I should warn you, some parts in Episode 73 are gonna get pretty icky.
Chapter 16: Under the Weather
Barely half an hour after his teammates returned, Church listened as Caboose and Andy explained what had happened on the quest. Then suddenly they heard loud retching noises coming from down the passage.
"What was that?" Caboose gasped.
"That sounded like Tucker," Church cried. "Come on!"
They left Andy outside and ran into the Base. As they approached the mess hall, they could hear loud groans of agony and when they entered, they found Tucker lying in a pool of vomit on the floor of the cafeteria, clutching his stomach and moaning like a castrated sheep.
"Tucker!" Church cried. "What happened? Are you alright?"
Tucker just groaned and rolled on his side. "Oh man, I don't feel so hot…"
Church quickly led his teal teammate into the sleeping quarters to rest for a while, leaving a bucket next to his bed, but ten minutes later they could still hear him groaning.
"Man, he sounds terrible," Church muttered worryingly.
"Yeah," Caboose agreed. "He's been like that since the swamp."
"Swamp?" Church asked. "You guys were in a swamp?"
"Yeah," Caboose replied nervously. "It was dark and swampy. I wasn't scared at all."
"Is this why you guys came home so fast?"
"No, we came home because the alien died and because the uh, glowing sword turned out to be uh, a glowing key."
"Yeah, a glowing key that can still stab people."
"So it is a sword. It just happens to function like a key in very specific situations."
"Or, it's a key all the time and when you stick it in people, it unlocks their death."
Church let out a sigh. "God damn, Caboose, I would love to live in your world for about ten minutes."
"Yeah," Caboose murmured. "I have a really good time."
"Yeah, it seems like it," Church chuckled. "You know, I don't think I'd get anything done, but I probably wouldn't care that much."
Just then, Tucker let out another loud groan.
"Hey Tucker, you okay?" Church called out.
"Ohh, why don't you guys come in here?" Tucker wailed.
"Uh, because it might be contagious," Church shouted, "and, uh, because we've got to think about the health of the unit as a whole." He sighed in relief. "I came up with that pretty fast."
"And because you threw up ten minutes ago," Caboose added. "And that's just gross!"
"Hey, wait a second," Church cried. "You don't think that sword-"
"You mean the key," Caboose corrected.
"No, I mean the sword. You don't suppose that sword is making him sick, do you?"
"I don't see how. It hasn't sneezed once."
"We don't know anything about it though. Maybe it runs on radiation and it's poisoning him."
"Or, maybe it runs on solar power."
Church frowned at this. "Wait, why would solar power make him sick?"
Caboose just shrugged. "Is he Republican?"
Meanwhile at the Red Base, Sarge had reentered the building and left Grif and Donut to keep an eye on Simmons so he wouldn't enter the Base.
"Okay listen, guys," Simmons called up. "Do you want important information about the war or don't you?"
"I don't know man," Grif replied, keeping his battle rifle trained on Simmons. "This is a pretty exclusive club we've got here. If we let one Blue guy in, we might have to let the next one in, and the next one, and then there goes the neighborhood."
"Yeah," Donut agreed. "Pretty soon, we'll have to let in women. And who wants them?"
"Yeah." Grif shivered at the thought. "Then we'd be talking about interior decorating and reality TV shows all day. No thanks."
Donut scowled at his teammate. "Grif, it kinda ruins my point when you just mention the good stuff."
Simmons glanced over his shoulder to look at the other side of the canyon. "I'm sure the Blues are using the information right now to plot an attack against us."
At that moment, at Blue Base, Church flinched as he heard Tucker throwing up again. "That better have been in your bucket!"
"I'll get the mop," Caboose sighed.
Back at Red Base, Grif shook his head. "Well, you can forget it," he yelled. "You heard Sarge, there's no way we're letting you in the Base dressed like that."
Donut nodded in agreement. "Seriously, the blue and red thing is so last year."
"Well…" Simmons quickly ran round behind the rock and reemerged two seconds later wearing maroon armor once more. "How 'bout this?"
Grif's jaw dropped inside his helmet. "How did you change so fast?"
"I've always been a fast changer," Simmons replied. "I'm very shy."
"Is that why you wear your underwear in the shower too?"
"I also never use the bathroom at the Base, only at home."
Grif grimaced in alarm. "Dude, we've been stationed here for like three years."
"Yeah," Simmons chortled. "It's gonna be a very eventful homecoming."
Back at Blue Base, having cleaned up Tucker's puke, Church and Caboose made their way back to Andy for a brief questioning.
"Andy, what in the hell happened to Tucker in this little adventure you guys took?" Church growled.
"How should I know?" Andy asked.
"He ate all my food and just threw it up," Caboose replied with annoyance. "Coulda just thrown it on the floor 'n' cut out the middle man."
"Yeah, plus now he's moody as hell," Church agreed. "I went to ask him if he's feelin' better and he practically bit my goddamn head off!"
"I bet he just would have thrown up your head later," Caboose said. "And then you could just put it right back on, it'd be fine."
"He was fine on the trip," Andy recalled. "Maybe he's allergic to you. I know I get nauseous when I look at ya."
Church rubbed his chin in thought. "Did you guys come in contact with anything weird, like any strange plants or animals, or like super-flu viruses or… porn stars?"
"Oh yeah, there's one thing I forgot to mention," Andy replied. "We invaded a secret biological warfare lab, run by porn stars. Tucker licked all the Petri dishes even though we told him not to. Then he got thirsty, so he drank everything in the test tubes. You think that had anything to do with it?"
"I'm pretty sure that didn't actually happen," Caboose said slowly. "I would have remembered that part."
"Aw, come on!" Andy cried out. "You're surprised he's sick? I've never seen the guy wash his hands, not once! One time I saw him pick his nose at the pay phone."
"I'm just worried man," Church confessed. "Who knows if this stuff is contagious? For all we know, Caboose could be next. Wake up tomorrow morning, he's throwin' up, runnin' a huge fever and next thing you know, he's bleeding out of his eyes 'cause his internal organs are liquefying. And I'm gonna be the one that has to hold his hand while he screams himself to death. That's not gonna be any fun."
Caboose gulped in horror. "I'm gonna go take a vitamin."
"Oh, don't bother," Church sighed. "It's too late for you anyway. We need to start thinking about me."
"Tell ya what," Andy put in. "Send me in and I'll run clean-up. Don't worry about it; I'll take care of everything."
"Andy, I am not letting you blow up the Base," Church retorted, seeing where the bomb was going.
"Come on!" Andy urged. "Just a little explosion, five, ten megatons tops. And all ya scary germs will be gone. There'd be nothin' left but the cockroaches, germ-free cockroaches!"
"But then Tucker will be dead too," Caboose reminded him.
"See? It's the perfect plan," Andy said.
"No, but that does give me a good idea," Church pondered aloud. "Technically, you can't get sick. So why don't we send you in there to take care of Tucker? Then you can figure out what's wrong and report back to us."
"I ain't no nurse," Andy snapped. "I go in there, all you're gonna get is an explosion. If you want a medical diagnosis, go see a doctor."
Church did a double take and stared at Andy. "What did you just say?"
"I said you don't need me," Andy repeated. "You need a doctor."
A grin slowly crossed Church's face and Caboose gulped in worry. "Please don't do it."
Sometime later, at an evil lair several miles away from Blood Gulch, the sinister O'Malley was plotting his next evil scheme. Shortly after he, his host Doc and the head of Lopez had barely escaped from the claws of the alien, they had discovered an abandoned tower on a rocky beach and had claimed that as their new base, where they could continue their attempts to conquer the Universe, with very little success.
Now as O'Malley sat behind his desk, a loud ringing from the long-distance radio-phone in the passage interrupted his thoughts. "For the love of evil, someone get the phone!" he bellowed.
"¿Por qué no lo llevarle tas usted?" Lopez retorted from a nearby windowsill. (Why don't you get it?)
"You fool! Can't you see I'm busy with an evil plot? What do I pay you for?"
"Para limpiar después de sus diagramas fallados." (To clean up after all your failed plots.)
"Oh shut up, you fool. You don't even have a body."
"Sí, debido de sus diagramas fallados." (Yes, because of one of your failed plots.)
"Why all this bickering?" Doc cried out. "Can't we all just get along?"
"And answer the damn phone!" O'Malley yelled.
"¿Por qué tenemos tantos mils máquinas apocalíptica, para no tenemos máquina del contestar la teléfono?" Lopez asked cynically. (Why do we have a million doomsday devices and no answering machine?)
O'Malley scowled at him as he stood up and went off to answer the phone. "I find you far too sarcastic for just a head."
Uh oh, our old enemies are back. I sense this is not going to end well for the Red and Blue Teams.