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
‘Okay so what the hell is this crap?’ Faith asked, looking at the pile of oversized, though non-descript, crates piled up in the centre of the living room. The potentials were out patrolling with Illyria with Andrew tagging along with his video-camera to film the God-King in action. They were probably safer with the Blue Meanie than if they were being escorted by half of NATO so Buffy didn’t mind the opportunity to have a night off from playing nursemaid. The Guardian was back at her pyramid, now once again with front door intact and all entrances reinforced against unwelcome visitors, and Giles was off collecting yet another baby slayer. Xander and Anya were off on a “non-date” whatever that was.
Angel held up a piece of paper. ‘We got a list from Illyria, you won’t believe what we paid for this stuff to get it at such short notice’ he told the slayer before turning to Wesley. ‘So how does this Emil guy know you anyhow?’ he asked Wes. ‘We dropped your name like it said to do on the note and he was a lot more cooperative.’
‘You got this from Emil?’ Wesley asked curiously, not really knowing what was in the boxes. ‘Did you get my discount?’ he checked.
‘He upped it to ten percent which covered maybe a third of the extra he put on for how fast we wanted it’ Gunn complained. ‘I guess Blue knew the guy from past dealings, well her past our future… our other
future’ he reasoned.
‘Who the fuck is Emil?’ Faith demanded to know.
Wesley looked at her. ‘Arms dealer’ he explained, ‘sort of on the darker side of that trade which is saying something’ he added. ‘He sold me that collapsible sword I gave you amongst other things’ he told the slayer who looked at her sleeve.
‘You gave her one of those funky-ass swords?’ Gunn responded in slightly annoyed tones. ‘How come you never got me one of those?’ he asked.
Wesley smirked. ‘You just don’t fill out a top the way she does’ he replied which also prompted Faith to stick out her tongue at him. ‘Anyhow you’re better with an axe and they just don’t fold down into something you can wear up your sleeve’ he pointed out. ‘Can I read the list?’ he asked, holding out his hand to take it as Angel passed it to him. He started reading the list and swallowed. ‘Do you know what this stuff is?’ he asked with mild concern.
‘Got some vague ideas but it’s more your field than mine’ Angel admitted. ‘You’re the only person I know that subscribes to both Archaeology Today
and Guns and Ammo
‘Guessing not archaeological relics though?’ Buffy said, looking at the boxes. ‘Going to show us what you’ve got in there?’ she asked the ex-watcher,
Gunn passed Wesley a Crowbar which he used to pry open a crate. Everyone looked inside.
‘Would I be correct in assuming that the Second Amendment would not
cover ownership of that thing if the police walked into my house right now?’ Buffy asked rhetorically as Wesley picked the thing up with an expression somewhere between shock and joy.
Wesley nodded. ‘Although private ownership of firearms is a lot less restrictive here than back home’ he began, ‘I doubt the authorities would look too kindly on you having a grenade-launcher in your living room’ he continued reasonably, hefting the oversized weapon from the crate to show it to everyone.
‘That’s definitely you’ Dawn told him as he handed the thing over to Gunn. ‘You know Xander and Cordelia once stole a rocket-launcher from the local Army Base and Buffy blew a big demon to itty bitty chunks with it’ she told him. ‘The Grenade Launcher is really sort of a comedown after that’ she said apologetically.
‘The difference is we can make up special stake rounds, attach them to 40 millimetre shell-casings and blow a hole in a Turok’Hans chest at a thirty yards, or a normal vampire a lot further away’ Wesley replied. ‘Hell it’ll throw a grenade well over four-hundred yards if you fire it like artillery.’ he told her. ‘The muzzle velocity would be far higher than a crossbow bolt and you could have steel-cored stakes for extra momentum and structural strength’ he explained. ‘I always considered this but they were so damned expensive, even ignoring the illegality. I wonder if Illyria read my diaries?’ he asked nobody in particular. He certainly hoped not, some of the entries would make him sound insane and others were X-Rated.
Gunn was playing with the thing which was mercifully unloaded. It was sort of like a big revolver or one of those tear-gas launchers you saw the LAPD use sometimes. Had a nice comfortable weight to it too but he’d bet the recoil was fierce.
Wesley opened another crate and pulled out a metal cylinder a bit bigger than a can of beans. ‘Bloody hell’ he swore. ‘She has
read my diaries’ he said with rising concern. ‘They call these things “Willie Pete” in the Army’ he said holding it up, ‘nasty in the extreme.’
‘Willie Pete?’ Buffy wanted to know, looking at the dull grey can.
Wesley sighed. ‘White Phosphorous’ he explained. ‘It’s an anti-personnel incendiary grenade. This thing goes off and those of us that lived through the explosion would have little chunks of burning molten metal eating through our flesh all the way to the bone’ he told them. ‘Vampires wouldn’t enjoy it any more than us mortals so they’d be better than concussion or fragmentation grenades in our line of work’ he said.
‘This stuff came from your diaries?’ Faith asked bemusedly. ‘Couldn’t you just write filth like a normal person?’ she continued not realising that he did that as well. ‘Anything else? Germ warfare? Poison gas?’ she asked.
Wesley shook his head. ‘No point’ he replied. ‘Vampires don’t need to breathe and no self-respecting virus or bacteria will set up shop in them’ he explained redundantly. ‘Most of the other stuff on the list is pretty regular’ he told them, reading it through. ‘Shotguns, assault-rifles, some handguns… and hey there’s something useful, night-vision gear’ he spotted, ‘image intensifiers not infra-red of course’ he said.
‘Because vampires don’t show up well as heat’ Dawn responded getting a smile and nod from Wesley. ‘Do they make everything look shades of green like in the movies because that would look awesome?’ she asked.
‘I could easily get used to this having money thing’ Wesley said happily, picking up a grenade launcher of his own, unfolding the stock and sighting along the barrel. ‘Just holding it makes me want to blow something up’ he announced enthusiastically.
‘You’re a very disturbing person sometimes Wesley’ Cordelia told him seriously. Then saw the expression on Angel’s face when Gunn passed the other Launcher onto him. ‘Boys with toys’ she declared. ‘Two hundred plus years and apparently they still
don’t grow up’ she complained.
Spike reached out to take the grenade launcher from Angel who refused to let it go. ‘Get your own’ Angel told him as they started to wrestle for it like two little kids fighting over a model car.
‘Don’t make me lock that thing away so neither of you can play with it’ Buffy told them sternly. ‘And don’t think pouting will help’ she added. ‘You share nicely Angel, give Spike a turn’ she told them, fighting back the laughter which soon turned to horror as she realised she’d actually slept with both
of these “berks” as Giles would have put it. They were acting like they were twelve or something and she couldn't help but think that reflected badly on her.
Reading the situation wisely Gunn decided not to ask Connor if he wanted to play hide and seek outside with the night-vision goggles. Angels’ son was already looking at a pair with some interest and Wesley had shown him how to turn them on. ‘You guys are making the rest of us look bad’ he told Angel and Spike, shaking his head sadly.
‘Nietzsche wrote that true maturity is rediscovering the seriousness one had as a child at play’ Wesley responded, putting his grenade launcher down then sitting down on the floor to start opening crates like they were Christmas presents. ‘Oh… Heckler and Koch G36K’s now that’s
a quality rifle’ he said happily, opening the crate they were in. ‘You’ll love these’ he told Gunn. ‘They use them as props in Sci-Fi films all the time because they look all high-tech and futuristic’ he told him then paused. ‘Did you remember to bring the flame-thrower?’ he asked.
‘You bought a flame-thrower from this arms dealer too?’ Buffy asked Angel.
‘No need’ Angel told her. ‘We already had one’ he said.
‘He who dies with the best toys wins?’ Spike asked sarcastically. ‘You always were a nerd’ he told Angel.
Angel looked at Spike askance. ‘He who fights with the best toys wins and doesn’t die’ he replied. ‘They had this thing called the Industrial Revolution a few years back and I try to keep with the times’ he told him. ‘I see from the hairstyle you’re just caught up with the late nineteen-seventies’ he observed. ‘Should we expect the Miami-Vice look in a few years if you’re planning to stay thirty years out of date fashion wise Spikey?’
Spikes left eye twitched. ‘Ponce’ he retorted.
‘Very mature’ Angel replied with a superior tone and made a mark on his mental scoreboard. The funny thing was even when they’d both been soulless vampires carving a swathe across Europe the two had still verbally, and sometimes physically, sparred just like this. The personality clash was entirely unrelated to either demon, or soul, they just rubbed each other up the wrong way at a far more basic level than that. The current tension between them regarding Buffy, who to Angel’s chagrin had had some form of relationship with Spike, was just another chapter in an ongoing epic of mutual dislike and competition. If they both went on another thousand years they’d still bait each other at every opportunity and they knew it.
Buffy could only hope that their rivalry would have beneficial results in that it would drive each of them to outdo the other in fighting for the team. She wasn’t above manipulating them to that end either, being a lot more goal orientated than she’d been only a couple of years before. The slayer was harder now than ever, two deaths, being ripped from heaven, her mothers’ death and a slew of apocalypses had gradually started to leach out some of her softer side, it was still there in terms of her love for friends and family but she had a darker edge now and she kept it very keen.
Spike handed Angel back the grenade launcher which the latter had reluctantly surrendered at Buffy’s insistence. ‘You need something to compensate with more than me anyhow’ Spike told him with a sneer.
A forlorn Faith looked over to Willow who was watching events placidly. ‘You know this lesbian thing you’re into these days is looking better by the second because these guys are about the coolest ones I know and that’s like so... off-putting right now’ she said sadly, looking from the bickering Angel and Spike onto Wesley and Gunn sat on the floor playing merrily with unloaded automatic rifles like they were toys. One of them was going to start making noises like a machine-gun any second she just knew it. Cordy was thoroughly disgusted by all of them too judging from her expression. Fred meanwhile was too busy reading the manual for one of the night-vision goggles to care and was more accepting of geeky male behaviour anyway thanks to a background in physics, most of her fellow students had been total nerds anyhow.
‘Like I told Xander before I can’t actually “Gay you up” on demand’ Willow told Faith apologetically. ‘I could give you some of our literature though. I might be carrying one of our pamphlets’ she joked.
Faith sighed. ‘Always after the quick fix that ain’t there’ she said sadly. ‘I’ll just have to find one who’s not already a lost cause and train him up right’ she stated. ‘Ain’t gonna be you junior’ she quickly told Connor who had looked over intrigued.
The pout was apparently genetic too.Seal of Danzalthar – Sunnydale High – April 2003
The half dozen Bringers sensed, so much as looked blindly at the concrete lid that had been poured over the Seal and then hefted their pickaxes. This was going to hard work especially for something wearing a heavy cowl that could only dump excess heat by panting with a mouth that lacked the tongue to make panting actually worthwhile in the first place. If they were capable of questioning their master most of them would have wondered why they couldn’t have a more practical dress-code and maybe even the ability to sweat whilst going through manual labour.
It was so much easier doing this when they only had to dig up a couple of feet of loose dirt. They couldn’t even sing a work-song as they began to swing their pickaxes.
They didn’t get very far into the work when they were interrupted by a polite cough and they turned towards the person watching them.
‘I’m not aware I gave anyone permission to be here on school property tonight’ Robin Wood told them in his official capacity as Principal of the school. ‘Can I ask you to leave?’ he added, hefting a very large sword in his unofficial capacity as a free-lance vampire hunter and general pain in evil’s ass.
The half dozen Bringers raised their pickaxes threateningly.
‘I’m afraid we have to insist’ Wood continued dispassionately.
The Bringers were not happy with the “we” comment one bit. It sounded more than a touch ominous, and as their full title of “Harbingers of Death” indicated, Bringers knew ominous when they heard it.
A dozen teenage girls carrying an assortment of both blunt and heavy, and sharp and pointy objects appeared en-masse from the other direction. Many of the potentials had been fleeing for their lives from the Bringers; some had even seen their watchers torn to pieces trying to defend them and to say they were out for revenge was a major understatement of their current mood.
Illyria leading in the potentials nodded a greeting to Principal Wood who returned the gesture. ‘Sorry guys’ he told the Bringers. ‘But they’ll smash you up a whole lot worse than I was planning to do’ he advised them ‘and I’m in no mood not to let them’ he added.
‘God I love outnumbering these pricks for once’ Kennedy declared, looking down at her spiked baseball bat with what would have been a very concerning expression for a nearby Bringer if he had any imagination at all.
‘Payback’s a bitch boys’ Amanda told the Harbingers. ‘And so are we’ she said with an evil smile, holding up a vicious looking short-sword that caught the light impressively.
Telepathically linked the Bringers simultaneously leaped to the attack using their clumsy pickaxes as weapons and then things got very unpleasant for them very quickly. The mayhem was very pleasing to watch Illyria considered slightly annoyed that the battery had already run out on Andrew’s video-Camera so he couldn’t record it for later review. The boy himself had made his excuses not wanting to watch either.
They were already becoming effective warriors the God-King noted with satisfaction as they fought. Once they were activated with their slayer strength they would be as formidable a force as any demon clan of this world, or most others for that matter she decided. The Wolf, Ram and Hart would tremble before such an army Illyria thought gleefully.
Robin Wood was rather less contented at watching a group of girls who were the age of his students beat and hack the intruders to death, but he was the son of a slayer himself and knew the business. The potentials were just doing their job and if they seemed to be enjoying it a tad more than was healthy he put that down to youthful enthusiasm and an entirely human desire for vengeance against the forces that had been trying to murder them.
Splattered with blood a potential raised her sword and howled in victory as the last enemy fell, soon joined by the others, the slaughtered Bringers laying broken and bloody at their feet.
‘Excellent’ Illyria praised them. ‘I will arrange for you all to have a day at the Mall tomorrow’ she announced. ‘The half-breed Angel will provide you with spending money from his lottery winnings so you can enjoy yourselves’ she continued. Soldiers should be rewarded and encouraged in their successes as much as they should be punished for their failures. It was only common-sense and good practice.
Wood watched Illyria and the girls. He had the disturbing revelation that he was looking at the future and the future was drowning in blood. On the other hand, in his mind it was the other side doing most of the bleeding so it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing just an incredibly violent one.
The First meanwhile watched unobserved from the shadows. This was about the worst thing that could have possibly ever happened. It had taken a nudge from an Old One but it actually looked like the opposition might be starting to remake the rules themselves and they were going to play hardball from now on not their restrictive, limited game-plans of the past.
Your enemies’ enemy is your friend, the First decided and putting necessity before pride it opted to go see the Senior Partners. They needed to put a stop to this crap quickly before it built up momentum, and if that meant forming a Grand Alliance, and postponing the apocalypse for a while, it was worth it to prevent the far worse prospect of total defeat. The various factions would have to hang together on this one or the damn slayers and their own allies would surely hang them separately.
It was time to mobilise for total war, this went beyond mere apocalypse, armageddon was coming.