Preconceptions 8 - By the Wonderful Wizard of... I mean Dogbertcarroll
Destructive Testing or Bring your #2 pencil!
Jim smiled as he found the perfect place for testing Jack. He could have used transfiguration and created it himself but using a room with enough space and assorted crap made it a lot easier. Taking a deep breath he drew his elder wand and began casting. The spells he was casting were remarkably similar to the ones used in the creation of Hogwarts in several sections, particularly the ones involving assessment and adaptation. Fortunately Jim wasn't trying to enchant an entire castle and using a large chunk of assorted debris from the 'Room of Requirement' lowered the amount of magic needed to just within his capabilities.
Unaware that he'd just made a complete copy of the Unspeakables' training course, which mainly required a whole dozen wizards working together to create, Jim slumped against the wall. "Can't believe it was so easy to set up an entire training course," Jim said sheathing his wand and heading up for lunch. He was starving!
"I'm sure he's fine," Giles said calmly as he helped Willow set up everything for the scrying spell.
"Xander?" Cordelia asked doubtfully.
"Quite right," Giles said as he rechecked everything in order to make sure it was all perfect.
Jack found himself standing in a jungle, the sweltering heat made him pause and wipe the sweat from his brow. Some unnamed instinct made him spring aside just before a lion landed where he had just been standing. A surge of adrenaline hit and before the lion could attack, Jack had tensed the muscles in his legs and hips, turned… and vanished into the bushes.
The roar of a frustrated and hungry jungle cat sounded behind Jack and was echoed by half a dozen others, lending wings to his feet as he tore through the bush exactly like a man being chased by an entire pride of lions. "Ahhhhhhhhhhh!" he screamed as he burst out of the brush right in front of a native who raised his spear in shock, only to have Jack snatch it from his hands and vanish down the trail. Hearing the roars of the hungry cats the native made a quick exit himself.
Jack found himself anticipating the terrain around him, his ears bringing the sound of rustling leaves or empty spaces before he reached them, his nose catching a hint of wood smoke upwind that he knew meant humans and possible safety from the hungry predators chasing him.
"Are his eyes glowing?" Lydia asked as they watched Jack run through the jungle at speeds the great cats were having a hard time matching, through a large observation window set high above the room.
"I knew he was Clan!" Randy said excitedly. "Look at those changes!"
"Looks more like a partial animagus transformation or maybe a lycanthrope," Jim disagreed. "You girls look reptilian, he looks more animalistic I guess and I'm having to use a vision enhancement spell to even catch the difference, it's very subtle except for the occasional flash from the eyes."
"Didn't you say this obstacle course brings out hidden skills?" Lydia asked.
"And the tribe isn't all scales, we have furs too!" Randy added before he could answer.
"Yes, it's designed to bring out hidden talents from what little I could translate, it's written in a very ancient version of Latin," he told Lydia before turning to Randy. "Furs?"
"We get our transformation when we go through puberty, and a fair number looks like Jack does right now," Randy said excitedly.
"How about now?" Jim asked as they all stared in shock at the latest change.
Jack burst into the camp, a wild man with a spear, but as he took in the full scene his entire demeanor changed. The half crouching wild man stood up straight, the glow fading from his eyes as the pupil expanded to cover the whites.
It was a quasi-military camp covered in camouflage netting. There were men wearing camouflage and carrying guns everywhere, while there were dead women piled in a couple of places along with a number of children. The living children were being forced to wear chains and dig in the ground.
"Where the fuck is he?!" Willow exploded in horror.
"Africa," Wesley answered. "It looks like a group of rebels captured a diamond mine and are using the locals to work it."
"What's with the dead women and why the kids?" Faith asked the back of her chair splintering in her grip.
"The men were of no use to them, so they drove them off, the women were used as entertainment, and the children can work in smaller spaces," Giles said softly. "This is why African diamonds are often referred to as blood diamonds."
The group watched as Jack tore through the men, his spear quickly being replaced with a hastily snagged machine pistol, its owner no longer needing it.
"There's too many," Oz said as Jack stirred up the entire camp, cutting down quite a few people.
"How is he this skilled?" Wesley asked.
"Halloween saw him possessed by a generic solder," Giles offered.
"It looks more like he was possessed by Rambo," Wesley said as Jack was finally driven off by the combined firepower of the roused camp.
Out of ammo and bleeding from shrapnel and small arms fire, Jack took to his heels once more as the sound of jeeps adding wings to his steps.
"How tough is this obstacle course?!" Randy demanded in shock.
"Depends on the person and how much it takes to bring out their hidden talents and push them to their limits," Jim explained.
"But, he'll be okay... right?" Lydia asked.
"We're just going to his limits, not beyond them," Jim assured her.
"If you're wrong I'm going to make you eat your own testicles," Randy told him, eyes glued to the scene below.
"That's fair," Jim agreed.
"Cats are back," Oz noted as Jack was chased to a cliff with a huge waterfall running off it.
"This is the normal, useless, always getting hurt guy?" Faith asked numbly.
"He wasn't like this before," Buffy defended hotly.
"The Judge," Cordelia finally spoke, having been quiet until now.
"He's shown... occasional flashes of skills and abilities relating to his possessions," Giles said. "I suppose having his original personality suppressed has allowed him to call on them much more easily."
"How'd he get to Africa?" Faith asked.
No one had any answer. They watched as Jack turned towards the cliff, his skin darkening and his body shifting into something amphibious, before he dove off the cliff into the water below.
"Swim team," Cordelia said.
"That doesn't tell me shit," Faith replied.
The spell ended as a half dozen crocodiles entered the water attracted to the smell of blood.
"Swim team?" Wesley asked, while Willow frantically tried to recast the scrying spell.
Jim looked at the shrinking green bar on the bottom of the window. "He should be done in a moment. You might want to grab some towels and bandages."
"You said he'd be OK!" the girls exclaimed worriedly.
"Yeah, but he's still exhausted, wet, and with minor wounds," Jim said, vanishing with a pop to heal Jack as much as possible before the girls could get down there. He liked his balls attached, thank you very much.
Typing done by the Wicked Witch of the... Uhh I mean Falkun (who once again is doing this instead of working. I'm such a slacker :P)