A Higher Authority
Author: BigHead / Everyone here belongs to someone else, except me. I belong to a boatload of taxes.
Summary: YAHF – Sometimes, you screw up. Sometimes, you screw up really, really bad. Ethan Rayne did worse, he messed with things he had no idea.
Rating: AO, or Adults Only. None of the characters are cuddly little bunnies, and they curse like sailors.
Author's Notes: Well, here we go again. This is a crossover with Wildstorm's line of comic books, basically the Authority and Planetary. Reading them is highly recommended. As another warning, Xander is going to be a very mean SOB during this fic. Some character bashing MAY occur, both vocally and physically. Flashback scenes are between –oOo-, radiotelepathy between ::
Author's Notes 2: Reviews means go ahead. No reviews means limbo.
Feedback: YESSSS!!!! PLEEEEAAAASEEE!!!
Chapter 1 – One Million, two hundred thousand, six hundred and two.
Xander woke up the following Saturday with the headache from hell, or the Hellmouth, whatever worked at the moment. He opened one eye, and his room swam into focus in a heartbeat, but his memories from last night were still very fuzzy. He remembered some moments of extreme violence, and the lingering pain in his muscles put him right in the middle of it.
"I don't wanna know. I really don't…" he muttered, and even the slight motion of his jaw moving was enough to send another spike of pain into his brain. Looking to a side, he saw the leather uniform Ethan had rented for him for Halloween, the cheap Batman knock-off, sprawled messily over his chair.
"Can I help you, young man?" the man asked, while Xander roamed the store.
"I don't know. I wanted a costume, something cool but not too expensive," he said, noticing the man's accent.
"I might have an idea, and you might actually help me. I'm Ethan, the owner," the British man said, extending his hand.
"Xander," he said, shaking the offered hand. "Help you with what?"
"Well, I got a few costumes by mistake, they were supposed to go to some Comic Book Convention, but someone messed up the invoices, and I ended up with them. I've asked quite a few young men like you what characters they were, but I fear no one could answer me. So now I have a few costumes I fear won't be bought or rented. Perhaps you might be interested?"
The Scooby thought about going back to bed, but he needed to do something about the headache or he would never manage to get some extra sleep. Xander climbed out of bed, and picked the large first aid kit under his bed, opening it quickly. He cursed as soon as he noticed the empty aspirin bottle. He didn't stop the diatribe even while he was donning a clean t-shirt, his pants and tennis shoes to go the closest drugstore to buy some.
However, his extreme headache made him commit several mistakes in sequence, which would make his already messy life even messier. First one was banging his room's door in anger when he was leaving it. Second was that it caused the hammer currently banging inside his head to be multiplied a thousand fold. Third, the pain made him close his eyes for a few moments, while he both cursed internally and climbed down the stairs. His intimate knowledge of the house he was raised in allowed him to walk around in a blindfold, if he so wished. However large such knowledge was, it didn't take into account moving obstacles, so it was in one such that Xander bumped, rather strongly, making him and said obstacle fall to the ground in opposite directions. He was about to curse rather loudly, but the obstacle won this rather particular race.
The unmistakable voice of his usually drunk father made Xander open his still closed eyes, and that's when all went to hell in a handbasket.
See, the headache had a very specific reason to be, it was his brain and entire organism at odds with the changes caused by last night's mystical transformation of his body. If no external stimuli forced the issue until the end of the day, the mystical aspect would have vanished, taking the modifications with it, only to be remembered eventually, but at an infinitesimal percentage of what it had been. When Xander opened his eyes, the microscopical implants - small pieces of hardware quite impossible of being reproduced with Earth's current level of technology, if ever – sensed the threat, and in a picosecond the body they were a temporary part of stopped fighting them, and accepted the changes in an effort for self-preservation. They locked in and aligned themselves with the nervous system of their host, the muscular and sensory upgrades entering online another fraction of a second later.
One million, two hundred thousand, six hundred and two.
These were the number of times the entire fight was analyzed by said implants. In the next second, the outcome had already been decided.
Xander's implants automatically considered Tony to be a non-entity in fighting ability. That took the choices from one point two million to roughly three hundred thousand choices. The negligent threat level, thus reducing the need for lethal force reduced the results again, to something in the thirty thousand options range. Permanent injury or disfiguration were also disregarded, but these by a very narrow margin.
That left painful and unforgettable. Seven thousand four hundred and thirty six options.
Xander waited for a few more fractions of a second, the implants following the drunk's movement every single moment and adjusting reactions accordingly, until he was in a good enough position. The younger Harris kicked with both feet, hitting his father's knees with enough force to break both. The man fell like an axed tree, screaming high enough to wake up the dead, tears falling down his eyes.
The teen stood up, grabbing the man by the collar of his shirt.
"Look, you piece of shit, this is the last time you'll ever lay a hand on me or my mother. I suggest that, as soon as you leave the hospital, you get in the first bus out of town, and disappear from my sight. If I ever see you again, I'll kill you and no one will ever find the body," he said close to the screaming man's ear, almost in a whisper. "And if you're thinking about telling this to the police, I'm just going to speed up the process."
Xander's mother Jessica appeared a few moments later, and ran to her screaming husband. She had tears in her eyes. "What did you do to him?" she asked in a panic, finally noticing the knees bent at odd angles.
"What he deserved. Call an ambulance."
He slammed the front door, and when he arrived outside, his brain finally caught up with his actions. Xander fell down on his knees and vomited on his front porch, while the end of his now permanent transformation downloaded the rough equivalent of twenty lifetimes of military training, combat training, both armed and unarmed, tactics, enough to make him the deadliest motherfucker in the entire planet, all thanks to a servant of Chaos called Ethan Rayne. When it ended, it also cleared up the memories from last night, making him remember a very interesting fact.
He looked to the sides, his special abilities telling him he was in a big clusterfuck for the moment. It wasn't that the enemies where an actual threat, but there were a few non-coms in the area, he needed to take them out of the equation.
:: Apollo? Jack? Angie? Anyone can hear me?:: he tried calling over their radiotelepathy, but either the signal was being jammed somehow, or not being transmitted at all.
The redhead closer to him ran towards him. "Xander, are you all right?"
"I'm not Xander, lady. Name's Midnighter."
"Oh, no, not you too," she said in a near panic.
"Me too what? What the fuck is going on?"
Before he could reply to the girl's screech, he heard something into his mind.
::Jenny? Where are you?::
::I don't know, somewhere in town. Something really odd is going on.::
::More odd than monsters roaming the streets?:: he asked, sarcastically.
::With our lives, I consider this normal. What I think odd is that I'm not in my body. An…old acquaintance of mine is also here with me, and he's not looking like himself.::
::I have someone here with me who seems to know something about what's going on.::
::Ok, ask her about what's going on, but first priority is taking the non combatants out of the area. Send them to the Carrier, we'll handle things as we go. Any sign of the others?::
::None. Lemme talk to the girl, I'll call back as soon as I know something.::
The entire mind-talk took less than two seconds, and as soon as it finished, Midnighter turned to the redhead.
"You have any idea on what's going on?" he asked.
"Well, I don't know. You are my friend Xander, and until a minute ago you were dressed as some kind of Batman rip-off, then things got really wonky, and people started going nuts. I don't…"
"Look, I gotta get you out of the street. I have a safe place for you."
"Well, ok. I think. Buffy…Oh my God, BUFFY!!" the redhead screamed and started looking up and down the street.
The redhead didn't answer, instead she pointed down the street to a blonde girl dressed in a fluffy dress, who was screaming at a car.
"There she is. Come on," the redhead said, and instinctively tried to grab his arm. Somehow, his implants didn't treat the motion as a menace, which was good, however the hand passing through his arm spooked him a little.
"What did you dress as?" he asked, surprised.
"What have I gotten myself in?"
"I don't know, but we have to save her."
"Let's go," he said, and they ran to her.
"DEMON, DEMON!!!" the brunette was screaming to the night, afraid of a simple car.
"BUFFY!" the redhead called, and the other teen turned to her.
"Who are you? And what manner of ruffian is this?" the 'lady' asked.
"We're friends, I'm your friend, and so is he," she said, pointing to him. "I think," she murmured the last part.
"I'm no friends with such a low born strumpet, and I'm certain a man dressed such as his cannot befriend anyone," useless girl said.
Midnighter's already thin patience evaporated in a second. "I don't have time for this. Door."
From out of thin air, about two feet from them, the very air changed, showing a rather unique view. It seemed like a wall of yellowish energy, about eight feet high by twelve wide, and no apparent depth.
"What manner of magic is that?" Useless asked. The redhead's eyes seemed like they would burst at any moment.
"Not magic. Come on, both of you, go," he said, pointing to the energy wall.
"What is that?" the redhead asked.
"The safe place I said. Come on, go!" he pointed again, his internal sensors array pumped to the max, trying to analyze the confusing data.
"I'm not…" Useless started, but the warrior wasted no more time, he simply grabbed her by the dress and threw her at the door. She disappeared a moment later.
"Where is she?" the redhead asked, scared.
"A safe place."
Xander stood up again, on very steady legs, his new implants fixing his body's reactions to what had just happened. He needed time to think, all by himself. So he simply turned slightly to a side and spoke.
The same yellowish interface from last night appeared to his right, and with a small measure of fear coursing through his veins, he walked through it, only to appear once again in a place that should only exist in the realm of comic books, but it was all too real.
He was on the Carrier.
And he was not alone.
"Hello, Xander. Or do you prefer Midnighter?"