Out of Uniform by Pauline
Thanks to Joy for letting me borrow Lee’s outfit.
Lee stood in front of the full length mirror and shook his head in disapproval. Surely Admiral Jackson could have found a more suitable costume. The black, close fitting, one piece costume with a white skeleton printed on it was far too tight in Lee’s opinion.
Lee’s assignment was to attend the annual
Halloween party being given by Admiral William Forrest at his mansion in the
leafy suburbs of North West Washington. As
Chief of Naval Research, Forrest had access to information on all developments
at the Office of Naval Research labs in
Lee pulled into the curb and killed the engine. His hands gripped the steering wheel as he looked at the expensive cars lining the driveway. It wasn’t the assignment that bothered him, it was his disguise. The porch and front yard were strung with lights and decorations. Lee adjusted his black and white eye mask that covered the upper half of his face before he reached for the door handle. As he approached the house, he hoped that there wouldn’t be anyone here that he knew. The sound of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ filtered out from the open front door and there was a group of guests congregated outside. He had never met Admiral Forrest although he was familiar with the name. Lee almost turned around when the thought that Admiral Stark might be attending struck him; he didn’t need that complication.
Although the young captain was used to attending functions, he never really enjoyed them. He would rather be back aboard Seaview, where he was in his element; commanding the most powerful submarine in the world was child’s play compared to this. Tagging onto the end of a group of people entering the house, he slipped inside without drawing attention to himself. He still wasn’t comfortable and would have preferred a less revealing costume. Why couldn’t Jackson have gotten him a Dracula costume with a nice long cloak that he could have hidden under? Sometimes he thought that the director of ONI enjoyed getting him into these situations.
Moving down the entrance hall, Lee walked through the elegant archway to the drawing room. The house was decorated in the French style and a large guilt mirror hung above the marble fireplace. A waitress approached him with a tray of drinks.
“Thank you,” Lee smiled and took one of the glasses. He took a sip as he looked around at the other guests. With the costumes and masks, it would be difficult to identify anyone and hopefully would make it equally difficult for anyone to recognise him. People were standing around in small groups talking, while others were dancing. No-one took much notice of Lee as he meandered across the room towards the Admiral’s study. He wanted to get this over with and get out of the costume as soon as possible.
“Well, hello there,” a woman dressed in a figure hugging red cat suit, black knee high boot and wearing red devil horns in her long black hair intercepted him, taking hold of his arm.
So much for a quick in and out. Lee smiled politely. “Hello...?”
“Fiona,” she told him, draping herself against him.
The cat suit couldn’t have been a closer fit if it had been sprayed on. Lee found himself looking into red eyes. She must be wearing contact lenses, he realised. “Lee,” he replied.
“Are you a friend of Admiral Forrest?” she asked.
“Not exactly.” The woman appeared slightly tipsy and Lee wondered how long she had been at the party.
“Oh, you’re not a friend of Mrs Forrest are you? I’ve heard she likes to play the field.”
“No, I’m a friend of a friend,” Lee replied, trying to disengage himself from the woman’s clutches. “If you’ll excuse me, Fiona?” Lee moved away towards the buffet, pretending interest in the ghoulish selection of snacks and dips on offer.
“Try the mummy rolls, they’re one of the safer options,” a woman in a skimpy green fairy costume stood beside him.
Lee smiled and nodded. He picked up one of the hot dogs wrapped in pastry and took a bit.
“I’m Ginny, nice to meet you.”
“A pleasure, Ginny,” Lee put down his glass and extended a hand. He didn’t offer his name. He didn’t want too many people knowing it, even if they didn’t have a surname to go with it.
Ginny’s gaze travelled over him. “I like the costume,” she commented.
Lee felt himself blush. “Thanks, it was a last minute thing.” There was something familiar about her, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.
Ginny nodded understanding. “You didn’t choose it?”
“No,” Lee shook his head.
“Well it’s very... becoming.”
Now acutely embarrassed, Lee choked on the bite of Mummy roll he had just taken. He was only too aware of how ‘becoming’ his costume was. Although he wasn’t a prude, he wasn’t in the habit of displaying his credentials quite so obviously.
“Oh dear, are you all right?” Ginny asked with concern.
Lee tried to take a drink, but he inhaled at the wrong moment and the bubbles went up his nose, making him cough even more and making his eyes water. Great! Now he was really drawing attention to himself. He needed to get out of there fast.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you,” Ginny apologised, handing him several napkins.
“E’cus...me,” he choked out and made a quick exit.
“Of course,” Ginny said to his back.
Admiral Nelson scowled as he looked around the room in search of his commanding officers. Spying Chip Morton with his current girlfriend, Lindsey Jamieson, Nelson made his way across the room towards them. He exchanged words with guests and crew members along the way, but there was still no sign of his Captain.
With over a hundred crew, plus admin and support staff, the annual Halloween party had out-grown the cafeteria. This year it was being held in the new conference centre which had recently been completed. Fancy dress was optional, but most of the guests had entered the spirit of things and there were some impressive costumes.
“Chip, where’s Captain Crane?” Nelson almost demanded as he approached the blond.
“I’m not sure, Sir,” Chip replied apologetically.
Nelson frowned, Lee and Chip were close friends and usually arrived together. “Have you spoken to him today?”
“No, Sir. I was picking Lindsey up, so we arranged to meet here,” Chip explained.
Nelson looked at his watch, while it was not all together unknown; Lee was not in the habit of arriving late.
“Should I call him? Maybe he’s having car trouble,” Chip suggested.
“The way he treats that car, it wouldn’t dare break down. I’ll call security and see if he’s left a message. Nice to see you, Miss Jamieson. If you’ll both excuse me,” Nelson hurried towards the foyer and a telephone.
Once Lee had managed to get himself back under control, he slipped back into the party and finding the study door unlocked, sneak inside unobserved. The room was dark, but he didn’t dare switch on a light. Going to the window, he closed the drapes before switching on the small pen light that he had strapped to his ankle; he’d figured that no-one would be paying attention to his feet.
He started his search with the large antique mahogany replica desk, surprised to find that it wasn’t locked. If Forrest did have anything incriminating inside, he wasn’t worried about keeping it secured. Hearing voices outside the door, he froze and switched off the light. Stepping back into the shadows, he listened and waited, ready to make a break for the door if necessary.
After a moment, he relaxed and returned to his search. He had just found a secret compartment when there was again a noise outside the door and it opened.
“Who are you? What are you doing in here?” A tall man stood silhouetted in the open door. Then light flooded the room,dazzling Lee temporarily.
Shit! The man, dressed in a Jack the Ripper costume, complete with top hatch and cane, was blocking his escape. What was the penalty for assaulting an Admiral? Lee wondered. Especially if the Admiral was innocent and so far, he hadn’t found anything incriminating. He knew that if he was identified, he would be on his own, ONI would deny all knowledge.
After a moment of silence in which they both stared at each other in shock, Lee grabbed the antique leather office chair and made a break towards the door, ramming the chair at whom he assumed to be Forrest as he started towards Lee with cane raised.
Forrest grunted as the chair hit his legs, but the cane came down, catching Lee in the face.
Lee clamped a hand over his face, tasting blood from his nose. He sagged against the door frame, the pain almost causing him to pass out. Forrest had pushed the chair aside and was turning to attack again. Lee pushed off and staggered out the door.
“Stop him,” a loud voice yelled over the noise of the party.
“Quick, this way,” a female voice said and Lee was grabbed and pulled towards the French door. They emerged out onto a lawn. “Run”, the female voice encouraged. They took off in the direction she indicated. It was Ginny he realised as his vision cleared.
“I have a car,” he protested.
“We can arrange for the rental company to pick it up. I take it you didn’t rent it in your real name?”
“Of course not,” he spat. He pulled to a halt and lent against a tree. “Who are you?”
“Your back up.”
He could hear voices and a dog barking. Glancing back toward the house, he could see a group of people searching the garden.
Ginny led him through the trees surrounding the back yard, across a road and into a wooded area. She rummaged in the shrubbery and came out with a holdall. “I’ve got a first-aid kit.”
“I’m okay, we don’t have time...” Lee protested.
Opening the holdall, she pulled out a pack away jacket and a torch. “Here,” she shoved the holdall at him. “Down there, under the bridge, there’s a creek, you can clean up. There’s a uniform in the bag, I suggest you get out of that costume.”
Lee stared at her in surprise. “How?”
She shook her head as she pulled the jacket on over her costume. “Hurry up, my car is one street over.”
“Thanks,” Lee grabbed the bag and moved further into the cover of the trees. He turned on the torch and shone it in the direction she had indicated. There was a small brick bridge with a shallow creak. He splashed his face with the cold water before quickly changing into the uniform shirt and pants he found in the holdall. Stuffing the blood stained costume into the holdall, he rejoined Ginny at the edge of the trees. He crouched down beside her, looking out into the dark blue haze of night, occasionally illuminated by the beam of a headlight from nearby passing traffic.
“Can you make it?” she asked. “We need to get out of here.”
“Yes, I’m fine,” he nodded, straightening. “Which way?”
Lee collapsed into the passenger seat, rested his head back against the head rest and closed his eyes; his head was throbbing as was his face.
“Where are you staying?” Ginny asked as she got in behind the wheel.
“I’m not; I came straight from ONI headquarters.”
“Great, I don’t know what Admiral Jackson is going to say when he sees you,” she started the engine and pulled away from the curb.
“He won’t be happy that I didn’t complete the mission.”
“You certainly have a knack for getting into trouble.”
Lee opened his eyes and looked at her. “Do I know you?”
Ginny chuckled, “Oh, yes, commander, we know each other,” she pulled off her green wig, tossing it into the rear of the car and shook out her hair.
“Sophie.” Lee blinked; of course she’d seemed familiar.
“At the risk of getting my head bitten off, do you need a hospital?” she asked, smiling.
“No, I just need a coffee and a couple of
aspirin.” He told her. He wanted to get
“Okay, but I think you should see a doctor.”
Admiral Jackson glared at Crane. “What the devil happened, commander?”
“I’m sorry, Sir, I got careless and almost got caught,” Lee apologised as he stood in front of Jackson’s desk. Even though he had changed clothes and cleaned up, he knew he looked a mess, both eyes were turning black and his face was swollen.
“Humph, I don’t suppose you managed to find anything?”
“Sorry, Sir, I didn’t have time to complete my search,”
“Very well, Commander, you had better get yourself checked out.”
“I’m fine, Sir,” Lee insisted.
You don’t look it,” Jackson growled. “Nelson will have my head if I don’t make you see a doctor.”
Lee smiled. “Yes, Sir.” Jamieson would have a fit when he saw him; he would just have to avoid the doctor until things improved.
Jackson turned to Sophie. “Miss Carter, see that Commander Crane gets medical attention.”
“Sir, I am perfectly capable of...” Lee started to protest.
“Commander Crane,” Jackson interrupted. “Do as you are told,”
He ordered gruffly.
“Yes, Sir,” they answered in unison.
Nelson was almost breathing fire as he yelled down the phone at the director of ONI. “Jackson, where’s my Captain?” he demanded.
“Now, calm down, Harriman. Crane was running a little errand for me, things got a little complicated.” Jackson told him.
“How complicated? What the devil have you gotten him into this time?” Nelson exploded. Surely Jackson could have found someone else to do his dirty work for a change.
“I have an agent looking after him, he’ll be fine.”
“Meaning what exactly?” Nelson asked impatiently. If Lee was hurt again, he would personally kill Jackson and take pleasure in doing so.
“I can’t tell you what he was doing. He’s a bit bruised, but I’m sure there’s no concussion,” Jackson assured him.
“You still haven’t answered my question, where is he? I’ll send the
Flying Sub to pick him up.” He wasn’t
prepared to take Jackson’s word; he wanted Lee in
“Harry, it’s late, let the man get some sleep. I’ll have him call you tomorrow.”
“I’m not happy about this, Jackson.” Nelson looked at his watch. “Lee had better call in the morning.” He slammed the phone down, cursing Jackson.
In the naval medical centre emergency room, Lee
sat on the exam table with an ice pack held to his face while a doctor looked
at his X-Rays. His energy was starting
to wane and he just wanted to crash.
He’d flown into
“You’re lucky, there’s no fracture,” the doctor told as he turned off the light box and turned to face Lee. “I’ll prescribe some pain medication and then you are clear to go. I would have preferred to admit you for observation; I suggest that you take it easy for a few days.”
“Thank, Doc,” Lee slid down from the exam table.
The doctor wrote out the prescription and handed it to him. “You can get this filled at the pharmacy.”
Lee accepted the paper and went in search of Sophie, who had insisted on waiting for him. He would need to find a hotel room for the night, although he doubted that would be easy on Halloween. He found Sophie in the relatives waiting area. She smiled and came to her feet as he entered.
“They’re letting you out?”
“Yeah, I guess I need to find a room,” he couldn’t quite stifle a yawn.
“I have a suite at the Best Western, if you don’t mind sharing.”
“A suite?” Lee asked in surprise.
“Yes,” she laughed. “Compliments of you know who. It seems that Admiral Jackson is one step ahead of you this time.” She took his arm and started towards the door.
Lee shrugged, too tired to argue.
The twin bedded room was small, but Lee didn’t care, he fell onto one of the beds and kicked of his shoes without bothering to undo them.
“Aren’t you going to get undressed?” Sophie asked.
“It may have escaped your notice, but I don’t have any night clothes, he told her without moving from where he had fallen. “Unless you have any more surprises up your sleeve?”
“I promise not to ravish you,” Sophie teased. “But if you need me, I’ll be right across the lounge.”
“Thanks, I’ll be fine.” After she had left and he heard the shower in the shared bathroom, he sat up and shrugged off his leather jacket that he had stashed in his locker at ONI. Looking around for somewhere to hang it, he opted for the back of a chair. He quickly pulled off his shirt and pants, laying them across the bottom of the bed, then crawled under the blankets. He’d have to try and get a flight first thing tomorrow, but now he needed sleep. After adjusting the pillows, he closed his eyes and snuggled down into the bedding. The tablets that Sophie had bullied him into taking were kicking in and the pain had faded to a dull ache.
“Lee do you want anything from room service?” Sophie called. Getting no response, she walked over to the open doorway of Lee’s room. She smiled when she found him asleep. Even with the bruising and two black eyes, there was something alluring about him in sleep. He was an extremely good looking man and she wondered what had made him choose to become an ONI agent.
She walked over and sat on the edge of the other bed, watching him. She remembered the first time they had met; he’d been injured that time too. She also remembered how stubborn he’d been; only reluctantly accepting her help. Once they were safely aboard Seaview, she had hardly seen him again. Now fate or ONI had thrown them together again.
Her maternal instincts were in high gear, her fingers itched to reach out and touch him. She wondered what he would say if he woke and found her watching him. She shook her head, he was an experienced agent and this was an assignment; don’t get involved. With a heartfelt sigh, she stood, but still hesitated. Maybe she should sleep in the other bed, just in case he needed anything in the night.
“What are you doing?”
Realising that he was awake, she blushed. “Watching you,” she admitted sheepishly.
“I’m fine, go to bed,” he told her firmly.
“Yes, Sir,” she grinned and reluctantly headed for her own room.
He was suffocating, he couldn’t breathe. Panicked, he struggled to free himself from the covers as he gasped for air. In a daze, Lee opened his eyes and looked around the room. Slowly things came into focus and he remembered where he was. His nose was blocked and his mouth was parched. He took in a lung full of air and sat waiting for his heart rate to return to somewhere near normal.
Throwing off the covers, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and planted his feet on the floor. He was desperate for a drink. Wearing only his skivvies, he got up and took the kettle into the bathroom. After downing a glass of water, he filled the kettle and returned to the bedroom. While he waited for it to boil, he tore open a sachet of coffee and emptied it into a cup, along with one of sugar.
What time was it? He looked at his watch; he hadn’t gotten to bed until nearly . It was now just after five. He sank down into the chair with a groan. It was too soon to take another pain pill; he was surprised to find himself wishing that Jamie was here with a sedative to help him sleep. Coffee wasn’t going to help, he realised, and Jamie would most certainly not approve. Pull it together, Crane, he chided himself.
Coffee made, he took it back to bed; not something he usually indulged in.
“Lee, are you all right?” A sleepy Sophie wandered into the room.
“Sorry, did I wake you?”
“That’s okay,” Sophie sauntered over and sat on the bed, sweeping her hair back off her face. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m okay; you should go back to bed. One of us needs to get some sleep,” he told her.
“Maybe I should stay...in case.”
“Sophie, if I need anything I can get it myself,” Lee
was beginning to get exasperated with her fussing. He slide further down under the covers and
closed his eyes, hoping that she would take the hint. He couldn’t deal with her right now, he might
say or do something that he would regret and he didn’t want to upset her. She was after all under orders from
Emerging from the bathroom several hours later, Lee was met by the smell of coffee, making his stomach rumble. A room service cart stood in the suite lounge and Sophie was already eating.
“I ordered room service, didn’t think you’d want to eat in the restaurant. Forrest probably has people out looking for you and it’s going to be hard to disguise those bruises,” she pointed out.
Lee nodded. “Thanks.” Damn!
He didn’t need this. He wanted, needed
to get back to
Sophie gave him a sympathetic smile. “This isn’t entirely your fault. I was supposed to cover your back and I didn’t, I’m sorry.”
Lee poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down. “Yeah, well however you look at it, I messed up.”
“Eat,” Sophie ordered. “We can talk about it later.”
There was a selection of cereal, fresh fruit and croissants. Frowning, Lee chose cereal and emptied it into a bowl and added milk. What was it with women bossing him around?
“Try the croissants,” Sophie suggested as she took a delicate bite of her own.
Lee scowled, but took a croissant and spread it with butter. His blocked nose and head ache had dulled his appetite.
“I picked up your rental car while you were asleep. It’s in the parking garage,” she informed him.
“You shouldn’t have done that, they may have been watching it.”
Sophie shrugged. “They had no reason to suspect me and I made sure I wasn’t followed.” She was interrupted by the telephone. “I’ll get it,” Sophie said, getting up.
He watched her pick up the receiver, only half listening to what she was saying. After a brief conversation, she hung up.
“Admiral Jackson needs you to call Admiral Nelson asap,” she informed him.
“In other words, he’s had his ear bent by Nelson,”
Lee smiled; he’d been on the receiving end of Nelson’s temper a few times. He looked at his watch, doing a mental
Lee had insisted that he didn’t need help, but Nelson had been equally insistent and had sent Chief Sharkey and Kowalski in the Flying Sub to pick him up. Now all he had to do was get to the marina to meet them.
He had left the keys to his hire car at reception and they had taken Sophie’s. The hotel had allowed them to leave by the back entrance and so far they seemed to be away clear. Lee glanced out of the rear window as Sophie pulled out onto the freeway.
“Okay? She asked.
He nodded. “Yeah, no sign of anyone following,” he settled back in the seat. He stared out of the windshield, there wasn’t much to see, only buildings and flyovers. The journey continued in silence, they hadn’t talked any more about what had gone wrong with the assignment. As far as he was concerned, it was his fault, he shouldn’t need anyone to back him up.
“Stop it,” Sophie gave him a sideways glance.
“I know what you are thinking. Stop blaming yourself.”
“Then who do I blame? Because of me, Forrest knows that we’re onto him.”
“Not necessarily, he may have thought it was a simple attempted burglary,” she reasoned. “After all, you didn’t find anything.”
“I wish I could believe that,” Lee ran a hand through his hair and winced, his headache was returning full force. He wished that the whole mess had never happened.
She gave a slight shake of her head. “The marina is coming up, what now?”
“Park and we’ll walk. Sharkey will have moored the Flying Sub somewhere secluded.”
“Skipper, what happened? Are you all right, Sir,” Kowalski couldn’t contain himself when he saw Crane’s injuries. He’d been waiting for them near the entrance to the marina, while Sharkey had remained with FS.1
“I’m Fine, Kowalski,” Crane gave his standard reply.
“Yes, Sir, Kowalski conceded reluctantly. He doubted that Crane was ‘fine’, those
bruises had to hurt and he wondered what other injuries the Captain might have.
He watched Crane as he turned to the
woman Ski remembered from a previous mission.
He’d extracted them both from
“Agent Carter, you are officially relieved, Seaman Kowalski will take it from here.” Crane joked.
“I guess this is goodbye, take care of him, Kowalski.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Kowalski grinned, hovering at Crane’s side.
“Don’t you think I can take care of myself,” Crane’s laughter surprised Kowalski. The Captain didn’t usually tolerate people fussing. Maybe he could get Crane to allow him to check him over once they were aboard FS.1.
“That’s debatable, Commander,” she replied with a playful smile.
Kowalski considered whether he should back off and give them some privacy, but knowing what the XO would do if he let anything happen to Crane, he didn’t dare let the man out of his sight.
Crane was still smiling. “Good bye, Sophie, and thanks.”
“A pleasure working with you, Commander.” She responded formally.
“Isn’t it about time you called me Lee?”
Sophie glanced around her. “Never know who might be listening. Do me favour, try and stay out of trouble; I won’t be there next time.”
“I’ll try,” Lee took her hand. “Take care yourself, agent Carter.”
“You bet.” She took a step closer and grabbed his jacket lapels, pulling him into a zealous kiss, then stepped back. “See you around, Commander.” Turning, she walked away.
Crane stood for a moment watching her go before turning to Kowalski. “Let’s go, Ski.”
“Aye, Sir.” Smiling to himself, Kowalski headed off towards where the Chief was waiting with FS1.
Lee settled himself into the rear passenger seat of FS1 leaving a somewhat surprised Kowalski to take the co-pilot's chair. Hiding a smile at the rating’s slightly shocked expression; Lee inclined his head and busied himself with fastening his safety harness. If there had been only the two of them, Lee would have taken the bunk. His headache had not been helped by the walk in bright sunlight to the far end of the marina where Sharkey had concealed the yellow craft away from prying eyes. However, knowing the Chief’s tendency to embellish the truth, the last thing he needed was an exaggeration of his injuries spread around the institute.
Glancing up, he caught the doubtful look Kowalski was giving him, but the rating made no comment as he took his seat and turned to face forward in preparation for departure. No doubt there would be a reception committee waiting for him when they arrived at the institute and Lee resigned himself to the idea of having to subject himself to Jamie’s scrutiny. It wasn’t that Lee didn’t appreciate everything that the doctor had done for him since he’d taken over as Seaview’s captain, is was just that he hated spending time in Sickbay or Med Bay, He was a very active person and as well as hating Jamie’s bossing him around, he found it mind numbingly boring.
The cabin darkened as Sharkey submerged the Flying
Sub and the daylight was replaced by the shimmering light created by the
reflexion of the water. Once they were
Lee remembered when Admiral Nelson had first told him of his plans for the Flying Sub. Lee had been very doubtful, and as for cutting a hole in Seaview’s keel for a hanger, Lee thought the idea was madness. However, once he’d seen the craft and flown her, she quickly became ‘his baby’ and he loved flying her. She had certainly proved her worth on several occasions and was now as much a part of Seaview’s equipment as the mini sub and diving bell.
Enjoying the ride, Lee watched the view through the cockpit windows. Sharkey was diving to avoid the many surface vessels in the area around the marina. There was an amazing amount of life in the waters around the marina, even basking sharks and seals. Lee had dived with seals; they were very inquisitive and playful creatures that sometimes interacted with divers. They typically remained submerged for ten minute and reached a depth of 160 feet. Lee had found himself getting more involved with the scientific side if his job, he was no-longer just a sub driver. He often went out on dives to collect specimens or investigate underwater anomalies. Despite all the injuries he’d suffered, Lee loved his job. Seaview and the institute had become his home, his family and he was looking forward to getting there, even if it did mean that he had to face a lecture from his friends.
Lee looked from Chip to Nelson and heaved a sigh. “I’m telling you, Admiral, I’m fine. I don’t need to see Jamie. The doctor at the hospital said that there was no fracture or concussion, just told me to rest for a few days, I can do that at home.” He argued.
Chip folder his arms and regarded him dubiously, while Nelson’s looked of exaggerated patience told him that the Admiral was not convinced.
“Lee,” Nelson lent forward across his desk. “I don’t want to argue with you, please, humour me?”
Lee rested back in the chair. Why did he always have to go through this every time he was hurt? Of course, he knew that he couldn’t win, he would have to give in and visit Med Bay.
Nelson sat with his arms resting on the desk as he watched Lee. He was trying hard to hide his amusement, but the sparkle in his blue eyes betrayed him. “Well Commander, what are you waiting for?”
His tone was light, teasing, but Lee knew that he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Yes, they had clashed before and Lee could be just as stubborn as Nelson. But when it came down to it, he was Lee’s boss and CO, as well as his friend. “All right, Admiral, I’ll go see Jamie,” Lee conceded as he pushed to his feet. When Chip made a move to follow him, he glared at him. “I don’t need an escort, Mr Morton.”
Chip snorted. “Begging your pardon, Sir, but are you sure you don’t have a concussion, cos' it seems to me that you need a body guard,” Chip grinned.
Again Lee looked from Chip to the Admiral, who was smiling, and then back at Chip, he shrugged. “Very well, mother hen, if you must,” Chip had been playing ‘big brother’ ever since the academy, even though Lee was older by a year and Lee knew that he shouldn’t expect that to change just because he was Chip’s CO. Shaking his head, he turned and headed for the door.