They stayed in their respective bases out of habit now more than anything.
The animosity that had raged through those long years stationed in a box canyon in the middle of nowhere was gone, permanently, but with nothing there to replace it.
Sarge spent a lot of time staring at the wall these days. Simmons teetered on the edge of giving up on him completely. Whatever force had motivated him to go after Tex and Church had left soon after the battle, leaving the emptiness of realizing all the things you sacrificed were for nothing but the whims of someone else. The dirtbags.
Not even Grif could be happy about the lack orders; disobedience was fun. Pissing off Sarge was fun. Apathy – apathy was not fun. Apathy fucking sucked. Apathy was supposed to be his specialty.
The only thing that pissed him off more was that Sarge was better at it than he ever was.
On the other side of the canyon, the Blue Team was largely at a loss without their de facto leader. Caboose at least wasn't smart enough to stop babbling contentedly about nothing. Church had come back from the dead before; as far as he was concerned, the pattern hadn't been broken yet. Tucker didn't have the heart to bash his hopes in; and it would have been like trying to explain quantum physics to a panda anyway. Stupid, pointless, and you might end up getting mauled.
Wash was relieved to have escaped jail. He had found some contentment with his new teammates, Red and Blue alike. Being offered redemption does that to a person sometimes. Fighting a primeval force with borderline demonic cybernetic enhancements together with them didn't hurt either.
He heard that the body was never found.
He shrugged it off as best he could – it was a long fall after all, and a lot of wilderness to search. It could be ages before anyone found what was left of the Meta.
Both bases had been rigged with every possible weapon enhancement the teams could get their hands on – grenades, rocket launchers, automatics; someone had even fashioned a crude bow and arrow out of an old Warthog muffler and some string. Just in case anything ever came looking for revenge.
Grif had wanted Super Soakers filled with holy water, or, failing that, headlight fluid blessed by whatever religious authority they could find. That plan fell through when Caboose offered to try sanctification and it caught on fire.
"Not my fault. Tucker did it."
"Seriously, how did that even happen?"
"It's Caboose man. He could set a shark on fire 10,000 feet down."
"I. would never. set a shark on fire. It might bite me."
"Just shut up Caboose."
"Come on Sarge. We've been through worse than this. Remember that time Grif got shot? And survived?" Simmons tried to sound positive.
"Go away. It doesn't matter. Nothing matters. We couldn't even save anyone."
"Well, we saved Wash. And we kept them from covering everything up. That's gotta count for something right sir?"
"Don't call me that!"
"Sorry si- Sarge."
Two bases in a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. Two teams - one Red, one Blue. They dealt with their personal demons in their own ways, in the best ways they knew how, and any visiting Freelancers found they were decidedly unwelcome there. Salutations typically opened with a rocket launcher courtesy of Simmons and a shotgun to the face from Sarge who was learning that the rage he once saved exclusively for Grif could be put to much better use. Sometimes they asked Caboose to "help" the Freelancers.
They were never too hard on them though: no one wanted Command to stop sending victims their way. That would be boring.
"Seriously dude – I still say it looks more like a big cat."
"No way. Cats don't have tusks Grif. The Warthog is called the Warthog because it has tusks. End of story."
"Cats can have tusks! Like a Sabertooth! Why couldn't we call it that? That's a way more badass name than Warthog."
"SHUT UP Grif!"
"Will you ladies knock it off," Sarge wandered out from the base. "We've been over this. It's a Warthog because I say so."
"I'm the one always driving it. Shouldn't I get to name it?"
"You're the one always crashing it dumbass. If it could talk like Shelia, you're the last person it would want naming it."
"If it could talk it would name itself. And you know what it would call itself? Sabertooth." Grif gave a definitive nod.
"What? No way."
"Uh, yeah. Way."
"Then it's retarded. Just like you."
"Excellent comeback Simmons!"
"Thank you sir!"
Wash lowered the sniper rifle.
"Looks like Sarge is finally putting himself back together."
Tucker didn't bother asking for the sniper rifle. "Think they'll come after us?"
Wash picked the rifle up again, this time widening the range.
"I don't think so."
Wash kept an eye on the distant armored figure.
"Yeah. Grab Caboose. Have him send a message to the Reds. Looks like there's a Freelancer headed our way."
Two bases in a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. A Command center that didn't care, friends dead or missing, and revelations that no one really wanted to learn.
But it was a big universe.
They way they figured it, they could have come out a hell of a lot worse. And as long as they remembered what happened, then no one could ever forget it.
So Caboose prattled on about nonsense, Tucker dropped innuendos left and right, Sarge insulted Grif who insulted Simmons, and the natural order of things reasserted itself.
"Remember how Church used to go around being nice to everyone and picking flowers and skipping around in dresses?"
What? Noooo…. Church never did that!"
"Just checking buddy. Just checking."
Someone had to remember.
Otherwise, things would never come back to you.
Of all the things for me to get emotionally invested in, I choose Red VS Blue. Seriously. W.T.F.
I watched the end of Season Eight a couple of days ago and something about it really struck a chord with me. There's something about seeing the absurdity of the first five seasons contrasted by everything afterword that I really like - the development should feel forced, but it isn't. It's really impressive and well done and it says a lot about the creators that they can take those same characters and develop them them enough to create an ending that's really heartfelt and emotional. Those aren't adjectives I would have ever associated with the series in the beginning.
So this is my small tribute to those characters. I'm afraid their brand of humor isn't my strongest point, but I really wanted to do something for them. There really isn't enough fandom for this show. So I guess those of us that are fans just have to do what we can.
Thanks for reading!