This week’s scene of Boot Camp
Act 5 Scene 2
Renee straightened out her uniform and tried not to wince as she limped out onto the sizzling main drag of the CIG base. Frei hadn’t returned from training and neither had Aeron. Frei had told her that she was taking Aeron for extra training to help her work around her refusal to fire a gun and although Renee was pleased that she was getting extra help, it would have been a relief to see her.
“Ma’am,” the officer at the door to the medical block said and saluted.
“I’m looking for Captain Sissy Marney,” she said glancing toward the psychiatry block with the hope that Doctor Montgomery hadn’t spotted her—she’d have read the brief on her inability to shoot Bucher and she’d been pressing Frei to retire her as it was.
“I will escort you to her, ma’am,” the officer said and turned toward the door.
“I know the medical block.” She kept her face inexpressive even though she was trying not to smile. “I can’t get there without help.”
He hurried back to his position. “Yes, Ma’am; sorry, Ma’am.”
“There’s no need to be sorry for being a gentleman,” she said and did smile at him this time. “Good to know we don’t just teach skills here.”
He wrinkled up his face in a geeky grin and then blushed. “Thank you, ma’am.”
That was one of the great parts about CIG is that the officers were always keen to impress her. She headed inside then winced as Sally, the nurse-receptionist spotted her. “Hello.”
“Now, how are you, honey?” Sally said, tottering up to her and peering at her through her oversized glasses. “I heard you had a tough time on assignment.”
That was one of the downsides of CIG that officers tended to talk in Dusty’s, the bar, and assignments didn’t always stay confidential.
“All assignments are tough,” she mumbled and started to head toward the elevators.
“Sure they are,” Sally said tottering alongside her. “Training was tough too… a lot of the recruits got a debrief in here.”
Renee nodded. Fitzpatrick had told her that one section of the team had stumbled into hostile territory when they got lost. “Yes, I know.”
“Aeron Lorelei ain’t in here though, honey,” Sally said with a wink. “With her muscles she’s probably on the assault course again.”
Renee clenched her jaw. The biggest downside of CIG was Sally’s ability to gossip. “I’m not looking for Captain Lorelei.”
“Uh huh,” Sally said with a smirk. “’Cause that isn’t what Brenda told me.”
“Brenda?” Renee raised her eyebrows. Brenda, Frei’s PA, was not one to talk.
“Yeah, she was complaining that you keep clogging up her phone line checking on how your younger officer is doing.” Sally smirked wider. “Everyone says you got a big attachment.”
Renee glared at her. “I call Ursula directly.”
Sally nodded. “Don’t we all know that, honey.” She looked her up and down. “No coincidence she was hard on the fine young Aeron.”
Renee put her hands on her hips. “I hope you aren’t insinuating that I’m having an inappropriate relationship with my commanding officer.”
“Honey, I don’t have to insinuate.” Sally laughed at her and followed her into the lift. “Montgomery has had me write up your notes a whole lot.”
Renee stared up at the ceiling of the elevator then straight forward. “What are you after, Sally?”
“Lilia made sure I got the job here,” Sally said and tapped the button for the third floor. “She told me when she left to keep an eye out for little Aeron.”
“Is that so?” Renee eased from one foot to the other.
“Yep, and Aeron is vulnerable with all that happened to her,” Sally said and turned to stand directly in front of her. “And you’re a whole lot more vulnerable since you got hurt.”
“Is there a point to this conversation?” Renee folded her arms. Sally was lower in rank, yes, but she did know everyone’s business and was a close friend of Montgomery.
“Sure is, honey.” Sally held her gaze. “You messing around with Aeron?”
Renee clenched her jaw again.
“Are you?” Sally raised her eyebrows.
“No.” She took a deep breath. She had to give Sally enough that Montgomery would back off. “I’m in love with her and she doesn’t know. Okay?”
Sally blurted out her laugh. “You kidding me?”
“No, I’m completely in love with someone who doesn’t know and wouldn’t feel anything for me anyway. Happy?” She set her jaw. “Now, get off my back.”
“Why wouldn’t she love you?” Sally pursed her lips ignoring that the doors opened behind her.
“I can’t see properly, I can’t walk properly, and I can’t shoot.” Renee glared at her. “Which you already know.” She held up a hand. “Besides I’m a woman.”
“You’re a out and out hero,” Sally shot back with a scowl. “And if she can’t see that then she ain’t worth your time.” She grinned. “But Ewan says she talks about you a whole lot.”
“So does Captain Marney and she’s engaged,” Renee said then limped past her into the corridor. “And I have a medal to pin on her hospital gown.”
“You might be hurt, honey,” Sally said from the elevator. “But you still got a way with people.” She chuckled as the doors closed.
Renee rolled her eyes and headed into the room where Sissy sat on her bed trying to lift herself into her wheelchair. “Captain Marney.”
Sissy looked up, stared then slipped off the bed.
Renee dived forward and caught her with a wince. “I didn’t mean to make you jump.”
“Aeron said you were alive,” Sissy mumbled. “You are, you’re really alive.”
Renee hoisted her into the chair. “Sometimes.”
Sissy wheezed out a breath. “She really does know you.”
“Aeron?” Renee beamed at her. “Yes, well… in a professional context.”
“Is she okay?” Sissy asked. “I’ve tried getting information out of the nurses but they won’t say.”
“She’s great.” Renee said and pushed the chair around so Sissy could look at her. “And General Frei told me just what you did during training.”
“I didn’t do as much as I wanted to,” Sissy mumbled and rubbed at her leg. “We lost Hankings.”
Renee nodded. “But you saved over half your team single-handedly.” She held up a medal. “This is a really special honor, the Black Memorial medal, which was named after my dad.”
Sissy stared at it. “I know, they renamed it after he died.”
“Then you’ll know it’s given to officers who perform to the most elite, courageous, and intuitive standards in situations where their actions save more than a team would be expected to.” Renee pinned it on her gown. “He’d be proud that you are wearing it.”
Sissy sniffed. “I… he would?”
“Yes,” Renee perched on the bed and smiled at her. “As am I.”
“I have to be medically retired,” Sissy mumbled and rubbed at her leg again. “I don’t really want to be but…” She sighed. “I don’t know what I’m meant to do.”
Renee smiled. “You don’t have to retire because I just got you a position working for a friend of mine. Spokes needs someone to keep him out of trouble.”
Sissy stared at her. “Really?”
“Yes, and your fiancé will be transferred in too.” Renee leaned forward and patted her shoulder. “But, before you head out, why don’t you tell me why you wanted to be in CIG.”
Sissy relaxed her shoulders, her eyes brightened and she started chatting away with a smile on her face. One of the amazing parts about CIG was that there was always time to share a story or two… and always a way to help a veteran find their feet again.