Times of Change
“The No Life Twin” by Shadow Master aka Ryley Breen
Disclaimer: This is to inform readers that I do not own either the Anime series called Hellsing or the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer much less the characters connected to those shows. I am making no profit whatsoever and am writing this fan fiction purely for my own enjoyment as well as the enjoyment of those who choose to read it. Therefore it would be greatly appreciated if you did not seek legal action against me concerning my use of the two shows’ characters or any other components that the shows are made of. Mostly because I am currently only earning minimum wage and can barely afford my apartment at the moment. In short the legal costs of such proceedings would greatly exceed anything that could be gained from me even if you left me with nothing but a wooden barrel to wear and sold everything else of mine to the highest bidder. So basically it would be a waste of both time and effort.
Note: Yet another plot bunny has clamped down on my butt demanding to be written and it is such a cute little thing (with seriously sharp plot teeth) that I feel compelled to at least write one chapter. Be forewarned however that with every review you post asking for more will only make it even hungrier for attention and force me to write another chapter to placate it. Still it is the burden all we creative writers have to deal with when we start this job/hobby/lifestyle so there’s really little point in complaining. Still keep in mind when you submit your reviews that the time between new chapters will differ from time to time depending on what it will take to get this particular plot bunny to let go. Sometimes it only takes a Twinkie to get him to let go of my butt and sometimes it takes an all you can eat buffet. Still as I know what it is like to read a truly good fanfic and wait eagerly for the author to pump out another chapter I will do my best to continue this fanfic for as long as possible.
Note 2: In the Buffy universe this takes place soon after the episode “The Zeppo” but I will keep the exact date vague to avoid getting pinned down by continuity errors. As for the Hellsing information all I can say for certain is that it occurs after the joint attack on the Millennium group by both the Iscariot and the Hellsing Organization. Keep in mind that I have only watched the Anime Hellsing episodes and have not read the manga so I am bound to get numerous facts wrong besides the basics. Unless you the readers can point me in the direction of a site online where I can at least read a summary of the manga issues I am basically going to make up stuff on my own.
The No Life Twin
“This situation is intolerable! Not only have we lost our primary base but with the exception of a few good officers mein friends our forces are seriously depleted!” yelled one of many men seated around a large conference table, “Even if we push the new FREAK chip prototypes into mass production it would take five years to regain our former position in the vorld!”
“Calm yourself Herr Rommel! The Millenium group has never been about numbers or any one strategic location.” another voice of a female nature said, “It has always been about an ideal, a way of thinking, and as long as a handful of us remain our organization cannot be stopped or destroyed.”
“Perhaps fraulin but even you must concede that the combined attack of the Hellsing organization and Iscariot have seriously compromised our agenda.” another voice that seemed to belong to a grandfather said, “So the question now is: how do we deal with the situation?“
It was a question that all thirteen members sitting at this council have been discussing amongst themselves ever since their base in Brazil had been decimated by a combined effort from two thorns in their collective backsides. Since the founding members of the Millennium group had been forced to flee Germany during the final years of World War II they had known that their best defense had been absolute secrecy. No two installations were to know about each other or that there existed a worldwide network of such compounds. Each was to be outfitted with the very latest in technology and occult materials as well as various scientists and willing recruits. The concept was much the same as having components of a single device being constructed at a dozen or more locations all across the globe. It would prevent the people at each location from having two clues as to what they were helping to construct or what its ultimate purpose would be. In the case of the compounds established by Millennium by making sure that each installation believing that they were the only one it would not matter if it was destroyed or captured. The enemy would look at the evidence presented and determine that the installation they sacked was the only one and terminate their search after a brief post operation investigation. The key was all in the presentation of both the first tidbits of information to the way the ‘final confrontation’ was played out. Take the matter too lightly and the enemy would know they were being fooled but put too much effort into it and you would only dig your own grave in terms of resources. It had been a trusted safeguard against serious damage for the past fifty years but this time however it had proved somewhat inadequate.
The Brazilian base had been one of their more important installations where their primary research and development of new FREAK chip prototypes were devised as well as being the primary residence of a few key operatives. Major Max, The Doctor, Captain Hans Gunsche and Lieutenant Zorin Blitz just to name a few of the more unique operatives that were confirmed as perishing in the battle. Of all the valuable personnel stationed there only two officers returned to the safe house two weeks later and one of them had been almost catatonic. That one was currently in the lower levels undergoing treatments both to return her to somewhat active status as well as to test several new supplementary implants to the main FREAK chip implant. The other was a few days away from finishing his regeneration cycle and returning to active duty. It was hoped that once the first was more useful and the other was fit for duty that efforts to restore their lost assets could begin. However before that could occur they had to deal with how to keep their current state of reduced strength from delaying their overall timetable.
“Obviously one of priorities must be to devise a more effective counter measure to Hellsing’s mideon weapon Alucard.” a smooth sounding man stated with the utmost confidence, “Up until the attack it was believed by this board, due to the assurances of Major Max, that his daughter Lieutenant Rip Van Winkle would be that counter measure. All historical accounts we have been able to uncover suggest that she is his equal in power or at least close enough to defeat him with some assistance. However judging from the young man recovering in the infirmary’s report she was almost completely incapacitated with fear during the entire altercation and only put forth a substandard effort when encountering Alucard himself. Obviously something more must be done.”
“You sound as though you have an idea Herr Keitel. Perhaps you could tell us what you have in mind?“ asked a particularly annoyed woman at the far end of the conference table.
“Indeed I do, fraulin, indeed I do. The initial premise surrounding recruiting a true nosferatu of equal or greater power than Alucard himself in order to neutralize him as a threat was essentially correct. However it failed to take into account the fact that as the mideon is said to be the first vampire he was quite naturally the purest and most powerful of his kind.” Keital replied never losing the confidence in his voice, “Therefore while it might be possible to acquire a nosferatu close to Alucard’s power level they will inevitably be found lacking in one area or another.”
“Could you please move along to your solution Herr Keitel?“ asked an impatient male voice to Keitel”s right.
“Patience was never your strong suit was it Herr Weichs? As I was saying any existing nosferatu would be unable to beat Alucard due to a deficiency in one area or another.” Keital said with barely a hint of anger at being interrupted, “So logic would dictate that only Alucard could possibly defeat Alucard.”
“What you are speaking is pure nonsense Herr Keitel! Even if we could devise a way to turn the mideon’s own power back on him his regenerative powers are apparently without limit. The failed attempt by Incognito should be proof enough of that.” Rommel said clearly entertaining thoughts of having Keitel removed from the council.
“I quite agree with you that anything we could construct to reflect the mideon’s power back upon him would be quite useless. What I am suggesting is that we create our own Alucard that would in every conceivable way be his superior.” Keital stated as though he was reciting a prepared speech to a group of reporters.
“Impossible! While it is true that our scientists have made significant progress in developing new and more powerful FREAK chips none of them are considered potent enough to bring a test subject even close to Alucard’s level.” Weichs stated as though he knew what he was talking about, “Lieutenant Rip Van Winkle was our one chance to enlist a vampire to our cause that could match Hellsing’s pet mideon and she failed miserably.”
“I never suggested that we use our advances in occult science to create a nosferatu more powerful than Alucard. Indeed our scientists are likely decades away from creating a chip that will achieve the desired results.” Keitel said as though he were speaking to a child, “I instead propose to use sorcery to gain the soldier we require and thanks to our intelligence agents in North America I have come across the perfect type of magic for this project.”
With that Keitel got up from his seat and moved to the main double doors. This puzzled quite a few of his compatriots on the council and some of them were minutes away from throwing composure and decorum out the window. However Keitel was unaffected by this as he opened the door and indicated to someone waiting outside to come in. As he stepped to the side to allow his guest in the whispering and confusion in the room only escalated as it was unheard of to allow an outsider this far past their defenses. Only after thorough background searches and years of diligent service to their cause were even the highest ranking officers allowed to stand in the presence of the ruling council. Still most of the council members with a dislike for Keitel were willing to wait a few more minutes before acting so as to gain just enough rope to hang their enemy for good. When the councilman’s guest entered the room he immediately went under appraisal by each member both in terms of his potential usefulness as well as his actual competency. He was roughly in his mid to late forties judging from the wrinkles on his face possessing black hair and blue eyes. He was dressed in a rather casually worn dress shirt and tanned pants with expensive looking shoes. However it was a sparkle in his eyes that made some of them question whether he could be trusted for many of them recognized the look in his eyes as that of a trickster and a mischief mad man. While some of them were quite useful in distracting one’s enemies they also inevitably turned out to be more trouble than they were worth. Keitel should know this fact as well which meant either he had a measure for keeping his sorcerer in check or he had lost all reason sometime during the past few months.
“My fellow council members may I present Mr. Ethan Rayne.” Keitel said with confidence ten times higher than it had been before.
At that point most of the council members obviously sided with the latter possibility rather than the former.
Sunnydale, One Week Later, 3:00p.m
~Well that period of pride lasted long!~ Xander thought as he walked off the school grounds alone.
It had been almost a week since his one shining moment of saving not only his friends but also the rest of the world by stopping Jack O’Toole from blowing up the High School. It had been a real pick-me-up for him to find out that even without the support of the rest of the gang he had been able to stop some baddies from ending the world. True they didn’t really have any powers and most of them were falling apart at the seams but it had still counted for something as far as he was concerned. Therefore he was smiling for three days straight before his life reverted back to the way it had been before he had shown his worth and he had to say it was rather pitiful. His friends were still leery of letting him get in on any of the slayage in town and the most times the only way he could get involved was to show up in the middle of things so they couldn’t push him out. True they generally chewed him out for getting in their way or distracting them long enough to let some demon they were trying to kill get away but it didn’t bother him. Much that is. However today it was a particular sore point for him because it was beginning to affect his non-slaying friendship with them as well. Now whenever he tried to have a decent conversation with them either Buffy or Faith would inevitably bring up one of his recent attempts to get involved again with the Scooby gang. This would result in them either making fun of his honest effort to prove worth to the team or complaining about how he was more of a hindering factor than a helping one in their night time activities. This of course left sizeable dents in his newfound self-respect and pride and that led him to where he was right now. On his way home to try and tolerate yet another night in his basement room hoping that his parents got drunk enough before supper that they wouldn’t bother him until tomorrow morning.
It had been bad enough before Buffy had come to town and revealed to him the truth about this world but at least he still had Willow and Jessie to lean on when he was feeling down. Jessie had been like a brother to him and like all brothers they were both willing to do pretty much anything to help each other out. As for Willow she was close enough to be family. Spending time with them helped take the majority of the sting of his home life away and actually give him some good memories. When Buffy Summers had come to town it had been a time of rebirth but like all rebirth happiness was dealt out with an equal portion of pain. On the plus side he received a new hero and a cause he could believe in which was more than he had possessed beforehand. However it had also cost him the young man who had been a brother to him in Jessie. From there though it had been one crazy thing after another but a life that did a fair impression of a roller coaster was better than a dull one likely to end in the obituary section of the school newspaper. However he was beginning to believe that the stronger and more dangerous the big bads got the less and less likely the gang was going to tolerate him being around. After all they would be focusing on the members of the team that would be able to bring something substantial to the table rather than a hanger on who had a hard enough time dealing with newbie vamps.
~Not that any of them have bothered to try and change things!~ Xander thought bitterly as he recalled that no one had bothered in the past two and a half years to help him improve his fighting skills.
It was just common sense that if you see a friend who is deficient in some area you at least try to help them out in some way. You don’t just leave them to improve on their own and then make fun of them when they don’t meet your standards. Still his ‘better half’ as he liked to call it told him that they had their own lives and their own problems just like him and couldn’t shove all that to the side to focus on him. Still a little hand-to-hand training from Giles or a little more teaching in how to use a sword properly wouldn’t have killed them. In any case though it was time to head home and get some sleep before heading out later tonight to see if he could ‘lend a hand’ to his friends.
Across the Street, Hidden in the Shadows, Same Time
“That is the specimen you want us to acquire.” asked the man in plain looking civilian clothes.
However if one took a moment to see beneath the surface it was obvious that this man was no civilian. His bearing, his fit physique and his eyes told a different story entirely. However even a military trained officer wouldn’t be able to discern everything about the man’s true nature using his eyes and ears alone. For this man of mystery had abilities known only to his superiors and his victims with the latter dying before they could speak more than a word. It was those hidden qualities that made him the perfect operative for this mission. The other man standing a few feet to his right was merely there to provide intelligence about the town and the players of the game that lived there. It was true that the majority of this other man’s assignment wouldn’t start until all the components were gathered and the final location secured but he had decided that he would see to the high school student’s acquisition personally. Whether that was because he wanted to be there when his old enemy discovered her friend was missing or whether he wanted to be the one to drop them a hint himself he wasn’t sure at the moment. He knew that his employers wouldn’t mind since the resources of the organization would vastly outstrip anything his enemy could muster. Still it was something to consider over the next few hours.
“Yes. He bears a close enough resemblance to the end result your people desire to enhance the effects of the spell to significant degree.” The second man to the right of the first replied, “Add to that his ties to the Hellmouth and I imagine the transition will be significantly smoother than a randomly chosen test subject from the civilian population or from your squad. Besides I have an old ‘friend’ living here who is quite close to this boy. It will be interesting to see how he reacts.”
“This ‘friend’ won’t become a problem to the organization will he?“ the mystery man asked with implied punishment in his voice.
“When he was in his prime? Perhaps. Now he’s just a librarian moonlighting as Merlin to a bottle blonde bimbo.” Ethan Rayne replied with a derisive tone attached to ‘Ripper’s’ current state, “The most he’ll probably do is clean his glasses into oblivion and stutter for the next three days. Now I suggest you signal your men to get into position as I believe our boy will be reaching the ambush point quite soon.”
Just Exiting the School, Thirty Seconds Before
~I hope Xander is alright.~ Willow thought to herself as he let go of the front door to the high school.
It had been an upsetting line of thought that had popped up more and more over the course of the last two weeks or so and now she was beginning to wonder if perhaps she might have made a mistake. It had been about then that Buffy had started to make noises about keeping her oldest friend out of the fighting portion of the Scooby gang. The Slayer had said that while he might be their friend he didn’t really have anything to contribute to the team in a fight and often only got hurt trying to help. However as the debate evolved both the blonde Slayer and the new one, Faith, began to see Xander Harris as an obstacle in their way or a ball and chain holding them back in a fight. Like most Slayers in history they didn’t like the very concept of restraints and got rid of them when they could only tolerating them when they had to. In this case Xander was a restraint that they both could and wanted to get rid of and only their feelings of friendship towards him kept them from ousting him from the group entirely. She had gone alone with them because she genuinely didn’t want to see her ‘since-pre-school’ friend hurt or even killed throwing himself into trouble like he often did. Buffy, Faith, Giles and her had skills and abilities to protect themselves during patrols or fights with the latest super demon threat. Xander wasn’t any more skilled then any other high school boy living in a small Californian town and against demons that wasn’t enough. She had tried to persuade both Giles and Buffy to maybe teach Xander some fighting moves to make him more useful but neither of them could be bothered to spare the time. Giles’ reasons were somewhat acceptable given that the demands of being both the high school librarian as well as Buffy’s Watcher didn’t leave the veteran much time to spare for himself much less another person. He had to keep the library organized and stocked with all the necessary books for the student population while at the same time finding convenient nooks and crannies for the demonic oriented books they used in their research sessions. It was also he that did most of the research when a new threat came to town even though she tried to help where and when she could.
~Still Giles knows way more old languages than I do and probably has half the reference books committed to memory.~ She thought to herself as she walked past the wall surrounding the school itself.
It was then that she spotted someone she had hoped she’d never see again and someone who she knew Giles would want to know about immediately. Turning right on the intersection to her own right was none other than the chaos mage Ethan Rayne plus one unknown man whom she presumed was also a chaos mage like Rayne was. Which meant that they were in town to cause trouble. That could mean anything from a repeat of that Halloween thing or the Band Candy thing where the adults turned into teenagers. She was just about to go back into the school and tell Giles when she took a moment to take in what direction the two chaos mages were going in and wonder why. Ethan had to know that it was dangerous walking around so close to the high school where any of the gang or Giles himself could see him. He usually preferred to avoid any situation that put him in unnecessary danger or risk until he was sure he was holding all the right cards. That likely meant that either he already had what he was after or was going after it now and knew that even if he had been spotted that neither Giles nor the Slayers would be able to stop him in time. Her mind whirred through the various possibilities but it was only when her thoughts of her problems with Xander and the ones that came after spotting Ethan collided that she discovered the truth.
~He’s after Xander!~ Willow thought as a pit of fear began to grow inside of her, ~But why!?~
She didn’t bother trying to think things through as she began to follow the two men as carefully and as silently as she could. The rational, intellectual, part of her knew she should go back and get the others but her heart was in control at the moment and all it cared about was saving Xander. She knew or at least believed wholeheartedly that if she went back to get Buffy and the others it would be too late when they arrived to where ever they planned on attacking Xander. His only hope was for her to trail them from a safe distance and then cause a big enough distraction right before the fun started to help him escape. What that distraction would wind up being she didn’t quite know as she was pretty sure attacking them physically would only get both her and Xander killed. That left magic and while she had been making progress in that area she was far from being the female Merlin. Sure she could levitate a pencil and do some intermediate spells but most of that took time to set up. She wasn’t sure what she could just pull out of her hat on the fly but she would think of something. She had to!
Otherwise Xander might get hurt or even die.
Three and a Half Blocks Away, Ten Minutes Later
~I’ve got a bad feeling about this.~ Xander thought to himself as he looked about the empty street ahead of him.
For most of the walking he had been lost in his own mind, thinking about the past and the present, but about a minute ago he finally took stock of his surroundings. The entire street in every direction except the one he came from was deserted and to him that was a big honking sign something was amiss. The local elementary school got out about the same time as the high school which meant there should be kids on their way home and crossing guards at every crosswalk. However no matter how hard he looked for signs of life or people there was nothing. Looking into the windows that were close by he grew even more worried when he couldn’t see anyone inside of the houses moving around. After all it was one thing to see nothing on the streets but he should have been able to catch something in the windows whether it be an active TV or someone on their couch. However no matter which window he looked into he could see nothing but empty rooms and that coupled with a healthy sense of Sunnydale paranoia told him he was in trouble. The question he needed to answer though was just how much trouble and who he had pissed off this time to get them to come after him.
Resuming his trot down the street he kept his senses sharp and tried to take in every bit of sensory information he could so he could have as much advance warning as possible. He was pretty sure that the ‘act like nothing is wrong’ strategy wasn’t an option at the moment as they probably saw him looking around which meant that he had two choices. The first would be to simply continue down the street like normal and wait until he got to the ambush point where they wanted him. Since he knew that there was going to be an ambush they no longer had the element of surprise either. It would come down to a matter of numbers and weapons deciding who would come out on top. Depending on how much forethought these unknown people put into this they may or may not know everything about him. If they did they would know about the residual benefits he still retained from his possession by the hyena and the soldier. It wasn’t much when compared to what he had when those two entities were in control but it did give him an edge most other teenage guys didn’t. From the hyena he still retained slightly sharper senses than those enjoyed by the rest of humanity. From the solider he retained a basic grasp of tactics as well as some fairly comprehensive knowledge of modern weaponry. Nothing too high tech but enough that if it was currently used by the U.S military he knew both how to use it and protect himself from it. Not that retaining the bits and pieces of those entities was overly helpful in fighting the demonic in Sunnydale. Most demons shrugged off bullets like they were spitwads and any weapon more powerful than a shotgun was outside his ability to acquire. He knew there was a military base nearby but he had been lucky enough to get the rocket launcher out to deal with the judge. He doubted that he’d be able to get away with too much before even those slackers guarding the base would pick up on his activities. So in the end he had some abilities but there was really no way to make effective use of them.
~Still, if these guys don’t know everything about me it might be enough to give me one good shot at getting out of this in one piece.~ Xander thought while not taking his eyes off his surroundings.
Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view he didn”t have long to wait before his unknown stalkers made their move. As soon as he reached the very next intersection he heard a sound and watched as three canisters about the size of soda cans flew threw the air in his direction. He didn’t need his solider memories to recognize them though whether they contained knockout gas or tear gas was unknown. Moving in synch with his thoughts he moved as quickly as he could to get clear of the likely radius that the canisters were likely to cover. No sooner did he reach the spot where he thought he’d be safe from the gas than high caliber bullets bit up the street in front of him forcing him to halt his advance. Dropping his school bag to free up his flexibility more and give him a little more pep in his step he looked in the direction he figured the shots had come from. While it was true that the smart thing to do when you’re being shot at was to seek cover he figured that if these guys wanted him dead they would have shot to kill rather than just keep him from getting away. Judging from how much pavement was torn up they could’ve made his head explode like a ripe melon if they had wanted. So at least for now he was certain that they wanted to take him alive which gave him an advantage. They would be pulling their punches whereas he would not and hopefully that would be enough to make up for the lack of sufficient firepower.
“So are you guys going to just take pot shots at me from the bushes or are you gonna come out and fight?“ Xander said with a challenge in his voice hoping to draw them in where he could see them.
It didn’t take more than three minutes before they emerged to accept his challenge but when he got a look at them he almost wished they had remained hidden. There were roughly fifteen of them but he got the impression from their lack of cautious movements that they might have back up waiting nearby. He didn’t recognize the uniforms for the most part and the only thing that did stand out was the silver swastika medallion that hung around all of their necks. That either meant he was being ambushed by neo-nazis-wannabes or some other war mongering group that thought using the swastika for a symbol was a good idea. In any case it all came down to the same thing. He was in deep shit and the chances of him getting out of this in one piece were getting slimmer by the second. He needed three things if he expected to get out of this situation with all limbs attached and all vital organs in working condition. The first was a weapon, the second was a plan and the last was an advantage to make up for the difference in numbers. Looking around the immediate area he spotted what he presumed was a rake that had been left leaning up against the white fence by the owner of the house. Grabbing it by one end he pulled it in front of him and with a quick stomp of his right heel snapped the wood off where the metal part of the rake met the wooden pole. Now he had a makeshift spear with him that could also be used as a staff if necessary which would give him greater reach while also giving him a kill option if he needed it.
~Now I need a plan for dealing with these guys.~ , Xander thought as he tried to keep each and every single one of them in sight, ~Oh man! I really should have paid more attention to Giles when he went on and on about strategies!~
The first objective he believed he would need to achieve if he hoped to survive this was to force them to attack him in small numbers rather than all at once. Against two or three men his own size he could manage without too much trouble. After all since they were all standing in the sunlight they weren’t vampires so that meant only human level speed and strength. Given his experience in dealing with things roughly four to five times his own strength he was fairly certain that he could beat them. However whether or not he could beat all fifteen of them was another issue that had to be addressed. While he did indeed believe that he could defeat them in small groups he was uncertain as to whether or not he could defeat all fifteen of them without getting injured in some way himself. He tried for a moment to think up a way to get them to come at him in a way that would be beneficial to him but before anything sprang to mind they attacked. Wielding collapsible batons they charged him forcing him to frantically use his makeshift staff to block their attacks as fast as he could.
~There is no way these guys are human!~ Xander thought as he found his opponents quickly reaching and in some cases exceeding speeds commonly found in newbie vampires.
Another troubling thing that he noticed was the fact that his enemies seemed to be both pulling their punches and using the least amount of force necessary to subdue him. That would imply that they were sent here to capture him or perhaps to test him for some other purpose he couldn’t discern at the moment. Not that he had a whole lot of time to think or anything as one of his attackers hit is staff so hard it broke into two pieces. Lashing out with a kick or two to give himself some breathing space he adjusted his grip on the two pieces until it looked as though he had two batons of his own. He had seen martial artists with weapons like his in countless movies, two sticks or rods not much bigger than drum sticks, and seen them beat the enemies senseless with lightning fast moves. While he doubted he’d be able to even imitate the speed or skill he had seen in the movies it did make him move flexible both offensively and defensively. Looking around he decided it was time to at least try to go on the offensive even if it required him to take some hits. If it was true that they were trying to capture him then at least the chances were good that they also wanted him in fairly good condition. By that line of reasoning they would be holding back most of their strength so that while their blows would hurt his history of being pummeled by vampires should allow him to continue fighting. That fact unfortunately would have to do as the advantage he had been hoping for but even for him that was pitiful.
~Oh well, like the Klingons like to say all the time, maybe today is a good day to die!~ Xander thought and with all the courage, strength and speed he could muster he charged the closest enemy intent on a deke and stab move to the guy’s right side above the hip bone.
He took all of two steps before he felt a sharp pain in his left butt cheek and a suddenly overpowering urge to sleep. Reaching back with his waning strength he felt something pencil shaped sticking out where he had felt the pain and when he pulled it out to look at it his mind numbly recognized what it was.
“N-n-no f-fair!” was all he could slur out before his eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he fell face first to the ground.
Ethan’s Perspective, One Minute Later
“Why did you use the tranquilizer dart?“ the man only known to Rayne as Leiutenant Schneider as the British Chaos Mage checked the boy for a pulse.
“Because if I hadn’t your men would likely have beaten the fool to a bloody pulp.” Ethan replied with a bit of sarcasm before sighing with relief as he felt a strong pulse coming from the Harris boy, “The lad’s going to need all of his strength if he’s going to survive the change so broken bones or serious blood loss must be avoided.”
“My men are professionals Mr. Rayne. The boy wouldn’t have sustained any serious injuries.” Schneider stated with no sign of anger or annoyance at the Brit’s comment evident.
“Still it is probably for the best that we wrap this up quickly. The last thing we need is to run into any of Harris’ chums before we get out of town.” Rayne said as he motioned to two of the soldiers to pick the young man up and prepare him for transport.
“Perhaps,” Schneider said as he nodded to the remaining troops to likely begin removal of suspicious evidence and the bodies of the local residents.
Even a chaos mage like Rayne had to shiver a bit at how casually these soldiers belonging to the Millennium group had ruthlessly killed every person living in the immediate area with not so much as a drop of blood visible from the sidewalks. Inside the houses had been another matter all together as the soldiers had used some of the bloodiest and quite frankly stomach turning methods to kill the inhabitants he had ever seen. After he had witnessed one family killed in those sorts of ways he had decided to occupy his thoughts on one of the van rentals reviewing the actual spell casting he would have to do for these people. The only reason he had come with them for the actual acquisition of the boy was to point Harris out to them in person and to leave a few panic inducing hints for ol’ Ripper to find when he got home. That thought alone was enough to banish the more disturbing images from his mind as he could just picture the frantic state Rupert would slip into once he found out one of his charges had been abducted by him. He imagined the local demon population would be in for quite a messy time as both Ripper and the Slayers tore up the town looking for their ‘friend’. However he had been certain to treat each ‘clue’ he left behind with several nullification spells which would render any locator or tracing spells useless.
“XANDER! GET AWAY FROM HIM!” Came an afraid but also furious female voice from the direction the boy had come from.
Looking over to where the voice was coming from it took Rayne less than a minute to recognize the redhead. Muttering a curse at his misfortune he decided he better take care of the girl before one of the soldiers did and gave Rupert even more incentive to find him. Centering himself he spoke a quick incantation and thrust his right hand towards the girl intending to send her flying into the air and hard enough down to the street to render her unconscious. Unfortunately the girl was apparently taking lessons from Ripper as she managed at the last minute to deflect the spell off to the side so that a mailbox wound up going through one house’s front window. This was something of a surprise given her age but he had no time to think on it further as she sent a fairly passable imitation of the spell he had just used right back at him. Fortunately his years of experience and his own reserves of personal magic made it easy to flick the attack aside causing yet another mailbox to suddenly find itself on someone’s couch. Deciding to up the ante a bit he decided to try something to give the little girl incentive to turn tail and run back to her friends for help. By the time they got here both his comrades and Harris would be long gone which would hopefully make Mr. Keital happy. Looking over at the broken shards of glass from one of the broken windows he used his will to lift them off the ground and with a suddenness that would give most people whiplash sent them at the girl with a sudden jerk of his head. A satisfied smile appeared on his face as he saw the shards of glass cut into the redhead. The slip of a girl had had enough sense to use her arms to shield her body from serious harm of the life threatening sense. Hopefully the blood and sharp stabs of pain would be enough to scare her enough to get her to leave the area. However as she lowered her arms from in front of her body he received a clear view of her eyes and wondered just who or what she really was.
In the place of the girlish loving eyes he had expected to see were eyes with irises a shade of green that verged on pure black. It was a classic sign of a magic user tapping deeply into their own power reserves and sometimes the world around them for a massive spell. Most times the caster had to have been ‘in the business’ for at least a decade before they were capable of this but as he carefully observed her mouth and hands he had a sneaking suspicion that Ripper had found himself a prodigy. Deciding that the time for kid gloves had just ended he tapped more into his own magic as well as a little of the Hellmouth before firing a rapid succession of fireballs from his mouth. The Rosenberg girl managed to erect a shield but it was clear both to his eyes and to his own senses that it was barely holding. Winding up one more time he sent a fireball the size of a beach ball at her shattering her shield and sending her crashing to the ground. Aside from the force of the blow she was relatively unharmed with the exception of slightly smoking clothes so he wasn’t too worried about her dying. The drain from using so much magic and his own attacks should be enough to keep her down so that he and the soldiers from the Millennium group to get away.
“An impressive duel Mr. Rayne.” Schneider said with something approaching interest in his voice.
“Indeed. The last time I saw that girl she was barely strong enough to do beginner spells.” Ethan said as his own fatigue began to set in, “Still she should be unconscious long enough for us to get underway. Shall we be off?“
“In a moment.” Schneider replied before turning to a subordinate and saying something in German that Ethan didn’t quite catch.
However as Schneider’s gaze came to a rest on the young girl Rayne had a distinct feeling that the redhead had made a fatal error in revealing her talents in front of this man.
Five Hours Later, Sunnydale General Hospital, Willow’s Room
As her senses began to return to her one of the first things that she noticed as the unfamiliar sheets and covers that were draped over her. They weren’t the warm and comfortable ones she usually had on her bed because the sheets on her bed were smooth and comfortable. The ones currently keeping her warm were itchy and in her opinion someone had used too much starch when they had last cleaned them because they were rather rigid. At first she thought that maybe her mother was going through a cleanliness phase and was subjecting her once comfortable sheets with some new product that guaranteed to kill all germs and make the fabric last longer. Her Mom was like that and she had learned to accept it more or less. Still when she went downstairs she was going to remind her Mom that it was not right to make changes to her room without her permission. After all she was a growing teenage girl and she needed her own private space as well as the freedom to do what she wanted with it. Her mother had reluctantly agreed to her demands concerning her room under the condition that she was to have no posters of boys on her walls and no boy was to be in her room after supper. It was as this thought passed through her that she could hear a muffled series of sounds that seemed to be coming from outside her room. She hoped that her Dad wasn’t having some of his friends over for a morning conference again. She loved her Dad and respected the work he did but there was only so much ‘here is my genius little girl’ talk that she could take. As the noises became less muffled she realized that there were metallic sounds mixed in with the voices as well as something that sounded like a man saying something over an announce system.
~We don’t have an announce system in our house.~ Willow thought with some confusion as she approached full consciousness, ~I hope this isn’t that dream where you wake up in the front of the classroom in your underwear because even though it isn’t one of my top fears it’d still be not of the fun.~
Opening her eyes she discovered that she wasn’t in her bed at home but was in one of those uncomfortable hospital beds probably wearing one of those uncomfortable hospital gowns that just had to have been designed by a complete pervert. Why else would the back be left purposefully open if not to let someone scope out your ass’ Not that she minded the few times when Xander had been in the hospital and she had come to visit but it was another thing when it would be her butt people would be leering at.
“Willow! You’re awake!” exclaimed a familiar voice before she was embraced with a tight hug from a certain blonde Slayer.
“Buffy? Air becoming an issue!” Willow said as she gently tried to coax her best friend into breaking the hug up.
“Oh sorry!” Buffy said as she quickly released her friend and sat back down in the chair she had been sitting on since she had arrived in the room, “I’m just glad you’re alright. What happened?“
Willow was prevented from answering right away as the door to her room opened up to admit one flustered and worried Rupert Giles who looked like someone had totally mangled his filing system in the library.
“I’ve just gotten off the phone with your parents and they said that they will catch the first flight back later tonight.” Giles stated as he picked up a chair from another area of the room and sat down on it next to Buffy, “Before they return though it will be important to come up with a plausible cover story for your being admitted here. Can you explain what exactly happened? It might provide some inspiration in terms of creating a cover for you when your parents arrive.”
“Well I was just leaving school and thought I would try and catch up with Xander to try and cheer him up a little. He’s been looking pretty down since we asked him to stay out of the slaying and I don’t like it when he’s like that.” Willow replied as she replied honestly to the Watcher”s request, “That’s when I spotted that Ethan guy from Halloween heading down the same street Xander always takes when he walks home.”
This causes both the Slayer and the Watcher to go rigid at the thought of the chaos mage being both back in town and being interested in their Xander-shaped friend.
“I know I probably should have gone back to get you guys but I was afraid by the time we caught up to them they’d already have Xander!” , Willow stated with growing concern before memories of her last few minutes of consciousness before waking up in the hospital hit her, “OH MY GOD! They have Xander!”
“What?“ Buffy exclaimed as the panicky feelings from her best friend were mimicked in her.
“I caught up to them across from Mrs. Robinson’s house but Xander was out cold and surrounded by these soldier guys!” , Willow replied as though they had asked her a real question rather than a rhetorical one, “I tried to save him but Ethan was just too strong and now Xander is .. is .. !”
“I’m sure Xander is fine Willow. If Ethan wanted to kill Xander he would have done so.” Giles said reassuringly as he placed a hand on her shoulder, “That must mean that they want him for something which means we have some time. Now can you tell me anything about the soldiers that were with Ethan? Anything that might help us discover who they are and where they come from?“
“Well they were wearing your standard solider get-ups with the flak jackets and camouflage pants.” Willow replied with disappointment before she remembered something that caused her eyes to light up with hope, “OH! Oh! They all had this silver medallion around their necks! The medallions had swastikas engraved on them! There can’t be too many militia groups with medallions like that right?“
Buffy seemed to agree with her line of thinking and told her with that piece of information they’d get Xander back in no time. Giles however had gotten quite pale and was currently cleaning his glasses with unusual energy before he got out of his seat and said that he had to make an important call. Then without sticking around to answer any questions he left her room and disappeared leaving an injured Wicca and a blonde Slayer wondering what the hell had gotten into their mentor’s head.
Giles” Apartment, One Hour Later
“Come on Wally! Pick up!” Giles said to himself as he listened to the sounds coming from his phone indicating that it was trying to make a connection to another phone somewhere else.
He had almost fainted dead away in Willows room when she had described the medallion that had been worn by the soldiers who had abducted Xander. It was a medallion that had been worn by truly evil individuals fifty years ago and he had heard rumors from various contacts in Great Britain that it was being worn again by shady figures. Whispers of strange creatures and attempts at merging science and sorcery into something completely new and dark had reached him. He knew that there was more going on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean than he was being told but even the small crumbs he was able to acquire were enough to worry him. He had even heard that his friend’s employer had been framed for some crime against the Queen a year or two ago but had since been freed both due to the true culprit being caught and some emergency. In any case it was a memory of a conversation he had had with Wally about some business the man had been involved with during World War two that prompted this call. During Hitler’s reign of terror over Europe it had been a little known fact that he was not above looking into various areas of the supernatural and demonic for aid in his campaign. To better serve the Reich an organization was formed specifically to devise new and powerful ways to turn the supernatural and demonic into tools of war and conquest. Nothing was taboo to the Nazi doctors that experimented on demon and human alike in order to create something so powerful and unnatural that it would decimate the allied forces.
It was called the Millennium group.
It was called that because it had been intended to last a thousand years but in the end due to secret forces from Britain it had been believed that all the members had been slain and their research destroyed. At least that is what Wally had told him during that conversation fifteen years ago and he had no reason to doubt what he had been told. If Willow’s description of the men who had abducted Xander was accurate than the lad was in a world of trouble and would need a special sort of help that the ‘Scoobies’ could not provide.
He was about to hang up when someone on the other end of the line finally picked up their receiver and said “Hellsing Manor, how can I help you?“
“Wally?“ Giles asked with some uncertainty as the voice did for the most part sound like his old friend but also contained some elements that the Watcher didn’t recognize.
“Rupert? Well this is a rather pleasant surprise.” Wally said in a genuinely happy tone, “It has been, what, nearly five years since we last spoke?“
“Indeed it has. I believe it was during the joint meeting between our respective .. em .. employers.” Giles replied temporarily allowing himself to enjoy the memories of that event before turning to the more serious matter at hand, “However I am afraid I did not call you to talk about old times my friend. I’m afraid I need the sort of help that only you and your employer can provide.”
“What has happened?“ Wally asked in a serious business-like tone that told Giles he knew that something was wrong.
“Earlier today a friend of the Slayer I am assigned to was attacked and abducted by a former friend of mine by the name of Ethan Rayne and a group of soldiers.” Giles replied as he drew on only the most important parts of Willows account of the event, “While on the surface this may seem outside of your group’s jurisdiction I assure you it is not. Each of the soldiers wore a silver medallion around their necks with a swastika engraved on it. I don’t think I need to tell you what that implies about them.”
“Oh dear.” He heard Wally mutter and like all men from Great Britain he knew that was the equivalent of ‘oh shit’ in American slang.
“Yes. It happened less than seven hours ago here in Sunnydale.” Giles said trying to get his friend past his shock and onto something more productive, “I know that your group is likely busy with their own problems but I would consider it a personal favor if you could at the very least if you could check with your sources and get back to me. Even a simple list of locations where they may have taken him would be appreciated.”
“I cannot promise you anything Rupert. However I will bring this to the attention of my superior and try to get you clearance for the necessary information. I owe you that much.” Wally replied with his voice denoting how difficult it would be to bend the rules on Giles’ account.
“Thank you old friend.” Giles said with some relief dispelling a portion of the anxiety in his soul.
“Think nothing of it. Goodbye.” Wally replied and with that the phone call was terminated leaving the Watcher Rupert Giles to his own devices.
With his primary source tapped the man once called Ripper decided to make calls to some of his lesser contacts on the off chance that they had something he could use. He just hoped that something useful could be learned before too long. Xander while annoying at times was also a brave young man who he was proud to have met and even grateful that the teen had chosen to aid his Slayer in her mission. He just hoped that the lad’s perchance of getting in over his head hadn’t struck again because this time there might be nothing anyone could do to save him.
London, England, Hellsing Manor,
The Office of Sir Integra Fairbrook Windgates Hellsing
“Enter.” Came the voice of Walter Donnleaz’s employer as she put down the report she had been reading about a recent rash of FREAK chipped vampire attacks.
Looking at the door out of courtesy to her butler and longtime friend she was slightly concerned at the look of seriousness on his face. While the spectacle-wearing Englishman was generally serious all of the time when on duty he always behaved with a certain ‘familiarity’ when in her presence. One might see it as the same sort of familiarity one might expect from family and while not related by blood she supposed that he was family to her in all ways except blood. Therefore she knew his mannerisms as well as other habits that told her of his emotional state in ways no one else would notice. Right now while Walter was indeed concerned about something it wasn’t quite at the same level as it had been during the Incognito affair. During that time she could tell that he had been seriously worried about her personal safety as well as the well being of the Hellsing Organization as well. It had been a trying time and she was still to this day angry that she had not been observant enough to detect the traitor amongst the members of the Round Table. It was a matter of personal pride to her that she was among the most skilled and observant people in all of Great Britain who were loyal to Queen and country. The fact that the man had been tried and executed did little to dispel the fact that somehow the Millennium group had managed to implant a mole or corrupted one of colleagues.
In any case she and the rest of the Hellsing Organization had more than managed to get a measure of revenge against the remnant of Hitler’s Third Reich during a joint operation with the Vatican’s Iscariot division in South America. While it bothered her to no end to be forced to work with those pompous Catholics she had reluctantly agreed that the job had been too big for her Organization to handle alone. It had also had the side benefit of mending the peace between the two groups which while still volatile was still better than what had existed before. Paladin Alexander Anderson still occasionally dueled with Agent Alucard from time to time when their respective missions intertwined but both institutions simply accepted the fact that those two would never like one another.
Now with the Millennium group apparently shattered and only a few survivors still making trouble worldwide business in the Hellsing Organization was beginning to return to normal. The number of FREAK chipped vampires in Britain were dwindling and missions were returning to the more natural, if one could call those aberrations natural, vampire breeds. This unfortunately had Alucard getting bored which meant he would spend less time hunting down the undead and more time trying to drive her insane in various ways. Fortunately a few silver nitrate bullets and some sincere threats concerning his current level of freedom were usually enough to grant her a few days respite from his senile sense of humor. However if the look on her butler’s face was any indication she might now have another means of keeping the Hellsing family weapon from annoying her.
“What is it Walter?“ she asked in her normal ‘ice queen’ voice.
“I was just contacted by an old friend of mine and what he related to me was potentially troubling.” Walter replied with his words only confirming his mental state in her mind.
“How so?“ she asked with a raised eyebrow given that for Walter to call something ‘potentially troubling’ it truly needed to be something serious.
“A little under seven hours ago a young acquaintance of his was attacked by a group of soldiers and a man by the name of Ethan Rayne.” Walter replied as he gave her a condensed version of the conversation, “While this in and of itself is odd considering the young man is of no real importance either politically or financially each of the soldiers had a silver medallion around their necks with a swastika engraved on each of them.”
This caused her to almost lose her trademark calm demeanor as she connected the dots as it were and realized what organization the group had to belong to. However when her mind began to try and determine why the Millennium organization would be interested in an unknown American she came up blank. Thus she looked to her butler and friend Walter and gave him a look that said “Could you elaborate?” in a crystal clear manner.
“The friend I spoke of is Rupert Giles, a member of the Watcher’s Council, who is the Watcher assigned to the current Slayer in the town of Sunnydale, California.” Walter said in response to her non-verbal request for more information, “The young man in question is one Alexander Harris, a friend of the current Slayer, who has been aiding Ms. Summers since her arrival at the Hellmouth. As for why the Millennium group is interested enough in Mr. Harris to abduct him in broad daylight I am afraid I haven’t the foggiest.”
Integra was forced to side with her friend on that matter because unless Mr. Harris had some secret to him that her organization was not privy to it made no sense for the members of the Millennium group to order his abduction much less in broad daylight. Usually they were much more covert in their operations preferring to operate under the cover of night to reduce the number of witnesses and traceable evidence. Add to that the fact that anyone worthy of abduction by the Nazi remnant usually already had a file here at the Hellsing Organization and you had something of a mystery. A mystery that she knew they had to solve quickly if they were to thwart whatever plans the remaining members of the Millennium group had in motion.
“Begin a full background check on Mr. Harris as well as all his known relatives and deceased ancestors. Go back five hundred years if you must.” , Integra commanded with complete authority, “If this Alexander Harris has not done anything of note concerning the supernatural or demonic then perhaps a member of his family line has. Contact our informants in other intelligence organizations to see if there has been any suspicious activity by known supporters of the Millennium group.”
“As you command Sir Integra.” Walter said and without further words left the room to obey her orders.
Once the door clicked shut she returned to her own musings about what this latest development could mean as well as examine some disturbing implications that were becoming known in her mind. When the Millennium group’s base in Brazil had been discovered it had been believed by both her forces and those of the Iscariot that it was indeed their main base of operations. The sheer amount of resources dedicated to both its secrecy and its operations were enough of an indicator of that but when several valuable members of the Millennium group revealed themselves during the course of the battle the indication turned to confirmation. Thus when all the fighting had finished it had been believed that any encounters with Millennium group members from this point onward would be merely annoying underlings attempting to capitalize on their deaths of their superiors. In short it was expected that all that would be needed for the foreseeable future was what the Americans would call a mop up operation. Having no evidence to indicate something to the contrary she had agreed with this appraisal of the situation and had not given the remnants of the Millennium group more than a passing thought since then. With this newest development though she began to wonder if in fact they had been mistaken in their belief that the base they had destroyed had been the main one.
~If it was the main base then the remnants elsewhere in the world should still be in too much disarray to perform an operation like this coherently.~ she thought to herself as she stood to look out the window behind her desk, ~They should still be recovering from the assault in South America. If however it was not their main base then I have severely underestimated them. Damn!~
“It seems things will finally get more interesting around here Master,” came the voice of the number one cause of her bouts of increased stress and blood pressure.
Looking towards the source of the voice she watched as Agent Alucard, the No Life King and true nosferatu, seemed to flow outwards from the wall before finally separating from it with nothing more than a ripple to show where he had come from. It was his usual entrance as far as she was concerned. He never liked doing the expected thing or the normal thing but rather preferred to keep both ally and enemy guessing as to how he would appear before them next. To the enemies of the Hellsing Organization it was a tactic that inspired fear in their hearts and only convinced them further that Alucard was not your average vampire. For her it was just plain irritating and she was sure that he reserved his best ‘unpredictability material’ for her just to see if he could make a crack in her emotionless façade. It was in a way a contest they had going on between the two of them and so far she was winning as she had managed to keep her emotional control despite some fairly impressive attempts on Alucard’s part.
“You may want to restrain your enthusiasm Alucard. We still do not know what the Millennium soldiers want with Mr. Harris much less how it could affect the current state of things.” Integra said to her weapon with a reprimand mixed therein, “However if you insist on having something to keep you busy you can pay a visit to some of our more demonic sources of information to see if they have anything interesting to say.”
“As you command, my Master.” Alucard stated as he faded from sight with bone chilling laugh that spoke of possible insanity.
Sir Integra knew that Alucard would have no trouble extracting information from the demons given his reputation but she did hope he was discreet in interrogating the more stubborn ones. Otherwise the current Prime Minister and perhaps her Majesty herself would be calling her an hour later complaining about the collateral damage that needed taking care of by them. It didn’t require her to reroute valuable Hellsing manpower to the repair and reconstruction efforts but it did ‘require’ her to make a sizeable monetary contribution. In short she sent up a silent prayer that whoever this Alexander Harris was that he was important enough to be worth this much effort or at the very least that it would hurt the Millennium group enough in the long run.