This first tale sports an unfinished piece written by Sofielisk, who created the old Chimneysweep, Basal, who makes his first appearance here.  This was written back last spring and tells of the ripple affect Plague-Sever had as he moved across the country following GAVAL after Halloween 2000 on its way to Irvine.  Pressure on Sofie to finish this would be a good thing.  His ending is a spectacular idea that you all may never see otherwise!

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Untitled YotS Story by Sofielisk

'I don't have to do this; I could just turn around and walk away, I don't have to go up those stairs. There's only one person who'd notice anyway, and there's no-one who'd care. I don't belong here, just watch the others, look at how they stare at me - the runt of the litter, the failure, the waste of space. I'm a smear on the otherwise untarnished reputation of the Ambiguous Slayer's guild. I don't have to go up these stairs, I can turn back any time I want.'

 Those thoughts echoed through my mind like a mantra as I climbed the stairs. They were marble white and shimmering blindingly in the hot summer sun. I was just outside of London, in one of the small commuter towns that follow the path of the River Thames - this one called itself Skinny Rise. They all have rather odd names, though I guess the same could be said for me, Einad of the Slayers Chimneysweep, formerly Dave Coobler of the ignorant, happy people.

 I think that out of all the Slayer castes, us brits are the least interested in the Ambiguous section of our name. True, the young chimneysweeps are all into subtlety and deception, but when you've spent a good 50 years of your life slipping down chimneys you start to want something different. There seems to come a time where we all decide to live up to the eccentric english nobleman stereotype, at which point 'one would ask for a little retirement money' from el padre in Rome and set up camp somewhere posh and defnitely not out of sight.

 Maybe that's why this manor house no longer had any chimneys. Basal, the guy who lived there, was the oldest Slayer i'd ever met, he was certainly too old to carry on the good fight even with the aid of our kind's powerful rush. He just seemed to want to live out the rest of his life in peace on the sunny banks of the Thames, in a 200 year old manor house with the chimneys removed. He had a rather distinguished service record too - completely unblemished to be honest, God alone knows how many leeches met their end at his hands. He was the big daddy of the Slayers Chimneysweeps, even if that wasn't an official title... And I still hadn't worked out why he paid such special attention to me.

 The stairs led up his garden towards the front door and I could see that Basal was sitting in a reclining chair on the porch, sipping slowly at some drink (double gin and tonic I assumed), while reading a newspaper (daily telegraph). He had that distinguished gentleman look to him, with hawk-like features and steely-grey hair. Yet, a life of fighting evil had had its effect on his physique, turning him from a bad stereotype into an overpowering presence. Even aged 96 he was as fit as a man with half his years. A scar ran accross his forehead that he tried to keep covered by a fringe, apparantley he got it from a fallen angel during his first hunt, but that might have been an exaggeration. If Basal had done half the things he claimed to have done the Queen would had little choice but to knight him sereral times over.

 His garden was enormous, and looked like it had some oriental inspiration. I walked past a pond swimming with well-maintained Koi Carp and took a brief pause to check my appearance. My suit was crumpled beyond recognition by the long car trip here, and my normally scruffy black hair had slumped lifelessly onto my face - which was looking glummer than usual if that was possible. One of the Carp decided to attack my reflection as I pulled a comb out and began to straighten myself out. Well, it was now or never, and I wasn't going to get any better looking so I headed off. I couldn't help but notice my footsteps getting louder as I subconciously stomped... 'Why am I still tense?', I'd see Basal every other day more-or-less. I stretched my shoulders slightly, pretending to be overheating in the sun, then slunk onto the porch.

 "Einad!" He said, "I do apologise, I didn't see you approach. Here, let me get you a drink - still on the scotch?" He put his newspaper down and slowly rose.
 "Yes, thank you." I'd suddenly become all formal.
 "Very well, please Einad, take a seat, I'll be back soon." He motioned to another reclining chair set opposite him and disappeared into his house.

 The house was enormous, and although the white, thatched manor was still beautiful to look at, the outside could never do it justice. Inside he had memorabilia from all over the world. Pictures of him meeting the native Slayers of Indonesia, who claim completely different origins to the rest of us. A pilgrimage to Louisiana with friends of his. His ascencion to head of personnel for the entire chimneysweep chapter. Not just the pictures too, weapons weilded by ancient Slayers adorned the walls and his collection of books was beyond comparison. Most importantly though, as far as he was concerned were the drinks cabinets. He had one in every room, two in the bigger rooms. They were, in his eyes, what made his house such a wondrous place. There's nothing he valued more...

 ...except that bloody chess board! He was coming out of the house with my scotch and that annoying board. There was a game in progress on it so he was being extra careful with it. It was a game I'd been playing with him, or rather, losing to him. The last 3 times I'd visited he didn't bring it out. He knew I hated the game, but I guessed I was due for another thrashing. I opened my mouth to complain but he pre-empted me.

 "Use that mouth for drinking young man." He handed me my rather full glass, "any other day and I'd be willing to stand here and bicker, but not today."
 "And why is today so special?" I took a sip of the scotch, I normally preferred a strong lager, but Basal only served 'proper alcohol.'
 "All in good time - now I believe it is your move."

 He set the board down between us and sank into his seat. I was white and he was black, he had about twice my amount of pieces and most of mine were pawns. I did still have my queen and a rook though. I studied the board for all the good it'd do, it had 'best wishes - from Chalice's engraved on one side, and the pieces were hand-carved. They all looked like the ASG's most prominent members. Basal as the king, probably just because it was made for him. The pawns looked like miniature Slayers-Cajun, while Buffy was queen. My rook was some guy called Cabbot apparantley...

 "How is Carla doing?" He asked me.
 "No better." There was a sting of venom in my voice and no small taste of bitterness. "you know I'd have told you if there was any change."
 "Yes, yes, I'm sure you would have, silly me for mentioning it. I'm sure you must think about her often."
 
 Were my teeth grinding? They should have been. Carla was one of the best Slayers I'd ever met. Like Basal here, she put her faith in me, I'd balked on two important missions before, but she wanted to give me another chance to prove myself - not realising just how badly I'd screw it up this time. She took me along to a demon nest, but I panicked under pressure and ran leaving her grossly outnumbered. Reinforcements arrived later, but they were way too late. The Demons had laid a bunch of eggs in her brain. The only reason she was still alive was her Slayer physiology, but the chances of her making a recovevery were miniscule. The last thing the bitch did was say she forgave me! Add another failure to my list.

 "Yeah, I guess I do." I said, picking up a pawn to take my move. But Basal was full of surprises today. His hand came down like lightning, slapping mine and making me drop the tiny, wooden cajun.
 "I don't have time for this today boy, you are trying to lose on purpose. Move the Queen and play properly."
 "What's with you Basal? You're acting really different." I was getting angry now. That Carla comment was below the belt and while I had enough respect for Basal that I moved the Buffy replica, knocking his knight (a miniature Gaval) off the table, this was getting annoying rapidly.
 "I'm quite worried that I'm about to put my career on the line if you must know - and you aren't helping with this stubborn behaviour."
 "What?" I started laughing "'Your' career is on the line? I can't believe that."
 "Believe what you want lad." He had obviously been planning ahead, he took his move after a few seconds.

 "Well, how come?" He had peaked my curiosity, I didn't even notice that I was playing chess properly in the interim.
 "It would probably be easier to show you." Basal reached down and pulld out the copy of the daily telegraph he was reading earlier. In the manner of every subtle chimneysweep that had ever been able to read, he simply used the paper to conceal the ASG newsletter. The news wasn't good.
 "Bloody Hell!" I muttered.
 "Between the Great Holy War and the appearance of several evils of unexpected temerity, including this Plague Sever creature, we have taken somewhere in the region of 60% casualties."
 "Jesus..."
 "I don't appreciate blasphemy. Suffice it to say that while in most of these recent encounters we have come up trumps - it has only been with heavy losses. Losses we cannot afford."

 Buffy had been racking up some kills, but Basal was a much better player than me. My situation was worsening rapidly. I'd lost the rook and a lot of pawns. There was probably a way to pull back from this kind of situation, but I didn't know it. I didn't care either, but it was best not to let Basal get a whiff of that fact.

 "...It has reached breaking point for our guild." Basal continued, "losing three members for every new one you find is a dire turn of events for any organisation. And hence, the reason I am worrying for my career."
 I smiled in as comforting a manner as I could manage - I think it was more threatening to be honest.
 "Tomorrow morning I want you to fly over to America. You are going on another mission."
 "WHAT!?!" I nearly choked on my scotch.
 "Don't worry, it isn't an important mission, I know you couldn't handle that yet."
 "You're planning to send me on a mission - well sure you can kiss your career goodbye."
 "Precicely, as you can imagine, our current situation must be pretty dire if we actually need to send you out anywhere." My ego took a dent, but I guess I deserved that. "The Americans are having the worst personnel problems of us all - they've requested assistance from our side of the pond. People who can take back the slack while they deal with crucial threats. I'm sure you appreciate how good it feels for us to be the cavalry for once."
 Deep breaths, deep, cleansing breaths, "I can't believe this - don't I have a choice?"
 "Of course you have a choice - you can quit the ASG. But we both know you won't ever do that. Now settle down and I'll brief you. Much more shouting and you'll give me a hernia." I did as he said but any hopes of a nice day just went out of the window.
 
 He nodded as he began to slump into his seat, "It's a cult, they're based out near Ruidoso, New Mexico and almost slipped under our radar. Their beliefs have all the hallmarks of a Vampire Cult. Association of Sun and Light with evil forces, rejection of moral virtues because all humans have within them the capacity to become something better, and the 'chosen ones' will indeed do that. The leader has been sighted consorting with known evil forces too..."
 "Check." Both to his information, and with reference to the chess game. I was getting desperate - I'd lost this one, but that check was one last act of defiance.
 "Don't try that in the field." He said disapprovingly, as a pawn I hadn't spotted read Buffy her last rites. "we're pairing you up with a Slayer-Cajun named Kadan, he's a good fighter, but a complete rookie, so whether you like it or not, you are in charge."
 "This gets better and better." I muttered. "Why not send someone who's closer? Or more able?"
 "There is nobody available nearby. Whoever we send will have quite a trip, and despite your previous record, your specialist field of training is infiltration theoretically. If you can't prove yourself on this mission, I dare say you will never redeem yourself. Anyway, the cult has about a thousand mortal members, and their base is an old ranch. Thanks to good old Mr. W. and some idiotic American legal loopholes they are receiving funding from the federal government. Cult leader is surprisingly young, only about 21 years old."

 Basal handed me a small package he'd been hiding under his chair. It contained pictures of the ranch-cum-base, and of this Cult Leader. "He has escewed a title preferring people call him by his normal name, Dane 'o' Haré, or his 'true' name, Manius."
 "And his eyebrows are joined. That's a sure sign of evil." Actually, the guy looked more geeky than evil. Big, thick spectacles and a not too impressive build, with a hairstyle I hadn't seen since the 80s.
 "I'm glad you're starting to see something other than loathing in this mission Einad, please, keep it up. The cult recruits from all the usual locations, members parade on street corners, in front of churches, and anywhere people gather, malls, airports, what have you. They even put out a TV advert a month ago. That's what alerted us... As I said 'o' Haré had been sighted consorting with known evil on numerous occasions, but we didn't know who he was."
 
 A Short pause followed while Basal sipped at his G&T. "Your flight is from Heathrow tomorrow morning, the nearest airport is in Alberquerqe so you'll have to catch a bus after that. You'll meet up with Kadan in two days time, at 2 PM, in Ruidoso. Your mission parameters are very simple. Infiltrate the cult and remove the Vampire. Without a figurehead the cult should fall apart. You are responsible for Kadan's safety, he may be a Slayer-Cajun, but that doesn't mean he's unstoppable in combat. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
 "Riiight. Anything else - or can I leave to let you pack your bags. 'Cos you can still wave bye-bye to your career."
 "Please Einad, I've spent the past 4 years training you personally, and whether you think so or not, you have learned something in that time. You are only 27. If you cease slaying now, right when we most need dedicated Slayers, - and, in your own peculiar way, you are dedicated - then I have well and truly failed. I can't go on tutoring you like this forever, I know I am taking an enormous risk, but i'm giving you another chance to prove yourself... Most people don't get more than one chance Einad, don't waste it."
 I sighed loudly. "Fine, I guess I'll see you when I get back." I got up to leave.
 "One last thing Einad..." He was looking very serious. "Check-mate." Yep, my king was surrounded... "Don't let that happen in the field... Good luck."
 Fulfilling my twisted sense of humour I saluted Basal and turned to leave. Behind me I could hear him pouring another drink. I'd need one of those when I got back home. Maybe another ten in fact. 'Today, I am a Slayer again.'

 I wish I hadn't gone up the stairs.

**********************************************************************************************

 I was in full ambiguous mode by the time I caught a plane to Alberquerqe (nearest airport to Ruidoso). I had concealed my stakes inside various holiday items - one inside a hairdryer, another in a personal stereo and so on... British customs are so careless that they let me on without a second thought. During the long trip accross the Atlantic I couldn't help but contemplate how easy it would have been for me to smuggle narcotics in the same way, or even go on to assasinate a foreign dignitary. Still - either of those would have been evil deeds, so it was best not to think too much about it.

 The airplane food was a nice distraction, it tasted like cardboard, but the hostess who brought it was a real dish, with complimentary curves. I ordered seconds, and contemplated how easy it would be for me to smuggle her past customs in a suitcase. My thoughts were wandering on purpose, I didn't want to think about being back in the field, but I couldn't have turned the mission down. The ASG has been my life since I was 16, when my pure blood realised it's potential, they've given me a hell of a lot, and all I've given them back is an arse full of trouble.

 The flight took about 18 hours, so to finish it off I did a crossword book I'd bought in the airport. Once we landed I caught a bus to Ruidoso, the services seemed to be running like clockwork, but either Basal must've under-estimated how long it would take me to get here or we had to take an indirect route to avoid a storm or something... I was supposed to meet up with Kadan in half-an-hour's time when I caught the bus, yet according to the schedule I was going to be about fifteen minutes late. Looked like I'd have to settle for a bad first impression.
 
 

 Ruidoso was not at all what I expected. I anticipated there'd be an ex-frontier theme to the place given the nearby indian settlements - dust roads, maybe the occasional tumbleweed. Instead what I got was crass, american commerciality. Tourist gift shops were dime a dozen, and you could barely move for themed restaurants. At least it wasn't particularly busy at the moment, their busy tourist season was the winter, with skiing being the main attraction for visitors. I didn't like this place, so quick as  could I snatched a town map from a nearby information board and plotted a course to the library... Straight ahead, turn right... Only about five minutes. I started walking.

 The library soon came into view, it was a hideous stone building, constructed in the late 1890s and never once given any sort of maintainance. It stood out on its own with a pair of alleys drifting off to either side. Nobody was anywhere near. I wandered in front, sure I was late, but Kadan should have waited... I paused, straightened my suit and tie and looked around. It was then that I got the feeling right in my gut, I hadn't felt the rush in over 5 years, but it wasn't something you could forget easily. The source was down the nearest alleyway, I turned and ran without thinking, panicking that my mission would end with a dead partner before it even really began.

 Dust was kicked up in great clouds as I ran as fast as I could, barely remembering that all my stakes were buried deep inside my luggage. The alley turned at the end revaling a strangely positioned courtyard of sorts behind the library. Buildings rose up on all sides, filling the surrounding space with shadows. But standing in among those shadows were three of the strangest creatures I'd ever seen, they looked like some variety of nature spirit, but I was definitely getting evil vibes from them. They either hadn't noticed me or didn't care, they were slowly moving in on another figure.

 He was quite tall and un-naturally slim, currently unarmed, but he had a shotgun slung over his back. A tight 'Grateful Dead' T-shirt and some track-suit bottoms rounded out this rather unusual fashion statement. The shadows from the side of the alleyway were moving towards him, slowly coalescing. He slipped his shoes off so he was standing barefoot and dug his feet into the dirt.

 Spotting me he turned and shot me a glance. He had shoulder length blond hair and a piercing stare. "You shouldn't be here!" Definitely not the same accent as the locals, I couldn't place it though. "get away before you get hurt!"
 "Really, that's no way to talk to your backup..." I replied, exaggerating my accent so he'd know who I was.

 If he reacted, I had no time to see it. The creatures finished posturing and made a move. They did appear to be corporeal (thank god), but they were like nothing else I'd ever fought, thick antlers covered their heads, while they held a dagger in each hand. Their skin looked like it was made of moss and every action they took was accompanied by chanting in a language I couldn't understand. Three demons in total, and they all attacked Kadan at once, ignoring me while I fumbled in my jacket for a stake to use in the fight. I winced, looking at my suitcase with a sinking feeling. "Hold on, I gotta unpack!" I yelled, unzipping the black case.

 "Man, you British guys ARE all inept!" Kadan yelled while leaping into the air. Kicking twice he sent a pair of the strange shadow demons flying, while landing some distance from the third. He smiled "I was hopin' for a challenge. Aah well, this'll do."

 It's much easier to pack and unpack when your speed has been enhanced by the rush. I grabbed the hairdryer i'd hidden a stake in from the suitcase as one of the creatures lunged for me. Not having time to extract my stake I simply swung the hairdryer at the demon. I hadn't been in a fight of any kind for years my inexperience showed through, I sidestepped and hit it in the lower back only slowing it down somewhat, at least I remembered to evade its lunge.

 I could hear all manner of comments from behind me, they ranged from "Toro! Toro!" to "You fight like schoolgirls." I got the distinct impression that Kadan was not taking this seriously. In fact when I turned for a split-second to see what was going on I realised he was blatantly toying with the other two.
 "Quit it you idiot!" I yelled, smashing the hairdryer open against the wall and extricating my stake. "Just kill them!"
 "Aaw! But that'd spoil all the fun."

 I ducked another swipe and brought my stake up towards it's face. I was far too slow, but at least I was getting into the swing of this again... It was quite humbling to see Kadan playing cat 'n' mouse with two of these creatures while I struggled to cope with just one.
 "I am in charge of this mission by orders of the ASG!" I yelled in the most authoritarian tones I could manage. "Finish these creatures immediately."
 "Tsk! Pulling rank already. Man, this blows."
 "Just do it!"

 The creature I was facing backed off, I think it was frightened, but whatever emotions it was feeling i'll never know. It failed to notice my suitcase just behind it and as it stepped backwards, it tripped over the errant luggage. I knew an opportinity when I saw one and was on top of it in a flash. I drove my stake in about 14 or 15 times and eventually the creature seemed to dissipate back into the shadows from whence it had come.

 I sat, legs spreadeagled on top of my suitcase, a stake in one hand, panting like a dog, while a pair of shotgun blasts rang out into the air. I didn't bother looking... Soon enough Kadan wandered over and extended his hand. "Hey there, let me help you up." The bastard hadn't even broken a sweat. Oh yeah, this was gonna be a mission from hell.
 
 "Lets just get to a hotel for the night. I think I've got jet-lag." I said rather irritably.
 "Whatever, you're the boss... By the way, my names Kadan."
 "Einad." We shook and left the alleyway.

***********************************************************************************************

 "What were those things anyway?" I asked, staring at the fan on the roof of our hotel room, the rythmical swinging almost hypnotizing me. Kadan was in the shower, but the walls were thin enough that we had no difficulties talking to one another.
 "Indian vengeance spirits. The library had a few occult books." Kadan yelled over the sounds of the water. "I got bored while waiting so I took a quick peek."
 "You didn't summon those things?"
 "Of course I did! Some petty shaman had trapped them inside a book on the white conquest of America. Figured the next pale-skin who looked at it would get an eyefull of whup-ass. I thought, better a Slayer deals with them than some ordinairy Joe. The shower was turned off

 I shook my head in disbelief. "You should at least have waited for backup. In future I want it made absolutely clear that you do not engage evil unless authorised by me. We cannot afford this mission to fail because you decided to run off and play the hero."
 "Playing hero?" He poked his head around the door. "I just thought it would be good practice. Something you look like you could do with limey. What's the matter - been locked up a chimney for a decade?"
 "Only five years actually."
 "Man! And they call me the rookie."
 He came out of the shower still drying the water from his hair. "You need a shower." He said looking me up and down. "And a tan."
 "Well." I took a towel from a nearby rail, "first things first them."

 Within a minute our roles were reversed, it was surprisingly hard to hear over the shower's noise, maybe I should have talked louder than I did. "So Einad, what's the plan?" I made out over the splashing of water.
 "I was thinking that tomorrow, after we're rested up, we go and get indoctrinated into this cult. That should be easy - once inside we'll lay low until a good opportunity to take out this Vampire, Laes, comes around."
 "Thought so."
 "Really?" That was overly sarcastic.
 "Yeah - it's what I'd do." I wish I could tell when Americans were being sarcastic.

 "So Kadan, where are you from? I can't place the accent."
 "Not surprising - my parents travelled, I was born in Manhattan, but I don't think I stayed in any city for more than a year."
 "Aah. Why did you move that often?"
 "They were on the run."
 "That happens so often to us Purebloods"
 There was a short pause - "Actually they were on the run from Purebloods. They found out about the ASG, and they weren't Slayers but they had the genes to pass it on to me. Me becoming a Slayer was the last thing they wanted, but in the end, they were on the verge of selling me to a vampire Count just to keep me from the guild. I bolted and that's how I came to be here."
 How do you respond to a story like that? I should know, I've seen so many others in the same situation with me. "Well, sorry I brought it up."
 "Don't be - I wish I'd bolted earlier so I could have been in the Great Holy War."

 I looked in the mirrot that was hanging up on the Shower wall - Kadan was right, I did look a mess. Not that I didn't normally, but I liked to think it was an attractive mess... "So what about you, English?"
 I smiled to myself. "I'm gonna be honest with you, the first time I went on a mission, we lost 3 slayers to a nest of leeches, we outnumbered them, but fucked up. Second time, my team was captured by cannibals and I was the only one who escaped. third time... My partener got a load of eggs laid in her head."
 "Fuck! But things got better after that right?"
 "Nope - this is my fourth mission."

 "Okay man, listen, if anything lays eggs in my head shoot me - and do it before I shoot you. I'm going to the bar - I think I need a stiff one."
 "You do that, just don't try to exorcise any martini demons and make sure your fit for tomorrow."
 "Yes sir!" And off he went.

For my part, I finished the shower and went to bed... I needed some sleep.

************
************

This is a deleted scene from YotS III that falls as the Spectre Hunters arrive at the airport.  It tells of how they lost their weapons and almost tangled with Nighteye's interfering demons.  Nighteye wrote most of this in script, which I rewrote in prose, but it never quite fit.  It does give you some idea of background as to why GAVAL and Lothos and the kids never got on that plane that crashed over the Shadowlands...

DELETED SCENES

Looking almost nervous a security guard watched closely by National Guardsmen repeated the same phrase over and over. "Put all carry-on luggage on the conveyor, please."

G'chi, using broken English approached the guard.  "What does that device do to my belongings?"

"A simple x-ray scanning device that scans the inside of your luggage to see if you're carrying anything that’s...unregulated."  The guard's eyes were glazed over as though he were only half aware of what was happening.

G'chi growled to himself and placed a single black suitcase on the conveyor. As it started moving through the machine, he walked through the electronic portal. As he expected the buzzer went off, while a scream emanated from within an adjoining room.  Ignoring the buzzer, the security guard and military personnel ran to the commotion drawing weapons.  G'chi and his companions were ushered into the room behind a national guardsman, suddenly being treated as security risks.  Panic followed as inside they found a young female clerk lying unconscious on the floor.  Clearly shaken, one of the security trainees moved to check on the victim as the other drew a handgun motioning the group to stand in a row while nervously calling for backup.  The National Guardsman looked around nervously, not sure where to point his M-16.

Remembering the buzzer, the guardsman pointed his rifle at G'chi.  "You all need to be searched for weapons.  Take off your coats and put your hands against the wall, feet spread.  Where's that backup?!"

The demon grinned and in his wicked accent murmured, "It will be my pleasure..."

G'chi uttered these words with an evil grin, pulled up his hat and opened the trench coat, revealing his demonic carcass beneath.  Before security in the small room had time to scream, a shorter deamon, Koi'chk, sent spines from her torso into the body of the armed security guard, leaving her writhing in shock and pain as she dropped her pistol.  Gak'chi, moving like lightning grabbed the weapon in freefall before it could discharge from shock.  The National Guardsman, backing away from the three demons tried to raise his weapon, hands shaking, but the young man's safety was engaged; an act of precaution that would cost him his young life.

Krag'na approached the man in camouflage stalkingly and groaned out in his demonic speech,  "Your race has less mettle than fairyfolk.  I send you to hell for reckoning, weakling!"

With little effort he grabbed the face of the male guard with a slimy hand and twisted his head sideways, snapping his neck.  The guardsman had started to reach up to grab the demon's arm in self-defence, but few mortals had the reflexes to parry such a move.

G'chi turned to the murderous demons as they licked blood off of their vestments.  "Krag'na, continue on to the plane with the others. We shall remain here.  This flesh can be used to give us more...mortal appearances. Those charm spells do not last long enough to cover our identities for the duration of this mission. You shall do the same with the pilots.  Go."

Krag'na snarled and moved out of the room and towards the docking area, taking 3 of the demons with him.  Soon after he left, G'chi and the remaining demons left the massacre, disguised as the slaughtered human personnel.  The group 'resumed' duties at the baggage check-point while Krag'na boarded flight HEX666 disguised as a maintenance worker.  He made his way to the pilot's cabin shortly thereafter dragging three partial bodies into a used food cart which was removed routinely from the plane.  Little red droplets fell from the curtain around the lower portion of the cart as  the flight-attendant pushed the cart and adjusted her neck slowly, making a horrible cracking sound.

When he reached his demonic associates Krag'na growled out in his arcane tongue, "When you're done locking our meat in the cargo compartment try to blend in with the rest of the crew.  Speak as little as possible. I will be piloting this craft and you," he pointed a gloved hand at one of the demons adjusting his new human face, "will be my co-pilot.  Allow no one into the pilot's cabin, and cover up the human flesh stains. We shan't give ourselves away so hastily."

The demons nodded all at once in affirmation and continued their tasks with grim determination...and a vile grin of satisfaction.

**********

The Spectre Hunters arrived late at the baggage check-in for their European flight. The young Slayers all experienced a little twitch of the Rush, but attributed it to the presence of the boxed Spam warriors.   Eager to make up for the lost time, GAVAL turned to speak to the clerk manning the check-in point but was addressed before he could utter a "hello."

"Good evening. Welcome to Stayaloft Airlines. Please put your baggage on the conveyor, so we can scan it for...regulations." The accent was dark and alien to the Slayer who prided himself on his ability to detect which accent or language a person was speaking with.

"Ah'm not familiar with that accent, sir.  Where are you from?" asked the Cajun.

"Hhhrm....France, sir.  I come from France.  Mips."

"Ahh!  Tu parle francoise n'est pas mon ami?  Comment allez-vous?" smiled GAVAL forcefully.

"Hrrr....my...parents were Swahili, however."

"Oh," frowned the Slayer.  He hadn't had a chance to practice his French in months.  "Well, Hakuna Metata, eh?"

G'chi twitched from within his borrowed human skin and muttered to the Cajun once more, "But they were Chinese-speaking people."

GAVAL stared at the demon for a moment with an eyebrow raised in a Vulcan-like manor and thanked himself silently for his "normal" childhood.

The bags rolled through the conveyor and the group passed the gate one-by-one.  All Anti-Spectre armaments were stripped from them and laid out on a table besides the gate as the already-nervous security grew increasingly agitated at the Slayers' cargo.

The head demon spoke angrily through a semi-functional borrowed mouth and played out his role, "Well, well, well...seeking to board an aircraft carrying enough flammables to supply a small army?  ...I'm sorry, sir, but you have to leave those weapons here. All of them."

GAVAL frowned at the young Slayers who had forgotten to put their stakes and gavels in their luggage and made up a quick explanation.  "Ah'm sorry.  We meant to keep those in the checked luggage.   I can assure you that there are no firearms amongst our baggage. We can go back and check them in a box or another container, I'm sure.  Purely an error made by our trying to adjust to all the new security measures..."

G'chi feigned a smile and tried his best to take on an understanding tone.  "Perhaps, but we'll still need to search your party…thoroughly…and do a background check.  All of you come with me to the back room."

Lothos grinned a Lothosian grin and patted the demon firmly on the back with resulting squishy sounds no human shoulder should make. "Hey, Hakuna Metata!  Our next plane doesn't leave for 2 hours.  Sayonara Comrade!"

As the group moved to a security area, GAVAL strained to suppress his anger.   G'chi was handing over a claim check for retrieval of the items that were confiscated when door to the baggage check room opened.  Out came a young female clerk who stepped over to G'chi and whispered. G'chi turned his attention back to the Slayer party with a frown.  "It appears your checked luggage is also riddled with suspicious objects including copious amounts of meat by-products.  I myself am a meat-lover and understand completely the need to tag along a fresh fleshy snack, but there are customs laws on your world...in your country I mean.  It will have to remain here to be searched for other possible...undesirables.  Terrorism precautions, you see."

Lothos saw GAVAL's growing fury and stepped up to the counter.  "Once okay'd our luggage will make it on the plane, won't it?"

"If it clears, we will be bring your luggage to the plane right after we're done. We cannot allow you to board the plane with any sharp or long metal objects. I'm sure you understand. Flight number?"

Lothos checked his ticket which was covered in spaghetti sauce and bread crumbs.  "E-ticket says HEX666."

Dwayne and Wayne, twin Slayers from the Bronx glanced at each other with worried eyes.  They were helpless and could only stand there and try to look non-threatening.

"All right, provided you aren't smuggling anything explosive, we'll have everything on the plane in an hour or so.  Please proceed to the next room to be searched."  The security agent tugged at his ear as he spoke and his face seemed to slide from an odd angle to straight again on its skull.  Clint glared at Lothos and GAVAL incredulously, but they seemed to be too concerned with getting the group on a plane to appreciate the odd situation…

After the group moved on G'chi turned to his companions. "Again, the Slayers show their complete ineptitude for detecting the presence of hell's children.  Dispose of the luggage, discreetly."

A demon named Maltz disguised as a busty Asian attendant nodded and asked in his native language, "With pleasure...but what do we do with the box containing the two undead creatures? They may be dangerous to dispose off.”

"This is a mission of sabotage!  Must I think of everything?!  Send that box with some random flight. The more trouble we cause the better."

"Shall we feast afterwards?" asked another demon.

"Yes.  These...disguises...share more than one purpose."  Reaching up with his "borrowed" hand, G'chi bit off an entire finger and wiped the now cold, dark blood from his mouth.

**********