A/N -- I would like to thank those who have been reading. I apologize for the lengthy delay in continuing but I hope to have more for you soon.
Faith was considering calling Slayer Central on the day that Revy finally called to proclaim the hunt was on.
Rock had an unproductive week having doors slammed in his face whenever he asked any questions whatsoever. Finally tired of making no headway he and Revy had come to an understanding. They had poked around and found out that Roberta had equipped herself with an impressive arsenal. They had then made a visit to Leroy an information broker who had done business with Roberta providing her logistical information about her prey and who had confirmed that Xander was indeed with her and was more then along for the ride. While nowhere near as armed and dangerous as The Maid, the Scooby had apparently committed himself to Roberta's war. Leroy had revealed two other important details; One, Roberta had a huge price on her head and rather then lose anymore low ranking thugs in the collection of that price the Colombian Cartel had seen fit to bring in professionals to deal with the matter. Two, Roberta was maintaining a fragile grasp on sanity with increasingly large amounts of anti-psychotic pills. The Pills were apparently suppressing her killing rage. Leroy reported that only the handfuls of pills and Xander's somewhat soothing presence were the only things keeping Roberta from going into a total berserker rage.
Realizing that it was looking like they would have a fight on their hands getting to Roberta, Revy had called on Faith, telling her they would swing by and pick her up in the car. When they arrived Fabiola and Garcia were in the back. Faith made a point of ignoring the pint sized scion. She slipped into the front seat with Rock giving her new sword a haunted look.
"Where did you get that?" He asked,
"Chang gave it to me he said it was a re-gift from Balalaika."
Revy whistled appreciatively, "Chang gave you Jumbo's sword; cool. Can you use it?"
"I don't know if I can cut bullets in flight but yeah I can use it."
"Well we'll know soon enough. Looks like Glasses Bitch is here and Xander is with her. Even worse she hired Black Death Bren to watch their back."
"Killer for hire, Very good, has some history with Harris."
"Xander, what did Xander do to get on the radar of a trained assassin."
"Bren occasionally does contract work for some outfit called the Order of something or other. According to the scuttlebutt Xander and his crew are like famous or something for taking out three of the Order's hit men."
Faith sighed, "They're called The Order of Taraka and I heard about it. It was more luck then anything else."
"Of course it was," Revy snapped dismissively "This is Dumb-Ass Number Two we are talking about."
"Thank you for accompanying us Ms Faith," Garcia stated politely
"I'm accompanying Revy and Rock and the only reason I'm doing that is if something happens to either of them, Xander will kill me and if something happens to Xander, Buffy and Willow will skin me alive."
Garcia nodded, "Nevertheless I thank you for your help I am sure that we will be able to find Roberta now."
"Somehow I suspect finding her will present slightly less of a challenge then stopping her from killing us or herself while going for her targets." Faith replied bitterly
"I'm thinking someone got the four-one-one about the Glasses Bitch's last rampage."
"Oh yeah Chang told me the entire fucked up thing. Including how it ended."
"Man that was some fight. Glasses Bitch and me scrapped for like over an hour. It was bare-knukles boxing but still that was fucking amazing and the gunfight beforehand was pure magic. Not a bad finish either... double KO."
Rock snickered a bit and dropped his head. Garcia however startled at her words "I am afraid you are very much mistaken Ms Rebecca. Roberta was the last man standing in that fight."
"Small fry I was there OK," Revy snapped, "Both of us went down. That's the way it happened right -- what are you laughing at, Rock?"
Rock started giggling louder. "If we had told you the truth, you'd have crossed the ocean for a rematch. Dutch felt it would be better just to let you keep thinking that you sort of won the match."
Revy cursed bitterly "That settles it me and Glasses Bitch are settling up when this is over. No way is she sucker punching me like she did last time either."
Now that she knew how much danger both they were in, Faith was even less sure that they would pull off the challenging task of intercepting Roberta and Xander. "Are you kidding me? This is mess." Faith cursed.
Revy on the other hand seemed almost gleeful at the battle to come. "Yeah but it's a mess we can deal with and now we know what we are up against. As a matter a fact, Rock stop the car -- I'm making a call."
"But we are so close." Garcia protested,
"We aren’t close to shit hombre, there are an army of thugs between us and her and I want some back up before I go marching into that brier patch." She climbed from the car and made a call from a payphone. She alternately cursed and cajoled into the phone and at one point screamed back asking Garcia what he was willing to pay for additional forces. Fabiola aggressively shouldered her master out of the way to demand by hand gesture that Revy keep the amount small but Revy ended up negotiating for three more fighters at combined total of over eighteen grand.
"How are you going to come up with that kind of money?" asked Faith who beginning to think she should have asked for some danger pay herself.
"I can liquidate some of the family assets."
"Yeah, how is Roberta paying for assassins and weapons by the way?" Faith asked curiously,
"Master Diego was very generous with the Head Housemaid." Fabiola insisted,
Rock responded thoughtfully "I suspect she is using the money she made during her time with the FARC.
"I didn't know being a revolutionary paid that well " Faith replied ruefully
"Normally it doesn't, but the FARC are well known pay-for-play terrorists and drug money speaks loudly in many parts of the world." Rock answered.
Garcia seemed hurt at the idea and Rock was sensitive to this.
"I mean nothing bad by that Garcia but it stands to reason, their determination to catch up with Roberta makes no sense if it was just pride on the line. I suspect that when Roberta left the Cartels she didn't leave empty handed."
"Nice, a Cartel financed retirement." Faith laughed,
"She took what she considered was a fair severance package so-to-speak." Rock explained, "I have no doubt your father has been secretly helping her reinvest and launder the money all these years."
"Why, why would my father do something like that?" Garcia asked.
"Diego wanted to give Roberta a chance to heal and atone for the things she had done. And she...she wanted to pay him back for his kindness and eventually I suspect it was about you Garcia. She was really holding it together for your sake. That's why you are the most important person here. You can reason with her where she won't listen to anyone else."
"Assuming that your medicated maid will listen to reason." Faith snapped. Garcia had been shocked when Leroy revealed the facts about Roberta's increasing self-medication. Fabiola had admitted to being aware of the powerful anti-psychotics but that Roberta had maintained she was fine.
Rock sighed again; "I'm worried about what might happen with Roberta using that devils root to confront the Slayers. If she is already wired tight enough to snap something like that can only make the situation worse."
Faith looked at the man grimly "Honestly Rock I can't think of too many things that could make this situation any worse."
Revy finally returned to the car in a seemingly bright mood, "Alright I got us some back-up lets head to the hotel and make some noise."
"Who's coming?" Faith asked curiously.
"Chinglish. She said she was bringing The Cleaner and someone else along and that they'd meet us there."
Revy's notorious habit of referring to people almost exclusively by nickname was a tad confusing but Faith recalled "Chingish" was her moniker for Shenhua a lethal blade expert. There was some professional rivalry between Revy and Shenhua but Faith found she got along fine with the Pidgin English spouting assassin. The Cleaner was obviously Fredericka Sawyer, a quietly dangerous Gothic Lolita whose principle weapon was a large and cumbersome chainsaw that Sawyer could wield with alarming grace. She was normally called in after the fighting was done to dispose of the dead or dying. A task that she performed with a care and attention to detail that was scary. However once in a while she liked to get her hands dirty in the field
Faith wondered again if all of this was really necessary. Then again she had ample eye witness testimony about the Maid's battle skills and if Xander had really stacked the deck by giving the bitch access to mojo capable of making her even stronger and crazier then she normally was then they were definitely in for a rough time.
Major Shane J. Claxton considered his next move and his opponent carefully before sliding a bishop across the board to menace the opposing queen. Riley Finn knew immediately the game was over. He sighed and maneuvered his queen out of danger exposing his defensive line. Claxton would have him in a half dozen moves, maybe less.
"You know son your always going to lose as long as you cling to the idea that the queen is more important then the King."
"I guess I like to assume that every piece on the board is important in the long run."
Claxton smiled, “They are, but the game is won or lost based on what happens to the King. As long as he is in play the game can go on for a long time."
The veiled meaning wasn't lost on Finn who smiled ruefully, “Underestimating the importance of the queen has been a error in judgment in my experience."
"She is important Finn; make no mistake. The queen can swing the battle in your favour or snatch it away but in the end the game can be won or lost in her absence."
"So why do you even need her."
"If we are still talking about the game then I'd say its because the board would look damn uneven with nothing standing next to the King."
"...And if we've moved beyond the board?"
"Same thing, our target has a fetish for dominating strong women. Slayers have become something of a boutique item in that regard which makes one an ideal operative to get close to him and capture him."
Riley looked toward the room where his two charges were resting. “I’m not sure Buff- The Watchers Council will see it that way. Given the Government's past handling of Slayer related matters they might be inclined to be less then understanding."
Claxton nodded tersely, “Your strenuous and ongoing objection to this stratagem was duly noted the last several times you brought it up Lieutenant."
"The op in Caracas was barely a success. Our agent was identified, came close to being captured."
"The presence of the civilian was a bad stroke of luck Finn but that is all it was. There is nothing mystical about that. Your Mr. Harris was following threads around the globe. It stands to reason he'd stumble across one leading to South America."
"You haven't heard from Dinkins since we left Caracas and this city has become ... uncomfortably silent the last day or so. Something is happening out there and I can't help but think the Girls are part of it."
Claxton snapped "Lieutenant Commander please summarize the sit-rep given to you less then twelve hours ago."
Riley snapped to attention. "Subject Sheu Yan of the People's Army has left his fortified base. His intent is to make contact with persons unknown to purchase a female from the black market. The General's interest has been piqued by rumors of supernaturally strong women and he wants two of his own. Our intent is to pose as the sellers and pass off our operatives as his dream dates. They will then be taken to the fortified fortress where they will affect his capture while neutralizing the HST forces that Yan has assembled to protect him."
"Thank you L-T now do you see anyway of effecting his capture without the assistance of the Slayers."
"Given the previously mentioned reluctance of those American citizens so gifted with these abilities to place themselves in the service to their country, can we count on or even expect their help."
"Do you object to a war criminal and global drug kingpin being taken for trial?"
"Do you perhaps object to the death of Lovelace in Venezuela?"
"Assuming the Intel we had was reliable then his death was a regrettable but unavoidable circumstance."
"I would have preferred that Lovelace not have been a victim but orders are orders Finn; to be carried out, not questioned incessantly like a nervous bitch."
"I apologize if my actions have been perceived as questioning the chain of command sir I was only offering my logistical support and analysis of the situation as I was instructed to do."
"Your knowledge of Slayers and supernatural matters has been and continues to be invaluable. LT but there are bigger things at stake here then the fate of two wayward girls. Their lives with us are considerably better then what they had to look forward to in that camp Dinkins found them in "
"There is no debating that point sir."
"L-T you know the Watchers, if their agent was in Caracas what will he have done.
"Alexander Harris is loyal to the Watcher's Council. He will have reported seeing a girl in Caracas and they will begin attempting to trace her movements backwards or forwards if they go back, they will find the camp, which will lead them here. If they go forward, they'll be tracking our movements, which will again lead them here. Either way our window of opportunity to leave the city is a small one."
"Then let us hope for the sake of the other poor souls in the camp, The Watcher's end up there and free them. In the main time, we have a mission to complete and I expect you to make sure those Slayers are ready to do their part when the time comes."
Suddenly the door to the Slayer's room burst open and one of the girls came out crying frantically. "Death ... Death is here, she is coming, She is coming for me."
"LT" Claxton said tiredly, this was not the first time the girl had freaked out and only Riley could calm her down.
"I'm thinking that whatever I was worried about is about to happen "
"How reliable is that early warning system of theirs LT."
"As always sir it depends on the Slayer. Buffy's ability worked in fits and starts but some have had very accurate abilities to predict events. Thus far however ours has been quite accurate."
Claxton nodded and motioned to one of the other solders in the room. "We are bugging out, scout the surrounding area while the LT here gets our packages packed and ready to roll. No engagement, just locate and ID. We'll decide what we are doing once we know what we are up against."