Howdy folks. A couple of days where I wasn’t 100% on track but it was all made up for.
Chapter 1 saw another rewrite.
The McChord Air Force Base BX housed the on-base Starbucks. It was a medium size establishment as far as Starbucks go, there was a counter and several tables, a couch, and two arm chairs. Shelves displayed coffee machines and bags waiting to be brewed. A few airmen were sharing coffee at the table closest to the door and a group of wives sat around a small table in the arm chairs and on the couch.
I walked up to the counter and ordered a strawberry smoothie. The only time I drank coffee was when I was in the field and needed to stay awake or blend in. Even then I preferred energy drinks. The awful taste that coffee would leave in my mouth wasn’t worth the extra energy, especially since not even a mint would get rid of it. That’s why energy drinks and tea were commonly found in my fridge.
Within minutes my drink was ready and I stood at the edge of the counter waiting for the person I was meeting. From the counter I could see the entrance and no one could come up behind me. Maybe a little paranoid for being on a military base but from experience I knew that it was better to be safe than sorry.
I didn’t have to wait long. A redhead walked in confidently wearing her Air Force Airman Battle Uniform. Her hair was pulled up in the regulation bun and a cover sat in her cargo pocket. Second Lieutenant’s bars, lovingly referred to as butter bars, sat on her shoulders. At first glance someone might dismiss her as being a smaller woman, her build by nature hid the strength that I had seen her train long and hard for. She would regularly join our Army ROTC hand-to-hand training and she had taken martial arts regularly.
Air Force regulations forbid wearing large amounts of makeup but she wouldn’t have worn it anyways. That wasn’t her style. She looked around the Starbucks and when she saw me her face lit up and her light grey eyes sparkled. I smiled back.
In college she had been in Air Force ROTC and upon graduating had been sent away to train with the USAF Security Forces. From there she was stuck here on McChord AFB awaiting assignment. I could only imagine how frustrated that was making her.
During college I had also had a crush on her. It was hard not to like a woman who was so dedicated. She lived to better herself and believed in doing the right thing. She was also very attractive and stood out in a crowd, not just because of her red hair but also because of her confidence.
Today had to be purely professional, I wasn’t here to make a personal call. I was here for business afterall. Still I couldn’t help watching her as she ordered her drink. True to form she ordered a complex drink full caffeine that I couldn’t keep track of. Complex, that explained her well.
With my free hand I adjusted my suit. It fit my cover better than my military uniform. On the books I was now a Special Investigator Lead.
“Hello Air Force.” I teased.
“That suit fits you surprisingly well Army.” Our rival dated back to college when I was in Army ROTC.
“They still don’t have you doing anything?” I already knew the answer but I asked it anyways because I was enjoying the cloak and daggers when there wasn’t anyone actively trying to kill me.
“No, they don’t. Everytime I ask about my orders I keep getting told that they are trying to decide what they are going to do with me. What are you doing for the Army?”
“Well that is why I am here. Are there any postings that you really want?”
“At this point, it has been two months of not being assigned anywhere. I would almost take any posting that had a purpose.”
“I could offer you a posting like that.” I offered.
“Aren’t you a military police officer?”
I let out a low chuckle. “On the books I am. What I really do is a little more… secretive.”
“That sounds alluring. What is it you do?”
“I work for Task Force 172. I am sure you have heard the rumors.”
“That I have. Everyone in military law enforcement has.” She replied.
“Well there is at least some truth behind most rumors. And I would like you to join.”
“A posting like that sounds almost too good to be true.” I knew I had her, she was going to say yes before this conversation was done.
I pulled my badge from my belt discretely and set it on the table. It was made out of gun metal to be non-reflective. “It does say I am a captain.”
“Well what would I be doing?”
“There was a call for a new unit in the Task Force to cover the Pacific and surrounding areas. I managed to get myself in a position to lead that unit. I was allowed to pick my own team and you were on the list I came up with. I am sorry to say that you’re on hold from being assigned to a unit was because you were going through a black ops clearance and background check.”
“I have heard the grumblings that you guys are very secretive and hunt down fugitives and stuff. Is that what you do in your black ops?” I let out another low chuckle. The rumors that got around ranged from plausible to the outlandish. I even heard someone say once that we hunted aliens.
“To some degree. We have units that maintain our cover but for the most part we just do black ops that need to be done off the radar.”
“And you are seriously offering me a job doing that?”
I pulled another badge from my pocket and set it next to mine. It read “Task Force 172. Department of Defense. 2nd Lieutenant.”
“That will be yours if you agree to join us.”
“I don’t have any special forces or black ops training.”
“Jeez, its almost as if you don’t want this job.” I teased. “All of the training that you need will be provided by the Task Force.”
“What do I do from here?” She asked.
“You will get an invitation to attend training. Go and be all you can be.” I answered. “Until then, wait.”
I am pretty sure the whole cafe heard her grown. I chuckled. We sat and talked for a while more and I felt happier than I had in a while. Connecting with her again was enjoyable. It was rare that I got to see anyone from my college life. I had only seen a couple of the people who I had been in ROTC with after, and they were in the Army too.