Chapter Twenty Four
Disclaimer. I don’t own the Buffy or Da Vinci Code Characters. Other people do. Other people who are not me.
WSC Foundation HQ Below Tate Modern London.
Giles and David Peterson were briefing a group of Watchers and Slayers on the events of the past twenty four hours. Those who were not physically present were on video linked screens The locket was the latest clue in the puzzle; and a plethora of speculations and opinions were being deliberated. So far Giles’ attempts to open it had been fruitless.
Other items under discussion were the reports coming in from the Initiative, Robin, Willow and Dawn gave Giles cautious confidence that the precautions and protocols they had put in place were effectively negating efforts by the demonic factions to put slayers or watchers in any more danger than necessary. On a lighter note Faith was all smiles as she announced her Presidential Pardon
Brize Norton had called with the details of the three refugees. Giles despatched Michelle and Diane from Oxford to take turns guarding them at the base. The prognosis on Marie was good, they had managed to stem the blood flow and she was responding to treatment. Luc and Sophie just seemed to be thankful that she was going to be alright. Sophie had asked about Robert, and Giles had promised to let him know where to call as soon as he woke up.
City Inn, John Islip Street, London
Robert Langdon woke up with a lump on his head the size of a golf ball and a splitting headache. He lay there with his eyes closed mulling over the events of the last few days. Had he been dreaming? Were vampires and demons really real. Oh, yeah, he’d seen the faces of those things that attacked them at the Embassy. He shuddered and his thoughts turned to Sophie. It was strange really; had they not been thrown together three nights ago at the Louvre they might never have met. They had made a good team in so far as following the clues and deciphering the messages left by her grandfather; but it was more than that. He had grown to care for her, even though she was some ten years his junior; and he would go as far as to say that she reciprocated those feelings. He must find out how she was. Where she was, all he knew for certain was that she’d been taken away to a military hospital called something like Breeze Norton Was that it? He needed a phone. Now.
He sat up sharply, and immediately regretted it. His head thumped and the room spun. Steadying himself, he looked around; where was he? Oh, right, hotel suite, City Inn. What time was it. The clock said four p.m. He reckoned he’d been asleep about three hours A knock came on the bedroom door.
“Are you okay in there, professor?” The accent was English. Northern, possibly. He thought.
“Who’s that.” He asked.
“I’m Mel….. Melanie, sir. Mr Giles asked me to keep an eye on you.”
“Oh, yeah, right. Are there any more pain killers, I have a terrific headache.”
“Yeah, there’s some more out here. You coming out or do you want me to get them for you?”
“Give me a minute, I’ll be out.” He said.
He gingerly got up from the bed and made his way to the door. On opening it his eyes adjusted to the light and he saw a slightly built dark haired girl of about fifteen sitting at the table with books scattered around her. She was doing homework!
“Where’s the other girl who was here earlier?” He asked.
“Carly had to go to a meeting with Mr Giles; so I get to play minder for a bit.” She said, brightly.
“Minder? Oh, like a bodyguard? Aren’t you a little young to be a bodyguard.?” This statement he instantly regretted, the look she gave him was the same one he’d gotten from that Summers woman when he questioned her size. It was the sort of look that said I will rip your arms off and feed them to you if you don’t retract the statement.
“Sorry.” He said. “I cant get used to all this. Are you a, a…”
“Slayer?…Yeah, don’t worry I can take care of myself, and you too.” She said.
The telephone rang. Robert picked it up.
“Hello,…Yes, speaking. Oh great, would you have them sent up, please. Thanks.” He replaced the receiver.
Melanie gave him a questioning look. “What was that?”
“Front desk. My luggage and passport have arrived from Paris, their sending it up.”
“You should have left it down there. I’d have got someone to collect it.” She said.
“Why?” He asked, puzzled.
“Security. You don’t know who’s going to bring it up here. Could be anybody, or any thing!” She said.
The stress she put on the word ‘thing‘, made Robert feel as though he needed a stiff drink to go with the paracetamol. He opted for the safer variation of water to accompany the tablets.
“Alright, we can deal with this.” She said. “When they knock on the door just tell them to leave it outside, tell them, ….. tell them you’re in the loo or something.”
A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. Melanie went to the table and picked up what Robert had assumed was a long wooden pencil case. She pulled it apart to reveal that it was in fact a long knife. She motioned him to say his lines as she moved silently to the door. Peering through the spy hole she held the knife ready as she watched the porter.
“I’m in the shower!” Shouted Robert. “Just leave them outside and I’ll get them in a while. Thank you!”
Mel saw the porter scratch his head and look up and down the hallway. He shrugged, and left the bags outside the door. She waited until he was gone, opened the door and brought the bags inside.
“Buffy really needs to get a house.” Sighed Melanie. “It would save a lot of hassle.”
Robert rubbed his eyes. “I need to shower and change.” He said. “You going to be alright in here?”
“Yeah, I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied.” Said Melanie, sheathing her knife and turning back to her homework.
Westminster Borough Police. Belgravia Police Station. London.
Still puzzling over the strange handprint bruise on his chest, Dan grabbed a quick sandwich and coffee from the canteen after his shower and change of clothes; and headed to see the Chief Superintendent. Sue Porter eyed him carefully as he approached her desk.
“You’ve been a while, is everything alright?” She asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be okay. Alright to go in?” Said Dan.
She nodded. Dan knocked on the door. “Come in.” Came the response.
Dan walked in and stood smartly at the opposite side of the desk to where his Chief Superintendent sat going through a report. Edward looked up.
“Ah, Carter. Have a seat.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Said Dan, sitting.
“Rupert tells me you did well today. I’m pleased.
There was an awkward silence for a moment whilst Ed collected his thoughts.
“That sounds like an, I’m pleased…..but.. Sort of comment, sir.” Said Dan, cautiously.
“Sorry Carter. It wasn’t intended as such.” He paused. “Look, Carter..…Daniel, I’ll try not to beat about the bush here. Rupert has asked me for your file. He’s also told me that you are taking Ms. Summers…Buffy out this evening. He also believes that you two may have feelings for each other. Is this true?”
“I don’t know sir. Possibly. I think there’s a mutual attraction. Why? Is there something I should know about.” Asked Dan.
“I know this is going to sound like interference in your private life. That isn‘t the intention. I’m not going to divulge any details, they‘re not for me to tell. If and when she’s ready, she’ll probably tell you herself. Rupert just wants to know that she’s emotionally secure. I think he’s more than a little concerned that another bad relationship might tip her over the edge. She’s been under a lot of pressure since she was fifteen, and her relationships haven’t ended well. If you get my drift.”
“Yes sir.” Said Dan, cautiously.
“If you’ll take my advice, you’ll tell her everything about yourself soon, as in tonight. Including your suspicions and the evidence. Explain fully and don’t leave anything out. Be open, no secrets. Understood.
“Yes, sir. I understand. In fact that was part of the plan anyway. I’ve seen the look she gives Xander when he winds her up, and it’s not good.”
“Good.“ Said the Chief Superintendent, sounding relieved. “Well that was easier than I thought it was going to be. Where are you taking her anyway?”
“The Stag sir.” Said Dan.
“One of your parents’ restaurants! Is that wise?” Said Ed
“They’re not here at the moment. Gone to the villa in Portugal for a week.”
“That’s a relief, she doesn’t need your mothers questions on the first date. I remember the ear bashing I got when you joined CO 19.” Commented Ed.
There was a pause, so Dan broached the subject. “There’s something else we need to discuss sir.”
Ed looked at Dan. “What’s that?”
“The dismantled bomb that’s in my locker at the moment. He said. “I was going to ask Don Williams if he could test the C4 to see where it came from, but now I’m thinking it’s not such a good idea. Any suggestions sir?”
Ed thought for a moment. “The only person I can think of that could test it on the quiet would be your brother in law, anyone else, especially SOCCO, would have to make a report, and that would lead to an investigation. The question is, are you comfortable with telling him anything but the truth.”
“I could come up with something, if I had to. Paul will probably relate it to Mandy’s case if I don’t say anything. Trouble is sir, I don’t like lying to people. For example, I’ve told a couple of people I fell over a car jack changing a wheel to explain why I was so dirty earlier. I know it‘s not that bad, but it sticks in the throat a bit.” Said Dan.
“Fair comment, but isn’t that preferable to telling them the real reason? In a way, by not telling the truth you‘re protecting them from the demons, and the slayers and watchers from recognition.” Said Clewley, lowering his voice.
There was a knock at the door
“Yes.” Said Ed.
The door opened a little and Sue Porter put her head in the gap. “Sorry to disturb you sir but you need to turn the television on, now, there’s something you need to see. It looks like there might have been another terrorist attack in America.”
Ed hit the button on the remote and the TV flashed on to the BBC News 24 channel. They watched as the reporter described the scenes behind him of the devastation to the Wolfram and Hart building. Ed checked that Sue had closed the door again before he spoke to Dan.
“This may be significant.” He said. “Wolfram and Hart are an evil law firm. If you want to know more about them, ask Rupert or Buffy, but whatever you do, never have any dealings with them. Understand.
Dan nodded. “I thought all lawyers were evil? They certainly charge enough.” He said.
They watched the scenes on the TV for a few minutes before Dan excused himself. He’d seen enough death and destruction for one day; some of it down to himself. Besides, he had things to do. Re-arming was his first priority. He returned to the locker room to collect the refuse bag and also some spent range targets. Then to the armoury to swap the targets and empty clips for fresh ones. He made a quick call on his cell phone and headed back to the car park.
Edgware Road London
Thirty minutes later D4 NNY, a metallic blue Audi TT, pulled onto the forecourt of PRM Pyrotechnics. Paul Matthews stood waiting for Dan as he entered reception. He ushered Dan and his parcel into the lab and locked the door behind them.
“So what’s going on Dan. This isn’t going to come back and bite me is it?” He asked.
“No it won’t bite but I can’t say too much. The less you know the better.” Said Dan.
“Alright, what do you need.”
Dan pulled the evidence bags from the liner and Paul gave a low whistle. “This was under your car! Someone really didn’t want to leave anything to identify. I haven’t seen anything like this since, well not since the munitions training videos.”
“So it’s old hat stuff then?” Said Dan.
“Oh, absolutely. Apart from the fact that it’s effective and deadly, the method is schoolboy stuff. Are you thinking that this might be related to you know what?” Said Paul, raising an eyebrow.
Dan just shrugged. “Don’t know; can’t say. Is there any way we can tell where the C4 came from, and can you dispose of it?” He asked.
“Looking at the colour. I’d say probably Eastern Bloc, testing will take me a day or two; but that will be accurate down to the factory. Yes, I can lose it for you. I’ve got some near date stuff that’s got to be detonated at the quarry, so it can go with that. I just hope you're not digging yourself a hole you can't get out of.”
Dan rubbed his hands through his hair and blew out through his mouth sharply. “No i'm not. Thanks Paul. I didn’t fancy running around with that in the boot for the next few years.”
“Hey, what’s family for, if not to help each other out.” Said Paul, re-bagging the items and securing them in the safe. They left the lab and went to Paul’s office for coffee.
“So what’s on for tonight then. You coming to play uncle with the kids? You could come for dinner. Becky won’t be back until eight, but we could order a Chinese in.” Suggested Paul.
“Nope, sorry mate, can’t. Got a date.” Said Dan.
“Good for you. Who is it then? C’mon, spill. I bet it’s that redhead off the Station reception, isn‘t it.”
“Thanks, and no; it’s not Dee. She’s already got a boyfriend. Replied Dan.
“Oh, come on you’ve got to give me something to tell your sister, otherwise she’s going to call your mum.” Said Paul.
“I know, I know. Please Paul, not just yet okay. I don’t want to ruin things by having you lot descend on her with thousands of questions. She’d wonder what the hell had hit her. Now, no more questions, give me coffee.” Said Dan, stopping his inquisitive brother in law in his tracks.
Rosslyn Chapel Rosslyn.
The interior of the Chapel was a mess. Pews had been scattered and thrown into haphazard piles at the sides; the lectern and altar smashed in Caleb’s search for the grail. His temper was proof that he hadn’t found it.
He was standing in the middle of the cleared space staring upwards at the decorated ceiling trying to make sense out of the supposedly encrypted markings.
“There are references in the testaments that say that the grail should ‘rest neath the stars’ at all times. Well, we have a damn room chock full o’ stars here. So where is it.”
His outburst was interrupted by the sounds of a car pulling up outside. Two flasks were brought in by a Bringer who placed them on the remains of the altar.
“Ah, our special delivery. Two flasks of blade and chalice, type ‘AB negative’, I believe.” Said Caleb.
The First, in Buffy guise, sauntered from behind the Apprentice Pillar. “You’ve made an impression on the place I see. Doing a little remodelling?”
“Ha, ha, very funny.” Said Caleb, sardonically. “I don’t suppose you’d care to assist would you, there’s supposed to be a hidden message in the ceiling, but I can’t see it.”
He paused as the First contemplated the ceiling.
“Perhaps the ceiling is the message. The grail is kept ‘neath the stars’ and the ceiling is full of stars.”
“So it’s in here somewhere. Are there any crypts, or tunnels here?” He asked.
“Almost as many tunnels as Sunnydale. Happy hunting.”
“Why happy hunting? Where are you going? “ He said
Clayton Chambers didn’t capture the witch. She tricked him. He paid the price. Now I have to find another way of catching her.” Said the First.
“Does she know where we are?” Asked Caleb.
Fortunately, no. I don’t expect it will take her long to work it out though. Best get a move on.” A pause. “Are you getting worried that the slayer will do the same to you as before?”
Caleb didn’t answer.
Buffy’s image morphed into that of Clayton Chambers. There was a brief flash and it was gone.
End of Chapter Twenty Four.