Meet The New Boss
After the little 'incident' in Paris, General Schaefer had dragged me back on to Active Duty. That meant moving down to the glorious State of North Carolina, and that vacation wonderland that is Fort Bragg.
Bragg started out as an artillery training post back around World War I. As time went by, more and more crap was added onto it until now it's the headquarters of all Army Special Operations, the 18th Airborne Corp, and a host of other stuff including the 82nd Airborne and the 3rd Special Forces Group.
Major General Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, my newish boss, was a living legend in the special operations community. I had heard about him mainly through my friends Sam Fisher and Hannibal Smith, who are also on living legends pedestals if you ask me. Back in the 80s when I was still in elementary school and he was still a Colonel, he led a Search and Rescue team into Nicaragua. It went bad, reallllly bad apparently. The only individuals to return from that seven man team were Dutch and a Nicaraguan national. According to the rumors, they were found, half-buried, on the edge of a blast crater a half a mile across.
Dutch got back to the states and requested a transfer to US Army Special Operations Command in charge of some little special projects section. Somehow he had gotten two promotions out of this little job of his and a lot of REMF Colonels were trying to figure out how a field guy could get promoted that fast with no obvious political patron. I actually knew the answer to that one. Dutch was like me, a garbage person cleaning up the world's messes. Whereas I specialized in the supernatural type-ish hazards, he was responsible for the weird science menaces. Up to and probably including alien invasion.
He had offered me a job before, but I had turned it down, citing that getting leave to stop an apocalypse was not usually the way things were done. Granted, I generally don't have a problem not doing things the normal way, but breaking military regs might get Buffy in a lot of not chilly water.
Now though he had leverage, which meant he could use my desperate scream for help as justification for having already recruited me. Therefore my move to Bragg.
I had gotten all my gear and clothes packed in and ready to move in a trailer, and had just loaded up my Jeep making sure all my weapon cases were on the bottom, especially Baby's. Then it was a six hour drive from Alexandria Virginia to Fayetteville where Bragg is located, I-95 the whole way. As I had left before six in the morning, I arrived at about one in the afternoon. Right after lunch, so all the personnel clerks would be at their desks.
Bragg for all its secret stuff is still a fairly open post. I mean you literally have to drive through it to get from Fayetteville on one side of the base, to the town of Spring Lake on the other. Following my directions I turned off of the All-American Freeway and was soon heading up Reilly Road then onto Ardennes Street and there was the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, aka the White House.
Showing my ID and my orders to the guard at the parking lot entrance I found a place to stash my trailer and adjusting my dress uniform, headed inside to report for duty. I flashed my orders at the sign-in desk and was directed to an office on the second floor. Opening the door I saw a bare table, two chairs and a telephone...that's all. I checked the door number again, it was correct. Huh. I sat down while I waited to someone to show up.
About half an hour later the door opened and a tall dark man in civilian clothes with graying hair entered, "Lieutenant Summers? I'm Mike Harrigan," he held out his hand and I shook it. "We've got a situation so Dutch is kind of busy. Can you grab your field uniforms and gear easily from your car?"
I nodded, slightly dazed.
"Good, let's go," he held the door open for me as I exited and locked it behind me.
Out in the parking lot I grabbed my personal rucksack and duffel bag from my Jeep then paused for a minute before asking, "What climate and how bad is the situation?"
Harrigan stopped, "Hot and dry and possibly very. We just don't have enough intel to go on. That's why we need boots on the ground."
I threw my extreme cold weather gear out of my duffel and threw an extra tube of sunblock in, before reaching under some more bags and pulling out a pistol case and a long sports bag.
Harrigan nodded approvingly before he asked me for my car keys which got handed off to a sergeant that appeared from nowhere, "He'll get it parked in our secure motor pool so don't worry. Come on!" he took off at a sprint to the helipad behind the building where an OH-58 was idling.
"Hop in!" was the next order so hop I did. Soon we were high above Bragg and heading west.
"Where we heading?" I hollered over the noise of the door less helicopter.
"We call it 'Ripley's' after the believe it or not guy. Its real name is Training and Procedures Facility 7. It's located on Camp Mackall. That's a satellite post of Bragg. We'll be there in about ten minutes.
"So that office on Main Post...?"
"Just a pick up point for new personnel," he answered while grinning. He had a nice smile.
I nodded and watched the countryside slip by below. In a very short time we were landing and much to my surprise the General was there to meet us.
"Captain Summers. So good uff you to join us," he had a cigar clenched in his teeth and was wearing civilian clothes as well, "Mike, she giff you any trouble?"
Harrigan laughed, "Hell no Dutch! Perfect officer."
"Vatch yourself Mike. She is te third member uff our little club," he glanced back at me. "No jokes about her height. You vill probably regret tem."
Harrigan froze, "She's the third?"
"Yah. Barehanded for most uff it too. And you really don't vant to know what she did to a cyborg that pissed her off."
"You killed an inviso demon too?" I asked Harrigan.
"Dutch was the first, I was the second, I guess you're the third. And they're not demons. They're alien sportsmen hunting humans."
"Alien like outer space alien?"
Harrigan nodded and opened the door to a nondescript gray building that looked kind of like someone's lawn shed. Inside were stairs down and a heavy metal door. Harrigan looked into a retinal scanner then waved me forward for my turn. A brief red glow and then the door opened into a well lit room outfitted like a museum.
"Velcome to Ripley's," said the General who had followed behind us.
"Wow. Wait a second, you called me Captain Summers sir...."GLOSSARY
REMF -- Rear Echelon Mother Fucker. i.e. Someone assigned to a desk or a safe rear area instead of the edge of battle.
Dutch Schaefer, Mike Harrigan, and the Predator property of 20th Century Fox. Sam Fisher Property of UbiSoft. Hannibal Smith Property Stephen J. Cannell Estate. Buffy and Crew Property Mutant Enemy.