After Action Report - Just the facts
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters from BtVS, JAG, or Stargate SG-1. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: After the fall of Sunnydale, actions are reviewed.
AN: Not totally sure I have the ranks correct for the time frame, but just go with it.
The door to a conference room in the Pentagon opens and four men enter. Each with a briefcase. Two are in Air Force dress blues and the other two in Navy dress blues. The four take seats around the small round table in the room.
Once they are all situated, one of the Naval Officers says, “Gentlemen, as the senior officer present I will, if there are no objections, chair this meeting.”
The others just shake their heads indicating no objections.
The officer then says, “The debriefing reports that you were given last week to review were forwarded to the Pentagon by Major Riley Finn, Army Rangers, with a request for objective evaluation of the events that took place in Sunnydale, California. He is concerned about the damage done to the group dynamic due to the stress of the operation and hopes that an unbiased assessment will help all parties involved learn and become a stronger unit. As you have no doubt deduced, we have been chosen for this due to our previous experiences that give us a unique viewpoint, in addition to our military knowledge.”
“Having said that, let me introduce myself. I am Rear Admiral AJ Chegwidden, Judge Advocate General for the Navy.”
The portly Air Force officer speaks up next, “I am Major General George Hammond, stationed at Cheyenne Mountain, working on Deep Space Telemetry.”
Neither of the Naval officers react to the obvious cover story.
The other Air Force officer speaks up, “Colonel Jack O’Neill, stationed at Cheyenne Mountain, working on Deep Space Telemetry.”
Again, no reaction from the Naval officers.
Finally, the fourth man states, “I’m Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb, Judge Advocate for the Navy.”
The Admiral then says, “Shall we address these chronologically?”
“Actually,” chimes in Col. O’Neill. “I’d like to begin with the decision to attack the Vineyard the first time. It’s the first truly offensive action taken by the entire group and I feel that it is this incident and its aftermath that has Major Finn most concerned.”
“Any objections?” asks AJ.
With head shakes as their response, he says, “Very well. The first attack on the Vineyard it is.”
“Colonel, since you requested it, please recap the situation for us.”
“The known hostile forces included an incorporeal commander, referred to as The First Evil or simply The First, capable of assuming the solid appearing form of any person who had died from either side of the conflict. Possibly able to be invisible to detection unless desired, otherwise, as indicated by a previous encounter when the group tried to tape a conversation with a former minion, and only the minion was able to see and hear the being. Main ability is the use of psychological warfare tactics.”
“The foot soldiers were beings known as Harbingers or Bringers. They are identified by having their eyes sewn shut, though their ability to sense their opponents indicates either an augmentation of their other senses or some mystical sense to compensate for their lack of sight. They do not appear to have any physical advantages above what would be expected for healthy, fit adult human males, though they appear to have good hand-to-hand combat skills. Their main weapon of choice is a curved dagger.”
“The leader of the foot soldiers, according to the Potential he stabbed and branded, and who heard him call them ‘his boys’, was a male dressed as a preacher or priest as he had the collar worn by those in the profession and calls himself Caleb. He was a new player on the hostiles’ side, having just made his presence known by attacking the aforementioned Potential, Shannon. He exhibited no abnormal characteristics that she could remember, though his demeanor and words indicated he was a misogynistic woman hater and most likely a fanatic follower of The First. He let Shannon live to deliver a message about having something belonging to the White Hats, or more specifically, to their leader.”
“She does have a name,” interjects Rabb.
“I know,” replies O’Neill. “It just creates an incongruous picture in my mind.”
“I imagine it does so for her enemies, as well,” chimes in Hammond.
“Anyway,” Jack continues. “The White Hats are apparently used to their enemies taunting them with tidbits of previously unknown information and give it serious consideration, even though it is obviously supposed to lead them into a trap.”
“Another asset for the hostiles is a very ancient vampire known as a Turok-Han. Very hard to kill and stronger than even Master Vampires. Decapitation and pushing a very sturdy stake though their natural boney armor are the most common methods for dispatching them. Fire will still work on them as well as sunlight, but they don’t catch fire as quickly as a normal vampire. And I can’t believe I just said ‘normal’ and ‘vampire,’ together.”
“Even with our experiences, I agree that it is a bit hard to wrap one’s mind around,” says AJ.
“Yes, well. Be that as it may, the previously deployment of said asset ended with it being dusted by Ms. Summers,” Jack says. “At this time, there does not appear to be any others of its kind actively engaged in the fight.”
“Also, at this time, the location of the hostiles’ headquarters is unknown to the White Hats. I believe that sums up the known forces and intel available to the White Hats for initial consideration when deciding on the assault. Can anyone think of anything I may have missed before we move on to the situation with the White Hats themselves?”
Silence reigns and after a moment AJ just waves his hand to signal for Jack to continue.
“The White Hats are led by one Buffy Anne Summers, a Slayer for over six years, going on seven. And, according to background provided, she has died twice in defending this planet from being sent to Hell. CPR is responsible for her first resurrection and magic for her second. No further details were provided. Her current mindset at this point of the conflict with The First is considered to be influenced by the stress of having the responsibility of protecting all the arriving Potentials and not always succeeding, plus a recent betrayal of trust by the two older adults of the group. Though there appears to be some degree of delegation at least for training, logistics for the group is haphazard, at best. Everyone looks to her to make decisions for even the most minor things. This is evident from the suicide of the Potential Chloe, in that no one else bothered to keep a close watch out for people being off on their own where The First could mess with their minds. Despite these handicaps, she still recognizes the strong possibility of a trap associated with the message Shannon delivered.”
“Next in command is Dr. Rupert Giles of the Watcher’s Council, though, as it is his betrayal of trust along with Robin Woods that has put a strain on his relationship with Miss Summers, I wonder if it is only due to not wanting to panic the Potentials over open conflict at the upper levels that allows him to retain that position. Personally, I’d have the man up on charges for stabbing his commander in the back like that. Just because his arguments against keeping Spike around weren’t making her change her mind doesn’t give him the right to blithely go against her decision. You do not undermine the authority of your commander unless in dire straits and you are prepared to remove him, or her, from command. You then stand up and face the consequences of your actions.”
“Her resources were limited, so dismissing him and his knowledge as a resource would weaken her position even further,” says Rabb.
“As the debriefs don’t give any insight as to why he was still in a position of authority for the group, we just have to accept that he was, as a given fact for our analysis,” says Hammond.
“Back to Dr. Giles,” says Jack. “He is a skilled swordsman and apparently a good street brawler as well. This is in addition to his knowledge of demon lore. Not much information on how well he is at combat planning for other than squad level at best.”
“This leads us to Alexander ‘Xander’ Harris, who, through magic, supposedly does know about combat planning for at least company level engagements as he led the students at his graduation against a newly Ascended demon and his vampire minions. If it weren’t for his plan, and the students’ willingness to fight, there would have been a lot more casualties than there were. He has plenty of experience fighting both vampires and demons hand-to-hand and can hold his own long enough for other fighters, normally Ms. Summers, to come to his assistance. Has been known to openly, and at times loudly, disagree with Ms. Summers when he thinks she’s wrong about something. He, himself, doesn’t always think before acting and barges in more often than not when one of the others appears to be in trouble. The distraction of his actions does help keep whomever he is helping from being injured, but I believe he is intelligent enough that he could have thought of other options that would have saved him from injury, as well. He also appears to be the self appointed moral officer, as demonstrated by his inspirational speech just before the assault on the Vineyard.”
“Next is Willow Rosenberg. Computer expert, high IQ, research expert, and Wiccan Witch. Some basic hand-to-hand skills, but mostly relegated to using the crossbow or her magic for defense and offense. At this time, she was using her magic very sparingly, if at all, in any manner. Although not as withdrawn and shy as she used to be, she does not have much experience at being assertive in a positive manner. She tends to overcompensate or withdraw when assertiveness is called for. More follower than leader.”
“Dawn Summers. Buffy’s younger sister by about five years. Before the crisis with The First, she was being trained by her sister to help with the fight against the darkness. That fell by the wayside as the crisis developed. Still has some basic hand-to-hand and sword play skills. Also has been known to use a crossbow effectively. Has been kidnapped on various occasions which, believe it or not, does lend itself to developing skills to deal with the boredom associated with waiting on being rescued, such as annoying and distracting your captors.”
The two Navy officers give a puzzled look but Hammond just heaves a sigh and says, “Jack.”
“The next of our intrepid heroes is the aforementioned Robin Woods. Demon hunter and son of the Slayer, Nikki Woods, who was the second Slayer killed by the vampire Spike, also know as William the Bloody, in single combat. It was his and Dr. Giles’ conspiracy to do away with Spike that led to the current tension within the upper echelons of the White Hats, as the others did not protest the actions of those two and, reading between the lines, makes me think they tacitly agreed with the plan even if it was after the fact. From the single incident observed by Ms. Summers' fighting vampires, he would be rated above average at hand-to-hand combat. However, no real experience with even small group tactics.”
“Spike. William the Bloody. Vampire with a soul. The second such vampire ever, as far as anyone knows. Supposedly, he went on a quest to get it back, unlike the other vampire who was cursed with his. Now, I’ve known some people with souls who I would consider evil and have to guess that the souls these guys got were still able to feel remorse and that’s what allows them to fight for the Light, as it were.”
“To continue, Spike was, until the incident where Dr. Giles and Mr. Woods set him up to be dusted by Mr. Woods, an unknowing minion of The First via a psychological trigger related to a tune his mother used to sing to him when he was human. The White Hats had discovered what the trigger was, and Mr. Woods used it to create a situation where he would be ‘justified’ in staking Spike. As it worked out, Spike avoided the plot and the trigger became non-operative. He is a Master Vampire and has all the strength and speed one would associate with a vampire of his age. He also is quite fearless and revels in a good brawl, but based on information of earlier encounters when he was still opposed to the White Hats, he has run from fights that were not going his way. His status changed from foe to reluctant ally when a rogue Army project captured him and implanted a control chip that hit him with intense pain should he try to attack any humans. Despite the number of people he’d killed over the years, Miss Summers wouldn’t allow a helpless enemy to be dusted. Even so, he still betrayed them to the abomination created by the project until he realized he was being used and then switched sides, again. At the time of this situation, he is fiercely loyal to Ms. Summers, if not the rest of the group. He is also protective of Dawn Summers.”
Jack takes a deep breath and continues, “Andrew Wells. Another former minion of The First. Also a former enemy of the White Hats, along with Jonathan Levinson and Warren Mears. The latter two, now deceased. Some minor magic ability to summon and, to a limited extent, control demons. Pretty much lives in a fantasy world based on Sci-Fi and comic book heroes and villains. However, is supposedly a good cook. Not really a part of the decision making process for the group at this time. Combat capabilities almost non-existent.”
“And now, the last of the main players for the White Hats, Faith Lehane. The second Slayer. Confessed murderer. One time minion of the man who ascended into a demon and tried to eat the graduating class of Sunnydale High. And, as shown by the ease at which she eventually made her escape from prison, repentant convict. Newly arrived in Sunnydale after helping out the situation in L.A. with the blacked out sun, which was the reason she escaped from prison in the first place. It is possible that her presence was not yet known to the hostiles and would give the White Hats a bit of an advantage. Some tension existed between Faith and Ms. Summers, due to past history of conflict and different styles of Slaying. In fact, they had a confrontation over an outing Faith took the Potentials on to blow off steam. They probably needed it, but it could have been coordinated better.”
“Finally, we have the Potentials. About 20 to 30 young girls who’ve been hunted by the Bringers and managed to make their way to Sunnydale for protection. Various levels of hand-to-hand training, from none at all to moderate levels. Ages vary, but all are teenagers. And don’t think that doesn’t make me sick, to think of kids being put in that kind of situation.”
“I believe we can all get behind that statement, Colonel,” says AJ. “If there was a human entity responsible for making a young girl a Potential or even choosing which one would become a Slayer, I would be in the vanguard to convey my displeasure with their actions. But life deals the cards and we just have to play the hand we’re given.”
“I know sir,” says Jack resignedly. “Anyway, the moral of these girls is low even after making it to Sunnydale in more or less one piece. Especially knowing that others didn’t. They’re scared and rightly so. Even if they don’t know the cause, I don’t doubt they could sense the tension within the upper echelons of the group. Not an ideal group to be taking into battle.”
"But one rarely does have the ideal group to take into battle, anyway, even in our more mundane situations and wider range of assets.”
AN: The actual analysis comes in the next chapter. This is just setting the ground work.