*Sunnydale High School*
*The gym, (continued) *
Samantha turned and said,"Darling, this is my boss, Principal Snyder. Sir, my fiance, Dr. Daniel Jackson. He and your librarian are apparently old friends."
"Pleased to meet you," he replied (not sounding very pleased at all) and politely shook Daniel's hand. Daniel returned the greeting with precisely equal civility, a bit puzzled at the sudden hostility.
The librarian had no trouble however. "Sir, about that memo this morning ..."
"So you did receive it! I wondered, considering you didn't send it back with a time preference. I had to assume you didn't care, so I scheduled you for the eight AM session. I hope that isn't too inconvenient."
"I do usually use that time for sorting and reshelving," Giles objected, then noticing his superior's glare quickly amended, "but I suppose I can do it the evening before instead. Do you really think this is necessary?"
"Definitely!" Snyder exclaimed in a tone that brooked no argument. "I want no more staff members lost ... er ... injured while I'm in charge. Students aren't the only ones who need to learn how to defend themselves. I'll see you tomorrow morning at eight sharp."
"You'll be taking the class too, sir?" Samantha asked, a little surprised that a martinet like him would choose to lead by example.
"Certainly," he replied proudly, "Nobody and nothing is going to have ME for lunch without a fight. Now if you will excuse me, I have a detention class to audit. With any luck, I'll catch someone trying to skip or leave early." With a grin he scurried off, chuckling evilly.
Daniel watched him leave the gym. As the door closed, he commented, "It's nice to see someone who enjoys his work." Shaking his head in disbelief that such a caricature of a man could exist in real life, he turned to Samantha and asked, "What's this about and eight AM class? I thought this self-defense thing was just for the students."
Samantha sighed. "So did I, but apparently Mr. Snyder had other ideas."
"To be fair," Giles said reluctantly, "it isn't entirely his fault. After that ... gang ... attacked the school on Parent's Night, he would have faced mass resignations if he hadn't promised to do something to protect the staff. I suppose this is his way of keeping that promise ... as cheaply as possible."
"Is it really that dangerous around here?" asked Daniel, genuinely concerned. "Sunnydale doesn't seem like that kind of place."
"There have been a few incidents," Giles admitted, "but mostly it seems to be the students who are at risk, not the staff. Hence the classes. If people would just use a few common sense precautions, like not going out alone at night or inviting strangers into their homes, everyone would be a lot safer." Just then his watch beeped. He looked at it, startled, then swore softly under his breath. "Excuse me, but it seems that I'm late for an appointment too."
"Oh?" asked Samantha, her eyebrows raised in question,. Daniel looked on, equally curious.
"Yes," Giles answered, trying (unsuccessfully) to conceal his nervousness. "I ... uh ... volunteered to help some students with a special research project. I'll see you tomorrow morning. Bye." He left rather abruptly, as if to avoid any further questions.
Deciding they had lingered around the school long enough, Daniel and Samantha went to the school parking lot and got into Daniel's rented car, a nondescript grey Ford Taurus. Samantha looked silently at Daniel for a few moments, then asked, "Did you believe him?"
"Not for a second," came the expected response. "He's definitely trying to hide something, but what?" Daniel started the car and steered carefully out of the lot, heading towards the motel where they would be staying.
"He's not the only one. Did you notice how interested Buffy seemed to be in our conversation?"
"The blond girl?" Daniel asked. Samantha nodded. "She's the one the impostor stayed with?"
"Yes. I tried to sound her out about it, subtly of course, but she clammed up as soon as I mentioned it. Just said she liked the girl, and was sorry to find out she was a fake. I'm pretty sure that much at least was true. Whether she knew any more, I can't say. I had to drop it before she got suspicious. Did you have any better luck?"
"Well, Giles definitely knows *something*, but whether it's about the impostor specifically or the general weirdness around here, I can't be sure. There was one thing though ..."
"Well, when I knew him in London, Giles seemed a little detached from everything. He loved his job, make no mistake about that, but it always seemed to me a bit like he was marking time with it, waiting for something else to come along. That's why I wasn't too surprised to hear he'd left his job to come to California."
"You think he found what he was looking for here?"
"I'm sure of it! He's ... I don't know ... complete ... more alive somehow than I've ever seen him. He tries to hide it, but something has definitely changed him."
A terrible thought occurred to Sam. "You don't think ..."
Daniel shook his head vehemently. "Definitely *NOT* a Goa'uld. That would make him LESS human, not MORE. Although I'm not too sure about your new boss."
"Snyder?!?" Samantha laughed. "I'm afraid he's a worm of a much more terrestrial variety. Fortunately I've never been under the direct command of one before, but I've seen his type in action. He tries to give the impression of being in charge by giving a large number of dictatorial orders, but usually he doesn't have a clue what's really going on. This can make him dangerous, to your career in peacetime, and to your life in battle. Luckily, his kind usually sabotage them- selves before they cause TOO much damage."
"You're sure about that?"
"Pretty much. The staff room grapevine says he's been like that since he replaced his predecessor half way through last year."
Daniel looked over at his companion, and noticed a definite gleam in her eye. With a sigh, he capitulated. "All right then, what happened to his predecessor?"
"He got eaten, OFFICIALLY by a pack of wild dogs," she replied with a hint of a smile.
"Ugh! And unofficially?"
"A group of students with known disciplinary problems were suddenly sent out of state for severe psychological counselling."
"Double ugh!!" he winced as he pulled into the motel parking lot, "No wonder your boss decided to take lessons." He parked the car in front of their unit and they got out.
Teal'c, who had apparently been watching for them, met them at the door wearing his brand new security guard's uniform with the cap pulled down to hide the Jaffa insignia branded on his forehead. "You are late," he stated a bit impatiently as he closed the door, "My shift at the museum will begin in a half hour, and I would like to discuss a few details about tonight's operation before you drive us there."
"I thought Jack was dropping you off on his way the the Bronze," complained Daniel who saw his vision of a leisurely dinner going out the window. "And what's this about `us'?"
"Colonel O'Niell received a telephone call from his `employer' ordering him to arrive early to help inventory supplies. He felt that refusing would be out of character for the role he is playing, and since you were scheduled to arrive at the museum later tonight to examine the artifacts for Goa'uld influence, it would no trouble for you to take me there and start your work earlier. Is there a problem with this? I could attempt to use a hired vehicle if you have other plans."
"No, no problem," Daniel admitted, "I was just a bit surprised, that's all. What is there to discuss? I thought the plan was pretty simple; when you aren't patrolling the museum, you'd be in helping me in the office, looking for clues."
"There has been a complication. Because I am a new employee, the security chief has decided to accompany me on my rounds tonight. She is already suspicious of the way she was ordered to hire me, and seems to take her duties very seriously. It would be difficult to plausibly explain to her why you would wish my assistance."
Daniel thought quickly. "Well, we'll be arriving together, right?" Teal'c nodded. "We'll need an explanation for that anyway. Why not use part of the truth; we both are staying at the same motel, and when I discovered we both had to go to work tonight, I offered you a lift. We talked about my work in the car, and when you found it interesting, I offered to show you some of it."
"This sounds reasonable," Teal'c admitted, "However, she will still be suspicious, and will probably insist on being present until she is satisfied I have no criminal intent. Perhaps it would be wiser to wait a few days when her attention will be focused elsewhere. Until then, you should take photographs of the artifacts and we can examine them together tomorrow. Is this acceptable?" This time it was Daniel who nodded his agreement.
Samantha was visibly impressed. "Are you sure you haven't done this sort of work before?" she asked. Teal'c did not answer, except to briefly allow himself a very slight, very enigmatic smile.