Okay, this is CRACK. It was only written in response to a repeated challenge of "Male pregnancy can't EVER be written in a believable manner." So I took it upon myself to write it, in a believable manner, although male pregnancy is undoubtedly the STUPIDEST most JUVINILE subject you could pick. Please don't write more of it, it's ridiculous and garbage. This CrackFic should only be read by those not faint of heart and if you have a weak mind(and thus might be influanced to write your own favorite guy prego) please don't read it.

I'm posting this all at once, because why prolong the misery, plus once she finds out how I got him pregnant, the big reveal is over, and it's just crack for cracks sake. So no cliffhangers, no more chapters, it's over and done with.

Onto the fic, for better or worse, you're going down the rabbit hole on your own choice. Also YOU asked for it(she knows who she is!).

BeachHead skulked down the corridor of the Cobra base, catching up with Lifeline and the two greenshirts. "All clear.." He pulled out the diagram of the correct level of the base. "Duke reports that the base seems evacuated. We're tagged to find the danged kid and get him out before the whole place collapses."

A loud groan reverberated through the hallway and Corporal Miller looked up at the roof over their heads nervously. "Sergeant major, we better hurry if we're going to find that diplomat's son." The Ranger grumbled about the situation but quickly found where they needed to be headed. Folkson was left at the upper corridor to guard against any returning Cobra troopers while the other three continued down.

Lifeline was wound tightly by this rescue mission. The Joe team was stretched very thin at this point. A very highly placed foreign official's son was reported to have been snatched and was being held in this base. During the firefight when the Joe operatives were detected, the base had been damaged. Duke and most of the Joes were at ground level, fighting down the last of Destro's Iron Grenadiers, making certain the escaping base personnel were herded to where they could be taken into custody with any luck, while BeachHead accompanied the medic into the base to find the missing baby.

"Beach..." The hesitant voice caught Beachhead's attention and he turned to see Lifeline pointing down a hallway. "This way.. experimental labs and holding cells. That Cobra medic said down to the labs. Poor kid... who knows how scared the little guy is."

Miller took point and headed along at a trot. "How old is this kid?" He lifted his rifle as they came to a crossroads. "Clear.."

Beach followed up behind Lifeline, keeping a paranoid eye on their rear. "Yeah, I noticed he was a bit vague.." He lifted his own rifle to check a cross hall. "Clear.. check yer corners Miller.. don't get shot by a stray Viper down here." Another room was cleared and he moved on. "We weren't given an age.. are we lookin' fer a infant or fer a kid what could be hidin' in a hole down here?"

Lifeline shook his head, moving between the two armed Joes. "Implication was that it was very young.. infant is my guess. Why would they have left an infant behind? Why not take him with them when they evacuated? If nothing else, he'd be a bargaining chip for whoever was holding him." He paused while the two checked a adjoining room. "It can't be too much further.. we're eight floors below ground level here."

BeachHead snorted and jerked his chin for Miller to continue. "Get a move on. We're wasting time here.. this whole place is gonna end up turnin' into a smokin' crater soon." On cue, a loud rumble shook the corridor. "Pick up the pace."

Miller broke into a fast trot and they made their way down to a section of security doors and warning signs declaring that unauthorized personnel were highly unwelcome. Lifeline pulled out the security cards the Joe team had commandeered from the scientists. A few swipes and one caused the lock to blink green. BeachHead scooted through the open doorway to secure the first room. Once Miller and Lifeline were in, he scouted through the various attached rooms.

They all passed through complex machinery, clicking and beeping softly as they continued to carry out their purposes. Vats of liquids and various organics were spaced in various alcoves and machines. Beach and Miller both searched all the smaller rooms fruitlessly.

Lifeline was checking the machinery, clicking commands into the computer console. He suddenly paled and rushed to type on a second keyboard. "BeachHead... we got issues." He waited until the Ranger came back to peer at the information on the screen. Turning around he pointed at a small vat of liquid containing a clear bag with a small mass floating in it. "That's the child we're supposed to rescue."

BeachHead dipped his head down to look at the container. "That ain't a kid."

"No kidding." Lifeline put a hand on his face briefly. "Sorry.. unintentional pun, I assure you. Anyway.. that fetus is the 'child' we're here for. We need to call Duke and find out what to do."

Miller came to look at the container. "Why don't we just yank it out and make a run for it?"

"We can't. If we took the fetus away from all this machinery, it'd die within about ten minutes. This is well past the old 'frozen embryo' stage."

The greenshirt didn't look convinced. "In Jurassic Park they carried dinosaur fetuses in a special container." He winced when BeachHead's hand impacted the back of his helmet sharply. "Ow!"

"That's a danged movie, ya dumbass. Lifeline.. find some way to move the thing!" BeachHead was already keying up a communications console. "I'm callin' Duke."

Within minutes they had the commander on the line. He was obviously restraining his own anger over the deception but right now none of them could spare time to rave over the misinformation. "You Joes know we have to get that... fetus out safely. It's vital.. extremely vital. I don't care what you have to do to bring it out safe and viable.. just do it. And do it fast, because the whole base is going to come down around your ears."

Lifeline protested. "Sir.. I don't.. I mean.. we can't just stuff a living fetus at this stage into a ziploc and bring it out. We might as well leave it here to die as try to move it without all the life support systems."

Duke's face got grim. "Lifeline.. a couple hundred thousand lives may depend on you figuring out how to bring it out safely. Do whatever you have to." He suddenly cursed just as a loud grinding noise made the floor shake wildly. "Are you guys okay?" The communications screen buzzed for a moment before it cleared. "The base is beginning to collapse.. hurry up."

"Yes sir.." Lifeline looked at the computer files again. "There's got to be some way to move the fetus.."

BeachHead bent to peer at the small creature floating in the liquid. "Are ya sure it's a baby? It looks kind of like a hippo... or maybe a frog?"

"Yes Beach.. it's a human baby.. " Lifeline suddenly focused. "It's floating in a artificial womb... this is beyond cutting edge research.. I've barely heard of this. Some reproductive specialists have been working on... " He slid over and riffled through some disks. "Where's the protocol? They have to have... here..." He slipped that disk into the scanner. "Some doctors have been working on an artificial uterus to let a woman who is barren carry a child to term. This is a working man-made womb. But if I don't miss my guess, it's still made to implant into a live human carrier..." He nodded to himself as he read quickly. "Yes! YES! We can..." He suddenly shut up. "Uhh..." Turning to the two soldiers standing nervously watching for the walls to break in, he hummed softly. "We seem to have a minor issue."

BeachHead looked at him. "We got a lotta issues Medic.. what's the new one Ah ain't thought up yet?"

"We have a live viable fetus.. in an artificial womb.. that needs a living... uhh.. host." Lifeline looked at the Ranger who gave him a clueless shrug. "I need someone to implant the fetus into."

"What? We ain't got no females down here, Lifeline. Last I checked.. we're the only ones down... oh.. oh HELL no! Miller.. you're up." Beach gave his head greenshirt a shove forward.

Miller shook his head rather wildly. "Me? I'm no more female than you are, Sergeant major! We should call up and get one of the girls sent down here."

Lifeline pointed at the ceiling. "We don't have time. If the passageways are even open, by the time they get down here, the whole place might have collapsed." The power suddenly flickered, the lights blinking. "Oh crap.. " A quick check of the fetus reassured the medic. "We're going to lose power.. when the power goes down, this baby has seven minutes before it's dead. No power means no oxygen, no pump... it'll die. Besides the mission failing and all the stuff happening we're trying to prevent.. it's a BABY.. do you want to know it died?"

Beach nudged Miller again. "Ya heard him.. ya heard Duke too. This is the most important aspect of the mission... hundreds of thousands of folks could die if'n we don't retrieve this here frog. So? Suck it up and take one fer the danged team." He tilted his chin up at the container. "Hell.. Ah'd do it.. if'n it was me."

Lifeline cleared his throat. "Actually... it's you. Miller is the wrong blood type. You just happen to have the right blood type to match the baby."

BeachHead twitched and stared at the medic. "Well... ain't that fuckin' convenient? Double check Miller's dog tags... maybe you disremember.."

Lifeline made a face but took the tags in his fingers to check while Miller leaned over and fidgeted. "No.. wrong blood type." He stepped over and crooked a finger at BeachHead who sighed and fished his tags out from under his sweater. "Right blood type. You're it."

"Aww crap.. no way." Beach motioned at the wall of equipment. "We can't pull some of all that machinery out and use it?"

"No.. we can't." Lifeline paused. "I'm not going to knock you out and implant this without your consent.. orders or no. But your choice is to let this baby die, fail the mission despite everything else we've done.. or.." His motion included the container, a previously benign looking exam table and the equipment arrayed along a counter. "We need to decide quickly." The power flickered again as a loud groan began to sound. "Really quickly."

"Crap... sonabitch.." BeachHead began to unbuckle his body armor, cursing loudly. "Ah swear to fuckin' gawd.. Ah did NOT sign up fer this shit.."

Within minutes, Lifeline was directing a highly nervous Miller in beginning to shut down and detach the womb containing the fetus according to the directions on the screens. He'd set the computer to copy all the information onto files on diskettes. BeachHead was bared to the waist, rubbing his belly with betadine scrub.

"This is stupid.. really gawd damned stupid.. why the fuck ain't Flint down here instead? How come it's gotta be me?" He peeled his fatigue pants down a bit and hopped up onto the table. Laying back, he wiped his stomach several times. "Hope ya ain't gotta shave my stomach.. Ah ain't waxed lately.. as in.. never."

Lifeline shook his head. "Normally? Yeah.. you'd be scraped bare and sterile and everything I used would be autoclaved to within an inch of it's life. Right now? I'm happy we have plenty of sterile surgical equipment."

BeachHead looked nervous. "Ya sure ya got the stuff ya need to do this?"

"I could transplant someone's head onto their knee with the equipment in here. I have all the instructions.. it'll go just fine.. first I'm going to numb the area.. this will hurt." He began stabbing a needle into the taut stomach muscles. "You're going to HAVE to relax Beach... the whole 'abs of steel' is really nice but it's going to interfere with me slicing your abdomen open." A few last injections and he set the needle aside. Poking the spot with his gloved finger, he watched the Ranger's face. "How's that? You feel that?"

"Just do it.. gawd dammit.." He winced when the scalpel touched his skin though and Lifeline paused. "Go on and do it!"

"Beach.. you have to relax.. you're all tense, I'll end up cutting the muscles apart." Lifeline took a deep breath. "This is a simple operation.. really. I'll find a vein to hook the womb up to.. insert the whole thing and stitch you up.. not much more than that really. Well.. a little, but still." His fingers pressed in again and he nodded. "There.. just relax.. I'm going to start.. just lie very still."

"Ah'm tryin'... " Beach twitched and Lifeline swore. "Sorry.. ain't used to lettin' someone cut me open.. usually that's a shootin' offense ya know." He watched Lifeline walk away to rummage through the vials assembled along a shelf. "What are ya doin'?"

"I'm going to give you something to relax you. It won't knock you out.. otherwise we'd have to carry you, that wouldn't work well." Returning with a new syringe, the medic injected the medication smoothly into a vein. "That should help. Relax.."

Miller spoke up. "Should all these numbers be changing around so much? I mean.. some are starting to blink." The lights dimmed and flickered, the floor quivered and all three men looked at the ceiling again. "Uhh.. perhaps we should go faster?"

Beach spoke up in a slight slur. "Faster.. better to go faster.. gut me, medic."

"I'm NOT gutting you.." Lifeline's hands stilled and he began working to open the incision fully. "It's a medical procedure. This is going to save a innocent life.. it's a great thing you're doing.. "

"Just stuff the damn thing in me and let's get the hell outa here." Beach twisted his head around to look at Miller still tapping out instructions. "You better be doin' that right."

"I dunno Sergeant major.. it's all turning into red lights and blinky things. I think we're running out of time for little Froggy here."

Lifeline dug into the warm body, his lips moving as he chanted to himself. "Miller.. check the power reading."

"Uhh.. ten percent... nine percent..." Miller began taking apart bits and pieces of the mechanism. "It's saying to disassemble this so we can.. uh... 'remove the fetal implant'."

The medic's capable hands moved faster. "Okay.. start trying to hurry that up.. but be CAREFUL! It's very delicate.. don't act like it's a pudding cup or something."

Beach heard a gagging noise. "Lifeline.. don't make him barf." He sighed and turned his head trying to see what was going on around his belly. "Ow.. that pinches.."

"Count yourself lucky it just pinches... Miller? I'm ready here.." Lifeline stepped slightly sideways for the greenshirt corporal to gingerly walk over holding a jelly like bag. "Okay.. can you turn it this way? I need that dangley bit... not that one.. yeah.. that clear tube there.. bring it closer." Miller gulped and looked away as he held the object cradled in his gloved hands. "Don't jostle it.."

"I'm trying not to. Are you going to leave it hanging outside his body?" Miller glanced down and turned slightly green.

BeachHead sounded concerned. "First.. don't ya DARE throw up on me boy.. I swear I will kill you dead. Second.. what the hell are ya doin'? OW! Dammit!" He almost started up and forced himself to lie flat.. forced himself to relax. "It's hurtin'..."

Lifeline nodded, concentrating on the surgery he was performing. "I know.. it's going to hurt some.. you really should be under full anesthesia for this.." He hummed softly. "There.." The whole room rocked and loud cracks sounded. "We need to hurry.. we're going to get crushed.." He nodded at Miller. "Okay.. I'm going to take it.. you need to slip your fingers into the wound.. hold the side carefully.." He sighed. "Miller.. just stick your fingers in there."

"I'm going to pass out.." Miller clenched his jaw and did as he was told. "Oh.. eww.. it's so warm.."

"Hey!" Beach tried to ignore the painful sensations. "Dammit.. Ah swear to gawd Miller.. you mess with mah danged guts.. Ah'll run yer sorry ass into the ground."

Miller protested even as he tried not to look at Lifeline sliding the bag-like structure into the open wound. "Sergeant major.. I wouldn't HAVE my fingers in your gut if I had a choice! Medic Lifeline MADE me do it!" The room began to shake again and the lights went out. After a few seconds emergency lighting clicked on and Miller heaved a sigh.

"Gawd.. that hurt..." BeachHead blinked a few times slowly. "Hurry up.. Ah ain't feelin' so good."

Lifeline nodded. "Take it easy.. I'm nearly done. God I hope I did all of this right. I'd hate to think I cut you open and stuffed a fetus into you for nothing." His patient groaned and the flesh under his hands twitched. "Relax.. relax.. Miller, you can let go.. get the disks and the print outs, let's hope everything got copied before the power went down."

By the time he was done stitching the incision closed, Beach was beginning to breathe faster, his hands twitching with the need to push away the cause of the pains. Lifeline wiped across the stitches and turned to grab up bandaging. "Sit up.. come on.. let me help you up.." Instead of the usual protests that he was fine, Beachhead gratefully accepted and let the medic assist him to a sitting position. Swinging his legs off the table, he held up his arms for Lifeline to wrap his midsection with the sturdy bandaging. "Okay.. Miller! MILLER!" The medic called the other trooper over.

The greenshirt slung his rifle and took BeachHead's opposite arm. Between them they got him upright and walking although he groaned with nearly every step. Lifeline held a hand over the incision until Beach pushed his hand away. "Ain't like you'll keep my guts in if'n ya did a lousy job stitchin' it up.. " The sturdy Joe pushed Miller away. "Didja grab my rifle?" Miller unslung the weapon and helped him loop the strap around his chest. "Alright.. scout ahead.." Tucking the rifle under one arm, Beach leaned heavily on Lifeline as they progressed with agonizing slowness up through the levels.

Folkson blanched when they appeared, rushing to try to support BeachHead and being shoved away. "Take drag position.. but stay close, we're gettin' the hell outa here. Ah'm fine.. move..."

They were on the second level when a small group of Joes came charging down the corridor. TunnelRat headed up the squad and pointed down the hallway. "Is it all clear? No other people in here?"

"All clear.." Beach's voice wasn't it's normal snap and the underground specialist rushed to tuck himself under his free arm, pulling the rifle away to hand off to LowLight. "Ah'm really dizzy... dang it.. "

"Hey.. hang in there.. we gotta get you guys up topside.. the place is unstable.." Tunnelrat hefted Beach's weight. "Come on.. double time it Lifeline.. we have to get out now!"

Lifeline tried to hurry. "Take it easy on BeachHead... stay awake Beach. You're only dizzy because part of your blood supply has been shunted aside."

Grunt and Leatherneck exchanged glances but held their tongues. By the time the small group reached the surface, the corridors were beginning to crack and the floor heaved under their feet. "Move it!" Just as they exited, the loud explosive cracks heralded the internal collapse of the whole base. Duke was waiting, looking over the group with a concerned eye.

"Lifeline! BeachHead... are you badly injured? Lifeline.. where's the 'package'? Did you retrieve the package?" Duke waved the medical personnel over. "See to BeachHead.. if he stopped to get bandaged, it's probably bad."

Lifeline pulled Duke's arm slightly. "Duke.. the package.. it's in BeachHead.." His voice was low so that no one could overhear. "I don't think we should advertise that fact.. we need to get him somewhere really secure with some medical equipment."

Duke stared at him, glanced over to where Stretcher was attempting to convince the snarling Ranger to be examined, stared at the medic again. "What do you mean?" He lowered his voice as well. "What do you mean.. in BeachHead? What did you do?"

The medic tugged him further from the curious gazes of the other Joes. "I did what you TOLD me to! I did the only thing that would save the fetus! It's in a... an artificial womb.. I had to implant it into a host! Beach was the only one with the correct blood type to make it work! We were lucky! If he hadn't been there we wouldn't have had ANY host! You wanted it out alive.. well.. it's alive!"

Duke soothed at his agitated medic. "Okay okay.. we'll figure something out back at the Pitt. Right now.. keep it quiet, tell Miller and Folkson to keep their mouths SHUT or I'll personally bust them to dishwashers in a mexican prison. The last thing we need right now is to make Beach into a target." He walked away, shouting for various Joes to take over the security mop-up operations.

Lifeline sighed and looked over at where BeachHead was still fending off the other medic. "I got him! Leave him alone." He snatched Miller on the way over. "Duke said to say nothing at all about the fetus to ANYONE... got it?" He waited until Miller nodded. "You're going to come with us back to the Pitt. I'm taking BeachHead back right now."

Back at the Pitt infirmary:

"Soo? Now take the damned thing out!" BeachHead shifted uncomfortably. "We're in the infirmary! Take it out! It's been in there fer hours!" He closed his eyes in a pained manner. "Ah'm gonna pass out.." He laid back on the gurney as Doc came rushing in. "Doc.. tell 'em to take the damned thing out.."

Doc looked from one person to the other and elected to ask his questions of the more sane person. "Lifeline.. do you want to explain?"

Lifeline shook his head. "We're under orders to not mention anything to anyone. Beach needs to shut up and try to just lie still." He administered a shot of glucose. "I'm trying to make you feel better. I told you.. it's normal to feel dizzy or lightheaded.. it should pass as your body becomes more adjusted to the.. uhh.. " He glanced at Doc. "To... the greater load being placed upon it."

BeachHead swallowed and kept his eyes closed. "When's Duke gonna get here?"

A concerned voice made them all look towards the doorway. "Duke is going to be quite some time. However.." Hawk stepped into the room and shut the door carefully behind himself. "I think I'll do just fine in his place." He waved for BeachHead to stay on the bed. "Stand down, Sergeant major. No saluting necessary right now. Duke gave me a rough idea of what went down. So.. Lifeline.. would you like to fill me in?" Lifeline cut his eyes over to Doc and Hawk nodded. "Doc is fine. Unless I miss my guess, we'll want him in on this."

Lifeline took a deep breath and let it out in a relieved sigh. "I was only following Duke's orders, sir! When we got down into the base, we found out the 'child' was only a fetus. It's about two months along and they had it encased in an artificial womb. The only way to remove it from the base was to implant it into a live human host."

Hawk put a hand over his eyes briefly. "And you chose BeachHead? I mean.. I assume there was a good reason?"

Lifeline spoke up over the loud snort from the patient laying on the gurney. "Yes sir! He was the only one with the correct blood type! We didn't exactly draw straws sir! I had to use someone and Miller and BeachHead were the only two people down there other than me. I couldn't do it to myself, Miller was the wrong blood type, his body would have killed the fetus just as surely as if we just left it down there. It's just.. a fetus in a special bag. BeachHead's blood supplies it with oxygen and nutrients, just like a woman's would if she were carrying a child naturally. The only thing I should have to do is to make sure the amniotic fluid is added when needed. That's a fairly simple process, since there's a port built in.. right here.." He lifted the edge of the sheet enough to show the stitched wound with a small catheter like port emerging. "I'll just inject fluid into it when needed."

Beach slapped his hand away. "Yer not gonna have to do that.. cause yer takin' the danged parasite outa me! Tell 'im Sir! Tell 'im to take it out!"

Hawk sighed. "Why does this unit attract the weirdest things? Lifeline.. can you remove the fetus and put it back into the machinery? Or better yet.. implant it into a … hmm.. more appropriate host?"

Lifeline shook his head. "I can't. According to the files, moving the fetus once is extremely dangerous.. it could still die. Moving it again would be a death sentence. I know it's supposed to be some important guy's offspring.. but even so.. it's a baby and if I try to remove it before it's ready to breathe on it's own, it will die."

Hawk went to open the door briefly to check the area. "Alright. Here's the rub. That fetus is destined to rule over a fairly important country. The 'important diplomat' is actually the ruler AND he's sterile. There's no chance of him conceiving another child at this point in his life. That's when Cobra stole the embryos. His second wife and he had gone to attempting artificial insemination in a desperate try at an heir, using frozen sperm he'd put away years ago. The plan was apparently to implant her with a viable fetus.. but Cobra stole the embryos. That one child holds the ability to prevent a massive three-way civil war that WILL break out if there is no living heir. So.. I'm sorry BeachHead.. but unless there is a safe way for the fetus to be moved to another host, you will be carrying it until it's grown enough to live."

Beach groaned. "Ah didn't volunteer to carry this thing fer longer than gettin' to the Pitt! It's unfair! It's ridiculous!" He swallowed and tried to take a deep breath. "Dang it.. sir please!"

"Sorry Sergeant major. Consider it a duty that no one else on the team can perform right now. It's all on you to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Or.. save just this one life." Hawk reached to put a hand on his shoulder. "It's going to be difficult, but I'm sure you can pull it off."

"But.." Beach looked around desperately. "Ah don't WANNA be pregnant!"

Lifeline snorted before he could control himself. Hawk was having the most difficult time keeping his face straight. "Sorry." He shook his head. "This is the oddest unit I've ever been in."

Doc hummed in amusement. "Stranger than our biggest enemy creating a cloned commander from the bodies of historical figures? Or stranger than time travel? How about stranger than giant snake-people? Or robots?"

"You have a point, Doc." Hawk suddenly thought of something. "The king will want you to be in his household.. if he knows. I'm going to tell him we have the fetus safe, but that it's impossible for it to be moved safely until it's born." He ignored the sound of protest from the bed. "I'll tell him only that one of the soldiers is carrying it to term under heavy guard. That would be safe enough."

Doc cleared his throat, getting himself sober again before the Ranger decided to murder him. "I wouldn't recommend BeachHead be placed in the royal household. First, it would make him into a walking target. GI Joe isn't likely to be able to protect him anywhere better than right here at the Pitt. Secondly, he's liable to end up murdering half of the royal family which might negate their delight at having the child saved."

BeachHead snarled as he sat up in the bed. "Ain't funny, Doc. We aren't gonna go tellin' no one on the team, right?"

Hawk shook his head. "I think we should keep it under wraps."

Doc and Lifeline looked at each other. Lifeline bit the bullet and spoke up. "Sir, we can't conceal it. He's... umm.. he's going to start 'showing' really quickly. We can't hide this for months. Besides, I doubt that we'd have any luck in keeping the good Sergeant major confined to Medical."

"I ain't about that stay down here fer nine gawd-danged months!" BeachHead paused. "Whaddya mean 'showin'?" His agitation made Lifeline wonder how harmful some light sedation would be.

"BeachHead.. you have a child growing inside you. It's going to get bigger. You can't conceal being.. umm.. pregnant." Doc was trying not to laugh again. "So.. your.. uhh.. belly will get larger. Heh.. ahem. And as the baby grows, you'll get larger. It will be pretty obvious. Unless you would like to try to convince everyone that you're letting yourself go and acquiring a very large beer gut.."

"It AIN'T funny!" BeachHead appealed once more to the commanding officer of the unit. "Hawk, please.. don't make me do this."

"If there was any other way, I'd use it. Sorry. You'll have to.. 'take one for the team' this time." Hawk grinned. "I guess the best way to let the news out is to just announce it. That way I can make it clear that anyone that decides to try to ride you about it will be severely punished." Hawk pointed at him. "In the meantime, you'll cooperate with the medics and do whatever it is they tell you to do. I imagine they'll have a schedule for you to keep to regarding medical stuff related to this."

Doc nodded. "Oh yes.. you'll need a regimen of vitamins, supplements, hormones and a close eye on your diet."

"Hormones?" Beach's strangled voice was muffled as Hawk closed the door behind him. He really shouldn't be amused about this situation, but... he let out a soft chuckle. Some days it really didn't pay for the Sergeant major to get out of his bunk. Today just happened to be one of 'those days'. In the meantime, he had royalty to smooth-talk. Amusing situation or not, he wasn't about to set his drill instructor up as a target for assassination by the King's rivals. Giving out only the absolute least amount of facts would help him convince them that waiting was not only the best option... but the only one. Then he'd just have to ride herd on the only pregnant man on earth.

"Oh god.." He slapped his forehead. "BeachHead being hormonal and bitchy... we'll all die."

BeachHead slunk into the messhall, the long list of things he wasn't to eat rattling around his head taunting him. Salt intake, calorie counts, mineral content of various vegetables.. he was sick to death of talking to the medic. He was pretty sure that pregnant women didn't have to worry about all this junk. He stood in line and waited, not meeting the gaze of anyone nearby. His side was still sore but it was bearable after nearly two days. The discomfort of the 'package' inside his abdomen still disconcerted him every waking moment.

He flicked his eyes around the room quickly, seeing half the faces staring at him. Fixing his eyes onto the trays of food, he quietly ordered up his meal and moved to a sparsely populated corner of the room to eat. Seated at his table, he poked at the spinach on his plate and sighed. He wasn't fond of greens on the best day. When the container of milk was set at his elbow, he glared up at Lady Jaye.

"What's that for?" His annoyed expression told her he was in no mood to be teased.

She smiled. "Well.. some people take a bath in it.. but most people drink it." She settled across the table from him, putting her own tray down to begin poking her fork into the mixed vegetables. "I saw you forgot a drink. Thought you'd be happy to not have to get back up."

Beach narrowed his eyes at her, trying to fish through her remarks to see if she was somehow insulting him. "Yeah well..." He pushed the carton of milk closer to his plate. "Thanks. I ain't been... " He sighed. "I been thinking about other stuff. Forgot to get a drink. It don't mean nothin' though!"

She hummed and tasted her roast and made a face. "Roadblock better come back soon. The substitute cook just isn't as good." She nibbled at the meat a second before putting it back onto her plate. "It's way too salty."

Beach glanced up from shaking salt over his. "Tastes fine to me."

"Are you sure you should be having that much salt?" She raised an eyebrow at him. "I mean.. considering your... condition."

"Shut up." Beach began to eat. "I don't wanna talk about it." She watched him eating for a moment and he looked up. "What? Dang it.. Ah ain't no sideshow fer you to go starin' at."

"Sorry. I was.. well. Nothing. I don't want to bug you." She began to eat nonchalantly. "So are you going on regular duty or light duty or have they trapped you in the admin wing?"

He snorted rather disgustedly. "Light duty. I'll run PT, but I ain't supposed to do much PT myself. Like that's gonna happen. No missions of any sort... and I'm on short hours. I expect to go completely batshit crazy within two days, so stick around on wednesday afternoon fer that big show." She chuckled softly. "I can't believe this." He sighed and wiped over his face before starting in on the food again. After a few minutes he was wiping his plate clean and drained the last of the milk. As he rose from the table he paused to look at her. "Anything I can.. uhh.. get for you while I'm up?"

She smiled at him warmly. "No, thank you for asking. That was nice of you."

"Whatever." He got back into line to get his normal second helping of dinner. The food wasn't setting as well on his stomach as usual, but he wasn't really nauseous or anything serious. As he got various items onto his plate, he was jostled slightly from behind.

Ripcord smirked at him then looked over his shoulder at the laden plate. "Oh? That's a lot of food there, BeachHead... isn't that a lot of food?"

Shipwreck snickered behind the paratrooper. "Oh no, remember... old Beachie is eating for two now." The Ranger rounded on both of them and Shipwreck held up his hands. "Hey hey.. I was defending you! Don't hit me!" Beach snarled angrily and snatched his tray from the kitchen worker. "Yeah.. go have plenty of food.. wouldn't want you to get all cranky.. I hear that can be an issue..." He grinned and high-fived Ripcord.

Smirking even wider now, Ripcord motioned at the kitchen help to give him some of the roast. "Yeah.. this is gonna be one awesome time for us. I mean.. how many jokes can be made about this?" He motioned again at the roast. "No.. I want roast. Not the vegetarian mush."

The greenshirt gazed at him placidly before handing the tray down to the next worker. "Sorry sir. We're out of roast. You have to take the entree that's left. Next." He had no expression on his face to show amusement and Ripcord groaned. "Sorry, no roast left. Move along."

"Man.. come on! I don't want that nasty mush! Hey! HEY! Don't put spinach and beets on the plate! I HATE spinach and beets!" The next greenshirt shrugged and handed the tray over to him anyway. "Come on! What's up with you guys!"

Shipwreck was meeting with similar results. "Swabby, I can see the whole tray of roast right there! What's your game!"

"Sorry sir, out of roast. You'll have to take what's left. Perhaps you should hurry next time and not waste any time taunting Sergeant major? I'll bet you'd get here in time to get the good entrees and sides then." The greenshirt handed over the unpalatable dishes and gave him the utmost correct polite smile possible.

Shipwreck groaned. "OH.. I get it. Defend your fearless leader will you? I see. I'm really sorry.. so give me some good food."

"Sorry sir. Better luck next meal." He was waved on and Ace grinned as he pointed at the roast. "Roast... would you like gravy on that, sir?"

Shipwreck grumbled under his breath. "Thanks a bunch Ripcord. Got me in trouble with the kitchen staff. Just what I need. Wait until tomorrow morning when we both get burned pancakes and no bacon."

Ripcord lowered his voice. "Hey.. we're fine. The morning staff isn't the same as the evening staff. You know that."

Shipwreck rolled his eyes. "You know how all these greenshirts talk though. We're doomed. Maybe if we're really nice to that one girl, she'll feel sorry for us."

The paratrooper sighed and looked at his plate of mush. "I hope so. Doesn't seem so funny now."


BeachHead stood on the PT course and glared at the approaching Joes. He reached to tug the balaclava slightly higher on his nose and straightened his back a tad more. "GET A MOVE ON!"

Most of the Joes broke into trots at the familiar bellow. As they arrived, BeachHead did his normal sorting out of anyone with injuries. He started everyone able to do the normal warm-up PT to the grass to begin push ups, sit ups and leg lifts. During the push ups, he pulled out Dusty and Ace for injured arms he didn't feel were healed sufficiently to hold up to the work. Instead both were sent out to run laps.

He resolutely ignored the pulsing discomfort in his midsection. When he'd gone out for his normal run he'd ended up cutting it to less than four miles which irked him. Checking the course had involved him climbing up over a few obstacles with ropes rather than running over top of them with his usual ease.

"Alright.. up.. Alpine, Bazooka, Clutch.. on the course! Everyone else take a lap." He watched the Joes go over the course, yelling at Bazooka several times. Once they finished, he sent them out for laps while yelling for three more Joes as they ran past doing laps. With no one standing around at the start or finish lines, he didn't have to deal with snide commentary or sidelong looks. It worked so well he began considering changing his normal routine to have the Joes running laps while some did the course. It was efficient and kept the troublemakers too busy to get into anything.

Once he'd run them to the edge of exhaustion, he sent them in. Private Williams appeared with a message right on cue that he was requested on the medical level and he sighed and trudged down to the infirmary. Once down there he endured another round of poking and prodding and blood-taking while Doc went over all the things he wasn't to do. Lifeline came by to ask if he had taken all the vitamins and supplements. He had a argument about taking hormones, which he predictably lost. In fact, he lost it so dismally that he ended up being ordered to come to the infirmary once a day to be given the stupid things.

At least he hadn't been teased at breakfast. The morning cooks seemed to have been lax on the griddle. He'd heard a few Joes complaining about burned food. As long as his own breakfast was fine, he wasn't going to raise any fuss. . The Ranger wasn't very certain why the sly comments had mostly stopped, he was just grateful he wasn't getting too much flak. The physical discomfort was worse in the mornings. The shorter hours was definitely going to drive him crazy. With the break to go get fussed at in medical, he had only another hour to spend on his regular paperwork before he'd be ordered off duty for the day. With a lunch break, maybe he could sneak in an extra half hour.

"Damn.. trying to sneak in more time to work on paperwork.. my life sucks." Right on cue his gut twisted and he felt his lip twitch. Hawk's announcement had been explicit about no one giving him a hard time, which would have no effect on the jackals that had been lurking in the shadows waiting for the Sergeant major to have a weakness. Actually, BeachHead wasn't certain what irked him more, the snide comments or the looks of pity or the lurid curiosity.

It was a bit early to have a crowd in the messhall which suited Beach just fine. Still a bit stung by losing the arguments with the medics, he got his lunch and ate quickly. If he rushed, he could spend most of the lunch hour working in addition to the hour 'after lunch'.

After nearly a week, BeachHead's mood had deteriorated until he was ready to get into a fight with nearly anyone, just to break the sheer boredom. He'd ended up only working mornings and Doc curtailed his gym time to a strictly monitored amount per day. He wasn't even allowed to spend the afternoon in his office. Pointing out that sitting in his office was no different than sitting in his room, sitting in the rec room, or sitting out in the motorpool only made Doc lecture him then call in Hawk for their commander to remind him again of the importance of the fetus surviving.

Having taken his latest scolding with ill grace, BeachHead headed up to the motorpool to vent to his favorite tank jockey. When he arrived he found her up to her waist buried in the engine of a APC vehicle. The curses that issued from the inner recesses made him smirk. CoverGirl's foul vocabulary rivaled nearly anyone else's, including the sailors and Marines. A piece of metal came flying out as she threw it onto the concrete floor.

Walking up behind her quietly, he reached up and ran both hands up her thighs, admiring the smooth lines along the nicely shaped legs. He stopped admiring the instant her boot heel caught him in the belly. "Unngh..." As he staggered backwards, he groaned and clutched at his stomach. Pain bloomed through him and for an instant he wondered exactly how the woman managed to kick backwards so efficiently.

"Beach? Oh my FUCKING GOD!" CoverGirl jumped down, grabbing at his arm to keep him from toppling over. "I'm so sorry.. oh god.. are you okay? I didn't know you were up here! I thought it was Clutch or someone.. I wouldn't have kicked you!"

Beach drew in a breath and tilted his face to look up at her from where he was doubled over trying to make the spasms of pain quit. "Hi honey, thought Ah'd come visit... nice to see ya too." He groaned as she tugged at him.

"Should I call a medic?" He made a protesting noise and she waited for him to straighten up. "Are you okay? Did I kick the.. uhh.. your.. " She motioned towards the slight bulge on his lower abdomen. "Is it okay?"

"Yeah.. I think it's okay. I'm sure you kicking the baby around like a soccer ball is just peachy." He drew in a shaky breath. "It's fine. I'm sure... nuuughhh.." He bent double again, struggling to stay on his feet as a spasm hit harder. "Gawd.. daaaaymm.."

CoverGirl didn't wait this time and rushed to call down to the infirmary using the intercom system. Within minutes, Lifeline was in the motorpool.

"What do you mean, you KICKED him in the gut?" Lifeline had him seated in one of the battered folding chairs. "Where did her foot actually hit? Exactly?" Beach straightened and pressed his fingers gingerly over the pained area. "How hard.. was it a really forceful kick?"

"Well it sure as hell didn't tickle." Beach looked over at her. "You didn't mean to do it.. I should've told you I was here.."

Lifeline fussed a moment. "She shouldn't have been kicking people to begin with.. no excuse for that!" He pressed a stethoscope to various spots listening. "Shhh... trying to listen.."

"I'm fine. It was an accident.." BeachHead shut up as he was shushed again. The medic seemed to think for a long moment before he motioned for the Ranger to stand up. "It's okay.. I don't need to go to medical.. I was just there! You'll just want to stick needles in me and stuff all over again!"

"No needles.. probably. Just an ultrasound. Those don't hurt. Come on.. we have to check and make sure nothing is wrong." Lifeline herded his patient towards the lift and shooed CoverGirl away. "You can talk to him later.. try not to maim anyone else, I'll be busy checking your currant victim."

BeachHead scowled. "Now you look here, ya damn pogue! Don't go calling Courtney out fer an accident! You apologize to her!" He stopped in place, still wincing in pain. "Ah ain't goin'!" He twisted out of Lifeline's grip and pushed him away. "No dang it! Yer not gawd damn well forcin' me to go nowhere!"

"Beach! Fine!" Lifeline turned and took two steps towards the uncomfortable mechanic. "I'm sorry, CoverGirl." Turning back to his reluctant patient, he pointed at the lift. "Go to medical. Now. This isn't a choice you get to make. Either you go right now or I'll call up some help and we'll tie you to a stretcher and drag you down. I'm not in the mood." Appeased by the apology, BeachHead allowed the medic to order him around with little more than a scowl in reply. Once back in the infirmary, he was stripped and on a table having cold gel squished around his belly with an ultrasound wand.

Doc was watching the screen and pointed at a smallish mass. "There. Hold there."

Lifeline peered closely at the screen, lifting his glasses to squint closely before settling them back onto his nose. "I think that's his small intestine..." He pointed and moved the wand slightly. "See right here? That shadow..." He hummed. "I think that's another piece of intestine.. hang on."

Now Doc tutted at him. "No, that's the lower lobe of his liver... go to the right. There..."

BeachHead tilted his head to look at them. "Ya'll can't find it? Great... yer supposed to be the experts in charge here..."

"Shut up." Doc pointed at the screen and Lifeline shifted the wand slightly. "There it is. Do we have movement? Good, right there." They fussed a few minutes while Beach became more impatient. "I think it looks fine. All his vitals are fine and the spasms have stopped."

Beach sat up and pushed their hands away. "Fine.. it's a happy little parasite so let me up." He took the small towel to wipe his belly clean of the slick goo. "No.. dammit.. I'm tired of ya'll pokin' at me. Lemme go!" He tugged his way free and dragged a shirt back on. "Stupid.. I'm goin' up to my office and gettin' some danged work done."

Lifeline shook his head, giving his patient a somber look. "I think you should just take the rest of today off. It's already past noontime so..." He winced back when BeachHead rounded on him unexpectedly. "Calm down!"

"Calm down! Dang it! I'm barely gettin' anything done already! Yer gonna drive me insane before a month is gone! I already spent most of every danged day sittin' around uselessly staring at the walls!" He fumed and then continued. "Yer makin' me so danged crazy Ah'm fightin' with ya to GET to do gawd damned PAPERWORK! Leave me ALONE!" Shaking off a soothing hand, he backed up. "Get offa me!"

Doc held up his hands. "Stop.. Beach... please. I'm sorry you're under restrictions.. it's only for the safety of the baby. We don't want to make you bored and have to sit around." He motioned towards a chair. "Come on.. sit... "

"Ah don't wanna sit! Ah wanna go fer a run! Ah wanna do my regular workouts! Ah wanna do mah damned job!" BeachHead backed up a few more steps. "Ah can't TAKE this!"

"Calm down." Lifeline crossed his arms and scowled. "Just calm down and let us talk to you. We'll work something out.. we don't want you to go completely nuts on us. What if we let you do a daily gym workout? Would that help? Not everything... mind you, it's going to have some restrictions.. but mainly things like no ab crunches... okay? Would that make you happier?" He kept his tone even and calm and could tell the small concession was beginning to soothe the agitated man. "You can keep running PT sessions, but just can't run the course yourself.. and maybe if you stay in the Admin offices, you could work for... say.." He looked at Doc for a moment. "...say until... three-o'clock? IF.. if you promise to then rest for the couple hours before dinner, then take it easy for the evening." He nodded at Doc. "That would be okay.. right?"

"As long as all the tests and read-outs stay within the parameters... yes. I want Lifeline to supervise your gym time until he can lay out what you're allowed to do though." Doc sighed. "Maybe you should have a talk with Psyche-Out? That could help."

Beach scowled. "I don't need to talk to no shrink." He settled down more, evidence of it showing in the lessening of his accent. "You won't turn around and take it all back in a couple days.. right?" They reassured him they wouldn't as long as everything went fine. "Alright... I just.. I feel like a freak."

Now Lifeline nodded sympathetically at him. "I know it's got to be hard but you're really doing well. You just have to remember it's not for forever."

Beach's shoulders sagged. "Yeah.. just several months.. and it's gonna get worse. Thanks." He turned to leave. "I'm gonna go do paperwork until I ain't able to even do that anymore." He was the very image of defeat as he trudged out of the medical section.

Doc sighed as he watched him leaving. "He's either going to drop into a deep depression or snap out of this and be a holy terror. I'm not sure which I'm hoping for honestly..."

Lifeline cast a wry look over at him. "I don't know either. I think we should just inflict him on Psyche-Out." His wickedly sly expression didn't go unnoticed.

Doc shook his head. "You're still irked over his comment about medics being secondary in importance to the mental health of the troops... aren't you?"


There was just a heavy sigh in response.

Early morning beams of sunlight lit up the Sergeant major's eyes. The little bits making their way through the haze sparkled and he hummed softly. Despite Doc's admonition against running, he still made his way through a slow run around the perimeter fence, telling himself that jogging wasn't the same. The gate guards had watched him pass through without comment. One might have stared after him more than he'd like but there wasn't much he could do about it so he ignored it for now. Each step of the run jarred his side and he swore he could feel the intrusive sack jostling about inside of his belly. Now he was stretching and walking through the PT course obstacles, checking visually for any issues before the Joes arrived for their morning PT.

The first Joes that arrived grouped up on the grass, stretching and yawning. SnakeEyes appeared... he always seemed to be simply 'there' without walking up and it always irked BeachHead when he didn't spot the commando approaching. It didn't matter that no one habitually saw the ninja approaching, it was a personal affront to the Ranger that HE didn't see Snakes arriving. He narrowed his eyes at the man and gave a disgusted grunt at the signed greeting. As a fellow trainer, he gave the sergeant more slack than most.

Standing with his arms crossed glaring towards the motorpool entrance, BeachHead willed his glare to hurry the laggard Joes to appear. Almost on cue a handful appeared and began to jog over towards the PT area. Out of the corner of his eye he caught SnakeEyes signing to Ace. Twisting around and stalking over to the suddenly oblivious pair, he snarled. "Ah'm not 'moody'! Ah'm JUS' fine!" SnakeEyes made a innocent shrug over his shoulders. "Ya'll can find someone else ta be gossipin' about."

Ace nodded nervously. "We weren't gossiping... just.. ahhh.. umm..." He looked to the silent commando who looked away deliberately. Ace sighed. "We just wanted to make sure you were doing okay." he finished lamely.

"I done told ya... I'm fine." BeachHead turned to watch the approaching troops, mentally keeping a count of who wasn't here yet and clicking down a list of names of those off-PT due to injuries or not on base. He felt a tickle in his sinuses and reached up to pinch at the bridge of his nose a moment. The sun appeared over the horizon just as he turned, causing him to squeeze his eyes shut momentarily. Just then he heard Alpine's worried voice.

"Dude.. is he crying? Cause you know.. " Alpine trailed off as the instructor sneezed twice in quick succession. "OH thank god.. " He turned to Jaye who'd just begun to look concerned at his words. "He just needed to sneeze."

"That's it!" Beach's shout caught most of them by surprise. He paused to sneeze again. "Dang it! All of ya can take five laps!" Sending the whole group off with curses and a few kicks to thighs, he watched them begin to settle into a loose pattern as they all ran easily along the fenceline. "Move it up! Pick up the danged pace ya'll bunch of lazy maggots!" His bellow carried to them and he saw the speed increase enough to pacify him.

Lifeline came out about the time the group was nearly finishing the laps. "Good morning BeachHead.. are you feeling okay?"

"Baby ain't fell outa my bellybutton so go back to danged medical." Beach's eyes never left the group. "Didn't Doc clear Alpine on that hip injury?" Despite his initial order for the medic to leave, he knew Lifeline wasn't going to simply disappear on his whim.

Right now, Lifeline turned his attention from covertly examining BeachHead for any sign of discomfort or distress and watched Alpine running. "Doc cleared him yesterday. He might still be sore but it should be a case of stiffness and stretching rather than unhealed injury."

"So he can run just fine." Beach's voice raised again as the pack of troopers streamed past the nearby section of fence. "ALPINE! PICK UP THAT DAMNED PACE!" The climber sped up slightly, making himself limp a bit more noticeably. "That just don't look like he's slackin' or fakin' it." The medic hummed indecisively. "ALPINE! BRING IT IN HERE!"

Almost gratefully, their mountain expert turned to head over towards them. "Sorry Sergeant major. Hip is really aching." He shook his head. "I swear I'm not slacking.." Straightening up, he took a deep breath. "Doc said it was fine though."

Lifeline raised his hands. "Maybe you just need another day to rest it. You can do some stretching and warm up exercises, but no running and try not to strain it with twisting or jumping." His posture said he was itching to check the man's injury and Alpine didn't look keen on any medical exams. Deciding on the side of his teammate, Lifeline nodded. "If it starts to hurt worse, come down to medical."

Alpine relaxed. "I will." He turned to Beach who simply dismissed him. "Uhhh.. just... go?"

Beach leveled a glare on him. "That's what I said. Go on. Show up tomorrow mornin' like usual." He turned away as the rest of the Joes arrived in a group, sweaty and panting in some cases. "Alright.. form up.. groups of four.. "

Everyone sorted themselves into their favored pairings, knowing that on a whim, Beach would change the groupings around. The Ranger snapped and snarled at everyone impartially, sending groups out at regular intervals and chasing down the course yelling at anyone who didn't look like they were giving 110% at any point.

Shipwreck struggled over the upright wall and panted as he fell onto the dirt landing. "Dang Beach I'm moving! I'm moving!"

Beachhead took a step closer as the sailor attracted his attention with the complaints. "Move it faster ya lazy maggot! This damn baby could run the course faster than you and it ain't born yet!" There was complete silence in the wake of his comment. He twisted around to glare. "What? All of ya know it's in me.. stop actin' like it's some shameful damned secret!" The burning glare traveled over everyone. "Well? GET MOVIN'!"

Everyone scrambled and ran the courses and preformed PT exercises, did punishments in the grass and generally exhausted themselves under the scrutiny of the growling drill instructor. By the time he dismissed them all to breakfast, he'd established himself as the same old Sergeant major that would jump on someone for slacking, kick someone else for goofing off and chase a smartass up and down the course while screaming at them.

The greenshirts kept BeachHead busy until nearly noon. Once he'd run the group through training PT, he commandeered half of them to rearrange a few of his obstacles and dig a whole new mudpit. He caught two of the young men complaining that the work was merely due to his being 'moody due to hormones'. By the time they got done filling the mudpit with five gallon buckets hauled one-by-one... not from the motorpool, but from the spigot at the hangers three miles up the road.. they were too exhausted to complain.

Heading in to the messhall for lunch, Beach stood in the corner of the lift, ignoring his teammates who were chatting and jostling about. When the chime sounded and the doors opened, he used one broad shoulder to make space for himself to exit. Glancing at the clipboard full of notes from PT, he checked for anything important and listened to his stomach grumble. "Yeah yeah..." Standing in line, he twisted his neck again listening to the crackle of the vertebrae realigning. Bazooka looked at him curiously. "What?"

Bazooka blinked and then glanced at his middle then back to his face. "Are you really gonna have a baby?" As much as Beach wanted to simply smack the man with something suitably large and heavy to make him feel better, he really just couldn't bring himself to do it. He tried ignoring it but Bazooka tried again. "Cause Alpine told me you were.. but I'm fatter than you are and pregnant women all get huge and fat."

Beach fastened a withering glare on the hapless trooper. "Yeah Ah gotta baby in me. Now shut up about it." He watched as he tried to decide whether to ask more or not. "Shut up and get yer damned lunch." The mention of food tipped the scales and Bazooka turned his attention to that instead. Beach rather grumpily collected up his food, brightening only when he got near the end and the greenshirt offered him either cookies or a slice of fresh apple pie. "Apple pie.. dang.. " He swallowed and kept from drooling only with an effort. The crust was perfectly golden, little flakes breaking loose and sliding into the thick rich apple filling. Carrying his tray over to the table, he started in on the food, eating quickly and eying anyone approaching his end of the table with a suspicious gaze.

It was no secret that he loved his pie. It had become nearly a challenge for anyone to try stealing pie out from under his nose, although to date the only one capable of doing so was SnakeEyes. Luckily for the drill instructor's blood pressure levels, Snakes had done so only once, just to prove the point. He had forgiven the ninja eventually. It took a lot of yelling and sulking and laps and pushups.

He tucked in a last bite of stewed squash and used his fork to spin the tray around and sighed happily at the generous slice of pie. The messhall didn't offer pie all that often. In fact, he hadn't seen pie on the line since before the ill-fated mission where he'd acquired his little parasite. On cue, his gut roiled. It was a highly unsettling feeling. Lately the package tucked into his body had felt especially intrusive. He was starting to get a gut which deeply offended him since it wasn't his fault and wasn't due to him indulging.

"Stupid." He turned the saucer with it's slice of perfectly baked pie around slightly and smiled to himself. Inhaling deeply, he let the scent of cinnamon, apple and buttery pastry invade his nose. He felt his stomach do a sudden slow roll to the left and swallowed. Maybe he'd eaten a little too fast. Looking at the pie, he poked it with his fork and watched the oozing syrupy filling well up. His stomach decided to turn over abruptly and he closed his eyes for a moment. Sitting upright, he swallowed and looked around the messhall for a couple of minutes. The roiling nausea stopped and he sighed in relief. Reaching to take up a forkful of his dessert, he looked at it and felt the nausea return in full force.

"Dang.." He set the fork down and looked at the plate for a moment, his nausea building. Cursing softly, he scooped up a bite and brought it to his mouth and stopped cold. He even opened his mouth, only to have the smell hit his senses and cause him to gag slightly. Setting the fork back onto the saucer, he leaned back and inhaled slowly. After a few minutes, his stomach settled and he scooped up the bite to tuck into his mouth. Almost immediately he heaved slightly and spat it back out. "Sonnabitch!" Closing his eyes he struggled to combat the urge to vomit. Beach swallowed and tried to take a deep breath only to nearly lose it.

"Beachhead? You okay?" Doc peered at the Ranger. "You look green. Nauseous?" He retreated and came back with water. "Sip some of this."

"I don't wanna.." Beach swallowed again and finally sat up straighter. Pushing aside the plate with his dessert, he shook his head. "I was fine.. that pie must be bad. I'm gonna yell at the kitchen crew.. settin' out bad food ain't funny."

Doc picked up the plate to sniff at it. Tasting a corner himself, he shrugged. "It's fine. Did you feel sick before you ate any?"

"Well.. yeah.. when I.. " Beach paused as he thought about it. "I just smelled it and felt sick to my stomach." He gave the doctor a confused look. "What the hell is goin' on?"

Doc looked displeased about it and sighed, knowing the information wouldn't go over well. "Sometimes pregnancy will cause the wom..ahh.. person to suddenly be unable to stomach a food they've always liked." He winced as he saw the Ranger realize what he was saying. "It's not permanent..."

"Ah can't eat PIE?" Beach pitched his head forward to bang it on the table twice. "That ain't fair!" He leaned back in the chair and put hands up to his face. "Ain't there anything you can do? Somethin' you can give me?" Doc shook his head. "GAWD DAMMIT!" He got to his feet, kicking his chair aside angrily. Snatching up the food tray to dump into the trash, he stormed out down the halls. "There ain't no way this could get any damned worse!"

Early morning, entirely too early for most of the team to voluntarily be awake in fact, and BeachHead was staggering down a hallway, struggling to not puke again. He'd woken up feeling grumpy, normal. He'd gotten out of bed to get ready to pump out a hundred push-ups to warm up, normal. Then he'd suddenly been hit with a wave of nausea that doubled him over in helpless gagging. Definitely not normal at all.

After he'd spent half an hour on his knees clutching a trash bin, he realized he was starting to feel lightheaded and dizzy. Despite BeachHead's aversion to doctors in general and the Pitt infirmary in particular, he wasn't stupid or suicidal. At this point he needed medical help and he wasn't so proud that he'd jeopardize his life instead of going to the infirmary. The fact that being found passed out in his room would be more embarrassing than going to Doc didn't figure in at all.

Somehow, using the intercom system to call for help didn't occur to him, leading to his staggering down the hall with one hand on the wall trying to ensure he was still upright instead of crawling. The wave of nausea returned full force and he retched again, his stomach already emptied of everything he'd eaten last night, things he might have eaten last month, his bootlaces and possibly things other people had eaten. Even his post-surgical vomit sessions didn't compare to how miserable he felt at this point. His only saving point would be if he could make it to the infirmary before anyone saw him.

"BeachHead? Dude... " Mutt's voice carried up the hallway and Beach groaned. "Are you okay?"

"Ah'm fine.. Ah always puke in the danged hallways in the mornin'." Beach listened to the footsteps turn into a run as his teammate rushed up to him. He closed his eyes as nausea hit yet again. He retched loudly and then struggled to straighten himself up again. "Gotta get to the infirmary.."

Mutt seemed to hesitate until Beach's knees wobbled and he almost fell. Then he took the Ranger's arm to assist him down the hallway. "Try not to puke on me okay?" He twisted around slightly. "Come on Junkyard." There was a patter as the dog came rushing up the hall to woof at them both. "Yeah Sergeant major is sick.. we'll take him to Lifeline though.. go on Junk, go tell Lifeline we're coming."

The dog crouched and wagged his stump of a tail then woofed again. Beach snorted at him. "Helloooo Junkyard... I'm gonna puke on ya in a minute.. better move.." The dog circled them twice and tried to headbutt Beach in the knee. "Don't knock me down Junk! Danged dog.. "

"He just wants to help, Beach.. old Junk don't mean to get in the way." Mutt waved his free hand at his dog. "Go on boy.. don't trip us up."

Despite his best efforts, BeachHead was starting to black out by the time the trio reached the infirmary. Lifeline came running up to support his other side just as his legs gave way. "What's wrong?"

Mutt hefted his side up. "I found him in the hall throwing up. He's sick but he just started passing out now." He pushed at Junkyard who crowded up again. "Go on boy.. we'll take care of Beach.. no worries.. " His voice faded away in a wash of white noise in Beach's ears.

When Beach could blink at the lights again, he gagged slightly but managed to control it. Lifeline appeared nearly instantly. "You're awake? You have an IV in. You were dehydrated and I'm giving you something to help control the nausea. Are you still sick?" Fingers touched his neck as the medic felt his pulse.

BeachHead turned his head to look around and groaned. "My head is killing me.."

"That's the dehydration.. you should start feeling better within half an hour or so. You should have come in when you started getting sick!" Lifeline pressed his lips together. "Why didn't you say you were getting morning sickness?"

"I wasn't." Beach's eyebrows lowered as he considered. "Mornin' sick? Like... this is SUPPOSED to happen? How the hell am I supposed to know I'm supposed to get sick?" He levered himself up to sit in the bed despite Lifeline's fussing. "I'm okay. I was just... urk.." He bent and retched again. "Oh gawd.. make it stop..."

Lifeline handed him a cracker. "Here.. eat a couple of these." Beach shook his head and the medic leaned to peer into his face. "Really.. they'll help.. just eat a couple." The Ranger gave in and began to nibble at the dry crackers. "Pregnancy often causes nausea in the morning. But it passes if you eat a few crackers before you get up. I'll give you a box to keep in your room and you can just have a few before you get out of bed, plus this is usually only a very short time period." He sat next to the bed to watch. "Eat them slowly. Not all pregnancies involve morning sickness so we didn't know for sure that you'd have it. Some women actually never have any discomfort or illness during the entire nine months."

"I ain't a woman." Beach sounded sulky but he was beginning to regain his color and starting to seem alert again. "So I just eat crackers before I get up?" He accepted a third cracker to eat. "It's helping." Lifting his arm he looked at the tubing. "Why'd you go and stick this into me if it's routine to puke up a lung?"

"Because you'd thrown up so much that you were dehydrated. You need to drink a LOT more fluids than you have been." Lifeline stood to be ready to help steady him as he straightened up and swung his legs off the side of the bed. "Take it easy.. don't rush and fall over again."

"I got to get upstairs.. gonna be late to PT." Beach leaned over slightly and groaned. "What time is it?"

Lifeline hummed, trying to delay the inevitable. "Well.. it's ahhh.. still.. morning." Beach fixed a glare on him and he sighed. "It's a little after nine..." He winced at the loud explosion.

"WHAT? What the HELL!" BeachHead started to push himself off the bed and bent over again. "Oh gawd..."

"Are you going to puke? Try not to.." Lifeline relaxed as the Ranger swallowed and took a few deep breaths. "Yes, you've been here a while. Stalker is running PT, so you just relax. He's more than capable of running PT for one morning."

"Yeah.." BeachHead gave in to lie back on his side. "How much longer until this damn parasitic monkey is out of me?" He sighed and rubbed a hand over the bulge in his abdomen. "I'm starting to be able to feel it."

"Really?" Lifeline tried not to look overly curious and failed. "What does it feel like? Can you feel it moving around yet?"

"NO! Damn.. that's sick. It's just sort of.." Beach rolled his hand around. "Like a sloshy feelin'." He tugged at the baggy teeshirt and frowned. "None of my damned clothing fits now. I had to go ask the quartermasters for huge teeshirts! I look like a beer-guzzling Bubba."

Lifeline shook his head. "Noo.. it's not that bad... " Beachhead's narrowed gaze made him shrug. "Okay.. but you knew this would happen. There's a whole live baby inside, it has to make some space for itself."

"You suck."

"I know, I know. It's temporary.. everything will go back to normal. And.. umm.." He thought quickly. "It's kind of nice to see you in more casual clothing. Makes you look more approachable."

"I hate you." Beach scrunched his pillow up and stuffed it further under his head. "I'm sick of gettin' fatter and fatter. I'm sick of findin' out one MORE thing that makes life miserable. Mostly I'm sick of everyone starin' at me and thinkin' I'm gonna burst into sobs over some little stupid thing."

Lifeline nodded, trying to look sympathetic. "Yeah, I understand. I mean.. I don't really, but I can see how you'd be really frustrated. And if you did start crying over something, it would be understandable, because the hormones can cause mood swings."

"Oh.. that's just peachy. Maybe I can get all sniffley at a meetin' because Flint was mean to me." Beach rubbed his head on the pillow. "I hope there's no attacks on the danged Pitt.. I can't fit a tac vest over this damned stomach."

"Well, if there's an attack, you aren't supposed to be on the front lines fighting anyway." Lifeline saw the frown and quickly changed subjects. "The fetus is doing very well, even with you becoming so dehydrated, it doesn't seem to have affected it any."

Beachhead shifted around and then looked at his IV site. "How long until I can leave?"

Lifeline felt a wave of sympathy suddenly. "Hey.. I know this is hard. You're doing a good thing, I know. Give the fluids another half hour and I'll let you go, okay?" He reached out and patted one broad shoulder. "You'll be okay."

"Shut the fuck up. I just want it done with. Stop actin' like you're gonna offer me a tissue, you stupid useless pogue. You did this to me. I don't want no pity from you of all folks." Beach frowned deeply and hitched himself deeper into the blanket he drew over himself. "Go away."

"Okay.. sorry." The slender medic left quickly, sighing as he went back to sit at his desk and look over the files.

"He doesn't mean all that, you know." Psyche-Out leaned on the door frame. "I couldn't help overhearing.. he's loud." He nodded towards the room. "It's just that he's frustrated and lest I die from suggesting it, hormonal."

"Good lord, shhh. If he hears someone calling him hormonal, he'll freak out." Lifeline leaned over his desk to listen. "Whew... anyway... I know. But you know.. we're kind of friends and so.. you know, it's hard. He blames me, rightly, and I feel kind of guilty." The medic rested his chin in his palm. "I'll be fine, he'll be fine.. it's just a real pain right now, trying to deal with the medical side and not screw up our friendship in the meantime."

"It'll take time, but I'm certain it will all settle out in the end." The team psychiatrist smiled. "He'll be back to the old grumpy cranky Sergeant major with no social skills. Sadly, we'll be relieved to have him back to normal as badly as he's acting right now."

"SHUT UP! Danged stupid headshrink! FUCK YOU BOTH!" The yell from the back room made Lifeline and Psyche-Out both jump.

"Sorry!" Psyche-Out snatched up a bundle of files. "See you later Lifeline.. good luck." He disappeared and Lifeline glared after him.

"Thanks.. leave me here with him after YOU piss him off." He shook his head. "Just great."

Beach groaned as he walked into the admin area. His gut was acting up worse and worse the larger he got. The previous evening, Bazooka had made the poor decision to announce to the cranky Ranger 'You're fatter than me now!'. Bazooka had regretted the decision a lot in the next half hour of pain.

Now he'd spent the entire day feeling as if the creature inside of him was actually moving around INSIDE him. He swore softly and stopped to simply stand and wait as the thing thumped and rolled around. It was an eerie and unsettling feeling to have something fluttering about his innards.

Glaring at the staring office help, he growled lowly. "Whut the hell are ya'll lookin' at?"

Everyone became engrossed in whatever work was on their desks and he straightened up to go back to Hawk's office in the rear. A quick rap on the door and he pushed it open to enter. "General Hawk sir.. sorry I'm out of uniform.." He was waved to a chair by Hawk. The commander of the Joes was flipping through a set of blueprints, making notes on a legal pad as he did so.

"I don't care how you're dressed, BeachHead. Whatever is comfortable right now." Hawk glanced up at him as he pulled the chair around to seat himself and stared for a moment. "Good lord..." His eyes flicked from the bulging midsection to Beach's glowering face and Hawk cleared his throat. "Sorry. Here.." He quickly pushed a sheaf of blueprints across to the annoyed Ranger. "This is an installation that we suspect Cobra is using as a munitions factory.. building a new type of homing missile. It is projected to have twice the range of any existing ordinance. I don't have to tell you what that could mean."

Beach glanced over the pilfered files. "Yeah... that would be bad news. Cobra definitely doesn't need that sort of weapon. When are we hittin' this place?" He looked up at Hawk's uncomfortable expression. "What?"

"Well.. 'we' will be headed out in short order... but..." Hawk waved a hand about. ".. but.. you..."

"Oh fuck it all." Beachhead slammed the files down. "I ain't goin'. Great. Just great." He got to his feet. "Ain't enough that I gotta turn into a fat slob... nooo.. I gotta be useless on top of it. That's just great."

Hawk's hand slapped the surface of his desk sharply. "Sit." Beach sat suddenly like a well trained shepard. "You are here to help advise me on the best way to take this building intact with the fewest causalities. I need you in your normal role as adviser and tactician. Now.. Flint will be taking the front with the main force of Joes.. Stalker has two greenshirt squads.."

Settling to the task of deploying his greenshirts to the best tactical advantage, Beach bent over the desk and pointed out the lanes of fire they should establish. Just because he wouldn't be along himself to oversee things didn't mean there need be any sloppy planning.

Over an hour later, Hawk was clipping the condensed information together to put into a satchel. "Beachhead.. I have to go brief everyone on the plans. Time for you to go get some rest." He inhaled softly. "Don't think I... and I mean, me personally.. that I don't appreciate what you're going through to complete the mission I charged you with. I never meant for any of my soldiers to end up..' He cleared his throat and motioned at Beachhead. "... well.. like this. It will save untold lives BeachHead."

"Yeah yeah.. I'm a big damned hero. Tell me that at five in the damned mornin' when I'm puking up my guts or when the damn parasite starts givin' me the wobblies." Beach heaved himself to his feet and glared down at his rounded gut. "Ain't nothin' but me doin' my duty sir." He sighed and moved to leave the room. "Weird gawd damned duty but.. by gawd you ordered us to get the kid out.. "

Hawk sighed heavily as the grumbles were cut off by the door closing. "Weird duty indeed, Sergeant major.. "

Beachhead was watching the Joe force as they arrived back at the Pitt. He'd followed the minor firefight over the secured radio lines as best he could. Breaker hadn't even chewed gum the entire two hours that the irritable Sergeant major had stood in the communications center glowering at everyone and everything. All the staff manning the comm had kept quiet except for reporting in on anything of note.

Duke had finally made a point of calling in to give a report on the mission. BeachHead snapped at him over details and finally stalked out to go roaming about the base checking on all the security points. By the time he'd come back, he was calmer much to Breaker's relief. After a few hours the first of the Joe forces began arriving back and he moved up to the hangers and the motorpool, supervising the unloading.

Clutch was smirking at him as he reached across the hood of one of the VAMPs for a clipboard. His protruding stomach meant he ended up turning sideways to be able to reach it. "Having some tummy troubles there Sergeant major?"

"Shut the fuck up a'fore I beat you into the damned deck, Clutch." Beachhead's even tone didn't show any of the boiling anger he felt inside. "Help CrossCountry clean up the HAVOC and get the regular servicing done." He flipped through the clipboard and nodded at the greenshirt who trotted up to take it. "Get the mission reports from everyone, put them on my desk with the regular forms, I'll work on them in the morning." His gaze turned back to Clutch. "What? Are you still standing here.. go on.. get to work."

"But!" Clutch waved around randomly. "Usually that's done by the support staff.. or.. OR... it's done the next day or two... why do I got to do it now?" His voice sputtered a little. "I just got back.. I shouldn't have to do it myself."

"Yes but I know how particular you are Clutch... how you always want to be sure all the maintenance is done just right. It's good of you." Beach gave a tight smile under his balaclava. "So get your obnoxious disrespectful lazy ass up and go work on the damned HAVOC before I decide you need to do all the vehicles. Got me?"

"Yes Sergeant major." Clutch clamped his mouth shut on the commentary on hormonal Rangers and mood swings. At this point it was difficult to not say any of the smartass things hovering on his tongue but he knew that it would only result in more punishments and loud shouting leading to a reprimand from Duke for upsetting their pregnant Ranger. He settled for rolling his eyes as he headed for the HAVOC that CrossCountry had just pulled into its place in the motorpool.

Flint walked up in time to watch the driver stomping off. "Well you handled that." He looked BeachHead over. "You're not straining yourself are you? I don't need Doc coming up and yelling. I hate when he starts yelling. Always ends in 'forgotten' vaccinations coming due." Flint stepped backwards out of the way of a trio of greenshirts pushing crates of ammunition and cleaning gear past.

Beach snorted at him. "Like I can stop Doc from yellin'." His eye twitched and one hand came up to press on his belly. "Ow.. dammit.."

Flint became alarmed. "Ow? What do you mean 'ow'? Don't say ow. Are you okay?" He twisted to look about for anyone that might be able to deal with some sort of emergency involving BeachHead and the nonspecific 'ow' malady. "I don't want anything to... you know... happen."

"Ain't nothin' happenin'." Twisting uncomfortably, Beach tried to stretch and grimaced, pressing the hand in firmer. "The damn thing is doing somersaults and kickin' me." He hissed suddenly. "Ow.. dammit.. it's like having a itty bitty ninja inside you beatin' the ever-lovin' crap outa you." He bent slightly and glared at his own belly. "STOP KICKIN' MAH PANCREAS!" Straightening up, he took a deep breath. "Damn annoying little bastard."

Flint looked at the belly and back at Beach, back at the belly again. "Did that work?"

"Yeah.. just gotta be firm with kids. Otherwise they'll grow up with no damned discipline." Beach stretched backwards a moment. "He'll be kicking me in the damned liver next."

"Yeah... okay." Flint cast about desperately for an excuse to leave and found none. "How do you.. uh... are you sure it's a 'he' instead of a 'she'?" He had the expression of someone hoping that was a safe question to ask that wouldn't end in him learning more intimate details about a teammate than he was able to process.

"Cause the files said it's a boy. Maybe that king figured a boy heir would be best. Hell if I know. What do you care?" Beach's annoyed glance made Flint wince.

"Oh well.. I don't really care. I just.. you know.. uhh... making conversation." Flint edged away as the annoyed expression turned suspicious. "I think Duke is yelling for me.. I better go see.." The warrant officer took off at not-quite a run out of range of any emotional explosions that might happen.

"Yeah.. maybe ya better go do that."

Roadblock frowned at the person rummaging in his cupboard of special ingredients. "Hey.. who do you think you are? Get out of my personal stash."

Beachhead stepped back with a guilty look. "Sorry! I was gonna replace it!" He clutched a jar tightly. "I'd have asked ya for it.. but.. umm... you weren't around."

Roadblock crossed his arms and glared down at him. "What are you taking?" Beach held up the jar sheepishly. "Pickled herrings? I can't believe there's even a jar of those nasty things in here."

"So I can have it?" Beach notably was not setting the jar down.

"Why would you want those? You won't be putting them under Flint's desk will you? I'm not going to take no falls for you. That's about all I can think they'd be good for." Roadblock watched him thinking it over.

"Soooo... I can have it, right?" He looked hopeful and the chef threw his hands up in defeat. "Thanks, man." He popped the top off and dragged out one floppy bit of fish to pop into his mouth. "I been thinkin' about these all damned day. I remembered seein' a jar of 'em in here."

Roadblock felt himself gag slightly. "Don't EAT that! My god man!" He almost reached to take the jar away but the narrowed eyes told him it wouldn't be a prudent course of action. "I didn't know you liked those things.."

"I don't.." Beach mumbled around a mouthful of sodden fish. "Can't stand the stuff.. dunno why I want to eat it now." He started out of the kitchen with his prize. "Crazy.." Stopping suddenly, he stood a few seconds with his head cocked. "Motherfucker... food cravings? Food cravings? Really? REALLY? Gawd DAAAAAAAMMIT!" He turned around to glare at Roadblock. "Ain't enough to go through everything else.. noooo.. son of a damn bitch.. I can't eat PIE.. but I gotta crave gawd damned FISH in a damned JAR?"

Roadblock held up his hands. "Sorrry man.. not my fault. My sister craved erasers when she was pregnant. At least you're craving a food product... kind of stretching the term 'food' but it is edible.. technically.."

"Shut up." BeachHead stalked out grumbling under his breath and eating another piece of pickled fish as he went. "Ain't fair.. damn Lifeline.. stupid fuckin' Cobra.."

LadyJaye walked into the rec room and paused to decide where she'd sit for the evening with her book. Scarlett was at the table with SnakeEyes, Ace and Alpine, playing cards. A handful of other Joes were scattered through the room, chatting, watching a movie involving things blowing up on the tv and reading magazines.

She started for the couch in the back and then spotted what suspiciously looked like BeachHead in the far corner of the room. He'd settled into the battered armchair that occupied the useless corner in the back, unable to see the tv, and angled away from being able to easily talk with most of the room. Even though he was obviously tucked away from everyone else deliberately to discourage any interaction, she wandered over anyway.

"Hi Beach. How are you doing?" She leaned on the arm of the battered chair.

He twisted to glare at her, shifting his book a bit where he was resting it on the upper curve of his belly. "I'm fine. Go away." Tilting his head back down, he peered at the pages in his book and acted as if he was ignoring her.

"Don't you want some company? I mean, that's usually why people come to the rec room." She dragged the nearest chair over to sit in and smiled at him. "Maybe you'd like some company?"

"I don't want no company. I carry too much company along with me everywhere already." She laughed at that and his eyes glared at her. "My room seems all stuffy and Lowlight is sleepin' so I can't read in there." He shifted around and glanced around the room to make sure everyone wasn't staring at him. "Just wanted some space to sit and read."

Jaye nodded. "Yeah, I like to read in here myself because the rooms are just too stifling. Not that they're hot, too cold mostly, but there's not a ton of air flow being underground." Another smile and she leaned closer. "So how is your umm... the... I mean..."

He glared. "You mean the baby? It's fine. Lifeline and Doc been takin' pictures using the sonic thingy and sendin' them off to the prince or king or whatever. When it ain't kickin' me it's busy doin' somersaults and makin' me want to throw up." He tried to pretend he was reading the book in his lap but his tone was a bit too bright to fool Jaye. The man wanted to complain to a friend. He just wouldn't admit it.

Adopting a sympathetic tone and trying to keep the avid curiosity out of her voice, Jaye made agreeable noises to that. "It actually kicks you? I thought that was just an expression."

Beach snorted loudly. "No the damn thing plants it's itty bitty foot right in my god damn liver every mornin' about four-twenty. Little bastard is gonna make me have internal bruisin' if'n it don't quit." He grimaced suddenly and put a hand on the side of his belly. "Sonnabitch... yeah, I'm bitchin' about you, stop that damn kickin'! Parasitic bastard." After a second he sighed and picked his book up again.

Jaye scooted even closer, looking at the stomach and itching with curiosity now. "It was kicking? Just then? Did it hear you when you talk to it?" She paused. "Can.. can you see it kicking? Like.. under the skin?"

He sighed at her but since she had been nice to him the entire time, he didn't want to just yell at her... too much. "Yeah it was kickin' and yeah, sometimes you can see it puttin' dents in my innards." He hesitated but leaned forward to tug the loose tee up and glared at the expanse of stretched skin. Poking the side slightly, he waited. "It'll kick right about.." On cue a tiny bump appeared and disappeared. ".. there." Jaye squawked in excitement and leaned closer. The baby kicked outward again making Beach wince in pain. "Alright, stop it you damn ninja baby." Ignoring his direct order, it punched outwards a few more times, much to Jaye's obvious delight. "Stupid thing never listens to me."

She reached out then pulled back. "Can I feel it?" He sighed and rolled his eyes but didn't actually forbid it or scream at her so she flattened her palm across the spot, waiting patiently to feel the next kick. When it thumped against her fingers she jerked back and grinned hugely. "That's sooo cool!"

He snorted at her. "It's painful and uncomfortable. It ain't in any way 'cool'. I'm fat and half the time I'm too nauseous to eat while being famished at the same damn time. I'm so big I can barely reach to tie my damned boot laces! It ain't 'cool' it's a fuckin' misery. And why people wanna put their danged hands on it? Pregnant women ain't gotta deal with folks all wantin' to pet their fuckin' bellies all the damned time!"

Scarlett turned in her chair to lean over the back of it and smiled at him. "You should watch your lip Beach. The baby's first words are going to be unprintable if you keep cursing around it."

He snorted derisively at her. "Shut up."

She gave a shrug. "Well, it won't be much longer and it'll be gone. Then you can go back to normal...except for all the stretch marks, of course." She gave a last wicked grin before twisting back around to slide down into her chair.

"Fuck off!" Beach glared as he tugged the shirt back down. He looked at Jaye. "Whut the fuck is stretch marks?"

Beach stood in Duke's office and sighed at him. "Whut?"

Frowning at the Sergeant major, Duke tapped a pencil on his desk a few times waiting then snapped at him. "Shouldn't that be 'what can I do for you, Duke' since I am your superior in GI Joe and due at least a tiny amount of fake respect once in a while?"

Beach glared down at him then slumped into the office chair and propped both of his boots up on Duke's previously pristine clean desk. "How 'bout 'whut the fuck ya want, sir'? Would that make ya happier? Whut the fuck ya gonna do? Make me prego with god damn twins? Whut more can ya do to me? Put me on damned KP duty? I'd welcome the chance to do SOMETHIN' other than sittin' around uselessly watchin' my belly get fatter." He grunted and put a hand on his belly with an expression of pain. "Sonnabitch."

Duke leaned his head on an elbow. "Fine. Doc came to tell me you've been trying to sneak in workouts that are not approved for your... condition."

Beach grunted at him. "Yeah so?"

"So, you can't do that." Duke was really trying to sound reasonable.

"Sure I can. I just gotta avoid Lifeline and get into the gym fer an hour or so. It ain't that hard, the dang medic is predictable."

Duke put a hand over his eyes briefly. "Beach, please stop trying to be difficult. I know that you're naturally difficult anyway, but could you not make such an obvious effort to be a pain in the ass?"

Beach huffed and looked away. "God dammit Duke." He swallowed twice. "I ain't tryin' to be a pain.. I'm carryin' a baby in me.. just makin' life here.. sorry I'm inconveniencin' everyone." He got to his feet with a visible effort and leaned on one hand a second to get his balance. "I'll... I'll try to just stay outa the way.."

Duke opened and shut his mouth twice before he could speak. "No no.. Beach.. I didn't mean it like that!"

Beachhead waved him off, not looking him in the face as he opened the office door. "No, it's fine. I'm just a liability until this is over.. I'll just go... you know.. sit in my room or something." He shut the door on any further protests and slunk down the hallway.

Once down to the end of the admin wing, he got into one of the hydralic lifts and headed up to the motorpool. Smirking happily he spoke to himself. "Bet he shuts the fuck up for a long time now... heh..."

PsycheOut appeared when Beach was watching the greenshirts dig giant pits in the ground. He had them digging out one pit to fill in the pit they'd just finished digging. The fact that the two holes were about two hundred yards apart and they were using the shovels to carry each bit of dirt back and forth simply amused him.

PsycheOut stared at the sweating greenshirts and then peered at Beach. "Ahhh.. hello Beachhead. I umm... just wanted to see how you were feeling."

Beach stared out at the greenshirts and mostly ignored the shrink. "Ah'm fine. Go away."

PsycheOut put on his most calming pleasant smile. "Well, I just talked to Duke.. he's a bit upset, and worried about your... ahh... emotional state."

Beach turned to him now with a frown. "What's he sayin? I didn't cry! The bastard said.. never mind!" He turned away. "I'm fine. I hope that me standin' up here don't bother him none. Maybe I'm taking up too damn much AIR for him." He sniffed pointedly and struggled not to glance around to see how his words were affecting the shrink. "I don't need you pokin' around in my head tryin' to prove I'm all unstable just because I ain't happy about bein' a host to a parasite and gettin' treated like a shamed outcast!" He sniffed again and put a hand up to his face for a second before snatching it back down. "Go away."

PsycheOut hesitated. "Umm.. well, you aren't an outcast..."

"I KNOW that! But everyone treats me all weird! You're treatin' me all weird! What am I doin' wrong? I'm supervisin' the greenshirts in a punishment detail and you're up here tryin' to pry into my head and figure some way to make Doc lock me up! Why can't you LEAVE ME ALONE!" His outburst ended as suddenly as it started and he turned away again to stare at the greenshirts who had obviously become completely deaf and blind to anything but their shovels and the dirt they were moving.

PsycheOut stammered for a second before retreating in confusion. Beach smirked to himself again. Two down in one day. He was pleased.

He was much less pleased when Doc came up. His first attempt to guilt Doc ended with Doc giving him one of the Looks.

"Beach, shut up that nonsense. It might work on Duke and it certainly confused Kenneth. It's not going to fool me. I've stitched you up too many times to fall for your tricks."

Beach snorted at him, all his pretense falling aside. "Fine. Be that way. It worked on both of them."

"I'm not as nice as them." Doc sounded smug now that he'd broken through Beach's attempts. "Are you fine or are you getting upset due to hormones or emotions?"

"I'm fine. Which I'll point out I've told everyone else for the last fuckin' seven months." Beach paused. "Well, except when I was puking up a lung... "

"Okay then. Stop playing games." Doc heaved a sigh. "Although, it was rather humorous to see Duke in such a lather thinking he'd induced a complete breakdown by insisting you behave." Giving Beach a hearty slap on the back, Doc turned to leave. "Don't cause any more issues."

Beach grunted irritably. "Or what? You'll put me on punishment detail? I'd welcome it."

Doc spoke without pausing in his walk. "No, I'll have a chat with Hawk."

Blanching, the drill instructor nodded rapidly. "I'll behave! You ain't gotta get all nasty about it!"

"You started it."

Beach simply grunted and then glared at the hapless greenshirts. "What? You think that's fast diggin'? DOUBLE TIME IT YOU MAGGOTS!"

It wasn't many days later that Beach was assisted into the infirmary, doubled over and groaning loudly in pain. Lifeline and Doc both rushed to help him onto a gurney. "What's wrong? What happened?" Lifeline began pulling off the shirt to put a hand onto the bulging stomach. "Oh shit."

The abnormal expletive from their medic made Doc turn and stare. "It's not..."

Lifeline nodded and turned pale. "It's contractions... he's in labor."

Doc ran to grab sensors to begin placing them. "He can't be in labor! He doesn't have the right... structures!"

Beach opened his mouth to yell wordlessly. Panting he grabbed at Doc's arm. "Shut the fuck up about whut Ah got or don't got! Fix it! GAWD DAMN!" His back arched as another spasm hit. "SONNABITCH!" He collapsed again, panting in pain as the pains eased for a moment. "Whut the hell is goin' on? Make it stop!"

Lifeline leaned over his face carefully, giving him an encouraging smile. "It's okay, Beach. You're having the baby. That's all."

Beach grabbed him by the throat and shook him. "THE FUCK YA MEAN? YA SAID YA'D JUST TAKE IT OUT!" Lifeline's gurgles didn't give him a satisfactory answer and he snarled and pitched the medic aside. "Sonna BIIIIITCH!" He writhed and clenched his fists onto the railings of the bed. "OH JEBUS!"

Doc was trying to get him still enough to get accurate readings from the sensors. "Calm down... we're going to take the baby out. It's obviously starting to need more oxygen than your body can provide and that's why.."

Beach arched again. "SHUT UP AND DO IT! SONNABITCH!" He gritted his teeth and panted through them. "Oh fuck... someone knock me out!"

Doc glanced to see Lifeline was coughing and gathering up the local anesthetics. "Well, we shouldn't give you general anesthesia... that could harm the child now... normally we'd.."

"AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH! FUCK YOU! I HATE YOU!" Beach twisted again before flopping back limply to gasp for air. "Oh gawd dammit.. I unnerstand a woman doin' this once, cause she wouldn't know no better.. how the hell do they ever have a second kid?" His distress and screaming had brought the upper level officers down at a run.

Duke sputtered as he took in the scene. "What's going on? Is everything under control?"

Beach took that moment to have another spasm and screamed loudly, cursing everything impartially. Hawk's eyebrows hit his hairline and he backed out. "I think perhaps we should let the physicians do their job while we wait.. out of the way."

Duke retreated as well. "Good idea. He's probably still got a hand gun on him... when he remembers, everyone within range is liable to get shot."

Doc was soothing ineffectively at his patient. "Calm down, this is normal... we'll give you some local anesthetic and then remove the baby with a single incision.."

Beach missed his grab at the doctor. "SHUT UP AND TAKE IT OUT! Gawd dammit! Knock me out! NOW!" He kicked one railing off the gurney and sent it flying across the room. "FUUUUCK! KNOCK ME OUT!"

Lifeline dodged another grab at his own neck. "We can't knock you out, Beach! The drugs would endanger the baby." He ducked as a IV pole came flying at his head.

Beach snarled viciously. "THEN USE A HAMMER! Sonna BIIIITCH!"

Ten minutes later and Doc had administered both a great deal of local anesthetic to dull any pain from the surgery and enough calming drugs to drop a rampaging elephant. The combination had quieted the Ranger to the point that he lay mostly still and had stopped finding things to swing at them. Either that or everything mobile had already been flung. He had produced a .45 only to have it wrestled away by Stretcher and two greenshirts before he could get a bead on Lifeline.

"Ah was only gonna shoot 'em in the leg..." The slurred words were accompanied by a soft whine of pain. "He did it to me... he deserves to get shot inna leg..." The whine turned into a loud moan. "Gonna kill all of ya... bury ya all inna mudpit.. no 'un ever find ya..." He sighed heavily. "Ah'll put flowers onna grave site... be purty.. gimme mah gun back now? M'kay?"

Lifeline shook his head. "Beach just lie still.. we'll be done in just a minute.. no, you can't have your gun back."

"Yer an asshole."

Exchanging a glance with Doc, Lifeline puffed out one exasperated breath. "THIS is why I didn't opt for obstetrician training. I didn't WANT to deal with pregnancies."

"Yer the one whut put it inna mah innards! Assssshole!"

"Shut up Beach.." Doc was concentrating on finding the right spot to cut. "Okay.. here goes.. Beach, you might feel a pinch.."

"AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH! YER CUTTIN' MAH GUTS OPEN!" Beach's volume level was amazing considering the amount of sedation they'd already pumped into him.

Doc leaned over to look him in the eye. "I haven't started yet."

Beach frowned at him. "Oh.. tell me when ya start."

"Oh god help me." Doc bent to slide his scalpel across the right lines, reassured when the Ranger didn't seem to notice. The tough material of the artificial womb appeared and Lifeline reached to slip it out carefully. They clamped off the vein it was stitched to even as Doc sliced through the outer sac to bring the baby out.

Shortly, there was a lustily crying baby in Doc's arms, and a much relieved Ranger laying quietly on the table being stitched up carefully by Lifeline. His eyes kept drifting shut and Beach had worse issues each time trying to get them pried back open.

Turning to gaze sleepily at the medic with the rapidly darkening black eye, he apologized sheepishly. "Sorry.. didn't mean to punch ya that hard... "

Lifeline snorted at him. "Yes you did. In fact you cursed that you didn't hit me harder."

"Well Ah'm sorry now.. okay? Geez ya ain't gotta be such a damned pogue over it." Beach twisted. "Can't Ah see the damned baby?"

Doc looked surprised but walked over to gently hand the squalling infant over. "Here.. he's crying a lot, but I guess that's to be expected. We're warming up formula for him."

Beach took the baby and cradled it in an arm. "Hey..." He traced one cheek with a gentle finger and the onlookers struggled not to smile at the sight of the tough Ranger reduced to such tenderness. "Shut the fuck up, you little maggot." The almost-smiles disappeared and several people facepalmed themselves. To everyone's surprise the baby quieted and gurgled as he looked at the craggy face. "Yeah, now that yer outside, Ah can beat yer ass. So ya better straighten up. Ya gotta big job to do later on. Gotta run a whole country so stop that useless cryin' and toughen up." Beach jostled the baby a few times and it made happy baby noises and drooled. "Oh yeah, that's nasty. Remember to throw up on Lifeline.. he deserves it."

The medic finished the last stitches and sighed. "Thanks Beach, I appreciate it. No no, really." He straightened up. "You should probably stay laying down for at least..." Stepping back out of the way, he sighed as the Ranger swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. "For at least five whole seconds before you go tearing off to let your guts pop out. At least sterilize the duct tape before you fix your dangling intestines, okay?"

Beach glared at him, still holding the baby in one arm. "Shut the fuck up. Ain't like it's such a big deal." He offered the now sleeping baby to Doc. "Here.. someone better feed him, he's too puny to run a country."

Doc sighed and rolled his eyes. "Beach, he's only twenty minutes old, I think we should give him at least a week before we give him any administrative positions."

Beach snorted and eased himself off the table to stand on unsteady feet. "Whutever. Gonna make him soft and useless. I'm gonna go to my office."

He wobbled off down the hallway and Hawk shook his head as he looked at the baby in Doc's arms. "Well, at least it's a good result. The king should be pleased he's got a healthy son, and we should be happy we don't have a pregnant Beachhead any more."

Duke looked down the hallway. "Wow.. I know Beach is tough... but he did just have a c-section preformed on him. How is he walking?"

Lifeline crossed his arms. "Well, he doesn't really feel most of it yet. But the local anesthetic should be wearing off right... about... now." He smirked just a tad when the bellow of pain came echoing up the corridor. "I'd say the big tough Ranger is going to want some tylenol... and a nice soft bed."

Hawk and Duke both raised eyebrows at the medic. "You..." Duke shook his head. "You're really kind of evil... in a pacifist non-combatant sort of way."

Lifeline picked up a packet of pills and a bottle of water. "Yes, yes. And you should remember that next time you start ducking your physical, Duke." He smiled as he headed down the hallway towards the yells.

Hawk smirked. "And that's why I picked him for our field medic even though he is a pacifist."

Doc sighed at them all. "Let's just get this baby to the biological parents before Beachhead decides he should raise it himself so it's tough enough to run a country properly. The last thing the world needs is a ruling King that is capable of making the entire UN do push-ups for not agreeing with him impartially."

Hawk shuddered. "Please Doc.. I have enough nightmares.. let's not induce new ones. And Duke? Have Ace fire up the fastest jet we've got, I want that infant safely in the king's arms and out of Beach's reach before that occurs to him."

Duke left at run. "Already on it!"

Hawk tickled the baby's chin a little. "Some times I wonder if this unit could get ANY weirder."


I told you it was crack. Don't write crack. It's stupid. This is YOUR fault, you-know-who!