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All original Rovers, Master, Parvo, and Groomer are © Warner Brothers
Rally, Diamond, Rapperswil, Stephanie, Mage, and James are © Me
DJ is © Jake Williams
Dylan, Briggs, Zudnik, Rune, Sash, Raymond, Kytec, and Carmen are © Dylan Rinald
Bayson is © Eric Hunter
Ricky is © Ricky Galahad
Dervish is © Casey Johnson
Dawn is © Dianne Laureano
Star is © Katherine Gore
Marauder is © Jerimy Bass
Sierra is © Elista Adkins
Lotus and the Esprit V-8 are © Lotus Cars
Dodge and the Ram 1500 are © DaimlerChrysler Corp.
Freightliner and the Century Class S/T are © Freightliner LLC (A member of DaimlerChrysler Corp.)
Hummer is © AM General
Kenworth and the W900 Studio AeroCab are © PACCAR, Inc.

"The Rubix Cube"

Story is © 3-11-01 by David Reynolds
Title is © 3-12-01 by Alex Carter, a fellow author and one of my best friends

SETTING: Briefing Room, RRMC, almost noon.

DJ, Rally, and Rapperswil are gathered around Master's balcony.

Master: I have called you three here for a very important reason.  We received a fax this morning saying that Diamond has been kidnapped.

DJ, Rally, and Rapperswil: What?!

Master: We're unsure as to who did it, but we do know their location and that they are holding her for ransom.

Rally: What's the ransom?

Master: We already have it waiting for you in the vehicle bay.  You'll be using an old Freightliner to transport it so as not to draw attention to yourselves.  DJ, you need to drive the truck.  I want Rally and Rapperswil to be escorts in their cars.

DJ: So where are we goin'?

Master: The fax said that they were in a facility near Fairview.

DJ: Well, let's get movin'.

Master: Be careful, you three.

They run to the vehicle bay and DJ climbs into the cab of the Freightliner.  Rally gets into his Lotus Esprit V-8 while Rapperswil gets into his Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab.  They drive slowly out of the vehicle bay and head down a dirt road to the highway.  They pull onto the highway with Rally in front of DJ and Rapperswil at the back.

Rally (Over CB): Hey, Deej.  What do think's in the trailer?

DJ (Into CB): I don't know, but it feels pretty weighty.  We'll check it out at the weigh station up ahead.

After a few minutes of driving, they pull off into a weigh station.  Rally and Rapperswil park their vehicles as DJ pulls the truck onto the scale.  Inside the building, two station operators are looking at a computer monitor.

Station Operator #1: Whoa.  That's a pretty heavy truck right there.  Three hundred pounds over the limit.

Station Operator #2: I'll go check it out.

The station operator walks out and approaches the truck.  He knocks on the cabin door and DJ rolls down the window.

Station Operator #2: Sir, please step out of the truck.

As DJ climbs out, Rally and Rapperswil approach him.

Station Operator #2: Your load is three hundred pounds over the limit.  I'm gonna have to ask to see your cargo.

They all head to the back of the trailer and DJ opens the doors.  They all have to duck as Muzzle jumps out of the trailer, completely unrestrained.  The station operator takes a couple steps back and Rally has to grab Muzzle by the collar to keep him from attacking.

Station Operator #2: What the hell is that?!

Rapperswil: That's Muzzle.  He works with us.

DJ: Master must've put him back there to protect the cargo.

Station Operator #2: Just keep him outta my way while I check the trailer.

Rally holds Muzzle while DJ and the station operator climb into the trailer.  They look around and see about twelve wooden crates on each side.  The crates are about five feet long and two and a half feet tall.

Station Operator #2: What's in all these crates?

DJ: I don't know.  We never looked at `em.

Station Operator #2: You mean to tell me that you're haulin' stuff and you don't even know what it is?

DJ: We were just told to deliver this shipment.

Station Operator #2: Well, perhaps you'd be so kind as to open one of the crates.  Then we'd both know what's in `em.

DJ: We're not obligated to tamper with the cargo.

Station Operator #2: Well, I can't let you pass until I see what's in the crates.

Rally (From outside): DJ, just show `im.  We don't have time for this.

DJ (To station operator): Fine, just help me get one of those things down.

They get one of the crates from the top and DJ pries it open with a crowbar.

Station Operator #2: What's all this?

DJ (Thinking): These look like parts to a transdogmifier.  But who would want…

He stops in mid-thought and jumps out of the trailer, leaving the station operator to look at the parts.

DJ: Guys, I think we're dealin' with Parvo.

Rapperswil: Parvo?  Are you sure?

DJ: I'm certain of it.  Those crates are filled with transdogmifier parts.

Rally: Well, whatta we do now?

Rapperswil: We have to save Diamond, but we can't let Parvo get those parts.

DJ: You're right, but we have no choice.

Rapperswil: So what are we gonna do?

Rally: We're gonna keep goin'.  We have to save Diamond, no matter what the cost.

The station operator jumps down out of the trailer.

Station Operator #2: Well, everything looks OK.  Wait here, I'll be right back.

He walks off into the building and returns a short while later carrying a couple of papers.  He hands the papers to DJ.

Station Operator #2: If you're questioned about your cargo, just show them these papers and they should let you through.  Where y'all headed, anyway?

DJ: Fairview.

Station Operator #2: That's a long trip, so I'll let you get on your way.

DJ climbs into the trailer and shuts the crate.  Rally climbs up to put Muzzle back in and helps DJ put the crate back at the top of the stack.  As the two of them get out, DJ shuts the doors and climbs into the cab.  Rally and Rapperswil get into their cars and get back into their formation. (Rally in front, DJ and the semi in the middle, and Rapperswil in the back.)  They pull back onto the highway and continue toward Fairview.

SETTING: Briefing Room, RRMC.

Master is standing on his balcony when Hunter walks in.

Hunter: Master, where's DJ?  I need him to check out the Sky Rover.  There were some problems during the test flight.

Master: He's not here.

Hunter: What about Rally?

Master: He's gone, too.

Hunter: Well, where are they?

Master: DJ, Rally, and Rapperswil are on a mission right now.  Diamond has been kidnapped.

Hunter: You should've told us.  We could've gone to help `em.

Master: No, Hunter.  They need to do this one alone with no interference.

Hunter: Well, what are they doin'?

Before Master can answer, DJ's voice comes over the two-way radio.

DJ (Over radio): Master, you there?

Master picks up the receiver and flips a switch.

Master: What is it, DJ?

DJ (Over radio): Why didn't you tell us we were transporting transdogmifier parts for Parvo?

Master: Parvo?  What do you mean?

DJ (Over radio; slightly annoyed): Oh, come on.  Who else would need transdogmifier parts besides Parvo?

Master: I guess I didn't think about that.

DJ (Over radio): Well, we're gonna keep goin', but when we get back, me and you need to have a serious talk about this.

The radio goes dead and Master puts down the receiver.

Hunter: Master, I really think you should let us go help them.  Parvo's very unpredictable and might be leading them into a trap.

Master: I realize the danger, but it's best that we just let them do this by themselves.  Besides, DJ and Rally won't let anything happen to Diamond.  They'll be alright.

Hunter: I hope you're right.

SETTING: Interior, Freightliner cab.

DJ (Into CB; to Rally and Rapperswil): Well, now that we know who we're up against, we know pretty much what to expect.

Rapperswil (Over CB): Guys, eyes in your mirrors.  We got company.

DJ looks at his side mirror and sees a black Hummer quickly approaching them in the left lane.

Rally (Over CB): That guy's goin' kinda fast, ain't he?

DJ (Into CB): Relax.  He's probably just in a hurry.

The Hummer speeds past Rapperswil, but slows down next to the trailer of the semi.

DJ (Thinking): Well, that's a little odd.

As they drive along, a panel opens on the roof of the Hummer and a large machine gun turret raises out of the panel.

DJ (Into CB): I think this guy's plannin' on shootin' us.  I'm gonna ram him.

Rally (Over CB): No, we can't risk damaging the cargo.

Rapperswil (Over CB): Don't worry, I got `im.

The gun on the Hummer turns to point at the trailer as Rapperswil pulls out from behind the semi.  He speeds up and slams the back end of the Hummer, causing it to ride up on his front bumper.  Rapperswil slows enough to have the Hummer drop off his bumper, then slams him again.  The gun on the Hummer turns now to face directly at Rapperswil's truck.  Before he can turn to avoid the shots, the gun fires dozens of bullets at the truck, shattering the entire windshield and spraying glass all over Rapperswil.  DJ and Rally watch in their mirrors as Rapperswil's truck swerves off the road and rides along the left shoulder.  DJ now slows until the cab of the semi is aligned with the Hummer.

Rally (Over CB): What are you doin', Deej?

DJ (Into CB): I'm gonna sideswipe him.  Don't worry, I won't hurt the cargo.

Before DJ can sideswipe the Hummer, it speeds up and pulls in front of him.

DJ: What an idiot.  Now I can easily get rid of you.

As DJ speeds up, the gun (Which is still pointing directly backwards) fires a shower of bullets into the front of the cab.  Smoke starts pouring from the engine compartment as DJ slams into the Hummer.  The driver of the Hummer tries to stop, but the large Freightliner pushes it along.  DJ turns slightly to the left, causing the Hummer to spin sideways.  The Hummer is hit in the side by the Freightliner before being sent off the road.  The Hummer starts to flip and spin, finally coming to rest upside-down next to a tree.  Rapperswil now pulls back on the road and gets back behind DJ as Rally slows to get right in front of them.

Rally (Over CB): What was all that about?

DJ (Into CB): I don't know.  Rapper, you OK?

There is a long silence.

DJ (Into CB): Rapper, are you OK?  Answer me, buddy.

There is another long silence.

DJ (Into CB): Rapperswil, is something wrong?

There is a brief silence before Rapperswil's voice comes over the radio.

Rapperswil (Over CB): Sorry, it's kinda hard to get to the CB with your left hand.

DJ (Into CB): Left hand?  Why'd you use your left hand?

Rapperswil (Over CB): Because I was shot in my right arm.

DJ (Into CB): Are you OK?

Rapperswil (Over CB): Not really.

Rally (Over CB): Hey, guys.  There's a town about two miles up.  We'll stop there and check everything out.

DJ (Into CB): Good idea.  The truck's pretty beat up, too.

SETTING: Belen, NM, a few minutes later.

Rally, DJ, and Rapperswil pull into a gas station and park at the back.  DJ gets out to survey the damage to the smoking rig while Rally heads back to Rapperswil's truck.  He opens the door and helps Rapperswil out.  He looks at Rapperswil's arm, which has about five bullet holes in it.

Rally: Your arm's pretty tore up.

Rapperswil: I'm just lucky most of the shots hit the seat.

Rally looks at the seat of the truck, which was filled with dozens of holes.

Rally: Well, I'll go get the medi-kit.  You stay here and try not to move that arm.

He walks back toward the car to get the medi-kit.  As he passes the semi, DJ calls out to him.

DJ: Hey, bro.  Things don't look too good.

Rally: What's wrong.

DJ: Well, first of all, the radiator's totaled.  That's gonna kill us right there.  Also, there's a bunch of other things that are unfixable here.  I just don't have the equipment to do anything.

Rally: Dang.  Well, I'll see if Master has any ideas.

Rally walks to his car and picks up the CB mic.

Rally (Into CB): Master.  Master, you there?

Master (Over CB): What is it?

Rally (Into CB): We ran into a little trouble out here.

Master (Over CB): What kind of trouble?

Rally (Into CB): Some moron in a Hummer shot at us.  Rapper got hit in the arm and the semi's as good as dead.

Master (Over CB): Is Rapper alright?

Rally (Into CB): Yeah, for right now.

Master (Over CB): Well, as long as everyone's OK, that's good.

Rally (Into CB): But what are we gonna do?  We can't transport the stuff with no truck and DJ doesn't think he can fix it here.

Master (Over CB): Well, I'd send another truck, but no one besides DJ knows how to operate it.

Rally (Shouting): Hey, Deej.  Anyone besides you know how to drive a semi?

DJ (Shouting): Yeah, I taught Dylan on a mission once.  He should know how to operate it. (See Jake Williams' story, "Race to Freedom".)

Rally (Into CB): DJ says that Dylan should know how.

Master (Over CB): OK, I'll send him with another cab as soon as I can.

Rally (Into CB): Thanks, Master.

He puts down the mic and grabs the medi-kit from the glove box.  He walks back over to Rapperswil, who was sitting on the hood of his truck, holding his right arm.

Rally: Sorry it took so long.

Rally begins to go to work on Rapperswil's arm.

SETTING: Detention Area inside Facility, Fairview, NM, a few hours later.

(This is the same facility used in "An Average Day in the Life of a Rover".)  Diamond is lying unconscious on a bed inside one of the cells.  She begins to stir and sits up, rubbing her head.

Diamond: *Moan* What happened?  Where am I?

She walks to the door of cell and tries to look around.

Diamond: Hey, is anyone out there?

A young, orange-colored male canosapien armed with a rifle walks up to the cell door.

Canosapien: Well, hello there.  It's about time you woke up.

Diamond: What's goin' on?  Where am I?

Canosapien: Oh, you'll find out soon enough.  Until then, why don't we get better acquainted?  My name is James.  Who might you be?

Diamond: I'm not tellin' you anything until I find out what's goin' on.

James: Fine, but you'll be here a while.  I suggest you get comfortable.

James pulls a chair in front of the cell and sits down, putting the rifle on the ground next to him.  Diamond begins walking around the cell, looking all around.

Diamond (Thinking): There's gotta be a way out of here.  There's just gotta be.

Parvo (Over walkie-talkie): James, any change in our guest's condition?

James pulls out his walkie-talkie.

James (Into walkie-talkie): Hey, Parv.  Yeah, she just woke up.

Parvo (Over walkie-talkie): How many times have I told you not to call me "Parv"?  My name is General Parvo, got it?

James (Into walkie-talkie; sarcastically): Yeah, yeah.  Loud and clear.

He puts up the walkie-talkie and looks over at Diamond, who is sitting on the bed with her arms folded across her legs.

James: Hey, don't look so glum.

Diamond glares at him.

Diamond: "Don't look so glum"?!  I don't even know where the hell I am or what's goin' on, so don't tell me how to look!

James: Hey, calm down.  I know how you feel.  I don't want to be here either.

Diamond: Then why are you?

James: Because if I quit or try to leave, they'll kill me.

Diamond lays back on the bed and lets out a heavy sigh.

Diamond: Well, since you can't tell me where I am, maybe you can tell me why I'm here.

James: Well, alright.  You're here as collateral.

Diamond: Collateral?  What are you talking about?

James: Parvo needs some parts and he took you to make sure he got `em.  If you're friends try to double-cross him, he'll kill you.

Diamond: Hasn't he learned yet?  My brothers can take him out easily.

James: They'd have to be very strong and very smart to beat him.

Diamond: *Sits up* We've beaten Parvo tons of times already.  He never stands a chance once my brothers show up.

James: You're awfully confident for someone who's in a prison cell.

Diamond: Trust me, I won't be here much longer.  I'll find a way to escape.

James: And what makes you think you can get away?

Diamond: This is the same place my brothers and their friend escaped from a while back.  It can't be too hard to get out.

James: Yeah, I think I heard about that escape.  They got out through the ventilation ducts, but Parvo made it to where that's not a safe way to get out anymore.

James gets up and leans back against the bars of the cell.

James: Looks like you're pretty screwed, huh?

Diamond: Please, just let me out of here.

James: Sorry.  No-can-do.

Diamond jumps up and grabs James' tail through the bars and pulls as hard as she can.  James yells out in pain as Diamond places her left foot on the bars for support and continues to pull.  

Diamond: Let me out of here, now!

James (In pain): I can't!

Diamond continues to pull as hard as she can.  After a while, she lets go and James stumbles forward.  He then sits in the chair and starts to pet his tail, a tear rolling down his cheek.

Diamond: Now you're gonna cry?  What a wuss.

James (Petting his tail): I can't help it if I'm not as tough as the other soldiers.  Besides, I'm only an experiment.

Diamond: What do you mean you're an experiment?

James: Well, if you want to know, I'm the reason Parvo kidnapped you.  He tried creating a machine to make canosapiens instead of cano-mutants since canosapiens are faster, smarter, and usually stronger.  I was the first one he created, and so far, the only one.  When I was put through training, they found out that I was as smart as a canosapien, but didn't have the speed or strength to compete with even the cano-mutants.  Parvo was about to kill me, but instead, he made me a security guard.

Diamond: Well, do you know why you're not as tough as you're supposed to be?

James: It's probably because of my breed.  I'm half fox, which is most likely the reason I'm so weak.

Diamond: Not all foxes are weak.

James: Well, I am.  And I'm only half fox.

Diamond: Y'know, you seem a lot nicer than most enemies we've been up against.

James: Like I said, I don't want to be here any more than you do.

Diamond: Then how `bout we make a deal?

James: What kind of a deal?

Diamond: You let me out, and I guarantee I can get you out of here.

James: Yeah, but how are we gonna get out of the facility?  Parvo's got guards set all over the place.

Diamond: Maybe, but old tin-head always makes a mistake.  There's a way out of here, we just gotta find it.

James: I can probably find it, but how do I know I can trust you to keep your word?

Diamond: Huh?

James: I'll bet as soon as we get out, you'll turn me in to the cops or something.

Diamond: Not if you do exactly what I say to do.

James: Like what?

SETTING: Gas Station, Belen.

Rapperswil is sitting on the hood of his truck with his right arm wrapped with a bandage, DJ is leaning against the side of the semi, and Rally is lying on the roof of his car when a Kenworth cab pulls in.

DJ: It's about time he got here.

The semi stops and Dylan steps out.

DJ: What took you so long?

Dylan: Traffic jam.  The highway was backed up for a mile.

DJ: Well, let's get this thing hooked up and get outta here.

While DJ and Dylan start to detach the old cab from the trailer and attach the new one, Rally slides off his car and picks up the CB mic.

Rally (Into CB): Master, Dylan just got here.  We need someone to come in the Pack Rover to get the Freightliner.

Master (Over CB): I hear ya, Rally.  I'll send someone right away.  

Rally (Into CB): Thanks, Master.

Master (Over CB): Rally, how's Rapperswil doing?  Is he OK?

Rally (Into CB): Yeah, he's doin' fine.  He should be alright for the rest of the mission.

Master (Over CB): Good, good.  If there are any problems, just let me know.

Rally (Into CB): No problem, Master.  We'll see ya when we get back.

He puts up the mic and walks over to Rapperswil.

Rally: You doin' alright?

Rapperswil: Yeah, I'm fine.

Rally: Well, I think Dylan's gonna be joinin' us on the mission.  Maybe you should let him drive since you're hurt.

Rapperswil: Fine with me.  I was gonna suggest that, anyway.

They sit for a few minutes until DJ calls out to them.

DJ: Hey, guys.  Let's roll.

Rally and Rapperswil look over to see that they had the Kenworth cab connected and ready to go.

Rally: OK, just put that old cab somewhere out of the way.

Dylan climbs into the Freightliner and slowly drives it to a place out of the way of any cars that might drive through.  He climbs out and walks over to the others.

Rally: Dylan, since Rapper's hurt, we figured you could drive his truck.

Dylan: No prob.

They climb into their vehicles and pull out.

SETTING: Detention Area, Parvo's base.

James is standing in front of the cell and Diamond is holding onto the bars.

Diamond: So why don't you go ahead and let me out?

James: Because we need to make sure we can get away without being caught.  I'll be right back, I gotta check some things real quick.  If anyone else comes in here, act like nothing happened and try to pretend you're scared.

Diamond: I don't think I need to pretend to be scared.

James walks out and Diamond sits back on the bed.

Diamond: I just wish Rally and DJ were here.  They always know how to comfort me.

A few hours go by before Diamond hears footsteps from the hall outside the detention area.  She stands up and waits.  A soldier steps in front of the cell and scowls at her.

Soldier: So, you're the one Parvo captured, huh?  I don't know why he got someone so ugly.

Diamond growls at him and takes a few steps back.

Soldier: Oh, am I supposed to be scared?  I think you're the one who needs to be scared right now.

Diamond: What do you want?

Soldier: I only wanted to see who was the first Road Rover that Parvo killed.

Diamond: He kills me and everyone here dies.

Soldier: Ha!  I seriously doubt it.  Well, just a few more hours until Parvo's plans are complete.  I'll leave you alone now, but I'll see you when you're about to die.

The soldier starts to walk out when James walks back in.  The soldier looks at him, then punches him in the chest, knocking him back against the door of an empty cell.  He then walks out as James walks over to Diamond's cell.

Diamond: Why'd he do that to you?

James: Because he can.  He has the power and authority to do anything he wants, as long as Parvo doesn't mind.

Diamond: So, did you find a way out?

James: Yes, but we won't be able to get out safely until tomorrow when there won't be as many guards around.  I figured you'd be hungry, so I got you something to eat, even though I'm not supposed to.

He pulls a plastic-wrapped sandwich out of his vest pocket and hands it to Diamond through the bars.  She sits on the bed and begins to eat.

James: I need to do something, but I'll be back in the morning to check on you.

He once again walks out, leaving Diamond alone.

SETTING: Interstate 25, NM.

DJ, Rally, Dylan, and Rapperswil are still heading toward Fairview.  The sky is starting to get dark as the sun sets.  The clock on Rapperswil's dashboard reads 7:41 P.M.

Dylan: We'll need to stop soon to rest.

Rapperswil: Rally and DJ must really love their sister if they're willing to give Parvo those parts to save her.

Dylan: Yeah, they'll do just about anything for her.  Rally even told me once that he'd give his life for her if it was necessary.  He acts tough, but he's actually very sensitive and kind.

Rapperswil: Y'know, I think Diamond's lucky to have people that care so much about her.  And she's very pretty, too.  Does she have a guy?

Dylan: Not that I know of.  Why?  You thinkin' about askin' her out?

Rapperswil: Well, she is kind of cute.  Very nice, too.

Dylan: You just better be careful sayin' that around Rally.  He's the one that basically protects her and makes a lot of decisions for her.  You'll probably have to get his approval before you can go with Diamond.

DJ (Over CB): Hey, we're gonna stop soon and rest.  That alright with you guys?

Dylan (Into CB): Yeah, sounds good to me.

After about a quarter of an hour of driving, they pull into a rest stop and park.  They step out of their vehicles and sit on a couple of benches nearby.

DJ: Well, it's almost eight o'clock.  No reason in goin' at this time of night.  We'll get some sleep, then keep goin' in the morning.

Rapperswil: How much farther is it to Fairview, anyway?

DJ: A little over a hundred miles.

Rally: That accident near Los Lunas didn't help our time much, either.

DJ: Hey, Rap.  You're arm doin' OK?

Rapperswil: Yeah.

Dylan: I been meanin' to ask what happened out there.

Rapperswil, DJ, and Rally tell Dylan what had happened from when they first saw the Hummer to when they pulled into the gas station in Belen.

Dylan: Man, Rapper.  You were pretty lucky to get away with your life on that one.

Rapperswil: Yeah, I know.

DJ: I'm gonna go ahead and turn in so we can leave as early as possible.  I'll see you guys in the morning.

DJ walks over to the semi, climbs into the cab, and lays down on the bed in the back.  The other three stay on the benches and are silent for a while.  Rally looks up at the sky and sighs.

Rally: Y'know, I've never noticed how beautiful the New Mexican nights can be before.

Dylan: That's because you're mostly in New York, and we all know you can't see anything but lights there.

Rapperswil: Why do you live in New York, anyway?  Why don't you find a better place to live?

Rally: Because there's someone there that wouldn't want me to move.

Dylan: Hm?  What do you mean "someone"?

Rally: Well, there's a girl there that I've kind of grown attached to.

Dylan: Well, I'll be.  Rally's got himself a girlfriend.  You two gonna get hitched?

Rally: I don't know.  I only met her about a month ago.

Rapperswil: So who is she?

Rally: Her name's Stephanie.  She's a Doberman.

Dylan: A Doberman?  Haven't you learned about Dobermans from Blitz already?

Rally: Stephanie's not like Blitz.  She's smart, nice, and isn't headstrong and self-absorbed like Blitz is.

Rapperswil: Sounds like you really like her.

Rally (Dreamily): Yeah…

Dylan: If you like her so much, why don't you just move and take her with you.

Rally: Well, I would, but I don't think her master would like that too much.

Rapperswil: I don't know about you guys, but I'm goin' to sleep.

Dylan: Yeah, that sounds good.  We need to get up as early as possible and get back on the road.

Rally: I just hope we're not already too late.

Dylan: Don't talk like that.  I'm sure Diamond's fine.

They walk to their vehicles.  Rally lays across the seats of his car and drifts off to sleep.  Dylan and Rapperswil get to the pickup and Dylan jumps into the bed of the truck.

Rapperswil: What are you doin'?

Dylan: I figured I'd sleep back here and let you sleep in the cab.  I'd much rather sleep in the open air, anyway.

Rapperswil: Well, whatever you want to do.

Rapperswil climbs into the cab of the pickup and lays across the seats.  The two of them soon slip into a deep sleep.

SETTING: Rest Stop, the next morning.

Rally slowly wakes up and looks over at the clock on his dashboard, which reads 10:00 A.M.  Rally closes his eyes again, but then opens them wide when he realizes where he is.  He jerks up in the seat and nearly hits his head on the roof as he takes another look at the clock.

Rally: 10:00?!  Man, we really overslept!

He jumps out of the car and runs back to the semi.  He opens the door, climbs in, and finds DJ sound asleep in the back of the cab.  He shakes him by the shoulders until DJ finally begins to stir.

DJ (Sleepily): What do you want?

Rally: DJ, wake up.  We overslept.  It's already ten o'clock!

DJ shoots up in the bed.

DJ: Ten o'clock?!  Are you serious?!

Rally: `Fraid so.

DJ: You get the others up, I'll check the cargo real quick.

They jump out of the cab and DJ runs to the back of the trailer and opens the doors.  Rally runs over to Rapperswil's truck and opens the driver-side door.  Rapperswil is laying on his left side with his head at the door.  Rally shakes him, being careful not to hurt his right arm.

Rally: Rapper, c'mon.  We gotta get movin'.

Rapperswil slowly come to as Rally goes back to the bed of the truck.  He smacks Dylan lightly on the head a couple of times to wake him up.  Dylan sits up, rubbing his face.

Rally: Come on, Sleeping Beauty.  We're late.

Dylan (Sleepily): Huh?  What are you talking about?

Rally: We overslept, now come on.

DJ jumps down from the trailer as Rally runs back to his car.

DJ: Well, looks like everything's in order.  Let's go.

Dylan gets into the driver's seat of the pickup as DJ and Rally get into their vehicles.  They start them up and pull back onto the highway.

DJ (Into CB): Tell me.  How could we oversleep so much?

Rally (Over CB): Ya' got me.  Let's just forget about it and keep goin'.

DJ (Into CB): It should only take about an hour and a half if we don't run into any heavy traffic.

Dylan (Over CB): Let's just keep our fingers crossed.

SETTING: Detention Area.

A soldier walks into the room and opens up Diamond's cell.

Soldier: Alright, time to wake up.

He walks over to the bed and dumps Diamond, along with the thin mattress, onto the floor.  Diamond gets up and pushes the mattress off of her.

Diamond: What'd you do that for?

The soldier grabs her by the collar of her shirt and pulls her up so that they are face to face.

Soldier: Remember me?  I told you I'd be here to see you die, and I meant it.

He pushes Diamond out of the cell and guides her to an office.  The soldier sits her in a chair and walks out of the office.  In front of the chair is a desk with a man seated behind it.  The man stands and approaches her, and she sees that it's Parvo.

Parvo: Well, I guess you've found out all about my plans from James, haven't you?  No matter.  He's been taken care of.

Diamond: What are you talking about, tin-head?

Parvo: Don't play dumb with me.  I know he's told you everything by now.

Diamond: That's not what I meant.  I want to know what you did to James.

Parvo: And why do you care what happens to him?

Diamond: Because he's a living thing, and no matter what he's done, he deserves to live.

Parvo: Don't worry.  I'm not planning on killing him.  He's just been brainwashed, and when I get those parts, he'll be put through the transformation process again.  And this time, there won't be any flaws.

Diamond: You'll never get away with this.

Parvo: We'll just see about that.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to prepare for the arrival of the other Rovers.  Don't even think about escaping.  I have guards set outside that are ordered to shoot you if you try to leave this room.

Parvo walks out, leaving Diamond alone in the dark office.

SETTING: Interior, Kenworth cab, an hour later.

DJ looks at the map on the seat next to him, then picks up the CB mic.

DJ (Into CB): Well, shouldn't be too much longer now, guys.  We'll soon be in Fairview.

Rally (Over CB): DJ, why does "Fairview" sound so familiar?

DJ (Into CB): I'm not sure.

Dylan (Over CB): Wait a minute.  Guys, isn't that where Parvo captured us that one time?

DJ (Into CB): Yeah, I think you're right.  I knew we should've blown that place up when we had the chance.

Rally (Over CB): At least we'll know our way around.  Rapper, you think you'll be OK to fight if you need to?

Rapperswil (Over CB): I think so.

DJ (Into CB): Let's worry about that later.  Right now we need to figure out what to do if Parvo tries to pull something over on us.

Dylan (Over CB): I don't think he'd do something like that if he's really desperate for these parts.

DJ (Into CB): I guess you're right.  But be ready for anything, just incase.

After about twenty minutes, they finally pull up to the gate of Parvo's facility.

Rally (Thinking): Looks like they still haven't fixed that crater I left them last time.

The gates open and the three vehicles drive in and park near the front entrance.  The four Rovers get out and stand in front of the Kenworth.  A short while later, Parvo and the armed soldiers walk out.

Parvo: Ah, I see you decided to cooperate.  Just pull the truck around back and I'll give you your friend back.

Rally: No.  I want to see Diamond first, then we'll give you the truck.

Parvo: Fine, have it your way.

He snaps his fingers and one of the soldiers walks back into the building.  He returns after about a minute with Diamond held at gunpoint.

Parvo: As you can see, we haven't harmed her in any way.  Now give us the truck.

DJ looks to Rally, who nods at him.  He then throws a set of keys to one of Parvo's soldiers.

Parvo: You've made a wise decision.

DJ: OK, you have the stuff, now hand over my sister.

Parvo: Just as soon as the parts are safely inside my facility.

DJ: Dylan, get Muzz out of the trailer.  Put him in Rapper's truck.

Dylan walks around to the back of the trailer and pulls Muzzle out.  He walks him over to the pickup and puts him inside.  The soldier that has the keys now walks to the semi and gets in.  A large door on the side of the building opens and the soldier drives the truck inside.  The door closes and the Rovers look to Parvo.

Rally: Alright, you have what you want.  Now let Diamond go.

Parvo: I'm afraid I can't do that, Rovers.

DJ, Rally, Dylan, and Rapperswil: What?!

Parvo: I guess you're not as smart as people think.

Parvo, the soldiers, and Diamond (Still held at gunpoint) head back into the building and the door is locked behind them.  The four Rovers try to open it, but to no avail.  Rally begins to power up for an energy blast, but Dylan quickly grabs his arm to stop him.

Dylan: Are you crazy?!  You do that and you'll blow up Diamond, too!

Rally: Well, what are we supposed to do?!

Before anyone can answer, dozens of soldiers run around the corner, their guns aimed at the four Rovers.  The soldiers surround them on all sides and ready their guns.

Soldier: Don't even think about getting out of here.

Rally: Y'know, I'm having a really bad day.

Soldier: Shut up and get moving.

The soldiers guide them into the facility at gunpoint and into Parvo's office.

Parvo: Well, well.  It looks like I've finally beaten the Rovers.

SETTING: Rec Room, RRMC, a few minutes later.

The Rovers are sitting around, playing Poker, reading, etc.  The Poker game is cut short when the communicator on Hunter's collar starts beeping.

Hunter: *Presses button on communicator* What is it?

DJ (Over communicator; whispering): Hunter, we're in trouble.  Parvo's double-crossed us and we don't know where he's keeping Diamond.  We can't look for her now because we've been locked up in a room that Rally can't destroy.

Hunter: We'll be there as soon as we can. *To others* DJ and the others are in trouble.  Let's go.

Hunter, Colleen, Blitz, Exile, Bayson, and Ricky jump up and run to the vehicle bay.  On their way, Master stops them.

Master: What's going on, Hunter?

Hunter: DJ and the others are in trouble.  They need our help.

Master: Well, be careful.

Hunter: Don't worry, Master.  We will.

They run into the vehicle bay and get into the Sonic Rover.  They take off and head to Fairfield.

SETTING: Parvo's Facility, Fairfield.

Parvo is overlooking the unloading of the semi when Groomer walks in.

Groomer: General, the Rovers are in the room.

Parvo: Excellent.  We will soon succeed in our plan.

Groomer: Yes, after all these years, we have finally beaten those pests.

Parvo: Not yet, we haven't.  We still need to dispose of the others.

Groomer: But now that we have Rally out of the way, that shouldn't be a problem.  Should it?

Parvo: I've told you before, never underestimate your enemies.

Groomer: Do you think they'll figure out that their friends have been captured?

Parvo: Right now, that's not my concern.  Let's just get these parts unloaded and start making those machines.

After only half an hour, all the parts are unloaded and the workers are already almost done building one of the transdogmifiers.

Parvo: Groomer, how much longer until we can transform James?

Groomer: It should only be a few more minutes, general.

Parvo: Good.  I'll be in my office.  Come get me when the machine is finished.

Parvo walks out of the room and Groomer watches as the workers continue to build the machine.

SETTING: Interior, Sonic Rover, somewhere over New Mexico.

Hunter is flying with Colleen co-piloting.

Bayson: So, what's our plan?

Hunter: We go in, get DJ and the others, and get out.

Colleen: Um, Huntie?  Don't you think we need a better plan than that?

Hunter: Like what?

Colleen: Oh, I don't know.  Maybe something that would actually work?

Hunter: Hmm…  Sounds good to me.

Ricky: Hunter, get a clue.

Exile: Comerades, signal from DJ's collar is getting stronger.

Colleen: We must be close.  I wonder where Parvo is now.

Bayson: It's hard to tell.  He changes his location every time he shows up.

Hunter: Exile, just keep tracking DJ's signal.  We'll find `em eventually.

Blitz: Hunter, something is approaching from the east at a very fast speed.

Hunter: Can you tell what it is?

Blitz: Nein, but it will make impact in less than ten seconds!

Hunter: Everyone, brace for impact!

After a few seconds, the Sonic Rover is rocked by a giant explosion.  Blitz, Exile, and Ricky are thrown to the floor.  Colleen's head is flung against the console and she is knocked unconscious.  Hunter desperately tries to steady the Sonic Rover as it starts to plummet to the ground.  Bayson looks out the window and sees that the engine on the right has been severely damaged.

Bayson: Hunter, I don't think we're gonna make it.

Hunter: Yes, we are.  Ricky, pull that switch above you.

Ricky gets off the floor and pulls a switch on the roof.  Blitz and Exile get up and get back into their seats.

Hunter: Something's wrong here.  That should've sent extra power to the left engine.

Ricky: Maybe the switch is broken.

Hunter: Exile, try the manual override.

Exile gets up and runs to the back.  He rips open a panel and pulls a lever.  A loud whining noise is heard just before the left engine fires up with an extra burst of power.  Hunter pulls hard at control stick and levels out the Sonic Rover only a few feet from the ground.

Hunter: *Relieved sigh* Good work, Exile.  Colleen, how bad's the damage?

When she doesn't answer him, he looks over and sees that she is unconscious on the console.  He reaches over with his right hand and lifts her head, revealing a huge gash in her forehead.

Hunter: Bayson, get Colleen back there.  Exile, you get up here and co-pilot.

Bayson grabs Colleen and puts her in Exile's seat as Exile gets in the co-pilot's seat.

Exile: That was too close for comfort, Comerade Hunter.

Blitz: But who fired at us?

Hunter: I don't know.  Let's just keep going.  We'll figure everything out later.

Hunter slowly brings the Sonic Rover to an altitude of two hundred feet and flies at a much slower pace than before.  As they near Fairview, Colleen starts to regain consciousness.  She rubs her forehead and looks at the blood on her hand.

Colleen (Dazed): What in the world?

Hunter: Good to see you're OK, Colleen.

Colleen: Hunter, what happened?

Hunter: You were knocked out.  You should be alright, though.

Blitz: Hunter, DJ's signal is getting very strong.  I think they're close.

Hunter: Exile, see if you can pinpoint their location.

Exile presses a few buttons and a slip of paper comes out of the computer console.

Exile: This is strange.  The printout says they are in same place they were captured before.

Hunter: Well, at least now we know where we're going.

Ricky: Parvo just better hope he hasn't hurt anyone.

SETTING: Parvo's Facility, Fairview.

Parvo and Groomer are standing in front of the completed transdogmifier.  The machine has just stopped whirring and the steam starts to dissipate.  A young canosapien steps out and looks at Parvo.

Parvo: Hello, James.  How do you feel?

James: Strong.

Parvo: Good.  Groomer, take him to the testing area.

Groomer: Yes, general.

Groomer guides James out of the room and into an area that looks like an old battleground.

Groomer: I'm sure you remember how this works.  Have fun.

She leaves the area and James looks around as cano-mutants emerge from different places, armed with guns ranging from a conventional pistol to a fully automatic Uzi.  James gets ready to fight as the cano-mutants approach him.

SETTING: Outside Parvo's Facility, Fairview.

The Sonic Rover lands and the six Rovers step out.  Hunter looks over at Colleen, who is wiping a trail of blood from her forehead under the gash.

Hunter: Colleen, you think you'll be OK?

Colleen: Sure, it's only a little scratch.

They walk to a door and find that it's locked.  Exile uses his super-vision to freeze the door.  When it's completely frozen, Colleen kicks it and it shatters into millions of pieces.

Ricky: Maybe you could be a little quieter next time.

Hunter: Let's just find the others and get out of here.

They walk down a very dark hallway for a very long time.  They finally come to a door and Hunter slowly opens it enough to peek into the room.  Inside is a hallway with many more doors.  Hunter opens the door all the way and they all step in and look around.

Bayson: This looks like a bad game show.

Hunter: Yeah.  Pick the wrong door and face the consequences.

Ricky: Well, we gotta start somewhere.

Hunter walks up to the first door and opens it, but immediately slams it shut again.

Hunter (Nervously): *Nervous chuckle* I don't think that's it.

They walk from door to door and check every room.  Exile comes to the last door and checks inside.  He turns to the others and calls them over.

Colleen: What is it, Exile?

Exile: Look, I have found one of our comerades.

They look in and see Diamond laying on a bed in the dark, crying on the pillow.

Hunter: Diamond? Are you OK?

Diamond looks up and turns to see them standing in the doorway.  She jumps up from the bed and runs over to Hunter.  She hugs him tightly and cries on his shoulder.

Diamond (Crying): I was so scared.  I thought I'd never see any of you again.

Hunter: It's OK now.  We'll get out of here as soon as we find DJ and the others.

Diamond: *Wipes tear from her eye* What do you mean?

Colleen: They were captured and taken to a room that they can't get out of.

Ricky: Well, then, let's get goin'.  We're not gonna find `em standin' around here all day.

They walk out of the hallway and into another long corridor.

Bayson: Another hallway?  This is getting ridiculous.

SETTING: Training Area, Parvo's facility.

Groomer walks in and sees James standing next to the mangled bodies of the cano-mutants.

Groomer: Well done, James.  Now, do you think you're ready to get rid of the Road Rovers?

James: Bring it on.

Groomer: I'll take that as a "yes".  Now follow me.  The general would like to see you.

James follows Groomer out of the training area and down the hall to Parvo's office.

Parvo: Well, how did he do?

Groomer: He successfully completed the session.  I think he's ready to destroy those pesky Rovers.

Parvo: That's just what I wanted to hear.  Prepare him for departure.  We're not going to wait for those Rovers to find us, we're gonna track them down like the dogs they are.

Groomer: Right away, general.

Groomer leads James to a vehicle bay and they both get into an Apache and take off.

James: I can't wait `til I can crush those insignificant little worms.

Groomer: That's the attitude you need.  Now we'll see if you have the ability to pull it off.

They fly off toward Socorro.

SETTING: Room Inside Parvo's Facility.

DJ, Rally, Rapperswil, and Dylan are sitting on cots on either side of the room.

Dylan: I can't believe Rally can't just blow up the wall and let us out of here.

Rally: Hey, I tried.

Rapperswil: Yeah, and you nearly blew us up in the process.

DJ: What's this room made out of, anyway?

Rally: Who knows?

They all look to the metal door when the doorknob starts to rattle.

Male Voice #1 (From outside): It's locked.  How do we get in?

Female Voice (From outside; British accent): Ya got me.

Male Voice #2 (From outside; Russian accent): Stand back, comrades.

From inside, the door starts to glow bright red.  After nearly a minute, it melts and DJ and the others stand up.  Hunter and the others walk in and Diamond runs up and hugs Rally.

DJ: Hey, guys.  It's about time you found us.

Hunter: Sorry it took so long.  Now let's get outta here.

They run down the hall, but DJ suddenly stops, causing everyone else to stop as well.

Bayson: Why'd you stop?

DJ: We can't let Parvo use those parts.  We need to destroy them.

Colleen: We can do that from the Sonic Rover.

Hunter: Uh, no, we can't.  The Sonic Rover was hit, remember?

Rally: Don't sweat it, guys.  I'll take care of it.

Hunter: Alright, just be careful.

Rally: Hey, I was able to survive Mage, so Parvo shouldn't be a problem.

Rally runs down another hall and the others continue out to the facility grounds.  They run to the Sonic Rover and wait inside.

Ricky: Ya think he'll be alright?

DJ: He could blow this entire place sky-high with just the flick of the wrist, so I'd have to say "yes".

Dylan grabs a couple of guns and he and Rapperswil head to Rapperswil's truck.

Rapperswil: Why did you get those guns?

Dylan: Because there's no telling if Parvo's already found out about us escaping.  His guards may already be on the way.

For ten minutes, everyone sits and waits for Rally to get back.  He finally appears from inside the building, holding a handgun and looking very mad.  DJ walks out of the Sonic Rover and stands near the door.

DJ: Hey, man.  What took you so long?

Rally raises the gun and fires it straight at DJ.  DJ ducks and the bullet ricochets off the Sonic Rover's armor.

DJ: Rally, what are you doing?  It's me, DJ.

Rally: I know who the hell you are.  This time, I won't miss.

He fires again, but DJ jumps out of the way.

Rally: Hold still!

Diamond comes out, followed by Exile.

Diamond: What's going on?

DJ: Get back in the Sonic Rover!

Rally fires the gun again, just missing Diamond.  Inside the Sonic Rover, Hunter is on the CB.

Hunter (Into CB): Dylan, you and Rapper better get outta here as fast as you can.  Rally's gone nuts.

Dylan (Over CB): Gotcha, Hunter.  We'll meet ya back at Mission Control.

Before Hunter can put up the CB mic, a bullet flies through the side window and strikes him in the left arm.  He yells out in pain as the bullet embeds itself in the bone.  He leans back against a wall and falls into a sitting position on the floor, holding the wound.  Colleen runs up and kneels next to him.

Colleen: Are you alright, Huntie?

Hunter: I'm fine.  Just get everyone in here and take off.  I don't know what's gotten into Rally, but we have to get away from him before he kills us.

Colleen runs to the door and tells DJ, Diamond, and Exile to get in.  They close the door and Colleen takes off.  Rally fires a couple more shots at the Sonic Rover, but nothing penetrates.  He throws down the gun and runs to his car.  He slams the car into gear and takes off at full speed down the highway.  Inside Parvo's facility, Parvo is watching Rally drive away on a television monitor.

Parvo: *Chuckles* My plan is working perfectly.  Soon I will have no one standing in my way.

He laughs insanely and goes into a coughing fit.  Back onboard the Sonic Rover, Exile has climbed into the co-pilot's seat and Hunter is sitting behind him, a piece of cloth wrapped around his arm where the bullet penetrated.

Colleen: Hunter, I really think we should go ahead and take care of your arm.

Hunter: Just concentrate on flying.  Remember, you need to have all of the power in the left engine.

Colleen: Don't worry, Luv.  I know what I'm doin'.  Exile, call Master and tell `im what's goin' on.

Exile picks up the CB mic and tunes in Mission Control's frequency.

Exile (Into CB): Master, we are having big problemski.

Master (Over CB): What's wrong, Exile?

Exile (Into CB): Comerade Rally has lost his marbles.  He has shot Hunter and tried to shoot DJ, too.

Master (Over CB): Is Hunter alright?

Exile (Into CB): I think so.

Master (Over CB): Do you know what's wrong with Rally?

Exile (Into CB): Nyet.  He went to destroy the parts that Parvo had, but when he came back, he was nutski!

Master (Over CB): Just keep as far away from him as you can.  We'll figure out something.

Exile (Into CB): OK.  Out and overski.

Blitz looks out the window and sees Rally whiz by in his car.

Blitz: Pretty dog girl, Rally is outrunning us.

Colleen looks down and sees Rally driving at full speed.

Colleen: Looks like he's heading home.  Exile, you better warn Dylan so they'll be ready incase Rally tries to pull some crazy stunt.

Exile picks up the CB mic and tunes to Rapperswil's frequency.

Exile (Into CB): Comerade Dylan, be careful.  Rally is coming fast on your rear endski.

Dylan (Over CB): Thanks, Exile.  We'll keep an eye out for him.

Inside the pickup, Dylan puts the CB mic back and shifts into fourth gear, slamming the accelerator.

Rapperswil: We can't outrun him.

Dylan: What?

Rapperswil: We can't outrun Rally.  He's shown me what his car can do, and my truck could never dream of those speeds.

Dylan: Just be ready for anything.  There's no telling what Rally will do. *Thinking to himself* And there's no telling what we'll have to do, either.

He slams into fifth gear and puts the accelerator to the floor.  After a while, Rapperswil looks in his mirror and spots something.

Rapperswil: Look, here he comes.

Dylan looks in the rear-view mirror and sees a gold car approaching fast.

Dylan: That's him, alright.  Now we just have to wait and see what he does. *Thinking to himself* Come on, Rally.  Make your move.

Rally pulls alongside the truck on the right side and slows to match their speed.  Rapperswil looks out the window and sees Rally smiling evilly.  Rally suddenly takes off at full speed, leaving Dylan and Rapperswil in his dust.

Rapperswil: What's he doing?

Dylan: He's heading back to Mission Control.  We need to warn the others.

Rapperswil picks up the CB mic.

Rapperswil (Into CB): Colleen, can you hear me?

Colleen (Over CB): Loud and clear, Guv.

Rapperswil (Into CB): Rally just flew past us.  We think he might be heading to Mission Control.

Colleen (Over CB): Don't worry, we'll warn the others.

Back on the Sonic Rover, Colleen puts down the CB mic and puts on a headset.

SETTING: Briefing Room, RRMC.

Rovers are running back and forth through the room, checking computers, getting orders, and arming themselves.  Briggs is standing on Master's balcony, but Master is nowhere in sight.

Briggs: Dervish, you secure the northern wing, Sash take the eastern side, Carmen can get the southern section, and Zudnik, I want you at the west.

Colleen (Over radio): Master?

Briggs picks up the mic and flips a switch on the two-way radio.

Briggs: Hey, Colleen.  Master's not available right now.  What is it?

Colleen (Over radio): Briggs, Rally's on his way back to Mission Control.  We need you to be on your toes.

Briggs: We're already taking care of that.

Colleen (Over radio): What's all that noise in the background?

Briggs: We're getting ready to fight Rally when he shows up.

Colleen (Over radio): Blimey!  It's only one person!  It sounds like your getting ready for a bleedin' war!

Briggs: We know what Rally can do.  We're not taking any chances.  Master says we may even have to kill `im, if necessary.

Colleen (Over radio): Don't you think that's a bit extreme?

Briggs: We'll do whatever we have to in order to save innocent lives.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to help the others get ready.

He turns off the radio and puts the mic down.  He runs over to Kytec and starts discussing something.  Onboard the Sonic Rover, Colleen slowly removes the headset and lets it drop to the floor.

Hunter: What's wrong, Colleen?

Colleen: Briggs just told me that they might have to kill Rally in order to save other people's lives.

Ricky: Hey, don't worry.  Master wouldn't let them kill one of their own friends.

Colleen: It was Master's suggestion.

Diamond: Well, we have to stop `em, then.  Colleen, get this hunk of junk moving, now!

Hunter: Diamond, calm down.  We can't risk the extra power.

Diamond: Look, I don't know how they do things where you come from, but where I'm from, we don't just stand by and let our family get killed!  So either you get this bucket o' bolts up to speed now, or I do it myself.

Colleen hesitates for a second, then pushes the throttles up to max.  There's a loud bang and a violent shaking as the extra power kicks in.  The force of the extra power causes the engine to rip off the right wing and smash into the ground below.

DJ: Well, we've just lost engine two.

Diamond: Engines can be replaced, lives can't.

Blitz: I've never seen you this upset before.

Diamond: Some things are worth getting upset over.

They fly in complete silence for nearly half an hour before Dylan's voice comes over the CB radio.

Dylan (Over CB): I think I know a way we can stop Rally without anyone getting hurt.  It's a long shot, but it's worth a try.

Ricky: Anything's better than killing one of our friends.

Colleen (Into CB): What's your plan, Dylan?

SETTING: Inside Apache, somewhere over NM.

Groomer is piloting with James sitting next to her.

James: How much longer until we get there?

Groomer: Be patient.  First we have to find their headquarters.

Parvo (Over CB): Groomer, we have some slight changes in our plans.  When you destroy the Rovers, leave the strongest one alone.

Groomer (Into CB): Are you sure about that, General?

Parvo (Over CB): Yes.  Now hurry up and destroy those pests.

Groomer (Into CB): Right away, General.

Parvo (Over CB): Be on the alert, though.  They have all escaped from the facility and are on their way back to their headquarters.

Groomer (Into CB): Don't worry, General.  You can count on me.

She puts down the mic and James looks out the window.  Down below, Rally drives by at full speed.

James: Groomer, there goes one of those pests now.  We can follow him back to Road Rover HQ, then destroy him along with the others.

Groomer: We can follow him, but that's the one Parvo wants us to leave alone.  Just remember that when you're fighting the others.

James: No problem.  Just hurry, alright?  I'd like to destroy them sometime this year.

Groomer: Don't worry, you'll get your chance.

SETTING: Interior, Sonic Rover.

Colleen has just gotten off the CB radio and puts the mic down.

Colleen: They're working on it as we speak.  I sure hope Dylan's plan works.

Hunter: It may be our only chance to stop Rally.

Bayson: When do you think he'll get back to Mission Control?

Colleen: At his current speed, I'd estimate at, oh, ten minutes or so.

Exile: That is not long time for getting the plan ready.

DJ: I'm sure they can pull it off.  The only question is, will it work?

Inside Rally's Lotus, Rally looks to the side and sees a sign on the side of the road.

Rally (Thinking): Only thirty more miles.  I can't wait.  Soon the Road Rovers will be no more.

He takes his right hand off the wheel and clenches it into a fist.

Rally (Thinking): God, I love having this kind of power!

SETTING: Transdogmifier Room, RRMC, five minutes later.

Briggs and a few of the others are standing around, talking about what they're going to do.

Briggs: So it's agreed.  If Dylan's plan doesn't work, we have to kill Rally for the sake of mankind.

Zudnik: I just wish there was a better way to do this.

Briggs: Be strong, Zudnik.  We're doing this because we have to.  We can't have a maniac running around, killing people as he pleases.

Raymond: Yeah, but this is our friend we're talking about, not some guy obsessed with taking over the world.

Rune: Then just hope Dylan's plan works.

Dervish: Speaking of which, shouldn't she be here already?

Dawn: Well, it's a long trip from New York to here, even in a Road Rover luge.

Barking is heard from a corridor and a female Doberman runs into the room.

Carmen: Good.  She's finally here.

Briggs tells the Doberman to get into the transdogmifier and after a few seconds, she steps out as a canosapien.

Briggs: Hello, Stephanie.  Good to see you've finally arrived.  We need your help to stop Rally.

Stephanie: Stop Rally?  What's wrong?

Kytec: He's gone crazy and has already tried to kill his brother and his friend.  We thought you could talk to him and maybe find out what's wrong with him.

Stephanie: Well, I guess I could try.

Briggs: Good. *Pulls out walkie-talkie* Star, do you have those weapons yet?

Star (Over walkie-talkie): We're still looking for some of `em.

Briggs (Into walkie-talkie): Just bring the ones you have.  Rally could be here any minute.

Star (Over walkie-talkie): Gotcha, Briggs.

Stephanie: What do you need weapons for?

Briggs: Well, just incase you can't stop Rally, we've been ordered to kill him.

Stephanie: I hope you're joking.

Briggs: I'm afraid not.  If you're not able to stop him, we'll have to stop him ourselves.

Star, Marauder, and Sierra walk in, carrying a bunch of weapons.  Most of the Rovers get a weapon, but some are left unarmed.

Briggs: Alright, now that we're armed, we need to keep an eye out for Rally.  We don't need him catching us off-guard.  Dervish, get to your post and let us know when you see `im.

Dervish: You got it.

Dervish runs off and Briggs turns to the others.

Briggs: We should wait in the briefing room until we hear something from Dervish.

They all walk into the briefing room and sit at the tables.  Master walks out onto his balcony and looks around the room.  He now notices Stephanie.

Master: Guys, who is that Doberman?

Kytec: This is Stephanie.  She's Rally's girlfriend and possibly the only chance we have to stop him.  Dylan came up with the idea.

Master: I just hope it works.  Rally's one of the best fighters we have.  It would be a shame to have to kill him.

Briggs turns on the two-way radio and picks up the mic.

Briggs: Colleen, where are you?

Colleen (Over radio): We're almost back to Mission Control.  We should be there in a few minutes.

Briggs: Well, you better hurry.  Rally should be arriving any time now.

Colleen (Over radio): Well, I guess we could try the turbo-boost, but it might cause the engine to explode.

Briggs: Don't do anything drastic, just get here as fast as you can.

Dervish (Over walkie-talkie): Briggs, I just caught sight of Rally.  He's headed to the vehicle bay.

Briggs (Into walkie-talkie): Good work.  Now get down here.  We need all the help we can get.

Dervish (Over walkie-talkie): Be right there.

Briggs puts down the walkie-talkie and all the Rovers, including Stephanie, stand up.

Zudnik: Master, maybe you should get to another room or something.  We need to keep you alive.

Master: That's a good idea.  Just be careful, Rovers.

Master walks out of the room and the Rovers gather together near the tables.  Dervish runs in and stands next to them.  Inside the vehicle bay, Rally speeds in and screeches to a stop.  The force of the braking causes a thick cloud of smoke to rise up from the tires and drift past the car.  After the smoke dies down, Rally opens the door of his car and slowly steps out.

Rally: There's no doubt in my mind that they're waiting for me.  Well, I better not keep `em waiting too long.

He walks to the door and opens it.  As he steps into the briefing room, he sees everyone standing in a group, most of them with weapons at their sides.

Briggs: Rally, I don't know what's gotten into you, but it stops right now.

Rally: The only thing that's stopping is your life.

Stephanie steps forward.

Stephanie: Rally, what's wrong?  You can tell me.

Rally: Who the hell are you?

Stephanie: I'm Stephanie, remember?

Rally: I don't know anyone named Stephanie.  To me, you're just another obstacle standing in my way.  Oh, well.  Parvo won't care how many of you there are, just as long as I kill all of you.

Rovers: Parvo?!

Rally: That's right.  I don't know why I never caught on before.  It's obvious that he's going to take over, so I decided to take sides with him so I'd be on the winning team.

Briggs: Rally, I'm sorry I have to do this, but you leave me no choice.  Rovers, open fire!

The nine Rovers with guns, including Briggs, start to fire at Rally.  When everyone is out of ammo, they see that Rally is still standing, completely untouched.

Briggs: Damn!  I forgot about his force-field technique.

Rally: Now it's my turn.

Rally charges up a quick blast and fires it at the Rovers.  Everyone jumps out of the way and the blast hits a wall behind them, blowing it into oblivion.

Rally: Why don't you make it easier on yourselves and hold still?  It won't hurt much if you get it over with quickly.

Shag, who was standing behind the others, pull the missile launcher out of his fur.  He takes aim and fires… the right way.  Rally fires a quick blast and it hits the missile just a few feet in front of him.  The Rovers shield their eyes from the explosion and Rally braces himself so he is not knocked back by the force.  The explosion dies down and the Rovers unshield their eyes.  Just as Rally is about to fire another blast, they hear something from the vehicle bay.  Hunter and the others run into the briefing room and look around.

DJ: Rally, stop this.

Rally: And ruin the fun?  I don't think so.

Diamond: Rally, please don't do this.

Rally: You two must be anxious to die.  So, who wants to be first?  It really doesn't matter to me.

He looks around the room at everyone.

Rally: Well, if no one wants to volunteer, then I'll have to make the decision myself.  DJ, you're first.

DJ takes a step back as Rally charges up a blast.  He fires the blast, but DJ dodges it and runs into the vehicle bay.  Rally runs after him and everyone else watches.  DJ runs into a tool room and grabs the first thing he can find -- a lead pipe.  When he sees Rally running at him, he raises the pipe to hit him and Rally instantly stops in his tracks just a few feet away.  Rally's expression suddenly turns to fear and he starts to slowly back away from DJ.  DJ is confused by Rally's actions.  From the other side of the vehicle bay, everyone looks on with confused expressions.

Hunter: What's he doing?

Rally takes another step back, trips, and falls backward to the ground.  He sits on the floor of the vehicle bay, frozen with fear.  DJ takes a few steps toward him and lowers the pipe to his side.

Rally: Please, just get away from me.

DJ: What?

Exile: What has just happened?

Colleen: I don't know.  Maybe he regained his sanity.

Rally jumps up and tries to run, but he is stopped by Shag, who grabs him and refuses to let him go.

Hunter: Shag, hold Rally until we can figure out what's goin' on.

Rally struggles to get free but Shag holds tight.

Bayson: Maybe we should take him to Professor Hubert and see if he knows what's wrong.

Hunter, Colleen, Bayson, DJ, Diamond, and Shag take Rally to Prof. Hubert's lab.

Hunter: Professor, we need you to see what's wrong with Rally.  He seems to have gone crazy.

Prof. Hubert: No problem, Hunter.

After a few minutes of examining the struggling and cussing Rally, Prof. Hubert turns back to the others.

Prof. Hubert: My best guess is that Parvo has already used those parts we gave him to transform Rally.

Diamond: Is there any way to change him back?

Prof. Hubert: Well, we could regress him back to his canine form and re-transdogmify him.

Colleen: Will that work?

Prof. Hubert: It's worth a try.

Rally continues to try to get free from Shag's grip.

Bayson: Well, we certainly can't do it with him trying to fight us like that.

Prof. Hubert walks over to a counter, fills a hypodermic syringe with a green fluid, and walks over to Rally.

Prof. Hubert: Rally, please hold still.  I don't want to hurt you.

He carefully sticks the needle into Rally's left arm and injects the fluid.  After about a minute of struggling, Rally calms down and Prof. Hubert drops the syringe into a trash can.  All of Rally's muscles relax, he passes out, and Shag lays him on a medical bed.

DJ: What was that stuff you just injected in him?

Prof. Hubert: That's a special serum I've been working on.  It causes the person injected with it to go into a state of unconsciousness for about ten hours.  Now we should be able to re-transdogmify him with no trouble.

Kytec runs into the lab.

Kytec: Hunter, an unauthorized craft has landed on the heliport.  What should we do?

Hunter: Go check it out, but be careful.

Kytec runs out of the lab to check out the craft.

Hunter: Well, if we're gonna do this, we should go ahead and get it over with.

DJ and Hunter pick Rally up and carry him to the transdogmifier room.  They are about to put him into one of the machines when they hear three gunshots from on the roof.

DJ: I don't like the sound of that.

They lay Rally on the floor and draw their guns.  Colleen and Bayson run into the room with their guns drawn.

Hunter: You heard it, too?

Colleen: Yeah.  Let's check it out.

They head over to a stairwell and run up to the roof.  When they get there, they see Briggs kneeling next to Kytec, who is lying on the ground next to a black helicopter with a bullet hole in the right side of his chest.

DJ: Briggs, what happened?

Briggs: Seems we had a little visit from Groomer.

He points to where Groomer was lying on the ground with a bullet hole in her stomach.

Briggs: She was about to shoot Kytec, but she didn't see me.  I shot her from behind and the bullet went straight through her.

Bayson: Then how'd Kytec get shot?

Briggs: There was an orange-colored canosapien with Groomer.  After I shot Groomer, the canosapien shot Kytec.  He tried to shoot me, but missed.  After that, he ran off.

Hunter: Colleen, warn the others.  We'll go find this guy.

Colleen: Be careful, Hunter.  We still haven't taken care of your arm.

Hunter: I'll be fine.  Just make sure the other Rovers aren't caught off guard.

Hunter, Bayson, and DJ run off with their guns drawn to find the canosapien.

Colleen: Briggs, hand me your walkie-talkie.

Briggs pulls out his walkie-talkie and tosses it up to Colleen.

Colleen (Into walkie-talkie): Rovers, keep an eye out for an orange-colored male canosapien.  He is in league with Parvo and is armed and dangerous.  And no, I'm not talking about you, Dervish.

She gives the walkie-talkie back to Briggs and grabs Kytec by the underarms.

Colleen: Briggs, help me get Kytec to the infirmary.

Briggs grabs Kytec by the legs and he and Colleen carry him down the stairs to the inside of Mission Control.  When they get him to the infirmary, Colleen immediately starts to go to work on him.

Briggs: I'll go get Groomer so she doesn't try to get away.

Colleen: Good idea.

Briggs runs out as Colleen puts a mask over Kytec's muzzle and turns on a gas tank.

Colleen: Now, Kytec, I want you to breathe as deeply as you can.

On the other side of Mission Control, Hunter, DJ, and Bayson run into one of the training rooms.

Hunter: We need to split up to find this guy.  There's no telling where he could be.

The three of them split up and run down different halls.  DJ stops at a corner and cautiously peers around it.  He sees the canosapien standing with his back to him in front of the infirmary door.  He jerks his head back around the corner and lets out a deep breath.  He runs around the corner with his gun pointed in front of him, but the canosapien is nowhere in sight.

DJ: What the hell?  Now where'd he go?

He runs down the hall and into the infirmary where Colleen was still working on Kytec.

DJ: Colleen, did you see that canosapien just now?

Colleen: No, I haven't seen anyone.

DJ: Ding-dang it!  Well, just keep an eye out, alright?

Colleen: Sure thing.

DJ runs back out into the hallway and rounds a corner, running into Hunter.  They both fall to the ground and drop their guns.  They sit up, grab their guns, and stand back up.

Hunter: You find `im yet?

DJ: Yeah, but I lost sight of him.  Where's Bayson?

Hunter: I'm not sure.  C'mon, let's go find `im.

They start to walk down a hall when they hear a gunshot.

Hunter: That sounded like it came from the transdogmifier room.

DJ: Oh, no.  We forgot about Rally.

They run to the transdogmifier room and see Rally lying on the floor just as they had left him, but next to him was the canosapien with a bullet hole in his chest over the heart.

Hunter: Huh?  Who killed this guy?

DJ: We'll find out later.  Now that we don't have anything else to worry about, let's go ahead and change Rally.

They pick him up and put him into one of the machines.  When he is back to his canine form, they restart the machine to change him back to a canosapien.  After the process is done, they carry him back to the infirmary and lay him on a bed across from Kytec.  Colleen has just finished wrapping Kytec's chest with a bandage and is sitting in a chair next to his bed.

Colleen: Did you find the canosapien?

Hunter: Yeah, but someone got to him before we did.

Female voice (From behind): It was me.

They turn and see Stephanie standing in the doorway, holding a handgun at her side.

DJ: You killed him?

Stephanie: I didn't mean to, I just didn't want him hurting Rally.

Colleen: Don't worry about it too much.  Sometimes it's necessary to do those kind of things.

Dylan and Rapperswil run into the room, completely out of breath.

Dylan (Out of breath): Is everyone OK?

Hunter: Everyone's fine, even Rally.

Dylan and Rapperswil let out a relieved sigh.

DJ: But we're not safe yet.  Parvo can still make more of those canosapiens, so we have to destroy everything we gave him.  And this time, I'm destroying the facility, as well.

DJ walks out and the others gather around Rally.

Stephanie: Is he gonna be alright?

Hunter: He should be.  We'll just have to wait to be sure.

Colleen: And while we're waiting, we can take care of your arm, Huntie.

Hunter: Oh, alright.  Let's get this over with.

SETTING: Interior, Jet Rover, about an hour later.

DJ is just a few miles from Fairview.  He looks at the radar on the console.

DJ: Almost there.  Parvo, you're goin' down this time.  No one messes with my family and gets away with it.

He flips a couple of switches in front of him and six missiles lower out on racks from the bottom of the Jet Rover.

Computer voice: Missiles armed and ready.  Please lock in coordinates.

DJ pushes a few buttons and a beeping sound is heard.

Computer voice: Coordinates locked.  Missiles will fire in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

All six missiles fly from their racks toward their target as DJ turns the Jet Rover around and starts to head back to RRMC.  A few seconds later, an explosion is heard and DJ looks back to see a giant fireball rising into the sky.

DJ: Mission complete.  Now to head home.

When he arrives back at RRMC, he heads straight for the infirmary.

DJ: How's Kytec?

Colleen: He's fine.  He should be back on duty in about four weeks.

DJ: How much longer `til Rally comes to?

Colleen: *Looks at watch* A little under eight hours.

Hunter: Where'd Briggs put Groomer, anyway?

Colleen: I dunno.  Probably down in one of the basement cells.

DJ sees Stephanie in a chair next to Rally, holding his hand.  He walks over to her and rests a hand on her shoulder.

DJ: I'm sure he's gonna be fine.

She smiles at him, then looks back to Rally.

SETTING: Infirmary, RRMC, the next morning.

Diamond walks in and sees Stephanie asleep in the chair, still holding Rally's hand.  Diamond walks over and gently shakes her awake.

Diamond: Wake up.  Rally should be regaining consciousness soon.

Stephanie stands up and Diamond leads her out of the room.

Stephanie: Couldn't I wait here until he wakes up?

Diamond: No.  We're not sure if he's back to normal yet.

They pass Marauder and Dylan in the hall.

Stephanie: Where are they goin'?

Diamond: Marauder's gonna make sure Rally's OK.  If he's not, Dylan's gonna tranquilize him until we figure out a way to get him back to normal.

They walk to the rec room and sit on one of the sofas next to Hunter and Colleen.

Hunter: He still ain't up?

Diamond: Not yet.  He should be waking up any minute, though.

Master walks into the room and turns to Stephanie.

Master: Any word on Rally's condition?

Stephanie: No, not yet.

About three minutes later, Dylan walks into the room and everyone turns to him.

DJ: Well, how's Rally?  Is he alright?

Dylan: Come see for yourself.

They all get up and follow Dylan to the infirmary.  Stephanie, DJ, Diamond, Hunter, Colleen, Exile, and Rapperswil are able to fit into the room, but everyone else has to wait outside in the hall.  They see Rally sitting on the edge of the bed, talking to Marauder.

Marauder: So you don't remember anything after Parvo's men tranquilized you?

Rally: No.  I can't believe I tried to kill DJ and Hunter, though.

He stands and turns to see everyone standing near the door.

Rally: Hey, guys.  Sorry about tryin' to kill you yesterday.

Hunter: No problem, buddy.  The key word there is "tried".

Exile: It is good to be having you back to normal, Comerade Rally.

Exile walks up and gives Rally a bear hug.  Rally's eyes widen and he clinches his fists tightly.

DJ: Uh, Exile?  He still needs to breathe, you know.

Exile releases Rally and Rally falls back into a chair, gasping for air.

Exile: Sorry, comerade.  I am not knowing mein own strength.

DJ: Are you sure you're OK now?

Rally: Well, aside from the broken ribs, I think so.

Diamond: Oh, he's back to normal, alright.  His dry sense of humor's back.

Stephanie runs up and hugs Rally.

Stephanie: I'm glad you're alright.

Rally: Stephanie?  Is that you?  How'd you get here?

Colleen: We brought her here as a way to stop you.  Unfortunately, it didn't work.  You didn't even know who she was.

Rapperswil: Maybe now things can get back to normal around here.

Rally: Rap, could I talk to you alone for a minute?

Rapperswil: Uh, sure.

Rally motions to the others and they all leave.

Rapperswil: What's up?

Rally: Dylan told me you like Diamond.  Is that true?

Rapperswil (Nervously): Uh… well, I… uh…

Rally: Well?

Rapperswil (Shyly): Well, sort of.

Rally: *Shakes Rapperswil's hand* Congratulations.  I had a feeling you had a thing for her.  Maybe if you two get together, you can help her get over her immaturity.

Rapperswil: So you think we should get together?

Rally: Absolutely.  You seem like a nice enough guy.  Besides, you saved my life a while back, so I kind of owe you.

Rapperswil: Come on.  I'm sure the others would like to see that you're alright.

They walk out and the other Rovers crowd around Rally and bombard him with questions about what happened.  Rally puts his hands up to quiet them.

Rally: I assure all of you that I'm OK, but I'm afraid the mission's not over yet.  We need to make sure what happened to me doesn't happen to anyone else.

DJ: It's already taken care of.  I destroyed the entire facility yesterday after we had you under control.

Rally: Even so, we still have work to do.

Diamond: What are you talking about?

Rally: We need to try to find out who shot at us.

Hunter: Yeah, so do we.

Hunter and Rally walk to the vehicle bay.  Hunter walks over to the Sonic Rover and Rally walks over to the Freightliner cab.  Rally opens the engine compartment and looks around until he finds the entry point of one of the bullets.  He reaches in and feels around until he hears a rattling noise.  He grabs something and carries it back to the others.

DJ: You find anything?

Rally tosses the object to him and DJ looks it over.  In his hand is a bullet shell about three inches long.

Diamond: What is it?

DJ: Looks like a bullet to a .50 caliber machine gun.

Rally: I found it in the Freightliner's engine, but Hummers don't usually have concealed .50 calibers, do they?

DJ: I'm not sure, but this could be a lead in the right direction.  We need to find out how many Hummers were made with concealed guns.

Rapperswil walks over to a computer and sits in front of it.

Rapperswil: All I have to do is hack into the company's system and I can find out what we need to know.

Diamond: Is that legal?

Rapperswil: Is shooting me in the arm with a machine gun legal?

Diamond: I guess you got a point.

Rapperswil starts typing and a message pops up on the screen.

Rapperswil: "Area restricted"?  We'll see about that.

He types a code and the message disappears.  Shortly after, the company's system files come up on screen.

Rapperswil: That's what I thought.  Alright, let's see here…  Apparently there were fourteen Hummers made with concealed .50 calibers.  Nine are stationed overseas, three are in Washington D.C., and the other two are registered here in New Mexico.

DJ: Where are the ones in New Mexico registered at?

Rapperswil: Uh…  One in Albuquerque and the other right here in Socorro.

Rally: Well let's go find `em.  Rapper, you're coming with me.

Stephanie: I'm coming, too.

Rally: Alright, let's get going.

Rally, Stephanie, and Rapperswil walk to the vehicle bay.

Rally: Rapper, we'll be taking your truck, alright?

Rapperswil: OK by me.

Rally and Stephanie climb into the cab while Rapperswil hoists himself over the side of the truck into the bed.

Stephanie: Why doesn't this truck have a windshield?

Rally: It was shot out.  That's why we're tracking those Hummers.

Rally starts the truck, puts it into first, and drives out of the vehicle bay.  Hunter watches them leave as he walks back into Mission Control.

Hunter: Where are Rally, Rapper, and Stephanie going?

Colleen: They're goin' after whoever shot at them.

Colleen then realizes what she has said.

Colleen: Blimey!  That little sneak!  Rapper got outta here without lettin' me check him out!

Hunter (Jokingly): Maybe that's why Rally took him.

DJ: So how bad's the damage to the Sonic Rover?

Hunter: The armor stopped the missile from blowing a hole in the side, but there's still some major work to be done.

DJ: Can't you guys ever use a vehicle on a mission without giving me work for the next month?

Hunter: Is that a trick question?

Diamond (Singsong): Dumb, da-dumb, dumb, dumb!!!

Hunter: Hey, that sounds like a cool song.  What's it called?

Everyone just slaps their forehead.

DJ: Just forget it.  I'll go work on the Sonic Rover.  Another minute of this and I'll go crazy. *Starts walking to the vehicle bay*

Exile: Wait for me, comerade!  Hunter is creeping me out as wellski!

Exile hurries to catch up to DJ as they head to the vehicle bay.

Hunter: Am I missing something?

Dylan: Hunter, try calling 1-800-CHARTER.  They might be able to help.

Diamond (As commercial narrator): And if you can't get help at Charter, please, get help somewhere.

This causes Blitz, Colleen, and Dylan to burst into hysterical laughter.  Hunter scratches his head in confusion and walks out of the room as the others continue to laugh.

SETTING: Rapperswil's Dodge Ram, somewhere in Socorro.

Rapperswil, who is still in the bed of the pickup, bangs on the top of the cab.  Rally reaches back with his right hand and opens the sliding window behind him.

Rally (Over the wind): What?

Rapperswil (Over the wind): I wanted to ask you a question.

Rally (Over the wind): Let me pull over so I can hear you.

Rally finds a parking garage and pulls in.  He stops in the first available spot and cuts off the engine.  He looks over his shoulder so he can see Rapperswil as he talks to him.

Rally: What did you want to ask me?

Rapperswil: I was just curious as to why you freaked out when you were fighting your brother.

Rally: I told you I can't remember anything about that.

Rapperswil: Well, I thought it was weird.  All he did was pick up a pipe and you ran for your life.

Rally is stunned for a moment, then turns around to face the front of the truck.  He lowers his head and sighs.

Rally: Stephanie, could you wait here for a minute?

Stephanie: I guess so.

Rally undoes his seatbelt and steps out of the truck.  He starts to walk to the back of the truck and motions for Rapperswil to follow him.  Rapperswil jumps from the bed of the truck and they stop about ten feet behind the Ram.

Rally: What did you mean when you said DJ picked up a pipe?

Rapperswil: He picked up a lead pipe like he was gonna hit you, but you ran when you saw it.

Rally (Under his breath): Apparently when Parvo changed me, my one true flaw remained in the back of my mind. *To Rapperswil* Rap, do you think you could keep a secret, because it's pretty embarrassing.

Rapperswil: Sure, I think so.

Rally: Do you remember when I told you on your first mission that I had a fear I never told anyone about?

Rapperswil just nods.

Rally: Well, lead pipes are my fear.  I know it sounds stupid, but something happened to me when I was a pup that had a very traumatic effect on me.  I can't even remember exactly what happened.  All I know is that the sight of a lead pipe scares the fur off me.  You won't tell anyone, will you?

Rapperswil: Of course not.  Your secret's safe with me.

Rally: Good.  Now let's go.  We should get this done and get back to HQ as soon as we can.

They go back to the truck and Rapperswil again jumps into the bed as Rally climbs back into the cab.  Rally starts the engine, backs out of the parking space, and pulls back onto the road.

SETTING: Vehicle Bay, RRMC.

DJ and Exile are working on a backup engine for the Sonic Rover.

DJ: OK, now we need to make sure that this engine is configured exactly the same way as the other one so it balances the weight.

Exile: All the engines were checked out when they were first madeski.  They should all be the same.

DJ: In that case, we should be done with the engine.  Now all we have to do is work on the armor.

They both look up and stare at each other for a moment.  DJ quickly reaches into one of his pockets and pulls out a quarter.

DJ: Call it.

He flips the quarter high above them and they both watch as it flies.

Exile: Tailski!

The coin lands loudly on the concrete floor and spins on its side before coming to rest heads up.

DJ: I win.  Have fun, Exile.

DJ walks out of the vehicle bay as Exile walks over to the Sonic Rover and surveys the extent of the damage.  DJ walks into the rec room and sees most of the Rovers just sitting around.  Hunter and the others aren't even playing their usual game of Poker.

DJ: Why aren't you guys doin' somethin'?

Hunter: It gets kinda dull doin' the same thing over and over, day after day.

Dylan: I still can't believe Hunter actually tried calling Charter.

DJ: He what?  Oh, you've gotta be kiddin' me.

Diamond: Nope.  He called `em up and was denied.  They said they didn't help with his "special condition".

Hunter: OK, that's enough wisecracks for tonight.

Colleen: No, I think we got time for a few more.

Hunter: Alright, that's it.  I'm goin' to the gym for a while.

Blitz: You wanna go one on one?

Hunter: With you?  Don't make me laugh.

Blitz: You know I could whip your tail, puppy boy.

Hunter: Come on, then.  I'd like to see this.

Blitz and Hunter get up and head to the Road Rover gym.  DJ takes a seat next to Colleen and Dylan.

Colleen: You done with the Sonic Rover already?

DJ: Nope.  I'm just takin' a break while Exile starts on the armor.

Dylan: Why's he doin' it by himself?

DJ: He lost the coin toss.

Dylan (Mocking Exile): "Is highly scientific method of deciding who gets to check out mechanical problems."

DJ: Just don't let Exile hear you say that.

Dylan: Ah, I ain't scared of `im.

DJ: Yeah, `til he gives you a bear hug.

Dylan: Good point.

SETTING: Road Rover Gym, RRMC, a few minutes later.

Hunter and Blitz have changed into red basketball shorts and blue jerseys.  Hunter picks up a basketball and chucks it at Blitz.

Hunter: Shoot for ball.

Blitz stands on the free-throw line and shoots.  The ball dances on the rim for a while before falling off the side.  Hunter retrieves the ball and takes his place at the free-throw line.  He lines up the ball and takes a shot.  The ball bounces off the backboard and sinks into the net.

Hunter: Still think you can beat me?

Blitz: Just try to get past me.

Blitz throws Hunter the ball and Hunter charges down the court.  He shoots a lay-up shot, but misses.  Blitz grabs the ball and runs down to the opposite end of the court with Hunter in hot pursuit.  He sinks a two-point slam-dunk and hangs on the rim.  He drops from the rim and gives Hunter an egotistical smirk.

Blitz: I thought you could beat me.

Hunter: The game ain't over yet, Blitz.

Their basketball game goes on for nearly 2½  hours.  Hunter is dribbling the ball in place while Blitz has his hands on his knees, panting for air.  Both Rovers are tired and sweating, but Hunter shows less fatigue than Blitz.

Hunter: C'mon, Blitz.  The score's 103 to 103.  Next shot wins the game.

Blitz (Out of breath): Hunter, let's quit.  We've been playing for too long.

Hunter: It hasn't been that long.

Blitz (Out of breath): You don't think two and a half hours is a long time?!

Hunter: Two and a half hours?!  We've been playing that long?!

Blitz (Out of breath): Ja.  Why do you think I'm so tired?

Hunter: How time flies when your havin' fun.

Hunter lifts his right arm and sniffs his armpit.  He then turns his head and scrunches up his nose.

Hunter: Whew!!!  I need a shower.

Blitz (Out of breath): That sounds like a good idea.

They walk to their separate rooms to take a shower.  Back in the vehicle bay, Rally pulls in and slows to a stop.  He kills the engine and the three Rovers step out and head to the briefing room.

Rally (Sarcastically): Well, that was fun.

Rapperswil (Sarcastically): Yes, we should really do that again sometime.

They walk to the rec room and everyone else turns to look at them.

Dylan: Well, how'd it go?

Rally: Actually, it was fairly easy.

Colleen: Did you find out why he shot at you?

Rapperswil: Well, she shot at us because Parvo hired her to kill us.

Diamond: But I thought Parvo wanted the parts.

Rally: He did, he just wanted as few Rovers as possible.

Stephanie: And the woman said she didn't know it was them.  She was just practicing.

Exile and DJ, who had gone back out to help with the Sonic Rover, walk into the room.

DJ: Well, the Sonic Rover should be ready for action now.

Rapperswil (Jokingly): Great.  Now you can start on my truck.

Colleen: Rapperswil, I need to see you now.

Rapperswil: Why?

Colleen: You got outta here without lettin' me check out your arm.  Now come on.

She gets up, grabs Rapperswil's arm, and starts to drag him out of the room.

Rally: Sorry, Rap.  I saved you for as long as I could.

Colleen and Rapperswil disappear into the hall.  Rally looks at his watch for a moment.

Rally: T-minus forty seconds and counting.

Stephanie: What's that supposed to mean?

Rally: You'll see in about thirty-five seconds.

They all turn to face the door.  About thirty seconds later, a loud scream is heard and Rapperswil is seen running as fast as he can through the hall, though all the Rovers can see is a brown blur.  Colleen runs by a short while later and stops in front of the rec room door.

Colleen: Blimey!  I've never seen anyone run so fast in my life!

Rally (To Stephanie): Now you know what I meant.

Stephanie: Why'd he run so fast?

Colleen: All I did was try to give him a bleedin' pain-killer shot.

Dylan: Happens every time.

Rally: Where's Hunter and Blitz?

Dylan: They went to shoot some hoops.

Rally: How much you think Hunter's gonna win by?

Huntress: Come on.  Blitz isn't that bad.

Dylan: Yeah, right.  He'd probably end up tripping over his ego.

Hunter walks into the room now dressed in a green T-shirt and blue jeans.

Hunter: Who'd trip over his ego?

They turn around to see Hunter standing in the doorway.

Dylan: Hey, Hunter.  We were just talkin' about Blitz.  So, how bad you beat `im?

Hunter: Actually, it was a tie.  103 to 103.

Dervish: Why didn't you do a tiebreaker?

Hunter: We were going to, but Blitz was too tired to play anymore.  Two and a half hours of playing basketball can really wear you out.

Blitz now walks into the room dressed in black shorts and a gray T-shirt.

Blitz: That was refreshing.

Hunter: Hey, Blitz, I thought you could beat me.

Blitz: I kept up with you, didn't I?

Hunter: Yeah, until you got too tired to play.

Blitz: I don't see how someone could play for two and a half hours and not get tired.

Hunter: Maybe having super-stamina is another one of my powers.

DJ (Sarcastically): Great, another superpower we have to add to his never-ending list.

Dylan: Isn't it long enough already?

Hunter: No way!  You can never have too many superpowers!

SETTING: Fairview, New Mexico.

A door opens upward from underneath the ruble where Parvo's facility had once stood.  Parvo steps out and looks around angrily.  He had gone into an underground room when missile detectors went off, letting him know that DJ had launched six missiles at his facility.  He just barely got in the room when the missiles made impact.

Parvo: That's the last time I put so much faith in incompetent fools to do my work.  One of these days, I'll get those pests once and for all!  I swear I will!

He walks off angrily, muttering to himself.