Hark the Great Ones Priestly Son,
Hail or you will be undone.
Death and pain to most he brings,
Ris’n with darkness in His wings.
Waked at last no more to lie,
Proof that death itself may die.
Born to crush the human race,
Wipe them out and leave no trace.
Hark! The nameless cultists sing,
Glory to our dreaming King.
Lyrics: J Westbrooks.
Tune: ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.
O’Neill stood out on the deck looking into the family room of the Rosenberg’s cabin a beer bottle in his hand. Sam and Willow Rosenberg were deep in discussion about the Water Demons. Jack had wanted to get a team in to assess the threat and then eliminate it, however Sam had talked him out of it. Sometimes he missed just being able to issue orders.
He turned his attention away from Sam and Willow to the girls who sat around the room. There were a lot of bladed weapons in evidence and an awful lot of sharpening going on. Three of the Slayers he recognised from his last contact with the world of the weird, two were new to him. The girls he knew had all changed, of course they were all older now, but they also seemed somehow harder…more sharp edged. Even the pretty little red head with the enormous breasts…Jack looked away and took a slug of beer, god what was he thinking!
Jack felt a presence next to him; he turned to see Kennedy Rosenberg standing to his left. He had long ago stopped worrying that he had not heard her come up behind him.
“Hi.” He said and took another mouthful of beer.
“Hi.” Replied the Kennedy.
“How’s it going?” Jack gestured at Kennedy’s swollen tummy with his beer bottle.
Kennedy absently stroked her belly.
“Not so bad, you know?” Kennedy gave Jack a resigned smile, “You know, fighting the good fight, doing what we can.”
“Yeah I know,” Replied Jack, “I’m guessing you’re not doing much fighting right now.”
“No, not at the moment,” Kennedy smiled up at the old General, “It gets a bit wearing just standing on the side lines and watching.”
“Tell me about it.” Agreed O’Neill.
“That’s right you ‘retired’, how’s that working for you?”
“Okay I suppose,” Mused O’Neill, “Seems I spent my career trying to avoid paperwork now that’s all I do…Pentagon.” He added by way of explanation, Jack looked at Kennedy’s middle again, “What about you?”
“Oh this,” Again Kennedy placed her hand protectively over her belly, “Not something I planned, or had much choice in…just sorta happened to me.”
In a way O’Neill was impressed that anyone or anything could force a Slayer to do something like that. In another way Jack felt disgusted that any young woman had been forced to do something against her will. After all it was one of the things he had fought to prevent all his life.
“Why didn’t you…”
“Get rid of it?” Asked Kennedy, “Don’t think I didn’t consider it, an’ I’m all for ‘Reproductive Rights’ and free choice. But when the time came I just couldn’t…I think it’s a Slayer thing. I just couldn’t ‘kill’ an innocent…like it says on the police cars, ‘To Serve and Protect’ that’s us General…isn’t it?”
Jack looked down at Kennedy, and just for a moment he did not see a Slayer, a natural killer designed by nature to protect the rest of humanity. Tonight he saw a pregnant young woman who just wanted to feel safe and live in peace. He put an arm around Kennedy’s shoulder and felt her lean against him.
“Do we do any good Jack?” She asked, “We keep fighting but it never seems to end. I know that at the end of it I’ll just have a pile of dead girls, and then I’ll have to start all over again with another bunch of fresh faced eager little girls. I wonder sometimes if we do any good training them an’ sending them to school. It just gives them time to get attached to people and fall in love, give them false hope that they might be able to have something like a normal life…it just seems so pointless.”
“It’s never pointless,” Said O’Neill quietly, “You’ve got to remember all the people you save and give your girls as happier time as you can. An’ remember,” Jack searched his mind for the right thing to say, “Remember, ‘resistance is never futile’.”
Kennedy broke away from Jack and wiped at her eyes with the back of her wrist.
“Look at me,” She said trying to laugh it off, “Silly Slayer getting all cry-baby like that, bet Buffy never felt so sorry for herself…must be the hormones talking.”
“Yeah,” Agreed O’Neill, “Must be the hormones.”
“Just because the same species turns up on two planets doesn’t mean it’s a full blown invasion.” Pointed out Willow as she sat across the table from Carter.
“Agreed,” Sam took a sip of coffee, “As I remember it there is a slight difference between the Water Demons of Paradise and the specimen you have here.” She pointed at the severed head that sat at the end of the table.
“So you’re thinking that they were transplanted between planets.” Asked Willow.
“Actually I think they were taken to Paradise from Earth.” Sam pointed out.
“Yeah that would make sense,” Replied Willow, “There were so many Earth animals on Paradise maybe these got caught up in the transfer. And from what the girls said these ones seem more advanced than the ones on Paradise. These ones used weapons and seem to have some sort of religion and organisation bigger than the family group. The ones on Paradise had none of those things.”
“Except for those big hunting parties.” Pointed out Sam.
“Yeah apart from them,” Conceded Willow with a wry smile, “But bears, which are generally solitary gather in large groups to catch fish.”
“Granted.” Sam nodded her head.
“So we’re thinking that this isn’t some sort of alien invasion and the water demons have been here all the time?” Announced Willow.
“I think that’s a working hypothesise.” Agreed Sam, she looked up to see Jack and Kennedy come into the room from the deck, “Heads up, here come the warriors.”
Just then there was a commotion over by the front door.
“Frank!” Exclaimed Tammy as she opened the door.
“Hi.” Said Frank, he looked Tammy up and down, “We were going out remember?”
“Yeah,” Agreed Tammy, “I’m really sorry about this but there’s been a sorta emergency here an’ I can’t come tonight.”
Tammy saw Frank’s face fall.
“Look Frank, I’m not trying to blow you off or anything,” Tammy paused for a second thinking she could have put that better, “I really want to go out with you it’s just…I can’t…not tonight.”
Frank looked very disappointed as he stood dejectedly on the doorstep.
“Look can we make a date for tomorrow?” Pleaded Tammy, “Maybe do lunch or something and go out in the evening to make up for tonight?”
“Yeah okay.” Agreed Frank, he was really disappointed (in more ways than one), he did not often get to go out with pretty girls like Tammy, and then sacrifice them!
Reluctantly he turned away from the door, and after a backward glance and a wave he made his way back towards his pickup. Death came swiftly to Ranger Frank Smith; the tomahawk in the back of his head killed him before he even knew something was wrong.
“What is it with you people?” Jack wanted to know as they stood around looking down at the body of the dead Ranger, “You just can’t go ‘round killing Forest Rangers!”
“He was evil.” Said Tammy flatly as she retrieved her tomahawk from the back of the Rangers head.
“Yeah, a lot of people are!” Explained Jack, “But you just can’t go ‘round whacking them over the head with a tomahawk!” It was then that Jack noticed the Ranger had also had his throat slit from ear to ear, “SHEESH!”
Willow joined the group holding a coal black crystal in her hand.
“Tammy’s right he was ‘Evil’.” She announced.
“Yeah like I say there’s a lot of it about.” Jack pointed out.
“No I mean ‘EVIL’.”
Jack noticed the capital letters and looked questioningly at Willow.
“He went right off the ‘Evil-ometer’.” She held up the crystal as proof, “This used to be clear.” She explained.
“We better get the body inside.” Suggested Kennedy, “Before someone notices the dead body and the crowd of people not calling the Sheriff.”
“You can’t move the body!” Cried Jack, “Killing a Ranger is a Federal offence, we have to call it in!”
“I don’t think anybody’s listening Jack.” Said Sam from by his side, “They look at it as being in their world and not subject to normal laws…I wish Daniel was here he’d be fascinated by all this.”
Jack watched in horror as two girls picked the body up, seemingly with no effort and carried it into the house. Another girl appeared with a couple of buckets of water that smelled strongly of bleach and started to wash the evidence from the path. Jack started to protest, but Sam pulled on his arm and led him back into the house.
The girls put the body on the dinning table and stood back to let Willow examine it. She undid the Rangers shirt and studied the tattoo’s that were revealed on the mans chest.
“Oh this is bad.” She announced studying the tattoos closely, “Someone help me cut the rest of his clothes off.”
Alice stepped forward and produced a small knife, she quickly went to work and soon had the Ranger stripped naked.
“Someone search the pockets then burn the clothes.” Ordered Willow.
Smith’s body was covered in tattoos.
“You did the right thing Tammy.” She called to the teenager.
“What!?!?” Jack almost screamed from across the room as Sam tried to calm him down.
“What have we got?” Asked Kennedy from her position beside Willow.
“Nothing of the good.” Willow examined the markings, “I’m no expert on these symbols but I think Tammy might have just saved the world.”
“I did?” Said Tammy brightening.
“She what?” Spluttered Jack.
“You think?” Asked Sam coming over to look at the body, “Now I really wish Daniel were here.”
“As do I.” Agreed Willow, “Having someone like Daniel on hand would be really useful right now.” She turned to Alice and Tina who had been going through the Ranger’s clothes, “Anything?”
“Nothing unusual,” Replied Tina holding up a wallet, “Wallet, money, credit cards, drivers licence usual stuff.”
“Some loose change and keys,” Added Alice.
“Keys?” Queried Kennedy.
“Yeah,” Replied Alice, “Looks like keys for a pickup and house, and a couple that look like they’re for padlocks or something.”
“Okay,” Ordered Kennedy, “Keep the keys, and destroy everything else…and I mean everything!” She glanced at Willow as if asking if this was what she wanted, Willow gave a slight nod, “Off you go, you two.”
Tina and Alice bundled up the Rangers blood stained clothes and left the room by the door to the deck.
“You know it’s a felony to destroy evidence?” Asked Jack, he looked into the faces of the people in the room, and realised two things.
Apart from the cat he was the only male in the house, and secondly, no one cared if it was a felony or not. Not even Sam! He sighed in disgust and sat down deciding to keep his mouth shut for now. Shannon came in from cleaning the blood off the pathway.
“Clean as I can make it.” She announced and then went and stood by Tammy.
“Better take some pictures.” Suggested Willow, Sam nodded her head in agreement. “I’ll need to send them to my experts an’ I’m sure you’ll want to let Daniel see these.”
“If that’s okay with you?” Asked Sam.
“I think I’m goin’ to need all the help I can get on this one.” She said before turning to collect her digital camera.
Tammy stood next to Shannon.
“Do you think it’s a curse or something?” She asked sadly.
“Always getting boyfriends who are demons or just generally evil.”
“No,” Reassured Shannon, “I think you’re just having a run of bad luck, is all…I mean it’s only been twice.” Shannon saw the look on Tammy’s face, “It has only been twice…hasn’t it?”
“Well,” Admitted Tammy, “There were a few times when I was on the run…”
“A few?” Hissed Shannon.
“About a dozen actually,” Tammy confessed, “I got so lonely running from one town to the next… and I always slayed them the morning after…I never loved any of them…it was just…sex!”
“Maybe we should call you the ‘Black Widow’?” Muttered Shannon, “Hey you never did any vamps did you?”
“EEEW! NO!” Squeaked Tammy, “You have to draw the line somewhere…I mean…YUCK vamps!.”
Shannon looked at her sister Slayer and wondered. Personally she drew the line just after ‘human’. She knew it limited her dating opportunities, but what the heck, she had standards.
“We need to find you a boyfriend,” Said Shannon, “And I mean a human non-evil one!”
The house was quiet now. Everyone had either gone to bed, gone home or had their dead body dumped in the lake. Willow and Kennedy lay in each other’s arms and thought back on the day.
“Hey,” Sighed Willow, “And that was just the first day of the holiday!”
“Why do we even bother Will?” Kennedy asked morosely.
“Well, it’s a change of scenery.” Willow pointed out as brightly as she could.
“Hmm,” Considered Kennedy, “Trees instead of office blocks.”
“I think I like the tree’s.” Replied Willow.
“You know…I think I do too.” Kennedy smiled into the dark.
Both women sighed contentedly and snuggled up closer to each other.
“I think Tammy needs a motherly talk about who she takes to bed.”
“You want me to?” Asked Willow.
“I think it’s best.” Agreed Kennedy.
“Talking of motherly,” Willow ran her hand over Kennedy’s tummy, “What would happen if we kissed?”
Norm Van Damme watched the recording on his son’s computer once again. The Witch and her girl’s had missed one of the cameras and he had seen most of everything that had happened in the family room at 1147. Strangely he was more worried about the General and his Airforce Colonel girlfriend than the Witch. People tended to notice if retired Generals and serving Colonels went missing.
Norm smiled to himself, he could deal with it all, and anyway there was only tomorrow before they could start to raise the Great Lord from his sleep in R’lyeh. The world would end at about ten-thirty on Tuesday morning, and now Frank Smith was dead, Norm Van Damme would take his rightful place as the new High Priest.
“MAW-HA-HA!” He laughed.