Title: Moonshine Glories
"War is at best barbarism… Its glory is all moonshine… War is hell."
-Gen. William T. Sherman
Blake hadn't been aware that the office was getting dark. He'd been working late, as usual. The only notice he'd given to the steadily dimming light had been to switch on his table lamp, but there'd been no conscious thought involved. The irritating lack of information regarding the American pilot shot down the day before was holding too much of his attention.
Ordinarily Captain O'Grady's disappearance wouldn't have been of any concern to him, but the SAS had a team in the area, and if the Bosnians were all stirred up over searching for the downed pilot, they could possibly be compromised. Bosnia was enough of a mess as it was, without tossing proof of British interference into the mix.
Unfortunately, though, Blake couldn't see any way to deal with it, other than to warn the team to keep their heads down, which had already been done. Deploying any other troops was out of the question; insertions were tricky enough even when the area in question wasn't under high alert. Not to mention getting a team there in time to do any good would be extremely difficult.
Those were the thoughts consuming his attention, and the reason General Edmund Blake paid no attention to the growing darkness. At least, not until he heard a sound that shouldn't have been there in the shadows, but was nevertheless horribly familiar: the sound of a peg leg striking his hardwood floor.
He looked up just in time to see a man step into view. The intruder was a study in just what injustices could be done to the human body. Scars seemed to cover every inch of the skin on his face; a chunk was missing from his nose and the edges of the space were ragged, as though it had been torn right out. One scar in particular stood out from the rest, a vividly red diagonal scar across his right eye. The eye itself bulged, and moved its intensely blue pupil restlessly around the room. He wore a dark robe, and a wooden peg peeked out from beneath its edge.
"You," the general stated numbly, unable to look away from the spinning eye.
The man smiled grimly, twisting his features into new heights of horror. "Me."
"What do you want?" It had been years since they'd last met, not since Blake had still been a colonel serving under the previous Colonel of the Regiment. He'd shown up out of the blue one night and told them there was a whacked-in-the-head nut job out to take over Great Britain, and then the world. If he was here again… "Don't tell me there's another lunatic?"
"Same one, actually." He smiled again. "Got more lives than a cat, he does, and he's harder to kill than a cockroach."
Blake blanched. "Wonderful." He closed his eyes, trying not to remember what had happened the last time. Buildings destroyed, men and their families slaughtered, and Her Majesty's Government unable to do anything about it but cover it up so that nobody panicked. "I don't suppose you have any plans for stopping him?"
"Not much of one, but all we've got. That's why I'm here. We need your help."
The general opened his eyes, surprised. "What could you possibly need my help for? As I recall, you once said that me and my kind were defenseless against you and yours."
Again, the grim smile. "I was young and foolish then. Learned a few things since, seen a bit of what you people can do."
Blake pondered that. "What, exactly, do you need from us? Troops? I don't know how well we would do in a pitched battle."
The man shook his head. "No. What we need from you is a man, just one. He needs to be the best, and has to be able to think outside the box, or he's useless to us. Can't have too high a public profile, since he'll have to apparently disappear for months without garnering attention."
Blake frowned. "I… see. Only one man?" He received a nod. "And just what will he be doing, pray tell?"
His guest let out a bitter, splintered laugh. "Why, he'll be training our last hope, that's all." He pulled a flask from a pocket and drank from it, before coughing harshly and wiped his hand over his mouth. "I hope you can find someone, I really do," he said. "We don't have much going for us as it is. The Ministry's got its head up its arse, and control of the newspapers, so we're on our own this time. I don't care where you pull our boy from, or what he's done, but we need all the help we can get."
Blake tented his hands before him, lost in thought. There weren't many under his command who fit that description that weren't already on missions vital to England's security. Pulling any one of them off their assignments could ignite a powder keg potentially as bad as this one. He (or she, the general added quickly) would have to come from outside the SAS, then. Offhand, he could think of no one suitable in the Special Boat Service, either, though he'd have to coordinate with Admiral Lawley to make sure.
A thought popped into his mind, a memory of a briefing a few months ago that had been every bit as earth-shattering as his first meeting with the man before him. If it didn't matter where the soldier came from, then all the resources of their allies were possibilities, as well. And from what he understood, the Colonel's unit had just been disbanded, and the Colonel himself was planning on going back into retirement.
Blake felt a bit of hope. He'd have to arrange things with the Foreign Secretary, of course, and convincing the American government and the man himself would be tricky, but if it could be done, then he couldn't think of a better man for the job.
"I have a candidate in mind, an American," he told his visitor. The man simply grunted. "I'll see what I can do."
"You do that." He took another swig from the flask, and for the first time Blake noticed just what state he was in.
"Bloody hell, what happened to you?" he asked, taking in the less-disturbing, but bloodshot eye and the gaunt face. "You look like you were run over by a lorry!"
Alastor Moody grunted again. "Don't want to talk about it. Just get our boy so we all live to see next year. And watch your back!" With that, he turn and thumped back into the shadows.
There was a quiet, barely noticeable pop, and then General Blake was alone in his office once again. He took a minute to gather his thoughts, and then picked up his phone. "Secretary Fulke," he told the operator, and then waited as his call was directed.
"Working late again, I see," he said as the other end was picked up. "Yes, I as well. No rest for the wicked. Speaking of which, I need you to do me a favor. I need you to contact the Americans about a sensitive matter… Yes, that kind of sensitive… You may need to go as high as the President. As for what it's about…
"Pull all the files you have on a Colonel Jonathan 'Jack' O'Neill, U.S. Air Force, currently assigned to the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center…"
A/N: Erm. In my defense for starting another one, I'm actually getting some work done on Tomb of Memory and Wednesday's Children. And I don't own Harry Potter or Stargate: SG-1, which I am bringing in around the second season. Kinsey has just shut down the SGC, but Apophis isn't going to attack (at least, not right away, still debating that). Harry just finished up his fourth year, so this is in 1995. Everyone except O'Grady are original characters, his situation actually happened.
28 May 2006