Title: The Oblivion Wave
Feedback: In lieu of a Faithbot yeah.
Disclaimer: Whedonverse characters owned by Mutant Enemy. Marvel Characters created and owned by the lords on high (aka Marvel Comics). This story was written for pleasure rather than profit.
The Empire State Building. The Statue Of Liberty. The White House. The Golden Gate Bridge. Big Ben. Buckingham Palace. The Eiffel Tower. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa. The Coliseum. The Sphinx. The Sydney Opera House. Every historic building and every city devastated, laid waste, five thousand years of human advancement ended by an implacable enemy.
A once blue sky turned grey by dust and debris. Unchecked fires burning in the ruined capitals, smoke billowing upwards, ash joining the stench of death in the air.
A sea of corpses spread further than any human eye could see. Some were still recognisable as humans, some heart-wrenchingly as people she had known, either personally or as allies she’d fought alongside. All that remained of most though was either dismembered body-parts or bleached skeletons.
And on a mountain of skulls stood a group of seven, six ringed around one. Only one of the outer six was recognisably human, a tall lean man with dark hair, a synthetic glowing left eye, and a scarred right side of his face. Another of the outer six was a tall, dark green android. The next was tall and lean, with white eyes, blue, glowing hair, and skin darker than black. Next was a tall, thick-set monster with a bald head, grey beard, and a grey rock-like skin, in his gloved hand he held a massive, double-bladed axe. The next figure also had an axe, but he was a vastly different character, also tall and thickly-muscled, but with red eyes and grey hair with mottled, brownish skin, and spiky protrusions all over its arms and torso. The sixth and final member of the ring was a towering figure with a thickly-muscled physique to match, the creature had a thick, lionesque mane and power glowed in the palm of each hand.
But in the circle’s centre stood the group’s undoubted leader. He was a tall male with the sort of build that might give the Hulk pause and an air of unassailable command. His skull-like face was purple with gleaming cold red eyes set deep within his face and a stare that could cut through steel. And then he began to laugh, the sort of laugh that could only belong to the deeply, deeply insane.
“Shit!” Faith awoke with a gasp, stomach churning and body soaked with sweat. She leaned over her bed and dry-heaved for a few seconds as she struggled to control the horror resulting from the nightmarish images still racing through her mind.
“Hey babe, you okay?”
Faith forced a smile as she glanced over her shoulder and into Xander’s gaze, heart warming as usual at the concern she saw gleaming in his solitary eye. “Slayer Dream,” she explained even as her ragged breathing slowed to something close to normal. “And it was a kicker.”
“Yeah,” Xander’s brow furrowed with concern, “I can feel you shaking.” Xander half-smiled. “And for once it’s not with desire.”
Faith snorted. X always had had a talent of making her feel ‘lighter’. “In your dreams.” Faith glanced at her wrist then at the bedside clock’s animated digital face. “Quarter past one, what time will it be in jolly old England?”
“About six in the morning,” Xander replied. “You thinking about ringing old Rupes?”
“Like I said, Slayer Dream, real bad one,” Faith grabbed her workout towel off the back of the chair beside the bed and mopped her soaked brow. “But he gets wicked pissy if you wake him. Think Watcher-Guy is getting crankier with old age.”
Xander tilted his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. “So why don’t you tell me about this dream?”
“Maybe later,” Faith grinned as she flipped Xander onto his back and mounted him, “seeing as we’re both awake, maybe we can relieve some tension.”
Xander grinned back at her as she started to pull her pants down. “Always glad to be of service.”
Faith chuckled as she looked down. “Yeah, I can certainly see that.”
“Martha,” Giles smiled at the matronly lady who served as his receptionist and executive assistant, her dowdy looks and almost sleepy expression belying her razor-sharp mind and organisational skills. “What meetings do I have on my schedule today?”
The middle-aged woman glanced at her tablet, Giles inwardly grimacing at the thought of all the computers infecting the Slayers Council, before replying in a warm Devonish accent. “You have a eleven o’clock with the head of special operations to discuss equipment funding, a two-thirty with the Highland Druids, just general housekeeping, and a representative of the Native American shamen has an appointment at four-fifteen to discuss movement on the treaty.”
“Busy day then,” Giles murmured. Bloody hell, he’d take the daily horror of Sunnydale over the mind-numbing boredom of every-day clerical work. His eyebrow rose. “Any problems over-night?”
“Special Operations aided a trio of Slayers in the execution of Giles de Rais in Marseilles. A quartet of Slayers took down a Sisterhood of Jhe compound in Brazil. A quartet of Slayers infiltrated and destroyed a Scourge base in Iran. All three operations completed with some injuries, but no fatalities.”
“Excellent.” Giles smiled. The first couple of years after the Slayers’ Council’s formation had been rocky to say the least, freeing the old Council’s bank funds, setting up a new base, recruiting new Watchers and staff, convincing new Slayers to join them, ensuring that the world’s nations still recognised their authority, and getting all the treaties with the major powers signed had taken considerable effort. But for the last few years, the Council had been doing well. “Any calls for me?”
“Not as ye-.” Martha’s eyebrows rose and her eyes widened. “Wait, I’m getting a call coming through from New York.”
“Ah,” Giles beamed, it was so rare when he got to speak to one of his ‘children’, “please,” he reached for his phone, “put them through immediately.”
Martha nodded. “At once, sir.” His assistant retreated from the office the moment she’d finished putting the call through, leaving Giles alone to answer the phone.
“Hey Giles, how’s it hangin’?”
“Faith!” Giles’ beam widened at the brunette Slayer’s typical irreverence. “I’m not getting any complaints.”
“And I’d thought by your age it would have dropped off,” Faith retorted.
“I have a few years left thank you very much.” Giles chuckled before sobering. “I trust you haven’t solely rung up to, how do you Colonials put it? Ah, to ‘bust my chops’?’”
“Nah,” the mocking tone left the Bostonian’s voice, leaving her voice grim, “as fun as that is. Got a problem, a big one.”
“Xander’s alright isn’t he?” Giles queried, heart briefly catching.
“He’s still nuttier than a bag of peanuts, but he’s five by five,” Faith replied. “But he ain’t why I’m ringing. I had a wicked bad Slayer Dream.”
“Ah,” Giles picked up a pen and grabbed a writing pad. Everybody else in the office might be digital, but he stayed stubbornly analogue. “Please, furnish me with the details.”
“Furnish me with the details.” Giles heard the Slayer’s chuckle and sensed her headshake. “Gotta love the English and the way they speak American.”
Giles ignored the sarcastic comment as Faith began to talk, describing the scenes she’d seen and the dreadful scenario’s perpetrators. “None of the beings you described sound immediately familiar,” he admitted once the Slayer had finished. “However given the devastation you described, I’ll get Mr. Wells to look into it as a matter of some urgency.”
“How is the pain in the ass?” Faith demanded, amusement filling her voice.
“A pain in the ass,” Giles replied with a chuckle. Andrew had grown on him over the years, but he still managed to have his moments. “But he is an amazingly thorough archivist. If we have anything on this formidable-sounding fellow and his compatriots, Andrew will find it.”
“You got a meeting with anybody official any time soon?” Faith queried.
“I’m meeting with Alistaire Stuart, a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee, next week, we meet last Friday in every month,” Giles replied, brow furrowing at the sudden change of topic. “Why?”
“With the android bein’ involved, I kinda figure that just maybe that the other creatures weren’t demons but maybe aliens, not our bag at all.”
“Perhaps,” Giles pursed his lips. Given the examples of Ted, ADAM, and the androids, he was more than aware that the supernatural could on occasion harness robotics for nefarious means. Still, Faith made a good point and it didn’t hurt to try every avenue. “Now,” Giles smiled, “tell me what else you’ve been up to.”