Gillian settled back at a table for a second cup of coffee. She had two hours before she reported to duty station. At the next table some of the younger pilots were discussing yesterday's mission and their first encounter with Gatchaman.
"I'm serious, the Eagle pinched my butt yesterday!" The indignant words carried well across the nearly empty mess hall.
The coffee burned as it made it's way back up Gillian's throat. Grabbing a handful of napkins, she managed to keep from spraying the table with coffee. Her spastic coughing brought the other pilots over to check on her. Accepting a clean napkin, she wiped her eyes, asking, "Did I hear you right, Harris?"
Harris blushed to his pale blond hair. "Almost, sir. The Eagle saved me from falling and ran his hand across my butt." He shrugged, "It's not a crime, sir."
"No, it's not Harris." Gillian smiled. "I just think the Swan would be very surprised to hear this." She waved the other's to seats, saying. "Finish the story."
"I slipped him my private comm-frequency." Harris gulped as cold eyes snapped up.
"I hope I am hearing wrong, Private..." Gillian snarled.
"No, sir. Lieutenant, sir." Harris snapped to attention.
Drawn by the tension, Gypsy asked. "What's going on?"
Gillian gestured to Harris curtly, who retold his story a sweat slowly breaking on his face. She watched as Gypsy sent the others away.
"Let's go talk to the Commodore," Gypsy started for the door.
Harris stood trembling in the mess hall. "But sirs, do you think we should bother the Commodore with this?"
Gypsy and Gillian both turned to look at Harris, who quickly ran to join them.
The halls of the Raider base were busy at the best and chaotic at the worse. Gypsy's rank cut a path through the various Raiders and support personnel who were going about their duties. Outside the Commodore's office, Varn held court as the Commodore's aide.
"Gypsy," Varn nodded in greeting, his voice was gravelly as it had always been after the Spectran assassin had failed in his duty, only managing to cut Varn's throat before the other had managed to snap his neck. "She's busy all morning."
"Varn," Gypsy grinned. "She needs this break."
Gillian watched as the huge man rose to cross to the inner office door. She wondered if Mark ever grinned that wicked, devil-take-the-hindmost grin like Gypsy or had he inherited the more serious mien of Aaron. Passing Varn at his gesture, briefly her mind told her that it was Jason standing behind the desk, then the Commodore sat down with a sigh.
"What is it Gypsy?" The Commodore reached for her cup of coffee, only to have Varn replace it with a fresh one. "Sit down, all of you," she waved them to chairs about her office.
"Harris here has a story for you," Gypsy grinned, nodding thanks as Varn handed her a cup of coffee.
The Commodore listened as Harris stuttered through his story. She quietly told him never to give out his private comm-frequency again, took his old one, and sent him out with Varn to get a new one.
Hooded steel-grey eyes peered over the rim of her coffee cup as she waited for her sister to speak.
Gypsy grinned, "I think someone should monitor that frequency, just in case Mark tries to use it."
"I doubt it will be Mark," Aaron said, looking at Gillian. "Don't you?"
Gillian had the grace to blush. "I'm afraid Jason might have noticed that I have a tendency to giggle when he runs his hand over my butt."
Aaron's lips twitched, then a grin appeared, finally she began chuckling. "You giggle, Lieutenant?"
"So Jason enlisted Mark's help in looking for you among us?" Gypsy's laughter barked.
Grinning, Aaron said, "Sounds like something you'd talk me into, twin."
"No, you were the one who talked me into making all that soap that dyed everyone's skin green!" Gypsy ran her hand through her short, black hair.
Aaron shrugged, unabashed. "How was I to know it would be permanent?" She watched Gypsy out of the corner of her eye. "I take it, you think we should break Mark of," she smirked, "feeling up the pilots."
"Absolutely!" Gypsy grinned, devilment evident in every line.
Aaron pressed the button to call Varn into her office. She smiled, "Varn, I need you to monitor this frequency." She handed him the paper. "When you hear something, immediately let the three of us know. It is time to teach some teenagers some manners."
Varn looked up at the chirping of the comm-link on his desk. He checked the frequency and paged the Commodore. "There is activity on that frequency."
"Let Gypsy and Gillian know," came the reply. "Then join us, please," her chuckle sounded over the comm, "I think you will enjoy this."
In moments, the four were clustered around the Commodore's desk. The Commodore opened the frequency.
Gillian nodded and mouthed "Jason".
At the Commodore's gesture, Varn said. "No, Lieutenant Gillian is not here."
Aaron settled into her chair and waited for the response.
"Is this the Red Raider who gave the Eagle this frequency?" A tentative young masculine voice came over.
"Mark" Gillian mouthed.
"The Eagle?" Varn responded, reading Gypsy's quickly scrawled note. "Ah, you saved a Raider on that last mission. Harris sends his regrets that he could not be available to chat, but he is willing to meet you in a private place to discuss the possibilities of a more," Varn paused, "intimate relationship."
Aaron grinned with Varn at the sharp language that was cut off by the comm going dead. She raised an eyebrow as Varn entered the captured frequency and quietly left her office.
With technology stolen from Zoltar, the group heard the conversation on the other end without Mark and Jason knowing it.
"She's your girlfriend!"
"How was I to know that you'd grab the one that would want to date *you*?"
"Dammit, Jason! You get me into more trouble-"
"Bull! You enjoy it! You'd never sneeze without permission if I didn't push you!"
Smothering a chuckle, Aaron cleared her throat. She didn't ask who muttered "shit", instead saying. "I would say that Security Chief Anderson would be more than a little upset by this breach of security." She paused and added in a sweet tone, "boys."
"Now wait one f---" Jason's reply was cut off by the sound of a hand clamping over his mouth.
"Who are you?" Mark snapped.
Aaron smiled. "I am the Commodore of the Red Raiders. You may call me Commodore."
"Like hell!" Jason managed to get in before Mark muffled him again.
Gypsy grabbed a pillow and buried her face in it to smother her laughter.
"I understand that you, Eagle, were," Aaron continued, ignoring her choking siblings on both ends of the comm-link, "making a pass at one of my pilots."
Mark squawked and Jason's curses could be clearly heard over the comm-link.
After listening to the surprising range of both languages and scatological references for several moments, Aaron said. "Very good, Condor. I am pleased that you have a grasp of so many languages." Her voice hardened as she spoke. "I will not be bringing this to Chief Anderson's attention, but I would suggest that both of you think hard about how you would feel should this have been a Spectran trap to locate one of your secret bases. People could have paid for this tomfoolery with their lives." Aaron was pleased by the silence from the other end, she nodded to Gillian.
"Gillian? Is that old harridan your commander? I'll feather her if she gives you any grief about this."
Watching the Commodore's eyes turn to flint, Gillian said. "The Commodore is concerned for your safety."
"In a pig's eye!"
Mark's voice could be heard in the background. "Jason, the guards are going to be making rounds soon. We've got to go."
Gillian spoke before Jason could reply to Mark. "Jason, please, listen to him. We will be together again, I promise, but you must never take chances with your life."
"When Gillian?" Jason's voice softened.
"I'm never further than your next dream, my love," Gillian closed her eyes against the pain of being away from him.
"They're coming," Mark's voice was sharp.
"I love you, sweet Gillian," Jason whispered.
"Go!" Gillian said. She sighed as the comm-link fell silent.
"Love is never easy, Gillian," Gypsy said quietly, her black eyes still.
"No, it's not," Gillian straightened. She turned to the Commodore, saying. "I do appreciate your not informing the Security Chief of this."
"They are my brothers," Aaron said. She gestured for Gillian to leave. Only the light of a small desk lamp lit the two as they let the silence lengthen. Finally Aaron said, "I hope they will not take such a chance again."
"They will. We did." Gypsy stood. "But Jason is braver than you or I."
"What do you mean?" Aaron turned to look out over the quiet airfield.
"He's brave enough to love." Gypsy sighed, "Good night, twin."
"Good night." After Gypsy had left, a single tear slid down Aaron's cheek before being brushed away as she turned to the latest intelligence reports.