The Black Court V.S. Oracle Securities Round II
I do not own the Dresdenverse or the BuffyverseAuthor's Note:
Sorry for the delay. I'm still with this fic, but I'm have a little more difficulty getting the scenes out on paper – I still have the course of the story in mind, and some individual scenes, but the rest is taking a bit more work. Please bear with me.New City, Same Enemy
Chapter 14: The Black Court V.S. Oracle Securities. Round IIOracle Securities, 3rd Floor
Abigail St. Pierre was not tired.
She knew she should be. It was two in the morning, and she hadn't slept for nearly thirty hours. Between patrolling last night and spending all the time she had in-between practicing her magic or going up against Mark and his men in hand-to-hand practice – and getting thrown on her ass each time, unless she used her magic in the fight, which was part of the whole point of the training – she hadn't stopped for sleep. She was too wired, both on adrenaline and caffeine. Something was going to come. She knew it. She didn't know how...just one of those gut feelings you get, like the cops on the TV shows.
So instead, she was pacing through the halls of the Oracle Securities building, floor by floor, working her way downwards. She had purposefully chosen to put the room she'd made her home – such as it was – in one of the rooms near the top of the ten-floor building so that she could work a healthy exercise every morning coming down from it. You didn't fight the supernatural by being out of shape. And it doubled as her office. By the standards she was used to, it was enormous, after all.
She wasn't a powerful magic-user by any stretch. She was damn good at kinetomancy, but that was a limited field, and she was hardly the best at it in the world. She'd probably die before she got that far. She rubbed at her eyes. She made a mental note to make herself another pot of coffee when she got to the ground floor – she was too wired to fall asleep and too tired to stay awake. Then it happened.
She wasn't powerful, by any stretch. But even she was powerful enough to feel the wards set up around the building by that Gard woman, as well as the one person skilled at wards they'd brought on board to her department. There was a veritable explosion of magic in her head, the backlash giving her the worst headache she'd ever felt for a few seconds.
The building was under attack.Oracle Securities, 1st Floor.
The two guards standing just inside the door on the ground floor didn't need magical senses to feel it. The wards immediately went up at night and blew when someone tried to force the doors – since attacking in broad daylight was not in the cards for any supernatural threat.
Two men, walking in a slow, shambling gait had been the culprits.
“What the hell-” One of them said, “I'd say they're zombies, but I can't tell it they're rotting.” He reached for his handset. “This is Johnson, at the door. We have two...people, I think, coming at the door. Walking like zombies from bad movie. We expecting them?”
The Russian-accented voice of Mark's second came back. “No. Let the wards deal with them.”
“I'm pretty sure they're people. Doesn't that go over the whole 'laws of magic' thing?” Understanding the Laws of Magic and the necessity of not
drawing the ire of the Wardens was a must at the company. Anyone who teamed with one of the magic-users for anything had to, unfortunately, devote small part of their attention making sure the magic-user didn't actually kill a human with their magic. If any humans were around, anyway.
“Gard's wards don't count, as I follow it. Or so the boss told Mark, who told me.” Petrovich replied.
“Alright.” Johnson shrugged and lowered the handset, turning to his companion. “They can't be human. Gotta be some kind of zombie.”
“They're not rotting, like you said.” The other replied.
“I don't know – they're fresh. Bet you ten dollars.”
“Oh what the hell, fine.” The shambling walkers were drawing close to the door. “Maybe we should step away from the door. Who knows how these things are going to work.”
“Uh, lightning blasts, I think.” The two stepped back. Just in time to hear a thunderclap and see the two people go flying back charred husks. The guards looked out the window. And saw five more right behind them. And...
“This is Johnson. We have five more of those zombie-men, and coming up right on behind them are at least thirty of those black court fuckers.”
Petrovich didn't waste time with cursing. “All units in the building, immediately to the ground floor. We have black court approaching. They're sending something else in to make the wards go off first.” Then he made two calls. “Mark, we're under attack. Black Court.” Then, “Boss, we got Black Court coming at us, right now.” Outside Oracle Securities
“The Renfields will render their wards useless.” Daniel said, with a smirk. “Truly you are a tactical genius.”
“Compared to you, certainly, you pathetic moron.” Gregory snapped. He folded his arms front of him, watching as his brood waited for the rest of the Renfields to -
And then the doors were kicked open and two of the enemy's soldiers stepped just outside the doors and opened fired on the Renfields, killing them before they could get to the doors. Then they ducked back inside. Daniel hissed in anger. “My lord- how can – the wards!”
Gregory just smirked. “You think too small, Daniel my dear.” The sound of a helicopter approaching came from overhead. “In this modern era, attacking from above is an extremely viable option.”Oracle Securities Roof
A black, unmarked helicopter descended upon the empty rooftop of the building. The doors slid open and ten vampires, game faces already on, jumped out.
“Lord Gregory's orders were very clear,” Natasha barked to her minions, the wind kicked up by the helicopter's blades messing with her blonde hair – to her annoyance. “No feeding. Just kill. If I catch any one of you feeding, I'll rip your heart out, are we clear?” There was a chorus of 'Yes Ma'am's in response to her words. “Alright then.” She smirked – the effect somewhat ruined by the fangs. “Let's go.” Two decades-old vampires ripped the metal door leading down into the building off its hinges with minimal effort. Within moments, all ten were inside the building.
The helicopter pilot, yet another vampire, spoke into his radio. “Lord Gregory, they're in.”
“Good.” Came the voice across the wavelength. “Take off.”
“My lord?” The pilot was confused. “Am I not supposed to serve as an escape route for Natasha?”
“No. Either she can do her part to achieve victory here, or she can die trying. If she wins, she'll be able to leave through the front door, if she loses...well, I have no need for a failure in my ranks.” The icy words of the old Black Courtier almost sent a shiver down the room-temperature body of the pilot. The promise there was clear – if you ever fail, you'll be dust shortly. Gregory of Arles had taken the gloves off.Oracle Securities, Ground Floor
“Is that everyone in the building?” Abigail asked Petrovich nervously, as she looked out a window at the vampires still massed outside.
The Russian man nodded. “Everyone. We should be fine. They have to come in through the doorway-”
Abigail shook her head. “They've been waiting there for too long. Gregory – he's smarter than this. I've never met him, but I've seen some of his tactical handiwork, back in Cleveland. He'd know a frontal charge in through the doorways would be suicide...and yet he gave us time to get everyone together down here...something's wrong.”
Petrovich had been having the same thoughts, though he'd not vocalized them. Unfortunately, he had no idea what else the plan might be. The basement of the building was entirely secure, with no connection to Undertown, and no way for an enemy to attack from below.
The idea of an aerial insertion and attack from above, frankly never occurred to him.
“The basement!” Abigail said, as if reading Petrovich's mind – and getting the exact opposite of what he was thinking. “He'll send-” She didn't even take the time to finish her thought. Before Petrovich could tell her to stop – tell her that the basement was entirely secure, she was already hurrying down into it. He didn't make much of an effort t call after her, or send anyone after her. Something about the prospect of facing this 'Gregory of Arles' character freaked her out significantly, and robbed her of her ability to think entirely rationally. Maybe not the best idea for her to be in the room when the fighting started, when it came to that.Wesley Wyndam-Pryce's Car, En Route to Oracle Securities
“Pick up damn you!” Wesley muttered furiously into his cell phone as it rang. He'd already dialed three times and let it ring out to the end the previous two times. He didn't have time to leave a message. He needed Dresden to wake up – he was, presumably, sleeping. Mark was making calls as quickly as he -
Wesley's attention was drawn away from his phone, and from the attack on his people by the oncoming sidewalk. He pulled the wheel to the side, narrowly avoiding the curb. “Pick up, pick up, pick up.” He muttered again, as it continued to ring. Finally there was a pick up on the other end of the line, Harry Dresden's voice coming through groggily.
“Mr. Dresden, I am aware that the hour is early, but I need your help. Black Court Vampires are attacking Oracle Securities. I got the call minutes ago, and they were just about to get past the wards into the building. I have no idea if my men there are still alive, or what, nor just how many vampires they have to deal with. Your skills might make the difference between life and death for any number of my men.”
When Dresden spoke this time, he still sounded tired, but less so. “I'll be there as soon as I can.”
“Thank, Mr. Dresden.” Wesley hung up.Oracle Securities, Basement
Nothing. There were no vampires in the basement, and absolutely no way she could tell for them to get in. Still, she searched. Attacking from the basement had been a favorite tactic of Gregory's brood in Cleveland. That had
to be his plan. She'd never seen the master vampire in action himself, but...he wasn't an idiot, by everything she'd seen while on the Hellmouth. Besides, vampire or no, an idiot didn't live as long as he had...
She started frantically checking every room of the basement, starting with the armory. While she was at it, her mind raced, working through possibilities, trying to figure out what the vampire was up to.He has to be planning something. I mean...he obviously knew there were wards, or he wouldn't have sent those Renfields in first to trip them. He had to know there'd still be guards on the ground floor, inside – it would be stupid of us not to have them there, and if he judges by our previous successes, he has to know that we're not stupid. Vampires do tend to be overconfident though, especially when dealing with normal humans....
But if he was overconfident, he'd have had his minions charge in as soon as the guards took out the second batch of Renfields. They're just standing there, waiting for something to happen...what then? Even if the wards were a hundred percent down, now that we've had prep time, it would be insane to just run in – you don't need to be a tactical genius – or even that mediocre at tactics – to grasp that...
It can't be standard Vampire underestimation of the power of guns – there previous battles have shown that while a bullet isn't going to kill a vampire like a stake...they can still hurt and kill the other guys – plus there's those...what did Mark call them? Dragon's Breath shells? Those have been used too....if he's not coming in through the basement.
Room after room, she kept hitting on nothing.Oracle Securities, Ground Floor
2:16 amHow long are they just going to wait there...
was the nearly universal thought passing through the minds of all the assembled Oracle Securities mercenaries.
Natasha had just one thought in her mind – showing up Daniel and Franz, and making herself, thus, look better in the eyes of Lord Gregory. The other vampires in her group had a variety of thoughts, but all were waiting for the signal to attack. They were one flight of stairs above the lobby.
Natasha, standing at the bottom of the stairs, hiding – not that hard since all the people in the lobby weren't facing the stairs anyway, their eyes firmly on the door and windows in the front, and the vampires massed beyond them – raised a hand slowly, then brought it down in a swift chopping motion. The signal.
Moving as quietly as a group of ten vampires can, they went down the stairs. Natasha slunk back into the shadows of the far wall, making her way slowly around the room, her target the doors – if she could open them from the inside...
She would be passing right over the entrance to the basement, and Abigail was coming up the stairs.
However, the ten vampires were in among the guards. Within moments, a sickening crack could be heard, then another. Two guards fell limply to the ground, necks snapped. And all was chaos. The quarters were two close for their automatic weapons, and while they all carried stakes...it only took moments for them to close ranks, giving ground. The guards and the vampires were equal in number, and while they were all trained soldiers and good at what they did, vampires were vampires. We are dead.
Petrovich thought to himself as he ducked a swing and managed to knock a vampire's legs out from under him with a lucky kick. He was rendered unable to capitalize on the fall and stake the vampire when another one of the undead knocked him to the floor with a punch.
Natasha, back to the wall, passed right over the stairs. At the exact moment Abigail turned and saw the woman slowly edging past the stairs. She didn't recognize her, and her first assumption was vampire – but if she was wrong... she thrust out her hand, “Expello!
” Natasha went flying. Drawing a stake, Abigail approached the fallen blonde, who pushed herself off the ground and turned to see the source of the spell. The two recognized eachother instantly. They'd crossed paths before.
“You're that damned kinetomancer bitch!” She charged at Abigail, “You've caused me enough trouble already!”
Abigail threw her stake and with a word, propelled it right into her target – Natasha's heart. “And you're a vampire.” With a scream Natasha collapsed into dust. She was old enough that it took a split-second longer, first her flesh dusting, leaving a skeleton for a few milliseconds before that too collapsed into dust. Abigail looked down at the leftovers of the two-hundred odd years old vampire. “That was for my mother, bitch.”
Natasha's death was noticed by two of the vampires, who were distracted for just long enough to be knocked aside. The mercenaries, as a group, kept a tight formation and hurried out of the surrounding group of vampires, short another two members, leaving a total of four bodies behind.
“Into the basement.” Petrovich said. “Regroup, get white phosphorous grenades.” He nodded to Abigail, who threw another stake – though this missed – and ducked back onto the stairs.
Natasha was dead, but all of her minions still stood. They knew plan. Natasha may be dead, but the door still needed to be opened. A race ensued to see who could open the door and thus earn Lord Gregory's favor for the mission's success. The struggled cost them vital time, though eventually the doors were opened.Oracle Securities, Basement
Once again, Oracle Securities forces were arrayed to riddle anyone coming through a narrow entrance with bullets. It was all they could do, after all. Instead of doors, though, this time it was the stairs. And this time, they had no worry about an attack from the rear.
Though that was what they'd thought four dead bodies ago.Oracle Securities, Ground Floor
“Now what, my lord?” Franz asked Gregory. Underneath his obsequious tone and manner, he was inwardly dancing with glee at the death of Natasha. Now all he needed to do was eliminate Daniel – and that would be easy. The German vampire had already planned on killing Daniel during this fight anyway – in a pitched melee, no one could be sure who killed whom. At least not sure enough for him to get blamed for it. So he planned, anyway.
And now with Natasha dead, he would take his rightful place at the right hand of Gregory of Arles.
“Now we force them out of their hole.” Gregory replied. “They need to breathe. We don't.” He nodded to two of his minions coming into the door, dragging between them a large steel barrel. “We open up and let the gas out. They'll have to come up or be knocked out – and either way they'll be ripe for the eating.” The minions set the barrel down right in front of the stairs. He nodded to several more minions, who left the building for a few moments and returned with three large fans. Once they were in place he lifted the lid and turned on the fans on. Outside Oracle Securities
Wesley and Mark were crouched near the door, watching the assembled vampires stand around the fans and the barrel. Mark had called the mercenaries that weren't at the building, and they were on their way...they couldn't attack thirty-odd vampires alone. Even a Slayer would be insane to go in like that.
“Please tell me you have a white phosphorous grenade on you.” Wesley said to Mark, double checking his stake launcher as he spoke. At the very least he aimed to take out Gregory of Arles in all this. If he could just figure out which vampire it was...
“I don't keep the things at my house, Wesley.” Mark replied. “You called Dresden, we have to wait until he or at least some of the rest of my men arrive. I don't like just sitting here anymore than you do, but-” He was interrupted by the sound of car speeding around a curve, the skid screeching across their ears. A multicolored, patchwork Volkswagen came into view. Only one car looked like that. Dresden was out of it seconds after it stopped.
“How many Black Court in there?” The wizard asked, producing his blasting rod from one sleeve.
“Thirty, give or take. Feel free to let loose with the fire.” Wesley said. “Its easier to remodel a floor than replace dead colleagues. Right now, there's only vampires on the ground floor.”
“Sounds good.” Harry Dresden went to the open doors of the building and stepped inside.Oracle Securities
Gregory of Arles produced a fob watch from his pocket and checked it. “We should be getting a result soon enou-”
” The shout from behind them drew attention. Three men were standing in the doorway. One Gregory recognized as Harry Dresden, assuming the descriptions were accurate. The others he knew to be Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and Mark Farrel. They'd arrived faster than he'd expected. He should have placed the cell-phone jammers sooner. Ah well.
His thoughts were interrupted when exactly what the wizard had said registered with him. Gregory was fluent in a dozen languages, and besides, the fire blasting out from the wooden rod in the man's hand was clue enough. Gregory and a handful of others managed to dive down as the wave of fire hit them. A half-dozen were dusted instantly, and the wizard threw another blast.
Daniel and Franz were also down and dodged the first blast. Franz, however, saw this as a perfect chance. Lord Gregory was busy trying not to die – and doing a good job of it, as he threw one of his own minions into the oncoming flame. Franz grabbed his rival and threw him, struggling though he was, into the fire as well. Note to self: Wizards are officially as much trouble as Slayers.
Gregory thought as he ducked under the third blast of fire and charged right into the three men, knocking Wesley to the ground – and getting a long gash across his chest for his trouble from the man's sword. A collapsible sword really is a good idea
The vampire couldn't help but think as be abandoned his entire brood to their fates.