Tag Archive | A Little White Lie

A Little White Lie – Conclusion

Wil’s puzzled look remained frozen as she touched his temple and he remembered. The day they had been brought to the lab for the first procedures, there had been a medical technician with a special instrument.

“They put a chip in your head, so a signal can be sent out, killing you instantly.” They had made it sound like it was for protection, his as well as others. Why had he forgotten?

“He hasn’t any chip.”

“But all us super soldiers got that, didn’t we?”

“I’m not exactly like one of you,” Emory said, sidling into the room. Penny nodded at him as he sat on a chair near the bed. “I’m a special case.”

“Why?” Wil found it almost infuriating that this little, weasely man was special, somehow superior to him.

“I’m the chaff,” he said softly, his face clouding.

“He doesn’t know, Randy,” Penny said gently, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“They did some more experiments, stuff you guys don’t know about. When they had you under, they took samples of sperm and ova.” A glance up at Penny got an encouraging nod. “I’m the by product of one of their in vitro experiments. They wanted to make super soldiers from scratch. I was a failed experiment. I’m what’s left when super heroes mate!”

He was angry, hurt. A life of being shoved aside and told he wasn’t good enough had left him bitter.

“But it’s saved your life, Randy.” Penny interrupted him before he got too carried away. “That’s why he’s survived all these missions and everyone else died. She couldn’t control him. But he couldn’t hurt her until now.”

“Why not?”

“There was a program, subliminal, running through her. As long as she was conscious, it made it impossible for him to protect us. But Ishanti knocked her out as they were getting in the car. Once she was unconscious, Emory could act. I about gave him a black eye though, until he explained.

Emory chuckled quietly, relaxing for the first time since Wil had met him. “I had to talk faster than I ever have in my life. Thought I was going to lose an eyeball or something.”

“Well, a ball of some kind, but I doubt it would have been your eye.” Wil looked up at Penny, his old smile back on his face. “Mind explaining that whole knee in the groin?”

“I had to get your attention, it seemed the best way.”

“Kind of harsh!”

“It worked, didn’t it?” Her tone softened, her eyes held his for a long moment.

Clearing his throat, Emory looked embarrassed and excused himself.

“Hey,” Wil called after him. “Thank you. I owe you my life, kid.”

Emory turned around and faced him, a soft smile playing at his lips. “And I owe mine to you.” In a rush he was gone.

Wil watched after him in puzzled silence, wondering what on earth he meant.

“Greyling has some explaining to do,” he sighed as he kissed Penny deeply, inhaling the fresh, clean smell of her hair and the spicy scent of her cologne.

“Don’t be hard on her,” Penny said, unbuttoning his shirt as she pushed him on the bed. “She tried to protect us.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” he kissed her. “But right now, I don’t want to talk.”

“Neither do I.”

“You know, Penny, I could fall hard for a girl like you.”

“Good.” She smiled, kissing him passionately as she shoved him down on the bed.


A Little White Lie – Part 23

Wil woke feeling as if he’d been hit by a tank. His mouth was dry, his eyes hurt and his head felt swollen. The ringing in his ears had been replaced by a pounding like a pile driver.

As soon as he struggled to sit up, Penny was beside him, giving him a supporting hand. Her eyes held concern, not just on a professional level. She flung herself at his chest, grabbing him tightly as if her life depended upon this one embrace. Wil lost his balance, collapsing on the bed once more.

“Penny,” he said thickly. “What?”

“Oh, Wil, I was so worried! Don’t ever do that again!”

“Whadidido?” He could barely enunciate.

“That woman.”

“Rashima?” His head was clearing. “What about her, where is she?”

He felt a burning in his loins, uncomfortable and evocative.

“She’s dead.”

He sat up, pushing her roughly aside. “What? Who?” His movements were erratic, dangerous, as he swung his arms around wildly.

“She was shot, Wil.”

There was a long pause as Wil worked through this information. “Dead.” His voice sounded flat and emotionless.

“Yes. Wil, she was a siren.”

“Whazzat?” Blinking fast, he tried again to clear his wooly head.

The name conjured up an image, a definition began to take form in his mind. Smacking dry lips, he shook his head, trying to clear his eyes, but only made himself dizzier.

“Fuck me,” he groaned as he lay back down.

A glass pressed against his lips. He drank automatically, spilling a good bit on the bed. The pounding faded to a buzz like barber’s clippers. His mind was clearing gradually.

“Penny, start over, all I remember is this – Oh God! This woman, she was so beautiful, exotic.” He felt a burning sensation in his loins again. “Ow! Why do I hurt?”

“Wil, look at me.”

He focused on her face with difficulty. “Penny?”

“Wil, if you don’t focus for me, I’m going to hit you.”

He blinked slowly, tried to clear his head again and failed. “Feel like shit,” he mumbled. “There was this girl.” He mused again, rolling over, hoping to sleep and dream of the woman in white.

Smack! A sharp slap clipped him on the left cheek, snapping his head sideways. He caught her hand before she could get him with the back swing.

“What the hell was that for? Penny?”

She grinned at him, kissing his smarting cheek. “You’re back! Oh, thank God! What do you remember?”

“Lots of explosions, Aurialonus, and some woman. There was something about her.” His eyes glazed over again and Penny slapped him sharply once more. “Will you please stop doing that?”

“Not until you snap out of this!” She popped him again, but less hard. “She was a siren, Wil. Do you know what that is?”

“One of those women, Greek mythology, sang and lured sailors to their deaths?”

“Something like that, only this one is a telepath who lures men to her, controlling them, making them her tools. I thought she had you for awhile.” Her voice drifted off. “She’s been the problem, all along. She was sent to kill us.”

“But Emory?”

“In all these other operations, she’s turned the men against one another. Only Emory kept his head.”

“Why? What makes him special?”

“No chip.”

A Little White Lie – Part 22

Princess Rashima isn’t what she seems. It took Wil longer to figure it out than usual. Does this mean something even more diabolical is going on than he thought?

Wil guided the horse with his knees, subtle and continuous, leading them gradually to the primary pick up point. Ben and the others should be there by now. Emory, Wallace and Freedrick had probably already been picked up and would be waiting for them. Now he was bringing in this Trojan horse, Rashima. Whoever she was, whatever organization she worked for, he hoped to discover before she could harm his people or screw up his mission.

She stopped the horse, sliding from the saddle to the ground. Wil held her blanket clamped in one lax hand, falling slightly from the horse’s back, sliding off to one side. She was too annoyed to notice him put one foot on the ground beside her and let his other leg slip down as he leaned on the horse for support.

A snap of her fingers brought him out of his pretend trance and he smiled down at her, leaning over to kiss her on the lips. For a moment, she pushed away, but he persisted and she gradually responded to his touch. His hold around her tightened, pressing his chest against her and he turned so she was between him and the horse’s side. A shift of his weight and she was well and truly caught.

Grabbing a handful of her long, dark hair, he took his mouth from hers, trailing his fingers down her neck, tracing the line of her breast. She stayed a moment more with her eyes closed, then realized the position she was in and the fact that he was obviously not under her control struck her. Ashen faced, she struggled to free herself. His smile faded, replaced by a mask like visage which had been known to intimidate even the hardiest of warriors. Rashima shrank away from him, terrified.

“Who do you work for, Rashima?” His hand gripped her brutally, fingers digging in, bruising her flesh.

“No one, I work for no one.”

“Oh, baby, you don’t lie well.”

His grip relaxed, his hands moved to her body, working their way around in subtle and provocative ways. He kissed her lips, her neck, her shoulder. He could feel her powers affecting him and fought for control.

“Don’t make me hurt you, Rashima. You are too beautiful to damage like that. Just tell me who you work for, I’ll let you go.” His lips brushed her ear.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, her head against his chest as if in defeat. The tenseness of her body belied her.

Despite his determination not to let her get to him, he was weakening. She was beautiful, she felt good against him, she smelled like fresh flowers and gentle breezes. He wanted her like he’d wanted no other woman in his life. She had to be his! His lips pressed hard against hers.

A warning sounded in his mind, some sense saw below the surface of what seemed so real. Someone said his name. Did he hear a voice? Yes! A woman was saying his name. It wasn’t Rashima. He felt lightheaded, intoxicated.

“Rashima,” his voice was hoarse with passion as he slipped her gown down from her breasts.

“Wil!” There was that damn woman again!

Lashing out, he found his arm pinned behind him, a knee placed firmly in between his legs from the rear, pressing up dangerously against his testicles.

Rashima was still sandwiched between him and the horse, her dark eyes glowing with a desperate passion. Rough hands grabbed her away from him, shoving her toward a waiting vehicle. Wil called out in anger and distress, trying to follow, but was held firmly. He saw Ishanti clip Rashima on the jaw as she shoved her into the car.

A few dreadful minutes passed as his head cleared, leaving a harsh ringing in his ears and a pounding headache. Penny held him more gently now, leading him to the front of the armored car, protecting his head as he ducked inside, falling onto the seat. Shoving his long legs over, she slid in beside him, putting the car in gear. In silence, they drove back to the waiting shuttle. Wil crawled like a child from the car, stumbled to the shuttle door and was hauled in by Ben and Emory.

“What do I do with her?” Ishanti’s voice sounded harsh.

Wil’s ears were ringing like a four alarm fire.

“She under? Tie the bitch up and throw her in the back. I want to question her when we get back to the ship,” Ben’s voice cut in.

“No,” this was Emory. “Kill her.”


“Kill her,” Emory said with finality.

A shot rang out, Wil heard a body drop, but he was too disoriented to care. He fell asleep in a heap on the floor.

A Little White Lie – Part 21

Wow, an over abundance of dictators! Wil’s found not one, but two! Not only that, he’s also found another member of the royal family, a Princess named Rashima. She’s beautiful, clever and devious enough to drug Aurialonus. She helps Wil out of the palace. Despite her help, Wil still doesn’t trust her. But then, chances are good he wouldn’t trust his own mother.

Realizing this could be a clever trap, he followed cautiously, weapon drawn, silent as a cat on the thick carpets. Rashima stopped by an ornately carved door which she pushed open quietly. It swung inward revealing a naked, heavy set, old man asleep on a lavish four poster. He was drooling and snoring loudly.

“You could have killed him yourself,” Wil walked over to the bed, wondering what he was going to do with a naked old man.

“Yes, but then no one would have believed that he was dead when you discovered the imposter. I’ll help you carry him out. He’s disgusting, but we can wrap a sheet around his nakedness.” She grimaced slightly at the idea, handling the sheet delicately.

Wil roughly bound Aurialonus in the sheet and hoisted him casually over his shoulder. Turning, he saw the princess eyeing him speculatively.

“All men are not created equal,” she said, her eyes lingering on his tight glutes. “I saw him with disgust, but maybe some men are not so bad.”

Wil chuckled with a hint of rancor. “Princess, some of us are down right evil. You’d better get a robe, it’s cold.”

She grabbed a blanket off the bed. “There is no robe, my clothing is upstairs. This is the bridal suite.” She snorted in disgust. “As if I would marry such a pig!” She spat at the unconscious, fat man in disgust, then led the way through more doors, down passages and into a long, stone hallway.

The sounds of the destruction at the palace faded to nothing and noises of the night intruded themselves instead. Crickets, night birds, horses whickering. The stables! Wil suddenly was filled with hope that this mission would succeed.

“Princess, I could kiss you!” He walked to a nearby steed, dropping his burden over its back, tying Aurialonus’ hands and feet together under the belly.

She grinned, raising a speculative eyebrow. “I might let you.”

Wil laughed at her and she winked, swishing her blanket around her as he helped her onto a horse. Hopping up behind her, he took the reins of the other horse in his hand.

“Hold tight,” he told her, taking up the reins to his horse, clucking softly.

Wil took a moment to get his bearings and turned slightly east, heading toward the pick up point.

“Where are we going?”

“To meet up with your family.”

The Princess stiffened slightly, her back pressing against his chest. Her right hand dropped behind her, between his thighs.

“Oh, we do not have to do that right now, do we?”

Her hand continued to roam. The hairs on the back of Wil’s neck began to rise. His hackles were never wrong.

“Princess, how old is your little sister, Ambra, the one who was to be executed today?”

“Ambra? She is six, no seven.” Her hand moved rapidly, trying to arouse and distract him. He closed off his mind to her movements and sat straight in the saddle.

“When is her birthday?”

“Why does it matter? She just had a birthday, so I get confused. Now stop the horse, I beg you. The saddle is rubbing my bottom raw.”

He eased the horse to a standstill and Rashima turned slightly toward him, drawing his face to hers, pressing her breasts against his chest. He felt her hand reach for his gun belt, but he beat her to it.

“Nice try, Rashima. You had me going for a bit, but there is no Princess Ambra. You didn’t do your homework too well. Who sent you?”

She tried to hop down, but he caught her under the chin with his right hand, the left still holding the reins of the other horse. She spat at him, trying to claw his hand to free herself.


He saw fear in her dark eyes, but she had not given up. The timbre of her voice changed, her features softening as she tried her different tactics.

“Does it matter why I’m here? What matters is the two of us, nothing else.”

She stared directly into his eyes and the faintest glimmer of a warning flashed there. She was a telepath, a powerful one, and she was trying to unlock something in his mind. She dropped the phoney accent, her voice falling into the cadence of a hypnotist. Wil pretended to go along, relaxing against her, letting the reins dangle from his limp fingers.

Satisfied, Rashima took the reins to both horses, clucked her tongue and continued along the same heading they had been following before they stopped. Wil continued to lean against her, letting more and more of his weight push on her shoulder. Being over seven feet tall, he was a large and heavy man. She was not over five foot seven and slight of build. She tried to push him off her as they rode.

A Little White Lie – Part 20

Having found Aurialonus, Wil and Ben have to get him to their extraction point and off planet. Now comes the fun part, getting out of the palace and back to the ship.

Aurialonus looked puzzled, then rose gradually from his chair, staggering against the wall. Ben grabbed him roughly by the elbow, forcing him ahead of him at gunpoint. Moving at a snail’s pace, the three men made their way back upstairs.

The people in the kitchen had woken up and were struggling against their bonds. Wil took their gags out, telling them to be still and he would free them. When the maid saw Aurialonus, she spat at him, making a rude gesture, recognizable in any language. Aurialonus seemed to fold in on himself, suddenly looking very old.

Dragging and shoving him roughly, Ben and Wil forced him to the ballroom and through the doors to the terrace. Shouting and gunfire greeted them. Dragging Aurialonus back inside, Wil swore loudly.

“The gas wore off, I can’t believe I forgot!”

Ben looked outside. “They’re coming this way,” he muttered urgently.

“Got any bright ideas?” Wil was furious with himself and he was taking it out on Ben. Both knew this, and let it slide.

“You’re the genius, I’m just a grunt. If you don’t get brilliant fast, we’re dead.”

“Back to the kitchen. Take him.” He shoved Aurialonus at Ben. “Get the servants out.”

“What are you doing?”

“Giving them a Krall cocktail.”
He shut and locked the doors, dashing for the king’s bedchamber as Ben half carried Aurialonus back to the kitchen.

In the darkened bedroom, Wil ducked through the doorway and dropped by Krall’s body. The Marine demo expert was covered in items of heavy destruction. Wil regretted his death, mostly because it was damn inconvenient. They could have used him now. The fact another human being was dead on the floor hardly fazed him. It might bother him later, right now he hadn’t the time.

Using his knife, he cut straps, stripping Krall of all his toys. With a wicked smile, he concocted a little surprise of his own design, grabbing items at random from the room. He made three bombs in less than a minute. The soldiers outside were finally organizing and planning to rush the castle doors.

Running across the hall, he found a room overlooking the terrace. Crawling out the door, he peeped through the balcony balustrade. Setting the timer on the first bomb, he hurled it over the edge.

As it exploded with a satisfying blast, he heard the howls of men being ripped apart. The second bomb followed the first, landing to the other side. Horrified shouts reached his ears as the men below tried to figure out where the shower of death was coming from.

The third present was a little different, full of all manner of debris from the bedroom. It also had a special ingredient Krall had fondly called joy juice. It was Krall’s own concoction and similar to nitroglycerine, only less unstable and more volatile. This he dropped right over the edge of the balcony on the lip of the terrace where the men were attempting to enter the ballroom.

Flinging himself back into the bedroom, he flattened himself on the far side of the bed, hands over his ears. He saw the flash of the explosion before the kaboom rocked the palace. Pandemonium and panic reigned as the soldiers all tried to run away at once, knocking one another down and trampling each other.

Taking further advantage of this disorganization, Wil slipped out to the balcony once more, unslinging his weapon. He opened fire on the chaos on the lawn. Bullets flew from his weapon, laying down a veil of lead and explosive pellets.

Howling like a Civil War Rebel, he hurled smoke bombs, grenades. One last blast from his weapon and he heard it click on an empty magazine. Grabbing up Krall’s and Bennett’s guns, he ran full speed down the stairs and slid down the bannister the last few feet.

Behind him, he heard the blasts on the ballroom door as the soldiers finally entered the palace. More screams, howls and curses followed. Wil trotted leisurely to the front door, checking Krall’s weapon, satisfied it had a full clip. He sauntered to the door and froze. Not dogs this time or soldiers, but a very beautiful, dark haired woman in a filmy, white nightgown was pointing a very lethal looking weapon at his balls.

“Who are you?” She demanded as all hell broke loose behind him.

It was only a matter of moments before the soldiers made their way into the main palace.

“Who are you?” He repeated, hoping to distract her. It didn’t work.

“Why are you here? Have you come for Aurialonus?”

His silence confirmed this.

“Thank God!” She put the safety back on the weapon and lowered it.
“Come this way, quickly!”

Wil trotted after her. “Who are you?”

“Princess Rashima,” she said over her shoulder as she ran. “I was to be tonight’s prize, but he could not manage it.” She took the gun, holding it in one hand, letting the tip drop limply. Wil chuckled.

“It might have been the drug I put in his tea.” She shrugged. “Hurry, while he still sleeps.”

“But we got him already,” Wil remarked.

She raised an eyebrow, glancing over her shoulder.

“You got his double, which you would have discovered as soon as you began to interrogate him. Then it would have been too late. Come.” She gestured urgently.

A Little White Lie – Part 19

The royal family has been rescued, so half the job is done. Now, Wil needs to find the raving lunatic, Aurialonous. Leaving the others to convey the king and his family to safety, they go in search of the dictator.

At the kitchen on the ground floor, they found the people Wil and Emory had gassed earlier. A cook, maid and butler sat at the table, out cold. Two guards had collapsed by the door. They left the servants tied up and gagged, but killed the guards.

A narrow stone stairway spiraled downward. It led to the servant’s quarters and wine cellar. Chances were good if there were a bolt hole for the King, it would be down here. It was the most defensible place in the palace.

Switching to infrared, Wil surveyed the cellar walls with care. They were thick, solidly built, probably part of the original structure dating back several hundred years. Cursing silently, he accessed the map once more and headed for the wine cellar first. It was to their right, down a damp, sloping tunnel, smelling of niter and mildew.

A systematic check of the area didn’t disclose any hidden mechanisms. Even the racks of wine bottles were built into the walls, hewn from the stone face of the bedrock. Wil examined it all with his cybereye, looking for the hint of a seam. The wine cellar was a dead end. Frustrated, they retraced their steps.

A long, dark hall continued in front of them, doors on either side, servants quarters. Wil switched again to infrared, stopping and scanning each room as they went down the hall. All of them there were empty.

Three doors from the end of the hall, Wil hesitated. He couldn’t see anything through the door, meaning it was shielded. This door was securely set in the wall and bolted inside. Wil figured a little plastique would do the trick to open it. He wasn’t an expert like Krall, but he could make something crudely effective. He set the charges and they took safe positions down the hall from the door, blowing it with a remote.

The explosives made a muffled thump, the door flying inward in pieces. Nothing happened. Moving quickly and silently, they cautiously picked their way into the room. Two men lay dead, killed by the impact of the door. Neither was Aurialonus.

On the wall behind the dead men, Wil saw the barest hint of a seam in the brick. It ran along the lines of the mortar, but little was hidden from his cybereye. He and Ben began a thorough search of the room looking for the control mechanism to open the door. Wil was ready to blow out another section of wall, but Ben had an idea.

“Could it be a voice code?”

“Hell if I know.”

“I’m guessing a password. Think about it, a command attuned to a particular voice could be risky. But a password, anyone can say and it will open right up. I mean, considering how lax the security has been so far, why not?”

Wil chuckled, he had to admit, twisted as it was, the idea was logical. A frown replaced the smile. “We’re no closer than we were then, we don’t know the password.”

“Something easy to remember. Something about the family, a pet, even the name of the city?”

“Gundesburg,” Wil spoke clearly and loudly.

Nothing happened. The names of all the royal family did nothing either. Five minutes guessing and they were out of ideas.

“Damn Aurialonus anyway!” Wil grumbled. A click sounded and a hiss of escaping air. “You’ve got to be kidding!”

He and Ben took defensive positions, waiting. The door eased open and inside they saw the crumpled form of the petty dictator.

“You suppose the shock of the explosion killed him?” Wil asked.

Ben shook his head, stepping carefully toward the man seated on a hard wooden chair.

“No, he’s breathing. Sound may have stunned him.”

Wil nudged the inert form with the tip of his gun. The man stirred slightly, mumbled and slowly opened his eyes. Their guns came up and he raised his hands in surrender.

“It’s over,” Wil said harshly in the native tongue of Starflatz. “Get up.”

A Little White Lie – Part 12

The final member of their team, their “monkey” has just shown up. It doesn’t seem like anyone is particularly glad to see him, except Penny. Corporal Emory, like the others, seems to have trouble with authority. Wil’s willing to work with that. However, there is also an aura of suspicion surrounding Emory–something he’s not unmindful of.

“You were called three days ago, what took you so long?” Wil asked as pleasantly as he could.

“I had some unfinished business I had to take care of, sir.” He made the term of respect as disrespectful as possible. Wil draped a long arm around Emory’s shoulders from which the little man couldn’t squirm.

“Anyone ever explain to you how the military works, Emory?”

“I’m not sure I get your meaning.”

“Well, it’s like this. I outrank you, as do the most of the people in this room. I don’t expect much, only for you to do your job right and show me the respect I’ve earned for more years than you’ve even been alive.” His grip on Emory’s shoulder tightened until the little man winced. “I’m glad we understand one another, Corporal Emory, I’d hate to demote you.”

Emory said nothing. The other men in the room glared at him, making him sink in on himself even more. The tension in the room was broken by the entrance of the two women. Penny and Ishanti were exchanging pleasantries when they walked into the room full of angry males. Stopping suddenly just inside the door, Penny looked at each in turn, staring openly at the small man who seemed to be the center of the problem.

“Who’s this?” Her eyes fixed on Wil, saw the muscle working in his jaw and knew he was furious about something.

“Corporal Emory.” He snapped a salute. “Reporting for duty.”

Penny looked at him and said nothing. Ishanti returned his salute automatically and muttered “At ease,” from habit.

“I’m happy to see you, at least,” Penny tried to smile and ground the charged atmosphere. “Now I don’t have to climb!” Her laugh seemed to pull Wil out of himself and he chuckled weakly next to her.

“That’s good anyway,” Ishanti added quietly.

“I need a shower, sir, and a meal. Please,” Emory added as an afterthought.

Again Penny jumped in to save Wil from the urge to tell Emory where he could put his meal and shower.

“I’ll show him, Colonel,” Penny remarked in passing as she steered the nasty tempered man past Wil and Ben. “Bennett’s cooking tonight,” she said casually as she walked past.

Behind Emory’s back, the other men grinned and crowded through the narrow doorway to follow them down to where Bennett was fixing the evening meal. In less than 30 seconds, the yelling started, followed by broken dishes and what sounded like knives slicing the air. A few moments later, Penny came up to Wil looking satisfied with herself.

“Emory and Bennett took a strong dislike to one another, Colonel. I’ve had them both thrown in the brig.”

“Just overnight. We’ll be making our maze run tomorrow and I have to brief them first.”

“As you wish, Colonel.” The sway in her hips taunted him.

“We have our whole team now, Colonel.” Ray said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Not much of a team, is it? If Aurialonus doesn’t kill us, our own team members might!” Wallace interjected.

Adam Krall came in, scratching absently and yawning having awakened from his afternoon nap. “What’d I miss?”

A Little White Lie – Part 11

Wil’s putting the finishing touches on his team. He’s now found the last member of the team and has sent Ray to get her.

Ray walked over to the weapons range with care across the pocked and uneven field. He was looking for Abrams who was a long range weapons instructor. He saw a group of recruits getting their first lesson. Wondering if he’d ever been that young and green, he walked toward them. A fresh faced corporal trotted up and saluted. He looked about twelve, Ray thought.

“May I help you, sir?”

Ray returned the salute, once again enjoying his new rank.

“I’m looking for Sargent Abrams.” The corporal pointed to the tall, athletically built woman who was bellowing at some private for fiddling with his safety before he was told. When she had finished, the corporal approached her, pointed to Ray and spoke quietly. Abrams put the corporal in charge of the class and walked stiffly over to Ray, not bothering to salute.

“This better be important! I’m right in the middle of a class!”

“Sargent Abrams, on behalf of Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, I apologize for the interruption, but it’s a matter of some urgency. I am following his orders.”

“So urgent it can’t wait an additional thirty minutes?”


He resisted the urge to tack ma’am on each sentence since he outranked her, but it was difficult. He brought her quickly up to date with the Aurialonus situation. Abrams hesitated one moment more, then stalked over to her corporal, speaking to him for a few minutes. She walked back over to Ray.

“I’ll get my things.”

Ray followed her to her quarters, walking behind her on purpose. It wasn’t in deference to her, he just liked the view. Damn, that woman could strut! He stayed behind her all the way to the shuttle, giving her a hand up.

“Lieutenant Schmidt?”

“Yes, Sargent?”

“May I ask you something?”


“Is there some reason you’ve been staring at my ass for the last thirty-three minutes?”

He chuckled, trying to think of a plausible excuse. None came to mind. Had to bullshit his way out as usual. “Well, Sargent, I’m a country boy and was raised to appreciate the beauty of nature.”

“What’s that got to do with my ass?” She cocked her head to one side, eyeing him critically.

He held his hands out about the width of her rear, cupping his palms. “Well now, what’s more natural than a man watching an attractive woman? By damn, Sargent, your ass is thing of beauty!”

Abrams sat quietly a moment, then she started to laugh. “Schmidt, that’s the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever heard!”

“Yes, ma’am, it sure is. But it don’t make it not true.”

She gazed at him, eyes moving up and down his body as if cataloging every inch. “I think I’m going to like you, Schmidt.”

He smiled his most winning, charming smile—the one women melted over. “I certainly hope so, Ma’am.” He saluted her teasingly. “Call me Ray.”
* * *

Aurialonus made demands again, gesticulating wildly, roaring in anger. Mediators tried to clarify his stipulations, but no one could figure out what he wanted. Time was running out.

The team was as ready as it could be, given the fact their monkey, Emory, had yet to join them. Penny was briefed on his part and had put in long hours with simulation climbs, but nothing compared to the real thing.

“What if he doesn’t show?” Ben asked Wil worriedly.

“Then we use Penny. Won’t have any choice.”

A commotion in the adjoining room erupted suddenly and Wil heard Ray’s distinctive bellow. Rushing through the doorway, Ben and Wil saw the men surrounding another man he didn’t know.

The man was just over five feet tall, slightly built and wiry. His dark hair was close cropped and his bright blue eyes were hooded like a snake’s. They flickered from one man to another, sizing them up. He didn’t look afraid, just extremely alert as if he were on synthstims.

“What goes on here?” Wil roared from the doorway.

The men surrounding the smaller one moved apart allowing him to pass. Wallace tried to punch him, but Lance restrained him, catching his fist in a vice-like grip.

Setting down his duffel, the little man adjusted his uniform. “Emory reporting for duty, Colonel.” Shuffling his feet, he glanced up at Wil who towered over him by about two feet.

“No rank or salute for a superior officer?” Ben growled.

Emory’s eyes flickered over toward Ben, complete loathing simmered there. Wil’s gaze lingered on Emory, gauging him. There was something Wil couldn’t place. It caused disquietude.

“Corporal Emory reporting, sir!” He snapped a short, saucy salute with a glare at them all. None of the officers returned his salute and he did not look as if he expected them to.

A Little White Lie – part 10

Wil’s assembling his team. What might seem like rejects and misfits to some commanders, well, they seem right up Wil’s alley. The big question is, once they come together, can they work as a team? Things could be pretty interesting…..

Walter Bennett was in the brig again. How many times was it now? He’d forgotten and he didn’t much care. Same charge as before: Insubordination and failure to follow orders.

He knew the guards by name and had beaten them all so often at poker, they refused to play him anymore. He was reading on his bunk when one of the guards came to the cell door.

“Hey, Walt! Someone here to see you!”

“So? Tell him to go the hell away, I’m busy.”

“Not a he, it’s a she and well worth looking at. But if you want me to tell her to go….”

“A woman?” Walter’s eyes brightened.

“Yeah, man. Cute little redhead, sweet tits, tight ass. You want I should tell her to go?”

“Hell no!” He smoothed his tousled dark blond hair, his green eyes sparkling with interest. “Show me,” he demanded, following the guard to an interview room.

He was ushered into the room and the guard left, locking the door behind him. The woman stood gazing out the barred window, wistful expression on her pretty face. She was a knockout! About five foot six, compact build, nice rack and an ass so tight he could bounce a quarter off it! Clearing his throat, he saluted as she turned around.

“Corporal Bennett reporting as ordered, Ma’am.”

“Corporal?” She checked a computer file on the table. “Says here your last offense got you busted to Private again.”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, reaching in his pocket for a smoke. “Forgot about that.” He pulled a chair out, flopped into it and tipped back.

Penny eyed him with curiosity. “Where in the regs does it say you act like that in the presence of an officer?”

“Sorry, the guys are kinda casual around here.” He rose again. “Please, have a seat, Ma’am.” He clicked his heels together and bowed as she took her seat across from him.

“You can sit,” Penny said as she scanned the file screens.

Bennett sat carefully, not as causally as before. He leaned over the table, hands folded, trying to see what was on the screen.

“Quite a checkered career, Private.”

Bennett snorted rudely, then caught her look of reprimand. Clearing his throat, he formed a more appropriate reply. “Yes, Ma’am. Seems I have a little problem with authority.”

“That before or after they gave you the juice?”

He looked genuinely puzzled. “Juice, Master Sargent?”

Penny rolled her eyes. “The ‘bug’ juice,” she gestured vaguely, drawing his attention to the electronic surveillance.

Taking her meaning, he inclined his head slightly. “That would be somewhat before, but the juice exacerbated the problem.”

“You’re being given a chance to atone for past misdeeds, Bennett. You’re needed for a special mission.”

“I’m getting out? Hot damn! Want to go for a drink? I’m buying!”

“Wait a second, Marine. Nothing in this life is free. You have to earn your freedom.”

“Can’t just let me out cause of my good looks?”

She chuckled at the fleeting thought that Bennett looked like a baboon.

“Not bloody likely. Your talents, such as they are,” she grimaced, “are needed on a mission. I have your orders. Pack it up, Marine.”

“You bet!” He hopped around the table, reaching for her to kiss her when he found himself flat on his back with her heel in his armpit and his hand in a very painful Aikido hold.

“Touch me again, squid, and I’ll take your arm off.”

He stood with difficulty, and was too flustered to salute as he left the room. Penny contacted Wil on her secure comlink by which he had been monitoring the interview.

“What do you think, Penny? Useable?”

“I may have to break his arm before I get him back there, but he’ll do.”

“Excellent! Got another special assignment for you when you get back.”

“Oh, another armed escort?”

“No, ma’am, this one is of a more personal nature. VanLipsig out.”

Penny smiled secretively as she walked briskly out to collect Bennett.

Back on Greyling’s ship, Wil allowed himself a small, contented smile. Things were coming together. They still had several days before the lunatic started to kill the royal family and he had finally found a woman who understood him. He had a fleeting feeling of doubt. Life was too good, what was going to go horribly wrong?