Link Here:

C Box:

Author's Note: Some dialogue taken from Provider, and watch out for the cliffhanger at the end.

1,000,000 Monkeys

"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters
will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare.
Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."

Robert Wilensky, (1951-)
American academic,
in the Mail on Sunday 16/02/97
'Quotes of the Week'.

It was quiet at the Hyperion. Too quiet someone decided.

Buffy and Angel awoke from the spell of their usual post morning waking activities to smile at each other as their super-hearing abilities detected the once hush below them which now threatened to turn into a full blown shouting match. Without a word to one another they slipped out of bed and began to dress.

They had already identified the speakers before they reached the final stair that led into the hallway.

"I'm not saying it isn't a good idea," Cordelia tried to placate as the couple entered the lobby of the once hotel. "I just wanna make sure we don't lose sight of the mission."

"It also could cause a lot more trouble than its worth," Wesley argued. "It would be on a public domain. Anyone could have access to it."

"Like the helpless, for example?" Gunn commented.

"Or the hellmouth," Buffy answered, surprising the four grouped around the front reception desk.

Fred rose up from her place of retreat by the computer, a contrite expression upon her face. "I'm sorry, Buffy, I didn't think......."

"Fred, it's okay. It is a good idea though. Can I have a look?" The slayer smiled at her to show she was not mad before she joined her at the terminal.

Angel watched her go before turning to the trio who were left at the desk. "When did this idea come up?" He asked.

"You remember that vampire pyramid scheme Harmony led us to?" Wesley remarked, causing Angel to nod. "Well Fred was doing a search on the net and she found a website concerned with it. And she thought we should have one."

"Which is a good idea," Gunn asserted.

"I'm not denying it," Cordelia countered.

Seeing where this was going, Angel sought to calm them back down. "Hey, easy you two. Buffy and I aren't arguing on that point either. It would generate a lot of business, but there is Sunnydale to consider. Willow was a net whiz before she turned to magic. One search could bring up the site, and if Buffy's name is mentioned....." he trailed off, leaving them to imagine the rest.

Gunn nodded slowly as he realised the consequences. "And yours?" He turned to Cordelia.

"My concern is that we'll have so many clients from the net that we'll ignore the visions of the really helpless ones," the seer replied.

"How about this?" Buffy uttered as she and Fred returned to the desk. "A trial period? One week online, one week off, and we'll decide then if its something we should have."

"And what about the hellmouth?" Angel asked.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Buffy smiled to show she was happy with her member status of Angel Investigations going public. "The site's really good, you should come and take a look."

Angel obeyed his soulmate and stood behind Fred at the terminal to look over the website. Wesley followed.

Fifteen minutes later, despite their misgivings, the site went online.


The next day, Angel Investigations was a hub of activity.

Buffy walked out of the firm's weapons training room- or gym as it was described on the website -to find Lorne had even been roped in to help with the sudden influx of visitors to the Hyperion. He was talking to three grey coloured demons, attired in monk style robes and silver face masks, in a language which, despite all her experience and knowledge of a seven years slayer, sounded like a mixture of clicks, whirr's and pops.

He looked up from them for a moment to find her standing on the threshold of the now busy reception foyer. After he indicated her to the demons, then walked over to her.

"Hey. The guys with the chrome face plates, they're called Nahdrahs. I speak their lingo, sort of. If I understand them correctly they've got a job for our leader. Well, our leader in this instance being Wesley. They saw his web articles on DNA fusion comparisons in Tri-ped demon populations."

"Any handle on what sort of job?" Buffy asked cautiously.

"They won't say until they've met Wes. They were very clear on that."

"Okay," Buffy replied, as her eyes caught the man in question coming out of his office, a flock of people following him. She waited for them to take their leave, then gestured for him to join Lorne.

Once they were installed in Wesley's office, the slayer made her way to Angel and Cordelia, who were manning phones.

Gunn intercepted her, a young blonde woman in tow. "Hey, office free? It's kind of personal."

"Yeah. Go." Buffy smiled at the client and indicated for her to follow him.

She joined the duo at the reception desk. "We're getting stretched a little thin here?"

"You don't say?" The seer replied sarcastically as her caller paused for breath. "Care to help by picking up lines two, three and four?"

The slayer turned to see Angel pausing his own caller. "Okay. How urgent is it? Uh-huh. Could you hold for just one second, please? Thank you." He turned to his soulmate, who took in his look with one word. "Trouble?"

"A guy who owns his own company, is being conned by a vampire nest who are operating a protection fees extortion racket."

Buffy matched his sceptical expression. "Really? Sounds way too gangster to be that simple."

"My opinion also. Where should we rank it?"

"Glad to know you guys are in agreement," Cordelia interrupted as she finished her call and moved to pick up another. "Now, could you please move on?"

"Sorry Cor," Buffy replied before picking up a line.

Angel returned to the guy. "Thank you for holding. If you could just give us the addresses, we'll send someone tomorrow to take a look." He wrote down the necessary information, then ended the conversation. Then he picked up line four. "Hello, Angel investigations, here. How may we help you?"


"I don't sleep. I'm afraid to go out or answer the phone." The blonde girl, called Ally, was saying to Gunn in Buffy's office.

"Yeah, I hate stalkers," Gun remarked, pouring tea. "Look, don't worry. We'll put a stop to it. Have a seat."

"Thank you."

"So, do you know who this guy is?"

"Yeah, well, it's- it's Brian, my ex-boyfriend."

"Have you been to the police?"

"Yeah. They act like I'm some kind of nut. Just like I'm making it all up."

"Yeah, you go to the cops for help they don't do a thing until somebody ends up dead."

"Somebody is dead."

That made Gunn look up. "Who?"

"Brian. Isn't that the kind of stuff you guys deal with?"

Gunn rapidly recovered. "Yeah. All the time. So, Brian, your dead boyfriend, is stalking you?"

"Well, I mean, he's not my boyfriend now."


In Wesley's office, an entirely different case was being translated.

"The Internet article I'm currently writing posits a formula for the genome mapping of creatures who don't have genes." Wes paused in appreciation. "It's an exciting arena."

"One I'm sure we can all download at 'I'll never know the love of a,'" Lorne remarked sarcastically, causing Wes to give him a look. "Ah, can we get down to business? They want to buy your head." He paused before adding, "little rusty with the language. I should probably clarify that."

He turned back to the Nahdrahs. After a series of clicks he clarified. "They want your mind. They're celebrating their prince's, uh..... it's like a birthday, only they're not born so much as disgorged. They need you to solve one of their traditional puzzles so they can give it to him. It's quite an honour."

"Could be interesting," Wes answered politely, just as there was a knock on the door. "Come in."

Fred entered, closing the door behind her. "I might need you after these puzzle people have left."

"Thanks, I'll be right with you." Wes paused as her words caught him. "Puzzle people?" He echoed.

"Sure, these are puzzle people," Fred replied, indicating the Nahdrahs. "Did you notice the designs on their tunics? Geometric shapes. Each a prime number, if you count their edges, arranged in ascending order of exponential accumulation."

"Yes, I did not notice that at all," Wes answered. He gestured to Lorne. "Could you introduce Fred to them? I think she can deal more with your problem." He rose up from his chair as Lorne translated and left them to his office.


At midday, the members of Angel investigations received a temporary relief from the countless phone calls and visiting clients. Taking complete advantage of the temporary peace and harmony, they gathered in the kitchen area and left the answer machine in charge of reception.

"Anyone else tiring of this trial period already?" The seer asked as she collapsed into a chair.

"It is a little frantic," Fred agreed.

Cordelia turned to her; ready to counter sarcastically, causing the slayer to enter the conversation. "Hey, we've all had a rough morning. Let's move past how many clients we've got, and work out a priority list."

"Well, there's something fishy about the corporate guy; Mr Elster," Angel remarked, leaning forward from his seat. "I think that calls for more of a raid than a 'helpless' scenario."

Buffy turned to Wes and Gunn. "You guys were closeted with Ally's case for most of the afternoon. Anything serious?"

"Yes, her zombie boyfriend is stalking her," Gunn answered.

"And Fred and Lorne's..... come to think of it, where is Lorne?" The slayer glanced around the room.

"The Nahdrahs left soon after Wes handed them over to me. Lorne said they needed to consult with their prince or something. He got up to follow them, 'cause he wasn't sure about the translation."

"So, should we split up? Fred and Lorne handle the Nahdrahs, Gun and Wes the zombie, while me and Angel raid and bust the vamps?"

"Leaving me to do what? Handle phones?" Cordy held up her hand, and spoke more calmly. "Seriously, I don't think it's such a great idea to be working on so many cases at once. I mean, what if we're all out making money and some poor devil stumbles in here and needs our help?"

The door of the kitchen opened suddenly to reveal such a stumbling person.

Or rather, Lorne, carrying a suitcase. "Bon giorno, everybody, bon giorno."

"You've been drinking?" Angel stated cautiously.

"Oh, I can hold my liquor, Mister. Unfortunately I can't say the same for my firewater." Lorne giggled drunkenly.

"Aren't they the same thing?" Fred asked Wesley.

"Hey, Fred-girl! No, this is special firewater, used to loosen the tongue of my Gar-wak snitch. They light the water on fire and there's chanting and a bong, and look out, Houston!"

"Okay, enough with the firewater," the slayer decided. "What about the Nahdrahs? Do they want Fred? And if so for what?"

Lorne seemed to sober up a little. "Her enormous brain. They're convinced she can solve the puzzle they wanna give to their prince. They weren't offended by you before, they were impressed."


"They live on a barge, currently docked in the marina. And a day or two, depends on how long it takes her to solve it."

Wes turned to Fred. "You game?"

Fred shrugged. "Sure."

"Wait a minute. I haven't given you the best news yet. For this puzzle they will pay," he paused to open the metal suitcase he had somehow carried back with him, "Fifty thousand dollars!"

"Fifty..." Angel began to echo.

"..thousand..." Cordelia followed suit.

"......Dollars?" Fred finished.

"That's not even the best bit. When I speak of them wanting her enormous brain? Well, I mean they want it in the literal sense."

"What?" Buffy queried in horror.

"After they gave me the money, I figured it was a bit much for just a puzzle and went to my snitch. He told me that there were a group of demons looking to heal their sick prince by replacing his brain."

"Gross!" Cordelia was the first to recover. "I vote we keep the money, tell them we're flattered, but Fred is valued employee."

"I think that solution might be a little too simple, Cor," Angel remarked. "Wes, what do you think we should deal with first?"

"The zombie, then a raid on Mr Elster and the Nahdrahs."

"And then we take the website offline?" Cordelia queried.

"Zombie and demons and first, technology later," the slayer decided, grabbing her coat.


Darkness fell and as the bright florescent streetlights switched themselves on, so did the lamps of the Hyperion as seven exhausted people slowly entered the reception foyer.

The zombie had turned out to be the girl's ex-boyfriend whom she had poisoned when he got over-possessive concerning the quality of her new boyfriends. After what seemed a frantically short half hour of barricading the house from entry; consisting of locking doors, windows and anything else they saw, Brian the Zombie had entered through the forgotten skylight in the kitchen, to be knocked out by Gunn with the help of a baseball bat.

When Brian the Zombie had come round, the members of Angel Investigations watched with a mixture of surprise and disgust, the scene of him and Ally agreeing to give their relationship another go.

Still mulling over this somewhat weird end to a case, they had moved on to the next one; the Nahdrahs. Unfortunately for the latter, they refused to listen to a reasonable and polite refusal from Lorne concerning the availability of Fred's head, causing all the seven to start, and finish what was, for many of them, their first fight where the arena was a marina docked ship.

Three hours later, trying to ignore the various bruises and minor injuries which said fight had incurred, the seven had arrived at Mr Elster's vampires' nest.

Only to find out that Mr Elster's real name was Sam Ryan, and that the protection racket scam, was indeed a hoax. In truth Sam's friend had died, attacked by seven vampires, who decided to chose the telling of the former's explanation, as a good moment to return to their lame hideout.

Fred got Sam out, while the others set themselves on the vamps, Buffy taking two on to even up the fight. When all seven were nothing more than just separate piles of ashes on the floor, the former librarian returned with their client, whom they helped reclaim his late friend's personal effects.

Now, in their previous mentioned exhausted state, the seven entered the foyer and collapsed on the soft furnishing provided.

"Shall we take the website offline?" Fred queried.

"Definitely," Angel decided. "Super powers aside, I don't think we can take this week after week."

"Seconding that opinion," Wes added as he closed his eyes. "Anyone else need an aspirin?"

"I'll get them," Cordy slowly rose from her seat and made her way to the first aid cabinet. "I'd say I told you so, but I think the fights thumped that point home."

"Noted anyway, Cor," Buffy uttered as she worked out a kink in her back. "Do you think any of the people we did not want to know about our .com enterprise, know?"

"If they did, they'd be here by now," Wes argued, pointing to the large wall clock.

All seven glanced at the time. "I'd move," Gunn uttered, "if I thought was capable of reaching the stairs, let alone my bed."

"I'd better take the site offline," Fred commented next to him.

He stopped her from moving with a touch to her shoulder. "There's no need to now," he began, before turning to the slayer, "is there?"

"No," Buffy answered as she settled next to Angel. "Wes is right, they would have spotted it by now."


Unhappily, fate had other ideas. Ones which even the Powers that Be had not foreseen.

Willow struggled to close the spell book. When her hands and her mind had finally won the battle, she threw it out of reach and leaned back in her chair. Fingers went up to rub her temples, as her mind wondered silently if the headaches would ever go away.

Or her addiction to magic, for that matter.

When the throbbing pain and dulled to manageable, Willow opened her eyes and glanced around the dining room of Revello Drive, where she and Tara had moved in to take care of Dawn after Buffy's death, in search of a distraction to her fevered mind.

Tara. Buffy. Dawn. Three subjects she did not have time or inclination to think about. Instead, another trio required her attention; Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan. Their hiding place, to be more specific.

Her eyes unexpectedly found the answer to her present dilemma, resting on the dining room table.

Headache abruptly gone, Willow rose up from the chair and seated herself in at the head of the table. Leadenly she lifted up the screen of her neglected laptop and pressed the switch on button.

After the welcome screen had faded away to her personal desktop, she double-clicked the internet icon and waited for the service provider to answer.

Default home page on screen, Willow typed her queries into the search engine. A few clicks and whirr's later, and the results page came up.

If it had not been on the bottom of the first ten listings; she might never have seen it.

Magic addiction forgotten, Willow clicked the link. Seconds later the site's default entry page came up, displaying a typical frameset, with navigation to one side.

'Bios' was third in the navigational list, under 'contact' and 'about.'

After Wesley and Angel's pages, came that of Buffy Summers.

To Be Continued In....
And A Ballet In The Evening.