Sarge believes in heaven with the utmost assurance. That's where he'll go when he dies, probably, unless he's done something wrong and winds up in hell, in which case he'll just keep on fighting the dirty Blues he took there with him. In Sarge's worldview, God is, if not on anybody's side, most definitely somewhere.

Maybe He got left back on Earth, and somebody's still waiting at the office to pick up the package.

But to a soldier of such abject faith, AIs cause a lot of problems. What are the darn things? Are they alive or not? Are they Red or Blue? Most importantly, are all of them likely to start commandeering people's heads and/or radios in order to go on killing sprees?

Only slightly less importantly, do they go to heaven?

Because there are some things Sarge knows irrefutably.

Things Sarge Believes In:

1. Good (Red) versus evil (Blue)

2. God

3. His own ability to build a cyborg out of two men, one robot kit, and some common household items

Things That Sarge With Equal Authority Does Not Believe In

1. Ghosts

2. Walrus

3. Girls on the internet

AI, though, are gray areas.

He figures he knows who he can ask, though.

He doesn't have any AI to ask, but he'll do the next best things. He's got some robots. They're sortof artificial and intelligent.

The boys are out back working on the Warthog. Sarge stands on the base above them with his foot propped on a ledge all imposing-like.

He yells, "Hey, Simmons!"

"What!"

"Do robots have souls?"

"What, I don't know!"

"I dug around in your guts lookin' for one and didn't see nothin."

"Ah, I think I'm feeling a bit queasy, sir."

"Spiritually speaking?"

"Literally speaking!"

Sarge turns away from the edge of the base to go back inside. The boys were working or monkeying around or something. They would be okay.

So Sarge goes downstairs. The memory backup that Lopez had made before his final mission lives in a little blue computer screen set into the wall, away from the sun and the bright lights. The legs it would eventually have are propped against the wall next to it, half-built.

Sarge says, "Hey Lopez. Do robots have souls?"

The screen lights up fitfully. "No quiero hablar con usted."

"You're the closest thing I got, so out with it dagnabbit."

"No tienga las piernas."

"I know you aren't technically dead. We're all very grateful. But I thought you might know. Do some introspectin'."

"Yo prefiero estar muerto que atascado en esta base de la mirada en mis propias piernas."

"Hmm. Thanks."

Sarge walks out, grumbling. "Thanks for nothing."

He stands outside and crosses his arms. He looks at the beach and thinks about the sky and the red insides of Simmons's skin and Donut curled in stasis far too quiet and the fact that he left Simmons's spleen back in Blood Gulch. There goes morale.

All this because those blasted Freelancers showed up.

(He doesn't know what it might have been like to feel the spike tear up your cheek and maybe an eye and scrape the bone on the way to a brain that's so threaded through with neural lace that it's barely yours anymore-

But if AI go to heaven, then, she's sitting in a cave somewhere with her eye fixed up, because the dust will return to the earth but souls go to heaven.)

Not souls like O'Malley, and not souls like Grif, but...

He realizes that he's just assuming AIs to be people too, and shrugs.

He's okay with assumptions.


Author's Note: It's not really that I ship Sarge/Tex, although one of my favourite artists on deviantArt does. Tex/Church has to happen in the same sort of way as gravity. But I started writing this out of the blue (...pun!) wondering why the heck Sarge would care where AI end up.

Tex being the reason just sortof worked.

Please tell me whether not translating or footnoting Lopez's Spanish worked. I dunno, I thought it might come off as funnier if you had to work at Google translate'ing a little.