Prologue : Pretty Girls and Handsome Men
Possession, they say, is nine-tenths of the law. Nevertheless, the BTVS characters appearing here belong to Mutant Enemy et al, The Stargate repertory seems to belong to something called “Gekko” which is nice because I have couple geckos living on my balcony and I would rather think of them as TV producers than insurance salesmen. Warning:
Look, this chapter
is a warning, okay?
No puppies or kitties will be harmed during this story. Well, probably no kitties, but what with the possible poker games I really can’t make any promises. Well, I will promise. No puppies
will be killed in this story. Anything else is fair game. You’ve been warned. Also, cussing.
Sad, really, a story about a fantasy world not safe for kitties. I mean, what’s the point? You want unpleasant reality, open a newspaper, right?
Gotta laugh or cry, yes? Laughing is better. So, go for the comedy. And the romance. Which, admit it, is usually pretty funny, at least to those not directly involved. Plenty of violence in the world, not nearly enough romance. And go for the sex. Tastefully rendered, of course. Definitely need to up the sex to violence ratio in the entertainment world, don’t you agree?
So I try. I really do.
I start out to write nice light funny stories about pretty girls and handsome guys having amusing adventures, bit of romantic comedy in a nice fantasyworld and…. This
Secrets: A Father Goose Tale
A BTVS-SG1 Crossover
Prologue : Pretty Girls and Handsome Men
Haiti, June 2007
Start with half a dozen…. No, make it eight, girls aged from sixteen to around twenty-five, pretty girls, all of them, beautiful even, of various racial hues and physiognomies, physically fit and lithe and agile in their movements. They’re wearing brightly colored halter-tops, a couple are wearing pastel tanks and one, a tall thin girl of Somali heritage has gone fashionably tribal with an off one shoulder leopard print top she’s matched with a leather breechclout. The rest are wearing light khaki cargo pants, a couple are wearing colorful capris and one girl is working a pair of Daisy Dukes ….
You can take moment to get a good picture in your mind’s eye. I did. (Do bear in mind, the girl in the shorts is just barely
sixteen and jailbait, officially at least, in Haiti if not in most of the world, and adjust your thoughts accordingly.)
And now, just to be fair (if not equal) there are three gentlemen of reasonably mind’s-eye candy class there as well. A little older than the girls, as is the way of the world. The youngest in his mid-twenties, a dashing, piratical fellow with a deep tropical tan, an eye-patch and a scar on one cheek and a bit of stiffness in one leg that slows but doesn’t cripple him. For those that care he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt that though loose and flowing does little to hide the muscled bulk of his shoulders and the impressive biceps.
With him is a short wiry black man of some thirty plus years with a bright infectious grin set in a round face that speaks of central or West African descent. At first glance he appears small next to the pirate but his quick and graceful movements reveal a coiled power to the discerning eye. The fact that he is not wearing a shirt reveals his cut physique.
The third man is tall, thin, caucasian, perhaps he was even white once, before the deep tan set in. With a bit of gray showing at the temples, he’s managing to exude a touch of old world elegance despite rather mundane khaki shorts and tee-shirt attire. Managing in fact not to look ridiculous in the pith helmet he is wearing against the sun that though setting is still harsh. Think Peter O’Toole in his prime, or just a little past.
Oh, yes, it is hot, so hot the air is shimmering. Our little party is working their way uphill, sweat is running in glistening rivulets across muscled abs and powerful pecs, moistly transparent cotton halters are clinging to heaving bosoms….
So far, so good, yes? Attractive, perhaps even intriguing people out for an evening stroll, moving toward an unknown destination, just a touch of the exotic in the scene. Not much comedy yet, I admit, but still, as Angel would say…. Nice!
No doubt at the top of the hill is a clifftop lodge with cooling breezes and a view of the sun setting into the ocean, a sailboat or two silhouetted on the horizon. There will be showers, or perhaps a picturesque waterfall, in ether case a possible communal situation to allow for a bit of titillating nudity and good-natured raillery. Plus the ever important personal hygiene, of course.
There will be wine and food and music… a little calypso maybe, some steel drums. There will be dancing. The pirate sets his cane aside and takes one of the girls in his arms (it will be the doe-eyed brunette currently leading the group up the hill if he knows what‘s good for him) and dances her out onto the patio, swaying to the music, pitching a little woo into her shell-like ear, the soft words she pretends to disdain but can’t resist…
No doubt there will be a few more attractive men to even things out a bit, though of course it may be that a couple of the girls will pair off as well… One of the girls will sit and think of the boy she left at home, her friend chides her; she’s in another country now, it doesn’t count, if you’re not with the one you love, love the one you’re with. Carpe diem.
Cause tomorrow you could be dead, she says cheerfully. One of the guys in the band is giving her the eye. He’s cute. Will she, won’t she? If she does, how far will she go? Too far? The suspense mounts.
The pirate’s wiry friend will flit from girl to girl dancing gracefully, leaving each with a cryptic smile, one girl is determined to discover his dark secret, the source of the sadness behind his laughing eyes.
The older gent finds a smoky-voiced lady of his own age at the bar, there is banter, there is repartee, a few lines stolen from Oscar Wilde, witty commentary on the youthful melodrama being played out before them. Comedy, at last. Later they will go upstairs and prove that while experience is no substitute for youth it has its compensations… temporarily sated they stand arm in arm at the window looking out over the moonlit sea and ….. say something wise and true, yet terribly amusing. I don’t know what just yet, no doubt it will come to me in the moment.
Lovely, huh? Sweet, romantic, non-violent. Not even any cussing, perhaps just the odd risque bon mot
or two. Just a sweet diverting scene to take you away, if only for a little while, from the gray cubicle, the spreadsheet…. Or the colicky baby, or simply a dull Sunday afternoon.
Sorry, can’t do it.
Besides there was so much I had to leave out. The weapons, for one thing. I left out the part about the weapons. We’re back out on that hill, you understand, with the sweat and the heaving bosoms. And the swords. The brunette in the lead with the big broadsword, one of the girls twirling a pair of chinese butterfly swords, there are girls with katanas with matching tantos, one girl sports a double-headed axe. The men are armed as well, the pirate has a heavy staff that doubles as cudgel and cane, he has a machete dangling from his belt and a battered but reliable AK assault rifle dangling on his shoulder. The wiry man has a machete as well and a sawed off shotgun, and a sack that you can’t tell by looking but I happen to know is full of grenades. The older man sports an evil insectoid looking Uzi submachinegun and a slim straight sword of his own.
Still cool though, right? A little swashbuckling, rugged manly men and babes with blades. Can’t go wrong there.
Except there is the mud. I left out the mud. In fact I lied a bit, about the brightly colored halter tops. Well, not lied exactly. It’s true, the halter-tops are
brightly colored, it’s just that you can’t tell anymore. Because of the mud. The slick, slippery yet sticky clinging black mud that is everywhere.
And the blood, of course. Lots of blood. Not a sword that isn’t covered in it. Not a pretty girl that isn’t bathed in it. And this blood, some of it is well, and I mean well
beyond its sell by date.
I also left out the cigars. Now I dearly love a good cigar, (even if for reasons of wealth (lack of) and health (knock wood) I limit my consumption severely) nevertheless, I do understand that in a romantic comedy the cigar is not really the accessory of choice for the young ladies depicted therein, the occasional suggestive cameo excepted.
Nevertheless, I have to report that all the young ladies were smoking long thin cigars. And not suggestively, either. In point of fact, they were all puffing away like the little engine that could. It was probably because of the stench.
I didn’t mention the stench yet, did I? … No, didn’t think so. There was a stench like two sacks of fish and three sacks of potatoes left to rot in the neglected greasetrap of an abattoir built between a badly drained pig farm and a dog food factory, on a hot day in a warm wet climate. It was a stench like a punch in the face.
It was probably because of all the body parts. Some of the parts had been on the side of the hill for quite some time, but a lot of them had come to rest there recently. A lot of the parts were
“parts” because of the swords’ recent activity. Some parts were actually more “wholes,” so to speak, still moving about quite actively and even fighting back … even as they leaked stinking pus and gore with every awkward though powerful punch and kick. They were strong, but not good fighters, clumsy and disorganized … but still their sheer numbers meant that the girls’ progress up the hill while steady was a slow slog through the mud and the blood and the entrails. And the arms and the legs and the brains and the hearts and lungs and of course the maggots and the flies…. Well, you get the picture. It was foul.
Speaking of foul… though there were still the occasional shouts of warning and encouragement amidst the squawking fights between the overfed vultures, on the whole the girls’ usual bright chatter had diminished to a grim silence. But there was one steady voice droning on. It belonged to the girl in the Daisy Dukes who, when not coated in blood and mud, sported a usefully if deceptively angelic face wreathed in blonde curls that made old women weep and young men vow to go forth and be … better
somehow. She was repeating a mantra that seemed to help her endure the ambiance philosophically and I quote,
“Fucking zombies suck,” slash,
“I hate fucking zombies,” slash
“motherfucking zombies” slice
“what I fucking hate are mothergoddamnfucking” slash
“shiteating fuckity fucking fuck” slice
“fucking zombie fuckers are fucking what I fucking hate.” Slash.
What she lacked in originality and diversity she made up in fervor and persistence.
There was in fact a rather nice mansion at the top of the hill, once the family home of a wealthy plantation owner. French colonial in style, of course, and suitable for postcards it even overlooked a cliff (well, really steep slope) that dropped some hundred feet into an inlet of the Caribbean sea. It could easily have been transformed into a lovely resort lodge. It had not been.
Instead it was, and had been for living memory, the stronghold of the Guédé family of zombie masters, ruled, again for a long as any man alive and many dead could remember, by three brothers, self-proclaimed aristocrats, the Barons Samedi, La Croix, Cimetière).
Not Club Med, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a partying kind of place, the nights there, so rumour has it anyway, were often full of food and strong spirits, music and dance, muscled young men pounding drums, sinewy girls in veils and little else performing elaborate traditional seductions for their lords and masters, all in the warmly glowing light of flickering torches. So, not wholly bereft of romance.
At the moment, sadly, not so much with the dancing girls and more with the small arms fire from the encircling verandah and the balcony above. This was the cue for the pirate and his Uzi bearing companion to unsling their own weapons and take turns returning fire. Six of the girls began to move quickly, zigging and zagging with startling speed though the thinning ranks of zombies, while two of the girls fell back to act as human mortars, displaying throwing arms to make Roberto Clemente weep with envy, with the grenades the third man supplied from his sack.
Under cover of the grenade barrage the six leading girls sprinted across the rolled lawn and leapt the railing and engaged the confused and retreating defenders. The remaining two girls took up their swords again and ran forward, cutting a pathway for their men to follow after as they joined the battle for the mansion. Behind them the remnant of the zombie horde that could still move turned and began to close ranks behind them.
Initially the girls found little resistance in the house. The guards, live men, able to think for themselves, were mostly thinking “Ohshitohshitohshit!”
The barons’ rule had been long and harsh, what resistance there was had long since voted with their feet to resist by leaving the Barons’ domain and not returning. The guards had won their positions through feats of daring sycophancy rather than valorous battle, they were more used to throwing whimpering victims into the snake pit than standing firm as screaming she-devils covered in mud and gore came rocketing down the smoke-filled halls like little typhoons of sharp steel.
Besides, it wasn’t as if this attack was unexpected, they had heard first the vague rumors, then the more detailed reports of some mysterious force that was methodically destroying the Barons’ minions and representatives, starting in the capitol and working upwards until now…. They had heard their masters arguing, heard the anger in their voices, and lately, the fear.
It was not an automatic decision. After all, the barons were not simply bosses, they were Gods, Spirits. Rulers of the dead. The guards had all seen, an unlucky few had even felt their masters’ power, knew they could kill with a wave of their hand. Fearful obedience was a hard habit to break. But their masters were out of sight, cowering behind the thick doors of the inner sanctum leaving the guards out in the hall with the she-devils that had cut though the ranks of despised but fearsome zombies like hot knives through rancid butter.
Proximity is nine tenths of belief.
The guards ran.
The girls grew careless, Jun Lee, a slim girl of Chinese descent failed to notice a guard who had caught a bit of shrapnel during the grenade attack and was hiding behind an overturned table. Fortunately the zombie-hating blonde, aka Renee, saw the movement as the guard raised his gun, and slung her katana into his throat with one hand as she pushed Jun Lee aside with the other so instead taking a back full of lead Jun only caught a single round in the right buttock. And therefore soon found herself, to her utter mortification, laying on her stomach in one of the bedrooms as the one-eyed man carefully peeled her pants down.
Like most of the girls, living as they had in close quarters for the last two months, Jun had had the occasional idle fantasy (Faith had made it quite clear how very damn idle those fantasies had better be, but a girl couldn’t help thinking thoughts) of Xander Harris undressing her. Her fantasies had never been quite like this. The tiny prick in her ass as Xander inserted the needle and gave her a shot had never been part of them, for one thing.
She moaned as he probed then cleaned the wound, the painkiller not quite kicking in yet. “I don’t suppose this could be our little secret, Xan,” she pleaded, “The girl that got shot in the ass. I’ll never hear the end of it.” She paused. “I can’t believe I just said that.”
won’t tell, but it was Renee that saved your … life, so I think you better be prepared for word to get around. Serves you right for being careless,” he said. He gently pressed an adhesive bandage over the wound, then gave her a quick, much less gentle swat on the intact cheek and pulled her pants back up.
“Hey!” she shrieked. “I’m telling Faith.”
“I tell her how you almost got yourself killed on her watch and she’ll spank you a lot harder, ”Xander replied. He sat down on the bed beside her, brushed her hair away from her eyes, laid his hand gently on her shoulder, spoke softly,
“You done good, kiddo. You go lay on the beach, let that slayer healing do its thing. I’ll see you in a couple weeks, we’ll have a talk.”
“No, Xander, please, I’m fine,” she started to get up, but he pushed her down.
“Shut up,” he explained, and flipped open a blue cell phone, punched a single button, “Hey, Will,” he said, “got one for you. Bullet in the …. leg. No bones broken. Nothing serious but it’s nasty here, need to be double careful about infections…You got a fix on her? Okay then, I’m stepping back. And Will, put your nose plugs in. Seriously.”
And Jun Lee vanished.
Xander left the impromptu surgery, moved down the hall and found Faith hovering over Andre who was pushing plastic explosive into the cracks around a huge oaken door. The wood paneling on either side of the door and been ripped away to reveal a smooth silvery metal. The splintered remains of a number of heavy table legs testified to Faith’s attempt to breach the portal the old fashioned way. Her eyes, the aforementioned doe-like orbs, immediately sought his,
“She’s fine,” he said quickly, “more embarrassed than injured,” and she nodded quickly, the relief flooding her face for a second before it was thrust away and she was all business again.
“We ready to do this thing, Andy?”
“Five by five, Faith,” the man said, flashing the bright smile, and Faith began barking orders at the girls gathering in the hall, setting the battle order for when the door blew. Xander pulled her aside, spoke urgently, she stepped back and looked at him a moment, then shrugged in acquiescence and began shouting orders again.
The foundations shook with the blast, the ancient wooden door erupted in a shower of burning splinters and the girls herded a half dozen reluctant zombies ahead of them through the opening which turned out to be a good thing indeed as the undead creatures took the brunt of a series of strange energy blasts that left smoking wounds in the walking corpses.
“Fuck,” Faith shouted, they’ve got Skorch demons or lasers or some shit, hit’em Andre!”
The short man stepped forward and with a quick side-arm delivered his last three grenades, immediately after the blasts Xander and the tall man, Jean-Luc, darted forward and sprayed the room with bullets and then the girls went in.
Faith led the charge, diving and rolling and coming up swinging the broadsword in sweeping arcs as she assessed the sitch. The front ranks of the final defenders had been hurt badly, bodies were strewn left and right, but these guys were made of sterner stuff than the guards outside, they wore body armor despite the heat, they had markings on their foreheads… always a sign of fanaticism of one kind or another, these guys were fighting to the end.
One lunged forward to swing a club at her, she stepped back to easily avoid the blow, then, just in time, a bit of slayer instinct kicked in and she threw herself aside, her body realizing before her brain did that the man had had not been attempting to strike her, but had been aiming…
She felt the heat of the weapon’s discharge scorch her back, she rolled and came up with a shuriken in hand and flung it, the razor sharp blades of the steel star slicing into the man’s eyes, he screamed and dropped his weapon, Faith followed with quick stab to the heart to put him out of his misery, the metal of his breastplate might have repelled a normal human’s blow but it offered scant resistance to the force of a slayer’s thrust. And then she was moving on, sensing the Somali girl, Shad, coming up beside her they went into the inner inner sanctum where two of the three Barons waited, regal in their top hats and formal coats, their bodies painted, their faces covered in masks resembling skulls, with wide holes for their eyes which were now literally flashing with anger, the glow providing an eerie backlight illumination to the masks.
“Freaky deaky,” Faith said and moved forward.
The taller of the two demons was yelling at her, in French so Faith didn’t get the words, but she got the “How dare you disturb my mighty mightiness with your puny puniness,” message and she grinned.
“Last chance to beg for mercy, gents,” she said. She figured they understood her gist as well. One of the demons raised his hand and there was a flash and Faith did a total face-plant.
She had a moment of terror, for a few seconds she lost all motor control, she was limp like a discarded rag, unable to so much as roll an eye. And then with a wave of tingling pain like a bad whack on the funny bone she felt her central nervous system reboot and her strength come flooding back, she peeked upward and saw the demon had turned away, clearly assuming she was done for, she saw now he had some device in the palm of his hand and he was tracking toward Shad who was stalking the other baron.
Faith grabbed her fallen sword, came to her feet in catlike silence, swung and took the arm with the hand device off at the elbow. The demon screeched and turned to stare at her, the glowing eyes eloquent with enraged surprise, then suddenly the glow was gone, and the rage, leaving only two normal looking brown eyes filled with puzzled terror and then she took his head.
She turned and saw that Shad had delivered an equally fatal blow to her opponent.
Slowly silence began to descend on the house.
“Sound off,” Faith barked and counted off six replies from the girls then… then Xander was shouting,
“Faith, the body, Faith!” she glanced over and saw him coming through the doorway, pointing … she looked down and saw a snake… well, snakelike creature emerging from the bloody neck stem of the corpse at her feet, it wriggled free and seemed to peer around and gather itself … and it leapt at her, wrapping quickly around her leg and swarming upwards, she grabbed it once and lost it as, slick with blood, it squirmed free, she felt it moving across her back, felt a pinch at the back of her neck and then Xander slammed into her and bounced back but he was holding the thing in his hands now, his face a mask of pure disgust as he fought to hold it as writhed and hissed. Faith grabbed the thing and squeezed hard
and felt bones crunch beneath her fingers, she ripped it from his grip and threw it against the wall where it hit with a sickening splat before slowly beginning to slide down, trailing a viscous fluid like a snail. Faith took a couple steps, impaled the thing on the end of her sword and held up to get a better look.
“Hey Xan,” she started but glancing back she saw his gaze fixed on the body, “What?”
He glanced up, “I hate to say this,” he said, “but maybe we better make sure there aren’t more.”
She scraped the snakething off her blade, poked it a couple times, it seemed dead enough but just in case she staked it to the floor, stood and used her sword to rip the headless body open from the crotch up but found only the usual entrails. They moved on to the second body, Shad insisted on doing the honors for her kill … the snake was there, caught in the act of attempting to exit the body through the mouth but squirming weakly, apparently the force of Shad’s killing blow, a spinning kick that had crushed the sternum into the spine followed by an instinctive if probably unnecessary chop to the back of the neck had damaged the snake as well. Shad finished the job with a quick stab with her katana, the thing writhed, hissed a moment and went still.
is wicked gross,” Faith declared.
“I think we better find the third baron,” Xander said.
They found him quickly enough, or his body, anyway, in the room where the dancing girls were comfortably caged. He had apparently tried to hide amongst them, possibly thinking of nights spent safe in their embrace and a little confused by the subtle differences between fear and love. He had been gibbering in what sounded like some archaic variation of Creole and seemed befuddled, even lost, the girls said. The girls had set him straight. They had apparently performed the Dance of the Seven Swift Kicks to the Head, and then went on for an encore or two. A rough autopsy of the battered body revealed no snake, which concerned Xander a bit, he warned the girls to remain alert and stay in pairs. In the meantime there were details to attend to, other servants to free, a few surrendering guards to disarm and so on.
“Maybe he didn’t have one,” Faith said, “maybe that’s why he ran and hid.”
”Maybe. Reminds me of this thing we had in Sunnydale once, before your time. A beezer or something like that. Had these uber-disgusting crab things that hid in eggs then glommed onto your back and took over your body. I’m not sure why exactly, but it seemed to involve me getting hit over the head a lot, so I’m pretty much anti-beezer in my outlook.”
“Poor baby,” Faith said.
“Oh well,” Xander said. “At least it’ll make Giles happy. Weird snake demons and funky weapons, some actual research to do. Give him an excuse to dump his paperwork on Toby.”
“Shit, he’s the boss, who’s he got to make excuses to?” Faith said.
“To himself. It’s Giles, remember.”
“Yeah. Okay, I’m ready. “
Xander held the third baron’s head by the hair, stretching the neck tight. Faith swung her sword and cleaved the neck cleanly. They found some broken balcony railing to use as pikes and impaled each of the three heads and went out across the lawn strewn with the suppurating remains of the zombie army that had dropped in its tracks when its masters died. They mounted the heads on the fence for the locals to see in the morning.”
You know what’d be cool,” Faith said. “If we could just call in an airstrike. Like at the end of ‘Apocalypse Now’,
just blow this whole place off the fucking map.”
“Yeah, well, maybe next time,” Xander said. “If we can find a nice used B52 for sale cheap somewhere. Maybe a rental.” He sighed. They stood a moment. The sun was almost down now, there was still a red glow over the field but the tropical night was coming fast. “Well,” he said, “I guess we should go help the girls stack the corpses.”
He turned and started back toward the house and there was a sad wet farting sound, he stood still and stared fixedly upwards.
“I don’t want to know what I just stepped in, do I?” he said.
“Well, I’m for damn sure not looking,” Faith said. She took his arm. “Jeez Xan,” she said, “I can’t take you anywhere, can I?”
They started walking off into, if one is observing from the correct angle, the blood red and orange hues of the sunset, Xander pausing with every other step to give his right foot a good shake. -30-
You see how it is? I start out with a bunch of pretty girls taking a walk on a tropical island and end up mounting heads on pikes. I mean, is that sick, or what?
Personally, I blame television.
Next: Chapter 1: Close Encounters
* I, or rather certain snake-resembling creatures, are of course playing fast and loose with the vodoun pantheon, Barons Samedi, La Croix, and Cimetière, for example, being different names for the same entity.