"Look I didn't ask for the Farber Report, I just asked how you think she'll do!"
Maggie and Angie had managed to pry the scheduling details of the Visitor Youth Program event from Daniel and Todd, and the raid was set for Saturday, two days away. On the firing range Tyler and Farber were finishing up the setup of weapons and uniform assignments for the strike teams that would take part in the operation that everyone hoped would mark a turning point in the rebellion, and not just for the L.A. resistance.
As the "tactical coordinators" sorted supplies and checked the weapons Tyler was wrestling with doubts about Angie's stability. Her entirely-too-cool attitude toward the whole thing had raised a red flag. Someone stepping into a shooting war for the first time should be showing at least a few nerves. Someone who might end up facing her first kill should definitely seem a little more uncertain. Angie's ice-cold "no promises" remark in response to the proposal of taking Peterson prisoner (an idea Tyler liked, even if Parrish's "let's be civilized" approach made him gag) had him worried. Personal agendas were natural in a beginner, but letting them play out would get the wrong people killed. In the days that followed the first planning meeting Angie had revealed nothing more than her original expression of disdain, and he hadn't asked for specifics. If anything, she'd seemed more settled, and confident, and horny, than ever before. Many men would happily have welcomed that situation, but for Tyler it was ringing some unsettling bells. Part of Tyler's special ops training was in psychology, and he knew too well that what some would read in normal circumstances as positives should be interpreted in wartime as major negatives.
So finally he'd asked Farber, who after all had a reasonable amount of insight on Angie Harper. And who had answered with predictably annoying logic:
"You're asking the wrong person, bro. Now you know I've been giving you guys some space because I figured you needed it, to get things squared. But I also figured maybe you got past the 'no questions' bullshit you two were always bragging about. You wanna know how she'll do, ask her not me. If she don't wanna answer, you can read what she ain't saying." He paused to check the action on an automatic pistol, then continued casually, "Unless you lost your edge."
"Well if I had I wouldn't be asking, would I?" Tyler snapped back. He finished checking the voice synthesizers and had begun laying each one, just below the visors, on each folded uniform in the row laid out on the table. After neatly placing just two he continued by slamming them down haphazardly.
"Feel like a fucking camp counselor," he muttered then added out loud, "and by the way, fuck you. 'I dunno' would've done just fine." When he turned he saw Farber standing still, grinning broadly at him. "What now Dr. Freud?"
Chris laughed and shook his head, and stepped forward to slap his friend on the shoulder. "Love sure does complicate war, huh?" Then, as if his own words had reminded him of something he should have thought of already, he grabbed Tyler's shoulder a little harder. "She'll be okay, brother. She's going right into the fire with us, eyes wide open and all in charge of her own thing, not waiting behind trusting some paper pushing brass assholes to take care of her."
The hardness left Tyler's face for just a second. "Small favors, huh. But that's not all of it."
"Nope." Chris took a final walk down the line. Everything was in order (of course): uniforms, visors, and voice synthesizers on one table and weapons on the other. Without looking up he advised, "But the rest of it, you gotta ask her. One way or another, she'll let you know." Suddenly he laughed, and faced Tyler with a knowing grin.
"You know that woman can't lie to save her ass unless she's on the clock."
Tyler nodded and managed a laugh of his own. "Another 'small favor'."
"Take 'em where you can get 'em, bro." Then Farber nodded toward the distance. "Head's up, here come the campers."
"Ah shit, don't spread that around," Tyler grumbled. "They still haven't got over being a herd of cats."