Imhotep's Key Chapter 23
By Joseph Black
Disclaimer: Red Storm and Tom Clancy own Rainbow and Characters. Joss Whedon owns Buffy and Characters. Anyone you don't recognize belongs to me. I make no profit of the following except to have a little fun.
Spoilers: Buffy to present. Rainbow to Bear and the Dragon.
Authors note 1: I am adjusting the Buffy time line slightly, this fic starts just after "Never Leave Me", moving things back about a month.
Authors note 2: I can't seem to get Fanfic to except my special formatting. So anytime you see this ' anything inside is in a foreign language. And if you see this [ it's some ones thoughts.
Authors note 3: This is a continuation of the story started in 'Rainbow Over Sunnydale'. It would be helpful to read that fic first.
Authors Note 4: I want to both apologize to everyone for how long it's taken for this to come out. I also want to thank everyone who has checked in from time to time to see if I was alright and planning to finish this. Next up is going to be a couple of chapters of 'She Meant Everywhere!" And I have a couple of other stories that I have been working on.
Thanks to all that reviewed. Constructive criticisms always welcomed. Flames cheerfully ignored.
814 Front Street
"General," Ardel Sherwood's voice came over the radio, "Our guest have arrived."
Clark glanced at Pete who nodded and headed for the door. O'Connell had gotten with Clark just before the mission group had left and passed on a request from the Chief of Police and the Mayor to observe the mission from Rainbow's command post. Remembering his orders from Jack to make up for the last time the federal government had been in Sunnydale he had readily agreed.
Pete was back quickly with the two men. "General Clark?" Pete said. "May I present Mayor Gideon Scott, and Chief of Police Stewart Donaldson? Clark reached out his hand to the Mayor.
"Mr. Mayor, it's a pleasure to meet you. I wanted to get with either you or Chief Donaldson this week, but this whole Willow thing came up."
Gideon Scott was a handsome man, GQ good looking, from the top of his stylishly coiffed head, to the soles of his Gucci shoes. Clark was almost ready to write him off as a dilettante but when he checked his eyes out he instantly changed his mind. They were bright blue and had an intensity to them Clark had rarely seen. They said that this was a man who knew what he wanted and was prepared to do what it took to get it. "I understand General, given the choice of meeting with a small town mayor or stopping the Ten Plagues of Egypt from bursting out on Southern California, I'm glad you picked option B." After shaking his hand Clark turned to the other man.
"Chief Donaldson," he said by way of greeting.
"General Clark," the shorter man replied. "I gave the Head of Shift at Sunnydale General a heads up that something was going down." Clark nodded his head in thanks.
"General Clark?" David Peled, Rainbow's Israeli electronics expert called over his shoulder, "They're going in."
Donaldson reached for his cell phone.
978 Redwood Drive
Buffy looked around and came up with a count of about thirty of the black mounds popping up. One of Ahmed's men tried to kick the pile closest to him over. The black stuff flowed up his body before he even had a chance to scream; when it collapsed back into itself he was gone.
"Stay away from the piles!" came from Buffy's, Riley's, Ding's, Ahmed's and Lara's mouth simultaneously. Everyone stepped back and watched them grow. When the mound hit about six feet tall three buds sprouted from the top of the mounds. Two grew sideways while the third grew up from the center of it; as they grew up and out the sideways ones began to form into arms, while the center one sprouted an additional growth that grew out and started to form what looked like a muzzle.
Amed went pale as he recognized what was happening, "They are Anubis Warriors," he called. "You can only kill them by cutting off their heads!"
Buffy looked as they finished growing and started to take on a recognizable form, "Why do they always have to be over six feet tall?" Went through her head.
Up at the altar, O'Connell ignored what was going on in the room, when the ink started to run from being sprayed with the vandalism remover, he scrubbed across the chest of the mummy with a green Scott pad, smearing the carefully drawn hieroglyphics.
As soon as O'Connell smeared the wrapping the images they had been watching winked out. The pallbearers bent down and picked up the briar and began moving toward Imhotep, who somehow managed to detect what was happening started madly struggling and screaming into the bandages that covered his mouth. If the creatures approaching him took any notice of his actions they gave no sign. Upon reaching him they simply bent down, and gently picking him up, laid him on the briar and started carrying him out of the room, as they reached the first door it opened reveling a second bronze door beyond it. The inner doors closed with a thud leaving Willow and Tara alone in the chamber.
Willow turned back to her former lover and threw her arms around her. Tara bent into a kiss and the two stood there entwined, finally Tara broke the kiss and smiled at Willow, "You'll be pulled back soon. Buffy and the others will get you out," she said smiling.
Willow tightened her hold on the other woman and said fiercely, "I'm not leaving you ever again."
"The choice isn't yours to make baby. What has to be; will be."
Willow simply shook her head and held on tighter, but Tara was growing immaterial. Willow could feel her grip slipping. When she could no longer feel her lover she opened her eyes, and found Tara below her, sadly waving to her.
"NO!" She screamed.
"Goodbye Willow," Tara said, then as if she suddenly remembered something, quickly said, "Willow! Remember, 'Know what you know!'"
Then the world turned black and Willow couldn't move.
978 Redwood Drive
Buffy waited until the Anubis Warriors actually started to move. She then swept her sword through the closest of the tall monsters knees. The severed legs exploded back into sand and the creature screamed as it fell onto the remaining stumps. Buffy swept the sword back with a vicious backhand and decapitated the creature which turned back into a pile of sand.
Lara Croft had grabbed a khopesh from a mummy that had no further use for it and waded in next to Buffy. After trading several blows with an Anubis Warrior, she did a leg sweep that swept its legs out from under it and decapitated it on its way down. Kenshin mimicked Buffy in taking down his and then the three warriors started advancing into the room.
Ding frowned when he heard Ahmed's instructions. Looking down at his machete and up at the towering adversaries he knew he was in trouble. Falcone raised his Desert Eagle and put three rounds through the neck of the closest warrior. The big bullets plowed into the neck and sand flew from the impact point, the head remained attached and the warrior looked seriously pissed as it began advancing on the Italian police officer.
Sergeant Major Benton and Sergeant. Buford Summers jumped in front holding spears that had also been liberated from ex-mummies. While the bronze weapons' blades were not long enough for a decapitation stroke the two soldiers managed to keep the creature at bay. Things began looking grim when three more of the large dog headed creatures started to advance, but Amed and three of his men intercepted them. The rest of the Rainbow troops managed to grab melee weapons to defend themselves, while Riley and the Initiative people where used to this kind of thing and produced a number of different weapons, both normal, and exotic, like Sgt. Trusken's chain whip, which he proved his proficiency with by decapitating an Anubis Warrior from six feet away with one flick of his wrist.
Xander was about to jump up on the altar to protect Willow when one of Anck-Su-Namun's surviving henchmen beat him there. The screaming opponent tried to bring his sword down on Xander's head, but the Scooby blocked the stroke with the haft of his axe, surprising himself by not losing any fingers in the process. Pete Hill calmly shot the man in the chest, the impact knocking him back off of the altar. Xander then jumped up and placing his feet on both sides of the mummified Willow he grasped his axe and challenged all comers.
Ginger reached the end of the room and taking a stand next to the altar crouched down ears flat, and tail sticking straight out behind her, just waiting for something to get close.
Lara Croft impressed Buffy; particularly her skill with the borrowed sword. Buffy knew from watching her in-between opponents that Lara didn't just fence, she must train with the weapons like she planned on using them. If they got out of this, Buffy hoped she could make some time to spar with the other woman; it looked like she could pick some things up from her.
Ding and most of the Rainbow Troopers dropped back; with their guns useless they were mostly in the way. Their main duty was to pull the injured out of the front line. Fortunately there weren't many. Two of Riley's men went down, neither seriously hurt, but one of Ahmed's men was cut almost in half by a wicked pole-arm with semi-circular blades at each end.
Buffy and her companions finally managed to fight their way to the altar and formed a cordon around it. O'Connell and Xander pulled the mummified Willow off of the platform and carefully lowered her to the floor. Xander pulled a knife out to start cutting the wrappings, but O'Connell shook his head, reaching into his backpack he pulled a small battery powered circular saw out.
"Are you nuts?" Xander exclaimed.
"It's a cast saw," O'Connell explained, "I know what I'm doing, it won't cut skin."
Looking dubious Xander let the police lieutenant proceed.
Between Buffy, Kenshin, and Lara the altar end of the room was quickly cleared. Ahmed, the Rangers, and Riley's people finished the last Anubis Warrior a short time later. Anck-Su-Namun's few remaining henchman quickly surrendered. Ding glanced around the room, all things considered they had gotten off light.
Ginger continued to stand next to the altar until the fighting was winding down. Hearing something behind her she stuck her head into the passageway and saw the door at the end of it was slightly ajar. Moving quietly down the passage she moved to the door sniffing the room a couple of times before she slunk through the door.
O'Connell carefully worked the saw along the side of Willow's head staring at the shoulder and working his way up, once he hit the top of the head he started at the other shoulder working to join the original cut. As he reached to pull that piece off Buffy stopped him, "We need to protect her eyes," she said.
O'Connell nodded and waited as Buffy called who ever was closest to block out the light. "Willow!" She shouted at the still wrapped figure, "You have to keep your eyes closed!"
Nodding to Jonathan she stood there with her hands ready to block out the rest of the light in case Willow hadn't heard, or wasn't mentally in a position to understand what she had said. O'Connell yanked the section he had cut off. As soon as it was free Willow began screaming, "TARA!"
Buffy, seeing Willow's eyes were open placed her hands over them to block out the little light that was in the room. "Willow, its Buffy, you need to close your eyes for me, please!"
Willow simply kept screaming for her dead lover.
Ding had come up to the end of the room to see how things were going. He opened up his first-aid kit and handed Buffy a bandage. She took it and placed it over Willow's eyes as O'Connell resumed cutting the young witch out of her cocoon.
Bob Crugen worked his way down the room. He looked curiously over O'Connell's shoulder to see what progress the police lieutenant making. He stuck his head down the corridor next to the altar to see if Ginger was down the passage. She stuck her head out from behind the door and gave him a look that he easily interpreted, that she had found something that she though he should check out. He went down the passage saying, "What did you find, girl?" Ginger ducked back into the room. He pulled open the door and found himself in a small storeroom, shelves filled with boxes and jars lined the walls. In one corner however, there was a hole in the floor. Since the dirt around it was still damp he assumed it was freshly dug. He pulled his flashlight out and shined it down the hole. When he didn't see anything he asked, "What do you think it is, girl?"
"It looks like a hole in the ground," came the answer from behind him. He started and whirled around. Since he didn't recognize the voice his hand automatically dropped to his sidearm. Standing where Ginger had been was a tall black man dressed in an Initiative uniform. It took a second for Bob to place him, he'd joined after Sunnydale, but he had been in some photos that Riley and Graham had so he recognized him, Forrest Gates. But he had been killed before the wheels had come off at the Sunnydale base so that made this the First, and since he was standing where Ginger was, and she'd never have run off with out at least giving some signal, that must mean she was dead…
Gates was watching the thought process work its way across Crugen's features, when he reached his final conclusion he said, "And so are you."
Bob Crugen didn't even have a chance to scream when something whipped up out of the tunnel wrapped around his ankle and pulled him in.
978 Redwood Drive
A small crowd had gathered to watch as emergency vehicles removed the injured and dead from the hill. John and Ding stood with Ahmed and Jonathan O'Connell quietly talking. "I just cleared it with Jack and Dan Murray," John was telling Ahmed, you can take Anck-Su-Namun with you when you leave."
"Do we want to know what you are going to do with her?" Ding asked.
"We will see that justice is served," Ahmed replied. "She represents a great problem to us. If we kill her she will simply reincarnate at a later time and we will be right back where we started. She is also a puissant magic user now so when she comes back she will be that much more powerful. But she herself has given us the means to keep her contained."
"Yes, she will be kept sedated till we get her to a secured location. We will then mummify her after preparing her as she did Willow. We should be able to keep her alive indefinitely, or hopefully long enough for our scholars to figure out a way to place her soul finally at rest."
Riley came up with a dejected look on his face. "No sign of Bob Crugen?" John asked.
Riley shook his head. "We checked out the hole we found Ginger next to. It leads down into the sewer system. About forty feet in it hits a five-way junction. Buffy is going down one now, we went down another with Ginger. Nothing."
Clark nodded, "As soon as we get the wounded out of here we'll go down in force. I don't leave a man behind." He looked over at one of their replacement Suburbans, Sam was sitting on a lowered tailgate with a dejected Ginger laying next to her. Ears down, tail flat on the gate. "What are you planning on doing with Ginger?"
Riley looked at him sharply, "Until we know one way or the other about Bob nothing. She'll take orders from Sam and me just fine. If she becomes uncontrollable we'll kennel her."
John frowned, Ginger was a trained attack/guard dog. He'd seen the one corpse with its throat ripped out. Ginger, asset that she was, could become a liability really fast. Then he shrugged to himself, What the hell, I'm letting Spike run around. "Okay, I'll leave it in your hands then."
O'Connell spoke up, "One thing, Bob Lee insists that he wedged that door, why do you think your guy would have un-wedged it?"
Riley frowned, "He wouldn't have. If Ginger indicated something interesting behind the door Bob would have contacted us then waited for backup to get there."
"Then how did the door get open?"
Sunnydale General Hospital
1340 Ross St.
Willow lay in her hospital bed in one of those horrible hospital gowns. She really wanted to go home. The doc's though wanted her here at least forty-eight hours to make sure she didn't have any hidden injuries, and that she was in her right mind. Willow went over her conversation with Tara again. Buffy had not ridden in the ambulance with her, she had told her that there was someone missing and she needed to help with the search. Xander had stopped in and they had talked, when she told him what Tara had said he replied, "You know, being dead must do something to you. I would have expected something better from Tara than that, 'Know what you know?' What kind of message is that?" Willow didn't have an answer either.
Right now Xander was off in search of food, the thought of which made Willow's stomach rumble as a reminder that it had not been filled in a week. Unfortunately, the Hospital was insisting on broth and other liquids for a couple of meals.
There was a knock on the door Willow looked over to see who it was. A pretty lady in her early forties was standing there. She had short brown hair and was dressed in a pants suit. "Can I come in?"
Willow raised her hand in a 'come on in' gesture.
The lady pulled a wallet out of her purse and showed it to Willow, "I'm Special Agent Andrea Price, with the Secret Service."
Willow smiled, "Your, Pat's, er Agent O'Day's wife."
"Yes I am. I want to thank you for helping him out the other day."
Willow shrugged, "They were shooting at me too."
Andrea shook her head at the modest answer. "I was wondering if I could ask a favor."
"Ask away, if it gets me out of the hospital quicker then your chance of me granting it goes up a lot," Willow responded.
"I'm in charge of security for the President. I talked to Buffy, Giles, and Xander at the meeting last week and got some ideas for security on the road and back at the White House. What I really would like though is for someone who knows magic to come and take a look around the White House. I realize that you are tied here, I hope you know someone that you trust who you can suggest to me to do it."
Willow frowned, "Unfortunately, the only other witch I really know is Amy Madison, and I can't say I'd trust her with anything. She was addicted like I was, but I don't think she was able to break the habit.
"What exactly do you want checked out around the White House?"
"I just want to get some basic defenses in place."
"If you get me out of the Hospital right now I'll be glad to take a look at it," Willow said. "I need to get out of Sunnydale for a few days."
"I'll get it set up," Andrea said as she turned to leave. Turning back she asked, "Do you have anything else to wear?"
Faith found herself back in the maelstrom. Not taken by surprise as much this time she gritted her teeth and rode the pain, swallowing any screams. Whether it was because she had been here before, or the Powers were feeling particularly sadistic, the buffeting and pounding, not to mention the sandblasting seemed to go on for a much longer period of time. After a seeming eternity it stopped as suddenly as Faith had found herself in it. With the wind that supported her gone Faith slammed to the ground. She pulled herself to her feet and to distract herself from the pain in her hands and forearms she checked out the area around her. The swirling column of debris moved away from her as before, she saw it was probably fifty or sixty yards wide, andfor a moment she thought she saw something inside of it, but it was gone before she could be sure. A piece of paper brushed up against her leg and she glanced down before it blew away. She saw it was a page ripped from a calendar whose owner had circled the day, then crossed the day off as it passed. If it was current she saw then that it was March 18, 1925, she was watching it blow away when a door slammed open behind her.
Faith whirled and dropped into a defensive stance. Behind her a set of doors set in the side of a small hill had been opened. Two women came out of them; the first was in her late teens or early twenties. She was dressed in an old fashion dress and apron. Her brown hair was tied back with a strip of cloth. Coming behind her was a young girl, maybe just into her teens, also dressed old fashionably and with brown hair done up with a strip of cloth. The older girl was looking around desperately, her eyes swept across Faith and showed no sign of seeing her. Faith looked around too, noting the destroyed house and barn, but the young woman showed nothing as her eyes swept over them, "TWO!" She screamed. The younger girl had tears in her as she looked around too, "Do you think he is okay One?"
"I don't know Tee, he was out in the south pasture, that's the way it came in. Come on lets go look."
The two girls headed out, Faith with nothing better to do followed them. The walked maybe a half a mile calling 'Two!' as they went along. Faith was tempted to start calling to, but she figured they would be no more able to hear her than see her. They found what they were looking for in small depression about twenty minutes after they started looking. Faith actually spotted the guy's white hair first; she was trying to think of away to attract the girls' attention when One spotted him herself, "TWO!" She screamed and started running for him, with the younger girl following quickly.
Faith jogged over too and got there right after One had gone down on her knee's next to the old man. Faith quickly realized that the white hair had fooled her, the 'old man' was probably younger than One. He was looking around wildly not really seeming to see anything, though his eyes seemed to linger on her, almost like he could see her.
"Two? What happened?" One asked sobbing.
The voice seemed to pull him back to reality, at least partially and he looked at the older woman, who Faith, seeing them both in profile saw enough resemblance to guess they were brother and sister, said in a broken, husky voice, "I saw him, One, dancing in the center of the storm like Trin in a spring rain, "
"Who Two?" One asked.
"The Devil!" Two sobbed.