Sitting at the table as the small crew argued, Xander wondered how in the nine hells he had gotten himself into this. He had woken up about three weeks ago to find the ship split up into several different parts. The red noise one had been the part he woke up in and the sound had almost driven him insane. Thankfully, his soldier memories had kicked in and he had managed to escape.
After returning the ship to its normal universe, the crew had hunted Xander down and then quickly talked him down from his fight or flight mindset.
In the last few weeks he had fallen into an old habit from home, research. In a short time he had read and quizzed everyone about nearly everything he could think of concerning the universe he was now in.
Now he sat next to Aeryn Sun and Crichton as they went over the story once more. He had thankfully been able to point out some flaws in the plan and had somehow been conscripted into the lead position. He didn’t know how the heck that had happened, but he was willing to bet the Posers-That-Be had something to do with nudging them in his direction. Growling at the universe at large, Xander looked around at the assembled crewmembers before focusing on the two that were most likely to cause trouble during this little adventure.
Taking a deep breath, Xander focused on them. “Rygel, Chiana,” as the duo looked up at being called out Xander recognized the look in their eyes. “I’m going to assume you two are thinking up some plan to relieve the peacekeepers of whatever they happen to be transporting.” He waved off their protests and continued, “D’Argo is planning how to kill them all. Pilot is planning on how to run without the starburst, Crichton is planning on how to talk his way out and Zhaan…” Trailing off, Xander looked at the blue priestess. “I have no clue what Blue is planning, but she IS planning something,” he said seriously as the plant woman nodded in confirmation before shrugging and returned to modifying the uniform to fit his character.
“Now if I don’t stop D’Argo from his plotting, Crichton from his planning and Zhaan from her… Whatever, I’m not going to stop you two, but I will hold you to the same standards. If Dargo attacks, I expect him to tell us what he’s doing BEFORE he does it, if at all possible.” Xander looked grim and glared at them all, taking a moment to make sure they understood the seriousness of the situation before moving on to other issues. He also made a mental note to be sure to have Pilot put some DRDs to the task of keeping an eye on Chiana and Rygel.
“Who the hell are you” the gun-happy captain said as he glared at Xander over the sights of his pulse pistol.
“Commander Harssis, Peacekeeper Games and Theory, Special Research Division.”
“Psy-Ops,” the Captain said in disgust.
The green and black dressed commander simply tsked at that, “Please Captain, we haven’t been called that in nearly fifty cycles. We are… reformed now,” Xander said with a soft smile filled with malice. Thankfully no one outside of himself and Crichton was likely to have heard of Hannibal Lecter, so they couldn’t call him on stealing that particular madman’s smile. “Now perhaps you can explain to me why my mission was interrupted by a peacekeeper Marauder screaming coded ident data all over this region of the territories and bringing some very interested eyes to bear on my own humble self?”
"Emergency situation. My team and I are on a priority Red-One mission. We need your boat here to complete it. Therefore, under Article 4-1-4 Decca, I hereby assume command over it, your crew... And you,” The special ops team leader said as he brought up both his ident card and pistol to assure himself of a smooth transfer. The two, all in black soldiers behind the psy-ops agent were likely all the personal guard the arrogant man thought he needed.
Looking between them, Xander didn’t let his smile budge as he brought out a nearly identical card. Aeryn had been on a priority mission when she had joined the crew and had managed to hold on to her ident. With some slight modifications it showed a rather serious black hash through the card now, thanks to Chiana and Rygel. “Allow me to reintroduce myself, Commander Harssis, on Special Senate assignment.” Xander said before tucking the ident back under his shirt. “Now unless you want to explain to the chancellor why you interfered with my mission, I suggest you put your little toys away and be a bit more polite,” Xander said as Crichton and Aeryn lifted their combat rifles into position to support his words.
As the spec-ops team finally lowered their weapons, Xander lets the smile become just a bit more genuine. “Now for some advice Captain, if you want to move up in the ranks, avoid flashing your ident all over the place. Command prefer to see their officers take the initiative on their own,” Xander said before motioning for Crichton and Aeryn to lower their weapons.
Walking down the hallway with the Captain after setting course for the hidden base, Xander let the soft smile stay where it was. John had gone off to show the spec-ops team to their holds while Aeryn had taken what few wanted to eat to the mess. In all it left Xander alone with the Captain for far longer than the younger man would have preferred.
Fortunately, Aeryn had been correct, the aura of mystique surrounding the clandestine Psy-ops was more than enough to keep the man from asking too many questions. Although, it did lead to several interesting questions from the Captain,
it explained Xander’s own questions quite nicely.
“So you’re what, seventeen, eighteen cycles? Most wouldn’t even be signing into the command levels at that age, how did you make it all the way to Commander?”
Thankfully it was a question that they had already thought up a plausible idea for. “I am seen as something of a prodigy, Captain. G&T picked me up from a breeder farm on the fringe and testing showed I had an aptitude for thinking outside the box After that I interned at research station Dubious at eight cycles, transferred to Gammack base Aloshan at ten, given interim rank of Lieutenant at eleven, promoted to Commander at sixteen and was transferred to dark works at seventeen.” Xander paused in his explanation as he showed the Captain to the ‘Research’ area the crew had set up in the cargo bay of Moya’s body.
Thankfully, the ‘Research’ center had kept them from needing to lock up the less human looking crewmembers and that had quelled most of Dargo’s arguments, which kept the surly Luxan from breaking character too early.
“What does it do?” The Captain, Larraq, asked as he stared at the Luxan within the cell as it raged against the massive bindings holding it in place.
Smiling, Xander brought up the forged information he had created and handed it over to the sebacean. “It is an airborne V-cell synthesizer. Completely harmless to every species save for one, though it is currently limited to a three minute lifecycle once administered. But we are working on that,” he explained before turning his grin feral at the Captain’s blank look. “It creates an artificial hyper-rage in Luxans.”
Handing the data pad back, Larraq tried to hide his disdain for this type of person. “And what in the name of sanity does making them even more dangerous do?” He growled as Xander took the pad back and placed it in his pocket.
“Just imagine it Captain, a Luxan world rebels. We evacuate key personnel, drop this into the atmosphere, blockade the planet and wait. By the time it works its way out of their system we’re looking at nearly eighty percent pacification with no losses on our side.”
Blinking for a second at that, Larraq tried to quell the slightly queasy feeling that comment brought up for him. While he was a soldier, the thought of eighty percent of the population of a planet ripping each other apart with nothing more than their bare hands… It was something that gave even his military mind pause.
Looking over at the black and green dressed research Commander, Larraq came to the conclusion that he wasn’t going to be putting in for a psy-ops transfer anytime soon.
“Let me stop you right there, Commander. The object I am transporting is need to know only, and you don’t.” Larraq glared darkly as he said that to the younger man.
Turning towards him, Xander stared at the soldier seriously before sighing. “Captain, this is a research vessel. The research on this ship is invaluable to the future of the peacekeepers and I need to know if your package is a threat. Will it explode? Do I need to quarantine it? If it is breached, do I need to thermite bomb the area it is in or will standard containment protocols suffice? Does it require food, water or other elements to be maintained and far and above all of that, how long until it goes away and I can get back to my mission?”
Staring at the young man, Larraq understood Harssis’ concern and could sympathize with his position. “Very well, Commander. Here is what you need to know; nobody touch it, nobody mess with it and in twenty arns we will be off your ship and off your mind forever.” The Special Forces Captain said seriously before raising an eyebrow at him. “Any other questions?”
“That is all, Captain. Just please be aware that, due to classified research your squad and yourself will be limited to the issued regions of the ship already discussed until we arrive,” Xander said before continuing with the Captain down the hallway towards the distant scent of food. “If you have any questions, Aeryn Sun and Crichton will be your liaisons.”
Aeryn would take over while they ate and Xander would keep an eye on the situation from the command center.
Sitting in the command deck, Xander looked over the gathered data the small crew had gathered. In the last few hours, Rygal had snuck aboard the Marauder and downloaded the computer data and with a bit of data mining from Zhaan and Chiana had brought up the possible mission.
“Possessions,” Xander said before leaning back in the seat with a sigh. “Why did it have to be possessions?”
Looking up at the gathered crewmembers that could make it, Xander considered the options. Chianna had stolen the Cryogun the spec ops team had brought with them and it currently sat in the middle of the table.
“Pilot” Xander said before turning to the clam shell that projected the multi-limbed alien. “Take down their oxygen over the next hour, if we can take them out like that, all the better. Lock down the landing bay and move one of the pods into the launch slot, too. I do NOT want them getting off this ship.”
“As ordered, Xander. I must say that Moya and myself have certain reservations about killing the team at this point,” Pilot said as he moved to do as the young man asked.
“I understand that Pilot. I just need them knocked out and we will deal with them as we can,” Xander said placatingly. He honestly had issues killing the team as well, but if things went that way he had already tagged D’Argo and Aeryn to assist him in that particular mission.
As the signal warned those still in the soon to be sealed off area of the upcoming concern, Xander double checked to make sure Crichton made it out before leaning back and trying not to think about how dangerous this was.
After a moment of consideration, Xander pushed the cryogun towards Aeryn. “Go down there with Ka D'Argo and make sure that they don’t get out. I don’t want a blood bath, but keep them from escaping.
As the two warriors went to carry out the mission, Xander leaned back. If everything went according to plan, they would be able to thaw out the Peacekeepers and deal with each one individually.
Hopefully they wouldn’t have to kill any of them, but he definitely intended to push that box into the nearest star.
To say he was prejudiced against possessions was a bit of an understatement.