Flight of the Claymore -chapter 7

Chapter 7
White Sands Research and Development Center, New Texas
Private office for Lieutenant Colonel James Nakatoma.

James could not believe the stunt his mothers had pulled with assigning him to New Texas and WSRDC. It didn’t really piss him off so much as twist his tit. He had forgotten just how mercurial his mothers’ emotions could be at times. Or how fast his mother Alice could pickup on his emotions. “How mom Alice could spot my intentions towards Lieutenant Cole so damned fast?”

James, I have known your mothers for just under ten years now. In all that time I have yet to figure out one third of what they do.’ Stephen quipped.

Oh stuff it Stephen. You know that was a rhetorical question. I can’t remember when was the last time one of us kids got something over on either of our mothers. What gets me is no matter what we try to hide they see right through us.’ James just bitched to Stephen like this when he was bored out of his mind.

I take it you are getting tired already of riding herd on the scientists, James. I know this is not the posting you prefer but your mothers put you here for a reason. Namely your current problem child, Lieutenant Terresa Cole.’ Stephen’s voice carried a smirk in it at this last comment.

Tell me something I don’t fracking know, already Stephen. This latest report from Major Freud has me more than a little worried. What I can’t understand is why the stupid ass went and pissed her off like that. Hell, every last member of the military knows just how volatile a Claymore can be. If she had been a regular Second-Gen Claymore, he would be cooling in the morg right now. As it is no one knows where she currently is and that is more than a little concerning.’ James let the worry he felt over that young Lieutenant going ape shit fill his thoughts.

I believe I have a lead on her current location James.

Well don’t take all day damn it. Where is she?’

The base Officer’s Club just sent in a request for the Post Military Police. They report that there is a minor using a false id to try and buy drinks. The description that was given fits our Lieutenant to the T.

“Ah shit! Thanks Stephen.” James jumped to his feet and headed for his office door calling out for his driver. “Jacobs, get the FAV ready to roll.”

“On it sir.” The young Specialist ran from the office building for the Commander’s FAV. While James had only been in command for a short time, he had already set examples. The first of which was to fire the old Commander’s driver for failure to carry out his assigned duties. Specialist Harry Jacobs liked his new duties and didn’t want to end up like his predecessor. Pulling duty on the ice moon of New Georgia. Unlike the last driver Jacobs kept the FAV near the building but out of the way. It took him only a few minutes to have the vehicle in front to pickup the new Base Commanding officer. “Where to sir?”

“The O-club Jacobs, and step on it.” James growled out as he strapped himself in. “Use the horn and don’t spare the horses.”

Jacobs shifted gears and stepped down on the accelerator. Whatever was going on at the officer’s club must have been big for the CO to be heading there at this time of the day. Jacobs shifted through the gears only slowing down to handle the turns. The whole time James gripped the ‘oh shit’ handlebars tighter with each turn. He could have ordered Jacobs to slow down but didn’t. He knew that Terresa had been riding the ragged edge for almost a month now. All she needed was one dipshit to push her over the edge into a full-blown panic attack or hysterical break down. Either one of which could resort in body bags being filled.

James had read the fitness, hand-to-hand, small weapons, and training reports on Terresa Cole. While she may not have the weapons of a Second-Gen, Terresa was still twice as deadly as any known Claymore. That made her most likely the second deadliest person alive that he knew of, right behind his mother Maiha. Right now, that was his greatest worry. If Terresa lost the tight control she was keeping on her emotions James knew that she would end up killing some stupid asshole.

They reached the O Club just ahead of the MP’s. James wasted no time and jumped from the FAV. Heading inside of the four MP’s sent to deal with the altercation James could hear the sounds of a voice raised in anger. From the sounds of the individual they had a right to be angry.

“GOD DAMN IT! THAT ID IS REAL YOU WORTHLESS FRACKING PIECE OF SHIT!” The owner of the voice, when not screaming at the top of her lungs, would have a soft lilt that James found rather endearing. James was really sighing as he entered the main room of the Officer’s Club barroom. He was expecting to find a few dead bodies already. At least one or two in need of medical attention. So he was rather pleased to be proven wrong. Instead what he found was just as concerning.

There before him stood one very pissed off, Flight Lieutenant First Class Terresa Cole and her Chief Warrant Officer. What had the young lady pissed off was clear as the day was long. And on New Texas where the days were thirty-hours each rotation, that made for some really long days. James might have only been in command for the last twenty days, but he already had six complaints filed about this particular bartender come across his desk.

“STAND DOWN LIEUTENANT!” James’ bellowed order cut through the room. This had two desired effects. The first was to gain the attention of the people in the room, which was immediate. The second was to stop Terresa from pulling her survival knife.

From across the room a Second Lieutenant called the room to attention. “ATTENTION! COMMANDER IN THE BUILDING!”

“At ease!” James called out as he walked towards the bar and where Terresa was close to taking off the head of the bartender. “Lieutenant Cole you better have a damned good reason for raising this much shit during duty hours.”

Terresa wanted to crawl in a hole just then, but wasn’t going to let her CO place all the blame on her. Squaring her shoulders. “I’m not the one causing problems, sir. As for duty hours, I’m off rotation until tomorrow at Fifteen-hundred, sir.”

“What about you Chief Daily?” James questioned once he was close enough to not have to shout across the room.

“I’m off as well, sir. I thought I would keep the Lieutenant company as she got the shrink out of her head. The best way to do that is with a cold beer, sir.” Daily gave the answer with a straight face.

James turned to the bartender. “Okay, I can see why they’re here. Care to explain why you’re refusing them service?”

“I got no problems with the Doreen reject drinking here. At least he’s old enough to have earned the right to drink with honest soldiers of the Crown. I draw the line at letting in the gene-freaks likes that White slag hag. Ain’t none of them earned the right to drink with honest troopers.” The bartender didn’t even try to hide his bigoted attitude in front of James or the others. “You may be the Base Commander, but I still run this here Club. I can refuse to service to anyone I see fit. That includes you Colonel. Now get the hell out of my bar and take the ghost whore with you.”

James just smiled at the man. “I take it by the tone of your voice and your accent that you’re from Caledonia three. Correct?”

James had set his trap. He knew that his questioning of the man’s home planet would piss him off. All James had to do was let the jackass walk into it. Which the bartender did with relish. “Damned right I am. We don’t cotton to those so called equal rights bullshit the Hall of Lords and Parliament has been pushing. We’re God fearing members of the Amazon Collective.”

That was all James needed to hear. He smiled over at Terresa. “Lieutenant Cole, Chief Warrant Daily, do you wish to press charges for discrimination?”

It took the officers a few seconds to realize what the Base CO was doing. Terresa smiled and just nodded her head yes, not trusting her voice just then. Chief Warrant Officer Daily was more direct about things. “I’ll gladly press charges sir. Though I would prefer that you just left me alone with the ass in a locked room for ten minutes.”

“Sorry Chief, but I can’t do that. However, I will let you beat the crap out of our spy here if he tries to run before the MPs arrest him.” James told Daily.

“That won’t be happening Colonel. I already told you that I don’t answer to you once. That includes the Base MPs. This here is MY Club. I OWN it not the Base.” The man crossed his arms thinking he was in the clear.

James by this time had, had enough. His pistol cleared its holster in the blink of an eye. Not to be out done Terresa pulled her own weapon only she trained hers on the fourteen patrons. The snarl that escaped her smiling lips let them all know she was really to kill. “I have ten rounds. Only two of you are Death Dealers. Even if they want to try me I’ll still take out ten of your sorry asses before they can kill me. Who wants to die first?”

The two Death Dealer officers just smiled and sat back. One even waved for her to carry on. “Lieutenant Cole please feel free to fire. As far as myself and Lieutenant Jones are concerned these REMF’s are nothing more than moving hard targets.”

James just sighed. He had herd that there was a major problem between the combat units and the support units. What he just heard confirmed his worse fears. “That will be enough Lieutenant Martin. Lieutenant Cole holster your weapon.”

Terresa gave James a hard look but did as ordered. James smiled as he turned his attention back to the bartender. “I can blow your head off right here right now. And all I’ll have to do is fill out the ten-ninety-nine-A-seven for the expenditure of the round. By the way I hate to tell you this, no I don’t, this building like everything else on this base belongs to the Empyreal Military. In short you don’t own shit dick head. As far as the Amazon Collective is concerned they and you can go to hell. Because on this base there are only Citizens of the Empire. By that every last man and woman who wears the uniform are protected by the laws the Amazon Collective see fit to break. I for one will not tolerate such blatant disrespect of our service members or any citizen of the Empire. In my eyes your attitude places you firmly in the camp of our enemies and therefore a spy.”

James had just finished his little speech to the bartender when the base Military Police walked through the club’s door. A young Captain walked up to James and saluted. “Excuse me sir. Did you just level a charge of espionage against citizen Carter? I need for you to be exact in your wording sir?”

“I did Captain. I am filing charges of espionage, discrimination, bigotry, and blatant violations of Empyreal Antidefamation Laws.” James had no sooner finished laying out the charges than the Captain and the three escorting MPs reached for their weapons. Terresa, Daily, and the two Death Dealers’ didn’t even think twice as their weapons cleared holsters and deployed from armored recesses. James gave the Captain a sly smile. “I figured he would have called for his friends in the Provost Marshal Office, Captain. I would be very careful if I were you. I know for a fact that none of you are Death Dealers. The four officers that have you covered are. At this range they can’t miss.”

The four MPs moved their hands away from their weapons slowly. James had known about the corruption amongst the Provost Marshal Office from the first day he set foot on the R-n-D center. He was just looking for the right time to kick over the anthill and find the slugs. With the four men standing in front of him he had a good hunch that they would lead him to the ringleader.

Using his Network connect James contacted the special detachment he had on stand bye. ‘Major Cole, I got some rats for your team to pick up.’

‘Copy that sir. Where at, how many, and what do you want done with them?’

‘Five total, the base O’ club, and stuff them in a hole until I can talk to them.’ James ordered Sylvester over the network.

‘Copy, five for pick up, hold, and squeeze.’

James turned back to the bartender. “You get one chance Carter. Who is your boss on the base?”

“I want my barrister.” Carter demanded.

James smiled. “Wrong answer dumb ass. You’re a spy. You don’t get one. Now answer the question or else.”

Carter just snarked. “Or else what half-bred?”

Of all the names Carter could have chosen to call James he picked the one that pissed him off the most. In the past James had beaten the hell out of more than one person for disparaging his family name and blood lines. This time he had a someone with more reasons for handling the problem than he did.

“Lieutenant Cole, you are cleared to have fun. You may break all the bones you want but you cannot kill the man. Yet.” That was all Terresa needed to hear. She holstered her pistol and jumped over the bar grabbing the man by the throat as she went. Even at barely five-foot-tall Terresa was more than a match for the six foot, two-hundred and thirty pound, bartender.

The bartender was taken totally by surprise. He wasn’t the only one either. The four MPs, twelve Rear Echelon Officers, and two Death Dealer Lieutenants were stunned by the speed and strength of the petite woman. Only the two front line officers had any clue as to how deadly Terresa could be, as she broke the right forearm of the bartender. Only she didn’t stop there. Grabbing the fingers of the bartender’s right hand she broke them one at a time while singing a child’s nursery rhyme.

This little piggy went market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none, and this little piggy went wee, wee, wee, all the way home.” Finally having someone she could unleash her pinned up rage on Terresa was having far too good of a time. The smile that barely graced her beautiful face never reached her eyes. Even as Terresa was bending the bartender’s elbow in a way it wasn’t supposed to be, the smile never slipped or grew. It remained just as faint as it did disquieting.

James we really must spend some time in that young lady’s presence. If nothing else to give her tips on interrogation. I will say that she has a real flair for the dramatic.’ James’ A.I., Stephen rudely commented just before Terresa broke the radius and ulna of the bartender’s lower arm. ‘Oh I must say that is very unlady like, James. Are you planning on stepping in anytime soon?’

Honestly, Stephen, no. I figure the little lady needs this more than I need the intel that ass hat can give us.’ James just winced as Terresa hauled back on the bartender’s upper arm to the point that the humerus snapped like a dry twig. ‘Ouch! That had to hurt. If she goes for the clavicle next, I’ll really be impressed.’

James, Chief Daily, and the rest of those observing Terresa never got the chance to see what she would do next. From the doorway a strong male voice boomed out. “TERRESA! STAND DOWN! NOW!”

James turned and looked to see who the voice belonged. It was just as he thought. Even as Terresa stepped away from the crying bartender Sylvester Cole was stepping around the four stunned MPs. When Sylvester got a look at the bartender he just sighed. “Damn it sis! How many times do I have to tell you not to go for the right arm all the time. You keep doing that and someone will eventually figure out a way to beat your skinny little ass. Oh, and just who gave the okay for you to go ape shit crazy on a civilian? Do you know how much trouble you’re in?”

“None. I got to do that on orders. Just ask our boss.” Terresa asked with a sly smile as she pointed at James.

“I’ll call for the meat wagon to see to the bartender sir.” Sylvester said with a sigh. Then turned to the rest of the room. “Who’s the rats sir?”

“Major, you can start with the mud puppies. These four were stupid enough to try drawing down on the Lieutenant, myself, and Chief Daily.” James had just pointed at the four Military Police and smiled. “Be sure they don’t talk to anyone and I mean anyone, until the Hunters get through with them.”

Never before had the Base commander for White Sands Research and Development Center hinted at the use of the Empyreal Investigators. For centuries the mere mention of the Hunters was enough to drive fear into the hearts of men, and women alike. For them to be here now could only mean that the Empress was finally stepping in. For Carter the very thought of being turned over to the Hunters was a greater fear than having to face his handlers.

“Wait! No that! I tell you what you want!” Carter was pissing his pants at this point. The main fear being turned into a High Priest for Freedom’s Landing.

“Start talking Carter or the Hunters get the left overs.” Terresa snarled. “I’ve had enough of your bellyaching already.”

“I said I’ll talk you freak.” Carter slid backwards across the floor on his ass. Trying to get as much room between him and Terresa. “You want the names of my handlers I’ll give them to you.”

“Talk.” James ordered. “You can start with your contacts in the Provost Marshal.”

“Say one word and it will be your last, Carter.” The MP Captain snapped.

“Major, I thought I gave the order to remove those men from here?” James questioned Sylvester coldly. “Do I have to repeat myself?”

“No sir. You don’t have to repeat the order.” Sylvester turned to the eight men that were with him. “Gentlemen take the enlisted away but leave the Captain behind. I think he needs a little encouragement to talk.”

As the three enlisted MPs were dragged from the O Club, Sylvester punched the Captain in the back of the head. “Personally, I hope the dip shit keeps his mouth shut. At least until Terresa gets to play.”

Terresa didn’t even think twice before moving faster than anyone in the room could follow. She was in front of the kneeling Captain in the blink of an eye. She had a hold of the man’s shoulders before anyone could stop her. With a simple twist of her hands Terresa broke the Captain’s shoulders at the same time. Even as the first scream was torn from his throat Terresa was snapping the man’s upper arms. She was moving towards the Captain’s forearms when James called out. “Hold Lieutenant! That’ enough. I don’t want the man dead. Yet.”

Terresa stepped away with the faint smile still playing across her lips. James noticed that the smile never left Terresa’s face despite the violence she had just unleashed. It was as if she enjoyed hurting the two men. James knew then and there, that Terresa Cole was more dangerous than she appeared. And she was also a more than a little on the edge.

James if she flies with just half the passion that she just showed. Then there’s not one aerospace fighter pilot or fighter that can match her. That young woman will fly pass the envelope of whatever fighter she is placed in. As for other pilots being a match to her skills, there are none.’

Stephen, I figured that much out back on the Singapore. The problem Stephen, is Terresa Cole is too close to the edge of insanity. Just look at the smile of hers.’ James’ debate with his AI was interrupted by Sylvester sighing.

“Terresa, will you wipe that damned smile off your face. It’s bad enough that you’re freaking out the Colonel, but you know how much that look makes mom upset.”

James looked over at Sylvester. “Excuse me Major Cole, but are you saying that your sister’s smile is normal?”

“Oh, it’s normal alright, if you consider that whenever she smiles like that someone gets hurt. My twin sister used to say that when Terresa gives you a half smile, start to worry. When the half smile becomes a full one, start looking for the exits. If you ever see a toothy smile, run. Run as fast as you can because a shit storm of epic proportions is about to make planet fall. It seems that part of Terresa’s personality is still intact.” Sylvester smirked before giving Terresa a sideways glance. “Only before it wasn’t quite so disturbing for some reason.”

James gave the two Cole siblings a strange look before commenting. “Major Cole, that smile is more than just disturbing. It’s downright terrifying. I would say that it’s borderline insane.”

“No, sir. That is Terresa at her most controlled. You really don’t want to see her on the edge. Like I said, you see a toothy smile run.” Sylvester replied with a smile of his own.

Terresa gave her brother a small pout then quirked her lips. “Okay Sy, I may have a small anger control problem but I’m not all that bad.”

“Sis, you are that bad. The only question I have is when you are going to admit to it.” Sylvester Cole may not know his younger sister all that well, but he did know his kid brother better than his twin sister ever would.

“The day I admit to that brother dear, is the day they serve ice cream in Hell.” Terresa never let the faint smile fade from her face as she looked down at the two crippled men. “Right now, we have more pressing business to conclude.”

“That we do Lieutenant.” James said as he walked up to the MP Captain. “Captain, you have to the count of five to answer my questions. Then I turn you over to the Lieutenant to finish her fun.”

“I’ll talk just keep the silver-eyed-witch away from me.” the MP Captain gritted out through his teeth.

“Then we’ll start with the bartender. Who is your contact within the Provost Marshal?” James asked coldly.

“I report to the Provost Marshal, and the Captain there.” Carter began to spill his guts before Terresa returned to finish breaking his bones. “After that there is the Head of Civilian Suppliers, and Department Head for Civilian Contractors. I don’t know who the top dog is, but the Captain does.”

“Well Captain you can pickup where he left off. Who’s the top dog spy on my base?” James snarled as he raised his pistol to point at the man’s knees.

“The Provost, is the ring leader. He gets reports from everyone else and passes them up the chain. Who gets the reports is beyond me. That’s all I know. I swear.”

James looked into the MP Captain’s eyes and nodded his head. Looking over at the two Death Dealer Officers. “Lieutenants Jones and Miller, you are to say nothing to anyone. The rest of you will be staying here until cleared. Understood?”

The rest of the officers in the club just answered with ‘yes sir’. While Miller and Jones stood straight and called out. “Death is dealt by our hand, sir!”

James felt real pride in serving with men such as those two, and the Coles. Looking down at the disgraced MP Captain, James felt only disgust and anger. Anger over the betrayal to not only the Empire but fellow soldiers, brothers and sisters in arms this man had committed. It was the anger over this that James had to keep under control. He was now more than a front-line officer. He was Base Commander and held to higher standards. He may be only a lowly Lieutenant Colonel, but he was still a Base Commander with responsibilities to more than a single battalion.

By this time another two squads of enlisted soldiers had arrived. Miller stepped forward. “We contacted our platoon Sergeants, Colonel. Those are our men. We can trust them. What do you need from us, sir?”

“Secure the REMFs and the club AO. After that talk to Major Cole. He’s the new CO for the Security Company.” James looked over at Terresa and Chief Daily. “Lieutenant Cole, not that I don’t appreciate your work here today but what started all of this in the first place?”

“Its like Chief Daily said sir. I had just got done with a doctor’s appointment with Major Freud. When I came out I wasn’t in a really good state of mind. The man had pissed me off something fierce. I was wanting to hurt someone bad.” Terresa sighed as she looked down at her hands. “When I came out of the hospital Chief Daily suggested that I needed a drink. I agreed with the Chief. He did warn me that we might get some flack off the bartender, but I didn’t care. I’ve been getting shit from just about everyone on the base because of my appearance. When the man started with his bigoted horseshit I had enough. He didn’t even try to hide his attitude towards me and the Chief.”

“So, you went and decided to educate the man, little sister?” Sylvester snapped at her as he reached over the counter into the beer cooler. Pulling out seven Golden Crowns he started passing them out. “You just had to go pissing in the man’s cornflakes instead of walking out and calling the Base CO. How many times do we have to have this conversation?”

“Oh quit your damned bitching Sy. At least we uncovered part of the spy ring on the base. You can’t blame me for the jackass’ attitude.” Terresa mumbled as she snatched one of the beers. “Who cares if he gets sent to the chamber? I finally get to have that drink.”

As she started tossing back the first of what would be many that day James, Sylvester, and the other Death Dealers just chuckled. If anything, Terresa Cole had just cemented her reputation as a real officer of the Death Dealers. She maybe the only aerospace pilot among their ranks but she was one of theirs. The Support Command Officers saw something way different.

In their eyes it was not a group of Death Dealers welcoming one of their own. It was something far more dangerous. This was the Death Dealers accepting a demon amongst their ranks. A demon that should have been put down the moment it stepped out of the Second-Gen tanks. Yet this silver-eyed-witch was a pilot with fifteen confirmed kills already. Everyone on the base heard of her bravery during what was already being called the Singapore Incident. With nothing else to do and not wishing to piss off the Combat Officers they walked over to the bar. One of them, a First Lieutenant, walked around to the backside and started serving drinks.

Offices of Major Sylvia Cole, WSRDC Medical Center.

Sylvia sat back in her chair and studied her counterpart, Major Andrew Freud, Doctor of Psychiatry. Sylvia knew why the man was in her office. She also knew what had pissed off her younger sister, Terresa, about the man. Sylvia had dealt with egotistical ass hats in the past, but Freud took the cake. Sylvia waited until Freud finished before addressing the man’s concerns.

“Now, as you can see, unless Terresa faces her insecurities she will lose control at some point. Most likely while at the controls of a very expensive aerospace fighter. As medical professionals we must do something. If nothing else, we have to get her to face facts. Even if we have to force her.” The smugness in Freud’s voice let Sylvia know how he felt they should go about helping her sister.

“Andrew, I must say that you have presented a very comprehensive and thorough diagnosis of Lieutenant Cole. How do you think we should proceed?” Sylvia asked with a sickly sweetness that bordered on outright disrespect.

“There is no need to be sarcastic doctor.” Freud snapped.


“My prognosis is the correct one! She must face her new sexuality! If she is to have a healthy heterosexual relationship she must accept the fact she is a woman now! If she continues to ignore this very basic fact of life it will lead to unhealthy sexual and deviant behavior.” Freud just didn’t understand why this upstart of a doctor refused to see the truth of the matter. “Your sister is pushing herself to the point of having suicidal and homicidal tendencies. Then there is this nonsense of being considered an outcast because she is not a regular Death Dealer. Why the idea of making Claymores some kind of superior killing machine is nothing more than pure superstition.”

Sylvia sat back in her chair stunned at the man’s monumental stupidity. To consider the fears of Combat troops as nothing more than superstition was beyond comprehension for Sylvia. “Major Freud, how long have you been in the service?”

“For just over two years now.” Freud stated proudly. “I joined after completing my residency at Harvard on Earth Prime. I received my commission shortly thereafter. Why do you ask?”

“Because for you to have so little knowledge of our military you have to be a FRACKING ninety-day wonder! It’s a miracle that Terresa didn’t take your head off! If I didn’t know better, I would say you were the one with the death wish. Instead you’re just a total dumbass without a clue as to what you’re doing.” Sylvia breathed deeply to regain control over her emotions. Once she had regained her calm Sylvia opened her eyes and looked Freud in the face. “Major Freud, take some advice here and act on it. Cancel all your appointments for the next two weeks. Take that time and spend it among the regular troops on this base.”

“That sounds similar to what your sister told me to do. I don’t see how that will help. I mean what can those commoners have to teach me?” Freud sniffed.

At that point Sylvia lost control. The anti-personnel laser burned a hole between Freud’s thighs. Freud never saw where Sylvia drew the weapon from, his eyes were riveted to the end of the barrel. The snarl of Sylvia’s words pulled his undivided attention back to her face. “You ever disrespect our fellow members of the military again I will personally castrate you by APL. This is your only warning.”

“How dare you! I’ll have you up on charges!” Freud stopped mid rant. It might have something to do with the barrel of Sylvia’s weapon pointing at his forehead. “Um… maybe we got off on the wrong foot here Doctor.”

“No Freud, we didn’t. You made four mistakes this day. The first and last of which was pissing me off. The second was disrespecting our fellow soldiers and their beliefs. Thirdly thinking that a Claymore is nothing more than a normal Death Dealer. Someone that every Death Dealer, and regular military person fears because they are as deadly as their reputation. Lastly, but most importantly, tell my sister, who just so happens to be a Claymore, that she needs to get laid. A person who is having enough problems adjusting to her new sex, but to throw that in ‘on top’ is just too stupid for words. She has every right to be pissed at you.” Sylvia stood up, so she could place some distance between herself and Freud. “Take the advice and get out of my office. Before I do something, I regret.”

Andrew Freud knew he wasn’t going to get any help from this stupid woman. He stood up and started for the door. “If you won’t help me with your sister then I’ll just have to go to the Chief of Staff and ground her.”

“Freud, that will be the last thing you want to do.” Sylvia tossed over her shoulder. “But that is still your right. Just remember one thing.”

“And what is that Cole?”

“I out rank you.” Sylvia turned to face Freud. “I have also served under our current CO. Colonel Rottweiler has a problem with most shrinks and you have yet to earn his respect. Unlike you, he’s a combat doctor.”

Freud just turned on his heels and stormed out the door. As he pushed his way through the hallways towards the Chief of Staff’s office Sylvia sighed and place her call. It was answered on the second ring.

“Afternoon Major Cole. I take it that our favorite twit is on his way to see me?”

“Yes sir, that is correct.” The sigh that escaped her this time was one of relief. “Sir, I know this is going to sound screwed up, but I’m glad he’s your problem now. If I had to deal with much more of his shit I would have shot him myself.”

Sylvia heard the sigh in Colonel Rottweiler’s voice. “I take it that Freud still has failed to grasp the danger.”

“Sir, it’s worse than that.”

“How?” was all Rottweiler asked.

“You’ll have to forgive my language sir. Major Andrew Freud is fracking stupid egotistical ass clown that needs to have his balls cut off with a dull butter knife. In the words of Lieutenant Terresa Cole. He is a two-bit wannabe piece of shit in search of a medical degree. Only I would have called him a medical school reject on top of that. The man has no clue when it comes to the mindset of your average soldier let alone a Death Dealer. In his eyes the fears of those soldiers are nothing more than silly superstitions. I won’t even go into his opinion on the education of our troops. The man is just too full of himself for his own good, sir. In truth he is nothing more than an overeducated moron using the military to payoff his student loans before hanging out his shingle.” Sylvia sighed. “Sir, I fear the complaints about Major Freud are true.”

“I see.” Rottweiler had been receiving complaints from more than a few of the hospital staff about Andrew Freud. Almost all the complaints concerned his treatment of patients. Not just his own, but the patients of other doctors. “Thank you for letting me handle this situation from here out Major Cole.”

“You’re welcome, sir. I just hope you can do something about Freud before he sends one of our troopers over the edge.” That was Sylvia’s real fear. Not that Terresa would hurt Freud but that one of the enlisted soldiers would.

“I have things in hand Major. You can rest assured about that. Have a good day.” Rottweiler disconnected, and Sylvia sat back heavily in her chair.

“I hope like hell you do Colonel. If not Terresa may well solve our problem in a bloody manner by removing Freud’s head literally.”

The Office of Colonel Robert Rottweiler, Chief of Staff.

Robert leaned heavily against his desk. The conversation with Major Sylvia Cole had greatly upset him. He had hoped that Freud would get his act together here. The man had already been transferred twice in two years. This was his last chance to prove he could provide a professional service. Sadly, the man had failed. The buzz from his intercom let him know that Freud was waiting to see him. Reaching over he hit the button. “Show Major Freud in Sergeant.”

The door to his office opened and Major Andrew Freud stepped through. Robert could tell by the look on the man’s face he was angry. Robert decided to cut to the chase. “Alright Andrew, what’s got your goat this time?”

“Sir, as much as I wish that I didn’t have to. I have to file a complaint against Major Sylvia Cole. The Major has turned a blind eye to the danger of letting her new sister just walk around. Lieutenant Cole is on the verge of a total mental breakdown. Unless the Lieutenant is forced to face her problems, I cannot in good conscience sign off on her flight status. The young woman is border line suicidal.” Freud knew that the Colonel would back him and his plan for treatment of Terresa Cole. He just needed to get Sylvia Cole out of the way.

“Andrew, how long have you been in the service now?” Robert asked catching the man off guard.

“Just over two years now sir. That has nothing to do with the current situation.”

“But it does Andrew. In truth you have been a member of the Empyreal Military for two years, five months, one week, and three days. Far less than Major Cole. An officer that has earned the respect of every one of her Commanding Officers. You on the other hand have yet to earn the respect of just one Commander. You don’t even have the respect of your fellow officers. Not one of them. I have a stack of complaints over there on my desk along with requests for your immediate transfer. I know that you are just biding your time until your hitch is up.”

“That sir is not the problem. The problem is people refuse to accept new methods of treatment that is all. Surely you can see this?” Freud smugly said.

“Wrong Major. It is not the idea of new treatment methods, but your continued disrespect of your fellow officers and soldiers. You are a continuous disturbance in MY hospital. One that I will no longer tolerate.” Robert watched as Freud’s shoulders slumped over. He knew the man was surrendering to his fate.

“Where am I being transferred to now, sir?”

“You are not being transferred Major. You’re being giving a choice.” The cold hard tones of Rottweiler’s voice sent shills down Freud’s spine.

“May I have time to decide?”

“No, you may not. I will have your answer before you leave this office today. First, you can face a Courts Marsal where you will be charged with Gross Insubordination, Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer, and the big one, Enlistment Under False Pretenses. Before I get to your next choice let me lay out what these charges mean for you. Each charge holds a ten-year sentence on Pelion three at Sandspur Supermax Prison. Each sentence to be served consecutively. To be followed by a Dishonorable Discharge from Service. What that means is your license to practice medicine is worthless. You will owe the total debt for your medical training and school to pay back. Do you understand where this is going Andrew?” Rottweiler’s voice was harsh and uncaring as he laid out the facts for Andrew Freud.

“Yes sir. I understand. What is my second choice?” Freud asked weakly.

“I knew you were smarter than you looked, Andrew. Your second choice is you resign your commission here and now. Return to your quarters, pack your belongings, and catch the next Clipper class dropship out of this system. The Service will pay for a one-way ticket to get you and your belongings home. Those are your choices. Stay here and face a Courts Marsal followed by thirty-years in prison and a Dishonorable Discharge or resign and get the hell out of this system a free man still able to practice medicine but with only half of your debt paid off.”

Andrew Freud was many things but stupid wasn’t one of them. He knew that he had finally pushed things too far with one too many commanding officers. “I’ll take the resignation sir. It’s better than going home in shame.”

“You just don’t get it Freud. You’re not leaving under favorable conditions. The War Department will be informed of your fraudulent enlistment. That will effect what contracts and patients you will be able to see.” As Rottweiler laid out the truth of Freud’s situation the man slouched in defeat. Handing over a pen. “Sign.”

Freud knew he was defeated and signed the resignation on Rottweiler’s desk. “I’ll be off the planet by the end of the week sir.”

“Wrong Freud. You’ll be off the planet sooner than that. There is a Clipper due to take off from Huston Spaceport in two days. That gives you enough time to pack your shit and get off my base.”

“That’s not nearly enough time to pack sir. Why it’ll take me a whole day just to secure my notes and patient records. That’s not to mention all my research data.” That’s when Rottweiler knew Freud’s real plan.

“You can forget returning to your office Freud. There are two MP’s outside waiting to escort you out of the building.” Rottweiler hit the intercom button again. “Send them in Sergeant. Mr. Freud will be needing that escort. And Sergeant, send a Cleaner Crew to his former offices. Total slash and burn of all materials. That includes the good doctor’s private files.”

“You can’t do that!” Freud screamed. “My life’s work is in those files.”

“Not only can I, Freud, but it is my duty as the Commanding Officer of this Hospital. You will not be extorting the service members of this base or any other.” At that point in time the door to Rottweiler’s office opened and two Military Police officers stepped inside. “Corporals escort this gentleman to his quarters and insure that he does not leave until he’s ready to leave for Huston Spaceport. He is only to take what is his personal effects. No files, data crystals, not even a computer terminal understood?”

“Yes sir, nothing but the shirt on his back.” One them answered.

Freud looked at the two MPs and knew he was no match for them. They were combat support soldiers and he had nowhere near their level of training. With his head bowed Freud left Rottweiler’s office, in the company of the two MPs, with a broken man.


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