Xander had to admit, he wasn’t used to this, not since Halloween.
Legging it, showing a clean pair of heels, tactical withdrawal, retreat… however you phrased it, it was running away from the fight. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly have much of a choice.
Okay, so they had known the Mayor was dirty for ages but they had never quite figured out how he was dirty, so they had decided on surveillance. Of course, it had to be him on surveillance when the Mayor suddenly gained the 100% reflect shield, and worse still, came out to gloat, showing all to clearly that he knew he was there all along.
But at least they had an idea what was going on now, the Mayor had been a little to busy gloating and not busy enough watching his words…
Xander really didn’t like the sound of the word ‘ascension’, it promised trouble, with a very capital T.
“Oh dear lord”
“Okay,” Faith commented, “why is it that when Giles uses that tone of voice I start to fell the urge to run away?”
“Well,” Giles said, furiously rubbing his glasses, “whilst there are no confirmed records of an ascension, there is at least one recorded instance of a town being destroyed in what was suspected to be an ascension”
“An entire town?” Jenny asked.
Giles glanced across at his wife, “I’m afraid so”
“So,” Buffy commented, wryly, “ascension not of the good, check”
Xander shook his head, “he has what appears to be a 100% reflect shield running, which means all the damage we inflict on him will affect us instead. For all practical purposes, that makes him invulnerable”
“How long will he be invulnerable for?” Oz quietly asked; his expression pensive.
“We’ll need to research it,” Giles responded, prompting more then a few half-hearted groans, “but I would assume until he ascends. We really need the books he is using to ascend though to properly determine that though, this may be part and parcel of the process”
Xander shook his head, “if we had an agent, I would say try for a stealthy extraction of the books, but we don’t. We would have to go frontal and with an invulnerable opponent, that’s not a good idea”
“Yes, and Wilkins will no doubt keep the books close by until his ascension” Giles added, as he walked towards the stacks of books.
“We will still need to keep tabs on him though” Willow commented.
Xander shook his head again, “too dangerous, he sees us as a threat still, he certainly made enough of an effort to have me killed earlier, and he appears to know exactly what each of our polymorphs looks like, so no hiding in a different form either”
Jenny nodded, “then we need remote surveillance of some sort”
Xander nodded, “that would work, but as we have no engineer it would all have to be ‘modern’ technology, making it far easier for the Mayor to discover and possibly pervert”
“I agree,” Giles carefully didn’t shrug as he walked back down from the stacks with a massive pile of volumes which towered over his head, “Jenny, Willow, you’re both far more up to date with technology then we are, I think you would be the best bet to set that up”
“Well,” Willow commented wryly, glaring at the shattered remnants of what had been a perfectly good, if school issue, computer, “that didn’t go as planned”
Jenny nodded, annoyed, she was after all the one who was going to have to explain the loss of a fairly valuable asset to the troll, aka Principal Snyder, “he must have warded his offices against technological snooping”
“He has,” they both turned at the quiet, fearful voice from behind them, their eyes widening as they saw a familiar figure, “I have some information for you, about Wilkins plans”
Willow grinned, this could really be the break they needed, “of course Mr Finch, why don’t you join us in the library?”
“a demonic snake,” Xander said grimly, “at graduation?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so” was the quiet, fearful surprise, “he intends to eat the entire graduating class to give him the strength he requires, I suspect its why he set the town up here in the first place”
Buffy cursed, “Meaning we can’t even rely on him to stop with just the graduating class”
“No, I am afraid we can’t” Giles said, cleaning his glasses once more, “remember the only time we suspect an ascension actually occurred, an entire town was destroyed”
“Will he be invulnerable when he ascends?” Xander asked, glancing at Giles.
“Well,” Giles leafed quickly through the stack of papers Finch had been kind enough to provide, “I don’t know yet, but considering Mr Finch was kind enough to… ah, photocopy the books of ascension for us, I should be able to find out in relatively short order”
Buffy nodded, “we will have to proceed under the assumption that he will lose his invulnerability as soon as he ascends, if he doesn’t there is nothing we can do anyway”
“Agreed” Giles commented distracted, his eyes firmly on the papers he was reading through.
“Can we kill a full demon?” Oz asked, quietly.
Xander grimaced, “if he loses his invulnerability, and that’s a big if, we can kill him, we will just have to figure out how. What I am worried about is how high level a demon he will show up as”
“At a guess,” Giles glanced momentarily across from his desk, “anywhere between first and third circle”
“Translation, we can’t rely on being able to team him” Jenny replied.
“No,” Xander replied frankly, “if he is that high then he could potentially kill us in one or two swipes, good as she is getting, even Cordelia cant heal us that fast, Oz and I will need to be concentrating on fighting too, so that leaves us out of support healing and Willows healing pets can only work on one person at a time”
“So,” Buffy shook her head, unsurprised, “frontal assault won’t work this time, we’re actually going to have to be inventive”
“Yes,” Xander replied.
“We need some overkill” Willow commented.
Oz smirked, slightly, “there is no overkill, there is only Open Fire! And I need to reload”
“Rule 37” Giles commented, not really paying attention, his eyes still on the papers in front of him.
Xander, Oz and Willow all glanced at him, eyes wide; mouth on the floor, but it was Xander who commented, gleefully, “Giles, you’ve read Schlock Mercenary! How 21st century of you”
Willow smirked, “I knew you were doing something on the ‘dread machine’, but I didn’t realise it involved looking at web comics”
“Oh bloody hell” was Giles only response.
“Still, we are going to a side order of ‘blam’ for this one” Willow commented.
“Yes, and knowing your destructive tendencies I have little doubt that it will involve copious quantities of explosives” Giles replied, a little sarcastically.
Xander blinked, “ah, now that should work”
Giles stilled, glancing at Xander to see if he was serious, he was, “Oh, Good Lord”
“Problem,” Jenny replied, making Giles sigh a little with relief, “where are you going to get enough explosive?”
Willow ohhed, bouncing in her seat, “I found this recipe on the internet for a fertiliser bomb”
Giles groaned, his head banging off the desk, the thought of his children playing around with high explosives was frankly, scaring him to death.
Xander grinned, “I have some C-4 left over from the last time we raided the Sunnydale Armoury”
Giles rose swiftly from his seat, heading for the bottle of Scotch he kept hidden in his office.
“Detonators?” Jenny asked
“Of course” Xander grinned, “I think your boyfriend is planning on get drunk though”
“Eww,” Buffy groaned, “thanks for the mental image”
“Question, where exactly do we place the explosives?” Oz asked.
“Has to be inside the School,” Jenny replied, “I doubt we are going to drag him far away from his meal tickets after all”
“What?” Jenny asked, at the bemused and eager grins she was getting from the rest of the gang, then she thought back over what she had said, she hadn’t really said to blow up the school had she? “Oh god, I need a drink”
Xander chuckled as Miss Calendar walked off, “so, whilst the adults get drunk, I think we had best start planning…”
It was a day like any other; the sun was out, the birds were singing, the Mayor was planning a demonic ascension…
Okay, so it wasn’t a day like any other to most people, but to the Sunnydale class of ’95, it was pretty much just a normal day. But then, exactly how many school newspapers had a weekly obituary section? Normal doesn’t live in this town.
“Oh good god, he’s actually going to give a full speech before he ascends” Buffy moaning, sinking down deep into her seat.
Oz frowned behind her, “if we had any doubts that he was evil before now, that would just have ended them”
“Hell yea” Xander commented, “why doesn’t he just ascend already?”
“He’s waiting,” Willow commented, with the tones of one who has said this far too many times, “for the eclipse, which should be happening anytime in the next minute”
“Then we can kill him?” Buffy asked.
Willow rolled her eyes, “not till he has completely shifted form, I’ve told you this”
“Getting darker” Oz commented.
“That’s the eclipse” Willow commented, ignoring the still speaking Mayor, “get ready…”
“Vampires!” Buffy snapped out, shooting to her feet, looking straight at the main entrance seconds before the horde appeared through it.
Xander nodded, “let’s go then”
The fight that followed was short sweet and to the point. With Xander tearing through the vampires, ably assisted by Willow, Cordelia, Jenny and Oz they died quickly, few managing to break through to the students and parents and those that did, quickly dieing at the hands of a horde of angry and prepared students, not the scared, unprepared students they were expecting.
Wilkins ascended, and his very first move was to eat Principal Snyder in one gulp, followed by the Chief of Police, before Buffy, now fully buffed up as the Martial Artist she was, cast the nano ‘encourage hatred’ on the Mayor, making him turn from the student body and chase after her. Buffy ran, deliberately slowly towards the library, making sure Wilkins didn’t lose sight of her as his objective.
Wilkins followed her into the library and got into the library, spotted the explosives and had just enough time to say “Oh hell” before Faith jumped down, putting every inch of power she could muster behind the hammer she was wielding. The hammer shattered, and her arms aching, Faith dived out the library windows behind Buffy, leaving a stunned ex-Mayor shaking his head as he picked himself back up off the floor.
He didn’t get any more time then that.
As soon as she spotted both girls were out, Giles, with great glee, pressed down on his detonator, sending a tiny electrical charge running through wires into tiny blocks of C-4 in the library. Those blocks of C-4 detonated, igniting the fertiliser explosive they were packed in.
The result, as they say, was a nice side order of ‘blam’.
“Oh gross,” Buffy commented, pulling some green stuff she would rather not think about out of her hair, “I think I have mayor meat on me”
“You have the Mayors meat on you?” Faith grinned at her sister slayer, “didn’t know you were into that kind of kinky”
Buffy froze, shuddered, and carefully replied, “I am totally going to repress your last comment”
“Indeed” came the rather disturbed addition from Giles, “but I do believe we have a fight to go to?”
They nodded; Faith and Buffy tearing swiftly around the school to the main fight, followed a few seconds later by Giles ‘pet’, a robot assistant summoned by nanotechnology.
They didn’t find a fight, they found a massacre.
“Okay,” Buffy shrugged, jogging across to join her teammates, “we survived school”
Xander snorted, “We blew up school”
“Which was kinda cool” Oz added.
“So,” Buffy asked, “what do we do next?”
“Victory party?” Giles replied, wheezing a little as he joined the group.
There were satisfied nods all around, “victory party”