Unexpected Paths 1.0 Second Convict
Unexpected Paths 1.0; Second Convict
**** HA, I did it. A story, completed. And it’s shorter than 50 pages, which explains the whole completed part. I don’t know why it features Faith and Makepeace. I’m not a big fan of Makepeace. I mean really, if you are going to write about a two-timing skunk of a Colonel, write about Maybourne. He’s a much more interesting character. But this story wrote itself; thus it features Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Colonel Robert Makepeace from Stargate, SG1. They meet on the prison truck transporting them to their Final Destination. Just as a warning, I’m playing fast and loose with the BtVS universe, two years post Chosen. ****
**** Disclaimer: I own none of the characters. No copyright infringement intended.
“Comeon, Colonel.” The guard sneered. “Time to move to your new happy home. Your last home.”
Ex-Colonel Robert Makepeace barely spared the prison guard glance. The snot was not worth the time. He did not bother to struggle while he was chained for transport. That too would be a waste of energy. The NID had dropped him like a hot potato once he was implicated in the intergalactic thieving. His old comrade, Colonel Jack O’Neill had caught him in the act. Jack might not have been a friend but he had been a comrade-in-arms. They had depended on the other to watch their six.
Well, not anymore.
Robert settled on the bench in the transport truck. He ignored the gun-toting officer and he ignored the sulking teenage girl in chains across from him.
“So, whatcha do?”
Unfortunately, she was not so considerate. Robert glared at her, hoping for silence. She regarded him back. Her frame was solid, if a little on the small side. Her hair was dark and shoulder length. Her brown eyes held many secrets and even a bit of humor. She seemed perfectly sane but she found something truly hilarious. Robert shifted; he had the uncomfortable feeling that she was laughing at him.
Since she had won the staring contest, she turned her attention on the guard with the gun. Robert could not help but be amused as she hit on the uniformed man, as in flirted with. Even being in chains and the other man was supposed to shoot her at the slightest inclination, the female prisoner still proved she was a sexual predator. Definitely not the girl you would take home to meet your mother. She was the kind that would exhaust you with memorable roll in the hay and be gone from your bed before daybreak. She would probably take any valuable worth lifting.
The laughing brown eyes met his again. In them, Robert could see the shadow of hardness, of pain, and of just plain meanness. Or maybe that was the enjoyment of the hunt and the mourning of freedom. Either way this girl might be capable of killing her lover for post-coital entertainment. She was rather young to be the Black Widow type.
“I’m Faith.” She held out her hand. He must have passed her inspection to be offered this, whatever this was to her.
Robert reached out to shake her hand. Chains clinked and the guard glared, but neither bothered the teenager. Robert debated what name to tell her, but in the end it did not matter. “Robert.”
Robert glared; pride for his profession ran deep. “Marine. Colonel Robert Makepeace.”
“That’s ex-Marine and ex-Colonel.” The guard snickered.
Both prisoners pointedly ignored him. The girl started the conversation again. “So, whacha do?”
Robert shrugged. “I’m in here for treason.”
Faith raised an eyebrow. “And that means what?”
Robert dropped his eyes; he did not want to see her reaction. The Truth did not mix well with the Classified. He would never be able to defend himself, but for some reason he wanted this girl to think better of him. So he said, “Got turned around in fighting the good fight.”
The guard snorted. Faith leaned back and sighed. “Know how that goes.”
A thought came to Robert. They were in a military transport vehicle and Faith obviously had not done time in the armed forces. “Why are you being transported with me?”
Faith grinned. “I’m too dangerous for the civilians, not to mention I escaped from them.” That look was back in her eyes. The laughing look that knew more about that situation than Robert did.
“What did you do?”
Ghosts haunted those brown eyes. “Murder Two.” There was a long story to that, Robert was sure. He wondered if it had ever been told. Faith glanced at the window and then at the clock.
“Would you like a second chance?” The question surprised Robert.
He laughed, harsh and loud. “Who wouldn’t?”
The girl pressed on. “Would you do the right thing?”
Robert leaned forward and whispered, “I have always tried to do the right thing for Earth.”
The girl tilted her head. “Liar.”
A simple response but Robert shook with fury and injustice. He had tried so hard. He truly wanted the best for Earth. The NID was willing to do anything for Earth. Internally Robert winced as he remembered the new cars, the expensive booze and the cash that had been flashed around. It was hard to argue with himself. He wanted the best for Earth. If he was truthful, the NID wanted power. Robert had yearned to be the hero. By combining those two flaws he became a perfect pawn, a good soldier to the NID. He had had the chance on SG1 and then he blew it. He would have made a good SG1 Commanding Officer. By that time, he was already over his head with the NID. He had no choice but to continue.
The turn of the girl’s head was a craved distraction. She was checking the clock again. “You know that won’t make the trip any faster.”
She ignored the vain attempt at idle chit-chat. “Would you do the right thing?”
“No one would trust me. No one would give me the chance.”
“Would you do the right thing?”
“They wouldn’t let me. My face is too well known, I’m too good of a scapegoat.”
“Those are just excuses.” And by the look on Faith’s face, she was not willing to listen to excuses.
“In a week, I’m scheduled to die by lethal injection. I have no time.” Robert’s hands shook with too many strong emotions to name.
Faith was not impressed. “Still excuses. Would you do the right thing?”
This mystery girl, Faith, was stubborn. Her eyes burned with a flame of purpose. She was definitely not NID. They did not care. Why did she care? And why was she looking at the clock again?
Robert glanced that way. The guard was involved in a conversation with the driver and the second guard. He had seen countless guards like them while in prison. Those kind did not like being ignored and Faith and Robert had done just that. Robert’s mind was set on repeat. Would he do the right thing? Would he, Colonel Robert Makepeace, do the right thing if the opportunity presented itself? Instinctively, he wanted to say, ‘yes, of course.’ But when push came to shove, would he really do the right thing? Why was he having such a hard time answering such an easy question?
Why did Faith care? Why was she asking these questions? Those eyes scoured Robert’s soul.
“It’s your choice, Robert Makepeace, would you do the right thing?” Why did she need an answer?
Despite the chains, Robert sat up straight, like the Marine he was. “I would try my damnest.”
“Good.” Faith nodded once, curt and approving. She looked to the clock again. “Hold on tight.” She braced her feet against his and pinned them against the foot board. She twisted to hang on to the bar behind her. Robert imitated her and not a second too soon.
The transport truck swerved, tilted and then it rolled. Robert heard sounds of destruction, crunching and screeching and scraping. The overhead light flickered and died. The truck settled in a low spot. Robert was shoved in a corner. He could feel Faith’s body next to his. Robert groaned. He hurt all over. His grip and Faith’s warning had probably saved his life. Robert rolled his shoulders. He thought that at least one shoulder had been pulled out of the joint.
“Bert, you okay?” Faith was calling. Who the hell did she think would answer to ‘Bert?’
“The name’s Robert.”
She chuckled, low and dangerous and close to his head. “Hang tight, Bert.”
Any answer he might have given was drowned out by a loud bang. The whole truck shook. On the second bang, the back doors flung in. Robert winced at that. The hinges on those doors only opened out. The bright moon above shown in. Robert’s eyes tried to adjust.
“Faith, you okay,” a girl’s voice asked.
“Five by five, B.”
Robert turned his head toward the strange voice. He saw an impossible small teenage blond setting down a hammer and picking up an ax. Her eyes met his with surprise.
“Faith, you were supposed to be transported alone.”
“Sorry B.” Faith moved her hands as far away from Robert’s body as possible. The blond swung her ax. The handcuffs crumpled. Robert could not help but wince at the force delivered. Faith untangled her feet from his. Robert thought back. Faith had pinned his lower body to the seat throughout the accident. Robert glanced at the blond. His mind tumbled through the obvious evidence; it really was not an accident.
The ax swung and swung again. Faith stood up unencumbered, stretched and then did a little freedom jig. Robert watched in disbelief. “B, this is Bert. Bert, B.” Faith introduced the two, as if she was at a bar or a party.
The girl looked as disturbed as Robert felt. “What are we supposed to do with him?”
“Give him a second chance?”
The blond was not convinced. Robert’s mind could not comprehend the extreme change in possibilities.
“B, please. You gave me a second chance. I need someone to be rehabilitated with me.”
The blond looked him over. “Rehabilitated, Huh? Learned new words in prison.” She muttered under her breath. Robert met her eyes straight on. After his conversation with Faith, he could. A yell was heard. Robert could not distinguish any actual words.
Faith must have. “Please, B. Give us both a chance.”
The blond made a decision. She nodded. “You betray us and I’ll feed you to Spike. Got that?” Robert nodded. He did not understand the threat, nor did he care. He had made his choice; he was going to do the right thing this time. “My real name’s Buffy. What’s yours?”
Buffy gave him a real smile. “Hold still, Robert.” Faith held his wrists against the bench as Buffy swung. Robert could feel the powerful hit all the way to his dislocated shoulder. Faith pulled the handcuffs off while Buffy destroyed the cuffs around his ankles. Buffy turned and hurried back to the road.
Faith hauled Robert to his feet. Faith picked up the hammer Buffy had left behind. “Man B, this has got some serious heft to it.”
A short boy with spiked hair chuckled. Robert jumped. He had not seen the boy before he heard him. “Troll hammer, Faith.”
Faith grinned. “Wicked.”
The boy gently pulled Robert out of the demolished truck to the road. Faith, less gently, tugged on the other side. At the road, Robert looked around. The transport truck was trashed and had tumbled down the hill. The driver and the two security guards were out cold, laying on the side of the road. With no blood to be seen, they appeared to be unharmed. And in spite of the way a tall, peroxide blond male was arguing to kill them, they would remain unharmed.
Robert addressed Faith. “How’d they do that?” Robert was not sure of what he was asking, but if the guards had been thrown from the truck, how come there was no blood. How come the guards were not already dead?
“Magic.” The boy answered for Faith.
Robert turned back to the slight teenager. “I’m Robert.” He held out his hand.
The boy returned the handshake. “Oz.” Then he pointed to various teens cleaning up the mess. “Willow,” referred to a short redhead female. “Xander,” was a taller dark-haired boy with an eye-patch. “Spike,” was the murderous peroxide blond. “Dawn,” was a younger brunette female. “Giles,” was the unseen person who just drove up in an old RV.
Oz looked Robert over carefully. “You okay?”
Robert nodded. “I’m alive and free.”
“But?” Oz prompted.
Robert felt sheepish. “I think my shoulder’s dislocated.”
Willow and Buffy walked up in time to hear the last statement. Buffy took charge. “Oz, you and Xander fix Robert up. Faith, you need to change into something less orange. Dawn packed some of your clothes. Spike, Will and I will make this look good. But first,” Buffy stepped in front of Robert, “Willow needs some of your hair.”
Robert was confused at such a strange request. Faith stepped into his line of sight and yanked a couple hairs out of her scalp. Robert followed her lead. He handed them to Buffy, who promptly passed them to Willow. “We need to hurry,” she whispered to her best friend, “the ceremony will start soon.”
Faith gave Willow the hairs. “No worries, B. Red can handle it.”
Robert allowed himself to be led from the scene of the crash. He was confused and needed time to think. Prison had slowed Robert down. Being broken out of jail would not have been Robert’s first choice for his life’s path but whatever was ahead had to be better than the death penalty. He laid down on the bed in the RV and looked up at the two solemn twenty-something kids preparing to fix his injury. An explosion that could only be the transport truck distracted Robert. Then Oz pulled on his arm, his shoulder snapped back into place and Robert welcomed the darkness that flooded his senses.