Chapter Two: Definitely Not Kansas
AN: Summary and disclaimer found with the prologue.
Okay, first off, thank you to you guys who reviewed the last chapy. As always, I appreciate that you guys took time out to do so. :)
Well, I have to say, while I like the tone of this chapter better than the other two, I'm must say I don't think it's one of my best. Took forever to write too. Next one should be better. *cross fingers*
Once again, a little reminder, this isn't beta read, so please forgive the mistakes.
Definitely Not Kansas
When Dawn woke up, she knew that whatever had hit her must have killed her and sent her into the after life. She felt warm and there was a softness that surrounded her and everything was so bright. Just like Buffy said.
But the brightness was harsh, not inviting, and quickly hurt her eyes.
Which was really only a small annoyance as compared to the headache that was bouncing back and forth between her ears like a tennis ball.
Ow. Wasn’t there supposed to be like no pain in heaven?
And since when did heaven start smelling like bacon?
Squeezing her eyes shut, Dawn focused on red splotchy flashes behind her eyelids and tried to keep herself from groaning too loudly. When her vision wasn’t so painful to her closed eyes, she cracked them opened again slowly.
The bright, white light was still there, but she could now see it was coming from hidden slots in the walls and the ceiling. There was metal too, in struts going up the walls, but whether they were for decoration or for structural purposes she didn’t know. The room itself was both warm and cold and...science fiction-y.
Which really made the wooden bed she found herself on stand out.
Okay, so, not dead and apparently trapped in some Star Trek-like dimension.
Yeah. Andrew and Xander were going to be so jealous.
The heavy sounds of stomping feet caused Dawn to sit up a bit, and nearly caused her to kick off the tray of food someone had left at the end of her bed. Well, that at least explained the smell of bacon.
That thought died quickly when two very large and mean looking robots rounded the corner and stepped into her room. Their long, talon-like fingers stretched out at their sides, almost as if they were flexing them. A single red ball of light slid back and forth along a visor they had for eyes, as if they were constantly searching her room for something to destroy.
Somehow, she didn’t think these guys were stuffy, British protocol droids.
Okay, so maybe Andrew and Xander wouldn’t be so thrilled to be here. Dawn knew she wasn’t.
Crap. Just for once, why couldn’t Buffy be the one kidnapped by the evil, scary thing?
Satisfied by whatever they found in her room, the two robots stepped to the side, making way for something else. Several creatures and aliens from Andrew’s Scifi collections filtered through Dawn’s head before she realized that those where fiction. Whatever was about to prance into her cell was going to be very real. And probably brilliant and evil if their guards where anything to go by. Oh, and crazy. They’re always crazy when they have giant robots. That was like a requirement or something.
A few click of high heels against metal later, and three people came into view; two women and a man standing between them. As compared to the statuesque blonde and the pretty Asian woman, the rather short, brown-haired man that stood between them looked out of place. Like one of those guys who always had gorgeous women around him, but only because he had money or was famous or something. This guy was probably just an official or scientist and the women were his co-workers. Judging by what the blonde’s wearing, it must be casual Friday.
Well, might as well get this over with.
“You better let me go.”
Surprise registered on their faces for just a fraction of a second. If Dawn wasn’t so use to having to watch and read her sister and other slayers, she knew she would have missed it.
The blonde women turned her head light to the side. “Let you go?”
“Yeah, you know. Release me or whatever,” Dawn said. At their blank looks, she said, “Back to where you found me.”
“We found you with the Hybrid,” the man said.
This time, Dawn blinked. “Hybrid?”
“Yes,” the blonde continued. “She spoke of you just before God brought you to us.”
Dawn, again, blinked. This definitely wasn’t good.
Drawing in a deep breath, she eloquently summed up the situation and her life in general both in a single word. “Crap.”
The first thing Buffy thought as she opened her eyes and found herself staring up at a grey, metallic ceiling was that she was going to kill Dawn. She wasn’t exactly sure why, she just knew that somehow this was her baby sister’s fault. Then again, it could just be a programed response from her childhood like calling Dawn by her full name will automatically result in her shouting back ‘I didn’t do it’. Still, waking up in what was obviously was a cell - and military by the look of it - screamed Dawn. Of course, she was usually the one on the wrong side of the bars.
Buffy shook her head.
As discreetly as she could, she made a quick sweep of the room with her eyes. There wasn’t much too it from what she could see: half glass, half metal walls, a single overhead light, and of course they way uncomfortable table/bed thing she found herself laying on. Yep, definitely military, and not the giggly, ‘hey, you’re going to have a fun-filled time her in Guantanamo Bay’ kind of military either. No, judging by the room’s clinical-ness-y, this was more like the military branch that once you meet them, you’re never going to be seen again.
How did she end up with the military?
Okay, she needed to think. What was the last thing she remembered?
She was...visiting Dawn. That’s right. She was visiting Dawn at NYU. They were in her sister’s apartment. She was getting ready to do a quick patrol while Dawn was getting ready to go to a study session. Dawn was running late, surprise, surprise. She picked up Dawn’s backpack and then...she was here in Area 51.
Carefully, Buffy tugged at her wrists, but the tell, tale sound of metal clanking told her what she already knew. Restrained. Well, that was just peachy, wasn’t it?
Sitting up, Buffy frowned when she saw two armed military men standing near the only doors she could see in her cell. Oh, goody.
Leaning back onto her elbow, Buffy crossed her ankles. “Agent K. Agent J.”
The two men just continued to stare straight ahead.
Sighing, Buffy tried again. “So, is this where you dissect the aliens and hide that Stargate thing-y?”
The guards didn’t so much as glance in her direction.
Oh, yeah, this was going to be fun.
When Bill Adama was a young boy, his sister used to take him to the Caprica City Zoo. It was famed for being the best and largest in the Twelve Colonies, boasting its collection of animals from every Colonial world. Some where exotic; zebras from the plains of Tauron, polar bears that were indigenous to the arctic regions of Libris, alligators from the swamplands of Aquiria. Some were native to Caprica and familiar: the black bear, the spotted owl, the mountain lion. So many animals, from so many worlds, all neatly categorized and caged for public viewing and education.
Bill used to love going. He and Marie would spend the entire day there, usually exploring the key exhibit and a few personal favorites.
Years later, when the boys were young and they had found themselves on a rare visit to his parents, Bill tried taking his children to the place he loved so much as child himself. Zak, who couldn’t have been six at the time, had liked it well enough and dragged them from exhibit to exhibit at a breakneck speed. Bill had been fairly sure if his youngest son had been in charge of the tour, they would have been able to see the whole zoo in thirty minutes. A then eight Lee had been far less impressed and spent most of the time asking how much longer until they could leave.
In the end, what was supposed to have been fun quality time between father and sons and turned into one of those family stories that no one but Zak ever brought up. But then, only his youngest son could remember the chimp reaching through the bars of its cage and grabbing Lee by the back of his jacket with amusement. Bill just remembered having to pull a frightened Lee out of his jacket - which they never did get back - and then having to listen to Carolanne rage about his negligence after they got home. And he knew Lee didn’t remember the incident fondly.
Actually, he wondered if son still had his phobia about monkeys.
Standing there, watching the monitors as the young woman pace back and forth in her cell reminded Bill of the snow leopard from Virgon that the zoo used to keep. Body tense and her steps even and sure, she moved like the caged big cat he saw so many times during his childhood, absolutely predatory.
They still weren’t sure who or what she was. Cottle had managed to obtain blood samples before she woke up a few hours ago, but the testing was going to take quiet some time now that Doctor Baltar was no longer in charge of Cylon detection. They were having to learn how to use his equipment and apply his research, though Bill wasn’t sure how reliable it was. The man was a collaborator, after all. That put into question every test he had ever conducted and every scrap of research he had ever complied for the Colonial Fleet. Could any of his results be trusted now? Could there be other sleeper agents in the Fleet that he identified, but didn’t mention? Could there be another Boomer on board, unaware of who they are and what they will do, just waiting to be activated?
Bill blinked and pushed the heavy thoughts away. Sleeper agents had always been a threat to the Fleet, but they were not a worry he had time for at the moment. Not when there was a known Cylon on board in a cell a few doors away. And definitely not when there was a possible enemy agent - or unlucky human - pacing in front of him.
“She’s agitated,” Laura said. There was a pleased note to her tone that would have gone unnoticed by anyone who didn’t know her that well.
Bill glanced over to the President and watched her observe the young woman. Study her, would probably be a better word. Much like himself, she was interrupting the way the girl moved, how she swung her hips and her steady, even pace, and was drawing conclusions. Laura was good at it, having learned the skill to deal with elementary children early in her career and then later perfecting it with the political children she dealt with first as the Secretary of Education and then during her Presidency.
Giving what there ‘prisoner’ was displaying, he normally would agree with her. Pacing was a sign of agitation or nervousness that people did without thought. He and Lee both did it. He had also seen Helo crisscrossing the CIC before the rescue mission of New Caprica. And Athena often crossed her cell when she had become agitated or aggravated with them.
Bill, however, had been studying how people reacted to military interrogation - both in war and peace times - for more than forty years, and before that he had observed his father’s clients and how they acted when preparing to go to court. This girl wasn’t agitated.
As if hearing him, the girl stopped her pacing and fell into the chair behind the table they had placed in her cell for her interrogation. Addressing the two armed marines that stood by the entrance, she said, “Could I get like a book or something while we’re waiting for your boss to show up and do the whole ‘interrogate and torture’ thing?”
The marines didn’t so much as blink to acknowledgment her request.
Sitting back in her chair, the girl dropped her shoulders and actually proceeded to pout. “Didn’t think so.”
Laura raised an eyebrow.
“I don’t believe we’ve had many prisoners ask for a book while waiting to be interrogated before,” she said, turning her attention back to the monitors.
“No, we haven’t,” Bill agreed.
He had never had a prisoner ask for one - let alone pout about not getting one - while waiting for their interrogators to arrive. She had been in that room for hours now. It had been his experience that by this point a human would be obviously nervous and fairly compliant just so that the waiting could finally be over and done with. A Cylon would either stoically position themselves somewhere in the room, make fun of the humans, and wait to be blown out an airlock, or be shouting every single bit of information it had available to it in an attempt to keep itself from going out the airlock.
This girl asked for reading material.
Opening the heavy backpack set in front of her, Laura pulled out a thick paperback book. It was the one that contained four dramas by someone called William Shakespeare. “Perhaps we should send this in for her.”
When Lee had presented them with the pack, they had carefully gone through it, taking each item and examining them closely. Most of what was inside appeared to be what you would expect to find in a school bag, though the books were oddly shaped and two of the larger tomes were handwritten in languages he had never seen before. The other tome suggested that she must have been a religious scholar since it primarily dealt with the gods and their Scriptures, though Bill had no idea who or what ‘Greek and Roman’ were and why it would refer to the contents inside as ‘mythology’.
They had also found two electronic devices, one on the girl and the other neatly tucked into the front pocket of the backpack. The girl had a wireless phone, the kind he remembered his father having when he was a young boy before the Cylon Rebellion. They didn’t know what the other did, but just by looking at it Bill would guess it was some sort of portal data base - they had also been popular before the First Cylon War. Albeit, Bill had to admit, he had never see one that was hot pink before, nor did he remember them being called IPods. Gaeta had both items and was doing a thorough investigation into how they worked or if they still worked for that matter.
As for the jar of peanut butter, well, no one could figure out why it had been stuffed into the pack.
The contents of the backpack, however, were no where near as interesting to him as what they had found hidden on their prisoner.
Reaching over, he picked up the sharpen wooden stake that appeared to have once been a piece of a chair or table leg. There were two others, all just as sharp and homemade. The girl had been creative in her hiding spots and he wondered if they would have found all of them had Cottle had not examined her before she regained consciousness.
“What could she possibly need these for?” he asked, holding the closer for inspection.
A smile bloomed across Laura’s face. “Building very tiny fences?” she suggested with slightly serious, slightly teasing tone.
The girl stood at the window of her cell staring right at the camera. She was leaning heavily onto one leg. The picture of an exasperated teenager annoyed with her parents, though she was not a teenager and they most certainly were not her parents.
Though, if he didn’t know better, he would swear that she was looking right at them.
“If you’re finished playing ‘but you were bad cop last time’, could we get on with this? I’m kind of tired of staring at the Double Mint twins here and a girl can only keep herself entertained with the pacing game for so long.”
Dropping the paperback back inside the pack, Laura plucked her glasses from her from her face and slid them into her pocket.
“Well, we best start this interview then,” she said, picking up the very heavy backpack with both her hands.
Bill nodded and waited until she and the two of the three Marines in the room with them left before turning his attention back to the monitors. The girl was once more seated at the table, mumbling about how someone named Dawn was in so much trouble for ‘messing with Watcher-y stuff’ unsupervised, homework or no homework, and asking why she couldn’t ‘be like normal kids and blow it off.’
Bill decided it would take five minutes before Laura was ready to throw her out an airlock.
“Stupid teachers and their stupid assignments.” The girl turned her head to the ceiling. “Are they trying to get me blown up or destroy the world or something.”
Make that two minutes.