The team ran though the streets slaughtering zombies as they went. It quickly became obvious that as one fell, two would raise to take its place. Eventually they quickly realized that if they avoided them, the shuffling hordes would often pass them by unmolested.
"This is stupid. We keep going like this and we are screwed." Xander sighed
"There has to be a way to destroy these assholes." Revy grumbled while taking yet another pot-shot at a zombie. This one was, like all the rest, unaffected by her conventional weaponry.
Xander turned to Willow whose tiredness was written across her face. "Willis you got any juice left?" he asked already knowing what her answer would be.
Willow shook her head, "I'm still getting my batteries back to speed after the fight at the warehouse not to mention the struggle it was to teleport everyone here in the first place."
"Not to rain on the parade," Revy snapped, "But there is a hell of a lot of crap going down and I'm not killing anything and to me, that is just …wrong on way too many levels. "
"Hate to be the guy to break it to you Revy but your Cutlasses are basically useless against zombies and I don’t see you pulling a shotgun out of your back pockets anytime soon.“ Xander said thoughtfully.
"Well we got a solution right around the corner from here...Justine's in town; why not hit the MickeyD's"
Xander shuddered at her words. "Revy you aren't seriously planning on bringing those lunatics into this are you?"
Revy shook her head, "Nah, I'd like the town to still be standing when this crap is over I'm just talking about a shopping trip."
"Why are we heading for a McDonalds in the middle of a crisis?" Willow whined, "I mean if we got to stop for fast food there's got to be a something a little healthier."
Xander explained, "When McDonalds started expanding into Asian markets they had trouble with the locals. People live differently here and I’m sure you will not be surprised to know that the Triads either own or are partners in many of the fast food restaurants in this part of the world."
Revy picked up the story, "Every time McPutrid opened a location on triad owned property a couple of goons would show up and start leaning on the employees and customers until they got the not welcome message."
Rotton filled in more of the tale, "The Story goes that McDonalds corporate decided that the best way to deal with the threat was to hire muscle to protect the restaurants."
"The idea worked well," Xander nodded, "until that is, they decided they wanted to expand to Roanapur. A lot of money flows though here so on the paper it makes sense to want to get a piece of the market but most of that money is illegal and local gang leaders started leaning on the owners and employees for protection or to push them out of the city."
Revy smiled evilly, "No standard bodyguard is stupid enough to work this city without a lot of upfront money. So they started shopping for talent. Looking for the kind of people who can survive in Roanapur and who wouldn't be intimidated by the kind of people who live here." With this Revy stopped at a door and pounded on it loudly "Hey Justine you dizzy bitch. It’s Rebecca of Lagoon Company we need ya for a second. Open the damn door."
Latches were pulled and door opened to reveal a smallish young woman who was pale with dark hair. She looked an awful lot like Sawyer and the two smiled ghoulishly at each other. The restaurant looked like any McDonalds anywhere in the world the plastic tables and chairs the day-glow colouring and graphics even a set of pictures on the wall. One of them showed a smiling version of their annoyed host. The name under the picture identified the woman as one Justine Arthur Soles. She was apparently the current employee of the month.
Revy boldly shoved on the half open door pushing past the woman who fixed her with a cold stare.
"What are you doing Two-Hands, It’s late." She looked at Xander who smiled sheepishly at her, "Xander Harris back in town. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that it sounds like World War Three was being waged on the next block."
"Now Justine, let's be fair I did not deliberately scam you guys. How was I supposed to know the Yakuza would still be pissed with me."
"A Yakuza Princess, of all the people you had to get involved with, you pick a deranged Yak princess."
"What was she doing in that Host club anyway?" Xander replied defensively.
"What were you doing in a Host Club?" Willow asked
"I was stranded in Japan." Xander said defensively, "I needed Money. They said all I would have to do was look pretty and make conversation."
Justine snorted, "What kind of a moron thinks that conversation is all they'll be asked for in a host club in the Shinjuku district." she snapped,
"Do you know anything about this?" Willow asked an amused Faith who held up her hands.
"I got the story from Dutch. That whole stripping in Oxnard thing, let’s just say he did some major editing of that story for content."
Xander sighed he had dreaded the fall out when his actions the summer after graduation became generally known.
"What the hell is he doing back here anyway?" Justine snapped pointing a finger at Xander.
"Why does he ever show his ugly mug around here, JS?" Revy smiled, "We got creepy crawlies on the march and I could use some creepy crawly killers."
"I'm I running a charity here. I loan to you what's to say that everyone else isn’t going to start trying to scam weapons off me as well?"
"You mean other then the fact you are a violent sociopath with a sadistic streak and an awesome amount of guns."
"You say that as if it was a bad thing." The Mercenary snapped.
Balalaika smiled indulgently, "Miss Soles, you can put anything Revy BORROWS” the Russian emphasised the words, “on the Hotel Moscow tab consider it a personal favour. One I’ll be inclined to remember."
"OK fine." the woman snapped grumpily and stalked back into the kitchen while motioning everyone to follow.
Xander watched as she put on a thick robber glove and plunged her hand in to steaming hot fry vat she seemed to feel around inside and must have turned a switch because the fry vat and indeed every other piece of kitchen equipment swivelled aside. Gleaming weapons rose from the recessed of the walls and floors.
Revy began drooling over an ornate set of pistols in a display case. The Weapons were a beautiful set of pistols which had been modified to have clear receptacles attached to them and a wickedly long needle set in the base that ran parallel to the barrel. But Justine shook her head.
"Forget it, two hands you aren't nearly crazy enough to want those no matter how dangerous you normally are."
"What are they those look incredible." Revy responded an almost awe-struck shudder in her voice.
"I'm holding those for a Client." Justine maintained crossing her arms and doing a credible resolve face for someone who had only just met Willow.
"Are those REAL Carpathian Dragons?" Xander asked finally getting good look at the fabled weapons in the display case. "My god I thought those were just legendary."
"That’s what people like YOU are supposed to think." Justine smiled widely. "They are Vampire's Weapons after all." She escorted the group away from the display case leaving Xander to drag a whining Revy away from the beautiful but deadly weapons.
"You know about these things?" She asked
"Hello, you play step-and-fetch boy for Dracula for a year you pick up a few things. Drac told me they're weapons designed for the use of vampire fighters exclusively. You load it by shoving the long needle into someone and the guns literally drink their blood. then the blood is alchemically transformed into almost any kind of load-out you need including auto gun fire, shot gun blasts, some real nasty stuff."
"Mommy wants." Revy said lustfully
"You obviously weren't listening to the important part of that rant. The guns have to be fed as in with real blood and if you don't they start to feed on the person holding them. That’s why they're considered a vampire weapon. Only a vampire can replace the supplies of blood you need to fire the damn things."
"Hey junior, do I look like someone who'd let a little thing like ammo supply stand in the way of a good time."
Xander looked at her, "I thought you were the one who was all about I-don't-need-to-be-a demon-to-be-a-monster."
"Only an idiot turns their back on an advantage once they have it."
Xander turned on his heel, "I'm starting to remember why you scare the crap out of me, Revy."
For a madman with a penchant for genocide, the General was a genial host. He was honest about the fact that this would not be a permanent thing. As soon as they were joined by Xander Harris and he had rounded up the Slayers that had been freed from the slave camp they would see an altogether different side to his demeanour.
Until then he felt they should take advantage of his good humour. "You should relax Mister Okajima," He said to the obviously agitated Rock, "Someone who spends as much time in this nest of vipers should be more relaxed."
Rock ignored the General and turned to Manuela. "Why are you doing this we can help you. I know things have been tough for you but we can change that."
"You can't help me," Manuela responded coldly, "I've known that since the day I saw you rescue me off that ship on the ocean."
"My dear I have things to discuss with Mister Okajima and Mister Giles."
Manuela nodded and took Garcia into the other room. She pointed out it would easier to insure the co-operation of the others if Garcia's fate was a more unknown factor.
Sheu Yan agreed as he shook his radio with frustration.
"Problems?" Giles asked innocently.
"My men, the squad I dispatched to the street to fetch your Mister Harris to me they haven't reported in."
"Maybe they ran into a problem I'm hoping a several problems."
"Listen to yourself," The General sneered, "Are we really that different you and I? I am honest with what I want those girls for. You, you convince them that fighting and dying for some CAUSE to protect people who are beneath them is some great privilege."
"You think living as slaves is an improvement?"
"They're already slaves I'm just giving them the chance to serve the kindest master they'll ever know. In war all are equal from the greatest general to the lowest recruit. War and conflict make freemen of us all. It’s peacetime that makes us slaves."
Giles found it easy to channel Xander at this point, "You'll forgive my inability to accept battle philosophy from a pimp."
"Pimp," The General acted insulted, "If all I wanted in life was to sell the asses of young girls and sissy-boys in the streets I could be in Bangkok with an army of whores who would beg to give their money to me."
"You kidnapped women, raped them until they would submit to anything to avoid the pain and then sold their lives to people as corrupt as you."
"...but I never sold your Slayers. I mean how long do you think it would take your average super powered sex slave to figure out that she was stronger and faster then her owner. How stupid do you think I really am? My subordinates sold a few girls who they SAID were Slayers but that was about ---what do you westerners call it? --brand power."
"If you weren't selling slayers for sex then why sell them at all.
"I'm looking to the future. There is a war coming Mr. Giles, a war unlike any that the world has ever seen and I want to be on the front lines, but my government they are fools. They don't see the opportunities for real power. The right man could remake himself as a new emperor and your slayer will make it happen."
"I don't think so." Giles rose up and stalked toward the general who smiled at him wolfishly.
"You forget I have the boy -- Manuela, Hurt the boy reminds Mister Giles of his place in the scheme of things."
There as no answer from the room as Giles got close enough to punch the General and send him sprawling.
"I'm guessing they are gone, and have been for some time I only submitted to your vile presence to give her time to take the boy away from you." He aimed a kick to the General's side. "Now who was picking up the tab or this little adventure I doubt you could make all this happen Who’s holding your bollocks you cretin. Tell me."
The General laughed even as he grunted from the pain of Giles attack, "You forget I'm a soldier I've felt pain as bad as can be felt you think a few prick from an soft Westerner can make me tell you anything."
"Let me." Fabiola hissed
"You think I'm going to talk to you little girl."
"I'm a little girl; I’ve spent the last several years learning everything the Bloodhound of Florencia had to teach I assure you information extraction was one of them."
The General looked nervous "The Bloodhound."
Rock grabbed Giles, "II have seen what someone who undergoes the Bloodhound's kind of interrogation suffers I think it best that we leave the room this will not be pretty."
"Wait, wait, I Can tell you what the Lawyers are after here."
"The Lawyers?" Rock asked mystified.
Giles picked the man off the ground and hurled him into a chair. "Why would Wolfram and Hart trust cannon fodder like you with their real agenda on this island?”
"Because I'm to get the island to run after they are done. All they wanted was the plants and The Old One gone. After that, the place is mine to do with as I please."
Giles nodded, "Miss Iglasisas could you check and see if Garcia or the Slayer left anything behind."
The mini-maid tuned and sprinted into the room. She was gone for only a few moments. When she returned, she was clutching a piece of paper in her hand.
"There was only this; a letter of some kind."
Giles read the note out loud, "Thank you for your assistance General. The boy will be very useful to me. In repayment, I will let you know that your contract with the Senior Partners has been terminated and they have activated their perpetual service option with several of the forces that were sent here today including your own troops. I have taken the liberty of including your Swiss bank account number along with this note, should the Watchers survive they will find both the transaction records and the contents of the account most helpful."
"Who are the Senior Partners; and what is a perpetual service option." Rock asked
"The Senior Partners are the earthly manifestation of extra-dimensional beings who call themselves The Wolf, The Ram and the Hart...you would know them here as the international law firm Wolfram and Hart. As for the service option, that is a polite term for service beyond death. Way beyond. Ms Iglesias who many F-A-R-C would you say were killed in the warehouse today."
"Dozens, many dozens I would say. "
"Two squads maybe three with someone like the Bloodhound to hunt I would doubt they'd send any less. That means thirty six maybe forty-eight potential bodies." he dug into his pocket and removed from it a small headset that he screwed into his ear "Hello please tell me this hellish thing is actually working?"
"Giles," Xander said though the line "Man it is good to hear your voice old man."
"Xander where are you and the others."
"We are holed up at a McDonalds don't ask it’s a long story."
Giles gave an annoyed sigh, "Does it have anything to do with the undead traipsing around the streets."
Xander blushed, "OK I guess the story will be a lot easier to explain then I thought."
"Indeed, Wolfram and Hart are looking for something on the island I think it’s an Old One."
"The Three who rule as one ...so that was what that meant G-man I think I know where what their searching for is. It’s the Church of Violence. "
"Then we have to get there before the forces of the Senior Partners do. Whatever they want out of there is likely to be bad news for all of us if they get it."
"Problem with that is that Buffy took off after Roberta those two are not going to back down for anything less then a full blown apocalypse."
"Fabiola is there any way to get Roberta to stop fighting a guaranteed method I mean."
The Maid nodded "If Mistress Head-maid knows that The Young Master is in harms way she’ll divert from whatever she is involved with to deal with that."
"Xander?" Giles asked in for confirmation.
"I heard,” Xander answered, “She's right assuming Roberta's in her right mind Garcia is the only one she would drop everything to save. "
"Then I would suggest you get moving." Giles puffed in frustration, "I'm sorry what are you doing at McDonalds at a time like this?"
"We're getting take-out."
Buffy darted through the night.
She had found the snipers nest quickly enough but it was just an undead soldier gibbering at her. The Sniper rifle in his hands was an old weapon just like the many being wielded by the various creatures stalking the streets.
She cut the thing down anyway and began fighting to rejoin the group. But her senses were going wild. She could feel the decay of the city around her. This place was steeped in ...evil? No it didn't feel like evil as much as a rot that was in the air in every breath. She stretched out her senses into the dark. Probing the shadows for any trace of the woman she had seen earlier this Maid.
Buffy was still not entirely sold on this woman and the danger she represented. Sure Xander's insight was a valuable resource she had learned to rely on. Still Xander Harris was the king of hyperbole. Was she fast, obviously she was? Was she dangerous, to judge from the articles Buffy had seen on-line before coming here yeah she was no lightweight. But still once you had gone toe to toe with a Hell Goddess and lived to tell about it. (So to speak,) the bad guys kind of had to raise their game a little.
Two scantily clad women ran though the street past The Slayer. Two Zombies were hot on their heels spaying gunfire in the air and talking about skinning the females.
A disgusted Buffy lashed out, cutting one down in mid-stride. She was turning to take out the other when his head exploded with a roar of shotgun fire.
Suddenly The Maid was there appearing as if by magic from the shadows she racked the slide on the shotgun chambering another round. The weapon was not quite pointed at her but it was obvious where Roberta intended the next shot to go should she have to.
Buffy and Roberta stood regarding each other.
"You are shorter then I expected." Buffy muttered
"Where is the girl? I have no quarrel with you I just want the Slayer." Roberta said quietly
"See right there you already have a problem I mean; even now when people ask for the Slayer
They’re usually referring to me. I'm thinking I might need some serious re-branding."
"How can you not see what she is?" Roberta growled. "Can you not see that she is dangerous?"
"The only dangerous thing I see here is you." Buffy snapped, "I saw the pictures, the embassy bombing was nice piece of work."
Roberta's eyes narrowed, "I believed what I was doing was right. How could you know? I doubt you have ever gone to bed with an empty belly. Watched as the wealthy and powerful filled their pockets and mouths with the fruit of your labour while giving you nothing in return save for empty promises."
"Blah, blah evil indolent westerner; what is it with people like you? I don't get what I want in life I bitch and whine and then I move on with my life. When has blowing people up and killing women and children ever accomplished anything."
"Why not ask Washington, Jefferson and your other founding fathers...Oh yes, I forget they are not terrorists, insurgents and killers. They were patriots and liberators."
"is that why you're here, you protecting someone cause the only danger that kid who worries after you was ever in was from you."
"You have no right to judge me. You don't know me. You have no idea who I am what I have seen. The Lovelace's took me in and protected me when I should have been despised and shunned. He was kind and loving in a world that despises such things and what was his reward. To be murdered while so-called champions watched from the sidelines and did nothing."
"That was not our fault."
"There are now a whole world filled with women like you was this not your doing or was I misinformed."
"If someone gets to those girls and abuses them or forces them to abuse their ability. That is not my responsibility."
"How convenient; now you no longer sound like an arrogant westerner now you sound like every arrogant revolutionary I ever fought beside. How long I wonder till you are killing in the name of your just and righteous cause."
"Here is how this works." Buffy hissed, "You are not killing any Slayers today you have a problem with that plan your going to have to go though me."
"Be honest, you've been wondering how this would go since you found out about me, since you saw what I could do. You've wondered. I know I have been wondering since Xander first spoke of you."
The two warriors stood with tense anticipation. Every muscle tensed.
Roberta knew that her advantage lay with the fact she had brought guns to this battle. She swiftly levelled the shotgun firing a round. Buffy's body seemed not so much to dodge as it blurred. Roberta tracked the moving shadow pumping round upon round at it but Buffy was incredibly fast.
The two circled each other Roberta firing until the shotgun clicked empty. Buffy swept in the edge of her scythe gleaming with deadly intent. She was surprised when her sweeping strike whistled through air as Roberta weaved out of the way.
Roberta lashed out in a kick that sent Buffy sailing away. Her hurtling body was followed by bullets as Roberta sent a hail of auto pistol fire chasing her through the air.
Buffy twisted her body around and away from the assault hitting the ground and coming back toward her closing the distance in the flash. She reached out to crush Roberta fists but the Maid darted her tensed fingers out to land a blow on Buffy's shoulder causing her entire arm to go numb.
Buffy picked her up and threw her as hard as her remaining arm could through the plate glass window of a vacant store. She jumped though the shattered window landing in the semi-darkness. Roberta was already back on her feet and coming toward her in a relentless stride. Buffy could see the wounds she had sustained going through the window healing even as she walked.
"The secret to defeating any opponent Senorita Summers is not about skill, or ability. It is about strength of will.
“Then I guess we are about to find out which of us wants to win badly enough.” Buffy smiled grimy falling into a defensive stance.
“Indeed we will Senorita, Indeed we will.”
Garcia wasn't sure where Manuela had learned to hot-wire a moped but they were making good time to ....wherever it was they were going. Garcia occasionally considered jumping from the bike but the streets were rapidly filling with creatures that Manuela assured him were real zombies.
"Why did you take me from the hotel are you working what General?"
"He was meant to think so. It made it easier to get close to you and get his banking information."
"So if you aren't working for him who are you working for?"
I'm working for me Young Master I am pursing my own agenda and you are a very important part of that plan.
"Roberta will find me you know."
"I have every faith that your maid will come for you soon. Do you know anything at all about your Catholic religion?”
"A little,” Garcia answered “Why?"
"Did you know that Jesus allowed himself to be sacrificed as part of the ceremony of atonement by taking the sins of the world on himself he offers believer the opportunity to be cleansed from sin. The interesting thing is that atonement is a practice older then Christianity. Religions and gods older then you can imagine have always known only by using the truly pure and innocent is one cleansed of sin."
"So that's why I'm here your going to offer me to some ...thing?"
"You are here because I want death. I want it more then you can ever know and you are going help me make it happen."