Chapter One - Crysis
Any story in this collection will not be touched for a year at minimum. Adoption encouraged so long as I get a link to read it from. Just don’t take my stories and turn them into slash fics. I apologize for my lack of writing ability.
Author’s note: I started this one a while back and may eventually pick it up at some point. I had wanted Xander to deal with some Crysis issues and then I would bring Nomad and Prophet back into the Buffyverse with him. The island name (Malatora) can be found in Crysis Warhead on newspapers, but the islands are called the Lingshan Islands on the wiki. Solution? I used both.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I do not own the games, TV shows, weapons, people, or anything that will be butchered here. Well, I own a copy of the game. Includes Buffy, Crysis, and a mention of SG-1
Xander Harris upped his speed to a fast jog as he ran up the stairs. He had been called back from running a training operation for the newest Delta Force hopefuls. They were four weeks into the training he had passed through going on two years ago. In all actuality, he had progressed quickly through the ranks, reaching sergeant in Delta Force only three years after being pressured to join following his high school graduation. Normally, an eighteen year old with a police and school record of gang activity wouldn’t garner much attention by the military, but he had never had what would be considered a normal life.
In a normal life, students wouldn’t celebrate graduating by killing a semi truck sized mayor in addition to gutting their high school with a homemade mix of fertilizer bombs. In a normal life, a teenager wouldn’t have spent his high school career fighting vampires nightly alongside a supernatural warrior.
No, Xander Harris most definitely did not have anything approaching a normal life.
It was just his luck that one of the school’s popular jocks happened to be related to some Army bigwig who had decided to attend the graduation ceremony. Much to the general’s surprise, the graduation didn’t end with caps being thrown into the air amid joyous hugs, but rather students pulling out homemade flamethrowers and crossbows and attempting to fight an unbelievable force. The giant demonic mayor was just icing on the cake.
For Xander, graduation marked a moment where he felt truly needed and useful to the Scoobies. He rejoiced at their survival of the mayor and of high school and had what amounted to be a good day with a relaxing cross-country road trip to look forward to. For General Houghert, it was a shock. His nephew spun an odd tale of vampires and demons, which seemed ludicrous no matter what he had seen. What was important was that a teenager managed to gather untrained children into a cohesive fighting force to beat back a superior enemy. He was reassured by his higher-ups that the situation was being dealt with through some Project Initiative so he decided to focus on the boy.
Xander was throwing his last bag into the trunk of his uncle’s ’57 Bel Aire when a dark gray sedan pulled into the driveway behind him. A balding man in his fifties, but still in shape, stepped out in full dress uniform.
“Alexander Harris?” General Houghert saw the young man wince at the name – not the best start.
“Yeah, but I go by Xander. Alexander is what the parents use. What can I do for you General?” The soldier’s memories from Halloween had faded, but Xander doubted he could ever forget what a star on a uniform meant.
“I wanted to talk to you about graduation.” He held up a hand to stop whatever excuse or response the young man may have had. “I was there, saw the whole thing. And I know you led the attack. What I want to know is why you didn’t go for help.”
“And tell them what, sir?” Xander subconsciously had slid back into the military mindset of his possession. Parade rest, straight back, and liberal use of the word ‘sir.’ “Someone would call the shrink if a teenager swore his class was going to get eaten by a snake at graduation. This may be So-Cal, but people do have a limit on weird.” No matter how ingrained the military respect was in his head, he was still Xander Harris, and his sense of humor would not be denied.
“True, true.” The general paused. “Now I know you have leadership qualities, and I’ve done some checking on you.” Xander grimaced, knowing his record of laziness, vigilante actions, gang actions, and other unmentionables that wouldn’t look pretty to the government. Houghert continued, “But I’ve also talked to my nephew who swears you’re a good kid who has saved his life and others on occasion. I’m willing to sponsor your enlistment and iron out your record, get you some real training. Think about it and let me know within the week.”
And Xander had thought about it. He had even spoken with the Scoobies about it. Giles told him it was up to him, as did the girls, but there had seemed to be an underlying hope that he would take the offer. They had been trying to get him to have a normal life, and to them, this was the chance. For Xander, he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford college, and any training he managed to pick up would be valuable in the fight. It was a simple tactical choice, forgo a couple years of fighting to be a much more effective fighter. The emotional decision was the difficult part. Eventually, he had decided to take the general up on the offer, which had led to basic training, Ranger school, and eventually Delta Force. His possession’s memories had helped him advance quickly to one of the premier squads in the army. Which led to his current run to his CO’s office.
Xander paused to make sure he was presentable before announcing himself.
“Sergeant Harris, reporting as ordered, ma’am.” Colonel Hausfield was a fairly attractive lady, with short cropped brown hair and a muscular five foot six inch frame. She wasn’t Delta, but she was in charge of their company. Go figure. It was military politics at its finest. The men didn’t complain though, she was fair and did her best to keep them alive, so not much more could be wanted. No one hit on her though, because not only was it against regulations, but she was happily married to a Navy Seal, Odd inter-branch marriage that it was.
“Sit down Sergeant.” Xander sat. “We received emergency calls a day ago from a remote research outpost where a team of archaeologists were taken captive by the North Korean KPA on the eastern side of this island after the discovery of some artifact.” She pointed out an island south of Korea in the Pacific. Malatora in the Lingshan Islands. “Your team, minus yourself was sent on the rescue op. I know you all normally work together, but this was supposed to be an easy mission. Get in, save the scientists, and get out. You were busy with training and could not be retrieved in time for the op to begin.” She paused, knowing the next bits of news would not be taken lightly by the man in front of her.
“As of this morning, Aztec and Jester are KIA and Prophet is MIA. Aztec was killed in some accident upon insertion, Jester was taken by something, and Prophet dropped off the face of the island after some odd radio calls about a frozen boat found miles inland. Psycho and Nomad are currently working their way inland to the hostages.”
Xander was fighting hard to keep his emotions and questions in check. He had been on the team for only a couple months, but the squad was pretty much family. They had done some work together in the Middle East, and Xander now considered himself one of the guys, almost brothers. He hadn’t lost anyone he was that close to since Jesse had been turned back in high school. And now half of his new family was gone. To a Sunnydale survivor, missing was gone. You were either dead or dust once you went missing. They must have had some massive catastrophe to lose Jester, Aztec, and
Prophet. Especially Prophet, the guy was one of those people that seemed invincible.
Xander did his best to make sure his voice did not betray any of his emotions. He almost did it. “Am I going in as backup for Nomad and Psycho then, ma’am?” He may have lost half of his new family, but he would be damned if he was going to lose the rest of it.
Hausfield knew the soldier in front of her was going to like this even less than the news of Aztec’s death. “No. You have a separate mission.”
“Ma’am! – “ Xander was cut off by a glare from the colonel. There were times when military procedures really sucked. This was one of the biggest times.
“Sergeant. You are not going in as backup. You have a separate op on the island. Two weeks ago a mixed archaelogical/science team designated SG-11 was deployed to the west side of the island, they haven’t been heard from in a week. It’s an Air Force unit, so God knows why they were sent there, but apparently it’s above my pay grade. I have direct orders from the Joint Chiefs to find out what happened to them, and if they are alive to set up a SAR mission to get them out. Finding out what happened to that team is your official mission. We needed someone who could get in and out quietly, and that is your job. Normally, it would be Nomad’s job, since he’s the stealth boy, but…” She trailed off, then picked up again. “While not your primary mission, if you find any word about Prophet, you let us know. Beyond that, find the Air Force pukes and prepare them for extraction. Lt. Morris will be acting as oversight for your mission.”
She paused again. “I am sorry, Sergeant. I was going to send you in after your team, but these orders are from the Joint Chiefs. There’s nothing either one of us can do about it.” Hausfield stood and extended her hand, which Xander shook. “You’re being inserted by submarine on the western beach. Grab your gear and meet the VTOL outside for your ride to the carrier group.”
Five minutes later found an uncharacteristically quiet Xander stripping to don his armor. It was the pinnacle of human technology, real 21st century stuff. His armor was the newest nanotechnology put out by the Army for its high level special forces operatives. It was gunmetal gray and composed of tubes that looked like the human muscular system, just on the outside of the body and had some lighter grey points of hard armor and mounting brackets for weapons and gear. Not only did it look cool, it was functional. The nanites allowed for increased in strength to vampire levels and speed beyond anything he remembered Buffy managing. Speed was only limited by his all-too-human reflexes. In addition, the armor could be configured in a mode that sacrificed speed and strength for pure defensive abilities. It would be able to withstand any and all physical attacks until its power needed to recharge, although he was still vulnerable to getting tossed around. Even with the armor, he still only weighed in at about 300 pounds. But with it in its armor configuration, bullets felt like nothing more than an annoyed poke as the energy was absorbed.
Did he mention the invisibility? Yeah, it did invisible. Or active camoflauge or whatever the technical name was. Nothing made it easier to complete a stealth mission like not being able to be seen. So what if it was only temporary.
Of course the armor had its downsides as well. Mainly was that it had limited power. The suit could run forever, but the abilities it allowed drained power quickly, causing a need for recharging. Secondly, the gunmetal coloring made hiding in the forest nearly impossible without the invisibility engaged. That had led to a few close calls in the deserts of the Middle East. Lesson learned: when the power dies, hide your ass. Got it. Also, though the armor was puncture resistant, a smooth slice from a knife would be able to cut through the areas not covered by the armor’s reinforced plates. Finally, it had limited points where weapons could be mounted while still having the invisibility work. They had the strength to carry a platoon’s worth of weaponry, but only enough room for two full size guns. The integrated backpack for explosives was too small to hold anything bigger than a mine or a collapsed rocket launcher, so no weapons longer than a foot and a half in there. Major bummer that was.
On the bright side, Xander looked like a badass. At least that’s what he told himself. Rambo would’ve been jealous. For the guy who was the normal semi-useless human in the group back in Sunny-D, it was a nice change. He didn’t flaunt it, but the job and its related gear and training gave him a well needed ego boost.
Xander finished pulling the armored hood over his head, leaving the mask on the bench for later. It offered some neat visual options, but it was just so inhuman. It had been quickly discovered that they got much better responses around the base when people could see their faces. Who woulda thunk it?
He moved into the armory for the secondary equipment. While guns were nice, the armor was the key piece of his gear. First was the human aspect, then the armor, then everything else. The nano-suit was what gave his team an edge over nearly everyone.
For weaponry, he started small. A wooden stake. His team always gave him shit about it, but he would just give a small smile and slide it into a custom holster on his ankle where everyone else carried an extra knife. It was a Sunnydale thing. You don’t go anywhere without a stake and a cross, although Xander forewent the cross in favor of the puncture resistant armor. He couldn’t have a cross swinging around in midair when he went invisible, so that was out. The stake was all he could take for vampires, so it became his security blanket. A shotgun to the neck may do the job easier, but there was something comforting about a stake.
For the rest of his gear, Xander went for a wide range of weaponry. Several knives were sheathed close to his body for last ditch emergencies or utility work. Onto their mounting points went two pistols for backup weapons, a SCAR Assault rifle for his primary weapon, and the newest weapon in the infantryman’s arsenal, a highly accurate gauss rifle. In addition to the full load of ammo were suppressors for the pistols and SCAR and a nonlethal dart attachment for the SCAR, just the things the doctor ordered for a solo trip to a tropical jungle in the Pacific.
Xander snorted. Join the military, see the world. And it’ll shoot at you.
He exited the armory and made his way to the waiting VTOL for the short ten hour jaunt from Ft. Benning, Georgia to the carrier group waiting for him in the Pacific.
AN: I needed a name for the sub. Could I do any less than pay homage to a great movie?
“Tube is flooded, opening outer doors. Sergeant, you have a go mission.” The door where the torpedo normally shot out opened, and a man swam swiftly out of the opening.
. Thanks for the ride.”
“No problem Sergeant, good luck.”
“Thanks, and it’s Redneck from here out.” Xander grimaced under his mask; he wasn’t exactly fond of promoting his callsign outside the squad. He had wanted Joker, but it was too close to Jester. Nightwing had got him laughed at. He had gotten stuck with Redneck almost immediately after joining up with Raptor squad. The squad had its own unique ways of generating call signs, basically finding something that annoyed said individual. Prophet was so called in joking mockery of his ability to consistently plan for the worst, and then have it happen. Jester wasn’t the comic of the group, but the one everyone tended to pick on. Nomad had gone through at least ten houses at some point before Xander’s joining and had made the squad help. Everyone thought Sykes was nuts: Psycho. Aztec though, Xander had never been told more than it was “A long story involving tequila and a loincloth.” He hadn’t asked for more information.
Redneck came about as Xander’s call sign when Psycho had met Xander in the armory and managed to add two and two and get five. He had seen the young man with a deep tan staring in awe at the high tech weaponry and armor and had assumed he was one of the gun-loving Southern rednecks that the Americans in the squad had told him about. Xander had corrected him, telling him he was a So-Cal boy, but the name had stuck. He didn’t mind it too much though, except for the whole marry-your-cousin bit, and it had stopped getting on his nerves after the first few weeks. He just had a slight issue with spreading the name around more than it already was.
After a brief swim, Xander slowly raised himself up from where he had surfaced among the rocks along the beach in order to avoid detection. A quick glance around him showed the beach to be clear of KPA patrols, leaving the beach looking like something out of a travel brochure. The map built into his HUD put him four miles out from the last known position of SG-11 so he quietly slipped into the forest and began moving along the roadside towards the point.
“Redneck, this is Lt. Morris. Intel suggests there may be a small KPA encampment to your north-northeast about one click inland. There may be some intelligence concerning the scientists’ location. Suggest you check it out before proceeding to their research site.”
Xander gave a slight nod and what could almost be construed as a smile, even though no one was around to see it. Time to put all that taxpayer training to use.
“Lieutenant Morris? Do we have any further intel on what happened to Aztec and Jester?” Xander had been rushed out of Hausfield’s office before he had a chance to ask any further questions, and it was time to try to get at least some answers. Not much else to do while trekking through the jungle.
“Not a clue, Redneck. Prophet reported some black and blue flying …thing managed to grab Jester before any of the rest of the squad had a clear view of it. Aztec looked to have been almost mauled. The description we got seemed to be a mechanical flying squid. I’ll keep you updated, but so far all we know is that there is something odd going on.”
Xander could have laughed if the situation hadn’t been so serious. The woman had a talent for understatement.