Asteroid Patrol: The ReplacementbyStorm62©
Nobby came up beside me.
"They're worried." He said.
"Partly, but mainly they're worried for you boss. Don't you realise how much you mean to some of them?"
"I do?" I was genuinely surprised. I'd always got on well with everyone, but I thought I was just the law to them, bloody-minded lawbreakers to a man. "I'd better have a word with them. I don't want them doing anything stupid."
"Don't bother. They know you wouldn't want that. They just want to hear any news, good or bad, as soon as possible." He led me toward the med bay. "Emmy has something she wants to say to you."
"I'm not sure..."
"Well we are. Go and talk. If the captain wants you, he'll know where to find you."
He came in a little reluctantly, as if he was scared about his emotions. I asked him to sit. He did so without saying a word. It was strange; I'd never seen him like this.
"What is it you want to tell me?" He asked suddenly, catching me off guard.
"I have a secret that I've never told anyone. The captain found out, but I asked him to keep quiet."
"You're not my secret sister or something are you?" It was a half-hearted joke.
"Please Dave; I'm trying to tell you something important. You might even hate me for it after I tell you."
"Sorry Emmy." He paused. "What does the 'M.E.' stand for anyway?"
"It's Michelle Elizabeth if you must know."
"Bob told me he had a daughter called Michelle." He mused.
"Dave!" I was exasperated with the way he kept butting in. "That's what I've been trying to tell you. Bob is my dad." I practically shouted it. He just looked at me amusedly, as if he'd known all along.
"So why would I hate you for that. Bob and I were friends. I suspect I know more about him than you do."
"Like I said, we were partners for a long time. We had to talk about something. He showed me pictures of you growing up. You haven't changed that much." He smiled.
"I was a bit surprised when you turned up to replace him though. The name threw me for a while, until I saw you in action in the bar. That was pure Bob."
"I....I don't know what to say. I wanted to tell you when you'd accepted me as an officer in my own right, not as the daughter of someone you looked up to." I was nearly crying again. This wasn't how I'd wanted it to be.
Dave came and sat on the bed next to me, taking my hand.
"Don't cry Emmy. I fell in love with you before I realised who you were. Nothing will change that. I was waiting for you to tell me everything before I told you that. Dumb, huh?"
"But now I could lose you."
"Even if they go to the extreme it wouldn't be for long, and I don't regret what I did after I saw what Lafarge did to you, what he could have done to you. Will you wait for me?" I nodded. He got up. "Good, because I can hear the captain calling me. Wait for me here?" With that he was gone once more.
I could see the look on the captain's face as I entered the office. He was troubled.
"Just tell me boss. I know what I did was wrong."
He pulled himself together and sat.
"Officer Baldwin, after reviewing all the reports and seeing the LC unit's recording I have had to come to a difficult decision."
"Will you shut up and let me finish? The use of extreme force was warranted, but you used an unauthorised weapon. For that you will receive a permanent reprimand on your record. That means you cannot be promoted."
"Thank you sir, I appreciate the position I put you in. You have to be seen to do something and I'm happy to accept your punishment."
He sagged in relief.
"Thanks Dave. But that still leaves me with a problem. They want to expand the 'Boonies' station to a hub for the asteroid belt. That means putting a sergeant in charge. I wanted you, but now the highest you can rise is to senior patrolman."
"If that's the only problem, I think I know someone who could do the job." He looked at me quizzically. "Officer Watson. She fitted in here straightaway, and the people on the street earlier were there because they care about her. Emmy will make a fine sergeant. Especially as we both know who her father is."
"She told you?"
"Just a moment ago." I grinned. "But I'd worked it out anyway."
"Would you have any problem taking orders from her?" He seemed concerned.
"No sir. In fact, I was toying with the idea of asking her to marry me, so being told what to do by Emmy won't be a problem." I grinned.
The captain grinned back.
"Then why are you here and not in the med bay asking her?"
"On my way now sir!" I stood and shook his hand.
"And tell her she's promoted as well." He called after me.
Dave came back to my bedside, a grin on his face. I looked up with reddened eyes and began to hope again.
"Tell me." I said.
"The good news, the bad news or the really bad news?" He said cockily.
"Just tell me you annoying sod. The good news obviously."
"It seems I'm going to be stuck here as a senior patrolman after all. Permanent reprimand."
"That's the good news? Then I don't want to hear the rest."
"Sorry, under orders. The bad news is that we're getting a woman sergeant put in charge of the 'Boonies'."
"Why? It's you, you fool!"
"Me? But I've only been here five minutes."
"Seems the senior patrolman recommended you. The really bad news is you have to decide what name you're gong to use and I know you hate unimportant decisions."
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, are you using your name, Bob's name, or..." He leant in close and kissed me for the first time. "Or are you going to use mine?"
"Is that some sort of proposal?"
"Yes, yes it is. I can do it properly later on, when you're recovered, if you like."
I laughed and hugged him.
"That won't be necessary. Now we just need to find dad to give me away."
"That shouldn't be a problem if he's half the policeman we think he is. He left to find you, so it shouldn't be to long before he turns up."
I hugged him again. Tighter this time, not wanting to let him go.
"Nobby! Where are you? I need help with this damn tie." He appeared looking somewhat out of breath and covered in lipstick. "What...?" I exclaimed.
"Sorry." He said, rubbing the stuff from his face. "I was just talking to the bridesmaid."
"Stacey did that? She's not so timid now then?"
"She may be more than I can handle Dave."
"Tough!" I laughed. "Maybe that'll teach you a lesson."
Bob came in beaming.
"Dave, I just want to say that Michelle is very lucky to have you. You're a good man."
"Thanks Bob, that means a lot to me. And I know I'm the lucky one. I'm sorry I couldn't ask you to be best man, but you're otherwise engaged."
"True." He laughed. "It's not the only job I've got today. The captain wants me to teach street work at the academy."
"Smart man, the captain. He knows you're the best. Now I better get to the magistrates and wait for you and Emmy."
"It's what your daughter asked me to call her."
"That was what I called her mother."
"I didn't know. I'll stop if it causes you grief."
"No. It's fine son. She has so much of her mother in her. Now get going. It's supposed to be the bride who turns up late."
There seemed to be an interminable amount of photographs. I fidgeted through them, waiting until I could take the beautiful girl in white next to me away.
"Nearly done." She whispered in my ear.
"Emmy, I don't suppose you're wearing that sexy body armour still." I whispered back in devilment.
"No, but you should see what I am wearing instead." She grinned back, waggling her eyebrows. That did it. I scooped her up in my arms and ran down the steps.
"Hey! Where are you going?" Bob called out.
"Sorry!" I called over my shoulder. "An urgent investigation just popped up. See you back here in a week!"
Emmy kissed me and giggled.
"I suppose I'm the lead officer in this investigation?"
"No. But I think you'll be to busy to notice that." I kissed her again. "Sergeant Baldwin."