Jack quickly went over to the prone woman - although, upon closer inspection, she was no more than a girl - but hesitated to check her pulse due to the fat wormlike electric sparks that were dancing on her body. "Was that meant to happen? And when will this electricity stop?" he asked to the room in general.
"I don't think so." said Willow, a little guiltily. "And I don't know when it'll stop."
Giles held up a hand, five fingers extended. A second later and he folded one, and then another, and so on. When he had folded all his fingers and returned his hand to his side, the sparking electricity crawling all over the young girl vanished as though it had never been, and Jack took her pulse and pronounced her unconscious. Willow heaved a sigh of relief, then looked at Giles and asked him "So, was that meant to happen?"
"No. It was a side effect of casting the spell in an ionised atmosphere. As a consequence, she'll be unconscious for the next sixteen hours and sixteen minutes, and will have lost her memory of the previous thirty-two and a half hours." Giles answered concisely, while making some tea.
"Not 32 hours and 32 minutes?" asked an interested Daniel.
"Of course not, don't be absurd." said Giles distractedly, as he glared at the somewhat tattered-looking Spike, who was sitting in his favourite seat. Spike took great pleasure in not moving, so Giles had to sit elsewhere.
"Great, so now we have an amnesiac unconscious Initiative scientist on our hands." muttered Jack.
"Try saying that ten times fast." said Buffy cheerfully, in an attempt to lighten the mood. Jack glanced at her gratefully, while Teal'c raised an eyebrow at her but otherwise didn't react.
"Actually, that might be a good thing." said Sam, from the doorway. Both Spike and Jack leapt up, and Giles muttered "Now he moves." to himself.
Jack said, words stumbling over themselves slightly "Carter! You're back! When did you get back?"
Sam smiled at his antics. "Oh, about an hour or so. Long enough to disobey Hammond's orders, break into the Initiative and steal this hard drive." she answered, holding said hard drive aloft.
"You broke into the Initiative? How? I thought they all knew us there?" said Daniel curiously, referring to their earlier brief encounter with the Initiative.
Sam's smile twisted slightly. "Yeah, they do. That's kind of why I brought an extremely promising Airforce cadet from the Academy here and got her to do it. Which was the bit about disobeying Hammond's order - I tried to get Hailey - that's the cadet at your feet - clearance to be there legally, but Hammond refused, so..." she shrugged.
"Ummm, Carter? That was really stupid, you know. Buffy probably still has clearance, even if they did try to kill her - it's doubtful that they would've had the time to revoke it - and besides Finn, I don't think any of the others there know anyone else besides her and us." said Jack, assuming the voice of a superior officer berating a subordinate. Sam looked suitably berated.
"I know, sir. But I panicked, and it's different when it's on Earth rather than some other planet. It's closer to home, you know?" said Sam pleadingly.
Jack sighed "Yeah, well, Hailey won't remember it anyway, so I guess no harm no foul. You'll just have to take her back." ordered Jack.
"Jack? If the thing that killed Walsh came from the Initiative, and according to Riley there were no break-outs from any of the demon's cells, shouldn't we have our two scientists look through that hard drive?" said Daniel thoughtfully.
"We have two scientists?" asked Willow.
"You and Sam." Daniel answered.
Willow threw up her hands "Whoa there! I'm not a scientist, not like Sam! I've barely made it out of high school!" she protested.
Xander snorted. "Yeah, but you've been reading undergraduate and postgrad science books for years, Will."
"Yes, but- but I've only read them! I haven't got near the same practical experience as Sam." she protested.
"Shh, you'll do fine." said Sam comfortingly, before saying to Jack "You know, Daniel might have a point, sir."
"Shocking." Jack murmured, entirely in the hope that Daniel would say "Hey!' indignantly, which he of course did. Jack shrugged. "Well, I can always fly Hailey back to the Academy." simulating reluctance while really feeling glad that he'd have another chance to fly a human plane so soon. He really didn't get to do it enough, and Jack loved it.
As Jack swung Hailey over his shoulder, grunting slightly as his knees crackled when he stood up and glad that she was so small (and hoped that the fabled Sunnydale Syndrome that Willow had told him about would protect him from being seen carrying an unconscious body around) Sam said to the room in general "Is there a computer that I can plug this into?", again holding the hard drive aloft.
Xander chuckled. "Welcome to Giles' house, complete technophobe. We were shocked when we found he had a television, even if it was covered in books."
"My laptop's at the SGC, and my parents have probably taken theirs to - wherever it is they've gone - and we don't have a desktop at home - it broke down after Moloch. Well, I say broke down..." said Willow. Daniel looked as though he were about to ask her to clarify, but evidently thought that now wasn't the time.
"I have several desktops here. They're all covered in books, but if you need a desk I can help there." said Giles helpfully, and didn't understand why everyone burst out into gales of laughter (or raised both eyebrows).
"My parents aren't any too keen on buying things that they can't drink afterwards." said Xander dejectedly. Willow patted his shoulder compassionately, but stopped when Anya glared at her.
Before Anya had a chance to launch into some kind of doubtlessly embarrassing diatribe about why she didn't have a computer of some kind, Buffy said "My mom has a computer at home, so she can do gallery stuff there. But she should be at work now, so it should be free."
"Yay, party at the Buffster's place!' said Xander excitedly. He calmed down a little when Buffy looked at him coolly, amending his statement to "I mean, I'm sure we'll be nice and quiet while the techno-geeks solve the problem." when both Sam and Willow glared at him, Xander shrunk slightly and said in a mollifying tone "You know you should stop me when I start speaking."
"If only that were possible." muttered Spike and Giles at the same time, then looked at each other in astonishment. Daniel chuckled at that.
"But surely that is what we will be doing? Not making you shut up, of course, but waiting while the techno-geeks sort everything out?" said Anya brightly.
Before anyone had a chance to get on anyone else nerves, Buffy said in an authoritative tone "Right then, let's go!" and walked out of Giles' house and headed for her own. Everyone followed shortly, hesitating only long enough for Giles to finish his third cup of tea (he felt he had needed it, after the day’s events) and Teal'c to put on his hat to cover his golden Jaffa tattoo and assume his Murray persona.
They left, leaving Spike behind, because it was daylight and he didn't really feel like another run in the sun - he was still feeling lightly toasted from his last outing, and besides, he'd been shot since then. He deserved to stay. Spike was almost tempted to bounce up and down on the prone Riley lying sprawled on the sofa - Spike thought that was the least he could do for someone who had shot him - but he didn't really want the chip-induced headache, so settled for tying him to a chair.
And of course Spike, with his more than a century of age, was far too mature to draw obscene images on the unconscious figure. It wasn't because, despite the vast quantity of tomes and scrolls lying around Giles' house, Spike couldn't find a single writing implement.
When the group reached Buffy's house, Sam refused all offers of refreshment and asked to be directed straight to the computer. Buffy obliged, and Sam quickly connected the hard drive and just as quickly groaned.
"What is it?" said Xander - at least, that is what everyone assumed he said, it is rather difficult to understand what anyone is saying while they are saying it around a mouthful of Twinkie. Even Anya looked at him in disgust as he sprayed. Xander shrugged apologetically.
Sam didn't really notice, she was looking at the screen. "The hard drive is encrypted." she said, a little disappointed - although she knew she shouldn't have been, given how easy it had been to get the hard drive in the first place.
"Here, let me have a look." said Willow, coming over. She looked at the screen briefly, then laughed and began typing.
"What are you doing?" asked Sam curiously, finding it a little strange that someone other than her was doing something technologically based, for once. She found it rather pleasant.
"It seems as though the Initiative use the same encryption as the Mayor used for his files. And as I already hacked my way into them, this should be just as easy... Voila!" Willow said distractedly.
"Holy Hannah!" gasped Sam as the contents of the hard drive were revealed.
"What?" said Buffy tensely.
Willow answered. "Frankenstein. Professor Walsh was Frankenstein, and she was making Frankenstein's monster." she said, excitedly. Daniel couldn't help but wonder if that was entirely the wrong emotion for this situation.
"Oh, another Darryl Epps? Is that all?" said Buffy negligently, taking a bite from her hastily made sandwich.
"No..." said Willow, looking speed-reading through all the data that accompanied the image of the definitely Frankenstein-type monster. "More an amalgamation of demon, machine and human."
"So a little worse than Darryl, then." said Buffy calmly.
"Umm, no, not really Buff. More - well, a lot worse. I think that covers it." said Willow, a little nervously after having read some of the data. Daniel, despite not knowing what she had read, found himself wishing that Willow would go back to excitement.
It was more reassuring.
At that moment, Sam's phone rang. She looked at it briefly, then said "It's Jack." and answered it.
She listened calmly for a moment, then said "Okay, sir, we'll be right there." and ended the call. Then she said to the room in general "Someone has taken apart our plane."
Willow couldn't resist. "Well, gang, it looks as though we've got a mystery on our hands!"
Author's note: about the computers - I remember Willow using a laptop sometime in season six, but otherwise I think she mainly used the computers in the school library, which by this point have all exploded. Also, I'm fairly sure that the computer in Willow's house that Moloch sent her messages on wasn't a laptop, but I did explain that. Other than that, I don't think any other computers were seen, so I did my best to explain why. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
Darryl Epps was the name of the creepy Frankenstein monster thing brought to life by his brother in "Some Assembly Required."