"We need to get her back" I state waltzing in to what was Angel's office.
"Buffy, hello" Wesley the only occupant of the room says.
"Hi. Faith. We have to get her back."
"Right and you came to me rather than Giles because?"
"Well this was the first place I came and no matter who was in here the us getting Faith back was going to be the topic of conversation."
"Okay. I will call a meeting. I already have Gunn working on Dollhouse and ways we can infiltrate them or even bring them down."
"So one evil corporation is going to in battle with another evil corporation. Gee hasn't slaying gone 21st century."
"I prefer to think of this as an evil corporation run by good people."
"Yeah right and what did your last CEO do?"
"He did that off his own bat Buffy. None of us knew about it and I assure that if we did we would have done everything in our power to stop it, to stop him."
"And what? Have him try it again the next time he has a side of crazy with his morning cup of blood. Believe me when I say him getting dusted is the best ending to any battle I have had to fight".
"Now Buffy that is just the betrayal talking".
"Damn straight it is! For years and years I had Angel love blinkers on. I was able to rationalize everything he did to me, my friends, my family, my town. He didn't have a soul blah, blah, blah...well guess what, he did some pretty fucked up things with a soul. Faith...she...You...you...we...all went out on a limb for him time after time and we all allowed lame excuses to let him off the hook. So many things he did were inexcusable. How many lives could have been saved if I had just staked him the first time when I had the chance, or the second time or the third, fourth or twentieth time?"
"Think of how many lives he saved working here!"
"He played with my life!"
"You are making this very personal."
"It is very personal. My girlfriend was sold off to the highest bidder".
"Buffy I think we have to remember all the good An-"
"I don't have to remember anything. When Faith went all loopy she paid for what she did."
"And he didn't?" He bangs the desk "His soul was his punishment, he lived with what he did everyday, he tried to make up for what he did everyday."
"For selfish reasons! He knew that the more he paid it back to closer he got to making his soul permanent and becoming human again."
"Do you honestly think he would have accepted being human again? He wouldn't have been able to fight or able to keep helping."
"Oh boo hoo. I don't see you, Giles, Xander, Andrew, Dawn or Gunn wielding any super human powers in your fight. Sure Gunn has the wicked cool lawyer thing going on for him now but he never went in to battle with any of the advantages Angel or I did. If he felt he couldn't fight on once he became human again then he was a weak human being to begin with, a selfish human being."
"And you aren't?"
"I know I am. I know I am selfish and spoiled and bratty. One of the reasons I want to get Faith out is because I want my girlfriend back. Angel though...Angel thought he was morally superior. He used what he was doing to feel better about himself. I don't doubt that it hurt him to remember what the demon part of him did but as time went on the pain and hurt he caused was a distant memory...plus he didn't choose the soul so what else was he supposed to do."
"Arguing about what Angel was or wasn't isn't helping us."
I sigh "You're right. So plans are in motion?" I give up the argument cause I think I kinda won with Wes stopping it...yes he also stopped it with logic but I don't care cause I so totally won.
"They are" He snips his answer...I so won!
"So a meeting?"
"I will schedule it for this afternoon. I am meeting Gunn before lunch to see what he has come up with."
"We will get her back Buffy. I've...I've failed Faith too many times to let this happen to he.r"
"You and me both Wes. You and me both."
I think I am going to jam this pen in to my eye. Four hours I have been sat in this meeting while Giles and Wesley go over Angel's encrypted files.
It hasn't all been bad because we got information we needed on Dollhouse, even a way in but now they are sitting there marveling at the technology that was used to hide the files of information Angel had.
"I have to get Willow in to see this, it is simply magnificent."
"Giles can we pay homage to the lord of encrypted files later...focus on saving Faith first."
"Buffy I don't think you understand the complexity that he went to-"
"Giles I don't give a crap at the complexity of the hiding. The point of this meeting is to put a plan in motion to save Faith not get a happy over Microsoft office."
"It is hardly Microsoft office Buffy. We are talking stuff that Bill Gates himself would be amazed at."
"Great, well you can give him a call and chat about it all fucking week for all I care, just after we save Faith."
"She's not going anywhere Buffy" Wesley joins in the conversation.
"Neither is the encrypted file and nobody will be playing with the files life. Molding it in to god knows what to do god knows what."
"Okay Buffy settle down. Now as discussed earlier we have one of two options. We can enter Dollhouse as a prospective client or as a prospective investor."
Some of the information Angel had saved showed that this place is privately funded by anonymous donors and investors who are interested in the kind of technology they use in relation to mind control.
"Why don't we enter both ways?" I say "If one fails we have the other."
"We do have the man power and the resources." Says Wes.
"Are Wolfram and Hart going to be okay with this? They hired Angel for a specific reason to run this branch and now he is gone."
"Gunn spoke with the partners a few days ago. They are happy for us to continue what Angel was doing...before the crazy."
"Right and we trust a firm based on doing evils bidding?"
"Despite appearances they aren't all about evil Buffy. They understand better than anyone about keeping the balance between good and evil. It was the main reason they brought Angel in. Evil was taking over, the staff became drunk on the power that came with evil. When he took the job it was a situation of keeping your enemies closer but when he started to change things-"
"Blah. Blah, blah. I don't give a crap about what a 'difference' you think Angel made to this place I just want to make sure that we have the means and needs to get Faith home. I don't want to go out in to battle get the job half way done and then have the rug pulled out from under me."
"They support us 100%."
"Angel's research showed that Wolfram and Hart were interested in Dollhouse long before he was. In fact I think he accidentally stumbled on their research in to the company...in the end I guess they ultimately helped him."
"Remind me to send the partners a fruit basket when we are done" I snap "So we go in both ways. If we are lucky enough to get a meeting to hire a doll then we hire Echo bring her back here and reverse whatever they have done."
"I doubt it will be that easy Buffy" Giles says taking off his glasses "We need to know how they do what they do. What they use to wipe their minds, what kind of state the Dolls are in when they aren't programmed...we need to look in to the dangers of what wiping her mind will do."
"If we assume some of what happened to her while she was here was true then they use some kind of chair with blue lights. Faith told me she remembers being in this chair. She wasn't connected to anything like wires or leads but there were machines attached to this chair that did all the reading. She said it felt like she would fall asleep in this chair but when she woke up it was confusing for her. She said she didn't remember lying down in the first place and when she was ask questions they would just say she had been taking a nap and would lead her out of the room."
"I think we need to definitely go in as 'investors' first. What I read in the files was that anyone who was taken on board as an investor got a tour of the place and depending on their field of expertise got an in depth report in to what they do and how they do it. We have several different teams being rounded up all with possible ways that we can get the information needed to undo what they did to Faith."
"Cant we use magic?"
"That is a possibility, a last resort one. Using magics to undo modern technology can have dire consequences."
"Which way will have her back here quicker?"
"Buffy please understand that this isn't about quickly. We need to do this properly. This isn't a going after a preacher in a vineyard kind of mission or any other kind of thing we have done before. If we get found out by this place then they are likely to kill Faith and anyone else involved with her. They are serious about keeping what they do going and go about any means to do so. Remember what we are dealing with here. They have no reservation in using human's to do all kinds of unspeakable acts."
"I know Giles. I know what is involved here and when I think about...about what they make her do. I can't think past get my girlfriend back, I can't think past the selfish reasons because when I do."
He says softly cutting me off before I have to say any of the shitty things.
He knows that thinking them is bad enough.
Proactive Buffy is gone. I waved her goodbye after yet another meeting with Uncle Killjoy and his annoying nephew Stick in the Mud and said hello to the Buffy I have come to know and love. I am a mix of depressed and pissed off and all I can see is my anger...so back to normal Buffy I guess? Hmm seems this version come with a side of kicky sarcasm.
Now not only do we have to worry about getting Faith back but now they want to do what they can to save the other 'dolls'. After an argument that went in circles I told them to get fucked and even threw a few files that were on the conference table in front of me. I love a dramatic exit almost as much as I love a good speech.
They say it is my selfishness that is clouding my judgment. That I want Faith back so I can recapture the wonderful 6 weeks we had. Well first of all 'DUH!' of course I want her back for that reason but it isn't the main one. What they are making her do I know she wouldn't be okay with it. All the shit she has dealt with in the past, all the work she has done to be where she was with her life would be gone in an instant.
She wouldn't care that she was tricked in to going or that she was programmed to do all those things. She would see the old Faith doing the old things.
Of course UK and SITM didn't see it that way. Here they are running Wolfram and Hart and they have the gall to bring up morals. Faith was sold off to this place and as far as I am aware all the other dolls they have working for them volunteered for their 'experiment'. Faith however did not!
My contribution was if they signed up of their own free will they stay. We go in, we get Faith and we leave them the hell alone to continue doing whatever it is they are doing. If we worry about everyone else in the place then it just gets way too complicated.
"I don't think anything is more complicated than going in to battle thinking with your groin rather than you brain" I say mimicking Wesley from earlier today "Thinking with my groin" I snort "If he though with his groin it would be a very long thought that's for sure."
I flop on to my couch and decide that I am going to come up with my own plan, one that doesn't involve The Thompson Twins and one that will totally kick their plans ass.
So I think I may have come up with a plan. I buy Faith back.
Yeah I don't think Faith will like the idea of being brought either...even if it is to stop her from doing things she doesn't know about but will spend the rest of her life trying to make up for.
I could find another slayer that is willing to trade places with her. Yeah like Uncle Killjoy will let that happen.
I trail her on a mission and then sneak up behind her with a cloth covered in chloroform and knock her out and bring her back here...shit we don't know how to reverse what they have done to her yet.
Plans are hard!
I have sat on my couch for a good 45 minutes and not one of the ideas I came up with used any kind of logic. Well not sane logic anyway.
The kidnapping one is a good idea because basically that is what we are going to have to do. There isn't anyway they are going to let us just take their best doll away from them. It just needs finessing and it just needs something to reverse all that was done to her in a painless and good for her kind of way.
And I know how to do that. Willow.
There was a knock on my apartment door. I get up off the couch and go over and answer the door.
"I hear you need me" Willow says standing there with a huge smile.
I stand aside to let her in "Out of all the things we have seen and done over the years you being able to do that is what freaks me out the most."
"Hey I am wicked with the mojo and my best friend should be able to reap some of the perks."
"About time cause it seems to me Kennedy has been hogging those 'perks' for sometime now" I say closing the door behind me.
"Do you want the same perks as her? Cause if you do I am so gonna have to hide from Faith when we get her back."
"I love you, Will, but I don't love you."
"Ouch! Xander is right that does hurt." She grins and plops down on my couch.
"So Giles and Wes are being giant pains in the butt about all of this. They want to do their research and take their time and if we weren't talking about Faith being manipulated and used then I would be on board with their ideas but it is about that so I am all about as quickly as possible."
"Uh huh" She nods 'Do you think we should talk about this out loud?'
Her voice pops in to my head 'If they have the place bugged aren't they going to notice the lack of talking?'
'Well we just have two conversations'
I know my brain is going to hurt, I nod the response to her in my head suggestion and then out loud "Are you going to embellish on uh huh?"
"I just don't know how comfortable I feel with clandestine meetings" She opens her laptop and plugs in her USB 'I am sooooo on board with you, they are being overly cautious and they don't need to be'.
"So you are on their side?"
"No sides Buff. I want her back just as safely as you do and Giles and Wesley know what they are doing."
'They are totally clueless and are stalling. They may have some of the best resources at their hands but they are too scared to use it. They are being so cautious because of the partners.
"Will, I can't stay here doing nothing when I know she is out there."
"I know, Buff."
"No you don't! You can go home at night and snuggle with your sweetie. I lie awake at night knowing mine has no memory of me because she was sold off like a fricken slave!"
"Okay, okay. I know this isn't anywhere near having Faith back but how about we go out for the day? Head down to Melrose put a dent in our council credit cards."
"Really? That is your suggestion. I shop my troubles away?"
"No just put them on hold for a few hours."
'Is there somewhere safe we can go and talk about this?' I ask.
She nods "Come on Buffy, you have been stuck in this apartment for weeks and while I'm not dismissing why you have been up here a best bud has gotta worry a little bit. Come out, blow off some steam, spend Giles's money as a form of revenge and then get back on the case with them."
"I dunno Will...I just feel like I am leaving her at the mercy of them."
"I know but going off half cocked without a plan won't help her either."
"Wesley says I am being selfish."
"If it was Kennedy I would be doing what you are 100%."
"I know part of my reason for wanting her back is selfish, I don't deny that at all. I just wish it wasn't used against me every 2 seconds."
"If you want to talk to them about it then I will come with you."
"Thanks Will, I think I might just settle for some revenge shopping for now. I am mad enough to do some considerable damage."
"That's my girl, meet me at my place in 30 minutes. I need to get out of these office clothes."
I smile at her.
''I so have secret files on my USB that are totally going to help us, getting changed is just a cover'.
"Thanks, Will. I will see you soon."