17.Oh, soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife.
Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life.
But as we go our sordid sep'rate ways,
We shall ne'er forget thee, thou golden college days.
Hearts full of youth,
Hearts full of truth,
Six parts gin to one part vermouth.*
*:Tom Lehrer.About a week after Faith’s raid on Omega House.
It was the Thursday after her raid on Omega House and Faith stood to one side of the lecture theatre and watched as students wandered in to take their seats. After everything that had happened, Dean Wormer was still pursuing his vendetta against Delta House; he’d even managed to rope Faith in on the act. There was going to be a Student’s Court of Enquiry into Delta’s actions during this semester and Faith was supposed to be playing the part of ‘Sergeant at Arms’. It was her own fault really, she shouldn’t have shot Neidermyer who had been the previous Sergeant at Arms (another example of Machida placing his followers in positions of power).
After checking that her uniform skirt was straight (the Dean had insisted that Faith should wear her uniform with all her ‘pretty’ ribbons and badges) she looked up to see Willow walk into the room and take a seat behind where Faith would be sitting. The two women exchanged smiles. After being rescued from Omega’s basement, Willow had recover rapidly from her ordeal; this had impressed Faith and made her think about her relationship with the witch. There were things that needed to be said between them, but that would have to wait until this comic opera court hearing was over.
Talking her seat, Faith shuffled the papers laid out on the desk in front of her, it was her job to read out the ‘charges’ and keep order in the court room. Having been an MP she was familiar with this sort of thing, maybe that was why Wormer had wanted her to do it. More likely he wanted her there as a visible symbol of his power; Faith had asked Captain Lemay if she should do the job. The Marine had shrugged his shoulders and told her it was up to her; in his opinion it was probably best if she agreed with the Dean’s request, ‘politics’ the Marine officer had said in a tone of voice that told Faith he liked it even less than she did.
Glancing once again at the charges against Delta House, Faith had to smile. It must have been some wild party and she was sorry to have missed it, but at the time she’d been having a party of her own over in Omega house. Noticing a drop in the level of noise in the room, Faith looked up to see the court officials file in.
“What the hell…!?” Faith turned around to look at Willow silently asking the question that was going through both of their minds ‘What the hell was Greg Marmalard doing here?’
As President of Omega House, Marmalard was implicated up to his neck in the black magic rituals in the basement that had led to the deaths of at least thirty young women over the last few years. How the hell had he got bail on multiple murder charges? Obviously Machida’s influence was still at work here. In the long run it wouldn’t save him, he’d live out the rest of his life in a small cold cell in a prison on one of the Aleutian Islands, but it was still a shock to see him free and as smarmy as every.
The Court took their seats; Marmalard appeared to be filling the post of President of the Court and Barbara Jansen had the post of ‘Court Writer’. There were also three lecturers, one of whom was Professor Riegert who’s eyes opened wide with surprise when he saw Faith and realised she was the same woman who’d humiliated him in front of his students. There were two more lecturers whom Faith didn’t recognise.
Following the court officials into the room and closing the door behind him was Dean Wormer. Frowning, Faith once again glanced back at Willow; ‘What’s he doing here?’ she mouthed only to get a shrug off Willow in reply. Being a conscientious soldier who tried to live up to the Army’s recruiting slogan of being ‘The Best She Could Be’, Faith had read up on Student Court procedure. One of the most important rules for any Court business was that the Dean should not be present either in person or by sending one of his officials. The Courts were supposed to be a way for the Student body to deal with things with only minor input from the faculty.
“Everything in order, Miss Lehane?” asked Dean Wormer as he paused in front of Faith’s desk.
“Erm, yeah, sure,” Faith began, “but should you be…”
The rest of what Faith was about to say was drowned out as Robert Hoover, Eric Stratton and Donald Schoenstein, the Delta House representatives walked in and took their seats as their frat brothers cheered and whistled. Scowling at the Delta’s the Dean walked away from Faith and took up a position in the corner of the hall.
“Please take your seats,” Greg called out as he banged his gavel and tried to restore some order to the proceedings; slowly the room settled down and something approaching silence fell on the crowd.
“This meeting of the disciplinary council will now come to order,” Greg said once he could be heard, “We’ll waive minutes and proceed directly with the charges against Delta Tau Chi…” Greg looked directly at Faith, “…Sergeant at Arms?”
This was Faith’s cue to do her party piece, getting to her feet she smoothed down her skirt (a nervous habit she’d developed over the years) before picking up the piece of paper with the charges against Delta neatly typed upon it.
“The following charges are brought,” Faith began in a clear strong voice, “First; that Delta House did knowingly violate the rules governing pledge recruitment by serving alcohol to freshman during pledge week and after established drinking hours.”
Shaking her head slightly, Faith smiled to herself, most fraternities ‘served alcohol’ to freshman so, ‘big deal’.
“I’d like to address these charges one at a time,” Robert Hoover came to his feet and addressed the court.
“You’ll get your chance, smart guy!” Dean Wormer snapped from the corner of the room; Faith frowned harder not only wasn’t the Dean supposed to be in the room he certainly wasn’t supposed to say anything.
Sitting down slowly Hoover gave his buddies a worried look.
“Second,” Faith read again from the paper in her hand, “that for the fifth semester running, Delta had failed to achieve the required grade point average…”
Shaking her head, Faith thought these were pretty ‘chicken-shit’ charges so far, as did Hoover who was on his feet again.
“Half the Houses in college didn’t make grade,” Hoover pointed out only to be interrupted by the Dean.
“You will speak when you’re told to mister, and not before!” Dean Wormer growled from his corner.
“Finally,” Faith suppressed a heavy sigh, “that a ‘Roman Toga Party’ was held from which we have received more than three dozen reports of individual acts of perversion so profound and disgusting that decorum,” Faith looked hard at the paper in her hand not really believing that she was reading this crap out, “pro-prohibits,” she stifled a giggle and fought to keep her face straight, “listing them here…” Faith took a deep breath and controlled her amusement; it really must
have been one hell of a party. “These are the charges as recorded this day, faithfully submitted, Chief Warrant Officer Faith Lehane, US Army, Sergeant at Arms.”
There she’d done her part and could now sit down; now, perhaps, this ‘joke’ could be wrapped up and they could all get back to the real world.
“Well done,” rumbled the Dean from his corner.
“Robert Hoover will speak on behalf of Delta House,” Marmalard announced over the buzz of conversation that filled the room.
Getting to his feet to the accompaniment of loud applause from the rest of Delta House, Hoover turned to address the court.
“I don’t think you can fully judge a fraternity…” Hoover began only to be interrupted by the Dean.
“I think we’ve heard enough Mr Chairman…” Dean Wormer said tiredly.
“I was told I’d have a chance to speak…” Hoover pointed out.
“That’s enough!” called Marmalard.
So, this was what was going on, Faith looked from the Dean to Marmalard. It was becoming obvious, at least to Faith, that the Dean had made some sort of deal with Marmalard. In return for a Chairman who’d do his bidding, the Dean had probably promised some sort of protection or evidence that would prevent Marmalard from going to jail.
“The court will now render a decision,” Marmalard announced much to the verbal disgust of Delta House.
“You said…” Hoover tried to speak again.
“HE SAID, THAT’S IT!” yelled the Dean, “Are you deaf?” the Dean turned to look at Marmalard again, “Let’s finish this damn thing…”
“I don’t think its fair,” Hoover called over the jeers of his frat brothers.
“I’ll tell you what’s fair and what’s not,” replied the Dean.
Keeping her own thoughts to herself, Faith sat back in her seat. The Marine’s had a word for what was going on here, she’d learnt back when she’d been posted to Camp Lejeune and that word was ‘clusterfuck’. This so-called court hearing was a clusterfuck that made a mockery of the democratic ideals she’d sworn to defend.
“A point of parliamentary procedure,” Eric Stratton stood up (this should be interesting, thought Faith), “Ladies and gentlemen,” Stratton walked from behind the desk occupied by Delta’s ‘Council’ and took centre stage, “I’ll be brief.”
“The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules,” Stratton walked up and down in front of the court having obviously seen one too many ‘courtroom dramas’, “or took a few liberties with our female party guests…we did.” Stratton looked straight at the Dean and winked. “But you can’t hold an entire fraternity responsible for the depraved behaviour of a few sick, perverted individuals,” Stratton’s voice dropped so the court had to strain to hear him. “If you do,” Stratton continued, “shouldn’t we blame the entire fraternity system?”
Faith found herself nodding her head in agreement with Stratton’s words, this guy was making sense.
“And if the whole fraternity system is guilty…”
Yeah, thought Faith it wasn’t just Delta House who should be on trial here, it was the system!
“…then isn’t this an indictment of all our educational institutions in general?” Stratton explained with growing confidence as the Delta’s clapped and cheered. “I put it to you Greg,” Stratton pointed his finger at Marmalard, “Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society?”
Yeah, thought Faith, it was, she had to stop herself from jumping to her feet and arresting the Dean under the Patriot Act; there were more cheers from Delta House.
“Well…” Stratton paused for a moment, “…you can do what you want to us,” he told the court, “but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!”
The court room dissolved into loud, raucous cheers as Delta’s jumped to their feet and cheered Stratton to the rafters. Struggling to control her own feelings of disgust at the actions of the Dean and his cronies, Faith stood up slowly and reached for the badge in her pocket, if she moved quickly she could arrest the entire court for un-American activities, treason and probably terrorism; she’d work out what the charges were once she’d got them all safely under lock and key. As she rose to her feet, Faith felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning her head she looked into Willow’s eyes and found her head clearing of the feelings that Stratton had induced in her; now she understood what was going on here. Relaxing, she remained standing and waited for Willow to restore order.
“OKAY!” Willow yelled at the top of her voice, “EVERYONE SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN!”
In an instant everyone stopped talking as they gave each other confused looks and slowly began to sit down again. Turning to look at Willow, Stratton gasped as he realised her power. Shaking his head sadly he walked slowly back to his seat and sat down. Well that was it, he told himself, his simple compulsion spell couldn’t stand up against a witch of such power, she’d brushed his magics aside as if they’d been made out of cobwebs.
“Okay,” Willow said in her more normal tone, “thank-you,” she looked over at Faith, “Faith-honey I think you need to do your duty.”
“Yeah,” Faith agreed quietly, now that was what she called magic…wow! “Duty, yeah,” for a moment Faith was uncertain how to proceed. “Okay,” she found her voice and spoke up, “this court is adjourned and its finding are to be disregarded…”
“You can’t do that…!” Cried the Dean as spit flew from his lips.
“I freaking can and I freaking am!” Faith yelled back as if she was drilling a squad of particularly stupid recruits, “You’re lucky I don’t arrest you for…for…” just at the moment she couldn’t think of anything to arrest the Dean for but there was bound to be something. “Hey, look,” Faith pointed at Marmalard, “that asshole has been charged in connection with a dozen ritual slayings of young women, what’s he doing being chairman, huh?”
There were muttering of agreement from the audience.
“You go girl!” Willow cheered quietly from behind Faith.
“I’m beginning to think ya might have known what the Omegas were doin’ all along…” Faith pointed out.
“You can’t talk to the Dean like that!” Professor Riegert claimed.
“You sit ya fat ass down!” Faith pointed at Riegert, “I’ll talk to the dickwad-Dean however I want, okay?”
Shocked into silence, Riegert sat down as someone at the back of the hall started to hum the ‘Star Spangled Banner’.
“Now listen up,” Faith continued as the humming got louder, “I’m gonna write a full report to the Board of Governors and I’ll also be placing a report with the Faber City PD and the FBI.”
Dean Wormer and Marmalard gave each other worried looks as the humming got even louder.
“You total assholes,” Faith turned her attention back to the Dean and Marmalard, “did ya think I wouldn’t notice, did ya think I was just some ignorant GI Jane? You turned this temple of learning into a freakin’ den of deceit, by your immoral and wicked practices!” Faith felt the words flow into her mouth as she channelled Oliver Cromwell. “You’ve grown intolerable to the whole campus; you were elected by the people to get grievances redressed, and you’ve become the greatest grievance…” Faith paused and took a deep breath, “…I command you, upon peril of your lives, to depart immediately from this place; go, get out! Ya venal slaves, BE GONE!”
The entire audience was now on its feet cheering as the Dean and Marmalard hurriedly left the hall. Faith turned her head to see Willow smile into her eyes.
“Way to go girl,” Willow spoke over the cheers of the students who were now singing the national anthem as Wormer left the room. “I’m so proud of you Faith.”
“Will ya still be proud of me when I’m thrown outta the army next week?” Faith asked.
“I’ll always be proud of you, Sweetie, whatever you do,” Willow leant towards Faith and kissed her on the cheek.0=0=0=0The following Tuesday.
“Was Colonel Mann really angry?” Willow asked as she watched Faith pack her gear into her suitcases and bags.
“Oh,” Faith paused in her packing, “she was real pissed an’ yelled an’ went on about following procedure, but…”
“But?” Willow asked hopefully.
“But what with all the demons, vampires and human sacrifices, she couldn’t say too much,” Faith grinned, “so I’ve gotta change universities but that’s cool.”
“It is?” Willow asked hopefully; she could see how basically arresting the Dean would make her continued education at Faber ‘difficult’ to say the least.
“Yeah,” Faith’s grin got wider, “they’re sending me to a college in New York so I’ll be closer to home, see?”
“Closer to…” Willow smiled happily as she bounced across the room and hugged Faith like she’d never been hugged before, “…does that mean you wanna move in together?”
“Yeah,” Faith admitted, “we’ll still need to be careful but…” Faith paused before she said what needed to be said, “…y’know when those Omega assholes took you?”
“Erm, yeah,” Willow nodded as she held on to Faith.
“Well it made me think how much I’d miss you if ya ever…y’know…went away.” Faith ran her hands up and down Willow’s back, “I don’t want to feel that way again and I want to spend as much time as I can with you.”
“So do I…” Willow was about to say something about how that was how she felt when Faith went off on one of her army missions and got shot; but she didn’t because she remembered how dangerous her work with the Council could be.
“So ya okay with me moving in?” Faith asked.
“Of course,” Willow smirked happily, she’d have her girl with her…well, if not all the time then while the army wasn’t sending her out to save the world. “Hey,” Willow disentangled herself from Faith’s arms, “look I’ve got business to attend to…”
“Delta House?” Faith asked; Willow nodded, “You want back up?”
“No I’ll be fine,” Willow explained, “I’ve got a couple of spells up and running they won’t be able to do anything to harm me.”
“Ya sure?” Faith asked, “I can easily come with, provide some super soldier muscle, y’know?”
“No thanks,” Willow started to head for the door, “you stay here and finish your packing I’ll be back in half-an-hour.”0=0=0=0Delta House.
Standing in the middle of the main room of Delta house, Willow could feel all the demons around her. Now the air wasn’t charged with emotions she could see Delta House’s denizens for what they really were. They were demons but they weren’t really that dangerous, they certainly didn’t indulge in human sacrifice like the so-called humans next door had. Robert Hoover, the president of Delta House, stood up and came to stand just in front of Willow, he opened his mouth to speak but the witch silenced him with a wave of her hand.
“Don’t say a word,” Willow commanded, “any of you…” she took a deep breath, “…you all know who and what I am?” She watched as the demons nodded their heads, “Then you know what I could do to you?” Again the demons nodded, “Then you’ll no doubt be totally surprised to hear I’m not going to do anything…” a look of hope came to a dozen demonic faces, “…unless I hear that you’ve been up to your old tricks again.”
“Look, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do,” Willow turned so she was looking out the grubby window with her back to the demons. “I’m going to have a slayer put into Faber College just to keep an eye on things and if she reports anything otherworldly or if she goes missing I’ll be down here handing out great, big, biblical portions of vengeance, do you understand?”
The demons nodded their heads.
“Good,” Willow started to walk towards the front door, “and hey guys, how about cleaning this place up, huh?” Pausing in the doorway she fired her parting shot, “And what about the wacky notion of graduating
With the outraged gasps of the demons still echoing in her ears Willow headed on out the door and turned towards Faith’s dorm. She wasn’t going to kid herself, living with Faith wouldn’t be easy, it was something they’d both have to work at; plus there was the whole memory thing to deal with. But, at least with Faith near maybe she could work out what was stopping her remembering before she got round to asking Faith whether she wanted her memories back.
Oh, yes, Willow had learnt her lesson, no way was she going to just give Faith her memories back (if she actually could), sure she could tell Faith stuff, but did she want to know about ‘big-bad-pre-soldier-Faith? What about Faith’s life before Sunnydale? From what Willow’d heard that hadn’t been all puppies and kittens. No, when the time came…if the time came, Willow would only do what Faith wanted her to do, until then she’d lock the secret up inside her and pretend that it didn’t exist.The End.Author’s Notes.
What Oliver Cromwell actually said;“Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves become the greatest grievance…I command ye therefore, upon peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get you out! Ye venal slaves be gone!”
The next story in the Faith in the Army series is ‘Retribution’, which to be honest hasn’t got much Faith or even Willow in it, but, it is set in the same reality and is part of the series.