Prolog: It was one sunny October day...
I'm in a Warhammer 40k phase. And to be blunt, although I love Tyranids and Orks, they are way too simple minded for me to use in this manner. And, well, the Empire is so vast and full of different factions, that they give me enough room and material to play with.Disclaimer: Neither "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" nor "Warhammer 40.000" are in my posession, they are property of Joss Whedon respective Games Workshop, I don't own anything.
–Echoes of warPrologue: It was one sunny October day...
It had been a good day for Ethan Rayne. His latest scheme was well on its merry way and he was making a nice coin on the side with it. But the best part was that he had the chance to let out his inner geek and see how some of the greatest and coolest characters ever created came to life.
At least he thought that this would happen until he noticed that nearly nobody bothered to even look at his special costumes. Very frustrating, especially considering the fact that he had spent hours after hours creating and enchanting them. They weren't like the rest of the costumes, oh no, with these he had spent extra time. But it seemed the bloody Americans weren't in the right mind, all but ignoring his best work so far.
Well, he could not force them, but perhaps he got the opportunity to sell them to some unsuspecting costumers. He grinned like a shark when three teenagers, a boy and two girls, walked in.
Navigating a crowded costume shop was not Xander's idea of fun, not since Jesse wasn't there any more. But unfortunately, he was signed up for the yearly Halloween volunteer group program this year, where he would have to dress up and lead a bunch of children around Sunnydale.
"Stupid Principal Snyder…" Xander muttered, taking a gulp of his soda as he made his way towards the gun section of the shop. The miserable little man had "volunteered" Xander and his friends for the program without giving them a say in the matter.
That was until he turned around a corner and began to drool almost immediately. Although he knew that he had not enough money to afford it, he could not help but stare. The wet dream of any real geek, that which so many young men (and less women) dreamed of. It was perfection.
“Found something interesting?”
He nearly jumped out of his skin as a British voice cut him out of his musings. “Don't ever do that in this town.”
Ethan Rayne blinked confused, before he smiled sheepishly. “I'm sorry, I did not want to startle you. Say, young man, did the best piece of my collection catch your eye?”
The answered “Yes” was nearly unidentifiable, it was more or less a series of geeky squeaks and gibberish. But then the face of the young men fell and he seemed to sober up.
“I really want to, but there is no way I can afford this.”
That was the moment Ethan had waited for. “Well, let me make you an offer. From gamer to gamer, okay?”
“Of course I do,” answered the English-man with a laugh. “Why else would I go out of my way to even try to sell these special costumes?”
Now Xander’s eyes lit up. “Costumes? As in more than one.”
“Yes, more than one. Well my young friend, how about this...” Xander totally missed the gleam in the man’s eyes. “I will loan you this costume for a night, free, if you get your two lady-friends to dress up in matching costumes.”
Willow looked sheepishly at the big box standing in front of her. She was unsure if she really wanted to do it but she had promised Xander. And what had Buffy told her? Come as you aren't? Well, even if this costume wasn't really the opposite of her, at least it was not as meek and shy and unsure of herself as she... Well, okay, perhaps it really was “as she aren't”.
She gave the money to the creepy looking shop owner and grabbed her packet, when she noticed that Buffy had bought not one but two costumes, one as a package and another one from an array of different items.
“Um... Buffy, why the second one?”
Instead of answering she just smiled first and beamed at her. “A little present for Giles.”
Xander grinned at her. “Oh, Buffster, that's a great idea. The G-Man will surely love it.”
All of them missed the interested look of the British guy behind the counter, who looked up from the cash register and smiled to himself. That couldn't be his old friend Ripper, could it? This Halloween could become one of the greatest moments of his life. At least the most chaotic one.
“I will put this one into a paper-bag for you.”
“Oh no, that's okay,” answered Buffy fast.
“I insist.” He smiled his most assuring smile at her and shoved the different items into a big, brown paper-bag. A paper-bag filled with chaos magic, but no one except him knew that.
“... so my costume got misplaced and I need a new one. And I need something that is way more impressive than the one from Cordelia and sexier and has to be at least double expensive as hers.”
Ethan Rayne felt the urge to hit his head against the counter after listening to this mindless prattle for the last six minutes. It was sickening and at the same time kind of impressive how such a shallow girl could remember so many unimportant and mindless facts.
“Do you have anything special in mind, my dear?”
“Um, no, but you're the costume-guy, so, you know what I, like, want and stuff and all.”
He repressed a sigh. “Well, what does your friend dress as?”
“How should I know?”
The urge to hit his head against the counter grew with every second. But the notice that she was willing to pay even the most ridiculous high price was helping him through this martyrium. “In this case, I suggest a very special piece especially befitting a young, attractive lady as you are.”
The thousand-dollar smile that she gave him told him that he had made a good trade.
“... and we could...”
“... this helmet...”
“Yes, yes, and when...”
Ethan watched the two young men with unabashed interest, as they whirled through his store like two small tornadoes, grabbing this and that and babbling in languages that could be demonic languages as far as he knew. It was downright frightening how they interacted, never finishing a sentence but always just in a few words and using words he had never heard before.
“And, whoa, a real...”
“... is like...”
“... cooler than an original communicator...”
“... could use as...”
It was like watching two small children who were locked in for a night inside a candy store. Only with less sugar and more geekiness. Much more geekiness.
When the two finally stood in front of him with glowing eyes and grins as big as if they had seen the breasts of Seven of Nine like God had made them, he had the urge to step a few steps back. But he repressed it and just sold them their gear. “Excuse my boldness, but may I ask what characters you choose to represent?”
They told him. Immediately his own inner geek rejoiced and he gave each off them a menacing looking toy gun for free. Just because he felt like it.
It was nearly dark and Ethan was about to close his shop, when a last costumer ripped open the door, frantically looking around and finally spotting him behind a rack of jackets. “I need a costume. A very good one and money is no issue.”
The slightly confused English-man gave her an all over, an attractive blond woman in her early forties, and smiled charmingly. Perfect.
Five minutes later she left with a big suitcase behind her, a bit unsure of her purchase but at least happy to have something in which she could go to the costume party she was invited to. Stupid last-minute invitations.
While a clearly annoyed Slayer ushered her charges back into the direction of the school, in the back of a small shop the last word of a spell was whispered.
Okay, it was not whispered, but who cares about details?
A strange wave of dizziness washed over her and she nearly fell over, only the nearby fence saved her and she leaned on it, before she stood up again and narrowed her eyes. She had no idea where she was and what had happened and where her comrades were, but she knew a Daemon when she saw one.
“DIE, DAEMON SCUM!!!” With a practiced movement did she raise her left arm and aimed the large, futuristic gun at the nearest monster before her. A glowing ball burst from it and slammed into the startled creature, burning a hole into it and sending it to the ground, screaming in unearthly horror and pain.
“Cleanse and purify!” she screamed and whirled around, drawing her sword with her right and bringing it about in a deadly movement, beheading another one of the strange, small monsters. For a moment the remaining unholy scions looked at their burning, screaming comrade and at the now headless one, before they turned tail and ran for it.
She fired two more shots, missing both times, and watched how they ran. Then she activated her vox-unit and sent out a general broadcast. She just hoped that whatever happened had not left her stranded alone in this strange world. “This is Inquisitor Buffy Summers to all imperial forces. Respond in the Emperor’s Name!”
“BURN!!” With a loud war cry, he ignited his flamethrower and let loose a brutal wave of flames against the charging monsters and strangely dressed humans. Screams of pain and death echoed across the street as the weapon did its grisly work.
"Come and taste the Emperor's wrath!” he yelled at the survivors and drew his sword. The survivors decided, in a rare moment of clarity, that it wasn't a good idea to attack the armored behemoth with the oversized weapons and scrambled away.
He allowed himself to smirk under his helm as he watched them flee and then activated his vox-unit. “This is Sword Brother Xander Harris of the Black Templars. I'm at your service, honored Inquisitor.”
The lone hooded figure tried to hide in the dark back of an alley when her vox-unit heard the broadcasting, but before she could answer a single Xeno came into her direction, fangs and claws ready to strike.
With a single strike did she slash out with her energy-axe, slicing off the arm of her would-be-attacker and startling him, before the long robotic arm that grew out of her back grabbed its head and crushed it in a matter of seconds.
For a few seconds did she look around to see if something else had spotted her, but nothing was moving. “Enginseer Willow Rosenberg responding. What is your position, Inquisitor? I will come to you.”
“DIE, BLOODY XENOS SCUM!!!” he screamed and fired his bolt-pistol at the two screaming and wildly cackling small creatures and killed one. The other one jumped him and only his long experience saved him as he made a step to the side and hit the small thing with the pommel of his sword, stunning it for a second.
A quick strike with his sword did short work of the monster and nearly beheaded it, spilling warm blood everywhere. Even on his freshly shined boots. “Oh, balls. I will kill that bloody bugger who is responsible for this!”
He growled and lit himself an LHO-stick, before he grabbed the wireless and barked into it. Not because he was unfriendly, it was just because he was pissed off and had not had a drink the whole day. “Commissar Rupert Giles here! Where do you want me, honored Inquisitor?”
For a few moments she thought about answering the broadcast, before she decided against it. She didn't have enough information to make the right decision in this moment, so she hid in the shadows of a large building she found himself in front of, then sneaked into the attic and observed the situation from there.
She saw small and bigger monsters running around, harassing humans and each other, screaming and yelling and making a terrible ruckus. It seemed to be a primitive world somewhere in the Empire, now overrun with Xenos and what seemed to be Daemons.
Watching how a woman in a catsuit was fleeing from a big, hairy monster, she had the urge to cheer the monster to run faster and catch the bitch, before she repressed it.Where did that thought come from?
asked assassin Harmony of the Vindicare Temple herself. She had no idea.
In perfect unison they whirled around, leveling their HEL-guns in an instant and fired away, reducing the would-be-attacker to dust. The other three humanoid creatures watched it with horror on their faces, but before they could act or flee they found themselves the victims of another brutal salve of High-Energy-Laserbolts.
For a few seconds there was only silence, filled with the distant sound of sirens and screams, before the two armored figures began to move again, running into cover and hiding there.
While the slightly bigger one still held his HE-Laser-Rifle in both hands and checked for danger, the other one activated the vox-unit in his helmet and answered the broadcast. “Kasrkin Levinson and Wells to Inquisitor Summers. What can we do for you ma'am?”
“Begone, in the Emperor's name!” the shrill voice screamed, followed by the loud, whumping sound as bullets the size of a small fist were fired out of a massive, heavily engraved bolter. Two small monsters were hit head on and nearly exploded, splattering brain, blood and bone-splinters into every direction.
The remaining three mutants decided that there were easier prey then the armored woman with the giant rifle somewhere and tried to run, only to fall victims to another salvo of shots. “Feel the Emperor's wrath!”
One of the small creatures was only hit in the leg and tried to crawl away, but a second later the armored gray boot of his enemy stopped him by landing his back and pinning him. A second and a single shot with a smaller bolter gun later, it was over.
The woman's armor was splattered with blood and other bodily fluids, but she ignored it while activating her vox-unit. “Sister Joyce of the Adepta Sororita responding. What are your orders, your holyness?”
For some reason Ethan Rayne did not have a good feeling about the night.