Xander and the Lying Bastard
Disclaimer: Same as previous chapters.
Author's Note: Many thanks to my BetA, Oxnate.
“Let’s go save save the planet,” Xander said. He smiled, “Just like old times in a way, huh guys?”
“Yes,” Buffy said. “But with less ickiness and clothing damage, I hope.”
Cordelia nodded, “I’m hoping for that too. I know saving the city or the planet is more important but losing outfits before I get full use out of them is one of the main drawbacks of knowing you, Buffy.”
Buffy snorted, “You should try being me.” She looked around then added quickly, “Only not really in case any cosmic powers are still listening.”
Cordelia took Aura back to her room to get her something else to wear while the others remained on the bridge.
The ship’s extremely fast reactionless drive allowed them to reach the asteroid very quickly.
“The reactionless drive on the ship is far better than any of the ones General Products ever sold humanity,” Xander said. “Do you think this is a prototype they stuck us with so we could beta test it unwillingly or have they just been keeping the good stuff to themselves previously?”
“Maybe both,” Harmony replied. “Insufficient data to speculate. At least it works and we have the fusion drive as a backup.” She continued, “We’re approaching optimum scanning distance from the asteroid, Captain. Should I open the pods and free the sensors?”
“Let me slow to a halt first,” he replied and did that. “I’m particularly interested in the chemical composition near the surface.”
“I’ll send the spectrographic analysis and deep radar to your screen as it comes in, Captain,” she replied.
He was still a bit weirded out by her but this new Harmony was certainly an improvement over the old one. He looked over to Buffy, “Anything to worry about in the vicinity, Security Officer?”
“Nothing, Captain,” Buffy said. Her scans had missed the Asgard sensor due to its small size, distance, and active stealth.
Once Xander looked at the composition of the asteroid he smiled, “I was hoping for that. If we use the reactionless drive to hold us motionless relative to the asteroid. Then we can use the fusion drive to start this pocket of gases burning and effectively turn this thing into a rocket firing sideways.”
Willow grinned, “Brilliant Xan! Let me just do the math and make sure it will be enough thrust.” She worked on her console for five or so minutes then leaned back and relaxed, “It should be more than enough thrust to make it miss Earth entirely! We just need to drill right here.”
“Drill?” Xander asked.
“Well, yeah. Otherwise, well, have you ever seen a Ground Flower on the 4th of July? They’re a type of firework where the burning gases make the thing just spin around and around on the ground. The sparks kinda make a flower pattern, hence the name.”
“What does that have to do with the asteroid?” Xander asked.
“Well, we’re trying to turn this thing into a rocket and have it push itself away from Earth. But if we don't drill a hole down to the gas pocket, we could create a… sky flower. It’ll burn but it will just spin in space and not really go anywhere. Or it’ll just explode.”
“I’m not liking this ‘explode’ idea.” the AI piped up. “Let’s not do that one.”
“Pft.” Willow waved her hand away. “Wouldn’t even scratch your paint, Nessy. But it would also leave a hefty chunk of rock behind. My numbers say it would only decrease the chance of hitting Earth by 50%. If we drill this right, then it’s guaranteed.
“Alright,” Xander said. “One planet rescue coming up.” He keyed the ship’s intercom, “Attention all hands. We are about to execute Plan A. There should be no effects inside the ship but be ready for anything just in case. That is all.”
Hearing no response he turned to Harmony, “Retract all sensors into their pods then deploy a probe with a disintegrator attached to do the drilling.”
“Aye, Captain,” she replied.
Once that was done he moved the ship to hover over the right spot on the asteroid and anchored them there with the reactionless drive. Buffy maneuvered the probe over the spot Harmony marked with a laser spot and turned it on.
Once she reached the required depth she returned the probe to the Midas. Then Xander turned the laser to full power and used it to heat the gas pocket until it boiled and started to escape through the tunnel Buffy had made.
Xander flipped the ship over until it was pointing away from the asteroid then turned on the fusion drive and the red hot exhaust flames poured out and over the frozen surface of the asteroid. The gases escaping the freshly drilled hole ignited and started producing thrust. He turned off the fusion drive and moved away on the faster reactionless drive. He opened the intercom again, “All hands hear this! The plan was successful, the asteroid is now providing its own thrust and is slowly moving into a new path that will miss Earth entirely. “Congratulations, we just saved the world!
“There will be snacks in the cafeteria to celebrate. That is all.”
He grinned and got out of his seat, “Come on! I think I can get the food machine to make pizza.”
The others followed him to the cafeteria and soon Cordelia and Aura joined them. Aura was now wearing a similar outfit to Cordelia. “You want to be next, Harm?” Cordelia asked.
“Thanks but I’m good,” she replied. “Aura can show me what you showed her later if I need it but I think I’ve got most of the other me’s memories sorted so it shouldn’t be much trouble for me.”
While the Scoobies and Cordettes were celebrating another briefing was occurring under Cheyenne Mountain in Stargate Command.
General Hammond said, “Alright Major Carter we’re all here and the projector is set up, what’s been going on out in space?”
Samantha Carter stood and nodded to an airman who dimmed the lights, “Well sir, this image,” she flashed a picture of an icy ball of rock, “is an asteroid that no one paid much attention to until recently. It is ten miles wide and most of the ice on is so dirty that it doesn’t reflect much sunlight making it hard to see even with a good telescope. What changed is that suddenly this happened.” The next image was the same rock with what looked like a flame coming from the side.
Everyone looked at her and Gen. Hammond asked, “Do we know what happened and better yet why it happened?”
She smiled, “Yes sir we do. A while back the Asgard left a stealthed sensor in the outer system to alert them should anyone attempt to break the treaty. However because they like us they gave us, well me, the codes to activate it and initiate downloads from it. When I heard about this from one of my astronomy friends last night I started the download. After looking through it I found two remarkable things.”
“Well, don’t keep us in suspense, Carter,” Colonel Jack O’Neill said. “What are they?”
She said, “First that asteroid had been on a collision course for Earth and because of its size it would have been difficult to make it miss us unless we spotted it pretty soon and that would have been unlikely. It won’t hit now because that flame you see? That’s a large pocket of flammable gases that are thrusting it off course. According to the data from the sensor and my calculations it should now miss us by a comfortable margin.”
“So somebody saved us,” Hammond said.
“Yes sir,” she replied. “And the sensor got video of them in action.” She started a video image of a ship shaped like a triangle with a mostly transparent cylinder in the center and wide wings on either side filling out the triangle shape.
The ship flashed up too fast for the eye to track then stopped dead. Pods all over the craft opened and things poked out. Sam started talking again, “The ship was moving at great speed with no detectable exhaust and then it slowed to a stop without a turnover. That’s one serious propulsion system and if the inhabitants are even remotely like us they must have some sort of inertial compensator.”
Daniel nodded, “Otherwise they be turned to jam every time they stopped or started.”
Sam nodded, “Right. Those things coming out of the pods are probably sensors of some kind. The Asgard sensor detected all sorts of scans coming from it, including some sort of neutrino scan.” She sped up the video and then started it playing again as the sensors were retracted and the pods closed, “After some minutes they retract their sensors and move to a spot over the asteroid and go motionless relative to it.”
The video showed the gas jet starting to escape then the ship flipping over so the fusion exhaust can ignite the gases, “The Asgard sensor wasn’t in place to see what happened, but it looks like they drilled a tube to a gas pocket and ignited it. They then held position until it was burning on it its own, then left as fast as they came.”
“They left the solar system?” Jack asked.
“No,” Sam replied. “They’re still here. Using the Asgard sensor I tracked them to a crater on the far side of the moon. Interestingly enough they don’t show up on anything else. And I’ve looked, sir.”
Jack whistled, “I bet you have. So we have a bunch of good Samaritans hanging around and keeping their good deed under wraps. Any ideas who they might be?” He looked at Teal’c.
Teal’c said, “I have never seen or heard of such a ship among the Goa’uld.”
Sam said, “I’ve sent this to both the Asgard and the Tok’Ra to see if they recognize it. Neither has responded yet but it hasn’t been long.”
Daniel said, “I think I saw writing of some sort on the ship but I can’t be sure. Can you blow up the picture a bit larger? The first one when they’d just appeared?”
“I think so, Daniel,” she replied. When magnified the image definitely had some sort of writing on it.
“It looks almost like an Earth language but its none I’m familiar with,” Daniel said. “Could it be that one of the groups of Terrans displaced by the Goa’uld, or someone else, has managed to create this and find their way back to Earth?”
They others thought about that and eventually Jack said, “Its possible, I guess, and I can see them saving us if they did find us but wouldn’t they say something if that was the case? Y’know, something like 'Hi! We’re your cousins from another planet. Want some big honking space guns?”
"That might actually be why they haven't," Daniel said. "They might be worried about cultural interference." He pushed his glasses higher, "We have plenty of examples in our history of what happens when a high tech culture meets a much lower one, and it is rarely good."
Jack said, "I dunno Daniel. It's not like we're savages or anything. We've met several superior races now and we're okay."
Daniel nodded, "I think we could handle it too. At least if we did it through Stargate Command. But they don't know that."
Sam started nodding, "So if we managed to convince them we could handle it they might trade with us."
Hammond said, "Do we know if they were just passing through and spotted us or if its possible they've been here awhile watching over us?"
"I think its pretty clear they were just passing through sir," Carter replied. "That ship is a freighter with cargo on board. It was originally bound for somewhere else and the trip was either paused or canceled entirely by their discovery of us."
"Okay Carter," Jack said. "I'll bite. How can we convince them?"
"Well I'm sure if they knew we've spotted them and have traded with other planets before they'd at least talk to us," she said. "I'm not sure if we'll get any of their current cargo but if we have stuff they want I'm sure they'll be back to trade with us even if they don't sell us anything on this trip."
"And how can we tell them that?" Jack asked.
She grinned, "Well we can either use the Asgard sensor to target a more normal communication from one of the NASA probes on Mars or in the asteroid belt. Or we can use the Asgard probe itself. Although that might allow them to finally spot it."
"Well we don't want them to do that," the general said. "Not only do we want to keep that a secret but the Asgard might become annoyed and stop allowing us to use their equipment as freely."
"Yes sir," Sam said. "I'll use a normal probe for the contact." She looked over at Daniel, "Want to help me construct the hello?"
Daniel smiled, "Sure! It should be interesting and if they answer back, that would be fascinating. I wonder if I'll recognize any part of their spoken language."