Moving as quickly as they dared, Buffy and Fin trotted down the ruined corridor until they came to the corner they'd located on the building plans. Looking cautiously around the corner, Buffy nearly got her head blown off by one of the two sentry guns positioned at the far end of a large chamber next to a big armoured door.
“CRAP!” Buffy yelled as she quickly jerked her head back into cover.
“What did you see?” Fin asked as dust and smoke swirled about the stretch of corridor they were in.
“Not sure,” Buffy used her fibre optic camera again, luckily it was too small for the sentry gun's targeting systems to identify it as a threat, “I've got two sentry guns, 30 mill at least...”
“Wow,” Fin breathed, “someone's serious, those things could severely spoil your day even in armour.”
“You've not heard the best yet,” Buffy said as she re-stowed her camera, “they're at the far end of a big, open chamber, we'll have to cover at least thirty yards with no cover to get to the door.”
Resting her back against the wall of the passageway, Buffy tried to think her way around the problem because one thing was for sure, they weren't going to win by just charging straight in. After a moment or two's thought she realised she'd got nothing...no plan presented itself to her mind. Maybe it was because she was tired or perhaps it was the shock of having one of her girls killed. Whatever it was her mind was a blank.
“Okay,” Buffy turned so she was facing Fin, “I've got nothing, what about you?”
“Okay,” Fin replied slowly, “I think I might have an idea, nothing fancy and it could still get us killed, but...”
“It's better than nothing,” Buffy pointed out, “which is precisely what I've got right now.”
“Right let me through,” Fin squeezed passed Buffy so she was standing at the corner of the corridor, she fed her own camera around the corner and looked at the situation for herself; Fin took a deep breath and recovered her camera. “Look the way I see it we need to distract those sentry guns so I can take them out with the LAG.”
“Distract the sentry guns?” Buffy asked, “I repeat, you do know those things are firing 30 mill HEAP and a hit from even one of those could seriously spoil my day...like forever!?”
“Yeah,” if Fin hadn't been wearing armour, Buffy would have seen her nodding her head in agreement, “you got a better idea?”
“No...but...” Buffy did a quick visual search of the corridor walls, she quickly saw what she wanted then sighed in disappointment. The air vents she'd hoped to use to outflank the guns were way too small to crawl down even if they weren't wearing armour, “Shoot!” Buffy sulked, “Okay, we go with your plan. I'll go in low which'll hopefully give me a second or two before they target me, then you go in high and take them out, but be quick, okay?”
“Okay, I'll be quick,” Fin agreed.
After a little pushing and shoving the two women got into position.
“Oh three,” Buffy said from where she was kneeling on the floor, “One...two...THREE!”
Dropping to the floor Buffy's upper body now lay in full view of the sentry guns, using rapid fire, she started to send plasma bolts down the chamber hoping to disrupt the sentry guns' targeting scanners. As the first plasma bolts hit the guns' armour the robotic guns locked onto her and began to fire back. Luckily Buffy's fire had in fact disrupted the sentry guns and their return fire wasn't as accurate as it had been. However, it did smash big holes in the concrete walls and floor of the corridor rapidly filling it with swirling dust and lumps of shattered concrete which bounced onto Buffy's back making her armour ring like a bell.
As the first rounds started to impacted around Buffy, Fin stepped out into the corridor, levelled her LAG and sent two rounds apiece at the robotic guns. One gun exploded almost immediately as Fin's slightly lighter 25mm HEAP rounds impacted the gun's armour, penetrated and set off the spare rounds in its magazine. The other gun was damaged but continued to fire wildly until Fin put the last round in her magazine into the robot's electronic eye. The gun stopped firing but kept trying to track the two MI as they advanced cautiously towards it.
“Good shooting,” Buffy said as she walked up to the gun and pulled on some exposed wiring, the weapon stopped trying to track them and went off line.
Eyeing Fin suspiciously, Buffy again wondered whether the girl was a slayer just like her. Even with the help of her suit's systems, that had been some pretty impressive shooting and she doubted that a non-slayer could have come anywhere near as fast.
“Okay,” Fin's voice intruded on Buffy's thoughts, “How do we get through that?”
Looking at the armoured door, Buffy had to admit it looked pretty impressive, they'd probably need specialist equipment to cut through it.
“Wait a minute,” Buffy's gaze shifted from the door to the wall, “like they always say, its a million to one shot but it just might work.”
“Look,” Buffy gestured at the door, “people are pretty dumb all things considered...”
“If you say so,” Fin didn't sound convinced.
“What I mean is,” Buffy tried to explain, “they'll put in a big tough lock or something, but forget that the door's only made of glass.”
“Oh I get it,” realisation dawned on Fin, “you think that if we try to break through the wall...”
“Its worth a try,” Buffy retreated away from the door as Fin slapped a fresh magazine into her LAG.
Standing about ten yards away from the door, Buffy and Fin concentrated their fire on a spot about three feet to the left of the door. The chamber was soon full of smoke, dust and semi-molten lumps of concrete. Easing off their fire for a moment, Buffy and Fin peered through the obscuration to see a fair sized hole developing in the wall.
“Give it a bit more and we're through!” Buffy cried as she opened fire again.
“I'm out!” Fin cried as she cast away her empty LAG and drew her hand flamer.
“Get ready to throw in some grenades,” Buffy ordered.
Putting her flamer back into place, Fin took three grenades off her utility belt. As soon as Buffy stopped firing again she ran up to the hole which was glowing red hot through all the grey dust and acrid smoke. Standing to one side of the opening as kinetic penetrators and the occasional plasma bolt flew blindly through the hole, she tossed the grenades one after the other into the chamber beyond. Ignoring the explosions as shrapnel pinged off her armour, Fin started to tear at the hole to make it larger. As she worked lumps of super hot concrete and metal stuck to her armoured hands. The nanites in her body stocking rushed water to these hot spots and froze it reducing the risk of burns to her hands and arms.
Feeling Buffy join her and start to heave and pull at the wall, Fin reminded herself not to pull too hard and damage her suit. The armour was good, but it had never been designed to deal with super-human strength. Working together Buffy and Fin quickly made a hole big enough for them to climb through one after the other. The volume of fire coming from inside the chamber was almost like a solid wall by now, but most of it was slugs and what plasma weapons there were firing were pretty light stuff and not a serious threat to the integrity of their armour.
“Some how I don't think this is waste disposal!” Buffy joked as she prepared to throw in more grenades.
“Ready?” Fin asked as she held up her two last grenades.
“Ready,” Buffy agreed, “we throw these then you follow me in, right?”
“You're the boss,” Fin told her.
Before Buffy had said 'three', Fin had tossed in her grenades and was moving through the hole before they'd even exploded, her flamer out and firing.
“God damn it!” Buffy cried, being unable to disarm the grenades in her hands she tossed them behind her and then followed Fin through the hole just as they exploded.
Blasting a fanged fiend with chemical fire as it fired a general purpose machine-gun at her, Buffy realised that everyone in the chamber with her, apart from Fin, was a vampire. Buffy could feel them even through her suit and for a moment she felt afraid. But then she remembered she wasn't just a slayer who had to rely only on her skill and strength, she was Buffy the Power Armoured Vampire Slayer now. Turning she incinerated a couple of vamps who looked as if they were going to try and bite her on the neck. Vampires were just so stupid!
In the few seconds that Fin and Buffy had been in the room they'd reduced it to a smoking ruin. Vampires flashed into flame and ash as the fire from the hand flamers touched them. Very soon the battle would be over. Or at least that's what Buffy thought until she heard Fin scream in pain.
“FIN!?” Buffy called before remembering to check Fin's location on her HUD, the girl was only a few feet away through the smoke to her left.
Striding through the wreckage as she burnt down another vamp, Buffy came to a sort of clearing in amongst the smashed up computers and work stations. There towering over a fallen Fin McCarthy stood an old model power armour suit. Not hesitating for a second, Buffy could feel the vamp in the armour as she grabbed hold of her plasma rifle, settled the aiming pipper on the face plate of the vamps suit and fired. The old suits weren't as robust as the suits Buffy and her guys were wearing; also the power of the modern weapons was much greater than the old suits had been designed to resist. Very soon the enemy's face plate gave up the unequal struggle and exploded into white hot lumps of transparent material. Whatever was inside the suit didn't even get a chance to scream as its head flashed into dust followed rapidly by the rest of the vampire's body. With its control systems reduced to slag and with nothing inside the suit to keep it upright, it collapsed onto the floor of the wrecked command centre.
“You okay, Fin?” Buffy asked as she put away her rifle and pulled out her flamer again.
“Just a little scorched around the edges,” Fin admitted as she climbed to her feet again, “did we win?”
“Of course we did,” Buffy laughed as she looked at her read outs on her HUD, she still couldn't get anything from anyone outside the building, it was almost like they were in an electronic bubble, “Hey, look for anything that's still working and make it stop!”
“Roger that,” Fin began to look around and smash anything that looked as if it might be jamming their comms.
Walking a little way away from Fin, Buffy came across a big plastic box with loads of flashing lights and dials on its face. Reaching out with an armoured hand she switched a big red switch to 'off'. Almost immediately her HUD sprang back to life and showed her the situation outside the bubble. A quick glance told her that while fighting was still going on, the MI were winning.
“What was that?” Fin asked from Buffy's side, “Some sorta comms jammer?”
“Nah,” Buffy shrugged inside her suit, “its probably just a plot device...whatever,” Buffy turned away from the 'plot device' and started to speak into her comms, “Hello Nine-Actual,” she called over the platoon net, “this is Five-One, urgent message, over.”
“Nine-Actual, nice to hear your voice again Snake. We were beginning to think we'd lost you, over.”
“Five-One, you should be so lucky...by the way we've won, game over, over.”
“Nine-Actual, say again, over.”
“Five-One, we won, General Sparks is dead and we've taken out his command centre, its all over, over.”
“Nine-Actual, confirm that op-force sunray is down, over.”
“Five-One, I can't be one-hundred percent sure coz there's no body, but there was a guy in a' old armoured suit, I'm kinda betting that was our sparky-boy, over.”
“Nine-Actual, confirm, no body? Over.”
“Five-One, just some ash, over.”
“Five-One, yeah it got real hot down here, over.”
“Nine-Actual, okay, good work, go firm on your position and wait for me or Angels to get to your position, over.”
“Five-One, wilco, out.”
Buffy stood in silence for a moment before turning to look at Fin.
“You and I need to talk,” Buffy in formed her, “but first we better clean up down here.”
Buffy changed the frequencies on her comms, “Hey, Harm,” she called, “you guys okay up there?”0=0=0=0
A few days after the Battle of Prospect had ended, Buffy and her squad came back to the General's palace with a navy search team. Going back down to the smashed up corridor they searched through the rubble until they found what remained of Kate O'Sullivan. They didn't find much, mainly smashed and bent pieces of armour and a few pieces of bloody bone. However, the navy's search team's DNA scanner confirmed that the remains were those of Kate. They spent several hours sifting through the ruins until they were sure they'd found all that there was left of Kate to find. While they were taking her back to the H Jones, Buffy realised that Kate was the first in the squad to make it to 'Citizen'.
That evening, while the rest of the squad were in the canteen, Buffy and Harmony cleared out Kate's rack and packed up all her meagre personnel possessions to be sent home to her parents in Ireland at the first opportunity. After this sad little task was completed, Buffy and Harmony called the rest of the squad to the drop room where a flag draped capsule waited to be loaded into the breach of the centre line firing tube. After conducting a short service to celebrate Kate's life, Buffy closed the breach of the firing tube and sent Kate on her last journey out towards RV-3490's sun...ashes to ashes, dust to star-dust.0=0=0=0
Crunching through the snow, Chief Petty Officer DeNozzo found another body sized lump in the snow behind a stunted thorn bush.
“Oh no,” he signed quietly; so far the Naval Criminal Investigation Service team had found almost three hundred bodies of women and girls, they'd all been shot with slug throwers, “I've found another one,” DeNozzo called over his comms.
Kneeling down next to the mound he gently started to remove some of the snow with his gloved hand. After only a few moments he'd cleared most of the snow from the body.
“What have you got, Chief?” Mr Watts of the Federation War Crimes Investigation Unit asked as he came to stand next to DeNozzo.
“Female, twelve or thirteen years old by the looks of her,” DeNozzo reported, “from the position of her body I'd say she was shot in the back as she was running away...” DeNozzo looked back towards the site of the massacre, “...she almost made it too, poor kid.”
“Don't worry, Chief,” Mr Watts said quietly, “we'll catch the people who did and ordered this, they'll pay, my god will they pay!”
“Yeah, I expect they will, Sir,” DeNozzo climbed back to his feet, he gestured at the small frozen corpse, “but it won't bring her back, will it?” 0=0=0=0
In a quiet, little compartment aboard the TFCT H Jones, Buffy sat on a spare mattress and rested her head against Harmony's chest. The little space wasn't much bigger than a closet, but the two NCOs had decked it out with home-made cushions and a spare mattress that the Navy didn't need plus a few completely 'girlie' things that they'd found, bought or made. It wasn't much but it was their space, somewhere they could be alone and not have to be responsible for anything other than themselves.
“Harm,” Buffy said quietly, she was really comfortable and relaxed, Harmony's breasts were firm and made really good pillows, “you know I'm still not sure about Fin.”
“Totally,” Harmony, replied as she lay back on a pile of cushions and stroked Buffy's hair, “maybe she really is like normal.”
“Well, I suppose you could be right,” Buffy shrugged and wondered again about her proscription against screwing anyone aboard the Jones; making out with Harmony would be so
much more fun than doing it her bunk with a piece of plastic, “I don't think I'm going to worry about it anymore...”
“That's cool,” Harmony turned her head and kissed Buffy softly on the forehead.
“Hey Harm...” Buffy warned, although she found it difficult not to turn her head and return the kiss.
“I know, I know,” Harmony sighed heavily, “no screwing aboard ship...but couldn't we like, you know, just make out a little?”
“Make out?” Buffy thought the idea over.
“Yeah, you know like without the screwing, much?” Harmony replied.
“Well I suppose, making out isn't really
like 'sex',” Buffy pointed out slowly.
“I mean...” Harmony kissed Buffy on the lips, “...that's like so not sex, right?”
“And...” Buffy shifted her position, “...if I were to put my hand on your boob...you're very nice boobs you know, and kissed you back that wouldn't be sex either, that would be like two friends giving each other a hug, right?”
“Oh yes...” Harmony moaned softly, “...this is nothing like sex...much!”0=0=0=0
In the armoury, PFC Fin McCarthy looked around to make sure no one was watching. When she'd checked that she was in fact alone she picked up the crate containing five hundred 25mm LAG rounds and placed it on the work bench. Ignoring the pry bar lying next to the crate she ripped open the box with her bare hands. It was always such a pain to have to keep hiding her strength. But if anyone found out who and what she was, she'd have to go back to the Watchers and she didn't want to do that. For a start she was doing more good out here than she ever would be on Earth, hadn't she just helped take down a whole bunch of vampires? There were never that many vamps on Earth any more.
No, she would continue to hide her true abilities and do what she could out here, then when her time was up she'd retire to some nice peaceful, green, planet and never worry about, vamps, demons or bugs ever again. In the mean time she better get on with the work Corporal Summers had given her as punishment for charging into that vamp nest without orders. Sighing to herself Fin started to take the LAG rounds from their packaging and put them in the ready round bins.0=0=0=0
Stepping out of the front door of the Blue Parrot Bar and Grill, Amber Moore lifted her face to the sky and felt the warm sun on her face and body. Since Bobbie and herself had been evacuated to the Southern continent she'd rarely had to wear much more than a bikini and a sarong...plus a little exposed skin helped bring in customers. When Bobbie and herself had arrived on South Continent the Feds had given them both a Relocation and Small Business grant.
As it turned out Bobbie had a real skill for cooking while Amber found she had a talent for 'hospitality'. So, using the money they'd been given they'd set up the Blue Parrot Bar and Grill. Amber didn't know what a parrot (blue or otherwise) was, but someone had said it was a good name so the two young women had gone with it. While Amber worked the bar, Bobbie cooked locally caught fish on a grill out back. Business was booming and Amber had just taken on two new waitresses to help out, life was good. Of course in a hundred years or so their children would probably have to move the bar north again when the Ice Age was over. But, who knows, Amber told herself, maybe by then they could control the weather.
The sound of young voices jogged Amber's mind out of her fantasies about controlling the weather. Looking along the beach she saw a small crowd of Federation Navy and MI boys and girls walking along the sand, they stopped in front of her bar. For a moment Amber's mind flashed back to the soldier-girl who'd found Bobbie and herself on that cold day in the General's palace. As she always did, Amber hoped she was well and safe.
“HI!” Amber called happily, “Come on in, the first round's always on the house for our brave soldiers and sailors, we love you!”The End.Author's Note:
First I'd like to say a big 'thank-you' for all the recommendations and reviews you gave me. I really enjoy reading your reviews as they help me to see where I screwed up and where I can do better.
I missed a few ideas out of this story, like the 'Dusk to Dawn' style scenario set on Sanctuary, maybe I'll find space to slip that into another story. In hindsight I think I should have made this into two stories of about twenty chapters each and added more background and perhaps a few more non-military action scenes.
One or two people have commented on the lack 'supernatural' in this fic...well yes, I admit it. I do tend to cut right back on the 'things that go bump in the night' because there's enough nasties out there without adding ones with fangs. Also, I think that adding vamps sometimes spoils the story. Its like the last scene in 'The Body' where Dawn's alone in the morgue with her Mom's corpse. Then...'WHAM!' up pops a vamp, in my view it ruined the scene and was totally unnecessary. We don't need to have vamps rubbed in our faces (ewww!) to know its 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', anyway that's how I feel about it.
Okay, I've written several more stories set in this version of the 'Starship Troopers' universe. The next story to be posted will be 'A Blaze of Glory' (notice the 'Glory' theme in the story titles?). 'A Blaze of Glory' is shorter and funnier than 'The Ever Lasting Glory' with Buffy and Harmony going off on a special mission together; his might be posted next month.