"Sir, it appears that SG-1 hit something on reentry." the tech said.
"Are they okay?" the duty officer asked.
"Course appears unchanged, sir." the tech reported.
"And the object they hit?"
"Trajectory shows it should hit the Atlantic. 90% probability of 20 miles off shore from Virginia Beach." the tech answered.
The duty officer nodded. "Keep an eye on it. Let me know if the plotting starts moving further inland." he went off to see if any warships were in the area and would need to be put on alert.
Xander sat in his hyperbaric chamber and carefully removed the helmet and facemask. His cybernetic fingers seemed to know what to do even though this was technically his first time doing this. Once the facemask was clear, he stretched the muscles of his face and mouth marveling at the tactile feel from hands that he knew were robotic. Then he lifted the mirror and tried not to wince. It was definitely his face, not Vader's. But the scars were very close to what he'd seen so many times watching Return of the Jedi, though his skin still held a fairly healthy tan for now.
He had known it as soon as he'd gained control of his body. All this really was was confirmation. But still, it hurt. Painful memories too. Hurtful memories to a young man who had idolized the Jedi. That the Jedi had thrown Anakin out for the crime of marrying the woman he loved. That they had kidnapped Padme and attacked him. Chancellor Palpatine had intervened and saved his life. His anger then had fueled the Dark Side and he had willingly helped the new emperor execute order 66; the destruction of the Jedi order.
No, not him. Vader. He was Xander Harris and he had never done any of those things. And with an outsider's perspective, things occurred to him. The perfect timing of Palpatine's intervention, the fact that he'd had an order ready that all clone troopers knew but no Jedi did. Anakin had been tricked, Xander realized. He felt his anger growing. But he quickly squashed it. He was not a Sith. But he wouldn't be bound by the Jedi's ridiculous code either. He would be something new. They'd probably call themselves Jedi just because people associated Jedi with Goodness. And he realized that he'd automatically thought 'they' for this new order. Because he knew without a doubt that he had to pass this knowledge on.
"Well?" General Hammond started the briefing.
"We met Darth Vader." Jack grinned.
"Tell me you're joking, Colonel." Hammond insisted.
"Sort of." Carter jumped in. "We met a man dressed as Darth Vader. He had the voice and he appeared to use the Force to examine Teal'c's staff weapon. But he said some things about having the memories of Vader. When he referred to things in the movie, he talked about Vader doing them as if that was someone else."
"Teal'c?" the General looked to the Jaffa. He was the one at the table who loved Star Wars the most.
"I must re-watch the movies, General Hammond. The man on the ship made me question many of my beliefs about the Jedi and the righteousness of their mission." Teal'c said.
"There were three stormtroopers with blasters and a fourth without a helmet or a blaster. He called Vader... Sander? Said that he got his stuff by magic." O'Neill said.
Hammond looked worried. "Yes, they said something about magic over the radio. Did you question them more on that?"
"Didn't have a chance. We were kind of in a stand off at that point." Jack looked at Sam. "And I didn't want to start an argument about magic. Not when they were so willing to move to the dark side of the moon."
"Ah, yes. What did you have to promise for that concession?" George asked.
"Said 'please'." Jack smirked.
Hammond looked around the table dumbfounded. "I'm not sure to be more surprised that that was all it took or that you actually said 'please'." he smirked back. "But good job there. Now, what about technology. Is this, Sander, willing to share technology?"
"Possibly. But you won't like the terms." O'Neill stated before detailing the offer and the not so subtle threat.
"My advisors tell me your team was able to get the ship to move away before anyone of note got a look at the ship. Well done." The President praised over the red phone.
"Of note?" Hammond inquired.
"A few people got photos or something on their camera-phone but they weren't able to spread the word before it was gone. And any footage they had has already been confiscated. Useful thing, that PATRIOT act." The President replied. "So, were there aliens aboard?"
Useful but dangerous, Hammond thought. They'd given themselves enough rope to hang themselves with when they passed that bill, in his opinion. "There were beings aboard. Their explanation for being there was 'magic', and quite frankly, we have no evidence to contradict them. One minute they weren't there and the next they were. They also seemed to know too much about pop culture for them to be aliens. I'm still waiting for the two Army officers who found themselves aboard to get to Cheyenne Mountain for debriefing."
"Ah, yes. The Initiative project. A joint venture between the Army and the NID. If everything goes as planned there, we should be seeing some help from them in combating the Goa'uld in just a few years." The President said. "They're being debriefed by their superiors right now, but I'll make sure they're on the first flight to Colorado once they're done. Anyway, about the aliens or whatever they are. What about technology? Are they willing to share?"
"Possibly. I'm not sure you'll like their terms though." Hammond stated then proceeded to inform the president of 'Vader's terms.
"You mean to tell me that Darth Vader is up there and is demanding an army in exchange for his technology? Fat chance. Do the words 'I am altering the deal' ring any bells?" The President complained. "What's to keep him from turning around and blowing us out of the water? No, we'll just have to take the ship by force. You said there's only five of them, right? Well, just land a boarding party and take them out."
"As for blowing us out of the water, even with his small crew, my experts tell me it would take less than a day for him to wipe out 90% of the human race if he chose to, right now, even with a limited crew. And even our most powerful nukes would be unlikely to even reach his ship. And as far as boarding goes, I'm afraid that's no longer possible, sir. They complied with our request to move behind the moon and are now out of range of the space shuttle. I'm not fully briefed on NASA's capabilities, but I would hazard a guess of a year or two before we could launch anything at the moon. And even then, they would see us coming a long ways off." Hammond cautioned.
"Well, then your team should have taken them out when they heard those demands." the President stated. "They wasted our best shot."
"With all due respect, sir. But I doubt they could have taken the ship. The man up there is NOT Darth Vader, but he does seem to possess all his powers. And this is the best offer we've received to lay our hands on advanced technology." Hammond argued.
"Please, hear me out, sir." Hammond cut off the President. Not the smartest move, but it would involve hopefully less arguing. "I've had some of the smartest minds on the planet analyzing the offer and Vader's motivations and they've concluded that he really is from Earth and wants to protect us. But he's just not going to give up his ship without something in return. And technology for manpower is a very common trade between lower and higher technology societies since Roman times, sir. We've done it ourselves many, many times. It's unpalatable to us now because we've been the higher technology society for so long." Pride goeth before the fall, Hammond thought, There weren't any people willing to give out advanced tech in exchange for what politicians would find palatable but the President really didn't grasp that concept. "It is the recommendation of the SGC that we accept the offer with the stipulation that we get at least a few examples of the technology before he leaves."
"How are we going to cover up 400,000 soldiers absence for three years?" The President asked.
"Well, sir. He doesn't need 400,000 soldiers. In fact, he probably needs less than 100,000 soldiers. That could be covered by the war on terror. The rest would be support personnel that would keep a ship of that size going, and he specifically mentioned miners to mine our asteroid belt for material to fuel the ship." Hammond told him. The President was a smart man, but prone to more knee-jerk reactions than the average politician. If you could get him thinking about things though, he could put his brain to work and he could make very good decisions. And as long as it looked like he was considering this, Hammond would leave out the part about going to the Russians or the Chinese. That would only upset him right now.
The probe droid Xander had sent into the Atlantic surfaced. Out of the water, it's cross-section was difficult to detect even in the Star Wars universe, much less by Earth tech. It had all the stealthiness of a submarine periscope with 1/100th of the size.
The droid made its way from Virginia Beach up the Chesapeake Bay and came to a stop south of Washington DC. It analyzed its surroundings then picked out the building it was after. The White House. The probe droid was designed to pick up every type of signal possible. The simple tech of Earth was no match for it. It now picked up those signals and fed them back to the ship it came from.
Back on the Executor, Xander looked over the bits of data the droid was sending. Isolating one conversation he plugged the data into a speaker to hear what was being said.
"Well, then your team should have taken them out when they heard those demands." Xander wasn't very active in politics, but he was pretty sure that was the President's voice. "They wasted our best shot."
"With all due respect, sir. But I doubt they could have taken the ship." Xander recognized the soft Texas drawl of Hammond. "The man up there is NOT Darth Vader, but he does seem to possess all his powers. And this is the best offer we've received to lay our hands on advanced technology." As Hammond began his spiel about why it was a good deal for Earth, Xander focused on the spot the droid was picking this conversation up from and found the Force signs of a man pacing a room. Xander focused on him and used Force persuasion on him to make him more open to the arguments he was currently hearing. Xander kept listening until the President had agreed to the general terms of the deal.
Xander gave only a half second wondering if what he had done could be considered Dark. But considering what Vader probably would have done to the man, this wasn't Dark at all. Besides, it would be the best for everyone this way.
Tucker's brother, Andrew, had gone from minor annoyance to major annoyance once Xander praised him for his part in ending the stand off. He was temped to send him back to Earth permanently. But then the little geek and Tucker managed to hack a communications satellite. Which was how they were all now calling their families back on Earth; Xander from the comfort of his hyperbaric chamber. It would allow him to use his real voice and not sound like Darth Vader. Now came the hard part. Calling Willow.
"Xander! Where have you been? I called your house and your parents said you never came back and you dressed as Darth Vader and he or you cause you were the same person saved me and where are you are you okay?" Willow finally ran out of breath.
"Breathe, Willow. I'm okay. Okay? How are things in Sunnydale?" Xander redirected her. Even without the respirator, his voice was a little rough.
"Everyone's fine. We had a real scare with Spike but- Hey! You're not in Sunnydale?" Willow realized.
"No. I can't come back to Sunnydale. The spell changed me. Permanently. I can't survive without my suit or the hyperbaric chamber I'm calling from right now." Xander danced around an explanation.
"You're Darth Vader? As in really, really?" Willow squeaked.
"Physically, at least. That's the downside. The upside is I got to keep the Force powers and a honking big spaceship." Xander said, trying to sound happy and almost succeeding.
"You're never coming back to Sunnydale." Willow breathed. She couldn't believe it. She'd never see Xander again.
"No. But if you want, you can come with me." Xander offered.
"What? But what about school? And your p- Or my p- Well... What about Buffy?" Willow finally asked.
"Willow, I know about the filled out GED packet you've had in your desk since 6th grade. And as much as I'd love to have Buffy come with, she has that whole 'sacred duty' thing on Earth. Along with months of nothing to fight. A Slayer on a spaceship with nothing to fight doesn't sound like fun to me." Xander answered. "And now, to sweeten the pot, I just got done talking to the Air Force and it turns out that there are honest to goodness aliens out there. And they keep humans as slaves. So, as soon as we get a crew, we're going to go fight them and free the slaves."
"I'm in!" Willow said instantly. Then added, "Can you give me some time to say goodbye to Buffy? She's going to be heartbroken to lose us both like this."
"Take as much time as you need. It's going to be a while before we can leave." Xander assured her. "We don't really have a phone number you can call back up here, so I'll just call back tomorrow night."
"Okay, I'll talk to you then." Willow hung up.
Xander disconnected and dialed another number. He was in for another very similar conversation with Buffy. Minus the inviting her along part. The would be painful, though hopefully less so than it would have been in person.
"Andrew, what did we say about you and blasters?" Xander asked.
"This isn't a blaster, just a blaster pistol." Andrew defended, waving the weapon around. "It's not like I'm-" the blaster went off.
Xander watched the energy bolt sail past Tucker's head then he Force grabbed the pistol from Andrew.
"I''m sorry!" Andrew cried.
"This is a recipe for unpleasantness." Xander held up the pistol to Tucker. "Does he understand that?"
"I understand." Andrew insisted but was ignored.
"He understands... just sometimes he doesn't comprehend." Tucker tried to explain.
"Well, I'm glad we've made that distinction." Xander turned to Andrew. "No touching guns. Okay?" he laced the command with as much Force power as he dared.
Andrew nodded, near tears. "No touching." before running out of the room.
"I can't have a loose cannon like that on my ship. You keep him under control, or I'll put him back on Earth." Xander warned.
"There's no one there for him." Tucker said. "I've been raising him for the past year, since our parents disappeared."
"I can't run this ship on sympathy. Keep him under control or he's gone. Maybe someplace other than the Hellmouth, but gone." Xander said.
A/N: Huge shout out to Firefly there.