“Cody, be honest with me. Is your life in more danger since you’ve gotten involved with these Scoobies?”
A belated answer hangs as ex-Ranger Lawrence considers the question.
Beth presses, “No one else is as human as you, are they, Cody?”
“I suppose I never considered that. I think they’re all human…they sure look it. Most the time anyway. Well, Wolf is stripping more lately. It does get me thinking, though: where did they learn to do what they do; like Jaime and Erica? Or, how did they become the way they are; like the others? It’s kinda got me wonderin’ if I could learn something new, or become something different.”
“Now that you mention it,” Beth chimes, “I was thinking that Matthew, Elena, Wolf, and Conor don’t really own their power, rather it’s like they’re channels for a higher power, and they’re broadcasting that signal they receive. As for Jaime and Erica, I think they’d have to be born with the gift, but they had to train up their abilities.”
“That’s pretty deep, Darlin’. Deeper than I’ve ever considered. Guess I now know what’s the new fad filling your head with all the time you have to yourself.”
Beth tries to keep a passive face, because Cody nails it. She has been spending a lot of time studying the theories out there. Between internet, library, and specialty book shops, she’s been engrossed with the supernatural.
“And as to bein’ the most ‘human,’ Cody continues, “well, that’s the thing of it. It’s also what makes the answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’.” Seeing Beth’s puzzlement he adds, “ You know that my line of work has always been risky, and that I’ve been injured and shot plenty before. The risk is still there; it’s just that the implements aren’t always physical objects anymore. It’s not just bullets, blades, and bombs, with the occasional vehicle being used as a battering ram.”
“Cute. What’s with all the ‘B’s?”
“Not sure. But, now it’s bullets, blades, bombs, battering rams, bimbos, bugs, blowtorch fireballs, bites, bats, and babies.”
“You forgot brains,” she smirked.
“Yeah,” Cody agrees, “like century’s worth of experience up on me. But here’s the thing: the stuff I’m facing out there is more dangerous that the pre-special force days, but I’m not facing it alone; someone from the team is always around. And believe it or not, because I’m the low man on the power pole, I don’t seem to get targeted like the others do…” Cody’s expression goes downturn as he finally admits aloud what he’s known for a while: “I’m just not the threat that the rest of the team is.”
This is new territory for Beth; from the moment they met, Cody has always been the most confident and competent person she’s known. Seeing these aspects wavering for the first time in their marriage takes Beth aback. After the initial shock she tries to buoy him up. “You know you’re blowin’ this out’a proportion. I know you bring assets to this team, and I know they would not be as effective without you. What is your track record with solving cases? 100 percent?”
“Might be 99.99, but I’m not really keepin’ track,” Cody smirks.
Breakthrough! Beth reflects. As long as he’s crackin’ wise ones with me, I’ve not lost him.
“You do realize, though,” Cody interjects, ”that havin’ a psychic and three werewolves who could smell the flavor of fart on a flea from Frisco on the P.I. payroll accounts for 99 percent of that 99.99 success rate.”
Not giving Cody a chance to dwell on his sour mood Beth chirps in, “So now it’s ‘F’s, huh? Think, Cody, THINK …what do you bring with you that no one else does? Give yourself a break! I’m serious. I want an answer. What is it that no one else can do like you?”
Cody’s silent. Half avoiding the depressing comparison Beth wants him to make, the other half scrambling for some validity. What do I do well? I shoot, but definitely no better than Elena, especially if she’s pulling that Supergirl super-move, making her as fast as the bullet itself. I’m certainly not a bad investigator, but Wolf has me beat in that arena, because you got to take into account all his cheating. I can protect myself in a fight, but I’ve seen Erica sparing, and she brings in the Asian flare that I don’t, probably making us even…Conor, on the other hand, would use my lifeless body as a cleaning rag to sop up all my blood.
Beth watches as Cody’s face alternates between hints of insight, followed immediately by deepening scowls of disappointment. Her heart is near bursting seeing the love of her life trying, but failing to amount to something by his own estimation. She knows he brings a balance of traits that all add up to a very capable human…but in the end, she has to agree: Cody is simply human. Furthermore, Cody’s mood is beyond the rational, beyond whole-package justification. She knows he is wracking his brain to pinpoint a single trait to hang his hat on, and can’t manage it.
After far too drawn out a silence, Cody croaks out, “It may not be much, but I think I can take a hit. I think I may be able to survive somethin’ the others wouldn’t be able to.” But he knows inside, and simply can’t force himself to say it aloud, that most of the others would probably be able to avoid that hit altogether, by either dodging it or magically weakening it. With head hung low, he murmurs, ”But I don’t know for sure.”
It’s here that Beth’s mind is made up. She is going to find the gear or a way to protect him better than what he’s wearing. She suspects enough from her studies that while Cody’s vest is fine against the firearms the thugs and minions use against him, it probably wouldn’t stop the teeth or nails or poisons or God knows what else gets thrown his way.
Resolute, she soldiers on, “Fine, so you’re human and fragile. But that doesn’t mean you give up, or go around with a depressed death wish. You protect yourself. No matter what your current opinion is of yourself, Conor is vested in your survival. It wouldn’t make much business sense for him not to be. Like any good businessman, he has to protect his investments. That does include you. So let’s get you protected. One way or another, there’s got to be a way to gear you up so at least your useless ass is covered.”
Cody can’t hold it in, the emotional content inside too potent. At hearing this last remark from his love, and thinking on the way this Texas-bred woman continually defends her own, he loses it and busts out laughing.
Beth tries to maintain her ruffled feathers, but relents and slowly joins in the gut-burning raucous. After what seems like way too much laughter, and neither of them completely understanding what made it all so funny, they both mentally conclude that that was just what they needed.
NPC Milestone Tracking
- Beth has shown up in several postgames now, and so I’m going to go ahead and give her 5/5 credit since the player of Cody also spoke with me at length about his ideas for the character.