Charley looked up as Vinnie paced back and forth in front of the garage's door. "They're not coming back," she said patiently. He only snorted so she let him have his paranoid delusions for a few minutes longer, until it bothered her again. When it did, she got up and got his furry, jingly ball from the hidden spot she kept it, tossing it across the room. Vinnie didn't even look in that direction and she mentally winced. Oh, man, she was in for a long protection spell this time. "I wasn't really in any danger. The Seal made me bulletproof. Dawn did the anti-locking charm, only they used the plastic cuffs at first."
He looked back at her. "Doesn't mean they're not coming back and you won't get hurt this time."
"I'm fine, Vincent," she said impatiently, staring him down. "They're not coming back. Micah made sure of it." He snorted and went back to his watching. At least until something made him move so a bike could roll inside. "Xander," she said, looking at the box on the back of his bike. "What's that? Parts?"
"Sorta." He climbed off his bike and headed for the kitchen, only coming back to grab a roll of electrical tape and his soldering iron. He yelped a few minutes later but then banged something hard with a hammer on her counter, apparently fixing it. He came out a few minutes later, holding up the small device. "Okay, Vinnie. Go bury this about ten yards from the *front* door of the house and the garage both. No more than twelve." He nodded, taking it to do that. Xander went back into the kitchen, coming out about a half- hour later with a small box, which he attached the wall. He stepped back to admire it, then grinned. "There, perfect."
"That does what?" Charley asked patiently.
"It senses gunpowder. It's an alarm." He looked at her. "Since we mostly use lasers and we all use the back door, it'll catch anyone coming up to either front door who has gunpowder on them or around them. Like in a gun." He wandered back to the kitchen, taking his other one to the house to install in the living room.
"What's that?" Modo asked.
"Gunpowder sensing alarm. Vinnie's burying the sensor unit. Found it online before you ask."
Modo gave him an odd look. "Won't that catch us?"
"We don't use gunpowder-based weapons except for Dawn and I. Plus, we use the back door, not the front door. You push the blue button to turn it off if it does catch us." He did so when it went off a few minutes later.
Micah came up the stairs. "Vinnie wanted to know if it worked."
"Is the alarm going off in the garage?" He walked over to open the nearest window. "Vinnie, blue button if it's going off. It worked over here."
"Thanks, little bro." The alarm over there quit going off. He opened one of the second floor windows to look at him. "Any other good ideas?"
"Not yet, but I'm thinking about it," he admitted. "We can't do anything to drive off military personnel, it'd catch National Guard members and I don't want to do that if they're not involved. Maybe an anti-malice charm?" He shrugged. "I'll figure it out soon enough." He closed the window and went to his computer to go back to searching for new ideas.
Micah shook his head. "I'm guessing he's still overprotecting Charley?" Modo nodded, giving him a smug look. "I don't blame him for worrying but they won't be back. Most of them are headed for prison at the moment. They tested it on the streets of Miami and someone caught it on tape. Those pictures by the CSI were all they needed to get them."
"Both of them are at it, we won't get them off this overprotection kick until someone else gets hurt. Xander's like that and so is Vinnie."
"I guess Dawn needs to go out and get shot at then. It's part of the job description to keep the world at peace."
Dawn came out of the kitchen. "Me getting shot at won't get those two upset, it'll get that one," she said, pointing at the napping Rimfire, "upset. He'll be worse and those two will give him *ideas*. We don't need that, right?" she said firmly, glaring at him, hands going to her hips. "Otherwise I will buy Buffy a plane or a train ticket and tell her how to get into the office so she can come...train with you and your people."
"Never mind," he said meekly, sitting down. "That's a fate worse than being overprotected by those two."
"Out!" Charley shouted. Vinnie came running in a few minutes later.
"Bro, what did you do?" Modo asked calmly.
"I came over to check the garage for listening devices and things," he said miserably, looking pitiful and pathetic. "I'm trying to be good, I really am."
Xander came out of the office and gave him a hug. "It'll be okay. She'll get with the program soon enough. We're doing it for her own good," he reminded him. Vinnie grinned at him. "Now, what do you think of next? Something to sense heavy metals, like nukes, or something to sense heavy metals like cars?"
"Well, she works on one and if there's a nuke in Chicago I need to know about it," Micah told him. "Both are really impractical, Xander. Go for the nicer stuff."
"Okay, I can build the gun turret for the roof today. We can put one on each building. Lasers or regular guns?" he asked Vinnie, walking him off to look for plans for those. They came out a few minutes later with a bunch of paper and headed for their bikes to go shopping.
Modo shook his head. "I'll talk with Throttle tonight," he said quietly, making Micah sigh in relief. "I'm sure he can stop at least one of them."
Dawn snorted as she came back out of the kitchen. "Fat chance, Modo. Nothin's stoppin' Xander for the next few months. Nothing, no one, not even another invasion, which will only make him work harder. I'm surprised we hadn't had a demon detector before now." She sat down, biting into her sandwich. Rimfire sniffed and blinked over at her. "I'm not your chef, I'm your girlfriend. If you're hungry, go cook."
"Not that hungry," he admitted, getting up to kiss her. "Love you."
"Love you too, Rimfire. Go back to your nap. Nap with Victor."
"Sure," he agreed, stealing a handful of her chips and going back to the couch. "Hi, Uncle Modo, Micah. Big problems?"
"Two insanely overprotective uncles," Micah told him.
"Still out at the library."
"I'm sure he'll be able to fix them," he said as he gulped the chips and laid back down. "Victor? Are you up or napping?" he called quietly. "I could use a cuddle." Victor came crawling up the ramp and attacked his shoes with a giggle, letting Micah put him on the couch so he could curl up with the fun one. Victor grinned at him as he patted him on the nose. "You're a good boy, Victor. Wanna cuddle with me so I can nap? You're too big for a nap but I'm not."
Victor settled in to cuddle with him. He liked cuddling and he hadn't connected it with napping yet.
Modo waited until he heard the first snore from the baby. "I'm wondering why we don't have a demon detector."
"Because Xander's worried that it'll catch on him for a prior possession," Dawn said dryly. "He said so when I asked him why." They looked over as Throttle rode up the ramp. "Hey, studly, your boy is in full-blown protection mode. You might wanna stop that soon."
"What's he doing now?" he asked, looking hesitant.
"Going to get stuff to make gun turrets for the buildings," Modo told him.
"Oh, I thought it was bad already," he sighed, shaking his head as he took off his helmet. "That's fine."
"He's already put in a detector to sense gunpowder," Dawn told him. "They've got plans for the turrets and all that good stuff."
"Hopefully they can do it in a way that won't get us in trouble."
"Flip-up doors too?" Micah taunted, smirking at him. "Go ahead and suggest that. I wanna know how he does it."
Throttle looked at him. "It's only been two weeks. They'll calm down soon."
Modo grabbed the radio, calling them. "Vinnie, pick up some hotdogs while you're out? We're out of that and rootbeer."
"Sure, if there's room on the back of the bikes," he responded. "We're going to build revolving turrets. They'll cover the whole street."
Throttle got off his bike and walked over, taking the handset. "Guys, if you do that, we'll get in trouble with the cops. Remember, we can't have guns in the open."
"Already thought of that. There'll be a cover over it," Xander promised. "A crank to extend the barrels. Think fifty caliber shells are big enough?"
Throttle imagined that bullet. "I think that's probably a bit too big, Xan."
"Pity. The plans we found were for fifties. I even found plans to make the shells."
"Guys, come home so we can look at the plans," Throttle said calmly. Dawn gave him a smug look so he kicked at her chair, making her grab the table. "You, behave."
"Fine," she complained, eating her other sandwich.
"Come home so we can look over the plans. There might be a better way to do it."
"Fine," Xander complained with a sigh. "We'll be home soon. We just found the metal stock for the barrels."
"I'm surprised they didn't head for old tank parts," Micah offered dryly.
"That's a good idea!" Vinnie said excitedly.
"Yeah, but then we can't build 'em," Xander complained. "I like building things."
"Come home, boys," Throttle ordered, hanging up the handset and turning off the radio. He shook his head and went into the kitchen. "Dawn, you left a mess."
"The dishwasher is full and it's not my job to empty it this week," she said sweetly. "If certain tan mice would quit forgetting to do their domestic chores, the kitchen would run more smoothly now and then and be cleaner." She got up to put her plate and glass in the sink, patting him on the arm. "Have fun emptying. I'll load later." She went for the library, going to find something new to do.
"I can make it your punishment to do both," he said coolly, glaring at her back.
"Yeah, and I can find a permanent cockring spell too," she joked, turning to smirk at him. "I'll have fun with it." She turned back around and went back to her hunt for something new to do.
"It's not that hard, bro," Modo taunted with a smirk as he looked in the kitchen.
"I can make you sleep on the roof tonight," he offered tiredly.
"Hell no, you have to clean the tubs," he complained, unloading the dishwasher. This was better than scrubbing the tubs any day. He needed to talk to Xander about getting the cleaning woman in once a week instead of once a month. They liked her and she could probably use that a lot. Xander could even add a room for her if he wanted as long as they could quit doing chores around the house.
Vinnie and Xander came in with the pipes and the plans, letting him have them on their way past him to the roof. "Gonna go measure now," Xander quipped, stealing a kiss on the way past him. "Wanna cuddle later?" he added.
"Sure," he said, looking at the plans. He groaned and shook his head. "Boys, this is too much," he complained. Somewhere nearby an alarm went off. "What's that?" he demanded.
Vinnie came down the ramp and hit the blue button then went to look out the window. "Hey, Stretch. She's in the garage somewhere. Probably pouting. We're trying to protect her."
"Sure, Vinnie. There's a sign up that said she went to get a drink and she'd be right back. Can you come let me in so my heap of junk will quit smoking? It never does it in the garage."
"Sure, be right down." He jogged down and through the back door into the kitchen, turning off that alarm as well. He raised the door and waved him inside. "Come on in. Ooh, it is smoking, isn't it?"
"Yeah. What was that alarm?"
"It detects gunpowder," he said honestly. "Someone came up and tried to take Charley girl the other day. I was not amused."
"Good idea, man. Where'd you find the plans?"
"Xander found 'em online. I can see if he'll print you off a copy," he promised. "Go ahead and drag her in here." He went to call Xander from the backyard. "Hey, Xan, Stretch wants to know if you can get him the plans for the gunpowder alarm," he called.
"On the kitchen table probably. Have him make a copy and bring me back the originals."
"Sure." He found them in the kitchen and brought them out. "He said to copy them off and bring them back to him."
"Sure. Thanks, man. I know some people who could use it. What's his newest project?"
"We're thinking gun turrets on the buildings," he said smugly, grinning at him. "Just in case, ya know?"
"Oh, I do," he admitted. "What caliber?"
"Fifty is what we found the plans for. Crank-out barrels to hide them. Micah, a buddy of ours, suggested we go for old tank parts."
Xander came jogging in. "Hey, Stretch. Instead of the wire, I used a wireless setup from a doorbell system. It works great. Got about a fifty foot range."
"Thanks, Xander. I like that idea. Let me copy these and I'll bring 'em back." He clasped hands with him and headed off to the nearest place with the copy machine. This could help a lot of people he knew. He'd pass on the old tank parts idea too.
Detective Vecchio looked up as someone walked over and whispered in his ear. "Why is this my problem?" he asked his sister.
"Because they're scaring some people, Ray. It's being talked about in church. They said Charley, that mechanic broad, got kidnaped by the military recently. They're getting paranoid and it's makin' others worry. You're a cop, go have a talk with them," Maria, his older sister demanded, walking off.
He groaned and got up, walking out with a sigh. He had thought this was going to be one of those boring Tuesdays, but apparently he was wrong. He drove down to the garage, parking across the street to look up at the roofs. Nothing out of the ordinary and he didn't see any gun turrets. He got out and leaned on his roof, staring up there. There was a new little shed on top of the garage. Maybe it was hidden finally? He walked over to the open door, hearing an alarm and someone swearing after a bang. He smirked at the mechanic as she pushed a button. "You okay? I heard you nearly got snatched."
"I'm fine but my man is a paranoid idiot," she said grimly. "Who complained about what? The gunpowder sensor?" She looked over as the door burst open and Rimfire stomped in. "Calm down, it's the nice detective."
"Oh, hey," he said, grinning and waving a hand, putting his blaster behind his back. "Okay, Charley ma'am?"
"Rimfire, put it down and go home!" she demanded. "No one's stealing me!"
"Fine," he said, looking hurt. "We're only tryin' ta help, Charley ma'am."
"Did you learn that look from Xander!" she said, glaring at him. "Out! Before I turn you into a piece of the highway!" He hurried back next door. "Sorry. Xander and Vinnie made him promise to be paranoid in their absence."
Ray shook his head and took off his sunglasses. "I can understand why," he offered with a slight grin, "but it's gotten a bit out of hand. Some people complained to my mother and sister at church about some gun turrets? My sister came to complain to me about them."
"If I asked nicely, would you make them take them down?" she asked.
He nodded. "If they're outside of city ordinances, I can do that."
"Good!" She shut the door and led him up to the roof, opening the shed and letting him see the console. "Watch out. They're gonna pop out." He moved and she pushed a button, ejecting the barrels. "Xander switched it from a crank system to an air-gun ejector type system. Runs on paintball gun cartridges."
He stared at the gun, then looked next door, noticing that setup. He sighed and shook his head, putting back on his sunglasses. "They definitely defy legal codes for living in the city."
"Don't put it that way, they'll kidnap me out into the country to live."
He chuckled and patted her on the arm. "Where are they?"
"Xander's at the site. Throttle drug Vinnie off when he was making more shells. He's trying to calm him down. It's been weeks now, detective. I know the military got to some of the cops around here so they couldn't help, but really."
"From what I understand, the cops were told not to chase the van that took me."
"Oh, someone's gonna have a foot shoved up their asses," he assured her. "Put it back in." She pushed the button and they retreated so she put down the doors over the turret. "What's that intelligence guy say about it?"
"He's been laughing whenever I complain," she said bitterly. "I wanted to kick his butt too."
"I'm sure you could," he said fondly. "Okay, let me find Stan to show him. He can come collect shells and stuff since he's injured."
"Yeah, he got outta the car ta go get a coffee from a little stand and Diefenbaker put his car in gear so it ran over his foot." He shrugged. "He's on crutches, nothin' major. Let me talk to the paranoid ones. I'll be back tonight, after shift, with Stan, okay?" She gave him a hug and he patted her on the back. "It's okay. Let me handle this. We'll work somethin' out with him." He let her go and followed her back down, hearing the alarm going off again. "That's a what alarm?"
She came to the door. "Gunpowder. The sensor's somewhere in the ground, has the wireless system from a doorbell set? He let some guys I do work for routinely borrow the plans he found online."
"I'll stop that too. That's a bit too close to weapons dealing." He watched as Vinnie came roaring back, holding up a hand, then waving him closer. "We gotta talk, Vincent. You're breakin' the law badly this time." He looked miserable. "I understand, we'll work it out among us. The turrets have got to go though. And no more handing over plans. That's really close to weapons dealing." He stared over the top of his glasses. "Meet me and Stan in the park later, say about four?"
"Xander gets off at five."
"That's fine. Meet us there in the park in the picnic shelter at five. We'll figure out what you can and can't do. Okay?" He nodded, looking a bit pitiful. "Hey, I get it, and I'm gonna go have a talk with someone about the cops not helpin' you guys. At five, we'll figure out exactly what you can do to help protect both places better. Within the law. Got it?" He nodded. "Good, kid. Now, no more makin' shells. Stan's limping and I'm having him collect them after our meeting tonight." He gave him a long look. "You'll be there?"
"Good boy." He clapped him on the arm. "I don't wanna have ta arrest you two for tryin' ta help." He got back in his car and headed for Xander's worksite, parking in the visitor spot and heading to the fence. "The white one?"
"Office, sir," he said, making note on the visitor's log. "Is there a problem at the garage? I know he's been worried about Charley."
"Not really. Just gotta have a talk with him. He's still using dealer plates," he said grimly, heading into the site and up to the trailer, tapping on the door. He heard the grunt and walked in. "Hey, ma'am. Xander?"
"Just headed inside to yell at someone for dropping paint out a window." She looked at him. "Problems, Detective? I've seen you in the paper."
"Someone noticed Xander's still got dealer plates and complained. I need ta talk ta him about it. Privately if we could."
"Sure." She nodded, going to get Xander. Poor guy, he still hadn't gotten his new plates? "Xander!" she yelled. "Didn't you get those plates yet?"
"They're claiming they can't give them to me," he complained as he came out. "Fixed."
"Good, there's a detective in the trailer who wants to talk to you about your plates."
"Sure," he sighed, heading that way. He walked in and paused for a second, then shut the door. "Charley?"
"Fine, but you scared the neighborhood, kid." He kicked back in Trisha's chair, looking at the young man. "Some people complained to my Ma and my sister and she came to complain to me today. Also, what's with the plates?"
"The bike's not exactly an Earth model and they won't give me plates since I can't produce a title on it."
"Ah." He nodded. "Gotten tickets?"
"Yeah, and I told the traffic cop what was going on and he called them for me and they're staying they can't and won't." He sat down behind his desk. "Is this really about my plates?"
"No, this is about the armory you have at the house and how you're breaking the law."
"You got into the safe? We're nearly out of rocket launchers."
Vecchio held up a hand. "I don't wanna know, don't say another word," he ordered. He sat up. "Problem is, you're breakin' the law with those new turrets and how you gave plans away, kid. So you, me, Stan, Fraser, and Vinnie will be in the park, in the picnic shelters at five. We'll figure out exactly what you can and can't do to protect the house. Those turrets are so illegal I should be bringing you in right now. Got me here?" Xander sighed and nodded, hanging his head. "That's why we're gonna talk tonight. We'll figure out what you can and can't do. We'll work out the security for both places together so it's barely legal." Xander perked up a bit at that. "But for now, you're not to make another shell and you're to not touch those except to take them apart. Also, those plans being given away is a lot like arms dealing. That's a Federal offense, kid." Xander nodded at that. "I'll excuse it this time because you probably didn't know."
"I offered the one guy one for the gunpowder sniffer."
"Wonderful. Doesn't matter."
Xander sighed and nodded again. "Yes, detective. When?"
"Five, in the park, at the picnic shelters. You, me Stan, Fraser, and Vinnie. Got it?" He nodded again. "Good. Bring your idea file and we'll see. By the way, that's a neat way you had them popping out."
"She showed you?"
"Yeah, I demanded," he offered. "Complaints like that are taken pretty seriously, kid. So behave for now and think. Meet me tonight at five. We'll work it out after I kick some asses for not helpin' when she was taken." He perked up a bit at that. "I'll also call about your plates. You're probably going to have it impounded soon if you can't get it fixed."
"Good boy. Bring your file. I'm sure someone would like it."
"You're sure?" he asked. "Micah said I had high hopes and not a lot of sense."
"Yeah, well, I know what works on the street, kid. He does higher thinking stuff, like Bond gear. We'll see. Okay?" Xander beamed and nodded. "Good kid. I'll see you in a few hours." He got up and headed back to his car, looking at the cop looking at Xander's bike. "They said they're fighting about his tags now. The state won't give him any."
"It's a custom job and didn't come with a title. He's the first owner."
"Oh. No title?" Vecchio shook his head. "Can we prove it's not stolen?"
"Yeah, and I'll be calling someone today. Give him a week?"
"Sure," he decided. "It's a gorgeous bike. I'd hate to have to impound it." He shrugged and walked off, going to report in that he had talked to a detective and been told what the problem was, that someone was trying to solve it. He came back to put a warning on the bike's windshield then headed for his next vehicle to boot.
Vecchio headed back to his precinct and inside, going to his lieutenant's office. "Sir?" He waved him inside. "I just talked to a certain paranoid white mouse," he said as he shut the door. "We're going to meet about his paranoid tendencies tonight. What's up with the cops who didn't help when their mechanic buddy was kidnaped?"
"First I've heard of it," he admitted. "Wouldn't?"
"Charley said they were ordered not to from what she was told. Which is why the boy created gun turrets on the roof. I'm going to get him to dismantle them and hand 'em over. We'll work on legal means tonight."
"You've got a week, Vecchio. Someone else filed a formal complaint." He handed it over.
"They don't even live on the same block. They're impossible to see, they're inside a garage. It's all BS." He handed it back. "You might wanna warn someone that Xander found a way for that gunpowder sniffer online to work. Or at least work for them. He did say someone got a good look at the plans."
"Wonderful. Did he *offer* them to someone?" he asked patiently. Vecchio shrugged. "Intentionally?"
"He wouldn't have known anything about it being bad," he pointed out. "I know he didn't sell 'em."
"Fine. You warned him?"
"Yeah, and about his tag problem. Seems they can't get a title for his bike so he can't get tags."
"Have him take the ones off his car."
"They were doing that earlier and he was found out, sir."
"That' a shame, it's a pretty bike."
"I'm gonna call down there to see if there's a way around it. I don't want him upset or nothin'. Apparently he's been working on designs for his intelligence buddy. I told him to bring his idea file with him."
"Fine, Vecchio. I'll leave this to your good judgement. Just get those turrets off in the next few days."
"Stan can help 'em remove 'em tonight," he said smugly. "They're nice. He's got 'em working on a retracting barrel system." The lieutenant looked impressed at that. "I wanted to see what he's come up with for other weapons." He headed out to his desk to write a minor report about talking to Charley about the weapons, not including anything about what they were or the rocket launchers Xander had said he had. "Why would he need 'em?" he muttered as he typed. He looked over as Stan clumped in, dragging someone behind him. "We're gonna go sit with Vinnie and Xander tonight ta talk about the weapons around the garage. Five at the picnic shelters. Bring Fraser, we'll need inside and out of the local codes."
"Sure," he agreed, shoving the guy at a chair. "Sit your ass down," he said coldly. "Don't make me break the other crutch by clubbin' ya in the head." The crook sneered and Stanley growled so he sat. "Good dog!"
Vecchio snickered. "What happened this time?"
"Romeo here tried to grab them to beat on his girlfriend at the burger place. Modo stopped him by picking him up and shakin' him, but it still got broken. She's on her way to the ER, he's gonna go away for assault." He sat down to start on the report. "Remind me."
"Sure. Let me call Benny so he reminds both of us." He called the consulate. "Hey, Turnbull. Where's Benny? No, not good. We need to be in the park, at the picnic shelters, directly at five to talk with a weapon's designer. Yeah, that one. Why?" He snorted. "Wonderful. No, someone copied them off him. Sure, do a citizen's arrest and I'll come get 'em myself. Thanks." He hung up. "Be right back. Someone got the gunpowder sniffer plans to work and is selling them in front of the consulate."
"Someone got a look at 'em when a certain very pale person did it."
"Oooh," he winced. "No wonder. Did he know?"
"Nah." He headed out to go arrest the guy, bringing him back crying and sobbing about how sorry he was. Apparently Benny had proved how worthless those plans were. He wondered why Xander's version worked and those didn't. He'd have to ask later.
Throttle walked over to join them, handing Xander a soda. "Thought I should butt in."
"Not an issue," Detective Kowalski said happily. "Got more'a those?"
"Not really, but there's a seller over there wearing an earpiece," he offered, nodding behind him.
Vecchio looked. "FBI. Bad, Xander."
"Sorry," he whimpered. "I didn't know."
"I know, kid. That's why we're having a friendly chat." He got up to go talk to him, finding out why he was there, then nodding and explaining what was going on and how Xander worked for an intelligence agency part of the time. That he was working on upgrading some designs. The agent reported that and got told to go home so Ray got his whole tray of stuff and brought it back for their dinner. "Here. They weren't sure you weren't a new designer they had to watch."
"I'm not trying to be."
"I know," Throttle soothed, patting him on the back. "We'll figure it out, Xander. Where's Vinnie?"
"Changing Vic in the bathroom," he said, nodding that way. His phone rang and he winced, pulling it out to listen. "Yeah?" he asked hesitantly. "Boris! I've missed you!" He looked at the detectives. "No, we're talking about my plans against home invasion by the military. No, small problem. No, fifty caliber gun turrets actually. No, retractable. Sure!" he agreed happily. "I heard you had a weapon's company. Of course. We're in the park, in picnic shelters. Sure, see you once it's dark." He hung up. "Boris actually owns a weapon's company and he wanted to look at my file too."
"That's fine, that would be legitimate. He could pay you for it and it wouldn't be arms dealing. Unlike you letting that person see those plans."
"Why didn't theirs work?" Kowalski asked.
"Oh, I had to correct some wiring flaws. I didn't mark it on the plans," he admitted. "But I did say that I used a wireless doorbell system so you didn't have to run obvious wires. Can we keep that?"
"Sure," he agreed dryly. "Your gun safe locks, right?"
"It's a bunker and yeah," Throttle assured him. "It's got a tumbler lock and a key lock."
"Good, don't tell us anything about what's in there," Vecchio said quickly. "Speaking of, Xander. You've got to find someone who can get you a title, somehow," he said, stressing the last word. "Maybe someone like your boss would know?"
"I know where I can get one," he admitted. "I just wanted it to be legal."
"I know but I stopped someone from booting your bike earlier today."
Xander shuddered. "Yes, detective."
"Good boy. You gotta week."
"Yes, detective," Throttle agreed. "We'll figure it out somehow." Xander grinned at him. "Your car needs new tags too."
"I've got those at the house. I only have to put them on."
"I'll do it tomorrow while you're at work," Throttle promised. "That way you don't get into trouble, Xan." He looked at the file. "Is that your design file?" Xander beamed and nodded. "That's cool." Xander's phone rang and Throttle answered it. "Yeah? Hey, Micah. No, some people complained about the gun turrets. Well, Boris wanted to look at them," he admitted. "He could probably squeak around it by saying they're prototypes that're being offered to a weapons manufacturer." Vecchio shook his head. "No?"
"Nope. Someone six blocks away who can't even see the garage put in an official complaint."
"Not an issue. She can't see 'em, I'm not sure how she did." He shrugged. "It's being handled at the moment."
"Hear that?" Throttle asked. "No, Xander, Vinnie, and I are working on it with the local detectives he went to warn that time. Hey, Vic," he said, taking the baby as Vinnie came back. "Did you make a mess?"
"And then some." He took the phone, listening to Micah. "We're gonna protect her, you've gotta expect that," he complained. "So? Xander's good at designing stuff. You gave him the books," he said dryly. "Of course he used them." He hung up and tucked the phone back into Xander's pocket. "He's going to take something for his headache."
Xander's phone rang again and he answered it, listening to the quiet voice telling him off. "Lorne, I'm only doing what he wanted me to do. I offered them to him first, he said they were crap, wouldn't work in the agency. That's his decision so I'm letting the two detectives and Boris look at them. Because he owns a weapon company? Yeah, him. Nah, he's back," he said happily. "It's not my fault. I asked, he gave me the books. I designed and he didn't like when I showed them to him. Then I'd suggest he actually look at things next time. It's not my fault he didn't like what I updated. That's all him, Lorne. Yay. Have fun with that. Need to know how to grow them at home? I had some friends who did and so did Oz." He smirked. "No, I figured you guys could go to the DEA and ask for some that they use in busts and stuff." He smirked. "Not my fault, yell at him." He hung up and turned off his phone, tucking it back into his pocket. "He said Micah's been upset by me showing them to anyone else. I did offer them to Micah first and he didn't like them."
"That shows you to be an honorable and loyal man to the agency that helps you," Fraser offered, getting up to look in the cart. "Are you sure these are ours, Ray?"
"The Agent said to eat 'em," he said with a shrug and a hand wave. "Okay. We pulled out the rule books," he admitted, handing over the copied pages. "These are the official rules of what you can't do. They do include gun placements on the tops and sides of buildings. Apparently they didn't want the mob to get any ideas." Kowalski snorted at that. "It had to be against them. The stockyards wouldn't do that, it wasn't necessary and would have wasted money." He looked at the three mice again. "You can do anything that's not listed in here. It doesn't say anything about button-operated electrocution systems like the one that's on the garage. It doesn't say anything about sleeping gas, though that might be iffy because there's a state law that says you have to register all potentially dangerous or hazardous chemicals if you store them. I'm guessing that would be borderline."
"I can switch to mace," Xander offered. Vinnie looked at him. "It's like pepper spray."
"We can disable that one until we can clear that up," Vinnie promised.
"When did you put that in?" Throttle asked, looking confused.
"The night after we got Charley back," Xander said, looking at him. "I thought I told you."
"No," he said patiently. "I never heard anything about a sleep gas system at the garage or at the lair."
"Did they tell you about the electrocution system?" Kowalski asked dryly. Throttle shook his head. "Not anything?"
"I would have remembered them saying that," he said, looking at the two white mice. "You two are horrible. She's right, you both need to calm down."
"We're worried that they'll come back. The military doesn't like to be humiliated," Vinnie complained.
"Plus, now they know where I am and there's a chance they could come for me for my role in taking down the Initiative," Xander admitted. "That'd make twice that I've humiliated some covert ops group."
"I had an old friend check, you're listed as 'do not touch'," Vecchio told them. "They don't like you very much."
"They probably hate me more now," he said dryly. "I did torture those two who tried to take her."
"We don't wanna hear about that either," Vecchio said quickly. "I talked with the people who can have a quiet beating of the guys who couldn't help and the one who gave the order."
Vinnie grinned. "Thanks, detective."
"You're being really helpful," Throttle agreed.
"Why?" Xander asked with a sweet grin.
Vecchio looked at him. "Because havin' someone in town that thinks like Batman makes the cops nervous. Plus, it'll keep some property damage down. I can't imagine what would happen if you had to fire those turrets."
"They've got a tracking system," Xander promised. "Commercially available."
"They're too far back from the edge of the roof."
"They've got wheels and a small motor to move 'em," Xander told him. "We can park it on the edge of the building and fire straight down if we need to."
Vecchio looked him in the eyes. "Kid, people like you make others nervous and make some jealous. Some people would try to outdo you and others would get nervous about caped people moving in."
"I used to dream about being Batman but I couldn't wear the outfit. My butt's a bit too big," Xander joked. "Besides, I'd look horrible in the hood and cape."
Kowalski looked at him. "As long as you realize that," he quipped dryly, staring him down. "Warn us if you gotta put one on."
"Sure, did the mayor turn down the Plutarkian when Junior came back?" Throttle and Vinnie both stared at him. "He came back and quietly visited City Hall."
"Yeah, and did you do the last letter?" Vecchio demanded.
"No, Lorne did. I did the lover one." He grinned. "He pissed me off. He also admitted it eventually. So I was right."
Kowalski shook his head. "You've got a bigger set than I do," he admitted. "Didn't you worry about him retaliating?"
"He's a war criminal from another war. We were working on capturing him."
"Ah," Vecchio sighed. "I don't wanna know about that either, Xander."
"Not a problem." He shook his head. "Okay, what else do you guys have that we'll have to remove tonight? Or tomorrow probably."
"Um, the electrocution system around the door frames, the sleeping gas system." He considered it. "There's a pipe set that I put into the garage the last time I fixed it but I haven't hooked it up to anything. I was planning on the air conditioning but she said she couldn't have that in the garage itself, it could warp the tires she kept on hand." He grimaced, considering it. "I replaced the carbon monoxide monitor in the garage. I replaced the air conditioners when they went out the second time and went down to the air conditioning company with a lawyer because of that. Let's see. I replaced the dart system I put in last year. They were all old so I loaded fresh ones in. I put the grease sprayer refill in last week. I put the weight sensors in the floor when she wanted to know if a car was off- balance. I put the hidden cord on the back door but I took that out because it wouldn't stay in. I put the heater pads down in front of the garage so she wouldn't have to shovel snow or deal with ice. I cleaned the drains last weekend. Um, there might be lye in the secondary shooting system," he admitted, shrugging. "I can't remember anything else I put in."
"Grease shooter?" Vinnie asked.
"Um, yeah, two nozzles pointing at the door. They're hidden in the tracks for the doors, and the switch is under the workbench, about halfway across. The blue one's for the grease shooters, the green one's for the dart system. It's filled with a natural nerve toxin from some fish or something. I got it in Chinatown." He shrugged. "The darts are really cute, basically toothpicks that shoot out with air pressure and pass through a spray of the toxin." Both older mice stared at him, mouths open. So was Kowalski. "I put it in while we were still fighting Papa Stinky," he defended. "Stoker helped me!"
"Xander," Throttle said, patting him on the back. "You need a new hobby, babe."
"I can't. I'm too busy," he pouted.
Throttle kissed him. "I'm going to take you home later and take all those thoughts out of your head," he promised gently, patting him on the thigh.
"Why didn't you tell me about those?" Vinnie asked, looking hurt.
"I thought I had."
"No," he complained. "I didn't know a thing about dangerous toothpicks."
"It wears off after thirty minutes," Xander offered. "Unless you've been taking aspirin."
Vecchio moaned and shook his head. "Way too powerful. You've got to take out the toxin and use something lesser."
"I have a refill of something that just makes you nauseous," he offered.
"Neither one of those is covered under the law, Ray," Fraser offered, sitting down with his bag of chips and his hamburger. "Technically the toxin wouldn't be one that requires a license as long as it's under two fluid ounces and under a certain strength."
"I asked, the guy said it was legal," Xander defended.
Throttle kissed him again. "Hush, Xander," he said quietly.
"Oooh, there's the zapper thingy at head height in our front room," Xander said suddenly. "I've been working on that. I got Rimfire the other day and he only got a headache. Is that legal?"
Fraser considered it. "It'd probably be a gray area," he admitted. "Was it electrical?"
"No, charged air. Ion stuff."
Vecchio shook his head. "I don't know," he admitted. "It probably will be some day." Xander shrugged. "Show that to Boris later tonight too, Xander."
"Okay." He beamed at him. "Do you really think some of those are good?"
"I do," Kowalski said, turning the page to the next design. This one had stuff paperclipped together. "Changing the barrels?"
"Yeah, on the blasters. That way we could use a second energy source instead of just the batteries and the lasers. That way if we're trapped and can't recharge we've got another option."
"Huh?" Vinnie asked. Kowalski handed it over. He looked it over, then handed it to Throttle. "My head hurts. Give me my son." Xander gave him a squeeze and a cuddle then handed him over. "Don't worry, son, we'll let Xander design the weapons for your bike when you're old enough."
"Poooof!" Vic said happily, banging his hands on the table. He opened his mouth and made whimpering sounds at Fraser, who eventually gave him his pickle. "Baddy!" He gummed on it, making a face but enjoying this new taste sensation.
"Rhubarb next," Xander said happily. Vinnie gave him an odd look. "I used to eat raw rhubarb."
"So that's what happened to your mind," Vinnie taunted, smirking at him. Xander pinched him on the arm. "Not while I'm holdin' the kid," he complained. Vecchio took the baby and he pounced Xander, getting into one of their rolling/hitting/punching fights.
Vecchio looked down at the baby. "Grow up like your Ma, kid, or like your Uncle Throttle here. He's pretty normal." He patted him on the back, making the baby belch. Then he giggled madly. He looked at Throttle, who shrugged. "Try harder."
"We do. Modo and I both try to make sure Victor grows up to be a normal mouse."
"Ohmygod!" Vic shouted at a pretty woman jogging past, reaching out for her.
"Then again, sometimes Dawn beats us to it," Throttle said dryly. "That was his first word."
Vecchio looked down at the kid. "I agree, she was cute, but way too old for ya, kid." Victor beamed up at him, liking his rougher voice. "Yeah, you're cute." He watched as more joggers ran past, turning Vic around so neither one of them had to watch the bouncing food sources. "He got a bottle?"
"Yeah, on my bike," Vinnie called, going back to beating Xander. "Yo, bike, toss the bottle," he called. It shot out of the back, where the tow line usually was, and Throttle jumped up to catch it.
"Thanks," he called, waving it. He handed it over, shaking his head. Vic clapped and laughed. "No wonder your daddy did that. Is his tow line still in there?"
"Yup," Xander agreed, getting on top of Vinnie to smirk down at him. "You're a hostage now. I should treat you roughly and make you give up your tub for the night."
"I'll share it with ya and Throttle," Vinnie offered weakly, staring up at him. Xander had his arms pinned, his tail was underneath him, his legs couldn't hurt him. "You're fighting dirty."
"No, if I were fighting dirty, I'd be muddy and nearly naked. That's how humans do it," he said with a smirk, getting off him and going back to steal the baby to feed him. "Come eat with the unclie, Victor. Yes, I've got a comfy chest and I didn't even get very sweaty today." Vic burbled through the milk but seemed to like his pecs and arms since he rubbed his cheek against them.
Throttle could only shake his head. "You really should come look at the systems in person, that way you can have gadget boy disable them on the spot."
"We should," Kowalski agreed, sliding the idea folder back over. "You've got some great ones in there, Xander. Nice work."
"Thanks," he said smugly. "I'm a man of many talents. I can hammer in a nail and build odd stuff." He looked around. "Still no Boris? I guess he'll find us at home."
"Sure," Throttle agreed. "Give Vinnie back his son so he can cart him home. I'll take your idea folder and stick it in my bag." Xander handed it over and went to help Vinnie off the ground so he could carry Vic back in his carrier. "Thank you," he said quietly.
"Not an issue," Vecchio assured him. "We'll meet you back there?" Throttle nodded and got up, heading back to his bike. Vecchio waited until they were alone to look at Fraser. "Don't give him any more ideas."
"I'm not trying to. You wanted them to stay within the letter of the law and I'm helping with that," he offered.
"He's gotta point," Kowalski admitted. "He's still paranoid though."
"Let's be thankful the boy's not one of those paranoid schitzo people," Vecchio said grimly. "Then we'd have real problems." He got up and went to his car, sure that Xander had pulled out everything by now to show them.
Boris slapped Xander's face gently, nodding him outside once he woke up. "Sorry, I was a bit busy being turned again."
"Not an issue, boss. Do you wanna see the practical stuff or the design work?"
"I'm interested in both, Xander. What do you have done?"
"A few things," he said modestly. "I was told if you didn't like 'em I'd have to deconstruct and hand them to the cops."
"Fine, let's sit up on the roof and look at your file. Where is it?"
"In Throttle's bag." He went to steal it back and take him upstairs to look at their gun turret and other things first. They could head over to the garage after that.
By dawn, Modo's room had been snuck into and a note left for him. He woke up, looking at the note on his chest, and the check. "Huh?" he complained, sitting up. He read the note, then snorted, getting up to go find Xander, finding him crashed out on the roof, right on the edge. He stuck the note and the check between his teeth while he yanked him back onto the firmer footing and woke him by doing so. He handed over the note. "You've got today and tomorrow off. Boris wanted to know if you could build the dart system with bigger darts, like maybe stakes."
"I don't see why not. Increase the hopper size and the shooting tube, plus the amount of nasty stuff," he said through a yawn. "What time is it?"
"Maybe six if I'm generous," he grumped, heading inside. He wasn't really used to seeing the sun come up. He wasn't sure he liked it.
Xander sat there and looked at his note, and then the check. "Wow," he whispered in awe. "Throttle!" he yelled, waking him, Vinnie, Victor, Charley - who was woken by Victor, and Dawn.
Modo stuck his head in Throttle's room when he didn't come out. "Go up to the roof before he wakes the whole neighborhood," he complained. "He's got the next two days off to see if he can increase the toothpick shooter to stake size."
"Why?" he groaned, heading up there, rubbing his eyes and snout. He took the note and the check, looking at the check first, then at the note. "Okay, I'm impressed. Go buy waffles for breakfast since it's so early," he said, heading down to hide the check in the office before it could be blown out of a sleepy hand.
Xander ran down the ramp, heading for his car. He'd have a lot of stuff to carry back. They were out of milk too.
To Part 52