Disclaimer. As before you know who own the characters. I’ve just added my twisted view of things to it.
Thanks to all reviewers. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.
General Mac.. Take deep, calming breaths and camomile tea, when the frustration of a cliff hanger gets too much. Warning …..At the moment I’m heavily into the new series of 24. It gets the blood pumping. Cliff hangers abound. You have been warned.
London. U.S. Embassy.
As they started to back away from the car Dan remained, crouched down, examining the device.
“Come away from it Dan. Please.” Called Buffy. “I don’t want to have to send you back to Ed in pieces.”
He got up and came over to them.
“It’s quite a simple device really.” He said. “A lump of C4 with a blasting cap stuck on the fuel line; attached to a trigger mechanism disguised as a cigarette packet under the rear wheel. Dead easy to diffuse. Do you want me to sort it?”
“It’s the ‘dead’ and ‘easy’ parts that I have a problem with buster!” She replied. Glaring at him.
“Calm down, it’s ok I’ve done this before.”
“Before! Are you some sort of closet terrorist!” She exclaimed.
“No.” He chuckled. “My brother in law is an ex Army Munitions Officer. He’s got his own pyrotechnics company now. He taught me loads. But don’t tell my mum that.”
“Pyro what ics?”
“Fireworks!” Chorused the others.
“OK. OK. I knew that. I just wanted to see if you did.” She said sweetly.
“Look, trust me, I can do this. Let me make it safe. Anyway if it does go up you can buy dinner tonight instead. Deal.” Said Dan, trying to placate her.
“If that thing goes off I’ll be dining alone, and that isn‘t an option!”
Giles interjected. “Buffy, as interesting as this argument is. The cleanup crew will be here any minute now, and they can’t do their job if there’s a bomb in the way. If Dan is sure that he can diffuse it please let him do so.”
“Ok.” She conceded. “But new rule. Rule one of bomb diffusal……..”
“Don’t go to pieces.” Finished Dan with a grin.
Oxford, City Centre
The two Bringers reached the other side of the road and for a moment they looked as though they were disoriented. They paused, turned to face each other as though searching for an answer to why they had sensed their target from the other side of the road, but now they couldn’t. Then they turned as one; sensing the target ahead of them on their side of the road.
What they ‘saw’ was their allotted target, Dawn Summers, walking nonchalantly along the row of shops gazing into the windows as if there wasn’t an urgent thing in the world. They followed her; closing in until she was just past the first alley. As they made their move a hand shot out of the alley, grabbed the closest by its hood and dragged it inside, a knife penetrating its heart from the rear as it was pulled in. At the same time ’Dawn’ shifted her weight and pivoted, thrusting a dagger into the others gut and pushing it too into the alley.
‘Dawn’ wiped her blade off on her victims sweat top, grabbed it by the belt and hauled it effortlessly into the nearest dumpster, her accomplice doing likewise. After checking that they hadn’t been observed, she reached around her neck and unclasped a necklace with a crystal hanging in a claw setting which she pocketed. As she did so her features altered to those of a blue eyed strawberry blonde. As she spoke to her counterpart her Welsh accent came to the fore.
“Ring Hayley and ask her which pub they’re in, ‘Chelle. I’ll call in a crew to dispose of these two.”
As the two walked out of the alley, anyone seeing them would have simply thought they were two college students typically engaged in the everyday activities that students did; using their cell phones to maximum capacity. They crossed the road and headed towards the pub to meet Dawn and Hayley.
WSC College. Rio De Janeiro / Norcan Inc. Offices. New York
Kennedy sat in the comms room with a hands free headset on waiting for the line to connect.
“Leonard Norton’s office. Beth Chambers speaking.”
“Hi, Beth, it’s Kennedy, is my dad there?”
“Hi there Kennedy, Yes he is, but he’s been in a meeting for the last hour with some people from the Senate Appropriations Committee. Let me guess; you tried his cell and it’s switched off.”
“Yeah. It had me worried for a moment, when I couldn’t get him. Anything going on that I should know about.”
“Just your run of the mill government progress reports for the Senate. Mind you they did bring a lawyer with them, so it’s possible he’s thinking of negotiating another contract.”
“Who’s the law firm?” Asked Kennedy, puzzled.
Beth studied the diary on the desk. “Wolfram and Hart. Must be a new firm that the Senate’s using……….Hello, hello…..Kennedy……”
“Crap.” Kennedy cut the connection and re-dialled.
Area 51 - Nevada Desert.
Willow’s cell was ringing. She flipped it open.
“Hey sweetie, how’s………………”
“Will, we got a big problem. I just called to wish dad a happy birthday. Found out he’s in a meeting with some government types and they’ve got a lawyer in there with them. Wolfram and Hart.”
“My sentiments exactly. Looks like the First’s got a new ally or W & H have seen an opportunity to gain some ground.”
“Not on my watch.” Stated Willow. “Call the New York team. Have them meet me at Norcan asap. Don’t worry Kenn. I’ll see that your dad’s OK; and teach them not to try it on with us. I’ll shift their whole damn building into the Hudson if I have to.”
“Thanks, Will. Be careful. Let me know what’s happening, OK.” Said Kennedy.
“I will sweetie, Bye.” Willow folded her cell
“Trouble?” Asked Rona.
“Sorta. Wolfram and Hart have sent a lawyer to Norcan with some Senate people. Kenn’s having kittens. She’s gonna call the New York team to meet me there. You wanna come with? Y‘ might get to slay an evil lawyer or two.” Willow replied.
Rona thought on the proposal for a moment. “Nah. I’ll pass, I don’t want to tread on Joanna’s toes; ‘sides my aunt’s here and Mary Robert.”
“You won’t be doing any toe treading, I know Joanna’s only just taken over after Shannon got killed, but she won’t think you’re there to replace her. You’ll be there as my backup, because Kenn’s not there.”
“Well seein’ as you put it like that. Lets go.” She grinned.
Sam and Riley, who had overheard the conversation with Kennedy, asked if there was anything they could do. Willow asked him to prepare for damage control in case the law firm cut up rough and she decided to move a building or two into the Hudson.
Riley immediately went to the comms room to contact his teams in New York. Willow went back to Ethan to explain that it might take a little longer to get him out.
“Watch out for them. They’re really nasty.” He said. “I’m a bad boy, and I won’t deal with them.”
“We’ve already warned them off, after Angel.…… So I’m expecting to have to get rough with them. It looks as though they either don‘t know they‘re messing with Kennedy‘s dad or they‘re trying to be sneaky about it.”
“Just make sure you come back. I don’t fancy spending the rest of my natural in here.” Said Ethan, reluctantly.
Willow smirked. “Is that concern I hear in your voice.” There might be hope for you yet. Now be good and I might bring you back a bagel.”
She collected Rona from saying her farewell’s to he aunt and Mary Robert.
“Take a couple of deep breaths and relax Rona. It helps with the disorientation.”
Rona did so, and Willow teleported them both out of the base.
U.S. Embassy. London.
Dan knelt down beside the car. He pulled his Swiss Army knife from his pocket and examined the bomb again. Using the cutters he snipped the two wires connecting the trigger to the detonator and gently pulled the cap from the block of C4. Reaching into his jacket pocket he pulled out a long thin wallet and opened it to reveal an assortment of instruments for picking locks, and a long pair of plastic lockable tweezers.
Taking the tweezers he deftly placed them inside the cigarette packet and pinched the spring of the mechanism together, locking it off so that it couldn’t operate. He then picked up the packet and laid it on the ground next to the other items. He stood up and moved to the rear of the car; opening the tailgate he reached inside and took out several clear plastic evidence bags and separately stowed the items in the bags.
“All clear.” He called out to the group who were standing on the steps, looking nervously in his direction. He didn’t know exactly what had happened in their past, but they obviously had first hand experience of the damage such devices could do.
He turned at a noise from the car park entrance to see four black vehicles peeling into the courtyard. They pulled up at various points around the area and overalled men alighted and efficiently set about the task of cleansing the area. He’d often heard stories of such teams that worked for MI5 or MI6, but had never seen anything like this before.
He didn’t realise it but he’d spaced out for a few seconds when Buffy came up behind him and made him jump slightly.
“You take out ten, or twelve Bringers, don’t bat an eyelid at diffusing a bomb under your car; but you go ga ga over the cleanup crew.” She said “And people think I’m weird. C‘mon stare-y guy we gotta go.”
Dan grinned and shook his head slightly. “Sorry, I’d heard about teams that did this sort of thing but I’ve never seen them operate. Just curious.”
The others joined them and they all got into the car and drove away.
Norcan Inc. Offices. New York.
The fresh faced lawyer was talking. Leonard Norton was sitting behind his desk poker-faced, not giving his emotions away. Secretly he wanted to jump over the desk and beat the lawyer to within an inch of his life for even suggesting the things he was saying about the WSC.
“Mr Norton, I have to tell you that if you don’t cease and desist your activities with this group of people my client’s here will pull all of their government contracts from your company. Now if you really believe that your company can survive without those contracts sign them away now and that will be the end of the matter. If you decide not to sign, you do have a board of directors. Would they take your decision as lightly as you.” He paused for breath. “What the f……”
He faltered as the air around the room crackled with energy and a wind came out of nowhere, scattering papers in its wake. Then there was a brief flash of light, as Hurricane Willow blew in.
The two previously silent government officials panicked and tried to clamber over the back of their chairs to escape the black-haired obsidian-eyed entity that had just appeared before them.
There was a slight look of relief on Leonard’s face as he recognised the witch. He gave her a small smile and a nod.
“Hi, Willow. I was just wondering how long it would take for you to show up.” He looked slightly past her at Rona, who was steadying herself on a nearby bookcase.
“Kenn not with you?” He queried.
Willow was about to answer him when she noticed the lawyer. He had a look of thunder on his face and had pulled his cellphone out and was about to dial.
With a flick of her wrist the cellphone whipped out of his hand and flew across the room crashing into the far wall where it smashed upon contact.
“Did no-one ever tell you that it’s rude to use a cellphone during a meeting without permission.” She admonished wagging a finger at him. “Shame on you. You need a time out.” With a wave of her hand she deposited him in the corner of the room facing away from the others present. He tried to move for the door but found that he was unable to; it was as though he was super-glued there.
She turned to Rona. “Better go meet Joanna. Don’t want any security guards broken, do we.”
“You good here?” Rona asked. Willow nodded and Rona left to meet the team downstairs.
Leonard was openly grinning now. With a wicked glint in his eye he spoke to the two government representatives.
“Gentlemen. Please retake your seats, I believe that you are quite safe, unless of course, you threaten Ms. Rosenberg or myself. In which case I hope your health insurances are paid up.”
The two men got up from behind their chairs and nervously retook their seats, not taking their eyes of Willow.
“Now.” She said. “One of you guys wanna tell me why Wolfram and Hart are trying to coerce the Senate’s Appropriations Committee. Oh. Bye the way. I will know if you are lying to me.”
Balliol College Oxford
Dean Frederick Simons was assessing candidate application files in preparation for interviews for the coming academic intake. The fifty year old Professor of History was reading the file of the next applicant.
“Dawn Summers.” He said to himself. “Academically sound. Good. Practises Tai Chi, Kendo and Aikido. Hmmm, keeps herself occupied and fit. Good again. Sponsor…… Good Lord. Rupert Giles. I can guess where she’s heading after she graduates.” He mused.”
He pulled the next folder from the pile. “Hayley McDonald.” He read-through the sheet acknowledging again until he came to the sponsorship section. “Bloody Hell. Not again.”
After he’d found a third person’s file with Giles name as the sponsor he was almost in shock. Lifting the rest of the pile en masse he opened each one and went straight to the sponsorship section. By the time he’d gone through all of the fifty plus files he had seven others placed on the separated pile along with Dawn’s.
“Someone’s having a recruitment drive.” He said. He rubbed his hands through his thinning grey hair and picked up the telephone. His secretary answered. “Betty, see if you can find me the number for a Rupert Giles, will you………No it’s not on file; I’m not sure where. The last I knew he was in America, California, I think…..No, just a number, thank you.” He picked up and re-read the seven files he had separated. “Nationalities are varied; that’s unusual. What’s he up to?”
Quickly stamping the seven files with ‘ACCEPTED’, he returned to the other pile; resolving to ask some pertinent questions of Rupert Giles when he managed to speak with him.
End of Chapter Twenty.