TITLE: To Go Here No Xander Has Gone Before
AUTHOR: Siege (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere just let me know 'K
DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS related belong to Joss Wheadon and M.E. Star trek and all that belong to someone else, not me.
SUMMARY: Sequel to, To Infinity and To Hell, Things hot up in The Universe
DEDICATION: To Vincent, my son. May Gene Roddenberry’s vision come true so that you may see humanity, as it could be.
FEEDBACK: Please Do, and if you check My Website you will find "The Wall". I am trying to put everyone who gives me Feedback
on "The Wall" to show that I read it and Thank you :-)
KEYWORDS: BtVS, Star Trek TNG, Voyager, DS9
BETA READ: Merlin The Enchanter.
AUTHORS NOTES: Well, Millie did it again and here it is. If you haven't read the first story I don't blame you. But you should if you want to read this one. Available from my website. This story is part of a series of stories that I'll be releasing from now on. My muse seems to like this a lot. I will freely admit to some mistakes with dates etc in this story, there are also points of cannon that I was unable to research whilst writing this. Please forgive these mistakes, but please do let me know what they are so I can correct in later stories.
For A Cast List View End Of Story
Chapter 01, Inauguration
Just Outside San Francisco February 2377 Xander ducked under the flying body of Jacinta as she flew through the air with the greatest of ease. Especially since the Tograth demon had propelled her so thoughtfully. He winced as she landed against the outbuilding of the facility they had come to.
They had heard of a number of strange disappearances in the neighbourhood and, after some investigations, had found that a family of Tograth demons had set up shop there. It was a disused water reclamation facility that dated right back to before replicators were invented. It was only there as a monument to mans cleverness. Or perhaps it was to their arrogance.
Xander hefted the katana he had lovingly replicated the day before checking the weight was correct once again. He had modelled it on one he had seen in a movie, Blade. He had changed titanium for a duo alloy that had been discovered recently. It was stronger and lighter than even the material that hulls on star ships were made of.
The Tograth lumbered towards him. Xander knew that he wasn’t in a hurry to get thrown around like Jacinta just had. Her training had gone well and Seven had been a boon. Her knowledge of various fighting styles from a wide variety of alien races had been invaluable for the Slayer. Seven's Borg enhanced body was almost as strong as the slayer and not to mention that she was fast as well.
Maria’s memories from Giles had also finally settled down, which had helped them in the month since they had lost Carmel, to advance in leaps and bounds. Both Carmel and Marshall were being illusive though, and so far; Xander had been unable to track either of them down. All he had found were the trail of bodies they left behind them.
Xander glanced over his shoulder and saw that Seven was helping Jacinta to her feet. He then looked back to find the Tograth almost upon him. It was seriously ugly. Big, almost eight feet tall, heavy at almost a ton, yet it was still able to move like lightning over short distances. The only way to kill the damn thing was to remove its head. Which was, if he was able to get close enough, exactly what Xander had in mind. Seven, Maria and Jacinta had all notched one up on their belts. It was up to Xander to even the scoreboard at bit. So far he was down on points but he was determined to make up for it with style.
The demon lunged at him and Xander stepped under its flailing arm sliding the wickedly sharp katana along the beasts flank as he did. It span to face him and its red eyes blazed full of hate. A roar formed and blasted out from its elongated snout. Smirking at it and using his greater agility Xander darted in and nicked off one of its three horns.
“Not so horny now are ya,” Xander quipped, badly.
The Tograth dived forward and sent Xander spinning, with a wickedly powerful swipe from its branch like arm. Xander stopped his fatal fall just inches from the edge of the large drop they were beside.
“Hey Dog Breath watch it will ya” he said and ran full tilt at the demon.
His breathing reverberating in his ears Xander watched as the demon tensed and moved as fast as it was able. With a defiant roar that sent nauseating spittle spraying; it dove forward to grab the human and shred him with its claws.
As it moved forward Xander, with all his strength, leapt upwards. The Tograth already committed to its movement was far too late stop itself, and moved under Xander already screaming out in rage. Xander whilst in mid air twisted round, spinning his body on the horizontal axis. He was so close that he could smell the dank and rotting smell of the Tograth. Xander whipped the replicated metal death round with a flash. The sting of the metal cut clean through the demons head. Particles of flesh and bone dotted Xander's still airborne form. The Katana was so sharp and the movement so quick the demon took three steps before its head finally wobbled and fell off.
Xander still in mid air was now still spinning round and unable to control his fall. He hit the ground with a grunt and the fine gravel path sprayed up around him. His momentum was so great that he slid forward a good three feet before coming to a stop.
He looked up his face a bleeding mass of grazes from the pathway he spotted a boot that scraped the gravel as it twisted slightly. Xander followed the boot to an ankle and upwards to find the jumpsuit-clad leg of Seven was attached to it. He allowed his eyes to glide up her finely toned leg and eventually came to rest on her downcast eyes. “That was SO not part of the plan!” he commented before cracking a wide grin at her.
Seven cocked her eyebrow at him and held out a hand towards him. There was a sparkle in her eye as she did so. She had also come on leaps and bounds.
Despite the efforts of the Voyager crew she had still been distant and otherworldly when she had arrived on Earth. It had become worse when Chakotay had, as she saw it, abandoned her. He had taken another post almost as soon as his commission had been reinstated. A month in the company of Xander, however, had brought her out of her shell tremendously. Her friends on Voyager had been hampered by the fact that they were rather controlled themselves. Even Tom Paris was now a model officer. Xander on the other hand was cut from an older mould. He was both reckless and daring. He was funny and sweet as well as amazingly intelligent when he wanted to be. He had basically infected her with the Xander Harris virus. All that stood before it got mad humour and hopefully became just a little more relaxed about their own importance.
It hadn’t always been that way for him but he had grown into a confidant and sometimes truly charming man, practically since arriving on the Enterprise. He had grown up very quickly and the base laid down by his youth filled out into a man.
So it was that Seven was now exhibiting the first signs of the Xander virus. Sarcasm, and as it turned out she was very good at it as well.
“I think you have something on your face” she commented as she pulled him to his feet. There was that deep sparkle again and Xander knew he was having his leg pulled. He had learned to read Seven very well over the last month. He reached up to his face and it came away covered in blood and gravel.
“Ya think” he said flashing his trademark lopsided grin.
The girl ran through the streets of Kronos, the main city of Kronos II. This was not how she was supposed to be acting she knew. She was 13 summers and running scared. She should turn and fight like a good Klingon warrior would.
The trouble was that she was scared to her very core and she trembled with the power of it. She knew she should not have gone out at night. Her mother would be very angry with her if she found out. But the other kids had dared her to touch the statue in the main square at midnight. Well she had done it.
It was on her way home she ran into trouble.
“Come here little girl, I only want to help you” the beast with a mans face called out to her softly.
She had seen it, seen it with its real face and it had scared her so much as to cry out in fear. It was something from her worst nightmares. She climbed silently up the tree into which she had just run. She knew that near the top was a platform from which she would be able to keep watch until morning. She just hoped man beasts were not able to climb as she could.
She felt rather than heard as the toed boot of a warrior snapped a twig. That was the worst thing of all. The face of the beast was that of her father’s friend M’Tah.
“Come Ser’na come to me. I will not hurt you” the beast-man called again.
She shook her head in silent refusal but continued to climb. She was almost to the branch that would allow her access to the platforms ladder. But she was too late. Immensely powerful hands grabbed her from behind and she was torn from her tree.
She looked up into a face from a nightmare with golden yellow eyes. “You should have listened little cub. But now I will eat you” it said. She felt its fetid breath come closer and closed her eyes in fear. She felt its fangs pierce her neck and drain her life’s essence from her. She was then dropped down to the ground with a thump that hurt her behind and she stifled another scream.
She looked up into a pair of blue eyes through a cloud of dust.
Xander limped into his home with the support of Seven. It turned out that he had broken his damn ankle as well. Not his best performance but true to form.
‘Not all bad though’ he thought to himself looking down at the blonde haired beauty helping him limp through his flat to his bedroom.
She dumped him unceremoniously down and he bounced twice before coming to a rest. “Thanks” he said dryly.
Seven almost flashed him a grin but then remembered herself. Xander was disappointed he had been working on the ex-Borg for a long time. He was steadily breaking through the layers of ice and reaching what he knew was going to be warm and funny woman underneath. To cover her moment of weakness Seven walked to his dresser where she knew he kept a regenerator.
Taking the device in one hand she gently raised his trouser leg and ran the machine up and down across the skin.
“Hey, it was my turn” Jacinta said with a grin as she virtually bounced into the room. Xander knew slayers though and he knew exactly what she would be feeling after a fight like that. He was glad that Seven was there otherwise he may have been relief for yet another slayer.
“Sorry, no fixing Xander for you. And Oh god I have to rephrase that” Xander replied, wincing slightly at his own words.
This time there was very definitely a smirk on Seven’s face, “There” she said, “One Fixed Xander”
Grimacing at her gamely Xander got to his feet and tested his leg. “Amazing” he commented, “Thank you nurse,” he said tossing her a sexy smirk.
Seven rolled her eyes but couldn’t hide the glimmer in them. Jacinta rushed over and bounced around in front of him. This was screwing with his mental processes somewhat as she was perfectly proportioned.
“Can we go clubbing now?” she said then smirked, “please daddy” she drawled in a sexy voice.
“Fine” Xander gave in quickly. The Diablo had re-opened under new management two weeks ago and they had taken to using it as their Bronze. Several vampires had been staked after being caught hunting there. “Go, have fun”
“Yay” Jacinta said and walked out of the room with a bounce in her step. It struck Xander sometimes that she didn’t act the twenty that he knew she was. But then he had to grow up faster than she had. Up until that year she had been able to live a normal life whereas he had been fighting since he was 15.
Running a dermal regenerator over his face Seven noticed as his eyes became dark. It was a rare state for them to be in but she had seen it before. It happened sometimes when he was talking of things that had happened in the past. Bad things, Buffy dying, loosing Jessie and a host of horrors that he had haltingly told them about. Maria already knew them but it was still bone shaking to watch the normally fun loving Xander become quiet and dangerous.
Seven had never thought of him as being able to appear dangerous, she knew he was a good fighter and capable at that. She had personally trained him to within an inch of his life. He had taken to it like a fish to water. His entire bearing was not that of a dangerous man. But when he became dark, as his eyes now were, he became very dangerous.
“What is it?” she asked gently.
The cloud over his eyes disappeared as if they had never been there, “Oh, sorry nothing really”
“Xander” she gently admonished, “You have told me it is better to open up sometimes than bottle it up” her voice tripping over the use of slang.
Xander smiled warmly at her, “Yes, but that is a classic case of ‘Do as I say not as I do’”
Marshall let out a long sigh. She was doing it again. There were times when he really wished that he had never turned her. Especially when she did, that!
Carmel was rocking back and forth gently rhyming to herself, “Carmel and Xander sitting in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G.” over and over and over again. Occasionally letting out a small giggle and blushing.
Eventually she would stop. When she wasn’t being either insane or annoying or both, Carmel was a great vampire. She was even more bloodthirsty than he and loved nothing more than feeding.
He had watched her rip though entire families before he had time to grow fangs. She was devastating. She liked to play with her food as well, and he loved to watch her do those.
But she was totally, utterly and completely insane for the other 60% of the time. She was also loopy for that Xander. The one who had come to collect her a month ago and once again slipped through Marshall's fingers.
He had also cost him many of his family as well. Him and his slayer; it was of course inevitable that there was a slayer. For as long as blah, blah, But he just wished there wasn’t also a Xander.
“Fuck Xander Harris. Will you still love him when I wear his skull as a hat” Marshall screamed at her. He blazed over to her still rocking form and grabbed her long hair, “WELL!” He pushed her away knocking her to the floor.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP” he roared at her.
‘I’m going to fucking rip your head off Harris’ he once again promised to himself.
Carmel quietly resumed her rocking with a smile on her insane lips.
“I think I have it” Maria said looking up from her large tome.
“Yeah, well if it’s catching I don’t want it” Xander said eliciting a snort from the slayer.
“Yes, very droll Mr Harris. No I believe I have figured out where the watchers hoard may be”
“You just love calling it that, hey” Xander said looking at the blonde haired watcher.
Maria blushed prettily, “I was a fan of treasure island in my childhood. Besides this is somewhat like a treasure hunt. In his memories Giles has left many clues for me to follow and I am just now starting to unlock them”
“Knowing G-Man, he was being careful and making sure that the resources he has placed in the ‘Pocket dimension’ would be only found by a true watcher. Or something”
“Yes I think you may be right”
Benjamin Sisko was looking into eyes of pure yellow hatred. Ferocious and hungry the gaze of a stranger caused a primal part of the highly evolved man to feel fear.
He had ventured down to Bajor to meet with some officials and help them with a matter of diplomacy. Now he wished he had not been so helpful. He also wished that he had not refused the security team.
“Well thank the prophets. If it isn’t the Emissary,” the beast said.
“Can we talk” Sisko said and simultaneously let rip with a powerful left hook. The demon just shock it off and smiled, fangs dripping with saliva. “What in the hells are you?”
“You worst nightmare” it said and pushed Sisko against the wall. He was a big man and took a pride in looking after himself. The thing in front of him was half his size and Bajoran’s and humans were not that different in strength ratios. There was no way that a Bajoran male of his size could be holding him against a wall with his feet hanging down.
Ben was totally focused on the being holding him effortlessly and thus didn’t see a slender girl crept up behind the monster. The first Sisko knew of her was when the man holding him disintegrated into dust. He looked at her and smiled his thanks. It was lucky she had a phaser. Then he looked into her hand and found anything but a phaser.
His expressive face twisted into a grimace of confusion, “Wood?”
Even once again standing in a group of blonde haired and gorgeous woman Xander couldn’t help but feel a twinge of anger and pain as he walked into The Diablo. It wasn’t that he had loved Carmel or anything remotely like it. They had certainly had a good time in the shower but other than that he had only known her a few scant hours. It was the sense of failure at not being able to help her.
That night when The Diablo had been overrun with vampires; they had been too untrained and untried to save the others in the club. Xander felt that he had failed Carmel though. That he should have realised that Marshall would come for her. He wasn’t to know that Marshall had humans working for him, but all the same he blamed himself.
He was also frustrated at not being able to get hold of the bastard that had killed her. It was as if they knew they were coming. As soon as they did get word of Marshall's location they arrived to find that he had moved on. It was bloody annoying to say the least.
The club itself had under gone a slight change and was now a little more open and a little lighter. In a natural reflex action there was now better security. Apparently there was a new drug that caused a gang to attack. It was no worse an excuse than the tried and tested “Gang Members on PCP” Xander said to himself out loud.
Maria turned to him and smirked, her Giles memories telling her what he was talking about. Jacinta and Seven of course were totally in the dark.
“What?” Jacinta asked.
Xander smiled at her, “You will find quickly that people don’t like to think that vampires and demons exists. Back in the ‘Dale that phrase was used unilaterally to sign away any demon high jinks” Xander filled in.
‘Unilaterally’ Xander thought smugly, ‘That word calendar is finally paying off’.
Seven communicated using the special eyebrow cocking method of speech. Xander had learnt that she had specific eyebrow lifts for all occasions. This one meant, ‘intriguing’. He had learnt that she had spent a large potion of her time with a Vulcan. This was part of their body language apparently, not that he had ever met a Vulcan.
Smiling at his friends Xander took Seven and Maria by the arm and Jacinta attached to Maria. She and Maria had become friends and the two got on well together.
Seven didn’t stiffen, much to Xander’s surprise, in fact she seemed to almost relax at his touch. It was a definite improvement from her usual stiff backed response to his tactilely. He couldn’t help it, had been a tactile man and had been since his friendships with Willow and Buffy. Touching, in a non-sexual way had become an important part of their friendship. It was all done in a very subtle way of course; a held hand or an arm round a shoulder, but it was there.
Carmel stalked through the club as if she owned it, which via Marshall she did in a way. Marshall had been unwilling to give the club up after they had been forced to leave and had kept it on. He had got a manager in who would turn a blind eye to the occasional missing person. Even in this day and age people still disappeared.
She sized up the various meals on offer to her. She was finding it difficult to think again. Her turning had not gone to plan, she had fought tooth and nail against the demonic intruder and eventually, even though it had won, both host and invader had been damaged.
Now she had to suffer the torment of loosing her mind. Her demon was of the more vicious of its kind but even it had been damaged beyond healing with the human’s heroic fight.
So as she wandered around The Diablo Carmel was softly muttering to herself, over and over again. It was the last conscious thought she’d had before finally being beaten by her demon. It had been of Xander and how he would save her. The demon had twisted this into a desire and longing that would give a Shakespearean tragedy a run for its money. So she whispered, “Oh Xander, Xander where are you” to herself over and over her high heeled shoes clicking on the hard floor in time to her litany.
She was a successful vampire; beautiful in the extreme she had no trouble in picking up male, or female, meals. All eyes followed her; her gauzy dress that clung to her curves but flowed out behind her cut quite a dash as the saying goes.
Then her sharp vampiric hearing caught a familiar voice out of the hundreds around her. She turned straight to the source of the sound and a smile graced up her face and lit up the surrounding area.
On sentence slipped from her succulent red lips, almost in a prayer of reverence, “Xander, There you are”
Marshall Boyd, Crime lord, Master Vampire and all round bad boy was seriously mad. He prodded his lieutenant in the chest with a single digit.
“Where is she Vinny?”
Vinny cast his eyes down in shame, but not fear. Vinny was not afraid of anything, “I don’t know boss” he said.
“You Don’t Know!” Marshall said punctuating every word with another prod. “I don’t pay you to say that to me Vinny”
“I know boss, I’ll find her. I promise” Vinny said, once again looking up and holding his boss’s eye. It was one of the things that Marshall liked about him, the total and utter lack of fear. He wasn’t stupid either, as one might think; Vinny was both cunning and tactically minded.
Looking Vinny in the eye the whole time Marshall walked round his desk and finally sat in his chair. He propped his feet up on the desk and continued to silently stare at him. “See that you do” He said eventually.
Despite his geek status at school Xander was a good looking man, handsome even. The trouble was that he personally didn’t realise that and still thought of himself as a dweeb, a geek not an attractive and charismatic man. This is why he could never understand why women asked him to dance on a regular basis at The Diablo.
He knew that he was more than likely the only one here who had danced to this sort of music the first time round, but still he didn’t get it. So when an attractive and slightly older woman asked him to dance he just looked at her in shock.
Luckily his body saved him by getting up and dragging its brain to the dance floor with the woman.
Unseen by him or his dance partner someone was watching with undisguised envy on their faces. Before them the crowd parted almost magically to allow them access to Xander and his dancing date.
Xander was smiling at his date and facing away when finally they reached the dancing pair. He felt a tap on his shoulder and an exotic voice cut over the din of the music.
“May I Cut In”
Chapter 02, Little Green Men
Earth Xander turned around with a smile on his face, thinking that perhaps Jacinta had decided to have some fun with him. What he saw was not Jacinta. Carmel was looking at him with a focused expression but was nonetheless swaying slightly to her own tune.
He froze, not knowing what to do. On the one hand he could whip out a stake and kill her now, although that idea gave him pangs. On the other he could try to get her to go outside with him. Although it was, frankly, highly unlikely that she would.
“Want to dance” Carmel said in a husky voice laced with her exotic accent. The effect on his anatomy was startling but he ignored the lower functions of his brain.
“Yes” Xander’s mouth said without his minds consent.
“Good, shall we” Carmel indicated he should actually start to dance with her. For a fleeting second he had thought she meant fight.
He took her into his arms the faint fragrance of her perfume tickled his nostrils for a moment and the feel of her body pressed against his was instantly intoxicating. They moved together to the fast beat for a second when the music suddenly changed. Still in keeping with the eclectic precedent set by the prior clubs owner they shifted into an upbeat Latin dance tune.
‘Oh Boy’ Xander thought to himself and adjusted his moves to match the music. Mars
When Xander had lived the early part of his life plans for its Terra Forming had already been laid out. But in the 24th Century it was a fact. Christopher’s landing was one of the first colony’s to be built and still stood proud and erect. It and the whole of Mars are a law abiding and peace-loving example of a human colony.
It was the place that Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres had decided to call home for a few years. Paris had been snapped up as a test pilot for the Utopia Planetia as was fitting for a pilot of his calibre and B’Elanna had also found work at the gargantuan ship building yards. It was a short shuttle hop from Mars to the yards and they would be able to give their baby a decent start to her young life. Tom wanted her to have something that he didn’t at the start, a father. Admiral Paris had missed his son greatly as was secretly grateful that he would be so close to Terra. He was already enjoying being a grandfather to the little bundle of Klingon rage and Paris impetuousness. Tom and B’Elanna loved her like nothing else.
So as you can imagine their horror, on their customary evening stroll through the gardens of Mars, when they were faced with a vision of nightmarish purport.
“Hello” the nightmare said with a demonic smile. “What do I have here?”
The two Starfleet professionals were not easily scared, but even they felt a stab of fear at the vision in front of them.
“What can I do for you friend” Paris said, he was used to thinking on his feet in a way most Starfleet officers never understood. He would make a tremendous captain in a few years.
B’Elanna shifted her stance slightly to protect the baby with her own body. Her eyes never left the threat and her warrior spirit and protective mother instinct vied for attention. One wanted to rip the threat apart, the other to keep her child safe.
The slender man looked at the beseechingly but his forehead was still furrowed into a demonic countenance, “I’m hungry,” he said. He was very hungry having risen only that night and he had yet to slake the terrible thirst.
“There is a replicators available in the arrival lounge, I’ll show you if you life” Paris said, trying to keep his wife and child safe, no matter what the consequence to himself.
B’Elanna looked at his sharply knowing what he was trying to do. It was obvious that this creature was dangerous and she had a horrible feeling she knew what it wanted to eat.
The demon thought for a moment before shaking its head, “No. I’ll eat now” it said and charged Tom. B’Elanna screamed out, mostly in anger and frustration.
A feminine voice came from the shadows distracted all contestants in this little game of death, “Hey. Can I cut in?” Earth
Xander was dancing well his body moving without any sort of intervention from his mind. It was a little busy at that point trying to figure out what to do.
Carmel smiled up at him and he saw it. That tiny flicker of insanity that Drusilla had been in possession of so well. It burned at his heart to see that in what had been a deliciously wicked woman, wicked in the good way that was. What he saw now was the capacity for the other kind, the bad kind. That was the kind that killed people and laughed while doing it.
He pushed he away gently, not wanting to hurt despite it all. But he knew what he had to do. He flicked his hand behind his back and slipped out the stake he kept there.
“We should take this outside” Xander said his voice emotionless.
Carmel mistaking his reasons completely smiled widely and positively skipped out to the exit.
Xander stepped forward and found he was somewhere else completely but his confusion evaporated when he heard a scream. It was the scream of someone who knew they were about to die. Adrenaline flowed through Xander body in the space of a nanosecond and he ran towards the heart rendering sound. Mars
B’Elanna watched helplessly as her love was thrown into a tree and slid down, unconscious. She felt helpless to help the young woman who was even now being cruelly taunted and tortured by the creature that had attacked them. She had fought well the woman who had stepped in to save them. But it was to no avail, and now Tom was out for the count, she B’Elanna had her baby and the creature had their saviour.
B’Elanna desperately looked for a way to help her and to protect her baby at the same time. This was frustrating her no end, she could not allow such a honourable deed to go unanswered but neither could she risk her child. Her communicator wasn’t working, she didn’t know why. She let out another animalistic growl of frustrated rage.
Then out of nowhere a dark haired man careered into the demon just as it was about to sink its fangs into the young woman. B’Elanna let out a small sigh of relief.
Xander tussled with the vampire for a few moments before it finally ended up on top. Not a position that Xander liked to have a vampire in.
’Unless its Darla’ he thought wryly.
Bringing his legs up under the vamp Xander kicked out with all of his might. The Vampire flew away from him and allowed Xander to get to his feet.
The demon growled at him whilst Xander returned the growl with a smirk. “Hey Fang face. Fancy meeting you here.”
‘Where ever here is?’ he questioned to himself.
The demon looked at him with hate filled eyes and was growling gently. It didn’t like the smell of this intruder; he smelt no fear, none at all from the man. In the short time that he had been a vampire, he was used to eliciting fear.
Xander, still gripping his stake, stalked towards the vampire. With his homicidal intentions only to clear on his face Xander moved in for the kill. The demon was now worried. This was not going to the normal parameters at all.
Xander darted forward and feinted to his right. The vamp took the bait and moved to intercept. Xander then slammed the stake into the undead creatures till heart. Knowing his job was done Xander turned towards the woman he had seen holding a baby.
“Hi” he said as the dust statue behind him crumbled into nothingness. Earth Seven looked round the club. With a frown she turned to Maria and Jacinta
Maria looked around as did Jacinta but spotted nothing. Then a commotion from the doorway drew their attention.
“WHERE IS HE, WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY XANDER” a both distraught and disturbingly unhinged scream called out.
Carmel grabbed the nearest human and threw him away sending him flying above the crowd and landing on the dance floor.
Jacinta moved to intercept as did Seven. They both knew that voice; it sometimes plagued their own dreams.
Carmel noticed when the blonde slayer moved in front of her and stopped her frantic searching. “Hello little one” she said pleasantly her demonic visage shifting to the human mask she usually wore.
“Carmel” Jacinta said. She was in full slayer mode; the cold heartedness of a battle state did little to cover the distress she felt at having to face the one that got away.
Carmel smiled widely then turned on her heels and ran for all she was worth. Jacinta looked at her retreating back in confusion and turned to find Seven had cocked her eyebrow.
Then they too took to their heels and chased out of the club in pursuit. Mars
The first thing she saw when she opened her eyes were an attractive pair of chocolate brown eyes looking down at her in concern, then as her field of vision spread she was able to see an equally attractive face that was set in an expression of worry.
“Hi there, how do you feel?” the face asked in a soft and deep timbre.
“Hmmm,” she said.
Xander laughed, “That bad, here” he said helping her to sit up. Apart from the bruises she had an almost angelic face with deep brown eyes framed with long lustrous hair.
Xander propped her up against the nook of his knee to allow her to sit up without having to support herself. He himself was hunched somewhat but he had scanned around and found that no other vampires were nearby.
The Klingon woman was attending to her husband with the baby on the other side of the small clearing they were in.
“What's your name?” Xander asked softly tucking a strand of hair away from the young woman’s face. He couldn’t put his finger on it but she reminded him of someone, there was something about her that he found familiar.
“Cove, Zandra Cove” Zandra said with a small smile. She was feeling decidedly comfortable leaning against this strange man and her smile was of a soft nature.
Xander flashed her a trademark Harris smile, lopsided and all, “Harris, Xander Harris” he said in his best Connery. It was wasted on the 24th century woman but then he knew it would be. He just couldn’t help himself sometimes.
Zandra smiled a little wider as she got the sense that he was trying to make her feel better. Even if she really didn’t get the joke the sentiment was clear.
“Excuse me” came a soft voice off to one side. Xander looked up into the attractive face of B’Elanna Torres. Her husband was standing off to one side softly rocking his child for whom he had just risked his life.
“Hi” Xander said with a smile.
“We, urm, just wanted to thank you both. Without you this would have ended differently”
“It’s what I do. I can’t speak for Zandra here though”
“Sorry, we assumed you knew each other” B’Elanna said whilst waving a hand at the pose they were in.
Zandra looked round herself, now that she came to think of it, this was a rather intimate position to be in with a complete stranger. She pushed her self up straighter and struggled to her feet with a flush of embarrassment.
“No, no we don’t” she said her face turning a very attractive shade of red. Xander smoothly got his feet with a smile. “Will you guys excuse me for just a moment. I, urm, just have to do something” he said and walked away.
“You, know I think I know that guy. I just can’t quite place him” Tom said his tone of voice reflective as he wracked his memory.
“I know what you mean,” his wife agreed. Then she looked back at the pale looking Zandra, “You OK” she said moving to grab her just as she feinted dead away.
Xander walked around a bend in the road and making sure his wouldn’t be overheard he looked around, “OK Q I know you’re there” he said in an exasperated voice.
“Well, well is that any way to thank me” came the arrogant tone of the super being.
“I knew it” Xander said with a small frown forming, “Where the hell am I Q”
“Calm down, you’re only on Mars” Q said with a supercilious smile.
“Mars!” Xander said in shock, ‘whoa’ he though to himself.
“Yes, it took you all long enough but eventually you dragged your primitive carcasses out this far and spread yourselves over it” Q said with a slight smirk. He knew from experience that humans hated to be called primitive.
Xander however wasn’t Picard. So he just shrugged it away annoying the god to no end, “OK, but Why?”
“That Zandra, pretty thing for a human. Not as attractive as Katie of course”
“Yes, she was in the delta quadrant, perhaps you have heard of her” Q said with a smirk.
“Oh, you mean Kathryn” Xander said with a small grin, “She’s not really in my age bracket” he said diplomatically, “So this is about Zandra, what about her?”
“Oh, but that would be too easy” Q said in malicious delight, “You’ll get it. Eventually”
“Q, just take me home. My friends will be worried”
Q smiled enigmatically and disappeared.
“Q, how am I supposed to get home, I have no Papers…” Xander trailed off, “Bastard” he shouted after the being.
“Yes, he is” Paris said stepping from his hiding place and fixing Xander with a look.
“Urm, Hi, you know that annoying ass?” Xander asked
“Yes, I do but more to the point you do, I have to wonder how and why?”
“How long have you been standing there?” Xander asked, hoping that he wouldn’t have to explain this all to the man.
“Not long, long enough to see you with Q. Who is still considered to be the Federations most dangerous enemy!”
“Ah Shit” Xander swore softly to himself, “Seven is going to be pissed” he had arranged to teach her to dance to his age’s music that night. He had a feeling he was going to miss the lesson.
Toms perked up, “Seven, you know Seven of Nine”
“Come with me” he said then clicked his fingers, “The party, when we got back you were there” he said his eyes lighting up with his revelation.
“You were on Voyager? What's the name?”
“Yeah, I know of you. Good Pilot. Seven said you were and I quote, ‘A satisfactory Pilot’ which in her language means bloody good,” Xander said with a smile. Perhaps with a common friend they could traverse this loaded mine field.
“You know Seven all right” Tom said, more to Tom himself than to Xander, “Come on, I need to check on B’Elanna”
They walked back round the corner to find the aforementioned woman talking animatedly on her communicator.
“I thought they were down” Tom said
“We have found that those creatures give off an energy oscillation that affects your communicators” Xander informed him.
“We?” Tom asked curiously.
Xander just smiled at him, he didn’t want to go through too many details just yet.
“Where is she damn it” Jacinta said her eyes flashing in annoyance.
Seven just looked at the younger woman with a slight smile. Hanging with Xander was just rubbing off on her; she was even up for a game of ‘Tease the Slayer’. Feeling that perhaps it wouldn’t be a good idea just at that precise moment Seven stayed quiet.
A clanging from up ahead attracted their attention and they set off once again.
Carmel wasn’t having a good time; first she had found her Xander only to have him disappear on her, and now this. She was trapped in an alleyway with a slayer and a Borg after her. Plus she had ripped her favourite dress. She was really tired of that night.
Cursing several gods she desperately searched for an escape. A light from above attracted her attention and she looked up to find the face of Vinny looking down at her. He had sequestered a shuttle and had been searching for her for the last three hours. Up until that point he hadn’t had very much luck.
Vinny beckoned her to him and Carmel jumped upwards several feet to grab a hold of the shuttles open door. Then she awkwardly pulled herself fully into the shuttle just as Seven and Jacinta arrived below them. The shuttled wheeled away and they were left staring after it in annoyance.
“Damn It” Jacinta exclaimed, “They got away again!” she threw her hands up in the air in annoyance.
“Indeed, they have that habit” Seven commented wryly.
“Come on, lets find Xander” Jacinta said as she stalked off back towards the club her annoyance causing an almost visible haze around her.
When they finally arrived back at the club they arrived to find Maria dancing with a good-looking Asian man. They both stopped dead in their tracks. It was the first time in all the time they had been going to that club that they had ever seen Maria dancing with anyone. She had of course been asked, she was a very attractive woman, but she was not good around people on the whole. But then the memories that she had gained also included those of someone who had been called Ripper in their youth. It had loosened up her rather rigid outlook on life.
They Slayer and Ex-Borg looked at each other and Jacinta shrugged and she reclaimed their table.
Seven walked away into the club to try to find their missing friend. She would never admit it but she was worried for her friend. He wasn’t the sort to go off without at least telling them where he could be found. His responsibilities looked good on him, they had given him that final piece of maturity that he required to become a loyal man, rather than a loyal boy. Mars
They had all gone back to Tom and B’Elanna’s home. They had both been highly curious about Xander more than Zandra but B’Elanna had been insistent that she would accompany them. She was worried about Zandra’s feint from earlier and wanted to give her a once over. Zandra had refused medical treatment when she had been offered it.
It was a well-appointed apartment over looking Christopher’s Landing itself with a fine view of the very park in which they had been only minutes earlier. Even in the gloom of night it was an impressive view. Celebrity had its small advantages.
“Can I use your Comms?” Xander asked the couple.
Tom looked at him for a moment before nodding his head. Xander walked over to the computer display PADD and his hands flew over the console. There were also a lot of advantages to being trained on computer systems by an Android and a Borg. He was acing his computer studies course at the University so far.
The comms channel opened and he patched it through about seventeen relays to slow down any trace and then initiated a Borg encryption key that Seven had taught him. He wasn’t Paranoid; he knew there were things out to get him. He punched in the co-ord’s that would activate a beacon to call Seven to the nearest Communications screen.
The screen flickered into life and the momentary snow was replaced by the attractive countenance of Seven who was smiling softly as soon as she realised who was calling her.
“Xander” she said her face lighting up for a moment. That was before she remembered that she was a hard arse Ex-Borg with no emotions. This is what she had decided to be after Chakotay had left her.
“Hey, Sev. Look, I’m On Mars”
“Mars?” Seven said lifting an eyebrow.
“Yeah I know, but I flew Air-Q if you know what I mean. Look Carmel is in that club so you better watch out for her.” Xander said his face a mask of concern for his friends. Things had been too hectic for him to even think about before now. But since he had he had been worried about what the insane vampire would do.
“We noticed. We pursued her out of the club and she was rescued by an unmarked and unregistered TYPE II Shuttle Craft.”
“Shit” Xander swore softly. He felt a presence behind him and turned slightly to find Tom Paris was standing at his shoulder.
“Hey Seven, you know this lunatic” Tom said with a wide smile. There had been a time when he had rather liked the ex-Borg. That was before he fell for B’Elanna of course.
“Lieutenant Paris, good to see you again” Seven said with a hint of a smile gracing her features for a moment. “And yes, I do know that, Lunatic” her eyes twinkling as she said ‘Lunatic’.
“Yeah, yeah, Yuk it up Borg-babe” Xander said shooting her a lopsided smile that Seven returned with a half-smile of her own.
Tom exchanged a small look with his wife for a moment and communicated silently as only a couple can; ‘huh’ was the general gist of it. Seven had come on leaps and bounds in the interpersonal relationships stake but this was new. She seemed to be teasing the young man and vice versa. They had only been back just over a month which was rather quick to build the sort of relationship that the two Starfleet officers saw so obviously displayed between the two. They were acting like Comrades in arms, with a small touch of something else.
“Are you OK?” Xander asked, “Are you all ok?”
“Yes Xander, do not worry so much” Seven said.
“Good, look I have a slight problem, thanks to Air-Q I arrived with no id at all. I have no idea how I am going to get back,” Xander said with a small frown. Q really was a pain in the arse that didn’t seem to think about the consequences of his actions.
“I will send your ID there in a while, we will leave the club shortly and I will do it from there and arrange transport on the next shuttle flight” she paused; “Is there a reason that Q removed you from the planet” Seven asked.
“Yeah, I have a small puzzle he wants me to solve, and he wanted me to ‘Save’ a new friend. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Oh and you had better make that booking for two” “Two?”
“Hmmm, I just realised what Zandra is” Xander said. He had been working on the problem in the back of his mind for a moment. But it wasn’t until he had just seen her coming out of the bathroom, her bruises healing already that he realised. Zandra was a slayer. He looked back at Seven, “Seven, I need a favour and you may need Data’s help on this. He is leaving the day after tomorrow as well so you better get to him tonight”
“Of Course” Seven said taking a business like tone to match Xander’s. Xander was an oddity that spent most of his time laughing and joking but occasionally he took charge and they were all reminded that he was the one with the experience and that he was a soldier in a war that had lasted millennia.
“OK, get him to check to find if there have been reports of strange attacks on the aligned worlds. Please” he said adding the please with a large smile.
Seven returned the smile and nodded as she terminated the connection.
Xander turned his attention to the two Starfleet officers, “Look, I would normally try to explain every thing that has happened, but frankly I don’t think that you will believe me anyway. Thank you for your hospitality, don’t go out after dark without one of these” Xander tossed Tom a spare stake, “And never invite someone into your home after dark”
Xander looked at the returned Zandra, who was looking at him in confusion, “We need to talk” he said and Zandra just nodded her ascent.
“Now wait a minute” B’Elanna started but it was Tom who stopped her with a small look. He had an, ‘I’ll explain later’; look so as she trusted her husband as she trusted very few she stopped her tirade instantly.
Xander smiled at them and led the still slightly shocked looking Zandra from the apartment. Earth
After her short conversation with Xander Seven walked quickly back to their table.
“Xander had to go to Mars, we need to go to the apartment,” Seven said as she arrived.
Jacinta nodded with a small pout of disappointment and gathered their things, “What about Maria?” she asked.
The ex-Borg thought for a moment, “I’ll let her know we are leaving” she said walking quickly to the dances floor.
Seven tapped Maria gently on the shoulder and leaned into her ear, “We are leaving, we will meet you back at the apartment later?” she whispered.
Maria smiled at her, “Yes alright, myself and Takagi were just catching up.”
Seven nodded and took her leave. Maria went back to dancing with her old friend Takagi, a man with whom she had many interesting times with back in college. She had neglected to mention that Takagi was also a member of the council of watchers.
Xander led the surprised and slightly worried Zandra out of the building and back into the park. Xander glanced at the woman and noticed that she was worried about their direction.
“We need somewhere private to talk. But I ask you to trust me, ‘Kay?”
Zandra nodded, “We could go back to mine. I have an apartment just down town”
Xander nodded and Zandra led the way as they walked back through the park and a nice section of the small sized town in comparison to the mega cities of earth. They reached a large redbrick replica building and Zandra led him through it and up four flights of stairs to her apartment.
Zandra glanced back at the silent man behind her who was obviously trying to appear as non threatening as possible and smiled slightly, “Come on in” she said leading the way through the door.
“Don’t do that,” Xander said as he walked in.
“Invite anyone into you home at night”
“Well, that is all part of the tale I have for you. Do you often jump into fights, or perhaps you had a reason to step into that fight?” Xander shot at her.
Zandra looked down, “That’s private,” she said.
“Yes it is, and no its not” Xander said with a goofy expression of confusion, “OK, that didn’t make a lot of sense but I knew what I meant” he said cracking a smile.
Zandra returned the smile, “Drink? She asked walking to the small personal replicators.
“Rock’N’Roll Coffee please” Zandra shot him an odd look, “White, two sugars” he clarified.
“I knew that, I was wondering how or why you knew it,” she said warily.
“I’ll tell you that later,” Xander said
Zandra passed him his drink, “Please sit,” she said indicating the small but comfortable sofa.
Xander squeezed his large frame into it and sipped his coffee. He waited to speak, until Zandra herself had sat down, just across from him in the only chair in the place.
“So, have the nightmares been happening long?” he asked
Zandra nearly spit her tea over him, “What, How did you?”
“Well, Zan it’s like this, I seem to be the patron saint of slayers. That means I know all about you. I have now known 5 slayers, like you. I know that you have been dreaming about killing vampires, watching as other young woman, some as young as 13 killed them or were killed by them. I know that you feel pain when ever they are near and that you can tell, with time, how damn old they are from that pain. I know that you have suddenly got a heck of lot stronger and that you heal really fast. I know everything, except you specific story?” Xander finished with his eyebrow cocked. The effect of spending time with Seven was a two way street.
Zandra opened and closed her mouth a few times before giving up and just staring at him for a while. It was true that she had been dreaming those dreams for the last week and she had fought and killed one of the demons already, actually it had been her luck rather than skill that had killed the vampire. She did feel pain, but wasn’t sure what he meant about telling how old they were. “Wow” she finally managed.
“I can tell you another” Xander said and looked really uncomfortable, hating what he was about to say, “Without training you will die”
“What, I do just fine” Zandra began inn indignation.
Xander cut her off, “and what would have happened if I had not come along tonight?”
Zandra fell silent
“So, are you going to train me?”
“Yes, and I hope you have some holiday due”
“I don’t work” she said quietly, “I don’t need to”
“My mother is rather well off and she looks after me”
“Fine, even better but you need to come back to earth, I have everything we need there including someone who will train you to fight”
Xander quirked as smile as he thought about how Jacinta was likely to take the news that another slayer had turned up. He had a feeling he knew why one had but not the how yet.
“So how do you know all this stuff anyway? From what I saw in my dreams most of the girls were alone, all apart from three”
“Let me guess, a blonde haired Angel called Buffy, a dark beauty called Kendra and a raven haired sex-bomb called Faith?” Xander asked with a large smile, “All slayers are such knock outs” he said with wonder in his voice.
Zandra’s face cleared off the shocked look it had gained at his sentence the last words finally catching up on her, “You think I’m a knock out?” she asked with a sly grin.
“Oh, ah, urm, yes?” Xander said turning bright red, “Give me minute and I’ll get the other foot in there as well” he said with a self-deprecating smile.
Zandra laughed gaily then when her laughter subsided she smiled, “Do you have a place to stay tonight”
Xander shock his head, “No I hadn’t thought of that”
“Stay here, the couch folds out into a bed” she said in matter of fact way. Not that she had any intension of letting him sleep on the couch. She was feeling decidedly frustrated that night.
Xander appeared to read her mind, but in fact it was written on her face. He now knew whom she reminded him off, it wasn’t the looks it was something else. Attitude perhaps, or maybe it was something behind the eyes.
“Ah, you know that feeling you have right now is to do with the slaying as well”
Zandra smiled, but felt a little wide open, something she wasn’t used to, “You really do know a lot about slayers, oh my god” she said cutting herself off her eyes wide. “That’s impossible”
“I dreamed of you, you knew them, those three slayers. But that was like 400 years ago, you can’t be here?”
“Sit down, Zan. Do I have a tale to tell you” Xander said with a small smile.
Seven had contacted Data as per request and he had promised to start the search straight away. In the meantime Seven had gone with Jacinta back up to Xander’s apartment. He had given them all access to his private home as if it was the least he could do. Personal space, to him, didn’t matter when it came to his friends. They had free reign there and Seven was more at home there than in hers. Which no one had visited yet, which was as well. There was only a Borg chamber there for her regeneration cycle, something she rarely used anymore preferring to sleep. Jacinta had all but set up shop in Xander’s spare room and retired there to catch a few hours sleep, despite the early hour; she had an early test the next day.
Seven flicked on the small display panel and her hands virtually danced across its surface bringing up a host of information. She had been working on a possible way to stop the demonic spirit from entering the body using a Borg technique. She was having some problems recalibrating Borg Nanites to the task and without access to an actual lab had only computer simulations to help her.
The door chime disturbed her study. She closed the panel down and walked over to the door.
The door slid back at her command and her visitor was revealed
“Hello Seven” Captain Janeway said with a smile, “You are hard to track down”
“Captain” Seven said with confusion creasing her perfect brow, “What can I do for you?”
“May I come in?” Janeway asked with a slight smile
Seven suddenly became suspicious and merely stood back from the door without inviting the officer in. It was a horrible breach of protocol but it was a necessary evil, to prevent evil.
Janeway shot her a slightly amused look but walked in anyway, “Nice place” she remarked, “Not yours though?”
“No, it is a” Seven paused looking for the correct word to describe Xander, “Friend” she said, the closest she could get.
“Yes, a certain Alexander Harris, recently cited for a civilian award for bravery by none other than Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise”
Seven’s eyebrows shot up.
“Oh, didn’t he tell you that?” Janeway said with a smile, her estimation of Xander raising a notch, “It isn’t every day a civilian saves the best ship and crew in the fleet”
“Saved?” Seven prompted.
“I think perhaps that is a story that Mr Harris should tell you himself”
“It is after all you I have come to see. Is Mr Harris here?”
“No, he is away on business” Seven lied quickly, something else she was quickly getting the knack of.
Janeway’s own eyebrows rose, “Well I hope he won’t mind if I steal you for a while”
Janeway let out a small laugh, “Yes, do you want to talk here?”
“Yes” Seven, said, she was starting to become worried about Janeway’s reasons for being here.
“I understand that you are doing well in the research department.”
“Yes, they have been most interested in my knowledge of Borg systems and technology. I have also been helping them with the ablative shielding and Transphasic Torpedoes”
“Yes, they were very interested in that aspect of my ship” Janeway said with a smile. Her future self had supplied them with 25th century technology to help them survive the Borg. It had paid off well and now the research department of Starfleet was having a field day with her ship. It was due to be returned to service in another month; from there she hoped to be assigned a scientific mission. She and her crew had enough exploration to last them some time.
Silence rained for a moment before Seven remembered herself, “Would you like a drink captain”
“Yes, please, you know how I like it” the attractive captain said with a small smile. She surveyed the apartment whilst Seven programmed in the recipe for her favourite brand of coffee.
“There is a lot of training equipment here,” Janeway said as her eyes took in the multitude of machines and weights arrayed around the living space. It looked more like a gym than an apartment.
“Yes, Xander is very interested in keeping fit”
Janeway’s smile slipped into a smirk, “He was that” she said looking directly at her friend. Seven blushed lightly causing Janeway to smile even wider. ‘I see’ she thought to herself.
Seven passed her the coffee and Janeway breathed in the distinctive aroma letting out a satisfied sigh, “Perfect, thank you Seven”
“Not a problem captain”
They looked at each other for a beat more, “I have a proposition for you” Janeway said breaking the silence.
Maria smiled across the table in the small restaurant she and Takagi had found. “How long?” she asked.
“Almost a month now. It has taken me this long to sort through them all”
“Has anyone else…” Maria trailed off trying to think of a way to put it.
“Who?” Maria asked in excitement.
“All but one of the original council members families is still involved in the council. The last was wiped out in the eugenics war I’m sorry to say. That damn war took so much from us all”
Maria nodded, “Indeed. So Giles’s spell spanned you all. I knew that was what it meant”
“There was a section of the spell I didn’t fully understand until just this week. It caused a chain reaction with the original council members. But I wasn’t sure as to its exact purpose. Of course now it makes perfect sense. There would need to be a fully functional council in order to look after the slayer”
Takagi nodded wisely, “That was my assumption also”
“It has taken you long enough to find me” Maria said with a play full pout, she and Takagi went way back.
The handsome Asian man smiled a toothy smile at her his eyes dancing with life. “But now we need to find the Slayer. She will have been called”
“Yes, she has” Maria said with a wide smile.
“You have found them already?”
“No, not me another found them”
“Those memories of yours, do they mention the infamous Scooby Gang?”
“Of course, Giles talked of them often.”
“Yes he did, and did he mention Xander Harris to your forefather?”
The Asian mans eyes lost focus for a moment as he trawled through his magically restored memories, finally they cleared and he nodded, “Yes but he died.”
“No, well yes, but he was brought here by a powerful being called Q. It was he who found the slayer. It is he who was helped to train her and found her someone with whom to train”
As long as she had known him, Maria had rarely seen him show as much shock as he did at her proclamation.
“Incredible” he said with awe in his voice
“Isn’t it? He is like the patron saint of slayers. Giles had a theory about that though”
“Really, what?” Takagi asked shifting forward in his seat.
“Well if you remember, the slayer at the time was called Buffy. She was prophesied to die at the hands of the Master vampire of the time, simply called the Master.”
Takagi nodded indicating that she should continue.
“Well Giles hypothesised that when Xander gave the slayer Mouth to Mouth the slayer spirit was at the time leaving the body. Giles thought that perhaps somehow a portion of the spirit entered Xander’s body and in this was he became linked to slayers. He was involved with three of them at the time. He also tried to help the rogue before she went rogue as well. He was already dedicated to Buffy, because of his love for her at the time. But after the love died down he didn’t give up on her. It was later found out that he stayed in almost constant contact with Faith as well, all the way until his death. Even Kendra who at the time was virtually the councils robot found herself drawn to him.”
Maria paused for breath and took a sip of her chocolate beverage as Takagi thought about all she had just said.
“Yes, that would be a good theory as to his link with slayers I agree. It doesn’t explain why he should be here and now though”
“As I said, Q brought him here but Xander doesn’t really talk to much about how or why”
“Intriguing, will you tell them?”
“About the council?”
“Yes, I remember that until Mr Giles rebuilt the council after the first evil destroyed it the ‘Scooby Gang’ hated the council and everything it stood for”
“That is true, but it was Xander that wanted me involved. He had me reading about Demons before the spell was triggered. Also I do not want to hide anything from them. Is the council operational yet?”
“Mostly, our resources are being refocused towards the demonic as we speak. It is lucky that we are so immersed in the culture of the Federation. We have some contacts that we are able to use and we are placing operatives throughout the federation. Money is not a problem the council is very old. Anything you need for the slayer and her friends let me know and I will bring it before the council.” Takagi paused, “You do realise that because we have kept the hierarchy of the council as it stood at the time, you are its head”
“Yes Maria, Giles was the head of the council. I assume that you would rather stay with the slayer though.”
Maria nodded, “I would, very much so”
“I will make sure the council understands that, we will go ahead with you as the active watcher”
“I agree” Maria said with a smile, “So how are the kids?”
A beatific grin crossed over the Asian mans face, “Wonderful”
Zandra stared at the man before her with a sense of wonder in her heart. He had told her everything leaving nothing that he considered important out. She was somewhat in awe.
“You OK there?” Xander asked with a grin. She had being staring at him for that last five minutes without speaking.
She shook herself out of her state and beamed at him, “That is so cool” she remarked.
“I think so. I mean after all I was dead. Plus this century is pretty damn cool as well. Though I do keep expecting a small robot to go ‘Bead’a Beep OK Buck’ at me it just hasn’t happened yet.”
Zandra looked at him with a confused expression.
“Never mind” Xander said with a smirk. Pop culture references were lost on this century. It was seriously hampering his sense of humour.
Zandra let out a wide yawn.
Xander smiled at her softly, “You have taken a lot on board for one night, you should go to bed”
She smiled sultrily at him, “Is that a proposal?”
Xander returned her smile but was shaking her head, “Not a good idea” he said.
Zandra pouted at him playfully, if she wasn’t so tired she would certainly worked to change his mind. She was used to getting her own way. “Another time?”
“Perhaps” Xander said with a smile.
She walked out tossing him a smile over her shoulder as she entered the bedroom, “If you change your mind…”
“Thanks” Xander said. She walked into her bedroom and Xander rolled his eyes up to the heavens
“Whoa, oh man is she hot” he whispered to himself whilst fanning himself with his hand.
“What is your proposal?” Seven asked.
“I would like you to come back on board Voyager” Janeway said with a smile. She was sure that Seven would want to join them; working out of the research department can’t be a lot of fun for the ex-Borg. Janeway knew that as much as she liked technology she also liked life onboard ship.
Seven looked at her friend and former Captain for a long moment before she finally came to a decision. “Captain, I’m afraid I can’t except,” she said.
Janeway looked at her friend in shock, “What, why?”
“I have responsibilities here, that I must be here for”
“What sort of responsibilities. If it’s the R+D we could no doubt come to an arrangement with them so you could continue the research and pass it back to them. I am hoping we won’t be lost in the delta quadrant again” she finished with a smile.
To her shock Seven returned her smile fully. It wasn’t that Janeway had never seen the ex-Borg smile, it was just very rare.
“I’m sorry Captain, that is not all”
“Is it this Mr Harris?” Janeway said after a moment’s thought.
“No” Seven said, “Not entirely”
“I'm sorry Captain, I would like to come, but I can’t I have things I must do here”
The captain nodded finally, “OK, well if you change your mind we aren’t leaving for another month. Come and see me, in fact come and see me anyway, it’s been a long time. Bring your friend, Xander, I would like to see him again” Janeway said whilst standing up and holding her hand out to Seven.
“Of Course” Seven said smiling and taking the captains hand. “It would be a pleasure”
At the door Janeway paused and looked into her friends’ eyes, “For what it’s worth I am sorry about Chakotay. I was surprised to find he had gone on assignment without you”
Seven nodded, “As was I” she said with no trace of the bitterness or anger she felt entering her voice.
Janeway nodded and walked out the door, “Remember now, come and see me before I leave” she said smiling.
“I won’t forget” Seven replied.
She closed the door and finally leaned back against it letting out a long breath.
“Thank you” Jacinta said from her open door.
“What for” Seven said, surprised the slayer had been able to catch her unawares. “Staying, that’s why you did, to help us isn’t it”
Seven smiled softly and nodded.
“Although I bet a certain dark haired man I know was in there somewhere as well,” Jacinta said with a small smile, she had noticed that the two were getting on rather well.
Seven just blushed slightly walked back over to her PADD. Jacinta smiled and stepped back into her room, leaving the ex-Borg to her work.
Chapter 03, Story Time
Xander stepped into his apartment leading Zandra, the new slayer, by the hand, as they walked in the sounds of battle reached their ears and Zandra tensed up noticeably. Xander smiled at her to show that he wasn’t concerned and walked around the small corner to his living room, come dojo.
When they arrived they found that Seven and Jacinta were sparing. It was a heart stopping sight. After training they were both well-balanced adversaries. Seven was dressed in a form fitting one piece leotard that was verging on artery busting her hair was tied back in a simple pony tail and she moved with a grace that felines everywhere would have killed for. Jacinta was also wearing a one piece her more slender figure not pushing it out as sevens fuller figure did, but she was still a sight for sore eyes. Where Seven was grace, Jacinta was aggression and force. Her hair was clasped under what passed for a baseball cap in this century.
Taking a moment to watch them Xander was impressed, and it wasn’t only the usual hormone response a man would have. It was like watching a perfectly timed ballet. Jacinta tended to lead the most often jabbing of snapping out a kick and Seven, using the least energy possible, would defend and counter attack. The knowledge that the Borg had assimilated on Martial styles from thousands of species was available to her so it was no surprise that she tended to come out on top. However, the grace with which she moved was so atypical of that automaton race that it was hard to believe that she had ever been apart of it. She had been training Jacinta in all of the styles she knew and passed her knowledge on without a seconds thought. But Seven had more experience in using the styles that she was slowly teaching the slayer. Despite the slayer’s natural aptitude for fighting, Seven was by far the better of the two. When it came to strength the ex-Borg whilst not as strong was almost as strong as the slayer. Speed was a different matter; Jacinta was by far the speedier of the two.
Xander let out a wolf whistle that distracted the two fighting woman and they turned to him with grimaces.
“Hi honies, I’m home!” he said with a wide smile. It was lucky for him that they knew him, anyone else could mistake him for a sexist pig, but the two women knew that it was just his sense of humour that was at fault and not the man cursed with it.
“Xander” Seven intoned gravely but then ruined the stern moment. She was unable to stop herself smiling at his safe return.
“Hello gorgeous” Jacinta said smiling and she walked up to him swishing her hips. She planted a kiss on his cheek, “Missed you”
Blushing slightly Xander turned to his guest, “Guys, this is Zan, Zan the guys, that over there is Seven and that’s Jab” he said.
Jacinta swiped him causing him to mutter, “Hey Slayer strength”
“Well, I said don’t call me that. Hi I’m Jacinta,” she said to the dark haired woman standing almost possessively by Xander.
“I’m Zandra” Zandra said with a slightly frosty smile. She hadn’t been impressed with Jacinta’s display of affection.
“The Slayer from Mars” Xander said with a mock theatrical voice.
“Another one?” Seven asked
“Yep, hey where’s Maria”
“We think she got laid, she hasn’t been back since she was dancing with this nice looking guy at the club, don’t worry it wasn’t a vampire” Jacinta said.
Xander smirked deeply, “Man even Maria’s getting some. I need a life” he mock joked.
Zandra leaned into him, “It’s not like the offer wasn’t there,” she whispered in his ear. Xander blushed furiously and stepped slightly away from the dark haired slayer in training.
She either didn’t yet know about slayer hearing or she just didn’t care. Jacinta heard the whole thing and ice started to form in the air.
Sensing that the situation was quickly going south Seven battled for a way to distract the slayers from a battle, which would end up with one or both of them, getting hurt. Finally she stumbled across a possibility and acted on it straight away, “I have a bone to pick with you” she said choosing one of Janeway's favourite expressions.
Xander looked at her with a questioning and slightly fearful look that almost caused the ex-Borg to laugh.
“You have been holding out on our collective,” she said keeping her expression stern.
“What?” Xander said confusion now written across his face in bold letters.
“A source has told me something very interesting” Seven dragged it out a little to fully capture the two slayers interest. She now had it as they both looked between her and Xander in interest. Jacinta was smiling widely at the chance to pull her mentors leg somewhat. Zandra was less interested but still somewhat intrigued to find out more about this strange man.
“Go on” Jacinta said finally.
“Starfleet will be awarding Xander a special citizen award for bravery, which is something that they have not awarded in the last 50 years.” Seven said crossing her arms and looking at Xander in interest, “Care to tell us why?”
“What oh that, it was nothing, really. Just something that happened when I was on the Enterprise”
“My source told me that you saved the ship and crew. That is not a ‘Nothing’.” Seven said with a little surprise at his attitude.
“Seriously, a mistake I told Captain Picard not to make a fuss” Xander said rolling his eyes.
“I think we need to hear the whole thing don’t you” Jacinta said her eyes wide.
“Yes, do tell” Zandra said with a small smile. She was actually pulling the other slayers leg somewhat but Jacinta missed it.
“I believe that humans have something called ‘fessing up’” Seven said tripping over the strange expression, “I believe the time has come for fessing”
Xander looked between the women for a moment before realising that he was sunk. He held up his hands in surrender, “OK, Fine. But you’ll be bored, it really wasn’t that interesting.” Xander stepped round and took a seat on the couch and the others quickly took positions round him. Seven who was closest took the seat next to Xander realising that he had become the object of competition between the two slayers no matter what their individual feelings about him.
The two slayers were forced to sit on the chairs opposite from Seven and Xander but not before casting a look at each other. It was a case of hatred at first sight for the two preternaturally enhanced women.
“Basically the ship was overrun by a horde of aliens. I got rid of them, the end,” Xander said.
He was saved from evisceration by the door chime going off. He quickly dived for the door and answered it to find Data, William Riker and Deanna Troi standing the other side.
“Oh Hi guys thank god, save me” Xander said with desperation in his voice. Riker was reacting to the tone in his voice before he suddenly noticed that Deanne was smirking. If she was smirking then there wasn’t really any danger.
“The information you asked for” Data said handing him a data chip.
“Thanks Data” Xander said, thankful for the information and the forethought of the Android. Riker was sure to become suspicious of the information that he had requested.
“Not a problem, but you will have to tell me how you knew later,” the Android said with a smile.
“Lucky guess” Xander said shrugging his shoulders. It was in fact deductive reasoning that had brought him to his realisation but that wasn’t a Xander thing to say. “Come On In” Xander said hopefully.
“Thank you Xander” Troi said leading the way and smiling at the young man, Riker and Data were soon also across the threshold.
“We are in the lounge” Xander directed them.
Troi was the first to arrive and to notice the three attractive women that Xander had arrayed on his chairs. “Sorry Xander if you are busy” she said with a smirk.
“I should be so lucky” he mumbled smiling at the Betazoid councillor.
She lifted a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at him but was also smiling. It was then she recognised one of the women sat on the couch.
“Hello, It’s Seven of Nine isn’t it?” she said walking up to Seven with her hand held out.
Seven got to her feet and smiled slightly back at the councillor. “It’s just Seven now,” she said.
The three Starfleet officers did a quick meet and greet with the inhabitants of Xander’s seating.
“You guys are from the Enterprise right?” Jacinta finally asked, nervously.
“Usually” Riker said smiling at the young woman, who he had already met. His charm worked for a second time and she relaxed visibly and smiled slyly.
“Good, because we are trying to find out why Xander is being awarded something for his bravery whilst with you?” Jacinta asked the star fleet Commander with a wide smile.
Riker effected a stern expression, “That is classified information” he said gravely.
“Oh Will!” Deanna said slapping him on the arm, “He’s joking really, what did you want to know?”
Seven piped up now, her curiosity was by this point highly aroused. “Xander will only say that he removed some aliens.”
Riker laughed heartily, “Well that about covers it I suppose” he said eyeing Xander who was by that point trying to blend in with the wall.
Xander caught Riker’s eye and mouthed, “Save Me” to him. Riker then got an evil glint in his eye and took a seat, “I think Xander should start,” he said.
Data and Deanna took more seats leaving Xander to slump down in defeat next to Seven.
“OK, fine, but we will all do it then we won’t miss anything out, ok.” Xander said.
The Starfleet officers all nodded their assent.
Xander took a deep breath and began his story. Flashback
Xander looked down at the controls in panic.
‘Come on you’ve done this loads of times’ he told himself trying to pull himself together.
It was his first solo flight. Riker had been training him in flying shuttles in the hope that Xander would have useful up to date skills when they returned to earth. They were due to set out for sector 0 in the next day or so. From where they were it would take them almost a two weeks at the normal cruising speed of warp 6.
Right now he wished they were already there. He didn’t test well and as this was his first solo flight so he was worried that he would crash the damn shuttle and have to pay for it for the next three lifetimes.
Drawing in a long breath and letting it out slowly he finally got his nerve back and with sure movements punched in the relevant commands.
He clicked open the comms, “This is the shuttle Tiberius requesting clearance to leave shuttle bay 2” he said professionally and without the slightest hint of the nerves he had just been suffering.
The moderated tones of Data came back to him, “Shuttle Tiberius you are clear for take off”
“Thanks Data” he said forgetting protocol. Up on the bridge Data smiled widely as did Riker who was monitoring Xander from his command console.
All the crew had come to like Xander but the command team had had the most to do with him and knew him the best. They had been working hard to make sure that he had a good chance at a normal life when he returned to Earth. He was a bright and intelligent student and had picked up everything they had thrown at him so far. Even to the point that Captain Picard had told the computer to consider him at an Ensign’s level. This was due in part to the training they were giving him and because of the trust he had engendered in them all.
There were two things that he was particularly good at however. The first had surprised even Xander, Computers, he seemed to instinctively know how to coax the best out of the Sovereign class’s computer the system almost familiar to him. He protested that he had been useless with computers before, but the systems on board were totally unlike those he had been used to. He found the LCARS interface easy to use and operated it with a flair that impressed even Data. The second was piloting, another almost instinctive skill that he had. He blamed that on the computer games he used to play the, to him, futuristic controls just like some of the games he had played. It went beyond that of course and Riker who was the best pilot they had on board had taken the young man under his wing teaching him everything about flying that Riker could think of.
Now he was taking his first live solo test in one of the two Runabout class shuttles that the Sovereign class ship habitually carried. It was Warp capable and he was tasked with taking it to the top speed of warp four on his flight looping round the asteroid field, not through and then coming home. At warp four he would be gone for three hours.
He calmly and skilfully took the shuttle through the shuttle bay doors passing through the force field and finally up and away from the massive Enterprise.
“See you soon Enterprise” he said over the comm.
“Don’t scratch the paintwork” Came Riker’s laughing reply.
Xander checked the sensor array provided by the marvel of 24th century technology at his fingertips. It was one of the things he enjoyed about piloting a shuttle, the feeling of power at his control. He wasn’t a power hungry man, but it was the feeling that with one tap he could shatter the laws of physics that had been rammed down his throat at school. Go faster than light and move at speeds that should smear him across the back of the shuttle. He was travelling at just under the speed of light as it was. The inertial dampeners stopped him from feeling the speed physically; luckily otherwise he really would be paste. But he knew and his mind conjured the feelings for him. He could feel every nuance of the systems under his control the twists and turns as he adjusted the flight path without thinking about it. He looped around the scattered asteroid field without even realising what he was doing, let alone how it was totally instinctive to him he intuitively knew what to do without having to think about the how or the whys. It was the thing that usually tripped him up, he had no way to explain how he piloted he just did.
The black box recordings of his flight would be analysed on his return and they would check that he flew correctly and by the book. Or as close as he was able, he would then be passed or failed on the findings of that analysis. Being flight qualified would help any future career prospects that he may choose to follow. Although he knew that his choices were already limited, he still had a lot to choose from. He was even thinking that perhaps he would go back to school, well university.
Data had already told him that he was approaching the knowledge level that would be required to pass the entry exam at Starfleet Academy. It was sad that he wouldn’t be able to actually do it. He remembered that Q had brought him here for a reason and he had a feeling that being part of Starfleet would interfere with looking after a slayer.
Once his circuit of the field was complete he checked his long-range scans and his entire being snapped into focus on the readings.
The Enterprise was gone, nowhere to be found on his scans. He checked the comms log and found no trace of a communication from the mother ship so he knew that they hadn’t called him. Something was seriously up with this picture.
“Computer, locate the Enterprise” he asked.
The soft feminine voice of the computer system took only a fraction of a second before replying. “The Enterprise is at warp travelling at 0.90.90” Which meant that the enterprise was coming straight towards him. The co-ordinate system worked on a three dimensional compass using galactic north, I.e. the centre of the galaxy as its point of reference. That meant that the first zero was straight toward with a 90-degree vector and essentially travelling straight down.
He had travelled the reverse, essentially towards galactic north. He figured that perhaps they were coming to get him, but if that was the case, why hadn’t they hailed him.
“Shuttle Tiberius to Enterprise” he called out to the 1701-E.
A display flashed at him and a text message appeared, “COMMUICATIONS ERROR, PLEASE STAND BY FOR RETREIVAL.”
“That’s odd. Computer, can we scan the Enterprise from this distance?”
“Are it’s comms systems operational” he asked, there was no harm in being paranoid.
“Affirmative, all systems working within operational parameters”
Especially when there was a reason to be paranoid. That meant two things, one they were lying to him and two that they were travelling with shields down.
That was standard operational function, unless comms went down at which point the computer put the shields up in an automatic reaction to the loss of any communications. It was a safety feature that had saved lives before now. One of the rules of war is to disturb the lines of communication of your enemy. Sun Tzu was as adhered to now as he had been on earth in his day.
“Shield’s Up” he confirmed his own action out loud running totally by the book. He adjusted his course back towards the asteroid field at full impulse.
It took all of his talent at flying to allow him to carry out the first stage of his plan. He knew the systems on this runabout class shuttle and he was sure he would be able to carry it out. But flying into a field like this took a level of skill that he wasn’t supposed to even have growing up in the 20th century as he had.
He made his way through the field without so much as a dented fender and finally came to a stop at its centre. He adjusted his course until he was sat behind a large moon sized asteroid and matched the rotation with his flight plan until he was happy that he would remain just hidden from sensors but allowing his own to peek round it’s mass.
He programmed his sensors to a passive scan and quickly replicated himself some food and water before finally shutting down all non-essential systems. That action would make him almost invisible from scans and he would blend in to the solid core asteroid that he was hiding behind. Then he sat back placing his feet up on his console and waited for the sovereign class ship to arrive.
It didn’t take long for the huge ship to come out of warp almost on top of the asteroid field. Using his passive scanners he found that they were looking for him in an unusual pattern that was not Starfleet. His suspicions continued to grow as the large ship made it’s way into the asteroid field. The navigational shields on the ship shouldering asteroids out of its way in a show of power that was so totally unlike the captain he had come to know. Xander knew right then and there that someone had taken control of that ship and he intended to make sure they paid dearly for their trespass onto its decks.
He sat bolt upright in his chair waiting for his moment. Then as the large craft shouldered his hiding place out of the way he used his manoeuvring thrusters to break orbit and enter the personal space of the enterprise. Using the only weakness he had spotted when he had been taught her systems by the one who knew best, Geordie La Forge. The engineer had been amazingly proud of his star ship and relished the excuse to show it off without having to hide too many details. Xander was sure that he wasn’t supposed to have seen the sensor array diagram. It was the one that showed the overlap in individual sensor nodes and showed a tiny gap in the system. It was inevitable that there would be somewhere in the system that was unable to overlap. He had also noticed that it was small enough to be ignored, because nothing larger than a shuttle could get there.
Using considerable skill Xander nudged his shuttle into the tiny blind spot. He knew that the runabout was only just small enough to fit into the gap and he hoped that Geordie or one of his team hadn’t managed to plug the gap.
The Sovereign class was being designed to replace the older galaxy class ships when the Borg and Dominion war had forced them into action early. So it was of no surprise to Xander that there would be bugs in the system. La Forge and his team had already done an admirable job of bug tracking and plugging holes in important systems as only a battle hardened engineering team could.
So it was with a hope and a prayer that Xander finally locked his docking clamp onto the hull of the ship that had been his home since arriving in the 24th century.
He made sure that his power output was below normal and his last act before shutting the last system down was to eject debris that he had prepared earlier. Then he once again sat back and waited. He wanted to see what they would do next.
On the bridge of the enterprise a horned alien with a sharply defined face and glowing purple eyes surveyed his command crew who all looked just like him. The only difference was that his horns were the size of an antelopes whilst the others were only half the size. Unlike an antelopes his horns were re-curved and only stuck up a foot above his head. His name was Prath of the Por’aan and he had just executed a coup in taking the flagship of the annoying federation that had been encroaching on their hunting grounds for centuries. The Por’aan had remained undetected for all that time, biding their time until there were ready to deal with the interlopers and deal a blow. The spent their time in planning and learning all they could about the Federations and their actions. As a segregated species they had no contract with other races save ones they captured to question. They had taken many over the years and they had become very good at taking ships. A whole branch of technology had leapt up around that skill and they had the best cloaking devices in the quadrant, better even than the Romulan’s or Klingon’s. Their ships were designed to exhibit no exhaust, the failing of Romulans designed systems and there was no shift on a quantum level. They were simply transparent having partially shifted dimensional barriers.
“Report” Prath demanded in a harsh sounding voice. It was his normal tone; he tried to never get angry. He tended to quarterize people with his horns when he lost his temper and they took so long to clean off the deck, and his horns.
A smaller member of his race turned to face his commander; “Great Prath we have found debris, according to our analysis the straggler must have flown into the field by accident”
“What of his communication?”
“Our analysis leads us to believe the accident happened after the communication, Lord”
“Very well, set course for P’trallier” Prath said laughing at the stupidity of humans. They had watched the human leave in his shuttle before their attack and had later found he was on his first solo mission. It was all helpfully listed in the ships log. They had managed to get control without the failsafe being triggered; their best people were working even now on permanently breaking the encryption on the mighty vessels computer. Once that was complete they would load soldiers and attack the Federation home world of Earth.
Xander finish tinkering with the device he was making, the device he hoped would keep him shielded from the Enterprise’s amazing sensor net. He knew that once he stepped a foot outside of the hole he was in that he would essentially already have been caught. He had a little access to the ships computer, which would help, and since he had an infinity with LCARS he thought he could perhaps finesse it a little to help cloak him. But this device would act with the sensors and essentially bend them around him. It wouldn’t stop anyone from actually seeing him it wasn’t a cloaking device it was a sensor fooling device.
He triggered the on button.
“Computer identify crew on board”
“Xander Harris is only listed crew member defined by mission parameters”
“Locate Xander Harris”
The computer whirred for sometime, “Unable to locate Xander Harris”
“Patch through using Xander program alpha and delete this Comm badge from the Enterprise computer.”
“Working… Comm badge removed.”
Xander took a long breath and stepped onto the airlock door. He snapped his helmet shut and triggered the manual release. He then stepped out into the vastness of space.
An immediate feeling of vertigo and sickness hit him as he walked from the cover of the shuttlecraft. He stood for a moment and took in the splendour that was space. Then shaking himself he set off to do his best for the Enterprise and her crew.
Riker was pacing back and forth in the cargo bay; frustration and rage were coming off of him in waves. He looked down to find his captain calmly sat on the floor with a thoughtful expression on his face.
“Captain, I don’t know how you do it” Riker said quietly.
“What’s that number one?”
“Stay so calm, sir, I’ve seen you do it before and I just don’t know how you do it”
Picard smiled widely and enigmatically. “Pacing will do nothing, thinking and reserving ones strength will”
Riker promptly sat down beside his captain. “Good plan”
There were only three guards covering them, but they were locked into with the threat of the bay doors field being shut down. In other words their own ship caught them.
The aliens were unrecognisable as any species in or out of the federation and had pounced on them with amazing speed and thoroughness.
Never had a Starfleet crew been taking so efficiently and with no chance of a struggle. It was embarrassing is what it was and Riker was seriously steamed about that. The Enterprise crew was the best, no doubt about that they had the flagship vessel and the flagship crew but the speed of the attack had caught them with their pants down. Once this was over he was going to make some suggestions about flying with shields up.
Xander crept through the Jeffries tubes of the massive ship, he had never realised just how big it was until now. Of course he knew that it was 685 Meters long and 250 wide but those were just figures. Of course that meant that there were well over 1000 meters of Jeffries tubes and he felt that he had crawled through every single last one of the damn things.
He had done some thinking. He had decided that if he were going to take control of a ship he would have killed every crewmember on board. But since bad guys never seemed to be quite that diabolical he reckoned that they would have put them all in the only place big enough to hold 130 Officers and 725 enlisted crew plus a few other scientists that they had on board. The Cargo bay the largest, number one, had an effective means of capture with its space doors and force field. That was where the crew must be. Now all he had to do was disable the controls for the force field without tripping it to open. Oh and he couldn’t get caught either because the bad guys may just decide that disposing of the crew was the best idea after all.
He was on his way to the computer sub-juncture point between engineering and the bridge. If he could convince the computer that he was doing routine repairs he could isolate controls on the bridge. The problem being that the bridge would know. So he had only a few minutes after that to get down to cargo bay 1 and get the crew out. After that it would be a case of one for all and all for one, he hoped.
“That was an intriguing idea, but you had only been aboard the Enterprise for a short while by this point. How did you know what to do and where to do it?” Seven asked with a cocked eyebrow.
Xander gave a small self-deprecating smile, “I guessed”
Seven gave him a doubtful look and Data smiled, “That is not true. As I remember later you told me that you noticed on the schematics and at that point were approaching a master programmer”
Xander blushed slightly.
Jacinta looked at Xander with a thoughtful look, “OK, what gives. You were in this century for like two weeks and suddenly you were able to figure out the most advanced shipboard computer in the fleet?”
“Xander has shown a high aptitude for LCARS based systems” Riker said with his Number one head on, he was in charge of all personnel logs and requests on the Enterprise and had seen the reports from both Geordie and Data. Xander was a natural with later 24th century computers and flight craft. Of course in any other science he had shown no aptitude whatsoever but that was beside the point.
“Space walking” Zandra, said out of the blue.
Xander who had got up to go to the replicators looked back at the slayer and did a Michael Jackson moonwalk over to it with a large smile.
“What of it” Riker asked.
Zandra shock her head at Xander’s strangeness, “It’s hard isn’t it, you have three weeks of training in the academy.”
Riker’s eyebrows shot up, “That’s actually a very good point,” he said looking over to Xander.
“Would it help if I told you I barfed in my suit? Of that I tripped over three times and nearly got blown away into space. Or that it took me an hour to go 10 meters?”
Riker smirked at him, “That makes more sense, I remember hating it myself, of course Worf was the worst” he grin grew a little evil.
Deanna rolled her eyes the rivalry between Worf and Riker had not gotten any better even since she had ended up with Riker and Worf had been married to Dax. ‘Boy’s will be Boy’s’
“I suppose the biggest question is; why?” Zandra said, “I mean don’t get me wrong here; it was brave and all that but you could have just warned Starfleet and let them sort it out”
Seven cut off everyone else’s answer, “You will find that there is nothing Xander will not do for a friend. It would also be logical to assume that the Aliens would have been scanning all frequencies and thus as soon as he made the call he would have been terminated.”
“Does any one else wanna a drink?” Xander asked blushing furiously.
They all shook their heads at him, Zandra was still looking confused and Xander knew that she would soon learn about responsibility as a slayer but it sounded like she had never had to be responsible before. She reminded him of Buffy in that way, she learnt, big time in the end she felt she was responsible for everything which was a little too much
He sat down next to Seven again but found he was slightly closer than before, which was strange because he was sure he sat in exactly the same place as he had been.
“OK, so anyway, I got the sub-juncture and I came across a slight problem”
“Shit” Xander swore softly to himself. There were two guards outside of the small room that housed the computer core juncture that he was after. They were both huge with nasty looking horns on their head. If he didn’t know better he would have said they were demons, but demons for whatever reason never used technology. So aliens these guys had to be with their phaser rifles and what looked to be a comms unit on their hips.
He sat looking at the guards for a full minute pondering on what to do now. This had been the only plan that he had thought could be pulled off, he had another but that would be difficult in the extreme. But the guards didn’t look like they were about to go anywhere. He could attack the guards but that would more than likely mean alerting others and he knew from experience that if something looks big and scary it usually was. Plus those rifles would cut him down in moments.
‘No’ he decided, ‘Time for Plan B’.
“What about if we charge the guards while Data interfaces directly…” Picard shaking his head cut off Riker.
“Why?” Riker asked in frustration.
“Because the computer alerts the bridge any time a connection is made with Data, it was put into place after the trouble with Lore”
Once again feeling like his stomach was attempting to climb out of his arse Xander walked the hull of the enterprise. He had found that if he focused on his feet and the way forward it wasn’t so bad, if he widened the ankle of his view; that was when he barfed.
Walking the hull at warp was tricky at best but since he had never done this before it was suicidal, which is why he had dumped this plan along with 10 other hair-brained ideas. He just hoped that this would work.
Reaching his destination he set down the tool kit and pulled open the access port.
Working quickly he accessed the computer and started work.
Riker was brooding as yet another plan had been rejected, for good reasons but it was getting to him anyway. He was jerked from his revere as a flash of orange and gold jumped across the wide room, and again and again. Before he knew what had happened all the guards had fallen foul of a mystery attack.
As he watched in shocked horror a figure in a standard Starfleet suit walked along the roof of the cargo bay his magnetic boots holding him in place. It then walked down the wall beside them and finally came to a stop hitting the ground with a thud of a magnetic boot.
The golden visor very slowly lifted as the figure lifted a device and triggered it. Fearing for his Captain Riker threw himself of the possible weapon just in time to find Xander’s smirking face looking out of the visor.
A large noise reverberated through the cavernous room and Riker saw the huge cargo bay doors shut.
“Permission to come aboard captain” Xander said with a smirk.
With a smile Picard replied, “Permission granted Mr Harris. So nice of you to join us”
“I hate to miss a party sir. You really need to get Data to lock down that door before they figure out how I overrode the bridge, sir”
“Number One, if you would be so kind” Picard said but Riker was already moving as was Data who had seen the entire thing.
Picard raised his voice, “BATTLE STATIONS” he called out and the crew of the Enterprise; a well-oiled team of battle hardened officers and experienced crew leapt into action. Xander’s Apartment
“And that was about it really, after that they took back the ship. As I said not much too it,” Xander said finishing off his story.
“Like wow!” Jacinta said with a huge grin, “That was so cool”
“Yeah, cool” Zandra said with a mocking tone of voice. Neither slayer noticed that Deanna was looking at Xander with folder arms and a slightly annoyed expression on her face. But Seven did, she also noticed that Xander began to squirm under the Betazoid’s expression.
Xander darted a glance at Riker but he had a decidedly, ‘You’re on your own’ look. Data avoided his frantic look.
“Deanna, you know I hate talking about this stuff,” he said in a last ditch attempt to get off the hook. He even pulled out the puppy dog look that had worked so well on the women in his life. But the councillor had to deal with Riker on a regular basis. She wasn’t falling for it.
“If you remember Xander we also discussed why you shouldn’t be embarrassed of praise”
“Yeah, yeah. But they won’t praise me. We are talking major bruises for the Xandman on the horizon. She might look small but she packs a punch” he said indicating Jacinta. She stopped glaring at her sister slayer and turned her blue eyes on him. “You can’t make me,” he said in a stubborn attempt to get out of it.
Deanna cocked an eyebrow; she had an idea on just how to get him to talk. She shared a look with Seven for a second. The formers eyes widened slightly as she got the non-verbal clue.
“PUHLEASE Xander” Jacinta said with doe eyes.
“Yeah tell us or else” Zandra said with a lascivious expression.
“Nope” Xander said with finality. Deanna nodded slightly in his direction looking straight into Seven’s eyes.
Looking uncomfortable Seven touched his arm to get his attention he looked round at her and she smiled.
“I would be interested in hearing all of the story,” she said in a normal tone of voice but she was gratified to see him cave in quicker than a pile of tribbles.
“Fine, you win” he said holding his hands up. Jacinta and Zandra both shot Seven an irate look.
Deanna virtually beamed at Seven she could sense that the ex-Borg was very happy that he had caved to her and not the others. Not in a small minded way, just a happy way. “Show them the scar first” she ordered knowing that she now had his button as it were.
“You have got to be kidding me”
Deanna just shook her head causing her curls to dance. Cutting her a look Xander sat up straighter, “Fine” he spat and pulled his jersey like top over his head. Seven being the closet was the first to see it and gasped.
Reaching out gently she traced the scar that ran along the left side of his back from the base of his spine all the way to his shoulder blade. It was at least a centimetre thick and stood out on his back still fresh despite dermal regeneration.
Feeling Seven’s soft finger tracing his scar Xander had to repress a delicious shudder at her touch he was also blushing faintly and it didn’t help that Deanna was giving him a knowing smile. He stuck his tongue out at the Betazoid.
Deanna gave a light chuckle while Riker and Data both just smiled both knowledgeable in the world to realise what was going through Xander’s head.
“Come on I want to see” Jacinta said eying Xander’s muscular form, from their angle neither she nor Zandra could see what had Seven in such a tizzy state.
Xander shifted in his chair so they could see and they both let out small gasps of surprise. In the day an age of dermal regenerators scars were a thing of the past. Yet here he was with a huge scar.
“Why have you got a scar?” Zandra asked.
Data smirked, an unusual look for him but he had picked it up from Xander himself, “Now that is a good question”
“OK, well you see, Giles once told me that scars tell the story of who we are. I have always believed that so I kept it as a reminder, that I’m an idiot” he finished with a chuckle.
“No your not” Seven scolded him suddenly realising she was touching him intimately. Her hand left his back and Xander felt the loss keenly.
“So how did you get that?” Jacinta asked waving at his back.
“Would you believe I fell?” he asked hopefully
“I can see I’ll have to take this part” Riker said leaning forward, “We had worked our way through the ship until finally we got to the bridge. Data locked them out of the computer but there was still a heavy firefight. The bridge is hard and difficult to fight your way on to, on purpose; it was designed that way. But we managed to beam a small force onto the bridge”
Riker took a breath and smiled, “We materialised straight into the heart of the bridge. And this man here saved us all. Turns out the Por’aan, the race of aliens that attacked us, have amazing reactions. They also fight with their horns. The leader dived at us instantly but somehow Xander was quicker. He managed to push the captain and I out of the way before Prath, the leader, got to us. Only trouble was he wasn’t quite fast enough. That scar was caused by Prath’s horn tearing into Xander and ripping out a fair section of his skin. He was damn lucky that was all it was, after that we quickly took the rest out but the leader and Xander were locked together on the floor. Somehow, I don’t know how he did it. Xander” Riker paused shaking his head; “Ripped himself free turned round and blasted him with a stun blast. It turns out that the leader had a bead on Data and was about to open fire. Xander saw him going for his phaser and took him out. At the cost of his back!”
“His back?” Zandra asked into the story.
Riker nodded, “The horn tore out a section of Xander’s back, he let us fix that, he only kept the main scar. But then the doctor didn’t give him a choice about that. He was out for the count after all and bleeding to death on the bridge.”
“You’re right you are an idiot,” Zandra told him with a smile.
“Told you” Xander shot back with a grin.
Jacinta got up and swatted him on the arm, “What the hell did you think you were doing?”
Xander shot Deanna an icy look, “I told you. Oh and Ow!”
“So that is why they are giving you the award,” Seven said softly, looking at Xander with new eyes. She had known he was brave and protective but she had never realised just how much.
“Mostly” Deanna replied.
“Mostly?” Jacinta asked with her hands on her hips, “What else did the goof do?”
“You know you are really starting to remind me of Buffy” Xander told her his eyes boring into her for a moment. She backed down slightly holding her hands up.
“Sorry I just worry you know that”
“And this was all in the past, before we hooked up. No doubt I’ll end up doing other stupid stuff, it’s who I am” Xander’s brow creased, “No, wait that didn’t come out right”
“What else?” Seven asked Deanna as Xander struggled with his brain.
She pursed her lips, “He saved my mothers life”
“Saved the ship again” put in Riker.
“Stopped a virus from taking down the enterprise computer” Data said
“Beat a holographic villain” Deanna said
“No way” Zandra said her eyes wide.
“All right, another time yeah. We have training to do” Xander said putting his foot down.
“Annoyed Benjamin Sisko” Riker said ignoring him.
“Fought Worf” Deanna said.
Jacinta looked at her mentor in shock.
Xander just threw his hands up in the air and sat back next to Seven. “I’m guessing no training today,” he said to her quietly.
She shook her attractive head at him wordlessly agreeing with his remark.
“Fought Worf, as in Lieutenant Commander Worf?” Jacinta, the Enterprise groupie, asked.
“Yep, Oh but the funniest thing was Quarks bar. We had to put into to DS9 for repairs after the incident with the Por’aan” Riker began.
“No. You are not telling them THAT story,” Xander said in almost a panicked squeak.
“Oh but I am” Riker said with a large smile.
Xander, without thinking, buried his head on Seven’s shoulder, “Save me” he mouthed at her and found himself treated to the most beautiful twinkle he had ever seen. She smiled and shook her head at him again, she was secretly enjoying the human closeness that was building between her and Xander but was also scared at the same time.
“Please go for it” Jacinta said with an evil smile.
“Ok, he had been in sickbay for several days and was only released on the understanding that he rested. He took that to mean that he should go onto the station and go drinking apparently…”
Just at that moment his Comm badge chirped and he automatically slapped it into activation, “Riker”
Picard’s voice flowed over the communication line, “Number One, Are Troi and Data with you?”
“Good, please meet me at Star Fleet Head Quarters immediately”
“Yes Captain” Riker said tapping the badge again and ending the signal, “Sorry ladies but we will have to continue this another time”
Jacinta pouted slightly but nodded.
Xander saw the officers out with a smile, “Thanks guys. Good to see you”
“And you” Deanna said, “Call anytime, remember?”
“I will, thanks”
“Xander, that offer is still open. Starfleet could use a man like you” Riker said seriously.
“Thank you, but I have… other responsibilities at the moment” Xander said with a small smile.
“Very well, if you change your mind. Either the captain or I will sponsor you personally. Any of us would”
“Thanks, I hope everything is OK” Xander said indicating Riker’s Comm badge.
“I’m sure it is, goodbye” Riker said and walked out.
Xander closed the door with a small smile and turned to find Jacinta right behind him.
“You gave up a guaranteed place in the academy to help me?”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it like that” Xander said but she cut him off with a hug.
“It’s what I do?” Xander said walking back to the lounge
“Now Lets Get Training”
Chapter 4, The Legend of K’thall
Xander flicked through the information that Data had compiled for him, he now knew exactly why Data had been curious. A spate of demonic type attacks had appeared like hives across the galaxy and that, in his opinion, was not of the good.
Unusually he was on his own; the two slayers having decided to go on a patrol with Seven and Maria had yet to come back from her assignation with the ‘Hunky’ guy.
He had to admit a certain worry over if both of his slayers would come back, or more precisely, whether one would kill the other. They had made it appear that it was about him, but Xander knew from experience that it wasn’t, it was the hunter in slayers that made them act so competitive with each other. He had seen it with Buffy and Kendra and then Buffy and Faith. The slayer spirit was an Alpha wolf, and he could relate to that better than anyone other than possibly Maria knew.
If he was right, there would soon be the need for a supreme Alpha because if these reports were adding up to what he believed they did then he would have more than just two slayers on his hands. He knew that the world had seen more than a single slayer and that at one stage all slayers had been activated but this was different. One Slayer per Hellmouth, one Hellmouth per planet if Q was to be believed and Xander didn’t have any reason to doubt him.
It was beginning to give him a headache. Somewhere along the line he would need to travel off planet and try to draw these forces together into a cohesive unit. Otherwise it was likely that all could be lost. He was worried that they would not be able to deal with vampires as they were now. Stakes worked still as did all of the traditional means. But the one time they had tried to phaser a vampire it had merely glowed. Seven had put forward that the demonic energy inhabiting the host was acting as a type of shield but if that were the case why not stop stakes and decapitation.
It made sense to him that in a dimension where a hundred years pass in a single month on earth things would change but other than the phasers not much had changed, they were stronger and faster but then he had noticed that both slayers were as well. It was like there was a cosmic scale out there where evil and good could not be outweighed by one another.
“Not bad for a mere human” an arrogant tone came from beside him.
Xander glanced to his left and found a familiar face, “Q!” Xander said in vague annoyance.
“Hello Alexander, are you not happy to see me” Q said with a huge grin.
Xander stared at him for a few minutes the super being was striking a pose that in the end made the human smile, “That depends” Xander said with his grin still in place.
“Why you are here”
“I suppose you could say I just wanted to check in on you”
“And read my mind?”
“Not something I can help, your simple minds whilst annoying are an open book to me.”
“So that is why phasers don’t work?”
“Actually yes, and of course no”
“Of course, to think I thought you were going to give me a straight answer”
Q just smiled arrogantly
Xander threw his hands up, “Fine, so what do you really want Q”
“Oh, Just This” Q snapped his fingers and the world dissolved into whiteness.
Seven and the two slayers walked into the apartment to find Xander was nowhere to be found.
Xander looked around his new location with the air of someone who was becoming more than a little used to sudden shifts in location. He was standing on a planet, a planet that was barren and desolate; there was a terrible wind and flying sand stung his eyes. He looked at the horizon noticing that there were two distinct red suns blazing over the land. Despite the unforgiving land Xander still thought that it was beautiful in a strange and fierce way.
“Now, just where the hell am I?” Xander asked out loud, he was hoping that perhaps he would garner an answer from Q. Luckily in a flash of light the deity arrived his smug grin fully in place on his face.
“Where do you think?” Q asked with a curious expression, in truth Xander was the most interesting human he had met since Riker.
“I dunno?” Xander replied honestly, although the twin suns were trying to remind him of something, then his mind cleared and he snapped his fingers, “Kling!”
“Bless you,” Q said with a smirk.
“Oh, very funny!” Xander said rolling his eyes.
“Yes, I’m impressed this is the original home world of the Klingon Race”
“No wonder they’re in such a bad mood” Xander said with feeling the wind whipping his clothes around him.
“Yes, they did rather draw the short straw”
“But the planet Kling was destroyed centuries ago”
“Yes, yes it was” Q Agreed with a smile.
Xander boggled at him.
Zandra Cove looked at her sister slayer with a slight sneer, she was brought up not in the upper echelon because such a thing didn’t exactly exist anymore, but she was however quite a spoilt individual and in the last few years a very lonely one at that. She had no concept of the trust that Jacinta had in Xander nor did she fully understand the need that he will be all right. As far as she could tell, Xander may have just slipped out for a while and there was no reason for Jacinta to becoming unhinged.
“But where would he have gone!” Jacinta said in reply to Zandra’s statement that he may be out her voice was rising.
Seven watched with a slight feeling of unease. She knew that the two slayers hated each other almost from the word go. Xander’s disappearance not withstanding they were already strained. Zandra seemed to be a loner and Jacinta had been found quickly and indoctrinated into Xander’s own view of how to do a patrol. That and their mutual dislike was causing the pot to boil. Seven was worried about her friend as well, but had to hide it now behind a cool Borg façade.
“All I’m saying is that maybe he went out, you know for some ‘fun’” she put sarcastic air quotes around the word fun. Jacinta visibly got madder.
“Xander, would not do THAT,” she said stepping towards her sister slayer.
“Sweetie, he’s a man,” Zandra told her with a smirk.
“Xander’s not!” Jacinta said without thinking.
Zandra smirked, “He looked like one to me and a damned nice specimen as well. Although” she paused thoughtfully, “He may be gay, if not then I’m losing my touch” she said with a lascivious expression on her face.
Seven stepped between them when she saw Jacinta’s arm starting to move backwards, ready to deliver a punch.
“This discussion is doing nothing” She said her tone sharp. “We must try to ascertain what happened to Xander” she turned to Zandra, “I realize that you have not known Xander as long as we, but it is highly improbable that he would have gone out without at least letting us know that he had done so.” then she turned to Jacinta, “Becoming angry will not accomplish anything and you know as well as I that Xander wishes you to better learn control”
Deanna, Data, Geordie, Crusher and Riker sat arrayed before Picard in his permanent offices in Starfleet command. They all, with the noticeable exception of Troi, had shocked and fearful looks on their faces.
“Demons?” Riker said with a half smile like he didn’t believe the word that came out of his mouth.
“That is what is being reported Number One” Picard answered crisply, he wasn’t really thinking of the here and now he was thinking back to a dark haired young man standing bewildered on his transporter pad. He looked up and caught Troi’s eye, which unusually was immediately averted. That gave him some pause.
“Are they not a new form of life, perhaps from another dimension such as Species 8472 as reported by Voyager?” Data asked.
Picard nodded, that had been his thought as well, and even though they didn’t realize it a fairly accurate assessment. It was just the dimension they had hailed from was one known to mankind already, it was rammed into their infra-consciousness and hidden away by their upper brain. The thought of it made the mind twist away in fear, the dimension demons hailed from was known as Hell.
Xander looked over at the smug face of Q and pushed the wish to hit it to one side, for now. “So more time travel” he said in a bored tone of voice, although his mind was reeling at the concept.
“No” Q said uncharacteristically straight forwardly, “This is a mere view of the past from a tiny part of the continuum.”
“Sort of like TV for the super being” Xander shot back
Q paused as he accessed that vernacular, then nodded, “Yes, that’ll do as well as anything else for a primitive mind such as yours”
“Gee, thanks you sound like my high school teachers” Xander quipped without much feeling. “So what’s on the box?”
Q didn’t have to even pause this time, he had already ‘downloaded’ the knowledge he would need from before, “Ah, this is a show of much excitement, trails of fie, despair, hero’s and heroines. There’s a great action sequence and lots of fighting”
“Sounds good, what’s the show called?” Xander said with a smile.
“The Legend Of K’thall” Q said enunciating perfectly the difficult Klingon name. To Xander it sounded as most Klingon does, a man gargling barbed wire.
Q nodded to a solitary figure crossing the desert, the scene shifted and Xander saw that the proud warrior was standing upright against the winds; long hair was whipping in the wind and if you ignored the teeth ‘she’ was very attractive.
Xander let out a chuckle attracting Q’s attention; “I don’t believe I said this was a comedy?” he inquired.
“No, its not that its just…” Xander trailed off looking embarrassed and Q started to smile.
“Go on” he prompted wanting to hear what he already knew.
“Why ARE Slayer’s such damn knockouts?”
Maria walked into Xander’s apartment and noticed two things straight away. One, Seven was standing between Jacinta and another girl, and secondly that the temperature in the room was way below normal. The tableau held for a moment as Seven had just ‘told the two young woman off’ as it were; she knew that because she had heard some of it just before entering. However, the two young women were looking at each other as if they wanted nothing more than to rip each other’s heads off. With the memories of a watcher who had at various times in his life seen, two then three and finally hundreds of slayers in action she recognized the stance of the new girl with ease.
“Hello?” Maria said stepping fully into the room, “New slayer?” she asked Seven whose eyes wide-eyed slightly the only sign of shock she allowed herself and then she nodded.
Maria held out her hand to the new slayer, “Hello, I’m Maria Michaels, Watcher”
Zandra cocked her head slightly, looking almost feline, “Watcher? Aren’t you like glorified librarians or something?”
“In a manner of speaking” Maria allowed with a small shrug.
“And what do you know about Slayer’s exactly?”
“Everything, Maria’s the best,” Jacinta said smiling softly at her friend, “She’s the one in the know about Demons and magic”
Having trained with Seven, Zandra knew only too well what the ex-Borg was doing there and now she had a watcher to deal with as well, it was all very confusing.
Maria looked around at the apartment, “Where’s our intrepid leader” she said no hint of sarcasm in her voice. Despite her own newly surfaced memories Xander was still ‘In Charge’ as it were.
Jacinta’s smile disappeared in a wink of motion, “He’s missing,” she said flatly.
“Carmel?” Maria asked logically; the insane vampiress was mad about Xander, literally.
“Who’s Carmel?” Zandra asked.
“Insane vampire that’s got the hots for Xander” Jacinta filled in her fight with the other slayer forgotten for a moment.
“They had sex” Jacinta said, or rather spat.
“Eww, with a vampire?” Zandra said her estimation of Xander dropping sharply.
“She wasn’t a vampire then” Maria filled in.
Zandra smiled, “Yet he still staked her” she said with a slight laugh.
Q looked pleased with himself, “Well for that you have me to thank”
Xander cocked an eyebrow, “Really?” he said unbelievingly.
“Of course, I said to the power’s, I said why not make the slayer a woman, you know what deities are like they took the idea and expanded on it and then stole the credit. But yes, it was my idea”
“Why?” Xander asked interested despite himself.
“You had an ancient Chinese man called Sun Tzu that understood quite well” Q said then waived back to the scene that was unfolding in front of them. Out of the sand had appeared as if by magic ten Klingon’s, and they appeared to be vampires from the fangs and eyes. However the enhanced brow ridges looked much, much more fearful on a Klingon than on a human.
“Man, now they are UGLY” Xander said tensing beside the Q.
“Yes, now that had nothing to do with me” Q told him, “That was all to do with the damn Powers and their strange ways”
Xander stopped the quip he had been about to say and fixed the Q member with a glare, “When you say Powers, You mean the PTB don’t you?”
Q nodded, “I do”
“Those bastards” Xander said with venom in his voice taking Q aback slightly, “I hate how they take innocent girls and make them the front line to a loosing battle like this. Look at Jab and Zan, admittedly they are older than Buffy was when she was called, but they are both innocents really, they’ve not had to grow up too fast, but what about when of them passes then what’ll happen another slayer will be called who will be young and grow up faster than they should.” Xander breathed deeply his rant had taken over his vocal chords for a moment and he’d forgotten to breathe.
Q surveyed the young man before him and nodded, “Yes I agree, but it won’t be like that now. The PTB’s aren’t that bright really, but even they learn. The demons have evolved, become harder to beat and as such slayers have become more powerful to address that balance. But the PTB realized that slayer’s also needed to grow up a bit, personally I think humans all do but that’s just me”
“You can talk” Xander said with a sort of smile on his face, his eyes danced for a moment as he watched the Klingon woman quickly take out the vampires with a flair that was so part of a slayer. She appeared to gargle something and then spat on the dusty remains of the vampires she’d just slain.
Q chuckled and Xander cast a look at him, “What did she just say?”
“Just a quip about the size of their brow ridges”
“Ah” Xander said weakly as the scene shifted around him and the wind died off to be replaced by a freezing cold and stillness.
Zandra was still chuckling as they headed out of the apartment and started to comb through the local hotspots and the last known hunting spots that Marshall and his insane girlfriend inhabited.
Then four hours later they arrived back at Xander’s apartment and even Zandra was showing signs of worry. She had known Xander for the least amount of time of any of them, but she liked him something about him spoke to her and he was obviously a kind and generous man who would die for his friends. Whilst that was not something she normally cared about, her normal care was just how much she could ‘enjoy’ a man.
She wasn’t a man hater as such, more that she really only saw one use for them, personally. Xander was different and she knew that instinctually. So even she was perturbed. Jacinta however was beside herself.
They walked into the apartment to find that someone, in fact two someone’s were already there.
They were standing outside what looked to be an old fashioned tavern complete with straw littered across the floor. Xander knew this because they were following the Klingon slayer in. Xander found that his eyes were drawn to the strangely beautiful slayer’s rear as she walked and Q stifled a laugh. Klingon woman exuded a powerful sexuality that even he had found alluring at times; add to that the power of the slayer and you had a heady combination.
The fact that this particular slayer was one of the most powerful of all time and was the namesake of the legend of K’thall only added to the attraction, not that Xander knew that Q realized but the effect was obvious. He knew that Xander was attracted to strong women and slayers were nothing if not strong. He hadn’t been lying about it being his idea either. He knew that in battle against a demon a slayer would need every advantage and as vampires and some other demons took human hosts, well you got the baggage along for the ride as well, like hormones.
Q elbowed Xander gently snapping the young man back into a world that was not NC-17 rated. “Want to meet her?” Q asked innocently.
Xander frowned, “I thought you said that this was like TV”
Q smirked, “I lied, you get used to it”
Captain Picard quirked an eyebrow with an almost amused air about him as he surveyed the new comers. It was quickly lost as he recognized one of the assembled beauties. “Seven of Nine?” he asked his rich voice curling its way across the room.
“Captain” Seven, said inclining her head slightly.
Troi sidled up to her captain, “I didn’t have time to mention that it seems Xander has made more friends since arriving on earth, Seven is just one of them”
Picard did smile at that, but quickly drew himself back to business, “We’re looking for Alexander Harris”
“Who?” Zandra said before she could stop herself, “Oh Xander, seems we’ve got more in common than I thought” she muttered with a smile.
“Xander” Troi filled in not hearing Zandra’s mutter, although she could feel the amusement coming from the Mars native.
“Xander is not available at the moment, he is, away, on business” Maria said quickly.
Troi frowned and Picard noticed, he knew what that meant, it meant that for whatever reason the woman who had just spoken was lying and not covering it well at all. The ultimate diplomat he smiled graciously, “I see miss?”
“Mrs., Michaels, Maria Michaels”
“I apologize Mrs. Michaels, we are friends of Xander’s”
Jacinta pointed a little shakily, “You’re Captain Picard” she accused.
Picard smiled at the young woman and nodded; “I am…” he trailed off.
“Jacinta Bali” she supplied.
Picard once again smiled knowing that her name meant essentially ‘Beautiful Warrior’ he turned his attention to the dark haired woman who had spoke earlier.
“Zandra Cove” she supplied, reacting to his powerfully commanding aura. Jean-Luc Picard was a man accustomed to having his orders carried out to such a point that he didn’t need to order, or in some cases speak, his wishes.
Jean-Luc smiled, “Cove, one of the Martian Cove’s Perchance?”
Zandra groaned slightly but nodded so Picard nodded at her, “I know your mother” he said simple, telling her nothing of what he thought of her mother or not.
“You have my condolences” Zandra said bitterly.
Picard ignored that and turned back to Maria, “It is vitally important that we speak with him at once”
“I’m sorry he is out of contact” Maria said and from the corner of his eye Picard saw Troi nod so slightly that he doubted anyone else could see it.
“Would you know when he is likely to return?”
“I’m not sure,” Maria said sticking as close to the truth as possible.
“That is unfortunate” Picard said his voice gaining a much harder edge. He wasn’t sure what was going on but he felt that someone he personally owed his ship to was in danger and he wasn’t about to let that slide. In a flash a phaser had appeared in his hand and Troi who had read his intension was also armed.
Xander looked at Q with annoyance written on his face, it was becoming a familiar look. “So what is it then”
“Well” Q said his hand waving around slightly, “Think of it as Interactive TV”
Xander frowned, “Aren’t we in danger of creating a panama, or something”
“Paradox, and not exactly”
“What do you mean, not exactly?”
Q smiled and brighter men than Xander would have run for the hills, “If you don’t talk to her then yes it will cause a paradox as we’ve done this before and shall do it again”.
Xander clasped his hands to his head, “I think I’ve got a migraine already”
Q patted his back condescendingly, “There, there don’t think too much about it, your monkey brain really can’t cope”
“Monkey?” Xander said straightening up.
“Well, Ape” Q said with an uncaring shrug.
“Oook” Xander said with a silly grin.
“Very droll, now are you going to talk to her or are you going to end the universe as we know it?”
“Great Scot” Xander replied laughing but sobered at Q’s glare, “Alright already, sure, but I don’t speak Klingon”
Q quirked an eyebrow, “Don’t you” he said as white-hot and lancing pain suffused through Xander's mind.
“Ow” Xander managed when the pain subsided, “Don’t do that again, at least without warning me first”
“Why, where would the fun be in that? Your face was a study” Q said leaning nonchalantly on the bar.
“You could have just abracadabra’d a Universal Translator you know!”
Q pondered this for several long moments then shook his head, “No this was more fun. Now I suggest you go over before she leaves”
“There’s still the problem of not being Klingon”
“True, but you look it” Q said a full length mirror flashing into existence showing Xander in full warrior garb complete with a ridged forehead and teeth pointing most ways but directly down.
Xander gave a long-suffering sigh and walked over to the Klingon slayer.
“Hi” he said, hoping that he was speaking Klingon.
A pair of blue eyes met his from their inspection of a tankard of ale. They were amazingly deep and held several lifetimes of memory all of them dark and unpleasant from the tone. The eyes glared at him fiercely for a long moment before turning back down to study the depths of her tankard.
“Can I buy you a drink?” Xander pushed.
K’thall moved in a whisper of clothes and a blink of an eye. A very sharp and very jagged knife was firmly placed against Xander’s genitalia and a strong hand was wrapped around his throat.
Xander smiled his lopsided smile, which on his Klingon face looked truly terrifying. Then the blade of his own knife that he’d drawn almost on reflex tapped the inside of K’thall’s thigh.
Her almost luminous blue eyes looked down and then up and when they latched back onto Xander’s they were dancing with mirth.
Picard looked positively frightening when he was on the warpath, something that not a lot of people saw and most wanted to avoid ever seeing. He was known as a diplomat the federation wide and the Federations enemies knew that under the guise of a peaceful politician was the soul of a warrior. It was one of the many reasons that the Klingon’s trusted and liked him, the Romulans had come to respect him and the Cardassian’s and Dominion had learned to fear him. At this moment in time that same fear was being engendered in Maria, Jacinta and even Zandra. The only one seemingly unaffected was Seven; her cool composure had not slipped a micron.
“Now, I’ll say this once and once only. I want Xander returned to me, unharmed, immediately.” Picard said with a rough commanding voice.
“No, wait, you’ve got the wrong idea” Jacinta started to babble.
Troi hesitated knowing her captain well but deciding that situation warranted a little unethical behavior, “She’s telling the truth about that”
Picard nodded just once, “Well then what pray tell is the correct one?”
Maria stepped forward slightly but was brought up short but the twitch of Picard’s hand Phaser. “We’re friends of Xander” she began.
“How so?” Picard asked, curiosity starting to overcome his anger slightly, he was feeling that these people were not a threat but all the clues pointed to the opposite.
“He works for me at the Library in the University Of San-Francisco” Maria said simply.
“I go to college with him” Jacinta supplied.
Seven cocked an eyebrow declining to comment.
Zandra smirked, “We ‘helped’ each other out,” she said putting all the spin into the word ‘helped’ that she could.
Picard didn’t look impressed, “So, where is Xander if you are not holding him”
Maria looked a little shamefaced, “We don’t know, we’ve searched the city for him, all the usual places he goes and so far no sign of him.” She admitted think, ‘Where are you Xander?’
Another beer, or ale, or whatever the hell it was, was tossed down his shirt when K’thall slapped him on the back. So far they had downed about three-dozen ales, or at least she had and Xander had spilt all but three of his, but still it was powerful stuff and he felt decidedly, drunk.
“And then I said to him, come back in the day” Xander said laughing and K’thall slapped his back, yet again and laughed loudly. He hadn’t had much to do with Klingon’s; mostly he didn’t get on with them that well at all. But then normally he supposed he didn’t get them, but he felt he got K’thall. He knew slayers and it seemed non-human slayers were basically the same.
They had swapped stories back and forth all night eventually getting to the point where he got her to admit what she hunted and to her amazement and enjoyment he didn’t laugh at her, he knew what she meant. That had caused the lonely slayer to open up to him in a way that she’d never opened up to anyone.
She slopped back another drink and waived over the barman to set more up. By now Xander was starting to look more than a little worse for wear and he was feeling more and more inebriated by the second. The fact that every time K’thall batted him on the back his vision swum wasn’t helping matters at all.
“You, I like you X’ndr” K’thall said suddenly her smile turning predatory.
“Yeah, I like you too ‘Thall” Xander said, just.
“Come, let us get to bed,” she proclaimed suddenly.
“Yeah, I must admit I feel a little sleepy” he said as he was thrown over her shoulder.
K’thall smiled a truly feral smile, “Sleep, who said we’d sleep?”
Xander’s eyes snapped open, “Q! Help!” he shouted as he was carried away.
Picard sat down on the sofa his eyes intent his mind whirring along like a Swiss clock as he encountered scenarios and rejected them, or filed them away to deal with in a moment. He was a highly structured man with flair. He was tactically brilliant as well as occasionally showing flair when dealing with the most humdrum of missions. Basically he was damn good at being the captain of the flagship and he turned that talent to finding a solution to the problem of a disappearing friend. No one had seen him since earlier that day and none had heard from him in the time since. That meant that he could have been snatched either straight away or some time later. That left a large margin too large for Picard to like. There was also another problem, no one really knew who or what he was and Picard trusted the security of his own staff. That left Starfleet command, a worrying thought, or the people in front of him; one of them could well be a spy for perhaps the vestiges of the founders. But why Xander, he had no special skills, well none that could be used against the Federation.
He mental ramblings were interrupted by a voice that appeared to be coming from the middle of the room, where there was of course no one.
“Q, you son of a bitch get me outta here” Xander’s voice said.
“X’ndr are you not interested?” a feminine voice asked in Klingon? Sounding very confused.
“Sure, Sure, of course I am ‘thrall” Xander answered in Klingon sounding a little worried.
Then the sound of an all too familiar laugh and Xander appeared in mid air before falling down to the ground with a thump. Xander managed to push himself up and swore fluently in Klingon cursing Q parentage as well as Q himself.
Then he was covered in a Jacinta blanket.
Several hours had past and finally Picard had managed to speak to the man he had come to see after getting all of the salient facts from Xander on why Q was toying with him, or at least the version that Xander spun for him fully shielding himself almost unconsciously from Troi and because of that she didn’t know he was lying. The fact the still watching Q was also subtly blocking her also helped a great deal.
Then it came to crunch time, Picard had asked him for help. He wouldn’t and couldn’t give Xander the details of the mission only that it would more than likely last only a short while.
Xander had been on the verge of saying no when Maria read his intention.
“No, Go, we’ll be fine” Maria said fixing him with a stern look, “help your friends I know you want to”
“I agree, If Starfleet needs your help then you should go, things will progress in your absence,” Seven said backing up Maria. Jacinta then also assured him that she’d stay safe even though she wasn’t happy at the thought of losing touch with him for any amount of time. Zandra had just smirked and nodded.
He was still going to refuse, but then Xander felt a whisper in his mind, a whisper with a voice he knew only too well, Q.
[Go, dear Jean-Luc will need all the help he can get] said the whisper.
Xander finally nodded his consent. He was then allowed a few moments to gather a few personal belongings and then transported into an artfully decorated office.
Xander turned and faced Picard with a bemused expression, “Ok, what’s up doc”
Picard frowned slightly but mentally shrugged off the strange expression, he’d got the gist. “I must warn you that this is considered highly secret, Omega Black”
Xander blanched slightly, he knew from his earlier dealings with the Enterprise what Omega Black was, it was left over from the war with the founders it meant that this was considered a very real threat to the Federation if it were to get out as it were.
“I thank you for your trust” Xander said simply.
“Computer Initiate Security Protocol Omega Black and Run Picard Omega 36” Picard said indicating that Xander should sit at the desk. He himself sat behind the desk and Troi off to one side.
“Trust is the issue here Mr. Harris” Picard said formally causing Xander to wince and Troi to do so in sympathy as the emotional content caused by the name overran his natural shielding.
“How so Captain?” Xander asked also becoming formal in the face of Picard's stern expression.
Picard fixed Xander with an intent look, “When we first met you mentioned something that I still remember”
Xander shifted in his chair. Picard pushed on, “Demons” he said flatly causing Xander to glance at Troi, just a flittering glance but still a telling sign. Picard turned to his councilor and fixed her with a gimlet eye. “Councilor?”
Troi looked uncomfortable, “I am bound by the Hippocratic oath in some things Captain as you know” she looked at Xander, “It was not I that suggested talking to you, the captain has a remarkable memory” she said by way of explanation.
Xander sighed knowing that he had unwittingly let the proverbial cat out of the bag. “Oops”
Picard’s eyes narrowed, “Need I remind either of you that this is a matter of federation security and possibly safety?” he said sternly.
Xander smiled, “I’ll talk, as long as you promise not to lock me up”
“I reserve judgment on that”
Xander leant forward creating a steeple with his hands, “There has been a spate of strange attacks across the known planets of the Federation. I know this because I asked Data to check for me. There have been a number of rescues also, have there not?”
Picard nodded warily, that, was not widely known and not in public archives. “Why did you ask Data to check?” he asked. Leaving the knowledge of secure federation issues for one moment.
“Because I worked it out”
“Worked out what?” Picard asked his voice level but anger starting to grow a cloud above his baldhead.
“That the demons are coming back, and its not just earth” Xander said after a moments pause.
Picard didn’t bat an eyelid, “Demons?” he asked slash stated.
“Yes and with them are” Xander paused not really wanting to risk his friend’s exposure but knowing that they had to, “slayers”
Picard did react to that, “Slayer’s?” he asked covering his reaction with an ease that meant Xander missed the look of surprise in his eye. It was not, however, missed by Deanna Troi.
“Tell me Captain,” Xander said with a large smile, in his minds eye he saw bottomless blue eyes full of laughter and life, “What do you know of the legend of K’thall?”
Chapter 5, Section 31
Xander watched the stars streak by with awe and wonder it would never cease to amaze him, he hoped, that people could now travel faster than the speed of light. The display caused by the warp bubble was in itself amazing but the thought that since they were at Warp nine that meant that he was currently moving along at 1,516 times the speed of light made him giddy almost. That was 1.63 ‘Trillion’ Kilometers an Hour he could be across this sector of space in 5 days and cross the entirety of the known federation in 66 years, which may sound a lot but it was 10,000 light years across. Xander had to admit to himself that it was simply astounding.
He felt rather than heard Guinan appear behind him and a smile crossed his face as he turned to face the hostess of Ten Forward.
“Hello Guinan” Xander said, after the episode with Q and her he had been a regular of Ten Forward and the serene hostess had taken a shine to him. Knowing what he was there for was of an instant attraction to the long-lived alien. She had seen and done much in her time and had visited earth on occasion, even during Xander’s time.
“Xander” she said her voice like honey dripping from the pot. It was a voice of comfort and soft enough to ease a weary mind. Xander was suffering from that somewhat. He had been doing some research since Q’s last visit he learnt that somehow his disappearance had caused the legendary warrior to become even more legendary as it were. She searched for his killer, for that was what she saw it as, but it was to no avail. She lived for nearly 80 years, quite short for a Klingon but a long time for a slayer. She died at the hands of a master vampire called, T’roth. A vampire that then banished itself to another planet feeling that its honor was served by killing the slayer. Of course it was legend but Xander knew that some of the facts were just that, facts and not just hearsay and supposition. He felt strangely sad for her, she had been quite an influence on him as well and the hours spent swapping stories had endeared her to the dark haired human. Comrades in arms, the Legend of K’thall was from a time that was around the same time that he had first walked the earth. Which meant that she had been alive when he had died, or whatever had happened to him. That tugged on his heartstrings, a lot, he kind of wished that he’d allowed himself to be dragged off to that bedroom, given her some peace some relief from the pressures of battle, at least for a short while.
“You seem so sad” Guinan said surveying the young man closely.
Xander nodded, “I kind of lost a friend” he said his expression a little confused.
Guinan took a seat folding her robes around herself she settled her face on her hand and cocked an inquisitive eyebrow. Xander smiled slightly but his heart wasn’t in it.
“Tell me about it” Guinan prompted and Xander almost refused then realized that he was with one of the few people who would understand and believe. He sipped his drink and began his story.
Marshall smiled wickedly and dropped the carcass of his latest kill down to the ground. He smacked his lips with satisfaction when he saw that his band of merry men was almost done. This was, to date, his most ambitious and daring plan ever.
He walked across the subtle beige floor, now stained with blood and tapped a few commands into the arm console of a large centrally placed chair. Then as the lights flickered and came on he sat down in the chair and cocked a leg over one arm of it.
“Computer” he said aloud his raspy voice cutting over the din of feeding vampires. “Authorization Code Nine Delta Three Thompson Omega One” he said using the code he’d been given by his latest child and the commander of this vessel.
“Ready” the computed, said after chirping for a few moments.
“Transfer Command Codes to me now”
“Confirmed, Captain Boyd is now in command of NX-1902”
Marshall beamed at the ceiling, “I LIKE how that sounds” he paused swinging round in the chair idly for a moment before snapping his finger, “Computer, Change designation to the dripping fang Authorization Delta Two One and remove from all federation database as per Standing order 90020, Authorization 624821 X-ray”
The computer paused tittering to itself for a moment as it accessed the main database on the moon where it looked up the protocols asked of it, finding that they were in place it checked the Authorization codes and found that they were in use and current as well as being correct. It then put in motion a worm that would go through the main computers and remove all mention of the ship. It was a unique code that had been created by a special section of Starfleet that few knew about and less even dreamed would exist. It was a section that had a lot of power and influence as well as perfectly placed spies. It was also a section that was now one member down from death caused by extreme blood loss.
Once the worm had been active and the computer had confirmed its actions it reported back. “Confirmed Captain Boyd, NX-1902 has been removed from the database and current designation is ‘The Dripping Fang’”
Marshall gave a toothy grin that had fangs in it, “Boys, we got ourselves a pleasure cruiser”
There was applause and shouting as the SteamRunner Class vessel pulled out of space dock without challenge, pre-cleared to green across the board the vampiric crew took away one of the fleets smallest but deadliest ships and disappeared.
Guinan looked at her young friend with concern he seemed to be taking the legendary tales of K’thall very seriously, but then thanks to Q he had been there. He seemed to blame himself for something that he wasn’t quite willing to divulge to her, but she had an inkling as to what it might be. After all she was from a race of listeners. She had also been alive for a very long time, that sort of experience fills in the gaps in a conversation. ‘Damn that Q’ she thought to herself, not for the first time. As the Q went he was actually a champion for mankind, and a bit of a hero in his own right. He also had no concept of right and wrong, at least, most of the time. She and he didn’t get along and they had their reasons for that, but in one thing they were united. Demons could not rule the universe. They would either wipe out humanoids all together which she suspected was their plan, or they would keep a few alive to use as slaves.
Some people might think it stupid for demons to kill of a source of food, especially vampires, but once the full demonic influence was unleashed there would be no need for them to feed. They would be sustained by the demonic energies that would pore out of the many opened Hellmouths.
One of the things that stood in the path of that slavery or inhalation was the young man sat before her now, looking for the entire world like he’d lost his best friend. She knew from his story that he’d actually only spent a scant few hours with K’thall and she knew from some stories that he really didn’t seem to get on with Klingon's. Although now it appeared he just didn’t get on with some.
“You wanted her to have some peace?” Guinan said seemingly out of the blue.
Xander looked at her startled for a moment before giving her a chagrined smile and nodding. He had learnt quickly not to underestimate the hostess.
“Klingon's, by their very nature are warriors Xander, they do not have the same feelings towards things as you or even I may have. You cannot allow yourself to project your own feelings and emotion onto an alien species. It just doesn’t work. She would not have found peace, you have heard about Klingon mating rituals?” she asked with a smile.
Xander shook his head, but he was also thinking about what Guinan had said, was that what he had been doing? Had he been ascribing human emotions to a non human, if so he shouldn’t have he knew that. At least he realized it now. He knew enough about Klingon's now to realize that some lived for battle and K’thall had been one of them. But the darkness that occasionally flashed in her eye spoke of a pain that he knew only too well. Then his mind caught up with what Guinan had said. “Mating Rituals?” he asked with a slight smirk.
Guinan smiled back at him, “Not many non Klingon's can, how shall I say, survive them intact”
Xander blanched slightly, “Ah” he said then smiled, “Perhaps it was best that it didn’t go any further?”
Guinan nodded sagely, “Although some humans like it, as do other species. Klingon woman are highly sexually charged.”
“I’m not a real fan of the rough stuff,” Xander said grinning a bit.
“To each their own” Guinan told him.
“I agree” Xander answered and turned his mind towards his mission.
Guinan read his shift in focus, “Deep Space 9, I heard you had an interesting time there last time we visited”
Xander shot her a lopsided grin, “I see that rumor still flies at Warp 10”
“But of course, so what happened to get Worf mad at you?”
“Well, I’m still not entirely sure about that to be honest, bit of a blur that blue stuff is pretty damn powerful”
Guinan smirked, a look not often associated with the serene woman, “Romulan Ale, yes quite strong would cover it quite well”
“Mhmmm, boy did I have a hang over, I thought it was synth”
“No, real alcohol, and about 100% depending on who brews it. Romulans are made of sterner stuff than humans”
“They must be, but I’ve not yet met one”
“They like to keep to themselves”
“That may not be an option anymore” Xander said his voice grave, “We kind of need everyone on the team”
“I hate to say this and I really do HATE to say this, but that will never happen. You can’t get everyone to think the same way you do about this. Some like the Romulans and Cardassian’s will not want outside influence on this. The best you can hope for is to try to keep the key closed and the others will not open either.”
“About that, back home just before I left I met another slayer, human, from Mars”
Guinan nodded, “Ah, You will find it a good idea to keep a hold of that one as a spare as it were”
Xander’s face showed slight distaste, “A spare”
“Not quite what I meant, but she won’t be needed on Mars, not to protect its Hellmouth anyway”
“There are vampires there”
“From Earth and they won’t stay”
“Why? And How?”
“I’ll answer those backwards, how do I know?”
“My people are very long lived, I know many stories and I’ve heard many things myself but when I was young I heard the story of Mars from one of the oldest of our kind”
“They won’t stay on Mars and your second slayer won’t really be needed there because there is no Hellmouth on Mars anymore”
Duck, sweep, jump, kick, punch, parry, counter, feint, right cross the moves flowed out of Zandra as she followed the moves to the form that Seven had taught her. Xander had told her she could stay at his apartment whilst he was away and she’d taken him up on it. So Seven had been training her. At first Zandra hadn’t expected the woman to be able to even keep up, let alone teach her anything, but she had been surprised, much to Jacinta’s enjoyment and humor.
For the first time in her life she was finding she was better at something than her mother or father. Growing up as the child of one of the most famous admirals of Starfleet and the most powerful businesswoman of the federation left one feeling a little inadequate. Now she had something that was hers. She was working hard to make sure that she was the best she could possibly be. That also was a first for her, normally she wasn’t one to bother but this was different she could feel the drive of the slayer spirit within her, pushing her to greater things. She liked how that felt; it was so much better than sitting around in her apartment or shopping.
She back flipped several times working her way across the room feeling the exhilaration of just being able to do it. She had the skill of an acrobat and the strength of ten Klingon's. She stopped and balanced perfectly breathing easily and evenly. She held herself still for a long moment almost meditatively being still feeling the room around her. She could sense that she was alone, that she knew already. If she concentrated she could feel the life going on around her and she knew that when vampires were near she could feel them; like a punch to the gut. She lowered her arms to her side and relaxed her poise breathing out a long breath as she did so.
Then she shook off her muscles and started stretching. Even slayer’s needed to cool down, even if a torn muscle did heal within the hour. Still it saved the pain, or worse the danger of a failing muscle during a fight.
Maria had treated her well, taught her about being a slayer. Zandra was amazed to find out that she had the memories of a watcher of her line from 400 years ago. It was also strange to find out that Xander was from that time and had been brought here from the moment of his ‘death’. In fact it was almost creepy, but that didn’t mute her like of him. He seemed to be a nice guy in all the ways he could be although she had been told in passing that he was known to have quite the temper.
She decided that she would actually quite like to see that. There was also the very real value of seeing Jacinta annoyed if she pissed of her beloved Xander. Zandra smiled; yes perhaps she could make this interesting around here once he got back.
Xander looked at her in shock, “No Hellmouth, but I thought every planet had one”
“No, not every planet only most and I didn’t say that Mars had never had a Hellmouth” Guinan said in a low voice.
“Go On” Xander urged her.
“The story goes that once Mars was a planet much like your own earth, vibrant and alive. It is also said that it is where humans originally came from, or a much older version of your race. But eons ago the Hellmouth was closed, killed in fact by their slayer, the resulting chain reaction and explosion killed them all and devastated the planet to the lifeless rock it was until your race terraformed it.”
“I’ve never read anything about that,” Xander said with shock evident in his voice.
“I’m not surprised, due to my own race being virtually wiped out I doubt that anyone but I knows”
“Wow” Xander said his eyes wide with surprise.
“You’re the only person I’ve ever told and ever will. I hope that you’ll keep that to yourself as well. Its ancient, and I mean ancient, history”
Xander nodded he couldn’t really see the point of telling people, other than stopping them from killing the Hellmouth. “What about earth’s Hellmouth”
“During that time on earth it was dormant on a natural cycle, it is after all a thing a nature”
“Can we kill it?”
“I doubt that, it’s the oldest and the most powerful, even if you could; would you want to?”
Guinan nodded. “Indeed, but since there is no Hellmouth a vampire won’t want to stay because of the lack of demonic energy; they can of course survive without it, but they just don’t like to”
“Mr. Harris, Please Report To The Bridge” Picard’s rich voice rang out across the intercom jostling Xander’s attention from the hostess.
“I’ve gotta go” he said standing in a fluid motion.
“Goodbye Xander, come and see me again anytime” Guinan told him with a soft smile as she too stood in a rustle of her gowns.
Xander smiled at her and virtually bolted from Ten Forward.
Seven walked past the card flashing her ID as she did so and punched in the code to gain access to the level she required. As a non-Starfleet member she had only the minimum clearance available, but she had allowed herself a little more through some judicious use of Borg intellect and knowledge of computer systems that was second only to the Binar. Not that she needed that extra clearance for today; she had been invited to a coffee and a chat with an old friend.
The brown haired woman sat behind the large desk was seemingly too small for it. She was slender and not very tall, but she held herself in such a way as to appear much larger. The woman noticed Seven’s arrival and looked up with a smile on her face. “Seven, glad you could make it” Janeway said.
“Thank you Ca… Admiral”
Janeway grimaced slightly, “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that,” she said.
Seven looked confused, “It is a good thing, promotion, is it not?”
“Yes, just somewhat unexpected” Janeway admitted, “It takes some getting used to. Although I’m already wishing that they hadn’t done it”
Seven took a seat that Janeway had waived to, “Why?”
“Voyager, they’ve given her to someone else” Janeway said, looking truly sad, nostalgic almost. “I’ll miss her”
“She was a good ship,” Seven agreed.
“She was home for seven years”
“I was not there that long” Seven corrected her with a lift of her eyebrow.
“No, I know that seven, but you were still one of the family and still are”
Seven nodded hiding a slight smile, “Thank you”
“So” Janeway said putting aside the data PADD she’d been working on, “how are you?”
“I am well”
“And your friend what was his name…”
Seven narrowed her eyes slightly, knowing that her captain didn’t have anything approaching a forgetful mind, “Xander”
“Harris, Alexander Harris”
Janeway nodded, “Yes, made quite the name for himself with some very powerful and important people hasn’t he”
“I believe he is well liked, yes”
Janeway studied her very closely for a moment, “Seven, I’m not sure how to ask this”
“Ca… Admiral you can ask me anything”
“Thank you” Janeway said with an honest smile, which disappeared as she pierced seven with her steady gaze, “What is your relationship with Mr. Harris”
“Xander” seven corrected, “hates being called Mr. Harris” she said with fierce loyalty, a loyalty that only the closest to her knew she possessed, those such as Janeway.
Janeway’s lips twitched, that response had almost been answer enough, “I apologize, Xander then?”
“He is my… Friend”
Janeway’s lips twitched again, she nodded and her expression became grave, “There are some who believe Xander to be a traitor to the Federation”
“What, Xander, never, Why?” Seven positively blustered.
Janeway nodded again. “There is a new threat seven, and I’m breaching about a hundred protocols telling you that, a new threat that some believe to be worse than the Borg, species 8472 and the founders rolled up into one”
Seven’s massive intellect came into operation at those words but it didn’t take long to compute what her ex-captain could be talking about, “I know” she said simply gaining a very surprised look from Janeway, “I take it you mean those that call themselves Vampires, or demons?”
Janeway’s eyes widened and the flashed almost sapphire, “Computer lock down this office Omega Black Protocol”
“Working…Confirmed” the computer’s female voice intoned.
The Enterprise, Bridge
Xander stepped out of the turbo lift with a sure step and showing none of the strange feeling of anxiety that Picard’s stern call had engendered in him. As he stepped out he nodded to data who was at the Con, and Riker who was sat next to the empty captains chair.
“The Captain is in his ready room” Riker supplied with a friendly smile.
“Thank you commander” Xander said formally despite the fact he called Riker will in private he knew the importance of rank and order especially on a ship ran as well as this one. He stepped smartly over the ready room and hit the chime.
A few seconds later a crisp voice called back, “Come”
Xander walked into the ready room, the doors sweeping out of his way and then swishing to a close behind him. He felt trapped all of a sudden.
Picard stood tugging down his jersey in a move jokingly called the ‘Picard Maneuver and turned to the replicators, “Earl Grey, Hot” he glanced at Xander, “Anything?”
“No; thank you captain”
Picard collected his beverage from the maw of the machine and sat behind his desk, “Please be seated,” he said indicating one of the comfortable chairs at the opposite side of the room from him. Being that it wasn’t a big room Xander was still easily close enough.
“So what can I do for you Captain?” Xander asked forcing some cheer into his voice, he had a strangely bad feeling about this. Was it one of his friends, or was something else?
“Xander, I’ve just had a worrying communiqué from Starfleet Headquarters. Pertaining to you”
“Really?” Xander asked with confusion etched across his brow, “What have I done to upset them?”
“It seems some factions of the council believe that you are not what you appear to be”
Xander frowned, “Huh?” he said stupidly, “I’m just Xander” he said earning himself a rare smile from the captain which flickered across his face to be replaced by a very stern expression.
“Some believe that your arrival on my ship at a time when the attacks started is just a little too coincidental”
“Captain, can we cut through the bull here, what am I being accused off exactly”
“Treason against the federation” Picard said his tone so grave that there were sounds of shovels.
“Treason!” Xander said bolting straight out of his chair and standing. He started pacing back and forth, “Why? What? How?”
“All good questions, Why because it is believed that you are only pretending to be a man from the 2000 and that you are in fact in collusion with the enemy and have merely been sent here as a distraction. Some believe that your information is flawed and that you are trying to mislead us.”
Xander sat and ran his hands through his hair and then looked back into Picard's eyes, “I’m not, but then there is no reason for you to believe me now is there”
“Oh, My Dear Xander I do believe you, it is not I that we need to convince. You have my full support and the support of my entire command structure”
Xander smiled that would explain the non-protocol friendly smile from Riker. “Thank you captain, that means a lot to me”
“That does however leave us with the problem of the federation council Admiral Cove is not impressed…”
Xander cut him off, “Sorry did you say Cove?”
“Yes I believe you know his daughter” Picard said with a twinkle in his eye.
Xander smirked, “Something like that. Is that it?”
Picard shook his head, “No, No, I truly believe he believes what he says, he is head of a section of Starfleet and the federation that has little reason to trust others”
“Ah, the diplomatic corp.”
“Very droll, no not the diplomatic core, Section 31”
Sevens eyebrow hitched skywards. She could detect the force field that had sprung up around the room. There was also a dead feeling to the room that made her realize that there was some sort of sound dampening field across it.
“What do you know of that?” Janeway demanded her voice hard.
“The Borg have encountered many such varieties of demons, Vampires are merely one type,” Seven said succinctly.
Janeway relaxed back into her chair slightly, “I see, but the question remains of how you knew about them being a threat, now, and the full story if you please” her head titled to one side inquisitively, there was a wry smile on her face as if she suspected she knew the answer.
“I met Xander in one of the university libraries, he recognized me we talked and I found out he knew Lt. Commander Data. I wished to speak with the Commander and Xander took me to meet him properly.” Seven looked slightly nervous through the normally impenetrable Borg façade, “In discussion with Data it was suggested that I study Xander to learn more about human interaction. We agreed that he had a talent for dealing with his fellow humans and it was thought that I could learn much from him. Correctly as it turned out, however, that evening I was invited to a club, the Diablo” Janeway winced slightly, “Yes that one. I was there the night that the gang on drugs got out of control. It was not narcotics that changed those men, they were vampires”
Janeway steeple’d her hands, “How does Xander fit into this, exactly?”
“It was Xander that reacted quickly and saved three other women and got them out of the club it was he who gave me a stake and told me what to do with it, despite the fact I already knew of course.”
“Three?” Janeway asked her eyes dancing slightly.
“Yes, one of whom is the slayer” Seven said once again causing Janeway to become more than a little flustered.
Janeway covered as quickly as she could, “The others?”
Seven arched both her eyebrows, “Can I take it from your reaction that you do indeed know what a slayer is?”
“A slayer? I was led to believe that there was only one”
“Per planet” Seven corrected
Janeway nodded, “I see that would make sense from the data that’s been coming in”
“Other attacks, similar on a host of different planets reports of a super strong individual saving people?”
Janeway nodded smiling, “I try never to underestimate you Seven it’s just that sometimes I just forget”
“It is not I, you are underestimating”
“No, it is Xander, it is he who collated the information”
“I would like to have a talk to Xander, where is he now?”
Seven’s eyebrows shot up quickly, “You don’t know?”
Janeway regarded her guardedly, “Should I?”
Seven’s expression became confused, “Being an admiral of the fleet one would have thought so, considering the Enterprise is under your control”
“He’s on the Enterprise?” Janeway asked incredulously.
Seven nodded, “He is”
Janeway smiled, “That Picard has some cheek, I know he’s my senior in both time and experience but one would have thought he would clear taking a civilian on an Omega Black Assignment with me wouldn’t you”
“You do not seem that angry” Seven pointed out.
Janeway’s smile grew, “I suspect that this is a Section 31 matter”
“Section 31?” Seven asked wondering how neither she nor the Borg had ever heard of that reference before.
“Until last year they were a very, hush, hush, part of Starfleet completely autonomous they went their own way. After being uncovered they were pushed into legitimacy and have some very powerful supporters. It’s the only way that they are still in business. However, the fleet is split right up the middle on this one. Some agree with Section 31 how believe that we should be more militant and the others do not.”
Janeway looked thoughtful, “I’m not for military action if there is a diplomatic solution to the problem, and I do believe that force does have a time and a place, but it is what happens when all other options have been followed and failed.”
“And Captain Picard, what side is he on”
“The same, he has always been very vocal on that point”
It was Seven’s turn to look thoughtful, “That would be most excellent camouflage would it not”
Janeway looked thoroughly disturbed by the thought but nodded, “It would be indeed”
“It would also explain why he took Xander without informing you when you view is as it is”
Janeway nodded again, “Why would he want Xander?”
“Xander has knowledge on the demonic threat that would be useful I know that the Borg tried for a long time to learn of the Demons strength and speed, perhaps this Section 31 believes that it could have military applications”
Janeway looked at seven sharply, “Does it?”
Seven shook her head, “No, the Borg were unable to ever successfully incorporate a demon into the collective, they are simply too dangerous and disintegrate when killed”
“I see” Janeway said slowly and then suddenly stood up, “Then I think perhaps myself and Picard need to have a little chat”
Seven nodded expecting to be dismissed she stood.
Janeway cocked her head at her, “Where are you going?”
“You are about to contact Captain Picard?”
“No, I’m going to see Caption Picard in person, this is to dangerous for comms. Will you join me you experience and knowledge on demons would be useful if not your knowledge of Xander”
Seven nodded straight away, if Xander was in danger she wanted to make sure that he would be out of it as quickly as possible, “I need to make a call”
“Feel free, this office is as secure as it can be, especially under the Omega Black protocol. I have to arrange transport”
The Enterprise, Bridge
Picard studied Xander closely; having just explained about section 31 he was very interested in the younger mans reaction.
“That’s just wrong, you guys have to power to squash down anyone you want, if you went, military what would there be to stop you becoming dictators, overrunning the Romulans and the other non-aligned races. The federation as I understand it is built on mutual respect and trust to have a military Starfleet you would loose that trust and respect would only be of the sort that bullies get”
Picard smiled inwardly, that wasn’t far from his own thoughts on the subject. Outwardly he simply nodded, “I agree”
“So why do they want me?”
“This treason stuff is smoke screen and mirrors, even I can see that”
Picard really did smile now, “Not many can”
“What, it’s obvious, I’m a nobody all I have is my knowledge of demons and I know from before that military types are very interested in demons. Ha, they should’ve met Glory”
Xander smirked, “Yeah Glory, airhead hell goddess, well she was hot and all but she was also totally gaga”
“Yeah, Buffy kicked her ass in the end”
“Buffy?” Picard said as if tasting the word.
Xander’s face shifted into neutral, he didn’t like talking about Buffy it hurt too much even now. He had also maintained the secret of his two female friends the slayers. He had let on he knew about slayer’s and that had been what captured Picard’s interest. All Xander knew was that he was going to DS9 to meet someone; he felt he knew it was a slayer but he wasn’t sure of that, yet.
Picard noticed Xander closing up and redirected the conversation slightly, “So are there any military applications for the demonic race”
Xander quirked an eyebrow and a lopsided smile, “You still don’t really get it do you Captain? There are thousand of different races of Demon, if anything they are a genus, not a race. Demons are not like anything you’ve faced before captain I guarantee it. I know that you are a diplomat and I respect that more than you know, however, there is no diplomacy with demons, there are no shades of grey. Its kill or be killed”
Picard was looking at him sternly, “I do not agree with that assessment Mr. Harris, I could never agree with that”
Xander’s eyes seemed to become dark as he looked into the older mans eyes, “Captain, I know I’m stepping outta line here but please listen too me. You and your crew are my friends. Please listen to what I say and know that I mean it. I fought those things for 5 years of my life before coming to this time, since then I’ve carried on fighting them and I know what I’m talking about. There is no peacetime in this war; 400 years were just a rest, not a truce. I cannot and will not watch a demon bleed you dry or in some other way drain you captain, not someone I consider to be a friend.” Xander sat back from where he had learnt forward in his speech his eyes still intent and Picard was almost, hypnotized by their intensity.
“Xander, I assure you I will not let anything happen to this crew if there is anyway I can prevent it, nor you and I thank you” Picard said earnestly.
“That’s more than good enough for me captain”
“Then that will be all for now Xander, we’ll talk more when we reach DS9 for now I suggest that you rest”
Xander nodded and was given leave to do just that.
Chapter 6, Sisko’s Kid
Xander had done what the captain had suggested and had slept away the remaining journey, he had slept so well in fact that he was woken by the slight jolt of the docking clamps engaging the outta skin of the Enterprise. He dressed just in time to be paged to join the captain and the other command crew meeting the stations commander Captain Sisko.
Riker leaned over to his young friend as they walked down the long corridors of the enterprise on their way to the docking port, “I hope that you’ll try not to break anything this time” he said with a laugh in his voice and his eyes dancing merrily.
Xander favored him with an old fashioned look, “It wasn’t my fault it was woof”
Riker laughed gaining a look from his captain; he smiled in return. “It’s ‘Worf’ although your insistence on calling him either Rover of Rex and occasionally Woof may have been what eventually made him mad enough to hit you”
“I’m just glad I was too drunk to really notice” Xander said with a grin.
“Personally I’m surprised you managed to stand up”
“When you’ve fought the things I’ve fought, well, Klingon's aren’t as scary as all that”
“I’m not sure I’d like to meet one” Riker admitted with a shrug.
“Good, that’s a good attitude” Xander joked back at him. “Hey he’s not going to be here is he?” Xander said suddenly worried.
“Don’t worry, Worf is now the Ambassador for the Klingon home world”
They reached the docking point and it was time for business so Riker straightened up and became his professional face whilst Xander tried to stand a little straighter and prepare himself for what he was sure would be an interesting visit.
As they stood facing the large doors on the other side was a nervous Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko, one Bajorian commander Kira Nerys, a calm Odo and a wryly-amused Doctor Julian Subatoi Bashir. They were gathered to meet with their important guests that they all had dealings with in some way or another, especially after the last visit. There was only one among them who would be disappointed that a certain young man was not likely to be with them and that was Bashir who’d enjoyed the young mans company when he’d spent some time in sick bay after his now legendary fight with Worf. Odo being the one who had eventually broken up the fight at Quarks would only be too happy to never see him again which was a similar feeling from the others. There had been a meeting before this greeting party in which it had been jokingly mentioned. So one can imagine their surprise and disappointment when the huge docking doors of the Sovereign class ship retracted and lifted to show that among the expected faces of the command crew of the Enterprise was none other than Xander Harris.
Sisko was the first to recover his calm, “Captain Picard”
“Captain Sisko” Picard said feeling slightly uncomfortable as he always did around the African-American man whose life he, or rather the Borg, had shredded.
The two men shook hands as the two command structures greeted each other, Xander hung back as far as he could trying to make himself invisible, he wasn’t particularly proud of his conduct on his last visit to the station and he knew that he’d certainly not made any friends, with the possible exception of Bashir and Ezri Dax who he noted was suspicious by her absence.
Finally he could avoid it no longer and had to step out of the shadows and join his friends and the people with whom he had disgraced himself. “Hi” Xander said carefully, “Captain Sisko, Major, Constable” he said nodding to each in turn gravely and trying to be a credit to his friends, “Hey Jules, sorry Doctor”
“Xander good to see you” Julian said stepping forward and shaking the young man warmly by the hand. After he had shaken for a moment he was steered away by a stern looking Sisko.
“What are you doing back here” he said, his breathless voice flat and not friendly.
“Mr. Harris, is a special envoy of the Federation he has expert knowledge that we have need of Captain Sisko” Picard said stepping between the two, figuratively speaking. Xander smiled his thanks to the captain and then put out his hand. The station commander looked at it for a moment and reached out to shake. Then he tugged on it slightly and put his mouth by Xander’s ear. “I trust you’ll not be attacking my officers or trying to destroy my station on THIS visit Mr. Harris”
“Eh, I hope not” Xander said and the grip on his hand increased slightly, “No, no of course not Captain”
Sisko smiled, “Excellent!” he enthused back to his normal self a smile lighting his face up, “Then welcome to my station Mr. Harris”
“Shall we adjourn to a more private setting” Picard said to his fellow captain.
Sisko looked into the elder mans eyes and saw the need reflected there and nodded. “My office should suffice”
“I’m sure it will be more than adequate,” Picard said setting off at a brisk step. As his brother captain pulled level with him he said two words that turned Sisko’s world upside down. Only two people outside of star fleet knew what they meant and they didn’t want to.
En-Route To DS9
Seven paced the quarters or her friend and mentor, they were en-route to Bajor with all possible speed and were only a few hours behind the Enterprise itself. They were on a prototype ship that was both one of the fastest and most unusual of any that Starfleet had designed. The USS Prometheus cut through the space like the proverbial knife through butter but it still wasn’t fast enough for Seven. Her feelings of concern for Xander’s welfare had grown in the long hours they had journeyed, as they are wont to do. There had been little she could do except to talk to her ex-captain and current admiral about the demonic threat and she hadn’t liked telling her what she had. Star ships were not the way to fight the Demons; it was hand- to-hand, tooth to claw. Phasers, at least hand phasers didn’t work, no normal weapons appeared to have an effect on demons vampires included. Stakes, Beheading, Holy Items and Holy Water and finally Sunlight, those were the options she’d been able to give her captain. Humans were so beyond that now that it wasn’t funny but they had to re-notch their minds into a crossbow and fire it back into the dark ages.
“Seven, sit down you’re making me dizzy” Janeway said finally.
Seven stopped abruptly and sat down on the edge of a chair, “I apologize Admiral”
“Seven, you’re not strictly speaking in Starfleet, you can call me Kathryn”
A flash of the Xander virus choose that moment to show itself, “I’m not sure I could actually Ca…Admiral,” Seven said with a slight smile.
Janeway looked a little shocked for a moment but covered it with a throaty chuckle, “Then if you wish by all means call me Captain, I prefer it to Admiral anyway. I think Admiral sounds kind of stuffy don’t you” Janeway admitted with a sly grin.
Seven smiled and nodded slightly she then became more serious, “What is our ETA?”
“Last time I checked with Captain Styles it was Three Hours, I can check again if you like?”
“No, thank you, that will not be necessary I’m just…worried”
“I can see that,” Janeway paused her lips pursed slightly, “When you said that Xander was your friend that wasn’t fully accurate was it?” Janeway said carefully.
Seven blushed slightly giving Janeway her answer clearer than any words could. “I…I…” Seven paused huffing angrily, human relationships and her own parts in them were not her best subject it was all confusing and embarrassing and slightly annoying to say the least. Added to that was the fact that she had been badly burned on more than one occasion and then Chakotay… She wasn’t in the best place when it came to admitting her feelings for Xander, whatever they were.
“Suffice to say, he is important to you” Janeway said letting Seven off of the hook slightly. Seven nodded gratefully.
“We’ll get him back Seven, safe and sound”
“I hope so Captain, it is not just I who he is important to”
Janeway gave Seven a carefully guarded look at that point, she was trying to figure her friend out and find out just how Xander Harris fitted into the picture, she wasn’t sure of that and nothing Seven had said had made it any more clear.
DS9, Sisko’s Office
The office held a note of expectancy as all eyes turned on Sisko. He had just relayed the story of his meeting with Kae'Farl and the subsequent findings of his investigation. He had talked with the religious leaders of Bajor and had found out some worrying facts. For a religion that was built up around the prophets they had a very interesting view on Demonic Kind. Their oldest texts, which considering that Bajor was space born whilst humans were still in caves was very old, described demons and the Kae'Farl, ‘Slayer’ in ancient Bajorian and the name of all of the slayers since they had been discovered millennia ago. The Bajorian race was OLD capitals included and had learned the hard way to understand the demonic threat. This conviction had been passed on to the Emissary and who just happened to be Captain Ben Sisko.
Xander was impressed; they were a society of watchers, basically. At one point up until about 400 years ago large parts of their religion had centered on the slayer. But here instead of the slayer being a tool, they were treated with respect and reverence. Not, Xander noted, that it stopped them sending the slayer to perform their sacred duty. At least they had a little more back up than the ones on earth had, had and for that matter more than the Klingon's and many of the other races he’d researched on the way here.
Picard cleared his throat, Sisko was an amazing orator and had held them spellbound throughout his tale and the room had been silent from the moment he’d stopped speaking up to Picard’s throat clearing.
The dampening field jury rigged by O’Brien made the noise all that much louder for its solitude from outside influence.
“Thank You Captain” Picard inclined his head towards his junior. “I have been sent here to assess the possible threat of a demonic incursion to that end I would appreciate a discussion with Kae'Farl if that could be arranged”
Sisko pursed his lips, “I think I could arrange for you to visit if it was with me, my status as emissary lends me a little latitude and trust”
Picard nodded, “That would be excellent, however, I also require that Mr. Harris join us”
Sisko looked surprised for a moment but it was soon replaced with thoughtfulness. There was a long pause before he finally spoke, “I believe I ‘may’ be able to arrange that, however it will be difficult”
“I have full faith in your abilities Emissary” Picard said reminding Sisko of his swing.
Sisko smiled slightly and nodded knowing that Picard was still the senior officer here and in charge of the situation especially under an Omega Black Protocol.
10 minutes later and Sisko had proven his worth yet again and He Picard and Xander were on their way down to the planet.
DS9 Outer Ring
The docking hatch hissed open and Odo and Kira watched stunned as a woman with an Admirals bar on her neck stepped out from it with Seven in tow.
“Hello” Janeway said pleasantly, “Good to meet you again”
“Admiral Janeway, what a surprise, we were not told of your arrival” Kira said with a slight sign of nervousness. Starfleet Admirals didn’t just appear without some form of warning. Certainly not so soon after a senior captain had arrived, no there would be some sort of connection of that Kira was sure. “What can we do for you?”
“Yes, I wish to speak to Captain Picard and Captain Sisko”
“I’m sorry they are down on the planet at the moment, but I understand that they will not be long” Kira told the admiral.
“I see, then I will need to arrange transport down to the planet”
“I am sorry, but they have gone to one of our most holy places, strangers are not normally allowed there, if not for the emissary…”
“I understand, then perhaps there is somewhere I could find refreshment?”
“Quarks…” Kira said before stopping herself, Quarks was no place for an admiral.
“Ah yes, didn’t get to see it before though Harry sounded like he had some fun” Janeway said with a smile that was as disarming as it was dazzling. “Please lead the way,” Janeway had found that an Admiral’s bar opened doors that Captain pips could never hope to, such as causing the famous Kira Nerys to look nervous. Odo was looking as unflappable as he always was and she had heard many good things about the constable in her briefings on the Dominion wars and all that had happened whilst she’d been away.
It was during that briefing that she had found out about Section 31.
They walked swiftly to Quarks and Janeway sat herself down at a table near the entrance.
“Would you like a drink admiral” Kira asked the Starfleet officer her normal composure fully returned to her.
“Why, yes that would be excellent, do you suppose they have coffee?” Janeway said once again with that dazzling smile.
“I’ll ask, and for your friend?” Kira asked and seven shook her head, “if you’ll excuse me?” Kira said.
Janeway merely nodded and looked to find that Odo had disappeared, “Well, the constable seems to have taken his leave of us, not much for protocol is he?” Janeway asked rhetorically with a smirk.
Xander looked at the huge gate with a slight feeling of anticipation, he was very interested in meeting the Bajorian slayer, and this would make it something like the seventh slayer he’d ever met. It something that not many people could say and probably none that had met slayers from other planets. It was becoming more and more obvious to Xander that there would need to be a more galactic form of the watchers council in order to keep everything running smoothly. Guinan’s advice not withstanding he hoped to get as many races involved, as was possible. That alone was a gargantuan task and one he knew that he was not ready for.
Sisko walked up to the gate raised one large fist and brought it down with a resounding clang of metal. The sound reverberated around the courtyard for a long moment and then they were met with silence. Then slowly the huge doors started to swing backwards with no sound whatsoever.
After a few moments the gates were open far enough to show a slender Bajorian male with bright and intelligent eyes. “Emissary” the man said walking forward and creating Sisko warmly.
“Bai’ma, My friend how are you this fine day?” Sisko said with a smile. He had spent a long time speaking to the Bajorian; he was in Xander’s parlance the slayer’s watcher.
“I am well, thank Emissary, you have come to speak with Kae'Farl once again, with your friends? She looks forward to seeing you again, it appears you have impressed her.”
“I’m honored that she likes me,” Sisko said with a warm smile. He turned to Picard loosing some of his smile in the process, “Shall we captain”
“After you captain,” Picard said carefully.
Sisko turned back to his friend the smile back in place. “Lets go see the kid,” he said. Bai’ma nodded and turned to lead the way.
Xander stepped closer to Picard and lent into the elder man, “What’s with you and Captain Sisko?” he asked, hoping he wasn’t over stepping the bounds.
Captain Picard looked at him for a long moment and knowing that the young man was well versed in the Enterprise’s history he said one word, “Loqutous”
Xander’s eyes darkened but held sympathy and some empathy, they had both been taken by a alien force into their systems and made to do things that they would never normally dream of, Picard’s had spanned planets and an entire fleet being destroyed, but Xander had almost raped the love of his life. It was debatable which was the keener pain.
The walked through the large compound and Xander’s expert eye picked out several things that would help with the training of a slayer and allow them to keep fit. Thee were also several plush rooms that they had walked through which could only be for recreation and Xander’s personal opinion of the Bajorian people started to rise sharply. It appeared, on the outside at least, as if they looked after their slayer.
It was too long until they found themselves in an inner courtyard that held a kick bag and something that resembled a kung-fu training dummy. There was a woman of around Xander’s age if not slightly younger working the dummy with an expert’s flair. Her dark brown eyes were totally focused on the dummy and the strikes that she was placing onto it. Xander noted with wry amusement that she was highly attractive with elfin features and athletic figure. She was wearing what to Xander looked like slacks with sandals and her long dark hair was flying around her face.
“Oh yeah! She’s a slayer all right,” Xander muttered with a smile.
“Kae'Farl” Bai’ma called softly to his charge.
The slayer stopped dead and stepped back from the dummy shaking out as she did. Her dark eyes then focused on the visitors and a smile graced her face when she settled on Sisko. “Emissary it is an honor to receive your visit”
“Kae'Farl” Sisko said with a smile, “I’ve brought some friends with me to visit I hope you don’t mind?”
“Oh no, I like visitors” Kae'Farl said with a girlish smile. She turned her attention on Picard first but he noticed her eyes did often slide to Xander.
“I’m Captain Picard, Kae'Farl it is a honor to meet you” Picard said his rich tones floating over the slayer and making her feel comfortable almost straight away, but her eyes kept sliding to the dark haired man standing slightly back and to one side of the other captain. There was a feeling of familiarity to him that was both strange and attractive.
Picard almost smirked as he noticed where Kae'Farl’s attention kept going to but held himself with the practiced ease of a long command career.
“Kae'Farl!” Bai’ma said sharply gaining the young females attention
“Sorry Bai’ma” Kae'Farl said with a slight smile.
“This” Sisko said with a dismissive waive of his hand at Xander, “is Mr. Harris, he is a federation expert”
“Really, Mr. Harris what are you an expert in?” Kae'Farl asked the man directly.
“Call me Xander” Xander told her with a lopsided grin that Kae'Farl found herself returning.
“Xander then” Kae'Farl prompted.
Xander paused unsure what to say in mixed company then smirked, “So I understand you’re quite the fighter, Sisko says you saved his butt”
“I was only doing my holy duty” Kae'Farl said slightly shocked at the young mans irreverence towards the emissary.
“Show Me” Xander offered.
“I beg your pardon?” Kae'Farl asked in confusion.
Xander’s smile grew out of its lopsidedness into a full and maddening smirk. “Show me that you can fight, a spar?”
“Xander, I’m not sure this is wise,” Picard said in a sotto voce.
Xander fixed him in the eye and smiled, “Trust me”
Kae'Farl looked to her mentor who seemed to shrug, if the human wanted to be beaten into a pulp then let him he seemed to convey to her. Kae'Farl didn’t have a problem with that the smirk on the humans face was starting to get on her nerves anyway. Finally she nodded and stepped into the cleared area of the courtyard that formed a good-sized boxing ring.
Xander nodded back and took of his jacket and flopped it down to the floor with an audible rattle as the stakes held within the pockets bashed together. Bai’ma heard the noise and eyed the human with growing interest.
“Mr. Harris!” Sisko said finally unable to contain his anger further, “Last time we met you were up on charges for attacking an officer on my station, do you really wish to make matters worse by calling out an important Bajorian holy person?”
“This is a spar, not a fight” Xander said simply slipping off his boots, “Besides, if she’s what she says she is I won’t be able to hurt her” he finished cryptically but everyone there was able to guess exactly what he meant and Sisko turned surprised, to Picard, who smiled slightly and nodded, thus showing that Xander had his trust and support. Bai’ma was looking very closely at the young human know not knowing what to make of what he’d said, from his discussions with the emissary he knew that earth seemed to have no knowledge of the curse, demons as they were known on Bajor, and to his knowledge they seemed to have no such thing as a Kae'Farl, which itself was Bajorian for slayer as well as the title for the position.
Xander stepped into the open ring and rolled his sleeves up smiling at Kae'Farl. They started to circle each other and Xander was pleased to note that at least this slayer seemed to have some self-control.
Kae'Farl watched the human’s eyes and was surprised to see almost affection in them as they warily circled each other, then to her surprise; he started to talk to her!
“So when were you called?” he asked darting in and testing her defenses before backing away to the edge of the ring again.
Kae'Farl smiled and relaxed a little enjoying the feel of a non-life threatening spar for a change, “About three months ago” she said and launched a side thrust kick to Xander’s mid section. He hitched his body to the left allowing her to pass by as he spun away from her he nodded to himself it seemed so far that the Hellmouths were becoming at around the same time.
“So, how many vamps you staked?” Xander asked as Kae'Farl recovered her equilibrium and circled again.
“I have not kept count,” she said primly.
Xander smirked a feral smirk at her, “Yeah Right!” he said snapping out a punch that was blocked and parried with a forward kick that almost got him.
Kae'Farl smirked back at him, “It is true I do not, Bai’ma does, isn’t that right Bai’ma!”
“It is Kae'Farl, the number is around 20 so far” Bai’ma said with a laugh in his voice, this was turning out to be a highly entertaining sparring session. So far the two contestants had both shown no weakness in style of concentration. He had to admit that as Xander actually blocked a punch he was quite impressed with the young mans technique and style. He’d managed not to be hurt by the sheer power that Kae'Farl had shown in that last strike.
Sisko watched the display with no small amount of trepidation, this could become a diplomatic nightmare if Xander actually managed to hurt the young woman, which he doubted, he’d once seen the slender girl utterly destroy the Bajorian equivalent to a cinder block. Although he was fighting much better that he’d thought Xander was capable of, after all the fight with Worf had gone on for longer than most would expect, so he knew the young man could fight and well, but the control he was showing now far out stripped what had been described to him. The strange thing was that after the fight and after Xander had gone Worf admitted to liking the young man, something about him being a truly worthy warrior. Sisko supposed that now he could see that.
‘Time to up the odds’ Xander fought to himself and started to speed up and strike harder gaining a slightly startled look from the Bajorian slayer who reacted in kind. Pretty soon Xander was moving at full speed and had pressed the slayer back slightly but the fire was in her eyes now and THAT is what Xander had wanted to see. To check if she had that fire that he knew only too well, he’d seen it in every single slayer he’d ever met, no matter what the species. He also knew that one that fire was there the fight was essentially over, IF she was a good enough fighter.
The training that he’d been doing with Seven had paid off in spades and he was a far superior fighter to what he had been. He set up a combination and moved as fast as he was able, Thrust punch, spin round house with his left the wheel kick the other way with his right leg then he finally dropped to ground and swept the surprised slayers feet from under her. She was down for all of a nano-second before kipping back up and nailing Xander with a single punch that sent him to the other side of the ring.
Xander stood up and wiped the blood from his lip with the back of his sleeve, “Not bad, not great, but not bad” he said with a mocking tone of voice.
Kae'Farl growled low in her throat despite feeling elated and moved back into the fight.
Bai’ma sidled up to Sisko and Picard, “This young man is very strange, he fights well but it appears that he is trying to purposely anger Kae'Farl.” Bai’ma paused and smiled slightly, “That is not a sensible thing to do”
Sisko chuckled, “I would think not” he turned to his fellow captain with a slight smile, “He’s your envoy, what is he doing?”
Picard smiled thinking about what he knew of the young man, he knew that he’d fought demons in his ‘past life’ and that he knew of slayers. It wasn’t much of a leap to assume that he’d fought alongside slayers, this Buffy being one of them. If that were the case then he would know how a Slayer’s mind ticked, which was fine except that Kae'Farl was not a human and as such could not have the same attributes ascribed to her. “I assume he’s trying to goad her in to using her skill without holding back” he said finally, “Will it work?” he asked Bai’ma, the man who knew Kae'Farl best.
Bai’ma smiled, “Oh, I should think so, the Kae'Farl tend to be very fiery according to our records although this Kae'Farl seems to be quite cool and level headed”
Picard frowned slightly, “Sorry I had thought the young ladies name was Kae'Farl, but is that not true it is a position perhaps?”
Bai’ma nodded, “Yes it is, all Kae'Farl are called Kae'Farl as both their given names and then as a title, it is said that the spirit of a Kae'Farl is passed down from one generation to the other, we on Bajor have seen only on at any time, when one died another was called, and so on. The name Kae'Farl is in fact an honoree”
“So what is the kids real name?” Sisko asked.
“Kiranna” Bai’ma said with a wistful smile. “We only use it in private and only if she needs comfort”
“Is see” Picard said thinking that he did indeed see very well, Bai’ma was the girls support system, her father and mother rolled into one, “What of her family”
“She was an orphan, but often when Kae'Farl are found they are taken from their homes and protected and trained here, it is a great honor to the family of course”
Picard nodded thoughtfully but was cut off when a frustrated sound of annoyance came from the fight. He looked over to find the slayer was on her back looking up at a smirking Xander. Xander himself looked a little worse for the wear and Kae'Farl had not a Scratch on her. She ignored his hand and kipped back upright almost snarling her eyes fixed on Xander. Xander, Picard noted, looked as focused as he had ever personally seen him despite the smirking and jokes. He was unsure of the point to this little sparring session but it was at the least entertaining.
The slayer bounded forward with a flurry of moves that Picard had a hard time following and eventually Xander was forced back to the opposite side of the makeshift ring. Then using his own move against him Kae'Farl swept Xander’s legs away from him and dumped him on the floor. Xander didn’t stop fighting though and used his flailing arm to sweep Kae'Farl’s own legs from under her. She landed with an ‘Oooff’ right on top of him. She looked down into her dark brown eyes for a long moment panting until finally she showed that something’s about slayers are universal as she shot him a feral smile and kissed him full on the lips before getting up in one smooth motion and disappearing out of courtyard a definite skip to her step.
Xander let out a throaty chuckle and forced his aching body, in more ways than one, into a sitting position. He turned to the stunned and amused audience and focused on Bai’ma, “She needs work on her reaction time, and she’s a sucker for leg sweeps. Perhaps you should look into teaching her a little of earth’s Aikido or Kung Fu, or what ever your Bajorian equivalent is and not concentrate on the more power centric styles. Just because she’s a slayer doesn’t mean strength will also win out.” He said then stood in one fluid motion smiling at the slightly stunned Bajorian holy man.
“Other than that she’s damn good, you’ve done well with her”
Bai’ma nodded dumbly, “I try my best and we have some of our best fighters here to help train her”
“Good, she’ll need it” Xander said with finality to his tone that was undeniable.
Romulan Border, The Neutral Zone
Marshall looked at the angular features of the Romulan with what could be mistaken for a smile, it was however anything but a smile. He glanced down and smirked at Carmel who was curled at his feet with her head resting on his leg murmuring, what he didn’t want to know though he suspected that he did.
“What do you think babe” he asked, more out of curiosity to see if she would actually answer him than any interest in her opinion. The comms were currently silenced, as he wanted to rattle the annoying Romulan
Carmel’s eyes suddenly lost their unfocused blur and sharpened into twin orbs of evil intent, “Eat him, eat them all, they’ve got a hidey hole and I want it for our new toy”
Marshall lost his smirk and focused on her with a curios cross between respect and fear. He knew that there was a cloaking device on this station it had taken several huge bribes to find out that information, however Carmel, didn’t.
“OK, Babe good idea” he said still looking at her carefully then he turned back to the screen and waved to Vinny who was manning comms, then he fixed a smile on his face that was not friendly, but more along the lines of terrifying.
Star Fleet Head Quarters
“I want to see her now!” the dark haired man roared scaring the young lieutenant into almost an early grave. He was a powerful man and the lieutenant was only too painfully aware of this as she saw her career in star fleet going up in flames around her.
“I’m sorry Admiral Cove, Admiral Janeway is out of the office, I’m afraid she didn’t tell me where she was going”
Admiral Cove visibly calmed himself and then shot the young female lieutenant a charming smile. He was still at nearly 50 a very handsome man his dark hair still mostly the black it had always been except for the flashes of silver at his temples. His dark blue eyes twinkled at her the lieutenant before nodding, “I’m sorry, it’s been a long day lieutenant, and I apologize for shouting. Perhaps you could find out why she left so suddenly.”
Lieutenant Standings smiled at the handsome elder man feeling much more relaxed and thoroughly charmed she nodded and went through the admirals schedule for the day. “I’m sorry sir,” she said shaking her head, “Just before she left she was down as meeting with an old friend of hers from the Voyager, Seven Of Nine, then oh…”
“What is it?” Alex Cove said leaning forward
“I’m not sure sir, but there is a blank in the security tape”
Alex Cove, current Director Of Section 31, frowned, “Really, let me see” he ordered putting command into his tone.
The lieutenant moved aside and he punched in his own authorization only to find that the blank stayed blank. That in itself was almost enough to tell him what had blanked out the video feed for security. He also noticed from a quick scan of the building automated management system that there had been an extra draw of power for almost two hours. He flicked up the roster for ship departures and smiled in triumph, the Prometheus had been taken out on a little test. He knew for a fact that the Prometheus Class was fully tested and was already in duty. With a further drawl through the system the admiral was almost convinced he knew that Admiral Janeway had left the planet on that ship. Lieutenant Standings stood, forgotten as he sat and started to really dig around. He glanced up at her and flashed a smile, “You may go lieutenant, have a coffee break or something”
“Yes, Sir” Standings said and turned neatly on her heel and left the office thanking the gods that she still had her commission. She had heard stories about what happened to people that crossed Admiral Alexander Cove.
Janeway smiled at the Ferengi as he finished regaling them with the story of the best bar fight he had ever seen in his bar. Seven was also smiling slightly which just made Janeway smile even more. She didn’t know much about Xander Harris but she liked him already. Whatever there was between Seven and He there was one sure thing, he was a positive influence on the once dour ex-droid.
“So now ladies, can I perhaps offer you a Holosuite, we’ve got some new relaxation programs in from Ragalis 2?” Quark asked with a slight leer that was as much a part of him as his lobes.
“No, not today thank you” Janeway refused graciously, “But I would love another cup of that excellent coffee”
“Certainly, certainly, I got it in from brazil on Terra, it’s a excellent choice, of course you shouldn’t ever feed it to a Binar” he said indicating two figures in the far corner who were rapid fire speaking and waiving their hands around excitedly.
Janeway cocked an eyebrow at seven to find it mirror there and a delicious twinkle in the former Borg’s eye as well. Then Janeway cracked a smile at her friend, “So how do you like earth?” she asked.
“It… is, different,” Seven said slowly, “There are many people there and it is all so… Chaotic”
Janeway chuckled, “Yes, I suppose it is rather. I had gotten very used to being on voyager even with the almost weekly dangers we faced it was more home than home.”
“Its strange is it not that we fought for so long to get back and yet, we were most at home onboard the very thing we were trying to escape” seven said with a slightly raised eyebrow as she cogitated the thought from every angle.
Janeway’s lips twisted into a wry grin, “That’s human nature” she said finally with an expressive waive of her arms.
Just then her Comm badge chirped and she automatically slapped it, “Janeway” she stated
“Admiral, you asked to be informed when our guests came topside” Kira Nerys’s voice informed them.
“Thank you Commander” Janeway said using the Bajoran’s Starfleet rank rather than her Bajorian one. “Could you ask Captain Picard and his ‘guest’ to meet me, say do you have a meeting room somewhere private we can use”
“Of course, and I shall inform the Captain straight away, Admiral”
“Shall We” Janeway asked her companion whilst standing.
Seven nodded, “Yes, we shall Captain”
Picard sat across from Sisko with Xander at his side when the call came through from the major. Sisko thanked her and then cocked his head at Picard a question obvious.
“Interesting” Picard, allowed himself as he settled back slightly to wait for the admiral to arrive. It wasn’t often that a Admiral of the fleet came out to speak o your personally and certainly not in person with no advance notice. He wasn’t entirely certain what she would want to talk to him about.
Xander looked between the two nervously feeling the sudden tenseness from his friend and worrying for him. He had liked Janeway when he’d met her, of course back then she’d been a captain. It was possible her rise had effected her, but he found it hard to believe of the straight forward and likable woman he’d met at a party to celebrate her return to earth after seven long years in the delta quadrant.
They didn’t have to wait long before there was a knock at the door and it swished open to reveal not just Janeway but Seven as well.
Xander shot to his feet and went to his friend with no thought of protocol and engulfed her in a hug, “Hi, Come here often?” he asked a now smiling Seven.
Meanwhile the two captains faced a new admiral with blank expressions of the outranked. ‘I used to do that’ Janeway thought wryly to herself, ‘now people are doing it to me!’
“Gentlemen, please be seated, Seven?” she asked with a smile.
Seven suddenly remembered where she was and stepped backwards quickly as Xander lost his grin and focused on the Admiral. “Kathryn” he said carefully, there was a tangible feeling of something not quite right in the room and it was grating his nerves.
Janeway smiled warmly, “Mr. Ha… Sorry, Xander, good to see you again”
They all took seats and arrayed themselves around Sisko’s large desk. Janeway had refused the captains chair instead opting to sit next to Seven, which left Picard where he was with Xander between him and Janeway.
Janeway looked at Sisko thoughtfully before finally deciding that it wouldn’t hurt to have a witness that she hoped would be impartial. “What are your thoughts on Section 31 Captain?” she asked the stations commander.
Sisko looked thrown by the question but anger soon entered his features, “I’m afraid Admiral, that I don’t like them much”
Xander shared a look with seven a silent communication passing between them it showed them both that they both knew what section 31 was and its aims and notoriety.
Janeway’s blue eyes lanced Picard to his chair, “And you Captain?” she asked her voice carefully modulated to show no interest in the answer.
“I can’t say I’m much of a fan. May I enquire as to the reason behind these questions?”
Janeway virtually ignored him and looked at Xander, hard.
Xander held his hands up in a mockery of surrender, “Alright I’ll fess up I was that masked man on the grassy knoll and section 31 put me up to it”
There was a resounding silence from the other members of the room and Xander once again cursed the futures lack of anything resembling pop culture reference humor. “I don’t like them” Xander said his face now having lost its smile was serious, “I think that they are trying to get at my knowledge” he said cutting through the bullshit that this century seemed to love, the diplomacy and intrigue, “Now Admiral what do you think of Section 31?” he asked finally.
The starfleeters were slightly taken back by the straight-laced Xander asking such a direct and abrupt question of an Admiral. Janeway, however, was unfazed. “I’m against” she stated flatly her voice leaving no room for misinterpretation.
“Why are you here Admiral?” Picard asked finally
Janeway smiled slightly, “I could ask you a similar question”
“It was under your orders that I shipped out Admiral” Picard said stiffly.
“I didn’t order you to take a civilian aboard, nor did I authorize such a thing”
Picard became stiff as a board, “I was under the impression that a Captain was aloud to make decisions as to crew compliment and if necessary for that captain to take a civilian along, if they are an expert in the subject in question”
Janeway held up a slender hand to subdue the now angry captain, “I am not impugning your decisions Captain, but I was… Perturbed to find that you had taken, this particular expert, considering the subject that he is an expert in.”
Xander shot a puzzled look at Seven who nodded to show that she’d been the one to tell her ex-captain. Xander shrugged slightly then smiled to show he didn’t mind. The ex-Borg relaxed letting out a breath she hadn’t consciously realized she had been holding. She had been worried that Xander would be angry with her for giving away one of his secrets like that. Thankfully it appeared he was not.
Sisko looked between Picard and Janeway in confusion before looking back at the young man sat between them, both physically and figuratively speaking.
He cleared his throat and caught their attention, “Just what is it that Mr. Harris is an Expert of?”
“That is an Omega Black protocol matter,” Janeway said.
“Captain Sisko, has already been informed of that, and is cleared for that level of security by Admiral Neychav” Picard told her crisply.
Janeway nodded and then smiled. “Of course, Captain Sisko then I suggest you ask the man himself”
Xander glanced at Picard to see that he too nodded so he turned his attention to the African-American Captain.
“Hello My Names Xander Harris and I’m a Slayer-A-holic”
“The Dripping Fang”
Carmel wandered through the corridors with seemingly, no rhyme or reason to her direction her dress flowed out behind her as she moved like a specter of death. She’d eaten well back at the Romulan outpost but she didn’t really like the green blood much, she preferred the red of human blood. She decided that she would try to stick to humans from now on, although the fiery green blood had made her dizzy with the power of it for a long time. Now she was just back to her normal dizzy.
After her erratic journeying had finally brought her to the bridge she stepped from the turbo lift her eyes fixed on the view screen. They had been traveling for a three hours during which time the turned Romulan Scientists had made short work of integrating the state of the art Cloaking device into the SteamRunner’s systems. Turning them had two major benefits, one they kept their knowledge and skills and the most obvious was that they had the key to their locked box of a problem. Detection, the SteamRunner class was not the most mighty of ships, but then it had been a minor miracle that they had managed to steal it in the first place, it was openly 300 meters long with a crew compliment of 95. It was well armed and fast, designed as a warship it had a fair amount of muscle, but if it was detected it was more than possible that it could be wiped out of existence leaving them stranded in space.
To that end Marshall had found out when and where there would be a test of the newest design of cloaking device and had stolen it. The turned minions had installed it and they now had a virtually undetectable ship. The exhaust was capped and they didn’t have to de-cloak to fire. The problem with Quantum interference and backwash was not present in the latest devices either. But best of all they had found themselves a boon, two more of the devices just waiting to be picked up.
Carmel was still looking at the stars rushing past when Marshall turned and looked at her with surprise, “Hey babe, what’s up?”
“There’s a strange man with horns standing over there” she said pointing to the view screen.
Marshall could have ignored her, if he had then perhaps the galaxy would have stood more of a chance, instead he just, moved. He rushed forward arms outstretched and grabbed the unwitting alien before it even had chance to move. Still blind as to what he had Marshall struck out and knocked the alien out for the count.
Then using both hands he felt around until he came across what could be a field generator, using his considerable strength he ripped it clear to reveal the alien in its full glory. It did indeed have horns, re-curved Antelope type horns with glowing purple eyes and tough leathery looking skin, it was almost demonic. Marshall decided then and there that he’d be turning this one. He would make an awesome vampire on looks alone. He smiled and held out his hand to Carmel who had been creeping forward a look of almost joy on her beautiful face.
“Come on babe, you saw him, you can take first sip”
Carmel beamed at him and sunk down to the floor on her knees, and then slowly with infinite care she lifted the beast’s heavy head and twisted it to move the horns to one side before sinking her fangs into its neck.
DS9, Sisko’s Office
“What?” Sisko said confusion furrowing his brow.
Xander smirked, unrepentant, “Sorry” he lied, “What I mean to say is, that I’ve been designated as the Patron Saint Of Slayers, I’ve now met 7”
This was news to Picard and to Janeway as well, and not even Seven knew the full figure, but she’d known that he’d been charged with looking after the slayers. To what end she still wasn’t sure, he seemed strangely reticent about that.
Picard turned to his young expert with a slightly annoyed look, “It appears you have not been fully open with me”
Xander looked contrite, “Forgive me captain, some secrets are not mine to share”
That mollified Picard somewhat, but he was not the sort of man that liked to go into a situation without knowing all of the relevant facts. “I think that it is time for you to come clean with us young man,” Jean Luc said sternly.
Xander met his gaze calmly, at least on the outside, he was trying to keep up the façade of a cool calm man in control of his own destiny, but the truth was that he wasn’t one hundred percent sure of it himself. He knew only two things, One, That no slayer would die on HIS watch if he could possibly avoid it. Secondly, he knew that no matter what the personal cost, demons could not be allowed to regain a footing in this dimension. He used those affirmations to meet his Captain’s gaze unflinchingly. “Captain, I’m not sure how to tell you the whole story”
Xander held up his hand to forestall any objection, “But… I do have an idea. Captain Sisko, will it be dark on the planet soon, near to the slayer central place anyhow?”
Sisko’s eyes darted down to his chronometer and he did a quick calculation in his head, “Yes, it should be dawn”
“Then I suggest that we ask if we can help, Kae'Farl, with her sacred duty this evening. Then with any luck you’ll believe what I’m going to be telling you.”
Chapter 7, Cove Of Intrigue
UFP HQ, San Francisco
Alex Cove smiled slightly to himself as he stalked the long airy corridors of the heart of the federation. His long gait ate the length of the corridors quickly, but due to the sheer size of the building he was in it would still take him more than 5 minutes of fast walking to get to where he intended to be. Section 31 had been ‘outed’ recently, but they were still a largely clandestine unit of the elite of the federation and mostly of Star Fleet. They were charged with protecting the federation at all costs, a view that was largely frowned upon, they did however have several high-ranking members to thank for their continuing existence. Their view that the ideals of the Federation were fine and good, in fact that they were so good that they were worth protecting against anyone who threatened them, they were now also pushing for a more militant Star Fleet. It was section 31’s view that to properly protect the Federation against incursions such as the dominion and Breen and the various other enemies there should be a strong, muscled force. Sloan the former director of Section 31 was now a relic that had taken the brunt of the accusations and fear that the mere existence of section 31 had engendered.
Admiral Cove was his replacement, the friendly face of Section 31, he had made sure that the Section now had a friendly face that said, hey I’m not so bad, our ideals aren’t so different from yours, we’re here as protection. It was a job he was admirably suited for. He was one of the youngest ever to become a full admiral, diplomacy and tact were his watchwords but inside that velvet glove was a fist of iron. That fist had quashed his foes on occasion and he had personally been responsible for stamping down several who thought that there way was the only way, and to hell with the Federation, that is until Cove had stamped them flat. It was this wide ruthless streak that had interested the former director in him in the first place. But the Section had held on waiting until the man had made more of a name for himself before inviting him to a private and secretive conference on mars, his home world. It was then they invited him into the section. He had jumped at the chance, he loved the federation more than his own family and he had an estranged wife to prove that fact.
Maria Cove was successful in her own right and very beautiful, the two had met on Mars during one of the many Star Fleet functions held there. It had been lust at first site and their union had created a child, a little girl named for her father, Zandra. He had hoped that she would follow in his footsteps, but there was still time. So far the young woman had shown absolutely no interest in the fleet or working within the federation at all. Alex considered this to be Maria’s fault, that she had coddled the child too much, and still did. They had split up last year with Zandra taking her fathers side, much to his surprise. It turned out that it wasn’t wise to coddle a child too much they tended to feel smothered. After that Maria had struck out on her own, working in economic and business, making quite the name for herself. She still paid for everything her little girl wanted, even if said little girl was now a young woman who hated the sight of her. Maria, it seemed, believed that any problem would go away with the right application of a bag of money. She was wrong. Alex was happy with the arrangement as it meant that his beloved daughter was being pushed in his direction with no prompting from him. He remained sterner than her mother ever could be and for that very reason Zandra respected him more. He hoped that soon she would come round to his way of thinking totally.
Ales stopped dead in his tracks clicking his fingers in annoyance. The thought of his darling girls face had reminded him that he was due to meet her tonight on mars. That simply put would not be possible. Admiral Janeway had left him an opportunity too good to miss, the man Xander Harris, the young man who knew things he wanted to know. Admiral Cove stepped up his pace further, he wanted to be able to make a fast call to his daughter and let her know that he would be detained. She would understand, she always had.
He made it to his office in less than three minutes and flicked on his control panel. The LCARS system came to life and adjusted itself to his personal parameters. It was then the computer announced that he had a message. He was about to ignore it when he noticed whom it was from.
With a puzzled expression he tapped the black surface of the interface and the angelic face of his daughter appeared on screen.
“Hi daddy, just to let you know that something’s come up and I won’t be able to meet you tonight. I’m on earth staying at a friends’ place, the address is 5 Bay Towers if you need to talk to me, love you kiss, kiss”
Admiral Cove was not a naive man, he knew that his daughter was now a young woman and all that entailed, that didn’t mean he had to like it and had chased off more than one suitor that he didn’t find suitable. So he ran a check on the address, it was then a large smile plastered itself on his handsome face.
“Well, Well, Small World” he murmured.
“The Dripping Fang”
Carmel was more focused than she had felt in a long time, her mind was clear of the painful images and the thirst had died down somewhat. Her entire being was focused on the being lying on the Bio-Bed in front of her. Behind her Marshall was pacing easily back and forth, not out of any feeling of anxiety or impatience, just because he didn’t like to be still for too long. He had once jokingly told Carmel that it was because he presented a moving target, but it was a habit that had been carried forth into his possession. Marshall Boyd was unlike any of the vampires that he had created. He had not died to be having his soul turned out by the demon; the ancient spirit of vampirism itself possessed him. He was the embodiment of all vampires, it was true that he didn’t have a soul, the spirit soon removed that, but he was not dead and had never died. As the possession became more and more intertwined with his very being he would become more and more powerful. It was the same with all of the first ones; they were close to the original demons that had passed from their planet millennia ago. Man and Demon mixed into one indomitable being. As such he was much more powerful a vampire than any of his chider, but even he was wary of his partner, Carmel. At this moment in time she was showing none of the trademark insanity that had been prevalent since her turning. She was like a pointing dog looking at her target with alert stillness. It was making him feel uncomfortable. She had been this way since feeding on the strange alien. She had taken a drop and immediately turned the alien into a vampire herself, something she had never done before.
That had made Marshall very angry, but her quiet intensity had finally won through and intimidated him enough to back down. That was a feeling that he didn’t enjoy. He was tempted to kill her, but she was just such a fantastic vampire that he could not bring himself to do it. The continuation of the growing bond between the demonic spirit and the man had allowed him further access to its memories. Once of those had shown him just how unique she really was, added to that he suspected that she was a seer as well, and he couldn’t risk loosing her.
So far she had said nothing about why she had turned the demonic looking creature now laying still on the Bio-Bed. It wasn’t the turning that he cared about, he was going to do it anyway, after all he just looked so damn imposing with those horns and eyes and dark leathery skin that Boyd, just knew that he’d be a great vamp to have around the place.
That being said, it was obvious that there was more to this alien than met the eye.
The creature suddenly sat bolt upright on the bed with an enormous roar. Carmel moved in a blink of an eye and ran her hand down the creatures face as one does to a lover. It stilled immediately at her touch and in a deep voice said one word sentence in perfect English.
“Mistress, My Name is P’tra of the Por’aan and I live to serve you”
Xander flipped a stake to each member of the party, except Seven, he knew that she would be carrying one of her own. He’d been able to carry quite a supply, as modern technology didn’t register a stake as any sort of threat. He could transport and pass through most security filters without having to worry about being stopped. Having given the Star Fleet members a very brief briefing he let them inspect the weapons with something akin to shock on their faces.
He sidled up to Seven and shot her a wink and a smirk, “Say” he started as Sevens hand appeared with a stake in it, “Where do you hide your stakes wearing all that Lycra anyway”
Seven lifted her perfectly sculpted eyebrow at him with that twinkle in her eye, but said nothing.
They were waiting at the gate to the Slayer complex for the slayer herself to meet them; it had been no problem at all for Sisko to arrange to join her this evening, as it appeared she wanted to get to know Xander a little better. The strange mystical bond between him and Slayers, once again seemed to be working its magic. It was a useful trait for one who had to deal with so many slayers, but it was also a downright dangerous one as well. He just wished it had worked on Buffy all those years ago back in Sunnydale; perhaps if it had he could have saved her a lot of heartache. Although it seemed that both she and angel had eventually got their wish and been reunited. That made Xander both happy and sad and his thoughts flashed across his eyes.
Seven looked at her friend with concern but said nothing; she had learned that Xander would tell her when he was ready to do so and not a moment sooner. She knew that he would tell her though. She had also come to regard him as someone with whom she could trust her secret fears and thoughts and she suspected that, that was the actually meaning of a true friendship. Although Xander had told her that it was apparently someone who was willing to carry a dead body with you. It was yet another of his misplaced pop culture references that was totally lost in this century. She was however starting to become accustomed to his strange ways and didn’t want ever to have to get used to no longer having them around.
As the three high ranking star fleet personnel mingled with each other with bemused interest in the weapons they had been handed the gates to the complex started to open as the sun finally dipped below the horizon and it became fully dark on this side of Bajor.
Kae'Farl looked at the assembled uniforms with a quizzical expression, she hadn’t really realized just how many of them would be joining her this night and she hoped that they could at least stay quite. She looked over to Xander to find him standing next to what could only be described as a beautiful woman. She wasn’t sure she liked that, but quickly quashed the feelings, nighttime was time for work, and there was plenty of time for petty jealousy and playtime during the day.
Kae'Farl was a pragmatic person by her very nature and she knew that what she did was vitally important to her people, so every night she meditated for an hour as the sun sank down and put all her personal thoughts aside for the nights work of ridding her planet of the evil curse.
She nodded tightly to all and turned on her heel with simply, “Follow Quietly” said over her shoulder. It wasn’t long before her slender form started to disappear into the darkness of night. Xander and Seven were the first to follow and Two Star Fleet Captains and an Admiral soon followed behind them. Xander had told them to try to stay back and watch, he had said it whilst laughing slightly as he knew them by reputation if not personally. But he’d told them it was vitally important that they watch what happens, and once they had finished he would then answer their questions.
Bay Towers, Terra
Jacinta slipped idly through a PADD bored out of her mind. They had patrolled for a few hours before returning to Xander’s Apartment. For some strange reason there simply seemed to be virtually no vampire activity in the city. They had trawled from one end to the other eventually giving up and coming back here. The club was dead and as far as Jacinta was concerned the night was a bust.
Just then Maria came bounding into the room from where ever she had been hiding with a huge smile on her face, “I’ve Found It!” she exclaimed.
Jacinta flicked her eyes up to her friend and watcher and waited for her to spit it out.
Seconds ticked past until finally Jacinta rolled her eyes, “OK, found what?”
“The Hoard, I think I know where to start”
“Oh, right” Jacinta said totally uninterested.
Zandra pocked her head round the door with a quizzical expression on her face, “Is everything alright in here?” she asked.
“Yes, fine thank you” Jacinta said with ice forming on her words.
Zandra shrugged and sashayed back out of the room just as the door chime went off; “I’ll get it” she called.
“So, where do we start?” Jacinta asked as Maria frowned at her.
“You know you really could try to be nicer to Zandra, she is after all your sister Slayer”
“Yeah, well, she’s a bitch” Jacinta said with feeling, “I just don’t like her, can we just get back to your news?”
Maria sighed, “Alright, fine, but I know Xander would want you to try to get along with her. You know he wants us all to work together against the threat we face”
It was Jacinta’s turn to sigh; Maria sure knew how to push her buttons, “Alright I’ll TRY to be nice”
“Excellent, Then back to my treasure map”
“Treasure, there Treasure. Does it include pretty things?” Jacinta said with a grin.
“You know sometimes you remind me of Buffy so much its quite perturbing” Maria told her with a soft smile.
“I’ll take that as a compliment, so spill”
They were interrupted by a squeal from the door. Already the two women were starting to show signs of live fighting evil as they almost transported from Jacinta’s room into the main one. When they arrived they found Zandra wrapped around a very attractive middle-aged man who was not too dissimilar looking. “Daddy” Zandra said with glee, “what are you doing here?”
Alex Cove smiled down at his daughter, “I’m here to pick up my darling daughter for a dinner appointment”
“We cancelled daddy,” Zandra said as Jacinta rolled her eyes at the other slayers display. Jacinta and Maria shared a look mentally shrugged and stepped back into Jacinta’s room, Leaving father and daughter alone.
“I know, but I happened to be on earth myself and thought that I would drop by and pick you up anyway. You’re friend won’t mind will he?”
“Oh Daddy, you’ve been snooping again haven’t you”
“Well, I like to look after my favorite daughter”
“I’m your only daughter!”
“That just makes you all the more precious, precious. Well, want to take you old dad out?”
Zandra paused for a moment, “Just a sec I’ll tell my friends OK?”
Alex Cove nodded smiling.
Zandra virtually skipped across the room to Jacinta’s doorway and knocked gently on the doorframe. As she got the two women’s attention she beamed at them, “I’m going out OK?” she asked Maria.
Maria smiled, “Of course, its not like there’s anything else we could be doing” she told her newest slayer.
“Excellent, I’ll see you later don’t wait up” she told the pair before disappearing.
Jacinta looked to the elder woman with a smirk, “What?” Maria asked.
“I saw you!” Jacinta accused
Maria blushed faintly, “Saw what?”
“Well, he is kind of hot for an older guy” Jacinta smirkingly told her.
Maria growled and grabbed a nearby pillow and threw it at the blonde slayer’s head.
Sisko’s office was as silent as the grave. They had spent most of the night fighting alongside Kae'Farl helping her with her sacred duty and looked it. Sisko was bleeding from a cut above his eyebrow, Janeway from a split lip. Picard’s jersey was torn in five diagonal bloody lines across his chest. Seven’s immaculate hair was messed and fussed a large bruise on her cheek. But Xander was the worst and was being administered to by Bashir himself. So far the handsome doctor had found three broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, broken wrist and a whole host of cuts and bruises.
Xander had been right next to Kae'Farl for the entire night with Seven at his side. It was they who had taken the brunt of the surprise attack; it was they who had met B’thar face to face. B’Thar was the Bajorian Master vampire as was fitting to one of his position he had wanted to slay, the slayer. Luckily for Kae'Farl she had backup that night in the form of the Starfleeters, Xander and Seven. If not for them, he and the thirty-odd vampires he had amassed to make certain of his victory, would have slaughtered the young slayer.
It had been chaotic, as battles went it was more by luck than judgment that they won. It had come down to the fact that the Fleeters had to join the battle; all three of them had tried to go hand to hand, no stakes. They soon learnt the error of their ways and had joined the battle in earnest.
Xander had then effectively ended the fight by forcing B’thar away from the slayer. To do that, however, he’d had to take one hell of a beating. It had been only the miracle of Transporters that had got them away. Kae'Farl herself was currently in the sickbay bleeding badly and suffering from shock. Xander had saved her life in the nick of time, something that was his ‘Thing’ if ever anything was.
Janeway’s command persona took possession of the room as Bashir finally finished up and was ushered out of the room complaining slightly about his patient needing to be in sickbay, “OK Mr. Harris I believe you’ve made your point. Now what the hell! Is going on around here?”
“Admiral, what happened was NOT part of the plan, at worst I thought we would encounter a few minion not a horde of them and the strongest Master Vamp, I’ve ever come across” Xander said with feeling, holding his still aching head.
Picard nailed him with a glance, “Minion, Master? What exactly do these names mean?”
Xander winced as a white hot lance of pain went through his brain, “A minion Vampire is the weakest, the master is in charge and generally the strongest, they can also have other powers such as suggestion and occasionally some more magical aspects” he explained almost by route.
Janeway nodded slightly, “A command structure” she hazarded.
“Not really,” Xander replied
“More the relationship between a slave and his master?” Sisko put forth his face thoughtful.
“Yes, that’s more like it” Xander said as the room started to spin.
“So what is it you wanted us to see Xander” Picard asked him.
Xander fixed him with a look, his eyes seeming to spin in and out of focus, “You I wanted to see that diplomacy won’t work, and it worked out better than I ever wanted. But generally I wanted to give you a glimpse of what’s to come. Please remember that what we were fighting were Vampires, generally they are the weakest form of Demon. Except that master vamp, he, well, he was different”
Seven took Xander’s arm as the room appeared to get away from him for a moment, “I think perhaps the doctor was correct” she stated starting to get up.
“No, Seven, I’ll be fine, they need to know. They all need to know”
“You’ll do them no good if you are unconscious” she reprimanded him.
“Fine, I need to check on Kae'Farl anyway” Xander said standing smoothly, “Permission to le…” he was cut off by the floor, which leapt up and met him.
Zandra Cove looked over her glass at her father, she knew him rather well and whilst she loved him dearly she knew that he was a ruthless man, as such she had never seen him looking as nervous as he did now. It was obvious to her, at least, that he wanted something from her, or that he wanted her to do something for him. He had requested her help in the past and she had given it for the most part, but this time was different. He was worried about what he was going to ask of her; that worried her.
“Come on daddy, spit it out” she said finally with a slight smile.
Alex Cove smiled warmly at his daughter, “You think that you know me so well?”
Zandra didn’t speak she merely lifted her eyebrows slightly.
Alex chuckled, “Yes, Yes fine you do. This man whose apartment you were at. Tell me about him”
“Xander’s nice, dad, why?”
“Nice, just nice”
“Well okay maybe more than just nice he’s good looking, funny in a strange sort of way, generous, brave; you know, the usual kick”
“And from the past”
“Ah, yes, and from the past. Nothing gets through your net does it daddy”
“Not much” Alex replied with a rueful smile, “Not much, at all”
“So what do you want with Xander?” Zandra asked
“Weird sort of a name isn’t it, Xander” Admiral cove said buying him a little more time. He was truly interested in finding out what his daughter thought of the man. It was thought, because of him, that Xander could be a danger to the Federation. It was a well-placed rumor and a talk held in front of the Federation council that he had hoped would place Xander in his care within hours. That plan hadn’t worked, now he had another, subtler plan, but it all hinged on his daughter.
“Its short for Alexander actually” Zandra said with a slight smile, “small world isn’t it”
“There’s not many Alex’s around anymore”
“Nor Zandra’s. Daddy” Zandra paused, “What is this about?”
“Your friend Xander could be very important to the safety of the Federation. But then he could also be a danger to it.”
Zandra met her father’s intense gaze; “No” she said simply, “He is not a danger to anything except maybe the bad guys”
“Ah, but who are the bad guys”
Zandra smirked, “You know the ones with pointy teeth and claws called vampires”
Admiral Alex Cove had rarely been speechless in his life, up to that point.
There was a bright white light and for a moment Xander was worried that Q had come for him, or that this had all been a really strange dream. Then the light faded as his eyes came back into focus and then all he noticed it was actually rather dark, he was sure he had been in Sisko’s office, then Seven had tried to get him to come to, ah yes, sickbay. Apparently he must have passed out along the way, and if his head was any indication then that’s almost certainly what had happened.
Xander hauled himself up and round in one movement cursing the room as it tried to spin away from him and held onto consciousness with force of will. He had taken a bad hit on his head in the last few knockings of the fight with the Bajor Master Vampire. Xander was starting to think that he famously hard skull wasn’t as hard as he’d hoped. Once he managed to tame the room he breathed deeply for a few moments and dropped down off of the Bio-Bed.
The room itself was familiar to him; he had after all spent some time here on his last visit. That time had been due to tearing open the new flesh on his back and being forced by both Bashir and Crusher to stay still for three days. He looked around remembering that he’d managed to amass a large amount of tongue depressors the last time he’d been here. Bashir was one rotten card player and Ezri, well she was better and had an old soul inside of her as it were, but she sure sucked at bluffing. Ezri Dax being DS9’s councilor had come to check up on him and he’d hit it off with her almost straight away. He and Bashir had already been getting along, so the three days had, in the end, flown past.
Xander scanned around a little further and saw a still, but breathing, form of Kae'Farl. She had taken a rather bad beating at the hands of the Master Vampire, up until Xander had stepped in that was. Then he’d been the one who’d taken a beating. But he wasn’t sorry for that and Kae'Farl had still taken the brunt of it before he could get to her.
Xander held the edge of his bed as he tried to walk as carefully as possible across to his latest friend. It was by sheer determination that he was able to cross the room and grip her bed to keep upright. He looked down onto the already clear face of Kae'Farl and smiled gently. He unlatched one hand from the bed and used the back of his hand to stroke her cheek, “You Slayer’s; have the worst job in the world, so young, so beautiful and you have to stay in darkness and get the shit kicked out of you on an almost nightly basis. It isn’t right”
“No, it isn’t” came an all too familiar voice from behind him.
Xander managed not to fly ten feet up in the air and was controlling the speed of his breathing through sheer bloody mindedness. He was sure that Q loved to make people jump, and he wasn’t about to make his day better. “Why?” he asked instead.
“Why, them, why not someone older, more powerful, someone not so young and vulnerable. Why anybody, why not just force demons to stay away. You’re a god; you have the power, why don’t you use it? Why put these young girls through so much pain, take so much away from them when you could just click your fingers have one of your light shows and banish demons for ever? WHY? Damn It!” Xander said with tears in his eyes, his voice taut with emotion.
Q looked at the young man before him with no small amount of compassion in his expression. Then he held up his hands and a globe appeared. It looked like a crystal ball that people used for telling the future and when Q waived his hands over it Xander was expecting him to start mumbling and for smoke to form. It didn’t, instead a figure took shape. A figure that was dressed in what appeared to be an Armani suit, with dark hair and was a very good looking humanoid. Q’s eyes flicked to Xander and then tossed the globe at him, “You see that?”
“Yes” Xander said his face etched in confusion.
“That is why”
Q actually smiled, “He is the reason why I or someone like me does not just send demon kind away. He is their leader and a very powerful individual.”
“The devil?” Xander hazarded.
“If you like, you see the Q was the first race. Once we were rather like you are now, primitive and clueless, but we grew and evolved into the gods we are today. He was one of the old ones, he was different than the rest.”
“Yes, in its purest form. He stepped over to the dark side as it were”
“You know, it scares me that you’re the only person in the century that I can swap pop culture references with” Xander stated flatly.
Q favored him with a rare truly amused smile, “and found a source of power unavailable to us, by that time the creator had created as was his way. He created the Powers That Be. All religions on All planets exist you see and they form the Powers. The powers in turn created you, and those like you. Then the creator did something incredible stupid if you ask me, he created demons. They swarmed across the universe virtually wiping out you kind until the powers decided enough was enough and were on the verge of destroying them when HE stepped in. He acted as their lawyer if you like, and just like a lawyer he is clever with words and tricked the powers into the treaty that is still in place today. He used every single loop hole he could, and still does, it was the powers that came up with slayers yes, but it was he who made sure that they would be so young, so alone. I tried to do my best, give them some advantages but the powers pride themselves with a sense of honor and fair play. The trouble being that it is only an effective shield, or weapon with someone who plays by the same rules as you. HE and they do not. The treaty binds me also, but unlike the powers I’m willing to make use of loopholes. That is where you came in”
“How?” Xander asked he was fascinated; he’d never heard the whole story of how demons came to be.
“Because ‘HUMANIODS’ must find their own way, but no one ever said I couldn’t help a single ‘HUMAN’ to help others did they” Q said smirking slightly and was delighted when Xander returned it with interest, but Xander's was suddenly replaced with fear.
“But why me?”
“We’ve been through this”
“No, not really because I’m the only Xander Harris to survive, because I exist in this universe to fight against evil. Fine, but so do others, like Buffy and she died and came back twice, why not her? She was a fully trained slayer, a far better choice to help and train more slayers”
“You have the answer to your question in your question” Q said cryptically.
“Huh, oh wait, she was a slayer”
Q nodded, “Yes, and as I said you are unique, the only Xander Harris to survive in any alternate reality” then Q smiled a slightly evil smile, “and I didn’t ever say that you were from this universe did I?”
“You’re a brave and a resourceful man, who is linked with slayers, there is no one else that fit the bill in any reality. Your recuperation of Buffy did more than bring her back it changed you both.”
“If I gave you all the answers it would spoil all the fun now wouldn’t it. You know for a human, you’re rather interesting. Did Riker every tell you of the time I blessed him with the power of a Q?”
Xander nodded, “Why, you offering?”
“Not yet, maybe when you’re dead again. No I just mention it because it created a bond between myself and Riker”
“It gave me something rather useful that I want to pass on, as a gift and it has nothing to do with your current mission, honestly…”
“Why don’t I believe you” Xander said with a nervous smile.
Q smiled; “Because you’re quite bright for a primate” he clicked his fingers and disappeared with his trademark flash of bright white light.
Xander smiled and shook his head, wondering what Q would end up doing. He noticed that the globe Q has tossed him was still present and held it up before his eyes. He looked down at the globe studying the enemy, the one who was trying to kill all humanoid life, the devil A renegade Q, one of the first Q to flash around the universe and studied the arrogant stance that was similar to Q himself, but it was worse somehow, it had more evil intent in its posture. The attractive gods eyes seemed to hold pure hatred for all that he surveyed and contempt for all those he considered beneath him. Something built in Xander; it started low in his stomach and fizzed through the bloodlines in his body. Finally with an almost inhuman roar Xander, even in his weakened state, tossed the globe across the sickbay. It smashed against the opposite wall and exploded into glass shards with a tremendous crash of sound before its parts tinkled to a stop. Xander was standing beside the felled slayer breathing hard his face twisted in anger. He was waiving slightly on his feet as the adrenaline left his system but the pure anger and hatred he felt for that fallen Q soared past anything he had previously known before. He turned back to his fallen comrade in arms and tears were now free flowing down his face. Now he had a name and a face to place his hatred for the injustice of this battle and those forced onto its front lines. He had someone specific to blame for Buffy’s death and many of his friends. He hated that being with his very heart and soul, he vowed to anyone listening that he would fight that being, that Devil, for as long as he drew breath.
Bashir skidded into the room as the glass shards seemed to melt and boil where they lay on the ground then they finally evaporated into smoke as Xander finally slumped down into an Indian position still with silent tears coursing down his face.
“You want me to do what?” Zandra asked a little shocked.
“Now don’t get the wrong idea my darling”
“Its kind of hard Daddy”
“Look you like him right?”
“Yes, but you want me to seduce him to get him to give you information!”
“Now I didn’t say seduce” Alex Cove said sharply.
“You intimated it” Zandra accused, “You want me to seduce him into coming round to our way of thinking, or just to get information from him”
Alex hid a smile, that ‘our’ had told him he had already won this argument, “Is it that an onerous task?”
Zandra hid a smirk of her own, “He’s not bad on the eyes I suppose”
“There you go, anyway I didn’t say I wanted you to seduce him, you’re my daughter for gods sake. I just want you to get close to him, him and his little group. From there you can feed me information give me a lead in, from what we’ve just discussed he seems that he hates demons, I can use that. I just want to protect the federation from the threat they pose.”
“What, pose a threat, from the reports I’ve seen yes, yes they do”
“You won’t hurt him, will you?”
“No, absolutely not. But with the friends he has we must be careful, his friends are my staunchest Nay Sayers. That is why I hoped that you’d help out your dear old dad.”
Zandra cocked an eyebrow at him, “You knew I knew him?”
“Only after you called me and left that message, I did a little checking, just to make sure you would be safe of course darling. Then I matched up his name with the one that’s been so discussed”
“And you’ll make all the charges against him disappear if I do this?”
Admiral Cove nodded, “Yes”, in truth he was going to anyway, that particular tact wasn’t about to work with someone who had a civilian bravery award due them. It had done its job and caused doubt amongst the ranks about the young mans veracity. He couldn’t risk the full details of demonic kind coming out until he’d had a chance to study them and learn their weaknesses and effectively find a way to beat them before the war. Section 31 had now garnered a much more devout following since the war with the founders but they still had to tread carefully.
Zandra was thinking carefully over the options available to her, she had kept her own secret of course, but she knew her father would know it before long and she wasn’t looking forward to that, she had a feeling she may end up being ‘looked at’ by some of the Sections Doctors. She knew somewhere in the depths of her heart that what she was about to do wasn’t right, but she was at a loss to know what to do otherwise. Perhaps this would give her some time, amusement and allow her to get on her fathers good side. Finally she nodded, “OK, I’ll do it” she said flatly.
Admiral Cove smiled at his daughter, he now had yet another string to his bow, although it wasn’t the only one. He’d already called in a specialist this to get the information he wanted. Section was not above using the wiles of the opposite sex, or the same sex, to get what it wanted. But he wasn’t about to use his own daughter to seduce the young man, not when he had others who were much more experienced in the field. He was just waiting for her to arrive back on earth so he could brief her and then he would use his daughter to get her in.
“What happened?” Bashir asked his young friend as he helped him back up onto the Biobed.
“Had a visitor, told me something that kinda got me mad” Xander said, “Sorry for the mess”
Bashir’s handsome brow furrowed, “Mess, what mess?”
Xander tried to get up to have a look and was gently, but firmly pushed back down onto the bio bed. “Who visited?”
“Oh no, not him again.” Bashir was about to slap his Comm badge when Xander caught his hand before it had traveled an inch,
“No, he’s gone. Besides, he’s a friend” Xander said, “It wasn’t him that upset me, it was something he showed me”
“I still have to report it” Bashir said firmly, “Q is a menace”
Xander’s eyes flashed, “No he is not. Believe me when I say this Jules, Q is humanities friend, even if he doesn’t often act like it. But report away because I have to tell Picard and Janeway anyway. How’s the patient?” he asked switching subjects.
“She’ll be fine, her rate of regeneration is nothing short of amazing. I wanted to take some scans to study but I couldn’t get a proper read off of her, there must be some sort of field blocking the equipment, I’ll have O’Brien take a look at it later”
‘No you won’t’ thought Xander to himself, he knew that the captains and admiral would soon put a stop to that, at least for now. “Go on, call them in”
Bashir smiled, “I will, but I could just wait for one of Seven Of Nines oh so frequent visits and tell her instead. After all she’s overdue. She seems to like you, can’t think why myself, cheating cur”
“Oh you wound me doc, is she OK?”
“Seven Of Nine? She’s fine you’re the one in sickbay,” Julian said with a chuckle.
Xander smiled, “Point” he conceded. Just then the doors swished open attracting both their attentions. Julian turned to Xander and smiled, “See, and here she is” he walked away a bit and slapped his Comm badge to make his report. Meanwhile Seven had crossed to Xander's bed and was standing looking down at him with worry on her face. “Don’t worry, I’m fine” he said to her with a smile. He tried to push himself up slightly but soon found he was being helped by Seven’s deceptively slender arms.
The SteamRunner Class vessel formally of star fleet slipped through the giant force field that effectively twisted time and space and created a pocket universe that hid an entire system of planets from detection by some of he most sophisticated species in the Galaxy. The Por’aan had perfected the art of camouflage to the point of perfection and eventually it had been decided that they did not like the way the galaxy was developing around them. War was discussed and tabled, the Por’aan didn’t like direct conflict on the whole and preferred to wait, watch and learn. They had learned very well and during that time had amassed thousands upon millions of warriors for the cause.
The first shot was to have been fired by using the Enterprise as a Trojan horse to place as many troops as possible into the very heart of the federation. But a centuries old young man with dark hair had foiled that tactic. Now new plans were being made and preparations prepared for the next sortie onto the battlefield under their terms. But the flying death that was “The Dripping Fang” was about to change those plans forever.
Billions Of Por’aan in the seven planets and dual sun system were about to be reeducated; they just didn’t know it yet.
Chapter 8, Human Folly
Deep Space Nine
Seven looked down at Xander a slight smile curling her lips; he was, to put it mildly, not a good patient. Doctor Bashir had gone over him with a fine tooth comb and had finally tracked down what had been making him dizzy, however, he had told Xander that it was something that needed to heal in its own good time. The good doctor had then given him some pain relief because, apparently, Xander would have to have been in tremendous amounts of pain because of his injury. This was despite the fact that Xander was showing no sign of pain. Seven thought it typical of the man that he would hide his pain in such a way. In the time she had known him she had never heard him complain of an injury even though he had picked up his fair share.
However, he was complaining about having to stay in sickbay. "That's it" Xander suddenly declared, "he's gone" it was true that they had just observed Bashir leaving the sickbay in order to be debriefed by his commander.
"I fail to see the significance of that fact" Seven told him but was horrified to find that Xander was sliding out of bed on the other side, out of her reach.
"I'm not stopping here for one minute longer, I hate hospitals and this place is just as bad!" Xander informed her getting to his feet.
Seven shot around the other side of the bed, "What are you doing, the doctor told you to rest"
"Puh-lease, like I'm staying here a minute longer now he's not here to make me"
"Perhaps The Doctor is not, I am however" Seven told him flatly.
Xander looked into her eyes for a minute and smiled, "How are you going to stop me," he said.
"I knock you out if I have to"
"Seven, your already a knock out, you don't have to prove it"
Seven hid a smile, "Flattery may work on your precious slayer's but it won't work on me"
Xander's smile grew, "My Precious Slayer's" he quoted, "What's the matter Seven, jealous" he quipped jokingly. He was dismayed when Sevens gaze dropped from his own. Frowning slightly he used a crooked finger to tip up her chin and look into her eyes. The moment seemed to stretch for infinity before finally Xander's legs gave way under him. It was only due to her enhanced physiology that seven was able to catch him. Xander found himself centimeters away from Seven who was looking at him in worry as she held him up. Again the moment seemed to pause time and space and Xander found himself lost within the inky blue depths of sevens eyes. Using strength he hadn't known he had Xander shifted position and suddenly Seven found herself in Xander's arms with his lips descending down to hers slowly.
She froze for a second before succumbing to her own emotion for a moment. Their lips met and the world dissolved into sweet nothingness for a scant moment before a cool analytical and above all scared part of Sevens brain screamed in her mind that she wasn't going to allow this to happen. Before she knew what she was doing she was pushing Xander away. He resisted for a microsecond lost within the kiss and then Seven pushed harder, much harder. In fact too hard as Xander was thrown back onto the Biobed as her Borg enhanced body reacted with fear and sent him flying. "I am sorry Xander, we are just friends" she said breathlessly cursing herself for her weakness.
Xander's eyes rolled for a second and then he shook himself his brain snapping back onto the tracks, "No, No, I'm sorry Seven I should have realized" he said in a tone that Seven didn't recognize because she had never heard it. It was the tone that he'd used when Buffy had dashed his hopes so many years ago. It was the tone of a broken heart.
"Did I hurt you?" Seven asked tentatively
'Yes' Xander thought but lied through his teeth, "No I'm fine, I'm so sorry Seven. I hope this won't affect our friendship," he said in the same tone.
Seven tried to smile but for some reason she couldn't quite get it to work correctly, "Of course not, I would be…Unhappy if it did" she said a strange feeling expanding in her chest.
Xander ruthlessly quashed his emotions as he'd done so many times in the past and smiled, "Good, I'm sorry again Seven, I promise I'll never do anything like it again"
Seven nodded suddenly feeling like something had just slipped through her grasp. "I also am sorry Xander,” she said suddenly feeling the need to cry.
Xander smiled sadly, "You have nothing to be sorry for Seven, It was entirely my fault"
"…" Seven tried to say but found that words were failing her for a moment, she managed to rustle some into order, "I must report to the Captain, Admiral rather" she said.
Xander nodded, thinking that she could not wait to be away from him, "Of course. I'll see you later Sev."
'Sev?' Seven thought, that was the first time he had ever shortened her name, normally he called her Seven. She shook of the thought thinking that she was just being paranoid and nodded to her friend before leaving the sickbay and quickly finding somewhere private to be alone.
She managed to be alone for all of five minutes before Janeway found her. She and Picard, Riker, Troi, Sisko and Bashir had been on their way to check on the patient when they had seen virtually the whole thing. Janeway had watched her friend with a growing sense of unease and business had been postponed for a moment and she had followed. "Seven"
Seven Of Nine, formally of the Borg, supposed ice queen with little or no emotion looked up with big fat tears pouring down her face. Janeway did something that she never thought she would do for seven, she gathered the other woman into a hug, "Oh Seven"
Xander looked up to see Picard, Riker, Troi, Bashir and Sisko enter the Sickbay all of them wearing strangely blank expressions, "Hi" he said with very little feeling.
"Xander, we wanted to talk to you about your meeting with Q; if you feel up to it?" Troi asked.
"Sure, why not," Xander said his voice tightly controlled showing no emotion even as he felt the slight tickle in the back of his mind that Troi's brushing contact always engendered. His eyes were devoid of their usual humor as he locked gazes with the beautiful Betazoid, "Do you mind councilor, I already have a headache"
Troi's expression registered surprise for a mere second before she nodded and the tickle ceased. Picard looked at Xander carefully before saying anything as the doctor fussed over him for a moment. Bashir had witnessed his patient lifted off of the ground and forcibly placed back on the Biobed. That was something that was not conducive to healing, but Xander, luckily, appeared to have suffered no ill effect. Xander turned his dead eyed gaze to the doctor for a moment, "Can you come back after this is done?" he asked quietly.
"Certainly" Bashir said then, nodding to the officers present, he took his leave and went into his office satisfied his patient was none the worse for wear.
"Q and I talked about a little history, nothing with any bearing on current events, now gentlemen and lady if you would excuse me I'm very tired"
The enterprise crew who knew him all raised a collective eyebrow at that but Xander wasn't finished. "There is one thing, commander, …" he said addressing Riker.
"Yes Xander, what is it" Riker said with a smile that was lost of the suddenly dour Xander.
"Q said that you and he had a connection because of that little stunt he pulled on you. Do you know what he means?"
Riker paused thinking about it and sharing a look with his captain; it appeared that Q had been shooting the breeze once again trying to stir up some trouble with Xander. He could think of no other reason why Q would bring up that particular event, "No I'm sorry Xander I don't"
Xander shrugged and then suddenly smiled, "OK, well I expect he was just playing around"
"He does have that habit" Sisko said with a frown, "I told him never to come back here"
"I doubt that would make much difference to Q Captain" Picard said, "He believes that he is above our concerns"
Xander fixed him with a mild glare, "If that were true Captain, why would he be working so hard to save our collective butts?"
"Q always has an ulterior motive Mr. Harris"
Xander nodded, "Possibly" he admitted, "But he hasn't lied to me yet, that I know of"
"That is a very telling statement Xander I would think on it" Picard told him with a small smile.
Xander nodded suddenly wincing in pain as his headache came back.
"I think we will leave any more business until tomorrow" Picard said sharing a look with his staff and Sisko who was looking at Xander askance. Sisko hadn't liked the young mans attitude to his fellow officers, he seemed too brash, too dismissive for his liking.
The officer bid Xander a farewell and Bashir stepped out of his office as soon as he noted their departure.
"You wanted to see me Xander"
"I did, where are my clothes?"
"Why, you won't need them for a while yet" Bashir said narrowing his eyes at the young man.
"I need them now, I'm checking out"
"I'm afraid I can't allow that" Bashir said a note of command entering his voice.
"I'm not fleet or in fact a citizen of the federation yet, you have no sway over me doctor, I'm going even if I have to put up with a draft. Can I just have my clothes back?"
Bashir paused, whilst it was true that his command had no sway over Xander he did have restraints if he felt the occasion called for them. But at the end of the day Xander would just make himself worse if he didn't let him go, "You need to rest" he tried one last time.
"Don't worry I'm not planning on starting another fight at Quarks" Xander said with a lopsided grin that infected the doctor.
"Fine, then go, you're a horrible patient anyway"
"Thanks doc, say where's Ezri?"
"No reason, just thought I'd say Hi while I was here, send my best when she gets back yeah"
"Of course, Oh Xander" Bashir called to Xander's retreating back. Xander stopped and turned back. Bashir walked over to the replicators and punched in a quick sequence a small pot appeared in the receiver tray. Bashir picked them up and threw them at Xander, "Take two of these and call me in the morning"
"Thanks Doc" Xander said smiling then he walked swiftly out of the door.
"So what happened?" Janeway said. It had taken some time to get her friend calmed down enough to finally stop crying and start talking. Where there was a mess of emotion though now there was a cool façade in place on the beautiful ex-Borg.
Seven took a deep breath to keep her cool in place, "Nothing" she said.
"That's not true, Seven, I saw it, but I don't KNOW what happened. I just know that something happened between yourself and Mr. Harris"
"We all did, but that's beside the point. He kissed you, was it that bad?" Janeway said with a slight smirk.
"No, it was…amazing"
"I see, then what happened"
"Xander is my friend"
"So" Janeway said bluntly.
"So, just because he is your friend doesn't mean that you can't have feelings for him"
Sevens face darkened slightly, "Feelings are irrelevant"
"I see, it's like that," Janeway said with a sad sigh, "Chakotay really hurt you didn't he"
Janeway's friend's eyes misted for a moment before her rigid control slipped back the fallen mask. "Oh Seven!" Janeway said sadly
The Door chime went off startling both Jacinta and Maria out of their study. They had been hard at it since Zandra had left some time ago. The research that Maria had turned up had just been the key that unlocked an even more diabolical puzzle.
"I'll go" Jacinta said getting wearily to her feet and trudging stiffly over to the door.
"Hey" Zandra said as the door opened
"Oh, its you"
Zandra stopped a snide remark dead on her lips. She had to be much more careful now and having Jacinta onside would help her in her quest, "look, I know we got off on the wrong foot, but can we try again" Zandra said looking sincere.
Jacinta paused looking at her sister slayer, she was thinking back to what Maria had said to her about Xander's wishes. She finally nodded and tried a tentative smile, "OK"
"Good" Zandra said with a beaming expression. "Have you two eaten yet?"
Jacinta shook her head, "No, didn't realize the time"
"Good job I brought this then" Zandra said pulling out a bag that the amazing aroma of properly cooked food spilled out of. Jacinta's mouth was watering as soon as she caught a whiff. "It's a gift to start off our truce" Zandra said.
"Thanks" Jacinta said grabbing the bag and Zandra's hand before tugging her into the room. Zandra smiled to herself, so far stage one wasn't going so badly.
Xander stood at one of the lowest portholes in the station viewing the planet below them turning slowly on its axis. His heart was aching badly, yet another love life seizure had happened to him. Every woman he had ever really loved had hurt him. Of all the women he'd been involved with, only Anya had not broken his heart, although that could be because their relationship had been based solely on sex and not love. They had cared for each other, but their relationship had been one of mutual convenience and not one of love.
One thing that Xander knew, he knew that he was not lucky in love. As he watched the lazily turning planet below he felt his heart cracking inside his chest once again. What was it about blondes and him anyway? Perhaps he should switch to brunettes.
“Its funny how peaceful it looks isn’t it” came a voice like dripping honey.
Xander span round acting on battle honed instinct to come face to face with a vision of studied seduction. He’d always thought that faith had the sultry smoky brunette look down, well she had nothing on the woman how was now looking at his with a slightly surprised expression. Her hair was long and luxurious brown, verging on black. Her eyes were twin pools of temptation; her lips red in color and full in shape were twisted in a slight smile. Her body was, well Xander realized he was gawping and tried not to blush in the presence of such beauty. “Sorry?” he finally managed.
“I said its funny how peaceful it looks,” she repeated indicating the planet visible through the view port.
“Oh, y.y.y.yeah, I suppose it is” Xander stuttered, but then he was just grateful that he wasn’t babbling like an idiot.
“People are dying, laughing, crying and making love down there right at this very moment” she purred stepping in closer to come to a stop at his side. “There’s political intrigue, famine, hate and love all visible to those with eyes to see and its all happening down there on that pretty little ball of rock.”
“And I thought I was in an introspective mood” Xander said, uncharacteristically.
“I’m always like this when I have to cancel a mission” The beautiful woman replied.
“Tough break, nothing too bad I hope”
She smiled at him a dazzling display of teeth that set Xander’s heart racing, “Not for me”
“I see, “ Xander said, even though he didn’t.
She tilted her head at him for a long moment before speaking, “Aren’t you a little young to be so sad”
Xander met her eyes without feeling embarrassed, “I wouldn’t bet on that”
“Older than you look, or just lived a hard life”
“Both, I suppose”
“So how old are you?”
“That’s a very personal question, you know, you wouldn’t like it if I asked you” Xander said with a slight smile.
“30” the woman replied unblinkingly returning his gaze. “Your turn…”
Xander studied her dress and saw that she appeared to be in operations and looked to be a Lieutenant Commander, “Little young for your rank aren’t you?” he asked dodging the question.
“You know your uniforms,” she said with a smile.
“So it appears” Xander said puzzled, something was niggling at the back of his mind, something about the way she was standing that caught his minds interest.
“And you, hat rank to you hold”
Xander glanced down at his civilian clothes, “I hold no rank”
She smiled knowingly at him, “Really well you stand like a Starfleet officer and you hold yourself like someone who is used to command, although you look too young for it, which brings me back to my last question”
Xander smiled, “Last question?”
She laughed lightly, “I see, what’s the big secret, found the fountain of youth. Because I wouldn’t mind some myself”
“A woman as beautiful as you doesn’t need anything magical fountain to remain so” Xander said, “But no, I’ve not found one, exactly”
“Don’t tell me you’re from the past,” she said laughing but sobered when she saw the slightly worried look on Xander’s face, “You really are from the past?” she asked shocked, “Aren’t you?”
“Who me?” Xander replied with a grin the worried look clearing in an instant, “Don’t know what you’re talking about”
“Uh huh” The beautiful woman replied.
“I’m Xander buy the way,” Xander told her sticking out his hand.
“Well hello, Xander, I’m Dympna, Dympna Amara, but you can call me Dee all my friends do”
“We’re friends?” Xander said with a smirk. He was feeling distinctly Devil-May-Care at that moment in time. Talking with the Beautiful Dee was bolstering his confidence just a little.
“We could be, if you play your cards right” Dee said with a sultry smile.
Xander did laugh at that, her eyes were sparkling in the most mischievous way Xander thought he’d ever seen. “To quote a very old friend of mine, this may seem indecorous, but would you like to go for a drink. Well actually he would’ve said cup of tea. But I was thinking about Quarks?”
Dee appeared to think it over, “Sure but I have a flight to catch in” she checked her watch. “Three hours”
“That’s more than enough time for a drink” Xander replied.
“Yes” Dee said the sparkle back in her eye, “if that’s all we’re going to do it is”
“You are one bad girl, there Dee.”
“I know, come on you’re paying kid”
“Less of the kid, kid” Xander shot back, “I’m old enough to be your grand-dad”
Dee surveyed Xander for a long moment, “I don’t think so,” she drawled.
Xander cocked his arm, “Shall we?”
Dee glanced at his arm with a highly amused expression, “Alright” she said finally taking his arm. Together they walked out of the small alcove the view-port offered and headed towards the famous Quarks bar.
Seven who was on her way back to the sickbay stopped dead in mid stride as she spotted Xander with an attractive Starfleeters on his arm. Her face set as she noticed them laughing and joking and turned on her heel quickly making her way back to the temporary quarters they had been assigned. She told herself that it was for the best, but her heart felt like a lump in her chest as she did so. The feeling that had rushed through her when she had seen Xander and that woman together had been one of the most unpleasant feelings in her entire life. That included being assimilated by the Borg.
Xander slid into a chair across from Dee with a smile as a Ferengi came bustling up to them, “I don’t want any trouble,” Quark said with a firm tone.
Xander turned to look at the alien with a smile, “Who said I was looking to give you any?”
“After last time, I thought it worth warning you. If you even look like getting up too quickly I’ll get Odo in here in a flash”
Xander stood in a flash looking down at the Ferengi, who backed up quickly with his hands held up, Xander smiled at him, “Last time was a misunderstanding, I promise I’ll try not to wreck the place this time ok”
“Good, just see that you do, don’t whatever” Quark told him, “Now what can I get you”
Xander sat back down, “Thanks I was going to go up to the bar…”
“No, no, I want to keep an eye on you. I’ll serve you myself”
Xander smirked and then laughed lightly, “OK fine. Well I’m not having Romulan ale, like ever again, so something Synthehol would be good.” He turned to his attractive and somewhat bemused companion, “What’ll be?”
“Ehh, and one urm, rak thing” Xander finished to Quark. As Quark bustled off he turned to Dee and smirked, “What I want to know is where’s the other one”
Dee’s brow creased with polite puzzlement, “Sorry?”
“I thought they always came in pairs”
Xander sighed, “Never mind it was a crap joke to start with”
The P’Trallian System
The ancient and proud council chamber that had stood for a thousand years was now nothing but a receptacle for blood and gore. The remaining Governors of the planets belonging to the system were array before Marshall, Carmel and P’tra. The latter was standing with his hands raised to the roof and his horns pointing backwards, “Is there another who will challenge me” he roared his eyes flashing from purple to gold and back again.
So far there had been ten of the upper echelon of Por’aanian government that had dared to challenge P’tra. Every single last one of them was now strewn across the chambers. P’tra had dealt with each challenge with a ruthlessness that Marshall admired and that had Carmel clapping along to the sounds of tearing flesh and bones breaking. It had been a gruesome display of vampiric power.
There was a resounding silence from the remaining government and P’tra smiled a truly frightening smile, “Then I have a motion to carry” he said in grave tones, “I am taking control of the proud Por’aan and I will lead them to glory with the help of these humans” he said indicating Marshall and Carmel, “We will fight side by side with them and theirs and once the battle has reached its end we will be victorious and once again regain our rightful place in the galaxy, nay the universe” His words rumbled around the room for a moment and suddenly there was a roar of cheering from all those present. Trail by combat was a recognized form of Election for the Por’aan and P’tra had just proven himself as the strongest, which for the Por’aan meant that he was the most suitable candidate for the job.
Carmel smiled and laughed as P’tra was hitched up on the shoulders of his fellow peoples and carried out into the inky blackness of night.
Marshall looked down at her for a long moment, smiling as he realized the ramifications of this days work. They now had an army and powerful allies, now they could take the fight to the federation. All he had to do now was to get back to Earth find the key and open it, and then he would sit at the right hand of the one known as the devil. All in all it was a good day as far as he was concerned.
“I have to go” Dee said between chuckles. Xander had been regaling her with war stories that had, had her laughing more than she could remember doing in some time.
“That’s a shame, I hadn’t got to the one about Faith and naked Alligator wrestling”
“Sounds intriguing but I’ll miss my flight. I don’t think the Admiral would like that,” she said with a wry grin.
“Task master is he” Xander said getting up.
“Yes he is; where are you going?” Dee asked.
“Walk you to your flight of course”
“That’s very gentlemanly of you, but I think I can manage”
Xander smirked, “That’s the trouble with this century your not allowed to be a gentleman anymore without annoying someone”
“I didn’t say it annoyed me,” Dee said filing away that century comment for later research. She stood herself and stepped right into Xander’s personal space. She kissed him slowly on the cheek and stepped away again looking into his eyes, “Take care of yourself Xander, I have a feeling that we’ll meet again”
Xander smiled a little goofily, “I sure hope so Dee”
Dee turned and walked away, or more exactly she seemed to sashay away with her hips rolling in such a way as to cause most of the male patrons, human or not, of Quarks to stop what they were doing and watch her leave.
“Phew” Xander said slumping back down in his seat. The ubiquitous Quark appeared at his elbow.
Xander smiled at the smaller Ferengi, “No thanks Quark, and I’m sorry about last time I was here”
Quark shrugged, “One of the perils of running a bar I’m afraid and poor old me without any compensation”
Xander lifted an eyebrow he had personally seen to it that Quark was awarded compensation so he knew the free trader was lying through his sharp teeth. “Really?”
“Perhaps I could chase it up with Captain Sisko” Xander offered starting to rise, “I’, sure that he would sort something out for you”
“No, No, that’s quite alright I can assure you” Quark who was suddenly nervous told him, “How about one last drink on the house? To show no hard feelings”
“Sure, why not” Xander replied with a smirk.
“It appears that there is indeed a very real threat to the federation, the question is what do we do about it” Picard said.
“Try to open diplomatic channels” Janeway answered him.
“Xander has said that ‘Demons’ will not respond to Diplomatic overtures,” Picard informed her.
“Possibly not, that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Or that we shouldn’t”
“I quite agree Admiral” Picard said with a smile, he was thinking that his original assessment of Janeway had been spot on he was just sorry that they had ever doubted each other, “I suggest that you and I return to the council and report directly. I have to take Mr. Harris back to earth anyway”
“Yes, what of Mr. Harris anyway” Janeway said wistfully, “He appears to know a lot about this race, especially considering that there is no actually history of these things on earth before”
“Well, that is not strictly speaking true” Picard said hesitantly.
“There are documented cases, it is just that the source is not necessarily the most accurate”
“The Dictionnaire Infernal would be a good place to start” came a young voice from the door.
“Mr. Harris, one should not sneak into the middle of a private meeting” Janeway reprimanded him.
“Which is ignoring the fact that you should be in sickbay in the first place?” Picard added.
Xander shrugged, “I left, and I just happened to walk in I didn’t sneak”
“Well come in and close the damn door. Damn this old Cardassian rust bowel” Janeway said, “They couldn’t have put in some modern doors that don’t just open when asked”
Picard eyed Xander who was fiddling with the control panel, “Something tells me the door wasn’t asked in the normal way Admiral”
Xander looked up from rewiring the panel and smirked, “Sorry” he said without a hint of remorse. “But I knew what you would be talking about and frankly I’m fed up with pussyfooting around the subject so I thought I’d fill you in”
“Then by all means do so and we’ll discuss court marshal later” Picard said with not a hint of amusement or sign that he was joking in his face or voice.
“Unfortunately we can’t court marshal a civilian,” Janeway said with a smile she had not looked at Picard and thought him joking.
“No we can’t, but we can an acting Ensign who gained a field commission on the Enterprise during his trip back to earth” Picard said a small smile creeping through his demeanor. Xander was looking between the two powerful star fleet officers with worry on his face.
Janeway smirked, “Then I hope Mr. Harris has some good information for us”
“Hey now I was going to tell you anyway, there is no need for blackmail” Xander said reproachfully as he took a seat at one end of the large conference table, “OK, well here goes. The world is older than any of you know….”
Xander’s story had taken several hours to un-fold; he had held only the identity of the slayers on earth and his involvement with them back; everything else he had laid out carefully and logically and leaving no detail left unsaid. He had told them everything of his involvement with Buffy and the Scooby gang, some of the war stories he had swapped with Picard and the others over a Poker Match now made a lot more sense to the Captain. He had then gone into detail about how he appeared to be connected to slayers and told them of his training to help them. He’d told them everything he could without divulging any secrets that he considered that weren’t his.
Then something strange had happened, Riker had called from the Enterprise saying that they had been called away to the Beta Quadrant, another bush fire that needed to be put out. Picard had talked with Janeway and it had been agreed to send Xander back with her. But Xander had a strange feeling, like there was something not quite right about the situation, it seemed to coincidental that one of his staunchest allies was being sent millions of light years away just as he had to return to earth.
The Prometheus had set off that evening; the Admiral had wanted to return to earth. There had been a very strained meeting between he and Seven that Xander hoped wasn’t a sign of things to come but he had noticed that she seemed strangely upset, but no amount of cajoling would get what exactly it was that was upsetting her, she had only said that it wasn’t him. Xander wasn’t sure he believed that for a minute.
He sat down at the LCARS terminal and pulled up the schematic for this new Prometheus Class ship, the first in the line. He was amazed to see that it had a multi-vector assault mode and was even more amazed to find out just exactly that was. He toyed with the system for a few minutes before becoming bored.
With a sigh of frustration he paced his temporary quarters knowing that he wanted to do something and just not knowing what it was that he wanted to do. He walked over to the replicators and typed in a sequence code and activated the generator. He was surprised to find a trumpet appear in the receiver.
“Huh?” he said stupidly and checked his instructions once again, it was true it was exactly what he had ordered; only he’d wanted a coffee. He picked up the silvered musical instrument toying with the valves for a moment. He then licked his lips and placed them against the pipe. He blew expecting to hear the usual raspberry sound that the untrained manages to coax out of a trumpet. He was amazed to find that a crisp clear note issued from the instrument. He almost dropped it in shock and held in front of him as if it would attack him.
He stayed that way for a long time before finally placing it back on his lips and trying again. Once again the long almost mournful note played from it, but this time he found that he was able to hold the note using circular breathing. That was a shock considering that he didn’t even know what circular breathing was. Then he tried changing the note and found that his fingers seemed to just know how to do it. Before he knew what was happening he was suddenly belting out a Dixieland jazz tune that seemed to calm his inner beast.
He just let himself flow with the music as he played and if one was to listen carefully you could almost hear laughter in the notes from a source unseen.
Chapter 09, Celebration
There was a knock at the door, which in itself was strange enough considering that there was a chime button on the outside. Seven roused herself from her seat, a new addition to her apartment and walked across the, almost bare, floor to the door. She triggered the lock to open and the heavy and secure door slipped back with a hiss of motion.
There he was, the reason that she had been unable to sleep and had been forced to use her regeneration alcove. All dark hair, dark eyes and lopsided good nature he was standing looking a little nervous, exhibit A, Xander Harris. They just looked at each other for a moment before either said anything. For them both it was a sight for sore eyes as in the week since coming back to terra they had hardly spoken. Seven had found that she hadn’t liked the feeling at all and had been unable to properly concentrate on her work. Xander had brooded, something he had hated about Angel but mostly because it was a part of him that he didn’t like much either. Eventually he’d grabbed his jacket and gone for a walk around San Francisco for nearly four hours.
“Hi” Xander said smiling into her eyes.
“Hello, Xander” Seven said not returning the smile.
“Can I come in?”
She stood back from the door allowing him access without inviting; Xander thought nothing of it and stepped into the room. “Nice place” he said with a smile.
Xander fidgeted for a moment, “Look, this is ridiculous. I’m sorry I really am and I promised I wouldn’t do it again, why are you punishing me?”
“You’ve stayed away, and its because of me, I really am sorry I kissed you and I won’t do it again, I had hoped that we could still be friends. Because you are you know”
“My friend, and I hate to loose my friends, especially when it’s my fault”
“I see” Seven said her heart-skipping beat as she looking into his deep brown eyes, “It has been…awkward”
“Yes, yes it has, but it needn’t be” Xander said trying to convince his friend to come back to the group.
“I am sorry Xander” Seven began, Xander’s face fell as he thought she was about to refuse him, “I should have talked with you sooner, I have been…busy”
“Perhaps, you could make time tonight for dinner, with all of us, we’re having a night off because the vamps seem to be on strike”
Seven cocked an eyebrow at that wondering why, as was her nature, but snapped back to the problem at hand, “Yes Of course”
“Zan, Jab and Maria will be there, so it’s safe and everything…Sorry what did you say?”
Seven smiled, “I said yes, we must put this behind us and I think dinner with ‘The Gang’ would be a good way of doing it.”
“Great see you there” Xander said making for the door, “Glad your back … … Friend”
Seven smiled slightly her chest tight, “What time shall I arrive”
“’Bout 8” Xander replied stepping out of the door.
“I shall be there”
Xander smiled at her once more and with a nod of his head he walked back towards his own apartment. Seven watched the door slide back and locked it, and then leaning back against it she let out a long breath biting her bottom lip. The urge to kiss the man had been more overpowering that she’d feared. She had wanted to kiss him so badly that she could taste his mouth. She had been avoiding him for the very fear that she would loose control and kiss him again. That was something she did not want to do, she wanted to remain aloof in control of her emotion, and above all she wanted never to feel the pain and betrayal that she’d suffered at Chakotay’s hands.
Xander glanced over his shoulder and saw that Sevens door was already closed and continued down the corridor to his own apartment with a slightly downcast expression. He keyed in his code on his arrival and stepped into the apartment. The scene was a now familiar one of people sparing in his front room. More specifically Maria and Jacinta. Zandra was sat on the couch flipping a data PADD up in the air and catching it after a rotation. Xander forced a smile and walked over to the couch.
“Move that cute butt of yours over for an old man,” he said as he arrived.
Zandra shot him a sultry smile and moved over for him, “If you think my butts so cute then why complain about the room it’s taking up, old man”
“Oh Ha, Ha” Xander said.
Jacinta tossed a smirk over her shoulder, “You’ve never said I’ve got a cute butt,” she pouted easily blocking a punch from Maria without looking. That caused Maria to frown and redouble her efforts.
“Sorry JAB, I’m swearing off of Blondes for life” Xander said prompting a slight smile from Zandra.
Jacinta’s pout turned into a real one, “That would be a shame” she said thoughtfully, “So how is Seven anyway” she continued with the tact of an enraged bull elephant.
“She’s coming tonight, you can ask her yourself” Xander replied with a carefully guarded expression.
Zandra elbowed him in the ribs, “You two get over your lovers spat?” she asked.
Xander’s eyes flashed for a second and gave Zandra a glimpse of the temper she’d been wondering about only a short time ago. It passed as quickly as it appeared and Xander smiled, “We’re just friends, and that’s all we’ll ever be. Which is how Seven wants it”
Zandra’s expression softened, “I’m sorry”
“So am I Zan, so am I,” Xander said in a sigh.
Zandra decided to change the subject and reached behind the couch, “I’ve got a question for you” she said innocently.
Xander looked at her askance, “No, I didn’t do it and your ass don’t look big in that”
“Funny Wise guy, Ouch” Zandra cut herself off as Maria was swiped to the floor, “No what I want to know is what’s this” she said bringing her hand back from the rear of the couch, “And what’s it doing here”
“Urm, that’s a trumpet” Xander said slowly as if talking to a child, or an idiot.
“Yeah, alright I walked into that one, but why is it here” Zandra asked with a smile.
“Yes, you can’t play the trumpet” Maria said walking over a towel draped around her shoulders as Jacinta started her aerobic workout.
Xander smiled with a slightly puzzled expression on his face, “I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” he said.
“Yeah, prove it” Jacinta shouted as she did the splits.
Xander tilted his head and winced at the position, “Ouch”
“Well?” Zandra pushed.
“OK, fine pass it here” Xander said taking the instrument from the dark haired slayer.
There was a pause as he wet his lips and placed the trumpet to them, then the room seemed to hold its breath expecting the usual noisy sound of a beginner to emit from the trumpets horn.
As one the women’s mouths dropped open as a sweet soulful piece of blues issued forth from the instrument in Xander’s hands.
Admiral Cove’s private office was virtually devoid of any of the normal pictures or family memorabilia that other admirals acquired, there was a simple picture of his daughter taken at a studio; where she looked just about as amazing as any woman could, in his opinion, and there was a antique ink pen placed lovingly on the edge of the desk within easy reach. He was sat looked over these items at a woman that surpassed even his daughters beauty he had to grudgingly admit. But hers was a beauty that seemed to be designed where his daughters was a natural one. He was proud of his daughter, but then he was also proud of the woman in front of him, albeit for totally different reasons.
This woman was the needle sharp weapon of Section 31, as deadly as she was beautiful she had completed many missions for them, some even under his command.
“Lt. Commander” he said, “I have a new mission for you”
“I surmised as much” she said respectfully, “I am however surprised that you cancelled my other mission”
“This is a priority black mission. We must have the information stuck in this mans head”
“I see, and how is the target”
“This is” Cove said passing her a PADD.
After a moment the sound of her laughter seemed to spill out across the room. Admiral Cove frowned at her, “I don’t see that this is any laughing matter Lt. Commander Amara”
Dee Amara, looked at the admiral with laughter still in her eyes, strangely humorous eyes for an assassin, “You know when he said he was older than he looked I didn’t think he meant that old”
Cove frowned, “You know Mr Harris”
“We met, briefly”
“I see; does this effect the mission”
Her eyes flicked to the PADD reading exactly what the mission asked for, “No, I doubt it. It gives me an entrée if anything”
“Good” Cove said nodding, “Then you’ll have two, My Daughter has befriended this man and you’ll go in as an old friend of hers”
“He does know my age,” she said thoughtfully
“It kinda of just came up,” Dee said smirkingly.
“I see, then what do you suggest”
“That I ‘bump’ into him say I’m working in the HQ for a while, invite him for coffee you know the usual routine. You’ll need to find me cover, but apart from that it makes little difference. However, you should tell your little girl to back off of him”
“Back off?” Cove said dangerously, “My daughter would not be so stupid as to become involved with a possibly dangerous individual such as Harris”
“I’ve seen this man in the flesh, he may not be that great looking but there is something about him…” Dee trailed off, “Lets just say I almost had a play on general principle”
“Then I find it necessary to warn YOU, not to become attached to this individual either, because the circumstances for you would be somewhat more dire than for my daughter” Alex Cove said in a deceptively friendly voice.
“I see sir, have I ever given you a reason to doubt my professionalism before?”
“No, that you have not Lt. Commander. That will be all”
Dee Amara nodded hiding a smirk and left the Admiral to steam gently, it was good to be able to wind him up for a change and not have it the other way round as he flirted with her like she was his property.
Once the door closed behind her she made a face full of distaste and gave a full body shudder, handsome or not, she found the man to be repugnant.
Maria laid down the final knife and stood back to admire her handiwork. This dinner was a sort of celebration. They had been fighting and surviving for six months to the day. Almost to the very hour, that was cause for celebration if there was ever one. The meal was a traditional one, candles, cutlery and cooked food, albeit from the Replicator. All the patrons had been informed by her that afternoon to come dressed for dinner, even if she had to explain that phrase to Jacinta. She’d also managed to drop in on Seven; she’d been worried about the other woman. She knew that something had happened between Xander and Seven, she just didn’t know what and why it had caused a rift between them. She had thought that Xander and she were almost perfect for each other, Sevens coolness with Xander’s fire, her intelligence and his passion it was set to be an interesting relationship. Something had caused that relationship to be derailed and she had found nothing out about it from Xander. So she’d tried Seven, but she had been less help than Xander.
Maria glanced up at the chronometer displayed on the main computer terminal and quickly finished off her preparations; she had to get ready herself after all.
Two hours later Xander ventured from his bedroom, where he’d been sent to stay out of the way. It was just before eight, the last thing he wanted to do was to be late for this dinner, not only was it a celebration but he hoped to bring Seven back into the fold. He was dressed in what passed for a suit in this century. He had on a long black frock type coat over black trousers and shoes. He caught sight of himself in the full-length mirror installed by Jacinta and laughed.
“What’s so funny” He heard Jacinta ask. He turned and smiled at her, “You look drop dead gorgeous” he complimented her.
She blushed faintly, “Thanks not so bad yourself” she said eyeing him appreciatively.
“What this I look like a vamp” Xander replied with another laugh. “I could almost see dead boy wearing something like this. If it was leather it’d be a shoe in”
Jacinta herself was dressed in a long dress that was as red as it was curvaceous, “So we’re the first”
“I know and you a woman too. You’d think in the day and age of sonic showers and Replicators that woman wouldn’t still take so long to get ready”
Jacinta stepped forward and swiped his arm lightly, her control much improved it didn’t even hurt him. “Men!”
“Women!” Xander shot back with a smile.
Then Maria and Zandra appeared both dressed to kill, “Whoa, I am indeed a lucky guy to know so many knockouts”
“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Zandra said batting her eyelids at him comically.
“Why Xander, I do believe your actually a human after all” Maria said eying his outfit. “You brush up quite well really don’t you,” she continued smiling at him with laughter in her eyes.
“Ehh, thanks, I think” Xander said. “Hey how about we hit the Diablo after this, show off our fine selves?”
There was a general agreement with his idea, in fact Xander thought that it had been planned that way without him sometime in advance.
The door chime went off exactly at eight and Xander couldn’t help but smile, he knew who that was going to be. “Ladies, excuse me for one moment” he said formally and stepped over to the door. He opened it and took in a gasp of breath. Maria had instructed Seven in what was proper dinner attire earlier. She had then spent a few moments doing her own research and finding the designs in the replicator’s memory banks. The end result; was simply mind blowing. Her dress was a simple black number that trailed the floor with a slight split up the side. It fitted in all the right places and was old fashioned and showy by the standards of the federation. Xander found he was truly speechless for the first time in his life.
Their eyes met for a moment before Sevens gaze traveled up and down the surprisingly well-dressed Xander. The long jacket did something to his height, making him seem taller and his shoulders broader, the black fitted his complexion and she suspected that it had been picked out for him by one of the other women. It was simple too delicious for the normally clothes blind Xander to have picked.
“Well, lets eat” Jacinta called out, “I’m hungry”
“Go on show her”
“What, no way”
“No, my lips still hurt from last time”
“Go, she’ll love it won’t you Seven” Jacinta pleaded”
“I would be most interested to see what has Jacinta so excited,” Seven said with a smile curling her lips.
“Its nothing” Xander said to Seven, “She’s just had too many e-colorings”
“Huh?” Jacinta said over Maria’s un-lady like snort, “Whatever, weird boy, just play the damn thing or I’ll get slayer on your ass”
Xander cocked an eyebrow at her, “I think you mean primeval, but I could be wrong,” he said getting up from the table.
“No, trust me getting slayer is bad for you”
Xander guffawed, “Now that isn’t true,” he said before he could stop himself. Not even Maria knew what he meant by that so he had three sets of beautiful eyes trained on him. “Ah, shouldn’t have said that should I”
“Do tell, sounds like an interesting story,” Zandra said with a glint of interest in her eye.
Maria was just looking confused, “This is the trouble with my memories, they just aren’t complete, who?”
“Don’t worry Giles didn’t know about this, if he had I think he would’ve kicked my ass all over California” Xander said with a rueful grin.
“So….” Jacinta said nudging Seven who turned to her with a quizzical expression. As Xander ducked behind the couch to get his trumpet she said, “If you ask he’ll answer, you know that”
Seven cocked her eyebrow at him and shook her head to which Jacinta sent her a pleading look. With a sigh Seven turned away from her and lifted an eyebrow at Xander who suddenly looked like a rabbit in headlights.
Eventually he gave a sigh of his own and looked at Maria, “Remember Faith?” he asked.
Maria nodded then placed her hand over her mouth, “You didn’t, when?”
“I didn’t really have much choice actually, I’d just run into a demonic bitch with my car saving her butt in the process. She took me back to her motel where I put her shoulder back in, then well…”
“Whoa, whose a bad boy” Jacinta said with a laugh, “Why didn’t anyone know”
“I never gave anyone the details but most of the gang knew Giles just ignored it because they were trying to get me out at the time” Xander said with a shrug and a sigh.
“They tried to kick you out?” Zandra asked with an incredulous look on her face, “Why?”
Xander smiled self-consciously, but feeling elated that Zandra thought that way and was happy to see Jacinta nodding along with her. “You have to understand the group back then. You see, there was Buffy and Faith who both Slayers and good ones at that, Buffy was the best ever. Then there was Giles, who knew all about demons and was a powerful mage in his own right; Willow was becoming a very powerful Wicca at that point. Oz was a werewolf and Angel was a souled vampire, with all the strength that, that offers. I had nothing, just a normal human, it was different then, I was different back then. I don’t know I suppose I was just useless.” He shot them a wry smile, “The Zeppo”
Maria cleared her throat.
Xander looked at her, “What?”
“You are no Zeppo, Cordelia was dead wrong about that” she told him earnestly.
“No you see she was right, I was, it was after that, that I started to learn how to fight properly think on my feet. I actively tried to remember the soldier memories from Halloween. It was because of that comment that I really started to make an effort”
“Xander” Maria said simply as the others watched them like a tennis crowd. “I don’t think your being totally honest”
Xander shot her a sharp look, “Anyway who wants to hear me play this thing?” he said lifting the trumpet to his mouth.
“Oh no you don’t, what’s going on here” Zandra asked reaching out and snatching the trumpet away from him.
Xander looked at seven with an odd look in his eye, memories of another blonde that held his heart flowing through his minds eye. “Nothing, although I take it Giles knew about it?” he said his eyes snapping to Maria.
“Oh yes” Maria said with a smirk that was so Ripper it looked odd on her attractive countenance.
“Expect that it made him think I was an even bigger idiot than he already did?” Xander said
“What happened?” Jacinta and Zandra both demanded at the same time.
“Another time ladies, if we’re going to hit the club now is the time” Xander said and he walked off.
Jacinta turned to Seven, “See you should have asked him”
Seven afforded her a slightly icy look, “I am uncertain as to why you think I seem to have some sort of hold over Xander, I can assure you I do not” she said standing and following Xander out of the building.
“I can see this is going to be a great night,” Maria said sarcastically.
“Come on Watcher women, we’ll try to cheer them both up” Zandra said holding out her hands to the elder woman and her sister slayer.
“You know there was a car called Diablo that I wanted when I was back in the dale,” Xander said as he walked in.
Seven looked at him quizzically, the pair of them cutting quite the swathe as they walked through the crowded club, the crowds parting for the handsome couple. For couple is how they looked, both wearing black and standing unconsciously close to each other. “Car?”
“Automobile, combustion engine”
“Ah, yes Tom Paris was interested in those”
“I’m not surprised, a pilot would like the feeling of power at their finger tips. He would have loved the Diablo then.”
“Why?” Seven asked interested.
“The Lamborghini Diablo could go about 230 MPH and looked like sex on the road” Xander informed with a smile, “Long sleek lines, pure power and lots of horses under the hood. Nothing like it, even flying a shuttle doesn’t feel the same despite how fast your going”
“Where are the others?” Seven said suddenly noticing that they were on their own.
“Maria said something about nipping back to her apartment to grab a medallion or something to show me.”
“I see and the Slayer twins” Seven asked.
Xander let out a laugh, “I can see that I’m starting to rub off on you Seven”
A remark came to mind but Seven immediately dumped it, it would not have been a friendly thing to say, or that is to say rather too friendly. “Good” she said settling for a compliment.
Xander beamed at her, “Would you like a dance?” he asked.
“Certainly, but my dancing still requires… some work”
“Then lets work on it my friend” Xander said with false cheer but took Seven into his arms anyway and started to dance her around the dance floor.
Maria walked into the top entrance of the club flanked by her two slayers. It didn’t take her long to spot the pair dancing in the centre of the club. She smiled and glanced at her friends and comrades in arms, “Do you think those two will ever stop being idiots and realize what they are?”
“Who knows” Jacinta said ruefully.
“What’s wrong, you’re not still crushing on him are you?” Maria asked gently.
“Not really, but still its hard not to like him you know brave, funny, handsome”
“Yeah” Zandra muttered to herself, forgetting about the enhanced hearing of her sister slayer.
“Don’t you think Maria?” Jacinta said with a teasing smile.
“If not for Rupert’s memories then perhaps, but I have seen him when he was growing up at his worst and his best. He wasn’t always very nice; his humor can turn sharp, and hurtful. But that’s not the reason really. Rupert thought of him as a son, and now so do I”
“I find it hard to think of Xander as being hurtful” Jacinta said thoughtfully.
“Oh my dear Jacinta, Xander is positively evil when riled” Maria paused, “Well not Evil, just not very nice at all. However he did show flashes of what he would become and that is what you are crushing on my girl, the superior Xander, except no substitute as Buffy once said.”
Jacinta was no longer listening, Maria looked at her and smirked, she had caught sight of a dark haired man with who was as equally interested in her. Maria shared a look with Zandra and mouthed, “Or Not” at her.
Zandra chuckled slightly as the man came up to them, his eyes almost glued to Jacinta.
He was around his late twenties perhaps early thirties, Maria decided as she watched him walk, had some training, possibly Starfleet as he held himself well, confident in himself. He was very good looking with a firm jaw and he was obviously well built by the breadth of his shoulders and chest. But most importantly, he wasn’t a vampire as neither Jacinta nor Zandra had shown any sign of the tell tale pain that was a slayers early warning system. He stood before Jacinta and spared the other two women a quick smile before turning back to Jacinta, “Hello” he said with well-spoken American accent.
“Hi” Jacinta said a little breathlessly.
“Want to dance?” he eventually asked looking a little nervous.
“Do I” Jacinta said grabbing the attractive mans hand as she virtually dragged him to the dance floor. The two danced for a moment the tempo sinking as the eclectic music of the Diablo reared its head. They stepped in closer to each other this close she found that he was quite intense and a strange feeling of calm was oozing off of him.
“So what’s your name?” the man asked finally as they swayed to the music.
Looking up into his eyes, she smiled slightly, “Jacinta”
He smiled warmly, “That’s a beautiful name, Jacinta; I like that”
“Thanks, how about you, what’s yours?”
“Gabriel Masters at you service my lady” he replied backing off and performing a mock bow
Jacinta laughed gaily.
Up on the balcony Zandra and Maria looked at each other with matching smiles, “I think our little girls all grown up” Zandra said wiping away an imaginary tear.
Across the dance floor Seven felt Xander’s arms become stiff around her. She followed his gaze to where it was locked onto Jacinta and her dance partner. She caught his eye and stared him in the eye, “Jealous?” she asked.
Xander shook his head, “Cautious” he replied.
“You and your precious slayer’s” Seven said with a wistful sounding voice.
“I’ve been charged with looking after them, it’s only natural that I worry about them”
“Sometimes you appear to believe that they are incapable of looking after themselves.”
Xander shook his head, “No, I know better than anyone in the world the weaknesses of a slayer. The heart is the biggest of them all, it’s their Achilles heel.” He said looking at where Jacinta was laughing gaily at something the blonde man had just said.
“Perhaps you are just upset because she has moved on from her crush” Seven enquired looking him directly in the eye.
Xander smiled into her eyes, “At least it was safe, I would never have taken her up on the offer and never would’ve used it to hurt her”
Seven was studying his eyes, and whilst she had yet to master the detection of lies using this method she knew he meant what he said. “What of Zandra, you still have her to pant after you,” she said slightly icily a fact missed by Xander.
“Zandra was only interested in me because Jacinta was”
“Yes Mistress” Xander quipped, “Slayers are lone hunters, Alpha wolves all of them, they don’t play well with each other”
“Yet at one time, there were two working together, this Buffy and Faith you mentioned before” she said almost spitting the word Faith. But Xander was now in the friend’s zone, having blocked out any thoughts of he and seven he was totally missing the interplay of her words.
“Work Together may be far too strong a word, and besides it wasn’t for long. Faith slipped and I’m ashamed to say that we all treated her badly because of it. Then she turned to the wrong man for comfort”
“I take it by that you mean any man except yourself, as the self proclaimed Patron Saint Of Slayers” Seven said with a slightly amused expression.
“Actually, I didn’t mean ‘turn to’ quite like that, The Mayor well, he was like a father to her, he gave her support when she needed it, trouble was he was an evil maniac that wanted to ascend into a full demon”
Seven smiled slightly, “I see, you really have led an interesting life”
“Interesting is one word for it” Xander said with a laugh, “Oh hey, there’s Maria and Zan lets go say hi”
“Certainly, perhaps we could continue the lesson later” Seven said with an inquisitive tilt to he head.
“It would be my pleasure and honor Milady” Xander quipped with a smile happy that he and Seven were once again on speaking terms.
Dympna Amara watched the club with the air of one who has seen it all before and is suitable unimpressed. She was for the want of a better word, bored. She’d spotted her target several minutes ago dancing with a stunning blonde haired woman, who she had to admit was somewhat of a head turner. She knew from his file that this woman was Seven Of Nine. What the file hadn’t told her was what the relationship between the two was. From what she had seen it could be more than just friends, but then sometimes it was hard to tell. She decided to wait before making her move, but her patience was wearing thin. If she had a fault it was a slight lack of patience before engaging the mark. She liked to dive straight into an assignment without having to wait around.
She saw her chance as Xander led Seven off of the dance floor. Her voluptuous red-coated lips curled into a smile and she set off through the club. Her every step exuded sex appeal the heads of several patrons turning to watch her progress through the club.
She timed it so she stepped past the table that Xander was seating himself at, she didn’t look at him but she knew that he’d seen her.
“Oh hey, Dee” Xander called out but the beautiful woman kept on walking. “Guys, excuse me, just seen a friend, back in a sec” he paused, “Just keep an eye on Jab and that guy yeah” he said to Maria who nodded hiding a smirk.
With that he left the three women alone and set off after Dee, who was deliberately leading him as far away from the table as she could. He eventually caught her at the side of the night club.
“Hey, Dee, wait up” Xander said pushing through a press of people that had parted like the sea before Moses for Dee but had clamped shut again just as Xander wanted through.
De decided this was far enough and turned with a disinterested look on her face, “Hello?” she said quizzically.
Xander halted at her apparent disinterested, she didn’t appear to recognize him, “Oh sorry”
“Wait, Xander isn’t it” Dee said realizing that she had over played her hand slightly.
“Yeah, hi” Xander said his smile slipping back into place.
“Well, small galaxy” Dee said stepping closer to him, “Or are you following me”
“Across almost an entire quadrant of space? I would have to be one hell of a tracker”
“Shame, every girl likes a stalker,” she said with a leer as she gave a quick bob of her eyebrows.
Xander laughed, “Oh boy, so what you doing around these parts”
“I could ask you the same thing” she shot back her lips still in a leer that was screwing with Xander’s ability to think.
Just then the music did a turn about and Xander suddenly laughed, “Ok this place is funny,” he said, as a throbbing beat was expertly mixed in, “Tango to Techno in one easy step”
“Techno?” Dee said tilting her head to one side causing her hair to tumble down her shoulders. Xander swallowed past a suddenly dry thought, “Come on I’ll show you,” he said offering his hand.
“I don’t know if I should associate with maniacs who are old enough to be my grand father wasn’t it”
“Older” Xander said smiling pulling her into the milling throng, “come on dance with me” he backed into Gabriel who was leading Jacinta in the opposite direction. They turned and faced each other their dates suddenly forgotten as Xander took the opportunity to size the other man up.
“Sorry” Gabriel said starting to move away.
Jacinta stepped between them noticing the look on her mentors face, “Xander, this is Gabriel”
Xander stuck out his spare hand, “Hi” he said with a carefully neutral voice.
Gabriel smiled noticing that the other man seemed protective of Jacinta, “Hello, pleased to meet you”
“Likewise” Xander replied suddenly feeling a tugging on his arm he looked round to find Dee cocking an eyebrow at him, “Sorry duty calls” he said over his shoulder and starting to bounce around to the manic beat.
“Who was that?” Gabriel asked Jacinta as she led him to the table they had spotted Seven and the rest sitting at.
“I’m not sure, she’s new”
“Not the woman, the guy, he’s not your brother or something”
“What makes you say that” Jacinta said with a puzzled smile.
“He was just very protective, like a brother would be you know”
“I suppose that’s not a bad comparison,” Jacinta said thinking of a way to describe the almost mentor like relationship she had with Xander, “My older brother”
“Older?” Gabriel said in confusion, “He looked younger than you”
Jacinta laughed, “Looks can be deceiving,” she said as they reached the table. “Hi guys, meet Gabriel Masters”
Dee smirked, “Little sister?” she asked.
“Was that your little sister? You looked like you were about to kick that guys arse just for dancing with her. That, and trust me when I say this, is a big brother thing to do”
“Well no, she’s not but I kinda keep my eye out for her you know”
“I do” Dee said pursing her lips, “So is jumping up and down like an idiot a big part of dancing where you are from” she asked.
“You could say that is a part of dancing when I’m from.”
“So you are from the past, no wonder they had a war, just to stop you dancing I would think”
“Ohh, now that was a low blow Dee, for that I insist on another dance, because knowing this club the music will change to something a little more…different”
“Perhaps, so just how old are you then kid”
“About 400 and change” Xander said smirking, “But even if I wasn’t I’ve always liked older woman before”
“Really how much older”
Xander smirked, “About 1046” he said under his breath, “So how about that dance”
Dee paused wondering if she had heard him correctly then shook her head, “No I need a drink”
“Why don’t you join us, or are you with someone?”
“That was subtle”
“No, sorry, did… You like fucking with me don’t you” Xander said laughing.
“Interesting choice of words, and proof that you’re from the past, no one swears like that anymore, its considered terribly bad manners” Dee said effecting a straight faced look of reproach.
Xander blushed, “Sorry, really?”
Dee’s lips quivered. “Yeah, would I shit you?”
“And you get me again, you know no ones got this many over on me in years”
“I haven’t got anything over you…yet”
“Ok, stop yanking my chain Dee my poor old heart can’t take it. So you want to join us or what?” Xander said fighting a laugh.
Dee’s lips pursed and she tilted her head again, a strange piece of Dee type body language, “Sure, why not, as long as you buy the drinks, after all you owe me something for subjecting me to that dancing”
“Okay, Okay” Xander said with a large smile and started to lead her back through the club to their table.
“Everybody, meet Dee, Dee meet everybody,” Xander said as they reached the table. There was a vague chorus of hellos as everyone introduced them selves, Seven happened to be last and the two women’s eyes seemed to lock for a moment before a very cool greeting was passed between them.
Xander took everybody’s order carefully trying to remember the entire order he quickly walked away to the bar.
“So, Dee is it” Maria said once Xander was gone.
Dee smiled charmingly at her, “Yes, short for Dympna”
“I see that’s an interesting name, where are you from”
Dee smiled again realizing that she was being interrogated, “The colony on Caltair III” she said. Once of the secrets of her success had always been that she would rarely lie, that way when she did people in variably believed her. She knew that it was likely that Maria would check up on her claim up in some form or fashion, this was she was showing herself to be truthful. She rarely bothered with deep cover stories; they were both confusing and generally unnecessary. Most of her work was fairly short in execution.
Sven quirked an eyebrow, “Caltair III is a high gravity planet is it not”
“Yes it is, that’s why I’m on the not tall side” Dee quipped eliciting a short chuckle from the others at the table.
“It would also make you unusually strong” Seven replied with a straight face.
“Somewhat” Dee answered surprised at the depth of the knowledge the blonde had, but then she was an Ex-Borg. She and Dee shared certain uniqueness. Humans who left Caltair III were rare, just like Ex-Borg.
“You are a rarity”
“Some think so, I think I’m kinda common”
“Really, how so”
“I’m just another Jane Doe going about her business in the fleet it doesn’t matter where your from its just about where your going”
“You’re in Starfleet, is that how you know Xander” Maria put in.
“No, actually I met him at Deep Space Nine on the way back from a cancelled mission”
“Oh really?” Maria said prompting for more information.
“I found him looking out a view port looking sad, for some reason it caught my interest, we talked had a drink talked some more. I left for another mission end of story”
“Kismet” said an almost forgotten Gabriel.
Dee looked at him steadily for a moment, “If you like, can’t say I believe in fate though”
“Some would say that the will of Allah, is not fate but destiny,” Gabriel said.
Dee’s eyes darkened, “Or not” she said her tone flat.
The others at the table shared a confused look at the strange turn in conversation. Gabriel smiled charmingly at Dee but didn’t pursue any further conversation.
Xander returned to an almost silent table and eyed it with worry, “OK, did I get the drinks wrong?”
“Just a discussion of religion gone bad” Dee said with a dazzling display of teeth. Her darker mood from before gone in the blink of an eye.
Maria seized the opportunity to change the subject and groped for one. Then she felt the medallion around her neck and smiled, “Can you read this for me?” she asked tossing it to him after she pulled it off.
“Its Ancient Sumerian” Xander said inspecting the coin like medallion.
Gabriel and Dee both shot him a surprised look, “You can read Ancient Sumerian?” Gabriel asked finally.
“Hmm, yeah just about”
“That’s not just a dead language its Neolithic” Gabriel complained, “How can you know that language”
“Those with eyes to see and ears to hear will learn many things,” Xander said in a mock swami voice. “Plus I had a real pain as a teacher,” he finished normally and nailed Maria with a glance, “You can’t read this?”
“No, I can’t” she replied with an annoyed expression. Xander knew that she had holes in her memory but it had been Giles himself who had taught Xander, so she should know this language like the back of her hand.
“OK, lets see. Py, pea, po, Pylea, ok, hang on I think I’ve got it. To take the first step on a journey is the to be in Pylea, well that makes the kind of sense that doesn’t” Xander looked up and locked gazes on Maria. “Oh shit, I read it out loud,” he said
“Yes you did you pillock, didn’t Giles teach you better than to be reading out strange passages.”
Dee looked around at the suddenly quite club, “Hey where’d everybody go”
“It’s getting kind of windy in here” Jacinta said with worry etched on her face.
Zandra looked around warily, “Xander what have you done?”
Xander reached out and took Dee by the hand and reached for Seven with the other, “Everyone hold hands” he said and everyone made a grab for each other, but before he was able to reach Sevens had he was cut off by a sudden gale of wind and a bright flash of light.
The next thing he knew he was still sitting on his chair holding Dee’s hand in the middle of what appeared to be day, in a forest. He exchanged glances with Dee and looked around again, and then he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was no good he was still there and worse than that he could hear something growling.
Chapter 10, The Watchers Treasure
“Oh Boy” Xander said as a large form dived at him with a roar. He managed to get a quick impression of large canine teeth as the dull gray creature barreled him over backwards off of the chair. He managed to hold it at bay as it tried to bring its teeth to bear on his throat. It appeared to him to be a cross between a werewolf and a giant rat.
Suddenly adrenaline surged through his body shocking him out of his stupor and he started to twist over to his side trying to roll the creature off of him. It was heavier than he had at first thought and it was seriously slow going. He could smell its fetid breath as it roared and struggled against his hold on it.
With a surge Xander rolled and swapped places with the beast but that didn’t stop it trying to bite into his arm Xander struggled against its mad movements but it managed to get through and bit down onto his arm, but only because he had managed to get it into place just before it bit into his throat.
Xander let out a scream of pain, but he was still reaching into his pocket. Then his fingers finally touched metal. There had been a very good reason why he had word a full-length frock jacket. He had wanted a quiet night with his friends, but he knew his luck. He had his katana carefully inserted into the lining of the specially replicated jacket; He touched its’ handle and with one last push his hand wrapped around the pummel.
Then with a quick thrust he drew the katana in a fluid movement the beast still attached to and worrying his arm. With a roar of his own he brought the specially made alloy katana round and sliced the beast in two spraying blood in a matching arc to the swords. He breathed heavily for a moment, the top half of the monster still attached to his arm.
“Hi” Dee said putting down the branch she had gathered to beat the beast off of Xander, “Urm, you’ve got something on your arm”
Xander chuckled slightly, “Yeah, it followed me home Ma, can I keep it?”
Dee smirked and helped Xander to remove the beasts’ jaws from his arm.
“Ugly brute isn’t he” Dee remarked as they looked down at the carved carcass.
Xander smiled slightly, “OK Buttercup, we’ve avoided the RUS’s now all we have is the quicksand and fire spouts,” Xander said tiredly.
Dee eyed him, “You do realize you’re insane, right?”
“Yeah, but hey its part of my charm”
Dee turned Xander’s arm over looking at it with a critical eye. “That needs attention”
“I’m guessing no first aid kit in that dress?” he said eyeing the tight dress that Dee had worn to the club, it was in fitting with the theme of the club and as such it could have been something that Cordelia would have worn, but even she wouldn’t have looked as good in it as Dee did.
“Strangely enough I didn’t think to pack one”
“Ah” Xander said.
“We need to find water”
“First step in a survival situation, but this arms loosing too much blood” Xander said almost distractedly, “Shame I haven’t got a phaser”
“A Phaser?” Dee said thoughtfully
“Yeah, useful little things”
To Xander it looked as though she were putting on a seductive show for him for a second as her hands ran up her leg in, but, as one hand slipped up a shapely thigh and under her dress it reappeared with a tiny and highly compact phaser.
“A Type I Hand Phaser, also known as the cricket, where’d you get one of those?” Xander asked impressed.
“I have friends,” Dee said simply handing it over.
Xander took the phaser and tapped the control pad for a few seconds, and then he reversed it and pointed it at his injured arm.
“Whoa, what do you think you’re doing, stunning yourself or killing yourself, it only comes with two settings” Dee said.
“Yeah, and I noticed you had it set to kill” Xander said with a lifted eyebrow, then without further comment he triggered the firing stud.
Seven opened her eyes and looked around, next to her Zandra stirred in her seat as she too came awake. Then seven started to panic for the first time in her life, “Where are they? Where have they gone?” she demanded looking round at the now empty club.
Zandra’s eyes snapped open and she looked around feeling a little of sevens panic, not the least for which was the fact they were alone. Their friends gone and the club appeared to be totally empty in fact it looked to be closed. As she looked around she noticed that it did seem strangely tidy as if someone had come round and done the after close tidy up. “What the Hell is going on around here?”
Maria’s eyes flickered open and bright unforgiving light poured in through them, she quickly shut them again only to feel a masculine hand on her cheek. She opened them again, this time the light was blocked by a silhouette of a man. “Xander?” she asked
“No, not Xander, Gabriel”
“Oh, hello, where are we?”
“In a forest” Jacinta’s voice came to her from her left, she moved her head to face that direction but stars dancing in her vision
“Oh, Ow! My head”
“You fell off your chair, onto a rock, you had us worried” Jacinta said her voice lacking its usual spark.
“Yes, you’re very lucky, an inch or so to the left or any harder and it would have spilt your skull like a melon, but just to be sure can you stand up?” Gabriel asked, his voice was different more commanding than it had been before.
Maria blinked several times in rapid succession and then forced herself up onto her elbows Gabriel’s strong arms helped her up the rest of the way and then she was standing unsteadily on her feet. She looked around slowly willing her head to stop spinning, “Where are we?”
“We’re not sure”
“It looks like New Forest” Maria said, thinking of a small forest near her hometown.
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” Jacinta quipped.
“Xander, has been a bad influence on you” Maria said with a slight smile, which came over as more of a grimace because of the pain.
“Good” Jacinta said with feeling, “So now what?”
Gabriel appeared to be thinking deeply for a moment, “We need Food, Water and Shelter”
“You sound like a boy scout” Maria remarked.
Dee tried to leap forward but was brought up short when a soft beam lanced out of the compact phaser and bathed Xander’s arm in a golden glow. She looked at Xander with confusion etched on her face and saw that his teeth were gritted and his face was a mask of pain. Then she smelt an all too familiar smell, a smell she’d first known when the Gorn had attacked her colony, in the resultant battle a building had been burnt down, with the occupants still inside. It was the putrid smell of burning flesh.
Xander tried not to black out as the pain hit him with a vengeance, he knew he had to stop the bleeding and this was the only way that he could think of. He tried to concentrate on anything but the burning sensation from his arm, and it worked for a moment, he thought about his friends, both old and new he also thought about how to get out of this situation. The distraction helped him not pass out as he waited the few seconds that stretched to an eternity. Then when he was finally about to succumb he released the firing stud and dropped to the ground.
“Where the hell did you learn to do that?” Dee asked shocked.
“Special course at the academy,” Xander paused looking thoroughly confused.
“You didn’t say that you went to the academy?”
“Yeah, that’s because I didn’t. Something really weird is going on here!” He said unnecessarily. It wasn’t as if Dee wasn’t thinking the same thing.
“As I said, insane, so where the hell are we?”
Xander looked around and then at the medallion at his feet. He reached down painfully and grabbed it with his bad arm, testing his flexibility. He turned it over in his hand several times reading the inscription when a beatific smile lit up his face.
“What on earth is there to smile about?” Dee asked exasperated but smiling slightly herself, Xander’s grin was infectious, besides she was used to unusual situations.
“Looks like I get to pop your cherry” Xander said smirking
“Well, we’ve got water and Gabriel’s made us that rather impressive Bivouac, but we really need to find the others” Maria said as she lent back against a tree sunning her face.
“Yes, but then they might not be here, where ever that is” Gabriel said.
Jacinta looked worried, “I hadn’t thought of that, how do we know”
Maria rubbed her hand over her face, “Ok if we can find the components I think I remember a location spell, have you got that cross that Xander gave you?”
Jacinta nodded fishing it out from her cleavage.
“What about that dagger that seven replicated?” Maria asked.
Gabriel eyed Jacinta, “And where would she keep a dagger in that dress” he asked with a lifted brow, “And more importantly, why?”
There was a rustling sound and a waft of perfume hit him and a silver object flashed past him. He reached up and plucked it out of the air with a smirk. “It’s still warm,” he said laughing. “But why are your carrying a dagger of all things?” he asked suddenly serious.
Jacinta was looking at him with narrowed eyes, “How did you do that?”
“I asked first,” Gabriel said flipping the dagger into the air and catching it by the hilt.
Maria held up her hand, “Mr. Masters, we are with a group of people who, well, protect mankind from those who want to hurt it”
Gabriel’s eyes narrowed and he stood up very straight anger was starting to roll off of him, “Section 31?” he asked snappishly.
Xander had told them all about Section 31 on his return from DS9, but that Gabriel knew of them was slightly worrying.
“Hell, No” Jacinta said, “We hate those pricks, they’ve been trying to get a hold of…” she trailed off realizing that she was about to give away too many secrets.
“Oh, yes very well done” Maria said looking to the heavens for guidance.
“OK, so not Section 31, that’s good I’m not exactly there favorite person, so who do you work for”
Maria and Jacinta glanced at each other, “Xander” they said together.
“Isn’t he a little young to be running a special ops unit?” Gabriel said thoughtfully, “Unless…”
“Unless what, who are you anyway, I thought you liked me, but I’m guessing you assigned to me or something are YOU!” Jacinta said starting to stalk forward.
“No, No, Whoa, I do like you and I haven’t had an assignment since I was…left … Starfleet”
“You were in Starfleet, what do you do now”
“I was” Gabriel said as he reversed the dagger and flipped it into the tree above Maria’s head, “Now I suppose you could call me a independent trader”
Maria glanced up at the dagger reaching up she extracted it from the bark, “I think you are considerably more than that Mr. Masters, but at the moment I have more important things to consider. Do you think you could try to find me some long grass and a small animal?”
Gabriel nodded and turned to do her bidding but stopped as he passed Jacinta, “I really like you Jacinta, anything else is just strange coincidence.”
He walked away as Jacinta’s smile blossomed, “Oh, I suggest we find your friend Xander as quickly as possible, because whilst you or I are not with Section 31, his friend Dee, is”
“Then I suggest you find me those components quickly Mr. Masters”
“Certainly, but please call me Gabriel,” he said disappearing into the forest.
Jacinta and Maria shared a look, “He is so hot” Jacinta said eventually.
“Yes, he is attractive, but what else is he?” Maria said thoughtfully.
“So you were going to ‘Pop My Cherry’ Dee said with a lusty smirk. They had been walking through the forest for about two hours looking for food, water and their friends. Although Xander was starting to wonder if they had even arrived with him.
“Oh yes, I was, wasn’t I” Xander said over his shoulder. He looked at his beautiful companion with a matching smirk to hers. He vaguely wondered how she was making such good time wearing heels as well, but he supposed that replicated shoes had stronger heels. If this had been in his age, she would already be limping because a heel would’ve snapped off.
“Well, I am waiting and ‘very’ willing”
“OK, then where do you think we are” Xander said stopping and leaning back against a tree.
“I guess that, that medallion is some sort of disguised personal transporter?”
“Ehhhh, wrong answer”
“Ehhhh?” she mimicked with a puzzled look.
“Damn this century, OK, this if I’m reading this thing right is another dimension called Pylea”
“Another dimension? How do you think you are Captain Kirk?”
“Eh, no, look this is going to be hard to believe, but you know all those things that hide under your bed when you’re a kid, the bogey man and horror flick monsters?”
Dee tilted her head again and pursed her lips in amusement, “Yes, what about them?”
Xander lost his smile, “There’re all real called collectively Demons, they inhabited several dimensions such as this one which is a lesser Demon Dimension. And if I remember what Deadboy was telling me correctly and that fruitcake, Fred said. This is a very strange one at that, inhabited by Anagogic demons”
“What the hell is a Anagogic Demon, and this assuming that you’re not insane which I already know you are?”
“I may be insane, but I’m not making this up. An anagogic demon is about six foot tall, green and scaly with blood red eyes with two itty bitty horns on its head” Xander said reading off of his memory.
“You mean like that guy there” Dee said her tone cautious.
Xander glanced at her in confusion and followed her finger, “Oh yeah, that’s the bunny” he held out his hand to her, “Run!”
They belted through the forest away from a very confused demon by the name of Mal’ok. He watched them run and cocked his head to one side and then the other; “Humans are such funny creatures” he said to himself and went back to his walk.
Maria laid out the spell components carefully arranging them and then using a twig from the fire that Gabriel had set she lit the grass. Then with a look of utter disgust she grabbed the small furry vermin that Gabriel had caught and slit its throat with Jacinta’s dagger. Then she let the blood spill over the burning grass and held Xander’s gift over the flame. She uttered something under her breath and what appeared to be a 3-dimensional map appeared in the flame spinning gently. After a few moments it lifted from the flame and spread out so it was about a 6-foot square. Then a flame leapt from the burning grass and hovered over the map for a moment before moving across it and settling on the map. Maria then did the same for the dagger. The map stayed in place and another mote of frame leap from the grass. This one hovered over the map and then disappeared.
“Nearly finished Jacinta” Maria asked her slayer, how was sketching the map.
“Yeah, I’m done”
Maria let the spell go and felt a sudden tiredness enter her body, “God I hate blood magic” she said wiping her hands on the grass.
“Well, that was an impressive light show” Gabriel remarked looking cool and calm, but inwardly he was reeling from what he had seen. There was no Holo-Emitters anyway of that he was sure, but that was the only explanation for what he had seen that he could accept.
“Did you mark our position Jac?” Maria asked taking a pin from her hair and bathing it in the fire.
“I did, there’re a long way from us if I’m reading this right”
Maria nodded and placed the pin onto a leaf and dropping it down onto one of the water receptacles, the leaf span for a moment and then quivered to a halt, pointing the way to Xander.
Gabriel glanced at her well-drawn map and nodded, “I would say so, a good days walk, that is if they aren’t walking in the same direction as us”
“Well let’s hope not” Maria said tiredness in her voice.
“Seven’s not here” Jacinta said
“No, it would appear not, but that leaves the question of is Xander alone, or did Zandra or that Dee person end up with him”
“Well, Zandra was sat next to Seven and Xander was reaching for her when the transporter triggered, I would guess not, he already had a hold of his Lady friend, so I would guess that she is”
“Was anyone holding onto Dee?” Maria asked. “Apart from Xander that is?”
They looked at each other and shook their heads; Maria took a long breath, “Then why are we here as well?”
Jacinta looked at Gabriel with concern, “You think we were transported?”
“I do, it’s the only explanation” he said thoughtfully, “But it must have had a relay station to move us off of the planet, if we are”
“Oh we are, Mr. Masters, we are no were near earth right now” Maria told him with a slight laugh, “If I had to guess I would say that the word Pylea that Xander said was the Destination of the Portal Spell”
“Yes, spell, that was no transporter Mr. Masters”
Gabriel smiled charmingly, “Please, call me Gabriel and if not a transporter but a spell what is its purpose”
“It’s the first step in finding something very important Mr.… Gabriel”
Gabriel cocked his eyebrow, “And what is so important that it is in this never ending forest?”
“The Watchers Hoard” Maria said.
The had been running for several hours, on and off and so far no one had followed them, so Xander held up his hand to still their progress, “I think we lost them” he said trying to catch his breath.
Dee smirked at him; “Out of shape” she said her breathing was perfectly normal.
“Not exactly, but then I’m not Starfleet either”
“Well, I do have a slight advantage” Dee admitted.
“Really, what’s that” Xander asked finally catching his breath.
“I’m from a heavy Gravity planet, that means that even running here is a walk in the park to me”
“Oh brother” Xander said rubbing his hand across his face. He glanced up and saw that the sun was starting to dip. “We need to find shelter,” he said mostly to himself.
“That would be a good idea” Dee agreed and cast her glance around, “There, is that a cave?” she said pointing to a rocky outcropping that jutted out of the forest floor.
Xander followed her look and nodded, “Yeah it is, think we can make if by nightfall?”
“If we walk fast enough” Dee told him setting off at a fair clip.
“Oh, alright then, shall we go” Xander said sarcastically.
Ten minutes later they had reached the cave, it was at a slightly elevated position and empty, something for which Xander was eternally grateful. He walked around the slight clearing it was set into and picked up plenty of wood and dumped it down at the entrance. “Can I borrow that Phaser again?” he asked Dee.
“Sure” she said smiling and pulled up her dress again retrieving the phaser.
“I do love where you keep this thing, but I have to ask, what’s a nice girl like you doing with a phaser like that?” Xander said as he fiddled with the controls and lit the fire, then he fiddled with the controls again and zapped a few rocks causing them to glow red.
“What I want to know is how a man who says he has never been in the fleet knows the survival manual by heart?” Dee said sitting down on the ground and stretching her legs out in front of her and her arms up over her head.
Xander shook his head, “Sorry, what?”
Dee smirked, “I asked how it is that you seem to know the survival manual by heart?”
“You, know I wouldn’t mind knowing that one myself.”
“Hmm, come here” she said crooking a finger at him.
Xander walked over and flopped down beside her and smiled into her eyes, “Yes?”
“Take out your coat and shirt, I need a proper look at that wound” she said her voice throaty.
Xander shrugged off his coat and lifted his shirt over his head, then he picked the shirt back up and inspected it, “Damn, I liked this shirt”
“I’ll replicate you another personally, now lets see that arm” Dee said eying his muscular torso. Then she turned her attention to the bite mark on his lower arm, “Hmm, nasty” she said as she gently probed the wound. The low level phaser setting had sealed the wounds and Xander had managed to keep the slight burn to the immediate area of the wound, but it was still angry looking. “Pass me some water,” she said pointing the makeshift Water skins they had made up earlier.
“You don’t need to waste it, we may need it later” Xander said.
“Perhaps, but this wound needs cleansing”
“The phaser cleaned the wound,” Xander said.
“I didn’t say clean, I say cleanse” Dee said tipping some of the cool water on the wound and gently rubbing it in.
Xander looked at her as she worked enjoying her profile and her full lips that were pursed slightly as she concentrated on her task. She smirked as she saw him looking out of the corner of her eye. “Enjoying the view?”
“What’s not to enjoy?”
She turned her head and looked him in the eye; “Want a closer look?” she asked with a seductive smile.
“You do like toying with me don’t ya Dee?” Xander said with a chuckle.
Dee covered the distance between them in a blink of an eye and pressed her lips against Xander’s. “Who said I was toying?” she said as their lips parted.
Xander was about to say something; Dee knew, because she watched as he drew a breath then, whatever it had been that had crossed his mind to say, he didn’t. Instead his eyes darkened with lust and he pulled her into his arms and kissed her passionately.
“Wonder what Xander’s doing now” Jacinta said looking up at the stars.
Maria glanced over at her, “Don’t worry about Xander he can handle himself”
“I know that, but if Gabe’s right then Dee is a section 31 Agent, although he won’t say how he knows” she said looking pointedly at Gabriel who shrugged noncommittally. “Fine! But if she is then Xander doesn’t know and she could be doing anything to him right now”
Gabriel smirked then smiled, then giggled slightly, then unable to hold it back any longer let out a roar of laughter.
Jacinta got to her feet her hands cocked on her hips, “What’s so funny, that’s my friend out there he could be in real danger”
“Oh, I doubt that he’s in danger at the moment” Gabriel said through tears of laughter, “In fact I would imagine he is rather enjoying himself”
Jacinta speared him with a glare, “and what does THAT mean!”
Gabriel smiled at her, “Lets just say, the fact that Dee is a beautiful female agent and that she has been assigned to Xander; well I doubt it’s a coincidence”
Maria’s perked up, “Are you saying that she’s been sent to seduce him!”
Gabriel nodded, “Possibly, but right now she’s more worried about getting home alive than in executing her duty, so she’ll keep him close if he’s as knowledgeable about this place as you are?”
“I would imagine so, possibly more so, is that why you keep us around, Mr. Masters?”
“Look, I’m not a Section agent, I swear”
“Yet you seem to know an awful lot about them?” Maria said
“Yeah” Jacinta added prodding her finger at him.
Gabriel lifted an eyebrow at her and she backed down slightly. He was utterly calm and collected even in the face of a slayer’s ire, not that he knew exactly what he was facing but he wasn’t at all intimidated by either the situation or the interrogation. He smiled widely, “I’ve had my share of brushes with them”
“Oh really, how so?” Maria said glaring at him, “It would appear to me Mr. Masters, that you are telling us things without actually telling us anything”
“Why should I trust you?” he asked mildly.
“You have no reason to do so Mr. Masters, but then neither do we.”
Suddenly the earth seemed to try to shake them off as the ground shook violently.
Dee arched back and let out a sigh of pure pleasure and ecstasy, “Oh god” she said throatily
“Yeah” Xander agreed as he looked at the stunning vision that was Dee naked, “God”
“Hmm” Dee said her hips starting to rock again as Xander groaned in pleasure.
The earth shook and ground rumbled.
“Oh baby” Dee said speeding up.
Xander smiled widely, not noticing as a shower of pebbles spattered around them however neither of them was in a state of mind to notice.
“What the hell was that?” Jacinta said getting to her feet quickly.
“I’m not sure, but it was off the scale for a quake. On Earth” Gabriel said his face a serious mask. “That’s it enough playing people, now where the hell are we?”
“We aren’t lying to you Mr. Masters”
Gabriel snorted and stepped back sharply his hand coming up with a miniature phaser, but not star fleet issue, “Stay where you are” he barked as Jacinta moved towards him, “It would be a shame to Vaporize such beauty” he continued in a more normal voice. He reached down slowly, keeping his eyes constantly on the pair. He slipped off his shoe and without looking twisted the heel revealing a compartment built into it. From it he retrieved a compact communicator, again it wasn’t Starfleet issue but was the height of technology. He flipped it open quickly switching to a secure channel. It wasn’t as small as Starfleet issue, but it had a lot more range and there were times when he needed the extra power.
“Jackman, come in Jackman” he barked down the line, the only response he got was a squeal of static. He tried again on seven different channels that he used on a regular basis. “Come in Jackman, you old bastard,” he said in frustration. Then he looked back at the silently watching women.
“Alright, say I believe you” he said breaking into a smile.
Jacinta moved in a blur and took the phaser off of him and held him a foot off of the ground in one hand, “Ok, now its my turn, so spill” she said to the shocked man.
“Jac, back off, lets be reasonable about this, however you may feel free if Mr. Masters tries a trick like that again” Maria said with a serious edge to her voice. Jacinta lowered Gabriel down to the ground and smirked at his shocked expression.
He seemed to visible pull a hold of himself and he straightened his jacket and stood a little straighter, “Want is it you want from me?” he asked.
“You’re kinda paranoid you know that, right?” Jacinta told him.
“It’s not Paranoia if people ARE out to get you” Gabriel informed her with a smile.
“Look, Mr. Masters, we have no interest in you, in fact we had wondered if you were after us as it were”
“Nope” Gabriel said, “Just wanted to dance with the moist beautiful woman in the club,” he said looking Jacinta in the eye who blushed. He cricked his neck, “and strongest it appears”
“Alright then we were being honest with you about who and what we are and do, don’t you think it’s about time you…” Maria was cut off as the ground gave an even larger shudder.
“Its getting stronger” Jacinta said looking down fearfully at a crack in the floor that ran between her legs.
“Never mind that, what’s that” Gabriel said nodding upwards.
Above them the sky appeared to be torn and through the night sky there was a shaft of daylight peeking throat a tear in the sky.
“Now that’s just weird!” Jacinta said with wonder in her voice.
“Oh dear,” Maria said suddenly looking scared.
“What is it?” Gabriel asked moving around the camp and gathering their belongings.
“I believe that this dimension may be becoming unstable”
“Ohh, is that all” Gabriel said tucking some food and water into his pockets. “Come on, we need to get out of here” he said grabbing Maria’s wrist, which she shook off.
“Oh no you don’t, not until you answer my question” she said
“What? This place may be coming apart by the seams and you want to play question time?”
“Yes” Maria said flatly.
Gabriel stopped and then smiled, “You know; I do like you people,” he said with laughter in his voice. “Alright, My Name Is Gabriel Masters, but I’m better known as Captain Blackheart” he told them.
Jacinta’s hand went to her mouth and Maria cocked her head at him, “You’re a Pirate”
“Some would call me that” he said with a shrug, “I see it as redistribution of wealth”
“And Section 31?” Jacinta said her eyes wide. The Vid Feeds had often mentioned that Captain Blackheart had undertaken another daring raid, it was the news agencies that had dubbed him, Blackheart because he seemed to have no fear and after a famous pirate of old.
Gabriel’s smiled disappeared, “I was in Starfleet once, and in my youthful exuberance I worked for the Section, when I told them I wanted to leave I was cashiered out of Starfleet on trumped up Piracy charges. So I decided to prove them right” he said passionately, “So you see I have no love of Section 31 or the Federation quite frankly”
Maria nodded, “Then what are we waiting for” she said and glanced down at her compass, “We need to go this way, find Xander and try to find a way out of this dimension before it goes to hell, literally”
“Oh, YESSSS” Dee drawled out. She looked up into the face of Xander with a slight tinge of shock on her face. He was surpassing all expectations and frankly blowing her mind, not that she wasn’t giving as good as she got, but this was turning out to be the most pleasurable mission to date, and she hadn’t even really had chance to start it yet.
Xander paused, “Did the earth move?”
“Baby, you’re good, but not even you’re THAT good” Dee said smiling into his eyes, “Now don’t leave me hanging here” she said moving under him and causing his attention to snap back onto her, “Lay on McDuff” she told him with that same smile.
Xander smirked, “Consider yourself laid”
Dee groaned, and then she really groaned.
Maria stumbled slightly yet again, so far she seemed to have tripped over every single exposed root in the forest and it was starting to annoy her, “Damn It!” she exclaimed, “I really wish I hadn’t worn heels out this evening”
“Yeah, I know what you mean” Jacinta said pausing and rubbing her ankle.
Gabriel turned and smiled at them consulting the magical compass as he did so. “Hopefully not far now ladies, with any luck they wee coming towards us since we did that ‘Spell’ and we’ll meet in the middle”
“I need to rest for a while,” Maria complained and Jacinta added that she would also like to rest.
Gabriel nodded and looked around, “There, look a cave see it, we could rest there for a while. It looks sheltered and I think it might start raining” as happens with all universal constants as soon as he said it out-loud there was an almighty clap of thunder and the rain started to pelt down.
Xander stepped out into the rain feeling it pour down his face and naked torso. He lifted his face upwards enjoying the sensation for a moment letting the rain wash away the sweat from his upper body and smiled towards the clouds. He lifted his arms up to the side where blood was washed off of his injured forearm. There activity had slightly reopened the wound. The blood then mingled with the rain and ran down off of his body down to the floor.
He heard a wolf whistle off to one side and snapped his attention round to the source of the noise. Then his smile returned full force, “JAB, Maria how’d you guys find me?” he said happily.
“Well, we didn’t exactly, we were heading towards your location when this deluge started so we thought we’d take cover” Maria informed him.
“Hi” Xander nodded to Gabriel who nodded curtly back.
“So Xan, why are you standing in the rain with no shirt on” Jacinta said with a hand on a cocked hip.
“Tell you what, come inside to the dry and we’ll talk more” Xander said indicating the mouth of the cave.
They quickly made their way inside to find Dee readjusting her dress; the area suddenly seemed to freeze “Oh Hi” Dee said smiling.
“Hey Dee, guess what I found” Xander said.
Jacinta stepped forward, “Never mind that Dee, guess what we know?” she said dangerously.
Dee glared over Jacinta’s shoulder at Gabriel, “You told them!” she accused, “I’ll have you court marshaled” she spat.
“It’s a little late for that” Gabriel told her leaning back on the cave wall.
“Told them what?” Xander asked pulling on his jacket ignoring the blood soaked shirt.
“Dee’s Section 31” Maria said glaring daggers at the aforementioned woman.
Xander shrugged, “Oh that” he said smiling at Dee, his smile turned suddenly deadly, and his eyes now a dark of a very different kind to earlier, “That I already knew” he continued tossing Dee’s phaser at her.
“What!” everyone else exclaimed including Dee and Gabriel.
“That Phaser is not standard issue Lt. Commander Amara, it is known only to be used in special operations and undercover work due to its small size. The way you stand is conducive with someone trained in hand to hand combat to within an inch of their life, just like him” Xander said pointing at Gabriel, “But I don’t know his story but if he even tries to hurt Jab” he paused his katana appearing in his hand so quickly that no one had chance to move as it was pressed under Gabriel’s chin, “Well, he won’t be able to hurt anyone else. As for you my darling Dee, I suggest that you report back that your mission failed, or perhaps there is something you needed to take with you?”
Dee’s smile was ice, “There was the small question of information”
“Really, is that all, they could’ve asked for that” Xander said shaking his head. “Why is it no-one ever thinks of just asking for what they want? You want information on demons?”
Dee nodded with a cold smile still on her face, “I did pay for it,” she said archly.
“That, that was despite you being a spy, not because of it” Xander said sadly.
“What’s he talking about” Jacinta asked Maria quietly.
“You know, its your fault blondes have such a bad name, even in this century” Maria snapped at her, “Take a guess for gods sake woman, shirtless Xander, Dee adjusting her dress, smell of sweat…”
“Yes, Oh, is appears that Xander is still ruled by a certain part of his anatomy”
“Hey, I heard that” Xander said with a hurt voice.
“You were meant to, you dolt” Maria spat back at him with her eyes flashing. “She could have killed you at any point during your ‘Fun’ didn’t you think of that, Ahhh! MEN!” she said throwing her hands up in the air.
Dee was looking at Xander with her head tilted to the side, “Enough of the family crap” she said raising the Phaser. “I believe that you and I need to talk privately Mr. Harris, oh and drop the sword”
“Sure” Xander said doing as she asked, the others all raised their hands, “Nobody do anything until we come back. I heated some rocks up with that very phaser, I think they’re at the back of the cave now”
Dee twitched the phaser. Jacinta’s eyes turned to Gabriel who shook his head slightly, now wasn’t the time for heroics.
Dee and Xander stepped outside the cave still under shelter but out of earshot.
Inside Jacinta and Maria exchanged a look with Gabriel who pulled his phaser and started to creep to the mouth of the cave.
“So…” Dee said
“So…” Xander mimicked.
“I believe you have some information for me. You know for services rendered” Dee nearly snarled. She felt dirtier than she ever remembered feeling on any other mission.
“Oh, yeah, information. When we get home I’ll answer any question, you and only you have. Then you can go back to your boss, what’s his name, Ahhh yes, Admiral Cove, you can tell him that you succeeded”
Dee stepped forward, “I want it now” she said once again twitching the phaser.
The wind howled around them for a moment kicking up debris and spraying them with sharp needles of rain. Xander smiled, “Or what?” he asked.
“I’ll kill you” Dee filled in.
“No you won’t” Xander said confidently.
“Oh really, It wouldn’t be the first time and I doubt it would be the last”
“You have no reason to kill me, you just have to wait and the information’s yours”
Dee narrowed her eyes, “You seem awfully confidant that I won’t kill you”
Xander nodded, “I am, Dee, put it down, look around you this place is being ripped apart, we don’t have time for this”
“There’s always time” Dee said her face deadly.
“Dee, can I ask you a question?”
“Tell me what I want to know, Xander”
“I’ve said all I will say for now, but I’ll honor my offer”
She locked eyes with him for a long time, minutes ticked past as Dee held the phaser unwaveringly at Xander’s forehead. Dee pointed the phaser upwards, “Fine” she spat, “what did you want to know” she asked curious.
“No, I was on my to my briefing, now I have a question for you”
“Why have sex with me, you were taking an awfully big risk, the blondes right about that.”
Xander laughed self effacingly, “Oh baby, because I wanted you, god help me I still want you and if this place wasn’t about to fall apart I would gladly tear off that dress right now, in fact even with you pointing that phaser at me it’s a very close run thing. You’re an incredibly beautiful, sexy, smart and funny woman Dee what man wouldn’t want you. I knew that it was possible that you’d been sent to kill me. I knew it would be the best time to do it. I just didn’t care. I wanted you, too much. At least I would’ve died happy”
Dee glared at him for a second then her lips twitched into a smile that reached and warmed her eyes, “Still a stupid risk Mr. Harris”
“Dee, my friends call me Xander”
Dee lost her smile, “I can’t be your friend, I follow orders, and I do my job. I can’t have friends in my business, Mr. Harris”
“How do you know unless you try?” Xander said tilting his head too match the position of hers and lifted the corner of his mouth in a lopsided grin.
Gabriel stepped out of the cave a phaser in hand and pointed it at Dee, “Drop it”
Xander held up his hand, “Don’t bother” he said stepping forward and taking the phaser from Dee’s hand, “I’m not as stupid as I seem” Xander said whispering it into Dee’s ear. Then he turned and depressed the firing stud. Nothing happened except that the phaser squeaked at him.
Xander tapped a few controls then turned it on Gabriel with a nasty smile, “How about you put yours down buddy”
Gabriel frowned, “Well, that’s gratitude for you” he said.
Xander pointed the phaser to one side and atomized a rock, “Drop it, then we’ll trade quips”
“Xander no” Maria said running between them, unfortunately her step slipped and she fell heavily to her knees cutting her hands on the rock, “He’s not what you think he is”
“Really, then what are you Mr. Masters” Dee said curiously.
“I sued to be one of you” Gabriel explained, “Then I left”
It was Dee’s turn to frown, “You can leave?”
“Not really, I tried it and my career was wiped out quicker than that rock. My family was killed and my fiancée ‘committed suicide’” Gabriel said with a throaty voice. “But I want you to know Miss Amara, I wouldn’t trade it even to get them back”
Dee nodded her face stricken.
Xander stepped forward and helped Maria to her feet, “Heels not good in this weather?” he asked innocently, “Where’s Jab?”
Maria looked around, “I don’t know, she was right behind me”
“I’m here,” Jacinta said stepping out from behind Dee who spun round to face the smirking slayer. “I thought I would keep her covered,” she said hefting the dagger her eyes glued onto Dee’s.
Just then the cave rumbled and it suddenly titled upwards, throwing them all back into its depths with a cry of shock.
Zandra stretched out on the chair her feet propped up on its opposite number, “Seven give it up. No ones coming”
“We must get out of this building and get help for X… our friends”
“I agree, but its like this place was designed to stop people from getting out, there’s no alarms to trip, the comms stations are powered down and from what you said there’s no way to get any power to them. We tried banging on the doors and we’ve both screamed ourselves hoarse. There’s nothing else to do but wait until someone comes and lets us out”
Seven fumed, “That is not acceptable”
“Look, I’m worried about them two, but there’s no use in banging my head against the wall” Zandra tried to reason with her. “So unless you’ve got a phaser hidden in that dress, which lets face it isn’t possible, we stuck here”
Sevens expression cleared.
“What you have one hidden, where?”
Seven shook her head, “No I do not, but I may be able to construct a small device to remove the door”
Zandra sat upright, “Now you’re talking” she said, “What can I do to help”
“Rip the panels off of that communications station and get me the optical cable inside” Seven said moving off to another panel.
“Alright, now your talking” Zandra repeated to herself with a smile.
Xander coughed painfully and shook his head to clear it. He was sure he’d hit every boulder on the way down. They had fallen a good thirty feet, or so it felt and all around him was pitch black. He felt around wincing when he found his sword, edge first, then he reached out further and scrabbled about until he came into contact with a leg. He worked his way up noticing that it was bare as he felt a toned thigh, “oops” he said removing his hand.
“Don’t worry babe I liked it” he heard Dee’s throaty voice say. “Put it back, its dark, no one’ll know, as long as you’re quieter than last time,” she continued with laughter in her voice.
“At least I’m not Mr. Harris anymore” Xander said, but he did place his hand back on her thigh and gave it a squeeze, “Besides I seem to remember someone else screaming right along with me”
“Do you two have to be quite so vomitous?” Maria asked her voice coming from Xander’s right.
“I think they do it on purpose,” Jacinta said from his left.
“Okay that leaves…” Xander started.
“Me” Gabriel cut him off lighting a device that led in the palm of his hand.
“The gangs all here then” Xander said shading his eyes from the sudden light, “The question is where the hell is here?”
He looked around at the cavern they found themselves in and found no hint of anything resembling the cave that he’d seen earlier.
Jacinta sidled over to Gabriel and smiled flirtatiously at him, “Well, you’re full of tricks” she informed him.
He smiled down at her charmingly with a hint of humor in his eyes, “You have no idea”
“I hope to” Jacinta said under her breath.
“OK, look there’s a tunnel leading off to the right over there, lets try it” Xander said.
“And what makes you pick that one, there is another on the left” Maria said.
Xander shrugged, “I’m right handed”
“Oh, yes well if you’re going to use logic” Maria said sarcastically but stood and trudged after him. Dee Jacinta and Gabriel all traded looks and gave a collective shrug and wandered after them.
Xander glanced around the corner again, he then gave an audible gulp, “Maybe the right wasn’t the best way to go,” he whispered finally
Dee looked over his shoulder, “What the hell are they?” she asked matching his volume
“About thirty aggravated Vampires, I would say” Maria commented looking for herself.
“Well we either go around, or through” Xander said.
“Try the left” Maria said nodding, “Good idea”
Xander smirked back at her, “Yes it was” he said and hefted his sword. “But they’ve heard us” he said standing clear of the others.
He twirled his sword for show, “Jab, need you” he said.
Jacinta nodded and stepped up next to him, “Shit” She said fluently.
“Yep” Xander agreed as he watched the gang of vampires tearing towards them.
Dee came to stand next to Xander and Maria and Jacinta joined her. She hefted the Phaser, “You fix this?” she asked.
“Yep” Xander said uncharacteristically focused, “Won’t help though, just stay behind me”
Dee frowned, “What, this phaser can atomize about ten foot thick rock”
“But not a shield” Jacinta said. She’d seen the tests.
“They’re shielded?” Gabriel said shocked. As they drew nearer he could see that they were virtually skin and bones.
“I believe that they’ve been starved” Maria said with fear in her voice as she hefted a stake and passed another to Jacinta.
“Where’d you get this?”
“Same place you had your dagger” Maria said.
Xander cocked an eyebrow at them, “In a thigh sheath pervert” Jacinta said.
“Oh Boy” Xander said with feeling and took up a stance. “Lets go” he said and stepped forward to meet the first wave.
The vampires snarled fangs extended and claws raking the air as Xander’s sword leapt out to meet them, he ducked and swiped under the first spinning away and cutting out again taking a head a move. Then he side kicked knocking two together for Maria to finish with her stake. Jacinta wheel kicked a vampire hard sending it flying over the heads of its friends with a howl. Both Dee and Gabriel fired their phasers only to watch with shock as the powerful photon beam was bent around a shield and dissipated into nothingness. Xander’s sword flashed out in front of Dee’s face taking a vampire and then he speared another that was about to attack Gabriel, “Jac, cover them” he ordered the command in his voice ringing out and snapping Jacinta into place. She threw her dagger to Gabriel, “Take their heads off, or stab to the heart its silver” she said and ducked under a vampires claws jabbing outwards into the beasts heart with her wood. It crumbled only to be replaced by another.
Xander took a sharp step forward clearing himself room and was immediately surrounded by vampires. He slashed out taking yet another head and carried the motion through elbowing a vampire in the face dazing it. He then rear kicked it away and span 360 taking 6 heads in the process. He heard a cry and turned his head quickly to find Maria going down under six vampires. With a surge of adrenaline he dived towards her and hefted vampires off of her as they started to disintegrate under the assault of her stake. Between them they cleared the vampires away form her and Xander helped her stand.
Xander then winked at her and dived back into the fray letting out a roar of his own as a vampires claws raked his already wounded arm. He hauled back and punched the vampire stabbing backwards with his sword. Then he swept the legs of the first vampire and sliced its head as it lay on the floor. He then jumped sideways as a vampire flew past him and held out the razor sharp edge of his sword, allowing the vampire to cut itself in half. The spine detached it turned to ash and fell to the floor.
Jacinta wiped her brow quickly as the wave thinned and kicked out quickly sending a vampire reeling away. Then she spun and placed a stake with deadly accuracy dusting another bloodsucker. She then circled around another vampire using it as a leaning post as she swept her legs around and kicked three vampires and then dropped to its other side and slammed the stake home. Drawing back she watched it turn to ash and turned to the remaining vampires with a smile on her face. They looked at each other and rushed her. She sidestepped one, and it staked itself then she grabbed the others head and ripped it off. She dropped the head before it turned to ash. She looked around for her next victim with a fire burning in her eyes. Her jaw dropped as she watched Xander cartwheel, his sword hit the floor at the point and he used that as his fulcrum to land back on his feet spin and behead the vampire he had just avoided. They all came to a halt at the same time the sound in the tunnel stopping completely, there was no more battle sounds because there was no more battle.
Xander held his stance for a moment and then let it go; and stood straight, “Well, that was actually kinda fun” he said sliding his sword into his jacket.
Dee and Gabriel shared a glance the two battle hardened professionals both white as sheets. From thirty vampires to piles of ash in less than a minute.
Xander walked over to them checking on his people as he did so then looked at them intently, “You OK?” he asked the two shaken people.
Dee nodded, “Oh yeah, remind me not to piss you off,” she said her usual smart arse humor gone, a serious expression in its place.
“I second that” Gabriel said but he was looking at Jacinta with awe, “You ripped its head clean off,” he said as she walked over to them.
“He looked at me funny” she replied with a smirk.
Suddenly a clawed hand grabbed him by the throat and pulled him backwards. He felt teeth enter his neck and then white hot pain as the Vampire greedily started to drink him. Xander reacted quickly his katana moving from his jacket and into the air in a blink of an eye, straight into the vampire’s eye carrying it back in shock. Jacinta finished the job with her stake as it pierced the creature’s heart.
Jacinta ran over to her potential boyfriend as Xander walked over the vampire, or the ash-pile it now was. He reached down and picked up his sword dusting it off carefully. Than making sure to rub his heel into the pile he turned and walked back past the fussing Jacinta and into the tunnel widening that they’d been fighting in. He looked around carefully making sure they weren’t about to have more surprises. Then he looked up.
“Well I’ll be damned” he said his voice full of shock.
Maria looked at him, “What is it?”
“Look at that” he said pointing up, to where, just visible was the sign of the watchers.
“Good lord” she breathed.
“You don’t think”
“What are you two talking about” Dee asked stepping up to them and looking upwards herself.
“We think that we’re on the track of something we were looking for” Xander supplied. Just then the floor tilted slightly under their feet, shuddered and stopped.
“And we need to be quick” Maria finished. “Because I think that this reality is being torn apart”
“I have no idea, but all the signs lead me to think it” Maria told him gravely.
“Ok, then lets keep going now we’re here, then hopefully we can find a way back to earth” Xander said thoughtfully. “After all it makes sense, right?”
“It does indeed Xander, well done,” she said with a smile.
“Eh, thanks” Xander said blushing faintly.
Xander looked around, they had been walking for what seemed to be several hours and he knew that everyone, with the possible exception of Dee was starting to feel seriously tired. “Ok, lets take a break”
They all groaned gratefully but Dee smirked and stepped lightly over to him, Tired Old Man?” she asked.
“Never too tired for you Dee”
Gabriel gathered some rocks and warmed them with his phaser, and then he passed out some food and water from his voluminous pockets.
Jacinta spared Xander and Dee a glance and turned to her watcher, “alright at the risk of being called a bimbo again, what is it with those two?”
Maria glanced over to where Xander and Dee were trading flirtatious barbs, “Sorry about before” she began but Jacinta smiled and hugged her causing Maria to smile back, “Ok, well then, As to them, I don’t know but Ripper does”
“Rupert Giles, my forefather and the source of my memories had what can only be called a checkered past. That past had a name, Ripper”
“I see, or rather I don’t but go on anyway” Jacinta said smiling. Gabriel slumped down next to her and she leant back on him gaining a surprised but happy look. They shared a quick smile before Jacinta turned back to Maria, “So what does Ripper tell you”
Maria smirked like a female version of Ripper himself, “Lust just good old fashioned Lust”
“Oh hey, those two. Aren’t they, like, enemies” Jacinta said her brow furrowed. Gabriel chuckled slightly, thinking of a certain Romulan agent that he’d once been involved with.
“Yes, but well there’s a very old saying. It goes. Young Love is Just, Old love is Just…”
“But the purest form of love is lust” Gabriel finished for her with a smile, “Oh yes, I’ve been had by that one before”
Jacinta turned her blue eyes on him, “Really?” she asked innocently.
“Oh yeah, her name was T’Pella” Gabriel shuddered, “Man that was bad news”
“A Vulcan?” Maria asked interested and ignoring Jacinta’s pout.
“No, hell that would have been a walk in the park, no she was Tal’shir”
“Oh god” Maria said a laugh bubbling out of her, “A Romulan secret service agent”
“What!” Jacinta exclaimed.
“I know, lets just say it was short, intense, but short” Gabriel laughed, “I’ve still got the scar to prove it”
Dee glanced back at the laughter, “What do you think there’re laughing about?”
Xander shrugged, “Me?”
“Oh yes, but experience has taught me to be” he smiled at her and the sense of electrical power built between them again.
Dee glanced at the darkness of the tunnel, “Wonder what’s down there?” she said licking her lips.
Xander looked into her eyes, “I’m not sure, want to take a closer look”
Jacinta looked up, “Hey, where’d they go?”
Maria and Gabriel laughed.
“You know I don’t think this tunnel, whoa” Xander stuttered to a halt as he stepped out into a huge cavern. The last word he said echoing around the cavern.
“Wow” Dee said who had been at his side. The others quickly crowded into the cavern. As soon as the last person, Jacinta, stepped fully into the cavern there was a rumble and a large rock slammed into place at their heels. Jacinta turned around her face white as she took in the giant rock that had landed with a millimeter to spare.
Gabriel turned back quickly moving to her side, “You OK?” he asked.
Jacinta nodded numbly, “Yeah, just need to change my underwear that’s all”
Xander narrowed his eyes at Gabriel who was running his hands all over her to make sure she was ok. Dee leaned into him and whispered into his ear causing him to shiver, “Jealous?”
“You’re the second person to ask me that” Xander said thoughtfully.
“Really, who else?” Dee asked.
A shadow passed over Xander’s face, “Seven”
“Ah, her” Dee said her voice cold. “I’m guessing she’s the reason you were staring out of a view port like you wanted to throw yourself out of it?”
Xander looked at her and then smiled suddenly, “Jealous?”
“You wish, babe” Dee leered at him.
“Come on lets cross this thing before the next ice age” he said taking her hand in his and starting off across the cavernous room.
Jacinta looked around, “Hey did they go to have sex again!” she said exasperated.
“No” Xander called over his shoulder, “We did not!”
Dee laughed happily, possibly for the first time in her life.
Xander looked around, “look at that” he said pointing to the far wall, which wasn’t as far away as he’d at first thought. It was a huge door that towered over them black as night seeming to suck in all the available light from Gabriel’s beacon.
“That’s a BIG door” Gabriel commented as he drew level with Xander.
“Yep, bet they don’t have problems with door to door salesmen”
“A what?” Gabriel said confused. Xander stomped off muttering. “What did he say?” Gabriel asked Dee who was smirking.
“That he hates this centuries lack of TV-humor”
“Oh, Right” Gabriel said smiling then his face cleared, “What?”
“Don’t ask me,” Dee said taking off after Xander.
Xander stood looking up at the huge door, it was much more imposing close up, but he noticed at about halfway up was a carving that look suspiciously like the councils mark. “Maria, do you see what I see?”
“Yes, I do”
“Then how the hell do we get through this door?” Xander said kicking it.
The blackness of the door seemed to swirl in on itself from the point of his contact with it. Then it rippled as if it were a pool of water that rain had hit. There was a sudden low rumble, not like the earth tremors that they’d been feeling with more frequency over the last few hours. No, this was one of pure sound. It grew in intensity as if something very large was powering up and then it stopped suddenly the only sounds were the groups breathing.
“Who requests access to the archive?” a familiar voice said as a blue tinged image of an equally familiar person appeared on the door.
“G-Man!” Xander said with a wide smile. The image ignored him looking straightforward with a look of handsome expectancy.
“Its just an image, an Avatar” Maria said walking forward, “I do, I request access to the archives.”
The avatar appeared to think, “Who are you to do so?”
“I am Watcher Michaels, formally Giles, Last of the line, currently head of the council of watchers”
The avatar paused again then peered at her, “You gave the blood sacrifice at the gate?”
Maria thought quickly, “Yes, it was I”
The avatar nodded, “The blood matches the line, you may proceed” it said blinking out of existence. The door rumbled again this time fading out of existence.
“Wait” Xander called, “G-man, come back” but it was too late the gate had disappeared.
There was a short but high corridor behind it that led to a lit room. Maria walked to Xander and laid a hand on the suddenly sad mans shoulder, “Come on, lets do this,” she said.
Xander nodded with a sigh, “OK”
They walked as a group down the corridor stepping out into a candle lit room full of books; spell ingredients rolls of tape, clothes and several arcane items. They all looked around the room with wonder picking up several items and inspecting them with interest, even if they didn’t know what they were.
Xander found something, a fairly small something that caused him to smile slightly. He palmed it and looked at Maria, “Well, isn’t this just all your Christmas’s rolled into one.”
Maria nodded her head dumbly, “Yes, If only we had a way to take it back”
The avatar flashed into existence in the middle of the room, “Council Leader” it called, “Where do you want these items delivered,” it said as Maria turned. Then a glowing portal came into existence in the corner of the room.
“Yes, this portal leads back to earth, you have only to say where exactly for it to point, it will deposit you and all the archive items”
“5 Bay Towers, San Francisco” Maria said glancing at Xander who nodded.
The room flashed and was suddenly empty, “Please step through the portal, this installation will self destruct in two minutes”
“What!” Xander said, “Quickly, everyone through, go, go, go” he shouted causing everyone to jump to his command; Maria was the first through with Xander standing at the side waiving them through. As Dee passed he pulled her to one side and let Jacinta through after her new beau.
“What?” Dee asked.
Xander reached behind his back and came back with a small book that he held up to her, “This is a Watcher copy of the Dictionnaire Infernal it holds every demon known to man or otherwise a short description threat rating and the ways to kill it” he said simply. He stepped in close to her and slid his arms around her tucking the book under her dress, “Mission accomplished” he said looking into her eyes.
Dee nodded and stepped into him and kissed him passionately.
“Go” Xander said, “Before I’m tempted again”
Dee smiled and winked, “Right behind me right” she said.
“You bet, and you can bet I’ll be checking out the view too. Now go”
Dee stepped in front of the Portal but was brought up short by a new voice.
Xander turned around and looked at the new comer in shock, he turned back to Dee and pushed her through the portal shielding her with his own body. Then once he was sure she was through he turned back to the attractive dark haired man.
“Hi” he said.
The man waived his hand and the Portal disappeared with a wink of white light.
Dee stumbled to her knees and looked up into the worried faces around her, “It’s Xander, Someone turned up; I’ve never seen him so scared”
“And you left him!” Jacinta said angrily.
Dee shook her head, “I didn’t have a choice; he pushed me through”
“The portals gone” Maria said searching the blank wall.
“Oh God Xander!” Jacinta said dropping to her knees just as the door to Xander’s apartment opened and showed a very dirty Seven and Zandra.
Seven looked at the assembled people and noticed a crying Jacinta, “Where’s Xander?” she said, almost hysterically.
“So what do I call you” Xander asked the man who was inspecting him with an amused look on his face.
“Call me Satan, I kinda like that name, or Lucifer or Beelzebub, Morning Star, you pick, Xander”
“Not Q?” Xander said
“Oh, someone’s been telling tales” Satan said stepping forward towards Xander.
“Maybe, what do you want with me” Xander replied backing up slightly
Satan stopped dead, “Actually, nothing, I was just here on business”
“Oh Really” Xander sneered/
“No, really, I didn’t have much interest in you, after all if you’re the best Q can do, then I’ve already won; haven’t I?” Satan smiled.
“I’ll fight you” Xander said his fists clenched. And jaw set.
“You’ll lose” Satan enunciated carefully, “You’re a nothing, a loser with an over inflated sense of yourself. You think you are so special, what, just because Q, the one known as the God of lies told you, you were?” He lifted his eyebrow and smiled a devastating smile, “Is that is boy?”
“He’s never lied to me, but what if he did, I’ll still fight you and I’ll win, because you’re the bad guy and I’m…not,” Xander stated trying to ignore the voice of doubt in his head.
Satan sneered and lifted his hand in a claw. Xander was lifted from the ground by the throat, “I could blink you out of existence worm”
Xander tried to nod, “Yeah, but you wont” He breathed.
Satan dropped his hand, “Oh really” he said with the charming smile back in place.
“No, because you like the game”
“Its Q who likes games, playing the loopholes” Satan touched his chin and then smiled, “A man after my own heart”
“There’s one thing,” Xander said rubbing his throat.
“Oh really, what is that bug”
“He’s better at it than you and infinitely more powerful, you can’t stop him, All this crap about Treaties with the PTB, your SCARED” Xander shouted the last word “He’ll beat you we’ll beat you”
Satan laughed with ever sign of genuine amusement, “Oh boy, you’re a fiery little thing aren’t you” he pursed his lips, “Very well, you want Games, then the fun will begin very soon” he said and waived his hand the portal coming back to life. Xander was lifted into the air and brought before Satan himself. He stared him in the eye then hawked and spat into it.
“Oh, you’re going to be lots of FUN” Satan scream flicking his hand out and sending Xander flying into the portal.
As it closed behind him the cavern exploded with a bright flash. Satan smiled and waited for it to die down, He held his finger to his chin and sat back. A plush armchair appeared beneath him and he rested his chin on his hand. Dark eyes glittered with amusement as lava sprouted around him with so much as marking him. “Yes, let the games begin, now in fact” he said and with a wave of his hand he warped time and changed the destination of the portal.
Then he sat back and held up his hand a cocktail glass appeared in it complete with umbrella. Then Satan sat back and waited for the explosive destruction of the Watchers Archive to complete as his minions overran the demon dimension once known as Pylea.
::::: The End :::::
The Patron Saint AleXander Harris Nicholas Brendon
The New Admiral Kate Mulgrew Kathryn Janeway
The Ex-Borg Seven Of Nine Jeri Ryan
The Superbeing Q John De Lance
The Really Huge Bad The Devil Gabriel Burnes
Earth’s Slayer Jacinta Adolpha Bali Heather Graham
Watcher ala Giles Maria Michaels Charlize Theron
J's Boyfriend Material Billy Zane Gabriel Masters
Master Vampire Marshall Boyd Vin Diesel
Marshall's LT Vinny Vinny Jones
Marshall’s Girl Carmel Grace Penelope Cruz
The Slayer From Mars Zandra Cove Jennifer Love Hewitt
The Slayer From Kling K’thall Liz Tyler
The Ships Councilor Deanna Troi Marina Sirtis
The Captain Jean Luc Picard Patrick Stewart
The First Officer William Riker Jonathan Frakes
The Android Data Brent Spiner
The Doctor Beverly Crusher Gates McFadden
The Listener Guinan Whoppi Goldberg
The Engineer Geordie La Forge Levar Burton
The Test Pilot Tom Paris Robert Duncan McNeill
The New Officer Harry Kim Gareth Wang
The Half Klingon B’Elanna Torres Roxanna Briggs Dawson
The Ex- Chakotay Robert Beltran
The Hologram The Doctor Robert Picardo
The Barman Quark Armin Shimmermen
The Station Commander Ben Sisko Avery Brooks
The Genius Doctor Julian Bashir Alexander Siddig
The Constable Odo Rene Auberjonis
The Bajorian Major Kira Nerys Nana Visitor
Sisko Jnr. Jake Sisko Cirroc Lofton
The Trill Ezri Dax Nicole deBoer
The New Ambassador Worf Michael Dorn
Also Guest Staring
The Slayer Buffy Summers Sarah Michelle Gellar
The Watcher Rupert Giles Anthony Stewart Head
The Witch Tara McKay Amber Benson
The Super Witch Willow Rosenberg Alyson Hannigan
The Ex-Demon Anya Emma Caulfield
The Key Dawn Michelle Trachenburg
Master B'thar John Hannah
The Watcher Bal’ Mar David Schwimmer
The Slayer Kae’Farl Jessica Alba
Director Admiral Cove Powers Boothe
The Temptress Assassin Dympna Amara Catherine Zeta Jones