Having beaten Snake Eyes to a pulp for the entertainment of watching a ninja and medics fight each other, I now again put fingers to keyboard to put Doc and Lifeline through the marginally less physically exhausting (For Lifeline, who usually ends up tracking their sneaky butts down) though certainly louder ordeal of BeachHead dealing with an injury. BeachHead/Covergirl, other canon pairings, and many Joes will make an appearance. And probably be yelled at. Sorry, guys, but medical confinement doesn't make Sergeant Hardass happy. Will be another longer story.

The explosion was deafening. BeachHead flattened himself into the divot in the mud, and mostly avoided the shrapnel that the viper's grenade sent tearing through the air.

Mostly. Hot spikes of pain peppered their way along his back, and judging by the rush of heat and then the feel of air moving against his arms his BDU sleeves had been charred off, along with more than a little hair and probably some skin too.

He cautiously raised his head and glanced around. That grenade had come from…there. He spotted the viper grenadier, and without even thinking about it brought up his sidearm-his M16 had gotten run over by a HISS tank-and put a bullet cleanly through the viper's eye.

Things were pretty much wrapping up. The viper attack on the South American gold mines had been effectively squashed; the grenadier had been one of the last vipers remaining alive and uncaptured. He'd run after the rest of his squad had been subjected to the tender mercies of LowLight and Recondo, somehow managing to dodge the sniper's shots through either skill or sheer luck. BeachHead was betting on the latter.

He made his way back to the rest of the Joes, only about twenty yards away through the dense jungle. Hawk was scribbling down mission reports, using the side of a Mauler as a flat surface. Lifeline was tending to a few minor cuts, abrasions, and the various other nicks and dings that the Joes habitually picked up in the line of duty. No one seemed seriously hurt, which was good. Beach didn't like it when people got hurt; it meant that they took time off from PT, and he didn't like letting anyone slip on their physical conditioning.

Snake Eyes materialized next to him, seemingly out of nowhere. Beach glared at him. "Don't do that. Damn spook."

"Don't do what?" That was Storm Shadow, on his other side. Beach turned to glare at the second ninja.

"Don't sneak up on me." Beach growled. "I'm gonna shoot you two one of these days, I swear to God." It wasn't natural, anyways. Just how a man who wore all white could vanish so completely in the middle of a jungle mystified him. Snake Eyes, sure. He understood that. Man wore black, could blend right into the shadows. But white? Didn't make any goddamn sense. 'Course, ninja in general didn't make any goddamn sense.

Storm Shadow gave him that smug grin that made Beach's blood pressure shoot through the roof. "Try. Go ahead."

A hand landed on his shoulder suddenly. Beach turned to glare at Snake Eyes again. "You're askin' for a broken hand, spook."

But…Snake Eyes was steering him towards Lifeline, and suddenly Storm was darting ahead, clearing people out of the way by main force and looking worried. Beach blinked, and for the first time felt the deep, aching pain in the small of his back, and the warm stickiness of blood. He tried to turn and eye the damage, but the motion sent hot pain shooting through him and he hissed through his teeth.

Then Lifeline was darting up, and Beach found himself being manhandled facedown onto a stretcher by the medic and the two ninja. He cursed them out loudly and tried to resist, but that just earned him a tap on the pressure point in his shoulder from Snake and his arms twisted around and held helpless by Storm Shadow.

"Dammit!" He glared up at them. "What the hell's goin' on? Hey! OW! Lemme up!"

"You weren't kidding…" Lifeline was cutting the remains of his BDU shirt off. "Beach, stop struggling, you aren't going to throw them off and you know it. Besides, you've got a helluva laceration on your back; looks like you got torn open by a chunk of shrapnel. You're bleeding pretty heavily, and I need to get it stopped."

"I'm fine." Beach growled. He went to push himself up, and yelped as Storm planted a hand between his shoulders and shoved him back down. "OW! Dang it, ninja! Watch the cuts!"

"You are not fine." Beach could feel the medic applying a pressure bandage to the laceration on his lower back. "Snake, here…put pressure on the cut on his shoulder, that's bleeding pretty good too…good, keep it right there." BeachHead felt a gauze pad press down against another painful patch on his shoulder. "You're damn lucky that your spine's intact, Beach…whatever caught you nicked a vertebra, but not badly."

"Yeah, well, tape me up and lemme up." BeachHead growled. "And tell the spooks to back off…I don't like being manhandled by a pair o' crazy ninja…they've got lots of pointy bits."

Lifeline ignored him. "That stopped bleeding yet, Snake?" Beach felt the gauze lift for a bare instant. "Good…tape it up, you know how to do that much. Then help me get him on a Tomahawk. And you're not walking, Beach, so don't try. You're back is torn all to hell, Doc's going to be picking shrapnel out of you for hours, and you're going to need a lot of stitches. What did you do, anyways?"

"Ducked a grenade, but the cover wasn't quite enough." Beach tried to twist and see what was going on, but Lifeline absently reached over, planted a hand on the back of the Sergeant Major's head, and shoved him back down.

"Stay put, or I'll sedate you." The medic said in a threatening sort of tone. "You know how much you love tranquilizer hangovers."

Beach stopped moving. "I'm bein' good."

"Right. The bleeding is under control…help me get him on the transport." Snake and Storm Shadow heaved the stretcher up. Storm winced.

"Geez…you're heavy."

Beach turned his head enough to glare at the ninja. "'s called 'muscle weight', scrawny."

"Whatever. I can mop the floor with you, and you damn well know it." Storm didn't seem fazed.

After the 'chopper was in the air and safely away from ninja, Beach moved to sit up.

"BEACHEAD!" Lifeline's snap stopped him cold. "LIE DOWN!"

He did, but glared up at the medic with murder in his eyes. Lifeline glared right back, eyes narrowed.

"I can damn well manage to sit up like a big boy." Beach grumped.

"Your back just stopped bleeding, and you're going to tear it back open if you don't stay put." Lifeline reached into his bag, and came out with a needle. "Do you know what this would do to you?"

Beach eyed the needle with apprehension. "Dunno."

"It would shut you up, make sure that you didn't hurt yourself any more, and make it much easier for me and Doc to get you on the operating table when we get back to the Pit." Lifeline glared down at him. "It would also make you even sicker than you're already going to be after Doc puts you out to dig metal out of your back and stitch up that grandmother of all shrapnel lacerations."

"You're awful mean for a pacifist." Beach grumbled, shifting uncomfortably. His back hurt.

Lifeline smiled thinly. "I deal with the most reticent patients in the world on a regular basis, the worst of the lot being you and two ninja who view medical confinement as a game. I've learned how to deal with difficult patients. And I hate to break it to you, but of the three worst you're not the challenge."

BeachHead just grumbled to himself.