The Green Room
(2008) No infringement upon the rightful owners of "Combat!" and the characters thereof, is intended. Any resemblance between real people and the characters in this story is purely coincidental and no insult is intended. This piece of fan fiction is for enjoyment only, and in no way will the author gain monetary profit from its existence.
by White Queen
When Saunders opened the door to the Green Room, the first thing he noticed was the absence of opera. Good. He'd been gone long enough for Thompson Girl to work through her issues.
The second thing he noticed was that, although it was past midnight, everyone was still awake and huddled around the poker table. He frowned. They didn't usually hold lengthy poker games on Friday nights. Not when so many of the writers were already working on their zine stories. Weekends were prime writing time for a lot of them, and the soldiers needed to be alert and focused to deal with so many different plots.
He closed the door, but still no one noticed his entrance. Odd, since entrances were one of his specialties. As Saunders walked toward the table, Kirby cackled. "That's perfect!" he crowed.
Hanley, hunched over the table with the rest of them, shook his head. "Don't push it, Billy," he said.
"Okay, fine, what would you rather do?" Billy asked. He looked up and noticed Saunders. "Oh, hi, Sarge! How was the desert?"
Doc said, "Gee, White Queen wasn't there either? I wonder what she's up to. She'd better get moving if she's gonna be ready for the zine."
"She'll be fine." Saunders looked around the table. No cards, no poker chips, no bottles of beer or Coke -- just six coffee cups, a thick notebook, and a few pencils. "What's going on?"
"I'm writing a story!" Billy said.
Littlejohn cleared his throat.
Billy said, "I mean, we're writing a story. For the fanzine. Wanna hear it?"
Saunders raised his eyebrows. "A story?" He looked at Hanley. "This is a joke, right? White Queen's been here and she's set me up for a joke because Thompson Girl's been looking for--"
Hanley shook his head. "No joke. You should read it, it's not bad."
"All right, give me that." Saunders grabbed the notebook and began to read aloud:
Private Billy Nelson stalked somberly through the city streets--
Billy interrupted. "You like the alliteration? White Queen's really into that. It's a poetic device she puts into her stories because--"
"Let him read it," Caje interjected. "Then you can show off when he's done."
Saunders took a deep breath and continued:
...through the city streets, a rifle clutched in his sweaty palms. It was a case of life or death, his or the Kraut's. They had seen the enemy soldier dart down this dark and dismal street, and Sergeant Chip Saunders had ordered the handsome young private to find the Kraut.
Saunders stopped reading and glared at Billy over the top of the notebook.
"What?" Billy looked as innocent as a baby daffodil. "You think I should take out the handsome part? Kirby said I should, but I think it'll keep the female reader's attention."
"I hate my first name, you know that." Saunders grabbed a pencil from the table and erased the four forbidden letters. He tossed the pencil down and resumed reading:
A sudden movement caught Billy's eye, and he wheeled and fired from the hip. The Kraut clutched his stomach and fell to the cold pavement, dead.
Hanley interrupted, "I still don't like that -- I'm the one who usually fires from the hip. It sounds like you're copying my moves. You should fire from the shoulder instead." He grabbed the notebook, erased "hip" and wrote in "shoulder" in very tiny letters so it would fit. "Okay, keep reading," he told Saunders, handing the notebook back.
Kirby came running around the corner. "Billy! Littlejohn's been shot!"
Billy turned and rushed to where the scrappy B.A.R. man stood. "Where?" Billy demanded.
"In the café!" Kirby ran across the street, Billy close on his heels.
Kirby laughed. "I love that! 'In the café!' Not in the arm or the leg, in the café!" He laughed and laughed, pounding the table with glee.
"We get it, Kirby." Littlejohn twiddled a pencil between his long fingers. "Go on, Sarge, this next part's really good."
Billy rushed into the café and knelt beside his wounded friend. "Littlejohn! Littlejohn! Are you okay?"
"I've felt better," Littlejohn said stoically. "Then again, I've felt worse too."
"Where's Doc? He should be here bandaging you!"
"He did, see?" Littlejohn held up one brawny arm, bare except for a white bandage wrapped around the bicep. "But there was this French girl here, and she said something about a bunch of kids being in trouble, so Doc went with her to see what he could do."
Doc said, "I still think it should be puppies, not kids. Puppies are a lot cuter, and they don't talk back or try to steal your wallet."
Billy said, "But why would you leave Littlejohn just to help a bunch of puppies?"
"Everybody loves puppies," Doc argued. "What if they were down a well or something and I had to keep them from drowning?"
Caje said, "Why would there be puppies in a well?"
Saunders tossed the notebook on the table. "Know what I think, Billy?"
"What?" Billy grabbed the notebook and poised his pencil over the page.
"I think you should stick to what you do best."
"You think I should leave the kids out?"
Saunders sighed. "No, Billy."
"You think there should be kids and puppies?"
"Come on, Billy, do I have to draw you a picture?"
"Oooh!" Billy nearly bounced up and down in his seat. "You can draw? Wow, if you'd do a couple illustrations for my story, it's sure to get into the zine!"
"I mean you should leave the writing to the writers." Saunders put a hand on Billy's shoulder. "Or if you do want to write, don't write about us. We've got enough to do for all the other stories, don't you think? Give yourself a break. Give us all a break."
Billy closed his eyes for a moment. Everyone was silent. Then he looked up at Saunders and said, "You're right, Sarge. The writers keep us awful busy. I won't add to our workload."
"Good." Saunders ruffled Billy's hair. "Now how about we all get some rest? I have a feeling White Queen's awful close to starting a new story."
"Well, you heard the sergeant," Hanley said, rising. "Let's get back to what we do best." He headed for the barracks, the others trailing after him.
All except Billy. He opened the notebook to a fresh page and began to write:
Captain James T. Kirk stalked somberly through the city streets....