Demon Criminal Investigative Services: Relocation.

Danny looked up, frowning at the odd feeling he got.  "Hey, Don?" he called up the hall.  "Something's happening."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm certain."  They both looked up then winced at the ripping feeling that happened.  They had no idea for a few minutes that they had been displaced because the drop to the ground knocked them out.


In Miami Speed and Ryan looked up and around, then dove for their coworkers to grab them and protect them.  Something hugely magical was happening and Dawn had gotten all the agents used to feeling what magic felt like when it happened.  So when the world shifted around them, they were ready.  Fortunately their hummer came with them.  They had weapons in it if they needed them.


Chase gave the phone an odd look.  "What was that?" he asked.  He frowned.  "Sure, you go."  He hung up.  "House, something happened at the hospital.  Sounded like an explosion."  He changed the tv in the infirmary to the news station. That would surely be covered.   What was starting to be covered was much worse.

House grabbed the phone.  "Xander, get down to the infirmary or turn on the tv up there now."  He hung up, watching the New York coverage of dragons that had just appeared in the middle of the city.  Some buildings were destroyed, but first reports were saying the people weren't in them.  "Shit," House muttered.

"Deeply."  Chase called someone he knew by the hospital.  "What happened at PPTH?  Yes, this is Robert.  What happened?"  He listened to the report of a big lizard.  "Turn on the news to HNN."  The person did and gaped.  "Where did the scanner say it appeared?"  He nodded once.  "Okay.  Give me a sec."  He looked up something.  "From what we've seen here, start with ten cc's of thorazine. For some reason it works in the larger reptiles that are magical.  I don't know.  Sedate it then move it."  He hung up and called Cuddy.  "We think...."  She hung up.  "You try."

House dialed.  "Cuddy, House.  Ten cc's of thorazine and up it by ten until the thing's sedated.  Ten should work."  He grimaced.  "Dart rifle?  Use the one in my office.  Attach it to the end of a nerf dart if you have to.  Yeah, one of those would work.  We think it will based on what we know.  That one's not the only one.  We're watching coverage from New York and they're having an infestation.  Yeah, try it.  Let us know.  Oh, if you get unicorns, the horns create an injury that starts cell death.  You have to trim around it or it'll keep going.  No matter what, even a small scratch.  Don't ask how we know this."  He hung up.  They shared a look and House levered himself up and limped up to the main floor.  "People, containment!" he called.

"Already on the phone," Xander called back.  "Danny's not answering either."  He hung up and called the local homeland office in New York.  "This is Harris, DCIS.  House, what sedates them!"

"Thorazine as far as we can tell.  Start with ten cc's and move up by ten."

"Heard that?"  He nodded. "I can do that, but for now, sedate the creatures and get them out of the way.  Before they eat someone."  He hung up and called Cleveland, getting Buffy.  "CNN, now, Buffy."  He hung up and stood up, going to find the number for the people he needed, putting them on conference call.  "Sir, Harris, DCIS."

"What hell happened?" the president shouted.

"We're figuring that out.  We know there's a barrier, like in the Phase series by an author named Piers Anthony, on the world.  It was done by the Watchers in the eleven hundreds."  Someone groaned.  Xander leaned his hands on the desk to get closer to the speaker.  "We've had a few small breaches, which happen routinely now and then.  A few a century.  Something made the barrier stutter for a second and we're going to find out what.  For now we need an order to sedate and move the creatures before someone gets hurt."

"All right, son.   How does this barrier work?"

"There's a keystone.  They did the spell because those creatures surviving is somehow tied into the earth's energy and it'd warp it and kill us all they thought if they died."

"Ancient science?" someone sneered.

"No clue.  I wasn't alive back then," Xander shot back.  "I have to rely on historical documents and the head of the Carribean branch of the Watchers Council.  He's here.  His books are on their way up.  We think, because we were talking about sending the two breeches we have here back, that the keystone is somewhere in the US.  It's hidden and normally not able to be found.  If somehow it was exposed, all it would take is a touch as far as he knew.  I don't know and the references are in transit," he said honestly.  "I know for right now, someone needs to sedate the beasts and move them.  There's going to be people trying to hunt them.  Dragons are carnivores and they will eat anything smaller than them.  Including people and domestic animals."

"What sedates them?" the president asked.

"Our docs here are suggesting starting at ten cc's of thorazine.  I'm guessing they think that'll work best."

Chase leaned in.  "The one at PPTH was sedated by twenty and it's over forty feet long," he reported.  "Ten for anything smaller than a cow, twenty and up for anything larger than an elephant.  Start with ten for anything in between."

"Heard that?" Xander asked.  "That's Doctor Chase, our resident."

"That'll be passed on," the president agreed.  "Where's your boss?"

"Jack needed him.  Tony's testifying somewhere in DC about that case with the higher demon you had their director put away after."

"I remember.  I'll have DiNozzo found.  If not, are you coming out here?  Someone needs to calm them down."

"Let me start the research here."

"Where are you sending the slayers?" the head of Homeland demanded.

"Nowhere.  These aren't demons.  These are big pets to the girls.  They'll defend where they can but I'm worried about that little, pesky physics law that says matter was exchanged and it has to be in equal measure.  Killing them means the people they switched places with may have to stay."  That got a groan.  "I don't want the girls to do more than herd and sedate and I'm sending out that order.  We have some on the hotspot in LA and they're getting it first.  They registered the first problems due to a storm that just passed that way."

"How long?" the president asked.

"His books should be here in another two days.  I have a witch on staff and the ones she knows can help her figure out what sort of incursion it was.  If we can figure it out, we can try to reverse it.  I'm hoping we have it solved within two months.  Shorter if possible.  That's my long distance estimate."

"Good.  Let me call around.  Stay by the phone, Harris," the president ordered.

"Sir, if there's dragons and unicorns, there might be some night living creatures.  We don't know, we just saw it on the news."


"It'll keep things down.  At least until we're sure whether or not there are.  If so, the slayers will be handling that issue but not the dragons.  To be honest, they'd probably try to pet them.  They do the two baby unicorns we had appear here."

"Agreed, son.  Stay by the phone.  Get ready to go if you have to."

"Yes, sir."  He hung up and looked at Chase.  "Get with Benny Ray... . shit, he's gone.  He left last week."

"I'll have John help," he said, going to get John.  He was calmly whittling stakes.  "John, major problems.  I need your help in the armory."  Dean and John both looked up.  "There's been a failure in that shield thing.  There's dragons all over the US and probably missing people."

"How do we kill them?" Dean asked.

"Sedate.  Xander thinks there might be a problem if we kill them.  Something about equal exchange of mass?"

"A displacement spell would need it," John agreed.  "Get me sedatives.  I can pack darts."  He stood up.  "Call Dawn's teachers, get Dawn back here now."  He went to deal with the armory.  "Sammy, find the unicorns!" he shouted. "Check on the girls with Wesley!"

"Already started.  Dawn said the trio aren't home, aren't answering, and their club was displaced," Sam shouted, coming in to help him.  "House said ten or twenty of thorazine."

"We can do that."  He found the box of darts they had, just in case, and showed him how to load them.  Chase brought in the few bottles they had and sat down to load with him. "House getting us more?"

"Another ten bottles from the local hospital.  The deputy in town is bringing them," Chase assured him.  He looked at him.  "One appeared inside the hospital, by pediatrics."

Sam shuddered.  "Let's hope they're okay."

"There were docs there."

Xander walked in, grabbing a few things and his precious battle axe.  He also packed a rifle case and came over to get half the darts they had done.  "I'm heading to DC to manage from there.  Wesley knows how and what to send the girls out for.  Prepare them for shadow creatures.  Because the one book we have here mentions them."  That got a nod and Xander left, going to pack some clothes.  On the way he called the NYPD.  "This is Harris, DCIS.  Two of my people were in the lab that disappeared.  Has anyone had any contact from that area?"  He nodded, sighing.

"They had weapons with them, ma'am.  If they're alive, they're okay.  Yeah, they can.  Sedate them.  Ten cc's of thorazine for anything smaller than a cow.  Twenty of the same med for anything bigger than an elephant.  Start at the smaller dose and work up for anything in between.  Because killing them could trap the people over there.  Sedate them and move them.  Federal orders."  He smiled.  "Thank you.  Tell the local ER's to call ours here if they need help.  I'm not sure if they have a poison or not in their mouth.  Even a scratch by a unicorn horn can kill so tell them to call."  He hung up and finished packing then came out to find his ride there.  He climbed onto the copter with his two bags, getting an odd look.  "Weapons."  That got a nod and they took off, heading for DC.


Xander stepped in front of the press corps.  "Quit."  They all quit talking and looked at him.  "I'm Xander Harris, third-in-command at DCIS, the temporary head since the boss is out of contact working on something and our second was here in town at the courthouse as far as we can tell."  That got some nods.  "I'm also second-in-command at the Slayers Council."  That got some sighs.  "I'm also not the best public speaker so I had to write things out.  Let me start there and I'll take questions, okay?"  They all nodded.  "As of eleven this morning, a shield that has been in place since the eleven hundreds fell for an unknown reason.  This shield has kept these creatures off our plane with a few exceptions every year.  We get a breach or two each year.  We had one recently but so far we cannot correlate that with why it fell."  He glanced down then at them.  "We are researching where the shield is exactly and how it may have fallen.  It will take us about a week to finish this research and the investigation into the shield itself.  It's energy and we've already started on it."

"Why so long?" someone called.

"Because half the books we need are coming up from the Carribean and won't be in for two days.  We only have minimal sources but in that shipment is a first hand account of how they put it up.  We need that to find out how to reset it."  That got a nod and he wrote that down.  "As of this moment, I want people to remain calm.  It looks like the people that are missing were displaced to where the dragons came from.  So far we have reports of about sixteen hundred people.  We also know some have shown back up.  I do not know yet if this is only in the US or not.  We're trying to get hold of people in other places to see.  If so, that number may go up.  I do know that one of the places displaced was a military base so I'm sure they're protecting people if they can get to them."

That got a nod and written down.  "Right now, I would ask that law enforcement and DNR officials *sedate* the creatures.  We are not sure if killing may trap people over there.  We do know how to sedate them."  He pointed at the slide that came on behind him.  "This is the best method of sedation we have off the top of our heads.  We know that the higher category works.  It did when one appeared in a hospital in New Jersey.  That drug has been shown effective on a few different creatures that've shown up so far so we're asking that if you find a unicorn you use a foal or pony strength dart of the same medicine on them then move them."  That got more notes taken.  "We have sent out this information, we're hoping this gets to people in smaller areas that might not have gotten it."

"Agent Harris, why sedate them?" one reporter asked.

"Because in cases like this, a displacement would move an equal amount of mass.  Don't ask me the science behind it, that's not my area.  Sorry."  He grinned slightly.  "We're worried that if we take some of the living mass out on this side, then the living mass on that side won't transfer back."  That got a nod.  "Any good physicist can tell you why since science isn't my thing.  I leave that to the experts."  They nodded.  "I have also asked for a curfew to be in effect in heavily populated areas that were affected.  The few books we do have at this moment mention some creatures that live at night and in shadows.  We do believe that they can feast on people and we don't want that."

"The girls from the invasion in LA, are they going to handle this?" someone called from the back.

"They're not equipped to handle dragons or unicorns beyond petting the unicorns.  We are going to let them handle any of the shadow creatures that may have come over.  They're deploying today once we've heard where we need them."  He wet his lips.  "To be truthful, everyone at DCIS thinks it'd be better if we sedate what we can and put them somewhere neutral for right now.  It's safer for the humans and the creatures.  I do know that we have found unicorn horn injuries will destroy human tissue even if it's only a scratch.  Our doctors, Doctor House and Doctor Chase, are already fielding calls from various hospitals about what to do.  We know that some dragons do have a poison in their saliva.  The same as some snakes do and some don't.  That's as close to an analogy as I can get at the moment."

That got a few smiles.  "Fortunately we've been busy researching and working on the poison issue for other demon classes and we think some of the cures will work on theirs.  We're working on it as fast as we can right now.  We ask that people stay calm and let us work.  Report the names of missing people to the local law enforcement people.  If you find a creature, call it in instead of taking it on."  He coughed. "I better than some realize that there will be some stupid young men who think it will make a name for themselves to go out and kill one of these creatures.  Be they geeks, like I was, who used to role play and think they can handle it with a fan blade from one of the companies that sell Highlander or Xena merchandise, or if they're hunters who want to make a name for themselves.

"We want no one in danger.  We ask that those people who are tempted to go out and prove how manly or womanly they may be don't do it."  He coughed again and sipped some water.  "I know that the temptation is there.  I was one of those kids when I was younger.  I would've been there in a heartbeat.  Especially if one of my friends had been displaced.  We ask that they let us handle it instead of them being killed trying to fight these things.  It's bad enough we already lost three law enforcement people as far as I've been told because they had to protect others to get them away from the dragons.  We don't want anyone else to be killed that doesn't have to be.  So take some standard, reasonable precautions, people.  Please."  He folded up the paper.  "Any questions?"

One reporter stood up.  "Sir, this shield?"

"As far as I know, it was described to me like the one in the Phase series.  Which is a nice fantasy series to read.  All I know so far is that it's ancient. There's a keystone.  The keystone is what we need to find to reset it.  We'll be putting out a call for that later once we find out what it looks like.  When we get the book."  That got a nod and she sat down.  "Any other questions?"

One reporter raised her hand behind her camera.  "Sir, what agency did you come from?"

"I wasn't.  I was working with the slayers before."

"That's why you're second in the slayer's Council?"

"I am.  I was the head until Rupert Giles woke up."  That got a few nods.  "He had been in a coma after the events in Sunnydale and LA."  That got more things written down.  "As of right now, Rupert is working on deployment and gathering where the girls need to be so please don't go haunt the doors.  If the Council has to announce something, he'll do it through me in this case."  They nodded.  "So if you see the girls, let them work, please."  He pointed at one reporter.  "You look like you have one."

"Would the people who are missing have weapons?"

Xander considered it for a second.  "Four of our agents were out helping metro areas set up a local office.  They would.  I helped the agents learn the skills they might need no matter what they run into.  Two were in New York and two in Miami.  They probably have weapons and if not, we carry special ammo that should work over there."  He sighed.  "The guns the military people have should work at least a little bit if they have to use them.  No one's told me if their supply depot went with them but all military personnel are survival trained.  They will gather whoever they can and protect them.   That's what they do."  That got a nod.  "I have the utmost faith that they can keep at least themselves and whoever they can find safe.  I have no idea if they have found a way to communicate with others that have been displaced or not.  We're trying to see if there's a way to communicate over there to let them know what happened and see if we can help.  That's a secondary consideration.  Right now, I want to figure out how to fix it first."  The Press Secretary walked in and Xander moved out of his way.  "New intel, sir?"

"Some.  This is not just a US phenomenon.  Though it is lessened in other areas."  Xander moaned, shaking his head.  "It appears that there's a new goblin colony in Iraq.  One of the local units over there has reported they ran into them and that they had agreed to keep them safe and the goblins were going to stay out of matters."

"That makes sense, they're supposed to be intelligent beings," Xander told him.  The other man smiled.  "Sorry."

"No, that's a good thing."  He looked at them.  "As of right now, the President has called for a US wide curfew in affected areas starting at dusk.  Those who have to work at night we'll handle later on, or more likely their cities will.  We would agree, keep calm, let DCIS and Homeland handle this."  They all nodded.  "We'll brief you later when we have more information."

"Definitely at least once we have the books and find the keystone," Xander offered.  "We'll need someone to find it for us if the location isn't mentioned."  That got a few nods. "Thank you for listening and telling others, people.  Be safe."  He walked out with him, closing the door behind him. "Sir, Tony?"

"Everyone in the courthouse disappeared and were replaced by a herd of unicorns."

"Ow.  Normal ones?"

The press secretary looked at him.  "What?"

"There's apparently two types.  A darker one and the traditional one.  We have one of each on the base."

"Is that the cause?"

"No. There's small breaches every year.  We checked on that breach and they said it was fully sealed.  It hadn't caused any damage.  From what Dawn can tell so far, the shield blinked and that caused the displacement.  Ours was a small, self repairing hole."

"Are they going back?"

"If they can.  I don't want to keep a problem going.  We've been doing some research to see if we could put them back, no matter how much the girls will pout."

"They like them?" he asked with a smirk.

"The first one slept on a bed," Xander said honestly.

He sighed, shaking his head at that.  "How soon?"

"The books are in Customs."

"Give us the information."  Xander handed it over.  "The president wants to see you."

"I figured he wanted to yell at someone and I'm a good target," he agreed, following him.  He walked in.  "Sir."

"Harris."  He looked at him.  "You clearly don't like to speak publically.  Look at them more and the paper less, son."

"I've only had to give speeches in english class, sir, but I'll remember that.  Danny?"

"Displaced across the gateway."

Xander moaned.  "I thought the power was down."

"They sent a message saying they wanted to talk to him about a treaty.  They went over once it was reestablished and the base wasn't touched except for a few goblins or whatever down there digging."

"Dwarves probably."

"Okay.  How do you know that?"

"Dungeons and Dragons," he said with a small grin.  "Goblins menace, dwarves dig and mine.  Unless they're Harry Potter goblins."

"I guess that's as valid as anything.  Get that shipment of books from customs."

"I've already handed that to the secretary of state," the press secretary said.  He looked at Xander.  "The girls?"

"If there are fear creatures, shadow creatures, that stuff, it's their job.  Dragons aren't and they could only kill or sedate them.  We have taught them all how to shoot but a major fear creature hitting somewhere like downtown LA again could cause mass suicide or homicides."

"So having them handle that while DNR and other agents handle the bigger things that might be dumb but just animals makes more sense," the president said.  Xander nodded.  "Rupert Giles' opinion?"

"He agreed when I told him that's what was going to happen.  He said one of the girls did try to pet a dragon and nearly got chomped for it.  It was small so she hit it and knocked it out.  They handed it over when she tried to bring it back as a pet."

The president burst out laughing.  "Those girls are something else."

"Did you see pictures of Binky and Digger, sir?"

"Doctor Jackson showed me.  Not the cause?"

"No, sir.  We know it had something to do with the keystone.  Only that could make the shield blink.  Personally I think it's out west somewhere because LA had a problem with a storm recently that uncovered a lot of magical artifacts that had been hidden and caused them fits for days.  So I'm guessing it's somewhere in the path of that storm.  We won't know until we get the book."

"Good.  You're staying local?"

"I shouldn't.  They need me."

"Why were you put that far out?"

Xander shrugged.  "The last president said so and it's a nice base.  It's got the prison underneath it.  Putting the prison here would cause hell.  Putting it there didn't."

"That's probably why he did it.  That and to keep you guys safe from people like those cults."

Xander smirked meanly.  "I heard some of them got displaced from the ranch in Texas one of the cults is running.  Doctor House was saying it was divine retribution."

"I can see that point.  Now what?"

"Now, we research, we get the witches onto the shield so they can monitor it and see if we can put some of them back and get some people back.  I know the dragon that appeared in the hospital our docs worked in before displaced part of a pediatrics ward and we're hoping like hell they're safe."

"Good.  Can they?"

"We're looking, sir.  Our witch on base is in training.  She's seventeen.  Her teachers were displaced and the coven she used to learn from in England is being a bit fussy.  Giles is calling them to help her."


"I think Giles said he was going to put the foot of Janus up their ass because he used to practice chaos magic when he was a rebellious young guy."  The president smirked at that.  "Since then he reformed."  He smirked.  "Giles was about to call down Janus on them to fix the attitude.  Which was the reason we moved Dawn to some teachers on the west coast."

"Good.  Go ahead back.  Be back Tuesday."

"Send for me, sir, and I'll come."  He nodded.  "Have a better day and give us what you have about where incursions happened.  It can only help."

"Already done, kid.  Go."  Xander nodded and left, heading back to the base.  "He's not bad."

"He's young and jumpy.  He barely graduated high school.  He got in under practical experience."

"Which he does have," the president pointed out.  "We'd be panicking if he hadn't called and said to sedate them.  If killing them is going to keep them there, I don't want to risk it either."  He rubbed his hands together.  "Speaking of which, get me Sam Carter.  I want an explanation of how this happened.  She's either at Area 51 or on their base.  She has approval from Abby to work in their labs."

"The secretary of state said she's been displaced, sir.  She was on leave.  The whole spa got displaced."

"Charming.  Who's out there?"

"McKay.  We called to see."

"All right.  I want to know exactly how this happened.  He and Abby can babble or whatever."  That got a nod and he went to find someone to give him that information.  He leaned back to have a quiet few minutes.  This was not a good thing to have happen.  They had said they'd warn him but apparently this one didn't have one.


Speed looked around, then at Ryan.  "We're not home."

"No, we're not.  That's a water dragon," he said with a point.  Speed looked and groaned.  "Hummer?"

"Hummer."  They got Calleigh and Horatio into the hummer since they were still stunned stupid, and headed back to the city.  Which wasn't there.  "Oh, yeah, we're not home," Speed said.  "So?"

Ryan checked his phone.  "No cellphone towers so no signal.  Radio?  If we're displaced somehow, maybe there's military guys?"

Speed nodded, finding a good spot to park and got to work on the radio.  "We need a signal booster."  He was praying hard he remembered how to do this from his teenage years.

Ryan pointed at a natural rock formation.  "Send it from up there."  They nodded and drove that way to do that.  The hummer could make it up the short hill.   They got to work sending out messages.  Calleigh shook herself free.  "Hey."

She looked around.  "This isn't Miami."

"I have the feeling we're where Digger and Binky came from," Speed told her.  Horatio moved to take over the radio and try to boost the signal using Speed's cellphone. They got a small crackle of sound back and tried another channel.  That got them some.  Speed took it back.  "This is DCIS agents Speedle and Wolfe in what used to be Miami.  Who're you and where?"

"Sir, out toward Tampa," the report came back.  "We've got three people here with us.  We know a few from Pensacola are also here."

"Do they have a better radio?"  He checked the hummer's gas gauge.  Mostly full.  "And do we have gas?  We've got a crime lab hummer."  He let go of the button.

"We do, sir.  We think.  They're meeting us later up by them."

"Good idea.  Give us the coordinates."  The guy repeated them.  "We can be there.  Gather any survivors we have.  We have two others.  Let me try the local PD channel again."  He hung up and switched the station.  "This is DCIS agent Speedle.  Anyone in the Miami area we're on that tower of stone.  Meet us now so we can hook up with others."  He let it go, listening to the few affirmatives.  "Get a vehicle if we have one.  We have a hummer and four of us."  That got another agreement.  He let it go.  "Now we wait."

"Now we try the harder things," Ryan countered.  "When you were in Xander did you pick up any spell work?"


"Did you work any with Dawn?"

"A bit.  Some of the centering exercises."

"I've seen a few of those," Calleigh offered.

"Then let's try what Dawn does.  PAIGE!" Ryan bellowed.  A woman orbed in.  "Hi.  You too?"

"What the hell?" she asked.  "Wolfe?"  He smirked.  "What happened?"

"No clue.  It looks like we're where Binky and Digger came from.  There's others here."


"No, really?" Speed asked dryly.  "What gave you that idea?"

She glared at him.  "Quit or I'm zipping your lips shut.  Magic is much easier here."  She looked at Ryan.  "Why yell?"

"We have to find the others and meet somewhere.  It'll protect us.  Can you see if there's other witches?"

"Don Flack's in New York.  Dawn marked him because he seems to draw trouble like Xander.  That way she could create portals near him faster."

"Good.  Can you and the girls start moving people on your side of the country to somewhere safer?  That way we can start doing the same?"

"I can try.  That takes a lot of magic, guys."

"Yeah, but if there's other witches, a telepathy spell might not," Ryan pointed out.

"That's not a bad idea.  Let me tell Flack.  I know there's some up with him and probably some in New Jersey.  There's a few spots there that draw it."  They nodded.  "I'll keep in touch."

"We're heading up state," Ryan told her.  She nodded and disappeared.  He grinned.  "I like how that works."

"You're lucky she didn't hit you, Wolfe."

"I wasn't anything but polite.  It was you she wanted to shut up."

Speed glared at him.  "Sorry if my innate response is to snark back but oh well."

"Boys," Horatio said.  "Act like agents now, and play later."  He looked at the officers coming up to where they were.  He put his hands on his hips, staring at them.  "How many of us?"

"Sixteen, sir, and a lot of beasts.  We had to shoot a few to protect some kids."

"We're going to move everyone to a central location if possible.  If not consolidate," Ryan told him.  "How many vehicles?"

"About twenty that we can see.  I have officers going to gather them.  How many others?"

"Some in Pensacola, probably at the base, and some from Tampa we know of.  At least one from San Francisco and one in New York," Ryan reported.

"We'd need a lot of gas to make it near your base, sir.  We found one pump but without electric I'm not sure how we'd get the gas out."

"I know."

"Let's at least try to consolidate people in as few areas as possible.  It'll make it easier for defense and to feed them," Horatio ordered.

"Pensacola at the base would be nice if their things came.  It's been a long time since I camped," Speed said.

"We'll send the orders, sir."  He went to do that.  This car had almost no gas so it was good for errands here.  They gathered whoever they could and repeated the radio experiment down toward the keys.  No one answered so maybe that was a good thing.  They got everyone moving toward the north.  The hummer fell into line.  The officers smiled because they knew Caine wasn't letting Speedle out of his sight.  It made a lot of sense for him to be there.


Danny took another swing of the sword at the beast.  "I will not complain about sword practice on Sunday with Xander *ever* again!" he shouted.

Don got up with a groan, holding his head.  "Me either."  He shot the thing and it died.  "Hey, holy water does work on dragons."  He looked at the people.  "Let's move, people.  Now.  Before more come to see if we're tasty.  Stella, help Mac.  Sid, you can finish splinting wherever we can hide."  That got a nod and they herded people off to some hills they could see close by.  It was a few hours' walk but that was what had to happen.  Danny nudged him and pointed at something.  "A bus," Don said.  He jogged over to it.  It took him an hour but it ran and had gas.  It meant a much easier trip to the hills.  Sid used it to help those who needed help.  Don's own slight bump on the head wasn't going to get any ice so he dealt with it for now.  "Now what?"

"We need to find others who got moved," Danny said quietly.  "Mac, you're in charge of survival stuff.  You have training we don't."  He looked at the others.  "Someone see if we can get the radio boosted so we can reach other places."  Paige appeared.  "Never mind."  He looked at her.  "What the fuck?" he demanded.

"We're where Binky and Digger came from."

"I noticed the dragons we had ta kill," Danny shot back.  She smirked at him for it.  "It was gonna eat Don."

"For right now, we're consolidating locations.  You have people here and in New Jersey."

"Like in _the Stand_?" Mac asked.

"If we could get you all to Las Vegas, we would," Paige assured him.  "We can feel a major magical spike that way."  She looked at them.  "Speed and Ryan are with the redhead and the blonde lady in Miami."

"Horatio and Calleigh," Danny said.  "Ryan called, said they had a swamp demon.  He wanted some intel on them since we had a case with one."  He looked at Don then at her.  "Banged his head when we fell."

"It happens."  She checked.  "He'll be fine with some rest.  For right now, let's consolidate wherever we can.  There's a military unit that picked up the kids displaced from a hospital in New Jersey.  We felt the kids and I went there before here."

"That's good to us," Don promised.  "Any idea if there's more coming from upstate or further north?"

"I don't know.  I can't tell.  I know there's some in Chicago.  A few in San Fran with us.  A lot in LA.  Including the Epps family."

"Cordette's a young slayer," Danny said, starting to frown.

"Which is a good thing.  She'll be protected."

"Good," Mac agreed.  "For now, stay here?"

"For now, put up something so they know you're here.  The military is bringing the docs and kids here.  The dragon appeared on a pediatrics ward."  They all hissed.  "In the hospital House used to work in."  She grimaced.  "Let me see if I can find others.  Set a huge fire or a sign or something.  Okay?"  She disappeared.  She had told the military there were survivors that way.  That's why they were headed there.  Kids with problems and all.  She landed in Las Vegas to look at the thing glowing to them.  "What are you?" she demanded.  Words appeared.  "Shit.  Piper, you know Latin!" she called.  Her sister orbed in.  "What's it say?"

"Here sits the key to keeping us all alive by keeping us apart.  If you're reading this, you're in the wrong world.  Real helpful."

"The keystone?"

"The keystone," she agreed grimly.  "How many in New York?"

"About sixty.  Another twenty plus half a military unit in New Jersey moving toward them.  About fifty in Florida probably.  I can feel a witch in Chicago.  Not our sort though."

"Let me talk to her."  She went to do that.  "Calm down Cordette," she called as she left.

"Sure.  I can do that."  She disappeared, finding the young slayer.  "Hey, Princess."

"PAIGE!" she squealed, pouncing her to hug.  "What happened?  There's mean old dragons and unicorns!  Unicorns are really soft and let me pet them!"

"I know."  Alan gave her a look.  "Somehow we're where Binky and Digger came from."

"Ooh," Cordette said.

Paige squatted down.  "Your demon sensing skills may not help a whole lot but you need to tell them if you feel one, okay?"

"Of course, silly."  She smiled.  "Don and I already talked.  I talked to the older female unicorn too.  She told the others to leave us alone."

"Good girl."  She gave her a hug.  "If I know Xander and Dawn we'll be okay."

"They're not here?"

"Nope.  I can find both of them and none of the other slayers are here.  Only you."

"I'll be a good helper," she promised.

"Good girl.  If Don asks, can you help shoot deer for food?"  She nodded.  "Even better."  She gave her another hug.  "Don, we need to gather everyone together.  Somehow.  Radio signals are coming in somehow."

"We have a radio station that partially came but no electric."

She smirked.  "Magic is so much more plentiful here.  Let's see what we can do.  You can set out a rotating signal."  He nodded, leading her to it.  It was in a van, a mobile unit.  She frowned and called Phoebe, who knew about those things.  It was restarted and they recorded a message, playing it on all radio waves.  It should reach all the way to the Rockies since there was no interference.  "Now, set up a beacon."  That got a nod and they went to do that.  "Then hunker down.  It's going to be days.  We have *no* idea what happened."

Alan nodded.  "We can do that.  Cordette, go help Charlie gather food."  She went to do that.  "Thank you."

"Not an issue.  If we can, we'll do what we have to do.  We have about ten of us from home."  She shrugged and disappeared again.

Don looked around.  "Okay, we'll be getting others here soon.  Let's set up a base camp.  Someone find a way to shelter us from any storms."  They went to do that and Connor stomped over.  "You're here?"

"We were on the other side of the city.  None of the others came with us."

"Cordette's here with Charlie at the moment."

"Good.  We can handle that.  I'll be on for protection but I will punch a unicorn if it tries to snuggle."

"Fine," Don agreed.  "Cordette talked to one and they moved the herd for a bit.  Help find shelter."

"Caves or do we have to worry about creatures?"

"No caves.  Too dangerous if there's an earthquake," Alan told him.  "Above ground only and we can let Cor clear it of having demons."  He nodded, looking around the very different landscape.  Then he pointed.  "That'll work.  People, just off to the east there's a set of caves.  Let us clear them then we'll start moving others that way.  If you can find a car and it works, that'll do too."  They nodded, going to scavenge for cars and things.  Connor got Cordette and they headed off in a car to do that.  He sent back signals with a mirror.  Don smiled.  "Good job teaching her that," Alan said. "There's caves, they're going to be okay to sleep in.  Let's head that way."  Everyone around them started to move and Don found a can of spray paint thanks to a kid, marking on the side of the van where they were.  Just in case someone was tracing the signal.


John stopped Dawn later that night after dinner.  "Use the psychic link you have to Prue and see if she can reach her sisters."

"I didn't think about that."

"I know.  Neither did I until Sam said something.  Take Dean and go."  She nodded, going to get Dean to help her while he got the last few of the girls on base back into their beds.  "School's still on tomorrow, ladies.  Bed."  They went to do that.  John looked up as the helicopter landed, coming out to meet Xander.  "I have Dawn seeing if Prue could reach her sisters."

"That'll work.  Hopefully.  The books?"

"Will be here by midnight on a military transport," John told him.  "Everyone's off handling things.  Teams are split up."

"DC can be handled by Gibbs if he's still there or our profiler."

"We've already done that."

"Good.  Anything I have to know?"

"Giles asked Wesley why you were second-in-command.  Wesley said he didn't want the headaches he gave you."

"Yay.  The girls?"

"Anyone cleared for patrol is off hunting fear and night creatures.  We were right."  Another helicopter, this one a troop carrier started to land.  "Girls, come help lift books!" he bellowed.  They came to help and get them into the library.  "I left you a note on the desk where everyone is, Xander."  He went to do that and check with their docs.  John helped by carrying crates of books with the girls. "The ones we need?"

"By the index in the first box it's in the next load," Thomas yelled back.  "It'll be a few  hours.  Ladies, try to rest.  We'll need more help in a bit."  They nodded and did that.

"Fine, you can skip tomorrow," John called.  Brenda gave him a hug and went to help lift in the last crate.  At the very least they could put these up for now. They needed them anyway.  Xander came in to help.  "The docs?"

"Fielding calls about strange poisons, unicorn horns, all that.  Brenda, go help the docs.  Take another one with you who can speak good technical english and be polite."  She nodded, tapping one of the others to go with her.  "Thomas, I said two months.  Was I overly optimistic?"

"We should be able to do it within a month if we can find the dratted keystone."

"Even better.  Dawn's off trying to reach her teachers."

"When we have it, we'll need her rested."

"I know.  She probably does too."  They finished up while the girls brought in the next set of crates.  Thomas found the box he needed and dug into it.  The book was near the bottom but Sam got the ones he tossed out to shelve for him.  They gathered around the book.  "Huh, is that in Myferian?" Xander asked.

"Indeed.  Not my best language."

Xander took it, skimming the pages.  "The keystone was moved blindly to where some day the light that hit the heavens shone like a star.  That way none of them could undo what was wrought and future generations could not find it for that land was uninhabited by those who used magic.  It's on their side."

"So it briefly came over?" Sam suggested.

"If so, where?" John asked.

Xander and Sam looked at each other, then him.  "Vegas.  It's one of the few places that has a light that shines bright enough to be a star."

"Or it's at the Twin Towers Memorial Site on Ground Zero," John said.

"That one doesn't reach the heavens.  I read somewhere the MGM Grand's does and so do a few other lights," Sam told him.  "To them it was deserted then and the Natives didn't use magic like they did."

"So we're looking for a large rock with words in Las Vegas."

"That suddenly appeared," Xander said.  "That stupid storm!"

"It did roll over Vegas."  John scratched his head.  "Would it be in the Grand?"

"It doesn't say it's under the light, but let's get our contact out there to talk to us."  He went to the office with the book.  "I need to speak to CSI Sanders please," Xander said.

"Sir, he's a bit busy.  Is this about a case?"

"I'm his boss."

"Sir, you're not CSI Grissom."  She hung up.

Xander sighed and redialed.  "This is DCIS Agent Harris.  CSI Sanders is our local liaison.  Get him on this phone now before I send a unicorn to gut you, lady."  She squeaked and did that.  A new voice came on.

"Yes?  You needed Sanders?"

"Which you're not," Xander said.  "Who're you?"

"I'm one of the officers he works with, sir.  You are?"

"DCIS Agent Harris.  Now... you are?"

"Captain Jim Brass.  The homicide detective they work with.  I used to be over the lab.  He's in the field."

"That's fine.  The keystone is in your city.  Somewhere. It would've briefly appeared.  It's probably near the Grand, might be in it, not real sure.  The place they moved it said someday a light that shone like a star into the heavens would mark it's spot."

"So it's somewhere local.  What does it look like?"

"A six foot piece of quartz and granite.  Like sandstone from England kinda.  Been aged a lot, may have some writing on it.  It would've appeared suddenly and then probably disappeared."

"If it's in a casino, we can get it from security," he said.  "Thank you."

"I need to know.  I'll be there tonight or early tomorrow."  He hung up.  Then he called the president.  "The keystone is in Las Vegas.  I'm going tonight.  Dawn will join me in a few days, once we've found it and she's rested.  She's trying to find her teachers since they were displaced.  Agent Harris.  Yes, he only has to know.  Have someone announce it.  The LVPD liaison we have is finding it while I get up there.  Thank you.  I'll put out a statement later on, once we know for sure what happened.  They should be able to tell us.  We have the books."  He hung up and tossed the book back to House.  "Give that to Thomas.  That's the spell and account of it."

"What now?"

"The keystone is in Vegas."

"No brothels."

"I'm working, House.  How's your hospital?"

"Not bad.  Part of a pediatrics ward disappeared with the doctors but so did part of a local reserve unit so they're probably safe."

"Danny and Don disappeared from New York.  If possible they'll get with them.  Probably group like they did in _The Stand_."  That got a nod.  "Good.  Let me know if you need stuff."

"Another few helpers."

"If Thomas doesn't need them, John said the girls could loaf tomorrow and help wherever.  Cordette's one of the ones who went so they're all worried."  That got a nod so Xander grabbed things to go with him.  The last helicopter was halted before takeoff.  "More books?"

"No, sir."

"Then I need a ride to Vegas. That's where the keystone is."  That got a nod and he took him with him that way, calling in to his CO.  Who threw a fit but Xander overruled him and so did the base's commander.


Brass hung up and whistled.  "People."  They all stared.  "The keystone is here!  It's probably near the Grand or in the Grand.  The account said they moved it near the light."  They all groaned.  "Find it now.  It had to be touched or something.  It's a six foot or so piece of English granite with quartz, may have words, may not; it suddenly appeared and then probably disappeared."  They nodded and went to make calls to the casinos and hotels.  He called Greg.  "Harris is on his way.  The keystone is local."  He smiled. "That's good to hear.  Thanks, Sanders."  He hung up.  "He'll meet Xander wherever he lands."

"I called the airport, he's coming in by chopper and he'll land here," Grissom said a minute later.  "He seemed awfully young."

"Greg looked him up once.  He was fighting with the older slayers out in California," Nick said from where he was on hold.  "You sure? It would've only taken a minute.  Yeah, I guess you would mark a big stone suddenly appearing and disappearing.  If you hear, let us know.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Not at the Grand."

"No, it's next to it," Warrick announced, holding up his phone.  "Rope off the area.  DCIS is coming, they'll want the tape.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "They did note it.  They said a kid touched it."  Everyone groaned.  "So we'll see."

They nodded.  "Get the agent coming there," Grissom ordered Nick and Warrick.  "Greg said he would but he's on that stabbing with Cat."

"I'll take his place," Warrick said, going to do that.  This was Greg's job, not his.  This was too freaky for him.


Dawn talked to her psychic teacher spirit and smiled.  "Good, let's do that."  She let her take over and laid a hand over where the shield was, plugging into the magic.  Prue had to be very careful not to awaken the Key's power.  There was no telling what would happen if she did.  She sent out a psychic tether, which she used as a ghost to communicate with her student, and found a familiar mind.  "Dear, are you in trouble?" she asked dryly, muttering from Dawn's mouth.  "Want some help?"  Piper joined in and they talked about it.  Dawn agreed with what they needed to do.  Prue looked at Dean.

"We're going to try to help a bit.  Everyone over there is basically where they landed.  We need them consolidated.  Magic is easier over there.  Leo made it so it'll be okay."  He gave her a wary look but nodded slowly.  "It might mean some of them come back sooner."  She got to work on the spell with them.  Leo had gotten it form an Elder on the Council, who he said was not amused at this.  Even the Powers were throwing hissies according to him.  Which was not a good thing.  They chanted it quietly, getting into the depth of the spell.  "Hopeless first and children," she whispered.  They got sent back and Prue had a headache but Dawn pushed her out of the way and knowingly accessed the Key's magic, hyping the spell to add to it.  More of them came back and more dragons disappeared.

Then they all passed out.

Dean caught her before she hit the ground.  "Wonderful.  House is going to kill you and me if Xander doesn't."  He picked her up, taking her to the Impala.  Then he came back for her stuff, putting it into the trunk.  Fortunately it was only ten minutes back to base.   He called ahead.  "Chase, Dawn and Prue were casting at the barrier to reach Prue's former sisters.  You didn't hear Dawn's possessed by a witch who's teaching her because she made a major mistake?"  He smirked.  "She went to kick the Powers in the ass for being assholes.  She and Xander won.  She's passed out.  Right to the door.  Five."  He hung up and turned on the radio.  Dawn shifted sides and moaned.  "No making that sort of noise at me, young lady.  I'm not the one you crush on."  She batted at him but fell back into her mind again.  He pulled up in front of the building so Chase could pull her out.  "They did something.  Some people may be back."

"It's on the news," Chase said, smiling at him.  "Thanks."

"Welcome, figured you were bored," he quipped, driving off.  He parked and got out to come help in the library.  He didn't understand medicine but he knew how to shelve.  He thought; Sammy pointed at where he had put something.  "One hundred comes after ninety."

"Library of Congress system, Dean.  Ten comes before a hundred, which comes before a thousand and then two."

"That makes no sense."

"The government did it," John called.

"That explains it," Dean quipped, fixing his mistakes.  "Dawn's passed out but Prue got her sisters and probably some of the people back.  We need to wait and see what else has to be done."

"Good.  The keystone is in Vegas."

"Of course it is.  Where else would a mystical stone be hiding than in the cheesiest city on Earth?" Dean shot back.  "If Arthur's sword was real it's probably there at the one with the knights."

Sam laughed.  "Ours is probably even inside a casino."  They all shook their heads and got back to work.  They needed to do it anyway.  House knew how to treat magical exhaustion.


Chase carried Dawn in.  "She did something major and passed out according to Dean.  That's why some people are back."

"Good!"  He helped settle her on a bed, checking her over.  "Looks like exhaustion.  Start an IV."

"Should we add potassium or anything?"

"We can add nutrients later.  Let's make sure she didn't fry her mind first."  He nodded, doing that.  He also added the vitamins she'd need and a pain killer for the headache.  "You're nicer than I am," House said dryly.

"We already knew that."

"Good point."  They finished up and let her sleep.  She clearly needed it.  It was all they could do at the moment.  "You know, I want a CT.  Just to compare what it looks like."  Chase gave him an odd look but went to turn on the machine.  It might show up the residue of the magic and then they'd be able to see if magic came from a different part of the brain than normal thought.


Xander landed with a yawn.  "Thanks, Corporal."

"Welcome, sir."  He lifted off, going to the local base.  He'd take a rest, get some coffee, then fly back home in the morning.  That was standard procedure.

Xander looked at them.  "Tell me we have something?"

"We have it, the area's been roped off, just in case it came back," Greg said, shaking his hand.  "A little kid touched it."

"Aw, crap."

"Yeah."  He put the bags into his car and took Xander that way.  The security people let them through once they saw their badges and the tape was played in slow motion.  "He can't be more than six."

"Probably under school age," Xander agreed, frowning at it.  "Is the parent still here?"

"Being recalled.  We sent the FBI after her and her son."  Xander gave him a look.  "They wanted to help."

"I don't think we can arrest her for being hungry or him wanting to pet the rock."

"No, they saw it first."  That got a nod.  "Now what?  Over a thousand people reappeared."  Xander beamed.  "None of them in New York or Miami and only a few in LA."

"That figures.  They would've evacuated the ones who couldn't fight first.  Cordette's in LA and over there.  Her family's with her."

"Yeah, for some reason Don Epps showed back up.  He called," Greg said, handing over a folded message.  Xander read it and muttered something that was probably a swear word in another language.  "Basically."

"Charlie's more than tough enough to guard her.  They can handle that."  He put it into his pocket.  "She's a fully called slayer, she'll be fine even if she is about to turn nine-years- old."  He rubbed a hand over his face.  "Dawn was probably helping the reason that got them sent back.  She was going to try to contact her teachers, who're over there.  It'll take us a few days to get her back up to energy levels.  Then we'll have to see."  That got a nod.  "Let me see if they have a room here."  He went to do that, then gave Greg his room number when he got his bags.  "All right, let me rest.  I'll make a statement in the morning after I talk to her and the boy.  We need to know if he had magic skills or not," he said at the curious look.  "Plus we'll probably have to calm her down after the FBI gets done with her.  It's been a long day."  He yawned again.  "Sorry."

"Don't be.  This is tiring me out and I've only helped a little bit.  Go rest.  I'll see you tomorrow."

"Sure.  Hopefully you can do normal things without helping me."  He went up to his room, going to snuggle down on the bed and sleep for as long as he could.  Someone would wake him up when she and the kid got back there.


Xander stood in front of the group of reporters the Press Secretary had called.  "Yo, shut up," he called when they didn't.  They stared at him.  "Good afternoon.  We have good progress to report."

"We know some of them are back," one reporter told him.

"One of the Slayers Council people helped with that since her teachers are over there.  They're still over there.  With the newly returned ones, we think we're missing about sixty people."  They smiled.  "Thirty-five of which are military personnel or former military personnel.  That means they've got a very good chance of surviving."

"Was it because some of the creatures were killed?"

"However they did it, and I haven't been briefed on the exact method yet, brought the ones who couldn't protect themselves first."  That got some nods.  "We also have some other good news.  We have found the keystone.  It's local.  We know what happened."  They all stared at him and quit writing.  "During that electrical storm a few nights back, the keystone was exposed.  Briefly.  It was in this reality for all of about three minutes."  They all sighed at that.  "During which time a young mother was walking her son off to the buffet in her hotel.  The boy, who is four, petted the shiny rock he saw."

That got some gapes.  He shrugged.  "That's how it happened.  He had apparently been wishing for his stuffed dragon that had gotten wet and was back in the room.  He's four, people.  I can't blame a four-year-old for making a mistake like that.  The mother didn't see him do it but the security cameras did.  As of this moment, the FBI and Homeland have said that there was no real intent behind the act.  The kid had no idea what he was doing.  I talked with him myself and he had no idea what he was doing.  All he did was pet the shiny rock according to him."  They nodded at that.  "His mother's extremely sorry and burst out crying when she heard.  She didn't want her son to do that.  We've went over how it happened and we've got a watch on him in case the stone did something like open up a talent or anything."

"Like the X-Men?" someone asked.

"In this case, more like magic."  That got a laugh.  "How do you think the shield got set in the eleven hundreds, people?"  That stopped the laughing.  "Not like they had laser equipment or anything like that.  The same as the portal that opened for the LA invasion was done by magic, not technology.  Some of us do deal with it now and then."

"Is the boy talented?"

"It's possible if he has one latently this has opened it.  We've had someone teach the mother how to spot the signs and gotten her in touch with people who can help her if he does.  Until then, she's going to be keeping a very close eye on her son."  That got some nods.  "As of right now, the witches working on the shield problem wore themselves out last night.  It's going to take at least a few more days, if not at least a week, to get them up to the strength where they can try again.  We do know that most of the beasts have went back.  The few that haven't are still corralled and being fed by the military and DNR officials."

"Have we proven the equal distribution part of the theory?"

"We have stronger evidence it is so," Greg said from the edge of the entryway.  "Xander, call."  He handed over the phone.  "Sorry, it's the VP."  That got a nod and they went silent while Xander went into the hall.  "We got back all but ten percent of those we know went but we also sent back all but about five percent of the dragons, who weigh a lot more than a human.  There might be a slight difference.  Grouping due to location at the time.  We know the one grouping in Times Square came with the beast they had been eating.  So it does look like it's relative but no one's thought to weigh everything out."  Xander came back.  "We good?"

"We're good."  He came back.  "The people still over there have managed to set up areas to gather in for their own safety.  The people who came back said that there's major groupings in Pensacola, New York, LA, Chicago, around San Francisco, and here in Las Vegas near the keystone.  With all luck, and the witches working on this regaining strength soon, we'll have everyone back by the end of next week.  The end of the month at the latest."  He smiled.  "It could be a lot worse.  The ones who came back reported only a few people got seriously hurt in the displacement.  Mostly some broken bones and concussions.  Only a few people got eaten.  We've added ten names to the list of those missing due to those who had talked to others, and we've crossed off two.  The FBI is going to make sure their next of kin know."  That got a nod.  "As for everyone else, it should be all right.  Let us finish working and thank you for staying calm during this crisis."  He stepped away from the microphone.

"Agent Harris, who are the witches involved?"

"A few are underage and there's people who would still stone them to death.  I'm not mentioning names.  Those who need to know, do.  I'm not exposing anyone to some freak who thinks they're evil because they can float a pencil."  That got a sulk. "Sorry.  In this case, their safety outweighs your need to know.  If they want to come forward later, let them.  I'm not doing that to anyone."  He looked at someone else.  "Questions?"   She shook her head.  "Any other questions?"

"Are you staying locally?" one asked.

"Upstairs.  That way I'm here to help when the witches get here or do whatever I can to help during this.  We have DCIS agents each place there's been a displacement to make sure things go smoothly and to take readings.  We're putting a meter on the thing so we can make sure when it fluxes the next time.  Like I said during the last one, it fluxes now and then a few times a year and occasionally lets something through.  We have two unicorns on base because of a recent one.  Next time we'll have warning.  Our R&D people said so and they are fearsome geeks that scare other geeks into worshiping them."  That got a few smiles and he pointed at one who had his hand up.  "Yes?" he asked.

"Sir, what happens if someone's eaten?"

"I don't know.  I would assume for those in the military or law enforcement that would be like being killed in the line of duty.  For civilians I have no clue how it'd be handled.  I don't deal with insurance people outside of sending them money or filling out a form for someone after a case.  I'd ask one of the local ones about that."  That got a nod.  "Any other questions?"

The same reporter stood up.  "What about those who might sue the mother?"

Xander sighed, leaning on the lectern.  "How many of you are parents?"  A few raised their hands.  "How many of you think you could have stopped the boy walking slightly behind you from touching the pretty stone that appeared next to him?"  They all put their hands down.  He looked at him. "While some might want to do that to the mother, and I know it would be done out of grief or fear, something like that, I personally don't think she could have stopped him from touching the stone.  If I had to guess, the judge would probably go on intent.  Then again, I'm not a judge and I don't know the pertinent codes.  Greg?  He's our local liaison by the way."  He looked at him.

"It might be possible to start one if the families of those who got hurt wanted but I doubt it'd be kept up.  I couldn't have stopped him from it.  It only took half a second.  I doubt she could have stopped him."

The reporter nodded.  "So you wouldn't encourage them to try?"

"Why punish her for her four-year-old son making a mistake?" Greg asked.  "He's barely old enough to know what 'bad' means.  Much less that petting a rock might be bad."  He shrugged.  "I'm not a childhood expert.  I'm a DNA expert.  You'd have to ask someone but I personally could not see suing her for something she had no control over."

He nodded.  "Thank you."  He sat down.

Xander smiled at him.  Then at the crowd.  "Thank you, Greg.  Any other questions?"  No one said anything.  "Then I'm going to have caffeine and see if anything else needs my help and how the research is going.  Have a good day, people."  They walked out together.  "Thanks," he mumbled.

"Welcome.  It'd be stupid to try," he muttered back.  "And cruel to the mother."  That got a nod.  "Caffeine?"

"Haven't had breakfast yet."

"Let's eat in your room and we'll see if you need more help."

"I'm hoping Danny's back."  They went up there and he called DC.  "Hey, this is Harris at DCIS.  Some of the missing ones are my people.  Is Agent Tony DiNozzo back or Gibbs?  McGee would do, thank you."  He was put on with him.  "Tim, Xander Harris.  Yeah, me.  Where and how was Tony doing?" He smiled at the 'he defended us all and got a small cut but he's fine the last time I saw him' answer.  "Good.  Very good.  Is Gibbs still there?"  He nodded at the 'still' answer.

"That's fine.  Thanks, have him call when he's back so I can let him do things.  Two press conferences and talking in pubic is not my thing.  I nearly tripped over my words a few times.  I know we could hire a press person but why?  Danny does it so much better and he's used to teaching so he can lecture.  Have a better day and relax.  It's over for now."  He hung up and tried the others' phones.  No answer so they were still there.  "Okay."  He dug into lunch then thought to call Danny's cell.  He got a female answering. "Hi, I'm Xander Harris, trying to reach my boss, Danny Jackson.  Is he back yet?"  He snorted.

"Lady, whoever you are, I do know.  I know all about it.  I knew before I met him thanks to the underground.  All I need to know is if he's back yet.  If he is, have him call."  He listened to her say he was banged up.  "I get that all the time.  You can or talk to our docs.  Whichever he wants.  I'm in Vegas doing his job since Tony's still missing.  Sure, I can fax Jack's office a sit rep if you want."  He smiled.  "That'll work.  Thanks."  He wrote it down and faxed it to the number his phone had for Jack's office.  "There we go"

"What does he do?"

"Classified military project."

"Ah.  One of those."  He nodded and finished lunch with him.  "Now what?"

"Now?  Now we wait for Dawn to get better and to try it again."  That got a nod and they relaxed, going over what they knew and how to stop it the next time.  The keystone could appear inside something so maybe a hollow statue there?


to part 13