He finally stopped squinting, letting his shoulders slump slightly and sighing as though he were only a poor old man being unduly harassed by his belligerent offspring. "I'm only trying to play Devil's advocate, Sam."
So that was why he was here. She felt a tightness in her chest that hadn't been there in many years and yet - in a paradoxical way - had been there constantly for the last ten hours. "Why? Do you think I can't figure this out on my own?"
Her father's expression became one of sympathy. "You could figure out anything," he said in a warm, soft tone that momentarily suffused her with confidence. "But I am worried that you may be too close to see this clearly."
The tightness solidified into a hard lump. "What do you mean?" she asked, not in a shout or an accusatory snarl, but in a tone that sounded slightly strangled to her own ears.
"I mean, this isn't just any routine rescue. It's..." He paused, a strange flicker of a shadow passing over his face despite the multidirectional lighting. "It's two of your teammates."
"That's not what you were going to say," countered Sam in the same strangled voice, knowing full well she should bite her tongue and shut the hell up.
Sighing again, shaking his head, Dad said, "Forget it, Sam."
His eagerness to move on made her feel oddly impudent. "What were you going to say?"
"I wouldn't do anything stupid," she told him, less an assurance than an accusation.
"I know that."
"It doesn't matter who it is," she continued, almost as though she were chastising him for his lack of faith. "This is my job, it's my duty, and I'm damn well going to do whatever it takes regardless," she told him, but maybe he wasn't the one she was trying to convince.