Sound's Like A Plan
After New Moon Rising, but before Ground State.
Oz and Gwen are thrown together when the Intiative start their tricks again.
Joss owns all
“Here it is,” Gwen said as she pulled a shinning orb from her bag. “One orb as promised.”
The man in a business suit sitting across from her didn’t say anything. He stared at her breasts that were popping out of her red leather top. Leaning forward, he picked up his briefcase and handed it to her.
The locks clicked as she opened it. “Four million dollars,” she smiled. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”
The man stayed silent. Gwen turned and walked away, out of the diner. The sky was turning a muddy gray, and she didn’t want to be caught in the rain. She grabbed her keys to unlock her car.
A black van sped toward her. Two men jumped her. She let the electricity flow, but it didn’t seem to phase them. They were covered – head to toe – in rubber. One administered a tranquilizer, and Gwen told herself that she’d stay awake. As she was thinking it, she fell out of consciousness.
Oz re-read the ad. Looking to control your inner demon? Vampire? Werewolf? Come join us every Thursday night. “Huh,” he said to no one in particular. “Weirder things have happened.”
The place was secluded and in a more rundown part of the city. The building had most likely once been a warehouse. Oz nodded to the vampire at the door as he walked in.
“Tame the demon. Humans are our friends,” a vampire, presumably the leader, said.
Oz sat next to a Rizaro demon. The lecture continued as a mix of personal testimonies and motivational speakers. “Cult?” Oz asked the Rizaro.
“Nope.” The Rizaro turned toward him. “I used to eat children, but I’ve been clean for 10 months now. I feel so terrible over the things I did.” The Rizaro looked like he was going to cry.
Oz only nodded and looked back toward the speaker. The speaker continued, “Unfortunately, our numbers have dwindled in the past few months. At first, we thought it was due to our members falling off the path. But we believe there is a danger out there. Some human forces have been seen capturing demons. If anyone has any information, please come and see me during coffee break.”
The crowd broke and went to mingle and drink coffee. Oz knew that the Initiative was sure to be behind this latest round of capture the demons. Of course, he’d have to hear more about these disappearances before making any firm judgments.
The speaker was a tall man whose hair was speckled with gray. He wore his human face now. No doubt in his killing days, many victims had mistaken his soft features for a pastor or young grandfather. “You must be new here,” the speaker extended his hand. “My name is Marshall.”
What is with vampires and only having first names like Cher or Bono, Oz thought. “Oz,” he replied, taking the man’s hand. “Those people you were talking about – they sound like some I’ve had experience with.”
“Oh,” Marshall said, gesturing Oz to follow him to a private office. “Have a seat and tell me more.”
“Government.” Oz sat across from Marshall.
“Why am I not surprised,” Marshall said. “I figured that the government couldn’t be that much in the dark about the demon world. Experimentation? Weapons testing? Cosmetics? Breeding? Guinea pigs for graduate students? Sport for the rich and powerful?”
“Experimentation,” Oz replied. “I believe that the term is ‘super soldiers.’”
“Figures,” Marshall threw his hands up in the air. “America has no real enemies to fight. But our balls must be 20 times larger than our nearest competitors. I blame the market economy.”
“Communist?” Oz raised his eyebrows.
“I was on trial in the McCarthy era for hiring blacklisted actors,” he recalled. “Isabella and I. After both of us had served our country bravely, that was how we were repaid. Shunned and sentenced to treason. But a man offered us a way out, and so I stand before you – a vampire.” He paused. “And my poor Isabella. Staked by an avenger of the night. One of our own kind. I was lost without her, and to find out that there were those of us who lived without killing. I may have no soul, but death can be tacky. So I am here. Reforming souls for her.”
“Uh huh,” Oz muttered. Clearly, Marshall had felt the need to tell all of his story. “And these men – black masks and camo?”
Marshall nodded his head. “Will you help us?” he asked.
“Do you know where their facilities are located?” Oz inquired. He shifted in his seat. “I’ve broken out before.”
“Underground compound. We followed a few back to their lair a couple of nights ago,” Marshall said while retrieving a file from his desk.
“I assume those are the plans?”
Gwen woke up on the floor of a white cell. “What the fuck?” she grumbled as she grabbed her head in pain. She raised her hands toward the wall. Yep, these people had known what they were going to catch. They were prepared for her. “Hello?” she shouted. “Is anyone out there?”
“Shhh,” someone hissed from the cell across from her. She couldn’t get a good look at them as the lights were dimmed down. Either this place was underground, or it was nighttime. “They’ll know. You don’t want them to know that you’re awake.”
“Who are these people?” Gwen asked as she stood up and began to look for flaws in the cell design.
“Probably the government,” another voice joined in. This one was squeaky like shoes on a linoleum floor. “I always knew that the government would come after us sooner or later. Can’t a demon make a decent living without being picked on.”
“Has anyone ever escaped?” Gwen stood up on the plastic cot for a closer survey of the ceiling.
“Escaped.” The first voice started to laugh. “No one gets out of here, sweetie. They use you and then you die.”
“Well,” Gwen said, “I’m not sticking around for the death march.” Her eyes were already tired of the blinding sterility of the place.
There was only a small group of them – five to be precise. Oz hoped this was going to work. He really wished that Buffy and the Scoobies were here. Of course, this group wasn’t without muscle: two vampires, a Brachen demon, the Rizaro he had met the first night, and himself. They surely overpowered Xander, Willow, and Giles. Oz shook his head; this was no time to reminisce about Sunnydale if he was going to keep a level head.
Marshall handed out bags of weaponry. “Remember,” he said, “these are humans. No killing them unless necessary, and absolutely no eating them.”
“Aren’t Brachens usually peaceful demons?” he asked Marshall.
“Oh, quite harmless,” Marshall responded. “But they are great supporters of encouraging other demons to be peaceful. Every cause needs their allies.”
The Brachen drove the van as Marshall sat shotgun. They were quiet and nervous. Even the Rizaro and the vampire, who could surely pulled a human’s head off from his skull, were worried about the soldiers. These humans had experience fighting demons, and that was it. They didn’t understand the nature of demon. They didn’t understand their motives. They wanted to experiment, to kill, and to dissect demons. They wanted to know how demons ticked, but didn’t care about their thoughts or feelings.
The van stopped behind some trees, just out of the sight of the compound. It was nighttime of course, so the vampires didn’t burn up in the sun. Oz wasn’t sure of the moral implications of letting demons out – they weren’t all human friendly. But something had to be done about these Initiative people. The government couldn’t go around experimenting on sentient beings against their will.
“Ready,” Marshall asked us before we left. The Brachen was staying behind the wheel as the get-away man.
“As much as we’re ever going to be,” the other vampire growled. “Let’s send these soldiers back to the hell that they’ve created.”
Marshall led them through a pocket of densely wooded area. “I found this entrance a few weeks ago,” he said as the stopped in front of what looked like a normal air vent. “I’m pretty positive that this entrance will lead us right into one of their main facilities.”
“In Sunnydale,” Oz said, “they had an entrance similar to this one.”
The others nodded, feeling an extra insurance by Oz’s words. The entrance seemed to give way easily after the Rizaro disabled the alarm surrounding it. “No traveling by this elevator.” He opened his bag. “Guess we’ll be using these.” He handed them each rock climbing gear.
They attached themselves to the side and climbed down the elevator shaft. It was dark, as Oz worked on opening the entrance to the facility. The opening doors flooded light into the shaft. They were surrounded by a group of soldiers, guns pointing toward the intruders.
“Thank you for the delivery, Marshall,” the leader said as he stepped forward. “Let’s load these prisoners up.”
“I’ll be getting back,” Marshall said, starting to go back up the shaft. “I’ll give the same story as always. Next delivery, next week. See you then.”
“You fucking asshole,” the Rizaro yelled. Soldiers closed in on him before he had a chance to take out his rage on Marshall.
“Put the vampire and the Rizaro in the cells,” the leader instructed. “Dr. Broden will want the werewolf in the orange wing. He wants to use him in that crossbreeding program with that young electric woman.”
The soldiers took Oz away from the group and led him down a small corridor. Only two soldiers escorted him and opened the glass doors of a cell. There was a brunette woman lying passed out on the floor. They sealed the doors and left Oz with her.
Oz watched as her eyes flickered open. “Who the fuck are you?” she asked. Gathering her body, she moved to the corner of the room. Oz could tell that she was still a bit groggy.
“Oz,” he said. He sat on the floor of the cell. “What’s your name?”
“Gwen,” she answered. “I guess you’re my mate. The government is such a lovely matchmaker.” She propped herself up against the wall. “Sorry buddy, but you’re not exactly my type. A little short and probably couldn’t handle a woman of my talents.”
“Yeah,” Oz said, “I’m not really planning on staying here.”
“And how do you expect us to leave?” Gwen asked. “It’s not like any nice soldier boy will come and let us out.” She paused. “Unless...” She stood up and walked toward him.
Oz wasn’t sure until she wrapped her hands around his neck. He felt a shock go through his body. He wasn’t going to be her canon fodder. “Guards!” he yelled.
The soldiers were unsure of their actions. They knew of Gwen’s power, and they also knew that she’d killed before. “Well, what are you waiting for?” a scientists in a lab coat shouted as the soldiers rushed toward the cell door.
The soldiers began to fill the room with a gas, but they were too quick to open the door. Gwen hit them with an energy bolt before the gas could affect her. She dragged Oz out of the room. “Are you okay,” she inquired.
“Ouch,” Oz said, rubbing his neck and regaining his balance on his feet. “How about we get out of here.”
“Sounds good to me,” she said. “Let’s try this way.” Reaching down, she grabbed a few guns off the downed soldiers. She tossed two of them at Oz. “They have suits to protect themselves from me. Guns tend to work. You use?”
“I have before,” he said, holding the gun. He followed her down the hall. They seemed to be safe; though there could have been a silent alarm. “We should let them out,” Oz said as they made their way down the first hall of caged victims. No doubt, many of them had trusted Marshall’s words.
“Why?” she demanded. “I don’t give a fuck about them. I need you because they won’t lose their precious werewolf.”
“Distraction.” Oz shot through the first keypad. The alarms rang. Soon they’d be surrounded.
“Thanks for waiting,” Gwen yelled, blasting keypads as she ran toward a clearly labeled exit. “Thank god that they have building codes,” she muttered, her heels clicking against the linoleum floor.
The demons were destroying the place, just like they had in Sunnydale. Oz followed Gwen out of the building. If something blocked his view of her, the sound of her heels led him back.
They took the stairs even as soldiers and scientists flooded it. They were running both into battle and from battle. They ignored Gwen and Oz because of their human feature. No scales, no fangs, no bother.
They made their way to the densely packed trees of the park. “For my mating partner, you aren’t half bad,” Gwen said. “Though still a little short.”
“I guess this is good-bye,” Oz suggested.
“Yeah,” Gwen responded, turning toward the road. “I’m glad you caught on. I’m a solo woman.”
“I’m going that way myself,” Oz said. “Well not the woman part. Only the solo part.” He smiled. “I’m going to get some rest and process this later.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Gwen walked to the road. “Nice to meet you, Oz.” She hailed a cab and stepped in.
Gwen took the first flight back to Los Angeles. She was glad to get rid of the drizzle and government. She settled down in her seat in first class and sipped her champagne. The jeans she was wearing were chaffing her leg. Going undercover was a pain, but she didn’t want to be put back into a cell.
As the plane took off, she opened up The Seattle Times. There was a big story splashed across the front page of a huge fire in an army facility. “Serves them right,” she said, flipping the page.
Oz pulled up in his van in front of the warehouse. Sure enough, Marshall was back there preaching. It was surprising that none of the escaped demons had already killed him. Oz slid a stake under his jacket.
He walked into the building just as Marshall was finishing his lecture. “I’m glad our program is working well for you,” Oz could hear him tell a vampire.
“I believe you forgot something,” Oz said, as Marshall turned around.
“Oz!” Marshall stood in shock as Oz grabbed the stake from his jacket and shoved it into Marshall’s heart. The other demons were too stunned to take action.
“Good riddance,” Oz said as he walked out of the building and back to his van.