The Master of Misfit Toys

“Permission to enter the General’s office, sir.”

“Granted.  At ease, Walt.  What’s on your mind?”

“I have just received notice that my request for discharge has been denied.”

“Yes, that it has.”

“May I ask why?”

“You may.”

“…All right, then.  Why?”

“You read the letter, didn’t you Samuelson?  It’s all on there.”

“With all due respect, sir, there is nothing on there.  No reason has been given, no demerits, marks, or suspensions of any kind have been cited.  I have served twenty years, voluntarily, turned down opportunities for honorable discharge numerous times.  Now that I request an honorable discharge I am denied it without cause.  Sir, I have a right to know why I am not being allowed to leave.”

“You want my wording, or the CIA’s, son?”

“I don’t understand what that is supposed to mean, General.”

“Nah, you wouldn’t.  Long string-a phone calls short, they think you’re an intelligence risk.  Son, you seen more classified shit in five of those twenty years than I seen in thirty-seven.  I don’t know how the hell it happened, but it did.  Bad luck, maybe.  You might’a seen more than any member of the service alive.”

“They consider me a security risk by merit of possession of knowledge alone, sir?”

Intelligence risk, Corporal.  And I quote, ‘It’s not what he will or will not do, but what he possesses the mental capacity to do.’  They don’t take chances up at the top.”

“Am I to understand that the White House is ordering me to stay enlisted until I drop dead, General?”

“This ain’t coming from the White House, Samuelson.  This is from the Red House.”

“…The Scarlet?”

“The Scarlet.”

“Lord almighty…  I thought they were supposed to be considerate.”

“They are, Walt.  They made me a deal.”

“With all due respect, sir, you’re not the one who needs a deal; I am.”

“With all due respect, Wally, we’re going to take it whether it’s yours or mine.  God knows you deserve that discharge more than most, after this psychedelic meat grinder you’ve been through, but they ain’t giving it to us, so if you want it, we gotta play by their rules.”

“With all due respect, ‘Johnny’, I am very much tired of playing by ‘their rules’ when I’m not even allowed to look at the rulebook.”

“Ain’t we all, son, ain’t we all…  But, cards on the table:  I am to ‘officially’ deploy you on a refueling station in the South Pacific until further notice.  Effectively, you’re being furloughed.  It’s quiet, it’s out of the way, it’s tropical; nice place, the kind millionaires would buy as a vacation home.”

“…And I am not allowed to leave.”

“Not without official supervision or the Scarlet’s consent.”

“House arrest, in other words.”

“Damn it, Walt, it was the best I could do.  You can appeal it for the rest of the year if you want to.  As your superior officer, I’d advise that you don’t.  Take the island, Corporal; don’t make me make it an order.”

“…What if they scrubbed my memory?”

“…Son, ask yourself that question.  Do you really want them to scrub your memory so you can go home?”

“……No, sir.  I do not.”

“Then start packing.  Some suit’ll be coming by at oh-seven-hundred tomorrow to explain the details.  Just a heads-up, there’s a few curve balls they’ll be throwing you.”

“Sir?”

“Samuelson, let me ask you a question:  how are ya with kids?”

{A prologue to a roleplaying scenario with a few of my friends.  If you are them, this will make more sense.  If you are not, you’ll have to make do with the sense you’ve already made.}

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