Ronin Toad: Redux

Of Sundays, Margaritas, and Paper Stealing Ninjas​

Disclaimer: Same as before…


The Pit, The Chapel
Caitlin Todd and Conrad Hart
24 February 2002, 0840

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Kate began as she and Conrad walked to the small chapel on the Pit.

“Since birth,” Conrad replied, “It was sort of reinforced by my time in the Legion too. After all France is traditionally a Catholic nation.”

Kate nodded in acknowledgement as they approached the Church steps. Conrad opened the door and held it, “After you.”

“You’re too kind,” Kate smiled.

“Dad raised me to be a gentleman after all,” Conrad replied.

“Speaking of Dads,” Kate replied, “What do you think of Roadblock?”

“One Hell of a Dad,” Conrad replied, “Taking Todd under his wing like that. That’s something he needs. Not to mention he balances out Todd’s insane likely father-in-law.”

"Aren't you being a bit premature?" Kate asked.

"Have you seen how the kids look at each other?" Conrad countered.

"Touché," Kate replied, as they neared a pew, "And on that note, you're one to talk about insane, Conrad. Seeing how you’ve gone native.”

Conrad chuckled, “Well, mademoiselle, it is simply the way of the Legion to carry on and adapt to one’s circumstances.”

“Like I said, you’re one to talk,” Kate smiled, and then with a sigh added, “What a crazy week.”

“Agreed, but it seems like this is the place Todd needs, even if it is a bit insane,” Conrad replied.

“That’s the understatement of the year,” Kate laughed lightly, “But Todd seems to be healing here.”

“Though he does need to be kept away from BA’s coffee,” Conrad replied.

“I agree, and definitely think we shouldn’t have drank it when we had to work late Saturday night,” Kate replied.

“It was an all nighter,” Conrad began.

“Still I think we shouldn’t have had a cup of BA’s coffee apiece,” Kate replied, “I couldn’t fall asleep for anything last night. Did you sleep at all?”

“Couldn’t,” Conrad said, “One, we were working late and two, BA’s coffee.”

“That was an act of desperation we should never repeat,” Kate began.

“Agreed, mademoiselle,” Conrad replied with a wry grin.

Mass went on without a hitch, much to Kate’s surprise. An entire hour without some kind of insanity? Is the other shoe about to drop? Around here, I'm going to expect that.

“You seem deep in thought,” Conrad observed after Mass.

“It’s been quiet for over an hour,” Kate replied, “I am really just expecting the other shoe to drop.”

“And speak of the devil,” Conrad quipped as Shipwreck and Quick Kick walked up to them.

“Hey guys,” Shipwreck said, “What are you up to today?”

“Probably going to just get some lunch after Mass,” Kate replied.

“Cool, mind if we join you?” Shipwreck asked, “I know just the place.”

“Where would that be?” Conrad asked.

“Why Margaritaville of course,” Shipwreck replied.

“I’d be down for Coconut Pete’s personally,” Quick Kick began.

“You always are,” Shipwreck replied, “I am banned from that place you know.”

“Burning a restaurant down will do that to you,” Kate quipped.

“Hey!” Shipwreck snapped, “There were extenuating circumstances behind that.”

“Margaritaville sounds good,” Conrad replied.

“It’s doable,” Quick Kick said.

“Sounds good,” Conrad replied.

Ok, maybe the other shoe isn’t about to drop yet, Kate thought to herself as she, Conrad, Shipwreck, and Quick Kick headed to the parking lot.

The Pit, HQ Building Lounge
Roadblock and General Hawk
24 February 2002, 1045

“Todd’s progressing well with his fighting skills, sir,” Roadblock began as he sat with Hawk drinking coffee in the HQ buildings’ small lounge, “He gets faster and stronger every day.”

“Stormshadow is very impressed with the boy’s performance,” Hawk replied in agreement, “Just the other day he told me in passing that the boy can watch a technique and learn in almost instantly by watching.”

Roadblock smiled faintly, before he replied, “His schoolwork has been improving too.”

“I’m sensing there’s a ‘but’ somewhere,” Hawk said as he sipped his coffee.

“Yes sir. It’s his social skills I’m worried about,” Roadblock replied, “He’s not intentionally rude or anything along those lines. He’s clueless when it comes to polite conversation and table manners. And the time he’s spending around Shipwreck’s family doesn’t help matters in that department.”

Hawk nodded, as Roadblock continued, “Not to mention he’s learned quite a few inappropriate songs from the various soldiers around the cafeteria, not to mention some fairly profane French expressions from Agent Hart.”

“Well you could say he’s getting some foreign language training,” Hawk said, “And speaking of Agents Hart and Todd I saw them get into a car with Shipwreck and Quick Kick earlier.”

“Shipwreck told me he and Quick Kick were taking them to lunch at Margaritaville today,” Roadblock said.

“One of the few places where Shipwreck is actually welcome,” Hawk replied, “And that was only because he accidentally set fire to the Coconut Pete’s across the street.”

“Welcome is an understatement, sir,” Roadblock replied, “Shipwreck gets the royal treatment from the staff at Margaritaville just about anywhere he goes thanks to that incident.”

“Well, Shipwreck hasn’t, to date, caused any damage to any Margaritaville restaurant,” Hawk said, “Which has got to be some kind of record.”

In retrospect General Hawk brought the events of 25 February 2002 upon himself. And he did so by uttering a single sentence in that conversation, “Why not have the boy work in my office a couple afternoons a week?”

Roadblock nearly dropped his coffee cup when he asked, “Are you sure?”

“I am sure,” Hawk replied.

“What can he do?” Roadblock asked.

“Simple things that almost anyone can do, like filing and stapling,” Hawk replied, “I could use all the help I can get.”

“It’s not that I don’t like what you said,” Roadblock said as he set his empty coffee cup down, “But what about Beach Head?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll personally watch the boy,” Hawk assured him. “I think it would be good for the boy. It would teach him about protocol and give me a chance to get to know him a little. I pride myself on knowing things about everyone on this base. This sounds like a great opportunity.”

“Well, let me think about it, sir,” Roadblock said, “I do have to go pick up the kid. Thanks for the offer.”


Margaritaville Restaurant
Shipwreck, Quick Kick, Conrad, Kate
24 February 2002, 1149

“Hey, Shipwreck’s here!” shouted the host as Shipwreck, Quick Kick, Conrad and Kate walked into the restaurant’s front waiting area.

“Right this way please,” the host said, “And would you like your usual table?”

“That’ll work just fine,” Shipwreck said.

"They're really rolling out the red carpet for you here, Shipwreck," Kate observed.

"No surprise, profits for this place jumped up after Shipwreck burned down the Coconut Pete's across the street," Quick Kick commented.

"So tell me, Shipwreck, is there an establishment where you haven't caused some sort of property damage?" Kate asked.

"Margaritaville," Shipwreck said as he made an order.

"Why does that not surprise me," Kate replied as she made her order.

Provided nothing crazy happens at lunchtime maybe I can give Tim a call,
Kate thought to herself.

“This place isn’t bad,” Quick Kick said, “It’s no Coconut Pete’s but it’s not bad.”

“What are you having?” Kate asked Conrad.

“The Cheeseburger in Paradise, of course,” Conrad replied, “A classic for Margaritaville and incidentally a damned good song.”

“Which you were singing along to last night,” Kate commented, “A change from your French Foreign Legion songs, or Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.”

"Well I'm not the only one who occasionally breaks into song in the shower," Conrad commented.

Quick Kick smirked, “So how do you guys know about the whole ‘singing in the shower thing’?”

“Quick Kick, it’s not what it sounds like!” Kate snapped.

Conrad chuckled before Kate fixed him with a glare, “How is that funny?”

“Well, I have to admit, mademoiselle we did walk into that particular joke,” Conrad replied.

“Especially around anyone like Shipwreck,” Kate conceded.

“So is there something going on between you two?” Shipwreck asked.

“No!” Both Kate and Conrad replied simultaneously.

Note to self, Quick Kick thought, Talk to Snow Job, Ace, and Shipwreck and start a betting pool about Agent Hart and Agent Todd. The way those two go on with each other...

The Pit, Delgato Residence
Shipwreck, Todd, Kate, Conrad, Roadblock, and Claudius
24 February 2002, 1315

Conrad and Kate had met up with Roadblock at the front door of Shipwreck’s house shortly after the lunch at Margaritaville.

Upon entering the house the sound of a baby giggling could be heard and as they walked into the kitchen they saw a total mess. There was applesauce splattered everywhere as Todd flung spoonfuls of it at Claudius who was sitting in his high chair.

“What are you doing?” Roadblock demanded.

“He started it,” Todd replied.

“You started a food fight with a toddler?” Kate added.

Claudius gurgled happily.

“He threw applesauce at me first, so I figured…” Todd began.

“I get the picture,” Roadblock sighed.

“I don’t see why you’re fussing about it,” Shipwreck said, “That’s usually more food than he gets in his mouth. I think the kid may be onto something.”

“Food!” Claudius gurgled.

Todd threw a bit more applesauce at him and Claudius relished it, licking it off his flippers and face.

“Oh Lord…” Roadblock grumbled.


Great, now I’ve got a huge blob of applesauce in my hair,
Kate thought to herself as Roadblock coaxed Todd outside and back to the car.


Agent Todd,

Just to let you know I will be at the Pit on Wednesday. I’ll be accompanying an inspection with Generals Flagg, Whithalf, and Bragg. I will be very interested to hear some of your latest accounts on the Tolansky boy’s progress.

Agent Baer

The Pit, HQ Building Lounge
Roadblock, Kate, Conrad, and Lifeline
25 February 2002, 1400

“Well,” Roadblock said, as he poured himself some coffee, “I dropped the kid off at General Hawk’s office.”

“Uh-oh,” Conrad replied.

“Why uh oh?” Kate interjected, sipping her own coffee.

“I, mademoiselle, have a sense of some sort of impending doom in the immediate future,” Conrad replied.

“I agree with Agent Hart,” Lifeline began, “And are you sure that putting Todd with General Hawk was a good idea? He might cause more trouble.”

“I think Hawk can handle Toad,” Roadblock said as he took a sip of coffee.

“I was talking about General Hawk!” Lifeline observed.

“Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?” Kate asked.

“Not really, you should see how he has to be nagged into doing paperwork. He might not necessarily be a good influence on Toad in that department,” Lifeline countered.

“I wouldn’t worry,” Roadblock said, “General Hawk is a responsible adult. He knows how to set a good example.”


The Pit, Headquarters Building
General Hawk and Todd Tolansky
25 February 2002, 1415

“Well, that’s very impressive soldier,” General Hawk blinked, “Very impressive.”

Not even a minute ago Todd had licked three envelopes simultaneously. Hawk held up the envelope, noticing that it was dripping with slime.

“Uhm, I have a better idea,” Hawk said, “How good are you at stapling…”

Another ten minutes passed, and the end of that length of time would see General Hawk pretending one of his spring loaded pens was a rocket.

“I hate paperwork. I’d rather be blowing something up,” Hawk grumbled, “Huh? Toad!”

“What?” Toad said, sitting bolt upright and looking guilty. On his desk was a requisition form he had folded into a paper airplane.

Hawk stood up at his desk and walked over to him.

“Give me that,” Hawk commanded, and Todd handed the paper airplane over to him.

“That’s completely wrong. First off it’s the folding that’s all messed up. You’re supposed to fold it like this,” Hawk began, taking the airplane and unfolding it only to refold it into a more aerodynamic shape.

“See? That’s how you make a paper airplane,” Hawk replied, “Now get me another requisition form.”

Todd complied and Hawk folded the form into yet another type of paper airplane.

“Wow! I’ve never seen that kind of paper airplane before,” Todd exclaimed, eyes wide.

“This is what I call the B-29 Bomber,” Hawk commented after throwing the paper airplane. It did several loop-de-loops.

“My own invention, and the best airplane by far,” Hawk continued.

“I wanna make one, sir!” Todd whooped loudly.


Meanwhile in the lounge:

“Maybe we should check on them?” Lifeline offered.

“Nah,” Roadblock said, “First of all I’m enjoying the peace and quiet. Besides it’s not like they’re gonna cause a riot.”

Conrad, meanwhile, was tucked into his book Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey. He glanced up to see Kate making a couple notes on her PDA before tucking it back into her backpack.

Conrad tucked his index finger into the page of his book before reading into his own backpack and bringing out the hardcover book. Kate recognized it as the hardcover copy of Dr. Alan Grant’s adventures on Isla Sorna.

“I finished it last night, so I figured you’d enjoy this one,” Conrad offered.

“Thanks,” Kate replied, “But don’t bet on me finding the satellite phone in the Spinosaurus poop incident funny the way you do.”

“I admit it was a rather crappy thing for me to laugh at,” Conrad deadpanned.

“Somebody did say puns are the lowest form of humor,” Kate replied as she took the book.

"But they do make people laugh," Conrad countered.

"I see your point," Kate replied, before looking at her watch, “Things are awfully quiet right now.”

“Calm before the storm, in all likelihood, mademoiselle.


In Hawk’s Office:

“This is Bomber One to Bomber Two,” Hawk said as he made airplane noises, a paper airplane in one hand, “Come in Bomber Two.”

“Roger Bomber One,” Todd acknowledged as he flew his own paper airplane below and slightly behind Hawk’s.

“This is Bomber Two,” Todd continued, “Target in sight! Diving in for attack run!”

“Roger Bomber Two, you’re covered!” Hawk replied.

“Annnnd bombs away!” Todd shouted, scattering paper everywhere, “KAPOW! BOOM!”

“Direct hit!” Hawk said, “Yee-ha! We got ‘em!” Hawk scattered more papers as well.


Back in the Lounge:

“It’s been over an hour,” Kate commented as she looked at her watch again.

“Yes, so peaceful, isn’t it?” Roadblock said with a smile.

“I have a feeling the other shoe is about to drop,” Conrad replied.

“Honestly, I’m starting to agree with Conrad,” Lifeline said.

“Is it really so impossible to have over an hour of peace and quiet around here?” Kate asked with a quizzical look.

How long have you been on the Pit?” Lifeline asked.

“Maybe the peace and quiet is good for Todd,” Kate replied as she put her now empty coffee mug into the sink and rinsed it off.

“He is getting a lot of good lessons here,” Conrad nodded in agreement.

“Like how to work on a team,” Roadblock said, “Hawk can definitely teach him that.”

“No argument here,” Lifeline said, “But maybe we should go check on them just in case?”

“Not a bad idea. I do need to let Hawk know about an email I got from Agent Baer,” Kate replied.


Back at the Office:

“Look at the picture I drew,” Todd said, holding up a drawing of an airplane bombing Mystique’s car.

“That’s nothing,” Hawk said, holding up a paper crane, “Origami.”

“Cool!” Todd said in admiration, before taking a crumpled up ball of paper and tossing it into the wastebasket.

“From downtown!” Todd shouted.

“Not bad, soldier,” Hawk said with a grin, “Now let’s see how you do with competition.”


Ten minutes later:

“It’s mine! All mine! HAA!” Hawk crooned as he ducked and weaved around Todd, sinking another crumpled form into the wastebasket from nearly halfway across the room.

“Ten points!” Hawk shouted, “And the crowd goes wild!”

“YAAAAYYYY!” Todd shouted.


Todd’s shout echoed loudly down the hall as Conrad, Kate, Roadblock and Lifeline headed for Hawk’s office.

“Told you,” Conrad replied before throwing open the door without any preamble.

“WHAT’S GOING ON IN HERE!?” Roadblock bellowed.

Hawk and Todd were dancing around like they were playing some demented game of ring around the rosy. The office was covered with paperwork strewn haphazardly around the room.

“What happened? Who made this mess?” Lifeline asked.

“Ninjas!” Todd piped up.

“Yes!” Hawk added, “Cobra Ninjas! They snuck into here and started destroying files!”

“There were so many of them!” Todd said, “They wanted to steal all the papers!”

Then Todd started doing karate chop movements and kicks saying, “They went KWAH! and Hi-YAHHH!!!”

“They were all over the place!” Hawk continued, “We tried to stop them, but there were too many of them.”

“There were five of them! KWAH!” Todd cried out.

“Ten of them!” Hawk continued, “They threw paper all over the place!”

“They wrecked the place! But we were able to chase them off!” Todd added.

“We were lucky to get away with our lives!” Hawk added.

“Uh-huh,” Roadblock said with a withering glare.

“They’re not buying this, are they?” Todd asked Hawk.

“No they’re not,” Hawk said with a sigh.

“Todd,” Roadblock said, with a glare.

“Y-yes,” Todd replied, shrinking under the glare.

“What did I tell you about making up wild stories?” Roadblock asked.

“Uhm, that they should have good endings?” Todd replied weakly.

Conrad chuckled only for Roadblock to fix the ex-Legionnaire with a glare.

“That’s what Shipwreck told you,” Roadblock snapped. “I told you it’s wrong to tell lies.”

“I’m gonna be on kitchen duty tomorrow, ain’t I?” Todd replied.

“Oh yeah,” Roadblock replied.

“Well Toad that’s what you get for making up stories,” Hawk whistled.

“Begging your pardon, sir,” Lifeline said with his arms folded across his chest, “But the boy had an accomplice in all this…”

“Well, uhm,” Hawk fidgeted, “You do have a point…”

Now that’s something you don’t see every day,
Kate thought to herself. Tim’s probably going to think I belong in the mental institution after I tell him about this.

“I mean I am the adult in charge and it was my responsibility and all that. I should have stopped this from the beginning and...and...uhm…” Hawk continued.

“AND?” Roadblock and Lifeline replied, with Todd adding a big and wide eyed gaze at him.

“And I have to face the consequences for my actions like any other soldier…” Hawk replied.

The Pit, The Mess Hall
Hawk, Toad, BA, Conrad, Kate, and Shipwreck
26 February 2002, 0755

“I thought I’d seen it all,” BA began, “But this beats everything.”

“That is a sight you don’t see every day,” Shipwreck said, “And that’s why I’m getting it all on tape.”

He held up a camcorder as he spoke. Scrubbing pots and pans were none other than Todd Tolansky and General Hawk, the latter wearing a hairnet as he did so.

“The things I do for my men…” Hawk grumbled.

Conrad set his tray onto the conveyor belt as he and Kate stepped out of the Mess Hall.

“I never thought I’d see something like this anytime in my life,” Conrad commented.

“Neither did I and…” Kate replied as she heard the sound of her phone ringing.

As they stepped outside, Kate said, “I’ll catch up, I have to take this.”

“Alright,” Conrad replied, “I’ll see you back at the apartment.”

Kate picked up the phone, smiling as she saw Tim’s name and number on the phone’s tiny display.

“Hey you,” she beamed, “I love you too.”

She listened to Tim for a moment, “Nothing I emailed you last night was made up. Thanks for telling me Baer’s on the way and he’ll be there tomorrow. I miss you.”

Kate sighed softly, “Yeah, I wish you were going on the trip too.”

She listened again, blushing, “Okay, but I think we’d really have to be sneaky to pull something like that off.”

She closed her eyes, smiling with her blush deepening, “I’ll definitely appreciate our Delayed Valentine’s Day that much more, then.”

With a wistful sigh, Kate added, “I love you.”

Hanging up her phone Kate headed off to catch up with Conrad.


To Be Continued...
Color #
It just gets better and better...I was going to bet that maybe Conrad and Kate might end up together. But, now, I'd be very surprised if that happened. And I'm glad that Todd is doing so well, too. :)
Color #
Well..they're working very closely together...and even though neither of them has done anything improper..they obviously like each other...and have many moments where you can see they have "chemistry" with one another. Although I don't think it seems like she will cheat on Tim (Agent Baer ) eiher.
@Julie Justice, any favorites among said moments of chemistry?

Major Tim Kerry and Agent William Baer are two totally different characters. major Kerry is who Kate is having the secret relationship with and Baer is Kate's immediate superior with the Secret Service.
We Three Generals, Part One​

Disclaimer: Same as before. The character of Rachel ‘Rachet’ Phillips is a product of my good friend Deric Storm’s imagination (his penname is NoLeafClover).

Red Witch is the creator of Major General Bragg and General Whithalf. Lieutenant General Flagg is a G.I. Joe canon character who appeared in early comic and cartoon incarnations of G.I. Joe.


The Pit, Officer’s Quarters
Kate Todd and Conrad Hart
27 February 2002, 0715

Combien sont tombés au hasard d’un clair matin. De nos camarades qui souriaient au destin.
Nous tomberons en route, nous tomberons ou vaincrons au combat. Foulant la boue sombre, vont les képis blancs

The somber tone had caught Kate’s attention as she walked past the ajar door of Conrad’s bedroom to let him know breakfast was ready.

Kate knocked on the doorframe and Conrad stopped singing and headed for the door.

“Sorry to interrupt your one man concert, but breakfast is ready,” Kate replied.

“Thank you,” Conrad replied as he followed her back to their kitchen and dining room in the small apartment.

“You’re welcome,” Kate said with a small smile, “Personally I’m grateful that the fire department sirens woke us up earlier to tell us about BA’s latest experiment in breakfast cooking going up in smoke.”

“And not an insignificant amount of flame too,” Conrad countered as he headed for the coffee maker and poured himself and Kate a cup of coffee apiece.

“What was that song you were singing?” Kate asked, as Conrad set the cups of coffee onto the breakfast table.

Kepi Blanc. It’s yet another Legion tune,” Conrad replied.

Kate raised an eyebrow, “I know a kepi is some kind of hat and blanc means white.”

“You’re right,” Conrad replied, “The kepi blanc is the white cap worn on formal parades by the Legion.”

I’m gonna be a walking expert on the French Foreign Legion after hanging around this guy, Kate thought to herself.

“It’s like an icon for the Legion?” Kate replied.

“Very much so,” Conrad replied, “You can see that in refrain of the song which translates roughly as, ‘Pacing the sombre mud, go the White Kepis’.”

“How does the rest of that verse you sang translate?” Kate asked.

Conrad replied, “How many have fallen at random on a bright morning? Of our comrades who laughed at fate. We too will fall by the wayside, we will fall or conquer in battle. Pacing the sombre mud, go the White Kepis.”

“Sounds kind of grim when you look at it,” Kate replied with a slight shudder. She could hear the slight tremble in Conrad’s voice as he translated the words.”

“Most Legion songs tend to be,” Conrad replied, the tremble in his voice gone, “In fact as we were learning the songs we noticed the common theme of defeat and death running through them, denoting the losses suffered by the Legion in war.”

“As well as France’s dismal fighting record since the days of Napoleon,” Kate replied, taking a quick glance at her PDA to remind herself of when Agent Baer and his part were supposed to turn up..

“This is true,” Conrad replied, taking a sip of his own coffee, “But it was more France’s political establishment that lost those wars, their military is still quite formidable.”

“Why do men stay in a force like the Legion?” Kate asked, “Especially knowing its history?”

“Because the Legion takes care of its own,” Conrad replied, “Even after one’s service. There is a town called Puyloubier where the Legion maintains a retirement home for ex-Legionnaires. A Legionnaire needn’t return to a world that rejected him in the first place.”

“What do they do there? Just live out their lives until the clock runs out?” Kate asked.

“They’re not entirely idle,” Conrad replied, reaching into a pocket.

Kate saw Conrad lay a badge onto the table, it was made of silver, and it sported a seven flamed grenade with the number 6 in the center of the device.

“The symbol of the 6th Foreign Engineer Regiment,” Conrad replied, “My former unit. Made by an ancien.”

Ancien?” Kate asked, quirking an eyebrow.

“Veterans of the Legion,” Conrad replied, “referred to as Les Anciens.”

“Oh,” Kate replied, laying her PDA aside to give Conrad her full attention.

“I remember being sent on a detail there near the end of my service. I spoke to several veterans of Algeria, Indochina, and even World War II. Many of them were wounded in long forgotten battles, some of them amputees, who could only get around on prosthetic limbs or wheelchairs. The Legion still took pains to care for them.”

“Looks like in this case they honor that saying ‘French by spilled blood’,” Kate replied, and sipped at her coffee, “So would you call on Puyloubier’s services?”

“If I did find myself destitute, yes. But I’ve decided to take a chance in the world again,” Conrad replied.

Kate reached over for her bagel as she said, “I hope it works out for you.”

“Thank you, mademoiselle,” Conrad replied, after taking a bite of his own bagel, and returning the warmth of Kate’s smile.

I still wonder why he chose to join the Legion in the first place, Kate thought to herself. If nothing else I’m sure more indirect questions can get that answer from him. I wonder why do I care, though?

Kate glanced at her watch, to break the silence, “Looks like Baer, your boss, and the three generals will be boarding the plane soon.”

“Nothing like a visit from one’s boss,” Conrad quipped.

“Let’s just hope BA doesn’t give them a massive case of indigestion from his cooking,” Kate replied.

“Or a heart attack if a recipe comes to life. Literally,” Conrad said.

Kate laughed, “That too.”

Dulles International Airport
Washington D.C.
Agent William Baer and Agent Rachel Phillips
27 February 2002, 1230

“You must be Agent Phillips,” Agent William Baer began as he sat beside the slim bodied brunette.

“We’ve met before,” Rachel Phillips replied coolly as she set down the copy of Popular Mechanics she had been reading, “At the seminar on Law Enforcement cooperation?”

“Yes, earlier this month,” Baer confirmed, "Your Agent Hart was there too."

"Yes, he was," Rachel replied, setting her magazine down.

"He's working with one of my agents, Kate Todd," Baer replied.

“I remember,” Rachel replied, “She definitely seemed like a solid agent.”

“She is, though I’ve been getting some weird reports from her lately,” Baer said.

“So have I,” Rachel replied, putting her copy of Popular Mechanics next to her backpack.

“Out of curiousity what kinds of reports have you been receiving?” Baer asked.

“Well Conrad did send something about a joyride in a tank,” Rachel replied.

“Kate sent a similar report,” Baer replied, “But honestly that was tame compared to the some of her more recent things.”

“He mentioned something about a gingerbread scorpion,” Rachel offered, and at Baer’s sidelong glance her way she added, “Of course I asked questions.”

“This more recent story Kate sent me was about some coffee that their chef, BA, makes was something else,” Baer replied.

“Conrad’s report told me that the coffee evidently drove an anaconda crazy with one drop,” Rachel replied, before noticing Baer turning his head.

She followed his gaze to find three men, all in civilian clothing heading their way. Baer pointed out the tallest of the three, his jet black hair neatly combed and flecked with gray, “That’s Major General Flagg, of the three he’s the one most familiar with G.I. Joe, being the head of the Pentagon’s Special Projects Directorate.”

“Major General?” Rachel said, “I’m not that familiar with military ranks. I know there are one, two, three and four star generals and that five star generals only existed in World War 2.”

“Just remember the phrase, ‘be my little general’ for Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, and General,” Baer replied with a grin.

“So Flagg is a three star, got it.”

“Lieutenant General Bragg is from the Pentagon’s Office of Sciences,” Baer replied, indicating the stocky barrel chested fellow with a half crown of blond hair.

That guy doesn’t look like a scientist, Rachel thought to herself after Baer pointed him out.

Baer then indicated a fellow with graying black hair, who resembled a stand-in for Mr. Rogers talking animatedly with the barista behind a small coffee kiosk.

“That’s General Roger Whithalf,” Baer supplied, “He’s said to be the most eccentric individual in the Pentagon.”

After Whithalf had gotten his coffee, he joined Bragg and Flagg as the approached Baer and Rachel. And not a moment too soon, as the boarding call for their flight came over the PA system.

As they boarded the aircraft Rachel thought, first class, these guys sure travel in style.

She hung back, and notice Baer did so as well, waiting to see that the three generals had taken their seats.

Definitely fits Baer's Secret Service background, making sure the VIPs have their seats and then taking his own. Rachel thought.

Presently Rachel and Baer had gotten their seats, right beside each other. As the plane took of Baer turned towards Rachel and asked, “So have you received reports about Shipwreck as well?”

“Several,” Rachel replied, “To include his family.”

“Kate seems to think, despite their lack of sanity at times, that they’re a good influence on Tolansky.”

“Conrad agrees as well, though I am gonna ask him about the whipped cream fight,” Rachel said.

“What whipped cream fight?”

“It’s gonna be a long story,” Rachel warned as she reached over for her CD player, headphones and her copy of Popular Mechanics.

“It is a long flight,” Baer countered.

“In that case then…” Rachel began, with a sigh.


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