Day 34 0900
We finally groaned our way up and out of Hanna’s place. Mariana and I split with her headed for the Lab and I wanted to see the landing field. Standing in front of me were Ryu and Summer.
“What do we do now Boss?” They asked.
“Go take care of your family, help somebody out and while you are at it get some sleep. They are not going to let Jai out of treatment until tomorrow, so you can’t go bug her.
“We go back to work in the morning, be ready. By the way, y’all done good in the storm.”
Next in line was JoAnn McKenzie, she and R. Digger were staring at the landing field. I came up beside her and looked at her face for a moment.
“Don’t worry girl, he’s been in rougher scrapes than this and he’s still here.”
“If he were flying a fighter I would feel better. Yes I know he’s wearing that Special Forces patch but, he’s a fighter jock at heart. How good can he be on the ground?”
“JoAnn, I ran his Q test myself and got a written reprimand for how tough I made it.
“He has a problem and I will admit I was part of it. He has never had anything handed to him in his life; Hell, he’s had to fight for every bit of it. I gave him hell on that Q course because I didn’t want to be accused of favoritism. I covered my butt and he took the brunt of it. I sent Gabe Benjamin to get him on the last leg, he made it to the line anyway. Sinopa will find that bastard, then Ash and Connor will put him down.”
JoAnn just stared at me, “Do you really think she can track that thing?”
“Shit, she can track a bad debt across forty miles of bad Georgia road. She will find him!”
“How do you know it’s a him?”
“Cause Spotter and I killed the female. Now take R. Digger and start digging out those ships. Hell, it beats sitting around worrying.”
She laughed at that one and asked, “What are you going to do?”
“Go play confessor for LT. Benjamin. Unless I am totally wrong, She is going to need one!”
When I got to the Lab Mariana had already taken over, “What’s the picture,” I asked.
“Well, Kurt is absolutely beat; Sally and I put him on a cot in treatment and He’s snoring to beat the band. We are going to kick Jaisa out in the morning. Emily is stable and we figured out what the frack was causing the heart monitor for the kid to alarm; She’s carrying twins and she’s not going to lose them.
“Carol Roberts, the wood lady is doing much better, Kurt hit her with a second dose of quick heal and that seems to have taken care of the slow bleeders. We have her kid Christine sedated and that’s under control. Hilde and Rachel have a ton of bruises and contusions up at the Community Center. By the way did I ever thank you for that land line between the Medical Centers, it’s the only comm’s working right now.”
“Logistics, Logistics followed by Logistics: besides laying Fiber to all the important nodes was Ash’s idea. Is Jai awake right now, I think I need to talk to her?”
I saw Mariana wince at that one, “Yeah, she’s awake and she’s taking it hard.”
I just rolled my eye’s towards the roof and asked, “Let me guess,she swears she didn’t do enough and it was all her fault?”
Marianas tone was as sarcastic as could be drawled, “Yep, first class case of self beat down. Almost as bad as two guys I know but, with the caveat that it’s her first time so it’s the worst.”
“I’ll do what I can, but you know she’s going to wind up coming to you before it’s over. There is after all only one female on this planet that knows Command Burden, oh Mrs COL. Stuart.”
I left Diagnostic and went over to treatment, Jai was propped up on one of the temporary cots.
“You must be getting better LT., I see they have kicked you out of the good bed.”
She gave me that hang dog look, “I guess, they don’t seem to have much for Em though.”
“Ah, Young Lady as close friends as you two are you are not in the Next of Kin notification chain but, as I happen to have an in with the co-chief pill pusher around here let me fill you in. Em is being kept under to keep her from tearing out a whole bunch of delicate stitch work; as they were afraid what the Quick heal would do to her kids they haven’t been real aggressive with it yet.”
Jai’s eyes bugged and lit up for the first time, “Kids as in Plural?”
“As in twins and she’s going to keep them. They have stepped up the quick heal and will probably wake her up right after they chase you out of here in the morning. So how are you doing, pretty rough I would imagine?”
“I should have done more, Em should not be lying over there like she was dead.”
“Bout what I expected young LT.; now I am not the one to help you with the emotional part. As you may have noted there is a slight difference between males and females that has nothing to do with the plumbing. Emotions get handled in much different ways; go talk to Sin when she gets back as you know her better. But when you get around to Command Burden, talk to Mariana.”
Hers eyes did get wide, “Cripes you mean me, cry on COL Stuarts shoulder?”
“No Jai, on Mariana Stuarts shoulder. Remember Sin is a Scout an Outrider. The only female on this planet besides you who has ever carried Command Burden is the Blonde Lady. Now as to action evaluation and Command actions, pay attention the Master is in session.”
I pulled up a chair and laid the Robar to the side, “Now I am going to assume that you were a good troop and read the report I had Sally show you.”
“Yes Sir, nothing much else to do.”
“Good, here is that report with no names; read and critique LT.”
She took the padd and began to read slowly as if describing actions done by someone else. When she finished she looked up and for the first time I saw tears in those young eyes. “Too many threats, from too many angles with too damn few rounds.”
“All Right, you get an A on the first part of the exercise. Now to go for the big prize, please explain why I am going to schedule you a Q course as soon as we can arrange it?”
This time she did have a totally dumbfounded look but after a few minute’s thought she slowly replied. “I would guess it would be because I never lost my wits. Even though we got caught by the tsunami I was still able to protect the civilian from further harm.”
“Well, that got a B+ but not a total bingo. You left out the fact that the troops under your command went through hell and half of Georgia to find you and dig you out. Not exactly a bad reputation for a young Officer. Oh and yes, I did get that speech you gave repeated to me. Not bad, you seized the moment and got them laughing.”
I took back the padd and started out but stopped and looked back over my shoulder, “But remember, don’t worry about Rudolph crapping on your head. Worry about him breaking off an antler in your butt.”
As I started out the door I heard laughter in the room, and one voice weak and unsure was Jai.
I ducked back into Diag. To find Mariana laughing. “Listening in on the patient monitor were you?”
“Oh God yes, I just wish I could have seen her face.”
“Yeah, me too. It would have ruined the moment if I had actually looked. Any who, when Kurt wakes up give him this, will you?” I pulled out the patch and handed it to her.
“Combat Medical, you think he’s ready?”
“Your call Dr. Stuart but, if he ain’t; who the hell ever was?”