What in the name of all that's Hellmouthy is that?
All characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the BBC, etc. I thank them for letting us play in their sandboxes.
Buffy stared. "That thing" looked like something an enterprising but not artistically talented kid had made out of a lumpy metal garbage can, a toilet plunger, and other assorted junk. But something told Buffy not to underestimate it. Two somethings, in fact. First, the explosion that had brought her and Spike to the grounds of the ruined Sunnydale High, and second the fact that there was a hole in one of the crumbled walls near the old library that was much bigger than it had been just a few days before. Much bigger.
Spike was staring too, but apparently even his night vision couldn't figure it out. Then he breathed in deeply. "Not a demon. Smells mechanical."
"If Warren's been making robots again…"
Spike moved a few feet away, probably a good idea since he knew how she reacted whenever that subject came up. "Going to reconnoiter a bit, pet."
Buffy would have had something to say about cowards if the sight of the moonlight glinting on the creepy robot's metal surface hadn't been worrying her so much. As she watched, it glided forward, towards what had been the main entrance to the building and was now just a big pile of bricks and other stuff.
It was too ugly to be Warren's style. She could swear it was trying to move stealthily in spite of its awkward shape. If Warren made something that wanted to be stealthy, he would have designed it to do stealth properly.
It might not be graceful, but a moment later it proved it could be dangerous. A blaze of light exploded from one of the things sticking out of the robot's front, the one that didn't look like plumbing equipment. Just before the blast hit, it illuminated a small man carrying what might be a cane who was standing just outside the school grounds.
And then it illuminated Spike, knocking the man to the ground and out of range.
"Exterminate!" the robot shrieked in what Buffy immediately classified as one of the most annoying voices she'd ever heard, right up there with Cordelia's singing.
"Ex-ter-min-ate!" It swung around to aim at Spike.
The next shot missed, as Spike moved away at full vamp speed, heading away from the man he'd saved and back towards the high school. But he wouldn't be able to keep that up. And what was worse, the robot thing yelled, "Target has increased acceleration. Recalibrate, recalibrate."
Three more shots flared, and Spike screamed, slowing down enough for Buffy to see he was clutching one arm and staggering.
"Exterminate!" The robot ran through its limited verbal and military repertoire, wheeling forward. Spike managed to leap out of range of the next shot, but now his back was against the wreckage of the high school's wall, in a spot where it was too tall to jump over and too thick to him to break through.
Buffy had been so intently watching Spike and the robot, she hadn't realized she was running until she jumped over the little man's body in her rush to attack. She certainly hadn't given any thought to how she was to slay this thing, her arsenal at the moment consisting of a small knife in a sheath at her waist and a large canvas bag full of stakes. She focused on the long stalk at the top of what was probably the thing's head. The robot swiveled it back and forth, as if it was an eye…
As she leapt for the creature, Buffy shook most of the stakes out of the sack and lifted it up and over the long stalk. Even after years of winning improbable fights, she was surprised when the robot suddenly began wheeling from left to right as if confused.
"My vision is impaired! I cannot see!"
"Chatty, aren't you? Thanks for the confirmation." Buffy grabbed the thing around the middle and gave it good, hard spin. "Spike, run!"
"Excellent advice." The little man Spike had knocked over was now on his feet and he set off running, holding his straw hat on with one hand and carrying what Buffy now realized was an umbrella in the other. Buffy and Spike each grabbed one of his arms and carried him along faster than he could run.
Behind them, the blind robot fired wildly as it spun around, still screaming.