the bunny warren v. Faith

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An Attack on the Heart

Author: Mikelesq
Concept: Graham files a report from his first assignment after the Initiative was disbanded.
Rating: PG-13.
Tone: Way too serious.
Quality: Eh, so-so.
Feedback: Please. (Mikelesq[at]
Legal disclaimers: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" characters and situations are owned by Joss Whedon and the producers of the show. The story is entirely fiction, and is expounded from "A New Man." Distribute if you like.


AGENT'S NAME: Miller, Graham
DATE: 10/14/00



October 9, 2000

I was resting at the hospital just after the operation, sipping apple juice, watching Judge Judy, and working on the newspaper crossword. At that point Colonel Lynette entered my room. I was about to get up, when he said:

"No need to come to attention, son. Not after what you've been through. As you were."

I reclined back in the bed, but I put down the apple juice. It's difficult to look like an elite government operative in front of your superior officer when you're sipping on a bendy straw.

"You look good, son," the Colonel continued. "The doctors here fix you up alright?"

"Yes, sir."

"Surgery can be rough. Do you still have any pain?"

"A little, sir."

"That's to be expected. Think you'll be up and around any time soon?"

"Anytime ordered, sir."

Colonel Lynette smiled, and said:

"You don't talk much, do you, son?"

"No, sir."

"Good. That's an asset in this line of work." At this point Colonel Lynette sat at the edge of my bed. "Son, I hope you know that everyone deeply regrets what you've had to go through. If we'd know that Professor Walsh was experimenting with drugs on the agents, we would have certainly...well, we would not have tolerated it."

"No harm, no foul, sir," I said. "The doctors fixed me up. I'm ready for my next assignment whenever ordered."

Actually, I was itching for my next assignment, and hoping that there would be one. With the Initiative project shut down, for all I knew I'd end up peeling potatoes on an aircraft carrier. I wasn't ready to live a mundane life. Not yet.

"Well, I have your next assignment, Miller," the Colonel said, handing me a manila folder. "You see, there were quite a few agents who chose to return to the private sector after the Initiative project was...well, determined to be an...incomplete success. We've been able to contact almost all of them and get them into surgery. Unfortunately, some of them have been difficult to locate. As you know, it is imperative that effects of the...treatments...performed by Dr. Walsh be addressed expeditiously. These boys could die if they don't get into surgery quickly."

"I understand, sir," I said, flipping through the folder. "Agent Mason. I remember him. He came from Kansas. He used to swap farm stories with Agent Finn."

The Colonel smiled. "I deeply regret that you had to go through that, too, son."

"You and me both, sir. I figured Mason would have gone home." "He didn't. We don't know where he went. We've got the FBI checking...unofficially, of course...for any traces of him. The report should be here in a few hours. You were selected to make contact with Agent...I mean, Mr. Mason, since you knew him. He probably doesn't understand the physical side effects of the treatments. He may also be somewhat reluctant to trust us. You are expected to reestablish contact with him, and persuade him, by any necessary means, to have the operation. A medical team can be at any hospital facility you designate within an hour of receiving word from you."

"I understand, sir."

"Also," the Colonel said, "you will be given a medical kit to take into the field with you."

"Sir," I said, "I really don't have any medical training, other than basic first aid. What good would that be?"

"It's not for treatment," the Colonel said. "Agent, we sincerely regret what happened to you boys. And we truly wish to fix the problem so that you can all be healthy and go on to do...well, whatever it is you want to do. But there is also a security issue that needs to be addressed. The chemicals Dr. Walsh used are rather...unique. It would be very embarrassing if some local coroner became suspicious, should he perform an autopsy on a twenty two year old boy who for some reason died of a heart attack, and discover that it was not a natural occurrence. It is imperative that nothing regarding the Initiative's operations becomes known by unauthorized persons."

At this point, the Colonel pulled a small leather case out of his jacket pocket. He unzipped it, and pulled out a hypodermic needle.

"This," Colonel Lynette said, gesturing with the needle, "is a compound of amphetamines. If injected into the body of a person, after death, the toxicology report on that person will show the presence of several narcotic drugs that would seem to have been in the system a long time. It will also mask the presence of the hormones and steroids used by Dr. Walsh. The death will apparently be from a drug overdose. I'm sure you can see why this is preferable to allowing a possible security breach, should you locate Agent Mason and he cannot have the surgery in time."

"I understand, sir," I said. I kept flipping through the papers. Included was a list of the agents who hadn't reported for surgery. All of them. One name jumped out at me. "Sir, I notice that Agent Finn also hasn't been treated. Perhaps...." "Mr. Finn will be contacted by another agent," Colonel Lynette said. "His location has been determined. He hasn't left Sunnydale. It just seems that he's been busy over the summer, and hasn't had the chance to respond to our letters or return our phone calls. I hear he has a girlfriend who keeps him busy. In any event, your assignment is Agent Mason."

"Yes, sir."

I exchanged a few pleasantries with the Colonel, and he left me to study the file on Agent Mason.

October 10, 2000

My flight landed in Los Angeles at around ten in the morning. They were sending us on commercial flights, in order to keep a low profile. However, I was told that a medical team would be flown in by military jet upon my request, and could be at any location I designated within an hour.

Once I checked into the motel, I unlocked my briefcase, and looked through the skip-trace report that had come from the Bureau. Mason had been paying for a motel room in L.A. with a credit card, every week for the past month. He was paying his credit card bill with money orders, all purchased in L.A.. I was staying at the same motel. A little seedy, but I'd stayed in worse.

I locked the briefcase, slid it under the bed, and attached it to the bedframe with a pair of handcuffs. Not the most secure way of storing classified documents, but this mission was a little too basic to start setting up trip wires. I left the room, walked down the hallway, and knocked on Mason's door.

Mason opened the door. He was wearing a pair of faded jeans and a white t-shirt, and he looked as though he hadn't shaved since basic training. He said:

"Hey, Graham! Long time! I didn't expect to see you again. How ya doing?"


"I haven't seen you since we left Sunnydale," he said. "Where ya been keeping yourself?"


"Still monopolizing every conversation, I see," Mason said. "Come on in."

I entered the room. The bed wasn't made, and a couple of empty pizza boxes were on top of the dresser. Mason had turned into a civilian one hundred percent.

"If I'd known one of my old superiors was going to be stopping by," Mason said, "I would have made hospital corners. So what you been up to since we all got fired?"

"I didn't," I said. "I'm still in. We need to talk."

"O.K., talk."

"Those drugs Walsh gave us. They don't work their way out of our system. The effects are permanent, and progressive."

"You kidding? You mean those meds are still swimming around in our blood?"

"Yes," I said. "Have you had any chest pains?"

"Well...a little," Mason said, putting his right hand to his heart and rubbing his chest. "I thought it was just too much fast food. I can't afford much else. That decommission bonus the government gave us didn't last long."

"It's not pepperoni. It's your heart. If you're like the rest of us, your heart rate is probably about 130 beats per minute, and that's when you're relatively inactive. Push it and it'll shoot up to 160. It'll kill you, if you don't get an operation."


"We've got a team standing by," I explained. "We can have it done this afternoon. You'll be at a hundred percent in about two days. It's simple, but it's got to be done."

"Uh, what do I have to...?"

"Nothing. No strings. You're out. You can stay out. We just don't want you to die."

"Uh, O.K., when do we go?"

"Right now. We should be in time, but it's got to get done right away."

I stood up, got my cell phone out of my pocket, and as I walked toward the door, I pressed the speed dial number for the medical team, and said:

"Code Green. Set up the operation for...."

At that point, I felt really dizzy. In the first second I thought that I was having some after effects from the surgery. In the next second I noticed that the pain came from the back of my head, not my heart. By the third second, I was on the floor, out cold.

October 11, 2000

Whatever Mason hit me with must have been pretty heavy, because I felt like I'd been out forever. I checked my watch. It was 3 a.m.

I looked around, I wasn't in the motel anymore. It looked like an office. Then I saw her.

Well, I really didn't see her, or much of anything else. Everything was still blurry. But through the blur, I saw her eyes. I couldn't make out any colors, but there was something about those eyes. They seemed warm, but penetrating, and just a little unsettling. I'd only seen eyes like that on one other woman. I called out:

"Professor Walsh?"

"No," a voice behind the eyes said. I closed my eyes and shook my head back and forth. When I opened my eyes, the world had regained its focus. I saw the face behind the eyes, and the body attached to the face.

She was beautiful. Classically beautiful. At any time, in any place, she would have been considered beautiful. Dark hair. Nice figure. And those eyes....

"I'm Lilah," she said. "Your friend Mason brought you here. He thought we should talk."

"Sorry about the conk on the head, pal," I heard Mason's voice say. I looked to my right. Mason was sitting on a couch.

"I'm sorry, too," I said. Then I turned to the woman. "Who are you?"

"A friend," Lilah said. "At least, I want to be your friend. I'm a lawyer. I work for a law firm, Wolfram & Hart. My firm specializes in finding special people, and protecting them. Helping them find uses for their gifts. I'm told you're quite gifted."


"We've been helping your friend. We want to help you. Your experiences are certainly unique. No one would believe half of what you've been through. But we believe you. We understand."


Lilah turned to Mason, and said:

"You're right. He's a real chatterbox."

"Told ya," Mason responded.

Lilah turned back toward me. "You see, we know that you've had drugs given to you. You were used. Hurt. It's not fair that you were used that way. You deserve to take advantage of the problems that have been forced on you, and make the best of them."

"I see," I said. "How?"

"Mr. Mason has been kind enough to allow us to take blood samples. We've learned a lot about what was done to him. We have clients who find that information very useful. They're hoping that they can develop medicines from what they've learned. Maybe a cure for muscular dystrophy, arthritis, diabetes, and a lot of other problems. You could help a lot of people if you cooperate with us."

I started sitting up off the floor, and tried to discretely check my pockets. Nothing. Then I looked at the corner of the desk on the other side of the room. Everything I carried was sitting there, along with my briefcase. Fortunately, it looked as though they hadn't broken the lock.

"Look," I said, "I have a job."

"Oh, yes," Lilah said, "the government. The same government that used you as a human guinea pig. Don't you feel that your loyalty to them is somewhat...misplaced?"

"You've used Mason as a lab rat," I responded. "Is that any better?"

"It's not like that," Mason said. "We don't owe the government anything, after what they did to us. Anyway, these lawyers, they're good people. They just took blood once. Then they pay you great money, and all you have to do is...."

"Mr. Mason, please," Lilah said. She was visibly irritated. Mason was sharing too much, too fast.

"Now I get it," I said. "First you get some of our blood, to see if you can make more of those super steroids. Then we go on the payroll. What kind of jobs do you give people with super strength? Nothing legal, I'd bet."

I turned to Mason, and said:

"Look, if they know what these drugs do, then they know that they're lethal. You're dying. If you don't get help, you'll die, and these guys don't care. They're using you until you drop dead."

Mason stared at me, then his head dropped.

"I see you're not quite as receptive to our offer as I'd hoped," Lilah said. "Unfortunately, it was a one time offer." She glanced up over my shoulder. I looked behind my back. Two guards in rent-a-cop uniforms were standing behind me.

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask these gentlemen to show you out," Lilah said.

"Out of the building," I asked, "or out of this world?"

Lilah smiled. "I'm sorry we couldn't make an arrangement."

The two guards picked me up by the shoulders.

I didn't see Mason coming. Fortunately, the guards didn't either. Mason punched one of the guards across the jaw. He went flying. Apparently the strength Mason got from Walsh's drugs was still kicking. I elbowed the other guard in the stomach, and tossed him across my shoulder. I didn't have super strength, but my commando training still comes in handy.

Lilah made a dash for the phone. I jumped toward her, and pushed her to the ground. I looked on the desk and picked up the leather pouch Colonel Lynette had given me. I opened it. There were three hypodermics. I got one. Mason was pummeling one of the guards. The other had gotten to his feet, and was rushing toward me. He took a swing at me, which I dodged pretty easily. I shoved the needle of the hypodermic into his hand, and pushed the plunger.

The guard immediately started to shake. The equivalent of a three month speed habit rushed through his body in about three seconds. When he stopped shaking, he dropped to the ground, quite dead.

I grabbed Lilah's arm, yanked her up from the ground, and got her in a bear hug from behind with one arm. With my free hand, I grabbed another needle and held it to her neck.

"Alright," I shouted, "that's enough!"

Mason and the guard turned to look at me. Lilah shook in my arms.

"Now," I said, "if you don't want your boss here to become a senior partner in Hell, I'd let us go."

The guard took a step back. Mason ran toward my side.

"Grab my stuff," I told him. He gathered my things off the desk, and put them in his pockets. He also got my briefcase.

"Now we're leaving," I said. I pushed Lilah across the room and out the door, with Mason close behind. The three of us got in the elevator. I was still holding the needle to her neck.

When the elevator reached the ground floor, the three of us exited. We walked out toward the lobby. There were about a half dozen guards waiting there, but they didn't want to be the reason Lilah wound up dead any more than the first guard.

We walked toward the exit. I was using Lilah as a shield between us and the guards. When we got to the door, I said in Lilah's ear:

"Nice meeting you."

I pushed her toward the center of the lobby, and Mason and I ran out into the streets. Shots rang out over our heads, but we were too far away by the time the guards reacted for any of the rounds to connect.

Mason and I ran about ten more blocks, zipping in and out of alleys before we stopped. We were both panting out of exertion and excitement.

"That...was," Mason said between breaths, "that old days."

"Yeah," I said. "Without the fangs."

"I...guess...I handled...this...pretty bad...."

"Don't worry," I said. "We'll get you fixed up, and the government will be too embarrassed to...hey, are you...?"

Mason was leaning over, his hands on his knees. He was breathing very heavy. Then, he stopped breathing heavy, and fell over. Then he stopped breathing altogether.

I ran to Mason's side and knelt next to him. I checked his pulse. Nothing.

I swallowed hard. I closed my eyes and counted to ten. Then I reached in his jacket, got all of my stuff out of his pockets, and picked up my briefcase. I looked down at my hand. I still held the hypodermic that I had held to Lilah's neck. I stuck the needle in Mason's arm, and filled him with the speed. Then I walked back toward a main road to find a taxi. I didn't know if the Wolfram & Hart goons were still chasing me, and quite frankly at that moment I didn't care. As it turned out, I'd lost them, and I caught a cab to the airport.

October 14, 2000

I was working on my final report back at the office I had been given, when the mail clerk dropped a bundle of correspondence in my In Box. Mostly memos and other garbage, but on top was a article from a Kansas newspaper that the Research Department had clipped and routed to me. It was Mason's obituary.

It was all there in the newspaper, exactly as the government had wanted. Cause of death: drug overdose, possibly brought on by a dishonorable discharge from the Marines under undisclosed circumstances. He was survived by his mother and two sisters.

I rubbed my temples with my fingers. Mason had gone bad, but a lot of people would have, and he had come through in the end. Plus, he never asked to be a lab rat with a time bomb in his chest. He didn't get into the Initiative to become a criminal. He'd wanted to serve his country. And now his family thought that he'd died a junkie in the street.

I turned to my computer terminal. I used my access code to pull up the names of all the agents who hadn't had the surgery yet. Only one name came up: Riley Finn.

I walked over to Colonel Lynette's office.

"Come in," Colonel Lynette said.

"Sir," I said, saluting and standing at attention.

"At ease," he said. "Good job with Mason. Not the result we wanted, but under the circumstances, you handled it perfectly. You've got a big future here, Miller."

"Sir," I said. "I request permission to be assigned to Agent Finn's case."

"Denied," the Colonel responded. "That's been assigned to another agent."

"And he still hasn't brought him in," I said. "Riley's obviously resisting. He'll listen to me."

"I'm sure he'll come around without your intervention, Agent Miller."

"Sir," I said, "You said I have a big future here. I don't have any future here if you don't let me go after Riley. I'll quit."

The Colonel scowled. "I don't respond well to threats, Agent Miller."

"I've stated my position, sir," I said. "Either under orders, or as a civilian, I'm going after Riley."

Colonel Lynette closed his eyes, opened them again, and said:

"Alright, go. I'll make the arrangements. I'll call in our agent and his backup, and you can go."

"Sir," I said. "I request that both agents remain in Sunnydale, and operate under my command."


"Agent Finn is getting that operation." I said. "I'll either persuade him, or force him. But he's getting that operation."

"Very well," Colonel Lynette said. "His file will be on your desk in an hour. Pack your gear."

"Sir," I said. I saluted, and when the Colonel had returned my salute, I went back to my desk.

As of the date of this report, this agent has closed his file on Agent Mason. Information regarding the possible illegal activities of Wolfram & Hart has been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Upon receipt of Agent Finn's file, this Agent will proceed to Sunnydale and contact Agent Finn. And there's no way in Hell the Finn family is going to read about their son's overdose in the obits.


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