Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chapter Twelve

Price was wedged against the bulkhead in his cot, his arm on fire because he couldn't move it without waking Coollege. Finally, he could take it no longer and he tried to slip it free, but she rolled toward him and opened her eyes.

"You awake?" she asked.

"You know that we shouldn't be doing this," said Price. "Upsets the chain of command. Undermines my authority. All rules, regulations and common sense says that we shouldn't be doing this."

Grinning, she asked, "Are you afraid that I won't respect you in the morning?"

"No," said Price laughing. "It's just, well, you know as well as I. You've had the officer's training."
"This is different," said Coollege. "Our relationship isn't just commander and subordinate..."

"You trying to convince me or yourself?" interrupted Price.

"Probably a little of both."

There was a quiet chime at the hatch. Price glanced at it and said, "I've got to get up. Probably the Colonel wanting to know what the hell we think we're doing."

"I know what we're doing."

Price lifted himself up and crawled over the top of Coolledge, tugging at the sheet so that he could look down at her naked body. She jerked the sheet from his fingers and covered herself.

Price touched a button on the keyboard of his computer so that the screen brightened, showing him who stood in the corridor.

"What can I do for you?"

"Captain Price? Colonel wants a debriefing held now. In the main conference room."

"Right now?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'll be there in ten minutes."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. By the way, do you know where I can find Lieutenant Coolledge? She's not in her quarters."

"I'll alert her."

"Thank you, sir."

As soon as the screen darkened, Coollege asked, "What in the hell is this all about?"

"I don't know for sure. Just that we need to get over to the conference room. Maybe one of the scouts has returned."

Coollege threw off the sheet and stood up. She searched the deck near her feet but couldn't find any of her clothes. "I'm going to need to get to my cabin for a clean uniform."

Price found his pants and picked them up. "You'd better hurry. We don't want to have to explain why it took so long to find you."

"Thanks for the help."

As he grabbed a shirt, and draped it over his shoulders like it was a cape. "You'd better hurry," he advised again.

Coollege had put on her pants without worrying about her underwear. "If you come by to get me, then we enter together and no one will wonder about it."

"I'm not sure that will work but you go ahead and I'll swing by your cabin."

She struggled into her shirt. She slipped her shoes on her bare feet. "I'll get the rest of my stuff later."

Price sat on the bed and pulled on his socks. "As soon as I'm done, I'll get over to your cabin."

Coollege ducked her head and opened the hatch. She disappeared through it. As she did, Price said to himself, "I can't believe this. First time and the Colonel wants us."

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