Notes: I keep forgetting to add these things, but obviously I don't own the show blah blah blah...kind of obvious isn't it? Also, please note that while yes I realise that the De Danaan is a member of the West Pacific Fleet, it has been shown during the course of the series to wander from this area of operations. I am simply assuming that they are picking up the slack for the Atlantic fleet, which may be busy quelling some other warzone. PLEASE read and review, I love it even when it's harsh. I can't become a better writer without some constructive criticism. Not that I don't appreciate praise.

Merida Island

"You were in Sierra Leone for six days, correct?" The medical officer asked. He was in his late forties with a bald head and leathery skin, crow's feet peeking out from the edge of his spectacles. Across from him was his newest patient, a young man by the name of Yang Jun-Kyu.

The patient had short black hair and boyishly handsome features. He had a lean, athletic figure. If somewhat on the short side as Special Forces operators go, standing at only five feet nine inches. Mr. Jun-Kyu looked barely out of his teens even though he was a strapping twenty four years old. Dr. Anthony Fischer was reminded again of his glory days in the United States Air Force, before his eyesight went south and forced him to retire.

"Yes sir." Replied the corporal from where he lay on the therapist recliner. The corporal wore standard issue Mithril fatigues, although the collar was undone to show some of the white shirt beneath. Relaxed dress was a perk for the Special Response Team.

On his lap, Dr. Fischer made a note in the thick manila folder spread across his lap. In it were Yang's medical records, history, service record, officer reports and a notepad for the Doctor to make notes on. Dr. Fischer wrote down a note concerning the sterile tone with which Yang had responded to his query.

Above the note made were several others:

Patient shows visual signs of depression: Loose posture and facial features, lack of emotion and conviction in response to questions. Lack of eye contact and disinterest in one's surroundings. Slow movements.

Patient saluted and exchanged greetings but I had to make first contact. Patient's responses are unenthusiastic, brief and unconcerned.

Patient responded to the opening source of trauma in a reserved manner, not elaborating and implying that he does not want to discuss the events of August 12th, 2008.

Taking a deep breath, Dr. Fischer picked up a small photograph taken of Mr. Jun-Kyu during basic training. It was difficult to recognize the man in the photograph. It was alarming when a photograph displayed more life in someone than that person did in reality. From the officer reports, notations and photographs, there was the general consent that Yang was a source of increased troop morale.

One report contained a note comparing Yang to the presence of a newborn baby. That untainted by life innocence one gets when they hold an infant. Another common notion among the reports was that the corporal was an emotional and sensitive man, although it was also noted that despite any misgivings or contrary feelings to his work, he has never allowed emotion to get in the way of his duties.

"You were alone on this mission, correct?" The doctor asked.

"Yes Sir. I was the only operative on the ground at that time." replied the corporal in a blank tone.

The doctor made another note, letting the corporal's own reply hang in the air. This would force Yang to endure the silence, stewing in his own thoughts while the psychologist observed his reaction. In the meantime, the doctor went back to checking his notes, looking for some information he could use to pull the young SRT specialist out of his shell.

Yang had been the youngest of three brothers living with their father in Daegu, South Korea. Working in an auto repair shop, he'd had dreams of becoming a professional race driver but due to financial concerns was unable to make this goal come true despite an aptitude displayed for it. He was drafted into the RoK army where he discovered a talent for soldiering. It wasn't long until he had been promoted to a RoK Army Paratrooper regiment not unlike the United States Army Rangers.

A classified mission on the other side of the 38th Parallel resulted in his dishonorable discharge from the unit. Apparently he had been unable to mount a defense at his court martial when everything about the mission was classified and prevented him from presenting any evidence or explanation. The only known facts were that there was a friendly fire incident that resulted in several deaths.

The corporal's involvement in that classified mission brought him to the attention of Mithril. Once again there were no records concerning the mission, but not long after first contact the corporal had shown up at a Mithril training camp in the pacific. He served for a time with the Primary Response Teams before being scouted by the SRT.

The doctor glanced up as he sensed movement from his patient. Yang seemed to be finally growing uncomfortable with the sudden silence. Deciding to throw the young man a bone, the doctor relieved him of his stress by speaking.

"Your mission was a success, correct? You managed to eliminate both of your targets?"

Yang surprised the doctor by giving more than just a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

"Yes Sir. Richard Untebe, leader of the RUF and one of his lieutenants, Jubay Loso."

Dr. Fischer made another note. "They were killed four days in? Why did it take so long to get you out?"

"I had to avoid the infighting that began afterwards so it took me two more days to reach the extraction point." The corporal replied, folding his hands over his abdomen as he settled back on the recliner.

Watching Yang carefully, Dr. Fischer focused intently on the young man as he asked a true question instead of a clarification.

"Tell me about what happened your first day in?"

There was a lengthy pause and Yang seemed hesitant to respond. As the pause lengthened, Dr. Fischer decided he might have begun too early and had been about to shift to another question when Yang spoke up.

"I was inserted earlier than originally planned. The Danaan wasn't in position yet for a helicopter flight, but the deteriorating situation in Sierra Leone required immediate action. In order to delay the RUF's march on Freetown we had to forego the originally planned helicopter insertion and go for an airborne insertion." The doctor made a note of how he answered in a professional, militaristic manner. Probably a way of detaching himself from the situation he was speaking about.

"I didn't lose anything in the drop, which was nice. We didn't know exactly where Untebe and Loso were, but we knew they'd be together and that they would be in the area. I was in contact with the Danaan and they sent me satellite updates so I had an idea where to start. The RUF leadership liked to stay in beds when possible so I decided to look at those towns with any form of room and board, or at least a mattress…" Yang trailed off, eyes looking off into the distance.

"I had to visit three towns before I found the right one." The corporal grew quiet and visibly shaken. Dr. Fischer perked up, realizing that they were coming to the source of his trauma. Leaning forward in his seat, the doctor listened to Yang continue.

"Child Soldiers are everywhere in Africa…but the RUF has these…these "West Side Boys". Village children who they abduct and turn to their cause through violence, drugs…they make them kill their own families. Give them a gun and strip them of everything else…" Yang inhaled and closed his eyes, his voice shaken. The doctor watched a brief, empty smirk cross the young man's features before he continued his tail.

"They play this game where they'd bet on the sex of an unborn child. Then they'd cut the mother open with a machete to see who won…" The soldier swallowed, sitting up and covering his face with a hand. Dr. Fischer heard him attempt to regain control of his shaky breathing. "I uh…I'm sorry." Yang lowered a hand and sniffled, his eyes red and glassy after stopping a few tears.

The doctor decided to ease up, a little shocked himself at the brutality of his patient's statement. Clearing his throat, Dr. Fischer sat back and looked at the notepad in front of him, wondering how he would write this. He decided to leave it for now, focusing on his patient.

"I think that's enough for today, Yang." The doctor used the corporal's first name because it would help his patient become more familiar and comfortable with him. It would be important for their future sessions. Yang nodded mutely as he got to his feet and saluted. With a sigh, Dr. Fischer returned it and let Yang out of his office.

One week later…

Dragging long and hard on a Marlboro, Sergeant Major Melissa Mao arched backwards over her chair, arms out above her head as she stretched, her inverted image of the closed hatchway behind her righting itself as she got out of the chair and stubbed her cigarette out on the bulkhead. She got a pack out of her coat and tried to squeeze one out, snarling when she realized there was no more nicotine to be found.

Melissa put her back against the bulkhead and sighed, her bare arms crossing under her breasts as she sank to the floor on her rear, feeling the hem of her tank top roll up the back of her spine but ignoring it as she lay her forehead against her fatigue clad knees. On the desk she'd been sitting at was Dr. Anthony Fischer's report on Yang's condition.

Melissa had been the one who'd recommended to Lieutenant Clouseau that Yang see someone. Watching him get off of that chopper in his Ghillie suit, eyes a lifeless hue and the absence of his trademark innocence…god she wished she had been ordered to go instead of him. Yang was too good a man to handle it, Melissa's armor was much tougher. She wanted to protect her men. They were her "Boys", even though Clouseau was in charge now.

She glanced at the report as she tipped her head back against the bulkhead with a metallic "thunk". At this rate she'd have to drop him from the unit. He needed something, something more than therapy to get him through this. That spark of innocence had been so important to his character that with it gone, he was nothing. She didn't like losing men, but losing them to fire was easier then watching them just shrivel away right before her eyes.

She heard a knock on the hatchway and turned to see who it was as the wheel turned and it was wrestled open. Peeking inside was Melissa's former roommate, Captain and close friend Teletha Testarossa. The petite, diminutive platinum haired beauty was the commanding officer of the most advanced naval vessel in the world. She has over three hundred men and women under her command and is one of the most brilliant minds on the planet.

She is also sixteen years old with fatal motor skills.

"Melissa? Do yo-EEK!" The Captain tripped on absolutely nothing and face planted hard on the deck, making Melissa wince as she got to her feet and went over to the captain. Unlike the rest of the crew, her status meant she was allowed to wear a yellow naval uniform.

"You alright there Tessa?" Melissa helped Tessa upright, brushing her uniform off with a chuckle. Blushing profusely, Tessa played with the platinum tuft at the end of her French braid in a familiar manner. It was a nervous habit of hers and she did it often when she was thinking deeply about something.

"Thanks…" Tessa rubbed the red spot on her head with her free hand and winced, hoping it wouldn't bruise like the last two times she'd fallen. Looking up at her dark haired companion, Tessa felt a little intimidated standing so close to Melissa. Where Tessa was petite and cute, Melissa was lithe and beautiful with breasts that Tessa envied despite words to the contrary. And they were always flaunted in Melissa's tank tops.

Shaking her head, Tessa snapped herself out of her thoughts and put her hands at her sides, taking a deep breath. She'd come down here knowing that Melissa would probably be in the middle of deciding what to do with Corporal Yang. Tessa knew Yang and liked him, so she had kept herself appraise of his condition the past week. She felt guilty also, since she was the one who had given the order to send him into that place. Tessa still had nightmares from the debriefing she had read.

"I was checking to see how you were doing…with the whole Yang situation." Both of their faces saddened a little. Melissa took her seat again and Tessa moved to perch herself on the edge of Melissa's bunk.

"I don't know what to do with him Captain. He doesn't seem to be getting any better and he's started to affect the guy's around him. I'm going to have to drop him if this goes on much longer…" Melissa sighed. "I don't want to do that Captain. He's a good soldier but…" Melissa shook her head.

Tessa actually smiled as she placed her hands on her lap and regarded Melissa cheerfully. "I have some good news then. I was thinking about this other operation we have and I think it will be a good way for Yang to recover. We have a VIP in Australia under Research Division care and she needs a new driver and bodyguard." Melissa perked up curiously.

"What? Isn't that dangerous?" In Yang's state of mind, entrusting him to protect someone is tactically a bad idea. Tessa shook her head, having already considered this possibility.

"He hasn't suffered a noticeable drop in performance yet and the threat level is miniscule. I wouldn't do this if I wasn't sure he could handle it. He'll also be working with an Intelligence Unit that has been protecting her up until now. All I need to know is if you would be willing to give him up for…well, an undetermined amount of time."

Melissa thought about that. She wanted to help him, she trusted herself to do her best. But at the same time she couldn't find a solution herself at this time. Could he really handle this on his own? "What makes you think this will help him?" She asked.

Tessa smiled, looking a little wistful for a moment. "Remember Miss Kaname's affect on Sousuke?...I'm hoping for a similar reaction this time."

Melissa blinked. "You mean the VIP's a teenage girl too?" Tessa nodded. This gave Melissa more food for thought. She couldn't help but grin to herself as she imagined another Sousuke situation, and giggled in such a manner as to make Tessa shiver uncomfortably. "I think this sounds perfect. I like it the more I think about it…Captain, he's all yours." Melissa put up a lazy salute and winked under her hand.