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Red vs. Blue: Reconnaissance (Chapter 5)
Posted By: Stelladea<zaptina211@aim.com>
Date: 25 September 2011, 7:13 am

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Later, I decided to take a walk outside, just to see if I could find anything useful around the base. I walked toward the vehicles and encountered the royal blue Private speaking… to the tank.

"Sheila," he was saying. "I am going to go now. It's nap time. Then it will be food time. And I will make you a muffin."

"Thank you, Caboose," the tank (Sheila?) responded. She tried to sound sincere, but I could tell she was just annoyed. "Please go, now."

"Okay!" He promptly walked away from the talking tank and began to walk inside, but saw me. He ran over excitedly. "Hello, rookie," he said. "Have you come to give us back up? To back us up?"

"I—what?" I asked. "I'm not a rookie."

"Yes you are," he said. "You are wearing blue. And you are new. So you are a rookie."

I figured this guy needed a little more help than most, so I decided to be patient—or attempt to be.

"My name is Agent 11," I said slowly. "I came here to find some information. I work for the CIA."

"You are an Agent?" He finally seemed to be understanding. He suddenly became very excited. "Like… like… Jackie Bond?"

I decided not to bother correcting him. "Yes… like Jackie Bond."

"We are going to be best friends forever," Caboose exclaimed. "You will show me all of your gadgets, and we will fight the Red team, and we will win! And then we will have a party with everyone. I hope Lopez can find us a piñata! I love candy!"

I had absolutely no idea what to say to this, so I decided to change the subject.

"Uh, Caboose, will you please give me your full name?" There wasn't any reason I couldn't question him out here, where he was probably more comfortable.

"My name is Michael J. Caboose!"

"Right. Can you please tell me what happened to you on the day Freelancer City collapsed?"

He told me all about what happened with great detail, and though it seemed a bit obscure, I already had heard the story. After a while, he went on a rant about something called "Pepsi-con" and I had absolutely no clue what he was talking about. I figured he might be getting his daily soft drink intake and his mission data mixed up in that small mind of his, so I decided to drop the subject and move on. My interrogations didn't seem very effective at all.

"So do you like it here at Blood Gulch now?" I inquired.

"Oh, yes. Come on! You should see it!" He dragged me away from Sheila excitedly and brought me into the base.

"This is where you play with us." He pointed into a large living area, where I supposed I had heard Tucker and Church talking about me. There was a large tv, a couple gaming systems, DVDs, two squishy couches, and an armchair.

"Wow," I said, impressed. "You guys really live the life here, don't you?"

"Yes, we do live the life," Caboose said seriously. "Because we are alive. And not dead."

I stifled another laugh and followed him into the next room.

"This is the kitchen," he explained. "We have food in here. I like ice cream."

I barely caught a glimpse of the kitchen before he towed me away down the hall.

After visiting the weapons area, computer room, exercise space, and various other rooms, Caboose brought me back to the living area.

"So do you like it?" he asked, sounding genuinely worried. "Are you going to stay? Don't leave yet!"

The look on his face seemed so anxious, I felt bad about needing to leave at all. "Yes, Caboose. I like it."

"Good. Now let's have cookies!"

I began to have a soft spot for Caboose. He was so childlike and innocent, it was hard to be serious with him. He would come up to me at the most random moments, saying the most pointless things. This seemed to annoy Church and Tucker when it happened to them, but I grew used to it—I even looked forward to the entertainment.

However, as I came to like Caboose, I realized how dangerous it was to have a companion here. I couldn't start any kind of friendship… I could ruin the entire mission. How would I explain it if I grew attached to him, and an enemy found out? We would all be in danger, and I couldn't risk it.

Despite these feelings of foreboding, my friendship with Caboose blossomed, and led to the toleration of the other Blues as well. This had not been my planning—up until then, I had found Tucker and Church rather irritating—but we grew used to each other in Caboose's presence.

At first, I had only hung out with Tucker and Church upon Caboose's request, and did so grudgingly. I liked Caboose's carefree personality much more than Church's irritable one; Tucker seemed girl-crazy, and that was annoying as well.

As we spent more time together—watching movies, exercising, practicing shooting techniques—I came to see that the others weren't really so bad. Perhaps Church was a little cocky and aggravating, but under all the strutting and cursing I could see that he had a good heart. Caring, even. I just didn't know what (or whom) he cared about.

Tucker, on the other hand, cared way too much. Always cracking dirty jokes and talking about chicks, I got annoyed by him very quickly; not only would he do that, but he always called me "Ells" or "Agent Ells." I cringed every time.

However, once I started to hang out with him more, the subject of his vulgarities turned away from me and onto other girls. This made me more comfortable with him, and I could consider him a friend. I even let him get away with my stupid nickname once or twice.

But wait. I wasn't supposed to be making friends here. I was supposed to be doing work. I needed the information for Command, and I just couldn't find any of it.

Church invited me to use all of the computers in their labs; any information I could find there I was welcome to. However, everything I found reminded me a little of the Reds' computers: games and plans to kill the opposing team. I was beginning to get frustrated; I had already been there plenty of time and had found no worthwhile information.

However, before I could really start to worry about Command, the Blues announced that they had a break from work coming up. A vacation in the middle of a war seemed a little odd to me, but I had already encountered the weirdest here, so I was prepared to handle anything.

On the first day of the vacation, Tucker announced that the Reds were coming over to watch the Superbowl.

At first, I thought he was kidding… but of course, I was wrong. That evening, the Reds showed up at our Blue base entrance, chips and sodas in hand, ready to watch the game.

It caused quite an uproar when the Reds saw me—they at first thought that this whole thing was a trick to ambush them because the Blues had gotten "a new recruit." I had to show them my red rubber remains to prove them otherwise, and they calmed down, but not for long.

The second shock—of course—was that I was a girl. This made Grif like me less and Simmons like me more, while Sarge just stood there, basking in my brilliance. Donut… I don't know. I think he seemed disappointed. Whatever.

Everyone finally calmed down and we headed to the living area, laughing and joking.

Of course, the Reds and Blues supported opposite teams during the game, but I had to side with the Red team this time. I received good-natured boos from Tucker and Church, while Sarge beamed proudly at me. Grif grumbled.

The game was extremely exciting, and we spent the whole first half cursing at each other in good spirits, each team fiercely loyal. By the third quarter, it was a tie, but I had to escape to the bathroom after drinking one too many sodas.

Right when I was about to leave my room, I heard voices through the vents say my name. The boys were having a conversation—about me.

"It's not effin' fair!" I heard Simmons complain. "Why do you get the chick?"

"'Cause the Blues are better, that's why," Church bragged.

"Man, I am so jealous." I cringed and wished they would stop, but they didn't. Of course.

A gross sound came from someone's throat, and I figured it was Grif. "Wow, Simmons. She's so ugly."

"She's my girlfriend."

I almost laughed out loud as I recognized Caboose's voice. There were gasps of astonishment.

Caboose cracked under the pressure of their stares, however: "Well, she does not know that yet."

Everyone must have rolled their eyes, because there was silence. Before it got awkward, I decided it was time for my return. I walked into the room to encounter their guilty faces, pretending not to notice at all. I slumped onto the couch and turned up the volume on the TV.

"What's the score?"

They all immediately began to talk and joke about the game, but I could tell they looked sheepish. The only person who did not seem to share this was Sarge, who came out of the kitchen carrying a steaming tray of nachos. The boys dug in, and I sat back, watching them. So this was what happened when you hadn't been in contact with a girl for months.

I sighed. Guys were so stupid.