15. Not so quiet hellmouth
Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction, I make no claims to the Ownership of either BtVS, Stargate, or NBSG. All belong to their respective creators.A/N
As always; 'speech' Caprican, "Speech" English.
Giles was enjoying his morning cup of tea. It had been a couple of weeks since there had been any serious hell mouth activity and he was enjoying the lull. Even with the government invasion, his kidnapping, and the aliens it was quiet. So he felt safe drinking his morning tea and just enjoying the morning. Of course he shouldn’t have taunted Murphy. The crashing sound that came from outside of the library made him wish he had chosen to indulge in his emergency whiskey supply.
Say what you would about Centurions, they were not quiet. Effective vampire and demon killing machines, but not in the least bit quiet. He looked up and waved at the Centurion who had just entered his library. Although Giles hadn’t interacted with them to any great degree he had taken the time to sit down with both Sharon and Cordelia and ask about the Centurions. He had been told that they were fully sentient, despite their mechanical nature, and it was best to treat them like people.
“Good morning,” Giles set his cup of tea down and gave the Centurion a look. “What can I do for you today?”
“UNIT CA112 DISCOVERED AN ANOMOULAS VAPIRE LAST NIGHT. CONSULTATION WITH CORDELIA-SIX MODEL INFORMED US THAT ALL SUPERNATURAL ANOMALYS WERE TO BE REPORTED TO WATCHER GILES.”
“Quite,” Giles frowned as he considered the Centurions words. “How was this vampire an anomaly? Was it resistant to beheading? Did it move faster then average?”
“VAMPIRE WAS IN THE PROCESS OF DIGGING UP A TOMB. VAMPIRE ORDERED ITS MINIONS TO ATTACK THE CENTURION UNIT AND DELAY IT WHILE IT FLED WITH A CROSS.”
“Do you have any idea what the cross looked like? Or what tomb it was robbing?” Giles knew his voice was betraying his interest. Then again this was exactly the sort of thing he had been sent here for.
“TOMB WAS DESTROYED, UNKOWN WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OCCUPYING IT. HOLOGRAPHIC IMMAGE OF THE CROSS AVAILABLE, PROJECTING NOW.”
Giles looked at the glowing projection coming from the Centurions vision slit and nodded. The holograph wasn’t complete, it was obvious that the centurion hadn’t seen the entirety of the cross, but the parts that were show were clear and highly detailed. It seemed that the centurions had better vision systems then he had thought they did. He pursed his lips as he read the beginning of the inscription on the cross; Du… Whilst helpful he would be spending a fair amount of time hitting the books for this one.
“Very well, thank you,” Giles spoke as he moved off through the stacks. “I believe that your information should be rather helpful. Is there anything else?”
“CENTURION UNITS EFFECTIVENESS HAS BEEN DECREASING AS LOCAL HOSTILE FORCES HAVE DISCOVERED OUR DEPLOYMENT.”
“Damn,” Giles paused and shook his head. “Well it was bound to happen. Is there anything I can do to increase your effectiveness?”
“NEGATIVE, EFFECTIVNESS DECREASE DUE TO VAMPIRE AND DEMONIC HOSTILE'S FLEEING BEFORE CENTURIONS ARE IN EFFECTIVE RANGE. THE SOUND OF OUR COMING IS NOW HERALDED AS DOOM.”
“Have you talked with Buffy about alternate hunting methods?” Giles barely restrained his laughter. The idea that the mere sound of a Centurion walking drove the forces of darkness into pell-mell retreat was just too funny.
“AFFRIMATIVE. CORDELIA-SIX ALSO HAS TWO OF OUR NUMBER JUST WALKING AROUND AT NIGHT.”
“Rather intelligent of her,” Giles observed pulling down a book.
“CORDELIA-SIX SUGGESTED TALKING TO YOU ABOUT RUNNING A LARGE SCALE HUNT UTILIZING THIS INFORMATION.”
“Oh, how?” Giles raised an eyebrow.
“WE WISH TO HAVE A VAMPIRE DRIVE. BY MARCHING ALL CENTURION UNITS THROUGH THE WAREHOUSE DISTRICT WE BELIEVE THAT WE CAN DRIVE ALL DEMONIC FORCES BEFORE US INTO A PREPARED KILLING FIELD.”
“It sounds like a good idea,” Giles bit his lip as he contemplated it. “How would you deal with them once they got to the killing field?”
“DISMOUNTED HEAVY RAIDER CANNON.”
“Guns are not effective against the forces of darkness,” Giles rolled his eyes as he said this. “You know this.”
“WE THINK THAT A THIRTY MILLIMETER KEW CANNON LOADED WITH TRACERS SHOULD BE EFFECTIVE.”
“Very well, I presume that you want my approval before trying this and wish Buffy to be preoccupied elsewhere whilst this occurs?”
“Well… it’s an idea. I will get Buffy to patrol the other side of town, say two nights from today? Would that be convenient for you?”
“AFFRIMATIVE. WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.”
“Very well,” Giles turned back to his book before an idea hit him. “Oh, before you go how did you come up with this idea?”
“UNIT CA120 SUGGESTED THIS AFTER WATCHING ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA KNOWN AS WESTERN.”
Sam Zabuto would have just sent Kendra to Sunnydale except he felt the need to consult with another field watcher and this was his first opportunity. The rumors he had been hearing from the council were worrying. Governments getting involved in the fight against darkness and the like, which never ended well. Sam was a traditionalist, and an excellent researcher; the only reason he had been assigned to a field position was the latent racism in the council. Despite the loss of the empire the British portions of the Council still retained the attitude from those days. Wogs simply wouldn’t do in positions of power.
Additional rumors of a power struggle in the high council were another reason for Sam to come here. He had heard the name Rupert Giles thrown around as a possible candidate for the council recently. Given the shake up that was rumored to be occurring Giles reformist credentials coupled with the fact he had been a watcher to a slayer and then stayed on as a hell mouth watcher gave the man an excellent shot at joining the high council if the rumors of reform were true. Sam would be an idiot if he didn’t take the time to meet someone who was rumored to be in line for that much power.
One of Sam’s contacts in the research division of the council had bitched to him the other day about how one of their most promising research candidates had been yanked away from them and was to be sent to the hell mouth. Apparently the high council was sending Wyndam-Pryce to the Hellmouth, the only reason Sam could think for them to do that was if they meant to recall Giles. That meshed with the rumors well, so Sam was betting that this time the rumors were actually true. You always needed to take the rumors coming out of watcher central with a grain of salt, after all just last year there had been that ridicules story that there were two slayers active in the world floating around. Not that Sam had been fool enough to believe that!
Personally he didn’t think that they would get along. Giles had a reputation as a rebel, while Sam was a firm traditionalist. Still it was possible that as a former field watcher Giles would be open to some small suggestions on how to aid the slayer. Whilst the slayer being alone was a long held tradition adding her to a retrieval team or building a team around her would increase her lifespan. Not to mention it would give the slayer a better idea of how to fight when they were depowered. Sam was all too well aware of the numerous ways that had happened over the centuries.
Sam paused outside of the library, which was said to be Giles home base, and straightened his suit. It wouldn’t do to make a bad first impression after all. Idly he wondered at the sanity of Giles. What Watcher in their right mind would set up their observation post directly on top of the Hellmouth? The mystical energies emitted were corruptive after all, that was a well-documented fact. Then again if someone had to work on top of it, then it did make sense for it to be someone in the know. Who knows what the energies would do to an unsuspecting person? With that thought he pushed the door open and entered the library.
“…And it would be best to shift your patrol route for the night away from the warehouse district. The Centurions are going to be doing something there with the aid of Sharon and it would be best if you were positioned to catch the blowback should it work.” A British voice that Sam assumed was Giles lectured. It seemed that Giles had set up his own demon fighting team, or co-opted one that was already active on the Hellmouth. His decision to work on top of the mystical convergence would make sense if that were the case.
“But Giles,” young and female Sam thought as the other person in the library spoke up.
“Oh relax, this should be an early night for you.” Giles voice cut off the whine before it could really begin. “I believe that your mother mentioned something about a date? It would behoove you to be home before she returned.”
“All right, but I still want to know what they’re playing at.” Sam rounded the stacks and saw that Giles was talking with a short blond teenager. He cleared his throat to alert them to his presence.
“Rupert Giles?” At Giles nod Sam continued. “I’m Sam Zabuto, Watcher to the current Slayer. We were ordered here after the Councils mystics picked up indications that Spike and Drusilla had survived their misadventure in Prague and come to the Hellmouth to recover their strength.”
“Current Slayer? Giles what is he talking about? I’m the Slayer!” the blond exploded.
“I wonder that myself Buffy,” Giles smiled tightly as he said that. “If I could trouble you for a bit of confirmation? You do understand that on a Hellmouth one cannot be to careful and I was not aware of a second Slayer.”
“Quite correct,” Sam frowned as he said that. “If you would care to call the Council I’m sure they can establish my bona fides. I also was not informed that there was a second Slayer, nor was I informed that miss Summers had survived her confrontation with the Master.”
“Oh? Not important at the moment, Buffy if you would watch him? I believe that I have a phone call to make.” Giles retreated into his office.
“So what’s this about a second Slayer?” Buffy asked, aggressively.
“Kendra was activated at the end of last year,” Sam chose his words with care. “I received a copy of Giles watcher diaries a month later so I presumed that you had past.”
“Well… I didn’t,” Buffy said petulantly. Sam mentally thanked his lucky stars that he had gotten such a pleasant Slayer.
Kendra for all that she occasionally annoyed him was a treat when compared to the headache that poor Rupert must be enduring with this American. He thought about continuing the conversation but decided to just wait. Giles would be back in a minute or two and he could have a civilized discussion. So he pulled out a chair and sat himself down. After all there was no point in not being comfortable while he waited.
“Bloody wankers,” Giles said as he slammed the door to his office behind him.
“He checks out?” Buffy perked up.
“Yes, it seems that the Council in its infinite wisdom decided that neither of the active Slayers had any need to know about the other. They decided that their Watchers didn’t need to know either.” Giles seated himself with a huff. “Idiocy.”
“Quite,” Sam agreed. “Do you have any explanation for how this happened?”
“Xander,” Buffy said flatly. “And Angel.”
“Xander more then Angel,” Giles disagreed. “Not to speak ill of the dusted but I’m well aware of just how they came to be down in that cave.”
“Cave?” Sam asked with a slightly raised eyebrow.
“I died a bit last year,” Buffy admitted in a small voice. “The Master drained me and then left me face down in a pool of water.”
“Xander brought her back through the application of CPR. A rather resourceful young man.” Giles gave his slayer a look. “As I’m sure you have read Buffy is not a typical Slayer. She has brought together a group to fight the forces of darkness, rather successfully.”
“This Xander, he successfully defied a prophecy?” Sam couldn’t keep the disbelief from his voice. Prophecies couldn’t be denied once their conditions were met! It was an immutable law of magic!
“Yes, it came as a shock to us as well,” Giles smirked as he answered. “I rather think the Council has not invested enough effort in determining loopholes in prophecy’s. Buffy fulfilled the prophecy but it wasn’t the end. I believe that prophetic power is limited in temporal scope, only active in specific moments in time. It’s why we can thwart prophecy’s by knocking away preconditions.”
“So because she died there was nothing keeping her dead,” Sam nodded his head in understanding. “She could be revived by conventional means.”
“Exactly,” Giles smirked. “Where is your Slayer by the way?”
“Patrolling, she wanted to get the lay of the land before talking to anyone local about the predators in the area.” Sam admitted with a shrug. “I saw no reason not to allow it.”
“Oh dear, I hope she isn’t going to be in the warehouse district,” Giles took off his glasses and began to polish them. “Some of our allies are running an operation there tonight as an experiment.”
Kendra ghosted down the alley, letting her senses play. She had already staked two vampires tonight, but for some reason her demon sense had been drawing her to this part of town. She could feel a pulsating mass of evil here and her slayer was screaming to do something about it. She couldn’t, not yet at least, but she felt the need to scout the area. Her watcher had impressed on her the need to think, to plan out her assaults with care a precision, as he was so fond of saying; a Slayers best weapon is their mind, humans are thinking beings that is what allowed us to drive off the old ones. So she would scout this area today and then come back tomorrow.
Thinking about tomorrow night made her relax. Kendra mentally began to list off the weapons she would need. Well, weapons and some form of back up. Even for a Slayer this was a bit much. It seemed like just about every demon in town had congregated in the warehouse district. Perhaps she could nibble a bit along the edges, play a hit and run game for the next week or so. She would have to ask her Watcher.
Then Kendra heard a sound she had never heard before. It was a rhythmic clanging, metal on concrete, mixed with a whine that reminded her of an airplanes landing gear rising. She froze and frowned as she tried to figure out what was happening. Even as she froze she could feel the demons shifting away from the sound. That made her eyes widen. Something about the sound scared the demons; perhaps she could use that in her own assault. The sound just grew louder with every passing second, reaching an almost unbearable volume quickly.
Kendra sank back into the alley and waited. It would do her no good to rush and find a new enemy, one she didn’t know how to fight. She would be the patient hunter, stalking her prey carefully. When the source of the noise past her alley she felt her eyes widen. A single metal clad figure, with speakers on its shoulders, was making the sound. Kendra cocked her head as she looked at it and then gasped in surprise. It was some kind of armour! Her watcher had gotten her some neat toys, like the Chinese made automatic crossbow, but this was something she had never even considered before. A powered suit of armour.
After the figure past Kendra slipped out of the alley and followed it. Whatever was going on had to do with demons and so it was in her purview. Besides, she really wanted to see how effective armour was in action. Her watcher had told her that in recent times wearing armour had become a death sentence, but someone obviously disagreed. She would have to see for herself just how effective it was. So she slipped out into the street and followed the armoured figure as it strode fearlessly onwards.
Dalton was a nervous minion. Spike had sent him out here to observe the proceedings, something that he really didn’t want to do. His encounter with the Armoured Death last night was as close as he wanted to come to those monsters for the rest of his unlife. Unfortunately Spike had an idea of how to deal with them, and he wanted someone to survive even if it failed. So here he was, sitting on a roof with a video camera, filming the ten minions that Spike had obtained guns for. Personally Dalton thought that they would be better served using the guns on humans, but Spike was the boss. Perhaps if this worked he could argue with him about it?
It didn’t really matter. Spike had found a weapons dealer and obtained a mix of pistols and rifles for his minions. When the call had come in that the Armoured Death were on the move to the warehouse district Spike sent his ten armed minions out to attempt to kill one of them. Dalton had been given his mission not five minutes later. He had to respect Spike’s brain; the master vamp didn’t just jump into anything. He sat back and studied the situation thoroughly before he made a move. Dalton thought that was a trait that would serve him well to emulate. When he became a master vamp he would follow Spikes lead in that, but he sure as hell wouldn’t stick his neck out like Spike did.
Even as he began to hear the rhythmic crashing that announced the coming of the Armoured Death Daltons brain was engaged. It sounded like there was ten times the number of previously reported Armoured Death out on the streets tonight. His supernaturally sensitive hearing caught what sounded like ten groups of ten marching down the street. That confused him, he had personally observed the CRD building and counted every Armoured Death. There should have been just ten of the hell suits, not a hundred. When the suit strode into view Dalton nodded in respect for whoever was controlling the suits.
The suit had a pair of speakers on its shoulders and was broadcasting the sounds of marching from them. Given the reputation that these suits had quickly carved themselves it was a good tactic. From where Dalton was sitting it looked like they were herding the vampires and demons, using the sound that had come to mean sure death to drive their enemies before them. Whatever the outcome of tonight Dalton knew he was going to go back outside of the line that the Armoured Death had created. He really didn’t want to see what they had waiting when they reached wherever the demons were being driven.
Taking a deep breath, he didn’t need it but the habits gained from forty years of living are hard to shake, he focused the video camera on the minions and then panned it out to wide angle mode so that Spike would be able to see both the minions and the Armoured Death when he played it back later. Licking his lips Dalton waited. The minions turned out to be at least marginally competent. Since none of them knew how to shoot they waited until the Armoured Death was less then ten meters away before opening fire.
Dalton swallowed when he saw the result. The suit hardly staggered, it just stood there and weathered the storm of fire. The only moves it made were in its hands. They folded away and three barrels emerged from the wrists. It then lifted its arms and returned fire. While the minions had made a racket with their variety of weapons the Armoured Death was a metronome, beating out a steady rain of bullets. Whilst bullets couldn’t kill a vampire they did hurt. So when the suit began to advance again most of the minions broke and ran. One tried to get up close and personal, shoving its pistol in the suits face and pulling the trigger.
That wasn’t as ineffectual as Dalton had thought it was to begin with. The head of the Armoured Death rocked and sparks came from the faceplate. Even as that damage became apparent the suit lifted its arm and decapitated the minion before it could get a second shot. Dalton nodded to himself and followed the suit with the camera as it past the minions former position and then swiftly packed up his things and left, headed in the opposite direction.
“So it didn’t work,” Spike said in a disgusted tone. “Bugger.”
“Boss, the guns we had… they just weren’t powerful enough. One of the minions almost got lucky but that was at point blank range.” Dalton said nervously. “Maybe we should go after the controllers?”
“Do Spikey, do!” Drusilla giggled madly. “Then the world will end in the heart of a sun. Star men don’t like it when you take their family away.”
“Now luv, we wouldn’t want the world to end. No more parties, no more walking happy meals.” Spike comforted his undead love.
“But daddy’s gone away, now I can’t have my party and I’ll never get better,” Drusilla pouted. “The star men took him away. Make them hurt Spike?”
“I will luv, I will,” Spike gently pushed Drusilla out of the room. None of the vampires were willing to comment on the two master vamps interactions, they liked unliving just fine. The last person who upset Drusilla had taken a long time to die when Spike found out about it. Spike only came into play if Drusilla herself didn’t deal with you and she was worse then Spike.
“So, bigger guns,” Spike glared around the room, reasserting his authority. “Don’t touch the controllers yeah? We don’t want the bloody world to end.”
“Right boss,” Dalton answered swallowing heavily. “So I should look into getting something heavier.”
“My Dru said something about the golden slayer holding the star men here,” Spike was clearly thinking aloud. “Didn’t pay it much mind cause I thought it was just raving, but if she’s calling these Armoured Death buggers star men… maybe we should look into getting a move on with the Slayer bint.”
“You are going to do it yourself?” One of the newest minions to join Spikes band asked aloud. Everyone knew about Spikes reputation.
“Not with bloody unkillable demons hanging around mate. I’m brave not dumb.” Spike retorted acidly. “I’m a thinking vamp, not like you idiots. What were you thinking! You ran away from those Armoured Death buggers and right into a bloody trap.”
“It wasn’t a good one,” defended the minion. “Most of us got out alive.”
“Yeah, cause they used the wrong weapon,” Spike’s heavy sarcasm had come out to play. Dalton just knew that minion wouldn’t be with them very long. “These jokers they don’t think like the slayer, they think like the bloody army. You give them enough time they’ll run this again, and this time they’ll have flamethrowers waiting for the poor buggers who run.”
“So who are we going to call in boss?” Dalton desperately tried to divert the raging master vampire.
“You lot are sorry excuses for demons. You ran, like prime on hoof! These Armoured Death blokes are scary, but that’s no excuse for running like bloody animals!” Spike closed the distance between the minion and him while he shouted. A flash of a stake and all that remained of the minion was a floating cloud of dust. “Dalton, I’m going to call in the bleeding professionals.”
“The Order of Takara let those wankers deal with the bloody slayer.” Spike said heavily. “Cost me a bloody fortune, but if it makes those star men go away? It’ll be bloody worth it. It’s not worth your unlife to go out on the streets these days, that’s no way for a demon to live.”
“And the ritual?” Dalton asked nervously. Spike was bad enough without Drusilla back to her old self.
“Yeah, keep working on that will you, I want my Dru back. Sure we can’t use the first ritual, but that book has others doesn’t it?” Dalton dared not disagree with Spike, with him in this kind of mood it was best to just go along with anything he said. “Oh, and send me that Ford kid who got us the book. I’m feeling a mite peckish.”