Title: To Boldly Go…
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things SGA belong to MGM, Gekko, et al.
Author’s Notes: For Mhalachai for the Summer Fic-a-Thon
x x x“It’s a great opportunity, Xan. Don’t pass it up just because…” Willow sighed. “We’ll miss you, ya know? But – great opportunity!”
“You’d be better for it,” he argued senselessly, already knowing that it just wasn’t possible. “A lot better. Research girl to the rescue!”
”I can’t,” she said sadly – which he had known. If she could, she would. He knew that, too. “Everyone needs me here for at least the next few months. We’re still working through the kinks in the new slayer training system, you know.”
Xander nodded. None of this was news to him. And he was the expendable one of the group. Maybe not always, but definitely right now. Dawn couldn’t go because she was still the Key, Glory gone or not. Buffy, well she had slayers to train. Faith would cause an international incident. Giles…
The list went on and on and, really, he was okay with the part where he wasn’t needed here right now. And it was definitely a good opportunity. Paid opportunity with benefits, even. That kind of opportunity didn’t come along that often. Not that they were hard up for money; not since Giles had wrestled control of the Council’s accounts, anyway. He just didn’t like not contributing.
“I’m going to miss you,” Willow said. “But… this is a good thing. We all agreed, right? They need help and maybe you’ll see a way that we can be useful and then… well, then we’ll all have to go and that will be freaky weird. You’re like our eye in the field.”
Xander smirked. Eye in the field, indeed.
This was pointless. It was all settled anyway. The papers were signed, his pass had been laminated and sent by overnight courier along with his plane tickets. Bags were packed and goodbyes had been said. This was as done as it got without him actually having already left.
This time tomorrow, he’d be in Colorado Springs. Forty-eight hours from now he’d be on a spaceship – a spaceship! – headed for Atlantis.
x x x
“I’m in a spaceship.”
Xander ignored the amused look that a passing crewmember shot at him as she passed by in the hall. He was in awe. This was a spaceship and they were flying to a city called Atlantis in another galaxy. Pegasus, possibly. Yeah, that was it. He was trying to keep track of things like this so that he could report on them back to the Council. So far he had basic notes on the Wraith and this Atlantis place.
This was going to be like a vacation. Well, like any Scooby vacation, anyway. Complete with the risk of danger and death.
It would be like being back home.
Minus his friends.
He sighed and shoved his hands down into the pockets of the very boring and unimaginative uniform that he’d been issued. It was the same thing that everyone else on the ship was wearing, to some degree or another. He’d been hoping for something like Star Trek and had gotten something that looked like standard military operation clothing.
Oh well, not everything could be like a scene from a television show.
Strolling through the halls was fun, though. It was one of the things that reminded him he was actually flying through space. Because this thing looked like a spaceship. All high tech. Very nifty. In fact, he wanted to take pictures of it to send back to the gang, but these military types were a bit prickly about their secret ships getting photographed. Go figure.
Then there was the little grey Roswellian in the engine room or whatever it was. The place that made everything run. The little guy was an Asgard. He’d had to ask how to spell it after someone pronounced it a bit off. Definitely not Ass Guards. Though, that would have been funny. The little guy had no sense of humor, though. Or was it a girl, because, really, he couldn’t tell and he wasn’t about to ask.
And, other than that… so far this trip was boring. Exciting-boring, but still boring. A whole lot of traveling and not much action. Hey, that was sort of like the second Lord of the Rings movie, come to think of it. Xander smiled and shook his head, suddenly wishing he’d brought movies with him to watch during the trip. Willow had gifted him with a palm pilot with lots of things to read on it. But it was reading. That was his Will, for you, though – always thinking about the books.
So – he could read.
Or he could go annoy the Asgard again.
x x x
He had done it. He, Alexander Harris, had made a trek across the universe. To a different galaxy! He had been beamed down right into a base built by these Ancient people he had been briefed about. He –
… had been banned from ever annoying Hermiod ever again and was not looking forward to the return trip to Earth in a few months. But, so be it. He was here now and looking forward to getting started.
“Mr. Harris, happy to have you with us. I’m Doctor Weir.”
Xander shook her hand with a grin. “This is pretty neat.”
“Yes, it is isn’t it?” she said with a return smile of her own and a twinkle in her eyes that said maybe, just maybe, she was laughing at him on the inside.
Better than laughing at him on the outside, he supposed. “You’re used to having people go ga-ga over it, right?”
“Well, it is pretty awe-inspiring on your first trip. Also your first time off-world, if I remember from my brief regarding you and your organization?”
That was a big ‘hell yeah’. Xander nodded. “We’re mostly an Earth based operation, sometimes accidentally dabbling in alternate dimensions where there are no shrimp. This non-Earth stuff is definitely new.”
If the no-shrimp comment threw her, she didn’t let it show; but her interest was definitely peaked. “I look forward to learning what your organization can do to help us. I must admit, I was a little skeptical at first. The files on your group are… unbelievable.”
Shrugging, Xander agreed, “Yeah, I know. It’s all true, though. Every last gory, spell-filled, angsty detail, Doctor.”
“Please, call me Elizabeth,” she offered. “And now, if you’ll follow me, let’s get you settled in so that you can get to work.”
And with those words, his time in Atlantis officially began
x x x
When was this going to end?
Xander reviewed the video one more time, yawning. It wasn’t even eleven in the morning and already he was bored out of his mind. He wasn’t combat trained – lingering memories of soldier-boy or not – and Elizabeth didn’t want him going out with any of the teams because of the threat the Wraith possessed.
So he was stuck here and, yeah, that wasn’t all that bad most of the time because this place was just plain cool. Andrew would have died of fanboy glee from the sheer joygasm of it all, even.
Why hadn’t they sent Andrew? Oh, right – they didn’t want to annoy the nice people that were trying to save the galaxy. Otherwise, this would have been right up his alley. Spaceships and evil monsters – a geek’s dream come true.
Xander rubbed at his eyes and flipped off the video. He shut his notebook and slowly stood up, stretching his arms up over his head and feeling his back slowly start to relax. There were things he needed to get done. Like testing those amulets for Willow. She’d be very unhappy if they the first report from him and it didn’t have the one bit of information that she’d wanted. Oh, sure, he could give the amulets to someone else to take off world to test for magical energy, but that wasn’t fun.
Besides, he’d already sort of lied to Elizabeth and told her that the amulets were keyed to only work for him. He got the feeling that she wouldn’t be too happy if she found out he had lied about that part. In fact, she’d probably be pretty mad at him. Bad enough she’d given him time out from the control room the other day because he’d been zipping around on a coffee high annoying everyone, hoping that she’d just toss him through the ‘gate and be done with it once and for all.
He left his notes on the table and left the little room that had been set up as his office. It was barely bigger than a closet but it was somewhere private where he could practice his uselessness in a solitary state. Seriously, Willow would have already thought of a magical solution to this problem. Some kind of spell that made these things a little easier to kill. Or Giles! Yeah, G-Man would’ve been great for this sort of thing.
He didn’t have the first idea so far how to stop the Wraith. All he could do was take notes, pass them along, and hope that someone back on Earth got a wicked cool idea. Oh, sure, he’d had crazy thoughts like wouldn’t it be neat if Willow could make some sort of shield amulet for everyone to wear so that the Wraith couldn’t get all suck-y with them, but that was probably a long shot if for no other reason than everyone in the universe would need one to make it effective in any way. Somehow, Xander doubted even his bestest bud could pull of a hat trick like that.
“Hey, kid. Wait up.”
Pausing, Xander turned to wait for the Sheppard. This was one of the few people on the base that he really liked. Maybe it was because he was nice and not stuffy like most of the other military and scientist sorts. Or maybe it was just because he, too, was a king of snark and sarcasm.
“What’s up?” Xander asked, falling into step next to him when Sheppard didn’t stop.
“Well, my team and I have to go off world in, oh, an hour’s time. Was thinking you might like to join us.”
Xander nearly tripped over his feet in shock. He came to a stop, ignoring the amused smirk that Sheppard threw his way. “Seriously?”
“Did you think we were going to keep you cooped up here forever?” Sheppard asked with a snort. “’Sides, this is just a meet and greet. Some people that Teyla is friends with. Nothing too exciting, but it’ll give you a chance to test those amulet things of yours.”
The tone of Sheppard’s voice was a dead giveaway that he didn’t believe much in magic, no matter how many stories Xander told, but that was all right by Xander. One day they’d see it all first hand. Heck, maybe even today if the amulets really worked. Willow had said they would
“Great!” Xander rocked back and forth on his heels, his boredom quickly forgotten. “I should go get those, then.”
“Gate room, one hour,” Sheppard’s voice carried to him as Xander sprinted down the hall to his bedroom. This day was definitely looking up!
x x x
Xander dove out of the way as a blaster fired over his head. He sucked in a startled breath of air and then started crawling towards the nearest outcropping of rocks he saw for cover while the others started trying to take down their attackers.
It figured that there would be a Wraith party right there, at the Gate, when they stepped out onto this supposedly peaceful little world. Simple meet and greet? Ha! He had been a Scooby long enough to know better darn it! So why had he let himself be ushered through the gate without so much as a knife to defend himself with?
Good news was, there seemed to be tons of magical energy here – the amulets had burned bright the moment they set foot through the Gate.
Bad news – he couldn’t use magic to save his life. And that was just about what he needed to be doing right now.
“Just stay down,” Sheppard yelled from behind another rock outcropping, firing off another series of blasts towards the approaching Wraith warriors. Up close these guys looked a lot scarier than the ones he’d seen videos of. Then again, these were supposedly the grunts of the Wraith world. The ones that did the bidding of a more intelligent Wraith.
Speaking of – where exactly was that puppet master, anyway?
Xander looked around cautiously, not seeing anyone that fit the description. Teyla was beating one of the Wraith with her staff, Ronon had apparently decided that hand to hand was the best option, and Sheppard was firing off at a third Wraith henchman with his sidearm. That was it – that was all Xander could see. Three bad guys.
Which made him more than a little apprehensive. It was his experience that lackeys that were supposed to have masters didn’t just wander off by themselves. Somewhere out there was a Wraith, waiting for the right moment to strike. Sneaking through the surrounding forest, trying to get the upper hand. Stalking –
“Aagh!” Xander yelled as he was yanked to his feet by his collar. He turned, trying to back away, but the rocks provided little escape room.
A wraith. The kind that he’d seen in the video footage. Female, too; though just as butt ugly as the men were.
Why was he always getting hit on my demon-y women?
For that matter, why hadn’t he thought to check behind himself when doing a visual scan of the area?
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
He saw the Wraith’s fist coming towards his face one second before it impacted. His head was rocked back by the force of the blow, only the thing’s hand holding onto the front of his clothes keeping him from falling back. Mind swimming groggily, Xander could hear the sounds of battle around him and wondered if this was it.
The others were going to want to rip the universe apart over this.
The Wraith tore at his shirt and Xander felt cold air on his skin, then the press of a palm to flesh.
Excruciating, mind numbing pain.
He fell to the ground, the Wraith’s presence gone from him. Panting, Xander struggled to open his eyes. Sheppard. Sheppard had saved him.
“…was just a second…” he heard Teyla murmur to him, tugging on his arm. “You’ll be fine, but we have to get moving.”
Xander understood moving. He nodded, letting her help him to his feet. He hurt all over but there, in the midst of it, was a newfound resolve.
These guys were uber-bad and if there was one thing that Scoobies did, it was fight the uber-bads.
Two of the henchmen were down for the count already, Ronon easily holding off the third as Sheppard managed to take down the leader. Not for long, Xander knew that from the reports. These things were hard to kill.
“Don’t look like you aged a year,” Sheppard called out as they started to run for the gate. Ronon was behind, the last henchman laid out on the ground, Xander supposed. He couldn’t spare a breath to ask anything, still struggling to recover from what he’d felt, what he’d been through. They stumbled to a stop at the DHD, Teyla going to the controls. “Sorry about that.”
“No worries,” Xander muttered, wishing he could mean it.
Xander rubbed at his chest. It had only been for a second. Nothing more. But in that second he had felt his life draining away. Everything he hadn’t been able to understand from reports and videos was suddenly very, very clear.
And he was pissed.
These guys were just alien vampires. Nothing more, nothing less.
And what vampire wouldn’t fall under a slayer’s gentle attentions?
It wasn’t a long-term solution or the end of all evil, but it was a good plan for right here, right now.
Xander turned to Sheppard, eyes dark as the gate flared to life to take them back to Atlantis. He had a report to write, recommendations to send.
“Oh yeah - these guys are goin’ down.”