The story so far:
Two weeks later
Jack was lying awake in bed despite being completely exhausted. Every time she drifted off she would be woken up by Kate jolting awake from a nightmare. Kate would sit up, wipe the sweat from her brow, look around and then fall back asleep. Jack wasn’t so lucky. The next time Kate stirred Jack sat up and shook Kate’s shoulder from the next bed over. Kate’s hand snapped up and clenched Jack’s wrist in a vice grip. Two weeks ago Jack would have yelled and been powerless to stop her. Now, she gritted her teeth and wrenched Kate’s hand off of hers, waking Kate fully.
“What the **** are you doing?” Kate asked in a whisper, trying not to wake Iris or Emily.
“You were having a nightmare,” Jack said.
“Jack, I always have nightmares,” Kate said, rubbing her forehead.
“Yeah, I know…” Jack replied. “They were keeping me up.”
“Sorry,” Kate said. “I’m usually not loud.”
“No, it’s just… when did they start?”
“****, Jack, we have to be up in two hours and you want to talk to me about my sleeping habits?” Kate sighed.
“I just want to know when I’m going to start having them, that’s all,” Jack shot back. Kate looked up at Jack with a softer expression.
“Jack… I have nightmares because I’ve killed a lot of people. I don’t regret what I’ve done. I know I’ve saved lives by ending others. I just have nightmares. It goes with the territory.”
“Yeah, but… Are they bad?” Jack asked.
“Not as bad as the real thing. Now, please for the love of God, go back to sleep,” Kate said, lying back down. Jack nodded and went back to bed.
“Hey Jackie?” Iris called from her bed. “Drinking helps.”
“So does sex,” Emily chimed in.
“Jesus, Em, if you mention sex one more time I’ll kill you myself,” Kate said.
“Been awhile?” Emily laughed.
“Go to **** sleep!”
The narrow bunk room went silent yet again as the four slept. For two weeks they had done nothing but train. They fought, they listened to radio transmissions, they learned interrogation techniques and how to break into buildings. They ate together, they slept together and they worked together nonstop but they still weren’t a team. Gibson was about to change that.
Eight Marines in tactical black entered the bunk room. Two approached each bed, with one covering the other while they bent down to drug their target. Jack’s eyes flew open when she felt a hand on her wrist. Before the Marine could react she had thrown a palm strike directly into his nose with a sickening crunch.
“Yo!” Jack yelled, waking the other team members. Within a second Iris had kicked her attacker in the head, Emily had wrenched the Marine forward and had him by his collar and Kate had pulled a knife and had placed the blade under her Marine’s throat. The other four Marines rushed forward. Jack stood on her mattress to kick her attacker in the chest, knocking him over. Iris reached under her pillow for her pistol and casually pointed it at the remaining Marine while the other two stood down.
“You **** just can’t let us sleep can you?” Kate growled, her knife still under the Marine’s throat.
“God damn it, stand down, Mitchell,” Phillips ordered from beside her bed.
“I will when you bastards promise not to try to kidnap us anymore,” Kate said. “Sound fair to you guys?”
“Exceptionally,” Iris said, still pointing her gun. Emily stayed silent; her hand clenched around her Marine’s shirt, her eyes locked with his in the darkness. Jack remained standing on her mattress, panting.
“I don’t have a problem with letting them live… if they promise not to come back,” Jack said.
“Em? Em!” Kate yelled, snapping Emily out of a haze.
“You blokes better get out of here,” she whispered, releasing her grip. Stone, her Marine with the thick Southern accent, backed away with a gulp, rubbing the back of his neck. The eight Marines left the room, some of them walking and some of them hobbling or being carried. With a deep breath Kate clicked her knife shut as Iris replaced her gun under her pillow.
“****…” Kate gasped after a moment of silence. Jack lied back down and checked her pulse; she was surprised to find it fairly even.
“Christ, Em, I thought you were going to have your wicked way with Stone,” Iris laughed.
“Who says I wasn’t?” Emily replied, turning on her side. “I’ll be glad when we get out of here.”
“Why’s that? Besides the obvious lack of sleep, shitty food, daily beatings and intense work that is,” Jack sighed.
“So I can have my wicked way with Stone of course,” Emily laughed.
“For the record, Marines make shitty boyfriends,” Kate said.
“Who said anything about a boyfriend?” Emily said.
“For the record,” Kate repeated.
“Noted,” Iris and Jack replied. They were all settling back down when the lights were turned on, flooding them in harsh white light. Gibson stood in the door way, waiting.
“**** you Gibson,” Kate sighed, sitting up. “We have thirty minutes.”
“Not today you don’t. I hear you were just victim of a failed kidnapping attempt.”
“Yes, you ****; you orchestrated it,” Kate said.
“Indeed. I did not expect it to fail, however. Nice work.”
“Thanks, go away,” Jack sighed, punching her pillow.
“I’m here to inform you that you four just passed your review. Your team is operational. You’ll be returning to the bungalow this morning to be briefed by your superiors and then you will go black until called upon,” Gibson said, smiling.
“Seriously? There’s no way we’re ready yet,” Jack said.
“Shut up, Jack,” Kate shot back. “We’ll be ready to go in thirty.”
“Roger that,” Gibson said, leaving the room. Kate jumped out of bed and yelled out of sheer happiness.
“Oh thank God! Finally, we get to do some real work!” Kate said, opening her footlocker.
“I don’t think we’re ready,” Jack mumbled, swinging her legs out of bed.
“Jack, two weeks ago did you know how to break a man’s neck in one move?” Iris asked.
“Did you know how to pick a lock, get a weapon through airport security, or check a room for bugs?” Iris continued.
“Well you do now, and that’s twice as much as I knew when I started at MI6. You’ll be fine,” Iris finished, stretching her arms out above her head. Jack nodded.
“I thought you were born knowing how to break a man’s neck, Iris?” Kate smiled.
“Well, yeah, but I come from odd stock. I’m sure you were born knowing how to swear and pass random drug tests,” Iris replied.
“**** yeah,” Kate laughed. “And Emily knew how to have her wicked way with poor Marines.”
“Not just Marines,” Emily said, pulling her pants on. “Seriously, Jack, you’ve blown up a building on one of America’s most prestigious universities and you didn’t get caught. Being a spy is cake compared to that.”
“It was an accident,” Jack said.
“Yeah, yeah,” Kate said.
“Oh Kate, I’m supposed to remind you to **** murder your sister,” Iris said.
“Oh I remembered…”
Fran and Kelly sat on the terrace drinking in the morning sun coming off of the ocean. They sipped their drinks in companionable silence, expecting another day of logistical Hell.
“Did you get the passports taken care of?” Kelly asked.
“Yes, three for each of them, all different nationalities, just like you asked.”
“And they’re in the safety deposit boxes?” Kelly asked.
“Yes. One in Austin, one in New York and two in London, just as requested,” Fran sighed in frustration. “And yes, all of the bank employees are ours.”
“And you set up the secure internet connections and got them the cell phones?”
“For Christ’s sake, Kelly, yes! I have done this before, you know?”
“Sorry… When the hell is Gibson going to call?” Kelly asked, taking out her cell phone.
“When he’s good and ready,” Kate said from the doorway, making Fran drop her cup of tea in shock. Kelly whipped around to face Kate, utterly stunned.
“How did you…?” Kelly asked.
“Spy,” Kate said, pointing to herself. “That and Gibson gave me a key. He wanted me to pass on a message.”
“Which is?” Kelly asked, standing.
“This team is operational,” Kate said, her green eyes gleaming.