I'm a huge fan of the French cartoon character, Asterix le Gaulois, and the goofy Romans he has to deal with. In the Wacky Wasteland, Caesar's Legion is made up almost exclusively of such goofs, with a few notable exceptions, namely the Legionaries such as Caesar, Lanius, Vulpes Inculta, and one or two others.

Musical Chairs and Legionnaires

The recruit legionary Caligula Minus dozed in the desert heat at the Fort. Hearing footsteps approach him he opened his eyes, and upon seeing the centurion Cicero, leapt to his feet drawing his machete.

"Ave!"

Blood spattered his armor and Cicero went down to one knee, hands (now dyed a lovely shade of rust) covering where his nose should have been.

"Don't just stand there, idiot; find that healer slave! Then help me find my nose."

Caligula ran, returning about five minutes later. "I couldn't find her, but I found your nose, some Wonder Glue and the profligate Courier."

Cicero groaned.

The profligate Courier, a singularly beautiful blonde woman named Marion Dietrich, who wore a Merc Adventurer outfit, straddled his chest, pulling out a bottle of whiskey at the same time.

"Don't worry," she said in her rather husky voice. "I know what I'm doing. You won't lose your nose for good."

She took a long drink from the bottle and then proceeded to pour the rest of its contents into him until he passed out.

Cicero woke up much later with a huge bandage on his nose, and feeling like the Rad Pack Dancers had just done their routine all over his skull. Marion sat nearby, nonchalantly smoking a cigarette.

"I reattached your nose, Kittycat," she said. "I don't know if you'll still be able to smell, but at least you won't look too strange."

He moaned.

One of the praetorian guards came in. "I understand that you were attacked, Cicero. Who was it? Fiends? Those treacherous Khans?"

"Camilla Minor. Id sable e."

"What?"

"It was Caligula Minus," Marion killed her cigarette and tossed her hair. "He saluted him too enthusiastically with his machete."

The newcomer burst into tears on her shoulder. Rolling her eyes, she patted him on the back.

"Okay, enough now," she said after a few minutes. "Enough. You'll rust."

A few hours later Marion stood in front of Caesar's throne.

"What do you think of my army?" He asked.

She raised one shoulder and took out another cigarette and Benny's lighter. "Frankly, I'm not all that impressed, your conquests notwithstanding. I spent the afternoon reattaching a centurion's nose, it having been accidently cut off by a recruit saluting him with a machete."

Caesar held his head and groaned.

Marion blew a smoke ring. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine! Go away!" He shouted and staggered over to his bed.

She shrugged, watched her smoke ring disappear, and left the tent. Outside, the faint sounds of music could be heard. Curious, she followed them to their source: a group of Legionaries playing musical chairs.

"What the hell?" She asked of no one in particular.

Suddenly Vulpes Inculta appeared, hackles raised.

"What do you mean by this spectacle?" He demanded, breaking up the game. "Stop this foolishness at once! Centurion- to the guard room, now! Men, line up!"

The centurion shuffled off, and the men lined up. Marion heard the exclamation points at the ends of the Desert Fox's sentences, though he had hardly raised his voice, she was impressed to note. He walked in front of the line of legionaries, up and down several times before stopping in the middle.

"Marius," he said, voice dripping with venom. "You may undertake the mission. Depart by dawn. The rest of you, to your tents!"

The men rushed to do as they were told; one went too fast and fell down. Vulpes Inculta muttered something in Latin and struck his head against the nearest fence post. Marion laughed, causing him to look up at her.

She inhaled another lungful of smoke and started down the hill towards him. "That's how they decide who goes on a mission? By playing musical chairs?"

"They are a trial at times," he replied, sounding weary.

"You handled it well."

"Yes… they are fortunate that the Legate did not witness their idiocy."

"Hell yes, if half of what I've heard is true." She slid him a sideways look. "What color eyes are you hiding under those sunglasses?"

"What?"

She took off his shades. "Black. Just like your hair. Maybe they should call you the Desert Shark instead."

He took a step back from her.

"I was kidding with you, but you do have lovely eyes." She handed him the glasses back. "I'd like to see a little less ice in them, though."

On that note she walked away. Vulpes Inculta realized that he'd been holding his breath and let it out. Otho approached him.

"That's why we are not to speak to them," the chief gladiator said. "Of course, that profligate is an exception, being Caesar's guest. We must acknowledge her, and I may yet, if Caesar requires it."

He waited for Vulpes to laugh or smile, but instead the head of the frumentarii said, "Leave her alone."

"Sorry?"

"You heard me."

Marion got off the barge at Cottonwood Cove and made for the Sniper's Nest where Cass and Veronica were waiting.

"What'd you find out?" Veronica asked.

"The one legionary with the coyote hat, Vulpes Inculta, has such pretty eyes," Marion said. "Nice ass, too."

Cass snorted. "That'll keep us alive."

"Actually, given what I've witnessed from the rest of the Legion, that may not be as unimportant as you might think."

"You mean how the soldiers mount each other as often as they mount their women?" Veronica asked.

"Not exactly. Caesar punishes that with death, by the way."

Cass drank some whiskey. "You all know my theory about Caesar and why his symbol is that bull. And I suggest we leave the subject here. Marion didn't learn anything really useful."

The Courier smiled ironically, took the bottle and had a swig. "That's what you think, Kittycat."