Chapter 23: Hope Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Okay, I have to say that this has probably been one of the weirdest days of my life and considering what I've seen in the past six years that is definitely saying something. The thing is that I'm used to weirdness coming through the gate or at least being gate related... that is not really the case here and that is bugging the heck out of me. I like my orderly weird little world and these people seem to be determined to mess it up. I mean, we are basically talking about the direct descendants of the ones who defeated the Goa'uld thousands of years ago and the ones who hold the key to the Asgard's survival, even if they are not exactly willing to go along with their original plan. That means that --regardless of how much I may want to-- I can't just kick them out of here and pretend that this meeting never happened. Of course, that doesn't even begin to take into account the fact that they pose a major security problem... I can't afford to forget about that.
This is supposed to be one of the most secret and secure bases in the world and they just popped in here, deep into the mountain, like it was nothing. It is true that we are sort of used to Thor doing the exact same thing --and we gave up on trying to keep him out a very long time ago-- but the difference is that we know that for Thor and the Asgard our secrets are meaningless. That is not the case with these people.
They are human and shaping up to be a headache bigger than any SG-1 has brought to us before... and that includes alien viruses, alien technology and maybe even the Goa'uld themselves. I mean, how the heck am I supposed to explain any of this to anyone? And how am I supposed to keep these people out of the NID's radar? That is going to be difficult, especially because if we want to get them to help us out we are going to have to earn their trust but at the same time there's no way around the fact that I have to fill the higher ups in on what's happened here today and boy, is that going to be an interesting report.
That is where things are likely to get ugly. A false move could easily trigger a war here at home --a war we wouldn't be able to escape-- and somehow I don't think we would be likely to come out on top. Unfortunately I also know there are a number of elements in the military who are likely to be too stupid to understand that... or even to recognize the threat. That is going to be a challenge.
From what I can see I would say that appearances are one of the most dangerous things when it comes to our 'guests'.
They are children and the truth is that if it weren't for Lya's reaction there's no way I would ever have believed that someone like Willow was ever on the brink of destroying the world. She looks so sweet and harmless... and what Willow can do is just what we know. That is what I have to keep reminding myself of, especially because what usually gets you is what you don't know and in this case I'm pretty sure that what we don't know is plenty.
For starters we don't know what a slayer is, not really. Sure, they mentioned that the slayer was created thousands of years ago to give mankind an edge in its fight against the Goa'uld, they described her as a champion and they explained that that legacy has been passed down from one girl to the next until it reached Buffy and Faith but just what is it that a slayer can do? I don't know. They haven't answered that question and that is just the most glaring example... especially because if the slayer is a warrior that was created specifically to fight the Goa'uld we could certainly use her help around here.
Of course, I'm not naive enough not to realize that asking them if we can borrow one now that they have two probably won't get us anywhere... even if we are fighting the enemy the slayers were originally meant to defeat.
That means that if we want their help we are going to have to think of these people as being a package deal and I get the funny feeling that if I were to allow them within ten miles of my mountain on a regular basis I could just as well kiss what passes for military discipline around here goodbye. It is true that with Jack around the difference wouldn't really be all that noticeable but at least he tries to keep up appearances... even if, regardless of what I tell him, he has a tendency to follow his gut rather than my orders. That is something I've learned to live with and appreciate, especially because it has saved our asses more than once, but somehow I get the feeling that these people have never even heard of a chain of command. In fact, if I had to guess, I would say that they fly by the seat of their pants most of the time, even if --going by the way in which they came up with an alternative plan to help the Asgard in a matter of minutes-- they are quite resourceful.
In other words, we are back where we started. We need these people and that means we have to earn their trust but at the same time I have a responsibility to the military I just can't deny. On top of that there's also the fact that --even if I were to succeed in balancing those two aspects somehow-- the changes they would bring about are not something I'm sure I'm willing to deal with. I'm a military man. I've been one for well over thirty years and that has always provided me with a sort of compass... one I'm not sure I can do without. Of course, maybe around here that compass itself is part of the problem. Yes, I've been struggling to maintain some semblance of military discipline for years but at the same time I can't help but acknowledge that more often than not the rules and regulations I am trying to enforce are ill suited for the reality of what we deal with on a daily basis. I know we need more flexibility but that doesn't mean this is an easy decision for me to make... especially because these people seem to have plenty of aces up their sleeves and trying to keep them under control is likely to be a major challenge.
We need all the help we can get --there's no denying that-- just like there's no denying the fact that they have the power to help. Unfortunately the fact that they have that power is not likely to make them any easier for me to deal with, far from it.
They are used to fighting in their terms and they are unlikely to follow orders well. That is going to be a problem. We need them but we can't have two generals, it is that simple... or it would be if they weren't bringing so much potential to the table. That is the key. The thing is that considering what we know about Willow --and depending on how this whole thing turns out-- that potential can be described as either incredibly terrifying or deeply reassuring. That is one of the main reasons why we have to be so careful here.
I guess the bottom line is that, when all is said and done, I'd much rather deal with aliens.