Title: Saving The Bait
Characters/Pairings Becker, Lester, Matt, Jess, Abby, Connor. Becker/Matt
Words 3, 350
Rating: PG-15 for swearing only
Summary: The team deal with an incursion in London
Author's Note: This is my fic for the Primeval_denial art prompt challenge. The art (banner and icon) has been done by eriah211 and it's so fantastic. Slight Becker/Matt but then that's me! I also want to note that this was inspired a little by Fringe. I imagined the ARC team very much like the alternate Fringe division and the ACs are my versions of the amber. Thanks to fififolle for the beta! Any mistakes are all mine! Do enjoy!
“He knows what he’s doing, right?”
Did he really just ask that of the ARC’s field leader?
Becker turned away from the bridge and gave James Lester a disgusted look. Lester acknowledged that look with a sigh, a tut and an unimpressed glare of his own.
“He knows what he’s doing, Lester,” Becker retorted, turning back to the bridge and glaring at it as if it was at fault. “He’s putting his life at risk with this plan.”
“We don’t know if it will work.”
“Do you know of another way?”
Lester didn’t say a word because there was no better way. How else could you cope with a great big snake thing in the Thames?
Becker raised his binoculars to his eyes to get a closer look at the bridge. All the teams were in place. Thankfully the evacuation had taken minimum effort as the people of London were now all too familiar with the ARC alarms and protocols set in place a couple of years ago, but that didn’t stop the disruption to the thousands of lives and businesses. This saved lives. People knew that when the ARC was involved, you don’t argue. When anomalies appeared, the police and military as well as other services answered to them. Well, there were still a few who did kick up a fuss and cause havoc, but as the ARC had much more funding now, there were ways to sort those people out.
Becker and Matt were in charge of a lot more field teams now, more than Becker ever thought possible, but it was good if it meant keeping the public safe.
However that never stopped the anxious almost crippling fear in his belly knowing that there was one person who he badly wanted to keep safe more than anyone, but couldn’t. Even with all of Becker’s precautions, every feasible security and defensive action, it wasn’t going to do much to keep Matt Anderson safe.
Somewhere in the Thames, there was this snake thing. Connor and Abby had told him a name, but big snake kept it simple. It was their voices he could hear through the earpiece, about the temperatures and water conditions etc… and the married couple did go off on tangents at times but Becker knew they were the best.
Connor and Abby were the ones who dealt with the creatures, looked after them at the menagerie and were responsible for building up and maintaining the database. It was up to them to keep all the teams informed of what weaknesses and strengths the creatures had. They were the ones who came up with the means to capture the creatures without harming them.
Thankfully, at this moment sections of the river were contained, but getting this snake back to the anomaly wasn’t going to be easy. Matt said he would be bait and lure it.
The fear had been wrenching in Becker’s guts ever since Matt offered up the idea. It got worse when they parted ways, when Matt drove off with the other soldiers, whom Becker had threatened to shoot with an EMD on its fullest setting if anything happened to Matt.
Connor and Abby called in with the situation report. All the teams around the perimeter checked in too, saying everything was as secure as they could make it, especially the places such as hospitals where evacuation was kept as a last resort.
“Do we know what it’s doing, right now?” Lester spoke into the radio.
“It’s not moving…yet. Matt will soon be in position.” Abby replied.
“Jess, have you got a firm lock on Matt’s location?” Becker asked.
“For the hundredth time, Becker…yes.”
“Can you tell that bloody eejit to stop worrying? I’m fine!”
Becker scowled. Was Matt not taking this seriously? He should be.
“It’s my job to worry, Matt! I’m here to make sure everyone gets through this, just stay alert, will you? Focus!”
“I’m alert! I’m very alert!”
“This is no time to joke around, you pillock!”
“Matt! The Titanoboa is on the move!”
Connor’s voice interrupted and in that instant everyone snapped to attention and the mission was a go. From their position, Becker and Lester could oversee a section of the river and the entire bridge. They could also see in the distance, the movement within the river…something very large moving very fast below the surface.
At first, there was very little chatter on the radio, there was only one way this Titanoboa could go. Connor was still amazed that the thing could even survive in the Thames water and his occasional comments over the radio made Becker a little discomforted.
“It’s seen me!”
Matt’s exclamation made Becker jerk. He turned and again looked through his binoculars to the speedboat Matt was driving. It had cut across the top of the Titanoboa’s path as was planned, and was able to pull away with some speed, but the creature rose up out of the water to turn and as it slammed back down, it sent waves rippling that nearly capsized the boat.
Becker’s only response back was a long string of Gaelic expletives followed by some English ones which were just as harsh.
Becker badly wanted to give the order to open fire on the snake, but the EMDs were not to be used with the teams so close, and with real weapons the risk of hitting Matt was too high for Becker to take.
They needed to draw the snake back to the anomaly.
“Anderson! What’s going on?” Lester demanded. “Can anyone make him out?”
Becker handed him the binoculars and listened as Abby began to commentate on the mission. The panic was still stabbing at his chest, but Becker kept his cool as much as possible. He couldn’t let on to the others that this was tearing him up.
“Closing in on the anomaly,” Jess reported. “He’s almost there!”
“Standby all teams! This is it!” Becker said.
Soon it would all be over then Becker could relax.
However, just like most missions, things never really went according to plan. Jess said the snake was close to the anomaly and Connor was all ready to unlock it and allow the creature through to its own time, but it turned again.
Lester called out in warning as the snake rose up out of the water, directly beneath Matt and the boat. Becker froze for a split second as he saw the Titanoboa surge up out of the Thames and slither off down the street, straight towards the bridge.
He screamed his orders through the radio whilst at the same time running at full pelt to the car. Amongst all the other frantic chatter on the comms, came the sounds of EMD fire but Matt’s invention wasn’t doing a thing to stop them.
Becker had to stop for a moment when he got to the car. Lester had beaten him there and was already climbing into the driver’s seat.
“Get the hell in, for crying out loud, Becker! I can drive!”
He didn’t waste any more time, and so Becker got into the passenger seat. He barely had time to do up his seatbelt when they moved off at breakneck speed. Becker held on for dear life to the handle above the door, and through Lester’s swerving and churning driving, he found that he was able to hear what Jess and the others were co-ordinating.
“I’m still getting life readings from Matt, but he’s not moving,” Jess’ said in Becker’s ear. “I’ve despatched the medical team to him.”
“Tell them to get there quickly, Jess!”
“I have already!”
“What’s the creature doing now?” Lester had to slam the brakes on to avoid some abandoned cars in the middle of the road. “Damn it, don’t these people know to keep a clear road after evacuations?”
Lester had to turn and avoid several more cars before coming back to full speed as they crossed over and towards Connor and the others.
“Permission to use live rounds!” came one request over the radio. The EMDs were not slowing the creature down, even though it should have passed out by now. Abby objected to that straight away, recommending the ACs instead.
In the years since Convergence, when the laws were changed and the ARC given the say on anomaly and creature research, strategies, ideas and methods were put in place to ensure the safety of the public and anything that came through the anomalies.
One such method was the deployment of gas, in the event that the EMDs or tranq darts didn’t work. Just like fire extinguishers there were different kinds of Anaesthetic Canisters for the different creatures. There were hand held canisters that the teams all carried, but in case of real emergencies there were some underground supplies that could be remotely detonated and dispersed up through vents in the ground. These were positioned in key places around London, Westminster being one of them. Only the members of the Alpha team could deploy them.
The go ahead was given for the ACs, though Becker would have preferred the live rounds, but Abby was right.
Lester had to initiate a handbrake turn around another sharp corner which had Becker squashed up against the window. Another swerve slid Becker over and practically into Lester’s lap, but a firm grip on the handle and the dashboard—and that he had his seatbelt on –kept him from falling on top of his boss.
Lester really did know how to drive.
“Oh god….oh shit! Shit shit shit!”
Connor’s continual stream of colourful words were a little bit of an understatement when Lester slammed on the brakes.
“It’s bigger than we thought!” cried Abby. “Oh my god, it’s huge!”
No kidding, but weren’t these things supposed to be big anyway?
Down the street, and coming towards them very fast, was indeed the largest snake Becker had ever set eyes upon. It was massive, it was nearly as wide as the street. Behind it, there was utter destruction, and teams of ARC personnel trying to keep from being killed.
“Use the ACs!”
There was an explosion, then another and another.
A large cloud of thick smoky fog exploded from somewhere near the Titanoboa and then Becker couldn’t see anything. Jess was calling out, asking for a response from anyone who could answer.
“Becker reporting! Lester and I are fine, however there have been more deployments of ACs than needed, accidental or intentional I don’t know, but we need to clear this lot as soon as possible!”
“Affirmative, clean-up are on their way, Becker. Anything more?”
He wanted to ask about Matt, he wanted to call to Abby and Connor, but Jess continued to say their names for him, her voice growing ever worried with the lack of reply. So instead Becker turned round and grabbed from the back seat a gas mask.
“You’re going out there?” asked Lester in slight disbelief.
“Do you even have a spare mask?”
Becker slapped a second gas mask into Lester’s hand.
Becker didn’t think it was any more splendid that Lester did, from that sarcastic tone, but they had to get out there and find the team. Jess was still getting no reply.
Becker slipped on his mask and climbed out of the car. More than just a few ACs had gone off to cause this much fog, but he wasn’t interested in how this fog had happened. It had happened and now he needed to get to the rest of his teams.
From the boot of the car, Becker retrieved his shotgun and one gun for Lester.
They both stepped out from behind the car and approached the edge of the gaseous fog.
As if Jess’s continual calls to the other members of the team weren't heart breaking enough, the announcement from the medical team nearly made Becker retch.
“This is the medical team…there’s no sign of Matt. His black box is here but we can’t find him!”
Becker had to curb the urge to turn and get back in the car to go and look for Matt. He had to restrain the frustration and fear that was twisting his insides, because Connor and Abby needed him, the other teams needed him and Lester.
“Find him,” Becker replied, his tone a little harsher than he would have liked.
He didn’t wait for Jess’ response or any other kind, he just looked to Lester who nodded and the two of them stepped into the fog.
It was difficult to see anything. The light on their guns could barely cut through the fog, but they proceeded cautiously onward, until they found the body of the creature which had flattened several cars…or rather a part of it had.
“Connor? Abby?” Becker quietly whispered through the radio, but still no reply. If they didn’t have their masks, there wouldn’t be. They would most likely be passed out themselves. Though why would the ACs have been deployed before they all put on their masks? There were protocols for this!
Jess gave Becker and Lester the best readings she could of their teammate’s locations. Some ACs tended to play havoc with the little black boxes, but thankfully she was able to lead them to some of their unconsciousness colleagues.
As Becker and Lester moved some of the snoring bodies out of harm’s way (putting on the soldier’s own personal masks once they were secured), they couldn’t help but be very weary of the Titanoboa. There was no end to it, it looked to be longer than the street itself, but it was coiled, so it could have been even bigger.
“It’s a lot bigger than the one Connor dealt with in Canada,” Lester said.
“I didn’t think they could get this big.”
“It’s certainly caused more damage than our usual creatures. I hate to see the bill for all this.”
Becker kept on walking. They had to determine if this creature was actually asleep before getting the moving crews in.
Lester’s voice called out and thankfully when Becker turned to see him, he was checking Abby’s vitals. Lester slipped on her mask and made her as comfortable as possible. Then they trekked on, until at last they found Connor, not far from the head of the beast.
The snake was asleep, as far as Becker and Lester could tell.
“Get the clean-up and medical crew in here. Creature is out for the count,” Becker reported. “Teams are unconscious too and appear to be okay, so we’ll need some extra people to help get them moved.”
“I’m on it, Becker.”
She had probably already organised it before he’d asked.
“So what do we do now?” asked Lester. “I'd be partial for a bit of lunch. I’m famished!”
The answer came quickly and suddenly when the creature moved. Its head shot up from the ground and whipped round smacking into Becker and sending him flying back into the wall. All the air was knocked from his lungs, his head spun with aching dizziness and his vision blurred, but he managed to lift his shotgun. He heard shots before his finger pulled on the trigger and then a cry before Lester landed next to him.
There was a buzz and ringing in his ears, Jess was frantic, but Becker couldn’t respond to her. He couldn’t speak or barely stand, but he somehow managed to scramble to his feet. He ducked just as the snake reared round, and Becker went tumbling into a roll, further avoiding being hit as the snake that was supposed to be asleep was very much awake.
The sound of it smashing into the buildings on either side of the street, of its hissing roars only confused Becker more. He took another shot and the scream that followed was unearthly to his already ringing ears.
Becker fired again, though he couldn’t continue further as the wounds were angering the Titanoboa instead of stopping it. He had no other means to put it down, for the ACs had proven useless. His vision came back, though through the mask, it was still restricted.
He ran over to Lester and thankfully he was all right but he was just as dazed as Becker was. Becker helped Lester to his feet and they hurried as best they could away from the snake. Distance was threatening to be even more useless than the ACs and EMDs. The creature was injured, angry and thrashing around. The size of it, the impacts of its body against the crumbling buildings and broken ground, made them fall and in the end they could only take shelter where they had placed Abby and Connor and the rest of the men.
It wouldn’t be safe for long.
“Where’s the bloody back-up?” Lester yelled.
“They’re close! They’re really close!”
“Not close enough, Jessica! Tell them to get a move on!”
“They are moving! I can’t do anything more, I’m sorry! I wish I could, I wish someone could!”
It seemed that Jess’ wish was granted.
Becker didn’t see what happened, both he and Lester were covering their faces as some rubble fell down next to them. Dust kicked up into the air just as there was another screeching roar of pain and a heavy thud.
Then there was silence. Jess wasn’t even speaking.
It was unmistakeable as to who it was. Becker felt the weight lift off his shoulders, he was able to breathe knowing that Matt Anderson was alive. He started laughing as Matt helped him back to his feet and into a hug.
“I’m still here, Becker. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
“I’m just glad you’re all right.” Becker shoved him away. “Don’t you ever do that to me…to us again! I’m not going to save you next time!”
“Save me? Was this supposed to be a rescue? I thought I just saved you!”
Becker just sneered and took a look at the passed out Titanoboa. It was definitely out this time and the large AC wedged in its mouth was still spilling out gas. How had that got in there? Matt couldn’t have lifted it….
The large hole in the ground explained it all. The underground AC had clearly been snagged by the creature…Matt purposely luring it there, hoping that it would catch it. Thankfully it had and instead of just one dose and type of anaesthetic, it swallowed all of them.
“Let’s get this back to its own time,” Matt said, when at last, the back-up teams arrived.
“I’m going to make sure that it does!” Lester limped back to the car, welcoming Matt’s support in helping him along. The backup teams assisted Becker with the unconscious teammates and at the same time he co-ordinated with Jess about getting the Titanoboa moved.
That wasn’t going to be easy.
“Don’t say a word.”
Becker didn’t want to.
Moving the creature back into the Thames had proved to be more than complicated. Right now all he could do was watch as it was entwined in and around the bridge, the ARC crews going spare. From this far, Becker could have sworn he heard Abby telling them all off.
The foggy gas was dissipating, but it was still there, swathing the part of the city in a very eerie broken cloud.
“We’re supposed to be professionals.” Lester tutted again. “We can’t get one simple little snake back into the water and back to its own time. The public are going to lynch us for the amount of time we’re taking.”
“We’ve dealt with bigger and had no problems.”
That was true.
Lester was right. It was taking far too long. Becker was about to go there himself, when Matt turned up with two fold away chairs and some takeaway lunch.
“Perfect! I’m starving!”
Whilst Lester settled down into a chair and oversaw the operation as he ate his lunch, Becker didn’t even bother. He looked at Matt who held out and wafted the bag and the burger in his face. Where had he got the burger if all the places were evacuated?
“I have the means,” Matt said. “Take it. It’s my way of saying sorry for making you worry.”
Becker nodded but he couldn’t take the bag from him. He had worried…he always worried about Matt more than anyone else, but he couldn’t show it. He couldn’t show or tell everyone just how much Matt meant to him. Matt felt the same way.
Matt held out his free hand, to gently touch at Becker’s finger’s, but that light graze only made Becker fold his arms.
“Take it and sit down will you, Becker!” Lester chided him after a few minutes went by. Lester let out a little cheer as progress with the snake was made. “There’s plenty of time for your make-up sex later.”
“Sorry…-what?” both men chorused.
Lester turned to face them and snatched the bag from Matt’s hand.
“Oh please. It’s as obvious as that Titanoboa. You can’t miss it. Now…do you want this burger or do you want to carry on getting all touchy feeling with each other?”