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Personal Protection


"Hi, people!" 
     "Hi, I thought you-" Doc stopped dead at the vision of swinging flowing blue-green silk that turned out to be Niko in a very feminine summer dress. Instead of swiveling completely around to lay his boots back on his desk as he'd planned originally, he set them to the ground and attempted to get up. "Wow. I'm blinded!"
     "Don't make such a fuss, Doc," she said with a laugh. "I'm only here to pick up my company to the cinema up." 
     "That dress in the darkness a cinema is a waste," Doc said with deepest conviction. He frowned. "What did I say? A felony!" He put his hand over his heart in a theatrical gesture. "You can't do that-" 
     "Keep calm. I'm sure Shane will agree to have a sundae afterwards," she grinned, locking eyes with the ST. "Are you finished?" 
     "Not again," Zach grumbled, spotting a red-blinking icon on his screen. He clicked it and saw his fears confirmed. "The board turned down his application for a civilian afternoon again." He looked at Shane. "I'm sorry. You have to-" 
     "Yes, Goose. I'm sure-" Doc began- and stopped when the ST just shrugged, opened a desk drawer and pulled a pale yellow form out - without trashing any furniture. 
     The silence lasted for a moment while Goose's lightpen whizzed over the transparency, filling it out.  
     "Uhm, Goose... you do know that you can't leave the base without having official permission, don't you?" Doc asked carefully. 
     Goose didn't even look up, just continued scribbling. 
     "He sure does, Doc." Niko left the entrance to the office and finally let the door slide shut behind her. 
     "It's not like this is the first time this has happened, is it?" 
     She looked towards Zach. "What's their excuse for not granting it this time?" she asked him. 
     He scanned the document quickly. "'Possible threat to publ-'" 
     "'Possible threat to public safety.'" Goose said dryly, looking up from his form. "Their standard excuse. Or did you expect a bunch of senators to come up with something witty?" He tapped his lightpen against the form. 
     "What's your reason this time, Niko?" 
     "Uhm..." she thought a moment. "I'm afraid of the dark." 
     "Okay, that's the cinema. And the sundae?" 
     "Groups of people and... agoraphobia," she smiled. "You can sit outside in the ice cream shop." 
     "Okay." He signed the form lazily, got up and tossed it over to Zach while heading for Niko. "I've got a mission the next four hours." 
     Zach scanned it quickly. "Good. Agoraphobia without an 'n' after the first A. It's no rabbit-phobia," he grinned and x-ed the letter out. 
     "I'll keep that in mind for the next time." 
     Goose offered Niko his arm. "Shall we?" 
     "Sure, otherwise we'll miss the beginning of the film." 
     "Hey, what movie is playing?" Zach called after them. 
     Goose raised an astonished eyebrow, looking back at his captain. "Since when is that important?" Niko next to him giggled as the door slid shut behind them. 
     Doc frowned. "But I thought his application was turned down?" he asked hesitatingly. "Why can he leave with her now?" 
     Zachary smirked. "Because he is on duty, Doc." He waved the pale yellow form in the air. 
     "Niko asked for 'personal protection,' -- and he was available and I granted it." 
     "Wait a second. He can't take her to a movie because he's a threat to public safety, but he can accompany her to a movie to guarantee her safety?" 
     "That's about it." Zachary snickered quietly. 
     "That's ridiculous!" 
     "No, that's an afternoon with movies and a sundae for the two of them." Zach grinned.  
     "Or an exposition, the national forest, museums, theater, live shows, circus... though Niko mentioned once that the ticket sellers would look a bit edgy at his openly carried blasters." 
     "I guess the outdoor swimming pool would be problematic," Doc said dryly. 
     The captain shrugged. "BETA's installations are better anyway." 


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