Chapter Twenty Seven
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and never will. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Legacy of the Aldendata belongs to John Ringo. I can only claim ideas that come from sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
Crawford St Mansion
Trick sat back in his throne like chair and surveyed the room before him. The vampires that had survived the fight with the Slayers and their friends were whooping it up. It was a pity that they hadn’t been able to scare up a few victims for the party but they made do with copious amounts of alcohol and bagged blood stolen from the hospital.
Getting to his feet he grinned at his minions.
“Tonight we celebrate the death of both Slayers!” He shouted. There was no way that those two bitches had survived the night. Faith had copped two bullets in the stomach and then he had locked all of them in a room with a werewolf. Not even Slayer healing could fix being ripped to shreds.
The vampires hoisted the bottles they were holding in the air and cheered.
Trick raised his hands for silence. “With the Slayers dead and Wilkens gone we now run this town and the Hellmouth!”
“The streets will run with blood!” One of the vampires yelled.
“That’s right!” Trick said. “From now on Sunnydale will be a place where vampires can feast at will..”
Whatever it was Trick was about to say was interrupted by a metallic cylinder that flew into the room and bounced on the floor.
“What the…” Then there was a burst of blinding light.
Blinded and with a ringing in his ears Trick staggered about, almost tripping over his chair. Around him he could hear shouts and screams as well the distinctive ‘whoosh’ that meant a vampire had been staked.
Trick was no fool. He knew when it was time to cut and run and by the sounds of the fighting now was that time. Even though still half blinded and his ears still ringing he started to make his way out of the room and towards the tunnels that ran underneath the mansion.
He’d staggered as far as the door when he sensed something was in front of him.
“Going somewhere Prick?” He heard a voice that he didn’t recognise say before a car slammed into his chest and sent him flying across the room. Well at least, that’s what it felt like. Coming to a halt at the wall on the far side of the room he blinked rapidly to stop the world from spinning and to get rid of the purple after images in his eyes.
Looking around he saw that the vampires who had been with him, the survivors of the toughest crew of demons he could gather, were gone, leaving only some drifts of ashes on the floor and scorch marks on the wall.
In their place stood four figures, three of them were wearing black and grey body armour, two of them carrying swords and the third holding a high tech looking rifle. The fourth was a hulking metallic figure with emerald green shoulders. Trick knew who it was even though they had never met. It was ‘The Threshkreen’, the creature that had been killing the vampires and demons in numbers greater than both of the Slayers ever since it arrived in Sunnydale.
Pushing himself to his feet Trick realised that he’d better talk fast if he wanted to stay in one piece. It was obvious that this ‘Threshkreen’ had decided to make a play for control of the Hellmouth and it looked like it had the muscle and the resources to do it.
“Look Threshkreen if you wanted part of the action all you had to do was ask.” Trick said as he adjusted his coat lapels. “I could use someone like you in my organisation.” He had a feeling that the Threshkreen would not be satisfied with just a piece of the Hellmouth but Trick was willing to play the ‘loyal toady’ till he found the demon’s weak spots and then take over. Unlike a lot of other vampires he could be patient if he had to.
“Sorry Tricky Boy” One of the armoured figures said and Trick’s eyes widened when he recognised the voice.
“No!” He mumbled as the figure reached up to remove its helmet with a T shaped visor to reveal the face of the girl that he killed earlier in the evening.
“Yes!” Faith smirked, placing her helmet on the floor. “Betcha didn’t expect to see me again did ya?”
Next to Faith the shortest figure removed her helmet to reveal Buffy. She didn’t say anything, just glared at the vampire in front of her. The third figure reached up to its helmet but didn’t remove it, just pushed it back to show the face of Charles Gunn. With expert hands he checked the plasma rifle he was holding before looking across to Faith.
“Do you want to do the honours Faith or should I just barbeque this son of a bitch!?” He asked. Gunn had a serious dislike for this particular vampire after Willy the Snitch had let slip that Trick intended to turn his sister.
“No babe, I’ll do it.” Faith said, remembering that it was this piece of filth that organised the ambush that captured her and her first Watcher, Dianna, back in Boston and stood there gloating the entire time that Kakistos tortured Dianna to death in front of her. She adjusted her grip on her Boma blade and for a moment considered just slowing chopping Trick to pieces.
She shook her head as she remembered the first lesson that Dianna Dormer, or ‘Double D’ as Faith had taken to calling her Watcher, had given her. When fighting evil dispatch them quickly and cleanly, never linger or draw it out.
Hefting her sword she looked at the vampire in front of her.
“Get ready to go back to Hell you son of a bitch!” She snarled as she closed in on the vampire.
Without warning Trick launched himself away from Faith and tried to make a break for it. Faith had been expecting it and lashed out with her blade.
Everyone was surprised when Trick went sprawling one way and his left leg below the knee went another. Faith had meant to hamstring the vampire but she didn’t account for her enhanced speed and strength as well as a blade that was sharp enough to slice a diamond in half with blade weight alone. Blinking she looked down at the vampire.
“Please don’t kill me!” Trick pleaded.
Faith didn’t say a word, just raised her sword above her head then brought it down.
With a meaty ‘thunck’ Trick’s head parted from his body and with an almost soft sigh turned to dust.
“For you Dianna.” Faith whispered, looking down at the pile of ash and a set of gold and onyx cufflinks that remained of one of most feared Master Vampires in the US and felt a weight lift from her soul as the vampire that had helped kill her Watcher and chase her across the country was finally destroyed.
Gunn walked over to Faith and placed a hand on her shoulder. “You Okay babe?”
Faith nodded and placed her own hand on Gunn’s, taking comfort from her ‘fuck buddy’s’ presence.
“I’m good now Stud.” She said. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.” Faith looked across the room to where Xander was picking up the still smoking ‘Flash-Bang’ grenade. “The Colonel promised us a story about what he got up to while he was away.” She paused and then leered at Gunn. “Then were going back to my place and test out that new stamina you have.”
Gunn grinned at Faith and the pair headed back to the tunnel they had used to get to the mansion. Buffy watched them go before turning to look at Xander in his hi-tech power armour picking up the Flash-Bang grenade that he had thrown into the room when the attack started and thought about what had happened during the night.
After Trick’s attack on the library Buffy had thought that they had lost both Faith and Wesley. Her sister Slayer had two bullets in her guts and Wesley had half his face torn off. Even if they had been outside Sunnydale General Hospital Emergency Room she doubted that they’d be able to save them and it would have been weeks, if not months, for Giles and Alonna to heal from the injuries they’d sustained in the fight.
But Xander had immediately taken charge, dosing Faith, Wesley and Oz with something called ‘Hiberzine’, a Galtech drug that placed the recipient into a form of suspended animation before loading everyone into Oz’s van and his own SUV. Then, instead of heading for the hospital he had driven them to his warehouse.
At the warehouse that Xander now called home Buffy had watched as Faith, looking too much like a corpse with her deathly pale skin and blood stained shirt, was laid on a device that Xander called ‘The Slab’ that looked a lot like a sacrificial alter. Less than a minute later Faith gave out a gasp and sat up, completely healed and the only evidence that she had been shot was the two bullet holes in her shirt, the Slab had even removed the blood stains from the material.
Even as Faith got off the Slab Xander was laying Wesley on it and again, in less than a minute the younger Watcher was fully healed. The only way you could tell that he had been missing part of his face afterwards was that he had a five o’clock shadow on one half of his face and he was stubble free on the other.
After Wesley had been healed it had been the turn of Giles and then Alonna to get on the slab. Alonna had got off the Slab with only a tear in her jeans to show that she had been shot but that was nothing compared with the changes that affected her Watcher when he was healed.
Buffy had always thought that Giles was a handsome man for his age but to see him suddenly de-aged to his early twenties was a shock, the younger version of Giles was definitely a hottie. And by then Joyce had arrived at the warehouse she was gobsmacked when she saw the new version of Giles and had almost fainted.
After Xander had explained exactly what the Slab had done to Giles as well as Faith, Wesley and Alonna, that they would now live to be around one hundred and fifty years if they weren’t killed and be immune to almost all common diseases, Joyce had been amazed and when he offered Joyce a ‘treatment’ she had considered it for less than five seconds before agreeing.
That was why Joyce Summers, divorcee, successful business woman and mother of an eighteen year old daughter now looked no more than twenty years old which was something else that Buffy knew would take time to get used to.
Of course she couldn’t complain, once Joyce was off the Slab both Buffy, Willow and Gunn, who had also just arrived, had got on though Willow had been a little reluctant since no one knew if it would affect her magic but in the end the idea of a long life without disease was too much and she accepted the upgrade.
Then, while everyone was still stunned by the improvements they had received Xander had produced another surprise. Armour for herself, Faith and Gunn. The armour wasn’t like the power suit that Xander wore. It consisted of a flight suit made out of the same material that the shirts that Xander had given them before they attacked the demon Balthazar though thicker as well as a cuirass, greaves, bracers and a helmet. There was something about the design of the armour that tugged at Buffy’s mind as if she had seen something similar before.
Once her, Faith and Gunn were kitted out Xander had lead them to the hideout of Trick to show him that when you messed with the Slayers you ended up nothing more than a smear of dust and a bad memory.
“Xander?” Buffy said, looking up at the faceted helmet that covered Xander’s face. “I just want to thank you for everything that you’ve done for me, especially what you did for Mom and Giles.”
Though the helmet didn’t move Buffy was sure that Xander was looking right at her.
“It’s nothing Buffy, I’m sure if the roles were reversed you’d do the same thing.” He said. “Besides I always thought your Mom is a very special person. If anyone deserves a long life to see her child grow up its her.” He paused. “C’mon, let’s get going. I promised everyone a story and I don’t think that they’ll be willing to wait too long to hear it.”
Buffy nodded and the pair walked out of the room. As they approached the entrance to the tunnel Buffy turned again to the armoured figure beside her.
Xander about the armour, do you think that you could make me a second pair of boots?” She asked. “Maybe something with a two inch heel?”
She felt herself blush as she heard Xander chuckle.
“Sure Buff, we’ll sit down and work out just how you want your armour customised, just give me a few days Okay?” Xander said, knowing that Buffy wouldn’t be happy with just a new pair of boots.
The mid-morning sun shone through the window of the small kitchen. At the table Wesley Whyndam-Price sat with a pot of tea and a cup in front of him. When he returned to his apartment just after dawn the first thing he had done was brew himself a pot of tea but he had left it untouched as he thought about what had happened the previous night.
He had seen technology so advanced it truly did appear to be magic. Mortal wounds healed in less than a minute, middle-aged people rejuvenated to the flower of their youth, fully sentient and self-aware computers no bigger than a packet of cigarettes and weapons and armour straight out a science fiction film. All controlled by the man he knew as Alexander Harrison how was in truth, Xander Harris, the friend of Slayer Summers who disappeared during the Alcathla Incident nearly a year ago.
Wesley remembered what Xander had told them after he and the Slayers and Charles Gunn had returned from dealing with the vampire Trick once and for all.
How Xander, after going through a portal had ended up on another planet light years from Earth in another reality altogether. In that reality there were no such things as vampires or demons outside of fiction and myth. But humanity was plagued with something worse.
That the governments of Earth had been contacted by an interstellar polity made up of four alien races who had been involved in a war with a fifth race, called the Posleen, for over two hundred years and the alien were no more than five years from reaching Earth. Humanity had been given a choice. They could be cannon fodder against the hordes of Posleen or they could be fodder for the carnivorous aliens.
How for over ten years Xander had fought the Posleen alongside the armies of Earth on many planets scattered throughout the Milky Way until finally they were able to break the Posleen forces and liberate Earth.
Wesley shuddered as he remembered what Harris told them the war cost humanity. Five billion dead! Only one out of every six people who had been alive when the Federation contacted Earth had survived until the siege was broken. To Wesley it sounded as bad as any of the Apocalypse scenarios the Council had in its archives. And how, once the war was over the Himmit, one of the alien races that had allied with humanity, had sent him back to this world to ensure that portals that lead to Hell were protected.
And it was the Council that had Wesley worried. He knew that as a loyal member of the Watchers Council he should immediately inform them of what had transpired here in Sunnydale and if he presented the Council with the ability to grant long life to its members that did not rely on magic his position would be guaranteed.
But if he did that he would be betraying the trust that Harris had placed in him. Wesley understood how easily it would have been to let him die from the wounds he had suffered at the hands of the vampire. A report would then be submitted to the Council, his name entered on the Roll of Honour in the main hall of the Council Headquarters and he would then be forgotten apart from a toast to fallen Watchers at the annual Watcher’s Dinner.
Instead he had been healed and then Harris had revealed who he really was and what he was capable of, bestowing on Wesley a level of trust no one had given him before in his life.
His musing were interrupted by the ringing of his phone. Frowning he went to the device, wondering who would be ringing him here.
“Wesley Whyndam-Price speaking.” He said into the handset.
A voice he knew well came over the line.
“Wesley, Travers here.”
“Director!” Wesley exclaimed in surprise. “I wasn’t expecting a call from you.”
“Yes well, the reason I’m calling is that the Council has just confirmed that the Potential Kennedy Lucas is now a Slayer.” Quentin Travers said and Wesley could detect more than a hint of glee in his voice. “Which one of the Slayers died?”
Wesley felt his frown deepen. He didn’t expect that the Director of the Watchers Council would be overcome with remorse over the death of a Slayer, the Chosen Ones had a short life span and until Buffy Summers was called few Slayers lasted more than a year. But to hear the happiness in Travers’ voice as he reported the calling of a new Slayer disturbed him.
“Director Travers, while I do not doubt that a Potential has been called, both Miss Summers and Lehane are still alive.” Wesley said softly.
“What!! How is that possible? The Potential Kennedy has been called and that can only happen unless the previous Slayer dies!”
Wesley drew a breath a made a decision. The equipment that Mr Harris was all based on technology, highly advanced technology that humanity could only dream of matching at this time but still technology and not magic. And since there was no magic involved the Council had no purview to know of its existence.
“Sir the only reason that I can think of for a new Slayer to be called would be the fact that Slayer Faith was sorely wounded last night while dealing with the Master Vampire known as Trick.” Wesley paused. “Her injuries were very severe and if it wasn’t for the assistance of Miss Summers who managed to get her to the local hospital in time Faith may very well have died.”
There was silence over the phone line for a few moments.
“You say your Slayer was injured? How badly?” Travers demanded.
“Very badly, by the time she was taken to the hospital, after she finished Trick, she had lost a lot of blood. In the emergency room I heard one of the nurses say that it was a miracle that she had survived that long.”
Again there was silence from the phone and Wesley was about to ask if Travers was still there.
“Send me a complete report!” Travers ordered curtly and hung up the phone.
Wesley gently put the handset back in its cradle. “Did I do the right thing?” He asked himself.
“Very badly,” the voice of Wesley Whyndam-Price came from the speakers. “By the time she was taken to the hospital, after she finished Trick, she had lost a lot of blood. In the emergency room I heard one of the nurses say that it was a miracle that she had survived that long.”
“Send me a complete report!” The voice of Quentin Travers answered the younger Watcher before there was the sound of a phone being hung up.
In his kitchen Xander Harris paused the recording and rewound it before listening to it again.
“Wesley Old Boy,” Xander said, picking up his coffee cup and taking a sip. “I’m impressed.”
That Wesley was willing to withhold information from his superiors was a surprise to Xander and he was definitely going to ask the younger man why he had done it but that was for later. There was another job that needed to be done.
Last night after he explained to everyone what had happened to him in that other world Faith had asked what he was going to do with all the technology he now had access to.
“Jessie, is Operation Merry Christmas ready?” He asked.
“Yes Xander, the addresses have been compiled and the files prepared as per you instructions.” His AID said. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yep, they’ll either think it’s the biggest hoax since ‘Cold Fusion’ and delete it as spam or realise what they have and think of ways to use it.” Xander said. “Send it now!”
“Done.” Jessie said and all across the world thousands of people received a new message in their In-Box that would shake their world.