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.“In any case, you’ll have more war ships arriving as fast as they can make them.When everything gets calmed down back there, he will be sending the Yorktown to buttress our fleet at Omaha.They have enough surface warships to take care of business on Earth, especially since everyone on the planet now knows we will deal harshly with rogue nations.”“Colonel Peters filled me in on your rather blunt end to hostilities on Earth.Not having to deal with Earth Command makes everything a hell of a lot easier.”“Sir,” Adrian cut in.“What have you done about Casserine?”“It’s become our largest storage facility.We had to enlarge the storage facility for the increased production the Tennyson has been transporting from Omaha,” Risling explained.“Why Captain, you homesick?”“A little, Sir.”“Well, the only people touching the surface there are in the new gravity suits, and they only stay long enough to load and off load.It looks very doubtful we’ll ever get anyone interested in colonizing the place other than you two weirdos,” Risling chuckled.“You can have the damn place as far as I’m concerned.”“We’ll take it,” Adrian said quickly.“Of course it will hinge on my military commander’s resolution of the Alien threat,” Risling pointed out.“I’ll have him resign,” Adrian replied, only half joking, as Jake shook his head.“Over my dead body,” Risling said firmly.“Don’t pay any attention to her, Sir,” Jake replied.“She’s still hopped up on pain killers.Just say the word, and I’ll have her clapped in irons, awaiting trial for disrespect of a senior officer.”Risling laughed, as Adrian had wrapped her arms around Jake’s neck, and was trying to choke him.She could not even make him blink, as he continued talking without indicating any discomfiture.“As you can see, Governor, I lead with an iron hand,” Jake said, gesturing back at his struggling attacker.“Oh yes, General Matthews,” Risling continued to laugh.“I see you have the situation well in hand.Call me when you proceed with whatever plan you decide on.Risling out.”Jake sat with Adrian, Mercer, and Dougherty in the passenger end of his Alpha Drop Ship, for the flight down to Omaha.The Intrepid orbited Omaha, while the Gallant had taken up a position halfway between Omaha, and the Alien Jump Gate.Command Wing Fighters flew patrol and training missions at staggered times, scanning for any anomalies in the quadrant.“Why did Major Richardson give us specific landing instructions, away from the main complex, Jake?” Adrian asked, breaking the silence.“Is something wrong there you’re hiding?”Jake looked at her with an amused grin on his face, as Mercer and Dougherty politely ignored Adrian’s familiarity with the military commander of the colonies, without laughing.“He told me he had a surprise for us.Shall I have him report in to you before making such hasty demands, Captain?”“You… “ Adrian paused, as she heard the two men on the other side of Jake begin to snicker in anticipation of her outburst.“I was just curious, Sir,” she finished coldly.“Although I’m glad you are well enough to accompany us down to the surface, Captain,” Jake continued on the same tact.“Tour duties do not intersect with strategic planning or even flight plans suggested by command grade officers.I agreed to let you take over the medical facilities on Omaha, because of their dearth of medical personnel.I did not, however, agree to run every thread of strategy or planning by you for your approval.”Mercer lost it first, his bass laughter too contagious for Dougherty, who joined him.Jake watched Adrian’s face turn bright red through what was left of the bruising she had endured.She leaned back against the back of her seat, and folded her arms across her chest.The familiarity she and Jake shared comically on Casserine had entertained the Intrepid’s crew through the rest of their journey to Omaha.Once Adrian had left the Med Center as a patient, she had been unable to curb her excursions into everything Jake was involved in.Jake’s patient, but sharp dress downs of his wife on an official level, were repeated often, along with the pointed remarks, which had engendered them.“I did it again, didn’t I?” Adrian asked softly.‘Tea, Hon,” Jake answered, as Mercer and Dougherty calmed down.“You’ve proven to be a hell of a Medical Officer, and you were awarded the Cross of Valor for your actions while in captivity by Earth Command, but you seem unable to remember we are no longer alone on Casserine.”“I am a slow learner,” Adrian admitted, looking over at Mercer and Dougherty, who waved at her, and nodded their heads in unison.“The General here never tires of reminding you of your place though,” Mercer observed.“It could be worse, Ma’am,” Dougherty put in.“Jake reprimanded a miner on Omaha, who decided to challenge his authority there.He’s still taking his meals by way of a straw.”“Thanks for the analogy, Tim, but the General wouldn’t hit me, would you, Dear?” Adrian asked innocently.“You never know,” Jake replied, shaking his head.“I may say no now, and later, yes.Not all punishment has to be delivered with a fist to the face.”This statement provoked another bout of laughter, which Adrian joined, as she gripped Jake by the ear.“In your dreams, buster.”“Two minutes to touch down,” Colonel Peters said over the intercom, his voice cracking from trying to deliver the information without laughing.“Jason Peters,” Adrian said, indignation in her voice.“You have the intercom open, don’t you?”“Ah, sorry, Captain,” Peters apologized sheepishly.“I figured if the General had anything to tell me on the way down from the Intrepid, I would make it easy for him.”“I’ll bet,” Adrian replied doubtfully.“I have a standing order for my Drop Ship pilot to have the intercom open at all times,” Jake admonished.“Also, the proper manner to address my Drop Ship pilot would be Colonel Peters, Captain.”“I am beginning to see I will remain the butt of official protocol, whether I like it or not,” Adrian sighed.“I apologize, Colonel Peters, it won’t happen again.”“Oh yea,” Mercer broke in.“At least not until the next time the Captain opens her mouth.”“I wish Sara was here,” Adrian remarked.“This old boys’ club you guys have is wearing on me.We need more female voices of authority [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]