Clandestine Colorado Coffee
Title: Clandestine Colorado Coffee
Author: Bastard Snow
Summary: Fifth in the Coffee series. The Scoobies head west…
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything.
Author’s Notes: There will be at least 2 more fics in the Coffee Series. Probably some spoilers for Stargate Season 8. And Sam doesn’t have a boyfriend. Oh, and thanks to Drake for editing. And there’s probably other stuff I should put here, but I can’t think of it at the moment.
Feedback: Yes, please!
“Guys,” Willow said, as Faith, Xander and Buffy were packing their belongings. They were getting ready to leave Philadelphia and the Matthews family. “We’ve got a problem.”
“Where to now?” Faith asked.
“West,” Willow said. She turned to her oldest friend. “And Xander, we might need your fire truck.”
* * * * *
Three days earlier
General Jack O’Neill looked over his men in the infirmary and wondered what in the hell happened. It was just a bar fight, after all. His men were trained special forces, most of them, and they got taken apart. Two of them were killed, and it was the weirdest thing; they each had puncture marks in their necks, but the rest of the group insisted that the guys they fought didn’t have any weapons. None of the doctors had any idea what was going on.
Jack left the infirmary, after confirming with the doctor that the ones who survived the fight would, in fact, recover. He had an appointment with some lieutenant who claimed it was urgent that they speak. At that point, Jack was willing to talk to just about anybody if it would get his mind off the men in the infirmary.
Jack got to his office, ushered the young lieutenant in and sat down.
“Biggs, sir,” the young man said. “Terry Biggs.”
“Lieutenant Biggs,” Jack said. “What’s up?”
“Sir, it’s about the men… um, the ones who were in the fight?”
Jack stared at the man for a moment, disappointed that his distraction wasn’t going to be, in fact, a distraction at all. He sighed.
“Sir, I heard some rumors –”
“Hold on. You urgently needed to talk to me about rumors?”
“Only to find out if they were true, sir,” Biggs said. Jack noticed his hand was shaking. He was nervous, he was worried.
“You couldn’t find that out from someone else?”
“Yes sir,” Biggs said. “But if they are true? Then we really need to talk.”
Jack looked at the young man for a minute. Nervous, yes. But also serious.
“All right,” Jack said. “What have you heard?”
“That Lieutenants Jansen and Kaplan were killed, sir,” Biggs said, “and that they had puncture wounds, two each, on their necks.” He held two fingers to his jugular. “Here.”
“That’s right. And?”
“Sir, can you tell me what their official cause of death was? Was it exsanguination?”
Jack stared at the young man. He was less nervous now, but still just as serious. Jack opened the two files he had just brought up from the infirmary.
“Exsanguination,” he said, after a moment. “Extreme blood loss.”
“Was the blood found at the scene, sir?” Biggs was slowly inching forward in his seat.
“No, Biggs, it wasn’t. How do you know all this?”
“A bit of family business, sir,” Biggs said, “that’s intruded on professional life.”
Jack was entirely too confused for his liking.
“And that means?”
“Sir, that means you need to talk to my little sister,” Biggs said.
Jack was amazed. He had said that. Biggs actually had said his commanding officer, a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, needed to talk to his little sister.
“Can you tell me why, Lieutenant Biggs?” Jack asked.
“Yes, sir,” Biggs said, grinning. The son-of-a-bitch was actually grinning. “But you’d do a lot better to hear it from her.”
* * * * *
Four days later
Xander stepped off the plane and into the terminal, followed closely by Buffy, Willow and Faith. A young girl was there waiting for them, despite current homeland security laws saying she really wasn’t allowed to do that. Apparently being escorted by a uniformed brigadier general of the U.S. Air Force got you some leeway with the laws.
“Hey guys!” the girl called, waving at them excitedly. Xander smiled. He remembered the girl fondly. She had been one of the first they had recruited, and her family had been extremely understanding. Partly, he remembered, because of the calming influence of her older brother, who had been home on leave. From the Air Force.
Xander hefted his carry-on farther up on his shoulder, and snapped a picture perfect salute to the General. The man was a little taken aback, but quickly recovered and returned the gesture.
“General O’Neill,” the girl – Amy, Xander remembered – began introductions. “This is Xander, Buffy, Willow and Faith. They’re what you might call our A-Team. Guys, this is General Jack O’Neill.”
“Nice to meet you,” Xander said.
“You guys don’t look very old,” O’Neill said.
“That’s because we’re still young,” said Buffy. “Relatively.”
General O’Neill raised a single eyebrow
“Where are Dawn and Giles?” Buffy asked.
“Back at the hotel room,” Amy said. “I confirmed yesterday morning that there’s a nest in town. We’re not sure where, yet. They’re going over a map with Terry, trying to figure out where the most likely place is.”
“How big a nest?” Faith asked.
“No fewer than twenty,” Amy said.
“Hey, I got a question,” O’Neill said as the group loaded their bags into the Chevy Suburban he had brought. “Can all of you do that steel-bending, jumping-really-high, beating-up-people-you-have-no-right-being-able-to-beat-up thing?”
“Only two of us,” Xander said, hooking his thumb at Buffy and Faith. “But I can give you a good staring-at.”
“Fair enough,” O’Neill said. They sped off.
“I’ve got a question too, actually,” Xander said. “What’s a brigadier general doing picking people up from the airport?”
O’Neill smiled. “Your people intrigue me, and you get me out of paperwork.”
“Happy to help,” Buffy said.
“So here’s an interesting thing,” O’Neill said. “All of you have government files that I have sufficient clearance to read, but can’t get far into. In fact, your name and a brief physical description is about all I got.”
“That’s because you don’t need more than that,” Willow said.
“Don’t I?” O’Neill asked.
“Nope,” Willow said.
“You really don’t,” Xander said. He decided to give the general a little more information about them. “Just like, apparently, we don’t need to see very deep into your file.”
O’Neill turned his head to Xander and raised an eyebrow. After a long moment, he turned back to the road and drove on in silence.
* * * * *
Jack O’Neill was not a happy camper. This group of kids – and they weren’t fooling anybody with that ‘relatively’ crap, they were all still kids – had files he couldn’t read. He would, if he played by the rules, know next to nothing about them, and he was supposed to be working with them. He didn’t like working with people he didn’t know anything about. What if they were a remnant NID cell, and set this whole thing up to infiltrate the Stargate program? Sure, General Hammond – or George, as he now wanted Jack to call him – had told him they were fine, but how did he know the files weren’t a plant?
That sounded a little paranoid. But, hell, it was the NID! Paranoid was the only sane thing to be. That didn’t explain, though, really, really powerful small girls. As far as he knew, most girls that size couldn’t bend steel. Granted, he hadn’t had *that* much interaction with them, but come on. How common could it be?
And there were three of them in his car.
Driving. Jack needed to concentrate on driving. The hotel that the girls and that older guy, Mr. Giles, had checked into was around here somewhere. It was a nice hotel, probably the nicest in the entire damn town, and they’d just gotten a couple of suites like it was no big deal. That meant they had some fairly serious money.
What were these people? *Who* were these people?
“So,” said Xander, the one-eyed kid sitting next to him. Yes. That’s right. Somebody under twenty-five who lost an eye, if George was to be believed, fighting a priest. It was obvious the guy was about to try breaking the ice somehow.
“You’re probably wondering about us, huh?”
“You might say that,” Jack said.
“Look, the reason you can’t get into our files is that we were involved with some stuff a few years ago that the government doesn’t want to get around. As for our day-to-day jobs, that’s really something we can tell people at our discretion.”
“Is it, now?”
“Yeah,” Xander said. He turned around and looked at somebody in the back, Jack couldn’t tell who.
“What do you know so far?” The blonde one, Buffy, asked.
“Only what Ms. Biggs here and her brother have told me. There’s weird stuff going on, I don’t necessarily need to know what it is, only that it can be handled,” Jack said.
“Amy’s brother didn’t tell you?” The redhead – the one with the tree for a name – asked. Willow. That was it.
“He said it wasn’t his secret to tell,” Jack said. He was clearly displeased about that.
“He’s under your command,” Xander pointed out. “Couldn’t you have ordered him to tell you?”
“I could,” Jack said. “But he said it wasn’t his secret to tell.”
Jack looked in his rear-view mirror and saw the girls smiling.
“Good,” Xander said. “Then when we get to the hotel, we’ll talk.”
Jack saw that Xander was completely sincere. He pushed the pedal down a little farther.
* * * * *
“Okay,” O’Neill said once they reached the hotel room. “We’re here, explain.” At least the guy had the decency to wait until they had all greeted each other, many of them with hugs and kisses, and until those who needed to had used the bathroom. But now, it seemed, he was impatient. That was okay, Xander thought. Generals weren’t normally used to waiting for people.
“General,” Buffy said, “you’re going to want to sit down.”
“I like standing fine, thanks,” O’Neill said.
“It’s your bruised head…” said Buffy.
Xander smiled. “Giles?” he said. Giles merely shook his head, and lightly pushed Dawn forward.
Dawn grinned in excited anticipation and launched into the now famous Official History of The World Introduction Speech. She did it as well as Giles ever had and, Xander had to admit, she was more likely to get guys of any age to pay attention. Not that he had ever thought about her like that. Especially not when she had been dancing with that kid with the magic jacket. Daddy very definitely still did not like even looking.
Xander had expected that Jack, as Buffy thought, would need a chair once he’d been told. After all, he didn’t have any experience with this type of thing. He worked on ‘deep space radar telemetry’ or something like that. His file hadn’t been exactly clear on what that was all about, but it looked like some cushy office job they got for somebody on his way to retirement.
So he was surprised when O’Neill crossed his arms, his eyes only showing a little surprise, and said, “Huh.” This was not a man unfamiliar with strange things. The Scoobies exchanged wary glances.
“So,” Jack said. “What you’re telling me is that the things that attacked my men weren’t human. They were vampires.”
“Um. Yeah,” Xander said.
“Okay,” Jack said, twirling his keys in his hand. “Well, that about takes care of my weird quota for the day. If you guys need anything, Lt. Biggs knows how to get in contact with me.”
“That’s it?” Faith asked.
“Uhh… yep,” said O’Neill. “The truth is, I don’t really care what the real cause of this stuff is. I just want it taken care of. I’ve been assured by people with a higher clearance than me that you guys are the people to take care of it.”
Of course he’d had them checked out, Xander thought. You didn’t get to be a General without making some friends, and some of those friends were almost bound to be of a higher rank – and security clearance – than yourself. And here Jack had made them think he didn’t know anything about them. This guy was smart.
“Oh, I was wondering though. I’ve got this friend. He likes old books. You folks seem like ‘old book’ people, and there’s a list he gave me a few years ago of some books he’d like to have. Do you mind if I pass it on to you?”
They were standing around in various states of surprise.
“Um, no,” Giles said. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I suppose we could take a look. Would it be possible, perhaps, to –”
“You want to give me a list, I’ll make sure he gets it,” said O’Neill. He walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.
End Chapter 1