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The Call

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Summary: In the future, someone makes Xander a job offer he can't refuse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered
Literature > Horror > Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Stargate > General
poeFR1819101,33754288176,49317 May 0929 Jul 14No

Relatively Speaking

A/N Randolph Carter is an invention of HP Lovecraft, I've just given him a family. Unfortunately I have no claim on the works of HPL or on Stargate and all its little spin offs. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has read and/or reviewed my story. I appreciate you taking the time to do that.

RELATIVELY SPEAKING

MARCH 6

Samantha Carter was baffled and that didn’t happen very often. It had been three weeks since SG1 had come back from PX3-W25 and she still couldn’t figure out how some of the technology they’d found functioned; or even what its function was supposed to be. The one piece of working technology they’d found violated or by-passed two of the basic laws of physics. There were two things that managed to comfort her during these weeks; one was that Daniel still couldn’t decipher the language that the markings were written in, the other was that they’d sent their findings to the Tok’ra and only received two weeks of silence in return. These things didn’t precisely comfort Sam, but they did make her feel less like a dunce. Actually Daniel was tying himself in knots because not only couldn’t he translate the language, but the language seemed to have no set structure; the rules seemed to change randomly from one paragraph to the next. Sam ran her hand through her hair and glared at the enigmatic piece of junk, it didn’t solve the problem but it did make her feel better.

“Still no answer’s Carter?”

Sam jumped at the sound of her voice and transferred the glare from the equipment to the figure that stood smirking in her doorway. The glare had about the same effect on him. “No sir, no answers yet.”

“You tried asking for help?”

Sam sighed yet again, “yes sir. I’ve got calls into several Universities as well as the Tok’ra.”

“Well, maybe something’l shake loose.”

“I hope so sir, cause I’m getting pretty tired of just staring at this thing.”

“It could be worse Carter; you could be pacing around frantically, muttering ‘it just doesn’t make sense’ all the time.”

“I knew Daniel was having trouble, so he’s still stuck?”

“Like a bug on flypaper, you wanna go rub it in a bit?”

Sam knew what the Colonel meant, there were times when Daniel’s obvious intelligence and abilities made him come across as a bit superior when other people were having trouble with something. Deciding that she was getting nowhere fast, Sam stood; just in time to hear the words, “off world activation,” echo throughout the base.

They both got to the gate-room in time to hear Siler call out, “it’s the Tok’ra sir.”

“Open the Iris,” Hammond replied.

Sam felt Jack tense up; sure that Anise was coming for another of her stress inducing visits. Personally she was prepared for that, what Sam wasn’t prepared for was seeing her father come through the gate. Sam moved forward to greet him, but of course Hammond was there first.

“Jacob, it’s good to see you and Selmak again.”

“It’s good to see you as well George, I realize that this is a surprise.”

“It is that, so what brings you here?”

“Two weeks ago Samantha sent us the pictures and schematics of some sort of unknown technology; I’m here to advise her and all of you on that.” Hammond noted Jacob’s eyes moving purposefully around the room as he spoke, implying that the discussion wouldn’t be for general consumption.

“Of course,” General Hammond replied, then he turned to one of the soldiers there. “Airman, please escort our guest to conference room two, and make sure the rest of SG1 is invited, I have a feeling they’re all going to want to hear this.”

The airman saluted the general and turned to Jacob/Selmak, “if you would come with me sir.”

Jacob fell into step behind the airman as another ran off to alert Teal’c and Daniel to the meeting; Sam and Jack fell into step behind the Tok’ra. Both were silent, wondering what can of worms was about to be opened. They arrived at the conference room and once the door was closed Jacob greeted his daughter warmly. Releasing the hug he asked, “how are you Samantha,” then eying her for a moment added, “aside from not sleeping I mean?”

Sam blushed, “I’m fine dad, I’ll be better when we crack this thing.”

“We’ll see about that,” he replied then turned to Jack, “Colonel, how are you?”

“You know me sir, nothing can make me loose sleep.”

“Good for you, I wish I could say the same thing,” he then turned as the door opened to admit General Hammond, Teal’c and Daniel. In a moment everyone got comfortable and Hammond opened the session, “so what can you tell us about these things Jacob?”

“Honestly very little past what you all know.”

“So why the visit,” O’Neill asked.

“Because what you sent us reminded me of something I’d seen before.”

“OK, so what system is it in,” Jack asked, knowing that there would be some sort of mission to the furthest backwash of the galaxy.

“You misunderstand Colonel, it isn’t something Selmak has seen, this is something I’ve seen, here on earth.”

“That’s not possible,” Sam fired at her father. “I’ve checked every database I could find or hack into, I’ve talked to dozens of experts and no-one here has ever seen anything like it.”

“This wouldn’t be in any database you could access Sam.”

“Which one is that, the National Archives, the Vatican Archives, which?”

“None of those, it’s the one for Miskatonic University.”

As the name was said, reactions were mixed. Jack and Teal’c looked indifferent, Hammond looked intrigued, Sam was lost in thought, wondering why she could access the school’s computers and Daniel, well Daniel looked like someone had smacked him across the head with a board.

“Why would something like this be at the repository?”

“It’s rather a long story; suffice it to say that Miskatonic is the best possibility I can think of.”

“Why is it called the ‘Repository’ Daniel,” Jack asked.

“It’s supposed to be the ‘Repository of all knowledge’, at least that’s what they say; and the stories I’ve heard back that up.” Daniel turned back to Jacob, “but they are insanely insular, you’ve got to be an insider to see what they have.”

“Normally that’s true,” Jacob replied. “But I think Sam could get in.”

“Why me?”

“Because the President of the University is you uncle.”

“Uncle,” Sam yelled. “I’ve had an uncle all this time and you’ve never told me.”

“Yes, my brother Randolph. And the reason I’ve never told you is that we went our separate ways long before you were born. Randolph was a lot like your grandfather, always interested in puzzles and oddities, they were so alike. Then your grandfather disappeared. We fought because Randolph didn’t believe that the old man was dead, even after years of not contacting us. He had started looking to the occult as a way of contacting your grandfather, finding where he was. I told him it was nonsense and he was wasting his time and effort on superstitious mumbo-jumbo instead of looking after our mother. He never said anything after that, but he kept drifting farther away from us until we only saw him a few days out of the year. The last time I saw him was when he came back from an archaeological dig right before my high-school graduation. Randolph looked haunted, like he’d seen something so horrible that there was no way he’d ever recover. Trying to get him to snap out of it, I asked about the pieces he’d brought back. He showed them to me, and explained that they were supposed to be items used in a voodoo type ritual that had been used by Polynesian tribes for centuries. I never saw them again, at least not until you sent me pictures of them.”

“As fascinating as all this is,” Jack broke in. “Do you really think they’ll have anything that could help us figure this out?”

Jacob fixed O’Neill with an intense glare, “I wouldn’t have suggested it otherwise Colonel. Pieces exactly like the ones you’ve found have been at the University for almost fifty years, if anyone knows about them, they will.”

“So now I just need to crack the database and check,” Sam said.

“I wouldn’t try that Samantha.”

“Why not?”

“Because there are things that go on in and around that university that frighten me. There are no guards on the buildings, but no-one ever breaks in, people that have tried to gain access to their computer systems have ended up as vegetables. The message is clear, if you try to take anything of theirs; you pay, and pay hard.”

Seeing that Jack was about to open his mouth and make things worse, Hammond stepped in. “Major, you and Dr. Jackson go there and see if they are willing to help, and if so; use it. Travel incognito and check in every day.”

“Sir that’s overkill, we’re not leaving the planet, heck we’re not even leaving the country.”

“I realize that Major, suffice it to say that I have my reasons,” he stood. “Now unless anyone has anything useful to add, you’re dismissed. And Jacob, thank you for your help.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

MARCH 8

Office of Randolph Carter

Now Sam was nervous, and that was a feeling that she detested even more than feeling baffled. Daniel wasn’t helping either; he kept mentioning different rumors that he’d heard about the school, each one more horrific than the next and all completely unbelievable. They were sitting in a very tastefully decorated office waiting to find out if they’d even be given the chance to find out if the answers they were looking for were here. The fact that she was meeting her father’s brother for the first time might have factored into the nervousness as well, but she wasn’t about to admit that, not even to herself. Finally the door opened and an older man dressed in an Edwardian style suit was standing there. He didn’t really resemble Jacob Carter, but his eyes were the exact same shade of blue as Samantha’s and his smile was the same as well. “Hello Samantha, Dr. Jackson; it’s good to meet you, please come in.” He stepped back into the office and they followed. The office itself looked like something from the turn of the century; it somehow fit with Randolph’s over-all appearance and revealed more about the man than a conversation ever would. Sam quickly sat down and watched her uncle move. He had an economy of motion, he moved with a grace that made him look much younger than she knew him to be and spoke of a man who was quite full of surprises.

As he sat down, Randolph looked across at his niece; even if he hadn’t known she was in the military, her posture practically screamed it, as well as her hair. He wondered what she wanted; he knew that Jacob would only have mentioned him in great extremity which suggested that he was needed for something specific. The then turned and briefly regarded Dr. Daniel Jackson; he knew of the man’s reputation as a proponent of unconventional theories, and that he had disappeared for some time. At one time Randolph had briefly considered offering him the Arcane Studies chair but he knew that for all the man’s unconventional theories, he was too grounded in what he thought of as the real world to fit in that position. He looked back at Samantha and noticed that she was sizing him up, just as he was doing the same to Dr. Jackson; obviously genetics worked in mysterious ways. “So what can I do for you Samantha?”

She looked surprised, there were no pleasantries, no social discourse; just business. “We found some pieces at an archaeological site and can’t make heads or tails of them. I mentioned them to dad and he said they sounded like something you’d found; kind of cone shaped metal objects, you had them right before Dad graduated High School.”

Randolph smiled, and his face transformed from something cold and business-like to almost a caricature of everyone’s kindly old uncle. “Yes I remember those, I had found them in the South Seas on one of the School’s expeditions.”

“Are they still here?”

“I expect so, I turned them over to the Arcane Studies Department a long time ago but I can’t imagine that they would have been sold or given away.”

“Arcane Studies?”

“Yes Dr. Jackson, Arcane Studies; this University has always had such a department, it is in the School’s charter.”

“What kind of subjects would you teach?”

“They vary from chairman to chairman, but you will generally have subjects on obscure religions, strange literature, supernatural creatures like Zombies and magic . . . . . . .”

“But those things don’t exist,” Sam broke in. “Magic and zombies; you mean they’re teaching things that aren’t real?”

Randolph looked at his niece, his gaze was hard and there was no humor at all in his face, “well it is now perfectly clear that you are Jacob’s daughter. Declaiming so forcefully on subjects for which you have no knowledge. You are so certain Samantha, but have you ever researched the subjects, have you ever turned your phenomenal intellect to such a course; or are you merely repeating the cant of popular notion?”

Sam opened her mouth once or twice and tried to answer her uncle’s stinging rebuke but nothing was coming. She knew in her mind that none of the things her uncle had mentioned were possible, but how did she know that? Randolph was correct in assuming she’d never studied something like that, she’d never felt the need to; but now she was thinking that such a narrow outlook may have been a mistake, maybe.

“I would suggest you go see Dr. Harris, he can explain the operations of his department better than I can; and he may be able to help with your situation Samantha.” When he received two nods from his guests, Randolph picked up a piece of paper and an old fountain pen and started writing. “Here is a note that will let you move about the campus, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble on that score, and just go to the basement of Lovecraft Hall, that is where the Arcane Studies Department is.”

Sam just nodded again, her mind still preoccupied with the tongue lashing she’d just gotten so Daniel stepped forward and shook the older man’s hand, “thank you for your help.”

“Don’t thank me yet young man,” Randolph said with a twinkle in his eye. “You don’t know if I’ve helped yet.”

“True,” Daniel replied with a grin of his own. “But I’d like to think you have.”

With that they left the office and the building and started looking for Lovecraft Hall.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Xander Harris had mixed feelings about meetings. Early on they had been fun, well maybe not fun but the Scooby gatherings had been frantic nerves and working with friends, so they were definitely filed under the good memories. Once he had gotten into construction, meetings hadn’t been nearly as engaging, but they had been useful, so they were still categorized as OK. Then with the birth of the new council, Xander had decided that meetings were now tools of Satan as well as a cure for insomnia. He could not believe how skillful some people were at trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious, and doing so for hours. There were times that he just wanted to start ranting and clearing the room with his favorite axe. But he was convinced that even had he done so, like the hydra, two other meetings would rise to take the place of the one he butchered. The department meetings at the University, when he was a student; were not much better, people scheming for petty advantages and only hearing what they wanted to believe. Here at Miskatonic, faculty meetings were fairly smooth; Carter ran a tight ship, and apparently Xander scared the hell out of most of the other chairs, so he was able to cut off most discussion before it got too long winded; so things weren’t too bad. But department meetings, now those were fun. Mostly because it wasn’t really a meeting, it was four friends sitting around talking at the end of the day. In Xander’s mind it was approaching the old Scooby meetings for camaraderie, without the threat of world endage to complicate things. That was until today. Xander had something he wanted to ask, and he knew it was going to knock some of his friends off kilter; but he really believed that it was necessary. He looked up from his desk as the door opened and his three colleagues filed in; Faith was first, as always, followed by Dawn and Oz. The pair of them had decided to stop maintaining the illusion and were now openly living together. Every now and then Xander would swear his ears were still ringing from when Buffy had been told of the arrangement. He smiled at the pair of them and then his gaze drifted to Faith. The two of them were getting closer still, but physically were taking it slow. Sure there had been some pretty involved kissage, but so far nothing beyond that. Sometimes Xander thought they might be taking things too slow, but given their respective pasts, better safe than sorry. Besides, Faith seemed to like the whole ‘dating thing’; not that she’d ever admit to liking anything so ‘girly’.

“OK, now that we’re here, how are classes going, any problems?”

“Well there’s a couple of chicks that keep askin about ‘magic’ in the Religions class.”

Xander thought for a second, “you think they’re Wiccans, or something more serious?”

“Nothin about em sets off the slayer senses, and if they’re Wiccans then I’d bet they’re a lot more into the ‘running naked through the fields’ part than the ‘power and spells’ part.”

Everyone laughed at this, finally Xander said, “OK, but keep an eye on em just in case. Now, how about the Lit class there Dawn-star?”

“No big problems, you might get a couple of complaints though.”

“Why is that?”

“There’s a couple of Southern Baptist types in class and they’re less than thrilled with the discussions about books that didn’t make it into the Bible.”

“Ah,” was all Xander said, then he turned to the last member. “And the Mythology class?”

“Cool.”

“Good to hear it,” Xander said, giving the terse Philosopher a smile.

“So, you got anything for us X?”

“Yeah, I do, but it’s a little out there, so please listen to the whole thing before freaking out.”

The other three looked at each other for a second of silent communication then Oz just said, “spill.”

“OK, you know that we’ve been making friends and alliances with the peaceful demon clans around here, and that’s helped out a lot with information and stuff. Now we know that sooner or later all of this is gonna spill out, you can’t have that many super powered girls running around without someone noticing, and probably digging for answers. And when that happens there’ll be a hell of a fight and a lot of our friends, our non-human friends are gonna be caught in the crossfire. So I was thinking about averting that somehow, and I came up with the idea of making them citizens.” He paused for a second to gauge the level of acceptance in the room, quickly he moved on, “so I figured the best way to do that was to talk the Undertaker into admitting them as students. If we have them live openly on campus, then it will go a long way to the general public accepting them, and the government acknowledging them. Now remember, I’m not talking about any demon, just the peaceable ones, the ones we’re allied to and can count on. Because one other thing occurred to me, if we have them on our side, then when this fight hits they’ll fight with us and not against us.”

“Why would they do that,” Dawn asked; unable to contain herself.

“Pure self interest. If the more violent clans are wiped out, then it’s a safer world for them.”

“So you’re suggesting making soulless evil demons citizens; am I hearing this right?”

“Not exactly, think about it for a second; we usually deal with the evil, end the world kind of demon, that’s true, but what about the Braechen’s or others like them. We really don’t know a lot because we don’t normally have anything to do with the peaceful types because they rarely make trouble. So for all we know there could be millions of peaceful beings out there that would be willing to help us out, if we help them. And another thing, have we ever checked; seriously, do we know that all demons are soulless. Again, for all we know, vampires might be the exception, not the rule. And even if they are soulless, how does having a soul make you good? Stalin, Hitler, serial killers like Bundy and Dahmer all had souls but that didn’t stop them from doing things that just make you want to hurl. Closer to home, think about Spike; did you really notice a huge change in his behavior between when he was soulless and when he had a soul?”

The other three sat back for a second, it was true that they’d never really given the matter much thought; but then again it had been relatively simple, demons try to end the world, you end the demons. But what about the ones that just wanted to live, they didn’t get much attention because they weren’t causing trouble.

“You realized this is seriously whacked out; even if you’re right and these things have souls, there is no way any of the suits on the board will go for it.”

“I think they will.”

“Why?”

“Because, despite the swell in attendance because of our presence; the school is not doing well financially. If they allow this, then the student population will boom, and the folks in charge will be swimming in green. No suit in the world could say no to that.”

“You’re gonna need a test case, someone to break through.” Oz said.

“I know.”

“Any ideas?”

“The perfect candidate; Clem.”

The girls smiled in recognition, but Oz didn’t, he didn’t remember Clem. “Who?”

“He’s a Vlrodack, sweet guy and about as in-offensive as anyone can be,” Dawn answered. “Plus he knows me and Xander, and even met Faith so he’ll have some familiar faces around to make things a bit easier.”

“I guess the question is,” Xander said, “do you think I should go ahead or not. Cause personally, I’m thinking the sooner the better, you know; but if you all think I should hold off; well, I’m listening.”

Faith stood “I wanna take some time with this one X, no reason to go off half cocked yet; we’re not on a time table.”

“Fair enough, we don’t need to talk to Carter any time soon, but I would like you all to think about it and let me know what you come up with.”

Dawn and Oz stood and were getting ready to leave when the door opened and a blond stuck her head in the opening, “Dr. Harris?”

“Yes,” Xander said while standing up as well, “can I help you?”

“I hope so,” the blond replied, opening the door further to reveal herself and a rather mousy looking brunette with glasses. “My name is Samantha Carter; Randolph is my uncle and he said you might be able to help me with a problem I’m having.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Sam breathed a sigh of relief when she finally found the right door; it had taken quite a while to navigate the rather labyrinthine basement of Lovecraft Hall. As she stood outside she could hear voices carrying on a discussion inside; she waited until what sounded like a break in the conversation to tap lightly on the door, open in and stick her head in. At first her heart sank, there was no way that this was the right place; the kid behind the desk barely looked thirty. Tentatively she called out, “Dr. Harris?” It turned out that she was in the right place after all. Dr. Harris was a young man, and with him were two women and one man; the women were both brunettes and looked to be even younger than he was. The young man’s hair was blue and by the way he was standing with one of the brunettes, it was obvious that they were together. Sam gave the cover of who she was and why she was there, then she went to introduce Daniel; she didn’t expect what happened after that.

“You, you’re Daniel Jackson the Egyptologist,” the young brunette almost yelled.

“Yes, I am,” he replied. “Do I know you?”

“My name is Dawn, Dawn Summers.” She then turned to the man behind the desk, “this is the guy Xander, the putz that keeps thinking he can correct my pronunciation.” She whipped back to Daniel, “its damn aggravating, like having a third grader try and correct your calculus.” She then darted forward, grabbed Daniel by his ear and started off down the hall, “you’re coming with me and we’ll see who’s got their epiglottals in the right place.” The short blue haired guy followed the pair, the girl berating Daniel at every step and Daniel just able to follow and complain about his ear.

Sam just stood there not sure if she should follow Daniel or not when Dr. Harris and the other brunette just chuckled. “Don’t worry; he’ll be fine once hurricane Dawn blows itself out. Heck he’ll probably learn a lot if he unbends enough to listen. Now Samantha, if you’d have a seat you can tell me what I can do for you.”

Sam cast a glance at the brunette, who looked like she wasn’t moving any time soon. “That’s Faith, a fellow faculty member; she can be of great assistance so I’d like for her to stay,” Dr. Harris informed her. “As for myself, please call me Xander, all my friends do.”

Sam thought about it for a moment then gave a little nod. “Some colleagues and I came across these items quite by accident,” she said, pulling out the artifacts that SG-1 had brought back. “We are having trouble identifying their composition and function despite several weeks of work. My father got a look at them and said that my Uncle had possessed something like these at one time so I came here and asked him about them. He said that he’d given them to this department and sent me to talk to you.” Here she looked up and noticed that the corner of the office was glowing.

She saw Dr. Harris; Xander, begin to examine the items, and even Faith stepped in for a quiet word, but Sam just couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the glowing corner; she was quite sure that it hadn’t been glowing when she had first sat down. The glow seemed to be getting more intense, but never so bright that it hurt.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

“Well Miss Carter, I believe we can help you,” Xander started, then noticed that his guest wasn’t looking at him, but at a corner of his office. He turned to look and saw the corner glowing and immediately knew what was happening. He jumped up and yelled, “Faith, get the pad.” As she dashed out to find the object in question, Xander started moving the furniture away from that corner. Faith came back with the pad in record time and flopped it in the corner just as the light went out and a diminutive blond fell from the ceiling with a rather girly shriek and landed on the target.

“Buffy, how many times have I told you that you have to make that second mark on the right or you come out of the ceiling?”

“One too few,” the blond said, getting up with a smirk. “Is Dawn around?”

“She’s in her office berating some guy that had the nerve to correct her pronunciation.”

“Ohh, can I go listen?”

“Better not B, you know how she gets when she has an audience; we might be there for a week.”

“True, the girl loves to put on a show.”

“So what else brings you by?”

“Well Giles had a question about . . . . . . .” It was then that she finally noticed Sam in the office. “Ummm, can we go to your office to talk?”

“Sure, you gonna be OK here X?”

“Yes Faith, I’ll be fine, and Buffy, it’s good to see you. You gonna be here for a while?”

“Maybe a couple of days, don’t worry, we’ll have time to catch up.”

“Looking forward to it,” he said as she and Faith left the room.

Xander started to put the office furniture back where it went when he saw the look on Sam’s face. “What?”

“She just fell out of the ceiling.”

“Yes, she did. If she’d done it right she’d have come out on the floor.”

”So people popping up like that is common?”

“I don’t know about common, but it isn’t unusual,” Xander said, sitting back down. “Now that the entertainment portion of the meeting is out of the way, why don’t I tell you what you’ve got here?”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Daniel Jackson could not remember the last time that he’d had a dressing down like this one. This girl that was at least ten years younger than he was had been ranting nonstop for the last five minutes. Idly he wondered if she needed to breathe.

“So what makes you so sure that I’m wrong?”

“Because I’ve heard the language used by native speakers,” he shot back; his mind going back to his time on Abydos. Then his eyes widened because he realized that he’d just stepped in it.

“How is that possible?”

“Ummm. Well, you see; I was on a dig with my Uncle when we came across this isolated valley that had been part of the southern Kingdom. It was way off the beaten track so the language was relatively uncontaminated.”

“Uh Huh, and your uncle is?”

“Nicholas Ballard.”

“And neither you nor your uncle ever sought fit to publish anything about this remarkable discovery. I mean finding a group that spoke ancient Egyptian would be enough to make your career, even one as controversial as yours.”

The crack about his career stung, so Daniel went on the offensive. “So how do you know I’m wrong?”

If the question shook the young woman, she didn’t show it. “We’ve got stuff in here that predates the Alexandria Library by a couple of millennia. You really think that there isn’t a pronunciation guide in here somewhere?”

“And the reason that only you know about it,” Daniel asked.

She sighed, “Miskatonic won’t let me publish. They like to keep everything close to the vest and publishing something like that would bring a lot more attention than they want.”

“Convenient,” was all Daniel had to say to that.

Dawn was about to reply when another voice broke in. “Intense.”

Both Dawn and Daniel turned to look at Oz. The young man was sitting there with a small smile quirking his lips. His comment, and the look on his face, defused the situation to the point where the two of them just sat back and glared at each other. Neither one of them believing the other’s story.
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