Ronin Toad: Redux

Discussion in 'The Studio' started by Nace Bilby, Feb 11, 2015.

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  1. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    The Pit, Seaside Annex
    Todd, Althea, and Wet Suit
    20 February 2002, 0814


    "Ok, put this on before we get in the water." Wet Suit said as he handed Todd a silver metallic necklace.

    Todd noticed that Althea was wearing one just like it.

    "What does it do?" Todd asked.

    "It prevents any mutant scanning devices from detecting your lifesigns in case you go out past our boundaries." Wet Suit replied, "For instance, Cerebro."

    "So that's why the X-Geeks haven't found you guys yet." Todd replied.

    "Who are the X-Geeks?" Wet Suit asked, puzzled.

    "He means the X-men." Althea replied, as she was preparing to dive off the pier into the water.

    Why does he look so nervous? He's just standing there at the edge of the pier? Althea thought.

    "You're not afraid, are you?" Althea asked.

    "Who, me? No, I'm not scared and...WHOA!!!" Todd replied as Althea laughed and shoved him off the pier.

    Todd fell forward, arms flailing and legs bicycling. With a great splash he belly flopped into the water.

    "Ow." Todd groaned, as he tread water, "Geez Al why did you have to..."

    Todd stopped in mid-protest when he noticed Wet Suit staring down at him, eyes wide with amazement.

    "Wh-what's the matter and..." Todd began before looking down at his arm, seeing the skin had turned a pale green shade. He let out a shriek before swimming out of sight.

    "Where'd he go?" Althea asked, as she saw Todd rapidly swim out of sight, underneath the surface of the murky water.

    "I didn't know he could swim so fast." Althea mused, shouting, "Todd! Todd come back! I was just kidding!"

    She plunged in after him, swimming in hot pursuit.

    "Oh great," Wet Suit grumbled, "Now I've lost them both."

    ---

    To Be Continued...
     
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  2. Ororo Munroe

    Ororo Munroe Writer

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    Hello Nace.

    I liked this chapter very much. I would say that is very "true to life." Young Mr. Tolansky has called my fellow X-Men and I "the X-Geeks" on many occasions...even though he knows the exact opposite is true. ;) I look forward to seeing what happens next. :)
     
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  3. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    We Belong to the Sea, Part 2​

    Disclaimer: Same as before.

    ---

    Just Outside the Seaside Annex
    Todd Tolansky and Althea Delgado
    20 February 2002, 0830


    Not far away from the Seaside Annex of the Pit there was a small, secluded beach. Todd climbed out of the water and with a couple hops he was behind the dunes.

    "Oh man, now I really do look like a frog! Why did this have to happen? And I was just getting comfortable with my mutation too!" Todd grumbled to himself.

    He crouched lower behind the dunes as he heard the sound of splashing as Althea emerged from the water.

    “Todd? Where are you? Todd?” Althea called out.

    “Go away! Go away!” Todd shouted, “Don’t look at me!”

    Todd closed his eyes, covering his face. Oh God! She’s seen me! Man...game over…

    “Todd,” Althea replied as she crested over the top of the dune, “What’s the matter?”

    Oh man! I don’t wanna see the look on her face, Todd thought as Althea approached.

    “Todd, what is it? Todd. Please. Look at me,” Althea began.

    “I can’t,” Todd moaned.

    “Yes you can now look at me,” Althea insisted.

    Todd opened his eyes and moved his hands away from his face. And his eyes went wide as he exclaimed, “You’re blue!”

    “Yes and you’re green,” Althea replied in an amused tone.

    She’s blue, Todd thought, It’s like she’s a lighter color than Mystique.

    “So your skin changes color in salt water too?” Althea replied.

    “What?” Todd asked, looking down at himself, “Is that what happened?”

    “You didn’t know?” Althea asked, “In my case it's kind of a chemical reaction. It’s not painful or anything, but I just can’t go to the beach like everyone else.”

    “Maybe that’s the same with me?” Todd asked.

    “Come on,” Althea replied, taking his hand and with a laugh dragging him back to the water. After getting into waist deep water they began to swim together. Swimming through schools of fish. Swimming around each other, letting cool water washing over their bodies.

    Is this what it’s like to fall in love? Todd thought as he swam, hand in hand with her underneath the surface of the ocean.

    He had never felt so accepted, so wanted in all of his life. He looked into Althea’s eyes as they turned to face one another.

    How can someone so shy and timid be so wonderful? Althea thought. I never want today to end...I’ll never forget today if I live to be over a hundred.

    ---

    The Pit, Seaside Annex
    Wet Suit, Shipwreck, Surefire, Kate, Conrad
    20 February 2002, 0845


    “Run away? What do you mean, run away?” Shipwreck began.

    “Exactly what it sounds like,” Wet Suit replied as he started to make some last minute checks on one of the motorboats tied up along the pier of the Pit’s Seaside Annex.

    “Wait, back up, Wet Suit,” Surefire began, “What provoked that? From all of the things Roadblock’s told me and Psyche-Out’s assessment on the kid this isn’t usual behavior for him.”

    “Althea pushed him into the water and his skin turned green the he freaked out and swam off,” Wet Suit replied now starting the engines of the boat.

    “Did you know the kid had that ability?” Kate asked Shipwreck.

    “It’s news to me,” Shipwreck replied as he walked down to start undoing some lines forward on the boat.

    “Maybe that’s why he ran off,” Kate replied.

    “More like swam off,” Conrad countered.

    “Fine, swam off. Argue semantics much, Hart?” Kate replied.

    “Only on certain days of the week,” Conrad quipped as he helped undo some lines aft.

    Kate and Surefire hopped into the boat and after Shipwreck and Conrad had tossed their lines onto the boat they got onboard as well.

    “Hopefully they didn’t get too far,” Wet Suit replied as engaged the throttles and began to drive the boat out of the harbor.

    ---

    Just Outside the Seaside Annex
    Todd Tolansky and Althea Delgado
    20 February 2002, 0945


    “Watch this,” Althea said, and with a wave of her arm the waves grew larger, carrying her and Todd on a hand in hand ride upon the crests of the waves.

    When the wave crashed back down, Todd and Althea swam side by side underwater for a little bit before surfacing, treading water.

    With a couple deep breaths Althea began, “I really, really like you Todd Tolansky.”

    Did I really hear her say that? Or did I just get a lot of water in my ears?
    Todd thought, then he noticed the blush on Althea’s face. Then feeling her pulling him closer and kissing him.

    Todd blinked and blush, the pink of the blush mixing with his green color. Tentatively, at first, he kissed her back. I’ll never forget this moment.

    After the kiss broke, for want of air, Todd began, “I just realized something. I don’t know your code name.”

    “That’s because I don’t have one,” Althea replied.

    “No code name?” Todd replied, “That just doesn’t seem right, yo.”

    With a smile as they held hands Althea asked, “Then what would you call me?”

    Todd thought for a few moments and smiled before saying, “Wavedancer. ‘Cause of the way you. You’re like a dancer in the water.”

    She smiled, “Wavedancer. I love it.”

    Althea clasped Todd’s hand and with her powers they rode the waves some more. After a few more minutes Althea sighed, “We better head back. Wet Suit’s probably having a conniption looking for us.”

    “I can’t go back looking like this.” Todd yelped.

    “Why not?” Althea countered, “They've seen me like this.”

    “They’ll laugh at me,” Todd replied.

    “For crying out loud!” Althea rolled her eyes and gently tugged on Todd’s hand, “If you weren’t so cute I wouldn’t know what I see in you! Come with me!”

    Todd nodded weakly and the two swam hand in hand back towards the Pit’s Seaside Annex.

    ---
     
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  4. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    Just Outside the Seaside Annex
    Wet Suit, Shipwreck, Surefire, Kate, Conrad
    20 February 2002, 1051


    “There! Did you see that huge wave to the right?” Kate shouted over the din of the boat’s engine.

    “Off the starboard side,” Shipwreck corrected, “Nautical term is starboard for right and port for left.”

    “Whatever,” Kate replied.

    Conrad lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes as Kate pointed at a second large wave before saying, “I see what looks like two people bodysurfing in that wave.”

    “I’ll steer us towards it.” Wet Suit said, gunning the engine, causing Kate to lose her footing and fall forward.

    Conrad managed to arrest her fall, but wound up falling over on his back, Kate lying on top of him.

    With a wry smile the ex-Legionnaire said, “Don’t you think we should go to dinner first?”

    “Very funny,” Kate replied with a smirk as she tried to get to her feet.

    “If you two are done canoodling we’ve got two kids to find,” Surefire chimed in as he and Shipwreck helped Conrad and Kate to their feet.

    “Do you always drive boats like that, Wet Suit?” Kate asked the SEAL as she regained her footing.

    “You landlubbers,” Shipwreck countered with an amused belly laugh.

    Conrad raised his binoculars to his eyes and saw two people treading water, “To your half right!”

    Wet Suit nodded and turned the boat slightly, slowing down as he approached the two teenagers in the water.

    ---

    Just Outside the Seaside Annex
    Todd Tolansky and Althea Delgado
    20 February 2002, 1048


    It was just after they had begun their swim back towards the Pit that Althea and Todd noticed the small boat heading their way.

    Todd promptly hid behind Althea as the boat neared them. Althea rolled her eyes and said, “Just duck underwater for a minute and I’ll explain everything.”

    As Todd complied Althea could make out the faces of Agents Hart and Todd, Surefire, Shipwreck and Wet Suit in the small boat.

    “Where’s Todd?” Kate asked, without any preamble as she reached downward to help Althea into the boat.

    “He’s just behind me, he had a little situation with his powers and freaked out a little,” Althea explained, “Try not to get too freaked out that he’s a little green right now.”

    “Alright,” Kate replied and turned to explain to the others, seeing Althea go underwater out of the corner of her eye.

    Althea gave Todd a thumbs up and the boy nervously surfaced. Shipwreck reached down to help Althea back onto the boat and Conrad helped Todd.

    Meanwhile Kate had reached into a box near the steering console and withdrew two towels and draped them over the shoulders of the two teenagers. Then Wet Suit gunned the motors of the boat and headed back towards the Seaside Annex.

    After about ten minutes Todd’s skin turned back to its normal pale color. With a smile Althea took his hand and said, “See it’s not so bad afterall.”

    Todd returned the smile as he looked into her eyes and replied, “No, it’s not.”

    Todd, of course spoke more about his feelings than the little episode with his skin as they continued their trip.

    ---

    The Pit, Officer’s Quarters
    Conrad Hart and Kate Todd
    20 February 2002, 1644


    “That certainly was an interesting day,” Kate began as she sat down at the kitchen table and powered up her laptop before reaching into a pocket and pulling out her PDA.

    “That it most certainly was,” Conrad replied as he took out his notebook and laid it beside his own laptop, and typing up an email from his notes.

    Kate rummaged around through her backpack and pulled out a docking station and USB cable for her PDA and plugged it into her laptop, “I think my way’s a bit faster.”

    “To each his or her own, mademoiselle,” Conrad replied.

    “This whole development with Todd and Althea is certainly going into my report,” Kate replied.

    “Ah, young love,” Conrad commented wistfully.

    Kate smiled and replied, “I mean just look at those two for even a couple minutes and you can tell that their being in each others’ lives is only a good thing.”

    Conrad nodded as he continued to type his report, “I agree and my own report is to say just as much. Having Althea in his life is what the boy needs. Even if he’s likely to have insane in laws.”

    “That’s a bit premature, don’t you think?” Kate replied.

    “Not at all,” Conrad replied, “With some couples you just can tell.”

    Kate wistfully smiled, “Good point. My parents are the same way. They were high school sweethearts, Dad got drafted to go to Vietnam and Mom waited for him.”

    Conrad replied, “My grand-mère and grand-père were much the same. Every morning as the sun rises grand-mère walks along the beach to remember. She’s done this for as long as I can remember.”

    Kate felt a lump rise in her throat, “I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose someone you love like that.”

    “Someday I want to find what became of grand-père,” Conrad replied, “If for nothing else my family knows what became of him beyond the words ‘Missing in Action’.”

    “I hope you find what you’re looking for,” Kate replied, “And back to the present day, that’s part of the reason I’m definitely making my observation that the Delgados, while insane, are a good influence on Todd.”

    “Likewise. They certainly keep things interesting,” Conrad replied.

    “Interesting isn’t the word I’d use to describe Shipwreck and his family,” Kate replied, with a smile as she typed another email.

    “Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to our ‘Delayed Valentine’s Day’,” Kate said softly as she typed the sentence.

    “Excuse me?” Conrad said.

    “Oh,” Kate replied, with a slight wince, “Did I say that out loud?”

    “You did,” Conrad replied, “and it’s nothing I wouldn’t have been surprised by.”

    “Oh, why is that?”

    “A beautiful woman like you not having someone in her life,” Conrad replied.

    Kate felt herself blush, “Well given my line of work has me on the job 24/7 it’s not easy. But Tim at least understands that.”

    “How so?” Conrad replied, curious.

    “He’s on the Presidential Detail with me,” Kate replied. Damn it, I said too much.

    Conrad noticed the slight regret at Kate’s admission, but declined to press on the matter. Must be against their rules or something to that effect.

    “Dating fellow members of the Presidential Detail is against regulations,” Kate replied, “So I’d appreciate it if…”

    Conrad replied, “Think nothing of it.”

    “So is there someone in your life?” Kate asked.

    “That’s something I’d honestly rather not discuss,” Conrad replied.

    “Okay, I’m sorry if I brought up a sore subject,” Kate apologized.

    “It’s quite alright, you didn’t know, mademoiselle,” Conrad replied.

    I wonder if that has something to do with his mysterious reason for joining the French Foreign Legion? I know one cliche of a reason men joined the French Foreign Legion was because of being romantically rejected. I wonder if that’s true of Conrad? Kate thought.

    ---

    Tim,

    Like I said over the phone: Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to our Delayed Valentine’s Day.

    I saw something very beautiful today. The two kids, Althea and Todd, are clearly high school sweethearts and in my professional opinion as a profiler, soulmates. If you saw them you would definitely see that.

    God, I miss you.

    Kate

    P.S. I love you.


    ---

    To Be Continued...
     
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  5. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    Coffee, Chaos and Questions, Part One​

    Disclaimer: Same as before.

    Author's Note: I realized that in canon Shipwreck's last name is Delgato not Delgado.

    ---

    Agent Todd,

    This latest development of a relationship between Tolansky and the Delgato girl is something that's piqued some interest. I caution you, though, to avoid making overly optimistic assessments. For all you know this could be just like any other teenage crush. I ask that you keep overly personal assessments out of future reports.

    I do wonder about the remainder of the Delgato family and their influence on Todd as well. Especially some of the reports I've heard about Brittany, Quinn, and Daria Delgato that mention they've been responsible for several additions to the long list of places that Shipwreck is banned from.

    Agent Baer


    --

    The Pit, Officer’s Quarters
    Conrad Hart and Kate Todd
    21 February 2002, 0645


    “What the Hell happened to you?” Kate asked as Conrad walked into the apartment. He was soaking wet, and covered with soap suds. Clutched in his left hand was a thermos.

    “Put it this way, mutants and coffee do not mix,” Conrad replied as he walked into the apartment and set the thermos onto the kitchen table.

    “I figured it had something to do with Todd,” Kate replied, “If it didn’t I’d wonder how you managed to get soaking wet just checking out the Mess Hall to see what BA was serving.”

    “As I said, it did have something to do with Todd and mutants and coffee are in fact a recipe for chaos,” Conrad replied.

    “Ok, what happened?” Kate asked.

    “Todd drank some of BA’s coffee and went into a great fit of hyperactivity,” Conrad replied.

    “How can coffee cause an already hyperactive mutant teenager to get even more so?” Kate asked.

    “I do believe that the coffee is BA’s special blend,” Conrad replied.

    “What did BA do? Spike the coffee? That sounds more like something Shipwreck would do,” Kate replied.

    “I’m not sure,” Conrad replied, “But whatever he did sure makes it potent.”

    “Ok, so start at the beginning, how did you wind up looking like a dishwasher exploded all over you?” Kate replied.

    “Well, it all started when I went to go check out the menu to see if we should get breakfast at the mess hall…” Conrad began.

    ---

    The Pit, The Mess Hall
    Big Lob, Tunnel Rat, Conrad, Toad
    21 February 2002, 0600


    Conrad Hart walked into the mess hall as Todd was working with Big Lob, Tunnel Rat, and Cross Country to help set up for breakfast.

    “So I ain’t seen you around much,” Tunnel Rat said to Todd.

    “Been hanging around Shipwreck’s place lately,” Big Lob smirked as he laid out several coffee cups near the beverage table.

    “More like his daughter,” Tunnel Rat said, smiling.

    “Oooh! Someone’s got a girlfriend!” Both of them said at the same time.

    “Shut up!” Todd said, blushing.

    “Ah, young love,” Conrad commented as he walked over. Todd turned an even darker shade of pink.

    “Got to first base yet?” Big Lob said as he ruffled Todd’s hair.

    “Come on, guys, cut it out!” Todd said, blushed red now.

    “Hey guys, lay off him,” Cross Country said as he came over after setting up the last stack of trays, “Kid doesn’t need you giving him a hard time now.”

    “Aw, we’re just yanking his chain a little,” Tunnel Rat replied, before turning to Todd, “Come on kid! Let’s celebrate.”

    “Hey Big Lob,” Tunnel Rat said, “Give me a cup of that coffee.”

    Big Lob complied and poured four more cups for the others in the room, “Come on kid, have a cup of Joe with the Joes.”

    Todd cradled the cup of coffee, looking at it and sniffing, “I dunno it smells pretty strong.”

    “So it’ll put hair on your chest!” Big Lob replied.

    “Really?” Todd said, eyes growing big.

    “Guys, I don’t think you should do that,” Cross Country said.

    “Aw, come on, it’s just a little coffee,” Tunnel Rat replied, “What harm can it do?”

    Todd took a swig. Then another. His eyes began to swim and he gasped, “WHOA!”

    After taking a much larger slug from the cup he began to grin…

    ---
     
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  6. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    The Pit, Officer’s Quarters
    Conrad Hart and Kate Todd
    21 February 2002, 0648


    “So Todd had the cup of coffee and then what happened?” Kate asked.

    “The kid started hopping all over the place, jumped from wall to ceiling to floor,” Conrad replied, “We managed to close the front door so he couldn’t get outside of it.”

    “Alright, then how did you wind up soaking wet?” Kate asked.

    “I was getting there,” Conrad replied, “Well after Todd’s impromptu redecoration of the mess hall with toilet paper, whipped cream and paper napkins he wound up getting into the kitchen and started spraying water everywhere from the big sinks in there. We all went in there to try and corral him only to get soaked with dish soap and even more water.”

    “No way,” Kate replied.

    “If you think I’m kidding let’s go down there and I’ll show you I am most assuredly not kidding!” Conrad replied.

    “Ok,” Kate replied, grabbing her jacket and following Conrad out of the apartment and down the stairs.

    After crossing the courtyard into the cafeteria Conrad opened the door and with a flourish said, “After you, mademoiselle.”

    Just after Kate walked into the cafeteria she saw Roadblock standing in the room and that Conrad hadn’t been exaggerating one bit.

    “WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED HERE!?” Roadblock bellowed.

    “Jesus, Roadblock, you nearly made me deaf as Conrad just now,” Kate complained.

    “Hey,” Conrad protested, “I’m not totally deaf, it’s only my left ear that tends to have my hearing come and go.”

    “Unbelievable,” Kate commented as she surveyed the damage.

    “Now you see I wasn’t joking!” Conrad replied.

    BA walked up to the trio standing near the Mess Hall’s entrance and responded to Roadblock’s question, “Toad the Mutant Tornado.”

    “WHAT?” Roadblock shouted, “WHY THAT LITTLE…”

    “Technically, Roadblock, it’s not the kid’s fault,” Conrad countered.

    “How is that the case? Because it looks like the kid’s trashed this building on base?” Roadblock replied.

    “Well,” Tunnel Rat said as he and Big Lob approached, “We just gave the kid a bit of coffee…”

    “Coffee?” Roadblock said, “This wouldn’t be BA’s coffee, would it?”

    “Uh…” Tunnel Rat replied.

    “Roadblock, wait, what is the deal with BA’s coffee?” Kate asked.

    Roadblock ignored Kate before continuing, “BA’s infamous coffee?”

    “Um…” Big Lob said with a gulp.

    “BA’s Ultimate Eye Opener?” Roadblock continued, advancing on the other two men.

    Kate let out a yelp as Roadblock accidentally stepped on her foot. Mr. Gentle Giant over there is really pissed right now if he forgot to apologize. Kate thought.

    “Uh…” Big Lob and Tunnel Rat said together.

    “BA’s coffee that is so strong a single drop of it once drove an anaconda crazy?” Roadblock added as he continued to walk towards Tunnel Rat and Big Lob.

    “Uh…”

    “A coffee so strong that a single cup can keep a man awake for a week?” Roadblock shouted.

    “I’m sure that has to be an exaggeration,” Conrad interjected.

    Roadblock turned around to glare at him, “No, Mr. Legionnaire, I assure you it isn’t.”

    “Looking back on it, maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing we’ve ever done,” Tunnel Rat replied.

    “Ya think?” Roadblock shouted, grabbing a fistfull of Tunnel Rat’s shirt, “This stuff makes adults wired for days! Imagine what it does to the system of a hyperactive mutant teenager?”

    “I think I bore witness to the end result,” Conrad whispered to Kate.

    “We didn’t think he’d drink the whole cup!” Tunnel Rat yelped.

    “Yeah,” Big Lob added, “What harm would it do?”

    “I think Conrad being soaked to the bone is one clue,” Kate remarked.

    “YYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” Todd’s excited shout resounded through the room.

    “I think you’re all about to find out,” BA interjected.

    “I managed to get him contained to the kitchen,” Conrad replied, “Just barely.”

    The fivesome approached the kitchen door, with a chair braced against the doorknob. Through the closed door they could see that bubbles were leaking out onto the floor. After moving the chair aside Roadblock flung the door open in time to see the kitchen covered in bubbles and in the middle of the floor they could all see Todd skating with brushes tied to the soles of his feet.

    “Wheeee!” Todd crowed.

    After he saw Roadblock and the others he waved and cheerfully said, “Hi guys! I’m helping clean up the kitchen!”

    “Oh man,” Big Lob replied, mouth falling open.

    “Need I explain further, mademoiselle?” Conrad replied, pointing at the sight before them.

    Todd reached over to the sink, taking a hose from it and spraying water into the air, drenching the five people near the kitchen entrance.

    “Okay Conrad, I’m officially convinced you weren’t kidding,” Kate replied as she wiped water off her brow, Damn it! I just got this suit dry cleaned before I left!

    “Well now, Todd, you’re going to do some extra training to work off all that energy!” Roadblock told him.

    “Cool!” Todd said, hopping up and down, his head narrowly missing going through the ceiling tiles by a few millimeters.

    “Yes, you are going to the obstacle course! The really big one on the other side of base,” Roadblock replied, “And these two are going to take you and train with you!”

    “What?” Tunnel Rat shouted.

    “That’s cruel and unusual punishment!” Big Lob protested.

    Roadblock glared at them and Big Lob replied, “I mean it’s gonna be a lot of fun!”

    “Yeah I can hardly wait!” Tunnel Rat said with false enthusiasm, whirling his index finger in the air, “Let’s go to the obstacle course!”

    “Yippppeeeee!” Todd shouted excitedly as he bounced after them.

    “Kid! Take off the brushes first! You’re getting soap everywhere!” BA shouted.

    Todd complied as Kate thought, As if there isn’t soap everywhere already.

    “BA, I’ll help you clean up, it’s safer,” Roadblock replied.

    “I’ll help as well, since I’m already drenched,” Conrad added.

    “So will I,” Kate replied, Baer’s probably gonna have me committed to the mental institution over this part of my report.
     
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  7. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    The Pit, The Mess Hall
    Roadblock, BA, Beach Head, Sergeant Slaughter, Conrad, Kate
    21 February 2002, 0848


    “I can’t believe one kid caused all this mess,” BA groaned as he dumped yet another bucket of water into the sink.

    “I do,” Beach Head replied, “The kid is a menace.”

    “Ok, he’s a bit crazy but not a menace,” Kate replied, “He is just a kid.”

    “Well by now most of the caffeine’s out of his system,” Roadblock replied, “Nothing like hard work to take the fight out of a boy. The obstacle course should calm him down.”

    “The operative word being should,” Conrad quipped as he put a stack of dishes away.

    “To be fair, Conrad, maybe it worked,” Kate replied as she stacked a few trays and put them into another cabinet.

    The sound of a door opening could be heard. Shortly after Todd bounded in with Big Lob and Tunnel Rat in tow.

    “THAT WAS GREAT!” Todd shouted.

    Merde,” Conrad groaned.

    “You were saying, Roadblock?” BA said skeptically.

    Tunnel Rat and Big Lob staggered in behind him. In stark contrast to Todd, who looked fresh as a daisy, they were covered in dirt and grime and looked like a fleet of tanks had run over them before reversing to do so again.

    “That was great!” Todd shouted, hopping up and down, “Again! I wanna do it again!”

    “But you’ve already done it 26 times,” Tunnel Rat groaned.

    “The obstacle course is destroyed! There’s nothing left!” Big Lob added.

    “I wanna train some more!” Todd said, jumping up and down, higher and higher, his head just barely touching the ceiling, “Come on guys, I wanna train some more!”

    “Someone please help us…” Tunnel Rat said in agony.

    “Well,” Sergeant Slaughter said, walking over, “I think I can put that energy to good use.”

    “Take him. For the love of God! Take him!” Big Lob replied.

    “ATTEN-HUT!” Sergeant Slaughter shouted and then Todd promptly popped to attention.

    “So you wanna train some more, eh, soldier?” Sergeant Slaughter began.

    “Yes sir!” Todd said cheerfully.

    “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Sergeant Slaughter replied.

    "YES SIR!" Todd replied.

    "THAT'S THE SPIRIT!" Sergeant Slaughter replied, "AND DON'T CALL ME SIR, I WORK FOR A LIVING!"

    "YES SERGEANT SLAUGHTER!!" Todd shouted at the top of his lungs.

    Note to self, wear earplugs next time Todd's on a caffeine high,
    Kate thought.

    "I've got just the thing in mind," Sergeant Slaughter said, with a grin. Guiding Todd by one arm to the nearest window he pointed, "See that mountain there, soldier? We're gonna climb it, with nice little twenty pound knapsacks on our backs."

    "THAT'S GREAT! I CAN'T WAIT TO GET STARTED!" Todd shouted.

    "Now that's the attitude I wanna see," Sergeant Slaughter replied.

    "Sarge, don't kill the kid!" Roadblock replied.

    "Don't worry, I'm sure nice little hike up and down a mountain should wind his batteries right down," Sergeant Slaughter said as they left.

    "Ok, five will get you fifteen that Sergeant Slaughter runs the kid into the ground," Tunnel Rat replied.

    "I dunno," Big Lob said, "Make it a double and you've got yourself a bet."

    "Deal," Tunnel Rat replied.

    "Ten for twenty that Todd runs Sergeant Slaughter into the ground," BA said.

    "Same for me," Conrad replied, only for Kate to elbow him in the ribs.

    "I don't believe this," Kate replied, with noticeable chagrin, "You guys are actually betting on whether Todd runs Sergeant Slaughter into the ground or vice versa.

    "Hey, it's possibly a way to make a few bucks," Conrad quipped.

    "You've seriously gone native," Kate replied.

    BA chuckled as he walked up to them, "You'll find out that at any given time there's at least a dozen betting pools going on around this base."

    "Let me guess, Shipwreck is running most of them?" Kate replied.

    "He's in on some and started a few, but not as many as you think," BA replied with a grin.

    Baer's gonna have a heart attack about this, Kate thought.

    Conrad laughed and Kate turned towards him, "What's so funny?"

    "You have to admit, one kid on a caffeine high causing this much damage is funny in a weirdly demented sort of way," Conrad replied.

    "I see your point, warped as it is," Kate replied.

    "I'm sure both of our reports are going to be amusing reads for our respective bosses," Conrad replied.

    "Maybe for your boss, if he's got a sense of humor," Kate replied.

    "She, actually," Conrad corrected, "She does have a sense of humor, though she does wonder what sort of madhouse I've wandered into."

    "Well you're lucky," Kate replied, "Agent Baer isn't known for a sense of humor.”

    “Sounds like it,” Conrad replied.

    “I’m convinced he doesn’t have one,” Kate replied, “I’m going up to the apartment to get changed. What did you put in that thermos, by the way?”

    “A bit of BA’s Coffee, of course,” Conrad grinned.

    “Why?” Kate asked.

    “No point in wasting it,” Conrad replied with a droll shrug.

    “Ok, now it’s official: you’ve gone native,” Kate replied as she walked out of the Mess Hall.

    ---

    To Be Continued...
     
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  8. Invader

    Invader Writer

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    This was quite a scene, and nearly had me falling off the bed laughing. Thank you ever so much for posting this.
     
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  9. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    Coffee, Chaos, and Questions, Part Two​

    Disclaimer: Same as before…

    ---

    The Pit, Headquarters Building Lounge
    Roadblock, Beach Head, Conrad, and Kate
    21 February 2002, 1158


    “Well, the kid should be calmed down by now,” Roadblock began as he waited in the lounge.

    “If he’s still alive,” Beach Head smirked, “The Sarge will run that little punk into the ground! He’ll be lucky if he has any strength to crawl back!”

    “Wonder who’s winning the bet?” Conrad ventured only to have Kate elbow him in the ribs.

    Just as Conrad spoke Todd hopped happily into the lounge before saying, “Wow! I just had the best time! Mountain climbing sure is fun? Eh Sarge? Sarge? Sarge? Come on Sarge! Get the lead out!”

    Roadblock, Conrad, Kate, and Beach Head turned to see Sergeant Slaughter, the toughest Drill Sergeant who ever lived, stagger into the lounge. After he dropped his backpack he groaned, “Help me.”

    Then he collapsed onto the couch. For what felt like hour-long minutes no one spoke until Beach Head managed to collect his thoughts, “Sarge, what did he do to you?”

    “We went up the mountain and then back down. Then he wanted to race up the mountain. So I said why not? That was the biggest mistake of my life!”

    “I won the race!” Todd beamed.

    “How did he win with a twenty pound backpack on?” Beach Head asked.

    “You know those old cartoons where the skunk bounces happily all over the place without a care in the world?” Sergeant Slaughter replied.

    “Vividly,” Kate replied.

    “Just picture the skunk jumping something like forty-something feet and that’s pretty much what that was like,” Sergeant Slaughter replied.

    “No way,” Kate replied.

    “Do you see the proof?” Sergeant Slaughter said as Todd hopped wildly around the lounge.

    “That was great!” Todd shouted, “I love mountain climbing! Can we do it again, Sarge? Huh? Can we? Can we?”

    “Maybe later. After I find my lungs,” Sergeant Slaughter replied.

    “I never thought I’d see the sight I found,” Roadblock began, “Someone finally ran the Sarge into the ground.”

    “I wanna train some more!” Todd said, jumping up and down.

    “It’s official,” Sergeant Slaughter replied, flopping down onto the couch, “I’m getting old. There was a time that a little thing like climbing a mountain wouldn’t tire me out like this.”

    “You’ve never done it with a mutant teenager hyped up on BA’s coffee,” Roadblock observed.

    “Good point. Any more of that coffee left?”

    “I’ll have some more!” Todd said.

    “OH NO YOU WON’T!” Everyone in the room shouted.

    “Aww…” Todd pouted, before hopping over to Roadblock, “So what do you wanna do, Roadblock?”

    “You’re not tired?” Roadblock asked, incredulous.

    “Not yet,” Todd shook his head.

    “Oh great,” Roadblock groaned.

    “And you still decided to bring a thermos full of that stuff back to the room?” Kate whispered to Conrad.

    “It wasn’t that bad a cup of coffee,” Conrad replied.

    “Minus the fact that it’s got Todd insanely wired right now!” Kate replied.

    “YAHOO! YIPEEE!” Todd shouted as he hopped from floor, to ceiling, to wall around the lounge.

    “Good point. But I’m sure if you’re likely to have a late night or an early morning BA’s coffee isn’t a bad thing,” Conrad observed.

    “Provided Todd, Althea, or God forbid Trinity don’t get a hold of it,” Kate replied.

    “Good point! Those three are insane enough without BA’s coffee…” Conrad began before pausing.

    “I agree,” Kate replied, before noticing Conrad’s voice trailing off. She was about to ask him what he was going on about when she saw Conrad raise his index finger to his lips.

    Kate followed Conrad’s line of sight to where Todd looking around, before spotting something hidden in a camouflage backpack near the chair Beach Head was sitting in.

    “Oh great, now what do I do?” Roadblock groaned.

    “Don’t look at me,” Beach Head said with a snorted laugh, “It’s not my fault you can’t control him.”

    Because Beach Head and Roadblock were busy arguing about Roadblock’s apparent lack of control over Todd neither man saw what Conrad and Kate were witnessing. Todd’s hand reached into a partially open main compartment of the backpack, pulling out a brown teddy bear wearing camouflage fatigues and shiny little black boots.

    “Hey, is this your teddy bear?” Todd asked.

    “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT!?” Beach Head roared, "YOU WERE IN MY BACKPACK YOU LITTLE SNEAK!!!"

    "Let's play a game!" Todd shouted, hopping up and down, waving the bear.

    Beach Head stood up from the chair to start chasing Todd. Todd whooped happily and shouted, "I've got Sergeant Snuffles!"

    "MAKE HIM GIVE THAT BACK!" Beach Head shouted.

    "What am I supposed to do?" Roadblock asked, "I can't control him, remember."

    "Unbelievable," Kate groaned as she began to make a couple notes on her PDA, "I'm going to have a heck of a time describing Todd on a caffeine high."

    "Why not just say coffee and mutants don't mix and leave it at that?" Conrad replied.

    "You don't know Agent Baer," Kate replied, "He's going to want every single detail and...HEY!!!"

    Kate yelped and her chair flipped over backward when Todd grabbed her PDA and she tumbled backward in a graceless heap.

    “ROADBLOCK MAKE HIM GIVE IT BACK!” Beach Head shouted as he chased Todd around the room.

    Kate rolled out of the way, narrowly avoiding having Beach Head step on her midsection as he gave chase.

    “Hey! Watch it!” Kate shouted. She felt a hand under each of her arms and the sensation of being dragged out of the way.

    “Don’t look at me,” Roadblock said with a smile, “I can’t control him, remember?”

    “Beach Head, do you think you could control where you stamp your feet? You nearly stomped on my stomach chasing the kid!” Kate exclaimed.

    Conrad reached down to help Kate to her feet and she did sway slightly, having worn a pair of high heels that day. Not the best footwear to try and chase down a hyperactive mutant teenager, Kate thought.

    She dusted herself off as Beach Head continued to try to chase Todd around the room, “I’m thinking that the nearest mental institution in Washington D.C. has its newest inmate.”

    “Who? Todd?” Conrad asked.

    “No. Me, once I submit today’s report,” Kate groaned, “Baer isn’t going to believe this.”

    “There’s always omission,” Conrad replied.

    “I’m seriously considering that,” Kate sighed.

    After about another hour of Beach Head fruitlessly chasing Todd around the lounge Roadblock managed to get the kid to give back the items he had taken.

    “So whatdya want to do now?” Todd asked, hopping up and down.

    “Why don’t you go play in a minefield,” Beach Head glared at him.

    “CAN I?” Todd asked, eyes going wide and fluttering his eyelids.

    “NO!” Roadblock shouted. “Come on, playtime’s over. Let’s go talk to Lifeline now, shall we?”

    “Okay,” Todd said as he hopped alongside Roadblock.

    Roadblock, out of the corner of his eye, noticed Conrad and Kate were following them. Sticking closer to me than my own shadow, not surprising. Roadblock thought. They’re not bad people, however given they’re not members of G.I. Joe I still don't 100% trust either of them.

    “Kid, do you ever walk?” Roadblock said, turning his attention back to Todd.

    “Sorry,” Todd replied in mid hop, and upon landing reverted to walking, “It just comes natural to me, y’know.”

    “I guess,” Roadblock replied as the foursome walked into the Infirmary and towards Lifeline’s office, “Now stay with Agent Todd and Agent Hart. Don’t go too far…”

    Lifeline looked up from his computer as Roadblock walked into the room.

    “Lifeline, do you have any knock out drops?”

    “What?” Lifeline asked.

    “The kid is on a caffeine high,” Roadblock explained, “Please, just something to calm him down. Before he runs me down!”

    “Roadblock, that’s not idea to give the boy too much medication, especially given his mutated metabolism,” Lifeline replied.

    “Please!” Roadblock replied, “I tried having him exercise it off. It didn’t work.”

    “I know. I saw Sarge, Tunnel Rat, and Big Lob earlier,” Lifeline sighed, “Let me have a look at him.”

    “Thanks,” Roadblock said as they walked out into the hall. Todd was nowhere to be seen, neither were Agent Todd or Agent Hart.

    “Oh no,” Lifeline groaned, “You don’t think he went out to look at the tanks again, did he?”

    “How did he get past an agent from ACME and an agent from the US Secret Service?” Roadblock said.

    “Oh Lord,” Lifeline groaned as the two of them went around the building looking for him.

    Roadblock reached into his pocket and grabbed his cell phone. He punched in Agent Hart’s number and when he picked up he heard Conrad’s reply, “Agent Hart…”

    “What the Hell is going on here? Where’s Todd?” Roadblock demanded.

    “Relax, Monsieur Roadblock,” Conrad said, “He’s got plenty of adult supervision and…”

    Roadblock heard an explosion and the sound Todd’s maniacal laughter. Roadblock dropped his phone.

    “Roadblock? What’s going on?” Lifeline asked, as he scooped up the phone.

    “Oh Lord, that boy and weapons are not a good combination!” Roadblock replied as he and Lifeline headed outside, “If he’s gotten into the grenades…”

    “Yes, Agent Hart, this is Lifeline. What’s going on?”

    “Todd’s with me and Agent Todd and some other Joes at the firing range,” Conrad replied, “The one for the rocket launchers…”

    Lifeline cupped the mouthpiece of the phone and relayed the information. Roadblock’s eyes just about bugged out of his head.

    “RPGs!? Todd’s gotten into the RPGs!!” Roadblock shouted.

    Lifeline said, “Hang on, we’ll be right there.”

    After getting into one of the government sedans on the base Lifeline and Roadblock headed for the nearby firing range.

    “Roadblock…(gasp)...slow down! Todd’s got adult supervision!” Lifeline shouted as he fell behind.

    “Fire in the hole!” Conrad’s shout could be heard, and then the sound of a rocket firing…
     
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  10. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    The Pit, Range Complex
    Todd, Kate, Conrad, Flint, Sci-Fi, Low Light
    21 February 2002, 1315


    Note to self, Kate thought, Phrase very carefully about how Todd received a lesson in firing RPGs.

    Kate stood back as a Joe called Sci Fi was holding up a tubular weapon with a pistol grip handle. Three large green rockets were in a bag on his back.

    “Now Todd, this is the RPG-7,” Sci Fi began, “One of the most common rocket propelled grenade launchers on the planet.”

    “I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to explain this to Baer,” Kate began.

    “Well, you could always say he received a class familiarizing him with various RPGs,” Conrad replied.

    “I’ve never fired a weapon before,” Todd began.

    “Don’t worry,” Conrad said, turning briefly to address him, “that means you won’t have any bad habits.”

    “You are making a good point,” Kate said to Conrad, before tugging on his sleeve to whisper in his ear, “Are you sure you’re not worried that the kid’s learning about weapons?”

    “He’s on an Army base, surrounded by professionals. Nothing to be alarmed about,” Conrad replied.

    “I might disagree with you there, Hart,” Kate replied, “I hope the kid doesn’t think of leveling something like that at the Presidential Limo or Marine One.”

    She watched Conrad head over to Todd and Sci Fi.

    Conrad guided Todd to a position where he had one knee on the ground, a practiced kneeling firing position before putting the launcher onto his shoulder.

    “Good, now squeeze the trigger slow and easy,” Sci Fi directed.

    CLICK. Todd dry fired the launcher two more times before Sci Fi said, “You’ve got the concept down, kid. Now let’s see you fire the real thing. See that junked car over there?”

    “Yeah,” Todd replied.

    Conrad took one of the rockets and loaded it into the launcher, “Alright Todd, remember, check behind you before firing an RPG. The backblast can be fatal to anyone standing directly behind you.”

    Todd looked behind him, seeing nothing or no one there before Conrad tapped his shoulder shouting, “Fire in the hole!”

    Todd squeezed the trigger and the rocket streaked downrange before exploding into the car.

    “Direct hit! And you say you’ve never fired a weapon before?” Sci Fi said.

    “I’m impressed,” Flint replied.

    “You guys are maniacs,” Kate grumbled.

    “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” Todd shouted wildly.

    After firing three more times, Todd hit the mangled metal remnants of the junked car precisely each time.

    “How you do that?” Low Light asked.

    “Easy, I just pretended that Magneto and Mystique were driving the car,” Todd replied.

    “See,” Conrad turned to Kate, with a smile, “nothing to be alarmed about, he’s got his aggression and training leveled in the right way.”

    “You’re insane,” Kate replied.

    “Well, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if Mystique and Magneto were blown into shards,” Conrad replied.

    “Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” Low Light asked Todd.

    “Nope,” Todd replied.

    “Gentlemen, I believe we have a prodigy on our hands,” Sci Fi said proudly.

    “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!!” Roadblock bellowed as he ran up to them, Lifeline gasping behind him, “There is no way you are going to teach that boy about weapons!”

    “But he’s good at it,” Low Light protested.

    “Aw! Come on!” Sci Fi protested.

    “NO!” Roadblock shouted, grabbing Todd and dragging him back towards the car.

    “You’re no fun, Roadblock,” Flint added.

    “That was fun,” Todd began, “Can I blow something else up now?”

    “NO!” Lifeline and Roadblock said simultaneously.

    “Lifeline…” Roadblock replied.

    “Let’s take him to my office,” Lifeline replied, “I’ve got an idea.”

    “I’ll try anything,” Roadblock said.

    Conrad and Kate followed them to the car and after a short ride back to the Infirmary they headed to Lifeline’s office.

    “Okay Todd, have a seat in that chair over there and relax,” Lifeline said.

    Todd did so and Lifeline placed his hands on Todd’s temples, “Now I want you to relax. Don’t be afraid.”

    Lifeline began to gently massage Todd’s forehead, and his hands began to glow.

    “What? Are you a mutant too?” Todd yelped.

    “Sorry,” Lifeline shook his head, “I may have healing abilities, but I don’t have an X-Gene. Technically I’m not a mutant.”

    “Then what are you?” Todd asked, calming down.

    “I don’t really know,” Lifeline replied with a shrug, “I just happen to have healing abilities. Now relax. That’s right. Just close your eyes and think happy thoughts...Just relax…”

    Soon Todd was snoring peacefully.

    “Thank you,” Roadblock said, carrying the sleeping boy out of the infirmary and back to their quarters.

    ---

    The Pit, The Mess Hall
    Lifeline, Kate, Conrad, and Sergeant Slaughter
    21 February 2002, 1400


    “I could use a cup of coffee right now,” Lifeline said.

    “Me too,” Kate replied, and soon she, Conrad and Lifeline were on their way to the mess hall.

    As they walked they happened to meet Sergeant Slaughter on the way, “So you finally got the kid to sleep, huh, Lifeline?”

    “Yes, things should be back to normal now,” Lifeline said.

    “Why do I get the feeling that the other shoe is about to drop?” Kate replied.

    Mademoiselle, perhaps there is nothing to be alarmed about,” Conrad began just as Lifeline opened the door.

    “WHAT THE-?” Lifeline gasped with surprise.

    There was water all over the cafeteria that formed into a mini-tidal wave that began to chase Beach Head before it overtook him and washed him away.

    “SHIPWRECK!!!!!!” Beach Head shouted.

    "Don’t look at me!” Shipwreck sputtered as he floundered in the water, “Blame BA!”

    “Yahoo!” Althea shouted as she skimmed over the top of the water, “I love coffee!”

    “Not again,” Sarge groaned.

    “I might well have been wrong,” Conrad replied.

    “We really got to get BA to put a warning label on his coffee,” Lifeline added.

    ---

    Kate,

    Please tell me that you’re exaggerating about this entire coffee episode? It sounds like that boy and coffee are one dangerous combination.

    I hope that minus the chaos you’re doing well. I miss you so much.

    I love you.

    Tim


    ---

    To Be Continued...
     
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  11. Julie Justice

    Julie Justice Agent

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    Wow. This was some great night-time reading. Thanks, Nace. :)
     
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  12. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    Glad you liked it, @Julie Justice. It seems like it's a good work if one can cause you to root for the the Toad...just make sure he doesn't get into BA's coffee.
     
  13. Julie Justice

    Julie Justice Agent

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    Yes, I agree, Nace. I just hope that Conrad Hart doesn't bring any of B.A.'s coffee back to ACME. LOL. :)
     
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  14. Invader

    Invader Writer

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    I really don't want to know what exactly is in that coffee.
     
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  15. Julie Justice

    Julie Justice Agent

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    I don't know, @Invader. But I'm sure our good Dr. Sophie would not approve!! LOL!! ;)
     
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  16. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    @Invader and @Julie Justice: I do think BA should put a warning label on his coffee. I did enjoy putting my more NCIS angle on this tale from Red Witch's story.

    One word of praise I got from Red Witch herself was this:

    I'm eternally grateful to the first fanfiction writer who decided to cross G.I. Joe and X-men: Evolution for creating the Ronin Toad series of stories. I'd recommend it to any Marvel fan.

    Something tells me Conrad might be facing being the ACME Liaison to the Pit in the near future...
     
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  17. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    Of Sundays, Margaritas, and Paper Stealing Ninjas​

    Disclaimer: Same as before…

    ---

    The Pit, The Chapel
    Caitlin Todd and Conrad Hart
    24 February 2002, 0840


    “I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Kate began as she and Conrad walked to the small chapel on the Pit.

    “Since birth,” Conrad replied, “It was sort of reinforced by my time in the Legion too. After all France is traditionally a Catholic nation.”

    Kate nodded in acknowledgement as they approached the Church steps. Conrad opened the door and held it, “After you.”

    “You’re too kind,” Kate smiled.

    “Dad raised me to be a gentleman after all,” Conrad replied.

    “Speaking of Dads,” Kate replied, “What do you think of Roadblock?”

    “One Hell of a Dad,” Conrad replied, “Taking Todd under his wing like that. That’s something he needs. Not to mention he balances out Todd’s insane likely father-in-law.”

    "Aren't you being a bit premature?" Kate asked.

    "Have you seen how the kids look at each other?" Conrad countered.

    "Touché," Kate replied, as they neared a pew, "And on that note, you're one to talk about insane, Conrad. Seeing how you’ve gone native.”

    Conrad chuckled, “Well, mademoiselle, it is simply the way of the Legion to carry on and adapt to one’s circumstances.”

    “Like I said, you’re one to talk,” Kate smiled, and then with a sigh added, “What a crazy week.”

    “Agreed, but it seems like this is the place Todd needs, even if it is a bit insane,” Conrad replied.

    “That’s the understatement of the year,” Kate laughed lightly, “But Todd seems to be healing here.”

    “Though he does need to be kept away from BA’s coffee,” Conrad replied.

    “I agree, and definitely think we shouldn’t have drank it when we had to work late Saturday night,” Kate replied.

    “It was an all nighter,” Conrad began.

    “Still I think we shouldn’t have had a cup of BA’s coffee apiece,” Kate replied, “I couldn’t fall asleep for anything last night. Did you sleep at all?”

    “Couldn’t,” Conrad said, “One, we were working late and two, BA’s coffee.”

    “That was an act of desperation we should never repeat,” Kate began.

    “Agreed, mademoiselle,” Conrad replied with a wry grin.

    Mass went on without a hitch, much to Kate’s surprise. An entire hour without some kind of insanity? Is the other shoe about to drop? Around here, I'm going to expect that.

    “You seem deep in thought,” Conrad observed after Mass.

    “It’s been quiet for over an hour,” Kate replied, “I am really just expecting the other shoe to drop.”

    “And speak of the devil,” Conrad quipped as Shipwreck and Quick Kick walked up to them.

    “Hey guys,” Shipwreck said, “What are you up to today?”

    “Probably going to just get some lunch after Mass,” Kate replied.

    “Cool, mind if we join you?” Shipwreck asked, “I know just the place.”

    “Where would that be?” Conrad asked.

    “Why Margaritaville of course,” Shipwreck replied.

    “I’d be down for Coconut Pete’s personally,” Quick Kick began.

    “You always are,” Shipwreck replied, “I am banned from that place you know.”

    “Burning a restaurant down will do that to you,” Kate quipped.

    “Hey!” Shipwreck snapped, “There were extenuating circumstances behind that.”

    “Margaritaville sounds good,” Conrad replied.

    “It’s doable,” Quick Kick said.

    “Sounds good,” Conrad replied.

    Ok, maybe the other shoe isn’t about to drop yet, Kate thought to herself as she, Conrad, Shipwreck, and Quick Kick headed to the parking lot.

    ---
     
  18. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

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    The Pit, HQ Building Lounge
    Roadblock and General Hawk
    24 February 2002, 1045


    “Todd’s progressing well with his fighting skills, sir,” Roadblock began as he sat with Hawk drinking coffee in the HQ buildings’ small lounge, “He gets faster and stronger every day.”

    “Stormshadow is very impressed with the boy’s performance,” Hawk replied in agreement, “Just the other day he told me in passing that the boy can watch a technique and learn in almost instantly by watching.”

    Roadblock smiled faintly, before he replied, “His schoolwork has been improving too.”

    “I’m sensing there’s a ‘but’ somewhere,” Hawk said as he sipped his coffee.

    “Yes sir. It’s his social skills I’m worried about,” Roadblock replied, “He’s not intentionally rude or anything along those lines. He’s clueless when it comes to polite conversation and table manners. And the time he’s spending around Shipwreck’s family doesn’t help matters in that department.”

    Hawk nodded, as Roadblock continued, “Not to mention he’s learned quite a few inappropriate songs from the various soldiers around the cafeteria, not to mention some fairly profane French expressions from Agent Hart.”

    “Well you could say he’s getting some foreign language training,” Hawk said, “And speaking of Agents Hart and Todd I saw them get into a car with Shipwreck and Quick Kick earlier.”

    “Shipwreck told me he and Quick Kick were taking them to lunch at Margaritaville today,” Roadblock said.

    “One of the few places where Shipwreck is actually welcome,” Hawk replied, “And that was only because he accidentally set fire to the Coconut Pete’s across the street.”

    “Welcome is an understatement, sir,” Roadblock replied, “Shipwreck gets the royal treatment from the staff at Margaritaville just about anywhere he goes thanks to that incident.”

    “Well, Shipwreck hasn’t, to date, caused any damage to any Margaritaville restaurant,” Hawk said, “Which has got to be some kind of record.”

    In retrospect General Hawk brought the events of 25 February 2002 upon himself. And he did so by uttering a single sentence in that conversation, “Why not have the boy work in my office a couple afternoons a week?”

    Roadblock nearly dropped his coffee cup when he asked, “Are you sure?”

    “I am sure,” Hawk replied.

    “What can he do?” Roadblock asked.

    “Simple things that almost anyone can do, like filing and stapling,” Hawk replied, “I could use all the help I can get.”

    “It’s not that I don’t like what you said,” Roadblock said as he set his empty coffee cup down, “But what about Beach Head?”

    “Don’t worry, I’ll personally watch the boy,” Hawk assured him. “I think it would be good for the boy. It would teach him about protocol and give me a chance to get to know him a little. I pride myself on knowing things about everyone on this base. This sounds like a great opportunity.”

    “Well, let me think about it, sir,” Roadblock said, “I do have to go pick up the kid. Thanks for the offer.”

    ---

    Margaritaville Restaurant
    Shipwreck, Quick Kick, Conrad, Kate
    24 February 2002, 1149


    “Hey, Shipwreck’s here!” shouted the host as Shipwreck, Quick Kick, Conrad and Kate walked into the restaurant’s front waiting area.

    “Right this way please,” the host said, “And would you like your usual table?”

    “That’ll work just fine,” Shipwreck said.

    "They're really rolling out the red carpet for you here, Shipwreck," Kate observed.

    "No surprise, profits for this place jumped up after Shipwreck burned down the Coconut Pete's across the street," Quick Kick commented.

    "So tell me, Shipwreck, is there an establishment where you haven't caused some sort of property damage?" Kate asked.

    "Margaritaville," Shipwreck said as he made an order.

    "Why does that not surprise me," Kate replied as she made her order.

    Provided nothing crazy happens at lunchtime maybe I can give Tim a call,
    Kate thought to herself.

    “This place isn’t bad,” Quick Kick said, “It’s no Coconut Pete’s but it’s not bad.”

    “What are you having?” Kate asked Conrad.

    “The Cheeseburger in Paradise, of course,” Conrad replied, “A classic for Margaritaville and incidentally a damned good song.”

    “Which you were singing along to last night,” Kate commented, “A change from your French Foreign Legion songs, or Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.”

    "Well I'm not the only one who occasionally breaks into song in the shower," Conrad commented.

    Quick Kick smirked, “So how do you guys know about the whole ‘singing in the shower thing’?”

    “Quick Kick, it’s not what it sounds like!” Kate snapped.

    Conrad chuckled before Kate fixed him with a glare, “How is that funny?”

    “Well, I have to admit, mademoiselle we did walk into that particular joke,” Conrad replied.

    “Especially around anyone like Shipwreck,” Kate conceded.

    “So is there something going on between you two?” Shipwreck asked.

    “No!” Both Kate and Conrad replied simultaneously.

    Note to self, Quick Kick thought, Talk to Snow Job, Ace, and Shipwreck and start a betting pool about Agent Hart and Agent Todd. The way those two go on with each other...

    ---
     
  19. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

    Messages:
    189
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    ACME/British Territorial Army
    Location:
    San Francisco
    The Pit, Delgato Residence
    Shipwreck, Todd, Kate, Conrad, Roadblock, and Claudius
    24 February 2002, 1315


    Conrad and Kate had met up with Roadblock at the front door of Shipwreck’s house shortly after the lunch at Margaritaville.

    Upon entering the house the sound of a baby giggling could be heard and as they walked into the kitchen they saw a total mess. There was applesauce splattered everywhere as Todd flung spoonfuls of it at Claudius who was sitting in his high chair.

    “What are you doing?” Roadblock demanded.

    “He started it,” Todd replied.

    “You started a food fight with a toddler?” Kate added.

    Claudius gurgled happily.

    “He threw applesauce at me first, so I figured…” Todd began.

    “I get the picture,” Roadblock sighed.

    “I don’t see why you’re fussing about it,” Shipwreck said, “That’s usually more food than he gets in his mouth. I think the kid may be onto something.”

    “Food!” Claudius gurgled.

    Todd threw a bit more applesauce at him and Claudius relished it, licking it off his flippers and face.

    “Oh Lord…” Roadblock grumbled.

    SPLAT!

    Great, now I’ve got a huge blob of applesauce in my hair,
    Kate thought to herself as Roadblock coaxed Todd outside and back to the car.

    ---

    Agent Todd,

    Just to let you know I will be at the Pit on Wednesday. I’ll be accompanying an inspection with Generals Flagg, Whithalf, and Bragg. I will be very interested to hear some of your latest accounts on the Tolansky boy’s progress.

    Agent Baer


    ---
     
  20. Nace Bilby

    Nace Bilby Agent

    Messages:
    189
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    ACME/British Territorial Army
    Location:
    San Francisco
    The Pit, HQ Building Lounge
    Roadblock, Kate, Conrad, and Lifeline
    25 February 2002, 1400


    “Well,” Roadblock said, as he poured himself some coffee, “I dropped the kid off at General Hawk’s office.”

    “Uh-oh,” Conrad replied.

    “Why uh oh?” Kate interjected, sipping her own coffee.

    “I, mademoiselle, have a sense of some sort of impending doom in the immediate future,” Conrad replied.

    “I agree with Agent Hart,” Lifeline began, “And are you sure that putting Todd with General Hawk was a good idea? He might cause more trouble.”

    “I think Hawk can handle Toad,” Roadblock said as he took a sip of coffee.

    “I was talking about General Hawk!” Lifeline observed.

    “Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?” Kate asked.

    “Not really, you should see how he has to be nagged into doing paperwork. He might not necessarily be a good influence on Toad in that department,” Lifeline countered.

    “I wouldn’t worry,” Roadblock said, “General Hawk is a responsible adult. He knows how to set a good example.”

    ---

    The Pit, Headquarters Building
    General Hawk and Todd Tolansky
    25 February 2002, 1415


    “Well, that’s very impressive soldier,” General Hawk blinked, “Very impressive.”

    Not even a minute ago Todd had licked three envelopes simultaneously. Hawk held up the envelope, noticing that it was dripping with slime.

    “Uhm, I have a better idea,” Hawk said, “How good are you at stapling…”

    Another ten minutes passed, and the end of that length of time would see General Hawk pretending one of his spring loaded pens was a rocket.

    “I hate paperwork. I’d rather be blowing something up,” Hawk grumbled, “Huh? Toad!”

    “What?” Toad said, sitting bolt upright and looking guilty. On his desk was a requisition form he had folded into a paper airplane.

    Hawk stood up at his desk and walked over to him.

    “Give me that,” Hawk commanded, and Todd handed the paper airplane over to him.

    “That’s completely wrong. First off it’s the folding that’s all messed up. You’re supposed to fold it like this,” Hawk began, taking the airplane and unfolding it only to refold it into a more aerodynamic shape.

    “See? That’s how you make a paper airplane,” Hawk replied, “Now get me another requisition form.”

    Todd complied and Hawk folded the form into yet another type of paper airplane.

    “Wow! I’ve never seen that kind of paper airplane before,” Todd exclaimed, eyes wide.

    “This is what I call the B-29 Bomber,” Hawk commented after throwing the paper airplane. It did several loop-de-loops.

    “My own invention, and the best airplane by far,” Hawk continued.

    “I wanna make one, sir!” Todd whooped loudly.

    ---

    Meanwhile in the lounge:


    “Maybe we should check on them?” Lifeline offered.

    “Nah,” Roadblock said, “First of all I’m enjoying the peace and quiet. Besides it’s not like they’re gonna cause a riot.”

    Conrad, meanwhile, was tucked into his book Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey. He glanced up to see Kate making a couple notes on her PDA before tucking it back into her backpack.

    Conrad tucked his index finger into the page of his book before reading into his own backpack and bringing out the hardcover book. Kate recognized it as the hardcover copy of Dr. Alan Grant’s adventures on Isla Sorna.

    “I finished it last night, so I figured you’d enjoy this one,” Conrad offered.

    “Thanks,” Kate replied, “But don’t bet on me finding the satellite phone in the Spinosaurus poop incident funny the way you do.”

    “I admit it was a rather crappy thing for me to laugh at,” Conrad deadpanned.

    “Somebody did say puns are the lowest form of humor,” Kate replied as she took the book.

    "But they do make people laugh," Conrad countered.

    "I see your point," Kate replied, before looking at her watch, “Things are awfully quiet right now.”

    “Calm before the storm, in all likelihood, mademoiselle.

    ---

    In Hawk’s Office:

    “This is Bomber One to Bomber Two,” Hawk said as he made airplane noises, a paper airplane in one hand, “Come in Bomber Two.”

    “Roger Bomber One,” Todd acknowledged as he flew his own paper airplane below and slightly behind Hawk’s.

    “This is Bomber Two,” Todd continued, “Target in sight! Diving in for attack run!”

    “Roger Bomber Two, you’re covered!” Hawk replied.

    “Annnnd bombs away!” Todd shouted, scattering paper everywhere, “KAPOW! BOOM!”

    “Direct hit!” Hawk said, “Yee-ha! We got ‘em!” Hawk scattered more papers as well.

    ---

    Back in the Lounge:

    “It’s been over an hour,” Kate commented as she looked at her watch again.

    “Yes, so peaceful, isn’t it?” Roadblock said with a smile.

    “I have a feeling the other shoe is about to drop,” Conrad replied.

    “Honestly, I’m starting to agree with Conrad,” Lifeline said.

    “Is it really so impossible to have over an hour of peace and quiet around here?” Kate asked with a quizzical look.

    How long have you been on the Pit?” Lifeline asked.

    “Maybe the peace and quiet is good for Todd,” Kate replied as she put her now empty coffee mug into the sink and rinsed it off.

    “He is getting a lot of good lessons here,” Conrad nodded in agreement.

    “Like how to work on a team,” Roadblock said, “Hawk can definitely teach him that.”

    “No argument here,” Lifeline said, “But maybe we should go check on them just in case?”

    “Not a bad idea. I do need to let Hawk know about an email I got from Agent Baer,” Kate replied.

    ---

    Back at the Office:


    “Look at the picture I drew,” Todd said, holding up a drawing of an airplane bombing Mystique’s car.

    “That’s nothing,” Hawk said, holding up a paper crane, “Origami.”

    “Cool!” Todd said in admiration, before taking a crumpled up ball of paper and tossing it into the wastebasket.

    “From downtown!” Todd shouted.

    “Not bad, soldier,” Hawk said with a grin, “Now let’s see how you do with competition.”

    ---

    Ten minutes later:


    “It’s mine! All mine! HAA!” Hawk crooned as he ducked and weaved around Todd, sinking another crumpled form into the wastebasket from nearly halfway across the room.

    “Ten points!” Hawk shouted, “And the crowd goes wild!”

    “YAAAAYYYY!” Todd shouted.

    ---

    Todd’s shout echoed loudly down the hall as Conrad, Kate, Roadblock and Lifeline headed for Hawk’s office.

    “Told you,” Conrad replied before throwing open the door without any preamble.

    “WHAT’S GOING ON IN HERE!?” Roadblock bellowed.

    Hawk and Todd were dancing around like they were playing some demented game of ring around the rosy. The office was covered with paperwork strewn haphazardly around the room.

    “What happened? Who made this mess?” Lifeline asked.

    “Ninjas!” Todd piped up.

    “Yes!” Hawk added, “Cobra Ninjas! They snuck into here and started destroying files!”

    “There were so many of them!” Todd said, “They wanted to steal all the papers!”

    Then Todd started doing karate chop movements and kicks saying, “They went KWAH! and Hi-YAHHH!!!”

    “They were all over the place!” Hawk continued, “We tried to stop them, but there were too many of them.”

    “There were five of them! KWAH!” Todd cried out.

    “Ten of them!” Hawk continued, “They threw paper all over the place!”

    “They wrecked the place! But we were able to chase them off!” Todd added.

    “We were lucky to get away with our lives!” Hawk added.

    “Uh-huh,” Roadblock said with a withering glare.

    “They’re not buying this, are they?” Todd asked Hawk.

    “No they’re not,” Hawk said with a sigh.

    “Todd,” Roadblock said, with a glare.

    “Y-yes,” Todd replied, shrinking under the glare.

    “What did I tell you about making up wild stories?” Roadblock asked.

    “Uhm, that they should have good endings?” Todd replied weakly.

    Conrad chuckled only for Roadblock to fix the ex-Legionnaire with a glare.

    “That’s what Shipwreck told you,” Roadblock snapped. “I told you it’s wrong to tell lies.”

    “I’m gonna be on kitchen duty tomorrow, ain’t I?” Todd replied.

    “Oh yeah,” Roadblock replied.

    “Well Toad that’s what you get for making up stories,” Hawk whistled.

    “Begging your pardon, sir,” Lifeline said with his arms folded across his chest, “But the boy had an accomplice in all this…”

    “Well, uhm,” Hawk fidgeted, “You do have a point…”

    Now that’s something you don’t see every day,
    Kate thought to herself. Tim’s probably going to think I belong in the mental institution after I tell him about this.

    “I mean I am the adult in charge and it was my responsibility and all that. I should have stopped this from the beginning and...and...uhm…” Hawk continued.

    “AND?” Roadblock and Lifeline replied, with Todd adding a big and wide eyed gaze at him.

    “And I have to face the consequences for my actions like any other soldier…” Hawk replied.

    ---
     
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