"Since we cannot make 26th century weapons to give us an advantage in battle, Adriana and I have looked at what current weapons could be used and measured their effectiveness… We found from field tests that a magazine mix of AP, HE and incendiary ammo was very effective in dusting vampires…We… uh yes… you have a question?" as Michael was interrupted from his briefing by one of the potentials raising her hand with a puzzled look.
"What is AP?" asked the extremely confused looking potential.
"Sigh" I thought… "God, just give me one full Spartan team… an ODST team or even a full marine fire team… and we would dust every last Ubervamp… They are hard to kill and are strong and dangerous, but you didn't have to worry about plasma grenades, wraiths, phantoms or the planet being turned to glass from space."
"AP stands for Armor Piercing…" Still seeing more puzzled looks another inner sigh followed.
"That means that the bullet can go through metal…"
Later on after the briefing, Buffy, Giles and Faith came up to Michael. They could see the look of frustration in his face. They voiced their concerns. Giles spoke first, "Michael, we understand everything that you are trying to do, but you must you remember that these are only girls and not professional soldiers. You can only go so far and so fast with these girls."
Buffy added, "Giles is right, we have to prepare, but is giving guns to these girls the answer?"
I looked at both Giles and Buffy and then looked at Faith, "You agree with them too?"
Faith was torn, she didn't want to go against Michael, but she knew deep down both Giles and Buffy had valid points. She nodded and said, "The G-man and B are both making some good points and giving machine guns to some of these girls could be bad mistake."
I took a moment to compose myself and ready my answer. It was taking some use to being questioned, back in my home universe, Spartans were never questioned over the advice and orders that they gave. It wasn't ego, it was a fact that Spartans were the best and had the most experience dealing with combat and battle tactics. So it was a bit of a change having to explain what I was doing and why.
"The enemy will come at you in waves…" I began. "They will use their numbers to overwhelm and kill you… Unless you can channel the enemy into killing zones, bring superior firepower to bear and start killing them from range, they… all the potentials and you will all die and you will lose…the human race will lose."
"I have been fighting for years… decades against beings whose only goal… a fanatical goal… is the complete extermination of the human race… I know that given a choice between facing a Covenant battle group or a horde of Ubervamps that I would choose these Ubervamps as my odds of surviving are much better…"
I paused for a moment and continued on, "I don't expect these girls to be Spartans or even full-fledged marines, but they are the first line of defense whether they like it or not…"
The other three couldn't provide a response, then Giles spoke, "I can appreciate your experience and knowledge, but can't you just adjust your training methods for these young women?"
I replied, "The training is to help these "potentials" stay alive in combat and kill the enemy. I will try to take into account the situation, but I will not compromise on the training as that will jeopardize the mission." "We will focus training on those skills that we are the most important and can utilize to increase our odds of survival and success."
Later on behind closed doors in their quarters, Faith talked to Michael, "Aren't you asking too much of them and yourself?"
"You know the facts, this is a battle for survival for the species… there are no second place awards."
"Yes, I know…" Faith responded, "But you can at least try to be a little more human when dealing with these kids… They are hunted and scared about the big bad that is coming from below to devour them."
"It's hard Faith… I'm not use to this… I'll try if you'll help me."
"I'll always be there for you…" was what Faith said as she leaned in to kiss the Spartan.
Michael was wandering the warehouse after lights out, he had left Faith asleep in their bed. He had a lot to think about and it was hard to wrap his mind about what was needed. He had to admit that everyone was right and he had to make that leap to be able to relate to these girls in order to train them to fight and survive… He walked through the quiet and dark warehouse… a Spartan alone in his thoughts.
In the morning, Michael gathered everyone together in the common area. He walked to the front of the group, Michael was always a little uncomfortable speaking to large groups, but he looked to Faith first and she smiled and winked at him. Michael couldn't help himself from smiling…
"Before we go any farther, I want all of you to understand who and what I am and where I come from. You all know that I come from an alternate future universe… I was designed for combat and I have been fighting for over 20 years. Most of our colony planets are gone and we have lost over 20 billion people… Yes that's 20 billion with a capital B…My human race has been fighting and losing against an enemy that wants nothing less than our total extermination..."
Michael's voice took on a harder tone, "Do not doubt, for one second, my resolve and determination. I will stop at nothing to protect the human race, whether it is in my universe or this one."
Michael paused for a moment to let what he said sink in and then he continued.
"We are going to discuss our training plan and tactics we are going to use to fight and kill the Turok-Hans and anything else that comes out of the Hellmouth." Michael paused. "I know some of you have expressed reservations over my training methods, so we are going to use this time to discuss and come to an agreement over what needs to be done. Whatever we agree upon, after today there will be no second guessing each other… Is that understood?"
Michael could see everyone nodding or mumbling their understanding.
"Everyone here brings a different level and scope of knowledge to what we will be facing, so it is key that we work together as a team…"
"Training will be broken down into several areas. Individual training… working on building up strength and endurance… Group training… all of you will be split off to work in teams. Your teams will learn to work by themselves and with other teams to achieve objectives."
He could see the questioning and puzzling looks… that was good at least there appeared to be no dissent to the plan. Michael continued.
"There will be a lot of hands-on training that will push your limits, but as with all training there will be also classroom training to learn… knowing is half the battle."
At the mention of classroom training a lot of the potentials groaned and Michael could see that Faith and Buffy weren't too thrilled with that aspect of training.
"Everyone will take part in training and everyone will contribute… There will be no exceptions."
"I will now open up the floor to discussions… any questions or comments?"
Hands went up as the discussions began.
Later on Michael met with what was now going to be the command staff for their force. Michael had insisted upon having a command structure to provide for ease of communication and training. Michael had selected Buffy, Faith, Giles, Xander, Willow, Spike, Dawn, Anya and of course Adriana to be on staff. He had been watching all of them for years and he knew what each of them brought to the table.
Everyone gathered in the room that had been set up to hold meetings and conferences, they all took their seats and Michael moved to the front of the room to speak.
"I have been thinking about force structure and my recommendation is to form five fire teams made up of the potentials… I would like Buffy, Faith, Giles, Spike and Xander to be the team leaders. Each of you has leadership and combat experience. As the potentials are assigned to each of your teams, you will be responsible for picking a second in command and developing your teams to work together. I know some of you are used to fighting by yourselves, but as I have talked about before, we need to fight as a team rather than individuals."
"For Willow, Dawn and Anya, your tasks are to provide support and work with Adriana in our command center. This is not to say anything about your fighting skills, but that each of you have important skills and that the support you will provide working with Adriana will be invaluable to the fire teams. Those potentials that are not capable to making the grade on the fire teams will be assigned to you in the command center. All of you will still be required to learn all the same combat and fighting techniques as the command center will constitute our reserve and support force in the coming battle."
Michael could see the nods of understanding plus worried looks of self-doubt as was always the case when talking about combat and war. Michael had seen those same looks hundreds of times before on marines who were barely out of their teens and facing combat for the first time. The only ones that didn't have that look were Buffy, Faith, Giles and Spike. They had all faced combat before and they understood what was being asked and required.
Michael added, "I have confidence in all of you to do the training and perform the tasks that will be required of you… You are not rookies as you have all fought before and have prevailed."
With that Michael could see that he had their acceptance and confidence on what was needed to be done.
"Let's talk about the training program… we need to start with basic physical fitness and then move to combat techniques… We'll start with hand to hand combat and then move to weapons…"
The meeting lasted several hours until dinner…