Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist, and I am making absolutely no profit whatsoever in this fanfic.
"So-o," Riza heard the brunette secretary address the blonde mail clerk, "I heard you've been seeing the Colonel."
Riza bit back a sigh. He wasn't the only Colonel in Eastern, but he was the only Colonel female NCO's would be discussing in the lavatory while they preened in the mirror.
"Oh," the blonde frowned. "No, not anymore. I guess things were getting too serious, and he's so busy..."
"Uh-huh, that sounds about right. Fun while it lasted though?"
"Oh, yes," the blonde mock fanned herself. "Those hands! And that voice, I swear, half the time I didn't even care what he was saying...I heard he's moved on to Cindy, the cook! Can you believe it?"
"Her?" The secretary made a dismissive gesture. "She'll last another night, if that. He likes to have a conversation, at least."
The mail clerk giggled. "You're so bad! Well, I have to be going, so..."
"Call me tonight, we'll go out later."
The door shut, and Riza waited until the door shut again before opening the stall...
...and running right into a smirking secretary. "I thought someone was lurking in here."
"Imagine, a public bathroom being occupied." Nonplussed, Riza walked to the stall and washed her hands.
"It must be difficult, working so closely with such a charming, handsome man...and watching him date everyone but you."
"Dating?" Riza asked as she dried her hands. "Is that what you call it?"
The secretary smiled lazily. "Not exactly, but I didn't want to offend your sensibilities."
Riza examined the young woman with unflinching eyes, and wondered if she'd ever looked so... soft. Maybe that's why he liked them. She could see the appeal of losing oneself in the flattering eye of another. "I'm not so easy to offend. However, I don't have the time, nor the inclination, to gossip about my commanding officer, so if you'll excuse me?"
"Tell him Anna says hello," Anna, presumably, said.
Riza dumped a stack of paperwork on the Lieutenant Colonel's desk and waited at attention while he finished up his phone call.
"Yes, sir. I understand, sir, however..." He rested his forehead on his free palm and shared a weary look with his lieutenant. Hakuro, again, she decided. "With all due respect, sir, if the infrastructure were improved by the military, perhaps the inhabitants of Lilam would be less likely to turn to the insurgents for basic needs. Sir. Also, if we drive out the rebels by building good will with the citizens, we could increase the tax revenue by forty percent...Yes, sir, one month. Thank you, sir." Mustang hung up, disgusted. "Is our media rep back in from the South, yet?"
"He hasn't reported yet, sir."
"Let me know if he gets in alive; I need stronger PR in the Lilam district as soon as possible. I doubt Hakuro will grant me a month to get everything patched up. Also, I need to move the meeting with the military engineers from next week to tomorrow morning...and let them know the meeting will take place in Lilam, so we will definitely need to arrange security."
Hawkeye referred to her calendar. "We'll need to move your meeting with the uniform committee, sir. And seeing as you'll likely be gone all day, you'll probably miss your speech to the graduates of the University of Eastern Sciences."
"That time of year already?" He shrugged. "Just as well, because I'd completely forgotten to write a speech. What time is the ceremony?"
"Twenty hundred, sir."
"Lilam is only an hour out...We'll just schedule the meeting for...do you think oh-nine hundred will be sufficient notice for a meeting?"
Riza resisted the urge to pull her hair out. "No, sir, but I imagine if you order it, they'll have little choice." She didn't want to imagine the amount of rescheduling the aides of the engineers would have on their hands this evening, either.
"I was referring to you, Lieutenant," he replied silkily, and he had the gall to look hurt. "Perhaps it would be best if we just had the head engineer...Major Nomac, I believe? Yes? If you direct him to arrive at my office at oh-nine-hundred, and schedule a walking tour of the city, he could meet with his group and report back to me in a few days with a plan for re-vamping the utilities."
"That would be easier to arrange, sir."
"Hey, Boss!" Havoc hollered outside. "Nottingline Train just got hijacked."
"Why do these bastards insist on hijacking trains?" Mustang cursed. "They can only go two directions! It's not like they can escape! What stop are they at now?"
"Flying past Andletown."
"How many passengers?"
Havoc made some hushed inquiries. "'Bout two hundred."
"Anyone of note?"
Hawkeye detected some hopefulness in his voice.
Fuery scanned the list of passengers he'd compiled with a frown. "No, sir."
"Oh, well." Mustang pulled out a train map that had been woefully overused in the past months. "Sealver should be good, Morgan's men are in the area. As usual, Fuery, tell the station manager to evacuate the area and to stop the train manually."
"Will the military pay for the damages?" Fuery asked, timid. "They always ask me that, and one of them said that we still owed them for repairs."
Mustang shrugged. "Tell them yes; if any of them call back, refer them to General Hakuro. He thinks he's running Eastern, anyway, might as well share the headache. Havoc, dispatch Sergeant Morgan and his men, if they're not already on their way. Falman, Fuery -- you guys man the phones and send as much paperwork as you can to Colonel Jenkins. Everyone else, we're going on a field trip."
Havoc gave some rushed instructions on the phone, then hung up with a sigh. "Why can't we ever have political unrest in tourist areas? I want to save women in bikinis."