There was one rule for a continuing life at the Warehouse: don't touch. Artie's gruff tones barked it at them at them at least once a week - and, to be fair, it was usually deserved. Pete's interminable fidgets and childlike curiosity meant that there was very little he DIDN'T try to touch, warning or not. Claudia was always trying to improve, enhance or recreate whatever technological wonder they had uncovered this week. And Helena, well, the artificer in her just wanted to pull everything open and wonder at its insides. The only one who truly respected the 'don't touch' rule was Myka.
Which was why it was such a shock to find her in her current predicament. Later she would say that it was all Pete's fault, but since this was her usual claim for incidents of an annoying nature, no one truly gave it much heed.
As with most things within the warehouse walls, everything had started out innocently enough. Artie had gathered them around the breakfast table, issuing out assignments (for Pete, Helena, and Myka) and chores (for Claudia) in his brusque tone. It always reminded Myka of mornings with her father, the table between them littered with a defensive barrier of plates and books as he drilled her about her homework or chores. Unlike her father, however, Artie's harshness masked a twinkle of the eye, a smile hiding just around the corner that he allowed Myka, and sometimes only Myka, to see. They did not always see eye to eye, did not always agree on a wide range of issues, but Artie and Myka understood each other, and she took comfort in these morning meetings, knowing that despite his unwillingness to discuss it, Artie had taken great care in laying their days out before them.
Pete was halfway through cramming the fifth croissant into his mouth, crumbs coating his sweater as he tried, yet again, to beat his record, when Artie's arm swooped out to smack the back of Pete's head with the case folder. Claudia, who had been surreptitiously filming Pete's attempt on her phone, bounced slightly as she shoved the phone back into her pocket. Artie continued with his instructions, the move not having slowed him in the slightest.
"...can never be too careful, and Mrs. Fredericks and I agree that it would be better to have agents on the ground should something come up. The exhibit will be featuring some newly uncovered artifacts, which has us a little concerned. And besides, I think we all know that anything Egyptian warrants some watching."
"Yead," Pete said around his mouthful of pastry. "Ti uffally comes to gif uc ip te bunt."
All eyes swivelled to seek out Myka's translation, which she gave with the smallest of sighs - they had all worked with Pete for years now, surely they should be able to translate him. "It usually comes to bite us in the butt."
Artie gave a nod. "He's not wrong. Okay. Your flight leaves in three hours, all the information you need is right here, pack light."
They rose from the table, sparing a brief glance for poor Claudia, who was now left alone with Artie and his list of chores. Granted, the 'chores' she was assigned were usually more interesting than anything Myka remembers from her youth, but Artie had a dark streak and he usually included at least one task that would leave Claudia in tears of frustration. But there wasn't time to come to the girls rescue, and Helena had already slipped her arm into hers, guiding her up the stairs behind Pete to pack.