Disclaimer: Threshold is not mine. Life just isn't that kind.
Author's note: I should probably reference one of the quotes I used to fanboy on the Threshold forum. It's paraphrased, but you should recognize it! This is my first attempt at a team fic- it's so much harder for me to write them all at once…
In Search of Respite
In the command center of Threshold, a highly classified set of protocols that had demanded its own clandestine headquarters upon activation, the last member of the Red Team arrived, apologizing profusely. "I'm so sorry," Lucas expressed his contrition as he hurried down the stairs. "I was just so caught up with what I was doing, it completely slipped my mind…I knew there was something- have I kept you waiting long? I was just completely distracted, I'm sorry…" he trailed off, running a hand through his dark hair, completing its descent into dishevelment.
The matter could have been laid to rest there, however, another member of the team felt inclined to comment, "He was probably playing Halo again. You, my little friend," Ramsey said, directly addressing the other man, "are totally hooked on that game- this addiction of yours is out of hand."
The portly black man cleared his throat. "Now that we are all here," Baylock began ponderously, with a meaningful look at the mathematician, causing the younger man to look down in chagrin. Unfortunately, he was not permitted to continue any further as Ramsey interrupted.
"I'm serious, it's a problem when your eyes are glued to the screen for hours on end, and your fingers twitch nervously when the joystick isn't in your grasp- haven't you heard of the dangers of repetitive strain injury?" he lectured Lucas in true dramatic fashion, his hands waving eloquently to emphasize his point.
"Ramsey, I would be delighted to enlighten you further, in fact, I am willing to loan you a sizeable amount of the literature on the subject, but for now, I think this meeting was called for a reason," Fenway said with sardonic restraint, borne of hard-endured experience with the dwarf.
The little exchange elicited an amused glance exchanged between the last two members of the circle that had formed- Molly's deep green eyes sparkled with humor and a smirk appeared on Cavennaugh's face at the cutting remark delivered to Ramsey.
"Thank you, Doctor," Baylock spoke to him but aimed his penetrating stare at Ramsey. It lacked the potent effect it had on Lucas, however, simply eliciting a shrug from the pint-sized offender. "I am ordering you all to take the next week off," Baylock told the assembled group sternly. As expected, there was immediate protest.
"I have to protest, there is a backlog of samples that are awaiting evaluation for the trials I have planned-" Fenway spoke up at once. There were clearly limits to his willingness to side with the deputy National Security Advisor.
"I'm afraid that's unreasonable," Molly said, adding her own objection. "We can't afford to take time off at this point-"
"Actually, I have to agree with them," Lucas wore an apologetic expression once more.
"Well, I don't!" Ramsey exclaimed, cheering, "Vacation time, yeah!"
Thus far, only one member of the group had remained silent, but he deliberately caught Baylock's eye. "Why now?" Cavennaugh asked the man at the center of the uproar. The proposal had left him on edge, unease visibly tensing his body as it drew his face into taut, expressionless lines.
"You all have been through a lot," Baylock said adamantly. "You're on the verge of collapse. When was the last time any of you slept? Caffrey, you wrote the protocols yourself but you're just as guilty as the rest of them when it comes to neglecting yourself in favor of work. This can't continue for much longer before the whole team falls apart. Take some time to rejuvenate yourselves, sleep off some of that nervous energy and come back when you're refreshed- because right now, the people who die from alien infection look a lot better than you," he finished bluntly.
"A week is too long," Molly said forthrightly, then injected a beseeching note into her tone as she wheedled, "Come on, we don't really need all that time off, JT…"
A mutter that may have been something along the lines of, "The hell we don't," emitted from Ramsey's general vicinity, but was quickly stifled under the combined glares from the other three men opposed to the idea. Having admitted once before that he was a lover, not a fighter, the dwarf subsided, content in the happy knowledge that once JT had spoken, it would be so.
"Give me one good reason," Baylock challenged her, spreading his hands to indicate his willingness to hear her out.
Molly exchanged glances with the others. "Well, we can probably come up with several, actually," she said with conviction. "The impending alien invasion, for one…"
"The end of the world as we know it," Fenway added, eyes mockingly glinting behind his glasses.
"The future of all mankind depends on us," Lucas said, with the eagerness reminiscent of a child aiming to please. "After all, if we don't succeed, who else is going to save them, right? So every moment we're away from here, the more we're endangering their very existence!"
"Not to mention the resources needed to provide the team with adequate protection," Cavennaugh considered the alternative aspects of the proposal. "The security detail required to oversee their safety would detract from the efficiency of the current program."
"Which is why I'm going to have to ask that you all stick together for the time that you are out of here-" renewed protests assailed his ears, as Ramsey joined with the others to baulk at the demand.
"How is it a vacation if I'm forced to stick with these guys for a week?" he complained. "They're no fun at all!" They did not even bother to glare at him, caught up in making their own cases.
"I'm not listening to any more arguments," Baylock said with an air of finality. "Since I'm not completely heartless, I'll reduce it to four days, but that's it. Now go." As they reluctantly moved towards the door, he had one final comment. "You lot have fun now…"
-end chapter one-