Disclaimer: I do not own anything to do with Pitch Black or BtVS. They belong to who they belong to... The story itself is mine (at least I think it's mine... I'd like to think I had an original idea)
Warning: Things will not go according to canon for either... obviously enough, BtVS is beyond time-line but PB will not go anywhere near according to plan.
A/N: So I was stuck at work the other night and this popped up while I was watching Pitch Black.
‘They say most of your brain shuts down in cryo-sleep; all but the primitive side, the animal side. No wonder I’m still awake.’
Xander jerked awake when the ship started shaking; he could feel what was happening. The ship was being assaulted; felt like a rogue comet or something… The others weren’t awake, but he hadn’t lived this long just to die here. He shoved his way out of the locker and onto the walkway, seeing two others do the same.
It was Fry and Owens; he could see that the captain was dead. With him gone, Xander was superior officer.
“..dead, he’s dead, I was looking right at him-“ Fry was hysterical.
“Carolyn!” he shouted, shocking her momentarily. “I need you with Owens! I’m gonna get up front and figure out what’s going on.”
“But- I'm the docking pilot!” She sounded affronted, like it was her right to handle the situation.
“Fresh out of training. You don’t know how to handle this. Hell, the captain wouldn’t have known how to handle this.” He ran his fingers through his hair, agitated. She was stuck-up, and thought she deserved her place.
“Oh, and you do!” Owens stepped between them.
“Stop this. Look, Harris, if you can get up there, go. I’m seeing a fucking planet coming up fast; we need to be large and in charge on this.” He pushed Carolyn into a chair and Xander towards the front. “Move!” Xander had no problem with him being in charge; none at all. He ran for the front, throwing himself into the pilot’s chair.
“Altimeter readings off the charts… too heavy in the ass. Owens, I’m purging ballast.” He got no reply and called again. “Owens… OWENS!”
“Owens isn’t here anymore,” Carolyn said into the comm. “He ran back to check on the passengers.”
“Well, I’m purging. I’ll keep comms.” He flipped the switch and purged, feeling the whole thing lighten up. The air brakes
deployed with a minimum of force; he only had to kick the thing three times to work.
The ground was coming up fast, but he was ready for it. He maneuvered as best as he could; The ship skidded for a few hundred yards, but nothing was lost; at least nothing as far as the sensors were concerned.
He made his way back to the Nav cabin to see Owens sitting in a chair, eyes open, staring at the ceiling. There was a piece of the ship through his chest, and Carolyn was strapped in a few feet away, looking troubled.
“What the hell happened! That landing was smooth as a baby’s ass and yet…”
“He-he came back and…” He could see something in the back of her eyes, and sighed. She was a bad seed, he’d known that from the hire on… He’d been with this ship for almost a human life-span, and she was shifty, angry, probably sociopathic.
“Fry, I want you to stay there. I’m gonna go see to the passengers. Don’t move from that chair.” There was a law officer on board; he’d have cuffs and such. Fry was dangerous. He walked back into the cabin to see 15 people milling about, confused. The rest had been killed in the initial accident; all of their cryo-lockers were punched through with holes.
“Okay, Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Xander Harris, former First Mate of this bucket of bolts. I’m glad you all survived, and we’ll hold a memorial for those who didn’t after we make some decisions for the near future. The captain was killed, so I’m acting superior. Sir,” he said to the law officer. “Do you have an extra set of cuffs? I have a traitor on my crew.” He was tossed a set of cuffs and nodded his thanks.
“Okay, I’m going to need you all to step outside of the ship for a few minutes. While you’re out there, survey injuries, have the moment of silence for the deceased, whatever you like. I’ll be joining you shortly. Oh, and Mr. Johns, where is the prisoner?”
“Chained up in the hold. His cryo’s broken.”
“Good, he’ll keep. I’ll be out.” They left and he went back to the Nav cabin, finding Carolyn smiling at Owens’ corpse. “Carolyn Fry, by the power vested in me as Acting Captain of the Hunter-Gratzner, I hereby place you under arrest for the murder of Gregory Owens and the attempted murder of 40 people. You have the right to remain silent; that is to say nothing at all. Do you understand?”
He lifted her from the chair after placing the cuffs on her. “Do you understand?” he asked again when she stayed silent. “Answer me!” He twisted her arm a little.
“YES!” she cried out, and he let go of her arm, keeping hold of her cuffs.
“I’m going to place you under the control of Officer Johns once we get outside. Do you understand?”
“Good. Once we get out of this I’m going to turn you over to the authorities for trial. If you piss me off during this little adventure we’re going to have on this planet trying to get off of it, then I’ll hold a community trial. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” He pushed her out of the ship ahead of him and when the rest of them came into view, pushed her towards Johns.
“Officer Johns, can you watch this woman? She’s been placed under arrest for the murder of a crew member.” The people gasped but he ignored them.
“I’d be delighted,” he said in this creepy Southern drawl, and took control of the cuffs.
“Okay, besides Officer Johns, what experience levels am I looking at here?” He knew what most of them were according to the manifests, but he wanted to make sure.
“Well, me wife and I are heading for the Free worlds; we’re farmers, miners, whatever you need, we probably know at least the basics of how to get it done,” an Aborigine looking man said, with a taller woman next to him.
“I am afraid that I and my sons do not have much of a use to to you,” an older African man said. He and his sons were going to New Mecca on their Hajj.
“Salem Alum,” he said, bowing slightly. “Teacher, I would agree to any help you are wiling and able to offer; from all of you.” There was another child, a girl who was pretending to be a boy, who he skipped over; she’d do all she could to fit in with the boys. The others had assorted talents, all except for the pudgyish man with glasses who claimed to be an antiques dealer.
“Captain, what happened?” Shezza asked, looking up at him from her spot in the sand. He sighed and looked at the damage to the hull.
“I’m not sure, honestly. Felt like a rogue comet, could have been a meteor shower… It was natural causes, that’s for sure.” He looked around at the ragged mass that was his to command until they got off this rock. “I guess we should figure out where we are and what’s going on. Zeke, is there any way I can ask you to start a grave? We’ll have a full ceremony and everything, everyone to their faiths, but right now we need to get them put down in the right way.” Zeke nodded. “Thanks.”
He turned to Fry. “Did you even let him get out a mayday?” She looked at him, eyes sullen, and kept her mouth shut. “Christ Almighty, all the saints, and let’s just throw in all of the other deities too. Fry, what the fuck made you the way you are? No, wait, I don’t want to know. Just stay out of the way and don’t fucking piss me off.” Johns looked at him strangely. “What? I can’t be pissed that she murdered the only man I consider part of my family because of a hissy fit?”
“Nope, go ahead.” Johns grinned a little. Xander grinned too, glad for the Hyena for once, as it let him forget his human tendencies for a little while.
“Sir…” He turned to see Jack, the girl/boy.
“Can I tell you something?” He nodded, then pointed to a place away from everyone else.
“Why not go over here? That way you don’t have to worry about telling me anything confidential and others hearing.” Jack smiled, relieved, and he was amazed that the others hadn’t figured it out at first; that smile was way too sweet for a boy above the age of 7, and she was much older than that. Once they got to the hidden area, she wrapped her arms around him. “Hey, what’s this?”
“Sorry, I just- I needed a hug.” He wrapped an arm around her.
“Hugs are in abundance kid. What’s eating you?”
“I’m not a boy,” she blurted, in her regular voice. It was slightly higher than she’d been using.
“I kinda figured that Sweetheart; figured you had your reasons for deceiving everyone too. Thanks for telling me. You want me to keep up the ruse though? Let everyone think you’re still Jack and not Jackie?”
“Oh, would you? It’s just easier to act like a boy! I ran away from home and-“ he stopped her with a gentle hand.
“I understand Sweet-Pea. Let’s just get back to the rest of them; how about you stick with me, hon?” He hugged her again and then stepped back. “Come on, let’s go have a party.”
“Party?” She was confused; she’d probably never had a party for the dead before.
“What better way to honor the fallen than having a celebration about their lives?” She smiled, and he hugged her again. “Let’s get back to the others.”
Once they got back, they saw that Zeke was busy with Shazza digging a hole, while the holy man was setting up a ceremony with his children. “Why don’t you go help them out? Ask them how it all works if you don’t know. Make some friends.” He pushed her toward the boys, and went towards where the others were sitting, looking like refugees on their last legs.
“Captain,” one of the men said, looking like he was going to cry. “What are we going to do?”
“Whatever we can do to get off this rock, sir.” He turned to the rest of the group. “Listen up. After the ceremony, I want at least six people to come with me to find water. We’re gonna need it, and maybe we’ll find some people or friendly aliens on this planet that can help us get out of here.” The group nodded, accepting his logic. “Does anyone have anything in their personal stores on board that we can use as a stop-gap until we find water?” The antiques dealer shifted guiltily and then nodded.
“I have some alcohol in my baggage that we might use. I’m not sure if the children will be able to use it, but it’s there.”
“Take two people and go get it. I’ll make sure you get a receipt for it, since I’m sure it’s all aged quite nicely. Go through the rest of the bags, find anything usable and bring it back. Any large items, come back and get more people. Move.” He didn’t yell, and maybe that was what made them trust him, the fact that he was willing to let them be autonomous to a point. They got moving and he joined the ceremony preparations.
“Ah, Captain!” the holy man said, looking at him warmly. “Would you be saying any words for the deceased?”
“I will, Teacher, I will.”
“Please, my name is Abu, or Imam if you must call me teacher. What did you plan to do for the dead?”
“Say a few words, then set up a party after we find water. Not a wake, a party. These people deserve to be remembered for their lives, not their deaths.”
“I agree. Actually young Jack mentioned such a thing; he is a smart boy.”
“Very smart. He’s gonna be my helper until we get where we’re saved. I haven’t had a little brother in awhile.”
I know that might seem like a weird place to stop, but there's a reason I did it this way. You'll see.