Quarters of Her Royal Highness Princess Anna, Royal Residence Lincoln
19 June 1995, 5:23 a.m. PST (1523 GMT)
Lincoln City, Jefferson
The moon shone brightly in a clear sky as Thompson looked down at Anna’s sleeping form.
Her back was against him and she breathed regularly in the early hours of the morning. He sighed, mentally cursing the fact
that he had to get up soon and start the daily routine that he demanded of himself. But he couldn’t even curse severely. His contentment prevented it.
He was silently amazed at the fact that they’d been together now for over three years. It was not the first relationship for
him any more than for her. But never had he allowed himself to feel about a woman the way she made him feel. She had battered down all of his defenses and laid him bare upon the Altar of
Venus, a willing sacrifice to love’s majesty and promise.
He chuckled at the thought. Sometimes those freshman English classes at the Academy came back to haunt him.
He reflected on the three and a half years he had spent at Lincoln, the relationships he had made, those he had furthered. He
had signed the paperwork promoting McKenzie to Major the day before. He figured it was only a matter of time until he had to sign the transfer that sent him to another post, one where the
action was. He also figured that the question about where he went from there was sure to come up soon. He knew the King was pleased with his work, but he figured that would only allow him
to remain here for so long. The demands of a career in the Corps were fixed. Another star would soon adorn his shoulder and with that would probably come a new command.
What would that do to his relationship with Anna? He shook his head, disturbed. He wanted to marry her, but how could
she marry a simple Marine officer, even a general. She had to marry a politician, someone who was part of that establishment that was the royalty of America. He looked down at her face
and saw her frown in her sleep, then she wiggled back against him and he tightened his hold on her, which stilled her as her face settled back into its natural sleeping appearance. He leaned
down and kissed her beside her left eye and she stirred a bit, a small smile forming on her face.
God, he thought, I do love her so.
The soft knock on the door woke Thompson immediately. He must have drowsed back to sleep for a few moments, but he was awake
Anna stirred, her bare bottom warm against his crotch. His half-hardness was the most pressing thing on his mind. Then
the knock sounded again.
Thompson cursed softly and pulled away from his lover, swung his feet to the floor and stood, the morning air in the room cool on
his naked flesh. He took a step forward, reaching for and pulling on a black, terrycloth robe. His quick strides brought him to the door, which he opened a crack.
Rachel Berry and Captain McKenzie were both out there. Neither of them looked to be in a good mood.
“What’s going on, Mac?” he asked, keeping his voice soft.
“Sir,” he responded, “we need to see both of you. It’s bad.”
The tone would have told the story had the words not said it. He nodded. “Give me ten minutes.”
He closed the door and padded back to the bed.
“Wake up, beloved.” The urgency in his voice brought Anna to full consciousness.
“What is it?”
He turned on the bedside lamp as she slid out from between the sheets. “I don’t know, but it isn’t good.”
He was distracted by her naked bottom but shook it off as she disappeared into the bathroom. Thompson pulled on the pair of
boxers and pajama pants he had abandoned to the floor in their haste to get undressed the previous night. He pulled on his slippers and a black t-shirt as Anna came out of the bath.
Thompson slipped in behind her as she started pulling on clothes and relieved himself and splashed cold water on his face.
Eight minutes after he had closed the door, he opened it again and the two of them entered the sitting room.
Rachel was, for once, not in her finest. Her hair was obviously not fixed and she seemed to have pulled on the first thing
she had found that morning. McKenzie was unshaven and in wrinkled utility t-shirt and pants. He wore slippers rather than boots.
Everything about them suggested bad news.
The only people who seemed at the top of their game were the mess stewards who brought in croissants with butter and fresh pots of
coffee and Irish Breakfast tea. These were poured and properly doctored to taste as the four took seats around the table.
Thompson sipped his tea and brought the meeting to order. “Now, what’s going on?”
McKenzie jumped in to answer. “The best I can give you is that we’re not sure, sir. We have a preliminary report about
an incident at the Whitehouse regarding emergency medical care. That report suggests that His Majesty has fallen ill, possibly severely ill. RSF Alpha is on alert. I have alerted
Captain Castro and he has placed RSC Lincoln on standby alert as well. At this moment, we have no information regarding any security risk to Lincoln.”
Thompson nodded. “So, basically we don’t know anything for sure, but we suspect something bad is going on, which may or may
not affect our security here.”
“Basically, yes, sir, that is the case. But we need to be ready in case that changes.”
Anna leaned forward. “Then we should take this opportunity to refresh ourselves and get fully awake while we have the time.”
Thompson nodded his agreement. “Yes. Captain, have you informed the Crown Prince about this?”
Anna came back in. “Then, don’t yet. We’ll go in after we get refreshed. Rachel, you and I and the Brigadier
Rachel nodded. “What about the Captain?” She glanced over at McKenzie.
Thompson answered for him. “The Captain will man the security center while we’re doing that and await any further information
from Washington City.”
McKenzie came in on that. “Right.”
Thompson said, “0700 in front of the Prince’s quarters?”
Rachel and Anna nodded. Everyone stood. Rachel and McKenzie went to make their way out. Thompson reached out and
pulled Anna to him. She pressed her face into his shoulder. “What’s going on, Drew?”
He shook his head and pressed his lips to her hair. “I don’t know, babe. I don’t know.”
Quarters of the Prince Arthur, Royal Residence Lincoln
19 June 1992, 7:00 a.m. PST (1700 GMT)
Lincoln City, Jefferson
SH1 (Ship’s Serviceman First Class) Sebastian Cross stepped out of the bedroom in the Prince’s quarters and stood at
attention. “Brigadier Thompson, His Royal Highness will be out shortly. He is aware that you are waiting on him.”
Thompson nodded. “Thank you, Ship’s Serviceman. That is all.”
“Aye, aye, sir.” Cross made himself scarce. He had not been briefed on what was going on, but was aware that it was
unusual for so many important people to be waiting on his charge this early in the morning. That, coupled with the heightened security and the alert status of the Marines around the building,
told him that something was up.
Thompson and McKenzie were now in their utilities, properly showered and shaved. The Princess had put on casual wear as had
Rachel Berry. The four waited another pair of minutes before the door opened and the Crown Prince strode out.
Crown Prince Arthur, now in his fifteenth year, was growing into quite a handsome man, thought Rachel Berry. He was already
tall, with broad shoulders that showed the weight work he had been doing with the Royal Marines, who treated him like one of their own. Rachel was aware that he had gone on exercises with the
Marines, a fact that gave his mother great stress even though she knew he was carefully watched on these exercises by the Brigadier personally. The effect of that work showed in the obvious
strength and grace of his movements.
His blond hair was trimmed down to the scalp and bright green eyes shown from his face. He was a quiet youth, the kind that
others wanted to follow. He spent his free time on the rugby pitch, where he was quite talented according to Thompson. The path of the young man’s life was going straight to the greatness
he was showing a propensity for.
Thompson and McKenzie snapped to attention properly while Anna went forward to her son. The youth was dressed in pressed
khaki trousers and a white shirt with a red-and-blue checkered tie. A tiny scratch on the left side of his chin told her that he had shaved and nicked himself. Arthur, already at a height
of six feet, looked down into his mother’s eyes before kissing her on the cheek.
His voice was soft but had gotten much deeper. “Mother, what is the matter?”
Thompson watched her closely. She had told them that she would break the news about the King to her son. He considered
for a moment that she had broken bad news to the boy before.
“Darling,” she started, “it’s your grandfather.” She sighed. “He passed away early this morning.”
Arthur blinked hard twice. His eyes came up to Thompson’s to find a silent confirmation of the news. The boy blinked
hard several times and swallowed hard. His mother reached for him and pulled his head to her shoulder while she wrapped her arms around him. A great, racking sob hit him all at once and
tears flowed freely from his eyes. Thompson could hear Anna speaking softly into his ear words of comfort as he cried. When Arthur’s head came up, his eyes were red-rimmed. He
stretched a hand out to the Brigadier who had treated him like a son. Wordlessly, Thompson crossed to him and embraced the young man and his mother, the family he so loved.
His arms tight around them, he heard Anna’s quiet sobs into his left shoulder while Arthur cried on his right. He pressed his
lips to the boy’s hair, then the mother’s. He would never remember what he said to them, just that he hoped it helped.
RNAS Whidbey Island
19 June 1992, 3:02 p.m. PST (2302 GMT)
Oak Harbor, Franklin
Clad in utilities, a squad of Royal Marines from Lincoln’s Bravo Platoon stood around the building where the Crown Prince waited
for the jet that would take him to Washington City. Arthur had already told those around him that he would take the name Samuel as his coronation name in honor of his grandfather.
Thompson stood outside in the afternoon sun, well, what there was of it, he thought. The boy was still miserable, as was his
mother. This was understandable to the Marine, who had never known his father.
Lieutenant Samuel Andrew Thompson had been a Marine with the Royal Marine’s 1st Reconnaissance Division, based at Camp Pendleton,
at the dawn of the era when Force Recon became a special operations assignment, able to be deployed instantly anywhere in the world where they were needed. In this, they were the step-children
of the British Special Air Service and only a slight forerunner to the Royal Army’s Green Berets and the Royal Navy’s SEALs. His mother had never learned exactly where her first husband had
been sent or what his mission had been, much less why Congress had voted to award him the Medal of Honor. It had taken intelligence specialist Colonel Thompson almost a royal edict to find out
that his father had been sent on a “black op” to Kazakhstan, where a Soviet unit had been randomly attacking Kazakh villages. Since the Union was courting the Kazakhs and they were asking for
help, they sent in Thompson’s unit to evaluate the situation.
The Marines had been trapped, caught in a crossfire, on one of these evaluations. Lieutenant Sam Thompson, the Executive
Officer of the unit, had single-handedly covered their escape. In doing this, he also was able to take out the Soviets’ leadership. In accomplishing both of these tasks, he was fatally
wounded. His mates had been able to get him out while he was still alive, but he died during their evacuation to the Philippines.
Thompson was staring out at the airfield when McKenzie approached. He showed no sign of having heard his approach.
McKenzie was a little surprised when he broke his silence. “What is it, Captain?”
“Sir, word just came on the radio that Prince James is slated to accept the throne when the Senate offers it to him.”
Thompson’s head snapped around. The glare in his eye was deadly and McKenzie’s eyes tracked momentarily to the sidearm his
superior wore. “Excuse me?”
McKenzie continued. “The report said that His Majesty signed a letter proposing a new Royal Resolution naming James as the
Crown Prince. The Senate is bound to reverse itself and offer James the throne. They have little choice in the matter.”
Thompson turned his eyes away from his de-facto Executive Officer. He stared off into the middle distance for a
second. “Son of a bitch,” he muttered.
He shook his head as he turned back to the building wherein waited Arthur and Anna. As he passed the Captain, he reached out
and squeezed his shoulder. “Thanks, Mac.”
McKenzie hesitated, but not for long. Three years had forged a friendship that he traded on then. “Where are you going,
Thompson’s face held a sad grin when he looked at McKenzie. “This day hasn’t been bad enough for the boy. So, I’m going
to break the bad news.”
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