Badger was in his office working on logistics for the wing. His desk was, as always, host to a stack of papers and a large mug of coffee. Wally
was in the chair across from Badgers desk working on a quarters rotation so that the wing members could free up some space and allow some of the
civilian refugees a place to sleep. It wasn’t convenient but it would have to do until more permanent arrangements could be made.
Badger was deep in thought when the office door swung open and a well dressed middle aged woman strode into the room. She was followed by an
entourage of hangers on and staff.
Badger was surprised. She and her staff were remarkably well dressed and presented for a group of refugees.
“Yes, can I help you?” he said
The woman stood at Badgers desk and looked around the room. She waited a full ten seconds before looking down her nose at Badger and announcing
that she was Ms. Mary Brandom, acting UEF President.
Badger stood, offered his hand and said, “Welcome Mam. I’m …”
“I know who you are. “the woman snapped.
Badgers eyebrows went up and he lowered his hand.
“Know all about you. You and your recent criminal activities.”
“I know that you destroyed a UEF ship. I know that your uncle pulled strings to get you here and I know that you have been operating outside of UEF
regulations the entire time that you have been aboard this ship.”
She turned to one of the men in her entourage and gave him a nod. He pulled a sheave of papers from a brief case. He began to read.
“William Chase, you have been formally charged with crimes against the UEF as outlined in this indictment. The charges are as follows… “
The lawyer began to list the charges levied against Badger. As he read the paper, Wally stood and excused himself. He left the room and headed
down the hallway to a lift. Once he was in the lift he made a call to the flight line and then to Nasty. He stopped by the armory and spoke to a
warrant officer for a few minutes. Then he headed for the officers quarters.
Back in Badgers office Mary Brandoms personal aide finished reading the list of charges against Badger.
He stepped back and Mary Brandom smiled. You see, Commander, I am in charge of this vessel. You and your wing will be doing things my way from now on.
If you do not, then these charges will be formally addressed and you will face the consequences. Any Questions?”
Badger looked back at her. “What exactly is it that you want?”
She smiled. “I already have what I want. “
“You see,’ she continued” there are rules. I am the one who is in charge here and you are the one who will follow those rules. Oh, I know,
you’ve got that nice shiny badge on your chest and you’ve been doing things your way. You’re quite the hero, but you really don’t understand.
You work for me. I just let you think you are in control for a while but we all have to wake up sometime. Don’t we….Badger?”
Badger kept his face impassive. He answered in a monotone. “I guess we do.”
Mary Brandon smiled. “That’s a good boy. You learn fast. All you have to do is follow my rules and we’ll get along fine. I’m really not
so bad once you understand your place…Commander. I’ll be sending for you later and we’ll go over my plans. Until then, stay out of trouble,
I’d hate to have to strip you of your command. Now I’ve got to go have a chat with the rest of your contemporaries. Your Mr.Luder might not think
he has to listen to me but he won’t need to once I’ve gotten you lot straightened out. “
She smiled, turned and walked out of the open office door with her entourage in tow. The last man out was the one who had read the indictment.
He turned to Badger. ”Any further deviations from protocol and you will be removed from your post, as will your colleagues.” He closed the door
Badger sat at the desk. He took another sip of coffee. He pushed the paperwork aside and pulled out his electronic writing pad. He filled out some
forms and completed some documents. He placed his thumb on the screen and it flashed yellow. He placed it on the desk, checked his watch and thought
for a few minutes. He wrote a quick e-mail to Slayer.
He started a fresh pot of coffee.
Soon the door opened and Wally strode in with two big duffel bags and Badgers thermos. He dropped the bags at the door and handed the thermos to
Badger said, “Oh good, I’ll need my thermos.”
Wally stood with his hands in his pockets and waited while Badger filled the thermos with coffee. He didn’t say
A half hour later badger was on flight deck three climbing the crew ladder on Wally’s dash 10. Nasty came running up and handed him a bag. He shook
Badgers hand and left at a trot. He passed Nora on the flight line and answered her accusing stare with a shrug. Nora continued on towards Wallys
Badger was almost into the bird when he heard Nora yell over the sounds of the flight deck.
“Exactly what do you think you are doing?”
Badger turned. The diminutive woman was holding a set of freshly printed orders in her hand.
He smiled. “Congratulations Nora.”
She said “This isn’t funny.”
Badger shook his head. “No. It’s not funny, but I’m not laughing am I?
Nora was steaming. "You're being childish." she said.
"I'm being practical." returned Bager.
"You can be so damn stubborn sometimes. Do you know that?" she yelled back.
"That's why they call me Badger" he said.
She said, “Well what about the rest of us? What are we supposed to do?”
Badger shrugged. “I dunno. Follow the rules I guess. That's what the President demanded. You know me Stilts, I'm not real good at that.”
She looked exasperated. "Don't call me Stilts."
Badger shook his head. He knew she was angry with him but it really didn't matter in the grand sceme of things. He had something more important that
he had to do and the Penelope wasn't a part of it.
"Don't sweat it." He told her. "You're good at following the rules."
He pulled the wing commander insignia from his flight suit and dropped it down to Nora. He expected her to throw it back at him but she caught it and
put it in her pocket. She put her hands on her hips and glared at him for a moment and then she turned and began to walk away.
Badger finished climbing the ladder and climbed into the hatch.
He stuck his head out and yelled to Nora. “Take care of Nasty will you? He’ll need some watching after. “
Nora flipped him the bird without looking back.
Badger smiled. He knew he could count on her.
He closed the hatch and cycled the airlock. He went forward and climbed into the pilots seat. Wally was already in the weapons seat and had preflight
Wally turned to Badger as the isolation walls came up and the exterior lights dimmed. “Well, should we give em a holler and a flyby?”
Badger shook his head. “No need. They’ll figure it out soon enough.”
“Yeah, I guess they will.” Wally said.” Kind of a shame to leave. I liked it there, crazy as it was. “
Badger nodded. “Yeah, I know.”
The outer doors slid open and Badger and Wally could see the destroyed planet and the scattered remnants of ships.
“What a mess.” said Wally.
Badger looked around.
He piloted the ship through the debris and set a course in the computer.
Once they had cleard earth and were sure that they were past any remaining enemy ships they relaxed a bit.
Wally locked out his console and propped up his feet. He pulled out a bag and began to sort through it. Most of the contents were weapons he had
gotten from the armory. There was a large crate of ammunition, body armor and tactical gear stowed in the back of the ship as well.
He pulled out a pistol and began to clean it.
"I got plenty of equipment. We may need it where we're going."
"Yeah."Badger answered. "Were definitely going to need it."
"Nora pissed?" asked Wally.
"Think she'll be ok?" he tried again.
Badger was quiet for a few seconds. He said "Yeah, she's going to be fine. She's more organized than me and has more experience running a wing.
She'll always do what Luder needs her to do but she knows how to keep out of trouble."
Wally nodded and went back to cleaning the pistol.
Badger pulled out his thermos and poured a cup. He took a sip of coffee and rummaged around in a bag until he found some sandwiches.
He looked over at Wally. “Want half of my tuna fish?”
[edit on 103131p://f55Thursday by badgerprints]