Colorado Springs, September 2005
“Of all the stupid... I can't believe she left her cell behind.” Dawn was not happy. She threw herself down on the couch. This was just dandy. How was she supposed to concentrate on her studies when all she wanted to do was tell her sister that her father wanted to speak with her? It wasn't fair.
Okay, maybe Buffy wrote down her flight information. She could try calling the airport. Dawn got up and went into the kitchen to search for it. After checking the counters and then the dining room table, she did a sweep of Buffy's bedroom. Nothing.
“Arrgh!” Dawn checked her watch and headed back downstairs. Despite what she told Andrew earlier, she still had about ten minutes to spare before heading to her study group.
She could call Giles for the information but he might ask questions. Not a good idea.
Did she dare? The suspense would kill her if she didn't. She dared.
Back in the living room she picked up Buffy's cellphone. Dialing the number that Andrew had given her, she waited.
On the sixth ring, someone answered.
“Hello, may speak with Dr. Jackson?”
- - -
It had only been about fifteen minutes after his call to Rome that his telephone rang. Naturally he had been in the other room. Although he knew it was unlikely to be the call he was waiting for, he hurried as best he could towards the phone. Caller ID confirmed it was a local call. Sighing, he answered it.
“Yes, this is Dr. Jackson.” There was a slight pause on the other end before the voice on the other end began to babble. “Wait, slow down. Yes, I called Rome looking for Buffy Summers... You're her sister?... She does... I did... She's where... Yes, if you can get a message to her... No, no, it doesn't matter how late... Thank you.”
He hung up the phone. He had found her. Well almost found her. If he had only opened the letter yesterday. Now he had to wait until she got back from Washington to meet her. If he was lucky, her sister would be able to get a message to her later today. If not, well he wasn't going anywhere for a while. Washington, DC
The latest in an unending series of meetings was winding down. Jack was even more awed by his old CO than when he had taken command of the SGC. The politics under the mountain were nothing compared to the scheming at the Pentagon. He didn't understand how Hammond had lasted as long as he did.
As the meeting room began to clear out, he requested that Lt. Colonel Davis remain behind.
“Paul, why the hell am I meeting with a college sophomore tomorrow afternoon?”
O'Neill pushed a file folder towards him. “The Council representative that our British allies insisted that we begin negotiations with. She's a twenty-four year old student for crying out loud.”
Davis flipped through the pages to refresh his memory.
“Actually sir, the initial request came from General Hammond after he was informed about a discontinued NID project called the Initiative. He started making inquiries, tried to track down the survivors.”
“Apparently whatever they were doing blew up in their faces. The official response was to deny everything and I quote 'salt the earth.' Somehow, the Council caught wind of Hammond's investigation and in turn told the British. I understand that the Prime Minister had a few choice words with the President about meddling in things best left to the experts.”
Davis gave the file back.
“What things could a twenty-four year old possibly be an expert in? The latest fashion in shoes?” Jack opened the file again. “She's originally from LA, spent the last couple of years in Rome, came back to the States, and is now serving as liaison for some British outfit that's butted heads with the NID? This doesn't make a damn bit of sense. According to our friends at the IRS, she went from flipping burgers to high school peer councilor to financially independent in less four years. There's something screwy going on and I want to know what it is before tomorrow's meeting.” He got and began pacing. “We've apparently agreed to send someone out to the airport to pick her up. I want you to do it, my secretary has the flight info.”
“I want you to report back to me after you collect her from the airport. Talk to her. I want to know why, beyond humoring the President, I have a meeting with a college student at the British embassy.”
- - -
Buffy was delighted to be off the plane. She allowed herself to swept up in the crowd surging towards baggage claim. Once there, she and several hundred other tired passengers waited for the buzzer to sound. Ten minutes later it did, and the baggage carousel began to move.
“I'm Lt. Col. Davis. I have been ordered to escort you to your hotel.”
“Can I see some ID?”
Davis produced his identification which Buffy gave a quick once over before asking “Isn't this a job for the enlisted types?”
He smiled. “My job is whatever the general tells me it is.”
“So, who is the general? I wasn't told who the man with the fancy job title was.”
“That would be General O'Neill.”
“Wait a sec, I think that one's mine.” She edged in closer to the carousel and grabbed her overnight bag. She moved back towards her escort.
“May I take that for you?”
“No, I'm good. Lead on.”
The pair began to make their way out of the airport.
“So, is this assignment punishment?”
“You know, tick off 'the man,' get stuck with taxi duty?”
“Actually, Gen. O'Neill was curious about tomorrow's meeting. The information he was given raised more questions than it answered.”
“I'll bet. So, you're to gather some intel. Well I'm afraid there's not much I can tell you.” She slid a glance over her escort. “Classified and all that. Unless of course, you want to tell me about your info first?”
“So, every thing's classified. Kinda limits the topics of conversation.”
They came to a stop at a dark sedan.
“Nice parking space.”
Davis opened the trunk and Buffy put her bag in it.
“So, any good malls in the area?”