Sara was doing sit-ups when Colonel Grenbridge came around. She was wearing a simple black t-shirt and black cargo pants. Sweat dripped from her chin. The colonel tapped on the glass, "Good news, Lancaster. You've been cleared from quarantine. You'll be out in about two hours."
Sara continued her set while she spoke, "Good. I can finally take a shower in private."
Grenbridge looked up at the simple showerhead that stuck out from the corner of the quarantine cell. "If it helps, Sara, everybody in here is a professional."
Sara kept doing her sit-ups, "That doesn't help."
The colonel nodded and looked away for a moment. After a few seconds of silence, the colonel spoke up again. "How have you been sleeping, Sara? Scans have shown abnormal patterns in your brain activity during your REM cycles. Nightmares?" he asked.
Sara stopped at the peak of her sit-up and hugged her knees as she thought on that. She looked forward, her breathing heavy from a long work out. "I'd question anybody who'd come out of what I went through without them..." she said.
In truth, Sara's dreams had been extremely vivid and on repeat. It'd start at Shangri La, the entire mission a play by play of what actually happened. But around every corner, she'd see the tall, regal figure standing in place and staring at her. It'd also be unmoving, disregarding the gunfire and plasma bolts all around it. Then, when the UFO was pulling her in, the creature's long arm would reach from the light and pull her in. She'd wake up drenched in sweat every time. She had tried to sleep six times in her two and a half day quarantine, each time yielded the same result.
Grenbridge tapped on the glass, "You know, Sara. If you just answered the psychologist's question, it might help you sleep. What are you dreaming about?"
Sara stood up and took a towel from her cot. She run it over her head, "I told you already. My abduction on repeat, over and over and over again. I'll get over it, alright? It's still just fresh, after all."
Grenbridge sighed and nodded, "Alright, forget I asked. Look, I'll see if I can get you out of that cell sooner. I'm sure you'd like to meet your team. I didn't tell 'em your name, figured you'd want to introduce yourself personally."
Sara nodded to him and went back to cleaning herself up after the workout session. She gave certain onlookers a steely glare, a reminder that she'd be out very soon and she'd like some privacy. It would appear she got the message across.
1 hour later...
Sara stepped into the base's bar and looked around. She was already settled into her personal quarters, and she was told her new squad often enjoyed their spare time over a few rounds of billiards. Sure enough, there was a gaggle of men and a single woman standing around the pool table. They were laughing, having drinks, and generally just letting loose. One man was leaning forward, lining up his shot on the pool table. He stroked the cue and missed his shot. With a collection of laughs and taunts, the blonde man straightened out and chuckled, "I'm horrible at this game, man! I don't even know why I keep saying yes to these get togethers."
The woman, Japanese by the looks of it, laughed and leaned on the blonde's shoulder. "Face it. You come so you get to see me bending over a table." she said before sticking her tongue out at him. That elicited a few cat calls and laughs from the others.
The blonde man chuckled a bit before retorting, "Yeah but I'm attracted to a good personality. And unfortunately for you, Katsumi, your attitude is as ugly as your shooting."
The Japanese woman gave him the middle finger while the rest of the squad hollered and hooted at that burn. Despite that, there wasn't any sense of tension between them. The team was clearly cohesive and bonded. Sara made her way to the counter first, she didn't want to interrupt their game and display of camaraderie just yet. She ordered a drink from the bartender and waited there as she watched the game of billiards continue. Another man took the cue and leaned down for his shot. "Let me show you how we play pool in Russia!" his accent was thick.
He stroked, miss. The big man pulled a confused look while the rest of the team laughed. He ran a hand over her mohawk, "You don't understand! This table must be tilted." The Russian nodded, clearly convinced with his own excuse.
The blonde man spoke up again, "You know, Valentin, that crash and burn attitude might impress our new recruit whenever she comes out of quarantine."
Sara froze upon hearing that comment. Crash and burn? She eyed her drink long and hard before taking the rest back. The bartender rose a brow at that. He quickly refilled it. The Russian responded to the blonde man, "Shut your trap, Hengeveld."
The blonde grinned, "Are you ordering your team leader?"
Valentin threw some cue chalk at him, everybody laughed. One of the other men spoke up, he had a British accent. "I heard some stuff from the science guys over in quarantine about our FNG. Apparently she's got a rockin' body. I can't help but think we're being awarded a warrior angel who fell from the sky. Y'know, to make this ass end of nowhere base a bit easier on the eyes."
Sara stared at the back of the man's head. That's when the Japanese woman looked past him and straight at Sara. The rest of the team, save the British man followed Katsumi's gaze. The British man leaned over the table and shot, he also missed. Hengeveld planted his face firmly in his palm, "Shit, Lewis..." he sighed.
The British man pointed to Valentin, "Y'know I think he's onto something. This table might actually be tilted."
Katsumi cuffed him upside the back of his head. "Baka! Not the table..." she snapped at him before pointing to Sara, she was still looking at Lewis.
Lewis cleared his throat and placed his hands on the edge of the table, "She's behind me, isn't she?"
Sara took a breath, then the new glass of liquor. The whole squad, except for Lewis, watched in silence as she drank half. Sara made sure to set her drink down with an audible noise, glass meeting polished wood. She could see Lewis wince from that sound. Sara quietly cleared her throat before standing from the stool and making her way to the pool table quietly. Lewis continued to look forward. She studied the pool balls on the table and then glanced to the others, "Who's shot is it?" Sara asked, finally breaking the spell of silence that overtook the bar.
Lewis let out a long breath of relief. Hengeveld took the cue stick from him and handed it to Sara. "Nothing has gone down yet, so fly at it."
She took the cue stick and rounded the table, taking up a position next to Lewis. Leaning over the table, she gave a glance back at Lewis, "You're not out of the fire yet," she said before taking her shot. She sunk the ball.
With that first shot, the rest of the team began to talk like normal again. Most of them were directing their questions to Sara. Katsumi's came first, "Where'd you serve?"
Then Hengeveld, "How long in the military?"
Valentin, "Regiment and rank?"
Lewis came after the Russian, "You single?"
Then the Greek man Sara would later learn to be Kostas, "You still gonna hurt Lewis?"
Sara rounded the table again and answered the questions in the order they were asked. "Vancouver, Canada." Sara shot, sunk.
"No time spent in the military." She sunk another ball.
"Canadian Emergency Response Team, Corporal." Another shot, sunk.
"Widowed," she answered Lewis and put down the next ball.
"Eventually," was her final answer to Kostas as yet another ball rolled into a pocket.
The team pieced it all together. Katsumi spoke first, "Great, our FNG is a cop. Should we give her the arc thrower so she can arrest resisting aliens?"
Sara sunk another ball and looked to Katsumi as she rounded the table again. She looked to Hengeveld for a moment before leaning down again and saying, "Well the aliens definitely aren't getting stunned by your looks."
Hengeveld burst out in laughter, followed by Lewis, then the rest of the team. Valentin patted his hand on her back and spoke in his thick accent, "I like this woman! She's quick learner!"
Lewis raised his bottle of beer, "Well I for one welcome Crash to our band of warriors!"
Sara raised a brow and took another shot. Success. "Crash?" she asked.
Lewis nodded, "Well you did come down from the sky in a flaming UFO. It's a fitting nickname. Besides, we still don't even know your actual name."
Sara lined up her last shot and sunk it like the rest. "Sara Lancaster."
It took the rest of the team a moment to respond. Lewis cleared his throat and walked over to Sara, putting his arm around her shoulders, "Welcome to the Arctic Wolves, Sara."
The rest of the wolves raised their beer bottles and cheered for her. Sara nodded to them all, "Thanks. I'm gonna go get some rest in a real bed. See you around." She handed Lewis the pool cue and made her way out of bar.
When the door closed behind her, the squad stood in silence. Kostas stepped next to Hengeveld, "Should we tell her?"
Hengeveld turned his gaze to the memorial wall and shook his head, "Give it some time. She's been through enough these past couple days."
"Holy shit." Lewis suddenly said. Hengeveld looked to the British man as he went on, "The bloody table is cleared! Do we really suck that much at pool, or is she just that fuckin' good?"