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Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Buffy Meets Catwoman.
AN: Thoughts (\\Good abs!//)
The Council jet made it to the tip of South America with more than an hour to spare, given a timely boost from the Jet Stream. Thus, Vi’s team was able to get into the optimum position to use the Buddha and disrupt the ceremony the P’an S’y were conducting. The resulting explosion when the 300 pound statue landed in the center of their summoning ring pretty much decimated the tribe’s high priests and ruling faction. The shock wave of the explosion also removed any chance the survivors would ever be able to do magic again as the Buddha’s magical suppressing ability was infused into them. The overall effect of the incident was similar to bombing an industrial society back to the Stone Age since the P’an S’y had relied heavily on magic for their everyday life.
Therefore, when Vi gave the remaining P’an S’y the choice of total annihilation or resettlement and Council help to adjust to their new reality, the more pragmatic members of the tribe decided the second option sounded better than the first, since without magic, their fighting skills were very much lacking against even the non-Slayers on Vi’s team.
Meanwhile, on an island in the Yellow Sea, a soggy mass was washed up onto the tiny beach that was at the base of a very tall and rocky cliff. A beach that would only be there for a couple more hours when the incoming tide would hide it again.
The night was very still with only the lapping of the waves accounting for any movement or sound.
“Good evening. I’m Xing Li with the 11 o’clock news,” said the rather attractive news anchor. “North Korean officials are still claiming to have destroyed an American Spy Ship after being fired upon. They have released photos of a damaged aircraft wing as evidence.”
“The Americans have denied having any ships in the area, military or otherwise. The Americans are also backing a counter claim by the South Korean government that the incident took place in South Korean territorial waters and that North Korea’s action against refugees trying to flee their oppressive regime was a wanton act of murder.”
“Tensions are expected to be high for some time as both North and South press their versions of the facts to the world,” she continued.
“In other regional news, the Haeju Historical Museum has been closed for renovations after an electrical fire filled the museum with smoke. Many artifacts will have to be cleaned to remove soot and other contaminating materials, so the closure will allow both endeavors to occur simultaneously. Museum officials expect to reopen in six months.”
Selina turned off the TV and sat back in her seat. The Council plane taking her back to Scotland had a good communications suite that allowed her to access most any TV and radio station she might desire.
\\At least they haven’t tied the two events together,// she thought about one silver lining concerning the Acquisition OP she and Buffy had undertaken. Of course, the one remaining dark cloud was that Buffy was not there with her on the plane.
She had been assured by Vi and the team’s Witch, one Tabitha Stevens, that Buffy was, indeed, still alive. The Council just couldn’t get to her at the moment, due to the scrutiny the area was being given by pretty much the entire world - or, at least the technologically advanced portions of it. Selina was certain that there were some groups in Africa or deep in the Amazon Jungle that could care less about some small patch of the Yellow Sea.
“Buffy will be okay,” said the only other occupant of the plane’s cabin, interrupting Selina’s musings. “Just because a chipped nail normally means she has to have an emergency manicure, don’t think she doesn’t know how to take care of herself in primitive conditions. She’s taken the same Survival Training that every other Alexion has, so this will just be like a refresher for her.”
Selina hadn’t taken the Survival Training yet, but had read up on it and the other training she was to receive. The Alexion version of S.E.R.E. had a few things that most of the world’s armed forces didn’t have in their equivalent training. After all, a soldier’s normal enemies don’t include snacking on you when they want to munch on something. Nor does it include being able to cloak yourself from magical detection, as well as freeing yourself from iron manacles while dangling upside down.
Rupert Giles, though no longer putting himself in the forefront of the Battle against the Darkness, still got out on the Front Lines every so often to maintain first hand knowledge of how things were going. To make sure the Troops were getting the things that they needed and, if not, to correct that as expeditiously as possible. The leaders of the Alexions would not be allowed to sit back from the fight and lose contact with those that put their lives on the line every day like the Old Council did. It was mandated that the top echelons get out every two to three months, ensuring there was a name and a face instead of a number associated with those who did the work that needed to be done, be they the Alexion Action Teams or the cleaning staff at the various Council Sites around the world.
Selina knew that it made it hard to send people you know into harm's way. But she also knew, and apparently the Alexions agreed, that when you’re sending people out to possibly die, that it should be hard. That if it ever became easy, then you needed to step down for the sake of those people and for your own sake.
The fact that this operation had been the inaugural event of the newly formed Special Procurements Division had caused him to choose to be present for the delivery of the Buddha and the confrontation with the P’an S’y. He had, of course, been forewarned about Buffy not being on the Council jet by radio, so they had already done the requisite rituals to determine that Buffy was alive. This had allowed him, and the rest of Vi’s team, to focus on the more immediate concern of the P’an S’y. They also were able to put the Teams in Japan and China on alert to mount a rescue when it became safe enough to do so.
Of course, now that the immediate threat had been eliminated, and despite his attempt to assure her of Buffy’s safety, she could see the trace of worry in his eyes. The same type that she occasionally saw in Alfred’s eyes when Bruce was badly injured or was out of touch for longer than anticipated. She would have thought it a British thing, except she had seen it in her own eyes for the same reasons as Alfred. Maybe she should introduce the two of them, so they can swap stories of how their respective charges were responsible for the loss of and/or the graying of their hair.
She knew the back story of him and the Scoobies. At least what was taught in the Alexion training classes of their ups and downs, ‘warts and all’ as their instructors informed them. She knew there was a lot that wasn’t said about how bad some of those downs had gotten. The stories didn’t paint them as saints, nor did it make them out to be villains, either. The stories were meant to be object lessons concerning the need to communicate honestly with your co-workers and superiors.
There was enough information provided in the stories to mark Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles as human, with human foibles and weaknesses. Of course, that didn’t stop some from a bit of hero worship and making whichever one they doted upon as someone larger than life. Selina knew that Buffy, at least, tried to curb such things and from her appraisal of Rupert Giles, she figured he would behave likewise. The other two she would have to wait and see since she hadn’t met them yet.
Selina finally responded to her statement, “I’m not so much worried about her being able to survive in the wild or her ability to avoid being found by any search parties from either North or South Korea, but the ritual you did only shows that she’s alive, not whether she is injured or not. We heard the explosion and saw the size of the smoke cloud from where we were hidden at the air strip on the island. I find it difficult to believe that she escaped totally unscathed, despite how quick she is. She should have just put the boat on auto-pilot and jumped off after leaving the small cove where the dock was. She would have definitely made it back to the island before we took off, since we had to wait for the fighters to leave the area, anyway.”
“Until she is rescued and has her debriefing, we’ll have to wait for her reasons why she didn’t do just that,” said Giles. “You can also inquire as to why she felt she had to throw you into the water on the far side of the dock before putting the Buddha on the dock and then heading out again.”
Selina kept quiet, though she could tell from the slight upward curl of his lip that he had at least some idea why Buffy had taken such action.
Selina had planned on taking the boat back out herself while Buffy unloaded the Buddha. Buffy had apparently come to the same conclusion about needing a diversion for the North Korean fighters and decided to pre-empt Selina from being the bait. She hoped it was because her annoying boss was a good guesser, and not that she could read her mind. Because if it was the latter, then it would be down right impossible to pay the perky cheerleader back at a time of her choosing.
Selina hated cold water baths and showers.
AN: S.E.R.E. = Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape