“This is a fucking punishment,” Niner muttered. “All I did was question why we didn’t go looking for her at the bottom of that shitty mountain, and here I am, still flying fucking simulation troopers around a year and a half later.”
“What was that?” Sarge called out from the back of the Pelican.
Niner sighed, breathing in every second she has spent with this Regulation Red Asshole. “Nothing. We’re almost there.”
He got out of his seat, just like all those freelancers always do (did), and decided to stand in the doorway. “I didn’t want to push anything, but are you sure you are a certified Red Army pilot?”
“Ugh, for the fifth time, yes!”
“See, because your armor is kind of blue…” he trailed off like it was an offense punishable by guillotine.
“It’s silver. Silver is as neutral as you can get. I’m flying you back to your base right now, as per order from command. Your command, my command, we’re on the same team.” Infinite patience. It was good practice flying Florida out to the same damn box canyon months ago. There were new levels of zen meditation reached that afternoon.
“Can I call ahead to the base and check in? Dang it if I’m not worried about my Privates all alone out there.”
“Phrasing,” she snickered, because there was no use not making the best of the situation. “Sure, there’s a radio in the-oh, ok, yeah, you can use the one in the cockpit too. Sure.”
“Blood Gulch Outpost Number One. Come in, Blood Gulch Outpost, come in. Do you read me? This is Sergeant-” It seemed like he got cut off and he leaned on the dashboard, pushing a few buttons Niner hurriedly pushed back off as she shooed him away from her console.
“Almost there, almost there, almost there,” Niner chanted under her breath.
“Roger that, Private. I am currently in-bound to your position from Command. Hello, Simmons. I hope everything’s gone alright while I’ve been gone.” He was silent for a long time, which was a welcome change that Niner did not really want to question, but she also really, really did not care to fly into a battle blindly. Just as she was going to ask about it, Sarge nearly laughed. “Am I talkin’ to the right base?”
Over the radio, through the noise suppressing headphones, and despite the fact that Sarge was pressing them to his head because he claimed it made the radio work better, Niner still distinctly heard a panicked “Sarge, we. Are going. To die here!”
“Uh, is everything alright on the ground?”
“Sure it will be! When we use this superior firepower to destroy the Blues!” He turned back to the radio before Niner could correct him. “Well then hold tight, boys. I think I gotta solution to your little "tank” problem.“
”…What tank problem? No, never mind, fuck it. Just tell me where to shoot.“
"Aim. For. The. Tank.”
“You know what, Red? Youuu…you’re right, yeah,” she said, giving up. “I see the tank. I’ll take it out and then drop you off.”
“Great! The glorious red army is indebted to you for this monuments victory, pilot! We will throw a parade in your honor the next time you come to Blood Gulch Outpost Number One!”
“Um, yeah, I’m totally requesting a fucking desk job the second I get back.”