Chapter 30.

I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Stargate SG1.

/ Xander's thoughts /

% Jolinar's thoughts %

#"Tok'ra or Goa'uld voice"#

Angelus had Dalton, his brainy vamp, researching for something that would cause him to feel pain when he tried to kill a human. At Dalton's suggestion, he even had a minion bring in a human to test different amounts of hostility on the meat. No pain just trying to scare it, but intense pain for just trying to hurt it. Interestingly, ordering the other vamp to hurt it, only tingled a bit. And dusting the vamp for suggesting that he was weak hadn't hurt in the least. He ended up having Dalton drain the meat's blood into a clean bucket for him to drink.

The taste of his first human blood in... he didn't know how long, was amazing. Like that first breath of air for a drowning man or that first drink of water in a desert. He drained most of the bucket but let Dalton finish it off.

"Those damn kids did this to me. I just know it. It was probably Xander." Angelus griped.

"Not the Slayer?" Dalton looked up from his bucket.

"Dalton, you've got a little..." he motioned to his chin in mirror of where Dalton had blood running down his own. Dalton wiped his mouth then Angelus continued. "No, she's not the ring leader anymore. Xander is the real power in that group." Angelus wasn't sure why he wasn't telling the minion about Xander being an alien. He supposed it might make him sound crazy.

"And I can't fight them like this." he looked at his hands. "We'll have to finish the Judge. If we can get him finished without them knowing, we should be able to take them by surprise."

"Angelus is back and reassembling the Judge? That rascally scamp." The Mayor tisked. "Normally I'd applaud his initiative, but not right now. We just can't let this happen at present. Make sure the Slayer finds out. Warn her yourself if you have to. But nothing is going to stand in the way of my Ascension. And there just isn't enough room for two unstoppable demons in this town."

Buffy had too much on her mind (and an angry mother right next to her) to even think about patrolling tonight. She radioed Giles to tell him that she wouldn't be patrolling. The call was really for the NID so they would take over patrolling for the night.

"We just saw him less than an hour ago. Didn't you tell him that at school?" her mother complained.

"That wasn't for him. That was for the NID." Buffy explained.

"Right... the secret government organization that is doing, what exactly?" Joyce questioned.

"Well, we're not sure yet, but Xander-"

"Xander the alien?" Joyce confirmed.

"Right. Well, sort of half-alien?" Buffy seemed unsure.

"Fine. And you've been dating a boy behind my back." Joyce seemed most upset about this part. "And not only is he 200 years older than you, but he's also a reformed mass-murderer who may no longer be as reformed as you thought. And he has an open invitation to our home, which is why we have to go stay with Xander, Ford and Willow? Did I forget anything?"

"That Ted has been drugging you?" Buffy offered.

Joyce's knuckles turned white on the steering wheel. "I didn't forget about that." Indeed. The kids had let her have a small bite of a cookie as proof that they were right. How much better she felt after that was the only reason she was able to drive right now. It also happened to be proof that they were right. At least about the cookies. She didn't want to think about Ted or everything else that they were claiming. Vampires and demons and aliens. Oh my.

Sunday morning was interesting. With five people suddenly living together, and some of them not happy about that fact; it was a recipe for, well not disaster but certainly frayed nerves. Plus Xander discovered a few things he hadn't thought of when searching for the house. Firstly, it may have been huge but it had only one bathroom. And secondly, that three women and only one bathroom were not a good mix. Especially when two of those women were in a bad mood already. Xander made a mental note to get some contractors in here to give them more bathrooms.

Luckily neither woman was inclined to do much yelling. Mostly keeping their ire focused in deadly glares. Buffy glared at Xander whenever they were in the same room. Apparently it was his fault that her mom was angry at her. Joyce's glares were spread around, even if they were strongest on Buffy. Apparently she felt that Buffy's friends should have come forward sooner. Of course, once she noticed Buffy glaring at Xander, she decided to become very friendly towards him. Cooking him, and only him, pancakes. Refilling his juice when it got low and insisting that he call her 'Joyce'. Frankly it was getting uncomfortable and Xander decided it was time to get out of there. He headed down to the basement to get the healing device reinstalled.

The antiquated electrical circuits here were barely adequate to run the healing device. And it would mean shutting down power to the rest of the house while they did so. It also meant that Xander kept three fire extinguishers nearby.

Only once Joyce left to go work at her Gallery did Xander venture back up. And was promptly met by the glares of two girls. "Ok, I know why Buffy's mad at me. But what did I do to make you upset?" he asked Willow.

"She was cooking for you and you didn't tell her to stop." Willow complained.

"What? Mrs Summer? Will. What were you watching? She was nice to me because Buffy was mad at me. That's it." Xander explained.

"And you didn't do anything to stop her." Buffy stabbed him in the chest with her finger.

"Oww." Xander complained. "Ok, that's it. You guys can be mad at me when I've done something wrong, but I haven't done anything wrong here. So, I will see you at the library. Come on, Ford." But Ford was staying out of it and had mysteriously disappeared. Xander sighed and walked out the front door alone.

Rupert Giles was just as flummoxed by Jenny's actions as Xander was by his girls'. She completely misrepresented herself and lied about her reasons for coming to Sunnydale. And in light of the news about Ted, he knew it might be possible that she had been planted in his life to gain access to his Slayer and Angel. A point which she denied, naturally.

After last night's "coming out" party where Buffy revealed her true identity to her mother, Giles found himself on the floor from a straight right from Joyce. It didn't escape his notice that Jenny was immediately by his side then. Or how tenderly she had tended his wounds before he had remembered her betrayal and brushed her off. And the hurt look she wore when he did so.

All in all, Rupert confessed himself to be very confused. On the one hand, she had come forward with the information that she was sent here on her own, and had also volunteered information about Angel losing his soul, which had given them a solid meaning to Angel's sudden personality shift and Buffy's dream. On the other hand, he wasn't sure he could believe her that their relationship, such as it was, was completely unplanned. He didn't know if he could forgive that betrayal.

Xander didn't head straight for school when he left the house. Instead he made for the nearest public pay phone. He dialed the direct number for General Hammond.

There was no answer. His call went to voicemail.

Duh. It was Sunday. He was probably home with his family. Xander hung up without leaving a message. He didn't want to call the General at home. Not just because he didn't want to disturb him, but if the NID was bugging their phones, he wouldn't put it past them to bug the general's too.

He started walking to the Library. On the way, he met up with Ford. "Hey buddy, thanks for abandoning me to the wolves back there." he said sarcastically.

"Any time." Ford grinned back. "There was no way I was getting involved in that one. And didn't you leave, like 5 minutes ago? I waited until after the girls had left. You should be almost to the school by now."

"Had a quick errand to run." Xander evaded. He wasn't going to be forthcoming to the guy who just let him twist in the wind like that.

They arrived at the school a little later and found everyone in the library. "Alright, time for a field trip." Xander announced and everyone followed him out to the back of the school where he ringed them up to the spaceship still in orbit there.

Once they were aboard, Buffy and Willow grabbed a crate. Ford and Giles grabbed the other. Leaving Xander and Jenny standing.

"Ok, a lot's been happening recently and I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page with everything and that we all know what everyone is doing and what our priorities are for the upcoming week." Xander began. "Does anyone have any questions before I begin?"

Buffy's hand shot up and Xander called on her. "If you don't stop making googly eyes at my mom, I'm going to pull your arms out of their sockets." Buffy said with mock cheerfulness.

"Googly eyes?" sounded funny when said with Giles' British accent.

"There were no eyes, googly or otherwise. Mrs. S was nice to me, I was nice to her. End of story. Except that Buffy and Willow are somehow mad about it." Xander shook his head.

"And this is why it's a bad idea to tell the parents." Giles rubbed his temples then readjusted his glasses. "Girls, if you would please understand that Xander had nothing to do with Joyce's actions, then we could be moving on?"

"Ok. First up, Willow and I are proud to announce that we have the first four communication devices, or S-Radios as we're calling them, done. We should have the other two done soon. Which means several things. Tonight, it means that we get to mess with those NID teams that are wandering around our town. Once we've had our fun, we can give them our ultimatum to remove their bugs or else." Xander stated.

Buffy raised her hand again. "Why do we have to give them the ultimatum? Why not just find the bugs ourselves and squash them?"

"Because the NID aren't demons that you just squish, Buff." Xander answered. "We'll find out a lot more about them if we demand they remove their bugs first. Like whether they respect us or not. If they don't view us as a threat, they probably won't bother to remove the bugs. Or not all the bugs anyway. If they're willing to follow our demands, that's a good sign. It means we might be able to force them out of Sunnydale peacefully."

"Smacking them around a bit might give them the right idea." Buffy interrupted.

"Or it might get them to ignore your diplomatic immunity and call in an airstrike." Xander countered. "And first we need to see if we can push these guys at all before it comes down to a real fight. Because we don't have the weapons or, more importantly, the manpower to take these guys on." Xander took a breath. "Which leads me to our next point. The NID itself. We were able to hack into the NID database and download some stuff. Giles, were you able to sift through all that paperwork we gave you?"

Giles stood up. It was then that everyone noticed that he had a duffel bag with him. "Yes, I was able to sort the myriad papers you gave me into some semblance of order. There were three groups of reports. The largest group you gave me referenced the SCG and seemed to be action reports on various missions to other planets. The next were the HST reports. Which seemed very similar but were by and about the HST teams the NID is employing around Sunnydale. I read a couple of them and one clearly stated that the team narrowly avoided running into 'The Slayer' when the radio team reported her location."

Giles shared a glance with Xander. "So it's certainly good that we are switching to the... S-Radios. The third group of reports were medical in nature." Giles paused. "I didn't understand all the medical jargon but after reading just a few I can say with certainty that they are experimenting on demons and vampires. Or HSTs as they call them."

"HST?" Willow asked.

"Hostile Sub Terrestrial." Giles clarified.

"That's not good." Xander and Jenny breathed at the same time.

"What's so bad about it? It's just demons." Buffy argued.

Xander opened his mouth to answer but Jenny beat him to the punch. "It's exactly like what the gypsies did with Angelus. They should have killed a monster like that but instead they toyed with him. And now he's out there, killing again."

"Not to mention what they might do to a guy like Oz." Xander added. "Who's only dangerous one night a month and is willing to lock himself up that night."

"Three." Giles interjected. At Xander's confused look he added, "The full transformation happens three nights a month. The actual night of the full moon as well as the preceding and subsequent nights."

"Good job with the research." Buffy praised.

"If by 'research' you mean I asked the young man then thank you." Giles smirked a little.

"Right. So, to sum up. NID bad. Which brings me to my next point. The new student teacher/NID agents. Actually, I was just thinking we should demand their removal with the other bugs. Any objections?"

Xander looked around. No one raised a hand, but Buffy pouted a little over the loss of her 'hotties'.

"Ok, and the other possible NID agent, Ted. We should really confirm if he is an agent or not first. Giles did you find anything in your reports about a 'Ted'?" Xander asked.

"Not that I recall, but I haven't read everything yet," the watcher answered.

"Ok, so my plan for dealing with Ted is to zat him and interrogate him before we confront the NID." Xander stated.

"We want to know for sure if he's an NID agent or not. If not, we don't want to look stupid by assuming he is. And if he is, then that's a nice little bargaining chip we can use." Jolinar stated.

"Does anyone have a better idea?" Giles asked. When no ideas were forthcoming, he asked, "Tonight at the embassy?"

"Best idea probably." Xander confirmed. "And that leads into the next topic. Mrs. Summers."

"What about my mom?" Buffy wondered.

"First, do you want her there for the interrogation?" Xander asked.

"No. But I don't think we'll be able to keep her out now." Buffy said, resigned.

Jolinar sighed. "Well then we should just be ready to restrain her. Finding out someone betrayed you can make a person rather irrational."

"Then on the Embassy itself. I've got contractors coming this weekend to do a lot of work. We'll have to watch them closely and do a bug sweep once they're gone. I've got three teams coming over. Plumbers to add two new bathrooms, one upstairs and one in the basement. Electricians to update the wiring to heavy grade, industrial wiring. And some carpenters to finish it all off. If everyone could be present both days to help and to watch the contractors, that would be a great help. Otherwise, we might have to dig bugs out of our brand-new walls." Xander informed them.

"Right. So next, we have reason to believe that Angel has lost his soul and become Angelus." Xander continued. "We don't know why and we haven't actually seen him attack anyone yet. But the information from the gypsies, Buffy's dream, and the sudden personality shift certainly fit. First question, can he be re-souled? And secondly, do we want to do that to him?"

Jenny shook her head. "The curse that ensouled him the first time has been lost to my clan. I don't think it's possible, but I can check."

"People could die while you're checking. How long until you'd know for sure?" Jolinar asked.

"A week, maybe more."

Xander shook his head. "That's a long time. So, maybe we should answer the second question first. Do we want to curse the soul of Liam O'Connell back into his corpse so it can be tortured for the rest of eternity? Or do we let him rest in peace?"

"Who?" Buffy wondered.

"Angel. Liam is his name." Jolinar offered.

"Oh, then of course we're going to re-soul him. It's Angel." Buffy complained.

Everyone else looked unsure. Giles spoke up first. "It's not that simple, Buffy. This is a curse, meant to torture him." Giles cast a glare at Jenny. "And who is to say it's our right to curse him again? I certainly wouldn't want you to curse my soul back into my corpse."

"Seconded." Xander said quickly.

#"And that goes double for me."# Jolinar switched to his deep voice to tell everyone that they both didn't want to be brought back.

"Having finally accepted my death, I can say that you can just dust me if I'm ever turned." Ford stated.

Willow looked less sure than the others. "I guess I'd rather not be a vampire. If I'm all fangy and bitey, you can just dust me too."

Everyone looked at Miss Calendar, "Dust in the wind." she smiled at Rupert.

Buffy's shoulders slouched as she admitted defeat. "I guess we kill him then."

"No. We won't make you do that. Colonel O'Neill had to fight one of his best friends when that friend became infected by a Goa'uld. So we know first hand how difficult it can be to try to kill someone wearing a friend's face. Those of us who didn't know him as well or didn't like him as much will deal with him." Jolinar stated.

Buffy gave a small smile. "Great." She wouldn't have to kill him. She'd just have to sit by while her friends did it. She didn't think it was going to be any easier this way.

"We'll have a couple of days while we deal with the NID before we focus on finding Angelus." Xander continued.

"I thought Angel was the top priority?" Buffy queried.

"He's the most dangerous right now. Which is why we have to deal with the NID first. I don't want to imagine what might happen if Angelus were to fall into the NID's hands. With everything he knows? So, Angelus is more dangerous right now, but the NID is more urgent. Because they could become far more dangerous than one vampire." Xander explained.

"Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. A couple of days before we focus on finding Angelus. Willow and I should have the last two S-Radios done by then and then we'll start on weapons. We already know the staff weapons work well on vamps and the P90s... well are better than nothing. Our plan is to miniaturize the staff weapons to fire from the P90 platform. This should give us a 1-2 punch that should kill or at least damage 99 percent of all demons that we regularly face." Xander continued.

"Miss Summers, have you been able to try the P90 on other demons?" Jolinar asked.

Buffy looked up from her self-pitying. "Yeah. None of them liked it. Killed about half outright and the other half just got mad. Worked even better than insulting their mama."

"You've been insulting their mamas?" Willow looked a little shocked.

Buffy was taken aback for a moment. "No, Will, just normal insults."


Xander chuckled at Willow's innocence. Kill them, but don't insult their mothers. "Alright. We're pretty much done. So, plan for tonight is to meet at the embassy at 6, when Mrs. Summers gets off work. She'll be bringing Ted over for his interrogation. We question him then tonight we have fun with the NID and give them an ultimatum on the bugs. Everyone whose house is bugged should stay at the embassy tonight to give them a chance to retrieve their bugs quickly. Monday, I'll call the SGC for a bug sweeping team or the equipment to do it ourselves. After that's done, we start tracking down Angelus. Any comments or questions?" When none were forthcoming, Xander finished. "Ok, the last thing I have to talk about is homework."

Willow looked excited. Buffy looked angry. Xander tried very hard not to smile. "All the reports that Giles brought ... read them." He looked at Willow. "The SGC reports will be especially valuable if you ever hope to work for the SGC in the future." Willow looked even more excited than before as Xander continued. "We'll divide them up so everyone gets some."

Everyone got a tenth of the total pile except for Willow who claimed half the reports for herself including most of the SGC ones. They let her knowing she would be done with her much larger pile before most of them would be done with theirs. Then Xander ringed Giles and Jenny back down to the school. He flew the ship over their embassy and ringed everyone else down to the back door.

Buffy went to take a nap while Xander and Willow worked on the S-Radios with Ford watching.