Everything either belongs to Joss or it should, no infringement is intended and no profit is to be made. When you get right down to it I’m not really worth suing anyway unless you want a share of an underpaid civil servants wages and it just wouldn’t be worth the hassle trust me.Important note from the author:
This is the fifth story in the Compelled Series, reading parts one, two, three and four first will save you a great deal of confusion as to what’s going on.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON 8 COMICSScotland – Alternate Earth AE2005-0004-B (Pathfinder Index Code) – July 2005
Dawn was starting to regret choosing a fashionable pair of expensive trainers rather than the utilitarian boots Connor was wearing as they trudged across the truly appalling terrain. It wasn’t raining for the moment at least, but the soil underneath the all-pervasive heather covering the moor where they had first arrived had been sodden enough to ensure she was now squelching her way up the badly maintained path, heading towards the dilapidated castle up ahead. ‘Remind me to get you to carry a spare pair of socks for me the next time we go on a trip’ Dawn told him.
‘If you carried a proper bag you could carry them yourself’ Connor pointed out. He was hauling an army-surplus canvas knapsack that was even heavier than it looked whereas she had a designer handbag which was more expensive than anything had a right to be.
‘We each play our part honey’ Dawn told him, ‘I look good and impress the natives with my charm and witty repartee, you carry the stuff and beat them up if they’re not positively receptive to visitors from out of town’ she said.
‘So I’m nothing but a pack animal and a bodyguard’ Connor responded with mock outrage. ‘That’s almost as bad as when you called me your sidekick’ he complained.
‘Well I hope you’re not implying that my body doesn’t need
guarding?’ Dawn responded in an equally mock irate tone.
Connor looked thoughtful. ‘Given the designs I
have on it, it probably does’ he conceded. ‘Those jeans look good’ he told her, ‘too tight for hiking in but I like the fit.’
‘So is that why you keep letting me get a step ahead, so you can check out my ass?’ Dawn asked, trying not to laugh.
‘Hey it’s pretty scenic around here but I know what I want to look at and it’s not ruins, mountains or moorland’ Connor replied. ‘I don’t follow you to other universes because I like to travel’ he told her with a grin.
‘You know I used to think you were deep’ Dawn told him, ‘all that spiritual wisdom and insight from growing up in a hell dimension.’
‘It’s not my
fault you’re as hot as you are’ Connor protested. ‘I only love you for your mind... when I’m not looking at you anyway’ he told her.
Dawn shrugged. ‘I suppose I can’t really blame you’ she replied. ‘Of course since I’m not shallow, and you’re not as hot as me, I only ever love you for your mind’ she told him deadpan.
‘I am so
hotter than you’ Connor replied defensively, ‘find a thermometer and I’ll prove it’ he declared.
‘Having a body that runs a couple of degrees above normal human temperature doesn’t count’ Dawn told him. ‘That would be like describing your Dad as cool just because he’s room temperature and you don’t think that do you?’
‘Not really’ Connor had to agree, it was hard to think of his father as cool in any way, shape or form if you’d ever had to listen to him trying to explain the facts of life. Clumsy, inept and embarrassing for all concerned couldn’t begin to describe it.
‘Well at least I can argue I must be doing something right to have a hot girlfriend right’ Connor asked, shifting tactics.
‘I’m hot and
cool’ Dawn declared.
‘Wouldn’t that make you lukewarm?’ Connor asked sweetly.
‘Don’t go bringing thermodynamics into this’ Dawn told him sharply as they neared the small stone bridge that connected the path to the castle gates.
Heavy oak timbers barred the way and Connor called up at the girls he had spotted up on the parapet above. ‘Can we talk to the people in charge?’ he asked loudly before turning back to Dawn. ‘I can smell you everywhere’ he said with a quizzical look on his face.
‘I’m standing right next
to you Connor’ Dawn pointed out, rolling her eyes. She was well used by now to his ability to locate her by smell but it did get creepy sometimes when he would go around the Hyperion sniffing the air to track her down, it was like being hunted by a vampire even if he had intentions other than drinking her blood.
Connor shook his head. ‘No I mean this place smells more like you than you
do’ he replied. Dawn’s scent was all pervasive, inexplicably filling his nostrils more than it did when they were in bed together which was downright weird.
‘Maybe there’s a me here that doesn’t have my high standards of hygiene or something?’ Dawn suggested, they knew there was a better than even chance of one of both of them meeting themselves. ‘Okay door’s opening , best smile honey’ she instructed him. ‘No, less teeth’ she advised as he put on a cheesy grin which was more off-putting than disarming.
The castle gates opened and Dawn found herself looking at her sister, or rather she found herself looking at one of the innumerable Buffy Summers that inhabited the multiverse, none
of whom were really
her sister because Dawn was technically an artificial construct made from a big green ball of mystical energy not a human being. ‘Hi’ Dawn said brightly, ‘I guess you probably already know me, or at least you think you do, but I’m Dawn and I’m from an alternate universe’ she greeted her sister’s doppelganger. ‘This is my boyfriend Connor’ she added, Connor giving a friendly little wave of greeting as he wondered if this Buffy was as big a pain the ass as the one he already knew.
The outwardly familiar young woman just stared at them wide-eyed so Connor decided to take the opportunity to pull a folded up photocopy out of his pocket, open it up and hold it up in front of her. ‘We’re wondering if you’ve seen anything that looked like this?’ he asked, showing her a picture of one of Jasmine’s demon insect followers. ‘We think they might have come to this dimension and if they have you’re in trouble and we’d like to help’ he said.
The alternate Buffy looked away from Dawn and at the picture which she immediately snatched from his hand. ‘What do you know about these things?’ she asked forcefully. ‘Who the hell are you people?’ she added suspiciously, eyes narrowing.
‘I think we’ve come to the right place’ Dawn observed happily.
‘Hey who’s at the...’ a familiar voice began behind Buffy then stopped, a single eye staring at Dawn in shock.
‘Hey they’ve got a Xander here too’ Dawn told Connor, he was wearing an eye-patch so she guessed Caleb squished his other one. Her Xander would have been in the same state if Illyria hadn’t jumped back in time and then introduced the good right arm of the First Evil to her own morally ambiguous, though indisputably very hard, left fist.
‘It’s a trick’ Buffy said eventually. ‘Magicks’ she reasoned. ‘Get Willow’ she ordered a slayer who was nearby, the girl immediately dashing off.
‘Oh geez’, Dawn moaned, she had expected a degree of scepticism under the circumstances but that didn’t mean it was welcome. ‘Look, I’m a real Dawn Summers from a parallel universe’ she told them earnestly. ‘Have techno-mystical portal key, will travel’ she continued, showing them the mechanism fitted around her left forearm. ‘I’m not a demon using a glamour to look like your
Dawn or anything like that’ she said, ‘If you’ve got a Willow here too, you can get her to check’ she suggested. ‘Its daylight and we’re clearly not vampires so could you invite us in and maybe let me borrow a dry set of trainers from your
Dawn?’ she requested. ‘My feet are soaking wet because we hiked across the moor to get here, you’ve got some kind of shield up that stopped me opening a portal any closer than we did’ she said. That wasn’t strictly true, the pathfinder device could have been set to a higher power-level and punched a portal through the mystical barriers and wards than guarded this place but that would have hurt because it would have needed to drain more key-energy from her blood.
Buffy looked at her. ‘I don’t think they’ll fit’ she said eventually, Xander behind her unable not to chuckle although neither Dawn nor Connor got the joke.
To be fair they were probably treated more civilly than unexpected visitors from a parallel universe might have been if they turned up at the door of Shadow Valley back home, nobody had suggested strapping them to a surgical table for a detailed internal examination like Knox would have done, but Connor was still annoyed at having his stuff taken away and then being tied to a chair whilst Xander dressed like a character in one of Gunn’s comic collection performed a laughably clichéd interrogation. ‘I’m not working for Twilight’ Connor maintained, ‘we’ve barely even dealt with them back home’ he continued, ‘they’re not even a nuisance and the bugs are nothing to do with them either’ he stated. ‘The bugs worship a rogue higher power named Jasmine and they’re crusading for her, going from dimension to dimension conquering worlds for her glory because that’s what they think she wants’ he said.
‘And you think they’re scouting this world for their next attack?’ Xander asked.
‘We sent a strike team to their home dimension’ Connor told him, wondering if Dawn was getting on any better trying to persuade the natives of what was going on, they were being interrogated separately, probably hoping to trip them up if their stories diverged, Buffy dealing with Dawn. ‘The bugs use a kind of crystal, portal orbs we call them, the bugs call them keys’ Connor explained, ‘we captured a few of them and Fred figured out a way to check where the orbs had opened portals to’ he said. ‘One of the worlds one of the orbs had been to was this one’ he continued. ‘We know they send a few reconnaissance teams to a world before they attack in scale so we decided to come here, contact the local slayers and warn you, maybe offer to help.’
‘Help?’ Xander asked, the single slayer standing guard in the bare stone room with him and the skinny kid looked sceptical too.
Connor nodded. ‘We’re fighting the bugs’ he said, ‘trying to stop them before they get too powerful’ he stated. ‘There’s a war coming, biggest war ever between Jasmine’s Armies, the First Evil and the Slayers’ he declared, ‘the other factions like Twilight, Wolfram and Hart or the Powers-That-Be aren’t major players, it’s out of their league.’
‘The First Evil is gone’ Xander replied. ‘We beat the Turok-Han, closed the Hellmouth’ he said confidently.
‘So did we in our
dimension’ Connor told him. ‘The problem is that in some other world, or maybe worlds, the son-of-a-bitch won
and once he’s got enough troops he’ll start invading other universes like this one, not with hundreds or thousands but with tens of millions
of Turok’Han’ he said. ‘I know your local problems might seem like a big deal to you but big-picture they’re not that important’ he declared.
Xander suddenly grabbed him by the collar, fury emblazoned across his face. ‘Our people have died
’ he said. ‘Don’t you fucking dare
say they died for something unimportant’ he raged.
Connor looked him right in the eyes, or rather eye. ‘Get your hands off me’ he said coldly, he had too short a fuse to take this kind of treatment with good grace.
‘Why?’ Xander asked with a smirk, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ he asked the skinny kid who Willow had already verified was human.
Connor smirked back, a slayer would have passed the witches test as human too.
Xander realised he’d made a big mistake when the kid effortlessly broke his bonds, threw him away and moved inhumanly fast to sweep the legs out from under the unwary slayer and knocked her unconscious with his fist before she could recover either her balance or her wits. The element of surprise is a wonderful thing, Connor thought happily, there was no way that a slayer would expect a teenage boy to be not only nearly as strong as her but also faster and more agile. ‘Say you’re sorry’ he told Xander who was trying to pick himself up after a jarring impact with the stone floor.
‘What?’ Xander asked incredulously.
‘Say you’re sorry for grabbing hold of me like that’ Connor responded, ‘and be grateful I don’t beat up on ordinary people unless they really
piss me off’ he declared, straightening his collar where Xander had manhandled it.
‘What the hell are
you?’ Xander asked, straightening up.
‘Human with demonic strength’ Connor explained. ‘Like a slayer, but I don’t throw like a girl’ he said. ‘Sorry about the one down there but I had to knock her out before one of us badly hurt the other one’ he said. ‘I couldn’t have done that to her if she was more alert, you need to add more paranoia to your training regime’ he advised. ‘At home there would have been three girls at least, one of them would have had a taser and another an assault rifle or a shotgun aimed at me the whole time’ he stated.
‘We don’t use guns’ Xander said, surprised at the notion. ‘That’s not what being a slayer is about’ he said.
Connor couldn’t help but grin. ‘Quaint’ he responded, trying not to sound as condescending as he felt about it. ‘If you people don’t use guns then the bugs will eat you alive’ he said, ‘literally’ he added.
The door swung open. ‘We’ve never needed guns’ Buffy said, pointing a crossbow at him.
‘I can catch that bolt before it hits me and then you’re out of ammunition’ Connor replied, trying to sound more confident about that than he felt. ‘I couldn’t say the same if you had a rifle aimed at my guts’ he noted. ‘I didn’t kill the Nick Fury wannabe when I could have, how about a truce and you let me see my girlfriend again’ he requested.
‘He took out Mary with one punch’ Xander said, indicating the prone slayer. ‘He moves quick like a vampire’ he continued, ‘and he’s strong
’ he declared. ‘He says he part demon or something.’
‘If you cause any more trouble then I’ll deal with you like I would any other demon’ Buffy told him flatly, crossbow still levelled at the boy.
Connor smiled. ‘Glad to hear it’ he said, ‘I was worried about how wussy you really were here’ he said. ‘My girlfriend?’ he asked.
‘Come with me’ Buffy told him. ‘Xander get some girls to take Mary to the infirmary’ she told him, then join us in Dawn’s room’ she said.
‘If you search through my bag watch out for the grenades in there’ Connor warned. ‘The Helios grenade marked with the sun symbol will just give you the worst case of sunburn ever, they’re designed for use against vampires, but the others are lethal to just about anything’ he said. ‘They’re Incendiary grenades.’
‘You carry grenades in your bag?’ Xander asked in surprise.
‘It’s a big bad multiverse’ Connor replied. ‘There are some dimensions out there I’d only feel safe going to with a dozen slayers with scythes and machine-guns and maybe a demon-god too as backup’ he said seriously. ‘It took weeks to get our Buffy to agree to Dawn scouting even alternate Earths and those are relatively safe.’
‘Scythes?’ Buffy repeated, ‘plural?’ she continued. ‘A “demon-god” as backup?’ she asked nonplussed
Connor grinned for a second time. ‘Quaint’ he observed again.
Dawn looked up at her alternate self in this world and finally understood not only why Connor said this whole place smelled of her but also why she had often seemed to get the impression that Illyria was surreptitiously monitoring her height. ‘Okay I see two possibilities’ she said. ‘You either did a thricewise’ she began, ‘or else another magical being with a sense of humour overheard you wishing you had bigger boobs’ she reasoned. ‘Two words’ normal sized Dawn said, ‘mystical prophylactics’ she sagely advised. ‘That’s what I use to avoid this kind of thing’ she told her scaled up doppelganger. ‘If I laughed you wouldn’t squish me would you?’ she asked.
‘I’m making no promises’ her twin in general appearance if not height replied.
‘Could have been worse’ Willow pointed out, ‘you could have been shrunk to Barbie size’ she said.
‘At least I’d have access to a better wardrobe’ the more epically scaled Dawn responded with a sigh. ‘So I guess I had better taste in men in your world?’ she asked her visitor. ‘Nice normal boyfriend?’
Dawn did laugh this time. ‘Not so much on the normal but he’s nice’ she said. ‘Your Willow didn’t recognise him, so either he doesn’t exist here or there’s a spell still in place to erase everyone’s memories of him, but he’s Angel’s son’ she said.
‘Angel?’ Willow queried. ‘He’s a vampire’ she said, ‘vampires sire a childe, they don’t father children’ she stated. ‘At least not here they don’t’ she added. Rules could be different in other worlds she knew, like dimensions where the sunlight didn’t burn vampires for example.
‘Oh they don’t in my world either’ Dawn explained, ‘Connor was the product of a Higher Power messing with the normal way of the universe in order to be reborn’ she said. ‘We call her Jasmine and she’s also the being the bugs I told you about worship’ she said. ‘They’re crusading in her name, or at least they would be if they knew
her real name but they don’t’ she continued, ‘they call her the “Blessed Devourer” because she eats her worshippers, which strangely they don’t object to because she uses some power she has to have everyone love her and be happy and contented.’
‘That’s not my idea of a fair deal for the worshippers’ Willow opined.
‘Ours neither, that’s why we have ideological issues with her and her troops’ Dawn replied with a smile. ‘We told them that they can worship her if they like, freedom of religion is fine, but they can’t
invade other worlds and force other people to, and we’re not
going to stand by and let her eat people’ she said forcefully. ‘They don’t look like they took any notice because right now we’re getting ready to go to war when we find out which worlds they’re trying to conquer’ she told them.
Buffy appeared, crossbow still in hand, with Connor and a squad of slayers following, the girls now watching him like a hawk having heard how he’d taken down Mary. ‘We’ve been getting reports from slayer teams all around the world of encountering big demon insects that are very strong and fast’ she said. ‘They’re killing people and using their blood and body parts in strange rituals’ she noted. ‘Mainly in sewers’ she added.
‘Blood magicks’ pathfinder Dawn explained. ‘The bugs are good at that, they can use them to open portals, set up mystical barriers or make location spells’ she said. ‘They think their blood magicks are more powerful than our word magicks and unfortunately in many cases they’re right’ she said regretfully. ‘You can stop staring now Connor’ she told her boyfriend who was gaping at the giant version of his girlfriend.
Connor blinked. ‘The last thing I saw that size that wasn’t a building was the Beast of Amalfi’ he said in amazement.
‘She’s not a “thing” Connor and if you call her that again she might squash you like Amalfi was going to’ his Dawn said. ‘Excuse my boyfriend, he’s sweet but he has his jerk moments’ she apologised to her XXL sized double.
‘That’s okay, I get that reaction a lot’ the other Dawn replied. ‘Who or what was Amalfi?’ she asked curiously, there weren’t many creatures her size around.
‘Giant demon’ Connor replied, ‘chased me half way across LA because I pissed it off’ he said.
‘How?’ Willow asked.
‘I threw a grenade at it, didn't do much more than make it mad’ he said. ‘Skin was like an alligator but like a foot thick’ he explained then frowned. ‘Honestly it seemed a good idea at the time’ he said in his defence. ‘Illyria, our Buffy and our Willow killed it eventually’ he said, ‘took some doing though, Amalfi was even tougher than he looked’ he added.
‘Illyria?’ Willow asked.
‘Dimension-jumping, time-travelling Demon-God from the Primordium Age’ Dawn explained. ‘She’s the main reason our timeline is so diverged from yours’ she said. ‘In our reality she jumped back from 2005 to 2003 to defeat Jasmine and the First Evil before they got too powerful and killed too many slayers’ she said. ‘Now she’s pushing for us to throw everything we can into an effort to protect all the alternate Earths from demon attack.’
‘Why would a Demon-God do that?’ Buffy queried in confusion.
‘Long story’ Dawn replied, ‘if you wrote it down it would probably rival War and Peace for length’ she said. ‘I’ll give you the Cliffs Notes version later’ she offered.
track record with Demon-God’s isn’t so great’ Willow remarked.
‘Glory?’ Dawn asked.
‘Yeah’ Buffy replied.
Connor grinned. ‘In our universe Wolfram and Hart resurrected her to fight Illyria’ he said, ‘really bit them on the ass’ he added with a chuckle.
‘Glory came back?’ the giant Dawn exclaimed in horror.
‘Yeah but Illyria beat the heck out of her’ the visiting Dawn replied. ‘The kicker is Illyria forced her to accept servitude so Glory works for us now’ she said. ‘I sent her to fetch my laundry last week, making her do demeaning chores, it never gets old I’ll tell you’ she said happily.
‘Glory? Glory the freaking Hellgod
, works for you?’ Buffy exclaimed in shock.
‘Right’ Connor confirmed. ‘So this parallel universe seems a lot like the one Illyria originally came from’ he observed, ‘other than the minor details which she likes to leave out because she thinks it’s funny’ he continued, indicating the extra-large economy-sized version of his girlfriend, ‘so I guess Amy Madison isn’t on the team here either?’ he asked curiously.
‘No’ Willow replied, then her eyes widened. ‘She is
in your dimension?’ she asked in surprise.
‘Not strictly by choice but she’s one of your witches’ Dawn told her. ‘You’ve been training her, teaching her more powerful spells so she can help out in the war’ she said then frowned. ‘You’re a lot shorter on resources than we are’ she realised, ‘how many slayers have you got?’ she asked.
‘Loads, just over five hundred’ Buffy replied proudly.
Dawn grimaced. ‘We’ve got two thousand and our biggest problem is we’re outnumbered all to hell’ she said. ‘Now you didn’t save Medousa I guess so you’ve only got the one scythe too right?’
‘Who’s Medousa’ Willow asked.
‘That’s a yes to the one scythe then’ Dawn continued. ‘Medousa is the Guardian, the old woman in the pyramid tomb in Sunnydale Caleb killed here I’d think’ she said. ‘She survived in our world, now she’s into scythe mass-production.’
‘One scythe and they don’t use guns either’ Connor noted.
‘Oh geez they’re really not ready to deal with a bug invasion here’ Dawn responded, crossing her arms and putting on a despairing look.
‘Hey we can deal with anything you can’ Willow declared, more than annoyed at these interlopers from another universe implying otherwise.
The pathfinder device on Dawn’s suddenly stated to beep urgently. Dawn looked at it then grimaced again. ‘I think you’re about to test that theory’ she said. ‘The bugs must be watching this place, monitoring people portalling into this dimension’ she continued. ‘This thing is telling me that several portals are opening up at the far end of the glen to the west and that they aren’t ours’ she said.
‘Shit’ Connor swore. ‘They’ve probably decided to launch their attack on you early before we can raise your game’ he said.
‘This is going to be big
Connor’ Dawn said, staring at the screen on the device. ‘We’re probably talking an army here’ she said.
‘We’ve repulsed attacks on the castle before’ Buffy said confidently.
‘Zombies and shape-changing vampires right?’ Connor asked.
‘Right’ Buffy replied, they were very
well informed she decided.
‘Each bug is nearly slayer strength, they’re got a hardened exoskeleton that is resistant to physical damage like blades’ Connor responded, ‘they’ve got claws that’ll slice through you
like a hot knife through butter’ he continued, ‘they’re smart they’re fast, they’re determined and we’re not only talking just a few hundred of them’ he said.
‘Maybe a few hundred-thousand
’ Dawn told them seriously. ‘They’ll swarm over you like ants and they don’t take it in turns to fight you one at a time’ she said, ‘each of your girls will be trying to fight off as many of them as can reach her at once’ she said.
‘We know they can scale a sheer cliff’ Connor said, ‘their most important temple is at the top of one, so they’ll climb your walls too’ he told them. ‘How many girls are in this castle?’ he asked, looking at the slayers dotted around.
‘A hundred or so’ Buffy told him, she was starting to get concerned now. The two of them certainly seemed pretty convinced of what they were saying, and they
looked increasingly nervous.
A slayer ran in. ‘Ma’am I was up on the wall and there’s like... there’s like an army of huge cockroaches coming towards us, millions of them’ she said, exaggerating but not as much as would have been healthy.
!’ Buffy yelled and started running, the other slayers, Willow, Connor and the Dawn who could fit through the doorways and corridors following behind.
They reached the walls and Buffy gaped at the sight, it was like a sea of demons although as she watched it seemed to be shifting into a distinct pattern. ‘They’re forming up into battle formations to assault the castle’ Connor explained. ‘The bugs fight organised large-scale wars against each other’ he said, ‘or at least they used to before the one they call the Prophet united them’ he continued. ‘They’ll test out your defences first, try tactics before they resort to a full on charge’ he said.
‘Why?’ Willow queried, looking at the mass of creatures in front of them.
‘The bugs don’t fear us
but they fear human weaponry’ Dawn explained, ‘what’s that phrase Vi uses, force...’ she asked Connor.
‘Force-multipliers’ Connor reminded her. ‘One slayer with a sword is usually more than a match for a single bug and its claws but a slayer with an assault rifle can kill a hundred bugs before they get close enough to even get the chance
to use their claws’ he said. ‘You want to volley crossbow bolts as fast as you can’ he advised. ‘If you’ve got glass bottles and any liquid that’ll burn, gasoline, kerosene, vodka whatever make Molotov cocktails fast.’
‘I’ll get on it Ma’am’ one of the slayers said, taking the initiative and dashing off.
‘You brought this down on us’ Buffy said angrily, pointing an accusing finger at Connor.
‘Bullshit’ Connor retorted, ‘they’d have come in the end anyway, all we’ve done is told you what’s going on’ he told her. ‘Dawn we need help from back home’ he told the girl. ‘Make sure they know we need everyone they can send.’
‘Everyone?’ Dawn asked.
’ Connor repeated with emphasis.
‘I’ll be back soon honey’ Dawn told him, she knew he’d stay to fight, help them hold off the demons until help could arrive. She pulled him into an embrace and kissed him hard. ‘If you die I’m going to bring you back and give you such a talking to’ she threatened, forcing a smile.
‘I’m from the quar’toth’ Connor reminded her. ‘I wasn’t born in this briar patch but I was raised in it’ he declared, Dawn had been teaching him pop-culture so he didn't have to take her advice and smile and nod instead when he didn't understand a reference.
‘Stand back everyone unless you want to find out what happens if someone opens a portal inside you’ Dawn said, hitting the touchpad control on the pathfinder device that would return her to her own world. Needles sprung out into her arm and the crystal inside the device started to channel the key energy in her blood to force open a swirling vortex in front of her as Buffy and the others slayers momentarily looked transfixed at her instead of the demons.
‘There are wards in place that stop you doing that’ Willow stated, staring in wonder as the portal opened.
‘And it hurts like hell because of them’ Dawn responded through gritted teeth, it was getting close to excruciating by the time it was large enough to step through. ‘See you later Connor’ she said, disappearing into the mystical whirlwind.
Connor watched the portal close after her. ‘I need everything that’s in my bag’ he said. ‘There’s an automatic and a couple of clips hidden in the bottom, a few grenades and my knife.’
‘We can give you a sword’ Buffy told him.
‘My knife is special’ Connor told her.
‘Lucky?’ Willow asked.
‘Demonic’ Connor replied, ‘it changes into a sword and it’s sharper than a normal blade’ he said. ‘You want everyone up here with every weapon they’ve got because this is going to get bloody’ he told her. ‘Have you got armour? Chain mail for the girls?’ he asked.
‘No’ Buffy replied.
‘Jesus’ Connor blasphemed, his adopted father Holtz would have tanned his hide for doing that, ‘you’re only living in the Dark Ages where it’s fucking detrimental to you’ he opined.
Xander appeared next to them with a small telescope and pair of binoculars he’d grabbed, thrusting the latter at Buffy. ‘I suit the pirate look better’ he said holding the telescope up to his good eye. ‘Okay what the hell are the things that look like The Thing from the Fantastic Four but with horns?’ he asked.
‘Oh shit!’ Connor exclaimed. ‘Can I borrow that?’ he asked Xander who passed him the telescope. ‘We’re screwed’ he said flatly, focusing on one of the figures striding amongst the bugs.
‘What now?’ Buffy demanded to know.
‘I’ve only ever seen one
before’ Connor said, lowering the telescope. ‘We are in a lot
of trouble’ he said in dismay.
‘It looks a little like a Fyarl Demon made of stone’ Buffy said, looking at one through the binoculars.
‘It’s at least three times the strength of a slayer’ Connor told them, ‘crossbow bolts, bullets and swords will bounce off’ he continued, ‘it can jump higher than a master vampire and it’s smarter than it looks’ he continued. ‘We didn’t think there were any of them involved yet’ he said, shaking his head. ‘Faith probably fought one before she came to Sunnydale in this dimension too’ he recalled.
what those are?’ Willow exclaimed. ‘It beat Faith to a pulp’ she told Buffy and Xander, remembering hearing the story from the other slayer as they drove from LA to Sunnydale.
‘How do we kill them?’ Buffy asked.
‘A slayer scythe, a piece of its own body fashioned into a weapon, which isn’t that useful to know right now, or anti-tank weaponry’ Connor replied. ‘Anything else will make them annoyed at most’ he said. ‘Those things make Turok-Han look like complete wimps’ he declared.
A girl must have fetched his knapsack because she handed it to him. He pulled out a few things, tucking the Glock Automatic into his waistband and pocketing the spare magazines along with half a dozen grenades. He finally took out his bowie knife and muttered the spell that morphed it, the steel seeming to flow turning it into a gleaming sword.
‘Now you’ve got all the cool gear now don’t you?’ Xander remarked.
‘We do alright’ Connor replied as girls started to take up position right along the castle walls, he recognised many of them although they seemed different to the ones he knew somehow, less hard-edged or something.
‘Willow this looks like a good time to see some of your best work’ Buffy told the red-haired witch.
‘I can raise a mystical barrier that might hold them for a while’ Willow responded.
‘Not as long as you’d hope’ Connor replied, ‘Bug blood magicks’ he explained. ‘Crawly bastards are tricky little suckers’ he said glumly, Enyo had lectured them all about the abilities the things had demonstrated during the Dimension Wars, one of the most important lessons had been to always keep in mind that just because they looked like big dumb insects they were more intelligent than most demons, and frankly brighter than a lot of humans.
‘How many of them are there?’ a girl asked in horror as she joined the others.
‘Millions’ another slayer replied. ‘We are so
screwed’ she said.
‘There’s a hundred thousand tops, probably less’ Xander replied, trying to sound like it wasn’t a big deal.
‘So we’re only outnumbered a thousand to one, well this is going to be a breeze’ a third girl responded sarcastically.
‘Hey the skinny kid has been through this before and lived right?’ Xander asked Connor.
‘No, first time’ Connor admitted. ‘I’ve been mainly feeding you hearsay’ he said.
‘This is not my best day ever’ Buffy mumbled. First she’d argued with Satsu about hogging the blanket when they were trying to enjoy breakfast in bed, then she’d had another argument, this time with Dawn about something so trivial she couldn’t remember what it was and now to cap it off she was going to get eaten by a horde of demon insects.
‘So how fast can we expect the cavalry?’ Xander asked.
‘Look over there’ a girl exclaimed, pointing into the sky in the distance as a portal started to form high in the air growing larger and larger until it seemed as big as a house, Dawn couldn’t open a portal that big any closer because of the wards, even so Connor was willing to bet she was in agony.
A helicopter shot out of the vortex and headed straight towards them. ‘About two hundred miles an hour’ Connor replied to Xander with a grin as the machine rapidly approached, flying over the demons below who were impotent to stop it.
The aircraft stopped directly above, hovering no more than fifty feet over their heads, the sound deafening and Buffy having noted the crossed scythes insignia on the nose as it arrived, ropes were dropped down and figures wearing all black uniforms with helmets and what looked like military weapons began rappelling down at high speed.
‘That’s a damn gunship’ Xander shouted over the engine noise as the first girl set down. The helicopter was armed like something you’d see in a Vietnam movie.
‘Yeah’ Connor yelled back, grinning as the first girl landed. ‘We’ve got all the cool gear’ he affirmed as a dozen girls laden with scythes, swords and assorted military hardware landed in quick succession.
Xander hadn’t been expecting Dimension-Mobile Air Cavalry to arrive just in the nick of time but you couldn’t say he objected to the surprise as the legions of demons approached. His only regret was that they couldn’t have turned up in time to save Renee as well as his sorry ass.
Note from the Author:Decided to start off the fifth Compelled Story with a little change from my originally planned opening chapters, this is a crossover of sorts between the Compelled Universe and the Season 8 Comics as of approximately just after issue 15 (or rather a dimension very much like them). I was intending an epic battle between the slayers and teeming hordes of Jasmines Bugs so I thought why not do it with the hopelessly ill-equipped Season 8 Slayers thrown into the mix?