The Apparent Heir.
The general in front of the press huffed. "We will not let this go!" he said firmly. "Whoever did this, there is nowhere on this planet they can hide. No one will save them from our retribution and no one will be standing in our way!"
An aide rushed in. "General, there's a new development," he said quietly, pulling him out of the range of the microphones. "It wasn't just ours, sir."
"What do you mean it wasn't just ours?" he demanded loudly.
"I mean every other world leader we keep tabs on just got assassinated in the same manner," an agent said as he walked in. "Same methodology, same left behind rifle. Down to their versions of congress like ours was. Some of the more militant religious leaders as well. Any cabinet members they may have too."
The general snatched the file to look over, grimacing. "We'll still get them. Get me a conference call set up," he told the aide. "Whoever's in charge wherever that we're friends with. Now." He ran off to do that. The general looked at the agent. "Anything else I should hear?"
"We're looking at the cause, we're not sure yet because something's unusual. The fingerprints weren't human or in any database anywhere," he said quietly.
The general considered it. "Get me O'Neill."
"He's already here, sir, with the order to return to the Pentagon to settle who takes over." He left.
The general looked at the press people. "I'll be back later." He went to talk to that conference of subbing leaders. O'Neill was waiting on him. "Why am I being recalled?"
"They voted." He held up the sealed letter. "I got sent as a messenger since I have some diplomacy training."
The general ripped it open, reading it. He grimaced. "You got more than that, O'Neill." He glared at him. "Why you?"
"You know what I used to do, General Hyt. I've saved the world a lot of times. I've dealt with diplomatic things. All that crap. Though, I said I didn't want considered."
"Too bad." He handed him the letter. He couldn't debate the reasons given. O'Neill was a leader of men and in emergencies. Most of the rest of them had been out of the field for too long. "I've called a conference call."
"Good. Let's go. You can help me for now. I don't make speeches and things like that." Mentally, he was swearing so much he hoped some telepathic race couldn't hear. They didn't need another emergency today. They walked into the situation room and everything was set up for them. "Prince," he said, nodding. A few of them nodded back. A few others grimaced.
"I'm General Jack O'Neill. This is General William Hyt. As of this moment, the Pentagon's top people voted me to take over. I'll warn you now, I'm a blunt person. I don't screw around with things." They all smiled at that. "I've also served on diplomatic missions. So, we need to share intel on what's happened. Agent Simmons." She snapped to attention. "Make sure we get the information from their crime scenes the same as they get ours. It can only help catch these idiots."
One Prince with big ears cleared his throat. "My people at MI-6 tell me that they're not human seeming. I know before who we would call but they unfortunately got blown up a few years back."
The agent in there nodded. "We're seeing if any are available to confirm that idea, Prince Charles."
"Thank you," he said with a small head nod and a slight smile. "I hope there are some left."
"I've never heard of that group," Jack said. He looked at the agent. "I want info on them today."
"Of course, sir." She touched her earpiece and walked outside, coming back with a folder. "Sir, we have found that we were warned." She handed it over.
Jack looked it over. "Not just us. The French, the Brits, and the Indian intelligence group were all warned about this suicide cult." The other leaders glared at the French one. The Prince wasn't usually involved in government. He was a diplomat and a showpiece of the Empire. No one would've told him anything. "Apparently the tips we got called them a suicide cult willing to kill for world peace."
The French one snorted. "There was probably no way to corroborate that."
"Perhaps, our people said that the person who gave it was a credible source but weren't sure what they could do about it. It mentions a Council?"
"That would be who I'd like to speak to," Prince Charles agreed. "May I have a copy of those as well to compare?" Jack nodded, handing it to the agent. "Thank you. What will we do now?"
"Now, we reform," Jack said firmly. "I say we hold a talk, make sure we can support each other and see if any of the other countries want to get some steadying as well." They all, but the French one, nodded at that. "The UN in a few days?"
"That would be reasonable," the one on the right said with a Russian accent. "Did it take out your state governors?"
"No. Just the upper branch of government," General Hyt told him. "We still have our Supreme Court and state governments."
Jack looked at him. "Get me the judges today?" He nodded, making that note. "That way we can head off the fighting the governors are going to do." He looked at Charles. "I'll see you in a few days."
"Thank you. Her Majesty is a bit ill today or she'd be here. I'm taking temporary PM duties however."
"That's fine. You're educated, won't make bad mistakes, and can hold on until you can get things set back up," Jack said with a small smile. "We'll figure it out and destroy whoever did this to the last man. Because if they weren't a suicide cult before, doing this made sure of it." They all nodded and hung up. Jack leaned back, rubbing his forehead. "I'm not a diplomat," he muttered.
"You're doing fine. Most of them are just rich people with a title," Hyt told him. "I wasn't looking forward to that." He walked off. "Let me announce what we have."
"Thank you. I don't like reporters." He looked at the agent. "Anything on this Council?"
"A few profiles in the system, sir. They were British originally."
"Find them, even if one member remains." She nodded. "I'm used to dealing with freaky stuff so don't sugar coat that."
"Yes, General." She left, going to her office to get on that information.
Two Secret Service agents walked up to O'Neill a few days later, nodding politely as they pulled him away from the person he had been talking to. "There is a representative to the Council that we have found, General."
"Good! Do they know anything?"
"She knows who would." Jack said something to the diplomat to Japan and walked off with them. They found the young redhead in a room waiting on them. "Miss Rosenburg, this is General O'Neill."
"Thank you," she said. She shook his hand. "I'm Willow Rosenburg, tech support at the Watchers Council, General." She stared at him. "You're a hard man to find out about but you seem to be trustworthy."
"You know about this cult?" he demanded.
"I know they're all gone now. The ones that were left are dead." She handed him a CD. "Taken from their tribal group. Any others of that species are now off-plane."
"Excuse me?" he demanded.
She smiled and changed the color of his t-shirt for him with a snap of her fingers. "We do things that are a bit stranger than even you're used to, General. One of our hunters and a few younger slayers gave the tips and went after them. They managed to stop some but not enough of them in time. For that, the team took out the rest of them that they could find."
He stared at her. "What were they?"
"Not human and not what you're used to dealing with. There's an information file on their species on there as well." She smiled and nodded at the agents. "We're in Cleveland since you guys thought they all blew up in England. We went to Sunnydale before it fell in, most of us were in Sunnydale when it fell in, and we reformed on the new hellmouth."
One agent repeated that, then grimaced. "Cleveland?" She nodded. "We'll be getting with the local offices to make sure they're strong enough to handle things that happened in LA."
"Please. We've been doing some gentle nudging about natural disasters and plans but no one's listening to us because we hunt demons." The agents both nodded at that. Jack's mouth fell open. She giggled, smiling at him. "That's the Council's job, General. Why they have a chosen female warrior. Now we have a lot of them called thanks to the issue in Sunnydale."
"I want to talk to the one who took them out and see if he gathered any other intel," Jack ordered.
"Gladly. He's in Canada at the moment on an emergency hunt. A demon was trying to take out a village and the slayer up there called specifically for him." She beamed. "He'll be back in a few days. Where would you like to meet him?"
"DC. My office. As soon as he's back." She nodded and disappeared. "How did she do that?" he demanded.
"Magic, sir. Apparently it is real for some people," one agent said. "We're gathering the profiles since we've been told that Sunnydale has a file of its own. It's probably in there, as well as whoever took them out."
Jack nodded. "Get me a laptop to run this," he said quietly. He made a call while he waited. "Carter, I need you now." He hung up. The laptop got handed over and he ran the disc. What he saw horrified him. "How in the hell?" he demanded to the screen. Carter was let in and came over to read over his shoulder. "Seen this?"
"No. That's crackpot theory, sir."
"No, Colonel, it's not," one agent sighed. "They've been around since before most countries had their current boundaries. Some say before Rome was an Empire."
She grimaced. "There's no way."
"I'll be meeting with the person in a few days," Jack said, letting her have it. "Summarize it for me. Have Hyt look that over as well," he ordered. The agents nodded. "Anyone in our people among them?"
"If so, we'll ask them, sir."
"Thank you. Aspirin?" One handed over a packet of Tylenol. They had started carrying them after the first time Jack had growled at a reporter.
Carter took the disc to her temporary office. Jack had sent for her to help work on the defenses they might need. This was the perfect time for the Ori to show up.
Xander walked into the White House looking more pressed than usual. He presented himself to the desk sergeant. "I was told to appear for an interview with General O'Neill by a Miss Rosenburg," he said quietly.
The desk sergeant had a post-it with that information so he called the agents in charge to come get this one. They came out. "Him, sir."
"Hi, Xander Harris. I was told someone wanted to talk to me."
"Yes, Mr. Harris, we have a lot of questions and apparently you have our answers."
"I was in the middle of taking a few of them down when I heard some had managed to get into place," he said.
"That's fine. That's just one of our questions." He led the one-eyed young man to a bare room with a table. "Who, exactly, are you?"
"Alexander Lavelle Harris, formerly of Sunnydale."
The agent typed that into his PDA, getting his file. "Hmm. The file we have on you is very thin."
"That's because the Initiative are weenies," he said bluntly, but smirking at the end. "If you've ever met Captain Finn, you'd know that."
The head agent looked at him. "He seemed normal to us."
"Do you like to torture beings for supposedly scientific purposes?" he asked bluntly, staring at him. The agent shook his head quickly. "Then I wouldn't idolize him because he did. He may have turned but that wasn't because he was sickened by what they were doing. It was because they found out that he was being experimented on as well."
"Oh, I hadn't known that." He added to the boy's profile. Then he looked at him. "Where was their main headquarters?"
"They had a few different enclaves and priesthoods." He pulled out the envelope that had been checked twice so far. "That's their former religion, their areas where they had enclaves, and the link to the safety deposit box I put everything I found there in."
The agent smirked. "That's handy."
"I'm from the Sunnydale team. We're used to emergencies and apocalypses. I figured someone would want to go through it for more plans." He got comfortable while they read it over. Someone else came in. "General Hyt."
"Xander Harris. I'm the hunter in charge of the team that took them out. Unfortunately I found out they had some in place while we were taking one out. I did send hints to the governments we knew we could trust as the Council."
"So we've heard. They didn't track your people after the explosion though so didn't trust it."
"Basically, the demon cocksuckers in charge wouldn't quit going down on them?" Xander asked dryly. The agents stiffened. Xander stared at them. "Three of the top agency heads right now wear demon's marks, guys." He looked at the general again. "What else can we do to help?"
"For right now, we have questions that need to be answered about what and who they were."
"I'm here for that," Xander agreed.
"Also, there's people who want to talk about magic."
"Not my field. Talk to Willow or the Devon Coven."
"There's a what where?" Hyt asked.
Xander smiled. "Willow once had some problems controlling her urges for the abilities she has. We found out that the higher authority for their sort is in Devon, England."
"Interesting," Hyt said, considering that information. "We'll try to talk to them when we're in England in a few days." Xander pulled out his phone to send a text message. "Warning them?"
"Having Willow set up an appointment for you." He looked at him. "And with Rupert Giles, the present head of the Council. He's in London this week."
"Thank you," he said, smiling at the boy. "What happened to your eye? Recent injury?"
"Before Sunnydale fell in, an insane preacher popped it." He adjusted the patch and looked at him. "I've been training myself since then to compensate. A few years in Africa helped that as well."
"Good man." He looked at the information they had. "Any chance there's some left?"
Xander shrugged. "Not on this plane. Some more showing up? Possibly. I wouldn't rule it out but the whole underground knows to turn them in to us for immediate removal. After what they did, even if it was so the world could start new and maybe make more peace, we can't allow that."
"I agree," Hyt said. "Let me get O'Neill in here." He took the information to him and Carter. Carter was still scoffing at magic but oh well. O'Neill came back to find the agents sneering at the boy but him looking unconcerned.
Carter followed. "I want proof of this magic bullcrap."
He stared at her. "That's not my field, ma'am. Ask Willow. Unless I leave that way, and then I won't be showing back up." He stared at her then at O'Neill. "She was highly impressed with you."
"Thank you. How would they get here?"
"There's a few immigration points from other realms and dimensions. One's in LA. One's in Paris, in the catacombs. The underground has people there so they know what's coming through. The Council, present version not the old one, has bribed them to let us know if anything too bad, too nasty, too dangerous, or these ones show up. If they're refugees or just seeking a better life, then so be it. Most of the demon population is still peaceful."
"Demons now?" Carter sneered. "Who do you think you are?"
Xander looked up. "Willow!" She appeared and stunned Carter stupid. "Thank you. Books?" She handed them over with a smirk then disappeared. He put them on the table, took off the band around them, and they all got to watch them grow. "Our classification manuals," he told Carter, who was still staring at her spot. He looked at O'Neill with a grin. "Sometimes it's fantastic, sometimes it's annoying. Magic is not a cure-all or anything, but another tool that only a few can use."
"I know about tools like that," he admitted. He took the books to look through. "Olde English?" he said.
"Yeah, the former version of the Council wrote them. There's a few spots we corrected but most of us can read that so we haven't gotten around to translating the libraries yet."
"What's the rest in?" he asked casually. He knew a bored linguist.
"Latin, some Summerian, some others. A few demon languages here and there. Those are mostly from personal libraries we managed to get from probates after the old Council got blown up."
"Who reformed it?" one agent asked quietly.
"Our team. We have the oldest slayer, we trained most of the other ones. The ones that fell back to Sunnydale and made it through the battle, or the ones I found, agreed Giles was in charge because he had all the ideas, training, and skills. Plus the headache powder."
"I need to try that instead of tylenol," Jack said. Xander patted himself down, pulling out a small box and opening it, which expanded it. He handed over a small envelope. Jack smirked at the smartass. "Thanks. I'll have it tested."
"It's all natural. I found it in Africa when I started to have vision headaches. A few shaman used it."
"Cool." He put it into his shirt pocket, going back over the books. "Are there any issues going on that I should know about that might complicate things?"
"Not right now. The whole underground is cowering in fear because the last time a demon got notice, the Initiative started. They think you guys are going to attack all of them for being different."
Jack nodded. "I'm not interested in killing peaceful species who might be allies, Harris." Xander smiled back. "If not...."
"There's the slayers for that," Xander said bluntly. "If we have to warn you about something big, we'll call. We always warn. We warned before the invasion in LA a few years back, or so I'm told since I was in Africa."
"They didn't recall you?" Hyt asked.
Xander shook his head. "Half the time the girls think I'm normal so therefore incompetent. I've proved them wrong lots of times but they still believe I'm too normal to help with things. So instead my girls kicked ass when a militia troupe showed up that day."
"That's good to know," Hyt agreed. "Are you staying local?"
"Technically I'm the Africa head. I should be back in Cairo in a few days. My girls will get into trouble again and they hate to arrest them when they get into trouble."
Jack smiled. "I'd like to meet these slayers."
"Talk to Willow. She can figure out where the one assigned to DC is." He smirked. "She's young but trained at home for a good, long time."
"Thank you." Jack shook his hand. "Let us have a contact method that will definitely work, Harris." Xander handed over his card, getting a nod. "Dismissed."
"Thank you, General." He left, going back to Cleveland via Willow.
Carter snatched the books to read, grimacing. "I don't believe all this. This is laid out like a stupid gaming manual."
"Find me Finn," O'Neill ordered. They went to find him in Homeland. They knew where he was. "We'll see since he was part of a demon hunting project out of the UN."
"And earlier he was part of a project that Sunnydale team shut down," Hyt said quietly. "Because they were torturing demons." Carter stared at him oddly. He nodded, smirking some. "They're so sanitized we can't find hardly anything on them." A disc carrier appeared in a twinkle on the table. He opened it carefully, finding the labeled discs. "Hmm. Their files from a hacker who took them." He walked them off. Jack followed. Carter took them to run because neither general was really technologically adept.
Jack and Prince Charles had a good talk together. They had laid out how to do a few things to help each other. Now he was going to let the prince talk. Jack really didn't do speeches. He had made one this week, that was his monthly tolerance. He saw someone sneaking into the room from the back and winced at who it was and that he had a few young women with him. They were working their way forward but one girl pounced someone and brought him down. "Who was it?" Jack asked.
"One of the people who helped blow up the mosque last week," Xander told him. "He's very sorry, Your Highness. The Council is going to handle their own." He walked him off crying while the girls guarded them.
"It's good to know that they're still around," Charles said with a smile. "They've always been very helpful and protective of us all." He went back to his speech. He ignored any questions about the Council and it was better when they walked off to have a beer. Charles has some wonderful microbrews from Scotland waiting on them.
Buffy was waiting when they got back with their former watcher prisoner. "There were press there!" she complained loudly, stomping a foot. "We're not supposed to get press attention!"
"We had to disarm his bomb," Xander countered, making her quit fussing. "He's trying to rearrange the monarchy so his pitiful Lordship status is higher than it is now." He handed him to Giles when he walked out. "Question him so we can hand the James Bond people information on their plan to take out the monarchy."
"There's all sorts of questions being asked in the press," Giles complained.
"Within a few hours, they'll decide we're a covert program of the government. All the rebuilding will take us out of press notice within days, Giles."
"Good point." He walked him off to question him.
Xander looked at Buffy. "We have bigger problems," he said more quietly. "Finn has been telling people we're all quacks and I've heard rumors of him saying we're dangerous to the US."
She nodded. "I'll kick his ass myself," she promised. "Any idea why?"
"That little conspiracy against us? They're part of it." He pulled out a keydrive and handed it over. "From Kyla."
She went to the computer room to read it, grimacing at what she saw. "We should warn people in case they attack," she decided, bringing it to Giles once he was done with the former watcher. She heard the yell that Xander had a vision but it wasn't an attack so she'd let them handle it.
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