Buffy the Vampire Slayer

in a Crossover with Alias and Angel

by STFarnham

(Lancer47)

Crypt Forty-Seven Redux

Authors Notes:

This is a sequel to Crypt Forty-Seven, which you really should read first. This sequel takes place about a year later, mostly in Los Angeles, during the first season of Alias, which is simultaneous with the third season of Angel and the sixth season of Buffy, if I've got the timeline reckoned correctly.

I am trying to shoehorn this story between episodes 6 & 7 of all three shows, assuming simultaneity of all three series.

I will undoubtedly go off canon a little, but I will at least try to stay on the straight and narrow where possible.

I doubt that anyone will be spoiled by anything here. Possibly Alias fans, since it is still on. But all events here are first season only.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Buffy, Angel, Alias, Rambaldi, adventure, computers, mystery, fights, close calls, and a touch of romance. What else is there?

Chapter One

In which Buffy discovers something odd.

Buffy walked casually across Restfield Cemetery around midnight. She was quite relaxed, this being one of her usual patrol routes, and the of lack any supernatural tingling

contributed to her good feeling. So she was a little put out when she noticed some furtive shapes skulking about near a particularly large mausoleum. She walked up softly behind the intruders, or whatever they were, and saw three guys stealing a large iron box. They had apparently looted the Alpert family crypt, and were trying to steal away into the night with their booty. Buffy smiled to herself and took two steps and jumped, landing on top of the box. She balanced there and shook her finger at the young men trying to hold the box, but Buffy's added weight was too much for them, they dropped both the box and her. Then, much to Buffy's surprise, they took off running hell-for-leather, across the gravestones and into the night.

Buffy shook her head and whispered to herself, "Well, that was just sad." She bent down towards the box and lifted the lid. It groaned open, exposing a toy merry-go-round. But one that was made of unusually strong material, cast iron Buffy thought, and had a strange mechanism on top which purpose was not clear. At least, not clear to Buffy. So, she closed the lid and lifted the box, "Ooof, this really is heavy!" she said to no one in particular as she trundled off towards Giles' place.

--- ---

"Giles," Buffy yelled as she banged on his door, "open up!"

After a minute or so, Giles opened the door, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "While I'm always chuffed to see you, Buffy, can it not wait until a more civilized hour? An hour when I'm not quite so knackered?"

"No Giles, it can't. Or at least I'm not sure since you're using weird British words again. How come that always happens at odd hours of the morning? Anyway," Buffy dragged the iron box into the living room, "look at this. I took it away from some guys who were stealing it from the Alpert crypt over in Restfield. If I left it there, they'd probably come back and get it—and it might be dangerous or something so I couldn't bring it home. So I brought it here!"

"And I thank you for that. Well, let's see what's in it, shall we?"

"Oh, um, it looked like a toy merry-go-round."

"Well, that certainly sounds dangerous—it's a good thing you woke me up to discuss it," said Giles, in a disagreeable tone of voice.

Buffy opened the box and pulled out the contents. She set it on the side table and gave it a whirl. Giles glanced at the spinning toy with his most British sneer, but then he suddenly frowned and took a closer look. He stopped the motion with his hand and stared intently at the central pedestal. "Hmmm," he said.

Buffy raised her eyebrows, "Hmmm? I know that's not good. Giles, spill!"

"This," said Giles in his lecture voice, "is very interesting. Unless I am very much mistaken, and I am not, this is a Rambaldi artifact."

"Ram... whatsit?" asked Buffy.

"Rambaldi. You remember last year when that very, ah, healthy and dangerous young woman from the CIA was here?"

"Oh yes Giles, I remember her alright. She and Mr. Dixon were after a Rambaldi artifact then too. So, you think we should call the CIA on this? What do we tell them?"

"This object might well be dangerous after all. At the very least it could be important for something or other having to do with your national security. That would normally put it outside our purview, but since it fell into your lap you will have to keep the object safe and deliver it personally. You were quite right to bring it to my attention."

Chapter Two

Sydney Bristow, where are you?

"Hi Angel, howzit goin'?" asked Buffy from a pay phone half way between LA and Sunnydale.

"Uh Buffy? Is that you?" Angel replied sleepily.

"No, it's your fairy godmother and her wacky sidekick."

"Hi Buffy, sorry, I just got to bed a few minutes ago and I'm still half asleep. Is there another apocalypse coming?"

Buffy snorted, "No, I'm about an hour away from LA. I have a little errand to run and then I thought I'd drop by and say hello, maybe we can do lunch."

"Do lunch? Have you been possessed by a Hollywood Demon?"

Buffy laughed, "No silly, I thought that's the way all you LA types talked." She paused a moment and then said with a more serious tone, "Actually, I would like some backup for my trip. This isn't anything supernatural, I'm just delivering something to a friend, or acquaintance anyway. But the last time I saw her everything turned into such a huge and near-lethal mess that I'm a little wigged. So, backup—although I may be overreacting."

"Sure Buffy, you know I'll be there for you. Backup when you don't need it is far better than needing backup when you don't have any. Except, it being just after sunrise and all I'll have to send someone else."

"That's cool. I just want someone watching in case things go sour." After Buffy gave Angel Sydney's address, they hung up.

--- ---

"Hi, this is Sydney, please leave a message." Buffy frowned with frustration at the phone. This was the only phone number she had. She supposed she could call up the LA office of the CIA; she looked and they were actually listed in the phone book. That's really super-secret, she thought to herself. But remembering some of the conversations she had with Sydney last year, she had the feeling it would difficult to actually connect with Syd through the CIA office. So she finally left a message.

"Hi Sydney. This is Buffy Summers, you remember, from Sunnydale. I found another one of those things that you might want, you know, like last time, so I'll be by your place this morning. I hope you get this message."

--- ---

After the fourth time Buffy tried to call Sydney and got nothing but her machine, she finally decided to try the direct route. So she called the CIA office and asked for Sydney Bristow. Several ever more unpleasant people in succession told her that there was no such person working for the CIA. But Buffy was stubborn and kept insisting. Eventually she was connected to a Mr. Vaughn. Vaughn wasn't nearly as impolite as the previous people as he said, "No Miss Summers, there is no one named Sydney Bristow at this office. In fact, I can assure you that no one by that name has ever worked for the CIA in any capacity whatsoever. But I can probably help you, what did you need to talk about?"

"Oh, nothing much Mr. Vaughn. I just met her last year and she – well, I was just passing through town and couldn't find her at the number she gave me. I just wanted to say hello."

"Well, sorry we can't help. Goodbye."

Buffy looked at the phone, again with frustration. So far, this trip was a bust.

--- ---

A satellite receiving antenna array picked up a message, as it picked up almost all phone conversations from the area, and sent it along to a nameless computer. The computer scanned the message, along with millions of others, and pulled this one out for special consideration. The words Sunnydale and Buffy, when paired with Sydney's phone, all conspired together to make this a noticeable communication.

"Sloan," said Sloan into his phone with his usual bored intonation.

"Sir, I've emailed you a suspicious message with both text and audio. I don't know if it will require further action, but you should hear it," said the security section technician.

--- ---

Buffy pulled up in her Jeep Cherokee in front of an older green house. It didn't appear to be lived in to her. The grass had been mowed, but not recently, there weren't any papers on the porch or anything like that, but there was a whole empty vibe that Buffy picked up on.

So, she did what came natural to her. Buffy broke in with a quick twist on the doorknob. I hope that doesn't cost too much to replace, she thought, I can't really afford much. But it was obvious the moment she walked in that the house was unoccupied. In fact, she could see that the place had been trashed, possibly burgled. Worse, she could see what looked like bloodstains in the bathtub. A surprisingly large amount. Even though the stains had to be many months old, now she was really worried.

Buffy wandered around in the house but was unable to find anything that was of interest. So she went to the phone and started to dial Giles when the front door burst in and two guys with guns attacked her. This was something she could relate to: she kicked the gun out of number ones hand, breaking his wrist in the process, then dodged a bullet from the second guy and broke his arm. She stopped winding up and kicking when she realized that these were human opponents and went to a straight punch to the jaw and chest of each of them. This would have worked fine if it hadn't been for the guy who shot her in the back from the rear window.

Chapter Three

Buffy Summers, where are you?

"Angel, Angel," a frantic Cordelia shouted into her cell phone, "Angel pickup pickup pickup!"

"Cordy, what is it?" Angel replied.

"Buffy got shot, I think, anyway, some guys bundled her up with dripping blood and all and then an ambulance came and took her away! What do we do? I got the ambulance license number, and the name of the hospital on the side of the ambulance! I'm following them up thirtieth street, toward downtown! Oh wait, they're pulling into a hospital, it's called Sisters of Mercy Memorial Hospital and Hospice. Should I go in?" Cordelia finally wound down enough for Angel to get a word in.

"No Cordy, you better come back to the hotel. Let's do some recon first, there must be something going on that we don't know about. I think we can count on the fact that if the Slayer arrives at a modern hospital alive, that she'll most likely survive."

"But Angel, we don't know if she's alive or not!"

"We'll find out. Give the doctors time to work."

Cordelia could hear the despair in Angel's voice. He was trying to hide it, but Cordy was familiar with Angel's every tone. She said softly, "She'll be fine Angel, you'll see, she'll be fine."

--- ---

Back at the Hyperion, Cordelia was checking out the Hospital's public pages. Of course, there was no listing of patients, that being against the privacy act. So she called Willow.

"Hi Willow, this is Cordelia. We have a problem and we need your help," said Cordelia.

"Sure Cordy, what's the sitch?" Willow replied sunnily.

"Buffy got shot and taken to a hospital, but we don't know who the bad guys are, or why she got shot, anything about what's going on. So we need you to hack into the hospital's records and find out anything you can about Buffy!"

"WHAT! BUFFY GOT SHOT! What are you doing about it!" Willow switched to frantic instantly.

"Willow! Willow! Concentrate! We need your hacker-grrl skillz to help Buffy!"

"We're coming to LA. Do you have five empty rooms for us at your hotel?"

"Sure, but Willow, hack the hospital first, like right now!" Cordelia commanded.

"OK OK!" replied Willow while she started typing madly on her laptop. "This may take awhile Cordy, have you called Giles yet? Do so, and call me back."

"Hello Giles?" asked Cordelia.

"Yes, what is it?"

"Giles, this is Cordelia, Buffy's in the hospital, she got shot. But we don't..."

Giles peremptorily interrupted, "WHAT? What are you doing about it? Do you have any idea about what is going on?"

"...no Giles, we don't know what's happened, or why. Willow is hacking into the hospital right now to find out what we can find out. We were just providing a little backup, but Buffy didn't indicate that anything like this would happen. I was watching from across the street."

"Calm down Cordelia, did you by any chance see a tall woman, very athletic, probably blond, but possibly some other hair color, very striking, anywhere near by?"

"No, definitely not, I saw no one but Buffy and three guys with guns and an otherwise empty house. Buffy said it was a simple errand, but she had a feeling that something might be wrong. Do you know what's going on?"

"Well, I'm feeling very much out in the cold right now. She was supposed to be making contact with an agent of the CIA. But I have the feeling that she may have inadvertently walked in on something she shouldn't have." Giles sighed. "I suppose we'll have to come to LA, do you have, um, four, possibly five rooms available for us?"

"Yup, Willow already reserved them. Who is this mystery woman of yours?"

"She is Sydney Bristow, but it would be wise not to bandy about that name until we know a lot more about what's going on. Don't do anything until I get there."

"Yeah, like that's gonna work on Angel. And what kind of name is Sidney for a girl anyway?"

"Let me talk to him. It's Sydney with a 'y'."

"Angel! Giles wants a word with you!" shouted Cordelia into the office.

Angel picked up his phone, "Yes?"

"Angel," said Giles urgently, "be careful here. Buffy was to meet a woman named Sydney Bristow, she's a CIA field officer. I believe that Buffy may have walked in on something she shouldn't have. It's imperative that you don't go drawing attention to yourself until we have an accurate idea of what's going on."

"Certainly, but we are making plans. I won't advertise, Giles. But I won't be waiting around for you with my thumb up my ass either. We're in full research mode and we'll be ready to mount a rescue operation on a moment's notice."

"I'll see you this afternoon."

--- ---

Just after sunset, Vaughn parked his car in a large parking garage. He walked out the back entrance, through a chain link fence with a large slit cut through most of the links, down an alley and into an unmarked door. He walked through the warehouse and could hear nothing out of place. As he moved he constantly swept his eyes back and forth, and checked out certain telltales that he had left in place the last time he was here. Everything appeared clean.

Finally, he arrived at an empty tool crib, and found Sydney waiting for him. He smiled at her, "How was your trip?"

"Oh god, Vaughn, we have to get Dixon in with us, between him and me we killed four CIA agents! Dixon had a backup detonator! Those men died for nothing!" She put her head in her hands.

"Sydney, Sydney, they didn't die for nothing! Don't say that. We cannot bring Dixon in, do you know what it might do to him to become a double agent?"

"Of course I do, I am one, remember?"

It took Vaughn some time to sooth and comfort Syd, but he managed. Eventually she was calm enough for Vaughn to bring up new business.

"Sydney, remember last year when you visited Sunnydale?"

"Sure, how could I forget. That's a strange place for a California town. How did you know I went there?"

"It was in your report, your first one to the CIA."

"Yeah, but Vaughn, that was Tolstoy long, in your words, how could you remember all that now?"

"Someone came to town and called CIA headquarters, asking for you. This caused some consternation, as you might imagine, since we really aren't used to strangers popping by asking to talk to double agents. Eventually she ended up talking to me. Of course, she learned absolutely nothing of substance, except our insistence that we never heard of anyone called Sydney Bristow."

"Who was it?"

"A girl named Buffy Summers. Do you know her?"

Sydney twitched a little. "Yes, what did she say?"

"She said she tried to call you at home but got nothing but your machine. She was starting to sound worried and I suppose our denial of your existence added to her worries."

"Yeah, but she only has my old phone number and old address. What's worse, Sloan still has the place under electronic surveillance. Depending on what Buffy said in her message to me, she might be in trouble."

"I don't understand this. What could you have said to a high school girl that could possibly interest Sloan? I rechecked your report on Sunnydale today, after the call, and it seemed fairly a innocuous mission. You and Dixon went there, you found a Rambaldi artifact of some kind that Sloan wanted, and you came back. You didn't say anything about Miss Summers, other than she was there."

"You're gonna have to trust me on this. There are some things about Sunnydale that are unbelievable. That Sunnydale report is incredibly incomplete, even if it is accurate in broad strokes. But believe me when I say you don't want to know what goes on in Sunnydale. Still, I am awfully worried about Buffy."

Vaughn couldn't get another word out of Sydney concerning Sunnydale. He finally gave up.

Chapter Four

Rosenberg vs. Flinkman

Willow's eyebrows shot upwards when a dialog box popped up: 'TRACE EXECUTION DETECTED', it said. She instantly stopped typing and spoke aloud, "Data incendiere file 07 3e 34a 23!" She spread her fingers out and a green glow appeared over and around her computer. A few moments later the dialog box was replaced by one that said, 'TRACE INTERUPT EXECUTE' and, 'CONNECTION FAILED AT SERVER 47' followed by a few hundred arrayed hexadecimal numbers and finally the line: 'TRACE DATA DELETED 12X SERVERS 1, 2, 3, ... 47'. Willow sighed a heartfelt sigh of relief.

Tara, looking over Willow's shoulder, said, "Honey, what happened? You're relieved that you couldn't get through?"

"No Tara, I'm relieved that I was able to disconnect their trace at their own server as well as erase all the info they collected. Well, who's ever server that was. I don't think I was in Kansas anymore. You know, for a hospital that was absolutely amazing security—it's better than military level. There's someone out there who is genuinely scary who nearly got a fix on my computer. If it wasn't for witchcraft, I don't think I could've cut them off. Those guys are GOOD!"

Tara looked concerned.

--- ---

"Mr. Sloan! Mr. Sloan!" yelled Marshall as he ran towards Sloan's office, puffing and gasping all the way.

"Yes Marshall, what is it?"

"Someone is trying to get into our computers! They attempted to do an end run around our security by trying for the CIA/SD-6 hospital, but I guess they didn't realize that I run security for the whole system from here." He frowned and continued, "Unless they were just trying to get into the hospital records. But why would they want to do that?"

"But anyway, whoever it was, they're GOOD. Those guys saw my trace, I almost had them, but POOF, the trace was gone, just like THAT." Marshall snapped his fingers on 'that'. "But I can't understand how they stopped the trace, and somehow, erased the log and the dump both from my servers. I didn't think that was possible. Not only that, but, but, but I have my tracing program setup to do a postmortem dump to the printer, automatically. I expected to find a three-foot-high stack of computer paper full of octal machine code. The stack of paper is there all right, but there's no printing—it's just blank paper. I'm really perplexed Mr. Sloan, I just don't see how it's possible, even theoretically. I'm really worried, we may need some high powered help on this, maybe we have to call in NSA."

"No Marshall, we don't need NSA. I have every confidence in your ability. Besides, you did stop them, right? You just didn't get a trace."

"Yes, yes, I stopped them. But you don't understand Mr. Sloan, they couldn't have done what they did to cover their tracks. And yet they did it. You see, in order to keep the printer from printing the core dump, they would have had to access the system before they accessed the system. Clearly impossible. I'm stumped."

"Well, keep working on it Marshall. I'm sure you'll come up with something."

"You do understand Mr. Sloan that when I say 'core dump' I don't really mean 'core', that's an old fashioned term that's sometimes still used by main-framers even though..." Marshall trailed off when he noticed that Sloan was no longer paying any attention.

Chapter Five

SD-6 vs Proliferating Scoobies

Late afternoon at the Hyperion saw a meeting between Sunnydale Scoobies and the LA contingent. Gunn and Fred were newbies, and after introductions all around Cordelia and Wesley brought out a couple of trays of snacks and bottled water. Cordy handed a bottle of blood to Angel.

Giles looked at this largess and said, "Oh my, tea would perfect at this juncture." He was utterly boggled when Fred brought him a fresh pot of tea with the proper accouterments. "Thank you very much Winifred," said Giles, recovering quickly.

Fred almost said something to Giles about what she liked to be called, but her full name pronounced in an English accent sounded so unusual to her ears that she simply smiled and sat down.

Giles looked around and started the meeting, "This morning I called in a favour from the British Intelligence group, MI-6, through the offices of the Watcher's Council. As you may or may not know, the Council prefers to remain aloof of governments, but, we do maintain a list of government contacts. We find that this often can short-circuit misunderstandings and miscommunications. Sometimes it even works, and sometimes it doesn't, as in the case of the Initiative. At any rate, I did get a name and number to call here in LA, a CIA Agent who may possibly be inclined to help us. Mind you, Intelligence Agencies in general are very close-mouthed. It will be astonishing if we convince him to say anything, but, it is all we have to begin with. Wesley is trying to find him now."

Wesley came out of the office, shaking his head. I called the LA office of the CIA. Am I the only one who thinks it's kind of weird that their number is in the phone book? Well, that's not my world, it must make sense to somebody. Anyway, they admitted to Mr. Vaughn's employment, but not to Sydney Bristow's. In fact, they claimed they never heard of anyone with that name. But Mr. Vaughn is 'unavailable' for an undetermined amount of time. I have no clue what this means, but we are unquestionably on our own for now.

Willow went next, "Fred and I managed to get to the patient records at the hospital. The only way it was possible was to use magic entirely. Any attempt at all to use computer skills to hack their system brought us to the attention of some amazing security group. Whoever it is it's people we don't want to know. But magic worked, we simply caused people who worked there to access the correct information, then we read their minds. We spread it around so I hope no one gets into trouble, but Buffy is in room 347, and she is classified as serious but stable. But I was able to look at her most recent medical tests versus the one she had this morning, and when you consider her Slayer accelerated healing I would say her condition is nearly cured. They may not yet realize this. I'd like to get her out fast."

Angel spoke up, "I'm ready to go right now. They have armed guards throughout the hospital. This is one strange place, I never heard of armed guards carrying military weapons in an American hospital before. South America, maybe. Because of that threat, I'll go in alone, I want backup on the perimeter only, out of the line of fire. Willow, can you and Fred crash their computer system without getting identified?"

"Oh yes, that we can do."

Fred spoke up, "The guard shifts change every four hours, fifteen minutes before the hour: 3:45, 7:45, 11:45, right around the clock. The nurse's shift changes every eight hours, on the hour. Doctor's wander in and out at will, except for residents who never leave as far as I can tell."

Fred continued, "Oh, do be careful Angel. I researched the M16A2 5.56mm automatic rifles that these people use. I found that the bullet is a spitzer shaped object that's prone to yawing in soft tissue, and then it fragments, depending of course on the muzzle velocity which is in turn dependent on the barrel length and powder load. You know, there's a beautiful set of equations which explains all this..." Fred noticed that everyone was staring at her, "but Angel, that's a vicious little bullet that tumbles around inside your body. I think it could kill even vampires if it hit you just right. Unless they're using the short barrels. And sometimes they put tracer rounds every three or bullets. That could set you on fire, especially if they used incendiary tracers with white phosphorous."

Xander said, "Hey, that sounds like a good idea. I wonder if we could get AR-15s with those tracers?"

"Some other time Xander," said Giles. But Gunn gave Xander a thumbs-up gesture.

Willow leaned over and said to Tara, "Fred is a physicist, sometimes she goes off on tangents."

Tara nodded.

"Oh yeah," Willow added, "one more thing. I was able to look at Buffy through a nurse's eyes, they have her tied to the bed with big leather straps. Once she gets her full strength back she may be able to break them. I think. But my guess is she's definitely too weak right now. So, bring tools."

With that, everyone starting packing and getting ready to go.

--- ---

Micheal Vaughn, Sydney and Jack Bristow, and Weiss had a meeting in the warehouse. Jack Bristow said, "I confirmed that Buffy Summers is being held at the hospital in Room 347. I was able to slip your photo and prepared ID info into the SD-6 personnel ID computer Mr. Vaughn. You should have no trouble getting into the facility and finding the right room with this fake ID. But I must reiterate Mr. Vaughn, this is a foolish gamble for no gain that I can see, except to feed my daughter's whimsical humanitarian impulse. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you get yourself and this high school friend of Sydney's killed on the way out."

Sydney and Jack glared at each other until Sydney said, "I owe Buffy Summers, I will pay my debt. There are things that happened in Sunnydale that you do not know about, and if I have anything to say about it, you will never know. So are we ready?"

"Sure," said Weiss, "we're all gonna stay outside in the van while Vaughn risks his neck for you and this Buffy chick. Easy for us." Sydney's glare extended to Weiss.

"There's still another big problem here," said Jack, "you have no backup plan. If the situation goes into the crapper, Vaughn will be stuck. This is not a CIA sanctioned operation—there are no resources that we can call on for help. Sydney can't rush into this facility with any hope of rescuing you, she would be identified and neutralized almost immediately. Even if Sydney and I entered and managed to find some legitimate reason in Sloan's eyes to be there, it would be extremely difficult to mount any kind of rescue without all of us blowing our covers. Mr. Weiss has that problem, plus no ID that's of any use in an SD-6 facility, plus limited field experience. What I am saying Mr Vaughn, just one slip-up means you'll be facing torture and death with no possibility of rescue. Accordingly, I see no reason for either Mr. Weiss or myself to stick around." And with that, Jack left. Weiss stayed behind, but he was a little twitchy though.

--- ---

Buffy was wide awake, and except for a sore spot on her back and an ache that seemed to come from inside on her left side, she felt fine. She was surreptitiously testing her bonds when a doctor opened the door and smiled at her. "So Miss Summers, how are we feeling tonight?"

" 'We' are feeling just fine. If you would undo these straps I'll just check myself out of the hospital."

"Ha ha, very funny" said the doctor, "you got shot yesterday. You have a lacerated lung, damage to the small colon, several muscle groups that are grievously wounded, and bruised ribs. It's amazing the bullet didn't do more damage. It was an ordinary .38 without any special fragmenting characteristics that went pretty much straight through you without hitting anything that would cause immediate death – you were lucky. We repaired your colon and stitched you up here and there. But, it's going to be tough going for you for several months. The human body is an amazing healing machine but when you abuse like this it takes time ..." He ground to a stop when he started actually noticing what the various charts were telling him. He opened the large envelope he had under his arm and shook out a couple of x-rays. He stood looking at the first one in open-mouthed astonishment.

"Ms. Summers," he said, "my name is Doctor Jacoby. I believe that you are going to make both of us famous. Unless, I am the victim of a practical joke. You wouldn't do that to me, would you?"

"No doc," said Buffy, "I just heal fast. Always have. It's no big, really. Why don't you test my reflexes?"

The doctor pulled out his laptop computer and plugged it in to a convenient port. He pulled up the latest results and started to really study the information from the digital x-ray department and echo-gram results. He found the bloodwork to be especially startling. He turned to Buffy and pulled out his stethoscope and started checking her various parts. Buffy was quite put out at this unnecessary and overly thorough exam.

"Ms. Summers, you are under a restraining order. Until a higher authority releases you, you must stay where you are. I am going to amplify that. We are going to be running more tests on you tomorrow, oh yes, many many tests. See you then."

"Yay me," Buffy mumbled to herself, "don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

She went back to testing the bonds, trying to work the fasteners loose, when the door opened again and yet another doctor came in. Buffy looked up in irritation as this one came over and bent down to whisper, "Are you Buffy Summers?"

"What the hell is this? You're wetting your pants to experiment on me and you don't even know my name! I want out!"

"Hush, shhhh," said Vaughn with waving motions, "I'm here to help you escape. Are you feeling well? Here, let me put this on you." He pulled a small plastic headband with an earpiece and microphone out of his pocket and slipped on Buffy's head. Buffy was very suspicious until she heard Sydney's voice through the ear set.

"Buffy," Sydney said, "this is Sydney Bristow. The man with you is Michael Vaughn, he's going to help you out. Please, do as he asks and be careful, there's armed guards in there with M-16s. You don't want to get hit with one of those."

In the meantime Vaughn had produced a small set of bolt-cutters and was proceeding to cut the fasteners that held the thick leather straps. Buffy relaxed and let him work. He had one more to go when the lights went out and the various medical readouts all went black. After a few seconds dim emergency lighting took over. Then Angel barged in. He took one look at Vaughn and started to attack. Buffy was able to break the last strap and leaped up between the two.

"Angel, stop. He's on our side." Angel slid to a stop and Vaughn put away his .40 Glock Model 22. He didn't stop frowning though. Especially when he looked at the last strap and saw it ripped. He didn't have enough time to worry about that and pulled a package out from under his lab coat and handed it to Buffy.

"Here, put this on. It's a nurse's outfit."

Buffy stepped into the small bathroom to change while Angel and Vaughn traded distrustful glances.

--- ---

Vaughn stepped out into the hallway first. The nurse's station was a hive of activity as nurse's and doctor's rushed from records to rooms of the most severely ill patients to make sure the emergency power was keeping them alive. Vaughn signaled Buffy and Angel to follow. They all rushed like everyone else down corridor and ducked into the first stairwell.

Angel went first. They only made it down to the landing half way to the second floor when the door below slammed open and two guards ran up. Angel took a bullet, and after gasping for a moment, vamped out and leaped over the rail at the guard who shot him – which guard was paying no attention to Angel since, in his experience, people who were hit with that round usually died shortly after. He was very surprised.

The door opened above Vaughn, he shot upwards and the door closed.

Meanwhile, Buffy jumped over the rail and landed feet first on the head of the second guard. That pretty much put him out. Vaughn, running down the stairs behind, grabbed up the M-16s and they all continued down to the first floor. As Buffy started for the fire exit Vaughn shouted, "No, the alarms will sound!"

"We've got that covered," said Angel, "Willow crashed the whole security and power system."

Buffy didn't even pause, she just kicked the door open and they ran across the lawn and jumped into the first van with open doors.

"Hey Willow, nice job. Step on it Wesley!" Which was hardly necessary as he was already accelerating. "Oh, and this is Michael Vaughn, he seems to be a friend of Sydney's who was also breaking me out tonight." Buffy remembered her mic and said into, "Sydney, can you hear me?"

"Yes Buffy, are you sure you're in the right van?"

"Yes, just follow us to collect Vaughn. We're going to the Hyperion Hotel," she questioned Willow with her eyes, Willow nodded yes, "do you know where that is?"

"Um, hold on." After a short pause, she continued, "yes, but it's abandoned."

"Nevertheless, that's where we're going."

Vaughn was trying his best to remain unruffled and cool.

"Ah, Mr. Michael Vaughn?" asked Wesley.

"Yes."

"I tried to get in touch with you earlier today at your super-secret headquarters. But they told me you were unavailable. Now we know why."

Vaughn was deeply unhappy.

Willow was tapping away on her computer. Angel was watching Buffy. Wesley was driving the van near it's limits of adhesion; Vaughn decided someone must have put some money into beefing up the suspension and engine. He hoped Wes would concentrate on driving and quite chatting. Vaughn looked out the back and couldn't see anyone following.

"Where is Sydney's van?" he asked.

Buffy spoke up, "They paused a block from the hospital to observe. She says they got power back already and the place looks like an anthill, what several dozens of guards running around and carloads of SD-6 agents arriving. Now she's two blocks behind us and one street over. She's decoying two cars. Oops, only one now. Hold on ... now none. Damn, she really is lethal isn't she!"

They could see some kind of explosion across a parking lot over to the next parallel block.

Willow had shut down her computer and said to Vaughn, "That's a real complement coming from a Slayer."

Vaughn gave up on cool and settled for baffled.

--- ---

Willow shut her eyes for a few moments. When she opened them she leaned forward and told Wesley to take the next right. Wesley started to argue, but Willow emphasized her command with her resolve face.

Wesley nodded and told everyone to hang on. He slammed the brakes and then yanked the wheel to the right. The van was now sliding sideways down the street. When the next street was in front, he released the brakes, stomped on the gas, and straightened the wheel. The van shuddered but immediately shot down the avenue.

Vaughn said mildly, "I didn't think you could do that with a van."

Willow shouted, "The next right Wesley! And take it faster, there's no traffic."

Wesley repeated the previous maneuver and they found themselves practically flying down the street. About a block ahead was another van, stopped and surrounded by a half-dozen vampires. Buffy looked out the window and told Wesley, "When you see my hand slap the windshield in front of you, slam on the brakes." Wes nodded.

Buffy opened the side door and, grasping the top door rail, she flipped herself out, up and on top of the van. Wes was already slowing down, they only had a hundred or so feet to go, Buffy slapped the windshield in front of Wes's face. He slammed the brakes. Buffy tucked herself into a ball and shot forward at forty miles per hour. In front of her was a group of vamps; Buffy straightened herself out and hit two of them with her boots. Her heels weren't sharp enough to penetrate, but she had stakes in both her hands. She staked them as she tumbled past, then flipped around horizontally so she could kick two more. By now her velocity had fallen to a crawl so she she twirled around vertically and landed on her feet. Sydney was standing to the side of her stopped van, facing two vampires. Weiss was behind her and to her right, shooting vampires and wondering why they weren't falling; he was quite shaken by now. Sydney was kicking and hiting for all she was worth, which was quite a lot, but she didn't have any stakes on her so all she could do was slow down the attack.

Wesley's van was still screaming to a stop when Buffy dusted the the last two vampires.

Everyone jumped out of the vans, looking around wildly, trying to figure out what happened.

Sydney said, "Hi Buffy. I'm glad to see you!"

"Hey Syd. Happy to be here."

Weiss calmed down and observed, "You know, one of these vans is facing the wrong way on a one-way street."

"Let's regroup at the Hyperion," said Angel, "preferably before we attract any local police."

Everyone agreed. After reboarding their vehicles they motored sedately away.

To be continued.