The Journal: Raging Tide: (The Journal Book 4)
window.
    “ID, please,” the young man said. Jim pulled
his ID from the visor and handed it over.
    The guard saluted, and said, “Welcome back
to Sawyer, Colonel Andrews!” He looked into the Hummer at me. “I’m
sorry, sir, orders are no more civilians are allowed on base.”
    Jim’s gaze became very stony. “Lieutenant
Smeth is not a civilian, Sergeant. What she is is out of uniform,
and we’re here in part to rectify that.”
    Me a lieutenant? I wish Jim had warned me,
though I could play along if I had to.
    The sergeant went silent for a moment. “My
orders—”
    “Do your orders include questioning a senior
officer? Open this gate, Sergeant,” Jim snapped testily.
    “Yes sir!” The gate lifted.
    Once Jim had parked the Humvee, he turned to
me and said, “I’m sorry about that, Allex. I’ve been wondering if
we were going to meet some resistance, now I know. As far as we are
concerned, you’re now a first lieutenant, under my command. I had
to rank you over that guard, and over ninety percent of the
soldiers here for your own protection. How familiar are you with
ranks in the military?”
    “Not very.”
    “Okay. Basically, a captain, a major, a
general and a colonel outrank you. It sounds like a lot, however
there aren’t that many high ranking officers here. They have to
salute me, so if I salute back, you salute them, okay? I’ll try to
mention their rank at this time. And if in doubt about what to call
someone, Sir or Ma’am will suffice. First thing on the agenda is to
get you some military duds,” Jim said as he started to get out.
“Oh, lose the shoulder holster, Allex. Military doesn’t wear them.
I have an extra Beretta that will fit on your belt.”
    I slipped off my jacket, and then removed
the holster. “I’ll have you know I feel half naked without this,” I
said as I wrapped the straps around the Kel-Tec and shoved it under
the seat.
    “You can put it back on when we clear
everything military. Until then, you need to act like Army.” He
handed me a leather holster and I threaded it on my belt.
    When we entered what used to be the airport
terminal, I noticed how much it had changed, even from just a year
ago when I came here to pick up Eric and Emilee. There was a great
deal of activity everywhere. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and
hoped I could keep my cover.
    “Colonel Andrews!” someone called out. Jim
stopped and turned toward the deep male voice.
    “Steve! How’s my favorite major?” Jim
returned the salute. I came to a moderate attention and saluted the
major. He returned my salute with a question in his eyes directed
at the Colonel. “Major Steven Kopley, I’d like you to meet First
Lieutenant Allex Smeth. Allex has been my right hand these past few
months. We’re here to re-outfit her. She lost everything in the
Marquette fires.”
    “Welcome to Sawyer, Lt. Smeth. Where did you
transfer out of?” the Major asked with a genuine smile.
    I smiled back, stalling for time.
    “Selfridge, Sir,” I replied, dredging up
some distant memories.
    “Selfridge is an Air Force Base,” he said
skeptically.
    “So is Sawyer, Sir. The Army has presence
everywhere these days.” I was starting to feel interrogated.
    He looked at me suspiciously. “I spent some
time there a while back. There was a cider mill I was rather fond
of, on one of the Mile Roads, 21 I think.”
    “If it’s Spencer’s you’re remembering, Sir,
it’s on 26 Mile Road. Best cinnamon cake donuts this side of
heaven,” I replied smoothly.
    Major Kopley grinned. “Those were indeed the
best I’ve ever had.”
    “Things look a bit different from the last
time I was here, Major. Where is the PX located now?” Jim asked,
swiftly changing the subject.
    “Building H will have everything you
need.”
    “After we get the lieutenant back in
uniform, can we meet you somewhere for a briefing on this crack
left behind by the earthquake? Our information is very limited,”
Jim said.
    The major looked at

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