In our last harrowing episode, General Fitzhugh, Colonel Edwards, and Emily Rogers set on a mission to find Lieutenant Candace Dare. The team located and with Emily’s electronic skills, snuck into Horst Von Zorm’s secret underground laboratory. Von Zorm was slain in the rescue and Dare was rescued. The question remains, did any of the testing affect her?
A tentative knock at the office door caused Warrant Officer Will Hutton to rise from his desk and answer the door personally, instead of his usual barked “Come.”
As expected, Emily Rogers stood in the hall with her mother and father. They were shown to the office by a young WAC corporal, who hastily left after delivering them to the proper wing.
“Emily,” Hutton recognized her. “Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, please come in.” He held the door and let the family proceed. He pointed to three chairs, indicating that the family should sit. He went to Lieutenant Candace Dare’s door and knocked twice. He opened the door and announced the Rogers’ were waiting. He did the same to General Daniel Fitzhugh’s door on the opposite side of the office.
Candace Dare stepped out of the office and smiled. Emily stood and gave her a hug.
“Thank you for coming,” Dare began. “I can’t thank Emily enough for helping General Fitzhugh find me. She definitely saved my life.”
“Be that as it may, Colonel,” Andrew Rogers, Emily’s father answered, “we are still hopeful that this green catastrophe Emily is inflicted with can someday go away.”
“I understand, Mr. Rogers. I quite agree with you. The Department of the Army has tasked your brother, the inventor of the green slime, to find a way to cure Emily. Unfortunately, we have to understand that it might take a while. We will need to help Emily get on with her life,” Dare replied.
General Fitzhugh joined the group.
“What exactly does, ‘get on with her life’ mean, Colonel?” Rogers asked.
Fitzhugh cleared his throat. “I’ve been making dozens of phone calls, Mr. Rogers. We’ve been trying to arrange a scholarship for Emily.”
“A scholarship?” Rose Rogers spoke for the first time. “You want to send Emily to college? I’m not sure she will meet any young men there, especially in her condition.”
“Mom!” Emily burst out. “What if I don’t want to get married? What if I want to have a degree that means something and have a nice job?”
“Don’t be silly, Emily,” Mr. Rogers said, “You’re a girl!”
Emily looked like she was getting ready to explode.
Dare spoke quickly. “Even though Emily is just a ‘girl’ Mr. and Mrs. Rogers we feel she has quite some talent that would be very useful in government work. We have secured a scholarship for her at a very prestigious college. She will be one of the very few women accepted there. The college has quite a number of brilliant young men, anyone of which may become a doctor or engineer.”
“Really?” Mr. and Mrs. Rogers said in unison.
“And after she graduates, we will make sure she has employment. We envision her traveling the world, dealing with the top scientists in the world,” Fitzhugh added.
“Do I get a say?” Emily asked.
“Of course, dear,” Mrs. Roger replied. Turning to Fitzhugh she asked, “Do scientists make a lot of money?
“The nuclear ones make a boatload,” Fitzhugh answered.
“Where can we send Emily to meet those kinds of scientists?” Mrs. Rogers asked.
“We’re thinking the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Dare replied. Dare felt Emily’s eyes open, Dare winked.
“I’ve heard that it’s difficult to get into MIT,” Mr. Rogers said.
“It’s all arranged. She will start early with the fall semester,” Dare answered. “They were most impressed with Emily’s work in Aberdeen and how she helped General Fitzhugh in Colorado.”
“This fall!” Emily smiled. “I can’t wait.”
“Emily,” Fitzhugh added, “I’m sending you home for a couple of weeks. Colonel Dare will come out and take you and your parents to the campus. There will be some forms to sign, and we’ll need to find you quarters, I mean, a room.”
Emily hugged Dare and then Fitzhugh. “Thank you both. I’ll be counting the days.”
Dare stopped Emily as she headed for the door. “Thank you for saving me Emily.”
Emily could only nod.
The Rogers family left and Dare sat in one of the chairs.
“You OK, Colonel?” Hutton asked.
“Still feel a little weak, I’ll be good in a few days,” Dare replied.
“Maybe you should take a few days off,” Fitzhugh said. “God knows you’ve been through a lot.”
“Are you kidding? I have enough of those accursed auditing reports on my desk right now. I don’t the pile to get any larger.”
“Speaking of which, I have an idea about that,” Fitzhugh said.
“Really? Does it get me out of doing those?”
“Well, perhaps. I hope so.”
“Then I’m all ears.”
Fitzhugh motioned for Hutton to sit down and took a chair himself.
“It seems, Colonel, that you seem to get in more trouble while minding the store than being out in the field.”
Dare opened her mouth to speak. Fitzhugh held up his hand stopping her.
“I know that reading those reports was never part of your job description. I’ve found someone that can handle that, I just need to talk her out of her present job. If we get her on board, that will free you up to do the field work you were hired to do.” Fitzhugh explained.
“That would be great, General. Anyone I know?”
“She’s Harvey Harrison’s secretary. She seems on the ball,” Fitzhugh said.
“Sullivan?” Hutton asked.
“Yes, that’s her,” Fitzhugh answered.
“She did seem on the ball, General,” Hutton said.
Two firm knocks on the door interrupted the conversation. Hutton instinctively barked out his perfunctory “Come.”
The door opened, Colonel Ed Parker entered carrying two wrapped packages.
“Am I interrupting something?” Parker asked.
Fitzhugh stood. “Ah, Colonel Parker. Glad you’re here. Let me introduce you to Colonel Candace Dare.”
Dare stood and shook hands with Parker.
“Colonel Parker put together the search and rescue operation,” Fitzhugh explained.
“Colonel Parker, thank you for your effort,” Dare said.
“Colonel Dare, General Fitzhugh was most insistent about your innocence. He did most of the grunt work. I just put two and two together and assembled the manpower. Between the General and the little girl, it all came together.”
“What can we do for you, Parker?” Fitzhugh asked.
“Actually, I brought Colonel Dare a couple of items.” He handed Dare one of the wrapped packages.
Dare examined the package, wrapped in Kraft brown paper. It felt like a frame. With care she tore it open. It was a framed Wanted poster with her image.
Fitzhugh chuckled. “Colonel Parker had this put out in hopes that someone would see you. I saved my copy, never know when it may come in handy.”
Dare felt her face flush. “Thank you, Colonel. I’ll put this up as a reminder of the adventure.”
“One more thing, Colonel.” Parker handed her a smaller item, also wrapped in Kraft paper.
Se hefted the package, it was small but much heavier. She unwrapped it. It was a small wooden box. She opened the box. It held her Luger.
She smiled. “Thank you, Colonel. It seems to be noticeably cleaner than when I last saw it.”
“The lab insists that all the radioactivity is gone. Normally, we don’t allow weapons that were used in a crime to be returned, but it was stolen and I argued for special circumstances.”
“I appreciate this, Colonel.”
“Not a problem. I still have to interview you about your experiences for my report. Sooner than later would be better, Colonel.”
“Actually, I have a table waiting for me at the Four Seasons. Why not join me?”
Dare thought about it. “Last time I was there, Colonel, it didn’t turn out so well.”
“Colonel Dare, you certainly don’t seem like someone to leave real estate to the enemy.”
“You’re right, Colonel. Let’s go.”