Arriving home on Sunday afternoon, after driving Willow to the airport Faith spent a little time cleaning up her house; things had got a little messy over the weekend. Smiling at the memories of what Willow and herself had done over the weekend together, Faith almost didn’t hear when the phone rang. Picking up the receiver she found herself talking to her Company Sergeant-Major, Sergeant-Major Arnold informed her not to report to her own platoon on Monday morning. Instead she was to report to Lt Colonel Mann at Army CID, for some kind of debriefing, probably related to the mission she’d just completed. Arnold told her not to worry as it was all probably nothing more than some form filling.
“You sure of that, Sergeant-Major?” Faith asked uncertainly as she’d frowned down at the phone.
“Faith,” Arnold sighed, “this kinda crap happens all the time, don’t worry about it.”
“Yeah, okay, Sergeant-Major,” Faith replied, she knew it was no good fighting the army once it’d made its mind, “where and when?”
“‘Q’ Block, Quantico, zero-eight-thirty,” Arnold informed her.
“On it,” Faith said goodbye and put down the phone and looked around her small living room and cursed her luck, “Crap!”
Walking slowly over to her kitchen, Faith pulled out her ironing board and iron; she’d need to press her uniform and give her boots an extra shine before going to see Colonel Mann.0=0=0=0Army CID office, Quantico, Virginia.
Dead on zero-eight-thirty the following morning, Faith knocked on the door of Colonel Mann’s office. There was a muffled shout of ‘Enter!’ from inside the office and Faith opened the door, entered and closed the door behind her. Walking briskly over to the Colonel’s desk, she came to a halt, stood at attention and gave the Colonel her most rigid salute.
“Staff Sergeant Lehane reporting as ordered, Ma’am!”
The Colonel looked up at Faith and returned her salute. Colonel Hollis Mann was a woman in her early forties, slim with blonde hair and Faith knew from their previous meetings that she was taller than herself; she wore the badge of the 82nd Airborne Division on the shoulder of her camouflage uniform.
“At ease, Staff Sergeant,” Colonel Mann gave Faith an apprising look, “How are you?” Colonel Mann had been there for Faith after she’d escaped the pervert’s prison on the naval base just before Christmas last year. “I’ve been reading your record, Staff Sergeant.”
“Ma’am,” Faith replied non-committaly.
“Very interesting,” Mann glanced down at the open folder on her desk, “wounded three times in Iraq, Silver and Bronze Stars and all while you were in motor transport.”
“Seemed like the thing to do, ma’am,” Faith answered.
“Long list of ‘excellent’s’ and ‘exemplary’s’ on your record,” Colonel Mann nodded to herself as she read further into Faith’s records. “No major disciplinary problems, couple of notes from back in basic and this business in Kuwait that got you transferred to Liberty, what was that about Staff Sergeant?”
“Some Recon Marines objected to bein’ beaten at pool by an army corporal, ma’am,” Faith gave the short version.
“Says here, Staff Sergeant that you hospitalised them,” Colonel Mann looked up at Faith and raised an eyebrow.
“They really were sore losers, ma’am,” Faith pointed out.
“Now we both know that’s not the entire story don’t we?” Colonel Mann stood up and turned to face the window behind her desk so Faith wouldn’t see the expression on her face. “I read the full report on the incident. Those marines tried to rape you didn’t they Staff Sergeant?”
“Maybe, ma’am,” Faith agreed reluctantly it wasn’t something she liked to talk about and only a few of her closest friends knew what had actually gone down that night.
“So,” Colonel Mann turned to look at Faith again, “four, big, tough recon marines jump you and try to rape you…how tall are you Staff Sergeant?”
“Five-foot-five, ma’am,” Faith was really wishing she was on the most boring gate duty just at that moment.
“You’re, not exactly the biggest woman I’ve ever seen,” Mann observed, “yet you manage to fight off, no,” Mann corrected herself, “hospitalise four of the ‘nation’s finest’, now I wonder how you did that?”
“Lucky, I guess ma’am,” Faith explained.
“Yeah, right,” Mann sat down again, “the investigation exonerated you so I won’t push it any further.”
Colonel Mann did in fact know how Faith had fought off the four Marines; she just wanted to check that Staff Sergeant Lehane could keep a secret and deflect questions. Both would be useful skills if Faith accepted the job offer she was about to make.
“Sit down Staff Sergeant,” Mann gestured to a chair, “and don’t look so worried you’re not in any trouble, quite the opposite in fact.”
“Ma’am?” Faith’s heart started to race, not in trouble? Give me a break; when senior officers’ start being nice to you, Faith told herself, you were in really deep, dangerous crap.
“In fact I’ve come to offer you a job,” Colonel Mann explained.
“A job, Ma’am?” Faith realised she was starting to sound dumb she needed to say something, “What do you mean, Ma’am, a job?”
“I mean a new job, with more and better prospects than your present posting,” Hollis Mann rested her elbows on her desk and smiled at Faith, just like the cat that’d caught the canary.
“Go on, Ma’am,” Faith new she was in deep trouble but she just couldn’t help asking.
“The army, in its wisdom,” Colonel Mann started to explain, “has decided to set up a new and elite investigative section called the Army Special Investigation Division.” Mann paused for a moment, seeing she had Faith’s interest she continued, “their remit is to investigate all those odd things that happen…”
“You mean like those creatures in Jeffersonville, Ma’am?” Faith wasn’t in the habit of interrupting senior officers but it seemed like the thing to do.
“…indeed,” Mann’s smile got slightly wider, she knew she had Faith hooked, “and other things like,” again Mann paused and gestured with her hand, “I don’t know, things that suck your blood, zombie-like creatures, strange dangerous animals, you know, that sort of thing.”
“Erm, Ma’am,” Faith shifted slightly in her seat, “I don’t know if I’m cut out for investigating, I’m more action girl than detective girl.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem, Staff Sergeant,” Colonel Mann shuffled some papers and pushed the top sheet across her desk towards Faith, “Major Finn wants to recruit you too.”
”He does?” Faith glanced at the re-enlistment form and noted that it had been filled in and only required a signature, it didn’t take a genius to work out that it was only her signature it was waiting for.
“Yes,” Mann nodded her head slowly, “you’re a very popular young woman, Staff Sergeant.”
“I am?” Faith replied uncertainly, she didn’t know if she liked being popular.
“Indeed,” Mann continued, “some times you’d be working for me; sometimes you’d be working for Major Finn. Of course you’ll have to do some advanced training and we’ll want to send you to school for a while.”
“A while, Ma’am?” Faith asked in a small voice.
“Oh don’t look so worried Staff Sergeant,” Colonel Mann sat back in her chair and gave Faith a reassuring look, “You’ll breeze through the training after which you’ll be entitled to wear Ranger tabs on your shoulders. Then we’ll send you to a civilian college to hone your investigative skills. I expect you’ll enjoy it and everything will be paid for by your good old Uncle Sam.”
“I haven’t got an Uncle…” Faith stopped herself from saying anything really foolish, “I-I don’t know about college Ma’am, I only just managed to graduate from High School.”
Faith of course had no memory of graduating from high school; however the fake documents she’d been given said she’d attended high school in Boston and had graduated with a passing mark.
“You’re not stupid Staff Sergeant,” Colonel Mann glanced at another sheet of paper, “in fact your instructors at Fort Wood said you worked very hard and you passed all your courses with, if not flying colours than with a more than adequate marks. I think you’ll manage very well at college.”
“I-I don’t know Ma’am,” Faith really wanted to talk to someone about this, maybe Brenda or Willow.
A thought suddenly struck her, Faith knew exactly what Brenda would say; she’d tell her to go for it and she suspected Willow would tell her the same.
Noting Faith’s hesitation, Colonel Mann brought out the big guns; she’d noticed that Faith had taken on every challenge she’d been given and shouldered every responsibility the army had sent her way, even without transferring to ASID, Faith Lehane was going places.
“Of course the best thing about coming to work for Major Finn and myself,” Colonel Mann dangled the bait in front of Faith’s eyes, “is that you get a permanent promotion to Warrant Officer.”
“I do!?” Faith’s eyes grew wide with surprise, “I mean, Ma’am?”
“Yes you’ll be classed as a Federal Agent with all the rights and responsibilities of the post,” Colonel Mann leaned towards Faith and looked deeply into her eyes, “What do you say Ms Lehane?”0=0=0=0Shannon Doyle’s apartment, Jeffersonville.
“…so you see,” Wesley said sadly, “I’ll have to be moving on in a day or two and I was wondering if you’d agree to come with me.”
“Ah!” Shannon looked at Wes uncertainly, “Of course I’d like to Wes, but…”
“But?” Wesley prompted.
“Let me get this straight,” Shannon got up and went into her little kitchenette, “you want me to travel around the country with you hunting down these vampire things…tea?”
“Please,” Wesley called, “yes that would be about it. I’d be able to train you properly and…”
“But what about my job?” Shannon switched on the kettle and dropped a couple of teabags into a teapot, “What about my apartment?”
“Well you’d have to give up both, but…” he saw Shannon’s objection coming and moved to calm her fears quickly, he’d been planning this all the time Shannon had been recovering from her wounds. “…but, the council will pay for your living expenses and of course you’d be paid, not a fortune but you’d receive a more than adequate monthly allowance.”
This was all a lie of course, he’d pay for everything and Shannon’s allowance? It would take about a morning for him to set up a fake ‘Council’ account that would pay a monthly amount into Shannon’s bank account transferred from his own funds. His private income would easily cover all their expenses.
“I don’t know,” Shannon poured boiling water into the teapot, “I mean living out of the boot of a car or in motel rooms like those guys on that TV show…”
“It wouldn’t be forever,” Wesley thought quickly, not only did he need Shannon’s slayer skills but he’d realised while he was nursing her back to health that he loved the girl and wanted her to stay with him. “I’ve been thinking about moving to New York, setting up a permanent base there.”
“Oh,” Shannon put the teapot onto a tray with cups, milk and sugar and carried them into her living room, setting the tea things down on the table between them, Shannon sat down, “Milk? Sugar?”
“Please, two please,” Wesley replied, he noticed the frown on Shannon’s face something was definitely worrying her.
“Erm, there’s something I need to tell you, Wes,” Shannon put milk and sugar into the cups and started to pour the tea.
Accepting his cup of tea, Wesley prepared himself to hear the worst.
“You see,” Shannon began, “about six or seven weeks ago I went to this party, it was to celebrate one of my girlfriend’s birthdays and…” Shannon paused to sip her tea, “Well to cut a long story short I drank a wee bit too much and woke up next morning in bed with a guy I’d never seen before.”
“Ha!” Wesley laughed slightly relieved, “Is that all? We’ve all done things we’d rather have not…”
“No, Wes that is not all,” Shannon held Wes’ eye with a cold stare, “I’m pregnant Wes, so I can’t be gallivanting across the country hunting vampires with you.”
“Oh,” Wes’ mind worked at high speed trying to see a way around this problem, “Ah!” he held up a finger as he made his point, “All the more reason for you to come with me then!”
“What!?” Shannon looked, to say the least, confused.
“Oh yes indeed,” Wesley’s mind rapidly filled in details to his rough plan, “A pregnant slayer,” Wes wasn’t sure if anything like this had happened before; most slayers never lived long enough for this sort of problem to arise. “There’s many a demon or sorcerer who’d love to get their evil hands on a pregnant slayer or her child!”
“Oh my!” Shannon’s hand went to her mouth and Wesley thought she might burst into tears from the look in her eyes.
“Yes,” Wesley went to sit on the settee next to Shannon and took one of her hands in his own, “you’ll need protecting and looking after.”
“But Wes what about the monsters,” Shannon asked tearfully, “how will I slay them?”
“Oh don’t worry about that,” Wesley replied confidently, “I’ll think of something…”0=0=0=0An Undisclosed NID Location.
Strapped face down on the table, Keyes knew it was pointless struggling there was no escape. He’d not been surprised when the NID Covert Ops team had come for him, just a little disappointed. He had hoped that his bosses would give him another chance rather than transfer him to the Goa’uld Implantation Project, but they hadn’t and now he was here. He screamed as the Goa’uld parasite landed on his back and started to burrow into his neck. Such was the price of failure.The End.0=0=0=0Author’s Note.
Just like to say a big thank-you to everyone whose reviewed or recommended this story.
Look out for Leave No One Behind
a Faith in the army prequel. Set in 2003 ‘Leave No One Behind’ fills in some of the details of Faith’s life before the events depicted in It Makes a Fella Proud to be a Soldier
take place. Coming to a website near you SOON!