harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote in spanderverse,
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spanderverse

After 314

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 plentitude of stories I’ve read.

 

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Spanderverse: After 314

Chapter 1/6: Riley Leaves Buffy's House

 

Riley awoke on a not so comfortable cot on the local Sunnydale army base with a kink in his back and the beginnings of a headache. He sighed to himself, knowing he could just have easily stayed with Buffy the night before watching movies and generally hanging out. Instead he tried to play the hero, rushing over to the base where he was now. His plan had been to contact Washington, D.C. then grab a squad of able bodied, and heavily armored, soldiers and storm the Initiative.

 

That wasn’t the way it turned out. Although Riley wasn’t exactly in trouble (at least not yet anyway) with the brass, they also weren’t much in a listening mood after his AWOL from the holding cell that Col. McNamara had held him in.

 

It took him a full thirty minutes before they were willing to listen while Riley sketched out everything that had happened in the final assault on Maggie Walsh’s brainchild, Adam.

 

After he had managed to lay out the basics over their insistent questioning for details, he had expected the posse to round up and storm the monster’s den. As Riley thought he had made clear, there were plenty of places that clever people or the well trained could find to duck out of sight until help arrived. There was also the matter of stopping all of the demons they had managed to cage that were even now looking for ways to return to the general population. That didn’t happen.

 

Instead it was the usual Washington bureaucratic red tape.

 

It was amazing that America’s military got to be the best in the world with all the civilian crap they had to wade through to get anything done, Riley had thought at the time.

 

There was a hasty meeting of the minds on the other end of the video link where the U.S.’s National Security Adviser sat in front of some expensive looking paneling looking harried. The decision was to wake the President and inform him that they’d have to send in the local army boys. There was too little time to assemble the Meta-black Ops Troops (the M.b.O.T., or M-Bots, of course) and Riley’s own former team had been mostly decimated below U.C. Sunnydale’s campus. It was going to take clearances being issued to the base commander and whatever combat group he wanted to send in. Washington had made it clear they wanted the number of personnel, even army personnel, who knew about the realities of the HST threat to be minimal.

 

By the time they switched off, he was thinking his tactical group would be twenty men or so. The group would include Graham, Mason and Kirk from the original Initiative contingent that managed to follow the Scoobies out of the facility. There was some question of Riley joining in the operation, which he expected. In fact, he was resigned to the fact he may be placed in custody until the operation was finished. It was with shock that he instead accepted a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and made the taskforce commander, apparently at the President’s personal insistence.

 

After that, Riley caught an hour and a half of sleep. When a Private came to the room they had set up the cot in, he’d been summoned to the base commander’s office. Now going on four o’clock in the morning, the commander looked as strung out as he was starting to feel. The adrenaline rush of the battle against Adam and his demonoids had worn off long ago and he felt like he could sleep for a few days.

 

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Colonel Jacobs was not one of those military commanders who had actually been in combat, nor had he actually ever had to plan out a tactical mission. He mostly got to where he was by judicious use of “office politics”, knowing how to schmooze the right people. Not that he wasn’t a perfectly competent soldier; he had taken to military life like a duck to water. It was just that during his way up the ranks he had been stationed in places like Germany, Japan, and even a radar monitoring station in Alaska. Not places that screamed ‘war-zone’ by any stretch.

 

Now here he was, half empty mug of strong coffee, staring over his desk at someone who’d gone AWOL and been given a promotion for it. Not only that, he was being asked to come up with a special operations combat plan using non-special ops troops and against a threat which could only be described as ‘demonic’. The entire world view for Jacobs had changed in the past few hours as he had been completely briefed on demons, vampires and werewolves. A special young girl known as the Slayer and what she had managed to uncover less than 4 miles away under the college campus. The whole 314 project, what its goals were and how they had been perverted by an egghead with too much ambition and her (well, let’s just call it like it is) Frankenstein’s Monster-like creation (with modern firepower within its reach! She must have been nuts!).

 

He was just a small time base commander trying to save on the budget so his command wouldn’t be closed on the next review in D.C. This entire thing was so fanciful, so utterly movie-esque that several times that night he was told to close his jaw before it hit the floor by the big muckity-mucks briefing him from the Capitol.

 

After the briefing he’d had to sit by himself in the office with his lights turned off. It was his best way of thinking, quiet and dark, and resign himself to the fact that this wasn’t a wild practical joke. There were demons… real life monsters that were not human but could walk and talk like men, even if they didn’t look like them. There were vampires, like Bela’s Dracula, who blood-sucked from the living and occasionally turned their victims into more vampires.

 

How could people… how could I grow up in a world with all this and not know it? How could it be possible that the average newscast wasn’t beaming images of police taking tentacled man-beasts into custody, at least occasionally, or images of an army of vamps fighting off the troops somewhere in the world?

 

And so the questions went, running around and around in his mind for forty-five minutes, before he could make them stop and focus on the task at hand. He had given the Lieutenant Colonel a brief and perfunctory salute when the kid (he looked all of 20, even with his build) arrived and had him sit down. Now he had to figure out how exactly to utilize him. He briefly wondered if he’d look like a weak commander if he just asked Riley what plan of attack he wanted to use, and what equipment and personnel he’d need.

 

“So, I’m assuming you know I’ve been talking to Washington.” Colonel Jacobs thought that a nice, simple start would be best.

 

“Yes, Sir. I’m sure that it’s a lot to take in. I mean, I’m guessing they briefed you fully on what was happening in the Initiative labs.”

 

“Yeah, they told me alright. I’m still not sure I can make myself believe it though. I mean, demons… from an actual, literal, very solidly real, Hell? It’s like entering Alice’s mirror and finding out that rabbit’s really can talk. What next? Was Scooby-Doo a real canine-detective with his wacky human sidekicks?”

 

Riley had stayed silent, but a small smile was on his face. He didn’t envy this man before him. He himself was so gradually given the information on the HSTs that by the time he went on his first tour of the facility and saw his first demon, they weren’t anything to him but an exotic animal.

 

They never stopped just being that either to Forrest. Maybe that’s why in the end, Adam could kill him. Maybe denial and ignorance are their true weapons. Riley cut off his own thoughts. This wasn’t the time to deal with grief. The mission was what mattered.

 

“Let me be blunt with you Lieutenant Colonel,” Jacobs said (and Riley imagined he heard the sneer when the man used his shiny-brand-spanking-new rank), “I am way out of my league.” The flashes of brashness Riley saw when he sat down evaporated.

 

Suddenly this man in front of him looked exactly like what he was: A small base commander who had been given a world-view shattering bit of news and told to perform a mission that only happened in the horror movies.

 

“I’d really like it if you just gave me a list of what you need, and then plan out your mission and go. You can give me a full report when you get back. We both know you’re the only one of us that actually has experience with what was going on in that facility and my trying to be the big man-in-charge here is only going to get your team killed. I know it, you know it, and probably Washington knows it. I don’t want rank and command protocol and the usual ‘this is the way the Army does things’ bull to get in the way. If even a third of what I was briefed on is the God’s Gospel, then ego, mine or yours, just doesn’t belong in this mission.”

 

Riley felt his esteem for Col. Randall Jacobs take a huge leap in the polls. This is what he had feared since he had been summoned to the office. He was racking his brain trying to figure out how he could tell someone who outranked him how to butt out without being in more trouble than he was. He wasn’t under the illusion that there was no one in Washington who wasn’t sore about his not being shipped straight to Leavenworth, or wherever, for leaving his squad against orders. He was hoping that this man wasn’t going to make the mission nearly impossible to execute properly by standing on ceremony and basically treating him like the deserter he could reasonably be called.

 

Riley realized that despite his hopes, he actually had been expecting that very scenario. The fact that the Colonel himself was the one to broach and diffuse the topic made him respect the man.

 

He gets it, Riley thought, He may not have been a gung-ho combat guy, but he gets that it’s about the mission first and foremost. Everything else can wait.

 

Colonel Jacobs had pulled out several manila folders from a file cabinet and placed them in front of Riley. Each had a simple label: “Personnel” read one; another was “Light Weaponry”, and still a third read, “Garaged Vehicles”. Riley flipped through the folders, seeing that there were about a dozen of them.

 

“I had these simple lists drawn up for you. They represent all of the talent and equipment that we have stored on the base. Anything you need from those lists is yours. There’s nothing there you wouldn’t be familiar with, we don’t exactly have an exotic materials lab hiding out in an outbuilding. And... I’m relatively sure that there isn’t a secret underground facility here. Oh, and if there is and you know about it, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”

 

Riley smiled at him now. His best “aw shucks, mister” grin as his mother called it. “No sir, as far as I’m aware, there’s no secret facility under our feet. If I may say so Colonel, your making this a lot easier then I could have expected. I know you’ve been made aware that I was in custody and went AWOL from the Initiative.”

 

Actually, Riley considered, he didn’t really have any way of knowing that at all. Not for sure anyway, but he felt it was probably true and Jacobs didn’t look surprised or about to correct him on it.

 

“Take an hour to go over the personnel files. Let me know who you want. We’re basically going to put you, Graham, and uh…” Jacobs looked at a small sheet of paper on his desk, “…this Kirk guy in charge of three units with you in lead. Each unit will have eight men and we’ll have six hummers at your disposal. If you want a substitution or additional vehicles, and it’s on the list, I’ll give it to you.”

 

“Thank you, Sir,” Riley said as he stood up.

 

Colonel Jacobs continued as he shook his hand, “It’s going on six now. I’m thinking an hour for you to pull the men you want, maybe two for the equipment you want. Two hours for you to catch more sleep, pardon me, but you really look like hell, while we brief the men you’re taking out with you. Let’s see, loading up, prep and travel to the campus. I’m thinking by noon you should be hitting the facility. Sound good?”

 

“Sounds about feasible, maybe I can shave some time off that by not being too picky over the equipment and weapons lists. The more time that we wait, the more time we give for the critters (saying demons just sounds ridiculous still) to find a way out.”

 

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Now he was headed to meet his new team. Young men, here for the life experience. Or the college scholarship fund, or just to give them something to do. They weren’t hardened soldiers. They weren’t special ops members. They sure weren’t experienced in the type of opponents they were going in to battle. Riley was worried he was going to lose a lot of good people on this mission, like he lost a lot of comrades already. When he had gone through the personnel folders to build his strike teams, he tried to concentrate on older and more experienced soldiers but they were few and far between on a base as small as Sunnydale’s. A lot of young kids, barely out of their teens were going to be going into battle and he didn’t like it.

 

He wiped these thoughts from showing on his face though. He was on his way to what he thought of as the ‘pep-rally before the tour of hell’. The men he’d chosen would all have been briefed about what they’d be going into and what the primary mission was by now.

 

Basically, he intended to treat this as a search and rescue mission. He’d have a standing shoot-to-kill order for any non-human looking residents throughout the Initiative. Each soldier, including Riley, would have a large cross painted over his body armor. He’d had the base chaplain bless holy water and the paint itself, just as insurance. There were some raised eyebrows when he had a cross “drawn” with holy water on the back and front of each pair of body armor, and then overlain with a white painted cross as well. Riley knew very well that there were plenty of (just get used to saying it, soldier) demons like Hostile 17. They may look human and they could act human, but he was willing to bet they wouldn’t run up for “help” if there was a sea of crosses in their eyesight. That was what most worried him right now, that these kids wouldn’t take the threat of a vampire seriously and would let them walk right up to them before they “fanged-out” and took the kids by surprise. He was hoping the armor decorations would counter that. He was also worried about genuine humans being shot on accident by nervous and inexperienced soldiers. To counter that, he’d instruct that any ‘humans’ seeking help had to deal only with himself, Graham, Kirk or Mason. They’d force the humans to touch the holy symbol on their armor before giving any assistance. If the people they were going to rescue had any sense, they’d cooperate quickly enough, no matter how silly they thought it sounded.

 

He reached the meeting room and pulled the door open. Standing off to the right were Graham, who nodded to him, and Kirk and Mason. There was a round of saluting and an introduction by Col. Jacobs who was on the far left of the room. Then Riley spoke for fifteen minutes, trying to get it into the half pale, half smirking faces in front of him that this wasn’t a movie. The threat was extremely real and if they didn’t follow orders and do exactly as they were being instructed they would die.

 

He knew he sounded a little more brusque then needed, but his only thought was that enough good people, some friends, had already died. The chaplain said a quick prayer for them, asking God to rest a protective hand on their shoulders and then they were out the door and loading up in the Humvees.

 

Behind the six vehicles carrying the soldiers was four medical transports with first aid personnel to help any soldiers injured and to take care of survivors. The convoy started up their engines and began the short drive over to the campus. Riley wondered idly how in the hell the folks in Washington, and no doubt Jacobs, were going to cover this up.

 

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End Chapter 1

 

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