Jennifer & the Debriefing, Part V: Summers
A/N: See chapter 1 for disclaimer, spoilers, notes on AU, and why Xander has his eye back.“But here’s the really interesting one. Buffy Summers.”
The picture she put up was of a gorgeous blonde in a beautiful prom dress, accepting an award that looked like a little gold umbrella. Jennifer waited for the reactions. She knew what people saw when they looked at someone like Buffy Anne Summers. Pretty much the same thing they saw when they had looked at little Jenni Lynn Hailey, second daughter of the town slut. A gorgeous little bimbo who couldn’t possibly have anything in between her ears. Just what Jennifer had been fighting against her entire life.
No one said anything like that. Perhaps it was because she was in the room, along with Colonel Carter, who was pretty enough – and tall enough – to be a supermodel if she had wanted to. And no one was ever going to accuse Samantha Carter of not being smart and competent. Well, no one other than Rodney McKay, who probably wouldn’t concede that God himself had done a good job in creating the universe.
Jennifer said, “Buffy Anne Summers. Born in Los Angeles to Hank and Joyce Summers. Note that name, since Cleveland is now the home of the Joyce Summers School for Gifted Young Women. One younger sister, Dawn. Buffy was spotted as a superb athlete at an early age. She competed in figure skating and gymnastics, and was a particularly athletic cheerleader in junior high and at Hemery High. Enough to make the varsity cheer squad as a frosh, which is pretty much unheard of. She received several medals in figure skating, and several L.A. figure skating websites still have pages up complaining that she should have won the state girls under-12 championship when she was eleven, and that the judges were clearly biased in favor of the winner, who didn’t perform moves as advanced as Summers. How impressive was her silver medal? That winner was Tatiana Quinn, who since then has gone on to compete for America in the Olympics. More than one of these pages implied that Summers wasn’t dedicated enough, and that if she completely dedicated herself to ice skating, she had the opportunity to get to Olympic level.”
Jennifer clicked the control and showed a shot of Buffy in middle school, surrounded by similar pretty blondes. “Then she discovered boys. She dropped the ice skating, just as she had already dropped the gymnastics. She became the consummate junior high and high school clique leader. Right up until she burned down her high school gym when it was taken over by ‘a gang’. It was never proven that she burned it down, only that she pulled the fire alarm when the gym was on fire. The fire marshal’s final report said the fire was caused by ‘mice damaging the electrical wiring.’” She looked around the room at the sundry expressions and added, “I didn’t make that up.”
“She was expelled from her school, even though she was never convicted of any crime. Even though she was hardly even questioned about the fire and loss of life. But someone – someone with a lot of pull – spent a lot of time spreading rumors of her ‘psychotic’ behavior around in the right places, so she was asked not to attend any other LA schools. She later told her parents the gym was full of ‘vampires’ and she was a ‘chosen one’ whose job was to stop vampires. Her parents had her committed, although only her father signed the papers. And that’s when the data get really
“She was committed to an asylum and put on psychotropic drugs. The normal dose for a girl her size – bear in mind that Buffy Summers is slightly smaller than me, and she was a high school frosh at the time, so probably a little underweight – is half a cc, three times a day. We have her treatment records, although we had to hack their firewall and their network security to get them. The asylum pharmacy apparently didn’t talk to the therapists or the security officers or the medical staff, because we had to drag this information off four different systems and collate the data. One dose did nothing, which is unheard of. They gave her a double dose eight hours later. Still nothing. Eight hours later, they gave her a quadruple dose. By then, they were dosing her like she was an NFL defensive lineman undergoing a psychotic break. She still wasn’t subdued.
“Day two. She ripped a straitjacket apart after they buckled her into it. Which is physically impossible. They upped her dosage more. Day three. She tore the door off her room, had to be trank darted, was stopped by six male orderlies, and put two of the orderlies in the hospital before the darts took effect. Darts, plural, mind you. The other four all took at least two days sick leave for their injuries. They upped her dosage. Day four. She bent two steel bars on her window. The bars couldn’t be bent back into place. They had to be cut out with a welding torch and new ones welded in. They upped her dose again. Day five. She ripped a doorknob off a door. She punched through a wire-reinforced safety glass window, cutting her knuckles and the backs of her hands. They upped her dose. Day six, they found a dose that kept her docile while she was in a doubled straitjacket. Yes, they had to put her in a straitjacket inside another straitjacket. She was that strong. The dose they settled on was fifteen cc, six times a day. That’s the same as thirty cc, three times a day. The LD50 for a girl her size is a single dose of seven cc.”
“Umm, LD50?” checked Dr. Jackson.
Jennifer made herself stay polite as she explained, “The LD50 is the dose at which half the treatment subjects of that weight will die
. She was so far over that dosage that she should have been a corpse about six times over. Fifteen cc six times a day should be enough to kill a horse. At a minimum, she should have had complete renal failure within hours. But it hardly stopped her. Day eight, a hospital clinic nurse noted in a standard medical evaluation that she had no injuries. No injuries after she punched through security glass? She should have been crippled, if not scarred for life, but either she had no noticeable injuries after only three days, or they lied on the official state records. And don’t forget. She beat up six huge security men and put two of them in the hospital. Those guys fought back. So where are her injuries from that fight? But that’s not all. After ten more days, she started getting used to the dosage, and they had to increase her meds again.”
Colonel Carter asked, “So she’s a probable hok’tar? Like Vi?”
Daniel Jackson nodded, “That would explain a lot, except that we haven’t seen any real hok’tar on Earth.” He glanced at Sam and corrected himself, “Not… counting… what you saw Vi do.”
Jennifer said, “It would explain why a hundred pound girl with no known martial arts training could rip apart a straitjacket and beat the tar out of six pretty huge male orderlies even after they tranked her. In fact, they upped her dosage every twenty days or so for her entire time there. The final dosage that was needed to keep her subdued ought to be enough to kill an entire basketball team. And then she was just released.”
Jennifer said, “Maybe they were desperate to get rid of her, but apparently one day she just said, ‘oh I’m so naughty, I lied about the vampires to get attention because mommy and daddy were fighting, so can I go home now?’ and after two more independent psych evals they just… let her go home.” She looked around the room and said, “Yeah, I can’t believe it either. There was something else going on there. Something that isn’t in the computer records.
“So a logical question would be: when did little 5’2” Buffy Summers get so strong? Jeff did some data mining on the Summers family credit card expenses, and it looks like about two months before the gym fire, Buffy Summers suddenly started being abnormally strong for no apparent reason. Hank Summers paid J & K Home Repair to come to the house nineteen times, starting then. Six times the first week, and then tailing off after that. A new doorknob. An entire new door. Patch a fist-sized hole in a wall that went right through a stud. Then a new faucet. A new toilet tank. A new door plus doorframe. Replace a section of tile in the bathroom shower. Somebody was suddenly having trouble controlling their strength. On top of that, Joyce Summers was suddenly having to replace alarm clocks, chairs, Buffy’s headboard, a dresser, a makeup table, several shower curtains complete with rods, glasses and flatware, several bath towels, all kinds of household items. It looks like Summers suddenly got so strong she couldn’t keep from ripping things apart, and it took her a while to get used to her new strength.
“Her parents divorced after the asylum issue. They sold the house as part of the divorce settlement. Her dad moved to an apartment, staying in LA for business, although he eventually moved to Spain with his secretary and took over European corporate responsibilities for his company. Because of the rumors about Buffy, the school system wasn’t helpful. No school wanted her, even if she was never convicted of any crime, never even arrested, and exonerated of arson charges by the fire marshal’s report. Her mother moved the family to Sunnydale.
“Now here’s something else we can’t explain. The data mining algorithms pulled this one out. The numbers of deaths and missing persons in Sunnydale had been growing, not by much, but roughly linearly over the past two decades, based on our extrapolations from the school paper totals. Those same numbers declined roughly linearly, starting the week Buffy Summers arrived in Sunnydale, which was very late in the first school term. And the decline was massive. The year before she arrived, the death toll of high school aged children was worse than in Mogadishu. The estimated murder rate we computed makes Caracas and Ciudad Juarez look like retirement communities.” Several people whistled in surprise. “The year she graduated, the class celebrated that they had the lowest death toll in school history. By then, the obituary page had shrunk to a small bi-weekly obituary notice. The death and missing persons numbers as listed by the high school papers continued to decline for the entire seven years she lived there, even with events like the school exploding and that epidemic of insanity. We don’t have causality, only synchronicity, but it’s really peculiar that this change happened right when Buffy Summers showed up. It would have been really helpful to look through the police reports for those years, but they’re all at the bottom of Lake Sunnydale and there are no copies of their files in the state archives – which, in itself, is suspicious.
“Once she was at Sunnydale High, Buffy stopped doing things like cheerleading, and based on group pictures and ‘casual’ pictures from the yearbooks, she was one of the school outcasts. She hung out with two other school ‘losers’, a guy who was in the running for class clown his senior year, and a girl who was the biggest brain in the school. Yes, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg. But look at these pictures of her from the yearbooks. She’s carefully made up but in a classy way. Well dressed, sexy but well within school guidelines, and a lot less skin showing than a number of other girls in the yearbook pictures. What is she listed as doing? Dr. Jackson, you’ll love this.” She clicked to another picture. “Archaeology club. With, you guessed it, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg and Daniel Osbourne. And who’s the teacher mentoring this odd little club? Why it’s our friendly librarian Rupert Giles.” She put up another image. “And notice, in this yearbook picture for the archaeology club, Buffy looks like she could be on the cover of Seventeen magazine. Big smile, perfect hair, fashionable clothes, expensive heels, and a very well coordinated look. There’s no sign of the usual outcast behaviors or appearances or friends. Osbourne even looks fairly normal in this photo, although that may be because we can’t tell what color his hair is, and we can’t make out the slogan on the front of his t-shirt. Mister Giles looks like he just stepped out of the curator’s office at the British Museum, and Willow Rosenberg looks nervous and nerdy. The worst you can say about the picture is that Harris is wearing a bad Hawaiian shirt.”
She clicked to another picture of Summers. “And just exactly what was she doing behind the scenes? We can’t find any traces. But at the end of her junior year, she was expelled by the principal. Oddly enough it was at the same time that Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris and Rupert Giles all ended up in the hospital. In one night, Rosenberg is admitted with a concussion, and Harris is admitted with a broken arm and fractured ribs. The next day, Giles is brought into the ER by Harris, with seven broken metacarpals on his right hand, and extensive lacerations on his right thigh. Plus what are probably cigarette burns. Doctor Lam looked at that medical report for me and thinks that Giles was probably tortured. By an enthusiastic amateur. And yet, with all of that, Summers was back in school in the fall, still hanging out with the same people. That makes it unreasonable to assume she attacked them, so perhaps she was fighting whoever assaulted them, and was caught in the act.
“In her senior year, she was voted ‘class protector’, which was a write-in category that apparently has never before and never since been given out. So a lot of people in the school knew what she was doing, even if no one wanted to admit it.
“The year after graduation, she attended UC Sunnydale with decent, if not spectacular grades. Her psych professor Dr. Maggie Walsh was reported dead, and then – lo and behold – who turns out to be the head of the DRI? One Dr. Margaret K. Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. in neuropsychology. Listed as a TA for that class was, probably not coincidentally, one Riley Finn. We’ll probably never know exactly how they all inter-related, unless one of the survivors decides to tell us. Also that year, Buffy made a little side trip to Los Angeles for two days, and somehow managed to get a young woman named Faith Lehane AKA Faith Wilkins to turn herself in for two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and something like twenty-seven counts of felony assault, including beating up over a dozen armed police officers in five different assaults. With her bare hands. Faith Lehane waived her right to an attorney, pled guilty, and went to jail, becoming a model prisoner. For two and a half years, before breaking out by punching through bulletproof glass with her bare hands and leaping three stories from a window to an asphalt parking lot, then running away so fast that she was out of sight before guards got down to their pursuit vehicles.”
“Faith. Xander mentioned someone named Faith who liked to play with knives,” Dr. Jackson mentioned.
“Another hok’tar?” Colonel Carter wondered out loud.
Jennifer nodded. “Probably. Lehane was later granted a full pardon by the state governor, supposedly because her civil rights were run over with a bulldozer. She was a minor at the time although her fake ID said she was over eighteen; she didn’t receive any legal representation, she didn’t receive the required legal assistance for minors, she was then placed in the adult women’s prison, she reportedly had to fight off somewhere between six and eight attacks and sexual assaults in her first few days there – she apparently single-handedly put seven career criminals in the prison hospital ward when they tried to attack her en masse in the showers – and then survived what were listed as two ‘attempted murders’ shortly before she broke out. And where is Faith Lehane today? According to State Department records and passport information, she’s in China and Eastern Russia, running a project for the NSAWC. What that project is, we have no idea.
“The following year, Summers dropped out of college when her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. According to the HMO, a month after the surgery, her mother died of an aneurysm. We can back that up by all the changes Summers had to make in house ownership, bill payments, and so on. Summers quit school to raise her little sister Dawn, who, judging by the HMO billing on child psychologists and counseling, apparently didn’t handle any of this very well. But Summers was later hired as a high school guidance counselor without even a B.A. degree. Did the principal know who or what she was? Said principal was one Robin Wood, now the principal of the Joyce Summers School, so I’m guessing yes.”
“The next year, Summers was shot. According to the report to the HMO, Summers took a bullet that should have been fatal. As far as we can tell, she just got up and walked out of the hospital before they could even attempt to extract the bullet from the chest cavity. I can’t explain it. The HMO decided it was a hoax, and put a note about it in the attending doctor’s file.”
“Could it have been a hoax?” asked Colonel Carter.
Jennifer paused. “Maybe. There’s no way of telling. If it was anyone else on the planet, including Dr. Jackson, I would assume so. Several HMO’s routinely assumed that anything odd reported from Sunnydale was likely to be fraud.”
She went back to her topic. “And finally, Summers was one of the last people out of Sunnydale. After Sunnydale collapsed, Summers and Harris and their group were in L.A. for several weeks, staying at the Hyperion Hotel. Suddenly dozens of teenaged girls from all over the world took planes, ships, buses, and/or trains to L.A. and came to the Hyperion Hotel. Most of those girls then moved to Cleveland and became the first attendees of the Joyce Summers School. The rest of the girls simply went home, with no outcry, no complaints, nothing.
“Buffy Summers and her little sister Dawn then moved to Rome. They opened a new office of the NSAWC there. According to Italian records, Summers then visited the Vatican about once a week for the next year. And what happens right after Summers gets to Rome? Suddenly, the violent death tolls dropped and missing persons numbers plummeted, just like in Sunnydale. Given that intel, we performed a search on her travels and these kinds of patterns. She went to nineteen other European cities over the next eight months. In every one of these cities, the murder toll and missing persons toll suddenly dropped after her arrival, and stayed lower for months after she left. But there were no reported murders of suspicious people, no notorious criminals found dead, no unusual arrests, nothing. We don’t know what it is that she did. That, apparently, she still does. And we have no idea how it ties in with the extraordinary access she was granted by the Vatican.
“And those girls who didn’t join the Joyce Summers School and just went back home? The same thing, apparently. Of the six girls we have been able to trace so far, each of their towns experienced a drop in murders and missing persons. Not as sizable as the decreases when Summers goes somewhere, but detectable. And two of those girls have since died. One was found in a cemetery, apparently killed some time after midnight the night before. Cause of death? She bled out from what was listed as a single animal bite to the neck. Even though there are supposedly no wild animal attack problems in that city. Is whatever Summers and Harris fought in Sunnydale now spreading across the planet? Or has it been across the planet and they’re spreading their fight now that they beat Sunnydale? Or is there a third explanation? We have no way of knowing without getting Harris to confide in us.
“It’s possible that Rupert Giles was sent to Sunnydale, probably by some group connected with the IWC, specifically to make contact with the hok’tar Summers. If so, then he worked for an organization that has a reliable method for finding these hok’tar, and we can’t find what it is. He arrived in Sunnydale four weeks before Buffy Summers did, almost as if he knew her mother would be moving the family there, which in itself is suspicious. The previous librarian left abruptly in mid-term – according to the school paper he suddenly was offered a really good new job out of state – thus leaving the librarian spot open for Giles to step in. In fact, Giles may have been fully aware of the situation in Sunnydale, and he deliberately ‘acquired’ Summers and the others as he put together his own SG-1.”
That got her several sharp glances, plus an upraised finger from Dr. Jackson as he thought over her words before speaking.
She looked right at him and continued, “Consider it. Lord Giles himself is the Daniel Jackson, proficient in multiple languages and expert in what most people would consider folklore or myth. Buffy Summers is his Teal’c: a hok’tar capable of ripping her way out of a straitjacket, tearing doors off their hinges, and subduing half a dozen experienced asylum orderlies with her bare hands. Willow Rosenberg is his Samantha Carter: a genius with enormous science expertise for a high schooler, and possibly one of the best computer crackers in the world. Xander Harris is his Jack O’Neill: the laid-back but expert fighter who puts up a façade of silliness to cover his real abilities. If I had to guess, I would say that Giles was sent to target Summers, and acquired as many valuable assets as he could while in Sunnydale. It was probably the only way to survive the place.
“But Sunnydale doesn’t sound like any sort of typical Gou’a’uld infestation. Decades of planning, for what? Killing people in weird ways? There’s no sign of someone ruling the town absolutely and commanding the townspeople, not even in the way we would expect to see after studying Seth. Instead, there appeared to be a longstanding tradition to elect members of the Wilkins family as mayor, mainly the direct descendants of the city founder. Still, something odd was going on, and the final collapse of Sunnydale might have ended the threat, or dispersed the threat, or allowed people to concentrate on much smaller threats, because the ‘team’ dispersed across the world. It may be a concentration on smaller threats, because Robin Wood, the school principal, has one very odd issue we were able to find in his background. His mother died as a teenager. She bled to death. From a barbecue fork accident to the neck. On a New York City subway car. In the middle of the night.”
The general put his hands together and asked, “And are there more people suddenly gaining uncontrolled strength, like Summers?”
Jennifer pursed her lips. That really was a brilliant question. She reminded herself once again not to underestimate the general. “Yes sir. We did a search for all of the aspects we’ve spotted so far. Jumps in damages around the home or at school. News stories on surprising shows of strength. Fights in which people without martial arts training displayed unusual abilities to defend themselves.”
“Did Violet O’Connell show up on your list?” Sam Carter asked. “Because it was clear her parents knew she was abnormally strong, and that she did occasionally break things.”
“No ma’am,” Jennifer replied. “But she was with Summers for some time, so she could have had training in controlling her strength. The girl Kennedy DaSilva didn’t show up either. However, Jeff found a spike. All over the world, there was a surge in news stories like this. A petite, fifteen year old girl who throws a mugger fifteen feet over a car
, across a sidewalk, and through a plate glass window. A thirteen year old girl who is being molested by her stepfather punches him through a wall. A sixteen year old girl who saves her mother by lifting the front end of a pickup truck
off her. A fifteen year old girl in Africa who wrestles a full grown leopard, killing it with her bare hands
when it tries to attack her baby sister. Girls who suddenly began breaking things that shouldn’t be breakable. A thirteen year old girl suddenly goes from mediocre hitter on a boys’ baseball team to Barry Bonds, hitting home runs in three consecutive at bats, each one of them clearing not only the outfield fence but hitting the balls completely out of the stadium. Four girls in four different countries caught out late in cemeteries with tombstones or stone ornaments damaged and no tools to do the observed damage. Every single one of these incidents was reported within twenty-four hours of the collapse of Sunnydale. In fact, as far as we can determine, between seven and nine of the events all happened at exactly the same time around the globe, about five or ten minutes before the town collapsed into that crater. Three of these girls, one in America, one in France, and one in Africa, told the police that they acted because a voice they had never heard before said, “Are you ready to be strong?” Unless this is a hoax or something outside our current understanding, how could three girls thousands of miles apart hear the same words at the exact same time, with the same consequences? If there’s something out there that can somehow turn people all over the planet into hok’tar, we need to know about it.”
No one had a comment. It looked like no one knew what to say.
She finished, “And here’s where it all comes back to Harris. Again. Three African girls we picked up in our data mining are some of the girls found by Harris and flown to the Joyce Summers School. Where Violet O’Connell works as a martial arts teacher. They may have an entire school full of hok’tar, being trained to do God only knows what. But if Harris has rescued or trained dozens and dozens of girls who are hok’tar, directly threatening him may be the most dangerous thing on earth.”
Colonel Carter said, “No wonder that girl Rona had the nerve to threaten the U.S. Air Force. She probably thinks she can take a squad of airmen.”
General Landry said, “More importantly, she may be able to do just what she thinks she can.”
Jennifer added, “And they might have more support than even they realize, sir. They’re internet heroes. There are websites dedicated to them, claiming they fight supervillains, or international conspiracies, or mutants, or aliens, or supernatural threats, or… Well, you name it, someone has a website claiming they fight it. There’s a website dedicated to Harris that claims he’s known around the world in certain circles as ‘The One Who Sees’ and ‘The White Knight’. Several of these websites even claim the site creator was saved by these people, even if most of the writers seem… let us say ‘confused’ about what they were saved from.”
General Landry muttered, “That sounds unfortunately familiar.” He turned to Colonel Carter and said, “We’re going to have
to get Harris to talk to us, and we’re going to have to get him to sign our NDAs so we can tell him what he’s really been fighting.”
Colonel Carter said, “Sir, I think he’ll be a lot more cooperative if we reverse the order on that.”
General Landry nodded in agreement, “Let’s make it happen.” Then he asked Jennifer, “Anything else, Major?”
Jennifer staunchly said, “No sir.” But that was a lie. She had a theory about those girls. Those hok’tar. And what they were really fighting. And why. But it was so crazy she didn’t dare say it, even inside the SGC. And her theory was still making the hair stand up on the back of her neck. In fact, she was thinking about spending more nights at the SGC, over twenty floors away from what might be lurking out there in the darkness.
Considering what she suspected, she was looking forward to her next mission off Earth, no matter where it was.
A/N2: Yes, I made up all the details on Buffy’s stay in the insane asylum in between the movie and the start of the television series. But really, what would happen if you tried to pen up a Slayer in a place like that? Similarly, before she was Called she was a Potential, so she should have been unusually good at athletic endeavors.
A/N3: Yes, this chapter's longer. So sue me.