Whoa. So sorry for the Update That Took Forever. I really have no good excuse. However, I do have several bad excuses. One of which being I procrastinated for months and now I have a yearly report due in two months. That has eaten up quite a bit of time. Another excuse is a Dinosaur at my chapter. It happens.
ANYWAY. Here's the next chapter. Just more of Hubert meeting people, and another insight on why he could be helpful to the Joe team.
Also, I am interested in finding a Beta reader, because I tend to make little mistakes when I write that I don't catch because I made them in the first place…anyway, you know what I mean. So if anyone is interested? That would be cool. Or if someone could direct me where to find a good one or where to get one in general.
By the way, just putting this out, most of my depiction of the Joes comes from other people's fictions. Most of BeachHead's portrayal comes from Willwrite4fics, and most of the ninja's comes from Karama9. Future portrayals come from other authors and if I miss credit anywhere that you believe should be given, that was not my intention and I will fix it instantly Enjoy!
"You know what confuses me the most?"
Hubert laced up his boots as Hoyden sighed, still lying on his bed like half of a beached whale. The other half would have been most likely bitten off by some large sea creature such as a shark or a particularly veracious octopus, because it seems like an astonishing waste of food to let a dead whale go uneaten. Sharks and octopi must have a difficult enough time searching for food. Hubert decided that although whale rights activists may stab him, sharks need some love too.
"No, Hubert, I don't. Please, tell me what confuses you the most?"
Hubert ignored the obvious sarcasm in Hoyden's voice and finished lacing his boot before standing up and then sitting abruptly back down at the sudden protest of his body. Apparently, his body did not appreciate the physical abuse it had undergone so far, and was rioting in the form of immobility.
"Well, the Cobra Commander's name. That's what bugs me. Because if his name is in that order, then it implies that he is a commander of cobras. But as far as I'm concerned, we are not going into battle with cobras. See, if his name were Commander Cobra, at least he would be a Commander who's only connection to snakes was his name: Cobra. Well that and the whole…speech problem. What is that anyway, like some sort of severe lisp?"
"I hope you realize that I don't really listen to you."
Hubert sighed and thumped the pal oh his hand on Hoyden's bunk. "Stop being such a marmalade pie and get down here. We've got to get to the main hall for further assignments, or we will be tied to a flag pole and mutilated with cans of silly string."
"No one said we were going to be tied to flag poles and sprayed with silly string." Regardless, Hubert heard the creak of springs as Hoyden crawled down from the bunk, sitting on Hubert's bed and reaching for his boots. "I think that would fit under cruel and unusual punishment."
"Hardly. Unusual, maybe. But cruel? Silly string is delightful, Hoyden. I would rather it be that then another run around that track or another face plant into the mats."
"Right. Well…I'm going to go now. By all means, keep talking." Hoyden got up and opened the door. "And by the way, the government only put that 'cruel and unusual' clause in to mollify the public. We don't know half of what's really going on."
"You're in one of the government's secrets right now, you know?"
"Of course I know, I'm seeking the truth and bettering myself and saving people, all at once."
Hubert nodded, finally learning how to engage Hoyden into some interesting conversation. He seemed to have righteous political outrage with slight philosophy undertones. In other words, one day Hubert was sure Hoyden would end up preaching to a group of trashcans on South Avenue due to a bout of schizophrenia.
"You have issues with our government don't you?"
"I have issues with every government."
"So you're an anarchist?"
"Of course not. I'm not offering a solution, I'm just pointing out a problem. Hey, I'd rather live here than in Uganda or Brazil or something. But nothing is perfect."
Hubert nodded, following Hoyden as he walked out of the room and locked the door behind them. "So in the event of a corporate takeover, you would, like, evacuate to Canada? Of course, you may be cold there. Maybe you'd prefer something tropical like Hawaii…but Hawaii is still the US. You know, maybe it's far enough away though. You could find like a four foot wide island and hang out there right?"
Hoyden blinked. "I am not discussing the aftermath of a corporate takeover with you, Hubert. Because it has already happened."
Hubert laughed before he could help himself and then held his hands up in defense. "Okay, it's happened. Yes. I agree. Let's go stab a sheep and drain its blood into the open mouth of a shriveled lizard."
"I can't even follow the conversation when you are in it."
"That is because I am a stealth master, able to loose people even in the thick of the language."
Hubert stopped to look at the scheduled sheet in front of him. According to this blue sheet, he was due for an interview approximately thirty seconds ago. In a room with which he had very little knowledge about. He waved Hoyden off and turned down one hallway, hoping to Buddha, Vishnu, Jesus, and Allah that he was going in the right direction.
Unfortunately, he could not seem to locate the room. In his interview, in the event that he made it there eventually, he would point out that it would be helpful to have colorful signs pointing in the proper directions, such as one would expect for a garage sale or Disney land.
Hubert approached two boys in a heated argument, although perhaps heated would not be the correct word to use. It was more like a volcanic argument, and Hubert was sure it would escalate to physical violence should he not intervene.
"Excuse me gentlemen, but I am lost. And late. And I would appreciate it if one of you, or both, could direct me to the place at which I am supposed to be, and/or a snack machine, because I could really go for some Famous Amos cookies. I will share, of course, because I reward kindness with cookies. Good motivator, no?" Hubert waited for a reply, but the two men had stopped talking altogether, and now the both stared at him as if he had just given birth to some large cephlopodous creature. Hubert saw one of the boys had an eye patch. "You have an eye patch."
"…I'm aware. Thank you for pointing that out to me, because otherwise I may have gone my entire life without realizing-"
"Knock it off, he's new."
The eye patch boy gave the other one a slightly peeved look. "Yes. And I was thanking him. Politely. Now," he grabbed the blue paper from Hubert's hand and blinked. "This is the entire schedule…which one are you?" He looked up at the top to see the ripped corner. "Did you really take the entire schedule off the board?"
Hubert blinked. In his sudden panic, it hadn't occurred to him that the schedule was not his and that he should not have removed it from the board. Perhaps that is why Hoyden had looked particularly confused when Hubert had taken off. Well, now he was not only responsible for his own tardiness, but now everyone else's.
"Yes. I did. Because I think it's a good exercise for people to have to find the schedule. It's like Where's Waldo. You sharpen your mind and your leg muscles."
"…I don't think it's anything like Where's Waldo."
Hubert honestly had no response to that. Normally people didn't question his strange explanations, and on the rare occasion that someone did, he was often at a loss of words. The other boy took the schedule and looked over it and then looked back at Hubert.
"I remember you. The one who couldn't punch the punching bag?"
Hubert scoffed. "Hardly. I was practicing a fake out. I purposely avoided the punching bag in order to lull it into a sense of false security, and then I was going to strike."
"Uh-huh, okay. Well. Anyway you're room is down that way. You're late by the way." The boy handed back the blue schedule and Hubert grabbed it, peering over the paper with a new degree of interest. Hoyden was supposed to be in flight training. That was a must see attraction.
"I know that, which is why I have the entire schedule with me. By the way, who are you?"
"I'm Kamakura, this is Billy," Kamakura said, motioning to the boy with the eye patch, who frowned in response.
"I'm perfectly capable of introducing myself, you know. I have fully functioning vocal cords."
"Oh trust me, I know that."
"Well," Hubert interrupted, realizing that if these two were Kamakura and Billy, then they were ninja apprentices, and he should not chance an altercation with them. He did not think that his punching bag strategy would go over so well with them. "It is a pleasure to meet you. Kamakura as in the time period and Billy as in the goat, yes?"
"…Yes." Billy's expression had shifted from angry to annoyed to slightly confused.
"Delightful. I am Hubert. I would love to stay and make conversation, but as Kamakura so delicately pointed out, I am late. For an interview. With the sergeant Major, so…I will leave now."
"Well…alright. Put that schedule back up on the board." Kamakura took the schedule from Hubert and shook his head. "On second thought, I'll do it. You don't want to be any more late than you already are."
"He'll also shine your boots and wax your back while he's at it," Billy said, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow as Hubert abruptly fled the scene in fear of a sudden ninja apocalypse as the words escalated into somewhat of a disorderly smack down that reminded Hubert of two platypi fighting over an ostrich egg, except this time there were no platypi and no ostrich egg, so it was really nothing like that at all. Perhaps the only similarity was the fact that you should not get in the middle of a platypus fight, just as you should not get in the middle of a ninja fight. Besides, he had gotten the information he needed.
"You're late." The Sergeant Major looked up from the paper work on his desk and immediately brought his hand up to his forehead to rub his temples. "Oh god dammit…Just sit down."
So Hubert sat in the chair, twiddling his thumbs, literally. He found that it was a great way to focus his twitchy energy. He was never very agile and coordinated, and Hubert would like to believe that while twiddling his thumbs, he would improve his ability to maneuver his thumbs around each other so they would no longer collide like two drunk high-schoolers.
Hubert looked up and stopped twiddling.
"You've passed the weapons training with a near perfect score…but half of them were thicker than ya. What's the deal there?"
"Well," Hubert leaned forward on the desk, and then pulled back when BeachHead frowned at him. Hubert should have realized that elbows, just like on the dinner table, were not welcome on the Sergeant Major's desk. He sat up straighter. "It's really simple math. You know, projectile motion." Hubert made an arc with his arm and BeachHead blinked at him.
"You me to tell me you were doin complicated equations in yer head while those targets were popping up all over the place?"
"Yes, I did mean to tell you that…but you already came to that conclusion on your own so I won't tell you what you already know." Hubert fidgeted uncomfortably under the stare of the Sergeant Major. "Um, well you know it's not to hard. I memorized the force behind the initial boot of each gun and then I estimate the distance between myself and the target and then I find the angle needed and that will normally get me close enough to the target, and in some cases, spot on."
"Uh-huh. Well ah guess you could do it that way. Or you could just learn ta, you know, shoot the gun. But as long as yer hittin the targets…" BeachHead rubbed his forehead again and looked down at his paper. "Say's here that yer CO recommended you for a spot here because you have the ability to 'kill a man without being in the same country?'"
"Well, I suppose what he meant to say is that when I was a child, I spent most of the day dreaming about ways to kill my Spanish teacher."
Hubert sighed, trying to find the best way to explain his talents and why he would be a good addition, but found no reasonable explanation. Most often in these situations, he would just say what would come to mind. Hubert knew, however, that this was a time to use more tact.
"Well, Sergeant Major, I'm a particularly imaginative guy. I can figure out ways to get to people, sure. I can come up with a design for a projector that fires bullets based on an isomer tag, sure. I can build these deadly inventions if given the materials, sure. But I cannot execute the plans myself. Because as you may have noticed, I was defeated by a punching bag earlier today. But I passed basic. It probably says that on the uh…paper you got there."
BeachHead sighed. "Figures we'd get stuck with you." He gave Hubert a long look. "Alright, here's what ahm gonna do with you. I'm gonna run you into the ground for the rest of this week, you're gonna build up some muscle, yer gonna learn how to go into combat should we possibly need you." BeachHead frowned and shook his head. "Though I'm not sure much good you'll be, makin friends with the enemy and such."
"Sergeant Major, I will not be making friends with any cobras, commanders of cobras, or any men named Cobra. I understand how to go into combat, Sergeant Major. I know how to, its just the ability to do so is somewhat non-existent."
"Yeah, yeah I know. Punching bag. But yer gonna have to get yer behind in gear. Watch yer mouth. I'd be yellin at ya more but ah got the feelin ya can't really control it. Or you just don't know what's acceptable. Either way, yer gonna learn. And no more of this comin in late crap!"
"Understood Sergeant Major. And I would like to say that I kinda like you. Because even though you're loud and you wouldn't let me tie my shoe, you get stuff done, and I respect that. I also accidentally stole the schedule off the bulletin board and I may have started a ninja debacle on the way in here."
"You did what?" BeachHead shook his head. "No, I don't want to know. You have any other complaints or issues you go to Flint alright? You two will be good friends by the end of the week."
"Very well," Hubert nodded and looked away for a moment before looking back. He had not been dismissed and Hubert was not one who left without proper dismissal. He had learned that lesson in Sixth grade.
"Alright. So you try you're hardest and if you improve, then I think you'll fit right in." Hubert was treated with a very stern look. "With other people. Not with me. The last thing I need is a mouthy light pole following me around."
"Good one Sergeant Major."
"Yeah well…get outta here. You're dismissed."
Hubert got up and wandered back out into the hallway. Things were calmer now without the impending doom of being run over by squabbling ninjas and he wandered back to his room, opening the door and flopping on his bed. He realized vaguely that he could be going for dinner now, but he also realized that it would require movement to get him there, and he was much more comfortable on his bed.
That was, until a knock on his door caused him to rise from the bed.
"You are a jerk."
"And you are Hoyden. And you are supposed to be in possession of a key that will allow you to open this door so that I will not have to open it for you."
Hoyden pushed his way in and dropped his bag on the floor. "Well I would have, but you see, I was too busy collapsing from nausea to take the time to dig through my bag."
Hubert nodded. "A side effect from the flight training?"
"Yeah. Apparently Ace wanted to play make the new guy vomit, so I played ruin the plane's interior upholstery. I won."
Hubert smiled. "Congratulations. I say we go out and celebrate with some delicious cafeteria food. What say you?"
"Eating? After that?"
For those who may not have gathered, Hubert is what is commonly referred to as a "Brain". He's a thinker, a tinkerer, and a talker. Triple T, that's what he is ;)