StephenT (stormwreath) wrote,
StephenT
stormwreath

Intrusion - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of this story, and the action moves to a climax. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here. One chapter left after this.

Teaser:
The band across her chest seemed to release suddenly, and air filled her lungs. Desperate raw refusal flooded through her, turning her skin to fire, her eyes to cold obsidian. Her scream was twisted despair and defiance and anger against the universe.

 


Chapter 3

Any normal person would have been paralysed with fear; the creature’s designers had deliberately played on all the worst terrors that lurk in the human subconscious to achieve that aim. To a Sunnydale veteran, it was just another demon, and not even a real one. Willow even took an instant to admire the artistry of the anti-intrusion program as she assessed her opponent and prepared her countermeasures.

A gleaming sword of light appeared in her hand. In the real world she was a competent enough fighter when necessary, but of course no match for a Slayer, and she knew to play to her strengths. But here it was mental, not physical abilities which counted, and her smile was cold and focussed as she poised to strike. 

The demonic avatar forestalled her, leaping to the attack. But for all its steel-trap speed, Willow’s reactions were an order of magnitude faster. The creature seemed to float gracefully through the air towards her, and stepping to the side she swung her sword up and around, cleaving through ceramic skin and metal bone, severing wire tendons. Normal time reasserted itself as the crippled security program crashed in an ugly mass on the ground where she’d been standing nanoseconds earlier. 

But it wasn’t dead. Steel cables shot out like snakes, coiling around her legs in an evil parody of sensuality. Sweeping her off her feet, reeling her in to the dark waiting maw lined with crushing and grinding mandibles. Desperately she hacked at the cables with the sword, but for every one she cut two more took its place. So, grimly reversing her blade, she leaped straight towards the looming foe. 

Hot breath, smell of oil and ozone and dark glittering death millimetres from her face, but the sword pierced the enemy through and clove its heart. Cascading system errors tore the anti-intrusion program apart, and it unravelled into wisps of smoke that shredded into nothing as her body hurtled through and beyond them, crashing to the ground. 

“Ow.” She picked herself up painfully, the sword disappearing back to wherever it had come from. This was her cue to leave. If one countermeasure had found her, others would soon be clustering around… and worse, they’d be tracing her physical location too. She looked around for her crystal, not wanting to leave it behind – and then she noticed. It was charged with another password. While she’d been distracted during the fight, someone must have accessed another of the accounts… and the coding on the crystal indicated it had been one of the unmarked doors over in the far corner of the room. She almost decided to leave it, but then shrugged. Might as well get some reward for her victory. No time to look at the contents of the account, though; just open it, empty it, and away. 

But as she turned to the exit, a sinister metallic rustle echoed through the chamber. 

Three – no, six, no, a dozen of the monsters squeezed through the portal into the room, their claws clattering on the metal floor, the walls, the ceiling, their mandibles clacking with unholy glee, their glowing eyes fixed on Willow – who grinned, gave them a little wave… and vanished. 

Back in the hotel room, the redhead groaned in exhaustion and slumped forward, the laptop’s power cord hanging loose in her hand. She murmured a quick prayer of apology to the spirit of her old computer science teacher, who would have been most disappointed (and surprised) to see her shutting down her machine that way; but she hadn’t really had a choice. In the darkness she could just make out the paler oval of her companion’s face, still watching over her anxiously, waiting for reassurance. Just give her a minute, she was so tired… 

And then the hotel room’s picture window exploded inwards… 

   …deadly glass splinters turning the bedding, the furniture, the wallpaper to ragged strips…
 
      …ice-cold wind, deafening noise, and a neat line of gaping holes right through the wall opposite the window… 

But the brunette had been moving even before the first sign of danger, grabbing her up in hasty but careful hands, lifting her clean off her feet as if she weighed nothing, whirling both of them safely into the corner of the room. 

Then dark shapes appeared against the starlit sky, rappeling down from above through the broken window, and the redhead made herself as small and quiet as she could as her companion rose to face them. This was her skill, her power, and the redhead could only watch. 

And wonder. 

There were perhaps half a dozen of the intruders, black-clad shadowy forms the size and shape of humans, and they were armed, and they were dangerous. And they were helpless. The diminitive form of the dark-haired woman was in between them before they could react, moving with superhuman speed, striking with superhuman strength. An elbow to the throat here, a kick to a kneecap there. One of the intruders managed to bring around his gun, only to receive one of his companions thrown bodily into his face; the burst of fire went wild, stitching holes in the ceiling as both men went down. A chair broke over the head of the fifth, and the last received a calculated and deliberate knee to the crotch that laid him out retching and moaning on the ground. 

The brunette stood triumphantly amidst the debris that had seconds earlier been an attack force, and grinned back at her lover. 

Who could only watch in horror as the seventh member of the squad loomed up in the window and levelled his gun. 

A scream of warning began in her throat, but the words couldn’t form in time. 

     The intruder checked his target, selected autofire and squeezed the trigger. 

The brunette noticed the expression on her girlfriend’s face and started to turn. 

     The first bullet hit her low in the abdomen, piercing her spleen and starting to spin her around. 

The redhead’s throat clenched in sympathetic agony, but no words could come. 

     The second bullet nicked the bottom of her left lung. Bright crimson blood blossomed out through the exit wound. 

The world seemed to turn grey around her, only the twisting tormented figure at the centre of her vision still in focus. 

     The third bullet hit the centre of her chest, but was deflected off a rib and missed her heart and spine by a whisker. 

A darkness woke and stirred deep within her soul. A hidden ugliness that lurked beneath her core. 

     The fourth bullet passed through the top of her right lung. More blood sprayed out, and started to bubble from her mouth. 

She couldn’t move, but her brain was racing; recording every moment with painful clarity. Remembering a similar occasion. 

     The fifth bullet scored a bloody furrow across her shoulder. 

The darkness coiled and stretched, seeing its moment. It tasted of panic and rage and bleak hatred. 

     The sixth, seventh and eighth bullets hit the far wall. 

The band across her chest seemed to release suddenly, and air filled her lungs. Desperate raw refusal flooded through her, turning her skin to fire, her eyes to cold obsidian. Her scream was twisted despair and defiance and anger against the universe. 

The gunman didn’t even realise he was dead as his body exploded into red bloody mist. The crew of the stealth helicopter hovering overhead knew a brief instant of panic before its fuel tanks exploded in a bright fireball high over the city, like sunrise come early. Flaming debris showered down over the deserted street far below. 

Her eyes swept to the groaning forms of the disabled earlier attackers, and their black fires burned colder yet… 

And for a moment she stood there, frozen in time. Fighting a battle more terrible than any she’d yet faced, because the enemy she fought was as strong as herself. Stronger. 

No. 

Weaker. Because the enemy was herself, or a part of her. Only a part.

Tears glistened in soft hazel eyes as she ran over to the sprawled, bleeding body of her lover. 


To be concluded.

Tags: buffy, fic
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