Categories > Cartoons > G.I. Joe > Tenderfoot0 Reviews
A collection of ficlets, in chronological order, focusing on Lift Ticket and Lifeline.
"I'd expect no less from a guy like you. You'd throw yourself on a chunk of asphalt in the middle of the jungle to save your comrades from it, wouldn't you?" Lifeline murmured, pulling small chunks of gravel out of Lift Ticket's shoulder.
"Just shaddup and do yer job," Lift Ticket growled. He had ridden motorcycles in a T-shirt hundreds of times before. For the first time, he had fallen, and it had to be when he had the peanut gallery to fix it up, didn't it?
"I could always get someone else to do it, if you don't like my company," Lifeline replied.
Lift Ticket grunted. He had to admit that Lifeline had a touch. He'd fallen once when bicycling, back home in Oklahoma, and rashed up his leg. The doctor had poked and prodded him like a side of beef, scrubbing at his rash with a scouring pad while his unwilling patient had cussed him out. Lifeline ghosted his hand over skin, pulling out chunks so quickly and smoothly that Lift Ticket could barely feel it. "Nah, just finish up."
Lifeline smiled, stepping back to look critically at the shoulder before rinsing it and diving back in with tweezers. The tray next to him was full of gravelly crud, the blood congealing with it to make some vile variant on concrete. "You're current on tetanus, aren't you?"
"Yeah - you did it."
Lift Ticket turned his head to look as footsteps announced the arrival of a third person. From his crewcut to his pleated trousers, he was every bit the stereotypical Marine - broad-shouldered, square-jawed, straight-spined, in a dress uniform whose cleanliness seemed to mock his surroundings. "I'm looking for someone called Lifeline."
"Yo," Lifeline said, his attention still on his work.
"I'm Jim. Jim Trimball. Remember the name. You know a girl named Bree?"
"Yes, I've had the pleasure," Lifeline said.
"You have?" Lift Ticket muttered under his breath. Lifeline jabbed him in the side with the tweezers.
"Well," the man squared his shoulders, "I want you to stay away from her, you hear? She's mine, and no other man is going to come within ten feet of her or I'll give him something to think about."
"You've got it," Lifeline said, blandly.
The man seemed disconcerted. "Erm, right. Well. Just as long as we're clear." He turned on the toe of a spit-polished boot and strode out of the room.
"Ya took that well," Lift Ticket observed.
Lifeline shrugged. "Should I be disappointed?"
Lift Ticket chuckled. "Nah. I think she will, though, when she finds she doesn't get the ego-stroking rivalry she wanted." Lift Ticket had envied Lifeline for getting a rich girl at first, but that feeling hadn't lasted a week. She was one spoiled and manipulative little minx.
"Are you incapable of saying anything good about anyone?" Lifeline asked, shaking his head as he cleaned the rash, patted it dry, and swabbed the oozing skin with iodine.
"Are you incapable of sayin' anything mean?" Lift Ticket snorted.
Lifeline started to cut a bandage. "Fine - your romantic advice stinks."
"Romance?" Lift Ticket snorted. "What do you want that for? Have fun, don't stay too long; it's a helluva lot more fun and a helluva lot less complicated." Not that it was easy meeting girls around the base, Lift Ticket mused. He hadn't missed much about his hometown, but he'd missed the girls; bright, beaming Oklahoma girls in sundresses, their hair in ponytails. He was quite the looker back home, with his build and his lopsided grin, some of them had told him breathlessly; his daddy had an old Thunderbird that he'd loan Victor for dates, and it had a big backseat...
Lift Ticket snapped out of his reverie as Lifeline tore off a strip of tape, frowning. "That's disgusting."
"Spare me yer holier-than-thou Northwest morality," Lift Ticket replied. Seattle girls probably wrapped themselves in layers of fleece up to the neck, he thought. No wonder Lifeline had such an odd attitude towards females.
"Take this off before bed and wash thoroughly," Lifeline said, flatly, as he finished taping down the bandage. "You don't want it getting infected. Give me a shout if it gets red or inflamed or leaks pus. And try to evolve."
Lift Ticket's retort was interrupted by Flint. "Lift Ticket!" he said sticking his head in. "I've been looking all over for you. Come with me."
Lift Ticket pulled his shirt on, stiffly, and followed Flint, leaving Lifeline to clean up in stony silence.
"You're going to be taking Lady Jaye on her next mission," Flint said as Lift Ticket fell into step next to him. "Leave as soon as you can. I wanted to give you a little advance warning, but I couldn't find you." Lift Ticket bristled at the implied rebuke. "For now, head out to the hanger. Lady Jaye will brief you; the mission details are need-to-know. And," Flint's voice became much quieter, "keep an eye on her."
"Yessir," Lift Ticket muttered, breaking away to head for his room and collect his gear. At least he no longer got lost trying to get there, he reflected.
It was odd to have a lady in the co-pilot's seat, but Lady Jaye could get him used to the idea, he decided. She was terse and businesslike on takeoff, then a witty conversationalist once they got to the dull ground-eating portion of the flight. She was full of stories about college and past missions that Lift Ticket was unsure he believed, but they were good stories anyway.
"You think I'm making that up!" she accused, midway into a tale of streaking a cake into English House for a friend's birthday.
Lift Ticket shrugged. "It's just hard to believe yeh spent half yer college time nekkid."
"You obviously haven't been to Bryn Mawr." She looked out at the water skimming below; the lower they flew, the less the chances of anyone seeing them, and Lift Ticket could fly very low, indeed. "Are we getting close?"
"Maybe five or ten minutes."
"Right." She unstrapped herself and headed into the passenger compartment, emerging with a double armful of cloth. "We're going to be infiltrating a small Cobra outpost dressed as Vipers, and picking up some information. It should be pretty straightforward, but you'll understand that we wanted to keep this fairly hush-hush."
Lady Jaye put on her disguise as Lift Ticket was landing the Tomahawk behind a copse. Lift Ticket shut the engines off and headed to the passenger compartment, where Lady Jaye had turned into an appropriately ominous Cobra pilot. She was holding the other uniform in her hands. Lift Ticket practically swallowed his tongue when he realized that she expected him to change right in front of her. "Could ya turn yer back, ma'am?"
"Oh, for crying..." She dropped the uniform and stepped out of the helicopter to wait, impatiently. "Hurry up!"
The Viper uniform did not go on easily, and even after he had it on, Lady Jaye had to tug and wrench at it here and there to get it to hang right. Lift Ticket felt like a five-year-old getting dressed up by his mom. Finally, however, she declared him fit to be seen in public, and the two of them marched over untended grass and through twisted brambles, towards the outpost.