Story Title: The D.R. Initiative
Description: It’s the question of following orders blindly or being able to finally see what those orders entail and choosing to do what has to be done.
Warnings: Misuse of military power.
Timeline: Falls about two years prior to the Season Four Premier of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Author’s Note: This is really just a stand-alone prequel to the events of BtVS Season Four. For some reason I felt the need to explain how Walsh got ahold of her very first human subject. Comments and reviews are greatly welcomed as I am currently working without a Beta.
Standard Disclaimer: The Antz premise was written by Paul and Chris Weitz and Todd Alcott and is distributed by DreamworksPictures. The Gargoyles premise and characters are distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc © Disney and created by Greg Weisman. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer premise and characters are distributed by 20th Century Fox, The WB, UPN and created by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy (Grr, Arg). The story, all names, characters and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings and products is intended or should be inferred. “List each check separately by bank number.”The ants go marching one by one
We slaughter demons just for fun
The ants go marching two by two
They'll all be dead before we're through
The ants go marching three by three
We're off to face our destiny
Lieutenant Commander Damon Griffith brought up a fist to signal his team to a stop. Immediately, all of them froze in their tracks. As quietly as he was able to, Griffith went down to the ground on his stomach to better see the target. Behind him, his team waited. He imagined that he could feel their tension pricking along the skin on the back of his neck. He knew that none of them should be out in the field -- they were all so very young and inexperienced -- and the part of him that still remembered his bible study prayed that none of them did anything to give away their position. Or get them all killed.
The target had taken refuge under the leeward side of a rock formation in the bowl of a shallow valley. It's complete lack of body heat made it appear as if it were one of the rocks that sheltered it. If Griffith had waited even a moment more, he would have missed the movement that had given the target away. As a precaution, he switched his night vision goggles over to infrared and lifted a hand to once again signal his team.
He gave the signal for two teams of two to separate from the main group and, immediately, his orders were followed. One team headed east and the other broke off to the West. Without looking, Griffith knew that his second in command Corporal Eddy Hayes was at his side. Hayes was the only other man on the team that had any kind of field training and -- though Hayworth and Thames were on his six -- he felt better knowing Hayes was there to watch his back.
With the infrared engaged, he could easily make out where his teammates had stationed themselves in the brush. If the others had followed protocol, which they always did, then James Micah and Matilda Nixon would be on his left flank and Anthony Poast and Gerald Mason were on his right. As a team, they had run simulations of this very same situation hundreds of times. And while Griffith was confident that the others knew what needed to be done in theory, he was unsure if they were prepared to do it for real. His only saving grace was that his team hadn't been authorized to use deadly force. Their target was to be brought in whole and unharmed, so it was tasers and rubber bullets only if necessary.
But Griffith was good at his job and even better at retrieval. He had twenty-one captures to his name with zero casualties. He'd only ever lost three targets in his time as well. The last one had only been lost because the target had thrown itself over a cliff and cracked open it's skull. The higher-ups had deemed that one an act of God so it hadn't even gone onto his permanent record. He was determined that he wasn't going to lose this one too.
Silently, he raised a fist to grab the attention of his team. After he was sure that they were all focused on him, he signaled that he and Hayes were going to move in. After a count of ten Hayworth and Thames were to follow them.
As he and Hayes slowly -- and as silently as they could -- made their way towards the target, he considered all of the ways that the mission could go pear shaped. With each possible problem, he tried to work out plausible contingency plans. The target could have found something during it's mad dash through the woods to use as a weapon. It may even decide to use its own built in weaponry. According to the information provided, though, it very rarely attacked humans even when provoked.
"I would like to congratulate you on this fine recovery, Lieutenant Commander Griffith."
Griffith looked up from HST 09 and swallowed against the immediate knot that formed in his throat. He snapped off a proper salute and did his best to ignore the struggling Hostile that was trussed up like the Holiday Ham behind him. "Director. Thank you, but I couldn't have done it without my team, Sir."
"That's not what I heard, Soldier," the Director replied. He held up a manila file folder and used it to beckon Griffith towards him. "Walk with me."
Griffith resisted the urge to share a look with Eddy and followed the older man as he made his way towards his office. Never having been invited into the Director's office before, he took the moment while the other man wasn't watching him to digest his surroundings. Unlike the rest of the underground facility, the room appear homey. The walls were painted a soft cream and the furniture was all done in dark, nearly black, wood tones.
"You were sent out on that retrieval with six men who have never seen the field and Corporal Hayes. In my opinion, you executed that mission single handedly," the Director stated as he walked around the desk to get to his chair. He sat down with little fanfare and slapped the file down on the desk in front of him.
"With all due respect, Sir, I cannot take credit for this retrieval," Griffith tried to say.
"That's enough, Soldier!" the Director cut in. He leaned back in his seat and rested his hands across his still well defined stomach. At the late age of forty-seven, he had managed to maintain a physical fitness level unlike any other military man in a cushy desk position that Griffith had ever seen before. "Effective immediately I'm sending you to join the D.R. Initiative instillation in Sunnydale, California."
The Director regarded him for a long time before pushing the file across the desk towards Griffith. He nodded at the file as he said, "I'm hoping that you might be interested in volunteering for the ADAM project."
Griffith hesitated for a split second before taking the file and flipping it open. He took a moment to skim the contents of the summary report. "It seems like an interesting concept, Sir."
"It does at that, Soldier. I think that you would be the perfect man for the job."
Another glance down at the file told Griffith that a project of this magnitude could define a soldier's career. But it definitely wouldn't further his, in fact, his enrollment might actually mean the end of him. "There's reason why I have to volunteer for the ADAM project, isn't there?"
"Of course," the Director replied. He reached up a hand to straighten his tie, then tugged at his cuffs. "At this time, the doctor that is in charge of the project cannot guarantee whether or any subject would survive."
"And if I refuse to 'volunteer?'"
"Then... We will approach the next viable candidate on the list. An Agent Riley Finn looks very promising at this point and in a couple years could be perfect for the job. Until then, Corporal Hayes has indicated a high interest in any project that might move him closer to home." The Director turned his attention to the open window behind his desk that clearly displayed the research hanger below. "Either way you will be required to fill out a secrecy contract. Even mentioning the name ADAM could land you in jail until the day you die... Which, considering the state of over crowding in Federal prisons might be sooner than you think."
Griffith gritted his teeth. It would either be his life or the lives of two other men. He resisted the urge to massage the bridge of his nose and instead took a deep, fortifying breath. He couldn't let Eddy be dragged into any of this, as much as the other man might think he wanted it. "Sir, I would like to formally submit my application towards the ADAM project. In the event of any physically debilitating injury, I request that my body to be used to further the research of Doctor Maggie Walsh."