Spoilers: Season Eight mostly - fic is set somewhere between Wolves at the Gate and The Time of Your Life
Disclaimer: All characters from Btvs are copyright Joss Whedon and 20th Century Fox, for they are Lord and Masters of all - except for my imagination so the character of Diana and the idea of the Enhanced are mine and mine alone - if you want to use them please ask for my permission first or I will strike you down.
Feedback: Always welcome.
The light from the large wall-mounted television flooded out into the dimly-lit room, revealing three figures standing silently, watching the screen in front of them.
"Are we live?" The voice of a teenage girl came loudly from the speakers.
"We are up and running ma'am." A second girl answered, her cheeky grin filling the screen.
"I've told you before Michelle, if you call me ma'am again you'll be on bathroom cleaning detail for a month." The first voice warned, obviously coming from behind the camera.
"Whatever you say...ma'am." The girl identified as Michelle flashed another grin at the camera as she walked away.
The picture moved back and forth as the wearer sighed and shook her head, and then stopped abruptly as if suddenly remembering she had a camera attached to the headset she was wearing.
"OK girls I'm going to make this short and simple." The picture moved jerkily to face four young women, their military style clothing and medieval weaponry quickly branding them as Slayers. They stood outside an old run-down building, most of its windows broken and boarded up, its walls covered in graffiti. Clearly no-one had been living there for a very long time. "We get in, we get out and we kill anything that moves," the voice continued. "Mystics couldn't pinpoint exactly what's in there but it's already killed two people and I don't want to add a Slayer to that list, got it?"
There was a murmured chorus of yes's and a general nodding of heads.
"Good. Michelle, congratulations you've earned yourself point, Carla and Annie guard the flanks and me and Anastasia will take rear guard." The Slayer squad gathered their weapons and quickly moved into their assigned positions. "Now let's make this quick, I want to get back to the house before Home and Away starts."
The squad stealthily climbed the broken concrete steps that led to the front door of the house, Michelle pausing a moment before kicking the door in.
"Clear." She announced before moving in through the door, the rest of the squad sticking close behind.
They entered into a long, dark hallway, bad 70's wallpaper peeled off the cracking plaster, most of which was now covered in yet more graffiti.
Carla and Annie smoothly split off to check the rooms that adjoined the hall but each returned shaking their heads. The hallway then took a right turn, opening up into a small room with only one large heavy door directly opposite the hallway.
Michelle swiftly moved up to the door, the rest of the squad following her and taking up position either side of it. Michelle looked back at the camera which moved up and down as she was given the OK to open the door, this time there was no violent kick instead she slowly turned the handle until she heard a soft click, then silently glided into the room beyond.
For a few moments the only sound coming from the speakers was the slow breathing of the Slayers, but this was shattered by an ear-splitting scream, causing the figure on the left to jump.
"Michelle?" The squad leader called out harshly, fear filling her voice. "Are you OK?"
"Hasn't she ever watched any decent horror movies?" The figure in the middle muttered tersely. "The girl is alone in a dark, spooky room and she's just screamed of course she's not OK, what kind of a stupid question is that to ask."
"Give her a break," The figure on the right answered softly. "She probably hasn't had as much experience at the whole monster fightyness as we have."
"It's not about experience," The first figure argued back. "It's about common sense, something bad has happened to that Michelle girl and the squad leader should have acted more leadery."
As if to emphasise that point the door was wrenched open and Michelle came stumbling out, blood pouring from a deep wound to her stomach.
"Oh no, Michelle." Someone said breathlessly.
Before any of the other Slayers could do anything a pair of hands emerged from the dark room behind Michelle, grabbing her either side of her head and twisting it sharply, the loud crack as Michelle's neck snapped echoed hollowly around the room.
All of the Slayers seemed frozen in shock at Michelle's murder right there in front of their eyes, and then Annie reacted. She swung her sword desperately in the direction of where the hands had appeared from, the sword's swing halting suddenly as if caught in something, jolting Annie's entire body. She tugged frantically as she tried to free her weapon, and then abruptly she disappeared from view into the other room, her broken body coming flying back out a few moments later.
The picture began moving back from the scene as the squad leader retreated blindly from the room where her charges were being slaughtered, just as Annie's sword came rocketing through the very same doorway her body had flown through seconds ago, impaling Anastasia to the wall, her bright blue eyes going wide with shock and pain before dulling as she slumped down to the floor.
"Get out, get out, get out." The middle figure muttered under their breath. "Get out now or you're all going to die."
The squad leader acted almost like she had heard these words of warning, turning to face the entrance to the hallway and beginning her run to freedom, then in the corner of the screen something moved impossibly fast and Carla's head flew from her shoulders and bounced along the floor.
"Ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod..." The squad leader's tone had now changed, no longer was it the voice of a strong and confident Slayer but instead that of a frightened teenage girl, running for her life.
She sped down the hallway, ignoring all other entrances and heading straight for the front door, her breathing loud and ragged. The film moved all over the place, providing no clear picture of what was happening until finally the front door came into view, and then, just once, the squad leader turned around to look back down the hallway and an image of something rising from the shadows filled the screen, and then the picture went to black, mercifully cutting off the squad leaders scream.
The lights in the room came back on, revealing a stony-faced Buffy standing between a thoughtful looking Willow to her right and a very pale, slightly green Xander to her left.
"When did this happen?" Buffy asked quietly.
"About twelve hours ago." Xander replied with some difficulty, looking like the meal he had an hour ago was trying to make a reappearance.
Xander swallowed hard. "Um, somewhere in Melbourne, that's a city in Australia." He added.
"I knew that," Buffy said defensively. "That's where that bridge thingy shaped like a coat-hanger is right?"
"You mean the Sydney Harbour Bridge," Willow answered. "No that's in Sydney."
"Oh...how about that building that looks like a whole bunch of shells all stuck together?"
"The Sydney Opera House...still Sydney."
"How about kangaroos, they have to have kangaroos." Buffy said a little desperately.
"I'm sure there's a place with kangaroos nearby." Willow reassured her.
"Good." Buffy nodded, her pride in her general knowledge now somewhat restored. "Rewind the tape."
"Rewind the..." Xander looked astonished. "Buffy we don't need-"
"Xander." Buffy interrupted firmly. "Rewind. The. Tape."
Xander paused for a moment and then mutely pushed the rewind button, the grisly film replaying again, this time in reverse. The squad leader ran backwards down the hallway and back into the small entrance room, just as Carla's head magically reattached itself Buffy ordered a stop.
"There. Push it forward a little, slowly."
"Buffy it's just a normal remote, it can't-"
Without taking her eyes of the screen Willow reached over and pushed the step forward button.
"Or maybe it can." Xander gave a sheepish smile and moved the tape on until Buffy ordered another stop.
"That's it, there's our beastie." Buffy pointed to the picture on the screen.
"Um...looks kind of blurry Buff." Xander said doubtfully.
"Well can't you blow it up and zoom in like they do on CSI?" Buffy asked hopefully
"OK now I know this remote can't do that."
"Xander's right," Willow said softly. "We'd need one of the girls to clean the picture up with the computer, and unlike on a TV show that could take hours, possibly days."
"We don't have hours or days, that thing's out there and it's already killed five Slayers. I'm not sitting around waiting until it kills more." Buffy argued heatedly.
"Hey no arguments here, I'm in total agreement with the Slayage." Willow tried to calm Buffy down. "I'm just saying that maybe we should wait until we get all of the info before charging in much like the Light Brigade."
"By the time a plane actually gets to Australia the girls back here will probably have all the answers they can possibly get from the tape anyway." Xander pointed out.
"Exactly, so I guess I'm going on a short, pleasurable trip Down Under." Buffy pronounced brightly, there was an awkward silence. "To Australia I mean." She hurriedly clarified.
"You mean we're going on a trip to Australia." Willow corrected.
"Right, the Scooby Gang back together again kicking some demon ass and hey," Xander began walking out of the room, the other two following him. "Maybe they'll have some of those barbequed shrimps I've heard so much about."