Again, many thanks to Baladen for beta-reading
And The Devil Shall Drag You Under
Chapter 2: A Most Dangerous Game
Caprica stood, arms crossed, as a Centurion moved the last piece of equipment into place. It had taken her days to convince the others to allow her to proceed with what Cavil had called 'a reckless and ultimately futile experiment', but she was convinced it was the only way forward. It was risky; no human had ever been brought into the shared projection, and there was a risk of permanent brain damage if there was a power spike. But with the Resistance growing bolder and more successful, it could only be a matter of time before they staged a raid on the medical block.
"One way or another, we are going to have a little talk, Mr. Harris." She looked at the comatose man, "If you won't come to me, then I'll just have to go to you."
"I've got those broken-down blues
I've got those broken-down blues
Everything I did I did for you,
But now I've got nothing left to lose
I've got those broken-down blues."
Xander sat on an old sofa, playing with a guitar he'd found behind the bar.
"Now it ain't no kind of life
Just playing cards and shooting dice
But baby, it's the only game in town.
I've bet on everything that moves,
From here to Timbuktu,
But Lady Luck, she just refused bein' my friend.
A Preacher told me once or twice,
That gambling was a vice,
But I don't think I heard a word he said."
"Good, but I don't think Johnny Cash should be feeling worried just yet." Tara stood in the doorway, "I'm glad to see you're in a better mood today."
"Let's just say I take some comfort in the idea that there are people out there who have the ability to mess with the plans of the not-so-all-mighty Powers That Be." Xander smiled as he started to strum the opening cords to Walk The Line, "Anyway, Johnny Cash is dead; even I know that."
"The Time Lords are not to be taken lightly." His friend warned, "The, others, fear that they have yet to show their true colours."
"I've spent almost half my life now fighting the good fight, and I'm beginning to get a little sick of how your bosses see us all as little more than cannon-fodder." Xander stood, slinging the guitar over one shoulder, "If there's a third option, someone who might be willing to get their hands a little dirty and actually help, then I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt."
"Do not make the mistake of trusting her completely." Tara looked worried, "Her people can be as cold and calculating as any demon."
"I'm not Buffy, and I'm sure as hell not Angel." Xander shook his head, "Don't expect me to follow anyone blindly."
Darkness enveloped Caprica, and there was a sensation of falling as her mind spread out across the neural link, searching for the faint whisper that was Xander's mind. There was an odd sensation, and Caprica realised that she was falling through a moonlit sky towards an open savannah, a few wispy clouds passing by as she gained speed. Fear gripped her as the ground raced up to meet her at an alarming rate, but in the end she landed as softly as a feather. Catching her breath, she looked around for some sign of life.
A strange, dog-like creature stood looking at Caprica, its sharp teeth showing, a low growl almost lost against the sound of the storm that raged around them. Lightning flashed across the sky, momentarily turning night into day, illuminating a man who knelt over a crude fire. He was dressed in combat fatigues and there was a strange looking rifle laying on the grass beside him.
"You never mind him: he's just howling at the wind." A worn, burned-out voice advised, "He's not let off the leash much, and it makes him all kinds of cranky."
"Who are you?" Caprica asked, "Where am I?"
"The who is unimportant." The soldier remained facing the fire, his face hidden, "The where is some place you don't belong. It's already too crowded with three of us in here."
"I'm trying to contact Mr Harris." The Cylon explained, "There are questions I need to ask."
"He knows." The man gestured towards the storm, "And he's not happy. He doesn't want you here."
"I came here for answers and I'm not leaving without them." Caprica started to advance, but a hand fell upon her shoulder and she was spun round. She gasped when she found herself facing Xander, his missing eye returned, but a dark look on his face.
"What are you doing here?" He asked, the thunder echoing along with his voice, the very ground beneath their feet shaking, "You don't belong here!"
"Neither do you." Caprica broke away and started to back up, "Who sent you?"
"You don't want to know." Xander advanced on her, "You shouldn't have come in here; there are some boxes best left locked." The Hyena barked savagely in agreement, while the soldier picked up his rifle, "There are some secrets best left unknown." He pushed Six up against a tree, "Do you truly want to know where I'm from? What I've seen and done?"
"Y...Yes!" Caprica nodded, half terrified.
"As you wish." Xander smiled evilly, "But remember; my mind, my rules."
A stream of images struck Caprica with a near physical force, overwhelming her mental defences. Sights, sounds and smells bombarded her from every direction at once. In a few seconds, she experienced seven years of life on a Hellmouth. She screamed as the memories seared into her mind, shaking her to her very core.
"Now," He snarled, lightning striking the ground around them as thunderclaps almost deafened them, "GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"
There was an explosion of light, and Caprica was gone.
The thunder rumbled away into the distance, the storm clouds dissipating into a clear, blue sky. The Hyena looked at Xander hopefully for a moment, then disappeared off into the long grass with its tail between its legs. The soldier stood and turned to face Xander, his face almost a mirror image of the young man's, only older and scarred.
"You know, every time you let us out like that, we become a bigger part of you." He warned as he started to fade from sight, "There'll come a day when you can't just put us back in our boxes when you're done."
Caprica sat bolt upright, gasping for breath; her head was still ringing after Xander's mental assault, the memories having hit her with the force of a shotgun blast to the face. She found herself looking around the room, checking the shadows for vampires and other demons. Her pulse racing, she looked around the room and was terrified to find no sign of the medics assigned to watch over her. Indeed, the only other occupant was one of the Cavils, his hands behind his back.
"I tried to warn you, but you just didn't listen." His right arm came round, an oversized pistol in his hand, "There are some things that are best left alone by those who don't understand."
"They watch us...from the darkness." Caprica whimpered, her eyes still darting from side to side, expecting a demon to emerge from the shadows, "They're everywhere."
"I know." Cavil nodded, a genuinely sad expression on his face, "You see, the truth is that there is no God. At least, not the benevolent one you believe in." He raised the gun and pressed it against the side of the quivering woman's head and cocked the hammer, "The universe is a cold, harsh place, and we're all alone in the night."
"Th...thank you." Caprica closed her eyes for the last time, bighting her lower lip.
Cavil pulled the trigger, the low walls amplifying the sound, and Caprica slumped to the floor.
"Take her to reclamation." He ordered a Centurion that stepped through the door, "I'll have to erase her memories before she resurrects. Hopefully I can convince her that the system shorted out and killed her." He looked across at Xander, "Keep a closer eye on your secrets, Mr Harris; the one who is coming would be very unhappy if you let anything slip ahead of time. He has plans for you; He has plans for all of you."
To Be Continued...
If anyone is interested, Xander's song should be sung to the tune of In The Jailhouse Now by Jimmie Rodgers,
and the full version can be found by following the original fiction link in my profile.