Starting Anew

Cyrus pulled up to the entrance of the ranch office. King Ranch was practically a cowboy Disney Land, and Cyrus hoped he would be able to call this place his home soon enough. He gathered up his log books and certifications, then got out of his truck and walked into the office building for the Ranch's main business.

"Uh hello? I'm Cyrus Riddell, I'm supposed to be interviewing here for the pilot position?" He told the lady at the front desk.

"Yes, take a seat we'll be right with you." the woman replied.

Cyrus removed his hat and sat down, placing the felt Stetson on his knee. After a few minutes, the woman told him go to the office three doors down on the right. Cyrus did as the woman instructed. When he arrived at the room, he saw another woman sitting behind a desk, musing over a computer screen.

"Mr.... Riddell? Please take a seat." the other woman instructed. Cyrus obliged and waited quietly for her to address him again.

"My name is Lauren Harris, I'm the staffing coordinator for King Ranch Inc. We received a few applications for the new pilot position, but yours certainly stood out." She continued.

"I hope that's a good thing ma'am." Cyrus replied.

"Oh it is, I see you have ample experience working on a ranch. I called some of your references and they spoke very highly of your ranching abilities. But I don't see any civilian aircraft employment on your resume. Why is that?"

Cyrus gulped a little, he figured that question would come up. "Uh, well, I only really flew while I was in the service. But I flew a lot, I have the required amount of hours and I even have instrument ratings and NVG certifications. I just discharged last year and wandered for a bit. The adjustment isn't so easy ya know."

"That's perfectly understandable. You do meet our qualifications, in fact you exceed them. You're a decorated Army Ranger, an accomplished pilot, and you're even an experienced cowboy. However... I reviewed your military jacket and there are some things here that concern me.."

Oh no... Cyrus thought to himself.

"...While you did receive a honorable discharge, you have several Article 15 disciplinary actions for insubordination and even striking a superior officer? Care to explain that?" Lauren inquired.

"Well Miss Harris, there's two sides to every story. UCMJ didn't care much for my side though. My superior was CWO Garrity, and he was commanding me to reroute during a medevac flight. I was on my way to pick up a critically injured soldier, but he told me I needed to turn around and bring the helicopter back to post because a VIP needed transport out of the FOB. I ignored his order and transported the injured soldier, who probably would have died if I diverted. When I returned, Garrity berated me, which I expected. I hit him in an unrelated situation where he made an inappropriate comment about by co-pilot's breasts." Cyrus tried to explain the situations as gently as he could.

"Ah I see. Well, your company commander assured me you were a good man and that I shouldn't trust the official reports so-to-speak. If I'm being honest, I'm more inclined to hire you because of that. But, alas, it's ultimately not up to me. It's up to Mrs. King. Once I pass you through this preliminary interview, you'll have to meet her. Your job duties will mostly require you to transport her, and other personnel, to and from the more remote areas of the ranch. Have you ever flown a Bell 407?" Lauren began shifting some papers on her desk.

"Yes, well, sort of. I flew a Kiowa, which is the military variant of a Bell 407. I can fly anything ma'am, just put me in the cockpit." Cyrus replied.

"Very good, how many hours do you have in that type?"

"Uhm... 14. Maybe 15. But Miss, I flew the UH-72 Lakota while I was in the Army, it's a twin engine so I have no doubt I can fly a 407 with just as much proficiency." Cyrus didn't like feeling inadequate.

"Oh okay, well, uhm. Mrs. King will want to see you fly. Make sure you're up to par. When would you be available for that?" Lauren asked, redirecting the topic.

"I guess, right now? Or any time that works for her." Cyrus was trying his best to keep his cool.

"Actually, I think that might work out. Mrs. King is due to head into the office in about an hour. The new helicopter is on the pad just outside. The techs were inspecting it all day. Perhaps she'll save you the return trip. In the meantime, why don't you go inspect the aircraft. See what you think of it." Lauren offered.

"Does this mean I got the job?" Cyrus asked with a chuckle.

"No, but it does mean you're first on the list." Lauren jested.

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