Chapter One -- Internship Ho!
Willow Rosenberg fidgited as she sat on the airliner streaking above the northeastern United States. She was nervous that she hadn't made the right decision. That maybe she should have gone to college first. That maybe her friends back in Sunnydale would need her?
She looked out the window and still worrying poked her best friend in the side to get another opinion, "Buffy, wake up!"
Buffy Summers opened one eye and looked at the nervous redhead, "Whas th'matter Wills? We there yet?"
"No, not yet. Buffy, am I doing the right thing?" Willow asked worriedly.
Buffy opened her other eye and gave her friend a deep look of concern, "Wills, you made a good decision. A paying internship with one of the most cutting edge companies in the world that counts as college credit and work experience. Yes, you're doing the right thing."
"But everybody back home...Xander and Giles and Cordelia and Faith and Wesley, Won't they need us?"
"We all survived graduation, so I'm sure they'll be fine," Buffy said reassuringly, "Anyway Oz will be out this way soon to join you at the company, and I'll be here as well."
Hearing her boyfriend's name and Buffy's calming words relaxed Willow slightly.
"So what are you going to do Buffy? You didn't get an internship."
"I needed a break from home before college and I couldn't let my bestest bud go off into the unknown without some back-up," the effervescent blond smiled gaily. "I figured a town like this has some jobs around even if it's just waitressing. Don't worry, I'll be fine. It takes a heck of a lot to slow me down." She leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes again, "Wait till were on the ground and you'll be feeling a lot calmer I'm sure," she said confidently.
"I hope so Buffy."
In less than an hour the plane landed and Buffy went to pick up their luggage while Willow called the number she had been given by the job recruiter.
"SSI. How may I direct your call?"
"Uhm this is Willow Rosenberg. I just landed and I was supposed to contact Harrison Ames about a ride and an ID?"
"One moment Miss Rosenberg," there was a buzz and a male voice came on the line, "SSI security, this is Ames."
"Mister Ames, this is Willow Rosen..."
"Ahh! I forgot you were coming in today! I'm so sorry Ms. Rosenberg," the voice said apologetically. "I'll get somebody to pick you right up. How will they recognize you?"
"Red hair and I'm with a really short..."
"Uh height challenged blond who has just gotten our luggage and heard me call her..."
"Don't say it!"
The voice on the phone started laughing at the overheard Buffy outburst, "I think my guy can spot you. And I really am sorry about the mess up with your ride. This blond, will she be needing a ride too?"
"Oh yes please Mister Ames."
"Only if you call me Willow. Ms. Rosenberg sounds way too formal."
"Done. Your ride's on the way Willow. See you soon!"
"Thank you Harry!"
"The ride is taken care of and Harry sounds nice and I'm starting to..."
"Babble? Yes," Buffy grinned at her friend.
"I think I'd better sit down," Willow collapsed on the mound of bags Buffy had managed to skillfully haul over from the claim point.
"So Harry huh? Does Oz have any competition?" Buffy asked teasingly.
"Nooo! Oh...Buffy!" Willow glared.
"Sorry Wills, but your expression was fantastic."
The brilliant redhead had to smile at that, "Thanks Buffy, I'm glad you're here."
"Hey, that's what besties are for."
The wait was only about twenty minutes before a tall woman with long white hair, a dark suit and an SSI badge came up to them.
"Willow Rosenberg and friend?" she asked pleasantly.
"Yes, I'm Willow and this is Buffy Summers."
"I'm Phyllis Radnor, Harry's second in command. Just call me Phil, everybody does," she then did a doubletake at the baggage.
"Is all that yours Willow?" Buffy shyly raised her hand.
"All but three of them are mine," she looked extremely embarrassed.
"Guess we drop your stuff off first then Buffy. Where do you need to go?"
"A motel first until I can find an apartment."
"I think we can do better than that. Willow, do you mind if Buffy shares your room for a couple of days?"
Willow shook her head no.
"Alright then. Buffy, let me help you get your luggage into the truck then."
"Don't worry Phil. I can get it," Buffy expertly gathered up her bags and skillfully balancing them headed towards the door.
Phil looked after her and Willow smiled, "When it comes to clothes she has a natural gift."
Soon the three were comfortably ensconced in Phil's 4x4.
"The weather's a little different here in New York than California isn't it?" Phil had the windows down and a cool breeze flowed through the truck's cab.
"Yes. How cold does it get here?" Willow asked curiously.
In the summer it can get kind of cool at night. We're by a fairly large lake you see," Phil pointed over at sign marking the turnoff to Lake Carlopa. "In the winter...Well it is upstate New York. Lots of snow and very cold. You get used to it. The snow is why I have a 4x4 though."
She kept driving, "So Buffy what are you planning to do for work out here?"
The blond looked out the window for a moment and then replied, "Waitressing, maybe retail. It all depends on what's available. I mainly came out here to give Wills moral support."
"What skills do you have?"
"Cheerleading, accessorizing and unarmed combat. Not very marketable set actually. That's why I'm going for the waitressing."
"Unarmed combat? Are you serious?" Phil turned to look carefully at the pint sized blond.
"Yeah. I ended up in charge of an Urban Watch group and it was better that we all were trained in self-defense. It seemed that I took to it like I was chosen. Willow was a member too, but she specialized in predicting where the gangs were going to be," Buffy seemed subdued as she said that. "Are there gang problems here we should know about?"
"In Shopton? No," Phil laughed then turned serious, "but at SSI we can always use inconspicuous security people. Do you mind if I spar with you ? Just to see how good you are you understand."
Buffy smiled, "I'd be glad to."
At that moment the truck pulled up to the gates of a huge complex of buildings. There were offices, hangers, laboratories and warehouses. After an ID check Phil put her eyes up to what looked like a odd set off binoculars that the gate guard handed her. After she looked into them the barricade lowered into the road and she pulled forward into a private parking lot.
"Retinal scanner," she answered the pair of inquiring looks as she parked and turned off the engine, "We have a lot of stuff here that a lot of people would kill for...literally."
Getting out, she told the two teenagers to leave their bags in the truck and to follow her. The three of them walked up to a side door in the main office building which slid open as they approached. Inside she ushured them into a conference room and left them to wait.
"Well Wills, what do you think?" Buffy asked her friend softly.
"Yeah, wow is the right word."
A minute later the door opened and a tall man of about sixty entered. His hair was blonde turning to gray, and he wore a pocketed white t-shirt, khaki's and and worn red sneakers.
"Ladies, welcome to SSI. I'm Tom Swift the owner."
BtVS Property Mutant Enemy.
Tom Swift Property Simon and Schuster and the Stratemeyer Syndicate.