Yesterday had been a long day for Rachel. Once their Glee assignment had been given on Wednesday - and Mr. Schuester had made it clear that he was not going back on his choice of activity - she had devoted her time to the new task as she would if it were any normal assignment.
She had followed her early morning exercise routine. 'Victory' being her choice motivator on her wall for the next few days. When she had gotten to school, her breaks and free period were devoted to time in the library researching.
Waiting anxiously in the choir room at first break on Friday, she was relieved to see that the five other members of her team had received her text messages, and in Quinn and Tina's case, had actually listened to her, for they were all now standing in front of her wondering what on Earth they were doing.
"I'm glad you could all come. Now, for my first official motion as self appointed team leader, I have given us a new name. I believe it creates a more personal connection between everybody as opposed to just 'Team 2'."
"I'm sorry, and what gives you the right to appoint yourself as leader?" Kurt cut in.
"Well, as captain of Glee club, I felt that I was perfectly suited to the role already. As Sun Tzu said, 'management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization', and I have exceptional organization skills that I believe will come in handy. Everyone is of course welcome to take a vote if they feel someone else could do better."
Looking around at his team mates, Kurt could already see them reluctantly giving in to Rachel's regime. He had to admit, sometimes it was just easier to let the girl take control.
"So, if there are no objections, I call this meeting of Team Broadway to order."
Saturday arrived much too soon for Quinn. Being stuck in close proximity to Rachel and Sam yesterday had given her a taste of what was to come today, and she was not looking forward to it.
Although she and Sam were on vaguely friendly terms since their break up, they had still not reached a comfortable medium where they could be relaxed around one another.
And just something about Rachel had always grated on her nerves the wrong way. Rachel, with her outfits that should have looked awful, but on her, just seemed to work. Rachel, with her short skirts, and too long legs. Rachel, with her voice that always made Quinn shudder when she heard it.
Perfect Rachel, with her perfect legs, and perfect voice. Ugh, she hated that girl.
She made her way to school to find all the other kids there ready and waiting. Artie and his modified football wheelchair had already been loaded on to the bus they were taking, and so after a few quick greetings, she made her way up the steps behind Brittany.
Rachel had forbidden them to sit with 'the enemy' as she called them, Brittany especially, as the girl couldn't keep a secret to save her life. Rachel didn't want the other team knowing any of their plans, so she had pulled Quinn aside during their meeting and given her strict instructions to make sure she sat next to Brittany on the ride there.
Quinn would have objected, knew she should have objected (really, Brittany could sit with whoever she wanted to), but she had found recently that she had a hard time saying 'no' to Rachel.
Flirting with Finn as a favour for the other girl had seemed like the stupidest thing she had ever heard, but seeing Rachel's eyes begin to well up with tears, she knew she was lost. It was guilt, that's all it was, she did kind of owe it to the girl. But from then on, as much as she hated to admit it to herself, saying 'no' to Rachel had become almost impossible.
And so she found herself next to the window, an excited Brittany beside her bouncing in her seat. Resting her forehead on the cool glass, she closed her eyes, taking a deep breath and releasing it.
Her eyes jolted open when she felt a poke in her side.
"What did Rachel say about the 'inception' thing? I can't remember."
Quinn smiled at her blonde seat companion. "You mean 'deception' Brit."
She could hear Rachel's words in her head from the meeting yesterday.
"A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective."
She didn't want to admit it, but Rachel's take charge attitude the day before had been a force to be reckoned with. The girl really was a natural born leader, and Quinn had to admire that.
Simplifying Rachel's cryptic quotes for Brittany (that she had been reciting to them between classes and during lunch), was not a difficult challenge for Quinn. Basically, one of Rachel's "fool-proof" plans of action was to look as if they were the inferior team and deceive the others into thinking that they were worse than they actually were. When the other team was lulled into a false sense of security, bam! They were to unleash hell.
Quinn had decided not to point out that most of their team had never actually played before.
Arriving at the paintball centre was quite anti-climactic. Quinn was expecting a big arena with large structures to climb up and hide behind. What they got was a small barn were they rented the equipment and had lunch, and a muddy, boarded trail leading off into the woods.
"This is it? I can't believe I'm spending my weekend playing 'Army' in the woods with you losers."
"Santana" Mr. Schuester scolded. "That's not the attitude I want today, from anyone." He paused to look around the group. "I want you to split up into your teams, and I want you to work together today. This assignment is about teamwork guys. As a little incentive, I'm making this a competition, and there is going to be a prize for the winning group at the end."
He looked into the faces of his Glee club and silently breathed a small sigh of relief. They were finally getting into it now they had something to work for.
"You guy's the McKinley group?"
As one, the group turned to be faced with an older man wearing a camouflage jumpsuit that he had tied at the waist. He was in his mid forties and strongly built under his t-shirt, with a little bit of greying scruff on his chin.
He introduced himself as Mick, the manager, and motioned for them all to follow him.
Walking into the barn, the boys began to admire the different types of guns on the wall, and checked out the smoke grenades and flash bombs.
Mr. Schuester and Artie talked to the manager when he queried about the wheelchair, but after some convincing, Mick allowed him to play, impressed that a kid in a wheelchair could play for his school football team.
"Hey, if it's good enough for your coach, that's good enough for me. She sounds like quite a lady." He said.
It took half an hour to get their equipment (and in some of the boys' case, buy some smoke grenades), and to get dressed in their own jumpsuits, with only minimal complaining by a few members of the group.
"Ugh, camouflage does nothing for my complexion."
"Weren't jumpsuits outlawed, in like, the eighties?"
"I don't want to wear it. What if it works too well and you can't find me?"
When they had loaded their extra paintballs onto their belts, they gathered outside the barn. Mick introduced them to a young man named Todd, their referee for the day. He would be observing their games to make sure rules were being followed, and that no one got hurt.
Their day was split up into different games, each half an hour long. Starting with basic training, moving through attack and defence strategies, until lastly, capture the flag, a 45 minute endurance battle trying to sneak behind enemy lines to capture their flag and bring it to your home base.
Moving towards the muddy path, the two teams, Mr. Schuster (who was also dressed in a jumpsuit), and Todd, made their way slowly into the woods.
It was agreed that the boys on Team Badass would take it in turns to wheel Artie around, just like during their football games, while Artie himself would do most of the shooting. It helped that the chair provided some decent cover from enemy fire for the pusher.
After a few minutes walking down the path, Todd finally halted them all at what looked like a crude shooting range.
Their first stop. Basic training.
After a quick handling demonstration, where they were shown how to load the paintballs and such, they split into their teams for a little target practise. Putting their safety masks on, both Team Broadway and Team Badass took their positions.
As predicted, the boys were great marksmen, all their time at the video arcade paying off. Brittany was also surprisingly adept, but after a glare from Rachel and a few discreetly whispered words from Quinn, Brittany adjusted her aim and her next shots went wide, almost shooting a bird out of the tree next to the target.
When Rachel's turn came, she took aim, but didn't fire, claiming they needed to save all the ammunition they could.
"You're not going to practice?" Quinn queried, her eyebrow raised. She would have thought Rachel would use any excuse to show off any talent she had.
"My dad's took me to a shooting range once. The man supervising said I had natural talent" Rachel shrugged, her voice kept low. "I can assure you my aim is impeccable."
Quinn's eyebrows rose even higher, and she choked slightly when a vision of Rachel in one of her innocent animal sweater and skirt outfits firing a handgun flashed through her mind.
She probably looked like a toddler playing with a plastic toy, Quinn reasoned, as she shook the image out of her head.
The rest of Team Broadway, with the exception of Sam, didn't fair too good at their target practice. Kurt failed to hit the target at all.
Team Badass, Rachel noted, was looking smug at these developments.
But despite half of her team not being the best shots, Rachel wasn't worried; everything was going according to plan.