Pandora's Box pt. 2
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The West Wing
"Pandora's Box"
pt. 2

Donna Moss watched the floor of the elevator warily. It shook every time Josh jumped to try to reach the elevator's utility door.

"Josh."Donna called as she moved against the wall she had been leaning against.

Lyman jumped once more his fingers just brushing the small door,"Almost got it"

The blonde woman gripped the metal railing as the floor shook violently.
"Josh."Donna stated trying not to panic,"Please stop."

Lyman heard the strain in her voice and turned to face her ,"I think I can reach it if I can use the railing as leverage."

Donna glanced up at the small door,"Josh, even if you get up there you won't be able to fit through it. "She moved to the back wall and slid into a sitting position,"Besides I don't want to explain to the President how you broke your neck."

Josh glanced back up at their only escape route trying to gauge its size,"I'm not going to break my neck."

Donna sighed feeling a headache starting to build,"Josh......"

"Okay."Lyman replied quietly as he walked back to her and sat down,"I will find us a way out of here, I promise."

*****

Sam Seaborn stepped into the Oval office and paused in the doorway causing Toby to run into him.

"Sam,"Toby began wearily,"You have to move in order for the rest of us to get into the room."

Sam glanced around the empty office with a frown,"That's just it, Toby."

"What?"Zigeler asked trying to move around the younger man without success.

"There isn't anybody else here."Sam replied as he turned around,"Didn't the memo say the meeting was in the oval office?"

"Yes, its in the Oval Office."Josiah Bartlet replied as he entered from the side door jerking both men's attention to the front of the room,"And I'd like to know why you two are the only one's here."

"I haven't seen Josh since this morning."Sam commented as he stepped forward allowing Ziegler entry into the room.

"He's probably having a long lunch."Toby replied with a barely hidden grin earning a sharp jab in the ribcage from Sam.

Leo McGarry took that moment to enter from back door,"Mr. President, I have something here that you really should take a look at."

Bartlet leaned against the front of his desk,"Can it wait till after the meeting, Leo?"

The Chief of Staff shook his head grimly as he came to stand next to his long time friend,"Its about your daughter, Sir."

That got Bartlet's immediate attention,"What's wrong?"

"She's not with her secret service dispatch."Leo replied grimly

******

Charlie Young moved away from the car and headed toward the stair well. Maybe if he tried to put leverage on the handle and not the door itself it would open. Either way it would give him something to do. Just sitting there waiting for a rescue gave him too much time to think. If he kept his mind occupied it wouldn't drift to the past. A feat he'd been able to do for the past five months and he wasn't about to let the painful memories in now.

"Charlie."Zoey called softly from her perch on the car's roof,"Don't waste your energy. You know as well as I do as soon as my father realizes the secret service aren't with me he'll call in the National Guard."

"I don't mind."Charlie replied quietly,"Gives me something to do."

"What's your sister's name?"Zoey asked after a few moments.

"Rachel."Charlie replied not looking up from the stubborn door handle

Zoey hopped off the car,"How old is she?"

"Thirteen."Charlie replied as he knelt so he was eye level with the door handle.

Zoey grinned,"I bet she adores you."

Charlie laughed as he shook his head,"Depends on what day of the week it is."

*****

"What the hell do you mean she's not with her secret service dispatch?!"Bartlet demanded as he snatched the single piece of computer printout from McGarry

Leo sighed as he glanced at Sam and Toby,"Up until twenty minutes ago they thought she was here with you."

"I saw her talking with Mrs. Landingham around eleven thirty."Toby stated quietly.

"And we may have another crisis."Leo replied as he motioned to the paper the President was holding,"Ninety percent of all electronic equipment in the West Wing have stopped working in the past hour."

Sam stepped into the center of the room,"I thought we were Y2k complaint."

Leo nodded,"We were."

Bartlet slammed the piece of paper onto the desk,"Obviously not well enough! Sam, Toby find
out what the hell is going on. Leo, find Zoey."
"Yes,Sir."The chief of staff replied quietly as the group dispersed.

*****

Josh Lyman leaned his head against the wall as his gaze traveled back to the ceiling. There just had to be a way into the utility door that he wasn't seeing. Some trick used only for elevator service men.

"Josh, what are you thinking?"Donna asked quietly after her boss had been unchartersticly quiet for several minutes.

"Trying to think of what Stephen Segal would do in this situation."Lyman replied with a small grin.

"They'll get us out, Josh."Donna assured him as she tried not to think of what lay ahead of her.

"They have to miss us first."Josh countered trying to keep the situation light.

"They will."Donna stated as she drew her knees to her chest,"There was a staff meeting scheduled at three."

Josh blinked in surprise as he turned to face,"That was today?"

Donna shook her head in exasperation,"I reminded you about it this morning."

"Toby's going to kill me."Josh replied,"I haven't even started the report on the annual expenses."

Just then the elevator lights flickered once before plunging them into complete darkness.

"This century hates me."Donna replied miserably.

******

Danny glanced at his watch,"Its nearly quarter till four. You'd think somebody would've noticed we were missing by now."

CJ nodded. "There was a staff meeting at three. I'd like to think they'd notice that I wasn't there."

Danny met her gaze. "I'd notice."

Cregg smiled. "I just wish we knew what the hell is going on up there."

Danny glanced at the ceiling. "Whatever it is its a decent story."

CJ glanced at him. "Just decent?"

Danny grinned as the room was plunged into darkness. "Now its a good story."

CJ sighed wearily as she leaned back against the chair. "What does it take to get above a 'good'? A bomb?"

Danny laughed knowing she was trying to keep the situation light. "That'd help. Sex scandal would be better."

******

Sam Seaborn was just walking out of his office when the entire west wing went dark. The dark haired man stood still for a moment as he waited for his eyes to adjust.

"Did we forget to pay the electric bill this month?"Sam asked as he gingerly took a few steps forward wondering why the generators hadn't kicked in yet.

"Not funny,Sam."Leo replied from Seaborn's right as he pressed a flashlight into the younger man's hand.

Sam flicked on the flashlight and saw that several other staff members were doing the same.

"So is this really Y2K related?"Sam asked as he followed the chief of staff down the hallway toward CJ's office.

"I doubt it."Leo replied grimly," Somebody hacked into the defense department's website an hour ago changing their logo."

"You think the power failure is the result of a hacker?"Sam asked.

"That's the theory."Leo replied as he paused in the doorway of CJ's office,"We've been working on Y2K for the past five years. There's just no way this is a computer glitch."

Sam nodded as he splashed the flashlight's beam around CJ's dark office,"Have you told the President yet?"

Leo shook his head,"No, he's got enough to on his mind and besides its still just a theory."McGarry paused as he followed Sam's flashlight beam,"Have you seen CJ this morning?"

Sam thought for a moment then shook his head,"No, not since Toby sent her on a wild goose chase."

Leo frowned,"Wild goose chase for what?"

Sam winced knowing how furious the press secretary was going to be when she found out,"Toby's idea....he was still miffed about the New Years eve prank that she pulled on him."

Leo shook his head wearily,"What was she supposed to be looking for?"

Sam grinned,"Footage of Marilyn singing Happy Birthday to JFK."

Leo did a double take,"CJ shouldn't have fallen for that. She knows as well as anybody that we don't have that on tape here."

Sam shrugged,"She's been distracted lately."

Leo nodded as he stepped out of Cregg's office,"She's probably pounding on the walls downstairs. See if you can find her."

"Right."Sam replied with a grin.

******

Even in the darkness Josh was beginning to feel claustrophobic. The young brown haired man stood gingerly careful not to step on his assistant and walked to the other side of the elevator car.

Donna swiped angrily at her tears that had started to flow again. Crying would definitely not help right now.

"Josh?"Moss called quietly.

"I'm okay."Josh assured her,"Just got tired of sitting."

"Okay."Donna replied as she fumbled for her purse. She was pretty sure she had a few Kleenex's and with luck, aspirin.

Josh leaned against the wall. The lawyer side of him had kicked in and he was trying to come up with different legal ways that he could help her if the results came back positive.

"Donna."Josh asked gently,"What was his name?"

Donna hesitated. "Josh, you knowing who he is won't help anything."

Lyman walked back to where she was sitting. "Donna, we can string the bastard up by his finger nails. I can think of several things we can sue for....even criminal charges"

"No."Donna replied tersely,"If I'm sick I don't want anyone to know."

"Donna...."Lyman protested.

"Josh, I'll handle this my own way."Donna replied more sharply than she intended,"If we ever get out of this damn elevator."

*****

Toby Zielger shook his head slightly as he glanced around the oval office. Part of him was amazed at how quickly Mrs. Lanaham had found a dozen candles and placed them in various spots around the office. Toby wondered what else she had in her desk.

"Toby?"Bartlet asked as he moved away from his desk.

The dark haired man glanced up from the pad of paper he was holding. "Yes, Sir?"

Bartlet came to stand next to him. "I don't care how many messengers we have to use but I want a meeting here within fifteen minutes. Until we know better we're treating this as an attack on the White House and God forbid on my daughter. I want the State department, CIA, FBI, and whoever fell asleep on the job over at the Secret Service."

"Yes, Sir."Zielger replied grimly as he gathered his things.

"Oh and Toby?"Bartlet called halting the communications director in the doorway.

"Yes, Sir?"Toby asked turning to face the President.

"Have somebody check the elevators."Bartlet replied,"We're going to need all the help we can get on this one I don't want anybody trapped."
"Yes, Mr. President."Toby replied as he stepped out of the room.

******

"If we had candles this could be a candlelit dinner."CJ commented as she leaned forward in her chair.

"We don't have any food."Danny pointed out as he absently rolled a pen between his hands.

"I have some gum."CJ replied as she fumbled for her purse.

Danny glanced in her direction."You were holding out on me?"

"I was rationing."Cregg replied as her fingers closed around the strap of her purse,"We have no idea how long we'll be stuck down here."

"CJ?"

They both stood as Sam Seaborn's familiar voice bounced around the room.

"I think that's the call of the Calvary."Danny commented dryly.

CJ quickly moved toward the door and started to pound. "Sam? We're stuck in the video library."

The deputy communications director quickly followed his friend's voice. "We?"

"Nice of you to drop by, Sam."Danny called as he came to stand next to CJ.

Sam grinned."If you two kids want some time alone I can pretend I couldn't find you....."

"Just open the damn door, Sam."CJ replied as she twisted the door handle.

"Okay."Sam called out,"I'm going to try to force it in from this side. You might want to stand back."

"What's going on, Sam?"CJ asked as she and Danny stepped away from the door.

"Power outage."Seaborn replied as he twisted the handle down and rammed his shoulder into the door.

"We can see that much."Danny remarked sarcastically

The door didn't give so Sam moved back to try a second time.

"Leo thinks it could be a hacker."Seaborn replied as he attacked the stubborn door again.

This time it swung open causing Sam to tumble into the room.

"There's more isn't there/"CJ asked as she snatched the flashlight from him.

Sam nodded grimly. "Zoey's missing."

******

Donna slumped back against the wall. "I'm sorry, Josh. I didn't mean to snap at you."

Lyman reached out in the dark and touched the top of her hand lightly. "No harm done, head's still attached."

Loud thumps on the car's roof caused the blond woman to jump. "Josh? Did you hear that?"

Josh nodded grimly as he sat up straighter, half expecting the car to plunge. "It's not your imagination."

Donna swallowed hard. "If it's not my imagination what was it?"

Two more thumps drifted down.

Lyman rose to his feet as the noise intensified. "This can't be good."

Donna got to her feet slowly as the car rocked slightly.

For a brief moment Josh thought he heard voices but he couldn't be sure.

The small utility door slid open and the flashlights momentarily blinded the elevator occupants.

"Is that what I think it is?"Donna whispered as she moved to stand next to her boss shielding her eyes with her hand.

Josh nodded as he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Looks like the Calvary finally arrived."

A middle-aged man with blond hair poked his head through the small opening. "I'm Agent Tom Riley with the secret service. Anybody hurt?"

Lyman shook his head as he squinted against the harsh light. "What took you guys so long?"

The secret service agent grinned sheepishly. "The power's out. We had to check each elevator by hand."

*****

Leo McGarry had been involved in many tension filled meetings in the West Wing, but this one seemed ready to explode.
Everyone had arrived for the President's requested meeting.....except for the head of the secret service. No one could locate him.
Not a healthy thing for the man's career.

"Have we confirmed the existence of a hacker?"Josiah Bartlet demanded starting the meeting without preamble.
The three men gathered around the conference table exchanged a wary glance before the state department's representative spoke.

"Yes, Mr. President."Nicholas Lemak replied grimly. "There is concrete evidence of an intrusion into the defense department and White House computer systems."

Bartlet nodded wearily the events of the past few hours starting to take its toll. "What is being done to locate my daughter?"

"Everything possible, Sir."FBI director James Peters replied. "We have all surrounding streets blocked off and the perimeter is secured."

Bartlet folded his hands together as he leaned forward. "Gentlemen, someone in a span of less than three hours has virtually shut down the White House. I want to know who, how, and the power restored in less than an hour. Or you'll all be getting pink slips, is that clear?"

"Yes, Sir."The men replied quietly as they stood and quickly left the room.

*******

Charlie Young stared out into the dark parking garage from the passenger seat of Zoey's jeep.
The only light coming in from the crack under the garage door twenty feet away.

"So what do you want to do for our next date?"Zoey asked breaking the silence as she absently fiddled with her key chain.

Charlie turned in her direction. "You think we can top this?"He asked with a grin.

Zoey laughed. "I think we can try. Dinner next time?"

Charlie nodded."Sure, let's just tell your Dad about it first."

******

Josh Lyman brushed dirt and dust off of his pants and shirt as he stood in hallway near Leo's office. The secret service agents had managed to get both of them out of the elevator through the roof door. Donna had gone into a bathroom to change clothes.

"What the hell happened to you?"Sam Seaborn demanded as he rounded the corner coming to stand in front of his friend. He had just left CJ and Danny at her office with a supply of flashlights and candles.

"Donna and I got stuck in the elevator."Josh replied as the pair started walking toward Sam's office. "What's going on?"

Sam nodded as he plucked a flashlight from a nearby desk and handed it to Lyman. "Leo thinks a hacker's gotten into the computer system."

"So it's not Y2K?"Josh asked as he flicked on the flashlight.

"No."Seaborn replied as they came to a stop in front of the oval office. "President's meeting with the CIA, FBI and defense department now."He turned to face Lyman."Josh there's something else going on that you should know about."
"What?"Josh asked not liking the way this day was going at all.
"Zoey's missing."Sam replied quietly as he saw Toby approaching them from the bullpen,"Nobody's seen her since before lunch."

Lyman's face paled slightly trying not to think of what could have happened to the President's daughter in the last four hours.
"So the computer trouble was a distraction to get her?"Josh asked in a tight voice

"That's one of the theories."Toby Ziegler replied as he approached them. "We've got all the right people trying to find her as we speak. What the President needs you two to do is coordinate the effort to get this place up and running again.

"What's the plan?"Josh asked as he leaned back against the wall.

"Sam, pull whatever tech support people you need. The computer system has to be working no later than seven."Toby replied quietly,"Josh, track down somebody from the phone company and see if you can find out what's wrong with the generators."

"Toby,"Sam asked grimly,"Has anybody claimed responsibility?"

Ziegler shook his head. "Not yet. I'm just praying that our theories are wrong and that she's just stuck somewhere in this fun house."

******

"You okay, Donna?"Sam's assistant, Kathy asked as she met the blonde woman coming out of the rest room.

"Fine."Donna replied with a forced smile,"Never a dull moment around here. Any idea when they'll get the power fixed?"

The dark haired woman shrugged as they headed toward their desks. "I heard the President ordered that it be fixed within an hour but who knows. So, you got stuck in the elevator with Josh."

Donna nodded as she reached her desk. "For three hours."

Kathy sat on the corner of Donna's desk. "So, spill....what did you two do for three hours?"She asked with a smile knowing her friend used to have a crush on her boss.

Donna adverted her gaze as she busied herself with prioritizing paperwork. "Everything and everything, you know how Josh is."

Before Kathy could dig for further details her own boss poked his head into the bullpen.

"Kathy, see if you can find at least one working cell phone."Sam ordered,"We need to get tech support up here."

"Right."The dark haired woman replied as she rose to her feet and quickly left the room.

*****

By seven o'clock Josiah Bartlet was not a happy man. They were still literally in the dark. There was no word on his daughter's whereabouts or on who had caused this chaos. They were also no closer to getting the electricity up and running. The President glanced up as CJ knocked on the office door.

"Sir?"The Press secretary asked as she walked into the room, pad of paper in hand.

"Tell me you have some good news."Bartlet replied with a grim smile.

CJ shook her head. "I'm afraid not, Sir. The Press has got wind of the electrical trouble, what should I tell them?"

Josiah sat down on the corner of his desk. "Tell them the truth....that we're having problems with our power source. If they want to chalk this up to Y2K go ahead and let them believe that for now."

"Yes, Sir."Cregg nodded as she turned to leave.

"CJ?"Bartlet called halting her in the doorway.

The red haired woman turned around. "Yes, Sir?"

"If you see Leo tell him to come in here."Bartlet replied.

CJ nodded and left the oval office.

******

Feeling stir crazy Zoey Bartlet opened the driver's side door and got out of her jeep.

"You know we could ram the jeep into the door."Zoey suggested,"Get out that way."

"I don't think the jeep would make a dent, Zoey."Charlie replied as he glanced at the large door.

The President's daughter nodded as she glanced around the crowded garage. "Probably don't have enough space to get up to speed, anyway."

"Did you hear that?"Charlie asked as he got out of the jeep and walked over to her.

Zoey glanced at him. "What?"

Charlie strained his hearing to the limit. "I don't know, sounded almost like voices."

As if on cue the door Charlie had tried to get open earlier swung open revealing a squad of Secret service agents.

"Anybody hurt here?"A male voice boomed from the doorway as the two young people shielded their eyes from the powerful flashlights.

"No,"Zoey replied as she walked toward the stairs,"But we are very glad to see you."

The burly red haired agent nodded. "So are we, Ma'am. The President thought you had been kidnapped."

******

Leo McGarry stepped into the Oval Office a wide smile on his face. "Good news, Sir. We've located Zoey."

"Thank God."Bartlet replied as he walked toward his old friend. "She hurt?"

McGarry shook his head. "No, she was here all along."

The President blinked in surprise. "Here?"

"Apparently she and Charlie decided to sneak out for lunch and got stuck in the parking garage when the power went out."Leo replied.

Bartlet nodded. "I'm just glad this is over. Where is she?"

"In the private residence. I told her you'd join her in a few minutes."McGarry replied.

Just then the Oval office was flooded with light as the power was finally restored.

"About time."Josiah stated having never been happier to see the lights come on. He could hear the applause from the White House staff in the next room.

Toby poked his head into the office. "Just wanted to let you know, Sir, the Phone Company says the phone's are operational."

"Thanks Toby."Bartlet replied as the communications director left.

Leo glanced down at the pad of paper he was holding. "We've narrowed down the list of suspects. FBI should have an arrest with in an hour or so."

Bartlet nodded as he headed toward the back entrance. "Tell everybody they did a great job."

"Yes, Sir."Leo replied.

"Oh and Leo,"Bartlet stated as he opened the door."Track down the Secret Service director. I want to have a word with him first thing in the morning."

"We'll find him,Sir."Leo replied with a grin before turning and leaving the office.

******

Josh Lyman caught Kathy as she came out of the bullpen. "Kathy, have you seen Donna?"

The dark haired woman nodded. "She left about an hour ago, said she wasn't feeling well."

Josh frowned but tried to hide his concern from Sam's assistant. "Thanks, Kathy. Tell Toby I'm going home and if there's any more earth shattering crisis's they can wait until tomorrow."

"Sure."Kathy replied with a smile as Josh left the bullpen snatching his coat from his office.

*****

Josh Lyman's footsteps echoed loudly as he walked along the Lincoln Memorial. It was nearly eleven o'clock and he was well past the worried stage. He had gone straight to Donna's apartment after he left work only to find it empty. In the next three and a half-hours he had gone to every place he could think of and there was still no sign of her. The Lincoln Memorial was his last stop before he called the police. He knew that in the summer she sometimes came here to eat lunch.

Josh paused next to the statute of the sixteenth president and looked around. At first he thought the memorial was empty, but then he spotted her. Donna was sitting on the second to last step staring out at the water.

"You know this was my last stop before I called the President and had him send out the National Guard."Josh commented as he sat down next to his assistant.

Donna didn't acknowledge him as she pulled her jacket tighter around her shoulders.

"Have you been here the whole time?"Josh asked with concern.

Moss nodded. "I called Doctor Howard's office as soon as the phones were up and running."

Josh turned to face her letting her take her own pace.

"Results were negative, Josh."Donna whispered as she finally turned to face him.

Josh closed his eyes briefly as he drew her into an embrace. "Thank God."

After a few moments Donna pulled away. "I still have to get tested in six months to make sure."

Josh nodded as he took her hand in his. "If the results came back negative what are you doing sitting out here in this cold?"

Donna turned away from him her gaze once again traveling to the water. "Guess you'd call it taking stock of my life. With everything that had happened today I had a lot to think about."

"What did you decide?"Josh asked tightly wondering if she was still considering leaving.

She met his gaze and he could see the fresh tears. "That I have a lot to be grateful for. Thankyou for being here for me, it means a lot."

"Anytime."Josh replied quietly as he stood pulling her up with him. "Now let's get out of here before we turn into icicles."

*******

"I go away for the weekend and all hell breaks loose."Mandy Hampton commented as she stepped into Sam's office at seven the next morning.

Seaborn glanced up from his desk "You were gone?"
Not his best comeback Sam knew but he hadn't had his coffee yet.

The political consultant ignored the remark."Is Zoey alright?"

Sam rubbed the back of his neck wearily. He hadn't gotten home until one and had to be back here at six. "She's fine. She and Charlie tried to sneak out for a lunch date and got stuck in the parking garage when the power went out."

Mandy nodded as she set her coat and brief case down on the chair n front of Seaborn's desk."Did they arrest the hacker?"

Sam sat down on the corner of his desk. "Wendy Miller, 29 was detained by the FBI at her apartment in Burbank, California. Apparently she had some strong views about the Pentagon's policies about women in the military so she decided to shut down the White House."

"All the way from California?"Mandy asked increadously.

"The miracle of modern technology. "Sam replied tiredly."One can cause terror and mayhem from next door or two continents over."

Hampton picked up her coat and purse. "Does the press know about it yet?"

Sam nodded. "Parts of it. CJ's holding a briefing at ten."

Mandy paused in the doorway. "I'll talk with her before. You had breakfast yet?"

Sam blinked. "You're offering me food?"

Mandy grinned. "You turning it down?"

Seaborn shook his head as he grabbed his jacket. "No."

Mandy stepped out into the hallway. "Anything else happen that I should know about?"

Sam paused. "You mean besides the computer meltdown, hacker attack, power outage, thinking the President's daughter had been kidnapped? Nope, quiet weekend."



End