SEVERAL YEARS LATER...
The lands were similar to aged skin, pimpled with yellow and red rocks. Fragraq had been turned into a wasteland after the vicious Fraggles attacked some time ago. The harsh sun rendered the barren environment with a warm blanket of red, but through it, a faint green figure rose.
“Before we take this final shot and finish off our operation, let me ask you this. Looking back, after everything we've done, have you grown accustomed to being out here, or do you miss it?” the green amphibian asked, pulling down his binoculars. Bert pulled his rifle down, watching as Kermit scouted for any possible Fragsurgents.
“Home?” Bert asked, not having heard the word for some time. He had been assigned with Kermit D., a senior CIA Agent otherwise known by The Frog, for half of Bert's tour. Now being it's fifth year, he was ready to move back.
Kermit nodded. “Yeah, home. Do you miss it or do you prefer these rock-ridden death valleys that I like to call Hell?” Kermit smiled, pulling a fresh cigarette out of his wallet. Bert nodded as Kermit offered the last, “No. Save it.”
“To answer your question, at times I miss it. I don't really got much ever since my parents passed. No home that I can call my own.” Bert sighed, letting his rifle lie on the sandbags. “There is someone though. Someone back home.”
Kermit smiled, lighting the cigarette. It had been years since the frog saw his homelands, and it was beginning to render the frog cynical. But he'd be a fool to show it, let alone to such a veteran as Bert, otherwise known, infamously by the Fraggles, as The Pigeon. “Girl?” he asked, breathing in the warm tobacco.
“No,” Bert smirked. “Just my brother, Ernest. He doesn't too well on his own. Kid slacks off, always telling jokes and taking baths, never taking anything too seriously.”
Kermit leaned back on his lawn chair, taking puffs of his cig. “I don't have any brothers or sisters, no family that I can recall either. Back where I'm from, in the swamp, I was a bit of a loner. Enjoyed it for a bit until I moved my way out to Hollywood. Dreams of being some big actor one day, stupid stuff that I now laugh about whenever I think about it.”
Bert looked over once more. “Actor, huh? You don't show too much range of emotion out here. I assume that comes with the badge?”
Kermit peered down at his American Flag button. “They try to remove any sense of humanity from us when they deploy us to the field. But I used to want to be something. I wanted to have my own show, maybe even movies. Had a few friends and we tried put it together, but then these fucking Fraggles decided to declare war, so it all just faded away.”
The cigarette began to fade, the ash drifting away. Kermit put it out. “And now I'm here. Sometimes your dreams don't happen, but then another door happens to open, and you're forced to take those responsibilities.”
Bert leveled his veteran rifle, peering through the scope he had become far too familiar with. “I know the feeling, doesn't sound too far off from how I am with my brother.” he said, placing the scope to his eye.
Kermit noticed he struck a chord. Quick to remedy, Kermit passed a beer. “So, your brother, tell me about him.”
“Ernest is my younger brother. Good kid, just doesn't have it all together in his head. I get far more angrier at him than I should, but sometimes I just grow tired of trying to take care of him. He needs to learn how to do things on his own one day.” Bert scanned the field for any possible threats, the cross-hairs looming over possible suspects. Vicious, fast, beasts, made of ash and fire.
“Where's he now?” Kermit asked, taking a gulp.
“Back in The Streets. When our parent's passed, we were sent around to orphan homes. He wasn't doing too well with the change, used to having everything his way. That's when I woke him up, starting helping him with school and work. Before I got enlisted here, the kid had it all planned out. Job offers at some big comedy-bars. I think he might be onto something, I just hope he keeps it together.”
Kermit leans back as he lifts his binoculars, scoping out the Fraggle target, but Bert has been watching him for the past several minutes. “Then I'd say it's time to get you home.” Kermit peers through, watching the Fraggle run across the yellow fields. A blur. “After you.”
The thin-crosshairs slowly balance between the target's black eyes, covered with hot pink fur. This would be Bert's 45th confirmed kill while in Fragrock, and it had been a long time coming; every kill bringing him one step closer to returning to the only family he had. However, Bert had no idea of what lied before him.
The gunshot shocked Kermit, shaking him to his core. Bert gazed over his sight, watching as the Fraggle's head popped, void of any emotion he once had. He pulled back from the rifle, looking at the smiling Kermit. “It was a pleasure, sir.”
Kermit returned the gesture, throwing the beer bottles off the cliff, and folding up his chair. Bert looked once more at Fragraq, an almost beautiful if not stoic scenery. He smiled, packing his rifle away, savoring the idea of finally leaving this godforsaken war, but unknowingly about to be involved into one far, far, worse.