The Second XCOM Saga, part 51, interlude 54
by Dan Repperger

As written by Alex Dzioba and Beth Roper…

Alex stood in front of his locker, stripping off his armor after his workout. He thought back to when his wife had introduced him to the concept of earning your shower and smiled at the nostalgia of far more innocent times.  The door opened and Beth came into the room after her latest excursion on the Sky Ranger. Alex stopped what he was doing and just sat in front of his locker, waiting for her to finish what she was doing.  She noted that the inside of his leg had a bloodstain she couldn’t account for. She put up her weapons and came over. “Hey. Let me see that.”

“Hm?” Alex pretended he didn’t know what she had been talking about. When her eyes went to the stain, he said nonchalantly “Oh that? It’s nothing.”

She pulled out a bandage and sat next to him. “Quit being a baby, let me see.” As his hands subconsciously covered it up she could tell something was amiss.

“Beth, I’m serious. It’s nothing…”

If they hadn’t been spending so much time together, she might have been convinced, but she sensed the plea to drop it in his inflection. She cocked her head at him. “My office. Now.”  He slammed his locker closed and followed her to her office. Once inside, she tended to wounds entirely too precise to not be self-inflicted. She didn’t go easy on him as she cleaned it up, but he didn’t react. His eyes were guarded and blank.

“How long?”

His words were hesitant. He didn’t want to explain himself, but he knew ducking her would not get her to drop it. “Since the base attack. Pain helps me focus.”

“Bullshit and you know it.” She sat back on the desk behind her. “Don’t you think I want to crawl into a bottle every fucking day? But I can’t because I have responsibilities. So do you.”

“Don’t give me that. Everything I do is superficial. Tell the truth, did you even notice?”

“Yeah I did, and so did Lauren, genius. You’re hear, but not here.”

Alex shut his eyes and a tear fell down one side, then the other side. His emotional dam, now cracked and fell apart.  Beth put her arms around him. At first, he cried all those cries he hadn’t allowed himself to have. Then he panicked, because he thought Dan would take him off the project. He begged her not to tell him, but agreed to stop.

Comments (1)

mkbJanuary 15th, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Ouch, looks like XCOM has a bit of a ticking time bomb going on… lots of soldiers straining under pressure.

Leave a comment

Your comment