Demon Criminal Investigative Service: Making New Allies.
Daniel looked up as the two men walked up to the table he was waiting at. "Good morning, gentlemen."
"Doctor Jackson. We have a plan for how to integrate your agency with ours," one said, handing over something.
Daniel looked at it then at him, shaking his head as he handed it back. "Jack O'Neill and I worked out how to cushion your departments under our R&D lab months ago, gentlemen. The president's already agreed to our plan." He sipped his tea, smiling at the woman coming over. "Ma'am."
"Good morning, gentlemen," she said, putting her briefcase down before sitting down. She looked at them. "It's not my usual assignment for the president but he decided if I can handle balky heads of state I can handle this integration issue smoothly," she noted.
Daniel handed over his. "This is the one Jack and I submitted months ago."
"Why weren't we told?" the second man sneered.
Daniel gave him the most bland look. "Because the first act is for Jack to take a team and go over both the NID and Area 51's labs to check for ethical issues and other projects that may compromise human life," he said dryly.
"O'Neill hates scientists," the first man complained as he sat down. "Our plan makes much more sense."
She looked at it then shook her head. "It would compromise national security, gentlemen. Letting out the project O'Neill is over, compromising the slayers. No." She looked at Daniel's plans. "Jack's taking them?"
"Jack has the clearance to get into even the most classified of projects. Horatio and Mac used to run their own labs. He's also selected Sam Carter to advise them and Abby is finding an oversight person for them to report to so she's not overloaded. I think she has one but she may have only weeded it down to two or three candidates." He sipped his tea. "Anyone want some?" he offered, holding up the pot.
"Please," she agreed. Daniel poured her some once she turned the waiting cup over. "Thank you. Sugar?" He handed over the small pot. She smiled and added a lump then stirred it before taking a sip. "This is excellent."
"That's why I chose here. I don't get off base very often at the moment." He looked at the other two. "Beyond the fact that you're never going to have a slayer to do *tests* on, because they will destroy you, and if they don't the Slayers Council will, I don't want you to have access to any classified records coming off Jack's project. Who knows what you'd do with it. Your agencies in the past have caused untold issues for that project, my project, and actually Mr. Harris said to tell the head of the NID he said hi and asked how many more Initiative style bases they have to raid."
That man shuddered. "We acted to stop them."
"The humans and demons they had?" she asked him.
"Weren't an issue."
"In other words, Jack's going to find records of them being euthanized?" she asked. They glared. "The way the amendment to that bill read, you're all going in under DCIS, boys. Doctor Jackson is well within his rights to have someone capable examine your records for faulty thinking that nearly got parts of Colorado shut down. Not to mention when you nearly destroyed allies and other issues that could have cost humanity everything." They slumped a bit.
"Or how both agencies have both participated in the last few apocalypses," Daniel said dryly, giving her a look. "We had a tip that NID was aware of the invasion and the issues in Miami and sat back to watch it. Perhaps even encouraged some small groups to get them to destroy each other."
She looked at him. "Is that true?"
"Not as far as I'm aware."
Daniel handed over the first sheet of paper in his briefcase. "Really? That's your memo. Isn't it?" he asked with a small smirk. He was learning bad habits from Xander again. He was enjoying threatening him a bit too much. Jack walked in. "Just in time, Jack."
"Thanks, Danny." He sat down and poured himself some coffee, taking a lump of sugar too. "Where are we so far?"
"They have their own plan but it would guarantee them access to all your records, personnel and scientific, and mine."
"No way in hell," Jack said dryly. "I'll have someone trash the system first."
"My people, and the ISC people especially, have issues with either group gaining access to their personnel records," Daniel agreed. "Their history and reputations proceed them."
She looked at him. "Are you going to humor them?"
"All DCIS personnel records are my eyes only," he said firmly. "As proven when someone broke in to steal two folders and then he had the worst luck."
She laughed. "I remember. That was amusing." She looked at the two, now very pale men. After a minute she smiled. "I'm going to be blunt, gentlemen. My mother would be appalled but there's a time for being blunt. Which one of you are sucking the demon cock?" Jack spluttered. Daniel pointed at one. "You're sure?" Daniel handed over the files he had on them. "How long have you known?"
"Angel asked some people for us. In the third folder is a list of the projects the demons know that are a present threat to them or the world."
"They're demons!" one hissed. "How can you stand up for them?"
"Apparently they were here first," Daniel shot back coolly. "My agency is very committed to stopping any harmful interaction. Whether it be between clans or groups or from humans or demons starting it. As long as they want to be law abiding citizens I don't care what they look like. As a matter of fact, most of their laws are much more strict. They have a great many more death penalty offenses than humans do. They've managed to live in hidden enclaves for centuries and managed to mostly be peaceful that whole time. There's ancient writings from the old Watchers Council that are written in many ancient languages that said they were here first. We shoved them out of the way too."
She looked at him. "How ancient?"
"Some are pictographic languages. The earliest forms of Egyptian, Hebrew, and Summerian all have evidence that states it was passed down by verbal accounts until writing was started. The Watchers have been around since they made the first slayer during hunting and gathering society times. They simply had to hide it for the good of the populace who couldn't deal with the thoughts."
"Some still do," she agreed.
"Which is why we were created. To be the DMZ between the two worlds. That way neither side hurts the other," Daniel reminded her. "We included demon-on-demon crimes as well when their own system reports it as it often ends up impacting humans."
"And the occasional take over attempt of the world," Jack agreed.
"Exactly," Daniel agreed with a smile for him. "Plane late?"
"Long line for landing. We had to circle three times. How's Harris?"
"He's good. Finally calmed down. The boys took the chocolate fondue pot that created the hyperactivity from last time. His ex has been too busy to come back too." He got himself some new tea. "The new training classes are going all right. This second group has a lot of office worker types so John's having a lot more to do with this group. Brenda's been doing very good training them with him."
"Good. She was a nice girl," Jack agreed. "It's cute how Winchester adopted her."
Daniel smiled. "He's been teaching her how to tinker with engines like he and the boys do. Dawn's been complaining about grease smears on the walls when she's done." Jack laughed at that.
The Secretary of State coughed. "I know you two are former coworkers."
"We are," Daniel agreed. "It lets us work together very well. That's why it only took us a weekend to settle into adjustment plans. Most of my people know him fairly well and respect him already. Even Abby likes him."
"She's a cute, nice girl," Jack agreed. "Even if she does babble faster than I think sometimes."
"She's even cuter with McKay when she makes him blush," Daniel said with a grin for his buddy.
The Secretary of State gave him an odd look. "McKay is dating your Abby?"
"As far as I can tell. They've been on a few dates since they're down for a conference at the moment. They've been friends since the weekend they met."
Jack nodded. "McKay thought of her like a neat girl who was somewhere between amazing, his level, and a little sister to him. They went out before Thanksgiving for the first time. I saw him giggling at her. They're adorable together." He sipped his coffee.
"What *are* you people smoking?" the head of Area 51 sneered. "Rodney McKay would *never* be able to date anyone, much less a forensic geek!"
Jack opened his phone and typed in a number then listened. "McKay, get in here. The guy who used to be over you decided you can't date Abby. Thanks." He hung up. "Sheppard will keep his leash tightly in his hand." Rodney came in and started to yell and screech at his former boss, hitting him a few times too.
Sheppard coughed. "No physical abuse," he complained.
"No, we have arrest warrants for them," Daniel said. "He can beat them until they're in custody."
The Secretary of State gave him an odd look. "You do?"
"The FBI agents protecting this meeting do," he told her. "They said something about parts for fun and profit, some killing for fun and rituals?" She moaned, shaking her head. "They planned on picking them up on the way out. Once they've updated their people. That way no one was too embarrassed."
"That's nice of them but still," she decided. "Agent in charge please?" she called. A female agent leaned in. "Are you in charge?"
"Yes, ma'am." She walked in and shut the door behind her once she had shoved the two guys from Atlantis out to calm down. "We've been listening, just in case, as Agent Harris ordered, ma'am. We were going to arrest them on the plane so no one in the administration had to be embarrassed by them and they were headed in the right direction anyway."
"What sort of charges?" She handed over something. She read it over then handed it back with a grimace. "That is certainly bad."
"How did we get this information?"
"Xander asked Angel and our LA FBI liaison to do a bit of searching when he heard rumors about them," the agent told him. That got a nod and a look at Daniel.
"I didn't tell him to dig. Xander's run into NID before, ma'am," he reminded her. "They still tried to blame the first group for rescuing all the beings they had to experiment on." Jack turned green but sipped his coffee. "I do not know why they had the agents listen in."
She pulled something out of the back waistband of Area 51's head. It was put onto the table and the Secretary of State gave the odd looking gun a look then her. "What does it do?" she asked.
"We have no idea but Harris had heard rumors about it being advanced technology of some sort that could do more damage than a laser weapon."
Jack took it to look over then fired it at a chair. The energy tentacle that came out destroyed where it touched, leaving a charred mass. "I'd say." He put it back down on the table. "Who was that for?" he asked.
"Anyone who stands in the way of us protecting everyone," the head of Area 51 said, standing up.
"Do sit down," the agent said, shoving him back down. "You're a disgrace to this country and you're not protecting us by doing evil things to beings that may or may not be more intelligent than you are." She looked at the Secretary of State. "Did you want us to embarrass people, ma'am? I can take them now."
"Do so." She nodded, getting her agents in to take them away. "Thank you. I would like to know what else they had planned."
"Of course. Once I know you will." She followed her people out.
"Fercryin'outloud," Jack muttered. "Danny, can't we have a normal meeting?"
"Apparently Xander doesn't think so," he shot back dryly, giving him a look. "I didn't plan that."
"How would Harris know?" the Secretary of State asked calmly.
"He gets these 'just in case' feelings," Daniel told her. "Like the Miami situation a few months back, he had the thought he needed to bring artillery, just in case, and move from the motel they were in, just in case it was attacked."
"Ah." She nodded once, sipping her tea. "That's a handy gift."
"It can be," Daniel agreed.
"He alerted us to an attempted invasion. I put the base in lock down and it didn't come from the standard area so I removed the lock down. The guys up top told us that they had stopped the attempted invasion the day before so it was all right."
She laughed. "That's a very handy gift to have." Daniel nodded before finishing his tea. "All right, gentlemen. This plan is comprehensive?"
"It links them into us but gives security protocols for wherever is needed," Daniel told her. "It allows for the chain of command to mostly stay intact. It doesn't change very much, simply shifts some of the funding and responsibility for oversight to my desk. Jack's taking over as AD over the covert sections of DCIS, which would be his project for the most part. Abby's hiring an oversight person with McKay and Carter's help. They've both given her lists of researchers to start looking at based on their current projects. Jack's taking some of my people and Sam Carter to do that."
"It's a good plan. It addresses most issues but I don't see much that can help other intelligence agencies?"
Daniel shrugged. "If they need it, all they have to do is ask, ma'am," Daniel assured her. "We told one of them that at the symposium and I know it got around. Abby's gotten a few calls about CIA logging in issues. She pointed out they didn't have access and granted them limited access to the case files but nothing else because it's not something they need to use. If they do, they can call since we do live on base. As can any other covert agency. It's not like we don't have people in the library and the lab who can answer any possible questions, probably within an hour."
"That's a good turn around." She considered it. "Calling in?"
He nodded. "Definitely. They can call me, call her, or call Harris for all I care. A few covert agents did call Xander yesterday to identify the demons in the neighborhood they were doing a bust in. That one took two hours because there wasn't a good description on the one species of demon family that was visiting. Once they had it, he faxed over the pertinent details. Though the books were incorrect, one did have the gift of creating fire and we did not know. That has been changed."
She nodded. "That sounds reasonable."
"We do it for any department that calls in," Daniel told her. "They call to identify something or the remains of something. They call Abby when they get strange results that aren't something she's published already."
"Excellent. It's a working system?"
"Sometimes cold cases take later slots because of current cases," Daniel admitted.
"More agents needed?" she suggested.
"We're pretty good with what we have. Now and then we could use another one or two but most of the time we let the slayers prove they're field worthy with some lighter field cases in their areas. They do what we would and it proves they're ready for a patrol position. They go out with one of the trainers."
"I've heard that's handled some of the lesser issues. Mostly issues a slayer would face?"
"Mostly spirit manifestations. It's a Winchester family specialty, ma'am," Daniel told her. "Any vampires certainly. Anything where we have to take them on a team case can also qualify them but most teams want to take the girls who have experience."
"That's reasonable," she agreed, tapping her fingers on the plan. "Did the president already approve of yours?" They both smirked and nodded. "When?"
"The weekend after we got it done," Jack told her. "I have no idea why they called this meeting to try to strong-arm us, ma'am. We've told them when we'd be starting the integration." Sheppard walked back in from taking Rodney out for some air. "They arrested them."
"Good. It means they won't jump personnel from the base for fun and profitable human experiments again." He sat down. "Our computers are not going to talk to yours," he told Daniel. "Rodney has *no* idea why."
"Abby does. It's the new software update you guys just installed. It was put in with a twist to the left according to her. She's walking him through why later."
"It'll cut into his giggling time with her but okay. As long as it works and we don't lose anything," he decided with a small shrug.
"Backups?" Daniel suggested.
Sheppard shrugged again. "I'm guessing we did. I don't handle that issue. Mine was. Twice so I had a saved copy I couldn't copy over when I do the next one. I do that once a month."
"That's not a bad idea," Jack admitted.
"Ask Abby, Jack," Daniel said dryly. "Yours are already working with ours. I know she found out why their system isn't fully talking to yours was that update and thinks it's the same thing with ours."
Both Air Force men nodded at that. The Secretary of State smiled. "Letting the experts tell you how to do it?" she teased.
"This time. I'm handling the translating issue in the library when I'm not in my office. Thomas is putting everything on DVD for easier searching and to hand the cities with their own offices their own copies."
"Even better." She smiled. "How much longer for that one?"
"Probably just after Rupert Giles gets his Council Library set up."
She laughed. "Will he mind?"
"Probably not. We have most of his done. Some of the older sources Thomas brought up we don't. We're still talking about which area needs those books. Thomas is torn between staying a watcher and moving over to DCIS authority. Giles is trying to claim the books but Xander is not stepping in at the moment. Wesley is trying to mediate."
"Will it hamper things?" Jack asked.
"It could make research go faster to have it computerized. Then again, we may have the money to go buy some collections that're coming open on the auction block next year according to Wesley. Two researchers the Council used to lean on died and their estates are coming open through the probate courts. Wesley said Rupert wants them but he's going to stick up for us getting them with some of the overage we'll have when we cut people who can't find ethics with a shovel, a guide, a compass, and a map."
"Remind Giles he'll have to live on what the Council presently has for money. No more rich relatives dying and giving money," Jack told him.
"They have a good hundred million in investments," he countered. His phone rang. "Daniel.... What's wrong, Xander?" He listened, taking Jack's coffee to drink. "Why did it come to you?" He smiled. "Sure, go ahead and call. Let me get you a number. I'll call back." He hung up, looking at the woman with them. "Xander was just tipped off to a possible nuclear device near LA. He needs to know who to call since he doesn't think our FBI liaison can deal with it quietly."
She opened her phone and called the office. "Get the Chief of Staff to give me a number immediately. Agent Harris got a tip about a possible nuclear weapon near LA. He needs a quiet person to look at it." She nodded, taking his phone to dial it for him. "Thank you." She hung up and called that number. "This is the Secretary of State. I'm calling from DCIS Director Jackson's phone. One of his agents got a tip about a nuclear device outside LA. He needs someone quiet to look at it. I can do that. What's his number?" Daniel got into his phone book to let her read it off. "There you go. Please." She hung up and erased that call for him. She handed it back with a smile. "It's nice he didn't want to panic people."
"LA's agents are still skittish after the invasion," Daniel offered. "They don't want to deal with it."
"Good point." She looked at the second plan again. "Let me..." Jack used the tentacle gun to destroy it, making her laugh. "That works well enough I suppose."
"We can replace the table and chair, ma'am," he said.
"Good boys." She stood up and gathered things together. "I'll let him know it's going well. When are you doing the investigation?"
"Right after New Years. Once Jack's formally retired from command at the base and has moved into his apartment on base."
"I am?" Jack asked.
"If you want to lead from Colorado, you can," Daniel offered. "But I was going to give you one of the new ones going up."
He shrugged. "I'll tell you by Christmas. I'm not sure if I can handle unicorns and cute slayers all the time." She walked out laughing. He looked at Daniel. "You good?"
"I'm pretty decent," he said with a smile. "The girls are back in school. Things have mostly been quiet." His phone rang again. "What's wrong, Xander?" He smiled. "Are they sure it's their own information leak?" He nodded slowly. "You know what? Have him come check it in person. Even in disguise or something. Sure. Thanks, Xander." He hung up. "It's their information leak to target someone."
"How did Harris hear?"
"A tip from someone who tipped one of the slayers."
"Ah." He nodded. "Good!" He stood up. "Got the check?"
"When I came in." He put down money for the table and chair, heading out with him. "I put down a deposit for anything that's in need of repair. Let me know if there's more," he told the waiter. He got a fast nod so he walked out to his rental car. Jack got in with him and they headed off to the airport together. Jack could hitch a ride back to the base for the night.
Xander looked at the guy walking into the warehouse. It was the same agent who had come to check out their armory. "I checked, your tip was halfway across the neighborhood."
"It was." He looked at the box. "What's in that?"
"No trip wires, I checked. One of the local arms dealing clans turned this site into one of the local slayers because they were going to steal it until they found that box and the blue box in the back."
"Should I have a team?" he asked.
Xander shrugged. "I have no idea what your protocol is. That's why I called. That and so the press doesn't hear and no other agents have to panic."
"Can we confiscate this warehouse?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't care. Less paperwork for me."
The other agent smirked. "Good point." He went to check the box for the less obvious traps then looked inside, moaning a bit. "Not nuclear."
"No, I'm sitting on top of that one," Xander told him. He got an odd look. "It's covered. Besides, with my freaky luck it'll be infected by me and won't go off," he finished with a grin. "Because I can diffuse lesser bombs but not this sucker. Go look at the blue box first." He went to look and Xander snickered at the whimper he got for it. "See, saving the best for last." He hopped down and held up the string he had been holding. "The only trip wire I found. I did not lift it."
"Good to know." He came over to investigate then nodded, opening the top of the crate. He let out a low, deep moan that made Xander hum in appreciation. "That's bad."
"That's very bad." Xander looked. "And it's only got about four hours left. I have no idea how to deal with that. If you had been ten minutes longer I'd have called Don Epps."
"No, this was a good call to us," he assured him. He stepped back and called it in. "It's me. I have a dirty bomb with four hours, twenty minutes at my location. I also have a warehouse full of weapons and two serious threats beyond the bomb. I need a defusing team ASAP." He rattled off the location and hung up. "What does the wire go to?"
"No clue but I'm not chancing it. I'd look horrible if I glowed."
"Probably," he agreed with a slight smirk. This kid was strange, but okay. No matter what the other agents whispered. "So, how do you like DCIS?"
"It's cool. It works well with my experience. I get to have some fun. The group's like a huge family for the most part. The new guys they're giving us after the new year I'm not too thrilled about but Daniel assured me they'd be dealing with NID before they got access to our labs." He heard the door open and reached for his gun, tying the trip wire off automatically when the guys coming in had guns too. "Yours?"
"No. Freeze, Federal Agents!" he shouted. He hit his emergency switch on his phone. The guys opened fired. Xander shot back, using the crate as cover. Two went down. One ran. The agent ran after him, getting his car. He called it in and the LAPD could stop him. They had more important issues to deal with here. He walked in. "You good?"
"I'm fine. It's a small graze." He looked at the bomb. "Um, the timer's going a lot faster."
Jack looked then moaned. "Not the trip wire?"
Xander showed the slack still in it. "No."
"Shit!" They uncrated it and Xander found his pocket knife so they could call in and figure out how to disarm the sucker before it blew in under thirty minutes. It took forty- five to get there from his office. Not a good thing.
The defusing team stomped in. "Got it already, guys," Xander said, waving them over. "It got hit with a bullet and started to age faster."
They looked and took it to put into the truck. The rest of the warehouse was crated up and removed. The bodies too. The other agent looked at Xander. "Heading home?"
"Got to check on my girls. One's due around Easter." He grinned. "Then I'm headed home for a long soak in the tub. What's the protocol on reports?"
"Tell your boss but don't write it down anywhere it can be found," he ordered.
"Done deal once I get home." He shook his hand. "You need us, you call. We'll yelp for you if we need you." He walked out, heading to his rental car he had hidden up the street. The dealer clan was watching so he shrugged. "Many bad things," he said in their language, getting a nod. "Thank you. We needed to hear."
"Even we don't deal with that."
Xander smiled. "Next time, tell that guy?" They nodded, watching the agents. They could find him. They had a vast network of spies, relatives, and friends who could help. Xander drove over to the Hyperion, heading inside. Crissy squealed and pounced. "Ooof, Crissy. She weighs a ton!" He picked her up to spin her. "You're still too tiny."
"I am not! I'm a huge trailer!" She swatted him. "What was it?"
"Very bad weapons. I handed it over to someone more qualified." He grinned. "How are you and her?"
"We're good." She looked down, stroking her stomach. Then she looked at him. "I found a nice guy."
"Good! We like nice guys."
"You can't steal him," Gunn complained. "We like the guy."
Xander smirked. "He's probably not dangerous enough for me if he's a nice guy," Xander shot back. He patted her stomach, getting kicked. "She's a strong little princess like Dawn."
"She isn't a slayer?" she asked, looking hopeful.
He shrugged. "We won't know until she's six months old but I might bet on her not being one." She beamed. He made her sit down. "No reports recently?"
"Nothing going on. They're all hiding from someone huge who's trying to take control. Angel's been working on him. Alan wants me to hang out at the college more so he can't take me."
"I can agree with that reasoning but every demon knows if they come for one of you girls they get me." She smiled and sniffled, hugging him. "Shh, it's the hormones," he soothed, stroking her back and hair. Morgan gave him a grin from the desk. "Should I hear about this bigger thing?"
"We talked to Buffy. She's coming out to help me and Cho," Morgan assured him. "It's fine, Xander." He nodded at that. "Is Doctor House still there?" He nodded. "She wanted him to deliver the baby for some reason."
"She can come back to the base. You guys all know that. We can send replacements for you."
"Class schedule," Morgan said dryly.
"All the more reason to take a few days off," he shot back.
"I am for finals week. Rona's coming out and so is one of the girls from the base." That got a nod. "We've already arranged it with Wes." She winked. The lights went off. "Huh, I didn't know winking cut the electric. I didn't think I was magical at all."
Xander called home. "Dawn, me. Come get Crissy immediately. Someone's attacking the Hyperion." He hung up and the portal opened in the school. He gave Crissy a nudge, making her go through. Dawn tossed him a bag then closed it. He looked inside. His emergency kit. Dawn was a great sister. He pulled out the spare bullets and everything else he'd need, putting the bag aside. The demons rushed in. Morgan and he opened fire with crossbows. Gunn wasn't far behind but he had to call Fred and let her know. Angel too. Xander heard Spike coming down the stairs swearing and tossed him something. "I got spares from Dawn," he said at the odd look Spike shot him.
"Love the nibblet sometimes," Spike said dryly, diving into the melee. Gunn creased his arm with a bolt but it wasn't fatal and he wasn't wearing his duster. The head demon came in with his elite guards and Spike sneered. "Look, storm troopers," he said dryly.
"I'm so proud I warped you enough to make the Star Wars joke," Xander shot back, opening fire on the new demons. He switched to his service revolver since the bolts didn't help. They went down with screams. He could hear sirens. "Normals incoming!" he called. He felt something odd around him and looked. "Evacuate!" he yelled. "Bomb!" They ran out and Xander got the last demon before the bomb went off, pulling Spike out with him. They rolled into the parking lot, Spike rolling under a nearby car to get out of the sun. He looked around. "Morgan!" No answer. "Gunn!"
"She was behind me!"
Xander looked then started to move but a cop stopped him. "The slayer's still in there!" he said hotly.
"That's our job, sir."
"Bullshit. I'm ISC and DCIS. It's *my* job, Junior." He got free and headed in, looking around before grabbing her and carrying her out. He coughed. "She needs help. She was knocked down by the explosion. The fire's nowhere near the library so it can be saved." The fire department pulled up and an ambulance got her and him into it. He panted into the oxygen mask, watching as they helped her. He tugged on one's arm, moving the mask. "Her name is Morgan Beatrix. She's a slayer. Call the local liaison. He's got her medical history." That got a nod and they took her off. He declined to go. He went to sit next to where Spike was hiding. "What the fuck was he?" he asked quietly.
"Master demon. Not ancient but older. His clan lords over part of the Commie parts of the world," Spike said. "You good?"
"I took my invincible pills this morning," he quipped back then coughed. "Why come here?"
"Come to America, get rich," he said dryly.
"Uh-huh," Xander said dryly. "Was that the one over Angel?" He looked around. "Speaking of, where is he?"
"Was napping and coming down after me," Spike admitted.
"Guys, we may have a friendly ally inside," Xander shouted. "He's really pale and allergic to sunlight?"
"There's a small glowing spot at the top of the stairs and he's in there," one shouted back. "The fire crew said so."
"Wonderful," Xander said, smiling at him. "I'll deal with them later." That got a dirty look so he looked at Gunn, then at Connor since he was jogging over. He coughed a few more times then made himself stand up. "Angel's in a glowing portal."
Gunn looked at the building. "I'm having deja vu."
"Me too," Connor agreed quietly, staring. The larger demon's corpse was shoved outside. "Huh. What happened to him?"
"Blessed silver," Xander wheezed, bending over to catch his breath. He finally straightened up, looking at them. "Any ideas, guys?"
They shook their heads. "Nope," Connor said.
Fred held up a hand. "Can we have an investigation, Xander?" He tossed over his phone. She dialed the main number. "Hi, Timmy. It's Fred in LA. Our hotel just got bombed. Angel got removed by a glowing portal he's stuck in and we nearly died. The new demon trying to take over LA got killed by Xander but he's coughing up a lung right now. Can we have a team?" She smiled. "Thank you. Sure, we'd like that." She hung up and nodded at Xander then at Connor. "Tim said to knock him out. Dawn'll move him in about ten minutes to the infirmary." Xander didn't hear because he was once again leaning down to try to breathe better.
"Sure." He grabbed him to do that. When the portal opened he heaved him over to the waiting agents. "He's coughing up nasty crud from the smoke."
"He went into the fire to get Morgan out," Gunn told them. That got a nod and they handed him off then came through to take over the case.
Mac looked at the building then at them. "From the top, Gunn? What's been going on?"
Gunn sat on the hood of the car Spike was under. Spike complained about him sitting on his beloved DeSotto, but oh well. Gunn went over it from the start, then to Angel supposedly being behind Spike until the portal apparently sucked him in. By that time the fire crew was done. He looked at them. "How long before we can remove personal effects?" he asked the one stomping over.
"What were you guys doing?" he demanded.
"The corpse over there tried to take us out," Gunn countered. "They wanted to take over LA and we're the first line of defense, backing up the local slayers."
The fireman moaned, shaking his head. "Next you'll tell me DCIS is coming?" Mac held up his badge. "How long have you been here?"
"The dark-haired, coughing guy is one of them and ISC," Gunn said patiently. "They invaded while Xander was here so he helped us take them out. He somehow knew about the bomb and warned us so we got out. All but Morgan, who he went back in to find." That got a slow nod. "She's been taken to the ER. Somehow Angel was trapped in that portal or whatever."
"We're in to see what's going on," Mac said calmly. "Xander can tell when there's a pertinent safety issue."
"His 'just in case' feeling," Connor agreed. "It's helped in a few base invasions during the early days of DCIS."
Mac nodded. "So we all heard." He looked at the fireman again. "When can we get a report?"
"Probably tomorrow. We have a good investigator."
Mac smiled. "Of course you do. LA has plenty of fires." That got a nod. "Good work, guys. Thank you for your help." They shook hands and the fire crew left. They left a truck there in case something flared up in the next hour or so but that was fine. Mac looked at Gunn. "We can check on Morgan for you guys."
"Xander wheezed out to talk to Don," Fred said.
"Even better." He smiled at her. "What do we know about that one?" They settled in to tell him and his team what had been going on with that specific problem and the rest of the unrest in the city it was causing. Lorne hurried over but the cops only gave him a few odd looks for his garishly bright suit. Mac got more information from him too.
House looked up as Danny Messer carried in Xander. "What happened?"
"He had to go into a burning building to find Morgan," he reported, laying him on a bed. "He's coughing and wheezing. Looks like someone knocked him out."
"Get me the oxygen," he ordered. The nurse got it for him. "What was burning and why was he in LA?"
"Someone reported a possible nuclear device," Danny said. "As for the fire? Mac's team went. It was the Hyperion." Crissy burst out crying. "Hey, no, it's not destroyed, princess." He gave her a hug. "They had it mostly out when they switched Xander for the team." She sniffled, staring at him. "No one said Morgan was really hurt. You can call Don and ask, all right?" She nodded, doing that. He walked off, going to tell the boss and then the Winchesters. Daniel was with them so it was easier. "Guys." They stared at him, stopping the armory argument about who was supposed to make bullets and clean guns. "The Hyperion was attacked while Xander was out there. Xander's got smoke inhalation in the infirmary. Mac's team went with Don, Stella, and Jorge, the new guy ATF sent over." That got a nod from Daniel. "No idea what's going on yet. Crissy's callin' Don Epps to check on Morgan."
"Do we think this has to do with the report he got earlier?" Daniel asked calmly.
"No, Morgan called to get a replacement for final's week and warned Wesley that they were having an attempted overlord making moves," John told him. "It's probably him."
"Didn't see Angel," Danny told him.
"Let me call Connor," John decided, heading inside to do that with the others following. "Connor, John Winchester. Morgan and everyone else all right?" He listened and smiled, making notes. "That's good to know. Let us know if you need more girls out there. Sure, I can do that. Call if you need us." He hung up and used his cellphone to call the school. "It's Winchester. I need you to release Sarabeth from classes for a few days. She's going on slayer assignment along with Veronica and Amber." He nodded. "That'll be fine. Please do. LA. Sure. Thanks." He hung up. "Boys, meet them at the gate." He copied his notes to hand to them. Dean jogged off to meet the girls to brief them on the way in to pack. He handed it to Daniel. "Not pretty."
Daniel read it over, nodding slowly. "Who took Angel?"
"No clue yet. The fire's barely out. Still too hot to go inside."
"Okay," he decided. "I'll get constant updates from Mac and Stella." He went to make sure they knew to do that then went to check on Xander. "Is he all right?"
"He'll be fine with some rest and oxygen," House assured him. "Three or four grazes. I can't get him to move so I can check the one under his beltline. He keeps trying to swat when I try. Smoke inhalation. What happened?"
"An attempted overlord." He looked at Crissy. "Mac needs to know what you know about it."
"I'll call Stella?"
"Sure, call Stella." She did that; since Stella was questioning someone so she got to talk to Don instead. She liked Don Flack. He was a nice guy and didn't try to pat her tummy on her. Daniel looked at Xander's limp body. "Need help undressing him?"
"I'd be mean and ask the girls," he said dryly. Xander swatted weakly at him. "You, quit. I've got to take off the jeans, Xander." Xander undid his belt, then his button and zipper, toeing off his shoes for him. "Good enough." He slid them off him and tossed them with the other stuff. Xander got a blanket for now. "Leave the mask on." Xander mouthed something. "Crissy, Xander wants to know how Morgan is as soon as they know."
"She's fine. Don Epps is sitting with her and she's okay."
"See?" House said. "She's got a normal ER around her."
Xander nodded and let himself drift off again.
"This is not going to make anyone happy," Daniel decided. He went to check in with the other teams they had out doing things.
Crissy came over to cuddle up next to Xander. He needed a cuddle and so did she. House gave her an odd look. "The baby quits kicking when she cuddles him. He's very calming to me."
"Uh-huh." John stomped in. "Cuddle him instead."
"No thanks. Crissy, you need a bed?" She pouted but nodded. "We can fix that, sweetheart." He looked at her. "You're getting huge." She glared. "Not saying you're fat, but Mary went through that same stage. She was pretty skinny one day and then looked really pregnant the next."
She pouted, patting the baby. "She's being good, John."
"Good. It's a good habit to start. Your old room's open or you can have one of the ones downstairs but the bathroom's still upstairs."
"No, I need the bathroom."
"I thought I'd ask. Mary had that too." He helped her up. "The girls going to LA need briefed." She nodded, kissing Xander on the forehead before walking out leaning on his arm. Sam hugged her. "Doesn't she look good?"
"She does. She looks really cute." She beamed at him. "C'mon, the girls are back." They walked her in there, being careful of her on the stairs. She went to the bathroom then went to brief the girls in Amber's room since she had the bigger one. She fell asleep before she could finish but they got the rest from Connor when they landed thanks to Dawn. Amber tucked her into her bed and let her sleep for now. She clearly needed it. Sam could guard her for a bit.
John went back to demonology. "Sorry, ladies. Small issue in LA that we're having to send reinforcements for." Buffy stepped through the portal. "You just missed the others."
"I'm going tonight." She looked at the group then smiled. "Hi, guys, I'm Buffy. The longest slayer called. I've been doing this since I was fifteen." They all stared at that. She nodded. "I'm just over the date of choice." She looked at John. "How's Morgan?"
"Crissy said she's fine. Some smoke inhalation. A good egg on her head from something hitting her and knocking her out during the explosion." Buffy scowled at that. "A demon wanted to be LA's overlord."
"Uh-huh," she said dryly. "Angel is where?"
"In a portal of some sort, stuck there," he told her. She scowled. "Mac's team is taking over the investigation since Xander has smoke inhalation from rescuing her."
"I can see that. He's a good investigator with what he used to do." She looked at the girls then at him. "Can I talk to them? Slayer to slayer?"
"Sure," he agreed, sitting down. She had talked to the other group as well.
"I'm here to answer questions Faith hasn't about being a slayer. Including any nosy questions. I'm going to be one of the ones they send out to find the young potentials before they're called so I'm practicing on you guys."
Olivia raised her hand. "Fifteen?"
She nodded. "It sucks but that's when the girl before me died. If I had been younger someone else might've been called. We're not sure about that. Usually it's whoever's closest to the problem area of the moment when the next one's called or if there's a special skill needed, like the girl whose daddy is bomb squad might be jumped into place if the Powers thought they needed that skill."
"Powers?" another asked.
"They're not God, but they like to play that they are," she said with a frown. "The Powers That Be are all about keeping the balance going and all that. Angel deals with them a lot more than we do. We're only basically called by them and used as pawns when they need us to be. I can't really say as I like them but they're there. They won't answer questions or anything either. They're like really high dungeon masters according to Xander. Not the rule makers but the rule enforcers in some ways. The ones making the chess moves."
That got a few nods. "Did you get to do normal things?" Olivia asked.
Buffy shrugged. "I tried a lot. I did do most of them. I lost all popularity when I got chosen. I had been a cheerleader. That lasted until I had to burn down the school gym because it was full of vampires." They all shuddered at that. "Then we moved to Sunnydale, the old Hellmouth. I got to date now and then. More often after I came out to my mom. She was great about helping us until she died. I got to have some really crappy boyfriends, did a year of college. Went to dances and the prom. All that stuff. It's easier now with so many other girls to cover if you need a night off slaying for some fun. Before I had to lie to my watcher or con Xander into it."
John gave her a dirty look. "What did we learn from that?"
"That Xander could be bribed with ho-hos to do my patrols?" she said with a grin. "He didn't do a bad job either." He scowled. "I know. I took advantage of Xander. We were all more innocent back then." She looked at the girls. "If you guys have friends who want to jump in, let them if they can do it. It's what saved my butt time and again. What brought me back to life two out of the three times. There's a bad habit of slayers believing we're invincible because we're slayers. I had that. That and head up the butt syndrome really badly now and then. Xander stuck by me even when I had it. He's a great guy but if he ever gets too much chocolate, run." A few laughed. "Really."
John nodded. "Really. He fixed the pool, fixed the lab's walls, jogged to town and back twice, pounced his ex the night before. We had to knock him out."
Buffy looked at him. "Anya?"
"She's doing Hallie's job. She came down to visit. Xander had a chocolate fondue pot."
She shuddered. "Nuff said. Heard enough of Xander and Anya's sex life when they were together in Sunnydale." She looked at them. "I've worked with demons, former demons and present demons, and it's okay as long as they want to help. Now and then Spike didn't want to but we fed him blood after he got chipped."
Olivia raised a hand slowly. "You worked with some?"
"Yeah. And dated one. Angel was so hot when I was younger," she said with a small sigh. "We're still good friends. I'll be heading to LA later on. After Dawn's recharged and out of class. Then we helped Spike after he escaped from the Initiative. Then he brought Clem, who's really cool. He's in Cleveland helping us. Angel has a buddy named Lorne who runs a karaoke bar but he can tell your future when you sing." She shrugged a bit but grinned. "He dresses *way* loud, like a lounge singer loud, but he's a nice guy. Very sweet according to Fred. She loves to have him help her."
John smiled at the confused looks. "Not all demons are harmful. There's whole societies of demons that just are, and some do have warrior aspects but as long as they're peaceful and not hurting anything or anyone, they're not slayer business."
That got a few nods. Olivia raised her hand again. "What's the hardest thing you fought?"
"Angel when he lost his soul. Or the First Evil, but Angel was definitely an emotional blow." They stared so she went over the whole story. Including that Xander lied but she understood why now. He had been right in some ways to do that. That talk with her mother on Halloween had really helped her. Buffy didn't see John waving off Dean when he leaned in to get them for weapons class. She was babbling on about some of her past close calls. She loved this part of talking to the new girls.
John smiled. It was good for Buffy, made her grow up a bit more because she realized they all needed to be able to look up to her. Pouting made them look at her funny. It'd encourage good behavior.
Mac looked at the remains of the bomb. "I've seen one of these before."
Stella looked over his shoulder. Don too. "Looks like the one that took out the crew that got put into a coma," Don said quietly.
Mac smiled. "It does." He called up that file to look at the pictures of the bomb that someone had taken. Apparently local criminologists but that was fine with him. They knew what they were doing. It was the same bomb. Angel was still frozen in the portal. Buffy stepped out of another one. "Evening, Buffy."
"Hi, guys. Can I help or should I find the other girls?"
"Come help us for a second," Don ordered. She came over to look. "This is the same sort of bomb that the Watchers laid."
She shuddered. "I'm glad I don't remember the explosion."
"Angel's still in the portal," Stella told her.
She went to look, carefully walking over the burned areas. She glanced into the library but it was cleared out. She went up the stairs to find the guys were cleaning out their rooms. "Need help?"
"Sure," Fred agreed. She pointed. "He's there."
She went to look, then shrugged and walked into it. She looked at Angel. She could tell he wasn't frozen. "They tried to blow up the hotel."
He grimaced. "I can't get out of here to go bite them."
She smiled. "Xander got Morgan out."
"Good!" He looked around. "I have no idea what's going on."
She looked around too. "It's pretty and swirly."
"The Oracles' realm looks like this only a bit lighter."
"Huh. So the Powers wanted what to happen?" They shared a look. "Looks like they were saving you but not the others."
"Apparently," he sighed. She turned him around and they walked out together. He looked at the mess from the top of the stairs. "That's going to take forever to fix."
"Maybe," she agreed. "Everyone else is packing." He went to do that too. She went to help by hefting and toting, smiling at the slayers who came over to help. "I was talking to the new ones."
"Did you scare any enough to make them give it up?" Amber joked.
"Two or three," she said happily. "One was really freaked out about how young I was when I was called." They all smiled at that. Sometimes Buffy had a very unique outlook on life. They finished loading all the stuff into the u-haul for Angel then went to find Connor to patrol with him. He might as well be a male slayer. Which brought up uncomfortable questions in her head. "Hey, guys? Do you think the slayer gene only goes to women or could it be there's male slayers hiding around?"
Connor gave her an odd look. "Could've sworn the slayer spirit infected you girls, that it wasn't natural."
She shrugged. "Who said only girls got marked?"
He shook his head quickly. "I leave all questions like that to Fred. Ask her."
"I can do that. Or ask Abby," she decided, happier again.
Sarabeth shook her head quickly. "Maybe that's why Dean's such a good hunter? John and Sam are good but Dean's great."
"Could be," Buffy agreed.
"Ladies, less chatting, more head cracking?" Connor nearly begged. He wasn't used to chatty girls anymore.
"Yes, Connor," Amber sighed. "Oooh, Buffy, Crissy said she found a new boyfriend."
She beamed. "That's so cool! Little baby hellion in there might have a real daddy after all! Can we tell him she's back on base?"
"Already called," Connor assured her, sighing a bit at the end.
"Give! What's he like?" Buffy said with a gentle shove, for her, when he didn't answer.
"Ask Charlie. He set them up. Look, vampires." He pointed and they rushed to go slay them. It was happier than chatting in his book but he did call Charlie to warn him one of the girls would pounce to meet Crissy's boyfriend before he jumped in too.
Don Epps looked at his little brother after he hung up. The look on his face was strange. "Big problems?"
"We have stand-in slayers who want to meet Crissy's boyfriend to threaten him with the shovel talk."
Don nodded slowly. "Warn the guy. That way Crissy doesn't lose him."
"I am." He found his laptop and plugged it into the phone to write him an email. "Buffy's one of the stand-ins. I heard her chatting with the girls while they staked."
"Wonderful. I'll expect a visit," Don said, stretching out on the couch so he could go back to the baseball game they were watching. "Oh, come on! That wasn't a foul ball!" he complained a minute later.
Charlie smiled. Sometimes Don was so *normal* it amazed him. Now all he needed to be was in his underwear and a undershirt with a beer in hand and a pair of tube socks scrunched down his ankles.
Alan came down the stairs from fussing over Morgan and went into the kitchen to do something in there.
Xander wandered into dinner that night and sat down, smiling at the soup that was put in front of him by Dawn. "Thanks, Dawnster."
"Welcome, Xander. Nothing too solid in case you start to cough again and then puke later." She gave him a hug and sat down in her usual seat, looking at the girls. "He's fine. House isn't complaining about him escaping so he has to be."
"He's fine," Chase called from his seat. "We actually released him this time." The girls relaxed. That meant they thought Xander was okay too. They went back to eating and chatting.
John looked over at Xander. "Daniel wanted a report on the weapons?"
"I'll give one in a few." He gave him a weak smile. "It wasn't just a tip," he said quietly. John shuddered. "Thankfully they have people to handle that."
"Good!" He let Xander go back to eating his soup. "Tired?" Xander nodded. "Report then hit the sack, Xander."
"I am, Dad." He finished up a second bowl and some soda then went to report to Daniel. "Hey."
Daniel put someone on hold. "What happened?"
"The tip wasn't just a thread to draw someone. That was on the other side of the area they were in. I was told not to write a report that could get out."
"Agreed. I know someone more covert got you since I had the Secretary of State call. Sit, Xander. You look like you're about to fall over."
"Am." He sat down, stretching out. "He got there and I showed him the two semi-bad things then the bomb I was sitting on top of. It was in a crate and had a trip wire so I was holding that in case we had an earthquake or something. He called for a team to turn the thing off but then guys broke in to shoot at us and one bullet hit the timer, causing a short that made it run faster. So we disarmed the switch and then the team took it." Daniel let out a small moan. "They felt the same way when they found the warehouse. I told him he could have it, that one of our sort of cases had tipped me but said they didn't own it. So he's got a lot of work going on that. Then I went to the Hyperion to be attacked apparently."
"I've been talking to Mac. The overlord wannabe you got is dead. They made sure of it. His family is still pushing for control and the portal that took Angel was reported by him to look a lot like the Oracle's realm. They're working on that right now."
Xander nodded slowly. "Wonderful."
"Very. But everyone's fine. Morgan's with the Epps. Don said his father was in full fussing mode and so was Cordette. They've called Crissy's boyfriend for her." That got a smile. "The stand-ins out there are off hunting with Connor."
"I was using my service piece on him when the crossbows failed," Xander told him.
"Huh." He took the call off hold. "Stella, Xander said he was using his service piece on that one demon. Blessed silver or holy water?" he asked.
"Blessed silver. I did a pretty classic head shot then a chest shot. I don't know which killed it."
Daniel repeated that then nodded. "That'll be fine, Stella. Let us know. Also, if you get an agent from a covert group asking questions, Xander was helping him earlier in the day with the weapons tip he got given by a dealer clan. Sure, them. Thanks." He hung up. "They'll be careful and watch for him in case he shows up." Xander nodded, yawning. "Go to bed, Xander." He nodded more quickly and went to do that. Daniel wrote the classified part of the report, leaving it at the vague details Xander had given him then sealed it off. Just so they'd know. Abby had thoughtfully retrieved that deleted number for him in case they ever needed it again.
When Xander trudged into breakfast the next morning, Chase gave him a long look then smirked. "Come down for bloodwork, Xander." That got a groan but a nod. "Thank you." He took his down there to get what he wanted ready. House gave him an odd look. "Xander still looks like hell."
"We're pulling blood in case something was tipped with a poison?" Chase nodded, taking Xander when he came in. House watched then retrieved the reports since he was closest to the printer. "Not a bad idea to do that. Give him the anti-venom neither of us can pronounce in the purple bottle."
Chase gave him a dose and put him to bed so they could watch him. Then he went to hand the reports to Daniel, who faxed them to Stella.
Stella found the warehouse from yesterday after finding the dealer clan. She walked in and found a human in there. "Are you the guy who was working with DCIS Agent Harris yesterday?" He jumped, looking at her, shaking his head slowly. "Do you work with him?" She pulled her badge to show him.
"I do. Why?" He knew they were all strange so he wasn't surprised one had tracked him down but he had no idea how or why.
"Something in the situation yesterday exposed him to this venom. We have an anti-venom available if he's been exposed too. We don't know why or if it was here or the other scene he got injured on." She handed the copy over. "If it was here, that's the blood tests they ran to find it and I wrote the infirmary's number on the back." She smiled. "Also, does this dovetail with our investigation of the new attempted demonic overlord here in LA?"
"I hope not. Our agency wouldn't like that."
"Us either," she assured him. "If you think it might, my number's the second number. It's to my cell. We'll talk." She smiled and walked off, leaving him to his fingerprinting. "By the way, I'd use the green on that surface. As a former CSI, it'd pick up better." She let the door close behind her.
He swallowed. That was one hell of a woman and a CSI too? He called in. "Sir, I just got talked to by a DCIS agent. Female. Curly hair. Bonasera?" He frowned. "She said she was a former CSI. Told me to use a different fingerprint powder. That's her. She said they found Harris, who had been in this warehouse yesterday and gave us the bust, was exposed to a venom here or at the other fight he got into. She gave me the reports from the tests they ran. They do have an anti-venom. We do have the infirmary's number and her cellphone now. I can do that."
He hung up and finished up then went back to the office to hand that in and the evidence to the forensic lab. They'd get their agent some of the anti-venom and an extra vial just in case. He replayed the whole conversation for them and the boss frowned but nodded if it did relate they'd need help. They had *no* idea what to do with demons beyond blowing them up. A few calls to the local tipsters had the whole team-in-residence's names and the local liaison's name. It was good to know in case it did intersect. The agent from yesterday did look a lot better once he'd had the anti-venom so it was a very good tip they had gotten. "Figure out how it got you?"
"One of the grazes tested positive for it." He sat down. "How did we find out?"
"Stella Bonasera tracked me down to the warehouse and gave us the test information, plus the infirmary's number and her cellphone in case this problem leads back to the attempted overlord situation," the boss told him.
"Is that what took out the Hyperion?" They nodded. "They good?"
"Everyone's fine by reports," the agent from earlier said. "She's one hell of a woman. Told me to use a different fingerprint powder."
"She'd know. She was a CSI," the boss told him. He looked at his agent. "Does it lead back?"
"Humans rented it but there's no telling if they were minions. Last I knew we were chasing rental records." They got handed over. "That's got to be a demon name. I've never seen that string of letters together before in any human language." Stella's number was handed over. "I'll get with her later. Who else would know?"
"We have their local liaison's number, he's FBI, or there's a team of three former NYPD officers and a former ATF person out to investigate the overlord thing," the boss told him.
"Let me find them. They'd probably have more idea since they're in on the case." He went to find her by cellphone GPS chip. He could show up where she was. She was...shopping? He drove out to meet her, finding her in the food court. "You're taking time off to shop?" he asked dryly.
"Fred needed something. She's running computer stuff for us so we're in a lull and I thought I'd make myself available in case you guys wanted to talk to us." She looked him over. "They said Xander looked like hell this morning, that's what tipped them off."
"So did I. We found out it was coated on one of the bullets."
"Charming." She made that note and looked at him. "Let me guess, it might lead back?" He handed over the sheet of rental records. She looked then snickered. "That means Highest Love of Evenness in that language."
"Figured it was demonic with that string."
She nodded. "It is. It's nice they tried to translate it." She looked in the PDA Fred had given her, finding their address. "That's the same group's favorite hangout according to Angel and Fred's records. Take one of the girls with you in case they attack you." He stared. "We have four slayers in to stand in plus the one who is standing in for one girl on maternity leave. They can help. Buffy might gossip but she gets a lot of respect for how long she's been doing this." She pointed. "That's Buffy and Amber."
He looked then at her. "Could they handle it if it went south?" he asked quietly.
"That's why they're slayers. Buffy did Sunnydale for eight years." He shuddered. He'd looked that town up after meeting Xander. "Exactly. Amber's been trained by the Winchesters. Or you could call Xander if he's feeling better. Or ask Mac. He's a former Marine."
He considered it. "Let us recon it first. I might need that." She smiled and handed over something. "What's that?"
"Mac's number. Buffy's number in Cleveland. She and Caridad are doing most of the head stuff for the senior girls while Giles rebuilds the Council. That's the base's number for the lab if you ever need it." He smiled at that. "We let it be known all you guys had to do was call. We do it for other departments and agencies too."
"Good to know. What sort of turnaround time?"
"If we're not in the middle of something huge? About an hour if we know what it is already. If it's really obscure but not something that interested any of the book geeks on base it could take weeks."
"Good. I can stand that." He put it into his pocket. "Would that sort need weapons?"
She looked it up in the manual, then shook her head. "No. They're supposed to be peaceful, no warrior clans within it." She let him see the page they had on that one. "I don't know why."
"Maybe a minion then?"
"Could be. They do gamble and kitten poker is a debt game."
"Yeah. The demonic game of choice from what we hear."
He shuddered. "That's just..." She nodded and grinned. "Okay, so maybe he's a minion for that reason or he hired out."
"Can we get one of those? Maybe with pictures or physical descriptions?" She flipped to the back of the book and he smiled at the description list based on color then size, then distinguishing marks or traits. "That's a good way of doing it."
"Abby and Speed thought that up." She let him have it. "I can get another copy."
"Thanks for the help."
She picked up the bags. "That's why I do the work." She walked off, gathering the girls with her. "C'mon, back to work, ladies." They groaned but finished their lunches and went with her.
He watched them go. The girls were so *young*! He wasn't sure he'd trust taking a girl with him into that situation. He went back to the office with the information and the book, reporting and letting the OP center have the manual in case they ever needed it. Plus the lab's number. The boss was amused. He looked at the records they had hacked into, finding a slayer that had went with a retrieval team was one of the locals 'hanging out', as in listed as being on vacation. So he went to pick her up and take her with him. He'd trust her more than he would Buffy Summers. No matter how good her rep was. This one had been trained by a commando team and he knew one of the team members. He vouched for her training and told him where she was still weak. It was good enough for him. Of course, the first question he asked her was 'kitten poker'.
She gave him an odd look since she was at a fast food place. "I don't personally play but I have heard where the major action is."
He held up his ID, getting a groan. "I've got to question someone about a weapons warehouse."
"They're going to ask why they didn't send Xander."
"Xander handed it to us. They had some higher weapons that needed a disposal team immediately."
She stared. "I heard rumors about a nuclear one," she said quietly. She finished his milkshake on the way out with him, texting someone. "Connor so he won't worry. He's picked up bad fussing habits from Crissy recently." That got a smirk. "She's pregnant. Due around easter."
"Xander said something about her at the warehouse."
She smirked. "We're all babying Crissy because of the little girl she's carrying. We're also all hoping she's not a slayer. That would drive her mom nuts." She got into the car and watched the city as they went. "What are we looking for?" He handed over the information. "Huh. I know him. I talked to him the other day. He wanted to know why I wasn't going on patrol."
"Why weren't you, Gwen?"
"I'm on vacation to see the guys. The base is *really* nice, but kinda squee central some days. Teenage girls all over the place."
"You've been on the base?"
"I was sent to check the armory for leaks."
"Only a few earth demons." She shifted to look at him. "This is a really rough bar."
"We've had it under surveillance all day."
She snickered. "It won't get really heated in there until about two." They changed streets. "Why not ask Buffy? They'd be in awe and talk to her."
"I have no idea if she can handle it if the situation turns caustic."
"Buffy can handle FUBAR. She did plenty of times at home. She'll make disgusted noises about the goo under her nails, but she can do it. We all can. Xander made sure of it and he told us how FUBAR things can go sometimes. Gave us all a clear picture of what could happen if we failed."
"That's good of him but doesn't that bother the younger girls?"
"It more made us see why we were doing this. It's a tiring job."
"It can be," he agreed. "Mine's the same way. I usually deal with terrorists."
She nodded. "They do suck. We had one group that tried to take us hostage to reprogram us as terrorists. They didn't like slayer strength at all."
He smirked. "They never do."
"So, how did you get into this line of work?"
"Recruited out of the Army."
"Well, hey, you got trained. Some of the girls the old Council had were barely trained. That's why Xander started with self defense. Then lessons and languages."
"That's smart of him. Especially with so many younger girls."
"Our youngest is still here," she told him. He gave her an odd look. "She was only six when she got called. We found her an excellent foster family and the girls locally all check on her and help her whenever she needs it."
"Is she patrolling?"
"Nope. Her big brothers are teaching her self defense and all that good stuff. We're not allowed to test for patrol until we're at least sixteen. Seventeen if possible."
"That's a wise decision. Especially with so many of you."
"Buffy started at fifteen." He shuddered. "Look back at what she handled."
"I did. I'm damn glad I didn't have to."
"Us too. You guys getting involved would've made things go worse probably. One girl, a witch, and a hunter can go places a whole strike team can't."
"Good point." He pulled up in front of the bar, watching the brawl going on. "Is that normal?"
"For those two." She smirked. "How open do you want me? I can say I'm there to talk to someone about whoever shot at Xander."
"Please do. I'll play escort and driver."
She smirked. "All slayers recently had to get driving lessons because Buffy made the cops and the instructor they got in from the FBI academy scared." She slid out and looked at the fighting ones then sighed and walked over, throwing them apart. "Guys, messing up the sidewalk and making me sweaty." They stared and one whimpered. "Not here for you probably." He relaxed. "Take it to the parking lot so you don't trip people." She walked inside, heading for the bar.
"You're not old enough...." She pulled him over. "Which one are you?" he squeaked.
She smirked as she drawled, "Gwen."
"Oh, damn." She let him go. "You were on retrieval."
"I was. And I'm on vacation but a demon shot at Xander and we're all *so* pissed. I want to talk to that one." She handed over the papers. "We found this one associated. I promise I won't hurt him...much. At least if he's not the real reason behind it." She smiled sweetly and reached back to break the hand trying to cop a feel. "Not your ass. Grope yourself, not me." She looked back and grinned. "Not my type anyway. I'd need someone who could throw me against a wall in a good way, baby. Your kind are asexual." He went sweaty and ran off. She waved. "Thanks for offering though." She looked at the bartender again, smiling again. "It's nice he thinks I'm hot."
"You are very cute in that."
"Cute is for the mini girls on base. I'm too old for cute."
"Nor am I the undead yo-yo."
He laughed. "Good point. Did she really die again?"
"For a few minutes in Cold Oak. Got anything on this one?"
He pointed. "Back table, this side. I can tell you he's a minion. His family needed money so he hired himself out."
"Then he'll know who hired him." She pinched his cheek. "Can I have a seven up?" He got her a can. "Thanks, dear." She strolled that way, stopping to look at one demon. "Aren't you wanted for the invasion thing?" she asked. He tried to move but she broke his leg tripping him and used her belt to tie him up. "I'll get you in a minute." She found the demon she wanted watching her. "Good evening." He moaned. She sat down across from him, looking at the hand of the guy next to her. "That's .... Not what Spike would play from what he explained to us." She opened the can and took a sip, looking at him. "Your name was associated with the warehouse Xander got shot at. I want to know who it really belongs to so we can have a talk."
He shook his head. "They'll kill me."
"I'm Gwen. The Slayer Gwen."
He slumped. "So you'll kill me?"
"I'll bang you up a lot but I'm not that mean. I understand about needing money for the family." She leaned closer. "I do know that you're going to be hunting for a new job anyway."
"I can't tell you."
"You can and if I have to find out the hard way I'm going to be much, much meaner."
He swallowed, shaking his head. "I can't." She turned and threw her knife at that one demon, making him scream but quit trying to escape. She looked at him again and he nearly whimpered. "Why not bring Buffy?"
"She's in on the DCIS case. I'm in on vacation. This isn't exactly an *official* talk." She stared him down. "If you tell me, you can hide long enough for me to deal with him."
"Even more reason with what I heard that warehouse had." The demon looked clueless so she leaned over. "Xander got a tip about *major* weapons that not even he could bust. That's what drew him there and he found about ten things that bad. One a huge bomb. If he's human, he's in deep with the authorities."
He considered it, looking at the guys.
The agent stepped closer. "At this point, if the humans found out, they could charge you as an accessory. Even if you only signed the lease in your name."
He looked at him. "I heard about you." That got a smirk. "You needed a slayer?"
"You're their playground, not mine. You guys freak us out."
She nodded. "And I'm not inclined toward arresting you unless there's a reward in it for me," she told him. "So a get out of jail free card and the ability to find a better paycheck. Unless you were involved."
He looked at the guys, who all groaned but nodded they'd cooperate. The agent sat down to go over what they knew. And to learn a bit about kitten poker. Even though the thought of playing poker for kittens was wrong on so many levels.
Gwen walked into the temporary headquarters the next morning, handing over the demon. "One of Wolfram and Hart's top people. He was helping the invasion stuff."
Stella beamed. "That's so nice of you, Gwen. Are you helping?"
"Vacation. I got tapped to help with the warehouse stuff." She shrugged. "It's a human, their people are going after him, and I'm free to go back to my vacation." She looked at Buffy. "By the way, Crissy's boyfriend is scared to death of you. No shovel talk." She strolled off again, going to talk to her former coworkers. She was missing excitement. Being on base was too easy for her.
Buffy shrugged, taking the demon to look over. "At least she left you living so you could have some fun in prison. I hear they have butt sex." She called Dawn, who opened one remotely to the base. "Here you go. Gwen found one of the ones still wanted for the invasion. She probably wanted more shopping money."
John took him. "Thanks, Buffy. Any good news?"
"Gwen helped bring down the guy hiring demons that was holding the weapons Xander nearly got shot about."
"Even better. Tell her to call Mercy soon." He let the portal close and dragged the pitiful demon off. "Guys, Buffy said Gwen found him. He was part of the invasion problem?"
"Mine!" Xander said. He looked over and found his sheet. "Awww. You are." He took him down to the prison. They had already done the arrest forms. They knew they'd have to show up sometime to get assets to live on. He filled in the last few sections down there. "Here, Gwen brought him in. He was part of Wolfram and Hart's board. With the invasion."
"We have a good, escape-proof cell for him," the guard promised. "I'll get Chase down to check him over." He walked the demon off, paging Chase on the way. Chase gave the demon a bad look. "One of the slayers brought him in. He was formerly of Wolfram and Hart."
"Wonderful." He bandaged and stitched him then let him have his cell to himself.
Xander walked up to the office. "Hey, Danny?" He looked up. "The prison's getting a bit tight again. The board listing all the cells is mostly lit up."
"How many are getting out soon?"
"No idea. Just a head's up so you can check on it."
"I can do that." He went down there to find the head guard. "Good morning."
"Morning, sir. What's wrong?"
"Xander said that the prison's nearly full?"
"About eight-tenths. I was going to come up soon and suggest that we hand back the human prisoners."
"I'll see if I can arrange that. How much space would that free up?"
"About sixty cells."
"I'll see if I can arrange that." He went to his office to call someone in the FBI about that. They'd tell him who to call.
Mac looked up as a demon came up to where he was questioning a source. "Give me a minute?" It nodded so he finished up with the information he needed before looking at the new one. "Do you have relevant information on this case, sir?"
"Will you do as Harris does and handle situations that are occurring at the same time?"
"If possible. If I can't personally do it I'll let Stella or Don break off to handle it." That got a smile. "What sort of problem are you seeing?"
"My spouse has taken our daughter. The demon courts gave me custody."
"Do you know where she is?"
"I do. I cannot afford what it would cost to get her back."
"Give me the information and I'll let Don and Stella handle it since I'm dealing with the one who wants to take over LA."
"That is acceptable. Stella is said to be fair, as is Don." He handed over the decree and her current address. "Thank you."
"Not a problem." They shook hands and the demon left. Mac went to find Stella, handing it to her. "Non-custodial parent kidnaping."
"I'll take Don with me." He nodded and she went to find Don to start that look over. Apparently the wife was of the view her husband would pay her to get their child back, but he didn't seem to have money. So it was their sort of case. They watched the house for a while then Stella went to get a warrant with the pictures they had taken of the mother and child. The same judge sighed but signed it and told her what had happened during the trial. How usually he'd be expected to pay someone to take her back. She pointed out that was their job, not the clan's. That way someone could be arrested and everyone would know. The judge smirked and let her handle it. Within two hours they were back to have the one woman formally charged in the demon courts. LA's community had started their own jail so that was even better. They finished up and headed off to find Mac and get back to case work.
Daniel walked into the lab. "Tell me we have something on that portal generator?" he begged.
"We've been using it for everything but people transport," Abby said, giving him an odd look. "I left you a voicemail."
"Jack must've erased it on me." He sat down. "What did we find?"
"We found two anomalies and the fact that Xander and Dean together make a new heat source." Danny gave her an odd look. "They do and I'm not talking about panty heating either. They came up with a new way to heat things the other night when the building urge hit them again." She bounced off to get a few things, bringing them back. "We have tested the portal generator. It does have settings to create stable sub realms. Which is an anomaly because it doesn't have to continuously be in contact with it to keep it open. We're not sure why yet. Even Rod doesn't have a theory yet."
"He always has theories."
"He thinks maybe it's the magical crackpot theory but you never know." She shrugged. "We also found out we can move demons but not humans that way. Now, we're not sure about those who've been possessed or are possessed. They might not work either. He and Sam had an idea about how to make it so it could be a people mover but they're working on it back at his base again since they're at home."
He gave her a pat on the arm. "You can go up for a few weeks to manage the integration from their end since they've had problems." She squealed and hugged him, bouncing against him. He smiled back. "I'm all for you being happy and if he does it for you then I'll gladly watch you be cute with him. Gibbs said the same thing." She beamed. "Are those the only two anomalies we've found?"
"What uses could we put this to? And can we build more?"
"Oh, yeah. We have the tech specs and all that from the raid plus the diagram off the working one. The only thing we don't have is naquada."
"How did they get any?"
"Demons get hold of some strange things. Just look at the fertility idol I'm never touching and the pieces of Atlantis we get now and then."
"Good point but naquada is seriously classified and there's demons from the Pegasus galaxy. There's no demons we know of going near any naquada rich planets."
"Hmm. Ask Jack?"
"I can do that." He made a note for himself. Then he looked at her. "New heat source?"
"Um-huh. They were screwing around and something in Andrew's memories said something about something old of Warren's so they went to play with it once they built it. They figured out a new power source for the robots using a water breaking down particle accelerator and a rechargeable battery system," she babbled, bouncing off to get it for him. She brought it back. "See, it works really well and it can heat fantastically. I took it outside to thaw the front yard earlier."
"I noticed the bare spot in the snow," he teased.
"Yup, twas me but it was fun. Because of the heat it naturally gives off, it can be a dual source of power. Higher from the accelerator and then lower from a heat turbine or something."
"Does the water come back together after you split it?"
"It only collects the energy from the splitting, not the actual molecules so it can reform once it cools down."
"That could be extremely handy. Can we size it up to a generator?"
"We can use this size to power the whole base, Danny."
He beamed. "That is exceptional. Which one begged to test it?"
"I haven't told them yet."
"If you can get a second one working you can bring one up to McKay when you go." She gave him another bouncy hug. "Patents?" He had to straighten out his glasses but he was smiling. A happy Abby was a wonderful thing.
"We are taking a field trip to the patent office with Dean and Xander next week. The main one in DC so I can check on a few friends. That way we can bring working models?" she asked hopefully.
"As long as they're safe and no one can take them. I'd hate to see someone bad with the particle accelerator beam."
"I know. We're arranging it with Fornell so he can let whichever lab geeks out there have a look if we need to. Dean doesn't know yet but John's really proud and arranged it for him."
Daniel smiled. "Does Xander?" She shook her head. "Then I'll let you drag him off. Get me papers?" She handed them over. "Wesley's for Dean?" She handed over that set. "Good work, Abby." She beamed at him and he kissed her on the temple. "Let me know when you need to go up." She nodded and went to put things away for now. He found Wesley in the library. "Dean's helping Abby next week in DC," he said quietly.
"I've heard," he said, smiling back. He took the papers and signed them. "John's already arranged things."
"Wonderful." He went to sign Xander's and tell him. "Xander, next week Abby's going to need your help on a project in DC that she's presenting."
"Sure," he called back, waving a hand. "I'll pack good clothes."
"Thank you." He went to file the paperwork. Then he called Jack. "How would demons have gotten hold of naquada?"
Jack frowned over the video feed. "They did?"
"They did. The portal generator we found during the goop clones thing runs on it."
"Interesting. I have no idea."
"Check on your end?"
"I can do that." He hung up and went to talk to someone in the lab. "People, how would demons have gotten hold of naquada in enough strength to start making devices powered by it?" he asked. They all gave him horrified looks. "Danny Jackson's people found a portal generator that runs on it."
"I'll check our stores," the head of the research lab said calmly. "How much did they get?"
"No idea. We know the portal generator works."
"Let me call a friend at Area 51, see if she can track their materials," another said, reaching for the desk phone. Jack left them to it. This was bad. Demons shouldn't have access to classified, high energy applications or sources. They might use it to destroy the world or something icky like that.
Mac came back with the last few demons from their case. "The girls found two of them doing human sacrifices for power raising and had to stop them the hard way," he told Daniel, nodding at the others. "These are what's left of the clan. They were trying a mafia style take over of LA and we've got rumors of ones in New York that the real mob had to take out recently."
"I'm sure the NYPD was thrilled with that."
"They're going to be able to break out of the cells."
Daniel smirked. "I think we have a way around that," he told him. "Abby's been fiddling with the portal generator and found a way to make stable, safe sub realms." Mac gaped. He smirked. "That should work as a holding cell for them." He walked them down there so Abby could test it. It did work and the portal looked a lot like the one Angel had been in, only different colored. Mac filed that away for later reference but the demons were each put into their own subrealm and shut in. They'd open it periodically to give food over and they had some way of monitoring it he assumed.
"That is amazing," Stella said.
Daniel smiled. "It is. We've got monitoring via thermal imaging and a sound pickup."
"Wow," she decided. He nodded and they left to finish the paperwork for their judge. She ran into Abby coming out of the caf with a new caf-pow and gave her a hug. "You have an amazing brain, Abby." She went back to getting her own coffee then back to her paperwork. The afterglow Abby left nearly lit up the halls. Okay, so maybe some of it was a bit of radiation since the guards had a radiation meter and were following her but that was fine too. All in the life of the wacky research team at DCIS.
to part 27
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