"ICE BITCH!" Ingrid Berman knew the nickname and openly courted it.
She enjoyed the idea that most assumed she had the name because of her icy disposition and coldly ruthless work ethic.
In the business of intelligence, she was that rare female that could boast of having the fear and respect of her male co-workers.
When men saw you calmly order that a known government trouble maker be dosed with psychosis-inducing chemicals after which you personally over saw the woman being subjected to a insidious program of mental torture until she was a raving lunatic that nobody in their right minds would listen to, People stopped wondering if you could stomach the nasty stuff.
Ingrid loved the game of intelligence. She loved the subtle manipulations and gentle corruptions that subverted the soul and twisted the mind. Breaking the will of an enemy to fight or inflaming them to the point where they would throw their lives away and save you the trouble of wasting a bullet on them, she loved it all.
Others had wondered if her career was over when she had been tapped to oversee supernatural matters affecting national security. She had been quietly confident and her belief in her new duties had apparently been borne out when the Whole Slayer thing had been dropped in her lap. Others thought she just had good instincts when it came to reading the winds of change. She had an altogether different reason for her confidence.
Ingrid knew that the Slayers and Watchers would be a prime source of concern because her bosses had told her so. Not the American government, she had stopped following their orders a long time ago. She had never really served that bloated entity. They had only been a means to an end. Her real orders came from a higher authority and that authority was in a foul mood.
She was watching a television monitor in her office. the monitor was not connected to any external power source nor was it a regular part of the rooms accessories it was as new as the youthful boy with the cat ears she had found sitting implausibly on her desk when she had returned from the latest of the many meetings about the "Roanapur Situation" as everyone was calling it.
The boy's name was Schrödinger and he had delivered the monitor because his boss who was Ingrid’s boss was getting tired of waiting for the finale. He said as much while he had a napkin tucked in at his throat. He was cutting up Oktoberfest sausages and dipping them into a sauce dish at his side. Ingrid looked at the man.
With his pudgy looks, blonde hair and glasses he looked like nothing so much as a plump and innocuous little accountant. It was only when you looked in his eye and saw the vast deep well of insane genius within; you realized that far from being a stodgy little do-nothing, The Major was one of the more dangerous men on the planet.
He swallowed the bite of sausage in his mouth, "This whole experiment with the Devils Tears isn’t nearly as amusing as you had promised me Ingrid." He whined in his thick German accent. "Seeing these pathetic zombie soldiers fight is like watching children playing chess. No artistry, no beauty, no passion."
"My apologies Major," Ingrid sighed, "My contact in Roanapur has been very uncooperative especially where The Watchers Organization is concerned I suspect she has developed...feelings for one of them." She said this last with a note of disgust in her voice.
"Ahh true love, the horrors I have seen committed in the name of love almost eclipse the regular depravities of war. Still I am thinking that your arrangement with the Lawyers isn't paying off nearly as well as I would like."
"Boring little people in their boring little suits “Schrödinger complained, "And they're having all the fun."
"I could not agree more Warrant Officer," The Major said, "I mean so what if they kill some dusty old man and a so-called General, where is OUR fun. I mean the only reason they have zombies running around is because of us and here we are sitting on the sidelines now that the fun has finally started."
"I would love to see what Freu Bloodhound can really do." Schrödinger said while bouncing on the desk happily.
"...And I for one find these stories of Ms Buffy Summers and her army of Slayers intriguing." The Major said with an almost wistful tone.
Ingrid sighed, "I suppose you would like me to take control of the situation directly?" she asked.
"There is only one thing I like Ingrid...I like war utter, complete, chaotic and terrible. This South China Sea hellhole seems to have unwittingly become the breeding ground for the kind of people that would happily storm the gates of heaven itself. And rather than confront them and test their mettle, we are letting the Lawyers pull strings and make our puppets dance to a very unsatisfying tune."
"I could go there directly." Ingrid offered, "The Lawyers wanted the island cleared of life anyway and I've been longing for a chance to see what this Slayer army is really capable of."
"As have we all, my dear, as have we all. Please give my good tidings to all our little puppets should any of them survive your encounter. I should like to offer them the chance for a more satisfying campaign of terror then any of them has ever known."
"I shall make arrangements to travel there right away."
The Major grinned widely, "Now what kind of commanding officer would I be if I forced you to use conventional transport for a mission this important? Warrant Officer; please make sure of Corporal Berman’s timely arrival to Roanapur; and make sure that I have a good view of the carnage...Ingrid put on a show."
"Of course, Major." Ingrid bowed to the monitor which went dark the cat-boy twitched his ears. He placed his hands over Ingrid’s eyes.
"How long will it take to get there?" Berman asked,
"Get where?" The Boy asked innocently.
"Roanapur;” Ingrid growled with annoyance, “our destination?".
"I know; that is why I am asking. We are already in Roanapur." the boy said pulling his hands way from her eyes to reveal that they had almost instantly traveled thousands of miles.
"How do you do that?"
"If I knew exactly how I did it, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun to do." Schrödinger said airily.
"Why doesn't The Major take advantage of it if you can carry people?"
"Because,” Schrödinger said with a sinister smile, “getting there is half the fun. Now go make some noise and remember The Major is always watching."
Ingrid nodded took off her business jacket revealing the t shirt underneath. Schrödinger smiled as she saw the intricate tattoos that worked their way across her back and down her arms. You had to look at them a while before you noticed that the tattoos sometimes seemed to move and shift across her skin.
Schrödinger handed her a huge halberd, like her sister she had a taste for medieval weaponry though Ingrid thought her pole axe was a far more practical weapon then her sister's Scythe.
As if reading her Thoughts the mischievous cat-boy snorted, "I would have stolen your sister’s weapon but Summers uses a Scythe in battle and its quite effective."
Schrödinger stepped back and looked at Ingrid while forming a little frame with his fingers. "You look just like your big sister; shall I give Zorin your love?”
Although the Zorin and Ingrid were sisters and shared many things including abilities and lusts for violence. They quarreled incessantly which was why The Major had ordered the young sister to use her intelligence expertise to infiltrate the American intelligence community and report on their movements and activities.
Zorin had teased her younger sibling about having to change her name for the sake of the mission but Ingrid wasn't too upset. She had preferred Berman by far to their nom-de-guerre of Blitz.
Ingrid Berman looked at the boy with a touch of annoyance and was about to say something nasty, when the little boy disappeared, His widely grinning smile seemed to be left behind to hanging in the air.
Ingrid hefted the giant pole axe and looked around the streets of Roanapur. First things first, The General would know where the Old One was and that was where Roanapur’s defenders would most logically install themselves. As the Major had said...it was time to go put on a show.
Ingrid looked around the street if she was going to war she'd need something more practical then office appropriate pants suit. She quickly saw what she was looking for. Two zombies in FARC uniforms shuffled toward her. She grinned between the two of them she should be able to build an outfit worthy of the name.
The General was desperate to get out of the city. He wasn't stupid enough to think he'd survive very long. If the Lawyers didn't get to him then Chang and The Russian would almost certainly do the job.
The Drug Lord tried everything he could think of to escape his Hotel Moscow guardians. He tried threats, bribes, and offers of power, money and women. In a moment of enlightened desperation he even tried men. The two Russian soldiers were not moved in the slightest.
He was getting truly desperate when a knock sounded at the door.
One of his guards responded in Russian but the knocking continued. The man reacted by levelling his weapon at the door. He repeated his words; obviously a pre-arranged code was not being given. Whoever was on the other side of that door was not a friend of Hotel Moscow.
He raised his weapon along with his partner. Taking aim at the door the man asked for the password once more.
The door exploded inward as several feet of halberd spike slashed through the door.
The two soldiers opened fire. The shadowy figure danced backward reeling in the hail of bullets before dropping unceremoniously to the floor. The men moved forward slowly, guns at the ready. When they reached the figure, they rolled it over and the General from his chair saw a woman in tattered army fatigues.
Suddenly the halberd she had not let go of came up stabbing its full length into one of the soldiers, ramming though the man's stomach.
The woman holding the weapon rose up apparently unharmed. She stepped though the remains of the door while raising her weapon, and the man impaled on it. The second guard opened fire again but this time the woman used the dying soldier high enough to block the first few shots from his partner.
"Greetings General, “she said causally as she backed the panicking soldier across the room. “It would appear you can still be of some slight use." Ingrid used her leverage to hurl the impaled body at the other solder knocking him to the ground.
She marched quickly across the room to stand over the tied up General. "I need to know where the Old One is hiding, you can help me find her and maybe live or ..." She turned and threw her halberd across the room to pin the still living solder to the wall. The man died instantly.
Ingrid swiftly untied the General and frog-marched him to the door, snatching the poleaxe from the wall in the process. The soldier's body slumped to the ground.
"If you attack the Church...The Russian and the Slayers are there. They won't let you though."
"I wasn't planning on asking them. "
"What about them?" The General asked pointing at the dead bodies
Ingrid shrugged "Waste not, want not." She produced two vials of the Devil’s Tears and emptied the contents into the dead bodies.
The General watched as the corpses started twisting and eventually rose up under their own power
"You follow our commands now understand," Berman snapped; the zombies nodded, "Then gather your fellows and join us where they are hiding the Old One." The newly raised zombies nodded and shouldered their weapons and left.
Sheu Yen looked at the shuffling zombies in amazement, "This is incredible."
Ingrid turned the spike portion of her weapon on the General forcing him against a wall. "Make no mistake General, you are living on borrowed time. How long I allow you to survive will depend on how useful you make yourself. Now come along I suspect the rest of our new army will need direction."
"Our new army?"
"You're a General I'm giving you a new army to lead. Think of it this way; if you win this battle you will get the last laugh on the Russian and your fellow Triad gangster."
The Zombies filling the streets of Roanapur were simple things but they could follow orders and small group was following them now. They shuffled their way to a large warehouse. One had not risen but that would deal with now. The hordes found their way to a dark corner of the warehouse where they stood over the broken body of Alberto.
As they had been ordered to do, the ones who had them removed vials filled with the crystal tears and emptied the contents on the carcass. It began to stir and spasm. A few more that had captured a few random citizens, dragged them forward. The carcass reached out and grabbed at them and the people began screaming in agony. In moments the innocents were dead, their flesh stripped from their bodies. The creature who had once been Alberto stood up. His body still bore the ravages of his battle with Roberta.
The crowd of Zombies partied and Alberto saw they were being lead by a female Gringo and a Chinese man in a uniform his recently undead brain allowed him to remember General Sheu Yen. The man the Marines were hunting.
He addressed the gringo female, "What are you? You aren’t human I can tell that much."
You aren’t that human anymore yourself fortunately that fits in perfect with my plans and schemes"
“What schemes?" Alberto asked suspiciously.
I plan on seeing this entire town burning roasting with its defenders suspended from spikes like the one I wield. You are the first of my new troops but there will be others."
"...And why do you think I need your help to destroy our enemies." The FARC commander asked.
“Because you were a piece of meat on the floor until I brought you back. If you want your revenge on the Bloodhound you will help me attack them at the Church."
"We can discuss it on the way I have a few more of your fellows to being back to life and fortunately some of the good General’s troops on the mainland. It will make converting them into undead troops much easier.”
“What happened to the rest of them?” Sheu Yen asked.
"The ones that were not killed by zombie attack made it to the Slayer Island. Ex-slaves make for particularly dangerous foes especially when motivated by good old fashioned hatred. They were slaughtered like cattle."
The Woman turned to undead troops arrayed around them. "Our enemies make their last stand at the resting place. Go and make sure they are kept entertained until I arrive."
Alberto snarled in angry rage, "Nobody kills Rosarita save for me."
He turned to one of those who had raised him from the dead. "Corporal, why are you walking around with that knife still in you?"
Corrado smiled and removed the knife Xander Harris had buried in his throat earlier in the day. "The Watcher sir, I'm saving it for him. I came close to killing him once I plan to finish the job."