Saturday, May 17, 2014

WIP: Chapter 4 of 'Dragonslayer'


     As Lee Kennedy and Alison Chambers entered the office, Morgan introduced them briefly to Carlton Raine. The three exchanged perfunctory handshakes, and Raine strode purposefully away.
     “Who is he?” Kennedy asked.
     Morgan explained his relationship with Raine and his new assignment.
     “He certainly looks like someone who can take care of himself,” Chambers said.
     “You don’t know the half of it,” Morgan said, chuckling. “Remind me to tell you about it someday.” He motioned them to chairs. “For now, though, I have an important issue to discuss with the two of you.”
     He settled himself behind the desk, forming a steeple with his fingers and resting his chin on the points of his stiffened digits.
     “You sound serious,” Kennedy said. “There’s no problem is there?”
     Morgan laughed again. “No, no problem. But, I am serious, though. I’m going to make the two of you a proposal – a request, really – and, I want you to give it some very serious thought before you make up your minds.”
     They looked at each other, their brows furrowed and confusion in their expressions.
     “Okay, already,” Chambers said. “You have our attention. What’s this mysterious proposal?”
     “Well, you – especially you Alison – know that Naganda is a country in turmoil. I was just told this morning that the current DCM is curtailing, so there’ll be a wholesale change in post leadership. I’m going to have my hands full getting things under control, so I’ll need people I can trust, and people with a proven track record of accomplishment to help me do it.”
     “So, you want our help in picking people for your staff?” Kennedy asked.
     “Not exactly,” Morgan said. “What I want is for the two of you to be part of my staff.”
     Their mouths gaped open. They locked gazes again.
     “Uh, well, I can see Lee here being your RSO,” Chambers said. “But, I’m not Foreign Service. There are no jobs in an embassy for me.”
     “Besides,” Kennedy added. “We just got married, and as much as I’d love working for you, I’m not sure I want to be separated from Alison so early in our relationship.”
     She laid a hand on his arm, smiling lovingly at him. “You wouldn’t be separated. I can take leave without pay.” She turned to Morgan. “It would be a two year tour for him, right?”
     Morgan nodded. “Yes, unless I could talk him into extending a year, so I’d have him for my entire tour.”
     “I don’t want you to have to put your career on hold for me,” Kennedy said with an insistent tone in his voice.
     “But, Lee, darling, I -”
     “She wouldn’t have to put her career on hold,” Morgan interrupted. “In addition to needing a reliable security officer, I’m going to need someone I can turn to for political advice. I’ve been told that I can hire spouses for jobs in the embassy, and since you already have top security clearance, I think I could hire you as my special advisor.”
     “It sounds intriguing,” she said. “But, what about Rachel? There is no high school for diplomatic kids in Naganda.”
     Morgan had thought about that, and he’d done his homework.
     “You might consider enrolling her in one of the international schools in Europe,” he said. “They offer excellent education, and I think she’d love it. I’ve heard of the Ecole Internationale in Geneva. It’s a top school. She’d get a great preparation for college.”
     Kennedy smiled and bobbed his head up and down. “And, my Rachel, sixteen going on thirty, would love it, I’m pretty sure of that. Of course, I do need to discuss it with her first.”
     “Of course,” Morgan said. “Take a few days to mull it over, and get back to me.”
     Kennedy turned to Alison. “You really want to do this, don’t you?”
     “Of course I do, but we have to think about what’s best for Rachel as well.”
     “I am thinking about that,” he said. “But, I tell you, she’ll love it – she really will.”
     “You want to do it, too, don’t you?”
     “You bet your ass I do. I’ve been here in DC too long. I need to get back into the field. Rachel’s a Foreign Service brat, she’s flexible and strong. I just know she’ll agree.”
     “Okay, but do me a favor – ask her first. She’s a young woman now. Treat her like one. If we’re going to do this, we’re doing it as a family.”
     “Yes, ma’am,” he said, smiling. “You’re the boss.”

     “And, don’t you forget it, mister.” She turned to Morgan. “We’ll call you later today after Lee’s had a chance to talk with Rachel.” She winked at Kennedy. “But, I think you just got yourself a new RSO and special advisor.”