"Squid" is a term used by the Army and Air force when referring to Navy personnel. Rather like "Grunt", "Jarhead" or "Flyboy", it's a term of mildly derogatory affection. Pretty much all branches of the armed forces are more or less convinced that all other branches are a waste of good air, but God help you if you badmouth one within earshot of a member of any of the others without actually being in the armed forces yourself…immediate and brutal ass kicking will result.
Hawk flipped through the folder Storm Shadow had deposited on his desk. The general raised an eyebrow. "Extras, hmm?" A slow smile, and Hawk's eyes lit up. "Is this…"
"Briefing on an op in Sierra Gordo…apparently the Commander wants to get one of his henches in as dictator. It's a smart move…it would give them a monopoly on the silver mines in the area."
Hawk grinned. "Not if I have anything to say about it. Where'd you find this? We had no idea...I was just hoping for fortress blueprints."
Storm shrugged, grinning slightly. "That particular gem was in Destro's personal safe. I make it a habit to rifle through his things whenever I happen to be in the area."
"Show off." But Hawk was still grinning. "Good job. I've got another job for you, though this one is," the general hesitated, "slightly less exiting. You don't even have to leave the Pit."
Tommy raised an eyebrow. "I have a feeling that I am not going to like this."
Hawk sighed. "Probably not. There's a party going on down in the rec room; Stalker just found out that his wife is pregnant."
Storm Shadow smiled. "Good for 'Lonzo."
"Yeah." Hawk grinned. "He's been bouncing off the walls since she called. Well, Clutch and Shipwreck went into town once they got off duty and came back with several bottles of God only knows what. I told the men that they could enjoy themselves as long as they were off duty, and made it very clear that any property damage would come out of their pay and would earn them KP for a month. And I told the lot that they won't get PT off tomorrow if they overindulge and end up with hangovers. Beach is looking forwards to yelling at anyone who overdoes it. Still…" Another sigh. "I've already got Snake down there keeping an eye on things, but I'm sure he'd like a hand. I know I can trust you two to stay sober and keep things from sliding too far south."
Tommy sighed. "Yes, sir." Great. Drunk patrol. He hated drunks.
"Excellent." Hawk started scribbling a report. "Dismissed. Try not to kill anyone unless they really deserve it."
He heard the activity well before he actually reached the rec room; he recognized Grunt's voice, singing loudly and off key to the sort of loud rhythmic noises that Sherry called 'music'. Under this there was the low murmur of people talking rather loudly.
The door was open. He slid inside, winced, and to several loud groans stalked over to the tape player and turned the volume way down. His glare, however, backed one of the grease monkeys up several steps and no one else decided to argue with the ninja over music volume.
"Tommy!" Stalker, clearly well past 'buzzed', grinned and headed for him with the exaggeratedly deliberate gait of someone drunk trying to appear sober. "He's back! Guess what?"
"Hawk told me. Congratulations."
"'m gonna be a dad again." Stalker said happily. "Want something? To celebrate?"
"No, thank you. Hawk…"
"Aw, he's got you watching us poor drunk slobs too?" Clutch grinned. "Guess we'll have to drink his share, guys."
There was a cheer from several grease monkeys. Tommy glanced around.
Snake Eyes, looking as if there were many places that he would much rather be, was standing off to one side. Storm slid over to lean against the wall.
"I hate drunks." He muttered.
There was a sigh from his fellow ninja. *Do I get to leave now, or do we both get to suffer?*
"We both get to suffer. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for 'Lonzo…"
*But you hate parties almost as much as I do. I understand and sympathize. I'd much rather congratulate him when he'd actually remember it.* Snake sighed again. *Clutch has been trying to convince me to 'let loose for once' for the last hour.*
Tommy eyed the room. "I don't see Red…is she on duty tonight?"
*No. She stuck around for a few toasts and took off…said she had intel briefs to go over.*
Shipwreck and Clutch suddenly elbowed their way over. The sailor was holding two shot glasses full of something clear.
"Heyyy!" 'Wreck was grinning. "We've got both of 'em here now…hey, Clutch? Which one you suppose could hold their tequila better?" The sailor brandished the shot glasses. "I've got fifty on Snake."
"I dunno." Clutch eyed them critically. "Snake's bigger…more mass…no bet."
"Y'hear that, Stormy?" Shipwreck eyed him in a challenging sort of manner. "Wanna try and prove us wrong?"
Both ninja glared. Storm Shadow sighed. "No, I don't. Besides, I already know that Snake Eyes can drink me under the table."
The sailor and the mauler driver blinked. "Really?" Clutch sounded nonplussed. "When…?"
"None of your business." That particular incident, in fact, had taken place during their tour in the jungle, directly following the massacre of their first unit. Ninja generally did not allow themselves to lose control, but Tommy had been convinced to have one drink with his friend in memory of their fallen comrades.
He had very quickly discovered that the occasional polite cup of sake had not prepared him for the six ounce 'shots' of hundred and ninety proof bathtub gin that the dive of a bar had served. One drink had pretty much killed little things like 'common sense' and 'good judgment', and the night had gone downhill from there. It was not a particularly pleasant memory, the hangover the next day even less so.
It was not an incident that he'd ever told his uncles about. He did, after all, have some sense of self-preservation.
"Touchy." But Shipwreck and Clutch left the pair of ninja alone. The tequila vanished down the throats of the already-tipsy men fairly quickly.
Just then Tommy heard a familiar voice.
"N' there I was, ten thousand feet, and the little sonovabitch in the glider thingie is hiding in a cloud, 'n I've got bullet holes in my canopy…damnit, I can't see…move it, tall people."
Storm groaned as a dark head emerged from a group containing Ace and Wild Bill; Sherry was, apparently, both rather tipsy and standing on a table.
She apparently had a drink in one hand. She was gesticulating wildly and continuing with her war stories. Ace snorted loudly and tried to cut her off at one point; this earned him a glare that should have scorched the taller pilot's hair right off.
Storm shook his head. "How do you know when you've got a fighter pilot at your party?" He murmured.
Snake glanced over, and Tommy smiled as his sword brother started panting with silent laughter and finished the old infantry joke. *Don't worry; they won't let you forget.* The mute ninja shook his head. *Too true. They've been trying to one-up each other for the last half hour. And the really sad thing is that Banger has only had two drinks. Your girlfriend is a lightweight, brother.*
"Well, it's not like she has much body mass to put it in. The bottle is half her height." Tommy sighed. "Drunk, cocky pilots, a drunk, irritating squid, drunk, irritating tank drivers…I'd better be getting hazard pay for this. I'm going to go and make sure she doesn't kill herself."
Snake Eyes curled thumb and forefinger into the 'OK' symbol. Tommy stalked off.
He positioned himself out of the way but where he could both keep an eye on the woman now (thankfully) sitting on the edge of the table and the rest of the room. There was a yelp; Tommy watched his sword brother drag Footloose out of the room directly following an attempt by the trooper to refill his glass that had resulted in whiskey getting spilled.
The barracks weren't far away. Snake Eyes was back, sans infantry trooper, within a few minutes.
Shipwreck drifted over to the group swapping war stories around the table. He edged just slightly too close to Sherry to be listening to her; Storm narrowed his eyes. Shipwreck generally didn't hit on Sherry unless there weren't any other women around; the sailor had loudly proclaimed a few times that he 'liked em' tall'. Still…Storm glared. His relationship with the pilot might be casual, but he didn't share. The sailor edged a bit closer, and if 'Wreck's hands got any closer to territory that Tommy considered his, the sailor was going to lose limbs. Painfully.
He cleared his throat loudly. Shipwreck jumped, met his eyes, and backed hastily away. Sherry seemed not to have noticed the sailor edging into her personal space, but she did notice the noise. She spotted Storm and her face brightened.
"Hey." She waved cheerfully if a bit unsteadily. "You're back." She went to hop off the table, and nearly overbalanced. Tommy grabbed her by the belt and set her back on her feet. She blinked up at him and grinned. "Thanks…you're cute."
"I know…you're drunk." He pried the glass out of her hand, ignoring her protests.
"M' not finished with that."
"Yes, you are. You've had enough. You're already going to be miserable tomorrow at PT." He steered her towards the door.
"You're not my father." She glared.
He sighed. He really, really hated drunks. "Hawk wanted me to keep people in line. It isn't personal. I'll be dragging Shipwreck out of here soon enough, I think."
There was a crash to the left. Tommy glanced over, and spotted his sword brother dragging Clutch to his feet and towards the door by the scruff of his neck. "Definitely dragging Shipwreck out soon. He was almost as gone as Clutch."
He was really starting to think that this was some sort of payback on Hawk's part. Storm Shadow had, after all, inflicted a lot of damage to G.I. Joe during his years with Cobra. He'd be sure that this was deliberate torture if Snake wasn't stuck here too.
Stalker grinned at them as Tommy steered the little woman towards the door. "Gonna go have your own party, huh?"
"Shut up." Tommy growled. He really liked Stalker better sober.
Sherry was singing a really bad rendition of her favorite rock ballad when they reached the women's barracks. Tommy reached for the doorknob. "Can you get yourself in bed?"
"M' not that drunk."
"Good." A sudden noise from behind the closed door, and he froze abruptly for a second. Those were low voices, and they were both very familiar, and sounded very much involved. He groaned.
He should have known. He hadn't seen Jaye or Flint in the rec room, and he knew Duke was the officer on duty tonight. Of course. He hadn't seen Covergirl either; she must be with Beachhead, which was another mental picture he really didn't want to think about. Well, CoverGirl wouldn't be bad, actually…
Sherry blinked a few times and then grinned. "Whoo! Someone's having fun."
"Shut up. I don't want to think about it." Tommy sighed. "You're staying in my quarters tonight, then. I will kill anyone who makes smart remarks about drunken women to me tomorrow. Painfully. Slowly."
"You're a regular knight in shining armor."
He felt a hand running over his bicep. He eyed her. "No. Not with you like this."
She scowled. "Spoilsport."
He sighed. "I like you better sober."
Mwahaha. Yes, I enjoy torturing Storm. How'd you guess?
Next chappy will be up when I get it finished…I'm working on like eight fics right now, and am stuck on a few of them, so I decided to throw this much up for General Zargon, who requested it and has been waiting patiently.