Title: Nine Men and a Baby
Plot, or Lack Thereof: The Sniper and his teammates suddenly find themselves having to play parent.
Reason for Banishment: Ran out of steam

As Christmas break drew to a close, the team trickled back one by one, each of them showing off the assortment of presents and care packages they received from their loved ones, ranging from clothes and books to toys and gadgets.

The Sniper was the last to report in—or, rather, a temporary substitute did, while the man himself failed to show or even send word. Headquarters likewise refused to comment; the Spy, who prided himself on getting first-hand classified information, could find little more than some oblique references to an “extended medical leave”. Speculation—and the subsequent betting pool—grew by the day. Even the Engineer, who was the closest to the Sniper, started wondering if their somewhat aloof gunman had at long last abandoned civilization altogether.

Then, one morning, the team came downstairs to the mess hall for breakfast and found the Sniper sitting at one of the tables as if he’d always been there, except now he was doting over a bundle of cloth in his arms.

The Scout, as always, was the first to react. “Holy crap, the Sniper’s kidnapped some chick’s baby!”

The Engineer gave the Scout a knuckle tap to the back of his head. “None ‘a yer sass, boy.” He approached the Sniper, peering over the other man’s shoulder at the bundle. “If ya knocked tha dame up, ya at least shoulda good by her n’ marry her.”

“Her mum wasn’t even going t’ tell me,” the Sniper muttered. “Caught th’ bint tryoing t’ give our flesh and blood t’ an orphanage.”

The Medic, meanwhile, was staring as if the Sniper had grown a second head. “Zis iz unacceptable! A warzone iz no place for an infant!”

The Sniper glared back. “You think I don’t know that, Doc? But wot was I supposed t’ do, let some total strangers raise my little girl? B’sides, the ‘igher ups don’t ‘ave a problem with this as long as it doesn’t affect my performance, so woi should you?”

The Soldier likewise had a scowl on his face. “You’d better not be asking us to babysit while your lazy ass is parked in some tower.”

“‘f course I won’t. Wot kind of parent do you take me for?”

The Spy, meanwhile, was peering into the Sniper’s backpack. “One who does not understand zee difference between reading a book and actually changing a diaper.”

The Sniper was trying to keep his expression neutral, but his eyebrow began to twitch. “I know ‘ow t’ change a diaper! I’ve been doing it for the past month!”

“Ya cleaning out all the little folds between her legs n’ stuff?” the Scout interjected. “D’ya burp her after she’s done eating? Can ya tell what she wants when she gets fussy?” Then, when he realized that all eyes were staring at him, he crossed his arms. “What? I got a lot of nieces and nephews.”