Xander and the Lying Bastard Chapter 4
Disclaimer: I’m neither Joss nor Larry and I don’t own BtVS or Known Space.
Author's Note: Congratulations to Clei and AnFan as they both guessed portions of the chapter before it was posted. Many thanks to my Beta Oxnate.
Once the memories settled down, Xander got up and stretched, “Well that was the kind of fun that’s not, as Buffy likes to say.” He frowned, “Hopefully she’s still Buffy inside.” He was glad he’d gone as a native of Earth because it meant his body was still the same, aside from looking adult. He was tempted to call everyone to the bridge and check to see how much they were affected but he figured he should check the sensors first. He’d set them to scan widely last night, he grinned to himself, before having amazing sex with a woman who looked just like an adult Cordelia Chase. Shaking off the pleasant memory he returned to the pilot’s chair and looked at the telltales. Seeing one blinking red he lost all trace of humor and started checking to see what danger was threatening this time. Slowly at first but with increasing confidence he checked all the many sensors and found it was the mass sensor and deep radar that tripped the alarm.
There was a ten mile wide asteroid on a collision course with Earth. It wasn’t going to hit for a long time but it was definitely going to hit. It should be dealt with before it got much closer. Especially since dealing with it after the astronomers on Earth found out about it would mean they’d become known to at least one government. That might start a panic. In fact he should go over the records collected from the planet to see if anyone noticed the ship leaving orbit. Hopefully the magic of Sunnydale syndrome had shielded their departure but he couldn’t be sure. He coaxed Nessus out of hiding to scan for mentions of the ship and was relieved when it found none.
“I should warn you that I only sampled transmissions in the clear,” Nessus said. “If you want to be really certain I’ll need time to break all the encryption methods and even then there are standalone systems that can’t be accessed from here. There also remains the possibility that the low tech I’m detecting is a facade and...”
Xander cut it off, “It’s no facade. The general tech level is twentieth century. I’m sure there are pockets of research that go past that and many of the poorer countries may have less but you won’t find anything that is even close to advanced as you are. You can start working on breaking encryption and listening for mentions of either us or the asteroid but first I need you to run simulations on how we can change its course so it will miss Earth using only what we have on board. I’ll get everyone thinking about it too. After we take care of the threat you can start spying to your electronic heart’s content, OK?”
“Yes, captain,” Nessus replied.
‘I’ve got to tell the others,’ Xander thought and walked to the intercom, “All hands, this is the captain speaking. Please meet me on the bridge. Something dangerous has come up and I’m looking for input on how to take care of it. That is all.”
He got five affirmative replies and then a private query from Cordelia. “Xander? Do you know where my costume’s gone? Or a way to get more clothes?”
Making sure he was no longer talking to the whole ship he replied, “If you are still in the same room there were two consoles. One for food and one for clothing, the costume is now armor and the A.I. took it for cleaning then stowed it in the hold.”
“Can you come help me work this thing?” she said. “I had to fight last night’s possession in the shower and I won but her memories are a bit jumbled just now.”
“I’ll come help if you promise not to hit me anymore,” Xander said with a slight smile.
“I already apologized for that, dweeb!” she replied. “Now come help me. I’d rather not show up naked to the meeting.”
Xander grinned, “Fun as that might be, I agree it would be too distracting so I’m on my way.”
He stepped off the transit disk and admired the view. She was facing the clothing console and tapping things at random. As he watched the machine produced a burnt orange poncho. She picked it up and looked at it in obvious distaste. As she turned to toss it in the recycling slot next to the console, Xander spoke, “If you tell me what you want I’ll show you how to produce it.”
“Makeup too?” she asked.
He nodded, “Sure.”
“Good,” she replied. She grinned, “Then I’ll pretend I didn’t notice you standing there watching my ass for a while before you said anything.”
Xander blushed and turned his eyes toward the console. She snickered and told him what she wanted. He used his memories of being Louis Wu to order exactly what she asked. When they got back to the bridge she was wearing jeans, low heeled shoes, and a fuzzy sweater along with understated makeup. The others were dressed a bit more haphazardly.
“How did you two manage to get normal clothes?” Willow said. She was in a bathrobe and flip-flops.
Buffy added, “Well as normal as Xander ever gets.” She was wearing what looked like a uniform. It was complete with web belt and an empty holster.
“Well I don’t know if I want to help you now,” Xander said. “Besides you look like you have it figured out, Buffy.”
Aura frowned and turned to Cordelia, “C? Can you help us?” She was wearing what looked like a white leotard and it was stretched extremely tight on her. “We both just grabbed the first thing the machine produced but you look like you got it working right.”
Harmony shrugged, “I can wait. I’d rather find out the reason Xander called us all here first.” She was wearing a white sundress with daffodils on it. It was long enough, but just barely and she’d have to sit very carefully in order not to flash everyone, but she seemed unconcerned by it.
Xander nodded surprised at sense coming from Harmony, “Good idea, Harm.” He sat down and started calling up an image of the asteroid. “I had two reasons to ask you to come. The first was to see if everyone was still themselves and the second was this.” He pointed to the asteroid, “I’m not sure why we became our costumes or why there are no other previously fictional ships around but that asteroid might be the reason. It’s heading for our planet and until this ship appeared we had nothing that could stop it.”
“You don’t think it happened because Buffy is the slayer?” Willow said. She frowned, a higher power taking an active role in their lives was not a good thing in her mind.
Xander replied, “If it was wouldn’t she be the captain then?” He noticed Harmony and Aura look confused but not shocked and wonder what Cordelia had told them about the things that go bump in the night.
Buffy shook her head, “No. If any powers that be were taking my wishes into consideration I wouldn’t be the captain. You know me, I’m action girl. Point me at the monster and I’ll go slay it but until then I’d rather be out partying or shopping. I don’t get involved in the decision making until things are at the tactical level. Where and when to do it, and with what. Why and who I’m happy to leave to someone else. You seem to be doing a good job as captain so you can keep it.”
Xander blinked at that and looked at Willow but was again surprised when Harmony spoke, “That’s why you became the Security Officer. Willow as Science Officer is easy to see. Aura is Cargo Officer because she loves getting bargains and is all about haggling whenever possible. Xander is our captain because of his leadership abilities as well as the ability to motivate and get along with all of us. It’s normally hidden but it shows through if you know how to look or see him in an emergency. Our beloved cheer captain is First Officer because she has the ability and because she has had the hots for Xander since he saved her life”
Cordelia stood up and shouted, “I have not!” Only Xander believed her though.
Aura looked at her friend, “I’ve always known you are way brighter than you act but why show off now?”
“Well part of it is that is harder to act dumb with all the new memories in my head of being a sensor expert and xenoanthropologist,” Harmony said. “But mostly it’s because if some higher power did pick me to save Earth then its time I stopped trying to hide my light under a bushel just to fit in with the popular kids.” She kissed Aura, “As long as I’m coming out about things should I mention anything else, dear?”
Aura blushed, “I suppose that’s fair.” Then she grinned, “What about you two? Anything to declare Willow? How about you Buffy? You two were clearly a couple last night and if we were still ourselves just from a different perspective then that means something.”
Willow blushed and stammered and Buffy got angry, “No it doesn’t mean anything!”
Cordelia nodded, “Right! Let’s find out about the asteroid and deal with that. Not gossiping about who likes whom.”
Xander nodded, “I have an idea that I think will work and the A.I. agreed it should but there are no guarantees. If anyone would rather not take the chance I can put them down at the city limits and then the rest of us can go deal with the asteroid.” He looked around, “Any takers?”
He got none and soon they were all on their way toward the asteroid. Unnoticed by them a sensor the Asgard left behind as a favor to the SGC to alert them to Goa'uld attacks early has been following their progress. It is just recording for now but soon it will make a transmission.