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Subject:Fanfic: Buffy / Marvel Cinematic Universe - Birthday Honours - III
Time:10:40 pm
This is a sequel to London Calling, set several weeks later. You don't need to have read that first but it won't hurt. I have no idea how quickly I'll get this written, don't expect quick updates.

As the Queen's birthday approaches Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis are making plans to return to the USA, Thor and Captain America are expected in London to attend the Trooping of the Colours, and weird things are stirring on Alderney, one of the Channel Islands...

Previous parts here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/3334724


Birthday Honours

by Marcus L. Rowland

III


Alderney / Bath, Thursday Afternoon

Andrew came into the damp concrete-lined tunnel and mouthed something, and Xander switched off his drill and took off his headphones and safety glasses.

“What’s up, Andrew?”

“Giles is on Skype for you.”

“Urgent?”

“I think he just wants a status report.”

“Tell him I’ll call him back in about twenty minutes?”

“Why twenty?”

“At the rate this is going, I’ll either be through the floor or need a longer drill by then.”

“Okay.”

Xander put on the protective gear again, sloshed a little oil down around the two-inch diamond-edged core cutter, and started drilling again.

*

Rupert Giles peered at the screen and tried to make sense of the plans Xander was showing him. “You think that there’s something… ah… hinky about this? Well, it would be odd if there wasn’t. Alderney seems to have been Hydra’s main centre for supernatural research outside Germany. They rounded up every expert they could find, mostly as prisoners, and most of them are buried there. Yet for some reason the old Watchers Council never seems to have investigated the site properly.”

“You never really said why.”

“I have my suspicions. Several of the Watchers pulled out of Germany during and after the war were somewhat… ideologically suspect, and seem to have been vetted very casually. The Chairman of the Council at that time had links to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists, and would have probably been interned if not for the influence of other members. I don’t think that whatever happened was as well organised as the infiltration of SHIELD, but the information recorded at the time, and the uses that were made of it, seems to have been biased in ways that would have focused attention elsewhere. Since everyone involved is long dead and most of the records were destroyed with the old Council there isn’t much to be done about it now, except determine what they might have been hiding.”

“You ever wonder if Travers and his pals were influenced by them? The way they treated slayers…”

“Goes back much earlier, I’m afraid. Now, where exactly have you been drilling?”

“Here.” Xander zoomed in on the north-east side of the complex. “So Hydra trashed it completely before the island surrendered, right? They didn’t just blow up their guns and evacuate the place, they stripped out everything they could, smashed it, and dumped most of it into the sea.”

“Yes. And your point is..?”

“All of these complexes were supposed to be defensive. The Germans thought that the Allies would try to capture the Channel Islands before they could invade France. So their idea was to be as tough a target as possible, hold us off as long as possible.
Hydra must have gone along with that; everything’s dug way deep into the rock, with blast-proof doors that are supposed to limit the damage from shelling and bombs. They had some gun positions partly above ground, of course, and ammunition bunkers deep down, with lifts and a miniature railway to move shells to the guns.”

“And?”

“There’s something odd here.” Xander highlighted a side-passage. “This goes down and east about fifty feet, it looks like they started to dig some deeper shelters or ammunition bunkers then abandoned construction. But it doesn’t quite add up if you look at it closely. It’s deeper than any of the other shelters, nearly below sea level, and there are steps here, here, and here, which would get in the way of transporting ammunition. And it’s not in a good position for any of the guns anyway.”

“Some sort of laboratory, perhaps, or deep cells for prisoners?”

“There’s no sign of them building anything like that. But what I did find was interesting. They’d put blast-proof doors in the tunnel here and here, and taken them out again completely. You can tell because there are recesses where the frames would have been seated into the walls, and some marks on the floor where they opened.”

“I don’t quite see…”

“If the doors were supposed to be protecting the tunnels from blast they’d have to open back towards the main complex, but if you look at the detailed plans they couldn’t have swung that way; this one would have been blocked by these steps, this one by the ceiling sloping down to the west of the door. Giles, they were built to stop something coming out of the excavated area.”

“That might make sense if there were laboratories there. They might anticipate explosions, or chemical leaks.”

“That’s all possible, but you’re missing part of the point. Why put in doors before you’ve finished building the place? They make the corridors narrower, and get in the way if you’re moving equipment and supplies in and out. When we rebuilt Sunnydale High the fire doors went in after we’d moved in the air conditioning plant, the shop equipment, and all the other big stuff.”

“Even so…”

“That could all just be someone messing up, but when we got down to that chamber at the end we all felt it was creepy. And the pictures we took through Odin’s eyeball support that.”

Xander put a blurry picture of a blank wall onto the screen. “This is the end of the tunnel they were supposed to be digging.”

“It looks… unremarkable.”

“It does. So do the other walls. But when we pointed the camera down we got this.” The new picture showed a rough concrete floor and, somehow, a sphere of light below it. “My guess, the pick marks at the end of the tunnel are misdirection. Apart from anything else, why would they put down concrete if they were still digging? Whatever they were after is below here. So I checked the government maps from before the war, back then there was a well directly above this chamber. That’s gone completely now, there’s the concrete foundation of a hut where it used to be, and the ceiling down here is concrete too, I guess the remains of the shaft are above it. I think that they found something down the well, linked their tunnel to it, then filled in the well above the tunnel. Before the surrender they capped off the lower part of the well and concreted over the tunnel floor to hide it.”

“Do you have any indication of the size of that sphere?”

“Once we’d spotted it we took pictures from some of the other tunnels and triangulated. Near as we can figure it out, it’s about sixty feet across and eighty below the tunnel, well below sea level, and about thirty feet north of the shaft. I’m guessing the shaft comes out in a cave near the sphere.”

“That’s going to be a bugger to dig out.”

“They capped it off with some boards and about half a metre of concrete. I hired a drill first thing this morning, I’ve got a pilot hole through already. Not a big one, but we can lower a camera and see what’s down there. If it’s worth going on I’ll hire a jack-hammer to open it properly.”

“Be very careful, Xander. Whatever’s down there has waited nearly seventy years, a little caution won’t go amiss.”

“You know me, Giles.”
“I do, Xander, why do you think I’m worrying? Now, was there anything else?”

“You said you were going to talk to someone about the eye. Any word yet?”

“Yes, I heard from Doctor Randolph last night. He called me from the airport. believes the eye to be genuine Norse craftsmanship, and says it matches most of the legends of Odin’s eye.”

“He’s on his way here?”

“Unfortunately not; apparently he has a prior arrangement. He was on his way to New Zealand.”

“Crap. Did he have any suggestions?”

“Nothing we hadn’t already thought of. He agrees that it would be a very bad idea to put the eye… um… in, and thinks that it is probable that Odin can see through it at will. In legend his ravens spy for him, presumably he sends the eye with them when he needs a more detailed view. He advised treating it with respect, and avoiding anything that might seem disrespectful to Odin or his family.”

“Okay, so no mooning the eye.”

“That might be a remarkably bad idea. Odin is generally considered one of the most powerful gods, and somewhat lacking in a sense of humour.”

“Ixnay on the ooningmay, got it.”

“If All-speak works as I understand it, Odin and other denizens of his kingdom would not have problems comprehending Pig Latin.”

“Okay, Giles, I’ll try to remember. So what do you think is down there?”

“Possibly a mystical artefact of some sort, possibly some sort of portal. As I understand it, the Bifrost is the most convenient route to Asgard, but there are others.”

“When Thor was on TV he said there are nine realms, it could be a route to one of the others.”

“If so we need to be very careful. One of the realms is Helheim, the world of the dead. Going there would be an extremely bad idea.”

“Hell dimension?”

“Not exactly, most reports describe it as depressing and dull rather than hell-like, but leaving might be problematic.”

“Okay, we’ll be careful.”

London, Thursday Afternoon

“Your cousin is an evil woman,” Ian Boothby said as he and Darcy left the US Embassy.

Darcy shrugged. “You know she thinks most men are scum, there’s no way she was gonna help with your work permit without giving you a hard time. Believe me, if she really wanted to make things difficult you’d be on the No Fly list by now. A few awkward questions about your intentions and our long-term plans aren’t a big deal. Believe it or not, that was helpful for her. She’s watching out for me and making sure that you aren’t just using me to get a green card.”

“Maybe it would be easier if we were... well, if we were married.”

“I’m not getting married just to smooth your path through a little bureaucracy.”

“You know I wouldn’t do that.”

“What? Marry me?”

“Darcy, no, I didn’t mean that.” Ian was starting to panic. “You know I love you. I just meant we’re neither of us really ready for marriage quite yet, and we both agreed we’d give it a couple of years to make sure, and I wouldn’t want to pressure you into anything before you’re…”

Darcy put her hand over his mouth. “Just testing. Okay, panic button fully operational.” She ticked an imaginary check list with her finger and took her other hand from his mouth. “Relax. Now, what else do we need to do?”

Ian took a deep breath. “Let’s see… I’ve spoken to my cousin about selling my barge, he’ll take care of that. We can clear it out after Captain America’s been and gone, I can get everything I need to keep into a shipping container.”

“You could get everything you really need to keep into a couple of shopping bags. Incinerate that fucking sofa-bed for a start.”

“That goes with the barge.”

“For the love of god, why? It’s butt-ugly and incredibly uncomfortable.”

“It’s too big to get out without taking the cabin roof off.”

“Then how did you get it in?”

“I think the bloke who sold me the barge put it in that way.”

“Figures. What else?”

“I found my passport last night, it’s good for another four years. I don’t think I’m supposed to get any jabs before visiting the USA, but I’ll need a health certificate to go with the work permit, we’ll have to sort that nearer the time. Apart from that I think I’m pretty much sorted.”

“Okay, so we’re well ahead on getting you over to the USA, so the big thing now is the weekend. Let’s go get the car, we’ve got shopping to do!”

“Great…”

“I find your lack of enthusiasm for shopping… disturbing.”

“No, Darcy, not the Darth voice. You know you can’t do it properly.”

“Ian, I am your girlfriend.”

“That was terrible.”

“Shut up and get to the car.”

“Yes, mistress.”

Darcy mimed cracking a whip. “That’s more like it.”

Alderney, Thursday Evening

Andrew put a last strip of duct tape around the network security camera and its cable. “Okay, I think this is ready to go. It’s a tight fit, but once it’s through the hole it ought to hang with the camera more or less horizontal. We get power to it through the cable, and there are infra-red LEDs so we should be able to see in the dark, but we won’t get colour if that’s the only light source.”

Xander looked at the camera feed on his laptop. “It’s working but stop waving it around, you’re making me feel sea-sick.”

“Sorry. Okay, let’s go for insertion in five… four…”

“Just lower it down the hole, Andrew.”

“Three… two… one…” Andrew put the camera in, lens end first, and the screen went to black and white as it went down the drill hole. There wasn’t much to see anyway. “It’s just below the concrete now, the camera should be hanging level. Can you confirm?”

“Andrew, if you look over your shoulder you can see the screen for yourself. And yes, it looks like it’s level. Okay, we’ve got the shaft, the remains of the timbers, looks like rock walls, and a rusty-looking ladder. Are you seeing this, Giles?”

Over the Skype link Giles said “Yes, Xander. Well done, both of you.”

“Start lowering it slowly, Andrew. If there’s water down there you’ll hit it in about another fifteen feet, so slow down in ten and if I tell you to stop, stop right away.”

“Okay. Ten feet… eleven… twelve…”

“Hold it, Andrew. Okay, anyone think this looks damp?”

Caridad glanced at the screen. “Nope.”

“No.” Giles sounded tense.

“Okay, down another foot… and another… another… another… Nothing. Okay, if there’s any water in there the level is below sea level, which doesn’t seem very likely. Caridad, penny time. Try not to hit the camera.”

Caridad glanced at the screen, saw that the camera was wobbling backwards and forwards over five seconds or so, dropped a handful of pennies down the hole when she guessed the camera would be off to one side, and quickly knelt on the floor, her ear to the hole. “They’re hitting something solid. I’m hearing echoes, no splashes. We should have done this before we put the camera down the hole.”

“I wanted to be sure there wasn’t something nasty waiting to come out the hole. Demon earwigs or something.”

“Eww…”

“Any other noise?”

“Nada.”

“Okay, looks like we can keep lowering. We’ve got about sixty feet to go, so let’s up the pace a little…”

Asgard, Thursday Evening (for want of a better timestamp)

Loki stared into the scrying bowl. “This is boring…”

“I’m sorry, my lord.” Ethan Rayne bowed his head. “I really thought he wouldn’t be able to resist trying the eye.”

“He’s a little less stupid than you described. But no matter, they’re doing what I want.” He stood and swirled his cloak over his shoulders. “Send a messenger if anything of interest develops.”

“Of course, my lord.”

“And no invoking chaos gods to stir things up. I’ll do that myself if need be.”

“I look forward to it, my lord.”

Loki seemed to be about to add something, but thought better of it. He shifted back to Odin’s form and left Ethan’s apartment.

Ethan waited until he was quite sure that Loki was gone, then grinned. Things were going to plan… Ethan’s plan.


Alderney, Thursday Evening

Xander tried to punch up the contrast of the camera image, then changed the setting back when it didn’t help. “We’ve got the big cave and the dome, looks like they levelled the ground around it, the trouble is that there’s no light down there apart from the infra-red, so it’s hard to see what things really look like. That could be something solid, like steel, or some sort of force field, we just don’t know.”

“I could drop a flare down the hole,” said Caridad.

Andrew finished taping the cable to the floor to stop the camera shifting and shook his head. “Too bright, the camera sensor would burn out.”

“What about a glow light?”

“That’s pretty much monochromatic too. I don’t think it would help much.”

“It wouldn’t help us,” Xander said slowly, “but so far we’ve only used infra-red, if there’s anything down there with eyes they might see it and come to take a closer look. Might tell us what we’re up against.”

“You don’t think they would have noticed all the noise we’re making?”

“I stopped drilling hours ago, since then all we’ve done is drop a few pennies down there. A light might attract more attention. What do you think, Giles?”

“You have weapons ready?”

“It’s us, Giles, what do you think?”

“Then give it a try. If nothing happens I think I’m going to call it a night.”

“Wimp.”

Caridad found a pack of heavy-duty glow lights. “Ready when you are.”

“Bombs away.”

She snapped it to mix the chemicals, and dropped it down the hole.

Several seconds later the camera image brightened.

Andrew stared at the screen. “From the look of the shadows it’s on the ground behind the camera. Couldn’t be much better. And I think we’re seeing a little more detail.”

“What does that look like to you?”

Caridad tugged her ear. “It’s like the dome is made of dark glass, with mist inside it.”

“It looks like a galaxy far, far away.”

“Andrew, no Star Wars references for the love of… what the hell is that?”

On screen the mist seemed to be thickening, acquiring shape and texture. Something huge and round, filling the dome.

“That’s no moo… ouch!”

“I warned you.”

“It looks… scaly.”

A dark horizontal line appeared, then they realised what they were seeing as it blinked open, revealing a glowing red eye with a black slitted pupil that stared hungrily at the light.

TBC



Comments please before I post to archives.
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whswhs
Link:(Link)
Time:2015-07-06 01:17 am (UTC)
All right, that's definitely a middle episode, with a proper cliffhanger ending. So now is that the Eye of Sauron? Or maybe Fafnir, given that we're working with Norse myth? It's going to be really scary if it's Jormungandr!
(Reply) (Thread)


ffutures
Link:(Link)
Time:2015-07-06 08:15 am (UTC)
Fafnir? Now there's a thought...
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] Fanfic: Buffy / Marvel Cinematic Universe - Birthday Honours - III - Meme-Free Zone
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