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Someone Else's Mess

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This story is No. 3 in the series "A Different Future". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Cordelia’s first mission with the US Army takes her back to her favourite place on Earth.... (Sequel to Making the Quota and 2nd part of the "A Different Future" series)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Cordelia-CenteredCordyfanFR131162,35446223122,52730 Jul 0915 Aug 09Yes
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Future Propositions

Someone Else’s Mess

 

Chapter Eleven – Future Propositions

 

Summary:  Cordelia’s first serious mission with the US Army takes her back to her favourite place on Earth.... (Sequel to Making the Quota) 

Pairings:  None at present

Disclaimer:  I don’t own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Stargate SG-1, NCIS or JAG (I think that covers everything I’ve even hinted at).

Notes:  Loosely set between the 4th  and 5th seasons of BtVS.  Continued from “Making the Quota”, though the tone is a little more serious in this one.  Note that from this point on, there are some major AU components (aside from Cordy the paratrooper), including in respect of the Initiative back-story.

 

Briefing Room, Stargate Command, US Air Force Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado – 29th July 2000

“A little decorum, please.  After all we’re talking about the death of an – ahem – well-respected member of Congress,” General Hammond shook his head, officially disapproving, but secretly wishing he could be as blatant as SG-1 in showing his feelings.

The news about Kinsey had been slow in filtering down, as his political allies – though unaware of his role in the Initiative fiasco – tried every damage-control trick they could muster.  As the presidential campaign began to gain impetus, it would be disastrous for their party favourite – Henry Hayes – to be seen to have been associated with a married man who’d died in bed with a euphemistically-named escort.  And that was before the extent of his involvement with the NID, in a range of dubious operations aside from the Initiative, became public.

The story put out by Sunnydale PD was that he’d been killed by a wild animal – the usual local line.  Most vampire victims, however, never made the national news – and no one was believing the subterfuge.  Now the FBI were hunting for Kinsey’s blonde hooker.

Buffy had already identified her, for the SGC’s benefit, from hotel CCTV footage.  Now the Slayer was close to hysterics, one arm wrapped around Colonel O’Neill, who was almost speechless with mirth and close to chewing the table.

“Kinsey killed by a vampire?  That’s way beyond precious,” the Colonel snorted.

“Not just any vamp.  Killed by Harmony!  Harmony Kendall!  The most half-witted excuse for a human or vampire that ever lived – or died – whatever...  Who was probably the basis for every dumb-blonde joke ever told.  That’s so embarrassing!” Buffy spluttered with glee.

“Now I have to find her and stake her, when she should get a medal.  Almost sucks...”

“She certainly sucked alright...  Every bit of blood out of that bastard sonofabitch.  Hope he took the sun block – kinda hot where he’s headed,” O’Neill was practically rolling on the floor.

Carter, too, was laughing aloud, as she slapped Jackson on the back.  The archaeologist had been laughing so hard, he could hardly breathe and was now caught in a coughing spasm.

“It’s a wonder the poor vampire didn’t puke.  All that bile and venom in his blood,” Carter choked.

Teal’c nodded gravely and quirked an eyebrow. “To think that one such as a vampire has accomplished what no one else could.  Though evil, she is to be applauded.”

“I think we’re done here,” Hammond rolled his eyes towards the ceiling and mentally closed the Kinsey File.

It couldn’t, he decided, have happened to a better candidate.  While part of the General would have liked to have seen Kinsey face trial, another part of him was just glad to be rid of the conniving, murderous, amoral bastard once and for all.  It was just icing on the cake that the National Intelligence Committee were seriously debating whether or not the entire NID should be disbanded.  The Initiative investigation had thrown up a lot more than the NID’s involvement in Sunnydale and the resultant fallout was liable to make Watergate seem like a minor political spat.

Buffy wiped her eyes and nodded. “I ought to get back to Cordy.  The doc says she’s off the danger list and could wake up at any time.  I’d like to be there when she does.”

Hammond smiled at SG-1 as Buffy left the room. “Take the rest of the day off – go celebrate somewhere...  I mean, hold a wake for the dear–departed.”

The team were quite agreeable to that prospect and headed off down the corridor, still laughing fit to burst.  It was time, the General decided, for a little celebration of his own.  He unlocked a drawer in his desk, pulled out a bottle of twenty-year-old Talisker single-malt whisky and poured himself a generous measure. 

He looked towards the floor and raised the glass mockingly. “Here’s to you, Kinsey.  Hope you like it down there...”



Base Hospital, Stargate Command, US Air Force Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado – 29th July 2000

Doctor Janet Fraiser checked Cordelia’s latest readings.  The young Army NCO was still unconscious but now out of danger.  It had been touch and go for five days, as the beautiful brunette fought for her life in the Intensive Care facility, the demon toxin coursing through her body and playing havoc with her body’s vital functions.  On top of that, Cordelia had swiftly developed a massive infection from whatever revolting crap was on the monster’s claws.  Her immune system hadn’t stood a chance and only constant infusions of antibiotics, pushing prudent limits, saved the day.  The Sergeant would need the intravenous antibiotic treatment, backed up with regular oral doses, for at least another week before Fraiser was satisfied.

A demon toxin.  Fraiser shook her head.  It was far from being the strangest case she’d ever had to handle in the SGC.  In fact, it didn’t even register on her Weird Scale.  O’Neill had, however, certainly been right to insist Cordelia was transferred here.  No other facility had the experience to deal so effectively with such exotic injuries and Hammond had agreed to her treatment here on the basis that it was easy enough to hide the real purpose of the SGC.  The base hospital didn’t exactly have an observation window onto the Gate Room. 

In order to effectively treat Cordelia, the doctor had to be read into the latest SG-1 operation, which had certainly rocked her back on her heels.  O’Neill’s first attempted bluff, claiming her patient had been mauled by a mountain lion, hadn’t even touched on believable.  But while it was one thing living with the strange alien worlds and problems the SG teams – especially O’Neill’s group – seemed to regularly encounter, it was another entirely to discover that the nightmare creatures of her childhood actually existed on Earth.  Probably some in her own town.  And there was a genuine super-hero with special powers for the express purpose of fighting them.

That “super-hero” was currently dozing in a corner of the room, having refused to leave Cordelia’s side since she arrived.  Hammond had at first been resistant to allowing her on the base, for security reasons, but O’Neill talked him round.  The General had relented, with the proviso that Buffy be restricted to the hospital area, her own adjacent room, and the canteen.  The Slayer hadn’t, in any case, been inclined to wander off.  Or even leave Cordelia’s room.  Sometimes Fraiser virtually had to drag Buffy along to the canteen, just to ensure she ate regularly. 

The doctor shook her head.  It was difficult to imagine this slip of a girl having the strength to tear a Goa’uld System Lord limb-for-limb with her bare hands, without the slightest effort.  She would have been a valuable – if insubordinate and unpredictable – addition to the SGC’s combat capability, but Hammond had firmly vetoed the idea.  Not on security grounds and not even as a consequence of her attitude to authority – he already had O’Neill for gratuitous attitude, after all - but on the basis that Earth needed a line of defence against its other potentially apocalyptic enemies.  There was only one Slayer, if her homicidal counterpart in prison wasn’t counted, and two wars was too much responsibility to heap on a single set of young shoulders.  If the time ever came when the SGC desperately needed Buffy’s help, however, then the General would certainly enlist her assistance.

Cordelia groaned and slowly opened her eyes, trying to orient herself.  The last thing she remembered was taking down a huge unidentified demon, its claws ripping agonisingly through her protective vest and uniform, raking across her flesh and hooking into her shoulder and ribs.  The injured shoulder and that whole side ached abominably, her mouth was dry as Death valley, and her throat hurt.  Heart monitor wires were, embarrassingly, taped to her chest, connected to an annoyingly beeping machine.  There was an IV connected to the back of her hand and an oxygen line feeding into her nostrils.  She seemed to be wearing diapers and there was also a tube where a tube had no right to be.

“Hey, sleeping beauty.  Back in the land of the living?” a short, smiling woman in a doctor’s lab coat was leaning over her.

Cordelia opened her mouth to speak, but could only manage a croak.  The doctor poured a glass of water from a pitcher on a bedside table, dropped in a straw and handed it to her patient.

“Just small sips for now,” Fraiser instructed firmly, removing the glass from Cordelia’s hand before she could drain it in a single gulp.

“Where am I? And wh - who are you?” the brunette rasped.

“Base Hospital, Cheyenne Mountain Complex. I'm Janet Fraiser, Chief Medical Officer here. You had us worried for a while, Cordelia.  Don’t try to talk much just yet – the ventilator tube was in there for five days and your throat will feel quite tender.”

“Five days?  How long...?” Cordelia didn’t like the sound of that.

Fraiser patted her shoulder. “You’ve been out for a week and a day.  That demon’s poison paralysed you – it’s a miracle you made it this far.  But everything ought to be fine now.  The wounds on your shoulder and ribs were deep – right to the bone in places – but they’ll heal.”

The wounds, Fraiser didn’t say, would leave horrendous scars for the rest of her patient’s life.  The demon must have had claws like meat-hooks, dwarfing a full-grown grizzly bear’s.  Plastic surgery might be able to reduce the disfiguring marks in future, she hoped.

“Eight days?  Guess that accounts for the diaper...  Any chance of losing it, now I’m awake?” an embarrassed Cordelia asked awkwardly, voice growing slightly – but not significantly - stronger.

“I’ll have a nurse remove the diaper and catheter, soon as I’m finished here,”  the doctor assured her.

She ran her eye over the various monitors.  Heart rate, respiration and blood pressure were all satisfactory.

At that moment, a spasm of pain ran through Cordelia’s shoulder. “It really hurts, doctor.  Anything you can give me?”

“I can have the nurse give you a shot of happy juice, every few hours, if you need it.” Fraiser replied.

“A shot? I hate shots!” Cordelia whined.

“A big, strong paratrooper like you?  Afraid of a nice fat needle in the butt?” the doctor teased, moderately sadistically.

Cordelia just whimpered in response.

“I’ll wake your friend.  She’s been worried sick about you.  Doesn’t seem to sleep much either – I think this is only the second time in a week,” Fraiser indicated the dozing Slayer.

Cordelia noticed Buffy for the first time. “Slayers can get by on less sleep than the rest of us – but it makes them really cranky...”

Fraiser rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”

She gingerly shook the Slayer’s arm. “Buffy?  Your friend’s awake.”

“Huh?” the little blonde blinked bloodshot, sleepy eyes at her.

The doctor made a tutting noise. “You, young lady, are going to get your head down for a good few hours.  In that comfy bed we gave you, not a hard Air Force-issue chair.  Cordelia isn’t going anywhere and you’re no good to her dead on your feet and snarky.  So I’ll give you five minutes, with nothing to upset her.  She isn’t up to a long conversation in any case – and that’s non-negotiable.  Just like you getting some sleep,” Fraiser was used to getting her own way in the base hospital.

“Is she gonna be alright, doctor?” Buffy asked anxiously, as the SGC chief of facility turned to leave.

“She’ll be just fine,” Fraiser replied encouragingly.

“I will, too,” Cordelia added, albeit weakly.

“Hey, Cordy.  Welcome back,” Buffy smiled and took her hand – a hug was likely to hurt too much, she guessed.

“You scared the Hell out me.  Out of all of us,” she declared. “They had you hooked up to all sorts of gizmos, to help you breath and stuff and...”

The Slayer shuddered.  While being around hospitals seemed to have lost some of its former terror for her after killing the Kindestod, her phobia still lurked in the background.  Seeing a friend battling for her life and surrounded by the horrific-looking paraphernalia of an Intensive Care unit had been harrowing for Buffy.  It was, however, the least she could do – and would do the same for any injured Scooby.  Now also didn’t seem like the best time to bring up the Potential Slayer revelation – the doctor had been firm about not upsetting her.

“Bet I look like crap,” Cordelia grumbled.

“For someone who was worked over by a Jaylokh Demon – that’s what Giles said it was – you don’t look so bad,” Buffy responded dryly.

Only Cordelia could regain consciousness, having been at death’s door, and worry about her appearance.  Even the Army hadn’t changed that.

“O’Neill can’t talk you up enough for saving his life, Cordy.  And he was pretty insistent they bring you here, where he could keep an eye on your treatment,” Buffy told her, suspecting there was a medal of sorts in the pipeline.

“I was just there at the right time.  How many times have you made with the saveage, Slay Girl?” Cordelia wanted to shrug dismissively, but her bandaged shoulder hurt too much and she was even beginning to think longingly of Fraiser’s fat needle.

“Doc tells me you’ve been sitting here for a week,” she raised an eyebrow.

Buffy made a face. “Didn’t have anything better to do with my summer break.  And I’ve never been to Colorado.”

Even if she’d only seen the inside of a mountain.

She grinned. “Besides, mom promised she’d work over every inch of my butt with her slipper if I didn’t make sure these Air Force guys looked after you properly.  And mom keeps her promises...”

Cordelia laughed and immediately wished she hadn’t – it hurt too much. “A slipper?  Wuss!  Really bad girls – like me – used to get the hairbrush.”

She touched her head. “Speaking of brushes, there’s a dead animal on my head.  Could you do anything about it?  Right-handed girl here - and that’s where they’ve put the damned IV line.” 

“Sure,” Buffy searched around in the bedside locker and found the desired article.

“The Initiative?” Cordelia desperately wanted to know if their hellish experience had all been worth it.

The Slayer reply was heartening. “Sealed up for keeps.  Even if someone gets inside, the computers and stuff are just so much scrap.”

“Did we lose anyone else?” the Sergeant dreaded the answer.

“Two Marines and two SEALs,” Buffy admitted sadly. “Plus Major Roper, but you knew that.  Few minor injuries – cracked ribs, broken arms, concussions – you were the worst by far.”

They sat in silence for a moment.  There was always a cost with the big missions - and often the little ones.

“For what it’s worth, Giles reckons he’s figured the whole thing out.  Couldn’t figure out why the demons were working and hanging together – types that hate each other.  Or why they were waiting underground instead of scooping up the tasty morsels in Sunnydale,” Buffy began.

“And?”

The Slayer tried to recall what else her Watcher had said.  Sometimes he was just too verbose, especially when she was exhausted and at the “fire bad, tree pretty” stage – as she’d been forced to remind him once again after their part of Operation Van Helsing had concluded.

“Uh...  The thing with the tentacles?  A demon called G’harax.  One of the oldest remaining on Earth – and as close to a pure bred Old One as you can get, without actually Ascending.  Which was probably its plan, along with leading an army of demons to take Sunnydale – and anywhere else it could lay its tentacles.  Eventually, Giles reckons, it would have opened the Hellmouth.

“G’harax had been in a “reduced” state for hundreds of years – it could make itself smaller when there wasn’t much food around. At full power? It would be the size of this fricking mountain... The Initiative probably picked it up when it was still, like, junior squid.  And, get this, G’harax has – had – mind control over other demons.  It would have been controlling some of them to build an army and using others for food.”

Cordelia nodded. “So we stopped another apocalypse?”

“Looks like,” Buffy nodded.

“So...  This is where O’Neill and his crew hang out.  Been able to find out anything?” Cordelia enquired eagerly, as the Slayer gently worked the tangles out of her hair.

“Nada!  My access is totally restricted – can’t even go pee without an armed guard checking my ID.  It’s like miles underground here.  Lost count of the levels in the elevator, but we’re halfway to Australia,” Buffy responded.

“Pretty clear they don’t spend their days looking at radar stuff, though,” she added, not at all taken in by the Deep-Space Radar Telemetry – whatever the Hell that was – cover-story.

Cordelia nodded in agreement. “I could tell that from the beginning.  These guys are special operations – and not from any of the listed Air Force units.”

She couldn’t yet figure out why a scientific genius like Carter – who she could picture more easily in NASA – and a civilian archaeologist such as Jackson, who ought to be in the Smithsonian, were working with a special operations team.

“Anything on that Murray guy?” she asked.

“No...  He still worries me a bit, but I still can’t quite put a finger on it.  Nice enough – a bit stiff and formal-like – but there’s something there.  Feels bad, just undirected bad – and he seems to have it under control.  O’Neill keeps telling me he’s okay and that whatever I’m feeling has nothing to do with demons and vamps, but I could tell he wasn’t giving me the whole story,” Buffy had the feeling she wasn’t going to find out any more on this.

Willow’s legendary hacking skills had gotten them precisely nowhere.  Whatever the SGC did – aside from Deep-Space Radar Telemetry – the redhead simply couldn’t access it.  Or even find any trace of something to access.

“They’re into something else,” Buffy opined. “Not in the Initiative sense – and not even dealing with our usual bads – but something weird.  And secret.”

“Aliens?  X-files stuff?” Cordelia quipped.

The Slayer groaned. “Don’t even joke about that, Cordy.  Enough problems on this fricking planet.  Chosen One – emphasis on One, unless Faith comes over all penitent and gets a pardon...  I so don’t have enough life for War of the Worlds, too.”

“Oh please!  It was just a joke,” Cordelia assured her.

“I wonder...” Buffy considered, clamming up as a nurse entered with a trolley, loaded down with dressings, towels and a basin of water – plus a large syringe.

“We’ll freshen you up nicely with a bed wash and a dressing change.  And a pain-killing shot.  The doctor says you’ve to get some rest.” The nurse cheerfully announced.

Cordelia groaned, recalling a previous stay in hospital. “One thing worse than a shot?  It’s the bed wash.  Pretty sure it’s against my constitutional rights.  Cruel and unusual punishment.  Lukewarm water, rough towels, nurse’s hands where they shouldn’t be...  And I’ve been “resting” for eight fucking days.”

Buffy decided that Cordelia – much like herself – would be the worst of hospital patients.  And “patient” was entirely the wrong word.

“Now I’m sure you won’t be giving me any trouble, Sergeant Chase,” the nurse – who didn’t look old enough to be out of high school – wagged a finger at her charge, seeking to establish her professional supremacy.

Cordelia’s eyes narrowed, accepting the implicit challenge. “Don’t you start with me, Florence Nightingale.”

Buffy laughed. “Enjoy, Cordy.  I’m going to put my head down for an hour or two.  Doctor’s orders – and this one’s pretty scary.”

In spite of her protestations, Cordelia was asleep soon after Fraiser’s  painkiller took effect.  She awoke several hours later, to find Colonel O’Neill sitting quietly by her bed.

She tried to sit up. “Hello, sir.  How’s the leg?”

“Still hobbling, Cordy, but I’ll be off the stick in a few days,” the Colonel responded.

“And never mind the leg.  Rest of me is only here thanks to you,” O’Neill added quietly.

“Brought you some flowers...” he muttered absently, pointing to a vase.

“Don’t you be giving me any of that “saved your life” crap – sir,” Cordelia answered awkwardly. “I’m betting the guys in your unit have saved your hide more times than I’ve had hot dinners.  No offence, but you seem like the kind of officer who needs rescuing on a regular basis.”

“None taken,” O’Neill couldn’t even begin to refute that one.  He was second only to Daniel Jackson for injuries or life-threatening situations within SG-1.  And in the SGC, his team probably spent more time in Fraiser’s care than anyone else.  But nothing had tried to eat him alive before.

“Not rescued from a slimy fifteen-foot armoured thing, with two heads, six arms and claws like scythes,” he shuddered. “Buffy I can see taking it on, but...”

“But not little ol’ me?” Cordelia asked, slightly challengingly.

“Not what I mean, Cordy.  And you know it,” O’Neill fired back defensively. “It would’ve ripped me in half, but you did the Secret Service thing.  Put your own body on the line.”

“I just....”

“Save it, Cordelia.  General Hammond has recommended you both for medals – and all your friends from Sunnydale.  God only knows, they’re years overdue, if what we met in those caves was any guide.  The Initiative footage didn’t tell half the story.” O’Neill was more serious than she’d ever seen him.

In Cordelia’s case, there was ongoing and considerably heated inter-service debate as to whether she should receive an Air Force or Army award and, moreover, whether the operation constituted combat.  Any of Team Van Helsing would have an answer for the latter, probably couched in less-than-polite terms, but the matter had been pushed upwards – as far it as it could go.  The same held for the Sunnydale crew’s civilian decorations.  Of course, no one could ever know why the medals had been awarded.

“What about those SEALs and Marines?  The ones who didn’t make it out of there, sir?  Who’s gonna decorate them?” Cordelia asked bitterly.

O’Neill met her steely gaze without flinching. “Our services take care of their own – and the families they left behind.  They won’t be forgotten – even if we can’t tell anyone how they died.  And remember, most of Team Van Helsing made it out of there.  If not in one piece, then more or less.  But without you bringing Buffy on board?  We might just have fought our way through to the control room, but we wouldn’t have made it back.

“You’re going back to Fort Bragg with ribbons – and that’s an end of it.  General Hammond will be along with the first instalment very shortly.  Snark all you like, Sergeant.  It’s out of your hands,” the Colonel told her firmly.

Given the high-risk nature of the SGC’s work, Hammond handed out Purple Hearts for combat injuries on a regular basis.  O’Neill himself was amassing a depressingly large collection.  Once the inter-service wrangle was solved to the SGC’s satisfaction – and the Colonel was pretty sure it would be – the General would also have the much rarer pleasure of awarding an Air Force Cross, or at least a Silver Star.

“Yes, sir,” Cordelia knew this particular conversation was finished. 

O’Neill paused. “Now we need to talk about your future, Cordy.  D’you wanna stay in Sunnydale?  At least for another year or so?”

Personally, the Colonel wouldn’t shed a tear if he never set foot on the Hellmouth again.  Sunnydale and its demonic denizens still scared him shitless and always would.  Cordelia, on the other hand, if not exactly attached to the town, was certainly devoted to the friends she’d left behind.  They were, he mused, almost like a substitute family – akin to the relationship between the members of SG-1.  Being based back in Sunnydale, at least for a while, would give her a chance to continue fighting the good fight, in addition to developing her own military career.

“Sorry?” the brunette thought she was hearing things.

“Though you initially freaked out some at the prospect of returning – and I can see why – you seemed really happy there by the end.  General Hammond talked to your CO and General Strass agrees we can make this work.  Option one – 82nd Airborne has a permanent presence in SOCOM-West HQ at Fort McGregor, in the Contingency Planning Cell.  The paras give them a heavier response option if needed – but you probably already knew that.  You’d periodically deploy with the division and have to keep jump-qualified and there would be some SOCOM-related travel, though most of the time you’d be based in Sunnydale.  Or, option two, you simply return to Bragg after convalescent leave.  Your choice – take some time to think about it,” the Colonel laid out her options.

“Going to a lot of trouble for one inexperienced Army Sergeant, sir,” Cordelia pointed out suspiciously.

The truth was, at the beginning of Van Helsing, she’d almost had to be dragged kicking and screaming back to the Hellmouth.  Now she was sorry to leave the Scoobies.  A year previously, the latter would have seemed like a very poor joke.  This was very much a case of not knowing what you had until it was gone.  In this case, “it” was the open and frank relationship with the Scoobies, which admittedly had been improved beyond measure by her own absence and changes to her life and attitude, and the unambiguous good-versus-evil battle.  Cordelia could hardly believe herself, but she actually missed fighting Sunnydale’s evil hidden population, especially now she had more of the skills necessary to do it effectively 

O’Neill smiled conspiratorially. “Ulterior motive, Cordy.  You’re a straight-talking pain in the ass – my type of pain in the ass.  Ultimately, I want you here in the SGC and – I must be crazy – on my team.  We have Army, Navy and Marine people on permanent assignment here – and you’re just what we’re looking for.”

What the SGC needed was individuals who could cope with not merely the unexpected – that was a basic requirement of most armed forces – but could function in the face of things that were drastically out of the ordinary, to the point of almost unbelievable.  Like aliens, unknown worlds, alternative realities, and artificial wormholes.  Or vampires and demons.

Some of the best qualified candidates from the Air Force Academy, West Point, or Annapolis just couldn’t make the mental step change required and the drop-out rate in SGC selection was frighteningly high.  Someone like Cordelia – on the other hand – came with that in-built adaptability.  The Sergeant might not be genius level like Carter and her own outspoken protégé, but she still had the smarts to match most SG personnel.  On balance, Cordelia Chase ticked most of the boxes on O’Neill’s list.  With a little help and a chance to mature as a soldier, she’d soon tick the remainder.

Cordelia opened her mouth to speak, but the Colonel held up a hand.

“Haven’t finished.  You’re short on experience – and rank – but we can fix that.  Generals Hammond and Strass have discussed this, too.  We give you another fifteen months or so, then I come back and talk to you.  In the meantime, you’ll do another intel course, to build up your specialism and beginning of next year, you’ll attend Officer Candidate School, at the new McGregor annexe.  Usually means having a Batchelor’s degree, which you don’t have – I know it isn’t your fault....  But the SGC has a way of fixing things so it gets the people it wants. 

“Thing is, SG Teams are mainly made up of officers, so you really need the rank.  Deal is, you enrol on a college course and pass a minimum of three classes – on your own time – by the end of the year.  Means busting your ass at the books for the next four months...  Upside is, the SOCOM post is about as easy as they get in the military.  Contingency planning, not real-time intel stuff.  And a pretty easy-going CO when there’s no crisis on the horizon.  Means office hours, Monday to Friday – near enough – gives you space to work on the degree stuff and still leave time for vampire hunting parties with Buffy.  So are you up for it, Cordy?” O’Neill smiled, more than a hint of challenge in his voice.

“What the Hell d’you do here – sir? What’s so important that the SGC can drive a truck through all these unbreakable rules when it suits?” Cordelia asked the ten-million dollar question.

Quitting the Army at the end of her minimum service period, she admitted, now appeared to be only the vaguest of possibilities.  Major-Generals didn’t, however, tend to concern themselves with the careers of rookie Sergeants.  There was something going on at the SGC, something big.

The Colonel had been expecting that. “Can’t – or won’t – tell you that yet.  Security...  Besides, might spoil the surprise.  You’ll find out when we talk next year.  If you decide not to join us, I’ll be okay with that.  Actually, I’ll be pissed as Hell – but the rest of the deal still stands.  If you really want my opinion, I don’t think you’ll say no.”

He folded his arms and waited expectantly. “So...  Interested?”

 



That’s it for the moment – and thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.  I haven’t finished with the Cordy-centred BtVS/SG-1 crossover yet, however.  There are a few ideas for sequels – of varying lengths – buzzing around in my head right now.  They may take a while – real-life tends to frighten the plot bunnies – but eventually I’ll get around to it (which, by the way, is why I’ve kept a few plot lines unresolved, just to keep you all dangling...)

Thanks again.

 

One little question, for anyone with a good working knowledge of the US military – and just a little detail I might need for a future sequel.  When it comes to the award of gallantry medals, would a US Army soldier serving with a USAF unit on a USAF-led operation receive the Army or Air Force equivalent medal?  If anyone knows, please tell me – the internet has been remarkably unhelpful in this regard.

 

 

The End

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