It was chaos at the fort. The leader of this entire operation was at risk. We had Tann in a tent, there was no way we could get to Mother Base in time. While the doctors tried to check on his arm to see how bad was the burning, I held him down. Kyle was yelling in pain, moving all over the table he was on. I look at one of the doctors. "How bad is it?!" I was struggling to get Tann to stay in place. He was in great pain.
Doc shook his head. "We're gonna have to..."
Tann spoke up. "No! N-no! You're not gonna cut it! No!"
"It's that or die, Major! We can't save it! Even if we got to Mother Base, it's too late!"
Kyle was panicking even more on the table. I had enough, I smacked his face. "Kyle! You damn fool. These people need you! You're a soldier, act like it!"
Kyle grits his teeth and pants rapidly, he calmed down somewhat. "...Towel. Towel and water."
I got what he asked for. I helped him drink the water and put the towel in his mouth, bracing him for surgery. I was no longer needed, so I stepped out of the tent to calm myself down. Fisher and Sera come up to me, I was sitting next to my tent, entertaining Serena. Fisher spoke up first. "Hey, dude."
Sera kneeled next to me. "You ok, Dopeman?"
I nod. "Yup. I'm just here. Tann is still alive but the things I've seen at that camp was..."
"It's all good," Fisher waved his hand, signaling me to not elaborate. "We're just making sure you're ok." Fisher checks his watch, however. "Well, I got myself with a beautiful muscular woman. I'll be seeing you."
I scoff. "You better be ready for the missions tomorrow!"
We laugh as Fisher walks away.
"So," I say to Sera. "You wanna talk?" I ask.
She nods, we step into my tent.
I sit, grabbing water. "I'm just gonna ask you a bunch of questions, ok?”
Sera smiles. "Sounds like fun."
Over the next hour, I ask her many questions. "Hobbies?"
"Reading, horseback riding, shooting."
"Why have such a massive gun?"
"Well, I wanted to prove some guy wrong during a shooting competition. I won, so I kept the gun."
I pause, I like her smile. I like the way she talks. I'm feeling something I haven't felt in a long time. The way she moves, she cares about me so much. She wants to latch onto me. I stare at her for a while. Sera blushes. "H-hey, Dopeman? You ok?"
"Oh! Sorry, the questions..."
"What's your question?" She tilts her head.
"You ever been kissed?"
She stops moving. Her pale face goes into a light red. "No..."
I scoot closer, ready for the next step. "Did you want to change that?"
Sera grabs my dirty shirt and pulls me close for a kiss. We lock lips for a few moments. Her lips feel soft. I felt happy. We pulled away soon after. I clear my throat. "Nice."
"That's all you have to say?"
"It was nice, wasn't it?"
Sera giggles. "Fool."
I stopped in the next day to see Kyle sitting up, drinking water angrily. He got off and brushed past me as he walked to his own tent. I follow. "Kyle?"
"What?" He was frustrated. It was obvious to see why.
"You could always get a prosthetic. Those prototype robot arms are getting worked on still-"
"That's not the point!" He threw a few books on the ground. "I follow orders. All I've been doing is the right thing. I don't drink, smoke, party, have constant sex, nothing! I've been falling in line and I STILL get hurt!" He hits the desk with his hand. "How is that fair, Dopeman? How is that fair?"
I walk in, exhaling softly. "In my eyes, we get hurt to learn something or get stronger. I can't say to the pain you're feeling, but I can say you're not alone, Kyle. You have people here for you."
“Sure as hell doesn't feel that way. I have the entire operation on my shoulders and I don’t even get a thank you from a higher ups. All I do is follow orders.”
“Then do it your way, Kyle.”
Kyle scoffed. “My way?”
I pat him on the shoulder. “You’ll see once you do a mission your way.”
Kyle grunts, calming down a bit. "You know, I still feel my arm. The sensation of what was once lost. The phantom pain."
"Yeah. It sucks, I know. You'll get a cooler arm, you'll look sick!"
Tann laughs a bit and leans on the desk. "I guess..."
Ya know, Kyle isn't a bad dude.
He's a victim of war, too.