Texas Ranger/The X-Files/The West Wing
A special ceremony was taking place in the Oval Office. It wasn't listed on any schedule or press release, because the people who were being honored technically didn't exist... at least not in any official capacity. In point of fact, the President wasn't even supposed to know who these people were, but there was the small matter of a war being averted and Josiah Bartlet was in a mood to hand out some medals. "To whom, exactly," he'd demanded, "should the aforementioned medals be awarded?"
When the President demanded something, people scrambled to get him what he wanted, but in this case, they just kept hitting brick walls. It was finally Leo McGarry who had badgered, and cajoled, and called in every favor he was owed by everyone he knew in the military and intelligence communities to come up with a man named Trout at the Pentagon. Trout had thanked him very much and said he'd pass on the President's very kind words to his people. Leo repeated the request, stressing exactly which office of Sixteen-hundred Pennsylvania Avenue he represented.
Trout had sighed then, with that long suffering air that operators tended to assume with civilians and explained again, speaking very slowly and using very simple words. His people were gratified to know that the President appreciated their efforts, but they were accustomed to remaining in the shadows, and in fact, preferred it that way. They couldn't very well carry out covert operations if they'd had their faces plastered all over the front page of every newspaper in the United States, and in fact, none of them were currently affiliated with any of the official agencies that the President awarded commendations to. Now it was Leo's turn to sigh and shake his head. The President wanted to meet these people, therefore, the President would meet these people. It was as simple as that. After much haggling on both sides, they had finally reached an accord. The meeting would take place in the Oval Office, pre-dawn, before the day's activities began. The team's names would not be revealed, nor would there be any pictures taken. The only people in attendance would be the President, Leo, Trout and his team. Secret Service agents would ensure that the room remained sealed.
And so, here they were. Jed Bartlet thought he'd never seen quite so diverse a group of people. There were two men of rather military bearing, an exotically beautiful woman, a little man with a braying New York accent, and the tallest black man he'd ever seen in his life. The fellow sported so many body piercings that it was a wonder he hadn't set off every metal detector in the city! He waited until Leo had finished serving everyone from the magnum of champagne he'd arranged for before speaking.
"I know that you people are one of those things that I'm not supposed to know about," he began, "but you've done your country a very great service... if the Iraqi delegation had been killed on American soil, we'd surely be at war now. It's been explained to me at length," he continued, with a wry look for Trout, "that this is what you do, and that you're satisfied with knowing that you've done your jobs that you don't expect thank you's or any of the usual trappings of heroism, but this time... this time, I wanted you to know that the President of the United States is extremely grateful for what you've done. I don't suppose I'll ever understand the extent of your service to this country, but I do thank you."
Trout spoke for his people. "Mister President, you're very welcome."
The President nodded, looking reflectively at his champagne flute. "What shall we drink to?" he asked the room at large.
"I've always been partial to "God Bless America," Xavier Trout answered quietly.
"Indeed." Jed raised his glass. "God Bless America."
The room echoed the toast. Leo and the President were both surprised when the tall man murmured appreciatively over the champagne, recognizing it as French. Trout's people caught their startled expressions and tried without much success to smother their own amusement.
Grinning himself, Jed moved among the team, shaking hands and thanking each of them in turn.
After he'd spoken to everyone, Leo interrupted diffidently. "Mister President, Mister Trout's associates need to be going before the day's business gets underway."
"Of course," Jed replied. He smiled, a gesture of genuine good will and mirth that people couldn't help but respond to. "It was a very great pleasure to meet all of you... even if I don't know who any of you are. I certainly hope that the rest of your stay in DC isn't quite so exciting!"
His smile faded as the door closed
after the team. "Damn. Genuine American heroes. They've
probably saved more lives then we'll ever know... and I can't
stand up and
"I don't know, sir. It's really not my field."
"But I think they serve this country better by doing what they do, than by being poster boys for democracy."
Jed nodded slowly. "I'm sure you're right... as usual. But I just wanted them to know that they have the gratitude of their President."
"And I'm sure they appreciate that."
"I hope so," Jed sighed, "I really do. What've we got for the rest of the day?"
RONALD REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT
"Now, dat was weird," Nick observed.
"The White House, or Washington in general?" Margo chuckled.
"Hell, I'm still shakin' in my boots," Benny Ray added. "I can't believe I shook hands with the President!"
"He's a good man and it was a nice gesture," Matt said thoughtfully.
"It was nice to have someone just say 'thank you,' for a change, wasn't it?" Margo remarked.
"Yeah... just don't get used to it!" Matt quipped. "What about you, Deke? What did you think of our little visit to the White House?"
"Gotta love a man who knows his champagne," Deke rumbled in his deep voice.
Benny Ray yawned mightily, then excused himself. "I think I might just sleep all the way home."
"I hear you," Matt agreed. "If anyone tries to highjack this bird, I just hope they do it quietly!"
"There's our gate," Margo exclaimed, pointing to the sign.
As luck would have it, they were just starting to board, so the team was able to walk right onto the plane.
"Hallelujah," Nick sighed, sinking tiredly into his seat. "Wake me up when we get there."
"Boss," Benny Ray whispered with a conspiratorial gleam in his eye, "can't we leave him here?"
Matt opened one eye. "Everyone comes home, Benny Ray, even him."
"Can't we make an exception, just this once?" Deke asked.
"Shut up!" Margo ordered without bothering to open her eyes.
"Goodnight to you too, sweetheart," Nick retorted.
"Delvecchio!" Benny Ray smacked him with a pillow.
Matt scrooged his eyes shut and flung an arm across his face. Maybe he'd get lucky and the cabin would depressurize...
"I can't believe we're really here!" Alex Cahill exclaimed, impulsively clutching her fiancé's arm.
"Yes, Alex, we're really here," Cordell Walker replied in a long-suffering tone.
"Walker!" Alex smacked the arm she was holding.
"Alex, it's six AM and we've been flying all night. Besides, this is supposed to be a business trip, remember? We're here to testify before a House subcommittee."
"I know... but I've never been here before and there's so much to see. The Smithsonian, the Kennedy Center..."
"All right, all right!" Walker laughed giving in, like he always did. "But for now, let's just get to the hotel and try to get some rest, OK?"
"OK," Alex agreed happily.
President Bartlet was enjoying his second cup of coffee when Charlie announced Congresswoman Bobbi Latham.
"Good morning, Mister President," she addressed him with a pleasant smile.
"Good morning, Congresswoman Latham," the President replied genially, matching her smile with one of his own as he waved her to a seat. "I see you're getting an early start on your big day."
"Well, I may be up early, but you look like you've been up all night."
"It comes with the package," Jed told her wryly. "You might want to keep that in mind."
Bobbi smiled brilliantly. "I've always preferred to find things like that out for myself, sir," she replied impishly.
"So I've noticed. Now, tell me a little more about this bill of yours."
"Well, Mister President, the bill is designed to protect battered spouses by calling for a database of repeat offenders, allocating more funds for shelters and qualified counselors for battered spouses, and mandatory training for federal agents on domestic violence and Battered Spouse Syndrome. This training would serve to increase awareness of the signs of domestic violence and spousal abuse, both in the field and in the officer's own workplace. Eventually, this program would be expanded to offer seminars to law enforcement personnel at state and local levels; as an incentive, municipalities that trained a requisite number of officers would receive Federal funding to increase public awareness of Battered Spouse Syndrome, as well as a two percent tax break," Bobbi explained briefly.
Jed leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers. "That's... a pretty tall order, Ms. Latham."
"I know, sir," Bobbi admitted, "but you and I both know that it's going to get chopped all to hell before it comes to a vote, so I figured I would pack as much in as I could."
"I presume you've got expert witnesses?"
"Tarrant County Assistant DA Alexandra Cahill arrived this morning from Texas. Ms. Cahill will be speaking on how the District Attorney's office handles domestic violence cases and the lack of funding in her area for battered spouses. She moderates a support group for battered women and is also the founder of the Dallas Help Our People Excel Center, a not for profit facility that provides counseling and other services to the community. With her is Sergeant Cordell Walker, of the Texas Rangers. Ranger Walker will be testifying on how the Texas Rangers and other local agencies deal with domestic violence and spousal abuse."
"The Ranger Walker? The fellow who does that karate thing for the kids?"
Bobbi nodded. "The Kick Drugs Out of America Program. He's had tremendous success in keeping kids out of gangs and off of drugs."
"And he has another project, doesn't he?" Jed thought back. "Something about trying to re-educate convicted felons?"
"Camp Justice. It's modeled on the Marine Corps boot camp and includes an educational component designed to make the candidates think for themselves and make their own choices, instead of just following the loudest voice. It's still in the experimental stages, but the results so far have been very encouraging."
"I'd like to meet this fellow."
"I'll see if I can arrange that for you, sir," Bobbi promised.
"Who else have you got?"
"I have two FBI agents who specialize in... unusual violent crimes. They'll be speaking about the volume of this type of crime that they encounter at the Federal level, and the training that is, or rather, is not available. I'm also hoping to get someone from the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps."
"I thought the military had its own legal system?" Jed asked.
"Yes, sir, it does, but I was thinking of using their testimony to point out how this problem has spread to every facet of society and how the military deals with it."
"You know," the President said thoughtfully, "there are still moments when I find it completely incomprehensible that we have to do things like this. I mean, my father never raised a hand against my mother, and I'd never raise a hand against my wife. The entire concept is just... unthinkable. I know," he continued, waving off her protests, "I've seen the reports and the statistics. I know this has to be done, but sometimes... I really don't like the world we live in."
"I think the world will be just fine sir, as long as there are good people who are willing to stand up and do what's right."
"People like you," Jed told her warmly.
"I try, Mister President."
"Don't we all. I don't mean to cut this short but "
There was a discreet tap on the door, then Charlie appeared. "Excuse me, Mister President, but you said to "
"-remind me fifteen minutes before the ceremony. Thank you, Charlie."
Bobbi rose gracefully to her feet. "Well, in that case, I'll be seeing you in the Rose Garden. You're hanging a medal on a good friend of mine this morning."
"Would that be Admiral Chegwidden or Officer Hastings?"
"The admiral," Bobbi answered.
Leo came in as Charlie was ushering Bobbi out. "They're almost ready for you out there."
"Tell me something, Leo. Why is it that I can't publicly acknowledge the people who averted the main threat to national security, but I can give a medal to an admiral who's already got so many that I can't even imagine where he'll put this one? It doesn't quite seem fair."
"Admiral Chegwidden is a good man so is Officer Hastings. They had no way of knowing that the bomb they found in Bartholdi Park was just intended as a diversion from the main event. They both saved a lot of lives, at great personal risk. The American people need heroes, Jed. We're giving them these two because we can afford to. Admiral Chegwidden is a public figure already having his picture in the paper will not affect his ability to do his job. The same goes for Officer Hastings. In some ways, their actions were even more heroic than that covert ops team."
"How so?" the President asked curiously.
"Trout's operatives knew what they were getting into. They knew that they were coming here to combat terrorists. They had information and they had weapons. A.J. Chegwidden was spending his day off enjoying the park and Officer Hastings was directing traffic. Neither one of them woke up that morning knowing that they'd have to defuse a bomb in a crowded public area."
"But they rose to the occasion."
"Yes, they did."
"All right then." The President rose and straightened his jacket. "Let's go put some new American heroes in the history books."