Strong-arming the competition
Disclaimer: I do not own any copyrighted material used to aide in the creation of this bit of fiction. This is produced simply for the entertainment of readers and the author.Strong-arming the Competition
“It hurts, doesn’t it Mr. Harris?” questioned a female voice from the back of the room.
“Huh?” Xander said intelligently as he looked over at her. She was an older woman with blonde hair. He didn’t recognize her.
“Being left behind,” elaborated the woman with a nod towards the two couples on the dance floor.
“Who are you, again?” questioned Xander. He didn’t think she was a vampire but that still left many other demonic options open.
“Margaret Walsh,” she answered. “One of their Professors.”
Great, Xander thought wryly, she was a teacher. That was worse than a demon. The name sounded familiar though, something about Riley maybe?
Some sort of recognition must have shown in his eyes because she elaborated, “Riley’s my assistant.”
That meant that she must be one of the heads of the Initiative. Why was she talking to him though? He had nothing to do with the Initiative and very little to do with Riley either. Come to think of it, he didn’t think that anyone besides Buffy had anything to do with the Initiative.
“What can I do for you, Professor?” he asked hesitantly. He knew she had to have a reason for approaching him. The question was what.
“The government is not unaware of your actions,” she said taking a seat right next to him.
“Actions?” he asked, trying to sound confused. He knew that thing with the rocket launcher would come back to haunt him.
“Your actions throughout the years, helping Ms. Summers.”
“Oh,” Xander said. “Those actions.”
“Yes,” she said looking distant. “They’ve been extraordinary to be honest. The government has known about certain things for far longer than they’d like to be common knowledge. Generally it was decided that as long as the world continued and our enemies did not attain a supernatural advantage, one wouldn’t be sought. You changed that.”
“What?” Xander asked shocked. “How?”
“You didn’t die.” She stated looking at him fiercely. “You’re not the first person to become aware of the world and go hunting. Generally their lifespans are even shorter than slayers.”
“That’s just because of Buffy though.” He stated, looking to his hero who was dancing with Riley.
“So you’re saying that you survived because of the slayer?” the professor said with a snort. “We’ve investigated the situation from multiple positions. The two of you working together should have resulted in shorter lifespans for the both of you.”
“There was other people that help Buffy too.” He stated, trying to establish the reason for their success. “Willow, Giles, Cordy, Ms. Calender, Oz, even Angel.”
“Ms. Rosenberg and Mr. Giles serve mainly as research assistants. Mr. Osbourne, Ms. Chase, Ms. Calendar were fringe at best. Most were more of a liability in combat more times than not.” The professor said dismissively. “The vampire served mostly as a distraction for the slayer. The majority of the time he was with her they were not working at optimum levels. Other times he was even less useful, merely relaying information he had learned from other sources.”
“They fought by her side when she needed!” Xander said fiercely, upset that anyone would discount the sacrifices that their friends had made.
“They did.” The professor said calmly. “The majority of the time however, they performed other tasks. You on the other hand, nearly constantly fought by her side.”
“What’s this about?” he asked suspiciously.
“An offer,” she answered simply.
“To help you.”
“The cost?” Xander said, distrust coloring his tone.
“It may not work and,” the Professor hesitated, as if unsure how to continue. “You may not survive.”
Believe it or not that actually made Xander feel better about the offer. The last few years, it had really become obvious that offers that sounded too good to be true weren’t true. He still wasn’t foolish enough to trust something like this though. “What do you get out of it?”
“Whether it works or not, we get a better understanding of it.”
“To be honest, even if we didn’t need you for this you would have probably been on the list for this procedure once we fine tuned it.”
“What? Why?” said a shocked Xander.
“Let’s just say your work is appreciated and leave it at that.”
“What exactly are we talking about?” said Xander wanting more information about what exactly was going on.
“An experimental procedure, it will increase your strength to unimaginable levels.”
“If you can do that, why not use it on your soldiers?”
“It’s against the rules to use soldiers for experimental procedures.”
Xander shot her an incredulous look.
“Have you ever heard the joke about volunteering in the military? A commanding officer asks a group of soldiers for volunteers and then orders 3 people to do it. We don’t want that. We don’t want any close to that. We want to make sure that anyone involved in this knows exactly what their getting into. Besides,” she added. “Not many score as high as you on the psychological evaluation.”
“Psychological evaluation?” said Xander, trying to think of any tests he had taken.
“To make sure that any potential advantages wouldn’t be abused.”
“I didn’t take one,” said Xander, realizing that he had never taken such a test.
“Your reactions in situations were monitored and evaluated.”
“The incident with the love spell was prominent.”
Xander looked away, ashamed. “That was for revenge.”
“For your revenge, you wanted to show the other person exactly how you felt? Believe it or not, that gave you more points than not taking advantage of the situation afterwards.”
“What’s the procedure actually do?” asked Xander, uncomfortable with the line of conversation.
“We’ll use cybernetic enhancements on your arms and upper body to increase your strength and speed.” She stated proudly.
“6 million dollar man?” asked Xander amazed.
“We prefer to think of it as Captain America with a bit of Iron Man,” admitted the professor with a grin. “To do this, you’ll have to be in the Initiative base. We have everything that you need.”
The professor slid a package across the table to him. “That contains identification for entering the Initiative base.”
The Professor stood up and started to leave as the song was begin winding down. The Professor paused before looking back.
“You don’t have to do this, but we think it’s safe and that it will help,” she looked him in the eye. “The choice is yours though.”
Xander pulled out the I.D. and took a look at who’d he’d be for the night. He supposed it was too much to hope for Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, or even Ethan Hawk but really this?
What kind of name was Jackson Briggs?---
“So whadya think?” asked a dark haired man.
“He’ll do it.” Answered Walsh, not the least bit surprised the man was waiting for her outside the Bronze.
“He’d better if you want to keep your funding,” the man threatened. “We need proof your operation works.”
By request – Thank you for the encouragement.
This one was fairly easy to think up. Entirely dialog though, let me know what you think. I added the last part to deepen the potential plot.