Sitting in my office at Fort Meade I looked longingly at my phone. It had been really quiet recently. The hunters had apparently been leaving Earth alone and no real attacks of the weird had been hitting us. Faith was on the rotation for supernatural apocalypses at the moment. I had just finished my latest stirring report about personnel.
It was so quiet that Sergeant First Class Standish Boyer had actually had found time to get married and go on his honeymoon. Darien and I were still doing the dating thing. It helps when your significant other has a high enough clearance and mission need to know so you can actually talk about what you did at work. We had at least moved in together and mom thought he was awesome.
I sighed and looked over at my weapon rack. The hunter sword and throwing disk, Baby, my FAL, the Saiga Assault shotgun, Mister Pointy. I really felt like cutting out and heading over to the range...I mean it wasn't like Dutch couldn't find me or any...then the phone rang.
"My office. Now."
Speak of the devil or at least his Teutonic cousin. I was up and moving at a good clip.
There were people in Dutch's office, all of them wearing suits or civilian clothes. The leader was a tall black guy with a goatee and a patch over his eye and wearing dark clothes and a trenchcoat. There were two average looking guys in suits, though one of the suits was an Armani, and a redhaired woman wearing some kind of black tactical gear with a pair of drop holsters. Eye-patch guy and the less expensive suit guy were both carrying as well in shoulder holsters. Mister Armani wasn't.
Eye-patch and Armani were seated. Cheap suit and redhead were not. Dutch was behind his battleship of a desk, "Ah! This is Major Summers. My Executive Officer und one uff our best field operatives."
"Sir?" I said puzzled and switching to full military formal mode.
"Major. This is Under-Secretary Gerald Fiskar from the Department uff Homeland Security," he gestured at Armani. "Colonel Nicholas Fury uff Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division," Mister Eye-patch...sorry Colonel Eye-patch. "Und Agents Coulson and Romanoff also uff SHIELD."
"Mister Secretary. Colonel. Sir. Ma'am." I said as acknowledgements.
"General Schaefer. Your XO seems a little young for her rank," Fury began.
"Special waiver due to experience und capability. She is responsible for the capture uff the Package."
The Package being the hunter ship.
"Really?" the Under-Secretary said with surprise.
"Yes sir," Dutch replied, "It was in the full report about this unit's operational record."
"I didn't see that full report then," he looked over at Fury slightly accusingly.
Fury looked calm and innocent. I had him pegged as a manipulative bastard right from that moment.
"Major, as you know, we haff operated as a section uff the United States Army detached for civilian protection. This is to protect us from violations uff the Posse Comitatus Act uff 1878. This has now bitten us in the ass."
The Secretary looked horrified while Fury looked amused. Coulson and Romanoff kept their expressions perfectly blank and with a little effort so did I, "General...that language!"
"I'm sorry sir..." he wasn't of course.
"What your boss is trying to say," Fury began, "Is that my organization is collecting all paramilitary units that nominally fall under the auspices of Homeland Security and bringing them into ours."
"So General Schaefer being senior officer will be in overall charge then?" I asked innocently. I saw Coulson hiding a grin and Dutch was out and out smiling. Fury looked daggers at me.
"No," Fury said in a surprisingly calm tone of voice. "As SHIELD is my Agency, I will be maintaining overall command. This unit is being absorbed, however General Schaefer is not going with it."
"I see," I said and I did. This was a powerplay pure and simple.
"I believe you do Major," he said in an almost condescending tone. "There won't be any problem then?"
"Of course not sir."
"Good. Your teams are experts in engaging technologically superior forces. SHIELD needs that expertise. However we are a civilian agency..."
"Run by a Colonel..." Dutch cut in.
"And you want me to resign my commission," I finished for him. "No. And I can even tell you that all the officers and men of this organization will give you the same answer. We enlisted in the US Military and all of us are combat vets of Afghanistan and Iraq at the very least. At the moment this unit has operational control of an Air Force Combat Control Team, a reinforced platoon of Stryker Infantry and a company of Light Infantry. All of the Light Infantry is Ranger Qualled and about half the Stryker is as well. We have fought things that would make your non-existent hair stand on end sir. We've earned our rank."
"That is awfully close to insubordination Major," the Under-Secretary said. Dutch just looked proud at me.
"If you were in my position sir wouldn't you say the same? Colonel?"
Fury nodded, "I see your point," he sounded like he was gritting his teeth, "So if the resignation of commission or termination of active duty was a requirement I would be getting no personnel."
"Und..." Dutch said, "That is the entire reason you want my unit...along with the Package uff course."
Fury stood there for a moment, "And if you kept your active duty status?"
"What we do is important. There are things that need their cilia slapped to keep them in line and to let them know that Earth is not a hunting park. Of course I'd stay...just to keep you honest if nothing else."
"Is she always like this?" Fury asked Dutch.
"Usually worse. This is a good day."
Fury, Fiskar, and Dutch began to hash out to the changeover and I was dismissed. I was heading back to my office to try to figure out how to break the news to my guys when Coulson and Romanoff caught up to me.
"Phil is fine and this is Natasha."
"My name's Buffy."
I laughed, "It's okay Phil. My name throws a lot of people. Coffee?"
"Please," Natasha said.
I led them to my office and poured them cups. Natasha was fascinated with Boyer's my weapon racks.
"A DShK and a PKM? Not what I would expect to find in a US Military office except as display pieces. But both of these look functional."
"They are. That PKM was found in Tajikistan, and Baby in Moscow."
"Baby?" Phil stared at the 40 kilo machine gun. It looked slightly odd because it had been fitted with a buttstock and a harness made out of several AK slings.
"I was in the DSS before I joined Dutch's madhouse here. Are you ex-FSB, GRU?"
"You don't look that old in fact you look younger than me," she did. At least three years maybe more, and I don't look my age either.
"Okayyy. How about you Phil?"
"I worked for a bunch of different agencies until Director Fury recruited me."
"So Director is his job title not Colonel...he played me," I laughed.
"He plays everybody. It's something to get used to," Phil said. "So who carries Baby."
"My Sergeant is six foot five and solid muscle."
"Oh? Where is he?"
"His honeymoon. He'll be back in a couple of days."
"That's sweet," Natasha said.
"Yeah I know. Oh, where are we going to be based? I just got a killer lease."
"You'll still be here I assume," Phil said.
"That's good. My boyfriend is here too."
"Yeah he works for US Fish and Wildlife as a researcher."
Coulson touched his collar, "We'll be right there sir. Natasha we're leaving."
I walked them back to Dutch's office and the pair of escorted them out.
"Do they know about me and Faith?" I asked.
"It's not in any uff your records, but assume nothing. Oh Director Fury vould like you to join Agent Coulson on a trip to California."
"To meet Mister Tony Stark."All stuff not Standish Boyer Property somebody other than me.a/n
And we're off on the next part which I started thinking about when a friend of mine sent me a copy of The Winter Soldier Script. This is more an interstitial than anything else and is set in 2008.