Lifeline's beginnings...

Neither a warrior nor a civilian, Lifeline was always a stand-alone character, tormented by some of the others because of his refusal to pick up a weapon, misunderstood for his pacifist beliefs, how do you suppose his joining up to an elite unit like GI Joe, with a drill instructor like BeachHead, would happen?

I know that in some later comic runs other than Marvel, they had Lifeline carrying a gun, because they couldn't write the character with his pacifist nature intact(direct from their own mouths, no slight implied). In my fics he is still a pacifist, because, like SnakeEye's muteness, and BeachHead's ornery nature, it's a HUGE part of the character. It makes him very unique, even though Doc was supposed to be sort of a pacifist, he carried a sidearm, so it wasn't quite the same.

There are a few OCs in here to give him some fellow recruits without using established characters. You'll note at some point that SnakeEyes does not have Kamakura as an apprentice yet, as in most of my fics, he's portrayed as fairly young and fresh, which wouldn't fit if he was already a Joe when Lifeline joined... see? Also, CoverGirl isn't here yet either.

There will be quite a bit of BeachHead(oh my gosh, SUCH a surprise! I know, you're all stunned that I'd use that character.. ha ha.) as he is the instructor, and he's already a Sergeant major(figure he's just made that rank, more or less). As the fic gets past the first chapter, it will move to mostly Lifeline's POV, don't worry. I'll change about at times to give the Joe's thoughts on this "little medic that could" along the way.

I know, I'm starting ANOTHER fic, rather than finishing the Vacation one, but I'm also working on it too. Don't worry, there's lots on the table. I hope you enjoy it, and watch for SnakeEyes to appear later on a lot too, as he's got to figure out how to teach hand-to-hand to someone who refuses to raise a hand in his own defense. That's after BeachHead runs off a lot of the 'weaker' recruits that won't make the grade due to just his own sterling presence on the PT fields.

Here's the standard disclaimer: I do not own any rights to the GI Joe name or products, and use the characters in this work of independent fiction only to show my great appreciation for the universe created and explored in the comics and cartoons. I make no money for my feeble efforts to entertain with these fics, and hope they are read in the spirit that they are written. Much peace to you! Unless you're a ninja, then much battle and thefts!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd.... on to the fic!

* * * *

Duke glanced at the roster of new recruits. 'New' being a bit misleading.. they were all new to GI Joe, but none were new to the military. Cream of the crop all the way across the board, that's what the team got. No new teenaged freshmeat here. Many of the new names were hand-picked by Hawk, Flint, BeachHead or Duke himself. A few were simply good numbers and recommendations on paper, given a try to see if they worked in person as well as they looked on paper. Those had to be sterling, without outstanding issues. No young fresh raw recruits, no serious trouble-makers, and absolutely no glaring mistakes.

He glanced back down at the top file and pushed the office door open. "Duke reporting as ordered.. sir." He sketched a quick salute to Hawk who was seated comfortably behind the desk. "I have the new personnel files.. and there's one.."

"Let me guess... Edwin Steen.."

Duke nodded at him. "So you saw the file..."

Hawk looked at him seriously. "I hand picked the man. I know the file." Duke swallowed his planned initial comments. "Go ahead and tell me your concerns, I know what the major one will be."

Duke nodded and flipped the file open. "He's barely passing the physical requirements. That doesn't bode well for him to pass BeachHead. And.. he's a pacifist."

Hawk nodded calmly. "He's said he doesn't mind having to raise his physical standards. although I have a suspicion that he has no clue how high the standard is going to be set. He's a hard worker, used to long hours."

Duke shifted his weight to his other leg. "But.. he's a pacifist.. how can he be a combat medic.. when he refuses to pick up a weapon?"

His superior officer shook his head. "Steen won't be attacking the enemy, he's supposed to be rescuing the wounded. That's the problem we had with our last two medics. They were more focused on getting into the firefight, and less on the wounded they were supposed to be evacuating." He reached over to pull the file over and flipped it open. "He's already seen combat, his superior officer had nothing but praise for him. Says he'll run into the worst zone to grab someone who needs help. Doesn't lack for courage, and he's got all the medical knowledge and experience. He's just shy of being a full M.D. So he'll be able to stand in the Medical Wards, assisting Doc."

Duke closed the file. "Okay.. so he's a brave little medic. That's great. Who's gonna tell BeachHead that he gets to train a pacifist for a field position?"

Hawk smiled at him. "You are."

He sighed ruefully. "I should have seen that coming a mile away... I really should." Hawk nodded, looking smugly pleased with himself. "I don't supposed passing the buck to Flint would be okay..."

"No. That would just escalate, and then I'll have to deal with it, and if I wanted to deal with it myself, I wouldn't be telling you to deal with it, now would I?"

"No sir... I'll talk with BeachHead. He'll have to figure out something." He stopped as he was turning to the door. "Sir... how did he pass Basic Training?"

"With flying colors. Why?" Hawk looked confused.

Duke picked up the file to find the appropriate page. "Well, he would have to pass weapons training.. right?"

Hawk laughed. "That's what's going to cheese off our drill instructor AND Low-Light both.. he's a natural shot. Qualified on the ranges on all required weapons on his first try. Then never picked one up again. Made all the instructors have fits. I was told in detail about that."

Duke groaned as he found the qualifying scores. "Beach is gonna scream. Literally.. he's going to skip the growling, the raised voice, the shouting.. and go right to top of his lungs screaming."

The general nodded. "Most likely." He looked insufferably pleased over the situation.

"Okay.. I get it. Put in some ear plugs and suck it up. Got it. I'll go talk to our Sergeant Major before he gets wind of this on his own. When are they arriving?"

"Tomorrow morning.. bright and early. Transport plane on the runway."

"Peachy.. Permission to leave Sir?"

Hawk smiled at him. "Permission granted, knew I could count on you."

* * * *

"BeachHead!" Duke's voice carried over the shouting and noise of forty Joes going through the PT session. The Sergeant Major watching over it all turned to look at Duke without a hint of annoyance.

"Be right there, sir." He motioned for Stalker to take his place. "Take over, be right back." He started to walk over and stopped long enough to bend over the least enthusiastic member. "Shipwreeeeeck... get it in gear! If it's too hard to finish, you jus' let me know... I'll double it up so it seems easier tomorrow."

"Yes Sergeant major.. no Sergeant major.." The sailor made an effort to speed up his push-ups. Beach walked over to Duke and motioned for him to head further away.

Standing far enough away to be out of earshot, Duke stopped. "We got new recruits coming in." He saw the smile that appeared under BeachHead's mask. "I wanted to talk with you about one particular one..."

BeachHead frowned. "What? We got a problem child coming in?"

Duke hummed. "Not really.. just a little unusual. He's a medic.. a field medic..."

The Ranger perked up. "We need a good field medic! Last ones were no good. So what's the problem?"

Duke looked at the Ranger who looked downright happy. He so rarely saw him looking content and happy. He had barely raised his voice to berate Shipwreck.. and with new recruits coming in for him to begin training, he was like a big puppy anticipating a new toy. It would be a real shame to upset him now.. he was gonna cop out of telling him.. he really was...

"He's a pacifist."

He watched the happy expression go to puzzled. "A what?"

"A pacifist."

Now the puzzled look was complete. "Wait.. I swear.. heh.. I thought you said.. pacifist.."

"Yes. Pacifist. The new medic.. field medic.. "

"HE CAN'T BE A FRIGGIN' PACIFIST!!! He's in the GOL'DANGED ARMY!!!"

Duke winced, watching him go from puzzled directly to furious. "Ahh.. yes.. still, he is one. Maybe he'll be the only pacifist combat field medic in the Army... but hey.. first time for everything."

"It's INSANE! WE CANNOT HAVE A PACIFIST MEDIC!!!" BeachHead suddenly clamped his jaw shut. "This is a joke right? Ha ha. Very funneh! See how mad ya can get ole' BeachHead. Well, hardy-har-har. I got work ta do."

Duke sighed. "Here's the files.. they'll arrive tomorrow morning." The Ranger took the files in hand, and peered suspiciously at the lieutenant. "Don't say I didn't warn you.. oh.. and Hawk handpicked him.. so you can't just boot him out."

BeachHead stopped him. "You're serious. How am I supposed to work with a friggin' pacifist? What? Give him a water pistol and say 'here's hopin' ya don't die!'??"

Duke tilted his head thinking. He didn't want to upset the sergeant further. "I don't think he'd carry a water pistol..."

"Yer pushin' mah buttons now..."

Duke nodded. "Got it, I'm gonna go away now. You have a good day.. try not to send anyone to the infirmary..."

BeachHead gave him another puzzled look. "What? Ya want me to just let 'em bleed?"

"Never mind.."

* * * *

Flint and BeachHead stood waiting on the cargo plane. It had been delayed due to poor weather and now they were both doing their best to not stare each other down next to the hanger. Flint glared over at BeachHead finally.

"Sooo.. looking forward to breaking a bunch of new guys?"

"Yeah. Looking forward to seeing if there's any new skirts for you to chase?"

"Shut up."

"What's wrong? Jaye kick you outa bed again?"

"What's wrong? Stick get stuck up your butt again?"

Their sniping was interrupted by one of the ground crew. "Uhh.. sirs..."

BeachHead snapped at him irritably. "Don't call me Sir!"

The young man twisted his face a bit, thinking that over. "Umm.. m'kay. Sergeant and sir... the plane will be here in another ten minutes. And Clutch asked that you not have any actual fistfights unless you warn him so he can get a betting pool going first."

Flint fixed a baleful gaze on him, crossing his arms and scowling. "Brave for a soon-to-be busted-to-nothing private.. aren't you?"

The boy took a deeper breath. "Busted to potato peeler already sir.. once you get to the lowest point, you get pretty cheeky about it."

BeachHead snorted at him. "How'd you like to clean the motorpool's oil pits.. with a tampon?"

The boy visibly twitched. "No Sergeant major... I'll go back inside Sergeant major."

"You do that." BeachHead went back to standing and watching the approach vector.

Flint scowled at BeachHead. The man irritated him just by standing there. And he didn't have anyone else to scowl at anyway. Everyone else had long since vacated the area. Once the two of them began an argument, it was always a good idea to get out of ground zero.

BeachHead ignored him. That in itself irked Flint. The man should be fidgeting. He should be worried about the plane being late, or what sort of recruits they were getting, or whether Flint was irked at him for being imperturbable! Of course.. if the sergeant stopped being imperturbable, then Flint wouldn't be irked at him. Then he wouldn't be worried about Flint. He blinked. But then not being worried about Flint was what irked Flint in the first... he growled under his breath.

"Beach, you give me a blasted headache!"

BeachHead barely glanced at him. "I aint' doin' nothin'!"

"You still give me a headache. Why don't you DO something!?"

"DO what? I'm waiting on the danged plane to arrive, what do you expect me to do? Run down the road and find 'em and drag 'em back on a danged rope?"

"Well I expect you to do something other than stand there like a blasted statue!"

"Well, maybe I need to go see if I can make a fool of myself. Wait.. no.. that'd be YOUR job."

"One of these days I'm gonna knock some sense into you." Flint turned to the stocky sergeant. "If it weren't for Duke thinking you're the best drill we got.."

"Ha! If it weren't fer you bein' a pansy, you mean!"

"Oh now you'll call me names, huh? You want a piece of me? Why don't you come try and get it!?"

"I don't need any pieces of you, I gotta extra box of 'loser' last time I went to the PX." Beach suddenly jerked back as Flint punched the air. "Yeah, come on and punch me! Maybe I'll notice this time!"

"Yeah? Maybe I'll send you up to Doc with another broken nose!" Flint sneered at him. "As I recall, you lost that fight too."

BeachHead crossed his arms again, looking out from behind the cloth facemask. "Can't call it a 'fight' when I ain't allowed to hit a superior officer, SIR."

Flint clenched his jaw so hard he heard his molars grind. "Shut up. Just... shut up. I don't want to hear anything else from you."

"Fine by me, you started it in the first danged place."

"SHUT UP!"

"Yes sir."

"SHUT UP!!!"

"I said YES SIR! Whaddaya want from me!?"

Flint closed his eyes and counted to ten... twice. "You chap my ass. Just saying."

"Yeah.. that's a mental image I wanted."

Flint opened his mouth to yell and spotted the place coming in on approach. "Finally!"

They both stood there silently while the plane did all the usual landing, taxiing, and bits and things that cargo planes did. Flint paced a bit, checking his list and cursing softly under his breath. BeachHead stood in place, arms crossed, irking Flint.

Flint finally glared at him. "Didn't you bring a list?"

"Can't you remember what you're doin' without writing it down?" The two men locked gazes, both trying to cow the other through sheer intimidation. "Need a few post-it notes?"

"Oh THAT'S IT!" Flint took two steps toward the smirking Ranger.

"Oh.. look, here's our recruits. You wanna go meet them and make friends, Flint?"

The warrant officer stopped and held up a finger to him. "Don't... don't you dare start!" He turned and took a deep breath, calming himself before walking over to where the latest sixteen recruits were assembling off the cargo plane. "Alright recruits! Form up over here!" With the engine noise and general chatter, they mostly didn't hear his orders. He opened his mouth to shout and was drowned out from behind.

"FORM UP MAGGOTS!!" Everyone jumped and scrambled to grab duffel bags and line up to the side. "Ya'll SHUT UP! An' pay attention to Warrant Officer Flint before I gotta kick yer butts into last week!" BeachHead gave a curt nod to Flint and stalked off to the side, slightly behind Flint's position, and absolutely correct in each movement.

Flint counted to ten again. The man just plain made him want to bite something in half. He didn't need him to form up the recruits, he as perfectly capable.. oh yes.. they're waiting for him to say something. He cleared his throat.

"Welcome to the Pit. You've all been chosen because we think you've got what it takes to be part of this elite team. You're the cream of the crop.. best of the best. But that isn't good enough here. For you to become members of this squad, you're going to have to impress us with every aspect of yourselves.. not just potential, and not just one field. We're totally uninterested in what you CAN BE... we're interested in what you ARE! So I expect you all to be showing us one hundred percent in every way! We're a team here, if you can't work together, you're of NO use here! If you need someone else to lean on, you're of no use here! Right now, you're all on probationary status until you prove yourselves. Most of you will wash out, and be returned to whatever branch of the military you served in before. If any of you have any problems, or wish to leave the team, you can come see me, and I'll take care of it."

He looked over the bored faces. Stepping slightly aside, he lifted a hand at the silent Ranger standing behind him. "This is Sergeant major BeachHead.." There was a slight murmur in the group and he scowled. Once again, the shout from behind came before he could speak up.

"SILENCE!! Warrant Officer Flint didn't say you could TALK!" Everyone clammed up and Flint clenched his jaw in irritation.

"As I was saying..." His icy tone seemed to go unnoticed by BeachHead, although some of the recruits looked slightly nervous. "This is your drill instructor. He's going to have day-to-day charge of you. BeachHead will be setting up your schedules, and you can see him with any further questions." He turned to the sergeant major waiting patiently. "They're all yours."

Giving a slight nod of his head to Flint, BeachHead stepped up past him. Flint resisted the urge to find a pipe to brain him with.. just on general principles. Instead he walked back into the hanger leaving the recruits to BeachHead. "Stupid Ranger.."

* * * *

Beach mentally smirked as Flint stalked away. Irritating the warrant officer was a full time hobby for him now. He'd never gotten along with a warrant officer yet, and he didn't particularly expect to start any time in the future. Generally they were insufferable jerks, and the idea that this specific one really hated him with a passion just filled him with amusement.

"Okay you bunch of maggots.. you might think you're the best of the best.. but as far as I'm concerned you're a bunch of lowly pogues until you prove different! Some of you are obviously slacking on the PT department.. while some of you are lacking in your weapons training.. and others just plain SUCK. So we're gonna run you, and train you, and beat you, and take you all the way to your breaking point and beyond.. and THEN I'll really get started!! Do you unnerstand me!?"

There was a weak chorus of 'yes sergeant' and 'yes sir'. He lifted his voice to the intimidating bellow.

"I SAID DO YOU UNNERSTAND ME!?!? I WANNA HEAR AN ANSWER!!"

They all jumped in a satisfying manner. "YES SERGEANT MAJOR!"

He narrowed his gaze. "Good. When I ask a question I expect an answer! I don't stand out here chatting up the breeze! You think I got nuthin' better ta do than stand around talkin' ta myself!?" He phrased it so there was no good answer deliberately. As always, the chorus jumbled up combining both yes and no as the answers. At least they were all shouted at a decent volume. "WHAT WAS THAT?! DO YOU THINK THIS IS A JOKE!?"

"NO SERGEANT MAJOR!"

He subsided again. As long as he had their attention, he'd get started. "Alright.. I'm gonna call roll this once.. just to make sure you all managed to walk yourselves off the plane all by yourselves. Never know when one of you might get yourself lost walking that hundred feet." He began to snap out names, putting faces to each of the listed named he'd memorized. This group had six women, which was an unheard of percentage to him. He had four SEALs, and he almost always ended up washing out SEALs somehow. Three Air Force pilots.. all of them hotshots with attitudes from their files. They needed more good pilots though. And finally he yelled out "Steen!" and spotted the lone medic standing in the back corner. The guy even wore glasses. Great.. just great. He fixed his glare on the slender form in fatigues and saw him drop his gaze. A nonconfrontational pacifist with glasses.. and out of shape to boot. Just what he needed. From his first perusal, he'd guess at least four would wash out before a full day had passed, just on physical conditioning. One of the females was a definite wash, as was two of the guys, both of them Marines. The last was the medic, who was Army, although Beach didn't quite understand how.

"Okay.. now that I know everyone's names.. grab your duffels.. you're probably all cramped up after that long plane ride.. so let's stretch our legs a little bit." The SEALs and half of the rest slung their duffels over their chest, tossing the straps over their heads to settle the bags into place on their backs, expecting a run. The rest clumsily followed suit, some not bothering to sling the bags, but hanging them on one shoulder. The medic didn't even bother with that, but carried his by it's strap. BeachHead shook his head. "FORM UP IN PAIRS!! We're going for a run!" He snapped and shouted them into a squad and harassed them along to the fenceline. Running along the fence gave him plenty of time to check everyone's physical conditioning. As he expected, the majority ran along well, the two marines, one female and the medic all struggled.

At somewhere close to the halfway mark, he stopped them and took the time to yell at them about what poor shape they were in, pointing out three of the SEALs that were still fresh looking. The yelling gave them a breather, and put a healthy dose of terror into them at the same time. Later on they'd be expected to run the entire fenceline as a matter of course.. but if he tried it with this bunch of half-weights, at least a couple would fall out and need medical attention. Doc had warned him especially about what he'd do if Beach sent a recruit into the infirmary on the first day. Although the team doctor and drill instructor argued on a regular basis, he was also one of the few men in GI Joe that could actually terrify BeachHead. It wasn't so much that the man was scary.. it was that he seemed to enjoy the special terror he could inflict legitimately on any of the team, on his whim. Sure.. he was a gentle medic, caring and good and kind beyond measure. Make him angry, as Beach had a habit of doing somehow, and he turned into a tyrant that could twist you into the worst situation possible, and he'd pulled out the worst threat ever to Beach's mind.. the 'full medical leave' threat. He shuddered just thinking about it.

Judging the group to be about rested enough to make it back, he harried them back up into lines and chased them back along the fence to the hanger. Once they straggled into there, no less than five of them flopped onto the ground, gasping for breath. He stalked up to them and glared down at all five. At least the skinny medic wasn't one of them, he'd already checked on him. He was one of half a dozen that were walking slowly to cool off properly, although he had dropped his duffel on the ground rather than still carry it.

"Are you pogues comfy laying there? Did I somehow forget to mention that this isn't nappy time? We DO NOT LIE DOWN ON THE GROUND AND SLEEP WHEN WE'RE PERFORMING PT!!!!" His voice got louder on each word and startled them all right off the ground. One of the pilots seemed to have managed to learn to levitate, he rose up so quickly. The two sloppy marines took almost a full minute to get up, grumbling and dragging their bags along with them.

He walked a circle around both of them. Then he stopped and frowned at them both, softening his tone with concern. "Is there something wrong with ya'll two? Got some injury I can't see?" They both assured him they were perfectly fine. "Get back on the danged plane." They looked at each other in confusion. "Get back.. on.. the.. plane. I'll see to it your paperwork arrives before you do. You're dismissed."

He walked away, wondering just a little which reaction they'd give him. One trudged up the loading ramp with his bag.. the other one started cursing softly. Beach went to check on the female grunt who was puffing still from the run, but at least she was walking upright. The sergeant chivvied them into a rough formation.

"What's wrong with you recruits? Haven't you EVER stood in a danged group? ONE arm's length apart.. it's not rocket science!" They scooted around, trying to get into place while he glared at them all. His problem Marine finally got up the nerve to come try confronting him.

"Sir! I wanna know why you're dismissing me!" The angry tone coming from the young man was almost laughable.

BeachHead turned just his head to look at him. "You didn't make the cut. Get on the plane. You can go back to your unit." He turned his attention back to the group although he was quite aware of every move the pogue behind him was making. Just to make it harder on him, he began to pace up and down in front of the others who were suddenly VERY attentive and VERY much in place and standing properly awaiting any orders. The idea that he'd just ditched two of them without so much as ever letting them SEE the infamous Pit.. without ever even letting them unpack a bag.. that made them all very highly aware that they could be the next person walking back onto the plane to leave. He was pleased. Usually it took a few days to shake loose the first wash-outs.

"SIR! You can't cut me from the team!! I haven't even had a chance!" This time he approached to within a couple feet of the drill instructor, trying to get into his face while staying safely out of range.. a typically pathetic try at being alpha by a undertrained pup.

BeachHead looked at him, again without bothering to face him completely. "I can.. I did, and you had your chance. It's over now. Get on the plane." Even as he started to look away, he stepped backwards as the poor deluded idiot lunged forward at him. One leg came up, the knee slamming into his thigh and tossing him onto the pavement. Although he did briefly consider letting him jump at him a few more times just for some exercise and to burn off some pent-up annoyance, BeachHead reached down and picked up the stocky young man by the back of his neck and his belt, carried him physically to the cargo ramp and gave him a toss onto it.

After the loud thud of him landing faded away, the sergeant major stared at him. "I said.. get on the danged plane. If you step one danged foot off this plane, I'll consider you a threatening intruder and I'll break your left leg." He watched the boy scramble backwards on all fours. Twisting around, he stalked back over to the group and looked them over.

"Anyone else want to give me some argument? Anyone else wanna bleat about how they need a 'chance'? No? Good. Drop and gimme a hundred push-ups." He waited while they got through about fifteen. "I don't hear no one countin'!!" He'd half expected for someone to begin counting in the teens.. but they started at one as was proper.

An hour later, after he'd put them through plenty of mind-numbing exercise, he ran them down the road. There was a nice transport truck at the hanger for him to load them into and drive them to the Pit. He didn't see any reason they couldn't make the trip on their own feet. Two miles down the road, one of the SEALs just stopped in the road. BeachHead dropped back and then stopped, looking back at him standing there. Finally he walked back up to him.

"You alright?" The last thing he wanted was to have a recruit fall out for some outlandish reason. The man looked fine, standing there breathing hard. "Hey."

The lean fit SEAL suddenly looked at him weird. "I'm gonna go back to the plane." He turned and started trotting down the road and BeachHead watched him go.

"Well.. ain't that a kick?" He pulled out a communicator and contacted the hangers. "Ace? Gotta SEAL headed back, hold that plane for him. Make sure he gets on, don't want any security breaches. Watch him cause he's gone a little odd."

Ace's voice sounded disappointed. "Got it Beach. Is that a total of three washes?"

BeachHead snorted and lifted the communicator. "Total three.. and I ain't even got 'em back to the Pit yet. Don't close the bettin' pool yet."

The pilot made sure to sigh mournfully over the comm line. "Man.. you're gonna break me. Is it true that you gotta pacifist in the bunch?"

BeachHead started running back up the road to catch up to his remaining recruits who hadn't stopped. "Yeah.. one pacifist.. how the heck did you hear already?"

Ace laughed at him. "Pilot talk. He's not shy about admitting it. Sounds like he's a decent guy.. other than that. Didn't call anyone on the plane a murderer or anything. Here comes your SEAL.. went right onto the plane. We'll be taking off in fifteen, just in case you want to send a few more back home before they get in the door."

He grunted. "No, I'd rather have 'em around a couple of days to give me someone to beat on other than you lazy Joes. BeachHead out." He clicked the unit off and tucked it into a thigh pocket and sped up, easily overtaking the group. "You're gonna take until dinner time to get there at this pace.. you wanna make me miss my lunch? I'll lose my good mood if I miss my lunch! Get it in gear!" He settled back next to the medic. He wasn't wheezing.. but he was panting. Dropping back further, he settled in behind the group.

By the time they straggled into the Pit motorpool, he was fairly impressed with the woman he'd thought would wash out. She needed conditioning.. nearly as badly as the medic did. But she'd run the whole way, no complaints. Since she was one of the three pilots, he really wanted her to make it.

He directed them to the two barracks. "Females to the left.. guys to the right." He followed the men into the building and tacked a page onto the bulletin board. "Your schedule, be early to everything. There's a small building with a rec room in it, you're allowed to be there. You have an area to work out, you got beds. We'll be going down into the Pit in fifteen minutes."

Walking over to the female bunkhouse, he rapped the door twice. Waiting for approximately ten seconds, he opened the door and walked in. "That's the only time I'm gonna be polite, just to warn you. You're recruits, not ladies. You got issues with me walking in and finding you in your skivvies.. don't be in your skivvies. Got it?"

All six answered. "Yes Sergeant Major!"

He tacked the same schedule up on their board. "Here's your schedule, be early to everything. Small building past the guy's bunkhouse is the rec room. We'll be headed down into the Pit in ten minutes."

He walked out and waited in front. In eight minutes, he had half the recruits standing there looking uneasily at him. Nine minutes, he had ten of the thirteen. At exactly ten minutes he took two steps towards the men's barracks to go fetch the laggards, and they came flying out to get into place.

"Did you perhaps forget we were out here?"

One of them spoke up quickly. "No sergeant! I lost my file, sergeant!"

BeachHead narrowed his gaze, flicking it to the other two late recruits. "I see. Did you locate your file?"

"Yes sergeant!"

"Well, that's peachy. And why were there three of you inside?"

He stayed quiet. Beach stepped up in front of him, knowing his facemask-covered visage scared most recruits. "I'm sorry... I didn't hear your answer. Maybe I'm getting hard of hearing in my elderly state here. So let's try it again. Why were there three of you inside to look for your file?"

The recruit swallowed but still stayed silent. Beach was slightly impressed. One of the others spoke up finally.

"We were helping him look, sir. We didn't want him to be late to assembling up." He turned his head to look incredulously.

Walking over to the speaker, he gazed at him, then walked around him slowly to look him over. The medic stood stock still, not quite in the way that a new recruit stands hoping to avoid notice.. there was something 'off'. Filing it away to think about it later, Beach stopped in front of him. "Steen. Was I speaking to you?"

"No sir."

"Don't call me sir."

"No sergeant major." The tone held just a hint of a quaver.

"Good teamwork." He walked back up to the front of the group. "This is not a competition. You are not trying to beat each other out of a spot on the Joe team. Let's head down to the Pit. You'll each be interviewed, either by me.. or by Warrant Officer Flint.. or by Lieutenant Duke." He strode off, and entered the motorpool. Herding them onto the platform, he nodded to Dusty. "Take us down.. "

As they began to descend, he noted one of the female recruits looking upwards at the desert trooper with a appreciative gaze. He looked up himself and caught Dusty's eye and wagged a finger at him with a stern look. Dusty jerked and looked around innocently. BeachHead pointed two fingers at his own eyes and then at Dusty. He was pleased to see the young man's shoulders slump slightly.

"Yeah.. won't be none of that.." He let his gaze fasten on the woman, staring calmly until she happened to turn and spot him looking at her. She jumped and looked guilty and he shook his head. "Yeah."

* * * *

End chapter:

Well, it's a start. As the fic goes on, Lifeline(Edwin Steen as per canon) is a great deal more prominent. Reviews are appreciated as always. If you have ideas on what he'd have issues with, etc, please feel free to comment or PM me.

As always, Thank You for reading.