SGC Control Room
Captain Samantha Carter stood at the glass star map with General Hammond, O'Neill, Daniel, and Teal'c looking on. Sol sat at the centre of the map, and to the north-west, some thousand light years distant another prominent star marked in angry red.
"P5C-629 is located directly in the corridor the Goa'uld used to reach our solar system. This is our best platform for the Seeker Project. Now, the theory is that a Goa'uld ship that magnitude should leave a footprint, even at thrust beyond lightspeed. So we're using the technology we already possess we can determine…"
A flash of blue interrupted her and the nude blue form of Alexander appeared a few feet away from the map.
"Sorry to interrupt," the superhuman said mildly.
"Where ya been?" Jack asked with a frown.
"Dealing with a situation on our fair planet that required all my attention," Xander grinned at them. "So what's been happening here?"
"Well, besides Danny boy getting seduced by a Princess and all of us trapped in our own minds in these techno-cocoon things…"
"I'll read the reports, thank you Colonel, and Jolinar/Major Gilson?"
"She left this morning for the last place she remembered the Tok'ra being, she also has one of our new encrypted subspace com devices, so she can contact us when the Tok'ra High Council agrees to a summit," General Hammond explained.
"Excellent," Xander mused, but further conversation was cut off when alarm klaxons went off and the Stargate erupted into life.
"What the hell…? No one's due back today," Hammond rushed towards the Command console, as the Gate technicians seated there monitored the wormhole formation.
The Gate defences sprang to life, the Iris closing and Adaptive shields flashing over the maw of the Stargate. Finally the wormhole erupted into being with a bright waterlike plasma flare towards the rear of the Gate and settled into a stable event horizon. SFs now in full composite armor suits but in an urban camouflage, and armed with rail rifles, piled in through the blast doors and took up defensive positions before the Gate.
"We have an inbound traveler. No SG signal code." The female Gate tech reported to Hammond.
"Intruder alert. Inbound traveler is unauthorized.Inbound traveler is unauthorized." The PA system blared to everyone.
Everyone continued to watch and wait, yet nothing happened…the wormhole simply disengaged, Gate defenses opened up and revealed nothing.
SGC Conference Room
SG1 and Hammond were seated around the large table, listening to the report of Captain Carter's investigation into the unexplained wormhole event. Xander only listened to it with half an ear.
"There was no organic residue, but they did pick up a faint nuclear signature. Traces of iridium."
"Iridium. That's the radioactive stuff we put in the Sagan Institute box on Cimmeria," Daniel frowned wonderingly, reading the briefing notes.
"You got it. I wanted it there so that it would leave a very recognizable signature and…"
"Same stuff?" Daniel queried, pushing his glasses up.
"Yeah," nodded Carter.
"Weren't the locals supposed to give that box to…Thor? Whoever, whatever, he is," Jack said pointedly.
"We assume he's a member of the Asgard, an extremely advanced culture," Teal'C stated flatly.
"The fact of the matter is, we really don't know," Jack shrugged.
"The Asgard exist, Colonel O'Neill," Xander stated. "We will meet them – soon."
"Is this your precognition talking, son?" Hammond asked.
"Indeed. We must go through the Stargate as soon as possible to Cimmeria," Xander explained.
"We?" Jack asked.
"You want to talk to the Asgard?" Daniel surmised.
"Yes, but things are not as they seem."
"Um, you all know I take great pride in my title as Mr. Positive. However, we did destroy their de-Goa'ulding thing. Might not they look unkindly on that?"
"They won't," Xander grinned, he had read about how Teal'C and Jack were trapped in a labyrinth meant for any Goa'uld stupid enough to go to Cimmeria. They'd had to unfortunately destroy a device mounted on the threshold of the place that killed any Goa'uld within a host – so that Teal'C could escape. "There's no way they'd know that a Jaffa would fall into their trap who wasn't an enemy."
Hammond frowned at Xander, then looked thoughtfully at the others. "All right. I'll tell you what. We'll send a probe though at 1300 hours. If everything checks out, you have a go.
SGC Control Room
An upgraded MALP was readied and Xander studied the contraption. It no longer was made of the flimsy construction of the previous probes he had seen the SGC use. It now had sleeker lines and was armored. Its instruments no longer protruded from its chassis but was now integrated and protected within. A bubble dome of darkened glass now held the camera, and its manipulator arm was in a rest position and also integrated into the armor.
"Nice," Xander commented to the Captain, indicating the MALP.
"Thanks, it'll stand up to considerable punishment now, even from staff blasts, and it's got an actuated Rail rifle and grenade launcher that we can fire remotely," she grinned.
"I guess the General got tired of having to order new probes."
"They do tend to get blasted a lot," Jack mused. "Now we can clear the area around an offworld gate with zero casualties."
The probe trundled forward on it's AT wheels and slurped into the event horizon.
"The probe should be there…now." Sam said as she brought up the video feed on one of the Command console's monitors and controlled the MALP with an integrated joystick.
One thing was immediately apparent as the signal came through and the MALP beamed back live images of the area around the Gate…dead bodies, of Cimmerians with their rough leather clothes with swords and axes lying near them.
"Those wounds have been caused by staff weapons," Teal'c pronounced grimly as the image focused on a dead body…plasma burns.
The camera panned further and stopped on a dead Jaffa – who had been slashed dead with an axe still embedded in him. The Jaffa soldier had what appeared to be a bird tattooed on his forehead.
"Friends of yours, Teal'C?" Jack asked mildly, but the Jaffa just shook his head. The monitor now showed a destroyed edifice in front of the Gate.
"That was the Scanning tower, making sure anybody who came through was not Goa'uld," Daniel tapped the screen.
"Clearly Cimmeria is no longer safe from the Goa'uld." Teal'C frowned.
The camera panned again and a fleeting image of a woman appeared and then vanished.
"Whoa! Pan right," Daniel said hurriedly.
Finally, it showed the dark haired woman, also wearing leathers and she held a dead Cimmerian and was speaking at the MALP with pain and heartache clear on her mid aged features.
"That's Gairwyn. The woman who showed us around. She's saying something." Daniel commented to Xander.
"Turn up the gain on the MALPs mike," Sam told the female air force tech sitting next to her.
'Please…The Etins have come. Please help us. Please…The Etins have come. Please help.'
SGC Conference Room
"Cimmerians use the word Etin for Goa'ulds. Gairwyn said the Etins are there. For a thousand years Cimmeria was safe from Goa'uld attack. Then we show up and screw up Thor's technology," Daniel said acerbically, though clearly directing the malice towards himself.
"Daniel Jackson is correct. The Goa'uld usually send an advance scout though the Stargate to determine a planet's worth and vulnerability. If none of the scout reports back, it is a deterrent to invasion," Teal'C explained, his jaw flexing.
"The point is, sir, the Goa'uld are there and the locals aren't exactly much of a match for them," Sam told the General.
"General, if we did screw up their world, we should take a little responsibility for fixing it, don't you think?" Jack said matter-of-factly.
"I understand that. But let me play devil's advocate for a moment here. It's not our world. Is it really any of our concern?"
"The destruction of the hammer device to save my life has caused this, it's my responsibility," Teal'C declared.
"General, I gave the order," Jack said resolutely.
"And I fired the staff at the machine," Daniel was equally firm.
"And I was…there," Sam stepped forward sheepishly.
General Hammond looked to Xander next. "If we hope to gain the Asgard as an ally then how we react to this situation will be how they judge us, General. I will go and help, however I can."
"All right. But keep your heads up on this one."
It was technically Xander's first trip through the Stargate – though from a certain point of view he had already experienced hundreds of such events, as he was experiencing time in a non-linear fashion. The rollercoaster through an artificially created tunnel in subspace was exhilarating and yet not. The method of creating the wormhole was both ingenious, complex and yet simple – again depending on your point of view. He saw infinitely more detail than his companions, as he rocketed down the wormhole – he could see the very geometry of the sub-spacial construct.
The linear time it took to traverse was less than a second, but to Xander, it was a near eternity of beauty just studying the twisting and turning vistas of the Universe. He emerged out of the Cimmerian Stargate and set foot for the first time on another world.
Cimmeria was like most worlds in the Stargate network – Earth-like, the area around the Gate had a large clearing and was surrounded by woods, which stretched into the distance, and mountain ranges dotted the landscape. It was a rather overcast day and it seemed that rain was a possibility.
He stepped away from the event horizon, and Jack emerged next, followed by the rest of the team, all in full 'clone trooper' armor as Teal'C liked to call it. They all spread out and scanned the area with their MR rifles, before Sam declared, "No hostiles in scanning range, sir. Only a single human, I think that's Gairwyn hiding off to the north."
"She is not able to recognize you because of the armor and she is very unsure, even afraid of me," Xander explained. He was in his natural blue form and must look very alien to the native woman. "Remove your helmets so she can see a familiar face," he suggested.
Jack nodded at his team, and a moment later they were tucking the helmets under their arms. Before they could call to Gairwyn though, Jack was startled by something behind them.
"Holy…" Xander had already seen it. A Goa'uld pyramid was unveiling itself almost like something straight out of Starcraft, a kilometer beyond the rise. "Kids…now that is no weekend hunting lodge."
A twig snapping announced the arrival of Gairwyn as she passed through the foliage of the treeline and hesitantly walked towards them, staring occasionally at Xander with a weary look on her face.
"Its okay, Gairwyn, he's with us," Sam called out gesturing for the woman to come closer.
"You returned! Kendra said you'd come. She never doubted it…" Gairwyn cried excitedly, closing the distance and clasping hands with both Daniel and Sam. "Your coverings have changed since I last saw you."
"Yeah, Kendra, I want you to meet Alexander…he's new to our team…"
"Pleased to meet you," Xander bowed his head.
"You are a form of being I've not yet seen before," Kendra remarked. "But Thor teaches us to respect all things that live. Welcome."
"Kendra, what happened here?" Sam asked gravely.
"We thought it was Ragnorock," Kendra said in despair.
"That's the Norse Armageddon, the end of the world," Daniel commented.
"There was fire in the heavens. Five or six bursts in the sky in a straight line, but no sound. Then we heard an evil thunder and a great metal point came through the clouds."
"A Goa'uld Ha'tak," Teal'C translated this time, "a pyramid ship," he said further when Jack gave him a pointed look.
"Kendra knew it was the Etins, even before the burnings and the killings started. Our village is almost gone and most of our farms."
"You said Kendra knew we'd come. How?" Daniel asked.
"She gave me a box. She said to fly it through the portal. She said you'd know what it meant. The cost of sending it was great."
"The men who died here?" Sam gestured to the bodies.
"My husband and his brothers," Kendra whispered mournfully stepping closer to the bodies.
"I'm sorry," Sam said with sincerity. It was at this moment that an orange bolt of plasma impacted the DHD. Everyone whirled in the direction it had come from to see two Jaffa at the treeline, one brandishing his staff weapon, and the other about to blow on a stylized horn of sorts.
Howquaint thought Xander. A gesture towards the Jaffa in question had both of them yanked off their feet and flying through the air towards them. Xander vaporized the one carrying the horn in midair and let the other with the staff land painfully near his feet. He kneeled next to the struggling Jaffa, his hand latching onto the forehead.
He only needed a few moments before vaporizing the Jaffa, and said, "These are the Jaffa of Heru'ur."
SG1 and Gairwyn looked somewhat shocked at the display of power. Then he remembered this was the first time he'd applied his abilities to a combat situation with them. They were in for an eye-opener.
"Are you some form of god?" Gairwyn asked in astonishment.
"No," Xander smiled serenely at her. "I am what your descendants could be countless years into the future."
"Damn," Jack snapped out of it and turned to Teal'C, "uh, you have the info on this Heru'ur?"
"He is the son of Ra and Hathor," the Jaffa explained. "A very powerful System Lord. Much feared, even among Goa'uld. He is a conqueror. He eliminates all who dare tread in his shadow, including other Goa'uld."
"Well, let's give him something to fear, shall we," grinned Xander. "Gairwyn, I'm going to send you to the place where your people are hiding. Coming with us and witnessing what we're going to do is not something that I think Thor would like. Understand?"
The awed Cimmerian only nodded before Xander snapped his fingers and she vanished with a blue flash.
"What's the deal with you knowing Thor wouldn't like it?" Jack asked.
"You forget my non-linear perception of time," Xander pointed out.
"Of course," Sam said in astonishment, "your future self has and will meet Thor. Damn, that gives me a headache."
"Temporal mechanics," Xander shrugged. "Anyway, Gairwyn and by extension her people are too…young to understand. No matter what I do, they will perceive me as a deity. It's bad enough that the Asgard allow themselves to appear as such to the Cimmerians." He turned to Jack. "What are your orders, Colonel?"
"Okay, Intel first, what can you tell me about the OPFOR?" Jack looked surprised that Xander was deferring to him.
"There are currently a thousand Jaffa on the ground," Xander reported, stretching his conventional and temporal senses out. "Five Ha'tak are in orbit, with a sum total of twelve thousand Jaffa. One hundred and twenty Death Gliders, and twenty five Goa'uld Al'Kesh – they're basically mid-range bombers and scouts – finally, Heru'ur himself is here too, inside the pyramid."
"This Heru'ur isn't tip-toeing about this conquest," commented Sam with worry.
"This is an Asgard protected planet, he probably figured he needed it," Daniel reasoned.
"Piece of cake," Xander disagreed.
"You're telling me you could take all that?" Jack said incredulously.
"You forget that the Al'Kesh and Gliders are still within the Ha'tak's. I've called in some backup to deal with the motherships in orbit. The only question is what you want to do with the ground forces and Heru'ur?"
"All in due time, Colonel. Seeing will be believing."
"Ah, Okay, we battle our way to this System Lord and take him out, simple as that. You can shield us as we go…oh, and we gotta prevent him from escaping once he sees the writing on the wall…"
Xander nodded and gestured to the Stargate…which promptly rippled and vanished, along with the DHD.
Jack looked at where the device had stood and flatly said, "You can bring it back, right?"
"Would I have done it otherwise?" Xander retorted.
"Gotcha," nodded Jack and the rest of the team put their helmets back over their heads. With Xander in the centre of a rough diamond formation, Jack taking point, Sam and Teal'C on the flanks and Daniel on rear guard they headed towards the pyramid in the distance. Xander concentrated and created a shield that briefly flared blue and then vanished.
They met the first Jaffa patrol barely two hundred meters into their march through the woods. The patrol's orange plasma splashed into the shield, not even causing it to appear to the naked eye…the discharge just simply vanished.
Three near simultaneous rail gun bursts whined through the air; the small slugs traveling at hypersonic velocity ripped through the armour of the Jaffa like wet paper and deformed, delivering a frightful amount of energy that caused the back armour plate to completely tear off and mess of innards following in the bullets wake as it continued on its journey through a total of two trees before finally spending all its kinetic energy into the ground.
SG1 halted as they surveyed the mess the rail guns had made. The testing of the weapons on the range and with artificial targets didn't do the experience justice. They had intellectually known what the weapon would do to a body if hit, but seeing it in living color brought the sheer power of the thing finally into stark reality.
"Damn," Jack said into the shared com link. It was as if the Jaffa had been hit with M82 fifty cal sniper rifles, except this was a weapon capable of doing that on full auto.
"Indeed," Teal'C echoed the sentiment – when he had first joined SG1 and seen their projectile weaponry in action, it had been immediately dismissed as a crude weapon with no endurance. The weapon he was now holding had made him rethink carrying his venerable staff weapon – and it was clear now that his choice had been correct.
"Time's wasting, gentlemen," Xander pointed out.
"Er, right…" Jack gestured and they moved forward.
It was pretty much a turkey shoot from then on. The Jaffa tried staff cannons and used mass of fire to try and overwhelm the shield, but they didn't last long enough to even give Xander an ounce of effort to maintain it. The rail guns of SG1 were packing a deadly punch as they scythed through multiple Jaffa on numerous occasions. Xander was in another league however, sweeping gestures of his hands simply vanished the staff weapons directly from the Jaffa's hands – whom promptly retreated. More gestures vanished groups of Jaffa into clouds of constituent atoms.
They entered the pyramid and begun a systematic sweep, looking for Heru'ur.
They actually managed to catch up with the System Lord, but the snaky Goa'uld jumped into a set of Transport Rings and vanished before they could even get a bead on him.
"He's on one of his ships in orbit," Xander frowned, "he's going to target us with the main guns of the Ha'tak."
"Can you shield from something that powerful?" Sam asked in concern.
"Yes, but it would require all my concentration, but it will not be necessary." Xander snapped his fingers and they vanished from the pyramid.
They reappeared on a hillside a few kilometers away overlooking the pyramid just as sun bright plasma bolts arched deafeningly onto the pyramid they had just occupied – the unshielded structure was instantly destroyed in a towering explosion that sent a shockwave radiating out…the only clue to it being the earth disturbed in a perfectly concentric pattern.
"I think we better get out of here, I wouldn't put it above the snake to start glassing the entire area…" Jack stopped when Xander merely shook his head and raised a calming hand. Xander's eyes were visibly twinkling and a smile was on his face.
"Relax, Heru'ur has more important problems than little old us right now."
That statement was proved true by the fact that no more plasma bolts rained from the sky, and not a minute later a massive brief new sun appeared in the sky before fading quickly…a minute later two tiny suns appeared again…and again and again.
"Five explosions in space, five motherships," Jack wondered. "Is that your back-up?"
Xander only nodded.
A few moments later a massive storm cloud sprang up seemingly out of nowhere, and a strong wind surged past. A thundering continuous rumble reached their ears and the clouds grew to blot out the sun, turning day to a darkened version of itself.
"Oh my…" Jack O'Neill's eyes widened as what was clearly a massive starship emerged from the clouds. Xander chuckled at the stupefied expressions on the rest of SG1. It was over nine hundred meters from fore to aft. Six hundred meters of that was a three hundred meters wide depressed saucer section, whilst a secondary hull grew from underneath it to jut backwards, from this the ship continued to sprout two curved thin pylons connected to very long deceptively thin glowing blue and red pods. The hull was a dark black almost brown color with countless windows arced in extremely odd positions…"Carter. Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"
"Yes sir," she nodded faintly.
"That ship looks a lot like…"
"The Enterprise," Xander finished for Jack with a smug grin. "Of course, I updated it considerably to my own specs and standards. I can't take credit for it totally though, you all know the Enterprise-E from the last movie…well, the design you see now is the Enterprise-J…built in the twenty sixth century of the Star Trek Universe."
"Holy crap!" Jack turned to Xander with a pleading look. "Please tell me you named it that too."
The rest of the team could only gape in their helmets at that statement coming from their commanding officer. Even Teal'C rocked back in surprise.
"Yes, Colonel, it's named the Enterprise," Xander sighed indulgently.
"And you built it?" Sam asked next looking like she would keel over from astonishment.
"Well, not me precisely," Xander said vaguely and chuckled again. "I've requested we be beamed aboard. Don't be alarmed."
Multi-colored light suddenly emerged from the team members of SG1, within a moment it engulfed them completely and they vanished with a near silent surge of power. Xander gestured and the Stargate with its DHD reappeared near him. The Gate snapped to life with a wormhole instantly back towards Earth – he didn't need to go with them – since there was another copy of himself on the Enterprise.
He stepped through the event horizon and was gone.
Hallways – Sunnydale High
Xander Prime had long debated with himself and his Doc Manhattan aspect over whether to allow this particular probability line to happen. It would get the PTBs nose of out of joint, but the end result would be more or less what they wanted, he was just tweaking things to be less crappy for the white hats. This was why he was walking the crowded hallways an hour after the shooting incident with Patrice the amoral assassin during the break after the Career Fair had concluded for the day. The teachers had rightly concluded that the shooting and subsequent grisly demise of the rampaging Police recruiter would not let any more work get done for the day, so the students were all milling about in their cliques and relaxing, though there was a distinct air of doom and gloom. The teachers and school counselor were all busy dealing with the mess and with traumatized students.
Xander ruefully reflected that he should've just teleported Patrice into space and let that do the job. He had let his emotions get the better of him at seeing her history and future. She would've been the primary contractor used by big energy interests to 'suppress' innovation and 'remove' any politician that made too much noise about promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies, which would be the least of her sins.
Xander turned a corner into the adjoining much more deserted sciences hallway, allowing him to briefly see his 'tail'. He again struggled with himself, 'to allow or not to allow, that is the question.' It didn't help... and in the end, despite being superhuman, he was a guy deep down. So when he was intercepted by the door of the Physics lab, and grabbed by the arm and pulled inside, he didn't resist.
He didn't resist when he was pushed against one of the tables and a pair of luscious lips clamped on his own, and two perfectly tanned female arms rested on his shoulders. He initially hesitated in reciprocating, but the feel of the two substantial breasts behind a designer blouse squishing themselves against his chest sent his head spinning and he returned and deepened the kiss, settling his hands on curvy hips.
His ambusher moaned and deepened it further with a rather aggressive tongue duel. Xander could control many aspects of the world around him and himself. He knew himself down to the last quark of matter, neuron, synapse and could control it, but in this state of mind, he couldn't stop the...
Cordelia broke the kiss and embrace, "Don't poke me with that..."
"You've seen my power, Cordelia," Xander retorted. "Do you think I wouldn't spare myself the embarrassment, if I could?"
"Huh, I guess," she acknowledged.
"Was your test to your satisfaction?"
"Yes," she said in a rather astonished manner.
"You already know the answer for my part," Xander smirked at her goofily.
"You're still a dork," she retorted with blazing eyes. "You knew what I planning, and let it happen."
"I even know how this conversation will end," he shrugged unapologetically.
"I now know a mask when I see one, Cordelia," Xander said seriously. "You and your clique were Willow and my enemies' since kindergarten, but you see, I am both blessed and cursed with the ability to look into the past with a touch and see the future."
"Ah crud, so when we kissed..."
"Yeah...and I know what you'll become... suffice it to say, I know now that you hide your true brave, thoughtful and beautiful self underneath all that ice, and that is what let me allow this to happen... and I'm a guy, you're a stunningly hot babe, sue me. Doesn't matter, I can make all the money I want," Xander smirked at her smugly. "Don't worry, I also know what you truly see in me."
Cordelia's eyes went as wide as saucers for a moment. "Shit, Harris, give a girl a chance here..."
"Sorry," he nodded sincerely. "You also realize what this is gonna do to the Cordettes?"
"You clean up well to their eyes lately and they definitely see your hunkiness outlined in the clothes your 'wear', not to mention your GPA improvement," she shuddered suddenly. "It took the cake when Harmony of all people admitted she would..."
Xander held up his hands in a warding gesture, "Let's not finish that sentence, please. I've already heard it and will endeavor to forget."
"So...uh... you'll stay blue for me?"
"Oh, free show eh? Now that we're...involved... Cordelia, you should know I changed myself to 'normal' for your eyes because I saw how it was affecting your attention levels in class."
"It's free already, dweeb. And I can handle it..."
"That's not what your GPAs in the classes we share say, how about clothed in class, and blue nude out of class?"
"Fine," she said reluctantly, when she saw his point.
"Good," he nodded and changed himself to his blue form for her. Cordelia didn't get to enjoy the view for a few moments before she was swept into Xander's embrace and they dived into another long kiss.
Library, Sunnydale High
"She was definitely of the Taraka gang, Giles, and way gun happy, luckily Xander... dealt with her," Buffy explained with a wince.
"Yes, well, the uh, important thing is everybody's alright. Though, Xander, in the-the future would please not make such a – mess in front of so many people."
Bodyguard Xander nodded and had a weird, satisfied smile on his face for some reason. "She was decidedly unpleasant, her past and future actions touched a nerve."
"I'll take your word for it," Giles sighed. "It's clear that we're under serious attack, though assassin one and two has been dealt with, there's still a number three to contend with and we have no idea as to his whereabouts or abilities."
"He's currently staking out Buffy's house from next door. He looks like your everyday accountant or door-to-door salesman, average in every way, if a bit overweight, but that's normal. He's in fact; a non-corporeal demon that is possessing a mass of mealworms that it can control the molecular structure of, to appear normal. I'll research a way to kill it in a moment."
"Really? Fascinating. Good, uh and on that note, I've discovered the remaining keys to Drusilla's cure. The ritual requires the presence of her sire, and it must take place in a church on the night of the new moon."
"That is tonight," Kendra stated, and Buffy frowned with worry.
"Exactly, and the assassins were sent to delay and kill Buffy if possible and distract us."
"Buffy, what is it?" Willow queried curiously.
"Angel, he's Drusilla's sire." She looked at Giles seriously. "Will this ritual kill him?"
"Yes, I'm afraid it will."
"We need to find this church. We need to find where this ritual is gonna take place. Xander? Can you tell me now?"
He titled his head at her in consideration, checking the probability lines, before nodding, "Yes, hang on a moment... it's going to be cloudy night... hmmm, alright...crap, no, not that one. Shit, did you know that there are forty three churches in Sunnydale. Probably gonna have to be the abandoned ones...okay, there they are..."
"You're playing to the crowd, aren't you?" Willow giggled.
"Yeah," he shrugged. "In any event, the vamps aren't there yet, so we'll be wasting our time going now. We should try to find blueprints for the church and be prepared to deal with the large amount of vampires that are at Spike's beck and call, and we still have to find a way to deal permanently with the last assassin."
Buffy sighed in frustration, "Can't you just make bugman go kablooey?"
"I could, but that would just scatter the bug mass and the demon just ends up possessing another mass of bugs somewhere else."
"That's not too bad... he'll take forever to come back..."
"Buffy, do you realize how many bugs are out there in the world, and around the Sunnydale area, specifically underground?"
She looked uncertain, "No?"
"Let's just say he comes back very quickly."
"Don't worry, Buffy," Willow opened her laptop, "We'll save Angel."
"Angel?" Kendra frowned, "but our priority is to stop Drusilla."
Buffy gave her fellow Slayer a flat stare, "Look, you've got your priorities I've got mine. Right now, they mesh. So are you gonna help me, or are you gonna get out of my way?"
Kendra visibly considered it for a moment before nodding, "I'm wit you."
"Good. Cause I've had it. Spike is going down. You can attack me, you can send assassins after me, that's fine. But nobody messes with my boyfriend!"
Giles' Office, Library, Sunnydale High
Buffy was leaning idly against Giles' cluttered desk and sharpening her favorite knife with a sharpening stone and some oil. The new moon was not for another four hours so she was spending the time with some mindless activity to not dwell on the upcoming rescue of her boyfriend unnecessarily. Kendra had followed her to familiarize herself with the weapons that Giles kept secured and out of sight, feeling the balance of a sword while staring through the divider window that looked out on the library and the Scoobies doing their research gig.
"Jus' 'ow many know dat ye are a Slayer?"
Buffy frowned in thought for a moment, "Xander, Willow, and Cordelia… you haven't met her yet, she found out through circumstance when I saved her life a number of times."
"Dat is three too many. Did anyone explain to you what 'secret identity' means?"
"Nope, must be in the handbook," Buffy snarked and watched as Kendra picked up a crossbow. "Right after the chapter on personality removal… be careful with that thing!"
Kendra brushed off the concern, "Please. I'm an expert in all weapons."
She was proven wrong though when the crossbow abruptly released the bolt, shattering a lamp, and spent its remaining energy on the wall.
"Is everything all right?" Giles poked his head into the room.
"Yeah, it's okay. Kendra killed the bad lamp."
"Sorry! Dis, uh, trigger mechanism is different," she hastily put the weapon down.
"Not a problem. Xander! If you could…" Before he could even finish the sentence the destroyed lamp became undestroyed as if a film had been rewound, and was perched back on the desk as if nothing had happened, even the gash on the wall was gone, the only evidence it had happened at all was the bolt still lying on the floor. "Thank you. Less destroyed school property around here, the better."
When he was back in the library proper, Kendra hastily turned to avert her gaze from the window, as Xander had walked into view with a number of books floating in front of his face.
"How do you get used to him…to Xander?"
Buffy snorted in amusement, "You don't. The nude thing is but a cherry on the cake compared to his powers, which you just saw one small example of… but his biggest quality is his heart, loyalty and determination. He's the reason I'm alive and you're a Slayer, and he did that before he got Super'd. Speaking of which, I'm going to give you some free advice. Don't tell your Watcher about Xander."
"I'm telling you not because I want to protect Xander, but more for the sake of your Watcher and Watcher's Council as well. The instant they plan to try anything against Xander… he'll know about it and take steps to deal with it. Trust me; they don't want Xander on their case. Not if they wish to keep their money, jobs and eventually even their lives if they push things too far."
Kendra nodded seriously, "I'll consider dat. In de meantime, can you show me how to work dat crossbow?"
Buffy sheathed the knife and picked up the crossbow. "This is a pull and release type. You pull the bar trigger under the handle, keep the bar against the handle while you aim, and when you want to shoot, let go."
"Ah, I see." Kendra now picked up a stake and tested its sharpness. "Your life is very different than mine."
"You mean the part where I occasionally have one? Yeah, I guess it is."
"De things you do and have, I was taught, distract from my calling. Friends, school… even family."
Buffy was startled at hearing that last one, "Even family?"
"My parents, dey sent me to my Watcher when I was very young."
"I don't remember dem, actually. I've seen pictures. But dat's how seriously the calling is taken by my people. My modder and fadder gave me to my Watcher because day believe dat dey were doing the right ting for me, and de world." Buffy couldn't help the sympathetic look that crossed her face. "Please, I don't feel sorry for meself. Why should you?"
"I don't know, I guess it just sounds very lonely."
"Emotions are a weakness, Buffy. You shouldn't entertain 'em."
"It's what makes you human and a warrior, not just a weapon," she pointed at Kendra's own knife. "Anger, love, loyalty and others when used properly can keep you going long after others have quit or just plain died. I don't deny them or bottle them up. I put them into the fire in here," she pointed at her own heart. "That gives me strength, while the brain improvises and trained instincts do the rest."
They both turned to the door though as Xander entered with a knowing smile on his face, "Excuse me, ladies." He gestured and a number of books floated to land on Giles' desk while another book took to the air and opened itself before him and he walked out.
Buffy noticed Kendra's face darken in a blush and looking at the floor until Xander was gone.
"I'm guessing dating isn't big with your Watcher either."
"I'm not even permitted to speak to boys, Xander is the first I've even seen…like dat."
"Ooh boy, just remember he's a superhuman, no guy you meet in the future is really gonna be able to compete."
"Watcher, swatcher," Buffy waved her hand dismissively. "There might come a day in the future where the need for a Slayer is… reduced. Enough that we could have proper lives, Kendra."
"What do you mean?"
"Xander, he can sort of see the future."
Kendra just blinked as she took that in. "A Seer as well…"
"It's not magic or hocus pocus, he's like his own personal crystal ball, and he's hinted to me that I shouldn't be so… negative about my future, that I will be able to have a somewhat normal life should certain things happen."
"But it's still not guaranteed."
"No. But I can hope."
Abandoned Church, Getty Street, Sunnydale
An out of phase Xander was casually leaning against one of the pews near the nave of the Church. It was actually a pity that it was abandoned, as it was a rather impressive church that had a very nice brass piped organ, with all sorts of the traditional Catholic imagery, in paintings, statues and stained glass windows, though everything had a layer of dust and linen covers. He idly wondered how all three vampires were faring just by being in the place, with all its religious symbolism and the fact that the building itself was shaped as a large cross. A rather worse for wear Angel bearing signs of holy water torture and Drusilla were chained together by the right wrist, whilst the chain itself hung off a pulley from the ceiling.
Spike was performing the ritual to restore Drusilla to full strength; it involved a lot of chanting, swinging an incense lantern, and reading from the Du Lac book – which was itself a source of Power and catalyst for the ritual. Xander reflected for a moment how easy it would be to just reach out with his own power and disintegrate the book, causing the entire ritual to collapse around Spike's ears. Unfortunately, that would be the mystical equivalent of cutting the wrong wire on a ticking bomb, which would kill Spike and Drusilla in the wild release of power, he didn't mind Drusilla turning to ashes in the wind, it'd honestly be doing the mad vampiress a favor, but it would kill Angel and the vampire with a soul was just too important for the future. Spike was a different story altogether – his latest examinations of the probability lines for the future showed that his presence was a necessity for the survival of all life on Earth as well. The PTBs were hedging their bets.
Spike reached the point where he had to pick up the Du Lac Cross, turn it upside down and pull the hidden dagger out. He had to do so carefully with his hands wrapped in the sleeves of the leather trenchcoat, lest he burn himself touching a holy object. It was disgusting how Du Lac had perverted that dagger – it could be used to heal a person from nearly any injury and bring someone back from death's door. Of course, it required a sacrifice, but usually condemned criminals were the ones one the donating end of that dagger.
Spike swiftly stabbed the dagger through the joined hands of Angel and Drusilla. A blindingly bright pink light emanated from the wounds created, and the pulse of raw energy radiated outward and faded out. Angel visibly slumped against the chains as his strength ebbed through the dagger and into Drusilla.
"Right then!" Spike rubbed his hands together in glee. "Now we just let them come to a simmering boil, and remove to a low flame."
Xander sensed Buffy, Kendra and Giles start their assault on the perimeter of vampires guarding the church at that moment. Bodyguard Xander was with them and making sure that the vamps couldn't use their superior numbers to simply overwhelm the three. Norman the Bugman Tarakan assassin was the first to be taken out by Xander.
The usual way that he killed was to simply disassemble into a wave of mealworms that swallowed you up and ate you alive. Norman had targeted Kendra but the mass of worms were halted in their tracks with a gesture from Xander and captured in a large zero-g trap.
The demon possessing the mass of worms couldn't find the coherency to come together again, nor could the worms move in zero-g. Xander flicked his fingers and a large bucket of industrial strength glue appeared above the worm mass and was poured into the zero-g field. He twirled his hand and the worms were spun as if in a washing machine with the glue.
He idly destroyed a vampire that had been looking to blindside Buffy, before setting the results of his work down. Norman the bugman was now Norman the bug-pancake; he snapped his fingers and teleported the dried mass of glue and worm, into a decaying orbit where it would burn up in the atmosphere.
Inside the Church, Xander Prime watched as Buffy and Kendra charged into the church proper, with Giles and Bodyguard Xander watching their backs, whilst the four minion vampires that were inside charged to stop them.
Spike watched with astonishment at Kendra as she went toe to toe with the vampires, dusting two with her stake in a graceful and economical move after a series of attacks that left them stunned and reeling, "Who the hell is this?"
Xander Prime phased himself into normal reality right in front of Spike and slammed palm strikes into the vampires' solar plexus, an elbow to the face as Spike bent over in pain, which sent him reeling back, only to catch a kick that sent the Aurelius vampire crashing into a pew.
Spike dazedly got up again, staring with both fear and anger at Xander.
"In answer to your question, that's Kendra, the other Vampire Slayer."
Kendra and Buffy were both engaged in furious fights with the last two vampires, both of whom seemed to be quite good in martial arts technique and they also felt like they were at least fifty or so years old, the chief minions. Spike charged Xander at this point in a rather stunning show of bravery or foolishness.
Xander deflected the punches and kicks of the vampire, pushing power into the deflections that made Spike wince every time it happened.
"Arrgggh," snarled Spike in frustration. "What does it take to hit you?"
Xander grinned wickedly, "I think you've got other things to worry about." His body abruptly lengthened weirdly and two more muscled arms seemed to sprout into the extra space. Spike was sufficiently caught off guard by the weird event to receive three powerful simultaneous jabs into his body, that sent him flying again and it also allowed Xander to catch the Du Lac dagger in the same moment. Bodyguard Xander had pulled it out at the two minute mark of the ritual.
Bodyguard Xander looked at the chained Angel and Drusilla with interest, observing the after effects of the energy transfer. The slapping of kicks and punches being exchanged by the two Slayers and vampires, Xander Prime fighting Spike – it wasn't really a fight, Xander Prime was just humoring the vamp and keeping him occupied.
It would be so easy. Just a thought, a twist of will, and both Angel and Drusilla would be dust in the wind. Xander touched finger to face of the Seer vampire and explored her future. It really galled him sometimes that sometimes there wasn't enough room for maneuver in what had to happen. Even as he saw the faces of those he would kill and the repercussions of choosing one way or the other, he began to truly understand why Doc Manhattan had started to become detached from humanity, its suffering and its joys. Half of the people Drusilla would kill would go on to cause some form of further evil, or cause further ripples along the probability lines which would negatively effect stuff. Even those who were completely innocent…
Xander pulled the finger away and shook his head. He slashed the chains effortlessly with a knife hand strike. Grabbed the weak Angel and unceremoniously threw him to one side and out of harms way, his other hand grabbed Drusilla and threw her the other way, to come to a sliding stop.
Xander Prime watched Drusilla skid across the floor and looked at the battered Spike he had been fighting, struggling to stand, his legs wouldn't cooperate. "You have done well, William."
"Screw you." Spike tried to spit blood onto Xander in defiance, but he just phased himself into intangibility and it splattered onto a broken pew behind him.
"Nighty night," Xander waved, Spike vanished with a flash of blue light, a recovering Drusilla followed soon after. This coincided with the double dusting of the last vamps in the church. Buffy rushed to check on Angel whilst Kendra and Giles walked over to Xander.
Giles sighed at the empty space that the two vampires had occupied with frustration, "We still can't kill them."
"There are bigger threats than them on the horizon," Xander shook his head, "and they have their part to play in them."
USS Enterprise – Hyperspace en route to Sol
Jack O'Neill sat in one of the functional yet aesthetically pleasing Mess halls on board the fantastic ship he had just gotten a tour of and had to again pinch himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming.Ouch!Yeahthathurt, so it was definitely real. His eyes ranged to the expansive floor to ceiling 'window' that showed the seemingly infinite shifting blue tunnel of Hyperspace, and his thoughts seemed to somehow just tumble to the forefront. He knew he should be doing cartwheels of joy and happiness due to the revelation of this ship and what it represented, yet he couldn't.
The setting down of a tray on his table broke him from the hypnotic view and he regarded his second in command – who looked like she was in Disneyland. "Carter."
"Sir, this ship is just…amazing there's no other word for it. I just spent the last five hours talking with one of the engineers – the power transfer system…"
"Aaaah," he halted her right there, sensing she was about to drown him in tech babble. He stared into his rather delicious cup of coffee, before glancing at the various crewmembers, all of whom were dressed in these weird personalized 'skinsuits'. Their rank indicated on shoulders and forearms.
"Sir, what's the problem?"
"My problem, Captain, is that technically Xander is just a private civilian, yet he has this ship which alone can field more firepower than the entire US strategic deterrent, and apparently more are on the way. They are being assembled in a giant space station and crewed by people who should technically still be kids on Earth."
"They were all orphans, sir."
"I know that," Jack snapped. "No matter how 'legally' he did it, the fact remains that he used his abilities to expedite their adoptions."
"Sir… he explained…"
"Oh sure, he 'explored' their future and only took those who were heading for early pointless graves... and he built his own little space army – whose accountable to no one on Earth."
"I am not the Dictator of New Sparta, Jack."
Jack winced as the familiar voice came from behind him. Xander walked into view nodding at a passing crewwoman who saluted him before heading out of the mess hall. "New Sparta is its own space borne society. It has a merito-technocratic Executive Council, on which I'm just an Advisor and one of its Generals. The general populace determines their own laws in an electronic legislature. They can call to task any of the Council, even me."
"And what if you don't like what they say or do?"
"It's their choice, Jack," Xander shrugged, "I took them from Earth and gave them all the choices they never would've had. I'd be unhappy and disappointed, but I'd abide by whatever they choose."
Jack chugged down a gulp of his coffee and sighed, "Fine. Though you know you're going to get flack from the politicians on Earth…"
Xander laughed, "Oh yes, right until they come to realization that Sparta's presence effectively secures Sol space from Goa'uld attack."
"Speaking of… you...I mean, would the Spartans mind if I use the Enterprise's weapons as inspiration for our own capital ship's armament?"
"We're all human, Captain Carter," Xander grinned. "Go ahead."
"So you think you can build all the big honkin space guns, Carter?"
"None of the weapons on the Enterprise are beyond us, Sir," she nodded. "The nuke-pumped DEW missiles were already theorized and designed in the sixties. We didn't build them due to the Outer Space Treaty. It's just a matter of now actually building them with Naquadah to enhance their yield. Particle Cannons are just militarized particle accelerators and with compact Cold Fusion power we have enough juice to give them real punch. I'm going to need a bit of help with the Plasma Beam weapons though… I mean I know they're modified Ha'tak Capital Plasma Cannons, but we're still studying them at Area 51."
"Do your best," Jack nodded, before turning to glare at Xander. "I'm still pissed at you though; you've effectively made fighter pilots obsolete."
"Fighter pilots are still needed to fly and fight with the drones escorting the cap missiles. Heck, you'll even be able to fly the missiles themselves."
"It's not the same," Jack grumbled.
"You mean you'll miss the adrenaline of strapping a flimsy assemblage of aluminum and steel with engines onto your back?"
Jack kept glaring.
"Think of how you'll be able to kick Death Glider ass."
Jack relented somewhat and had to admit that would be cool.
"Behind the safety of shields and meters thick armor."
"How secure will the fighter drones be to hacking or electronic warfare?" Carter asked at this point.
"They operate on a subspace frequency hopping principle with randomized quantum encryption. Effectively unhackable. When I work out how to make mass produced high bandwidth quantum entangled pairs, then their data links will be impossible to hack."
"Nice. So when are we getting home?"
Xander explained, "The Hyperdrive on this ship is one of the high-speed ones that Apophis inherited from Ra, like the one installed on Klorel's ship but built to higher quality standards so, and with my own twist, so another ten hours."
Jack looked at his watch, "Home in time for Simpsons, excellent."
A/N: Whew, at last. Been working off and on for ages on this chapter. I just kept on running into brick walls with it. Hope it was worth the wait.