Of all the towns, in all the countries of the world, the last place Linwood "Pooch" Porteous thought he'd ever be running an op was in Lima, Ohio. Well, that wasn't entirely true, as Jolene had warned them all to keep their work out of Springfield and even Roque had been scared of her (God, Pooch loved his wife), but the principle remained true. A small town in a flyover state, no real points of interest ( besides nationally ranked high school cheerleaders, which, yes, were always interesting, but in a totally different way than, say, a CIA munitions depot). In other words, an ordinary middle-class American town.

Yeah, Pooch thought, we're gonna blend in real well around here.

The simple fact was, Jensen had intercepted a contact between one of Max's dedicated cells and a computer at William McKinley high school in Lima. The big problem with that was that the e-mail account was 'a freakin' Yahoo account! A dog could register for one of those, claiming to be Obama, and no red flags'd go up!' (Jensen's words). They had no clue who Max had contacted, but Clay was of the opinion that if they could find this person then he/she could tell the team where to find Max.

Which was how Clay came to formulate the most colossally fucked up plan in a life full of colossally fucked up plans. Seriously, even Jensen and Aisha ( each possessing a significant amount of their own unique and special brands of crazy) thought Clay was kidding when he first briefed him on the specifics of this mission.

Either that or he hadn't sobered up from the night before… life would have been sooooo much easier had it just been the borderline alcoholism talking.

But no, Clay had been stone cold sober when he'd come up with the idea to gather information on the employees of the local high school by going undercover.

Undercover.

At high school.

Them.

Yeah. This was going to work out well.

Once they'd realized Clay wasn't kidding and they were going to actually go through with this FUBAR mission, Jensen had done a little research. Apparently, the high school was run in a slap-dash, shoddy manner by a principal more concerned with finances than actually educating students. There were nearly a dozen open positions on the staff because very few people were actually willing to accept the pittance of a salary the jobs offered.

Sometimes, the things Jensen could do with a computer really terrified Pooch. It had taken their tech less than a half hour to fake up records for them that showed each of them to be qualified to teach one of the courses McKinley high school was desperately lacking an instructor for. It was pretty clear that the principal was not the sort of man who would look a gift horse in the mouth and thus would not bother thinking too hard about the sudden influx of educators willing to work for peanuts.

Actually, Pooch doubted you could buy peanuts for what the school was paying their teachers. He'd always thought the Army was tightfisted with their money, but it had nothing on the public school system.

So that was how Pooch found himself standing outside a high school in a podunk Ohio town at 7 AM, wearing a tie and getting ready to teach a few auto shop classes. Clay, in one of his usual black pants, black jacket, white shirt combos, was set to teach history while Aisha was taking over as the new French teacher. Cougar got the unenviable job of working in the math department ( though he was actually pretty damn good with numbers) and the quiet man looked ready to claw his tie off. Of course, Jensen would be teaching computer science classes and also one chemistry lesson each day.

That was fuckin' scary. Pooch had spent a good hour the night before pleading with the younger man, imploring him not to teach a school full of hormonal teenagers how to make any incendiary devices. 'Cause that could lead to a whole world of trouble and many, many deaths.

Jensen assured him that he'd be careful what he taught the kids. Pooch figured, if nothing else, Lima would produce a dozen or so graduates that might not be able to write their names but would be able to hack into the national Bank of Peru or some shit like that.

"Is it just me, or do all high schools seem to reek of despair and soul crushing monotony?" Jensen asked their assembled group as they peered up at the school. "'Cause frankly, that's what I remember most about high school and this place seems to have its fair share of individuality stifling powers. I mean, I can already feel the pressure to conform radiating out from the concrete walls. Though it does look slightly less prisony than my high school. Then again, I've seen prisons less prisony than my high school…."

Over the past Several days, Pooch and Cougar had run a few recon missions to get the lay of the land, an idea of schedules and some insight into the temperament of the locals. To them, it seemed like any other school, if a bit high on the percentage of anxious teachers. Though that might just be the norm in this day and age. Jensen, the only one among them who experienced some of his education in post-Columbine America, had snorted and informed them that most teachers were simply scared of their students.

Or perhaps they just been scared of Jensen.

If you asked anyone who knew the Losers, they'd have told you Roque was the scariest of the lot. He was the obvious choice. Next would be Clay/Aisha/Cougar, in some order depending on personal experiences, then Pooch himself and finally Jensen.

Most people were morons. Pooch was not. He knew their hacker could throw down and be vicious, violent and crazy as fuck if properly motivated. Add to that his freaky, weird, way too smart brain and you had the recipe for an unhinged badass. No that anyone ever talked about that.

It was always good to keep an ace in the hole.

Especially a heavily armed ace.

Hopefully, this mission would require no actual violence…just a lot of patience and a big old jar of Tums.

As with any group of young people, William McKinley high seem to operate with a complex hierarchy based on social status. The cheerleaders and jocks represented the top tier and basically ruled the school ( surprise, surprise), following the lead of the tyrannical and clearly deranged cheer coach. Everyone else seemed to live in fear of incurring their wrath, though so far, Pooch thought their main targets of scorn seemed to be the glee club.

"All right, Losers," Clay began, rallying the troops before sending them off into hostile territory. And a school full of insane teenagers and twitchy, burned out educators was definitely hostile territory. "Your mission: observe the locals in their native environment and gather Intel that could help us identify Max's contact. Try to blend in. Do not call attention to yourselves. Everyone clear on that?"

Blend in.

Sure.

Pooch was pretty sure Clay had an outdated image of how to blend in amidst a group of teachers. His black suit and tie would have looked more at home amongst a team of federal agents or undertakers. Plus, the simple fact was, Clay did not look like a teacher. Though, on the positive side, he might instill a little fear in the masses.

Extremely unhappy in a green button down shirt and tan khakis, Cougar was stubbornly refusing to take his hat off until they actually entered the building. It had only been through the combined efforts of Jensen's coaxing and Aisha's brave, fast hands, that they had managed to wrangle Coug's hair into a neat, low ponytail. Still, their sniper looked unlike any teacher Pooch had ever seen.

The same could be said for Aisha, who, even in a pencil skirt, neat blouse and heels, always brought to mind the image of a coiled, deadly cobra. Every boy in the school would be falling over their lolling tongues, as even Pooch could admit, purely objectively, she looked hot.

With a frown, Pooch glanced at Clay, who was openly eyeing their female teammate. Heaving a sigh, he simply asked whatever higher power might have been listening if it would be possible for the two of them not to burn down and or otherwise destroy the hotel during one of their lust and hate fueled romps.

Was that really too much to ask?

He didn't think so.

Still, he didn't hold out any hope in that regards, especially after finding one of the toilets on fire that morning. He'd been so shocked, he had actually called Jensen and Cougar over to make sure he wasn't simply seeing things. The sniper had blinked, sighed and located one of the extinguishers they had taken to keeping on hand. Even Jensen had been startled into silence for a moment, but he recovered to quip, "It's not a party till somebody uses a fire extinguisher."

Apparently, Jensen's thoughts were running along a similar track and, when Pooch caught his eye, the hacker grinned and shrugged as if to ask, "What are we going to do with them?"

Jensen looked like he'd raided his grandfather's closet for the sweater he paired with a blue button-down, tie and jeans. Combined with his usual chin scruff and glasses, he looked like one of those hipster college students you could find lounging around the quad of any liberal arts college.

As for himself, Pooch figured he could pass for teacher better than any of the others. Then again, he was pretty sure he was the only one fully capable of transitioning to life amongst… normal people.

Not that he really thought the people at the school were normal. During his surveillance, he'd seen a small redhead spend a full hour sanitizing a doorknob, the football coach eat four foot-long sandwiches in one sitting and two other teachers get into a shouting match that ended with the scary blonde woman stalking away, hip checking several terrified students into lockers as she went.

Middle-class American weirdoes.

But of course they didn't express their concerns now that the mission was underway. All reservations had been aired ( and ignored) prior to setting out. Instead, Pooch simply replied, "Ready as I'm gonna get."

"Let's get this over with," Aisha's sighed. Her reservations had been based on the fact that she generally did not like children. Obnoxious, germ ridden, people in training, she called them.

"You do realize we are going to be acting as role models in there. Us. I'm still trying to really process that idea, 'cause, wow, that just seems wrong," Jensen said quickly, then shrugged at Cougar, who simply grunted. "Yeah, okay, we're cool. Let's do this."

Things would be so much easier if they were just laying siege to a drug lords lair or were taking out some gunrunner that they could strong-arm for the Intel. But no, it had to be kids.

Heaving a sigh, Pooch started towards the doors of the school, berating himself for being so reluctant. They were just teenagers, after all. How bad could they be?

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She hadn't even been on the campus of William McKinley high school for five minutes before the students started arriving. Watching them reminded her of observing packs of wild animals while in Africa. The strong practically sunned themselves, lounging around, secure in their power and safety. The weak rushed to and fro, trying not to garner attention from the strong, who, when something would catch their attention, would pounce on their terrified prey.

Unlike their counterparts in the animal world, some of the weak refused to accept their place in the food chain. This flaunting of the natural order usually enraged the Alpha members of the community, who would feel the need to reassert their dominance.

As Aisha made her way across the outdoor hallway ( an odd architectural choice for a region besieged by ice and snow for months at a time), she watched as several large alpha males, wearing varsity hockey jackets, broke from their pack and converged on a smaller, flamboyantly clad boy.

From the body language of the small boy, this was not an uncommon occurrence and no one seemed to notice the jocks surrounding him, herding him towards a large dumpster. While the boy didn't seem inclined to fight back, he was not going quietly as, even from a distance, Aisha could read the sharp, barbed insults spilling from his lips.

Then something surprising happened. Two other boys, also in letterman's jackets (American football), appeared, shouldering their way past the hockey players to flank the smaller boy. Neither of them were as large as the hockey jocks, but they seemed fairly assured that they wouldn't be troubled by the pack.

The football team was clearly the dominant sporting sub-group.

After a few words were exchanged, the new arrivals, one black, one Asian, exited the belligerent huddle, with the flashy kid in tow. It was clear there was no animosity between those three and, after meeting up with a brightly dressed zaftig girl, the Asian boy extended his hand and bumped knuckles with the former prey before the football boys continued on their way.

An intriguing deviation from the law of the jungle, which was so easily applied to these teenage monsters. Honestly, she's rather deal with a feral cat than be trapped in this place, but such was life. Sometimes you had to bite the bullet to achieve your goals.

Plus, they were children, impressionable and malleable. If worse came to worse, she'd simply have to show them who the true alpha bitch in this town was.

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The air in the teachers lounge was filled with palpable tension. Between rumors that Figgins had hired a slew of new teachers ( which some feared would mean their jobs were in jeopardy) and Ken Tanaka glowering in a corner as he ate a cheesecake, things were a little… uncomfortable.

Frankly, the only thing that could have made the room any less pleasant would've been the arrival of Sue, whose insults had been in rare form lately. Fortunately, she was off filming a special 'How Sue C's It' segment. Will was thankful to have one morning free from nasty remarks about his hair, failed marriage, manhood or glee club.

Still, he could feel Ken's eyes boring into the side of his skull, but at least the football coach was less verbally abusive. No, he just glowered in a way that managed to both menacing and sad at the same time and, while Will wouldn't want to get into a physical altercation with him, he was pretty sure he could outrun the larger man.

Ralph DeGoob, the twitchy little biology teacher, had plunked himself down at the small table with Will and Emma to rant about the rumors he'd heard. Rumors and Ralph were a very, very bad combination, as he had a slightly obsessive personality. And not in the kinda cute OCD-ness of Emma. No, Ralph was a sort of obsessive that collected walls filled with newspaper clippings that he claimed supported his theories, spent weekends locked in his basement/bomb shelter and carried on full conversations with himself.

And lately, Ralph had been acting even odder than usual. Will was pretty sure he had seen the man trying to carry on a conversation with a potted plant last week.

Also, he wore the same polyester leisure suit every day… well, actually Will wasn't sure it was exactly the same suit, 'cause Ralph didn't smell, so he thought maybe the man owned several of the same suit.

Will might have been inclined to make a Monk reference, but Emma was a devotee of that program. Her Tivo was crammed full of the entire series. She might not have taken kindly to him comparing Ralph to the fastidious detective.

"I'm telling you, Figgins is going to fire us all and replace us with mass-produced automatons, like they have at Disney World, only these ones look like teachers! Lima is being used as a testing ground to see how viable these new Robo-teachers will be and, if they succeed, all teachers will be replaced! It's a travesty!" Ralph said, placing his hands flat on the table to lean forwards to emphasize his point. Tiny flecks of spittle flew from his mouth and Will knew, without looking, that Emma would be tensing up, ready to make a break for it.

Will himself would not be eating the rest of his muffin as it had been within Ralph's spit radius. Yuck.

"I really don't think that's going to happen Ralph," Emma said softly, voice trembling slightly with the strain of her close encounter with Ralph spit. "I'm sure Principal Figgins is just trying to fill the empty positions."

"Besides," Will added, deciding the best way to handle Ralph would be to turn his own reasoning on him, "Don't you think an automaton would cost far more than they pay us?"

As Ralph paused to consider this, Principal Figgins appeared in the doorway, pointing into the room. "This is the lounge. Bring your own coffee," he said, sounding slightly frustrated and unnerved. "That concludes our tour."

With that terse comment, Figgins scuttled off, even more eager than usual to be out of the general vicinity of his staff. Will didn't even have a few moments to wonder why before the reason… or, should he say, reasons became clear.

It seemed that Figgins had indeed added five new teachers to the schools staff, but somehow, none of these people actually fit the image of what a high school teacher should look like. The way they entered the room brought to mind old movies Will had seen of soldiers entering enemy territory, wary and ready for an attack at any moment.

Shaking his head, Will realized how silly he was being and offered the new arrivals a smile. "Hi," he greeted them as Emma gave a quick, cute little wave. "Welcome to McKinley high. Will Shuester, Spanish."

"Emma Pillsbury," Emma added quietly. "I am not a teacher though. I'm the guidance counselor."

"John Clay," the biggest, most intimidating man rumbled as he finished eyeballing the room. "History."

"Aisha Bashir," the lone woman amongst the new hires added curtly. "I will be teaching French."

She was very pretty, in a slightly sharp way, eyebrow pierced and hair pulled back in a severe ponytail. Something about her made Will want to give her a wide berth.

"Linwood Perro," Another man said and he at least gave them a smile in return. "You can call me Pooch, if you like, everyone does. Auto shop."

A slim, Hispanic man peered out at the room from under the brim of a beaten, leather hat. He said nothing, so the younger guy, blonde with glasses, filled the silence. "Jack Jensen. Computer sciences and chemistry." He actually took a step forward and shook Will's hand while winking at Emma. "My silent friend over there is Juan Alvarez. He's not really unfriendly, well maybe a little bit, but he's conserving his energy to deal with the kids in his math classes."

Some of the other teachers just stared at the odd group from their seats. Ralph sniffed and pulled a salad dressing bottle from his briefcase, opening the cap and taking a swig. It was an open secret that there was no dressing in that bottle and Will was pretty sure he caught a whiff of Jagermiester as the bio teacher took another hit.

He was sure that was making a lovely impression on the new colleagues. As was the cheesecake dribbling down the front of Ken's shirt.

Fortunately, they seemed content to ignore Ralph's combustible cocktail and simply took seats where they were available.

Very professional.

After a few minutes, Will left, needing to photocopy some sheet music before the day's classes began. He had some new ideas he wanted to bring up at the glee club meeting that afternoon. He had a feeling that this would be the year his kids would get to nationals.

If they could get past the occasional sabotage attempts and almost daily slushee attacks.

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"Witness protection."

"All of them? That sounds a bit far-fetched."

"This from the girl who thinks they're undercover talent scouts."

"They're scouts, all right. For a meth dealer, looking to set up a new shop."

"This is Lima. Lima, Ohio. What would meth dealers be doing here?"

"I saw a Dateline special that did say most meth labs are in rural to suburban areas."

"You'd think drug dealers would be able to afford better wardrobes."

"Sandy Ryerson's gonna be pissed that someone's moving in on his turf."

"He only deals pot, not meth."

"Maybe they're in some matriarchal, polygamous cult."

"Wait. What's witness protection and polly… polygon cult?"

"The young teacher is nice and he smells like fruit roll ups."

For a moment, all speculation as to the origins of the new influx of teachers came to a screeching halt as 10 pairs of eyes rolled over to meet the final two, one blithely unaware and the other befuddled.

Quinn Fabray sighed and raised a hand to rub delicately at her brow. She loved Finn and Brittany, really, she did. Finn had been a wonderful boyfriend, sweet, obedient and easily directed while Brittany was a loyal friend and one hell of a Cherrio/dancer.

But sometimes she wished either ( or, preferably, both of them) had the capacity to outthink a particularly stupid trained seal.

Okay, maybe that was a bit bitchy, but she had to function with claws fully extended when outside choir room. Reestablishing herself as queen of the school ( after last year's pregnancy debacle) was more than a little brutal and she had to be at her acid tongued best to do so. Her fellow glee clubbers ( minus Santana, Brittany and the football boys, who were somewhat immune due to their own status) merely stepped back and tried to avoid being caught in the waves of terror her vitriol caused.

It was good to be queen, but her position was still tenuous enough that she had to remain on her toes. Here, in the choir room, was the only place she could actually let her guard down and relax.

"Why are you sniffing a teacher?" Santana asked Brittany, puzzled by her comment.

"I couldn't help it," Brittany replied with a shrug. "My locker wouldn't work and he stopped and fixed it. If you can ignore the grandpa sweater and glasses, he's hot."

All the female heads in the room, as well as Kurt, nodded in reflexive agreement.

Rolling his eyes, Puck turned to Finn, who was still trying to figure out the answers to his own questions. "Dude, witness protection. Like on In Plain Sight."

Light dawned in Finn's eyes, but Artie held up a finger. "You two watch In Plain Sight? It doesn't really seem like your genre."

"Mary McCormack's a MILF," Puck said, as if that answer should have been the obvious one. And really, for him, it was.

"What about the… pollywog…"

"I believe Tina was suggesting that they are involved in a relationship society would deem unacceptable due to the fact that it steps outside the standard norms and practices of the majority of citizens at this time," Rachel said, reaching out to pat Finn's hand as he tried to sort out her long-winded speech.

After a moment, Finn looked around, hoping for further clarification. Kurt took pity on him and said, "Basically, a group marriage."

This made Finn's eyes pop open wide in shock and Rachel was quick to assure him, "Of course, this is all speculation… guessing."

"Why are you all so sure Principle Figgins didn't just hire the teachers we needed?" Finn asked, drawing snickers from the majority of the others.

"Well, we've got textbooks that were printed before Mr. Shue was born. The district doesn't spend money on us," Mike said with just a hint of resentment. "They would try to pay the teachers in chalk and lunch vouchers but I don't think they bothered to buy any."

"So, five new teachers starting at once? That's something fishy going on right there," Mercedes concluded as Mr. Shue hurried into the room, a thick sheath of sheet music in hand.

He peered at them for a moment, then said, "Rachel, did you institute before school practice sessions? I told you that would be a bit much."

Quinn looked at the dark-haired girl in horror, but Rachel was shaking her head dejectedly. "Against my better judgment, no. We were just discussing… potential ideas for the student/faculty talent show."

With a sigh, Quinn resigned herself to having to learn another routine for the show. Coach Sylvester already had been doing drills for the Cheerio routine. At least Santana, Brittany and Kurt were in the same boat with her. Hell, Kurt had it worse. He'd probably have to participate in the football team's number as well.

Thinking about the first game of the season brought a smile to Quinn's face. As both a cheerleader and a football player, Kurt had baffled their opponents by pulling off several quick changes in order to kick three field goals while still cheering with the Cheerios in between.

Maybe sometimes blurring the lines of social status could be a little fun.

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Why the heck would the cheerleaders wearing their perky, little uniforms on a non-game day, Jensen wondered as he watched two girls enter the room, heads bowed together, whispering and giggling. The tall blonde was saying something about pollywogs to the smaller girl, who appeared to have Down's syndrome.

He wondered what was so funny about tadpoles.

Then again, maybe he just didn't get the local humor. Hell, the bullies here seemed to find it funny to throw slushee's in the faces of other students. That was just mean, not to mention a waste of delicious, sugar filled snack. He'd managed to avert one such dousing, but, on the way to class, he'd passed two other dripping students that hadn't managed to avoid such an attack. It was weird, mean and wrong and made his inner geek want to kick his inner jock's ass.

Yes, the voices in his head were a little D.I.D., so what? They were in his head, damn it, and he didn't exactly let them out to wreak havoc. At least not often…and it wasn't like he was completely bi-polar, like Tarynia, one of Clay's ex's. That was a crazy ass bitch. She literally had TWO Facebook pages. One for each personality.

Cra-Freaking-zy!

The first class of the day was, for Jensen and his students, remedial computer sciences (No way in hell was he calling any kid in this class remedial, no matter how much of a window licker he or she was. He'd been shoved into lots of remedial classes as a kid, at least until the teachers realized he was a freakin' genius and just bored in all his classes). You'd think that most kids born in this day and age would burst from the womb with an innate affinity for computers.

But apparently, these poor souls had slept in the morning that particular skill was being handed out. Two of the students on the class list, Finn Hudson and Brittany (no last name, weird but kind of cool in a Cher sorta way), had taken and failed the class before. He guessed they would need a little more prompting than the others.

As students arrived and took their seats, he was pleased to see most of them were at least capable of turning on their computers. A tall boy had been trying to get the computer to start by pressing the power button on the monitor and the blonde cheerleader was just staring at the screen in front of her.

Fortunately for them, the other cheerleader took pity on them and demonstrated how to boot the systems up.

Obviously this is going to be a long class.

The bell, loud and placed annoyingly close to his desk, rang, signaling the start of the lesson. A few more stragglers wandered into the room as he stood and said, "Okay, welcome to computer skills 000. I am Mr. Jensen, you can just call me Jensen. Today we're… yes?"

A girl, wearing so much hemp based clothing that the kids next to her were probably hoping for a proximity high, raised her hand. When he called upon her, she asked, "This isn't art?"

He blinked and looked around at the computers, indicating them with a sweep of his hand. "No, this is the computer lab not an art room."

"Well, where's the art room?"

He has no idea where the art room was and he said as much. "It's my first day. Can anyone tell her where she's supposed to be?"

"Down the hall, last door on the left," the brighter cheerleader offered and the lost girl, as well as two other students, wandered out of the room. He wasn't holding out much hope for them actually reaching the art room.

"Okay, let's try this again. Welcome to computer skills 000. Have you all turned on your computers? No? Well go ahead, do it…it's the little green button on the tower… the rectangular, standy uppie thing on the floor. There ya go…."

As he thought, a long, long class.

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He might not have been an actual teacher, but no way in hell was Cougar letting any of these not so little monsters skip his class. Math was damn important. While being a sniper was, in part, natural skill, you needed a strong basis in geometry and spatial relations to calculate the proper angles, factor in wind speed and all other conditions.

And from the looks of his students, some of them would probably end up in the military…if they managed to avoid jail. Perhaps even then. As of late, recruiting officers and DA's had been making more frequent deals with defense attorneys to have their clients enlist as an alternative to serving jail time…

Not the best reason to join up, but Cougar supposed most thought being given a gun and shipped of to a foreign country with a license to kill seemed preferable to being locked up. He certainly did. He hated being confined, which was why his own work appealed to him, lying in wait, quiet, at peace with nature.

Unfortunately, those skills weren't of much use in a high school, where you had to be big and loud to garner the gnat like attention spans of the children. His tracking skills did come into play though as he found his four missing students in under five minutes, leaving the rest of the class with a calculus problem on the board. That kept them busy while he went to hunt escapees.

One he found hunched over a laptop, sitting on an overturned bucket in a janitors closet. He had actually squealed in fear when Cougar swung the door open. Narrowing his eyes at the frizzy haired boy, he said, "Get to class."

Frankly, he was impressed by how fast the kid could run as he bolted down the hall and disappeared into the class room.

Two other boys were loitering in a stairwell and were dispatched just as quickly.

That left only one target, a Noah Puckerman, unaccounted for. Having eliminated two of the three most popular hiding grounds for students skipping class, Cougar made a beeline for the nurse's office. Not that the school actually had a nurse (Jensen said there was a mention of her "falling" down a flight of stairs in a local newspaper), so the abandoned office was a terrific spot to lay low.

Opening the door, he saw that a boy did seem to be napping on one of the cots. As he flipped on the light, Cougar said, "Puckerman?"

Coming awake with a jerk, the boy sat upright and demanded, "What?"

"Math class," Cougar simply stated, "you should be there."

"Dude, we haven't had a teacher since the last one went on an enforced vacation after he came to school wearing pants made of cheese and molested the school mascot at a pep rally," Puckerman grumbled, climbing to his feet resentfully. "Why do you care?"

"New math teacher."

The boy eyed him as they stepped into the hall. "No shit?"

"No shit."

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After last bell, Clay summoned his team to the remote classroom he'd been given to work in. They came quickly enough, but after a full day of dealing with teenagers, Clay was white knuckling his already tenuous sense of self-control. He was also beginning to think that this hadn't been one of his better ideas.

Once everyone was present and accounted for, Clay barked, "Well, any progress?"

Looks were exchanged and Aisha blurted, "These children are evil… or at least insane."

There were several nods of agreement and Clay growled, "Progress finding who Max contacted, not personal observations."

"No," Jensen replied, "The computers in the labs are clean, so someone was probably piggy backing on the school's wireless signal. Once we ID few suspects, I can try to lift their laptops for analysis but until then the digital trail isn't going to help."

"Pooch?"

"Sorry," the shorter man said with a shrug. "I picked a bad class to teach as far as surveillance options go. Every class was full. I barely had time for lunch and that football coach was crying in the lounge the whole time."

"Dude, he did that to me too," Jensen said, scrunching up his nose. "Did he hug you? Between the cheesecake smears, Doritos cheese and tears, I had to change my shirt."

Pooch shrugged out of his jacket, revealing large orange stains on his shirt. "Yes! What's wrong with him?"

"He was engaged to the cute little guidance counselor, but it didn't work out 'cause she's in love with the Spanish teacher who just divorced his bugnuts wife who spent like six months faking a pregnancy to try to keep him invested in their marriage," Jensen babbled, causing everyone to look at him. "What? We're supposed to be gathering information on everyone."

Clay frowned. It wasn't the right Intel, but it was more than Pooch and Aisha had garnered. Turning towards his sniper, Clay asked, "Cougar?"

"The American education system is completely failing most of these children. I put a problem on the board, all day only one child got it right…and I had to drag him back to class, 'cause he never bothers to go. Travesty."

For Cougar, this was a speech of epic proportions, but Clay simply shook his head. They were getting a little distracted. Maybe they just needed time to get their footing in this new environment.

"Okay," he muttered, "Maybe we should…."

"What's that?" Jensen said, suddenly sitting up straight, head cocked to the side, obviously listening intently. Before anyone could hear what he was hearing, Jensen was up and out of the room.

Not knowing what sort of trouble their hacker was about to get into, they followed him, entering the hall just in time to see him duck through a pair of doors some 50 meters down the hall.

Say what you would about the sedentary nature of most computer geeks, but Clay's hacker was a quick little bastard.

Entering after Jensen, the Losers found themselves standing on a small, elevated balcony, overlooking the school auditorium. A dozen students were on stage, accompanied by a pianist and jazz band. The children were singing and dancing, obviously practicing a choreographed routine.

They were really good.

And they were singing Journey.

"Just a small town girl

Living in a lonely world

She took the midnight train going anywhere

Just a city boy

Born and raised in South Detroit

He took the midnight train going anywhere"

"A singer in a smoky room

A smell of wine and cheap perfume

For a smile they can share the night

It goes on and on and on and on"

When they had entered the balcony, Jensen was already bouncing on his toes and murmuring along song. As the music continued, he got a little louder and bursts into his own odd dance.

Sometimes Clay wondered how Jensen had ever managed to get through basic training. He was pretty much the antithesis of all things Army.

"Strangers, waiting, up and down the boulevard

Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlight people, living just to find emotion

Hiding somewhere in the night"

"Strangers waiting

Up and down the boulevard

Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlight people

Living just to find emotion

Hiding somewhere in the night"

Knowing they weren't going to pry Jensen away anytime soon, Clay shook his head and dropped into a seat, trying to pretend that he didn't know the crazy person dancing in the aisle. Pooch seemed to have decided upon a similar line of defense and Cougar was watching the display fondly, while Aisha stared at Jensen in horror. After a moment, she stalked over to him and grabbed him by the ear, trying to tug him towards the seats, where he could behave like a grown-up.

One yelp from Jensen and Cougar moved into Aisha's line of sight, letting out a low, warning growl. She released the hacker with a sigh and joined Clay in the chairs. Jensen went back to dancing.

"Working hard to get my fill

Everybody wants a thrill

Payin' anything to roll the dice

just one more time"

"Some will win, some will lose

Some were born to sing the blues

Oh, the movie never ends

It goes on and on and on and on"

Wow, that kid from one of his history classes could hit a high note, couldn't he?, Clay mused, letting his eyes roam around the rest of the auditorium. Nothing out of the ordinary, acoustic paneling, seats, a teacher, clearly the director of the club, in the audience down below… and a blonde woman entering one of the far balconies.

"Strangers waiting

Up and down the boulevard

Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlight people

Living just to find emotion

Hiding somewhere in the night"

"Don't stop believin'

Hold on to that feelin'

Streetlight people"

Peering over at her, Clay felt his blood run cold. It couldn't be, could it? She was staring down at the performers, distaste clear on her face, a face Clay knew from years ago.

"Don't stop believin'

Hold on

Streetlight people"

"Don't stop believin'

Hold on to that feelin'

Streetlight people"

As the music faded, the teacher, Schuester, called out, "Good warm up, guys. Now let's try something newer."

Sinking back into his seat, Clay said, "Everyone get over here now."

Cougar and Jensen, the only two not seated nearby, heard the order and quickly complied, though the hacker cast a gaze back out at the performers. Long familiar with the tone Clay had used, Pooch asked, "What did you see?"

"I think I know who Max contacted," Clay muttered, nodding in the direction of the other balcony. "That is one of the most ruthless, manipulative, scheming and just plain violently insane women I've ever known."

"Shit," Jensen breathed, peering over and squinting. "Let me guess, you two dated?"

"Briefly."

"What happened?" Pooch asked. "Bomb? Fire? She try to shoot you? Attempted garroting?"

"Poison tipped blow dart, but that was years ago and totally besides the point," Clay insisted, then pointed a finger at Jensen. "Find out all you can about Sue Sylvester."

Down in the Auditorium below, they heard the Spanish teacher saying, "Okay, we're going to mix things up a little. Wild Night. Santana and Puck on leads."

Jensen pulled out his PDA and began tapping away at it, his eyes drifting again and again over the edge to watch the display down below.

One of the girls did not seem overly pleased by the teachers pronouncement. "But, Mr. Shuester, don't you think my vocal range would better serve…"

"Rachel, we're trying something different. Besides, this is more of a rock song…."

"It's well within my range."

"Rachel, please just remember this is a team."

"That girl is in one of my classes. I may have to kill her," Aisha said, scowling down at the stage. "Obviously no one has ever told her that children should be seen and not heard."

"No killing the students," Clay reminded her as Jensen let out a low whistle.

On the stage, the teenagers began to sing. The music and words drifted up to reach them.

"As you brush your shoes and stand before your mirror

And you comb your hair and grab your coat and hat

And you walk the streets trying to remember

All those wild nights breeze through your mind"

"And everything looks so complete

When you're walking out on the street

And the wind catches your feet

And sends you flying, crying

Oooh, oo-ooh wee the wild night is calling"

"Well, it looks like your old friend is something of a local celebrity." He turned the PDA screen in their direction. On it is a video clip of a local news show. Apparently, Clay's acquaintance was a guest commentator. The clip Jensen has chosen to show them includes such gems of wisdom as, "I empower my Cheerios to live in fear by creating an environment of irrational, random terror." She also expressed the opinion that ugly people should be locked away, so as not to offend the beautiful with their existence.

Which is actually just the sort of thing they'd come to expect of women from Clay's past. The man was truly a lightning rod for the Seriously In Need of Thorazine crowd.

All the girls walk by dressed up for each other

And the boys do the boogie woogie on the corner of the street

And the people passing by just stare with the wild wonder

And the inside jukebox roars just like thunder"

Clay looked at the little picture for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, that sounds about right."

"Her personnel file is as crazy as she is," Jensen snipped. "No birth date, but she lists her age as 29, place of birth the Panama Canal zone, parents: no names listed, just their occupations: Nazi hunters! And apparently she was part of the storming of the Suez Canal. Oh, wait, it gets better! She was suspected of war crimes, but any witnesses against her conveniently disappeared…The hell? There's a note here that just says, 'Dallas, Texas, November 1963?' Freaky. As the coach of the Cheerios, she's led the squad to victory at nationals six times. Along the way gathering accusations of bribery, intimidation and poisoning another teams Gatorade. I got to say, perhaps one of your more interesting exes."

"And everything looks so complete

When you're walking out on the street

And the wind catches your feet

And sends you flying, crying

Oooh, oo-ooh wee

The wild night is calling"

"Possibly even more scary then Tzahala," Pooch said with a snicker.

Jensen blinked. "Which one was she?"

"Mossad assassin," Cougar rumbled. "Before your time."

"The wild night is calling

Come on out and dance

Come on out and make romance

Come on out and dance

Come on out and make romance"

"Alright, enough commentary on my social life," Clay said. "We need to have a chat with her. Find out where she stands on the Max issue. Cougar, why don't you…?"

The sniper gave him a look that clearly said, "No fucking way."

"Clay, you know we'd follow you to hell and back, but there's no way any of us is gonna go there," Pooch said with a shudder.

Jensen was nodding his head in agreement. "Yeah, and speaking as someone who likes crazy and dangerous, you take dating the crazy and dangerous to a whole new level. Like, we're talking Olympic caliber whackoloonys."

"And everything looks so complete

When you're walking out on the street

And the wind catches your feet

And sends you flying, crying

Oooh, oo-ooh wee the wild night is calling"

Clay glowered at his team and said, "Well, come on then. Fall back to more secure ground and I'll come up with a plan."

As they exited the balcony, Cougar pulling along a reluctant Jensen, the tech asked, "Would this be a plan from the same oeuvres as the 'go under cover at the school my tyrannical and possibly evil ex rules' plan?"

"Shut the hell up."

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Dear Diary,

The new school year has begun and I once again find myself vexed by the continued existence of Shuester and his mongrel band of bottom feeders. While they unknowingly owe the existence of their little club to me (a moment of weakness I daily berate myself for), I still find their rather pathetic attempts to gain ground in the social war that is high school…repellent. Perhaps it's the lingering odor of hair gel and acne cream, but every time I see them (save for my Cheerios, though I have some doubts about their true loyalties) I have the urge to projectile vomit in their faces.

For some of those unfortunate little singing elves, that would be a vast improvement to their appearances. They stumble through life unaware that others see them only as something to ridicule or occasionally watch in sick amusement.

Never the less, I will forbear and continue my efforts to taste the sweet nectar of their failure and crush Will Shuester into a smear of Depp scented goo beneath the heel of my sneaker….

The faculty and staff of McKinley High knew that every day, during third period and the short break time there after, Sue could be found in the staff lounge, updating her diary and what not. They also knew she did not tolerate interruptions during her 'Sue Time' and thus avoided the room in order to spare themselves from her wrath.

Feeling such a display of intelligence was beyond her co-workers, she attributed it to cowardice.

Which was why she was surprised when she heard someone enter the room. Figuring it must have been a hallucination caused by one too many ear candling sessions, Sue waited a moment before turning her head towards the source of the sounds. Not a hallucination then.

A young man was bent over, head practically thrust into the fridge in search of…something. From this angle, she had a good view of a well formed rear end, clad in nice fitting jeans, and strong thighs. A slim waist tapered out to a broad back and wide shoulders that nearly pulled at his whimsically gingham shirt.

Sue Sylvester was intrigued.

"You," she said without preamble, expecting the intruder to jump and perhaps attempt to scurry away. He proved somewhat less meek than the usual maladjusted dregs of society Figgins managed to recruit to work here. Movements smooth and unhurried, the man closed the refrigerator door and turned to face her, chocolate pudding cup in hand.

He was young, mid-twenties (probably one of those people who'd gone into teaching in a fit of idealism and hadn't yet had it beaten out of him) with blond hair, glasses and a goatee. Normally, she didn't take a shine to people who wore glasses, as they were an outward sign of a physical imperfection…but he looked sturdy in all other ways.

"Hi!" he said quickly, expressions flitting through the gamut of neutral to greeting to perturbed recognition and then settling on a broad but fake smile.

Ah, Sue thought triumphantly, he has heard of me. "Normally," she informed him, deciding to take pity on him, as he could have his uses, "I do not take kindly to people interrupting my Sue time, but perhaps you hadn't been informed as to when this room is off limits."

"No…ma'am," he replied, making Sue smile. Ma'am. Ahhh, she liked that.

Glancing back to the table, she gathered up her diary. "Third period and the break after, this place is mine," she informed him. "Of course, if you'd like to join me…"

She turned back to find the space where he had been standing empty. There was no way he had made it out through the door, she had been blocking the exit, and the lounge was on the second floor, so the window wasn't really an option. No ever managed to slip out of her grasp, at least not without SERE training.

Now she was more intrigued than ever.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"You can always tell by the eyes, man, the eyes…and that woman has crazy eyes! Not even run of the mill crazy, we're talking 'I'm gonna eat you alive and wear your ribcage as a jaunty hat' crazy! I had to climb out the window to get away," Jensen babbled at Cougar when he located the other man at lunch time. Not that they were eating in the lounge or the cafeteria. No, the roof was a far more defensible position.

"So, first contact has been made," Clay said with a nod. "And, since you still have all your fingers, I guess she likes you."

Pooch and Aisha snickered as Jensen pulled his hands in close to his chest and yelped, "My fingers? There was a chance I could have lost one?"

"Only if she really didn't like you."

"I need my fingers." Jensen scowled at the three of them. "Sometimes, I hate you all so much," he grumbled as Cougar made a consoling noise and patted his shoulder.

"Stop being such a girl," Aisha chided him, then cocked her head to the side. "Perhaps I should attempt to make contact…."

Clay shook his head. "No, that would be…have you ever seen what happens when you put two Japanese Fighting Fish in the same bowl?"

"So…how do we go about this without it turning into another El Salvadorian Embassy situation?" Pooch asked, causing Jensen to groan while Clay and Cougar actually snickered.

Aisha looked between the four of them. "El Salvadorian Embassy?"

"Madness," Jensen muttered into his bag of chips. "Total and utter madness."

Clarifying, Clay offered, "Jensen may or may not have either started or ended an international incident involving a horse trailer and shrubbery at one of their galas. None of us are real clear on how things actually went down, save for it ended with him puking over the balcony and blaming it on invisible garden gnomes."

Jensen sniffed and said, "We all got out alive, didn't we? Can you say the same thing will happen if that Sylvester woman gets her hands on us?"

They stopped to ponder this for a moment, before a loud young voice called out, "Mr. Jensen! You, sir, are a hard man to find!"

"Now what?" Jensen mumbled glancing over his shoulder to see a student hurrying across the roof towards their huddle. Looking back to his team mates, he asked, "Who the hell is this?"

Aisha, Cougar and Clay all grimaced. "Rachel Berry," Aisha informed him. "She's like a rabid dog when she gets an idea in her head."

"Oh, this is not my day," Jensen sighed before turning to face Rachel with a smile. "Hi, there. What can I do for you?"

"It's what you can do for the whole school!" the girl enthused, leaning forward to get in his face a bit. She was a little frightening in her intensity and Jensen wondered what they were putting in the water around here to have all these crazy people in one small area. "You were up in the balcony yesterday, watching the glee club rehearse, were you not?"

"Yes," he answered slowly, not sure where this was leading. "You were singing Journey. Awesomely, might I add."

"Thank you!" she beamed, small hands coming up to clasp happily in front of her chest. "I was wondering if you had heard about the faculty/student talent show? No? Well, we are looking to recruit a few teachers to perform in a musical exhibition with us! It will be the show stopping number, I can guarantee you! We have a practice today after school at 3. You should really come!"

She managed to say all of that without pausing for a breath. Singing must have given her a great lung capacity, Jensen mused before giving her a brief nod. "I'll try to make it," he assured her, hoping to make her go away. He noticed the others were all looking away, trying not to make eye contact. Nice. Real supportive.

Assholes.

"Super!" the girl said, spinning on her heel and hurrying back towards the stairs, little plaid skirt swishing as she went.

After watching for a moment, Jensen shook himself, feeling vaguely like a dirty old man and looked back at his team. "Gee, thanks for the help, guys,"

"You know we'd take a bullet for you," Pooch began, then glanced at Aisha, "Okay, maybe she wouldn't, but my point is valid. That girl, however, is a whole different kind of crazy that I am not drawing the attention of."

Jensen huffed and glanced over at Cougar, who just shook his head slowly. Apparently, the tiny, scary high school girl was too much for even the baddest amongst them. What the hell had he just agreed to do?

"Anyhow, back to the matter at hand," Clay said, moving back to the topic that had brought them to this three ring circus in the first place. "Sue Sylvester. We need to feel out her opinions on Max."

"As long as we can do it from a safe distance," Jensen mumbled, stuffing half of his sandwich into his mouth as one of the bells rang, indicating the end of the lunch period. He groaned , gathering up the rest of his meal to snack on at his desk. He'd need the energy to deal with these psychotic kids and their equally wacko teachers.

Seriously, if one of these freak shows wasn't the next John Wayne Gacy, he'd eat a Bozo wig himself.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"You got Mr. Jensen to agree?"

Rachel had no idea why Kurt sounded so surprised. Surely, after more than a year of witnessing her not insubstantial drive, he'd have realized she was quite capable of being extremely persuasive . "That is what I said," she replied, hauling the books she needed for her next class out of her locker.

Looking equally suspicious, Mercedes said, "How did you even find him? No one saw him, or any of the new teachers, at lunch."

"I will admit, tracking him down proved quite a challenge," Rachel conceded. "But I prevailed and found him having his mid-day meal on the roof with his friends."

Sharing a look with Mercedes over Rachel's head, Kurt said, "As much as we need several teachers to complete the vision we have for our performance number, don't you find any of them…a bit odd?"

Mercedes nodded. "I got to French class yesterday and I swear I saw Ms. Bashir sharpening a knife at her desk…and Mr. Clay, he talks about war like he's been there."

As they walked down the hall, Rachel shrugged, "So Ms. Bashir is safety conscious and perhaps Mr. Clay has served in the military."

"No, there's something off about them, though Mr. Jensen is fine," Kurt agreed with Mercedes, of course. "Mr. Alvarez somehow manages to teach my math class without using more than a handful of actual words interspersed with emphatic nods and grunts. Pooch seems all right…for someone who calls themselves Pooch."

Rachel blinked. "What does he teach?"

"Auto shop," Kurt replied, then noticed her look. "What? It's an easy A for me."

They continued down the hall, discussing the merits of other teachers that could potentially be recruited to take part in the Glee club performance, all the while unaware of a track suited figure shadowing their movements, listening in on their every word.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Utilizing the ninja like grace and stealth tracking capabilities she'd perfected through years of covert operations, Sue followed Ladyface, Aretha and the stunted Barbra knock-off down the hall, hoping to overhear some of what their incessant little club was planning for the talent show. It simply wouldn't do for them to steal even a fraction of attention from the glorious routine she had designed for her Cheerios. A routine that they'd learn even if it killed them.

And, considering some of the aerial acrobatics, it just might.

But at the moment, the potential culling of the herd amongst the Cheerios was banished from her mind as she listened to what Sheuster's performing poodles were saying, specifically the names.

Jensen. Clay. Alvarez. Pooch. She had kept an open ear to the intelligence community, still knew a thing or two about what was going on in the world of covert operations. The world that Franklin Clay and his team of misfit Losers lived in.

Through the grapevine, she'd heard he and his team had been killed on a rogue operation in Bolivia. As…unpleasant as their parting of ways had been, she hadn't believed the Swiss cheese like cover story given by the administration's talking head in uniform for a second. Obviously, someone higher up placed the blame for a botched op on them…and since they were back in the USA, she could be fairly certain that they were out for revenge.

Making her way back to her office, Sue locked the doors and drew the blinds. This called for some privacy.

With a mighty shove, she heaved aside her filing cabinet, revealing the wall safe hidden behind it. Not exactly standard school issue, but she'd spent a Saturday carefully excavating the little nook and installing the safe. One couldn't be too cautious with their sensitive documents.

You never knew when those Texas cheerleading coaches would send spies to infiltrate the school and steal her playbook.

In addition to Cheerios choreography, she kept dossiers on individuals from her past whom might be of use in some way. Even those who may or may not be holding a grudge against her. Those were the ones you really had to keep an eye on.

Though she thought of Clay as the sort of man who would get over a little thing like an attempted assassination by blow dart. With the frequency that women tried to kill him, he had to be or he would have gone mad by now.

Pulling out a stack of files, she flipped through them until she came to Clay's. The last time she had updated it had been when their team had been reported dead. At the time, the Losers had consisted of Clay, William Roque, Linwood "Pooch" Porteous, Carlos "Cougar" Alvarez and Jacob Jensen.

Now, it didn't appear Roque was at the school, but the woman was an unknown. It didn't mean the massive, scarred man wasn't around, perhaps Clay had decided not to inflict him upon the students of this school. In her opinion, most of these little pus bags could only benefit from exposure to Roque's brand of promised violence.

Until this point, the presence of new teachers had not aroused her interest, other than the fact that the young man she'd encountered in the staff lounge was rather attractive. That would be Jensen, Clay's tech expert. Her files didn't include a good picture of the young man, just a blurry, long distance image that she had procured through back channels.

Alvarez was the team's sniper. There actually wasn't much information available on the man, just that his proficiency with a rifle was exceptional. That kind of redaction usually indicated lots of Black Ops work.

Porteous seemed to be the closest to normal as one of Clay's Losers could be. He was married, wife expecting a child…it would have been born by now. As the transportation man, he would have been the driver or pilot, depending on the situation.

She knew better than to think the Losers were in Lima for some innocuous reason. If she was placing money on it, she'd wager they were here to see her. There were no other assets in this backwater corner of the States. She'd know if there were.

After reading through the files thoroughly, she sat back. For the moment, she'd wait and see how things played out.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

She was going to make Clay suffer for this. Possibly using a car battery and jumper cables. Surely that was appropriate retribution for this sort of torment.

"Stop grimacing. You look like someone's waving one of Roque's dirty socks in your face. Try to look…non-violent," Jensen hissed at her as the pair of them sat off to the side of stage, watching the members of the glee club get ready to present whatever it was they had been recruited to participate in.

Actually, only Jensen had been recruited, but Clay felt it was in the best interest of the team to try not to be caught out alone by Sue, and, since the maniacal cheer coach had shown something of an interest in what the Glee club was planning, told Aisha to go with Jensen to the meeting after school.

That's right. He told her. Torture by battery might not be enough payback for that.

Berry and the Alpha Cheerleader were arguing over song choices, voices loud and strident, hard to ignore. The tallest boy, whose physical presence might have been intimidating to some people if he didn't have that vague, lost look behind his eyes, was twirling a drum stick and staring into space. The two other female cheerleaders were sitting together, the blond looking around while the brunette examined her nails. The male cheerleader seemed to be having a hushed conversation with the brightly dressed black girl and an Asian Goth, while two other boys seemed to just be lounging in the chairs, discussing whether or not it was sanitary to roast marshmallows over a cigarette lighter. Two final boys, one in a wheelchair and the other with a buzzed head, were idly picking at guitars.

All in all, it was pretty chaotic.

"Where is their…" she paused to search for the proper term, "wrangler?" She knew it wasn't a perfect descriptor, as any animal wrangler worth his or her salt would be armed with a stun baton, but the American education system seemed to frown upon the idea of encouraging a child with 5000 volts. It didn't seem so unreasonable to her, as it would certainly get their attention.

Then again, she mused, watching the confused blond cheerleader try to figure out what had slapped her on the side of the face (she had turned quickly and been whapped by her own ponytail), perhaps these children couldn't afford to lose the brain cells. Jensen has noticed the girl's trouble as well and smiled fondly.

Blondie noticed the attention and seemed to forget about the mysterious force that had slapped her in the face. "Hi, Mr. Jensen!" she said happily. "Are you going to sing with us?"

"Apparently," he replied, then indicated Aisha with a wave of his hand. "This is Ms. Bashir. Aisha, Brittany."

Aisha nodded at the girl who gave her a wave and motioned to her Latina friend. "This is Santana."

"Hey." The brunette had that bored with life tone, unique to disaffected youths who did not have the outlet of occasionally blowing thing up, down pat.

Oblivious to her friend's disdain for them, Brittany pulled a piece of paper out of her backpack and looked down at it. From where she was seated, Aisha could see a bunch of rough sketches and short phrases written on the paper. "I wanted to say thank you," the girl said to Jensen, bright smile lighting up her pretty face. "This…Computer Key you made for me helps a lot."

Jensen nodded at her and smiled. "If you need to remember something, just tag it with a vivid image. Save files, purple piggy bank. Delete files, big, yucky dumpster…"

"New document, clean notebook and pen!" Brittany continued eagerly, clearly pleased to show off her new knowledge. She was kinda tragic... like a puppy that runs into things. Cute but really stupid.

"That's right," the hacker praised her, genuinely pleased that the girl had gotten something out of the class he was teaching.

Aisha was surprised how well Jensen seemed to have take to this undercover assignment. Frankly, she'd have been willing to bet good money that a fire or the total destruction of the school would have been the most likely outcome of putting him in charge of a class full of impressionable children. The others (and she was including herself in that count) would be lucky if they didn't revert to their training and start teaching the masses how to field strip a weapon.

Hell, it wasn't just him. None of them were the sort of people who should be left in charge of a group of children.

She remained in her spot as he drifted a little towards the children to peer at the blonde's paper. Mr. Shuester, the club's director had arrived and was trying to intervene in the argument over songs, but clearly the girls would rather fight than come to an agreement.

Sometimes she thought men were far better at interpersonal relationships. They had a fight, they beat the hell out of each other and that was that. Sure, sometimes someone died, but then no one was arguing any more. It was a far simpler way to live.

Even now, two boys, clearly friends, were tussling over some small disagreement. It was the way of the….

"DOWN!"

Years of finely honed reflexes let her drop without questioning Jensen's shout, a shout that prevented her from being tagged by the bullet that whizzed past her shoulder as she rolled away. Several more followed, missing her and ripping through the fake velvet curtains that hung behind the stage.

If she thought things had been chaotic earlier, what happened next put that idea to shame. Several of the teenagers shrieked or shouted in fear. Jensen was yelling at them to move, pulling a hand gun out of his pants even as he gave the kid in the wheelchair a shove towards the relative safety of the wings. The boy with the barely there Mohawk had tackled Berry and the blond Alpha cheerleader, pulling them out of the line of fire.

All this happened in seconds and Aisha looked up toward the shadowy balcony, unable to make out more than a vague outline of the shooter. Aiming her weapon (hey, it was a high school. Of course she was armed), she fired several shots at the attacker, who flinched back from his or her striking position.

Jensen hit the wall, scrambling up it like a monkey, finding toe and finger holds amongst the paneling and sound proofing. The shooter made a move as though considering firing, but chose to pull back, bolting out of the balcony and into the halls of the school. The hacker reached the top of the wall and jumped, twisting in mid air to snag the catwalk, which he used to launch himself up and onto the acoustic, dropped ceiling. She couldn't track his progress up there, but a moment later he dropped down onto the shooter's balcony and pursued him out the door.

Yanking out her phone and cursing the fact that their normal ear buds were a tad too conspicuous for a modern High School, Aisha called Clay, not bothering to let him speak before saying, "Shots fired. Jensen's in pursuit."

"What? Damn it!" Clay roared, then snapped, "And Sylvester just saw me…any witnesses on your end?"

Glancing around at the terrified, a few even tearful, young faces, Aisha sighed, "Oh, you could say that."

"Try to keep it contained," he said, and she could tell he was running, probably trying to get to where he could offer back up if necessary.

"Great," she mumbled, hanging up on him and turning to the stunned crowd. At least they were too startled to have started tweeting about the experience yet. Everyone seemed to be okay, maybe a little bruised, but no one seemed to have caught a bullet.

"What the hell was that?" Shuester, the teacher, demanded as they stepped back out onto the stage, seemingly reassured that the shooting had ended by her lack of cover. "Why do you have a gun?"

"I…," she began, tucking her weapon under her jacket, away from prying eyes. "It's a very long and complicated story."

"You some sort of undercover cop or an agent?" the kid with the shaved head and good reflexes asked from where he was still standing protectively in front of the girls he had knocked to safety.

"Something like that," she murmured, then held up a hand when she saw Shuester pulling out a phone. "No. No calls…my…superior will be here in a moment to explain."

Clearly, the man was about to argue, but Jensen banged in through the doors, shouting, "Aisha! Fucker went into the vents. We need you!"

"Why didn't you follow?" she shouted, leaping off of the stage and sprinting up the aisle.

Jensen snorted. "I couldn't fit," he said, leading the rush out the door, passing Clay as they left. She didn't envy him…though she did wonder what he was going to say to try to contain this disaster.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Startled teenagers. A pissed off teacher. Bullet holes in the walls.

Yeah, this wasn't what he had in mind when he had planned this operation. Containment of this one was going to be a pain in the ass.

As he strode down the long aisle of the auditorium, he reached into his pocket, fishing out the perfect NSA ID and badge Jensen had made for him before they began this charade. They all carried them, just in case. Unlike FBI ID, very few people knew what NSA credentials actually looked like, so it was easier to fool civilians into buying their cover story.

"Everything's under control, folks," he said, approaching the shell shocked students and teacher. "I know that you've all been through something traumatic, but we've got the situation handled. I'm with the NSA and I need to ask for your co-operation."

"Our co-operation?" the tall kid asked, clearly confused. "We're not the ones that were shooting!"

This is why Clay did not like dealing with kids. "No, son, that's not it," Clay assured him, then turned to address the teacher present. "I can't read you in to our whole operation, but needless to say, there's something unpleasant going on here and we're here to handle it…but we need to keep this quiet."

"Quiet?" Shuester was understandably upset and he stalked over to Clay. "You're talking about this like it's…a glass of spilled milk. Someone just took shots at these kids. We can't just ignore this."

"It's a matter of National Security," Clay rumbled, wishing Pooch, Aisha or Jensen, hell, even Cougar was there to help bullshit their way through the story. He hated having to deal with civilians. They all had trouble toeing the line, shutting up and following his

orders.

Not that his own people were great at shutting up, but they could be counted on not to run to the local media.

"I don't see how our keeping silent about such a potentially dangerous person could be beneficial to us or our continued safety." God damn it. Of course that mouthy Berry girl had to be there. In her eyes, Clay saw a glitter that told him someday she'd be someone's crazy ex, but he didn't yet see that violent edge in her. That was good.

Also good was Pooch's fortuitous and bemused arrival. He trotted up to Clay and quietly, so as not to alarm the civilians, said, "Shooter got away. Aisha's still in the vents. Cougar and Jensen are doing a perimeter sweep, but it's not like we can secure a school. What did you tell them?"

"NSA, matter of National security," he muttered, then glanced at the children again. "I didn't get very far."

Pooch sighed and moved over to do some damage control, leaving Clay to sigh in relief.

Some things were just too damn scary for him to face.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

What had been a typical Glee practice session had turned into some sort of John Woo/James Bond craziness, not that Puck was really complaining, 'cause once the bullets stopped flying and the fear receded…damn, that was kinda awesome. He got to tackle Quinn and Rachel to safety, landing on a pile of bubble wrap in the wings, Ms. Bashir looked kick ass with a gun and Mr. Jensen did that whole spider monkey thing.

An epic win as far as Glee practices went.

Their speculation that the new teachers weren't exactly what they seemed to be proved to have been right on the nose. Mr. Clay, the history teacher that reminded Puck of some of the more pissed off football coaches he'd had at sports camps, had told them they were NSA agents and Pooch filled them in on the details.

Well, not really, 'cause it was an undercover NSA sting, but he explained that there was some sort of terrorist cell in Lima and they had tracked some communications to the school. They were here to smoke the terrorists out and make things safe for everyone and rah, rah, rah.

Not that Puck really bought into the whole flag waving, America's the best idea, he thought their country was as fucked up as any, but damn, the whole undercover secret agent thing was pretty cool. He could totally get behind a badass career path like that.

Not that he thought about the future or anything lame like that, but what the hell, you couldn't ignore bullets flying around your heads…and also anything that gave him the excuse to lay on top of two hot girls (even if they were a bit crazy) was cool in his book. Especially on bubble wrap. Sex on bubble wrap was definitely going on his to do list, STAT!

Pooch was finishing talking Mr. Shue down from the stroke he had been working himself towards when Ms. P came skittering into the room, all fluttering hands, big Bambi eyes and the faint odor of bleach. He supposed she was pretty cute, but he knew enough about chemicals from his pool cleaning business to have the vague idea that anyone who smelled like bleach would probably have a caustic effect on sensitive body parts. He had no idea if this was a fact or not, but it was an image he couldn't shake.

It was like Ms. P had some sort of natural radar that was attuned to anything out of place or amiss. The Bambi eyes bounced from the bullet holes in the curtains, to Mr.…Agent Clay, who was still standing around with a big ass gun in plain sight, then to the still teary faces of some of the girls.

"Will?" she said urgently, as the scene was clearly far beyond her comfort threshold for strange. Like his little sister Sarah, who could only have the room so dark before a massive meltdown would occur, Ms. P could only handle so much of the weird stuff before she got that crazy gleam in her eyes and started with the Lysol.

She was some sort of freaky, stealth ninja with that shit and he personally had been caught in the spray numerous times. Actually, come to think of it, most of those times she seemed to have been aiming directly at him.

Huh. Word of his less school friendly extra curricular activities must have reached the teachers grapevine and the poor woman had been seized by the need to disinfect him.

Whatever. He knew he was clean. Mom had dragged his ass off to the doctor for blood tests after he'd told her about the Quinn/baby mess. He'd been disease free then and very safe since.

Nothing was worth having to sit through the horror of his mom lecturing him about safe sex again. The memory alone was squicky enough to put a slight damper on his libido…and make him paranoid enough to double wrap his junk. Seriously, nurses should not be able to use the pictures from their text books to traumatize their children.

Now he was totally a nexus of teenage stupidity and STD/pregnancy fearing responsibility.

Agent Clay made a disgruntled, grumbling noise about a perimeter and put away his weapon, covering it with the side of his coat as Mr. Shue turned to Ms. P. "Everyone's fine, Emma."

"Why does Mr. Clay have a gun, Will?" Ms. P asked, clearly waffling between finding a safe spot to hover behind Mr. Shue's shoulder and offering some non-tactile comfort to the shaken girls. Obviously, the potential for tears and snot overwhelmed her and she chose a compromise of the relative safety while keeping a watchful eye on the teens.

Puck could never figure out why she'd chosen a career that brought her into close contact with other people on a daily basis. Especially teenagers. Being one himself, Puck knew they sometimes didn't have the best personal hygiene. Or, knowing some of the hockey team, even know what soap was.

The locker rooms could get nasty.

Poor Ms. P was gonna have a hell of a time reconciling all of this. No way was it gonna be neat or easily categorized.

Good thing Puck himself kinda liked things a little messy.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

The kids actually took getting shot at a lot better than most adults. More than anything, they seemed intrigued by the idea that something exciting was happening in their sleepy little town.

Ah, the resilience of youth.

It took a lot more cajoling and reassurances to calm the teachers and assure them that the team did, in fact, have things under control and that calling the police would be a very, very bad idea.

Pooch had managed to talk everyone down, with minimal help from Clay, when the auditorium doors swung open, admitting Jensen and Aisha, followed closely by an exasperated looking Cougar.

"Seriously, you need medication! Lots and lots of drugs."

"No, I stopped taking my meds because I like crazy me better. And just how the hell was I supposed to know there were dead rats in the vents?"

"All I'm saying is, next time, you're going in. Or Cougar could try. He's built a bit slimmer."

The sniper gave a warning snarl and Jensen translated, "Cougs doesn't do small spaces."

"Then you're out of luck."

"Sure, just let me fold my torso in half."

"I'll fold you in half, you…."

Yeah, this was making a wonderful impression on the still shell shocked civilians…and clearly wearing on Cougar's nerves. He inserted himself between the arguing pair and sent Aisha over to Clay as he led Jensen in the opposite direction.

"I'll fold you in half," Jensen muttered in a mocking tone, then gave Aisha a look and mumbled, "I can kill you with my brain!"

Not having any real clue what Jensen was babbling about, Pooch sighed as Clay said, "You lost him?"

The three of them gave sullen nods and Cougar produced something from his pocket. "This was outside the vents."

Clay eyed the object in the sniper's hand. "What the hell is that?"

"A salad dressing bottle," Jensen quipped, causing an odd ripple to pass through the teens and two teachers. "That mean something to you folks?"

Shuester and Pillsbury exchanged a look, but the Latina cheerleader felt no such need for restraint. "It's Mr. DeGoob's."

The Losers stared at her in shock. "What?" Clay asked, clearly baffled by that revelation. How in the world could anyone ID an un-labeled salad dressing bottle?

"He uses it as a flask," Puckerman said easily, miming tipping back a bottle, the universal sign for a lush. "But he's…."

Clearly, the man wasn't a great sniper, as none of his shots had hit their targets. Pooch dredged up a vague memory of the man from the teachers lounge, a small, mousy fellow in an ugly polyester suit.

Hell, at least they weren't being hunted by one of Clay's deadly ex's…unless DeGoob was working for Sylvester. That didn't seem too far outside the realm of possibilities for one of those Grade A lunatics.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"Well, well, well," Sue said, reclining against the back of a garishly colored car she knew had to be Clay's. It was simple deduction, really. All she had to do was survey the lot for the second most offensive piece of crap that dared to call itself a car (Shuster's car was more offensive to her as a matter of principle) and, once she found it, parked herself there to wait for his return. "Last I heard, you were spicy BBQ'd jungle mulch in Bolivia."

Clay and his team of misfits had been tensed and ready, even before seeing her. Upon noticing her, Clay's hackles rose even more and he glared. The woman, pretty, with a dangerous edge, sneered, hand drifting under her coat to where Sue assumed she had a concealed weapon. Beside her, Pooch heaved a very put upon sigh and said, "We don't need this now."

Slightly behind them, guarding their six, was Cougar, who bared his teeth and herded a distracted Jensen closer to the rest of the group. The hacker had been focused on his PDA, but flashed expressions that read both perturbed and slightly disgruntled at the sound of her voice.

"Sue," Clay rumbled in that deep voice she remembered all to well. "It's been a while."

"Peru," she said with a raised brow, drawing a snort from the man.

"Kabul," he corrected, narrowing his gaze. "Here to try to finish the job?"

"Oh, please." She waved a dismissive hand in the air. "Who even remembers that far back?"

"A poisoned tipped dart is fairly memorable," he countered.

"Then you've led a far sadder and more sheltered life than I would have assumed," she replied, reveling in the man's obvious irritation.. It was nice to know that she hadn't lost her touch. "But I'm not here to discuss your many failings as a human being. What are you doing at my school?"

Looks were exchanged and she could have sworn she heard Jensen mumble, "Oh, this is gonna be better than watching a monkey walk a drunk."

Then he yelped when the woman dope slapped him, indicating that Sue had, in fact, heard him correctly.

"Did you have anything to do with someone taking pot shots at my people?" Clay asked, ignoring the interplay of his team in favor of trying to stare Sue down.

As if that was going to happen.

Wait…did he say shots? As in gunfire?

"Someone was shooting at you? Here?" she questioned, not liking that idea at all. If some nut was running around with a weapon, there was a chance one of her Cheerios could potentially be hurt and that would throw off the team's carefully crafted dynamic.

This was why she had petitioned the school board to change their policy in regards to issuing CCW permits to teachers. Not all of them, of course, only those who could be trusted with a weapon.

Meaning only herself.

The little group continued to face off against her, clearly deciding whether or not they could trust her. Finally, Jensen shrugged and asked, "Heard from Max lately?"

His teammates hissed reprimands over his lack of discretion, but Sue couldn't care less about their petty little arguments. "Max?" she asked, voice dripping with distain. "No. And I never will. He knows better than to do that."

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Sue was still obviously insane and completely convinced that the world revolved around her. In an odd way, the familiarity was a bit of comfort to Clay. He didn't really like what that said about his life, so he put that thought out of his mind. There were far more important things to focus on.

For all her craziness Sue could be an asset, as she had far more local knowledge than the rest of them. Also, it was always a good idea to keep the crazy women on your side.

"We think a Mr. DeGoob may have had something to do with the shooting," Clay said curtly. "What can you tell us about him?"

"DeGoob?" She was clearly astonished. "That weak, little, fish worm of a man. I try to avoid raving lunatics. He's so…pathetic."

"A pathetic ghost according to his personnel file," Jensen said, tapping at his PDA and scowling. "Seriously, I think your principal would hire a knife wielding, hockey mask wearing psycho if one showed up and said they'd take a job. Has he never heard of a background check? I don't even want to think about how many perverts or sex offenders might be working here."

While Sue eyed the hacker oddly, the rest of the team took the ramble in stride. "You can find him, right?" Pooch said, peeking around Cougar to peer at the tiny screen.

Jensen nodded and said, "Of course…just not with this."

"All right," Clay said briskly. "Pooch, Aisha, keep an eye on things here. Check DeGoob's classroom. I'm going to make a few inquiries. Cougar, go with Jensen. Jensen, what're you gonna need to get me those files?"

Without pausing to think, the kid rattled off, "A crate of Double Stuffed Oreos, a tub of Adderall laced Nutella and a Redbull IV."

Sue actually cracked a tiny smile and the rest of the team snickered. Clay tried to suppress his own smile and said, "Go."

Smoothly, they broke apart, Pooch and Aisha heading back towards the school while Cougar and Jensen hopped into the truck the sniper favored.

Which left Clay alone in the parking lot with Sue. Not exactly where he wanted to be.

The woman was relentless. She stepped forward, finger jabbing into his chest. "I'm in. This is my school. My turf! I'm going to take this bastard down. No one shoots at my students without incurring the wrath of God! Meaning ME!"

At least the crazy was on their side.

For the moment.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"Oh, you're good. Very good. But I'm better. Ha, come on, gimme something a little challenging…."

Cougar smirked to himself as he sat on the edge of his bed, methodically cleaning his weapons and allowing the endless, familiar stream of babble wash over him. Across the room, Jensen was sitting at the small desk, hunched over his computer, tap-tap-tapping away.

Clay might have been a bit put out by the hacker's habit of doing his thing wearing only boots and boxers, but Cougar didn't mind. He could understand a person having a few eccentricities.

Plus, it was always an amusing and…cute scene. Though Cougar would never say such a thing aloud. Talk about spoiling ones rep as a badass.

Today, Jensen was wearing a pair of boxers that were so luridly pink Cougar suspected they might glow in the dark. Little balls of yarn and cartoon fish dotted the fabric and the front was emblazoned with the words, HERE KITTY, KITTY, KITTY! in big, bold letters.

That could be interpreted…in a variety of ways, none of them involving an actual cat.

"Oh, great googly-moogly…and he would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for us pesky kids," Jensen muttered as he gave his computer a final few flourish filled taps. "Ha! Gotcha you…very, very bad man. Cougar, check this out."

Carefully setting aside his rifle, Cougar rose and crossed the room, coming to a stop behind Jensen's chair. Placing a hand on the younger man's shoulder, he leaned forward to peer at the screen and see what had caught his teammate's interest.

Several words jumped off of the screen

Ralph DeGoob aka Rudolph Ferdinand Diefendorf ….born in Germany….raised in the Philippines….known member of Abu Sayyaf Group…suspected involvement in 2000 of kidnapping of more than 30 civilians…known ties to Mujahidin….spent time in and out of mental care facilities….anti-American ideals….Status: Unknown as of 2007.…** Consider this person extremely dangerous, as he is prone to wild sprees of terror when he thinks he is in danger of being apprehended. Shoot to kill authorized….

"That's not good," Cougar muttered, then squeezed the shoulder under his hand. "Put on your pants. Clay needs to know this."

Jensen nodded, rose and immediately grabbed a crumpled pair of jean from the floor and attempted to pull them on. His efforts were hampered by his boots, but ,after kicking them off, he succeeded in donning the trousers and then his Petunia's T-shirt.

Only a man possessing both extreme confidence and absolutely zero concern for what others thought of him could pull off that shirt. Fortunately, those were both traits Jensen possessed in spades.

Sometimes Cougar thought the younger man was more detached from the rest of society than even he was…with the exception of his sister and niece. Jensen loved them more than anything and Cougar was certain the hacker would violently and creatively destroy anyone who dare to hurt either of them.

Which was completely understandable and reasonable in itself, but the very thought brought to mind the idea that, if his tethers to the world at large were ever cut, Jake Jensen had the potential to become something truly terrifying.

Better to focus on the present, on the reality of the moment, which was much less unpleasant.

They had a psychotic terrorist type to catch.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Catching DeGoob had been a lot easier than anyone had anticipated. According to Clay's contacts, the man, who had always been insane, had lost his few remaining marbles several years ago and just up and disappeared. If he had to pick a hiding place, teaching at a poorly funded high school ten miles removed from the middle of nowhere was a pretty good bet.

Except for the fact that Max had found him, which led the Losers to his town and to his door. His overly secured door. Seriously, the man had 14 locks on his front door. But that was nothing compared to the windows, barred, nailed shut and painted black, and the barbed wire picket fence.

That must have gone over well with the neighborhood association.

And someone was going to have a stroke over the missing rear wall. Unable to enter through any of the usual ways, Pooch had simply attached chains to the bars that blocked the back windows, hooked those up to the truck and Presto, new entry!

The construction had been shoddy and more had been removed than planned, but they made entry and found themselves in a new and creepy world.

"Hell-lo, Crazy," Jensen whistled, surveying the newspaper covered walls. The entire place had a musty, urine and mold smell, not unexpected due to the sealed windows and abundance of cats now pouring out of the house through the hole in the wall.

The others whom had entered the building with him, Clay, Pooch and Aisha, all looked more than a little put off by the general atmosphere of stink, gloom and psychosis and they carefully fanned out, checking the small, ranch style house in only a minute. Cougar had installed himself in a nearby tree to cover the house, in case DeGoob managed to flee the premises.

Sylvester had wanted to be in on the raid, something none of them were comfortable with, she was still freaking scary. Fortunately, Aisha wasn't afraid and, after a brief scuffle, had hog tied and gagged the cheer coach in the back of the van. Jensen shuddered to think about the complicated revenge schemes the woman was doubtlessly concocting in that twisted brain.

"One place left to check," Clay said, nodding grimly at the basement door.

Grimacing, Jensen said, "Great, the basement. Everyone knows that's where guys like this keep the full on bugnuts, skittering, Renfield-esque crazy."

"You don't find this crazy enough?" Pooch asked, gesturing to the walls and…oh, that was comforting, a dead rat was pinned to the wall with a knife.

Good old Ralph sure had a flair for interior design.

The four of them peered warily at the door, flanking it so that no one would be standing in front of it when the door was opened. If any of them decided to risk life and limb to open the door.

Jensen could only imagine the sort of booby traps this paragon of mental instability could have left for them. Trip wires, bombs, poison gas valves, catapults loaded with the corpses of dead skunks…any of these traps and more could be waiting for them when they ventured into the recesses of this death trap of a house. Seriously, this place made Jensen long for the rat hole they had been crashing in while trapped in Bolivia.

After several looks and emphatic shakes of the head were exchanged, Aisha sighed and reached around Clay, grasping the handle and yanking the door open, carefully jumping back out of the way, just in case.

No gunshots.

No blasts of flame or deadly explosions.

No flying skunk bodies.

Only a little robot Godzilla toy that toddled out into the hall from the landing at the top of the stairs. It's little animatronic arms waved and it's tinny voice wailed, "Raaarh!"

Then it fell over.

Cocking his head to the side, Jensen considered the toy. "Huh. I was expecting something a little more…just more."

No kidding.

The gaping, dark maw that was the stairwell stood open and unencumbered before them. Clay stuck the barrel of his weapon, then his bare hand, out to see if that would draw a response, but still nothing.

Heartened, Pooch tried to flip the light switch and sighed when nothing happened. "Guess that would just be too easy," he murmured, obviously not having expected it to actually work.

From deep within the hole, they could hear a constant mumbling, high pitched changing to low, interspersed with frantic giggles and raspberry noises.

Clearly, they had found the right place.

Clay led the charge down the stairs, still expecting to be on the receiving end of some sort of assault. That was just what they'd all learned to expect over the years, most recently enforced by Aisha when she put a bullet through Jensen's arm. He hadn't left his gun in the van since.

Here however, they were…well, this wasn't a pleasant surprise, but it was definitely some kind of surprise.

Ralph DeGoob aka Rudolph Ferdinand Diefendorf aka Crazypants McNutso was in a corner of his newsprint papered basement. In the opposite corner, his rifle was laid in the arms of a two foot tall teddy bear…whom DeGoob appeared to believe had taken him hostage.

"Ha!" the man declared, lowering a hand to stab an accusatory finger at the bear. "I told you someone would come, you vile, treacherous beast! It's my honey, not yours! Off with its head!"

"Um, right," Clay grumbled, nodding Pooch over to disarm the bear. "Ralph DeGoob?"

"Yes," the man replied, elated not to be menaced by the bear any longer. Thinking himself free, the man began taking long draws out of the bottle of Grey Goose before him like it was a baby bottle. "Are you here to see the dancing bandicoots?"

Now Jensen was seriously looking forwards to seeing his CO try to converse with this obviously demented person. It could totally be worth a giggle.

"No," Clay began, stepping forwards to loom over DeGoob. "We're here about Max."

"Max?" DeGoob squealed, a piercing sound that made Jensen want to plug his ears. "You're in league with the murderous ghost frogs!"

Clay turned a rather interesting shade of puce as Aisha heaved a sigh and Pooch valiantly managed not to burst out laughing. Jensen himself tried to pass off his wheezing gasps pf laughter as being the result of a roaming pile of dust.

That was when Sylvester, having apparently gnawed through the duct tape Aisha had used to bind and gag her, stormed down the stairs.

DeGoob took one look at her and shrieked, "It's the giant carnivorous shrew, come to steal my bones!"

Whatever rant Sue had planned seemed to die on her tongue as she peered down at the cracked fellow, who was scuttling around in his corner like some sort of crab. Clay grimaced when DeGoob began to randomly gobble like a turkey.

Oh yeah.

This was going one of their more…interesting ops.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Backstage at the student teacher faculty show was chaos, pure and simple. Everyone was tumbling over each other, making a mess and generally being awful.

Which was why the glee club chose to retire to the Choir room to prepare. Much to the dismay of Coach Sylvester, the Cheerios had drawn the opening spot in the show and Glee the last. The football teams number had crumbled, so everyone was present, including the two new teachers/undercover NSA agents.

Though they had caught their bad guy (Mr. DeGoob, who would have expected that?), they had been nice enough to finish out the week and perform with the club in the show. Kurt thought that was a good thing, as Rachel would have had a stroke if they had to re-choreograph the routine.

Rachel was, at the moment, in a corner doing a vocal warm up with Mercedes and Quinn. Matt and Mike were once again taking Finn through the footwork sequences, while Brittany and Santana monitored his progress. Puck was talking with Tina and Artie, as the latter tuned his guitar.

Mr. Shue was giving Ms. Pillsbury a pep talk while Ms…Agent Bashir was trying to fix her ponytail using a hand mirror. Agent Jensen was over by the door, chatting with someone out in the hall.

Employing his discrete observational skills, Kurt drifted across the room and peered out the door. Agent Alvarez, the smoldering agent whom had been teaching math classes, was leaning in the door way, a big, fluffy cone of cotton candy clutched in one hand. Agent Jensen stole a pinch of the fluffy treat and laughed, "Where the hell did you get cotton candy at a High School Talent show? No one else had any."

There was nothing outwardly odd about the interaction, but the body language and proximity made Kurt raise a brow and bite back a smirk. The girls, all of whom were nursing crushes on the blond man, would be heartbroken if they discovered he played for Kurt's team.

It was bound to happen eventually.

Alvarez caught sight of him and flicked his head. Agent Jensen followed the flick and gave Kurt a small smile before looking back at Alvarez and saying something in a low voice. The other man nodded and moved away, allowing Jensen to step back into the room.

Before Kurt could say anything, Agent Bashir asked, "What did Cougar want?"

"Just saying hi," the younger man replied, then raised a brow at her. "He said Clay nearly chewed through one of the seats during the 20 minute recorder solo."

Bashir grinned. "Why didn't he go for air?"

"Still trying to stare Sylvester down. Cougs said to warn you that he thinks she's probably plotting her revenge on you for the duct tape."

She snorted. "You sure he wasn't warning you? That woman wants to do bad, bad things with you."

"Aisha," Agent Jensen laughed. "Not in front of the kids…and there's no way she'd catch me."

Kurt interpreted the woman's look as I Yeah, 'cause Cougar would rip her arms off for laying a hand on his hot, hot man friend./I

Or maybe he was just projecting. He didn't have the chance to think too hard on it though, as Mr. Shue said, "Okay, guys, time to head to the auditorium."

Showtime!

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

During the small break as the Ornithology club cleaned up the…mess left by their routine, Clay stuck the end of a cigar in his mouth and gnawed on it as a form of stress relief. He needed it after the bird thing. Cougar was focusing on his snack and Pooch was fiddling with a camcorder.

"You can't smoke that in here."

The man next to Clay, clad in a worn plaid shirt, had spoken up. With a sigh, he said, "It's not lit."

He really couldn't wait to get the hell out of Lima. Then the lights dimmed, the final performance about to start as the stage again filled with people.

Looking out a dirty old window Down below the cars in the City go rushing by I sit here alone And I wonder why

Clay had to admit that the Berry girl had an impressive voice. After some of the other, less talented numbers, it was something of a relief to hear a nice voice and see some sort of choreographed number.

Friday night and everyone's moving

I can feel the heat But it's soothing

Heading down

I search for the beat in this dirty town

He was pretty sure Lopez was going to be strapping a bomb to someone's car one day. The girl had that vibe, which was hot, but Clay kicked himself for even thinking that.

Down town the young ones are going

Down town the young ones are growing

Damn, that boy could hit a high note and he was a performer, enjoying the stage. The man beside him was smiling broadly and Clay heard him say, "That's my boy!"

We're the kids in America

We're the kids in America

Everybody live for the music-go-round

It was a group effort then and he could see Jensen and Aisha belting out the tune along with the civilians. They danced and jumped and clapped along with the beat. Cougar was smiling openly and Pooch was filming everything. Jolene and Jess (Jensen's sister) would kill them if they let this go undocumented.

Bright lights the music gets faster

Look boy, don't check on your watch

Not another glance I'm not leaving now,

honey not a chance

For someone he'd never actually seen open her mouth in class, Tina wasn't afraid to leap into her verse with gusto. In all honesty, Clay had thought this glee club thing sounded kind of lame, but if it gave kids a chance to shine then maybe it wasn't such a bad thing after all.

Hot-shot, give me no problems

Much later baby you'll be saying never mind

You know life is cruel, life is never kind

Finn, the tall kid, wasn't in any of Clay's classes, but Jensen seemed to think the boy was borderline 'special'. Not in a good way.

Kind hearts don't make a new story

Kind hearts don't grab any glory

Brittany, Matt and Mike took places at the center of the stage, calling out their lines as they swung into a complicated dance number, Santana, Shuster and…Aisha joining them.

We're the kids in America

We're the kids in America

Everybody live for the music-go-round

The whole group sang together, bouncing, jumping and pumping fists. Jensen and Puck tossed Quinn in the air and, to Clay's relief, caught her.

Come closer, honey that's better

Got to get a brand new experience

Feeling right Oh don't try to stop baby

Hold me tight

Okay, someone needed to give the Jones girl a record contract.

Outside a new day is dawning

Outside Suburbia's sprawling everywhere

I don't want to go baby

New York to East California

There's a new wave coming I warn you

The kid with the mini-Mohawk was good too. According to Aisha, he'd reacted well when the bullets were flying too. Might be good to keep tabs on him…for future possibilities.

We're the kids in America

We're the kids in America

Everybody live for the music-go-round

We're the kids

We're the kids

We're the kids in America!

The song ended with everyone again and there was only a brief pause before the music changed.

Greetings loved ones, let's take a journey

Spotlight on him, Artie began, flanked by Tina and Rachel, who belted out the next 2 verses of the song.

I know a place where the grass is really greener

Warm, wet and wild, there must be something in the water

Sipping Jamba juice, laying underneath the pine trees

The boys break their necks trying to creep a little sneak peek at us

You could travel the world

But nothing comes close to the golden Bucks

Once you party with us, you'll be falling in love

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

All the girls, along with Aisha and Ms. Pillsbury sang the chorus, while the guys broke into two groups and flanked them.

Li-ma girls, we're unforgettable

denim jeans, red n' black on top

Sun-kissed skin, so hot will melt your popsicle

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, ohLi-ma girls, we're undeniable

Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it on lock

Mid-West represent, now put your hands up

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Santana took up the reigns after that, again making Clay wonder how the school could let the overt sexuality of her moves go without comment. It was really disturbing.

Sun in a field

we don't mind mud on our stilettos

We cruise in my jeep,

Snoop Doggy dog on the stereo

Quinn, the blond lead cheerleader picked up the next verse before the girls all chimed in for the chorus again.

You could travel the world

But nothing comes close to the golden Bucks

Once you party with us, you'll be falling in love

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Li-ma girls, we're unforgettable

denim jeans, red n' black on top

Sun-kissed skin, so hot will melt your popsicle

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Li-ma girls, we're undeniable

Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it on lock

Mid-West represent, now put your hands up

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Pooch made a sputtering sound as Finn, all gangly, awkward movements and bad rhythm, took up the Snoop Dog part.

Toned, tan, fit and ready

Turn it up cause its gettin' heavy

Wild wild Mid-West

These are the girls I love the most

I mean the ones, I mean like she's the one

Kiss her, touch her, squeeze her hand

aaahThe girls a freak, she drive a jeep

The guys in the field,

I'm okay, I won't play, I love the hay

Just like I love Findlay

Forest Park and Pepper Pike

Summer time is everything

Local boys, hanging out

All them girl hanging out

Tankinis, Team Tee's, no tweenies

Just to get in betweeny

Oooh my lady (yeah)

You looking here baby (uh huh)

I'm all up on you

Cause you're representing Lima

Now dancing with the boys, the girls sang the chorus back at them. Clay wondered how in the hell someone had managed to talk Aisha into letting Jensen lift her over his head. That was impressive

Li-ma girls, we're unforgettable

denim jeans, red n' black on top

Sun-kissed skin, so hot will melt your popsicle

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, ohLi-ma girls, we're undeniable

Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it on lock

Mid-West represent, now put your hands up

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

[Artie]

Li-ma girls, manI really wish they all could be Li-ma girls

I really wish they all could be Li-ma girls

They ended on a note of flourish, all striking poses, some of the girls up on shoulders and hands high. It was beyond cute.

Clay joined the applause, practically weeping with relief that they were finally free to get the hell out of dodge. Cougar stuck two fingers into his mouth and added a sharp whistle to the cheers, causing a grinning Jensen to wave over at them from the stage, flushed and excited.

The rest of the acts were piling onto the stage to take their bows. Clearly proud parents and bored teacher responded before finally starting to flow out the doors.

"Let's go," Clay said to Cougar and Pooch. They'd round up their remaining two teammates and finally be on their way. It was for the best, really.

They still had to find Max, and, while they didn't get much out of DeGoob before he'd been carted off to a psych ward, the man had given them a few possible leads.

It was better than nothing….and it got them out of Lima, Ohio.

THE END