Re-reading the Hapes’ opinion about him almost made Xander smile. The Jedi were afraid to say no and the Sith afraid he was going to take over. That was what one rumor said anyway. “I think I’m going to get a T-shirt with this printed on it.” Another said he was a renegade Sith that had joined Luke under protest. Yet a third rumor said he was a borderline dark Jedi and that Luke had ordered Jaina to keep an eye on him. The fourth rumor said he was a super-soldier build by the Empire and later found and trained by Luke and the last was that he was just plain nuts.
Anyway Jacen wanted Xander with him so that the nobles would be reminded that big bad Xander was loyal to Tenel-Ka. It was time to go dirty Xander on their ass. Show them how Dirty Harry should really be played.
They reminded Dawn and Lexa about Xander’s mission. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Taking a deep breath he walked out, the helmet hanging from his belt. His eyes were glittering, almost glowing with an unholy green and yellow as he looked at the crew with anger, ill wishes badly held back.
“I can sense so many spies in here my friend,” he purred out. “Some are even working for your enemies,” he said, then grabbed the Captain by the jaw and lifted him clearly from the floor. “I’d love to clean the house if you wish,” he said softly, the man hanging desperately in his hands. Both of the man’s hands were grabbing at the arm that lifted him, holding on for his life. One wrong move and his jaw or neck would crack.
“Let the man go Xander,” Jacen said with a firm voice. “Thank you,” he said as Xander dropped the man. “Now informing and selling information is illegal, in some cases even punishable by death, and I do have evidence.”
The whole bridge was silent.
Jacen looked at the man. “I heard that the Dark Jedi have a way to cause pain and even destroy the mind of anyone with the Force alone. Is that true?” he asked Xander while holding the captain’s gaze.
Xander grunted. “Indeed it is.” He looked at the nervous captain. “What would you like me to do to him?”
He was actually confirming nothing and saying nothing about his own alignment or ability. Yet the whole crew was now convinced he was the real deal, a dark Jedi.
Jacen smiled smugly. “Just make sure he is unable to kill himself. Back home we have ways to make him talk.”
Xander snorted, the urge to cause pain seemingly oozing out of him. “Not as amusing as my methods,” he grumbled, thinking of all the fun mind games he could have used.
Jaina smiled. “Not all of us have your sense of humor darling,” she said.
Lexa frowned as she walked by the guy so she stopped nearby. Activating her type five implant and her growing, but still small, PSI-Healing power and ability, she could literally see inside of his body. He had something hidden in his teeth, no his teeth and jaw. “Xander,” she whispered to Danni first, who then used telepathy to relay Lexa’s message to Xander.
Faster than anybody could react, a snap and hiss was heard and the captain screamed in pain as two of his teeth and part of his jaw was cut off.
Lexa hurried over to help him while Xander picked up the piece of jaw from the deck of the bridge, not that concerned about the captain. After all a cybernetic jaw replacement wasn’t that expensive, ugly yes, but not expensive. “Let’s see,” he said, poking around. “Interesting, a micro set of lock picks hidden in a pocket dug out in his jaw as well as a strangling snare. Hmm and what do we have here?” Now this guy was ready to for anything. “Prepared to die for his mistress, loyal to death,” Xander said looking at the now wounded and crippled man.
“I’m sure you could make him talk with the right motivation even so,” he added.
“Thank you Xander. We try to keep things civilized here though,” Jacen said, shaken. That wasn’t actually the way he had wanted him to inspect the guy.
He was shaken as Xander, backed up by Jaina, let free a massive affect mind wave of fear me.
“Jacen, Tenel-Ka and Sammy are under my protection. I would suggest each of you report to you mistress or master what has occurred. Then reconsider your loyalties or you health might be affected,” Xander growled to the crew and then vanished within a Force cloak.
Danni clapped her hands, seemingly overjoyed. “He must be happy today.” All of them looked at her in shock and so she defended herself. “He normally never warns people before he kills them,” she said with an experienced, yet embarrassed voice.
The bridge was now silent and you could smell the urine in the air.
Dawn quickly put her fist in her mouth and repeated to herself silently, ‘Don’t laugh… must not laugh.’
So far Xander had them all terrified without causing anyone permanent harm. Sure the guy was missing half his jaw and would look dead ugly unless he could afford an expensive replacement cybernetic, but the damage could be corrected and the wound was in no way life threatening.
Too bad. With one attack and only crippling the appearance of one traitorous spy, he had made most of the crew work for him. They would now spread the rumors about him as a person no one would wish to mess with.
Jaina knew the rest of the Jedi order and the Masters of said order wouldn’t like Xander going on a fake rampage. Still, the end result was that more Jedi were allowed inside the Hapes to protect the plot makers in case Xander came back.
From what Jaina had said Tenel-Ka who was more than good with illusion had played some mind games during an assassination attempt on her and Jacen. Most of Hapes now believed that a revengeful Xander suddenly appeared in a cloud of blinding darkness from light years away, killed the assassin with his light saber and then once again vanished into the darkness.
All it took was some well placed illusions made by Tenel-Ka, some makeup, a fake copy of Xander’s armor and shota. Things had been remarkably silent after that. The snakes and the rats among the noble families didn’t know what to believe. Time and time again any attack had been stopped and many of the attackers had ended up dead or half the person they used to be. In appearance, Jacen, Tenel-Ka and Sammy were harmless. So it had to be that awful Xander who constantly saved them.
Tenel-Ka would end the tradition of assassination as an acceptable way of living or rebuild the noble houses and royal house from the ground up. Her mother was proud and her grandmother loved her. She loved them or liked them and well, she stopped sending assassins at least.
Jacen was more than convinced. The royal traditions of Hapes needed changing and it could only be done by death or the fear of death as motivation for a change in the laws concerning the nobles.
(Later in the private cabin which had been checked from top to bottom for bugs and listening devices)
Jaina and Danni sat silently beside him. Thanks to Xander’s strange ability to speak and see the dead even they could join him in his lessons.
Relaxing slightly he meditated deep inside the force. “Hello Yoda,” he said as the green little Muppet appeared, together with other ghosts.
“Hmm… What you are doing I know. Like it I don’t. Needed it might be. What damage will it do to you my young friend?” Yoda said.
Xander smiled. “Wounds will heal. Jaina and Danni are keeping me stable. I visited an alternate dimension where they killed Anakin and a clone named Vader was the right hand of Palpatine. In that reality I found out that Ben Kenobi had died and I was forced to help Leia Skywalker and Luke Organa. It was interesting meeting a live version of you Yoda. In the end I had to do something unspeakable.”
“What you do?” Yoda wanted to know.
“I forced the spirit out of the body of the Vader clone and helped the real Anakin to return to life. It was awful, yet the clone had been Anakin’s murderer and that somehow made it less dark in the eyes of the force. Still it was awful and felt wrong,” Xander explained.
“Do it you still did,” Yoda said.
Xander agreed that he did. “We had to leave and I felt that without Anakin, Palpatine couldn’t be defeated.”
There was silence and an agreement among the ghosts that what he did was wrong, yet not doing it could have been worse in the end. He looked at the other ghosts and smiled. “Let the lesson begin. I missed you guys.”
Jaina waved. “Hi grandpa,” she said and the ghost of Anakin Skywalker, once known as Lord Vader, waved back before the lesson began.
The next day the real lesson started. The noble royals of Hapes would learn that laws giving you the ability to get away with murder could cause your own death just as fast or even faster.
Tenel-Ka was seeding the land with the idea about changing the laws of her nation. It would be years before the law change was official and up for vote, but with time she could do it, unless she died too quickly herself.
(Two days later)
The capital town of Hapes was called Fountain City, named after the magnificent fountain palace where the Queen mother and her family spend most of her time. All the squares and many of the streets had fountains with water that floated down into the canals that crossed the city. Under the water you could see a strange warm glow as lights had been installed on the bottom of the canals, making them illuminate the sides and the boats on them in a strange magical way. It was a city of flowers, music, beauty and harmony.
According to tradition, whenever the Queen mother left the city, all the water to the fountains on the streets was cut and no water was flowing down from the fountains. Only the canal water was kept flowing, but the lights hidden under the water were turned off. Jacen explained that every time that happens, it felt like a part of the city died and people were longing for the Queen mother to return.
Xander could see why they did it. It was good passive PR.
Everything in the city was beautiful, even the people themselves and the tools, equipment and the art was of the best quality, at least in the finer part of town.
In the jewelry store you could buy priceless gems and jewelry made by the greatest artists. This was truly the part of the city the nobles moved and lived in. Even weapons embedded with jewels were on sale.
The lower part of the town where the common man walked was more rustic than impressive. It had a simple level of natural beauty to it. What they lacked in precious material and gems, they made up with using plain flowers and paint. The materials in the shops was less ornamented and more on the side of useful.
Xander found a holo-graphic projected mirror he knew Jaina and Danni would get a kick out of. Easy to carry in your hand bag and the size of the holo-mirror when activated was a full body mirror.
The downside was that here was where the dregs of the city lived. There were harder less ornamented graffiti, nice artistic graffiti, but still graffiti. As everywhere on all other planets, the smugglers where thriving. The end of one galactic reaching government and the re-birth of feuding solar empires and federations had created a growing need of traders able to smuggle sought after luxury items past the border. Such items, which ranged from drugs to medication to even food and beings trying to escape a sure death in what once was their home.
It was a sad sight indeed. From what Xander could see the Federation was on the right way to make the years of suffering and war shorter, but it was still a long way before the war would end.
As he walked he suddenly froze. That was impossible. Vampires… He could feel it. It was somewhere nearby, but he had no idea what direction. Then he felt another one and one more and then again another one. Remembering what he knew about the vampires in this reality, he swallowed.
The first Vampire had been pulled along with Buffy, Willow and Dawn and Dawn’s power had kept it alive. The Force had mutated him, removed the demon and created something new. The dark side vampire was alive and could take more physical punishment before unconsciousness than the old vampire could, according to Buffy.
He picked up his com. “Rona... Tell Jacen, Tenel-Ka and then the others that we have a vampire infection in the city, Xander over and out.”
“You shouldn’t have turned that off, Jedi,” a sick sounding voice said.
Looking around Xander could see that the street had been emptied somehow.
“Yeah, now your life will end,” another one said.
Xander tried to spot them. There was one, his body transparent, almost invisible as it sneaked by the wall of a building. His lightsaber jumped into his hand as he said, “I really had hoped I’d destroyed you all the last time we were fighting.”
A hissing sound from his left told him where the second vampire was, now to find the others. A swish of air was his only warning, then a vampire rushed into him. Swinging as fast as he could he dove down on his knee and with a hiss his lightsaber was activated. He moved, cutting a deep slash in the vampire’s gut, almost splitting it in half. It fell down on the ground. Its blood, swarming with vampire-worms, filled the street where the worms were slowly boiled alive by the air around them.
Then the rush started and all of the vampires attacked. Not good… There were around nine of them.
Xander was about to use the force on them when the leader, or the one he hoped was the leader, attacked him with a vibrosword and so did the others. With another hissing sound his shota was activated as well. He parried two of the attacks and to his irritation the vibrosword wasn’t hurt by his lightsaber.
Holding the two vampires’ vibroswords away from his body he stood there watching their grinning faces. One by one they came forward, holding a vibrosword. Now he recognized it. It was an energy blade and not a vibrosword. That explained the soft glow around them. The energy field around the blade could parry his lightsaber, just like he could use the force and the blade to cut through the field and the blade if he really wanted to.
Nine against one sounded like a good exercise right now.
“You’re dead Jedi Knight,” the first one said.
“That’s your first error. I’m not a Knight,” Xander said and he let the force free. A wave of energy sent the vampires around him flying. “I am a Master.” And then the battle was joined.
They attacked and he parried, dodged and slashed. Then he spun around, slicing and dicing like a cutting blade before he slowed down, breaking so hard from his spinning attack that the ground under him was cracked and four of the nine vampires were dead, their bodies falling apart into the blood worms.
The five remaining opponents screamed out in anger as they attacked. Xander stood still, waiting to the last second and then he moved. With two moves his blade sliced right through the energy blades, breaking them in half for three of the four and with two more quick moves he mortally wounded two more of the vampires.
Of the remaining two, one was kicked in the nuts and the other one suddenly had a Jedi holding his throat. “We need to talk,” Xander said.