This is an Angel / Veronica Mars crossover. No major spoilers for Veronica Mars, spoilers for some of Angel S5. All characters belong to their respective creators and are used without any intention of damaging copyright; this story may not be distributed on a profit-making basis. I'm British, as is my spelling; live with it.
by Marcus L. Rowland
It happened on a Tuesday night, about a year after Dad went into business. Dad was away on a skip-chasing job and wouldn't be back for a couple of days, and I was in the office after school to check mail and feed the fish when she phoned. I think that was the first time, usually I called her. I checked the Caller ID, Dad and I have more than our fair share of enemies and kooky nuisance callers, got the "Caller ID Blocked" sign, and said "Mars Investigations, how may I help you?"
"Hi Veronica, this is Cordelia Chase at Angel Investigations."
"Hi! What can I do for you?"
"I need to farm out some work your way."
"I'm going to e-mail you a list of names and approximate addresses. Our clients want as many as possible found and watched for the next week, up until midnight next Wednesday evening. Surveillance to begin as soon as possible. Reports are to be sent to you, I'll call every evening for an update. I won't be using traceable phones, so you'll have to recognise my voice."
"Are the subjects in this area?"
"No, you're probably going to have to subcontract it to local agencies. I'm transferring an advance payment of ten thousand dollars to your account, that ought to cover it. If not, more funds will be available. We'll pay 50% above your costs."
"Wait a second," I said cautiously, while thinking 'Money! YAY!', "if this is going to have to be subcontracted, why involve us at all?"
"We're being watched," said Cordelia. "Right now everything Angel and the rest of the guys do is under a lot of scrutiny. I've slipped off the radar for a while, but I can't run this kinda operation. You can."
While she was talking the computer bleeped for new mail from c.chase at angel investigations. I opened it and found a list of names and approximate locations, each with a photo attached. One was in Cleveland, and nearly all of them were US citizens, but after Cleveland the closest address was Brazil, others were in Italy, Britain, even one guy in Africa. And every one of them was either born in Sunnydale, California, or was listed as having spent time there.
"What is this, your class reunion?"
"Almost. You know what happened to Sunnydale?"
"Dad took me to see the crater a few months back, and I've read the government report," I said. "It looked kinda bogus, to be honest."
"They're the only witnesses we've got that aren't dead," said Cordelia.
"Wait a minute. Are you saying that someone caused the disaster?"
"No comment," Cordelia said flatly.
"So who's watching you?"
"Lawyers." She made it sound like a curse.
"Let's just say that they're not on the side of truth, justice, and the American way."
Sweet. I could do the math. Some time in the next few days the Sunnydale survivors were going to be hearing from whoever Angel Investigations were working for, if the lawyers didn't get wise first. Which meant that I was definitely on the side of the angels - sorry about that - especially if I could stick it to a bunch of lawyers... "Okay, let's say we can find all these people and have them watched, what then?"
"Nothing; you just keep me posted. I'll take care of the rest. But one word of advice, keep things simple and don't get involved, some of the people behind this play rough."
I thought for a moment, and said "Just a second." She wasn't asking anything illegal, and if I played my cards right we could do it for a hell of a lot less than ten thousand. "Okay... I guess we can do it. As soon as the money comes in we'll get started."
"Okay, I'll start the money transfer." I logged into Dad's account, refreshed it a couple of times, and saw $10,000 appear.
"Okay," I said, "Money's there, looks like we're on the case."
"Thanks," said Cordelia, "you're a life-saver," and hung off.