The Green Room
(2012) 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 Thompson Girl
Hanley finished filing a perfectly lovely and beautiful example of his penmanship in a file drawer. Some things – like reports – he never could escape from. Even in the green room. Someone, after all, had to keep track of things.
A ruckus outside drew his attention. He cracked open the front door, did a double take, then groaned. Oh no. Apparently one of the writers was revisiting Steiner’s camp, and uh… those brand new showers the Germans were so proud of. It was a popular writer’s tourist spot. Hanley couldn’t understand why.
The squad was all out front of the green room on the green lawn, which really was vibrant green – astroturf – drought, you know. It affected green rooms too, and the squad had seen far too much mud and dirt elsewhere to sacrifice their front lawn just because of the lack of water.
But he’d wandered off topic again.
The squad was all out front… and they were all shirtless. Well, except for Saunders, who managed to still have his undershirt on. Hanley wasn’t sure how that happened either. Was there a rule? An understanding? A bribe from the sergeant to his writers? At least to this current writer?
Anyway, they were all mostly shirtless.
In a sudden panic, Hanley glanced down at himself, but he’d escaped the writer’s notice apparently. Oh, he thought. Of course. He hadn’t been at Steiner’s camp. Though he supposed it was only a matter of time before some alternate universe impinged on his existence and thrust him somewhere he didn’t belong…
And speaking of not belonging, he realized the squad weren’t just hanging out on the green lawn. They were gathered around a large… table? He wasn’t actually sure because it was… well, it was slanted at a perfect forty-five degree angle… well maybe not perfect. He wasn’t about to measure and find out… that would have meant going out there instead of observing safely through the doorway.
The squad – shirtless – surrounded the… angled table thingy. Hanley thought Kirby was carving his initials into it with his bayonet. Billy was carving stick figures in some sort of cartoon scene. Doc was whittling down one table leg. Some big light-haired stranger in a blue and red outfit sat cross-legged on the grass sketching the table with a practiced hand. Caje was approaching the table with a container of… gasoline? There was another big, longer-haired blond man standing nearby, watching impatiently. He was in quite the getup with a long red cape and carrying a rather large and ornate… hammer? Hanley blinked.
The blond man in the red cape stepped forward finally, holding up his hammer and said, “Let me just hit it—”
“No!” everyone chorused.
“But your methods are ineffective and a waste of time.”
“For who?” a female voice piped up.
“For whom,” another female voice corrected her.
“Just keep going,” yet another woman said from somewhere off screen.
The squad backed away from the table abruptly as Saunders sauntered up with an axe. Time slowed down for a moment as Saunders lifted the axe, swung it behind his head, and brought it down hard on the table. Muscles flexed. Wood splintered.
Time resumed its normal course.
Hanley glanced down, made sure he still was fully dressed, then stepped outside and bellowed, “What is going on here?”
“Um,” Billy said. “We’re destroying this table.”
“Um,” Hanley said. “Why?”
“It caused TG immense difficulties.”
Hanley stared at it. “It’s a table.”
“Yes… and no.”
“You have got to be joking!”
“Well, she couldn’t describe it in her current story.”
Hanley squinted at it. “Five feet by eight. Some kind of mahogany? Slanted at a forty-five degree angle. Defaced now by my squad…”
There was an offscreen wail.
“What—?” Hanley looked around in alarm.
Doc shook his head sadly. “TG’s favorite pen just ran out of ink. Tragic.”
Hanley blinked, then continued where he’d left off, “Defaced now, by my squad… and just who are these other people?”
“Oh, they’re visiting from WQ’s story,” Billy said. “That’s Thor, and that’s Mr. Stark, and that’s Captain Steve Rogers…”
“Never mind,” Hanley said. He wasn’t happy about anybody being around who might outrank him. “About that table.”
“Completely thwarted her usually ample writing skills tonight,” Stark said. “Imagine that.”
Hanley stared at it again. “Why does it have those awful long legs in back?”
“To put it at that slant,” Doc said.
“You can’t eat—”
“Note the manacles and chains in the corners? It’s not a table for eating.”
“This is about Steiner’s camp!” Hanley muttered.
“No, Lieutenant,” Saunders said. “This isn’t even about us. TG just can’t describe this particular slanted table without taking up a full paragraph and making it sound stupid.
“Well, it is stupid!” Hanley said. “Get rid of those legs and just suspend it from the ceiling with some more of those morbid-looking chains.”
Dead silence fell over the squad and the strangers. They looked at one another.
Steve Rogers looked at his pencil sketch of the table, then glanced up at Hanley. “Thanks a lot.” He tore up his now incorrect drawing of the table.
TG swooped in out of nowhere and kissed Hanley on the cheek. “Thanks, Lieutenant! You’re the best!” She disappeared again.
“Hey!” Kirby complained. “What about the rest of us? We were the ones doing what she asked and destroying the table. Did she even notice we are all shirtless?”
“We did!” came a chorus of offscreen female voices.
Stark tapped Thor on the shoulder. “I think you can use the hammer now.”