Scarlett finished signing the paper in the same way that she had done the other ones. It was the last one that had been scheduled for the day, so she went to work on writing a paper for Hawk to give to the United Nations.
"Duke, how do you spell fallible?"
"Why are you asking? F-a-l-l-i-b-l-e. Fallible. I don't understand why you needed to know, you've always had a knack for words."
"I was up late last night. Two hours of sleep does things to you." She answered, typing at a record speed. "Are you almost done with your paper work? You need to mail several of those sheets."
"Yeah, yeah...I think there's actually something important in all this, too."
Scarlett laughed at him. "Duke, it's all important."
"Oh, really? What about these awful warnings from the PEDA to stop destroying ice sheets in the Arctic? And the ones from the National Parks saying we need to try to NOT burn down 5 acres of forest next time we save the world? And then the United Nations are complaining about how we invaded France last month and made our standing with the people there a little less than friendly."
"Don't worry about it. I'm writing a letter to deal with the France episode right now." She answered, still chuckling.
"You think it's funny, but I'm completely overwhelmed. We need money, but the UN is taking just as much time as they please working that out for us. Most of our guns and engines on this ship run on renewable energy and all that new-age stuff, but our appliances and computers are still being paid off. Then there is the ship and our handguns, and those four cannons that DON'T run on renewable energy. Then the ammunition for all our handguns and the six machine guns on-"
"Stop! Okay! We have about thirty minutes to finish all this, so don't waste time talking." She interrupted, in a good natured way.
"Yes, ma'm." He answered with a joking smile and then a sigh.
It was a few hours later when Scarlett woke up suddenly, realizing she had drifted off. Duke was shaking her arm.
"Oh, sorry, Duke. I didn't mean to doze off, I-"
"Don't worry about it. We need to get in the Rhino Chopper to fly out to D.C. and get my car. Then we can go visit Hawk at the hospital."
Scarlett glanced up at the windows with sleepy eyes. The sun was casting a yellow-orange glow on the decks of the ship.
"Isn't it too late for that?"
"No. I radioed to tell him we'd be late and I finished your paper for you. Get anything you need and we'll leave. We have a lot of ground to cover." He answered firmly.
"I've got everything I need right here. Let's go."
A few hours later they were hovering above the Norfolk Military Base. Scarlett landed the Rhino chopper. After leaving the base, her and Duke walked to where his beach-front house stood.
Duke went straight for the garage door, not bothering to even unlock the door to the house. As soon as the door came up, they both entered and glanced around.
"So, you want me to drive, or you want to? After all, you've been piloting the chopper for an hour or so." Duke began, twisting the keyring on his index finger. The jangling sound echoed throughout the garage along with the clicking, quirking sounds of summer insects outside. They both stared at the Subaru Tribeca Touring in the dimming sunlight.
"You drive." Scarlett finally said. This was no time for her silly whims; she had always loved the car. But driving on so little sleep wasn't exactly safe.
It was seven thirty when they finally got through all the traffic and into the hospital. Allowed to visit simply because of their particular "job", they made their way up the elevators to Hawk's room.
Hawk greeted them with a weary smile. Scarlett's eyes scanned the room briefly before she turned her attention back to Duke.
"How are you doing, Hauser?" He asked.
"The usual...dirty, tired, but satisfied with how things are currently working."
"Who's your girlfriend?" Scott demanded abruptly. Scarlett jumped. Where was he? She hadn't seen the son of Clayton Abernathy anywhere when they had come in.
"Aw, now don't tell me you don't remember Scarlett, my second in command?" Duke commented in a playfully disappointed tone as Scott stepped out from behind the curtained windows. So that's where he was...
"Yeah, yeah, I remember. I was just kidding with you. Nice to see you again, Duke, Scarlett. How's Hi-Tech?"
Duke laughed and Scarlett smiled. "He rejoices every time he sees you online; he's so happy and excited that you have common interests and can share ideas together." She answered.
Scott laughed along with Duke. "I'm happy to talk with him, too."
"By the way, General, I believe this meeting was arranged over these," Duke announced, handing the papers to Hawk. "I know that it isn't necessary to deliver them in person, but I owed you a visit. You can also sign them here, which takes out all the unneeded trouble of sending them; they go everywhere before they come to you.