Chapter 11: Let's Be Friends Again

"Oh my ja, this tea is simply lovely!" Muffins held up the cup with a most satisfied smile as he cupped his warm cheek with the other hand. Grif was inclined to agree. "It sure i- I mean what are you doing here drinking our tea?!"

"I thought we could be friends again and cruise Blood Gulch like hommies."

"So we are just going to bury the possible murder attempt under the rug now?" Simmons crossed his arms feeling agitation rise. Muffins nodded his head up and down, nods so high and low that one could mistake Muffins' mind to be like that of a child. No, I think it's more like criminally insane, Simmons pondered with a heavy sigh. "Okay, I am out."

"[Don't worry. I added oil from our warthog in his tea. Hopefully with any luck he will kill over and die. We can then just bury him somewhere and put this all behind us.]"

Everyone looked at Lopez clueless. But Donut did his best to not scold the Spanish robot having perfectly understood what was just spoken. Muffins looked from left to right at those around the table. "It is so good to be drinking tea again with my hommies!"

"We never drank tea together before, also we are not friends," Tucker gently kicked the table in impatience. This impatience stemmed from the agitation of how quickly things were resolved, and how there were no consequences for Muffins' actions. He just wanted Muffins gone as quickly as did his best to mediate between the two sides, while O'Malley did his best to screw up every attempt Doc put forth to derive amusement out of it. Caboose simply continued to have a good time watching the comedy routine play out.

"Man, I have had enough of this tea!" one of the soldiers shouted from behind the crew. They approached Muffins with crossed arms and a crossed attitude. "When are we going to see some action again?"

"If its action you want, I can always show it to you in my private quarters stud."

The soldier felt chills travel up his spine. He cracked out a most broken smile with his hands held up high. "No thank you."

"Such a shame, you have a nice ass," Muffins flirtingly commented as the soldier held back a bit of bile in his mouth. He felt a vein pop up in his head as he kicked the table and knocked down the tea. The solder stomped away, and the others were left confused. Just how insane is his crew? That was the single most prominent thought running through their heads. Muffins stared at the spilled tea teary eyed, with a sniffle he looked up at the Blood Gulch Crew and raised a hand like a needy child. "More tea please!"

"Good luck with that," Sister replied in a matter-of-fact tone. She rested one hand on her hip and caught the eyes of the other soldiers. One of them stood up in surprise. "Guys, there is a chick here!"

"I'm a chick," one of the pelican pilots raised her hand. No man looked her way as one did his best to reply to her in the nicest way possible. "Well you see, you are a military girl so…"

"Well excuse me for being strong and independent."

"No, it's just that we guys have different variations of chicks that we like. Yeah, different types of chicks so…"

"Why don't you come back to me when you stop stumbling over your own words and grow a pair down there?" she patted the man's crotch causing him to sit back down in immediate embarrassment. Grif stood in front of Sister causing every man to send deathly glares his way. "Who the fuck is that guy?!"

"Her brother, got a problem?!"

"Oh, so you are like my future brother-in-law!" several shouted at the same time and quickly turned their deathly glares towards one another. "Back off man, I called dibs!"

"No you didn't!"

"Wait, didn't they just skip a few steps there?" Donut pondered with a smile. It's good to see things calm back down again. Sister proceeded to go and hide into blue base amidst the fight that quickly broke out for her affection. Grif snickered under his helmet at the morons duking it out all for a 'chick'. Muffins played with his fingers pressing them up against one another and cleared his throat. "So, I have been meaning to ask. Are we friends again?"

"And why would we want to do that?" Tucker inquired leaning forward in a very dominating manner. Sarge agreed with the blue soldier. "Yeah, why would we want to be friends with a crazy guy?"

Tucker laughed out loud. "Says the guy who has a phobia of getting his flag stolen every morning by us."

"Quiet you dang dirty blue, so why would we want to be friends with you again Muffins?"

"Because I have connections," Muffins gently rested the newly filled tea cup onto the table and rested the tip of his nose atop his fingers. "Very important connections, an asset I figured could come in handy someday. I mean all you would have to do is ask and all of my contacts will be at your disposal."

"Hmm, that doesn't sound like a bad deal," Sarge considered the proposal as did the others. "But still…"

"You have got yourself a deal bro!" Tucker took Muffins' hand into a firm grip. Sarge was surprised to see the sudden polar shift in attitude. Grif looked back from the side of his eye and let out a sigh. Great, more annoyance to put up with, thanks Tucker. Donut clapped his hands in excitement. "Isn't this great? Everyone getting along happily at this tea party!"

"Hooray for tea party!" Caboose exclaimed.

"I will have you know that 'happily' is quite subjective here," Grif stated with the nod of his head in absolute certainty. He was convinced that Muffins was insane, but intelligent at the same time. The man had his ways of working his way out of situations all the time. Muffins you are one serious crazy bastard we picked up, I wonder how we can abandon you as well. Grif sat back down as the ruckus behind him continued. "Hey almighty Captain, can't you tell your troops to shut it or something?"

"Why? It is fun seeing them fight like that. Plus I get some nice angles of my men from here."

"Now that we have all made up," Donut pointed towards red base. "I will go get the freshly baked muffins I just finished making. Muffins stood up in surprise. "You wished to bake me? My you dirty boy you."

He abruptly received a karate chop to the head from both Corporal Buttmunch and Boyscout. "Sorry about that, we will make sure that he behaves from now on."

Inside blue base, Wash stood in front of the communication screen with his hands behind his back, he assumed a strong form in front of his conversation partner. On the screen was the red headed soldier Carolina. She looked at his familiar blue and yellow armor with a smile. "I see you have changed back."

"Yeah, I figured it would be nice to. But I am more surprised to see you call out of the blue like that all of a sudden."

"Sorry for not keeping in contact," she rubbed the back of her head with a sluggish grin. Wash shook his head and assured her that it was fine. "You are not obligated to call us by any rules or anything. But I am glad that you gave us this surprise call. It's a nice change I suppose."

"Change, man I have been seeing that a lot ever since I left for this journey."

"I figured that you might."

"The biggest surprise I have come across is here on Earth of how bad things are."


"What do you think when Earth is mentioned Wash?"

"I think of a peaceful, blue planet with much elegance and efficiency to our cities," he answered picturing his ideal Earth in his mind. Carolina gave a smirk and nodded her head. "Yeah, that perception does make sense for those who have never been here before. But Earth I'm sorry to say is nothing like that. Like any other place with sentient life, it has its problems."

"Are they dangerous problems?"

Carolina remained quiet at the inquiry. Wash grew worried as he stepped forward. "If it's too dangerous, you can always just come back here to us you know."

She shook her head and reassured him with a smile. "I am not going to go down that easily you know, I am a fighter after all. But I never thought that Earth would be plagued by terrorism in this day and age after the Great War. It's really saddening to see."

"Terrorism, I suppose it would be equivalent of extremists from the various space colonies."

"Yes, I guess that's true," Carolina looked down at her hands in worry. "Sometimes I wonder whether people have taken the correct path or not. If all we can ever do is create and resolve conflicts, how can we ever find true peace?"

"Conflict has always been a deep integral part of human nature."

Carolina remained quiet soaking his words. The truth glared her deep into her heart. "If only we could all come to a mutual understanding and move on from our hatred."

"That would be quite the ideal world," Wash noted with a smile underneath his helmet. I think this journey has made you more openly compassionate than before. I'm glad to that you took this journey Carolina. He looked to his left upon hearing more noises from the outside. "Just remember, if things get too tough to manage, there will always be a space for you here."

"I appreciate the thought Wash," Carolina answered with a warm smile. Hearing those words made her happy, it made her happy to know that there will be someone waiting for her regardless of how far she goes from them. "But I promised myself to see this journey through to the end. Plus I am under contract from the UNSC to fulfill a certain number of high level missions on Earth before I am permitted free leave. I am after all being given special treatment. They have helped me out immensely with my journey, living conditions as well as helping me find day to day work."

"Day to day work?"

"Yes, I work as a construction worker. Sounds strange doesn't it?"

"Kind of," Wash laughed at the image of Carolina on a construction scene. "I never imagined you working a job like that."

"Neither did I," she answered back with a giggle. "But it is all a part of daily life now. No matter whatever challenge society throws my way, I will tackle it head on."

"It's good to see that your determination is as strong as ever," Wash again looked to his left at the growing noises outside. What are they up to out there? He looked back at the screen with his hands clamped together. "Sorry, but I think my time for talk is running short. Looks like the guys are up to something outside."

"Heh, it's good to hear that they haven't changed much either. I won't keep you for long," Carolina answered as she held up a can of beer. "I have a date with this can right here."

Looks like she is living it up there, Wash pondered with a happy smile for her. Carolina rested the cool can against her skin. "That feels so good. I will try to call again when I can. It was good talking to you Wash."

"Same here," he answered as he moved towards the communications panels. "Take care of yourself Carolina. We will be here waiting for your return, and all the stories that you may bring."

"You to, look after our family for us."

"You got it," Wash then canceled the call and let out an annoyed sigh as another loud noise entered his ears. Really now, what are they doing out there?! He wondered as he stomped outside with a wide smile on his face. I am glad that while some things have changed, other things haven't.

A/N: Hope you all enjoyed that chapter. I figured it would be nice to go back to Blood Gulch for this one chapter. Plus I didn't want to leave the whole mini-subplot with Muffins unresolved.

Catch you all in the next chapter!

~ Monty