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The Crucible

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Summary: Two Scoobies fall through a dimensional portal to an alternate Earth and are recruited by Section one. Story continues.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-CenteredTarenFR151145,21174620,9193 Sep 0314 Jun 05No

How you doin?

Part 10 How you doin?

Buffy stretched and sighed. This was the first time in over two years that she’d felt this relaxed. Sure there were still things to deal with. But they were the sort of things she was accustomed to. With a shoulder roll she started her exercise routine and let her mind wander.

Xander. What to do about Xander? Killing humans was a betrayal of all that she stood for. She had tried to hate him. But he was still her Xander shaped friend and apparently deeply in love with her sister. She had been watching him closely the past week and despite a few new skills and dramatically better fashion sense he didn’t seem a whole lot different than her old Xander. Plus he treated Dawn well, which scored a lot of points in her book.

Still he had killed people.

With a vicious kick she slayed yet another practice dummy.

Then again he hadn’t killed anyone other than Spike in the week since he got back. She felt the conflicting emotions regarding THAT start to rise up and ruthlessly squashed them back down. She would give him the same leeway she gave Willow. Both had helped her a lot at one time or another, which earned them a second chance. But trust was much harder to give.

That brought her back to Willow. Who did she think she was fooling? Just going to drive down to LA to visit Cordelia and fix her computer. She’d been in the same room with Willow during the phone call and she wasn’t completely stupid. Willow was going to use magic to re-soul Angelus. AGAIN. If you believed the exaggerated rumors going around she had even used magic to slay a few vamps on Xander’s field trip. So far there hadn’t been any disasters. But if Veiny Willow showed up there would be no hesitating this time. It had almost gotten them all killed last time and only a yellow crayon had saved them. She knew the yellow crayon wouldn’t work again.

With a glare at the deceased dummy she moved on to the speed bag Xander had installed for her.

Despite Xander’s betrayal things were actually looking up for her. She had started to repair her relationship with Giles and actually had a decent job now. One she knew she would be good at and where she would get some respect. Not only that but the pay was really nice as well. Sure she was working for Giles. But training the potentials was different from the Magic shop. This time they needed *her* not just someone to fill the position. It made her feel useful again. Good for something other than slaying and screwing as Faith would put it.

Not only that but Giles had given her a bundle of cash and told her it was back pay. Now that he had access to one of the council accounts he said he would see to it that she was paid for performing her duty. There had been no question about accepting the money. It was the council’s money and they owed her.

She’d used most of the money to pay off her outstanding bills even those only on first notice. The meeting with the bank had been fun. The banker had thought she was in to renegotiate her mortgage again. The shocked expression on his face when she pulled out a pile of cash had been priceless.

After paying off the mortgage she’d even had some money leftover. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with it. But had set aside two thousand dollars to pay Xander for the repairs he’d done around her home. She didn’t know how much doors and windows cost, but they couldn’t be cheap, especially with the number they had gone through in the past couple of years. Until now she’d never had the money to pay him back for the material much less his labor. The tricky part would be getting him to accept any of the money.

With her domestic problems more or less resolved she could focus on the important matters. How do you defeat the First evil with a squad of cheerleaders? Sure some of them had a little ability, but none of them had slayer strength or speed. Without the slayer healing if one of the girls got hurt she would be out for the rest of the fight. She felt herself wishing for Spike again. He had the speed strength and rapid healing necessary for this sort of battle.

Her eyes misted up blurring her vision yet she continued to assault the speed bag never missing a beat. She missed Spike. She missed having someone she could trust. Sure Giles claimed he trusted her, and someday she might be able to return the trust. But right now he fell into the same category as her father. They had both abandon her when she needed them. Spike had been there through thick and thin. Always watching her back giving her support when she needed it and letting her vent her frustrations on him.

She always knew where she stood with Spike. She could trust him because he wanted her. Wanted to control her, and as long as he felt he had that control he was hers. She sighed and stepped away from the speed bag wiping away a stray tear. Truthfully he had had more control over her than she had liked. She made decisions regarding him that hadn’t been for the best. Some had even been outright disastrous. When the First programmed him to kill again she hadn’t believed it. Because of her decisions people had died. If Dawn was correct then she was responsible for even more deaths.

Looking down at her hands she imagined them covered in blood. Like in that Shakespeare play Hamlet or MacBeth or something. Spike may have done the actual killing but that didn’t keep the blood off her hands.

~~~**~~~
Dawn was sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair listening to what had to be the most boring person on the planet.

The man idly tapped his jaw with a bright red stapler while looking over her resume. “Yeaahhhhhh…. I see that you majored in information theory. Hmmm. How do you think you could apply that to what we do here at INNITECH?”

Suppressing a sigh she pasted a smile on her face, “A lot of data passes through your company on a daily basis. While most of it is privileged information, you can learn a lot from some simple analysis. I’m not sure what you have in place right now but I have developed several programs that would maximize your analysis abilities. By looking at how the various companies do business we can make recommendations for their programs that will increase efficiency and save them money. If we save them money they will want to continue doing business with us.”

“Yeaahhhhhh … Okay I see. We do have procedures in place for that already. Tell me…Hmmm… are you familiar with the TPS report?”

Dawn was about to reply when her cell rang. Looking down at the display she flinched slightly. “Excuse me I have to go.” Grabbing her jacket she bolted for the door.

Once in the parking lot she quickly dialed Alex’s cell. “Alex we have movement on the roof and someone tagged our front window with a laser mike. It looks like they finally showed up. How do you want to handle this?”

“Are you sure? OK fine up close and personal it is. I’ll pick you up in five.”

Twenty-five minutes later Alex and Dawn were parked six blocks from their apartment pouring over a detailed map of the area.

“Ok they have a laser mike, so they need line of site. That puts them in one of these three buildings or this rooftop.” Alex pointed out the three buildings opposite his apartment and a building four blocks over. “If it were me I would set up on the rooftop back here. Less chance of us observing them at that distance. With the mike and rooftop activity occurring simultaneously we have at least a two man team but that doesn’t exclude a four or six man unit.”

Dawn looked up from the map. “Probably a standard four man recon team. Two with the mike and the other two as roving surveillance.”

“Sounds right. Which group do you want to grab?”

Dawn shrugged. “The roving group would likely know more, but would be harder to contact discreetly. Grabbing the guy in our apartment risks the furniture, I say we make contact with the people on the roof and have them bring in the rest of their team.”

Alex folded the map and tossed it on the dash. “Alright sounds like a plan grab your gear and lets go.”

~~~**~~~

Davenport was wandering around the apartment a slightly confused look on his face. He had spotted and disabled no less than six motion and infrared sensors. That the place had more security per square foot than any Red Cell facility was only slightly disturbing. The fact that he could see no apparent reason for the extensive security was his real problem. Planting another ULF remote video chip he prepared to re-activate all the other sensors and make his way out when Gina contacted him.

“Sir we have a bit of a problem here.”

Waiting for Gina to continue with details Davenport activated a pair of motion and infrared sensors. When no further comments were forthcoming he silently cursed the abeyance operative. “What is the problem?”

“Sir the targets have captured the rooftop.”

Activating another pair of sensors he made his way to the final two at the doorway. “Acknowledged rooftop team has been eliminated will rendezvous at fallback two.”

“Sir the rooftop team is fine, they have been disarmed and are packing up the listening equipment but otherwise they appear OK.”

This time Davenports curse was audible, “Meet me at fallback one and we’ll figure something out. Go dark until then.”

“Acknowledged.”

Davenport carefully locked the door behind him and halfway down the hall disabled the ECM jammer on his wrist. How had they spotted his team so quickly? Walter assured him that the wristwatch would disable any security system he was likely to encounter. So even in the unlikely event that he had missed disabling any sensors he should have been covered. From what he had seen in the room the jammer worked perfectly so what tipped them off?

He pondered this question as he climbed the stairs to the roof. As he opened the roof access he flashed back to a mission he had run in Poland two years back. Reaching up he felt along the top of the door jam. Feeling something out of place he carefully picked it up to inspect it. Once it was in the light he recognized the audio pickup almost immediately. Silently berating himself he spoke softly. “You have two of my people I’d like them back. 555-7634.”

He waited a moment and when he received no response he replaced the device and headed out to meet up with Gina.

~~~**~~~

Half an hour after Davenport left, Dawn slowly swept their apartment. After clearing each of the rooms she turned the lights on signaling the all clear. As she waited for Alex to bring up their two captives she picked up her laptop. Bringing up her security software she waited for the sensor logs to come up. Impatient she flipped over to the active sensors and her eyes widened slightly as the various windows opened. As an unexpected eighth window opened she tossed the laptop on the sofa and dashed to the bedroom.

When Xander arrived Dawn was racing out of the bathroom a look of disgust on her face. “Freaking perverted bastard. Alex when we meet whoever is running this op. I want a piece of him. The bastard planted video chips in our bedroom and in the toilet.”

Alex turned on the two captives his eyes glowing with fury. “Who the hell is running this travesty? You expect a certain level of professionalism in the industry, bedroom cams are expected, but what kind of pervert plants toilet cams.”

As Alex raged at the poor captured Section operatives Dawn returned to her computer and began reviewing the surveillance. The operative was good whoever he was, he didn’t trust the jammer he was using and disabled her sensors. Still it would have been obvious someone had been in the apartment. Several minutes of static and inactive sensors can’t be ignored. Bringing up the rooftop audio she listened carefully for anything they may have given away.

“Alex, quiet I’m checking the audio pickups.”

With a muted growl Alex threw himself into a chair staring daggers at two across from him.

After a minute Dawn retrieved her cell and with a brief glance at her watch punched in the number. “Starbucks 6:45 sharp. Time is 5:32 mark”

Casting a disgusted look at her phone she turned to the captives. “So would either of you two care to explain why Section is sending abeyance operatives to check on us?”

~~~**~~~

Riley pulled his attention away from the traffic and smiled at Sam. He’d spent a perfect day with his wife and despite the whirlwind tour of the mall and every knick-knack store in Sunnydale not a single thing had happened. Their home was starting to look comfortable again, all the boxes were unpacked and the latest shopping spree would fill up all the empty spaces. Catching Sam’s return grin he winked before checking his watch.

“We spent to much time at that last place dear. We don’t have time to hit a restaurant if we want to make it to the movie.”

Sam stuck out her bottom lip faking a pout “I was looking forward to dinner and movie and now just because you spent so long looking at antiques you say we can’t. That’s not fair.” With the finish she pounded her fist lightly on the car console.

Riley carefully suppressed his chuckle but with twinkling eyes replied, “I spent to much time looking at antiques?” Catching her look he backtracked. “No. No. You’re right I shouldn’t have stopped at that last store. But how about we grab some coffee and a muffin at Starbucks before the movie and eat out afterwards?”

“That sounds like a perfect plan. Assuming this town has a Starbucks.”

“Last time we were here there was one downtown.” With a flick of his fingers he turned on his blinker and tossing a careful check over his shoulder he pulled into a parking stall. “And we’re here.”

“Why so we are. Almost like you had that planned Mr. Finn.”

“What do you mean ‘almost’ Mrs. Finn?”

Their playful banter continued on as they entered the café.

~~~**~~~

At Precisely 6:45 Davenport sprinted up to the door of the Starbucks. “Never any parking when you absolutely positively have to have it.”

He paused only a second to blank his expression and control his breathing before stepping through the door. It took a second to spot Alex and Dawn. Surprisingly they looked exactly like the ‘revised’ pictures Birkoff had pulled up. Unfortunately his missing operatives were not present. With an air of determination he approached the table.

“You mentioned that you had something of mine.”

Dawn shrugged, “If you’re the perverted bastard who likes toilet cams then yes I believe we do.” Dawn opened her hand and dropped six chips on the table

Davenport visibly winced. The tech was some of Walters best and Porcelain was supposed to be excellent camouflage for it. They should never have found one of the chips much less all six. “I was actually talking about the other assets you have in your possession.”

Alex narrowed his eyes and glared balefully at the man across from him. “Don’t try and pretend you actually care about those assets. You and I both know they were scheduled to be disposed of.”

“Schedules can change and no asset should be disposed of at a loss.”

Dawn turned to Alex, “See I told you he was a kind and caring pervert.” Turning back to focus on Davenport she continued, “Your assets are in safe keeping. Explain what you were doing with them and why you are here and we may return them. But first I want to hear the excuse for your strange perversion.”

Mentally struggling to control himself Davenport tried to think of an excuse. Some lie that would not comprise the mission any further than it already was. After several long seconds he gave up. If they knew his team well enough to know they were all abeyance operatives and had located Walters best tech he was screwed. “What can I say? The people I work for are sick and twisted individuals and I’m trying to be just like them.” Observing Dawn’s raised eyebrow he mentally congratulated himself.

Alex smirked, “I’m sure Paul and Madelyn would be proud. I’ll be sure to mention your progress when we see them next.”

Davenport visibly paled. Only Oversight EVER called Operations ‘Paul’. Who the hell were these people, and what the hell was going on?

Dawn reached out to offer a comforting pat on the shoulder. It was a sign of how shaken he was that she actually succeeded. “I’m sure you’re wondering what you have gotten yourself into. If you didn’t pay attention during your briefing we’ll give you a very brief rundown.” She paused for a second and deliberately looked around the café before continuing. “We are here to observe and contain the nightlife in the area.” Her smirk faded into a section standard expressionless visage. “Your interference will not be tolerated. If you want to observe our activities you WILL participate in them. We’ve had enough of perverted leaches.”

Alex continued with a clenched jaw, “You will keep yourself and your assets separate from ours. We are not a public company and sharing of assets will only happen at our discretion and under our oversight.” Leaning back his expression softened minutely. “We will be going for a walk in a bit. I think you’ll find it to your advantage to join us. Perhaps we’ll stumble across your missing assets along the way. Take a few minutes contact your secretary and enjoy a cup of coffee while we talk.”

~~~**~~~

Sam tossed her empty coffee cup in the garbage frowning at the departing backs of Alex and Dawn. “So love. It looks like we can cancel the movie, and likely dinner.”

Riley shrugged as he dropped his cell into his shirt pocket. “The guys are on alert. If Alex needs help he’ll call. We can at least try and enjoy the time between now and then.”

“Right so Movie or Dinner?”

“Dinner. I hate walking out halfway through a movie.”

~~~**~~~

Giles poked at the laptop keys bringing up the new program Dawn had supplied. He frowned at the screen before entering his parameters muttering under his breath the whole time. “Bloody computers. Can’t trust them. Can’t check up on them. At least with books you can check their sources and the credibility of the author, but the computers. Half the bloody stuff they tell you is lies and the other half is wrong. Dawn if this thing crashes so help me.”

Finally completing his entry he stabbed the enter key and waited. Five minutes later the computer let out a soft chime signaling completion. Giles put down his book and looked closely at the screen. Stopped. Removed his glasses wiped them carefully and then took a second look. “Well that can’t be right.” He started to reach for his book but stopped and stared vacantly at the laptop. “But what if it is?”

Carefully saving the results Giles slowly keyed in a second more precise set of parameters.

~~~**~~~

Rubbing his temples Giles stepped into the kitchen. “Buffy just the person I wanted to see.”

Buffy threw a concerned look at her watcher, “What’s up Giles.”

“I’ve been going over the records of the previous patrol routes you take and I think we need to alter them a little. You are in danger of becoming predictable and if the vampires ever figured it out. Well I think you can imagine the possibilities.”

Frowning in apparent concentration Buffy looked at him, “Not of the good then.”

“Definitely not good. But with a few changes every couple of days we can keep the Vampires on their toes. Every day before patrol I’ll provide you a single location that you must patrol through. Everything after that is up to you. Just remember to tell me what route you have taken so I can keep the records straight.”

Buffy stared at Giles her forehead wrinkling in concentration. With careful deliberation she stuck out her hand. “Hi my name is Buffy Summers and you are?”

Giles blinked, “Right sorry I forgot.” He reached out and pulled her into a fatherly hug, “Rupert Giles at your service Miss Summers.”

Buffy visibly relaxed in his embrace before gently pushing him away. “Don’t do that again Giles. You had me so scared for a second. Everything has been going so great lately I’m just waiting for something to go wrong.”

Giles faced Buffy with a grim expression. “Things will go wrong Buffy. Now or later you have to accept that. We all do the best we can, no one can expect any more. This isn’t some fantasy world were we get the happy ending. It may not be today and it may not be tomorrow, but someday one of our number will be lost.”

“Like Tara, I did my best Giles, but I can’t help but think that there was something I could have done. She shouldn’t have died Giles.”

“No she shouldn’t have. But she did, and the only person to blame is the one who shot her. Right now we have to focus on the present. Take care of those people that need us.”

“Like the SITs? Their training is coming along but it will be quite a while before they are in any condition for solo patrols.”

“We won’t have them patrolling solo until they are ready. Speaking of patrols there is an area I want you to check out tonight.”

“What am I looking for?”

“In the past four days five young girls have gone missing, all from one area of town. I want you to take the girls and swing by the vineyard. See what you can stir up.”

~~~**~~~

Birkoff wheeled rapidly around systems. Things were a little hectic at the moment. He was running two separate sims, preparing a briefing for Operations to take to the meeting of the sections and he was running comm’s for the retrieval team in London. If he had an idle moment he would have wished for a competent assistant. One that lasted more than a month before they screwed up or tried to screw him over.

“Dalton you are a go for retrieval. Sarah you have a hostile approaching you from the east. Thirty yards.”

Not waiting for a reply he switched channels bringing up his systems staff.

“Look people work with me. Jerry I need that data from Rome. Lisa route the sim results to my terminal as soon as they finish. Chris release Eagle two to the NRO we’re done with it.”

Starting another sim he fed in results from the latest operation in Rio. Tweaking the sim for some of the non-standard mission specs he set the computer to determine the impact on Red Cell. Glancing over at the mission screen he noted that Sarah was out of position.

Switching back to comms he stifled a growl. “Sarah heads up Dalton’s on his way out he’s got two hostiles close behind. Get back in position and cover him.”

Grabbing a PAD he slammed it into a data port and downloaded the footage from eagle two and verified it was clean before Chris could finish releasing it. Opening the data from Rome he sifted through the information quickly checking for irregularities. Finding none he shunted it off to one of the analysis teams for follow-up. A quick look at the mission screen showed both Sarah and Dalton speeding away from the scene and he switched the monitor over to show the upcoming mission in Tunis.

Pausing to take a breath he listened as Madeline ran comms for a team in Montreal. Ever since they had acquired data from Oversight things had been insane at section. Every single operative was currently in the field. Half his current systems team had just completed their training and he had been surviving on sugar and caffeine for 57 hours now.

He had to admit that all the activity had been worth it. Armed with the new information they had wiped out dozens of terrorist cells around the world. While groups like Red Cell were likely to recover eventually the systematic annihilation of the leadership and resources would slow them down for a long time. The latest sims estimated Red Cell effectiveness to be down by 68% with 44% of their manpower killed or captured.

The data retrieved from Oversight was crucial to their success. Not only had it revealed previously unknown bases and safe house but also that cells in the Middle East had been infiltrated by the Demonic underworld. A quarter of the terrorists they faced had been demons of one sort or another. Birkoff shuddered thinking of what a demon would do with one of Red Cells Bio weapons. Yet another reason to take down the organization quickly.

A quiet beeping caused him to jolt upright. Hell he had almost fallen asleep.

He answered the incoming comm. Channel. “Birkoff.”

Hearing Davenport’s voice his eyes opened wide in disbelief. “You’re supposed to be dark what the hell are you doing?

“Fine just give me a minute.”

For the next few seconds Birkoff hammered at his keyboard. “There you should have it now. “ Reaching up he removed his headset. Pulling his PAD from the data port he handed it to Madeline. “See that Operations gets this. I’ll be back after I’ve had four hours sleep.”

Madeline calmly accepted the PAD. “Take six Seymour. Most of the operatives are on downtime right now and I can handle comms for the remaining operations.”

Nodding his acceptance Birkoff walked out of systems.

After he was gone Lisa nudged Jerry to get his attention. “So who do I send the sim results to now?”

Jerry shrugged. “I don’t know. Send it to Madeline she seems to be in charge here now.”

~~~**~~~

Alex, Dawn and the four section members were sitting around the back of three black SUV’s studying a laptop when Riley and his team drove up. Waving them over Alex gestured towards the screen.

Taking a quick look at the screen Riley twitched slightly in shock. Since when did Harris have access to the latest NRO satellites? Something to ask about later, right now he needed to find out why he had his entire team armed for an apocalypse.

“We have a potential hostage situation, thirty plus hostiles with three to five hostages. Thermals couldn’t be any more specific they’re clustered to close together. All hostiles are humanoid sized with twenty-six breathers, and at least 4 vamps. There is a shielded cellar that could be hiding additional vamps; again the thermals were sketchy.

“The building has one entrance. We’ll have to fix that. Riley I want two teams of two to punch holes in the walls here and here. Scans show the hostages will be protected from the blast by these interior walls but try not too overdue it. They won’t be protected from the concussion or from your armor piercing rounds.

“Davenport I want two of yours as a sniper units here and here. Riley I want one of your snipers to watch them. If they turn on us take them down.”

Davenport bristled at the accusation and Riley looked slightly concerned. Alex shrugged them off “Riley, the people check out, but we haven’t cleared their organization.” Turning to Davenport he continued. “Sorry I just don’t trust the people you work for. This has nothing to do with you being a perverted bastard.” Turning away from them he focused on the laptop again.

“Davenport I want your secretary to run comm’s from here.” Alex pointed to a six-story structure. “Use comm. Channel 5. Riley that’s the new tack 4 scramble 3 for your people.”

“Riley, Sam, Davenport, Dawn and Myself are the entry team. Riley your last two are our insurance. If we have to fall back I want fresh people with full clips standing outside the front doors to cover us.”

“Alright any questions? … No. Good. I want snipers and comms. in place five minutes ago. Doorknockers you go in ten, we enter on your mark. Lets go people.”

Seven minutes later found Alex and the entry team under cover a short sprint from the vineyard when their comms contacted them. “Civilians inbound to your location. I count 10 females. Looks like a Girl Guide meeting or something. No obvious weapons … scratch that the kiddies are carrying pointy sticks and their leader has a nasty looking sword under her coat.”

With a shake of his head he keyed his mike. “Hold everyone mark three minutes and hold. I’ll head them off.” Releasing his mike he turned to Dawn. “What the hell does your sister think she’s doing this time?”

With an almost imperceptible shrug Dawn muttered. “Trying to get her team killed I think.”

“Riley, Sam, Dawn with me. Everyone else to your positions. Op is still a go.”

“What are we going to do with the civilians?” Questioned Davenport.

“I know them. They won’t leave so we may as well use them. Sit tight this won’t take but a minute!”

Tucking his mike into his shirt he turned to Dawn. “We’ll have to hit her hard and fast. Keep her off balance. If your sister stops to think we can start counting the bodies now.”

“She’s not that bad.” Interrupted Riley

Alex stared at him silently and gestured to the vineyard. “You know what we are up against.”

Riley let his eyes wander from the vineyard to the approaching group of girls. “Alright so she’s not that good either. Lets get this over with.”

Stepping out of their concealment Alex waved emphatically, “Buffy, glad you could make it. I thought you were going to be late, but your right on time.”

Crinkling her eyebrows in confusion Buffy replied, “Late I didn’t even know I was meeting anyone. Giles just said to patrol past here tonight.”

Alex shrugged, “It must be part of his whole I’m British I don’t have to say what I mean thing. Anyways he thinks he found a nest and we are going to take it out.”

Buffy looked them over. “Guns don’t kill vampires. You should know that.” Then focusing on Riley she continued. “When did you get back in town?”

Riley shrugged. “Sam and I just moved in this week. We were going to stop by and say hi once all the unpacking was done.” Lifting his MP5 slightly he continued, “This might not kill a vampire right off, but it will slow the bastards down enough that they might as will stake themselves. Plus we’ve been working on the ammo. You might be surprised.”

Feeling her own impatience for battle combined with that of the girls behind her Buffy responded the only way she knew how. “Well what are we waiting for? Lets go see your weapons in action. I still bet I get more vampires with my stake and sword than you do with your fancy bullets.”

Dawn held up her hands, “Whoa! Buffy wait a minute. Do you think the rest of the potentials are up for assaulting a nest?”

Buffy turned to scan her excited potentials and under the power of her stare one fumbled her stake and dropped it. “No I suppose not. Yet. But they will be soon.”

Dawn smiled, “I know. They have the best trainer there is, but for now they need someone to watch their backs. As Alex and I have the plan would you mind helping them pick off the runners outside? You can give them pointers as you do.”

Buffy looked disappointed, but a quick glance at the potential who was trying her best to juggle a stake settled her. “I suppose I could do that, but who is going in?”

Nudging Riley forward Alex cleared his throat. “Riley here will take us in. Him and Sam have been doing this for the government and they know what they are doing.”

Riley half stumbled a step forward from the unexpected nudge and barely restrained himself from glaring at Alex. “We have! Basically my team is in place. Buffy I need you and the girls out front to pick off and vampires that get past us. Don’t be surprised when my team opens up with the heavy weapons. Our surveillance shows a lot of vamps and Demons inside, so we have planted some explosives to even the odds.

“Keep the girls behind the guys with the guns. I don’t want any friendly fire incidents.”

Buffy stared at Riley for a second before giving her best whatever shrug. “You heard the general girls. We are support on this one. Keep your stakes sharp and stay behind the guys with the guns.”

With a gesture Riley summoned the two man team designated to cover the front. “Buffy you’ll be working with these two. Keep them safe and they’ll do the same for you.”

Casting a quick glance at Alex he smiled tightly. “Alright places everyone we are ready to go in two minutes. Mark”

The End?

You have reached the end of "The Crucible" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 14 Jun 05.

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