A Breach of Etiquette

Rex's eyes snapped open.

It was amazing what several years of battle training could do to one's senses and reflexes. He still was probably nowhere near Six's level, but when he woke up one night with the feeling that something was watching him, he believed it. And he acted on it in a way that only a very well trained soldier would.

"WAAAUUGHH!" THUMP!

Tangled in blankets, he was unceremoniously dumped on the floor by his fading and somewhat disgruntled subconscious. His head hit particularly hard, as it was the first to bail.

"OWowowowow…" he muttered, rubbing his skull through a sheet that had somehow gotten wrapped around his hair. Yanking it off, he found himself staring an eyeless doll in the face. And he thought it was giggling.

"What the-?" Scooting back against his bed, he looked around the room in alarm.

The doll still stared up at him from the floor with dark eye sockets, but that wasn't nearly as alarming as the true source of the laughter. Behind it, the small E.V.O. girl Breach stood, large hands behind her back smaller limbs over her mouth as she laughed. The result would have been rather innocent, had she not been, well, Breach. In his room. At night.

Reflexes or not, the oddity of the situation held Rex rooted to his spot on the floor. That, and leftover sleepiness. "Wh…" he finally stammered, "What are you doing in my room, Breach?"

Breach peered at him with one eye, the only one currently visible from behind her curtain of hair. "You're room, all about your room. Its NOT your room, is it?" She glanced over to her right.

Rex followed her eye, and saw Bobo Haha sound asleep in his hammock. Of all times for him to be sleeping off another hangover.

"You kidding me?" Rex said. "You sneak into, and YES this is MY ROOM, just to hash out the particulars of ownership with a roommate? Seriously?"

Breach moved her other two arms behind her back and rocked on her heels. Again, anyone else could have made it look cute. At the moment, Rex felt torn between laughing and hurling. He folded his arms. "Well?"

"Well?" Breach echoed. "You don't use wells, not good enough for Rex. Abysiss has wells though. Wells that swell with lots of water. Swell wells."

"Gah, not talking about wells, I want to know why you're in my room!"

She glanced around. "Not very neat. But good colors, I like gray."

Rex hung his head. Getting a straight answer from Breach was like trying to find out what color Six's eyes were. "Breach," he tried again, "If you don't tell me what you're doing here, I'm gonna call Agent Six."

"Why six?" Breach asked. "Stupid number, why not four? I like four."

Rex stood up. "You know, what am I doing? Talking to someone who's one pepper short of a salsa, that's what I'm doing. Why am I even bothering?" He reached over for his communicator that he kept beside his bed.

Breach swiped one of her larger hands to the side and a red portal flashed over the small device. "NO!" she shrieked. "No one else!" Her other large hand waved before Rex could react, and in a flash BoBo was gone too. "I don't want them!"

"Oh great!" Rex said, throwing his hands in the air. "Nice job genius, but there are like a million ways I can get Providence foot soldiers here. You took out what, all of two?"

Breach bent down and picked up the doll on the floor. "This one I saved," she said.

"That doll can call Providence?"

"Saved from the house . . . nothing left . . ."

"Now we're getting somewhere," Rex said. He scratched his head. "Although . . . I'm not sure where that is . . ."

Breach was hugging the doll now. "All that's left," she muttered. "All the others were broken. I don't want broken things."

Rex eyed the eyeless doll. "You think that's not broken?"

Breach's eyes snapped up towards Rex. "YOU broke them!" she said, her voice suddenly screeching.

Rex paused. Ding. "OH!" he said. "Oooh, you're going on about that!" He slapped his hand to his forehead. "Uh, Breach, I don't know how well you remember it . . . in fact I doubt very much you remember anything that well at all . . . but YOU are the one who dragged me into that dollhouse of yours. I didn't want to be there in the first place; I tried to tell you. I had to get out somehow or I'd have ended up almost as crazy as you are, apparently—"

He was cut off by Breach planting her lips hard on his mouth.

In some disconnected part of his brain he wondered if the alarm klaxons that were going off in his head were enough to wake the rest of Providence.

In a flash, his arms down to his fists grew gigantic and metallic in nature. One well-placed swipe backhanded Breach across the room.

"BAHAAJGLGHDKGHJJKL!" he gasped, his face contorting into some new gag reflex every one point five seconds. "GAAHAHGEEEEEEWWWW!" Now he really felt like hurling. He pawed at his mouth with his giant hands in an effort to wipe away the everything. "What the psycho heck was that for?"

Breach lay for a moment where she had fallen, then her own oversized hands lifted herself off the ground as she righted herself. Her smaller set of arms returned to hiding behind her back in a playful manner. "What? What for? Or for what?"

"Oh shut up!" Rex yelled. "Seriously, I've had to deal with some crazy E.V.O.'s before, but you totally take the taco!" His hands folded down back to their original shape, only to have his left arm expand again into a gigantic gun. He raised it up to take a chunk of ground for ammunition, but froze. "Uh, on second thought, lets use something that won't turn my bedroom into swiss cheese." Folding up the gun, his right arm alternately expanded out into a long orange blade.

Breach giggled. "You're right," she said. "No dollhouse for you. I don't want you as just a friend anyways. Friends are only good for stacking. Stacking and playing with other dolls."

"Lemme guess," Rex said, gritting his teeth. "I'm now being promoted from BFF to something far more gut-wrenching?"

She giggled again.

"Wonderful. Just what I always . . . wanted. Hold still, close your eyes, and I'll show you my appreciation."

"You even left me a doll," Breach said. "Like those at the fair."

"I can fix that." He glanced at the creepy doll, now lying on the floor again. "Or . . . well, unfix it. Or . . . wait . . ." he spun around to face Breech again. "Just get out of my room! How did you even get in here anyways?"

Breach waved her large arms on the top of her torso, in her usual portal opening gesture.

Rex's shoulders sagged. "Oh. Right. Duh." He tapped his sword blade against the wall thoughtfully. She's probably figured her way around Providence base after Van Kleiss and the Pack had attacked it. She had been placing bombs around the building after all.

Breach continued to wave her arms like she was seaweed in a current, practically daring Rex to strike. Rex nearly swung his sword, but froze again. Directly behind her was his precious TV.

As much as he really wanted to just have at her right now in all his melee, E.V.O.-butt-kicking glory, he had gone through a lot to earn himself this room, and was somewhat partial to it the way it was. No big holes or gouges or fist marks. One of the few places that he'd been in for any extended period of time that had actually maintained that appearance. In all preference, he'd rather keep it that way, so maybe he could convince Breach to just leave. Then he could give her the pounding she deserved later . . . in a location more open to his tendencies for collateral damage.

"Breach," he tried, straining to keep his voice calm, "I'd love to uh, continue our conversation, but you DID just wake me up, and I'd really like to go back to sleep; I was having this most awesome dream . . . I think . . . about uh, spiders. Yeah."

"Not gonna stop you," Breach said, still waving her hands. Her lower arms were now waving downwards to contrast the top set waving upwards. The effect was a very good imitation of a person whose mind was totally out to lunch.

"You're presence is gonna stop me Breach," Rex said, long suffering in his voice. "Seriously, have you ever tried to sleep when someone is staring at you? Rather unnerving, to say nothing of tremendously awkward."

Breach finally stopped waving, her expression brightening. "But it works!" she exclaimed. "I love that part in the book."

"Wait, book? You read?"

Breach sighed. "He sat in her corner every night, watching her sleep. Because he couldn't sleep. So he had to watch her, see? But she never woke up. Watching didn't bother her."

"That's it, no more Twilight for you, do you hear me Breach? That is not exactly what I'd call a good roll model for a stable relationship."

"Watching is good," Breach continued, as though Rex hadn't said anything. "So I come here to watch." She pouted, eyeing Rex. "You never woke up before."

Rex flipped a switch on his sword arm, and the top half of the blade separated and spun into a buzz saw. "You know, to heck with keeping this room pristine—it can be fixed anyways—and to heck with your babbling. You are so dead!"

Breach smiled, and blew him a kiss.

She may as well have blown him a missile. His robotic arm shattered into pieces, and Rex staggered back. "Oh no . . ." he muttered, flexing his hands into fists. They lit up with lines of blue light, but the lines then faded just as quickly. "NonononoNO!" He flexed over and over, but his hands stubbornly refused to become his instruments of mass E.V.O.-whooping destruction.

Breach cocked her head, watching curiously.

Rex backed up, eyeing the door as if it was not only going to eagerly provide an exit, but would spontaneously spew out armored support at the same time. Baaad time for his powers to go kaput on him again. She must have rattled him more than he'd thought.

A flash of red, and Breach was standing between him and the door. "Ah-ah-ah," she said, waving a finger from one of her giant hands.

"Breach," Rex growled through gritted teeth, "If you don't move, so help me, I'll . . . I'll . . ." he looked around wildly for something he could use for defense, or at least an excuse to make her leave. Maybe he could threaten to play musicals on his TV; that seemed like something that would scare her off.

"Hey Breach, ya like Little Orphan Annie?" he asked as he reached for the remote.

He heard Breach give a wild shriek, and he spun back around. Did that really work?

Breach stood in the now-open doorway, struggling, as all four of her arms were held restrained by…girls.

Rex rubbed his eyes. "Que muchas senoritas?" he exclaimed.

He recognized all four of the girls. Doctor Holiday was holding Breach's enlarged upper arm, while Circe held the smaller one. On the other side, Annie was wrestling with the left large arm and Cricket was gripping the lower.

"Rex!" Dr. Holiday exclaimed. "Are you all right? I was woken up by an alarm from your biometrics; seemed something was going awry in here!"

"I was following Breach," Circe said. "Kinda figured she was getting a little too attached to something that did not belong to her." She gave Breach's arm a spiteful yank.

"Oh oh, I had gotten locked in here!" Annie said cheerfully as she struggled with Breach's other large arm. "Was here for testing earlier; turns out that supernatural bad luck I cause was a result of latent E.V.O. powers. I get to be your new sidekick!"

"Like heck you are!" Cricket chirped up. "I got here first!"

"Well I had dibs on him first!" Circe exclaimed, her mouth extruding into her E.V.O. screamer form.

"Hey, you children pipe down!" Dr. Holiday said. "Besides, who has he been flirting with every day for years? I'd have to say I have first claim in that matter."

"Ladies, ladies!" Rex said, waving his arms and grinning. This day was getting a whole lot better. "Come on, no need to fight, there's plenty of Rex-meister to go around."

"NO!" Breach shrieked. "MINE! He's mine!"

"I saw him first!" Cricket yelled.

"He liked me first!" Circe added.

"No I believe I have that honor!" Dr. Holiday said.

"And I'm taking him anyways!" Annie said happily.

All five girls devolved into a wrestling contest, arguing simultaneously over who'd get the honor of a date. A screen lit up behind Rex.

"Rex," he heard White Night's voice.

"One second!" Rex said. "I can't miss this!"

"Actually, I just wanted to apologize," Knight said. "I haven't been treating you the way you deserve, you being Providence's most valuable asset. No, most valuable person. I want you to take over my job, just to show my appreciation."

"Awww, why thank you Whitey!" Rex said. "That means a lot to me!"

Noah, Six, and Bobo then walked in through the door. "Nice!" Noah said, sitting down on the bed to watch the chick fight. "You really are the coolest dude, Rex!"

Six and Bobo walked up to Rex and saluted. "What are your orders, sir?" Six said.

"Hm…," Rex said, stroking his chin and brainstorming what kind of errands he could put Six on. "Maybe you can go fetch me and Noah some popcorn."

"Yes sir." Six saluted again and walked out.

"With plenty of butter!" Noah called after him. "And some sodas too!"

"Hey, can I give you a little piece of advice, Chief?" Bobo asked.

"Sure Bobo, anything for my loyal sidekick!"

"WAKE UP!"

"GAAAH!" Rex shot up in his bed. "Whaaaa?"

Alarms were blasting throughout the Providence building. Slouching next to his bed, Bobo was twirling one of his red pistols in his hand. "You awake yet?" he asked. "Geez, its like trying to get a response from a sloth. And a regular, boring, non-E.V.O. one at that."

Rex looked around. There was no sign of the girl fight, Noah, or Six. White Knight however was on his screen, but instead of apologetic, he looked livid. "Nice of you to join us, soldier," he snapped. "Get up; we have an emergency E.V.O. case in London. One of the guards for Buckingham Palace moved, and in a very bad way." The screen flipped off.

Rex hung his head. "Guess . . . that was all a dream huh?"

Bobo raised an eyebrow. "Why does it look like you're both relieved and disappointed?"

"Long story," Rex said, getting up and grabbing his gloves and jacket.

"Eh, it's a long flight," Bobo said, heading for the door.

Rex moved to follow, but stopped when his foot hit something. He looked down on the ground and saw a doll, staring up at him . . . with no eyes.