The Green Room
(2006) 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.
"At Large... continued..."
by Thompson Girl
The little cottage stood between tall, yellow-leaved dogwood trees. A thread of smoke curled from the stone chimney. Hanley watched from behind the broad trunk of an oak. The ground was littered with gold and brown leaves. It was a charming rustic autumn setting, and he smiled. Sure. Where else would Thompson Girl go with the jailbird? She thought she'd found a spot in the Green Room woods where no one ever went, but she hadn't counted on the diligence of the squad. They may not have liked patrolling out here, but they did a good job, and he wasn't lieutenant for nothing. He knew all the hidden spots. He hid a grimace. At least he thought he did. Those writers did have a way of changing things every now and then.
Stepping out of hiding, he strode to the front door, carbine ready out of habit. He didn't bother knocking, just kicked open the door. He was not about to give Brockmeyer enough warning to escape out some convenient back door.
Sure enough, there was Thompson Girl, curled in a wooden rocking chair, a tea cup in one hand. She set the tea cup down quickly on a side table and hurriedly rearranged a crocheted blanket around her and the chair.
"Ah-hah! I thought I'd find you here," Hanley said, triumphantly. His eyes darted around the rest of the room, but she appeared to be the only one there. "Where is he?"
"Where is who?"
"Don't give me that. You know who. You found White Queen's key to the stockade somehow and let him out while we were distracted."
"What are you, a detective now? Shouldn't you be helping White Queen finish up Finders, Keepers?"
"White Queen's being treated for I.N.S.," Hanley said roughly, "which you probably brought on, you know, forcing her to change her whole story around like that. You know what that can do to a young writer?" Not to mention it cut his p.o.v. out almost entirely, he thought sourly.
"What are you, a writer now?"
"I've been around."
"I won't tell Vickster or Miss Maquis that."
"Stop changing the subject! I'm looking for Brockmeyer. Are you going to tell me where he is, or do I have to search the place?"
She pursed her lips and cocked her head at him. "Are you auditioning for a Hanley-gets-brainwashed-into-thinking-he's-an- interrogating-Kraut role? Because that would be a really stupid story and I won't write it. Besides Time Tunnel did one of those, and Doug had a horrible German accent and I'd hate for you to--"
Hanley was losing his patience. "I'm asking a simple straightforward question here!"
"And I don't know where he is."
"I think you're ly--" Something caught Hanley's eyes from beneath the blanket she had wrapped around the chair. Something that looked suspiciously like a sleeve. "Ah-hah!" said Hanley, and snatched up the jacket that had been hidden.
Thompson Girl rolled her eyes. "That's mine. You know I collect that kind of thing."
Hanley held the jacket up. "Little big for you, isn't it?"
"I just won that off eBay. You know eBay. You take what you can get sometimes. It isn't easy finding real field jackets."
"Why bother when you can borrow one from us?" Hanley said sarcastically, eying the corporal stripes on the sleeves.
"You don't believe me?" Her lower lip started to tremble. "Look, I'm having kind of a bad week, okay? I thought I met this great real guy and he turned out to be not so great, and I have to start this brand new novel next week and write 50,000 words in a month and my muse is still AWOL, and I'm not done with The Reckoning, and I'm behind in reading and commenting on zine stories and this great guy who I thought I was important to... I just needed some downtime and I came here, okay? Alone."
Hanley's shoulders slumped. "I'm sorry. I was just sure...." He handed her the jacket. What was the use? If he pushed her, she was liable to start crying or gibbering as badly as White Queen, and having two writers in useless states was just not something to which he wanted to contribute.
She was fingering the stripes on one of the jacket sleeves. She glanced up at him contemplatively. "Ever wonder why a semi-regular who's only in six first season episodes can get promoted and demoted so easily, and you other guys go five whole seasons with only Kirby gaining a stripe? I think there's a story in there...."
"Oh no," Hanley moaned. "He has been here! He's planting more story ideas!" Those writers... And it was Thompson Girl who had originally requested Brockmeyer be locked up when he had started interfering in her stories. Or was it White Queen? He couldn't actually remember any more. One of them, both of them... they were more trouble than the escaped prisoner. And why should he care anyway?
But he knew the answer to that. Because Thompson Girl would never get around to his story if Brockmeyer stayed free to meddle. What was it with him and Saunders? How come those two had such an easy time charming those two particular writers, and Thompson Girl and White Queen wouldn't listen to him? He had good ideas too. Plenty of them. A lot better than explaining a stripe or two. If only they would listen to him. But he knew what Saunders would reply to that complaint, and he wasn't about to give the sergeant any reason to get smug again.
"Are you okay, Lieutenant?" Thompson Girl asked. "You're looking a little pale. You been working too hard? You want me to holler for a medic? I've been working on getting that right note of urgency in my voice."
"No, I'm fine."
"I could write you out of the next story so you can get some rest--"
"No, I said I'm fine."
"Or I could trap you under something -- we haven't had a beamer story in a while."
Hanley backed towards the door.
"Or I could just have you shot up so you could spend the story passed out--"
Hanley hurriedly exited before she could offer any more story help, not noticing the smile she cast towards the back bedroom he'd gotten side-tracked from searching.