First Watch (Ames)

A little space before the main entrance that looks out over the Battlefield and the swamps beyond. A nice spot to sit and chat when there's nothing on the television. You can climb up on the roof from either the upstairs windows or find a tree.

First Watch (Ames)

Postby Marshall Ames » Fri May 25, 2012 2:27 pm

[One-shot, intended to bring Ames up to date in the timeline between Cracking the Vault and HALLELUJAH]

Radiation.
Of all the things Ames had imagined dealing with on a swamp base out in East Jesus, being slow-cooked by a force he couldn't even see hadn't been among them. The threat had settled heavily over the Soldier and his new teammates alike, a silent, constant pressure, like walking mile after mile listening for the crack of an unseen sniper rifle. The first couple of days it had just been one more thing that didn't feel real, like the ghosts in the warehouse and the giant bird...
But those days stretched on into a week, then more, and the team's (formerly) featherhead Scout and octodoc leader were just as scared as the rest of the mercs were. It made them real. ...And that meant the radiation was real too.
Ames couldn't fight radiation.

Instead he'd turned his attention to the things he could do, like learning what the others meant by 'the swamp monster', and cleaning out the team's weapon storage locker. It had been set up well once, he noticed. The guns and ammo boxes stored towards the back of the battered metal cabinet had been put away clean, their parts well oiled against the damp by a knowing hand. Probably the same SGT ABERNATHY who'd printed his name in block capitols on the back of that one empty ammo pouch... and even so, the penetrating humidity had found it's way in, leaving here and there a fleck of brown-red corrosion. The weapons resting nearer the front of the cabinet were in worse shape, and Ames broke those ones down for cleaning first.

The deadly, slow-moving pace of life in the swamp began to creep in around the edges of the Soldier's mind.
He did pull-ups on a peeling, white-painted beam of the front porch overhang until his arms were trembling.
He ran out of bourbon one morning.
He listened for the sounds he knew a lonely bayou was supposed to make, and on the evenings when those noises fell silent, Ames stood watch.
He saw the toll that the monster-enforced base lockdown and the dread of glowing in the dark was taking on his teammates.
He learned to differentiate between each of the REDs he could see moving around across the water, and decided that mohawk-guy's Motorhead album wasn't actually so bad, though anything with Alice Cooper still set his teeth on edge...
And then one morning, Henry woke up the base yelling that the radiation was going down, and they were all gonna live.

Ames had woken up, listened to the shouting Engineer without breathing for a moment, stared up at the blue and white striped underside of the bunk above his own... then shut his eyes tight with a sigh of relief like he'd never thought to feel again.
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Marshall Ames
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