To Put Up With It
Xander came out to the fence, looking a bit confused. "What happened? I thought it was too quiet but it's the daytime so most of them are napping."
"Mail," Don said, handing over the large box and the few envelopes. "One's from Tara. Don't bend it." Xander grinned at that. "Yeah, your birthday, Xander."
"Who's the box from?" He looked at the label. "Aww, the evil geeks who chopped up my dead parents gave me a prezzie." Don groaned. "They were dead but they scared off the firestarters. They snuck down to do a rite to call a former hunter back so they could get good advice on how to help. Or possibly on how to do it quickly so they'd be hunters. They said the guy who answered was mean and told them they were little kids. But hey, at least my parents were useful to someone." He grinned as he walked off, taking his presents home. He had to chase one of the envelopes when the wind caught it but he did that before it fell in one of the holes and continued on his trek.
Don went to make notes of that. The geeks were switching cities according to his spy, Dean. He wanted to warn someone. He saw their city and smirked, dialing a number he had. "Hey, DiNozzo, Epps out in the FBI in LA. I've got some kids heading your way. No, not bad guys, yet. Kinda. Well, they believe that they're evil overlords and they're going to take over the world. There's three guys and a girl who's healing from a car accident but she's straightened out and condensed some of their plans for them. No, these guys looked at my little brother and called him an amateur. No, they're certain they can take over the world. They're all from Sunnydale." DiNozzo spluttered at that.
"Exactly. Well, let's see. They were in Miami picking up the, as they put it, skanky hos. Charlie grinned and said something about geek ideals and that stuff. Not like I understood. I'm a normal person. So're you." The other guy said something so he snickered. "Look up Sunnydale, DiNozzo. Yeah, that town. They're all from here. Actually, I asked someone who has a slightly less geeky than them brother to look at their plans. He said they're not bad now that she's condensed them. We know that they've got a lifelike robot so far. We know that the girl with them can do real magic. She's the one who took out the flying demons in Miami. In front of the CSI down there. They were so stunned they couldn't do anything but the guys who went to help moved them. No, I'm guarding Sunnydale."
He smirked evilly at the information. "Wanna trade? I'll take Gibbs for a few months. It's looking like about ten more months out here," he offered. "Oh, long story! Which'll take scotch. Just don't ask what's wrong with Charlie right now. Beyond his ice cream fetish, just don't ask. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, DiNozzo. The three geeks? Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew. Warren you won't see during the day. As Mr. Harris out here says he goes whoosh in the sun," he finished blandly. "The female with them is Willow Rosenburg. I'm not sure what their last names are. We tried to look for them but they had hackers take out their records everywhere. Including the DMV.
"No, not really smart but my info source said they've got fake ones that're pretty decent in case they get pulled over. Actually, no, they have my source's brother now as a first level minion with Charlie and that Harris guy from here. My source's brother is driving their evil mobile up from Miami. Look for them to be somewhere shielded for witches. Man, if I could tell you I would. I have no idea. Ask Abby." He smirked. "She might, yeah. Anyway, fair warning, man. You need it. Tell Ducky to stock up on antacid too. Especially if you run into the Buffy robot. No you can't tell. I had an agent down there snoop and he couldn't tell. No, they've decided Charlie and this Harris guy here, if he makes it out of Sunnydale, or my source's brother if not will be their first level minions on the research and finding other brains council.
"Just don't, man. Take it seriously. They are and they might be able to do something odd. You have no idea how bad this shit is getting. Put it this way if she asks, DiNozzo. Tell her Sunnydale went rogue and had to be shut down because the Watchers went on vacation. That Harris is the hunter out here with two vampires and my brother got turned. Let her freak out like we did when things started to happen. Yeah, we've got hunters looking over them and one of them is keeping track of the geeks for me whenever they're nearby. It was you or New York. Can you see their PD dealing with evil geeks who have a clue and a very good chance of taking over the world? Especially with the UN in session? Yeah, I'm serious. National threat level. Hey, if he's out there, sic Edgerton on them. Let him watch them. He should be able to tell a real threat by now." He looked up and got out of the way of the thing that shot slime at him. He had finally figured out what it was.
"Sure, I'm here. My team's guarding Sunnydale to make sure no one tries to get into it. No, the guys dealing with it can't get out. Something he did makes him pass out from the pain. Sure, I'm here. Still living. Though Charlie has vowed he's not losing me this century so I might not be for long. I don't know. He's stranger than usual. All he craves is ice cream too." Tony laughed and hung up. Don put his phone back into his pocket then used the desk phone to call Xander. "What was in the box?" The answer made him groan. "A single guy's pack full of porn and a doll. Well, they are geeks. Sam got them laid when they went down there. Sure, if you can, I'll have Tara forward that email, Xander." He hung up and went back to his surveillance work. It wasn't a hard job but he knew the minute he quit paying attention something horrible would try to sneak over the fence and head for his brother.
Because Charlie drew things like that.
Just look at Dru and her fascination with him.
Tony DiNozzo hung up his phone and looked around. "Hey, boss, meet me in the lab," he called, heading that way. "Stay, Probie. For now. We might call later to see if you know these three or four chuckleheads." He walked down to the lab, smiling at Abby. "We have to talk. I just got a call from an agent in LA." Gibbs walked in. "Seal it. We do not want the Director to hear about this one."
"Why?" Abby asked, spinning around to look at him once she had sealed her lab from external viewing.
"Because the Watchers went on vacation, Sunnydale went rogue, and the FBI is guarding it to make sure it stays there. We're apparently getting a trio of boy geeks and one girl geek who're going to take over the world." Gibbs snorted so he looked at him. "Epps called in the heads-up, Gibbs. They have his team dealing with the Sunnydale issue." He sat down, looking at them. "We know that they have realistic robots. We know that they did something that stunned Caine's lab down in Miami so much that they couldn't do anything about them. We know they're deep in their plans and she's straightened them out on the guys. She's not part of their evil little trio but she's healing. Abby, does the name Willow Rosenburg mean anything to you? Or Jonathan, Andrew, and Warren?"
She went pale. "The evil trio are coming here?" she demanded.
Gibbs moaned. "Tell me they can't do anything really."
She gave him a horrified look then nodded. "YES THEY CAN!" she shouted. "Oh, yeah, Gibbs. They've already nearly taken over LA twice. They can take over DC. If she's helping them then their usual scattered ideas about geek love and things are going to be firmer and better constructed." She grabbed his arm and typed in her name, running it through a special database. "That's a program that was out in Sunnydale and what they said about her." He read it over, moaning at the information. She ran the other three's names and came up with something on one of them. "And he's the *nice* one!"
"Epps said he's got someone watching over them now and then when they're nearby. He suggested Edgerton would know if they were going to go evil on our city or not. He's guarding the Sunnydale fence." His phone rang so he looked at it. "DiNozzo," he answered. "No, stay there, Probie." He hung up, looking at her. "So, we have Harris being the only hunter in Sunnydale with two vampires. Charlie Epps got turned. Don said he's got an ice cream fetish for some reason. The Watchers are on vacation. Would this explain why the world seems to be going to hell in certain cities, Abby? Epps suggested Ducky stock up on antacids and scotch."
"Oh, yeah," she said weakly, looking at him. "Oh hell yeah." She looked at Gibbs, then she found Willow's email and sent a message to her that they needed a sit rep as well on the Sunnydale happening. She got back one from another source telling her to talk to the group in LA, Willow was out of the loop. She whimpered. "Why?"
"Epps said she was healing," Tony offered. He stood up and came over. "Do we have their address?"
"I can find it." She looked, finding one for Charlie Epps. "If he's been turned and he's still a good guy then he's with the main group out there probably. Figuring out where the bad guy is heading and for what." She sent him an email and got back one about ten minutes later while they read over what they could find about Sunnydale so far. What he sent wasn't happy making but Larry said it was being handled, just slowly. He complained about Charlie's thing for ice cream as well. And Dru. She shook her head. "That's bad."
"Unholy deals for unholy times?" Gibbs asked. She nodded, resting her head on his shoulder. "We'll handle it." He looked at Tony then at her. "Find them."
"They were in a shielded for witches place before, Epps said to look for them to hit one up here. Have any ideas, Abby?"
"The Pierce Hotel." She typed that into Willow's email, getting back a simple smiley face. She sent them the information they had. That way someone could tell Willow. They sent back another smiley face. "So?"
"I'll find Edgerton. We'll watch over them," Gibbs decided. They both nodded. "Should we ask McGee if he knows them?"
"He probably does," she admitted. "They're into robots and role-playing stuff too."
"I'll ask," Gibbs said, heading up there once the lab was unsealed. Tony gave Abby a hug then followed. "McGee, do the names Rosenburg, Jonathan, Andrew, and Warren mean anything to you?" he asked as he walked past his desk.
McGee spluttered. "They're the geeks coming!" Gibbs nodded. He hopped up. "No! No, they can't take over DC, Gibbs. They're serious in their desire to run the world and they're just smart enough to figure out how. With her help, it's a lot more certain. She's turned?"
"She's injured and healing," Tony said as he walked behind him. "Edgerton is FBI right, boss?"
"Yeah." He found his number and called. "Edgerton, Gibbs. Come see me." He hung up and looked at McGee. "I want a comprehensive primer, McGee. She's healing here and with them. Probably to keep each other out of trouble. This is another benefit of whatever's going on out in Sunnydale." He stared him down. "Anything you know on that I want to hear about too."
McGee swallowed and nodded. "Yes, boss. How do you know?"
"Ran into them the year before you got here," Tony said dryly. "Kate was not amused when she nearly got killed and eaten. We weren't amused with the idea of her changing sides." McGee shuddered and his butt clenched to hold in his sudden need to crap at the image of their former teammate Kate being turned into a vampire. "The good news is that our contact in LA has a brother with a new ice cream fetish and he's guarding the fence."
McGee moaned. "I'll get my files from home, boss. Can I head there?" Gibbs nodded. "How soon?"
"The intel we have from the email said that they left Miami about two days ago," Tony told him. "They apparently horrified Caine."
"Then it's smart they fled. Can we look at their prototype robot? I hear it's really good."
"It is. Epps said it was," Tony agreed. Someone came off the elevator sipping a coffee. "Edgerton. Head's up from Epps." He wrote down what they knew and handed it over. "Abby and McGee will have more."
He looked at it then at him. "You're joking."
"No, I'm not. They're from Sunnydale."
Ian Edgerton looked at Gibbs. "How serious is this threat?"
"Epps called DiNozzo personally," Gibbs told him. "Suggested you'd be able to see the evil if they went that way."
"They can do it," McGee admitted. "Especially if Willow tightened their plans. Let me get that intel, boss." He hurried off to get what he knew. He ran in some of the same circles.
Tony leaned back with a grin. "They consider Charlie Epps an amateur geek," he told him. "Oh, you should probably talk to Don about him. Something's going on and Charlie's in the center of it. Plus he's got a strange craving for ice cream."
"Is he pregnant? I wouldn't put it past that point when talking about Sunnydale."
Gibbs shook his head. "No. He's in Abby land."
Edgerton whimpered. "Epps is?"
"Don's guarding the Sunnydale fence," Tony told him.
"Aw, shit," he muttered. "How bad?" Gibbs pointed at the papers. "He called personally?"
"Yup," Tony agreed.
"Where are they going?"
"Abby suggested the Pierce Hotel since they're looking for shielded, Wiccan friendly places for Rosenburg's crap," Gibbs admitted. The director stomped down. "They left Miami two days ago. They've got someone driving their car from what I understand. They may have flown, we're not sure."
Ian nodded. "I'll find them. Should I tell anyone anywhere else?"
"That depends on who's been briefed about what's going on out there," Tony told him. "Abby nearly had a panic attack, Edgerton."
He just nodded and sipped his coffee. "I can handle that. Let me see if I can find the evil ones." He looked at the director, who was scowling. "What? I consider it a compliment that they think I can track this sort too." He walked off.
"What is going on?" she demanded, tapping a foot. "You had the lab sealed and the surveillance system turned off?"
"Yup." He got to work, then threw something at DiNozzo. "Somehow your iPod hit my desk again, DiNozzo."
"You confiscated it, boss." He put it into his drawer and got back to work on what he was doing. "I have a lead on the carjacking secretary."
"Even better. Let's head." They went together, ignoring the director totally. She tried to follow them but something stunned her from the parking garage's shadows and carried her off to the lair of the evil trio. They could replace her once they had their robot reprogrammed to be her. It'd be easier on them.
Willow wouldn't mind. Much. Then again, this one was ineffective and cranky from their information. She needed to be replaced. She was giving women in charge a bad name. Willow would agree with that much.
Ethan watched the hellmouth again flare, then suddenly close and look fairly well closed for a change. He looked at Spike. "What is he doing?"
He listened then looked at him. "Tossing off." He finished his cigarette and stomped on the butt then walked him over to Xander's place. They walked in without knocking and found him happy in the living room. "Whelp, you done yet?" he demanded.
"Yeah, thanks for the privacy, guys." He grinned at Ethan. "The geek trio and Willow sent me a single guy's kit since they heard Anya dumped me and went to make major brothel money in Las Vegas."
"The hellmouth flares as you do then gets happy," he said blandly.
"That's pretty cool. How long will it stay closed? I'll keep doing this if I have to," he said with a smirk.
Ethan went to get some blood, shaking his head at the stupid young man. Spike only smirked at him. He changed his sire into a lizard then warmed his blood, taking Spike back home with him. "Rest for the night, let's not do it again, all right?"
"Sure. Gotta talk to Bobby later anyway," he agreed, waving at them. He got comfy on the couch and called out there. "Hey, Bobby. Xander. How's it going?" He grinned. "Actually I got a great prezzie from the evil geeks for my birthday. They sent me a single guy's pack. Yeah, it is what you think, complete with blow up doll. It was a very sweet gesture. Actually, the hellmouth is presently happy too. Ethan said it's closed at the moment. Anything going on in the other areas?" He grinned at the information. "How's the geeks doing?" He nodded at the story about them having to relocate. "I didn't mean to do that when I sicced the flying demon pigeons on her but oh well. She got some good spell components. Sure, I'm here, man. Thanks." He hung up and decided to take a short nap. Bobby would check the one there to see if it was happy or not too.
Giles looked at their hellmouth then sighed. "It's fully closed again." Buffy pouted. "I know you've been a bit bored but I have no idea why they've had fluxes." He called Bobby. "It's Giles. Is there a problem on one of the other hellmouths?" he asked, walking her back to the car. He paused when he heard what was going on. "He's that connected?" he demanded, blushing a bit. "Oh, dear God," he muttered, rubbing his forehead. "I'll call the boy later on, after he's had a nap. Did the minor point near you flux as well? We did. Thank you, Bobby. You have a better evening too. Any other news?" He heard about Willow moving. "That's closer to us definitely. Thank you for that news. Of course. We're heading home now. Have a better night." He hung up. "Xander's tied very tightly. He was enjoying himself rather a lot and that caused the fluxes."
Buffy frowned. "Is that the polite British way of saying he was having monkey sex with himself and it caused it?" He blushed brighter but nodded. "We've got to do something about him, Giles. Anything else?"
"Willow's in DC with the evil geek trio."
"That's cool. It's only a few hours by train." She grinned. "Can we visit?"
"We'll try for this weekend if we can keep things calm, Buffy." She bounced a bit and got them into the car, him getting in to drive since she didn't and never would be able to.
Sam walked up to building he needed to visit once he had dropped off the evil mobile. Don Epps had called and asked him to brief someone. Andrew had told him it was fine to do that too when they had picked up the van so apparently they knew Dean was keeping an eye on Willow for Epps. He signed in and headed up to the correct floor, finding one person at a desk. "I'm looking for Agent Gibbs please?"
Tony DiNozzo looked up. "I'm his senior agent. He's in a meeting. Is it important enough to save his sanity or just an excuse to get him out of it?"
"I've got to talk to him about the evil geek quad. Epps said so. I'm Sam Winchester."
"Heard of you," he admitted, texting that to his boss. Gibbs came out of the office and walked down the stairs. Sam got a nod and they followed him down to the lab, sealing themselves in Abby's office. There were no cameras in there to have to turn off. "So, what's going on and where are they?"
"First, Andrew said he knew you guys had been warned. He told me it was perfectly fine for me to come tell you what happened in Miami." He handed over a CD. "I did that last night while I was keeping the Buffy Bot off me. She's very insistent."
"She very realistic?" Tony asked. "Another geek here wanted to see her."
"She's so good I couldn't tell at first that she wasn't real," Sam admitted. That got a groan. "Lifelike skin, voice, all that. She's the one who told me when I asked her who she was." That got a nod. "Also on there is their license plate, make, model, and color of their Evil Mobile." Gibbs shuddered at the name. "They've got computer gear, some machining equipment, and a few other things I didn't want to look at in the back. They're very prepared to pull off plans, guys, and they think they can start in your city then work their way up to New York. Willow's only solidified their plans. For that she'll be getting Australia with her girlfriend so they can keep it pure and have a safe spot to hold meetings. They're still deciding who's getting Canada. They expect to find a history geek who's smart enough to take over Africa for them until one of them has kids. Central and South America will join with the US when their economies become dependent on it according to their plans. Willow's done a lot of work based on sociology and current politics."
Tony let out a low groan. "How soon?"
"I'm not so sure they haven't already started," he admitted. "Xander called me personally to warn you, for some reason, that they somehow managed to use technology to open a portal to Hogwarts last year but they closed it because Warren wasn't sure he was ready to woo Hermione yet. No, I don't think that was a code," he said when Gibbs gave him an odd look.
Tony shook his head. "From what we've found out, it wasn't. So, robotics, anything else?"
Sam shrugged. "We've seen the map. Dean got a bit of the plan from Willow when they went to spy on what the cops were doing about her having to take apart two demons in the middle of the day in a park. That's why they moved." That got a whimper from Tony and Gibbs slumped. "Exactly." He stood up. "I don't know, guys, but the world might be a better place if they ran it. They're tolerant geeks. They're nice guys. I took them out to help them in the clubs. They want me on the research council and to help them find other geeks."
"We have two of those here," Gibbs admitted quietly. "Anything else we should know?"
Sam shrugged. "That's all I know. Since they know you know....."
"Good point," Gibbs agreed. "Thanks, Winchester. You disappearing?"
"Yeah, I'm heading to where Dean's tracking something in West Virginia. Flying out tonight." That got a nod and they shook his hand. "We're checking on them and Willow for our circle and Xander, plus Epps so we'll be back in a few weeks or so." He left, smiling at the curious girl in the lab. "Just a head's up." He handed in his pass at the front desk then headed to the airport in a cab. He loved the guys but he wasn't sure the world was ready for total geek control.
Gibbs let Tony run the information file, looking it over. "They're worse than we thought."
Tony looked at him. "How did they know?" Gibbs stared at him. "Did they hear it from us, from Epps, or from them? Did they maybe get Edgerton already?"
"I heard from him this morning."
"If they're that good, boss...."
"I know. I'll check on him later." That got a nod and they printed it down then went to talk to Abby about it. She was just as good as the guys were and could hack too. They got McGee down to go over what they now had and he laid out what their plans probably were because they planned like he did - D&D or roleplaying style. It was a good source to have on their side.
Not that it might not be a better world but they were paid to keep it under US control instead of Geek control.
Ian Edgerton looked over as Gibbs sat next to him and pinched him. "Hey! Not yours."
"Checking to make sure you're not metal."
"I saw their robot, Gibbs. She's good." He handed over a mini disc. "Surveillance footage."
"Very. They had another one they released the night I got sent. I have no idea where it is. I know it's female." Gibbs groaned at that. "So far they've been keeping it at minor plans but they've got real plans." Gibbs handed over what McGee had drawn up. He nodded. "That makes a lot of sense. Abby hacked?"
"McGee role plays and they plan like that."
"That makes so much more sense," he sighed. He looked at him. "How far are we letting them go?"
"That depends on what they're doing in DC."
"Right now they're planning key takeovers," Ian told him, handing it back. "The female with them isn't complaining very much. They're not telling her very much but she hasn't been doing more than pouting about how slow it's taking her broken ribs to heal and her girlfriend being on the west coast helping in LA and Sunnydale. Oh, talked to Epps. The three male geeks sent the hunter out there something because he's a single guy. A single guy pack was what it was called."
"Probably. They were talking about using the skills Winchester gave them in the clubs. Speaking of, one of them has spotted Abby and wants her badly as his evil overlordess, Gibbs." He stood up and walked off.
Gibbs shook his head. "Over their dead body," he said dryly, getting up and heading back to the office with the disc. He handed it to Abby. "One of them wants you to be his girlfriend."
"Well, I'm single," she said, frowning some. "But I really only like older guys and I'm not sure they could keep up with me. I'd have to meet them to find out." She handed him something. "Test results from the drowning." He gave her a look then read the note about there being some sort of surveillance she couldn't block. She had found it last night. She ran the disc, watching the robot. "They're very good. I can't tell."
"Winchester said he couldn't up close and personal either." He watched what they had. Ian had managed to get shots of their battle maps and plans with a telephoto lens. "Can you clean that up?" She nodded, typing into a program to do that. They stared then he groaned. "Figured, she's been too nice for the last week." He walked off, going up to the office, taking McGee with him and DiNozzo following. They walked into the director's office, him hanging up on her call.
"Jethro, I was on with someone in the CIA about an information leak they've been having," she chastised.
"You've been way too calm recently," McGee told her, pulling out a magnet. Which stuck to her hand. She shook but it stayed until she plucked it off. "Where's our director?"
"I am your director, Agent McGee. How dare you say otherwise. Do you need a vacation?"
"No, but we're going to be x-raying you," Gibbs told her, grabbing her. She tried to get free but he had found her access panel and shut her down. "Let's get her to the morgue." They nodded, helping carry her out. He glared at the secretary. "She's not the director. Do not say a word, Cynthia." She nodded quickly. They got her into the elevator and down to the morgue, letting McGee put a blocker on her so no outside signals could reactivate her on them. "Ducky."
He came out of the office. "Did she die? That will cause a bit of a stink with the other agencies."
"No, she's a robot," Tony told him. Ducky chuckled. "Not kidding, Ducky. We've got three or four evil geeks in town who're trying to take over and they started with her."
He came over to look, then frowned when he found how her hair moved. "You are correct, Anthony. How did this happen?" Gibbs looked at the back of his neck. "Jethro!" He shut him down too. Tony caught his limp body.
Gibbs looked at McGee. "Go tell Cynthia to make up an excuse to get everyone examined today by Abby. We need access to their necks. I don't care why, make it plausible." He nodded, going to do that while he went to tell Abby.
Tony looked in the office. "Palmer, let me see your neck please," he ordered.
He gave him an odd look. "I'm not like the cyborg Doctor Mallard, Tony. I'm still me."
"You've been more creepy than usual."
"That's because he's such a good copy. Who did that?"
"Some evil geeks who want to rule the world. Turn around." Palmer sighed but let him check and do the magnet test. "Thank you." He looked out there then at him. "Lock the morgue down, we're keeping them here so they can't be reactivated."
"The drawers would shield something like a remote signal," he said, going to put them into them. They didn't have any present bodies so he had twelve drawers they could use. "There, that should do," he said, turning to find the door was closing behind Tony's behind. He smiled. "Go geeks!" he said quietly, going back to his tea and journal. It was a nice day off.
Don Epps looked up as Ian Edgerton walked up to his desk in the FBI. "You done already?"
"Yeah, Gibbs has it." Don put a magnet on his arm, watching as it fell off. "Want to check my neck and chest too?"
"Please. Just in case." Ian snorted but let him look. "Thank you. How bad?"
"They had nineteen in place. Fortunately the real people were in some sort of swirly place that was keeping them napping so they were fine." He pulled a desk chair over. "How's it going on this coast?"
"Bad. The last battle out here was very bad. I was on that night with Colby so we watched. When it was done we sent in paramedics to stitch the boy up for a bit." They shared a look. "It's going to get worse before it gets better according to what we know."
"It always does. My boss decided since I already knew I could take a shift at the fence now and then."
"Sure. I can introduce you around. Fair warning, Tara's shy, nice, and Willow's girlfriend. She stutters. She tries to hide from Dad because he wants to adopt her."
"Your dad's a nice guy," he said, looking confused.
"Hers are alligator bait."
"Oh. That sort. Okay. I'll be non-threatening around her as much as I can. How's your brother and his ice cream thing?"
"Driving Dad and Larry nuts. Though, Dru's cackling."
"Interesting." He stood up. "I've got to find a room for the next few months." Don wrote down an address. "Thanks. Efficiencies?"
"Yup. Come back here and I'll bring you to the Hyperion tonight. That way you can tell Tara how bad her girlfriend screwed up."
"Fairly badly but they're heading for New York."
"I know someone who knows someone. I'll get them to pass on what information we have." Ian tossed over a thumbnail drive. "With photos?"
"Surveillance film of the robots too. I kept a copy." He headed off to check in.
Don downloaded the zip file and sent it to someone in Miami he knew, who also knew someone in New York. That way they could forward it on.
Thirty minutes later in New York, someone opened up his email and stared at it. "Uh- huh. Practical joke?" he muttered, reading it over. What he saw made sure he knew it wasn't a joke and it was a very bad thing. He saved it down on a CD and took it to someone who would know someone. He walked into the squad room, smiling slightly. "Detective Flack, do you have a few? I just got some information from a source that got it forwarded from the FBI."
"They going to blow up something?" he asked while he typed.
"Not at the moment but they're going to try to take over the world." Don gave him an odd look. "They managed to replace nineteen people in DC with their operatives, Detective," he said quietly, moving closer. "Evil geeks with a plan."
That got a groan. "Why me?"
"I'm not going near the lab," he said honestly. "I don't want to appear like a panicking girl. They know you and you know what to report to them and who to report it to." He handed over the CD. "Including surveillance photos of their methods." Don ran it, slumping after a few minutes. "They left DC and they're not sure if they can charge them or not down there. Letting it be known that there are robots that sophisticated could be a bad thing. They're talking about a secret trial but I'm told they're from that town that got shut down by LA and they're involved in that stuff so they're not sure if they'll hurt things or not."
Don looked at him. "Leave it with me. Who forwarded it?" He wrote down the contact list. "I'll get with someone out there. Thanks. Want noted?"
"Can't hurt my career unless I'm being a panicking girl," he said with a grin, getting up and heading back home. It was his day off.
Don grabbed the CD, closed down his computer then went to find the people in the lab who should have an idea this was going on. He walked into one of the labs that the three people he wanted were in. "Hey, Doc, Danny, Mac? Got a few? I got handed some strange information that's a head's up from someone in the LA branch of the FBI through a local officer. He didn't want to sound like a panicking girl he said but these geeks are good enough to have replaced people in DC and they didn't know down there."
"Some of the agents down there have been kinda stupid now and then," Danny admitted. "Not all but some."
"Yeah, well, they got a director. Took a week before anyone realized," he said. They all stared at him. He waved the CD. "Forwarded from the LA branch of the FBI to a contact in Miami to one of our guys."
Mac took it and moved to a computer to run it, frowning at the information. "They're cyborgs?"
"Not sure if they're cyborgs or regular robots," Don admitted, coming over to watch again. "The guy said that they're not sure if they're going to charge them down in DC or not. They're up here now though."
Danny frowned. "That looks familiar." He stared at the map. "I've seen that somewhere."
"They might be using an online gaming format to recruit other geeks," Sheldon said. "This is a fascinating psychopathy. How close are they?"
"They've got credible plans," Mac admitted. "With later ones probably." He looked at Don. "The officer want noted?" Don handed over the contact list. He looked then he nodded. "I know someone out there in that office. I'll email them and see if they can get me in touch with the guy over the case."
"Sure. So how do we find out?"
"Anyone go missing yet?" Danny asked.
"If they get them at night, after they go home, how would we know?" Sheldon pointed out. Danny pinched him, making him snicker. "I'm still me, Danny." They pinched each other then Don, then Mac, who didn't flinch. Danny did it harder. Sheldon got a magnet. Don found the access hatch and turned him off when he started to protest having things stuck to him like he was a fridge. "Now we know," Sheldon said dryly.
"Test Stella, get her here," Danny ordered. Sheldon and Don nodded, going to do that. He looked at the now sitting Mac robot. "What do we do with you?" he sighed. He got an idea. They had plenty of geeks around the lab. "Yo, Adam!" he shouted. He came jogging in. He pinched him and he flinched. "Good. Read that, then figure out what we're doing with the cyborg Mac here."
He read the file then gave him a horrified look. "I know him." He looked at Mac, checking his neck panel, then he groaned. "We need to block any outside remote waves. Somewhere shielded in the building?"
"Not enough room if there's more than two. Cold storage room in the morgue?"
Danny shrugged. "Could work." He took the CD with him but they did wheel the chair down there and Adam briefed Sid while he picked out a good spot for him. Stella stomped in and checked Mac's neck then his. "We gotta figure out who else they're hitting."
"They got Mac because they think he can stop them," she pointed out. He checked her neck. "You could see if I had one, Danny."
He looked at her. "That's why they moved it somewhere else," he said, staring at her stomach. "Off with it, Robot Stella." She huffed and turned. "Sid!" He came in. "Not her. Check her stomach for me please?"
"Get off me!" she said, swatting at them.
"The real Stella would've slugged us," Sid said dryly, finding the hatch and turning her off. She got sat on Mac's lap and he sighed. "Any idea where the real ones are and how many I'll have in my cold storage area?"
"Not yet, Doc." He walked off shaking his head, going back upstairs. He found all the computers blacked out and tried to restart one. It came up with an 'oops, sorry' message before they all restored and the last information was on there. He glared. "They've got hackers," he told Adam and Don when they came back together.
Adam took the CD to someone he knew in another department. He walked into his office, sitting next to him. "We think this CD is tripwired," he said calmly. The guy nodded, taking it to look at. "It's on some evil geeks who're trying to take over the world. They've replaced two CSI that we know of with robots. The hacker just hit the lab."
"If they tagged the original files the right way it could've been copied and no one would've realized," he admitted. "It'd be a huge file though."
"There's a surveillance file."
"That'll probably be it." He plugged it into a special machine that wasn't hooked into anything and got to work, nodding. "That's where it is. Who do I warn?"
"Us, the FBI in LA, there was at least one agency in DC involved. That came forwarded through the Miami crime lab."
The guy nodded. He found a header on the original email and smiled. "I can find the source and let him tell others." He sent an email to him, warning him of the virus and the reason behind it. He got back a 'thanks' and a list of people who had also seen it. "That's a good list."
Adam looked then at him. "Can we remove it? We might need it for evidence."
"I'll see what I can do, Adam. Leave it to me." His friend pinched him. "I'm not one, man. I'm never out of the office these days for them to steal me."
Adam leaned closer. "They replaced Taylor. We had no idea." That got a moan. "They replaced Bonasera."
"I'll be careful." That got a nod and Adam left. He went back to removing the virus hidden in the code for the video clip. It was an ingenious way to do that. He sent it once he had it done, to a few different sources, including Adam's online persona's email. Just in case. When the redhead appeared behind him, he turned to look at her. "Nice job, Rosenburg."
"Thank you." She smiled. "How did you know I was me?"
"Your signature, dear. You were included in the last hacker profile directory." She beamed at that. "I've sent it out."
"So?" She knocked him out and took him. The robot him would be back in about an hour and he would tag their systems differently for her to make sure the boys weren't going to be arrested. She really did have to do something about them. Maybe the nice McGee agent she had stolen would help her with that. She had him replaced of course but he could help her a lot to stop them. That's why she took him and her stuff to her hidden area. The guys thought she had made a robot off him then put the original back so she had a helper to her own evil plans. Well, they'd be really surprised. Helping stop them would give her a leg up on her own ideas. They were men, they wouldn't take good care of the planet. Not as good as she and her Tara snuggly could.
Xander got a call he didn't want and hung up, looking at Ethan. "I've got to hit New York and beat someone. Do we have a way for me to not feel a lot of pain since I doubt they're near the evil dent?"
"Pain killers?" he suggested, looking up from his reading. "That could at least dull it some."
Xander nodded, getting into their stash of medical supplies. He took one and pocketed another before grabbing a small brush broom. It was wooden; it'd hurt but not damage someone when he hit them with it. As opposed to him beating them for real. The pain killers kicked in on his walk to the hellmouth. He waved at Megan when she came out of the watching area. "I've got to beat someone in New York."
"Wondered if you were cleaning. You'll be okay?"
"Took a pain killer. I'll be just fine," he said with a grim look. "Willow.... Well...." He walked into the remains of the school and found the spot slightly open. He tried to send himself but something was blocking it. He zapped the other person using it, sending them out through the nearest dent then sent himself to the one nearest to New York City. He walked out of the warehouse and looked around then concentrated on his Willow-sense. He had been working on tracking charms for the higher demons they hadn't been able to kill yet. He found her and cabbed that way, walking into the warehouse, glaring at the four geeks. "I nearly die saving the world and you four try to take it over by replacing people and getting notice from Feds?" They spluttered so he started to beat them on the head with the little wooden broom. It certainly stung. Even Warren yelped at it. He kept going while he ranted. "I don't have the time or energy to deal with this sort of evil. You can wait until the world doesn't end!" He hit them again then glared at Willow then the obviously human agent. "They know you've been replaced yet?"
The guys glared at Willow. "You kept one?" Jonathan demanded.
"I needed help!" she defended. Xander got her again. "Ow! Meany, quit!"
He smacked her again for good measure. "Shut up, Willow. You're making my job harder and I'm damn sick and tired of it." The pain was starting to come back so he popped the second pain killer and glared at them. "You got the notice of federal agents. You kidnaped federal agents and a director. You got so much notice that they called *me*!" he finished in a yell. McGee clapped. "Thanks, but quit." He glared at them again. "I don't care what plans you have, wait until we've fixed the world going to hell problem! It's very possible not everyone will survive and it'll be easier. If not, it won't matter, you'll all be playthings of higher demons and taking it up the ass anyway!" They pouted. "Tough!" He smacked them again then stomped off. "Put him back, Rosenburg, then hit Cleveland. You're all grounded to Cleveland for a month! You act like spoiled teenagers and I'm going to treat you like them," he said, glaring at them before opening the door.
He looked at the officers standing there. "Oh, hey. 'Scuse me, had to throw a fit. They're taking my attention from saving the fucking world again." He huffed off, taking a cab back to the warehouse. He knew one of them was following him but oh well. He disappeared back into the dent, heading to Bobby's dent. He called him. "I'm local so I don't go kill the geek quad. Kidnaped Federal agents for their evil plans, Bobby. No, I grounded them all to Cleveland. I don't have their number and I'm exhausted. Thanks, man. The NYPD was looking at them when I got there." He hung up and sent himself back to his hellmouth, falling to his knees to pant as the energy collapsed around him. He looked up at Megan when she walked in. "That's dangerous."
"It happens. You good?"
"No, I'm in a bit of pain but they're not doing it anymore. You can tell the others I grounded them to Cleveland for being spoiled teenage brats."
"Sure, I can see that," she agreed, helping him up. "Beat them with the broom?"
"On the head. It kept me from punching Willow." He looked at her. "Don't tell Tara. Let Willow confess?"
"Sure, I can tell her to call her girlfriend and see if she'll give it up sooner." She walked him to his house, letting him collapse on the couch. She handed the broom to Ethan. "He beat them with it."
Ethan nodded. "Good." He put it aside. It'd have hair and possibly blood or skin cells on it for a later working on the evil geek quad. That would keep them from trying things on him. He smiled. "He'll be fine. He took some painkillers before we sent him off."
"Good." She went back to her post to make a note for the others and sent an email to Tara to warn her Willow needed to confess before Xander ranted some more.
Tara looked at the email and started to reach for the phone, but then she decided she needed to calm herself down first. It had probably been a bad thing. She wasn't sure she wanted to hear about bad things today. She was having a good day. There hadn't been any bad demons in days. She ran into Charlie and Dru fighting and sighted. "Stop it," she ordered quietly. Dru glared at her. She glared back. "I do fight with Buffy, Druscilla. You're annoying. Stop it." The vampiress pouted and started to sniffle. "Willow does it better. She's in trouble with me so you're annoying me more than usual. Now, go do something other than keeping Charlie from doing math! That's cruel!"
She pouted. "But the bunny must not fondle the pointy things. They're bad for the dark."
"Which is what we're about since we're good guys," Charlie said patiently. "Ask Angel."
She frowned at him. "You can't be. You're one of us."
"Yay. Really." He walked off. "What happened, Tara?"
"I don't know. Megan sent me an email saying I should call Willow and let her confess."
Charlie looked at her. "Think she got caught up in their plans?"
She sighed. "It's entirely possible she overthrew them and went onto her own evil plans," she admitted. "I love my girlfriend but sometimes her mind is a bit warped."
"It's the pointy things," Dru assured her. "They hurt the brain."
"Didn't hurt mine," Charlie said.
"You're not the usual vampire anyway," Wesley reminded him. "Or else you'd not gorge on ice cream, Charles. Druscilla, what are you doing down here?" She stomped off. Angel had grounded her to her room for the rest of the week. She knew he'd drag her up to her daddy in chains. He looked at Tara. "I got a call from Ethan."
"What did she do?" she sighed, leaning against the old check-in counter.
"It seems the four geeks did start their takeover attempt with some ...mechanical replacements. The nice federal agents who caught them in DC made them run to New York, where someone there caught them." She whimpered. "Xander rightly went to beat them about the head with a small, wooden broom via the hellmouth pathways."
"How did he get off them?" Charlie asked.
"Pain killers. Ethan said he took two and he was only gone for an hour but he's in a lot of pain still yet."
"Interesting," Charlie admitted. "Huh." He went to see if he could figure out their next plans. It was something to do since Don didn't have any good cases at the moment and his classes were on break for the week. "Any idea if they're going to be staying in federal custody?"
Wesley smiled. "It seems Xander grounded them to Cleveland for a month before leaving. With one federal agent still being there it's possible they'll still be in custody."
"I'm going to spank," Tara decided, walking off shaking her head. She was starting to get the same headache Dru got from her stars. That was a really bad thing but she was. Charlie handed her a milkshake and she smiled. "Thank you, Charlie." She gave him a gentle hug then went to sit in the last of the day's sunshine so she could pray to her goddess to keep her temper when her girlfriend called to confess.
Wesley went to find Angel, finding him barely awake and heading for his shower. "I've just thought of something. Tara is the most gentle girl ever but with the recent frustrations, her next...female cycle may be a bit...stringent. Do we have precautions?"
"Duck and run," Angel told him simply. "It's all you can do when witches go off like that. What happened?"
"Willow joined the evil geek trio in their world takeover trial."
Angel squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his forehead. "Custody?"
"Perhaps federal at the moment according to Ethan. Xander took some pain killers to go beat them about the head with a small, wooden broom. Apparently he didn't want to do lasting harm but he felt they needed some pain to prove his point. Two vicodin and an hour later he's still in pain."
"It's a useful thing to know," he decided. "Any other news?"
"I had to send Druscilla back to her room to keep her from bothering Charlie about his pointy numbers hurting the dark. He rightly pointed out he was all for hurting the dark and she pouted. Tara nearly ripped her a new one in her own genteel way."
Angel nodded. "Duck and run, Wes. It's all you can do. We'll warn Charlie later."
"Of course." He went back down to his office. He still had some things that needed to be done around here. Gunn was off with his gang this week. Fred was hiding in her room for some reason. They'd have to see how the rest of the week played out. He heard a slap and went to see what it was. "Tara, are you all right?" he asked.
"Fine," she said with a sweet smile. "Dru and I are having a talk." He just nodded and went to warn Charlie to duck and to lock his room's door for now. "I do not have PMS, Wesley!" she yelled when she heard him say it.
Druscilla patted her on the cheek. "The moon does mean things to us, my yellow kitten. That's why the stars are better."
"The earth's better than all of them," she said, her eyes narrowing. Dru backed off at that and went to hide in her room. Tara huffed and went to get another milkshake then pout outside. Her goddess clearly needed to hear more about her temper.
Charlie locked the door once she was outside, shaking his head. "I thought it was something like that. Think chocolate would help? It does Amita."
"I'm not sure," Wesley admitted. "I do know that witches in a snit tend to throw things around. Like the furniture. Magic is still emotionally based," he said at the confused look.
"Oh, and hers are out of proportion." That got a nod. "All right, I'll be nice and calm. I learned how from Amita." Wesley laughed. "She has it bad sometimes. Though she does smell good."
"They often do," Wesley sighed. "It's one of those lessons you learn over time, Charles."
"Good point. Thanks for the head's up. I'll make sure Dad and Don don't get pushy about bringing her home for dinner anytime soon. Asking but not being pushy." He nodded, heading back to his office while he texted his brother an email message to let him know Tara did have a temper and girl issues plus Willow issues plus Dru was what set it off. He got back a suggestion of chocolate and some flowers. He smiled and went to deal with that. Tara liked flowers and it'd cheer her up. He even put on the card that she was nice for protecting him from Dru. They came right before dusk so he got to see her face light up as she sniffed them. She came in and gave him a hug then went to fuss over her flowers while nibbling on chocolate. It was a good thing to make Tara feel better. Even if she did smell like the best dinner his mother had ever cooked.
McGee looked at his boss as he walked into the row with a tray of coffee. "Miss me?"
"No, the robotic you can do internet searches and doesn't need sleep while doing reports," Tony said, taking his.
"How long before you found out?"
"Three days," Gibbs admitted, taking his. "You all right?"
"Willow Rosenburg wanted help with her version of evil plans. She decided the boys were being boys and wouldn't take good enough care of the world. I was helping her dismantle their plans so she could take over." He sat down, looking at the robotic him in the corner. He looked at his boss. "Jonathan still considers Abby his perfect girlfriend. Fair warning. They're down in holding, boss."
"Gee, thanks," Tony said.
"They've been working to take down the old power structure. They've got things on the government's puppet masters," he finished quietly.
Gibbs stared at him. "Repeat that?" McGee smirked and nodded. "You're sure?"
"Why do you think I brought them back instead of letting the NYPD have them after they got their people back. And the two people for the UN."
Gibbs nodded. "Shielded?"
"Suicide cell. Together so they're not in as much danger."
Gibbs got up and walked down there, letting himself into the cell to stare at them. "Do you know what sort of trouble you're in?" he asked as a start.
"Technically it's not illegal," Willow told him. "There's nothing illegal in wanting to take over the world and make it a better place."
"Kidnaping is," he pointed out, staring at them. They all looked down. He saw one rubbing his head. "Someone get you already?"
"Xander," Andrew pouted. "He said we have to wait until after he's finished saving the world. Said we're grounded to Cleveland for a month for being spoiled."
Gibbs snorted. "With what my agent said you had on certain people you're going to be lucky to survive another month, kids."
Willow shrugged. "If they come near us to try to stop us, we can get them all arrested."
"Paying bribes isn't against the law for most people," Gibbs pointed out dryly.
She cackled. "Oh, it so goes beyond that, Special Agent Gibbs. We have nine of the ten doing treasonous and other felony acts." He gaped. She smirked. "The other one will take some geek intervention. After all, the doomsday virus built into certain computer systems is a very bad thing."
Gibbs stared at them. "I want what you have. Then we'll release you to your grounding in Cleveland while we figure out what to do with you four." They nodded, pulling out their laptops to print stuff off the communal printer in Jonathan's bag. He took the information to look over, frowning at it. "You weren't kidding. One's a middle manager at the CIA?"
"It's a good cover. Who would think he had power?" Willow said dryly, pushing her hair back. "We almost took him to make him a replacement but he might like that."
"Speaking of, can we have them back?" Andrew asked. "We're very proud of them."
Gibbs snorted. "No." He walked off, sealing the door behind him. He looked at the Shore Police standing there. "They are to be guarded. They were doing bad things but they caught more powerful people doing worse." That got a nod and they moved in front of the door. "Taste test the food and water too, soldiers." He went up to the real director, putting the information sheets down in front of her. "The person out in Sunnydale who sent them to Miami grounded them to Cleveland. I figure they can serve that while we're figuring out what to do with them."
"They're incredibly bright. There's a lot of projects who might like them," she said, looking at him. "Thank you for rescuing me, Jethro."
"The robotic you was too even tempered," he said dryly. "Do we go or does someone else?"
She leaned back while looking at the forms, then at him. "I think we should. How do we know that others won't take advantage of it?"
"Him I can see; I know he's not dirty," she agreed, handing them back. "What about the other one?"
"They told me something about a doomsday virus that's built into a great many computers around the world. That it'd take a powerful geek intervention."
"Send McGee since he's back. Are you keeping the robotic one?"
"In the closet. Just in case." He walked off calling Fornell. "I have information on people committing treason. They're high powered, high profile, and will want to kill you to make things go away. At the office. Nine." He hung up and handed McGee that last sheet of information. "Figure out how to stop him."
He looked then went down to talk to them. "Prove the virus?"
Andrew pulled him over to Jonathan's laptop. "We have a removal tool," Jonathan told him, letting him see it. They took McGee's PDA to search it for him. They found it, exploded the virus by the graphics, then cleaned and restarted it for him within minutes. "It also fixes the issues that Vista has. That's the conflict that's making it weaker and run so poorly."
McGee smirked. "You were going to do what?" Warren pulled out their plans for him. He nodded. "I think it'd be a good idea to do that one. I'll go myself." Jonathan copied down the removal tool for him. "Right now, you four are going to serve your grounding in Cleveland while we figure out if there's a government project that could use you guys." He held up a hand. "There's a few that could use your brains and skills. It'd keep you out of prison for kidnaping."
"Like the Wormhole Extreme show?" Andrew asked, sounding awed. "I can definitely see a benefit if that one's real."
McGee smirked. "No comment but we'll see." He walked out, closing and sealing the door again. He looked at the SP. "They caught the person who put the president in office committing treason."
"We'll taste test the food and water," one agreed solemnly. "How long?"
"Probably within the day." He walked off, heading back up there. "They do have a tool that removes it." Gibbs smirked. "I've got how they were going to do it." He let him see. That got a nod. "The guards know how serious it is. Am I bringing anyone?"
"Go tonight," he ordered. That got a nod and he left. Fornell gave the robot an odd look then him. "Took us three days to figure him out. A week for the director."
"Think they'd work for us?"
"I was in the security system. McGee told them we'd be finding them a spot and it'd be better than prison if they accepted," Tony said with a grin. "Andrew asked if they could work with the Wormhole Extreme guys, boss."
"That's an idea," he agreed, sending the whole file to someone who knew someone out there. "Let's go. Fornell, which do you want?"
"I'll take these three," he said, taking the files. Tony and Gibbs got the next three. The other three they'd need a bigger team for so they'd join teams for that. They went to get their people and arrest the people behind the deal makers in the world.
McGee was shown into an office. "Thank you for seeing me today, sir."
"Not a problem. You said that there's been a threat to our software?"
"Actually, someone found the threat encoded," he said, handing over the CD. "That CD has a removal tool for the doomsday virus that was found in every Windows product since you first put one out. It also finds a small backdoor for hackers to get into and closes both issues. The geeks that brought it to our attention... well, we stopped their plans to take over the world."
"Using this virus?" he asked.
"No. They were going to do it in other ways." He leaned over to type an address into his keyboard, then opened the webpage. "They had it, sir." He looked then moaned. "They were a credible threat to the world. They managed to make robots of people in high places and no one could tell the difference without knowing they had been replaced." That got a slump. "One of them called the virus quaint I do believe." He moved the CD closer. "They also said that fixing both those issues fixes the problems that Vista has on a lot of machines. They wanted you to have that so you could find whatever programmer you had doing it and punish them, sir."
"Do we have any idea which one?"
"Yes, sir, I know exactly who coded them both," he said, staring at him. The other man went a bit paler behind his glasses. "Your secondary lead programmer does the backdoor in the virus. It looks like his coding on top of the other coding is what's causing the conflict that makes Vista so hard to deal with."
"Do we think someone would use this backdoor to crash systems?"
"I think it's a good thing he had the flu on New Year's Eve in 2000, sir." That got a solemn nod. "I was also sent to tell you that we do have the four geeks in custody. For now. They've graciously agreed to work for a certain program for a year or so to keep themselves out of jail. Unfortunately some of your golfing buddies that you see down in Pebble Beach weren't so lucky." He grinned. "The removal tool is being put onto the internet in a file sharing domain tomorrow for easy uploading by everyone. They've only said it was a flaw that was in the coding. The only people who know are the same ones who arrested the others. We do like your good works, sir."
"I'll keep that in mind, Lord Elron."
"Thank you, sir. The four might even benefit from some tutoring. They learned planning from D&D instead of a more firm source." He nodded politely and left.
The man behind the desk called up his errant programmer. "You added something to the code I put in Windows?" he asked grimly.
"That way we can keep track of information being spread around." He handed over a physical key. "To the hidden server room, sir. Some of what they know these days can help us gain an even bigger overseas share. Plus to take out some problems." He waved the CD. "I heard someone had made a removal tool."
"Your coding on top of mine caused the problems in Vista," he said grimly.
"Which was probably the same problem in ME," he admitted. "Sorry about that but too good to not do it, sir."
"Fine. We'll make sure it works together next time. Be more subtle. I just had a hacking federal agent in here."
"McGee," he said dryly. He called up some information. "They've arrested my poker and golf buddies," he sighed. "All nine of them."
"That leaves you, sir."
"They like my good works," he said with a grin.
"Well, you're only evil ten percent of the time, sir. The evil geek troika?"
"In custody and going to do their own penance for robotic replacement people."
"Interesting. Think we can get a look at them?"
"I'll see if we can. It's a hot field in Japan." That got a nod. "I'm going to have to dock your pay for that."
"That's fine. I figured you already knew, sir." He grinned and left. He wasn't in *real* trouble. Hell, he'd probably get a bonus once the boss saw what he had found for him. After all, he could've taken it and gone to start his own software company and take over his boss's within a year or so. Not like there weren't other flaws.
Buffy looked up as the four geeks were led into their rental house by a military officer. "What did they do?" she asked patiently. They had been warned by Bobby that they were grounded to their house for a month but not why. Just that Xander had been very, very tired when he went to deal with them.
"They're grounded to Cleveland for the next month, ma'am, then they're all going to be working in a small government lab for a year to make up for replacing some people."
"I'll make sure they're going to behave," she promised. He nodded, handing her something. "Details?"
"Letter from Captain Finn, ma'am. He came to yell at them but they had to take him away for a severe blood pressure spike when he heard they had been punished by someone who's saving the world in your place. He said to tell you that."
"It's good that he did. Less work Giles has to do," she said dryly. "Are they being picked up?"
"Yes, ma'am. And their things." She nodded. "Thank you, ma'am."
"Our van?" Andrew asked pitifully.
"Grounded means you can't drive," the officer said firmly, staring him down until he wilted again. "It'll be going with you. Your new commander will give it back when he feels you're ready for privileges." He saluted then left.
She looked at them. "Xander spanked?"
"He took this little wooden whisk broom and beat us on the head," Warren pouted.
"Oh." She nodded. "Mom got that for him. She'd be amused." She looked at Willow. "Weren't you going to keep them out of trouble while they kept you out of trouble?"
"Yup," she said, looking down. "Sorry, Buffy. Got a bit carried away with the geek empowerment again."
She shook her head. "Attic, guys. Now. Willow can share my room." They carried their things to their room while she read the ranting letter. It was ten pages long and a lot of it was ranting about what they had done. Giles came in from grocery shopping so she handed it over while she went to get the groceries. That way she could laugh in private. "Way to go, Xander," she said quietly, carrying in a bag. She quit laughing before walking inside. "Help me carry, boys. You're not broken." They and Willow went to help carry things. Once they were done, Giles took them to have a stern talk to all of them. They had known better! He hoped they learned their lessons.
Even if they were still hoarding the Watchers' money.
Xander looked at the guy walking up to where he was tanning. "Hey, Epps. How's your brother?"
"Good. He made Dru pout and walk off complaining about the pointy numbers stabbing her stars again." Xander grinned at that. "You okay?"
"I'm actually pretty decent. We got the last of the demons we knew about last night. Hence me celebrating in the sun." That got a grin. "Tara talk to Willow yet?"
"No, not yet. She started to call but then hung up and walked off muttering again. Fred followed." He sat beside him. "Are more coming?"
Xander looked at him. "There's always more coming to Sunnydale. Fortunately our next battle isn't for another month and I've got time to finish training for that one. Then one huge one, the one in the middle of nowhere. If I'm right, it's not going to be as world ending as we thought," he said at the opening mouth. "We've lessened it a lot. I can also feel that the hellmouth is changing slightly. It's not as bad in some ways. It feels tired at the moment. I don't know why but I'm thinking it'll be a lot less than we wanted to think about."
"But that's good, right? No more sudden earthquakes that hit LA and collapsed a mostly empty block of buildings?"
"No. Once that's done there won't be any more." That got a nod. "We'll have to see what's going to happen though." He took a sip of his soda. "Once that's done, I'll be leveling the town. Permission or not."
"Where'll you be, kid?" he asked.
Xander grinned. "The Mayor used to have a nice bolt hole down in the demon sections. Once it's gone, I'll be safe enough down there." That got a nod. "I'll be fine."
"If you say so." He stood up. "Nice move with the geeks."
"They needed it. Especially the grounding. It'll give Giles something to fuss over since Cleveland's only got one more battle and it's a straight forward 'stop the thing opening and eating everyone' battle." That got a nod. "Any word from the boys?"
"They're headed back this way. They stopped in on Bobby last week." Xander grinned. "Good job so far. Let me know if you need stuff."
"I will." Don walked off, heading back to his post. Xander went back to relaxing. It was a pretty day. He needed to soak up some of the sun for later on when it'd be a lot darker for a while.