Coming of the Scooby Army
Ch 24 - Strike
Spike stirred shortly after the limn of the moon came up over the horizon. As he came into the living room, he stopped short in surprise at the three humans standing in Xander’s apartment.
“An unpleasant surprise,” he muttered. “And, how’s Dawn,” as he turned toward Xan.
“One - get something to eat and stop being an ass. Two - she’s fine and squealey. Sit down, guys. I’ll get some beers….”
“Just soda for me if you have it,” the spooky girl calling herself Tangina said.
Xander Harris had been around magic long enough to get a sense when somebody was a caster and this chick with the odd eyes was it. Donna immediately sat, while Keith took a minute to glare at Spike as the vampire made his way to the refrigerator, before finally sitting.
As Spike grabbed out a blood bag and tossed it into the microwave, Keith stood again in alarm. Unnoticed by the two in the kitchen, he unsheathed a wooden stake from his belt and stood there pale and glaring.
“Keith? What are you doing,” Donna asked in alarm with a harsh whisper, having not noticed what was happening in the kitchen.
“Blood! The dude has blood! He’s a vampire!?”
Before anyone could react to his shocked indignation, Keith was running for the kitchen. Xander tried to tell him to hold on so they could explain, but the reaction to getting in the way was a fist that sent him crashing into the cabinets and to the floor.
Spike had spun with demon reflexes and blocked the swung arm and the lethal point of wood heading true, straight for his chest. Without thinking, a hand flew up - palm out - to hit the angered young visitor under the chin, but the chip intervened, hard, and instead he hit the floor with a pained yelled.
Keith lashed out with a foot, catching the vampire in the side of the head further throwing him off balance, “You tricking bastard!”
He raised the stake again and started on a down swing that would drive the weapon deep into the back of the vampire’s neck, when he was knocked awkwardly off of his feet by Xander.
“Stop it, goddamnit!”
In the meantime, Tangina stood with her eyes wide as Donna rushed into the relatively tiny kitchen, just adding to the mass of confusion and limbs and bodies tumbling over each other. Spike was now on his hands and knees, drops of blood coming from his nose to splash on the tiled floor. He was driven head first into the linoleum as two male human bodies landed heavily on him.
Xander was grabbing at Keith’s wrists, while he was struggling to shake off the fellow human.
“Donna - a knife! The guy’s a thrall!”
“Hey, I resent that! I haven’t been in a thrall since Dracula!”
“Keith, stop! What’s going on? What’s a vampire doing here,” Donna tried to grasp what had happened in the last two minutes to cause such sudden chaos.
As she grabbed at Xander, further complicating matters, Tangina had pulled out a small dagger that she wasn’t fully confident in. She felt frozen to the floor, unable to move even though her brain was telling her to run.
Spike, having recovered by now with a choice swear word or two, grabbed at Keith’s ankles bringing the young man down, with a mild zap by the chip. Clearly ankle grabbing wasn’t considered deadly violence, but it wasn’t considered a non-threatening move either. Spike swore again.
Xander in the meantime was overleveraged shoving against Keith’s aggressive moves and when he went down, Xan started stumbling forward. Instinctively, he reached out for a hand hold and found himself grabbing a hold of one of Donna’s breasts… she tried to recoil with a scream, but he was still flailing on his way to the floor and grabbed again at her, snatching her arm. Both went down in a tumble of limbs on top of Keith and Spike each of whom were trying to simultaneously regain their feet and attack/defend against the other.
By this time, Tangina finally got her feet to move, but instead of heading for the front door as her brain insisted, she rushed into the kitchen next. Snatching a head full of Xan’s hair, she yanked his head back as far as it would go and placed her small dagger to his throat.
“Freeze, or the guy gets it,” she yelled into the general din of commotion. Not that she would actually use a knife on a person; she was shaking so hard she was sure that she was about to faint, but she had to protect Keith and Donna from the vampire’s minion in the room.
It had the immediate effect she wanted. While the vampire had instantly shifted into its real face, and snarled at her, it stopped scuffling.
“I mean it,” she added in a panicky tone.
“I’ll break your face,” Spike growled out, glaring at Xander’s position. He was formulating on whether he could tackle the bint before she could carry out her threat. It was a close call with his awkward position, half fallen on his butt, against the oven.
Keith in the meantime scrambled to grab his dropped stake, which was laying half under Donna’s thigh. “Move,” he yelled at her.
She did. But she shifted more on top of the stake on the floor, causing him to give her a frustrated shove. She responded with a shockingly loud and sharp slap to his face, bringing him to an immediate halt, “Stop! Everyone just calm down a second, I need to fucking think!”
“He’s a vampire! What the hell is there to think about,” Keith pointed out, as he began to claw at the stake protruding from underneath her leg.
“He saved us! Why would he do that? Think a minute,” Donna insisted.
“Not to be rude,” Xander interrupted, straining to look behind him. “But you’re giving me a bad kink in my neck,” he threw over his shoulder at Tangina.
“Oh, sorry!” She released her hold, but still kept the dagger point against the side of this throat.
With a strained grin he added, “And ‘Freeze, or the guy gets it?’ Really?”
“Well, it’s my first hostage taking.”
For several heartbeats, everyone looked at each other speechless and unmoving. Finally, Spike said, “Well somebody either continue attacking or let’s break apart and go to neutral corners for chrissakes.”
“I’m voting for separating so we can explain, myself,” Xander suggested.
On the Sunnydale Army base, which was actually just outside of the town’s limits, things were in a state of chaos. The computers were down, communications were disrupted and walkie talkies were producing only a static-filled whine. There was the sound of gunfire coming from all directions from outside and Colonel Randall Jacobs took a deep breath to calm his nerves as he reached into his desk for his service issue officer’s pistol. He didn’t know what the hell was going on - the shaking and white as a sheet enlisted man before him wasn’t making much sense. It seemed like some psycho, or multiple psychos were shooting up the base and targeting his men and women. The soldier was repeating “they’re not human” and although Jacobs remembered all too well his briefings during the 314 Lab Recovery mission, he wanted to believe that they were under attack by some mortal humans. If not, they were in some real shit, and they’d never been attacked like this by the so-called demons, before. Why now?
Giving the young man, all of eighteen if he was a day, a shove toward the office door as he barreled out behind him, he started barking orders. He wasn’t a tactical sort of guy and this would be the first time that he’d had to do more than mock-battle. In the back of his mind, he was surprised and proud at how calm he felt. The training he’d received over his military career was coming to the fore and he felt confident, smart and in control of the situation.
Across the base, men were retreating as they pumped automatic weapons fire into the enemies tearing through them, and watching them not being stopped.
“Angle toward Command and Control,” a military police sergeant yelled. “We’ll make our stand there - get to Jacob’s building…!”
His strong and commanding voice was cut in mid-order by a high pitched scream as Barbwire’s claws dug deeply into the man’s back. With a self-satisfied grin, the demon snapped the spine and then looked around with sheer delighted laughter for his next target.
In the Summers’ basement, the Buffybot ‘awoke’ with the suddenness of an electronic device. She scanned her surrounding both visually and aurally. When she didn’t see nor hear anyone, and while she headed for the basement door, she pulled up her database marked Scooby Scheduling - there she found that she mustn’t expect to see Sister Dawn, Best Friend Willow or Friend Tara because all of them were color coded as ‘Out of Town’.
With her large grin, she passed Ms. Kitty Fantastico at her water dish in the kitchen, “I’m heading out Kitty! The evils of the night will fall to Buffy - The Vampire Slayer,” she solemnly swore with a huge, incongruous for her tone, grin on her face.
While ‘Buffy’ headed out on patrol, Jonathon was banging around under his desk. His internet connection had just crapped out a minute ago while he was in a secure database. If he didn’t get back into it to wipe out his presence, there was going to be even more trouble for him than he was already in. And all for nothing, too. There had been no area police reports entered, at least not digitally yet, on Warren Mears or Andrew Wells.
Right now, he was stuck in Pasadena’s system and although he knew a lot about computers, he was pretty sure their Data Center guys would pick up the intrusion on a security sweep. As he checked his cables and modem and found nothing wrong, the lights began to flicker in his bedroom….
Oh, oh, Jonathon thought. He’d lived in Sunnydale too long and seen too much for him to not assume that problems wouldn’t eventually boil down to a supernatural cause. Just as he wondered if he should call Xander Harris and just ask if there was something he could help with or not, the lights went out for good….
Buffybot meanwhile, was strolling down her residential street. Her first stop was to be the site of the Sunnydale ruins. Willow’s last update to the Sunnydale Topography Map file indicated that the old school was removed, but no one could remove a Hellmouth. Her first sweep would be for stragglers hanging around the portal before they had a chance to establish a base camp.
Above her the street lamps flickered briefly before going out altogether. “Oh, good! It will be far easier to do my job, now,” she spoke far too loudly for somebody walking down the street alone. A split second later, in a voice every bit as loud, she added, “Oh no! The vampires and evil demons will have their jobs made easier!”
Caught in the logic loop, her facial expression spastically changed from grinning wildly to disappointed frown every five seconds. If she met anyone else, they were surely going to think she was suffering some form of fit.
Buffybot determined that she needed to resolve this dispute before she continued with her patrolling. She did an about face on the sidewalk and changed course. She knew that Spike(!)- or Xander could tell her whether to be happy or frowny over the lights being out.
“This place is even more fucked up than I thought,” Keith bitterly complained.
“So, like he actually … lives with you and everything!?” Tangina had found it hard to keep her mouth from hanging open agape since Xander had explained the bare minimums of Spike’s situation.
“This is sick! Kill him, man. He’s helpless - don’t let him have the chance to be unhelpless,” Keith insisted.
“I get the chip thing, mostly,” Donna opined, “But that doesn’t mean he’s really trustworthy, right? I mean, he’s still a vampire through and through?”
“Yeah. He’s a vampire. He’s also a hero who helped save the world at least twice now.” (1)
“I don’t believe it! Sounds like horseshit of the naïve,” Keith nearly yelled. “He’s a thing! That is all he’ll ever be.”
“Should I just leave,” Spike finally spoke up with clear annoyance, “All of this ‘he’ as if I ain’t standing right here in the damned room.”
“Sorry, Spike,” Xan clapped him on the arm.
“Don’t move anywhere,” Keith took a step in a threatening manner. “You ain’t leaving here.”
Spike smirked and before Xander could intervene threw out a sarcastic, “Cause Xena, Sword Princess is going to get in the way?”
“This could be going better,” Xander muttered under his breath, but loud enough for everyone to hear.
“We’re just in shock,” Donna said, apologetically. She realized that she did that a lot whenever she was with Keith.
“I’ve just never seen this. We’ve never seen this… situation… before,” Tangina added. “I mean, everything with fangs we’ve come across has been a kill or be killed situation… not that I know firsthand. I mean, I mostly just stayed tucked in the hotel room,” she shrugged.
“No, you’re completely right,” Keith glared at the room in general and Xander and Spike in particular. He grabbed up the bottle of beer that Xander had produced once their sparring was halted by this agreement to talk and swallowed half of it in one go. “This… creature… may pretend to have human friends, or whatever, but you can bet he’s planning on breaking out his copy of ‘To Serve Man’. You’re an idiot and it’s going to get you killed,” he added to his host.
Xander had had about all he was going to take of Keith’s belligerent attitude and was about to tell him in the clearest possible terms. It was obvious the ‘vampire hunter’ wasn’t going to listen to anything they had to say. He didn’t want to think of Spike being in a battle for his life out there and have to worry about somebody back stabbing him, when the chip prevented him from seriously defending himself. It was time to order these people out of town and to kick their collective asses if they wouldn’t leave… enough was enough.
Before he could make the ultimatum, the lights in the room flickered oddly and then went out completely. Xander automatically side-stepped in front of Spike, putting himself between the vampire and Keith, in case the guy (who was still clutching his stake way too menacingly) tried to take advantage of the sudden darkness.
“I got it,” Spike moved off. The apartment was surprisingly dark without the streetlamps in front of his veranda, but of course, the vampire wasn’t inconvenienced in the slightest. Xander sighed to himself as he thought about Hyena - he’d see pretty well right now himself, if he hadn’t had to get rid of her to protect everybody else….
Just as Spike struck up a match and started to fill the room with candlelight, an explosive sound rocked the night outside. It came from the northwest of town and the clear glow of fire split the darkness for a moment. Car alarms sounded off in the distance and everyone in the apartment ran for the veranda to take a look….
On the army base, the armory attendants lay in ripped and torn uniforms. A woman soldier from Sunnydale, Anna Behest, Private First Class, stood her ground as four of the ugliest things she’d see since Sunnydale High graduation grinned at her. She briefly flicked her glance over the six others, but none of them moved from their positions in thick pools of blood on the floor. She sure wished she had some flaming arrows and a bow right then.
In her hands, she held tightly to a fire fighting axe. She saw that the guns everyone was using wasn’t having much of an effect against their attackers and that had led to her abandoning her own for her current weapon instead.
When she was helping that weird girl, Buffy, and her semi-cute in a Sunnydale-loser-club way Xander to save their lives from Mayor McGiantReptile, the Buffy girl claimed that guns wouldn’t help. There had been a lot of her students to bring it up, but everyone had known that ever since Buffy had arrived in town, the mortality rate of the student body had dropped. The adults may have remained deliberately clueless, but the students knew that if Buffy claimed something was true or false in monster fighting, then she was the one to listen to.
Anna made some feints with the axe, backing over the fallen shelves of ammo and reams of paper and survival gear and other hodge-podge equipment that had been strewn around the floor during her and the others’ fight for survival. Her heart ached for her fellow soldiers - not that she could take time to search for vitals at the moment to make sure they were actually dead. But Archer had lost his head from his shoulders and McManus had a hole punched clear through him - they were goners. Like she was gonna be if she didn’t keep her mind focused on what she was doing.
I can’t believe I got assigned back to Sunnydale! The whole point of joining the fucking Army was to get the hell out of this twisted ‘burg, she railed. But you know what, that’s fine. I ain’t fucking dying here, anyway!
Behind the four demons that were stalking as close as they could to her without coming into range of her ready axe (which she noted was interesting - they had shown no such hesitation about running through a barrage of gunfire - so she had confidence she made the right choice) were two more of the burly, noseless things. They were taunting her in ways that brutal men of war had taunted women for ages, but if they thought that their promises of sexual violence were going to turn her into a helpless daisy, they were ignorant of modern women. She wondered if they were trying to piss her off so that she’d swing wildly at one of them and then leave her flank wide open - well, she was a bit smarter than that.
Private Behest finally felt the door she’d been stumbling toward at her back. It swung open as she bumped into it, and she gave a silent thank you to the universe. She had been thinking ahead, but hadn’t come to any conclusions about how exactly she’d work the security keypad without being swarmed.
Once inside, one of the creatures gave a loud ‘fuck this’ and charged her, receiving her axe planted squarely in its forehead. She quickly used the protruding handle to shove him toward his fellows before his legs buckled. Breathing heavily in a mixture of relief and terror in equal parts she engaged the security locks, hearing the heavy bank-vault like door engage.
She looked around the heavy weapons armory and realized there was no where left to go.
Now, what, she stared at the pounding coming from the other side of the vault door.
End Ch 24
(1) From Xander’s viewpoint, he is speaking of ‘Doomed’ in S4 and the Glory-saga of spanderverse. I doubt highly that Buffy bothered to go into details about how Spike did or didn't help stop Angelus in Becoming.