Title: OF THE LINE
Author: Ghost who Walks
Disclaimer: I own none of it.
Responding to the “In Jim Baen’s Memory” Challenge #1578
Author’s note: I’ve gone back to chapter one and made some minor edits, and I really want to thank everyone who has already read and reviewed this … so thank you. I am thrust back into combat. My sole operational Hellbore spits out fire twice as fast as I am previously used to; and both Enemy scout tanks cease to exist. Reports come flooding into my diagnostic center as damaged systems come back online. My battlescreen is back online and at more than full power. So are my automatic repair systems. Hellbores two, four and five which comprise the rest of my main secondary armament, are coming back online. Hellbore number one, the 110cm Shipkiller 3256, my primary armament, is coming back online. That has been inoperable for the last two weeks. Battery power, tertiary armament, antipersonnel armament, even my battlehull; all my systems are coming back online and at better than normal operating parameters.
Instead of driving around the base administrative building in my path, I drive through it, not even stressing my battlescreen. I catch the Enemy heavy tank platoon completely by surprise and the 50cm plasma bolts from Hellbore’s two through five wipe them from this existence. My backup systems continue to come online. When reactor number three, the experimental advanced cold fusion plant, comes online I am able to bring up my interior battlescreen, something I have been unable to do for 5.234 years due to lack of proper maintenance and parts. I reflect as I destroy a unit of Enemy armored personal carriers that if not for the drawn out conflict with the Melconians and the neglect my systems here have suffered as a result as being out of contact with Command this new Enemy would have been unable to land on my world.
I destroy a unit of Enemy infantry with my anti personal lasers as they attempt to place explosive charges on my hull. With my back up processors fully online I renew my efforts to break into the Enemy’s computer networks; I also start reviewing the Slayer and Watcher Database I had the image of Willow Rosenberg upload during null time; I also reread the Slayer Handbook … I’m not quite sure that a secret identity applies in my case. I consider my new status for 145th time since I was informed of it. I have a soul. A soul that was Destined to be a Chosen Vampire Slayer more than 1200 years ago. A Destiny that was derailed when the person that the Powers That Be sometimes call “The Destroyer of Prophecies” interfered, interfered repeatedly evidently. Willow said the PTBs usually call him “that God Damn Son of a Bitch Harris”, she says she has called him “Xander” since kindergarten.
A unit of Enemy hunter killer attack craft streak out of the sky toward my position, I let my 2 batteries of infinite repeaters go to fully automatic anti air mode. I note that the ten 10cm ion bolt canons are now firing at more than 3 times my non Slayer rate of fire and with increased accuracy. I ignore the bits of metal and biological debris that drop out of the sky onto my battescreen.
Willow said that the PTBs plan had called for Slayer Buffy Summers to die at the hands of the Vampire called the Master, Slayer Kendra McPhereson to die defeating the Demon The Judge, Slayer Faith Lehane to die at the hands of the Sisterhood of Jhe, Slayer Kennedy Williams to die defeating the ascended Richard Wilkens III. At that point according to the Destiny that the PTBs had planned I should have been called as The Vampire Slayer only to meet my end battling the Demon/Human cyborg Adam. “Xander” Harris apparently changed all this. First he revived Buffy Summers with CPR and later by refusing to sit on the sidelines and simply watch the fight against evil pass him by he repeatedly saved one slayer or another by his actions. He reportedly never gave up, ever. I think he would have made a good Bolo.
The PTBs in response to Harris’s actions kept changing plans. Eventually every girl who should have been called as a Vampire Slayer but hadn’t been because of Harris’s actions ended up in Sunnydale for the Battle of the Hellmouth, where Willow Rosenberg with the aid of the Slayer Scythe (a magical weapon with intimate ties to the Slayer Spirit) activated all of Earth’s willing potential Slayers of appropriate age into full Slayers. That is every girl that should have been called except for me.
Willow refused to give me the details but it seems that my incarnation at the time had somehow been tricked out of my Destiny. This trickery eventually led to my being called as a Slayer now. It seems that in the 1277 years 4 months 2 weeks and 2 days since the Battle of the Hellmouth my reincarnations keep making nuisances of themselves. After time spent as a Slayer a soul is rewarded either with time in that soul’s concept of heaven or with peaceful incarnations full of families and friends. I however have spent my various lives as different kinds of warriors, peace officers, rescue workers and others types dedicated to fighting the good fight. In others words I have made myself a pest who keeps upsetting the plans of the PTBs. By calling me here and now in this incarnation, the PTBs think when this incarnation ends I will move on to my previously destined path.
My full attention is suddenly drawn to the computer processors which are invading the Enemy computers. The Enemy’s plan never depended fully on their heavy forces in this valley at all! Yes, eliminating any Bolo opposition would be ideal, and yes having the heavy forces available to deal with the human’s heavy forces would be useful, but not necessary to their final victory. The Enemy’s long range plan if met with heavy resistance was biological. The enemy forces which are scattered all over my planet each have a pregnant egg laying queen with them. Each queen is capable of producing over 10,000 fully mature warriors a year.