Disclaimer: Alas, nothing belongs to me.
“Soldier, you’ve been selected for a lone reconnaissance of Smallville, Kansas.”
“Yes Sir,” the soldier barked back, his hazel eyes gleaming faintly with the prospect of an assignment. The soldier’s name was Graham Miller and he had spent the last eight weeks in special quarantine after an incident with a fungus demon in Central America. Right at that moment he would have been happy to be assigned to watch a Burger King in case they were over using the mayonnaise.
“This will be a covert operation soldier, which is why you are being orally briefed and why there will be no record of this meeting or of your assignment.”
“Understood Sir,” Graham replied, he was standing at attention in the same manner as he had been since the General entered the room and being the well trained soldier he was he kept his eyes forward and didn’t look towards the pacing General, if the assignment was to be covert to the point that there would be no documentation whatsoever, not having a clear ID of the General was in everyone’s best interests.
“For the interest of demonstrating the gravity of the situation, and the necessity for covert reconnaissance I’m going to brief you on several aspects of this mission which you are not necessarily privy to,” The General said softly, as if he was regretting the decision.
“There have been disconcerting reports from Smallville and the surrounding areas, reports very similar to those that once plagued Sunnydale,” Graham’s eyes widened at that, though he quickly covered his reaction. Sunnydale had been a place of both good and very bad memories for him, it had also been a place where his eyes had been opened to the reality of the world he lived in.
“And due to political pressures exerted by certain, influential, Luthor’s no military presence has been or ever will be authorized in Smallville for anything but mundane duties. No authorized investigations will ever be carried out, and it is in your benefit to know that in the case that you are discovered both your military and personal records will have already been erased. It will be as if you never existed.”
That sent an eerie chill down Grahams spine, not even the Initiative had been so highly classified that the soldier’s existence had been erased before hand.
“At ease soldier,” the General finally said, his voice gritty, deeper then it should have been as Graham dropped his hands behind his back and shifted his feet apart. “You are under no obligation to accept this assignment, and if you choose not to you will be sent back to your team in Central America with no repercussions.”
“Understood Sir, I accept the assignment.”
The General burst into a genuinely pleased smile, “Call me Sam,” he said heartily, “And now that you’ve been given the official party lines understand that I run the Military base outside of Smallville, you get into any trouble and unofficially the full resources at my disposal will be available to you.”
“Thank you Sir.”
Graham arrived in Smallville late the next day; his first activity was to become thoroughly grounded in the reported history of the town. The most interesting thing he learned from the official town papers was that two major meteor showers had struck the town in less then two decades, and what he learned from a less official source was that most of the strange occurrences in Smallville had begun to occur after the first meteor shower.
A recent graduate from Smallville High had been bombarding the school paper with her reports and theories of the so called “meteor freak” population, and considering his job over the last few years her theories weren’t such a stretch.
Especially once he began to uncover evidence of his own, coroners reports, police incident reports and of course the stories that each member of the town seemed to have. And from his research Graham kept coming back to three names, Lex Luthor, Clark Kent, and Chloe Sullivan.
Clark seemed to be infamous for averting the horrors that meteor freaks perpetrated, Chloe reported the incidents, and Luthor covered them up to the best of his ability, or was somehow involved in creating the incident.
A week after his arrival in Smallville Graham was taking his ease with a cup of hot coffee in the Talon, stealing covert glances at an extremely attractive young blonde. Twenty or twenty one and at least five years younger then himself, but yet he couldn’t seem to keep his eyes from straying to her.
“Hey,” the normally keenly aware soldier was startled by the voice of another young woman behind him, startled to the point that he sloshed his coffee across the table.
The tall brunette smiled cheekily as she wiped the table down with a cloth that almost miraculously appeared in her hand, “The names Lois,” she offered, “Been enjoying the view?”
He guiltily glanced back towards the young blonde, only to watch Lois’ smile grow even wider, “I’ll take that as a yes, but she’s not really into the military type.”
Lois was entirely too damned observant, if you knew what to look for you could tell a military man from a civilian, and if you were good you could even pick what flavor of military they were. Graham was that good, but she wasn’t military, he would have bet on that.
“Relax soldier boy, my dad’s a General,” before he could say anything in reply she looked up towards the counter and gave a high-pitched whistle, “Chlo, get over here,” she called.
“I thought you said I wasn’t her type,” Lois shrugged in reply,
“She’s been pining enough lately that any guy will do.”
“Lois!” Chloe exclaimed as she walked into earshot, a faint blush coloring her cheeks.
“What’s the big deal?” Lois replied, “He’s kind of attractive, and he was checking you out,” This time Graham was the one to blush; he could feel the heat rising through his skin.
“I’m sorry about my cousin,” the blonde apologized as she looked towards the soldier, and the moment her eyes hit his he was hooked, a razor intelligence shone back through her vibrant green eyes that seemed to pierce through him to his very core and shake the foundations of his existence. He had no words to even truly begin to describe the effect her gaze had on him.
“I’m Chloe, Chloe Sullivan,” she introduced herself as she offered her hand, “Ah this is where you say your name.”
“Oh right, of course, I’m Graham,” No last name, he shouldn’t have even given her his real first name, of course if his records had already been erased it didn’t really matter. His hand lingered over hers for a moment before he reluctantly let her go.
“Wait,” he murmured, “Chloe Sullivan, I read some of your articles from the Smallville Torch.” Actually he had read all of her articles, but she didn’t need to know that.
“Please, have a seat,” he offered, standing clear and gesturing towards the booth. She smiled and obliged him.
“Your theories about the affects of meteor rocks were very peculiar.” Oh shit. Peculiar? Hadn’t he paid the shit out of Riley when he called Buffy peculiar?
Graham found it amusing the way her eyes lit up, ready to defend her work, so he hurried on “Peculiar in a good way, intriguing would probably be a better word for it."
“I have the evidence to back up everything I write,” she defended anyway,
“I’m sure you do, but please go on, I’d love to hear more about it.”
“Really?” She asked, as if that wasn’t the general response she got.
“Yes, really. I was fascinated by the idea that the radiation from the meteor rocks combined with earth born elements and chemicals could have varying ramifications for humans who came in contact with them.” She actually looked flattered
And if her theories were even remotely accurate then he had the answer as to why the Luthor’s where vetoing any investigative military presence in the area, those meteor rocks could advance scientific discovery in a thousand ways with a multitude of applications from medicine to military. And the person or company who unlocked their secrets first was going to corner a market and stand to make tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars.
Despite the end results from the Initiative Project, Graham could see the possibilities for the meteor rocks; they could potentially level the playing field between ordinary humans and the supernatural world. Because despite the progress teams like his had made, for the most part humans were still getting their collective asses handed to them by the supernatural.
They spoke for nearly an hour about the meteor rocks, but subtly the conversation shifted from meteors and the torch to Chloe and her life, who she was, what she did.
“Oh damn,” she suddenly said around four in the afternoon, “I have an appointment that I can’t miss,” as she stood so did Graham.
“Dinner?” He blurted out.
“Would you like to have dinner?” he asked more coherently, “With me. Tonight?”
Chloe hesitated for a moment, a very brief moment before she let out a megawatt smile “I’d love to, how about I meet you here at seven, wait, eight would be better. How about I meet you here at eight and we go from there?”
“I’ll see you at eight.”
Chloe never made their date. But then neither did Graham. He was crossing the parking lot of the motel he was staying at when in a very cliché turn of events a black van came screeching towards him, grinding to a halt with a wave of dust.
The side door slid open and two men leaped towards Graham, they were fast and they were professional, and if he hadn’t been fighting vampires and other monsters that went bump in the night for the last few years of his life they would probably have gotten to him before he could have reacted.
He ducked beneath one outstretched arm and gripped it as he went, twisting and snapping the elbow joint with a sickly audible sound. The man screamed until Graham put an elbow into his face, breaking his nose and sprawling him across the hard packed dirt ground.
The second man was still trying to use the initial rush to his advantage, pivoting back towards the soldier, small blue sparks flying from the taser in his hand. In his attempt to avoid the stunner Graham slid on a piece of loose rock, grazing his leg up as he tried to turn the slide into a roll and only partially succeeded.
Arching his back Graham managed to flip back to his feet several meters from his second attacker, his hands slid into a carefully guarded position as he circled, assessing the enemy in his black ski suit and balaclava.
The guy was six foot three at least and was probably carrying fifty pounds more muscle then Graham, but there was something in the way he moved that suggested he hadn’t been formally trained to fight. The guy moved, lunging in the hope of sinking the taser into Graham and ending it there, but the soldier lashed out with a kick, cracking across his attackers hand and forcing him to drop the weapon.
Graham followed through with a second kick, which sent the man stumbling, and as he stumbled he drew a small knife from his boot. Graham reciprocated by drawing a standard issue Glock 10mm from his shoulder holster.
The idiot bet on his knife over Grahams gun as he tried to lunge forward and stick the soldier, Graham didn’t hesitate; he didn’t even blink as he squeezed down on the trigger and put two rounds into the solid mass of the thug’s chest. His body jerked rigidly and he stopped as blood blossomed from the wounds, it took his brain a few moments to catch up before he slumped to the ground.
A crunching of gravel alerted Graham to the new threat as the third and final attacker made his move; the driver came at him from the side and the soldier swiveled, pulling the trigger before he had time to take a clear shot, and that’s when things got…interesting.
In the time it took the bullet to explode from the barrel of the Glock in a wash of flames a farm boy in plaid and jeans was suddenly there. Graham watched in awe as the bullet crumpled against the farm boy’s chest and began to fall to the ground, then there was pain. The boy shoved Graham back and he found himself hurtling across the car park and smashing into the windshield of a car. The safety glass cracked beneath him, but didn’t break, though his skin hadn’t been so lucky. He could feel the blood trickling from numerous small cuts as the farm boy approached.
The soldier rolled from the car to shakily stand on his own two feet, he vaguely noted the black van screeching off into the distance, the body of the fallen attacker having been dragged off with it.
“Nice to meet you Clark,” Graham spat out around his rapidly swelling lip, he recognized the farm boy from both Chloe’s descriptions and from his own research into the town.
He paused, shock evident on his face that Graham knew who he was
“You shot that man,” he accused, coming to a stop a few feet from the wounded soldier
“Guess you didn’t notice but there were three of them, and they were the ones in the ski masks,” He defended, “But that’s old news, how about we talk over the bullet in the chest thing?”
Clark just glanced down at his damaged shirt, but the smooth and untouched skin.
“Relax, you don’t need to explain, I spent a couple of years in a town that makes Smallville look normal, people who are different are just part of it. I won’t tell anyone either.” Graham assured
“You're military,” Clark started, seemingly at a loss for anything else to say
“That I am, but I’ll be out of here soon, that’s what the goon squad were here for, to run me out of town.” Or something less pleasant, but since he had more then enough to make a report back to the General he was out of there. Though that thought brought a sharp pang, he would have liked to see Chloe again, her face just kept running through his mind, her razor intellect, and her lips. Those in particular kept leaping to mind, he knew he’d be back, he just hoped she would still be there…and wouldn’t be too pissed on him for living town with out so much as a goodbye, or apology for the missed date.
“You stand by this report?” The General demanded
The General looked at him with his own piercing, searching gaze. “Very well soldier, well done, you’ve confirmed our suspicions sufficiently that we can begin to apply some pressure of our own back on the Luthor’s. Dismissed.”
Graham cracked a salute and left.