[Author's Note: This chapter takes place Right at the beginning of “Perplexing Information (Part 1)” of Phoenix Triumphant. Basically it’s what happens at the Sergeants’ Meeting that was called by General Hector and explains why Jason came home apprehensive and agitated. Oh and Sergeant Eagle is one of the Scout Sergreants on that first mission that Sarah went on back in Sarah's Phoenix. He's the one who leeked out that Phoenix Troop had a woman with them.]
Jason knew that when he stood to speak his idea there would be controversy. He just didn’t expect the reason first sited.
“If this is a ploy to keep her by your side for the duration of your Tri-Luna...” Sergeant Eagle stated, standing before called upon.
Jason hadn’t even thought of that. He looked at the man slightly dumbfounded.
“See he has no reply to that.” Sergeant Eagle looked smug.
“I just had not thought of that situation,” Jason responded truthfully. “And why should I want her with if I think of her in that sense. I have seen what General Wholawski is capable of and would rather she was a world away than to take her nearer to him.”
“If Smith had never been exposed as female would you disagree so vehemently?” Sergeant Sparrow asked.
Eagle remained silent.
“Smith was tried and tested like all other Hopefuls, and has shown an immunity to Nigiri poison,” Sparrow continued. “Before her gender was brought to light you wanted Smith in your troop.”
“Besides,” Griffon broke his silence, “you know well enough what Sarah Smith, was able to accomplish on my last mission with Phoenix.”
The argument went on between the Sergeants. There were those who supported the idea, and those who did not. At last, General Hector stood and raised his hand. “Sit,” he commanded them and they, like good soldiers, obeyed.
The General looked about his assembled group. They were not all of his Sergeants, for there were those still out in the field, and those tending to their troops. He still had First Years milling about that needed assigning. But this, this decision about their method for accomplishing the task the King had set before them was more important than all that. The success of it depended upon a strong group. Its success would determine how long a war Azure and Vervell would have to endure. Someone coughed and the Vervellean General reeled in his thoughts.
“Phoenix’s idea has merit.” He glared in Eagle’s direction silencing the man. “We are attempting to rescue the Princess, a woman.” He made sure everyone understood that point. “We do not know if the General has harmed her or not but if he has, she may not want to leave with another man.”
“Then it should be a Moyther who goes with us, not an unknown orphan,” Eagle muttered.
Jason heaved a sigh. General Hector shook his head.
“Moyther’s are not trained for combat. We know that Sarah Smith has been trained in both sword and hand to hand combat.”
Jason stood and General Hector glanced his way and nodded.
Taking a deep breath, Jason spoke once more, knowing yet another reason for Sarah to come with them, yet not wanting to say it, still. “Sarah has also been forced. She knows what it is like to be held against her will and left for dead. Though the time was short, it was traumatic.” He looked at each man in the room. “If the General has harmed the Princess, Sarah will understand and, I am quite certain, be able to talk to the Princess and help her enough to return her home where she can be healed more fully. As those at the trials saw, she has taken her training well and can continue to be trained along the way. The same as Phoenix Troop did upon our last mission.”
There was more heated discussion and Jason had to let it wash over him. He could not, in any way, truly participate. Not without his feelings being pointed out when they weren’t there or confusing him when they were.