Part 4 - New Beginnings - Sunnydale - February 1998
(Greetings from the Hellmouth)
From Steve St. Wolf's Journal:
February 2nd 1998:
It was a Tuesday, at 2:00 am on a chilly February night when I rode into Sunnydale. I had spent the last fifteen years wandering the world. Looking for myself, maybe. Trying to get over Kathy's death, definitely. I had been working as an antiques buyer and locator, a job I learned from Duncan and Tessa, but I was tired of constantly being on the move. I wanted to settle down, at least for a short while.
In my travels I had seen many strange and wonderful sights, and made the acquaintance of many other Immortals and other non-Immortal beings. Most had been good, caring people, but a few had tried to kill me. Even though I swore never to play the Game, I was forced into taking their heads.
I had run into Duncan, in Paris, and asked if he knew anyone who had a job opening back in the U.S. He introduced me to a Robert Lancaster, an antiques dealer in the small town of Sunnydale, California. We talked, and I gave him a description of the work I had been doing for the last five years and he hired me on the spot. The only catch was that I had to move to Sunnydale within the next two weeks..
No problem, I would like to live in a nice quiet small town, I told him.
As Steve rides into Sunnydale, he sees a gas station that is still open. He pulls in to get some gas and directions to a motel. As Steve gets off his bike, he sees the attendant coming towards him. A cheerful looking twenty year old kid. The name tag said "Matt".
"Hi, can I get a fill up of super, and directions to the nearest motel." Steve asks.
"Sure, no problem buddy." The attendant replies cheerfully.
As Steve turns around to pay him, the attendant asks, "Hey buddy, mind if I have you for dinner?"
< Dinner? What the hell was this guy talking about? > Steve turns around and looks at the attendant's face, it's no longer the cheerful twenty year old, but the face of a monster with fangs.
"Damn, another vampire." Steve mutters. < He hadn't seen another vampire since Prague, about seven years ago. >
It smiles and replies, "Yes, I'm a vampire and you are my dinner."
Smiling evilly it moves towards Steve, stalking him like Steve once saw an Alaskan timber wolf stalk a caribou, it's chosen prey. < Well this piece of meat has fangs too. > Steve doesn't have enough time to reach his sword, so, he pulls out his Glock and fires five rounds into the vampire's chest and knees.
"I will kill you slowly for that" The vampire vows, still smiling, walking towards Steve as if nothing had happened to it.
Thinking quickly, Steve sees a spray can of engine starter close by, he grabs for it and reaches it just as the vampire in on him. Steve turns around and sprays it into the vampire's face. It staggers backwards, wiping the fluid off its face. He's only gained a couple of seconds breathing room, but Steve sees that it's still not enough time to grab his sword or a piece of wood and stop it.
Steve reaches into his coat pocket and gets out his trusty Zippo lighter, and as the vampire is coming back at him, he lights the spray like a flame thrower. The vampire lets out an unholy scream and burns up, leaving nothing but ashes. As Steve's catching his breathe, wondering what the hell he had gotten myself into, he hears a low growl. He turns around again and there is another one, a female. Steve waits for it to come to him, and he sprays it with the engine starter flame thrower. It dies the same way the first one did.
Now Steve's in full alert mode. He gets his sword out and starts to look around, looking for more targets. Steve hears a noise from the office of the station. He checks it out cautiously, in case there are more vampires around. Instead he finds a guy without a shirt, tied up and gagged on the office floor. Steve reaches down, and pulls out his gag.
"Where are those things." He asks.
"Matt, I presume,"
"Yeah, that's me. Where are those things?"
"Well, they just disappeared." Steve tells him as he's untying him. "Look, Matt, I pulled in here to get some gas and directions to a motel, can you help me?"
"Yeah, go up the road about two miles, there's a motel there that will give you a room. The night manager is my cousin, he'll treat you right." Matt informs Steve.
As Steve leaves, he reaches into his pocket and tries to give Matt the ten dollar bill "Here, this is for the gas I filled up my tank with tonight."
"Nah, man, keep it, thanks for saving my ass."
"Not a problem, dude."
It takes Steve a couple of minutes to get to the motel. The manager, a stocky, dark haired, guy, in his late forties, is sitting behind the counter, giving me a look. He's probably wondering if Steve's going to rob or try to murder him.
"Hi, I'd like a room please. Matt from the gas station recommended this motel."
"My cousin Matt, told you to come here?" The manager replies.
"Yeah, he said you would treat me right."
"Hold on a second." The manager says. Steve hears the phone being used and the manager talking to someone quietly, probably Matt. He hangs up the phone, and comes back to the counter.
"Matt says you saved his life, that true?"
"Actually, I was saving my own ass, Matt's was just there as a bonus."
The night manager laughs. "Heh, heh, that's a good one. My name is George. Here's the key to room 17. Its on the ground floor. Take your bike inside with you, while you're sleeping, so nothing happens to it."
Steve reaches into his pocket pulling out a couple of twenties. George seeing this, waves his hand and says:
"Don't worry about paying for tonight, at least. You saved one of my family, I owe you."
"Look, George, I've always paid my own way. I've never lived off of anyone."
"That shows good character son. It's not a free ride. It's a gift and a thank you, from me and Matt."
"Sleep tight, and *DON'T* invite anyone inside, no matter how they look, until its daylight. You hear?" George tells me.
"Understood" Steve replies. < What have I gotten myself into now? >
As Steve enters the room, he sweeps it with gun drawn. Steve checks the entire room and bath room. He makes sure all of the windows are shut and locked, and that the closet doesn't hold any surprises. Hell, he even looks under the bed and checks the walls for any hidden passages/entrances.
Paranoia is a *VERY* good thing to have in this town. It will keep him alive.
Needless to say, Steve sleeps with one eye open, his gun cocked and ready and his sword drawn, lying in bed next to him. < If I move too much in my sleep, I'll either shoot myself in the head or cut off my privates. >
Its morning. Steve awakes instantly. He hears a key turning in the lock, he picks up his gun and sword, slips quietly out of bed and stands by the door, ready deal to death to whatever demon or monster is coming through the door for him. < Like I said, paranoia is a good thing. >
As the door opens, Steve sticks his gun to the head of whoever is coming through and says: "You better be the cleaning lady."
The girl, young, Hispanic, about twenty two, looks at the gun and says in a quivering voice: "I'm here to bring you extra towels Senor, and clean up the room."
Steve looks, and sees the only thing she has in her hands is a bunch of towels and a cleaning cart is outside the door.
"Sorry, Senorita, I'm just a little jumpy today. Are you all right? My apologies for the rude greeting."
She looks Steve in the eye and sees only caution and concern.
"No apologias Senor, many of my friends have disappeared in this cursed town. Your caution is well merited. I will give you, your towels now and come back in a hour to clean the room."
"My name is Constance, Senor."
"Gracias, Constance, most people just call me Wanderer."
"It's a name, Constance, like any other"
She smiles and leaves Steve to clean up the other rooms. He takes the chance to grab a quick shower, and change into some clean clothes. The rest he packs away into his saddle bags and puts the bag back on the bike. He then rolls his bike out the door, and heads to the office to settle up his bill with the day manager.
The day manager is a slightly older version of George, < Probably his brother > Steve sees as he walks into the office and drops his key onto the counter. The day manager turns around looks at Steve and the key.
"You the guy who saved Matt's life last night?"
"Yeah, that's me. What do I owe for the room?"
"Like George told you, its on the house. My name is Frank, thanks again for saving Matt."
As Steve turns to leave, Frank tells him: "Son, if you need to stay some place tonight, come back here, I'll save your room."
"Thanks Frank, I might just take you up on that offer. By the way, how do I get to Spring Street from here?" Frank gives Steve directions, and tells him it shouldn't take more than ten minutes to get there at this time of day. Steve thanks him for the directions and goes.
Part 5 - The Dillbert Experience
(Meeting the Boss's Sexy Wife)
As Steve's driving through town, he notice that this does look like a nice town, during the day. < I wonder if anybody notices the darkness at night. >
Steve makes it to Lancaster Antiques, in about thirty minutes. It's a large warehouse with a store front off to one side. He parks in front of the store. As he enters the shop, a bell rings. A woman's voice calls to him from the back of the shop.
"I'll be with you in a second, please wait." The voice says. So, he waits. A couple of minutes later, two woman walk out of the back of the shop. One is blond, in her late thirties. The other is brunette, also in her thirties. Both are very good looking.
"Can I help you Sir?" The brunette asks.
"Hello and yes, my name is Steve St. Wolf. Is Mr. Lancaster here."
"No, he's not, he's in Europe for several more weeks. Is there anything that I can help you with, Mr. St. Wolf."
"Well, I met him in Paris last week and he hired me to work for him."
"Oh, Yes, he told me about you a couple of days ago, but I didn't expect you here for at last another week."
"It's Carol, I'm Robert's wife. Let's sit down and talk, Mr. St. Wolf." Carol says as she leads us off to a conference table close by the front door.
"A pleasure, and it's Steve, by the way. I was able to bum a ride on a friend's plane and get here sooner."
"A friend's plane?" The blonde asks.
"An friend of mine was coming to L.A. to attend a seminar, and he offered me a lift in his plane, as well as cargo space for my bike, Miss..?" Steve looks at the blonde.
"Oh, I'm sorry, this is Joyce Summers, she runs a gallery not far from here." Carol informs me.
"But, please, call me Joyce." Joyce adds.
"Carol, Did Robert explain what my job would be here?"
"Yes, he said that you locate antiques and specialty items for people all over the world. And that you have a huge amount of contacts and clients. Also, that you would be using our antique store as your base of operations and as a clearing house."
"That's it in a nutshell. I use computers to keep in contact with my clients and vis-versa. I have an extensive database of clients that contains specific items that they are looking for, and what types or classes of items they prefer to collect or have an interest in. It also contains general information on how much money they want to spend and other such details."
"Robert wanted me to go through your collection and see what I could sell to my clients right now, and then to set up a system that could help increase your sales overall."
"So, where is all of this equipment that you will need for this work?" Carol asks.
"Well, I normally just use my lap-top computer for most of my work and that will do for now, but the store will need to get a web server installed. The server can be installed later on."
"How does this help us make sales?"
"Well, your store is just a local antique shop now. But, by the time I get everything done, It'll become an international trading house, open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. And it will be accessible from anyone's computer that has an Internet connection." As Steve finishes explaining everything to Carol and Joyce, their eyes light up.
"How much is this going to cost us?" Carol asks warily.
"Well, the initial startup costs are a little expensive, about five thousand dollars, give or take a couple of hundred for the equipment. The maintenance and web fees will be about one hundred fifty to two hundred dollars a month. The setup time will depend on how much time it will take to categorize, photograph, and the number of antiques to input onto the web site. We'll need some temporary help for that job, mostly weekend and evening work. After that, either you, me or Robert will be updating the site, as needed, and to answer the messages and requests, as they come in."
"That's not too bad. One more question Steve, did you and Robert come to an agreement about your salary?"
"Yes, we did. I agreed to work on a commission basis. Twenty percent of the profit, plus reasonable expenses."
Joyce looks at him strangely. "You agreed to that?" She says.
"Yes, I did. I have been able to make a decent living in the antiques business for the last five years. And I'm not greedy. Most of my clients know this and they respect me for it. Knowing this, they also trust me not to cheat them."
"When are you going to be able to start" Carol asks.
"In a few days. First, I have to find a decent place to live in and get my personal belongings sent to me, there. Do either of you know of any apartments or homes that can be rented now, until I find a more permanent place?"
Joyce recommended a real estate agent who was a friend of hers. Steve goes to see him. He had quite a few rentals available < In this town? No Kidding. > He chooses a house in a good neighborhood and moves right in.
Part 6 - House Warming
(Fire Fight in the Night)
The house had everything Steve was looking for. It was big, comfortable and had a large well equipped gym built into it < It also had three vampires living in the basement, but he'd find them later. > The previous owner had mysteriously disappeared, and his family was looking to unload the house. < He thought he could buy it, after renting it for a few months. >
Steve has just finished signing the rental papers and a six month lease, paying the real estate agent the rent for the entire six months and two months security, in advance < The real estate guy was smiling his head off when he left. > After he left, Steve was making himself at home. He figured that he would get the phones turned on tomorrow. At least the electricity and water were still on and it was partially furnished < Guess his family didn't like leather and wood too much. >
Steve calls Sidney Meyers, his business manager and gives him the new address. Sid would the arrangements to send out Steve's belongings by fast freight. Steve should have everything in about three days. < He checks the house and makes a mental list for what he needs to get over the next couple of days. >
As Steve gives the house a more thorough going over, he notices that the previous owner had some secret panels put in. < Mmm, I could use those for my weapons and other stuff I didn't want lying out in the open. > He opens several of them and finds a large quantity of drugs. Needless to say the toilet was working overtime. Steve was done by around eight o'clock and hungry. He orders a pizza from the local pizzeria.
At 8:40 the pizza delivery kid rings Steve's door bell. Steve checks through the peep hole and see the delivery kid. When Steve opens the door, he gets the kid thrown into his face. As Steve's rolling, and flipping the kid out of his way, he sees three vampires, a male and two females, shoving their way into the doorway.
As Steve's getting up, he asks, "I thought vampires couldn't enter into a home without being invited?"
The leader, a big burly guy standing about 6'2", looks at Steve and smiles.
"We can, when it's our own homes." He snickers.
"So, you're the previous owner. Weren't you a drug dealer?"
"Yeah, I still am." Big, burly guy says.
Steve grins wickedly, and inform him: "No, you're not. I destroyed all of your stashes, earlier today. The alligators in the sewers are *VERY* happy tonight."
The burly guy screams his rage and rushes Steve < Which is what he wanted. > Steve side steps the vampire and stabs him with the pencil that he's holding. The male vampire disintegrates into dust with a stupid look on his face.
The other two vampires haven't moved yet, but that won't be for long. Steve grabs a wooden chair by the door. He smashes it into the closest vampire and splinters it. She's a little stunned, as Steve steps to her side and stabs the other one with the chair remains. She disappears as he turns back to the second vampire and stabs her as well. She, also disappears.
As, Steve looks around the room, shaking the his head, at the mess this little Donny-brook made, he hears the pizza delivery boy moaning. Steve rushes over to him and examines him for any injuries. He only looks a little shaken up.
"Kid, you alright? Can you tell me your name?"
"My name's Ted, Sir. Where are those guys who grabbed me, and shoved me in?"
"Ted, they ran after they saw that I was armed and had my gun out." Steve shows him the holster on his belt. Ted sees it and whistles. He looks up at Steve with a worried expression.
"Uh, are you going to use that on me?" Ted asks.
"No, Ted, I only carry it for my personal protection." Steve tells him. "Are you going to be alright Ted, do you want me to call the pizzeria? See if your boss will come and pick you up, if you can't drive."
"No, Sir, I can drive. Thanks for caring. Uh, I never got your name."
"My name is Steve St. Wolf. Just Steve will be alright. C'mon, lets see if the pizza survived?"
Steve looks around on the porch, the pizza box was sitting in the corner by the door, he opens it, the pizza is undamaged < Well, at least this was unharmed, > Steve thinks to myself. He pays Ted, and gives him a decent tip for the delivery < combat pay > and tells him to call when he got back to the pizza parlor. Steve watches as Ted gets into his car and leaves.
About ten minutes later, Steve sits down to eat the pizza, when his cell phone rings.
"Hi, Mr. St. Wolf, its Ted, I'm back at the pizza shop safe and sound."
"Keep safe Ted." Steve tells him and hangs up the phone.
As Steve's eating, he thinks to myself < I've been attacked twice in the last two days by vampires. This town is full of them. And they think they own it. Well, looks like I'm about to pull a hostile takeover. And here I was worried, I'd get fat and lazy in this tranquil, pleasant, little town. >
Before Steve goes to sleep, he checks every room and every floor, especially the basement, and makes sure everything is locked down tight. The next few days were going to be very interesting indeed.
Same Time Frame
At the Summer's house, Buffy is having dinner with her mother, Joyce. They're going over the news of the day.
"Buffy, Mr. Lancaster hired a new salesman for his shop. I met him today."
"Is he cute, mom." Buffy asks, hoping for a negative answer.
"He's what you would term a hunk, dear." Her mom replies.
Buffy rolls up her eyes thinking that her mother was going to try and date this dweeb. She imagines a gray haired version of Giles, with thick glasses, slightly over weight, wearing a bad suit and bad hair.
"So, are you going to ask him out, Mom."
"Actually no, he's only twenty four years old. I was thinking you might want to show him around town, since he's moving here from Europe."
Buffy perks up at hearing this. "C'mon, Mom, dish the dirt. What does he look like?"
Joyce replies, "Well, he's extremely polite, has good manners and is highly intelligent, well traveled and a specialist in European antiques." While thinking < Well, at least she is still interested in something. >
Buffy looks a her mother with a look of pure venom, while thinking < God, please don't let him be a dweeb, please. Oh God, he probably is. >
Joyce relents, "Okay honey, don't give me the look, please. After he left, it was all Carol Lancaster and I could talk about the way he looked and moved < And wishing we were both twenty years younger. > All right here goes, he stands about 6'2", weighs about 180 to 200 pounds, no fat, all muscle. He has brown eyes and hair. He walks like a dancer and drives a motorcycle. And he has the tightest butt I've seen in a long time" Joyce starts to lose it and giggles, seeing the look in her daughter's face.
"Mother, the tightest butt? You mention that around any of my friends and I'll never be able to live it down!" Buffy says in a huff, then bursts into giggles.
"So, when do I get to meet him." Buffy asks, grinning..
"Not for a few days, he's looking for an apartment and will need to settle in." Joyce answers.
Part 7 - Preparations - Sunnydale
(Remember the Boy Scout Motto:
Always Carry More Fire Power Than The Enemy,
When in Doubt, Massive Quantities of C-4 Works the Best)
Steve wakes up at 6:00 am the next day. He gets up, showers and gets dressed. The first thing he does is call Sid, in New York, to see if he sent his stuff out yet.
"Sid, have you sent out my stuff yet?" Steve asks after the usual round of greetings.
"No, I haven't. Do you need anything else?" Sid asks.
"Yes, send me the black section as well."
"Steve, are you going to war? You told me that you hoped to God never to ask for those things, again."
Steve explains to Sid, what has happened to him over the last two nights.
"Sweet God in Heaven. Steve, you're going to fight them." Sid says.
"Yeah, you know I tend to get a *little* pissed off when I see innocents getting hurt."
"You'll have everything by late tonight. And Steve,"
"God go with you, and good hunting."
"Sid, in case I don't survive, don't come here to avenge me by yourself. Use the envelope that's in your safe. Contact the people on that list. They'll care take of everything."
"Steve, if you die there, there will be no place they can hide from my vengeance or Gods'."
"Go with God, Sid"
"God be with you, Steve. I'll call you back as soon as I make the preparations."
New York City
The Offices of Meyers, Meyers & Randall
(These Are NOT The Offices of Dewey, Screwem and Howe)
Sid Meyers was looking out the window of his twenty second floor corner office. < My God, the kepiloth - ‘empty ones' - still exist. > Sid makes his decision, reaching around, he picks up the phone and dials a number. The phone at the other end is picked up.
"Hello, Iverson Air, can I help you." The voice on the other end asks.
"Myra, this is Sidney Meyers, put me through to Frank." Sidney demands.
"Sid, what can I do for you today?" Frank Iverson asks over the phone.
Sidney explains what the situation is, and tells Frank that he will meet him at the warehouse in thirty minutes. After Sidney gets off the phone, Iverson starts to plan the run into L.A. and makes arrangements to deliver the items to Sunnydale, personally.
As Sidney leaves his office, he turns to his secretary, Jane, "Jane cancel all my appointments for today." He tells her.
Seeing the look in his eye, Jane doesn't ask any questions.
At the warehouse, Iverson leads Sidney to the black storage section and unlocks the doors to the sealed room.
As Iverson opens the door, he turns to Sidney, "You know Sidney, I hoped to God, that I wouldn't have to open this room ever again, let alone this soon."
"You and me both Frank." Sidney muses.
They enter the room, the lights are turned on, weapons of every description stood on racks. Ancient edged weapons shared the space with the most modern assault rifles. Axes stood next to anti-tank missiles, knives next to handguns. Swords next to rifles.
Iverson's cell phone rings, shattering the quiet.
"Iverson, here. We can leave in three hours? Good. I'll need some help packaging the stuff. Have Antonio and Toby come here to help immediately. Also call Wanderer in California and give him our schedule."
A few minutes later, two men enter the area, and stand by Iverson, looking at the black room. The shorter stockier man, Antonio, replies, "Oh shit, it's going to be a bad one, isn't it?"
J. Edgar Hoover Bldg.
"Scully, I want you to see this video tape. I just got it from the Lone Gunmen." Mulder tells his long time partner Dana Scully.
"Oh, what's on it? Teen-age cheerleaders in action, or is Frohike trying to propose to me again?" Scully replies with a grin.
Mulder just shakes his head and puts the video into the tape player.
"This tape was made at the Sunnydale shopping mall, a couple of weeks ago. The tape was given to the Lone Gunmen by one of their sources. You'll find this very interesting."
The tape shows a mall entrance. It winds for a few minutes until a group of strange people come through the doors and stand atop the landing, leading down into the mall. The man in the center is in the costume of a devil. His skin is blue with horns on his head. Scully turns to Mulder and asks.
"Mulder, is this a joke?"
"Just keep watching, Scully."
She watches as the tape continues to roll. The group splits up, leaving a man and a woman standing beside the blue devil on the landing. A man in a light trench coat walks up the stairs to exit the mall. As he approaches the group, the man in the devil costume touches him. The man burns up.
"Mulder, this can't be real."
"Keep watching, Scully."
The tape keeps on going. Scully watches as rays shoot from the blue devil and attach themselves to every one, except the two people standing next him. The blue devil looks like he's enjoying himself Scully thinks to herself.
Suddenly, the blue devil jerks, and the rays disappear. He reaches up to his chest and pulls something out and throws it to the side. Scully reads his lips as he says: "No weapon forged of Man can stop me!" He is looking at someone in front of him, out of the camera's view.
The man and the woman at his side suddenly start to jump down from the landing. The blue devil looks puzzled and mutters, "What is that?". Suddenly a streak of light strikes the blue devil, and he explodes into a thousand pieces. The man and the woman who stood at his side are knocked down by the blast, but manage to get up to run away. The video goes blank at this moment.
"Mulder, what did I just see? This can't be real. And if its real, then who and what destroyed the blue guy?"
"I had the Gunmen blow up sections of the tape. When the rays disappeared, he was struck with a crossbow bolt."
"Mulder, what are dealing with here, William Tell?"
"It would appear so, but when the devil threw away the bolt and showed that he wasn't hurt, they used a Strella Anti-Tank Missile, that's what the streak of light was."
Scully looks at her partner in disbelief. "An Anti-Tank missile, where would someone get something like that?"
Mulder tosses a report to Scully. It's a confidential, U.S. Army CID report about the theft of a Strella Anti-Tank missile from a California depot.
"I think they borrowed it from the Army, Scully."
"Mulder, that's a confidential CID report. Where did you get it?"
"From the Lone Gunmen, of course. And they also provided this."
Mulder then hands Scully a folder full of newspaper clippings about strange things that have happen in and around the town of Sunnydale for the past two years.
"Well, Scully, I don't know about you, but I think that I would like to pay this place a little visit. You interested?" Mulder asks his partner with a grin.
Scully looks at her partner with disgust, knowing that he had trapped her into going to Sunnydale with him. < Well, at least we are getting away from a very cold February in D.C. >