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With Wolf Bright Teeth Torn Asunder (Civic Busybody)

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“I’m going to shoot someone.” Zenia muttered, tempted to reach for the pistol that resided in the bottom drawer of her desk; they’d had too many incidents for anyone who was qualified to be unarmed while on duty.

“Ma’am?” Freddy looked up at her superior with alarm from her desk on the other side of the room. While she knew that Zenia could pretend to have a temper when it was required in order to get things done, it was rare for her to actually be angry.

“Take a look at this, Freddy, and see if it reads as badly to you as it does to me, please? I need a second opinion before I go on tear someone over at the Station Admin Unit a new orifice or three.” She brought up the documents side by side on her screen, and then lent back, pushing herself away from the drawer with her pistol.

Freddy rose, skirted around her own desk and the ops table, and came to peer at the monitor from Zenia’s side. Eyes flicking back and forth between the documents, Freddy read them in silence. Twice. With a grimace and a shake of her head, she looked pleadingly at Zenia.

“Please tell me this is a mistake and we can make it go away if we just shove it in the right person’s face? Tash would be pulling that pistol and doing the hunting for you if she laid eyes on this mess.”

“Which is part of the reason I’m seething, Freddy. I think we should be able to get it handled quietly. We’ve got waivers for Christian to be in the mess. And he’s been in there longer than most of the Headquarters staff have even been on site. Much as this makes me furious, if I deal with it there should be no repercussions, even if I rip someone’s head off. If Tash tries. She’s going to end up being AGAI’d for it, given that she doesn’t have any standing where Christian’s concerned and this has come from someone senior to her.”

Freddy shook her head, “those two really do need to just give up and -”

“That’s not the way it works, Freddy. Regulations may be a neat and tidy thing but you and I both know the insides of people’s heads aren’t quite so convenient.”

“Why on earth did this come up now anyways?” The redheaded corporal asked, still peering at the documents over her captain’s shoulder.

Zenia checked something on her computer. “Another round of units have moved in from one of the old sites, and the Mess is full up, is my guess.”

“But even if it’s full up, no one should be wanting those quarters. They’re earmarked for disabled personnel, aren’t they?”

Zenia tapped in an additional query and her face flushed with anger. This time she did start going for the sidearm tucked in the drawer. “Fucking civilian busybody!”

“Pardon, ma’am?”

“Whoever it was had to have been in Christian’s records to use what they did as a justification, so I thought I’d check who I was going to be ripping the head off of. And lo and behold, who do I see … I thought I’d seen the last of her after I got her out of my last unit’s admin office for this kind of game.”

Freddy shook her head in confusion. “Back up a minute, please? Who exactly are you talking about, ma’am?”

“A civil servant I’ve had the misfortune to run into before, Freddy. Look’s like her husband’s been posted here so she’s taken a job here as well … but she’s got a taste for playing things exactly by the letter of the rules while violating the spirit of them. Seems to take a perverse sort of pleasure in doing so actually. It’s the sort of behaviour that I just will not stand for in a military spouse, especially at the expense of someone like Christian. Gives all of us a bad name, behaving that way.”

“So what can we do about it, ma’am? Because from the sound of it, she’s got shaky rights to be trying to toss Christian in the first place. And honestly, I’d rather not try figuring out how we’re going to deal with keeping Tash out of a psych eval the next time something happens and Christian’s not around to help her keep her balance while handling it.”

“Shooting her would be my favourite solution, but I think I’ll be taking an early lunch and going to talk to the Colonel, Freddy. We need to regularise Christian’s position with the unit anyway - the one bit of this she has us dead to rights on is that this isn’t his official duty station. He can run interference on any attempts to get Christian out of the Mess in the meantime.”

Freddy nodded, “Go on then, I’ll hold things down here while you’re gone.”

Zenia smiled slightly, and tapped something up on her computer screen. “Freddy, be a dear and shut my terminal down for me, once I’m gone? I’d hate for someone to use my terminal for mischief while I was gone but I don’t want to miss the Colonel ...”

Freddy’s smile grew fractionally in understanding. “Of course, ma’am. Oh, hey, what’s that your computer’s doing? That doesn’t look quite right. Shall I get Diane up here to take a look at it while you’re gone?”

Zenia’s answering smile was full of teeth and wolfish. “Oh yes, do please get Diane to take a look at that. Though you two might need to go poking around in the network connections to the Admin Unit’s servers while you’re at it.”

“Yes, that does look like something’s gone funny with your connection to the intranet, doesn’t it?” Freddy agreed just a bit too readily with a conspiratorial smile. “We’ll get that squared away for you, ma’am. Don’t you worry.”