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What's A California?

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Summary: Xander Harris is sent to a very different, but strangely familiar place after being sucked into Acathla's portal. This is his life.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Other HetzTiamaTzFR1867,47022317,1558 Mar 114 Nov 11No

Chapter One

Title: What's A California?

Author: zTiamaTz


Beta By: Starway Man

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel the Series, along with the characters from their respective shows, are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

Description: Xander Harris is sent to a very different, but strangely familiar place after being sucked into Acathla's portal. This is his life.

A/N: This story will be entirely from Xander's POV.

My name is Alexander Lavelle Harris, and roughly three years ago I woke up on the wrong side of the multi-dimensional infinity of the universe.

One of my favorite TV shows - well, up until it was cancelled by the FOX Network back in May '97 anyway - was ‘Sliders’. You probably remember it, right? Four people who slid in and out of various realities every week, with what looked like a tricked-out cell phone. Different realities, where history turned out different in each one.

There are days where I wish I had Quinn Mallory’s timer - or failing that, I wish that my little journey through Acathla’s portal had simply killed me or sent me to Hell or - whatever.

I sat atop the large imulsion pipeline in this version of California eating my lunch, and wary of the large drop behind me. Falling off the pipe was a twelve foot drop by itself, but if you went backwards, you were looking at a rocky, seventy degree slope.

Still, that came with the job, on account of I was a Protector nowadays. The job title sounds a lot fancier than it really is, though. All I did was make sure raiders and punks didn't steal the golden liquid that ran this world away from the Country.

I was sitting on this pipe, because it was my shift to do so. Since nobody wanted to do it, everybody had to take their turn at it. To my left, further down the pipe, were Larry and Dave, a couple of goofball jerk-offs that reminded me of Andrew Wells and his big brother, Tucker. They were supposed to be keeping watch like me, but they were talking to each other instead. Friggin’ morons.

I got paid an extra credit an hour when I was up here, because I was the only guy that would put up with them. Below me, about twenty more guys were eating or keeping watch, all armed with their favorite weapons.

There were all kinds; bats, swords, shovels, one guy even had a fucking mace on a chain. Even after a year and a half doing the hack-and-slash thing with Buffy, it was still weird for me to see grown men carrying that kind of stuff around and not wearing tweed.

That’s the funny thing about this world, you see. I haven’t been able to find anyone here I knew back home, at least not so far. No vampires or demons, either, which is a big plus in my book. Still, the downside is no Giles, no Buffy, and no Willow.

No Cordelia Chase either, my girlfriend for the last six months or so while I was living in Sunnydale. Christ I missed her, she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Instead these days, it was just me, and my job.

We got raiders maybe once a week, they'd come trying to siphon off as much imulsion as they could while their buddies kept the rest of us busy. They hardly ever got anything, but that didn't stop them from keeping on trying.

It was amazing how many of them would come at us, still bearing wounds from their last go-around with us. Even one guy who'd lost a freaking arm from Macho's machete had later come back, bandaged and bloody stump and all.

They kept coming because they needed the money for, and to make more, Starch. The biggest illicit drug on the market around here, three years running. It had the same consistency of its namesake, but if you were smart, you wouldn't use it on your clothes, let alone anywhere else on your body.

Because it’s incredibly addictive, God damn it. Starchies were sick mother-fuckers. They took the powder, mixed it with water and a drop of imulsion, then molded it into whatever form they wanted. They'd swallow it, stick it up their nose, up their ass, even into their dicks and twats.

Long-term users were easy to spot, because they always had bloated faces and throats if they were swallowing, or distended bellies if they were stuffing it up their asses. Worse yet, there was eventual loss of bowel control and if you ask me, the best thing you could do for those people was euthanasia.

You could smell those starch-heads a mile away, I kid you not. But that wasn't even the nastiest part; I didn't even want to know what their junk looked like, the very thought was terrifying to an average guy like me.

It didn't seem to matter what happened to those idiots, though. Even with the glaring results of the drug available for view on pretty much any street corner of this world’s version of Los Angeles, more and more people got hooked on that shit every day.

And the worst part was we had to fight the bastards with melee weapons, or hand to hand. No guns allowed, not since that pipeline in North State had blown sky high. The blast there had taken out twenty square blocks of what, in my world, would have been suburban Billings, Montana.

Like I said, different worlds - different names. Hell, the United States of America doesn’t exist here. The continent is made up of four different countries bordered by Canada and Mexico, which majorly freaked me out when I first learned it. But more of that later.

Most of the imulsion pipes were protected by three feet of concrete, and buried ten feet underground. But the area my co-workers and I were protecting was a substation designed to fix any problems that might occur anywhere along the line, making it extremely vulnerable.

On the bright side, at least we didn't have to deal with Zoomers on site. The company had put a field fence up around the substation. The field fucked with their brains big-time, even if I didn’t know how it worked. I just wished it worked on the damn Starchies too.

I finished off my sandwich and took my last sip of coffee, before stuffing the leftovers into the plain black metal lunch pail I carried with me. It wasn't pretty, but I was never one to be flashy anyways.

"Hey, Bobby!" I called to the guy below me that was maybe a year older than me, but had just started a day ago. Being new, he got the shit work, like putting away my pail. As he looked up, I started to lower the pail on a rope down to him. "Take this to my cubby hole for me!"

He gave me a big smile, still eager to please. "Sure thing, Mister Harris!" Grabbing it, he quickly untied the thing and took off running to the substation building.

Bobby was a good guy, but I didn't think he'd last long at this job. He was a lot like me when I first got here, but he hadn't been hardened by the Hellmouth like I had. After the next Starchie attack, the odds were that he wouldn’t be back the next day; that is, if he even survived it.

Sighing, I got back to my job, taking the binoculars from the box on the back of seat, I started looking out for any signs of trouble. Loud coughing distracted me, and I saw Larry and Dave glaring at me.

"Go ahead," I told them simply, letting them get to their own lunches. Hell, it wasn't like they did their jobs right anyway, so what was the difference? I mean, the only reason they hadn’t already been booted out on their asses was because their uncle was the head of security here.

Shaking my head, I went back to my binoculars; I still had another five hours to go before my shift was over...

Disclaimer 2: 'Imulsion' was created by Epic Games.

Disclaimer 3: The show 'Sliders', and it's characters were created by Tracy Tormé and
Robert K. Weiss. It is owned by Tormé, Weiss, the Fox Network, and the Sci-Fi Channel.

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