"I'm so glad to have you back home, honey." Scout's mother commented as she turned the steering wheel of her car, "I'm just sorry that the weather couldn't be better."
Scout made no response, instead resolving to look out the window at the raindrops that were splattering it, and the people rushing by on the sidewalk. He had rarely spoken a word to his mother since she had picked him up at the airport; the erotic image he carried in his pocket caused him to hold his tongue. The matter would wait until they returned home.
Silence reigned once more, but Scout thought he could hear her sigh over the driving rain. He threw a glance at her, and saw that she had once more focused her attention on maneuvering her way through the surge of traffic, her expression twisted in concentration. Her plain dress and conservative use of make-up created an image of a devoted, innocent mother, and it turned his stomach. Who was she fooling?
The packed, maze-like streets of Boston slowly dissolved away to be replaced by the more familiar areas of his childhood, such as the back alley in which he and his friends used to play stick ball, the park in which he used to climb up its resident trees, and hang from their branches, and the house of the widower, Mr. Thatcher, with its wrought-iron fence topped with spikes. The car slowly lost speed, eventually rolling to a stop before her, no, their house. His mother took the key out of the ignition with a smile. "Welcome home." Much to his own surprise, he warmly returned her smile. For a moment, he felt like all was right with the world. That beautiful lie was killed as soon as it was born, however, and he once more said nothing. "Do you want me to help you bring anything in?" She offered.
He shook his head before climbing out. "No thanks." The steps to the front porch seemed somehow steeper than when he had previously climbed them, his footfalls heavier. The backpack was once again slung over his shoulder, his briefcase dangling from his hand. Scout still wore his hat, but he left the earpiece back at the base due to lack of need. His dog tags remained around his neck. Once the door was unlocked, he was quick to remove his hat before entering in after his mother.
The hallway was stark before him, the black telephone sitting on the end table, and the stairs beside it leading up to the next floor. Scout, for as much as he wished to run up them, and throw himself down on his bed for some much-needed rest after suffering jet lag, kept himself rooted to the spot.
"Is there something on your mind, Oliver?" His mother finally asked, placing her hand on the banister to lean against it. Genuine concern was plain to see on her face, and it frustrated him.
"Yeah," he responded simply, heading through the wide doorway into the small adjoining living room. He deposited his belongings on the sofa, and was glad to find the drapes to the window drawn, the light fixture above illuminating the room. The ticking clock on the mantelpiece kept the room from becoming too still, but it was quickly beginning to grate on his nerves. It was odd, usually his mother would have recalled him for walking away from her, but instead she wordlessly trailed after him.
Reaching into his pocket, Scout turned on his heel, his fast movement causing her to step back for a moment. Her face, held a bit of a searching aspect to it, as if she was trying to determine what was going on inside of his mind. Her scrutiny forced him to whip out the photo. "Care to explain this?" Scout hissed .His mother's eyes widened at the photo for a moment, and she gingerly took it, her expression becoming unreadable as she studied it. "You know what it is! Quit tryin' to cover it up!" Scout yelled, pointing an accusing finger at her. When she didn't respond, even to the point of not raising her head at his voice, he exclaimed more forcefully, "Don't you even have anythin' to say for yourself? Well, Ma?"
Her head snapped up to reveal a furious expression, her eyes narrow, and her face slightly reddened. "Oliver Durand! I've heard about enough out of you!" She snapped, crinkling the photo slightly in her fist.
"Why? I'm just askin' you a question, Ma!" Scout retorted, holding his ground, "I think I'm allowed to be a little concerned if I see, well, that!" He gestured at the photo once as if it was a piece of garbage.
Its holder continued to glare at him, although when she opened her mouth this time, her voice bore a high contrast in volume to her previous exclamation. In an unsettlingly calm tone, she replied, "I will answer you if you let me."
"Ma, I'm not gonna tak—what?" As what she had said registered to him, he found himself at a loss for words. Well, this was far easier than he imagined it would be. It was then that he also realized that she was shaking slightly, her body bent to a mere fraction of a crouch, as if…as if she was preparing for him to strike her. Scout reacted to her no further, shocked by this. He would never dream of doing such a thing.
His mother seemed to get a grip on herself. Her legs came back together as she stood straight up. Still, she kept her grip tight on the photo, and looked half ready to tear it to bits. Her face, although less harsh than before, still held a touch of unbridled fury in it, especially in her eyes. It was as if she was barely containing herself, and it sent a shiver up his spine. She tilted her head to the side, asking that same strangely calm voice, "Well, do you want to know, or not?"
"Yeah," Scout managed to reply in an even tone.
"Have a seat," she ordered, pointing to the sofa next to him before placing herself upon a chair set against the wall that formed the left half of the doorway. Scout shoved his belongings over with understandable hesitation. He wasn't sure what to expect out of her.
Slowly, she opened her fingers, releasing the photo. It fell to the carpeted floor, making a muted impact. She watched its fast descent for a moment before closing her eyes, and taking a breath as she raised her head once more. Her hands were folded in her lap. She wasn't a big person to begin with, but to her son, she looked even smaller than before as she sat in one final moment of thought. The anticipation made his heart pound. Her reaction of defensiveness had been just as he had anticipated, but he wondered why she was so easily going to give up the information that he was looking for. Maybe she was getting tired of hiding it? "I know what you think that photo looks like, but you're wrong," she began in a quiet voice.
"Wrong? What are you gonna tell me, that you and he were 'just talking?' I wouldn't you think you'd need to rip off your clothes for that!"
Her agitation was released in the form of her eyebrow twitching, and she cleared her throat for a moment. Once he had silenced himself, she held up the hand that displayed her wedding band. "You have barely seen your father in your life, and we both apologize for that."
He was ready to cut her off again when he noticed the regretful tone of her voice, and her sad expression. She frowned, her mouth parted, her head slightly down once more, so that her hair hung over her shoulders, and her eyes widened, the light above reflecting in them, as if she was pleading for his forgiveness. Scout felt a sense of pity for her, but it confused him. Okay, she felt bad about sleeping with the enemy Spy, but this was something much deeper than that.
She slowly lowered her hand. "But now, I'll tell you why it has been that way," her throat moved as she continued in a partially-choked voice, "you father, Dominique Durand, is the RED Spy."
Scout heard an odd noise, and it took him a moment to realize it was coming from him. It was a scream, stifled by his closed mouth. When he opened it, however, all that came out were deep gasps as he leaned forward over his knees, his hands pressing down on them. His lungs greedily sucked in the air, as if he wouldn't get enough of it. Cold sweat ran down the back of his neck. How…? What…? Why…? "Oliver?" His concerned mother asked, "Are you all right?" Oh, just peachy. It wasn't every day that he found out that his father killed off not only his entire team, but himself, as well.
As much as he didn't desire to believe it, it made some bit of sense. He wished he could stop his mind from processing the information, but there it was. His surname was clearly French, his oldest brother being named Reynard. The times he saw his father, Scout distinctly remembered hearing an accent to his words. Still, that was a very small amount of evidence to support a highly outlandish claim that he was hoping to not be true.
His mother rose, wringing her hands as she began to pace back and forth before him for a few moments before stopping in front of him. "It's probably best if I start from the beginning." She sounded surer of herself now.
He held up a hand, and asked in suspicious voice, "Wait, am I the only one who knows this?"
She nodded. "Yes, you are."
Scout felt a self-satisfied smirk creeping up on his face, despite the circumstances. At least he had that over his siblings, which, considering he was the youngest, rarely happened. "Okay."
She nodded dutifully, dropping her hands to her sides. "Remember the story I told you about how your father and I met?"
He leaned back against the sofa, placing one arm over it. "Yeah, you said he was from France, but he ran off to join the British army," he shrugged, "smart move, I guess, since the Nazis took over. He came here after the war was over, since his home country was too smashed up to live in, and that's how he met you." As Scout summarized the story, he lost the bored tone he usually had when he used to do so. Instead, he held a sense of being unsure in his words.
She smiled bitterly as she replied, "I'm sorry, but I bent the truth on that one."
He snorted. "Why am I not surprised, Ma?"
His mother chuckled, bringing her hands together. "Well, it did start in World War II, but differently. You neither have aunts nor uncles because your father and I are only children." Her face fell, and she began to pace again, twisting and untwisting her hands together and apart. "When war was on the rise, my friends and neighbors anticipated and feared what was to come. Men of all ages, from the youngest eligible boy, to a grown man with children of his own, were ready to protect their homes and families," with a sigh, she half-turned to Scout before sardonically adding, "and there was me, exempt from the responsibility for the simple fact of my gender. Men were going to die while I was safe and sound in Boston." Stepping out a leg, she turned herself the rest of the way. "That's why I joined the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS for short."
Scout sat straight up, his dog tags hitting against his chest, and each other, with a sharp clink. "You were a spy?"
Beaming and placing her hands behind her back, she nodded. "Retired Agent Juno, maiden name Hannah Carlson, at your service, Scout."
He stood, his jaw effectively hanging open. This was the same woman that gently tended to the flowers in their window shelves, baked cakes and cookies for birthdays and Christmas, and read stories to her sons at bedtime. He couldn't envision her as one of those provocatively dressed, long-lashed vixens that were the female saboteurs and undercover agents in the films of espionage that he had seen. Then again, without the BLU Spy's pictures, he wouldn't have known of her "affair." She was good at keeping secrets.
He had the good sense to close it, and she smiled indulgently. "I know, I don't seem the type, but this is real as I stand here." It made sense in context, the more he thought of it. Spies never wanted to draw attention to themselves; that was why they were so hard to catch. His mother blended in quite well. At least that explained why she had taken on a defensive pose. She had been trained to act accordingly when she had felt threatened.
She hugged her arms around herself, her voice and expression becoming serious once more. "I was one of many agents dispatched to southern France, or Vichy France, as it was known then. I won't bore you with tactics, , but the basic aim of the grand operation in which many of us were involved was to decrease the strength of the Nazi regime over their occupied countries by working with the resisting forces there. I just went to France among many other people, but other large groups went to other occupied countries such as Poland and Holland." A nostalgic, almost dreamy spark shone in her eyes as she proclaimed, "That's how I met your father."
Scout couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Oh lemme guess, love at first sight?"
She closed her eyes, shaking her head. "Not on your life! In fact, we didn't really like each other at first."
"Can't see why not," Scout murmured sarcastically, folding his arms.
Her face fell. "It was for different reasons that we didn't get along. The man I met wasn't the same one he is now."
Her son frowned. "You gotta do more than just tell me that, Ma."
"I know, and I'm going to," she replied carefully, "Dominique was known as Agent Fox then. He was a talented member of a resistance cell, one of many in Paris. You have to understand, it was in the spring of 1942 when I got there, and all of France had been under the rule of the Nazis for almost two years already. Fox wasn't exactly thrilled to see a rookie like me, and I couldn't blame him, even though it grated on me after a while." Her teeth gritted, her expression frustrated. "He was like that around any of us rookies. If you missed a shot, made a noise when stealth was needed, or slipped up and acted conspicuously American in a French setting, he would not let you hear the end of it. Not only would I, and any others like me, be disciplined by our superiors, the veteran OSS spies who were also dispatched, but he would ensure we were also punished accordingly by the leader of the cell. Let's just say that having to soldier through night watch after night watch with little sleep, or being confined to our 'base,' with nothing to do but clean up after the others were ordeals in themselves."
She put one hand on her hip, and the other in the in the air, her eyes closed. "I get it, he was trying to push us to see what we could do, especially considering, as I said before, we came from a safer environment. What annoyed me about it was that he wasn't much older than me, and he only had two years of experience. And especially considering our group brought them more armaments in the first place…" Scout gave a knowing smile. He understood where she was coming from. All rookies got treated that way, no matter the conflict.
She lowered her hand. "But after a while, things got better. We grew more used to our environment, and acted accordingly," a mischievous smile graced her lips as she declared, "we did quite a few bad things. Nothing compared to the rush it brought." Folding her arms with a smug face, his mother elaborated, "Enemy intelligence was taken right out from under their foolish noses, collaborators were dealt with accordingly, and enemy equipment was, oh how should I say, 'misplaced.'" Scout knew that she was being concise in order to get her point across, but he couldn't help but be a little taken aback by her euphemisms for a moment. Then again, that was probably how he acted in accordance to what happened on his field of battle, so he really couldn't be the one to point fingers.
"Fox came to respect each of us for our strengths. He was less hard on us, relieving some much-needed tension. Usually, he went off on his own, or worked with more seasoned members of our group, but he eventually began to partner with us newer agents as well for short periods of time."
"Bonding over weapons?" Scout asked.
She shrugged. "That among other things. The most important thing I learned about him was that he wished more than anything to be free," her tone became regretful once more, "I took so many things for granted that he was willing to sacrifice his life to get back. The ability to speak as he pleased, read what he desired, to go and live where and how he pleased…" Her voice trailed off at the endless possibilities.
She sighed. "Of course, I wasn't the only one who heard this. Fox was good friends with another agent, code name Lucky. He was an old friend of his from before the war, and understandably well-deserving of his trust." Her voice hadn't changed from before, and Scout didn't like where this was going. Her eyes closed slowly, her mouth held in a firm frown, as if to keep her lips from quivering.
"Ma," he whispered as a tear glistened at the corner of her left eye.
Her chest slowly rose and fell as she took in a deep breath. "Lucky betrayed him, and he was captured on February 16, 1944." Wiping at her eye, his mother murmured, "Sorry about that, honey."
He held out a hand. "Ma, it's okay." Inside, however, he was shocked. The RED Spy had resembled more a phantom than a man, hostile but untouchable.
"We never did catch Lucky," she now said his name with repulsion, even crinkling her nose, "but we had to save Fox. The resistance cells were in close touch with each other, and he, as a result, knew important information." She smiled sadly. "Not that he was about to give any of it up, of course," it fell off her face, "but this was 1944, and the Axis Powers were beginning to get desperate. We didn't know how long even he would last." She began to pace again. "Then there was the possibility of Fox being taken away. While he was in the custody of the Milice, the Vichy Regime's paramilitary force, he could easily have been handed over to the Gestapo, the Nazi German secret police, and brought to Berlin. If so, we would have had to give him, and ourselves, up for lost." Stopping for a moment, although without looking at him, his mother said half to herself, "Thankfully, that didn't happen."
She continued in a stronger voice, "Fox was, according to our intelligence, being held by small Milice group in a disused theater, but not for long because, as I said, he was to be turned over within a few days' time." Pausing, she turned completely around to her son. "Oliver, I'll warn you now. If you ever happen to go to France, don't you dare say 'milice' while you're there. It's a highly offensive and derogatory term."
Scout could understand why. He nodded soberly. "You got it, Ma."
"Good," she resumed her tireless pacing, "the problem with rescuing Fox was that we had too many things on our plate, as you can well imagine from what I've been telling you." He nodded again. "So we volunteered. Those of us who wished to save him, and were eligible, went. True, Fox had made one mistake, but it had cost us dearly, and after how he treated the rookies…Let alone the fact that the rest of us were trying not to get caught, as well. When it finally came down to it, the rescue party was comprised of Agents Rapunzel and Paladin, a female and a male French agent who had each worked alongside him since 1940, Blackjack, an English agent, and myself."
"So you had English people working with you, too?"
"Yes, quite a few, actually, and with the same purpose as we American agents had. Blackjack had gone to France a year before I had, and he had understood very well the danger of Fox being interrogated. Out of the four of us, I was the least experienced, and it was terrifying, I will admit." Gesturing with her hands, she laid out the mission before him. "Rapunzel and Paladin would distract and keep busy the men guarding the place, while Blackjack and I would infiltrate the area. Once Fox was freed, I would be the one to lead him out, while Blackjack would take care of any opposing forces against us."
Scout understood, and she reported, "The plan went well, and looking back, I realize how fortunate we were that it did." Despite her words, the color drained from her face, and Scout could see tears welling in her eyes again. Her mouth closed against a sob. Scout moved toward her, but she shook her head, wiping her eyes once more. "I'm fine, it's just…The Milice had been French citizens like your father, and to see what they had done to him…" She shook her head, biting her lip.
He had a feeling that she also felt this way for the simple fact that it was Fox who had been held prisoner, but chose not to voice it. How would Scout have liked it if his mother had been so mistreated? That did, however, explain the scars he saw on his father's face (in areas that were covered by the mask), along his hairline, and once on his wrists, as well as the nasty-looking ones on his back in the photos. Could he say he felt sympathy for the RED Spy now? Actually, what Scout was really sure of was how he shocked himself with his own indifference. While his mother was shedding tears, he was more worried about gathering the details of the truth. Yes, he was sure that the "interrogation tactics" used on Fox had been despicable, otherwise she wouldn't have been crying at the mere mention of them, but he couldn't pull a strong reaction to them out of himself. He just lacked the strong emotional bond with him.
"Fox's wounds kept him out of commission for a while. As you can probably guess, his reputation suffered terribly, but not once did I hear him complain. He owned up to the fact that he had been mistaken in his judgment, but it wasn't easy for him."
She eyed Scout at that moment, who exclaimed, "What?"
With a small laugh, she continued. "When France was at last liberated, several of my fellow agents, the more experienced ones, were sent to other occupied countries to continue work there, while the rest of us were kept in France to keep an established area of intelligence. We remained like that until the end of the war, and it was noticeably safer." The light-hearted ending was lost immediately. "Once it was over, however, Fox's mistake didn't go unnoticed. For jeopardizing the lives of so many, his reputation followed him," she frowned, "I'll be honest in my opinion. He made a mistake, and that's what it should be left at, a mistake. Plenty of other errors in judgment were made during the war, and Fox made up for his. But at the same time, I can see why he needed to continue to make up for it. The Parisian resistance cells had been extremely important to the war effort, and if he had given them up…well...I don't want to think about it."
"That's why the new French Republic allowed his jurisdiction to be placed into the hands of the Central Intelligence Group, or CIG, which had come into power after Truman dissolved the OSS in the September of 1945. The Republic hadn't existed at the time of the mistake, and the lives of American agents had been threatened. England had taken no interest in it at the time due to the Nuremberg Trials that had been going on. I had retired shortly after V-E Day, thinking nothing of it, it would go away. But it didn't. Fox took the consequences well, when he originally would have fought against them. His slip-up branded him too unreliable to work for the CIG, what is now known as the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, but a certain private company was more than willing to hire him, and other failed (and I use that term loosely) spies like him."
Scout's eyes widened. "Reliable Excavation Demolition!"
"Right," she confirmed, "and once Builders League United got wind of this, the company also hired many of its own spies this way, not including yours. He's Cold War generation."
Scout had gathered as much. He hadn't seen the BLU Spy without his mask, but of what he had seen, especially through the eyes and lack of winkles, the BLU one had seemed younger than the RED. What unsettled him a little bit, though, was how his mother talked about the Spies in general as if they were robotic units as opposed to humans. He doubted this was intentional, but it still threw him. Not to mention one nagging detail. "Wait, you retired after V-E Day. Where were you?"
"I was still in France on V-E Day itself. Getting home wasn't exactly a first priority while everyone, myself included, was celebrating. But when it got to be nighttime, I had to face reality." A faraway look was in her eyes, her hands spread. "I thought of my parents back home. They hadn't approved of me wanting to put myself in harm's way, and the last few days I'd been in Boston before going off to train hadn't been pleasant because I tended to get into fights with them."
Scout rubbed the back of his neck, even though she wasn't paying attention. His last few encounters with her before shoving off to join the BLU team hadn't been very wonderful, either. Quite a few things ran in his immediate family.
"Of course, writing home to them during the war was out the question, and I knew I had to patch things up." Her attention was returned to Scout. "I know I've probably painted my time as a spy like something you'd see on that Hogan's Heroes show that you and your brothers like so much, but it wasn't. I always knew in the back of my mind that I could be killed at any moment while I was on-duty, but sometimes it wasn't always relevant. When an operation went well, nothing could touch me. On the other hand, whenever our supplies got low, or I was patrolling at night, careful of every clank and moving shadow in the distance, I felt incredibly small in comparison to what we were up against. Reflecting on that when everything was said and done made me realize how foolish I was in going overseas in the first place. Well-meaning though my intentions were, I had almost thrown away my own life." Scout caught himself from bristling defensively. This wasn't directed at him; this was about her. He hadn't expected to find a kindred spirit in his mother on this sort of subject matter, but here they were.
Her self-loathing was replaced with neutral retrospection once more. "I can't remember how long I stood on that balcony as I looked over the city. Paris had truly come alive that day. I wish you could have been there to see it. It wasn't anything too showy, it was more a party about just being alive and free, and as you could imagine, it was taking everyone a while to wind down." He actually found himself wishing he could've seen that. It sounded very interesting. He doubted it held a candle to the festivities over the Sox winning the Pennant last year, but still.
"War was still going on in the Pacific Theater, but I knew I wouldn't be any help there. I wasn't really compelled to stay in France, either. I had fallen in love with the country, as you could well imagine, but it wasn't my place anymore. The friends we from the OSS had made either were going to head back home to England, or were laying out plans to rebuild their lives. We didn't need to weigh them down." Scout couldn't help but feel a combination of sadness and dread forming in the pit of his stomach, and quickly willed it away. He considered the BLU base to be his home, but eventually, his teammates would go away, no matter the bonds they had forged with each other. They were only mercenaries, after all.
She adjusted her headband, which had been beginning to droop over her forehead. "While I was still thinking, I was surprised to hear someone calling out to me. Turning, I saw it was Fox, and we talked for a while," holding up her hand, she promised, "I'll spare you the mushy details. He asked me to marry him, but there really wasn't a 'yes,' or 'no' answer at first. Really, we just talked about how it could be done, since one of the first things I said to him after he asked was that I had to go home."
"Guess he wanted to stay?" Scout inquired.
"He did, but he wasn't blind to the difficulties before him. I'm not just talking about his status. He had to get his affairs back in order during a time when France's economy was crippled. Getting by would be highly difficult."
"So what made him move here?"
"The second reason. Fox's parents had passed away during the Great Depression. That was one part of the original story that was true. His inheritance wasn't very large to begin with, and he had even less to go on in the post-war era. I told him that yes, I would marry him, and I would wait on him for two years. If 1947 came to pass, and he was fine where he was, we could consider the engagement broken. If not, and he came to the United States, we would marry. He didn't want me to stay with him for the simple reason that for me, not even being a French citizen to begin with, would be very hard, and I agreed with him."
"Two years?" Scout repeated, "What if either you ended up with somebody else? You weren't just going to live around the block, Ma!"
She giggled. "We thought of that, as well, so we made it an open engagement." At his perplexed expression, she explained, "We could have relationships with others for those two years, so long as we didn't have children with them, otherwise it would get too complicated."
"Isn't that cheating?" Scout asked, clearly lost.
"Not if you each agree that it's allowed. And before you start asking me, no, neither of us was of the mind to break off the engagement for someone else. We knew each other too well, and the others that we knew well, meaning, the other agents, wouldn't have been of the mind to be involved with either of us." Scout's face was blank as he attempted to process this information, and failed. She shook her head. "It makes more sense in context. The point is, we did eventually marry in 1946, the same year he became a Spy for the RED team."
Shaking himself out of the unfamiliar topic, Scout couldn't doubt that the RED Spy had probably missed his homeland, but he could neither bring himself to feel sympathy nor pity for him. Again, he hardly knew this man, and they were still on opposing sides.
The conversation became dreary as she asked gravely, "I guess you're aware that the respawn system occasionally shuts down?" If awareness meant staying up late some nights for fear that he wouldn't awaken in his bed the next morning, then yes, he was quite aware. Respawn rarely did malfunction during battle, usually only a maximum of five times per year, but the fact that it did frightened him to no end. At this point, he wasn't surprised that his mother was aware of it.
What actually surprised him a little was the exact amount of years that the RED Spy had been a mercenary, although that did explain the "business trips," and the fact that they lived in an upper middle class neighborhood despite the fact that his mother stayed at home. Mercenaries were paid well.
"It used to shut down more frequently in the past, so at least we have that improvement," her voice was tempered with sarcasm, "You know what can happen during a malfunction, right?"
He swallowed a good-sized lump in his throat. "Mercenaries that don't do well, and end up getting killed are gone for good. If it looks like an accident, it's less for RED or BLU to cover up."
"Yes," she sighed, "that's what all of you have to face, the older mercenaries like your father, the RED Heavy, Medic, Demoman, and the BLU Soldier more so. That was around that time we had your brothers and you." Scout wasn't compelled to look into the blatant subtext.
She blinked rapidly a few times, unable to stop the quivering of her lips this time. "Oliver, I know this hard for you to understand, but one of your father's greatest regrets in his life was to miss out on raising each of you."
Scout honestly didn't know what to say. He was both flattered and saddened that he meant that much to his father, but the days for them to bond were over. Then there was the fact that it wasn't his fault that Fox had been caught in the first place, but he caught the after-effects of it. "Why are you telling me this now, Ma? He's still fighting." Scout demanded.
"Not for long," she corrected, "isn't it true that the RED Spy will be gone in two weeks?" He agreed with her, his team having learned that via stolen intelligence. "There's no penalty. It's too late. You don't know your father even remotely well enough for it to make an impact on fighting performance," she broke off to sincerely add, "Again, I'm very sorry for that."
"Then why did Builders League United choose me, out of anyone else? They had to have known I was his son!" Scout exclaimed.
She nodded once. "They did. In fact, that's exactly why you were chosen. Once the Vietnam War began, RED and BLU began looking at the draft notes for eligible, able-bodied men. This wasn't done in Korea, since most of the men who served in it were older, being veterans of World War II. The connection was recognized right away, but what really sealed the deal was your ability to run fast." She smiled. "I'll always proud of you for that. Remember your first track meet?"
Scout grinned, remembering the gold medal that had hung around his neck. "'Course."
"Having mercenaries on opposing teams that are related isn't rare, so long as they have the same relationship between them, or lack thereof, as in the case of your father and you, exists."
"Couldn't I have easily been on the RED team instead?" Scout asked after a moment's pause, the possibility striking him in a strange way.
She sighed. "I won't say you're wrong, honey." He collapsed back on the sofa, completely lost for words. "Did I answer all of your questions?" She asked curiously. He could only nod. "Well, I'm glad." Her tone didn't match the words.