Outside Cheyenne Mountain...
Buffy stood at the security gate leading into Cheyenne Mountain. Despite the security pass she was waving under the sergeant's nose, he was not letting her in. Apparently, there were rules about allowing people who were carrying bags full of weapons onto the base.
“Ma'am, if you would just leave those here, I'll let you through and set you up with an escort downstairs. That's all I can do.” Sergeant Harriman suppressed a sigh at the pout on the woman's face. The woman who had introduced herself as Buffy Summers. The same Buffy Summers who he had gotten a brief to expect today. Unfortunately, the brief had said nothing about her showing up armed to the teeth. Protocol demanded that he keep her here until she, and the other girls who came with her, either disarmed or a person who could authorize their entry arrived here at Security Checkpoint One. Especially one carrying what she had in her bag, Harriman thought numbly, as he contemplated how she'd gotten her hands on its contents.
“Dawn, do I have ma'am hair? Cause the airman seems to think so.” Buffy turned towards Dawn, who stood to her right. She deliberately ignored the pained look that crossed the sergeant's face at her comment.
“Nope. For once, your hair looks totally fine. Great, even.” Ordinarily, Dawn would've snarked at Buffy, especially in light of such an easy lead in. However, since they were facing the enemy today, she'd decided to be supporto gal instead. The answering smile from her sister approved her decision.
“I'm sorry, Miss Summers, but great hair or not, I can't let you in with all of those weapons without authorization.”
“I understand, Sergeant. Why don't you call in and ask for Colonel Billy Jack or General Ham 'n Rye. Either of them can totally authorize me.” Buffy hid a grin at the look on the sergeant's face at her correct use of his title, and subsequent butchering of his superior's names.
“I have, ma... er, Miss Summers. I should have an answer very soon.”
Buffy sighed. “Look, Sergeant... just what is your name anyway?”
“Sergeant Harriman, ma'am.”
“There you go again! Stop that. What's you first name?”
“Robert, ma... um, Miss Summers.”
“Okay, Bob, I'm Buffy. Buffffeeee. No more call me ma'am or Miss Summers or anything of that sort. Got it?”
Sergeant Harriman gulped. It was not SOP to use the first name of visitors. Especially, visitors he didn't know. Double that for attractive female visitors. However, looking at the mulish expression Buffy wore, he decided that discretion was the better part of valor in this case. “Got it, Buffy.”
Buffy idly scuffed her shoe on the gravel as she waited for someone to arrive who could authorize their entry. The past week had gone by in a whirlwind. Between organizing the girls, unpacking and arranging her room, getting rid of the various bugs and listening devices that had been planted, washing and waxing her beloved Corvette which had finally arrived, and deciding what to wear her first day at her new job, Buffy's week had been full. Of course, the listening devices and cameras had been expected. She suppressed a smile as she remembered the expression on Dawn's face when she'd discovered a camera in her bedroom and
bathroom. A camera that she hadn't found until the evening after her little party. A camera which had definitely seen her naked four times by then. Buffy had told her that next time she decided to go get drunk their first night at a new place, she should check for cameras like all of the other girls had done, before heading out for fun and games. Of course, neither Vi or Autumn had checked either. Vi had been similarly outraged, while Autumn had shrugged and muttered something about the fact they should've at least bought her a drink first before seeing her naked.
Luckily, there would be no naked Buffy showing up anytime soon. The magical bug detectors had worked just like Willow advertised, finding every single one of the nuisances. It had taken a good three hours to completely sweep both houses and the surrounding yards. Buffy had set Jennifer to smashing them to bits using a meat tenderizer she'd found in a random drawer in the kitchen. Unfortunately, they had a few holes in various walls that needed fixing now. Buffy figured to talk about that with Jack and this General Hammond. Idly, she wondered if she dared call him General Ham 'n Rye to his face.
Jack headed up in the elevator, floors going by relatively quickly, on his way to rescue his Security Forces. Buffy had arrived on time, albeit armed to the bone. Armament was not something they had discussed earlier. Jack figured he was going to get a lot of surprises over the next few weeks. He just hoped the addition of the slayers was worth it. As the doors opened, he walked at a brisk pace, ignoring the slight pains in his knees. Luckily, today was a good day and the various aches and pains of a body abused by its occupant for far too many years were absent for the main part. Even his shoulder was behaving, despite being used as a pincushion by an alien lifeform not that long ago. Jack decided he felt as good or better than any man had a right to as he headed out into the sunshine.
Jack walked towards the gate, spotting the petite form of Buffy Summers standing in front of Sergeant Harriman. She looked very attractive in black pants that he suspected hugged her ass (not that he could confirm that without a rear view) and a bright blue silk blouse that hung off her shoulders, leaving them bare. Her sister, Dawn, stood next to her, surprisingly not towering over her sibling despite her additional inches. Jack rather suspected that no one towered over Buffy Summers. Dawn wore a tank top cut even lower than the last time Jack had seen her coupled with skin-tight faded jeans. The various guards, who should have been manning their posts, were giving her and her sister looks varying from corner-of-the-eye glances to outright stares. The parade of young girls behind the Summers sisters also garnered their fair share of looks as well, dressed in such a varying cascade of colors that they resembled a group of exotic birds. Jack sighed as he contemplated the difficulties ahead.
Sergeant Harriman suppressed a sigh of relief as he spotted Colonel O'Neill striding towards him. The colonel had a look on his face at spotting the girls that Harriman rather suspected resembled his own initial look when they had first arrived. Even now he had to actively stop himself from staring at the cleavage displayed by the younger Summers. And he was a married man. He hated seeing how much attention she was getting from some of the younger single men. The girl was simply too well built to be wandering around showing that much of her chest, especially without a bra on. Now at least he could do something about that. “Atten-hut!”
Jack watched the various guards come to attention as he approached. It was not SOP to stop and salute even superior officers when you were guarding one of the most top secret bases in the country. Of course, Jack knew why Harriman had done this as the various staring guards snapped out of their stupors at the sight of a superior officer. Jack stopped alongside Harriman. “At ease, men. So, Sergeant, what can I do for you?”
“Sir, Miss... Buffy and company have arrived for their meeting with you and the general. However, their authorizations do not include carrying weapons into the base. So I contacted base security looking for the aforesaid authorization.”
Jack pretended to have just seen Buffy and the others. “Well, so they have. How are you doing this fine day, ladies?”
Buffy hid the smile that she knew Dawn wore openly. She was slowly growing to like the sarcastic Colonel O'Neill. “Well, Jack, we're doing just fine. Course, we'd be doing even better if we were free to enter your den of iniquity.”
Jack gestured towards his chest in a 'who me?' gesture, then replied. “Well, we have this crazy thing called security for a good reason. It's to keep the riff-raff out. Now why don't you let me see what all this fuss is about?” This last was directed at the large black zippered bag at Buffy's feet. All the other girls, with the exception of Dawn, had similar bags.
“Sure thing, Jack.” With a saccharine-sweet smile, Buffy bent over to unzip the bag at her feet. She could feel the stares of the handful of soldiers who had a view of her butt. It didn't bother her, since she'd been stared at by a lot of far less savory creatures than a bunch of horny soldiers. She pulled out the big rifle thingy that Xander had gotten them, despite it supposedly being both top secret and
unavailable to the military for at least another few years. Buffy thought Xander had mentioned Germany being very helpful in getting it for them, but she wasn't really that sure. Maybe it was England, she mused.
Jack's eyes bugged out as he saw what she was holding. He shared a bemused glance with Sergeant Harriman, who must have already had time to adjust to the impossible, based upon his lack of reaction. Buffy Summers was holding nothing less than the XM-29 SABR OICW. OICW stood for Objective Individual Combat Weapon. It was the newest, most powerful assault rifle in the world being developed for the U.S. Military by Alliant Techsystems and Heckler-Koch. The XM-29 was a combination weapon, possessing both a 20mm semi-automatic, magazine fed grenade launcher as its primary part, and a 5.56mm compact assault rifle as its secondary part. Both parts are assembled into the single, one-man portable unit, with the addition of the target acquisition / fire control system (TA/FCS), which was an essential part of the whole system.
Jack was flabbergasted to say the least. The XM-29 was supposed to be up to 500% more effective than the present small arms, including his own P90 that he used on most missions. He felt a flash of envy color his disbelief, both of which he ruthlessly suppressed. “Buffy, just how do you come to possess a weapon that hasn't even finished testing? Hell, even when it's tested, the only customer for it is us! Not a bunch of girls...” Too late, Jack realized what he'd said. He cursed his mouth as he saw the shuttered expression on Buffy's face. Deciding to bite the bullet now, rather than later, he apologized, “Look, I'm sorry about calling you a bunch of girls. I understand how important the things you do are. It's just pulling out that 'thing' and waving it around in front of me is like going to a desert island and waving around a steak dinner in front of a bunch of starving castaways. I mean, for cryin' out loud, it just isn't fair!”
Buffy felt herself thaw at Jack's apology followed by his plaintive cry. She supposed she could understand possessing what Xander had described as the most powerful infantry weapon ever developed would be a problem for Colonel O'Neill. He still stared at the weapon with an expression that exactly resembled the one both Xander and Andrew had possessed when they'd first uncrated the weapons. Even Giles had worn a similar expression, albeit somewhat diluted by his desire to maintain his dignity. Still, Buffy decided that Jack deserved a serious dig after his comment. “Fair? I'll tell you what's not fair. It's not fair that I couldn't get it in pink. It totally doesn't go with anything I have to wear. What do the rest of you think?” This last was said over her should to the other slayers.
Jack nearly choked at Buffy words. He struggled to speak as the chorus of 'yeah, I wanted baby blue,' 'what about turquoise?' and 'turquoise, smurquoise, I want a purple gun!' washed over him. Okay, Jack thought, Buffy Summers is evil. She was totally screwing with his head, he decided, as he caught the ghost of a smile gracing her features. Deciding he would get his revenge on her later, Jack surrendered. “Yes, well, I'm sorry you weren't able to get it in your choice of color. Sergeant Harriman, I authorize you to allow our guests and their 'bags' through. Ladies, if you would all follow me, please.” With that, Jack watched as the girls all shouldered their bags, and followed him into the Mountain. As he led them towards the elevator, Jack hoped that the Mountain survived the entry of this many slayers...
Buffy decided that secret Army bases were overrated. Or was that secret Air Force bases? She shrugged, not caring either way. The elevator ride had been boring. The walk down the various hallways with their color-coded stripes was boring. She, along with the other girls, had memorized an escape route just in case. Still, it was a boring journey to a boring room for a boring meeting. Buffy had been separated from the other girls who had been passed off to a bemused Daniel Jackson, who Jack had pulled out of his lab or something similar. She hadn't been particular interested in looking over Jack's shoulder into the room or listening to Daniel's protests that he was busy translating some artifact from R2D2 or something similar. After the co-opted Daniel had set off with the others, Buffy and Jack headed off to meet General Ham 'n Rye. Now she was seated across from Riley Finn with the general to her right as Jack completed introductions.
“General Hammod, this is Buffy Summers. Buffy, General Hammond. Of course, you already know Riley.” With that, Jack took a seat. He was glad to pass off responsibility for Buffy to the general. He saw the nod that Buffy gave Riley and his answering look. Boy still has it bad, Jack decided.
Hammond smiled at the lovely young woman in front of him. She was even prettier that her picture, he decided. “It's nice to finally meet you, Miss Summers. I've heard a great deal about you and wanted to offer my thanks for the sacrifices you've made defending our planet.”
Buffy was surprised at the general's words. Wow, she thought, this may be the first time anyone's ever thanked me that wasn't a Scooby. Returning the general's smile, she replied, “You're very welcome. It's nice to meet you as well, General Ham 'n Cheese...” With a horrified look on her face, Buffy stopped. She was aware of the shocked look on Riley's face and Jack smacking his head on the table. “I'm soooo sorry. I tend to butcher names and I was thinking how funny it would be to call you General Ham 'n Rye, but I wasn't going to do it, except I did do it, or something like it, but I didn't mean to do it...”
Buffy's babble was interrupted by a burst of laughter from General Hammond. Bemused, she watched the short, almost rotund general laugh until finally with a snort, he wheezed out, “It's okay, Miss Summers. I'm so surrounded by military procedure and protocol that I never get much of a chance to laugh. Having you here is going to be like a breath of fresh air. Now if you wouldn't mind, we can get started on this meeting.”
Jack raised his hand as General Hammond finished speaking. At the general's glance, he stated, “Before we actually start, you might want to get a look at what Buffy is packing in her bag. It's... very interesting.”
“Of course, Colonel. Buffy, why don't you show us what has Colonel O'Neill so interested.” George's voice was genial as he waited for the show and tell to begin. He watched Buffy pick up her bag and set it on the table. She unzipped the bag and pulled out a large assault rifle. George felt his jaw drop as he took in the sight of an XM-29. He looked from the weapon over to a smirking Jack O'Neill, who nodded in complete agreement at George's flabbergasted expression. “Buffy, just how do you come to possess one of those?”
Buffy shrugged. “Lucky?” she offered with a smile.
George wasn't going to put up with any obstructionism. “Please be specific as to where these came from. Understand I am not trying to get anyone in trouble, it's just that if they were available, my command should have received the first shipment.”
Buffy mulled things over a moment, the finally explained, “Okay, here's the jist. When we took over the Council, Xander went looking for more firepower than what we'd been carrying. He didn't want another Sunnydale situation to happen again. I happened to agree with him, although I wasn't that big on guns, especially since a good friend was killed by one and I almost was as well. Anyway, ultimately what happened is that a certain German company, or maybe an English one? Anyway in exchange for help the slayer had provided them in the past, they allowed us to purchase enough of these to equip all of our girls with another few left over.”
Riley waved his hand and at General Hammond's nod, asked, “You've had these from day one?”
Buffy grinned. “Well, we got them about two months after calling the potentials. Riley, you don't think we took out all of those demons with swords and stakes do you? I mean the Skir'ras alone are so damn tough it would take a long time to beat them down. But pump full magazines of grenades from five of these and it will overcome even a Shir'ra's regenerative abilities. With these and enchanted swords that Willow whipped up, we were able to wipe out pretty much every hostile demon on the planet.” Buffy stopped a second in consideration. With a quick nod at General Hammond, she asked Riley, “He does know about demons, doesn't he? He's not going to try to put me in a straitjacket is he?”
Riley choked back a laugh as he contemplated Buffy's question. A very typical Buffy question. “Both Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond were briefed on the supernatural at the same time they were briefed on you, Buffy. So don't worry, no one here thinks you're crazy.”
Jack cleared his throat. “I wouldn't say that.” He grinned at the glare Buffy sent his direction. It wasn't for real and soon melted into an answering grin.
George took back control of the meeting. “Well, this is all very interesting, but unless you can arrange for us to get a set of XM-29's here then I think it's time to move on.” He waited for Buffy to shake her head in the negative before continuing. “All right then, lets discuss how we might best utilize you and your teams' abilities, Buffy. I was especially curious about...”Elsewhere in Cheyenne Mountain...
Daniel Jackson met the eyes of eleven young women, some of whom looked far too predatory for comfort. Damn Jack for dumping this on him, he thought. Daniel frantically thought about where to take the girls, finally deciding to just ask them. “So, what would you ladies like to see?”
Molly immediately spoke up, “I want to see the big stone ring that's causing all the fuss.”
Immediately all of the other girls spoke up, clamoring for the same thing. With the exception of Buffy's sister, Dawn, the only one of the group Daniel recognized. Realizing he was going to have to accede to their demands, he said, “Okay, it's this way. Just follow me.”
Daniel ignored the raven-haired beauty who said, “I'll follow you anywhere, cutie, as long as I get to watch that cute tush.” He knew he was blushing. Luckily, Dawn came to his rescue.
Daniel watched the young woman turn to the girl who'd spoken, saying, “Autumn, unless you want a personal sparring match with my sister, you'll drop the flirting. Yes, we all know that you like guys. You've said it a thousand times now. Got that?” With that she turned back to Daniel, ignoring the angry glare sent her way by the aforementioned Autumn. “Lead on, Dr. Jackson.”
Daniel smiled and said, “Please call me Daniel. And you're Dawn, right?” Not giving her time to answer, he started down the hall, with Dawn falling in next to him and the girls trailing behind him. It was quite a walk to the gate room, so Daniel decided to make small talk. “So, Dawn, what made you decide to come here with your sister?”
Dawn was about the answer when Vi opened her big mouth. “Actually, Daniel, I think she came to see you.”
That set off a round of giggles from the girls that Daniel watched in astonishment. He turned to Dawn who was blushing. He watched her glare at the red-haired girl who'd spoken.
Dawn wished she could just shoot Vi. The worst thing was that it was a guy she'd come to see, just not Daniel, although she did find his work fascinating. “Sorry about Vi, Daniel. She suffers from foot-in-mouth disease. I came to keep an eye on Buffy. I am interested in your work, though. I'm planning to major in ancient languages whenever I get around to college.”
Daniel smiled in delight. Here at least was someone who shared his passion for languages. “Are you really? Have you have any experience with them up til now?”
“Well, I speak ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, and French. I can also read Sumerian and Egyptian hieroglyphics, although I don't actually speak Egyptian. I can also read and write three demon languages. Oh, and I speak of smattering of about six more languages, at least well enough to order in.”
Daniel was astonished. “How old are you again?”
Dawn laughed and stated, “I'm eighteen as of two months ago. I know that probably seems like a lot, but I helped the Scoobies with research from the time I was fifteen, so I kinda had a head start. Then after Sunnydale went kablooey, I studied with Giles for the next year and a half. It was fun.”
Daniel heard one of the other girls mutter, “Fun? Only Dawn would think looking at a bunch of moldy, old books was fun.” He saw Dawn ignore the girl other than a casual middle-finger salute over her shoulder, which set off a fresh round of giggles. Luckily they had arrived at their destination.
“Here you are, ladies. One Stargate, courtesy of a group called the Ancients.”
Dawn was excited. “Oooh, those are the guy who built the gate system, weren't they? This is so awesome.”
Unfortunately, the other girls didn't share her enthusiasm. Daniel heard their comments, ranging from “I thought it would be bigger” to “Does it do anything? Or does it just sit there and be round?” With a sigh, he put his head in his hands...
Samantha Carter knocked on the door to the conference room, then entered. She stopped in surprise. Buffy was waving a sword around, apparently illustrating some story based on the rapt expressions from both General Hammond, Colonel O'Neill, and Captain Finn. Sam cleared her throat, but didn't even receive a glance. With a final flourish, Buffy finished her epic tale. Finally, Jack glanced over and noticed Sam. With a lazy grin, he waved her over. “Carter, come on in. Buffy was just showing how she used her magic sword to kill a giant.”
Sam raised her brows at Buffy, who protested, “Jack, it wasn't a giant, just a really big demon.”
“Well, sir, that really clears it up. She killed a really big demon with a magic sword.” Sam worked really hard to keep the skepticism from her voice, but wasn't sure she succeeded, based upon Jack's expression. With an inward frown, she saw him start grinning.
“So, Carter, you don't believe in magic, do you?” Jack grinned in anticipation. He knew Carter was about to say something to get herself into trouble. Then when Buffy demonstrated her 'magic' sword, Carter was going to want to take it back to her lab and try to figure it out. Unfortunately, Jack knew Buffy wouldn't let that happen. Still it was fun to watch.
“No offense, Buffy, but no I don't believe in magic. I'm sure your sword is very nice, but it's not magic.” Sam was trying to be polite to their newest ally, but wasn't going to blow smoke to make her feel better. Fortunately, Buffy didn't appear bothered.
“It's okay, Sam, I'm not a witch. I wouldn't recommend saying that in front of Willow, though. She has a tendency to turn non-believers into frogs when she gets miffed. I think she's still working on frog phobia.”
Jack thought 'Frog phobia?' as he watched Buffy walk over to Carter. Shaking his head, Jack settled down to watch.
Buffy asked Carter, “Do you have anything metal, Sam?”
Sam checked the pockets of her jumpsuit searching for something metal. Touching something in an interior pocket, she hid a grin as she produced it. Whatever demonstration Buffy was about to try was doomed to failure due to the nature of the metal ingot Sam held out to her. It was a sample of the newest titanium-tritium alloy that had just been developed. The metal was so hard, it was almost impossible to work once it was cast. The iris for the Stargate was scheduled to be replaced soon with the new alloy. Not only would it be much tougher, but its radiation shielding properties were much better.
Buffy took the piece of metal from Sam. It was about two inches wide, a half inch thick, and six inches long. From the smug expression in Sam's eyes, Buffy figured it was probably some kind of alien 'super metal.' Well, she thought, we'll see if alien metal can beat Will's mojo. Tossing the metal up into the air, Buffy swept her blade twice across its trajectory, neatly cutting it into three pieces. She actually felt a faint tug of resistance as she cut it. Buffy somehow kept herself from doing the happy dance as the metal fell into pieces onto the floor. Score one for Willow.
Sam slowly looked from the pieces of ingot to the sword Buffy still held in hands. Then Sam walked up to Buffy and held out her hand. Buffy casually handed her sword over. It was heavier than Sam expected, but once she got a good grip on the handle, surprisingly well-balanced. She started to touch the blade with her hand, but stopped at Buffy's warning look. “Just what is the blade made of? How can it be that sharp?”
Buffy smiled. “As far as I know, it's just steel. Willow mojo'ed it to be super sharp and unbreakable. Andrew called it a 'vorpol' sword, but then he's a nerd. I haven't run into anything that it hasn't been able to cut. This one was the first one Willow made and she kinda overdid the 'charge'. The rest of the girls had to settle for just super-sharp and mostly unbreakable. Plus I got a long one, while all of them are using short swords.” Buffy decided they didn't need to know what Dawn had said about Buffy getting a sword with a thirty-six inch blade. Or what she'd said back to Dawn in return.
Jack sighed. “Give her back her sword, Carter.” He stared at Carter pointedly until finally with a sigh, she handed the sword back to Buffy. He watched Carter stare longingly at Buffy's sword. Jack decided if he were a less kind friend, this would be a great story to tell over a beer, the tale of 'Carter and the Magic Sword.'
Sam held in her feelings until finally, she exploded. “That sword is impossible! Nothing with the properties it possesses should be remotely possible. It would almost have to have an edge that's only a single molecule thick to be able to cut that way. I can't believe it...” She trailed off. Sam desperately wanted to take the sword to her lab and run a couple of hundred tests. From Buffy and Jack's expressions that wasn't going to happen.
“Sorry, Sam, but if it's any consolation, I could actually feel the resistance of that hunk of metal. Most stuff just cuts like it's not there.”
Sam was halfway out of her chair before settling back at Jack's “Carter.” She sent him a glare, not caring at that moment about his superior rank. Sam realized she was acting somewhat immature, but the sword was one of the most fascinating pieces she had run across in some time. And it wasn't on some planet guarded over by aliens, but instead sitting just six feet from her. It wasn't fair that she couldn't check it out. Maybe if she told Buffy about what she was in for on her second training mission, she would let Sam play with it....