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Threshkreen Harris

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Summary: The ’Zeppo’ helps out but ends up somewhere he never expected

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Sci-Fi > Author: Jim BaenOlBearFR183097,05435265159,77229 Oct 1115 Mar 14No

Chapter 23

Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and never will. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Legacy of the Altendata belongs to John Ringo. I can only claim ideas that come from sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.

Chapter Twenty Three

Irmansul, 2008

Captain Alexander Harris carefully raised his head over the lip of the shallow gully. Off in the distance was a massive granite monolith that dominated the horizon. The mountain was the most heavily defended Posleen enclave on the planet with what intelligence estimated was over seven million Posleen hunkered inside and enough heavy anti-orbital weaponry installed to ensure that any Fleet vessel that wondered into orbit nearby was immediately destroyed. What was worse the mountain was slap dab in the middle of one of the few large land masses on the planet. It had to be cleared before the rest of the task force could land.

Already the Posleen forces entrenched in the mountain had torn up a combined arms division as well as a regiment of ACS and the plan now was to lure the aliens out of their redoubt and onto the open plain.

But Xander wasn’t really paying attention to the fortified mountain. Instead he was looking at the images that were displayed on his HUD. “Stay safe, stay happy.” He murmured to Buffy, Willow and Cordelia. His pre-battle ritual complete he dismissed the images and took a long hard look at the Posleen fortress.

“This is going to be a stone cold bastard!” He thought before lowering his head back into cover.

Xander walked to where the rest of Delta Company was waiting on the floor of the gully.

“Alright boys and girls, buckets off and form up.” He ordered as he removed his own helmet and allowed the under-gel that had been covering his head to hump and writhe its way back into his armor. Around him the sixty six soldiers that made up Delta Company did the same allowing most of them to breathe the air of Irmansul for the first time as they quickly positioned themselves in four ranks.

Nodding Xander took his place on the far right of the first rank. “This had better work.” He muttered.

Next to him Lieutenant Pete Curran, who had earned a battlefield commission for his actions during the assault on the Posleen pyramid on Barwhon and now ran ten platoon just grinned.

“C’mon Boss, there’s no way the horses will be able to resist this.” He smirked while at the same time loosening his neck in preparation.

Xander just grunted. “Jessie, everything set?”

“Affirmative Alex.” His AID said. “The rest of the brigade is at the staging area, artillery support is ready and broadcast systems are online.”

Xander nodded and took a deep breath.

“Kote!” He shouted and struck his shoulder, the sound echoing across the plain thanks to the small but very powerful speakers that had been set up.

“KOTE!!” The company bellowed and struck their own shoulders.

“Vode an!”

“VODE AN!!”

“Kote!”

“KOTE!!”

“Vode an!”

“VODE AN!!”

The air above the company started to shimmer and suddenly there appeared a holographic image of the assembled soldiers, four times normal size, in the air above them, in direct view of the aliens.

Xander started to beat a complex tattoo on his shoulder and the rest of the company followed suit, the hologram above mirroring their actions. Then the soldiers started to chant.

“Taung sa rang broka Mando'ade ka'rta.

Dha Werda Verda a'den tratu,”

Without pause every soldier reached out and continued the beat on the shoulder of the man next to him. This was the ‘Dha Werda Verda’, the Rage of the Warriors of the Shadows’, the battle chant of the Mandalorians. Reminiscent of the Maori Haka the Dha Werda Verda was both a threat and a challenge and it was hoped that the Posleen would not allow such an arrogant display to go unchallenged.



“Manda'yaim kandosii adu.

Duum motir ca'tra nau tracinya.

Gra'tua cuun hett su dralshy'a.”

Delta company turned and continued the beat, striking another warrior’s shoulder. If any man mistimed a blow it could end with the injury of a fellow soldier if not death, no one was pulling their punches.



“Kom'rk tsad droten troch nyn ures adenn.

Dha Werda Verda a'den tratu”,

“Alex!” The voice of Tabitha Lunnon, captain of intelligence and Xander’s lover, came over the comm-link. “It’s working! There’s at least a million Posleen charging towards you!”

Xander didn’t answer, instead turned again to face the onrushing horde and continued the chant.



“Manda'yaim kandosii adu.

Duum motir ca'tra nau tracinya.

Gra'tua cuun hett su dralshy'a!”

“Buckets on troops!” Xander ordered as soon as the chant was over. “We’ve got some fighting to do!” Above them the hologram replayed the entire chant

Once everyone was once again armored Xander looked out onto the plain. It looked like there was several Oolts of Posleen charging towards them and since just about every God-King he could see had their crest fully erect it was a full Teneral charge. Some of the God-Kings had even abandoned their plasma weapons and HVM launchers in favor of their Boma blades and were screaming their own battle cries as they charged.

Xander felt the vibrations through the ground as the massed artillery of the task force began firing and in less than a minute high explosive and white phosphorous shells began to fall on the charging centaurs

Snuggling his grav rifle into his shoulder Xander aimed at a God-King that was riding an anti-gravity Tenar equipped with heavy weapons.

“Open fire!” And he squeezed the trigger, sending a depleted uranium slug down range to impact with the armored container that housed the high energy crystals that powered the vehicle. With an actinic flash the vehicle and its passenger disappeared and the explosion blew a gap in the charging aliens that was almost instantly filled. Around him he could hear the hiss and crack as the rest of the 9th Brigade, Federation Fleet Strike, ACS Corps engaged, turning the front ranks of the enemy into yellow mist.

As the humans battled the Posleen someone started singing. It was a song that he had heard and sung himself many times. ‘Vode An’

Kote!

Kandosii sa kar'ta, Vode an.

Vheh a'den mhi, Vode an.

Bal kote, darasuum kote,

Jorso'ran kando a tome.

Sa kyr'am nau tracyn kad, Vode an.

Xander was surprised that when the second verse started it sounded like the entire 222nd Battalion was singing as well. He knew that pretty much all of Delta Company knew the words but he hadn’t suspected that the rest of the battalion had caught the ‘Mando Madness’.

Kandosii sa ka'rta, Vode an.

Vheh a'den mhi, Vode an.

Shaking his head Xander was about to tell his troops to cut the chatter since the singing was being broadcast of the battalion net. Instead on a separate channel came the voice of LTCOL Bennett, the battalion CO. “Let them sing Harris, let them sing.”

Bal...

Motir ca'tra nau tracinya.

Gra'tua cuun hett su dralshy'a.

Aruetyc runi'la solus cet o'r.

Motir ca'tra nau tracinya.

Gra'tua cuun hett su dralshy'a.

Aruetyc runi'la trattok'o.

Sa kyr'am nau tracyn kad, Vode an!



Sunnydale

Xander’s eyes snapped open. “Brothers all!” he murmured.

“Good morning Xander.” Came the voice of Jessie. “I detected a high level REM sleep. Are you alright?”

With a sigh Xander got out of bed. “I’m fine Jessie. It was just a dream.” For a moment he wondered why he’d dreamed of that particular battle and then he saw the date and realised why. In that other reality today would have been the birthday of his friend Peter Curran and the ‘Battle of the Mountain’ was the last time that they had fought side by side. A month after that fight Pete lead his platoon to defend a minor pass in another sector and died along with his troops and Xander had lost another friend.

He wondered what Pete would say if he was here. Then he snorted, Pete would probably tell him to pull his head out of his ass and go out and get drunk and get laid.

“I don’t think that’ll be happening Vod’ika.” He thought. Xander wasn’t much of drinker. Even in the darkest days of the war he’d never had the urge to crawl into a bottle and he had no intention of starting now. As for getting laid, well, despite the fact that he spent much of his days surrounded by some very beautiful women he didn’t feel that spark with any of them.

He loved Buffy and Willow and he knew that he always would and Faith, Alonna and Amy also had a special place in his heart. But he didn’t see himself sharing his life with any of them. In his mind the girls were like sisters to him. Maybe if Cordelia had stayed in Sunnydale things might be different but his former girlfriend was forging a new life for herself, living her dream of becoming a world famous model and actress and he was happy for her.

“Get over yourself Harris.” He muttered to himself. “Just because there’s no romance on the horizon doesn’t mean you’ll be alone forever.”

Pulling on a pair of running shorts he went to the fridge to get a bottle of water before heading down to the workout area he had set up when he’d moved in. moving to a stationary bike he began his warm up.



Across town another man was preparing for the day. Rupert Giles, wearing a dressing gown over his pyjamas and a pair of worn, comfortable leather slippers, padded into his kitchen and switched on his kettle and spooned tea into a pot. While he waited for the kettle to boil he walked to his front door to retrieve the paper that was on his doorstep.

Minutes later he sat at his kitchen table with a fresh pot of tea in front of him and the newspaper spread out. No mention of the Mayor’s disappearance but that was no surprise since Xander had only dealt with him yesterday.

Giles shook his head, Xander’s plan had been brutally effective and to be honest it wasn’t something that the Englishman would have thought of. At least not until he had exhausted all other avenues of dealing with Richard Wilkens and his insane plan.

His musings were interrupted by the ringing of his phone in the living room.

Picking up the handset Giles heard the faint hiss of static that meant that it was a long distance call.

“Rupert Giles speaking.” He said and then he smiled as he recognised the voice on the other end.

“Phillip my dear chap, how are you?” He asked his friend and fellow Watcher, Phillip Henderson. “You’ll be pleased to know that the situation here in Sunnydale has been resolved.” Giles paused as he listened to Phillip stutter. “Yes I know what I said earlier but fortunately one of Miss Summers associates found a flaw in Wilkens’ plan and exploited it. Of course I’ll be sending a full report as soon as I can.”

Giles’s eye’s widened in surprise.

“He’s coming here?”

“No of course not. In fact I was hoping that help would be coming. It’s just that I wasn’t expecting that he would come himself. From the best of my knowledge he hasn’t left London let alone England in over ten years.”

Giles listened to what his friend had to say. “Yes I understand. I’ll give him a full briefing when he arrives. Thank you for calling to let me know that he’s coming.”

Hanging up the phone Giles sat back in his seat. He wasn’t sure how he would explain the demise of Richard Wilkens without revealing Xander’s secrets but he’s have to find a way. Xander would not be impressed if someone he didn’t know or trust found out exactly what he was capable of.



1630 Rovello Dv

Faith walked along the street enjoying the early morning sun. If nothing else the weather here on the Hellmouth was great, she could count with the fingers on one hand the number of rainy days she had seen since she had arrived.

Finally she reached her destination, the home of her sister Slayer, Buffy Summers. As she walked up the path she wondered what Buffy wanted to talk to her about and why she asked her to come to her home instead of the library.

Reaching the front door she knocked at the same time calling out. “Hello, anyone home?”

“In the kitchen Faith.” Came the voice of Joyce Summers.

Taking that as an invite Faith walked down the hall, noticing in passing a suitcase near the front door.

Walking into the kitchen Faith found Joyce dressed in a very nice pantsuit rummaging through her purse while Buffy, clad in a pair of sweats and a T-shirt, looked up from carefully spreading cream cheese on a freshly toasted bagel and gave her a smile in greeting.

“Good morning Faith.” Joyce asked with a smile. “Would you like some breakfast?”

“No thanks Mrs S, I grabbed a bite on my way over though I wouldn’t say no to a cup of coffee.”

“Of course dear help yourself.” Joyce said with a smile. “There’s muffins and bagels in the bread box if you change your mind.”

Finally Joyce found what she had been looking for, her car keys. “Well I’ve got to get going otherwise I’ll miss my flight.”

“Got a dirty weekend planned with some lucky stud?” Faith asked mock innocently, as she poured herself a cup of coffee, causing Joyce to giggle almost girlishly and Buffy to half choke on her mouthful of bagel.

“Nothing like that Faith. There’s a major showing in San Francisco and I’m hoping to arrange a consignment for the gallery.” Joyce explained before turning to Buffy.

“Buffy I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon at the latest. There’s a casserole in the fridge that just needs to be heated up for dinner tonight.” She said as she checked her purse again. Amongst the normal things that you’d find in a woman’s purse such as a compact, lipstick and credit cards there was an ornate cross and a vial of holy water. Ever since Joyce had found out the truth about the world she never left the house without something to protect herself from vampires.

Satisfied that she had everything that she needed she got to her feet.

“I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon Buffy.” She said before giving her daughter a quick kiss on the cheek and to the surprise of both Slayers, kissing Faith in the same way. “Try not to get into too much trouble while I’m gone.”

With that the unofficial ‘Den Mother’ or the Scoobies grabbed her suitcase and went out to her jeep, the first leg of her buying trip.

Inside the kitchen Faith was stunned. No one aside from her first Watcher had kissed her like that, like a daughter, not even her own mother. She gently reached up with her hand to touch the cheek that Mrs S had kissed and for the thousandth time silently wished that her mother had been a bit more like Joyce when she was growing up.

With a small shake of her head she grabbed her coffee cup and sat down opposite Buffy.

“So B what did you want to talk to me about?” Faith asked.

Buffy suddenly found her half eaten bagel very interesting. “I’ll be graduating High School in a few months.” She said.

Faith shrugged. Buffy graduating High School wasn’t news and she doubted that her sister Slayer had called her over just to talk about that.

“I’ve applied to go to college, and I’d like to go somewhere other than Sunnydale.” Buffy said in a rush.

Faith blinked and wondered why Buffy was telling her this. Then it dawned on her.

“You want me to take over don’t ya?”

Buffy nodded and wondered what she could say that would convince Faith to become the Guardian of the Hellmouth.



Xander’s place

Xander placed the last component in place and quickly checked that everything was secure. Satisfied that the now completed Plasma rifle was ready he brought the weapon to his shoulder and aimed at a mark on the far wall.

Thumbing the safety the weapon let out an annoying buzz to alert the user that there was no power cell attached. Reaching down he grabbed the tubular shaped battery that was sitting on a desk and slammed it home. The buzz disappeared and two tiny LED’s just below the sight flickered and then shone a friendly green.

Nodding to himself Xander unloaded the rifle and placed it on the weapons rack.

“Xander, Oz’s van is just pulling up outside.” Jessie said, her synthesised voice echoing throughout the building.

“Thanks Jessie.” Xander replied. “Start warming up the Slab while I bring him in.”

Oz brought his van to a stop and looked at Willow who was sitting in the passenger’s seat.

“You don’t have to be here.” He said with a touch of concern in his voice. He’d noticed that his girlfriend was looking a little frazzled this morning and that worried him

Willow just shook her head. “Yes Oz I do! If Xander has found a way to deal with your inner wolf I want to be there.”

The couple exited the van and walked to the small door that gave access to the building that Xander Harris called home. Just as Oz was about to raise his hand to knock the door swung open to reveal Xander.

“Hi guys. I wasn’t expecting you till after school.” He blinked when he realised that Oz wasn’t alone. “And it’s not like you to play hookey Willow.”

Oz shrugged. “Had a free period just before lunch so I decided to come now.”

“And I wanted to be here to see what you are going to do.” Willow said.

“Okay let’s go to the armoury and I’ll explain.” Xander said, stepping aside in silent invitation for them to enter.

Inside the armoury Willow looked around. There was a rack filled with weapons of some kind against one wall, Xander’s Power Armour standing in a corner, a greyish/white object that gave off an almost inaudible hum connected to a strange device towards the rear of the room and sitting in the middle, what looked like a black stone altar.

“Alright guys I think by now you realise that I’ve got access to some very advanced technology.” Xander said. Oz and Willow nodded and Xander continued. “Well what I have isn’t just stuff that goes BOOM! I also have things that can help people.” He reached down to tap the altar he was leaning against.

“This is an advanced diagnostic and treatment device. It’s commonly referred to as a Slab.”

Oz and Willow looked at the featureless black object. “What does it do?” Willow asked.

“It can heal anything from the common cold to terminal cancer within minutes. Give someone in their eighties the body of a teenager or clean up someone’s DNA so that any heredity diseases they suffer would be a thing of the past.” Xander paused. “If I put Stephen Hawking on this he’d be able to walk out of here on his own.”

“Wow!” Was all that Willow could say in reply while Oz merely arched an eyebrow in surprise. Willow shook herself.

“Why haven’t you told us about this sooner?” She asked.

Xander looked slightly sheepish. “Well it came with the boat and between getting this place sorted out and dealing with the Mayor I just didn’t find the time.”

“And you think that this might help me?” Oz asked quietly.

“I hope so.” Xander said. “But the big question is that since lycanthropy is mystical will the Slab be able to recognise it? Giles has always said that the Hellmouth gives out energy all the time but according to Jessie the only thing she can pick up is some very faint interference that barely registers.”

“Are you sure Xander?” Willow asked. “I mean every time a cast a spell I can feel the Hellmouth and so can Amy.”

“Jessie has sensors that can detect a gnat farting two blocks away.” Xander said with a shrug.

“They’re not that sensitive.” Jessie’s voice came from a speaker. “But I should be able to detect something from the unstable dimensional portal underneath the school but according to my sensors there’s nothing there.”

“What happens if this Slab doesn’t do anything?” Oz asked, “What then?”

Xander picked up a small box that was sitting on the bench and handed it to Oz. “Then we go with ‘Plan B’.”

Oz opened the box to find it was filled with syrettes of an amber liquid. He raised his head to look at Xander questioningly.

“It’s modified Hiberzine.” Xander explained. “One dose will put you into a state of suspended animation for ten hours.”

“This isn’t dangerous is it Xander?” Willow asked as she held one of the syrettes to the light.

“Of course not Willow, I’ve been dosed with Hiberzine lots of times. It’s totally safe.”

“Why were you dosed with this stuff?” Oz asked curiously.

Xander shrugged. “Even with FTL drive travelling to another planet takes a long time. Keeping a few thousand soldiers fed for that period of time takes a lot of supplies and there’s not a lot for them to do while they’re in transit and bored troops will always get in trouble. Putting them in suspended animation just makes sense.”

He didn’t tell them that the only times that he’d been dosed with Hiberzine was when he was wounded.

“So you ready to give the Slab a whirl?” Xander asked Oz.

The musician/werewolf looked at his girlfriend before turning to Xander.

“Yeah I’m ready.” He frowned slightly. “Do I need to get undressed?” He asked, fingers reaching for the buttons on his shirt.

“Only if you want to give Willow a show.” Xander replied and noticed that Willow had started to blush slightly at the mention of Oz giving her a show. “Just lay down on the Slab and it will take it from there.”

Willow watched as her boyfriend climbed on top of the device and stretched himself out. She wasn’t sure what to expect, maybe mechanical arms appearing out of the device, bearing who knew what or hidden lasers that would scan Oz’s body.

Instead there was a low pitched hum and then an asexual voice.

“Scan complete. Do you wish to proceed?”

Willow was about to ask Xander what was happening when he raised his hand.

“Proceed.” He ordered. “Protocol Alpha.”

“Acknowledged.” The machine replied and the humming increased slightly for less than ten seconds. “Procedure complete.”

On the Slab Oz blinked and sat up. “That’s it?” He asked.

“Yep that’s it.” Xander said. “You’re lucky that this is a Slab and not a Tank otherwise you’d be floating in nannite soup for a week or more.”

Oz got off the Slab and stretched. “I don’t feel any different are you sure that it worked?”

“Yep!” Xander said, looking at a holographic display. “According to this,” He gestured to the light show in front of him. “Oz now has what’s known as a basic combat upgrade. Boosted immune system, reinforcement of his joints and tendons, faster reflexes and increased stamina and strength. Though we won’t know whether it affected his lycanthropy till next week.”

“Why next week?” Willow asked.

“Full moon.” Oz said, rotating his left shoulder that he had popped several years ago falling off his bike and was pleasantly surprised to find that the pain that he’d lived with ever since was gone.

Xander nodded. “So tonight Oz make sure that you have a decent meal. The nannites did most of the work but you’ll still need fuel to recover from the process.”

“Thanks man I appreciate it.” Oz said. What he didn’t tell Xander was that even though he felt better than he ever had in his life he could still sense the ‘Beast’ inside him, though it was less powerful and muted. He hoped that it meant that he wouldn’t turn into a monster three nights a month but if it didn’t the Hiberzine that Xander had given him would make sure that he didn’t hurt anyone.

Looking at his watch he realised the time. “Willow we’d better be heading back to school.”

Willow shook her head. “I’ll meet you back there Oz. I need to talk to Xander about something.”

Oz nodded and gave his girlfriend a quick kiss before heading for the door.

Alone in the building Willow bit her lip as she looked at her oldest friend.

“So Willow what do you want to talk about?” Xander asked.

Willow took a deep breath. What she was about to confess to Xander might end their friendship but she knew that she had to tell him.

“Xander there’s something very important that I have to tell you!”

tbc



Translations

Kote: Glory

Vode An: Brothers All

Dha Werda Verda: Rage of the Warriors of the Shadow

The ash of the Taung beats strong within the Mandalorians' heart.

We are the rage of The Warriors of the Shadow,

The first noble sons of Mandalore.

Let all those who stand before us light the night sky in flame.

Our vengeance burns brighter still.

The gauntlet of Mandalore strikes without mercy.

We are the rage of The Warriors of the Shadow,

The first noble sons of Mandalore.

Let all those who stand before us light the night sky in flame.

Our vengeance burns brighter still.

Brothers All

Glory!

One indomitable heart, Brothers all.

We, the wrath of Earth, Brothers all.

And glory, eternal glory,

We shall bear its weight together.

Forged like the saber in the fires of death, Brothers all.

One indomitable heart, Brothers all.

We, the wrath of Earth, Brothers all.

And...

Those who stand before us light the night sky in flame.

Our vengeance burns brighter still.

Every last traitorous soul shall kneel.

Those who stand before us light the night sky in flame.

Our vengeance burns brighter still.

Every last traitorous soul shall fall.

Forged like the saber in the fires of death, Brothers all!



Author's note: Vode An and Dha Werda Verda were written by Karen Traviss for her excellent 'Republic Commando' series so I don't own them either. Olbear
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