Utopia, Off The Californian Coast
“Cyke!” Bobby Drake let out an alarmed shout. “You need to see this!”
“I’m watching,” Cyclops replied, eyes fixed on the flat-screen TV fixed to the wall of the lounge. News from half a dozen countries was coming in, vividly illustrating just how badly the world’s military were doing against the alien forces.
“Darling,” Cyclops’ eyebrows lifted at his girl-friend’s cut-glass voice inside his head, “they’re panicking. We need to get them moving, focussed, before the fear sets in.”
“Yeah,” Cyclops sent a mental message back to Emma even as he looked around the room, noting all the frightened faces on the group’s youngsters with even many of the veterans looking worried, “I can see that.” Now more than ever they needed the battle-hardened mutants that had been recruited into the Avengers, the likes of Magneto, Cable, and Wolverine amongst others.
But wishing for them wouldn’t make them appear. His power didn’t work like that. “Okay,” Cyclops cleared his throat. “We need to group around our teleporters and transport to SF to help. Emma, Bobby, and Rogue, you’re-.”
Suddenly an alarm blasted through the converted rig, interrupting Cyke’s orders.
“Too late,” Bobby intoned, “they’re coming for us.”
“The enemy has sent tens of thousands of their troops to our walls,” Ikaris reported.
Zuras stared back at him from his throne, eyes gleaming with an intensity that belied his many eons. “Are all our people within our walls?”
“Apart from Sersi off in space, yes,” Thena replied a half-second before he could.
“Then we allow them to lay siege and we wait.” Zuras paused. “Either Earth’s heroes will strike out and we will join their resistance by attacking those who seek to take Olympia from us. Or Thanos will come to us.”
And then, Ikaris mused, all would fall.
New York, NY
“What the fuck!” Faith gasped as she looked up at the sky suddenly filling with futuristic-looking vessels.
Xander shot her a worried look even as his hand darted inside his leather jacket. “You figure this is what your dream was about?”
“Could be,” Faith replied. “Somethin’ this major though, can’t figure out why every Slayer wasn’t havin’ a dream too.”
“Yeah,” Xander looked towards the frightened junior Slayers and forced a smile, “girls, patrol’s cancelled, why don’t you get back in the van?” He shook his head as he tried and failed to get through first to the chapter house and then to Willow’s patrol. “Damn it, cell’s down.”
“Not surprisin’,” Faith growled as she started after the juniors. “So what’s the plan?”
“I’m messaging Willow, you know on that telepath thing,” Xander queried. “I figure we’ll head back to the chapter house, get in the emergency bunker and pull the sheets over our collective heads and wait for this to pass.”
“Aren’t we gonna to do somethin’?” Faith’s gaze snapped towards him.
“Alien invasions are a little out of our pay grades,” Xander’s chuckle sounded hollow to her. “We’ll leave this to the Avengers.”
“Five by five.”
“Good lord,” Giles muttered as the SUV screeched around the corner, their other car following close behind. Thankfully he wasn’t driving because if he had been, he’d have struggled to keep his eyes on the road and off the grotesque tapestry surrounding them.
Ominous black smoke could be seen swirling up from multiple locations across the city and all around was chaos, but not only the understandable chaos of people either fleeing or fighting the impassive alien hordes assailing their planet. There was also the lamentable bedlam of people rioting and looting, gangs taking out long-held grudges in bloody brawls, low-life opportunists taking advantage of the absence of police to break into and loot shops, and randomly turned over vehicles, and set on fire buildings.
Giles shuddered. It seemed as if the entire human race had gone simultaneously, collectively insane.
“Any answer from Ms. Summers?”
Giles started before glancing towards the SUV’s driver, a hatchet-faced, powerfully-built man with close-cropped platinum hair and glacial emerald eyes. Colonel Hellrich was one of the coolest men Giles had ever met, but even his face showed some of the stress of what they were all going through. “I’m afraid not, the cellular networks appear to have crashed.”
“Unsurprising that an enemy would take down the communications networks as a way to seed panic,” Hellrich nodded. “And obviously leave the TV networks to ensure we know just how out-gunned we are.” The German paused as he screeched around a lamp-post lying across the street then continued. “And you’re sure of the direction we’re heading?”
“Once one casts a locater spell such I did, if one keeps a hold of the anchor, in this case a dirk Dawn gave me for Christmas, the item they used to connect themselves with the target, they will constantly be updated as to their target’s location, the information becoming more and more precise the closer one gets to their target.”
“I don’t pretend to understand much of that,” Hellrich grunted, “but okay.” The German paused. “Begging your pardon sir, I understand Ms. Summers’ personal connection to you but should we really risking everybody’s life to rescue her?”
Giles glanced at his companion, hesitating momentarily before deciding then deciding that the . “Dawn is far more than just a young woman. I assume you’ve heard the rumours?”
Hellrich shrugged. “I’m relatively high-ranking within the Council, so I’m aware that Ms. Summers is supposed to be something supernatural, but my security clearance isn’t high enough for the complete details.”
“In her original form, Dawn was a mystical power of living energy known as the Key, an ancient mystical energy with the power to unlock the gates between all existing dimensions, however because of a ritual by a an order of monks attempting to protect the Key from a malignant hell-goddess, she was transformed into an ordinary teenage human girl, the sister of the current Slayer, everybody knowing her brain-washed with false memories of her existence.” Giles looked towards his bemused companion. “For several years after the Hell-Goddess was dealt with, Dawn appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary teen, but then on her 18th birthday she began manifesting powers.”
Hellrich managed a grunt. “Powers?”
“The first to manifest was an affinity to languages, actually that’s not stating it strongly enough, Dawn is fluent in any human language ever spoken or written. She is also capable of phasing through any material, up to and including concrete and metal. But most importantly she can teleport herself and a group large distances. These powers could just be what we need to keep us ahead of these invading forces long enough to perhaps formulate a strategy to strike back.”
“Strike back?” Hellrich raised an eyebrow. “Ambitious.”
“I’ve spent life doing the best I can to help protect this world from demonic enemies, I don’t intend to lose it to the first alien one that crosses our path,” Giles replied then grunted as he noticed the army barricade across the street. “Oh bugger, slow down.” Hellrich complied, pulling their car to a stop at the barbed wire strewn barricade.
“I’m sorry sir,” the camouflage-fatigued Captain who stopped at their half-open window was only young, looked to be barely shaving in fact, and his cheekbones sheening with sweat, but he made fair attempt at a firm tone, “but you’ll have to turn back.”
“Give me a moment to get out my identification,” Giles asked.
The Captain raised his assault rifle. “Carefully, sir.”
“Of course, Captain.” Giles nodded slowly as he opened his jacket, eased his hand inside to his inner pocket and pulled out his leather wallet, opening it so the Captain could see his identification.
The soldier’s eyes widened. “Special Branch Chief Superindent attached to MI13?”
“Yes, Captain,” Giles nodded. Ever since the establishment of the second Council, Senior Watchers had been assigned official papers by the nations’ respective governments ensuring they would get co-operation from governmental departments and law enforcement agencies if required. “So if you’d be so goo-.”
Giles’ gaze snapped over his shoulder in time to see the post office at the corner of the road explode, smouldering bricks shattering as they fell across the road. “It would appear the enemy’s here,” Giles swallowed. “If you’d be so good as to open the barricade, I strongly suggest we leave here forthwith.”
“Thank you for the offer sir,” the Captain looked over his shoulder to his men and let out a shout before turning back. “But we’ll be staying here.
“Don’t be a fool man!” Giles snapped. “Move your barricade aside and follow me!”
“Thank you for the offer sir,” the man half-saluted even as his men hurriedly began opening up the barricade, “but we’ll cover your escape. That’s our duty and the British army doesn’t need any lessons in duty or honour.”
Giles nodded gravely. “No of course not, son. And thank you.”
New York, N.Y.
Kennedy forced her gaze from the spaceships teeming in the sky to look towards her girl-friend. “Will, what’s going on?”
“I don’t know. Give me a second, I’m talking to Xander.” Willow shook her head then looked towards her, the witch’s normally alabaster skin greyed by shock. “Xander says our best chance is to head back to the Chapter House and hide there.”
Kennedy scowled. That was a little too passive for her, a Slayer’s first instinct was always to resist. Unfortunately Xander’s plan made the most sense. Kennedy glanced at the grim faced, teak-skinned Gabe Tanner, the former US Ranger Corporal that Xander had assigned as their guide to the largely unfamiliar city. “We should head back to the van,” she declared.
“No,” she was surprised when the wiry man shook his head, “given the likely chaos on the roads getting anywhere in a car or van will be close to impossible. Even so, I wouldn’t normally suggest going on foot, but given our skill set and abilities, we should be alright unless we end up being intercepted by the invaders.”
Kennedy stared at the man for a long moment before nodding. His advice made sense. “Okay,” Kennedy turned to her Slayers. “Girls,” she forced a smile, “I know this is frightening, but I also know that I’ve trained you well enough to handle this. So I want you to form a protective cordon around Corporal Tanner-.”
“We need you alive to give us directions,” Kennedy interrupted. “Ready your weapons, girls.”
New York, NY
Thanos let out a low rumble as he kept one eye on the battle he was currently and his other on the datapad detailing the multitude of battles going on across the world. So far the invasion was going very well indeed.
He chuckled darkly as the five hundred troops he had marching down Wall Street were engulfed in lightning bolts that incinerated them to a man. “I was wondering where he was.” Thanos set off a pace, despite his giant size managing to reach a speed that caused near-by buildings shake with its velocity as he rushed by only to screech a halt when he found his expected adversary hovering in the air.
“Migard is not for you, foul beast!” Thor roared down at him, eyes boring deep into him.
“Convince me, Thunder God,” Thanos sneered. This was the perfect battle for him to use his mental powers in, but the warrior in him needed to see just how he managed to match up physically with this formidable foe.
“Gladly!” Thor dived at him, his hammer leading the way.
Thanos leaned away from the hammer, twisting at the waist into a hook to the body that the enraged blond seemed to hardly notice. Thor landed in front of him, the force of his landing cracking the road beneath him, before lunging at him with outstretched hand reaching for his throat.
Thanos backhanded the hand away while stepping into a headbutt to the face that sent Thor stumbling backwards. Thor threw himself into the attack, golden locks billowing as he leapt at Thanos, leaping above him and down, hammer swinging down.
Thanos grabbed the descending arm at the wrist, twisted at the waist and flung the Thunder God down the street, turning in time to watch him bounce off the roof of a dozen parked vehicles, each vehicles’ windows exploding with the impact, before falling into the road. To his credit the Norse God jumped up immediately and raced towards him.
Thanos waited until the last second then leapt to meet his rival, throwing an uppercut that the Thunder God caught on his jaw but kept on coming, swinging a back-handed hammer that crashed into the side of Thanos’ head. Thanos grunted as he stumbled to the side but managed to parry a knee to the groin on his thigh and retort with a punch to the throat that Thor parried on his forearm.
Thanos caught another hammer strike on his shoulder, grimacing inwardly as he felt the bone creak but not shatter under a blow that would have cracked a planet’s crust. Catching his adversary with an overhand right to the forehead, he grabbed his rival by his mane and pants crotch, lifted him overhead, and flung him down with all the force he could muster, only for the Norse to wriggle free, his knee swinging up to crash into Thanos’ face in the process.
Thanos stumbled back, his pained shock giving his rival an opportunity to rip a lamppost out of the concrete and fling it at him. Thanos ducked instinctively beneath the lamppost then straightened in to catch Thor’s hammer in the face.
Thanos stumbled down to one knee and spat out several teeth, conscious of the blood gushing out of his shattered nose. “You made me bleed,” Thanos shook his head as he staggered to his feet. “Nobody makes me bleed!”
“I will do far more than that before this battle is over foul creature!” Thor promised as he lifted a medium-sized vehicle overhead and threw it down at Thanos. Thanos flung himself forward and away from the descending vehicle and towards the Thunder God. Thanos ignored the right hook he caught to the jaw even though the blow was hard enough to temporarily dislocate it before catching the Thunder God with a flurry of thudding hooks to the torso that forced the Norse god’s retreat.
Then Thanos leapt up in the air above Thor and came down with a swinging haymaker that caught the Thunder God on his temple, spinning him around and dropping him facedown, Thanos’ boot stamping down hard on the back of his rival’s head, pounding him deep into the concrete.
“That was quite the battle,” Thanos growled as he peered down at the crumpled god. “But all will fall before the Mad Titan!”