Let the Games Begin
a Primeval fanfic by phoebenpiper
[Author's note: This is a sequel to "Bend It Like Becker", but you needn't have read it to understand this story. I started this awhile ago, so I hope to update with a new chapter about every four days or so. Enjoy!]
Chapter 1 - BREAKING BAD NEWS
"Jess," Abby said as she approached the hub, a look of concern on her face. "I'm afraid I have some bad news."
Jess spun around in her chair, her heart instantly racing. She hated when people prefaced their comments with such a statement - she'd much prefer they simply get on with the bad news instead of allowing her time to imagine scenarios of her own, for she was brilliant at coming up with potential bad news: Rex was sick. The coffee machine in the canteen had broken down again. Becker was cancelling their date for tonight!
By the time Abby actually continued a split second later, Jess had come up with zillions of even WORSE scenarios, thankfully none of which were true.
"It seems Connor and I won't be signing the papers for our new place today. Apparently our estate agent has decided to delay our closing so that he can rent it out to foreigners for the Olympics. Can you believe that a three-week Olympic rental is as much as our entire down payment? It's insane! So I guess I can't really blame him, but still, it's not exactly fair, not to us and especially not to you, since now you're stuck with us for awhile longer."
Abby stopped, as if she were finished.
"So," Jess prompted anxiously, "what's the bad news?"
Abby laughed. "That was it. Connor and I won't be moving out till the end of August."
Jess breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, that's not so bad. You know I love having you two as roomies, or I else would've kicked you out ages ago."
Abby shrugged. "I know. But I'm sure you'd like to be rid of us. Especially now that you and Becker are..."
She trailed off suggestively, causing Jess to blush. She and Becker had only been out on a few dates thus far, but Abby was constantly apologising for her and Connor being around. Jess didn't really mind - she wanted to take things slowly with Becker, and seeing as how it'd taken him two years to finally ask her out, he didn't really have any room to complain! But she wasn't about to go into such details about her love life, not with Abby anyway.
"I've told you before, it's not a big deal," Jess said vaguely. "If Becker and I want some privacy, we can always go over to his flat. Besides, it's not as if it's going to matter anyway, since he's leaving town tomorrow."
"Becker, too?" Abby asked - clearly it was the first she'd heard of it.
Jess nodded. "Estate agents aren't the only ones cashing in on the Olympics, you know. It's crazy how much money he's getting for his tiny single bedroom. Besides, he's using it as an excuse to go stay with his parents. First proper holiday he's taken since starting at the ARC, you know."
"Oh yes, I forgot to ask. So how was his dad's retirement ceremony anyway?" Abby gave a knowing smile, leaning in to ask more quietly, "And by ceremony, of course I really mean how did Becker look in his dress uniform?"
Jess flashed on the image and could feel her cheeks instantly going red.
"That good, huh?" Abby teased.
"You can't even imagine," Jess said, smiling dreamily.
"Oh no, I can," Abby said. "Though photos would be nice."
Jess nodded. "Yeah, sorry, I didn't have time to download them when I got back last night, but as soon as we get home this afternoon I'll-"
Jess turned to where Lester had barked her name from the door of his office. "Yes?" she replied cheerily, despite her guv'nor's grumpy tone.
"Contact all senior staff and tell them to meet in my office immediately." And with that he went back inside and slammed the door.
"Somehow," Jess said, turning towards Abby, "I get the feeling HIS bad news is going to be ACTUAL bad news!"
As the senior staff poured into Lester's office, Becker frowned. He still wasn't quite sure when exactly Emily had become "senior staff". The new ARC's policy was to only hire military personnel, and clearly Emily didn't qualify. And whilst Abby and Connor had gotten around that rule by being grandfathered in, Becker knew for a fact that Emily hadn't been previously employed by the ARC, as it didn't even exist during Victorian times.
Not that Becker minded having Emily on the team. She was fearless and resourceful and a surprisingly good shot, especially considering her upbringing. But Becker guessed that her presence on the team had less to due with those admirable qualities and more to do with her relationship with the team leader.
If "relationship" were even the correct term for it. Becker was infinitely perplexed at what exactly was going on between the pair. Clearly they liked each other, or else Matt never would've brought her back to this time. Ever since her return, Emily had been staying at Matt's flat, and the couple were even going away on holiday together. Yet, according to Jess, the two weren't sharing a bed. Perhaps that explained why Matt seemed so cranky of late.
It certainly explained Becker's crankiness. As he watched Jess enter Lester's office in yet another teasingly-short skirt, Becker gave a frustrated sigh, thinking about their impending date tonight. However, he didn't have much time to dwell on all the things that he and Jess probably WOULDN'T be getting up to tonight because Connor, entering the office last, shut the door just as Lester began the meeting.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news," their guv'nor began, and Becker was amused to hear Jess's annoyed sigh, knowing how much she despised the phrase. Lester, however, simply went on, "I just got off the phone with the Minister."
"PLEASE don't tell us he's signed us up for another footy match," Connor whined. "I've barely recovered from the last one as it is."
Lester shook his head. "I'm afraid it's far worse than that. The Minister, in his infinite wisdom, has spontaneously decided, as of today, that the upcoming Olympic Games present a huge security risk for the country. As such, he doesn't want to leave anything to chance, and thus he's sent down orders that all ARC personnel must report to work for the entire three-week period."
A general outcry sounded throughout the room.
"So our holiday's cancelled," Emily stated more than asked, looking none too pleased.
Lester nodded. "Everyone's are, I'm afraid. The Minister has insisted that, barring your own deathbed, everyone is to be at work every day...or possibly night. It seems he also wants the ARC fully staffed at nights and weekends instead of the usual skeleton crew, just in case of emergency." Lester looked to Jess to add, "I'll need you to come up with a schedule for everyone - I trust you can work one out."
Jess nodded, but Becker barely noticed as he was merely seeing red.
"And the Minister waited until today to announce this WHY?" Becker growled - leave it to a bureaucrat to wait until the last minute!
"Yeah, earlier would've been appreciated," Matt said placidly. "Our reservations are non-refundable."
Non-refundable reservations were the least of their problems! They were being enslaved, forced into service at the last minute per the Minister's whim, yet no one seemed that upset. What the hell was wrong with everyone? Why weren't the others fighting this?
"This is ridiculous!" Becker raged. "My bag's packed; I'm off first thing tomorrow. He can't do this to us!"
"He can, and he has," Lester said calmly.
"What's he going to do - hunt us down and drag us back in chains? We can't force us to work. Besides, where the hell am I supposed to stay?"
"LOOK!" Lester snapped, causing everyone to jump. "We're all in the same boat here! So rage all you want, but it's not going to help!" Under his breath, he added, "Believe me, I've tried."
Becker was shaking with fury, but he knew from Lester's comment that it was hopeless. Knowing their guv'nor, he'd surely done his best for them, and clearly he'd lost. There was nothing to be done now but accept it.
But it didn't mean Becker had to be happy about it!
to be continued