Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Girl Genius, DC Comics or XCOM Enemy Unknown.
...No! We haven't been drinking. I'm telling you, this guy fell from the sky and crashed into my truck. What? Fine, send the cops too. If they get here and there isn't a naked dude passed out in the middle of a crater, they can arrest me. Just send the damn ambulance already. Yes, I'll stay on the line, just hurry up......Jesus! Half of this kids bones are broken. Quick, let's get him on the......massive trauma, multiple fractures, signs of internal bleeding......what a mess. We need more units of blood......I know it's not possible but I'm telling you, his bone fractures are repairing themselves. Look at these x-rays. This set was taken when he was admitted and this set was taken ten minutes ago. Seventy two percent of his fractures are gone! If I hadn't seen them I would say these bones had never been broken! I don't......muscle tissue and even his nervous system is repairing itself! At this rate he will be good as new in an hour. This is not normal, not even close. We need to call someone, we need......no fractures and no soft tissue damage. Hell, the kid doesn't even have a scar to show he was......and I don't care who you are! This boy is my patient and you are not taking him any were......is your last warning doctor. This is a matter of national security. If you interfere, you will find yourself under arrest and facing criminal charges......get him in the helicopter. This boy should prove to be an interesting addition to the program......he's coming around! I told you to keep him sedated until we get there......finger prints and dental records. Run his picture through the facial recognition software and check every database. I want to know who... oh for crying out loud! He's awake. Sedate him and up the damn dosage again...
Xander woke up feeling nauseous. His body was numb. He looked around trying to figure out where he was but the world was dark, blurred and muted. From what little he could make out, he was in a hospital but that felt wrong. It was too quiet. No voices, no people moving around. In fact, apart from a steady beeping coming from a machine to his left, there wasn't a single sound. The bed he was laying in certainly looked like it belonged in a hospital and the room had a cold, sterile feel to it. Turning his head to the side, Xander saw that he was in a large, rectangular room full of beds.
'Empty beds. What kind of hospital has that many empty beds.'
A sound to his right drew his attention. There was a blurry figure moving. Slowly his vision began to focus and the figure became one of two men, speaking softly into a radio. 'How did I miss them?'
As his vision cleared up, Xander did a quick check of the two. They were standing against the wall facing him, with a door between them. 'Security guards?' They're backs were straight, shoulders back and eyes sharp. 'Soldiers.'
The room was dark, it was hard to see what they were wearing, but it was some kind of uniform. They noticed his interest and answered by adjusting something hanging from their shoulders. 'Assault rifles? Ah, crap.'
He tried to sit up only to become aware of the heavy leather straps holding his wrists and ankles to the bed frame. There was something constricting his neck, but he could still move his head.
Quickly and trying to ignore the sound of his heart thumping in his hears, Xander went over his recent memories hoping to figure out what the hell was going on.
'Halloween! We were taking a bunch of brats, already hyped up on sugar, trick or treating. But how did I get from the streets of Sunnydale to whatever this place is?'
As he was racking his brain, Xander heard foot steps echoing down a hallway.
'We met up at Buffy's house, walked to school, got the kids and went trick or treating. Everything was fine.'
The foot steps were getting closer.
'Then something happened. I felt weak for a minute, thought I was going to pass out.'
The door opened and a bald man with a large scar on his face walked into the room, pausing to confer with the guards.
'Then something changed and I felt good. Hell I felt great!'
The bald man approached his bed and began to speak. His subconscious mind pointed out that he should pay attention, however both it and Scarface were ignored.
'I felt like I knew everything and could do anything. There was power coursing through my veins like liquid fire!
The bald man was asking questions and by the look on his face, he did not appreciate being ignored. Xander's subconscious was screaming at him to focus on the here and now, but it was a wasted effort.
'Then it was like a giant hand grabbed me in a grip hard enough to turn coal into diamond and threw me like a football.'
The man his mind had named Scarface was now standing right by Xander's bed side, speaking in what under normal circumstances would be a very threatening and intimidating manner, but Xander did not even hear the questions, his brain trying to make sense of what brought him here.
'It felt like I was crashing head first through walls. In the space between the walls I saw...'
That was as far as he got before his body decided enough was enough. His body had been through a series of shocks culminating in crashing into the desert at terminal velocity, followed by major surgery and being injected with enough sedatives to kill an elephant.
As Xander leaned his head over the side of the bed he had just enough time to think 'Scarface has some really shiny shoes' before he threw up on them.
There was yelling, pain in his neck and everything went dark.
"Rise and shine."
Xander rolled over and mumbled,"Uh, don't wanna go to school."
"Come on kid, wake up."
Xander's eyes flew open. 'That's not my father's voice!' A tall man with short dark hair was standing by his bed with an amused look on his face.
"So... not a dream?" Xander asked.
"I am afraid not young man," said a woman in a lab coat walking in the room. She was in her mid-thirties, with light brown hair in a pony tail. She had a slim figure that, judging from the bags under her eyes and a general air of exhaustion, was a result of too many skipped meals and not enough sleep.
"My name is Doctor Eva Vahlen, I am the head of the Science Department here... and you are?" She asked raising an eyebrow.
"I am delighted to meet you, Doctor Vahlen," said Xander. "That's a lovely accent you got there."
"Right," said the good Doctor when it became clear he was not going to introduce himself. "This is Captain James Bradford, the Chief of Security here," she said nodding at the tall man standing on the other side of his bed.
"Hey, nice sweater," Xander said. Bradford just looked at him. "Riiiight," Xander drawled, looking back to the doctor. "So, where exactly is here?"
"We will get to that in a minute," Dr. Vahlen said. "Tell me, how are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, apart from not knowing where I am," he said with a frown.
"Very well," the Doctor sighed. "Captain, I'm sure you have duties that require your attention. Oh, and the restraints will no longer be necessary."
The Captain looked at her and asked. "Are you sure, Doctor?"
"Quite sure, thank you," replied Dr. Vahlen.
"Two of my men are right outside the door if you need them," said Captain Bradford, walking away after giving Xander his best -stay out of trouble- look.
Dr. Vahlen leaned on the bed next to Xander's, as he rubbed his wrists and looked at him for a moment before she began to speak. "You are in a government facility. You were brought here last night, after we intercepted a strange 911 call. According to the caller, someone had fallen from the sky and crashed into his truck." Dr. Vahlen stopped for a moment, waiting for a reaction to that information. When none came, she continued. "We followed up on it and confirmed that an ambulance had been dispatched, after the caller spent ten minutes assuring the 911 operator that he was not making a prank call. Upon arriving at the scene the paramedics, accompanied by the police, discovered that there was in fact a 'naked dude passed out in the middle of a crater' as the 911 caller claimed.
Dr. Vahlen stopped again, waiting for a reaction, only to see Xander make a -go on- gesture.
"The paramedics took him to the closest hospital, no doubt expecting him to die on the way. You would expect someone that crashed into the ground with enough force to make a large crater upon impact, to be dead. However, by the time we arrived at the hospital, he was alive and well. In fact, he did not have a mark on his body."
"Doctor, your saying.. I think I would remember something like that," he said.
"You really don't remember? Fascinating," Dr. Vahlen mused.
'Maybe for you, I'm trying not to freak out.' Xander ran his hands through his hair and asked. "So, happens now?"
"Well, first we run some tests and-"
Dr. Vahlen blinked a couple of times and asked. "Excuse me?"
"I said no." Dr. Vahlen began to say something but Xander interrupted her. "While I was... sleeping, you took blood samples, performed every test you could. From the bags under your eyes, I would say you've been working all night."
The Doctor frowned. "What's your point?"
"My point? Simple, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. You did all the tests you could think of but from your questions and frustrated tone of voice you still don't know who I am, where I come from or how I survived the crash. Oh, I'm sure you have more tests to run, but you need my cooperation. However, I have no intention of cooperating with my kidnappers."
"We are hardly kidnappers!" Dr. Vahlen protested.
"Oh, so I can just walk away? The guards outside will just step aside?" Xander asked while touching the collar around his neck. Dr. Vahlen looked away. "Yeah, didn't think so."
"Very well," she said. "I will notify Director Stone of your decision. I hope you do not come to regret it."
As Dr. Vahlen made her way to the door, Xander asked. "This Director Stone, is he the boss around here?"
"Well yes, I suppose you could put it that way," the Doctor replied. "Why do you ask?"
"Oh, no reason. He wouldn't happen to be bald with a big scar on his face, would he?"
"Why yes, he would," Dr. Vahlen said with a smile that turned into a smirk as she walked out the door. "And until recently he had a pair of beautiful, handcrafted, Italian leather shoes."
"Excuse me? Could you repeat that, Doctor? I don't think I heard you."
It was at times like these that Eva Vahlen was reminded of just how dangerous this man really was. To the best of her recollection, Director Stone had never raised his voice to anyone. He always spoke in a calm, low tone of voice. Yet, he could not have been more intimidating if he was screaming in her face.
"He said, he refuses to cooperate with his kidnappers. His words, not mine," she hastily added.
The Director frowned, just for a moment, then completely ignored her.
Eva Vahlen found that being ignored by this man was almost as bad as having his attention. She resisted the urge to hop from one foot to the other, like a child waiting for permission from the teacher to go to the bathroom.
She almost jumped when he spoke. "Thank you Doctor, you may go."
"Right," she said forcing herself to walk, not run, out of the office.
The moment the door to the office closed, Director Stone pressed a button on his desk. "Captain Bradford, have M1 and M2 escorted to my office.
[Yes sir], replied the Captain over the intercom.
Xander was getting dressed. Some time after Dr. Vahlen left the Infirmary, the soldiers outside the door showed him to a shower room big enough for two dozen people and pointed him to a large closet containing everything, from towels to bath gel. After a long, hot shower he found a pile of clothes on a bench. They were his size, obviously left there for him. A pair of running shoes, black sweatpants, white t-shirt, boxers and socks.
'A definite improvement over the drafty hospital gown, though the fact that these people know my size is just another creepy thing to add to the list.'
"Hey kid, you done in there?" Asked one of the soldiers.
"Yeah," said Xander, walking to the door. "So, now what?"
"Breakfast," said the other soldier.
As they walked down the concrete and metal corridors, they passed several people and Xander began to get an idea of the size of the facility. It was much larger than he thought. There were armed soldiers, metal doors and surveillance cameras everywhere he looked. 'How am I going to get out of here?'
"So, I didn't catch your name," said one of the soldiers.
Xander wanted to crack a sarcastic joke about the guys subtlety, or lack thereof, but the fact that he was carrying the largest assault rifle Xander had ever seen helped him resist the urge.
"Probably because I didn't throw it," replied Xander.
He was very proud of his restrain.
When they finally arrived, Xander expected to find a large cafeteria full of people having breakfast. He was half right. Like everything else around here, the cafeteria was huge but instead of being full Xander was surprised to find only five people.
The metal door slammed shut behind him and Xander started to look for something to eat while checking out the new faces.
There were three guys and two girls. They were all teenagers and they were all dressed pretty much like him. The first one to draw his attention was a blond girl, sitting at a table and doing her nails. Not because she was blond or doing her nails, but because regardless of whatever else was going on with him, he was a teenage boy and she was a hot girl.
'She reminds me of the cheerleaders back home, though judging by the vacant expression on her face she has more in common with Harmony Kendall than Cordelia Chase.'
Sitting on the next table was a lanky guy, trying stare at the blonds legs without being obvious about it. From the glares the 'cheerleader' was throwing his way, it was safe to say he was failing.
Sitting at a table in the far corner was the other girl, picking at her food. She had shoulder length black hair, an apathetic look on her face and the largest eyes he had seen outside of an Anime.
Last, but certainly not least, were the two other guys. The first was a tall black guy built like a NFL linebacker on steroids, the second was a short -compared to the first- white guy with an athletic built. Both had shaved heads. They were sitting at the same table, speaking in low tones and looking at him the same way some of the football players back home looked at the smaller kids before shoving them in a locker or something.
Xander named them Big Douchebag and Little Douchebag.
Spotting a kind of buffet against the left wall, Xander made his way to it. Picking up a plastic tray, he started piling food on it. 'Caffeine, I need my caffeine fix. Where's the Coke? Oh, come on! They only have Pepsi? I knew these people were evil.'
Carrying his tray and sipping his Pepsi, Xander was making his way to an empty table when he heard a girlish scream. Turning his head, Xander saw the lanky guy trying to hold on to his chair. His floating chair.
As Xander watched, the chair bucked in the air like a wild horse and the guy fell, landing on his ass. The blond girl laughed, waved her hand and the chair danced through the air.
"Hey, new guy!"
Xander was so distracted he missed the Douchebag Brothers approaching. 'Oh, this won't end well.'
"We hear you think you're hot shit, that you're special," Little Douchebag said.
"What, you too good for us? You think you better than us?" Asked Big Douchebag, knocking Xander's tray to the floor and getting in his face. "Well, you better than us?"
Xander took a sip of his Pepsi... and spat it in Big Douchebag's face. As he reeled back in shock, Xander cupped his hands and slammed them in the big guys hears as hard as he could. Out of balance, the big guy stumbled forward and Xander grabbed his arm. With a simple application of practical physics, Big Douchebag went flying across the room and through the wall.
Looking over his shoulder, Xander saw Little Douchebag staring at the hole in the wall, clearly shocked at the unexpected turn of events. Before shock could turn to anger, Xander swung a back fist to Little Douchebag's jaw. The feel of bone breaking against his knuckles, followed by the distinct sound of a skull bouncing of the floor told Xander that Little Douchebag wouldn't be getting up any time soon.
"Yes, I am," said Xander glaring at a surveillance camera, before a now familiar pain in his neck pulled him down, to darkness.
In his office, after watching a surprising display of skill from his latest recruit, Director Stone lifted his finger from the button that activated the stun collar.
'Not exactly what I had in mind when I ordered M1 and M2... to introduce themselves,' he considered while reviewing the fight.
"You are mine now, even if I have to break you first," he said looking at the defiant glare on the monitor.
When Xander regained consciousness he was being dragged by his arms, the heels of his shoes scraping on the floor. He kept his eyes closed and his breathing steady. The last time they used the collar to knock him out,on his first night here, he had stayed under for at least a couple of hours. This time, judging by the fact that he was still being dragged away, he had stayed under for just a few minutes. His body was developing a resistance.
Being careful not to give any signs that he was awake Xander risked opening his eyes for a moment, just enough to see through his eyelids. He was in a concrete corridor with nothing of note. Closing his eyes Xander waited for some clue as to where they were taking him.
After a few minutes and a couple of turns down the corridor, they stopped. "Prisoner transfer," said one of the soldiers that had been escorting him around the place. With a sound of metal sliding on metal, a door opened. The soldiers dragged him through the doorway and Xander waited a few seconds for whoever was inside the room to look at him and get back to whatever they were doing before risking opening his eyes again. When he did, Xander saw a small room-compared to most in this place- with two men sitting in front of two computer terminals, facing several monitors, each showing a different rooms, corridors and staircases.
'A security room,' Xander determined before closing his eyes.
Someone approached them, by the sound of the boots it was another soldier. "We were expecting you, the cell is ready."
Xander's heart jumped at the thought of these people locking him in a cell and throwing away the key. He barely resisted the impulse to jump to his feet and fight his way out.
'This isn't working.'
The soldiers resumed dragging him out of the room and down another corridor, stopped at another door and dropped him on the cold floor of what he assumed were his new accommodations.
'I can't go on like this.'
The sound of his cell door locking sealed the deal.
'I can't keep lying to myself. I can't keep pretending this is just a bad dream I'm going to wake up from. I can't keep pretending I don't know what happened to me on that damn Halloween night. I can't keep pretending I'm still the same person.'
'Alexander Lavelle Harris is dead.'
'I am Alexander Wulfenbach Heterodyne, son of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach and Agatha Heterodyne.'
'I am a Heterodyne Spark and every single one of these bastards will kneel before me.'
Director Stone walked down the corridor with purpose, his long legs propelling him fast enough to almost force Dr. Vahlen to run in order to keep up. Twenty four hours had passed since the first stage of his plan to break in the new recruit. Now it was time for the second stage, however what that would entail was not up to him. He would offer the boy two options. If the boy chose the first option, he would be handed over to Dr. Vahlen. If he chose the second option, well that's what the squad of six heavily armed soldiers following him were for.
Entering the security room adjacent to the detention cells he walked up to his Chief of Security and asked. "Captain Bradford, did he give you any trouble?"
"No sir," answered Bradford, snapping a salute. "He woke up a few hours ago and has just been sitting there. He hasn't said a word or moved an inch, if he wasn't breathing I would think he was dead."
Director Stone turned his gaze to the monitors and saw the boy sitting crossed leg on the floor with a serene look on his face. After a day locked in a small, dark, cold cell he expected anger or fear. Instead the boy looked like he didn't have a care in the world. Frowning, he made his way to the cell.
Stopping a few steps from the cell door he nodded to the squad. Two men took positions by either side of the cell and trained their shotguns at the door. Two men with assault rifles moved in behind them and the last two, with light machine guns, stood back ready to cover them.
"Is all this really necessary?" Dr. Vahlen asked.
Director Stone answered her with a look, turned to the squad and said, "Open it."
He half expected the boy to make a break for it.
He walked between his men and stood in the doorway. "We have a matter to discuss, boy."
"Yes, I suppose we do," said the boy.
"We haven't been formally introduced, I'm Director Stone and I'm going to give you a choice. This is a government facility dedicated to researching the emergence of the meta gene and devising ways to deal with the threat to national security posed by individuals with the gene, the so called metahumans. We have several metahumans here, you've met them yesterday, who help us achieve both goals. The choice I'm giving you is simple. You can help us with both goals or just one," he said.
"Define help," said the boy.
"You can cooperate with our scientists, undergo all the tests they want to run or we can kill you are see what we can learn from your corpse," he said.
"What kind of tests, exactly?" Asked the boy.
Before he could reply Dr. Vahlen poked her head in the cell. "Nothing invasive I assure you, just a combination of cognitive and physical tests," she said, trying to defuse the situation. He was about to reprimand her when the boy spoke.
"Coke," he said.
"I'm sorry, what did you say," Dr. Vahlen asked.
"If you want my help I'm going to need some things, like Coke," the boy said.
"Cocaine?" Dr. Vahlen asked in a horrified tone.
The boy looked at her like she was an idiot and said. "No, Coke. As in, Coke is so much better than Pepsi it's not even funny."
"Oh, right! I'm sure that can be arranged," she said, surprised.
"And pastries, I have a sweet tooth," he said. "I trust my accommodations will be better?"
He looked at the boy for a long time, searching for signs of deception, but found none. "You will have all the junk food you can eat and your own room. As long as you behave and do as you are told you will have everything you need. But if you try to be clever, you and I are going to have a problem. Understood?"
"Trust me, I understand you perfectly," said the boy.
Ignoring the chill that went up his spine at those words, he turned to leave the cell. "By the way, what is your name boy?"
"When does this collar come off?" the boy asked.
"When I say so," he said, frowning.
"Alright," said the boy. "The day this collar comes off I will tell you my name."
He considered forcing the issue but in the end it wasn't worth it. The boys name was irrelevant. "These men will show you to your room. Get some rest boy, you will have a long day tomorrow."
Director Stone walked away, putting the boy out of his mind and turning his thoughts to other matters that required his attention.
If he had looked back he might have seen the boy's face twist into a violent snarl and look at him with a glint of madness in his eyes.
It was a look the enemies of the Heterodyne family had learned to fear.