Disclaimer: I do not own GI Joe.
Beachhead, Shipwreck, and Ripcord settled into their seats on the plane, waiting for their pilot. Ace arrived shortly, slightly out of breath as he got into the cockpit.
"Sorry about that, just got back from bringing in a team and was notified that I had another. Where we headed?"
"The Hermanos Serdan International Airport in Puebla, Mexico," grumbled Beachhead, half-asleep.
Ace nodded, flipping several switches and getting ready to take off. "Arrangements already taken care of?"
"Yeah, got a place to store the plane, car rental set up to get from the airport to the hotel, hotel's within walking distance of the library. Lady Jaye has everything set for us. Said we are going to some library to look at a specific book. We even get a translator lady," said Ripcord.
"Well then, thank you for choosing Air Ace. Make sure all seat trays are in the upright position and electronics are turned off. Remember, any turbulence is not the fault of your pilot, but of your local Cobra population. Annnnd we're off."
"Say Ace, have ya heard what the latest mission is?" asked Shipwreck.
"I got the gist of it. Something about Father Time being real and Cobra wanting to kill him or whatever."
"Yeah, pretty much it. There a pool on if it's real or not yet? 'Cause my money's on it being real."
"Awk! Waste of money, sailor. Waste of money," Polly squawked, coming through faintly on the headsets.
"No, but then again, I didn't exactly have time for anyone to stop me and ask. How much money do you want to lose this time, 'Wreck?"
"Shipwreck, you are seriously crazy if you think any of this shit is real," said Ripcord.
"Put me down for fifty."
"And put me down for fifty on it being not real, Ace."
"Alright, got you both down."
"Ah didn't just hear none of ya'll betting," Beachhead said, cracking open an eye to look at Shipwreck and Ripcord.
"No, of course not Beachhead. Not betting, we were just, uh, discussing the mission. Just go back to sleep," said Shipwreck.
"Back and fill, sailor! Back and fill."
"Aw, shut up you stupid bird."
They parked in the pale yellow parking garage across the street from the hotel. "I'll get us checked in and catch some shut-eye while you go deal with the library thing," Ace said, yawning.
"Sure you don't want to come? Probably be the only chance to see any part of the city while we are here," inquired Ripcord.
"As nice as that sounds, I've been flying for 12 hours. It's time to crash."
They walked out of the garage, squinting at the sunlight bouncing off the building in front of them.
"At least we can't miss the hotel. Nice bright nautical colors," commented Shipwreck.
"Awk! Only one on the block!"
"Bird's right, for once," Shipwreck said.
"More than you. Awk!"
"Good point, Polly," said Ripcord.
"Can't believe I'm getting ganged up on by two bird-brains," retorted Shipwreck.
"Can the chatter. Ace, be expecting mah call later, so we know where our rooms are. Let's get going," Beachhead ordered, starting towards the library.
They actually passed the library several times without realizing it. Ripcord found the sign to the library and they stood in front of the building for a minute or two looking at it. The door was made out of planks of wood and large steel rivets, making the library hard to find, since several other buildings had the same type of door. The only difference was the large and ornate gray brickwork surrounding it.
Ripcord scratched his head. "Wow, that's a lot different from every library I've ever seen. Never seen the entrance right on the street, it's usually steps or a big area with a lot of plants before you get to the door."
"Since when do you visit the library, airhead?" asked Shipwreck.
"Ha ha, you are so funny."
"Ya'll just shut the fuck up, already, gawd," Beachhead said, irritated. He walked in and the other two followed.
They were greeted not more than a few feet from the door. "Welcome to the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the oldest library in the Americas."
"Uh, we don't speak Spanish," said Shipwreck.
The greeter looked at them for a moment and then pointed at them and then to another door.
"I suppose he wants us to go through that door," stated Ripcord.
"No shit, you fuckin' Sherlock," Beachhead growled as they started walking towards the door.
"Jeeze, Beachhead. What the hell is your problem today?" asked Ripcord
"Ah, he's just not happy 'cause there isn't any mud for him to be in," joked Shipwreck.
"Ah swear, if'n you two pogues don't shut the fuck up, Ahm gonna have you scrubbin' mah office with the tiniest bristle brushes Ah can come up with."
"That's an unusual threat, Señor," said the woman sitting at a desk in the room they had just entered. She was a fairly tall and dark Mexican woman, with light brown eyes and a wide smile.
"Sorry about our friend, Ma'am, he's just in a really bad mood today. The, uh, man at the door pointed us in this direction. I don't suppose you know where we could find, uh-" Ripcord tried remembering whom it was they were supposed to meet.
"Translator Estella Ortega, airhead. And she's right in front of us," said Shipwreck.
"That is correct, Señor. How may I help you?"
"We're here to look at the one of the incunabula, the one with the Father Time story in it," said Beachhead.
Estella looked over the men in front of her. "Are you perhaps the gentlemen Lady Jaye said she would be sending?"
All three men answered at the same time. "Yes, Ma'am."
"You are not quite what I was expecting, Señores, however, welcome to the Biblioteca Palafoxiana." She got up and walked around the desk. "Please, if you would follow me, I have the room already set up."
The three men followed her out of the room. She said something to the greeter and then continued walking. They passed through a huge room with white curved ceilings and wall-to-wall wooden bookcases. The middle of the room had several tables roped off. At the end of the room, there was an ornate gold piece with columns and other carvings that framed two pictures. Estella slowed down so the men could get a closer look at it. It was one of their biggest and most famous pieces of art.
She finally led them down several hallways until they got to the room she had set aside. She unlocked the door, allowing them to go in first. "This, Señores, is one of the special rooms we set aside to view the older works. It is specially designed to combat the humidity in this part of Meheco."
"Meheco?" asked Shipwreck.
"Do you speak Spanish, Señor?"
"Eh? Not really, but I wouldn't mind learning from someone as beautiful as you."
Estella giggled, "You are such a flatterer, Señor."
She put on a pair of disposable gloves she pulled out of the box hanging on the wall next to the door and walked over to the book on the table. There were several chairs there and she took one and motioned for the three men to take the others.
"Your Lady Jaye, she said you were looking into the concept of Father Time. I recommended this particular book because it contains a short story about the origin of Father Time that was written back in the fifteenth century." There was a laptop beside the book and she pulled up a word document. "I have been working on getting it translated, but there is still one more page. I can have it done by tomorrow, Señores."
Beachhead moved towards book. "Please, Señor, do not touch the book without putting on gloves first. The oils in the skin can damage the pages!" she exclaimed.
"Ah'll make sure there is extra mud in mah office, if you finish that sentence," Beachhead interrupted, glaring at Ripcord.
"So then, maybe we should just let you be and come back tomorrow?" asked Shipwreck.
"Yes, Señores, that would be most helpful."
The Joes got up, Shipwreck getting up last and whispering in the librarian's ear. She smiled and nodded. "I can walk you out if you wish, Señores," she offered.
"Nah, that's alright, doll, we can find our way back out," Shipwreck said, winking.
The next morning, Beachhead woke up alone in the room he was supposed to be sharing with the sailor. He went through his normal morning routine and then went to check up on the other two members of the team in the next room.
"Wake up, ya fuckin' pogues," Beachhead said, throwing pillows at both men. "Anyone hear from Shipwreck?"
Ripcord grumbled under his pillow, "Got a text from him. Said to not wait up for him, he's staying with that library chick."
"And good morning too you to, Beach," mumbled Ace.
"Well, text that pogue back and tell him to get his gawddamn ass back here."
While they waited for Shipwreck to come back, they ordered breakfast. They were just finishing when he arrived.
"Hey! You didn't save any breakfast for me," Shipwreck said indignantly.
Ripcord finished licking the jam off his fingers. "No, figured you ate already." Ace snorted.
"Why would you think that?" Shipwreck asked, as he tried swiping the last piece of toast. Beachhead grabbed it at the same time and glared at Shipwreck, who quickly let go of it.
"Now that you're done getting friendly with the locals, want to tell us how much longer we are going to be delayed before we get that translation?" snarled Ace.
"No delay, sheesh. She got some help yesterday and finished it before she left for the evening. We can go pick it up whenever we want. Oh, and I found out something else interesting. Seems Cobra has been here looking for the same information."
"What?!" exclaimed Ripcord.
"Yeah, apparently they came and requested scans of the same story a few days ago. They didn't want to wait for her to translate it."
"How do you know it was Cobra?"
"She asked me why so many people are suddenly interested in the same specific story."
"Ah hope you didn't let anything important slip," Beachhead growled.
"I'm hurt that ya would think that, Beachhead."
"Awk! Gear adrift, sailor. Gear adrift."
Shipwreck muttered "Stupid bird," before continuing. "I didn't tell her anything, just asked if the other group was wearing a specific symbol or anything special. She described Cobra's symbol perfectly."
"Alright, 'Wreck and Ripcord, you two go get that translated story while Ace and Ah get everything cleaned up and ready to go here.
"Library doesn't open for another four hours, Beachhead."
"I'd like to be back at base for more than fifteen minutes. The earlier we leave, the better, so go get your girlfriend to open the damned thing up or get it for you," Ace growled.
"Wow, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed," Shipwreck said as he shut the door, narrowly missing the pillow that Ace had thrown at him. There was a soft thump as it hit the door and then again, when it fell to the floor. Shipwreck grinned as Ripcord shook his head at him.
Author's Note: Italics are another language. I base my Beachhead off of WillWrite4fics' Beachhead (cause hers is awesome). Mexicans pronounce the x as an h. That is actually taken from a conversation I had with one of my customers once. They said it and I repeated it just to try it out and they asked me if I spoke Spanish. Unlike Shipwreck's answer, mine was a simple no. Back and fill means (according to internet) to act indecisively; to change one's direction repeatedly; to reverse one's course. (Originally nautical, referring to trimming the sails so as to alternately fill them with wind and release the wind, in order to maneuver in a narrow space.) Gear adrift is a term (according to wiki) that basically means (1) (said when there is) loose or unsecured gear or equipment. (2) (said of) an incompetent sailor, one who has a screw loose.