More Xliding Fun
More Xliding Fun
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners...it will start off with the Joss/ME characters, and the Sliders characters aren’t mine (maybe Tracy Torme) either and any other characters or real-life folks are clearly not mine. No money is involved. None are mine.
This is dedicated to those of you who watch the shows.
I know I've declared this complete, but ...
“One thing, though,” Xander started as they landed on a hard flat pier, the group wincing from the hard landing. As a dog was heard barking, Xander winced slightly as he pushed Giles off of him. “My timer was enhanced to find the nearest concentration of mammalian life. And it looks like it affected yours.”
The group looked around in puzzlement, the abandoned San Francisco around them leaving them speechless until a lean, muscular man in his late thirties stepped within twenty feet of them, his German shepherd braced for a confrontation. The military weapon in his hand caused everyone to move very cautiously in facing him. The man spoke first.
“How…how did you do that?”
Quinn stepped forward.
“It’s a portal between dimensions. We’re from another world. We mean you no harm.”
“Other, other dimension?” the man muttered, as though not used to conversation. “Keep your hands where I can see them.”
“My name is Quinn Mallory. Again, we’re peaceful. Um, what happened here? It looks like San Francisco.”
“It is. Or I guess, was.” He reached into a duffle he’d dropped. Placing a now-active device on the ground, he stepped back. “One at a time, please. Um, young lady, hold this up to their left eyes where I can see the screen. Push the red button on the side.”
Wade hesitantly stepped forward, “This won’t hurt anybody, will it?”
“No, it checks for KV virus; others too actually.”
She picked it up as Rembrandt cleared his throat.
“We just got here…”
“And even if you are from some other place, it doesn’t mean you aren’t running from the virus there. You aren’t exactly outfitted like explorers or diplomats.”
Rembrandt shrugged, and as the closest to Wade, let her hold up the device. The man nodded and gestured to the right. Once Xander checked Wade, the man nodded.
“Okay, you’re clean.” He stood there.
Xander waited, then spoke for the group.
“Now what? Are we free to go?”
The man smiled bitterly.
“You might want to go back where you came from; I’m the only uninfected person I know of for at least the last eighteen months. Sometimes I think there’s someone over near Golden Gate Park, but I’ve never caught up with them. And that last real contact was by radio. This was Ground Zero.”
They looked around them, Wade with a concerned look asking, “Ground Zero?”
“This is where it all became a Plague. From modified virus curing cancer, to something that turns people into … overheated super zombies that eat everything they can run down.”
Rupert looked as fascinated as he was concerned. But Xander and Quinn checked the timers. Quinn sighed.
“Guys, we have four days here before we can Slide using the new timer, or a day with theirs.”
Professor Arturo turned to the local.
“My good sir, could you recommend a safe place for us to avoid these biological victims you mentioned? Oh, I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Professor Maximilian Arturo.”
“Um, Lt. Colonel Robert Neville, USAMRIID,” the man replied as he shifted his weapon as not to point directly at them. He nodded at the dog. “This is Sam, Samantha.”
Introductions were made, and Dr Neville looked around.
“It’ll be a very tight squeeze, but get in the SUV. We’ll go back to my place. I have supplies and we’ll be safer there. You’re a Professor?”
“Yes, of Physics, but we’ve some limited experience with other sciences,” Arturo affirmed. “From your service agency indication, I take it you were involved with quarantine measures or such.”
“I was lead at the Ground Zero site,” the man replied. He sighed as they piled into his vehicle. “I’m immune; one percent of the population was; ninety percent died; nine percent became monsters that ate the rest.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Colonel,” the Academician replied. “How close did the research come?”
“I’m still working at it. When I find a promising vector, I attempt treatment of a captured infected. There are enough of them still around that if I can fix this, humanity will continue.”
“You test on humans?” Wade asked uncertainly from where she sat between Arturo and their host, Sam on their laps in front.
“No,” the man replied. “They, they’ve regressed to animals, very smart ones, but nobody human’s home anymore. That’s what I’m trying to give them back.”
“What is your, um, course of research before that?”
“I start with rats, and when …” the discussion continued, Wade and Rembrandt concentrating on the deserted city while the others encouraged the scientist to brief them. By the time they reached his place in the Presidio, Wade had –just— been able to give the man the benefit of the doubt. The group was most fascinated with the fact that here it was September of 2012. As they approached the man’s domicile, Arturo turned to the others.
“We must gather what information we can while we’re here. Especially if Ms. Wells can utilize current computer equipment to store it.”
“Like what, Professor?” she asked.
“Course of events, scientific breakthroughs, that sort of thing. This far in advance of our own dimension and those we’ve traveled in, we might be able to save others from a similar fate.”
An hour later, and as Arturo went off to a lab with Neville, the others made themselves at home in the kitchen-dining area of the house. With coffee brewing, Quinn turned to Xander.
“Or a parallel, yes, as far as I can recall.”
Giles spoke up.
“From my perspective, however, Xander, this is the result of Chaos Magic, which could mean anything at this point.”
“Chaos Magic, Dr. Giles?” Wade asked. The man smiled.
“Either Rupert, or just Giles, please. And yes, where we come from, magic is real, and Chaos Magic actually manipulates situations to match the intent of the caster. In this situation, Xander dressed as a character on a television show, or his brother. The, um, timer, became real, and from Xander’s perspective we’ve been doing this for years, while I who was not costumed have only experienced roughly three hours since leaving our own dimension.”
Quinn looked at Xander.
“So what does this mean?”
“He could be your brother, retroactively established as it were, or as a parallel, as he also suggests. Chaos Magic, and the fact we DID ‘slide’ to your location, would lean support to the theory. But I don’t know.”
“And neither do I,” Alexander Mallory confessed. “Maybe we can borrow Dr. Neville’s lab to run the tests?”
Quinn nodded agreement.
“A brother would be cool, even if we end up dimensional step-brothers. And having two more people with us who know just how weird things are in the multi-verse isn’t half-bad either.”
Rembrandt laughed, “That ain’t the half of it, Cue Ball. You forget he has his Timer-Recorder Thing. We might be able to get home.”
“Yeah, we might. You still have your timer, and I have a set of coordinates from following you—though in theory it might be other equivalents. But since we linked up with you, I think from what I’ve learned from Giles over the years, even Chaos Magic might combine things so it really—gah, I hate trying to discuss time loops and tenses.”
“Half-brothers, maybe. I never heard Quinn complain about the techie stuff.”