Chapter 2: Beginnings….Four Months Previously.
“They do realise we’re somewhat overskilled for this don’t they?” Buffy quipped, sending a wry glance at the ramrod straight line of soldiers in front of the little knot friends, their BDU’s and blackened faces making them very visible against the aging concrete of the surrounding buildings. The soldiers may have been facing forward, their expressions carefully blank and controlled but their eyes told a different story, tracking swiftly over the Scooby’s, assessing, collating.
“Not,” Oz commented, earning himself a quizzical glance from Xander.
The laconic Adventurer just shrugged, and added “Different,”
Xander frowned, and found himself considering that for a moment before nodding in agreement.
“We can still kick their arses,” Buffy commented, grinning down the line of Soldiers, the glint in her eyes showing exactly how much she was anticipating the opportunity to prove that.
“On a one to one basis, probably,” Xander shrugged, “I doubt that would be too difficult… on a team basis it would be more of an issue.”
Buffy snorted at this.
“The fundamental assumption of the military is teamwork. You can’t say that about the Slayer or how we’ve been operating in Sunnydale.” Xander shrugged, not caring that the eyes of all the soldiers in front were now on him, paying very careful attention, “basically, until Halloween we were all support for you as the Slayer, the strongest amongst us. Since Halloween, the team, the org has been acting as support for me and you, this time as the two strongest.”
Buffy frowned, “So?”
Xander shrugged, “not really teamwork is it?”
She frowned, “sounds like it too me.”
A snort came from the peanut gallery in front, and a full strength Slayer Glare was sent at the offending warrior whose eyes only twinkled in amusement and a little awe at the look.
“Master Sergeant Mills, US Army. Ma’am Teamwork is about trusting everybody to watch every body else’s back, not just trusting them to watch your own pretty little arse Ma’am!”
Buffy expression went blank for a moment, and then in a deep corner at the back of her eyes, a little devil danced for just a moment.
“My pretty little arse? How could you see my arse to know its pretty? Can you see around corners?” Buffy continued as the Soldiers eyes bugged out slightly, “are you an alien in disguise with extra human abilities?”
“What… no ma’am!”
Her eyes narrowed dangerously, “have you been following me then? Watching me in the shower perhaps?”
Mills opened his mouth to speak once more but stopped, clued in by the snorts coming from his side, “Ma’am.” He said finally and shut up, lesson learnt.
“Great display of teamwork there,” Buffy commented after a few moments, airily, “everyone so quick to come to the aide of their beleaguered comrade…”
Jenny laughed, and then shook her head, “perhaps they know better?”
Xander glanced across at Oz and found himself sharing a wry grin with his fellow Adventurer, “is that what they call going above and beyond the call of duty?”
Buffy’s face snapped across, “What was that Xander?”
“Uh huh,” came the disbelieving, amused response.
A chuckle sounded behind them, and Colonel O’Neil walked swiftly out of the reinforced concrete blockhouse onto the aged and somewhat rotten tarmac of the carpark, not even bothering to try to hide his amusement.
“Now that the comedy hour is over,” he grinned, then cleared the expression from his face, turning serious, “you might have noticed we have new guests today. New meat for the training program, straight from Sunny California and I hope you’ve been listening carefully because today’s training exercises has two parts.”
He turned his glance directly towards the attentive soldiers, glancing just once at each, “today you get to try to defeat an enemy; one whose capabilities are not fully understood and known with minimal intelligence, knowing only that they are coming to ‘kill’ you and what you have just heard or might have observed in the last ten minutes or so.”
“As for you,” he turned his attention to the irregulars, “your comments on teamwork have been noted and will be added to future training sessions but for now…
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to teach this bunch of raw, untested recruits to the SGC that however good they might be, however skilled, however well trained, that there is always someone bigger and nastier.”
The look the assembled Scooby’s sent their ‘enemy’ could best be described as predatory with the exception of Tara, whose apparent meekness had not gone unnoticed.
The Colonel just grinned as he walked back into the blockhouse, leaving the referees to start the job of sending each group to their ‘bases’. He had a distinct feeling that the next few hours were going to be quite entertaining and perhaps more importantly, enlightening.
Now all he needed was for the Sunnydale crew to start showing off, which would be just perfect. Of course, he wouldn’t have put it past any of them to have realised the true purpose of the exercise but that wasn’t to say it wouldn’t still work.
“What was that they were saying about teamwork?” O’Neill commented wryly, his hands itching for a pot of popcorn to dive into as he watched the swift progression of the Scooby’s, or at least those members of the Scooby’s they could still find, across the map and camera screens.
Hammond nodded; an amused approving glint in his eyes.
“I believe that was what you call misinformation,”
The Colonel shot his friend a look, “Thanks T, I hadn’t figured that out for myself.”
“I am certain you would have done so eventually,” Teal’c hid a slight smile as the Colonel shot him another look, mouth slightly open with surprise and wounded pride.
Perhaps wisely, O’Neill choose to ignore the comment for the moment and carry on, “played our new boys well.”
“Agreed,” Hammond nodded sharply.
“They made their judgement of their opponents too swiftly and these ‘Scooby’s’ had the intelligence to use that and indeed enhance it.” Teal’c noted, “they allowed themselves to think their teamwork was superior and that they had discovered a weakness in this ‘Tara’. They were wrong.”
“I’m not too sure about that,” O’Neill frowned, then shrugged, “about Tara I mean. The teamwork was proven simply by how well they were able to manage a weaker member.”
“Almost well enough to hide the fact that she was a weaker member.”
“I disagree, General Hammond,” Teal’c inclined his head respectfully; “you are being fooled by the surface appearance as were the recruits. Beneath the soft exterior lies the firm resolve and protectiveness of a true Warrior Maiden…”
He paused, allowing a glint to come into his eyes as he continued, unwilling to resist tweaking his friends a little, “Or a Mother.”
He laughed inside at the stunned expressions of his friends and forced himself to send a contemplative glance at the monitor that showed the healers movements, enjoying one of the few advantages of being so different from his friends.
The ability to make them truly wonder if he was being serious or just taking them for a ride.
“You know,” O’Neill commented finally with a frown, “I may have to be sneakier next time.”
He glanced up as General Hammond frowned at him, “they didn’t show us a single ability we didn’t already know they had.”
Teal’c raised an eyebrow approvingly, “Indeed.”