To my loyal readers,
It is with great regret that I must sadly put this story on hold. I will possibly be able to upload another chapter in the Summer Holidays, but with my current load of school work (and it’s only going to get worse as we get closer to exam time) I simply don’t have time to work on this story.
Although before I do dissapear, I want to say a big thank you to all my reviewers and everyone who’s given me advice. I hope I’ll still see you all in the Summer. I also want to say a big thank you to my beta MountainWilliam
and my writing pal DarkPhoenix
. This chapter and the last one were put up only due to their prompting - as long ago as that was.
Finn took a deep breath. “There has not been a time that we have been able to identify when human leaders were not aware of the group of species known as ‘demons’. Governments have been interested in them for various reasons, but until recently they always respected that there were some lines that could not be crossed; some forces that should not be played with; some things that we could not understand. Four years ago, however, given recent advances in scientific understanding and the subsequent disbelief in things such as magic and ‘demons’, a program, known as the ‘Initiative’, was set up to study the ‘demons’ and to explain their abilities by science. They were also ordered to discover ways by which the ‘demons’ powers could be harnessed for the benefit of the United States or failing that controlled. The demons were called HSTs – or hostile sub-terrestials.”
Riley paused for a second to allow his audience to take in what he was telling them. Buffy quite liked the round about way he was explaining things. It was clear that the entire little speech had been designed with scientists in mind. He hadn’t even got onto magic yet and Buffy had a feeling that he wouldn’t until after he’d shown them whatever was on those tapes.
“During the course of the program, a number of discoveries were made. By experimenting on the specimens that specially trained capture teams managed to recover...”
“Wait, wait, wait...” Daniel interrupted, looking slightly sick. “You’re saying that the government authorised
experimentation on these... demons?”
“Yes.” Riley answered, his face controlled.
“At the time the government was of the mind that the demons were simply animals with some specially evolved adaptations that were not found in ‘normal’ animals. They have since learned better,” One of Riley’s team and a professor type commented with a glare. That’s Professor Matton,
Giles’ commented mentally. He’s well known among the Supernatural Community for his work in classifying demons.
Buffy sent him a thankful look and tuned back into the conversation.
If anything Daniel was looking even more horrified than he had before. “So you’re say...”
“Doctor Jackson. Perhaps you could allow Major Finn to finish his briefing?” General Hammond interrupted calmly, though his face told a different story. Looking around, none of the SGC people seemed happy about that little revelation. Buffy approved and could feel the other’s approval through the link as well.
Riley locked eyes with Daniel who looked upset for a second, before continuing. “As I was saying, by experimenting on the specimens that the capture teams managed to recover the scientists on the project were able to uncover a number of flaws in known biological science. It was around this time that the leader of the project began to suspect that their subjects were in fact sentient and turned to studying their customs and culture as much as the demons themselves. It was through this study that knowledge of some of the older ‘myths’ came to light. Including that of the Slayer.”
He glanced over at Buffy, with a wiry smile. “At the time we believed that it was simply a tale that demon parents told their spawn to get them to behave, much like we do with the Bogeyman. That was until a matter of conflicting interest caused us to come into contact with the Slayer of the time who was stationed in Sunnydale. Eventually, the Slayer agreed to offer us her expertise and in preparation for aiding on the capture teams, she submitted to a few tests to determine the extent of her abilities. This is a video of the Slayer vs the operations most experienced capture team. What we will see is a clip near the conclusion. Bear in mind that the test took place in an isolated area of roughly 1 square kilometre and none of the members involved left the area during that time.”
Dawn was not sure what exactly was going on. The Goddess had grabbed her hand and dragged her to a small room where a bunch of really
ugly dress makers were frantically working on sewing a dress together. Dawn watched thee fabrics being sewn together and cast a look at the Goddess who was watching her with a beaming smile. Dawn scowled and opened her mouth to make a smart comment like her dad would have, but before she could Glory caught her expression and made her own assumptions over why Dawn was unhappy.
“Oh, I should have remembered. You need your own robes made as well, don’t you? I suppose I should have remembered sooner but then I’m so happy that the time’s finally here!”
She stood up, grabbing Dawn and plonking her on a box, gesturing imperiously for one of the dress makers to start measuring. Dawn began to move away from the scabrous creature, but the dress maker grabbed her with a scaly hand and lisped something at her. Dawn scowled.
“She said you have to hold still. I know they can be a bit hard to understand sometimes, but they’re only slaves so it’s not as if they matter. You and me on the other hand...”
Dawn could not stand it anymore. Glaring at the ugly little creature that was trying to measure her waist, she ripped the tape measure away from her body and threw it against the wall. Marching up to the Hell Goddess, who was looking slightly surprised, she punched her as hard as she could in the face.
Unfortunately, it didn’t have any more effect than hitting a brick wall normally did and Dawn staggered back clutching at her hand. Glory scowled at her as Dawn fought to hold back tears. “Now that’s not nice. Here I am trying to be nice and comforting and you just throw it back into my face! I don’t have to be nice you know! I’m a hell God and you’re nothing more than my Key that was stolen from me.”
She straightened up and glared down at where Dawn had collapsed onto the floor. Sneering angrily at her, she finally turned towards where the dressmakers were grovelling on the floor. “I want my dress finished. Forget about The Key’s,” (she glared at Dawn as she spoke like she was a particularly disgusting something she had just stepped in). “Just get my dress finished. I want it to be ready on time for my triumphant return home.”
She cast a last glare at Dawn, who was too busy crying over the pain of her broken fingers to notice, before stalking out. Behind her, the ugly dressmaker waddled forward and grabbed the teenager’s wrist, pulling her upright. Dawn let out a cry of pain, but as the dressmaker shook her hard and snapped at her to be quiet, she managed to bite back her sobs. She couldn’t stop the trickle of tears sliding down her face though.
“You! Take the Key back to its room. We have less than four hours until Her Magnificence’s dress must be prepared. Once that is done, summon the Priest so that the Key may be anointed properly.”
The demon she had indicated lumbered over, grabbing Dawn’s hair in a huge fist. Turning, he began to drag her over to the room that Dawn had just been removed from, Dawn only just managing to keep up and keep her hand clutched protectively against her stomach. If only she wasn’t like her dad so much and actually thought
before pissing off powerful evil people. Now she was even worse off than before with a broken wrist, and the prospect of having some priest come over to ‘anoint’ her...
... and in 4 hours and thirty two minutes they’d start sacrificing her so the Hellbitch could go home. Dawn just hoped that her dad would get here before that... or even Anne and her friends. The blonde had seemed nice enough and with her Dawn at least had a chance of getting home alive in the end - and that was all that Dawn wanted to go home...
Jack watched the Sunnydale crew as the video was set up. Finn’s frequent looks at his daughter had set him on edge, almost as much as hearing that the US government had authorised the experimentation on sentient beings. There was history there and if Finn had anything to do with what was sounding a lot like an NID plot... he’d rather he was nowhere near Buffy.
Then the video started. At first, all Jack could pick out was the occasional shadowy figure, obviously running through an exercise of some kind. The counter at the bottom of the screen said that the exercise had been running for almost 40 minutes and it looked to Jack as if the team had yet to find whatever it was they were searching for. He watched the exercise for a minute waiting for something exciting to happen that would explain why he was watching a night exercise manoeuvre when he saw a soldier signal for one of his companions to cross a clearing... just before another soldier came flying out of the bushes and off to the side of the camera.
Jack sat up straight as a figure dressed in a white coat jumped out of the bushes and took down the soldiers that rushed to engage her. She took on both of them with ease, blocking and dodging blows that were obviously planned to happen almost simultaneously, but whose routine was soon disrupted by the figure in the white coat. Jack leaned in closer as the figure grabbed one of the defeated soldiers and spun around to block what looked like a zat blast. Jack raised an eyebrow as the figure he finally recognised as Buffy faced off towards another masked soldier. Light suddenly flooded the clearing, revealing a woman hurrying towards the group, but before it could reveal her face, the video clip cut out.
“Miss Summers, who was the Slayer at that time, evaded the capture team for 42 minutes and then neutralised them in 28 seconds. She told us at the time that she was ‘just lucky’, we later learned that she was holding back throughout the exercise.” He stopped for a second to take a sip from his glass of water before continuing. “After she joined the Initiative properly, it soon became apparent that her methods were very different to ours. For a start, when it came to locating hostiles that had been spotted, she asked about motive, where as the Initiative simply assumed that the hostile’s aim was a simple CKD. Miss Summers did not. This and other questions brought her into conflict with the Base Commander and in the end it was decided by the upper level management that the Slayer was too much of a threat to the operation and authorised her elimination.”
Jack blinked and then surged to his feet. “Elimination?!”
“Sit down, Jack,” Buffy said calmly. “They failed anyway, their trap didn’t work.”
Jack glared at her. “And that makes it all OK, I suppose?”
Buffy shook her head. “No, but I’m not holding a grudge any more. I figure losing 40...” Riley coughed and sent a look at Buffy. “But we’ll get to that in a minute.” She shot Finn a winning smile and Finn rolled his eyes. The familiarity made Jack’s eyes narrow in annoyance.
“As Buffy said, the attempt failed, however when the project leader was found murdered shortly after it was believed that she was responsible. Upon being accused, Buffy and her friends went to ground and had only limited contact...
Jack raised an eyebrow as Xander coughed out, ‘Oz’ in the background,
“... with the Initiative until the project ended. This happened when a project that members of the Initiative had been working on got loose and went on a rampage. Both groups worked at stopping the project, known as Adam, however it was only after Adam manipulated a raid on the initiative base that Buffy and her friends succeeded in stopping it. Had it not been for their interference, the Operation could have ended with 100% casualties and a large percentage of the local population murdered as well. As it was, the Operation had 40% fatalities and a larger number of people injured. Since then the US government has left the responsibility of controlling the HST threat in Sunnydale in the hands of the locals. Any questions?”
SG1 looked at each other, absorbing what they’d been told. Finally, Jack spoke up. “So to summarize, ‘demons’ are real and the US Government tried to control them resulting in lots of people dying and civilians having to fish their ass out of the fire? I suppose next you’ll be telling us that magic is real too.”
Finn grinned. “Of course.”