Title: Emerald Ignition (7/7)
Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.
Rating: Just a little bad language.
Spoilers: Anything and everything.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: All the cards are on the table. It's time to change the future. Part two of Emerald Flame.
Author's Note: Nothing to say here, really. Hope you enjoy.
Cronus grabbed the console as his flagship shook, its inertial dampers once again overwhelmed by weapons fire. He suspected the inertial dampers had been damaged, but if so, it was a minor concern at the moment. He couldn't believe this. His mind absolutely refused to accept what was happening. Hyperion's forces on the ground were being beaten back. One of his ships had gone silent, a battle raging within its halls. Another had turned on him -- Shol'va! -- and the third had been reduced to drifting wreckage.
His own flagship was shaking apart at the seams, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Xander flitted through space. With two of the Ha'taks out of the fight and a third on his side, things were looking up, and he no longer felt like the protagonist of a "bullet hell" shooter.
He slashed out with a giant construct sword, which sliced through the flagship's shields, then converted it into a giant drill. After a false start on the main pyramid section -- which, naturally, was painted gold -- he focused on the black superstructure ringing the ship and pierced the hull.
The ship's shields reformed over his entry hole, restoring the atmospheric integrity of the room. Doors slid open on either side of Xander, and he looked around. There was a squad of Jaffa on either side of him.
"Damn it," he muttered as staff weapon blasts started filling the corridor. "Never gets any easier."
Of course not, Alexander. The Corps doesn't do easy. We do difficult every day, the impossible on weekends.
Cronus stood in the pel'tak, staff weapon in one hand, kara kesh in the other. He was no coward. He would not run from this... Sentinel. On the other hand, he wasn't a fool either, as evidenced by the cadre of elite Jaffa warriors standing by him.
Finally, the Stellar Sentinel burst into the pel'tak, stopping for a moment. "Cronus," he said calmly.
"Sentinel," Cronus greeted him. "Will you face me? Man against god in honorable combat?"
"Umm..." Xander paused at that, then shook his head, "...no. Especially seeing as how there isn't a god around here. I've fought a real god once. Got my butt kicked. You, on the other hand, are nothing but a bit of uppity fishbait with delusions of grandeur."
"Then come and prove it, Sentinel."
"To who?" Xander snorted. "You? Your brainwashed goons here? I don't think so. You already know the truth, and you'll be dead soon enough. As for your goons? If there were any hope for them, they would have already asked themselves: What does a god need with a starship?"
Xander resisted a flinch as a mild jolt of pain shot through him.
Hey! What was that for, E? he thought irritably.
Must you be so juvenile, Alexander?
Um... yes? It's one of the rules, you know. 'Distract the enemy' and all that.
Distract? Yes. Taunt childishly? No.
Semantics, he retorted. He looked up at Cronus, "I'm sorry. Did you say something?"
Cronus's eyes bulged in rage, and he snarled, "You will die slowly, Sentinel."
Xander shrugged, "That just confirms I'll live a lot longer than you. Let's get this over with."
Cronus leveled the staff weapon. Xander raised his ring hand and sent a giant construct hand out, wrapping it around Cronus's torso and flinging him through the pel'tak's force field and into outer space.
He looked around, "Who's next?"
The elite Jaffa warriors, the best of Cronus's domain, turned to the man who had so handily defeated their god...
...and dropped to their knees and bowed in supplication.
"Oh, get up!"
Xander's flight path back to the planet's surface was a little unsteady, weaving back and forth.
I think I may have overdone it a little, he mused silently.
Oh, really? came the mental snort. Imagine that. Taking on that many Ha'taks and Death Gliders single-handedly, followed by the search and rescue operations after the battle. That ring you created didn't help either; that could have waited. If I weren't propping you up, Alexander, you'd be passed out for the next three days.
Which is why it's a good thing I have you, E, he grinned tiredly. What would I do without you?
Pass out, she repeated matter-of-factly. Then you'd fall into a decaying orbit and burn to death on reentry.
Gee, thanks, E, Xander deadpanned. I feel better already.
You asked, she retorted with a mental sniff.
When he finally landed at the stargate, what he found was a warzone. The battle was clearly over, but the wreckages of Al'kesh and Death Gliders intermingled with the still-burning shells of Scorpion 90 tanks and Humvees. Bodies of Jaffa littered the area, even as a clean-up detail sorted out the human casualties. He quietly accepted the armed escort as the perimeter guards intercepted him and led him to where the Brig was having a discussion with the Tok'ra, SG-1, and what looked like a US Marine brigadier general.
"Ah, Green Lantern," the Brig waved him over. "Welcome back. This is Brigadier General Hummel. He runs the Alpha Site, one of our off-world installations."
"A pleasure," the marine general nodded a greeting, seemingly unfazed by meeting a comic book character.
"I take it things in orbit are under control?" Lethbridge-Stewart queried.
Xander nodded, "You could say that." He turned to Teal'c and stood at attention, soon followed by everyone else present. His body language was enough of a cue. "In retrospect," he said, "I really should have done this earlier, but..."
He held out a ring, which floated to the former First Prime.
"Teal'c of the planet Chulak," he said, going through the traditional speech. "You have the ability to overcome great fear. Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps."
Teal'c hesitantly accepted the ring and slid it on his finger. He bowed to Xander and replied, "I am honored."
"Also," Xander said, "I seem to have picked up a few ships crewed by Jaffa rebels. I was wondering if you could take them off my hands. I can't lead a Jaffa rebellion. I've got way too much to do as it is, and besides, the free Jaffa should be led by a Jaffa, not a human."
Xander looked around. He looked at Teal'c. He looked at the two generals. He looked at Garshaw of Belote.
"We stand, I think, at a crucial point in time," he said quietly. "Tok'ra, Jaffa, Tauri. I think, here and now, on the site of our united victory against the System Lords, we have the makings of an alliance, forged in battle. What say you?"
Xander watched as Jolinar transferred from Carter to Rosha in the manner traditional for Tok'ra. He shook his head and sighed, "I really can't say what I'm thinking right now. Ow!"
Was that really necessary, E?
Yes, Alexander, came the frosty reply; it felt like an icepick in his brain. It was.
As the Tauri contingent headed for the stargate, Xander hung back until he felt two presences behind him. "Selmak, Garshaw," he greeted each of them.
"The loss of Cordesh has diminished us," Selmak said quietly.
"No more than any loss diminishes those left behind," Xander pointed out.
"But with others, there is the chance to replenish," Garshaw countered. "The question must be asked: Will you rejoin us?"
Xander closed his eyes, and when he next spoke, it was with a different voice, "Not yet. This is not a true blending, Garshaw of Belote, merely a temporary arrangement while I recuperate and seek out a new host. Until then, I will remain with the Tauri."
Selmak nodded, "Very well."
"I have made my decision. Do not be stubborn, Garshaw. You do not know me as Selmak does."
"You want me to what?" Xander blinked at the USAF major.
"It's not so much what we want you to do," Maj. Davis clarified. "We just wanted to let you know that... President Marshall would like the opportunity to meet you if he can. It can be a private meeting if you want; no one but you, me, the president, and the Secret Service needs to know about it."
"Please tell me he's not some closet fanboy."
"I... wouldn't say that, sir," Davis hedged, clearly trying to figure out what to say.
"Oh, so he's worried I'm a threat. Well, that's okay, then."
"You seem awfully calm about that conclusion," Davis said neutrally.
"Given the power I wield," Xander said, "he'd have to be the idiot some pundits claim he is to not worry about the threat I could pose." He paused and then said, "I'll think about it."
Xander landed gently behind Sunnydale General Hospital. The house he had acquired for Faith and the Baxters uninhabitable until repairs were made, and he wanted to check up on Rebecca. He gave a half-smile as he saw the quartet of girls emerge from the rear entrance.
The girls looked up, pinning him with a measuring glance.
He coughed, "Uh, how's Ms. Baxter?"
"Mother is fine," Tara said evenly as she walked up to Xander...
...and then turned and walked away, heading toward what appeared to be one of Cordy's cars, different from the sports car Buffy had wrecked earlier.
Xander blinked and looked at Buffy, "Uh, what was that for?"
The Slayer shook her head, a disgusted look on her face, and simply walked away.
He looked at the brunette, "Cordy?"
"Men," she sighed, shaking her head as she followed the two blondes.
"Will?" he pleaded the last girl present.
The redhead rolled her eyes, declared "You're a poopyhead," and followed the others.
If you must ask, Alexander, then you won't understand.
Xander sighed and shook his head as they drove off. He was never going to understand women. Never.
Suddenly, he stiffened as he felt his hackles rise. There was magic crackling through the air, and lots of it if he could feel it so readily. Everyone had some ability to sense magic -- it was why people naturally tended to avoid areas steeped in the supernatural -- but few could consciously sense it. Xander normally couldn't, unless there was a very large amount of magic, but he could recognize it when he felt it. It usually meant either Willow was in the area, preparing something big, or things were about to really hit the fan. And since the Willow that existed now currently had no interest in magic...
Alexander! the warning ripped through his head.
He barely had enough time to change into his uniform, bring up a barrier, and hurl himself to the side, almost out of the way, before the magical blast smashed through his construct barrier, shattering it like glass, and struck him.
Betcha didn't see that one coming.
This Omake Is Tenhawk-Approved:
"As Alteran weapons go," Xander said, "I'll take my ring over your staff any day. More range, more versatility, and less nagging."
His counterpart winced, and he smirked. Sometimes, it was good to be him.
"Um, my battle staff and companion would like for me to inform you of her displeasure at your... choice of words."
"I'm sure. And lemme tell you, I know how you feel. E was a real pain in the butt until I got her out of my head."
Again, his other self winced, and Xander fancied he could hear a female voice shouting at him. He knew it wasn't possible, of course, but still, the thought was immensely entertaining.
After a moment, Xander decided to show his other self a little pity and added, "And by 'E,' I am, of course, referring to the last of the Corps's old guard, Egeria, Queen of the Tok'ra."
Again, Xander fancied that he could hear the reaction: "Huh?"