Everything either belongs to Joss or it should, no infringement is intended and no profit is to be made. When you get right down to it I’m not really worth suing anyway unless you want a share of an underpaid civil servants wages and it just wouldn’t be worth the hassle trust me.Summers Residence - Sunnydale - April 2003
Wesley sighed, they had been going over the same ground for nearly an hour. ‘Illyria I’m afraid there is far more to consider than you are making out’ he told her. ‘Even if we can
activate all the potentials and defeat the First your subsequent plan requires far more than merely troops’ he said, ‘it would require resources that we simply do not possess.’
Illyria regarded her Qwa Ha Xahn. ‘Did you really think I would have embarked upon this course of action without careful preparation and planning?’ she asked him. ‘I made careful study of the mechanics of this world and also of the writings of its military theorists some of whom I found surprisingly insightful’ she continued. ‘One phrase I encountered in my research that resonated much given the nature of your financially based industrial society was that “Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics” and I took this truism to heart’ she said.
The God-Kings torso armour warped and opened slightly and she reached inside and pulled out a very incongruous looking object which she passed to Buffy as the leader of the group. The slayer took it with a puzzled expression on her face.
‘The Half-Breed Angel and his followers were seduced by the power available to the Wolf, Ram and Hart in the original timeline’ Illyria told them. ‘Lacking remotely equivalent resources themselves they deluded themselves they could turn those of their enemies against them’ she said. ‘It was a foolish in the extreme to think they would not be also turned at the same time but of course they were’ she announced. ‘I therefore determined a way for your forces to achieve a greater logistical parity with your foe and it rests in your hands’ she informed Buffy.
Buffy rattled the square plastic box ‘And this is exactly?’ she asked curiously.
‘The box contains a DVD-ROM which holds information relating to business news and the movement of the stockmarket for the next two years’ Illyria replied. ‘I have also used the Shells innate ability to remember long strings of digits to memorise several forthcoming winning Lottery Numbers to give you adequate seed money with which to invest in the market’ she continued. ‘You should be able to turn this information into considerable financial resources in a short time.’
Giles made a choking noise.
‘Define “considerable” in money terms’ Buffy asked, now staring intently at the innocent and non-descript looking plastic case.
‘Several hundred million dollars’ Illyria replied emotionlessly. ‘Not a fraction of the financial power of the Wolfram and Hart Corporation but still orders of magnitude beyond what you have at your disposal now’ she stated accurately. ‘I also took the liberty of giving Willow the witch a note for the Half-Breed Angel with a set of winning lottery numbers for this week which was unclaimed in the original timeline’ the God-King told her. ‘I thought it would help lift his spirits if he could purchase the Dodge Viper he was so fond of and there were also a list of items on it he should procure immediately to aid in the battles with the first’ she said.
‘Fuck me’ Faith swore quietly staring at the floor.
‘Such a reward is unnecessary’ Illyria told her. ‘In any case I seem to have inherited the shells heterosexual preferences’ she said.
Faith stared at the God-King. ‘Was that a joke?’ the slayer asked incredulously.
‘Any humour in the statement was unintentional’ Illyria replied. ‘I have no inclination to be amusing.’
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut and thought deeply for a few seconds. ‘Okay’ she began after gathering her wits, ‘What other world shattering revelations are you waiting for the right time to tell us’ she asked the Old One.
‘World Shattering?’ Illyria repeated quizzically. ‘None’ she replied. ‘My idea for stealing thermonuclear devices from the major military powers of this planet and sending them through portals to the more dangerous hell dimensions would be merely city-shattering at best’ she said regretfully.
Buffy merely made a sort of strained coughing sound while Giles choked out a rasping ‘Good God it’s like listening to the machinations of a more ambitious Genghis Khan.’
The slayer collected herself ‘There will be no
unauthorised thefts of Hydrogen Bombs’ Buffy told Illyria seriously, shaking her finger.
Illyria signalled her compliance with a shrug ‘I will broach the topic again later when your mood is more reasonable’ she replied.
Wesley chuckled remembering a famous quote from the Duke of Wellington. ‘Well I don’t know what she’ll do to the enemy’ he said, ‘but she scares the hell out of me’ he told the group.Sunnydale High School – April 2003
Principal Robin Wood was getting used to strange visitors in his office but they didn’t usually have blue hair, well not unless they were students with more adventurous fashion sensibilities anyhow.
‘She’s a god?’ he asked in surprise, looking across at the young woman. Other than the blue hair she looked completely normal and was wearing a quite attractive summer dress.
Buffy nodded. ‘Yes’ she replied. ‘Not the
God obviously, and she’s not like omnipotent or anything but “God” pretty much sums it up’ she told him.
‘I assume by “the
God” you are referring to that of the Cult of the Dead Carpenter’ Illyria responded. ‘I have not met him and he does not seem that formidable beyond his symbol having a negative effect on vampires’ she said.
‘Cult of the…?’ Buffy queried. ‘Oh you mean Christianity. “Dead Carpenter”… funny. Blasphemous, but funny’ she said.
‘Why is she here?’ Wood asked pointedly.
‘Oh, she wants to be on hand to keep a close eye on the hellmouth seal in the school basement so I was hoping you could give her a job so she’s actually got a valid reason to be hanging around the school if anyone asks’ Buffy replied. ‘I think the parents would object to the whole demon-god in the place where their kids are thing so we were thinking cover-story’ she explained.
The principal looked at Buffy. ‘Are you insane?’ he asked as politely as he could. ‘I mean what can she do?’ he wanted to know, ‘Deputy Student Councillor maybe?’
Buffy grimaced. ‘Oh hell no’ she said quickly. ‘Half the kids she talked problems over with would end up throwing themselves off buildings, joining a satanic cult or invading Poland’ she told him semi-seriously. ‘Can’t you think of something more suitable?’ she requested.
‘Janitor?’ Wood asked.
Buffy caught the look of displeasure in Illyria’s eyes. ‘And moving swiftly on… something else perhaps?’ she said.
‘I have much of the shell's knowledge of science’ Illyria informed them. ‘I could teach the young humans physics or another related academic field’ she suggested.
Buffy grinned. ‘There’s an idea’ she agreed. ‘You could say that the hair colour is due to a chemical accident where you used to work’ she told Illyria.
Wood scratched his chin. ‘Well we could
use a Teaching Assistant for Mr Jenkins’ he considered. ‘He’s getting on in years and to be honest the students run rings around him.’
‘I will enforce strict discipline’ Illyria stated. ‘They will learn or they will suffer’ she said, pounding a clenched fist into an open palm with a hefty thump.
Buffy baulked. ‘No eviscerations of any kind’ she said hurridly. ‘No trophy taking, no flaying and no mysterious cases of spontaneous combustion’ she ordered.
‘As you wish’ Illyria replied calmly. ‘I will not injure them… physically.’
‘No psychological warfare techniques’ Buffy added, turning her head to Principal Wood. ‘She’s been reading a lot of military manuals of late’ the slayer explained. ‘I caught her teaching the potentials interrogation methods earlier. She wanted to kidnap a Bringer for a practical demonstration and she’d already borrowed a pair of pliers from Xander’ she told him.
Robin Wood blinked and he felt his cheek involuntarily twitch.
‘I see now why this Mr Jenkins cannot control his students’ Illyria commented. ‘He clearly has no proper sanction he can use to prevent insurrection’ she complained. ‘In my day if we were training warriors and they failed to maintain full concentration we would decimate them, choose one in ten at random and beat them to death to encourage the others’ she informed the educator of human children.
‘I’ll suggest it to the school board’ Wood told her deadpan.
Illyria nodded her approval. ‘You would be pleased with the effectiveness of the technique’ she assured him. ‘In the meantime I will merely do my best’ she added. ‘Buffy suggests my name be abbreviated whilst here, you may inform the staff and students my name is Ria Burkle’ she told him.
This could very well be the worst mistake of his life Robin Wood considered, the whole thing with Spike paled by comparison. ‘Can you start Monday?’ he asked as welcomingly as he could. It was a good thing he had been raised by a slayer and then a watcher, dealing with this kind of situation was not exactly the norm for people doing his day job.
‘I will be here’ Illyria told him then paused. ‘Does the canteen provide Mexican Food?’ she queried.
Wood shook his head. ‘Not as a rule’ he replied.
‘I will bring a packed lunch’ Illyria decided. ‘We should check on the seal’ she advised Buffy. ‘See you Monday morning’ she told the principal, turning to leave.
Buffy turned to Robin. ‘If she accidentally destroys part of the building or sends a kid to a Hell Dimension because she gets cranky just let me know’ she told him, giving him a big thumbs up. Following Illyria out she then stopped at the door then turned back to him again. ‘Ermm... There’s not anything in the Science Department she could use to make Weapons of Mass Destruction with is there?’ she asked nervously.
Worst mistake ever
Wood decided, shaking his head.Summers Residence - Sunnydale - April 2003
Xander entered through the front door with a death grip on the pieces of paper in his hand. ‘I got the lottery tickets’ he said before they were snatched from his hand by Anya who started to do the “Money Dance” for the first time since Willow destroyed the Magic Shop and ended her foray into commerce. Dawn quickly joined in mimicking the moves but with more style. ‘I am so
getting a Porsche’ the younger Summers sibling announced joyfully.
Giles frowned. ‘This money, which I’ll remind you we do not actually have
yet, is supposed
to be used to rebuild the Council and fight evil not
buy fripperies’ he declared.
Buffy looked at her sister and Anya dancing. ‘As you're going to be the new head of the Council’ she responded, ‘we’ll get you a Jaguar as a company car’ she told him then enthusiastically joined in the dancing herself.
Giles sighed sadly. ‘Your priorities are poorly placed’ he opined. ‘We still haven’t defeated the First Evil and your thoughts are for material goods’ he noted.
Wesley held a magazine up in front of him. ‘Have you seen
the new Jaguar XKR?’ he asked, pointing at a photograph of the thing.
The older watcher frowned. ‘Not you too’ he chided then looked at the picture for a long while, a very
long while. ‘No’ he eventually said forcefully, ‘get thee behind me Satan’ he told the magazine and it's four-wheeled temptress.
‘Supercharged 4.2 Litre V8’ Wesley told him, 390 horsepower, nought to sixty in 5.2 seconds’ he enthused.
Dawn tried another tack. ‘The spirits of British Automobile Engineers long past need you to make amends for owning a BMW’ she told Giles. ‘They will haunt you for eternity otherwise’ she warned forebodingly.
Giles considered that argument and failed to find an obvious flaw. ‘Alright’ he agreed, ‘but it’s got to be black and I’m not
going to bloody well dance’ he told them, snatching the magazine from the younger man and starting to read the article that accompanied the picture. Oh I'll look good in that, he thought to himself.
‘I know an architect that can design us the coolest new headquarters’ Xander told everyone. ‘I’m thinking a load of gleaming marble and secret elevators’ he continued. ‘And a workshop in the basement that looks like someone stole it from Lockheed-Martin’ he added.
‘Illyria will want a hollowed out volcano with a moat around it full of sharks with frickin laser-beams on their heads’ Dawn replied laughing. ‘Just make sure there’s a garage for my Porsche’ she added, still dancing away.
‘You’re going to University’ Buffy told her. ‘I’m thinking Harvard… or maybe Oxford.’
‘That’s like saying you’re going on holiday to either Blackpool or Bermuda’ Wesley murmured to Giles with a smirk.
‘Hey so what do we
get?’ Rona demanded to know, arms crossed.
‘A salary and a generous expense account’ Faith said. ‘But if she’s
getting a Porsche’ she said pointing to Dawn ‘I want one too.’
‘What kind of salary?’ Rona wanted to know.
‘Well based on the data on that disk’ Amanda said tapping keys on the laptop, ‘and I’m not a genius
at math I’m just good at it so you’d better check my work’ she admitted, ‘the Council should be able to spring for at least maybe fifty to seventy-five thousand bucks a year per slayer factoring in the other estimated expenses Mr Wyndam-Pryce gave me to work with’ she said.
‘Seventy-Five thousand dollars?’ Rona responded, eyes widening. ‘Oh hell yeah
! This job’s looking up’ she enthused, trying to imitate Anya’s money dance as well.
‘Depends on how well the investments are made’ Amanda told them. ‘I mean the ones much beyond the middle of 2005 because we’ve got a pretty good idea of what will be happening until
then’ she said, pointing at the computer display.
‘We will have to be careful not to distort the stock market’ Giles warned. ‘If we’re not careful we could accidentally change it ourselves and then all the information we have will be useless’ he said.
‘We should be alright with relatively small purchases of limited amounts of stocks’ Wesley considered. ‘But we should be worried about something else too.’
‘Yes?’ Buffy asked.
Wesley smiled gently. ‘After the first few hundred million the US Securities and Exchange Commission is going to be all over
our arse thinking we’re involved in insider trading somehow’ he told her with a chuckle.
‘It would be wise to make sure that a certain percentage of the funds are allocated to bolstering the Angels Investigation organisation in Los Angeles’ Illyria told the humans, more and more of whom were randomly gyrating around the room in a display of mystifying joviality. She had only just entered the house having been previously outside sparring with Spike under the gaze of a number of interested potentials. ‘The core of the power base of the Wolf, Ram and Hart on this world is there’ she told them, ‘and they require close surveillance and the occasional small-scale intervention to keep them in check until you launch an all-out offensive.’
‘Okay so we’ll get the moat with the sharks put around the Hyperion’ Dawn told her and started giggling hysterically.
The God-King ignored the girl. ‘I would hope for a team of slayers to be put at the Half-Breed Angels disposal, he will need the additional… muscle’ she said, trying to develop her use of slang.
‘Hey I’ll volunteer for that’ Faith announced. ‘Me and Fang get on like a house on fire ever since I tried to kill him’ she said.
Buffy looked at her. ‘You do know that attempted murder isn’t a generally accepted bonding ritual in normal society right?’ she asked rhetorically.
‘Hey I tried to kill you too girlfriend and look at us now’ Faith replied grinning. ‘That was my mistake with Wes you know, I only mussed him up a bit’ she said. ‘But I think I’m growing on him now.’
Wesley glared at her, then to her relief smiled in amusement indicating it had been in jest. He really was starting to lighten up a bit with her she was glad to see, eventually they might be less awkward with each other she hoped.
‘I’m quite happy being a casual acquaintance at best’ Anya quickly told Faith.
Illyria turned around and headed back to Spike who was now teaching some of the nastier tricks of unarmed combat that he knew. The God-King wondered to herself if these people were quite as mad as they seemed sometimes or there was just something about humanity she needed to know that had disappeared from the shell along with Fred’s Soul.
It was strangely pleasurable to see Wesley though, especially here in this timeline where his curiosity about her was not tinged with looks of hate resulting from the death of his lover in his arms. She was here for vengeance, she had not lied, but she was here for something else too. The Shaper of Things, perhaps better called in this timeline the Re
-Shaper of Things she considered, was driven by another less comfortable emotion than just a healthy lust for revenge.
Illyria was increasingly convinced that the damn shell was corrupting her mind because she was sure
she had romantic feelings towards that scruffy human Wyndam-Pryce. It sickened her but it just wouldn’t go away regardless of the amount of violence she wrought.
Even the reason she had decided to keep her hair blue and retain her own speech patterns from now on, even when adopting the look of the Burkle persona, was so that Wesley would always be looking at her not
Fred when they talked. It was nauseating to know she was acting this way but she couldn’t help herself.
Hitting Spike however made her feel a bit better for a while so she decided to wail on the Vampire for another half-an-hour or so. She just couldn’t get enough of the sounds he made when she pounded on him even if she was pulling her punches a lot.
Spike saw her walk out again smiling and clenching her fists. He winced and looked at her pleadingly ‘Leave the face alone and no hitting below the belt’ he implored.
‘Agreed’ Illyria told him and moved to the attack.