a fanfic by ImChiquita

In the days he'd been released from the infirmary, Cyberfreak could be found in the Sim-building. Taking on whole armies of the arachnids, the trooper continued to build his reputation. The kind of reputation where everyone moved out of his way when he approached.

Instead of hanging out in the back, near the window, Cyber made it a point to stand in the middle of the room. Three hundred-sixty degree view. The trooper was never touched. Granted, there were times when he was killed, but they only occurred when, whatever hate in his mind reached overload, he would close his eyes, drop his weapon, and throw his arms out wide. And feel the static as the sim bugs gored him.

The training experts began to resent Cyber's daily arrival. It got to the point that he was now waiting on them, waiting for an open room. Just to get him out of the hallway, the trainers would leave a room for him only.

Word began to spread. Not just at Kaneohe, but Barber's Point, Midway, Yokosuka... he was a Cyberfreak.

The score he racked up would find its way to General Redwing's desk every morning. The kid was "expert" already. Redwing knew the reason, knew that what he was killing weren't simulated warriors but that piece of him that still lingered on his mistake.

When Lieutenant Hook received Cyber's file, he could only grimace. One more reason to analyze - what was the true purpose of this new squad?

Before Hook made his appearance known, he watched the training experts as they watched Cyber. They looked rather...unsettled. They were running out of ideas to throw at him, and yes - their resentment began to build, because Cyber was making them think of new ways to challenge him.

Hook then turned his attention on the trooper known as Cyberfreak, but who was born to this world, Maximus Power.

The trooper was incredible to watch. Swift, fluid motions as he emptied one clip and exchanged it for a fresh one. Using the corners of the room to ricochet himself off as he not only fired *at* the bugs, but took them on physically. A one-man freak show, Hook watched in amazement.

Then Cyber saw him.

And moved to the center of the room.

And died.

The trainers shut down the program. They hated when he did that.

Hook opened the door, and strode into the arena.

Cyber picked up his weapon, slinging it over his back.

Their eyes met.

"Enjoy suicide, private?"

"Every day, lieutenant." The answer was a sneer.

Hook ignored it. "You were to report to your new barracks this morning."

"I had other things to do."

Hook just looked at him.

Cyber felt the power behind those eyes, and couldn't hold the stare. He looked past the lieutenant to the trainers arguing quietly among themselves.

"What can I do for you, lieutenant?"

"Grab your gear, and follow me to your new duty assignment."

"I'm not joining any pansy squad."

"What, like the one you killed?" Hook resented himself for saying that, but it got the desired result.

Cyber burned hatred into him.

Ah, it felt good.

Hatred between two men, who already hated themselves.

"Just for saying that, lieutenant - I may have to kill you."

"What's stopping you?"

Cyber looked away for a second, then his eyes once again met Hook's. "You're not worth it."

Hook raised an eyebrow even as his voice took on a menacing tone. "I do not repeat myself, private - but since you're new under my command, you've just been warned. Grab your gear...and follow me."

With that, Hook turned on his heel. He didn't look back.

Cyber watched him for a few seconds, then noticed the trainers were watching him. Quickly, they looked away, even as he glared at them; with a sigh, he picked up his weapon, and hurried to follow Lieutenant Hook.

The ride across base was too fast, yet thankfully silent. Hook did not seem the small-talk kind of officer.

With Cyber in tow, Hook led the way up the sidewalk to the decrepit barracks. Cyber allowed himself a smile: the barracks reflected how he felt inside.

A female trooper looked up from her bunk. As soon as she saw the lieutenant, she jumped down, and stood at attention.

Cyber was slightly suprised: she didn't yell the usual, "Officer on deck!"

Hook didn't seem to care. "Mills, got another lost sheep for the fold."

The brunette - Mills - approached.

Hook turned to Cyber. "There are no ranks in my squad. Before I decide my right hand man, I need to see what you're made of. However, Chiquita here will show you around."

Cyber looked over at her. She met his gaze with the same ambivalent upraised eyebrow.

"You the backup quarterback?" She asked him.

"I'm the starting quarterback."

She gave him the once-over, then shrugged. "Then remind me, when you throw the ball, to run."

Cyber narrowed his eyes. "I've always got the ball."

She snorted. "I'll be running the other way."

Cyber gave her a sardonic smile. "It's okay. I've been on loser teams before."

She paused, and this time, the spark in her green eyes went out. She didn't meet his gaze as she said, "Welcome to the squad."

Hook had watched their exchange impassively, before finally turning back to the office. SICON wanted these people to work together? Hopefully, whatever mission awaited in the wings wasn't sitting on the front burner. That Hook and the lost sheep, slowly grouping together, weren't someone's idea of the Dirty Dozen. Because no way in hell was this going to work.

No way in hell.

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