Part 35 - Road Trips
(Bob and Bing are Busy, Jerry and Dean Still Aren't Speaking,
So We Have to Make Do With Stale Peanuts and Bad Puns)

San Francisco - SIU Headquarters

Nash Bridges gets out of his vintage Barracuda and approaches his three partners, Joe Domingeuz, Evan Cortez and Harvey Leek. All three men are standing, waiting for Nash to come in before they begin the trip south to Sunnydale. As Nash approaches, he asks Harvey. "Did you get everything we need?"

"Yeah, six 308 caliber assault rifles with an additional ten magazines per. The armory guy was curious why we needed such heavy firepower, but I told him we wanted to get in some practice."

"Good. Joe are we clear for today?"

"Yeah, except for one little problem."

"What's the problem Joe?" As soon as the question is asked it is answered.

"Yo, Nash, over here." Rick Bettina calls out, closely followed by two men.

"Listen Rick, I'm really busy here. So, this had better be important."

"Nash, let me introduce you to Detectives Peter Caine and Kenneth Griffin of the Toronto Police Dept. They'll be working with you for the next couple of days. Studying your methods and stuff like that."

Nash pulls Rick over to the side and quietly tells him. "Listen Rick, you remember those things that we had to take out a few months ago?"

Rick's eyes widen as he asks. "Are they back?"

"No, but they're in LA and Scarlet called me early this morning asking for backup. The four of us and Scarlet's brothers are going down there to help fight those things."

"Correction, the five of us."

"Rick, you don't have to come."

"Wrong, those things almost killed me and my family. I'm going to help. Besides, it's the only way you're going to be able to get out showing Caine and Griffin around."

"That's blackmail, Rick."

"Blackmail is such an ugly phrase, Nash. I prefer opportunity enhancer." Rick replies with a grin.

Nash cracks a smile as he replies. "Rick, you keep on having this type of attitude and I might just start liking you." "Thanks Nash, nice to know I'm appreciated. But.." Before Rick can continue two Explorers pull up next to Nash and Rick. Both Nash and Rick go for their guns, but, as the front passenger gets out, both men relax.

Sean O'Hara grins as he greets two good friends. "Hello Nash, Rick are you both ready to leave? Or is there a problem?"

"No problems Sean. We're ready to go in a couple of minutes."

"Not a problem Nash. But I have a little puzzle for you, before we get on the road."

"What's the puzzle Sean?"

"Last night, me and the boys were out hunting in Oakland and found a strange sight. Four people taking on a dozen of the toothy bastards and winning hands down. After they took their leave, we got the drop on them. We brought them back to our place and started to ask questions. None of them wanted to talk. But, after Scarlet called and asked us to go down to Sunnydale for the meet today, all four started to talk. Turns out they were part of the group that help out Scarlet and Snake Eyes last time they were down there. Interesting, isn't it?"

"Very interesting. Care to introduce me to the person in charge? I'm very curious about Scarlet's friends from Sunnydale."

"Be my pleasure Nash." Sean replies as he opens the rear passenger door. "Allow me to introduce you to Miss Kyra Adams. Miss Adams, Inspector Nash Bridges, Captain of the SFPD Special Investigations Unit."

Nash looks over the lady in question and thinks to himself. < Man, this is one fine lady. What the hell is she doing hunting vampires? >

Kyra looks over Nash in turn and thinks to herself. < Cute, not as cute as Duncan, but he'll do in a pinch. >

*****

Peter Caine looks over the meeting between Rick Bettina and Nash Bridges and quietly tells his friend and partner, Kermit. "Looks like we're going to get dumped Kermit. How much do you want to bet that's want's going to happen?"

"I never take sucker bets Pete. But I'd lay on odds that something strange is going on." Kermit replies as he watches the two detectives talk to the large red haired man. < God, he's a big one. > Then he notices the face of the woman getting out o f the back of the sport utility vehicle. < Shit, she's dead. It can't be Kyra. > "Pete, that woman, she's supposed to be dead. I saw her die ten years ago."

"You sure it's her? It could someone that looks like her, Kermit."

"No, the mannerisms, the way she's speaking, it's Kyra." Kermit then turns to Pete. "I've got to talk to her. Peter, I never got a chance to tell her that I loved her."

*****

New York City - LaGuardia Airport

Connor reaches the American Airlines terminal and feels the 'Buzz' of an approaching Immortal. As he turns around, he spots two people, a man and a woman, slowly approaching him. As they draw near, Connor tells them. "I'm not interested in playing any 'Games' today. So, if you don't mind, we can discuss this after I get back."

"Buddy, I really don't care shit about the 'Game'. We've got some important business to get to in California and I don't need some idiot getting the way." Mike testily replies.

"May this business be in Sunnydale?" Connor asks, realizing that these two could be friends.

"Yeah, it is. How do you know?"

"A lovely lady named Dana called and asked for help. You two?"

"I know the lady in question. Nice to meet you. The name's Hammer, Mike Hammer. This," Hammer points to the lady next to him. "Is my student Velda Thomas. And you are?"

"Connor MacLeod, of the Clan MacLeod."

"Any relation to Duncan of the same clan?"

"Same clan, different vintage. I'm the better looking one." Connor replies with a roguish grin.

Velda smiles and Mike chuckles. "All you Highlanders are the same."

As they approach the American Airlines counter, Connor asks. "Can you tell me what the situation is like, in more detail?"

"Sure, not a problem. But let's get on the plane first."

At the counter all three present their tickets and the woman behind the counter smiles at Connor's first class ticket and immediately processes it. As she looks at Mike's and Velda's coach tickets, she frowns and tells them. "I'm sorry, sir, miss. But it appears as though the flight's been over booked and we're going to have to give you a later flight. The next flight leaves in three hours."

"We can't wait. We have to be in Los Angeles by four o'clock for an important meeting." Mike angrily states.

Before the woman can protest. Connor raises his hand and asks. "Is there room for them in first class?"

"Yes, sir, but they'll have to buy the first class tickets. My manager won't allow me to move them up to first class, without paying for it."

"Please tell the manager that Mr. Connor MacLeod is here. He'll recognize the name."

"May I ask why?" The woman's ire starts to show. < Who the hell was this guy to butt his nose in? >

"My cousin and I own a large block of voting stock in American Airlines. The manager knows me from the last stock holder's meeting."

< Right, I'm sure. > The woman thinks snidely as she reaches for the phone. < Let's see how this guy likes to have his lies thrown back into his face. > "Mr. Raines, there's a Connor MacLeod out here and he wishes to see you."

"I'll be right out." Mr. Raines replies crisply.

The woman smiles smugly < He's going to get his ass chewed out in front of his friends. And I thought it was going to be a bad day. >

Mr. Raines approaches the counter and he immediately recognizes Connor. "Mr. MacLeod, always a pleasure to see you. May I ask what is the difficulty?"

"Certainly," A smiling Connor replies. "Flight 544 has been over booked and my two friends have tickets for it, but the lady won't move them up to first class, without charging them for the additional fare. I don't think this is fair, do you?"

"It isn't. Miss Henderson, please issue Mr. MacLeod's two associates first class tickets for Flight 544. Do you want them together?"

"Yes that would be most accommodating, we have quite a bit to discuss on the flight over."

"Thank you Mr. MacLeod, and you sir, miss for flying American." Mr. Raines replies as he leaves.

Connor turns back to the woman and asks. "Are those tickets ready?"

"Yes sir, here they are." < Shit, Raines just folded up. Who the hell is this guy? >

As they leave to board the plane, Mike turns to Connor. "Thanks for the help, Connor. Let me know if I can ever return the favor."

"Knowing what we're getting into will be favor enough Mike. Duncan told me what happened five months ago, but I find it hard to believe."

"Believe me Connor, if I hadn't been there, done what I'd done, I won't either."

*****

Somewhere in Virginia - Stony Man Farm - The War Room

The men of Phoenix Force have gathered in the War Room of the Stony Man Complex. Seated around the table were the five commandos compromising the elite anti terrorist unit, Jack Grimaldi, their pilot, Yakov 'Katz' Katzenbergen, the team strategist and Cowboy Kissinger, the unit armorer. As the men assemble, they look at each other and wonder what the emergency was.

"Gary did Mack mention anything?" David McCarter asks the unit leader.

"No David, he didn't. I'm as much in the dark as you are." Gary then turns to Yakov Katzenbergen, the unit's field strategist and former Phoenix Force team leader. "Katz, did Mack mention what all the uproar is about?"

"Not yet, but here comes Mack and Barbara."

Mack Bolan and Barbara Price enter the War Room and sit down in their respective seats. Mack begins the meeting with. "I take it all of you have heard about the raids on the vampire cult being conducted by the LAPD?"

Everyone looks at each other, wondering where this was leading to. Gary Manning asks. "What do those raids have to do with us?"

"Able Team has been participating in the raids and Carl called in a few minutes ago and gave a rather grim status report. As well as a request for backup."

"So what's the situation? The news reports have been sketchy at best."

"The news is grim and we're going to have to react quickly." Mack replies, then gives the Stony Man warriors a run down of the previous night's events.

"Mack, that is the craziest story that I have ever heard. And I've listened to McCarter's stories for the last eight years." Calvin James comments with a grin.

Mack picks up a VHS tape and puts it into the VCR. "This tape was made five months ago, in a small town in California. Watch it and tell me what you think." The group watches the tape unfold in the Sunnydale High School gym. As the tape zooms in on Mack and the two people standing on one side of the gym. David McCarter spits out his Coke. T.J. Hawkins drops his coffee mug. Mack stops the tape and asks. "David, TJ, what is it? You two look like you've seen a ghost."

"That bloke standing next to you and the girl. Who is he?" David asks in a hushed whisper.

"Yeah, that guy." T.J. mutters.

"A friend by the name of Steve St. Wolf, why?"

"That's not his name, Mack. That guy was supposed to have died fifteen years ago. Shit, he hasn't changed one bit." David McCarter replies.

"Who is he David?" Calvin James asks.

"Carson 'Cherokee' Jamieson. One of the toughest bastards that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting."

"How'd you meet him?" Mack asks.

"In 1980, he was part of the SAS/Green Beret exchange program. During his stint in the SAS, he was assigned to my unit. Naturally, we treated him like the delicate flower, that we knew all Green Berets were." McCarter replies with a grin, then continues, more seriously, "One night, on a patrol, our unit was ambushed by the IRA and two of us were wounded. The rest of the team was forced back and the IRA was pressing it's advantage when Jamieson grabbed up an extra rifle and went back for the wounded. That madman waded through the fire fight and carried out both men on his shoulders, firing all the way. Naturally my unit commander ordered that he be given cover fire while he carried our team mates out. After that, we retreated back and got some backup.

"By the time the Marines made it in, the IRAs were gone, leaving thirty dead behind. Our commanding officer, Brigadier McPherson, came down personally for a status report. After Captain Sinclair informed him of Jamieson's bravery, McPherson, read Jamieson the riot act about only being an observer and not participating in any action. Jamieson told the old man off and told him if the situation repeated itself, he wouldn't hesitate to do it again. McPherson ordered our unit to stand down and return to base. Three days later we were ordered to muster out in our dress uniforms. Brigadier McPherson then showed up and walked up to Jamieson and presented him a Victoria Cross. He was transferred back to the States shortly after that. In 1983, Jamieson, supposedly died, saving a group of kids from a nutcase armed with an AK-47. When we heard what happened, my unit lifted a glass to him, in memory, at the Lion's Pride Pub. That's the last we heard of him, until now."

Mack turns to T.J. and asks. "T.J., where do you know Steve from?"

"When I first joined the Rangers, he was the base martial arts champion. Being a smart ass, I tried to take him on in hand to hand. After he beat the crap out of me, he set me straight and took me under his wing. About two months later, he left, his enlistment was up. But, in that time he taught me a lot." . Mack turns to Aaron 'Bear' Kurtzman, Stony Man's computer expert. "Bear, can you pull up Jamieson's file?"

"Already done it. Do you want the gist of it or everything?"

"Give us a run down. Start with his commendations."

"Two silver stars, three bronze, two purple hearts, the Victoria Cross and he was nominated for the Medal of Honor."

"Why was he nominated for the Medal?" Calvin James asks.

"According to his file, he carried one of his wounded team mates through eight miles of jungle to their landing zone, after completing their mission. After he reached the LZ, he left his team mates and went back to recover the body of their commanding officer, a first lieutenant Joshua Henderson, who was fresh out of training and on his first classified mission. He brought the lieutenant's body back and Captured one of the leaders of the Columbian drug gang they were taking out. In his report, Jamieson gave the lieutenant all of the credit for the successful mission. Jamieson's team mates reported his valor and courage. Their commanding officer, a Captain Ritter, nominated him for the Medal. The lieutenant's father, a Colonel Henderson, co-sponsored the nomination. It was shot down by some CIA big shot, due to the classified nature of the mission." Bear continues to scan the text, then he lets out a low whistle. "Mack, this guy completed one hundred and thirty one missions, no failures. And he always brought his men back, wounded or dead."

The War Room is silent as Bear finishes. Mack clears his throat and continues the video tape. The group watches as almost two hundred vampires enter the gym and face the trio. They watch in awe as the battle starts and how quickly it's fought. Near the end of the battle, Calvin James asks. "What's happening to them? How come there are no bodies?"

Mack pauses the tape and explains. "When a vampire is made, the human being is killed. A demon then takes over the body and basically animates the corpse. When the demon is destroyed, the body immediately breaks down."

"How do you destroy the demon?" Raphael Encizno asks.

"Various ways. But as the video tape shows, we initially used fire to kill about a third of them, then, we moved in with swords and wooden stakes. We killed them by beheading them with the swords or stabbing them in the heart with wooden stakes."

"Damn, talk about up close and personal." David McCarter cracks. "Are we going to have to go toe to toe as well?"

"No, Steve and his people have come up with a wooden bullet. It has to be fired into the heart of the vampire for it to be effective, but I don't think that you'll have a problem with that. Effective range is approximately 100 yards and it breaks up after it hits the vampires, so no collateral damage will be done."

"Mack, who are those other people there? Especially the girl who was standing next to you and St. Wolf.? She couldn't be over eighteen years old. < Damn, it couldn't happen again. I hope to God that girl is not a Slayer. > What is that child doing there?" Barbara Price asks, angry that someone so young should be exposed to such violence..

Mack looks over the room and lets out a low sigh. "They're friends of Steve St. Wolf. I was at Casey Romaine's place with three other friends, when he got the call from St. Wolf. After St. Wolf convinced Casey to come and help, Casey convinced us to lend a hand. The rest were called in by St. Wolf. The girl is Buffy Summers and she's what's called a Slayer. And before you ask, she was fighting vampires for two years, before Steve came into the picture."

Barbara shudders as she looks at Mack's cavalier attitude about the Slayer. < Two years? How could that child fight vampires for two years and live. My aunt barely lasted four months. What is so special about this girl? >

"Slayers are myths." Yakov Katzenbergen replies, unconvinced at his own statement.

"What are they, Katz?" Gary Manning asks.

"They're supposedly girls given the strength, speed and skill to hunt and kill vampires. Hebrew legends talk about them. But I never believed the myths, until now."

"Believe them Katz. She's the real thing." Mack replies to a silent room. "Now, we've got to get to the Sunnydale Motor Lodge by 1600 PST to rendevous with the rest of the people and Able Team. Cowboy, break out extra weapons in 9mm, 45 cal. and 308, plus extra magazines."

"Are we going to be fighting with the people on the tape?" Cowboy asks.

"Probably, but Steve has more access to assets this time and so far we have the following people involved. Two LAPD SWAT teams, respectively the Rangers and Zombies, about fifty uniformed LAPD officers. A ninja clan called the Storm Shadows, a half dozen FBI agents and thirty members of a Black Ops Group called Section Seven called in by St. Wolf, as well as Steve's group, of about a dozen."

"Mack, that's a small army. Are we really needed?" Katz asks.

"Yes, at best estimates they'll be facing about three hundred vampires. And this time the vampires will be expecting them. So we are going. Any questions?"

"Yeah, is it all right if we call in John Trent? After all, they have their ninjas, so why can't we have our own?" Gary Manning replies with a grin.

"All right, but tell him only to meet us at the Motor Lodge. We'll tell him everything there. Am I clear?"

"You got it, Mack." Gary replies as the meeting breaks up.

*****

Barbara and Mack hang back and talk. "I'm going with you, Mack."

"Barbara, this is going to be one of the most dangerous mission that we've ever undertaken. Please stay behind."

"Mack, I just saw a seventeen year old girl fight a large number of vampires. If she can do it, then I can as well."

"Barbara, Buffy has been hunting and killing vampires and demons since she was fifteen. I have no control over that, but I do have some control over this mission, and I want you to stay behind."

Barbara's eye flash as she angrily tells him. "Mack, I'm no child and I was a top operative for the CIA, before I met you. And this is something that I want to do. I owe it to my aunt."

"What does your aunt have to do with this?" Mack asks, curious.

"She was a Slayer, Mack. Some vampires butchered her four months after she became the Slayer. Her Watcher, that conceited French bastard, told us that she died well. I don't want the same thing happening to this girl."

"Of that you have nothing to worry about." Mack replies with a mischievous grin. < God, if she only knew Buffy was an Immortal, she'd kill me. >

*****

San Francisco - Apartment of John Trent

John walks over to his telephone and quietly asks. "Hello, who is this?"

"John, Calvin James here. We need you for another mission. You available?"

John takes a deep breath and looks over his apartment/Dojo, still empty of students and replies. "Yes Calvin, I'm available. Where do I meet you?"

"The Sunnydale Motor Lodge. Can you make it by 1400 hours?"

"I can make it two hours. Do you want me to leave now?"

"Sure, and get us five double rooms."

'Why five double rooms?"

"Because Mack, Barbara, Cowboy and Grimaldi are joining us on this mission."

"That's a lot of people and fire power James, can I ask what the mission is?"

"We'll tell you when we get there. Then you can make up your mind."

"All right James, I'll be there. Bye."

*****

Casey Romaine's Montana Ranch

The six men spread across the living room in various stages of a drunken stupor are suddenly awakened by the loudest noise that any of them has ever heard. Casey's extra large air horn. Gus Beiderman reaches for an empty holster to shoot the individual responsible for the unwelcome noise. After finding his holster empty, Gus opens his eyes and asks in a German accented voice. "Casey, my friend, please stop with the noise. I'm too old to be woken up this early, yes?"

Casey grins as the rest of his house guests slowly wake up. He watches as Glam, his oldest friend, looks dazedly around himself. < Probably looking for another beer. >

Hurvolf and Richard Blade look up from a drunken stupor and Richard asks. "What's the problem Casey? Why are you waking us up this early for?"

Casey grins as he tells them. "I just had a phone call." Richard Blade blanches.

"Not from Steve St. Wolf, I hope." Richard asks, remembering the last time that Casey started out like that.

Casey's grin spreads as tells Richard. "God Richard, you must be psychic. That's exactly who called and asked for some help. You interested?"

Richard looks at Casey and evenly replies. "You should know, by now, Casey that I'm always interested in protecting the innocent. So what's the mission this time? More vampires?"

Casey nods and grins as he turns on the television to CNN. The top story is the raids on the vampire cult in Los Angeles. The men watch in horror as the number of dead innocents is read off by the news caster.

Ex-Green Beret, Jim Gilbride watches in horror and asks. "What the fuck happened in LA?"

Casey then gives them the situation report given to him by Steve St. Wolf. After he finishes, Hurvolf asks. "Are we going to help, then?"

"Only if you want to. Understand that there will be above fifty Immortals there and they've all agreed not to play in the 'Game'. So you won't have to worry about your heads. And you'll be expected to honor their wishes in that regard as well."

"Casey, I think that I speak for all of us here, when I say that none of us ever wanted to play the 'Game'. And after I received that manuscript and it's translation, I've had even less of an appetite for it." Teacher replies as suddenly every Immortal in the room stiffens and moves to their swords.

"Hello, my love. I'm back." A voice replies from behind Casey.

Casey turns to one of the most beautiful sights in his long life. His wife, Lida was back from Europe. "When did you get back?" His friends relax and stop reaching for their swords.

"Just a couple of minutes ago. And I brought a pair of old friends." Lida replies with a smile as two women enter the room.

The look they give the men, in various stages of sobriety, causes them much discomfort. Finally the red head comments. "I see that your parties haven't changed much in the last fifteen hundred years. And you taste in friends hasn't improved, either." She replies, noticing Glam and Hurvolf.

"Hello Sonja, Gabrielle, where have the two of you been for the last twenty years?" Casey asks with a grin. < God, these two haven't changed one bit. They could still strip a man's hide off with just a glare. >

"Trapped by a rock slide in the Himalayas. We were searching for a manuscript which told of the secret to the 'Game'. We were just freed by another rockslide about a year ago and went to Paris to recover and catch up on what's happened while we were out." Sonja replies.

"Would this happen to be the manuscript that you were searching for?" Teacher asks, handing them a photo copy of the Krevar manuscript.

Both women look over the photo copy and then Gabrielle asks. "Where did you get this copy from? And where is the original? Who provided this to you?"

"I don't know. It was overnighted to me about five months ago. Who ever sent it, sent a translation as well." Teacher hands over the translation. "Along with a note saying that I have to make up my own mind about it's veracity. For some reason, I believe that it's the real thing."

Sonja and Gabrielle shake their heads and mutter. "Who could have translated this? It's in Hyborean. No one but you or me even knows that language existed. And who found it? The temple was supposed to be a death trap for anyone who entered it. Mortal or Immortal."

While the Sonja and Gabrielle are discussing the manuscript, Casey is looking at the wall and grins. < Should I tell them or better yet, let them stew for a while? The right thing to do would be to tell them, but then where would the fun be? >

Lida, standing off to the side notices her husband's grin. < Damn, Casca knows something. And he's going let Sonja and Gabrielle suffer. Not this time my husband. These two are my oldest and dearest friends. > "Sonja, I think maybe Casca knows something."

Casey's head snaps back to his wife, with a pleading look in his eyes. "Lida, how would I know anything about that manuscript. You know that I've never interfered in the affairs of the Immortals." The three women walk deliberately toward Casey and he backs up against a wall. He calls over to his friends. "Are you going let them do this to me? What sort of friends are you?"

"The kind who know when not to interfere in a situation." Teacher replies with a lop sided grin attached to his face, enjoying Casey's discomfort, immensely.

"And the kind who know that if we do, we won't have our balls, shortly there after." Hurvolf replies with a grin.

Richard, Glam, Jim and Gus, meanwhile are falling over in spasms of laughter. Gus gets enough wind back to tell Casey. "Oh my dear friend, I'm sorry that this is happening to you. But never worry, I will sing of your bravery to the world." Gus then turns to the other Immortals. "Now, any of you care to bet how long Casey can take it?"

Casey's back hits the wall and he finds himself surrounded by his wife and her two friends. Lida leans in and sweetly asks. "Now Casca, please tell our friends who found the manuscript and where they can find this person or," Lida reaches down and caresses Casey in a very sensitive spot. "You will never share my bed again."

"But Lida, my love. We've been married for fifteen centuries. Can't I have a little fun at Sonja's and Gabrielle's expense? After all, they've constantly pulled shit like this on me."

"No, my husband, you may not, this time. They've been through a lot and they need to finish this quest. So tell them or else." Lida's hand stops caressing and suddenly squeezes.

Casey gasps out an. "Ompf," then Lida stops squeezing. Casey looks into her eyes and sees no mercy there, then he looks at Sonja and Gabrielle and finds no relief there either. He, then looks over to his so-called 'friends' and watches as they bet on how long it'll take Lida to crack his resolve. < Screw it. Lida's right, they should meet Steve St. Wolf. After all, what are friends for? And Wanderer should be cursed with this precious pair. > Casey's mouth splits into an evil grin as he tells his wife and her two friends. "The man's name is Steve St. Wolf."

Hurvolf screams out, "Pay me suckers, I knew Lida would get it out of him in no time." The rest of Casey's friends grumble, but fork over the money.

Gus looks over to Casey as he pays Hurvolf and yells out, in disgusted tone of voice. "Some man you are Casey. You couldn't even hold out for ten minutes, so I could win the bet."

Lida and her two friends don't pay any attention to Hurvolf and the rest of Casey's friends, as a shocked and disbelieving Lida asks. "Not the same Steve St. Wolf that you curse so much about? The same man who dragged you to Libya? And who you swore to kill the next time you saw him?"

Casey nods his head in agreement. "Yes, that Steve St. Wolf. But I never said I'd kill him. Just beat the hell out of him."

Sonja and Gabrielle share a grin and a thought. < Anyone who pisses Casca off this much, we've got to meet. If only to compare notes and methods. >

"Where do we find him?" Sonja asks.

"You don't. We're going to join him."

"May I ask what are you going to be doing with Mr. St. Wolf." Lida asks, suddenly suspicious.

"Since you flew in from Europe, I take it you haven't had a chance to see the news yet?"

"No, we haven't. Why?"

Casey turns on the TV to CNN again. "Take a look at what's happening in Los Angeles. While my so-called friends gather together the weapons that we'll need for the mission."

The three women watch the news reports for several minutes and Lida is in shock at the carnage caused by these so-called cultists. Sonja and Gabrielle are more reserved and ask. "What or who could have caused these mass murders?"

"Vampires trying to raise the Aztec God of War." Casey replies, then explains the situation to the three women, including the plans for that night and the rendevous. Then Casey calls the airport and makes arrangements to fly out to Sunnydale on his private Lear Jet.

*****

Kyra and Nash are discussing the trip to Sunnydale, when Nash feels a hand on his shoulder and someone mutters. "Excuse me, but I have to talk to the lady."

Nash turns and sees that it's one of the Toronto detectives. The one with the sun glasses, asking him to move away from Kyra. Nash looks over to Kyra and she quietly nods her head and Nash, Rick and Sean move away, leaving them alone. Kyra looks over Kermit and asks. "So, Kermit, what brings you to San Francisco?"

"An exchange program, between the SF PD and the Toronto PD. But enough about me. How in the hell did you survive? When I last saw you, you were shot at least a dozen times."

"Would you believe good living and a little bit of luck?"

"No."

"Then, you don't need to know." Kyra replies in a cold tone as she turns around and tells Nash. "Inspector Bridges, we're leaving now. We'll meet you at the rendevous."

"You got it sister." Nash replies, then he turns to Rick Bettina. "Listen Rick, these two are your responsibility, so keep a rein on them. We'll see you tomorrow and give you a run down on what happened."

Rick relents. "All right Nash, I'll keep an eye on our two guests. But I don't like being left out of the fight like this."

"Sorry Rick, but we need some one here to handle any emergencies that come up and you're it."

"Understood Nash. I'll see you tomorrow. Have a good trip." Rick replies as Nash gets into his car and the convoy leaves, headed south. As they leave, Rick mutters under his breath, "I'll see you as soon as I lose these two."

"You won't loose us that easily." Kermit replies, standing just behind Rick.

Rick jumps, turns and sputters. "How the hell did you sneak up behind me?"

"I was a mercenary soldier for ten years, and before that, I was Special Operations." Kermit replies. "Now, do you know where are those people going?"

"Yeah, I know where they're going, but I can't tell you."

"All right then, you can take us." Peter Caine replies.

Rick thinks about it for a minute. < Well, Nash never told me not to go to Sunnydale. Why not? > "All right, but I drive."

Kermit looks at Peter and smiles. "All right, you can drive."

"Good, then let's go. We have to be at the Sunnydale Motor Lodge by four o'clock." Rick replies as he heads to his car, followed by the two Toronto detectives.

*****

Frank Parker wakes up from his latest trip and takes off his helmet. He quickly gets up and leaves the sphere and strips off his flight suit. He looks around and finds himself in Kansas City, Kansas. He spots a pay phone and calls in. "This is Conundrum. I'm presently in Kansas City, Kansas. Have a recovery team get the sphere."

The operator puts him through to Talmadge and the rest of the mission teams as she replies. "Understood Conundrum."

In the mission office the team gathers around a speaker phone and a gray haired project director named Talmadge asks. "All right Frank. Can you tell us the nature of the emergency?"

"We have a code red. Have Donovan get together as many SEALs as he can and meet me in Los Angeles. I can't explain it now. The clock is ticking and we have to be in Los Angeles before six o'clock today to stop a major disaster."

"Understood Frank. Do you need anything else?"

"Yeah, keep everybody else away. If this goes bad, we might have to nuke Los Angeles."

"Frank, you can't be serious."

"Yes Sir, I am. If this situation goes south then have the President drop a bomb on Los Angeles. I'll call back with the coordinates later." Frank replies, then hangs up and flags down a cab.

*****

Part 36 - Talk Time
(NO!! I Will Definitely NOT Do a Fraiser Crossover. (Well, Maybe < G > Just a Little))

Jarod looks at the wall and asks himself for the thousandth time. < Since when am I able to kill a man without a second thought, to protect a man I hardly know. This is most puzzling. I hardly know Steve St. Wolf and I want to follow where he leads. > Then Jarod makes a decision, < I need to talk to Sidney. > Jarod then dials Sidney's cell phone. He hears Sidney pick it up.

"Sidney here."

"Hello Sidney. This is Jarod."

Sidney immediately waves over to Broots and points to his phone. "Jarod, are you all right? Have you been hurt?" Broots starts to trace the call.

"No Sidney, I'm fine. I just called to talk. Got a few minutes?"

"For you Jarod? Of course. What do you want to talk about?"

"Have you seen the news?"

"You mean those four raids last night on the vampire cult? Yes, I have. How were you involved in them?"

"I was part of the team doing the raids."

"My God Jarod, the news said that none of the cultists were captured alive. Your team killed all of them. Please tell me you didn't participate in such butchery."

"I'm afraid that I did. I killed five, maybe as many as eight vampires last night."

"Jarod, I can't believe that you are capable of killing one, let alone eight human beings. What has become of you?"

"Sidney, the cultists are not human beings, they're real vampires. The government sent in a Black Operations group to kill them off."

Sidney sits down at this revelation and asks, < That explains Jamieson's people out in the motel. > "Jarod, you can't be serious. There is no such thing as vampires. Those people were just some deluded individuals who believed they were vampires. And what is this about a Black Operations group?"

"Sidney, those things had real fangs. Also, their faces turned into some kind of monsters when they attacked us. And when we shot them, they turned to dust. Real bullets wouldn't kill them, so the Black Operations people gave us a special ammunition to use on them."

"Then the ammunition somehow turned them into dust. Maybe it has special properties that they didn't tell you about."

"I examined one of the rounds. It's a regular bullet, except it's not made of lead, but condensed wood."

Sidney sits quietly and contemplates the information just provided by Jarod. < That would explain the attack last night at the airport. Real vampires wouldn't have been stopped by the sweeper's bullets. God, this is too much. > "Jarod, what are your plans now?"

"There's to be at least one more raid tonight. The Black Operations group has called in reinforcements and they're going to take out the rest of the vampires."

"How many will you be facing?" < Reinforcements? Damn how many of them will be coming here? >

"Best estimate is about three hundred. We'll be out numbered three to one and we've lost the element of surprise."

"Sweet Lord in Heaven. Jarod are you insane? Why are you doing this?"

"That's the reason I called you. The man leading the operation is the vigilante who rescued those people at the Burger-to-Go. And, this may sound strange, but I'm willing to follow that man, even if it means my death. Why is that?"

Sidney wonders as well. "What do you like about this man Jarod?"

"Well, his first name is Steve and he's resourceful, kind, caring and is willing to risk his own life for others. He doesn't sit back and orders people around. He leads them. When we attacked the supermarket on Piedmont and the Regal Tower hotel, he led the main assault. He planned both attacks to first rescue the hostages being held there and then to exterminate the vampires. Both times we were able to get the innocents out without any loss of life."

"In other words, this man, Steve, sets the example of that which you want to be. A man who defends those less able to defend themselves and rights wrongs."

"When you put it that way, Sidney. Yes, that's the basic essence of it. But there's something else."

"What?"

"On the last raid, we were joined by a man called Arthur and a gargoyle called Grif. They both fought well and none of us much cared who they were, just that they had joined in the fight and helped us."

"A real gargoyle? Jarod, the Centre has attempted to capture one of those creatures for the last year. But they've never been able to."

"Some friendly advice Sid. Don't. I've seen Grif up close and he is impressive. Any sweepers that get close to him wouldn't last more than a couple of seconds. But let me get back to the reason that I called you. After we cleared out the first to twelfth floors of the Regal Tower and got the hostages safely out, Steve was giving us our orders for cleaning out the basement, when Arthur demanded that he be allowed to lead the fight. Steve told Arthur that he wouldn't risk anyone for the sake of glory. Because that's what Arthur wanted, the glory of leading the final sortie against the vampires in the basement. Steve told him that he didn't care about glory, just getting the job done, with the least amount of casualties possible. Arthur got angry about Steve's attitude and went for his weapon. But as Arthur was reaching, every gun in the room was lifted and pointed at him and no one was going to hesitate in shooting him if he tried something, including myself. That's the reason I'm calling. Why did I want to shoot Arthur?"

"Because Arthur was threatening your leader Jarod. This man, Steve, had already proven himself to you and everyone else there that he was a competent leader and strategist. While, Arthur, an unknown individual, had demanded to lead the attack and Steve had ordered him else where. Jarod, you did nothing wrong. Protecting a good and competent leader is a necessary survival trait for any good soldier."

"Thanks Sid, that explains a lot."

"Jarod, one question."

"Sure Sid, what is it?"

"This man Steve, you mentioned that he was the man who rescued those people at the Burger-to-Go. How old is he?"

"Well Sid, he looks like he's twenty five, but I think he's older, more like thirty five, forty. One of the hostages we rescued said that he and one of the other people there rescued her twelve years before, in Paris."

"So, it is him then."

"It's who, Sid?"

"The man you know as Steve is known to the Centre. He has had dealings with Miss Parker's father and Mr. Raines."

A cold lump forms in Jarod's chest and he suddenly feels fear. "What sort of dealings?"

"In September 1982, the Centre attempted to procure a child and the man you know as Steve stopped them."

"How did he stop them?" Jarod's fear starts to evaporate.

"He killed three cleaners and their entire sweeper teams, as well as three of Mr. Raines' 'specialists'."

Jarod is silent as he digests the information. The cold lump in his chest is gone and the fear turns to respect. "What name do you know him by Sid?"

"His real name is Carson 'Cherokee' Jamieson. He was a private detective in Dallas when he stopped the Centre. His military background is most impressive, do you want me to tell you about it?"

"Yes, please do." Jarod asks, curious about the man.

"All right Jarod," Sidney replies, then gives Jarod a complete run down on Jamieson's military record.

After Sidney finishes, Jarod leans back and whistles. "Sidney, I'm surprised the Centre didn't grab him up when he was a child."

"According to his file, he was raised in a Catholic orphanage, in Texas. I did some checking and found out that the place has a private school on the premises and never allowed their children to be tested. So, he slipped through the cracks that way. Jarod, may I ask another question?"

"Sure Sid, what is it?"

"You mentioned a Black Operations group earlier. Who are they?"

"The group's name is Section Seven. Steve is obviously the field commander. I think that they only hunt the paranormal threats to humanity. Anything else is pure guesswork."

"Paranormal threats? What on earth could those be?" < Damn, this might be too much for us to handle. >

"Well, the girl who recognized Steve from Paris, mentioned that he and his partner were fighting 'demon dogs'. Later I asked her about it and she told me that an evil sorcerer had taken her and six other children to use as a sacrifice to raise a major demon. Steve and his partner had rescued them and took them to a church for safety, while they went and killed the sorcerer."

"My God Jarod, this sounds like the plot line for a Spielberg film." < So, Mr. Jamieson is still capable of coldly killing someone. Good thing to know. >

"Doesn't it? Oh Sid, thanks for talking to me." Jarod replies with a grin as he hangs up.

Sidney looks at the phone in his hand as he replies. "I hope it was enough."

"Yep Sid, I got a lock on him. Thanks for calling us in." Broots replies from across the room.

Miss Parker, standing by the window asks. "So what was Ratboy talking about Sid?"

"He told me that he's working with Carson Jamieson. But the main reason for his call was to ask why he was suddenly capable of killing a man in cold blood."

Miss Parker's back stiffens and she turns around and looks Sidney directly in the eye. "I didn't hear you correctly. Did you say Ratboy was willing to kill someone in cold blood?"

"Yes, I did. Also, he admits to participating in the raids last night and confirms that he killed at least five, possibly eight of the cultists."

Miss Parker turns around and looks out the window as a tear rolls down her face. < My poor, innocent Jarod has become a killer. I can't believe it, but it's obvious that Sidney does. Damn you father, for what you and that corpse have done to him. > She turns to Gar, who's standing by the door with Willie. "This changes things, he's probably heavily armed and dangerous, plus he's associating with a what appears to be a black operations group that has massive federal and local law enforcement backing. We're going to sit this one out gentlemen. There is no way we could get Jarod with all of those people watching. And since they consider him one of their own. They'll protect him and we'll definitely loose if we wind up in a gun fight with these people. Order your men to only observe and not to take any action. Even if Jarod walks by our door, we are to do nothing. Am I clear?"

Gar and Willie exchange grins as they reply. "Yes Miss Parker. We understand."

Parker looks at her two subordinates and growls lowly. "If you two even think about setting him up, I'll kill you both myself. Am I clear?"

"What about if he sees us?" One of the sweepers ask.

"Do nothing and hopefully Jarod will do nothing." Miss Parker replies.

*****

Part 37 - Other Phone Calls
(Just Because It's Saturday, Doesn't Mean Skinners Not Working)

Agent Daniels, rolls over in bed and mutters. "Who the hell is calling me at 7:00 am? If it's Kowalski, I'll fire her." He reaches over and picks up the phone. "This had better be very important."

"Daniels, shut up and tell me what the hell is going on over there." The voice of Assistant Director Skinner barks out.

Daniels awakens instantly. "What do you mean sir? Nothing is happening. Mulder and Scully went over to the LAPD and were going over incident reports last night and interviewing the police officers involved. It should have been a quiet night."

"You call four raids on the vampire cult, a quiet night?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, sir."

"Agent Daniels, I don't know if you're just stupid or grossly incompetent. But the LAPD with your agents, have, according to the national news, completed four raids against the cult, rescued 163 hostages and found at least four hundred murdered victims."

"Any prisoners?" Daniels squeaks out.

"Not according to the LAPD press releases. The Commissioner and Mayor are giving a press conference at this time on CNN. And there is no Bureau representative there. Though they are speaking highly of the 'specialists' that Washington sent in to help." Skinner replies with a grin.

< Oh shit!! This could have made my career. > Daniels thinks to himself. < And I'm missing it. > "I'm leaving now, sir." Daniels replies as he gets up from bed.

"Don't bother getting up. The Bureau will take a back seat on this. For now. Now, tell me how to get in touch with Mulder and Scully, I tried their phones, but they turned them off."

"Sir, I'll call you back in a minute. I need to get the phone number from my secretary."

"Daniels, you are sorely trying my patience. You should have their local numbers with you at all times." Then Skinner takes a deep breathe. "Call me back at my office." Then he hangs up.

Daniels immediately calls his secretary and gets Mulder and Scully's local number and immediately calls Skinner back. "Sir, I have their number. Do you want me to call them and get a status report?"

"No, I do not want you to call them. I will do so myself." Skinner replies and hangs up the phone.

*****

Skinner dials the number given to him by Daniels and a voice answers. "St. Wolf residence, can I help you?"

Skinner frowns at the familiar voice. "Yes, this is Assistant Director Skinner of the FBI. I need to speak with Agents Mulder and Scully."

"Skinner, this is Frohike."

"Frohike, what the hell are you doing in California and with Mulder and Scully?"

"Lending them a hand with the cult murders. What else?"

"Let me speak with Mulder and Scully."

"Can it wait? They've only been asleep for an hour and they were exhausted when they came back from LA. They practically went straight to bed."

"Can you give me the low down on what's going on?"

"Some of it." Then Frohike gives Skinner the non-paranormal story given to the press and police.

"Damn, how did they find the cultists so fast?"

"You know Mulder and Scully, they could pick a pattern in a hay stack. After going over the incident reports, they pinpointed six possible sites, four of which turned out to be the cult's hideouts by the number of victims in the general areas. After that, the LAPD went in, in force, and raided the target sites. After the first two came up good, the cops stopped bitching about 'know-it-all-FBI-types' and started to be really helpful."

"Tell them to call in with me as soon as they wake up." Skinner tells Frohike and hangs up.

*****

As Skinner hangs up the phone, he smells the unmistakable odor of cigarettes. He looks up and finds the one person he doesn't want to see standing there. "What do you want?"

Cancer Man smiles as tells Skinner. "Mulder and Scully are in way over their heads. I've sent in a detachment of 'specialists' to help them."

Shocked, Skinner can only ask. "Why?"

"Because this time, we're on the same side. What they're doing in Los Angeles helps me."

"Can you tell me what's really going on in LA?"

"No Walter, just know this. Mulder and Scully are playing the game by the right rules. And I will help them in any way that I can." And with that, Cancer Man walks out of the office, trailing his cigarette smoke. Skinner, just looks at his retreating back and shudders. < What could he offer Mulder and Scully to make them willing work with him and by his rules? >

*****

Mr. Parker puts down his paper as he reaches for his cell phone. < Who would be calling me on a Saturday? > He thinks to himself as he answers. "Parker here."

"Daddy, it's me." Miss Parker tells him.

"Pumpkin, why are you calling me? Did you catch Jarod?" Mr. Parker asks.

"We have a problem Daddy. A serious one."

"What is it?"

"We have a location on Jarod, but we can't retrieve him. He's taken up with a Black Operations group called Section Seven and I'm afraid that we can't get him out."

Mr. Parker listens to his daughter and quietly replies. "How deep is he in?"

"I don't know how deep Daddy. This Section Seven group has been responsible for the raids on the vampire cult plaguing Los Angeles. Jarod has been a participate in those raids and. . . " Miss Parker's voice breaks up. "He's admitted to killing at least five people last night."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Daddy. Sidney talked to him and Jarod admitted to the killings. That scared Sidney. But what really scared Sidney was the question Jarod asked."

"What was the question?"

"Jarod wanted to know why he was suddenly capable of wanting to kill a man in cold blood."

"Jarod capable of killing in cold blood? I find it hard to believe. Is Sidney sure?"

"Yes he is Daddy. I've never seen him this scared before."

"This changes things. I'll make some phone calls and have whoever's in charge of Section Seven deliver Jarod to you."

Miss Parker gives off a laugh. "Daddy, some friendly advice, don't try it."

"Pumpkin, our friends in the Belt Way will make sure Jarod is given over to us. Why shouldn't they?"

"Daddy, the leader of Section Seven is an old acquaintance of yours and Mr. Raines'."

"Oh, who is it?" Mr. Parker asks, feeling confident that his connections could do the job. He reaches for his coffee cup to take a sip.

"Do you remember a man by the name of Carson Jamieson?"

Mr. Parker drops his coffee cup and screams as the hot coffee scalds him. He quickly gets control of himself and he asks in voice tinged with pain. "It can't be him. He's dead."

Miss Parker smiles as she tells her father. "It's him. There's no doubt about it."

"All right Pumpkin. Don't do anything and only observe. I have to make a phone call and I'll get back to you."

"That's what I was planning on doing, Daddy." Miss Parker replies as her father hangs up.

*****

Mr. Parker dials a memorized phone number and waits for it to be picked up. After several rings, a raspy voice answers. "This had better be important."

"This is Parker from the Centre. I need to know something."

"And what makes you think that I'll tell you?"

"Because you owe me. And I'm calling in my favors, right now."

The raspy voice sighs, but relents. "All right, go ahead and ask."

"I need to know. Do you control a Black Operations group called Section Seven."

"Why?"

"Because they have my property. The Pretender called Jarod."

The raspy voice chuckles. "And you want me to help you retrieve him?"

"Yes."

"I can't do it. Section Seven is an autonomous unit. It's field commander makes all of his own decisions. I can only 'suggest' things to him. And," The raspy voice chuckles again. "If I know the commander, his reply, if his previous history with you bears any weight, would probably be several dozen anti-tank rockets fired into the Tower."

"So my people are right. Carson Jamieson is still alive." Parker snarls out.

"Quite alive and even deadlier than the last time you saw him." The raspy voice chuckles as he lights up a cigarette. "Now, you've used up all of your favors. So, good bye Parker. And I hope you don't try to do anything too stupid." Then the line goes dead. Cancer man puts the phone down and leans back in his chair and takes a drag from his cigarette. < Oh my yes. That felt exceptionally good. > And he laughs out loud for the first time in years. Feeling good, he turns to the old typewriter sitting by his desk and he begins to write.

*****

Parker stares at the phone in his hand, and with a primal scream throws it into the wall, breaking it into a hundred pieces. He looks around him and suddenly it dawns on him. < What if Jarod gets to Jamieson and tells him about the Centre? > He reaches for his other phone and calls another cell phone.

The cell phone rings and after three rings, it's picked up. "Gar here."

"Gar, this is Parker. Are you alone?"

"Yes Sir. I am."

"Good, then here are your orders. Kill Jarod by any means possible."

"And if your daughter gets in the way?"

Mr. Parker looks at his hand. It's steady as a rock. "Kill them both." Then he hangs up the phone.

Gar smiles an evil smile. < I'm going to make sure that both of them go down. And hopefully that other brunette bitch as well. >

*****

Mr. Parker calls back his daughter. Miss Parker answers. "Parker here."

"Pumpkin, don't worry about Jarod. It's all been taken care of. You can leave if you want to. But I would like to have a threat assessment done on Jamieson's people. In case they become a threat to the Centre or our interests."

"Of course Daddy. I would be my pleasure." < Plus Sidney and I can keep an eye on Jarod as well. >

*****

Angelus watches the news from his basement apartment in New York and silently seethes. < It has to be Buffy and her friends. It can't be anyone else. Damn it, I should have killed that bitch first, then her friends. >

Drusilla, quietly hums behind him singing the same song. "The Slayer is running around and killing, the Slayer is running around and killing."

Spike is off to the side, quietly talking on the phone with Willy from Sunnydale. "Willy, you wanker. You should know what the hell is going on. So either tell me or I'll come back and kill you."

"Spike, I don't know what the hell is going on."

"Willy, you shit. You know what color underwear I'm wearing, so either spill or else."

"All right Spike, but you're going to owe me."

"So, I'll owe you. Now give!"

"You're wearing black boxers with white strips?"

"Funny, ha, ha, Willy. Now give me the skinny or I'll cut your head off and take a shit down your throat."

"Okay, here's what I know. A vampire queen named Katherine moved into Los Angeles a month ago with six hundred vampires and she's been planning on something big. Angel's ex and her new boyfriend have been busy putting the kibosh on everything, as usual."

"You mean to tell me that only two people have been responsible for all of this mayhem?" Spike replies, respect shading his voice.

"Ahh, no. They called in a few friends, again. And they've upgraded their weapons quite a bit."

"Upgraded their weapons? What the hell does that mean?"

"Angel's ex is now carrying a sword."

"So what, she was carrying a sword five months ago. Why should that worry me?"

"Her new boyfriend gave her a new sword. The one they call 'Vampire Slayer'."

Spike is silent as he digest this news. "Willy, that blade is only a legend. It doesn't exist."

"Au Contraire, Spike, her boyfriend got it for her from a friend of his."

"What kind of idiot gives up a mystical sword? Let alone one of the Nine Swords of Destiny?"

Willy pauses, as though he's looking around to make sure no one's listening. "A dragon by the name of Smaug."

Spike goes silent as the shock kicks in. < A dragon? Bloody hell, this Wanderer guy is full of surprises. > "Did he kill the dragon to get the sword?" Spike asks, hopefully. < Maybe the dragons will do him in. I hope. >

"Not the way I heard it. Smaug just gave her the sword. No questions asked or guns fired. Then Smaug taught Buffy how to use it."

Spike puts his head down and counts to ten, before he replies. "Bloody fuck Willy. Just who the hell is this Wanderer bastard? Merlin in disguise?"

Willy snickers and the sound infuriates Spike. "Cough it up Willy, you know something."

"Well Spike, Wanderer is definitely not Merlin." Spike breaths a sigh of relief. "He works for Merlin, as his chief enforcer."

Spike's mind registers the words but still can't believe them. "Oh hell. I don't believe this. Is there any way to take this guy out?"

"Not and live a long life. His friends, and believe me when I say this, would hunt that person down and do him most messily and anyone helping them."

"Fucking hell. Thanks Willy. I'll send you some money, by mail. I'm not going anywhere near Sunnydale."

"Thought you might. I'll see you around Spike, give Angel and Drusilla my regards." Then Willy hangs up.

*****

Part 38 - War Plans
(Old Commandos Never Die, They Just Disappear)

Home of Templeton Peck - Los Angeles 9:00 am

Amy Allen stands on the front porch of a modest split level in a good neighborhood of LA. She looks down at the address, checking it again, before she rings the doorbell. After she rings the doorbell, she patiently waits for the door to open. While she waits, she takes in her surroundings. < Faceman, I would never have figured you to live in this neighborhood. > The door quietly opens and a man of early middle years stands there with a wide smile on his face. As he opens the door, he asks. "Amy, what brings you here?"

"I need to talk to you and the guys Face. Are they all here?"

"You're in luck. We were having a reunion last night and they spent the night. What's wrong?" Face asks as he leads her into the living room. In the living room the other members of the team are sitting around having coffee. As Amy enters all of them rise to greet her.

"Amy, it's good to see you." Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith comments.

"Yeah, it's good to see you Amy." B.A. Baracus comments.

"How are things going, Amy?" H.M. Murdock asks.

Amy takes a seat as she replies. "Things are not good guys. A friend of mine is in trouble and he needs help, but doesn't want it."

Hannibal leans forward and asks. "Can you tell us about it?"

"It all started about five years ago. I was covering a story in Bosnia when I saw something really strange happen. I spoke with a reporter friend of mine who was covering a different story and he asked me not to tell anyone about it. I agreed that the story was too unbelievable and no paper would print it. Later on he came to me and told me a story of a Society of Watchers who record such events for history's sake and he asked if I wanted to join the Society and become a Watcher. I was curious and agreed to join." Amy then holds up her left forearm and the team sees the tattoo there. "I received this tattoo the day that I became a Watcher. My first job as a Watcher was under this guy who's in trouble. He taught me a lot and showed me that he cared. Now, the Society wants to try him and probably kill him because he got involved."

"What did his getting involved do?" Hannibal asks.

"It saved a lot of innocent lives. By his involvement, he was able to prevent several terrorist acts from occurring that could have murdered thousands of innocent people."

The four men look at each other and silently agree to help. "All right Amy. We'll help. But you have to tell us more." Hannibal tells her.

"What do you need to know?"

"What do you Watch?" Face asks.

Amy takes a deep breathe and sits back in her chair. "I don't think you'll believe me if I tell you."

"Try us. You'd be surprised at what some of us would believe." Murdock comments with a sly grin.

"Believe it or not, but the Society of Watchers, watches a group of people who are Immortal. People who cannot be killed." Amy tells her four friends. She watches each face for the sign of disbelief and could find none.

"How long has this Society of Watchers been doing this?" Hannibal asks.

"For about four thousand years." Amy looks at her friends and asks in disbelief. "You guys believe me?"

"Yeah, in Vietnam, there were several stories of guys who should have been dead, getting up and coming back to help their friends. I once heard a story of a guy who got part of his head caved in. He recovered in less than 24 hours and left the hospital. There were several stories going around about a guy called Casey Romaine who could heal almost instantly. Is he one of these Immortals?"

"I don't know Hannibal. There are about ten thousand of them world wide, so I can't tell you."

"So what did your friend do to get himself into this situation?" Face asks.

"He found out the secret to the 'Game', and he shared it with the Immortals."

"What is this 'Game'?" B.A. asks.

Amy then tells them what the 'Game' was and how it got started and what Joe did to end it. The four men exchange grim looks and Hannibal angrily asks. "So, this Joe Dawson guy, sent out copies of this journal and it's translation to every known Immortal in the world with the message that it was up to them to believe that the Game was a joke started to relieve the boredom of an old Immortal? The Watchers are going to kill him because he chose to do the right thing and save the lives of the Immortals?"

Amy sadly nods her head and tearfully replies. "The Society feels that Joe has interfered too much over the years and that he should be made an example of."

Hannibal looks over his three friends and feels pride at the resolve showing in their faces. "All right Amy. We're in. Do you know where they're holding him?"

"They're holding him at the Forum."

"Why the Forum?" B.A. asks.

"Because it's closed right now and with the owner's talking Lockout, no one is using it." Face explains. "It's the perfect place for a secret society to meet. No one would notice the cars since their using it as a shuttle parking lot."

"Where in the Forum is this Dawson guy being held?" Hannibal asks.

"In one of the top luxury boxes. They're holding him there until the trial." Amy replies.

Hannibal sits back and pulls out Face's phone book. He turns the pages and finds what he wants. A diagram of the Great Western Forum, including the layout of the luxury boxes. He looks over the diagram and asks Amy. "Which box is he being held in?" Amy points to one of the boxes and Hannibal comments. "Okay, I think I know how to get to him then." The rest of the team waits for him to lay out the plan. "Okay I've figured out a plan. Face, get the weapons out of the truck with B.A. and check them out. Murdock, can you get us a helicopter?"

"Not a problem Hannibal."

"Good, the plan is as follows. We'll use the helicopter to get to the roof of the building and then sneak in through an access door. Once we sneak in, we take out any guards there, grab Dawson and be out of there before anyone knows it."

"Sounds good to be me Hannibal." Amy replies. "When are we going to do it?"

"I can get the helicopter at 3:00 pm. Any sooner and we'll have problems." Murdock replies.

"No, the trial doesn't start until 5:00 pm. So there's plenty of time." Amy replies.

"Good, no let's get our weapons cleaned and ready and then we'll do a quick reconnaissance of the area surrounding the Forum." Hannibal replies as he gets up.

*****

Part 39 - Convergence of Force IV
(Superior Fire Power - A Great Concept)

Sunnydale Motor Lodge - 9:00 am.

The yellow Barracuda pulls up to the office. Two Explorers and a Dodge Ram pull up next to it. Nash and Joe get out and wait for the rest of their friends. Kyra steps up to Nash and tells him. "I'll get the rooms."

"Hold on sister. Why are you getting rooms?"

"Because we'll need to get some sleep for tonight. My friends, the O'Hara brothers and I are tired. If you want to be up all day and all night, then feel free, but we're getting some sleep."

"Good point. Let's go." Nash replies as they walk into the office.

George and Frank are sitting behind the counter and notice the man and woman coming in. George recognizes Kyra from last time and promptly walks over to her and asks. "Miss Adams, always a pleasure. How many in your party?"

"Hello, George, Frank. There's twelve of us, give us six rooms. Any of Steve's other friends make it in?"

"Yes, Ma'am, there's thirty of them here now. Most of them are asleep and resting from last night. I heard that they had a busy night."

"Anybody, I'd know?"

"I didn't see who came in this morning. Miss Chase took the keys and gave them to Mr. St. Wolf's guests as they came in. From what I saw, they all looked very tired."

"Thanks George. I'll see you later."

Nash, standing off to the side asks. "Aren't you going to sign in or give him a credit card?"

"No, Steve's taking care of the rooms. Let's get settled in."

"The whole hotel?" Nash asks in surprise.

"Mr. St. Wolf has always been a proper host to his 'friends', sir. He already paid in advance for almost every room in the lodge. So, please enjoy." George replies to Nash.

"Thanks Bubba. I can hardly wait to meet this guy." Nash comments as he steps outside.

Outside, Kyra hands out the keys, keeping one for herself and Regan Cole. The entire group moves their cars over to where the block of rooms are and they get settled in for the day.

*****

Broots watches the new group settle in and calls over Miss Parker. "Miss Parker, another group of people has come in."

"Let me see Broots." Miss Parker replies as she comes to the window. Broots hands her a pair of binoculars and she watches the group break up and enter their rooms. "Broots, can you trace their license plates?"

"Already on it. Give me a couple of minutes." Broots replies.

A few minutes later, Broots whistles from his laptop. Miss Parker looks over and asks. "What did you find out?"

"The yellow car belongs to Inspector Nash Bridges, Captain of the SF PD Special Investigations Unit. The truck belongs to Inspector Evan Cortez, also SF PD SIU. The two sports utility vehicles belong to Sean and Ben O'Hara, respectively. Both of them are Marine Force Recon."

"It looks like Mr. Jamieson's reinforcements are starting to arrive." Sidney comments.

*****

Sunnydale Motor Lodge - 10:00 am

John Trent pulls up to the office and gets out of his car. As he makes his way to the office, he notices the cars parked in the lot and gazes lovingly at the mint condition Barracuda. < Damn, I wish I could own a car like that. > As he enters the office, George comes up to the counter and asks. "Can I help you, sir?"

"Yes, I'm supposed to meet some friends here for a meeting at four o'clock. They would like me to reserve five double rooms for them and myself."

"Not a problem sir. Would it be all right if they're all together on the second floor?"

"Yes it would. Thanks." John Trent replies as he hands over his credit card.

George waves it off. "That won't be necessary sir, the rooms are already taken care of by your host."

"Thank you." John Trent replies as he leaves to put his case away in one of the rooms. < Calvin must have already called in and paid for the rooms. >

*****

Broots calls up John Trent's license plate and his personal history. He gives a low whistle and Miss Parker asks. "What is this guy? DEA, CIA, NSA?"

"No, a real ninja." Broots replies to a disbelieving Parker. "He's a Ningitsu instructor from San Francisco."

< Shit, where the hell are these people coming from? > Miss Parker asks herself. She turns to Sidney. "Sidney, this can't be happening, why are these people coming here?"

"It's simple Parker. Jamieson has a wide pool of contacts and these people are coming to help him. I'm quite surprised at the lack of inter-department rivalry."

*****

California - Arizona Border 10:30 am

Wally kicks his car for the hundredth time and curses. "How the hell could you die on me when I need you the most. You stupid machine."

As he's kicking it again, a car pulls up to him and the driver asks. "Spot of trouble friend?"

Walter turns and looks at the driver and tells him. "Yeah, this stupid piece of foreign crap dies on me when I have attend an important meeting."

"Where's your meeting at? Maybe I can give you a lift?" The driver asks.

"Sunnydale California. Are you passing near it?" Wally asks hopefully.

"You've got luck friend. I'm going to see a friend who lives just north of it. Where in Sunnydale is the meeting?"

"The Motor Lodge, right off the highway." Wally replies.

"Not a problem friend. Hop in."

"All right! Let me get my bag from the trunk." Wally goes to the back of his car and pulls out his duffle bag and rifle bag and tosses them in the back seat of the car. As he gets in he introduces himself. "My names Walter Simmons. Most people call me Wally."

The driver extends his hand and replies. "Nice meeting you Wally. The name's Jake Carter. I run a road house in Montana. And you?"

"I'm the bartender at the Coyote Bar & Grill in Tucson." Wally replies with a grin.

*****

Sunnydale Motel - 11:00 am

The hover craft moves in swiftly and locates the motel. It's pilot quickly lands the craft behind the motor lodge, in the enclosed lot. The craft's owner gives a light grunt as the craft lands. He turns to his mercenary soldiers. "I'll get us some rooms. While I'm doing that, you cover up the ship. If I know my old friend, they'll be more people coming in." His crew silently nods and start to cover the ship with camouflage netting as their boss leaves.

The man publicly known as Lennox MacDuff silently walks to the office to arrange the rooms he and his people would need for the next couple of days. He as he walks by a truck, he notices the vintage Barracuda parked next to it. Two men are sitting next to it, sipping coffee. He stops for a moment and asks. "May I ask who owns this car?"

Nash looks up from the local news paper he's reading and looks over the man asking about his Barracuda. He immediately recognizes the man from a newspaper article about the twenty richest men in the world. "I own it Mr. MacDuff. And no, I'm not interested in selling it."

"I can offer you a decent price for it." Macbeth replies, surprised that the man recognizes him.

"Sorry, it's the last thing my brother left me, before he was listed MIA in Vietnam."

Macbeth looks at the man and nods his head in understanding. "Understood, Mr...?"

Nash holds out his hand as he introduces himself. "Inspector Nash Bridges, SF PD. This is my partner, Joe Domingeuz. I take it you're here for the meeting?"

Macbeth replies neutrally. "I might, but what time is your meeting?"

"Four o'clock. We're meeting up with Steve St. Wolf. Would he be a friend?"

Macbeth grins. "Yes he would. I take it that you're here for the coming battle as well?"

"That we are. So why are you here? You're one of the richest men in the world. What's your stake in this?"

"Honor and friendship. Steve St. Wolf has helped me in the past when I've asked and I'll help him when he asks." Macbeth replies in a level voice.

Nash looks into Macbeth's eye and he sees a man who would, for a friend, risk everything, including his life and fortune. < Not many men like that left. > Nash thinks to himself as he replies. "Can you tell me anything about Mr. St. Wolf. We've never met."

"Then why are you here?"

"Because he's doing a job that needs to be done and some of my friends are working with him. They called and asked me to come down. They've been working with St. Wolf and they trust him and I trust them."

Macbeth looks over the inspector and immediately likes what he sees. "Inspector, if you ever get tired of working for the SF PD, give me a call. I could use a man like you." Macbeth hands over a card and then turns around. "Now, I must secure some rooms for my men." And with that Macbeth turns around and heads to the office.

Joe turns to Nash and asks. "That guys one of the richest men in the world?"

"Yeah, so."

"Then, how did he get here? I don't see a car."

"Good question Joe. Why don't we ask him when he comes back?"

They both watch the office as Macbeth walks back out of the office. Nash notices that Macbeth constantly scans his surroundings. < The man's like a hunter, always checking his surroundings. > Nash then notices as a dark haired and bearded man exits the coffee shop with a cup of coffee. The man also checks out his surroundings and then notices Macbeth, walking away from him. The man picks up his pace and approaches Macbeth from behind. As his hand reaches out, Macbeth spins around and pulls out a futuristic looking pistol and points it at the man, ready to fire.

*****

Inside the coffee shop a few minutes ago. Arthur had just finished eating a decent meal and was on the way back to his room. < I must thank Sir Robert for the loan of these clothes and the money. > He thinks to himself as he sips his tea. < Ahh, what a fine morning. > He looks around, wondering when the rest of the war party would gather for the coming battle. < I've been away for too long. > He watches as a familiar figure exits the Inn Keeper's office and he smiles. < Another friend come to help. This St. Wolf has excellent taste in friends. > His step picks up and he approaches Macbeth from the rear. His hand reaches up to grasp his shoulder when suddenly, Macbeth spins around and draws his gun.

*****

Macbeth feels the presence coming up behind him. < I don't have any enemies here. Who? > He moves quickly and turns around, drawing his laser pistol at the same time. As he finishes turning around, he recognizes the man. < Arthur Pendragon? > He immediately holsters the gun and grabs up Arthur in hug and asks. "Arthur, what are you doing here?"

"Probably the same thing you are my friend. Fighting vampires."

"How did you get involved in this?"

"A portal opened up and deposited Sir Grif and myself at the last battle. We fought beside a group of warriors, putting paid to a large group of vampires. We decided to stay and help in the fight. So what brings you here?"

"A friend by the name of Steve St. Wolf. He asked for help and I came."

"Couldn't resist the call of battle, could you?"

"Not this one my friend, not this one." Macbeth replies and pushes Arthur back for a second, noticing his clothes. "I almost didn't recognize you. Your taste in clothing has changed my friend."

Arthur grins sheepishly. "I borrowed these clothes from another friend. Few people now stare at me."

"You look good. Now who else is here?"

"Thirty of the warriors I fought beside sleep here now. They are resting for the coming battle tonight. I was hungry and decided to eat something before I went back to sleep."

*****

Nash and Joe watch the two friends talk. Nash turns to Joe and asks. "Do you think they know each other?"

"Kind of obvious Nash. Think it's St. Wolf?"

"Don't know, maybe he'll introduce us." Nash remarks as the pair draw near.

Macbeth, noticing the two police inspectors watching them, introduces Arthur. "Inspector Bridges, Domingeuz, allow me to introduce a good friend, Arthur. Arthur was fighting last night and he could give us a run down on what's been happening." Just then, Macbeth's mercenaries walk up.

The leader of the group, a man named Carmichael, asks. "Is everything all right, Mr. MacDuff? If these men are giving you a problem, just say the word."

"No, Ian, these are friends. Allow me to introduce you to my good friend Arthur and Inspectors Bridges and Domingeuz of the SF PD. They're here to help as well. In fact, Arthur was about to tell us of the last battle."

*****

Willie looks out the window and notices the gathering by the yellow convertible. He calls over Miss Parker. "Miss Parker, a group of them have gotten together. Do you want us to listen in?"

"Yes, do it." Miss Parker replies as a shotgun microphone is put up to the window. She, Sidney and Broots gather around the speaker and listen to the man called Arthur details the battle at the Regal Tower. Miss Parker turns white as Arthur describes the remains found in the basement. Sidney also looks uneasy. Broots rushes to the bathroom and the sound of running water is heard.

Several of the sweepers grin and laugh at Broots' reaction. Miss Parker looks up and tells them. "I wouldn't laugh, if I were you. What Broots just heard is making me and Sidney sick as well."

The sweepers immediately loose their grins and look at each other and silently ask, "What the hell could make Miss Parker sick?"

*****

Sunnydale Motor Lodge - 11:30 am

Sin Jin Hawke looks over the enclosed field and lands the helicopter known as Airwolf in the enclosed field behind the Motor Lodge. Sitting beside him is his brother and co-pilot, String Fellow. Manning the computers and navigation is String's wife Caitlin. As they land, they notice the large, camouflaged airship, off to one side. Sin Jin turns to his brother and asks. "Think Steve called in more people to help?"

"Wouldn't doubt it. I hope they're the friendly types." String comments as he notices the two guards, armed with laser rifles.

As they exit Airwolf, one of them approaches and asks. "Are you here for the meeting?"

"Yeah, we got here early. Who are you with?" String replies.

"Our boss is Lennox MacDuff, he's here to help a friend of his. And you?"

"Same friend. He called and asked and we came."

"Can I ask a question?"

"Sure."

"Who the hell is this guy?" The guard asks nervously, looking around. "Mr. MacDuff is one the richest men in the world and this guy calls and he drops everything to come and help. What does this guy have on you people, that you come when he calls?"

"Simple, my friend. He'd do the exact same thing for us. And my brother's and my case, he has. Does that help you?"

The guard looks nervously around and nods, comprehension finally sinking in. "This St. Wolf guy must be one hell of a friend."

"You don't know the half of it." String replies with a secretive smile.

"Damn." The guard mutters, then he asks. "Want us to keep an eye on your bird?"

"Thanks, that'll be great." String replies with a grin.

"Won't be a problem, just a little extra walking." The guard replies and returns to his post.

The three make their way to the Motor Lodge proper and walk towards the office. As they near it, they see a group of men standing around talking. String looks at the group and they head over to it. As they draw near, a man in sport jacket asks. "I take you're here for the party as well?"

"Yes, we are. I'm String Fellow Hawke, this is my brother Sin Jin and my wife Caitlin. And you are?"

The man in the sports coat introduces himself. "I'm Nash Bridges, SFPD, this is my partner Joe Domingeuz," then Nash introduces the rest. String, Sin Jin and Caitlin, shake hands all the way around.

*****

Miss Parker and Sidney listen to the group greet the newcomers. Her mouth turns into a sour expression and she remarks. "Sidney, these people can't be real. No group of professionals this diverse, can be this friendly to obvious strangers."

"Simple Parker, they all share a common thread amongst themselves. They all know Steve St. Wolf and consider themselves to be his friends and in so doing, they recognize that his other friends, should be considered friends as well."

"Who the hell is this St. Wolf guy everyone is talking about?" Broots asks as he walks out the bathroom.

"Why it's our old friend Mr. Jamieson, of course." Sidney replies with a smile.

*****

Part 40 - Information Gathering
(Demons Aren't Just Computer Programs)

A Hidden Temple in Sunnydale
Location Unknown
12:00pm

A scream breaks the silence as a 12 year old girl's body is ripped open by the Demon devouring it. As the girl's life force is absorbed by the Demon KLLKLJ, he raises his head to the mortal who had summoned it. It growls out in a low voice. "Ask your questions mortal. I will answer them."

The man called Williamson moves forward and asks in a strong voice. "Who are the people at the Sunnydale Motor Lodge?"

"Which group mortal? The one that searches for one or the Warriors of the Light?"

"The Warriors of the Light. Who are they?"

"They are Immortal, mortal and Gargoyle. They have banded together to fight the darkness caused by the vampire queen Katherine in her attempt to raise the Demon Throlog. They are lead by two of the Nine."

"Two of the Nine? What are they?"

"They are two of the bearers of the Nine Swords of Destiny. A third bearer is also there, but he doesn't lead, only follows. For now."

"Will there be more of these Warriors coming in?"

"Their numbers already swell with the arrival of more mortals and Immortals alike."

"Will Katherine be able to raise the Demon Throlog?"

"I do not know. The mists are thick and only time will tell. That is all." The Demon tells Williamson and disappears.

Williamson looks at the circle and the body laying there and shudders. < I have to tell him this news. I hope my death is painless. > He then turns to the others. "Let's clean this place up and dispose of the body." As he watches the other apostles, he wonders what this information foretells.

*****

Part 41 - Other Battles Fought
(Tuna Fish and the Thunder Bunnies Rock)

Chicago 1300 CST

"I don't care if you have a hot lead Detective. The FBI said they wanted my best and you and the Constable are my best. So quit bitching about it and make nice with the Febbies."

"Look Lt., we had a lead on the nut jobs that grabbed the Sanderson twins. We need to get on this fast, or those girls could be hurt." Det. Ray Kowalski angrily replies.

"I agree with Ray, Lieutenant Walsh. Those two girls should be a priority, not some FBI agents who need help with one of their cases."

"We might be looking for the same people Detective." A voice comments from behind the three.

*****

Dallas 1300 CST

Walker and Trivette arrive at CD's bar and sit down at the counter. CD hands each of them a cup of coffee and asks. "What's up boys? You two look pissed off about something."

"We are CD, some FBI moron pulled us off the Vasquez kidnaping and told us to work with a team of FBI specialists. We're here to meet them." Jimmy angrily replies. "They're probably a bunch of pencil pushing idiots out of DC."

"Well Sugar, I hope we don't disappoint you." A voice replies from behind Jimmy.

*****

Ray angrily turns to the voice behind him and shoots off his mouth, again. "So you bastards want to steal our case? Take all of the credit for yourselves? While me and Fraser do all of the scut work? Hey, it's a free ..." The sarcastic comment dies on his lips as he mutters. "Who the hell are you people?" Upon seeing the seven agents clustered in the doorway. < No way these people are FBI > Ray thinks to himself.

Fast Eddie Alvarez pulls out his identification and replies. "FBI, Bureau 13. Are you two the lead investigators on the Sanderson case?"

"Yeah, we are. Wanna make something of it?" Ray asks.

"Since when is a Mountie regular Chicago PD issue?" A short oriental woman asks.

"He's not. Constable Fraser lends a hand on cases, from time to time. Otherwise, he's the chief of security at the Canadian Consult on Michigan Avenue. He's been helping Det. Kowalski on the Sanderson case." Lt. Walsh explains.

"Not a problem." Fast Eddie replies smoothly. "We need to locate the people who've taken the Sanderson kids as quickly as possible. When we entered you commented that you had a hot lead. Care to share?" // Jess, I hope you've already got the info we need. //

// Certainly honey. But these two worked hard and they deserve the bust. // Jessica thinks back to her husband. // Plus, they would get in the way, if we left them out. //

// I wouldn't mind the Mountie getting in my way. // Tina thinks back. George Renault growls softly next to her. Tina gives him a dazzling smile and he settles back down.

Mindy quietly adds. // I wonder how he is at hand to hand? //

Raul Horta, standing next to her quietly adds //I could turn him into an octopus?//

/ /Down boy // Mindy mischievously thinks back to the wizard.

Ray quickly sizes up the seven, so-called, FBI agents and shrugs his shoulders. Fraser gives a quick nod. They both agree. < Let's see what these Feds are made of. >

*****

Jimmy Trivette turns to look into the most beautiful pair of sky blue eyes he has ever seen. < Oh Shit, I'm in love. > He thinks to himself. And Jimmy Trivette suddenly finds himself tongue tied.

Walker just grins as he watches his partner's antics. Finally, he decides to put him out of his misery. "Jimmy, meet Jesse, Becky, Monica, Heather and Janice of the FBI." He then turns to Jesse, the team leader. "Jesse, so what dire threat brings the Thunder Bunnies to Dallas?"

"The Vasquez kidnaping. We're here to help."

"Can I ask what a simple kidnaping has to do with Bureau 13?" Walker asks.

"Because of the people who did it. And what they're planning on doing with the girls." Jesse replies as she takes out her pistol and starts to clean it at the table. CD looks over and tosses Walker a rag. Walker catches it and hands it over to Jesse. She gives them both a dazzling smile. "Thanks, CD, Cordell, the waiting always gets to me."

"What are you waiting for?" Walker asks as the door to CD's bar opens.

The sound of CD cocking back both hammers of his double barreled shotgun is heard and everyone turns to face the door. A man in a black duster walks in and gives CD a sly smile. CD raises the shotgun to his shoulder and tells the man. "Ratcher, I don't know what you want here, but I'm going to shoot you, just on principle."

"Not before I talk to the ladies sitting with Walker and Trivette." The dark man replies with a grin as he pulls up a chair to the table, turning his back to CD. He inclines his head to the Thunder Bunnies. "Hello Jesse, been a while, ladies. I found out where the girls are being held."

Jesse breathes a sigh of relief and asks. "Thank God, Mike. Is your cover still good?"

The dark man shakes his head. "No, I blew it getting the info you needed."

"Jesse, what the hell is this snake talking about?" CD asks while standing behind the man called Ratcher with his shotgun.

"CD, Cordell, Jimmy, meet Mike Slodanski, FBI. He's been undercover for the last four years."

"What about all of the people who you made to disappear?" Walker asks.

"They were put into the witness protection program and are safe. Sorry about all of the headaches Walker, but we had to make it look good. Now CD, if it isn't too much trouble, could you please remove that shotgun from behind my neck and have one of your waitresses bring me a cup of coffee?"

CD sheepishly grins and apologizes. "I'm sorry Ratcher, we didn't know."

"You weren't supposed to CD, that's why they call it undercover. And please, call me Mike. As of one hour ago, Joshua Ratcher died in a car explosion with four of Texas' most wanted but untouchable criminals."

Walker's eyebrows raise in surprise and he asks. "Who died with you?"

"John Hardin, Louis Vega and the Garcia brothers, Hector and Jose and some poor stiff from the St. Louis morgue. Harden, Vega and the Garcia's died for real."

Walker looks at the man he thought was a cold blooded killer and realizes that the man known as Ratcher really was a cold blooded killer. "Why'd you kill them?"

"Because those four bastards sold those Vasquez kids, plus a dozen more, to the people who are going to kill them." Mike replies in a tight, controlled voice. "I hope you don't mind if I tag along. I want to see this to the end." He asks Jesse. She silently nods her head in agreement, deep in thought.

Walker also nods his head in agreement. This was a man who took the killing of children very personally. He would follow no matter what. Walker could respect that. "All right, so where are the kids?"

"They're being held in different locations in Dallas and the surrounding area. The best way to get them is to wait until night fall and get them when they're all brought together. The cultists will come together in one spot to do their ceremony. And that's when we take them out." Mike explains.

"Where is this place?" Trivette asks.

"Ever heard of a place the Cowboy's called 'The Devil's Mound'?"

Walker looks at Mike with narrowed eyes and asks. "What are they going to be doing there?"

"The children will be sacrificed to open a gateway to let through one of the Old Ones."

"What's an Old One?" Trivette asks.

"Something that I don't want to face." Walker replies with a trace of fear. He looks around the table and sees the same fear in the Thunder Bunnies, CD and Mike. < They know what it is and they believe. > Walker thinks to himself. < Good, then they understand what has to be done. >

*****

Ray and Fraser lead the strange Febbies to a conference room and Ray tries to lay down his own brand of Machismo on the Agents. After a few minutes, it's obvious that none of them was buying it. Fraser decides to put an end to it and breaks in. "Ray, we don't have time for your machismo. The Sanderson children need our help now. So, just tell them what we know."

Ray gives Fraser a dirty look, but relents and finally gives them the bottom line. "All right Fraser. You're right. One of my sources confirmed that members of the street gang called the Diablos De Inferno (Devils of Hell) kidnaped the kids. And Fraser and me just got through questioning one of their members and the kid rolled over on the rest."

"Is the kid still here? Can we question him?" Ed asks.

Ray and Fraser look at each other and Fraser turns to the Feds and tells them. "I'm sorry, but that would be impossible to do."

"Why? The safety of the city is at stake and I'm empowered to use any means necessary to preserve it's safety."

"Because, after he told us, he choked to death on his own tongue. He had some kind of seizure that killed him on the spot. Benny and I tried everything, CPR, sticking a tube in his mouth, mouth to mouth, nothing worked."

The members of Tunafish look at each other and shudder. // Death Geas // Raul Horta thinks aloud. // The Diablos must have a sorcerer working for them. // The balance of his team nods their heads in agreement. This was going to be a bad one.

"So, when are we going?" Eddie asks, already knowing the answer.

"As soon as we can shake loose a SWAT Team." Ray replies. "Which could be any time."

"Don't worry about it." Eddie replies. He looks over to the short oriental woman and asks. "Are those Green Berets ready to move out?"

The woman's eyes glaze for a second before she replies. "Major Ritter and his men are ready."

Ray looks at Fraser, then back to the FBI agents and asks. "Who the hell is Major Ritter?"

George Renault chuckles grimly, then explains. "Our boss sent some backup with us. Three Green Beret A-Teams armed to the teeth. Hope that's enough for this rescue mission."

Ray and Fraser look at each other and then turn to the FBI agents. "Sir, one of those teams carries enough fire power to take out most of Chicago. Isn't using three of them a bit of overkill?" Fraser asks.

"No. In fact it might not be enough." Eddie Alvarez replies grimly.

Ray and Fraser look at the grim, resolved faces of the seven FBI agents and ask themselves. < What the hell is going on here? >

*****

Part 42 - A Convergence of Forces V
(American Airlines - It's Not Just America's Gateway to The World - They've Got the Cheapest Weekend Rates)

LAX - American Airlines Terminal
1300 PST

Connor MacLeod and his two new friends exit the American Airlines Terminal and try to hail a cab. As they look around, no cabs are to be found. "Where the hell are all of the cabs?" Mike Hammer asks.

A passenger, standing nearby, tells him. "All of the cabs are in downtown Los Angeles. There are several major conventions in town and everything from rental cars to hotel rooms is booked solid."

"Damn it! We have to get to Sunnydale by four o'clock. Is anything available?" Connor comments.

Mike Night Wolf and his daughter hear this man's comment and approach the threesome. As they draw near, all three people stiffen, like they're getting ready to fight. Mike, seeing this, holds up both hands with the palms open. The three relax, slightly. As he walks up to them, he asks Connor. "I couldn't help but overhear. Are you three going to the Motor Lodge to meet with a mutual friend by the name of Steve?"

All three of the people relax even further. Connor holds out his hand and replies. "I see that Mr. St. Wolf has called in quite a few friends." Mike Night Wolf nods his head and grins. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Connor MacLeod, my two friends are Mike Hammer and Velda Thomas. And, you are?"

"I'm Mike Night Wolf. This is my daughter Heather. He called me in to help with the situation. I take it you three are here for the same reason?"

"Yeah, we are. Now if we can get a ride, we can all get to the meeting." Hammer replies.

Mike Night Wolf looks at the passing traffic and grins. "That's not a problem. Our ride is here." He points to a rusty cargo van headed to the passenger terminal.

Heather looks at where her father is pointing and lets out a curse. "Dad, you didn't?"

"We needed a ride honey and he was more than willing to come out and give it to us." Mike replies with an evil grin.

"But he's such a moron. Couldn't you get anyone else?" Heather complains.

"Don't worry honey. He's only giving us a lift. He's not going to be staying."

"May I ask who you two are talking about?" Connor asks.

"Sorry Connor. The person driving that rust bucket is my nephew, Terry Black Thorn Him and Heather don't get along very well."

"Will he mind giving us a lift as well?" Velda asks.

"He better not." Mike Night Wolf replies in a voice that would brook no such rudeness.

As the van pulls up, a young man of American Indian descent gets out and rushes over to Mike. "Uncle Mike. I got here as fast as I could. Where am I taking you and Heather?"

"Hello Terry. The five of us are going to Sunnydale." Mike tells him.

"Five? Uncle Mike who are these people?" Terry asks, curious about the three strangers.

"Friends of a friend. That's all you need to know. Anything else?"

"Yeah, why are you going to Sunnydale? That place has a bad vibe to it. I try to avoid it as much as possible."

"So, you inherited your mother's abilities to see the beyond?" Mike asks as he stows his suitcase.

"Yeah and sometimes the things that I see scare me. Like your three 'friends of a friend'. They're more than what they seem." Terry quietly replies.

Mike looks curiously at the three people that he's just meet. He turns back to his nephew and asks. "They look pretty normal to me. What's so special about them?"

"I can't explain it. It's like they have this energy in them. I've only seen it once before."

"Where?"

"A few weeks ago I was out late and I was attacked. Two people saved my butt. They had this same type of energy in them."

"What attacked you?"

"A group of vampires. As they were about to kill me. These two people came out of no where and saved me."

"Can you describe these two people?"

"Better yet. I can show you. Hold on a sec." Terry replies as he reaches in the van and gets out his sketch pad. He looks through it and folds over the pages and shows Mike a drawing of a man and a woman.

Mike takes one look at the man in the drawing and whispers out a curse. "I can't believe it. It's Cherokee."

Terry looks at his uncle and asks. "You know this guy?"

"Yeah, he's supposed to be dead."

"He looks pretty lively for a dead man." Terry replies with a grin.

*****

Connor, Mike and Velda watch as Mike Night Wolf talks to his nephew in private. As Terry pulls out a sketch pad, all three suddenly feel a 'Buzz'. They look around and stare in disbelief as a strange Immortal approaches them. He looks around at the crowded pickup area as he approaches Connor MacLeod. As he nears, he holds up his hand and asks. "Hi there. I'm Justin. You may not know me Connor, but I know you."

"If you're looking for a private match. Forget it. I don't play the Game." Connor replies coldly in a low voice.

Justin smiles as he replies. "I'm not here for that. I'm Adam Pierson's student. We're here with Duncan, Amanda and Richie. They sent me out to try and find a ride to Sunnydale."

Connor's mouth spreads into a grin at the mention of his kinsman's name. "There's a problem with transportation. All of the cabs are in downtown LA for the convention traffic." He then turns to Mike Night Wolf and asks. "Mike, can your nephew take another five in that van of his?"

Mike looks at Terry, who shrugs. "Hope you guys don't mind sitting on the floor."

"Not a problem." Connor replies. "Most of us have sat on harder surfaces in the past."

As they wait for the rest of Justin's party, Mike Night Wolf asks Connor. "So how long have you known Steve?"

"About eight years. I met him when he shanghaied my kinsman Duncan into a crazy mission to rescue a large group of kids that were kidnaped by a group of Libyan slavers. Naturally Duncan brought me along to save everybody." Conner comments with a grin.

"Oh, and who saved your ass when that slaver was about cut you apart?" An accented voice replies from behind Connor.

Connor turns around and hugs his kinsman Duncan. "Duncan, why do always have to spoil my stories?"

"Who's spoiling them? I'm only adding in the parts that you conveniently forget to include." Duncan replies with a grin. Then Duncan stands back and introduces everyone. "Connor, you already know Amanda Richie and Adam." Connor nods his head in agreement. "And you met Adam's student Justin. We already know Mike, but who are these other people?"

"Allow me to introduce you to Velda. She's Mike Hammer's student. The others are old friends of Steve's. Mike Night Wolf, his daughter Heather and his nephew Terry Black Thorn." Connor replies. "Terry's providing us a ride up to Sunnydale.

Terry looks at the new group and wonders. < Who the hell are these people? I can sense that weird energy in all of them. What does it do? > "Okay folks everyone mount up. We've got about an hour's drive ahead of us, so anybody who's got to go better do it now."

"You people have room for one more?" A man asks from the side.

As everyone turns to face the stranger, Mike Hammer let's out a yell. "Remo! Get your lazy ass over here." Mike then turns to Terry and asks. "Sorry Terry, but can we drag Remo's lazy ass with us?"

"Hey, you people are sitting in the back, it's up to you how comfortable you make it." Terry replies with a grin.

"All right then, if that's everybody?" Mike Night Wolf asks. No one else comes forward and they all get in the van, on their way to Sunnydale.

*****

Sunnydale Airport 1330 PST

Mack Bolan steps off the private plan and feels a 'Buzz'. He looks around the air field and notices a private Lear Jet taxi up to his private jet. As the taxing plan stops, the staircase on it's side opens and drops. A man familiar to Mack is the first to step down. Both look at each other and exchange grins. Mack turns back to his team and tells them. "Looks like some more friends are making it to the party."

"Who are they Mack?" Barbara Price asks.

"Casey Romaine and his bunch are here." Mack tells her as Casey walks up to the plane and yells out. "Mack, get your lazy ass down here and help me unload the party favors."

"Can't do it Casey. I brought my own." Mack replies with a grin as he watches Casey walk over from the Lear Jet.

Casey grins evilly as he asks. "Are you here alone?"

"Nope brought a few friends along. How about you?"

"Had one of my yearly get together's when Steve called and invited me to the party. He did say I could bring guests." Casey replies with a grin as his friends leave the Lear.

"Have you got transport to the Motor Lodge?"

Casey looks out over the tarmac and notices two Ford Explorers approaching. "Yeah, it'll be here in a couple of minutes." Casey tells him as one of the Explorers pulls up next to his plane. As the rental clerk gets out, Casey asks. "Can you send out two more Explorers for my friends over there?"

"Certainly Mr. Romaine. If one of your people could give us a lift back to the office and the gentlemen could have someone accompany us. We'll get them the cars in about ten minutes." The rental clerk replies.

Mack turns around and orders. "Barbara, Hawk, go with the clerk. The rest of us will unload the plane and wait for you here."

Casey calls back to the plane. "Lida, can you go and take the clerks back to their office?"

"Certainly Casey. No trouble at all." Lida replies as she walks over and greets Barbara, Mack and Hawk. "Hello Mack. It's nice to see you again."

"Same here Lida." Mack replies as he introduces Barbara and Hawk. "Barbara, Hawk, this is Casey's wife Lida. She'll take you to get the cars while the rest of us unload the planes."

*****

Part 43 - History Comes a Knocking
(A Haunting From The Past)

Sunnydale - 1330 PST

Major Gerber looks at the house at 317 Brandt Terrace and mumbles. "This is quite a step up from the flea bags they usually stay at."

Sgt. Chavez grins. "Remember that place in Dallas? God, what a pest hole that was."

Maj. Gerber grins as he sits in his command HUMVEE. "Yeah, I almost choked on my pizza slice when Mulder commented that the bugs should have classified as EBE's." Gerber turns to his computer hacker and asks. "Johnson, do have anything on the owner?"

"Yes Sir. His name is Steve St. Wolf. According to his tax records, he's an antiques dealer. If you want to see what he looks like, I have a copy of his California DMV photo on my computer."

"Good work Johnson. Let's take a look." Gerber replies as he looks back. Johnson tilts his laptop so he can see the picture. Gerber takes one look and softly hisses. "Chavez, take a look and tell me if that's who I think it is."

Sgt. Chavez turns around and Johnson tilts the screen, so he can see it as well. Chavez takes a good long look and crosses himself. "Is that Cherokee?"

"Yeah, the old man himself told me he was still alive before we left. But I didn't believe him. Now I do."

"Sir, who's Cherokee?" Sgt. Johnson asks.

"Someone you don't want pissed off at you Sergeant." Major Gerber replies. Then he releases his seat belt and opens his door. "Let's go Chavez. Hopefully Mulder and Scully won't shoot us on sight."

"Maybe they forgot about Puerto Rico." Chavez mumbles as they walk up to the front door.

When the pair reach the front door, it opens as a young man, neither of them have ever seen before, stands there with a gun in his hand and orders them. "Gentlemen, please keep your hands in plain sight and calmly walk into the house. If you make any sudden moves, I will kill you both on the spot."

Gerber turns to Chavez and mutters sarcastically. "Oh they forgot about us, all right." Then they both walk into the house.

*****

Langley is calmly sitting down at his computer terminal and chuckles ruefully. < God, this system is a dream. > A beeping sound suddenly comes from one of the stand by programs. Langley looks it over and asks Willow. "Willow, why is that program beeping?"

A sleepy Willow immediately wakes up. She reaches over and accesses the program. She whistles softly. "Some one is trying to access Steve's personal records." She touches some keys and she mutters under her breath. "This guy is good. He's got a bunch of cut outs and multiple satellite feeds. I wonder who he is?"

As the group tries to trace the hacker's signal, Brian Jessup walks in. "Hey guys. There's a cool HUMVEE parked out front and a couple of soldiers are getting out of it. Are they friends of your's?"

Willow stops what she's doing and quickly accesses the exterior video cameras. Everyone crowds the screen and looks at the pair coming to the front door. Byers, Langley and Frohike hiss out a curse. Jenny quickly asks. "Who are they?"

"Blue Beret Alien Retrieval team. Those bastards tried to kill Mulder and Scully in Puerto Rico. What the fuck are they doing here?" Frohike angrily states.

"Well, we're going to find out. Those two are coming to our front door." Jenny replies, then turns to Robert. "Robert, can you get them in here?"

Robert gives her a grin as he turns to the front door, gun in hand. "I'll invite them in. You and Willow provide some cover from the office as they walk in. After that, I'll sit them down and Mr. Frohike can ask them some questions." Robert then turns to Brian. "Brian, you go behind the counter in the kitchen and don't come out unless we tell you to. Am I understood?"

"Yes Robert." Brian replies as he heads to the kitchen.

Robert turns and watches as Willow and Jenny change their pistol's magazines. "What kind of ammunition are you changing to?" Robert asks.

"Steel Jacketed Armor piercing hollow points." Willow replies as she racks her slide back, chambering a round. Jenny quickly follows suit and adds. "With a liquid metal explosive center. Think that will cut through any body armor they might have on?"

Robert grins evilly as he walks to the door. < Damn, Quinn had it right when he said this group was something else. Too bad both Willow and Jenny are spoken for. > Robert wistfully muses as he watches as the two fatigue clad men walk up to the front door. < God, they're cocky aren't they? > Robert thinks to himself as he watches one of the men reach for the door bell. Before he can press the button, Robert opens the door and calmly orders both men inside. "Gentlemen, please keep your hands in plain sight and calmly walk into the house. If you make any sudden moves, I will kill you both on the spot."

Both men look at Robert and one replies sarcastically to the other. "Oh they forgot about us, all right." Then both enter the house and are promptly covered by Willow and Jenny, from the office. Robert immediately closes the door and follows both men into the living room. Robert points to one of the couches and both men sit down.

Frohike and his two partners then walk out of the office and face the two Blue Berets. Major Gerber starts when he recognizes the three. "What the hell are you three doing here? Last time I checked you Lone Gunmen were in D.C."

"None of your business. What do you want here?" Frohike asks.

"We came to talk to Mulder and Scully. When they get here we'll tell them everything. No one else." Gerber replies.

Jenny then moves in and takes control of the situation. "If you're here to see them, then why did you try to kill them in Puerto Rico?"

"How did you know about that?" Gerber asks.

Jenny nods toward the Lone Gunmen and Gerber understands. < Those three have got to go. Definitely, when this mission is over, they go. > "We were ordered to report to Mulder and Scully and assist them in their mission."

"What mission?" Frohike asks.

"My orders call for me to assist Mulder and Scully, plus various non-standard assets in destroying a large number of vampires and possibly several demons." Gerber replies straight faced.

"How the Hell do you know about that?" Jenny asks.

"My superior had this house under observation for the last 24 hours. When he found out that you were calling additional assets, he felt that the mission was of such import that you needed more assets than what you had at present and on the way, that he sent us to help."

"Who is your superior?" Frohike asks, dreading the answer.

"A certain cigarette smoking man. I believe he favors Morley's." Gerber replies with a grin as all three Lone Gunmen blanche.

Frohike turns to Jenny and tells her. "Jenny, this is bad. Very bad. Get Mulder and Scully down here."

"Don't forget to get Cherokee's lazy ass out bed as well. He still owes me ten dollars." Sgt. Chavez replies with a grin.

"Who's Cherokee?" A thoroughly confused Willow asks.

"Sorry, you know him as Steve St. Wolf. But to me and Jack, he'll always be Cherokee." Chavez explains.

Willow looks to Jenny and she nods. Willow immediately goes to Mulder and Scully's bed room and knocks on the door. Mulder opens the door and asks quietly. "Is it important?"

"Look down stairs on the couch." Willow replies.

Mulder looks down stairs and recognizes the uniforms of the two strange men. His face loses it's color and he asks. "Why are they here?"

"Would you believe it if they said they were here to help?" Willow asks.

"No. I wouldn't." Mulder coldly replies. "We'll be down in a couple of minutes. Wake up Steve, Frank and Buffy."

"All right Mulder, but hurry up. Those guys give me the Wiggins."

"You're not the only one Willow." Mulder replies as he closes his door and Willow moves on to Steve's door to wake him up.

*****

Mulder moves to Scully and gently wakes her up. Scully looks at Mulder through sleepy eyes and asks. "What's wrong Fox?"

"We've got two Blue Berets sitting downstairs. They want to talk to us."

Scully quickly loses any semblance of fatigue at the mention of the Blue Berets. "About what?"

"They said they're here to help."

"I don't believe it. First King Arthur, now the Blue Berets. What the hell is going on here?"

"I know. King Arthur I can understand, but the Blue Berets? Something is definitely fishy here."

*****

Willow continues onto Steve's room and knocks on the door. She hears a noise coming from inside and thinking that Steve's telling her to come in. She does and the sight before almost makes her wish she didn't.

"Oh my." Willows calls out at seeing Buffy sleeping naked in Steve's arms. The sound of her voice wakes up both of them.

"Willow, usually people wait until they're called before they enter a room." Steve replies in a slightly pissed off voice.

Willow turns around and blushes brightly. "I'm sorry Steve, Buffy. But there's a major situation happening downstairs."

"What is it Willow?" Buffy asks.

"There's two guys down there who Frohike calls Blue Berets. Mulder looked scared when he saw them. He told me to wake you two and Frank up as well."

"Anything else?" Steve asks.

"Yes, both men say they know you. One of them called you Cherokee. Are they lying?"

< Damn, who the hell could they be? > A worried Steve thinks to himself. "They might know me Willow. Until I see who they are, I can't tell whether or not they're lying." Steve then turns to Buffy. "Let's get dressed. We're not going to get anymore sleep today as is."

Buffy nods her head, worried about Steve and who these men were and what they had to do with him and his past life. She turns to Willow. "Willow can you get me some clothes out of my room? I didn't bring anything with me earlier."

"When I came in it looked like you didn't need any." Willow replies with a giggle as she's hit with a pillow. She turns, to see who hit her with the pillow but quickly turns back as she sees that Steve's about to get out of the bed. She opens the door and replies as she leaves. "I'll leave now."

*****

As the door closes behind Willow, Buffy turns to Steve and asks. "Who could these men be? Could they take you away?"

"I don't know who they are, yet. But I'm sure as hell not leaving you Buffy. At least not without a major fight." Steve relies with a grin and Buffy hugs him

:"That's good to know Steve. I couldn't bear to lose you so soon, like I did Angel."

"I know." Steve replies as he strokes her hair. "Now, if we remain in this position any longer, I'm not going to very threatening with a hard-on sticking out of my pants."

"Oh, why do you have a hard-on?" Buffy asks between giggles.

"Because I'm holding a very sexy, naked woman in my arms." Steve replies with a grin.

*****

Willow moves onto Frank's and Cassandra's room and quietly knocks. A few seconds later, Frank answers the door and asks. "What is it Willow?"

"We have some visitors and Mulder wants you downstairs with him, Dana, Steve and Buffy."

"Who are they?"

"Frohike calls them Blue Berets. And says that they're trouble. They say they're here to help."

"All right, we'll be done in five minutes."

Willow nods her head and moves on to Buffy's room and quietly enters. She looks over Randi and Nakao, asleep on the bed and quietly removes some clothing for Buffy. Then she exits the room just as quietly and goes back to Steve's room and knocks on the door. A fully clothed Steve answers and takes the clothes from Willow and closes the door. Willow turns from the door and grins slyly, thinking < About damn time. > as she heads back to the living room.

Willow calmly walks up to Jenny and tells her. "Everybody will be done in about five minutes."

"Good. Now please keep an eye on our 'guests' while I go make some coffee." Jenny replies.

As Jenny leaves to go to the kitchen, Robert adds. "Jenny, have Brian go upstairs to his sister's room. He shouldn't listen to this."

"Good idea Robert." Jenny replies as she goes to the kitchen and finds Brian behind the island. She kneels down and tells him. "Brian, go up to the room that Randi and Nakao are sharing with Buffy and wait there."

"Can't I stay and watch?" Brian asks.

"No Brian, you can't this is going to be some very secret things said here and you can't listen to them. I'm sorry, but that's the way it has to be." Jenny tells Brian in a soothing voice.

Brian sullenly nods his head and goes, passing the two strangers on his way to his sister's room. Both men exchange looks and Gerber asks. "Is he Cherokee's?"

"No, Brian and his sister are guests of Steve's." Robert replies and does not explain any further.

*****

Steve and Buffy walk out of his bedroom together. At the same time, Mulder, Scully, Frank and Cassandra walk out of theirs. The six walk down together and approach the two strangers as a group.

Gerber looks at the approaching group and notices that his old friend Cherokee was holding hands with a young girl. < Damn, she couldn't be over eighteen. What the hell is Cherokee thinking? What would Kathy think of her husband shacking up with this child? >

As Steve approaches the pair sitting on the couch, his memories flashback to his last years in the 5th Special Forces group and recognition dawns on him. <Damn, what the hell are Gerber and Chavez doing here? >

Chavez looks at his old comrade and grins. < Damn. Cherokee got himself another hot one. >

Steve and Mulder sit down across from Gerber and Chavez. Steve begins the questioning by asking. "What are you and Chavez doing here Jack?"

"Straight to the point Cherokee. I always liked that about you." Gerber replies with a grin. The grin disappears as he leans forward and asks. "So how come your shacking up with a teenager? Doesn't Kathy's memory mean anything to you?"

"Jack, this is not the time or the place for this conversation." Steve replies as he thinks. < Shit. Jack was in love with Kathy. No wonder he's acting like this. He thinks I betrayed her. >

"Yes it is. I want to know that the man that I'm going into battle with is the same man that I served with. If you've changed this much I don't want to expose my men to you or your plans."

"Jack things have changed for me. A lot of things, but I'm still the same man. In a sense." Steve calmly replies.

Jack's eye's narrow and he asks. "What do you mean in a sense?"

Steve sighs and gets up. He turns to Buffy and tells her. "Buffy pull out your sword." And with that, he pulls out his sword. Gerber and Chavez watch in fascination as the two blades appear out of no where, their blades glowing a bright blue.

"What the hell are those?" Chavez asks in awe.

"The blade I carry is called Demon Slayer. The blade that Buffy carries is called Vampire Slayer. They're a matched set of mystical swords."

"You mean to tell me that those swords are magic?" A doubtful Gerber asks.

"Yes, they are. One more thing, they give the bearer an extended life span and enhanced healing ability." Steve explains.

"What do you mean by an extended life span?" Chavez asks.

"The last bearers of the Slayer swords carried them for three hundred years before they retired. Buffy and I were chosen to be the next bearers and Guardians." Steve replies.

"Why did they retire?" Gerber asks.

"They got tired of the constant fighting and killing. When they found me in Prague fighting a demon, they chose me to take on Demon Slayer. They found Buffy in Los Angeles fighting vampires and they chose her to bear Vampire Slayer. About six months ago they simply gave us the swords and went on their way. After they gave up the swords, they resumed aging normally. I think they have a ranch somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. Both places are low on the monster scale of things."

Both Gerber and Chavez are stunned at the story they have just heard. Gerber looks at the sword and feels the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. "Shit, Cherokee. That's one of the craziest stories I've ever heard. But I have to believe it, seeing how my superior sent me here to fight real vampires. What do you need us to do?"

"Well first of all. Carson 'Cherokee' Jamieson died in Dearborn. I'm now Steve St. Wolf, so please call me by that name."

"You got it Steve. What else?"

"Mulder has a few questions, so please answer them." Steve replies.

Gerber nods his agreement as Mulder begins. "Maj. Gerber, who ordered you to help us?"

"My superior ordered me here. Both you and Scully know him."

"Who is he?"

"I don't know his name. Just that he likes to smoke Morley cigarettes."

Both Mulder and Scully turn white. And Scully mutters out. "Why would *HE* want to help us? We've been trying to bring him down for the last five years."

"Because what you're doing helps him. I don't think that his superiors would like it if downtown LA became a 'vampires only' zone."

"Yes, I can see where that would make it inconvenient for him and his cronies. So what are we to do with you?"

"Our orders were to help you and your friends Mulder. Nothing else. Cherokee can tell that I'm a man of my word and I don't back stab people. I'll tell you right now that I'm going to work with you. No secrets. But once this mission is over, we can go back to wanting to take each other out."

"Just one more question. Were you and your unit the ones who tried to kill me and Scully in Puerto Rico?"

"Yes, we were." Gerber replies flatly with no hint of evasion. "We were ordered to sanitize the area and you two were there."

"Thank you for being straight about it." Mulder comments, his eyes hard.

"Mulder don't take it personally. I've had to clean up a lot of areas where aliens have been and none of them have been pretty. Most aliens that land on earth are threats to humanity in general and they have to be dealt with. Any people who see or are contacted by the aliens become threats, either by the information that they have gained or diseases that might have been transmitted. I have no regrets about what I've had to do over the last ten years."

"Thank you Maj. Gerber. That's all of the questions that I have. It'll be a pleasure to work with you. This one time." Mulder replies.

"Jack, we'll met you and your group in an hour by the Sunnydale Motor Lodge. That's where the rest of our people are meeting." Steve tells his old friend.

"It's good to see you again Cherokee. Just one question before we go. How did you fake you death in 1983?" Gerber asks offhandedly.

"While I was living in Dearborn, I was recruited by a black operations group called Section Seven to work for them. Since Kathy was dead and I had nothing to go back to, I joined up. In fact, most of the people here are members of that group. When I told my superiors what I had been chosen for. They agreed that I would continue to be an asset and they continue to support me and Buffy and provide us help in our fight."

"I find it hard to believe that a government agency would believe in vampires and demons."

"Oh they didn't believe me, at first." Steve replies with an evil grin. "They believed me when I brought in a real vampire for the specialists to examine and take apart. My bosses suddenly felt that having a demon hunter and a vampire slayer on the payroll was a plus. And so, here we are."

"How the hell did Mulder and Scully get involved with you?" Chavez asks.

"Mulder and Scully were searching for what they thought was a blue skinned man that looked like a demon. And our paths crossed. They helped me and Buffy fight off and destroy two hundred vampires five months ago. Since then, we've been friends." Steve replies.

"Was the blue skinned man a demon?" Gerber asks, curious.

"Yeah, he was. Mulder and Scully got their hands on a video tape of me taking out the demon with a Strella." Buffy replies, slightly embarrassed being the center of attention.

"You took out a demon with an anti-tank rocket? I thought you were a vampire hunter?" Gerber asks.

"Well, vampires were helping the Judge." Gerber and Chavez look confused. Buffy explains. "That was the demon's name. Well since the vamps were helping, he was fair game. And besides, Steve often goes vampire hunting with me, so it all evens out in the end." Buffy replies with a shy grin.

Gerber looks at this small girl and mutters to himself. < This sweet kid took out a demon with an anti-tank rocket. God, no wonder Cherokee likes her. She's exactly like him and plays by the same rules. > Then he turns to Steve and Mulder. "All right, we'll meet you at the Motor Lodge at 1500 hours. Anything else?"

"Yes Jack. I have some specialized ammunition for your troops. Limit your men to weapons in 9 mm, 45 cal., and 308 Winchester." Jack nods and gets up to leave, but Steve has one more question. "Jack is Bushido with you?"

"Yes he is. Why?"

"Does he still carry his family swords?"

"Yes he does. Why? Do you want me to tell him not to bring them?"

"No. Let him. He'll feel right at home at the rendezvous." Steve replies with a grin.

"May I ask why?"

"Because swords are standard issue in Section Seven." Steve tells him as Jack exits out the front door.

Maj. Gerber and Sgt. Chavez leave the house and enter their HUMVEE. When Gerber buckles up, he orders. "Mick, take us to the men. We've been handed a hot one." Then he turns to Johnson. "Johnson, can you use your computer to look something up for me?"

"Certainly Sir. What is it?"

"I want you to look up information on a pair of swords for me. The swords are called Demon Slayer and Vampire Slayer. They are also rumored to be magic."

"Sir, did I hear you correctly? Magic swords?"

"Yes Sergeant you did. Now run that search for me."

"Yes Sir, but it might take a while."

"You have an hour." Gerber replies and Johnson bends to his laptop and search engines.

"Jack, you don't trust Cherokee?" Chavez asks.

"Have you ever played poker with him Tony?"

"No I never did. Why?"

"Well, back in 81, Randy Thomas was playing in that huge card game on base. He lost his entire savings because a few of the men cheated him out it. Cherokee found out and got it back for him."

"How'd he get Thomas' money back. By threatening them?" Chavez asks with a grin.

"No, he got it back by beating every card shark on the base. They could never figure whether he was bluffing or holding a winning hand. Plus he knew every dirty trick those guys tried to pull on him and they wound up losing every cent they had."

"What'd he do with the money?" Johnson asks.

"He gave Thomas back his and donated the rest to the Widows and Orphans fund. I asked him why he didn't keep any of it and he said that he had cheated them out their money so it wasn't his fairly. But since they had cheated to get the money, it wasn't theirs either."

"Then why are you running this check?" Chavez asks.

"Because I feel that I've just been bluffed." Gerber replies with a grin.

*****

Steve and Mulder watch as Gerber drives away. They both head back to the living room for a meeting. Before they start talking Steve holds up his hand for silence and quietly asks Willow. "Willow, go into the office and run the computer program called 'Cone of Silence'."

Mulder, listening in, makes a face, but he waits until Willow comes back and reports. "The program is up and running and it says that everything is green."

Steve breathes a sigh of relief as Mulder asks. "Sheesh, couldn't you come up with a better name? I feel like I'm in a 'Get Smart' episode."

"Hey, I like that old series. I used to watch it all the time as I was growing up." Steve replies with a grin.

Robert clears his throat and asks. "Steve, that story that you told your old friends. How the hell did you come up with it at the spur of the moment like that?"

"I actually thought up most of the story three years ago and I've rehearsed it quite a bit. The only parts that I added in at the last minute were the parts about Section Seven, Buffy and the previous bearers, Robert. I never thought that I would have to use it like I did today. But I think I pulled it off."

"Remind me never to play poker with you Steve. You almost had me believing it." Mulder comments with a grin.

*****

Part 44 - Telephone Conversations II
(The Truth Is Out There. Just Don't Look For It With Ma Bell.)

As Mulder and Scully turn back to their room. Frohike tells them. "Mulder, Scully, Skinner called for you earlier. He wants a status report on the case."

"What did you tell him?" Mulder asks.

"I gave him the standard non-vampire line that the news media got. But he still wants to talk to you both."

"All right. We'll call him from our room. We'll be back in a few minutes." Mulder replies as he and Scully head up to their room.

Once inside, Mulder turns on his cell phone and calls Skinner's office number. The phone is picked up after two rings and Skinner answers. "Skinner here."

"This is Mulder, Sir. Frohike told me you called earlier." Mulder replies.

"Mulder. Where are you?"

"In Sunnydale, California, Sir. Is there a problem?"

"Our cigarette smoking friend told me that he sent some 'specialists' to help you on your case. I suggest that you leave immediately before they get there."

"Too late, Sir. They were already here. Scully and I agreed to work with them."

The silence on the phone stretches for a full minute before Skinner angrily asks. "What did they offer you Mulder?"

Surprised at the anger in Skinner's question Mulder simply replies. "They offered to help, Sir. Only that."

"I find that hard to believe. That bastard could be setting you and Scully up. Have you considered that?"

"Sir, they're more afraid of my host than Cancer Man. Believe me, they won't set us up."

"Who the hell are you staying with?" Skinner asks.

"The field commander of a Covert Operations group called Section Seven." Mulder replies with a grin. Scully's mouth splits into a grin as she barely contains the laughter.

"What the Hell are you doing associating with this man?" Skinner asks.

"He's a friend of mine, Sir. I've know him for over ten years and he's always been willing to help me whenever he could."

"Does Cancer Man know about him?"

"His 'specialists' certainly do, Sir. They were extremely polite and respectful when they visited here about ten minutes ago." Mulder replies with a chuckle.

"To put it correctly, Sir. They were scared shitless of the man." Scully replies with a laugh.

Skinner settles down and finally asks. "All right Mulder, I don't want to know. Can you give me a quick report on last night's activities and what your planning for tonight?"

"Certainly, Sir." Mulder replies, then he launches into a detailed report on the previous nights activities (sans the truth) and gives some generalities for the forthcoming raids.

After he finishes, Skinner asks. "Can you find their next target?"

"Don't know, Sir. I hope we can." Mulder replies.

*****

Major Gerber picks up his phone and dials a memorized number. The phone is picked up after one ring and a raspy voice answers. "What is it?"

"Sir, this is Gerber. We met up with Mulder and Scully and have made arrangements to join forces with them."

"Anything else, Major?"

"Yes, Sir. Who is Section Seven?"

"That is none of your business, Major. Am I clear?"

"Yes, Sir. I'll report again when we've completed our mission." Gerber replies as the connection closes. Jack turns to Chavez and comments. "The old man won't talk about Section Seven. I wonder what their mission statement is?"

"None of our business, Jack." Chavez replies as he thinks. < God, it was good to see Cherokee again. >

*****

Part 45 - Convergence of Forces VI
(Oh, What a Tangled Web I Weave, When I Practice to . . . Whatever)

Sunnydale Motor Lodge
1400 PST

The four Explorers pull into the motor lodge's parking lot and park in front of the office. Casey and Mack get out of their respective vehicles and go into the office. As they enter, they notice the group of people clustered around a group of tables. In the office, George watches the pair come in and rises to greet them. He immediately recognizes Casey and Mack from their last visit. As they approach the counter George asks. "Mr. Romaine, Mr. Phoenix, a pleasure to see you both again. How many rooms in your party?"

"One of my people came in earlier. His signed in under the name John Trent. Where can I find him?" Mack asks.

"He has reserved rooms 203 to 207 on the second floor." George replies, then asks Casey. "How many in your party Mr. Romaine?"

"Ten, but give me five double rooms in case you're short on the rooms."

"Certainly Mr. Romaine. You can have rooms 208 to 212, right next to Mr. Phoenix's rooms."

"That'll work for me. Who are the people outside?"

"More friends of Mr. St. Wolf's. They all came in earlier by vehicle. So I would think that they're from nearby. Miss Adams came in with one of the groups, so I think they're all right."

*****

Nash Bridges looks on as the four Explorers pull up to the office and wonders. "Who could this be?"

Kyra, sitting next to him and eating breakfast looks over and smiles. "If I'm not mistaken that's Casey Romaine and John Phoenix. It looks like they brought some friends with them."

"May I ask who they are?" Lennox MacDuff asks.

"Sure, John runs a covert anti-terrorist group for the government. The other guy is Casey Romaine. He's a mercenary soldier who works out of Montana. He tends to pick and chose his fights."

"What do you mean by, he 'picks and chooses'?" Arthur asks.

"He tries to chose the side that has most to give the people they are fighting for. I met him seven years ago when he and I helped Steve take out a group of white slavers in Libya and rescue the kids they had taken."

Nash looks at Kyra with a raised eyebrow and asks. "Tell me sister, what the hell is St. Wolf's problem?"

"Steve has a problem? What problem?" A confused Kyra asks.

"Why the hell is he doing all of this for? It sure isn't his job."

Kyra grins as she replies. "Oh, that problem. Sorry Nash, for a second, I didn't understand what you meant. Steve has a major Don Quixote complex."

Nash looks confused for a second before his partner, Joe Domingeuz, tells him. "Nash man, the guys a proverbial knight in shining armor. I don't think he can help himself but get involved."

"Aye, that's true. He does fit the pattern of a knight on a quest." Arthur comments from experience.

*****

Hans Von Strasbourg walks out of his room and quietly surveys the scene before him. Several cars were parked in the lot and various people were relaxing on benches and tables that weren't there when he came in that morning. He looks around and notices an old friend. He quietly approaches the table and feels the 'Buzz' as he approaches her.

Kyra feels the 'Buzz' as another Immortal approaches and she turns around and grins. < Hans. > She thinks to herself as she asks with a grin. "Hans, you rogue. What are you doing here?"

"The same thing that you will be doing tonight, Kyra." Hans replies with a grin. The he notices Arthur. "Hello Arthur, get enough sleep?"

"Aye, I did. So what happens now?"

"Steve should be here in a little while. But until then, where can I get breakfast?"

"There's a diner on the corner. They make a great western omelet." Kyra replies.

"Good, anybody want anything?" Hans asks the table. Everybody shakes their heads and he leaves to get some food.

*****

Robert McCallister shifts in his bed and the warm body next to him wraps her arm around his waist. Suddenly, he feels the 'Buzz' of another Immortal and he instantly reaches for his sword. As the Immortal passes, Robert breathes a sigh of relief and remembers where he was. < Oh God, what a night. > He looks down at the sleeping woman and thinks to himself. < Ah, Constance. You do make me feel alive. > He then checks his watch and silently curses himself. < It's two o'clock. Damn, I must've slept longer than I thought. > Then he chuckles ruefully. < That's what fighting three battles in one night and having sex with a beautiful woman will do to you, old man. > He then gently disengages Constance's arm and smoothly gets out of bed. He quickly gets dressed and looks out the window and grins at the number of people present. < Damn, Steve must have called in reinforcements. > The Roman General grins to himself. < The lad had good teachers. > Robert picks up his sword, preparing for a quick work out. As he retrieves it, he bends down and kisses Constance. She stirs, but Robert quietly tells her. "Sleep, my lady. I'll be back." Then he walks outside into the sunlight. As he walks out, various people greet him, including Kyra.

"Robert, finally getting up?" She asks with a knowing grin.

"Yes." Robert replies simply, then yells out. "Is anyone here in the mood for a work out?"

John Trent, standing on the second floor landing, watches the strange man come out with a sword and ask for a work out. < So he wants a work out? Okay, I'll give it to him. > John then leans over and asks. "I'll give you a work out. Are you any good?"

Robert looks over to where the voice came from and sees a young man of slightly oriental features lean down and look at him. Robert grins. < Young upstart, let's see how he fares against me. > "Come on down son. I'm fairly certain to teach you a thing or two."

John grins and gets his sword. As he walks down the steps he notices that the man was loosening up. John waits for the man to complete his ritual and as the man turns, John introduces himself. "Hello, I'm John Trent. And you are?"

"Robert McCallister. A pleasure to meet you, John."

"Same here." John replies as he enters his opening stance. Robert, seeing John ready, enters his opening stance, a classic fencer's form with his heavy rapier extended and the body positioned behind it in a straight line. John grins. < This is going to be easy. > John thinks to himself as his Katana flashes out and they begin the dance. John begins with a cut to the head, followed up with a feint to the stomach. Robert blocks the first and deflects the second and lunges straight in for quick hit at John's heart. John deflects Robert's blade and around and using both hands attempts to force Robert's blade up and away, giving him an open target.

*****

Nash and his SIU partners watch in amazement as the two men fight with swords. He asks Kyra. "Isn't anyone going to stop them?"

"Why? They're only practicing and from what I can see both know what they're doing. That Trent guy is quite good. Not up to Robert's skill level, but still good. And besides, Robert wanted a workout and Trent's giving it." Kyra remarks with a smile.

"Aye, the lad is most impressive, but I've seen Robert take down better swordsmen." Arthur replies.

*****

John has quickly learned respect for his opponent. < Damn, this guy's the best that I've ever faced. Who the hell is he? >

Robert watches for an opening, but Trent is too fast and good to give him one. < This kid is good. Not up to an Immortal's ability with a blade, but he's still damn good. > Finally, Robert decides to try something new. He sets up a rhythm. He starts to attack at the head, then the legs, then he goes after the chest, then repeats.

Trent feels the rhythm start to build and suddenly finds himself taking part in it. < Oh shit. He's started a rhythm. If I make one mistake, I'm dead. I've got to break it before he sets me up. >

As Trent begins to figure a way to break out of the trap, Robert slashes his sword at Trent's head, Trent blocks it, then goes to his legs to block the slash going there. Suddenly Robert changes the slash to a thrust and Trent finds Robert's sword at his throat. Trent feels the blade sitting there and lowers his sword and looks at Robert. Robert takes his sword away and raises it in a salute. Trent returns the salute with a formal bow and asks. "God, where'd you learn to handle a sword like that?"

"Oh, here and there." Robert replies nonchalantly as he claps a hand on Trent's shoulder. "My skills are small compared to a few people here. Thanks for the work out John. You were an excellent opponent."

Trent looks around him and wonders. < If this guy is speaking the truth. I've just landed in the middle of a group of master swordsmen. What the hell is Calvin and the rest doing here then? >. John watches as Robert walks back to his hotel room and the lady standing in the doorway takes his hand and leads him back inside.

"Blokes definitely going to get lucky." A familiar voice behind John replies. John slowly turns around and sees David McCarter and Calvin James standing there with grins on their faces.

John grins as well, then asks. "I'm glad you guys made it. Can you now tell me what the hell is going on?"

Calvin and David look at each other apprehensively and shrug their shoulders. Before they can lead John off, Kyra, Nash and Arthur walk up to them and Kyra asks. "Can you tell Mack and Casey to come over to our table when they have a chance?"

Calvin looks over Kyra and asks himself. < Damn, I wonder if Barbara knows about her? < Sure, I'll give them the message."

"Thanks." Kyra replies as she heads back to her table with Arthur.

*****

Miss Parker turns to Sidney and asks. "Sidney, what the hell was that display about?"

"A light sparing match. If I'm not mistaken." Sidney replies with a grin.

"Sidney, I don't shit about fencing, but those two were incredible." Broots comments.

"Since most of Mr. Jamieson's people were carrying swords. I can safely state that they must have a use for those types of weapons. And from the way those two were sparing, I wouldn't wish to face them."

"But why swords? Why not guns or knives?" Miss Parker asks.

"Something Jarod told me about Jamieson might explain it." Sidney muses. Miss Parker and Broots wait for him to gather his thoughts. A minute later Sidney snaps his fingers and explains. "Jarod told me that Jamieson planned two of the raids to save the hostages the cult was holding. If fact, Jarod said that Jamieson felt that rescuing the hostages was the most important part of the mission."

"What does this have to do with the swords?" Broots asks.

"Simple Broots, when you can't use a gun, a sword is the best choice for a close quarters weapon and in the hands of people like those two, even more dangerous."

*****

Calvin and David escort John to the hotel room being used by Mack and Barbara. When they enter Calvin introduces John to Mack. "John Trent, this is our boss, Mack Bolan."

John looks on the face of the man who had become legend for his war on the mafia and asks. "You're Calvin's boss?" Mack nods. "Then tell me what the hell am I doing here?"

"John, what we've got to do here is a little hard to explain. Let me show you this video tape first and then I'll answer any questions you might have."

"All right Mr. Bolan, I'll watch the tape." John replies. Mack nods his head and begins the video tape. John watches it to it's end and he finally asks. "So we're going to fight vampires. Are your people ready for it?" John asks. Calvin and the other members of Phoenix Team look at John with shock.

"John, don't tell me you believe in the damn things?" Calvin asks.

"Yes I do. In fact, if I'm not mistaken that girl from the tape was the Slayer. Wasn't she?"

Everyone in the room stares at John, until Barbara asks. "How do you know about the Slayer?"

"Five years ago, I teamed up with a Slayer by the name of Celia Porter. I worked with her for six months. When her Watcher found out about me, he forbid her to see or work with me. She agreed and a month later, she was dead. That Italian prick told me that another girl had already been called and the Slayer would fight again. I asked was it worth it for the Slayer to fight alone and have all those young girls die, the smug bastard said that tradition called for it. I almost beat him to death for his attitude." John replies sadly, then asks. "Can I ask a question?"

"Sure John. Go right ahead." Mack replies.

"Why are you and all those people helping her fight? The Watchers don't allow the Slayers to associate with anyone, let alone such a large group of fighters."

"We got the call from a friend of ours by the name of Steve St. Wolf. Steve is the present Slayer's boyfriend and he felt that they needed the backup for tonight's fight. Are you willing to help?" Mack replies.

"Of course I will. But I have to ask, why does the Slayer have a boyfriend? The Watchers don't allow things like this to go on. They tend to isolate the girls from their families and friends, keeping them under their thumbs." John comments.

"You haven't met this Slayer. Her name's Buffy and she won't stand for that kind of treatment and Giles, that's her Watcher, doesn't mind her having a social and family life. In fact, last time I was here, he was helping us fight those vampires."

"Thank God. At least this Watcher has common sense." John mutters.

"You'll like Giles, John. He's a bit stuffy, but he cares about Buffy like she's his daughter." Mack replies.

"Just one more question. Who is this Steve St. Wolf guy? A lot of people out there are here because of him."

Mack sits back and relaxes for a second, then he begins neutrally. "Well, Steve is a bit hard to explain."

Casey, sitting off to the side, laughs. "Mack, get over it. Just tell the kid that St. Wolf is the world's biggest boy scout and pain in the butt. He'll understand that."

John grins at the man's blunt attitude and he asks. "I take it that he's gotten you involved in various 'good deeds'?"

"Yeah, you got that right. Seven years ago, that bastard shanghaied me and a few other people to help him rescue a group of kids that were grabbed up by white slavers. We tracked them down to an estate just south of Tripoli, Libya. We stormed the estate and took these bastards out and got the kids out of there. Five months ago, he called me up and asked for my help with a bunch of vampires." John nods his head towards the TV. "Yeah, I was there, and now I'm here. Once that bastard has your name and phone number get used being called to help kid." Casey grouses, half heartedly.

Lida, Barbara, Sonja and Gabrielle, sitting off to the side softly laugh at Casey's attitude. Lida impishly asks. "So that is why you don't like him Casey? Because he brings out your good side?"

"Yes, exactly that." Casey grinds out.

The four women grin and Sonja asks. "Haven't you ever considered that he's your punishment for all those years of being an obnoxious jerk?"

Casey just glares at Sonja, who laughs. The three other women just giggle. He looks at Mack and mutters. "Remind me never to bring Lida and her friends to one these things again."

"Why? Because they're having such a good time at your expense?" Mack replies with a grin.

Casey glares at his old friend and growls lowly. He then looks at the four women and notices that his wife and her two friends were talking softly with Mack's friend Barbara. Casey's mouth splits into a grin as he notices the looks they were giving his friend Mack. < Poor bastard. I should do something, but I won't. > Casey's grin splits wider as he gets up and stretches. "All right Mack, you finish talking to your man here and I'll go outside and see if there's anything to eat."

"Before you go Mr. Romaine." Calvin James begins. "A lady by the name of Kyra asked us to tell you and Mack to see her. She's sitting at one of those tables set up in the parking lot."

Casey grins. "Kyra's here? It'll be good to see her again." As soon as Casey says that, he realizes the serious mistake that he'd just made. < Oh SHIT, Lida's here and she heard me. >

Casey winces as he hear Lida ask, in a soft, low voice. "Casca, my love. Who is this Kyra?"

Barbara's voice takes the same tone. "Yes Mack. Who is she?"

The rest of the people in the room just watch on, covering their mouths. Mack and Casey squirm uncomfortably and Mack shoots a 'What the Hell did you get me into' look at his old friend. Meanwhile, Casey's friends start the betting. David McCarter, hearing what was being bet on, grins and offers up. "I'll bet twenty that Mack cracks first." Calvin James and the rest of the Phoenix team looks on in shock as McCarter bets against their boss. David looks at them and smugly tells them. "I'm not betting against Mack. I'm betting on Barbara." Gary Manning just shakes his head and grins, barely holding in the laughter. The rest of the team is just as bad and Casey's group is even worse.

Gabriel wanders over to where the men are and notices the exchange of money and sweetly asks. "What are you boys betting on?"

Hurvolf looks into those sweet blue eyes and doe like innocence and his sixteen hundred years of experience screams at him. < GET AWAY, DANGER, DANGER. > But his mind suddenly suffers a major loss of blood and he slides up to her and quietly tells her. "We're betting on how long it'll take Lida and Barbara to make their husbands regret that they got up out of bed this morning."

Gabrielle sweetly replies. "Oh that's sweet." Then she moves over to her friend Sonja and tells her. "Sonja, Casca's and Mack's friends are betting on who will crack first."

Sonja grins and looks over to the betting taking place. "You know something Gabrielle? That sounds like fun." Then she moves over and starts to bet on Lida and Barbara.

*****

Part 46 - Current Events
(Even Demon Worshiping Mayors Have a Need to Know)

Sunnydale City Hall
1415 PST

The Mayoral aide quietly knocks on the Mayor's office door. A few seconds later he hears a calm. "Enter." The aide then respectfully enters the presence of his master the Mayor of Sunnydale.

The Mayor looks up from his putting game and asks. "What is it Williamson?"

The aide continues to stare down at the carpet as he reports. "Mr. Mayor, there is a large amount of activity at the Motor Lodge."

The Mayor looks at the aide as he swings his putter. "What sort of activity?"

"Approximately thirty heavily armed individuals have taken up residence there. They arrived at the Motor Lodge in LAPD Assault vans at approximately seven o'clock this morning. Since around nine o'clock this morning, several more groups of similar individuals have begun to assemble there, in force."

"How well armed are they?"

"We don't know, but we have observed at least two advanced combat craft landing behind the Motor Lodge."

"Interesting. Did you find out anything about the people involved?"

"That is the most intriguing thing about it, Sir. The first group appeared to be made up of Immortals, thirty of them, plus a few mortals and a Gargoyle."

The Mayor stop swinging his club and quietly asks. "Thirty Immortals fighting together as a group? Are you sure?"

"Sir, it's worse."

"How can this be worse? The Immortals are supposed to kill themselves off. Not fight together against a common enemy. Who could have screwed up our carefully laid out plans for them?"

"The Slayer was seen leading these same individuals on the raids in Los Angeles, last night."

The Mayor throws his putter into the wall and yells out. "And you chose to tell me this now? I should destroy you for your incompetence."

"Sir, I was only waiting for verification of all of the information before I came to you."

"And who verified this information?" The Mayor asks.

"The information Demon KLLKLJ. It cost us a young girl, but he gave us all of the information that I have just given you."

"Did he tell you anything else?"

"Yes Sir. But it's so improbable that I would discount it as idle ramblings."

"What is it? I want to hear it anyway."

The aide takes a deep gulp as he tells his master. "Three of the Nine Swords of Destiny have resurfaced and they are in Sunnydale at this moment."

The Mayor looks at the aide and hisses a curse. As the aide prepares himself for death, the Mayor calms down and orders. "Observe what happens at the Motor Lodge. Do not. I repeat, Do Not interfere with those people. Am I understood?"

The aide shivers, lucky to be alive. "Understood Sir. I'll go and make the arrangements."

"Good, now get out of here." The Mayor orders and the aide rushes out of the office.

The Mayor looks up from his putting and makes a quick memo to himself. "Kill Williamson." With that done, the Mayor goes back to his putting.

*****

Part 47 - Information Gathering
(Ain't Computers Wonderful?)

Ten Miles Outside of Sunnydale
1430 PST

Major Gerber's HUMVEE arrives at the rally point where his troops are waiting for him. As his car pulls up his second in command, Captain Stan Thorpe, walks up to it and salutes. Gerber returns the salute and orders. "Stan have the men gather in five minutes. I want to go over the mission profile with them." Stan nods his head and mutters. "You got it Jack." Then he turns around and orders. "Assembly in five minutes. Put them out and police the area. I don't want to see a single gum wrapper left." The men grumble but do as they're told.

As the men clean up, Johnson calls over to Maj. Gerber. "Major, I've got eight hits on the items you asked me to look up for you."

"Are they in English?"

"Three of the articles are in English, four are in Japanese and one is in German."

"Have you read the English articles?"

"Yes sir. Do you want a quick rundown?"

"Go ahead Johnson."

"Well Sir. According to the first article, the Slayer Swords were created by a Japanese wizard whose name translates to Fire to fight Demons and Vampires. The second article is from a book called 'Myths and Heroes'. It describes the swords as being carried by a husband and wife team of monster hunters and details various battles that the couple had fought over a one year period. The third article is a story from the National Enquirer about a demon being killed in Prague, about seven years ago and the sword Demon Slayer being used to it."

Gerber and Chavez look at each other. Gerber then asks. "How old are the first two stories?"

"The first one was published in an Occult Journal called the 'The Stones' about 150 years ago. The second story was part of a book that was published in the late 1950's."

Gerber and Chavez absorb the information and then Gerber calls out. "Bushido, come here."

Bushido, puts away his gear and he rushes over to Major Gerber. "Yes Sir. What can I do for you?"

Major Gerber points to the computer and tells him. "Read the four items that Johnson pulls up for you and give me a run down on what you read."

Bushido goes over to Johnson and reads the articles. Several minutes later, he walks back to Gerber and asks. "Sir, I'm finished."

"Give me a rundown Bushido."

"Yes Sir. Three of the articles are epic poems dating back to the 10th, 11th and 14th centuries in Japan. They deal with the battles fought by a pair of mythical heroes called the Demon Slayer and the Vampire Slayer. The fourth article is a news story about a man and a dragon fighting a demon in a rural village on the northern tip of Okinawa. That story was written about three years ago. The funny thing is that I'm familiar with the writer. She usually only writes hard news stories for the major papers in Tokyo, not the National Enquirer."

"Thank you Bushido. That'll be all." Bushido nods and joins the rest of the men clustered around the command vehicle. Gerber waits for the men to settle down and begins. "Men, we've been given a mission that I'm not comfortable with. Our superior has ordered us to help FBI Agents Mulder and Scully on a classified mission." Murmurs of surprise rise from the men. "I know that our standing orders are to take them out if we find them on site, but those orders are changed." The men quiet down and listen. "I know all of you have heard the reports on the raids done by the LAPD on the so-called vampire cult terrorizing the city."

The men nod their heads and one of them quietly asks. "Sir, don't tell us that aliens are doing this?"

"No, no aliens are doing this." The men let out sighs of relief. "Real vampires are doing it." Gerber looks on his troops and feels pride well up in his chest as the men digest the news, ask themselves some questions, then accept the news.

Bushido raises his hand and Gerber nods, letting him ask. "Sir, then how is the LAPD taking them out?"

Gerber grimaces and let's out a sly smile. "The LAPD is not doing the work. Mulder and Scully called in a black operations group called Section Seven." The men look astonished that Mulder and Scully would do such a thing. "Before you ask, yes they are participating in the raids themselves."

Captain Thorpe asks. "How long have Mulder and Scully had access to such assets?"

"About five months. Chavez and I have recently met with them and the field commander for Section Seven and we've come to several conclusions. One of them is that they're not going to compromise Section Seven or any of it's assets, including us."

One of the men comments. "Sir, I've studied Mulder's and Scully's profiles and those two should have blabbed long before now."

"Well it appears that we're going to have to re-profile them. Because we visited them in the home of Section Seven's field commander. They're staying there while working on this case."

The men look astonished at this turn of events and Bushido mutters. "Is that guy crazy? Those two can't be trusted with anything vital or secret."

Gerber and Chavez chuckle. Bushido gives them a look as Gerber explains. "I wouldn't call him crazy in his presence Bushido. St. Wolf doesn't take kindly to insults."

"Let him come on Major. I've taken bigger men down. I'm not scared of him."

"Bushido, this guy could kick your ass without working up a sweat. So don't piss him off."

"Major, no one's kicked my ass in the last fifteen years and the only man that ever did is dead." Bushido replies.

Gerber and Chavez grin as Chavez asks. "Did they ever find the body?"

Bushido thinks back and then it hits him. < The body disappeared! > "Shit Sir. You don't mean?" Bushido watches as the grins spread across their faces. "He's alive? Oh Hell Sir. Cherokee is alive?"

"Yes he is. He's also the field commander for Section Seven. So treat him with respect." Major Gerber orders his men. He then checks his watch and orders. "All right, everyone mount and move out." As he gets in he orders his driver. "Take us to the Sunnydale Motor Lodge."

*****

Part 48 - Demons and Demons
(When You Gotta Have Demons - Sorcerers Are the Best)

Sewers - Somewhere under Los Angeles
1430 PST

Katherine enters the dark sorcerer's lair and watches as the man, now naked, hungrily licks the vampire blood from Lisa's throat. She continues to watch as Caitlin softly kisses and licks the mortal's back where the scars of their lovemaking were visible. She looks around the laboratory and her sight falls upon the fifteen human sized demons and three giant demons. She also notices the six corpses that the demons were busy consuming and smiles. She looks for her two guards. When she doesn't see them, she angrily asks. "Sorcerer! Where are my two guards?"

Alistair King reluctantly breaks away from the two females and looks at Katherine with lustful eyes. "I needed further nourishment than what that single vampire could provide. So I took them. Do you have a problem with that?"

"Yes, I do. They were to get you food for those two." Katherine looks pointedly at Lisa and Caitlin, who cringe under her glare. "They were not to be taken." Katherine angrily states. Her other bodyguards prepare to attack, if called.

Alistair laughs and points to the demons. "With their additional blood, I was able to get you more demons. So don't complain. Any of these are worth ten vampires."

Katherine looks over the demons and smiles. "Will they follow orders?"

"Yes they will." Alistair replies, then turns to the Demons. The largest one steps forward and bows to him. Alistair points to Katherine. "Dubrouz, the vampire queen Katherine will be your master from now on. She is going to raise Throlog the Merciless. Follow her orders and she will show you great feasting."

The Demon looks at Katherine and gives her a blood red grin. He then turns back to Alistair and comments. "We will follow her Sorcerer. Thank you for calling us. The bargain that you have struck is sealed and what you want is yours."

Alistair smiles and reaches for his robe. Katherine looks at him through slitted eyes and asks. "What bargain have you struck with him Demon?"

The Demon turns to Katherine and replies. "The Sorcerer bargained for immortality and we have given it to him. That is all."

Katherine looks at the Demon and at the Sorcerer and shrugs her shoulders and grins. "When this is finished Sorcerer, come and see me." Katherine tells him < Then we'll see how immortal he truly is. > Then she turns and followed by her entourage and the Demons leaves.

*****

Part 49 - Convergence of Forces VII
(And the Sound of a Kitchen Sink Being Thrown In Is Heard by All)

Sunnydale Motor Lodge
1430 PST

Rick Bettina slowly moves his car into the parking lot of the Motor Lodge. As he scans the cars parked there, he spots Nash's yellow Barracuda and parks to one side of it. As he and his two companions get out, he notices an angry Nash Bridges approach. As Nash get's within arms reach, he angrily asks. "What the hell are you doing here Rick? And why are those two Toronto cops doing here?"

"Nash, I'm sorry, but I couldn't sit by and let you fight these things alone. I explained everything to Peter and Kermit and they also agreed to help."

Nash turns to the two Toronto Detectives and asks. "You believe?"

Peter and Kermit look at each other and Peter explains. "Yeah, we do. Kermit and I have faced some weird things together and we understand what's going on. Helping you kill these vampires won't bother us."

Nash looks at Caine and realizes that these two have been through some strange cases. "Okay you three can join us. But you follow orders. Is that understood?"

"Not a problem, Pete and I always follow orders." Kermit replies with a sly grin.

"You better." Nash replies as he moves off to watch the sparing.

*****

Sunnydale Motor Lodge
1445 PST

Terry slows his van down as he enters the parking lot. He stops his van and just stares at the various sparing sessions going on. Heather also stares in wonder at the sight of six couples facing off with real swords. "I don't believe this is happening." Heather mutters.

Mike Night Wolf and Connor turn their heads and both look out the window. Mike opens his mouth and mutters. "Grandfather. Where the hell did Cherokee get them from?"

Connor grins. "All of us know how to use swords Mike. It's nothing special."

Mike nods as he watches Kyra does a back flip to get away from Arthur's sword. "You sure about that?" Mike asks.

"I'm positive. Now Terry, the office is to your left. We'll need to get rooms and wash up a bit." Terry nods his head and immediately heads to the office. Once there, Connor gets up and out of the van. He asks Duncan. "Duncan, you've been here before. What's it like?"

Duncan grins as he thinks back to February. "Imagine having a bunch of friends over and not having to worry about a thing."

"Sounds like heaven." Connor replies with a grin looking at Kyra while she's sparring. < Damn, I hope she's still single. >

*****

Sunnydale Motor Lodge
1500 PST

Maj. Gerber's driver stops the HUMVEE a short distance away from the Motor Lodge driveway. Gerber looks in with his binoculars and mutters. "God, it's a freaking convention. Where the hell did Cherokee get all of the Errol Flynn wannabes?"

Bushido, sitting behind the Major quietly remarks. "Major, those guys aren't wannabes. They're fucking masters. Some of those styles are beyond even me. Look at that guy in the black shirt fighting the woman in the brown shirt." Bushido points out Arthur and Kyra sparring. "He's using a modified broad sword defense technique against the woman. She's fighting back with the form called the 'Dragon's Dance'. I've only seen two people use that form. Both of them were ranked as master swordsmen."

Gerber looks at Chavez and Chavez mutters. "Well, he did warn us that swords were standard issue in his unit."

"Yeah, but this?" Gerber replies, still staring at the various sparring pairs. His thoughts are suddenly broken by the honk of a car's horn.

As Gerber watches, the dark blue Blazer pulls up to his HUMVEE and his old friend rolls down the passenger window and calls out. "Jack follow us in."

Bushido, sitting in the back seat, mutters. "Ancestor, that's him. Where has he been for the last fifteen years?"

"Working for a covert operations group called Section Seven. Any other questions?" Chavez comments.

Bushido quickly composes himself as he replies. "No Sir."

*****

St. Wolf Residence
1445

The house is chaos as the group prepares to go to the rendezvous. Steve, Mulder, Frank, Robert, Xander, Oz and Lone Gunmen load boxes of ammunition into Steve's Blazer, Oz's van and Cordelia's car. Buffy, Scully, Cassandra and the rest of the women are getting out various weapons and checking them. Brian sits on the stairs watching them as they move and quietly prays. < God, please let them live. I lost my Mom and Dad to those vampires and I don't want to loose these people as well. > As the weapons are checked, they're taken to one of the cars and stored there.

When the last weapon is placed, the group relaxes and Byers comments. "I never thought that a single person could own that much weaponry and not be on the ATF's most wanted list."

"You'd be surprised at what you can get when you know a few people Byers." Steve replies, then asks Buffy. "Buffy where are the anti-tank rockets?"

"They're in Cordelia's trunk."

"Good, we might have a need for them."

Nakao looks up from the magazine that she's loading and asks in awe. "Where did get you anti-tank rockets from?"

"From this guy I know in Israel. He sells me all of my weapons." Steve replies with a grin.

"How much did all of this stuff cost you?" Mulder asks.

"Surprisingly not much." Steve replies as the room gives him a 'explain or die' look. He relents and with a grin tells them. "I saved his life when a Djinni tried to kill him. Every time I need something, I give him a call and it's where ever I need it within a day. I pay him whatever he asks and he's happy." As he finishes his story, Steve checks his watch and tells everyone. "All right, it's time to go. Frohike, Byers, Langley, Willow, Jenny, Robert, Randi, Nakao and Brian will be staying. Once Cordelia drops us off, she'll also come back and help Jenny, Willow and the Gunmen. They have to find the Watcher's meeting place so we can save their collective asses. The rest of us will be at the Motor Lodge with the rest of the assault teams, working on a plan of action. Any questions?"

"Yes, I have one." Randi asks. "Why are we still here? Can't we go home?"

"I'm sorry Randi." Steve begins. "You three will be our guests for at least another day. There are some things that I have to tell you and I'm afraid that I don't have the time to do it properly." Randi, Nakao and Brian start to look nervous. "Please understand. I will explain everything to you tomorrow and then, if you three want to leave, you can. No strings. So please bear with us. You have my word on it."

Randi gives Nakao and quick glance and Nakao nods her head. Randi then turns back to Steve and tells him. "All right, we agree. We're your guests until tomorrow."

"Good. Now it's time to get moving. Buffy, you can drive the Blazer. Mulder and Scully you're with us. Frank and Cassandra are with Cordelia and Xander. Amy, you're with Oz. We'd better get to the Motor Lodge before Gerber does. Jack tends to have a light trigger finger and I don't want a shoot out."

*****

The three cars make their way to the Motor Lodge without incident. As they approach it, Steve notices a group of HUMVEEs parked nearby. He points them out to Buffy. "Looks like Jack's waiting for us. Pull over to the lead car, I'll tell him to follow us." Buffy nods her head and pulls up next to Jack's HUMVEE and lightly beeps the horn. Steve rolls down his window and tells Jack. "Jack follow us in." The HUMVEEs follow the three cars in. As they enter the parking lot, Steve points to the office and tells Buffy. "Buffy, please park by the office." Buffy pulls the Blazer into the spot in front of the office. Oz, Cordelia and the HUMVEEs park along side.

*****

Kyra stops fighting Arthur and looks over to the entrance of the Motor Lodge. She watches as the motorcade drives in and parks by the manager's office. She recognizes the lead three vehicles and grins. "It looks like Steve brought some extra friends." She tells Arthur.

"Aye, it would seem so, my lady. But who are they?"

"We'll find out soon enough." Kyra looks around at the gathering host. She steps forward and the rest of the leaders come forward with her. They wait for Steve and the rest of his group.

*****

Steve, Buffy, Mulder and Scully climb out of the Blazer and watch as the people in the Motor Lodge assemble. Steve and Buffy start forward and Kyra gives him a hug and "Glad to see you again." Steve returns the hug and Kyra then hugs Buffy, Mulder and Scully. The scene is repeated as various people get back together.

*****

Jack Gerber, standing with Chavez and Bushido, comments. "Looks like Steve and his people have a good relationship."

"But what about those guys?" Chavez asks as he looks at three groups, standing away from the greeting session.

"Probably newbies, like us." Bushido replies.

"I think you're right. Look at how they're being brought in by other people." Chavez comments as he watches Mack Bolan introduce his group to Steve and the rest.

*****

Mack Bolan moves back to Phoenix Team and asks them to come forward. He quickly introduces each member and stands back as Casey comes forward with his group. Lennox MacDuff introduces his people and Nash's. Everyone is ready and willing for the coming battle. As Steve moves around, he notices the Blue Berets standing off to one side and calls out. "Jack, get your lazy ass over here. Bring Chavez and Bushido with you." The three exchange grins and walk over and introduce themselves. Various people look at the uniforms and frown, but the three's open smiles and handshakes settle everyone down.

As Steve is talking to Nash Bridges, a figure walks up behind him and taps him lightly on the shoulder. Steve turns around and finds himself being hugged a man of early middle years. The man pushes him back and Steve sees who it is. He lets out a breath and hugs him back, while saying. "Damn it Mike. It's good to see you again."

Mike Night Wolf grins and replies. "It's good to see you again. Can you tell me what you've been doing for the last fifteen years?"

"Sorry Mike. I can't. But I'm glad you could make it."

"I hope, that from now on, a major crisis like this isn't the only reason you see fit to call me."

"No. Now I'll call you in for every little party I throw." Steve replies with a grin.

"Good. Now, when do we get to off some vampires?"

"First, I want you to meet someone." Steve replies and calls over to Oz. "Oz, come here for a second. I want you to meet an old friend of mine." Oz calmly walks over.

Mike watches the kid in question walk over and he wonders < Damn this kid is armed to the fucking teeth. I wonder why Cherokee wants me to meet him? > As Oz draws near, Mike's heightened senses catch the smell. < Oh shit. He's a werewolf like me. > He watches as Oz's face makes a slight twinge, but it quickly disappears, replaced by a calm exterior.

Oz walks up to Steve and the strange man and calmly holds out his hand. "Hi, I'm Oz."

Mike takes the kid's hand and calmly tells him. "I'm Mike Night Wolf, Oz. I can see why Cherokee asked me to come here. You need my help."

"Why?" A confused Oz asks.

"Want me to show them?" Mike asks Steve.

"Yeah, now would be a good time. If you do it tonight, you might get shot up." Steve replies, then turns around and yells out. "Everybody form a circle. Now." The people from a circle around Steve and Mike. Steve looks over to make sure everybody has a clear view and calls out to Gerber. "Jack, your people as well." Gerber nods and his men join the circle. Mike stands alone in the circle and he gives a silent nod to Steve, who yells out. "Mike is about to change his appearance. No one and I mean NO ONE is to draw a weapon. Am I clear." The crowd murmurs its agreement and Mike straightens out and the change begins. Everyone watches as Mike rears back his head and lets out a long howl. The crowd watches as the change comes over him and his body begins to grow larger and his jaws elongate. His ears move to the top of his head and become pointy. A few seconds later, a full-fledged werewolf looks on the crowd.

One of the Blue Berets quietly murmurs. "My God. It's a Loupe Garou. A real werewolf."

*****

Miss Parker watches as the people gather together. < Dear God. Who the hell are these people? > She thinks to herself. She looks at Willie and asks. "Willie, those soldiers. Who are they?"

"I don't recognize the uniforms or unit patches Miss Parker. So I can't tell you who they are." Willie explains.

"I can tell you who they are, Miss Parker." Broots comments. Miss Parker nods her head and Broots continues. "They're called Blue Berets. And if I'm reading their unit patches correctly, they're an alien retrieval team."

Gar gives Broots a disgusted look and snidely remarks. "Broots you're an ass. How the hell could you know the unit patches for such a secret group?"

Broots looks Gar in the eye and tells him. "Check out the magazine in my brief case. It has an article on unit patches at Area 51. The troops out there are carrying the one marked 'Alien Retrieval Unit'.

Willie walks over and takes the magazine in question. He spends several minutes looking through it and finally he says. "Broots is right is Miss Parker. The article gives a description of the unit as well."

"Read it." Miss Parker orders.

"The Blue Berets are an elite branch of the units working out of Area 51. They are made up of men taken from the Army Special Forces/Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Force Recon and Air Force Special Forces. They are trained to contain an area and use any means at their disposal to secure and contain a possible alien and or it's craft. They are equipped with state of the art in weapons, communications and biochemical warfare technology. Author's note: If you should ever see these men, run. Because their orders are to shoot to kill anyone near a crash site."

A shaken Miss Parker asks. "Sidney, what the hell is a unit like that doing here?"

"They were escorted in by Mr. St. Wolf himself, Parker. So I would think that they're here to help him." Sidney replies.

"Miss Parker, Sidney. Something's going on. They're forming a circle around St. Wolf and another guy." Broots calls over.

Miss Parker and Sidney rush over and watch. "Damn, our view is cut off." Miss Parker mutters.

"Let's use the stair case. Maybe we can get a view from the second floor." Sidney remarks as he exits out the door, quickly followed by Miss Parker. As they mount the stairs to the second floor, both hear an unearthly howl. They train their binoculars to the center of the circle and watch in fascination as the man becomes a werewolf.

"Am I imagining this Sidney?" Miss Parker asks.

"No you're not. Because I see the same thing. My God, that man is an actual werewolf. I thought they were only legends."

"Sidney that group is here to take out a bunch of vampires. If vampires are real, then so could werewolves."

"Parker can you imagine the implications of all this? Real vampires and a werewolf. Can you imagine how many other so-called legendary creatures could possibly exist?"

Miss Parker grabs Sidney's arm and points to one side of the circle. "What the hell is that?"

Sidney points his binoculars and looks over the imposing figure with wings, tells Miss Parker. "I do believe that is the Gargoyle that Jarod mentioned was helping them. I think Jarod called him Grif."

"Let's get down before we're seen Sidney." Miss Parker orders. "I think I need a stiff drink."

"I'll join you." Sidney replies as they walk down and back into their rooms.

As they walk in Broots asks. "What happened out there? We heard the howl."

Miss Parker walks over to the bar and pours herself a stiff drink and then sits down in one of the chairs. After she had finished about half of it, she gives Broots a level look and tells him. "Sidney and I just watched one of those people change himself into a werewolf."

The room is silent as Broots' mouth opens and closes without making a noise. He looks at Sidney and Sidney only nods his agreement. < What the hell have we walked into? > Broots thinks to himself.

"At least now we know what helped him take out those sweeper teams in Texarkana." Sidney comments wryly.

*****

Heather watches her dad change in front of the entire group and whispers a quiet prayer. "Oh please God. Let these people understand that Dad only wants to help." She watches as various members of the group step forward and offer their hands to her Dad and she watches as a proud Michael Night Wolf transforms himself back into a man to accept those hands. Heather watches as the rest of the group also moves in and welcomes him.

"Don't that beat all?" Her cousin Terry remarks.

"Don't you go telling anyone that my Dad is a werewolf." Heather tells him.

"No, I'd never hurt your Dad or want him to be hurt. He's a man that I can respect."

*****

Wally looks at the highway sign noting the exit for Sunnydale and turns to Jake. "Jake, thanks for the ride, I can hoof it from here."

"Relax Wally, you helped make a long journey short. I'll take you to the motel. It'll only take a few minutes."

"Thanks man. It's been a pleasure riding with you."

"Same here." Jake replies as he pulls into the Motor Lodge parking lot. He looks over and stiffens in his seat. < It can't be the MacLeods. Can it? > He looks again to his side and then notices Kyra Adams talking with Connor MacLeod. < Oh shit. What the hell have I stumbled onto? >

Jake stops the car as a man in a uniform walks up to him and politely asks. "Sir, do you have business here?"

Jake rolls down his window and nervously tells the man. "No, I'm just dropping off a friend to a meeting here."

The man looks at Wally, who replies. "I'm here for the meeting. Coyote sent me to see Wanderer."

The man nods his head and tells him. "Go over by the main office and park there. Someone will be by to see you in a minute."

Jake parks by the office, next to a dark blue Blazer and looks back. < Maybe I can get out of here without anyone noticing? > He thinks to himself, but the three soldiers standing by his rear bumper puts that plan to a quick rest. He turns to Wally and asks. "Wally what the hell is going on here?"

"Jake, I wish I could tell you, but I can't. But I can tell you that we're not here to hurt innocents." Wally explains.

*****

Steve, Mack, Casey, Gerber, Macbeth and Robert McCallister are going over a roughed out Table of Organization and Equipment when one of Gerber's men walks over. He salutes Gerber and bends down and tells him. "Sir, there are two men here looking for some guy called Wanderer. The said a guy named Coyote sent them."

"Are they secure?" Gerber asks.

"Yes sir. Three of the men are keeping an eye on them."

"Good." Then Gerber turns to the rest of the group and asks. "Anyone here called Wanderer?"

"That would be me, Jack." Steve replies.

"There are two guys here looking for you. They said some guy named Coyote sent them."

Steve's mouth splits into a grin as he gets up. "Continue working on this. I'll be right back." Then he turns to the Blue Beret. "Show me where these two are." The soldier nods and leads Steve away.

*****

Jake and Wally are standing by Jake's car and Jake feels very nervous. < I've just seen a dozen Immortals. What the hell is this place? > He turns to Wally and asks. "Who is this Wanderer guy?"

Wally gives a grin. "He's one of the toughest bastards that I've ever met. I once saw him take out an entire motorcycle gang."

"How'd he do it?" Jake asks, noticing the three soldiers listening in.

"I had just started working bar at Coyote's when this motorcycle gang walked in with a couple of girls they had grabbed up. Things got bad from there. I tried to call the local cops and the bastards ripped out my phone. They then tied me up, after beating me up. Those bastards then started to force the girls into doing a strip show for them. Before the girls could strip, Wanderer walked in."

"He immediately sized up the situation and offered the gang a choice. Give up or get their asses kicked for their trouble. Most of the gang attacked then and he beat the crap out of them. In five minutes thirty members of the gang were piled up in one corner. Six of the members had hung back and after Wanderer threw the last of their friends onto the pile, they drew down on him.

"They immediately fired and he dodged. As he dodged, he drew his own guns and fired into them, killing all six of them. The gunfight had barely lasted two seconds. He then walked up to me and cuts me free and tells me to go outside and call the cops. He then walked over to the girls and told them everything would be all right.

"I called the sheriff and he came down fifteen minutes later with a dozen deputies. They arrested the surviving members of the gang and took the bodies of the dead ones away. The sheriff, backed up by his three largest deputies, walks up to Wanderer and asked him why he defended those girls. Wanderer looks the sheriff straight in the eye and tells him. 'Because they needed the help'. The sheriff nodded his head and tells Wanderer. 'The six dead will be treated as justifiable homicides. Thanks for the help.' Then the sheriff and his deputies walked away, taking the girls with them.

"After they left, Wanderer turns to me and asks 'Old son, where's Coyote? He usually stops things like this from happening.' I told him Coyote had a family emergency and he would be back the next day. He then ordered a beer and helped me clean up. After that he left. Coyote came back the next day and he asked what happened. I told him and he just grinned and told me that those bastards were lucky to be alive. When I asked him who this Wanderer guy was. His only reply was that he was a friend."

Jake stares at Wally and quietly asks. "Did you ever find out this Wanderer guy's real name?"

"Yeah, it's Steve St. Wolf, why?" Wally asks as Jake starts to grin. "Jake, why are you grinning like that?"

"Just realized that I can finally say thanks to guy who did me a favor a while back."

"Oh and what favor was that?" A voice asks from behind the pair.

Both Jake and Wally turn around and come face to face with Steve St. Wolf. Steve looks them both over and asks. "Where do I know you two from?" Before either can reply, Steve turns to the soldiers and orders. "You four can go. I'll take care of these two."

"Yes Sir." One of the soldiers replies and the four leave. Steve then turns back to Wally and Jake.

Wally steps forward and replies. "Mr. St. Wolf, I'm Walter Simmons, former Gunnery Sergeant, Marine Force Recon. I work as the bartender at Coyote's bar."

Steve looks over the young man and asks. "The Walter Simmons I know is over fifty years old. Care to tell me who you really are?"

"Coyote gave me something that made me young again. Hold on a sec, let me get out a bottle of the stuff." Wally reaches into his bag and pulls out a bottle, handing it over to Steve, who looks it over and grins.

"You know that each bottle of this stuff will only keep you young for a month?" Steve comments.

Wally shrugs his shoulders and grins. "At least it lets me help you. After that I don't care."

"Welcome to Section Seven Wally. Feel free to mingle." Steve replies and then asks Jake. "Where do I know you from?"

Jake looks over the young Immortal and wonders what sort of life he has led. "I meet you about fifteen years ago. You stopped at my road house and we were sharing a beer when you killed that nutcase and took his sword."

Steve thinks back for a second and then he remembers. "Jake it's good to see you again. Are you still a Watcher?"

Surprised, Jake asks. "How do you know about the Watchers?"

"Joe Dawson's a good friend of mine, Jake. I also know my present Watchers and both of them are good friends. If you want, I'll introduce you to one of them. He's here for the meeting with us."

Jake just shakes his head, not believing what he's hearing. Finally he asks. "What's going on here Steve and what is Section Seven?"

"Section Seven is the name of a covert operations group that's been formed to fight certain things. Many of the members are Immortals that want to give something back to humanity. The reason we're here now is because a vampire queen is trying to raise a Demon by the name of Throlog in downtown Los Angeles. We've spent all of last night taking out about three hundred of her vampires. Tonight, she can raise the Demon and her target is the meeting of a secret society. She's going to sacrifice two thousand of its members to raise the Demon."

Jake listens to this and then it all clicks together. "You don't mean they're going to attack the Society of Watchers meeting?"

"I'm afraid so. My Watchers don't know where the meeting is because the rest of the Watchers know that I would try to rescue Joe." Steve replies.

"Why would you need to rescue Joe?"

"Because the Society's putting him on trial again. I had Joe do me a favor and the Society feels that Joe had betrayed them by doing it."

"What sort of favor could you have asked that would have pissed off the Society so much?"

"I found out the secret to the 'Game' and arranged with Joe to send copies of my findings to every known Immortal in the world." Steve replies and explains about the Krevar journal and it's translation.

Jake looks at him in shock and he asks. "My God. No wonder they're pissed off. You solve one of the world's greatest mysteries and then tell all of the Immortals the truth about the 'Game'. They feel cheated. It wasn't Joe's decision to make. The entire Society should have had a say in the matter."

Steve looks coldly at Jake and asks. "And while they're busy debating, more Immortals are dying. Where is the justice in that? As far as I'm concerned, Joe did the right thing and many of my friends feel the same way."

"I never thought about it that way. You Immortals have a right to live as much as anyone. I just never thought that the 'Game' would end up being revealed as a sick joke. Man, I need a drink." Jake mutters.

"Sorry Jake, no drinking before a fight. This place is dry." Steve replies with a grin. "Now what favor did I do for you? As I remember it, you were going to save my ass from Markham."

"Remember those six bastards that killed your first wife?" Steve nods his head. "After you killed them. They found evidence that tied them into a dozen more murders in Arizona and New Mexico. Their fifth victim was my cousin, Heather. I just wanted to say thanks for taking them out before they could do anything else and for giving my family a sense that justice had been done."

"Jake, thanks aren't necessary. I did those bastards because of what they did to Kathy. End of story." Steve angrily tells him. "I'm sorry that I'm sounding like an idiot, but what you said does bring back some bad memories."

"I know man, sometimes it's just not the right time, but I had to tell you." Jake replies.

"No bad feelings Jake." Steve replies as he holds out his hand. As Jake shakes it, a horn is heard from the entrance to the Motor Lodge. Steve turns to see the rest of his friends making it to the rendezvous. Jake gives him a look as the dozen LAPD assault vans roll in. Steve grins as he tells Jake as he moves off to meet them. "It's the rest of my friends making it in for the fun. Feel free to mingle Jake."

Jake watches as the vans park in the lot and another thirty people join the small army already there. He shakes his head and mutters. "Shit. I need a fucking drink. This is too much."

*****

Part 50 - Sparing Sessions
(Swords, Swords and More Swords, But Where Are the Swords?)

Cody Rodgers looks on in awe at the number of people waiting at the rendezvous. "My God. When Steve said he was calling reinforcements, he wasn't kidding." He mutters in awe.

Bob Devlin looks at the people standing around and quietly adds. "I don't know whether to be happy for the extra bodies or pissed that we might not get to see any action."

"I wonder how many of these are as long lived as our other 'friends'." Cody asks.

"A lot of them, judging by the number of swords present." Bob replies evenly.

*****

Ice looks on at the group waiting for them and quietly tells his three friends. "Shit Christine, where the hell did all of these people come from?"

"I don't know Ice, but I'm glad that they're here." Christine tells him as she thinks. < Mulder and Scully really pulled out all of the stops on this one. I wonder how Daniels is going to take it being one upped by them? >

*****

Scarlet looks on and waves to her brothers and their friends from San Francisco. She turns to Tommy and tells him. "It looks like they all made it."

"Yeah, I guess we weren't the only ones to call in back up." Tommy replies with a grin as he sees Nash Bridges standing next to Arthur. "Should we tell Nash who Arthur really is?"

Scarlet grins back. "I think that we should save that particular surprise for when we're back home in San Francisco and I have a camera handy."

*****

Ironman grins as he sees the rest of the Stonyman Group standing together as a unit. He turns to his two partners and comments. "God, I wish I could have seen their faces when Mack told them we were going up against vampires."

"I can just imagine McCarter's face. Oh that would have been fun." Gadgets replies with a grin.

"I want to see Hal's face. His cigar will definitely fall out at that one." Politician comments, smiling through his mustache.

*****

Jarod looks on in wonder and awe at the small army standing in the Motor Lodge's courtyard. < I can't believe that all of these people are here to help. It's incredible. > Jarod thinks to himself as he gets off the van.

*****

Miss Parker takes a deep breath as she notices one of the SWAT officers disembarking from a van. She grabs Sidney's arm and points to him as she asks. "Sidney, is that Jarod?"

Sidney looks through his binoculars and watches as Jarod walks among the assembled warriors as one of them. < My God. Jarod looks like he belongs with these people. > He turns to watch Miss Parker's reaction.

Miss Parker watches as Jarod proudly walks among some of the world's most dangerous people. She notes that he looks into the eyes of his comrades unflinchingly and easily melds with the people around him. She turns to Sidney and asks. "Sidney. Do you think I should go out there and talk to him? Maybe I can talk him out of this?"

Sidney thinks for a moment, then agrees. "It might just work, Parker. You could offer him a two day head start if he leaves immediately. He might take it."

"All right. I'll offer him the head start. But what if he doesn't take it?"

"Then we have no other alternative then to wait this out." Sidney sadly replies.

"You can, but I'm not." Miss Parker replies and walks out the door, straight towards Jarod.

*****

Jarod calmly walks around the Motor Lodge, soaking the sensations of being among so many people. As he passes by the office, a woman bumps into him. He suddenly feels something hard being pressed against his side and he looks down into Miss Parker's hard eyes as she calmly tells him. "Walk with me Ratboy. We need to talk." Miss Parker then calmly leads him to a secluded spot away from everyone's direct sight of him.

*****

Jinx and Billy watch as the woman leads away the SWAT officer and both exchange glances. They quickly nod in agreement and quietly follow the pair. If they were just going to talk, no problem. If something was to go down, then they would be there to back up one of their own.

*****

Miss Parker leads Jarod to a secluded spot and roughly pushes him up against the wall. Jarod momentarily loses his balance and Miss Parker presses her advantage by pushing him up against the wall, again. As Jarod is momentarily helpless, she wraps her arms around his neck and pulls him in for a deep kiss. A full minute later they break apart and as Jarod is catching his breath, Miss Parker tells him. "Jarod, please leave here. I'll give you a two days head start. Just leave."

"I can't Andrea. I'm a SWAT officer and my unit is going help take the vampires down tonight. I won't desert my fellow officers." Jarod explains.

"Jarod, you are not a SWAT officer. You're a Pretender. Please leave."

"I can't." Jarod simply replies.

Miss Parker's eyes mist as she tells him. "You can't do anything if you're wounded. I won't let you die on me like my mother did. If I have to cripple you to keep you alive, I will do it."

Miss Parker then roughly pushes herself away from Jarod and in a single quick motion, she points her gun at Jarod's knee and prepares to fire. Before she can, she feels a gun pressed to the back of her head and voice quietly tells her. "Lady, I don't know what your problem is with Russell, but he's one of ours and Clan Storm Shadow doesn't leave their friends hanging."

Miss Parker allows Jarod to take her gun and she quietly watches as a young oriental woman walks forward and orders. "Billy, you can let her go." The gun is removed from the back of her head

Miss Parker turns around and watches as a young man with an eyepatch steps back. She turns to the woman and asks. "Who the hell is Clan Storm Shadow?"

"That would be our little family of ninjas." The oriental woman explains.

"Ninjas?" Miss Parker asks in confusion. "Are you here with John Trent?"

"Sorry, don't know him. But if he's here, then he's considered family." Jinx explains, then asks Jarod. "Russell, we're going back to the meeting. Will you be all right with her alone?"

"Yes, I will. Thanks for the save Jinx, Billy." Jarod replies as the two ninjas nod and leave as silently as they came. Jarod then turns back to Miss Parker and asks. "Andrea, that was one of the stupidest ideas that you have ever had. What made you think to shoot me?"

Miss Parker bites her lower lip and tells Jarod. "I don't want you to die Jarod. Shooting you was a stupid idea, but you left me no choice." < I lost my Mother. I don't want to lose you as well. >

"No choice? You want me to abandon people that I've come to care about and leave them to face monsters that no sane man should ever face and you ask me about choices." Jarod angrily tells her as he grabs her shoulders. "Andrea, I've seen what these things are capable of and it scares me. I've seen more death in the last 24 hours than I think I should see in any dozen life times. These people are here to fight for humanity and I won't be a coward and run away. These people have shown me things that I thought didn't exist in the world and I won't let them down."

"What sort of things have they shown you?" Miss Parker asks.

"Honor, courage, selfless dedication to protect the innocent, things that the Centre never taught me. There are people here whose lives are based on those three virtues. Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed it possible to find so many such people together in one group."

"Are these people that virtuous? They're a covert operations unit for God's sake. Just being one of those is a license to lie and murder. They do not officially exist. No government body claims the group as a whole or any of its individuals. How do you know that all of that virtue is not some facade to deceive you?"

"A single person might be able to deceive me Andrea. But a group this large?" Jarod asks.

Miss Parker looks at back at the courtyard where various people were holding impromptu sparing sessions with swords, stakes and hand to hand combat exercises. The various groups were freely mingling and talking while taking down weapons and loading magazines. She watches as the setting takes on the mood of a gathering of close friends. She turns back to Jarod and asks. "Why does this seem so surreal? These people are going into battle, against two to three times their number of vampires and they're having a party. Why is that?"

"Andrea, these people know what they're going to face. Yes, all of them are scared. I'm also scared, but, like them, I'm going to fight."

"If you're so scared then why fight?" Miss Parker asks, not understanding the reasoning behind Jarod's words.

Jarod then tells her of the previous nights fights and the bodies of the murdered people found at each site. He describes in detail the number of children killed by the vampires and how their bodies were stacked up like firewood in their nests. He then tells her of the battle fought at the Regal Tower and how he and a few others held the vampires at bay protecting the innocents under their care. As Jarod's story unfolds, Miss Parker's mind wanders back to a dramatic reading of Shakespear's Henry the 5th and the words spoken by her professor with such passion and eloquence:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhood's cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

She again looks on the people in the courtyard. She looks through Jarod's eyes and doesn't see a group of mysterious strangers. The closest thing that comes to her is when she attended a family gathering with her mother. The people there acted the same way. She watches as the people freely mingle and talk. They smile and enjoy the presence of the people around them. She watches as the Gargoyle freely moves about and talks to many of the new people. They in turn don't cringe back and look on him in fear. They openly greet him as an equal.

She leans back and feels Jarod's arm come around her front as she takes it all in. They stand there, together, silently watching the people in the courtyard. Finally, she breaks away and turns to Jarod, her mother's fire lighting up her eyes as she asks. "How can I help?"

Jarod looks into her eyes and sees something that he hasn't seen in a long time. Hope and determination. The same look that her mother, Catherine Parker, had when she helped many of the Centre's children escape. He leans down and kisses her passionately. Miss Parker is startled by this turn of events, but she eagerly returns the kiss. As they kiss, they hear a gentle coughing noise behind them. Both break apart and look for the origin of the noise. They turn to find Billy and Jinx standing a few feet away. Jarod looks at the pair and asks. "What's up?"

"Steve's going to give a speech. You two interested in hearing it?" Jinx asks as she and Billy turn to leave. Jarod and Miss Parker quietly join them.

*****

Part 51 - Speeches
(Waxing Eloquent is Not the Same Thing As Waxing Your Surfboard)

Steve lightly jumps up onto the roof of his Blazer. He watches as the mass of people gathers around him. Steve takes a deep swallow before he begins. "My friends. First of all, let me thank you for coming here on such short notice. I know many of you traveled quite a distance to be here and I thank you for that as well."

Before Steve can continue, a voice yells out. "Stop with the 'Thank You's' and get on with it." The Motor Lodge fills with laughter as everyone enjoys the witticism.

Steve blushes slightly as he continues, after the laughter dies down. "Three thousand years ago, three hundred Spartans stood at the pass called Thermopylae. They stood there to give Greece time to arm itself against an invading Persian army. Each man knew what he had to do and they knew what would happen if they failed. Today, we stand at just such a juncture. We few stand as protectors of humanity, guarding it from the darkness that seeks to destroy all that we hold dear. Like those Spartans long ago, we must stand and fight with aid from only a few friends. But unlike them, we are not given the luxury of only holding back our enemy. We must destroy them completely.

"The Spartans were lucky that they faced men who could be reasoned with and ultimately forgiven. We are not so lucky. We face a foe that was created to destroy humanity in its entirety, to the smallest child. While we crave a life without worry for our families and friends. They crave the destruction of all of humanity. They are the ultimate pinnacle of anti-life. Sadly I must say this, but we must be hard, for in this battle, quarter can neither be asked for or given. If humanity is to survive, the vampires must be destroyed, root, tree and branch.

"But beware, they will seek to trick us with innocent faces and other means of guile. You may see the faces of innocent children begging you for a chance at life. You may see a beautiful woman holding out her hands to you asking for mercy. And, may the Gods forgive me, you may see a loved one you thought long dead suddenly approach you and make promises of love everlasting. Do not be taken in. These things are not the people they pretend to be. They have to be destroyed or they will let lose a tidal wave of destruction and misery on the truly innocent. Again, I must thank you for coming and helping us in our time of need. Especially those of you who have had past differences and for setting those differences aside." Steve finishes his speech to a silent group.

As he steps off the Blazer, several people begin to clap and soon everyone else joins in. Buffy wraps her arms around Steve's neck and kisses him.

*****

Miss Parker watches in awe as the entire courtyard erupts into applause. She looks back to Jarod, who's also applauding the speech. She also joins in the applause. As the groups break apart, Miss Parker approaches Steve and asks. "Can I help?"

Steve looks into Miss Parker's eyes and sees that the strange woman was serious. He looks over her shoulder and sees one of the SWAT officers silently nod his head. Steve looks over her clothes and asks. "Do you have any clothes suitable for combat?"

"No." Miss Parker replies.

Cordelia steps forward and tells her. "Don't worry. I have a spare set of clothes in my car. I think we're the same size."

"You sure it won't be a problem?" Miss Parker asks.

"No, it won't." Cordelia replies as she takes her by the arm and leads Miss Parker to her red convertible.

Cordelia opens the trunk and Miss Parker sees the six rocket launchers in the trunk. She turns to Cordelia and asks. "Do you usually carry so much firepower in the back of your car?"

Cordelia grins. "Not usually. It looks like my boyfriend forgot to take them out." Cordelia then turns and calls Xander over. Xander takes a look in the car and immediately grabs two of the rockets while Jarod and Oz grab the rest. After the rockets are gone, Cordelia pulls out a Gucci bag and takes out a set of black SWAT style clothing and a pair of combat boots. Miss Parker takes them and goes to her room to change.

*****

Sidney watches as Miss Parker makes her way back to her room. After she enters it, he walks over to the connecting door and quietly knocks.

*****

Miss Parker hears the quiet knock and steels herself for the coming storm that will be Sidney. She calls out. "Come in Sidney."

The connecting door quietly opens and Sidney enters her room. He looks around and sees the set of black clothes and asks. "Are you sure you're ready for this?"

"No, I'm not. But I'm not going to let Jarod go in there alone either." Miss Parker replies.

"Very well then. Do you need anything from us?"

"No, just keep the Sweepers under control. If they try anything those people out there will kill them without a second thought."

"Understood. Good luck and good hunting." Sidney replies as he closes the door behind him.

Miss Parker watches as the door closes behind him. < Why do I feel like a part of my life has suddenly changed? > She thinks to herself as she quickly changes clothes.

*****

Broots watches as Sidney comes back from Miss Parker's room. Sidney quietly walks over to the bar and pours himself a drink and goes to sit down, staring out the window. Broots walks over to him and asks, in a hushed voice. "What's going on?"

Sidney, still staring out the window, quietly tells Broots. "Broots, she's joining Jarod. She's in there right now changing into a set of combat clothing."

"What about us?"

"We're to stay and keep an eye on the Sweepers."

"That's all?"

"Isn't it enough?"

"Yeah, I guess it is."

*****

Part 52 - Errands
(Jokes Don't Just Grow on Trees)

Xander grins to himself as the broad back of Casey Romaine comes into view. As he confidently walks up to the mercenary and his friends, he calls out. "Casey, my man. How's it going?"

Casey turns and grins at the sight of Xander. Gone was the boy of barely five months previous and a confident young man stood in his place. He raises his hand in greeting and finds it taken in a firm handshake. He looks into the eyes that were once dark and haunting, but now sees eyes lite by an inner strength not seen in many adult men twice his age. He warmly greets this young warrior as an equal. "I'm fine Xander and you?"

"I'm all right. Had a great birthday party. Really liked the present you sent me." Xander replies with a grin.

Casey's grin spreads wider as he asks. "Oh? Does Cordelia know you have feelings in that direction?"

Xander loses his grin for a second and calmly asks. "So, you sent the male stripper on purpose?"

"Of course it was." Casey replies with a grin. "I was playing a joke on you. I hope it didn't embarrass you too much."

"Not much. But it kept the girls in jokes for at least a month."

"I'm sure it wasn't too bad." Casey replies while choking back the laughter.

"I got over it." Xander flatly replies. < But I'm going to get even Casey. >

*****

Lida, Sonja and Gabrielle listen to the exchange between their old friend and the young man and the three share a grin. They put their heads together and quietly hatch a plot to help Xander get even with Casey.

"Poor kid. Casey shouldn't have done that to him." Gabrielle comments.

"I agree. So how do we help him?" Sonja replies with a wicked grin.

"Very simply." Lida replies as she outlines a plot to really get even with Casey.

As Lida finishes, Sonja and Gabrielle look on their friend with newfound respect. Gabrielle whistles in admiration. "Lida, I didn't know you had it in you. That plan is truly evil. I bow before the master."

"Glad you liked it. I never thought I'd use it on Casca, but that poor boy needs to get even with him." Lida replies as she watches Casca make little jokes about Xander with his friends.

As Xander walks away from Casca and his laughing friends, the three follow him. As soon as they are out of sight of Casca and his male friends, they catch up to Xander and pull him to the side.

Xander looks on the three beautiful women who have cornered him and he asks with a mischievous grin. "Ladies, you must tell me what I did to get such attention from three beautiful women."

"Why?" Gabrielle asks.

"Because then I'll know what I'll have to do to get your attention again."

All three women grin as Gabrielle comments. "You know, that's the first original line I've heard in about three thousand years."

"Same here." Lida replies with a light laugh.

Sonja's mouth quirks up in a grin as she tells her two friends. "I heard a similar line, but that was about four thousand years ago."

"Did you sleep with him?" Gabrielle asks.

"Almost killed him from exhaustion." Sonja replies with a smile as she traces Xander's face with her fingertip. Xander begins to backup, wondering what these three wanted with him.

"Ladies, I hope that you didn't get any wrong messages from my little witticism. Please understand that I'm firmly committed to my girlfriend." Xander gasps out.

"That's a good thing to know." A harsh voice replies from behind the three women. They turn to see a dark haired girl standing there with murderous intent in her eyes.

Xander looks at his pissed off girlfriend and weakly tells her. "Cordy, honey, it's not what it seems like at all."

"Oh, you have three beautiful women surrounding you and one of them is touching your face. Is there something else I should know?" Cordelia asks in a low threatening voice.

The three women look at each other and grin, recognizing Cordelia as one of their own. Gabrielle quickly comments. "Damn, the boy has good taste in women."

"Why do you say that?" Cordelia wonders.

"It's obvious that he's in love with you. He was more than ready to ask us to leave him alone. That doesn't happen very often, especially to the three of us." Sonja replies with a grin.

"Oh? You do this often?"

"It's one of our favorite games." Gabrielle replies with a grin.

"You like playing games with other women's men?" Cordelia replies in a low angry voice.

"Yes, we do." Sonja replies with a crooked grin.

"I should kill the three of you right now. But you'd only get right back up again." She tells the three.

Sonja grins as she looks at Xander. "Damn it Xander, I do believe that she loves you."

"Hey." Cordelia yells out. "I do not love weasel boy there. I barely tolerate him." And with Cordelia firing the opening salvo, the two begin to trade verbal barbs. Lida, Gabrielle and Sonja just shake their heads, barely holding in the laughter.

Sonja looks at Cordelia and Xander as they trade insults and grins. "Gods, these two are hopelessly in love."

Lida, who's really enjoying the insults and noting a few for her later use, calmly steps between the two lovebirds and tells Xander. "Xander, we heard what Casca did to you. We want to help you get even with him."

"Why?" Xander asks with more than a little suspicion in his voice.

"Because we enjoy getting his goat. We do it to keep his ego in check. It tends to get a little big sometimes." Sonja replies.

"So what's the plan?" Cordelia asks. < Damn, I like these women. >

Lida outlines the plan. After she finishes Xander and Cordelia are smiling from ear to ear. "And I thought Mulder was evil for what he did to Frohike. You ladies leave him in the dust." Xander tells them.

The three look at each other and back at Xander and Cordelia. Gabrielle asks. "What did this Mulder person do?"

Xander and Cordelia take turns describing the fall of Frohike. By the time they're done, all three women are barely holding in the laughter. Sonja looks at her two friends and wheezes out. "Damn and I thought we had the corner on pulling pranks. That was a very evil thing to do to someone, especially a friend. I wish that I could have seen it."

"You can. Steve had the whole thing filmed." Cordelia replies between giggles.

"You're kidding!" Lida asks on the verge of laughter.

"Nope. He has at least four different camera views of it. As well as full sound." Xander replies between chuckles.

A few minutes later the fivesome breaks apart and Xander and Cordelia go to her car to get some of the materials they needed for the prank. As they are about to leave the Motor Lodge, one of the Blue Berets gives them the pass word sequence to re-enter the courtyard.

*****

Part 53 - Immortality Cursed
(What Does a 250 Year Old Woman Do With a 12 Year Old Body)

*Clang* goes the sword as it hits the pipe, just missing Allison's head. The small Immortal has been running for the last three days, trying to escape from the two Immortal headhunters chasing her. < Why did they have to come? James' family was perfect. He and Carol knew what I was and they still gave me a home. > She thinks to herself between the tears. < These bastards killed them. For no fucking reason, they just butchered them. If only I was an adult, this wouldn't have happened. > She thinks ruefully as the two hunters force her into a dark alley. She knew this was the end for her. Allison waits for the brief feeling of pain and the end.

Suddenly she hears a commotion at the alley's mouth. Allison opens her eyes and sees a young black woman fighting the two headhunters off, with her bare hands? Allison moves closer to watch. The woman moves like lightning, raining blow after blow on the two hunters. The hunters are too shocked to fight back and both begin a retreat, getting away from this fury in human form. Finally both men break away and run. The woman stands where she is and watches them run. The woman is taking deep breaths and cooling herself down. Allison walks forward and asks. "Who are you?"

"My name is Kendra. Who were those two?" She replies in a Jamaican accented voice.

"I don't know who they are. But, they've been hunting me for the last three days. After they killed the family that I was staying with."

"Come with me. I'll get you some place safe."

"Thank you." Allison tells Kendra as she takes the woman's hand. Both move out of the alley and Kendra starts towards Buffy's house. Allison looks at the worried look on the young woman's face and asks. "What's got you so worried. If I can ask?"

Kendra smiles as she replies. "Nothing you should be worried about. It's a matter for adults." < Demons and vampires were definitely not the right thing to talk about to a twelve year old child. >

Allison smiles. < I'm a lot older than you are or ever will be. >

Kendra's sixth sense suddenly kicks up and she looks around. Then she see's it. A car was racing towards them. The driver and passenger were the two men she had just beaten off of Allison. She picks up Allison and immediately begins to run.

*****

"I can't believe you had me drive into that 'Industrial' area just to pick up a load of itching powder." Cordelia complains to her boyfriend/antagonist Xander.

"But Cordy, you know that Lida's plan needs this stuff to get Casey. I want to get even with him for that practical joke he did to me on my last birthday."

"Oh, Xander, we girls didn't mind it at all." Cordelia replies with a giggle.

"Yeah, I bet you didn't. That bastard sends me a *MALE* stripper and you girls find it funny."

"Oh come on, honey, just because we didn't stop harassing you about it for at least a month, doesn't mean we don't love you."

"I know Cordy, but Casey's going to get it." Xander replies with a wicked grin on his face.

Suddenly, Cordelia breaks the car. Running in front of them is a young woman both of them know well and she was carrying a small girl. Closely following them are two men in a car, trying to hit them.

"Shit, did you see that?" Xander asks Cordelia.

"You bet your ass I did. Let's go!" Cordelia replies as she burns rubber in pursuit of Kendra and the men following her.

"You got anything in the car? I'm only carrying my Glock 21." Xander asks.

"Yeah, one of Steve's Ithaca 'Shorty's' is under your seat."

"What's it loaded with?" Xander asks as he pulls it out.

"Rhino Rounds. Steve said they were the best things in the world for stopping cars."

Xander grins as he aims the shotgun at the car's rear tire.

*****

Patel and Anjay are pissed. The girl had stolen an easy Quickening from them. Now they would kill her and still get the Quickening from the girl. Patel watched as Anjay steered the car and almost hit them both. Suddenly Patel hears an explosion from the rear of the car and Anjay loses control of the vehicle, hitting it into a telephone poll. Patel last sight is the vision of the telephone pole coming at him.

*****

Kendra turns around at the sound of the explosion behind her and watches as the car chasing them loses control and rams itself into a telephone pole. She watches as a red convertible pulls up to her. Both of its occupants are old friends. She looks down at Allison and says. "Let go, these are friends of mine."

Allison looks at the couple in the car, and thinks to herself. < My God, these are teenagers. What the hell are they doing driving around with loaded weapons in the car? Drug dealers? No, I don't think so. Their eyes are too clear and act like they're professionals. Military? Police? Maybe. But what cops can afford to drive expensive cars? >

*****

Xander smiles evilly as the Rhino Round literally shreds Kendra's pursuer's rear tire. The loss of the tire causes the car to swerve and slam into a telephone pole. Cordelia brings the car to a stop close by Kendra. Xander gets up and shouts. "Kendra, get in the car and bring your friend with you."

As Xander is helping Allison into the back seat, Cordelia keeps an eye on the surrounding neighborhood. As Kendra stows her bag in the back seat, Cordelia pulls on Xander's arm. "Xander, those guys in the car. They're both getting up and they have swords."

"Shit, they're Immortals." Xander curses.

Kendra looks at him in confusion. Allison also can't believe what she's just heard. < They know about Immortals? How? >

Xander turns to Kendra. "Kendra, why are these guys chasing you?"

"They're not chasing me. They're chasing the little girl here."

Suddenly the large bore of the shotgun points at Allison's head, no make that neck. She observes. < He even knows how to kill us!? Who are these people? >

"Tell me now. Why are they chasing you? And exactly how old you are."

"My name is Allison. I'm 250 years old. They want me for an easy Quickening."

Kendra is shocked at what the little girl called Allison has just said. Xander grunts and jumps out of the car, facing the two sword armed men. The two men stop and Xander calls out. "Why are you chasing the little girl?"

One of the men steps forward and motions with his sword. "She is ours to do with as we please. Release her to us and we won't hurt you."

As Xander prepares to shoot both men with the shotgun, all three Immortals suddenly hold their heads as they receive a huge 'Buzz'. Xander looks at Cordelia and tells her. "Something big is coming. Be ready to run."

The sound of a motorcycle is then heard as all three Immortals stare at it. The bike stops about 20 feet from Cordelia's car as the rider gets off it. The rider is an impressive 6' 6" tall and all muscles. He pulls out a Katana from under his saddlebags. Then he walks forward and Xander shifts his shotgun in his direction, Cordelia covers the other two with her pistol. "Who are you?" Xander asks.

"My name is Stalker. I claim those two pieces of shit."

"Why?"

"Those cowards killed several children who were under my protection, as well as the families caring for them. I hate cowards and these two butchers are the worst of their kind. They hunt only children."

Suddenly Allison raises herself from the back seat of Cordelia's car. "Stalker, I'm safe."

"Allison? How did you escape?" Stalker cries out and rushes over and gives her a hug, not believing she was still alive. Xander moves back, still covering him. But allowing him to see and touch Allison.

"These people saved me. Stalker, they know about Immortals."

Stalker's head swivels back to Xander. "You know of Immortals?"

"Yeah, we know about Immortals, and we also know that the Game is a scam."

Stalker purses his lips. < This young man is incredibly well informed for a mortal. I'll have to have a talk with him later on. > "Then you know what I have to do, don't you?"

"Yeah, we know." Xander replies as he pulls out his Glock 21 and shoots Anjay in the knee. "I take it that by the time he recovers, you'll be done with the first one?"

"Not a problem." Stalker remarks with a grin as he approaches Patel. Patel assumes a battle stance of an ancient Indian sword style. Suddenly he attacks. The swords meet only once and suddenly Patel's head is rolling on the ground. As the head rolls, a mist rises up from the body and lightning begins to strike everything close by. Kendra watches in awe as the mist and lightning enters the body of the man called Stalker. His face reflects the pain and rapture that he is feeling at this time. Suddenly it is over. Xander hands Cordelia the shotgun and calmly walks over to Stalker and helps him up.

Kendra whispers to Cordelia. "What did I just see? What was that?"

"That was a Quickening." Cordelia calmly replies. "When an Immortal kills another, he gains their memories and experiences, both good and bad. They also gain the memories of Immortals that Immortal has killed."

Allison listens to Cordelia explanation about Quickenings and wonders again. < Who are these people? And what do they have to do with Immortals? >

Meanwhile, Xander is walking Stalker out of his stupor. Stalker notes that the young man had also picked up his sword and was holding it ready for him. < Damn, this guy knows us. >

Xander asks. "Stalker, do you think you can take this other guy?"

Stalker smiles an evil grin. "On one foot with both hands tied behind my back. This piece of shit doesn't get away."

Xander nods and hands him back his sword. Stalker nods his head in thanks and enters his battle stance. Anjay gets up from where he's lying down and picks up his sword. He looks at Stalker and then at the head of partner lying on the ground and does the only thing he can think of. He runs. Anjay only gets about ten feet before he feels two bullets strike his right knee. He falls down and cries for mercy. Stalker looks at Xander, who has only fired once. He looks around to where the second bullet could have come from and he sees the convertible's driver standing with a gun in her hand. < Damn, these two are good. I only hope they're also honorable. > He then moves to where Anjay is laying and brings his sword up. "Fight" Stalker demands.

"I can't. I'm too hurt to fight you."

"Then you die." Stalker tells him as he takes his head. The Quickening comes a second time.

Stalker falls down and can't get up. The two Quickenings are too much for him. And as he falls forward, he feels a strong pair of hands grab him and gently lower him down.

Xander calls over to Kendra and Cordelia. "Cordy, bring the car here. Kendra, help me get him in the front seat." Xander and Kendra manhandle Stalker into the convertible's front seat and put a safety belt around his unconscious form. His sword goes in the trunk.

As Cordelia makes ready to leave, Xander takes Stalker's keys and tells her. "Take them to the meeting. I'll bring Stalker's bike." With that Cordelia drives away. Allison looks back and watches as Xander mounts Stalker's bike and follows closely behind.

Allison turns back to Cordelia and asks. "Who are you people and how do you know about us?"

Cordelia smiles as she replies. "Some of my best friends are Immortals. I don't hold their being Immortal against them."

< That's nice to know > Allison thinks to herself but she presses forward. "Where are we going?"

"To a gathering of our friends." Cordelia replies, then asks Kendra. "So Kendra, what dire prophecy brings you here today?"

"My Watcher found a prophecy that said that a major demon would rise tonight. I came here to help Buffy stop it."

"You mean Throlog?"

"How did you know? My Watcher only found out late yesterday." A surprised Kendra asks.

Cordelia smiles as she replies. "We got warned early yesterday. We've been hitting the vampires in Los Angeles all night long."

Kendra, in shock, asks. "How many were you able to kill?"

"About three hundred. Maybe a few more."

Shocked Kendra sits back in her seat, her mouth open. Finally she asks. "How?"

"We called in a few friends and went hunting."

"Who?" A shocked Kendra asks. Allison also listens in interest.

"Thirty seven Immortals, a ninja clan, two SWAT teams, four FBI agents, a gargoyle and a three man commando team." Cordelia tells an open-mouthed Kendra and Allison.

< Thirty seven Immortals? Fighting vampires? What the hell have Stalker and I stepped into? > A shocked Allison thinks to herself.

Before Kendra can ask another question, Cordelia pulls up to a roadblock being guarded by a military HUMVEE and smiles at the soldier present. The man steps forward and politely tells her. "I'm sorry Miss, but you'll have to go around. There's been a chemical spill and we can't allow anyone through."

"Code phrase: Zeus. Code sequence: Ares, Hercules, Diana." Cordelia tells him.

The soldier immediately snaps to attention and orders the roadblock lifted. Cordelia drives through and the roadblock is lowered behind her.

"Who are you people?" Allison asks again.

"You'll see." Cordelia replies

Suddenly Allison's head explodes. Stalker is roused from his stupor by the pain in his head.

"Where are we?" A scared Stalker asks. < How many of us are here? >

"We're at the Sunnydale Motor Lodge. My friends are having a rendezvous here."

"How many Immortals are here?"

"At last count, about 60, but more could have come in." Cordelia replies as she parks her car. Xander pulls up on Stalker's motorcycle and tosses him the keys.

A shocked Stalker grabs the keys by reflex, then asks. "Who are you people?"

Cordelia smiles as she gives Stalker back his sword. "Section Seven, Black Operations." She tells him. "You three might want to come with me. I'll take you to the leaders of this little gathering."

Stalker nods and trailed by Allison and Kendra, follows Cordelia to the side of the Motor Lodge parking lot. As they pass by groups of people preparing weapons, loading magazines and generally having a good time, Stalker mutters. "My god, this is an armed camp. What the hell are you people going to attack?"

"Steve will explain it to you." Cordelia replies as they approach a young girl fighting a young man. All four stop to watch the fight with practiced eyes.

Stalker looks at the sparring pair and comments. "Damn, she's good and the guy's just as good. Who are they?"

Kendra watches in amazement. "The girl's name is Buffy. She's a Slayer, like me. I don't know who the man is."

"That's Buffy's boyfriend, Steve St. Wolf. He's the man who brought all of this together. After they finish practicing, you can talk to them."

Kendra looks on and asks. "I though Angel was her boyfriend."

"That's changed. Angel became Angelus and tried to kill all of us. Shortly after that, Steve joined us. He's become her boyfriend."

"Why are their swords glowing?"

"The blades are mystical in nature. Buffy is carrying the blade called Vampire Slayer. Steve, the one called Demon Slayer."

Kendra takes a deep breath and asks. "Those are two of the Nine Swords of Destiny. Where did they get them?"

"Steve got his from a dragon named Fragnar. Buffy from a dragon named Smaug. Both of them are friends of Steve's."

"What is this Steve?" Stalker asks in awe.

"An Immortal Demon Hunter who works for Merlin."

"Merlin? As in the Magician of Camelot?" Allison squeaks out.

"The same. There are even four knights of Arthur's original Round Table here with us as well as well as King Arthur, himself." Cordelia replies.

"You have got to be joking. Arthur was just a legend." Stalker comments.

"The legend is standing over there by the blond haired and bearded man." Cordelia points out. Stalker, Allison and Kendra notice the man and watch as he watches the pair spar.

Kendra in shock looks around and asks. "Where's Xander?"

Cordelia looks around the Motor Lodge and grins. "He's trying to play a joke on his friend Casey Romaine. Casey's wife Lida and her two friends, Sonja and Gabrielle are helping. But I don't think Casey's going to fall for it."

Stalker just shakes his head and mutters. "Damn, even Mom and Dad are here?" Then Stalker asks. "Who else is with them?"

Six of Casey's 'male' friends as Sonja disgustedly refers to them." Cordelia replies with a smile.

"Do you know who?"

"Let's see, there was a Glam, Gus, a guy named Hurvolf, I think, another guy named Teacher, Richard Blade and a Jim Gilbride.

< Damn, my entire 'family' is here > "Do you mind if I pay them a visit?" Stalker asks. < God, I haven't seen Mom and Dad in at least ten years. >

"No, but you have to see Steve first." Cordelia replies as the two finish their practice. The gathered crowd erupts into spontaneous clapping as the two bow before them. The clapping quickly turns to catcalls as the man called Steve sweeps the girl called Buffy up in his arms and kisses her.

A grinning Cordelia calls out to them. "Buffy, Steve over here. I found three more friends."

Buffy and Steve walk over as they sheath their swords. As they approach Stalker looks over the pair and grins. < Oh yeah, they're a couple all right. I hope I find someone like for myself someday. >

Buffy walks over and hugs Kendra. "Kendra, what are you doing here?"

"I came to help with Throlog. But I can see that you've already got a lot of help." Kendra replies in a disgusted voice.

"Kendra, we can always use another Slayer. These people are here to help, not replace us." Buffy explains.

"But what about our duty to keep our identities secret, so the vampires can't find us?"

"Kendra, in this day and age, it doesn't matter any more. We don't fight alone anymore. We have allies that will help us and protect us, if we need it."

As Buffy finishes, Grif walks up to them and asks. "Buffy, Arthur wants to know if you would like to spar with him?" Kendra and Allison cringe at the sight of Grif, but Stalker makes to draw his sword. Steve's hand stops him.

"Grif is a gargoyle and a friend, draw that sword and you'll have to face everyone here, Immortal and mortal alike. And I'll be the first that you face." Steve tells him.

Grif, standing nearby, listens to Steve and silently feels a close friendship with this warrior. < I can see why everyone here follows him. He's a born leader, like Arthur. >

Cordelia gives a quick rundown on what happened and how they found Kendra, Stalker and Allison. Steve listens and digests the information. As Cordelia finishes, Steve asks Stalker, "Why did you kill those two?"

"Those two pieces of shit killed three child Immortals that were under my protection. As well as the families that were helping them. They had already killed Allison's family and she would have been their fourth victim, if your friends hadn't interfered. I would not allow their deaths to go un-avenged."

"I can live with that. But understand this. Everyone here has sworn never to play the 'Game' again. As far as anyone is concerned Allison can live out her life in peace. There will be no head taking here. Am I understood?"

"I have no problems with that and I can respect all of you for taking such a stand. But can I ask why?"

"We found out the secret to the 'Game'." Buffy softly replies.

Stalker and Allison are shocked. "Will you tell us what it is?" Allison asks in a quiet voice.

Steve then explains about the Krevar manuscript and it's translation. Stalker looks on in shock and disbelief and finally he asks in an angry, controlled voice. "The slaughter was just a joke? Something to relieve the boredom?" He asks. Steve sadly nods his head. "If that bastard was still alive, I would hunt him down and kill him for it. Do you realize how many good people died because of this?"

"Yes we can and I hope that I've put a stop to it."

"What do you mean?"

Steve then explains about sending out copies of the manuscript and it's translation to every known Immortal in the world. Stalker looks at him in awe. "With sources like that, you could hunt all of us down and take our heads."

"Stalker, I don't play the 'Game' and I never have. I have only taken heads in self-defense and those have been few. I have other things to worry about than Immortals."

"Like what?"

Steve then explains why the gathering was about and their plans for tonight. Stalker looks at Steve in awe and then he looks around him < All of these people? All of these weapons? Dear sweet God. I can't believe so many good and selfless people existed. > Finally he asks. "Do you need another warrior?"

"If you want to help Stalker, you're welcome to join in. Do you have anyone who can vouch for you?"

"My father and mother are here."

Surprised, Steve asks. "Who would that be?"

"Casey and Lida Romaine. They adopted me as a small child and raised me. When I became an Immortal, mother trained me."

"Just your mother? Where was I during all this?" Casey Romaine asks with a wide grin.

Stalker turns around picks up Casey in a hug. "Father, I've missed you."

"We never moved Joshua. We still have the place in Montana. And you should visit your mother more. She misses you." Casey replies as he returns the hug.

Steve clears his throat and both men turn to him. "I take it that you vouch for Stalker, Casey."

Casey gives Steve a proud smile. "Of course I vouch for my son, Steve. See you later. Joshua, let's go and bring your friend with you." Casey replies as he leads his son and Allison over to his extended family.

*****

Part 54 - A Foray on the Forum
(When You Need to Hire the Best, Only the A-Team Will Do)

Great Western Forum
Luxury Box Prison of Joe Dawson
1630 PST

Joe Dawson watches as the Society of Watchers gathers for their Decimal meeting. As he sits back in the seat he thinks back to some of the basketball games that he has watched down on the floor of the Forum. < Man, I can still remember Wilt doing 30 points back in 73. Now, I'm watching my future being decided by people who I've called family. > He hangs his head at the situation as it was laid out to him. < How could they think that I betrayed the Society by telling the Immortals the truth about the 'Game'? I only did it to stop the slaughter. >

As Joe sits back down, one of his guards asks. "Mr. Dawson, there are three people here to see you. Should I let them in?"

"Who are they?"

"Greg Reynolds, Bill Davis and Buster O'Hara."

"Sure, let them in." Joe replies as he gets up to greet his old friends. As they enter Joe gives them a weak smile and asks. "So what brings you three to see me?"

"Joe, something strange happened at Buster's last night." Greg Reynolds begins.

Joe turns to Buster and asks. "What happened?"

"You heard about the cult raids that happened last night?"

"Yeah, the papers and TV news are having a field day with it. At least they're giving your buddies in the LAPD credit for doing a good job. Why?"

"I hate to tell you this Joe. But, LAPD wasn't doing the raids." Buster replies.

Joe gives the younger man a questioning look as he thinks. < Oh shit. Steve got a bunch of his friends together again. > "How many Immortals were there? And who was leading them?"

The three look at each other and Greg asks. "Joe, how hell did you know?"

Joe gives them a small smile as he replies. "Let's just say that I've seen it happen before. Now, how many and who was leading them?"

"About thirty and this newbie called Steve St. Wolf was leading them." Buster nervously replies.

Joe's smile widens as he asks. "I take it that it wasn't only Immortals in the group."

"Yeah, there was an LAPD SWAT team, seven people dressed like ninjas, three guys that I know for a fact are a black ops commando unit, four FBI and a dozen unknowns. They joined up with my four and their SWAT team and took out the cultists at the Regal Tower."

Joe openly grins at the news. "Man, I would've loved to have seen them in action. I'll bet those vampires didn't stand a chance."

The three look at each other in confusion. Finally Bill Davis asks. "Vampires Joe? What the hell are you talking about?"

"There are no cultists gentlemen. What you saw was a vampire hunting party. One question. Was there a cute little blond, about 5'4', couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds in the group?"

"Has a major attitude and can take down a man so fast that he doesn't know what's happening to him?" Buster asks.

"So you've seen Buffy in action." Joe replies with a grin.

"That's her name?" Buster asks. "What is she?"

"She's what's called a Slayer." Joe replies.

"What's a Slayer?" Bill asks.

"It's a girl given enhanced strength, speed, stamina, healing ability and the ability to sense vampires. She hunts vampires."

"Enhanced healing ability? Is she an Immortal?" Buster asks.

"Buffy is. But I'm sad to say the rest of the girls who become Slayers are all too mortal." Joe replies sadly. "Giles once told me that the average life span of a girl who becomes a Slayer is less than a year. Man, what a waste."

"This Buffy girl is not in the records. How do you know she's an Immortal? And why was she hanging with this St. Wolf guy?" Bill asks.

"I met her five months ago and Duncan MacLeod told me she was an Immortal. Steve St. Wolf is her teacher. Heck, he's more than that if the reports Giles and Jenny were sending me are correct, she's teaming up with St. Wolf on a permanent basis."

"Who is this St. Wolf guy? I checked his records and there are so many blank spots on his record that it looks like we don't have a Watcher on him."

"Until recently, we didn't." Joe replies and the three look at him.

"What do you mean we didn't have a Watcher on him? Why?" Greg asks.

"Because watching St. Wolf is a very hazardous job. We've lost too many Watchers trying to follow him and decided that it wasn't worth it."

"Does he kill his Watcher's?" Bill asks.

"Steve would never kill one of us. He respects the Society and what we do too much for that."

"He knows about the Society? How?" Greg asks.

"Read his Chronicles and check out the Istanbul incident back in 93. That'll tell you how he found out about us." Joe evenly replies.

"But why do Watchers die while watching him?" Buster asks.

"Officially he's an antiques dealer. But his main occupation is as a Demon Hunter." Joe tells them.

The three look at Joe with blank stares, until Buster asks. "I hope you're joking Joe. There are no such things as Demons and vampires."

Joe gives them a grin. "I wouldn't bet my house on that guys. Five months ago I saw twenty Immortals get together to fight two hundred vampires. That's where I really saw the potential that the Immortals really have and agreed to do what's going to get me killed."

Greg looks down onto the court and murmurs. "Looks like the meeting is starting. Joe, would it be all right if we spoke in your defense?"

"I wouldn't mind having a few people speak for me. Since Franzetti didn't bother to invite any of my friends or supporters in the Society."

"Why'd he do that?" Buster asks.

"Because he's afraid that they would stage a raid to save my ass." Joe replies with a grin.

*****

Great Western Forum
Main Security Office
1645 PST

Katherine quietly watches as the Society of Watchers gathers in the stands above the basketball court. < I have never understood the mortals' passion for this game. > She looks over to one of the screens and checks on the progress the people were making coming in. "How long before they're all inside?" She asks one of her vampires.

The vampire, a former Watcher, watches as the crowd starts to thin out. "They'll be closing and locking the doors in a few minutes. Then, we can strike."

"Good, now all we have to do is wait for the meeting to start and then we will raise Throlog the Merciless." Katherine giddily replies.

*****

Los Angeles Airport
Police Helicopter Hanger
1645 PST

Murdock moves quietly through the parked helicopters and looks for one of the five large Bell Jet Rangers that the LAPD had in its inventory. As he approaches one of the helicopters, he hears several of the pilots talking. "I tell you Typhoon, those Section Seven guys used a freaking laser to fry that building. Man, what a sight."

"So what's the call for tonight?" One of the pilots asks.

"We'll met up with the entire force by Buster's place at 1900 and hopefully they'll have the last nest located by then."

Murdock listens for a short while and wonders. < Must be those guys we ran into last night. Glad we got out of there. > As he moves through the hanger, he sights the bird that he wants, a Bell Jet Ranger Assault unit. He quietly moves to the helicopter and starts the pre-flight. As he gets the bird warmed up, a police officer walks up to it and asks. "What are you doing?"

Murdock grins at him and tells him. "Just giving her a quick test flight."

The cop nods. "Just be back and done by 1830. We'll need that bird for tonight's assault."

Murdock nods his head and hold up his thumb and the cop waves him away. < Damn, I had better get this bird back by then. People's lives might depend on it. > Murdock takes the helicopter and flies east to the pickup point that Hannibal had selected for this mission. Ten minutes later, he lands the copter in front of his three partners and Amy Allen.

Hannibal walks up and asks. "Any problems?"

"Nope, just gotta get this bird back to the LAPD by 6:30. They're doing more raids on the cultists tonight and need this one for the assault."

"Good thing to know Murdock. Let's get this show on the road. Amy, you're coming with us so this Dawson guy doesn't think we're going to kill him?"

"Right behind you Hannibal." Amy replies with a grin. "God, this feels like old times, doesn't it?"

"Sure does Amy. Now if this fool can take us without crashing, we should be fine." BA Baracus comments with a grin.

"I love you too BA." Murdock replies with his best maniac grin.

Hannibal turns to Face and Amy and remarks. "Definitely feels like old times."

The helicopter rises above the lot and immediately moves to the Forum. Murdock lands the copter and Hannibal, Face, BA and Amy get out and head to the roof top entrance. When they get to the entrance, Face picks the lock and all four enter the building. As they go down the access stairs they hear voices coming from the hallway.

Hannibal holds up his hand as one the people speak. "Take these five to the ground floor. They will make fitting sacrifices to Throlog. The legless one I will have for a meal." The A-Team then hears a group of people moving off and a single person moving down the hall.

Amy grabs Hannibal's arm and tells him. "Joe doesn't have any legs. He lost them in Vietnam."

*****

Great Western Forum
Luxury Box Prison of Joe Dawson
1700 PST

Joe looks down onto Center Court and shudders. < Looks like they're really building a court down there. >

Buster, Greg and Bill walk up to where Joe is standing and Buster offers. "If you want me to, I can contact Cody Rodgers and get you busted out of here."

"Don't do it. That'll create the ultimate schism in the Society and everyone will loose then. The Immortals, the Watchers and the rest of the human race."

"Joe, what the hell is going on down there?" Bill asks as he watches a large group of strangers take control of the Forum.

"Hand me a pair of binoculars." Joe orders. One of the guards runs them over. As Joe looks through the binoculars, he sees that the strangers taking over the meeting have fangs and demonic faces. He lets out a curse. "Shit, they're vampires. What the hell are they doing here?"

"Simple mortal. We're going to bring forth the Demon Throlog and you are the sacrifices that we need." A voice tells them from behind.

Everyone turns around and sees four creatures from their worst nightmares standing there. The two guards reach for their weapons and try to fire, but the vampires are on them and quickly disarm them. They herd the small group together and the leader tells his followers. "Take them to the sacrifice area. Sacrificing them should please our queen and Throlog." As they herd the group, Joe falls down and one of his legs bends at an unnatural position and the lead vampire asks. "Do you have an artificial leg?"

"Both of them are gone, monster. What of it?" Joe angrily demands.

"Oh nothing. You'll not do as a sacrifice. So leave him and take the rest." The leader says as he reaches down and rips off both of Joe's legs and grins at his companions. "Don't want my dinner running away from me, do I?" The rest of the vampires laugh and push the five Watchers outside, leaving Joe behind. The lead vampire turns back. "Don't worry. I'll be back for you in a couple of minutes."

The lead vampire watches as his cronies lead their victims down to the sacrifice area. As they start down the stairs the leader begins to whistle a tune as he walks back to his dinner. As he enters, he notices that Joe has broken his cane in half and is pointing at him like a stake. The vampire laughs softly. "So I see that you have some guts cripple. Don't worry, I'll make it a quick death."

"Don't worry you piece of shit. When I die, I'll know that I've taken you with me." Joe replies in a strained voice.

The vampire chuckles to himself and launches himself at Joe. He quickly smacks away Joe's makeshift stake and bends his head back, exposing the neck. As Joe looks into the vampire's eye and spits into it a final time, the vampire chuckles and tells him. "You're braver than most mortals I have dined on. It'll make your blood the better tasting."

As the vampire's teeth rip out Joe's neck, a voice orders. "Hey scumbag. You're messing with a friend of our's. Get away from him, NOW."

The vampire stops and looks around and sees the four people standing in the doorway. He bares his teeth, drops Joe and rushes them. As the team sees the vampire rushing them, BA cuts loose with the M-60 and pushes the vampire back and through the window. They watch as the body tumbles backward and down to the stands.

Hannibal rushes forward and sees that the thing was getting backup from a chest full of 308s and a forty foot fall. The thing looks up and smiles at him and yells out. "There are more mortals in the luxury box. Get them!" Twenty more vampires rush up the stairs towards the luxury box.

Hannibal turns from the window and sees that BA has slapped a pressure bandage on Dawson and he orders. "Lets get the hell out of here. That thing is still alive and he's coming back with about twenty of his friends." Face moves to the front to secure the hallway and BA picks up Dawson and carries him out, quickly followed by Amy. Hannibal does drag. As he leaves the box, he hears a noise and sees a monster crash through the remains of the window. The monster lands on its feet and lumbers toward Hannibal. Hannibal quickly raises his M-16 and fires off his entire 120 round magazine into its face. The monster is forced back and falls through the window, but its roar of anger could be heard. Hannibal grins and drops the double drum, replacing it with a thirty round magazine and he rushes out, following his friends.

In the hallway, Face orders BA and Amy to take Joe to the roof and the helicopter. He'd wait for Hannibal. BA quickly carries Joe to the roof and Amy helps him through the opening and into the helicopter. BA then takes a guard position at the access door.

At the staircase, Face is laying down cover fire on the vampires, shooting out their knees and as the vampires bunch up, he throws two grenades into them. He quickly pastes himself to the wall as the double explosion vaporizes a dozen of them.

As Face prepares for another salvo, Hannibal comes up behind him and orders. "Lets get the hell out of here Face. Bullets aren't stopping these things." Face nods and as they leave, Face throws two more grenades down the stairwell and runs after Hannibal. Both quickly get up the roof access ladder and BA helps them out.

As they back away from the opening a huge, hideously disfigured face raises itself out of the building and looks at them with disdain and anger. It tries to break through, but BA quickly shoots it in the face and goes through the rest of his belt. The monster lowers its head and roars it's hatred of the trio. "I will feast on your carcasses mortals. This I swear." The trio looks at the opening and themselves and rushes back to the helicopter.

Inside, Hannibal orders. "Get us the fuck out of here Murdock." Murdock quickly lifts off and heads towards the nearest hospital.

*****

Katherine looks at the wreckage of the stairway and asks. "How many of my subjects died here?"

Reggie, looking scared, replies. "Fourteen, Majesty."

"Fourteen of my subjects were destroyed and you stand there telling me that only four mortals did this? Was it the Slayer and her companion?"

"No Majesty. The four were completely unknown to me."

"Four, unknown and weak mortals destroy fourteen of my subjects and hurt two of my demons and they get away. Who the hell were they?" Katherine snarls.

"They were the A-Team, Majesty." One of the vampires replies.

"You!" Katherine points to the vampire that just spoke. "You recognized them?" The vampire nods his head. "Tell me what you know about those four."

"Yes Majesty. I recognized the three men. They were known as the A-Team. They were a group of mercenary soldiers in the seventies and eighties. They were supposedly executed by the U.S. Army six years ago."

"Mercenary soldiers? What were they here for?" Katherine asks Reggie.

"They wanted the cripple." Reggie tells her.

"What cripple?" Katherine demands.

"There was a cripple being held prisoner in one of the luxury boxes. He had five others with him. When we captured them, I had the five whole ones taken down to the sacrifice area and I decided to use the cripple as a meal."

Katherine looks at Reggie and wonders. < Who was this man? > She then turns to the leaders of the Society and demands. "Who was that cripple? Tell me now and your deaths will be quick and painless."

"Go screw yourself bitc. . .Urk!" Kensington Raleigh tells Katherine as one of her vampires grabs his neck and twists.

Katherine smiles at the vampire. "Very good Klaus. Next time make it more painful and slower." Then she turns back to the Watcher leads and tells them. "I'll start killing you, one at a time, slowly if you don't tell me."

One of the Watchers comes forward and he tells her. "The man's name is Joe Dawson. He was to be put on trial for treason against the Society."

"What did he do to commit treason?" Katherine asks.

"He violated his oaths as a Watcher and interfered where he shouldn't have." The man replies.

"So who helped this traitor escape?" Katherine asks.

"Probably his supporters in the Society. He's considered one of our most charismatic leaders." The man replies.

Katherine then holds up a picture of Buffy and Steve. "Do you know who these two are?"

"No, who are they." The man asks.

"They are the Slayer and her companion." Katherine replies.

"What's a Slayer?" The man asks.

Katherine grins as she thinks. < Good, then the Slayer won't find us until it's too late. >

A vampire walks up to her and tells her. "Majesty, one of the demons went after the mortals."

"Which one?"

"The winged one, Majesty."

"Good, I hope he finds them and kills all of them." Katherine replies with a smile. The Watchers, within hearing, shudder.

*****

Amy checks Joe's bandage and adds some more tape. Joe grabs her hand and asks. "Amy do you have a cell phone?"

She nods and hands it to Joe who quickly dials a phone number. The phone rings twice and a voice answers. "St. Wolf residence. This is Robert, can I help you?"

"Yeah, this is Joe Dawson. Is Steve there?" Joe rasps out.

"No Mr. Dawson, he's not. Can Jenny help you?"

"Put her on. Hurry!"

A quick minute later, Jenny gets on. "Joe where are you? We've been trying to reach you since yesterday."

"Locked away. But listen to me. Is Steve reachable?"

"Yes he is. Joe, can you get to the Motor Lodge? Steve is there with his friends."

Joe looks over to Hannibal and tells him. "Get me to the Sunnydale Motor Lodge. I have friends there who will help us." Then Joe falls unconscious from the blood loss.

"Joe, are you all right?" Jenny asks as the phone drops from Joe's hands.

Amy quickly picks it up and asks. "Who is this?"

"My name is Jenny, I'm a friend of Joe's. Who's this?"

"My name is Amy Allen, I'm a Watcher. Why does Joe want to go to a Motor Lodge?"

"Our friends are there. They can help him. Is he bad?"

"One of those things tried to rip his neck open. We've got the bleeding under control, but I'm afraid for him."

"Get him to the Motor Lodge. We'll have a doctor waiting for him." Jenny tells Amy and hangs up the phone.

Amy turns to Hannibal and tells him. "We've got to get him to the Sunnydale Motor Lodge. Joe has friends there who will help."

Hannibal nods and turns to Murdock. "Murdock, take us to the Sunnydale Motor Lodge. How long will it take to get there?"

"About twenty minutes Colonel."

Flying behind the helicopter the winged demon follows and lets it's anger build. < I want those mortals dead and I don't care what that vampire bitch says. They die. > The Demon watches as the helicopter turns north and heads towards the Hellmouth. It snickers. < Ah, it's good to be going home. >

*****

Sunnydale Motor Lodge
1715 PST

Steve and the rest of the team leaders are planning contingencies as his cell phone rings. Buffy picks it up and answers. "Hello."

"Buffy, it's Jenny. Get Steve on the phone right now."

Buffy grabs Steve's shoulder and tells him. "It's Jenny. She says it's important."

Steve breaks away from the planning session and asks. "Hi Jenny. What's up? Did you find the Watcher's meeting place?" The table goes quiet as the men and women wait to hear. Steve silently listens and after he finishes he immediately starts to order. "Everybody clear out the center of the courtyard. We've got a bird coming in with an emergency. Scully get out your medical kit. Joe Dawson is on his way here and he's hurt." The people, working out in the center of the courtyard, immediately move to the side. Scully quickly runs to Steve's Blazer and gets out her medical kit.

As the teams merge to the sides of the courtyard, Steve orders. "Use the cars as shields. Lock and load people, we're not civilians here. Jack have your men set up a couple of anti-tank rockets. If this bird's coming in hot. I want to be ready." As Steve's orders die out, the sounds of multiple guns being loaded is heard throughout the courtyard.

*****

Jarod and Miss Parker watch as the rest of the people in the courtyard prepare. Jarod immediately joins up with his team, the Rangers. Miss Parker follows him and stands by him as they prepare for the coming fight. Bob Devlin notices the new face with his group and watches how she professionally loads and arms her weapons. He gives Jarod a quick grin and a thumbs up. < Jarod, you dog. Where'd you get her from? >

*****

Mack Bolan, backed up by both of his teams, watches the skies, waiting for the helicopter to come in. Gary Manning quietly asks Carl Lyons. "Ironman, isn't this just a little paranoid?"

"When you're hunting these things, paranoia keeps you alive." Ironman replies.

"Always expect the unexpected." John Trent adds as his grip tightens on his sword.

*****

Jack Gerber looks over to his men and orders. "Sanchez, Custer. You are not to fire those rockets unless I give the order. Am I understood?"

"Yes Sir." Both men reply.

Gerber turns back to watching the courtyard and asks Chavez. "Tony, what the hell did we do to get ourselves into this mess?"

Chavez gives his commander a quick grin. "Just our jobs Jack."

"Think we should get into a new line of work?" Gerber mutters.

"Like what?" Chavez asks with a grin.

"I don't know. Maybe open a florist shop or something?" Gerber replies with a grin.

"Shut up Jack." Chavez orders, barely holding in the laughter.

"Sergeant, I am your superior officer. Continue to take that tone with me and you will suffer dire consequences." Jack replies sternly, but his eyes twinkle with suppressed laughter.

Chavez comes back with. "Like what? Watching your vacation slides from the Grand Canyon. Oh, the horrors." The rest of the men look on and grin. They'd all heard this argument numerous times in the past and all of them had survived.

*****

Nash Bridges slides up to Scarlet and asks. "Scarlet isn't this a bit of overkill? We know who's coming and how. So what's with the hiding and pointing weapons?"

"Nash, trust in Steve's orders. He knows what he's doing. We fought four battles last night and only got a few scratches, while we took out three hundred vampires."

"Yeah, I heard that from everybody here. Nice to see that you also like him."

"Nash, St. Wolf has proven himself as a commander to everyone who followed him last night. We trust that he's not going to do something stupid. Just because he's a little paranoid is good. That shows that he cares about the people serving with him." Tommy comments.

"Then why is he standing out there? How come he isn't taking cover?" Nash asks.

"Because he is the leader, Nash. He has to be the first one to take the risks." Kermit tells him.

Back

Home

Next