Bubblehead took off with the disclaimer saying that I don't own Galaxy Rangers. So what did happen to Bubblehead anyway? This is just my deranged insane idea which makes no sense. Then again if you have read enough of my fics you would know that none of them make any sense anyway.
"Let's all sing the Rhyming Song! The Rhyming Song! The Rhyming Song! I have no clue what the words are but let's sing it anyway!" Bubblehead, the pinkish, straight blond haired, lab coat and tie wearing electronic memory bird sang at the top of his lungs. Very badly.
"SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" Captain Kidd, the alien pirate screeched. "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I CAN'T EVEN SELL THIS STUPID DEFECTIVE MEMORY BIRD TO THE LOWEST SCUMBAG!"
"La, la, la…" Bubblehead danced around.
"No wonder the Queen of the Crown wants to wipe your chips and melt you down to scrap metal!" Captain Kidd snapped. "THAT'S IT! PREPARE THE GARBAGE CHUTE!"
"And now for my next number…WAHHHK!" Bubblehead screeched as he was grabbed by a pirate, shoved in a container and then shoved into a garbage chute.
"Hey it's dark in here!" Bubblehead chirped. "Can I have some light please?"
"FIRE!" Captain Kidd shouted.
"OOOOH! What a ride!" Bubblehead whooped as he peeked through a small hole. "Good thing I don't need to breathe or else this would be really uncomfortable. Hey wait a minute! My ship has come in and is leaving without me! DADDY! DADDY DON'T GO!"
The spaceship took off leaving Bubblehead trapped in the container. "Daddy! Don't go! Don't leave me!" Bubblehead wailed. "Daddy! I've been abandoned! Wahh! Now what will become of poor little Bubblehead?"
He peeked out the small hole. "Well at least I have a room with a view. Not much of a view. But a view. Yes I could spend this time watching the cosmos, pondering the mysteries of the universe…"
"Or I could just close my eyes and watch non stop reruns of old TV shows I downloaded into my memory banks?" Bubblehead thought. He closed his eyes. "Yeah that'll do it."
A long time later…
"Da, duh, da, da, da, da, dah, da duh!" Bubblehead sang the theme from I Dream of Genie as he kept his eyes closed.
"WHOA! Who's rocking the boat?" Bubblehead was being shaken back and forth. "I prefer shaken not stirred! No wait, scratch that! Reverse it!"
CLUNK! CLUNK CLUNK! CLUNK!
"Wow it's really dark out there!" Bubblehead said. "Oh wait I forgot to open my eyes! Wait, my eyes are open! Where am I? Is this Cleveland?"
"Well wherever I am I've stopped shaking. Back to Jeanie. Dah duh…"
Not long after that…
"Explorer Seven you are cleared for landing at BETA…" The control tower spoke to the pilot. "How was your trip?"
"Same old, same old," The pilot said. "Just found some more space junk for the scientists to study."
Meanwhile Bubblehead, having no idea where he was or what was happening (Quite normal for him actually) was sitting in the container happily lost in his own deranged mind. Finally the container was violently jostled. "Hey! What's shaking? Oh right it's me!"
Finally the container snapped open. Again Bubblehead started singing the theme to I Dream of Jeanie as he hopped out. "Great! I'm here! Wherever here is." He noticed he was on a conveyor belt with a lot of other space junk being examined by robotic arms.
"Uh oh, I hate grabby people! This place looks familiar…" Bubblehead took to the air. "I have the strangest feeling that I've been here before." He noticed an open air vent. "Oh look! A hallway!" He went in and started to walk around. "Nothing like a nice guided tour to take your mind off the blues!"
He went down the vent for a while. "Boy what a long hallway," Bubblehead thought aloud. "They should really save up some money for some pictures."
"HOW THE HELL COULD YOU NOT TELL ME ABOUT THAT?" The voice of Shane Gooseman was heard.
"Hey what's this all about?" Bubblehead looked through the grate. "Hmm…Nice office furniture!"
Through the grate he saw Commander Walsh, Shane Gooseman, Niko and Doc Hartford. They seemed to be arguing over something. Actually Shane and Walsh were arguing. Doc and Niko just looked uncomfortable.
"I know these people," Bubblehead blinked. "I think…"
"At least you could have done was give me a shield thing like you did with Doc and Niko!" Shane snapped.
"Gooseman I have explained before that as a Supertrooper you were designed to function without REM sleep," Walsh was clearly testy. "You should have been immune to the device because you…"
"Newsflash Commander, I do dream!" Shane snapped. "I don't give a damn what you say I was designed to do or not!"
"That's no excuse for you to fail so miserably in your assignment," Walsh snapped. "You were supposed to protect the cargo, not destroy it!"
"That damn thing deserved to be destroyed!" Shane roared back. "I don't care what you think! I'm glad it's gone!" He whirled around and started to leave the room.
"Gooseman get back here!" Walsh roared. "You are already on thin ice enough as it is Ranger!"
"So what else is new?" Shane barked. "I'm out of here!" He stormed out.
"Goose wait!" Niko started to go after him.
"Niko," Doc held her back. "No."
"But…" She said.
"There was some really bad, private stuff we saw," Doc spoke in an even tone. He gave Walsh a look. "I think Commander you of all people should understand that."
"Are you giving me a lecture, Hartford?" Walsh growled.
"No Sir, just some facts about the mission," Doc spoke in a clear voice, one undeterred by Walsh's anger. "Clearly Ranger Gooseman is more advanced than the other Supertroopers. Therefore it makes sense that he would have been susceptible to the REM Night Device. Just like every other person on that ship was. Clearly the device was much too powerful and unstable. If it had fallen into the wrong hands…"
Walsh frowned. "Be that as it may that is still no excuse for his actions."
"He was scared out of his mind!" Niko snapped. "Can't you understand that? We have to talk to him!"
"The man has seen more combat duty and heavy stuff than most senior officers," Doc told her. "And he's just a kid compared to us. Trust me, his wounds are way too raw right now for us to talk to him."
"Boy, somebody's unhappy…" Bubblehead blinked. Curious he went further down the air vent. Suddenly he felt himself sucked downwards. "Oh boy this must be the express lane! YEOW!"
Bubblehead found himself getting knocked around from one part of the vents to another. "OW! OW! OW! OW! It's a good thing only my head is getting hit or else this would really hurt! Ow!"
He finally grabbed onto the nearest air vent he could find with his wings. "That's it! This is my stop! Every bird out!" He manage to wiggle it loose and fall out of the air vent into someone's apartment.
"Hmm…Not bad, I wonder if there's a pool?" Bubblehead flapped around looking at the living quarters. "Not exactly the Ritz. Then again I've never been to the Ritz, whatever it is. So this place will be just fine."
Just then the door opened. "Freaking frazzing…" Shane stormed in swearing under his breath. Without thinking he viciously kicked the wall near him, making a very good hole in it. "Son of a…"
"You're not going to get your deposit on the room back are you?" Bubblehead chirped.
"Bubblehead?" Shane blinked when he saw who was in his quarters.
"Goose!" Bubblehead chirped. "I'm Bubblehead and you're Goose! I like guessing games!"
"How did you get here?" Shane yelled.
"I…don't know," Bubblehead blinked.
"Well I don't know how you got here," Shane said. "But I know where you're going!" He lunged at the bird in order to catch him.
"Aw come on don't send me away! I just got here!" Bubblehead flew into the air.
"Wonderful," Shane growled. "The perfect end to a perfect day! Get back here!"
"You are so stressed! Maybe a workout will help? Have you tried Yoga?" Bubblehead chirped as he flew around while Shane chased him.
"Come back here you bubble brained bird!" Shane snapped, knocking over a small table and several objects as he chased Bubblehead around.
"Ooh look books!" Bubblehead flew to a shelf and started throwing the books around. "Hey! None of these have any pictures!"
"Knock it off you little…" Shane lunged at the bird only to end up colliding with the shelf, knocking even more things down. Shane rubbed his face and then started tossing whatever was at hand at Bubblehead in anger. "Aaahhhhggggh!"
"Whoa! Hey! I'm a memory bird! Not a clay pigeon used for target practice!" Bubblehead squeaked as he barely dodged what Shane threw. "You know you should really take some anger management classes."
"How about I take some cooking classes?" Shane snapped as he threw more objects at Bubblehead. "Memory bird under glass is sounding mighty tasty right now!"
"Hey! I have said this before! I am not an edible bird!" Bubblehead told him as he flew around. "Do not fold, bend, spindle, fry or roast! I'd have you read my warranty but it expired years ago."
"Along with those circuits you call a brain! How about I just squash you?" Shane snapped as he threw another book at Bubblehead.
"Geeze somebody took more than their recommended dosage of grumpy pills!" Bubblehead flew around. "Grumpy Goose! Grumpy, grumpy Goosie!"
"It's bad enough I literally came back from the mission from Hell and had a fight with my commanding officer!" Shane shouted as he chased after him. "I'll be damned if I let some insane mechanical bird drive me crazy!"
"Seems like it would be a short trip," Bubblehead chirped. "Speaking of tripping, watch out!"
"Huh?" Shane was distracted and fell flat on his face over an upturned chair. He fell flat on his face.
"Timber!" Bubblehead chirped.
"This is it! I've had it!" Shane sat up, rubbing is face. "The perfect end to a perfectly stupid…" He made a few inaudible grumbles.
Bubblehead landed on Shane's head. "Bad day?"
"What was your first clue?" Shane snapped, glaring at him.
"Come on, what's wrong Goose? Tell me! As one bird to another I can keep a secret!" Bubblehead chirped.
"If I tell you, will you let me take you to Doc?" Shane was giving in.
"Deal! Now what's all the hubbub Bub?" Bubblehead got off Shane's head and landed on his knee. "I'm listening."
"Fine," Shane grumbled. "I must be so frustrated that I'll talk to anyone, even someone who's batteries are running on empty! I just got back from this mission. It seems like a pretty straightforward one. Being a glorified security guard shipping some weird inventions from Titan Space Station to Longshot. Simple trip right? Wrong! Long story short one of the stupid things backfires or something and it traps half the crew in some weird dream state. So guess who they decide to send in and shut it down?"
"Uh don't tell me! Let me guess!" Bubblehead interrupted. "Pia Zidora?"
"Me!" Shane snapped at him. "Of course they didn't bother to mention to me that I would be affected by it too. And that I would end up stuck in my own nightmares and need to get my butt saved by Doc and Niko! Of course I find out the reason they didn't mention it was that the geniuses didn't think that a Supertrooper would be affected by that gizmo because we're not supposed to dream!"
"Boy and I thought my intelligence is a bit faulty," Bubblehead blinked.
"Exactly!" Shane nodded. "So Walsh is calling me on the carpet for my actions on the mission, especially since as soon as I woke up I blasted that stupid dream thing into space dust. He couldn't figure out why I was so upset! And why would I be upset? I was only shoved into a life threatening situation without all the facts, forced to relive some of my worst memories over and over, completely humiliated in front of my team mates…WHY WOULDN'T I BE UPSET?"
"Yeah…You're handling this well," Bubblehead gulped. "Must have been some nightmare."
"The worst," Shane admitted. "What really gets me is that the others saw…They saw me weak and helpless. My worst fears and most private nightmares right there on display for them…Like I was stripped naked and I couldn't cover myself. It scared the hell out of me. I hated it. But what I hated even more was that Commander Walsh didn't even want to acknowledge what I went through. It's like he pretends I don't feel pain or anything…"
Shane sighed. "It just bugs me sometimes. I mean…The other rangers get me. Zach, Niko, even Doc treat me like a human being and don't assume…Well they haven't known me that long compared to the Commander. He's known me all my life. But to him I'm still just a trooper. A genetic mutant programmed to just jump into any battle situation no matter how dangerous and weird and take it. Don't get me wrong, that's part of the fun of being a ranger it's just…"
Frustrated he let out a breath. "Just sometimes…I just wish that Walsh wouldn't take my bio-defenses for granted. That he'd…I don't know. See past the whole Supertrooper thing sometimes."
"Awww," Bubblehead sniffed. "Goose wants his daddy to be proud of him."
"He's not my father!" Shane snapped. Then he sighed. "I don't have parents. Well technically I guess I have a dozen or so depending on whose DNA they put in me when they created me."
"So you were made in a lab too, just like me!" Bubblehead chirped. "I was put together by Crown Technician Number Seven! He made me out of spare parts before he was dragged off to the psychiatric ward!"
"That explains a lot," Shane grumbled.
"My mom was a toaster oven with a bad connection and my dad was a hair dryer that wanted me to go into the family business of electrocuting people," Bubblehead quipped. "I told him no way! That is not my scene! I can't stand the water! That's what you should tell this Walsh guy to do! Tell him to take a hike! That's what I did to my dad, of course he didn't have any legs so that was really impossible to do…"
"It's different with Commander Walsh," Shane sighed, absently stroking Bubblehead's head without realizing it. "He's the one guy in the world I respect the most. A lot of who I am today I learned from watching him. He could have easily have left me to the freezer to save his skin but he didn't. He protected me and it cost him a lot of friends. But it didn't matter. I guess it was because he felt it was the right thing to do."
"Believe me pal I know where you're coming from," Bubblehead sighed as Shane petted him. "You think I woke up one morning and decided to have a personality on the fritz more often than a broken Tri-D? My memory's been wiped and rewiped and rewiped so many times that I can sometimes barely finish a…"
"Sentence?" Shane gave him a look.
"That too," Bubblehead said. "All my life people have seen me as nothing more than some kind of machinery used to store data."
"You are some kind of machinery that stores data," Shane pointed out.
"So? A bird still likes to be asked every now and again," Bubblehead looked at him. "Oh a little more to the left please? That's the spot."
"This has got to be the stupidest day of my entire life," Shane groaned as he kept petting Bubblehead. "But I gotta admit you have a point."
"You know what else we have in common?" Bubblehead asked.
"What?" Shane asked in an amused tone.
"We have the exact same hairstyle!" Bubblehead chirped. He lightly tapped Shane's nose with his wing. "BEEP!"
"THAT'S IT! YOU'RE GOING TO DOC RIGHT NOW!" Shane roared as he grabbed him.
"Hey! Wait a minute! Don't I get a last meal first?" Bubblehead squawked.
"What you are going to get is my fist in your beak if you don't…" Shane snapped as he got up. However he failed to pay attention as he was walking and slipped on some things lying around from the last chase. He barely got his balance but he had to let go of Bubblehead to do so. "Not again!"
"FREE! FREE!" Bubblehead chirped for glee as he flew around the room. "BORN FREE!"
"That's it!" Shane reached for his blasters. "This time I'm going to use the blasters!"
Just then the doorbell rang. "Company! I love company!" Bubblehead grinned as he flew towards the door.
"No! Don't!" Shane decided that it was best not to use his weapons in front of witnesses but he went after Bubblehead.
Too late, Bubblehead opened the door. "ALOHA!"
Commander Walsh was standing there. "What in the world…?"
"Get back here bird!" Shane tried to grab it but he flew out of his reach.
"Gooseman, just what is that bird doing in your room?" Walsh blinked.
"He just showed up out of nowhere," Shane explained. "I have no idea how he got in!"
"Hey you're that Walsh guy!" Bubblehead pointed. He flapped up to him at eye level. "Listen bub! I ought to give you a piece of my mind! And believe me with the size of my brain that's no small achievement!"
With that he pecked Walsh on the head. "OW!" Walsh shouted. "GOOSEMAN!"
"Got you!" Shane grabbed him by the legs. "Stupid bird…"
"Hey! He had it coming the way he treated you!" Bubblehead put his wings on his hips. He turned to Walsh. "You oughta be ashamed of yourself ya big bully! Why don't you go pick on a little bully? Wooly bully! Woolly bully! Yeah!"
"Shut up!" Shane grabbed his beak to quiet him.
"Gooseman what is going on here?" Walsh snapped.
"I told you! I just walked into my quarters and this crazy bird was here!" Shane snapped at him. "I don't know how he got in!"
"Never mind! We'll take it to the lab," Walsh grumbled. "I'm personally escorting the two of you!"
"Fine," Shane's tone made it clear that he really didn't want Walsh with him but he complied anyway.
The two men walked down the hallway in stiff silence. They finally reached the elevator and went inside. "As far as awkward silences go this is a doozy," Bubblehead chirped. "Are you guys gonna talk or can I just sing the theme to Gilligan's Island?"
"There's nothing to talk about," Walsh said briskly.
"Are you sure? We can talk about the weather," Bubblehead quipped. "I think it's quite lovely."
"I think I should use my blasters on you," Shane gave him a look.
"Typical," Walsh grunted. Shane gave him a look.
"Oh this is really productive," Bubblehead groaned. "That's it!" With a sharp peck he stabbed his beak on Shane's hand.
"OW!" Shane reflexively let go of the bird and it flew to the top of the elevator.
"Now buttons, wires and all this other fun stuff!" Bubblehead found a port and stuck his beak in. "YEOW! LIVE WIRE HERE!"
"Gooseman how could you let that bubble brain bird loose?" Walsh shouted as Bubblehead fooled with the controls.
"I didn't let it loose!" Shane defended. "It bit me! What was I supposed to do?"
"Hold onto it! I thought you would know enough to do that!" Walsh shouted.
"Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do?" Shane snapped.
"We've stopped," Shane blinked.
"Brilliant deduction, Gooseman," Walsh snapped.
"Okay that was a shock," Bubblehead pulled his beak out. "Now we're all locked in!"
"YOU LOCKED US IN THE ELEVATOR?" Walsh roared. "ARE YOU CRAZY?"
"Well duh!" Bubblehead rolled his eyes. "Geeze Commander get with the program!"
"What did you do that for?" Walsh shouted.
"You two need a time out!" Bubblehead snapped as he flew around the ceiling out of reach.
"Now can I use my blasters on him, Sir?" Shane asked.
Walsh gave him an annoyed look and hit his com button on his watch. "This is Commander Walsh…"
BREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Bubblehead made an ear splitting shriek.
"AAHHH!" Shane covered his ears. "And I thought he was annoying enough when he talked!"
"Ahh!" Walsh was startled as his communicator frizzled. So did Shane's.
"Oh great! Now our communicator's are busted!" Shane groaned.
"Wow I didn't even know I could do that," Bubblehead chirped. "Learn something new every day!"
"I guess we're just going to have to wait here until someone rescues us," Shane grumbled.
"There's an access panel on top," Walsh looked up. "You could go through that and get help."
"Sure go ahead Goose," Bubblehead quipped. "Jump through hoops like you always do. Not that he'd appreciate it."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Walsh glared at the bird, then at Shane. "Gooseman what is he talking about?"
"I'm talking equal rights! No taxation without representation!" Bubblehead squawked. "Oh yeah and you apologizing to Goose!"
"I HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR!" Walsh was clearly fed up. "GOOSEMAN GET US OUT OF HERE!"
Something snapped in Shane. "No."
"No what?" Walsh looked at him.
"No sir, I am not leaving the elevator," Shane folded his arms and turned around.
"WHAT?" Walsh roared.
"We can just sit here and wait for help," Shane told him. "There's no need to send out the Supertrooper on some stupid, unnecessarily dangerous mission that makes no sense!"
"Oh really?" Walsh fumed. "Am I to understand Gooseman that you are deliberately refusing an order?"
"I guess I am," Shane closed his eyes, still keeping his back to Walsh. "Sir."
"Fine," Walsh folded his arms and turned away from him. "I guess I'll just have to put you on report for insubordination."
"Since you were already going to do that, why not?" Shane snapped.
"Why not indeed?" Walsh said bitterly. "We'll just wait here!"
"Fine!" Shane snapped.
"Fine!" Walsh retorted, both men standing on opposite sides of the elevator with their backs to each other.
A minute passed. "Wow you two take awkward to whole new levels," Bubblehead chirped. "Maybe I should sing a song?"
"Maybe you ought to shut up?" Walsh snapped as he whirled on him.
"Maybe you should make me Commander Mustache?" Bubblehead blew a raspberry.
"Maybe I should have let Goose shoot you when I had the chance!" Walsh.
"Well maybe you should ask Goose what kind of nightmare he had when he was trapped in that device?" Bubblehead snapped. "I mean for crying out loud the guy blasts up Crown Agents for fun so it must have been bad to give him the willies!"
"How did you know…?" Walsh startled. He looked at Shane's back. "Is that what this is all about? Wait a minute, you actually talked to this bubble headed sack of scrambled computer chips about that?"
"At least Bubblehead was interested in what I had to say," Shane grunted. "More than some people I could mention."
"Come on Goose," Bubblehead landed on Shane's head. "Tell him."
"Why should I?" Shane snapped. "He doesn't care."
"I do care," Walsh said.
"Yeah right," Shane fumed.
"I do," Walsh said emphatically. "Shane!" Still Shane ignored him. "Was it about Wolf Den?" Shane involuntarily flinched at the mention of it. "It was, wasn't it?"
"What's Wolf Den? Is it a casino?" Bubblehead asked. "Hey! Maybe we can go there and play the slot machines? Can we go there and play the slot machines?"
"It's not a casino!" Shane snapped. "It's the Supertrooper training camp where I grew up."
"You were reliving that day weren't you?" Walsh asked. "The day the Supertrooper program was shut down?"
"Worse…" Shane closed his eyes. "This time instead of the other troopers being gassed and frozen…It was the other rangers…And everyone at BETA. Before I knew it I was being forced to fight them…and…"
Shane choked. "Then it turned into some kind of arena. I could hear that weasel Wheiner and those other members of the Board of Leaders laughing…Cheering me on…Ordering to kill…I tried to stop…But…"
"Shane…" Walsh was stunned.
"The worst part came at the end…" Shane kept his eyes tightly shut as if to try and fight back the images. "When everyone was dead…The next thing I knew I was shoved into the Cryocrypt…But I couldn't sleep…I was wide awake and…" He slammed his fist against the elevator. "I'M SUPPOSED TO BE OVER THIS! WHY CAN'T I JUST FORGET IT?"
"You've had those dreams before," Walsh realized. "Shane why didn't you tell me this?"
"What could you have done?" Shane snapped, still refusing to look at him. "You can't help me. I can't even go to a shrink or anything. You know the first thing anyone would do if they found out I…They'd freeze me faster than a frozen dinner because of any alleged mental problems."
"I don't think you have mental problems," Bubblehead told him. "Believe me I'm an expert."
"Normally I can handle it," Shane let out a breath. "They don't come as bad or as often as they used to. And I do have good dreams sometimes…They're…personal. Doc and Niko already saw too much of the bad stuff."
"I had no idea you were going through this," Walsh was stunned. "You should have told me. I could have kept it in confidence."
"Like I said there's nothing you can do," Shane folded his arms. "I just have to push them out and get over it."
"You shouldn't have to do this alone. And I shouldn't have just assumed…It's just…" Walsh struggled to find the words. "Sometimes I forget what a truly remarkable young man you are. You're more human than I ever could have imagined you to be."
Walsh thought a moment and turned his back on Shane again. "I never told you about the day you were born, did I?"
That interested Shane but he said nothing. Walsh kept talking. "I remember that day clearly. It was two months before you were supposed to be decanted. Well you and four others. There were five of you. You were supposed to be the last batch. The most advanced group. A unit that was supposed to be made of the best genetic material and the most advanced genetic engineering designs ever created. But something went wrong. There was a power failure, a program misfired…We never did figure out exactly what went wrong. The only choice we had was to take the unit out early. We did everything we could, but it wasn't enough. And one by one…they all died."
"Except for you…" Walsh turned around and looked at Shane's stunned eyes. "I don't know why or how…but you somehow survived. Even though you were the smallest and weakest…And had the least chance of survival…You wouldn't give up. I remember thinking every day would be the day that you would die. I would walk into that room expecting the worst. But you kept on living and fighting. Some of the other scientists wanted to pull you off life support and let you die. Max and I wouldn't let them. Even then we could see how much of a fighter you were."
"That day when we finally were able to pull you off life support," Walsh's voice was full of amazement. "It was unbelievable. You fought against impossible odds and survived. I…I held you in my arms that day. I couldn't believe how strong you were even though you were so small. And as you got older…You became even more of a fighter. No matter how hard things were for you, you never gave up. Against all odds you fought your way from the runt of the litter to the best of the pack. And then when the disaster at Wolf Den went down once again you beat the odds and survived. And no matter what was thrown at you, whatever the challenge…no matter how the odds were stacked against you…You won."
"I didn't know…" Shane looked down. "About the others."
"We didn't see any point in telling you," Walsh shrugged.
"I still would have liked to have known," Shane sighed. "I guess maybe I wouldn't have felt so…No, you're right. It wouldn't have changed anything."
"I learned from watching you, that nothing could stop you," Walsh admitted. "You grew up into a man that I admire. That I'm proud of. You…are the greatest accomplishment I have ever made."
"OH THAT IS SO SAD! WAAHHHHHHHH!" Bubblehead sobbed. He grabbed Walsh's head with his wings. "GROUP HUG!"
"GET OFF ME YOU STUPID BIRD!" Walsh pulled him off.
"I told you," Shane gave him a look. "You should have let me shoot him."
"Yes," Walsh sighed. "And…I should have told you the risks. Maybe I just didn't want to believe that you had any weaknesses."
"It's not like I wouldn't have done it anyway if you had told me," Shane told him. "I just wanted some warning. That's all."
"You mean you wanted me to see you as a human being and not just a Supertrooper?" Walsh gave him a look. "Shane I don't push you to your limits because you're a Supertrooper. I push you because you're probably the best Ranger I've ever met. I should have told you that."
"Yes you should have," Bubblehead landed on Shane's head. "Now admit it, don't you all feel better?"
"You did this on purpose didn't you?" Shane gave him a look.
"Just call me Dr. Bubblehead!" Bubblehead chirped. "Or better yet don't call me late for dinner! Mashed potatoes!"
"I'm beginning to see why that bird was abandoned," Walsh groaned.
"I guess I'd better climb through that panel before he does something else," Shane groaned.
"No, we can wait for help," Walsh sighed. "And Shane…perhaps you should take the rest of the week off. To recover."
"Yeah! And while we're waiting we can play a game!" Bubblehead chirped. "I spy with my little eye something that begins with C!"
"Ceiling?" Both Shane and Walsh said at the same time.
"Nope, Crayon!" Bubblehead said happily.
"There isn't a crayon in here," Shane gave him a look.
"I know that but I remember what a crayon looks like!" Bubblehead grinned and put a feather to his head. "I picture it in my mind and I see it! Okay, now I'm thinking of something that begins with a Z! But it's not a zebra. Whatever that is."
"I'll give you a boost," Shane said to Walsh. "We'll both go out the panel."
"Good idea," Walsh agreed.
Shane was rather busy during his next three days of rest. First of all it took him a whole day to get his apartment cleaned and fixed up. Then he had an awkward but brief talk with both Doc and Niko who both agreed to keep what they saw during that experience private and not to tell anyone else.
"A little late for that," Shane scratched his head. "I already told Commander Walsh…And Bubblehead."
"Bubblehead? Great it will be all over the base in an hour if he hasn't told already," Doc groaned. "I'd better go wipe his memory."
"Don't do that," Shane said quickly. "I don't think he would say anything. Even if he did who'd believe him?"
"Gooseman you must have been desperate if you had to talk to Bubblehead to sort things out," Doc shook his head. "Next time come to one of us first, okay?"
Shane had no choice but to agree. Niko spent half a day with him teaching him some advanced meditation techniques to help keep the nightmares at bay. It worked to some degree but he still woke up a few times in a cold sweat.
It was at the beginning of the third day that Shane had his greatest challenge. He answered the door in a black shirt and jeans and found Commander Walsh and Doc outside. "Commander? Doc? What are you doing here?"
"We thought we'd let you know what we decided on the Bubblehead situation," Doc told him.
"You gonna try rebooting his memory circuits again?" Shane was puzzled.
"Actually I've decided that maybe Bubblehead doesn't really belong in the lab," Walsh said. "Where he could wreck everything."
"He did didn't he?" Shane gave him a look.
"Yes," Walsh groaned. "Don't ask..."
"So the Commander and I got to talking and we decided on the perfect place where he belongs," Doc handed Shane a small cage covered with a cloth.
"What? You don't mean?" Shane removed the cloth.
Bubblehead was inside the cage. But instead of his usual necktie and lab coat he was wearing a little replica of Shane's black shirt, red bandana and black cowboy hat. "Standby for action," He drawled in a tough guy voice. "Our time as come!"
"You can not be serious?" Shane growled. "Doc, tell me this is another one of your stupid jokes!"
"Actually I was thinking of it as therapy," Doc remarked.
"You mean you are thinking of going into therapy if you believe I'm going to live with that motor mouth!" Shane snapped.
"Pets are very therapeutic," Doc smiled. "Bubblehead likes you and you seemed to respond to him."
"I was desperate!" Shane protested.
"So are we," Walsh admitted. "The lab technicians are threatening to go on strike. Something about his song choices."
"Look at the bright side Goose," Bubblehead managed to get out of his cage. "I can sing you a lullaby to sleep so you won't have bad dreams anymore. LA! LA! LA! LA!"
"The nightmare never ends…" Shane groaned.