||Approx 100,000 words,
296 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
||Through the series
finale “Fair Winds & Following Seas”
||IM-15 for sexual
||Mac, Harm and Mattie
begin life in London while Mac and Harm begin the challenge of
having their own child.
Harm’s eyes were still shut, but he was awake and soaking up the
warmth of the soft sexy body at his side. He didn’t think the smile had
left his face since the late April evening just a week ago when Mac had
shown up at his door and asked to talk about “you and me.” They had said
they would get married in London or San Diego depending on the flip of
the coin. Mac had called tails, which had meant they would marry in San
Diego, and Harm would resign his commission, his promotion, and hope to
get his retirement at 20 years. The coin had landed tails and then Mac
had pulled a fast one on him that he hadn’t seen coming.
The coin landed with a jingle on the floor and spun to a stop before
landing with the scale side down.
“It’s tails, Ma’am...you won the toss...Sorry Captain, but it looks like
Colonel Mackenzie will be taking the job in San Diego.” Bud had looked
sadly at Harm knowing he would have to give up the new title.
“No Bud...I won’t.” Mac had said with a smile. “We may get married in
San Diego -after all that’s where Harm’s parents live, but I belong with
my husband in London. I’m the one that will resign my commission.”
“Mac?” Harm’s warm voice drew her eyes to his and they had one of their
infamous silent conversations.
“I’m sorry Colonel, but there is no way the Marine Commandant is going
to let you retire with the skills you have. I can probably send someone
else to San Diego, but I believe the best you’ll be able to do is
reserve your commission - not resign. We need your skills.” General
Creswell spoke calmly knowing that this could turn out to be a volatile
situation if not handled carefully. His wife Dora had taught him that
much about love and relationships. “I’ll expect you both in uniform at
JAG tomorrow morning for final steps in your rotation out. Commander
Turner, I suggest you pack a bag for San Diego TAD. Now, if you’ll
excuse me, I need to get back to the office and get some work
done...tonight...Petty Officer Coates...if you could join me in say an
hour, I would appreciate it. I’ll try not to keep you long.”
“Aye-aye sir.” Coates saluted him as he finished his drink, placed it on
the bar and left the group in shocked silence.
“What do you think he’s up to?” asked Bud as they watched the door close
between the General and the group of long time friends.
Harm held Mac close in his arms as he looked into her face and asked
her, “Mac, are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes...and now that the General says I’ll probably have to reserve my
commission - not resign - it seems even a better solution for us. I
really think that where our wedding takes place is all that coin flip
should have decided.”
“But you agreed...” Harm protested.
“Yes...and all along I had a plan to finally upstage you with a grand
gesture.” Mac looked up at Harm pleased with herself. The smile on her
face and the light in her eyes reinforced her delight at being able to
be the one to pull off the grand gesture on him this time.
“You planned it?”
“Yeah...call it pay back for the stunt you pulled when Bud was hurt that
time.” Mac smiled before she leaned in and kissed his lips briefly in
front of their friends.
So much had happened in the short time since then, Harm thought as he
enjoyed the early morning quiet in their bed and Mac’s warmth at his
side. They had reported to JAG in uniform the next morning. The General
had been a busy man after he had left them. Coates was there to greet
them, her bubbly personality even happier this morning as she bustled
around doing her job.
“Good morning...He’s waiting for you...go on in.”
“Good morning Captain Rabb and Colonel Mackenzie...I have news for you.
As I expected the SecNav informed me that he would not approve your
resignation Colonel. He did accept Commander Turner as your replacement
to take over the San Diego billet, but does have a reserve billet that I
think you’ll like.” Creswell wore that mysterious look on his face when
he knew something his people didn’t and he could enjoy the torment of
keeping them in suspense.
“Thank you sir...I think. What is the reserve billet, may I ask?”
“You will provide legal counsel at our Embassy in London and also be
available on an on call basis for the Judiciary. Your Commanding Officer
will be General Langley currently heading up Judicial Services in
Naples. This will allow you to use the skills for which you’ve been
trained. Travel is involved with the Judiciary. Will this be a problem?”
Creswell paused and saw Mac glance at Harm. He also saw Harm’s subtle
nod and smile back to the Lt. Colonel, before she returned a nod to him.
“Captain Rabb, normally your office provides legal counsel to the
embassy, but the SecNav feels that Colonel Mackenzie can fill that roll
as a reservist under General Langley which frees up your people unless
there is a situation. I spoke to General Langley this morning Colonel
and he was impressed by the fit rep you received from Admiral Morris
during your TAD to the judiciary before. He said to tell you that he
will keep you relatively busy. ”
“I don’t know what to say, General...thank you doesn’t seem adequate.”
Mac looked from her fiancé to her commanding officer in wonder.
“Thank you will do nicely. I assume this is acceptable to both of you?”
“Yes sir.” Harm spoke for both of them as Mac simply nodded.
“Good, I took the liberty of having Coates file a last minute change of
shipping orders on your possessions Colonel. They will be going to
London as well. Were we correct to assume you want them sent to the same
destination as Captain Rabb’s things?”
“Yes, sir,” Mac answered after exchanging another brief glance at her
“Coates said that she thought you would need some extra time to deal
with some court concerns regarding your foster daughter. She is
currently making some calls at my request to try to expedite the court
situation. As for your flight schedule I believe you have a lay over in
San Diego before you depart for London. I’m sorry I can only delay your
departure by one week. Captain Rabb you must report for duty on May 9.
Colonel, General Langley will meet you at the Embassy the following day,
Tuesday, at 0900 Zulu.”
“Thank you sir.” Harm and Mac answered in unison.
“About your staff requests for London, Captain, do you have those ready
“Yes sir I do.” Harm handed Creswell his list of requested staff. He had
decided to keep most of the ones already there. He had met some of them
at different times throughout the years while others had solid
reputations. He wanted to give them a shot. He had needed to appoint
someone as his assistant. When Bud had turned down the billet, he
started to look at lists of people due for promotion. A name from the
past had been on it and that was the person he wanted to try as his
assistant. He had also needed to find a reliable investigator and would
need his own yeoman. Last night he had shared his request list with Mac
and she had agreed.
General Creswell studied the list. “Captain Rabb, two of the three names
on here directly impact my plans...but you have made excellent choices.
Have you spoken to any of them as yet?”
“No sir I haven’t.”
“I will have Petty Officer Coates cut the orders for all of them and
they will arrive in London next week as well. I, of course, will need to
replace practically my entire staff.” Creswell said with a grimace.
“You still have Lt. Vukovic, sir,” Mac reminded him unable to resist the
subtle jab at her CO for all his praise of the young officer and his
insistence that he had potential.
“I deserve that Colonel...and him I guess. Oh well, I could send him out
with Commander Turner...maybe I’ll just do that. At least I have
“Yes sir. He’s a good man and won’t let you down.” Mac praised the man
Harm had taken under his wing and the two of them had mentored over the
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve with both of you. Good
luck.” General Creswell shook hands with both of them and walked them
out. “Petty Officer Coates it seems your presence is requested in
London. I’d like you to cut orders for Gunnery Sergeant Victor Galindez
and Commander Meg Austin to report to London, then get me a revised list
of who’s left to staff this place before you cut your orders to London
as well. Any idea who could take your place?”
“Yes sir!” Coates watched the general return to his office and then
looked at Harm and Mac. “London?”
“Unless you don’t want to go with us,” Harm answered.
“I do sir. I just...wow...”
“Harm, I think we’ve left the Petty Officer speechless. Jen, we know
you’re taking courses and you’re feeling that you don’t need us the same
anymore. We agree you don’t need us, but we’ve also learned that family
is important and having our family stay together as much as we can is
important to us. We’ll be there to let you spread your wings and we’ll
support you. Harm and I both want you to join us in London.”
“Thank you...I think I’d like that. Oh...you have a court date at 1500
today in Blacksburg. I’ve taken the liberty of booking the flight for
Mattie as well and told them she will probably be in a wheelchair so
they are prepared to meet her needs. Here are the papers you’ll need.
Looks like I’ll see you next week.”
“Thanks Jennifer...for everything.” Harm’s sincerity was evident in his
voice. “You ready Colonel?”
“Yeah, are you?” Mac asked.
“Without a doubt. Let’s go.”
Harm felt Mac stir at his side and he opened his eyes to watch her.
She took his breath away at times. He thought about their first time
together last week. They had been at his apartment and once they had
started kissing, it was like neither of them wanted to stop. They had
kissed over and over each one with more heat and passion than the last.
At the same time they were trying to talk over the things they needed to
discuss and decide. It took them nine years to let go but when they
finally did the passion had blazed hot and they had come together in a
rapid fiery explosion of passion before they had hurried off to tell
their friends and make the arrangements that needed to be made.
Later that night they had taken time to really explore and learn about
each other’s bodies and what felt good to each one. They were still
learning and exploring. Harm had assumed that after the first
mind-altering climax they had shared, that it would return to something
he was more use to...but it hadn’t. Each time they uncovered new depths,
new needs, new likes, and more passion resulting in something as good as
or better than the time before.
They had arrived in Blacksburg after leaving the General’s office.
Mattie had been thrilled to see them and her doctor had reluctantly
agreed to let her out of the hospital if Mac and Harm could take the
time to learn some basics with the therapists and nurses before she
Mattie’s spine injury had effected her ability to control her bodily
functions. She was starting to recover sensation which helped. She would
need to remain catheterized for the time being and would need assistance
with personal care. Mac had not hesitated to have the nurse and Mattie
show and tell her what to do. Mattie would need to be in a wheelchair.
The hospital allowed them to take the one that she was using.
The therapist showed Harm and Mac the exercises they wanted Mattie to do
three times a day. Mattie would need to go into a rehabilitation center
when they arrived in London. Her doctor would make the arrangements so
they would expect her on the evening of May 8. Harm hated to have to put
Mattie in a hospital, but Mattie even agreed it would be better for her
to really learn how to be independent before she came home.
The doctor gave Harm a letter for the judge regarding Ton Johnson’s lack
of parenting during this time, while Mac had helped Mattie to get
cleaned up and dressed.
“Captain, I’m impressed with how you’ve been here for this girl. When I
first saw her, you know I felt her prognosis wasn’t good. But with a
family like you to support her, I think she has a good chance to fully
“The military has a medical and rehabilitation facility in London.
Here’s the number and information they would need to admit her as my
dependent. Could you please try there first?” Harm asked.
“Of course. Call me Friday and I’ll give you a status report. Good luck
“Thank you Doctor.”
The three of them had reported to the courthouse at the appointed time.
The same judge that had handled the original disposition presided on the
“Hello again Mattie. How are you feeling?” the judge asked.
“I’m getting stronger every day, Ma’am.” Mattie politely answered.
“I’m glad to hear that. I understand congratulations are in order
“Yes Ma’am. You may remember Lt. Colonel Mackenzie...she has finally
agreed to marry me.”
“And together you are filing for joint custody of Mathilda Grace
“Yes, your Honor.” Harm answered.
“How do you feel about this Mattie? I mean you consented a few months
ago to be returned to the custody of your biological father, Tom
Johnson. I’d like you to tell me why I should grant the request of Sarah
Mackenzie and Harmon Rabb, Jr..”
“Your Honor, Harm - Captain Rabb - made sure that my father and I talked
and worked things out. I felt that he would be there for me if I ever
needed him, but I wanted to be able to give my father another chance.
Mac - Colonel Mackenzie - and I talked and she explained to me that she
had waited too long to give her father a second chance and to get at the
truth. She regretted it and wished at times that she had someone like
Harm in her life back then to make sure she had gotten to the truth. My
father was doing okay. He would sometimes talk to Harm and get advice on
how to handle me. But when I had the accident he fell apart.
Thankfully I had Harm. I can remember hearing his voice and feeling that
I had to hang on...that I had to open my eyes and that giving up was not
an option. I would have died without him there. It’s going to be a while
before I can take care of myself. I’m 16 now, and I know it’s unusual
for the courts to take permanent action in cases with someone my age.
But I know that I need a lot of care and Tom Johnson can’t give me what
I need right now. Harm and Mac are my family and they are being
transferred to London. If I don’t go with them, I’ll be alone. With
them, maybe my father can get well again and I can stay in touch with
him when he’s ready. Harm has already shown me what a good father he is.
And Mac is good for both of us. Please your Honor, say that I can
legally be part of their family...that I don’t have to stay here and
“I have read the letter written by Tom Johnson and the letter submitted
by Mattie’s physician both supporting this request as well. Although it
is highly unusual, as has this entire situation and case been, I am
going to agree to the minor, Mathilda Grace Johnson, being placed in the
care and custody of Harmon Rabb and Sarah Mackenzie immediately. Are
there any contentions to my decree at this time?” The judge paused and
Harm, Mac and Mattie held onto each other waiting. “Then it shall be so.
Any questions? Mattie?” asked the judge seeing her hand go up.
“Yes, Ma’am. I know that at my age adoption is rarely considered, but to
avoid confusion and hassles in a new country, I would like the court to
grant a legal change in my name by adding Rabb.”
“Captain Rabb...would you like to respond to Mattie’s request?”
“Thank you Ma’am. Mattie, I would love you to use my name, but are you
sure you want to make this change legally? You would be making your name
Mathilda Grace Johnson Rabb. That’s a mouthful.”
“Can I drop Johnson?”
“Mattie are you sure you want to do that?”
“Mac, when you and Harm get married, are you keeping Mackenzie or adding
Rabb or changing your name to Rabb?” Mattie asked.
“I’ll change my name to Rabb.”
“Then I want to drop Johnson and change my name to Rabb too. Please
judge...you can do this right?”
“Yes, I can add that to the decree...if you’re sure.” The judge let her
think a minute and waited for her to nod again before making the name
“Congratulations on your new family and new name Mattie and good luck in
Harm felt Mac’s hand slide across his stomach as she wiggled closer
still, her leg resting on his. He smiled and returned to his memories.
They had been very happy leaving the courthouse. They had driven to
Mattie’s house and packed up her things. The house was not wheelchair
accessible, so Harm had carried her inside while Mac brought the chair
in. She had supervised the packing of the things she wanted to take with
her. Six boxes would be shipped to London, the rest went into the
suitcases that would travel with them.
They had returned to Washington, DC later that evening and taken a suite
in a hotel not far from the airport. Mattie had been exhausted and went
to bed early. The next morning they had flown to San Diego to introduce
Mac and Mattie to his mother and stepfather. Harm had decided to
surprise his parents and they had shown up unannounced at their La Jolla
home on the cliffs over looking the Pacific ocean.
“Harm! What a wonderful surprise...and you brought people with
you...come in...please.” Harm’s mother had greeted him with a hug and
then ushered them into her home.
“Mom...this is Mac...my fiancée...and our ward...Mattie.”
“Mac...I just knew you were the one...now why he’s taken so long to
bring you out here to meet us I don’t know. Welcome to our home.”
“Thank you Mrs. Burnett.”
“Please...call me Trish. Mattie...I’m so glad to see you were able to
get out of the hospital and make this trip. Are you tired?” Trish looked
at the teenager sitting in the wheelchair which Harm had propelled
“A little...but I’m kind of hungry.”
“Good. Frank should be home soon for lunch and then we can all get to
know one another better.”
Harm had brought their things in from the car and shown them to the
bedrooms while Trish got their lunch ready. Mattie was put in the guest
suite that had its own bathroom. It was the one that Harm usually used
when he was here. Harm put Mac and his things in the guest house which
was next to the pool across the patio.
Introductions were done again when Frank got home as they sat down to
eat lunch. Trish and Frank asked about how long they had been engaged
and Harm and Mac had taken turns telling them about Harm’s promotion to
Captain and the limited time they had to decide what they were going to
do. Trish was disappointed to hear that they had come close to moving to
San Diego, but she understood how the military worked. She knew how
lucky they had been that the fates had smiled on these two finally and
that both had been able to keep their careers and be together.
“So when are you going to get married?” Trish had asked.
“We haven’t really had time to decide,” Mac had admitted.
“Are you going to have a big wedding?” Trish had pressed.
“I’d rather not...but if Harm wants to go that route...” Mac had been
interrupted by Harm.
“Mac...I want you to have the kind of wedding you have always wanted.”
Harm had taken her hand and smiled as he told her he would honor her
“Are you sure?” Mac had asked with a playful gleam in her eye.
“I’ve always wanted an outdoor wedding with a few special
guests...something private but special and beautiful,” Mac told them.
“In that case, I’d like to offer our patio,” Trish told them. “We could
pull something together if you’d like before you go to London.”
“It’s up to you Mac...I suggested we take a run to Las Vegas but she
didn’t want to do that,” Harm teased.
“Well I should hope not!” Trish responded.
“The coin toss said we should get married in San Diego, Harm, remember?”
Mac teased. “He was just teasing me Trish.” Mac assured her future
mother-in-law. “Actually this would be perfect. The General gave us only
a week until we have to report to London...can we really arrange things
“Let’s see...if you were to get married on Wednesday or Thursday you
could take off for a couple of days for a honeymoon before you leave for
London on Sunday...would that work?” Trish asked.
“We have to leave Saturday night actually to be there in time on
Sunday.”“ Harm informed his mother before looking at Mac.
Before either could say what was on their minds, Trish turned to Mattie.
“You wouldn’t mind staying here with Frank and me for a few days would
you Mattie?” Trish asked.
“No that would be okay.” Mattie agreed with a shy smile. She was old
enough to know that Harm and Mac would want some privacy but young and
innocent enough to be a little embarrassed by the thought of the kind of
intimacy they would share.
“Good...then after lunch, you two can start calling your friends and
find out how many can get here for Wednesday evening. Frank, will you
call Reverend Marsh and see if he can perform the wedding?” Frank had
nodded as Trish continued issuing directions.
“Harm, you call and find out if you need blood tests or not and if you
do make arrangements for the two of you to go in the morning. I know
they changed the waiting period from three days to 24 hours, so you
should go first thing in the morning to get the license. Once we know
how many people will make it, I’ll call the caterers. Tomorrow I think
we need to go shopping, right Mac?”
“Yes...although I have a white suit I can wear...”
“We’re going shopping. Mattie will need a new dress too.” Trish smiled
as she took control and organized the whole event.
The guest list had been short. Bud and Harriet Roberts, Jack Keeter and
Tom Boone had all promised to be there to see them get married on the
cliffs by the ocean in La Jolla. Bud and Harriet served as their
The men wore their dress whites. Harm had not brought them with him and
ended up getting a new set from the store at North Island Naval Air
Station. He picked up an extra set of Captain’s boards, insignia and
cover at the same time along with a new pair of white shoes.
Harriet had worn a navy blue sleeveless cocktail length dress and
carried a red rose. Mac had found a classic-cut pearl-white silk dress
shot with gold threads that boasted a pearl and beaded bodice above a
skirt that fell to mid-calf. The two-inch heeled shoes that came with it
had the same bead work and gold threads on the toe of the shoe. In her
dark hair rested a halo of pearls and glass beads woven into a gold
braid with miniature red roses. She made a breath-taking bride.
Harm had arranged for them to take a short flight via Frank’s company
plane to Avalon on Catalina Island for a quick honeymoon that included
golf, laying on the beach, and time to be with one another. The Seaport
Village Inn had the privacy they desired. It was the perfect setting for
romance and fun, something that they had denied themselves for far too
long but promised to give each other on their honeymoon.
Today they would be heading back to pick up Mattie before leaving for
London, England and their new life together. Harm looked at his bride
sleeping in his arms. They had laughed and talked and just took pleasure
in being together. Last night they had started talking about Mac’s
endometriosis. They had tried a position that hadn’t worked for Mac, and
it brought the reality of the situation they faced crashing back to
Mac had been relaxed and enjoying Harm’s attentions. He had been
reminding her of the time she claimed he was a prude as he proceeded to
try a variety of things on her to show her how wrong she had been. He
had tried a position with her that would allow for deep penetration, but
when he had slid inside her body, slowly and gently, the awkward
position had given her the first discomfort during intercourse that she
had experienced in months, since before her surgical procedure. Before
she could say anything he had pull out and slid in again with a little
more force. When Mac had cried out and asked him to stop, he had frozen
and then carefully removed himself from her body.
“What is it Mac? Did I hurt you?” his anxiety and concern were barely
“It’s just the position I think...” Mac moved and opened her arms to
him. “Try it now...” Mac had pleaded after she had turned on to her back
and brought her legs up to wrap around his waist, a position that they
had used repeatedly with no problems.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes...please Harm...I want you inside me...please?”
Carefully he had entered her again and this time she had seemed to be
pain-free, moving with him; helping him bring them both to another
climax. As they had held each other afterwards, Harm had asked Mac to
tell him what she knew about her condition from the doctor.
“Dr. Chen said that the tissue that builds up can create blockages and
lesions that can sometimes be painful during intercourse. She cleaned up
the lesions that were in the lower tract and said that both ovaries and
tubes were severely compromised. She said that it is unlikely that I
could conceive and I asked why she hadn’t removed the blockages in the
upper tract and she said it’s a more involved procedure and didn’t think
it would do any good at this point.”
“Did you get a second opinion?” Harm asked.
“Not yet. Harm, are you sure you’re going to want to put up with
everything it might require for us to have a baby?”
“I will do what ever it takes until you tell me you no longer want to go
through with it. If we get to that point, we’ll talk about adoption and
foster care. Until then, we explore every option. Deal?” Harm had asked.
“Deal. I’ll call for a second opinion when we get to London.” Mac had
snuggled into his arms and promptly fallen asleep.
Now he was watching her sleep and thinking over the past week. Last
night had been a rude reminder that not everything in their world was
perfect. His heart had almost stopped when he had realized that what he
was doing had caused her pain, yet they had shifted positions and been
able to finish what they started. They had talked briefly afterwards,
but from the research he had done when she had first told him about her
condition, he knew that she would go through a lot if Dr. Chen’s
assessment was correct. He felt Mac stir and he turned his attentions
back to his wife, kissing her eyes as they fluttered in an attempt to
“Hey...mmmmm...I’ll give you about five minutes before I expect a kiss
with more substance,” Mac murmured.
“What makes you think I’m going to kiss you with any more substance than
this?” Harm teased back.
“Because you always do...you can’t resist...” Mac’s word were cut off
when Harm claimed her lips as she had known he would do. She opened her
mouth to meet his tongue, loving the way he used it to seek entrance
into her mouth before he would embrace hers. While some people would say
their tongues dueled, there was nothing combative about theirs. They
searched, sought each other out and caressed the other with their
tongues as they did their hands.
Harm broke the kiss and lifted his head to look at Mac. “I think we need
to talk about a few things before we leave, don’t you?”
“Yes. Like how do we handle the logistics of getting settled into
temporary quarters, settling Mattie into a rehabilitation center and
both returning to work...you right away. At least I have an extra day
before I need to report to General Langley at the Embassy.”
“It will all work itself out...but that wasn’t what I was referring to.
I think we need to talk more about what happened last night. I don’t
want to try that position again...and I don’t want you to be
uncomfortable when we make love. Tell me what else doesn’t feel
“Harm, really...that’s the only thing that didn’t feel good. Every thing
else...well let’s just say you seem to have the touch when it comes to
making me feel...good.”
“Oh yeah...so why don’t you start touching and stop talking, Flyboy...”
Harm had obliged with very satisfying results, while Mac was pleased she
had distracted him from talking about something she wasn’t prepared to
talk about again, until she had more information.
“Are you sure you don’t mind me leaving you like this?” Harm asked as he
slung his bag over his shoulder.
“It’s fine Harm. I’ll work on unpacking the things we need right away
and see if I can get some food for the cupboards. Now go...your driver
is waiting Captain Rabb.” She kissed him and then brushed the lint from
his jacket with the Captain’s stripes on the sleeve. She was proud of
Harm. He had overcome a lot to reach this point in his career and she
was glad the promotions board had been able to sort through all the
chaff in his records and recognize all that he had done for his country.
He deserved the promotion and this billet.
One of the perks of this billet was that he would have a car and driver
available to him as needed. This was due to the restrictions surrounding
military personnel wearing their uniforms in certain public areas and
the train station. Harm would need to keep a change of civilian clothes
and a clean uniform in his office at all times which was why he had a
bag with him this morning.
Climbing into the waiting car, Harm greeted the driver. “Good morning
Corporal,” Harm greeted the Marine driver that would be at his disposal.
“Morning Captain,” greeted Corporal Ruiz. “Petty Officer Under said that
someone is waiting for you already this morning.”
“Did he say who or what the nature of their business is?” Harm checked.
“Well let’s go see what they want, Corporal.”
“Right away sir.”
The corporal let Harm out and pointed him in the right direction. Harm
paused looking at the one story building in front of him. He took a
breath, pulled himself to his full height, and headed into his new
Harm was surprised to see a familiar face waiting for him when he
entered the building at 7 North Audley Way as he reported to his new
duty station with the intention of meeting his staff.
“Gunny! At ease,” he returned the salute and smiled as Gunny came to
attention and saluted him. “It’s good to see you.”
“You too...Captain. I must admit I was a little surprised when I got my
Harm extended his hand to shake with the Gunnery Sergeant whose talents
had been wasted at JAG Headquarters in Washington, DC. He introduced
himself and Gunny to the petty officer that was also waiting for him,
his temporary yeoman, Petty Officer Danny Unger. They talked as they
followed Petty Officer Unger to Harm’s office.
“Are you okay with this Gunny?” Harm asked wanting to have a situation
where the people working for him wanted to be there.
“Yes sir. I respect you and know that we can work well together. I hear
you and the Colonel have finally figured it out...Congratulations.”
“News travels fast...but thank you. Mac and I arrived yesterday with our
teenage ward, Mattie. She starts tomorrow with a reserve billet to
Judiciary and as the Embassy legal consultant. I know she’ll be happy to
“Have you settled in to your quarters yet?” Harm asked.
“Not yet. Wanted to check in here...get the lay of the land if
“The others will be reporting in this week. I don’t think you’ve met any
of them - at least not at JAG. Excuse me, Gunny,” he said turning to his
yeomen. “Thank you Petty Officer. I’d like to explore a little on my own
and then I’ll call you when I’m ready.”
“Aye-aye, sir.” Unger left closing the door behind him.
“Unger will be leaving after he trains my new yeoman, Petty Officer
Jennifer Coates. She was the General’s Petty Officer after Tiner left to
go to law school.”
“General? What happened to Admiral Chegwidden?” Gunny asked.
“Retired last year. General Gordon Creswell was promoted and given the
billet. He’s an okay guy, although he loves to keep you guessing. Gets
his kicks that way I guess. The admiral use to do that once in a while
“A Marine...how did he handle all you squids, sir?” teased the Gunny.
“Mac claims I gave him pause and forced him to reevaluate his opinions
on ‘squids’ and then Lt. Commander Bud Roberts did the same.”
“I spoke with Commander Roberts the other day. He’s the one that told me
about you and the Colonel. He said one of you was leaving the military.”
“We couldn’t see any other way for things to work and allow us to be
together. We flipped a coin and it landed tails...but Mac pulled a fast
one on me...said that was only for where we were getting married. She
announced that she would resign. The General informed us that the SecNav
probably would not accept her resignation and so she should plan on a
reserve billet of some kind. SecNav pulled through though and found the
“Excellent sir. Who’s going to be your XO?”
“Well I had tried to convince Bud to come over, but he and Harriet felt
they needed to stay stateside. I’ve asked Commander Meg Austin to be my
assistant. I worked with her at JAG before I met Mac. I’m hoping she’ll
get here today or tomorrow. Look Gunny, why don’t you take today to get
settled and report back here at 0800 tomorrow. Unger can show you your
office and give you a tour of this place. They’ve provided us with
closet space in each office as well as a locker room so we don’t have to
travel in uniform. I’ll be keeping uniform and civilian clothes here
just in case. After your tour tomorrow, come back here and I’ll explain
what I see your role being here.”
“Very well...I’ll see you then sir.”
Harm read information his predecessor had left before familiarized
himself with the building and the existing staff. When he had finished
making his rounds, he returned to his office to read through some files
waiting to be distributed.
“Hey Mattie...how you doing this morning?” Mac asked when Mattie
answered the phone.
“I think I have jet lag. I just want to sleep.” Mattie mumbled.
“Did you sleep okay last night?”
“Yes. What’s your place like?” Mattie asked.
“It’s temporary quarters Mattie...very temporary...Upstairs...no
elevator. I already called housing and they are looking for something
else for us. In the meantime, I think Harm wants to start looking for
something to buy...that we can make ours.”
“Guess I can’t come visit for now can I.”
“We’ll come see you every day...sometimes twice. I’ll be by around lunch
time. What would you like me to bring?”
“I don’t care...”
“I’ll surprise you.”
“Okay...see you later Mac.”
“Later, Mattie.” Mac hung up the phone and then called the medical
“This is Lt. Colonel Sarah Rabb, USMC. I would like to get an
appointment as soon as possible with a gynecologist...female if
“I’m sorry Ma’am...the only doctors we currently have available are
male. Dr. Wright can see you this afternoon around 1:30, however.”
“That would be wonderful...I was diagnosed with endometriosis and I want
his opinion on whether he thinks there is any chance that I can still
“I’ll make a note of it. Do you have your records with you?”
“Yes, but I believe if you access military medical records you’ll find
them under Lt. Colonel Sarah Mackenzie...I was just married last week.
My married name is Rabb.”
“Congratulations...we’ll see you at 1330 Zulu then.”
Mac had unpacked enough in the kitchen and in the bedroom and bathroom
to get by. She had gone to the market on the corner and purchased fresh
fruits and vegetables, some basic items, like milk, coffee, flour,
pasta, butter, bread, cheese, eggs, salad dressings and chocolate. She
returned to their residence, with her groceries and made up a salad to
take to Mattie along with some chocolate. She arrived just as the nurse
was removing covers from a very bland unappetizing plate of food.
Mattie’s nose was wrinkled up until she saw Mac holding up lunch bags.
“Fresh salad?” Mac asked and was greeted with a sparkling smile from
Over lunch they chatted like two people learning to be friends.
“Harm’s really big into family isn’t he?” Mattie asked.
“Yes...but isn’t having a family something important to all three of us
“Yeah...I guess you’re right. Think we can pull it off?”
“You know, I have this concern that in some ways we are all so much
alike that we’re going to struggle to open up to each other...we all
think we have to be strong and forget sometimes it’s okay to lean on
someone else.” Mac gently told Mattie.
“I know...but Harm says that he wants to set a good example for me and
that it pushes him to think about what he does or doesn’t do and how he
says things. Maybe that’s all we need to keep us going,” Mattie
suggested with a smile.
“Sometimes he surprises me with how wise he is.” Mac smiled at Mattie,
suddenly feeling the beginnings of a real bond developing between them.
Dr. Wright’s Office
Military Medical Facility
“Colonel Rabb?” asked the sandy-haired, freckle-faced doctor that
entered the examination room where Mac waited dressed in nothing but a
“Yes...you are Dr. Wright?”
“Yes Ma’am...and I’m older than I look as my 19 years in the military
before I reserved would attest to.” The youthful-appearing doctor smiled
trying to put Mac at ease.
“My apologies, doctor.” Mac smiled sheepishly for making assumptions.
“None needed. I’ve looked over your records from Dr. Chen. I’m familiar
with her. I understand you want a second opinion?”
“Well, I’ve seen the pictures that are in your file from a year ago when
you had the laparoscopy. Based on those before and after pictures, I’m
concerned that no attempt was made at that time to treat your ovaries or
fallopian tubes. Are you having any pain or discomfort now at any time?”
“None until this past weekend...my husband and I tried a different
position and I had pain - the first time since the procedures I’ve
“Has the discomfort or pain continued?” asked Dr. Wright as he made
“As I’m sure you may already know, the more well-endowed your husband
is, the more likely you would have discomfort during intercourse. The
fact that it only happens in certain positions could be a positive sign
that it is controlled. I’m going to use an ultrasound to look at your
ovaries and tubes. It should tell me enough to make a decision on our
course of action.”
Mac relaxed on the table while the doctor used the cold gel on her lower
stomach and took pictures of her reproductive organs. He showed her on
the monitor the areas that were effected. Her left tube was blocked at
the opening but not fully compromised as he had first read in the
report. Her ovary on that side, was actually ovulating as they watched.
Mac was fascinated at what she saw but didn’t process what it all meant
as they watched.
On the right side, the tube was more fully involved as was the ovary.
Her uterus showed only one area where the endometriosis was present. Its
location explained why the position they had tried was uncomfortable.
After an internal exam as well that was somewhat uncomfortable, the
doctor instructed Mac to get dressed and promised to be back with a plan
of action within 15 minutes.
Mac was dressed and eagerly waiting for his return when he knocked and
waited for her permission to enter.
“I think I have the news you want to hear Colonel...”
“I can get pregnant?” Mac interrupted him to ask.
“With another procedure I would say your chances will improve from Dr.
Chen’s five percent estimate to close to a 50% chance. How does that
“Fantastic! What needs to be done and when?”
“You will need to be hospitalized for two or three days. We’ll go in and
clean out the fallopian tubes. While not life-threatening...we can do it
with an epidural if you insist...you will have some discomfort
afterwards and we want to make sure you don’t show signs of infection
and are healing before we let you go home. You would be out of work
about a week. Is this something you want to go ahead with?”
“Nurse Morse...could you check my surgical schedule and see when we can
fit Mrs. Rabb in?”
“You have a cancellation for Friday.”
“Friday will be fine.” Mac took the instruction sheet the doctor gave
her and left the medical facility feeling like a weight had been lifted
from her shoulders. The miracle of birth was still a possibility after
all. She decided to head home to wait for Harm and to tell him the good