The Night Shift
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, NCIS, Forever Knight, Highlander: The Raven, The Sentinel, or CSI. I do own Jason Banks.
Takes place in early season 5 of Buffy.
Dr. Donald Mallard, known affectionately to many of his friends and acquaintances as "Ducky", was in the middle of a conversation with the delightful Dr. Natalie Lambert - currently the Chief Coroner for the city of Torago - when a tentative voice from behind him said, "Dr. Mallard?"
Turning around, Ducky saw a tall, dark-skinned young man - who had the look of being just out of school, in his first position, to Ducky's experienced eye - standing there a bit nervously.
"How can I help you, my boy?"
"I... well, I attended your panel on building good relationships in the workplace, and I thought it was really insightful, so when I saw you here...." The young man shook his head. "Sorry, I'm not explaining this well.... I was hoping you could tell me what this panel is about, Dr. Mallard."
Ducky blinked in surprise. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Natalie's expression conveyed the same incredulity he felt.
"You... signed up for 'The Night Shift' without knowing what it was about?" Natalie questioned him.
"Yes, ma'am," he replied.
"Dr. Natalie Lambert," she introduced herself. "And you are?"
"Oh, sorry!" The young man shook his head again. "I'm really messing this up, aren't I.... Jason... Dr. Jason Banks."
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Jason," Ducky offered. "Now, you were asking about this panel?"
"Yes, Dr. Mallard--"
"'Ducky', please," Ducky corrected him.
Jason blinked at him in confusion.
"Call me 'Ducky'. Everyone does."
"All right, doc-- er, Ducky," Jason replied, a bit hesitantly. "Anyway, the thing is, I'm the newest member of my department, and I always work the day shift, but my supervisor more or less ordered me to attend this panel while I'm here. Only when I got the convention packet, it didn't have any details concerning 'The Night Shift' except for the location and time."
Natalie and Ducky exchanged glances at that, but it was Natalie who asked the obvious question. "You're the department rookie, but you've only worked the day shift?"
"That's right, Dr. Lambert."
"Relax," she said firmly. "We all use first names here - or nicknames, like Al and Ducky. I'm Natalie.
"Now, where are you from, Jason?"
The young man shrugged. "I'm from
Cascade, Washington State; but I now live and work in a small town in California. You probably haven't heard of it...."
Ducky offered him a warm smile. "If you were ordered to attend this panel, I somehow doubt that. What is it called?"
"Sunnydale," Jason replied.
"Well," Ducky declared, nodding, "that explains everything."
Jason looked confused. "It does?"
"Indeed." Looking around the room, Ducky spotted the main presenter of the panel and waved him over. "Al!"
"What is it, Ducky?" Al asked, as soon as he reached them. "Natalie, it's good to see you - I'm glad you were able to make it."
"So am I," Natalie declared. "I almost didn't, though - we've had a whole series of beheadings the last few months and I've been putting in quite a bit of overtime on them."
"Ah, yes, isn't that how it always goes? In that case, I'm even happier you were able to get away long enough to attend." Then he turned to Ducky. "So, what can I do for you, Ducky?"
"Al, this is Dr. Jason Banks," Ducky stated, pleased to note that Jason had seen Al's crutches and decided not to stare at them. "Jason, I would like you to meet Dr. Albert Robbins - 'Al' to those of us on the Night Shift - our local participant and this year's panel moderator."
"A pleasure to meet you, Jason." Al offered him a hand. "I presume you're new this year, then?"
"Er... yes," Jason said, looking between them in confusion.
"Jason is Sunnydale's newest rookie, Al," Natalie explained. "And it appears Rickie sent him to us cold."
"Ah! In that case... Jason let me welcome you to 'The Night Shift' - otherwise known as 'The Things That Go Bump and Kill In The Night'."
"Also known as - to those from Sunnydale - 'The Explanation For Gangs on PCP With Barbecue Forks'," Natalie added, smiling in amusement as she linked her arm through Jason's. "I'm sure you've been wondering about that - if I know Rickie, he would have left some case files from the last five-plus years around for you to look at. So, why don't we have a seat up front? Al's probably already rearranging his planned topic order to cover Sunnydale first, in honour of your presence...."
Ducky watched her drag their newest member away with a smile of his own. Jason seemed like a nice young man; with any luck, what he would learn tonight would be enough to keep him alive. They could definitely use some new blood.