FIC: Flight of The Morrigan (1\?)
Title: Flight Of The Morrigan
Feedback: In lieu of a Faithbot yeah.
Disclaimer: Whedonverse characters owned by Mutant Enemy. Further xovers to come later.
“Professor Onslow, the dimensional splicer is ready.”
“Thank you, Dr.” Onslow nodded at his assistant’s report. His lab had futuristic equipment undreamed of by 99.99% of the world, garnered and derived from alien craft that had come into their government’s hands since the 50s. So much of the world’s scientific advances over the past few decades had been leaked out of this highly secret base.
But today’s accomplishment would dwarf them all.
Today, after years of pain-staking science, they would open a vortex and see into another dimension. A small first step into what could ultimately open up new worlds and new technologies.
Onslow glanced towards his assistant, the holder of a mere doctorate compared to his two PhDs and one doctorate. “Has the room been locked?” His assistant, a scrawny beanpole with pock-marked cheeks and thick-lensed glasses, nodded. Onslow took a long breath that utterly failed to calm him. “Sergeant Knox,” he looked towards the brawny MP., “are you and your men ready?”
Knox glanced at his two fellow MPs before nodding and looking back at him. “Ready, sir.”
“Then on my count, three, two, one, on!” Onslow let out what he hoped was a confident roar. A half-second later his assistant pulled the lever on the dimensional splicer..
A deafening roar filled the room, shaking the underground basement with such ferocity that dust fell from the ceiling. And then a swirling light flew out of the splicer’s projectoresque front, bathing the far wall in a golden glow. The light flickered and ebbed as the dimensional splicer searched ceaselessly for another dimension.
And then suddenly the roar decreased as the search stopped, signalling that a dimension had been locked onto. His heart thundering, Onslow stepped towards the wall, trying to see what the splicer had found.
And then a twisted, taloned claw of a hand, each individual digit the length of a full-grown man, reached through the wall to grab a hold of and rip him apart.
England, a week later.
Giles stared sightlessly around the room, grief cloaking him like a funeral shroud, his stomach hollow and eyes burning with unspent tears. He felt like he had an anvil on his back, forcing him to his knees, but he wouldn’t buckle.
He would stay strong right to the very end.
A bitter smile twisted his lip. Anniversaries were supposed to be a time of joy, a time of celebration, and this month, May 2013, would have been ten years since the Mass Calling, Sunnydale’s fall, and the defeat of the First Evil. They’d been planning a commemorative ball when something had happened in America’s south-west, an unleashing of Lovecraftian nightmare beasts that had torn through the American west coast in a matter of days, obliterating the Council’s west coast team of Angel, Connor, Illyria, two Watchers, and six Slayers.
In a matter of seconds after these beasts’ arrival the world had changed perhaps forever. He didn’t know how, perhaps it was a displacement of dimensional energies, perhaps it was a side-effect of having such malignant monsters in this world. Indeed the how was unimportant but now the world was ravaged by sudden electrical storms, the eruption of millennia-dormant volcanoes, and world-shaking earthquakes.
Electrical storms like the one that had caught Buffy and Dawn’s plane, a single strike of lightning slicing their plane in two.
Of course. a treacherous thought occurred, the Summers girls might be the lucky ones. At least they were dead and not having to wait as these Cthulhu deities stole across the globe and ended life at their leisure, having already bested any and all types of weapons that the world could throw at them – conventional, biological, chemical, and nuclear, it didn’t matter. Some of the monsters died but the survivors were remorseless. In a week, America had fallen, in two Canada and the rest of the Americas had joined them.
By his rough estimation, they had less than a month before the world ended.
Giles forced himself to focus at the knock at his door. “Hello?”
His secretary, why people continued to turn up for work was beyond him, probably trying to cling to some semblance of normalcy for as long as possible he supposed, poked her head around the door. “Mr. Giles, there’s a Mr. Rayne here for you.”
“Oh,” Giles stiffened and raised an eyebrow. He thought he was past any emotion but despair, but now he found curiosity nibbling at him. “And did he say why?”
Excitement warred with wariness in the woman’s eyes. “He said he wanted to save the world.”
“Oh.” Giles forced himself to remain calm. “Invite him in.” Giles blinked at the bedraggled, lined figure that shambled into his gleaming office, the straggly-bearded man a hundred miles away from the impeccably turned rake he less than fondly recalled. “What the bloody hell happened to you?”
Ethan shot him a typically sly look as he dropped into a seat and looked around Giles’ antique-furnished office. “When your fortunes took an upswing, mine took a downswing.”
“How did you escape the Initiative?” Giles demanded.
Ethan chuckled. “A simple misdirect spell got me out of there, cloth-headed yanks.” Ethan coughed and shook his head. “Anyway, shouldn’t we focus on saving the world?”
“Aye,” Giles’ brow furrowed as he tilted his head to one side. “And why exactly would you want that?”
“Bloody hell, Ripper,” Ethan shook his head. “Being head of the Council has clearly made you as thick as the rest of those pillocks. I never wanted the world to end, if the world ends how can I have my bloody fun?”
“Fair enough.” There was a certain sense to Ethan’s profanity-laced words. “And your plan to help us?”
“You remember of course my Halloween spell?” Ethan cringed as the lights flickered off only to flicker back on when the mansion’s back-up power generator kicked in.
“I’m hardly likely to forget it, how does that bloody help us?”
Ethan’s cringe turned to a smirk. “You’ve probably been thinking of fighting these monsters,” Ethan couldn’t fight off a shudder, “head-on. Me, I never do anything head-on.”
“Yes,” Giles sniffed disdainfully, “I recall.”
Ethan ignored the sniff. “I bet you’ve considered every avenue, but no matter what you tried, magic, physical powers, but came up short. What you didn’t consider was increasing your own power via something like the Halloween spell.”
“Huh,” Giles blinked. The idea was certainly ‘out of left field’ as certain Americans of his acquaintance might put it, but he saw a number of flaws with it. “The spell didn’t work like that last time.”
“Ah, but several things are different,” Ethan smirked. “Firstly, young Rosenberg hadn’t learnt of her potential back then, I plan to channel the spell through her. I’m nothing compared to her. Secondly, wherever these beasts are from, it’s not our bloody dimension, dimensional walls and the like are weakened which means this spell can have a greater affect. Thirdly, when I cast the first Halloween spell, several hundred people were affected, and they not only became their costume they believed they were their costume. I intend to only cast it over a few people, ten to fifteen at the most, to increase the spell’s potency, and they’ll only become their costume, they’ll keep their own awareness.”
“If we use Willow, it could just work,” Giles murmured, his brow furrowing. It was a possibility at least. More than they’d had before anyway. Giles thought furiously, weighing up possibilities, his excitement growing by the second. Finally he reached for the intercom on his desk. “Gladys, be a dear and find Xander for me.”
The minutes passed in an uncomfortable silence but then the door swung open and Xander strode in, the young man’s shoulders slumped and the despairing air that had become so common around the base surrounding him. “Hey Giles.” The one-eyed man glanced at Ethan slumped on the couch to the desk’s but didn’t seem to recognise him as he took up a position stood before Giles’ desk.
“You’re an expert in these super-heroes,” Giles managed not to sniff. “If we had say a dozen of the most powerful of them, would they may be able to do anything against these monsters?” Xander stared nonplussed at him. “Just humour me, I’ll explain in a moment.”
“Well okay, there’s three major Comics verses – Marvel, DC, and Wildstorm,” Xander slowly replied. “At Marvel, you’ve got Hulk, Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Sentry, Wonder Man, Silver Surfer, Gladiator, & Nova who have the raw power to face these monsters, while Doc Strange blows even Willow away as regards magical power. Then DC’s got Wonder Woman, Superman, Martian Manhunter, the Green Lanterns, Captain Marvel, Captain Atom, Super Girl, Power Girl, and Wonder Girl. And Wildstorm has Mr. Majestic and Apollo. So sure, they’d be outnumbered, but I figure at the least they could throw at least some of the monsters into the sun or something.”
A few of the names meant something to Giles, but a lot were pure gibberish. However if there was one thing Xander knew it was science-fiction. “Very well,” Giles struggled to keep the excitement from his face. “I want you to think about which heroes would be best to battle these beasts-,” he stopped, a deep horror filling him as a sudden flaw occurred, “oh bloody hell.” He looked towards Ethan. “Where are we supposed to get the costumes from?”
“Don’t worry about that,” Ethan smirked. “I can alter the spell so that it works if people just have a photograph or drawing of the character they wish to be.”
Xander’s solitary eye widened in disbelief. “Ethan Rayne? I thought I recognised him, but it’s been so long-.”
Ethan smirked. “From the look of you, we’ve both seen better days old boy.”
“Ethan,” Giles growled at his old running-mate before returning his gaze. “Ethan has approached with the idea of doing a variation of the Halloween spell to permanently bestow powers on a number of us to battle these monsters.”
“And you trust him?” Xander stared incredulously at him.
“Xander,” Giles sighed. “It’s not like we have bloody choice now do we. And at least trust me to take some precautions.” The young man nodded stiffly. “Good lad,” he paused, “this is top-secret, just make your list-.”
“I’d like to ask Andrew to help me,” Xander shrugged and flushed, “he’s even geekier than me.”
“Very well,” Giles forced a smile. “I’d like about twenty names, if you can manage that.” Xander nodded before striding out.
“A thought occurs old bean.”
Giles shook his head at his old adversary’s effrontery when he rose strode over to Giles’ drinks cabinet and poured himself a glass of Giles’ favoured single malt. “Do tell?”
“Whoever you chose for the spell, I’d advise against using any of these winsome Slayers of yours-.”
“Please,” Giles shot Ethan a pained look, “don’t refer to these young ladies as ‘winsome’, ‘lithe’, ‘luscious’, or any variation thereof to describe MY Slayers.”
Ethan shot him a yellowing leer. “As possessive and over-protective as ever, Rupes.” Ethan took a sip then settled back on the couch. “My point being, the Slayers are already possessed by the demon that gives them their power. If you attempt to put a further possession on top of the one currently holding them, it would only dilute both possessions.”
“Duly noted.” Giles looked at the blank paper before him and began writing. Ethan’s words made sense. Unfortunately that meant neither Faith nor any other Slayer could be used, nevertheless he thoroughly intended to have a Slayer contingent there to keep Ethan honest.
Or as honest as the bugger ever was.
So who take enspell? Giles paused, his mouth dry. Of course he couldn’t just order others to do it in his place, he had to be the first name on the sheet. Willow as the spell’s power source couldn’t also be enspelled, so she was out. Xander had to be included, after all, after six years organising their African offices and four working here as the Slayers’ chief trainer, he had more than proved himself. So had Andrew surprisingly enough, he was a pain in the arse, but also a highly effective administrator. Robin Wood and Kate Lockley, joint runners of their east coast division and fortunately here for the cancelled ball rather than back home, would have to be included, if for no other reason than to assuage their guilt at not being with their people when they died.
So that was four, five including himself.
Riley Finn and Sam Finn, the married couple who ran their special ops wing, and Graham Miller who trained their operatives. Oliver Pike, an old friend and recruited of Buffy, who ran their base security. Harriet Doyle, the expert demonologist recommended to them by Angel, had proven herself invaluable over the years. Plus Amy Madison and Michael Cjazak as two mages to keep an eye on Ethan. Groo, the Pylean hireling recommended by Angel, who’d more than proved his worth as a Field Watcher. Justin Cooper, another recommendation of Angel’s, and a member of Wood’s team who’d come over for the now cancelled ball.
So fourteen of them in total, each of them experienced demon hunters. He looked at the paper for a long time, knowing he’d only ask for volunteers but also knowing none of them would say no. “Oh bloody hell,” he shook his head. It was moments like this he loathed, the choices he had to make. He looked up at his old rival. “I’m warning you Ethan-.”
“No tricks,” Ethan interrupted with a shake of the head, his expression sober. “I don’t want this world to end.”
Giles nodded before pressing on his desk’s intercom. “Gladys, please could you find Willow for me?”
Willow’s breath hitched as she entered Giles’ office, the dream-like state she’d been in since news of Buffy’s death had hit them dissipating at the sight of Ethan Rayne lounging on Giles’ leather sofa. “What is he doing here?”
“Charmed I’m sure.”
“Ethan has come to me with an idea to save the world.” Giles smiled slightly at her gasp. “Yes, that was my reaction too. However his idea does have some merit.”
“Thanks for that.”
Willow listened in silence as the nearest thing she had to a father explained. “And you think we can trust him?” Willow shot Ethan a speculative glance.
“Probably not, but it’s the only chance we have,” Giles replied. “The question is can you do it?”
Willow paused, it was a tremendous risk. Such a spell could burn her out. But then so many people had died, if there was the slightest chance… Finally she nodded. “Okay.” Willow paused. “I’ll need some time to organise it, everyone to choose their power. How about you gather everyone together and I’ll cast a teleportation spell to send us to ‘the safest place possible’.”
“Very well,” Giles paused to look right at Ethan. “In addition to the people I’ve selected to be enspelled, I intend to request Faith bring all the surviving Sunnydale Slayers with her to guard against treachery.”
“Warning received.” Rayne’s smirk had rather less than its usual swagger.
“Where do you want to cast the spell?” Giles’ gaze softened as he looked back at Willow.
“If we’re going to be using Xander’s collection to get ideas of who the enspelled are going to become, it would only be fair to do it in his room,” Willow decided.
“I pay you far too bloody much.”
Xander shot Giles a hurt look. “You said I was invaluable!”
“Huh,” Giles peered at the veritable mountain of DVDs, graphic novels, and books piled in the centre of Xander’s room, the group massing around it as Willow readied her spell. “If you can afford to waste your money on all that rubbish, I pay you too much.”
“Some of it’s mine,” Andrew admitted.
Giles was saved from further comment when Faith stalked in, Kennedy following at her shoulder, Vi, Rona, Shannon, the Slayer attacked by Caleb in his car, Caridad, and Colleen, all Slayers who’d fought at Sunnydale, following behind. Last in was Faith’s own private project and protégé, the formerly insane Dana. “Excellent,” he nodded, “join the circle.”
The room was cramped, the collection stacked in the middle so that it would come with them when Willow cast the escape spell. “Ready?” Giles looked around and nodded approvingly. “Willow, if you wouldn’t mind.”
The Witch nodded before stepping into the circle’s centre. “Sanctuarium meum ego amicos!” A blinding flash enveloped the room and then nothing but darkness.
* * *
“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Faith mumbled as she awoke. Her head pounded and every muscle ached as she forced her eyes to open. “Who slipped me a roofie-.” Her voice trailed off as she belatedly registered her very surprising surroundings. “Oh fuck, Toto,” Faith let out a shocked croak as she glanced around, dark eyes widening at what she saw. “I’m guessin’ we’re not in Kansas anymore…”