Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-
Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially BTVS: Primeval.
Notes: Story number One in the Spanderverse-universe. This is VERY Riley-centric. This story has 6 chapters.
Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline. Scene or POV switches are handled with a string of o’s.
Thanks to the authors of Fanfiction, wherever you may post. It’s probable that I’ve read at least one of your stories somewhere. I apologize for recycling concepts inadvertently from the plenitude of stories I’ve read.
Spanderverse: After 314
Chapter 2/6: Return to the Initiative
POV: Riley Finn, mostly. A little Graham and various soldiers.
Riley sat in the lead Humvee as their convoy crossed through town toward the dorm that had been his temporary home. He hadn’t always been a soldier there. Sometimes he was just Riley Finn, PA to the psychology professor, Dr. Maggie Walsh. It seemed like another life time. Maybe it was; maybe it was from a life when he could still be naïve and believe whole-heartedly in his government and the integrity of the people supporting and directing him in his fight to stop the HSTs from snacking on the populace.
Those days were long gone now, though. He’d discovered that Maggie, the woman he respected more than anyone in the Initiative, even Graham and Forrest, wasn’t what she had appeared to be. Oh, she was human, but sometimes they made the most vicious monsters.
His thoughts hop scotched across the last few months. Discovering Buffy’s special abilities was one of the most amazing things he’d come across yet. That this petite girl with the gorgeous smile could go toe to toe with anything Riley himself had fought was nothing less than amazing. The fact that she was excited to join his team, fighting side by side with him made him happier then he’d ever been. He wondered what his mother would think of her.
But then dreams tended to get shattered, and his did. It turned out that not only was Dr. Walsh creating a hodgepodge monster, not only was she experimenting on Riley himself, but she had tried to trick Buffy into getting killed. Seeing her stammering out that Buffy was dead, as sympathetic as she could manage, seeing her concern for him in her eyes and then to find out it was all a lie she had set up herself was almost more than he could take.
He’d stomped away from her after that and hadn’t spoken to her again. He couldn’t even imagine how Dr. Walsh thought she was going to explain it away while she was calling out to him. He’d never hit a woman, except in practice hand-to-hand with fellow soldiers, but he could have belted her at that moment. For just a split second, he'd wanted to see the look on her face after his fist crashed into her jaw. Mrs. Finn raised him right though, so he’d just gotten away from her as fast as he could without running.
The Humvees pulled into the dorm parking lot, gathering stares all the way. Riley shook the thoughts of Maggie and his hurt over her betrayal away. Like his grief for Forrest, it would need to wait.
There were mouths hanging open all around them as they leaped from the vehicles in full combat gear. The medical transports were already unloading personnel and stretchers. He could hear medics giving orders to other medics and orderlies so they’d be prepared for any trauma that was about to come out of the dorm doors.
In the meantime, he was having some of the greener looking troops evacuate all the floors of the dorm. He’d leave them to block access and to guard their rears as they exited from below, in case any monsters were chasing them as they escorted the survivors (and he still expected, no demanded, that there would be survivors) out. The instruction to the college kids was simple, this was a matter of national security and they were to exit without delay. They’d be kept out of the building until such time as they, Riley’s troops, allowed them back in. There’d be no wasting of time answering questions, or responding to indignant protests. Anyone trying to obstruct them in any way for any length of time would be placed in military custody and turned over to the F.B.I. (that part being a lie, but it seemed a good touch) for investigation. Sunnydale was pretty generous with the admission grants (gee, kinda obvious why in hindsight, he thought) and the threat of the F.B.I.’s involvement would probably scare the foreign students into complying without a fuss.
As the evacuation was going on, local law enforcement arrived to take over crowd control. Riley wanted to ask what they’d been told, but it wasn’t worth wasting the time trying to figure out a way to bring it up naturally that wouldn’t tip his hand that he didn’t know what the cover story was going to be. When he left the base, Colonel Jacobs was on the phone debating cover stories with some spook in D.C.
Probably was someone in the F.B.I., actually, it occurred to Riley.
Leaving two men and/or women behind from each team gave Riley eighteen soldiers to investigate the labs below their feet. He led the group single file down the dorm hallway to the wall mirror which acted as their elevator entrance. It had been smashed open recently by Buffy when she went into the Initiative after Adam and a double thick length of plywood had been placed over the breach. On the panel was a notice:
‘WARNING: Government Property of the
Riley walked to the right side of the plywood while Mason took the left. They pulled hammers from the identical backpacks that everyone on the team wore. Prying the wood from where it had been nailed into the walls, Graham and a boy called Parsons pulled the wood from the opening. They passed it back along the line until it reached the back of it. These were the six that would remain here on the ground floor while the others rappelled down the shaft of the elevator. He’d placed a corporal, Melinda Danners from
Riley took a look over the edge with Mason and Graham. He turned back toward the line of soldiers waiting for his order and placed a finger over his lips, signaling them to quiet the chatter they had going. He turned toward Mason who was leaning out over the shaft, listening for sounds of any kind.
When Mason stood back from the edge and shook his head ‘no’, Riley turned to the line of soldiers again. This time they were all silent, waiting for his instructions.
“Alright,” he said toward them, trying to make eye contact with each. “Is anyone unclear of which team their on?”
When he received no response, he went on. “We’re going to rappel three at a time. Kirk, Graham and I will go first. The elevator is stuck on the sub-basement floor. We’ll go in through the ceiling hatch. You’re to wait until you receive an all clear from me. That’ll mean we’ve got the elevator doors pried open if we need to and that we have a defensive position around the car staked out.
“As each three man team exits the car, they’ll form another perimeter in a semi-circle around the car two feet in front of the team before them.” He took a deep breath, his mind running through scenarios and floor plans as he spoke again.
“My team will head for Operations, it’s the most heavily fortified and if they got the security doors down, there may be people there. Graham’s team will hit medical first, then do a sweep toward the armory. Kirk’s team: head off to the left, you’ll see a door marked 314 on it. You’re to get through that door however you need to. Do a sweep of the inner labs.
“Let me make this clear, rescue and escort back up here is our primary goal. But, some of these… creatures, animals, demons, whatever term you’re most comfortable with, can look human. You are not, under any circumstances, to approach anyone you find alive until they’ve been checked by your team lead or Mason. Anything looking non-human is considered hostile and you have authority to shoot to kill. Any vampires, i.e. humans with the bumpy foreheads and fangs can be hurt by your guns, but not killed as you’ve been briefed. Use water pistols (these were the only special equipment that Riley had insisted upon and they were far more powerful and had a larger reservoir then the toys kids played with). They have holy water in them. It’ll act like acid on the creeps. Now let’s go, no one is coming out of there less than in one piece… is that clear?”
He received a chorus of hearty, but whispered, “yes, sirs”. And then he was in the shaft with Kirk and Graham moving downward along their rappelling cables.
Kirk reached the bottom a few seconds ahead of Riley and found the door to the elevator slightly ajar. It was enough that he could see if anything was standing right outside the doors. It was clear. No sounds emanated from the cavernous space beyond, which in itself made him nervous.
There should be something… growls, shuffling, moans of the injured, something should be making noise out there, yet it remained silent. Like a damn tomb, he thought to himself.
As Riley reached the bottom, Kirk leaned in close, his lips nearly brushing his ear, “Too quiet. Nothing moving.”
Riley gave a quick nod of his head, then Kirk was kneeling in front of the parted elevator doors as close as he could get without the muzzle of the semi-automatic rifle he carried pointing through. He had a strange look on his face, which Riley thought might be disgust.
As Graham made it to the bottom, and he and Riley approached the doorway, Kirk’s look became understandable. Carried on the air that was still being automatically circulated by huge blowers hidden in the walls was the smell of death. A smell Riley unfortunately recognized. It was the smell of blood, and entrails, and human waste. Clearly, there were going to be a lot of bodies lying around. He’d known that of course, but somehow he’d been so focused on finding the live ones, that he’d just ignored the death they were about to wade through.
He thought again about the young men and women that would soon be following them down. He wished he’d thought to warn them that there were a lot of people dying when he left. They’d probably have had the same reaction as him though, not really giving it too much mind until this smell hit them. He could only hope that they’d keep their minds on the job, like they’d been trained.
He tapped Kirk and Graham on the shoulders and nodded toward the door. Immediately they took positions on each side of the doorway and reached their hands through the gap. Finding purchase they strained to open the elevator doors further to allow them to pass while Riley kept his gun ready. If it was a vampire, he’d hit it in the face and give one of the guys time to grab the holy-water to finish it off. As the doors screeched open, making far too much noise for comfort, no beasts assaulted them, however.
Once the doors were open, Graham and Kirk readied their own weapons. They glanced back at Riley, who gave a quick nod of his head. Kirk was the first through the door and he took three wide steps to the left and dropped to one knee. His weapon was sweeping the area in front of them, but there remained no movement.
Graham was right on the heels of Kirk, but he took three wide steps to the right. Dropping to one of his knees, he assumed an exact copy of the position Kirk was taking. Graham scanned the upper stairways and catwalks, but other than a few bodies, saw nothing.
Riley followed his two team members out of the elevator. Walking forward, he stopped a half foot behind his two soldiers. Scanning the area, he also found nothing moving. Although he was appalled at the bodies lying around, easily a dozen or more in his line of sight, he felt nothing. He was in full combat mode now and it would be unlikely he'd 'feel' anything until he was back on the base. He knew tonight there'd be nightmares, but that was for later.
He clicked on his shoulder mike, "Team positioned, all quiet. Begin your descents."
"Copy that." Mason responded from the floor above.
It took twenty-two minutes for the other fifteen soldiers to make it down, and then assume the semi-circle defensive stance Riley had ordered. He considered that pretty good considering the inexperienced team he was dealing with.
He was equally impressed when none of the 'kids' under his immediate command became sick. There were quite a few who looked a bit green around the gills, but they were holding it together.
Riley gave one last look through the team, tapped Kirk on the shoulder and waved him away. Kirk gave a short, sharp whistle and his team fell in behind him. They moved off toward the 314 labs. As they passed the "operating pit", Kirk pulled up short. His team began firing into the pit for several seconds.
While this was occurring, Graham's team had also moved out. As they were moving into position, Graham had Mason take one 'man' with him and check the catwalks that ran along the upper walls surrounding the Initiative. They led mostly to alternate elevator accesses for the engineers. There were also a few personal offices belonging to support staff and the environmental and engineering monitoring rooms were off a passageway built into the walls up there as well. Graham wasn't expecting survivors, but it seemed like they should check anyway.
After Mason had taken Jacqueline Alvarez and departed, Graham led the remaining three members of his team toward the medical bay and physician's office. He glanced back as they proceeded to see Riley's team half way across the huge expanse of the Initiative main floor, headed toward Operations and the small prisoner cells off a hallway nearby. Graham knew Riley had been held back in those cells until just before everything went to hell. Frankly, he was worried about what was going to happen to Finn after this operation. Was he going to stay, maybe rebuild a special unit? He didn't know. He expected, and feared, that he'd leave the military to stay behind with his chick. Ever since he'd gotten involved with Blondie, Riley just wasn't thinking like the soldier he'd come up through the ranks with. He didn't like the direction he was taking.
He wouldn't say any of these things to former-agent Finn, though. He was a quiet guy who kept his own council, but that didn't mean that a lot of stuff wasn't going on under the cool exterior. He genuinely respected Riley, but thought that he was acting really whipped lately. He'd seemed to have gotten worse since the Forrest thing and the revelations that they'd all been taking some sort of experimental supplements unknown to them.
Graham was a bit pissed at Walsh too. On the other hand, he'd always been pragmatic and whatever she was working on, it had made him a better soldier. His physical fitness tests under the Doctor's command had shown incremental improvements in strength, reflexes and endurance so he could forgive her (may she rest in peace) for not telling them about it up front.
Graham reached the doorway that would lead to the medical bay. He knew they'd reach the dispensary first and then a series of examination rooms. He didn't expect to find anything in those rooms, but they’d have to be checked.
Riley's team trotted across the expanse of the main section of the Initiative. Behind him he heard a few of his men falter in step as they tried to see what Kirk’s team had been firing at in the pit. He already knew. When he and the Scoobies had run out this same way, he'd looked in the pit to see Dr. Cantelli lying in a pool of blood. Around him were the barbed coils of a Rah-Shansee demon's tentacles. The creature had been dragging him toward the wall of the pit. Even as the gang was racing toward the elevators to get out, the Rah-Shansee was trying to use those tentacles to haul itself out of the pit it was trapped in. It would never make it, he didn't think at the time. That particular demon had topped nine-hundred pounds and they'd had to use a crane to lower it into the surgery bay. It was just assumed that the creature would be coming out in dissected parts. He didn't think it would have the leverage to pull itself up along the wall and he felt a little bit of satisfaction at having been right.
After a handful of seconds to give the soldiers a look at what they were going to be facing in living color Riley yelled back at them to keep moving. As he approached the doorway leading to the operation's suite, he saw with relief that someone inside had been able to lower the heavy steel security door.
Someone's alive. At least one person is going to be rescued. It's probably not the Colonel. I think I saw him go down out here, wonder where the body went? It could be Samuelson, maybe Brubacker or Destuvic too.
Riley ripped the emergency panel away from the wall. Behind it was a series of wires and circuitry. He studied them carefully, calling up his memorized plans of the layout of the doorway's controls. The panel had been installed shortly after the first vampire had been brought into the facility. The fact that the beast could 'morph' their visage into a human's had upset Dr. Walsh and she'd insisted on extra security precautions to protect operations and that would give them someplace to retreat in case of a containment breach by the hostiles.
She and Doctor A. never got to use it though, Riley shook his head.
The panel was designed to resist tampering with a small explosive charge hidden deep in the wall. It would blow outward, taking out an opponent's face while leaving the bulk of the protection for the room behind intact. Riley was going to have to disconnect and reconnect a series of seven wires in the right order, without accidentally disconnecting any of the other wires or damaging any of the sensitive circuits they attached too. Either action would lead to him being taken back upstairs without his face.
After a tense five minutes, the security door slid up out of the way. He tried the office door handle, but it was, of course, locked. He was readying to try to kick it in, despite its reinforced lock, when a young redhead, Private Banks stepped up to him.
"'Scuse me, Sir. I don't think you’re gonna be kickin' that there door down. If'n you let me in there for a few, I'm sure I c'n get us in there right quick," he said.
A black and heavily built guy, Lemont Washington, said low, "Show him how it's done Pick."
Riley glanced back, then looked again at Banks, "Pick?"
"Jus' a lil' knick-name from a misspent youth, Sir." He had what Riley could only describe as the grin of the cat that ate the canary.
Returning the grin, Riley stepped aside with a wry "I'm glad you've decided to use your powers for good."
Banks, still grinning, knelt down beside the doorknob. From his boot he pulled a small black and supple leather case. When he opened it up, Riley saw about a half dozen lock picks that were definitely not regulation.
Banks glanced up at Riley, "Never leave home wit'out 'em Colonel. Like 'Merican Express. Ya' never know when you'll need 'em."
Banks turned back to the doorknob while the rest of the soldiers milled about. Riley himself was keeping one eye on Bank's progress, and the other on the rest of the room. He hadn't seen any demons that weren't already dead and that bothered him. He knew Adam had found a way to get into and out of Maggie's secret lab behind 314, including via the ducts. He wanted to believe that the other demons hadn't also found a way out, but he might be wrong. He'd fully expected the demons to be milling about out here, eating the corpses or fighting among each other… whatever demons did when they weren't busy killing people. They hadn't gotten out through any of the elevator entry points along the shaft. Graham, Kirk and him had checked on their way down.
It seemed less then a minute, but may have been all of two when Banks gave a triumphant sound and twisted the door handle open. Riley grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back as he was about to walk in. He didn't want his shot by whoever was still in the control center.
"This is Riley Finn," he shouted into the room, "I got soldiers with me. We're going to be coming in to escort survivors to the surface. Don't shoot!"
He glanced back at his team. Making sure they had their guns drawn, he led them through the door.
End Chapter 02