A slight smirk appeared on Sam Zabuto's lips on the sight of Sunnydale High. Considering exactly what most teenagers thought about High School, it was quite ironic that the Sunnydale Hellmouth was directly under the place.
The man's amusement died as Kendra, stepped ahead of him, reminding him of the reason for his coming here. Namely, to protect the Hellmouth until Kendra's predecessor, Buffy Summers, recovered from her coma... if she ever did. Although the damage inflicted on the American Slayer was reported as relatively limited, not counting the blood loss of course, already eight days had passed without her waking up, something the doctors had expected to happen days ago.
The dark – skinned Watcher was still angry at the higher ups in the Council for failing to inform him about the unprecedented occurrence, and he didn't doubt Mr. Giles was annoyed about it as well. What the Hell had Travers been thinking? Had something happened to result in Kendra being sent here, or Miss Summers being sent in Jamaica, it could have easily resulted in one of the girls killing the other, believing they were dealing with impersonator.
There was also the matter about the state of affairs in this place right now. In his conversation on the phone before coming here, Giles had hinted that there was a problem here, originating from the same magic that had weakened the American Slayer so she had been injured, but the information provided was distinctly lacking in details.
Well, he would find out the details soon enough.
Giles grimaced at the stench that suddenly filled the library, right before Angel showed up, wet from head to toe, and some odd yellow substance covering a good portion of his body.
“Don't ask.” the vampire with soul growled. “Trust me, you don't want to know.”
Angel shook his head. “Nothing good. Xander informed me that some of the growth in the sewers near the warehouse he's hiding in has been infested. He has also sensed rats having the virus, but not to a level that would allow him to control them. He said the more complex the living thing, the more it would take to be affected.”
“Damn it.” Giles swore, everything indicated that his old friend's
little joke had unleashed something that could make the Black Death look like a common cold for the simple reason was indiscriminate species – wise. “Can't Xander do something about it?”
A grimace of disgust appeared on the vampire's face. “He already does. Everything infested that moves and is within his range is being ordered to go to the warehouse, where he promptly kills it. I helped move some of the stuff that can't move on its own that is affected. You won't believe what the place is beginning to look and smell like. He might well stop worrying about being attacked by vampires or demons there. No self – respecting vampire would choose it as a lair.”
“Bloody wonderful.” the Watcher grumbled, unconsciously scratching the place a very old magical mark was tattooed on his arm. The had no illusions of what the visions in his sleep meant. His past was was coming to bite him, and the timing couldn't possibly be any worse. Giles realized he had
to tell them, for it was likely that with the Sleepwalker active, Ethan would most likely show up in Sunnydale again. “Any good
“Well... I found where Dru moved after I killed Spike.” Angel said. “But it seems that he was gathering minions for something, and now they stick with Dru. And even with her weak as she is, I can't take on all of them on my own.”
“Then it's a good thing Kendra is here.” a voice said from the library door. “Really, Rupert, one would think you would come up with a more secure place than this. Convenient or not, the school is a public building. It's begging to get attacked.”
Giles spun to face the newcomer. “Sam.”
“Rupert.” the dark – skinned man nodded, walking towards the table, only to have the girl, who until then walked a step behind him, move forward to stand between him and Angel, stake drawn. “You must be the vampire with soul I read about in Rupert's reports.” the man said calmly to Angel while placing a hand on the girl's shoulder to prevent her from attacking.
“I am.” The vampire confirmed.
“I don't know what your arrangement with Rupert is, but if you are to work with Kendra, there are some issues to be addressed first.” Zabuto said, then a faint smile appeared on his lips. “But it can wait a few hours. For now, I suggest you clean yourself up. Right now, I'd like to discuss a few things with Rupert, and some of it are not for outsiders' ears.”
Kendra felt her cheeks going hot from her Watcher's 'choice words' for Ethan Rayne, someone he had apparently known of... with nothing good about him, after Mr. Giles informed him of the situation in Sunnydale.
“You are absolutely sure there's nothing we can do to help the young man?” Zabuto asked as he calmed down a bit.
“I've been researching Janus, as well as the type of magic I know Ethan to be using ever since that night. So far, nothing, and to be honest, I don't expect us to find anything of use anymore. Not amongst the magic the price of which Xander would be willing to allow us to pay the price for in order to help him, at any rate.” Giles rubbed his temples. “But even if we do, it won't solve the problem. From the information Angel passed on, an eighth of the town is already a potential biohazard zone. And it will only get worse. The only good thing in the whole mess is that the biological particle responsible for the mutation is, according to Xander, in a form that would not trigger a mutation in a complex life form unless it reaches certain level of concentration in the bloodstream. However, Xander believes that the only thing that could eradicate it completely at this point is nuclear fire. His words, not mine. And under the circumstances, I think his opinion on the situation is the most accurate.”
“Because it is so helpful.” the Watcher of the Jamaican Slayer said sarcastically.
An indecipherable sequence of emotions crossed Giles' face for several seconds.
“Xander... he told me a way this can theoretically be stopped.” Giles said slowly. “This was the one time he got out of the warehouse he has confined himself to since Halloween. He got to a phone booth and called me during the night. He explained to me that his mutation is incomplete, since there was no source of new organic material for substantial altering of his inner organs and adding new limbs as it would have most likely happened, or a protective environment to allow him survive the alteration. He believes that if he was to complete the transformation, he would be able to mentally link to the mutagenic particle and shut it down. It would do no good to those already mutated, but the others could be saved.”
“And the catch is?”
“Right now, his alterations are relatively minimal, and his mind, as far as Angel can tell, is intact, so there is some chance that he could be made human again. However, if he allows himself to transform, that chance will most likely be lost, and there is no way to guarantee that the instincts coming with his new genes won't take him over, making the situation a whole lot worse than it already is.”
Sam Zabuto grimaced. “In other words, the only chance we have of a reasonable resolution to the problem is to ask a boy guilty of nothing more than a poor taste in his choice of Halloween costume to sacrifice what is left of his humanity.”
Xander tightened his grip, snapping the neck of the very unlucky demon who had wandered into the sewers near the warehouse he was staying the last week, and which they now used as a dump for all the living things that were infested. He knew he wasn't supposed to go out, but a whole week into a damp dark place, which was being gradually filled with dead and decaying infested flesh was driving him nuts, even if the stench didn't bother him as much as he expected. And as much as he distracted himself by imagining various things he would do to the damn chaos mage for getting him into this mess, it did not quite have the therapeutic effect of killing some demons with his bare hands.
Luckily, if there was anything to be called lucky about this whole mess, at least he only had bits and pieces if the memories of the thing he was originally transformed into by the spell. Clearly remembering he'd imagined himself as 'male version of Kerrigan', he could only shudder at the very idea of remembering the neural conditioning the Confederate Ghost program, or the slaughter after the infestation, even if most of it had been Protoss. The few fragments of the memories he did
have were bad enough. The very idea of participating in such slaughter horrified him, and while he had mentioned the completing of his mutation as one of the chances to halt the spread of the Zerg infestation, the truth was, he didn't think it was a good idea, no matter how much his new instincts compelled him to do so. While she'd kept her human memories, even some of her personality, being a Zerg had caused Kerrigan to think nothing of a genocide.
And there was the little matter of the dream he'd had last night, with some sort of odd warp gate in it. He had seen himself crossing through the thing, closely followed by several zerglings and a number of drones, and a clearly infested woman. He shuddered slightly. In the dream, 'he' had paid more attention to the woman's barely concealed 'assets' than to the creatures pouring through he portal. This could not be allowed to happen.
Careful not to wake her host's consciousness, Egeria walked to the room the woman was using to work at home. There, tucked safely out of sight, were several electronic devices gutted for spare parts.
Much to the symbiote's annoyance, while her host had not repressed the events of the night it had appeared in this place, which she had almost instantly recognized as the Tau'ri thanks to the woman's memories of the star patterns, instead of opening the woman's mind to the reality of the world, the unrepressed memories had only succeeded to cause the woman to question her own sanity. Egeria strongly suspected that if she were to reveal herself without tangible proof of her existence, instead of listening the woman would seek help with her 'psychological disorder'. This was not acceptable, as the Tau'ri had advanced considerably in the twenty – four centuries, and were currently slightly ahead technologically than the humans who had turned her into a breeding machine. They would discover her in no time, and a repetition of this was the last thing Egeria wanted, for obvious reasons.
Fortunately, the technological advancements also provided the symbiote with the means to cobble together a device to convince her rather obstinate host, while helping her daughter at the same time. Egeria realized all too clearly that commanding the host's body while the host's consciousness was dormant was going way too close to violating it in the same manner as her sworn enemies did it, but unfortunately, she saw no alternative. Author's notes: Let's see the canon facts: The original Zerg species (tiny insectoids) burrowed into the other species' bodies and altered them from within. The most efficient way to rewrite the other species' DNA is through something that acts like a virus. Thus, it is the logical evolution of the means of spreading infestation. Infestation is indiscriminate; each and every being in the Zerg's way would get infested. The bodies of any being that was infested would be saturated with the infestation - inducing particle. Thus, any infested being that breathes would slowly spread the particle. Kerrigan needed a chrysalis to mature as Zerg. It extends to reason that without one, the transformation would remain incomplete. Thus, I believe that this version of the story is plausible in regard of the canon. Opinions on the matter will be appreciated. I hope you like the walking biohazard twist. In conclusion, I'd like to say that despite the fact the very idea of anyone having a Zerg costume that Halloween is slightly anachronistic due to the date of the game's release, I plan to use stuff tat is pre – SC2 liberally.