Posted here: 08/05
Summary: When Cordelia returns, she bears disturbing news. Now, the shattered remnants of Angel Investigations must unite with the Scooby Gang to stop an assassin that can literally become anyone.
Spoilers: Salvage is a crossover between BtVS and Angel. It begins one week after the events of ‘Tomorrow’
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
The PROUD MARY
4 miles off the California coast
The storm had come out of nowhere and had left the Proud Mary and her crew of six fighting to stay afloat off the shores of Los Angeles. The Weather Channel was reporting activity resembling that of a Tropical Storm, but Captain James T. Barton didn’t know that, nor did he care. He just wanted to make it home alive.
“Billy!” Barton shouted. The 21-year-old Billy Carpenter snapped to attention when his captain spoke. “Get out there and help Chris and Thomas pump water overboard! We take too much on and we could capsize!”
Billy nodded and strapped on his rubber raincoat. The boy opened the cabin door and was nearly knocked back by the strength of the winds. However, he braced himself against the doorframe, and then slowly fought his way to the manual pumps.
Barton stared out the cabin window as his crew fought to pump the water threatening to sink his small sloop. It was as if the wrath of God himself was bearing down on the vessel.
A bolt of lightning cracked loudly as it struck the center mast. The large section of wood shattered near the base and fell backwards. Barton cursed loudly as he broke down the cabin door to escape, only moments before the mast came crashing through.
The impact broke the back of the small ship, causing water to flow freely into the compartments below. With the damage that was inflicted, it took less than five minutes for the ship to break apart. The Proud Mary and all six onboard sunk slowly to the sea bottom.
Sonar Reconnaissance Vessel
Two days later
“Seaman, report,” Commander James Ellis ordered.
“We’ll be able to triangulate the signals in a moments, sir,” Seaman Johnson answered. He pressed the headphones tighter to his ear to listen. “Sonar buoys are pinging, sir. I’m triangulating the signals now. Sonar, contact, bearing two-one-zero at 700 yards, sir. It looks to be the Proud Mary.”
Ellis snorted in amusement. “Who the hell names a boat Proud Mary? Might as well call it Born on the Bayou.” Ellis turned to another seaman. “Go down and talk to Hackett. Tell him to get Betty ready for deployment.”
The seaman saluted and trotted off. Now they would just have to see if it was really her.
Sonar Reconnaissance Vessel
Henry “Big Bubba” Hackett was a very large Georgia boy. At nearly six and one-half feet, he was the most imposing man on the ship, as well as one of the most intelligent. The Georgia Tech grad had found a quick niche in the Navy, and this was it.
Commander James Ellis peered over Hackett’s shoulder at the television monitors and the controller that the seaman was using to control ‘Betty’. Betty was a 5 foot long unmanned submarine used for deep-sea photography. Equipped with the best that MIT had to offer, including the finest night vision cameras in the world, Betty was very good at what it was designed for.
“What have you got Bubba?” Ellis asked
Bubba took a moment to scratch his chin with one of his large paws before answering. “Betty should be coming up on the Proud Mary shortly, sir.” Hackett maneuvered the joystick and flipped a button to turn on the high-density lights on the sub.
“I got contact!” Bubba shouted happily. Betty’s lights flickered on what used to be the hull of the Proud Mary.
“See if you can find any bodies, Seaman,” Ellis ordered gently. “I’m sure the families would appreciate it if we could find something.”
Hackett nodded and continued to maneuver Betty around the wreckage. Suddenly, he found something that shouldn’t have been at the wreckage of a fishing sloop.
“Sir?” Bubba asked. “What the hell is that?”
Ellis stared hard at the monitors. On screen appeared a large metal box, about seven feet long and three feet wide. “I’m not quite sure, sailor. Maybe a storage container of some sort.”
“I don’t know, sir,” Bubba said doubtfully. “That isn’t like any storage container I’ve ever seen. It looks kind of like a.coffin.”
Ellis had to agree. He reached to the console before him and grabbed the phone. “Ensign Buckner? Prepare the wench for deployment. We’re going fishing.”
The same day
Rupert Giles flipped through the Internet version of the Los Angeles Times with little interest. It was a way to kill time until he would have another “session” with Willow.
For the past week, Giles had been having informal psychiatric sessions with the wayward Wicca. Progress was being made, as Willow had repeatedly apologized for her actions. But more time was needed, and Giles would stay as long as he needed.
Giles was flipping through the web pages so mindlessly, he almost missed the small article about a missing local woman. Giles perked immediately when he saw who the person was.
“Hello Giles,” Willow spoke softly as she entered the Magic Box. “Are you ready for our talk?”
Giles barely heard Willow speak, but he still offered a response. “Willow, we may need to postpone. Would you be as kind as to call Buffy? Tell her I need to see her immediately.”
Willow looked confused but did as she was told. Giles, meanwhile, stared at the computer screen stating that Cordelia Chase had gone missing over a week earlier.
Santa Monica, California
In the alley between Frederick’s of Hollywood and Starbucks, Joe Drury slumped against a dumpster, munching on a sandwich that had been thrown away and sipping on a paper bag covered bottle of raspberry wine.
This was the homeless man’s favorite spot. There was almost always food to be had, and if he were careful, he could spy on pretty ladies trying on lingerie.
Joe took a long swig of his wine when electricity seemed to crackle in the alleyway. Joe set aside his bottle, wondering if perhaps he had too much to drink. He stared as a bright circle opened up above the street. The light it gave off turned the alley into day as energy continued to crackle.
It was then that an audible ‘Boom’ was heard, and from the circle dropped a person. Clad in a white flowing dress, the woman dropped with a thud to the concrete below. Joe grabbed his wine bottle and shattered it against the dumpster, deciding enough was enough.
“I shoulda stayed in Tucson,” Joe muttered.
Several crewmembers were sent to help pull the object over the railing as the wench brought it up. The men grabbed hold and helped maneuver the large steel box to a suitable resting place on the deck.
It was Seaman Alexander McGraw that first saw what was inside.
“Holy shit!” he screamed.
His fellow crewmembers broke out in laughter as the 18 year old jumped back away from the container. They did, that is, until they saw what was inside the container.
“Get the Commander,” Lieutenant Commander Chris Henderson ordered. “Get the Commander now!”
Police car 54 cruised through the nighttime streets of Santa Monica, not expecting much excitement of any kind. Officers Linda Welker and Steven Richards were used to the boring nightshift, and in their two-year partnership, had found several ways and places to kill time.
“I think I’m going to try a blueberry fritter next time,” Linda said. She reached into the donut bag and handed Steven a Danish wrapped in a napkin. Steven took one hand off the steering wheel to accept the pastry. Linda then grabbed her chocolate covered, strawberry jam filled donut and munched contently.
“I’ve heard those are pretty good,” Steven said. “But you know what’s great? The ones where they spread caramel and chocolate all over it.”
“Oh yeah!” Linda agreed. “Those are heaven.” She was about to continue when she spotted something in the center of the avenue. “Hey Steven? What’s that up ahead?”
Steven strained to look ahead, but as the car continued to move closer, it became clear what it was. “Oh great,” he muttered. “All we need is some crazy person walking in the center of traffic. There’s gonna be a mountain of paperwork for this.”
“Not if we just dump her off at the psych ward. They can handle that shit,” Linda said. “Pull over and we’ll pick her up.”
Steven pulled ahead of the woman in the flowing white dress and came to a stop. Both officers then got out and approached the woman with caution. “Ma’am?” Steven spoke. “Why are you walking in the center of a busy street?”
The woman stared ahead vacantly and continued walking until Steven blocked her path. “Ma’am?” he repeated. “We would like you to come with us.”
Steven reached out and gently laid a hand on the woman’s shoulder. The woman’s head instantly snapped around to glare distantly at the obstruction. It was as if she stared directly at him, but there was no understanding.
It was then that the woman released the most ear-shattering scream that either officer had ever heard.
“Uh, Linda?” Steven said.
“Can you call for backup?”
Los Angeles County Morgue
“What the hell is this?” Rebecca Maxwell asked of the two medics. The men deposited a body bag on her table and unzipped it to reveal a sopping wet body.
“The Navy found him underwater at the wreckage site of that fishing sloop that sunk a few days back,” one of the medics informed her.
“He’s one of the crew?” the young pathologist asked surprised.
“No,” the medic said mysteriously. “They found him in an iron coffin near the wreckage.”
“Really? Sounds like mob work to me,” Maxwell stated.
“Well, maybe you’ll figure out for sure when you slice and dice the stiff. Have fun.”
Maxwell huffed in annoyance at the prospect of yet another late night job as the medics left. “Mom wanted you to be a teacher,” Rebecca muttered. “Wanted you to marry that nice Wilkerson boy. Instead, you’re cutting up corpses at two in the morning and Bobby Wilkerson married the goddamn prom queen. Life’s a bitch.”
Rebecca grabbed a pair of latex gloves and prepared to do the external evaluation.
“Why wouldn’t Angel call?” Buffy asked confused. “Doesn’t Cordelia still work for him?”
“The last that I heard she did,” Giles said.
“Maybe he doesn’t really care,” Xander offered. The looks he received made him say, “What? It’s a possibility.”
“Whatever the reason, I think that you and Buffy should go to Los Angeles and offer whatever help may be needed,” Giles said. He stopped Xander before he could protest.
“I’m not saying that you should become drinking buddies with Angel, I’m saying you should offer your help.”
“I agree,” Buffy said. “It may be Cordelia we’re talking about, but it’s still the right thing to do. If it’s okay, I’d like to take Dawn with us. After everything that’s happened, I think she’s earned the right to start helping out with business.”
“Very well,” Giles said. “I shall stay here with Willow. I don’t think she is quite ready to deal with any strenuous ordeals quite yet. There is still much work to be done. But you will call if more help is needed.”
Buffy and Xander agreed. They soon headed home to pack their bags. In the morning, they would be off to Los Angeles.
Clark and Addison Streets
“Time for a shift change, Pete.”
Pete sighed in relief. “About damn time,” he grinned. “These 12 hour shifts are a real bitch.”
“Tell me about. Listen, there’s a few pieces of a large pizza with the works downstairs in the fridge. Help yourself to it.”
“Thanks Allen. I am pretty hungry.”
Pete stood up from his position behind the desk outside of Michelson’s office. As Allen took the vacated seat, the bulges beneath both men’s coats revealed that neither were men to mess with.
“Quiet day?” Allen asked.
“Yeah. A couple of hack psychics came in earlier. They think just because they can guess a couple cards right once in a while, that’s qualification enough to work for us.” Pete grabbed his newspaper and prepared to leave. “Wait, do you want the paper?” He held up a copy of the Times.
“Nah, done read it. Have a nice night. Say hello to Claire for me.”
“Sure will.” Pete smiled and waved goodbye before exiting the outer office. That left Allen alone.
As soon as Pete was gone, Allen was on his feet and heading for Michelson’s door. Reaching to his belt, he grabbed his Beretta. From his pocket he pulled a silencer and screwed it onto the barrel. He then threw open the door, revealing a very startled Michelson.
“What’s the meaning of this Allen?” the aging Vornack demon exclaimed. “It’ s not polite to enter a room without knocking.”
“It’s not polite to do this either.” Allen raised the silenced pistol and placed a single bullet between Michelson’s eyes. The Vornack slumped in his seat, blood spilling from the hole in his head. Allen holstered his pistol and left.
Pete reached into the refrigerator and grabbed the Domino’s box. “Yummy,” he said, lifting a single slice from the box. He chewed on his slice and carried the box over to the island counter in the center of the kitchen to have a seat.
Pete ate contently until he felt his foot becoming damp. Confused, he bent below the counter and noticed something red seeping from a cabinet onto his shoe.
“What the fuck?” he muttered. He opened the cabinet to find something horrible. “Oh shit!” Pete raced to the kitchen door and yanked hard on the alarm. Sirens wailing broke the silence of the previously still warehouse. He grabbed the emergency phone beside the alarm.
“Security!” he screamed. “Get up to the Regent’s office now! He’s in danger! Seal the building! Allen Parson is dead! A shape-shifter took his place! What? Oh my God.” A shocked Pete dropped the phone and slid to the ground. Allen Parson just walked past security moments earlier.
The muscled, dark blonde form of Allen Parson grinned as he climbed into his car just outside the warehouse. As he put the key in the ignition, the figure morphed into a leaner, dark haired man.
“Ramius,” he whispered to himself. “You are too good.”
He threw the car into gear and zipped down the street as the first security personnel poured onto the street. They could only watch the taillights fade into the misty night.