O come all ye Deep Ones,
Mi-go, Ghouls and Nightgaunhts;
Come foul Shub Niggurath, and all Ancient Ones.
Come Great Cthulhu, rising from the ocean.
O come, let us abhor them,
O come, let us abhor them,
O come, let us abhor them,
Scream, run and hide!
Lyrics; A.H. Leman.
Tune; O Come All Ye Faithful.
O’Neill walked back into the family room and handed Tara over to her mom. He sat down with the girls who were seated around the dining table clutching their favourite weapons. Willow sat at the head of the table holding Tara, Sam stood next to her. Kennedy came down from upstairs and sat down next to Willow the two women held hands under the table. Willow looked worried, she glanced up at Sam and nodded her head.
“Right, we’re all here now,” Said Sam looking around the table, “Willow has asked me to explain our findings.” Sam took a deep breath, “Unless we’ve got our research completely wrong, by this time tomorrow Great Cthulhu will be in total control of the world!”
The young Slayers looked at each other with ‘yeah right, heard it before’ expressions.
“And this would be bad because…” Asked O’Neill.
“Let me start from the beginning,” Said Sam, “Aeons of years ago, before the world was even the world as we know it now, even before the Ancients. The Elder Gods ruled the planet, and the universe itself, and Cthulhu was the greatest of them all. As usual, eventually there was a great falling out between these creatures and this Cthulhu character ended up trapped in his city R’lyeh neither alive nor dead in a deep sleep. Although he sleeps he can still influence the right type of people. These people try to wake Cthulhu and free him from his prison to rule the world as he did before.”
“So where’s this Cthulhu hold up?” Asked Jack.
“Somewhere in the Sea of Japan.” Willow replied.
“So we send in some nuke subs and take him out before he surfaces.” Suggested Jack.
“Won’t work.” Said Sam quietly, “I’m sorry but Cthulhu is basically indestructible. Hit him with a nuclear warhead he’ll vaporise then he’ll reform just as strong as before only this time he’ll be radioactive!”
“Crap!” Said O’Neill, “Do you think the Asgard could deal with him?”
“Doubt it Jack, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.” Suggested Sam.
“Our best hope is to prevent him from being woken up.” Announced Willow glumly.
“Willow’s right,” Agreed Sam, “We think Ranger Smith was the High Priest of the cult that is presently trying to wake Cthulhu so I think the ritual sight must be close by.”
“You think this because?” Jack asked to show he was paying attention.
“He’s unlikely to want to travel far from home to perform his rituals, and you may not have noticed but there’s been a marked increase in traffic today.”
“Cultists arriving for the ceremony.” Willow pointed out.
“All we need to do is stop the ritual.” Explained Sam, “The ceremony will take about twelve hours. If we interrupt it at any point that will mean they’ll fail. On the plus side Willow thinks we’ll only have to fight humans. On the negative side there will be a lot of them and as the ritual progresses they will become more insane and harder to kill. So we need to find them soon and stop them now!”
Silence fell over the room.
“We’ll fix ‘em!” Said Sally with a grin.
“YEAH!” Chorused the other Slayers.
“No guys!” Said Kennedy sharply, “We’re talking two or three hundred homicidal lunatics here. Okay, they may not be well armed or organised, but they won’t stop and they won’t back down. To be honest this is a job for the military.”
Kennedy looked over a Jack hoping he had some good news.
“Sorry kids,” Said Jack, “I’ve called back what SG Teams we can spare but the first won’t be here until tomorrow morning.”
“What about Riley Finn?” Asked Kennedy.
“Out of the country,” Replied Jack, “Him and his unit can’t get here until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. What about your people Ken? Didn’t you say Buffy Summers was sending more Slayers?”
Kennedy looked down at the floor before she spoke.
“Don’t know,” She said simply, “They could be here in five minutes or five hours, something about a strong magical field preventing them from teleporting in. So Buffy’s had to send some by normal transport and some are waiting to be magiced in.”
“Makes you wish we’d told the President it was us who rescued her daughters.” Muttered Willow, “She’d owe us one and maybe she could get the Air Force to bomb the place,” Willow looked at Jack hopefully, “I don’t suppose you could…?”
“Sorry Willow,” Replied Jack, “Can’t help.”
“So it’s just us.” Said Sam.
“We’ve faced worse.” Said Jack and Tina at the same time.
“When?” Asked Sam.
Willow screwed up her face and made a noncommittal noise at the back of her throat.
Tina stood up and looked at the long faces around the table.
“NO!” She said firmly, “I will not be beaten before we start! So, what if the situation is hopeless? Who cares? When isn’t it? What if we’re out numbered dozens to one? Tell me something new! We’re Slayers, this is what we were born to do!”
“Lets have no more defeatist talk!” She cried, “I say we slay ‘em till we can’t slay ‘em no more!”
The Slayers jumped up from their seats and cheered as they waved their weapons in the air. The cheering stopped as the first spear came crashing through a window.
Ranger Smith’s cabin was a hive of activity; Sheriff Coltrane stood back to let the paramedics go by as they carried the woman’s body toward their ambulance. Doctor Jones followed them out.
“What can you tell me Doc?” Asked Mat.
The Doctor stood for a moment and ran a hand through his thinning hair.
“She’s been dead for some time Mat, I’d say month’s maybe as long as a year.”
“But Smith’s only been here two, three months at most.” Replied Coltrane.
The doctor shrugged his shoulders.
“The body shows clear signs of abuse,” Continued Jones, “And then there’s the tattoos or whatever they are…they cover most of her body. I’ll be able to tell you more once I’ve examined her properly.” The Doctor sighed, “You know I came up here to get away from this sort of thing,” He shook his head, “I don’t get paid enough for this crap.”
“Thanks Doc.” Said Mat as he slapped the Doctor on his back; he turned to walk back into the cabin.
He found Rosco and Enos waiting for him inside.
“Okay guys,” He said as he looked from one deputy to the other, “We turn this place inside out and upside down until we find something that tells us what the hell Smith was up to.”
“I’ll go get the tools.” Said Rosco.
There was a terrific crash as a Water Demon came smashing through another window to land on the floor in the family room. Tina spun across the floor and decapitated it with one easy swing of her Katana. Blood fountained across the room as the creature fell dead at her feet. She looked back at her sisters.
“FOLLOW ME!” She yelled as she turned and dived through the broken window.
In an instant the Slayers where headed outside brandishing their weapons and screaming there war cries.
“‘Come on big boy’?” Muttered O’Neill as the littlest Slayer ran by him.
He turned to see Kennedy start to follow the girls outside; Willow grabbed hold of her arm and held her back.
“NO!” She said firmly as Kennedy tried to twist from her grip.
The sound of unearthly screams and cries floated in through the broken windows.
“WEAPONS?” Demanded O’Neill sharply.
Kennedy stropped struggling with Willow and pointed towards a closet, Jack ran over and opened the door. As he did so he sensed a flash and a crack like a discharge of electricity behind him. Turning he saw a Water Demon lying on the floor with a large smoking hole in its chest. He looked at Willow to see her blowing smoke from her right index finger as if it was the barrel of a gun. She gave him a lopsided smile and a shrug of the shoulders.
Jack searched through the closet, he handed Sam an automatic pistol and a handful of spare clips, he took a pump action shotgun and a box of shells for himself. He turned and Sam followed him as he headed towards the door.
“You guys be all alright here?” He asked looking over his shoulder.
Willow nodded and held on to Kennedy.
“Don’t get in the way!” Cried Kennedy, “Keep back from the fight an’ just take out the leakers an’ flankers, and don’t damage that shotgun, it’s my best!”
The three law officers stood in what had been Ranger Smith’s cabin, they looked at the destruction they had caused. They had torn up floorboards and prised cupboards off the walls. They had ripped out the fittings in the bathroom, and looked behind the walls. They had measured the internal and external dimensions of the cabin to find there were no secret compartments. All that they had achieved was the wrecking of one perfectly good cabin. The Forrest Rangers were going to be pissed at this!
Enos wondered over to a wall were a map hung, he studied it for several minutes.
“What y’looking at Enos.” Asked the Sheriff with a sigh.
“This map Sheriff,” Replied the young Deputy, “It’s wrong.”
“What?” Demanded the Sheriff, he moved to stand next to his Deputy.
“Look,” Said Enos pointing, “This area hasn’t been cleared.”
Coltrane looked where Enos was pointing; the map clearly showed an area of cleared trees where none should be. Rosco joined the group by the map.
“What do you think?” Asked Rosco, “Illegal lumber clearance?”
“No,” Said Mat, “Someone would have noticed them trucking the logs outer here.”
“Then why clear an area of forest like that?” Asked Rosco.
“What say we go up there an take a look?” Said Coltrane, “So far it’s the only lead we’ve got.”
Just then the Sheriff’s radio crackled into life, he listened intently to the message.
“Did you get that? It seems there’s a ‘battle’ going on down by one of the visitors cabins on the lakeshore.”
“Sounds like Wilma over reacting again,” Said Rosco, “Remember that Indian uprising she called in last month?”
The three men chuckled.
“We better check it out.” Ordered Mat.
The lawmen headed out the door to find that night had fallen while they had worked.
“Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?” Asked Sheriff Coltrane as he headed for his jeep.
Sam and Jack ran out onto the deck to find a full scale medieval battle in progress. The five Slayers had formed a rough line between the cabin and the jetty. The Water Demons clambered out of the lake and onto the jetty before rushing towards the waiting Slayers in a slimy green grey wall of teeth, claws and spears. Jack signalled Sam to take position on the right flank of the Slayer line while he took up position on the left.
A new wave of demons hit the Slayer line and the bloody execution began once more.
Jack stood and watched the Slayers work, each girl appeared to have their own style of fighting. Tina looked as if she was dancing through the grey-green horde. Her sword flashed through the air lopping off arms, legs and heads in a ballet of destruction. The thin dark haired girl next to her fought like a street fighter, slashing with her short sword and kicking with her legs to bring down the demons so she could dispatch them more easily.
Shannon the girl with the two short swords fought next to the girl armed with a Tomahawk and Bowie knife. They whirled and lept sending pieces of dismembered Water Demon flying through the air leaving trails of blood that sparkled in the moonlight like gristly comets.
The last girl in the line, the short red head fought as if rooted to the spot. She never went forward and she never stepped back. Everything that came within the arc of her axe died either cut in two or beheaded. What frightened Jack the most was the way this cute little girl killed with a big smile on her bloodied face.
Jack’s attention was jerked back to his own area of responsibility when a couple of Demons jumped out of the water and started to work their way round the end of the Slayer’s line. He dispatched them with a couple of well aimed blasts from his shotgun. Over from the other end of the line he could hear Sam firing steadily into the Demon host. He jacked another round into the breach of his weapon and blew away another aquatic monster.
The two Sheriff’s Jeeps skidded into Hemlock Way with Sheriff Coltrane in the lead. Down on the water front he could see muzzle flashes flicker through the tree’s. Maybe Wilma wasn’t over reacting after all he slid his jeep to a halt. Rosco and Enos came to a stop behind him. As the Peace officers jumped from their vehicles the sounds of pistol shots and shotgun blasts came to their ears. There was something else too, something that Mat could not quite put his finger on at first. All of a sudden it came to him, it sounded like several people down there were chopping up meat!
Mat grabbed his Riot gun from his jeep and stuffed spare shells into his pockets, Rosco and Enos did like wise. The Sheriff turned to his deputies.
“Follow me.” He ordered quietly.
Jack blasted another Demon in the chest and watched it tumble back into the water. For a moment he could see no new targets so he took the opportunity to reload his weapon. Was it his imagination or were the Water Demons beginning to thin out? He looked over to where the Slayers still stood in line. In front of them were literally piles of dismembered Water Demon corpses, but very few living monsters.
The last standing Demons scurried back towards the lake; one or two of them threw spears in the direction of the Slayers. With a splash the remaining Demons dived into the water and disappeared beneath the surface. The Slayers relaxed and stood up straight wiping blood from their weapons. Jack lowered his shotgun and walked over towards Sam and the Slayers.
“Everybody okay?” He asked.
There was a chorus of ‘Yeah’s’ and ‘Fine’ from the girls, Jack noticed that they were hardly breathing heavily. In fact by the sound of things the girls seemed more concerned about the state of their clothes than having just fought a life or death battle with a bunch of underwater fish-men!
Willow and Kennedy appeared from out of the house.
“Anybody wounded?” Willow called as Kennedy went over and hugged each of her Slayers in turn giving each a word of praise or encouragement.
Jack looked round to find Sam standing beside him.
“You okay?” She asked.
“Yeah, a little deaf maybe.” He smiled as he tried to stop the ringing in his ears.
“You mean a little more deaf!” She joked as she turned and hugged Jack, he hugged her back.
“OKAY!” Cried a voice from the edge of the decking, “What hells been going on here?”
Jack let go of Sam and turned around to see the local Sheriff and two of his Deputies pointing shot guns at them.
“Oh f’Christs sake!” Muttered Jack.
For a moment the atmosphere was tense as the Slayers took up protective positions around Willow and Kennedy. It scared Jack that they seemed quite willing to go up against guys with guns when armed with swords and axes. Jack calculated that if he did not do something soon there would be a bloodbath…’another’ bloodbath he corrected himself.
Jack carefully placed his shotgun on the floor and stepped towards the Sheriff and his party, his hands held at his sides in full view. The Sheriff shifted his aim towards Jack’s middle.
“Hold it right there.” Ordered the Sheriff.
“Everything’s is under control Sheriff,” Called Jack calmly, “There’s no need to get trigger happy.”
“Trigger happy?” Asked the Sheriff as he pointed with his riot gun at the piles of dead Water Demons.
“Yeah well,” Jack hesitated; he could feel the Slayers behind him ready to leap into action like coiled springs. “I’m Major General Jack O’Neill, Home Wor…Land Security. I’m afraid you’ve stumbled on a security operation that got a little,” He glanced at the piles of bodies, “Out of hand!”
“OUT OF HAND!” Exclaimed Mat as he let his Riot gun drop a little; who was this bozo trying to kid? “Let’s see some ID, then I might not throw you in jail.”
“I’d like to see you try!” Called one of the blood drenched teenage girls from behind the General.
The tall grey haired guy tossed his wallet over to Mat as a red haired woman ‘sssh’ed’ the teenager into silence.
Mat caught the wallet and started to go through it. There was NSC and Air Force ID’s, and a matching driver’s licence.
“Okay General you seem to be who you say you are. Now what the hell is…!”
There was a flash and Mat, Rosco and Enos fell asleep where they stood.
Everyone turned to look at Willow.
“Well,” She said apologetically, “It was taking so long to explain everything,” Her lips went into a thin line, “And there’s a time factor here!”
While a couple of Slayers dragged the policemen into the cabin and arranged them tastefully on the family room furniture were they would not get in the way. The other girls pushed the Water Demon corpses into the lake. Jack went off to hide the police jeeps under the trees where they would not be so obvious.
Willow, Sam and Kennedy stood in the family room to review the situation.
“We still need to find out where they’re going to hold this ritual.” Said Sam still feeling uncomfortable with words like ‘Ritual’.
Magic she could live with, for now. After all, some of what the Asgard did seemed like magic, it was only a matter of time before she understood it all.
“I’m going to contact Buffy,” Said Willow, “See if she’s having any luck getting reinforcements to us.”
The girls came in from outside having finished policing up the dead.
“You better get showered and changed guys.” Ordered Kennedy, “Put on hiking clothes and check your weapons, the night’s not over.”
Willow looked up from her computer where she had been talking to Buffy using her Instant Messenger program.
“Buffy still can’t get through,” She announced, “Dawn thinks that if I were to try from this end, between us we might be able to break through.”
“We still don’t know where this ritual is being held.” Sam pointed out again.
“I might be able to help with that.” Called Jack from the doorway, he held a rolled up map in his hand, “Found this in the Sheriff’s jeep.”