Chapter 7 – No Contact
Professor Walsh scowled at the fresh-faced soldier, Lieutenant Finn, who entered her office at the Initiative. Once he had been a reliable, effective soldier, but since the Initiative came to Sunnydale, he’d become a problem. He was attempting to think for himself. Thinking was not a good quality in a soldier. Walsh attributed a great deal of his new attitude to pretending he was qualified to be her graduate teaching assistant and to spending time with this Slayer girl.
“Permission to speak freely, Professor Walsh,” Riley said.
“Stand down, soldier, I’m not your commanding officer,” Walsh answered. She enjoyed forward to talking with Finn. He could be amusing when he was sincere.
“Thank you, professor. It’s about Buffy. The Slayer, I mean. I heard she’s helping you with the Positive Reinforcement program and Hostile 17.”
“That’s top secret, Lieutenant Finn and you aren’t on the need to know list,” she said. “I can’t discuss or acknowledge the existence of any such program with you.”
“I know. I have a personal interest. I don’t want anything to happen to Buffy.”
Walsh studied his face. She was good at studying faces; it was her profession. His face told her Finn imagined himself in love with this girl and was working himself up to interfering with Walsh’s project. She wouldn’t tolerate interference.
“Since you’ve found out this much on your own, I will tell you no one intends to hurt Buffy. This is only an informational study. She seems to be friendly with Hostile 17. I asked her to help out.”
Walsh did not appreciate the look of irritation on Finn’s face.
Riley didn’t like the idea of Buffy being friendly with Hostile 17. He wasn’t sure how much he should say. Walsh could have him court martialled for knowing about this program. He did like Buffy and wanted to get close to her, so he blundered ahead.
“I know about the black box and I know you’re altering Hostile 17’s chip. He’s very dangerous. You don’t know what you’re playing with by letting him loose.”
Walsh smiled. “I am aware of Hostile 17’s destructive capabilities. He’s a violent killer, it’s true, but he’s also a violent killer with a chip in his head. I can control every move he makes, if I find such control necessary.”
He wanted desperately to know what Walsh was up to, but he was afraid to push further. He would have to find out on his own. He hoped he didn’t get caught. “As long as you can control Hostile 17, I guess Buffy will be all right,” he said. He sounded lame and he knew he wasn’t fooling Walsh for a minute.
Walsh knew Finn did not accept her story and surmised he would attempt to discover the true nature of the program. If he did find out, he would tell this Slayer girl and ruin everything.
“Lieutenant Finn, you have stumbled on a top-secret program you are not authorized to know about. I hope I don’t have to remind you of the consequences of pursuing more information or revealing what you know?”
“I understand,” Riley said. No matter what Walsh said about not being his commanding officer, she could have him busted with one phone call. He wouldn’t be able to protect Buffy from this animal who called himself Spike, if he was locked up in the Stars and Bars Hotel in Fort Leavenworth. He’d have to be careful.
“One more thing before you go, Lieutenant, I don’t want you to have any contact with Buffy for the duration of the program, except for your regular school activities as my graduate assistant. You are not to indicate to her you know anything about this program. Is that clear?” The last thing Walsh wanted was to have Riley distracting Buffy from her activities with Hostile 17.
“No contact with Buffy,” Riley answered. He raised his hand to salute, then remembered Walsh was a civilian, dropped his hand and walked out of her office. Once outside, he smiled.
Walsh hadn’t said anything about ‘contacting’ Spike.
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