It was another very long week before Doc took Beach's stitches out and proclaimed him fit for regular duty again. The greenshirts, BeachHead was sure, would thank the medic at some length. A BeachHead on light duty was a grumpy BeachHead, and a grumpy BeachHead cheered himself up by making sure that his recruits were just as miserable as he was.

Stitches out, he found Courtney waiting for him in the hall. She grinned. "The big bad ranger man back in business?"

"Good as a nice new scar now, though."

"Good. C'mon." She headed off at a good clip. Beach followed mostly out of curiosity.

After five minutes, he was moving from 'curious' to 'bored and slightly irritated'. "What the hell are we lookin' for, Courtney..."

She abruptly stopped; he almost ran her over. She opened a door, revealing a tiny unused supply room. She shoved him in and shut the door behind them, locking it.


Her shirt hit him in the face. He ducked, and her pants just missed. Her boots hit the floor with a clump, and BeachHead felt his jaw drop. That...that was red lace, and not very damned much of it. And a garter belt. And stockings. The kind with the little line up the back, topped off with little red bows...

Holyfuck. If this is what he got afterwards, he'd get blown up more often.

"Like it?" She asked, smirking. "It's new...just got it today. Does it look okay?" She twisted to eye the back of the stockings critically, and he swallowed hard. "The bows aren't too much, are they?"

"Jesus motherfucking Christ, Courtney." His brain was rapidly shutting down as his blood supply was shunted lower.

"I'm guessing you do like it; your tongue is hanging out." She looked very smug about this fact. "Well, if you like it so much, get your ass over here and take it off, Wayne."

Like there was a chance in hell he wouldn't. He grinned and obeyed her with extreme enthusiasm.

By hand-to-hand time, BeachHead was in a great mood. When he passed a greenshirt in the hall on his way up to the dojo from his office, the poor kid...actually, the same kid he'd snapped at outside the medical center a few days ago...looked shocked. BeachHead grinned; he doubted that the other recruits would believe the man had seen the Sergeant Major whistling to himself. Rather tunelessly and not very loudly, but still.

He arrived early, as usual. Also as usual, Snake and Storm were already in the dojo. The two ninja were walking through knife fighting techniques; Beach made a mental note to have Snake show him the interesting one that feinted in for the belly, then cut up and tore open the wrists.

The two men glanced over as he walked in, and even under that damned mask Beach could see Storm Shadow's grin.


"Doc cleared you for full duty?" The ninja didn't sound too vindictive today, but Beach knew better.


"Excellent." Storm waved him over to the wall. "Snake and I are just finishing up...the rest of the advanced class should be here soon."

Twenty minutes later, after warm-ups and a rundown on what they'd be working on, Storm and Scarlett neatly split the group down the middle and took opposite sides of the training mats. BeachHead, not particularly to his surprise, ended up in Storm Shadow's group.

Storm's grin hadn't faded one bit. "Right. Like my sword brother said, you all need work on chokeholds and throws. You all could choke someone out if you needed to, but the standard 'grab and squeeze' is really a very impractical way of doing it. It takes almost thirty seconds to induce unconsciousness by crushing the trachea, and a full two minutes to kill. I'm going to show you something called a 'sleeper'. Properly applied, unconsciousness will result in three to four seconds and death in ten to fifteen. I'll need someone to demonstrate on..."

Beach felt the Storm Shadow's eyes fix squarely on him. The wiry ninja grinned. "BeachHead...come on over."

Thirty seconds later, and BeachHead was trying very hard to breathe as Storm's astonishingly strong fingers-the man was at least twenty, thirty pounds lighter than Beach, he shouldn't be able to manhandle him so easily-dug into his throat, and it didn't help that the ninja had his spine bent at a really awkward angle.
"So, what you want is to pinch off the jugular and carotid...I'm not quite doing it here because I don't actually want to kill him, but you can see where you need your fingers. Properly applied, this also hurts quite badly. How are we feeling, Beach?"


"Good. I don't need to tell you all to be careful with this; I shall be very unhappy if I have to call Lifeline to revive someone because their partner was being stupid."

By the time Snake and Storm were satisfied on the sleeper holds, BeachHead's throat was aching, even though he knew very well that the ninja hadn't actually cranked the chokehold on full. And then they showed how to do the damn sleeper off a forearm choke. And after that, Beach got 'volunteered' as the demo dummy again, this time for throws. Which Storm Shadow again seemed to enjoy more than a little.

BeachHead was sure that the hang time Storm got off the combo shoulder-throw-power-sweep wasn't expressly necessary. Even with the mats, the landing smarted a bit.

He was glad when hand-to-hand finally let out. He cheered himself up by replaying his recent rendezvous with a lingerie-clad supermodel and the look on Stormy's face when the ninja had hit the mud pit a few days back.

He headed for the armory. A new shipment of nine mill sidearms had come in, and he wanted to go over the lot of them and check for defects. Damn factory workers missed things sometimes...lazy bastards.