The city gates opened and out sped Jungle Max, Turbo Tiger and Rhino Rammer. In the distance they could see a cloud of dust being kicked up by the spinning wheels of a pack of Road Hogs as they drove around a damaged Power Horse. Tarmac was firing his Power Pulveriser at them but the dust cloud was so thick that he couldn't get a clear shot. The Road Hogs squealed excitedly, almost drowning out the roar of their engines.
"Ha! Missed again Road Tamer scum!" Gross-Out, the Road Hog commander, taunted. He waved his mechanical arm around, its twin hooks moving up and down. "I'm gonna stick you on the end of my hooks and drag you back to the Niteside!"
Tarmac cursed himself for getting careless. He'd assumed that after being driven off in the battle at the Bridge of Doom the Motor Mutants would be too busy licking their wounds to cause any trouble. Instead he and Power Horse had been jumped by Gross-Out and a squad of Road Hogs on their way back from the Jungle Lair. They had almost made it back to Peopleopolis when Power Horse had been damaged by a lucky shot, bringing him to a halt.
I'm sorry Glimmer. It looks like I may not be able to keep my promise he thought.
Gross-Out's mocking laughter was abruptly cut off as a laser flew past his head, missing him by centimetres. "What the…?"
His fellow Road Hogs squealed in alarm as they took desperate evasive action to dodge the Road Tamer's fire. He tried to rally them to fight back but they were already retreating. Gross-Out started to yell at them but stopped as he spotted the device in Tarmac's hand. It was a large metal cylinder with glowing blue lights.
"I don't know what that is but it sure looks important!" He aimed his mechanical arm at Tarmac and with a hiss of pressurised air both hooks shot out, trailing cables behind them. They snagged onto the device and Gross-Out reeled them back in, snatching it right out of Tarmac's grip. With a triumphant cry he gunned his engine and zoomed off.
"No!" Tarmac cried. Power Horse whinnied in agreement. The other Animax screeched to a halt in front of them.
"Tarmac, Power Horse are you okay?" Max asked.
"I'm fine. Power Horse needs repairs but nothing critical. Max, Gross-Out has the power regulator!"
Glimmer gasped in dismay. Max frowned. "We have to hurry. Wait here, we'll be right back."
Jungle Max and Turbo Tiger roared while Rhino Rammer snorted as they set off after Gross-Out who was accelerating towards the Bridge of Doom. Tiger Trakker's face was grim as he kept his gaze fixed on the fleeing Motor Mutant.
"If he makes it back to the Niteside we'll never catch him" he said. "Glimmer, can you teleport like you did at the Bridge of Doom?"
She shook her head. "He's moving too fast. I'd never be able to materialise in time to grab it from... Wait, maybe there is a way. I'm going to teleport in front of him. When I yell "now," shield your eyes."
"Got it." Tiger drove over to Max and Rhinox and told them about Glimmer's plan. Both of them looked unsure but nodded in agreement. She teleported herself in front of Gross-Out.
"Ha, Gross-Out doesn't move for anyone" he sneered as he increased his speed, intending to run her over. Glimmer forced herself to stay where she was as the Road Hog hurtled towards her. If her timing was off she would be flattened.
"Now!" Glimmer yelled as she raised both hands and unleashed a brilliant flash of light. Max, Tiger and Rhinox were able to close their eyes in time, as were their Animax. Gross-Out was not so fortunate.
"AAGGH!" he screamed as the flash blinded him, making him swerve wildly to the side. With a burst of speed, Turbo Tiger drew level with him and Tiger Trakker snatched the power regulator from his grasp.
"I'll take that thanks" he said. He then drove over to Glimmer and helped her climb back aboard.
"Get lost Gross-Out" said Rhinox. "Be glad we have something more important to deal with or you'd really be for it."
The Motor Mutant just groaned and drove away. "Let's get back to the Niteside" he muttered. "I need to rest my eyes."
Back in Peopleopolis Glimmer and the Road Tamers hurried back to the lab. Heater looked up anxiously as they entered.
"Is everyone all right?"
"We're fine" Max reassured her. He held up the power regulator. "How long do we have."
"About ten minutes." She took the power regulator and hastily installed it into a machine that resembled a huge horizontal metal cylinder. Extending from a hole in the front of it was a platform on which a person could lay.
"Glimmer are you sure you want to go through with this?" Heater asked. "There's a chance the trail may have already cooled too much."
"I'm sure" she replied. "I have to take the chance to get back home." She smiled sadly. "Goodbye my friends, I wish we'd had more time together."
"Goodbye Glimmer and thanks for everything" said Tarmac.
"Good luck against the Horde" said Tiger.
"Yeah, kick a few of their sorry tails for me" Rhinox added.
She chuckled. "I will."
"Wait" said Heater. She handed a small metal cylinder with a red button on it to Glimmer. "Press this button when you arrive. It'll send a signal back to us so we'll know you arrived safely. Be quick, you'll only have about ten seconds to send it."
"Okay." She lay down on the platform and it retracted into the machine. Heater sat down at an adjacent control panel and activated it. There was a low humming sound as yellow lights glowed from within it. A few seconds later the light faded and disappeared.
"Glimmer?" Tarmac called.
There was no answer. The platform extended from the machine to show that Glimmer was gone.
She-Ra had managed to regain her composure enough to tell Bow and Flutterina what had happened. Their eyes widened in shock and dismay.
"It, it can't be. Glimmer, she can't…" Flutterina's voice trailed off as her eyes brimmed with tears.
"Glimmer…" Bow repeated, equally distraught. "And Queen Angella, this will devastate her."
"I know" said She-Ra. In her mind's eye she couldn't help but replay the image of Glimmer throwing herself in front of her and taking the energy bolt meant for her. It's my fault she thought despondently. If I had been quicker, been more mindful of my surroundings this would never have happened.
The three of them were startled by a sudden burst of light followed by a soft thump of someone hitting the ground. They looked over and to their utter disbelief they saw Glimmer getting to her feet.
"That was a little bumpy" she said as she dusted herself off. She looked over and smiled happily as she saw them. "She-Ra, Bow, Flutterina, I'm home."
The three of them instantly rushed over and embraced her, overcome with joy and relief. Glimmer returned the hug, somehow remembering to press the button on the signal device Heater had given her even as she did so. After a long moment they all stepped back.
"Glimmer are you all right?" She-Ra asked anxiously.
"I'm fine" she replied. "Oh I had an amazing adventure and met some wonderful people. I can't wait to tell you all."
Bow looked confused. "But you were only away for a few minutes."
"What? Oh, I guess time must move differently there."
"Time must move differently where?" Flutterina asked.
"I'll tell you all about it when we get back to camp" she replied.
"I'm afraid I won't be able to make it but I'm sure I'll hear all about it soon enough" said She-Ra wryly. She smiled, glad that her friend was back safely.
The Road Tamers and Heater stared at the control panel with baited breath for a long moment until finally a light blinked. Heater smiled.
"There's the signal. She made it."
The Road Tamers all laughed and punched their fists into the air in celebration.
"Well that was an experience" said Rhinox. "I never expected to meet someone from another world."
"I'm just glad we were able to help her" said Max.
"I wonder if we'll ever see her again" Tarmac mused. "Or somehow get to see Etheria ourselves."
"Maybe" said Max thoughtfully. "For now though we have our own world to defend. Still if the Great Rebellion, or anyone else who fights for freedom and justice needs our aid, the Road Tamers will be there."
"Amen to that my friend" said Tiger.
The Road Tamers all nodded and Heater smiled, pleased by Max's words.