"...and that's the story of how I saved the Rail Nomad camp with nothing but an old VISA card and a geiger counter."
The rangers all laughed. They all knew Mike was full of it, but at least he copped to it. And, well, his imagination seemed to be limited only by the contents of his glass, which was currently sitting half-full on the table. They were all in high spirits after finally having tracked down the leader of the thugs that had been staging raids against the outlying settlements. He was sacking villages in the afterlife now, and the rangers had all deserved some time off after those grueling weeks in the desert.
Jessica, the group's self-appointed expert on all things explosive, lowered her voice and nodded towards the bar. "So, Mike, sergeant, sir," she started, her voice slightly slurred. "If you're in a story-tellin' mood, sir, mind tellin' us 'bout the big guy? And why he's not drinkin' with us?"
The "big guy" was, of course, the band's latest recruit, who was currently sitting alone at the bar, nursing a cup of what could potentially pass for beer. He hadn't said much at all during their recent excursion and when he did speak, it was with an accent foreign to the rest of the team.
Private Campbell, specialist wiseass, snickered and leaned backwards in his chair. "Whazzamatter, Jess? Gotta lil' crush on our mysterious stranger? 'm I not special 'nuff for ya anymore?"
Jessica bristled, but Mike quickly interjected. "Stow it, Campbell. Look, I don't know how much there's to say, he's a bit of a mystery to me too. He showed up at Ranger Center a couple months ago, signed up, and here he is. If brass asked him about his background, they didn't really inform me."
"What 'bout his accent? He's not from 'round here, and he doesn't sound like a russkie," Jessica mused, already having forgotten about Campbell's indiscretion.
"Scandinavian, I think," Mike offered. "Norway or Sweden, maybe. Tried talking to him about it a week ago, he wasn't very forthcoming."
"Sweden?" Campbell asked, frowning. "Don't think I ever known no Swede before. Weren't they s'posed to be all neutral in the big war? Think they caught any nukes?"
"Dunno, private. Way he deflected my questions, don't think he's very happy to talk about what's going on back home. If it's not nukes, it's something else - otherwise why would he be here?" the sergeant stated, his question rhetorical. "Besides, he handled himself out there. If he doesn't want to talk about where he came from, that's up to him."
"Right," Jessica mumbled, obviously unhappy to leave it at that. "I'm just sayin', I'd be happier at least knowin', like, his name or whatever. Doesn't feel right just knowing him by his callsign.
Besides, doesn't 'Warder, Desert Ranger' sound kinda... lame?"
She's beautiful, and she glows.
Radioactive Angel appears at 40'.