ande slugged the guy knocking him back against the wall.  Being a farm boy from Arkansas, tough, patriotic, hell-bent to win - but quite unpolished in the art of self-defense, Trent quickly regained his footing and balance and was all over the aggressor."

Jesse had advanced into another story about the Fightin' 9's and he held his audience spellbound.  Most of them had never heard these stories and it was only by chance that Amy caught a hint of something had happened between Beau and Xande.  Over the noise of the plane she hadn't even heard the conversation between Beau, General Philbin or Xande.

He paused a minute to make sure everyone was listening as he stated those facts - then began again.

"Xande was no whimp himself and being much more educated in the art of fisticuffs than just plain old courtesy was waiting on Trent.  He easily slipped into the roundhouse Trent was sending his way.  Had Trents punch contacted, it would have rang Xandes bell, probably knocking him out.  Instead, Xande went low allowing the momentum of Trents bulk to carry him over on his back on the floor."

"That's the end of this big old farm boy" Xande thought as he slipped under the punch.  But he would learn it was quite a different story than he had figured.  Trent was big, powerful, strong as a bull from bucking hay since his pre-teens, and although he didn't look it, he was quicker on his feet than anyone could have guessed."

"On his way over he was able to catch Xande by his left leg near the crotch.  With a hand about the size of a bear paw and strong as a vice, he squeezed and yanked hard pulling Xande on top of him as his own back hit the floor.  Xande was in trouble!  Had he landed on top of Trent eyeball to eyeball, Trent would have simply lost an eye or had his Adams apple smashed."

"As it was, he landed on top of Trent at angle allowing the bigger guy to get a bear hug with one arm around his neck and one arm between his legs.  He bent Xande enough to lock his hands together taking his breath.  Trent was nigh on to breaking his back when a voice thundered "stand down soldier!  Cease and desist immediately or I'll have you planting cigarette butts in six foot holes for a year!"

Instantly Trent relaxed his hold on Xande who was quickly up and in stance for another attack.  The voice thundered again "that means both of you."

It was at that moment General Barlow Winchester Bradsher III happened by the mess hall.

Lt. Larry Lepoy was just getting into a genuine military dressing down for the men when he spied the General through the glass of the mess hall door, then saw the door as it opened.  Instantly he stopped mid-sentence and yelled: "Atten-hut!"

Quickly and side by side both men stood at attention facing Lt. Lepoy also at attention.  The door pushed wide open and General Bradsher briskly walked in pacing up to face the Lt. who'd broken up the fight.  He was standing stiff at attention facing Xande and Trent.  The rest of the men in the room were standing in little groups scattered around the mess hall, having come to attention where they were."

"Lt., do you want to share with me the meaning of this?  Have you learned what these men were fighting about?" the General asked.

"I am not privy to this information at the moment Sir!  But give me ten minutes and I'll learn the reason for this outrageous event, take appropriate action and report back Sir!"

"Very well.  Carry on."

"Yes Sir!  Baldwin and Thrasher.  Report to the brig in three minutes.  That is if you can display any kind of self restraint and professionalism.  If not, I'll lend a hand and have you both in stocks within the quarter.  Do you understand?"

"Yes Sir!" both men said together.

Obviously satisfied that Lt. Lepoy could and would handle the matter quickly and efficiently, General Bradsher then turned and strode out of the mess hall.

"At ease men.  "Baldwin - Thrasher.  Dismissed" said Lt. Lepoy.

Both men snapped a salute, and turned away to leave the mess.  "By the way Thrasher.  Why were you fighting with your fellow soldier?" Lt. Lepoy asked.

"Sir, I don't know why the runt slugged me" turning to look at Xande.  "Ask the new guy."

Lt. Lepoy followed Trents gaze, then said "well?"

"Sir, the jolly green giant here was talking trash about the White House.  He called it the Out House.  I had to stand up for my country sir!"

The whole crowd roared with laughter as Xande turned red and acted like he was ready to take on every one there.  "That's why you slugged me?  You've got a lot to learn runt!  By the way, my name is Trent Thrasher" he said as he held out his hand.

"First, my name is not runt, and if you call me that again I'll slug you again only this time I'll mean it!" Xande snapped.

Trent threw back his head and laughed his deep Arkansas laugh.  "Hurt me?  Why I was about to break you in half, and you was gonna hurt lil' ol' ME?!?  So, what is your name runt?"

Xande stood there looking through cold dark eyes narrowed to a slit.  "My name is Alexander Baldwin.  You may call me Alexander, or Alec.  And what do you mean calling the White House the Out House?" he finished.

"General Bradsher deemed it the Out House since obama has been spreading so much manure in it.  Kind of fits doesn't it?" Lt. Lepoy asked.

"Well, since you put it that way, I guess I owe you an apology.  I apologize dude" responded Xande shaking Trents hand.

"Well, since you two guys have become such good friends, strike the trip to the brig and let's have some chow.  By the way, Sandy, you and Trent are going to be working side by side as we make the Dash.  Stow your gear and report back for chow.  Dismissed" finished Lieutenant Lepoy as Xande and Trent saluted.

Trent and Xande turned to each other and Trent said "Sandy, I'm going to have to report to the dentist.  I think you may have broken one of my teeth accidentally.  If you can't hit any harder than that, I'll have to make sure you get plenty of beans and taters and lots of hard work and training.  You can barely swing!  We've got to get you ready for the Dash."

"Ai yai yai senor" Xande said as he rolled his eyes.  Then he just turned away and headed out the door with his duffel bag on his shoulder.

"So what do you think Thrasher?" Lt. Lepoy asked.

"Sure got a whallop for such a little guy" responded Trent.  "He'll do in a pinch."

"Well you make sure he's up to speed.  We can't have him screwing up the Dash!"

mma fight

"Yes sir" Trent responded.  He saluted and ambled out the door in his casual walk.  Instead of calling his new buddy Alec, he called him Xande, (or Sandy) - and it stuck.  So from then on everybody called him that.  Even referring back to past incidents, if you mentioned Xande, it was immediately known who you were speaking of.

Generals Bradsher and Turschak both dearly loved the sport of boxing.  Even better they like the sport called Mixed Martial Arts.  Having not seen the original fight between Beau and Xande, they'd conversed about it being somewhat of what is seen in wire cages.

In the picture at left Junior dos Santos, in white shorts, and Shane Carwin, in black shorts, square off in a MMA fight at the main event of UFC 131 in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 11, 2011

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts.  The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993.Wikipedia

While neither of them said it out loud, they were both thinking it might be some very good entertainment for the men if they could get all of the groups together.  The question is, would Commander Travis sanction it?  And, would Beau consider it?  From what they'd heard of the fight, it really wasn't much of a fight.  Who knew Beau could move like that?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Chapter IX