5444"The Player on the Other Side" (WIP, CH.1) Scott [PG-13] X1 and X2
- Nov 17, 2003Title: The Player on the Other Side
Characters Ch. 4: Scott, Lyman, OCs.
Summary Ch. 4: Life goes on as usual for the troops stationed at
Alkali Base. Life does not go on as usual for Scott Summers.
Note Ch. 4: Please, folks, don't necessarily believe what you read
here about U.S. domestic policy on terrorism. There is
(intentionally) a lot of bullshit and bad information flying here.
Note #2: I don't know the official Marvel explanation for how Scott
operates his visor. Hope you like what I made up.
Summary WIP: A popular officer is framed for the destruction of
Alkali Base. His friends band together to ruin the mutant they
Rating Ch. 4: PG-13
Author: Rachel Martin
Archive: Archive anywhere.
Disclaimers: The X-Men belong to Marvel and 20th Century Fox. No
copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.
Feedback: Feedback is welcome. Critical comments will not be
misinterpreted as a flame.
Tyler picked up his tray and glanced around the Alkali Base mess hall
for a seat. Sam Tyler was used to eating alone. There weren't a lot
of people at Alkali with whom he could associate with propriety.
Major Lyman, if he wanted to court a case of acid indigestion. First
Sergeant Gonzalez. And -- yes, Major Kraski, sitting at the table by
the plastic dustcatcher -- a ficus tree, he thought it was supposed
to be. Lyman was seated at the same table, not at Kraski's
invitation, of that Tyler was certain, and appeared to be well into
the process of ruining Kraski's appetite. Lyman was mostly ignoring
Dr. Yates, who had taken the seat next to him. Jesus, this place,
Tyler thought. The soap opera that was Alkali Base would have amused
the shit out of anyone who didn't have to live it.
Lyman leaned forward over the table and touched Kraski's arm,
apparently to drive home some point. Kraski leaned backward. Tyler
ground his teeth.
Sam Tyler was in love in with Ellen Kraski. It was one of those
hopeless love affairs that exist only in the Army and some of the
more caste-conscious cultures of the Third World. Tyler's wife had
been dead for six years and Kraski was divorced, but that was beside
the point. Sam Tyler was a colonel and Ellen Kraski was a major.
Major Kraski was the reason why, after thirty-two years of service,
he had quietly removed himself from the one-star list and submitted
his retirement packet.
"Kraski," he said stiffly, nodding to her, ignoring Lyman and Yates,
as he put his tray down on the long cafeteria table and took a seat.
He was well aware that every kid in the mess hall was covertly eyeing
their table. He and Kraski were the highest-ranking male and female
officers on the base -- "rankin'est", as the kids said -- the alpha
male and female of the facility, as it were, and the rest of the pack
paid close attention to them and their doings. All the more reason to
behave with excruciatingly correct decorum.
"Sir," Kraski said in evident relief.
"Sir," Lyman echoed unenthusiastically.
"Colonel," Yates said politely.
Tyler began eating.
The four of them ate in dead silence for about five minutes. Tyler's
rank had a way of creating situations like that.
"So," Tyler said, finally. "Movie Night, right?"
Kraski was the headquarters commandant, meaning, in a base as
isolated as Alkali, that she was the jack-of-all-trades, the go-to
guy, his right-hand man. Woman. Person. And among her many additional
duties was that of Morale, Welfare and Recreation Officer. That, in
the eyes of the troops, made her the most important person in the
complex. Maybe the second-most important -- the cook probably took
the top spot.
Kraski nodded. Movie Night wasn't about watching movies -- every kid
in the complex seemed to own a portable DVD player. Movie Night was
about socializing and sharing the stale junk food that people's
parents sent them via a numbered mail drop in Washington, D.C. Tyler
looked forward to Movie Night. It was his only opportunity to see
Kraski with her hair down and make-up on.
"*The Fast and the Furious,*" Kraski said. "And *Black Hawk Down.*
For the friggin' millionth time. It's turning into the *Rockie Horror
Picture Show.* All the guys yelling the dialog."
"So I guess I'm never going to see the ending of *Harry Potter,*
Kraski affected a scowl. Tyler grinned. The Harry Potter movie had
been one of her less than well-received choices.
They ate. Tyler was pleased to see Kraski finish her lunch. Lyman and
his ham-handed flirting would put any woman off her chow, he thought,
and Tyler, who had grown up lusting after Marilyn Monroe, preferred
his women curvy. And Kraski was going to be his woman. If he had to
shove Lyman off Alkali Dam.
Kraski pushed the tray aside, picked up her cup of coffee and turned
it around in her hands. "Sir. . . . you got a moment?"
He nodded. Every meal at Alkali inevitably turned into a working
breakfast or lunch or dinner. She looked at Lyman, with whom she had
been assiduously avoiding eye contact. Lyman immediately perked up.
Tyler repressed the sudden intensified urge to choke the shit out of
"The, uh, the mutie," she said quietly. All four of them
automatically glanced around the mess hall. Their table was quite
isolated. "How long is this situation gonna go on, sir? We can't keep
going on like this."
Lyman dropped his smile. His eyes narrowed.
"Like what?" Tyler asked warily. He glanced at Lyman.
"It's a violation of the Geneva Convention, sir," Kraski said.
"He's a terrorist, sir," Lyman snapped. "A detainee. Not a P.O.W. The
Geneva Convention doesn't apply."
"He's wearing a uniform with rank insignia on the collar. That makes
him not a terrorist, Lyman. He's entitled to --"
"He's entitled to shit. Or do you think you know the law of war
better than the Secretary of Defense?"
"Kraski," Tyler said, and sighed. It killed him to side with Lyman on
any issue, including the time of day. "I checked it out with Army
Pentagon. Summers is a detainee, not a P.O.W. That uniform of his
means jack shit. It means about as much as a red bandana. The Crips
and the Bloods aren't soldiers and neither is he."
"But sir -- then --"
"He took over for Magneto, Kraski," Lyman said. He seemed to be
recovering rather quickly from his shock at being seconded by
Tyler. "They think he's Magneto's son, for Chrissake. The FBI's been
watching him ever since Liberty Island."
Kraski did not look happy. "So why is he here?"
"It's a deception tactic, Major," Lyman said condescendingly. "We
don't want al Qaeda or the mutants to know we've got him. So the
Secretary is detaining him in isolation here. The Pentagon is busy
feeding all kinds of bullshit to both sides in his name."
"I understand that, Lyman," Kraski said in a poisonously sweet tone.
Tyler remembered hearing that tone of voice for the first time in
1975. The time he'd bought a car without bringing his bride along to
the dealership, because what did girls know about cars?
"That wasn't my question," the future Mrs. Tyler continued. "My
question is, why isn't he in a civilian jail? He's an American
citizen. He's entitled to due process and all that kind of stuff."
"For Christ's sake, he's not even a human being, Kraski. How the fuck
can he be an American citizen? Maybe you think a mutt deserves a
trial before going to the pound."
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