Chronicles of Wanderer
Life and Lies
by Michael Weyer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all rights and properties owned by Mutant Enemy. Highlander, all rights and properties owned by Rysher Entertainment. Alias, all rights and properties owned by ABC.
The Wandererverse, Steve St Wolf and Randi Jessup created by Steve Pantokvitch.
Shaw Hunter created by the late Tim Knight.
Robin Goodfellow, Liam Danahure and Zev Mundac are my own creations and
belong to me.


A ditty I had been planning for a while. Hope you enjoy....


In which a simple assignment leads to an unraveled web.


Credit Duphine Bank
Los Angeles, CA
September 27th, 1999
0904 Hours PST

Sydney Bristow's heels clicked along the tiled floor as she made her way through the main operation center of SD-6. She was clad in a dark suit that did little to hide her athletic but shapely form, her attractive face framed by long brown hair and sparkling eyes. She nodded to a few co-
workers at their computer terminals as she headed to the main conference room.


"Ah, Sydney, welcome," Arvin Sloane said as he motioned her to enter.  "Have a seat, we're about to begin."

 

Sydney nodded as she entered, taking note of the other people inside.  There was her partner, Dixon, a tall and handsome black man in his early
forties. Seated across the table, in his usual disheveled suit, was Marshall, the unit's special gadget expert.  As Sydney sat, Sloane began. "I'm bringing you all in on this although Sydney is going to be the only field agent going in. For the last several months, we've been tracking the actions of a
rogue black ops unit going by the code name Section Seven."
 

"Any relation to Section One?" Dixon asked.
 

"Actually, from what we've been able to tell, they may have defeated and then forged an alliance with Section One," Sloane replied. "And if that doesn't give you a moment of blood-chilling foreboding, I don't know what will."
As the group absorbed that information, Sloane continued. "We also have reports that this group was involved in that mess in Libya last year as well as the battle against that cult in Los Angeles."
 

"Damn," Sydney muttered. "They know how to cause a fuss."
 

"What we don't know is how big they are," Dixon said. "With their connections, it's been impossible to determine their exact strength."
 

"Which is why we're here. We're going to make it possible," Sloane said. "From the intel we've been able to gather, we've centered several of their activities around a small town in California named Sunnydale." He motioned to the screen behind him, where a map of the city was shown.

 

"There has been a long record of unusual activities in town, starting with a strangely high mortality rate. It's also home to someone we suspect is closely tied with Section Seven."

 

A photo of a handsome man flashed onto the screen. "He's had several names, most notably a former Special Forces operative named Carson. Supposed to have been killed some years ago but eyewitness reports seem to contradict that. He's also suspected in the involvement of
the massacre of over a hundred wealthy individuals throughout Europe and Asia back in 1991."
 

"What's he doing in this Sunnydale?" Sydney asked.
 

"That's what you're there to find out," Sloane told her. "This is a standard surveillance op. Go there, find out what you can, get out before anyone knows you're there. Should be easy."
 

Sydney glanced at him. "I don't need a cake walk for my first job back."
 

"I know," Sloane said. "And this isn't one. But I admit that throwing you into the thick of things off the bat isn't a good way to go." He glanced at the others.  "Marshall, get your stuff ready to show her, Dixon handle logistics."
 

As the group rose up to leave, Sloane called out. "Sydney, stay for a minute."  She did, Sloane waiting until the door was shut before turning to her. "Sydney," he began, his voice low.  "I want to say I appreciate your changing your mind and coming back to work."
 

Sydney's face was restrained as she shrugged. "I made a commitment to this agency. I want to stick to that."
 

Sloane nodded slowly. "I just hope that...well, that you don't still hold any bad feelings over....what I had to do."
 

*You mean ordering the death of my fiance because he found out about us?* Sydney thought but held her tongue. "You did...what you thought right...at the time." She did her best to maintain her calm. "I can almost understand that. But if you believe we can go right back to the
way we were..." She shook her head. "I don't think that'll be possible." She turned on her heel and marched out, leaving a sober Sloane behind.

The small corner of the center that Marshall used as his office resembled the back of a radio repair store. The shelves were filled with various electical and mechanical devices whose purposes Sydney could only guess at. The man himself was smiling broadly as he turned his swivelchair to her, holding up a pair of small lenses. 

 

"Okay, see these? Standard contacts, right? Wrong. Finally perfected it, super-miniature layer of telewire, can actually allow you to record images. Only stills for now, video is, you know, so much more advanced but now it's, eyes the window to the soul? Heh. Well, this is Kodak for
those windows." He moved to pull out what looked like a simple tube of eyeliner. "Now this, this is nice for a quick B&E. Hit the button on the bottom here, it'll mix up the chemicals, turn it into a light acid, applicable by the brush here, just make sure, you know, you don't, um,
use it on your face by mistake, it's great to break into a place or if, um, you've locked yourself out of the house, I, ah, I kinda know that already....

 

"Marshall," Sydney broke in. "Don't you ever sleep?"
 

Marshall waved his hand. "Gave it up. Took too much time out of the day."
 

Sydney smiled as she accepted his stuff. "Thanks, Marshall." She turned to Dixon, who was standing nearby with a solemn expression on his face. After working with him for five years, Sydney had a good idea what he was thinking. "I'll be fine," she stated.

 

"I still don't like you going alone," Dixon stated. "It's too soon-----"
 

"I'll be fine," Sydney repeated. "I have to get back into things anyway. It's like you told me, I have a gift for this sort of thing." She shrugged. "We're helping our country, Dixon. That's not something we can just stop." She walked off, leaving him looking after with a worried expression.


Sunnydale, CA
September 28th, 1999
0906 Hours PST

Sydney made her way down the main street of Sunnydale. She appeared to be just another tourist, in dark skirt and blouse, her hair covered by a short black wig.  Behind her sunglasses, her eyes darted around, always alert. She had arrived in the town the previous evening, taking most of
the time getting the lay of the land and studying reports. Like Sloane, she had been surprised at the surprisingly high death count the town had and the fact that not so many people seemed to notice it. She had also studied the people in the town which brought her to his first location.  She removed her glasses as she entered the shop. She took notice of the array of antiques spread about and had to admire the collection. Her eyes fell on the two people standing by the counter looking up at her. One was an attractive woman who appeared to be in her late thirties with curly blond hair and a nice smile. Her companion was a man a few years older with dark hair graying at the temples, in a dark suit. They stopped talking and studied Sydney.

 

"Hello?" the woman in the nice dress said. "May I help you?"
 

"Oui," Sydney said as she slipped into a flawless French accent. "I am new in town and was trying to see about, ah, directions? To ze? college?"
 

"Oh, the campus?" Joyce asked. "Well, it's not that far, only a mile or so down the street. At that corner turn right and you'll see it on your left."
 

"Thank you," Sydney said. "I have an appointment with a teacher there."
 

She glanced around the shop. "My, you have wonderful collection."
 

"Thank you," Joyce beamed. "I've worked hard for it."
 

Sydney nodded as she casually asked "I have heard of antique collector who might be here. A St. Wolf?"
 

Joyce was surprised. "Oh, Steve? Yes, we know him, he's-----"
 

"Not available at the moment," Zev broke in. He threw Joyce a quick glance as he continued. "We're not certain when he'll be back."
 

"Oh," Sydney said. "Well, I hope I can meet him sometime then. Thank you very much." She turned and walked out as the two stared after her.
As soon as she exited, Joyce turned to Zev. "What was that about?"
 

Zev was frowning. "That woman's looking for Steve and I don't think it's for the best of reasons."
 

Joyce's brow furrowed. "What makes you say that?"
 

Zev nodded at the door. "That woman hasn't spent more than two weeks in France in her entire life."
 

Joyce smiled and shook her head. "I keep forgetting you're the galactic answer to Henry Higgins."

University of California, Sunnydale
1007 Hours PST

Sydney had performed one of her standard quick changes so she could better blend in with the campus crowd. She now wore a blond wig with jeans and light vest, a backpack slung over one shoulder and tennis shoes. She appeared to be simply wandering about but was actually on a careful lookout for her next targets. She mentally reviewed the information she had. St. Wolf had been linked to Buffy Summers, a freshman at the college. Her mother hadn't been as helpful as Sydney had wanted but she believed that linking with this Buffy could lead her to St. Wolf. She prowled through the campus for almost half an hour before she found her target. 

 

Buffy sat by a stone wall, talking to a few other students. One was a red-haired girl in a nice pale blouse and jeans, standing next to a young man with short green hair in jeans and an open shirt over a dark t-shirt. A young and pretty blonde girl in a nice dress stood by them as they chatted.
Sydney walked in their direction, keeping her gait light and casual.  She pulled a notebook out of her bag and appeared to study it, her eyes seemingly unfocused on where she was going.  As she had planned, she bumped right into Buffy, bouncing off with her notebook falling down along with Buffy's bag.

 

"Oh, I'm sorry!" Sydney exclaimed, her voice taking on a ditzy "Valley Girl" tone. "I wasn't looking where I was going, I just..."
 

"It's okay," Buffy said as she leaned down to help Sydney with her notebook. At that moment Sydney surreptitiously placed a tiny piece of metal in one pocket of  the other woman?s bag. Then they both rose to their feet and Sydney graced them all with a wide smile.

 

"Sorry," she continued. "I just got here, dashing to classes, you know how it is."
 

"What are you taking?" the red-haired girl asked.
 

"Oh, some philosophy, some history, haven't really tacked anything down yet, you know?" Sydney giggled. "I'm sorry, I should be going, it was nice meeting you, let's talk sometime!" She strutted off with the others gazing after her in bewilderment.
 

"Okay," Buffy said. "Something is off with her. No one can be that overly ditzy by nature."


Sunnydale High School
1147 Hours PST

The woman walking down the halls bore little resemblance to the one that had been at the antique store and university before. Her raven black hair was cut quite short and she had glasses affixed to her nose. She wore an extremely professional gray suit and carried a briefcase. Her face was stern and unmoving as she made her way toward the library.  Sydney mentally reviewed the information she had. There had been police reports of
suspicious occurrences at the high school over the past few years, including several deaths.  Marshall had gotten her the information on two people often involved in those occurrences, Rupert Giles and Jenny Calendar. Giles had immediately sent up a red flag with the SD-6 database. That a man would give up being curator of the British Museum to work in a small California library was strange enough. Given his less than illustrious past
Marshall had unearthed and the mystery deepened.  Sydney entered the library and glanced around. It appeared to be empty, books stacked
lazily on the tables and some papers scattered about. She calmly stepped forward, her senses alert for any signs of trouble.  Her head whipped around as she heard a muffled sound by the shelves.  She slowly paced forward, leaning so she could peek around the bookcases. Her eyes widened as she saw Giles and Jenny standing by the opposite shelves, sharing a long and hot kiss while Giles fumbled with Jenny's skirt.  Sydney rose back, her jaw snapped shut. Seeing them like that unsettled the secret agent. It wasn't long ago that she had shared torrid embraces like that with her deceased lover. Shaking her head of unwanted images, she carefully walked away, doing her best not to alert the duo to her presence. She paused by the table to slip a small bug underneath it and glanced at the nearby office. However, she decided it was too risky to try and put something in there. She spared a glance behind her as she walked off. *Right in the middle of the school day. And they wonder why the American educational system is so screwed up.*


Sunnydale Motor Lodge
1843 Hours PST

"Well, I checked out the rest of the town," Sydney spoke into the phone. "Grabbed a quick nap and a shower. Still no sign of St. Wolf himself."
 

"Anything up with the rest of the town?" Dixon asked.
 

Sydney rolled her eyes. "Well, the police force is probably the most inept I've ever seen.  Forget suspects, I don't think these guys could find the nearest donut shop."
 

Dixon chuckled. "What else?"
 

Sydney bit her lip. "Well...this is going to sound weird but...there's something that feels...off about this town. I can't put my finger on it but I know something's wrong."
 

"You sure you don't need backup?"
 

"I'm sure," Sydney assured him. "Listen, I'm about to check out St. Wolf's place. I should definitely find something there to clear this up once and for all."
 

"Be careful, Syd."


"Relax, Dixon. Thanks to Marshall, there's no alarm the guy could have that can detect me."
 

"I still worry."
 

"You forget, Dixon. I have a black belt in thinking ten steps ahead."


St. Marie's Cemetary
1923 Hours PST

Faith rolled on the ground, vaulted up onto her feet, and launched a snap kick that knocked back a vampire at least several yards. Behind her, Buffy traded blows with two vampires, smacking one with a backhand while kicking the other in the gut. As she thrust her stake out to stab one in the chest, turning him into dust, Buffy kicked the other one down. Faith had already dusted her opponent as she turned to watch Buffy throw the last vampire down and then stake it.

 

"I hate to say it but I think Zev was right," Buffy said as she rose up. "Their IQ does drop after they're turned."
 

"Makes it easier for us," Faith remarked. "So, one more sweep before we head home?"
 

"Sure thing," Buffy said. "Let's check out...." She was cut off by a beeping sound. She reached into her jacket to pull out a pager and examined its readout. "Oh, shit," she hissed.
 

"What?s up?" Faith asked, instantly alert.
 

Buffy glanced up at her. "The alarm. Someone's breaking into Steve's place." She immediately turned and ran off into the night with Faith right on her heels.

Steve St. Wolf's Home
1926 Hours PST

For the home of a former soldier and possible international spy, Sydney had been disappointed how easy it'd been to override his security. She had used her special lock-picks and scanners to get inside, nicely disabling the various traps. From what she had seen, there were no cameras around so she should be in and out with no one the wiser. She wore her typical break-in outfit: black boots and gloves, black sweater and pants with a red wig, a disguise she rather liked. She carefully walked through the house, her eyes scanning for any hidden traps and alert for anything.  A low growl filled her ears as she realized something was here. She turned slowly to see a large dog moving into the hallway behind her. The animal snarled as his eyes
studied her. Even though it was impossible, Sydney could swear the creature was actually studying her. Her hand was at her hip and out in a flash as she snap-aimed and pulled the trigger of the large gun in her hand. A dart flew out and struck the dog in the upper arm. A tiny smile came to Sydney?s face as the sedative went to work. She had used it before and knew a single dart was capable of putting a Doberman out for hours.  Instead of going down, though, the dog moved forward, seemingly ignoring the dart. Frowning, Sydney fired again, this time into its neck. The dog started but kept coming, picking up speed. Quite alarmed now, Sydney backed up and continued to fire, one dart after another, aiming for the dog's neck and body. The gun clicked as the chamber was now empty, leaving her to face the dog that had six darts embedded in his neck and chest. Sydney yelped as the dog leapt forward, instinctively dodging it. The animal flew by her and hit the floor, immediately collapsing into a heap. Sydney stared at it, taking a moment to realize it was finally down for the count. "Damn," she muttered. "When did they start making steroids for dogs?"

Sydney's boots were quiet as they creaked on the boards of the home as she continued to penetrate the house. She wore a headset of Marshall's design, which sent out sonar readings and fed them to the goggles on her face.  This allowed her to look for any hidden doors or panels as well as alarms.  She swept them around as she walked through the living room, pausing at one wall and peering closely. She could see a break in it, a section where part of the wall had been removed and then reset. She moved closer to feel it. "Hmm...I think someone's hiding something."
 

"Well, then, let me clear up some things for you." At the hard female voice, Sydney turned and her goggles afforded her an excellent look of a fist hurtling right at her face. Sydney's head snapped back, her lenses shattered. The agent was staggered by the blow, almost as if she'd been kicked in the face by a mule. Using her adrenaline to battle past the pain, she spun away from her attacker and yanked the damaged goggles off her head to get a good view of her attacker. Sydney then realized she'd just come face to face with Faith Pryce.
 

"Dammit," she thought, "it's one of the kids who hangs out here!? Apparently, St. Wolf used Buffy and her friends to help cover his activities. Sydney narrowed her eyes at the brunette and said, "Wait! I know this looks bad, but I can explain??"


The girl smiled wickedly at her. "Save the explanations for when you wake up after I send you to dreamland, hon."

 

Then she threw a roundhouse kick at her head. The agent fell backward and was merely clipped by the girl's boot. Even then, she saw more
stars. Sydney glanced at her attacker as she tasted her own blood at the corner of her mouth. Obviously, their intelligence had been dicey because this girl could hit as hard as a sledgehammer! Pulling herself together, Sydney dove past the charging girl, rolled over, reached down to her boot and drew out a sharp knife. She came up into a fighting stance, the knife's edge shining in the lamplight as she held it in a defensive position, ready to stab out. At that moment, she finally saw Buffy standing behind Faith, her expression as hard as the other girl's.

 

Sydney held up the knife for the two girls to see and snapped, "I don't want to hurt either of you, but if you don't get out of my way, it's going to go badly."

 
Instead of being intimidated, the two teenagers shared looks of amusement. Buffy reached behind her and pulled out a long and sharp katana that seemed to glow. She held it up to allow Sydney to examine the ready blade.

 

 "Oh, shit," the agent muttered.
 

Buffy stepped forward, her sword held up and ready with a confident smirk on her face.

 

Narrowing her eyes, Sydney aimed the point of the dagger at Buffy's shoulder, trying hard to not seriously injure the young girl. Then she thumbed a button on its hilt, sending the blade darting through the air to bury itself into Buffy's shoulder.  As the blonde screamed from the sudden pain, Sydney winced. She hadn't wanted to hurt anyone on this mission, let alone a teen-aged girl. While Buffy staggered from the injury and tugged at the blade, Faith growled and rushed Sydney, tackling her into the table and smashing it to pieces. They rolled along the wall, for several moments before Faith shoved Sydney hard and then grabbed a handful of Sydney?s hair.
 

The Dark Slayer was more than a bit surprised when the entire head of red hair came off in her hands. Her pause gave Sydney a chance to kick her in the back of the leg and send her off-balance. Backing up, Sydney could see Buffy pulling the knife out of her shoulder and glaring at the agent with hard eyes, her sword raised. Swiftly, Sydney reached down to her belt to pull out a small round-shaped object. She pushed the button on top and threw it onto the floor, turning away and closing her eyes.
 

The room was filled with a blinding light, both Buffy and Faith yelped as their vision blanked. As they staggered and tried to clear their eyes, they heard a smashing sound in the distance. When their visions finally cleared, they saw that one of the windows had been smashed outward with the bushes outside partially crushed.

 

As she wiped at her eyes, Buffy growled under her breath. "Oh, no, bitch. You're not getting away that easily!" She rushed forward and leapt through the broken window. Faith brushed at her eyes before following her Slayer sister into the night.

After what had seemed like an eternity of agony, Sydney finally paused to catch her breath. She leaned up against a tree and groaned as the aches
from the blows had finally taken their toll. She shook her head as she tried to figure out what had just happened. She had been in fights before but nothing like that. One teenage girl had shown more strength and skill than most adult fighters Sydney had tangled with.  She staggered toward the small park before her, her mind already working on her next plan of attack. The safest thing to do would be to declare the whole thing a scrub and
head back to L.A. However, Sydney hated the idea of leaving a mission uncompleted and was mulling over her options when she heard the sounds of someone approaching. She turned, her hand moving to the small holster at her side to pull out her gun. She moved into a professional stance as a trio of figures appeared from the bushes nearby. All were dressed in dark clothing with wicked smirks on their faces as they took in Sydney.

 

"Hmmm...." the leader said, licking his lips. "We got us a fine treat here right now."
 

Sydney's face was set in a cool but hard expression. "I've having a very bad night as it is, buddy. How about you and your friends take a hike before I burn off my frustration on you."
 

"Oooooh, spicy," another one of the men said. "I like a little spice in my meals." His face suddenly changed into a feral-like visage, his companions following suit. 


*Holy shit* ran through Sydney's mind before her training and instincts took over. She pulled her gun up and snapped off three rounds at the man coming toward her. He staggered back but didn't go down. Sydney's mind couldn't comprehend what she was seeing. She could see the holes in the man's clothing and the skin underneath and yet he was showing no effect from the wounds. She aimed to fire again but in a flash he was on her, knocking her gun from her hand and grabbing her by the throat. Sydney gasped for breath and brought her knee up into the man's groin. He gasped and lost his hold on her throat. Then he lashed out with his fist, and caught her on her left cheek, sending Sydney staggering, until her foot caught on an errant tree root. She stumbled and her head smacked against the tree trunk, Sydney slumped to the ground, her vision spinning and darkness closing
in. She could see the trio stalking toward her. She wanted to move but couldn't make her body respond. Then she heard a sharp cry and a blur of motion and suddenly, one of the attackers had vanished in a whirl of dust. Sydney barely managed to see two figures with manes of blonde and black as they assaulted her two remaining attackers. Then everything went black.


Steve St. Wolf's Home
1953 Hours PST

Staring at the hole in his window, Steve shook his head. "I'm amazed insurance companies still provide coverage for the residents of this town." He turned to where the others had all gathered after receiving word of the break-in.

 

"Uh oh," Willow said. "You don't think the Order of Teraka is trying for us again, do you?"
 

Cordelia shook her head. "Nah. Those guys put the 'over' in 'overkill.' If she worked for them, she wouldn't be gunning for us alone."
 

"And she wouldn't have bothered scouting us out," Jenny said. "She'd have come right for us."
 

Giles sighed deeply as he wiped his glasses. "Unfortunately, that leaves us with quite the long list of possibilities as to who she does work for."
 

"Well, she's probably long gone by now," Cordelia added. "Not like she's gonna show up again here anytime soon."
 

Then the door burst open and Buffy and Faith entered the house. "Hi honey!" Buffy called out. "Want to see what the cat dragged in?"

 

 It took a moment for everyone to realize the Slayers were carrying an unconscious woman between them.
 

"Who the hell is she?!" Randi snapped.
 

"We came in second in the Publisher's Clearinghouse sweepstakes and Ed McMahon gypped us by awarding this lame-ass bitch as our prize," Faith dryly answered before snapping, "Will somebody give us a hand here?"
 

Steve quickly moved to help the Slayers place the unconscious Sydney onto the couch. "What happened?" the Wanderer asked. "In ten words or less."
 

"Vampires attacked her. We found her, killed them, came back here."
 

"Eleven words. Close enough."
 

"Did she fight them?" Shaw asked.
Buffy shook her head. "From what I can tell, she tried shooting them first."
 

Giles frowned. "Then she doesn't know the first thing about vampires. Who would send someone after us without giving them any information about the dangers in Sunnydale?"
 

"Good question," Steve said as he focused on the limp form. "Let's save it for when she wakes up."
 

"We can hit her with a truth or pain spell," Amy suggested.
 

"That sounds reasonable," Steve agreed.
 

"That sounds reasonable, does it?" Zev asked. "Time to up your medication, Steven."

Sydney groaned as she opened her eyes. *God, I hate getting knocked out.* She shook her head to clear it and then looked up. Her stomach plummeted as she saw herself surrounded by a very interesting-looking group of people, all of whom were fixing her with hard looks.
 

"Who."
 

"What."
 

"Why."
 

"When."
 

"Where."
 

"How."
 

"Talk."
 

Sydney licked her lips. "I picked a bad time to regain consciousness, didn't I?"
 

"You don't know the half of it," Buffy growled.
 

Sydney looked around. "May I ask a stupid question?"
 

"Feel free, it's the only kind they deal with in this group," Zev told her. "Where am I?"
 

"My house," Steve told her.
 

Cordelia leaned in toward her. "Okay, honey, time to dish the info. Who are you and who do you work for?"
 

Sydney softly smiled. "Well, I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you."
 

"Oh, by all means, please tell her."
 

"Shut up, Zev!" Steve cut in, facing Sydney. "Just tell us now and this will go easier for you."
 

Sydney set her jaw and held her head up high. Steve sighed and nodded to the witches. "Okay, she had her chance. Do it."
 

Nodding, Amy, Willow and Jenny stepped forward and held out their hands. Sydney's eyes widened as she saw a bizarre glow suddenly flow out of them and into her.  She coughed as she waved her hands, not able to understand what had happened. "What the hell was that?"
 

Steve crossed his arms. "Okay, let's try this again. Who are you?"
 

"Call me Lola," Sydney snapped. She suddenly cried out as her entire body ached. "Wha....what the...."
 

"Name," Steve said.
 

"Screw You, that's my name." Sydney cried out again. She gritted her teeth before spitting out the answer. "Sydney...Bristow."
 

Steve nodded. "Who are you working for?"
 

Sydney glared at him. "MCI." She yelled again in pain, leaning back on the couch. She gritted her teeth, trying to put the pain aside.
 

Steve gazed at her, his face emotionless. "Tell us now."
 

Sydney gave him a look of steely resolve. "Walt...Disney Company..."
 

She let out a muffled cry as pain racked her body again. She gasped for breath, trying to handle the agony. She fixed Steve with a glare, her eyes watering. She didn't know what was happening but she was trained not to just give up information, no matter what. "I'll talk to the brains and the brawn."
 

Zev turned to Xander and Cordelia. "Well, that leaves you two out."
 

Steve stepped up toward Sydney. "Which one is it? NSA, CIA, FBI?"
 

"CIA," Zev said. At Steve's look, the alien nodded at Sydney. "I saw the little flash in her eyes when you said it." He looked Sydney over. "Hmm...not what I would have expected."
 

"Oh?" Sydney snapped at him. "You think I can't be a good agent because I'm a woman?"
 

Zev said to her, "Girl, where I come from, equality of the sexes was a given. So I don't put down people because of their sex."
 

"Yeah, he's an equal opportunity offender," Xander piped up.
Steve nodded. "So you've got her name and employer. What are you waiting for?"
 

Zev raised an eyebrow. "I'm sorry, is there a request somewhere in that?"


Steve's eyes narrowed. "Zev, why do you have to question me when I tell you to do things?"
 

"Can't go through life with everyone kissing your ass, Steven," the alien matter-of-factly replied. "Think of me as the much-needed dose of humility around here."
 

Xander yelped and clutched his head. "So...many...jokes...must...make fun...of comment!"
 

Zev rolled his eyes and walked toward the other room. Steve looked back at Sydney. "Okay, remove the spell." The witches waved their arms and Sydney felt the pain subside. She gasped as she did her best to sit up. "God, what was that?"
 

"Merely a spell to allow us to find out the truth," Shaw stated as she brushed a hand through her hair.
 

"Spell? What do-----" Sydney broke off as she saw Shaw's pointed ears. "Oh...great...I've been kidnapped by Trekkies." She swung her legs out to sit up, wincing at the ache in her head.
 

"Careful," Buffy said. "Don't start any trouble, Slappy."
 

"Oh and you know a lot about trouble?" Sydney snapped.
 

"We specialize in it," Xander proudly said.
 

"Yep," Willow added. "We just dive in and it comes our way." The girl looked up at the
ceiling wistfully. "It's a gift."
 

Sydney slowly looked them over. "You are one severely weird terrorist group."
 

Everyone looked surprised at her statement. "Terrorists?" Giles stammered. "We're not terrorists!"
 

"Oh?" Sydney asked with skepticism. "You don't commit mindless acts of violence to advance a political agenda?"
 

"Nope," Xander answered proudly. "Our mindless acts of violence are completely mindless!"
 

Zev snickered from the other room. "As to him and Chase, I couldn't have said it better myself."
 

"We see ourselves more as idealists," Jenny said.
 

"Although Jurden only knows what those ideas are," Zev added.
 

Sydney sniffed. "Let me guess. You just run around fixing what you see as problems and do whatever you want?"
 

"Well, not everything," Steve informed her. "There are these annoying things called laws."
 

Sydney snorted. "Please. I've read about you St. Wolf or Jamieson or whatever it is you call yourself today. I know about that raid you did years back. You killed over a hundred of the richest, most powerful, most respected people in Europe...."
 

"All of whom belonged to a pedophile ring who were planning on using those children for their own twisted means," Giles informed her.  Sydney stared at him, her face showing her disbelief. "But...no...I read the files...these were respected people, philanthropists..."
 

"Ms. Bristow, I believe you can understand how people can hide their true natures."

"We have a problem." Everyone looked up to where Zev was standing in the doorway. The alien's face was sober as he looked to Sydney. "According to the CIA database, there's no one named Sydney Bristow working for the Company in any way, shape or form."
 

Sydney raised an eyebrow. "It's a secret unit."
 

"I checked every unit they have, including the ones the Agency heads don't know about. You're not in there."


"Well, then, your computer made a mistake."
It was Zev's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Young lady, my computer is much like myself. It doesn't make mistakes."
 

"Obviously, you don't count your suits," Cordelia muttered under her breath.  Sydney fixed Zev with a glare. "I don't know where you get your
information but it's obviously faulty.
 

"Really?" Steve said. "I think I can cut to the chase of the matter."

Sydney sat in the chair in Steve's office and glared at him. Steve sat behind his desk, typing on keys in front of his computer. He finished and turned the monitor over as the screen was filled with the image of a dark-haired man in a suit sitting at a table. "Steve, good to see you."
 

"You too, Jack," Steve said. He motioned to Sydney. "And this is Sydney Bristow. Sydney, say hello to the Director of the CIA, Jack Ryan."
Sydney licked her suddenly dry lips. "Mr. Ryan...sir, it's an honor.  Um...I don't know how you know these people or just what's going on here but-----"


"Save it, Bristow," Ryan snapped. "I think you're in enough hot water as it is attacking these people without cause."
 

Sydney blinked. "Um, sir...it was my assignment. I mean, it's my job to do these things."
 

"Not for me it isn't," Ryan told her. "You don't work for us."
 

Sydney frowned. "Sir, I know SD-6 is a secret unit but..."
 

"SD-6?" Ryan's face fell. "SD-6...Ms. Bristow, are you telling me you operate for SD-6?"
 

Sydney nodded. "Yes, sir. You can contact my superior, Arvin Sloane."
 

Ryan's eyes widened. "Sloane? You work for..." He closed his eyes and shook his head. "Son of a bitch."
 

"Sir?"
 

Ryan looked at her. "Ms. Bristow, do you know about the Alliance of Twelve?"
 

Sydney nodded. "A major international crime cartel with hands in just about every illegal enterprise there is. Drug smuggling, gun-running, murder for hire. Pretty much the most amoral people on the planet."


"You're one of them."
 

Sydney's jaw dropped open. She stared in shock at Ryan, her mind unable to comprehend his words. "Wha...what....?"


"Ms. Bristow," Ryan said, his voice softer. "SD-6 has never been part of the CIA. It is part of the Alliance. You have been lied to. Everyone you work with has been lied to. You've been working for the very people you thought you were fighting against."
 

Sydney shook her head, unable to accept this. "No...no, I'm CIA, I've been working for the Company for five years now."
 

"And how many times have you visited Langley?"
 

Sydney frowned. "I haven't...I'm based in L.A., there's never been a need to------"
 

"No top agent goes five years without visiting Langley at least once," Ryan said. "Have you ever seen anything with the CIA logo around?"
 

"We're...we're spies, we can't-----"
 

Ryan chuckled. "Lady, trust me, you can't go anywhere without seeing the logo around. Papers, coffee cups, it's worse than Disneyland." The smile faded. "I'm sorry, but that's the truth. You've been on the wrong side of the fence all these years."
 

Sydney's face had gone white and she felt like she couldn't breathe. Her entire world had crashed around her in an instant and she was naturally having a tough time trying to take it all in.  Steve gazed at her with sympathy as she murmured, "They lied to me...All those years...they lied..."
 

"They did," Ryan confirmed. "And I'm sorry. I truly am. But that's the way the world is." He sighed deeply. "Ms. Bristow, I'm sorry to have to drop this on you. But it's the truth and you have to accept it. And to be honest, this offers an amazing opportunity for us."
 

Sydney stared at him, her mind still whirling. "What opportunity?"
 

Ryan leaned forward to look her in the eye. "We can use an inside agent in SD-6. Someone who can get us information on their activities, help us counteract them."


Sydney's face went hard. "I can do more than that," she hissed. "I can give you the whole damn organization, right now. I know it all, places, names, cells, everything."


Ryan's eyes widened. "You...do?"
 

Sydney glanced around until she saw a pad and pen. She grabbed them and swiftly began jotting down furious notes. After a few minutes, she held up the pad. It was a chart, showing various names and places, all branching out from a large circle saying "SD-6."

 

"Here," she said. "That's all you need."
 

Ryan looked at the image and shook his head. "Ms. Bristow, if all I wanted was the California branch, I can get that."
 

"What are you talking about?" Sydney barked. "This IS SD-6!"


Ryan gave her a look that bordered on pity. He then tapped a few keys on his own computer and a small window opened up on the screen. He highlighted and enlarged it and suddenly a chart flowed before Sydney. It was clear that if it was put on paper, it would easily be ten times the size of the notepad Sydney had used. It resembled her chart, only taken to the tenth power, with branches and words she had never imagined. Like hers, it was centered around the words "SD-6."
 

"We started this chart five years ago," Ryan's voice echoed. "And all it's done in that time is grown." The chart faded as his face reappeared on screen, now more sympathetic. "That's just your cell. The Alliance is bigger than you've imagined, Ms. Bristow. It's not something you can
just take apart in a single afternoon."


Sydney shook her head as her world view was once more shattered. "I...I can't...I..." She started heaving, her stomach twisting in knots as she hunched over. She stumbled to a nearby garbage can and grabbed it. Sydney bent over and retched, her stomach contents spilling right into the can "I...sorry...oh, God, I...oh my..." Her eyes were beginning to tear up. "I just can't...this is too much..." She staggered out of the room as Steve moved to follow her.

So she's been working for the bad guys for five years and never knew it?" Xander asked. "Damn, that's harsh." The team was assembled in the living room and Steve had just explained the situation to them.


"Where is she now?" Amy asked.
 

"Upstairs bathroom," Steve answered. "I guess she needs some time to compose herself."
 

"That brings up the question of just what we do next with her," Giles stated. "We should try to find out what she knows."
 

"Why don't we send her to Chicago?" Zev sourly remarked as he sat on the couch. "Fifteen minutes with those lunatics and she'll be giving us nuclear launch codes."
 

"Zev," Xander stated. "I think giving her over to the Pantheon is a violation of the Geneva Convention."
 

"Drat, you're probably right, Harris."
 

"I'm more concerned over this SD-6 thing," Steve said. "Jack told me that they're a difficult bunch for the CIA to take on."
 

"What do you mean?" Jenny asked. "They sound like a conventional terrorist/intelligence outfit to me."
 

Steve shook his head. "But their methods set them apart. You have to admit, the CIA thing is a brilliant idea. They have an entire company of agents who think they're doing the right thing and won't question what they're doing."
 

"And they only have to pay them government wages," Buffy noted. "That's very cost-effective." She became aware of the stares she was getting. "What?!"
 

Moments later, the blonde Slayer unconsciously rubbed her shoulder as she looked to the upstairs. "So the verdict is she's a good guy?"
 

"Good guy on the wrong side," Steve confirmed.
 

"How much about Sunnydale should we tell her?" Jenny asked. "She's already been thrown for a loop, do we want to add more on top of that?"
 

"She's already seen vampires," Zev remarked. "And despite what's happened, she still wants to know what we do. I say we tell her everything."
 

"And what is everything?" Everyone turned to see Sydney standing in the doorway, staring at them with a flat expression. "I want to know and I want to know now."
 

The group exchanged glances before Steve nodded. "Okay. Have a seat."

Forty-eight minutes later, Sydney stared at the group surrounding her. She gazed at each face in turn, seeing the seriousness in their expressions. Her own was filled with utter disbelief and doubt as her eyes met Zev's.

 

The alien simply shrugged. "Oh, don't look at me; I think they're all completely insane."
 

Sydney rubbed at the bridge of her nose. "I can't believe this. Vampires? Demons? Magic? This is absolutely crazy."
 

"No doubt," Buffy said. "But it's our world, lady. And as of now, it's yours too."


"It's so hard," Sydney sighed. "I'm a rational person!"
 

Liam snorted. "Rationality always gets in the way of common sense. Common sense tells you to accept what you see. When you try to rationalize it, you're in trouble."
 

Sydney slumped back on the couch, running a hand over her face. "I just...this is just too much." Her face rose as she fixed a glare at Steve.  "You...you're actually training these kids to fight like this? Against these...things? Do you realize how bad this can be for them? Do you know
how they could die?"
 

"If you're that upset over people dying," Zev stated. "You might be in the wrong line of work."
 

Sydney glared at him. "What I've done, I've done for...for..." She closed her eyes. "Oh, God...People I've killed....I thought I was doing it for my country but..."
 

"Did they attack you first?" Shaw asked. "Were they truly innocent?"
Sydney paused. "No...no, they were mostly with gangs and cartels...I guess...they were bad guys..."
 

"Then hold to that," Shaw said to her. "Do not let yourself be overwhelmed with guilt that is unnecessary."
 

Sydeney rose to her feet suddenly and started pacing. "I'm trying to process all of this. The insanity, the truth, all of it."
 

"Sounds like interesting times," Amy remarked.
"If you mean like the Chinese curse, I agree," Sydney snapped. She turned back to the group. "So...now what?"
 

Steve coughed as he stepped forward. "I talked to Jack and we agreed that this could be a blessing in disguise."
 

"Than it's a hell of a lot better disguise than anything I could come up with," Sydney muttered.
 

Steve continued. "We think it's best for you to work inside SD-6. Get info on them, give it to the CIA. It will be the best lead they have in the organization."
 

Sydney stared at him in disbelief. "You...you want me to go back. You want me to go back to those...people, knowing the truth and act like nothing has happened? You actually expect me to do that?"
 

Steve was calm as he returned her gaze. "We know a pair of vampires with souls who remember all the horrible things they've done and who go undercover as the monsters they used to be."


Sydney shook her head. "I can't talk to you people..."
"Welcome to my world," Zev sourly said.
 

"Although we often wish it weren't," Xander added.
 

Sydney glanced at Steve. "You're asking me to be a double agent. You want me to work for both the CIA and SD-6."


"Well, it shouldn't be that tough," Zev remarked. "Your father does it well."
 

Sydney stared at him. "What?" she squeaked out.
 

Zev returned her gaze casually. "Well, your name didn't pop up on the CIA database but Jack Bristow, father to one Sydney, did. From what I can tell, he's been deep undercover at SD-6 for some time now."
 

As Sydney's jaw once more unhinged, Steve fixed Zev with a glare. "Did they even know the concept of TACT on your planet?!"


"My...father?" Sydney stared in space before setting her jaw. "You know...that actually makes sense. No wonder he's been so distant the last few...decades."


"Family issues?" Buffy asked. "Join the club."
 

Cordelia sighed as she moved up to Sydney. "Look...we know this must be hard. We've all been through a lot of changes in the last few years. A few months ago, my mom stole all our money from my dad and me. We lost the house, the car, everything. It was a really tough time but I managed to adapt to it."
 

Sydney just stared at her. "The man I loved was killed because I told him who I really worked for and you think you can compare to that? How can you be that stupid?"
 

"It just comes naturally to her," Zev was quick to say.
 

Sydney continued to glare at Cordelia. "This situation is so...unfair."
 

"Life isn't fair," Zev stated. "But it's at least consistent."
 

"Listen, buddy-----"
 

"Zev," the alien said.
 

Sydney blinked. "Zev? Your name is Zev?"
 

"That's what they call me."
 

"Actually, when he's not around, we call him something else," Xander remarked.


Sydney threw up her hands and walked away. "I'm going to bed. I can't----I'm going to bed and I hope when I wake up tomorrow, this will have all been one wild, wild dream." She marched to the stairs and headed up toward the guest room.
 

"Maybe one of us should talk to her," Jenny suggested.
 

"No, let her alone for now," Zev stated. "She's got a lot to digest and if you try to shove it all down at once, she'll choke."
 

"Always a way with a phrase, Zev," Giles dryly said.

 

TBC

 

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