All original Road Rovers, Space Rovers, Prof. Hubert, Oso, and Master are © Warner Brothers
Sniper, Blazer, Crystal, Rally, Stephanie, Rapperswil, Diamond, and Mage are © Me
DJ is © Jake Williams
Dylan and Kytec are © Dylan Rinald
Bayson is © Eric Hunter
Alethia is © Kylen Miles
Marauder is © Jerimy Bass
Huntress Retriever is © Greywolf Lupous
Sierra is © Elista Adkins
Cricket is © Emma Brown
Dervish is © Casey Johnson
Lotus and the Esprit V-8 are © Lotus Cars
Ford, the Mustang, and the F-250 4x4 extended cab are © Ford Motor Company
Pontiac and the Firebird are © General Motors Corp.
Land Rover is © Rover Group Limited
Dodge and the Ram 1500 regular cab are © DaimlerChrysler Corp.
"The Nightmare Ends"
(Part four of the four-part "The Nightmare Series")
Story is © 12-17-00 by David Reynolds
SETTING: Vehicle Bay, RRMC, 3:00 P.M. the next day. (Still 2003)
Everyone is standing around the Rovers' private vehicles. (These do not look like dogs, they are regular streetcars.)
Sniper: OK, we need to head out, but we're taking the private vehicles because the Road Rover vehicles are too dangerous.
Hunter: Whatta you mean "too dangerous"?
Crystal: The hangars at the airfield are filled with all kinds of bombs, missiles, TNT, and gas containers, and I know you. You'd just go in, blow it up, and leave. But this time it won't work. There's enough explosives to destroy everything within a fifty-thousand-mile radius.
Exile: Are you sureski?
Blazer: Yes, we're sureski… I mean sure.
Hunter: OK, we use the streetcars. Now lets roll.
Sniper: Wait, there's no need for all of us to go.
Crystal: He's right. We don't need all that confusion.
Blazer: We'll need my mom incase someone gets hurt.
Hunter: Right, and I'm goin' too.
Rapperswil: Me, too.
Diamond: You ain't goin' without me, Rapper.
Rally: I'm goin', too.
Sniper: OK, OK. You can go. Exile, you're comin' to help get rid of the weaponry.
Exile: Dokey okie, Comerade Sniper.
Blazer: What if he sets a bomb?
Crystal: Aunt Stephanie can take care of that.
Sniper: OK, now let's go.
Sniper and Rally get into Rally's '97 Lotus Esprit V-8 (Sniper is driving); Hunter, Colleen, and Blazer get into Hunter's '99 Ford Mustang; Rapperswil and Diamond get into Rapperswil's '98 Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab; and Exile, Stephanie, and Crystal get into Exile's '91 Land Rover. (No, this is a real car.) They head out of the vehicle bay as the others look on.
Cricket: Ya think they'll be alright? I mean they are goin' up against Mage.
Dervish: Well, they defeated him in the future. Maybe they'll be able to do it easier this time.
SETTING: Interior, Lotus Esprit V-8, a few minutes later.
Sniper is driving his father's car with his father in the passenger seat. Sniper picks up the CB mic and tunes to a station.
Sniper (Into CB): We need to get there quick. You guys think you can keep up?
Hunter (Over CB radio): We're keepin' up now, aren't we?
Sniper (Into CB): I'm only in third gear, and there's still two more left. Get ready to test your limits.
Sniper puts the CB mic down and starts accelerating. He reaches 6,500 RPMs and shifts to fourth, still accelerating. He starts to get a sizeable lead on the others. Now he shifts into fifth and accelerates even more. Now in final gear, he starts to leave the others way behind. Sniper looks in the mirror and only sees three little dots on the horizon.
Sniper: Huh. I thought at least Hunter's car would be able to keep up.
Rally: Well, you thought wrong. This thing can hit over 175 miles per hour.
Sniper: Wow! I guess I should slow down a bit, huh?
Rally: Maybe just a little.
Sniper lets of the gas and decelerates to about 100 miles per hour. The others start to catch up as Hunter is heard over the CB radio.
Hunter (Over CB radio): Damn! No wonder your dad didn't want to get a new car when that one wouldn't work. That thing's fast!
Sniper (Into CB): Fast? It only goes 175, maybe a little more.
Crystal (Over CB radio): Only?! I don't think even Blazer can run that fast.
Colleen (Over CB radio): Sniper, how far `til we get to the airfield?
Sniper (Into CB): When you see a fence on the right, it should be about a quarter of a mile.
After a while of driving, a chain-link fence appears on the right side of the road.
Sniper: Well, dad. This is it.
Crystal (Over CB radio): Hey, Snipe. Déjà vu, huh?
Sniper (Into CB): I'll say. Well, let's not keep Mage's surprise party waiting.
The four cars accelerate and quickly come to the open gate to the airfield. They all pull in and skid to a stop on the sand and gravel. The Rovers and X-Rovers step out and look around.
Hunter: It looks deserted. Are you sure he's gonna be here?
Crystal: Oh, he's here all right. We just gotta flush him outta hidin'.
Blazer (Yelling): Hey, Mage! Show yourself!
They wait and after a while, a dark figure emerges from one of the offices. He is wearing a black robe with a black hood and a black facemask in the shape of a dog's face.
Crystal: Hello, Mage.
Mage: What do you Rovers want?
Sniper: We know what you're up to, and we're here to stop it.
Mage: What are you talkin' about?
Crystal: We know about the weaponry you've been building over the years to get back at the Road Rovers. We also know you got enough to destroy the entire planet.
Mage: Well, I see you're not as dumb as you look.
Sniper: Give up, Mage. You can't win.
Mage: And just who the hell are you?
Blazer: Oh, that's right. You haven't met us in this time period. We're the X-Rovers. I'm Blazer, that's Sniper, and that's Crystal.
Mage: Ha! You're just a bunch of kids. You can't defeat me.
Blazer: We'll see. *Turns to Sniper and Crystal* You guys ready?
Crystal: Attack form number seven?
Blazer: Oh, yeah.
The three of them run at Mage with Blazer in front, Crystal behind him, and Sniper at the end. Mage gets ready to fire and energy blast at them, but as they near him, they veer off in different ways. Blazer uses her super-speed and veers to the right and stops about thirty feet behind Mage. Crystal jumps over Mage's head, and while Mage is looking up at her, Sniper kicks Mage in the stomach and Mage flies up and back. While Crystal is still in the air, he spins around and kicks Mage in the face, sending him flying straight toward Blazer. As Mage reaches him, Blazer punches him in the back and he falls to the ground, yelling out in pain. The others are completely stunned. Sniper, Blazer, and Crystal walk up to Mage and stand over him.
Crystal: Well, that was fun. What's next?
Blazer: That was much easier than the first time. This time it wasn't even a challenge.
The three of them walk back over to the others.
Sniper: So, whatta you think?
Hunter, Colleen, Rapperswil, Diamond, Rally, Exile, and Stephanie stand there with their mouths hanging open.
Crystal (To Sniper and Blazer): I think they're impressed.
They are about to load into the vehicles when they hear Mage call out from behind them.
Mage: Not so fast, wimps! I'm not that easy to take down.
They turn around in time to see Mage stand up and fire an energy blast straight at them. They all jump out of the way just in time. The blast misses all of them, but crashes right into Exile's Land Rover, blowing it to pieces.
Mage: This time I won't miss.
The Rovers stand up as Mage fires another blast. Sniper and Rally both fire their own energy blasts and stop Mage's blast in its tracks. After the explosion dies down, they stand there, looking at each other. The fight is in a stalemate.
Crystal: Give up, Mage. You know you can't win.
Mage: Oh, yes I can. I haven't even been trying.
Hunter: What?! He's holding back?!
Sniper: No, it's a bluff. We already defeated him once, we know how strong he is.
Blazer: Yeah, he's just tryin' to scare us.
Mage: What do you mean you've defeated me once? I have never been defeated and I never will be defeated.
Crystal: That's what you think. We know you're not holding back anything.
Mage: So, you know I was bluffing. But I not bluffing about this.
He pulls out a remote control and presses a button.
Mage: I've just set a bomb to go off in one of the hangars. It will detonate in three minutes. I may die, but I'm takin' you pests with me.
Sniper: Mom, you're on.
She runs to one of the hangars and goes inside.
Mage: Ha! She'll never find it in time. Looks like the end of the road for the Road Rovers.
Blazer: I don't think so.
Blazer runs at Mage, but is hit by an energy blast. He is sent back, slamming into the side of Rapperswil's Dodge Ram.
Hunter: Blazer! *Turns to Mage* You bastard! I'll kill you!
Hunter runs at Mage. Colleen tries to stop him, but fails.
Colleen: Hunter, no!
He runs up and punches Mage in the jaw. Everyone is amazed when Mage flies back and slams into the brick wall of one of the offices.
Hunter: No one hurts my son and lives!
Mage gets up, badly beaten, and walks toward Hunter. He stops a few feet in front of him and raises a fist.
Colleen: Hunter, get outta the way!
Too late. Mage brings down his fist, but it's stopped just inches from Hunter's face. Rally is standing there, holding Mage's arm.
Rally: Not today.
He grabs Hunter and gets both of them out of the way as fast as he can just as Mage tries again to hit them.
Mage: You've been lucky so far. But everyone's luck runs out eventually.
Diamond: Don't you know? We're the Road Rovers. Luck is our middle name.
Exile: Really? Mine's Mikhailovich.
Crystal: Exile, it's an expression.
Exile: Oh. Never mindski.
Blazer moans and tries to stand up. Hunter goes over to him and helps him up.
Hunter: You OK, son?
Blazer (Dazed): Yes, I'm fine. Now would someone please kill the little birdies flying around my head?
He collapses to the ground.
Hunter: Ooh, that.. can't be good.
Rally: Colleen, you check him out.
She runs over to check out Blazer as the rest stand their ground.
Mage: That's just a sample of what the rest of you are going to get. Prepare to die, Rovers.
He fires a very strong blast at them. Sniper fires a blast of his own at the oncoming blast. They impact just a few feet from the Rovers, and all of them are sent flying backwards. As they start to get up, Mage begins to laugh. In the background, Stephanie is running to another hangar. The bomb Mage set only has about a minute remaining before it detonates.
SETTING: Hangar, Abandoned Airfield.
Stephanie runs in and breaks open the first crate she sees. Inside are a bunch of small explosives, but not the one she's looking for. She runs to the next one, but stops before opening it. She listens and hears a soft ticking sound. She walks toward the back of the hangar and the ticking gets louder. She finds a steel crate and pries it open with a crowbar she found next to it. Inside is a bunch of sawdust. Stephanie pulls out some of the sawdust and finds what she's looking for.
Stephanie: Aha. So there you are, you little troublemaker. Time to shut you and Mage down for good.
SETTING: Abandoned Airfield Grounds, somewhere in NM.
Mage has stopped laughing and now stands motionless in front of the Rovers and X-Rovers.
Mage: It shouldn't be long now. I'm not even gonna try to destroy you, because no matter what you do, you're all gonna die in about ten seconds.
Stephanie (From behind): In your dreams, psycho.
Everyone turns to see Stephanie emerging slowly from the hangar, smiling.
Stephanie: It's OK. I've deactivated the bomb. You can fight Mage without worrying.
Sniper: Way to go, mom! *Turns to Mage* Hope you enjoyed your short life, `cause it's about to end.
Mage: Oh, yeah? Well bring it on.
Sniper: I thought you'd never ask. Crystal, you ready?
Crystal: You know it! Let's get this asshole!
Sniper: Blazer, you stay here.
Blazer (A little dazed): Okie-dokie, Smokey.
Sniper: Uh, OK. *Turns back to Mage* Let's get `im, Crystal.
Crystal runs at Mage with Sniper right behind her. As they reach Mage, Crystal slides between his legs and gets behind him. (Obviously just another distraction) As Mage looks down at her, Sniper spins around in the air and karate-kicks him across the face. Mage is sent sliding across the gravel, stopping a few feet in front of the others. Hunter places his right foot on Mage's neck and applies some "slight" pressure.
Hunter: First you hurt my son, then you try to hurt me. Talk about stupid. *Turns to Sniper* What should I do with him?
Sniper: Do anything you want. Colleen, how's Blazer?
Colleen: He'll live.
Sniper: Oh, that's really reassuring.
Exile: Uh, Comrade Hunter? How are we to be getting back? My truck, it is kaputski.
Hunter: Hmm… *Snaps fingers* I know. I'll just get someone to come down here in the Sky Rover.
Stephanie: What'll we do `til then?
Colleen: Wait, I guess.
Hunter: Let's go ahead and finish off Mage.
Sniper: How do you want it, Mage? Fast? Or painfully slow?
Mage: You won't defeat me. I am invincible.
Sniper: We'll see about that.
Mage stands as Sniper powers up for an energy attack.
Crystal: Don't make it too powerful, Snipe. There's still a bunch of explosives in those buildings.
Sniper: Don't worry, I know what I'm doin'.
Crystal (To the others): Uh, maybe we should run.
Colleen: Why's that?
Crystal: If you wanna find out, stay here. But I don't recommend it.
She runs off towards the vehicles. The others look at each other, then run to join her. Sniper has stopped powering up and stands in front of Mage, holding a very strong energy blast in his hands.
Sniper (To himself): Honestly, I don't know what they're scared of.
Mage: You think that puny blast will harm me? I hope you have a plan "B", `cause you'll need it.
Sniper: We don't have plan "B's". It's either attack or run. Those are the only options.
Mage: Well, I suggest you start running.
Sniper: Why would I run from something I'm not scared of?
Mage: Oh, you'll be scared when I'm destroying you and everyone else on this sorry planet. But for trying to be a hero, maybe the Space Rovers will give you a nice burial in space.
Sniper: Enough talkin'! Let's go.
Mage: Go ahead, make a move.
Sniper: OK, your funeral.
He fires the blast at Mage, but when Mage is about to block it, it does a vertical climb to the sky. Mage is stunned. He looks up as the blast drops right on him, blowing him to bits. Sniper is thrown back due to the force of the explosion. When the explosion dies down, he looks up and smiles when he sees a giant crater where Mage had just been. The others come running up as Sniper starts to get up. As Sniper starts brushing himself off, they see the giant crater created by the blast.
Crystal (To the others; smugly): And you wondered why I told you to run.
Exile: Way to go, Comerade Sniper!
Hunter: How'd you get that strong?!
Crystal: That's nothin'. He's about six or seven times stronger than what you just saw.
Colleen: You're kidding, aren't you?
Crystal shakes her head.
Sniper: Whatta you say we destroy these weapons and head for home?
Crystal: Did you even have to ask that question?
Sniper: Yes, actually. I did. *Turns to Exile* Time for you to do your thing. Disarm the weapons, then destroy `em.
Exile: Easy as cupcake.
Sniper: When we get back, I'm gonna help you on your English.
Exile smiles and runs off to disable the weapons. Hunter presses a button on his watch and the Master's face appears on the screen.
Master: What is it, Hunter?
Hunter: The good news is, we defeated Mage and are now disabling the weapons. Everyone here is OK.
Master: Good, good. So what's the bad news?
Hunter: Well, Blazer is hurt and we kind of messed up some of the vehicles. Do you think you could send someone in the Sky Rover to pick some of us up?
Master: Sure, I'll send Marauder.
Hunter: Thanks, Master. We'll be back soon.
He presses the button again and the screen returns to that of a watch face.
Hunter (To others): Master's sending Marauder with the Sky Rover. He should be here shortly.
Colleen (In dull tone): I guess now all we can do is wait for Exile to finish his work, then leave.
Hunter: Why do you sound so depressed?
Colleen: I dunno. It just feels like we've left something undone.
Hunter: Like what?
Colleen: Never mind, it's nothing.
Hunter shrugs it off and they all head towards the vehicles. They sit on top of and around the cars, waiting for Exile to finish disarming the weapons.
Crystal: How long is this gonna take?
Rally: It's a slow and steady process if you wanna get it right. You just gotta be patient.
Sniper's left ear perks up, but he is the only one not to notice.
Hunter: Hey, Snipe. What's up with your ear?
Sniper notices his left ear, but just shrugs his shoulders. The rest also put it out of their minds. A few seconds later, the Sky Rover appears on the horizon.
Colleen: `Bout time that bloke showed up. Where's Exile?
Rapperswil: He's still in the hangars. You want me to get him?
Hunter: No, just let him finish his job.
They all wait as the Sky Rover approaches and finally lands a few hundred feet in front of them. The door opens and Marauder steps out.
Marauder: Someone call a cab?
Hunter: Hey, Marauder. What took you so long?
Marauder: Sorry, I ran into some turbulence. Where's Exile?
Sniper: Disarming the weapons. He should be done soon.
Hunter: I say those of us that have a ride should go ahead and head back.
Hunter, Colleen, and Blazer get in Hunter's Mustang and Rapperswil, Diamond, and Crystal get into Rapperswil's Dodge Ram.
Rally: Sniper, you and your mother take my car. I'll meet you back at Mission Control.
Sniper and Stephanie climb into Rally's Lotus and the three vehicles drive off toward Mission Control.
Marauder: How long's he been in there, Rally?
Rally: I'm not sure. He should be done soon, though
About two hours later, Exile finally walks up to them.
Exile: Where are other comerades?
Marauder: They already left. How are the weapons?
Exile: All have been disarmedski. All we are needing to do now is destroy them.
Marauder: We can do that with the Sky Rover, now lets load up.
All three of them load into the Sky Rover and Marauder takes off.
SETTING: Interior, Sky Rover.
Exile is next to Marauder in the copilot's seat and Rally is seated in the back.
Marauder: Well Exile, let's destroy this place and get outta here.
Exile: No problemski.
Exile presses a button on the console and a loud buzzing is heard. Marauder puts the throttle as far forward as it will go and steers away as hundreds of bombs are released from underneath the Sky Rover. All three of them look out the window as the airfield becomes a raging inferno. As they look on, the flames slowly disappear over the horizon.
Rally: Well, I guess now that that's taken care of, we can take a break from fighting for a while.
Exile: Do not be speaking so soon, comerade. Fate is unpredictable thing.
Rally: You believe in the fates, Exile?
Exile: Don't you?
Rally: No, not really.
SETTING: Infirmary, RRMC, a little over half an hour later.
Hunter and the others walk in and approach Blazer, who is lying on a medical bed.
Hunter: Hey, son. How ya feelin'?
Blazer: Well, my back hurts. Other than that, I'm fine.
Rapperswil: At least you're alive.
Colleen: Yeah, maybe next time you'll think before rushing in like that.
Blazer: If I had done that, we might not be alive right now.
Colleen: True, but you nearly got your father killed.
Hunter: I'm a big boy, Colleen. I can take care of myself.
SETTING: Rec Room, RRMC, a few hours later.
Everyone (Including Blazer) is sitting around, waiting for Rally, Exile, and Marauder to return. Hunter, Colleen, Shag, DJ, and Dylan are engaged in their routine Poker game. Dylan and DJ have folded. (They learned a tip about Hunter to let them know when to fold, but no one else has caught on yet.) As the betting continues to get higher, Shag is forced to fold.
Shag: Roo rich ror ry rud. (Translation: "Too rich for my blood.")
Colleen: So, Huntie Wuntie. It looks as though it's down to just you and me, luv.
They lay down their cards. Hunter has four Jacks and a three as his high card, while Colleen has a straight flush of clubs. Colleen is about to collect the chips when Dylan stops her.
Dylan: Wait a minute, Colleen.
Dylan: Both of you have the three of clubs. Someone's cheating.
Colleen: Well don't look at me. I don't cheat on anything.
Hunter: Well I know I didn't cheat.
DJ: Well one of you did. And until we find out who it was, no one's leaving this table for anything.
Colleen and Hunter look at each other, but neither one says anything. Over on the sofa, Sniper, Crystal, and Blazer are talking.
Sniper: So, where are Exile and Ral.. I mean my dad?
Blazer: I don't know. They should've been here by now. It's been a couple of hours already.
Crystal: I'll see if I can get a hold of them.
She walks out toward the briefing room.
SETTING: Briefing Room, RRMC.
Crystal walks in and sees Scout and Master talking.
Crystal: Master, I need to ask you something.
Master: Go ahead, Crystal.
Crystal: I'm worried about Exile and my uncle. Do you know where they are?
Master: You mean they're not back yet?
She shakes her head.
Scout: Do you think something has happened to `em?
Master: I sure hope not. But just incase, I want you and a couple of the others to go look for them.
Scout: No prob.
He walks to the rec room and calls for everyone's attention.
Dervish: What's up, Scout?
Scout: Master thinks something may have happened to Exile and Rally. He wants me and a few of you to go look for them.
Hunter: So who's goin'?
Scout: You, me, Colleen, Dylan, Bayson, Alethia, Oso, and Kytec.
The ones whose names were called follow Scout to the vehicle bay and load into the Sonic Rover.
Dylan (To Hunter and Colleen): Looks as though you two lucked out. You might've been at that table all night if not for this mission.
They take off and speed toward the now non-existent airfield with Hunter in the pilot's seat and Colleen next to him.
Hunter: Colleen, see if you can track Exile's collar.
Colleen throws a couple switches in front of her and after a few seconds, a blip appears on the radar screen.
Colleen: Hunter, it says they're about ten miles to the west.
Scout: That's only about five miles from the airfield. Why are they still out there?
Alethia: I have a bad feeling about this.
Hunter: I hate to admit it, but I agree with Alethia. Let's get to `em before something happens. If something hasn't happened already.
They continue to fly, and after about fifteen minutes, they come to some old woods. Colleen looks at the woods and her eyes grow wide with fear.
Colleen: Hunter, you're not gonna like this.
Hunter looks out the window, as do the others. In the woods, surrounded by fallen trees and metal debris, are the Sky Rover's remains.
Oso: Oh, that's not good.
Bayson: I hope we're not too late.
Hunter: Well, there's no tellin' how long they've been here, but we might as well see if they're OK.
He lands the Sonic Rover in the road near the woods. They step out into the cool evening and walk towards the woods. They reach the Sky Rover and slowly approach it.
Hunter: Exile! Rally! Marauder! Are you guys OK?
There is silence except for the crickets' chirping. Dylan notices blood on the open door and front windshield of the Sky Rover.
Dylan: There's blood all over the place. That can't be a good sign.
Hunter: Alright, everybody split up and start searching. We're not leaving unless we have all three of them. Me, Colleen, and Scout will head east. Dylan and Bayson, I want you two to head south. Oso, Alethia, and Kytec, I want you guys to take the north. Now let's go. The longer we wait, the less our chances of finding them.
They all split up in their appointed directions and start searching. Hunter spots a faint trail of blood on the ground and points it out to Colleen and Scout.
Scout: Well, they definitely came this way. But how far did they go?
Colleen: They had a couple of hours to walk, so they could be anywhere. You think you can follow that trail, Huntie?
Hunter: I'll try.
Hunter starts to sniff the air as they continue walking through the woods. After a while, they find Exile sitting back against a tree, blood coming from his left leg and forehead. Hunter kneels next to him, but Colleen and Scout remain standing.
Hunter: Exile. Exile, what happened?
Exile doesn't answer. He is worn out from the loss of blood and shivering due to the cold air of the damp woods.
Hunter: Colleen, you and Scout gather the others and meet me back at the Sky Rover.
Scout: But what about Marauder and Rally?
Hunter: We'll find `em later. Right now, all I'm worried about is getting Exile some medical attention.
Scout and Colleen nod, then head off to get the others. Hunter picks up Exile and carries him back to the Sky Rover. To his surprise, Marauder, Dylan, and Bayson were already there.
Hunter: Marauder, I glad you're here. Exile's lost a lot of blood and might have hypothermia.
Marauder: We need to get him warmed up quickly, but the Sky Rover's been destroyed.
Hunter: The Sonic Rover is nearby. Dylan, you and Bayson help Marauder get Exile to the Sonic Rover. I'm gonna wait here for the others.
Dylan and Bayson pick up Exile by his arms and legs and carry him to the Sonic Rover, Marauder following close behind. Hunter waits, and after a few minutes, Colleen and Scout return with Oso, Alethia, and Kytec close behind.
Alethia: I'm afraid we couldn't find any of them.
Hunter: Marauder and Exile are at the Sonic Rover, and Exile's been hurt badly.
Oso: What about Rally?
Hunter: I don't know. We haven't found `im yet.
Kytec: Colleen, do you think you could track Rally's collar?
Colleen: Yes, I think so.
They all walk to the Sonic Rover. Once inside, Colleen tries to track Rally's collar. The screen comes up blank, so she tries again. Once again it comes up blank.
Colleen: Hunter, nothing's coming up onscreen.
Hunter walks up and tries to locate Rally for himself, but to no avail.
Hunter: I don't get it. There should be a signal. I'm really worried. *Turns to Marauder* What happened out there?
Marauder: I don't know. All I know is we just started to lose altitude very quickly. When we crashed, Exile and I noticed that Rally had already gone out the door. We went looking for him, but I guess I didn't notice Exile's injuries.
Alethia: How come you're not hurt?
Marauder: I don't know.
Dylan: Well, there was blood all over the Sky Rover, and I know all of it didn't come from Exile.
Marauder: Whatta you mean?
Dylan: As far as I could tell, the door and front windshield were covered in blood. A lot of it. Rally is somewhere in these woods, and most likely in a lot of pain.
Hunter: Colleen, Scout, Kytec, Oso. You guys come with me. The rest of you stay here with Exile.
They run out of the Sonic Rover and back to the woods. They run for about five minutes when Hunter suddenly stops. The other four run into the back of him, but he pays no attention to them.
Scout: What is it, Hunter?
Hunter: Listen. It's Rally.
They listen and hear a very faint, almost unintelligible cry for help. It is, in fact, Rally. As they listen, he continues to call out.
Rally (Very faint and far away): Help. Somebody please help me.
Hunter: I can't tell where it's coming from.
Kytec: It sounds like it's coming from the north, but I can't tell how far.
Hunter: North it is, then. Oso, go back to the Sonic Rover and fly over the woods. See if you can spot Rally from above.
Oso: Will do, Hunter.
He runs back in the direction of the Sonic Rover as the others head north in the direction of Rally's weak cries for help. A little while later, they look up as the Sonic Rover flies overhead. They continue to make their way through the woods when Colleen notices something on the ground. She kneels and places her gloved palm on the cold soil. When she picks her hand up and looks at it, it is covered all over in bright red blood. She cringes at the sight. Now all three of them begin to worry.
Hunter (Yelling): RALLY! WHERE ARE YOU?!
Once again, he is met with only the sound of crickets.
Hunter: Dammit. We need to find him before it's too dark to search.
They continue to walk. The sky was getting darker and the air getting colder by the minute. Soon Hunter comes to a complete stop and looks frantically around.
Colleen: What is it?
Hunter: I've lost the trail. I can't pick up his scent anymore.
Colleen: Whatta we do now?
Hunter: I don't know. I really don't know. Maybe we're already too late. Maybe we should just head back and forget about him.
Colleen: Now wait a minute. You told us we weren't leaving unless we had gotten Exile, Marauder, and Rally. And I'm makin' sure you stick to your word.
Kytec: She's right, Hunter. We need to keep looking, no matter how long it takes.
Hunter: You're right. I'm sure glad you two came along. Otherwise I would've probably already left. C'mon, lets go.
SETTING: Interior, Sonic Rover.
Dylan is flying, and everyone else (Except Exile) is looking out the windows, searching for any sign of Rally.
Hunter (Over headset): Dylan, any sign of him?
Dylan (Into headset): Not yet. What about you?
Hunter (Over headset): We found a trail of blood. A lot of it. The trail ended a while back, but we're still lookin'.
Dylan (Into headset): How much was there?
Hunter (Over headset): Well, Colleen put her glove to the ground, and when she looked at it, it was completely covered in bright red blood.
Dylan (Into headset): Well, we'll keep lookin'. It's gettin' pretty dark. You want some light?
Hunter (Over headset): No, we got some flashlights with us. Just keep lookin', no matter what.
Dylan (Into headset): You can count on us, Hunter. *Turns to others in Sonic Rover* OK, they found a lot of blood down there, but they're still lookin'. I suggest you guys do the same.
They fly over the woods over and over again in different sized circles, looking for Rally. As Dylan makes his umpteenth pass over the woods, Alethia calls out to him.
Alethia: Dylan! Down there! I think I saw something.
Everyone looks in the direction she was pointing. Dylan flips on the searchlight, and as they pass over the area, a flash of silver appears through the trees as the light hits it.
Dylan (Into headset): Hunter, I think we found `im!
Hunter (Over headset): Where?! Where is he?!
Dylan (Into headset): From where you are now, about two or three hundred yards to the northeast. We can't land here. It's too dangerous.
Hunter (Over headset): Don't worry. We'll get `im and meet you back at the road. Tell Marauder to be ready.
Dylan (Into headset): No problem, bud. *Turns to others* They're on their way. They're gonna meet us at the road. Marauder, Hunter said for you to be ready when they get here.
Dylan turns the Sonic Rover towards the road and lands.
SETTING: Woods, near airfield remains.
Hunter, Colleen, Scout, and Kytec are running as fast as they can through the woods in the direction Dylan had pointed out to them. After a while, they slow their pace to a walk. They look around, their flashlights going from side to side.
Hunter: Keep your eyes peeled. He should be somewhere around here.
They keep looking as the air around them continues to get darker and colder. If they didn't find Rally soon, he would die of hypothermia or pneumonia. Possibly even both. Out of the corner of her eye, Colleen spots something on the ground.
Colleen: Hunter, there he is!
Hunter looks over and sees the dim outline of a body. He shines his light on it and sees that it's Rally, lying stiff as board on the freezing cold ground. Blood is coming from his legs, arms, sides - almost everywhere. They run up to him and turn him onto his back. A huge gash, glistening with blood, exposes the flesh just above his eyes. Hunter shakes Rally's shoulders and tries to get him to say something, but fails. He picks up the mutt's lifeless body and they all head back to the Sonic Rover.
SETTING: Interior, Sonic Rover.
Everyone is anxiously waiting near the door when Hunter runs in, carrying Rally in his arms. He places him on a medical bed near the back and tells Marauder to get to work on him immediately. Marauder begins his work as Hunter takes off and heads for RRMC at full speed.
Colleen: Hunter, don't you think you should slow down a bit?
Hunter: No way. I'm gonna make sure both Exile and Rally get to Mission Control in time to get help. Yo, Exile. How long were you guys out there?
Exile: About five hours. I think. I'm not sure.
Hunter: Don't worry, you'll be home soon. Just lay back and try to get some rest.
Exile lays back and closes his eyes. Marauder is in the back, trying to keep Rally alive. Hunter picks up the CB mic and gets Mission Control's frequency.
Hunter (Into CB): Master, tell Professor Hubert to have a gurney ready when we get there. Rally is hurt very badly and may not live.
Master (Over CB radio): Are you serious, Hunter?
Hunter (Into CB): I'm afraid so. Exile's been hurt, but he should be OK. Marauder's tryin' his best to keep Rally alive, but we don't really have all the necessary medical equipment here to do much.
Master (Over CB radio): Alright, I understand. We'll have the professor and medical staff standing by when you arrive.
Hunter (Into CB): Thanks, Master.
He puts up the CB mic and sets the coordinates for RRMC when Marauder calls out from the back.
Marauder: Hunter, it's not lookin' too good.
Marauder: His vital signs were low already, but they're still slipping.
Hunter: Colleen, go back and help him. Keep him alive as long as you can.
Colleen whips off her seatbelt and runs to the back to assist Marauder.
Colleen: What should I do?
Marauder: We need to get all of his wounds cleaned and wrapped before we do anything else.
Colleen opens a cabinet and pulls out a bottle of disinfectant. She hands it to Marauder and they go to work trying to get Rally's wounds taken care of.
SETTING: Vehicle Bay, RRMC.
Prof. Hubert and the rest of the medical staff at RRMC are standing around with medical equipment ready for when the others arrive. The Sonic Rover appears through the roof of the vehicle bay and lands. The door opens and Marauder and Colleen run out carrying Rally. They lay him down on the gurney and Prof. Hubert and a few others rush him to the infirmary. Hunter emerges slowly from the Sonic Rover, Exile's arm around his shoulder.
Hunter: Do you think you can walk?
Exile: I am not sure, comerade.
Two medical staff members come up and help Exile to the infirmary. One also approaches Marauder.
Medic #1: Marauder, standard procedure states that we should check you out, just to be safe.
Marauder nods and follows the medic to the infirmary, and the others just stand in front of the Sonic Rover.
Kytec: You think they're gonna be alright?
Hunter: There's no doubt about Marauder and Exile pullin' through, but I'm not so sure about Rally.
Colleen puts an arm around his shoulder.
Colleen: Don't worry, he'll pull through.
Hunter: Let's just keep our fingers crossed.
They all walk into Mission Control and head for the briefing room. They take seats around the many tables as Master walks out onto his balcony.
Master: So, what happened?
Hunter: The Sky Rover's destroyed, maybe beyond repairs.
Master: And what about Rally, Exile, and Marauder?
Hunter: They're getting checked in the infirmary. Exile and Marauder will definitely pull through, but Rally is barely hangin' on to his life.
Master: I'm sure he'll pull through. He's a very strong and noble member of the team. Just remember to say your prayers tonight.
The Rovers sit at the table drinking coffee for a little longer, then head off to bed, making sure to say an extra prayer for Rally.
SETTING: Briefing Room, RRMC, 7:00 A.M.
Hunter is sitting at one of the tables, drinking a cup of coffee. He got up early in order to get word on Rally's condition. Master had stayed in the infirmary all night, keeping an eye on Rally. He walks out onto his balcony, surprised to see Hunter up so early.
Master: Hunter? Why are you up at this hour?
Hunter: I couldn't sleep. How's Rally?
Master: It doesn't seem like there's been any change in his condition since last night.
Colleen and Stephanie walk into the room and take seats next to Hunter.
Hunter: You guys couldn't sleep either?
Stephanie: How's Rally?
Hunter: No change so far.
One by one, all the Rovers, X-Rovers, and Strayers come in and sit down. Lunchtime rolls around, but no one seems hungry. Even Shag skips lunch. Around 3:00, Prof. Hubert walks into the room. Everyone turns to see what he has to say.
Prof. Hubert: I know you're all eager to hear of Rally's condition, but I believe Stephanie, Sniper, DJ, Diamond, Rapperswil, and Crystal should be the first, seeing as they're Rally's family. Would you please follow me?
Stephanie, Sniper, DJ, Diamond, Rapperswil, and Crystal all get up and follow Prof. Hubert into the hall. They stop just outside his testing lab.
Stephanie: Well, how is he, professor?
Prof. Hubert (Solemnly): I'm afraid he didn't make it. I'm sorry, Stephanie.
She stands still for a moment, then falls to her knees and starts crying into her hands. Rapperswil kneels next to her and tries to comfort her, tears in his eyes. Crystal and Sniper hug and start crying on each other's shoulder. Diamond kneels next to Rapperswil, puts an arm around him, and leans her head on his shoulder. DJ just stands in shock next to them, a tear rolling down his cheek.
Prof. Hubert: I'll go inform the others.
He leaves the hall and re-enters the briefing room. When he tells the others about Rally, they nearly fall out of their chairs.
Star: He's really dead?
Prof. Hubert: I'm afraid so. We did all we could, but I guess he was already beyond our help. Exactly what happened out there?
Marauder: I'm not really sure. I blacked out when we crashed. I don't remember much of what happened before that, either.
Exile: I remember what happened.
Everyone turns to face Exile.
Exile: We were flying back hereski. When we were over woods, the Sky Rover started falling quickly. Comerade Marauder tried pulling up, but the nose of the plane hit the trees anyway. The Sky Rover started flipping, and Rally fell out of his seat. He fell forward and hit his head on the console. When the Sky Rover flipped again, Rally slid back towards the doorski. I don't know what happened to him, but I heard the door open. I guess he fell out. Soon after that, we crashed. I was hurt, but I knew we had to find Comerade Rally. Marauder and I headed outski, but after a while, I couldn't go on. I leaned back against a tree to rest. After long time of waiting, Hunter found me. They all searched for hours and finally found him.
Hunter: Do you know what caused you to crash?
Marauder: An alarm didn't sound, so it had to be something wrong with the Sky Rover.
Huntress: But DJ and Rally checked it just two days ago, and there was nothing wrong.
Sierra: It could've been sabotaged.
Hunter: That's highly unlikely, Sierra. I think we should check the flight data recorder before making assumptions.
Sierra: You're right. Let's go.
Sierra, Hunter, and Huntress head to the vehicle bay and head out in the Street Rover. They return a little over half an hour later with the Sky Rover's flight data recorder. Sierra takes it to Prof. Hubert's lab. Hunter and Huntress head to the rec room. The others are all here, watching the news.
Reporter (On TV): Our top story this afternoon; A Road Rover has past away this morning. The Road Rover known as Rally was apparently in a very serious accident, and despite the other Rovers' attempts to keep him alive, he didn't make it. Apparently after a mission, he and two others were flying back in what they like to call the "Sky Rover" when it suddenly fell to the ground. The remains were later found by the Rovers in some woods about ten miles to the west of Socorro, New Mexico. The exact details as to why the jet went down and what happened to the other Rovers aboard it have yet to be released. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
Kytec picks up the remote and turns the TV off.
Huntress: So you've already told `em?
Everyone turns around, having just noticed Hunter and Huntress.
Dylan: We had to in order to keep them from investigating the crash. Did you guys find the data recorder?
Hunter: Yeah, Sierra's checkin' it out now.
SETTING: Prof. Hubert's Lab, RRMC.
Sierra is waiting as a long piece of paper starts to flow from a machine. He looks over the entire piece of paper, then leaves to inform the others as to what she found out.
Sierra: The data recorder shows that there was a mechanical problem. Not only that, but apparently the problems had started showing up a few weeks ago.
Hunter: That's impossible. Rally and DJ checked and serviced it only two days ago.
Sierra: The data recorder doesn't lie.
She hands the paper to Hunter, who looks it over in shock.
Hunter: I can't believe it. They must've missed these problems in their check-over.
DJ: So it's actually our fault that Rally died.
Sierra: Don't go beating yourself up over it now. There's nothing we can do about it.
Hunter: So when's the funeral?
DJ: Tomorrow at 2:00.
SETTING: Socorro Cemetery, in Socorro, NM.
A closed casket is sitting over an open grave. The Road Rovers, X-Rovers, Strayers, and even the Space Rovers are gathered around Rally's grave. Everyone is dressed in all black. The leaders of Germany, Russia, England, the U.S., and Switzerland are also standing around the casket of the deceased Rover.
Pres. Bush: I can't believe something like this has happened.
German President: It is all your country's fault! Things like this never happen in Germany!
DJ: Hey! If it's anyone's fault, it's ours. We missed something in our check-over which caused the crash. So if blame is gonna be passed, it should be passed onto the Rovers.
As the funeral begins, Sniper starts to see mental images. He sees his father inside the Sky Rover as it plummets to earth, then sees his father falling out of the plane and into the woods. He, in his mind, watches his father sprawled out on the ground, severely injured, call out for help. Then he sees his father slowly dying in the Mission Control infirmary. It is at this point that Sniper turns and runs out of the cemetery. Stephanie is about to go after him, but DJ stops her.
DJ: Just let him go. He just needs time to let out his pain and frustration.
Stephanie sighs and they continue with the funeral. Sniper continues to run, then slows to a walk, finally stopping under an old oak tree. He leans against it, then falls to his knees, breathing heavily. He looks up at the sky for a moment, then lets out a yell.
Sniper (Yelling): NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Sniper's own yells startle him awake. He sits up in bed, pouring sweat and breathing heavily. The door to his bedroom opens and Rally walks in. Sniper looks over and jumps out of bed to hug his father. Stephanie walks in and stands behind Rally.
Stephanie: Sniper, are you alright? I heard you screaming all the way from the briefing room.
Sniper (Breathing heavily): Yes. I had a nightmare, that's all.
Stephanie: Well, a nightmare is just a bunch of pictures in you head. It can't hurt you.
Sniper: But this nightmare was different. It seemed way too real. Sometimes I could actually feel myself getting hit.
Rally: This might be more than just a nightmare. Let's see if Rapperswil can make sense of it.
The three of them walk to the briefing room where most of the other Rovers were gathered around the many tables.
Rally: Rapper, we need you to check out Sniper's dream and see if you can make any sense out of it.
Rapperswil stands up and walks over to Sniper.
Rapperswil: Now just relax and clear your mind of all thoughts.
He puts his right hand on Sniper's forehead and shuts his eyes. Sniper also closes his eyes and clears his mind. Rapperswil concentrates and the images of Sniper's dream start flying through his mind. After about a minute, his eyes fly open and he takes a step back.
DJ: What is it?
Rapperswil: I wasn't able to see the entire dream, but what I did see really freaked me out. That was too real to be just a dream.
Rally: What do you think it could be?
Rapperswil: I think it could very well be a premonition.
Hunter: What's a premonition?
Diamond: A premonition is a sign of something to come.
Rapperswil: And if it is a premonition, then we're all in very big trouble.
Diamond: Do you think you could try to see the entire dream to be sure of what might happen?
Rapperswil: I'll try, but it won't be easy.
He puts his right hand back on Sniper's forehead and both of them close their eyes. Rapperswil concentrates on the dream and goes through a number of expressions from surprise to confusion. After nearly five minutes, he slowly takes his hand off Sniper's head and backs up.
Rapperswil: If everything works out like it did in the dream, there will only be one casualty.
Colleen: Who is it?
Sniper: My dad.
Crystal: Are you serious, Snipe?
Blazer: Well, let's just keep our fingers crossed and hope that it doesn't happen.
Rapperswil: I think we should prepare for the inevitable, just incase.
Stephanie: That's a good idea.
A month later, Sniper's nightmare becomes a reality when Parvo attacks at the same time he had in the dream. The Rovers quickly defeat him and prepare to take on their next challenge: Mage. The day after Parvo's defeat, they meet in the vehicle bay.
Rally: You guys ready for this?
Everyone nods their heads.
Hunter: Now remember. This time, there can be no mistakes. We have already done extensive checks on every vehicle, so there should be no problems in that area. Are there any questions?
Huntress: Hunter, do you think that training we did was enough?
Hunter: I don't know. Let's just hope it was. Now, if anyone thinks they can no longer fight, they are to get back here as fast as they can. Is that understood?
Everyone is quiet for a minute.
Hunter: Good. Now let's load up. We're getting rid of this pest once and for all this time.
Hunter, Colleen, and Blazer climb into Hunter's Mustang. Rally and Stephanie get into Rally's Lotus. Exile, Crystal, and Sniper get into Exile's Land Rover. Rapperswil and Diamond climb into Rapperswil's Ram 1500. Huntress and Blitz get into Blitz's '97 Pontiac Firebird. DJ and Dylan climb into DJ's `80s Ford F-250 4x4 extended cab. Everyone else loads into the Sonic Rover, Sky Rover, and Jet Rover. They leave the vehicle bay and head toward the abandoned airfield.
SETTING: Abandoned Airfield, somewhere in New Mexico, half an hour later.
All of the cars have stopped on the side of the road across from the airfield. The Sky Rover, Sonic Rover, and Jet Rover land nearby. They all get out and meet at the gate.
Colleen: Well, this is it.
DJ: Yep. No turnin' back now.
They walk in and look around the apparently deserted airfield.
Rally: OK, let's get started. Stephanie, you look for that bomb. Exile, you and DJ start disabling those weapons. The rest of us will look for Mage.
Sniper: He's in the main office.
Hunter: Are you sure.
Sniper: Everything else about my dream's been right so far.
Hunter: Good point.
They walk to the main office and Colleen kicks the door down. Mage, who was sitting at a desk, falls out of the chair. When he stands up, they can see that he is wearing the black robe and mask that he wore during their first encounter.
Mage: Rovers?! What are you doing here?
Rapperswil: We're here to make you pay for the pain you've caused.
Mage: What? Still mad about me killing your sister?
Rapperswil is about to attack, but Hunter puts an arm out to stop him.
Hunter: Watch it, Mage. We don't want to start any trouble. Now why don't you just give up and make it easier on yourself?
Mage: I could destroy this entire planet with the push of a button, so why would I give up?
Sniper: We're aware of the weaponry you've been accumulating, but we're still gonna take you down.
Mage: And who the hell might you be?
Sniper: I'm your worst nightmare.
Mage: How do you expect to beat me? You're nothing but a pup.
Sniper: You wanna take this outside?
Sniper runs up and kicks Mage in the jaw. Mage flies back and goes through the brick wall. The Rovers run out to make sure he doesn't get away. Mage stands up and fires a blast at the Rovers, who are able to avoid it. A fierce battle ensues between Mage and all of the Rovers that lasts for an hour and a half. Finally, Rally and Sniper's combined strength weakens Mage to the point where he can no longer fight. They take him into custody and wait for Stephanie, Exile, and DJ to return. Stephanie walks out of one of the hangars and sees everyone standing around the gate.
Stephanie: I disarmed the bomb.
Rally: Good job, Stephanie.
Dervish: Now all we have to do is wait for Exile and DJ to finish.
A few minutes later, DJ and Exile emerge from a hangar.
DJ: All of the weapons have been disabled. Where's Mage?
Cricket: Kytec's watching him in the Sonic Rover. I have a feeling he won't be pulling anything like this for a while.
Rapperswil: He won't be pulling anything like this ever again. I'm gonna make sure of it.
Everyone loads into their vehicles and heads back to RRMC. Of the Rovers present at the fight, nine received minor injuries and four were put in critical condition. Luckily, everyone makes a full recovery and there are no casualties. After everyone has recovered, Mage is taken to the Socorro Court House. After nearly an hour of explanations, the court finally reaches a decision.
Judge: Mage, for crimes against humanity, including mass murder, you are hereby sentenced to death by electrocution. *Bangs gavel*
Mage, who was seated with his hands tied behind his back and Rally and Sniper watching over him, bares his teeth and growls at the judge.
Judge: Sir, if you're trying to intimidate me, it won't work.
Mage: I ain't goin' down that easy.
He jumps up and tries to run, but Rapperswil grabs him and throws him to the floor.
Judge: Bailiff, take him away.
The bailiff steps forward and picks Mage up by the shirt. He then begins to take him to the execution room. All of the Rovers follow him and wait outside the one-way mirror.
Rapperswil: After two years, he's finally getting what he deserves.
Hunter: Yes, and this time, it won't be us that has to kill someone.
After Mage is secured in the electric chair, the bailiff walks out and stands next to the switch. He puts the power level at 75,000 volts, then pulls the switch. The Rovers watch as the electricity surges through Mage's body. He convulses for a minute, then is still. Two men walk into the room and take Mage out of the chair. They put him into a body bag and carry him out.
Colleen: I guess we won't be hearing from him again.
DJ: Nope. The nightmare is finally over.
Rally: Now let's go home. I'm taking my five-week vacation starting right now.
Diamond: I'm with you on that, bro.
Sierra: I think we all need some time off.
They walk out to the vehicles and head for Mission Control for a long rest.