AN1: Okay. Second story started amid the writing and working of the first. I'm just really eager to lay down my ideas, and I have so many more. I hope those of you that read this like it.
Trek Among the Stars by AlexTheGray
Summer of 2005. East Africa.
Land stretched out in every direction, scrubby brown bushes on dry brown earth with spindly trees interspersed erratically. The sun was lowering on the horizon, casting long shadows and turning the sky a burning red and orange.
The Jeep kicked up a dust cloud that trailed it for meters, the road nothing more than a strip of dirt with little growth. Xander had the top up to keep out that dust, to spare his remaining eye the irritation.
He'd changed since coming to the continent. What fat he'd had back in California had burned away under the African sun, leaving stringy muscles behind. His skin had darkened, bronzed, and every time he smiled it was a contrast of white teeth in a tanned face. His eye patch had left him with one of the oddest tan lines, but luckily he didn't show it much. There were lines on his face that seemed to crop up and multiply every time he looked in a mirror; crows-feet from squinting into the sun, creases on his forehead and between his brows, and lines in his cheeks like parentheses from when he smiled.
So he'd changed, but not much. He was still the same Xander-shaped, friend-having guy.
Two of said friends were even with him now. Imani lay across the back seat, awkward teen limbs all akimbo, resting from a long series of days spent hunting rogue demons. The fourteen-year-old had practically thrown herself into the work, sometimes overextending herself in her enthusiasm.
Xander always found it amusing when he drew comparisons between the young Slayer and Faith. While Faith and Imani both tended to crash into a conflict with little care, the smaller girl maintained a wide-eyed innocence and wonder, which he could not remember the other ever possessing.
Achieng, his other companion, sat in the passenger seat, body bent around a tome, its brothers being strewn along the floor at her feet. The seventeen-year-old, unquestionably the most cerebral of the three, was studying the diary of a seventeenth-century field watcher. She always reminded him of Dawn, or a young Willow, thirsty for knowledge of any kind. But while there were similarities in that sense, she was still a Slayer, still had a fierceness which neither of the other two had, or probably would, ever have.
She had been the one who translated for him on their most recent endeavor.
They had been tracking a group of shierkil, whose sacred rites included the evisceration and consumption of multiple humans, across the savanna, and had come across a small village just hit by the man-eaters. A line of mud-huts were collapsed, some still containing the inhabitants. Men raced across the streets, gathering their families together, while women wept and children screamed their distress. The small group had waded into the commotion, ready to offer help.
As Xander and the girls attempted to extract those trapped in the huts, a single elderly man waded out of the gathered crowd. His skin was brown, wrinkled, and gave the sense of paper-thin frailty and leathery toughness at the same time. It hung off of a near skeletal frame, his rough clothing draped only slightly more loosely. But the most startling thing about his appearance was not his emaciation or age. His eyes, probably the darkest of brown once, were covered in a thick milky film, obscuring the world from him as well as him from the world.
He had stood apart from the other villagers, unseeing gaze fixed on Xander as he worked. He had remained staring for several minutes before jumping into a kind of frenzy in which he shouted out to the twenty-four-year-old. Xander hadn't really been paying him much attention, but Achieng had found his rant of interest and had hurriedly repeated what she could of his stream.
After they had helped the village, they had had to immediately pick up the trail again, leaving Xander little time to ruminate on the old man in the village, but he now found his mind drawn back.
From Achieng's translation, the village man had mostly been shouting titles at him, had called him a 'noble sky-traveler' and a 'moon wanderer.' He had called him 'the one who sees in time,' which even now made him shift in his seat and scratch at the fraying edge of his eye patch.
Suddenly, in the midst of the reflective quiet, his cell phone trilled. Reaching down to the clip at his belt, he removed the device and brought it up to view the caller id. Giles, Rupert, and the phone number of Council HQ flashed back at him. What could he be calling about?
Even as he brought the phone to his ear, as he wondered at what new emergency could warrant calling him in the boonies of Africa, even then he remembered the old man's translated good-bye.
"Enjoy your trek among the stars."
Stardate 2258.82. Somewhere in Federation Space.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk walked the halls of the Starfleet U.S.S. Enterprise, having just finished a filling lunch with his second in command, who moved close at his side. Despite their rather unfortunate first few encounters, over the last months they had built a steady kind of friendship with a growing respect for the other.
Which was the reason Jim felt comfortable asking, "Are you ever gonna tell me why you and Uhura broke up?"
Spock merely looked at him out of the corner of his eye, raising a single Vulcan brow, before responding. "I have no comment on the matter."
"Aww, c'mon man," Jim whined, letting his body sag exaggeratedly in the hope of convincing his friend to cede him the juicy information. "Don't you maybe wanna talk about it?" he asked as they stepped aboard the elevator.
Spock simply spent the short trip to the bridge observing the captain neutrally, eyebrow firmly raised.
"Well," Jim said as the doors opened. "Can't blame a guy for trying."
As he took his seat in the captain's chair, the subject of their conversation walked up to him. "Sir, we've received orders from Starfleet," Lt. Uhura said, bringing up an information board to review her notes. "A mercenary vessel, suspected of the theft of various precious Earth artifacts, has been reported within Tattooine space. We're to intercept them and retrieve the artifacts before they're delivered to the mercenaries' client."
"Alrighty then," he said, bringing his hands together in anticipation of some action. As Jim got into this new situation, behind him an awkward little dance known as 'which way do I go?' was being exchanged by Uhura and Spock. "Sulu, plot a course for Tattooine."
Said helmsman proceeded to set said course, the melodious tones signaling the process. "Course laid in, Captain. We're ready for warp."
"Punch it," Jim said, obviously relishing his authority.
With the command of his captain, Sulu pushed the warp leaver forward. Around the ship the stars seemed to elongate, before finally the ship seemed to jump into a tunnel of bluish light.
Jim couldn't help thinking, 'Tattooine, here we come.'
AN2: Yay for BtVS/Star Trek crossover. Ever since the movie came out a few weeks ago, I've been obsessed with all things Star Trek XI. Not to mention all things Zachary Quinto.
I couldn't figure out how they would do the stardate if they were just going out two places from a decimal point, so I decided that my story would have them go out three places further into the year.
Thanks for reading; please review.
Imani is a name in Swahili meaning 'faith.'
Achieng is a name in Luo (of East Africa) meaning 'born when the sun shines.'
The inclusion of Tattooine doesn't really have any great impact on the story, as far as my little plot bunny knows. I do, however, reserve the right to say that Andrew named the planet.