Transtions to a New Military Surreality
Chaotic Existence 35
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners...it will start off with the Joss/ME characters, and the Stargate characters aren’t mine either and any other characters or real-life folks are clearly not mine. No money is involved. None are mine.
This is dedicated to those of you who watch the shows.
Faith smiled broadly as she greeted Giles and Jenny upon entering the library late the next morning.
“Hey love birds, you finally stop banging like bunnies?”
Her Watcher grimaced as she stepped passed her ward and sat down.
“Faith, you mixed imagery in the same sentence.”
“But the content was okay?” Jenny mused with a smile.
“The quality of your relations with Rupert are your own business,” the female Watcher smiled. “And as you are clothed and here, her question is moot.”
Jenny smiled and looked back at Giles, “I like her, Rupert. Can we keep her here in Sunnydale?”
He would have answered, but Faith, tossing herself into a chair and putting her feet—almost on the table until a LOOK from Linda made her sit properly—did instead.
“Yep, we’re assigned here at least past New Years, right Linda?”
“Faith is correct; apparently a few of the Devon Coven members who are seers, believe a great series of evils will threaten the Hellmouth over the next few months.”
“Excellent,” Rupert smiled. He noticed some amused looks in his direction. “About your continued presence, I mean.”
“Hey, I know I could use a little more dirty-tricks fightin’” Faith smiled. “You bitchin’ old guys tore up a bunch of vamps last night, with guns and stuff. That blonde chick got away, and that politician got eaten, but you guys rocked.”
“W-well, perhaps sometime, when I remember what I did more, we can discuss it. As for George, I believe he used some form of military martial arts combination. Please do remember, Faith, that because of the candy, we leapt in with little thought—we should have been killed, but surprise alone allowed us to utilize our skills effectively.”
Linda added so as not to discourage the girl, “But the inclusion of such into your training, sans firearms, would be most appropriate Faith. And I’m very proud that that is your initiative to include it. But we must never take lightly the loss of human life—even when such as a Deputy Mayor appears to have consorted with demons.”
Faith smiled at the compliment, and nodded at the very light reminder.
“Well, well, well, Lilah, we appear to be in the clear. But you and Mr. Rayne need to be more careful next time. Or their won’t BE a next time. Are we understood?”
“Perfectly, Mr. Mayor. Any other reason for calling me in?”
“Why yes, it seems I need my new Deputy Mayor to head down to HR and fill out her paperwork.”
“Yes. And I expect perfection from this point onward.”
“HR is open on a Saturday?”
“Most City services are internally open for four hours every other non-Holiday. It allows us to stay ahead of the normal needs of our constituents. Now go.”
By lunchtime, General George Hammond had managed to determine the necessary course for action to ensure the previous night would not only result in informational leaks, but could be turned into a focus for how the Command would proceed. Major Paul Davis entered the auditorium, into which the participants of last night’s ‘Snipe Hunt’ had gathered (including beds wheeled in from the Infirmary), and handed General Hammond the folder containing the CNC’s responses to requests. After looking through the folder, the general addressed his command.
“Everyone, please quiet down. We have some important matters to cover. In particular, many of you since yesterday have come to realize the true nature of this area of California. Much as the Stargate was a portal to worlds within our universe, Sunnydale seems to have built itself atop a weak spot in space and time, something allowing limited but definite passage between dimensions. It is called by experts on this sort of thing, as a Hellmouth, a real source of our myths regarding demons, Hell, vampires and other legends most of the world believes to be absurd stories.
“We are considered as a combat-equivalent deployment, though on home soil. Your pay and benefits will reflect this, but the extra funds will accrue separately and only be transferred when you leave this command, or it becomes public knowledge. By the Executive Order creating this command, your pay IS free of taxation, though for security the equivalent deductions will also be accrued and accessed as I’ve discussed.
“Why am I addressing you about details? To let you get used to the idea that we’re in a combat deployment, designated to protect this nation and the world. But we must not let those we are protecting know it, or their could be mass-panic and consequent unfortunate loss of life.
“We will be including in our structure a program nearly ready for activation come summer, referred to as Project Initiative. While many of its staff have switched places at the SGC, those detailed with handling the scientific research, basic security and cover story aspects of the forward base, and much of the logistical effort, will continue with us.”
The general paused.
“Also, we have a dozen personnel transfers who were involved, but not directly in the events of October 31st.” Those from the SGC tensed: many had lost friends and at least colleagues in the fighting. “I repeat, these individuals have not been found to have foreknowledge or armed participation. The President, people, has offered pardons and AMNESTIES, blanket ones. They have freely given testimony that will ensure many surviving NID and affiliated groups will be hunted down justly, and with most identities known to us. They have clean slates, and after I reviewed their files, I’ve accepted them into this command. We will not merely watch them for our own security interests, but integrate them so that they never even consider being anything but loyal participants in what we do here.
“Also in light of the large numbers of Guard members that unintentionally assigned themselves to last night’s activities, to assure security the President has given orders converting their service to full-time in this command.”
He heard some disturbance in the crowd, which included those affected.
“However, as most are attending community college or the university here in Sunnydale, and four others are employed or self-employed in roles that should prove integral to our cover stories in the area, your duties will be integrated into YOUR non-Guard routines.
“ROTC at both schools, weekend briefings here at the base, all of this will allow us to be a protecting part of this community with ready deniability of our command. Your time will also count as part of your service. You will slowly bring Command personnel into your schools enough that our presence will be ignored and accepted, instead of raising eyebrows.
“However, while handled in a less than perfect manner, your school breaks will see you AND Command personnel undertaking Pararescue Training. The purpose of this will be to increase total capabilities and greater cohesion. Now, as disagreeable as I find the next demonstrations, I need each and every one of you to understand that our enemies really ARE demons. Vampires are demon-animated corpses. And those we are using hee today are truly evil.”
George Hammond sighed, and nodded for the four vampires to be brought in. The crowd was passed around Holy Water, and Crosses. Wooden stakes, and the other low-tech tools of the trade. They were shown the effects on the vampires, and how steel and bullets didn’t end the demons, though there could be seen varying degrees of temporary success. They watched the things heal. They watched as a strong but small piece of wood ended one vampire, beheading dusted the next, and similar efforts on a drugged Fyarl turned it to goo after beheading. Most were at least vaguely disturbed, though a fair number of those locals present seemed relieved or happy to see the monsters dispatched.
O’Neill recited statistics comparing the worst of the worst neighborhoods around the nation and world to the death rates of teenagers and transient populations around Sunnydale. He ended by passing around the last six editions of the high school paper OBITUARY section. The point sank in. Hammond cleared his throat and resumed control of the gathering.
“What we’re doing here is very real people. We protect kids, mothers, and others. We take care of our own. We do what’s necessary to protect. I like you have many mixed emotions, but you’ve seen the faces of enemies today. True evil wearing the faces of our loved ones, using their memories to get past our guard and destroy us, using us as food. We are going to succeed. Dismissed.”
Half an hour later, Xander found himself, four recent Sunnydale grads, and SG-1 in General Hammond’s briefing room. They sat as the general did.
“The five of you have a special assignment, one most unusual in what will be expected of you: you’re going back to high school.”
Five confused if not pained faces quickly returned to stolidity.
“Three of you will be assigned to Colonel Makepeace and Major Feretti, to establish ROTC and Guard programs at Fondren High. Coincidentally and openly as a hopeful recruitment tool, you will offer a wide array of support to clubs of Fencing, Historical Reenactment, and Martial Arts. As these are free, we hope to improve the survival rate in this town.
“Alexander, you Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c—who will be commissioned as Major Murray Tealc for this mission—will spearhead a similar presence at Sunnydale High. Major Carter will assume the role of Computer Instructor at the school, at least for the rest of the year. Eventually, we’ll of course want to embed her into the university side of operations.”
“Am I still military for my cover?”
“That hasn’t been determined. I’d prefer to have you as just-released for disability reasons, but thought I’d leave that to Team Sunnydale High to detail out. As for Dr. Jackson, he’ll be established next term at the university as an instructor in Mythology, but he’ll also have a rather large ‘distant learning’ grant to bring together the colleges and high schools, starting with libraries. This will allow him to offer on-site support in his specialties should you need him.”
The group nodded as they began to picture a fairly solid network of prevention and protection amongst the target population noted in General Hammond’s speech. Alexander Hammond raised a hand, and spoke.
“I notice that SGs two and three aren’t going to be cohesive, sir? Could they become bouncers and bartenders at The Bronze and some of the college hangouts?”
“As a matter of fact, between such employment and ‘regular customers’ six of our teams will deploy into as many establishments, lieutenant. For at least the next few months, we will not be carrying out patrols and sweeps of the town itself. We’ll build up our field experience on the town peripheries, ensuring our strong points, and react as necessary to troubles at the designated points. I don’t want any of our personnel turned against us. If we rush in using tradition tactics and weapons, we’ll suffer horrific and unnecessary losses without really benefiting the populous.”
The meeting continued to frame ideas for different points of presence in town, and likely ways to support and build without undo attention.
It was unfortunate that the Mayor had been lucky enough to establish magical viewing of the four main conference and briefing rooms at the base when it had been built so many years ago.