Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 119

< Chapter 118                                                                                                   Chapter 120 >
Escorted by one hundred marines with swords drawn, our heroes arrive at the military base.

Admiral McGillis, the base commander, turned our marine escort over to the base's marine commander with instructions to make them comfortable and debrief their commanders.  She led the diplomatic representatives, Martin, and me into a well-appointed reception room.  The aide from my brief comm call waited within.

"I was in the middle of some business when I received word of your approach."  McGillis turned a steady gaze on me.  "Scout Rice, never bring an armed force onto my base again without my express permission.  Are we clear on that?"

I was prepared to acknowledge the statement and move on.  Callan was not in as forgiving a mood.

"We most certainly are not clear on that.  David did contact your office, where this person," she waved at the aide, "made it quite clear our ship, our men, and our actions against the pirates were of no consequence when weighed against the arrival of your precious task force."

Callan folded her arms and gave Admiral McGillis her best princess glare.  And it really was Callan's best.  I only know of one person who could have stood against it unmoved, and Rob had been dead for two years.  I'll give McGillis credit, she figured out Callan was Someone Important long before her aide did.

"Admiral, I was-"

"I don't want to hear it, Smitts."  The admiral's tone was so sharp the aide drew back as if he'd been cut.  The admiral smiled at Callan.  "With whom do I have the honor of speaking?"

Never let it be said I don't know my cue.

"Admiral McGillis, may I present Her Royal Highness, Princess Callan, heir to the throne of Mordan, and my wife."  McGillis's left eyebrow rose and I turned to Rupor.  "And this is His Royal Highness, Prince Rupor, heir to the throne of Tarteg."

Martin added, "Mordan and Tarteg are two of the most powerful and enlightened countries on the lost world of Aashla.  Good relations with those two countries, as well as the countries represented by the rest of our diplomatic mission, will be vital if the Federation has any hope of bringing our world into the Federation."

McGillis got a faraway look for a second.  "Scout Martin Bane, isn't it?  I note that you refer to their world as your world."

"I've called Aashla home for seventeen years."  He put an arm around Megan.  "And, like David, I'll be marrying a local girl."

"My congratulations to both of you on your nuptials, past and pending.  And please allow me to express the Federation's relief that both of you have returned safely after such an extended absence.  No doubt you're both aware the Scout Corps would like to debrief you.  Would you be averse to getting that out of the way as soon as possible?"

"Of course not, Admiral."

"Thank you.  Smitts will take you to the base scout commander."

Smitts was uncomfortable playing escort to those he had snubbed earlier.  Neither Martin nor I did anything to put Smitts at his ease.  Perhaps he would learn something from it.

The Scout Corps office was a flurry of activity when we arrived.  Smitts attempted introductions.

"Scout Commander Collins, may I present-"

Collins cut him off.  "David!  It's good to see you hale and hearty!  And Martin, back from the dead!  It's a grand day for the Scout Corps, indeed."

Oblivious to Smitts' discomfort, Collins said to him, "David was one of the best cadets I ever taught at the academy.  And Martin was one of the best troublemakers."

With a quick nod, Smitts excused himself and fled the office.

"Now that we're free of that twit Smitts, let's get comfortable and start that debriefing, shall we?"

Martin raised a forestalling hand.  "I would suggest a full medical workup, first."

Collins gave Martin a quick up and down glance.  "You do look as if you've had a rough time of it, recently, Martin."

"I'm healing quite well, sir.  It's David who should receive the medical attention."

"He looks remarkably fit to me."

"Oh, he looks great on the outside.  I'm worried about possible internal damage from over-Boosting."

Collins gaze sharpened.  "Is this true, David?  Have you been over-using Boost?"

"I Boosted only when necessary, sir.  Unfortunately, there have been times when it was necessary to Boost often."

"And long.  I personally watched David Boost for thirteen straight minutes."  Gasps sounded from the personnel in the office and the color drained from Collins' face.  "We got his heart started again, but it was a close thing."

Fifteen minutes later, Collins had me inside the base hospital about to go under anesthesia in preparation for a full scale invasion of my body by medical nanites.  I refused to be put under until Callan arrived.

Worry was etched across her face.  "What's going on, David?  Why are you in the hospital?"

"It's just a precaution, dear.  Martin has them all worried about my Boosting and they're going to check me out."

"Martin's not the only one, darling."  Callan kissed me lightly.  "Cooperate with the doctors."

She backed away so the doctors could approach.  Her lovely face was the last thing I saw as I went under.

Have David’s heroics harmed himself without his knowledge?  Find out in Chapter 120, coming Friday!