Cierra kept her eyes closed as she eavesdropped on the conversation between the Major and one of the doctors watching over her. He was whispering but both men thought she was asleep.
“I want her kept on enough drugs that she can’t concentrate. The last thing we need is her trying to slip into the other world in her condition.”
The doctor made a noise showing he believed the officer was a fool. “Anyone with a lick of sense wouldn’t attempt to walk twenty-six miles with a broken leg, Major. Why don’t you worry about security while we take care of the medical end?”
The officer hissed, “Doctor, if anything happens to her, I doubt any of us would see daylight again in our lifetime. My superiors want her safe and here, not walking around wounded and a target for every psycho and terrorist in the country. We already have plans to move her in a few days to a more secure location. Until that time we want her sedated enough to prevent her from jumping but awake enough so that irritating friend of hers won’t cause a fuss with the press. Do we understand one another?”
“Major, I might be just a hospital administrator but I think I know enough about the law that you can NOT force this woman to do anything she doesn’t want to. She isn’t a prisoner or a criminal.”
“But she is a threat to National Security. As such, we can invoke whatever actions needed to protect this country.”
The men left the hallway and Cierra couldn’t hear anything else. Now she had a clue to what was going on. She’d have to make plans.
That afternoon, Hallie arrived, smiling pleasantly.
“How’s it going?”
Cierra blinked, feeling the effects of the drug added to her IV drip. She had trouble putting two thoughts together but fought against the effects.
Before the nurse had came in and adjusted her IV she had formed a tentative plan. First, she needed to distract the Major. She hated the idea of using Hallie but she had few choices.
“Hey, any luck getting them to let people in to visit?”
“Yeah, somewhat. You need to give me a list of people you’d want to see and I’ll give it to the Major.”
Cierra licked her lips and gave her the names of the people she knew locally. Hallie wrote them down in her memo book and closed it.
“How do you feel?”
“Dopey. I guess the pain meds are making it hard to think.” Cierra paused trying to gather her thoughts then reopened her eyes. “Hey, a thought just crossed my mind. If I’m considered the Queen of our village, does that mean I’m a dignitary of some sort? I would think they’d give me a room with a view or something if I am,” she grinned, making it sound like a joke. She knew Hallie would take hold of it like a bone and run with it.
“They call you ‘queen’ there?”
“Yeah, at least some of them. Most of them say ‘hey you’.”
Hallie chuckled just as Cierra knew she would but was looking thoughtful. “Do you want me to try and swing that idea to the Major? I think he has some notion that he has authority over you. This would put a bee in his bonnet,” she grinned, winking.
“Sounds like a plan to me. The military has been a pain in my ass for the last few years. Time to get a little revenge back,” Cierra said with a lop-sided grin then yawned.
“I’ll let you sleep. Let me take care of everything,” Hallie offered. Cierra nodded and her former girlfriend left the room.
· * * * *
Hallie didn’t go to the Major with the idea but rather headed for the office and spoke with the head of the law firm. A gleam in his eye told her that he saw a way to benefit the law firm by representing a visiting dignitary.
“Let me contact a few people who might get me up the line. Someone higher than that Major’s superiors need to change his orders or we’d just be treading water.” He promised to get back to her as soon as possible.
Several hours later he called her to his office. She sat down and he grinned.
“I spoke,” he said slowly, his grin growing wider, “with the President of these United States.” Mr. Holmes clasped his hands in front of him with a huge grin and a puffed out chest. Hallie laughed at his pleased attitude.
“And what did he say?” she asked, believing the news had been very good indeed.
“He said,” her boss said as he leaned forward, “that as a visiting Head of State and acknowledged ‘Queen’ to her people, that she would receive all due respect and protection, including diplomatic immunity. She even has the right to have an Embassy in the United States. I think a hospital room with a nicer view is the very least she will receive, Ms. Preston. Also, since she asked you to represent her during her stay here, that if the military impedes you in any manner, they would find themselves up for a Court Marshall.” Mr. Holmes handed her a paper. It was a fax from the office of the President. Hallie read it and grinned.
“I’ll enjoy setting that arrogant pri-- um, officer in his place. May I take time to visit her later today?”
“You can have better than that. Until Ms. White returns to her world you have been given exclusive duty to her needs. Charles can take over your cases until then.”
· * * * *
Major Winthrop read the paper once more then curbed the impulse to crumble it and toss it in the nearest shredder. Apparently that irritating redhead pulled a few strings. His orders now were to treat the shaman with kid gloves and to show her every courtesy that would be shown any visiting dignitary. His commanding officer stated in the fax that he would be contacting him shortly.
The Major’s aide scurried up the hallway and handed him a secured phone. The conversation was short and sweet. Their orders were straight from the White House. The hospital administrator would also be contacted and given his instructions.
Cierra found herself being moved from her room. Her heart was still pounding from the fright they had given her. She had believed that the military was moving her early because of Hallie’s interference. Once it was explained that she was moving to another room within the building she relaxed slightly.
She was taken to another floor to a private room. It was bright and cheerful since it had a large window facing the park across the street. It was still above ground level but Cierra felt she could still deal with that problem.
Twenty minutes later, after a sponge bath given by a young and cute nurse, she was resting comfortable while watching television. A knock at her door made her look up. Jim and Mabel peeked in.
“Hey! Come here you two,” Cierra said with a smile, holding out her arms for a hug from each.
Jim spoke first since Mabel was weepy. “How are you doing Cierra? We heard about the accident and tried to find out more but we were given the runaround. Then we got a call from your lawyer and was told we had permission to visit you.”
“I’m okay. Broke my leg and still muddle headed from the painkillers but okay. How’s things going for you?”
“Fine. Kelly got an email from those scientists. They mentioned that there’s a lot of study groups who want to spend time there but we can cover that later. Has your lawyer come to see you this afternoon?”
“Not yet, why?”
Jim pointed at the television. “You haven’t watched the news?”
Cierra shook her head. “I just got in this room a little while ago. No TV in my last room.”
Jim shrugged and smiled a bit before looking serious. “Queen Cierra,” he said with a crooked grin and a mock bow, “you have been given full diplomatic immunity by the President. Do you mind if we ride on your shirttails for a while? I wouldn’t mind being treated like a king for a few days.”
Cierra wondered if her pain medication was making her imagine things. “Huh?”
Mabel touched her shoulder. “You’re a Queen so they are treating you like visiting royalty!” she squealed.
“Oh my God! I guess I owe Hallie a huge favor. I was just teasing her about getting a better room.”
The three of them visited until Cierra began nodding off. They promised to return later.
Her grogginess began wearing off the next day as the painkillers were decreased and the sedation was no longer administered. She asked for a set of crutches and claiming boredom. The nursing staff tried to get her to ride in a wheelchair but Cierra threw around her weight. She wanted the crutches available in case she needed them to escape. The nurses sighed and contacted the administrator who told them to allow it. She took a short trip on the metal crutches up and back along the corridor and returned to her room.
Her doctor visited her later in the morning.
“Hey doc, when can I go home?”
He looked flustered and mentioned perhaps in a few days. They still wanted to do a few tests. A short time later the Major came to visit her. She sensed he was angry but he kept a pleasant expression on his face.
She asked that once she was given the okay to go home if she could be given an escort to her former residence at the farm. She knew Jim or Mabel would be happy to do it but didn’t want them in danger.
“I haven’t been given orders to escort you ma’am. I would have to speak with my superiors first.”
Something about his words set off alarms in her head. The President might give one set of orders but would those under him follow them? She shivered and thanked him. Perhaps she ought to make her own plans—and fast. First she needed to contact Hallie but she hadn’t been given a room with a phone.
Her friends visited again a few hours after Hallie. Just before they left Cierra asked Jim to remain for a moment longer. The man told Mabel he would join her in a second and leaned down close to Cierra.
“Contact Hallie for me. I need her ASAP and a cell phone too.”
“Okay, she’ll be here first thing in the morning. Get some rest.” He gave her a pat on the arm and left the room.
· * * *
As promised, Hallie arrived even before breakfast did. She waltzed in and gave Cierra a cell phone and recharging unit with a flourish. “Here. I had a spare in the drawer and recharged it. It’s still active and the number is different from the one I use now. I put in the numbers I thought you might need.”
Cierra yawned and hit the contact list. On the list was Hallie’s, of course, along with one for Jim, Mabel, and the President.
“I have his number too?” she asked in shock.
“Well, his office number. The one you don’t need to go through the White House operator to reach him. So, what’s the problem? Jim sounded like it was urgent.”
“I was wondering what my options were. Hallie, I don’t really trust Major Winthrop. Do you know anyone high up that would be better? I don’t want him in trouble, just gone.”
“Hmm, well, I did date this one woman officer before I met you. She looked damned good in her uniform, let me tell you.”
Cierra chuckled. “I’m sure. Was she the decent sort?”
“Yup. Mary Webb was a real sweetie pie. Demanded the best from her troops but had a heart like a snowball in summer. Does she sound more like the type you want guarding you?”
“Yeah. Now the question is, can you arrange it? It won’t be for long anyway, Hallie. Once I’m healed enough to leave I want to get back home. People are worried about me.”
“Let me make some calls and get back to you. I’ll call you on the cell phone so keep it close.”
They said goodbye as a nurse entered the room with a tray. They nodded at one another and the young woman helped set up the moveable tray so Cierra could eat comfortably. She uncovered the tray and Cierra was surprised to see fine china rather than a cheap divided tray.
Her meal consisted of Eggs Benedict, fruit, thin sliced ham, and a croissant. To drink she had a choice of coffee, tea and juice. Cierra grinned. At least her title got her better food.
Continued in Part 9
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