(Author's note: This chapter's about half done, but I wanted to post it - I'm back in a writing mood again and will have the complete chapter up in a few days - followed by - gasp! - more chapters. Yay, writing is fun and occupies free time!)

Contra Costa County, CA - Mount Diablo Training Facility

"I'm afraid there's no time for a tour," Liesl said, briskly leading the team (we're a team! Chiyo thought, excited) through low-ceilinged, bare, and otherwise intimidating military corridors, past American military personnel, some of whom stopped dead in their duties to stare at the sudden influx of young cute Japanese women. "You're to start your training immediately."

"First we rest a little?" said Osaka hopefully - she really needed to lie down for a while. The mayo on the turuki sandawichu was not agreeing with her.

"Unfortunately, no," Liesl said. As they went deeper into the complex, they passed closed doors with strange sounds – shooting was one of the most common ones – coming from behind. Muscular, grim-faced Special Forces soldiers strode grimly by. "The consultants who'll be training you are already here, and the hostages aren't getting any more rescued. So we're beginning immediately."

"Can I at least go to the bath-"

"Immediately," Liesl said, and stopped walking abruptly. Only Tomo's quick footwork prevented the Humorous Domino Effect. The girls glanced around. They'd stopped in a large, nondescript room, with only a punching bag or two and a couple mats on the floor to identify it as a gym.

"I'll be back in three hours to show you your rooms. Have fun with the guns," Liesl said. "He likes guns." With a wink, she closed the door.

"Guns…?" said Sakaki, weakly.

"Three hours…?" said Osaka, weakly.

Footsteps approached. As the door opened, the girls all felt strangely alarmed, a feeling which only increased when a dark, brawny, unshaven man in fatigues and a bandanna entered the room.

"Why do I suddenly feel like I should have a red exclamation point over my head?" Osaka wondered aloud.

The man laughed a short, humorless laugh. "Girls. They told me you were all young and all civilians, but they didn't say you were all girls." His gruff Japanese, while not bad, had a strong American accent. "Well, not a problem, I can work with - Hey, what's a kid doing here?"

He'd stopped in front of Chiyo. She looked up - and up - and gave him a glare that the other girls knew well. Kagura and Yomi, on either side of Chiyo, stepped away slightly.

"I'm Chiyo Mihama and I am NOT a kid," Chiyo said angrily. "I'm nineteen years old, I can't help it if I'm short, and I'm a visiting professor at Berkeley. I've got three Ph.D's. Do YOU have three Ph.D's?"

"Uh - "

"Which is why I go by DOCTOR Mihama." She glared again. "Who am I?"

The big soldier seemed taken aback by the sheer force of Chiyo's pint-sized rage. "...Doctor Mihama?"

"Good," said Chiyo smugly.

"Dr. Mihama? Chiyo Mihama?" said another voice, excitedly. A second man entered the room, much less imposing and wearing glasses. He was taken aback when he saw Chiyo. "My god! I've read your papers. I thought you were forty!" His Japanese was flawless.

"Well, I'm not. Who are you?"

"Hal Emmerich. I actually used your work on bioreactive polymers to build a - "

"Hal Emmerich?" squealed Chiyo. "I did one of my theses based on your optics work. I thought you were dead!" They grinned and shook hands in mad-science solidarity.

"Wait," said Tomo. "If you're Hal Emmerich... your code name's Otacon, right? ... then you're the mission support guy for..."

"Yup," said Solid Snake, raspy voice dripping with sarcasm. "The Legend in the flesh." He hated that nickname.

Tomo stared at the world-famous tactical espionage agent for a fraction of a second. Then she let out a joyful shriek. "EEEEEEEEEEEEE! I'm gonna get trained by Solid Snake! I'm gonna get trained by Solid Snake!" She started jumping up and down.

"And that's..."

"Tomo Takino," Yomi confirmed. "Interpol's latest recruit and our fearless leader. And yes, she's always like this."

("How much are we getting paid for this?" Snake hissed to Otacon, in English.

"A lot."

"Isn't there a Metal Gear we could blow up instead?"

"Not at the moment.")

Snake grunted. War, he reflected, is hell, but peace can be just as bad.

Snake sized up the six girls. Their specialties were practically written on their faces. Amateurs, but with potential.

"Okay. Kiddo, Four-eyes and Space Cadet, you're with him on mission support to start," Snake growled. "Strong and Silent, Tomboy and Knucklenut, you're with me on combat techniques."

"I am NOT Knucklenut!" Tomo protested. "My code name is Phoenix. Phoenix! And that's Cat and Dolphin, and Pengy and Dragonfly..."

"I wanted to be Sea Cucumber, but they wouldn't let me," Osaka said. "What does Otacon mean, anyway?"

"Otaku Convention. I'm not proud," the techie said.

"Hehe," said Tomo, with that ominous gleeful glint in her eye. "Then Solid Snake has gotta be..."

"No," said Yomi, firmly. "Tomo. Don't go there."

"But it's so obvious..."

"TOMO. Do NOT go there. This is rated PG."

"Keep in mind, I can also knock you out with one punch," Snake added.

"Ah, crud," said Tomo, resigned.

more chapter to follow!

More notes:

- If this isn't the only Azumanga Daioh/Metal Gear Solid crossover out there, then it's one of the very, very few. The way it happened was the way crossovers usually happen... I've got these two favorite fandoms at the moment, they have nothing in common, and so why not do the fangirliest thing possible and combine 'em? Actually, "why not?" is the reason this whole story's being written in the first place.

- Don't worry, the crossover will be short, then the girls will go do their spy thing on the Island Fortress of the Villain I Haven't Thought of a Name For Yet. But Snake and Otacon are entertaining guys, so you don't need to have a clue about Metal Gear to enjoy the training interlude. Although I should mention that the red exclamation points appear over guards' heads when they spot Snake sneaking around. It's kind of cute, actually.

- I apologize for the long hiatus. Real life, you know. It can getcha.