Challenge 3255: Universal Slayer MarcusRowland BtVS- Post S5 / Universal SoldierAdam wasn't the first government project Maggie Walsh worked on - she was part of the US Government's ill-fated Universal Soldier programme, before being recruited into the Initiative. With terrorism again on the rise the Universal Soldier programme is revived, and suitable bodies are being taken to new laboratories for reanimation and use as virtually unkillable super-soldiers.
Unknown to the Scoobies, the remnants of the Initiative have been keeping Buffy under observation - when she dies at the end of Season 5 a commando team steals the body before it can be buried. Even Willow and the resources of the Watchers can't track it down - why not is left as an exercise to the author.
Months later blurred footage of the Universal Soldiers in action shows someone who might possibly be Buffy. Is it here - and if so, is there any trace of the original Slayer in her, or is it just another programmed corpse? In either case, can she be freed or given her final rest?
Searing cold was all she felt. An endless dream of ice and frozen winds. The woman slept deeply even though she shivered endlessly in her mind.
Occasionally she was brought to consciousness. Four times for training with upgrades to her augmentation. Three times for missions.
She was designated Unit GR81. Two letters and two digits that named her, but did not describe her. She would be hard pressed to describe herself to be honest. Her hair had been cut short so as to not interfere with her helmet or communications systems. The power that had once flowed through her due to an ancient ritual, had been replaced, with motors, steel, and advanced plastics. Her memories of combat were there and all of the skills she had known, but all of her personal life was gone. It too had been replaced with a construct. This one built of obedience. silence, and discipline.
She was far smaller in stature than the rest of the GR Series. A situation that led some of her developers to underestimate her capabilities and recommend she just be kept back for testing advanced concepts. The Project Administrator did not fall prey to that way of thinking. He knew what she had been capable of and some of what she had done.
So she slept and was awakened as needed, and the years passed silently...
GR81 came awake. The warmth pulled at her causing strange sensations in her brain as it started to heat up. Then mercifully the flow of coolant began; holding back those stray bits of thought that remained trapped in her super-conductive neural tissue. She only caught a glimpse this time of one fragment. An image of a young dark-haired girl pleading with someone.
This quickly passed from her short term memory as her pod opened. She stepped out, naked except for the coolant pack slung across her chest. Its hoses running into the fittings in her neck. Around her the rest of her squad was also decanting. They all stepped across to their lockers and began to pull on their uniforms and the low-profile conformal support packs. Once the uniform was on and the support pack connected, they all placed their cooling packs into the charging frame.
The Mission Commander wearing regular fatigues and a side arm scanned the barcode on each of their foreheads with his tablet computer. This set the tactical frequencies for the Command Center and served as the public key for the encryption protocols per standard operating procedure.
"GR Team 3," the Mission Commander said briskly, "Column of two on me." The ten GR units lined up. There was no idle conversation, no conversation at all actually. The GRs simply did as they were told, when they were told to do it. Individual thought was included as part of their conditioning.
"Forward march!" the Mission Commander led the squad to the armory. There, they were issued their body armor and weapons. GR81 was designated as reconnaissance on this mission. She received a silenced sidearm and a silenced sub-machinegun. Her partner GR62 received the same plus a shotgun. As they received their gear they filed into the back of a semi-trailer and were plugged by technicians into their travel pod's cooling systems. The dreams of ice returned.
When she next awoke, her squad was ordered to disembark. As she climbed down out of the trailer the voice of the Mission Commander played in her head.
"GR Team 3. The situation is a hostage rescue. At least 20 unknown individuals have seized control of a office complex. There are many hostages inside, exact number is unknown but is presumed to be over 60. Unknown individuals are to be eradicated. No prisoners may be taken. Hostage losses should be kept to less than 10% at optimum. Building plans uploading now.
"GRs 81 and 62 are designated Recon Section, find an unsecured entry and hold. Maintain stealth. GR73 and GR90 are designated Sniper Section, assume overwatch positions. GRs 12,85, and 32 are Assault Section 1. GRs 78, 45, and 91 are Assault Section 2.
"Assault Section 1, Prepare to enter through doors listed as 'Cafeteria'. Assault Section 2, provide back-up for Section 1. Initiate!"
The ten GRs moved silently and efficiently into position. GR81 and her partner circled the sprawling one story building, passing the sign proclaiming it to be a ' US HST Registration Center'. Looking up, GR81 pointed to the air-handling units on the roof. GR62 nodded in agreement and the two began to run towards the concrete wall at full speed leaping and running into it with the toes of their advanced composite boots. Their speed and strength allowed them to ascend the wall before they lost all momentum, stopping only when they were safely at the top.
In the Mobile Command Center, the Mission Operation's Team monitored the vital signs of all the GR units.
"Damn GR81 can move!" on of the technicians exclaimed.
"She is pretty impressive. Pairing her with 62 was good idea," the Mission Commander agreed as he took a sip of coffee. In the bulletproof Command Center normal humans never had to be risked on the battlefield, not when they had the GRs to do the dirty work of combat.
"How long has she been in the inventory?"
"About 25 years. She was recovered and refurbished in 2000 or 2001 I think," one of the other technicians replied to the first tech's question. "Do you want me to look up her specs?"
The two Assault Sections had stacked at the side door and were waiting for the go ahead. The Sniper Section was in position, and the Recon Section had just bare-handedly and quietly, levered an three hundred kilo air conditioner out of the way to gain access to the ventilation ducts.
The Mission Commander spoke, "Recon Section, enter and locate hostages." He didn't need to tell the other sections to hold. They would wait where they were until they died of starvation if necessary. "Sniper Section, all individuals exiting target building are now presumed hostile. Fire at will." They had a 10% buffer on hostage kills, why not error to the point of slight collateral damage?
GR81 and 62 slid into the duct. Their slight size allowing them to fit where their larger teammates would have become instantly stuck. Still they had less than a centimeter of clearance on each side and were only able to move by slowly flexing and releasing their fingers, with their arms stretched out past their heads. This slow process tooka half an hour to silently negotiate the short distance to the vent in the janitor's closet. Once there, GR81 carefully pried the grate free and slid through head first. 62 held her feet and lowered her completely in. When 81's hands touched the floor, she did a back walkover and became upright. Then it was simply a matter of assisting her partner down from the vent and the pair stood silently in the dark waiting for their next orders.
"Recon's in sir! No sign of detection."
"Excellent. Recon Section, begin scan."
The two GRs slowly turned their heads. The thermal sensors built into their comm-unit's eyepieces enabling them to literally look through walls by detecting their target's body heat. The scan revealed a number of rapidly cooling bodies on the floor along with several still living prone figures and two walking figures in the hall just outside the closet's door.
"Recon section, clear that hallway."
GR81 drew her pistol and made sure the suppressor was secured. She opened the door a crack and, aiming via the micro-camera on the barrel which fed into her monocular screen, shot them through the eye. The target dropped instantly.
"Sir," one of the techs asked as they watched the gun camera feed, "What kind of HST is that?"
"That's a Brachen demon, you can tell by the spines. Normally they're quite docile as a species, but occasionally you get one who's a little big for their britches," the Mission Commander replied. "And that other one is a Ternik. Very strong and not very bright, they're used a lot in heavy construction."
As he spoke the view from GR81's helmet-cam jerked as she charged the 2 meter plus tall demon and leaping onto its back jammed her fighting knife in its eye.
"As I was about to say, a Ternik's internal structure is very difficult to disrupt with bullets. The easiest way for a GR to deal with one, is attack its brain through the eye sockets.
"Recon Section, locate the hostile's command and control. Assault Sections, enter and clear," the Mission Commander continued.
The Assault Sections used a thermite charge to melt the hinges and began killing all of the intruders that they encountered. The noise they produced caused the remaining intruding forces to focus on that axis of attack, while GRs 81 and 62 continued their stealthy progress forward.
Finally the Recon Section was outside the records and files section. The heavy armored door looked melted and distorted.
"GR62, aim your helmet-cam at that damage. Any ideas what caused that?" the Mission Commander asked the rest of his team.
"Not chemical or thermal. There's no distortion in the crystalline structure sir."
"Esoteric means then?"
"I'd say so."
"Recon Section. There is a Entropy Manipulator nearby. Use caution."
Both GRs readied their sub-machineguns, and crouching, entered the data center. Inside was the typical cubical farm in one half, while the other half held the server room in its armored glass walls. Inside the server room were a number of figures, both human and HST, all heavily armed. Two of the humans were engaged with two of the data terminals while the rest stood guard . The door of the server room was shut.
"Recon Section, show yourselves and demand surrender."
"This is the Federal Anti-Terror Strike Force. Surrender and you will not be harmed!" GR81's voice was rough from lack of use.
The intruders looked up at the pair of GRs. The one-eyed man and the slender brunette human that had been working on the terminal recoiled in surprise.
GR81 looked at the brunette. Her face matched the image of the memory fragment. Why was that? Before she could give it more thought there was a cyclonic cloud inside the server room and when it cleared all the intruders had vanished.
"Sir, we have encountered entropic static. Communications with Squad will be disrupted for a short time."
Inside the building GRs 81 and 62 stood perfectly still, strange images floating through their minds. When contact was restored with Mission Command, the images, all of girls fighting HSTs, vanished.
"Contact up sir!"
"All Sections, return to transport. Safe weapons and gear. What's the bodycount?"
"13 out of 20 intruders, 4 hostages."
"Acceptable collateral damage. Good work."
"Thank you sir."
The GRs returned to their trailer being steered around the media. Once onboard they plugged into their travel pods and were soon in frozen slumber. Back at their storage facility they stripped and were placed back in the long term pods until they were needed again, but this time GRs 81 and 62 were not dreaming of ice.THIS IS A DISCLAIMER!!!
BtVS Property of Mutant Enemy Universal Soldier Property of Devlin/Emmerich not me!!!