Heavy Angst!  But I never saw it written and someone needed to.

The Remains of the Base.

Buffy looked up when a demon came over to where she was sitting on campus, noticing it looked nervous.  "I'm not mean today if you're peaceful," she said quietly.

"Slayer, what is going to be done with the remains of the base?" he asked, looking at her.

She shrugged.  "We heard rumors that they want to seal it in concrete so no one can use it again."  The demon whimpered.  "They're gone, no one's going to use it again."

He shook his head quickly.  "The remains should be taken care of first."

"You mean like blessed so nothing haunts?" she asked, looking confused.  The demon looked confused back.  "I can ask Willow to find out for you."  He walked off whimpering.  "Sorry."  She looked over as Willow jogged over.  "He wanted to know what they're doing about the remains of the base?"

"Sealing it in concrete."

"That's what I told him but I think they wanted it so nothing could haunt anyone in a few centuries like Xander with the Native tomb thing."

"It could help," she agreed.  "I'll see if I can find a rite for that."  Buffy beamed at her.  "Not like the military will."

"No, probably not."  They settled in to study together in the sunlight.  None of them saw enough sunlight sometimes.


Xander looked up as one of the guys from his crew walked over to where he was doing paperwork.  "What's up?"

"What is being done about the remains of the base?"

Xander stared at him for a minute.  "As far as I know the military is going to take care of it and make sure no one can use it again.  I'll remember to put it on the patrol route weekly until then to make sure nothing harmful moves down there."  He noticed the demon getting agitated and frowned.  "Why?"

"It should be taken care of by family."

"Oh, shit, they left remains?" he asked.  The demon nodded quickly.  "Craptastic."  He considered it.  "I can go scout it tonight, see if it's safe for families to come search for any of their own people," he offered gently.   "I know some groups would want their dead back."

He nodded, sniffling.  "We talked to the slayer but she did not understand."

"That happens sometimes.  Even I get that now and then."  The demon gave him a small grin.  "Let me go tonight, make sure nothing's moved in."  The demon nodded.  "Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  I'll make sure Buffy understood."  The demon smiled and went back to work.  Xander sighed, making mental plans.  This was going to be a bad patrol.  He called Buffy.  "You didn't understand what the demon asked you, Buffy.  The military left remains on the base."  He grimaced.

"No a new nest is more important but I said I'd check it out, make sure it was safe for them to gather any fallen family.  Buffy, consider if it was Giles who died.  Wouldn't you want his body back?"  He hung up on her.  The old hurts were still too raw.  He loved them but right about now he still wasn't too sure he liked them.  He had to finish work and then visit the Army/Navy store for a few minutes.  Plus hunt down the asshole Finn.  It was his fault, he could help.


Xander found Riley and hauled him out with him.  "We've got to hit the base."

"We can't."

Xander glared at him.  "Some of the people want their dead back, Riley.  The military left them there."

"We aren't allowed."

"Be a man," he sneered.  "You were a commander, do the responsible thing."  He walked off.  "I'm going and if you finally grow a set, you can join me."

"We were ordered to leave it to them, Harris."  He went to stop him.  "We're under orders...."

"I'm not military and like many people, most demons would like their dead back to mourn.   Your little psycho party down there took out a good portion of the town's peaceful demons, Riley.  They mourn just like people do.  Beyond that, it's still our job to make sure that nothing moves in to eat any remains that they left.  So be a man or not.  I don't give a damn.  You're not worth the energy."  He walked around him.

Riley slumped.  "Let me call someone, see if they were taken off after the military left."

"The locals don't seem to think so."  He glared at him.  "You do that.  Then join me when you become a real man again."  He finished hiking to his car.  If he had to, he could do this on his own.  He had hunted on his own before.

"Why is he so stressed over this?" Riley complained to himself as he called one of his former people.  "Graham, Riley.  Someone asked the local team if anyone had taken care of any remains and bodies.  That they wanted theirs back."  He listened to him say that as far as the military was concerned the project was burned from the system and nothing was left.  Anything left over was burned too.  "I'll let them know."  He hung up and called Xander's phone.  "Graham said that they were taken and incinerated, Harris."  He hung up on the silence.  Well, it wouldn't hurt him any to go check he supposed.  Though if the MP's were still there it'd be a bad thing.  Not like Harris couldn't talk his way out of it.


Xander carefully walked through the base's garage, finding the first set of remains.  "Oh, shit," he said, staring at the human body.  He squatted down to check it.  Dead.  Long dead by the look of the face when he flipped it over as gently as he could.  He heard some noise and went to carefully check around.  It wasn't someone in there to do the same thing.  He heard more noise from behind a door, going to listen at it.  The door listed it as a pens section.  He opened the door and stared.

They were still in the cages.  "Oh, holy shit," he complained.  He looked at the nearest ones.  "You guys give me a minute to get a healer down here," he called in the only demon language he knew.  "Just give me a few minutes to figure out how to release you."  He called Tara.  "It's Xander," he cut in when she started to say hello.  "Get a demon healer and get to the base, Tara.  Now."  She asked why.  "They left living victims.  Yeah, I'm staring at a whole section.  Plus bodies.  Get Finn's fucking ass down here too.  They're his people, he can take care of them."

He hung up, moving to one he knew understood english.  "A healer's coming with one of our witches."  The demon roared in pain.  "I know," he soothed.  "She'll help you and I'll help you guys up to the clinic.  We had no idea you guys were still down here."  He ran off to check the other sections.  Two more still had the higher security cells that took more than the power being shut off for the cell force fields to go down.   Most of the demons in one were completely dead.  Half of the demons in the other sections were dead and never made it out of their cells either.  He heard a nosie and went to meet Tara, who was crying at the soldier's body.  "Healer," he said, nodding at the one with her.  "We found living victims in three sections."

"That's heinous," she sneered.

"If we had any idea we would've done this sooner," he assured her.  "As you can see, they didn't even clean up their own.  How can Tara and I help you free them and get them treated?"

"Let's look at them.  I'll call in some more of us to do so, hunter."  He walked her back that way, letting her cry at what she saw.  "These two should not be released yet.  They are not from this plane and dangerous."

Xander handed Tara his phone.  "Call the number I have for Cordelia.  She knows how to get in touch with Angel.  Have him send someone he trusts to deal with that issue tonight."  She nodded, taking it back to the garage to make the call.  He looked at her.  "I'll do what I can.  Someone came up to me at work and asked about gathering remains for their families."

"Many would want it," she agreed quietly.  She saw Finn stomping in.  "You brought him?"

"He was their commander in life, he can be their commander in death," he said, glaring at Riley and pointing.  "Yes, there's a reason."

"They left soldiers," he said.

"They left living victims!" he shouted.  Riley flinched.  "Fine, I want you to start gathering bodies."  Riley opened his mouth.  "They're your people, Captain.  Take care of them like a real captain would.  You don't leave bodies behind."  He nodded, going to do that.  He looked at the healer.  "Can't I smite him?" he muttered.

"Many would like it if you did."

Xander smirked.  "Don't tempt me."  He got the first one out for her.  "The others are more injured but a few more sentient ones."  She nodded, calling in other healers.  Tara brought them in from the garage opening, letting him show them the other sections.   He saw the pointed look at the human bodies.  "They apparently left after losing and didn't take anyone not walking," he said quietly.  "We'll turn them over to their people later."  She nodded.  "They said they're going to be filling it with concrete in four days time.  Can you gather the living and dead by then?"

"We can, hunter.  Thank you.  Many would be healthier with their dead to mourn."

"I know."  He patted her on the arm.  "Let me know if you need help carrying."  He went back to the first one.  She had more feisty victims and some dangerous ones.  Someone came running in wearing a cloak that covered everything.  "Whoa!  Who're you?"

"Angel sent me," he said, staring at him.  Xander pointed.  "I can see why.  Thank you, hunter."  He moved to banish those two back to their homes and help the healers.  The witch helping the healers made him pause but she was nearly crying.  She was one of the pure and he would not touch her for that.

"Xander!" Tara shrieked.

He came running out, hand on his knife.  "What happened?"  She pointed at a board that listed another level with still-lit cells.  "Shit.  Finn, what section was this?" he demanded.

He looked at the board.  "Special projects."

"Human, demon?"

"No clue."

"Get one of the healers who can handle it if it's humans," he said quietly.  Tara nodded, going to find one.  Xander looked at him.  "You, lay out the bodies so we can hand them over.  Then help gather the demon ones so they can bury their dead too."  He walked off to Riley's complaining but oh well.  He figured he was responsible for it; that meant he could be responsible now for helping clean it up.  Buffy had this bad habit of leaving demons where they dropped if they didn't dust or goo up.  They weren't doing that this time.  He unlocked the door with the passcard he had once stolen, walking into the room, gagging with the stench.  He looked around the room.  Humans.  Two soldiers in cages.  Another human he couldn't identify.  Something had taken a lot of his face off but left the muscles.  A few more bodies.  "Bodies," he called when someone came to the door.  He waved the healer in.

She came in to look, nearly gagging as well.  "We will move them as well."

"That's Riley's job.  We only have four days," he said quietly.  Riley stomped in.  He pointed.

"That's a bullet wound," he said, staring at one.

Xander turned to stare at him.  "Would you rather slowly die from injuries, infection, or starving to death over three long damn days before dehydration takes you or would you rather end it quickly?" he asked bluntly.  Riley shuddered.  "They're human, they're going to go with the other humans.  We're not leaving remains down here to be sealed in like some dirty little secret.  They probably have families too.  I'm sure their families want to know what happened."  He walked the healer out, taking her to check the other sections down there.  A few more with some remains in cells of demons that were too weak to make it out when they were released.  He sighed when he spotted a few with ashes.  "We leave the ashes?" he asked her.

"Yes.  They won't want them back."  Xander nodded.  "The species that won't want them back?"

"Remove them and burn them.  We can't leave them down here.  It's not right," he said quietly, staring at her.  She nodded, walking off again.  He went back to doing what he could to help.  Anything like guns he found were being put into the garage for now.   He found one of the jeeps in there with the hood up but it looked like it'd run.  He started it and it did so he turned it off and shut the hood, going to get Riley's help with the first body.  "We'll take the first one to the local reserve base," he told him.

"We can do that."  He picked up the first one in line, helping him carry it out to the jeep.  "They left one?"

"The hood was up.  It looks like they evacuated without checking.  Which is against protocol but I'm sure they were getting their asses kicked anyway."  He looked at him once the body was on the back seat.  "Coming?"

"No, you're right, I was their commander, it falls to me to gather the fallen.  Let me know when the rest are being taken."

"I can do that.  Watch out for Tara."  He climbed in to drive the jeep off.  It wasn't a long drive.  The reserve base was outside of town.  He stopped at the gate, seeing the horrified look.  "I found him.  I'm handing him over so the proper people can get him buried, corporal.  Can you get a higher up?"

"Yes, sir," he said, looking pale and shaky.  The base's commander came out.  "Him, sir."


He stared at him.  "Where did you find him, son?"

"Up under the college, sir.  There had been a project there.  There's a few more as well.  No one deserves to be left to rot even if they weren't good."

The commander swallowed.  "I know some of my people got taken for that and I heard some of what was going on."

"It probably pales by comparison but it looks like they evac'd and didn't take anyone not able to run.  Can I hand him to you?"

"Let me look him up, see if there's any orders."  He pulled out his PDA, typing the information from his dogtag into it.  "Son, he's not listed."

Xander groaned.  "They burned the whole project from the system Finn said," he muttered.  He looked at him.  "He still doesn't deserve to be unclaimed.  Can I leave him here while I find a higher up?  Maybe let you guys keep him while investigating his identity?"

"That we can do.  We don't have a big morgue.  How many more are there?"

"About twenty, twenty-two maybe."

"We have room for about three, son."

Xander nodded.  "All right, let me find a higher up tonight then.  Thank you.  We're having to clean up victims they left too."  The colonel turned green.  "Some still living."

"Oh, god."

"God had nothing to do with their project, Colonel.  I'm just glad it's ended."  He got out, helping him move the body to the stretcher their base medics brought out.  "Give me a few days please."  He got into the jeep and drove down to the Magic Box, finding Willow in there.  "Get online, find me a commander or someone over the coverup," he ordered as he walked in.

"Why?" she asked.

"Because they left their soldiers' bodies and took them from the system if they weren't accounted for."  She went to vomit in a trash can.  Buffy came out of the back.  "They left not only remains that some of them wanted back to grieve, but soldiers' bodies and living victims, Buffy."

"He said the remains of the base."

He nodded.  "One did with me too, but I noticed he was upset so I asked more.  The local base won't accept their bodies since they're not in the system."

"Then are we getting the coroner?"

"They'll be buried as John Does if we do.  Even if they are evil bastards their families deserve better."

She nodded.  "You're right.  They do."

"Tara has healers for the living ones and the demonic dead.  We need someone higher up to hand the bodies to."

"I'll get her on that when she stops puking.  Don't worry about patrol, I have it."

"Thanks.  We've got a hell of a night.  Call me off work?"

"I can do that."  He nodded, heading back there.  She looked at Giles, who was now vampire pale too.  "It's not right."

"It's not."  He went to get Willow something for her stomach.  It was all he could do since Xander didn't say they needed more help.  He'd only be in the way.


Riley hung up from his arguing when he saw Xander walking back in.  "Not in the system?"

"No.  Willow's finding the guy over the coverup to point this out to them.  Once she quits puking."

"Graham asked when he heard that there were bodies.  One of the investigators said that there weren't any bodies, Harris.  They won't be given military honors."

Xander stared at him.  He called Willow.  "Are they in denial land?"  He listened.  "Then find me the biggest bastard over what's right you can.  They're coming with the concrete in four days."  He hung up.  "Let's finish this up.   That way whoever shows up doesn't have to deal with the other remains too."

"Why are you separating out the guns?"

"Because I don't want anyone to take them if they come and scavenge at the last minute."

"Oh.  Good reason I guess."  He followed him to get back to work.  Harris had been right, it was his duty to clean up this battlefield.  About dawn, the healers got the last of the living out.  A few more showed up to help bring out the remains of the demons that had been left and any parts.

Xander stopped Tara from casting another blessing in a cellblock.  "Tara, honey, they're sealing it," he said gently, giving her a hug from behind.

"The ghosts will still gather if we don't."

"I know but you're tired.  We can come back to this part tonight."  She looked at him.  He nodded.  "Go sleep and cry.  We have tonight if we need it."  She nodded, walking with him past the row of human bodies.  He escorted her topside then went back to making sure everything was cleaned up.  About tenish Willow showed up with her laptop.  "We find someone?"

"Yes I did, or at least his phone number.  I'm here to mine the computers for anything pertinent."  Riley escorted her up there.

Xander took the phone number and his phone outside, getting some fresh air.  Remains smelled a lot.  This was going into his nightmare file.  He called the number.  "You have never met me, you will probably not meet me, but I am here where a military unit got taken down for abuse of power to put it gently.  When the military ran away after being defeated, they left behind bodies, sir.  Soldier bodies.  The local base has no record of them ever being in the service thanks to the coverup."  He listened to him ask a question.  "Initiative.  Sunnydale, California.  There's twenty-one bodies here, one on the local Army reserve base," he said quietly.  "I talked to the base commander personally.  He said that they're not in the system any longer."  He nodded.  "They're coming with concrete in three days to seal this place up.  It's not right that they lay here.  Please do.  Come to the Magic Box and someone will give you directions to the base's garage."  He hung up and looked back when he heard someone walking his way.  "She found an investigator."

"They still can't do anything."

"They can get them buried even if he can't or won't tell their people what happened."

"The military's not going to admit it."

"So?  We buried the ones in Vietnam who shot whole villages."   Riley nodded at that.  "Even if these guys were that bad, they're still their responsibility."  He looked around the woods.  "He'll be out tonight."

"That's fine.  I should hide since I'm still wanted for treason."

"Go for it.  I'll stand guard."  Riley nodded, looking inside.  "You can disappear into the other exit if you want," he said quietly.

"Thanks."  He went back inside to stare at the dead.  He had known them all.

Xander leaned against the wall.  The demon healers were taking the last of the bodies, he could hear their truck.  He saw camo green and winced.  "Sergeant," he said in greeting.

"Sir, no one's supposed to be here."

He walked him in there and pointed.  "We're on clean up since they left them."

The soldier turned and puked.  "Oh, damn."

Xander walked him back outside.  "Bodies smell," he pointed out when the guy quit throwing up.  "I called someone to come get them since the coverup took them from the system."

"We're supposed to be sealing the doors today, sir."

"Then you can tell them that something moved in to deal with the remains they left.  You can do it tomorrow once it's gone.  Make up a hellhound excuse if you have to."

"I can do that," he said, straightening himself up.  "I'll let the commander know."

"The local base's commander does know."  The guy groaned.  "He said the one I dropped off to get the others picked up honorably wasn't in the system."

"They left them!" he demanded.

"They left a lot of living victims.  Seventeen of those are fresher bodies than the others."  The guy started to throw up again.  Xander walked him back to his truck and let him do whatever he had to do.  He called that number back.  "They're coming to seal the base today.  I bought us a day to get their bodies out of here."  He hung up and went back to watching.   Riley came out.  "He's in his truck, still praying probably.  I told him to make up an excuse like hellhounds."

"That'll probably stop them for a day."

"Which is what we need," he agreed.  He looked at him.  "Everything else sealed?"  The healers trooped back in.

"All the sections were cleared, all the issued materials are in the garage outside of beds and things."  Xander nodded.  Willow came back out.  "Get the whole system downloaded?"

"Yeah.  Twice just in case."  She patted Xander on the arm.  "It'll be handled.  They won't turn this into a tomb."

He gave her a weak smile.  "Did Buffy remember to call me off work?"

"Giles did."  She looked at Riley.  "When he shows up, I'll call.  That way you can run."  She walked off.  She had to hand that information over then help her girlfriend calm down some more.  She was still crying.

Xander looked at Riley.  "We'll figure it out.  We always do."  Riley nodded, going back inside.  Xander went back to his watching post, helping a healer with something that was starting to fall.  "Need help?"

"No, we have it, hunter.  We're down to parts," she said.  "Thank you for taking care of our dead as well."

"It's not right to leave them there.  If I had known, I would've gone in sooner."  She nodded, leaving him alone with his thoughts.  He had thought about going back to scavenge the base for weapons but damn it, he hadn't made it a priority.  Some of those people might still be alive if he had.  He'd kick his own ass about that for years.  It was the latest in a long line of bad judgement calls.

Riley came back out.  "We both could've come back," he said, seeing the look on his face.  "We thought someone else was handling it."

"I thought about coming back to check for stray weapons.  I was considering it last weekend but I decided I needed a day off and I'd get to during a patrol but I never did."

"It's not your fault.  You didn't know."

Xander looked at him.  "If I don't kick my own ass about this, then I've lost all my humanity.  Some of them could've been alive if I had."

"A lot of them died by gunshot wound, Xander.  You couldn't have saved them.  Most of the demons were dead before then too.  They died that night or the next day.  The healers said so."

"Doesn't make it not a sucky life choice."

"I know.  I should have checked.  I was their CO for the field; I should have and didn't."  He looked out at the woods.  "I can't stay in there."

"I know."  He went to stand honor guard.  It was only right even if they hadn't served their country well.


Buffy looked up as a wiry, older man walked into the Magic Box.  "Did someone call you?" she asked when he pulled out an ID case.

"I got a call about the local base, ma'am."

"C'mon.  I can lead you out there.  He said he already had to shoo off people coming to seal it today.  Giles, taking the agent with me," she called.  She walked out with him, running into Anya coming in for her shift.  "Xander's at the old base," she told her.  "It's not going to be a good night."


"Because no one removed the dead, Anya, and he found victims."

She huffed.  "He won't be happy."

"No, but he took care of it."  She walked him off.  "Forgive her, she's not used to being human again," she said quietly.  "It's been a long time since she was human."  She walked him the short way to the wood's entrance, letting him see it.  "Guys, is this who you called?" she called into the garage.

Xander came out, nodding.  "I think it was.  Sir."

"You did call me."

Xander nodded.  "Even if they were torturing assholes they don't deserve to get buried here.  Their families deserve better."

"True."  He walked the boy in there, finding the other one.  "I don't care who you are, kid, relax.  As far as I'm concerned you two stepped in to see what it was and found them for us."  Riley relaxed.  Buffy gave him a hug.  He looked at them.  "Respectful, thank you."

Xander shrugged.  "The local base has one."

"I talked to that commander first.  Neither of us can access records."

"Willow mined their system earlier," Buffy said.  "She's a hacker."

"I'll get a copy of those records from her then.  It will not happen again," he told Finn.

"No, sir, I don't think it can."

"Good."  He looked around.  "Cellphones get a signal?"

"Barely," Xander told him.  "Mine's stronger though."

He smirked at the kid.  "Handy to have."  He went back to the garage, spotting the piles of gear with a sigh.  That would have to be dealt with too.  He called it in.  "It's Gibbs.  What I got told was correct.  If she's barking tell her to shut up.  That, plus gear and a jeep.  Today."  He hung up, walking back in there.  "We can't let you keep the guns."

"I didn't want someone to come scavenge and find them," Xander told him with a small shrug.

"Guns aren't really handy around here anyway," Buffy told him.

"The tasers are helpful but she doesn't like guns," Riley told him.

"Go load them into the jeep.  We'll take that too, kids."  They went to do that.  Another one came in looking pale and shaky.  "Ma'am, this is a sealed base."

"I'm making sure all the ghosts move on," she said quietly, walking past him.  "Even if they seal me in here."

He smiled.  "Thank you.  I'm sure someone would appreciate that."  His phone rang and he walked back out there.  "Gibbs."  He listened.  "I can get copies."  Buffy called Willow then nodded after a quiet talk.  "We can get personnel records, Director.  That's not a problem.  Twenty-two with the one on the local reserve base.  Army.  It's closest and they probably expected them to come get the others since it looks like most of these guys were Army as well.  Because they're still bodies, Director, and they're in denial too."  He hung up on her.  "I'll spank her later," he muttered.

"Now and then you gotta do what you gotta do," Xander said quietly, looking at him.  "Will you need help?"

"I think we can gather them.  That blonde girl?"

"The girlfriend of one of our group," Buffy said firmly.

He looked at her.  "What happened here?"

Riley coughed.  "Sir, it's a long, dirty story."

He stared at him.  "Rank?"


"Then you'd be Finn."  He grimaced but nodded.  "I'm not going to bust you for this, kid.  This is what a good commander does."   He walked him off to debrief him for the short and dirty version of what happened.  A while later he looked at the local team's members.  "You did good," he told Buffy and Xander.  They both nodded.  "I hope you never have to do it again, kids."

"If I find something like this going on, I'm calling you first.  Then we'll see if we have to handle it since Willow said your rep spoke highly of stopping things like this before they got going," Xander told him.

He nodded.  "If you hear, I want to hear, kid.  Even if it is Army.  CID is in denial.  I'll talk to them later."

"Thank you."  More soldiers came in.  "Tara?" he called.  He went to find her.  She was down in one section and he pulled her away.  "They never got this far, Tara," he said quietly, giving her a hug.  "C'mon.  It's time to hit it.  They're here for their people."

She looked at him, still crying.  "How could anyone human do this?"

He shrugged.  "Some humans are the same as some bad demons.  After all, not even the good demons would do this stuff.  It's our job to take out the bad demons and Gibbs' job to take out the humans who're just as bad."  He walked her off, nodding at the soldiers.  "The other blonde?"

"Outside with him," Gibbs said.  "Thank you, ma'am."

"Welcome," Xander said.  He walked her out, nodding at Buffy.  "I'm going to deposit her on Willow's lap for a cuddle then go get shit faced drunk.  I'll see you guys after work tomorrow for patrol."

Riley nodded.  "I'll be at the bar myself.  I'll walk you back to the shop, Buffy."  The two pairs split up.

Willow walked up to where Gibbs was, holding up an envelope.  "All the stuff I got off their files, including personnel records.  It's on four multi-layer DVD's, Gibbs."  She held up a card.  "The guy who came looking for Finn and who is over the coverup."

He took them both.  "Thank you."

"If we had heard, we would've done this sooner."

"I understand why.  I'm just glad someone did."  She nodded.  "The blonde girl is heading back with Harris."

"They're probably looking for me.  Tara's a good, sweet girl and this bothered her a lot.  Not that it didn't me but I've seen what pussbags some people are."  She walked off.

Gibbs waited until the last body was out to go check the base with the head person helping him.  They found the computers and he pointed.  "Tear them down too.  I'm not leaving it here to be covered up."

"Yes, sir."  His guys got that into the jeep as well and then they left to take them back to DC.


Gibbs walked into an office in the Pentagon, slapping a file down on the desk then glaring at the human behind it.  "Covering it up to the point where you leave bodies of soldiers on the base and living victims there is going a bit too far."

The man stared.  "We didn't leave anyone, Gibbs."

"Really?"  He held up a picture.  "Living victims."  He held up another one.  "You also left twenty-two bodies laying in there."  The man's hand shook as he took them.  "Thankfully the locals are more conscientious than you are.  Their files were restored with a KIA note put in and listed as locked and classified.  That's all you had to do.  That way their families don't get to ask questions about where the bodies are.  They cleaned up their own sort while calling us to handle our own."

The man looked at him.  "It's still burned pure."

"I don't care," he told him.  "The bodies have been handed over after being killed in action.  Having them buried by concrete wasn't worthy of the uniform."  He walked off again.

The general looked at the folder of information. It listed everyone who was dead and their official causes of death.  The politely covered up 'killed themselves to keep from dying from long term dehydration' made him shudder but he had done the right thing by his standards.  It was good someone had stepped in to finish covering it up.  He sent that to the head generals.  They could assign anything further that had to be done.  He was done with the coverup he was ordered to do.


Gibbs got called into an office a few days later.  "Yes?" he asked the general.

"You went to Sunnydale, Agent Gibbs?"

"I got a call about soldiers' bodies being left behind after an evacuation.  Considering seventeen of them had been alive at that point, yes."  The general shuddered at the coldness in his voice.  "I don't care if they were raping, pillaging, murdering sick bastards.  They can still be buried officially without leaving them there.  That would only make families ask more questions and undo the coverup your people worked so hard to make.  This way, their former honorable service was noted and they were given back to their families.  That's what we did before when our service members went so far off track during an operation."

"True."  He looked at him.  "Thank you for sealing their records."

He glared at him.  "If it was up to me, they wouldn't be sealed so no one ever gets the bright idea to do it again, sir.  The military *I* serve honorably has no business doing things like this.  Though I do understand, having taken down other crackpot projects, how these things happen."

"It won't be happening again."

"Thank you."

"Thank you for handling it when the local base couldn't."

"The kid was right, no one deserves that.  He got the hostiles' people to handle their own bodies at the same time."

"Even better.  Which one handled this?  Just for future info?  We want to make notes in their files to not go near them."

He snorted.  "That might be a good idea, sir.  Harris called me."

"That's who the base commander identified as well.  He did know he could be charged with trespassing?"

"If you did, it'd blow this all open again," Gibbs pointed out.  "He could rightly claim he was doing what was necessary.  That it wasn't sealed, there was no notice of no trespassing, and that no human being would leave them laying there."

"Which is why we're not going to charge him."  He stared at him.  "I know this pisses you off, Gibbs.  It pissed me off when I read what they had stopped.  I'm thankful they got it stopped.  I just want them to stay away from the rest of us forever."

"I doubt they'd do anything to the rest of us, sir.  Even if this didn't color their view of what the military does."  He left.  He'd let the kid know no one was going to say anything about it but his file was going to have a warning in it.  Rosenburg could find those he was sure.  If not, he'd have Abby or McGee point it out to her.  Abby had said her hacking was a few years out of date.

The general filed the finishing paperwork and filed it in a locked cabinet.  No, no one was going to be that stupid again.  Not on his watch.  And he was sure he wasn't the only one watching for someone to try the next time.

The End.