These stories follow four longer pieces set within BtVS season 5-7 continuity, and mention their events. In Should Have Gone To Vegas... CSI received their wakeup call about the supernatural courtesy of Angel, learning more in Manhunters and Slayer, Las Vegas. Finally, Potential Problem was set at the end of BtVS season 7. You don't need to read those stories first, but their events will be mentioned, and they help to explain how the Slayer and her associates become involved in the activities of the Las Vegas Police Department and its CSI unit.
All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis.
I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.
Las Vegas International Airport: 9.47 PM
In any other town Kennedy can spot a bloodsucker, stake first and ask questions later, and still have time to dance afterwards. Here things are a little different. The local police have somehow come to terms with the idea that weirdness exists, and part of the price that's paid for basing the Watchers here is that they help law enforcement and follow due process. It's a two-way street; the Watchers and Slayers are learning a lot about state-of-the-art police and forensic techniques, and in places where they aren't working so closely with the cops that can be very useful. The downside is that occasionally someone gets stuck with something as mind-numbingly dull as airport duty. Tonight it's Kennedy's turn. There's still an hour until her shift ends, by the time she gets home Willow will already be in bed. Not that that's necessarily bad...
The glass booth is on a service level above the main concourse of the airport. There's a superb view of the arriving passengers, and she's currently sharing it with five police, agents from the FBI, DEA, and customs, and guys from the Gaming Commission and Homeland Security. Not that anyone's expecting any trouble in particular, it's routine to have that many people there. Most of them have cameras or binoculars to watch the crowd.
Kennedy feels a twinge in her stomach, and looks more carefully at the arrival gates, and some strategically placed mirrors that can't easily be spotted from floor level. Something... yes. "Joe, put the thermal camera on gate 12, incoming from Puerto Rico, I think I've got a customer."
"Okay..." says the uniformed cop operating the camera. "Yeah, half way down the line there, something very off about him."
Kennedy looks at the screen. Everyone else in the line is a cheerful mix of yellows and reds, this guy is blue. Air temperature. "That's him. Usual drill, I'll get down, have a couple of uniforms waiting for me. One of you want to come?"
"My turn," says Connie Chandler, a policewoman nearly twice Kennedy's age who seems to enjoy the strangeness. Kennedy sometimes worries about that, Chandler has children and doesn't have Slayer strength or speed, and seems just a little too eager to mix it with the undead. Of course the body armour and Glock she carries do have some deterrent value, even for vampires... They take the stairs, it's faster than the elevator.
Through her earphone she hears "Vincente Prinz, twenty-four, address in San Juan, profession accountant, the ticket is Puerto Rico to Las Vegas, returning Monday night."
"Run a full check, see if any of that is true. If not we can pull him in as a suspected terrorist. And get his baggage pulled and searched."
"What'dya think?" asks Chandler, puffing a little as she tries to keep up.
"Not a minion, he's dressed too well, has to have some experience. Not a drug mule for the same reason." Lately some smuggling gangs have been using vamps as couriers, turning victims then packing their bodies with magically-protected cylinders of cocaine or other contraband before they come back to life. Promise the suckers a rich life in the USA, give them a good meal to keep their appetites under control, then put them onto a night flight. Getting the consignment back is easy, just dust the vampires and pick up the cylinders. "I doubt he's a master vampire either, they mostly use limos or private planes. Probably been active for a few years, but no more than a decade. I'd better call this in to the school, they might have something on him."
The School: 9.50 PM
The Jenny Calendar School used to be owned by Enron, a corporate retreat for seminars and brainstorming sessions. It stands in extensive grounds in one of the most exclusive suburbs of Las Vegas, and has excellent security and a twenty megabit fibre internet connection. The neighbours have no idea of its real purpose, but it's known that there's an assault course and archery ranges in the grounds, and that most of the students are young women. Carefully cultivated rumours say that it's actually a clinic offering assertiveness training and counselling for girls with eating disorders and other psychological problems. Principal Wood often has to turn away parents who think that their children might benefit, but he always reads the applications carefully and interviews the children; so far he's found a Slayer missed by previous searches, three excellent candidates for Watcher training, and a half-demon.
"Kennedy? Hi, what's happening?"
Xander likes monitor duty, he can help here and his restricted vision isn't the liability it'd be in a fight. He listens then punches the details into his computer, hopes that there's something useful on the guy. Amongst other things the program checks the reservations computer of every hotel in Las Vegas. He has no idea how it does it, Willow wrote the software and hacked into their systems, and so far it's working perfectly. Within a minute it finds a match. "He's booked in at the MGM for four days. Apparently he's attending the American Accountancy Association convention."
"Get the police to run a check, see if there have been any unexplained deaths at any of their previous conventions, or any recent vampire-style killings in Puerto Rico. And I'll probably be tied up with this until my shift ends, so better get the next girl on the roster out here."
"No problemo," says Xander, putting the request into the system.
"Fine. I'll keep you posted, looks like our customer is ready for us."
Las Vegas International Airport: 9.53 PM
Prinz finally gets through the gate, and is met by three uniformed cops and a girl who can't be much over eighteen. He's sensitive enough to realise that the girl is dangerous, without quite knowing why.
"Vincente Prinz?" asks Kennedy.
"My name's Kennedy."
"Come with us please," says Chandler.
"There's a problem with your passport," says Kennedy.
She resists the urge to say "You didn't turn it in when you died" and settles for "Just an administrative matter."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Let me make this simple for you. So far we just want to talk to you. If you keep us happy you'll get to go to your convention. If not you'll be answering questions until your flight home."
"I've got to get my luggage."
"It's being brought up." Kennedy thinks he looks a little alarmed. Probably something in the bag, a weapon or some blood.
"This way," says Chandler, and Prinz follows, flanked by the other two uniforms with Kennedy bringing up the rear. Everyone takes care to stay out of easy grabbing reach, though with vampire speed that isn't much protection. Fortunately Prinz doesn't seem to want to put up a fight. Through the earphone Xander says "CSI are sending someone over. Keep him at the airport." Kennedy hopes that Prinz can't hear, it isn't likely with the background noise in the concourse but some vamps can do things like that.
"Through here," says Chandler, stepping back to let Prinz enter the interview room first. He looks in, and seems a little happier when he sees that there isn't a mirror on the wall, just cameras in the corners. Kennedy waves him to a seat, and sits on the other side of the desk, while Chandler stands by the door. The other uniforms wait outside.
"Let me just get on line here, this won't take a second..." Kennedy logs on to the laptop on the desk, punches up a still downloaded from the thermal imaging camera, and swings it round so that Prinz can see it. "So... how long have you been a vampire?"
"On this picture red and yellow are warm, blue and black are cold. Your body is at room temperature. If you were that cold naturally you'd be in a coma, since you're not you're either a vampire, a zombie, or some sort of demon. You can talk and think so you're not a zombie, and there's no demon that quite fits the bill, so we're pretty much left with vampires. Plus there's the whole not having a reflection thing."
"You're out of your mind."
"Humour me. Now, it just happens that being a vampire isn't illegal in Nevada."
"Being a vampire isn't illegal in Nevada. Most of the things vampires like to do are, unfortunately."
"I'm just here for the accountancy convention."
"If that's true then we're fine. I'll just explain a few things and then you'll be free to go. If you attempt to leave before we reach an agreement there will be consequences. Starting with your arrest for travelling on a passport that should have been destroyed when its owner died." She swings the laptop back so that the screen faces her.
"So, how long have you been a vampire?"
"Why do you want to know that? Who are you, anyway?"
"Just answer, please."
"Good, you're getting the hang of this. Now two years is an answer I can believe. Keep it up."
"Why do you believe it?"
"Because you don't have the walking dead look of a recently risen vampire, and you didn't kill anyone on the plane or try to tear my throat out yet."
"That implies a reasonable amount of self-control, which may mean that you can get through your trip without biting anyone." A message icon appears on the laptop's screen, and she presses a function key to see it:
"case contains clothing, papers, 4 medical bgs human blood (astd gps) in cooler, pk hvy duty cable ties, roll indust packing tape, straight razor."
Kennedy knows about cable ties and packing tape, serial killers and rapists use them to restrain their victims. With the razor it sounds like a kit for bleeding a victim slowly. It's not the first time a vampire has had the idea. She wonders how long it will be before the CSI team gets here, and whether she'll be able to find an excuse to dust Prinz first.
"Okay, I need to ask you a few questions and tag you, then you'll be free to go."
"It's an electronic transponder chip, monitored by GPS and the cellphone network. It's injected into your body, has batteries good for a couple of weeks." Actually it's more like two months, but there's no reason why he should know that. "While you're here we will be able to find you at any time, and check where you've been. If there is any reason to believe that a vampire attack has taken place we will check, I promise you."
"I don't like the idea of it being injected."
"You're dead, remember? Not like it's gonna hurt you."
"What happens when I leave? How do I get rid of it."
"It's biodegradable, takes longer in you than in someone alive but it'll eventually just break down harmlessly." A lie, the thing is there for good, and the transponder chip can still be detected by a hand-held scanner at close range even when the batteries are dead. There's another message on the screen now, detailing previous visits in 2000 and 2002; nothing for 2001, maybe he didn't feel like making the trip. Was he already turned then?
"Okay, next question, who infected you?"
"I can't answer that!"
"You don't know, or you can't answer?"
"If I tell you she'd find out somehow and kill me."
"Let me show you some pictures, they're all known to us already, you can tell me if any of them are the vampire that infected you. It won't be like you gave her away."
Kennedy pulls a book of photos out of the desk, passes it to Prinz. He leafs through and eventually picks out a photograph of a Las Vegas policewoman in plain clothes, now deceased and never a vampire. "That's her, I think."
"That's a policewoman. Try again, and remember that you won't be leaving until we're happy with your answers."
He turns the pages again, and eventually picks out a picture that Kennedy recognises. "A little young for you, isn't she? Okay, where did you meet her?"
"On the beach. I was out walking late, we got talking and then she bit me. Don't know exactly why she turned me, I think she said something about wanting a boyfriend with a beachfront condo."
"Any distinguishing marks or habits?"
"She chewed gum a lot."
"Okay, that's Harmony Kendall. You have my deepest sympathy, one of her exes told me about her and it can't have been fun. Is she still in Puerto Rico?"
"I guess not, I haven't seen her in a year or so."
"Thank you." That's definitely one for the intelligence dossier, Harmony tends to stir up trouble and create minions, it'll be interesting to find out where she's been since then.
"Why did you carry on working after you became a vampire?"
"I was working from home anyway, and I had to pay the rent somehow."
"Okay, now I understand that you're here for a convention. Visited Las Vegas before?"
"I've been to a couple of previous conventions, last year and a couple of years before that."
"No, I didn't want to travel by air then. A little too soon after September the eleventh."
"I can see how that would be. Were you already a vampire then?"
"Yes, she turned me a couple of months earlier."
"Okay, so... what were you planning to eat while you're here?"
He looks surprised, then says "I have some bags of blood with me."
"Medical or animal?"
"Medical. I have a friend who works in a hospital."
"If you get hungry here's a list of bars that have animal blood available, sorted by area. I'd strongly recommend against trying to find human blood for sale in Vegas, we've had several poisoning cases and a high level of infection. Including a version of syphilis that can apparently cross from human to vampire hosts."
"I wish." It's true, and one of the reasons why Kennedy wishes that the Nevada authorities would cut the Slayers a little more slack.
"Okay, I think that's about it, apart from the tag and warning you that the Las Vegas Police Department will be monitoring your movements. Are you willing to be tagged?"
"Okay, easiest place to put it is in one of your buttocks. If you could take your pants off and lean over onto the table in the corner... thanks."
Kennedy's relieved to see that he's wearing underwear, most vampires have remarkably unattractive bodies. She pulls the injector from the desk drawer; it looks like a cross between a handgun and an electric drill. "This will sting for a few seconds and you may find sitting uncomfortable for an hour or so."
"Are you a doctor? Or a nurse?" asks Prinz, eyeing the injector nervously.
"Nope. Don't need medical qualifications, you're not technically human. Don't worry, I've done this a couple of dozen times.." she injects the tracer, he winces "..never killed anyone yet. So to speak."
"So if you're not a doctor what are you?" asks Prinz as he pulls his trousers up, "a cop?"
"Sorry, didn't I say?"
There's a knock, and one of the guards comes in with an attractive red-headed woman carrying an aluminium equipment case, who says "Willows, Las Vegas police department. I'm here to ask you a few questions about your trip to Las Vegas in 2000."
"2000?" asks Kennedy, "Wasn't he human then?"
Prinz growls, and his face morphs to show fangs. "Better not," says Chandler, drawing her gun.
"Humans can be killers too," says Catherine quietly.
"But vampires are better," says Prinz, leaping at her. Kennedy tackles him hard, and throws him back against the wall, thudding punches into his stomach with explosive force. He retaliates, but he's clumsy, an ape compared to the Slayer's grace. She falls back anyway.
"Don't shoot," shouts Willows, "You'll hit her."
"Stake," shouts Kennedy. Chandler tosses her one, she snatches it from the air and punches it upwards into his heart. Kennedy feels one of his ribs break, but that doesn't change anything. There's a "whoosh" as his body crumbles to dust.
Kennedy pants, coughing a little, turns to the police and says "Let's get out of here, let the dust settle", and mutters "Never did get a chance to tell him who I am." Once they're out of the room she asks "What was that about?"
"A call-girl was murdered during the 2000 convention. We didn't find anything to lead us to Prinz at the time, and his prints weren't on record, but the MO fitted the tape and cable ties he was carrying, thought it might be worth checking him out. Guess I was right." She turns to Chandler and says "lock the room, I'll come back to collect my kit and the tapes once it's safe to breathe in there."
"I'm sorry I couldn't take him alive," Kennedy lies.
"No you're not, Kennedy," Willows says in a low voice. "But it certainly seemed that you didn't have any choice, anyone looking at the tapes will have to agree."
"I've seen Buffy fight, and Faith, and I've seen you in practice at the school. Maybe you're not as experienced but you're just as strong and fast, you could have beaten him to a pulp."
"I'm sorry, it didn't feel that way to me."
"I won't lose sleep over it. Not this time. The girl he killed took a long time to die."
"Okay. Anyone else want a coffee, clear the throat? I'm buying."
"Why not, health and safety regs say I should wait thirty minutes before entering the room after a vampire gets dusted, might as well do something to pass the time. So how's my namesake these days..?"