The Skamanian Snitch
Buffy’s second outing as a Secret Agent Slayer takes an unexpected out-of-body turn when a team of mechanical heroes save her life. With a group of demon smugglers to stop, it looks like the Slayer will have to go after them in disguise. Scooby Gang … roll out!
- Slayer in Disguise -
The Skamanian Snitch
Xander Harris left his room at the Castle Rock motel and closed the door. It had been a searing hot August day in Skamania County and now the night was warm with a welcome draft. He sidled along the paint-peeled boards of the porch and approached the blonde girl at the snack machine.
“Need some company tonight?” Xander asked as he leant on the vendor.
The girl picked out a pack of potato chips and a Hershey bar. “It could be dangerous,” Buffy Summers replied. “Might even be a double-cross. That’s why Giles is doing his thing.”
“Yeah, Willow’s sitting for Dawn and Giles is doing his thing. Just figured you could use a second man at the meet to watch your back. Ya know; better odds of spotting something suspicious.”
“You could be right. Want a tasty treat?”
“Nah. I got noodle repeatage. And what they keep saying ain’t good.”
She smiled and took her change from the machine.
Xander looked out across the silent parking lot into the pitch black of the night. 30 metres away the road went off in either direction from the motel. The road was unlit save for the faint glow from the neon blue of the Castle Rock motel sign. To the left it headed to Olympia and Seattle and to the right it ran off towards Vancouver. Beyond it the sparse open fields lay in total darkness.
He looked back at his team mate. “So what’s the secret plan, secret agent?”
“We meet the inside-man… inside-demon… at the mine at midnight.”
“Okay, so the mine’s at Ryderwood which is about thirty minutes away. We should probably head out at eleven twenty.”
“Sounds perfectly planlike. Meet at the car at eleven fifteen. It might be safer if you drive anyway.”
“Alrighty. Eleven fifteen. I guess I’ll go see if Giles’ finished his routine.”
That meant Giles was either cutting his toenails, clipping his nasal hair or picking the wax from his ears. All the things Xander hated. Buffy guessed he’d come out into the night as an escape. She gave a knowing half-smile and Xander went back across the boards to room 3 and disappeared inside.
Buffy stopped to look out at the road that ran to the left. In just a couple of hours they’d be driving out on that highway on their fairly routine and not too exciting mission. But, for her, there was a sense that things might not work out so easily. She didn’t trust snitches. Especially demon ones. She put it out of her mind and returned to room 21.
When Buffy came in and threw Dawn a snack, her young face lit up. “Mr. Goodbar? Mmm, salty sweetness.”
“That’s all until breakfast or it’ll curdle in the night,” Buffy said in her best mom-voice.
There were 3 beds in the room and Dawn had the middle one; sprawled out like a lazy leopard watching CSI on CBS. “Actually there’s nothing wrong with eating late. And it won’t make me gain weight. That’s a myth. I know ‘cos Jessica’s mom said so.”
“Jessica’s mom flunked an interview at the Doublemeat Palace. You could write everything she knows on the back of a stamp.” Buffy passed the chips to Willow who was working on her laptop and went to sit on the bed nearest the door. She planned to drink coffee and relax completely until it was time to get the motor running and head out on the highway.
Dawn had other plans. “Wanna play thumb-wars?” she said through a mouthful of chocolate and nuts, offering Buffy her wiggling fifth digit.
“Not just now.”
“Uno? I brought the cards.”
“No, Dawn. I have to prepare,” she replied, just laying there. She couldn’t even work up the motivation to get that coffee.
Dawn gave a sigh. Her sister was still in boring Secret Agent Slayer mode. “C’mon, Buffy, I’m bored. It’s been a week and we haven’t done anything fun yet.”
“What about today? You went shopping with Willow, right?”
“It was fun, right?”
“Yeah. But I thought we’d do stuff together. Sister stuff.”
Buffy pushed herself up and swung her legs off the bed to sit. “And we will. Totally. I promise. Right after we find out where the bad guys are based and what route they’re taking to Mexico we can make a call and this whole mission is out of our hands.”
“Then we do the road trip thing?”
“Absolutely. It’ll be like Thelma and Louise with five of us.”
“And with a happy chocolate ice-cream ending.” Dawn smiled with the anticipation.
Buffy crossed to the coffee machine, made her drink with lots of sugar, and went to play thumb-wars with her little sis.* * *
At 11:15 Buffy went out and met Giles and Xander at their rented Ford Windstar. It was a Sport minivan in crimson with blacked-out rear windows. Buffy dressed light with a thin jacket and Xander had his blue shirt and a sweater over his arm. Giles wore a black leotard. To be more accurate, it was a thin breathable body suit with removable hood. The hood hung down from the back of his neck and a sporran at his waist held his limited kit.
“Ready?” Buffy asked as she opened the passenger door. The men gave her the nod and she climbed in. “Let’s roll out.”
Xander took the pilot seat. “‘Kay. But I should warn ya… I think I have gas.”
“Perhaps you’ll be all right alone,” said Giles as he got in the back.
Buffy turned in her seat. “Oh, no. I’m not braving it alone with Xander’s stinky noodles. You can open a window.”
Giles did. They moved off and turned out of the motel lot onto the road and headed out on Interstate 5 – Pacific Highway North. It was a dark drive and the headlights showed the empty road with tufts of grass at the roadside and the swarms of tiny bugs that hung thick in the warm night air. Giles rolled his window up to keep them out and thought about their destination.
They’d received the new mission two weeks after arriving back from Japan. A big-time gangster of the demon variety was breeding ancient Komodo Demons. They bred them somewhere in Washington and planned to ship the millions of embryos – likely by road convoy – to Mexico where they would be raised and trained as an army that will one day be used to overthrow the government. If they succeeded, the States would one day become Demon Island. They’d flown in to Portland International and Giles had picked up the car. After a couple of days nosing around they’d drawn attention to themselves. Buffy cursed herself for being so sloppy but it was hard being a Slayer and a spy. It was practically a contradiction. A small team of demon assassins was sent after them at the Sheraton hotel in Vancouver. After a nasty fight the assassins were mostly assassinated. But one of them had squealed and promised to get them the location of the convoy meeting and the route to Mexico. If things went well tonight, they would be heading out on the open road first thing in the morning and the convoy would drive right into a Council-laid government trap at the border. They just needed things to go well tonight.
The Old Pacific Highway became the Jackson Highway and the distant lights of the nearest towns could be seen across the now moonlit open landscape. Buffy looked at the map on her knee and gave their position to Xander. He slowed the Windstar down and pulled over at the roadside. Giles was dropped off and they took off again up the Interstate.
Rupert watched them go and then left the road to walk across the countryside. He would cut across the last horseshoe of the drive with a mile trek through the open land and creeks to come up on the far side of the meeting point. It was his job, especially if this rendezvous was a set-up, to look out for enemy spies who may be watching Buffy and to try and tag their wheels with a homer. The moon shone brightly on the land he was crossing and Giles broke into a jog.
Xander motored along the roadway at a steady pace. Buffy sat beside him watching his familiar face and trying to imagine him as a married man. Xander the husband. He noticed her and she said, “Xander… I just want you to know…I’m really happy for you and Anya.”
“I know. Thanks, Buff.”
“Did you guys set a date yet?”
“Maybe next summer. We’re thinking Hawaii. Did you know Hawaii’s actually an American state?!”
“Um…I think I heard the rumour.” Wow
, she thought, Hawaii
. “It sounds beautiful, romantic and perfect. Anya’s a lucky ex-demon.”
“I’m the lucky one. I still don’t know what she sees in me.”
“She sees Xander.”
His lips curled up in a modest smile. “You’re gonna be a bridesmaid, right?”
“Hello! I better be!”
He gave her a grin. “Hey, I was thinking, Dawn doesn’t get out of Sunnydale much and seeing as we’re taking a groovy Scooby road trip back home, maybe we should stop off at Frisco on the way. Catch the Golden Gate Bridge; do the tourist thing.”
“You sound way too excited. Sure this is for Dawn?”
don’t get out of Sunnydale much. We
don’t get out of Sunnydale much. And the last time I tried a cross-country tour… Well, this time it’ll be better.”
“I think it sounds great. We could go to a disco. A Frisco disco.”
“Aah, yes, but choose the disco wisely, Miss Summers. I’m not doing the homo-erotic dance with a big bear on this
road trip.” He suddenly tensed. He’d said too much and Buffy eyed him strangely. “Look,” he pointed out the window, “there really is tumbleweed…”
She let it pass without a word. Xander’s maiden road trip was probably better left a mystery.
Soon they could see the glow of the Cowlitz Loop up ahead and Xander checked for the road signs to Ryderwood. They’d reconnoitred this route before but not at night.
From the left lane a set of glowing headlights appeared from the Loop and came at them fast. In a second there came a great rumble as a massive Peterbilt 18-wheeler shot by in a blur of blue and red. Xander saw the distinct flame pattern pass his window then the grey box trailer it dragged behind. In a flash it was behind them and a Chevrolet Camaro followed it in a streak of yellow.
“That’s the fourth time I’ve seen that big-rig in a week,” said Xander. “Trucks are supposed to travel around not go up and down the same road. There was a yellow VW Beetle tailing it the other times though. I remember ‘cos it was mega-conspicuous. This time it looked like a canary Camaro.”
Buffy looked out through the rear window but only saw the red tail lights as they turned off the highway. “Maybe it’s part of the demon convoy. They must be close by.”
“They were heading back up the road there.”
Buffy checked the road map. “This is the Castle Rock Truck Trail. They’re turning up the 505 towards St. Helens.”
Xander dwelled on the Peterbilt for a moment. “Imagine how many evil embryos you could fit in a trailer like that.”
“We’ll see what the snitch has to say and if it matches our hunch at least we know two of the transports to look out for.”
Xander took them into the Cowlitz Loop and made a sharp left onto the 506. They passed over the narrow Lacamas Creek and through Vader before their final leg through Ryderwood and up into the mining hills beyond.
They followed a steep track into the hills and Xander parked on the first level ground they came to. They’d already planned the spot as the re-group location with Giles as they couldn’t take the car any further. Xander stepped out and felt the air. He decided he didn’t need the sweater and went to the trunk for the torch.
Buffy climbed out thankfully and shut the door. “You really weren’t kidding about having gas, were you?”
“Yeah, sorry. It must be the spicy noodles.” He shone the torch around.
“No more Chinese food for you on this trip. That looks like the trail up there.” She pointed to the narrow beaten path leading through mossy grass and brambles and up to the top of the mound. Buffy checked for the knife in the back of her pants and they moved off with Xander lighting the way. At the crest they came to the highest flat where a rusted mine cart still stood on a section of rail track that once ran off down into the valley. Just beyond it was the last peak of the dirt hill where the opening to the mine lay in a frame of old thick timber. Where the soil of the hill ended and the mineshaft vanished began the hard rock of the small mount that had been plundered years before.
They couldn’t see in the dark but they knew that, around them, other small hills of soil and dirty rock lay in the valley. Right then Giles was hopefully scaling one and watching their backs.
Xander scanned their surroundings with his torch. “Okay, so where’s the snitch?”
They turned to the mineshaft.
“In here.” It was the distinct voice of their demon snitch
They looked to each other in a shared gesture of ‘let’s do this’ and walked into the tunnel.
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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