Title: Emerald Ignition (0/7)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.

Rating: Just a little bad language.

Spoilers: Anything and everything.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: All the cards are on the table. It's time to change the future. Part two of Emerald Flame.

Author's Note: Nothing to say here, really. Hope you enjoy.

Faith stared.

"What. The. F*ck?"

With Xander's permission -- and under his supervision -- she had been venturing out and doing a little discreet crime-fighting in L.A. again; low-risk on-the-job training, Xander called it. She found herself standing in one of Sunnydale's abandoned warehouses, surrounded by an array of unfamiliar, high-tech objects. Robotic assembly arms lay dormant on tracks laid into the floor, and at the center sat a hollow, thick-walled octagonal tower about four feet tall.

"Not that I mind the company," Cortana said, "but I'm not very useful in your ring, so I took the liberty of setting up a dummy program to put this place together through your ring's communication link with Willow's new mainframe."

"So... what are we supposed to do with all this?" Faith asked. "And shouldn't we tell Xander?"

"Just plug me in."

His name was Charles Gunn. He was a fighter, a leader, a brother. He fought the good fight, hunting vampires through the streets of Los Angeles. For the past few weeks, however, he had been going by another name: Gangbuster.

It was a strange story, one involving a man dressed like a bat, a girl, and a demonic slave labor camp hell dimension.

He didn't even want to think about that right now, or the "gift" from Batman he was wearing, but the costume was armored and kept the vamps from snacking on him in the middle of a fight.

"That the best you got?" he taunted, twirling the sharpened tonfas around before plunging one into the vampire's chest.

"Police! Freeze!"

He turned, "F*ck." He ducked down an alley.

His partner at his side and his pistol at the ready, John Spartan charged forward, "Damn it, Mike. Why do we always seem to attract the nut jobs?"

"I still say it's your fault," Mike Harrigan grumbled from behind as John tried to figure out which door the perp had ducked into. He frowned and called out, "Hey, John!"


"Where'd the vic go?"

"Aaand CUT!" the director called out. "All right, everyone, take five!"

The lead actor headed back to his trailer. This particular week, they were shooting on location in New Zealand rather than on a set back in the States. It did mean he had less time for his extra-curricular activities -- it was hard to get away for a quick vampire hunt in the open fields they shot at in New Zealand than it was in a big city -- but they needed the exterior shots.

"Hello, son," an unexpected voice greeted him as he entered his trailer.

He frowned and closed the trailer door behind him, "Father. What brings you here?"

"Certain events have been set in motion, my son. We may soon need to take direct action. I just... felt that you deserved some forewarning."

"'We'?" the actor asked warily.

"Not the family, if that's what you're worried about," his father assured him. "A somewhat more select group I belong to."

Cordy scowled.

"I still can't believe you got me to wear this."

"Would you rather fight vampires in that armored yet stylish costume or in your Prada?" Willow pointed out.

Cordy cocked an eyebrow, "If this is what you call stylish, then you're even more of a lost cause than I thought, Rosenberg."

Willow pouted. "Okay, rephrase. Would you rather fight vampires in that armored and slightly ridiculous, yet amazingly sexy costume that hides your identity, or risk getting caught fighting vampires in your Prada by your father? You won't get vampire dust or demon goo on your clothes if you wear the costume."

"'Demon goo'?" Cordy blinked. "Demons have goo?"

"Lots of goo," Buffy chimed in, "and it usually stains something awful."

"...alright," Cordy mumbled, "you have a point. But couldn't you have shopped in the non-B&D section?! Do you have any idea the kind of looks I get from the laundry help?"

Buffy snorted, "Hey, it's better than fishnets."

"Says you," Cordy snorted back." "I mean, I learned more about my parent's sex life when the help asked why I had some of my mother's things. Eww, much? And anyway, my legs would look so much better in fishnets than yours ever would."

"Okay, TMI," Buffy said, leaning away from Cordy. "Seriously, you wanna switch?"

Cordy rolled her eyes, "Puh-leeze. Skinny as you are, the top would fall off."

"What was that?" Buffy's eyes narrowed.

"You heard me, Screech. You've got good lungs, but not much else up top. How many megaphones have you wrecked now?"

Buffy growled and lunged.

Willow unconsciously clicked on the A/V recorder, seeing as how it might be necessary to hand over to the police as evidence in the murder that was about to take place, whoever the victim might be. At least that was what she told herself.

"Hey, John," Mike Harrigan called as he entered their office.

"What?" John Spartan seethed as his knitting needles clacked together at a furious pace. As if Phoenix and Batman weren't bad enough, now he had some kook dressed up like Gangbuster to deal with.

"Put the shawl down, the captain wants to talk to us."

"It's an afghan," John growled, "not a shawl."

"Yeah, sure, whatever," Mike waved it off. "Bust hump. Something's up."

The captain greeted them with a thin smile. "Okay, you two clowns, I know how much you like your costumed kooks," he held up a photograph, "so I've got another one for you."

"Green Lantern?" John sputtered. "You've gotta be shitting me."

The planet was called Nasya. For three hundred years, the Nasyans had lived in peace, ignored and nearly forgotten by the goa'uld as a whole. The UNSC, or the Tauri as they were called, had recently made contact with them and arranged for a research outpost.

The alliance could not have come too soon. Death Gliders strafed the village as UNSC personnel, including SG-1, helped evacuate the Nasyans in the face to destruction.

Capt. Samantha Carter, PhD, second in command of SG-1, was giving CPR to an injured Nasyan when the man suddenly reached up and held her in place, startling her. The man slumped down as Sam tore herself away. She paused to recover, her eyes glowing momentarily.

"Carter! We've got to go!"

"Hello, neighbor!"

Rebecca Baxter turned in surprise. She had just gotten off the phone and had been deep in thought. She had been thinking about what Xander had left in her safekeeping until Tara was ready. The question was, when would she be ready? She wasn't sure she was objective enough to determine that, so she had (reluctantly) called her aunt up in San Fran, only to find out she had passed away back in March.

She gave the man a measuring look. He was fairly tall, well-built, with a sincere grin on his face. He looked confidently relaxed, leaning across the low fence separating the two properties, but she could see a fluid power in his muscles as he waved.

A cynical part of her mind figured him for ex-military and probably vamp-bait within the month. This was the hellmouth, after all.

"Hi," she answered shortly.

"Name's Charlie," he said, reaching over the fence and offering a hand to shake. "Charlie Kawalsky."

"Rebecca. Obviously you're not from around here."

"Just moved in," he confirmed, hiking a thumb to what was presumably his house next door. "Down from Colorado. Lined up a job at the high school."

Great, Rebecca thought sarcastically, one of those kinds. A bit too free with information, a bit too friendly, probably lured in by the whole "small town charm" idea. And he worked at the school. She revised her estimate, dropping his life expectancy to two weeks and concluding he was probably going to be a demonic sacrifice instead.

"You wouldn't believe the deal I got on this place," he rambled on. "Real estate prices are so low! Not at all what I was expecting in California."

Rebecca revised her estimate again. If he made it through the week, it would be a miracle.

"Well, see ya 'round!" Charlie gave her another jaunty wave before heading into his house. A column of sparkling white light announced his mentor's arrival.

"So," Leo asked, "how are you settling in?"

"Just met one of my charges," he answered. "I think we'll do fine."

"You did lay it on a bit thick, though," Leo pointed out. "You're practically asking to get eaten with that attitude."

Charlie shrugged, "Part of the act. Who'd pay attention to someone they figure's going to be dead next week?"

Leo just smiled and shook his head.

Patrice Miller was a police officer. Specifically, she was one of Sunnydale's finest. She was also possibly the only member of SPD who wasn't either self-deluded about the nature of the town or completely owned by City Hall and part of the cover up. She had been the former not too long ago, but being possessed by a demonic snake assassin from outer space with delusions of grandeur had opened her eyes.

Now, she found herself on the night shift with decidedly non-standard gear. A nightstick sharpened to a point. Blessed silver bullets. A crucifix. A squirt gun filled with holy water. A gorget beneath her uniform collar. A nice new snakeskin belt that served as a constant reminder of what had happened.

There had been a situation with a few reanimated corpses earlier, but the "neighborhood watch" she oversaw had taken care of it quickly enough, thanks to the forewarning from a certain young man who remembered the future.

It was thoughts of how she was going to file that report that occupied her mind when she found the bodies in the alleyway. The clouds obscuring the moon cleared for a brief moment.


Cause of death was incredibly obvious. Something had torn open their skulls and scooped out their brains.

"Gonna be one of those nights."

Author's Postscript:

Bit of a time skip, hence making it a separate story. Lots of stuff here is just a snapshot of the larger Emeraldverse, though.