by Fionnghall

It's clear they don't think anyone notices. Their nonchalant attempts to disguise their emotions between each other are pretty clear to most of us around them, despite what they might believe. As soon as one steps into the same room as the other, up goes the tension. A few of us find it kind of sweet, any positive emotion is good in our situation, far too much to bring us all down and keep us depressed. The fact that the two of them make one another happy is all for the good.

On first entering this group, I was quite confused as to the chain of command in this place. Both of them seemed to be the boss, one during the missions, the other maintaining the contacts and information at the home base. Neither of them seemed to defer to the other, but for all that, neither of them ever countermanded any command already made. They worked together amazingly well, as if they could read each others mind. The one giving the orders was simply the one that had the most experience in that area, but that decision never seemed premeditated, it just happened that way.

It's hard work doing what we have to, killing on command, infiltrating and destroying. I understand the reasoning behind all the destruction and mayhem, and hell, I agree with the basic idea. It's not like I was new to any of this. It's just the repetitiveness of the actions, the sheer concentrated devastation that we have to effect upon various laboratories and factories that wears you down. Day after day, it's a new place, a new smoking wreck, a new pile of redistributed building materials after a fire sale. It's a form of cleansing, to do this, I suppose, bleaching the existence of them off the face of the planet, making sure they never have a reason or even a whim to return. Making them wish they'd never decided to start here.

It's amazing what the human body can adapt to. As a leader of infiltration and attack teams, the loss of a limb has not slowed him down one iota. He's still one scary mutherfuck, one I'd happily not wish to meet in a brightly lit mall, let alone anywhere dark. He can practically disappear at will, blending well with the shadows and moving silently. We're all learning all we can of his tricks as fast as he can teach them, for we need every advantage we can get, and his skills are invaluable. There's a large pool of interesting skills to draw from in this group, the two of them seemed to have pulled in quite an army, skilled, resourceful... unremorseful. We all know what needs to be done. All of us have been affected by the invasion in one way or another. This is simply a way for us to get back what we've lost, set a few ghosts to rest; allow us to sleep at nights.

As for the human mind, thank god it is flexible. Some of the things we've learnt from those labs, some of the things that were done. Insanity would be the least of our problems. No-one I know of here has had a single night of uninterrupted sleep since joining, the mind just sheers away from the ideas at the time of learning, only to bring it up and back in technicolour and sound upon sleeping. We've taken to sleeping in pairs, whoever is the closest. It helps to be held. It helps to know you're not alone.

Nothing seems to faze him now. He's gotten older, lost a bit more hair, gained new lines around the eyes, but he's still solid as a rock. I think we all depend on that, somehow, that he'll always be there, an anchor stone to which we all can hold on to. One person in particular, of course, but his vigilance in maintaining our current status quo among the whole lot of us is impressive. The FBI had nothing on the political currents flowing in this group. So many diverse people huddled together, hiding in the shadows. So many diverse cultures, clashing at every moment. Past enemies, now forced to become allies against a common foe.

Tempers flare at the least provocation, but he deals with them with the ease of a pro-skater avoiding slower traffic. He has a presence of command that is difficult to ignore, and for the majority of us, we don't even try, knowing that despite our current emotions, nothing we feel would ultimately affect the final outcome. We're kind of childish in that way, flailing away at one another in a futile attempt to prove some obscure point, to prove that one is better than another, only if just for a reaction. To hope that some things, like human animosity has not changed in our violently shifted worldview. Looking for some constants, some things that remind us of our previous lives, lives we can hopefully once again go back to when this is `all over'. He maintains the order, maintains the sanity, and does so with a finesse that often surprises. He defuses situations so smoothly that the participants often do not even realise they are suddenly arguing the same point of view, that they have sided with one another against his debate.

The two of them are subtle in their interactions, I'll give them that. Hardly more than a few physical touches in public, an offered shoulder to lean on, or moral support, by simply having a presence in the room. The atmosphere changes, once the two of them are together, somehow softens, warms ever so slightly. You can almost feel the tension easing out of their frames as they affirm to one another that the other is alive and well, just as they focus and stress as they are apart, worrying even though they could be but a room away. They have the self control to control their body language, but their whole sense changes when they meet, as if the focus had suddenly snapped into place and the headache from squinting at the slightly skewed picture fades away.

All of us knew one or the other before this whole situation exploded. Knew one, and possibly the other by reputation, at least. We are the conglomeration of their network, the people they worked with, often at opposite sides of the moral scale, but now working together with morals put aside. A large number of us professed surprise at the relationship between the two of them, but I think for the majority of us, this was not a major revelation; it was something that, in the back of our minds, we often saw as a possibility. They do well for one another, filling in the gaps of experience with effortless shifts that couples with years of experience under their belts have yet to master.

I think that we have a fighting chance, with the two of them at the helm. With the force expanding, as we get word out to compatriots, this chance will rapidly become far more than just a possibility. We will fight back, we will win.

They will learn never to underestimate the abilities of humans.

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