Categories > Cartoons > G.I. Joe > Tenderfoot0 Reviews
A collection of ficlets, in chronological order, focusing on Lift Ticket and Lifeline.
Victor stood, arms and legs slightly spread, panting. It was a cool day to be out in just a T-shirt and loose pants, but he was nonetheless sweating from exertion - the exertion of failing to lay a finger on the similarly attired man who stood warily a pace and change away. /At least he's sweating, too/, Victor noted, wryly. No wonder Lifeline had been so amenable to an exercise session. Victor had figured he'd be able to toss the man around like a doll once he got a hand on him, but Lifeline stubbornly refused to let Victor get that hand on him. It was intensely frustrating.
Victor feinted to the left, then the right, then straight ahead, reaching. His hands met nothing, and his momentum sent him sprawling face-first into the ground - with a little help from a foot placed in his way. Devious bastard, Victor thought as he rose to his knees, spitting dirt; he had not punched, kicked, or so much as slapped Victor on the cheek, but positioned himself in such a way as to make Victor's own momentum do the dirty work. Victor had been led into beating himself up for what could not have been under half an hour, and his patience, which he considered glacial in the normal course of things, was on its way to snapping.
"Are you all right?" Lifeline asked, the lithe man radiating a genuine concern that scraped over Victor's nerves like sandpaper.
"Look out fer yourself!" Victor barked, getting resolutely to his feet. He feinted forward for two steps, and Lifeline danced slightly to the side, but Victor scampered towards that side. Lifeline danced back. Victor growled. He wanted to fight, not tango! He dug his feet into the ground, then launched himself in what, some part of himself assured him with resignation, would be another failed attempt at a tackle.
"Boys!" a voice called out from the side. Victor, intent on his tackle, did not stop - but Lifeline glanced in the direction of the voice, and did not look back in time to dodge almost two hundred pounds of irate Warrant Officer. Victor's shoulder slammed into Lifeline's torso just below his ribcage, hard enough to make Victor's shoulder twinge and to send both of them flying. Victor landed half-on Lifeline, and the medic made a pained wheeze.
"Hey, now!" the distracting voice called out. "We need that one!"
Victor got to his feet. Lifeline didn't; he doubled over, gasping. "Are you all right?" Victor asked, then cringed at the question. Not likely.
"Just..." Lifeline wheezed, "knocked my wind out..." He huffed, regaining his breath.
Victor glanced over at the footsteps that must belong to the owner of the distracting voice. She was just as distracting; limber, pretty, with short, dark hair. "Ah, that's what he gets for not paying attention!" she said, shaking her head. She looked up at Victor. "I came over here to grab you two. Flint wants to see you. I'm assuming you're Lift Ticket?" She stuck out her hand. "Lady Jaye."
Victor shook it with resignation. He stood not a chance of keeping his own name, he could see. "Charmed."
"Report to his office as soon as that one can walk." She flipped a salute at the still-gasping Lifeline, then sauntered off with a walk that was as distracting as her initial appearance had been.
Lifeline stuck his hand up, and Victor took it, helping the man to his feet. "Sorry..." Victor said.
"It's all right," Lifeline said, drawing a deep breath with relief. "I should have been watching you." He glanced at Lady Jaye's retreating back. "Did she say something?"
"She said Flint wanted to see us," Victor replied, rubbing his aching shoulder.
"Right." Lifeline started walking towards the complex, and Victor fell in with him. "I should mention," Lifeline continued, more quietly, "that Lady Jaye and Flint... er... well, they're not an item, as that would be against regulations and all, but if it weren't... you know... they would be an item... I think."
Victor guffawed. "Ed," he drawled, "I think yer blushin'."
Victor was beginning to get a sense of the base's layout, but was glad someone else was with him to make sure he got to Flint's office in a reasonable amount of time. The man was sitting at a desk and shuffling through paperwork with the air of someone who despises paperwork. He looked up as Victor and Lifeline walked in and saluted. He stood. "Lift Ticket!" he barked. "You don't come back from a mission without servicing your vehicle - right away! Before eating, before sleeping, before playing in the dirt!" He glowered at Lifeline. "And you should remind him of that fact! Now get to it, both of you. When I send you out on a mission, I expect your machinery to be ready! Understood?" He barely waited for the two-part harmony of "Yes, sir" before barking "Dismissed!" and sitting back down at his desk.
"Oops," Victor muttered, as they walked down the hall. Lifeline shrugged.
"He just hates paperwork. He's not happy unless he's in the field. He's not mean or capricious, just strict."
"Lifeline," Victor sighed, wiping his forehead with his arm, "if you don't use shorter words, I'm gonna slap you."
"If you can catch me," Lifeline replied, with a grin that was just a little too evil.