The shockwave from the sergeant's grenade made my ears ring and both Alex and I were scrambling out of the way from the flying debris. I dropped the body Quicksilver when we were both safely behind the van, but kept it up over my eyes.
It was quiet for second then the roar of Agent Summer's cannon started up again. Blobs of blue-white plasma came sailing out of the flames, in response but they appeared unaimed.
The sergeant called out, "Looks like they're trying to suppress us Buff!"
The short blond stopped shooting and replied, "Yeah...Jaime! Do you guys know of a better defensive position? We're kind of out in the open here."
She was right, as we were on a strip of road between a barbed wire fence with pasture land on the other side, and a burning tree line.
The older woman that had showed up called back, "Sure, our ranch. Steve you're driving."
"Roger!" the guy climbed back into the cab of the pickup and cranked the engine.
"Darien! Your crew follow the truck. Boyer and I will cover the withdrawal!"
For such a petite woman she had a pretty impressive command voice. I looked over at Alex who nodded.
"Hobbs! Get this van started!" Alex's command voice can be fairly impressive also to be honest...
The Fish and Wildlife guys clambered into their white van, while Boyer and I kept firing short bursts into the flames and along the edges to discourage any nasty visitors from getting with the closeness. When the van was well underway, I signaled my trusty sergeant to take the wheel while I jumped into the back cargo area and kicked out the glass part of the tail gate.
And then we were off...
I didn't see any pursuit, but I was pretty sure we were being followed from a safe distance. I could only hope that we would either get reinforcements or a plan before they chopped us to teeny weeny bits. Everything I knew about the Hunters seemed so out of order with this group. I mean, they were not acting like they usually did.
I needed to talk to Dutch.
"Schaefer. Vhat do you vant?" his voice even booms on a sat-phone.
"Dutch, we may have a teensy tiny problem here."
"Vhat kind of problem Summers?"
"Well, it is Hunters plural. We've taken down eight or so and we even have an intact body with all equipment."
"You haff a body?!? And you haff killed eight uff them?"
"Well Boyer and I have gotten some help. Some Fish and Wildlife guys who are as much Fish and Wildlife as we are Training and Procurement. Also a really sweet old couple that sound kinda robot-like named Steve and Jaime."
"I von't effen ask...You haff a gift... So, are there more?"
"Yup. And they are probably chasing us with evil intent. They are not doing what we've seen before. Total lack of the stalk and kill. Random violence on cattle. Having a large strike force. This is all of the off-speed for these guys."
"Agreed. Do vhat you haff to, I'm on my vhay with friends."
One thing I have to like about my boss, he is always ready to kick butt and take names.
We pulled into a comfy looking ranch place with a field with horses, I jumped out with Baby once Boyer had pulled to a stop and scanned the horizon looking for things I couldn't see. Story of my life.
Boyer started grabbing weapon cases and hustled inside the low main house. I slung Baby and grabbing the last two gear cases followed him.
Inside it was really nicely decorated and I told Jaime so. She looked kinda surprised at the compliment, but smiled anyway.
Steve looked over at the two of us chatting about the window treatments and raised an eyebrow, while my 'loyal' aide rolled his eyes.
"Uhm..." I said intelligently, "I'm Buffy Summers, Captain US Army. This is my aide Sergeant First Class Standish Boyer."
"Darien Fawkes, US Fish and Wildlife...What? It is the truth...sort of."
"Well I'm Jaime Austin and this is my husband Steve."
Bobby's eyes bugged out, "Colonel Steve Austin? The astronaut?"
Steve looked embarrassed, "Well yeah, but that was a long time ago. Now I'm just Steve Austin, private citizen."
I remembered Steve Austin, youngest man to walk on the moon. I had heard somewhere that he had been in some kind of plane crash which was why he stayed out of the public eye. I noticed Summers and her sergeant had sidled over to the windows and were carefully scanning the approaches, so I sidled over to her.
"Uh yeah...Can you see anything with the silver-o-vision?"
I snickered slightly and Quicksilvered my eyes. There was nothing immediately visible. "Nope. We're clear."
"Then they must be making with the plannage. We hurt them. We hurt them a lot. These guys aren't used to being schooled this bad."
Her sergeant nodded in agreement, "Got that right Buff. We've taken out probably as many today, as they've ever lost total on Earth. They are gonna be truly pissed."
"Good, angry makes of the stupid," Buffy grinned, "and I can honestly say that I'm better at making non-humany things angry than anybody else..."
"Captain Summers?" Steve spoke up. "On Earth?"
"Uh yeah...these are rabid wolves from outer space? We usually just call them Hunters. They think humans are a great prey animal, and my unit tends to take a dim view of that philosophy."
Steve nodded, "Only aliens we ever met were a lot nicer especially Shalon..."
"Steve...." a irritated Mrs. Austin spoke up, "What about Nedlick and a small case of radiation poisoning and potential world domination?"
"Oh?" Steve snapped out of his reverie, "Oh yeah. Anyway, we know about aliens and other exotic things that really shouldn't exist."
The sergeant spoke up again, "What agency were you with?"
"OSI. That was long time ago and the agency doesn't exist any more. Lost in the budget cuts...Anyway we've been mostly retired since then. So what's the plan Captain?"
"Uh you outrank me Colonel. I should be asking you," Buffy looked slightly flustered.
"Retired Colonel...This is your party."
"Well, are those the only weapons you have...?" Buffy looked like she was thinking quite hard.