Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.
Chapter 15: Lt Col Flynn
Lt. Col. Tyler Flynn stopped in the hallway at work as someone tapped him on the arm. He turned quickly, startled.
“Uh. Sorry sir. You must not have heard me calling you.”
Flynn felt a little ashamed. He still wasn’t used to people calling him Colonel. “Sorry, Captain Woden.” Flynn just now remembered that Woden had been a lieutenant just a couple of weeks ago. He’d been promoted in the catch up the same as he had. “I guess I’m still not used to my new rank yet. What is it?”
“Yes, sir. I agree. Everybody has a new rank and it’s a bit confusing for sure.” He took a breath. “I just wanted to let you know you’ve been relieved of the Interview room duties. Beneath your pay grade, so to speak.”
Flynn took the paper Captain Woden handed him and skimmed through it. Yes, orders relieving him of that task. “It doesn’t issue any new order.”
Woden shrugged. “Probably something coming through the pipeline, Sir. Congratulations.”
“Thank you, Lee. Appreciate it.” Flynn tucked the order into the covered notebook he carried.
“No problem, Colonel. Hope the next assignment is better.” He stepped back, came to attention and saluted.
Flynn saluted back and went on his way as Woden turned to go back the way he’d come. New assignment, he thought as he walked on. He was glad to drop the interviews. He left that room every day drained, with his soul sucked dry.
A couple of hours later, his electronic pad dinged. A new message had arrived. Flynn opened it up. Here was the new assignment. He was to report to Colonel Marcus, a special operations department, he saw. Marcus reported to a General Billings. Mad Dog Bill, he’d heard the man called. That meant he no longer reported to Colonel Green. Not that it mattered about Green. He didn’t know the Colonel all that well though they’d gotten along well enough. He noted that there was an appointment scheduled for three this afternoon. A meet and greet, Flynn figured. Just an introductory thing. It was for the Officer’s Club. So probably multiple new officers. That was fine with him. He shut the email. Special Ops, he thought to himself. Wonder what kind of Special Ops. Something more in line with why he joined the Army, he hoped.
At the Officer’s Club, Flynn checked his hat at the front lobby and went into the bar. Sure enough, several officers were already there, standing in small groups, drinks in hand. The colonel wasn’t there yet. He got a beer from the bar and joined a group with an acquaintance of his, Major Peter Farland. “Pete. Good to see ya.”
“Good to see you, too, buddy. Long time!” Pete clapped him on the arm. “This is Roger Luton, best comm officer you’ve ever seen.”
Flynn shook Captain Luton’s hand. “Nice to meet you.” He thought Pete’s accolade a little over the top. His wife, now out of the Army, was one of the best in his estimation but that didn’t count any longer, did it.”
Pete went on. “Tyler here is the best behind the lines guy you ever want to work with. He can find his way through the dark, blindfolded and still get the mission done.”
Roger grinned. “Good to know.”
Introductions were cut short as the room was called to attention. A solid looking man, crewcut dark hair and dark blue eyes that looked like they didn’t miss a thing strode to the front of the room. He stood on the slightly raised fireplace edge. “At ease.”
The men relaxed, but not too much. Sloppy wouldn’t cut it. “Welcome. You’re all newly assigned to the 708th Special Operations Group. This afternoon is a chance for you all to meet each other. The rest of the group will be in at four-thirty. In the meantime, I’ll be moving around the room to meet each of you. Dinner will be at six. Make whatever phone calls you need to make, dinner is mandatory. As you were.”
With that, he stepped down and began to make his rounds. Flynn was impressed. Direct and too the point. He liked that.
“What a hard ass,” Luton said.
Pete agreed. “I heard he’s a hard-ass. That kind of proves it right there.”
Flynn checked his watch, Just fifteen oh three. “I’ve gotta make a call. Be right back.” He went out to the lobby where it was quieter, and on his cell called his wife. “Laura,” he said when she picked up. “News. I’ve been transferred to the 708th Special Ops Group. I’m meeting the commander, Colonel Bill Billings.”
“Is that good?” Her voice made it clear she was suspicious.
“Unclear. We’ve got a mandatory dinner at six, so I thought I’d let you know.”
“Not social, then.”
Smart woman, he thought. She’d been in long enough, even in this new Army, to read the signs. “Apparently not. Our old friend Pete Farland is here, too. Major now.”
There was a pause on the line. “Interesting.”
“Right.” She knew not to mention her thoughts on the phone. “So I’ll see you when we’re released.”
“Be careful,” was her response before she hung up.
He sighed. He could remember when she would have said, “have fun.” No longer. Now everything was a test of some sort. Thank god, he thought, he had a smart wife. He tucked the phone in his pocket and went back to the party. Water might be the drink of the evening, he thought. Better safe than sorry.
Thank you for reading.