Author's Notes: Please don't let the oddness of the first several chapters, which are necessary to establish characters, turn you away. I hope you enjoy the ride!

This is my first fan fiction and I'm as nervous as all get out. Supportive reviews are really appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

Premise: This is a story about a new sheriff that comes to Bon Temps, a woman who will rattle some cages. Eric Northman may have met his match, in many ways.

Disclaimer: I'm just borrowing some characters for a brief time. No claims to ownership.

7-27-10: Many thanks to bajan-martini for betaing this chapter and making a better experience for the readers. BM - you're the best!

Chapter 1: New Life

The memories that I do have are in black and white and I don't know why. The images flash quickly, like pictures on a projector screen. For the few moments that I remember, all action or movement is in slow motion.

What I do remember is very patchy. I remember that the whirl of the helicopter blades and the roar of the engine drowned out all other sound. My Commander was shouting but I couldn't hear him in my helmet mike, I guess it wasn't working. I remember seeing Avis; she was sitting on her heels, rifle braced and ready to fire, looking out the side entrance of the helicopter.

I can remember actually feeling the missile hit the helicopter; the impact was sudden and jolting - as if a giant, heavy-weight boxer punched the helicopter. The subsequent explosion was so incredibly intense that it cracked human bones. The helicopter started shaking violently and then erupted into ragged sheets and shards of metal.

Blinding light poured in, filling all the space, destroying all sense of time. An alarm went off; it sounded pathetic in its attempt to break through the rage of the light and fury…someone was yelling…the smell of burning oil caught in my throat and burned down my wind pipe…my stomach cramped from the sensation of falling…then all blanked to black…

I don't remember anything else though I've tried. People suggested that not remembering is probably a blessing in disguise. I have mixed feelings about it.

I'm not a hero, so don't even try that nonsense on me, I might hurt you or worse. I survived and just barely.

July in Louisiana - or 'Lou-zee-annah,' as the taxi driver pronounced it, is miserable. Hot, humid, sticky – just nasty. Humidity jumps you first; then his brother 'heat' pummels you.

The sweltering, smothering air jumped me as I exited the air-conditioned Shreveport airport. It actually felt like a physical assault. It had been hot in Iraq, but there wasn't this humidity. DAMN! I can barely breathe. No wonder everyone walks slowly down here. You had to walk slow; fast movement would cause you to sweat out bodily fluids too fast. You could have dehydrated in as fast as ten minutes.

I had about a forty-five minute ride from the airport to Bon Temps ahead of me, so I tried to relax and let Bubba, my driver (yes, that really was his name), entertain me. He weaved through concrete streets and countryside back roads, while drinking coffee, talking on his Bluetooth, and regaling me with the wonders of the area. We were headed to the house I was renting on the outskirts of Bon Temps, on the west side nearest Shreveport.

It started to rain. Humidity plus rain equals steam and it seeped into the cab, causing me to sweat. Bubba's air conditioning could barely keep up with it. I looked at my reflection in the cab window. I looked tired, and the bags under my eyes had bags. My natural-curly, brown hair had frizzed and shrunk to a skull cap on my head.

On a good day, my hair had soft, brown curls, natural sun streaks throughout, cut stylishly short for low maintenance. I had large green eyes, like my mother, and on occasion people have complimented me on them. I have Irish/English features and high cheekbones from a Cherokee ancestor somewhere in the genetic wood pile.

I'm 5'10", a 'long drink of water,' as my father used to say. My brother and I take after him, he was tall. I'm in good shape, scratch that – great shape, girlfriend! I work out, and I'm a former athlete, but I'm not built like a boy. I have a woman's medium-size frame and I have curves, womanly curves. I like my curves, I like being a woman. My Marine buddy Avis, who was killed in the helicopter crash, described my build as a 'shit brick house with muscles.'

It would be laughable to call me cute or pretty; those adjectives are best used to describe petit women. In the right outfit and with well applied make-up, I would consider myself attractive, and when at my very best - striking. This is all getting too weird – describing my appearance is awkward. Suffice to say, men approach me on a regular basis, so I can't be that bad looking.

Because of my height, while dressed in a bulky uniform, I have often been mistaken for a man. Though it seems like I'm irked by this fact, I'm not. It actually has come in handy. People tend to figuratively bow to the authority of a man in uniform, so being thought of as a man would give me the upper hand. Once they discovered that I was a woman, I didn't have any problem maintaining that authority – trust me on this…I'm a ball buster – courtesy of the U.S. Marines' fine training programs.

On a good day, I would say I looked good - but this was not one of those days. So, all the above self-flattering verbiage can be thrown in the crapper.

My name is Josephina Marie Lautner. I go by 'Jo,' or 'Jo-Jo,' – do not call me Josephina. I'm the new sheriff of Bon Temps.