The Dresdenverse and the Buffyverse not mine. Any and all original characters and content, however, are mine.New City, Same Enemy
Chapter 11: Transfer
“I'm not sure what you want from us, Your Grace.” Denna Frost said to the man sitting on the other side of her desk. The sunlight streaming into the room from the massive windows the made up most of the outside wall of her office would normally be a problem for her client, but necro-tempered glass worked just as well to protect his kind as it did for Black Courtiers. “Wolfram and Hart is not at war with the White Council, not have we any interest in being
at war with the White Council. If we help you, we'll be giving them a gold-plated opportunity and completely legitimate reason to want to lay the hurt down on the firm's operations here on Earth, and that does not fit the plans of the Senior Partners at all. Besides which, the Red Court is currently under truce with the White Council. I was unaware that the Red King had changed that policy.”
“The Red King is betraying the Court by agreeing to that truce.” The man – thing – in the chair across form Denna said in accented English. “We had the White Council on the ropes, and instead of pressing our advantage, he let that white-belly Raith talk him into agreeing on a truce. We do not make peace with our enemies, we destroy them.”
“You and what army, if I may ask?” Denna asked politely. She had no worries about provoking Baron Fernando Zaragoza of the Red Court. He was on Wolfram and Hart territory, and if he did attack or kill her, his life was forfeit, and the Red Court would have no cause for war. He was the guest, after all. “
All I see is one pissed off Red Court Baron, and I think the war has proven that any Wizard worth the name can chew through your kind by the dozen. It has been your numbers that have given you the victories you're crowing about, and even those need time to be replenished.”
“I have brought with me to this city eighty-seven of my kind that are loyal to the Court, and not to the King. Others of my class that think as I do have gathered their own forces for the same effort. We will continue the war against the White Council, and when the Red King comes to his senses, or is overthrown by others who do – then we shall be richly rewarded for our efforts on behalf of our kind.”
“Again, I'm not sure what you want Wolfram and Hart to do. We're willing to provide a wide range of services, for a fee, but we cannot facilitate your illegitimate continuation of war against the White Council and its agents. Specifically in this case, I assume you're here for the Warden Dresden.” And don't I wish them the best of luck at it. Diocletian certainly hasn't been of any use recently. He's been holed up in his safehouse ever since Dresden pulled that force ring on him. I know he always gets thrown for a loop when he gets faced with something new, but until he gets his act together, we still have to worry about Dresden interfering in our operations. He's already put several cases up in smoke by keeping opposing witnesses alive long enough to testify.
“My brethren and I, if we wish to avoid the notice of Dresden until we are fully in place and ready to strike will need sustenance other than simply preying on the people of Chicago. I know that Wolfram and Hart has its own personal Dimension with a large populous of humans that we could use, therefore eliminating that security risk. I believe it is called Pylea.” Zaragoza leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers. “I wish to negotiate access to this world for hunting, or at least a steady supply of humans to feed my forces with.”
“Now we're getting somewhere.” Denna replied. “This is something we can do for you. What exactly do you have that you can offer us in return for the services rendered? I am afraid that following a few...upheavals just under two years ago, the overheads will be higher for this arrangement now than it might have been before such...events.”
Zaragoza spread his hands magnanimously, “I am a Baron of the Red Court, regardless of the Red King's recent decree to the contrary. I am not without resources of my own. How much are you asking per human?”
“Depends on how many you want.” Denna replied. “This is
the modern era, after all. Buying in bulk has its benefits.”
The War Room at Oracle Securities only held three people at the moment. Wesley, Mark and Abigail.
Wesley, as CEO of Oracle Securities. Mark as CO of all of the soldiers, and Abigail as the head of the new Magical Division.
Over the last week, they'd managed to form, both from Abigail's friends in Cleveland, and from a handful of locals, a small team of minor talents and focused practitioners – including a pyromancer acquaintance of Abigail's – organized under a new 'Magical Division', with Abigail at its head. Fortunately, the woman hadn't let that go to her head.
The three of them were assembled, standing around the large table in the center of the room, the map currently on top of all the others was of a particular 'cavern' -for lack of a better term - in Undertown, and the three tunnels that led into it, or most of the extent of the tunnels, anyway.
“Wolfram and Hart's forces have been hounding at this particular clan of Brachen Demons for the last four days, trying to get them to either leave Undertown or submit to their authority. Neither option particularly appealed, so they asked us for help.” Wesley said. “Unfortunately, they aren't near-human enough in appearance for them to just go up into the open above ground, so until a better option presents itself, we'll just need to defend them. This is going to be the first part of our effort to establish and maintain a permanent presence in Undertown. We can expect a standard force of warrior breeds and nothing particularly creative this go around. We can expect to be outnumbered severely, however, and for them to attack through all three tunnels. We can't let them into the main cavern. Mark? What deployments did you have in mind?”
Mark nodded, “If we place the heavy machine guns Baldwin just delivered here, and here,” He pointed at particular spots in the left and right tunnels, “and the bulk of the remaining forces here,” a spot in the center tunnel, “We should be able to keep the Wolfram and Hart forces occupied for as long as the supply of bullets keeps, in theory. But there is a practical limit to just how much we can stand to be outnumbered, and I'm not confident enough in the sword skills of myself or my men to go melee with them.”
“As long as you keep them occupied long enough, we're good. Wolfram and Hart is a corporation, and its leaders think and act like leaders of a corporation. Their Los Angeles Branch, apart from one special case, has shown that it knows how and when to disengage when the cost gets too high or success seems particularly unlikely. In order to protect this clan, we just need to show Wolfram and Hart Chicago that its not worth the effort. Killing their soldiers will help, but they have those a dime a dozen. What we need is to lay the hurt on their command staff.” He nodded to Abigail. “What we need to do is, while their forces are tied down getting killed by Mark's men, get a team close to the C&C near the front lines and thus whoever they have in place controlling the op. Specifically, your team, with myself along as well. Think you can pull that off, punch a hole through to them?”
Abigail considered, “With a little bit of luck, and as long as Mark's boys really do keep most them occupied, it should be a breeze.”
“We'll do our end, just don't go in spells blazing.” Mark said. “Don't go killing any humans with magic by mistake. Last thing we need is Wardens dropping in on us.”
“That's what Wesley's coming along for. Provide the more mundane means to shoot-slash-threaten any humans there.”
Wesley nodded. “Even if they won't have a human in charge, they will have a human adviser attached, or at least someone to make sure the demon in charge keeps with company policy.” He turned back to Mark. “So who in particular are you thinking putting on the heavy machine guns?”
Lilah Morgan was not having the best of days. She'd been busy in her office, attending to various projects when Angel's hellspawn had decided to come barging in, demanding to know more about who and what he was, because he felt he had some connection to the demon that had caused the recent rain of fire. Lilah had, in turn, offered to help him figure it out, telling him the best way would be to submit to a battery of tests – and thus finally allowing the Firm to take a look at him and what made him tick.
He'd been understandably resistant to the idea – and downright refused vivisection, but she was pretty sure she'd been getting somewhere, when the news that something was attacking the lobby came on up. Dispatching Gavin to figure it out – and hadn't that been fun – had only led nowhere. Right now, she was desperately trying to make her way through the locked down building to some kind of escape. The bodies...all the bodies dead. She wasn't particularly fond of any of them, but Lilah had always managed to maintain a personal distance from the nastier aspects of Wolfram and Hart's operations, most of the time. Certainly, she had no interest in seeing all those dead bodies piling up around her – or touching them, though it was hard not to, since there were so damn many of them.
Things had gone to hell, and not the fun variety where she got rewarded for it, but the kind where Wolfram and Hart Los Angeles was now an entirely dead branch. Literally. Never one to just roll over and die, and with any access to the only escape route she knew cut off, she figured her best bet – her only bet – was the White Room.
The thundering sound of the creature, the rock-skinned demon, coming in her direction forced her to duck into an office, hoping against hope – because dying really wasn't on her to do list – that it would pass her by.
“Hello Lilah.” A familiar voice she not heard in nearly two years came from behind her. She turned, and yes indeed, it was him.
“Manners? What the hell are you doing here?”
Manners was as unflappable as ever, despite being both dead, and being surrounded by the dead. Of course, the fact that The Beast posed absolutely no threat to him – seeing as he was already dead – was probably part of it. “The Senior Partners sent me here to oversee your transfer to a different branch.” He said.
“Transfer? That thing is killing everyone in the building.”
“Certainly seems like a good idea to get out of here, then, doesn't it. You're planning to go the White Room. That is where you need to go if you want to accept the transfer, but if you don't, well, I'm only authorized to offer you the new post once, and well, if you turn it down, I'm afraid you'll be finding yourself dead. And I'm sure you don't want that.”
“Where is the transfer to?” Dying was not at all on her to-do list, but then again, she was also not the least bit interested in serving in one of the third-world dimensions. She'd take her chances with a run for the escape tunnel through the supply closet rather than that.
“Wolfram and Hart Chicago. An old...friend of yours is giving us some trouble, and the Senior Partners have decided that right now, they're going to cut their losses in Los Angeles for the moment anyway. At least until this situation gets resolved by Angel.”
“You're just going to let him solve it?”
“As long as he's still possessed of that annoying soul, the Senior Partners have decided to make use of it. Now, do you accept?”
It wasn't a hard choice. Chicago or death. Chicago or death. Hell, she'd never been to the Windy City, why not start now?
“Good.” Manners said, no change in his tone. He cocked his head. “It sounds like its passed. I suggest you get moving if you want to reach the elevator and the White Room soon.”