To squeeze all the Freelancers on the Mother of Invention into one room and not have them at each other's throats was something to be celebrated. You'd have someone bake you a cake, everyone would clap you on the back and sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fella", and the Director might even come up and shake your hand for achieving such a marvelous feat.
To squeeze all the Freelancer GIRLS into one room on the Mother of Invention and not only keep them from each others' throats but also keep the ship and its personnel in one piece…well, that had never been done before. You might get a ticker tape parade with all the military bands and have the mayor hand you the key. Or be admitted to the Justice League. Or have the Covenant declare a truce and join in the battle to destroy the Flood, who just happened to be reenacting the ballet Swan Lake. Whichever was most unlikely.
Still, by some freak of nature, there they all were. The whole ship was on high alert in case the situation switched from critical to OHMYGODWE'REALLGONNADIE! Some people on the ship thought very little on the subject. Others immediately started writing their last will and testaments or started believing in a higher power and praying for forgiveness.
Others, still, were perfectly willing to take advantage of the situation at hand.
Sure, they were never the best of friends. Actually, they would consider all others the worst of enemies (except 479er; she'd better not be your enemy, she's your ride home). Still, after a long, hard day of doing nothing but training, none of the women in the Freelancer locker rooms had the heart to swing a half-hearted fist at someone else for anything. They just wanted a shower, food, and bed, and that was what they were going for.
"Oh man, I feel like hell," Carolina moaned as she felt the warm water pour over her body in a tingling massage of water droplets.
"I feel muscles that I never knew that I had," South actually agreed for once, forcing shampoo into her hair with trembling hands to try and make her blonde hair slightly shiny with something other than sweat.
"Do you think that today would be classified as 'cruel and unusual punishment'?" Connie asked from where she was rinsing off her soapy body.
"I don't know, but I think that we should be paid overtime for this," grumbled 479er, rinsing out her pitch black hair and letting it fall against her dark-skinned back, breathing a sigh of relief. Even she had been in flight training today. Whose idea was it to have her navigating her way through a field of space junk?!
"Well, I'm just glad that today's over. None of the guys could handle any of what we took," Carolina sighed, turning off the shower and grabbing her towel right outside the curtain.
There came a slight cough from another stall, and everyone poked their heads out to see a bleary eyed Texas watching them from the last shower, her black braid hanging off her shoulder, bits and pieces coming undone. What she said next truly shocked them all.
"Aint that the truth."
Nobody would've thought, in a million years, that Texas would actually AGREE with anything that Carolina said. Connie and South, it was difficult enough to have them cooperate. Now, on the same level as they were, Texas was looked on in a slightly better light.
"Well, we don't have to worry about that now," South said while wrapping one of the plush white towels around her and tucking it in to leave her hands free. "They'll have their chance soon enough, I'm sure."
"Still, we can be a lot tougher than them if we stick together, right?" Connie piped up from where she was wrapping her hair in a towel and slipping on some flip flops. "We're like those Amazons that they always talked about on Earth, right?"
"Reminds me of one of the comic books that North reads all the time, with the superheroes. I think we're all like Wonder Woman," South said quietly. There was silence for a few moments, then some appreciative chuckles.
"I can go with something like that," Texas said from where she was slipping on a full body bathrobe over caramel skin. "We're Wonder Women."
"Don't make it sound so cheesy, please. I might just toss you off the Pelican next time," 479er grumbled, but nobody could stop smiling at the thought that they all shared something in common. In some way, they were all a Wonder Woman.
"WHAT THE HELL?! WHERE'S OUR ARMOR?" Carolina shrieked form the other room. The others all ran into the main locker room (oddly deserted) and saw that they armor they had tossed onto the benches had vanished. Their lockers also stood open at small, yet distinct angles.
"Our casuals are gone, too," 479er reported as she looked into her locker. Someone had picked the lock and taken her normal casual wear of sweatpants and t-shirt, leaving behind something lacy and something that she wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
"Well, at least I still have my secret stash," South called from where she was heading to her locker.
"What?" came a chorus of voices, and South rolled her eyes.
"I got pranked so much in basic training with panty raids while I was in the shower that I learned to keep a secret stash of clothes in my locker, and one in North's just in case." South poked her head under the main shelf of her mostly empty locker (someone had slipped in something with black satin that she would burn later), cursed, and checked her neighboring brother's locker. Completely empty, both of them.
"Someone dropped something over here," Connie called, picking up a folded piece of paper with words on the front: IF FOUND, PLEASE RETURN TO LOCKER 275. She walked over to said locker, which was closed, and looked at the name on the door. She snickered before falling into all out laughter. "Oh boy, they're in for it now!"
"Can we get over the laughs and get our armor back? I can't go walking around in…this," Tex said in disgust, holding up a skimpy French maid outfit before crumpling it up and shoving it back in her locker.
"Well, our locks were picked, South's secret clothes were stolen, we've all had something perverted stuck in our lockers, and someone just managed to drop a vital piece of evidence," Carolina mused, pulling on her own bathrobe that, thankfully, had not been stolen. Everyone stared hard at each other. Their blood was boiling again, and tensions would run high soon enough. For now, though, there was something else that needed to be addressed.
"Truce?" 479er asked the group in general, and they all shook hands.
"Truce." Carolina's face twisted into an ugly snarl. "Now, let's go get our armor back."
"Anybody got a knife?" Tex asked as they all stalked out the door in bathrobes and flip flops. "I feel like I need to review how to castrate somebody."
"We need to increase the number of simulation troopers within our program and spread out the number of bases to accommodate a more varied environment for training missions," the Counselor spoke to Director Church as they exited the command center, making notes on his trusty pad.
"We'll be setting up bases at Blood Gulch Canyon and Sidewinder. Have extra troops stationed at- what is that noise?!" the Director growled as screams and banshee shrieks reverberated through the halls. He and the Counselor had to push themselves up against the wall as five fully armored Freelancers raced through the halls, screaming and yelling at the tops of their voices. Then came four female Freelancers and a pilot without armor, dressed in the standard issue bathrobes, carrying knives and…was Carolina actually swinging a Grav Hammer?!
As soon as they had passed, the Director spoke up. "Counselor, alert the infirmary to be on high alert for any casualties."
"Shall I also alert the morgue, sir?"
"I told you this was a bad idea!"
"You didn't have to buy into it, North! You didn't have to prank your sister!"
"She needed to smile. Besides, everyone's gonna know that YOU picked the lockers, York."
"Yeah. They're also gonna know that YOU took South's secret stash of clothes and that Wyoming put in all the lingerie as an 'alternative'!"
"Why am I being dragged along with this? I DIDN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING!"
"We told you to keep watch, old chap. Hope you got a good show out of it, as well. I hope you took pictures."
"Yeah, I did. I'll sell them to you IF I'M NOT DEAD FIRST!"
"Shut up, Maine! You tipped them off by leaving behind your knitting instructions, you idiot!"
"LESS TALKING, MORE RUNNING!"
"Yes, I'd rather not be castrated today, thank you very much."
"YORK, WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU, YOU'RE GONNA WISH THAT YOU'D NEVER BEEN BORN!"
"We regret nothing! We've lived as few men have dared to dream!"
Big shoutout to Petchricor, who posted the fanfiction challenge that inspired this story. Hope you enjoyed!