NCIS and BtVS
in a Fan Fiction Crossover
Buffy Goes to Washington
Rating: T (PG-13)
Summary: BtVS / NCIS Crossover. Buffy tangles with Agent Gibbs.
Timeline: Current with NCIS 2005/2006 Season
Disclaimer: The usual: most of these characters aren't mine, no profits here, no dastardly intentions, no money, etc., etc.
Version 2: Includes spelling corrections, added a couple of missing words, a few very minor changes in wording.
Tony watched the blond girl sitting in the interrogation room from behind the one-way glass. She seemed unusually calm for a young woman in her situation. She got up and walked to the mirror. She leaned in, only inches away from the surface, and brushed her hair with her fingers. It was as if she could see through the mirror, but Tony decided it was just a form of one-upmanship. He looked into her hazel eyes, so close to his own eyes, and started to get lost. She turned suddenly, went back around the table and sat down, apparently very much in control of her surroundings. Tony started to breath again.
Gibbs walked in and dropped a manila folder on the table. He tapped the folder with his fingers and then sat down across from his suspect. He opened the file and read for minute. Then he looked directly at her and stared. She stared back, every bit as impassive as Jethro. This went on until Tony was bored, hell even Ziva was nodding off. Finally Jethro spoke, "Well young lady, you've got yourself into a world of trouble."
"Really," she replied, "you can let me in on the problem any time."
Gibbs said, "You were observed murdering a man. What do you have to say about it?"
"First, I've never murdered anyone in my life. Second, where's the body of the victim of this supposed murder? And third, when do I get my phone call?"
"We all saw you go into that alley, right behind the victim. We saw you plunge your wooden stake into him. The light was bad, so I have to admit I'm not certain what happened next, but I know something happened to your victim. I have the stake in evidence, we'll no doubt find blood on it, you know."
"I was just out for a walk, and I happened to turn into the wrong alley. I didn't realize that it was a dead end. I didn't see anyone else until you and your minions came along and threatened me with your big guns, for no reason at all."
"Uh huh," said Jethro, "out for a walk at 0130 hours?"
"I wasn't sleepy, is that a crime now? And I don't do military time," she said, flipping her hair back, "and I really think you are out of your jurisdiction. I am not a sailor, not even of the moon variety."
Jethro tried to be more threatening: he stood up with the file in his hand, stalked around beside her, and slapped the file down in front of her, in front of her hands. He did his best to physically invade her space. She was utterly unconcerned. He leaned down with his right hand on the table and his left on the back of her chair and spoke directly into her face, "That man was a Master Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy! I can assure you, young lady, that we will get to the bottom of this, you can make book on that! So, let's start with your name. You might as well tell me, your fingerprints should be back any time now."
"So that file of yours is a prop," she said, "How very meta of you. And for the record? I'm not going to give you anything at all. You'll just have to work for it."
From behind the one-way glass, Tony shook his head and said to Ziva, "I'll be at my desk, this isn't going anywhere. Gibbs has met his match." Tony stepped out of the door and nearly collided with Abby as she power-walked down the corridor.
"Toneee!" she exclaimed, "watch where you're going! Geez! Oh, and here's the file on your girl, her name is Buffy Summers. She has quite a checkered past, she was wanted for murder for a time, then the charges were dropped. She was suspected of a number of criminal acts from the age of fifteen to nineteen, but she has never been arrested for anything. Questioned a few times, that's it."
Tony took the file and skimmed it. He went back into the observation room and clicked the mic once. That was their signal that he had information for Gibbs. They started using the click awhile back because it was such a soft sound that suspects rarely noticed it. But Buffy noticed it. Gibbs looked at her in irritation and finally waved at the mirror.
He turned back to Buffy and said, "Boy you're good. But so are we." Buffy blinked.
After receiving the file from Tony and reading the summary he said, "So, Ms. Buffy Summers of Sunnydale, California."
"Formerly," said Buffy.
"Formerly, Sunnydale no longer exists, or don't you watch the news?" Buffy said sarcastically.
"Oh yeah," said Gibbs, "last year, Sunnydale sank. That must have been traumatic."
"It was, but most of us made it out all right."
Jethro couldn't think of a worthwhile line of questioning, at least until he had more information, so he finally just gave her a phone. She punched in a number. "Agent Riley Finn, please."
Gibbs frowned deeply.
After a minute or so she said, "Riley! Hi! This is Buffy. I need a little official help."
She listened for a moment and said, "I'm being held by the NCIS in Washington." she listened briefly and replied, "sure, it means Navy Crime Scene Investigation, no that's not right, Crime Investigators? ... Oh, Naval Criminal Investigative Service. ... How do you know that stuff? ... Really? ... The Marines are part of the Navy? ... I didn't know that. ... Well, I know it now, and whatever they are, they want me."
"Yeah," Buffy continued, "they haven't charged me with anything yet, but Special Agent Jethro Gibbs is a humorless old fart with that look in his eyes like he doesn't intend to let me go if he can help it."
Gibbs looked genuinely displeased at Buffy's assessment.
After another pause she said, "Thanks Riley, see you soon." She handed the phone back to Gibbs.
"You'll wait in the interview room Ms. Summers, while we do a little more research."
"Sure, whatever," Buffy sighed, "do you have any magazines I could read? You know, Guns & Ammo, Kick Boxing Quarterly, Prison News, Naval Institute Proceedings, Jarheads, anything really."
Gibbs said nothing as he shut the door and made certain it was locked.
"Hey Abs, give me the good news," said Jethro.
"Well, it's gonna be in the upper seventies today, with scattered clouds but no rain in the forecast. Is that good enough news for ya?"
"No, it's not," Gibbs replied sternly.
"Okay Gibbs. These ashes? They're ashes. What can I say about them? Well, except for one thing, they are consistent with human ashes," Abbey burbled.
"Human ashes. Hmm, that's, interesting, as well as odd. What could cause a man to burn up in seconds, a pocket butane torch?"
"Nope, high temperature flames applied for a long time, but 'consistent with' does not mean 'definitely came from a burning man'," Abbey said with asperity while she fiddled with a wooden stake in a plastic evidence bag, "but this stake now, revealed more."
"Don't keep me in suspense."
"Using my super forensic skills I have ferreted out the fact that our Ms. Summers has been carrying this stake around for a long time, she grips it tightly and handles it often. It's kind of sharp and pointy though, and has these splinters on the other end, so I don't even want to think what she could have been doing with it for all these years of handling."
"Stop, stop now. New subject," ordered Gibbs.
"Hey, I was just reporting the facts."
"No you weren't Abbey, you were interpreting. Badly."
"Then I'll be precise: one end of the stake has high concentrations of Ms. Summers' skin cells, some old, some new, as well as common dirt, and chlorophyll stains, probably from grass. And it's been worn down, somewhat. The other end has multiple natural surface fractures, with fabric residue from various sources, and little else."
"AND?" Gibbs was getting ticked.
"And, a few of the fibers are consistent with khaki. Could have come from a CPO's khaki uniform, or could be Dockers for all I know."
"That's it! No blood? Unknown skin cells? Ashes?"
"That's it, a whole lotta nothin'. Actually, there is another thing—the ashes are unusually uniform, dry and fine."
"Dry and fine? What is this? A tasting?" Gibbs said drily.
"Nope, just that ashes from a crematorium usually have chunks in them, you know, pieces of bone, bits of teeth and such. This looks like it has been finely ground, that is, IF it was human."
Gibbs, reaching a little, asked, "What did Ducky say about the remains?"
"He hasn't stopped laughing yet, Gibbs, what did you think he would say about a pile of ashes?"
Tony flipped his pencil up in the air with his right hand and caught it behind his chair with his left hand, then he flipped it back the other way. McGee typed industriously, not really aware of anything but his computer screen.
Ziva asked, "How long do I have to watch you tossing that pencil forth and back?"
"It's 'back and forth'," said Tony.
"That's what I said."
"No it isn't, you said 'forth and back', the phrase is 'back and forth'. It's kind of charming though, the way you mix up words sometimes."
"McGee!" shouted Ziva.
"What?" asked befuddled McGee.
"Is 'forth and back' incorrect?"
"Incorrect in what way?"
"Any way! I don't care!" said Ziva, getting a little excited.
"The phrase probie, the phrase she was trying for was 'back and forth', but she malapropped it so I gently chided her." said Tony.
"Well, uh," McGee stumbled, "grammatically, I see no reason why you couldn't reverse the common phrase, except everybody would stop and wonder what you meant. Does that help the argument?"
"Malapropped can't possibly be a real word," Ziva snarked.
"Tony was reaching for the verbed past tense of malapropism, which he may have invented on the spot, but it doesn't matter because your error is really more of a spoonerism than a malaprop," said McGee while hunched over his keyboard. He looked up to find both Tony and Ziva looming over him.
"DiNOZZO!" Gibbs shouted from elevator, "Phone call — Ms. Summers — who?"
"She called some department in the Pentagon, boss. They're secret like you wouldn't believe; classified so high there isn't a classification for it. I looked, but I couldn't find a soul who'd tell me anything about them. I don't even know what they are pretending to be, much less what they actually do," said Tony.
"Names Tony! What's it called?"
"Er, The Initiative," said Tony.
"What the hell is that?" Gibbs asked as rounded the cubicle to his desk.
"That what I asked, Boss, but no one would tell me. But I haven't heard back yet from everyone I called. Although one weird thing, a couple of people who at least gave me the time of day, acted as if they were terrified; don't know of what."
"ZIVA! Did you find out anything about Summers' friends? Where does she work? How does she support herself?"
"Uh, umm, no on friends, but she works for something called the IWC. They're based in London, have facilities in Cleveland and that's all I know about them."
"IWC?" Tony wondered out loud, "International Workers Consortium? Industrial Welders Council? International World of Communism, iPod Workers Committee?"
He was on a roll but McGee interrupted with a more authoritative, "International Watchers Council."
"Ha ha, not very funny probie," DiNozzo muttered.
"No really, that's what it stands for. The Council was peripheral to a case I worked on in Hawaii. I checked them out, but couldn't find out what they did. All I found is that their organization has been around for centuries, possibly many centuries. And yet I could find no one in the world outside of their organization who knows what they do. But the two people I met who were part of the Council were friendly, knowledgeable, well educated and very, very, close-mouthed. The case was solved before I could go any further on the IWC, so that part of the investigation was shelved."
"What do they watch?" Ziva asked.
McGee shrugged his shoulders, "As far as I know it could be the BBC."
"What about this Agent Riley Finn? Any leads?" Gibbs was winding down and getting angrier at the same time.
"He's a Marine Corp Officer, recently promoted to Major, but seconded to this Initiative thing. Has been for years. Except, a few years ago he went AWOL and was charged with everything in the book, and then some, by a Colonel McNamara. Then Colonel McNamara was declared KIA, the charges were dropped, Finn was honorably discharged and given some sort of commendation, classified, of course. Less than a year later, he was reinstated and working at the Pentagon, but we have no idea what he actually does," said Tony.
"Well that's an odd chain of circumstances," said Gibbs, "where was this Colonel McNamara killed?"
"It says here that he died in California," said Tony.
Gibbs exclaimed, "How could he have died in action? I am not aware any wars in California, at least not recently."
"That's what it says boss. I don't know the circumstances."
"Here's another interesting coincidence," said Ziva, "for several years Finn's unit was stationed in Sunnydale, California."
"Hell Ziva," an astonished Gibbs said, "that's not a coincidence! That's a bombshell!"
"You think Sunnydale was bombed?" asked a confused Ziva.
"No, no, Ziva, that's just an expression," Gibbs explained.
"I thought the whole town disappeared into a giant sinkhole. Bombing would more sense though. Terrorists?" wondered Ziva.
"No, no, Ziva, it sank due to natural causes, according to the Military Law Enforcement Journal, nothing to get excited about," said Gibbs.
"Why would the MLEJ write about it, boss?" asked McGee.
"Oh, something about police commendations for getting the town evacuated in time. The article was holding up the Sunnydale PD as a role model. Struck me as a load of horse puckey."
"Hah! Yeah," said Tony, "you wouldn't want to get struck by a load of..." he trailed off at Gibbs expression and then noticed a newcomer striding out of the elevator like he planned to invade.
"Agent Gibbs? I'm Agent Riley Finn. I'm here to pickup Buffy Summers. Would you bring her out now, please."
Gibbs stood up and pugnaciously faced Finn, "You're gonna have to do better than that son. I don't allow murder suspects to leave with just any passerby who happens to wander off the elevator."
Finn said evenly, "I have the necessary paperwork for her release, Agent Gibbs."
"Oh? And what paperwork would that be? A warrant? A pardon? A get-out-jail-free Monopoly card?" Gibbs asked.
"Actually," said Finn as he handed a printed letter to Gibbs, "Here's a get-out-of-jail-free letter signed by the President. If that's not good enough for you, I'll go up the chain of command. Oh, wait, there isn't any up from there."
Gibbs was astonished. "What does Buffy Summers have to do with the President?" he asked.
"Sorry sir, that's classified."
"Of course it is. But you don't sir me, Major Finn, I'd sir you, but you wouldn't like the way I do it. Tony, go get Ms. Summers."
The atmosphere was frosty while they waited for DiNozzo to return with Buffy. Abbey entered from the other side of the office just as Buffy and Tony arrived.
Buffy and Abbey stopped and looked at each other. "Geez," said Buffy, "get a load of goth-girl."
"That's goth forensic-scientist to you," said Abbey.
"Well, don't let the vampires bite. Shall we go Riley? Nice to have met you Agents Gibbs and DiNozzo. Sorry I haven't made the acquaintance of the rest of you."
"Don't let the vampires bite?" Riley said sarcastically, "what the hell was that about?"
"I couldn't think of anything else to say, apparently my head was empty at the time."
"So what happened Buffy, why'd they pick you up?"
"Two of those agents actually saw me stake a vampire last night. The light was bad so they aren't sure of what they saw, but they had already identified the vampire as some kind of self-important, but petty, officer. That's kind of insulting, isn't it? A sailor anyway. They didn't know about the vampire part, of course. Now they're really ticked at me. Can't really blame them either."
"Chief Petty Officer, perhaps?" asked Riley.
"Yeah, that's what he said. I wish I'd moved a faster, or noticed them behind me. I could have pushed the vamp deeper into the shadow before staking him," Buffy sighed.
"20/20 hindsight Buffy, but I wouldn't worry too much. You have the President on your side."
"Yeah, like how did that happen? I didn't even vote for her. Although I would've if I could've."
"Someone showed her the tapes of the destruction of the Initiative in Sunnydale. How that came about is something we're still investigating. Those records were supposed to be shredded and burned. Some over-industrious clerk filed copies somewhere and we think some other as yet unknown person tried to make political capitol from it. Anyway, we don't what happened yet. What I do know is that the President was impressed with you, and got word back to us. So, you have a friend in high places."
"Wow, I guess that's good. Better than getting shot anyway."
"Don't let the vampires bite?" Abbey asked sarcastically, "what the hell is that about?"
"Maybe the Chief had been bitten by a vampire?" said Tony, trying to make a joke.
Gibbs whacked the back of Tony's head. "Get to work. Vampires my ass."
But everyone looked thoughtful as they hunched over their computers to research Buffy Summers and Riley Finn.
"Where we going Riley?" asked Buffy, as they got into a nondescript sedan driven by a Marine corporal.
"We need to stop at the Pentagon and check something."
"Wow, do you think they'll let me in?"
"Don't know why not. Actually Buffy, I'm trying to draw you into a project. You see, the vampire you dusted last night worked for my department, I mean, before he was sired. If there was anyone in the Navy who should have understood the dangers from vampires, it would have been Chief Donovan. The first time I met him, he was dusting vampires with a fid."
"What the hecks a fid?" asked Buffy.
"Think of it as a wood marlinespike."
"Well, that clears it right up—just like mud. Never mind the lingo, go on."
"A wood tool for fiddling with line, very much like a large stake except nautical as all get-out. So my boss is suspicious as hell of the circumstances in which an old salt like Donovan got sired, and so am I."
"OK, that sounds like a Buffy problem. I'll look into it with you, at least for a day or two. Then I'm supposed to go to Cleveland, so you need to keep your NCIS buddies from butting in. I'm afraid that Xander might be in need of a friend after dealing with a couple of dozen teenaged slayers all by himself."
Riley shuddered at the thought, "That does sound like a thankless job."
"Umm, Boss?" asked Ziva, "I found another coincidence. You might not like this one, either."
"Spit it out, Ziva."
"You want me to spit?"
"Just an expression, stop pussyfooting — never mind, just tell me!" said Gibbs.
Ziva mumbled under her breath, "Pussyfooting?" then spoke louder, "Chief Donovan, the man we were looking for—found—and lost again, worked for the Initiative, in the Pentagon."
Gibbs shook his head and stomped upstairs to the director's office.
Ziva turned to Tony and asked, "What is this pussyfooting? Because I gotta say, it sounds like—wait, why the hell am I asking you?"
"Director Shepard," said Jethro to Jenny, "I think we have a problem. I believe that you may wish to file a complaint with another department."
"Calm down Jethro, you know your blood pressure is too high. Now tell me about it."
"Four days ago, "Gibbs summarized, "we received a routine AWOL notification for a CPO Donovan. It was marked 'Urgent', because the Chief worked in the Pentagon in some sneaky-pete operation. So we set about investigating: his apartment was clean, his hangouts were typical for a senior enlisted man, his correspondence was dull (at least the unclassified stuff, we couldn't get clearance for his work). His car was ordinary and typical. We found his passport and credit cards, so foul play became a good possibility. We caught a break when we got a call from the Washington PD, some cop noticed the APB and remembered seeing him at an after hours club that they had staked out for unrelated reasons. So, three of us went to the stake-out and we eventually spotted him leaving the premises. We followed. We tried to catch up but he moved pretty fast. We saw him duck into an alley, and then we saw a young woman go after him, into the alley. This was at 0130, you understand, so we didn't think there could be anything legitimate about this."
The director interrupted, "This was the girl you questioned today? Buffy Summers?"
"Yes," said Jethro, "but we had to let her go. These Initiative people showed up with a letter signed by the President."
"Of the United States?"
"Yes. I checked it out."
"Of course you did," murmured Jenny.
"But now it turns out that Chief Donovan worked for Major Finn, and they all knew each other from Sunnydale, California."
"The town that sank last year?"
"So Jethro, what happened to Donovan?"
"I don't know! The light was poor, there was a little moonlight, and a lamp post a fair distance away. But with the shadows and all, well, neither Tony nor I could tell what actually happened. But it looked like the Summers woman stabbed the Chief in his heart with a wooden stake. And then he disappeared from sight. We were in a blind alley, nothing but a couple of dumpsters behind them. I ran past the woman within seconds and I found nothing but a pile of ashes."
"What did Ms. Summers say?" asked the director.
"Nothing. She claimed she saw no one, she admitted nothing about the stake, she only called for this Riley Finn."
"But, what about forensics?"
"So far, nothing substantive."
"Jethro, this does not look good. You don't have enough for a warrant, you don't have enough to even officially suspect anyone. If you told this story to anyone who didn't know you, they'd think you were nuts. Hell, even people who do know you will wonder." The director paused for a moment and then added, "There is one thing though, you have the AWOL notification; that gives you not just the authority, but the mandate to continue your investigation. Just don't go around talking about people exploding into dust."
"But you need to use your old-boy network, director, to find out what these Initiative people do. They are the most secretive bunch we've ever come across, and you know that's saying something."
"Old-girl network," she replied.
Buffy was incredulous as they walked along a dingy hall. "This is the Pentagon? This is the center of defense of the fucking free world? This depressing dump?"
"Well," said Riley apologetically, "it does get nicer when you get to flag officer territory. But you know, we actually take a perverse pride that we aren't some movie director's idea of a military base. This is a place where people actually work for a living doing something important."
"I think I understand Dr. Strangelove, all of a sudden."
"And besides," Riley continued, "the Initiative's main office's are elsewhere. This is just where Chief Donovan and the OOD worked, along with a yeoman. Really, they just did paperwork here."
"OOD? YOMAN? Oh never mind, I'll never remember all these acronyms of yours."
"But Buffy, you spent some time with us back in Sunnydale. You must have picked up some military jargon."
"I did, and I've worked hard to forget as much as possible since then. Never mind all that Riley, tell me about Chief Donovan."
"Well, he took of logistics. He made sure we had what we needed, where we needed it, when it was needed. He was good at it, too. The Chief spent almost his entire career with the Initiative. He knew more than anyone what we need in the field. He's gonna be hard to replace. I was serious when I said that if anyone in the Navy could defend himself against vampires, it was Donovan."
"OK, tell me about..." she stopped when they came around a corner and faced two armed Marines guarding an otherwise unremarkable door. She dropped into a whisper, "Do we have to fight our way through?"
"Down Buffy," said Riley as the Marines came to attention. One opened the door for them and they entered an office just big enough for three battered government issue desks, several ugly green metal filing cabinets, a nice mahogany bookshelf, and two more doors.
"Hello Timmons," said Riley.
"Sir," Yeoman First Class Timmons replied, "here, these need your approval." He pushed a one inch thick stack of paper towards Riley.
Riley sighed and said, "It'll have to be later."
"I know, I know."
"Just sign them sir!" the yeoman said desperately.
"Give me an hour! Shees. You're worse than my wife."
Buffy looked at Donovan's desk. She asked, "What does MCGM mean?"
"Master Chief Gunner's Mate. Which is ironic considering he spent his career fighting creatures that shrugged off gunshots. Although he did keep trying to test new ideas, I think he was genuinely upset that he never found a gun as reliable as the stake or sword for killing vampires. And of course, to have his life ended by a vampire, that's just wrong, worse than wrong really."
Buffy and Riley went through Donovan's desk but found nothing to indicate any problems outside of his usual everyday problems. It was quiet in the office, the only sound was the soft susurrus of the air ventilators. Until the door slammed open and a general walked in like owned the place.
"General Taylor!" exclaimed Riley popping to attention, "I wasn't expecting you sir, did you have an appointment?"
"I don't need an appointment, Major Finn. I'm a General Officer, in case you hadn't noticed. As you were. Now, I need to be briefed on today's operations." Noticing Buffy for the first time he said, "Who the hell are you?"
"General, you don't have clearance for our operations," Riley exclaimed with a worried look, "you know that sir, Admiral Fitzsimmons explained it all to both of us. If I give you what you are asking for, I will be court-martialed!"
Buffy looked speculatively at General Taylor. She said brightly, "Hey, aren't you a vampire?"
Both Timmons and Riley snapped startled and frightened looks at both Buffy and the General.
The General said, "No, I'm not." But he denial was strangely lacking in vigor.
Buffy replied with a kick to his chest. He flew into the wall and vamped out. Timmons stood up, his chair smashed the wall behind him, and he backed into a corner formed by the filing cabinets, his hands shaking as he stared.
General Vampire said, "The Slayer! You aren't authorized to be here!"
"That's where you're wrong. How many people have you sired here?"
"Wouldn't you like to know!" And the General threw himself at Buffy, wildly punching and kicking.
Riley helped as best he could. The General and Buffy knocked each other around the small office, making a real mess of things. The noise level increased until the Marine sentries, standing outside the sturdy door, started sending glances of worry to each other. After one particularly loud crash, they opened the door and after an appalled look, the corporal phoned his Sergeant for help.
Riley was frantically pawing through Chief Donovan's desk and finally found a stake, which he tossed to Buffy, who promptly stabbed the General, who promptly exploded into dust. The Marines stood shell shocked, mouths open in amazement. Timmons slowly slid down the wall and closed his eyes.
By now Riley was merely angry. He stalked to the door and said to Buffy, "Wait here to be debriefed. There's coffee and snacks in that room."
Timmons was amazed that Major Finn would be so callous as to offer refreshments at a time like this, and even more amazed when Buffy took him up on his offer.
Riley said to the Marines, "Did you call for backup?"
"Shit! OK, look, when the Sergeant arrives, you tell him nothing at all. This is classified up the wazoo, you are under my orders to keep your traps shut! Admiral Fitzsimmons will debrief us as soon as he is able. Don't open this door until I tell you to, or until the Admiral arrives."
Riley stepped back and shut the door. He looked around grimly and shook his head. Buffy sat primly on Yeoman Timmons guest chair, sipping coffee. Timmons had made it back to his chair, but he was clearly shaken to his core.
Riley opened what looked like an electrical panel on the wall behind Donovan's desk and punched a large orange button. Then he picked up the phone and hit 1 on the speed dial. After a few moments he said, "Admiral Fitzsimmons please. It's an emergency." After a wait of about three minutes he said, "Admiral, this is Major Finn. I have declared a code Bright Orange situation ... yessir, I am positive. Right here in the Initiative office, in the C-ring." He had to hold the phone away from his ear because of the explosive retort from Fitzsimmons.
Buffy could hear the Admiral shouting over the phone, "... HERE IN THE FUCKING PENTAGON?"
"Sir," said Riley, "I believe it would be in the best interests of, well everything, if you came down here. No hurry sir, sometime in the next ten minutes."
A clerk came down the stairs and found Tony. "Agent DiNozzo, I have flash traffic for NCIS. Where is Agent Gibbs?"
"I'll take it."
Tony read the message and ran down to the labs. He skidded to a stop and said, "Flash traffic from the Pentagon boss. They declared a Code Bright Orange!"
"What in the hot flames of hell is a Code Bright Orange?" Gibbs asked, "if this is some sort of sick joke I am going to be ..."
"I don't know, I assumed you would know, I thought it was some obscure military thing."
"Abbey, can you look it up on your computer?"
"Sure." She tapped away. "Ah, here it is, it's, oh hell..."
Tony asked urgently, "What is it Abbey? I don't like the sound of 'oh hell'"
"IT'S CLASSIFIED! I can't believe it! What kind of pluperfect idiot classifies the meaning of an emergency message? How could this possibly be useful to anyone?"
Gibbs snatched the message out of Tony's hand. He scanned it rapidly and started swearing. "This originated from the Initiative office. It's in the damned Initiative, again! Are there any instructions for this code in that computer Abbey?"
"Well Gibbs, all it says is NCIS is supposed to respond. I wish I knew what you'd be responding to, but ..."
Admiral Fitzsimmons cautiously opened the door and looked around carefully, taking in the trashed state of the office, the nervous inhabitants, his eyes narrowing when he caught sight of a fine looking blond woman casually sipping coffee. He had deployed the two Marine sentries behind him. The Marines were still puzzled by the Admiral's playing around with his little mirror, but responded to his otherwise serious demeanor.
"Finn, who was it?"
"General Taylor, sir."
"Yessir," said Riley, and he pointed silently to a small pile of dust in the middle of the trashed office, and then to the general's stars that somehow survived the dusting.
A Marine Sergeant hustled into the scene. He was horrified to discover that an Admiral had arrived first. He pulled the corporal aside and asked in an imperative whisper, "What the hell happened here!"
"I can't say, Sarge."
"What the hell do you mean you can't say! You'll tell me what happened or I'll tear you a new asshole!"
The corporal's expression suggested he was about to get flattened between two trucks. "Major Finn ordered us to talk only to the General, it's classified! Stop asking me Sarge, I'd tell you if I could. Of course, you wouldn't believe me if I did tell you."
Riley noticed the Marine kerfuffle and motioned them out the door. "Sergeant, what happened here is classified at the highest level. These two are relieved so they can be debriefed with the rest of us. When the rest of my team ... oh, here they are. You can go Sargeant."
"Er, uh, yes sir!"
Riley grabbed the two sentries and dragged them into the office. Four Initiative agents arrived. Riley whispered instructions to them, two came in, two stood guard at the door. When the Sergeant got around the corner, he cursed softly, but with conviction, "Goddamn all officers!"
Back in the office, a now calm Admiral Fitzsimmons asked, "OK, tell me what happened here. Oh, and somebody tell me who this young woman is, and why is she here?" His attitude suggested that all hell was going to break loose on whoever invited this civilian into a secure installation.
"Oh," said Riley, "ah Admiral, I'd like to introduce you to Buffy Summers, the Vampire Slayer."
Fitzsimmons' attitude took a 180° course change. "Oh, Ms. Summers. I've heard a lot about you. I am very pleased to make your acquaintance."
Buffy smiled and shook his hand. "Hi General. I can't say the same for you, but, that's the way it goes."
The Admiral smiled and started to say something when a loud commotion from outside the office interrupted him. He and Riley both shook their heads in irritation and Riley motioned for the Initiative sentry to open the door. He motioned for both agents to block the door, and stood between them.
"So Major Riley Finn," asked Gibbs, "are you causing another problem?"
"Special Agent Gibbs!" exclaimed Riley, "what are you doing here?"
"Answering a code Bright Orange flash traffic."
Riley and the Admiral exchanged worried looks. "What do you know about Bright Orange?" asked Riley.
"Enough to hustle to the crime scene when handed a flash message. This is a crime scene?" Gibbs looked over the shoulders of Riley and the agents and took in the general state of disorder, Buffy Summers, and a small pile of dust.
"Tony," ordered Gibbs, "get the crime-scene tape up." He somehow managed to worm himself between Riley and the corporal, only to find himself face-to-face with an Admiral. "Oops, this is unexpected, Admiral ...?"
"I'm Admiral Fitzsimmons, Agent Gibbs. How is it that you're familiar with the Vampire Slayer?"
"Uh, what? Vampire? Slayer?" Gibbs gibbered.
"Oh hell," said the general, "forget I said that. That's an order, it's classified, I thought you knew more. Agent Gibbs, by the authority vested in me specifically from the President, I am in charge of this crime scene. You do not have the need to know, and frankly, I can't imagine how flash traffic was routed to you. It was an error. Please accept my apologies for disturbing you. Please, go back to, well, whatever you usually do."
Gibbs did not look happy. But he could see that he was severely outmaneuvered. He tried one more thing, "Major Finn, have you found your Chief Donovan yet?"
"Yes we have, Gibbs. Now please go."
"May I speak to him?"
Gibbs left, taking along his crew and crime scene tape. Riley closed the door with a great sigh of relief. "Well Admiral, I guess it could have been worse, but it's hard see how."
"Heh! We could have taken Taylor out with a shoulder fired missile in a public mall." Admiral Fitzsimmons smiled ruefully at Buffy.
Buffy looked absolutely floored. "How did you know about that?"
"The police chief in Sunnydale sent us the security tapes," said Riley.
"Oh, I always wondered about him."
"So," asked the Admiral, "what's next? It's safe to say that General Taylor sired Chief Donovan, in fact, it's actually hard to see how else it could have been done. But how do we check for other possible vampires?"
Buffy said, "First you need to find out how long it's been since General Taylor was out in the sun. Security tapes work well for that. Then you can check for deaths or absences during that time frame. Then use your mirror on those people, if you can find them. And I noticed that you have tight security at the entrances—it might work if you put full size mirrors at your weapons detector stations."
"Sounds like a plan. Major, get on it, report back to me tomorrow. I'm outta here, nice to meet you Ms. Summers." And the Admiral left.
"Oh, gosh Riley, I'm so sorry. It looks like you're stuck with the cleanup. I hope you're not too mad at me for suggesting all that to your Admiral," Buffy apologized.
"Don't worry, I'll delegate it to the captains who work for me."
"Now wait a minute Riley, I thought captains were senior to you!"
"You're thinking of Navy captains, I'm talking about Marine and Army captains."
"That makes no sense at all. But don't explain it, I don't want to know. I'll head to Cleveland now. Do I need an escort out of here? Call me a taxi?"
"I'll have my driver drop you off wherever you want."
"What did you find out, Jenny?" asked Jethro.
"About the Initiative, of course, you haven't forgotten already, have you?" Gibbs asked a little testily.
"Oh, that. We've been ordered to stop those inquiries."
"Oh now Jenny, I know you, and I know that wouldn't stop you. You're just like me, I know you just became more dogged."
"Jethro, did you just call me a bitch?"
"Huh? No! I meant dogged as in stubborn, you know, dig in your heels."
"You're just digging yourself deeper. But in fact, that was the old Jenny. The new Jenny, that is, Director Jenny Shepherd, is more willing to play by the rules. So, when orders come down, phrased the way this order was phrased, I follow it—and more to the point, so will you. Because I know you Jethro Gibbs, and this time, you will not dig further. The Initiative will be left to their own devices."
Gibbs glared angrily, but said nothing. The director glared back without rancor. Gibbs turned stiffly and went downstairs, anger radiating from his every movement.
A couple of days later Tony, sitting at his desk, was interrupted by the mail plopping down in front of him. He nodded thanks to the delivery kid and put his fingernail clippers down. He ripped open a large envelope with no return address. Out plopped a Defense Department Training manual, with TOP SECRET and CLASSIFIED stamped prominently across the front. He opened it and huffed in astonishment at the illustration.
"Uh boss?" he said uncertainly without looking up, "you might want to look at this."
Ziva said, "Gibbs isn't here, and I'm not sure if you are here either." Ziva curiously stepped over to Tony's desk and looked over his shoulder. Her eyes opened large when saw what he was looking at. "Dafuk barosh!" she exclaimed.
Abbey wandered by with a report for Gibbs. She tossed it on his desk and then noticed Tony and Ziva looking paralyzed with shock. She walked over and picked up the report.
"Hey, look at this! 'Guide to Neutralizing Hostile Sub-Terrestrials' – an instruction book on killing vampires published by the DoD! How cool is that?"
McGee noticed the commotion and got up to stand behind Abbey. He said, "This cannot be a real publication. What's the form number? I can prove this a fake."
Abbey flipped to the front cover and searched, "Here it is, DD18347-I-R1988."
Tony turned to his computer and opened up the DoD web site. He typed the number in the search box and stood back in puzzlement. "It says, 'Classified – Refer to Initiative Dept. 2, HST Control'. Gah! This IS real!"
"Better not let Gibbs see this, he'll think we're featherbedding," said Ziva.
From behind them Gibbs said, "Ziva, of all the slang to have picked up, why would you learn about featherbedding? That's the last thing I need around here."
He casually grabbed the manual out of Abbey's hands and after a quick glance, tossed in the trash. "Get back to work."
When Gibbs wasn't looking, Abbey grabbed the manual out of the trash and headed back to her labs.