I haven't had much time to write lately, what with exams and everything. This one isn't as long as some of the others but I like it all the same.
A long time ago, thousands of years before Leif Ericson or Christopher Columbus’s world changing journeys that altered the face of the map, the inhabitants of the continent that would one day be known as North America were in trouble.
Demons. The supernatural threat that few humans could stand up against.
The people had wards around their campsites to protect them against many of these dangers, but there were still creatures who were stronger, who saw the wards as little more than an annoyance.
Eventually, a meeting was called amongst the tribal leaders. They traveled across great distances, accompanied by their most powerful Shamans and their greatest Warriors to aid them.
They reached a quorum and eventually came to a decision.
They waited until a great storm arrived to implement their plan, and as the winds reached a crescendo, the Shamans began to chant. They poured the power of their very souls into the spell, to do what the Shadow-men who had long ago formed the Watchers Council had done. They created a mystical warrior, one capable of standing up against the forces of darkness.
That night they harnessed the spirit of the Thunderbird.
When the spell had concluded, one of the Warriors, whose name was lost to the ages, became the first, in a long line of soldiers against the dark. He became the first man to hold within him the strength of the Thunderbird, a creature so powerful that it could steal a whale from the ocean and create hurricanes with a beat of it’s wings.
The Warrior spent his life using the power he had been given in order to combat the creatures of the night, and when he eventually died, in glorious battle, the spirit of the Thunderbird searched out a new host, one that was considered worthy of its power.
It found it’s host in the man’s brother, who had fought alongside him, and continued to do so alone for many more years.
And so, a tradition was formed, when one Warrior fell in battle, one of his brothers-in-arms would be called upon to take up the mantle of the Thunderbird. To avenge his predecessor and to continue to protect their people. This tradition continued for thousands of years and continues to this day.
I had met the man on my road trip. James Proudstar of the Apache people. The Thunderbird to a very select few.
I met him in much the same way the gang and I met Faith. By stumbling across a demon attack and watching him beat the crap out of them.
I was stuck in town for a week while my car was getting even more repairs. So not fair. I did unspeakable things back in Oxnard to get the thing running and it crapped out on me. Anyways, I figured I’d try and help him out with the local demon problem while I was there. I admitted to not being much, but Buffy has lived for so long because she has people watching her back, so I decided to do the same thing for him while I was in town.
He didn’t take it so well. Turned out that James had inherited his position from his older brother John, who had sacrificed his life to save him during a fight. But he couldn’t really stop me when I showed up at the demons nest, stake in one hand, axe in the other, and dared him to make me leave.
In the end it was probably a good thing I was there, cause, according to the legends, nobody really knows what would happen if the Thunderbird died alone.
James died after taking out three of the demons. I used my new power to kill the fourth.
I stayed in town for the funeral. Said my goodbyes and gave his parents my condolences.
Then I left town. The demonic threat had passed and I had given up on the car, so I ran. With the power of the Thunderbird within me I could literally run all day, so that’s what I did.
I made my way back home to Sunnydale. Met up with Giles, who was shocked to say the least. Turns out that the Thunderbird was considered a myth to the Watcher’s Council. Yeah, I had laughed, so were Hansel and Gretel, and Buffy killed them last year.
It was an interesting year. Buffy had welcomed help with the Slaying. Her courses were cutting into her patrol time anyway. Too much homework.
When the Initiative revealed themselves they expressed a huge amount of interest in me and Buffy. She refused their offer but I actually enlisted with them. Got paid enough to move out of my parent house and all I had to do was a revised basic training program, (a snap, it was like I was relearning the skills that I had forgotten from Soldier Boy), and take the troops with me out on patrols. I even got a sweet pair of kukris from their armory.
I did have trouble not killing the ‘HST’s’ when the scientists wanted to study them though. The Thunderbird was supposed to kill demons, not capture them.
For the most part it was decent, right up until Director Walsh tried to kill Buffy. Then things got messy.
I went AWOL. Ditched the Initiative to stand with my friends. They put me on the hit list with Buffy.
Riley Finn later joined us. He’s a good guy, a good soldier, though it took a lot of work to convince him that the Initiative wasn’t what he thought it was.
Bu the Initiative had been worse then we had feared. Turns out they had been drugging him, and all the other soldiers in their care, and the two of us went through a painful withdrawal.
But the real evil of the Initiative turned out to be ADAM. A monster made from demon, human and mechanical parts that turned on its creator.
He managed to fill the power vacuum created by the death of Mayor Wilkins, and took control of the local demons. His plan was frighteningly brilliant. He ordered them to allow the Initiative to capture them, so that, when the time came, he could release them and set them on the soldiers. He intended to let the demons and soldiers wipe each other out, and then use the parts to create a new species in his own image.
“Thunderbird, Slayer,” ADAM greeted us with our old operation designations, not terribly original I admit but a hell of a lot better than Lilac One, “Welcome, to the birth of a new era.”
We were in his lab, a hidden area of the Initiative base where ADAM had had free reign.
“Do all of the bad guys have to speak in cliches?” Buffy asked rhetorically. She was the only one with me, Willow and Giles working with the Initiative soldiers, trying to contain the demons.
“I know what you mean Buff,” I said, “Sometimes I think that these guys learned how to speak from B-rated horror movies.”
“You mock me,” ADAM stated calmly, “No matter. You shall die.”
He raised his right arm, and we watched as it transformed into a machine gun. That was unexpected. I didn't know this guy was a Deceptecon on top of everything else.
Buffy and I dove in separate directions, avoiding the line of fire. She then moved in on him, attacking from the right as I backed away and calmed myself for a moment.
With Buffy attracting ADAM’s attention, moving much too fast for him to land a hit as she danced around him, I prepared myself for my attack.
My arms raised to shoulder height, spread out wide, I took a deep breathe...
...and brought my hands together with all my strength.
The crash created a BOOM of thunder as the force spread out in a powerful shockwave.
ADAM was caught by the explosion of power, and flew backwards through the air, only to crash into a wall. His head fell down against his chest. I think he was knocked offline or something.
Buffy had dove behind one of the consoles the instant beforehand and was protected from the destruction, albeit barely considering the state of the console.
I strode purposefully towards ADAM’s prone form, Riley had told me of the monster’s weakness, so I flipped him over onto his chest. Drawing one of my kukris, I stabbed it into ADAM’s back, and carefully cut out his power source, ensuring that he remained offline.
“C’mon Xander,” Buffy called out from the door, “Frankenstein’s Monster is down but we still need to help clean up his minions.”
Flashing her a grin, I stood, the power source in one hand, knife in the other. Striking an heroic pose, I said, “Thun...”
“If you say that before a fight one more time I will slay you,” Buffy cut me off, scowling at me.
“You’re no fun,” I pouted as I reached her.
“And you need to take this a bit more seriously,” she told me as we walked quickly back to the battlefield.
“Like you do with your puns?” I ask casually.
“Those are so different,” she protested, “Those are totally made up on the spur of the moment.”
I bite my tongue to keep from laughing, but can’t stop a snort from getting out.
As we reached the door leading to the battlefield, I comment patronizingly, “Of course they are.”
“Fine,” she scowled again, “You can say it one more time.”
Grinning full throttle now, I kick the door open and yell to the assembled mass of warring demons and soldiers, “Thunderbirds are go!”