Children Of The Stars
Troy heard his communicator bleep and looked over to Dillan. His best friend and wingman nodded and they pulled over. Slowing to a stop the two of them got off their turbines and Troy answered. 'Yes Commander?'
'Captain Troy, we're sending down Warriors Zac and Athena to your mission co-ordinates. You and lieutenant Dillan need to meet up with them and travel to the region known as Scotland as soon as possible. All other missions and duties are on hold. The exact location you're to get to has been fed into the shuttles data banks.' Troy's Grandfather ordered. He didn't do that much these days, never in this tone of voice. It must be something important.
'What's in Scotland?' Troy asked 'Aren't Aries and Tayjay assigned that sector?'
'They are Captain, only this mission is too important. They're being recalled to the Galactica. In fact all warriors are on battle recall save for you four. This is maximum priority.' The Commander took a deep breath and then quite neatly over stepped rank. 'Boxey, it's Xander. He'll need your help.' That was all Troy needed to hear. Xander could take care of himself, both he and the Commander knew that. If his son thought he needed help enough to call them he did. It was as simple as that.
Dillan was already back on his turbine contacting Jamie. Troy looked up, where the Galactica should have been. High beyond the sky before saying; 'We read you Commander, We're on our way.' Troy jumped on his own Turbine as Dillan finished telling Jamie where to meet them. The two of them flipped the hidden switch converting their transport to flight mode and drove off.
They made it to the landing zone in record time, even ahead of the shuttle carrying the twins. Usually they tied to be careful and not to get noticed but the urgency of their mission over rode such caution. 'What do you think this is about?' Dillan asked as they came to a stop.
'I don't know, it might be too sensitive to broadcast. Or the Commander just wants to brief us on route.' Troy paused for a moment before he opened the turbines seat and unpacked his blaster from the small cargo compartment.
Dillan followed suit, 'You think we're going to need those?'
'When was the last time Xander asked for our help?' Troy checked the charge and the weapons safety's before strapping it to his leg
'Good point.' The other Colonial Warrior agreed and unpacked his own pistol.
Jamie joined them a few moments later. She stopped the car with a screech of tires an instant before jumping out, almost onto Troy's toes. 'What is it about Xander? What's happened?' his wife asked urgently.
'We don't know, but he wants us there to help. That's enough.' Troy put both hands on his wife's shoulders. Xander was a sore subject between them, he respected their son's wish to be independent while Jamie wanted nothing more than to bring him home.
Eventually they had agreed it was Xander's choice. Neither of them liked it, least of all because they had seen very little of their son over the years. All they had gotten from him was some vague letters telling them everything was normal, for him, and asking how things were with them. 'I'm coming with you.' she said.
Troy knew that even if he strapped his wife to a seat in the Galactica's brig she'd chew through the deck plating to go with them. He wouldn't have it any other way. Kissing her forehead he grinned 'I wouldn't try to stop you.' he admitted.
When the shuttle came down Jamie got on board while Troy and Dillan stored the turbines in the hold. Seeing three more in there told him a lot. Jamie was never rated for her own. Getting into the passenger compartment and finding three spare Combat-dress uniforms just confirmed it. Xander was going to be getting some gifts.
Zac hit the launch turbos and the small transport catapulted into low orbit. 'Father.' he nodded over his shoulder. Serious as always.
Troy's daughter was out of her seat and hugging him 'Daddy, I missed you.' She admitted. It was customary for twins, both from Earth and the Colonies, to share more than just physical resemblance. Unfortunately for Troy and Jamie custom didn't seem to have much effect for their descendants. The two of them were each others opposite.
The comm panel lit up. 'This is the Galactica, on fleet scramble frequency three to Captain Troy. Confirm.' It was Troy's Grandfather calling the shuttle.
'We read you Commander. All of us.' Jamie answered for him.
There was a long pause. 'It is good that you are there Jamie. This effects you too. Troy, do you remember the briefings we gave you on Earth's exotic mythology?'
That grabbed his attention, the early briefings were on the fictional creation of monsters. Beings that would drink mankind's blood or mutate due to the monthly lunar cycle. At first it was emphasised that they were rooted in popular fiction and had no basis in fact.
Then one day it changed. The standing order was to avoid at all costs any one demonstrating any form of mutation and report it to the Galactica. It had been rumoured that another race was attempting an attack on Earth using the fiction to infiltrate the planet. The Commander and Dr Zee had refused to say anything about it and after a wile nothing happened. Troy said as much.
'I'm afraid the truth is far more devastating.' Dr Zee said. 'Our research proved that the legends are in fact true. Hidden from the people of Earth by the very fiction you mentioned.' Dr Zee announced.
'That's crazy! Jamie gasped.
'No Jamie its not.' Grandfather answered. 'After we lost several warriors we learned the truth. Over the aeons they have become very adept at hiding. As far as we could learn there was a hidden war fought in secret. Unknown and unseen because the people of Earth refused to accept it. We attempted to make some way in understanding this side of your world when we made contact with your son.'
Dr Zee picked up the briefing. 'Xander recognised our research immediately, he is part of a group of humans who fight, as he called it, demons and the forces of darkness. Over the last few years he's been our expert and has kept us informed.
Troy's Grandfather cut in. 'Boxy, Jamie I know this is a lot to take in, especially for the two of you, but you have to believe us. An old... acquaintance of ours is down there now and the damage he's doing can destroy everything we've worked for yahrens.'
'Who?' Asked Troy. If it was Xavier the former Quorum member wouldn't last long enough to apologise.
It was then the Commander changed everything. He said two words:- 'Count Iblis.'_________
Buffy yawned and trudged down the stairs to the basement. What was now know as Dawn's room. The giantess couldn't exactly eat with them so Xander had the idea that he and Buffy would eat there.
'Good plan,' She muttered to herself, as she did every day. 'I just love these early morning guilt trips.' Sure it might help Dawn feel less left out but Buffy still blamed her self for not being a good enough role model for the little, now big, brat.
Stomping into the cavern like room she was met with a strange sight. Dawn, drinking a barrel-full of water, was trying to keep an eye on Xander without him noticing. With a head the size of a car that was like hiding a elephant by putting it in a flock of emu's. Shaking that odd image out of her head Buffy sat down.
The strange thing was Xander hadn't noticed any of this. He was too busy looking at the makeshift table like it held the secret to the universe. 'I'm starving.' She smiled at the pair of them as best she could. Might as well get it over with she thought
Dawn's glare at Xander flicked to her for a moment. 'You're starving? Hellooo! you're tiny, I'm the one who needs to eat a truck-full of cereal a day.'
'That explains you're butt being so big.'
'Lame and old news, is that the best you've got? Dawn snarked back. 'I guess your just getting too old. Soon we're going to have to take you to the old Slayers home where you can tell all the other OLD people over there how you used...' Dawn trailed off. She was right to.
Every morning they went through this, Xander had always stepped in by now. Telling them to knock it off and grow up. Dawn would crack a joke she'd have thought up about "growing up". Buffy had one about herself that she'd worked on for all of two minuets yesterday. Xander would bury his head in his hands in mock despair and then it would all be normal family stuff. Well as normal as they got.
'Is something wrong?' Buffy asked. After a moment he still didn't answer. 'Xander?'
He blinked his one eye for a second. 'Oh hi Buffy, morning.'
'We already got past that. Is something wrong?'
'Have we? Sorry I was miles away. Urm we've got a problem.'
Buffy groaned. 'Oh God, what now?'
'Where to start?' He lent back. 'I've got a few contacts Giles doesn't and doesn't know about. I tapped them on the whole Twilight thing.' He had her complete attention. 'He's not a new player, just going by a new name. I got the message last night, from my contacts. He's called Diaboles. At least in some places, he's got a lot of names and none of them are "fluffy-kins".'
'Alright that doesn't sound good.' Buffy winced at his bad joke. Then, just for a second, she thought she heard something. Like someone was playing with a tinny set of bells. It sounded almost familiar...
Xander was wincing like he had just been eating raw lemons 'We're a long way from "good" here. His title is supposed to be "The Fallen Lord, the Prince of Darkness".'
'And how do your friends know all this?' Dawn prodded. Buffy completely missed the scalding tone in her sisters voice, she was too busy listening for those bells. Where the hell had she heard them before?
'I never said they were friends. I told you guys I was adopted, right.'
That caught Buffy's attention, where did that come from, 'Sure. Didn't you tell me you'd found your real parents one time?'
Xander frowned at her. 'Did I? Well then you know why I don't really talk about them and they're not around.'
'You never told me anything!' Dawn huffed
'No it was before, he just told... You just told me and Willow, right?' The moment he mentioned he was adopted Buffy knew he'd told her. Just not when he had done it, that was what was throwing her. 'Yeah, you didn't want them involved in demon hunting and given that's your life, mostly, you kept them at arm's length. Right?'
'That's right. I just don't remember telling you that's all, I must have been REALLY drunk or something.'
'Why didn't you tell me?' Dawn almost screamed at him, two great tears building in her eyes.
Xander turned on her. 'I don't like thinking about it. Okay Dawnie? I didn't even know I'd told Buffy. Anya didn't even know, okay! There are secrets I've got to keep. You know that as well, if not better than me.' He hung his head. 'I'm sorry Dawn. I couldn't tell you. Buffy, do you know why?' He looked to her almost scared of her answer.
'No.' she answered honestly. 'I don't. What do you mean you have secrets to keep? Keep from who?' She didn't like the sound of secrets.
'Your secrets from Dawn and her's from you. Will's got a few secrets from both of you she swore me never to tell, back when I was four. We all have them, why can't I. If it could possibly hurt you I'd tell you but simply it was nothing to do with us.'
'Now it is.' Buffy and Dawn guessed at the same time.
Xander nodded. 'My family was the contacts I was talking about. They've been fighting to stop Twilight for years, among other things and they are coming here. Today.' There was a long silence and Xander looked both Buffy and Dawn in the eye. His terrible eye patch reminding them exactly how much he'd sacrificed. 'I can't tell you anymore. I wish I could but you'd never believe me.'
'Chill Xand.' Buffy smiled, 'After all we've seen and done I'm ready to believe anything. It's not like you're from the Planet Mongo and are really the descendant of that Ming guy.'
'True, and I really shouldn't have forced you to watch that film.'
Dawn giggled 'Awe, but it was so funny! 'GORDON'S ALIVE!" ' She shouted in a fairly good impression before collapsing in laughter. Buffy couldn't help laughing with her and soon all three of them were chuckling._________
Xander felt the unfamiliar weight of his wrist strap computer on his arm. He'd been tempted to wear his single Warrior-Cadet star but he still hadn't really earned it.
Of course Adama would send Troy. It hadn't taken Xander long to realise just how important family was to the old man. The whole fleet out there, stretched between the stars, were a family of sorts to him.
He winced, Xander didn't like to think about the people out there. How many were there? Two hundred or more ships packed to the rafters with universally hungry, cramped, people looking at Earth as a salvation. One day, a day Xander never thought would come, they would be able to land.
'Hey, Mr Xander' Renee called over the radio. The young Slayer was on one of the parapets watching over the road, with him as "Base commander" he had the earpiece and the responsibility that went with it. 'We've got company, five people on bikes. They look kinda funky, holy... they're fast!'
It sounded like them, but five? Xander tapped the headpiece 'White bikes with gold trim?' He asked her.
'That's them boss. Four of them are in the same stuff. Dark brown bomber jacket's and... Boss they've got guns!'
'That's okay Renee, they're friends. That means they are on our side, so don't try and shoot at them.' Five? One of them an odd one out? No, they wouldn't. What would Jamie be doing with them?
His musings were cut short when they pulled through the gatehouse into the courtyard. It was his whole biological family, and Dillan along for the ride! All but Jamie in full battle dress with blasters strapped to their thighs. Wincing Xander caught the look Buffy gave him.
She could tell they were military, well armed and bad news to anyone in their way. He shrugged and the two of them went down to meet the family. 'Hi guys,' he shouted just in timed to be mobbed by Athena and Jamie. His mother, even if he still couldn't call her that was older. Not "old" older but she looked just the wrong side of forty, the fact she was still a news anchor back in the states was proof how good a reporter she was.
People said his younger sister looked like him. At least Troy had when Xander first asked him to describe her. Personally he couldn't see it. Athena was pretty, that was the first reason. The other was she refused to have her hair cut. A long mane of midnight black hair was pulled into a pony tail, there was enough of it to put every Slayer in the castle to shame. 'Xander! You've grown! she laughed, still hugging him.
It was sort of embarrassing, they had only met, face to face, twice. He'd talked to her a bit more, usually on his birthday or her's, but they were practically strangers. 'That's what old people do Ath, we can't all focus on growing our hair like you.'
It was a lame come back but it was all he had. His sister just laughed and hugged tighter. If it wasn't for all his training with the Slayers her Galactican strength would have crushed him. If he'd been raised on the Galactica he might have been as strong. That could have been helpful over the years.
Jamie hadn't tried to embarrass him and after her quick hug she stood back. 'She's right Xander, you have grown, but not too much.' She cast an evaluating glance at Buffy before asking, 'What's with the eye-patch?'
He'd dreaded this. 'Nothing you know, just like the look. Going for a Colonel Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. feel.'
It wasn't any use, like all mothers since the dawn of time Jamie knew when he was lying. 'Well it looks silly. I might not be much of a mother but...' In the blink of an eye Athena had pulled it off.
The look on their faces hurt almost as much as the thumb did all those months ago. Athena and Jamie took a step back. Xander turned away and covered the side of his face.
'Jamie.' It was Troy. He placed a hand on her shoulder and looked at Xander. He looked up and at his father. 'Xander, you should have told us.'
Falling back on the age old defence of sarcasm Xander faced them, but kept his hand in place. 'Oh I know! "Hey there, urm just to let you know I've had my eye gouged out by a psychotic preacher but don't worry it only hurt like hell for like three days! I'm fine now, depth perception is a little tricky but what can you do about it. Talk to you soon." You'd have been there for me. It was too dangerous Troy and I know you, you'd have come with every warrior you could spare. Armed to the teeth for something you weren't ready for. Instead of helping you'd have been killed.'
In the uncomfortable silence Zac took the eye-patch from Athena's shocked grip and silently gave him it back. Trying not to mess it up he put the patch back on.
Everyone watched him and after a moment Troy said in a grave voice; 'You did the right thing Xander, but you still should have told us.'_________
Buffy felt her stomach crawling. It always did talking, or even thinking about Xander's eye. She still felt awful about it, there was nothing she could have done at the time and beating herself up about it now got nowhere. It was Xander himself who told her that.
Over the years he'd been her rock. He'd been Willow's rock and Dawn's. Without pause or compliant he'd held the so called scooby gang together. Only now Buffy knew the cost.
The woman Xander called Jamie reached out for his scar before catching herself. It didn't take a Giles like brain to see she was his mother, or recognise his brother and sister. The one thing Buffy wanted to do for Xander was help him with the train wreck that was his adoptive family. Now she had found out just what he had given up. She felt more than a little bad about it. The death glare Jamie was giving her didn't help in the slightest.
'Are you supposed to be his friend.' The woman asked with a cold voice. Oh yes she was a mother alright.
'I'm not supposed to be, I am.' Buffy forced herself to look her in the eyes. 'Xander sacrificed his eye for me and my friends. There isn't a day I don't thank him for it.'
Eye patch back on right Xander stood between the two of them. 'Okay time for some introductions guys. Buffy this is Troy and Jamie, my biological Father and Mother. These two are Zac and Athena, they're twins but think you can tell them apart and that's Troy's best friend Dillan at the back there. Guys, this is Buffy Summers, my best friend and that's her sister Dawn.' He said as he pointed behind them.
'Hi.' The giant sister waved down at the five of them. For a giant she was still light on her feet and had sneaked up perfectly. They all jumped back in shock and Buffy almost smiled if it wasn't for one thing.
Troy, Dillan and Zac moved almost too fast, drawing their giant pistols from their thighs with almost slayer speed. They were well trained and didn't fire but that didn't matter. They were dangerous and she caught Xander's glance.
He was nervous about something. It was something he hadn't told them and it was big.
End Chapter 2