Steve played with his meatloaf and mashed potato gravy dam. Someone rapped on the door.
Oak stuck his head in. "How're you doing? I brought by a gentleman who'd like to meet you. This a good time?"
Yeah, like I've got a choice.
"Yes, sir, I've just finished dinner."
Walking in behind Oak and Major Hawthorne was a distinguished-looking officer in an immaculate uniform with some sort of stripes on the shoulder and at least five rows of medals. He walked directly to Steve, looked him over, and said, "So, you're the young lad who single-handedly decommissioned a fireteam of the Queen's finest warriors?" He extended his right hand. "Please pardon my manners, my name is Bob Bradford."
Impressed, Steve shook the man's hand. Actually, he was impressed by anyone of high rank that left out their rank when introducing themselves. "Nice to meet you, sir, and I'm terribly sorry about what happened."
The general rolled Steve's dinner cart a few feet away, patted the side of the bed to make sure Steve didn't have something under the sheets, and sat down. His face softened, and he said in a quiet voice, "Why don't you tell me all about it, and don't worry, we don't plan on flogging you or punishing you in any way. I just want to know from you exactly what transpired. Please start from the beginning, especially how you got there to start with."
Between Oak, Dorothy, and the general, Steve was completely off balance. These people looked better than movie stars and didn't follow any rehearsed scripts. Everything they said was impromptu and made perfect sense.
After Steve gave General Bradford his version of what happened, the general whistled softly. "I just can't imagine how you managed to kill two and incapacitate another of our most experienced commandos in such a short period of time."
General Bradford looked at Oak, with his swollen, black eye and sutures in his eyebrows. He sighed and added, "And look at this very large and dangerous fellow. How could one boy inflict such catastrophic injuries?"
"I was very busy, sir, but I'm sorry I can't remember all the details."
"It appears that you're not the only one with memory problems," said General Bradford. He stood up and gently shook Steve's hand.
Steve couldn't believe the general was leaving so soon. He expected to be grilled for hours, maybe even tortured.
General Bradford straightened out his uniform jacket. "I guess that will have to do. Have to catch a plane soon, otherwise I'd like to stay and chat. Thank you for your time and candid explanation."
His adjutant opened the door for the general. Halfway through the doorway he turned and said to Steve, "In the future, if you happen to run across any more of our commandos, would you please take it easier on them? Our Queen may have a need for them." With that, he saluted Steve smartly, wheeled on his heel, and disappeared into the corridor.
Flabbergasted, Steve caught Oak smiling. "Can I join his army?"
Oak laughed. "It's the Royal Marines, and no, you can't; you're an American citizen. Besides, you're already spoken for."
Major Hawthorne laughed and said to Oak, "Don't be so sure. That general can move the moon." He walked over to Steve with an extended hand. "Well, you certainly taught me a lesson that I'll never forget. Take care. Hopefully next time we meet will be under more pleasant circumstances."
After Major Hawthorne and Oak left, Steve stared at the closed door.
Already spoken for?