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Chapter 10: Lost Connection

Black Eye Guy

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The cold night air made the hair on the back of Willows neck stand, as goosbumps spread across her arms.

Looking out over the grounds of the castle, Willow was hoping it was only the cold Scottish air that was giving her goosebumps, It had been 3 months since...anything. They hadn't heard from Ansara, Indra or Drusilla and no word on the Scythe.

Wherever they were hiding, they were deep under the radar. No amount of locator spells was turning up their missing weapon, and it was putting them all on edge.

Add to it, they were getting new reports each week of Slayers leaving their teams, and seemingly disappearing off the face of the planet, they knew there was a connection but they couldn't find it, fustration was growing.

Willow ran her hands through her hair, brushing it out of her face and closed the window, shutting out the night air, immediately the room heated up, suddenly there was a loud buzz causing her to jump when the silence was broken by the call of the intercom. She ran across the room and hit the answer button hoping it wouldn't wake Kennedy.

Assistant: "Sorry Ms. Rosenberg, we have a call for you, it's agents Finn their calling on the Video phone, so you'll have to take it down here."

She hit the button to talk back, and whispered into the mic, "Excellent, I'll be down in a minuet", and hit the off button before the assistants booming voice could wake Kennedy.

She looked over to the bed, where Kennedy still lay sleeping, undisturbed by the call, then slipped on a jumper and left the room.

She walked the quiet halls down to the communications room. A call from Riley and Sam was long overdue, they were still in Nepal, they'd stayed behind to try and track down Indra but hadn't check in with them in over a month, their last Intel had Ansara still there, so updates from the Finns were vital.


She pushed through the double doors to the communications room, there was only 3 or 4 people in the room all working at computers. She looked over to Claire, who was the assistant that called her on the intercom, "Will you throw my call up on the big screen?", she nodded, and seconds later the projector above her head flicked on, and a tired and dishevelled looking Riley and Sam appeared on the screen on the back wall.

"Hey guys, long time no talk, how you guys been getting on?"
 

SamRPG

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Sam stared back at Willow who was stading in a room in Scotland.

"We've found them, come now"

A puzzeled look spread across Willows face, before she could open her mouth to speak, Sam interjected again.

"We've found them, come now"

"to Nepal"
 

RileyRPG

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Riley was a man who knew how to take orders. Abiding by rules given to him first by, his parents, then the military, and now Buffy. It was the way he lived his entire life. Having such a structured existence made things easier, concise, simple. He had been issued and order, and now he would he would obey. Simple. Direct.

Looking at the screen, a window to a world away, he was comforted by the order at hand.

"We've found them, come to Nepal."

Riley liked orders.
 

Black Eye Guy

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Willow stood in the middle of the communications room, the silence between her and the screen was intense, the other people in the room had all stopped doing whatever it was they were doing and were watching the screen.

Riley and Sam were staring back at them blankly, they were acting really odd.

"Eh guys... were gonna need a bit more info, like some actual info would be a good place to start? Whats wrong with the two of you?"
 

SamRPG

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Sam waited till Willow was done talking, and continued to stare.

"Willow, we have them, we know where they are, you guys have to come.

Come to Nepal"

She walked forward and turned off the camera, and the screen went blank.
 

Black Eye Guy

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The screen went blank as Riley and Sam vanished.

Willow looked around the room, looking entirely confused! "For former soldiers that had to file reports and give full details briefings - what the hell was that!"

She walked over to the closest computer and ran the tracking on the call, the call was registered from their base in Nepal.

She turned back from the computer to the assistants at the computer, "Can someone call through to Buffy, tell her I need her down here now. And can someone get me a recording of that... that... whatever that was!!"

She repeatedly pointed at the screen, "I'm also gonna need a coffee before I fall asleep, and if someone could pull up Robin Woods Files, he's out that way also right, Thanks guys!"

She said all her commands to the room, didn't have to direct them, the team worked really well at getting their stuff done!

Seconds later, Claire handed her a coffee.
 

Kean

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::Buffy was having one of those really good dreams, like, the really good kind. The anywhere-but-here-Gerard-Butler-soaked-to-the-skin-with-his-puppy-dog-Scottish-eyes-pleading-for-a-place-to-see-out-the-storm-and-Buffy-only-has-one-blanket-for-sharing kinda dreams. Buffy never had those dreams and even her subconscious mind knew what a rare treat it was and was determined to savour it. It was probably for this reason that she didn't notice the strange buzzing that seemed to fill her mind. At first she was sure it was Gerry, (Yeah, we're on those terms), and his chattering teeth. Being the humanitarian that she is Buffy sacrificed her own warmth and offered it to Gerry in the form of all body hug.::

What?!? Body heat was clearly my ONLY option!

I'm the hero here, I know what I'm doing!

Stop judging me!


When the chattering didn't stop Buffy began to rub her hands up and down her dream Gerry's arms. She couldn't help but notice how particularly cottony they felt.

Well, that ain't right.

The buzzing got louder and louder until it was the only thing Buffy knew...and then she woke up and found herself loving warming her pillow.

"No, no,no, no..."

::Buffy fumbled groggly at her night stand untill she grasped the phone.::

::She croaked a half-hearted threat down the line.::

"This better be an apocalypse or else I'm gona make you eat that headset of yours."

That was the 87th time Miss Summers had threatened Claire like that.

She was keeping count.

There was a poll going that they'd reach 100 by next week.

::Claire took it in her stride, in fact, she liked to play tease her commander. She put on her most annoyingly cheerful voice and relayed Miss Rosenberg's message.::

Buffy: Rise and shine Ma'am! Evil's afoot!
Claire: Ugh...grr
Buffy: Aw now, none of that! Miss Rosenberg has requested your pressence in the command room, there is an issue with Agents Finn and Finn.
Claire: Can't it wait till the morning?
Buffy: It's 5AM Ma'am!
Claire: Exactly! It's the middle of the night!
Buffy: I have your mocha here waiting for you...
Claire: Bluergh!
Buffy:...with extra whipped cream.

Buffy's eyes shot open, she was so very easy...and everyone totally knew it.

Claire: I'll be down in ten. But I'm not happy about it!
Buffy: Of course, Ma'am. Ever the martyr.

Buffy hadn't missed the teasing tone in Claires voice but she had to admit she enjoyed their little banter. There wasn't much of that anywhere else in her life.

She stumbled around her room looking for a sweat pants and tank.

Dressed, albeit with her shirt inside out and her hair looking distinctly Russel Brandesque, she made her way to command central.

Buffy was almost lost in her own world, humming Single Ladies to herself that she nearly barrelled right into Gwen as she rounded the corner.

Gwen: "Whoa! Hey, Sorry Gwen, didn't see you there, my bad! Last thing my hair needs is an electric shock!
 

Lyri

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::Gwen pulled the door of her room open a little too harshly, but she could still only manage a slight wince when it banged against the wall before it bounced closed with a slam.

::It was 5am, no one, especially not Gwen, should be awake at 5am. 5am shouldn't exist. There should be a ruling by the President that it was illegal to be awake before 9 in the morning. Hours before 9 just shouldn't exist.

::Except they weren't in the US, therefore the President had no authority here.

::Alright, the Queen, then. She has the power to do that, right?

::Yeah, Gwen knew she was babbling, it's what she did after too much work and too little sleep. They'd been in Scotland for months now, and Gwen was still stuck on LA time. She wondered fleetingly if her lack of adjusting to the different timezones she invariably found herself in was a side effect of her powers, but she refused to talk about it. Willow might try to do experiments on her.

::So, she adjusted to not enough sleep and waking up at God awful hours of the morning instead, using the coffee she was rapidly becoming addicted to to keep herself on her toes and ready for danger, which seemed to find them more than frequently.

::And so, that's how Gwen found herself walking along a corridor at 5 o'clock in the morning, and barreling into the boss lady as she rounded a corner, looking even more half-asleep than Gwen herself did.::

What's that? Three-quarters-asleep?

Buffy: "Is everything okay?"

::Really, Buffy would sleep until noon, if they let her. Almost everyone had found themselves on her bad side when they'd called her too early, or woke her up from the power naps she seemed to take regularly. Which is why Gwen always made someone else call when she needed to talk to Buffy.::

Poor Claire.

::But right now, Buffy seemed perky, happier than she'd been in days, weeks even, and Gwen frowned at her.::

Buffy: "Are you sleep walking? Is this one of those things were I'm not supposed to wake you up, just guide you back to your bed? You're kinda freaking me out here."
 

Kean

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Gwen said:
"Are you sleep walking? Is this one of those things were I'm not supposed to wake you up, just guide you back to your bed? You're kinda freaking me out here."
Gwen: What? No! I'm 100% awake, ok more like 85% but still that's like an "A" in awakage, right? So I am currently acing being awake right now!

Buffy suddenly realised what a motor mouth she was being and turned to look at Gwen, who still appeared to be confused and more than a little freaked.

Gwen: Hey, what are you doing up? Why aren't you in bed, recharging your batteries and all that? Get it? recharging your batteries?

Buffy's snort of laughter rang out around the silent corridor and as shoulders shook with the force of her laughter.

I crack myself up.

Once Buffy had gotten ahold of herself she found Gwen looking even more confused and perturbed than she had been before.

*sigh*

Nobody appreciates my humour.
 

Lyri

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::Gwen cocked an eyebrow at the Slayer.::

Buffy: "You might be acing awakage right now, but you are definitely failing normalcy."

::Gwen shrugged and rolled her shoulders, trying to loosen the tension that always seemed to be present.::

Buffy: "I'm not really adjusting to the whole UK timezone thing. Makes me not sleep much, and awake at, like, the crack of...I'm not even gonna finish that sentence, 'cause, yeah. On the bright side, though, spend so much time in the gym, I don't think it's possible for me to be in better shape. Kicked Isabel's ass the other day."

::She laughed, but sobered quickly when she realized Buffy hadn't joined in. Gwen rocked back on her heels and jammed her hands into the back pockets of her jeans.::

Buffy: "So, um, why are you up so early? You sleep more than Connor, and he's a teenage boy. Is something up?"
 

Kean

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Gwen: Oh please, normalcy is completely over-rated, really...I read it in a book and Giles swears they never lie. And the timezone thing I just ignore, I run on Buffy Time which totally works for me! You should try it out.

::Buffy noticed how angsty Gwen was, with the fidgeting and shoulder rolling and for a second she reminded Buffy so much of Faith she had to double check that she wasn't talking to the other Slayer.::

Gwen said:
"So, um, why are you up so early? You sleep more than Connor, and he's a teenage boy. Is something up?"
::The hopeful tone in Gwen's voice made Buffy feel for the girl, she really seemed to be struggling with...something. Buffy couldn't quite figure out what but she figured Gwen would appreciate a distraction and decided to ask her to tag along to meet Willow, plus there could be something to kill so extra fun for all involved.::

Gwen: I'm just heading to command central, Will buzzed me, evil's afoot apparently. Wanna come along and see what's the what?
 

Lyri

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Buffy said:
Gwen: I'm just heading to command central, Will buzzed me, evil's afoot apparently. Wanna come along and see what's the what?
::Gwen chewed on her lower lip for a second. Sure, she was bored. There wasn't much going on around the base lately, now that Drusilla and Insara had disappeared off the face of the earth. But evil, of any flavor, seemed to find Buffy and Co. on a regular bases, and they dealt with it like the pros they are. Gwen didn't really think she'd be needed in a private meeting Willow had scheduled with Buffy.

::Gwen sighed.::

It's not like I'm gate-crashing. She invited me along. Suck it up, Sparks, you belong here.

::Gwen squared her shoulders and smiled at Buffy. Seriously, at 5am, what else was she gonna do that would be half as interesting as tagging along with the Chick in Charge?::

Buffy: "Sure thing, Captain. Lead the way."
 

Kean

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:: The indecision that crossed Gwen's face was not missed by Buffy. When Gwen finally agreed to come with, Buffy found herself all the more relieved that the girl had chosen to tag along. She didn't like to think of her wondering the halls aimlessly.::

Gwen: Ok Sparky, can I call you Sparky? lets go.

::Before Gwen could reply Buffy was already on her way down the corridor and crossing the threshold into command central. She took the room in and outstretched her hand.::

"Ok, I'm here. Mocha me!."
 

Lyri

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Buffy: "Um...sure?"

::Gwen shrugged and took a deep breath.::

At least it's not Sparks.

::She jogged a little to catch up with Buffy as the Slayer marched down the corridor and into the control room. Girls sat behind monitors and...crystal balls?

::Gwen blinked to make sure she was seeing right, then laughed a little and shook her head. She was never going to get used to hanging with these people.

::Someone put a tall cup of coffee into Buffy's hand and Gwen felt her stomach roll. Oh yeah, she'd been on her way to breakfast.

::Rolling her eyes, Gwen pulled herself up to her full height and turned turned to Willow, who was watching a fuzzy video on the big screen.::

Willow: "Okay, so is the big evil hacking our video feeds? 'Cause, seriously, you guys have, like, more security and surveillance equipment than Fort Knox, trust me, I know, but all we can get is this grainy feed?"
 

Black Eye Guy

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::Willow sipped her coffee and yawned, it was way to early to be up, let alone functioning, but it wasn't like sleeping had been any easier lately.

Just as Buffy and Gwen entered the room, Claire appeared beside her with the file on Robin, and a Mocha, which she knew was for Buffy. It was never going to feel less weired, the growth their operation had taken, it used to be just the gang in the library sending Xander on Donut runs, now they could yell commands to a room and get anything they wanted, research, coffee or someone to run to the comic store to pick up "supplies" for Andrew and Xander

Willow focused back on the girls, she assumed Buffy had picked Gwen up along the way. Since she hadn't been sleeping much lately she'd passed Gwen a few times in the halls at like 4am, or found themselves in the kitchen snacking on toast::

Willow: "Okay, so is the big evil hacking our video feeds? 'Cause, seriously, you guys have, like, more security and surveillance equipment than Fort Knox, trust me, I know, but all we can get is this grainy feed?"
Gwen: "No big bad hacker, I'd like to see someone get passed the magikal firewall I have set up here, literately sets the hackers computer on fire, I had Andrew test it, he wasn't very happy when it destroyed his laptop, which had the last disc of his Battlestar DVD in it, he won't let that go."

Buffy: "Sorry to get you up so early, I just got a call from the Finns" (Whispers to herself) "that doesn't sound right"

"They called to report they found Ansara... Like that was it, it was pretty much 'We found them, come here', it was more odd then it was informative.. and they hung up on me!"

"We've tried to reestablish the connection but no answer"

::points to the fuzzy screen, she then waves the files Claire handed her::

"I had Claire pull Robins files, he's not to far from there, we could have him there in about 11 hours, scout the place out, but thought I'd deffer this one to you, we could just go in ourselves... as much fun as going all the way back to Nepal sounds..."

::She grins at Buffy wildly, hoping not to have to get on the long flight again anytime soon.::
 

Kean

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Willow said:
Sorry to get you up so early, I just got a call from the Finns" (Whispers to herself) "that doesn't sound right
Willow: Hey, no big, I'm sure my body wouldn't know what had happened to it if I got anymore than 3 hours sleep. I just want to check though, we got a replacement Battlsetar disc right?

::An element of panic began to creep in the Slayer's voice.::

Willow: Cuz I need to know what happens with Starbuck! I have this theory that she's a slayer and...that is in no way relevent to the crisis at hand. My, bad!

::Willow was giving Buffy that look again, the one that said "Are-We-Really-Doing-This-Right-Now". All these years later it still had the power to stop Buffy in her tracks.::

::Buffy pushed all thoughts of Slayer fighter pilots from her mind (no easy task mind you) and looked up at Willow with her game face on.::

Willow: Ok, crisis ready Buffy is a go, what's the what?

::As Willow relayed the information about the Riley and Sam Buffy got an overwhelming feeling of not-rightnesss sweep over. The feeling twisted in her gut and made her hands shake.::

Claire: Can you get that video of Sam and Riley up on the screen for me? I want to see it for myself. Also, get Wood on the line, I want to speak to him before he reaches Nepal...actually first, tell Wood that he is going to Nepal.
 

Lyri

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::Gwen looked at Buffy out of the corner of her eye.::

Buffy: "You actually watch that show? Don't you get enough of the creepy Sci-Fi stuff every day? You have to watch more of it in your down time? Give me Dawson's Creek, or House or something. Something at least a little bit normal."

Hey, Gwen! Babble fest approaching!

::Gwen cut herself off and turned back to Willow.::

Willow: "So, what's up the with Finns and the weird video call?"

::She squinted at the grainy image on the large screen that Claire had called up.::

Willow and Buffy: "Is it just me, or do they remind anyone else of Illyria without the fun factor?"
 

Black Eye Guy

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Gwen said:
Willow and Buffy: "Is it just me, or do they remind anyone else of Illyria without the fun factor?"
Gwen: "I know right, their all robotic and they either totally ignored my question or something else was going on, it might have been a hint or something"

:: at the same time, Claire nodded at the group, "I have Wood on the line". Willow Opened his file, ::

Buffy: "He has 4 Slayers with him, one a total newbie, He'll be taking them in with him..."
 

Lyri

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::Gwen wrinkled her nose.::

Willow and Buffy: "I know it's none of my business, but do we want to be sending a total noob into something, when even we don't know what's going on?"
 

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::Buffy stared intently at the video of Riley and Sam. She must have watched it dozen times but she was still no closer to figuring out what was wrong with them. They almost reminder her of the newly returned "kids" she encountered in LA the summer she ran away. The hollow sounding litany of I'm no one seemed to echo anew in Buffy's mind as Riley and Sam repeated their empty instructions to come to Nepa.::

:: The unease that Buffy felt seemed to only increase and soon she found herself pacing up and down, deep in thought. Willow and Gwen's conversation pulled her back to the here and now.::

Willow said:
"He has 4 Slayers with him, one a total newbie, He'll be taking them in with him..."
Gwen said:
I know it's none of my business, but do we want to be sending a total noob into something, when even we don't know what's going on?"
:: Everything in Buffy was screaming for her to go to Nepal herself but she pushed her instincts down, memories of act-first think-later heroics burned into her mind.::

Willow and Gwen: No, you're right. I not sending a newb into this but have her briefed and on stand-by incase she is needed.

::Buffys saw the familiar bob of Claires head and heard the stacato clicking of the keyboard as her orders were relayed.::

Everyone: Also, I want this operation monitored from start to finish, my spidey sense are stingling something crazy with this one.

::Buffy gazed up at the jumping image of Riley and Sam with her arms crossed at her chest and muttered to herself, although Willow and Gwen could hear her.::

"Something here is very very wrong."
 
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