“Damn.” Danny muttered as he slumped down next to his team. “I feel so lazy.” The other three members of the Lantean gate team quickly agreed with him while the NEST operatives that sat nearby all looked up in confusion; they had seen the new Autobot ambassadors do the same exercises as the other soldiers.
“You know, just because we’re here doesn’t mean we have to stop our routine. Just change it a little.” Josh suggested.
“Mhm. Charlie can take care of the math part, but I think we’ll need to buy some books for the other courses. Linguistics can go on as usual.” Sam thought aloud. “That way we might not advance as fast as before, but we should not get rusty.”
“Yeah.” Charlie shuddered. “I do not want to go home and face any of our slave-drivers and tell them that we haven’t done anything.”
“Should we start now? What day is it? Thursday?” Danny’s eyes was sparkling with mirth as he voiced the suggestion. “Imagine how curious everyone will be when they don’t understand a thing we’re saying. It will be driving them nuts.” he told them in flawless Spanish, his grin widening as the others thoughts caught up with his.
“Could be fun.” Sam smirked, “But it won’t last long with the ‘bots; they can translate it online almost instantly or download a language pack.”
“Take all the fun away, don’t you.” Josh pouted pathetically while trying to contain his grin.
“You should also remember that not everyone speak only English.” Figueroa added to the conversation with a shit-eating grin. His body language telling anyone how delighted he was that there finally was someone he could speak Spanish with.
“That might be.” Sam nodded in agreement. “But we don’t speak just Spanish. Today is Thursday so that means Spanish, but tomorrow is a new day and another language. How many speak more than one language in addition to English?”
“You apparently.” Fig muttered glumly, making Sam laugh aloud.
“Where we’ve been stationed it’s a holy mix of different nationalities, some didn’t even speak very good English, so it became a bit essential to practice at least one additional language. Some of us thought it was fun and decided to continue. It was seriously hard work, but I believe it was worth it.” Sam explained before taking a bite of her food.
“So you speak a different language each day?” Fig asked amazed. “What the hell? How do you make that work?”
“It was hard as hell, I can tell you.” Charlie chuckled. “There were more than one time I wanted to quit, but the others wouldn’t let me. And yes, each weekday we speak a different language. On weekends we tend to mix it up a little or try something new. If we need to talk with someone that doesn’t speak the language of the day we switch to one they do know. But as long as we’re only talking to each other we see no problem training our skills.”
“How many languages do you understand now?” Fig asked, ignoring the attention he was getting.
“It’s different for each of us, but I guess 5-6 is the average for us. That is what we can speak and read. If you want the number of languages that we have passable understanding of you can double that number.” Danny drawled.
“Shit.” Fig cursed softly. “Which ones do you know?”
“Sorry my friend, but part of that answer is classified.” Josh smirked playfully.
“More classified than the giant alien robots?” Fig incredulously gestured outside where they could see a couple of the autobots lounging around, hinting that he was not without serious security clearance.
“Yup.” Sam grinned madly. “At least two of the languages I know is more classified than the Autobots.”
Fig stared at her in silence a long while before starting to mutter curses furiously to himself. The Lantean team shared a look before bursting into laughter.
“6457, Josh?” Danny suddenly spoke up after they had all calmed down.
“No.” the Scot answered after a pause.
“9371, Boss?” Josh asked after both men had gotten a confirmation from the Mathematician at the table.
Sam didn’t bother voicing her answer and just nodded. “5825?”
“What are you doing now?” Fig asked the nearest Lantean; Charlie.
“Just playing a game to pass the time; Prime or no prime. You should watch it, it can become very addictive.” the curly haired Mathematician answered in-between acting as a judge for his team members.
“Aunt Sammy!” a young voice yelled and interrupted the intense competition between the Lanteans and breaking the Spanish speaking people’s attention to the game.
“Princess!” Sam greeted back with a smile and opened her arms so that the six year old could jump into them. “You’re not driving your aunt or father crazy, are you?” Accusingly she pointed her finger into the young girl’s stomach.
“No.” Annabelle denied giggling as she made herself comfortable on Sam’s lap.
“She’s been an angel.” Sarah confirmed as she also sat down at the table next to Sam. The two women had met a couple of times after Annabelle ‘adopted’ Sam into the family and the two women had come long towards becoming fast friends. “She didn’t even flinch when she got her shot, unlike someone I’m not going to mention by name.”
“So big bad soldier-boys doesn’t like needles?” Sam teased lightly before refocusing her attention back at the girl in her lap that had recently received her vaccine. “You’ve been a real hero Bells. You know what? I think that deserve some of Charlie’s homemade geek ice-cream.” the last part was whispered so only the child normally could hear her, still Charlie was ready to nod in confirmation when the girl looked over at him with eyes that was filled with hope and joy.
“But that will have to be later today, after dinner.” Sam quickly explained when she noticed the girl was ready to jump up and drag them away. “Right now, my team and I have to get ready for some snake-hunting.”
“Snake-hunting?” Will inquired slowly, curious about what Sam was talking about, yet not quite willing to break the pleasant atmosphere that for once surrounded them.
“Snake-hunting.” Sam nodded, keeping her attention away from the Major. “Don’t worry, by the end of the day all snakes should be absent from NEST and all your people should be safe.” She then turned fully towards the blonde woman sitting next to her. “Are you going back to work now or?”
“Heavens no.” Sarah laughed. “I am not ready to work full time yet, and neither is Quinn I suspect. Annabelle wanted to tell you about her doctor-appointment then we’ll go back to my hubby and baby-boy.”
“Probably not a bad thing to stay home today. We’re not expecting anything to happen, but you know what they say about plans…” Sam shared a humorous smile with her team.
“Is that why you never follow them Boss?” McCoy grinned cheekily and only laughed when Sam leaned over the table to slap him.
“Do you remember seeing any snakes around here?” Will asked Epps as they walked through the base. Try as he might he could not remember encountering any of the reptiles since NEST got created. It was quite possible they existed somewhere on the island, but he had not spotted a single one, not even after purposely looking for them all day.
“Nah, not that I remember. But if there were don’t you think all the activity around here, not to mention the Autobots, would keep them away?” the other man responded after a little while, probably to search his memory to answer his friend and CO’s weird question.
“Sam said they were going snake-hunting today.” Will tried to explain his unexpected question.
“Huh. She speaking to you yet?”
“Not really.” Will sighted. “Whenever she has to interact with me she acts like a perfect soldier, when that don’t work she does her best to ignore me. I believe the only reason she answered me today was because Annabelle was with us.” Will looked down at the ground, trying to ignore the sympathetic look his old friend sent him. He was truthfully glad that Sam and his daughter liked each other, but it hurt to be the only Lennox out in the cold. Hell the only human on base out in the cold.
“She can’t be mad forever. She’ll forgive you, man. You just have to be patient.” Epps tried to comfort the Ranger.
“Oh I don’t know about that.” Will let out a humorless laugh. “She seems pretty determined to me. And we both know how stubborn she can be.”
“Maybe if you told her…” Epps never got a chance to give his advice before a window burst open and they got showered in tiny glass shards and barely managed to dodge the falling woman they had been talking about only second prior.
“Sam!” Will was the first to react as he raced towards the fallen Captain. Before he had a chance to inquire about her health a second figure emerged from the broken window, only this one did not fall; he jumped. He then fell into a heap before taking more than two steps towards the three other humans. Will could only stare speechless at the crumbled form of SAS Captain Graham, a dart sticking out of the back of his neck.
“You hurt Boss?” a Scottish drawl broke him out of his trance to notice that two of Sam’s team as well as Ratchet had showed up.
“Only my pride.” Sam grinned as she got to her feet. “This is why I don’t like plans.” she muttered before looking over at Graham. “You’ve got what you need Ratch?” Will had to blink at the nickname she had given to the ill-tempered medic.
“I don’t know what the slag it is, but I’ve got it.” the Autobot confirmed.
“Good. Hopefully you’ll never come over another case like this again, but it’s better safe than sorry. As it is, you probably should put Graham and the other two on medical leave or at least light duty. I’ve never experienced it myself, but I can only imagine what they’ll be going through. Physically they might be all right, but mentally…” Sam trailed of as she looked down at the prone form of a man Will would have gladly trusted his life with until today.
Sam then looked up and met his eyes squarely for the first time with what could only be described as sympathy and understanding. “I am sorry, but I truly can’t tell you what’s going on. It’s classified. But I can almost guarantee that someone will be here soon to explain things.”
Will stared at the woman he had met at Hoover Dam all those years ago. He had trusted her then and he had trusted her two years later when she asked him to bring NEST to Egypt. Could he trust her now? Deep down he knew the answer would always be yes. He knew she would do anything for the Autobots, even die for them, and she would never hurt anyone that did not deserve it. (And he did deserve her attitude, a part of him silently informed him, even if it was hurting.) If she was correct someone higher up would soon be in contact with him, and Ratchet seemed to know something more than him and he wasn’t freaking out. So slowly he nodded at Sam. He had put his and his men’s lives in the brunette’s hand before and he’d do it again.
“We’ll take care of them. You’ll have them back, probably by the end of the day, without a scratch.” Sam gave him a reassuring smile, a sharp contrast to the dark bruise that was already starting to form, and patted his arm before helping her team-members loading the unconscious Brit into Ratchet’s alt-mode.
“You let them go? Just like that?” Epps finally exclaimed as they watched the group vanish behind one of the Hangars NEST had out in the open.
“She might be mad at me, but I trust her.” was all Will needed to say to shut his friend up. It was all there was to say.
“I still would have liked to know what that was all about.” the soldier grumbled, as he sent a last worried look towards the buildings where Ratchet had disappeared with the humans.
“Didn’t you preach to me about patience earlier?” Just some of the humor in his voice was forced. He had let Sam go and now there were not anything he could do before he was briefed about what had happened. Best to act like everything was normal, and bantering with his friend was normal.