He stood in front of the mirror staring at the reflection as he turned his head side to side studying his newly shaven face and recently trimmed hair, not to mention the freshly pressed, newly acquired khakis that he had to drive 20 miles to the naval weapons center to buy. God, he hated these things, which was why he always wore his old utility denim uniform, it was comfortable.
"Damn him for making us wear these things." He muttered aloud to himself. There was no one else around to hear.
"Chief." The other sailor nodded he walked into the head. Other than looking the other man's uniform, neither man really paid attention to each other. All the new arrival noticed was the uniform that signified the other man's rank as at least a chief petty officer, at least that was until that infernal parrot flew in.
"Squawk. Cinderella all dressed for the prom. Squawk." The parrot's squeaky voice echoed through the cavernous bathroom.
"Stow it. Polly or I'll feed you to Chloe." The bird shut up at the mention of the Air Force's dog, who, two nights ago looked at Polly as though she was the dog's next snack.
"Shipwreck? Is that you?" The sailor in dress blues almost squealed in an unseal like fashion. "Oh my God, look at that baby face."
"Stow it Wetsuit." Shipwreck growled.
"Hey guys, you have go t to see this." Wetsuit called out to the rest of the team.
"Damn, is that you Shipwreck?" Cover Girl wolf whistled. "Boy, you sure clean up nice. You make the Navy look good!"
"Well, darling, if I'd known you'd like this look, I'd have done this a while ago." Shipwreck smiled lacivisously.
"Oh brother." Cover Girl rolled her eyes as she walked away. "His looks may have changed, but, yep, you're Shipwreck."
"Outta my way." A deep southern voice drawled as a big hand pushed his way through. "Its about time you two squids figured out how to wear your uniforms."
"Like you do?" Leatherneck shot back as he walked in behind the newest visitor.
"Beach ? Is that you?" Cover Girl asked incredulously.
"Well, it ain't Ken, Barbie."
"Well, hell, I'll be a monkey's uncle, you do have a face under that mask."
"Can it, Shipwreck. Now get outta my way."
"Wow, who woulda thought you'd look that good without the mask." Cover Girl smiled as she pat Beach's butt walking away. She didn't see his eyes widen in surprise. Unfortunately, everyone else did and snickered, which died down as soon as Beach shot them a look. The next look had them scattering like roaches when the light switched on.
Duke and Flint were waiting for Kincaid when she walked into her office with Wilkers. It didn't take much for Flint to notice the First Sergeant perking up when the Sergeant walked in. All of a sudden, Duke, the man who tended to go through women like water in a shower because he couldn't get the one he wanted, was sitting straighter, checking his dress greens for imaginary lint. Watching the normally unflappable first sergeant blush and act, well, flapped, caused a small snickering chuckle to emanate from the Warrant Officer. It would have been funnier if the young staff sergeant hadn't eyed Duke as well. You old devil, Flint thought. The look Duke threw him was damned near deadly.
"Just thinking about Cover Girl copping a feel on Beachhead this morning." Flint said trying to cover up his chuckle "What, Jaye told me." He shrugged when Duke uttered an "uh huh".
"I thought you two were told to knock it off while you were here?" Duke chided.
"What? That means we can't talk?"
"Uh huh." Duke rolled his eyes at that. "Like I believe that."
"Sergeant Hauser, how can I help you?" Kincaid's sweetly husky voice infiltrated the two men's conversation, causing both to snap up to attention.
"Ma'am, Good to see you again. May I introduce Warrant Officer Dashiell Faireborn, he and I are here to discuss your upcoming transfer to the team and the personnel we're looking at to come with you."
"Sergeant, Warrant Officer, I haven't agreed to the transfer, yet." She emphasized the 'yet'.
"Ma'am, The general, uhm, anticipated that response, so, last night he was given to approval to have you transferred by the commander of the twenty-third air force." Duke left this part up to Flint, waiting for the fireworks to begin. "Your transfer is complete as is those of fifteen of your team. Ten personnel and five dogs., Ma'am." He handed her the packet of material in his hands.
"Why that, low-down, sneaky, son of a …., Why can't he take no for an answer?" Kincaid begain yelling, causing Wilkers to snap her head up as she had never heard the Major raise her voice.
"Ma'am, with all due respect, while the General may have made the call, it was a joint effort to make the decisions as to the personnel chosen, including yourself, Ma'am. As I explained, it was your record and our need that precipitated this move." Duke explained.
"Is that so, Sergeant?" Her eyes narrowed and it was clear she was still livid.
"Yes Ma'am. The warrant officer and I, we originally tried to talk the General out of this." Duke tried to explain. "Knowing his personal interest, that is."
"However, Ma'am, we found ourselves with a bit of a security problem." Flint continued.
"Is that so? And somehow, by magic, my name came up?" Her eyes narrowed even more, to mere slits.
"Actually, we looked at several candidates, you just happened to be the best, Ma'am." Flint responded. "Your electronic identification program is inventive and just what we need."
"Is that so?" She surveyed the man in front of her, trying to assess his truthfulness. "And just what kind of security problem did you have?"
"One of our team was kidnapped and replaced with a covert operative who had copied every one of our codes. We didn't catch her until it was too late." Duke explained with a short gaze to the man standing next to him.
"Hey, I was out of the country for most of your incident." Flint through his hands up in defense.
"They used your girlfriend."
"And I'm the one who pointed that out as soon as I got back." Flint shot back.
"Boys!" The major stood stoically with arms crossed in a clear stance of authority and a voice that made both men feel like children caught by their parents up to no good.
"Sorry, ma'am." They replied simultaneously.
"Now, since I apparently have no choice in this, tell me who is going with me and then tell your general I want to see him!"
An hour later, Flint and Duke walked out of the Major's office, knowing she was still not happy, but understanding why she was chosen.
"Hey, I'll catch up with you." Duke said as he stopped at Wilker's desk.
"Don't do anything I won't." Flint winked as he moved to a far corner of the office.
"Well, that gives me a lot of leeway." Duke teased.
"What? I class up the team, ole buddy." Flint smiled his crooked grin.
"Yeah, sure." Duke turned to the now laughing sergeant. "I wanted to be the first to welcome you to the team."
"I was chosen?" Wilkers was actually surprised. She didn't think she had a snowball's chance.
"You sound surprised." Duke smiled."I don't know why? You're certainly more than qualified."
"Really. We're very choosy, the team that is." Duke smiled that killer smile again. "Trust me when I tell you we only take the best of the best and according to your file, you're one of the best. And the prettiest, if I might add. But, that one's a personal observation." He watched a blush fill her face as Flint, leaning against the wall, his arms folded across his chest and ankles crossed rolled his eyes.
"Yes. You know, I was wondering, if you'd like to go to dinner with me tonight? To celebrate. If you say no, it won't affect your transfer. You're already in ."
"Uhm, sure." She smiled.
"Great, seven okay with you?" Duke asked. "I just need your address. To pick you up."
"Uh, yeah, here it is." She handed him a small slip of paper and another sweet smile just before he left.
"See you at seven. NO uniform." Duke said as he walked up to Flint, who pushed himself off the wall.
"And the prettiest? Are you kidding me?" Flint said once they got outside.
"Hey, not all of us were English lit majors and besides, it worked didn't it."
"Yeah, it did. Though, I can't believe it." Flint laughed. "Well, that major is a real spitfire, isn't she? Perfect match for Hawk. Think she can get the job done?"
"Yeah, I do. Now, we just have to come up with a code name for her."
"What about Spitfire? It certainly fits."
"Yeah, it does."
"So, about your date tonight. You're not gonna play with this one like you do with all the rest because Scarlett won't give you the time of day?"
"No, I actually think I like this one." Duke said and they walked away.