Heir Force Novel: Kate Gets Orders

Previously on HFN: Kate and Spencer Enjoy Meatloaf

The next morning after arriving at the office, Kate’s boss informed her she’d be leaving in a week or two at most for a remote location. “Get your affairs in order, you know the drill.” Sergeant Thompson dismissed her. Kate groaned silently. But she had to do what she had to do. It couldn’t be helped if the guy she was replacing had needed surgery and got sent home. These things happened. She drove home after work and ran through her mental TDY list:

Clean out the fridge

Empty all garbage cans

Stop the paper and mail

Call the kennel to make reservations for Buttons

Get caught up on laundry

Water the two plants still living

She pulled out her green duffle bag and left it on the bedroom floor. She gathered uniforms and some civilian clothes to wash and started a load of laundry to stay caught up so it wouldn’t be piled up when she had to leave. She called the local kennel she used and made a reservation for Buttons to ensure they would have space when she needed it.

After making her lists and setting aside clean uniforms on her bed, she grabbed Buttons’ leash and they went for a jog/run through the dog park. The sun was partly hidden by clouds but it was humid. The park had recently been mowed and the scent of fresh cut grass mingled with the dust from the nearby ball diamond, making Kate sneeze as she kicked up dust and grass from the path. Kate pushed herself as she ran, her shoes making a rhythmic pounding sound as she continued running around the oval. She ignored others around her and tried focusing on her breathing and the pressure in her lungs. She and Buttons both needed to run, to get the oil moving again and get some fresh air in their systems. Buttons easily kept pace with Kate’s strides and seemed to enjoy the exercise. After four rounds on the path, she slowed to a jog to wind down then did some stretches on the bleachers by the ball field.

When they got home, Kate filled Button’s water bowl and gave him a treat. “Good boy,” she said, patting him on the head. Buttons wagged his tail and went to his bed to enjoy his small bone.

Kate didn’t want to treat herself to what she really wanted—a chocolate extreme blizzard from Dairy Queen, because it would defeat the purpose of her exercise. She had to maintain a certain body mass and weight for the uniform. Instead she had a Greek strawberry yogurt. It was almost the same she tried to convince herself.

She skyped with John before she went to bed. He sounded and looked fine. “I have to leave in a week or two myself,” she told him.

“Oh, where? Here?” He asked hopefully. He darted his eyes around as he talked with Kate, not quite focused on their conversation, which annoyed Kate.

“I wish. I don’t know yet. Which probably means some desolate place in the middle of nowhere.”

“Maybe, maybe not. How are things with Ruth and Spencer?”

“Ruth has been on leave, so it’s been nice. Spencer’s the same.”

“Good, glad everyone is okay. I better go. Take care and let me know where you’re headed.”

“I will.” Kate waited for John to say something else, but he was already gone. She shut down the computer and went to bed. Kate wasn’t sure, but she felt John pulling away from her. Or was it her imagination? She felt like she was competing with some unknown person or thing for his attention. After tossing and turning for two hours, she finally fell asleep.


Next time on HFN: Kate Attends a Baby Shower

Until then,



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