Another chapter done, and I hope it turned out well. I'd like to thank those that reviewed. You've brought a lot of questions, and I hope I can answer at least some. First, I'm not sure if I wasn't clear on the topic, Xander is a psyker only a bit weaker then Buffy. The second is on the subject of the upcoming space craft that will be constructed. The Sunnydale group will not produce everything, just the most complex components and will aid in the assembly. The fighter pattern used will be the Lightning, with something like the Fury Interceptor added much later. As for capitol ships, they will be a new hybrid class, and I already have some good ideas on that topic. Next, some of you complained that things are too easy for the protagonists. That is all part of my long-term plan. Rest assured there will be hardships that will push all the sides beyond their limits, and no, I will NOT bring in Warp Daemons. Lastly, I am aware that my fics come out a bit rushed, and it is something I am working to correct, but it will not be something I can fix overnight. Also, the next chapter will be a completely SG-1 and will cover the two-part story starting with Jolinar's Memories.
Buffy returned from her trip to DC to find that Sunnydale was a town gone mad. The adults were on a crusade against the occult, and several students had already faced searches, and several stores selling occult books and paraphernalia had had their stocks seized and destroyed.
"When did all this madness start?" Buffy asked once she was back in the factory.
"Two days ago. I found two dead children out on patrol, both of them had an occult mark on their hands. When the police discovered the corpses, the whole town went up in arms about it." Faith replied.
"What have the citizens done so far?"
"They've been hunting down all traces of occult practice in the city. We have decided to simply let them oust all unsanctioned practitioners, and only jump in if things get too violent. Since we have relocated the books from the library to here, our own resources are not in danger." Faith continued.
"I have also sensed a new demonic presence, but it is difficult to pinpoint. It moves about and fades in and out of my perception." Xander added.
"We'll probably have more success if we work together. Has the mayor done anything?" Buffy asked.
"He is giving full support to the witch hunter groups, and even allowed a search of the school. I believe he was very disappointed to learn that we had already relocated our books from the library." Faith grinned.
"This may be a plot of his to deny us the knowledge at our disposal. A brilliant move, whether he's the instigator or merely exploiting the opportunity." Buffy mused.
"How do we react, then?" Xander asked.
"Let the witch hunters scare the unsanctioned witches a bit more, then move in and offer them sanctuary. This may be just the chance we need to eradicate non-Imperial users without us looking like the bad guys." Buffy grinned.
Buffy turned out to be right, as five students contacted Amy directly or through another in search of protection from the adults, and she promptly gave them the same deal she had. Facing nearly certain death either way, the group quickly agreed.
"I still can't pinpoint it. It moves around too rapidly." Buffy grumbled over her vox bead as she and Xander tried to locate the demon responsible for the whole witch hunt mess.
"Perhaps we need to add a little magical aid to the search?" Xander suggested.
"I'll talk to Giles. Continue your patrol, I'll be escorting the truck with the new shipment for the SGC to the train station." Buffy responded.
"Evening boys." Buffy grinned at the four soldiers that were assigned to guard the shipments.
"Ma'am. Full load tonight?" One of the men commented as three servitors that were designed to look like humans began unloading the truck into an empty cargo car.
"Just about. Here's your copy of the manifest. Have a pleasant trip." Buffy grinned. Considering the value of the cargo shipments, they were heavily guarded, and every last drop of paint was accounted for on the manifests. To ensure nothing was 'misplaced', Willow held one manifest, the escort had another, and a third was sent to the SGC. This ensured that no rogue elements could intercept the shipments without repercussions.
"Any news?" Buffy asked once she was back to the factory.
"Yeah. We did some research, and found out that the dead children the police found actually died centuries ago. We think the demon is using their form to manipulate humans." Giles informed her.
"A demon working against witches. That's a novel concept." Buffy grinned.
"We are working on some spells and potions that will force it to come out and reveal itself." Giles continued.
"We got trouble. We got a crowd headed this way, and I don't think they'll stop at fences." Faith rushed in.
"The turrets will rip them to shreds before they even reach the factory grounds." Buffy stood up.
"Xander, you're with me. We need to keep those people away. Willow, deactivate the outer defenses, but keep the combat servitors active. Someone might use the distraction to sneak in. Faith, Cordelia, when Giles finishes with the spells, find the demon and kill it." Buffy commanded and rushed out.
"Keep things non-lethal." Buffy turned to Xander as she picked up a quarterstaff from the armory. Xander simply nodded as he put his helmet. With his armor, he didn't need a weapon.
"Get the witches." Buffy froze for a second when she saw her own mother leading the mob, but the moment passed quickly, and she rushed forward, staff swinging around and began knocking people down.
Meanwhile, Xander waded into the crowd, knocking people down just by walking. As carefully as possible, he would occasionally swing his hands around, knocking people out.
Despite this intense resistance, the crowd was relentless, and ever so slowly, began gaining ground.
"Giles, what's your status?" Buffy tapped her vox unit as she stood against her mother. 'For a middle-aged gallery owner, she's got some serious moves.' Buffy grinned lightly as her mother managed to dodge Buffy's staff strike and actually tried to counterattack with the large 2x4 she had in her hands. With a quick feint, Buffy managed to bring her staff around and drive it into her mother's stomach.
"Sorry mom." Buffy winced as she brought her staff on top of her head and finally knocked her out.
"The spell is complete, Faith and Cordelia left to face the demon." Giles reported back.
Only minutes later, the crowd collapsed as the demon's influence was broken.
"Xander, you'd best get away before they wake up. Take this." Buffy threw him the staff and he quickly rushed away. No matter how many times she saw it, Buffy would continue to be amazed at how fast an Astartes in power armor could actually move.
It took a while, but Buffy managed to convince the crowd had gathered at the factory for an environmental awareness rally, and the bruises were blamed on tripping. While flimsy, the crowd seemed to buy it, and quickly dispersed.
"I guess this wasn't a rally?" Joyce asked once she was alone with her daughter.
"Afraid not. Just the usual demonic influence." Buffy sighed.
"Do you know what the hell bashed me over the head?" Joyce asked as she rubbed the goose egg on the back of her head with a wince.
"That was me, actually. Sorry about that." Buffy said sheepishly as her mother gave her a withering glare.
"Elizabeth Anne Summers, I can't believe you beat up your own mother." Joyce shouted.
"You were controlled by a demon." Buffy shouted back.
"That's no excuse. You're lucky I don't ground you, young lady." Joyce huffed.
"Come on, we better get some ice on your head." Buffy shook her head and turned to walk next to her mother.
"How did I do?" Joyce asked as they walked.
"You were the best, mom." Buffy gave her a big grin.
The impromptu witch hunts were quickly forgotten, and the gang began preparing for two things. The first was Buffy's eighteenth birthday, while the second was the arrival of Quentin Travers from England. While the Sunnydale group did not always run smoothly with the Council, there was a good possibility to improve relations.
"Mr. Travers, it is a pleasure to meet you in person." Buffy grinned as she shook the man's hand.
"Likewise, I'm sure. This is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, one of our brightest Watchers. I hope that you will allow him to stay here and gain some valuable field experience." Travers introduced his companion, a man Buffy instantly classified as a 'stuffy Brit' the moment she saw him.
"I am sure we can accommodate him. Now, shall we get to the point of this meeting?" Buffy turned serious.
"The Watcher's Council debated your request and offers extensively, and while we are not pleased with your plans, we agree that your performance has been remarkable lately, and have decided to accept your proposal." Travers began.
"How many have you gathered?" Buffy asked.
"Forty. All of them are orphans and all have been confirmed as Potentials." Travers sighed.
"That is over twice what I expected, but we can handle it. They know why they're here for?" Buffy asked.
"They know they're Potentials, and that they were brought here to learn and train with the actual Slayer." Travers replied.
"Let's go meet them, then." Buffy grinned.
The group walked out into the factory courtyard, where a group of girls ranging in age from fourteen to eighteen were gathered.
"Ladies, welcome to Sunnydale. My name is Buffy." She smiled at the group.
"You're the Slayer? You don't look like much." An older and much larger girl scoffed.
"Is this proof enough?" Buffy stepped forward and lifted her off her feet with the casual ease one would lift a feather pillow.
"Alright, so you are the real deal. What do you want us for?" The girl asked again.
"What's your name?" Buffy asked.
"Mary." The girl replied.
"Well Mary, the truth is, a single person, no matter how endowed is sometimes not enough to handle the threats we face. That is why over the past three years, I have gathered friends and allies that have aided me in my fight against evil. I admit that if I hadn't, I would not be standing before you today." Buffy replied.
"But how can we fight against vampires and demons without being Called?" Mary continued to question. It was clear that as one of the oldest in the group, she was considered the group's leader.
"Good question. Allow me to introduce your new superior." She whistled in her vox unit, which was the signal for Faith.
One of the factory doors opened, and Faith strode out, clad in full Canoness power armor, her chainsword held firmly in her right hand and a bolter in her left. Hanging above her on a pole attached to her armor was a tan flag with golden trim bearing the symbol of a winged woman holding a sword aloft.
"Ladies, this is Faith Lehane, Canoness of the Order of OurValiant Sister. She will oversee your training and future combat operations." Buffy grinned as Faith stopped before the awed girls and took off her helmet.
"Willow really went all out with the armor. I'm surprised they got it done so quickly." Faith turned to Buffy.
"Kendra insisted they focus on it. Well ladies, still think you have no chance?" Buffy grinned.
"We'll all get armor like that?" Mary asked in awe.
"Well, not exactly like this one, but yes, you will be given both armor and weapons as soon as they are constructed." Buffy replied.
"Well, count me in." Mary grinned, and the other girls quickly followed suit. Some had even approached Faith and examined the armor, wondering at its elegance and beauty and the power it represented.
"Just one question. This is a religious Order, right? Like nuns?" One girl raised her hand, causing some mutterings to spread through the girls.
"Yes, you will be expected to adhere to the religious doctrine of the Order, however you are not forbidden from having relations with men, but you will be required to use birth control drugs. If you want to have children, you will have to receive permission from your commanding officer which is Faith here." Buffy replied calmly, causing some of the girls to blush.
"What exactly is the religion you spoke of?" Mary asked.
"I will allow our Chaplain to explain that. Faith, please lead our new recruits to the chapel." Buffy gestured to the annex, and the girls slowly filed in the building.
"They will all possess such armor?" Wesley was certainly impressed and awed by Faith. He knew she was a Slayer, and wondered just how much more dangerous she was with such tools at her disposal. He found the thought to be most disconcerting.
"There are different types, depending on what role the individual Sister serves, but yes, they will all be heavily armed and armored. Once they have been sufficiently trained and equipped, we will assign two squads to the Council's authority, to be used where you consider they would serve best." Buffy replied.
'And of course, to ensure that you continue to serve in humanity's best interest.' Buffy smirked inwardly. She would make sure that the most fanatical Sisters got that duty to ensure the Watchers gave them no trouble in the future.
"We will continue our search for viable recruits. We expect to gather at least fifty viable recruits per year." Travers was not a fool and he realized what even one person with such equipment could accomplish. Two whole squads would certainly be a powerful tool in the hands of the Council, and perhaps just what they needed to finally break the stalemate with the demonic hordes and begin pushing them back for the first time in history.
"You had other topics you wished to discuss with us?" Buffy turned back to the annex.
"Some of the Council members expressed concern about the loyalty of the Order you're forming." Travers began once they were back in the conference room.
"I can assure you that by the time their training is over, they will fight to the death if need be, praising the Emperor to their last dying breath. After all, there is no greater honor for the Adepta Sororitas then to die in battle against the enemies of humanity." Buffy grinned widely.
"You plan on indoctrinating them somehow?" Travers asked.
"Of course. In the Order they will find a family, and in the God-Emperor they will find purpose. They will serve well in combating both the Enemy Within and the Enemy Beyond." Buffy nodded. The modern democratic society would frown heavily at such actions and methods, but Buffy gave such thoughts no consideration. She would do what she felt was necessary to protect mankind, and would face the judgment for her actions when she had finally passed on in the Emperor's embrace.
"I was also concerned about your dealings with the US government. I am not sure that was a wise decision." Travers continued.
"We had caught their attention, and I felt it was best if we avoided confrontation with the military as that would distract us from more important matters. There is also the fact that the organization we're aiding is the only defense we have from the Enemy Without." Buffy replied.
"I still find it hard to believe that after so many centuries of fighting demons, we were almost destroyed by aliens." Travers gave a humorless laugh.
"It does take a while to accept the fact, but they are more than capable, and with the weapons and equipment we've been providing them, their ability to protect us all has increased. And, they have aided us greatly in return as well. Soon we will further increase our cooperation and begin producing fighter craft. In time, we will be able to switch from defense to offense as our space fleet grows." Buffy grinned.
"Are you sure it is wise to give the US government such advanced technology?" As a British citizen, Travers had no great love or faith in the 'Colonies'.
"We are taking precautions against duplicity. Should they turn on us, they will not find us unprepared." Buffy assured him.
"Thank for your assurances, Ms. Summers. Now, I would like to speak with Rupert in private. Perhaps you could show Wesley here around your facility?" Travers turned to the somewhat forgotten pair of Watchers who were busy talking to themselves while Travers talked to Buffy.
"Of course. Right this way. I'll show you to your new quarters first." Buffy gestured for Wesley to follow.
"I expect you wish to discuss the Cruciamentum?" Giles turned serious once they were alone.
"Do you think it is still a viable option?" Travers asked.
"No, for either of the three. Kendra is currently encased in a war machine that could rip a tank apart, you already saw Faith, and Buffy's acquired psychic ability make her an enemy you would be foolish to oppose. They would destroy anything we could arrange with ease, with or without their Slayer ability." Giles concluded.
"Some of the Council members will not like this break from tradition, but I understand that things had moved far from the old days. Keep up the good work, Rupert." Travers sighed. Sometimes, being the head of the Watchers Council was more trouble then it was worth.