Disclaimer: I own nothing of GI Joe, which is owned by Hasbro. Only the plot is mine.

'talk' = thoughts


Zartan pasted a suitably blank look on his face as he did his job, not too bored but seemingly focused on a task that required more concentration than normal, all while fighting down the slight tremor in his hands and the ache that was beginning to form in his head.

He'd gone too long without a break and it was starting to show. Screw the money, after this job he was taking off to one of his numerous hide-outs and staying away from the public in general for the next two weeks.

'My name is James O'Leon, I'm divorced with two kids, who are both doing well in school though my fourteen year old daughter is starting to act out and my twelve year old son wants to quit his baseball team, though I don't know why. My ex-wife won't talk to me, though I know she calls the kids or at least calls my daughter. My job is alright but I wouldn't mind a different office because Cory keeps coming in here to 'borrow' things but only ends up trying to get me to gossip with him for a few hours like a housewife and we all know he's just wasting time on the clock until he can get overtime and -'

With a force of iron will, Zartan forced that mental voice down, using the piece of his own mind that he'd brought along to keep himself stable. Yeah, make that three weeks with no human contact. It was nauseating to feel himself doing a backwards slide into insanity and the last thing he wanted was to end up like so many other human-type shape-shifters who'd gone too long without a break: locked in a padded cell while shrieking that he was eight different people at once.

Typing in yet another bit of dull information into the report 'James' was working on for this company, Zartan gritted his teeth and restrained himself from throwing the nearby stapler at the aforementioned 'Cory' as the little slime-ball crept into the office to 'borrow some staples and by the way, did he know that Chelsea had a new boyfriend and -'.

In place of the voice of 'James', a mental timer for the end of the day started. Never before had there been a time when Zartan so thoroughly regretted accepting a job.