by Matt Nute



DISCLAIMER: It's all Marvel's! I'm not getting a cent! Dammit!
CONTINUITY: Somewhere between X-Force #15 and #28
ARCHIVISTS: Just ask. I'm flexible.

Rio De Janeiro International Airport

Roberto Da Costa peered at the schedule board. His business meeting had gone over smashingly, and now he was prepared to return to Camp Verde, back to X-Force.

"Roberto! They have announced the final boarding call!"

Bobby sighed. He had brought his teammate, the otherworldly warrior known as Shatterstar to Brazil with him, so as to expose the alien to more of Earth's culture. So far, the trip had been successful. As the two men boarded the airplane, Roberto turned to his companion.

"Now, 'Star, could you make sure I'm not disturbed by the stewardesses?"

Shatterstar looked confused. "Roberto, on the flight here, you received an inordinate amount of attention from the stewardesses. Did you not enjoy it?"

Roberto sighed. "Yes, 'Star, but I really need to get some sleep. Do you think you could keep them off me?"

The red-haired warrior thought, then nodded. "But what should I tell them?"

Roberto shrugged. "I don't know, make something up."

"I am a warrior born! I do not lie!"

Roberto sighed again. "Then just... interpret the truth creatively. Can you do that?"

Shatterstar thought, then nodded. "Yes. Yes, I can do that."


One hour later, at 35,000 feet


Shatterstar thumbed through the magazine in the seat pocket ahead of him. Roberto lay fast asleep with his head pressed against the window. A perky blonde stewardess walked by, then paused.

"Excuse me," she began, "but where are you and your friend headed?"

"Back to Camp Verde." replied Shatterstar.

"Oh! I'm from around there!" she squealed. "Do you think your friend would like to, well, get together after we land?" Shatterstar began to nod, then remembered his teammate's request.

"No." 'Star blurted. "He would not like to get together with you." The stewardess was taken aback.

"Oh... is he, you know...?"

Shatterstar raised an eyebrow. "I am afraid I do not know."

"Is he, you know... gay?" She pouted slightly in disappointment.

"Yes. Roberto is very gay." The stewardess pouted more severely, then trotted off. Shatterstar sat back, smiling to himself.

Ten minutes later, a brunette stewardess arrived. She leaned over close to Shatterstar.

"Do you think I could borrow your friend for a few minutes? He's really very cute." Shatterstar shook his head.

"I am afraid not. He is gay."

The stewardess was nonplussed. "That's okay. I'm sure I could... bring him around."

Shatterstar thought quickly. "That would not be a good idea. He is.. er.. he is VIP." Inwardly, the Mojoworld native congratulated himself on remembering the title Roberto had used to identify himself to people in the business meeting.

"A VIP?" the stewardess thought. "Oh... HIV. I understand." She frowned. "Too bad." She patted Shatterstar's shoulder, before making her way to the back of the plane. Confused, 'Star returned to his magazine.

About twenty minutes later, a zaftig redhead wafted up to their first-class seats.

"Look," she began, "I've got a long trip to New York after this flight, and I really would like to borrow your friend for a few minutes in the back, if you get my drift." Shatterstar shook his head.

"I'm afraid that is not possible. He has VIP."

"So I'll use double protection." she continued. "Now wake him up and get him back there." The red-haired warrior thought quickly.

"He has... other obligations." The redheaded stewardess frowned.

"Married. Why are all the cute ones married or gay?"

Shatterstar thought. "Because they cannot be both?" The stewardess let that sink in, then tromped off.


2 hours later, at the airport


Roberto stretched. He smiled as the captain gave the notice to raise all seat backs and lock tray tables for landing. The three stewardesses filed by, each giving Roberto a regretful look. Sunspot peered at his teammate.

"How did you get them to leave me alone, anyway?" he questioned. Shatterstar smiled.

"I told the first that you were a very happy person, the second that you were a very important person, and the last one that your responsibilities to the team precluded romantic entanglements."

Roberto smiled. "You know, 'Star, I think I'm going to have to bring you along on all the trips from now on."

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