Categories > Cartoons > G.I. Joe > Tenderfoot0 Reviews
A collection of ficlets, in chronological order, focusing on Lift Ticket and Lifeline.
The woman nodded, vigorously. "Thanks, doc! I'll do just like you said." She pulled on a jacket with corporal's bars on the arm, took the crutches he handed her, and hobbled out, awkwardly. One crutch caught on the door lintel, and she went sprawling into the arms of Lift Ticket. He caught her by the arms and set her gently on her good foot. "Thanks," she said, flushing beet-red, and bid a hasty and noisy retreat down the corridor.
Lift Ticket walked all of the way into the small examination room. "See a lot of that?" he asked.
Lifeline nodded as he tore the paper cover off of the table and stuffed it in a can in the corner. "Our Lady Of Perpetual Stress Injury. She's in good company, though. It's an epidemic among the Joes - they like to suffer in silence rather than actually let an injury heal. It's all very noble and heroic, but a pack of noble, heroic, hobbling Joes is not terribly useful." Lifeline gave Lift Ticket a look that he tried to stuff Don't pick that up from the rest, please into.
Lift Ticket's face remained as impassive as Lifeline had always seen it. He walked in and waited, his arms folded in front of him, as Lifeline threw another cover on the table. "I'm here for my physical."
Lifeline sighed internally. Lift Ticket had barely spoken to him since he arrived on base, and was always just a little bit too formal when he did. Not everyone warmed to Lifeline, he knew, but it grated on him - and on top of that, Beachhead seemed to wanted to assign him to Lift Ticket on a fairly permanent basis. "Strip, sit on the table." Lifeline locked the door as Lift Ticket complied, pulling off his jacket and shirt to reveal a deeply muscled torso. He was not as aggressively mesomorphic as someone like Slaughter or Roadblock, but he had an air of solidity about him, as if anyone who tried to take him down would just bounce off. He stripped to his boxers and sat on the table, staring resolutely ahead. "You should have come in right after you arrived," Lifeline noted, pulling out a fresh form.
"I'm a good Oklahoma boy," Lift Ticket replied, seriously. "You can't expect to just get me outta my pants on the first date."
Lifeline raised an eyebrow. He started to re-analyze the man's coolness in a new light. Maybe he just took 'deadpan' to an art form. "Don't flatter yourself," he replied, airily. "I've seen more privates than you ever will."
"And corporals, and lieutenants..." Lift Ticket finished. Lifeline grinned.
The man was, unsurprisingly, in robust health. His heartbeat was strong and regular, and his pulse and blood pressure were satisfyingly low. His reflexes were spot-on, and his hearing and eyesight were enviable. "Wouldn't be much of a pilot if they weren't," he replied when Lifeline commented on the latter. His feet were free of fungus, although the way he bit his lip as they were checked indicated that his feet were ticklish. Lifeline found that amusing, but made his grip firmer to ease the tickle.
Lift Ticket shifted as Lifeline pulled out a needle and collection tube. "Can I ask ya a personal question?"
"You can ask," Lifeline replied, feeling an odd nervousness. "I reserve the right not to answer." He tied a rubber strap around Lift Ticket's forearm, and prodded the blue vein to swelling life.
Lift Ticket looked towards the door as Lifeline swabbed his arm and slid the needle in. "Whatinhell is a pacifist doing in a place like this?"
"Are you asking why I'm here, or why they let me in?" Lifeline asked, keeping his voice steady.
"I can see why they let ya in. Everyone I've talked to says you do good work, pullin' your share and then some. But why are you hangin' around with big bad boys and gals with guns and all?" He looked directly at Lifeline as he removed the collection tube and pulled out the needle.
"Well," Lifeline said, feeling an odd swell of pride at the indirect compliment, "this is where I can do the most good. Do I wish it didn't have to exist? Yes, but while it does, I'm not going to stick my head in the sand."
"So what happens if some mean fella attacks ya? Ya just stand there and take it?" Lift Ticket sounded almost offended as he pulled his clothes back on.
"I only turn the other cheek if I think it will do some good," Lifeline replied. "If not - I've studied disciplines that turn attacks back on themselves. But I won't shoot a man, no."
"Martial arts, and all?" Lift Ticket shrugged. "Not my thing. They work?"
Unexpectedly, Lift Ticket grinned. "Why don't ya show me at the next exercise period? I promise I'll go easy on ya."
Lifeline signed the physical form and put it in the box to file. "I'd feel much better if you didn't. I've never come across a Cobra who said, 'Hey, you seem like a nice fellow - I'll pull my punches.'"
"Ain't got no manners, then," Lift Ticket replied, tying his boots and heading out of the room. He raised his hand in farewell. "See ya then."
Lifeline whistled quietly as he cleaned up. Perhaps running missions with the man would not be so bad, after all.