I'm working on a fic set a little into the future (2024 to be exact). At the point in the story that I am asking this question about, John Sheppard has been promoted to Brigadier General.
The scene I am working on (and questioning) is one where John and his 24yr old daughter are at the beach (in beachwear) with no visible signs of John's rank anywhere. If a young officer were to approach, and if in the course of the conversation she were to mention that her dad sitting there was a general -what should the young officer do? Should he snap to? Should he salute? And would it be appropriate for John to extend a hand to shake?
lol... I guess it's probably easier to just include the bit I'm struggling with - ignore the typos and my rampant comma abuse, this is the first draft ;)
John had splurged on a posh hotel right on the beach for he and Mei. He had settled down into a beach chair with a cold beer, a new golf magazine, and an audible sigh of contentment. Mei shook her head and laughed and teased her father, "Dad, you always act like you've never seen the beach before."
Mei was getting a kick out of the appreciative looks her father was getting from women of all ages. Even at fifty-seven, he had women tripping over themselves and he was still oblivious to them all.
Mei had just settled in with a physics journal she had brought to read. Her attention was pulled away from it buy the unexpected arrival of a volleyball in the sand next to her. She picked it up and looked around for its owner. A moment later a buff, tan man about her age walked up with a grin. He had dirty blond hair that was cut short, Hawaiian print swim trunks in day-glo orange, and dog tags around his neck. He teased as she tossed him the ball, "I couldn't have aimed that better if I had tried. But then again I did try so I guess maybe I'm just that good."
John snorted behind his magazine and Mei's cheeks flushed red and she chided, "Not a word, Dad."
She turned back towards their visitor and teased back, "You do know that if your trajectory had been just a little off, you might have hit the general's beer instead."
The young man's eyes grew wide and he looked towards John and straighted his posture automatically.
John dropped the magazine in his lap and said to Mei, "That was mean." He addressed the man and extended his hand, "Relax, son. General John Sheppard, Air Force. And this is my daughter Mei."
He visibly relaxed and shook John's hand and introduced himself, "Captain Christopher Burton, sir, Navy. Very pleased to meet you, sir. And you, Ms. Sheppard."
John picked up his magazine and stared leafing through it again and said casually, "Feel free to ignore me, Captain. You can recommence flirting with my daughter whenever you're ready."
After a awkward moment and an equally awkward invite to go play volleyball, John watched Mei walk away with Burton. He had to bite back a chuckle when he heard Burton ask, "So do you always read physics journals for fun?"
And when Mei nodded and shrugged in affirmation, Burton surprised both Mei and John when he said, "Cool. Me too. Dr. Martinson's article on page seventy-nine is fantastic."
What does this need to not make those with military knowledge cringe? I don't see Sheppard (especially Sheppard on vacation) holding to super-strict protocol, but it would be ingrained into the younger man's head. I just don't know how that works.
Thanks in advance for the help! ^.^