The Secret Agent
Buffy is sent to destroy the Vampire SMERSH in Japan on her maiden mission and an assassination attempt against her introduces her to a half-breed vigilante known as the Daywalker.
- On The Council’s Secret Service -
The Secret Agent
The cruel wind rattling through metal girders at one hundred and seventy metres was a fearful thing in the dark of three in the morning. Under the deep shadow of a moonless sky the creeping sounds of city traffic filled the night air; distant voices of a sleepless world.
A figure black as the night and moving with the stealth of a prowling cat swept around the floating garden of Umeda’s Sky Building on silently agile feet. Crossing swiftly to the south-side of the forty-storey landmark, the trespasser cleared the pedestrian guard rail, transversing the maintenance deck and glass barrier, and stopped at the very edge of the rooftop; perched atop the parapet.
The black panther stalked its prey in the long grass of the apartments and scrapers of Osaka City. Twenty-nine metres away & ten storeys below, the tallest blade of grass of this concrete jungle hid the prey within its steel and glass surface. It was the headquarters of Shadō
At forty-storeys the night was cold and violent with high winds, yet the lower starlight bulbs of the grand city with its vibrant neons and alien Japanese symbols leant an exotic air to the atmosphere. Buffy Summers rested on the low wall and waited for the signal. The tight thermal body suit that covered her gave some protection from the chill but did nothing for her nerves. Her gloved fingers dug into the brick as the windy currents tried to drag her from the rooftop. At her toes, a sheer and stark drop of five hundred and sixty-six feet.
Buffy was afraid. She was about to face her inaugural mission – the first of its kind in her new occupation. And, to cap it off, she had developed an unsurprising aversion to extreme heights. It was her first mission, but her second leap. And the last one killed her. She curled a lip up under her balaclava hood and recalled her training, analysing her surroundings and target.
Her perch was the famous Sky Building of Umeda in the Japanese city of Osaka. Thirty-eight floors of twin towers joined only at the uppermost two floors by the Floating Observatory with an atrium space at the centre of the bridge between towers. This was a marvel of design and engineering. Even to access the rooftop required an exposed glass elevator ride followed by an awe-inspiring glass escalator trip to the thirty-ninth floor. That was how she’d arrived here and waited until three a.m. for a good southerly wind. It was a shame she wasn’t staying.
Forty-four metres below her stood her target: the pencil thin tower of the thirty-story Shadō HQ. This building, although not famous, was also a work of genius. Much to Buffy’s annoyance. Even if the intruder-warning spell was not in place, there was no way to access the scraper from the ground as the lobby was a façade. The elevator there went nowhere unless you were a vampire in possession of a special code. Because the Shadō utilise a system of transport known as ‘kiryōshiron
’ it meant that, other than the lobby, only five floors at the centre of the tower were in use and every other floor was a concrete and metal illusion. They had no interior, no access from the ground, and none from the roof.
The kiryōshiron teleporter was a fascinating device; a mystical kind of transporter developed by a vampire scientist and warlock named Dönhoff Brotze. With two gates, one could travel to anywhere in the world. The Council’s Special Ops ‘Kill squad’ had managed to assassinate Brotze before he could produce more than the existing two gates. He had been a top Shadō operative. She considered what she knew about Shadō.
The word was an abbreviation of ‘Shobun no shadō
’ meaning something like ‘The roadway to punishment’ and their motto was ‘Death to Watchers’. Shadō were an influential group of high-ranking vampires – the vampire elite – based in Japan but with operatives throughout the globe, plotting to locate and destroy the headquarters of the Watchers’ Council.
It was the Council’s intention to get to Shadō first.
Now Buffy had to get to the centre of that building where only one method of entry was possible and it was only good if you were a vampire and knew the code. They knew one gate was in the lobby elevator and the second gate was somewhere between the tenth and fifteenth floors. Considering it was unknown whether the code was a word, spoken or entered on a pad, a number, something genetic, or… whatever… Buffy would be using an entrance all of her own.
The fifteenth floor windows stood sixty-seven metres below the rooftop. It would require a cable of exactly that length. Something she happened to have with her. With the packs on her back and the numerous utility belts and pouches, she was stocked better than a small army. She felt like the Swiss Army Slayer.
The backpack bore a double shoot section and a separate section for the all-important crane rig. The tactical waistcoat held two dozen Daylight mines and from her belt hung a stake pouch. Really she had just the basics for the mission – all these things, plus a short-range infrared digital mapper, locator beacon, sonic boots and night goggles. And then a few spooky witch-gadgets to boot.
Buffy glanced down to the far street and shivered, wondering if there truly was no other way to do this. Though she’d already been through it more than once. Dropping from a helicopter was no good. Nothing screams ‘look at us!’ like a chopper in the sky. This wasn’t M:I-2 or Matrix. The lobby, on the other hand, was heavily guarded by all accounts. Not only that but with four known security checks before the elevator-gate could be reached. This way was the way. And she wasn’t doing it without help.
In her ear she began to get the signals that meant her team was in place. She acknowledged and set her green eyes on the Shadō rooftop. The wind was a little south-easterly so she’d have to take it into account. But it was behind her so would likely carry her the distance if her Slayer strength wouldn’t. She tightened the straps of her pack and took a moment to check out the panorama. The sky was black but the city shone with an urban glow so far below her it looked like a miniature set. It took her breath away. And so would that rooftop if she landed badly. Her teeth threatened to chatter as her heart upped its pace. She used the slamming pulse as fuel and coiled.
Her ear buzzed. Team ready! Go, go, go!
She leapt out into the sky – the black panther jumping from her treetop – and fell.
In the flash of a second the north-east corner of Shadō HQ raced up to meet her and she tore away the rip-cord in her left fist. Suddenly she was yanked back as a small brake-chute deployed behind her. She rose up away from the building further than expected and quickly ripped a cord in her right fist. Again gravity took her and the chute fell away into the night. She dropped to the side of the building and missed the roof.
Buffy caught the metal railing with both hands and the bolts wrenched loose. She squeaked and jumped at once to a fixed section and scaled it. Her feet met the gravel rooftop and Buffy whipped off her backpack.
She discarded the used chute section and unzipped the crane rig and cable from the remaining pack. The leap had sent her nerves into shock but busying herself worked well to distract her mind from it.
She secured the pack to her back and moved with the crane rig to the centre of the north-facing side of the building. There she knelt and positioned the small motor of the rig as close to the edge as she dared. Bolts fired from the unit and secured it through the gravel to the concrete roof. A minute later and the cable was wound and braced on the crane arm a metre from the building wall. She was ready.
Buffy waited. She looked down and spotted the Yodogawa River beyond the Sky Building to the north. Looking up to the high deck of that structure Buffy couldn’t believe she’d made the jump. The brake-chute was still in sight as it spiralled over the streets; caught on the winds. She noted that the wind turned northerly down by the river. That was a good thing. The chute would probably find its way onto someone’s roof or balcony over the river, she considered. Maybe a couple of kilometres or so away.
She looked down the side of the building and everything seemed calm beneath her. No screams of warning sirens sounded which meant that Willow’s gem – the one sewn into her suit – masked her from the intruder-detection spell. She saw clear down to the sidewalk one hundred and thirty metres below and was glad of the cable this time. She knew it would hold her yet she didn’t like trusting her fate to it.
The roar of a motorcycle drew her attention to the street. It growled as it came in from Oyodonaka and rolled up to the sidewalk across the street out of view of the entrance to Shadō HQ. The engine cut out with a rumble and a dark figure dismounted to the asphalt. She observed the rider carefully as he removed first his helmet to reveal a head of brown hair, then the overalls he wore to reveal a cream pinstriped suit. The discarded gear was swapped for a briefcase under the seat of the bike and the figure adjusted his tie before taking the case and heading for the lobby of the building beneath her. A moment later the figure disappeared inside. It was time to roll.
Buffy coupled her belt to the end of the high-tension cable and clambered over the rail. She checked the rig again and jumped. She descended on the cable to the fifteenth floor and came to an automatic stop three feet from the window of an empty room. Sixty-seven metre cable. Perfect.* * *
The head of building security for Shadō HQ lifted his eyes when the vampire in the cream pinstriped suit walked in from the street. He watched suspiciously as the dark-haired westerner crossed to meet him at the reception desk. The slim pale man, young in appearance, smiled through his designer beard.
“Here for the meeting,” said the visitor in native English.
“Sō desu ka?’ the guard asked cautiously. It wasn’t unusual for meetings at three a.m. at Shadō but the guard took the visitor’s pass and said; “You are late, Mr. Byrne.”
“Traffic,” he replied elusively. The card was returned to him having been accepted by the scanner and the security guard signalled to the x-ray and arch.
Spike carried his case to the x-ray machine and rolled it through. He watched the security team there as they analysed the monitor for any hidden weapons or suspect items. Even when he handed over the fake ID card he’d had no idea whether it would work or not. But he kept his cool regardless because, fifteen storeys up, Buffy hung from a wire waiting for him to infiltrate the building.
When the case came out without a problem he was beckoned forward. He held his breath figuratively as he passed under the arch. An alarm sounded briefly and he was halted by the barrel of a pistol. As he was frisked and checked by a hand scanner, a female guard examined the results from the arch. “Roku-ju hachi. Dai joubu.”
Spike made out she’d said; ‘Sixty-eight’ – his body temp – and; ‘He’s clean’ or something like. His Japanese didn’t rate too highly.
The hand scanner sounded when it passed over the pen tucked into his shirt pocket and the guard gave him the all-clear. Spike retrieved the briefcase and gave an appreciative nod of the head. He’d been ID’d, temperature scanned, scanned and frisked for weapons, and now faced a clear walk from security to the single bronze elevator at the end of the foyer. He walked there and didn’t look back until the doors rolled shut.
Spike dropped the case and took the pen from his pocket. The control panel of the lift had only one button. If he pressed it he’d be on the fifteenth floor before he had time to say ‘bloody hell’. He quickly unscrewed the pen and removed the nib and ink cartridge, screwing the shell of the ballpoint back together and pocketing it. He glanced around the elaborately decorated box for a nook that would accept the cartridge. He found a gap between mirrored panels that would hold it securely.
Moments later, he stepped out from the elevator and back into the foyer; raising a few eyebrows. He handed them his briefcase. “I realised my report sheets are back in the car,” he explained. “Can I leave this until I get back?”
He was allowed to go and, almost as an after-thought, he removed the pen carcass while stepping back through the arch in silence. He walked from Shadō HQ and out across the asphalt. Resisting the urge to look up, he continued to his bike. Spike threw his leg over the red Honda and sparked her up. The engine roared to life and rumbled beneath him. He loved it. Without the helmet, he set the cycle into gear and thundered his way down Oyodonaka.* * *
Buffy watched Spike go then faced the glass window ahead of her. Somewhere between her and the glass was a mystical barrier – yet another security measure. The same gem that masked her from the intruder detector should allow her to pass through unnoticed. But then there was the toughened glass. Buffy clapped her heels together and activated the sonic boots, feeling them begin to vibrate under her feet. It tickled and she stifled the giggles. There wasn’t much time and she gently rocked herself on the cable.* * *
When Byrne didn’t return, the lobby guard felt a pang of suspicion and opened the vampire’s briefcase carefully. Almost expecting to find a weapon inside, he was surprised to see it was empty. Pushing the case aside, he moved swiftly to the transporter and searched inside the box. The empty case made no sense if Byrne was legitimate but the guard was about to give up his hunch when, at the last glance around, he saw the ink cartridge of Byrne’s pen wedged between two mirrored panels. He reached for his radio handset–* * *
Buffy saw the flash below then heard the small explosion. That was the gate exterminated and, along with it, any chance of the Shadō leaders escaping. The middle five floors were now isolated completely from the world. Buffy threw her legs back and swung them into the glass. Her boots shattered the window and she landed in a crouch inside the vacant room.
She paused a second while the blast of conditioned air wrestled against natures wind. She was in a regular-looking office room with a whiteboard and a desk. She deactivated the boots then unzipped a pocket in her jacket and removed a thin metal tin. From it she poured the foul-smelling leafy contents to the blue carpet floor.
She put a finger to the tiny transmitter-receiver in her ear. “I’m in.” Over the secure channel she heard Willow’s distant voice utter two clear words. Buffy acknowledged and took out a pendant, placing it in the magic leaves. “Solutum animam.” The pendant popped in a spark. The lights cut out and every electrical device in Shadō HQ went dead. Everything but the gear on Buffy. The wiccan EMP had worked.
Buffy set the night goggles on her head and watched the black room turn green. She held up a hand to see the goggles register a body temp in the nineties. Tapping a button on her belt activated the digital mapper. Anything moving on the fifteenth floor should now be picked up by the short-range sensor. She waited until Giles’ voice broke the silence. Somewhere below in the streets of Osaka was an unmarked rental van full of high-tech gear where three special agents would be sat following her every move to offer guidance. Giles, Willow and Xander. Her team. According to Giles this entire floor was clear. No vamps. But she had to be thorough. Not one of them could survive. That was imperative.
She fixed a Daylight mine under the desk and closed the door behind her. In the hall there was the second gate and a stairwell beside an elevator and two opposite sets of doors. She looked through the glass doors at one side and smiled under her hood. The room was huge and took up most of half the scraper with windows on three sides. It was the same the other side just as the plans had indicated: two large rooms and one office.
Buffy put mines over the doorways of both rooms and, forcing the doors open, put one in the corner of the elevator – just in case it was reactivated or used as a hiding place. The Daylight mines were small and at first glance might be mistaken for some kind of smoke detectors.
She took the stairwell down a level, mined it, and stopped at the fourteenth floor door. Giles came back to her. All clear. She moved out and set her mines. At the thirteenth floor she received a warning and left the stairwell carefully. Approaching one of the doors she saw a guard patrolling warily. His temp was in the sixties – vampire – and in one hand he held a walkie-talkie – ready to report the first sign of whatever trouble had arrived.
He walked back toward the doors and she slipped back into the stairwell with the tip of one foot wedged in the opening to bar the door. She unholstered Mr. Pointy as the guard came through into the hall and stepped quickly toward the opposite room. Buffy darted out and staked the vamp before he could react. He dusted and Buffy caught the radio in her hand.
She paused over the dry ash and mused over the lack of her usual kickboxing pun-and-dust approach. A quick, stealthy slay. Now she felt like a secret agent. She eyed the radio and considered her options. She could take it with her and listen in or she could leave it. If it was on her when someone called through it would betray her position. Then she remembered the vamps were Japanese and she slapped herself. She hid it out of sight and went back to work.
The twelfth floor was another clear floor and she moved on to eleven. There she was forced to plant her mines while avoiding two vamps. If she dusted one she’d have to dust both or it would turn the confusion into an intruder-hunt.
She snuck across the hall and into the office first and mined it. Then she waited at the door and sweated it out, literally, while considering how she would tackle the situation. She was burning up in the tight black body suit and all she could think of was getting out of it and into a cool shower. Her hairs pricked up when she heard alien voices coming through the vamps’ radios. She held the stake ready at the door. Listening carefully, she heard the door to the stairwell creak open and close again with a click.
Giles spoke in her ear. They were off her radar and she moved quickly out to mine the rooms. She was thankful for that spot of luck but now she wondered if the two vamps had gone down or up. If it was up, how long before they realised their pal upstairs was soot? She tried not to think about it as she crept down, mining the stairs as she went, and halted at the door to the tenth floor. Then Giles told her what she already knew but didn’t want to hear. They were all on the tenth. Fifty-two of them. According to Giles they were confined to one room on the east side. Probably the emergency huddle, Buffy thought.
She cautiously pulled the door back, checked both ways, and slid across and into the office. Empty. Good. She put a device under the desk again and caught her breath. Now she was in trouble. Fifty-two vamps waited for her in one room. And she’d noticed one of the doors to it was fixed open. There was no point wasting time grumbling about it, she thought. Then she realised it wasn’t her thought at all – Giles was in her ear telling her he knew what she was thinking and there was no point grumbling about it. She wanted to make a snide reply but tried to remember she was a special secret agent now and not a gung-ho Slayer.
With as much speed and delicacy as she could muster she crossed into the west room and stopped. It wasn’t empty. The guard spun, saw the dark shape, and lifted the radio. Buffy threw Mr. Pointy across the room and stopped breathing. The stake cut into the vamp’s shirt and he let the walkie-talkie fall away. He dropped to his knees and quietly fell apart. Buffy sighed with relief and recovered her beloved stake. She holstered it. It wouldn’t help her now. Not if she was spotted by fifty of them.
Crouching at the east doorway, she glanced in to see the large group talking and trying to use their cellphones. This room was different, she noticed. The windows were blacked out and it wasn’t like an office room. There was equipment and maps and plans. One, she saw through her goggles, was a map of London. The Dome on the Thames was unmistakable. Had they already discovered the location of the Watchers’ Council? She saw all the pins that were stuck in the map and doubted it. They were still trying to narrow it down. This room, it seemed, was where all the real Shadō plotting went down.
She pulled out the last mine she would need and looked it over. There was no way in hell she could plant it without it being seen. She wished she could somehow just activate it. But the Daylight mines were linked. Even one could blind Buffy through her closed eyelids. No. There was only one way to get this over with: sleight-of-hand with a diversion. It would have to be quick and messy.
Buffy slid the mine deep into the room and burst in loudly. All eyes turned to the dark masked figure in the doorway and she made a show of being surprised. No one saw the mine disappear under a table. She was done.
Buffy spun on her heels and bolted up the stairs. One floor, two floors. She wondered if the two vamps from earlier were above her. If so they would have been warned. They would come for her.
She reached the fifteenth floor and broke into the hallway with the stealth of a rampaging buffalo and met with the fierce and of an elbow. She fell back into the stairwell with a smack and landed face-up. One of the guards was over her with the radio at his lips. His face was in monster-mode and he flashed his fangs at her.
She kicked out, knocking him into the hall, and flipped onto her feet. She bolted across the hall – spotting the other guard out the corner of her eye. She didn’t stop. Buffy slammed through the door to the office and ran at the smashed window, crushing the stinky leaves under her foot.
With her belt clip in her right hand she jumped from the building and caught the cable with the other.
Buffy swung out dangerously and raised herself up to clip the cable on. From inside, she heard the vampires scrambling up the stairs on her tail.
She set the winch running and felt a rush of cool air and relief as it swept her up the side of the skyscraper and stopped her on the roof. She clambered over the rail, unhooked herself and set the crane rig to self-destruct.
Without a moment’s haste, she jogged across to the south rail and spun to face the north side of the building. Beyond the roof of Shadō HQ she saw nothing but the black sky that appeared dark green in her night-vision, and the high elaborate towers of Umeda Sky Building. When was she up there? A thousand years ago, it seemed. Buffy checked her straps and got her hands into position. One, two, three, GO!
She ran across the rooftop at full tilt to the northwest corner and jumped from the building. Her body pounded against the wind as she dropped on her stomach and raced toward the hard asphalt. Buffy cracked open the main chute and was yanked back and up. She turned down into the winds that would draw her northward and she flew by the Sky building ten storeys up. She saw with her night goggles that the Yodogawa River was just ahead and she was aiming for the bank perfectly. She caught sight of the boat under the bridge there just as she came down with a hard landing into the long grass of the riverbank.
Spike jumped from the boat and helped her fold the chute up. They hurried through the thick grass and onto the small motor boat where Buffy climbed onto the back beside the Honda cycle as Spike brought the engine to life, swinging the boat out into the river.
“Hey,” he called to her, “Does this mean I can lose the beard now?”
Buffy tore the goggles off and pulled the hood away. The air on her skin felt divine. She smiled and gave him a nod. As the boat tore along the Yodogawa, Buffy took out a small device – like a cigarette lighter with a button – and pressed her thumb into it.
Far in the distance, the middle five floors of Shadō HQ exploded with light and two blocks of the City lit up like day for an instant. Then the night returned and became still.
Spike looked across at the girl as the boat cut through the choppy waters and she glanced back at him severely.
“Mission accomplished,” said Agent Buffy Summers.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is a Registered Trademark of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
*This is a non-profit unauthorised piece of tie-in fiction and was made for pleasure not for monetary gain.
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