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This story is No. 3 in the series "Geography Lessons". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: If you can keep your head when everyone else is losing theirs, chances are you don't know what's going on...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > West WingRichFR181218,26657820,6279 Mar 142 Sep 14No

CJ Cregg & Leo McGarry

A/N: This series blends the BTVS, the West Wing, and Stargate universes. I don't own any of them. To make this work, some changes have been made to the storylines, some of which will be mentioned in this story.

"You heard that Josh is going to work for the Santos campaign ?", asked Leo.

"Yes, I did", answered CJ. "Santos seems like a good candidate".

"He is", said Leo. "He probably won't get the votes this time around, but with any luck he'll get enough to have some influence. Maybe that'll be enough to keep Kinsey from running away with it".

CJ nodded. Hoynes had too much baggage, Russell was considered a light weight, and Santos wasn't very well known yet. That gave Kinsey a real chance at the nomination. He liked to pose as a patriot and a progressive, but those on the inside knew better. In truth, Robert Kinsey's primary loyalty was to Robert Kinsey. Santos, on the other hand, seemed like an honest man.

"There's a chance that the convention will be split, and they'll end up settling for a compromise candidate", said Leo. "Somebody like Governor Hayes would have a good shot if that happens".

"We could do worse", replied CJ. "Hayes has a solid record, especially for working with the opposition".

"Well yeah", said Leo, "seeing as he's related to some of them. Can you picture him and Ainsley at the family reunion ? But that isn't what I wanted to talk to you about".

"Right", replied CJ, "you need a replacement for Josh".

"I need a replacement for me, CJ", said Leo. "Since my heart attack, the doctors are insisting that I cut back on my work load. I've been trying to take half days, but that leaves the President with a part time Chief of Staff, and that just won't work. So I'm promoting myself to the position of 'Advisor', and I need to put somebody else in the Chief of Staff position".

"And you want my input ?", asked CJ. She wasn't sure who she could recommend. With Josh gone, Sam in California, and Toby facing charges, there weren't too many of the original team left.

"No", answered Leo. "I want you to take the job".

"I don't have a good relationship to the military, Leo", said CJ. "I hate guns, and I hate violence, and I have trouble with people who use those things for a living. I know we need them, but I'm just not comfortable around them".

"Well, if it helps", said Leo, "you could remind yourself that they've had the ability to incinerate the planet for about fifty years now, and they haven't done it yet".

"It does, actually", answered CJ. "and I'm not saying that I dislike them personally, just that the idea of a professional military makes me uncomfortable".

"Well, in spite of what you see in the movies, amateur militaries tend to lose more often than not. Is this going to be a problem ?", asked Leo.

"I don't really know. I'm not completely sure that I can do this", said CJ. "I'm not even close to being qualified on this stuff. I could study for the next two administrations and I still wouldn't be qualified".

"Tell me who is and I'll hire them", responded Leo. "And while you're at it, find me someone who actually knows everything you need to know to run this country, and I'll make them President".

"President Bartlet comes pretty close", said CJ.

"He knows a lot, and for sure he knows more than me", replied Leo. "But he doesn't know it all. He doesn't know enough. Nobody knows enough. So we have a Senior Staff, and a Cabinet, and the Joint Chiefs, and a bunch of other people who know the things that we don't. You don't need to know everything; you just need to know who does, and who you can trust. The hard part", he continued, "isn't figuring out who they are. It's figuring out when to listen to them, and when not to".

She thought she'd considered every aspect of the situation before she'd agreed. Policy wasn't her field, but she'd been in on almost every major decision, she knew how the process worked, and she knew all of the players. She could do this.

Then she took the job, and Leo took her into the situation room, where some people she'd never met briefed her on some things she'd never heard of, or even imagined.

"...Prior to its recent destruction, the town of Sunnydale California was the site of a gateway to other dimensions..."

"...In 1928, an archaeological expedition discovered an artifact in Egypt, manufactured by a technology we cannot yet duplicate, from an element which doesn't exist on this planet..."

"...During the Second World War, the OSS learned of German attempts to harness the occult to advance their war aims. As a response, they established a top secret project, known as the Demon Research Initiative..."

"...In Area 51, Air Force scientists have reverse-engineered Alien technology to produce a first-generation military spacecraft..."

"...The world is older than you know, and contrary to common belief it did not begin as a Paradise..."

She returned to her office with her head spinning, and found Leo waiting for her with a bottle of scotch and a glass.

"I figured you'd want to talk, and the people you'd usually talk to aren't cleared for this information", he said. "So I guess you're stuck with me".

The people she'd usually talk to weren't available anyway.

"I don't know where to start, Leo", she said. "I'd think that this was the worst practical joke of all time, but it isn't, is it ?".

"No, it's real", he replied, "although I had the same reaction at first. Denial is the first stage".

"You know, sooner or later this will all have to come out", said CJ.

"Yeah, but I'm hoping it's later", said Leo.

"The people have a right to know", she said.

"They absolutely do", he answered, "Our country is at war. Hell, we're in two wars. The problem is, once the people know about them they're going to want to win them, and the sooner the better. What are we going to say when they ask how we're going to do that ?"

"There has to be a way, Leo", CJ replied.

"Why?", he asked.

"Why what ?", she said.

"Why does there have to be a way ?", he said. "There's no way to do lots of things. There's no way we know of to reverse the aging process. There's no way that we know of to create matter or energy out of nothing. There's no way that everybody can win the lottery every time, and there's no way for me to stop being an alcoholic...and as far as we know, there's no way to eliminate the demons. We sure as hell can't negotiate a settlement, as long as some of them think we're a food source. Eliminating the Goauld might be doable, but the demons ? We've been fighting that war since we climbed out of the trees, and maybe longer. Why should it go away now just because we'd like it to ?"

"Because...I don't know why, there just has to be a way !", replied CJ.

"Yeah", I know", he said. "I wish the same thing. But wishing won't make it happen".

"You remember that business in North Carolina ?", he asked. CJ nodded.

"Well, while that was going on, we got a visit from Lord Marbury, who apparently has some kind of connection to the ISWC, and he reminded me of something. This stuff is new to us, but it's old news to them. The Slayers have managed to keep the world from ending for a long time now, and they're still on the job".

"For right now, maybe that's the best we can do; and maybe it's enough. I'm just not so sure that the voters will be satisfied with that".

"And that's why I'm not in a hurry to tell them about it", he finished.

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