camper. They hadn't made it half way across the room before the Cheetah appeared at the door, obviously not having been far behind Sauros.

"Two hundred," she held up a shimmering loop of golden coins as she walked up, a fairly powerful control spell clearly in the ready to the experienced mage's senses. "As we agreed."

"As agreed." The Dracon nodded and accepted the loop of coins. "The bike is yours."

White Mouse and red bike responded instantly, instinctively, and predictably violently. Vinnie was on Girl's seat before even the guards blinked, the full power of the bike's weapons focused on the female.

Vinnie was off the seat just as quickly, hurled a good ten feet and suspended in a glowing blue sphere. The bike became engulfed by a glowing white net that anchored to the ground, and blocked the weapons completely. "That was unwise." The Dracon glared at the Mouse floating in the blue ball of light, before he turned to the Cheetah. "I believe we were concluding a deal."

"Yes," she nodded as she wove her own control spell around the struggling red cycle until it stilled, powering down to a minimal level. "I have it secured now."

"And I have him secured." Sauros nodded, as the blue field contracted until it was outlining the Mouse. "It was a pleasure doing business with you." He smiled slightly, giving her the short bow that was used between equals.

"Yes, it was," she returned the motion easily before turning to pay for her other purchase of the day, an Avan that knew better than to get involved, even though he wanted to.

The Dracon turned and walked down the long street to the exit from the city, with the Mouse floating along in tow. He was a little annoyed at the mouse for so blatantly disobeying him, but punishment would have to wait till they returned home. He crossed the field to the gate-arch he had constructed, and spoke a few arcane words that opened it and connected it to his castle home. He walked through, and then quickly shifted himself and the mouse to the dungeon beneath the castle. The castle was very much in the style of middle ages Terra, which was a design that the Dracon found quite pleasing. A gesture forced the Mouse against the wall, while shackles secured his wrists, ankles and tail.

"It was very foolish of you to disobey me." The Dracon growled, at the Mouse hanging on his dungeon wall, once the stasis field had been removed.

"Yeah, yeah, I hear it all the time." He snorted, every shred of an inclination to be anything but trouble incarnate obvious for anyone that cared to see.

"I don't doubt it." The Dracon nodded. "But you do need to learn some respect for your betters." He said as glowing energy gathered around his hands and outstretched wings. "Perhaps some time to think." He rumbled. "Muto Corporem." He intoned in a deep voice, letting the energy crash into and through the White Mouse. When Vinnie's head stopped spinning he was down on all fours and inside a cage with very tight mesh. There were mirrors surrounding the cage, and in the mirrors he could see the tinny white form of a bite-sized mouse, it's antennae only small red nubs between fine white ears. Where his mask had been there was now a batch of black fur.

With a mental cursing session impressive even by his standards he ignored the weird way his body moved now, how incredibly ugly it was with it's short skinny legs and fat cylinder of a body, and made a quick circuit around the cage for a way out.

The cage was very well designed to hold a very small mouse. However, it also contained material appropriate for the mouse to make a nest with, as well as a dish of water.

Neither of which Vinnie bothered with. As much as he hated it, he knew Throttle's words and mindset had finally come for him and he simply settled in the middle of the cage and waited for it to be over with.

A couple days later, there was a sudden flash and Vinnie found himself back to being himself. He was standing in the middle of an extensive library with the shadowy Dracon sitting in an overstuffed armchair in front of him. "Perhaps now you have a little better appreciation for your position in things." Sauros rumbled in his deep, powerful voice.

Vinnie simply shrugged, his gaze reflexively taking in the surroundings and his manner no less defiant. He didn't take him long to realize his mask was metal again.

"So just who are you?" The Dracon asked curiously. "I know of all the Mice who have left New Mars, and you are not one of them. And yet you are a Martian Mouse."

He flat out refused to let the surprise, or rage, show much. "Vinnie Van Wham."

"Van Wham?" He said softly. "Yes, I remember that name. One of the powerful families of Old Mars. But how is it that you are here?"

"Mephits grabbed me on a ride, and sold me to you." He shrugged, not sure how this idiot couldn't know that much.

There was a surge of power from the Dracon that made Vinnie feel as though he were under a powerful microscope for an unknown length of time. While it was utterly creepy, after Karbunkle, it was easy to shrug off.

"Ah, someone tossed you into this dimension and the Mephits picked you up." He chuckled. "Thought you were a Garou. How foolish of them. But still you are a Martian Mouse from Old Mars." He nodded, noting the shudder Vinnie had at the mention of the shifting breed. "Which may be all I need."

"Sure, whatever," Vinnie snorted and shifted to lean against a convenient object without looking at it much. "Whatever you say."

The Dracon smiled somewhat cryptically at that reaction. "Feel free to explore." He said gesturing with one clawed hand to a door that opened on its own. "I will find you when I require you." He said simply, as a book floated down to him from one of the upper floors of the library.

"I'm sure you will." the Mouse grumbled and walked off. While his movements couldn't be described as a stalk, it was still blatantly clear he was going some serious work on his head he was not happy about.

The interior decor of the castle was reminiscent of many horror films that Vinnie had seen on Earth. There were small differences though; there weren't any sputtering, smoky torches because the light came from regularly placed glowing yellow crystals in the ceiling; none of the doors creaked and the hallways were neither drafty nor cold. In fact, the temperature was fairly warm though it was a dry heat. A number of small cats were in residence, and they would watch Vinnie as he passed without any more reaction than to lift their heads to look at him.

"Figures," he muttered softly, not missing the fact that the Dracon could easily feed him to one of them if he chose. Not the end he wanted, but then, the end he wanted wasn't going to happen anymore.

He continued to grumble when none of the low-level windows would open as he systematically explored the castle, eventually reaching the roof.

The roof was done in classical medieval style with parapets and stone walkways. However, the center of the castle roof was obviously reinforced to accept VTOL craft. Storm clouds floated overhead with lightning crackling from cloud to cloud frequently. Looking down from the castle roof, Vinnie could seeing dark fog swirling around the base of the castle, with lightning arcing through it much like the clouds above.

"You're new here." A strange voice said from next to him. When he looked over he saw a strange creature who's back half was that of a black lion, while his front half was that of a black predator avian and sitting like the big cat his rear end suggested.

"Yeah," Vinnie nodded, his ability to be shocked, or care for the most part, well gone by now.

"I'm Phoenix Black, head of air defenses." The creature smiled. "What's your name?"

"Vinnie," he supplied simply and turned to go back inside.

"Welcome to Castle Stormsea, Vinnie." Phoenix said as he watched the Mouse go back inside. A sly smile crossed his face, once Vinnie was out of view. The master of Stormsea had brought home another playmate, Phoenix smiled to himself.

Vinnie woke from one of his naps to find himself floating in the middle of a room whose walls seemed to be space itself, judging from the stars. Glowing metal bands on his wrists and ankles held him in place between a glowing blue pentagram and a glowing red pentagram. On the far side of the room, Sauros sat cross-legged in mid-air reading a large, leather bound book. "Ah, you're awake." The Dracon said with a dark grin.

The mouse didn't bother to respond. He was quickly getting to the point he didn't care anymore. Couldn't care. Couldn't let himself care.

"Not important really. Though you may find it interesting how you're going to make my revenge against my nobler-than-thou kinsmen possible. Even if they did exile me for doing things that weren't allowed." He began to ramble. "We are Dragons, we should do as we please." He growled. "So be it. They'll find out their mistake when the death wave strikes Draconea." He grinned predatorily. "Courtesy of the fact that you are linked to Old Mars, as are the refugees who settled New Mars. Through that link I will create a cascade of death energy that will kill millions and create a death wave that will crash through the sector killing tens of millions."

Vinnie cocked his head curiously. "How?"

"Things remain linked." He smiled. "You are linked to Mars. The Martian Mice on New Mars are as well. I will invoke Cytoressa, the greater spirit of death and channel her through the link releasing her onto New Mars in blaze of necromantic glory that will flood New Mars with death energy, killing millions. That energy will feed back to Cytoressa allowing her to release the Wave of Greater Death."

Vinnie couldn't help it, he burst out laughing. Not the mocking tone most would expect, but something he found honestly amusing about it.

"What a peculiar species." Sauros commented absently as he continued setting things up.

"Not species," the white Mouse continued to snicker for a while. "Just me. It's too damn fitting not to be funny. How does the spell work?" He asked, strangely eager.

Sauros looked at the Mouse curiously for a moment. "What do you understand of magic?" He asked curiously.

"Not a lot," Vinnie admitted. "Mars never had much."

"Do you understand the basics of electrical conductivity?" He asked, hoping the mouse was more scientifically literate.

"Oh, sure," he nodded. "I'm a good mechanic."

"Very well. A planet is like a large electrical source and its people are connected to it by wires. To a mage who understands the workings well, there is also a switching mechanism that allows you to connect a circuit between two people of the same planet. Once that circuit is open you can channel energy from one person to the other. I am going to channel the Angel of Death from here, through you into another Martian Mouse who is on New Mars."

Vinnie considered that for a while. "Does it kill me too?" He asked with apparent disregard for whether it did or not, just a curiosity for knowing beforehand.

"No, that would be wasteful." The Dracon said easily. "I will need you, in case it doesn't work as expected. Magic is more of an art than a science and you can't count on things working precisely as expected."

"Especially big complex stuff like this," he added with a bit of a nod, then started to snicker again before his entire body was taken with a warped mirth at it.

The Dracon looked at the mouse curiously again as the laugher subsided again, leaving Vinnie with a grin that just didn't look right. "Of the many reactions I could predict to this chain of events, amusement was not one of them." He said looking at the mouse seriously. "Just what about this situation is funny?"

"How much do you know about how Mars, Old Mars, operated politically?" Vinnie asked seriously though occasional snickers as his mind hit various thoughts.

"Politically, nothing." He shrugged. "How do the vagaries of politics relate?"

"It's what makes the joke," Vinnie smirked. "A Van Wham got done up to look like a blackeye is going to finish their work for them."

"And you find this funny?" The Dracon asked curiously.

"Yeah, I kinda do," he chuckled. "Blackeyes always tried to wipe us out, and the Van Whams were the spearhead of the defense. Whatever grabbed me, the last Van Wham, made me look like one, and then told the Mephit I was one. Now I'm going to finish their work for them. I'm going to obliterate everything. Don't you see it? Your pet plays sex games with my head, gods and Mephit make me a blackeye, you use me to finish their work. Me, the last Van Wham of my world, will do their work on another Mars."

Sauros looked at the Mouse seriously for several minutes, and then there was a flash of light and Vinnie found him lying on a large bed in a bedroom that was very much in keeping with the castle's decor. The Dracon was nowhere to be seen as the confused mouse looked around, then shrugged and settled back to what he was doing before the interruption.

Vinnie was faking napping again when his attention was drawn by the feeling of small feet on his leg. When he opened his eyes, he saw a black ferret looking at him with bright blue eyes, very intelligent bright blue eyes.

He looked at the critter for a moment, then closed his eyes again, even if he wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. A tiny part of his mind was curious, hoping for someone to talk to that wasn't going to try to warp what he was, most was too apathetic to care and the rest informed him this was no doubt the Dracon's familiar.

"So you want out of this B-movie set or not?" The ferret's squeaky voice asked impatiently, as it scampered up to put his front paws on Vinnie's chest.

"Yeah, sure," he opened his eyes to look at the creature again, though the thought of escape didn't spark the fire it usually did in him.

"Well, then you kind of need to get moving." The ferret said impatiently. "The Dragon and the Griffon aren't going to argue forever."

"Okay," Vinnie rolled to his side and off the bed, taking some care not to squish the small creature.

"Okay, first thing you need to do is get a look at the map of this place." The ferret said, from where he had ended up on Vinnie's shoulder. "As corny as it sounds, turn the right candlestick to the right."

The mouse simply nodded and did so, not questioning it, no matter the net result and hardly caring if this was another dream, a game they were playing with him, or for real.

"See, there at the bottom." The ferret explained. "A way out, if you don't mind getting a bit wet."

"Nope. Where's it go?" He finally asked.

"Under the Sea of Storms, and comes out on the beach near Triton Bay." The ferret explained. "Shuttle's there."

"How do I get this thing off?" Vinnie asked crisply, tapping the collar.

"Hmm. Yeah that could be a problem." The ferret said looking at the collar for a moment. "Oh crap, it's pure magic." He muttered and hopped to the floor. There was a brief swirl of light as his form flowed into a muscular Lion wearing a night camo suit and Vinnie jumped the other way nearly his full body length on pure fear reflex, slamming into the wall rather hard with his black eyes wide in terror and his agile tail arched defensively in front of him.

"Fortunately." The Lion said as he pulled a tool from his belt. "It'll yield to technology."

Vinnie managed two gulping breaths and a soul deep shudder before he stepped back close enough for the Lion to do whatever he was going to.

"And I was beginning to wonder if there was any life left in you." The Lion chuckled. "It's your basic sonic saw." He explained as Vinnie felt a vibration in the collar. "Which is a good thing because a laser would be worthless against starmetal, but focused sound works quite well." He explained quietly. "Not quickly, but well."

"NightBlade?" He asked very softly, holding still as the vibration worked threw his collar despite the cold terror still roiling inside him.

"Nah, it's a Soniblade 2025, best on the market." He smirked teasingly. "Oh, you mean me? Yeah, that would be me." He chuckled softly.

"Any luck on getting Trace out?" He asked softly.

"You mean our friendly white bat shuttle thief and cook?" The Lion chuckled as he adjusted the frequency of the blade trying to speed up the process. He hated dealing with starmetal, it was such a pain. Fortunately it was relatively rare. "We didn't have to rescue him, he came looking for us."

"Good," Vinnie smiled a bit. "He wasn't sure how that was going to work. Guess he took my idea and ran with it."

"Ran away with it actually." The Lion snickered. "He stowed away on the shuttle that took you to the slave market, and while they were transacting business; he stole the shuttle."

A short burst of laughter escaped, though the mouse managed to remain largely still. "Imp."

"Three of them actually." The Lion chuckled. "His kids are just as bad. There." He said as the collar snapped off, and dropped to the floor. There was a quick swirl of lights and the ferret was sitting back on Vinnie's shoulder. "Okay, let's get out of here." He suggested as the muscles twitched under his feet.

Vinnie nodded and headed through the hidden doorway quickly, taking a deep breath before they plunged into the water.

The water only got over Vinnie's head a couple of times, and even then there was still room in the tunnel to swim on the surface. More disturbing were the occasional static electricity charges that would run through the tunnel. They were really harmful, but they were too painful to really ignore completely. About halfway through the tunnel, the ferret hopped into the water and shifted to the Lion again.

"Okay, rest here." The Lion said, once they exited the tunnel. "I'm going to make a quick recon and see if the shuttle is still there."

"Right," he nodded slightly and shifted into an out of view spot that still gave him good targeting range for a weapon he no longer carried.

The Lion quickly moved down to the beach, carefully staying out of sight of anyone who might be watching the beach, or watching from the beach. He moved out onto the beach carefully, and moved quickly to a large sand dune, that he disappeared into. A few minutes later he came out, and made his way quickly back to Vinnie's spot. "Okay, we're all set. Time to get out of this chaos they call the IWA."

"I have to get Girl back first." Vinnie shook his head. "I'm not leaving her."

The Lion blinked in surprise. "Okay, who's Girl and what does she look like?"

"Girl's my cyberbike, my partner." He said simply. "She's an Martian AI built into a sleek red motorcycle. Trace put tracking circuits in her, and the tracers in my mask. Some Cheetah that was bidding on both of us bought her off the Dracon when she was outbid."

"Okay. Let's go to the shuttle then. I can boost the reception so we can use the shuttle's more powerful sensors. It'll also be faster to look from the air." He said, not mentioning that he hoped the Cheetah was on this particular planet.

"Okay," he nodded, accepting that easily and moved with the Lion out towards the vehicle. "How'd you get to me so fast?"

"We were in the area doing some Intel work for a long-time supporter." The Lion smiled. "When we spotted a very strangely behaving Mephit shuttle, and decided to investigate. Trace has many talents, but piloting is not one of them." He said as they boarded. "That's Max and Tony up front." He said by way of introductions as the twin cheetahs waved back from the cockpit. "And the White Tiger at the Communications and Intelligence station back here is Arsham."

"Welcome aboard, Vinnie." The Tiger smiled.

"Thank you," he nodded, not at all comfortable with so many big cats around, but not about to let it show with what was at stake. He was not going to screw up freedom for his comfort.

"Arsham, Vinnie's wearing a tracking receiver for a tracker on his bike. Can you lock the long-range tracker onto the same signal?"

"Most likely." He nodded, and made a few adjustment to the highly complicated computer system he was working on. "Vinnie, would you activate your tracking device?"

He nodded and ghosted his finger over the control point while he focused his eye where it needed to be, bringing up the holographic display in front of his vision.

"Okay, got the signal." Arsham nodded. "Looks like the target's headed this direction at high speed for a land vehicle. We'll have to intercept though, there's an ocean in the way."

"I doubt it would slow her down much," Vinnie chuckled softly. "But getting the salt water out of her is a real bitch."

"To say nothing of degaussing her." The Lion chuckled. "They don't call it the Sea of Storms for nothing."

"So can with pick her up now?" Vinnie prompted, hoping to get the shuttle moving.

"Strap yourself in." Max grinned. "We'll be there in a under fifteen minutes." He said as the sleek craft VTOL-ed up, and accelerated smoothly and quickly in the direction of the approaching bike.

It was one of the longest fifteen minutes of Vinnie's life, though he did manage to not pace.

"Got her," he murmured softly and stood to stand by the door, calling her towards the shuttle with the tenuous contact he had at the distance.

"Arsham we're gonna have to make this an on-water pick-up." Tony said urgently. "We've got a class 4 hurricane tracking on this location. As best we can tell in the Stormsea's heavily ionized atmosphere, we've got a fifteen minute window."

"Understood. We'll use the gravity scoop to pick the bike up." Arsham nodded and activated a different set of controls. "Vinnie, we're going to need your bike to cut engines once we lift her off the ocean surface so we can lift her in through the side door there."

"I'll try," he nodded. "If she's not close enough to hear me, instructions are very limited and she's pretty agitated. She can just make the jump if you get within a hundred yards or so."

"If we had room for stopping in here that would be a good idea...wait a minute." The Lion said thinking. "Blaze, bring us around in front of the bike, and open the vehicle hatch. There's plenty of space in the cargo area, and there's a catch web."

"I was going to say she can stop that fast, but a net's better." Vinnie nodded, focusing on the light connection he had with his bike to convey the plan as best he could.

"Overshooting target, now." Blaze said as he brought the shuttle down so it was skimming the surface of the water. "Slowing to allow bike to catch us. Extending ramp and opening rear vehicle hatch, now."

"She's on," Vinnie called out even before they felt the light thump of her impact with the net.

"Ramp up. Hatch secure." Blaze announced. "Orders, Cazi?"

"Take us to high orbit." He said as he sat down.

"Aye sir. Changing course and speed to achieve high orbit." He said as the sleek craft turned and climbed away from the approaching storm.

"How long till she can get up here?" Vinnie asked quickly.

"About ten minutes." The Lion said easily. "Just giving the electrical charge from the Stormsea a chance to dissipate."

The Mouse nodded and relaxed a bit even as the hyper, erratic rumble from the cargo hold settled a little, though there was little missing from the sounds that the bike was using them to convey her state of mind.

"Come on, let's go get your bike." The Lion said, as he stood and head for the back of the shuttle, the Mouse not half a step behind him and the rumbling from below indicating that Girl was both impatient and knew they were coming. "By the way, I don't think I ever introduced myself. My Name is Cazi. I'm the NightBlades Computer and Espionage expert." He said extending a hand to the mouse.

"Thanks for pulling my tail out of there," Vinnie said honestly as he accepted the handshake, thought it was hard for Cazi to miss the intensely bad gut reaction the mouse did manage to keep from showing for the most part.

"My pleasure." Cazi smiled. "I don't like slavery, and I like Sauros even less." He added, as he opened the door to the cargo bay and were nearly bulldozed by the sleek red racing bike. "Cats bother you, don't they?" He asked softly, without any recrimination, just curiosity.

"Cats, no," he shook his head as he managed a smile for Girl and a reassuring pat on her seat for both of them before moving back out into the main shuttle area. As much as he didn't want to get into too much trouble before he had a way out he wasn't willing to not answer or lie either. "Shifters."

"Ah, that's something you really need to work on getting comfortable with." Cazi said sympathetically, as they sat back down in the main area. "There's a lot of them in Alliance territory."

"So I've been told," he nodded and knelt next to Girl to pull out a small set of obviously specialized tools to work on her. That it was much more for both their comfort and reassurance than any real need was glaringly evident to both empaths on board. "Tell me about New Mars." He asked quietly, his attention focused on his bike without loosing track of anything around him.

Cazi blinked in surprise. "New Mars? I'm familiar with Mars, Earth's sister world but I don't think I've ever heard of a New Mars. Where'd you hear about it?" He asked curiously.

"It's why Sauros bought me," he said softly. "Because I'm a Martian, I'm magically connected to other Martians. He was going to send Cytoressa, some god of death, there through me. When she'd killed everyone on New Mars, the death-energy would give her enough power to unleash a death wave on the entire sector. He's really got it in for his kin for banishing him. He particularly liked me because there's some long-standing protection thing going between Dracons and Mice I never heard of before. I guess my reaction bothered him enough to put it off and zap me back to that room you found me in."

Cazi nodded. "Sauros may be a sociopath, but he's also a fanatic about details." He said quietly. "If he said it exists, then it does. I just haven't heard of it. I can do some digging and see what I can find out, if you'd like." He offered. "I know the Dracons do have a number of protectorate worlds."

"I'd appreciate it." He nodded slightly, closing his eyes for a moment. "Even if just to know Mice survived despite it all."

"No problem." Cazi smiled. "It'll take a while. But we've got about a week before we rendezvous with the Calypso."

"Which is?" Vinnie glanced up from his work, then abruptly paused and took his middle earring out, shifting the lower one into it's place before going back to removing some wiring from the cycle.

"Our cruiser." He smiled. "Shuttle's are okay for short distances, but there's no room for a decent workout in them. Your friend Trace is probably there already."

"And trying to install a TL drive in it, no doubt," he chuckled softly, resting the metal side of his face against Girl's frame for a long moment.

"I wish he could." Cazi smiled. "But there's a lot to that drive system that he doesn't know. Not that he doesn't try his utmost to be helpful. Very likable little fellow."

"Yes, he is." Vinnie nodded with a slight smile. "He's something else."

"That's what he kept telling us about you." Cazi grinned. "You made a very serious impression on him."

"Yeah, I noticed." The mouse chuckled softly. "I do tend to do that though. From the looks on everyone's face, I think Sauros set a new record for what he paid for me."

"Probably, Sauros has about five millennia of accumulated wealth backing him." Cazi shook his head. "Though he must have had some serious competition for the bidding to get that high."

"The cheetah bitch that took Girl was one. A fluffy little white and black canine was the other." He grumbled. "At least he didn't want me for what I was sold for yet." He murmured, honestly more relieved that he cared to admit.

"I can't see Sauros paying that kind of money for any pleasure slave." Cazi nodded. "And from things I've heard, you're lucky he didn't want you for that."

"There are worse fates," he shuddered, flashing back to seeing his reflection as a black-eyed mouse in that mesh cage again. "Much worse."

"And Sauros is capable of most of them." Cazi shook his head. "At least if half the stuff in his security folder is correct."

Vinnie could only nod, quite convinced of that.

"Hey, Cazi. We've got a week of easy space ahead of us, why don't you throw a movie in?" Blaze shouted from the cockpit.

"Not a bad idea." Cazi grinned. "So, what do you like in the way of movies, Vinnie?" He asked casually.

"Action, monsters, explosions and cute babes." He grinned up, putting his natural manners back on with only a touch of difficulty, though he knew it would be a long time before he finally shook off the effects that place and it's hopelessness had on him.

"All right! The Mouse has good taste." Blaze shouted back from the cockpit. "Hey Cazi, did we get the new Bond film yet?"

"Downloaded it before we left the Calypso." He chuckled. "You said you're from Mars, so did you ever get to see any Earth films?"

"Spent four years there," he chuckled. "Bond I know. Godzilla is better."

"Let's see if we got any Godzilla on board." Cazi chuckled. "After all, we do have a week. Okay, looks like Sureshot was doing the uploading we have some early Godzilla, some late twentieth/early twenty-first century Godzilla and we have Godzilla 2120, the most recent release. Any preference, Vinnie?"

"Zillathon," he grinned broadly. "It's all good."

"See I'm not the only person in the universe who wants to watch them all back to back." Sureshot grinned broadly at his partner.

"Well, in that case I'll just cue them up to play in order of date of release." Cazi grinned. "Once we get some snacks. Can't watch movies without snacks. What's your preference in soda, Vinnie? And do you like popcorn?"

"Root beer, if you've got it, and popcorn is great. Pizza, hot dogs, Chinese, Mexican and hamburgers are all on the favorites list from Earth too."

Blaze laughed broadly again at that. "Good thing I loaded the Terran root beer."

"Let me look at the stores list." Cazi chuckled. "Pizza and hotdogs we've got, but I'm afraid the others we don't." He said as he started telling the computer what to warm up.

"Chinese needs to be done from scratch to be done properly." Arsham commented as he sat down. The White Tiger handed Vinnie a cold bottle of root beer as he walked past him.

"Thanks," the Mouse looked up curiously. "From scratch?"

"Of course." The Tiger nodded. "Fresh meat, vegetables and pasta. All cooked in the appropriate authentic cookware."

"Okay," he nodded, rather uncertainly but accepting it.

"Take out has to come from somewhere after all." The Tiger chuckled, while Cazi handed out buckets of popcorn as the movie credits started.

"I guess so," he nodded, settling along Girl's elongated saddle and happily munching away and let the familiarity of the movies and a bunch of rowdy, noisy guys as company wash away the worst of his nerves.

"Morning, Vinnie." Cazi said as he met the still noticeably scruffy Mouse in the hallway outside the quarters on the lower deck, despite an obvious shower an attempt at grooming on the white male's part.

"Morning," he smiled up, though as always he kept his eyelids lowered as much as he could get away with.

"Are you feeling okay, Vinnie?" Cazi asked, a bit concerned.

"Yeah," he glanced at the Lion curiously. "It's kinda early, but okay."

"Just a little concerned." Cazi said quietly. "You look kind of rumpled, and you're keeping your eyes mostly closed. Kind of like most of the team looked the time we came down with Rigellian flu." He said, honestly concerned.

"No," he sighed. "I'm not sick, nothing like that. Just not used to brushing everything out without seeing what I'm doing."

"Need a hand getting brushed out?" Cazi offered. "Used to have to that in the field, since you never have a big enough mirror in the field."

"Never showered in the field," Vinnie chuckled softly. "Unless you count dust baths. And yeah, a hand with it would be nice."

"Okay, let's get you properly brushed out." He grinned. "You want to do this in my room or yours?"

"Mine," he grinned sheepishly. "I appreciate what you're doing, but the sex and cat-scent is a bit much."

"Not a problem." Cazi grinned. "The cat-house is a bit much for you, huh?" He teased playfully, as they turned back toward the quarters Vinnie was using.

"Yeah, I think I've been punched with less impact than the first fateful of air out of there." He chuckled softly, though there was a decided level of unease about it too.

"Then you haven't been punched by the right people." Cazi teased as they reached the bathroom. The Lion pulled the general set of brushes out of one drawer along with a bottle of spray conditioner. "Should be able to get you straightened out, without you need to get in the shower again."

"Yes, please," the Mouse abruptly stiffened at that thought, though he locked it down under control fairly quickly as he stood, watching both Lion and the brush set more extensive than he'd ever used. Even here he'd only pulled one out and tried to do his best without looking in the mirror and that face that belonged to a monster.

"However, you are going to need to get undressed for me to do this properly." Cazi suggested easily. "And don't worry, I've got three guys who are interested so I'm not going to bother the one who isn't." He said quietly.

Vinnie nodded, his nerves soothed a bit by the volunteering of that statement and slipped out of his boots and jeans. He set them on the counter, carefully avoiding seeing his face in the mirror as he moved.

"Your eyes bother you, don't they?" Cazi asked quietly, as he looked the Mouse over, before deciding to start with the back. He moved around behind and behind to apply brush and spray conditioner with the skilled efficiency of someone who knows what they're doing."

"Yes," he admitted with a slight shudder, remembering the few glimpses he hadn't managed to avoid. Seeing those solid black eyes staring back at him, mocking his very existence.

"If you can tolerate contact lenses, I can work up a temporary solution so you can have your old eye color back." Cazi offered. "I don't know if there's a permanent solution, that's more Nareena's field than mine."

"You can?" He turned his head to look at the Lion, catching sight of himself by mistake and jerked his face back around. "I can tolerate nearly anything." He promised with real fervor as he shoved the memory of his proud Van Wham face with a monster's eyes. "Especially for this."

"Once we get you properly brushed out." He said as he worked the short dense fur into place. "We can go up and use the bioscanner to work up proper lenses for you. A guy should be able to look himself in the face." He said sympathetically.

"Thank you," Vinnie murmured, not able to properly express how much it would mean to him to see a Mouse's face in the mirror again.

"Hey, no problem." Cazi said easily as he worked. "You have the easiest fur to work with, that I've encountered in a while." He said casually.

"Good breeding has its perks," he grinned proudly, though only the corner of it was visible to the Lion behind him. "So does a lifetime a good care."

"Bet you have the girls just lining up to help you care for it." Cazi grinned, more than able to talk girls with the best of them. He was about the only NightBlade who really could, the rest just weren't interested except for his mate, Ebon, who was only interested in one.

"More like help me mess it up," he laughed brightly. "Care was for servants to do, then I handled it myself. Not many of the girls in the resistance cared as much as I do about looks."

"Well, the messing up is fun too." Cazi laughed deeply, as he stepped back looking to find other spots that needed comb and conditioner.

"Oh, very much so," Vinnie grinned and licked his lips. "It's been way too long since I got to go clubbing."

"We can fix that once we get to home base." Cazi smiled. "Our homeworld has lots of good clubs." He said as he started to spot touch ups. "Depending on just how kinky you like things, there are clubs for just about every taste."

"I'm sure," he chuckled and gently wrapped his tail around Cazi's wrist as the Lion moved around to start grooming his front. "Thanks, for everything. It's been a rough week for me."

"My pleasure, Vinnie." Cazi smiled. "Good Dracons can be the best friends you'll ever know, but the bad ones even I find frightening." He said sympathetically. "Though I think Sauros is going to really regret his little attempt, once my report reaches the Star Palace." He said with a dangerous gleam in his eye.

"You're not a cat?" He looked at the Lion curiously.

"As much as I am anything." He smiled, not really wanting to go into who his father was. "But I've done a fair amount of Intel work for the Dracon government. People know I can be trusted."

The mouse paused, the wrinkles in the fine fur of his face indicating he didn't believe that was the full truth, but after a moment he nodded and smiled. "Do you know what Sauros did to get exiled in the first place?"

"Not all the details." Cazi said quietly. "I know it involved the abuse of some males smaller than himself, which is a fairly serious offense. And then there was some forbidden magical experimentation of a fairly serious nature. Only reason he got exiled instead of executed was that he was a war hero, and his family was seriously influential."

"But not enough to get him out of what he just tried?" he asked as the Lion went to work on the slightly better groomed chest.

"His other indiscretions were of a personal nature. What he was plotting this time, falls into the category of genocide. The Dracons don't tolerate that sort of behavior in one of their own." He said quietly as he quickly, efficiently got the misbehaving hairs in place.

"You're good at grooming someone else," Vinnie commented, both curious and appreciative as his mind and body relaxed in the long missing and comforting familiarity of being groomed.

"My mate, Nareena, grew up in a very privileged household." He smiled as he worked. "She enjoyed being groomed and fussed over, and I enjoy making her happy."

"It shows," he smiled slightly, though he was missing his youth more and more. "It's been ages since I had anyone to fuss over me like that. The war didn't have a place for servants or anything."

Cazi nodded. "No war doesn't have a place for those. When we get to base, I'm sure Diana would love to fuss over you." He smiled. "She's got a real talent with fur, and she loves to groom and fuss over people."

"And even my gender preference," Vinnie smiled a little brighter. "What's she like?"

"She's a female Marten, if you're familiar with the species. Very friendly, very cuddly. Only real drawback, at least from my perspective, is very much prefers to be the subordinate in any relationship she's in. From what she's said of herself, she was a noble female's companion and servant."

"Sounds like someone I'd like a lot," he grinned happily. "Maybe not for a mate, but I'm not much looking to get married anytime soon."

"Neither is she, I don't think." He smiled. "She just doesn't feel complete if she isn't making someone happy. Mind you, she's extremely bright and educated. Clearly the noble's of her world had fairly high standards for servants."

"All the better," the Mouse nodded with a slight grin. "Especially the companions. A pretty face is nice, but they don't make for entertaining dinner conversation or a good party date."

"She definitely has a pretty face." Cazi grinned as he was putting the finishing touches on the Mouse's fur. "Deep chocolate brown fur, and very pretty green eyes."

"You'll definitely need to introduce us." Vinnie grinned, eager to have a servant-playmate again.

"Sure thing." Cazi grinned. "Just remind me, when we get to Lake Maxwell."

"Oh, don't worry, I will." He picked his lips a bit in anticipation to cover his disappointment she wasn't on the ship they were meeting up with. "How long till we get there?"

"Ten, maybe twelve days." Cazi said easily while he worked down the Mouse's abs.

"Not too long then," Vinnie nodded, more than a little relieved. "I'm going to be really glad to get on a planet again. And Girl's going even more stir-crazy than I am."

"The cruiser is better equipped recreation-wise than this shuttle, but not from a motorcycle standpoint." Cazi acknowledged while he brushed and fussed, enjoying the feeling of the months of tension that he was grooming out of the Mouse's fur.

"She'll be counting down to planetfall, you can be sure of it."

"Well, there's lots of room to run once we land." Cazi nodded, and continued his expert attention to Vinnie's fur. "As long as you don't require roads."

"Dude, we drive up the side of buildings," Vinnie couldn't help but laugh hard at that. "Pavement and a strait line only adds a little speed."

"Given she was treating an ocean like open road, I'm not surprised." Cazi chuckled playfully. "Being interesting to see how she performs in comparison to Arsham's custom bike. He designs and builds motorcycles."

"You're trying to tell me there's something that thinks it can out perform a Martian cyberbike?" Vinnie looked at the Lion incredulously.

"You'd be amazed what galactic technology can produce." Cazi grinned. "And I'm pretty sure Thunder thinks exactly that."

"If he does, we're going to have one hell of a feud on our hands," he chuckled with a gleeful smirk. "Oh, it's going to be fun upgrading her."

"I'm sure." Cazi smiled. "And I'm sure Arsham will be more than willing to give you a hand picking up the new tech. He'll love having someone to talk bikes with."

"I am one of the best on Mars," the Mouse grinned. "There's a reason Girl's the best in the system.

"I'd say it's going to be close then." Cazi smiled, as put the finishing touches on Vinnie's fur. "You're probably the better mechanic, but I think Arsham had better resources to work with."

"I have no doubt he's had better resources," he admitted. "Probably even before the resistance, but at least the last fifteen years."

"Well, we spent a good fifteen years in a kind of shadowy limbo where the NightBlades weren't officially recognized by anybody." Cazi chuckled. "Took a bit of work to convince the Alliance government that we wanted to work with them."

"Sounds like the screaming matches Throttle had with a girlfriend of his, some General with the Regulars. Don't even ask me how those two got together." Vinnie rolled his eyes, though the lack of pupils make his face carry most of it.

"No screaming, but the same idea." Cazi chuckled, and shook his head. "Fortunately, I had a rep of my own independent of the NightBlades, so that gave us something to work with."

"Always useful," he nodded. "Though why we'd ever want to join the Regulars I never got."

"Well, we just wanted to be legit and no longer on the wanted lists of both sides of the conflict." Cazi smiled. "It's easier to have a life, when one side believes you're on their side."

"Ah, that's true," he nodded easily and snagged his jeans and boots from the counter with his tail without looking. "Not someone we worried about on Mars."

"We didn't worry about it, so much as having a kit around made us think about it." Cazi smiled fondly.

"That would do it," he nodded, abruptly much more mellow as he pulled on his jeans without disturbing the masterful grooming work. "They change everything."

"Much better." Cazi smiled, looking at the Mouse, pleased with the job he'd done. "And yeah, they certainly do."

"Can we complete the look and get my pupils back?"

"Certainly, we'll have to go upstairs for that. The scanner's up there." He said, leading the way with Vinnie quite happy to be on his heals.

"So what do you guys do?"

"Professionally, or for entertainment?" Cazi asked with a grin.

"Professionally," he rolled his eyes again. "I've got a good idea what you do for fun."

"Oh, not even half of what we do for fun." Cazi chuckled. "We do a lot professionally. Counter-Intel and counter-terrorism, security consulting, and covert strikes into Mephit territory to name our biggest operations."

"Sounds like fun, at least some of it."

"You know, if you decide to stick around you could always work with us." Cazi offered as they went upstairs. "You strike me as being good in a fight."

"That I am," Vinnie grinned with a nod. "Kind of depends on what else is on offer, and a few other things. I've got a team of my own to get back to somehow."

"Just a suggestion." Cazi smiled easily. "It's a big galaxy, and I'm sure you'll have a lot to choose from. Any idea where your team is?"

"Another galaxy, at least, more likely another dimension," he sighed. "We're from Mars, been on Earth for four years before all this started. I know enough that it's not the nearest Mars, and a hundred-something years too late as well."

"Well, we'll give you what help we can." Cazi said easily. "Though another dimension isn't something we can do much about."

"I know," he nodded slightly. "If my eyes can get fixed, I'll probably check out New Mars too. It's been a long time since I got to date my own kind. Maybe my family's still an important one."

"Anything is possible." Cazi nodded. "Nareena will have a better idea about a permanent correction." He said as they walked to the mid section of the shuttle's upper deck. "You might want to grab breakfast while I set up the scanner." Cazi suggested.

"Sure," he nodded and turned to the food delivery system. "You want anything?"

"Already had breakfast, thanks." Cazi said as he turned his attention to the scanner and Vinnie entered the codes for his meal.

"So what does this thing do?" He asked curiously as he came over to watch over Cazi's shoulder while munching on his pizza breakfast.

"Scans your eyes to determine the proper fit and material for contact lenses, and then tells the mini-replicator how to make them. Once I've told it what color it should be doing. What color are your eyes supposed to be?"

"Like yours, but with a round pupil," he explained quietly. "White outside, red iris, black pupil."

"Easy enough." Cazi nodded making a few final adjustments. "When you're ready, just put your face here." He said indicating what looked a pair of funny binocular stuck to the console. For the first time, something took priority over pizza in hand and he settled into the device.

"Okay, just hold still." Cazi said as the scanner went to work. "Okay, you can move now." The Lion said after several minutes of flashing lights. "It'll be about an hour, before the contacts are ready."

"Not long at all," he smiled. "I'll look normal before dinner."

"I'm actually having it make up two sets. That way you can have one set in, while the other set is cleaning." Cazi explained and got a grateful grin flashed at him for the though.

"Thanks, a lot." Vinnie put his hand on the shorter, stockier Lion. "It'll be good to see my face again in the mirror."

"Actually, I'm kind of looking forward to it too." Cazi smiled. "The black on black is rather unnerving."

"It's a monster's eyes," he shuddered from the soul and terrified personal knowledge. "Blackeyes' eyes."

Cazi nodded. "I've never seen the like before. Closest is the Dracons when they get really mad about something and their eyes go red. But that's only temporary."

Vinnie nodded slightly. "They belong to our racial enemy. Shifters that can look like Mice, or become canine-mouse monstrosities twice my height. The eyes are the only way to tell; some of them can't change them to look real."

"Well, that's an easy way to tell who's who." Cazi nodded. "So that black on black doesn't occur naturally in your species?"

"Gods no," he shuddered violently at the thought. "Whatever drop-kicked me around here did it."

"Well, we'll get you back to looking normal in no time." He grinned, and then smiled as heard the big TV come on. "Sounds like Arsham is putting on some anime; animated explosions, monsters and babes." The Lion grinned.

"Sounds like a great way to pass the time," he smiled and gave Cazi a squeeze around the waist with his tail. "You guys do know how to pass the time."

"Well, when you spend as much time traveling as we have, you get very good at finding things to do." Cazi grinned as they walked into the TV lounge.

"I bet," Vinnie chuckled as he dropped into his customary spot on Girl's back. "We usual sang and teased the local cops."

"Singing is something this group learned to avoid doing some time ago." Arsham chuckled. "Out of the original eleven, only two of us can actually carry a tune."

"Never stopped us," he chuckled. "But when everyone is tone-deaf, it doesn't matter much."

"Probably not." Blaze chuckled. "But we've got folks who are, and the pained looks are bit much to take. So we stick to movies and rugby for group activities."

"You'll get no complaints from me," Vinnie grinned. "You've got great taste in movies."

"Glad you like them." Sureshot grinned. "Not like the time we rescued a trio of total pacifists, they were opposed to any violence, even animated."

Vinnie could only blink at that. "Seriously?"

"Very seriously." Arsham shook his head. "Drove us up the wall, before we got them to an Alliance station. I thought Ebon was going to space the lot of them."

"He's got more self-control then I would," Vinnie muttered. "What use are people like that?"

"It's a philosophy that's worked on some worlds." He shrugged. "I don't pretend to understand it. However, the trio in question were incredibly talented healers."

"How did they survive the first invasion ship that came by?"

"I don't believe their world had ever been invaded." Arsham said thoughtfully, though he wondered what an invasion ship was.

"Damn lucky," he shook his head.

"Yes, and no. Most worlds haven't been invaded." Blaze said simply. "None of the Alliance core worlds have been."

"I don't know about that Blaze." Arsham said quietly. "The Padarah might disagree."

"Only some of the extremists, who like to ignore the fact that they weren't native either."

Cazi shook his head. "Guys, let's not rehash that one again."

Vinnie watched the interchange then shook his head sadly, grieving deep inside that the core of his experiences that he'd have no one to understand among his current companions.

Sureshot was quiet for a little while. "Aren't you guys overlooking something?" He said softly. "The SG is an invasion, they just didn't attack head on."

Arsham nodded quietly. "Yeah, guess I'd rather not think about it that way."

"Doesn't put us in a very good light, at least not for the first thirty years." Blaze sighed.

"What happened with them?" Vinnie asked quietly, not sure what to make of the words, and not particularly caring at the moment.

"The NightBlades started out as SG unit." Cazi said quietly. "Did a lot of damage before they decided to break away, and live their lives the way they wanted to."

"I meant the SG. Who they are, who they invaded." Vinnie elaborated just loud enough to be heard over the explosions on screen no one was particularly paying attention to.

"They're a Mephit-backed attempt to subvert the legitimate government of our homeworld." Cazi said softly. "The Mephit know we could beat back an open invasion, so they launched a covert invasion. Some of the SG think they're just the legitimate opposition to the world government."

Vinnie cocked his head, mulling that one over for a while. "Still sounds a bit more like a civil war than an invasion. They aren't trying to wipe you out."

"Oh, they've tried." He said quietly. "We've caught the worst of the nightmares that they've tried to import. And it's hardly a civil war when an outside power is funding and directing it." He said quietly. "As I said, not all invasions come right at you, some creep around in the night."

Vinnie nodded, still not completely sure about that but not interested in arguing it.

"Okay, everyone." Blaze announced. "We're now secure and docked with the Calypso. Everybody exit through the side hatch, as usual." He grinned. "Please return your trays to the upright position, and don't forget your carry-on luggage." He added dryly, causing Sureshot to laugh.

"You'd look cute in a stewardess outfit." Cazi smirked teasingly at the Cheetah as he rolled his eyes.

"Probably would," Vinnie snickered, feeling good about at least looking his naturally immaculately groomed, bright-eyed self to the point he had relaxed enough to tease the felines a little flirtingly.

"Vinnie!" Trace's excited voice shouted, as he ran forward as soon as the mouse stepped on to the deck of the cruiser. "You made it!" He grinned happily, as he threw his arms around the white Mouse to hug him happily.

"Yeah, I did," he smirked back and hugged the little bat. "I hear you were a real imp as soon as I turned my back."

"Just took your advice." He grinned as they parted. "There's a certain advantage to being taken for granted."

"I'm sure," Vinnie chuckled and shook his head. "I bet they still don't believe a white stole the shuttle."

"They're probably still trying to figure out where the shuttle went." He chuckled. "They didn't know we were onboard."

"Even better," Vinnie smiled down at him and up to take in the small docking room in more detail. He noted a sleek powerful male Panther and a flame red/black Tigress of regal bearing entered the small docking area, accompanied by a tall golden winged predator avian.

"Ebon, Nareena." Cazi said warmly as he crossed the room to embrace the two felines with the warmth of a long established relationship.

"Cazi, it's good to have you home." The Tigress said warmly in a powerful, yet serene voice.

"And successful too." Ebon grinned broadly, looking at the white Mouse appraisingly and noting that he and Nareena were getting a similar inspection from the Mouse in tern. Despite the exterior, he still felt the generated and very intense fear just below the surface of Vinnie's flawless warrior form.

"Vinnie, I'd like you to meet my mates, Ebon and Nareena." Cazi said by way of introduction. "Ebon, Nareena this is Vinnie Van Wham."

"A pleasure, Vinnie." Ebon said in a voice that though glacially calm, did nothing to hide the power behind it. "Welcome aboard the Calypso." He added as he extended a friendly hand that was accepted with the strength of a warrior who'd long ago come to terms with his fate, whatever it may be, despite his fears.

"Yes, welcome to our home in space." Nareena said with a sincerely warm smile.

"Thank you," Vinnie inclined his head politely to her, responding in kind just as instinctively to her highborn manors as he did the others warrior heritage.

"This way." Nareena said graciously as she led the group out of the docking area into the main body of the ship. "Cazi tells me you have an eye problem that needs a more permanent solution." She said softly, as she dropped back to walk next to Vinnie while Ebon took the lead.

"Yes, one I'd be very grateful to have fixed," he nodded slightly. "Someone really mangled the color, to what only a racial enemy wears."

"That should be correctable without too much difficulty." She nodded and looked at the metal plate again. "Have you ever had the injury under that mask examined to see if it can be repaired?" She asked gently.

Vinnie blinked at her in surprise. "No, ma'am."

"Would you want it repaired, if that was possible?" She asked politely, knowing that some warriors grew attached to old scars and injuries.

He almost said yes on pure reflex, until a wash of memories, good bad and intense, worried at the thought of loosing the connection to his past and Bros. "I'd have to think about that."

"If you'd like I can look at it and tell you if it's possible." She offered. "Then you can take whatever time you need to think about it."

"It never hurts to know the options," Vinnie smiled up at her. "I would like to know."

"Well, unless you'd like to get settled first, we could stop over at Medical and I can look into both your eyes and face at the same time." She offered.

"I'd like to get my eyes fixed ASAP, if you don't mind." He said with polite difference.

"Then if you'll come with me." She said turning at in intersection with Mouse and bike right at her side. "I'll see exactly what will be required."

"Thank you, ma'am."

About ten minutes later the three of them walked into medical, causing the Lynx and the Bobcat working there to start as the motorcycle rolled in.

"If you'll have a seat here, I'll get the diagnostic equipment." Nareena said politely.

"Right," he nodded and hopped up to sit on the bed, watching the three felines with both caution and curiosity.

/"Excuse me."/ The bobcat projected politely to the bike he felt sure was at least an AI. /"You're an intelligent machine aren't you?"/ He asked in curiosity, even if his communication wasn't the smoothest.

/"Urrr, yes."/ Girl responded very hesitantly and clearly rather disturbed by the contact. /"How?" You aren't my rider."/

"What?" Vinnie's eyes went wide and his entire body went ridged with Girl's equally startled rumblings. "She's my cyberbike." He rumbled at the bobcat in a mixture of shock and defensive challenge.

/"I'm a cyber-telepath."/ He explained, reflexively backing away from Vinnie. "I'm sorry, I was just being polite and making conversation."

"How?" The Mouse demanded, though a few rumbles from Girl seemed to cool his temper a fair bit. "Only their rider can talk to a cyberbike."

"I just picked up what the right frequency was, and projected on that." He explained, still a bit nervous about the Mouse's reaction and the hard stare he was getting.

Eventually Vinnie relented and nodded, reaching down to pat Girl's seat soothingly, for both of their nerves. "Not an ability I've heard of before."

"It's not common." The Bobcat admitted. "A lot less common than normal telepathy."

"And Cazi must have been distracted if he didn't start up a conversation." Nareena smiled gently as she walked back in carrying what looked to be a very high tech video camera.

"He can too?" Vinnie looked at her, his manners instantly back in place as she set it up.

"Easily." She nodded. "He's brought more than a few AI to sentience himself." She said, as she adjusted the height of the tripod. "Look into the light please." She said as a light on top of the camera came on.

"Yes, ma'am." He murmured and focused on the light threw the slight oddness of his contacts.

"Vinnie, you're going to need to take the contacts out for this to work." She said gently, nodding to the other two who left the room.

A soft sigh and nod preceded his movements to open each eye wide and popped each lens out before looking back at the light, intensely grateful he couldn't seem himself and she didn't know what she was looking at.

"This won't take long, Vinnie." She said gently as she carefully scanned one eye and then the other while he held perfectly still and remained unnaturally focused on the light.

"Okay, you can put the contacts back in." Nareena said as she shutdown the light, and connected the camera to her computer. "This is will take a few minutes to analyze."

"Okay," he nodded before carefully putting the contacts back in, relaxing internally as his eyes looked normal again.

"Well, the good news is it' a fairly straight-forward procedure to adjust your eye color." She said gently.

"Great," he smiled. "So what's the bad news?"

"You'll be effectively blind for about twenty-four hours after the operation. It's expected, and temporary, but it's something you need to be aware of."

The Mouse swallowed and nodded, reaching out with his tail for a stronger connection with his bike. "How soon can you do it?"

"There's some set up required, but I could do it tomorrow morning if you'd like."

"I would," he nodded rather emphatically. "I want my eyes back."

"Okay." She nodded. "Come by after breakfast then. And bring someone you're comfortable with, since you'll need them after the procedure."

"When will you be ready, time-wise?" He asked quietly. "After breakfast is typically in the afternoon for me."

"That will be fine with me." She smiled. "It's just before noon, ship's time right now, so I'll be ready by eight or nine in the morning tomorrow."

"I'll be here at nine then," Vinnie said softly but more firmly than he'd ever addressed her before. "All the more I can sleep through. Mind if I get drunk first?" He asked very hopefully.

"Not necessary Vinnie." She said gently. "You're going to be unconscious for it. But in a controlled fashion through proper anesthesia."

He gave her kind of a blank look before he remembered what he thought she was talking about. "Okay," he nodded, accepting her statement with only a little misgiving.

"It basically puts you to sleep and blocks any sensation of pain." She explained. "When the operation is finished I reverse the anesthesia and wake you up. From your perspective, you'll go to sleep and wake up without any memory of the intervening time."

"Okay," he nodded, pleased he remembered correctly and that he didn't have to be aware of having his eyes removed and replaced.

"Good. Did you want me to figure out about your face now, or would you rather leave that till after your eyes are fixed."

"Might as well know now," he nodded easily. "It'll be a while deciding either way."

"Of course, surgery should never be done on a whim." She nodded. "I'm going to need you to lie down on the diagnostic bed here. "She said patting one of the high tech beds. "So I can get a good look at the big picture."

"Sure thing," Vinnie smiled slightly and hopped off the bed he was on to lay where she'd indicated with his usual flair.

Nareena sat down at her console again, and watched the image form. The damage was extensive to say the least but with advanced techniques it was doable. About thirty minutes later, she got up and walked back to the bed. "Okay, scans are done. The damage is repairable, though it won't be quick or easy." She said honestly. "The eye can be restored as well."

Vinnie nodded, considering quietly. "I'd definitely like two real eyes, since you're doing that anyway. The rest, I'm going to think on for a while." He reached up to ghost fingers over the metal adhered to his face. "I've been like this longer than I haven't."

"Replacing the eye isn't something that can be done unless the face is." She explained gently. "In its current condition, the eye socket won't work with a real eye, among other problems."

"Okay, Then it's just a new cybernetic on one side, and real on the other?" He asked curiously, only just starting to realize she meant real eyes, not cybernetic ones on both sides that looked right.

"For now, that's correct." She nodded.

"Very cool," Vinnie grinned widely and patted Girl's seat with his tail in a clearly happy cadence. "Thank you, ma'am."

"My pleasure, Vinnie." She smiled. "Now that we're finished here, would you like to see your quarters?"

"Yes, please," he smiled and inclined his head politely to her. "And where Trace is staying, if you don't mind."

"I'm sure if I didn't, Trace would come looking for you on his own." She smiled, and led the way out. "He's rather remarkable."

"I've noticed," Vinnie chuckled softly. "He's a good one too, I think."

"Yes, he is." She smiled. "He tries his best to help out however he can, even if not asked. He's certainly given us a lot to think about."

"Like what?" He cocked his head at the taller female curiously.

"None of us knew about the Whites." She said quietly. "Their existence means that it may be possible to subvert the Mephits, at least partially."

"Oh," he nodded. "You mean they don't keep the races the conquer alive?"

"Their methods of conquest, don't often leave many survivors." She said quietly. "Which is why the war has gone on for so long, there really isn't any room for compromise."

"Oh," Vinnie blinked in surprise. "I didn't realize that were that much like Plutarkians. Just what are they after?"

"Resources and living space primarily. Plus they're looking for some artifacts from a race that disappeared a hundred millennia ago, supposedly." She shook her head.

"Yap, they're the local Plutarkians. Those fishfaces specialized in strip-mining planets, though."

"Ah, the Mephits don't strip-mine normally. That would make the planet uninhabitable for them." She shook her head. "I'm glad those two races don't occupy the same universe."

"I wish they did," he murmured. "It'd give me a hope of getting home again. I don't like what I've heard of the local Mars."

"Mars?" She said quietly. "It's a Terran colony. Still in the early stages of terraforming."

"This one is," he muttered, more hurt than angry or sad. "I'm a Martian Mouse, ma'am. Just not this Mars, and not your Earth. We beat them tech-wise solidly."

"I'm sure the inhabitants of this Mars would've too, if they'd survived." She said gently. "An alternate dimension. That does make getting home more difficult, I'm sorry." She added quietly.

"Maybe Cazi will come up with the survivors," he let out a low breath. "Apparently the Dracons rescued some before everything died."

"Well, now that's news." She said quietly. "But then it wouldn't be the first time the Dracons have taken in a dying race."

"It leaves a lot in the air though," Vinnie sighed. "I'm not even that sure if I want it to be true or not."

"I'm sure Cazi will find out, one way or the other." She smiled softly. "Even it is, they're probably quite different from the Mice you know."

"I know," he murmured. "My people, but they wouldn't be. Not after this long. I'm not sure which would be worse, being the only one left, or being that alone on a world of Mice."

"That's a decision only you can make." She said gently, sympathetically. "But you are welcome with us."

"Thank you," Vinnie smiled up at her, though he had no capability to conceal how much fear and instinctive level disgust was wrapped up in the thought from her strong empathy. "I do appreciate everything you've done for me." He added with complete sincerity despite the deeper emotions.

"My pleasure." She smiled, and opened the door into a large bedroom/living room, that had a bathroom attached. "It's not luxurious, but this is a warship. I gave you a large room, to accommodate your partner." She said smiling at Girl.

"Thanks," he smiled, and Girl rumbled softly. "It's very nice." He commented, meaning it completely. "And big."

"I'm glad you like it." She smiled. "Trace, Dar and Ker are three doors that way on the same side." She said pointing further down the hallway.

"Bathroom? Kitchen?" He asked quietly, not sure how that worked here.

"Bathroom is through that door." She pointed to the left. "There's a small kitchen through the door on the opposite side. However, if you can't or would rather not cook, meals are served regularly in the galley on deck ten."

"Cool," he grinned. "Cooking isn't my best skill."

"There's a lot of that on this ship." She chuckled. "There's also a gym, weight room and pool on deck nine if you want to work out. Recreation facilities on deck eight."

"On a warship?" Vinnie blinked in real surprise. "This is one decked out warship."

"Warship designed for long patrols." She smiled. "Don't want the crew going stir-crazy between shore-leaves."

"This is going to be fun," he grinned. "How long till we get back to base?"

"Probably two weeks." She said easily. "I don't think we're hurrying."

"With a ship like this, who'd want to?" Vinnie chuckled, then smiled directly at her. "Thank you for everything, ma'am."

"You're welcome, Vinnie." She smiled. "If you don't have any questions now, then I should be getting back to Medical. But feel free to ask anyone, if you come up with questions later." She said, stepping back so she was in the hallway.

"Thank you, I will." He promised softly. "I'll see you in the morning, ma'am."

"Until then, Vinnie." She smiled and headed back toward Medical.

Vinnie made a casual way down to deck ten, checking out everything on his way to the mess hall to shut his stomach up. Despite it being a warship and no one to really attract, he'd still taken the time to groom and primp as well as any night on the town. He didn't question that it made him feel more hole, more like himself, to have every strand in place and his mask polished.

"Evening, Vinnie." Trace said cheerfully, as he got on the elevator with Vinnie. "Headed for the mess hall?" He hazarded a guess.

"Yap, it's past time to eat," he grinned down at the shorter male. "Been having fun without me?"

"Oh yeah." Trace grinned. "I still can't believe this is a warship."

"No kidding, the rooms are incredible, and I haven't even gotten to check out entertainment, but if the shuttle was any indication, it'll be incredible."

"The guys have been teaching me to swim." He grinned. "And there's this whole room full of games, they call it an arcade."

"Oh, man, this'll be a blast." He grinned even wider. "I wonder what they think a luxury liner is."

"Probably has less guns, shields and a smaller troop complement." Trace chuckled. "Probably wouldn't have a weapons range or a fighter bay either."

"I meant what additions it would have."

"Beats me, I've never been on anything but a warship." Trace shrugged. "They could show the Mephits a few things about power transmission efficiency though. They manage to run all these extras with a small power plant."

"Priorities will do that," he chuckled as the lift stopped. "If you want something bad enough, you figure out how to do it."

"The food's good too." Trace grinned as they exited onto deck ten. "Really odd creatures preparing it though. Tyrfauns they're called, look like Tiger Felsin above the waist, and goats below it."

"Okay, that is odd." He shook his head. "But if they can cook, I'm not going to complain."

"Not only can they, but they're good at it, and they enjoy cooking." He smiled as the good smells from the mess hall began to be noticeable.

"Even better," Vinnie grinned and sniffed the air. "Oh yeah, that smells really good."

The mess hall was about half full, and those present were about three-quarters Felsin with a mixture of canines and a few avians rounding things out. There was a kind of cafeteria style line on one side of the room where others were picking up their food and Vinnie made a beeline for it, though he didn't miss checking out anyone and was grateful to see more females than his initial observations indicated, though the crew was obviously very male heavy.

It was clear that whatever military this ship belonged to was big on physical fitness, since every person present appeared to be in top condition. That included the Black Labrador retriever fem who was ahead of Vinnie in the line.

Despite the rarely of his female company recently, he was a bit surprised to find her not that interesting, until he remembered the months of relative abstinence he'd been inclined towards after the camps. That and she was way, way too wolfish for his tastes. Even the cats were less creepy, given how few of them looked like the sandy furred Lions of Mars.

"I'm going to have to introduce you to Elora." Trace said, as they moved to where they'd chose what they wanted for dinner. "She's rather cute, for a species I never heard of. A Sciran, which I think is closer to us rodents." He smirked. "Deep grey fur, except for white down the front."

"Sounds nice," he smiled, his eyes lighting up as he saw pizza was on the menu. "Good to know it's not all predators here."

"No, just mostly." Trace shrugged. "Doesn't bother me. It's not like they hunt other sentients for food." He said as he selected the cheeseburger and fries combination he'd taken a liking to.

"Just not my kink," he shrugged, forcing the much less kind reasons back down. There was no reason to point out he'd rather see all predators exterminated than sleep with one. Between cats and canines, there was nothing left of the real race of Mars.

Trace was about to say it wasn't a kink, when the tickling brush of a fluffy tail made him jump. "Elora, I was just telling Vinnie about you." He grinned as he recognized the female Sciran.

"Something good I hope." She chittered pleasantly, her extremely fluffy tail retreating from where it had brushed him playfully. She was about five and half feet tall, with a slim athletic build covered by what looked to be short, dense fur similar to Vinnie's. Her front was a snowy white, which contrasted nicely with the dark grey fur on the rest of her. She was wearing pants and a shirt with a deep neckline that both showed off her white fur and accented her ample breasts.

"Mostly that you were one of the only non-predators on board." Vinnie said quietly as he collected his meal, not completely sure what to make of this small mouse-like creature with the tail bigger than she was.

"Well, that's true enough." She smiled. "The NightBlades are mostly predators, in fact we're mostly Felsin, not surprising considering that the core group, NightBlade Command, is all Felsin."

"You've met the majority of them, Vinnie." Trace said simply. "Ebon, the panther, is the Commander."

"The scary as hell panther," he shuddered lightly.

"You find him scary?" She asked curiously.

"Vinnie's not comfortable with cats." Trace explained softly.

"Cats, wolves, shifters, predators in general." He elaborated a little, carefully keeping his tone fairly neutral.

"You've just described the majority of the known galaxy." She shook her head. "Well, I suppose you might be okay with the Humans. They're sort of not-quite predators." She chuckled.

"Yeah, humans aren't bad. Weird folks, but they know how to party."

"Well, getting to Earth is easy enough." She smiled. "I'd get bored, but to each their own."

"Yeah," he nodded and slipped into silence as he ate with the same quick efficiency he'd shown on the Mephit ship and tried not to think about anything.

A Mouse Among Felsin 2: Teenage Mutant Commando Felines

PG-13 for M/M and M/F
Het Level is Low
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

97 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written March 7, 2003 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Todd McCall

Setting: Biker Mice from Mars, Galactic Alliance, Haloeth

Primary Races: Felsin, Loup Maru, Martian Mice

Contents: Furry. Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, DarkFic

Pairings: None

Blurb: From Mephit to Hawks, Vixen, Cheetah, Dracons and shape-shifting Felsin, Vinnie is not any more thrilled with what gets him out of Mephit hands than being in them. The realization of just how many predators are running around the universe doesn't improve his mood any either.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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