The Raid, Part I
Disclaimer and notes at end of chapter
Mary Ann had clocked out at the end of her shift, and she was just about to go home when her cell phone had rung. Buffy, the vampire killer she had met only a few days before, had been concerned about her mom and daughter, and wanted to get them out of the hospital with nobody knowing. She had promptly told the girl about the Homeland Security guy who had interrogated them in a rather unfriendly manner, threatening them both and in the case of her sister, even choking her, and all with about a squad of clones in the room as muscle. Dawn had told her something very strange, though. She was sure the Homeland Security guy had choked her, but no hand had ever been laid on her. According to Dawn, it was as though the man stared hard at her, and something had started squeezing her throat. Just as she had said that, she had sworn to herself that she had heard the young lady growling in anger over the incident. It didn’t surprise her in the slightest; she would have been extremely put out if someone had threatened or hurt her family. She wouldn’t have gone off on a personal vendetta, though, as a devout Christian; that was God’s job, in her view. But she would
have reported it to the local authorities and told them that the Federal government was in the business of terrorizing their interviewees in an investigation. With local law enforcement more and more supplemented by clone troops over recent days, she had begun to feel proportionally less trusting of the municipal police.
But a dear friend of hers was coming to get her family out of there, and Mary Ann Cech determined that she would help in any way possible. To be able to move Joyce Summers meant she needed to ensure the patient was stable, and they would be able to get her up to the roofside helipad, where a shuttle of some sort would be waiting to load her and get the rest onboard. For that, she and Dr. Silvagyi were both needed in the hospital at the time of the raid. They would move with the group and try to delay the clones long enough for the raid to go off hopefully without any trouble, and then once they had reached the room where Buffy’s mother was resting, she and Silvagyi would prep Joyce to move while the rest held off the clones. It would be the same thing on the way out, except Joyce would have the bulk of the protection from the clones while they moved her up to the roof. She and the doc would move with them and board the shuttle along with everyone else….********Classified construction site near Area 51
The government had been so badly diminished in its capacity for projecting itself into remote locations throughout the continental US, so Darth Mortalis could ensure that satellite flyovers would pick up a blank space over this area. Anyone at NASA or the NSA who dared to question what went on in the interests of transparency or accountability were quickly reminded why they were better served by not asking questions of their president and his Cabinet, which left the surviving members of Congress and the new Supreme Court replacements more than willing to put up with Secretary Harris’s “extracurricular” activities, in the interest of national security, of course. This had enabled the Sith Lord to go ahead with his plans to construct the Acclamator
-class assault ships in total secrecy for the past year and a half.
Now he stood over one of the open-pit construction yards which were now putting the finishing touches on the first five Acclamator
s. The contractors who dug up the sand and stone of the desert floor had been told to ask no questions, and were paid handsomely for their work; afterwards, they had each and all met with unfortunate accidents that ensured they would never speak of the work to come afterwards. As with the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigations was effectively persuaded by Darth Maugrim to not pursue the matter; many of the workers had come from out of state, which incidents that involved more than one state generally fell under the FBI’s purview as mandated by the Constitution. This meant that Mortalis had to hire entirely new, highly skilled workers that possessed all sorts of engineering degrees and specialties in metallurgy, which were needed to produce ships that would handle the extreme stresses of interstellar space and faster-than-light travel.
Clone forays through the Stargate had also turned up evidence of races other than the Goa’uld inhabiting local space. On a world that the locals called Cimmeria, several squads under the command of Commander Bacara found a labyrinth that was designed to kill Jaffa by killing the Goa’uld larvae within their bodies. The technology to do this was far beyond the capabilities of the Cimmerian humans, so by a process of elimination, Bacara had come to the conclusion that another race had designed and built the devices, which the Cimmerians had called Thor’s Hammer. They had also encountered the holographic message from the being that referred to himself as the thunder god of Norse legend, which basically told them that he was protector of that world. The design of the holoemitters was advanced even beyond Imperial standards, so Mortalis, upon reading Bacara’s report, had decided to send more clones to Cimmeria and relocate the entire population to Earth to work on the new Acclamator
After having a look at the technology of the Asgard, as the aliens that Thor represented called themselves, Mortalis then decided that he would simply allocate resources to reverse engineering and implementing Asgard technology in his transport vessels; specifically, he wanted to cut costs and use Asgard hyperdrives instead of trying to reproduce the carbonite-based hyperdrive motivators from the films, since the Asgard models were far more efficient than his own design would have been with only Earth materials available to build them.
And now, at long last, the Sith Lord was seeing the first of his milestones nearing achievement. When these first ships lifted off from the surface and made Earth orbit, then he would christen them personally and send them off, with their full complement of two clone legions plus their heavy combat equipment, to their first objectives in his interstellar campaign against the System Lords. And if the Asgard came calling, then he’d have Kinsey spin them something that would placate them for the time being. At least, that was to say, until it was too late for the Asgard to do anything…
He looked down at the ship below in the construction yard, and he thought of a name for it. Something that would strike fear into the hearts of the enemy, but also something that America could get behind willingly. Mortalis was suddenly reminded of his Greek mythology, specifically of how the Titan, Prometheus, had given the secret of fire to humankind, and how for his actions he was cast by Zeus from Mount Olympus.
Perhaps then, the time had finally come for Prometheus to return, to blaze a trail across the cosmos that would last for countless generations to come.
That was it, then. He, the Dark Lord of the Sith, ruler of the United States of America, would name this vessel USS Prometheus
The Tel’tak hovered over the hospital rooftop, and a circular hatch opened on its belly, from which several rings descended until they touched the rooftop. A column of blazing white light funneled its way down from the medium troopship/scout vessel and touched down inside the rings, and then it coalesced into several humanoid forms, which stepped away toward the roof access door as soon as the rings ascended back into the ship’s belly. A Tel’tak was not much bigger than a Death Glider, so it was able to settle its weight on a hospital roof. The ring transporter was still the best way to insert the raiding party, though.
Buffy, Faith and Giles looked around, their esoteric senses telling them more than their eyes ever could. Colonel O’Neill and his SG-1 team, along with Jenny and Colonel Maybourne, took the north side of the perimeter, scanning the skies for any airborne craft, friendly or otherwise, and scanning the other roof exit to make sure there were no clone surprises in store for them. The Council’s Recovery Team, along with Isobel and Wesley, took the south side, doing the same thing. Giles then stretched out with his senses, listening to the Force. When he gave the all-clear, everyone lowered their E-11s or their blast lances, in the case of Buffy and Teal’c, and they broke off into their respective raiding elements. That meant that the main force took the south access, while Jenny broke off with Maybourne and took the north stairwell.
The recovery wing was on the seventh floor, which meant they had two levels to get past before they could make their move. In the north stairwell, Maybourne took a pair of binoculars out and acted as a spotter for Jenny, while she took aim wherever he suggested with her E-11, buttstock unfolded and snugged up against the pocket of her shoulder to stabilize her aim. Their job was to move quick and quiet, and link up with the main body of the raid element just long enough to get a fix on the situation. Once everyone was inside, it would be up to Cech and Silvagyi to hinder the clones long enough for SG-1 and the Slayer/Jedi team to reach their objective and stabilize Joyce Summers, then move her in their prepackaged folding stretcher up the stairwell back to the roof, where the Tel’tak would be waiting for them with its ramp doors open.
The south stairwell seemed deserted, but no one was taking any chances. Giles, Jeremy and Eric took point going down, covering every inch of space that could conceal an enemy trooper. The two members of the Council team aimed high and low, blasters constantly at the ready; they snapped their weapons up at the slightest notion that there might be an ambush position nearby, and they sectioned off every few feet or so like pie wedges, one covering high, the other low, whether or not Giles said that the area was clear. To him, the Force told him more than the Council operators’ senses ever could, but that told them nothing since they were not Force-sensitive. They were more used to their own brand of magicks, which were vastly different to the way the Force worked. Right now that meant nothing as the troopers they were expecting to face depended on none of that.
The stairwell reached down past all eight floors of the hospital. At the entrance to the top floor everyone took up a position in turns, the next person in line relieving the one before to monitor the floor beyond for the presence of clones. It was much the same as the way a line unit that needed to cross a road to reach an objective operated; upon reaching the road, one person kneeled down and aimed one way toward oncoming traffic, then another came up to relieve them and took up the same position before he crossed the road quickly, then took up the same position aiming the other way; in turn, troopers snapped in and aimed down range, crossed, aimed up range, then moved on. This ensured that all avenues of approach were covered by a field of fire, and the formation could cross the road in relative safety. Each member of the raiding party approached the door and leaned over to the door’s small window, peeping out with his or her blaster at the ready, then was relieved by the next in line. Buffy and Teal’c, of course, were each paired off with someone with a blaster so they could switch off, as a staff weapon was unwieldy in close spots, and each of them would have trouble aiming down a hallway from their position on the stairwell.
They reached the seventh floor, and O’Neill moved up the line to peek out the door. He was able to snag a shock grenade from the Jaffa arsenal on board the Tel’tak, and he had hoped he wouldn’t have to use it. But a look from Giles told him otherwise. He gave Jeremy a silent signal, holding up three fingers, then twisting his hand with curled fingers to indicate that the Council man, on the count of three, should open the door carefully. He took out the Goa’uld device and primed it as he had seen Master Bra’tac do before, and then he held up three fingers again, folding them back in one at a time, slowly. On three, Jeremy opened the door slowly to about six inches, and the SG-1 leader kneeled down and rolled the grenade into the hallway, then hopped back to his feet in a hurry and plastered his body to the wall.
About a second later, they heard the groaning of several Stormtroopers as they fell victim to the pain-inducing device. O’Neill looked at Giles again, and a nod from the Jedi Watcher told him it was clear. He got everyone’s attention in the stairwell with a wave of his arm, then signaled everyone to file into the hallway by twos to cover all avenues of approach. Normally, in a MOUT operation, every door and every turn in a hallway would be closely covered, as close quarters combat was the norm in such situations, but there was very little time to go door to door. Buffy had thankfully called the nurse that attended her mother and asked her to meet them on the seventh floor; they were looking for her now, as she knew which room contained Joyce and Dawn…********
Dawn looked out the window to their room for the seventh time. Or was it the seventeenth time? She had lost count about an hour ago, her mind still reeling from the overwhelming feeling of evil
she had gotten from the government guy that called himself Osbourne. Their nurse had come about an hour later and told them that Buffy and Mr. Wyndam-Pryce were coming to get them out of there, and they were bringing friends to help out. Dr. Silvagyi was standing happily beside her, and had told them then that when the raiding party came, that he and Mary Ann would make sure Joyce was stable, then prep her to move; apparently there would be a shuttle of some sort waiting for them on the roof. He didn’t know what kind it was, and he didn’t want to know, in case they were caught later. Until the team arrived, though, they would stay on the floor near the reception desk and wait, so they could guide them to the room. They had arranged previously to take the night shift tonight, so they were clear to be there. After that, Cech and Silvagyi left, reassuring the elder Summers that it would be fine, it was only a matter of time now.
Dawn could not be so easily persuaded; the vision of Osbourne’s eyes and the way he had choked her without laying a finger on her was still haunting her mind, and would not be made to diminish.
“What if he comes back before they get here?” she had asked.
Mary Ann, the devout Christian that she was, only said, “Trust in the Lord, in his plan and in his will. That’s all you need, really; everything else just falls into place after that.” It had only a mild effect, but enough that Dawn stopped freaking out for the moment.
“OK,” she said, nodding her head to reassure the nurse that she would be alright. Secretly, Dawn knew that as long as she saw those eyes, with their color of molten gold and poison, that she might never be all right, that she would continue to fear for herself and for her family. Certainly, she had been afraid of things before, especially since they had lived above a Hellmouth for the past three years, but nothing had ever chilled her like those eyes did this night.
“We’ll be at the desk if you need me or the doctor, otherwise the only other people you should see tonight should be your sister and her…what did she call them? The ‘extraction team’.”
“Sounds like military to me,” said Joyce weakly. She still had a bit to go, but she was getting better as the hours crept by. She still sounded weak, but rested, stronger. “More clones?”
“Not this time, Buffy said so, Joyce.”
“That’s a relief.”
Mary Ann and the doctor looked at each other then and nodded their heads briefly, then she turned to Dawn and said, “We really have to be at the reception desk now, but we’ll make sure you’re out of here tonight. Good night for now, ladies…”
That had been an hour ago. Unfortunately for them, more clones had arrived and stood by the door, obviously to keep whoever might be coming from reaching their room until they had done whatever they were here to do. Dawn had kept looking through the glass, hoping to see around all that white armor and catch a glimpse of, hopefully, Buffy and her Daddy Wesley. She was still doing that when she suddenly caught a glimpse of a black suit….and red hair.
And then that head of red hair leaned back and looked Dawn dead in the eyes.
She felt like one of those characters in horror movies, in one of those stretching hallway shots, where the corridor stretched out at both ends. Her eyes widened in outright terror, blood- and soul-freezing terror, and her breath caught in her chest, her mouth slightly agape in astonishment and fear, as she felt herself being pulled inexorably toward the monster in human guise. She wasn’t actually going anywhere, and neither was he, but she had felt his eyes bore straight into hers.
“Dawnie?” Her mother had picked up on the change in her emotional state, and it concerned her that only one thing could have unsettled her so terribly. Still, she had to ask. “What’s got you so spooked?”
“It’s him…” Dawn then looked at her mother with eyes that had probably just seen the Devil itself. “It’s that agent guy. He looked right at me from around the corner. He didn’t know I was looking out the window, and he just all of a sudden… popped his head out and was already looking into my eyes….”
“Dawnie, why were you watching him? He must have caught you staring out the window.”
Dawn’s response was as close to frantic as it could get without shouting in fear. “No, Mom! That’s just it; I couldn’t see him except for a bit of his suit and a little bit of his hair, and then with no warning, he just leaned back around the corner and was already looking over his shoulder at ME! He couldn’t have known I was at the door or that I was even looking through the glass here, he just couldn’t! But he knew, he DID KNOW!”
Joyce’s expression was then one of as much confusion as Dawn’s was of ever-increasing horror and the overwhelming sense of evil
from Osbourne. “That’s impossible, Dawn, he must have been standing there and looked up to see you staring at him. What you’re talking about is nonsense!”
“Mom, we’re on a Hellmouth; we’ve seen a lot that ought to be nonsense, but it’s not. Who’s to say I’m talking nonsense about this
guy? I’ve just got this awful feeling about him, you know, Mom?” Dawn explained.
Joyce had to admit, Dawn did have a point about what was under their feet. She had to give her the benefit of the doubt, she admitted as much to herself. “Awful like how, sweetheart?”
Dawn paused for a moment and thought about how to broach this. “Mom…do you know…how you can tell when someone’s good and when they’re not? I mean evil
, Mom. You look at them…and you just know. You feel it, you feel the good or the evil in them. Not what good or evil feels like
, but you feel it
in them. Well…”
Joyce looked at Dawn then like she had suddenly grown a third eye. “You think this government agent is an evil man? You can feel evil
in him, is that what you’re trying to tell me?”
“No, Mom, I don’t think
this guy’s evil; I friggin’ know
he is. I could see it in his eyes, I can feel it in my skin. Nothing else ever felt like that, not a vampire, not a demon, I swear to freaking God in Heaven. I’ve never felt that kind of evil before, and I never want to again as long as I friggin’ live!” A moment of bleak introspection flashed in her eyes, and then at length she said,”I just hope Buffy Slays him as soon as she gets here. I wanna be out of this death trap before he does something horrible….”********
He could feel them all. He felt the Slayer and her Watcher, the wannabe Slayer and her own Watcher that wanted to be her mother more than she wanted to be a Watcher; he could feel the presences of SG-1 and their commander, the smartass Jack O’Neill, and the Council team; they were coming for the Summers women, and they had already taken care of the door guards with a sneaky little tactic that he had to admire for its effectiveness and silence. They still had a lot of firepower besides, whether it was E-11s or P-90s or zats and blast lances, and he would be killing himself if he tried to go toe-to-toe with all of them. No, he needed some sort of equalizer. And the Force told him that there just so happened to be one in the north stairwell….********
Jenny and Colonel Maybourne had found nothing trying to get in their way so far, so each of them assumed the others had to have been slugging it out with the clones themselves so far. Of course, the occasional clone had to stick his neck out and get it shot, but for the most part Jenny and Harry, who was doing okay so far as her spotter, was having it easy. And that was the thing that was giving her a wiggins.
It was almost too easy. Neither she nor Maybourne had anything resembling a listening device, and she didn’t have any handy spells that would enhance the range of such devices even if they did. That meant that they had no way to know what exactly the clones were doing before they encountered and so would have little to no warning when they showed up to try and take them down. They emerged from the stairwell onto the seventh floor, each one covering one end of the hallway, then moving on once they confirmed it was clear. Jenny then quietly raised her E-11, placing the bottom of it into the pocket of her shoulder as she had been taught briefly on the shuttle ride down. She nodded to Maybourne and started making her way as best she could toward the South stairwell.
About midway the pair of snipers reached the elevators. As each of them passed, they raised their weapons to their cheeks and aimed, fingers tight on the firing studs and each other in the corners of their eyes to maintain contact. It wasn’t until a minute after Maybourne passed that he heard the soft chime of an elevator car arriving on the floor. He crept fast up to Jenny and tapped her on the shoulder, then started guiding her into one of the nearby rooms. She was smart enough not to utter a whisper; she listened as the NID Colonel pointed at his own eyes, then pointed toward the elevators. She turned to look, and almost immediately noticed about six clone troopers walking with a purpose toward what they estimated was the recovery ward. A red-haired man with a black suit and some sort of stylized black cylinder in his hand followed them closely behind. The two of them waited until the redheaded man had cleared the corner of the hallway, then she opened the door with the muzzle of her E-11 until she had room enough to aim in the clones’ general direction, waiting until it was clear. Jenny then reached back and patted Maybourne on his leg, and then she started to creep out into the hallway.
Maybourne took advantage of the tiny space between the door and its jamb to look the other way, waiting like Jenny until he confirmed the absence of bad guys at the other end of the hallway. Then he crept out with her, aiming his E-11 to cover their rearward flank. The idea was to make contact with SG-1 and the others near the reception desk and then find a spot where they could cover the Summers women’s room from a distance and make trouble for any clones that tried to ambush the extraction team.As anyone who reads here well knows, I own no rights to any of the fandoms previously mentioned in earlier chapters;they are the intellectual property of Whedon, Wright/Glassner and MGM, and Lucas. I am only playing in their sandbox presently and will place these toys back on the shelf when I am done, I promise...Thank you to all those who have commented on this story thus far, and thanks to grd for inspiring me to continue this story of his; I do apologize profusely for not having posted on this one for such a long time, and I promise to keep the thrills and suspense flowing here, so please be patient and keep reading. And if you liked this story, then please take a gander at my own two stories based on the Star Wars and Stargate universes, called "Ship of the Line: The Death Star" and "Balance of Powers". Also, I have another one based on George Orwell's novel "1984", called "Sisters and Brothers", to which I have recently added material (I do so love dystopian ficton...)
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