Taylor was vaguely aware of not being dead. Not that there was any reason to think that he would have been dead. It would take more than a point-blank shotgun blast to keep him down. It would take…a lot more than that.
He grunted in reply, and more sensation returned to his body, the numbness rightfully scared off by his intimidating growl. As sensation returned though, he became more and more aware that he wasn’t wearing a shirt, this was unusual, as he remembered that he had been wearing a shirt.
Seeing no option – both metaphorically, and because his eyes were still closed – he turned his head toward the source of the voice, opened his eyes and focused on the recruit. She wasn’t familiar and she wasn’t zombie-Magnolia, and this confused him.
He growled at the girl, expecting that she would immediately swear fealty to him and apprise him of the necessary information. She simply smiled and reached for his chest. He growled again, confused as to why she was touching him, why she would-
As an indicator that she was in fact a reader, her mind piercing his, knowing everyone of his thoughts, she held up an emergency med-pack, squeezed out more of the jelly-consistency blue and smeared it across the remainder of the shotgun blast. Damn reader. That, or she was just clever enough to read the confusion on his face and extrapolate from there. That…could have been it.
‘Who are you?’ he asked as he begrudgingly continued to allow her to touch him. It wasn’t that he needed to get fixed up, wasn’t that he needed any sort of medical attention, not that he couldn’t live through, it wasn’t that- ‘Godsdammit, who are you?’
‘Neenie,’ the girl answered.
‘That isn’t a name,’ he said, his jaw set into its general “angry position”, to effectively display his displeasure.
The girl grinned, and even another growl couldn’t shift it. Maybe she was deaf, that would be a reason as to why his growls wouldn’t work. He made a note to work on making his growls work on other wavelengths so even those afflicted by a lack of normal hearing could act appropriately.
‘Then I guess my name is Taylor then,’ she said. ‘I guess it’s a good thing it can be a girl’s name too.’
‘It’s not a girl’s name!’
‘Well, it is because it belongs to be as well.’ The grin split her face even wide, unfortunately only metaphorically. ‘Taylor and Taylor, people can call us Team Taylor. Except that means-’
He tried to grab her suit, then realised that one arm was still…nonoperational, and the other was missing. ‘Neenie. Who are you?’
‘I haven’t worked out the meaning of life yet-’
‘Recruit!’ he snapped. ‘Answer my questions.’
She sighed at him. SHE sighed at HIM. His eyes went wide, trying to comprehend what had just happened. This was the kind of thing Magnolia was supposed to protect him from. Magnolia, wherever she was, whatever state she was in, was not doing her job.
‘You aren’t one of my recruits-’
‘Let’s just say,’ the girl said, ‘I’m with the rescue party.’
‘What’s the situation?’
‘Frankly, sir,’ she said with a grin, ‘I have no idea. Figured a med-pack or two wouldn’t go astray, if you know what I mean. Seen a bunch of dead recruits, but no other agents yet.’
‘It was Solstice.’ It was a statement, not a question, but he hoped that she would answer it anyway.
‘Yeah, it was Solstice,’ she said.
He jerked his head in the direction of the corpse in the orange gas mask. ‘What do they want?’
She followed his line of sight. ‘Him?’
‘Of course him,’ he said with a growl, ‘I wasn’t-’
‘He’s not Solstice.’
He snapped back to look at the girl. ‘What?’
She looked away for a moment. ‘The situation is a little more complicated than you might think.’
‘The Solstice aren’t the only ones you have to worry about.’
Reminder: This is non-canon, just a bit of fun.