"Lieutenant" is the third in a series of near future SciFi/Thrillers whose young heroine Ell Donsaii we learned in "Quicker" has a nerve mutation that makes her an athletic phenomenon, so fast that no one can keep up with her. In "Smarter" we learned how these fast nerve processes have made her a genius. She's both shy and concerned about her social skills, yet loved by those around her. Like Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), while trying to drift off to sleep, instead of counting sheep Ell develops a new theory of quantum mechanics. She has now dropped out of grad school after using her quantum theories to enormously improve communications using entangled molecules. Back in the military to complete her commitment, she continues her physics research in her spare time. She also must fend off more attempts to kidnap her by groups wanting access to her skills. As in the past, those who attack her don't consider that the very skills they envy and desire make her hard to subdue.
Then the People's Republic of China shoots down the US satellites over Asia in preparation for an invasion of Taiwan. Ell's quantum entangled communication chips can substitute for lost satellite communications and observation if only she can convince the brass to use them?
Jamieson leaned into Ell's personal space, “That’s so much bullshit! You’re just a spoiled little kid who doesn’t know what’s good for her.”
Steve stepped over and reached tentatively out. He and the team were providing Ell protection but, protecting her from this guy would be difficult. However, eyes flashing. Ms. Donsaii put out a hand to wave Steve back. She said, “Spoiled huh? You’re wanting to demonstrate your astonishing fighting skills?”
A stack of pugil sticks with 2” diameter shafts stood in the corner. They were 50 inches long with heavily padded ends. Ell had trained on them briefly when she’d been at the Air Force Academy so she was familiar with their use. She went over, picked up a pair of them and threw one to Jamieson.
He said, “OK, who am I taking on?”
“What!? Girl, I could break you in half with one of these!”
She smiled grimly, “I don’t break all that easy.” She said giving hers a little twirl. "The ring on the mat is our boundary, three solid strikes or push me out of the ring three times and you’re the winner.” She waved the rest of her security team off the mat.
Steve stepped closer to Ell and in a low voice said, “Ms. Donsaii? I don’t think this is a good idea. Jamieson may not pull his punches.”
She looked at him a moment, then said, “You may be right, but probably not for the reason you think. I think the team needs to be aware of my particular skills–that knowledge may be important someday.
In a few minutes Ell was in the ring with Jamieson. “You understand the rules? They aren’t standard military. Push me out of the ring three times or three solid strikes, OK?”
Jamieson rolled his eyes, “No problem!”
Ell took a deep breath and let herself slip slightly into the zone. “Steve? One 2 minute bout. Blow the whistle?”
With a shrug Steve blew the whistle. Jamieson immediately charged Ell, stick held low and horizontal, obviously intending to shove her quickly out of the ring. Moving so fast the group hardly understood what had happened, Ell dropped under the right end of Jamieson’s pugil stick, shoving her stick between his feet to trip him, then bounced up behind him and delivered a firm strike to his back that sent him sprawling onto his face and out of the ring.
Steve blinked as he blew the whistle again, “One out, one strike,” he looked at his stopwatch, “eight seconds off the clock.” The new members of Ell’s team looked at each other, eyebrows raised. Even Steve, who’d had personal experience with Ell’s quickness was astonished all over again.
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