MARS4 - The Unofficial F*cking Story

Chapter 7


Lasers streaked through the air.

The graying Duck managed to press himself against the bulkhead, letting his SAS-G slack so the laser fire would not nick the barrel. As their weapons refreshed their charges, he leaned out, fired off a grenade before moving to the other side of the corridor, following the high-explosive shot with a stream of Anti-Badnik rounds.

He had been spotted, there were too many SWATbots surrounding the ship and he barely got aboard it. Now they were flooding it, continuously marching on without fear of pain or worrying over their ‘wounded’ and dead.

“It was a mistake to come aboard her on the Ground,” he murmured, but he could not withdraw and come back again.

Wade Duckington refused to give up. It was not in his system. Victory or Death had been a Credence that had been etched into his very soul long before dawning the marks of a Royal Guard of Acorn.

“Control how close am I to the reactor?”

"Records indicate that the ship design is similar, not exact MARS1, you may be walking into an empty room.”

“I know Control, but I can’t stay here,” Wade replied, reloading his SAS-G, “If there is a way to complete the Objective, then I have to proceed,”

As he declared his intentions, Wade thrust his weapon outward, emptying the magazine into whatever was marching down the corridor without exposing himself completely.

He might have been old, but the Duck knew new tricks.

"Understood MARS1, air duct to your right, five meters in front, you want four decks down, that should be the corridor leading to the reactor room,"

Wade was moving as she was instructing him.

No hesitation or complaint from a Mobian Male who had a bad knee, chronic pain in his elbow and right now? A splitting headache from the constant exchange of fire. At fifty years old, Wade should be tending to the till of his Tavern.

But the need to Fight still lingered in the Old Duck’s Blood.

Warm spots thumped in his back, but Wade ignored them as he smashed the air-vent and plunged into it. Using a flashlight in his visor to guide him. It did not take long for him to find a descending vent and soon the corridor.

Wade was also none too surprised that the grinding metal of SWATbots echoed across the same deck his webbed feet connected with.

“Yes, it was a mistake to board her on the ground,” Wade spoke off handily to the ever-present Control,

“I-” Wade hesitated as he spoke. Though he did not want to say it, the Duck was not impractical to believe he would easily get out of here alive. “-think you should make a note of that Control,”

Control did not answer.

Coming to a halt in front of an open arch, the door had yet to be constructed to bar entry. Most of the secured locations on the ship were not completely secure, due to the overconfidence of the mysterious constructor.

“I’m here,” Wade said, though his tone gave his immediate reaction.

The room was an empty shaft, wires, cables, and tubes disappeared both upward and downward in a circular black hole, the only deck was a small round platform without rails. The other decoration was a simple set of consoles.

Wade was truly disappointed.

“This definitely isn’t the reactor Control,”

"Roger, looks like a network hub,” Control responded, her tone emotionless calm.

“Yes, hooking you into the Console now, tell me where I am and how I can get to the Reactor Room,” Wade instructed as he turned about, plugging an odd device into a port on the Console as he aimed down the corridor.

It was already filling with SWATbots.

"Searching, standby,”

“Standing By,” Wade seemed to frown as he sought cover, but the Machines were not returning fire as he dropped them one by one. They just kept marching onward, slowly clogging the hallway.

"Map Downloaded and scanned, Zero-" Control hesitated, emotion in her voice. There had been shock, disbelief, and a hint of despair. “-there is no Reactor Room aboard the ship, the technology layout, it’s different,"

“How so?” Wade asked, curious even in this desperate situation.

"It would take me time to study this new information, extract, extract now!” Control ordered, and she was putting emphasis in her words.

Wade did not respond verbally, he finished off his magazine and fired another grenade to slow down the Advance. Quickly, Wade slipped over the edge, grabbing hold of the wires as he descended into the black, turning on his flashlight yet again.

“I’m getting too old to climbing,” Wade muttered, there was a moment they could hear the exhaustion in his voice.

But Wade was even half-way down when his view became distorted. Everyone heard him say, “Oh my gods,” followed by a sickening crunch and a pained cry.

“My leg!” Wade gasped, “Oh gods my leg!”

But Jerry could not see what had happened.

They were in the Command Room, the male was watching the mission recording of his old Sargent playing out before his eyes, from Wade’s point of view. It was all playing out in front of them on a projection table in the center.

"What happened?" Control and Margaret asked in near unison.

“I don’t know,” came a pained reply, “They, they cut the wires I think, I don’t know,”

"We can’t see you," Margaret’s voice chimed in.

“What? The Visor’s still on me, I can see, oh gods, they’re coming,”

The shooting followed, they could hear laser fire and that SAS-G thunder over the speakers, but they still could not see anything.

“Mags?!” Wade shouted over the den, his voice pained, “I love you Mags!”

"I love you too," the Old Sparrow cried.

Wade Duckington’s last, defiant words before the transmission screeched with static had been, “For the King!”

Margs screamed her frustration, but that too was cut in mid-replay.

There was a very long moment of silence before anyone dared say anything.

“I lost Contact. What scan devices I had turned in that direction detected a massive explosion," Control explained softly.

Jerry looked to his right to Verlos and Mags, the Wolf comforting the Sparrow with an arm around her shoulders and their muzzle on their head in an affectionate hug. Despite the neutral expression, her face held, tears streamed down her cheeks. Her fists were clenched, and she looked ready to tear the table apart.

Outside of his Mother, Margaret Sparrow Duckington was the strongest female Jerry had personally known. He did not think he could have gone through that without demanding to be sent then and there to make sure.

“How big was the explosion?” Jerry asked as the moment slipped by.

"He carried the same amount of explosive you did during your rescue mission," Control replied, though her tone had been solemn.

"It tore through the aft hull and blossomed five hundred feet, setting fires on several decks along the bottom,” as Control spoke, she indicated the areas and highlighted them on a 3D model.

“You said the technology was different?” Verlos questioned, shifting away from Mags to lean against the table himself. “Please explain.”

Control again displayed a large, circular room with an odd dias in the center that sparked and crackled inside a protective, clear encasement. The rest of the room had been decorated with panels and monitoring stations, manned by, to the shock of Jerry, Mobians in white lab-coats.

"This is the Reactor, same design aspect as the Battleship commanded by Julian Kintobor right before the Coup," Jerry nearly spat at the name, but kept quiet as Control continued, ”Severe Damage to this location would essentially cripple or destroy the ship completely, however-"

The schematic of the ship appeared again, with six locations blinking in a hexagonal shape along the center mass of the ship.

"-what I can make of this is that the Reactors are smaller, with the same amount of power output as a larger one. These, however, are fully enclosed and completely isolated to the rest of the ship outside of outgoing connections. Even if they could be reached after cutting through eight feet of protective shielding, the radiation dosage would be lethal within minutes of exposure,”

Jerry shook his head, he had no idea what was being said, so he directed his statement to the heart of the matter.

“For fuck sake Lady, tell me how to kill this ship,”

The map shifted, displaying the white-capped mountains that bordered between Traitor’s Gulch and the Republic of Acorn. ”The Ship will likely use the cover of these Mountains to obscure its approach to the Republic, destroying the gravitational plating and lift fans in the forward section would cause the ship to crash,"

“And the SWATbots?” Verlos cut in.

"Because the ship was on the ground, the enemy had a nearly limitless supply of reinforcements, it will still be heavily defended and complemented, if you are detected you will be outnumbered nearly a hundred to one,” Control answered, ”That is where the jamming technology MARS4 recovered will come into play,”

The map again shifted to display the ship, this time, it was suspended in the air.

"The three of you will board her on this docking clamp, Jeebs will provide both Security and point defense against any encroaching patrols while MARS3 and Four place explosives at key locations along the vessel’s hall. You will then evacuate to the ship, then set the explosives off as the battleship makes an attempt to gain altitude, forcing the ship to crash into the mountainside where internal and structural failure will nullify the threat altogether. If all goes well, the jamming devices you will take aboard will make you invisible to their sensors, and we can then leave a ‘tip’ to G.U.N. or the Republic after the current problem with the Iron Dominion is settled,”

“How are sure are we that this thing will head towards the Republic at all?” Verlos questioned, frowning as he inspected the projections. “And are we certain the Freedom Fighters or even Team DARK can’t handle this?”

"Wade himself calculated that the only viable target would be the Republic. And considering it has made no attempt for outward communications, the nature of its quote, troops, unquote. With the addition of flying battle flags of Kintobor? I am pretty sure this thing is up to no good."

“And this is personal,” Jerry added though he was staring to Jeebs after Control had noted what their role would be. “The rest can take a shot if we fail.”

"Currently, Team DARK is tracking a Chaos Emerald and has been out of reach for the last month. The Freedom Fighters are still entrenched in New Mobotroplis and-." Control listed off, but she seemed to note the glare Jerry was giving Jeebs.

"-is something wrong MARS4?” Control questioned.

Everyone in the room looked to Jerry, who stared hard at Jeebs. The Red plated SWATbot simply turned its head in his direction.

“He’s a machine,” Jerry stated flatly, “What makes you think he won’t be turned while we’re there?”

“Two reasons, one I will have a Jamming Device,” Jeebs countered on its own behalf, “And two, my network connections have been removed, I am no longer connected to the Wade AI or to any network for that matter, I will be able to make my own decisions based on the Mission Parameters,”

Jerry’s eyes narrowed, he was unconvinced, but looked to the screen again, “When do we go?”

"I will call you when the ship is on the move, after which you need to be prepped and ready within two hours," Control replied, and with that, she chimed herself out, leaving the screen and the mission objectives up for review.

Verlos found Jerry in the training room no less than an hour later. He was on the floor, doing push-ups as he watched over the recording of Wade’s final moments on Mobius play out on the pad. It lay right under his face. Every few seconds he paused to study the scene then resume it.

“So,” Verlos spoke as they drew near, “Who exactly are you?”

Jerry glanced up, then back down to the screen, remaining quiet.

Verlos, undaunted, raised a brow, “Control gave me a censored history. You fought in the Great War with distinction, side by side with Wade and General Pr-” Verlos paused, Jerry halting to look up at Verlos again, this time with a glare that made Verlos a tad nervous for some reason.

“-Touchy subject?” Verlos asked, dismissing the sudden sensation, “Well, I can’t ask the question without giving you some info on myself?”

“Don’t care,” Jerry said standing up, rotating his shoulders and arms. The Fox was still sore from the fight in the jungle, he was working the stiffness out, or simply training to train. All the while, however, he stared down at the pad.

And hated it.

“I do,” Verlos replied, wiggling the fingers in their brace. Jerry looked back to Verlos again as they continued to speak, “You risked your life for me and you don’t even know me, you don’t even care to know do you?”

“Didn’t stutter,” Jerry replied as he patted himself down for a cigarette. When he found one he put it in his mouth and finally looked up to MARS3. “Everyone’s got a long, checkered past of some sad story that brings others to tears, I rightly don’t give an Overlander shit. Control holds you in enough regard to risk a rescue. Thinks highly of your capabilities to send your sorry ass back into the thick of it with a screwed up arm, what the fuck do I care who you are?”

“I don’t have a Checkered story, I’ve lived in this Village for as long as I could remember. Married my Wife here. Fought alongside Bron when I was old enough, even showed Susan how to use a bow. Followed Wade down here and volunteered for the Program when it started with Susan. I’m good with a bow, knife, and sneaking around,” Verlos stated quickly, cheerfully, “I’m one of the most boring creatures on this planet,”

“Not too boring, again, Wade made you a MARS,” Jerry pointed out.

“Oh that is right, I can go introducing myself as a secret operative to a non-existent program that no one can know about,” Verlos grinned, “I’ll be a Celebrity, Like Sonic!”

Jerry raised a brow at him, “You’re weird,”

“And you’re a foul mouth grouch,” Verlos spread his arms out in some sort of triumphant pose, “We’re perfect teammates!”

The Fox groaned, then lit the thin white cylinder of paper in his mouth. Jerry inhaled the chemicals and breathed them out before crossing his arms before his chest. “How long has your wife known about this place?”

“Thought you didn’t want to know about me?” a smile spread across Verlos’ face

“Just answer the gods’ damn question,” Jerry scowled just before rolling his eyes.

“Since the start,” the Wolf replied, “Wade made sure she knew I was fighting evil in high-risk situations, he was a good leader. Also, helps that Aila is the Program’s Chief Medical Officer.”

“You worked in a team?”

“Yes. We didn’t operate alone too often. Then Susan nearly got caught at that Refinery.” Verlos frowned, “Susan was MARS2,”

“I got that much,” Jerry deduced with a nod, “She had good taste in music, I’m a big fan of Engine-Head, though I’m not much for the Unicorns with Wings.”

Jerry shuffled as a brief moment of silence lingered between the two males.

Finally, Jerry shook his head and looked down at his feet.

“I’m an Academy Drop Out, served a Ship for a Year, Fought in the Great War as an aide, then a sword, then a scout,” Jerry looked up, scratching his chin. Idle conversation had been apart of what was not his strong suit. But why not? “I’ve one good friend other than Wade, a fat Walrus, Lukus. Haven’t talked to him since I nearly took his eye.”

Verlos huffed teasingly “Some friend you are,”

“The Fucking Republic,” Jerry growled almost immediately, “He betrayed the Kingdom, he’s lucky I was pulling strokes, to begin with.”

There was an awkward pause, and Jerry waved Verlos off, “Go spend time with your wife,”

“She’s making supper on the surface in Bron’s kitchen, care to join us?”

The Fox shook his head, looking down towards the pad on the floor that had its image obscured partially by a muzzle flash, “No, thanks, I’ve other things to do, go spend time with your wife,”

Verlos nodded and departed. Jerry finished his cigarette and snatched up the pad to rewind it to the beginning. He would re-watch it from start to finish ten more times before he went to the armory, then to bed.

Sleep, however, did not come easily for the next two days.

The call came early in the morning on that second day.

Jerry was unsure about the plan. He was shaky about fighting alongside a machine and a disabled Wolf. The Fox was even confused on how this absurd plan of Control’s would help ease the pressure off the homefront, despite being a Republic instead of his beloved Kingdom of Acorn.

But there was one thing Jerry could not shake as he shifted through the armory, piling steel, explosives, armor, any equipment he wanted to experiment with before the mission.

Jerry was going back to his element, to what his Family had trained for Generations prior to the fall of Mobotropolis. Before Julian Kintobor became Ivo Robotnik.

Jerry was going to War.

Though Jerry had only a few hours of sleep for the last few days, he moved with anxious anticipation through the armory. His hatred fueled him, focused him, sharpened his senses and his mind.

If this was anything even remotely related to Julian Kintobor’s House, to that Fat Bastard’s Family? Jerry was excited about the possibilities of finally getting a shot in for all the suffering that bloated Overlander had caused. It did not matter if he died or not. The fear Death had always been absent in him.

To leave a scratch, even if in the grand scheme of things Jerry was naught but an inconvenience. That festering thorn in the side.

To go down swinging, that was all Jerry had in mind.

Verlos and Margaret watched on, observing in silence.

Verlos had already gotten their gear, consisting of a grenade launcher they could hold in one hand and heavy armor. Every portion of the Wolf’s body from their neck down had been covered in laser proof plating. Verlos also had a long knife and a revolver, and that was it. They could use their other hand in a cast painted to match the armor, but he could not grip anything securely enough for it to be reliable.

Margaret was wearing their jumpsuit, but it was obvious to everyone that they were building the courage to demand that they go on the mission as well. The Old Sparrow was simply working up the nerve.

Jerry ripped the fabric off the first suit of armor that fit him snugly, leaving the green cloth around the shoulders. The metal beneath was bright silver, and like before, he only took a breastplate, giving his legs complete freedom of movement.

“Why are you doing that?” Verlos questioned as the ripping sounds of cloth filled the armory.

“The Fabric catches fire,” Jerry explained gruffly, “I’m surprised you guys didn’t notice before.”

“Well, we’ve never really field-tested them in the way you used it,” came the shameful admission from Margaret, “They’re flame-resistant but not against so many concentrated shots,”

“Doesn’t matter, the fabric is used as a camouflage, where we’re going that’s not really going to matter is it?” Jerry asked as he strapped on an ammo belt over the armor. Then he placed a straight knife on it near the small of his back, angling it so he could draw it with his right hand if need be.

“That’s not going to really penetrate the SWATbot’s Arm-” Verlos started but quickly went silent as Jerry glared their way.

“Says the Pup with the broken arm and a knife two inches longer” Jerry snorted dismissively. “You got your toys, let me get mine.”

Jerry picked up a Falchion that looked vaguely similar to the one Wade enjoyed using and gave it a quick inspection along the edge.

“Wade took his with him,” Margaret nodded to the blade in MARS4′s hands. “He kept a few like his. Always fretted over the smallest bit of water or oil on his own.”

As Mags spoke, Jerry put on the sword belt that would rest on his back with one hand, fastening it easy enough without difficulty. All the while Jerry kept shifting the two-handed weapon back and forth before spinning it about and shoving it home in the leather when his other hand was finished.

Verlos chuckled at the unconscious display while Margaret grinned a little.

“Wade taught you how to use his sword?” Mags asked, explaining as she gestured towards the Fox. “He could do the same thing.”

Jerry simply gave them a sidelong glance before answering, “Yeah, taught me how to use his sword.”

There had been many lessons Jerry learned from the Royal Army while serving in the War, it simply broke down to a simple exchange in order to survive.

Wade taught Jerry and their comrades to observe the enemy and to use reasoning and deduction on the field.

Jerry taught Wade and those same comrades how not to cut themselves on the sharp end of a Sword.

Wade got the better end of the deal. Jerry silently cursed himself for wondering how he figured out that tracking device the Legion were using to track MARS3, but continue to arm himself.

A SAS-G was out of the question, since the one he brought back still needed to be repaired, and the other was in the belly of that ship somewhere, if not useless. Jerry toyed with the idea of taking the same weapon type as Verlos but instead took up another Sally Acorn Special, complete with a sling. Letting it go slack against his chest, Jerry continued to move about the armory without pause.

“I’d like to go,” Mags finally managed, and both Verlos and Jerry gave her an ‘over the shoulder’ glance.

“No,” Jerry cut in as Verlos opened their mouth, the Wolf giving Jerry a questioning look. They were going to agree with her?

“A single one-armed cripple is enough,” Jerry, again snorted dismissively. He turned to face their disapproving looks.

“Oh, I’m sorry, did you expect a fucking sympathy vote from me?” Jerry demanded coldly, “You can’t put your arm over your head and captain smiley there is going to be hindered by his new arch-enemy, ladders. Let the MARS handle this, besides, Sarge would be pissed if I let his wife go on a suicide mission.”

“You say let the MARS handle it when Jeebs isn’t one, its the same excuse Control gave Bron-”

“Jeebs!” Jerry shouted to the ceiling, “When you finally get your slow, metal-ass in here, bring a can of white paint.”

The Fox turned around again, picking up a pack and started to stuff explosive charges into it.

“What are you planning?” Verlos questioned as Jeebs acknowledged the new ‘order’. “What’s the paint for?”

“Bron is old. He can’t keep up with us on a run and he certainly won’t fit in those corridors,” Jerry started to explain, closing the bag and pushing it across the counter.

“When was the last time you had a good spar?” the Fox walked around the counter, ignoring Verlos as he targeted Mags with a berating tone, “When was the last time you actually seen combat of any kind and not some target dummy you’re taking potshots at?”

Mags shifted on her footing, her head lowering in defeat.

Jerry nodded softly.

“You want to know what my Military Record says about me?” Jerry asked, walking over back to the counter to lean on it. “You know, the non-classified bits that got classified anyway?”

“I adapt,” Jerry stated bluntly, looking between them both. “It’s that simple.”

“That Experience Control mentioned? I went after my Best Friend’s Dad, an Officer in the Infantry. The furless freaks captured him at the Second Battle of High-Low. He was hurt and begging me to run back to our lines every time I kept getting in earshot,”

Jeebs walked in, the SWATbot carrying a very large, intimidating multi-barreled weapon with stark ease of a machine, as well as a can of white paint they were told to bring.

“I didn’t want to kill the bastards,” Jerry looked up to Jeebs as they entered, but continued unabated. “I didn’t hate my enemy, neither did my Sister, even when they took our Father’s life, I didn’t hate them. Couldn’t bring myself to kill them,”

Jerry’s expression had softened more than Mags could remember seeing on such a stony-faced being. Those gold eyes drifted off as they remembered the past, losing that icy edge.

“I disabled each foe, took some scratches from knives and was nearly shot gods know how many times trying to get to them. All the while, Old Ronson was screaming at me to fall back.”

Jerry was beginning to trail off, his mind drifting elsewhere and his eyes were unfocused.

Jeebs snapped Jerry out by placing the white paint on the table in front of them.

“What?” the Fox growled bitterly before realizing where he was. It did not take long for him to remember his place.

“They dragged Ronson away unto a ship and took off. I ran back, bruised, bloodied and in tears, but alive and breathing,” Jerry looked towards Margaret, “I survived, I adapted my way of thinking and I did not make the same mistake again,”

Jerry opened the can of paint, dipping a piece of the tattered cloth into it, then made a gesture, “C’mere you walking septic tank,”

“I remembered the Officer’s Face, the laughing fuck as they flew away,” Jerry started writing something across Jeebs’ chest as he continued. “He thought it was funny when I came face to face with him on the very next battlefield, up until I got right into his face,”

Jerry glanced towards Verlos, and smiled that sinister, toothy smile, “And ripped his throat out with my teeth,”

They all exchanged looks, unsure if he was telling the truth, or trying to scare them.

“There,” Jerry proclaimed, Mags and Verlos now moving to see that he had written MARS2 across the Jeeb’s chest in white paint. It was crude, but it was there.

“Now turn around so I can put a bullseye on your back,”

Another exchange of looks were given, Mags and Verlos unsure if they should laugh, and Jeebs, well Jeebs did not like the prospect of a Bullseye on their back.

“Any case, congratulations Jeebs, you’re officially MARS2,” Jerry announced, slapping the top of the paint back into place.

"You can’t do that," Control chimed in. “He’s a robot," she stated the obvious, and Jerry looked up to the ceiling.

“It’s made out of Mobian Metals, by a Mobian, programmed by a Mobian,” Jerry gestured back towards Jeebs. “Its maker gave it thought, it can make its own decisions and it is in far better condition then these too.”

“Only because you want to win the argument,” Margaret stated with anger edging her tone, “You didn’t even ask if Jeebs want-”

“It’s going isn’t it?” Jerry demanded, now pointing towards to the bulky weapon hung from its frame.

“It’s-” Jerry paused, their face twisting a moment before they continued, “-he is at risk like the rest of us, I assumed he wants to be a part of what Wade had started.”

Jerry turned to the SWATbot, arms folded across his chest and an appraising look in those black-rimmed eyes. “Or am I wrong?”

Jeebs saucer lip shifted as if they were looking to Verlos and Mags, before back down to the Blood-Red Fox. “It would be an Honor”

“Good, settled, you stay,” Jerry announced as he walked by Mags, but stopped. Reaching out, Jerry placed a gloved hand on her shoulder. “I’ll give them hell for you Mags,”

She put her flesh and blood hand on the Jerry’s to squeeze it, “I know you will,”

Jerry offered a faint grin and headed out the armory.

Silence descended on them all after he had left. Verlos broke the awkwardness by sighing and rubbing the spot between their eyes

“I’m confused, why did he tell us that. Why did he do that?”

"He’s adapting to his new team-mate so Mrs. Duckington doesn’t have a valid point in her argument," Control explained. “If he had not done that, I may have permitted you to participate, but he is right, you would only be a liability. I will make a note that MARS2 has been re-activated,"

“Let’s hope he remembers that you are on our side if you have to fight your way out,” Mag’s beak pulled into a frown as she watched Jeebs.

Jeebs did not answer, the Red SWATbot moved to a mirror and inspected the markings on their chest. He remained there until Control called for them to start the mission.

In the hangar, they were given the last pieces of their mission equipment.

Jerry and Verlos wore a box, magnetized onto their armor that had an antenna jolting an inch over their shoulder.

In theory, the jamming device would make them invisible to the Enemy’s sensors, but the only way to make sure was to board the ship, to begin with. Jeebs had their antenna installed directory onto their back, but not in a position where it would get in the way of the ammunition pack for the monstrous weapon they carried.

It would take them two hours to reach the ship that had already launched.

As Jeebs flew their own ship, outfitted with the same technology, the newly designated MARS2 found themselves in the cockpit with MARS4.


“You remember this tin-can,” Jerry instructed sternly, looking back to Verlos to see if they were trying to listen in. Jerry even removed the communications device so what he said to the Machine was not heard by Control either.

“We are expendable.” Jerry made a motion with his finger indicating himself and Jeebs. “If it comes to it, we make sure Verlos gets off that ship alive, clear?”

Jeebs’ saucer head shifted from Jerry back towards his controls, “Crystal.”

Jerry nodded, shifted to head back to Verlos, and pounded Jeebs’ shoulder with his fist. “Good, happy you’re coming along.”

Jerry lied.

Jeebs silently watched Jerry, and then back to their station, knowing the Fox was not at all thrilled to be anywhere near them.

But at least the Fox was making an attempt.

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