No one slept well, not after seeing that thing rise up out of the garage floor. The Sentinels ended up taking three hour shifts in pairs on guard duty. McGee simply wouldn’t let Gibbs take watch by himself. The problem was that here were only five Sentinels, not counting Xander who everyone agreed was a Guide and not yet trained as a Sentinel, so Peter agreed to stay and take a watch with Spike. Jim teamed up with Clint. It was the first time he got to spend one-on-one time with the Marshal. From both Sentinel’s points of view it was time well spent.
Graham wanted to get back to his house and check it out but he was unhappy about not having his chosen second at his side, so Sam agreed to accompany him after taking Callen and Hetty to a safe house. Gibbs had gotten confirmation that Angel/Angelus was locked up at the NCSIA building, but there was always the small chance that the Initiative was laying in wait and Hetty felt it was not safe for her to return home due to her non-compliance with providing the Department of Guide Proliferation with the list of Guides that they demanded.
That left the problem of what to do with the Guides while his or her respective Sentinels were on guard duty. Jim solved the problem. Everyone would sleep in the nesting room for the night. That way no Guide would be left alone. Gibbs offered his unused guest bedroom for any sentinel that felt the need to re-bond in private. The plan worked...sort of...It was just that nobody slept well. Xander was stressed and needed to suckle Blair which put pheromones into the air. The Sentinels did indeed need to bond, but no one wanted to desert the pack to use the guest bedroom. They were, after all, Sentinel brothers, most had experience as soldiers in a war zone, and bonding with their Guides...that was simply who they were.
The armored car arrived right on time at zero six hundred hours. They brought the crate along with packing material. Spike painted the six red demon trap symbols on the inside of each of the crate sides. After the paint dried he deposited the packing material and the box into the crate. The group decided they would have to forgo the silver chains. Not only was the financial cost prohibitive, but they would have to be custom made and that would take time. The driver watched silently as he sat on a folding chair and sipped on a cup of coffee Blair brought to him. He knew instinctively not to ask questions or offer to do any work the Sentinels did not ask of him. He had never been around so many Alphas and, as far as he could tell, they were all high ranking. He would be glad to get this job over with and get home to his Guide.
Gibbs fixed the armored car driver with his steely gaze. “Two guard cars will be here within five minutes, one will lead and one will follow. They have a second driver for the armored car and two drivers each for their cars. You will drive through, rest stops only. Eat in your vehicles while traveling. At no time is the crate to be left without a guard. The crate is to be delivered to warehouse 9 section X,” Gibbs told the Sentinel driver, as he handed him an envelope containing the written order. “A level seven alarm is to be attached, no other markings are to be put on the crate. You are to see to it personally. Wait at the warehouse until the crate is shelved. You will never speak of this assignment and you will burn your orders after execution. Do I make myself clear, Sentinel?”
“Crystal, General Gibbs.”
”The Guide standing to your left is a Mindwalker.” Gibbs told the driver. “She will ask you some question and you will answer.”
Gibbs nodded and Sweet and Clint stepped forward. “My name is Sweet the Sentinel standing beside me is my bond mate Sentinel Marshal Clint Barton. What is your name Sentinel?” she asked.
“Sentinel Staff Sergeant Trystin Ward, Mam.”
“May I touch your hand, Sentinel Ward?” Sweet asked.
The Staff Sergeant looked straight ahead at a spot on the wall behind Sweet. There was no way he was going to look into a Mindwalker's eyes. Now this... she wanted to touch him. “Not without your Sentinel’s approval, Mam,” he told her knowing that no Alpha Sentinel would let his Guide touch a strange Sentinel, even if he was a beta.
“She has my permission, Sentinel,” Clint told him. “She only requires yours. The touch will be quick. It will last less than one second. Do you give your permission.”
Sentinel Ward shifted his gaze to General Gibbs. His eyes were full of questions, questions he did not get a chance to ask.
“He wants to say no,” Sweet said, “but he feels that the General wants him to co-operate. So he will say yes, but not of his own accord, he’ll give it because he feels it’s his duty. I can’t accept his yes unless it is given freely.”
“I do my duty freely,” Sentinel Ward said, annoyed that the Mindwalker would infer otherwise.
Sweet could feel the change in the Sentinel and she reached out and quickly touched his hand. She was ready for the information that came through her touch. She looked at Gibbs. “He will do his duty, General. He will not betray his country or his commitment to service.”
Sweet looked at Sentinel Ward. “Do you give your word that you will never speak of this assignment, or of this house?” Sweet asked.
“I give my word,” Sentinel Ward said.
“He’s telling the truth,” Sweet told Gibbs.
“Xander,” Gibbs called.
Xander stepped out from the shadows and looked at the General. “I don’t sense any trouble. It should get there safely.”
“The escort is here. You can go now,” Gibbs said to the driver.
Sentinel Staff Sergeant Trystin Ward was only too happy to leave and forget he was ever at the house with all the odd behaving Sentinels and Guides. Whatever was in that weird looking box...he did NOT want to know. He had delivered many top-secret crates, but this was the first time he had been questioned by a Mindwalker, much less touched by one. He didn’t need a Guide to tell him that house was full of stress; it made his skin crawl. He was just happy to get out of the house before all the Alphs started to kill each other.
The Hive’s relief was short lived. Moloch and Angelus were taken care of, but there was still the matter of abducted Guides, the new laws true intentions of genetic manipulation and enslavement of Guides and the genetic manipulation of Sentinels, along with The Initiative’s continuing efforts to take over the Agency of Sentinel Affairs. Gibbs was sure the NCSIA was next on The Initiative’s list of agencies to be taken down. Ducky had said as much before they left D.C. He thought the mole was Spike. Gibbs knew better but still, taking over the NCSIA was the logical next step. The Initiative had tried to get rid of Miller by attempting to take his Guide. There was a good chance that the deep government group would try the same tactic to remove him from his directorship.
It was after lunch when everyone was sitting at the table that the doorbell rang. Jim went to the door with Spike, Gibbs and Clint followed as back up. When Jim realized it was the mailman he opened the door. The Letter Carrier was a Beta Sentinel and froze for a moment when he saw a group of Alpha’s staring at him.
“It’s okay Harry,” Jim said. “They’re friends.” He didn’t feel the need to give any further explanation.
Harry swallowed hard and managed to get his voice back. “I have registered letters for you and Sentinel Spikeman. I require both signatures.” He handed Jim his letter. “Sign here.” Harry handed Spike’s letter to him. “Sign at the X, please,” he told him.
The Sentinels took their letters and returned to the kitchen table. Jim gave a subliminal growl when he read the return address.
“What is it,” Xander asked. As Spike tore open his envelope.
“It’s from The Department of Guide Proliferation,” Spike said as he read the letter. “This is a scheduled appointment for sperm and blood deposit.”
Gibbs brought up the inevitable. “We need to come up with a plan on how to deal with The Initiative and Washington Genetics. Now that we’ve gotten rid of Angelus and Moloch the new laws are not going to fall apart by themselves. Those letters prove it.”
“You’re the one with an agency at your disposal,” Jim said. “It just makes sense that you coordinate any actions we take.”
Gibbs looked around the table. Everyone nodded, Sentinels and Guides alike. Jim had deferred to rank in his own territory. Everyone at the table understood what that meant, this was no longer covert resistance, they were now engaged in open war.
“The first thing we need is more intel,” Gibbs continued. “Abby and McGee are at the computer safe house. Sentinel Morgan and his Guide Dr. Spencer are putting together a lot of information, but we are limited on what we can get from computer hacking. Ducky will be back from the medical convention tomorrow. He may have some pertinent information for us about Washington Genetics plans. Hetty seems to have contacts, we’ll have to see if they can get more information for us. We need someone inside The Initiative.”
“We have someone on the inside,” Xander said, “Angel.”
“He murdered Graham’s secretary,” Tony said. “We can’t trust him.”
“That was Angelus,” Spike said. “Angel is a different person. I can talk to him, there is a good chance he would help us, or at least give us intel.”
“Do you really think he can be trusted?” Gibbs asked.
“He worked with Buffy in Sunnydale.” Spike said. “Angel never betrayed her, he was obsessed with working for redemption.”
“He wasn’t against doing some very bad things to very bad people,” Xander said. “He locked a bunch of Wolfram and Hart lawyers in a room with Darla and Drusilla. They left one Lawyer alive to tell the story."
“I didn’t know about that,” Spike said, “but it doesn’t surprise me. If they were evil he would have considered them fair game.”
“So where does that leave us?” Clint asked. “Can we trust him or not?”
“I’ll question him,” Sweet said. “I’ll be able to tell if he’s trustworthy.”
“NO!” Clint said. “You’re not getting anywhere near him. I don’t want him knowing who you are.”
“It’s okay,” Spike said. “Sweet doesn’t have to talk to him. I’ll be able to tell if he can be trusted. He’s my grand sire, he can’t lie to me without me knowing it. It would be the same as a Guide trying to lie to his Sentinel.
“You’re not going alone Spike,” Gibbs said. “I’m going with you. I’ll get in touch with McGee and Hetty, through the hive link and let them know it’s official, We’re about to engage in open war with The Initiative.
Please feed the muse. Comments get her to come back to work on my new stories. RG5 - The Aftermath is started but the muse needs some encouragement. Thank you.
Please look for Runaway Guide 4 - The War.