Title: Daniel's Daughter
Author: Rude's Mom
Disclaimer: See previous chapters.
Air Force Academy Grounds
A stocky young man of medium height made a beeline towards two of his fellow cadets in one of the lounges in Arnold Hall or Arnie's as it was more commonly called. The lounge, as well as the Arnie's in general, was rather empty for a Saturday afternoon. For the lower ranking cadets, like himself, it was the place to be since going off campus was still off limits. Arnie's was also the place where they were allowed to entertain visitors.
“Hey Simpson, word's out that he's gunning for you again.”
A tall, reed-thin cadet looked up from the chessboard.
“Who's gunning for me, Roberts?”
“Cadet 1st Class Neidermeyer, who else?” Cadet 4th Class Roberts replied as he grabbed a nearby chair and dragged it towards his friends.
“Any particular reason?”
“Rumor has it you blew away his old record at target practice yesterday making you the best shot in the Academy's history.”
“Actually, that was last week. Checkmate.” Simpson leaned back from the table and ran his hand over the stubble that was his hair. “And that record was only in his dreams. The Academy record was set back in the 70s by Frank Cromwell.”
“And you just happened to point it out to him,” Cadet 4th Class Eddings snickered.
“I might have mentioned it,” he paused for a moment, focusing his attention back on the table as he began preparing the chessboard for round two. As he place the last pawn on the board he continued, “his face did turn kind of red. That guy's going to have a stroke before he's thirty.”
“And you, my dear roomie, have a death wish. So, if that was last week, what did you do this week?”
“No clue. Guess I'll find out sooner or later.”
“So, you think your girl going to show?”
“Maybe. She had an out-of-town business trip. She wasn't sure how long it would take.”
“A business trip? I thought she was a student?” Roberts asked.
“She's a sophomore at UCCS but she does some work for a research group.”
Eddings whistled. “An older woman? You lucky dog.”
“He said she's a sophomore, lame brain,” Roberts scoffed. “Nineteen or twenty is hardly 'older' woman material.”
Simpson smirked as he did a quick check of the room and saw a familiar blond figure heading in their direction. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a less welcome sight. Neidermeyer. The poster child for friendly fire was heading to intercept Buffy. Crap.Daniel's Apartment
Sam brought two beers from kitchen and passed one to Daniel before joining him on the couch.
“I got a call from the General today.” Sam took a sip of her beer. “He was curious as to why you turned down the assignment.”
He didn't really need to ask which General but he decided to as just for the hell of it. “Jack?”
“He's not your CO any more. Can't you drop the rank?”
“He's is still in my chain of command Daniel. The Joint Chiefs haven't officially removed Area 51 from under Homeworld Security. Until they do, it's better this way.”
“You mean safer.”
“Just because Kinsey's out of the picture doesn't mean that we're in the clear. The program doesn't need a scandal. We've all made too many enemies here and elsewhere. Trust me, given half a chance there is a faction that would gladly have both of us up on charges of conduct unbecoming. As the junior officer, I might not be discharged but the general would be.”
“So why doesn't he just retire?”
“Remember General Bauer?” Daniel nodded. “He was on the short list to replace Hammond.”
“The Joint Chiefs don't joke. Threaten, but not joke.” Sam took another sip of her beer before continuing. “He agreed to the promotion if I could be removed from his chain of command. Placing Area 51 directly under the control of the Joint Chiefs will fix that problem but they aren't happy about it.”
“Hence the foot dragging.”
“Exactly. So, are you going to tell him why you turned it down?”
“No. I've got some things to settle first.”
“You're not in trouble are you?”
“No. It's just for the first time in years I've decided that my personal life will take precedence over the professional.”
Sam raised her bottle and toasted “here's to having a personal life.”
Daniel tilted his bottle towards her in response. “To personal lives. Speaking of which, how did Cassie react to your transfer?”
“Not well. On the one hand she's guessed part of the reason for the transfer but I think she may be feeling abandoned.”
“First Janet, then Jack, now you.”
“Hell of a time to learn the truth about military life. Sooner or later, everybody gets transferred.”
“Will she be moving on to campus?”
“No. I plan on eventually coming back here so I'm keeping the house. We'll need a place to stay since the general is selling his. Cassie may decide to move onto campus next semester but for now she'll be staying at my place.”