Ft. Stuart, Alchibah Late Evening A+3 (Day 884)
I had just gotten Bob Moore settled into one of the single bedroom bungalows and was walking towards Stuart House. Gods, what would I have done if he said his Dad had called him Robbie; that wound was still too fresh. Still finding Bob here was a load off of my mind, keeping him alive could pay back several old debts. I walked in the front door to find Hanna Parker setting in the main room.
“Damn Hanna, I expected to find Kara in here screaming her head off from what I had heard.”
“And well you might expect that. Those twins of yours could try a Saint, much less a fragile soul like Kara. Especially when neither she nor BJ could figure out the pictographs for the diaper closet. Not to mention the washer and dryer room.”
I watched some gleam of humor come back into those eyes as he asked, “They totally missed those?”
I was blinking back tears, “Went right over their overeducated heads. When I pointed them out I thought Kara was going to have a breakdown. Until I pointed out that the kids were all alive and healthy. I managed to convince her that that was all a bunch of rough and tumble Soldiers were going to care about.”
I thought Andy was going to convulse, “Alive, reasonably clean and not too many boot prints on their arse’s sounds about right for those two.” He laughed.
I had to laugh with him then ask, “Did you get that young man settled in? During the hour you had your Wrist Comp turned off, Mariana relayed your declaration. The Council Comm voted to let you handle him but lots of people are wondering what brought that on?”
“Hanna, I either owe his Father or hate him beyond belief; I have never been sure which. But I will not pass the hate to the Son. Wait, Hanna; let me finish. Tommy Moore saved my Ass at least three times on the road to Tehran and if He had not The Reaper would never have been Born. He got me to the point where I got to see my third spotter die, as useless as his ass was, and my Brother-in-Law go down to a Missile that had to have been sold to the Hadj’s by a Traitor. Something inside me broke that Day and for it my Soul is going to burn in Hell.
“Yes, I am an Agnostic and I have no quote Religion unquote. But, no version of God is going to forgive what I did that Day. Hanna, there were 275 Human Souls in the Khandar Palace that day; and in 48 minutes I killed every Damn One of Them. No God wants to see me at His or Her door. For as the Rogons up on the Mayflower said, I am El Diablo. And I don’t deserve those Kids.”
“That has to be the biggest load of self depreciation I have ever heard Colonel. I just came from talking to Gabriel Benjamin about what you did up on the Mayflower and it sounds about the same.
“Andy, you know Hanna and I are Religious. What I want you to do is look me right in the eyes and tell me you have ever killed when it was not absolutely necessary. Tell me that you have not Killed but, that you have Murdered.”
Andy’s face was tortured, “Jules, I can’t. But, what God wants to see a Soul like mine?”
It was my turn to grin, “The Bartender at Fiddlers Green, I understand Karl Nash has the First Round.”
Neither Hanna nor I were prepared for the melt down. Andy slumped on the desk and the tears rolled again. None of us noticed the two forms that appeared by his side. “DaDa not cry”, from two barely one year old children who should not have been able to walk much less talk. Those shoulders rolled and two arms snaked out and tenderly lifted those children.
The face which came up was the same but, not. The voice was soft beyond belief, “You two need to be back in bed, Daddy’s OK. Believe me. Jules, Hanna ; I will be right back.” He walked around the corner with a small head on either shoulder.
I looked at Hanna, “As I believe God loves us, let there be a man like that in that crowd up there. We just might have a chance.”
The chime on Andy’s desk unit sounded and I reached out to answer, “Ft. Stuart, Jules Parker here.”
Tim’s voice was clear, “Andy around? I have some stuff from Mayflower he needs to see.”
“He’ll be right back Tim. Daddy’s a little busy right now.”
Tim actually laughed for a change, “About damn time, make sure he looks at these three files when he gets back. FYI, Mariana is headed your way.”
Andy walked back into the room and Hanna stood and motioned to me. With her best dimpled smile she told Andy, “You’ve got mail!”
I had listened to Monroe’s file and watched the two Sensor files when Mariana came in.
“Where are my children?” She asked.
I had to give her that snarky grin. “In bed but, if they are asleep yet they are deifying the Laws of Nature.”
Her high octane smile could have melted steel, “I’ll be back!”
“Master Chief, Col Stuart; sorry to bother you but, could you come to my place for a moment?”
When Gabe came in it was with a question, “Why so damn formal Andy?”
I spun the monitor towards him, “Watch these and give me that exalted NCO Opinion!”
Gabe watched intently and then spoke slowly. “They have not drilled lately but, those are Pro’s. I would guess that the vessel they were boarding was Hamilton’s last Ace in the Hole.
“They have had the boot put to them real recently. There is a PRO up there who just maybe is as good as you. What are you going to do, are you going to stop the arms deal Bart is talking about?”
“Hell No Gabe, first I believe in what he wants to do. Second, who gives a shit about 2 or 3 hundred MK I’s in 30-06 when everyone has .338’s to take their place. Crap, you can’t break those things anyway. It just might give the Llama’s a chance.”
“Gabe, I want that damn mobile Dragon Head and I want it where the Snake’s can see it. But, more importantly I agree with you. There is a PRO up there. Get with Ash, Tim and Subbu; find me a way to talk to Him.”