DISCLAIMER: Not mine. I promise I'm only borrowing them and will return them to their rightful owners whenever they ask for them back. My imagination took a flight of fancy.....my bank account stayed empty. (Seriously, the cast of The West Wing belong to Warner Bros. and I'm only borrowing them for some free daydreaming that I wrote down).
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The first in a series of stories introducing Kate Harper and establishing her as 'one of the gang'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ncruuk[at]gmail.com
Introducing Kate Harper Admiral Percy Fitzwallace
"Enter!" The call was loud enough it could have been heard above the sound of the North Atlantic crashing against the deck, which made sense given where Admiral Fitzwallace had earned most of his braid.
"At ease Commander..." The invitation to relax was delivered in a different tone, a quieter, softer voice that conveyed not only the relaxing of the strict military protocols but also that the Admiral had time for the visitor, "...have a seat," something the second instruction confirmed: the opportunity to sit in the presence of the Head of the Joint Chiefs was not a right, but something that was earned over many years.
"Thank you Sir," replied Kate Harper decorously, before establishing herself on the chair with the grace and care of someone who had total control of their body, right down to how many millimetres their ribs moved when they breathed.
"You're not in uniform," observed Fitz, resting his joined hands on his desk, no longer interested in the report he was annotating.
"No Sir, my orders were to report to Dr McNally at 0900 in civilian dress."
"And you're wondering what that means?" guessed Fitz, studying her, noting the uncertainty that was just about visible despite her careful attempts to control and conceal it.
"You're not having to go back out as an Agent, Kate."
"Sir?" Kate was relieved but still confused - if she wasn't being recalled by the CIA, why did she need to report to a civilian as a civilian, at least in appearance.
"Dr McNally needed a second pair of hands to guide the West Wing and I suggested you. She's given you the job but only if I put you on the reserve list. You start advising the President next week, but let Nancy tell you that..." remarked Fitz, his eyes sparkling as he thought how irritated with him his friend and fellow Presidential Advisor would get if she knew he'd stolen her thunder so to speak.
"Thank you Sir." It took every shred of Kate Harper's massed experiences as a Naval Officer and CIA operative to not react to that startling revelation with anything more than a slight dilation of the pupils and twitching of her right eyelid.
"Don't thank me Kate, advise me."
"You won't get it right the first few times, none of us do, not even Jed Bartlet but you will get it, quicker than many would but that will still be slower than the likes of Leo McGarry will expect."
"What will you expect Sir?" asked Kate, canting her head as she considered her mentor, a gesture he had seen her do a thousand times if there was one 'tell' to her identity, even when undercover, it was that head movement.
"That you become Nancy McNally's deputy and one of Jed Bartlet's most valued advisors. You can do the job Commander."
"Yes Sir." Recognising the whip in his tone returning, Kate instinctively felt herself sit a little straighter as Admiral Fitzwallace emphasised his statement with her rank: this wasn't just a job, it was a recommendation from him to others about her abilities and suitability for this task.
"I'll see you in the Sit Room Commander " advised Fitz warmly, rising to his feet, indicating to Kate that their meeting was over, prompting her to mirror his actions, preparing for dismissal.
"One more thing Kate "
"Act surprised for Nancy "
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