Xander has a run in with the Initiative that could break up the gang.
Disclaimer: This is a fictional story. Joss & ME own the characters, I own nothing and make nothing from this story. In other words; Don't want them. Don't need them. Couldn't afforded them if I did.
Note - thoughts
Choices We Make
The calm atmosphere outside of Giles' apartment complex was shattered as Anya burst through the front door, muttering darkly. She had not gotten very far before Giles appeared in the still open doorway. He looked around briefly, spotting the girl and shouted, "ANYA!"
The former Vengeance Demon stopped halfway down the sidewalk at the sound of her name. Turning around, she impatiently waited for Giles to reach her.
"What!" Anya grated out.
"Where do you think you're going?" Giles panted as he jogged up to Anya.
The glare that Anya leveled at him told Giles that he was obviously the most stupid male on the Earth. What she was going to do is find the person responsible for starting this mess between her and Xander. After that person is found, there probably wouldn't be anything left over after she was done. Giles briefly closed his eyes and sighed.
"Please think about what you are doing. You can't honestly be considering.." Giles trailed off at closed off expression on the girl's face. He had seen it before on Xander whenever he tried to get the boy to listen to reason. Giles instinctively knew that Anya would be that same way so he tried a different tactic.
"With what has happened to us in the last forty-eight hours, and especially to you and Xander, we must assume that it's possible that someone is trying to cause dissension within our group. We have to stay together and figure out who or what is behind this. We will just be playing into their plans if we go off half cocked."
"Half cocked?" Anya repeated, her lips twisting into a truly evil smile. "Thank you Giles," she said, kissing his cheek. "That will be the perfect start for the punishment that I had in mind."
Anya's play on his words gave Giles several disturbing images that he immediately shoved out of his mind. Then he tried to grab Anya by her arm, determined to physically drag the girl back into his home if necessary.
"Until we know the identity of the one who cast that spell on you, it's not safe to go charging off like some bloody buffoon, especially when you have no idea where to look."
"I already know where to start," Anya said with a small smile.
"No," Giles stated firmly. "I will not let you risk your life in some foolish attempt to satisfy your need for revenge."
Anya assumed a flinty look. "So you're saying that I will have to go through you to do what I want?"
"Yes," Giles stated stiffly.
"Done," Anya said softly, right before she launched a punch that caught Giles on the side of his jaw.
Giles staggered back a few steps and tried to shake off the effects of the unexpected hit. When he turned back to verbally flay the girl, she was nowhere to be seen. Quickly, Giles ran to the street and looked for Anya only to find that there was no sign of the girl. Muttering under his breath, Giles stalked up to his still open door and walked inside. "Stupid little bint!"
"Where's Anya?" Willow asked. Her face was a mask of worry as she sat on the arm of the couch that Buffy was sleeping on. Giles briefly took note that Willow was gently stroking Buffy's hair.
"I don't know," Giles replied, sighing. He quickly told the others about his altercation with the former Vengeance Daemon. The small amount of relief that sprung up at the evidence that Willow still cared for Buffy was drowned out by the embarassment he felt at letting Anya get away.
"You don't think she'd.." Willow trailed off.
Giles shrugged. "After what the three of you found out, it's very possible."
"What's possible?" asked Joyce.
Giles turned and he studied her for a moment. "Joyce, has anyone told you what Anya was before she came here?"
"No, I never was able to get a complete story from either Buffy or Xander," Joyce shook her head but then, as the wording of Giles' question registered in her mind, her eyes narrowed into a glare. "I'm getting tired of these surprises Rupert. What exactly do you mean by 'what Anya was'?"
"So, Who's Faith?"
That seemingly innocent question hung in the air like the proverbial pink elephant as Kayla and Chance waited for an answer. While they waited, Xander stared pensively at the padded envelope in silence. Finally, he slumped back into the chair and with heavy sigh, he looked up at the two of them.
"Kayla, do you remember me telling you about a girl that had tried to kill me?'
"Which one?" Kayla jokingly replied out of habit but the crestfallen look on her friend's face made her want to slap herself. Hard. "Xander, I didn't mean-"
"Forget it," Xander cut her off with a wave of his hand. "Sadly enough, it is a valid question. Umm, I told you about me saving a Slayer using my Uncle Rory's car, right?"
Kayla's brow furrowed. "Yeah, I remember you saying something about a beautiful brunette having her way with you that night," she answered with a knowing leer on her face. That look changed to shock and then horror as the pieces fell into to place. "Wait!" Kayla shot around the desk and knelt next to Xander. "Are you telling me that the girl you were with that night was a Slayer and that she tried to kill you?"
"Not that night exactly, but yeah," Xander shrugged, uncomfortable with the subject. He absently rubbed at the area just below the left shoulder where he could feel the beginnings of the long scar from Riley's attack. Unconsciously, his fingers started to trace the length of the scar through his shirt.
That action did not go unnoticed by Kayla. She remembered seeing that scar shortly after Chance had brought him in. Xander obviously got that before last night and had patched it up pretty good, but it would have needed stitches at some point. Fortunately that was not necessary now thanks to Chance but something about that scar kept it from healing completely. When Chance was done, a thin, but noticeable scar was left behind. As much as Kayla wanted to grill Xander about that scar, right now her anger at this 'Faith' was currently getting the better of her.
"I will kill her!" Kayla spoke vehemently then stood, making a grab for the envelope on the deck. "If she wants this then she can-"
"No," Xander softly spoke, snatching her hand away from the envelope and held it gently, but firmly. He knew telling her about Faith would bring out Kayla's protective streak. After all, to her, he was the little brother that she never had. Unfortunately, Xander thought dryly. that same streak tends to be her violent one too.
"Xander," Kayla turned back to him, her dark eyes glittering but not bothering with pulling her hand away. "You told me that Slayers are supposed to be good and now you're telling me that she tried to kill you. We should just forget about that Lawyer and destroy whatever is in that envelope."
"No," Xander said once more, releasing Kayla's hand. "I wont argue with you that what she did was wrong but we all made mistakes where she was concerned. We all had our own little dramas going on and none of us could see that Faith was spiraling out of control. Eventually it came down to a 'Winner Take All' fight between her and Buffy. Faith lost and has been in a coma ever since then."
"Then why?" Kayla asked, pointing at the envelope.
Xander shrugged. "I'm guessing that she's gonna wake up soon."
"You're certain of this?" Chance spoke up.
Xander looked up at Chance. "Not at first. A few of days ago, I ran across a couple of demons that dropped a hint about Faith coming back but I wasn't one hundred percent sure that I believed them. That was, until that lawyer showed up here wanting me to deliver a package to Faith. Now I'd have to say that I'm pretty sure."
"You still haven't told me why," Kayla said.
"Faith wasn't a bad person when she first arrived, Kayla. And I guess that I'm just curious to see if there's a chance that she's willing to come back to the light side of the force," Xander smiled weakly. He fidgeted under Kayla's darkening glare until finally, he crumbled under the pressure and threw his hands into the air. "Truthfully, I don't know why. It's just something that I feel that I have to do."
Kayla stared into her friend's eyes, searching. After what seemed like an eternity, she must have found what she was looking for because she smiled and nodded, accepting Xander's decision. Free from Kayla's searching stare, Xander stood up and picked up the padded envelope.
"It looks like it's time for me to have a little chat with someone."
With that Xander left the office with a confused Kayla and Chance following after him.
The trio stopped just outside the office door. Near the church entrance stood two men with a clearly flustered Father Michael.
Xander stepped forward. "Yes?"
"I'm Detective Whitmore and this is Detective Paulsen," the shorter of the two said. "We would like to ask you some questions."
"You have no right coming into this Sanctuary of God and demand anything of my friend," Michael stated.
Xander watched the two Detectives as they calmly explained that they were not here to arrest him. They had been informed by Xander's Lawyer that he was at this location if they needed to ask him any questions. A soft touch on his arm drew Xander's attention to Kayla, whose expression was clouded by worry and suspicion at the mention of this "Lawyer". With a single look, she told him that she did not like the situation but she would back up whatever he said.
"It's alright Father Michael," Xander spoke quietly, placing a comforting hand on the elderly priest's shoulder. Xander then turned to the police officers. "How can I help Detectives?
"Well first off, were you aware of the explosion that happened at the local college a couple nights ago?"
"Yeah," Xander nodded. "I had heard about that. Do you know what happened?"
"We can't comment about ongoing investigations but can you tell us were you were on that night?"
"I was here," Xander swept his right arm out, indicating that he meant the Church. "helping Father Michael clean out some of the rooms that he uses for storage. It took some time to figure out what was needed and what wasn't."
"And how long were you here?"
"Young Xander worked quite late into the night," Father Michael spoke up. "When that happens, I prefer that he stays the night here at the Church since there's been so much gang activity lately."
The Detectives nodded their heads as one took notes of their answers. The questions continued but Xander was able to field them with minor lies that had the virtue of being partly true. Xander had learned a long time ago that the best lies were simple ones that had, at their core, an element of the truth in them.
Finally the Detectives were satisfied with Xander's answers and decided to leave. Detective Morris stopped and asked one last question. "By the way, do you know a Parker Abrams?"
Xander shrugged. "Not very well. He went out on a date with a friend of mine but I've never really had any contact with him. Why? Do you think that he had anything to do about that explosion on the college campus?"
"We're just following any and all possible leads. Thank you for your time Mr. Harris." Detective Morris turned and left.
Everyone stood there and watched as the two Detectives left. Finally Kayla turned to Xander, disbelief etched into her face. "That's it? They ask you a couple of questions and then leave. If this happened back home, they would've hauled your butt down to the police station and played 'Bad cop, Worse cop' with you."
"That's the Sunnydale Police Department," Xander said with a shrug. "The less complicated they can make a case, the better they like it."
"That's just so wrong," Kayla frowned, crossing her arms under her breasts.
"Wrong or not," Michael spoke. "Xander benefits from their lax attitude."
"If they were actually on the ball, Xander wouldn't be-"
Xander tuned his friends out as he thought about the events over last couple of days. Even though he apparently did not have to worry about the police, he was still at odds with the local covert military group and most likely, with the Slayer as well. Xander did not automatically assume that the gang would side with the Slayer but he had to be honest with himself, it was a very good possibility.
Looking down at the large envelope that he still held, Xander sighed heavily. If that wasn't enough for him to handle, now there was a suspicious law firm doing him favors and Faith was apparently going to be making an appearance soon. Oh, how I long for the days where all I had to worry about was being attacked by Vampires, Witches, and Werewolves.
Xander looked over at the others only to find them staring at him. He held up the envelope to Michael. "Father, I was wondering if you would hold onto that for me? There's somewhere I need to go."
"If you want me to," Michael accepted the envelope. "Might I ask where you are going?"
"Like I told Kayla earlier, there's someone that I have to talk to, even though I'm pretty sure that he's not not going to enjoy it."
Michael sighed at Xander's evasive answer but then assumed a pleasant expression. "When we have more time, I feel that we should have a discussion about lying in a House of God."
Xander smirked at the older man. "Why Father? You're just as guilty as me in lying to those Detectives."
"Sorry my son," Michael shook his head. "If you think back to what I said exactly to those gentlemen, you'll find that what I told them was completely true."
Xander opened his mouth to argue but then snapped it shut with an audible click of his teeth as a thoughtful expression came over his face. The look soon turned to disgust as he realized that the old priest was right. Xander narrowed his eyes, giving Michael a piercing look. "Just exactly how did someone like you, who can dance around the truth better than a demon, ever get a plush job like this?"
Michael was about to answer but was cut off by Xander before he could.
"Forget I asked. I don't want to know," Xander spoke, shaking his head in disgust. "Besides, I got to get going."
Kayla marched forward, grabbing Xander's arm as she walked by. "C'mon, I'll give you a ride. See ya Father!" she yelled over her shoulder.
Michael waved at them as they left, followed shortly by Kayla's boyfriend. Then he turned back to speak to the other people in his church, all the while offering prayers up to God that He would watch over his young friends.
"Anya used to be a demon?"
Giles gave Joyce a very worried look. That was the third time that the woman had asked that very same question since they had explained to her how Anya had come to be in Sunnydale. It was clear to him that even though the elder Summers was somewhat calm on the outside, she was really struggling inside to understand what she had just learned.
"Xander's dating a demon?"
Now that question caught Giles off guard for some reason. "No. Anya is completely human. She isn't a demon."
"Then why are you worried about where she went?"
Giles sighed. "Because, even though Anya is human, she can be a very dangerous individual. She remembers her life as a Vengeance Daemon and has absolutely no problem with what she had done to men during that time."
"Anya, or rather Anyanka as she was called, was the Patron Saint for Scorned Women. Basically if a man hurt or betrayed a woman, Anya would come to that woman and offer her a wish."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Joyce said.
"Actually it is," Willow spoke up. "Her wishes usually involved punishing the man in some way. The more painful and or humiliating the wish, the more satisfaction Anya got out of it."
"If she was as bad as you say, how on Earth did Xander end up in a relationship with her?"
"If I know Xander," Willow answered. "It probably started out with him feeling sorry for her and tried to help her adjust to being human again after so long. But then she left."
"Yes she did," Giles took over the conversation. "Do you remember graduation? Anya was certain that during the ceremony, the Mayor would successfully complete his transformation into a major Daemon and kill every single person in Sunnydale. After informing us of her experience with a previous Ascension, she quickly left town."
"But she came back?"
"Yes," Willow cut in, from her position next to Buffy sleeping form. "From what Xander told me, she came back mainly because she thought that since he took her to the prom, they were in a relationship."
Joyce was interrupted by a soft moaning coming from Buffy. Quickly, she knelt down beside her daughter and whispered encouragements for her to wake up. It was a slow process but Buffy finally did wake up.
"NO!" Buffy shouted. She shot straight up on the couch and frantically searched the front of her blouse, Once she realized that there was nothing wrong, Buffy slumped back onto the couch muttering, "It was only a dream."
"Buffy," Joyce said softly.
"Yes Honey," Joyce answered, moving closer to her daughter. "I'm right here."
Buffy sat up and looked around blearily, noticing the others in the room. "How did I get here?"
"Riley brought you in." Giles said.
"Riley?" Then Buffy's eyes widened in fear. "Xander!"
"What?" Willow asked.
Buffy looked at her best friend as she tried to stand up. "We need to find him before he gets himself hurt."
"Wait. Slow down." Giles spoke, pushing Buffy back down on the couch. "What do you mean? How will Xander hurt himself?"
"He went after Spike by himself," Buffy struggled to get back up. Getting frustrated, she roughly pushed Giles away, causing the older man to stumble backwards. With no one holding her down now, Buffy lurched to her feet and started for the door.
"Buffy!" Joyce tried to stop her daughter.
Buffy just side-stepped her only to be stopped by Giles, who was standing between her and the open front door. He stood resolutely with his arms crossed before him, determined to stop Buffy. "You are not leaving."
That simple, but firm statement stopped Buffy cold. "Don't you even care that Xander could be hurt or dead right now."
"BUFFY!" Joyce admonished.
"I do care, Buffy," Giles spoke softly. "I care very much for Xander, just like I care for you and Willow. And as much as I want to go out and find Xander, I also have to accept the possibility that it might already be too late."
"Too late?" Buffy asked warily. "What do you mean by that?"
"Oh no," Joyce said under her breath.
Giles took off his glasses and pinched the brow of his nose. "You have to realize that you've been unconscious for some time, Buffy. Several hours has passed since Riley first brought you here. In fact-"
"Hours!" Buffy interrupted.
"Yes," Giles answered. "I'm afraid so. Riley came here with you in his arms and told us that Xander had seriously injured you."
"But it wasn't Xander," Buffy half-stated, half-pleaded. A lump formed in her throat at the thought that she failed to protect her friend.
Giles nodded. "That's what I believed, once I was able to see to you wounds. The bite mark on your neck was clearly that of a vampire. The rest of you injuries came from the same vampire or at least a creature that is much stronger than a normal human."
"Why do you say that?" Joyce asked.
"Because of the Slayer's preternatural endurance. The Slayer could take several hits from a normal human without so much as a bruise. It takes a greater strength than that of a human to overcome that particular blessing."
"I don't think that Xander's normal anymore," Buffy said, more to herself than to the others.
"What makes you say that?" Giles questioned.
Buffy looked up, startled our of her thoughts and sighed. "It's like I said before. Something has changed Xander. He was holding his own against Spike, just like he did with Riley. There's no way in hell that he can fight a vampire like Spike as himself."
Everyone was quiet as the idea of an altered, perhaps dangerous Xander settled once more in their minds. Giles placed a comforting hand on Buffy's shoulder.
"We will go look for Xander but first, why don't you and Joyce go get you some food while Willow and I..." Giles trailed off as he looked around the room, finding it empty except for three people; himself, Buffy and Joyce. "Where's Willow?"
All three turned and looked at the open front door.
"Oh dear Lord," Giles simply said.
"Willow! Wait up!" Tara cried out as she followed Willow to the dorm room that the redhead shared with Buffy.
Willow slowed down once inside the room and headed for an oak chest sitting on a small table in the corner. After lifting the lid, Willow began pulling out a small plastic bag, a short but wide candle and a folded map of Sunnydale.
"What are you doing?" Tara asked, knowing the answer already.
"I need to find Xander," Willow stated, unfolding the map.
"Wait!" Tara shouted, causing Willow to stop. "I d-don't think that we should do this."
"Why not?" Willow demanded. "You heard Buffy. Xander could be hurt or worse. We have to find him before something else happens."
"What about Mr. Giles?" Tara asked. "He won't l-like it if we do another scrying spell."
"No," Willow said firmly. "I need to find Xander first. I need to know that... that..." Willow's hand shook as she lit the candle. Blowing out the match, she opened up the bag and pulled out what looked like a tuft of hair. She held it briefly over the flame until it started to catch fire.
"I-is that Xander's hair?" Tara asked.
"Yep," was all Willow said as she concentrated on the map before her. She held the burning hair over the map, letting the ashes fall gently onto it while chanting softly. Willow continued for several minutes, beseeching the four elements of nature to reveal the location of her lost friend.
Tara watched the ashes begin moving around the map as the magic Willow was invoking tried to locate Xander. A pang of jealousy flared briefly in her over the worry and determination that Willow displayed over the actions of her childhood friend, wondering how she could compete with such a connection.
Willow's exclamation snapped Tara out of her brooding long enough to see that last of the ash had piled on top of a small section of the map. She took a closer look and realized that the pile of ash was actually moving, indicating that Xander was indeed alive but he was headed towards the seedier part of town that she had not been to and did not want to visit. As they watched, the pile slowly came to a stop, showing exactly where Xander was.
"Let's go," Willow said with a bright grin that sent Tara's heart a flutter.
Deciding to leave her previous thoughts about Willow's relationship with Xander for later, Tara helped the redhead clean up the room before heading out. Despite her mind shouting that she should stop this now and contact their friends, her heart told her that she can trust Willow. And one of the few things she remembered her mother telling her was to always follow her heart.
The two left the room and started down the hallway. Further down the hallway was a tall, athletic brunette that Willow immediately recognized.
The girl in question turned around, looking for whoever was calling her name. Then her stern features softened slightly when she saw Willow waving at her. She waited for Willow and the other girl to catch up with her. "Hey Willow, who's your friend?"
"Oh, sorry," Willow apologized and quickly introduced the two. "Ash, this is Tara MacClay. Tara, this is Ashlie Lawton."
"N-nice to meet you," Tara stuttered shyly.
"It's nice to meet you too," Ashlie smiled reassuringly and then turned back to Willow. "Now, what's up?"
"I was wondering if you could do us a little favor."
In a dark hallway, a large wall mirror silently slid to the side revealing Riley as he exited the elevator that led from the underground complex of the Initiative. He had just spent the last hour in a briefing with Walsh, who was livid about the pressure she was getting from the upper brass about leaving Xander Harris alone. That was what shocked Riley the most. He could not figure out who Harris knew that was high enough in the government to be able to exert that kind of political influence required to pull this kind of trick.
Riley wondered why, and more importantly how, did Xander manage to convince the local cops that Parker was the one responsible for what is thought to have happened at the campus. He was just as surprised to learn that the cops had found a rocket launcher hidden under Parker's bed. "How the hell did Harris plant that evidence without no one knowing he was here?" Riley quietly asked himself as he threaded his way through the throng of students in his house.
As he passed by an open window, he thought that he saw Buffy out of the corner of his eye. Leaning out the window, he realized that it was Buffy walking up the campus with Giles and her mother, Joyce, in tow. Quickly he headed outside and jogged across the campus to catch up with his girlfriend. He could hear the frustration and worry in Buffy's voice clearly as he approached.
"I don't care, Giles!" Buffy huffed, gesturing wildly. "First something is up with Xander and now Willow takes off on her own."
"She's hardly on her own," Giles said mildly. "Tara's with her."
"So not the point," the blonde stated.
"Buffy!" Riley shouted as he met up with the trio. Buffy turned toward him and gave him a relieved smile. Riley quickly pulled her into his arms, relishing in the knowledge that Buffy was okay. He pulled back slightly, inspecting the side of her neck. He noticed that there were still to puncture holes where the vampire had bit her and the area of skin around the wounds were bright red and puffy.
"Harris will pay for hurting you," Riley swore.
"Hurting me?" Buffy asked, confused. Then she realized what Riley really meant. She pulled away from his embrace and glared at her boyfriend. "I told you before, Xander didn't hurt me. It was Spike."
"That's not what I saw," Riley spat. "Why are you trying to protect him. He had you shoved up against a tree when I got there. Who knows what he would have done if I hadn't stopped him."
"You stopped him?" Buffy asked, incredulously.
"Yes," Riley answered. "If I hadn't shown up, he could've killed you."
Buffy opened her mouth to object but it was quickly covered by a hand much larger than her own. Looking up at the owner of the offending hand, she glared darkly at Giles.
"I am fairly sure that Xander wound not have harmed Buffy in such a way but if you insist on debating this, then may I suggest that we take this indoors and away from prying ears." Giles said, pointing out the various groups of people scattered about the area that were beginning to pay far too much attention to the heated words between Buffy and Riley.
Buffy just snorted and shrugged off Giles' hand. "I don't have time for this," she said, turning around and started once more for her dorm.
"Are you sure that they came here?" Joyce asked, trying to keep up with her daughter.
"What's going on?" Riley asked, recovering from his girlfriend's brush off. "Why are all of you here on campus?"
"We're looking for Willow and Tara," Giles said after a moments hesitation before following the two Summers women.
Riley stayed where he was, watching as the three walked at a fast pace across the campus. Shaking his head, he came to a decision and jogged up to Giles and simply said, "I'm coming with you."
They were walking up to the building that Buffy and Willow lived in when Buffy heard a familiar voice. Stopping where she was, Buffy scanned the nearby area.
"What's wrong, Buffy?" Joyce asked her daughter.
"I thought that I heard Willow," Buffy explained as she continued to look around.
The others started their own visual sweep of the campus with no luck until Riley shouted out, "There!"
Everyone turned to the part of the parking lot that the commando was pointing to. There they saw Willow and Tara getting into a red jeep being driven by another girl. Before they could move, the jeep pulled out and quickly sped off.
Riley turned to Giles and asked, "Is your car close by?"
"Not close enough, I'm afraid," Giles replied.
"Then we'll take a faculty car," Riley said, pointing to a black SUV parked off to the side. "C'mon."
Inside a non-descript room deep inside the Initiative, a chair flew from one side of the room and shattered against the door.
The sounds of destruction brought Maggie Walsh flying through the door, where she found the room in shambles and one of her prize projects literally pounding a hole into the concrete wall. With one last mighty blow, John shattered the wall and stumbled into the room next door. Maggie stepped through the large hole and calmly watched as John paced in circles, trembling with barely repressed anger.
"John," Maggie spoke crisply, instantly drawing the large man's attention.
"I'm going to kill him."
The cold anger in his eyes caused Maggie to pause. There was no doubt in her mind as to who John was referring to. Xander Harris. The 'why' was given to her about a half an hour ago in the form of the medical diagnosis of his sister, Jane. Due to the injury sustained in her altercation with Harris, there is a very high probability that Jane would be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of her life.
Maggie knew that if it were not for all of the enhancements that Jane had went through, a taser to the base of her skull would have turned the young woman into a vegetable if it had not killed her outright.
"John," Maggie started off carefully. "We have the best physicians in the country. I believe that Jane will make a full recovery so-"
"NO!" John cut her off, grabbing Walsh by the front of her lab coat and slammed her against the wall, her head bouncing painfully off it. "I don't care! He hurt my SISTER and Xander Harris WILL die by my hands!"
With that said, John dropped Maggie to the floor and stalked out of the room. After he was gone Maggie stood up and stumbled over to the intercom mounted on the wall next to the door. With a shaky hand, she activated it.
"This is Walsh. Code Five Alert," Maggie spoke as she felt the back of her head. "I repeat, this is a Code Five Alert. Lock the base down and..." Maggie trailed off as she realized that the back of her head felt wet. Bringing her hand back around, she found her hand covered in blood. That was the last thing she saw before losing consciousness.