African Knights

Author: Mac Xavier <mac.xavier[at]>

Disclaimer: I own Jacks and Kaina'tal, everyone else belongs to other people with more money and more lawyers than I have.

Summary: Assassin Hunting as Recreational Activity.

Rating: FRT

Author's Note: Thanks to my fellow J-verse Writers for helping me improve my writing, even if they sometimes need a sledge hammer to get it through my thick skull.

Chapter 1

Avalon, Officer's Quarters
Lt. Standish and Mr. Tanner's room.

Vin dropped his duffle bag near the bed and looked around the open lay out of the room. He and Jacks hadn't gotten a chance to really look around the Kine base during the dust up with the Go'auld, and the Texan didn't think they'd get a chance to explore this time around either. Which reminded him....


"Yes, Mr. Tanner?"

Vin shook his head slightly. He'd seen a lot of advances in technology since he was a kid, but Merlin was way beyond what he'd call tech. The Immortal silently chose to lump Merlin under the same category as his Snowbird and that instant feeling of brotherhood he'd once had with six extraordinary men, just magic. "Need ya t'get a hold of a buddy of mine. Allen Quartermain, in Kenya."

"Certainly, Mr. Tanner," Merlin agreed. "The line is now open."

"Hello?" came a clear strong voice, still richly textured with the accents of an English aristocrat.

Vin grinned widely. "Hey, old man."


Somewhere in Kenya
September, 1946

It wasn't Texas, or Four Corners (which would have been better), but it would do. The whiskey wasn't rotgut, but it was damned close. So that would do as well.

He was alone. Strange, he hadn't really been alone since that day so long ago when his eyes locked with a set of rage and pain filled green ones across a dusty street. It had all started with Chris Larabee and that brief meeting of eyes as two souls found brothers.

He was here because a shaman, in English as halting as his own Swahili, told him that another brother could be found here. And who was Vin Tanner to ignore the words of a shaman of any faith?

The Texan glanced around lazily until his eyes locked with grey across the over furnished room and through swirls of blueish cigar and pipe smoke. Like a second strike of lightening... he knew.

Spirit Kin.

When a scream came from just outside the club two men stood as one and went out the door as if they'd been looking for trouble together their entire lives. They each paused on the wide veranda and took in the sight of a small native girl being taken from her mother's arms by white men wearing tweed.

"Allen Quartermain," the older looking man introduced himself as he loaded his rifle. "And you are?"

"Names Vin," he answered, checking the load in his sawed off shotgun. "Vin Tanner."

Quartermain grinned broadly. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Tanner."

Vin snapped the double barrel back into position. "Pleasure's all mine, Quartermain. Let's teach these sonsabitches that ya don't break up a family."

"My sentiments exactly," the bearded man agreed as he raised his rifle to his shoulder.

Kine'Iende Base Avalon
Briefing room
Current Time Frame

General Grey rubbed a hand tiredly over his face. The Commander had decided to let some of the team leaders pick whoever they wanted on their team. There had been some bickering back and forth, especially when it came down to both magic users and pilots. Lieutenant Standish hadn't even made a comment about which magic user she wanted for her team yet. "We have to leave at least one for Standish's team."

"General, I am the magic user for my team," the Lieutenant said calmly. "I also already have a sniper, a scout and a second in command. Neatly wrapped up in the person of Vin Tanner, whom I trust without question." She flipped her long white braid back over her shoulder, her one gesture of annoyance. "We already have a contact in place on site who is a more than qualified guide and the only other shooter I know of that might possibly surpass Vin's skills, and as Captain Masters has already been taken by another team I want Griffen."

"Not Wheeler?"

"Vin and Xander are rather concerned that Wheeler and I would either strangle one another or join forces to give Masters a heart attack," Standish admitted. "Besides, in the unlikely event that we need one, Kevin is also an experienced with the Kine Armor and since the Commander is fairly insistent that we have the option of more serious firepower, he can fill both roles equally well.. I believe he'll be sufficient to for the situation."

General Grey sighed. "Very well. Have you decided on the rest of your team?"

"I believe that Hojiro and Keiran will suit our needs admirably, General," said Standish as she held up the files on the members of the Cadre.

"Alright, who else?" asked Grey.

"General... we won't be needing anyone else."

This sort of thing had been going on for almost two hours now. The woman just wouldn't take all the other people General Grey was pushing toward her. She needed more people with more skills, more fire power ... More experience than this half fey witch that seemed more child than woman even with the list of skills and powers, both suspected and confirmed in her personnel file.

"I do know what you're trying to do, General Grey," Standish told him in a slightly frosty, if still somewhat amused, tone of voice. Her eyes flickered with green and silver lights as she spoke. "Do try and keep in mind that I've been doing this sort of thing for roughly two hundred years."

"Which is exactly why you need more people, Lieutenant." Grey tapped the crystal readout on the briefing room table. "Five people aren't going to have the skill sets you might need in this day and age."

She snorted less than gently. "While I'll admit to spending most of the twentieth century in a cave, Vin and Mr. Quartermain have not done so. And in some of the places we will have to go it's still the mid Iron Age. That, in fact, concerns me far more that what I still don't understand about the modern era." There was silence for a long moment before Jacks continued. "Besides, more than just Griffen, Keiren and Hojiro will interfere with our vacation."

Grey stared at her while the other team leaders snickered quietly. "Vacation?"

The Quartermain Compound, Kenya
Twenty six hours later.

Allan Quartermain suppressed the urge to gawk like a child at the aircraft coming to land in his backyard. Never had he seen the like, not even one of Captain Nemo's inventions came close... Although the Nautilus was much more attractive a transport, if only in his opinion.

"Now who was insane enough to put you two in charge of anything?"

Quartermain shouted once Jacks and Vin came out of the Orca transport.

"The same man who was insane enough to wake me up," Jacks shouted in return. She grinned, a wild, inhuman expression, as she tilted her face up toward the sun, eyes closed against the blinding light.

Vin laughed, picking his tiny lover up and swinging her around. Griffen rolled his eyes and followed the couple out with Keiren on his heels.

Hojiro frowned slightly. He was expected to take orders from these two? They acted more like a pair of newlyweds on their honeymoon than leaders.

"You all might as well come in," said Quartermain, prompting Vin and Jacks to stop their antics. Quartermain grinned and shook his head. "We won't be leaving until morning."

"Why do we not leave now?" Keiren demanded.

The British expatriate pinned the petite Israeli with a look that brought many a dangerous man and demon up short. Keiren was made of stronger stuff and met the look with one of her own.

Allan grinned again, finding himself liking the girl. "We're not leaving yet because I'm waiting for someone to call."

"Who?" Jacks asked as she and Vin climbed the stairs to the veranda.

"Daughter of an old friend," Allan explained as he waved the other three members of the team into his home. "I thought her talents might be of use in this venture. She's quite the source of unusual information... if you can get her to share." He paused and raked his eyes over the small group with their eclectic collection of weapons and the sleek black armor. "This is going to be the most interesting safari I've led in a very long time."

"Should I have brought a pith helmet?" Griffen asked with a grin pulling at his lips.

Safari Team
Marrakech, Morocco

Jacks looked at Quartermain from under her lashes as she sipped at the thick black coffee served in the local cafes. She looked very much the well traveled tourist in a wide brimmed sun hat and modest pale green dress. "You're certain it's the right building?"

"Quite certain, my dear," Allen said with a lifting of his lips that was halfway between a smile and a smirk. "My source confirmed three master assassins and half a dozen apprentices."

"Does your source know if there's a time when we can take them all at once?" Jacks pressed.

The Man Africa Would Not Let Die leaned forward with a grim smile and tapped the table. "As a matter of fact, yes. There is."

Jacks studied the building from an abandoned warehouse catty corner to it. It wasn't an overly large building, one her small team could easily enough take out with a direct assault. If there weren't six Taraken Assassins of unknown abilities inside the building. "Reports and suggestions, people?"

"Ain't any good places to set up sniper nests around 'em," Vin pointed out. "Me and Allen might be able to set up a cross fire, iffen the rest of you could flush 'em out all in one direction."

Jacks' eyes flicked to Quartermain. He shrugged. "It could work. Especially if you take a more... intimidating form."

Kenneth Hojiro and Kate Keiran traded slightly confused looks. The Japanese and the Israeli had been told that their 'commanding officer' had special skills that came to her as naturally as breathing.

Both Commander Harris and Standish's second in command had warned the

two less experienced members of her team not to annoy her, with cryptic mutters about turtles from Tanner and a smirk from Harris.

This was their first strike on the mission and both members of the Cadre were wary of the Knight that answered to no one but the Commander himself. Griffen had only smirked and shrugged as if he knew something that they didn't.

"I could turn into a dragon or a gargoyle, but that might attract a bit of the wrong sort of attention," Jacks pointed out dryly. "We don't want this connected with my Puck's Child persona, Quartermain. Other options?"

"How about an air strike?" Griffen offered up.

Quartermain shook his head. "That would attract nearly as much attention as Jacks taking the form of a dragon."

Keiran coughed slightly, drawing the Lieutenant's attention. "Perhaps ... if we used Thermobaric rounds, Lt. Standish?"

"It won't work," Hojiro shook his head as he spoke. "We have no way to contain the blast, or to be certain that all six of them stay inside the building while it goes off."

"Roman Candle," Vin muttered, glancing sidelong at his lover. "Remember, Snowbird?"

Hojiro frowned slightly. "What?"

Jacks started to grin. "Just like Roland Miles when he tried to take Nettie's farm. Vin, my soul, you have a lovely wicked way of thinking." Her grin widened inhumanly, with a touch of the predator in it. "Give me two hours to set the wards. "

Keiren suppressed the urge to shift nervously as the woman no larger than herself chanted softly in the back alley, her eyes glowing neon green and small flickers of green flame trailing after her fingers as she gestured in arcane patterns. Quartermain only watched in amusement.

Finally, Jacks used the field com secured along her jaw. "Wards are up. On three, boys.......... Three."

On one side of the building, after a round of rock-paper-scissors with Griffen, Vin launched his round, on the other Hojiro launched the second.

One Thermobaric round crashed through the ground floor window in the front of the building, the second round shattered a third story window. The last of Jacks' wards slammed down. Pressure built, spiraling in the tightly contained area. The half-fey's eyes narrowed and her teeth ground together as she forced the magical shields to hold the inferno even as she forced air in through minuscule gaps.

The pressure continued to build up, until Jacks was shaking from the effort of holding the wards against the swirling firestorm.

Thermobarics were much, much more powerful than bottles of lamp oil stuffed with burning rags. She bit back a scream as the magic backlashed, fighting her control over it... and she let the shield over the roof go.

Trembling she fell to her knees, forcing herself to keep the remaining shields up, then sealing off all the gaps, smothering the flames.

Finally, she dropped all of the shields, leaving nothing but smoldering ruins standing.

Then Jacks dropped to the ground, unconscious.

On approach to a small airstrip ten miles outside Marrakech...

"No, I was not off the approach... I was at 2000 feet and the damn thing went right past me!" the bush pilot screamed into his radio. "A fucking roof damn near took off my wing!"

Quartermain Compound, Kenya
Temporary Headquarters for Safari Team.

Allen handed Vin a bottle of lager favored by the younger appearing man, then settled into the chair across from him. "Well, that was an interesting little bit of action. We could have used someone like your Jacks back when the League was together."

"Iffen ya'll had known about her it would have done her a world of good," Vin agreed. "She could have used the distraction."

"Saving the world as a distraction?" Allen snorted.

Vin raised his bottle in a mocking salute. "Same as it was to you.

Don't give me that huffy British look, Al. I remember the timing. "He paused. "And I remember what it was like when I lost Orrin."

Both men fell silent as they briefly gave in to memories of their lost sons.

"To those things which we have lost and which we will never have again," Allen proposed raising his glass of whiskey.

Vin raised his bottle and countered with; "To those that were worth having in our lives for however brief a time. We are the better for them."

Allen paused for a moment, then smiled slightly. "I'll drink to that."

"You'll drink to anything," Vin pointed out.

"An excellent idea. To anything!" Then Allen downed his drink. "How is Jacks doing by the way? She was still unconscious when we returned yesterday."

"And she's still unconscious now," Vin sighed. "It'll take a day or two for her to wake up, but when she does she'll be alright. Even if she's gonna be as grouchy as a bear with a sore paw."



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