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Chaos fic: Five Lessons Rick Learns (1/1)

June 10th, 2011 (08:03 am)
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Title: Five Lessons Rick Learns (And One He Doesn't)

Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: My muse continues to be stuck here. Thanks to geminigrl11  for the beta. Remaining typos and unrealistic situations are entirely my own.

Summary: Rick's always been an apt student in everything he does.



1. Be Prepared

Casey is always looking to impart some kind of knowledge to Rick. Random, morbid, and often difficult to apply, the lessons are seemingly offered in contexts that only make sense to Casey's demented mind.

"What if that woman down on the street corner started giving birth, right now," Casey says, nodding to the street corner just down the way from their cafe table. They're doing recon in Mumbai and after nearly thirty minutes with no action of any sort, this is the first comment Casey comes up with. "What would you do?"

Rick looks and sees the pregnant woman. Like most of the local population, she's Indian, the baby bump unmistakable under her loose-fitting sari. Shrugging, Rick looks back at Casey. "I have no idea."

Casey is disappointed. "You have no idea? How can you have no idea?"

Rick shrugs, helplessly this time. "It doesn't seem relevant to the mission," he says.

"So you'd just leave some helpless woman to endure the throes of early labor by herself?" Casey asks, incredulously. "What are you, a Neanderthal?"

Rick gapes at him a little. "I just can't be prepared for every possible contingency, especially when it isn't going to impact the mission."

Casey shakes his head, making a tsking noise. "And you call yourself a CIA agent."

Rick rolls his eyes. "Oh, come on. What would you do?"

Casey doesn't hesitate. "I'd go over and help her to a more secure location. Women of this culture value privacy and I'd be sure to provide her that. Next, I'd use my contacts to secure a trusted local doctor or midwife to help complete the delivery. If no such person could be found, I would coach her through the birthing process and use a sterilized blade to sever the cord. Mother to child heat would be the most appropriate way to keep the child warm until help arrived."

Rick is a little too stunned to counter him at first. Truthfully, he's not sure what's more disturbing: that Casey would know anything about childbirth or that he would presume to offer assistance in such a situation. "But what about the mission?" he finally manages.

"Sometimes the mission is simply doing the right thing," Casey says. He dabs his mouth with his napkin. "Now, let's go. It's showtime."

Rick frowns, moving to follow Casey even though he doesn't know why. By the time he gets to his feet, the woman on the street corner has bent over with pain and Casey is there, offering her a hand.

A few hours later, when they're in the woman's apartment assisting the midwife, Casey introduces Rick to the woman formally. She is so grateful for their help that she insists they stay to meet her husband for some form of repayment. When the husband happens to be their latest mark in the investigation, it's all Rick can do to maintain his cover as they are invited to an exclusive party on the man's yacht the next night.

As they exit the house to meet up with Michael and Billy to report their coup, Casey is appropriately smug. "And that's why you should be prepared for anything," he says. "You better not forget it."

Somehow, with the vivid image of afterbirth still in his mind, Rick doesn't think that'll be a problem.

2. Be Flexible

Billy is prone to offering friendly advice of all kinds, from how to score the best coffee to how to woo a girl in a single glance. Some of this is helpful; some of it is nonsense. In this, sometimes it is easy to forget that Billy is in fact a trained and effective operative.

In Rick's defense, Billy does seem to work hard to hide that fact.

On their latest mission to Paris, Rick heads back to the room he's sharing with Billy. He doesn't think twice when he opens the door, but when he hears laughter inside, he thinks he must have the wrong room.

But before he can turn away, Rick catches sight of a tall woman with dark hair covering her very naked back. She's poised in a precarious position, limbs twisted and body turned in toward a man in an equal state of undress. Beyond this, Rick doesn't see much, but he sees enough to wince at the unusual contortion of the man's lean body.

All in all, Rick's ready to make a bee line out the door when a warm, Scottish voice stops him.

"Rick, my lad!" Billy exclaims.

Rick turns back, a little horrified, looking through slitted fingers at the bed. "Billy?" he asks, almost hoping it's not true.

The Scotsman seems to disentangle himself, much to Rick's growing discomfort. "This is a wee bit embarrassing," he says by way of apology. "I thought you'd be gone longer."

Rick covers his eyes again, turning away in sheer desperation. "Well, I wasn't," he says.

"That's all right," Billy says jovially. "No harm, no foul. Though maybe you would like to meet Giselle."

The dark haired woman is on her feet now, one arm draped daintily over her chest as she takes easy strides past Rick toward the bathroom. She pauses long enough to smile. "Bonjour," she says, almost cooing the words.

"Bonjour," Rick replies, feeling his face blush red.

She slips into a dress in two seconds flat, standing in the bathroom door to look at Billy. "Can I call you later?" she asks, a note of seduction in her gravelly voice.

Billy's grin widens. "My heart awaits it with the greatest certainty," he replies.

She seems to nod, both to Billy and then to Rick, before she floats out the door.

Rick can't help but watch her go and when he turns back around, Billy has thankfully managed to pull on a pair of boxers.

For a second, all Rick can do is gape. "I was only gone for ten minutes," he says. "How did you managed to meet a girl and get her back in your room?"

Billy shrugs. "Giselle is an old friend."

"More than a friend," Rick says with a snort. Then, he frowns, remembering the glimpse he got when he first came in. "And how did you - I mean - that position-"

Billy's grin actually seems to sparkle at the insinuation. "Flexibility," he says. "Learn it and you shall have happiness and success for the rest of your life."

Later, on the mission, when Billy is fully clothed, Giselle turns out to be an asset, turning on her employer to give them the lead they need to make the case. She kisses Billy, long and sultry, before she leaves, and Rick finds himself in incredulous disbelief. "How did you do that? Get her to turn so quickly?"

Billy shrugs at him, still beaming. "Don't be so short sighted," he advises. "Friendships and lovers are always prime assets if you know how to position yourself correctly. Just remember, flexibility is not only important in the bedroom; sometimes it saves the mission, too."

Then he winks at Rick, who is still gaping as he walks away.

3. Be Diplomatic

When Rick enters he office, Higgins looks like he already knows what Rick is going to say.

"Let me guess," he says before Rick can get started. "Your team has sent you in here to lobby for their most recent lost and impossible cause."

Barely settled in his seat, Rick frowns. He searches his mind for something else to say. He had a whole spiel planned, but it seems rather moot now.

Higgins doesn't seem to mind, though. He's leaned back in his chair, looking very much like a fox in the hen house. "Am I right, son?"

Rick shrugs meekly. "Yes, sir."

Higgins sits forward with new focus and eyes Rick. "A word to the wise, Martinez," he says. "Every agent who comes into this office has a compelling case, an urgent mission, and a good plan with a high payoff."

"Then how do we get one approved?" Rick asks.

At this, Higgins smiles, leaning back in his chair again. "Come in with something else to offer," he says. "Something of particular and definitive gain to the person you're asking it of."

"You mean a bribe," Rick concludes, reading between the lines.

"I mean diplomacy," Higgins corrects with a knowing gleam in his eye.

A short while later, Higgins has a French tutor for his daughter and Rick has mission approval.

4. Be Doubtful

One on one time with Michael always makes Rick vaguely uneasy. It's been a while since Michael tried to blackmail him or set him up to play bait without his consent, but Rick can't shake the feeling that his fearless leader is always keeping him just outside the loop.

This mission is no exception. He and Michael are posing as buyers in a plan that involves being disarmed and surrounded by angry men on the international most wanted list.

So Rick is understandably a little nervous.

"You sure this will work?" Rick finally asks, when there's only minutes to go before it all goes down.

Michael stops his surveillance and looks at him. "You don't trust me?"

The question is so to the point that it catches Rick off guard. But he can't deny it. "Frankly, no," Rick admits.

Michael's face seems to freeze for a second before going hard, and Rick can't help but feel like a traitor.

Finally, Michael nods. "Good."

Rick blinks. "Good?"

Michael looks reassured for some reason. "You should always be doubtful, even of friends and allies. It's your ticket to staying alive."

"So there is something I should know about this mission?" Rick asks.

"No," Michael says shortly. "This plan is good. You can trust me."

Before Rick can protest the obvious lapse in logic, the seller arrives, and Rick has no choice but to fall in line while another successful mission goes down.

5. Be Sure

"This plan is ridiculous," Rick says, not for the first time.

They're in the rain forest in Brazil. They've been hiking for nearly three days now, scouring the Amazon for the traces of their lead on a human trafficker holed up in the area. Their cover is shoddy and their plan is too simple to actually be feasible.

"I mean, we can't just expect to walk up to his front door, knock, and expect an invitation inside," he continues, reiterating his concerns again, hoping this time maybe someone will listen to him.

"He's a very friendly sort of fellow," Billy says.

"And he's opportunistic. Helping four stranded scientists from Green Peace will only help counter his darker reputation," Michael explains.

"But he could just kill us!" Rick says.

"And you all say I'm the pessimist," Casey gripes.

"Maybe your negativity is spreading like an unfortunate virus," Billy suggests.

Rick wants to pound his head against a tree. Which, since they're in the middle of the rain forest, would be exceedingly easy.

Michael doesn't slow his pace but looks back at Rick. "A plan is only as good as the belief you put into it," he says. "Remember: be sure, and things will usually fall into place."

Rick has the overwhelmingly irrational desire to stick his tongue out at him. For the rest of the hike, as he's being bitten by every mosquito in the Amazon, Rick hates Michael quite a bit.

He hates him even more when he turns out to be right. He hates him the most when Higgins calls them into his office and offers them commendations for capturing the most notorious human trafficker in the Southern Hemisphere.

Though, Rick sort of figures Michael wouldn't mind his hatred since Rick is very, very sure about it all.

And One He Doesn't: Be Smart

"Be smart," Michael tells him.

"This is very important," Billy agrees.

"Your very life may depend on it," Casey adds.

These are the last things his team says to him before all hell breaks loose. The mission is risky and complicated; a well organized strike to take down a guerrilla regime in the Congo. In the melee that follows, Rick sees his team get captured and taken away while he is pressed low in the foliage after downing one of the attackers.

There's nothing he can do without getting caught himself. He still hears Michael's words and tries to make sense of them as his team is manhandled into cars and taken away.

The smart thing to do is to go for backup. There's a CIA outpost back near the village and help will be readily available there. But the two day hike back will likely be a death sentence for his team.

Michael's words are hard to misunderstand, especially since Rick's always been an apt student in everything he does. He knows what he should do, but he also knows what he's going to do.

Rick starts by being diplomatic with the locals, bartering to gain access to a car, using every efficacious turn he's learned from Higgins. But Michael's constant reminders to be dubious serve him well when his guide pulls off too early and tries to set Rick up in an ambush.

When he shows up at the guerrilla compound, it's not hard to take down the guards around the prison shack. It's a quick and straightforward job, mostly because he's prepared. Some people might think that the extra guns and silencers would be overkill, but Casey has taught Rick better than that. Killing the guards straight out seems a bit hard because they look younger than he is, but Billy's right about being flexible, both in bed and in morals. Rick knows the situation demands certain things from him if he's going to get the job done.

Throughout it all, Rick thinks this may be a suicide mission, but he doesn't care. He's sure of what he's doing, no matter how stupid or impossible it seems.

The team would respect that. They'd have to. They taught it to him.

When he enters the shack, the first thing he sees is Michael

His team leader is worse for wear. He's propped up against the wall, both eyes badly bruised and his wrist swollen and broken in his lap. On the floor to his right, Casey is curled on his side with one side of his face so puffy that he's barely recognizable. Dried blood leaves speckled lines from his nose and mouth and each breath he takes seems to be strained even in unconsciousness.

Billy is completely still, and at a glance, it's impossible to tell for sure if the Scot is still alive or not. His face is pale and worn. Sprawled on his back to Michael's left, Rick can see the blood-soaked bandage covering Billy's side.

Michael keeps a steady eye on him the moment Rick walks inside. "I thought I told you to be smart," he says.

Rick kneels next to him, tugging at the binding around his good wrist, which has him attached him to the wall. "I guess that's a lesson you'll have to teach a little bit better."

Michael smiles, wincing from the movement. "The next mission," he says as Rick releases his arm.

Helping Michael to his unsteady feet, Rick can only nod. He glances from Casey to Billy, then back to Michael again. "Next mission," he agrees. "But no promises I'll learn it any better that time."

Michael actually laughs at that, taking a staggering step forward. "Then there may be hope for you yet."



Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)

This is great! So CHAOS!
Meep at the last one.

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)

Your icon makes me want to rush off and (finally) read "The Three Muskateers" so I can write a Chaos fic based heavily on it...

Posted by: vonilyn (vonilyn)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)

I think you should do that because 3m has been my fave since I was 9. I would so read that fic. \o/

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)

Well, I shall have to move "Three Muskateers" up on my 'too read' list and get on it ASAP :)

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)

<3 Love it!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
CHAOS team

Their team dynamic always makes me smile, so I'm glad you liked how it came across here :) Thanks!

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)

This is great - you have the characters spot-on!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
stephen's eyes

Thank you :) That's always good to hear.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)

This was absolutely awesome- I love how you write the different characters!

I'd love to see Michael, Casey and Billy's POV of the last one, at some point.. =D

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