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 8: Capt Flynn
Captain Tyler Flynn’s notebook chimed with an incoming message. It was from Commander Green. Flynn sighed. Report to the Colonel immediately. That was never good he thought as he rose from his desk and headed for the door.
At the Colonel’s office, the secretary, a Sergeant, sent him right in. Tyler missed the Colonel’s old secretary, Arlene. She’d been the Commander’s secretary for at least ten commanders and knew everything there was to know about the base and how to get things done but since the female purge two weeks ago, of course, a male had to be put in her place. Sergeant Boyle was good, but he had to look up everything and just wasn’t as efficient.
Flynn stopped in front of the Commander’s desk and saluted. “Captain Flynn reporting as ordered, Sir.”
The Commander looked up from his pad and returned the salute. “Good, Flynn. Have a seat.”
The Captain sat in one of the wooden chairs in front of the desk.
The Colonel tapped his notebook as he began. “Flynn. I have some good news.”
Flynn braced himself. In this political climate, he didn’t trust anyone to have good news.
“We’re restarting the promotion system and you’ve been selected to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.”
Tyler thought for a minute his heart stopped. He consciously took a breath. “Thank you, Sir. I’m surprised.” He reached across the desk to shake the Commander’s hand.
“Glad to do it. With the promotion system down for so long, it made things like retention very difficult. If it had gone traditionally, you’d be an LC already, so Personnel just caught you up.” Congratulations, Captain.”
Tyler stood and saluted. “Thank you, Sir. I really appreciate this.”
The commander stood and returned the salute. “It’s effective the first of next month so you have time to update your uniforms.”
“This is great news, Colonel Green. My wife is going to be thrilled.”
“Good.” He sat back down. “That’s all, Captain.”
Flynn pivoted smartly and strode out the door, his mind bouncing from one thought to the next as we walked back to his office. Once there, he called his wife, Laura. She suggested they celebrate by going out to dinner and he agreed.
Word spread as the Colonel brought one officer in after another to tell them about their promotions. Not a lot of work was getting done as men traveled from one office to another to congratulate the promotees.
Outside at quitting time, Captain Dean Joyce met Flynn in the parking lot. “I hear congratulations are in order for you,” he said as he held out his hand.
Flynn shook it. “You too. Major, right?”
“Yeah. And you went straight to LC. That’s great. You must have passed the loyalty test.”
“Loyalty test?” Flynn felt as though he’d been punched in the stomach. “I didn’t take any test.”
“Remember your sister-in-law? That was the test. You handled her like any other undesirable. Even with her sobbing and begging, you kept your cool. The higher ups liked that.”
“Oh. Just being professional.”
Joyce clapped him on the shoulder. “Well done, Flynn. You’re going to be going places now.” He moved on to his car.
Flynn walked slowly to his car, watching Joyce get in and drive off. A loyalty test, that was what was going on? Zuri’s time in front of him was excruciating. He couldn’t sleep that night or for several nights he was so upset about having to pass his own brother’s wife into the system. He’d argued with his own wife, Laura, about it in strained whispers, because they both were sure their house was bugged.
He reached his car and got in, but just sat there, not even rolling down the windows to let the sun baked heat out. How many other things had he done that were loyalty tests? Tyler tried to think back but nothing in particular sprang to mind. Wait, he thought, right after the President announced he was President for Life, a lot of soldiers disappeared. Had the brass already begun purging the ranks even then? Other things sprang to mind. Orders tasking him to do crappy missions rounding up undesireables, coloreds, Jews, and activists. He nodded to himself. All of those were tests to see if he’d kick up a fuss.
Sweat began to trickle from his armpits. He turned the car key and rolled down the windows. The fresh air felt good. Tyler pulled on his seatbelt and put the car in drive then pulled out of his parking spot. And now, a promotion. Was the testing done? Was he deemed loyal? He’d have to talk to Laura about this. Let her know. She could be set up for tests, now that she was a housewife. Who knew which woman was working undercover, looking for malcontents? She’d have to be careful who she talked to.
He drove home carefully. Traffic violations were now severely punished. He wondered for a moment about Captain Joyce. How did he know about the loyalty testing? He worked in Supply. Maybe Joyce was undercover. Tyler shrugged to himself. Maybe not. With things the way they were now, anyone could turn in anyone else for suspicious behavior or comments. He’d have to be careful too. Watch what he said and to whom. He sighed. He missed the old days. How did they get to this point? It didn’t matter, he thought. We’re here now and we just have to survive it.
Thank you for reading.