Large PrintHandheldAudioRating
using
 paypal
Twisting The Hellmouth Crossing Over Awards - Results
Rules for Challenges

Oh There You Are!

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking
Story

This story is No. 5 in the series "Prometheus-Verse". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: PVerse 05 - Part of the Prometheus-Verse (Tentative Title) series of stories, Comes after Military Action.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Trek > Multiple SeriesLucifaelFR18150,046146,96522 May 0422 May 04Yes
TITLE: Oh There You Are!

AUTHOR: Siege (siege1975@yahoo.co.uk)

WEBSITE: http://prometheus91.tripod.com

DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere just let me know 'K

DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS related belong to Joss Wheadon and M.E. Star trek and all that belong to someone else, not me.

Big Sigh.

SUMMARY: Part of the Prometheus-Verse (Tentative Title) series of stories, Comes after Military Action.

FEEDBACK: Please Do, and if you check My Website you will find "The Wall". I am trying to put everyone who gives me Feedback

on "The Wall" to show that I read it and Thank you :-)

KEYWORDS: BtVS, Star Trek TNG, Voyager, DS9

CATEGORY: Adventure/Crossover

RATING: R

BETA READ: Merlin The Enchanter.

AUTHORS NOTES: N/A





CHAPTER 01

Marseille Space Port

Back in the Twenty First century Xander had been to airports. They tended to be grubby, noisy fraught, aggravating and generally unpleasant. Now in the Twenty Fifth, it was a somewhat different matter.

There were still various people milling around waiting for arrivals or there were those who were seeing off the departures. Unlike the 21st century there were now a plethora of races doing the waiting and watching of the arrival boards. There was no horrible piped music, for which Xander was eternally grateful. There were small shows going on around the place, there was almost a carnival feel to it. Xander decided that was the big difference between the two centuries, the 21st had been about waiting bored with no hope of catching a flight or anything else on time, the 25th was about looking forward to the arrivals, late or not. Humans had grown up a lot since his time. As an offshoot of that so had Xander, he'd matured in both his outlook and responsibility. He loved the more optimistic view of 25th century man, woman, Trill, Vulcan, Klingon, Bajorian, it didn't matter the race, there was a palatable feeling of optimism in the air. He just hoped what was coming wouldn't make this disappear.

The other side had been making a move, after Caltair III the enemy had gone quiet for nearly a month, but the shipping lanes were a mess. The Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h demon had been making its presence known in the most devastating way's possible. Three ships lost, two freight and one passenger liner were snacks for the beast. Starfleet had taken up patrolling the shipping lanes, thanks mostly to Xander's information on the beast; he'd managed to find some information on flight patterns in a dusty tome from the watchers archive. That information had prompted the fleet to change the shipping lanes to try to stay out of the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h's way. So far, it had worked. The Prometheus herself had been patrolling those lanes from word go, thanks to Janeway's foresight. Now she was on her way home, with a passenger that he had made a personal promise to.

Her arrival was visible almost before she was; dressed in command red her hair down around her shoulders and a spring in her step, Dee was cutting a swathe through the crowds. Her beauty captured humans and other like-minded races as she strolled through the arrival gates with her group. The Prometheus had stopped off for a shore leave; as such her command crew was able to stand down. So she, Cap, Olaria and even Treaze had gone down to earth. She was due to meet Xander who had been informed of where and when they would be touching down, despite the usual secrecy that would surround that.

Xander himself was dressed as was quickly becoming the norm for him, long black jacket, slacks, and boots; the only nod to his fleet status was a Communicator pined to his jacket. He spotted Dee and a smile appeared on his watchful countenance. He quickly made his way up to the group and smiled at them all, his eyes however were glued to Dee's.

"Lieutenant Harris, do you EVER bother wearing uniform?" Cap asked with a smirk.

"Not lately Cap," Xander replied glancing at the dark haired man, "How are you?" he looked back to the object of his interest and looked into her deep eyes and smiled into them. She returned the smile her tongue flicking out to wet her lips. Xander found its path suddenly fascinating and had the sudden urge to follow her example.

"We're good thanks, just routine boring stuff for the last month, looking forward to getting a little drunk" Cap smirked as he noticed the young man was no longer listening, he shared a look with Treaze who was smiling widely, "Then I thought I would go on a killing spree and murder the Pope"

The comment went totally over Xander's head as a growing feeling of urgency hit both he and Dee, the physical need to be somewhere else was becoming itch that was ignoring all protocols. Xander suddenly felt the need to forget politeness and take her away from here, as quickly as was humanly possible, "That's cool Cap, look we gotta go, Dee?" Xander smiled at her and with a glance at the trying-hard-not-to-laugh-captain she walked away with him. They almost skipped off together completely wrapped up in the sight of the other, so much so that a Vulcan had to almost comically dodge out of the way and a group of Betazoid school girls suddenly stopped giggling at each other and blushed as they passed.

Cap turned to his command staff with an upraised eyebrow and a laconic smile creased his face, "Was it just me? Or was there actually a puddle of drool on the floor at BOTH their feet?" seconds later they all burst into laughter.

Xander leaned over and whispered into Dee's ear and she beamed at him taking his hand they broke into a run; there was a crash as a Bolian had to side step the couple and walked straight into a Bajorian juggler. Cap burst into laughter again and shook his head. Then with a smile he set off, with a much more sedate pace, after the young couple with Treaze at his side and Olaria sanding slightly behind them with a wide smile on her face. She and Dee had become friends in the short tour and she knew just how much her friend was looking forward to seeing the dark haired human again. Not that she exactly understood the attraction; her own people tended to be very long lived and were generally without gender. They could of course procreate but it was a natural function of the body rather than an act of enjoyment. But the look on Dee's face when she'd heard about returning to Earth had told Olaria all she needed to know about the enjoyment possibilities of human sexual procreation, even if procreation wasn't involved.

Star Fleet Head Quarters

Janeway walked into the much larger office of her superior with a slightly uneasy feeling. She respected and admired her fellow female admiral, but that didn't stop her from feeling that she'd been pulled up in front of the teacher when she had to come here. The office itself was a study in body language; the Admiral's desk was large and imposing, sat like the lion in its den. It was studied and imposing, but off to one side were a few more comfortable chairs with a coffee table. If you were in trouble, you were forced to stand like the accused before you executioner at her desk. If not, Neychaev tended to greet you standing in front of the desk, as she was now. Janeway almost breathed a sigh of relief, but didn't obviously, she didn't want to show any sort of intimidation, she had after all faced down the Borg Queen herself, Neychaev was supposed to be a walk in the park after that.

"Admiral Janeway"

"Admiral Neychaev"

"I'm glad you could come, please, take a seat" Neychaev said indicating the soft leather chairs.

Janeway waited for her superior to seat herself before sitting, one leg crossed comfortable over the other. She adopted an inquisitive look and waited for Neychaev to speak.

"Our friend with the wings has struck again," Neychaev said, getting straight to the point, once again.

"I see, what assets exactly did it get?"

"Another three of ours, A Liner, Freighter and the Defiant Class that was defending them"

"A Defiant Class?" Janeway said in shock, the defiant was one of the strongest ships that they had at their disposal, just what did it take to put this thing down?

Neychaev nodded, "Indeed, I did hope that a defiant would be enough, so far every ship that has been near the demon has been utterly destroyed. We need options"

Janeway nodded her posture changed as she flipped her leg back to the floor and lent forward in her seat, "What about a larger ship such as a galaxy or even a sovereign?"

"Yes, that's certainly an option, but I was thinking about a Dreadnaught?"

Janeway sucked in air in a sharp breath, "There's only three on the fleet and they are all out on the borders"

"That is true, however the Cardassian's are rather quiet now that the revolution managed to overthrow the founders" Neychaev told her with a slight smile.

"The sight of a Dreadnaught craft will either scare the hell out of the civilians or allow them are certain piece of mind," Janeway said thoughtfully. The fleet and the federation had been trying to keep a wrap on the escalating danger; another war on top of the last would be a blow to the confidence to all the aligned worlds. Janeway was worried that the sight of the extreme powerful ship would be a grain of sand in the rhino's skin of federation discord.

"I believe it will be a benefit, the USS Draconian is in fact under you command Admiral, so ultimately the decision is yours" Neychaev told her.

Janeway tried not to laugh, Neychaev was being overly diplomatic, and she was after all one of the Ten Fleet Admiral's in the entire fleet. "Thank you" she managed

Neychaev nodded wisely, "I do not want to usurp anyone's command, and you have shown before that you are more than capable of the job you've been granted"

Janeway's eyes widened, that was high praise from the normally stern Admiral. "Again, I thank you and I'm honored that the Fleet has such confidence in me"

"Kathryn, there are not many commanders who could have pulled off what you did"

Janeway suddenly felt like she was being buttered up for a sacrifice, but she didn't read any of the other danger signs, and Neychaev seemed to be totally sincere. Then, you didn't get to her level without being able to hide a lie. "Once again I thank you, but May I ask, why are you asking me, rather than ordering me?"

Neychaev allowed her self a thin smile, "Excellent Admiral, then, I'll be straight with you Kathryn, Xander is your boy, you have the most swing over him and that means that you and he are very important to the Federation. You know the analysis of the danger as well as I do"

"So I am being buttered up," Janeway said with a slight smile and a sigh.

Neychaev nodded, "Yes, you are. I don't like this way of doing things myself; I prefer to be straight with people. Can I be straight with you Kathryn?"

"I would prefer it" Janeway told her looking Neychaev straight into the eye.

"Good, The fact that Mr. Harris, sorry Lieutenant Harris is still masquerading as a civilian bothers me"

"I can understand that" Janeway allowed, "However he has expressed no interest in joining the fleet"

"That isn't strictly speaking true, he has expressed an interest but considers that he has more important duties. Besides, as much as a valued man, as he would have been it is his continued friendship with this, this Q, that is our biggest interest. Anything else he has shared with us with no thought of reward. I have to admit that I like that aspect of him. I would still feel much safer knowing that he was at..."

"Your beck and call"

"Precisely"

"Having met Q myself I must ask you, what makes you think that Q would come running if Xander did call?" Janeway asked, "He is a most individual, individual"

"That is true, but our analysts believe that Mr. Harris has befriended the entity and that because of this Q would indeed feel some friendship himself. This is drawn from what we know of him and other non-corporeal super beings"

"I see, so because I know Mr. Harris..."

"Not entirely Kathryn, I meant what I said, I just wouldn't normally have said it" Neychaev said with a smile.

Janeway smiled back, "Thank you then. I was about to retire my commission"

Neychaev's eyes widened, "Well, I'm glad you didn't"

"What of the Prometheus, she is one of our most powerful ships, could she be sent along with the Daedulus?" Janeway said, changing the topic back to the business at hand.

"Yes, that is a good idea, it will take the USS Draconian a while to get back so no need to interrupt the crew on shore leave, besides" Neychaev smirked, "Lieutenant Harris is no doubt making good on his promise as we speak"

Janeway let out a chuckle smiling along with her fellow admiral. But she was feeling worry for her friend, Seven's feelings, "Did we ever find out just what it was that he promised"

Neychaev smirked again, "Yes, the pickups in that conference room are very sensitive"

Janeway cocked an eyebrow.

Marseilles

Xander rolled over sweat rolling out of every pore of his body even in the climate-controlled hotel. He was feeling exhausted already and frankly the night hadn't even begun yet.

Dee fell down beside him in a similar state of heatedness. They lay there for several minutes the sound of their breathing the only sound from the room. Outside they could hear the occasional shuttle whiz past and the sounds of the street wafted up to them. They basked in the afterglow for a long while just enjoying the satisfied feeling that floated between them. So far they hadn't said very much to each other, not in the way of conversation. They had said hello the best way they could think of. Dee glanced over at Xander to find he had a wide smile plastered on his face, she was feeling somewhat happy as well.

For four long weeks she had wondered about this moment, yearned for the heat of his mouth as he devoured her lips. The one thing she was amazed about Xander was his ability to turn her to a mass of jelly using just a kiss. One kiss was all it took to convince her that he would be fun in bed, that time back in the cave, an hour later and she'd been shocked at the breadth of his ability.

Her ex-line of work had led her to stop enjoying sex almost to the point of boredom, of course some of her clients were at the very least more interesting than others and generally she allowed them to finish. The boring ones were terminated before she was forced into slumber. Xander had reminded her why people bothered. He'd lifted her up into a different state of consciousness, which however sappy it sounded was just as true. It was the reason that she'd been so willing to forgo her own plans of escape, one the fact that he'd told her that it was the best way, Cap would protect her, and the deal clincher, that he'd make her scream and her eyes roll back into her head if she accepted. Well, how could she turn down a deal like that? He'd done well for a start; she was surprised that the management hadn't come knocking with the noise he'd made her make. Of course her eyes had yet to roll into the back of her head, which reminded her.

Dee turned and looked into Xander's twin pools of deep brown and smiled, "Well, that was a good start" she said smokily her eyes turning into molten pools of desire "When's the rest"

Xander smiled widely at her, then in a flash of motion he was sat astride her and looking down into her eyes. Then he lowered his head and kissed her deeply. His hands glided up the side of her body as he lifted his legs up and started to move down her body his lips working down her chin, her neck, and her collarbone. He kissed his way down the entirely of her upper body, then he passed the waistline moving south and flicked out his tongue rhythmically.

Dee smiled beautifully then he did something with his tongue that caused her eyelids to flicker and her eyes did indeed roll back into her head as she let out a long drawn out moan of pleasure.

Star Fleet Head Quarters

Admiral Cove looked into the eyes of his best agent, he was tall with dark hair good looking in a deadly way, cool blue eyes stared back into his own brown ones without flinching or looking down. 'Dimitri Dennisoff' was one of the deadliest men alive. The Romulans, to be used later as a weapon against the Federation, had raised him. Then when he'd been rescued from there by Section he'd been retrained to work for them. He was a weapon with a human face, unreadable mask that it was. There was no emotion there, no compassion, no life. If Dimitri was sent after you; you died, in the proscribed manner. He could either kill you quickly or he could prolong death for days, sometimes even weeks. He'd killed more beings than a plague.

Basically, he even scared the living hell out of the Head of Section 31. Cove was just glad the man worked for him and not for the Romulans, because he was sure than if he had, then Admiral Cove and many people like him would now be dead.

"Dimitri" Cove said keeping his voice neutral.

"Sir!" Despite his name, Dimitri had an almost cut glass English accent, as far as they could tell his family was from Russia but that was all the knew about him. He'd been taken as a young boy. It had taken some of the Sections best mind scientists to reprogram him; in the end they found what it was that he needed. He needed and liked to kill, he'd never do it without orders, and he would never deviate from those orders, but he loved killing and needed it like most would require air to breathe. It had been the discovery of that small fact that had eventually undone the Romulan's programming, and allowed them to program him to serve the Federation.

"I have a job for you" Cove said and tossed a PADD to the killer. Dimitri eyes flicked to the PADD assessing its risk and then picked it up with a careful hand. He was like a strung bow ready to go off at the slightest vibration at all times, even in a supposedly safe environment such as an the Section chiefs office.

Dimitri's eyes worked through the information occasionally flicking up and around the room. Then in just a few seconds he'd assembled the information, he now had one question, it was always the same and often Cove wondered what would happen if Dimitri didn't like the answer, luckily so far that had been a moot point, it had never happened.

"Why?" Dimitri said the one word conveying no information other than what it was meant to. Clipped tones and almost single word sentences were another of Dimitri's foibles.

Cove smiled and took a deep breath, "Some think him important to the Federation, and I myself wanted him for a time. However, he has two admirals one a Fleet admiral around his little finger and I have decided that, that constitutes a much larger risk than keeping him around. You see the girl?"

Dimitri nodded.

"She was an agent, sent for data retrieval now working for Neychaev on the Prometheus"

"Her Two?"

"No" Cove said quickly an icy vein of fear striking into his heart, "Not her, she is to be kept alive at all costs. He needs to die. I don't care how you do it, just do it"

Dimitri paused, as he always did and Alex cove found that his whole body felt like a coiled spring, waiting to see what Dimitri would do, would he do as he always had? Or would this time be the time he didn't take the job? It wasn't like you could order a man like Dimitri around no matter what his programming.

Dimitri tossed the PADD onto the Admiral's desk, his sign that he would take the job, or at least Cove hoped it was. Then without waiting for a dismissal the dark haired man left the office without any further words.

On the desk was the PADD, a death warrant signed by Admiral Cove, the picture, of Xander Harris whispering into Dee's ear at a conference table.

Bay Towers

Seven cocked an eyebrow at the blonde girl who was currently doing an amazing impression of a supernova. Clothes were strewn across Xander's apartment and Jacinta herself was dressed only in her underwear, her best, and nothing else. She had gone through hundreds of clothes, using enough energy that Seven thought that Torres' could have powered Voyager for a month back in the Delta Quadrant.

Zandra was currently standing off to one side virtually busting a gut trying not to laugh at the other slayer's predicament.

"Nothings right" Jacinta lamented loudly.

"Come on, Jac, its not like he's never seen you before" Zandra told her with a wide smile and a wink at Seven.

Seven hide a smirk of her own and chipped in, "One of your first outings with Captain Masters was in the middle of a forest dressed only in dirty and ripped clothing. Do you really think he will mind what you wear?"

Jacinta looked at the outfit she'd just retrieved from the replicators and then at Seven, "You're right, this one won't do either"

Seven blinked and ran her perfect memory through what she'd said, finding nothing to do with clothes she shot a confused look at Zandra who simply shrugged at her

Jacinta tapped in a few controls, "What about this one" she said pulling out yet another outfit.

Zandra surveyed it with a critical eye, "Yeah, that ones great" she said.

Seven glanced up, "You picked that outfit ten outfits ago, its counterpart is currently on the floor by the sofa," she informed her. Jacinta huffed and turned back to the replicators.

Zandra shot a look at Seven that said as clearly as if she had vocalized it, 'What are you doing! We could've been rid of her'

Seven replied with a cocked eyebrow that said, 'Hey, I'm a Borg, what do I know about fashion'

The door chime chose that moment to signal that the guest of honor had arrived.

"Oh god, I'm not ready" Jacinta cried diving into Xander's room.

Zandra let out a small guffaw and, holding her side, went to answer the door.

"Oh, hi Gabriel" Zandra said with a smile at the handsome man, "She's not ready"

Gabriel walked in, eyes wide at the mess he turned back to Zandra with a smile, "No kidding" he walked forward slightly close to Xander's door, "Doesn't she know whatever she wears she will always be the most beautiful woman I've ever seen" he said slightly louder than necessary.

Zandra smirked at him, "You're good, a keeper" she turned to Seven, "Don't you think Seven?"

Seven cocked her head sideways, "A keeper?" she enquired.

Zandra rolled her eyes, "You know, keep them around?"

"A keeper" Seven said nodding and smiling at Gabriel, "Of course, Jacinta should definitely keep you." She paused a flash of a smile; "As long as you're house trained," she added causing Gabriel to laugh and Zandra to do a guppy impression.

"You, You, You set me up" Zandra said with shock in her voice, "You actually set me up to walk right into it didn't you; you, ex-Borg cow" she finished laughing and smiling.

Seven cocked an eyebrow at her with a smile still present and her eyes dancing with merriment.

"You've been spending way too much time with Xander" Zandra informed her. Then she truly wished she could turn back time and take back what she'd just said. Seven's eyes filled with pain for a moment and then died, no more emotion in them than a drone. "Oh god, sorry Seven"

Seven pasted a confused expression on her face, her voice tightly controlled, "There is nothing to be sorry for Zandra"

Gabriel frowned slightly and cocked his head to Zan. They walked into the spare bedroom together, out of even Sevens' earshot, "What was that about?" he asked with worry.

Zan paused taking a breath, "It's me and my foot again" she said annoyed at herself.

"Why, what's Xander done?" Gabriel asked

"Nothing much, just met with that BITCH Dee" Zandra said heatedly, "And is more than likely bouncing her brains out as we speak and it's screwing with Seven's head"

"Seven, why should she care?" Gabriel asked carefully.

"Because, she loves him" Jacinta said walking into the room her eyes sad, "But she turned him down because she was scared and now she won't admit it even to herself. So while Xander's off with Dee doing whatever..."

"I see" Gabriel said with a sigh, "Damn, nasty situation" he smiled at his girlfriend, "You look amazing"

Jacinta beamed at him, "You look good yourself" she told him.

Gabriel turned serious again, "What can we do, I'm guessing Xander still cares about her?"

"Oh yeah, too right, I think he's head over heels actually, trouble is that the BITCH, as we like to call her, is worming her way in. Xander's too proud and Seven won't admit it. Pretty soon, well..." Zandra trailed off with sigh, "He might fall for the bitch"

Gabriel paused tapping his chin with a finger, his dark eyes lost in thought, "I take it your all cheering for Seven then?" he asked with a slight smile.

"Oh yeah" Jacinta said with Zandra nodding along with her.

Gabriel quirked a smile, "Thought so" he said, "Well, then what can we do about it. I mean Dee is..." he trailed off under Jacinta's glare, "... Not my type, personally I prefer blondes, but still; I believe Xander finds her attractive" he amended quickly, "there is no small amount of lust there also, that's a powerful force to mess with..." he trailed off and shrugged, "Would we be doing the right thing if we did try to interfere?"

The girls glared at him and he stepped backwards with his hands held up, "Hey, just playing the devils advocate here, I'm not saying that we shouldn't, but you know he's kinda attached to the Prometheus so when he's away there is nothing we can do"

Jacinta nodded and turned to her sister slayer, who was almost exactly like a sister to her know they had gotten over their rocky start, "What do you think?" she asked with a smile curling her lip slightly at one edge.

Zandra matched her a mirror image of the blonde slayer, one dark, one light, both committed to fighting the darkness and, apparently, to match making, "Why not" she answered with a shrug of one slender shoulder.

'Xander, where ever you are, enjoy your time with Dee, because when these two actually agree on something you know bad things are coming', Gabriel thought with a large inward smirk. 'Besides, I still have to get him back for the trouble he got me into with Judy'. "So milady are we ready to go out?" Gabriel said with another of his charming smiles.

"Sure" Jacinta answered with a sexy smile, "Take me, whenever you're ready"

Gabriel's eyebrows bobbed and they all laughed. They walked out into the lounge to find that Seven had at some point left. They looked at each other worriedly.

"Go, I'll find her, just go and have some fun" Zandra told them, physically pushing them out of the apartment.

"Promise" Jacinta said

"Promise, just go have fun" Zandra told her with a smile. Once the door shut behind them she lost her smile a worried frown replacing it.

"Oh Seven" she breathed wondering where to start.

Outskirts Of San Francisco

Vinny stood with his hands held behind him back his coat whipped around him in the down draft of an invisible force. He waited patiently as was his way as the torrent blew up around him. Anyone else may have been concerned that the currently invisible craft would crush him. Not Vinny, he knew that his boss was in there and he trusted Marshall with his life. He was one of the few Marshall had let continue to live, at least while they were useful and Vinny knew that he was still useful. It wasn't that he minded the idea of becoming a vampire, why should he. He didn't have any moral objections the idea of blood didn't disgust him and he was about as evil as any human could be in any case. No, the only reason he was happy with the current state of affairs was because he was still useful. Vinny didn't want to become just another minion in his Boss's stable; he wanted to actually have a purpose other than cannon fodder.

There was an electronic, grinding, noise and a sliver of light appeared, and then grew as a ramp was lowered to the floor. Once its arc was complete two sets of legs came down it. One set shapely with high heels and a short skirt that fitted to the curves of the hips beneath it like a second skin. The other dressed in baggy trousers with large boots muscles of pure power pulsed around under the material.

Marshall Boyd and his lover Carmel Grace walked back onto the soil of Terra and smiled the feeling of their home Hellmouth washing over them; its rejuvenating warmth a welcome sensation.

Marshall nodded at his Lieutenant, "Vinny! How's it been?"

"Good boss, good"

"That's what I like to hear Vinny, what of our friends?"

"The Slayer's have taken a few of your children, other than that Harris has been coming and going fairly regularly, he's away now in fact, gone over to the Marseilles to meet with his girl"

Carmel growled low in her throat causing Vinny to look at her, that was all, just a look he had no fear of anything even her. That growl however was still talking to a primal part of his monkey's brain and it was telling him to run before he became a meal.

"Carmel!" Marshall said sharply, "Stop it, we'll get her and Lover boy; don't worry," he said more gently and rubbing her back. She curled into him pushing herself against his body like a cat.

Bay Towers

Zandra found Seven quite quickly and unexpectedly. She'd checked all the rooms at Xander's and then, using the code given to her by the owner herself, she let herself into Seven's apartment.

There she was standing utterly still in her regeneration alcove not a muscle moved as Zandra called to her repeatedly. Finally giving up Zandra shook her head at the strange sight and left the room.

Once the door had slid shut Seven's eyes snapped open. She slid down the recess; curling into a ball as sobs wracked her body.

CHAPTER 02

Cardassian Border

It was a great leviathan of space; a vessel of such extraordinary power and fortitude that it was legend amongst the in the know of Starfleet. Suddenly the behemoth banked sharply as it received a call and turned its deadly maw back towards sector 001. The thousand strong crewmembers were nothing to do with the sheer brutal strength of the ship, there was an active compliment of Marines on board it was true. There were several ground force tanks as well as light troop retrieval vehicles. Four nacelles were arrayed in a similar configuration to the Prometheus class, only they were much longer and wider, powered the ship. It took the total of four nacelles to push the beast through space. It wasn't the fastest ship in the fleet at a high cruise speed of only Warp 8. But then if it was there then it was before the emergency happened. No less than three large-scale planetary defense phasers were situated on its hull. There were lines of normal phaser backs crisscrossing its hull. Quantum Torpedo and other more classified high yield torpedo banks littered its outer skin.

It was simply a vehicle of military might that most didn't even know existed. It was a battle ship that could lay waste to a planets force, single handily obliterate a small fleet of cruisers and even the mighty dominion had feared it. Designed for war against the Borg it had rotating shields of a new design and tested in war. There were few in the fleet send to the more dangerous borders. The captains of these ships were not mere captains, in its belly a dreadnaught contained a single Defiant- Class, it was enough too ensure that a Captain, had to be a Commodore to even command a dreadnaught. Most didn't want to, a dreadnaught was against the Federations doctrine they said, but not all there were some who believed that the Federation needed to have protection but were not so stupid to think that it should be at all cost as Section 31 recruits tended to be.

Commodore Arial Williams was not what one would expect, she appeared to be too young to be a Commodore, yet she was one of the deadliest foe an enemy could ever hope not to come into contact with. Every single battle that she'd been sent into she'd won, with no exception; she was tough as nails and twice as sharp. Her long auburn hair was cut to a somewhat rakish style, her eyes flint blue. When she smiled, she was as beautiful as an ornate sword but she was still just as deadly. Her mind was a steel trap of tactical information and plans. She was truly formidable, as were all the dreadnaught commodores. Her ship was said to be so mighty under her command that it was said that she had blown a Borg cube to bits in the neutral zone. That wasn't true, there wasn't enough left to be called a bit, and it was a sphere.

The order had been short and concise, it basically amounted to haul ass back to earth and you'll be briefed. It wasn't the first order like that she'd received and she was sure it wouldn't be the last. She had navigated her crew through several nasty battles and she had no intension of letting any of them down, ever. She was the daughter of Starfleet, her father and mother, both in the fleet; her two brothers, both fleet; her sister Anna was dead, Wolf 359 aboard one of the ill-fated armada that Loqutous had obliterated with very little pause.

Arial Williams had found quickly that she seemed to have a knack for tactical situations and had taken the very unusual route of marine, a section of the fleet that was necessary but not widely thought to be in the interests of the Federations peace ethic. She had worked hard, fought hard, pulling her team out of a highly dangerous situation during a skirmish with the Romulans, and then again with the Cardassian's. She got a reputation for not leaving a man behind and then as she progressed through the ranks her mind was given the canvas on which it could draw out plans and tactics that had commanders twice her age scratching her head. A tactical genius wouldn't be going too far. Then she'd shifted into a more normal command track, taking a position on a heavy cruiser and finally taking the command. Neychaev had been watching her progress with interest by this point. So when the Dreadnaught class came into operation, the then, Captain Williams was promoted and placed in command of the first to set sail.

Neychaev had been vindicated in her decision several times over ever since. Only the Breen had been able to give the mighty ship and Commodore pause ever since. Janeway had taken over as her commander on her promotion and the two found a kindred spirit in the other. Williams was much harder and tougher but both women were strong and capable commanders who had got promotion on their own merit and not used other methods that still worked even in the 25th. Both experts in their fields albeit different ones and both with such a gritty determination that was rare in any gender or race.

So as the Draconian, an aptly named ship considering its destination, reached maximum warp Commodore Williams turned her mind to what could have prompted Admiral Janeway to request a recall. Although it wasn't as if they were being given a lot to do with the Cardassian's at the moment, they were not really in a position to put up much of a struggle and she was seriously bored. But a dreadnaught hadn't been back to earth, well ever since they had not been built at Utopia Planetia. To take one into the main shipping lanes was to engender a lot of idle gossip and they had been told to reach earth the quickest way. Williams would have to take that course, if it had been up to her she would have taken a more circumspect route and arrived a little later but with less chatter. Apparently, though, speed was of the essence.

The large bridge of the Draconian was dark by design, which she hated, and had for some reason an almost throne like chair in the middle that she was supposed to sit in. Her backside barely ever touched it except for communications and in battle situations. Normally she walked around the bridge, it would appear she was micro managing but her crew knew her better than that and she knew her crew better than to have to. She just kept abreast of the overall situation by glancing over people's shoulders, whispering a few words of encouragement or advice. Sometimes she would do a walk around the entire ship knowing that the specially designed turbo lifts would reach the bridge in a flash if she were needed. Walking helped her to think, she found, so she walked. Miles a day on the huge ship, she knew the crew by name and they saw her on a regular basis. Some ships crew in the fleet weren't even sure what their captain looked like, but the lowest crewmen knew Commodore Williams by sight and often had a smile for her and she for them. Her crew didn't love her because she was far too hard for that; she was respected, which she thought was the better of the two. Section 31

Doctor Cornelius Manheim looked into the dark eyes of Admiral Alexander Cove with a feeling of dread crawling up his spine. He was one of the best research scientists specializing in the field of Xenobiology in the Federation. He was just a little lacking when it came to morals. He'd worked for section for nearly twenty years, ever since they had tidied up one of his experiments gone wrong. So wrong in fact that it had virtually wiped out the science station he was working on. He'd cut a deal to save himself and his career. Twenty years later and he was ready to be retired, this week in fact, now he knew that look and he knew that retirement was going to be put off. He wanted so much to take some time out and wash the blood out of his hands, the just for once, never have to do it again.

"Doctor Manheim" Admiral Cove said with a smile, "I have a task for you"

Manheim stifled a groan, it looked like he would have to order more soap. "What is it Admiral"

"We have a new enemy, I want a work up on them"

"I see, and the race"

"The Por'aan" Cove replied.

Manheim cleared his throat, "Will the subject be alive?"

"No, this one isn't. I do, however, hope to get you a live one soon"

"I see" Manheim said trying not to sigh, "Where and when do I go Admiral"

"Right now doctor and the commander will show you out"

Manheim nodded to his direct control and turned to the stern commander to be led away.

As he was led away Cove smiled to himself, he'd scored a bit of a coup getting that carcass away from Neychaev and her troop. He was suddenly feeling in a good mood.

Bay View Cemetery

Jacinta tossed her stake into the air and caught in by the handle then slipped out it fast. It flew through the air with perfect aim, flying over a suddenly shocked Zandra's shoulder, then the sudden whooshing noise of a vampire dusting has heard as the stake found its home in the vampire's chest. Jacinta smirked at her Co-Slayer.

"Thanks" Zandra managed with a smile, "Didn't see that one"

"What's the matter you seem kinda, I dunno, out there?" Jacinta asked with concern.

"Just a bit off my game, you know" Zan replied with a heavy sigh. She span in place kicking a vampire over a grave and into the air. Jacinta took careful aim and jumped into the air spinning her foot lashed out and kicked the vampire back towards Zan who caught it in the chest with a stake. The two smiled at each other.

"Why, what's the what as our gallant leader does say"

"Funny you should mention him actually"

"Don't tell me you've got a thing for him now" Jacinta said with a laugh. "Oh, mine" she cut in on Zan's answer and tackled a vampire slogging it in the jaw and sending it to the ground, she plunged downwards with her stake and dusted it.

"No" Zandra laughed, "Well, I mean he's got a cute butt and all, but no"

"So, what's he done now?" Jacinta said.

"Nothing, that's the problem, well that is if you ignore banging the slut, which I try to"

"Jealous?" Jacinta teased

Zandra shrugged, "Maybe a little, its not like I didn't offer, I'm not used to being turned down by men" she replied honestly causing Jacinta to look at her a little more seriously.

"Wish I had that problem" she replied heavily, "I can't get Gabriel to make a move, and I've virtually thrown myself at him"

"Gabe's a nice guy, he just wants to take it slow. Anyway it's not like he's able to be around all that much" Zan defended.

"True, but sill, you know what its like" Jacinta said with a shy smile.

"Oh do I" Zandra agreed with feeling, "Sometimes I think I going to jump out of my skin" She smiled, "Or into someone else's"

Jacinta laughed, "Yeah well, so if its not some Xander-Loving you want, what's he not done?"

"Seven, no wait, I didn't mean... ...well actually I do" Zandra laughed, "Those two should really get down and dirty"

Jacinta laughed, "Yeah, but Seven's really got some scars from that guy Chaktollata or choc-latte, or whatever it was"

"Chakotay"

"Bless you"

"Oh very funny" Zandra replied with her tongue stuck out at her sister slayer, "I found her in her regeneration chamber last night you know"

"So?"

"She thought I didn't notice but she had tear marks on her face, I think she heard us, at least the first part"

"Damn" Jacinta swore.

"I know" Zandra agreed, "But what can we do?"

Jacinta shrugged expressively, "Short of sitting them down with a porn Holo I'm not sure"

"It's not just sex Jac" Zandra reproved.

"I know, but at least it would get a rise out of them, pun intended"

Zandra started to speak and cut herself off, "Whoa, hottie at ten a clock, all those muscles"

"Zan"

"What?"

"Zan, that's Marshall"

"Marshall, oh shit you mean MARSHALL. Damn no one told me he was a hottie"

"Hello Ladies" Marshall said with a wide smile. He lent against an aged crypt with the relaxed air of a lion about to pounce. Marseilles

Xander looked up into the bright sunlight and smiled. He announced to himself that his promise had well and truly been paid in full last night, several times over. Not that it was going to stop him from attempting to go for the record number of times he could pay her back. But still he was happy he was able to perform up to standard. Spending a few years going out with a virtual nymphomaniac had given him some skills and endurance built of that and fighting for most of his adult life hadn't hurt.

He felt a pair of slender arms wrap around his waist and he turned to face the beautiful woman that held the promise, "Hey gorgeous"

"Hey yourself" Dee said with a smile.

"Fancy a walk around this amazing place" Xander said with a wave of his arm to show the view from the balcony of the hotel.

Dee pouted, "Well ok, as long as it's not a long walk, you need your energy" she told him with a lascivious wink. She disengaged herself from his grip and walked back into the room her hips swinging in the hotel robe.

Xander smiled at her his eyes taking in her form, "You know a walk can wait," he said running in behind her. He picked her up she laughed gaily into his arms and virtually threw her down on the bed.

Star Fleet Head Quarters

Janeway paced up and down the floor of her office her face set into an annoyed frown and her stride equally showing her aggravation.

The door chime sounded with a resounding ping and she span to face it as the door slide aside to show....

"Chakotay" Janeway said in clipped tones.

The Native American man paused in mid stride; this hadn't been the reception he'd been expecting. "Admiral Janeway" he said his voice as soft as it was normally, but there was an underlying darkness there that Janeway hadn't heard before.

"Take a seat Commander" Janeway ordered.

Chakotay did as he was requested Janeway however continued to pace, "On your return I was finally informed of your mission"

"I see"

"I am surprised that you were unable to give us a hint of the importance of the mission" Janeway said her voice becoming softer.

"If you know the mission then you should understand the need for a total blackout"

Janeway perched on her desk and leaned closer to the man her eyes locked into his, "_I_ Do"

Chakotay winced, "Oh, yes I think I understand why you requested a meeting now"

"Damn right I did Chakotay"

"I take it this is off the record then"

"Yes, yes, of course"

"Then frankly, Kathryn, this really is none of your business"

Janeway fumed visibly as she controlled the need to slap him, "That is correct and at the same time totally wrong"

Chakotay smiled slightly, "Sorry?"

"Seven is my friend, I took her from the collective, she is like, like, a ... a daughter to me"

"I understand that Kathryn but mine and her relationship..." Chakotay trailed off not wanting to go down that route, he wasn't even sure there was a relationship anymore, "... I had to do it, thousands of lives were at stake; an entire tribe, I hoped, somehow that I would be able to explain it to her, but I can't even find her. Where is she Kathryn?"

Janeway took a deep breath, "Chakotay, you hurt that woman beyond belief, I hadn't thought you stupid. Her new found emotions you disappearing, it was too much, you've hurt her deeply, I'm not sure you could explain it to her. That's if her friends don't kill you first of course" Janeway smirked a little at that thought. "I'll give you her address on one condition"

"Anything" Chakotay said earnestly.

"You try, very hard, not to hurt her further. She's had a very difficult time of it"

"I see, then you have my word"

Janeway smiled, "Good, I know that means something, but so help me I'll resign my commission just to tear you a new one if you hurt her again, if Xander doesn't get to you first." Janeway laughed, "You better hope its me"

"Xander?"

Janeway smiled widely, "Oh Seven has made some very interesting friends, and there has been some developments, but to tell you that we have to go on the record as it were. I've been ordered to give you an immediate mission and this pains me, nothing I said could get you reassigned"

Chakotay frowned, "Admiral, have I not served you well"

"Oh, you have Chakotay do not doubt my trust in your abilities as both a commander and a man, but this will give you nightmares and the persons involved will not like working with you"

"Who"

"Computer, Omega Black Protocol, Janeway 1 Alpha"

The computer chirruped for a moment, "Confirmed"

Chakotay's eyes widened the tribal tattoo on his forehead wrinkling, "Omega Black?"

"Welcome to hell, Commander"

Bay View Cemetery

Jac looked at the large vampire with no small amount of fear in her heart, he was imposing this close up. He was obviously a powerful man when he'd lived and now he seemed even more powerful. It was in the way he held himself, proud and erect ready for action at any given moment. The moonlight glinted off of his baldhead and his eyes were glittering dangerously with that same light. "So Where's Lover Boy Tonight" he said his voice deep with a hint of an accent.

"Lover boy?" Zandra said her entire pose cockily ready for action.

"Yeah, you know dark hair; big ole brown eyes, fucked my girl, you know the guy right?" Marshall said his voice level accept on the expletive which he virtually roared.

"Oh, him, why?" Zandra asked her head cocked to one side and her hip cocked.

"Because I have a message for him"

"What's the message, we'll pass it on," Jacinta said.

Marshall suddenly smiled, "I know you will, you're the message. BOYS"

Thirty vampires melted from the shadows and surrounded them, "I hope he likes it" Marshall said laughing. He turned his back on the slayers and melded into the graveyard disappearing within a few steps.

Jacinta turned to Zandra with a slight frown, "Is he kidding, or what?" she asked.

Zandra turned to look round at the vampires, "I dunno, they feel kinda old," she said testing the word out.

"Yeah, but still thirty" Jacinta frowned, "Thirty?"

"I know, frankly I'm insulted," Zandra said stepping to meet a vampires charge it was dust in the blink of an eye. From her kit back a katana appeared, as did one from Jacinta's. Then the two beautiful slayers began a dance as old as time in memoriam, slayer and vampire locked into mortal combat. Except that these were not the slayers that Marshall's demonic memory had told him about. These were Xander's slayers, trained to fight by a Borg with the martial knowledge of several hundred races in her elegant head, trained to think by Maria a watcher with the memories of the greatest ever watcher and most importantly trained to live by Xander. They were no pawns of a relic of feudal justice and old men in rooms far away from the battle. Xander had been there; he'd watched the battle trained with the greatest slayer to live on earth, fought beside three slayers before coming here. He had watched and learned and then trained that distilled knowledge into his girls. They fought to win, not because they were told to do it. They had both trained night and day, they had something to live for, and they had friends and families. It was their to actually want to fight evil back into the deepest pits of Pandemonium.

The first vampires some of the oldest and best fighters Marshall had died within seconds. The two forces of nature moved like a tornado, the wickedly sharp bladed swords slicing and dicing vampires like a chef preparing fish.

Zandra ducked a punch her blade gutting a vampire and causing it to cry out, its hands went to its open stomach holding in the guts held within. A task that it needed had bothered with as Zandra stood her sword sweeping up in an arc that took the creatures head off. Her nostrils flared with the stench of the decomposing corpse as it dusted and her face was a mask of brutal efficiency. Her sword was a serpent striking out at her prey with practiced ease. The quicksilver line of its progress was held in the minds eye even as it cut a swathe through the vampires.

Jacinta was acrobatically moving around the vampires spinning around her katana lopping the vamps heads off like she was swiping at dandelions. Her foot lashed out at one vampire blasting it back and knocking it and three of its friends over for their troubles. Then her sword darted out like a black widow spider decapitating the demons and releasing them into eternal rest.

The battle seemed to last for hours, but in fact it was only a matter of minutes before the last vampire was cut in half by Jacinta's vengeful blade. Once it burst into dust she twirled it and smiled rubbing her face with the back of one hand. "As I said, insulting"

Zandra smiled at her a long bloody gash down one side of her face from a stray set of claws, "Yeah, but can we call it a night anyway?"

Jacinta nodded furiously, "Oh hell yeah"

Star Fleet Head Quarters

Chakotay's head was awash with emotion. Some of the things his grandfather and father had told him were true, demons were real and they were back and wanted their reality back, it was all a bit 20th century blockbuster for Chakotay to manage.

"Having trouble," Janeway asked with a slight smile, "I know how you feel, maybe this will help" she turned and tapped her desk's LCARS. The view screen behind her came to life, "This is Caltair III, you may or may not have heard of it"

Chakotay shook his head, "No, sorry"

"So am I commander, Caltair III had no real value to the federation except for the strategic location it was in" the view shifted to show a galactic political map Caltair III was highlighted on the Gorn border, "The Gorn, you have no doubt heard of them"

Chakotay nodded, "Kirk"

"Indeed, Kirk, very little gross output, mostly a type of rice that can only be described as stodgy, the Vulcan's liked it as it was quite bland"

"Was?" Chakotay asked.

"Was, it's gone"

"Gone" Chakotay blurted in shock, "How?"

"I'll get to that, four weeks ago it came under attack by these" A picture of a Por'aan fighter craft came into view.

"Sleek" Chakotay, noted, "Not enough power to destroy the planet"

"No, just all the colonists bar a few that the USS Prometheus managed to pick up. Once the planet was clear and I had to order the Prometheus back to earth. This" the view shifted again showing the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h and several stats including anticipated mass and actual dimensions.

"Forefathers" Chakotay said shocked to the core, the thing was huge.

"Came to visit" Janeway continued smoothly, "It ate the planet as best we can tell. It burrowed into the centre and devoured the core, and then on its way out the planet disintegrated and it eat the pieces. There is nothing left of it at all"

Chakotay sat in stunned silence for a while the only sound in the room coming from their breathing and the soft chirping noises of the computer.

"An entire planet laid to waste by a demon" Janeway said finally, "Just one demon I'm informed that it is likely to be a Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h demon, which is apparently that which the Dragon legend is based on."

"Amazing, stunning but amazing." Chakotay paused, "Diplomatic channels?"

"Ignored"

"What have we hit it with?"

"A lot, none of which as even left a dent. There is currently a Dreadnaught class on the way"

Chakotay's mouth hung open for a second before he remembered himself. "I see, that does bring it home doesn't it"

"It does. Now, this is a vampire" the view shifted again to show a vampire in full game face, a captured shot from earth during a raid on a nightclub. The holographic technology doing what photography could never do and capturing an image. "Nasty looking isn't it. Four times faster and stronger than a normal human, looks human until it shows its true demonic face. They appear to be almost symbiotic but the demon takes the host body and effectively boots out the soul at the moment of death."

"I see, phasers?"

"Don't work, transporters can't lock on, the pattern seems to be dispersed although there are some who think he just need to recalibrate. Phasers seem to bounce off of a shield; we don't know what kind as no one can catch one alive. Frankly, it's not our number one priority"

"So what does kill them?"

Janeway smiled, "Wooden stake to the heart, decapitation, holy water bath and sunlight, although there have been some reports of vampires in daylight they are very rare, I'm guessing a different type"

"Hand to hand, with something that strong and from what I can read vicious?"

"Oh, they are very vicious and there are some who can go" Janeway paused searching her memory for the expression Xander had used, "toe to toe with a vamp."

"You sound like you're quoting" Chakotay said intrigued.

"I am I'll get to the source in a moment. Some of those who can fight these on an even balance are the slayers. One per planet with something called a Hellmouth. Not all planets have one I don't know why so don't ask. They are female and generally between 15 and 30, although we don't know of any currently younger than 20. I'm told that there is a reason for that but my source won't say why, yet"

"Who is the source?"

Janeway really smiled, "Someone you do not want to annoy as I've seen him go one on one and win with these things. The Enterprise picked up a rather interesting passenger nearly just over a year and a half ago appeared right on their transporter platform. He's a friend of an old friend of ours, Q. Who brought him here, he's called himself the patron saint of the slayers and he knows more about them than anyone alive. He is also Seven's friend and one scary guy."

Chakotay nodded, "His name?"

"Well, I suppose since you are assigned as his babysitter you should know that"

"What, Admiral..."

Janeway held up a hand, "Sorry, the word is intermediary. Admiral Neychaev wants a tighter rein on him and that's where you come in. Why you, because with you experience with the Marquee and then on Voyager you have a chance of being able to keep up." She paused took a breath and rustled up soft smile, "On a personal note, he and Seven are very close and because of that and your own attachment in that regard I did try to stop the assignment from going through, I was told you had to put it to one side" She lost the smile, "So that's just what'll you to do."

"I understand now, but who is this person and how the hell did he get Seven involved with all this"

"Lieutenant Harris has a knack for surrounding himself with strong women and making friends with powerful people, such as Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Commander Troi, Lieutenant Commander Data and from what I came to understand most of the crew of the Enterprise. As such he was at our coming home party"

Chakotay frowned, "You mean?"

"You remember him?"

"I wasn't at the party long but I was wondering how was making Seven smile" Chakotay said with a note of jealousy entering his voice.

"He's done more than that, she's changed Chakotay, most of it for the better. With the possible exception of her sense of humor" Janeway said smirking.

Chakotay tried to swallow past a knot in his throat, "Are they?"

"No, not yet"

"Yet?"

"I'm not at liberty to discuss that, now if I were you I would go and talk to Seven to find out the rest. Don't hurt her Chakotay; you don't want to annoy Harris. Rank doesn't matter to him he'll eat you for breakfast and that's a friendly warning from a captain to her best ever first officer"

Chakotay smiled and nodded at her, "I will and thank you"

Janeway smirked, "One more thing commander"

"Yes Admiral"

"He's currently in France, I want you to go and get him as soon as you've talked to Seven, things are moving quickly. He is with Lieutenant Commander Dympna Amara, who will need to get back to her ship. She was the Section 31 agent sent to get information from him. I believe he is making good on a promise he made to get her on our side. I'm afraid we have need of him and he's not answering his comms"

Chakotay shot her a look full of questions but bombshell dropped Janeway took perverse pleasure in leaving him hanging. "Dismissed Commander"

Marseilles

A man with dark hair and cool blue eyes stepped off of the transport. Working alone was his way so it was lucky that the team he'd noticed were there for their own reasons. He hopefully wouldn't see them as he made his first sortie and checked out the target, but first he had to check into a hotel and find his quarry.

Behind the assassin of Section 31 in full daylight, a gift from her master, stepped out a beauty of the Latin kind. Her long brown, almost black hair shimmered in the sun, dark glasses covered her eyes and a smile was on her face as she looked out into Marseilles some instinct telling her that her own personal treasure was at the end of this rainbow.

Across city and currently stepping out of a sonic shower with a beautiful dark haired woman clinging to his back a dark haired man had no idea of the forces moving into his position and the killer sent down on his head, he was more interested in the woman and just exactly what she was doing with her hand.

CHAPTER 03

Bay Towers

The door slid open with the characteristic swoosh sound that all Federation doors had and her eyes locked onto the man who was standing there looking nervous; Seven felt her world tilt.

"Hello Seven" Chakotay said with a slight smile, the look of almost horror that flashed across her face did nothing for his confidence, he had no idea what to expect, especially after Janeway's strange hints.

Seven managed to stop her heart from falling out of her chest with difficulty and plastered a neutral expression on her face. Chakotay's eyes reflected pain for a second as he saw the look come into place. "Commander"

'Ah, like that is it?' Chakotay thought, "Seven, I came to talk to you, to explain"

"What is there to explain, YOU ABANDONED ME?" Seven cried out her cool slipping under the avalanche of her ire.

Within a flash of time Zandra and Jacinta arrived at her door shooting Chakotay a nasty look.

"You OK, Seven?" Zandra asked her voice wary and her entire posture ready for action. Jacinta mirror her stance if not her words.

Seven took a deep calming breath, she should just ask the two slayer's to remove this man from her site, and if this had been sooner then she almost certainly would've done. Just lately she had been getting a better grip on her anger and other emotions, even if they did still seem to get the better of her on occasion, even now. "Yes, I am thank you, thank you both" Seven said with a slight smile for their benefit.

The two beautiful slayers nodded almost at the in time with each other and backed away back into Xander's apartment.

Chakotay shot her a slightly confused look that Seven didn't feel like clearing up for him so she just stood her composure now firmly in place, she was a beautiful picture of calm and unassailability. Chakotay tried to melt her with a smile but her eyes bore into him so it faded quite quickly.

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" Chakotay asked finally the silence grating on his nerves. Normally he had no trouble with silences he just preferred them to be companionable. This was the silence of the void.

Seven battled with internally for a moment before nodding and standing to one side, allowing him to enter. The non-invitation rule so ingrained in her psyche now that she didn't even notice it.

Chakotay took her silence to be an invitation and stepped across the threshold looking around the apartment. Where once there had been a bare area with only a regeneration tube there was now the beginnings of a warm home. There were several comfortable couches arrayed around in pastel shades, a few ancient tomes that gave Chakotay some pause and several PADD's in varying shapes and sizes. The design for a nanite was on the screen on one Borg machine code scrolling along beside the diagram. Chakotay peered at it only to find Seven stepping in front of him, blocking his view.

"What's that you're working on" he said trying to start the conversation and almost shying away from the main reason he had come to see Seven in the first place.

"A Nanite" Seven said, her tone clipped and without conveying any actual information.

Chakotay paced for a moment and Seven took a seat, one leg dangled across the other her eyes bored but otherwise showing no emotion. "Seven"

"That is my name, don't wear it out" Seven said, some Xander injecting itself into the conversation. Chakotay did a classic double take at her and the slight smile on her face.

"Been working on your sense of humor?" he asked with a slight smile of his own.

Seven's smile vanished in a heartbeat, "A friend has rubbed off on me. What is the reason for your visit?"

"I came to explain, Seven I am so sorry, I didn't want to leave you I had no idea you would take it the way you did. I... I... I just didn't realize what it would do to you, I thought that with the Ca...Admiral's help and support you would be fine until I returned." Chakotay took a breath and glanced at Seven to find her studying him with nothing about her reaction visible in her body language or expression. "At the party, an old friend of mine from the marquee, one of the only ones left told me about a story, he's an Admiral now by the way, funny really. Ok in conversation he informed me that my tribe and the people of my father were not all slaughtered as I had thought. Some escaped into neutral space. Built a colony and continued to live as was proscribed by our way of life. Then he told me that there would be a mission to retrieve them that they were once again under threat." Chakotay got up and paced again, "He wanted me along, to smooth the way help to get them out before a rogue Jem'hadda ship landed. They had been flying in the area taking colonies for the founders; they believed that the war was still going. The only clause was that I had to leave, there and then. My father died for his people, some of my experiences in the Delta Quadrant had taught me the importance of family and the tribe more deeply than ever my father had managed." Chakotay paused wetting him suddenly dry mouth. Seven was still viewing him with the same look of polite interest that gnawed at his heart.

"I had to go, I had to try, thousands of lives were at stake and I couldn't ignore my fathers legacy" Chakotay finished with a deep breath, "I'm so sorry that I ever hurt you and I would understand if you never talked to me again. However, I would like a chance to prove that I love you Seven and that I never meant to hurt you. I did what I had to do"

Sevens eyes flooded slightly but she ruthlessly pushed down the emotion and stood facing the man that had put her through hell and those eyes flashed blue fire. "You hurt me. I allowed myself to have emotions FOR YOU. Then you ignored them for an assignment. I wondered, I feared and I played out a thousand different reasons why you would just abandon me so badly, nothing I devised made me feel better. If it wasn't for..." Seven trailed off her anger cutting into her heart and the blade been driven in deeply by the image of a dark haired human who'd told her he loved her and that she'd told she didn't; a lie.

"Wasn't For Who?" Chakotay demanded jealously tingeing the question with green.

Seven picked up on his tone and her eyes flashed even more, "What is this, Jealousy, you have to right to be jealous"

"I Do" Chakotay said each word dripping emotion, "Do you know why Seven?"

Seven shook her head; "I can see no reason for you to be?" she spat

"Because I love you with each beat of my heart with each breath I take I love you, you are everything to me Seven, so don't think that I don't care, because I DO"

"If you cared so much, then why did you leave ME?" Seven virtually screamed, "WHY DID YOU HURT ME?" she did scream.

Chakotay reached her in two short steps and pulled her into his embrace, "I am so sorry Seven, I am so sorry, I never meant to hurt you, if I could have taken you with me I would've. If I could have told you I would've. I wasn't able to, I tried, oh god I tried but I just couldn't. Then on the way back when I could I couldn't find you and Janeway wouldn't tell me until today. She wanted to read me the riot act first" Chakotay finished with a slight smile, "She looked after you didn't she?"

Seven nodded crying into his chest a feeling she vaguely knew surrounded her at that moment; she felt safe once again. She knew she'd felt like this before but it wasn't quite the same, but would it be? Could she do this? Xander flashed into her mind again and then an image of he and Dee together passed her minds eye. It was an image that stabbed her to the core and suddenly she didn't want the pain anymore she didn't want to feel horrible which is just how she had been feeling. She wanted to be loved an uncomplicated love. Chakotay had after all only ever let her down once. Could he, would he do it again, that was the crux of that dilemma "Please don't hurt me ever again, it was too much, I can't do it again, its all so new, so frightening" Seven said into his chest.

Chakotay's heart skipped a beat and leapt for joy, he saw the glimmer of blue in the dark clouds currently in his heart and mind. He took a deep breath, "I won't promise because no one could truthfully promise that they would never hurt you, but I will promise to TRY never to hurt you again" his voice was solemn and earnest as he tried to put all the feelings he never usually allowed himself to show into that simple speech. He wanted Seven to try to trust him again and he wanted to be honest with her. He really had thought that she would've been all right, not perfect but he never realized just how much his disappearance would hurt her. He honestly thought that she would think he had been called away on a mission, but then Seven wasn't actually Starfleet, why would she expect that. He cursed himself over and over for the pain he had caused her.

"I don't know if I can just accept you back, after the pain you caused me" Seven told him calmly, stepping backwards away from him.

Chakotay nodded, "I know, I can only hope"

"If it hadn't been for my friends, if it hadn't been for Xander..." she trailed off again.

Chakotay once again felt that stab of jealousy; just what did a man half his age has to offer a woman such as Seven? Just what had he done for her, but she had needed someone and he had obviously been there for her and that if for no other reason endeared the man to Chakotay even as it pushed him away as well. "He helped you?"

"He did, he gave me friendship when I needed someone support when I needed it and a direction, a place in something important"

"Vampires?"

Seven tossed his a slightly surprised look, "Along those lines" she hedged, "I am part of something so much larger than one person now and it gave me a reason to go on, to move on. I don't know if I can just go back on myself now" she chocked down a sob, "I just don't know"

"I understand Seven, I too had friends, family and just as you would do anything for them I had to for them. I never meant for you to be hurt" Chakotay reached out and traced her profile with a finger and smiled, "You would do anything to protect your friends, your family?"

Seven nodded and her heart split into two halves right at that exact moment in time and she truly didn't know what to do. Half of her wanted to run away, to Xander, to her friends. The other to stay with Chakotay the only other man she'd ever loved, he was here now and wanted her. Then the decision was taken out of her hands as Chakotay moved in, lifted her chin and kissed her lovingly.

Again she didn't know which way to turn, she returned the kiss with equal feeling but something was missing in the depth of her heart and it ached for a moment before loneliness and fear took control of her body and she started to fan the flames of passion.

Chakotay felt the change and wasn't sure he understood it but he welcomed it and took it as forgiveness. He returned the passion and before long he felt it over come him and they fell down onto the floor their limbs entwined.

Marseilles.

Xander looked up into a clear blue smile and turned to his beautiful companion, "I love the sun light" he told her with a large smile.

Dee smiled at him, it was a strangely warm expression for her and there was an emotion in her eyes that Xander was woefully unable to translate. Early that day, whilst Xander had been taking a post promise fulfilling nap she had spent a long time studying the man she had been so looking forward to seeing again. Examining herself and her feelings towards him. She knew that the feeling of anticipation that she had felt had been almost overpowering in its intensity, the last few days of duty so hard to concentrate on that it was lucky that they had been spent with nothing to do. She had come to one unavoidable and frightening conclusion. It had come whilst looking down at the strangely young looking face Xander wore when the worries of life melted away in slumber. For whatever reason, be it that she had never allowed herself to or just because he was the most heroic figure she'd encountered or his natural charm, it didn't matter, for she was falling very much in love with him. Of course at first it had been lust, but now there was something else, something much more profound and it scared her. One could wonder why she was so scared, but it was simple really, Xander himself was also in love, but not with her and she knew it. It didn't hurt, as much as she thought it would, it was obvious that he did feel for her and more than just lust. But it wasn't love yet. She hoped that she would get the chance to find out if it ever would be.

"You Okay?" Xander asked softly looking down into her eyes. Dee thought that it appeared to be deep affection, which could become love couldn't it? She smiled and nodded quickly moving in to kiss him. It started low in her heart and fountain out of her; right here in the small square they were in, a kiss that melted cobblestones with its intensity of feeling. She poured herself into it and felt Xander starting to respond.



Bay Towers

Seven zipped up the back of her jump suit feeling dirty for some reason she couldn't fathom. Chakotay smiled at her already dressed. "Hey" he said.

"Hey yourself" Seven shot back.

It was another of the little differences that Chakotay had been noticing in her that threw him a figurative curve ball. She was still Seven but she was also much more as well. "I have something else to talk to you about" Chakotay told her.

Seven cocked her eyebrow, "Shoot"

Chakotay blinked, "Okay, now you're scaring me"

Seven smiled it was like the sun coming out and the room basked in its radiance for a moment, "Sorry" she said unrepentant.

Chakotay chuckled slightly, "I have a new assignment" he moved forward at her look, "No, and its nothing that will take me far, in fact it will keep me close"

"Really?"

"Yes, I've been assigned to Lieutenant Harris"

Seven defiantly, and Chakotay was sure on this, smirked, "At least that won't annoy him as much as being called Mr. Harris"

"He doesn't like that" Chakotay asked, curious.

Seven's eyes darkened, "No, and I would not call him it, it has painful connotations for him"

"I see" Chakotay said, only he really didn't but now wasn't the time to press it, "Admiral Neychaev wants a tighter tab on him, that's me. I was also told that my training and experience with the marquee and my time on Voyager would allow me to 'Keep Up'"

Seven did the smirking thing again, "Only just" she said with wry humour, "Xander has a frenetic lifestyle, I take it that you are to be with him on a regular basis then?"

"Yes, In fact I'm supposed to be fetching him from France, but I got a little side tracked. Join me?"

Seven smiled and took the offered hand, "Of course"

"I have a lift especially for the occasion" he tapped his commbadge, "Lock on and transport two to Lieutenant Harris's last location," he ordered.

Orbit

There was a stunned silence on the bridge of Judy as both she and her captain watched one of the most, if not the most powerful ships in the fleet glide into a perfect orbit.

Gabriel turned to Judy, "That's the Prometheus which is a cruiser and what's that one?"

Judy's holographic eyes lost focus as she accessed the main computer on the moon and hacked her way into the registry database. She had to circumvent several layers of security before finally finding the information requested. "The USS Draconian, Commodore Arial Williams in command, Dreadnaught Class"

Gabriel breathed in sharply, "Damn, that's one hell of a ship, look at the size of the thing. Give me the stats Judy"

Once again she lost focus but for a much shorter time as she'd left a backdoor. "Dreadnaught Class of the Sovereign type, 1500 meters in length, 600 wide. Two primary hulls containing 1000 crew, 400 Marines and supporting craft including a Defiant the USS Draco, commanded by Captain Francois Do'blay several tanks and four landing craft. Major Frank James in command of the Marine units." Judy finished and whistled, "Remind me not to piss her off"

Gabriel snorted out a laugh, "Good Idea, what's her top speed"

"Warp 8 sustainable for 36 hours, Warp 9 for 3" Judy rattled off.

"Damn that's a big boat" Gabriel said pure admiration in his voice, "Is that a planetary defense phaser, or... oh god ... three I see?" he asked with shock in his voice.

"It is. Captain Masters?"

"Yes Judy" Gabriel said looking at the holographic avatar of his ship and one of his closest friends.

"Why is a ship such as this in the fleet, I thought that such a vessel of war would be against the federations doctrines"

"It is" Gabriel said thoughtfully, "However, that said the UFP has taken one hell of a bashing lately with more war in a few years than it's seen in its entire history. That is the response, a ship whose bark is as bad as its bite. Its also a tool of diplomacy" Gabriel said.

Judy frowned, "Diplomacy?"

Gabriel laughed, "Oh yeah, imagine finding one of those on your front door just as you are thinking about pushing your border out a little into UFP space. I'd think twice"

"As would I?" Judy said thoughtfully. "It's a very ugly ship though," she stated.

Gabriel hid a smirk, "Nothing compares to you Judy; you know that" he said. She swiped his arm lightly but there was a big fat smile on her holographic face. Marseilles

The transporter let go of them just as Dee finished her kiss, She and Xander had locked gazes and there was a tangible feeling of something beginning in the air. It was that sense that immediately hit Seven and Chakotay as their eyes accustomed to the sudden shift in location change.

Xander reacted first breaking the almost visible line of sight between he and Dee and turning to face Chakotay and Seven with a slightly surprised expression on his face. Seven looked strangely flushed and the other man he knew from pictures and a very brief meeting at a party some time ago. The surprised expression cleared and was replaced with one of dislike as he looked at the Native American man. He also didn't like the fact that Seven appeared to be standing very close to him either. "Hello" he said his tone neutral, " What's the matter" he expression became worried, "It's not one of the girls is it" he asked Seven.

Seven shook her head making sure that she had tight control of her voice she said, "No, Zandra and Jacinta are both fine, Maria is in a meeting with the Federation. We are here at Admiral Janeway's behest"

"Why?" Dee asked

Seven shot a frosty look at her but didn't say anything so Chakotay stepped in, "I am afraid that your leave is being cut short Commander Amara," he said formally.

"Damn" Dee turned to Xander with a seductive smirk, "And we'd only just begun, I told you we shouldn't have left the hotel"

Xander returned the look with a lopsided smile, "Sorry, just thought we could do with some food"

Dee shrugged, "Oh well, don't forget babe that you still owe me that promise"

Xander stood and held out his hand to her, "How could I, next time we get a chance, same time same place?"

Dee nodded and they turned to an amused Chakotay and a frosty Seven, "Ready when you are Commander" Xander said.

Chakotay tapped his comms, "Four to beam up" he glanced at Xander, "We're going to have to get you a uniform Lieutenant you're about to meet some high ranking people"

"Higher than an Admiral?" Xander asked.

Chakotay shook his head, "No, just more formal"

They were whisked away in a show of lights that was so commonplace in this era that only one man with dark hair and dark glasses noticed their departure. He smirked to himself slightly and deactivated the micro phaser that he'd been pointing at the table.

Star Fleet Headquarters

Commodore Arial Williams was at least a foot taller than Janeway her bearing was regal and military as she stood next to the Admiral and waited for the rest of her party to arrive.

"Thank you for being so prompt" Janeway said, "We were not expecting you for another day"

Arial smiled slightly an expression that changed her from stern to striking in a flash, "I had the engineer push it a bit but the Draconian is a good ship"

"It is indeed and with a very impressive record," Janeway said.

"Thank You Admiral, coming from you that's quite a compliment" Arial said with a nod.

Janeway shrugged, "I sometimes wonder why people think I'm so special, any Captain would have done the same for their crew"

"I certainly hope so, but perhaps they wouldn't have risked their passage home to keep within the doctrines of the UFP, that is what made you accomplishment so great" Arial said, she truly admired the Admiral at her side.

"Makes you wonder why they made me an admiral and took my ship away" Janeway said with wry humor.

Arial gave a throaty chuckle, "I know what you mean. I do not think I would like to be promoted any further than I am. I would miss space too much"

Janeway nodded with a smile, "I already do Commodore, I already do"

Just then the French captain of the Draco and the Marine commander arrived on the scene, the transporter tingle leaving them and allowing them freedom to move almost instantly. Not quick enough for the energetic Major who was moving as soon as he was able stepping away from the transporter pad and moving into the room; a practiced eye swept the people there and any possible dangers. Then with a large smile he turned to face his commanders. "Admiral Janeway, a pleasure; Commodore long time no see" he said.

Arial smirked at him, he knew as well as she did that they'd been in the transporter room together, the one thing you could say about Frank James was that he was a nut. He led his men fearlessly whilst other commanders stayed behind and dived into danger that even an Archangel would fear to tread thinking nothing of the consequences. He was alive due to one simple reason; he was damn good at what he did.

The much more laconic Frenchman stepped down from the podium and bowed to each of them a smile turning up the corners of his beaded mouth, "Bonjour Admiral, Commodore. It is a fine day, is it not?"

Arial smiled at the charming man, as did Janeway. Then she turned to lead them out of the transporter room only to have Janeway still her with a light touch to her arm. "There are some more guests yet to arrive, I am informed they will be here shortly when they have poured Lieutenant Harris into a uniform." She said with humor and a slight amount of affection in her voice.

Arial stilled any expression and turned back to the transporter pad her posture that of a soldier at ease. They didn't have to wait long before three forms coalesced on the podium. As soon as the beam let them go Xander finished his sentence his voice full of irritation, "... hate this Monkey suit, I look like a geek going jogging"

Seven smirked at him, her earlier annoyance put aside, "You look fine" then the two of them turned to find Chakotay already standing virtually at attention. There were two men and two women in the room, all of the men giving off an aura of command that forced her to pull straighter in her own posture.

Xander being Xander ignored that and smiled, "Kath.... Admiral Janeway" he said

Janeway hid a smile her face a mocking impression of sternness, "Lieutenant Harris, glad to see you could make it. Any trouble with the uniform?"

Xander smiled, "It's a little constricting" he replied his eyes dancing.

Janeway turned to Arial with a slight smile, "You'll have to excuse the lieutenant he is very... unorthodox"

Xander lent into Seven slightly, "Is that an insult" he asked in a stage whisper.

Major James stepped forward his eyes flinty, "TEN-HUT, you are in the presence of an Admiral, Commodore, a Captain and me a major. Show some respect soldier"

Ingrained memories from a Halloween many years before pulled him into perfect Attention, he snapped off a perfect salute looking forward as the major walked up to him and looked him over.

Arial leant over to Janeway slightly, "You'll have to excuse the Major; he abhors Unorthodox"

Janeway shared a smile with the Commodore and settled back to watch the show for a moment. Xander was still standing as stiff as a board and for all his complaining his uniform was perfect his commbadge straight. Since Chakotay and Seven had insisted on it he was also wearing his Medal over his heart, which was also as straight as a die. Basically he looked to be the perfect Starfleet Lieutenant even if he rarely acted it.

Major James circled him taking note of the medal and darting a glance at his Commodore, "The Star Fleet Achievement Medal?" he said his voice showing none of the impression the accolade had on him.

Arial looked to Janeway who nodded, "Lieutenant Harris was involved in saving the fleets flag ship"

Chakotay smiled slightly, that wasn't how Xander had put it quite the opposite in fact, he had said, to quote "Administrational Cock Up", had been the reason for the award. He had then gone on to complain bitterly about having to wear the damn thing and if whatever the Admiral wanted was so damn important why did they have to go all the way back to his place to get it. Chakotay was quickly coming to realize that there was a lot more to this Lieutenant Harris than he'd imagined.

Major James stepped back off of the pad, "That's better, in future don't forget who you are talking to, because if I find out I'll put you in with my marines and they will eat you for breakfast. What's so funny!" he snapped out the last part as a smile quirked up Xander's lips.

"Actually, that is part of the reason why Lieutenant Harris is here" Janeway put in, "So if you're quite finished Major; we will go to the conference room"

"Yes Ma'am" Unknown

Carmel opened her brown eyes and looked around. She had no idea where she was, one moment she was stalking Xander and his girlfriend, the next she was waking up here wherever here actually was.

Just then a man walked into the room wearing blue and a white lab coat, he smiled down at her and inspected her with clinical curiosity, "Hello I'm Doctor Manheim"

Carmel struggled against her bindings only to find that she was stuck tight and from the feel of them there was no way that she was going to be able to move. Star Fleet Head Quarters

"You want him to do what?" Arial asked her voice shocked, "Admiral" she added belatedly when Janeway cocked an eyebrow at her.

"Lieutenant Harris is a specialist in the field, He has the knowledge and the experience to teach them what they need to know to survive" Janeway explained.

"How much experience?" Commodore Williams asked with a skeptical tone of voice. The young man was just that a young man, how could he have any experience fighting things that had only just shown up.

Janeway looked at Xander who was being uncharacteristically quite shooting the occasional glance over to where Chakotay and Seven were both sat side by side and Janeway noted fairly close together. "Five, nearly six years now Commodore. I've been fighting demons long before I was dragged here"

"Dragged? How so" Captain Do'blay asked leaning forward and fixing Xander with a curious look.

"A friend decided that I was needed, sometimes I wonder but I do seem to be able to spot a slayer within a half mile distance"

"Slayer, what is this?" Do'blay asked

"We'll get into the semantics a little later on" Janeway began but halted as Xander moved forward in his chair, "Something, Lieutenant Harris?"

"Sorry, yes, I'll need one of my girls, sorry Slayer's along to help me with this, so I think perhaps we should give them a little information to prepare them. I don't want anything to happen because they didn't handle it correctly"

"Are you saying that my Marines are not ready for anything," Major James said sitting up a little straighter anger pouring off of him in waves.

"Major, I know more about Marines than you would believe and I know that you are trained to be ready for anything, but I also know that if I throw in a highly attractive woman into the mix one of them will say something that will end up with him in sickbay. Trust me on this Major, you do not want to insult a slayer."

"Sickbay" Frank asked.

"Sickbay" Janeway nodded, "These young woman are much more than they appear very strong and highly skilled in all manner of martial arts"

"I see, then I'll warn the men to be on their best behavior." The major said with a smirk.

"Good, because anyone who hurts or insults one of my slayers will end up answering to me, if there's anything left, they will wish that there wasn't" Xander promised with a dangerous tone.

Frank James surveyed the kid with a certain amount of skepticism.

"Enough of the testosterone overload gentlemen if you please. I want you up on the Draconian, if the commodore agrees, in two hours," Janeway said bringing the meeting to a close as Commodore Williams nodded her head.

Bay Towers

Xander materialized in his own front room and had to duck the instant the beam let him go. The two slayer's legs clashed above his head and he rolled forward. "Now that's a fine howdoyoudo," he said laughing as he got to his feet.

Zandra put her hands on her hips, "Well, if you will insist on just appearing"

"Are you alright?" Jacinta asked with a smirk.

Xander nodded reaching up and undoing his collar and removing his medal, which he then tossed down on a coffee table, "I'm fine"

"Good, then I can kick your but for making me jump" Jacinta said moving forward menacingly.

Xander held up his hands, "Whoa there tiger, won't Gabriel be jealous if he came in here and found us rolling around on the floor?"

Zandra coughed covering a laugh as Jacinta stuck out her tongue.

"OK, so Jac when Maria turns up from her meeting tell her that she will have to go on patrol with you and if Gabriel is around?"

Jacinta shook her head, "No, he's chasing some cargo he wants"

"Ever the pirate, ok then, you Maria and Seven, if you can tear her away from Mr. wilderness tattoo"

Zandra shared a smirk with her sister slayer then frowned, "They're together?"

Xander shrugged, "How should I know, any who Zan, baby, how do you fancy getting sweaty with a bunch of strapping men?"

Zandra pursed her lips, "Some how I don't think it will be as much fun as it sounds" "Eh, no, possibly not, you and I have to train a bunch of Marines"

"Sounds fun" Zandra said with a smirk, "Any of them cute?"

Xander stared at her for a moment, "How the hell would I know"

"Oh don't come that Macho bull with me, I know men can tell when another guy's good looking?"

Xander turned a horrified expression in her direction.

Zandra laughed at him and Jacinta joined in for the hell of it.

"So, we're a slayer down for now?" Jacinta asked when the laughter had subsided.

"Just for a few days, then we'll be a marine squad up while we give them a little practical test," Xander said with a nasty smile.

"Marshall's back in town" Jacinta informed him.

Xander frowned, "Ok, if he turns up do not engage him, you hear me Jac, do not engage him perhaps we can make use of these marines after all"

"OK, I have problems with that he's huge" Jacinta replied with a smile.

Xander wasn't fooled, "Promise me Jac"

Jacinta looked uncomfortable for a moment, "Ok, fine, I'll run away like a good puppy"

"Good, if the master on Bajor is anything to go by the masters now are a lot stronger than they used to be, one slayer shouldn't have to go it alone. Especially if Maria's meeting with Neychaev pays off."

"What are they talking about anyway?" Zandra asked, "She's been gone for almost the entire day"

"The current council of which she's in charge are trying to set up a deal with the UFP, so they can make a, UCW I suppose try to get protection and support for all you lovely slayers all over the quadrant and possibly more if they can manage it" Xander told her, "If they can cut a deal the council will be able to hitch a lift on a star ship and be able to call for help if needed. That's one of the reasons Zan and me will be training these Marines. They and some like them will be a rapid response unit, I hope anyway. I talked it over with Janeway this afternoon in my meeting apparently she and Neychaev were thinking the same thing"

"Wow, go Xand" Jacinta said with a proud smile, "Your really pulling it together"

"Its not me" Xander said blushing, "I'm just one guy, the council are doing most of the work, Maria as well. I just help where I can"

Jacinta moved forward and kissed him on the cheek, "We appreciate what your trying to do Xand, we know how hard you work to make sure that slayer's are protected, don't try to dodge with us" she said her voice soft.

Xander blushed and then cleared his throat, "Zan, when your ready we'll go"

Zandra smiled at him and planted a kiss on his other cheek, "Thanks Xand" she said and moved off to pack.

CHAPTER 04

USS Draconian

The Annular Confinement Beam lanced out from the large ship searching for its target, using the commbadge as a locator and by using sophisticated scanning technology it found its two subjects. Once locked on, it then disassembled the two into phased matter and via the phase transition coils converted them into phased matter. The Matter was then streamed up to the mighty star ship in orbit where one of the beam emitters on the hull piped through the patterns to the wave-guide conduits and they were fed through the pattern buffer, and relayed to the transporter pad where the Annular Confinement Beam reconstructed Xander and Zandra back into their corporeal forms. All that took less than a second before Xander and the Martian slayer were standing in the battle ship grey transporter room.

"Eww, can't say I like their decorator" Zandra said stepping down.

Xander chuckled slightly and looked around the obviously military vessel. It was different from even the cruiser Prometheus in the lack of subtlety of the scheme. This was a vessel bred for battle and had none of the comforts of home. Sharp colors and darker lighting gave it the atmosphere of red alert even when at general quarters. The transporter chief, stood at stiff attention with a side arm, another change. There was a security guard on duty also he held a phaser rifle at ready obviously standard procedure. This ship was different to any fleet vessel he had ever been on. He knew there and then that he would have to be careful, his normal brand of wit and sarcasm wouldn't work in this more military environment as the Major had so sharply shown.

Xander dredged his memories for the correct way to act and snapped to attention himself, "Lieutenant Harris reporting for duty" he clipped out.

Zandra turned to him with a smile on her face, "Cut it out Xand you're making me nervous" then she heard a very dry chuckle from her left as Major James stepped out of the shadows.

"That's much better Lieutenant, welcome aboard, the commodore allowed me to come and greet you both, I just wanted to make you aware of something" he said his tone silky.

Zandra's eyes narrowed and she placed herself close to Xander an unconscious reaction but a telling one, she trusted Xander to lead her through this strange situation.

Xander for his part touched her elbow a slight brushing of his hand and told her that he was there for her.

Frank James missed none of this but didn't comment on it either. The girl was obviously a civilian and this Harris obviously had control of her as it were, he could understand that, but he wasn't about to let Harris gallivant around the ship like he owned the place. He looked him over noting that he was once again dressed impeccably but not in uniform at least not one he was familiar with, the medal was also notable in its absence, "Why are you not in uniform Lieutenant"

"I am, Major" Xander replied, "I can't fight in the jogging suit, and trust me we'll be fighting"

The major smiled, "And you want to fight in that?"

Xander returned the smile, "I usually do" he replied. He was wearing dark, jacket, dark trousers and boots. What the major didn't know was the amount of weapons he had on him that didn't even cause a ping on the Transporters filters.

"I warn you Lieutenant that on this boat we require proper respect and dress code..."

"Enough Major!" Xander said relaxing his stance, "You've been on my case since before I even knew your name, I'm not a marine Major and as such not under your command, I report to a admiral and an admiral of the fleet directly, I will not be intimidated by the equivalent of a Lieutenant Commander. I am not under your jurisdiction so please, cut out the bull shit and can we just get on with it"

Major Frank James hid a smile, the kid had guts if nothing else, "That's fine Lieutenant, but I did mean what I said about this ship. The Commodore runs a very tight ship, she won't like you out of uniform"

"Then I'll apologies to her personally, as I am supposed to report into her as per the Admirals orders. I thank you for the warning though" Xander said his tone becoming less harsh, "I don't want us off of the wrong foot, I know how I may appear to you Major and I'm not some cocky idiot sent to annoy your men. I know what I'm talking about and my work leads me away from the doctrine of Starfleet even more so than yours"

Frank nodded and smiled, "Shall we Lieutenant, miss?"

"Cove, Zandra Cove" Zandra replied feeling as if the air had lifted. Whilst Xander had been 'talking' with the major she'd been watching the transporter chief and Security guard, both were had been more than ready to shoot Xander and possibly her on command. Of course if that had happened, a kill shot for a normal human would've only stunned her and if they had been using stun she would have made sure they were no danger before Xander had hit the ground. She had the distinct impression that this was going to be one hell of a meeting.

They walked out of the transporter room and only had to move a few short yards until they were at a turbo lift. Xander cocked an eyebrow, "Kind of close, how many Turbo Lifts are there"

The Major smiled again, "One every few yards, on a dreadnaught you can get to wherever you should be in a battle within seconds. We like to be ready for anything"

"She's one hell of a ship," Xander said as they stepped into the lift.

"Yeah, she is and has one hell of a bite to her as well"

"May I?" Xander said pointing at an LCARS panel in the wall of the turbo lift.

Major James nodded and moved to one side. Xander tapped the panel entering his clearance codes and accessing all non- sensitive information on the large ship. After a few moments he whistled, "She's a big son of a bitch too"

"What do you mean?" Zandra asked looking over his shoulder.

"Well over a thousand meters long, two primary hulls. The biggest shuttle bay I've ever seen, damn is that a Defiant?" he asked pointing to some schematics

Major James nodded, "The Draco, Draconian's little boy"

"Damn he must eat his wheaties, look at the power to size ratio" Xander said to Zan, who peered over his shoulder again leaning on his back for support.

"Yeah, my dad told me about them, before he was well, you know, he worked for tactical" she said her voice slightly bittersweet.

"Sorry Zan" Xander said smiling at her softly. The turbo lift halted and the lift doors hissed aside to show a massive bridge that was a similar scheme as the rest of the ship, if not darker.

"Why so dark?" Zandra asked as they stepped out.

Frank opened his mouth but Xander fielded the question, "Helps keep their night sight, when red alert sounds the lights go completely and are replaced with red, which doesn't damage your night sight as badly. So if there is a power failure the crew can still operate."

"Very good Lieutenant, you're not just a pretty face after all," Commodore Arial Williams said from beside him.

Xander's eyes flicked to her and he stood more upright, "Lieutenant Harris reporting for duty, sir"

"At ease, lieutenant if you and your guest would like to come through to my office?" she said her tone level and professional.

"Yes Sir"

"Lieutenant Harris, despite protocol and I believe Admiral Janeway agrees, I hate to be called Sir. Do I look like a sir to you?"

Xander managed to keep a straight face and not check out her figure, he knew a trap when he smelt one, "No Ma'am"

"That's better" Arial said tossing a wink at Major James who hid a smile and followed them all into her office. The bridge of a Dreadnaught is somewhat different than a normal star ship; there is both a ready room and a private office. The ready room for the captain and the office was for the Commodore. There was also a planning room and back up computer, the bridge module itself, could if need be survive intact in space.

San Francisco

After three world wars, hundreds of earthquakes, the march of centuries and having been rebuilt time and time again, what San Francisco was now built on wasn't so much foundations and earth, Basically what San Francisco was built on was just an older version of San Francisco. Deep below the crowded streets, underneath the shuttle craft and humdrum of life on the streets of 'Frisco' something stirred, it stretched out four limps canine in appearance only three times the size of a full sized Rotweiler stretched out. Each limb had a vaguely paw like appendage that held permanently unsheathed and razor sharp claws like four scimitars in a row.

A hugely powerful body was support of those limbs and it rippled with muscle. A large head, also canine but with a much larger snout and infinitely more powerful jaws rowed with sharp teeth pointed upwards sensing life. It stood in a fluid motion and turned its head. Around it hundreds of like creatures looked at each other and moved as one a large dark swarm of demonic canine fury moving slowly upwards to feast for the first time in four hundred years.

USS Draconian

The office itself was much more light and airy than the bridge, the subtle tones relaxing. There was a large view screen that looked to be one of the more interactive versions, such as in the sickbay. It was currently displaying an overview on the ship itself the various systems and as Xander glanced at it he noted that all systems were green. Arial Williams took her seat behind her desk sitting in it almost to attention her posture ready for action. Major James sat off to one side, leaving the two chairs directly in front of the Commodore for Xander and Zandra.

Xander pulled out the chair slightly to allow Zandra to seat herself and only then did he take his own. It was a totally unconscious action for him; his 'girls' had gotten used to the incredible old manners of the young man and took it with good grace. They knew that he wasn't being condescending that it was just his way.

Commodore Williams on the other hand didn't know that and immediately stiffen slightly towards Xander. She disliked chauvinists and they were still around, even in the federation. Of course she couldn't condemn him for that yet as he was after all under the direct command of two of the most powerful women in Starfleet, so perhaps he didn't have a problem in charge after all.

Zandra tossed a thankful smile at Xander and turned to look into the commodore's eyes. Two independent woman's eyes locked and there was a question in the elder woman's. Zandra smiled at her for a moment and tried to communicate to her that it was just Xander's way.

Whether Arial got the message Zandra couldn't tell but she turned her eyes onto Xander and fixed him with a glare. "Before we start Lieutenant, I expect officers to set an example to the crew, as such I expect them to be in uniform at all on duty times and I would appreciate it if in future you would do so"

Xander smiled slightly, "Can I show you something Commodore, perhaps it would help to explain why I dress like this?"

The Commodore narrowed her eyes at him but nodded.

"Thanks" Xander said standing up, "OK, because of the transporter I don't have the full arsenal here" he began by opening the leaf of his jacket, "I wanted to show your marines the type of equipment that they would be expected to carry. So I came as I would if going out on a patrol"

Zandra snorted.

"Well, Ok, maybe a little neater and tidier because I didn't want to show disrespect" Xander continued with a mild glare at Zandra.

Xander then started to pull out equipment. Three stakes either side of the jacket flaps appeared which he placed on the commodore's desk. A small wooden dagger appeared from the left and a larger one from the right. Then he let the flaps down and reached into his outside pockets and pulled two slender vials of holy water from each pocket. Then smiling at the Major's surprised expressed he tensed his arms and a stake slid out of each sleeve. "The cradle and trigger mechanism is made out of a special polymer that shows up as flesh and bone on most scanning systems, I am surprised that no one mentioned them though because the scanning system of a transporter is much more complex and should have picked it up. If not, I'll give you the compound and you can add it." He picked up a couple of stakes, "These are wood" he handed one to the Commodore and then another to the Major, As they inspected them he held up one of the vials of water, "This is holy water blessed by a priest, doesn't matter what religion as long as you believe it and frankly I've seen to much not to" he put the water down and flipped up one of the daggers, "This is for fighting. Normally I would also carried a blessed silver dagger and of course I have my katana but that would have sent the transporter howling so I left it and the dagger behind"

"You want my men to carry around wood and water?" Major James asked in shock and more than a little incredulous.

"I do, but all of this is just for vampires. So far, "He took back the stake from the major, "Touch wood, I've not had to tackle too many demons. I think Lucy sent the vampires forward this time to try recruit and then he'll send on the other demons. Demons, well they can be more dangerous but most will die if you take their head."

"So you want my boys to carry swords as well"

"Yep, oh and the wood, has to have come from an actual tree and not replicated" he glanced at a grinning Zandra, "As we found out much to our shock a few months ago"

"Sounds like a story" Arial commented with a lifted eyebrow as she span the stake around her fingers in an impressive display of digital dexterity.

"It was a bit, oh one more thing and I didn't bring the big one because frankly I don't like carrying it, and I like a more direct approach" he unbuttoned the first two buttons of his shirt and a gleaming gold cross, quite large, was revealed. "A religious icon will hold back most vampires. The older they are and the more powerful depends on how much they react"

"I see, I can see why you want that jacket that's for sure" Arial said with a smile, "I suppose under the circumstances I'll forgive you, this time, but once you have demonstrated..." she let the rest of the sentence trail off.

"Yes Ma'am" Xander said formally. Then he paused, "There is one thing though"

Arial lifted her eyebrows indicating that Xander should continue.

So he did, "I'm not sure what color I should wear, they put me in red but I'm not a command officer, but then nor am I ops, security, medicine or anything like that?"

Major James smirked at him, "Square peg, in a round hole hey"

"Oh thanks Major" Xander said with a smile, "Its not important but I don't want to upset anyone either. Normally it wouldn't be a problem, but here..."

Commodore Williams smiled at him; it was actually quite a good question.

"What do you do?" Major James asked continuing his conversation with a glance and nod from his commanding officer. She used the time to think about it.

"Uh, I kill Demons, Train Slayers," Xander quirked a smile which faded as the memory of what he was about to say brought with it some more memories, not bad, just not the time or the place, "I save the world, a lot" he said quoting Buffy. Then he shot a self-deprecating smile at them, "Just kidding on the last bit"

"I should hope so, I was starting to think you had a SLIGHTLY over inflated sense of worth," The Major said with a matching smile.

Zandra smirked, Maria had been telling them stories including what had happened with the zombies. In a strange sort of way if he hadn't stopped them from planting that bomb, it would have blown the others up, the Sisterhood of Jhe would have succeeded in opening the key and then, there would be no Federation, No Star Fleet, not anything. No Klingon, Bajorian, Vulcan, Romulan, or even Borg would have been able to stop the spread of the demons across the Galaxy and even the universe. Suddenly she didn't feel like letting his glib remark or the Majors, albeit, mild response pass.

"No, actually he hasn't" Zandra said the words falling out of her mouth before she even realized what she was doing. Once they had escaped though she felt the need to push on, "I know what you think, that he's a maniac or that he's arrogant because he thinks he can train your men, or not wear a uniform because he wants to. Who cares about that, this man, he saved the Federation, the universe"

"I didn't" Xander said in shock.

"You did, if you and yours hadn't stopped all those wackos back in the 21st then the Hellmouth would've opened, you know what Q said. That one opens they all do, if it had, no Federation it would never have been started"

Xander suddenly paled, "Shit" he said without thinking, but then the Major was staring at the young woman with shock and whilst not showing any Arial was reeling herself, if this information was true; which it may not be. She had read the reports and knew that Xander's motives had been questioned. However, she had also read the reports of tests and information coming in from the older races, it looked to be that he was telling the truth, but then was this Miss Cove. If she were then she would be more than happy too get any information from Lieutenant Harris that she could and she would personally see to it that he never had to wear a uniform ever again.

"Besides," Xander said eventually sitting down heavily and still pale, "Buffy did all of that"

Zandra snorted again, "Zombies, Maria's one of the girls remember, not your stuffy Librarian"

Xander winced, "Damn, got the full story hey, not that I'm sure how Giles did in the first place. Anyway, it was nothing I just got Jack to diffuse it I didn't do anything"

"You saved Faith's life"

"Its what I do, I look after my, As Seven would say, Precious Slayer's"

The commodore and Major had been almost forgotten in the debate but Xander turned back to them now blushing a lot, "Sorry about that" he said and stood again, "So what color?"

Major James stood himself, "You telling the truth?" he asked Zandra holding out a tricorder he had pulled from his pocket. It was smaller than normal and black rather than grey.

"I am" Zandra said.

Major James turned the device over to the Commodore, "You're a slayer?"

Zandra nodded and Major James held out his hand and received the tricorder back then he pointed it at Xander, "Is she telling the truth?"

"About what?" Xander asked still blushing somewhat

"All of it, did you do what she said"

"Well, yeah, but anyone would've done it in the same situation" he said.

Major James tapped the tricorder and smiled grimly. Then turned it on himself, "I am an elephant" he glanced at the display, "My Name Is Francis James" then he looked at the display and tapped a few controls.

"Major, if I may ask what are you doing? And how?" Xander asked trying to get a glimpse.

"I'll show you later kid, it's a lie detector, since your slayer over there isn't reading as anything but human I thought I would double check the readings. I just gave it a baseline after wards to compare, in fact lie to me?" he said pointing the device back at Xander.

"I like you" Xander said with a wide smile. The tricorder lit up like a Christmas tree.

"Cute kid, real cute" The major said with a real smile then he smirked, "Tell you what kid, for that you can wear green. But do nothing to disgrace the uniform, or else"

Arial smiled, "Considering the results, not that they are 100% conclusive, I'll allow you to walk around naked if you want"

Xander cut her a look and then smirked and finally laughed, "OK, so you believe us. Fine, but honestly, its nothing special anyone would have done it, given the choice and its not like we knew we were 'Saving The Universe' or anything, we were just worried about earth at the time. If we had realized I think all of us would have gone mad frankly. In fact..." Xander trailed off the real impact now hitting him he started to breath quickly, too quickly his heart racing as he thought about all that could have happened if he'd slipped up if any of them had, "... Uh, I don't feel so good" He slumped back in his chair. "Its funny, none of us really thought about the big picture like that. Yeah we knew that if we didn't at least try to hold back the various big bad demons; that if we didn't stop this demon or that demon from opening the Hellmouth that it would be really bad, we just never wanted to face up to the consequences of failure."

Major James stood behind him and patted his shoulder, "Its ok son, you never do no one does not really. If you did you'd be to wound up for doing the job, you just take each step as it comes with an eye on the goal, and that's to win, anything else doesn't bear thinking about, of course you make back up plans, escape routes and the rest if something does go wrong but you never really contemplate it happening. Take it from me, you were doing the right thing."

Commodore Williams then held up a finger, effectively silencing the room, "21st"

"Century" Xander filled in.

"I see, I thought as much," she said having clarified the point she allowed her calculating mind to click over the facts. Thanks to Franks little tricorder trick she trusted Xander and his slayer, as much as she did most people. The facts bore out the conversation. "Major James, would you mind showing our guests to their quarters" she turned a smile onto Xander and Zan, "They are Spartan but they have everything you'll really need. We aren't a diplomatic ship"

"Can't be worse than my parents basement" Xander said with a smile.

****

After quickly stowing their gear Zandra and Xander were escorted by the major himself to a large gymnasium area, the room itself was huge and had just about everything they would need. Arrayed in tight formation waiting for them, wearing a duplicate of the majors uniform were a squad of marines.

"These are a selection from the corps, they are the heads of their squad, you teach them, and they will teach their squads." Major James informed him

Xander pulled himself into to stiff attention and snapped of a marine perfect salute, "Greetings Gentlemen. I am Lieutenant Harris and it is my dubious pleasure to train you in the art of kicking demon ass" his voice was loud, clear and assured as he continued, "I may not look like much gentlemen but I've been fighting these things for years. I will teach you how to survive fighting something that in general is at least four times stronger and faster than any alien you care to mention."

The squad stood still as statues and waited for him to continue as Major James leant against a wall next to Zandra. He had to admit that Harris certainly seemed to have some military bearing, even if he didn't often show it. His movements were currently precise and his tone clipped and exact.

Xander walked up and down the line of men catching each of their eyes as he did so. "First rule and motto of all Demon hunters everywhere, Facere Non Alea" his voice rebounded around the hall for a moment and he let the echo die off.

"Any Catholics among us?" Xander asked in a softer voice

A Hispanic looking man stepped forward, "Sir, Yes, Sir!"

"Good, do any Sunday school?"

"Yes, Sir" the marine said looking a little confused

"Then you can tell everyone else what, Facere Non Alea, means then," Xander said with a smirk.

The marine smiled slightly nervous, "No Sir, I can't"

"They don't teach Latin anymore"

"No Sir"

"Thank you Corporal" Xander said and the man stepped back smartly.

"Facere Non Alea is very simple, but I've taught it to all the slayer's I've ever met, or at least I tried to, one didn't get it and managed to do it no less than three times"

"DO NOT DIE!" he snapped out the echo reverberating around the room.

Major James looked at Zandra who was watching Xander's every move as well as making sure that the area was secure, something he could respect, "Three Times?" James asked in a stage whisper.

"Buffy" Xander answered for her his voice soft and he didn't turn around, "Best Slayer on earth died three times, First time by a master vampire, second time a Hell god, the last one, the one that stuck, Old Age"

The squad seemed to shuffle as one as the confusion from the statement settled into them, "I know what you're going to say, but there are more things in heaven and earth than are conceived of in YOUR philosophy. I'm here to teach you a little more" Xander smiled, "At Ease Gents, watch and learn" he half turned, "Zan" he called.

The beautiful slayer smirked and stepped forward. She was dressed in loose fitting training gear her hair tied back into a simple ponytail, even then she still caught the attention of most of the squad.

"Gentlemen, this is Zandra. Zandra say hi"

"Hi" Zandra said flirtatiously.

"Can it" Xander told her with a smile, "Come on, I'll be the vampire, you can be the slayer"

Zandra stomped her foot comically, "I never get to be the vampire" she said and pouted at him. There was a slight chuckle from the squad.

"Ok, gents, I'm about to try to show you something. Zandra is going to show you why you never, ever, and I mean ever tell a slayer her ass looks big in those pants" Xander smirked at her.

Zandra's eyes flashed and she moved forward. Xander parried her first kick perfectly pushing her away slightly but she just smiled and moved forward upping the speed. Xander had told her repeatedly that she needed to go all out, without killing him, full speed and full strength. So she did. She was virtually a blur and Xander was sure that he was blocking more out of luck than judgment, then a kick got through and he took to the air. He sailed over the heads of the Squad turned in mid air managing to land well, rolling and expending the energy from the kick as he stamped down a hand to stop the roll.

He stood up an faced the open mouthed Marines, "Vampires, one of the weakest Demonic Breeds are capable of that," he said simply, "Had she been a Polgaran or one of the other really aggressive breeds I would be a hole in the hull. Demons are real they are strong and they never stop coming. Do I make my point?"

The squad nodded, "Great, now I take it you've been trained in many of the Martial arts of earth, Aikido is great against demons like vampires because it uses their strength against them. I see we have a Klingon amongst us, K'opplakth is also very good but the raw power of your race isn't. You have to use the techniques to get the full effect. I see a Vulcan, one of the strongest races of the federation, right there I believe they call you" Xander paused searching his memory, "Banana's?" he said shock on hiss face.

The Vulcan lifted a brow but nodded. Xander smiled, "Why?"

The Vulcan lifted both brows, "I see you don't know, OK, well you are not as strong as a vampire well maybe a fledgling but nothing older than that so don't even bother. Your own arts are all quite good because they again use the opponents own force and strength against them"

"You can fight them, gentlemen and you can win, you just have to use your brains and not your brawn. If brains were explosive most demons couldn't part their hair" Xander said with a slight smile, there was a chuckle. "It's the ones with brains you have to worry about" he added with a slightly evil smile, "Now, Zandra is here to kick you around a bit just so you get used to it because if you're a normal and fighting demons you'll need to be able to take a knock, then we'll show you some techniques that are particularly useful against demons and vampires especially. Does anyone have any Melee weapons training?"

A couple of the squad nodded, "Good, then you'll be able to help us train the rest. A good sharp sword will put pay to most demons, you take their head and they die. Anything short of that and they get up and bite you in the ass. Of course there are demons that can survive even that. We once had to use a rocket, that's a small propelled weapon high explosive yield, to kill a demon and even then we only put him into dormancy."

Xander smiled at Zandra, "Go get them Zan"

Zandra nodded and turned to the squad. She cocked out a hip placed a hand daintily on it and smiled seductively, her voice was a purr as she said,

"Alright, Who wants me first?"

CHAPTER 05

Bay View Cemetery

Major James watched the young man in shock. He hadn't thought too much of it, but Xander had done very little fighting himself during the training over the last few days. He had gotten the Slayer to do it. Frank could see the sense in that; they were supposed to learn how to fight a foe with greater strength than they. To watch Xander now as he sliced his way through a cadre of vampires though was to see, just how and why Xander had survived. Grit, and determination and a level of fighting skill that he would expect to see from a specialist in his corp. It was also amazing to see that Zandra, the slayer, had been holding back as well. Frank himself had of course joined in the training as he tended to lead, rather than command, so he'd fought her himself, and had his butt handed to him on a platter. He gave a whole body shudder as he thought about just how much she'd been holding back when he watched a vampire's head torn off with a deceptively simple move.

The time for thinking and watching was over when he had to duck a blow from a vampire. As he went down he slammed out with a combat knife, blessed, into the vampires groin and smirked as the vamp went down howling then he plunged a stake into the demons heart and watched as it dusted. The first time he'd seen that had been an eye opener.

Then he stepped backwards his arm outstretched in a bar into which a vampire ran full tilt. Years of fighting had hardened his muscles into iron and the vampire went down. That had been another nugget of wisdom that Xander had imparted. Vampires still only weigh the same as the would as humans so no matter how strong they were you could still pull a move like that. Then his stake flashed, another vampire dusted. He watched as Xander danced around three vampires the long blade of his katana a line of silver in the moonlight as he hacked and slashed them into dust. Then Xander looked directly at him. His arm flashed into his jacket and came out with a wooden dagger that flew through the air over Franks shoulder into the eye of a vampire. The scream of the vamp was enough to snap Frank back into action and he made it personal as he kicked the vampire in the midsection then moved forward and punched it in the face grabbing the dagger and twisting it for a moment then took it out and into the heart. He whipped it back out reversed it and flung it into a vampire who had seen the attack and started to run.

He glanced around and was happy to see that his Marines were doing what they did best and survived. He spotted Xander smiling at "Banana's" named for his battle style as the Vulcan unleashed repressed emotion onto the vampires. In battle things tended to get heated but Banana's took it to the next level. He was a Vulcan who had never gotten a hold of his emotions as others did. It was rarely heard of, but Banana's had escaped his peers and found a way to focus that rage. Around the other marines he was totally controlled, on the field he was frenetic death personified, you only went against Banana's if you wanted to be torn limb from limb. Luckily the Vulcan had listened and learned and was putting a measure of skill into his style and using the vampires strength and speed against them, he was just doing it energetically.

Zandra ducked under a slash from a vampire's claw then stepped away from another but not far enough and the vampire slashed a gash in her tunic. The next thing the vampire knew was that he was in incredible pain nearly four foot of cold steel protruding from its gut. "No One! Hurts one of my girls" Xander snarled and wrenched the blade up in a brutal move that caused the vampire to be gutted. Xander pulled out the blade span it round and clocked the demon on the neck with the handle of his blade. The vampire staggered away from the bleeding Zandra and then Xander went to town on it.

Zandra turned away from what was about to be carnage. Not out of pity or disgust she hated vampires and demons for what they were. She'd just seen what Xander had done to a vampire that had actually knocked Jacinta to the ground and kicked her. It wasn't something she wanted to see again. At one time her darker side had wanted to see Xander loose his temper, well not anymore it didn't and nor did she. Xander had a kind of repressed rage not unlike Banana's brutal and primal.

Xander stepped forward menacingly at the vampire. Then with a smile his sword flashed out cutting the vampire across the chest, then in a blur of motion four more appeared in the same places as the vampire had done to Zandra. He became vaguely aware that the sounds of battle were dying off but he was now totally focused on the vampire, "Hurt's doesn't it?" he asked the demon as it clutched its chest. It shifted into its human persona the mask slipping over the demonic countenance.

Xander snarled and lashed out with a punch that jerked the head of the vampire back. When its head came back it was again showing the demon and snarling right back at him. "Zan, don't let them kill all the vampires, I want to show them something" he called over his shoulder as he and the vampire circled each other. The vampire suddenly turned and tried to run but Xander's blade snapped out and hamstringed it, then with a snarl and before the vampire had even fallen to the floor, Xander decapitated it. He didn't have the stomach to chase a vampire down in cold blood but he wasn't about to let any of them getting away saying that a vampire had hurt the slayer without some form of retribution. There was also the fact that watching one of his girls get hurt caused his blood to boil. He turned around to find Major James was watching him careful with a neutral expression. Xander took a few calming breaths and walked back to the others. Once he got there he found a vampire struggling between Banana's and Zandra who were holding it in a steady grip.

"OK, time for a demonstration. You asked about phasers" Xander said and reached into his boot and pulled out a cricket phaser and tapped the controls setting it to its highest setting, "This is on Max, Setting 16, that's more than 650 Meters square of dense ore explosively uncoupled per discharge. In other words this will vaporize a rock the size of a house, with me so far?" Xander asked

The squad stepped back away from the vampire Banana's looked nervous Xander guessed but it was hard to tell with a Vulcan. "Zan, break both its legs and step away"

"Now wait a minute, he's a prisoner" Frank stepped forward and said heatedly. There were two loud cracks and he turned to find Zandra had done as was asked with no questions and without hesitation.

"Relax Major, he'll heal from those wounds in just under a minute so if I can continue."

"No, you can't he's protected under Federation Law"

"No, actually he's not you see he's already dead" Xander told him, "That is a vampire, it's a demon and it would show no quarter"

"You said not all demons are bad" one of the squad called out.

Xander watched the vampire healing with no expression on his face, "Not all no, I'm not a bigot. I've learned to hard way that they are true evil, the bad ones of course. The others, just like any other life form, live, die, screw and get screwed. I'll prove what this one is to you" he smirked and waited; he didn't have to wait long.

The vampire gave a roar and jumped up having healed quickly it stood and grabbed banana's from behind trying to get its teeth into the Vulcan's neck to replenish the blood used to heal itself, with the hunger upon it the vampire was unaware of the danger. "Zan" Xander called out.

CRACK, CRACK

The vampire went down with a cry of agony. Then as Banana's was dragged away by his friends Xander spoke, "They're not animals, not aliens, not humans! They are demons totally unlike anything you've faced before Evil! This isn't just me being biased it's a universal truth, some scriptures were bang on, Demons are pure and unadulterated evil" Xander spoke forcefully.

"He would have killed a member of your squad just to feed, your mother, father your damn bunny it doesn't matter. Do you know vampires can survive on pig's blood; they don't. Why?"

"They're Evil" James said with finality. "Get on with it" he said his tone a little tired.

Xander lifted his phaser, "You needn't of worried anyway, watch" he triggered the firing stud. A beam of phased energy leapt out from the end of the weapon and lanced across the intervening space between Xander and the vampire. It then stopped, the vampire seemed to glow for a moment but Major James who wasn't standing that far away felt none of the usual shield fade off it was if the power was just being swallowed whole. Xander stopped the beam and pointed to a gravestone, then with a muttered apology to the owner, he vaporised it. Zandra stepped forward and staked the vampire.

"Demonstration Over" Xander said with a dead voice.

Sector 008

A mammoth wing changed the course of an even more mammoth titan of space. The Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h demon twitched its body to correct its course further as it spotted one of the shiny vessels that it had been so enjoying lately. Huge eyes red the energy levels of the vessel reading its warp core and related drives. The energy contained in one of those would sustain it for a day or two. So it dived.

The Yeager class ship fired its impressive array of weapons at the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h but it shrugged off the hits as an elephant would a gnat bite. Then it focused its energies and opened its maw. It strafed the white vessel with a lance of nova hot flame that splashed against the ships shield flaring white, green and then blue as the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h burnt a hole in the ships shields.

The shields of a star ship are used to turning aside energy but they were totally unprepared for the sheer brute force and physical presence of the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h's fiery breath. As such they winked out of existence only able to hold against the torrent of power for a short time. Then without so much as a mark made of the hull the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h stopped its attack and dived in. Huge claws tore into the ship bodies dropping out into the vacuum of space with explosive decompression.

The Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h lowered its maw and bit into a nacelle quickly gorge on it, the core was ejected as automated systems kicked in. Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h turned its eye towards the rod and tracked its trajectory for a moments time. It opened wipe and started to tear chunks in the side of the ship quickly gobbling it up with the 204 strong crewmembers either still inside or falling into the vast vacuum of space.

Once the ship was chewed thoughtfully the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h swept its wings around and snaked after the warp core. Once it had reached the core it opened its jaws wide and swallowed the core whole, once in side of the beast digestive tract the outer shielding would be melted away and the plasma unleashed. Demonic energies would then wrap around the warp plasma and extract all the power.

Once the mighty Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h had finished its snack it turned back to a nearby planet and shielded itself from scans. Using demonic power it shifted the space around it creating a warp bubble, winking out of Einsteinium space where a beast such as it could never hope to archive light speeds and into Cochranian space were it was able to move around at Warp 4 moving at 102 times the speed of light.

Energy equals Mass Multiplied by the Speed of Light Squared be damned. Bay Towers

Seven leant backwards into Chakotay's arms trying to enjoy the feel as she once had but coming up with a blank. She was seriously considering calling the Doctor and finding out if the operation had reverted back for some reason, she was feeling barely anything at all at the moment. She was aware that she had purposely tried to block off her emotions and ignore them, but right now she would give anything for that feeling of warmth and safety that she had felt in Xander's, her thoughts stumbled over that thought and reeled away from it with the efficiency of a fighter craft.

"Are you alight Seven?" Chakotay asked feeling her become tense.

Seven smiled for his benefit, "Of course"

Chakotay smiled, "You feel tense, would you like a massage, while we wait for your friends to return?"

Seven smiled, "A foot rub?" she said hopefully

Chakotay smirked, "I think I can manage that"

Chakotay knelt at her feet and removed her boots. As soon as he started rubbing her foot Seven knew that she would have to stop him, once again it just didn't feel right unless, X... she reeled away from the thought again, "Thank you" she said pulling her foot back.

Chakotay shot her a bemused look, "That was quick"

Seven gave him an expressive shrug, "I feel better now"

"Good"

Seven heard what appeared to be a herd of small elephants thunder down the hall and knew that meant that Zandra and Xander must be back from the patrol with the Marines. She quickly donned her boot again and stood fluidly, "Coming?"

"Of course, Admiral Janeway wants a status report" Chakotay told her standing easily himself and following her out of the door.

They walked straight into Xander's apartment, as was the usual habit of Seven but Chakotay hesitated at the door then shrugged and walked in. Humans held no real danger for anyone who lived in this home, only the type who had to be invited in. So doorway protocol was pretty lax.

"You don't have to do this Xand" Zandra objected as Xander set her down on the couch.

"No way, I look after my girls," he said disappearing into his room

"If I didn't know you I would think you were such a chauvinist pig!" Zandra yelled after him.

He reappeared with a smile on his face and a dermal regenerator in his hand.

"Do I even want to know why you have one of those in the bedroom?" Chakotay asked with a smile.

Xander didn't even look at him, "Part of the job, you'd know if you would come on patrol" his tone flat. He motioned to Zandra's top. "Get 'em off"

Zandra smirked at him, "I've been waiting for you to say that, but I don't like audiences"

"Damn slayer's and their funny after patrol hormones" Xander said then got a kind of silly smile on his face, "On second thoughts forget I said that"

Zandra slapped him lightly but her eyes were still smoky, she always felt this way after a fight but tonight was particularly potent. She would just have to deal with it herself, just as she had been doing since arriving on Earth. That alone was frustrating. She shucked her top and sat on the chair in just her bra and trousers.

"Damn!" Xander said.

"You can touch if you like" Zandra purred.

Xander blushed as Seven cleared her throat loudly and glared at Zandra whilst Chakotay chocked back a laugh.

"Yeah, maybe later first those cuts" Xander said as he ran the regenerator over the affected area first using the antibacterial and virus settings, finally re-knitting the skin leaving perfect and unblemished skin where there had been four ragged parallel cuts.

"Admiral Janeway, would like a report" Chakotay said pleasantly.

Xander smiled up at him, "I'll bet" the smile wasn't that friendly Seven noticed.

Chakotay frowned slightly, "Lieutenant, Report"

"Say, what does green mean on a uniform" Xander asked Seven directly something suddenly hitting him.

"Starfleet?" she enquired.

"Uh-huh"

"Marine Corp."

"Cool" Xander said with a smile, he turned to Zandra "You know I'm actually starting to like that old bastard"

Zandra chuckled. "He obviously likes you" she commented.

Xander opened his mouth to reply but Chakotay cut him off.

"Lieutenant Harris, I am your superior officer!" Chakotay snapped, "Report!"

"I'm off duty, Commander Chakotay I'll give you a report in the morning, goodnight" Xander said standing up his stance not quite that of a fighter ready to do battle.

Seven touched Chakotay's arm just as he moved forward into a stance of his own. The officer cooled at her touch and said in a very cool voice, "I'll let you get away with it this time Lieutenant, do it again and I'll have your pips"

"There're in a draw over there" Xander said pointing to a cabinet by the door, "You can get them on the way out if you like"

Chakotay's eye twitched slightly but he turned on his heel and strode out of the door.

Seven glared daggers at Xander, "We'll talk later!" the threatened and followed her lover out of the door.

Xander actually snarled at there retreating backs, then as the door slid shut, "Computer, lock the damn door from now on, use the protocol Xander 1, authorization Harris One Nine"

"Confirmed" came the soft voice of the computer system.

Xander looked at the roof, "You know, that always sounds suspiciously like Mrs. Troi to me" he smirked, "Maybe I should change it for Deanna's her voice is way sexier" it wouldn't be the first time he'd tinkered with the system that was certain. He often amused himself with it on slow nights. He'd honed some of his hacking skills on that system as well as his programming skill.

Zandra stood up walked very calmly round to face Xander and flicked his nose.

"Ow!" Xander said with a bemused expression.

"That's for being nasty to Chakotay" she said smiling slightly, her smile disappeared instantly as she slapped him, "That's for hurting Seven" she turned on her heel and strode into what had become her bedroom.

As he watched her go Xander slumped onto the couch rubbing his cheek where she had left a distinct hand print, "I'm a shit aren't I?" he said to no one in particular

"Affirmative" the soft voice of the computer system informed him.

Xander looked up in shock, "Hey!"

Star Fleet Headquarters

Janeway tried not to smirk at Chakotay's somewhat aggravated face but it was becoming increasingly difficult. She was friends with him had been through thick and thin with him but she couldn't help admiring Xander for managing to get under his skin in such a short time, most of which had been spent away on a ship. It had to be some sort of record and Chakotay was normally very calm. She would have to ask Xander how he did it, for purely scientific reasons of course.

"I can't work with the man Admiral, he doesn't seem to even notice the existence of a chain of command, he is undisciplined and frankly rude. His only redeeming quality is the way he looks after the woman around him"

Janeway's eyes narrowed, "You think they need protecting?"

"No, I just like that he does it anyway" Chakotay said with a huff at the admission, "Damn it I just don't like him"

"You've had to work with people you don't like before. Tom Paris for example"

"Tom was never this aggravating"

"Yes, he never really stood a chance with Seven did he?" Janeway said innocently.

Chakotay frowned, "Its not that" he paused, "Ok maybe a little, but not a lot I can compartmentalize my life, I just don't think he can. In fact I'm not really sure what his problem is, he had his chance with Seven, he could at least be graceful about it. If he was interested he should have made a move, sorry talked to her about it"

"Do men still use that expression?" Janeway said with wry humor, realizing they had shifted from formal to friendly.

Chakotay smiled warmly, "Yes I'm afraid we do, when were teenagers. Forefathers what's wrong with me"

"Xander is very good at making friends and causing people to trust him. It's not much of a stretch to believe that he is also very good at the opposite. He's pulling your horns Chakotay, don't let him win"

"I can do that, however, he doesn't recognize my authority that makes it VERY difficult"

"If he was just a normal Starfleet lieutenant we'd put him on charge for that, but" Janeway shrugged "He's not"

Chakotay smiled again, "No, I threatened him with taking his pips last night. You know what he said"

Janeway lifted a brow "Do tell"

"They're in the drawer by the door, get them on your way out if you like" Chakotay said translating slightly but the essence remained true.

Janeway did smirk now, "He needs a yank on the chain" she said pausing to consider, "There is one way that leaps to mind, but its not my style; or yours"

"At this point I'll try anything"

"Lt. Commander Dympna Amara" Janeway said, "Lieutenant Harris seems to forget that he put himself into our debt there. You could remind him"

"I don't like it" Chakotay said.

"I know, nor do I, the trouble is that he thinks we need him..."

"...More than he needs us. Yes I agree." Chakotay took a deep breath, "It's worth a shot I suppose, but what exactly do I say about her"

"I'd go for something like she is under our protection for as long as he's in the fleet," Janeway said with an expression of distaste.

'She's been taking lessons from Neychaev' Chakotay thought sourly. He did however nod, "Its worth a shot"

Bay Towers

Xander looked at Chakotay his expression wavering from shock to anger.

Chakotay watched him carefully, he was well aware that this was a dangerous ploy to play and he didn't like the idea of blackmailing someone to recognize his commands but he'd tried nice, stern, everything in the short while he had known the young man and nothing had worked. In the situation he found himself he had to snap the man out of it as quickly as possible. With any luck he'd be able to repair the damage done with this ploy. As far as Chakotay was concerned this was a bluff, there is no way that Dympna Amara would be put out to the wolves no matter what. She was now under the personal protection of 'Cap' Jake Zepicary and since he knew of the man Chakotay knew that meant something. So ultimatum given it was now a case of wait and see.

Xander's face cleared of all expression, "The Marine Commando's are coming along well and helping us with our roving patrols to give them some idea of what to expect. Miss Cove and myself have trained them in the basics of Demon fighting and shown them what to do to learn more as well as given them all the information they need. I will be happy to have any one of them at my back Commander. Three days at most and they will be ready," He said in clipped tones. He stood smoothly and looked down at the tattooed face of Chakotay. "Permission to speak freely sir"

Chakotay nodded. "Granted, Lieutenant"

"That's a very dangerous thing to threaten, if anything happens to Dee, I will hold you personally responsible" Xander said his eyes spitting fire.

Chakotay sighed and nodded, of course he hadn't quite expected that reaction but it was understandable. "For what its worth, I hope we can move past this unpleasantness and build an actual working relationship"

Xander's expression had gone blank again. Just then he felt the buzz of his communicator and pulled it out of his uniform pocket, "Harris" he said sharply.

"Lieutenant Harris, You are needed Lieutenant, Prepare to beam directly to Star Fleet I'll grab" Commodore Williams voice asked.

"Yes Ma'am" Xander replied stepping away from Chakotay to allow the transporter chief an easier lock he picked up his sword feeling that he would be needing it from the tone of the Commodore's voice.

"We'll talk latter Lieutenant" Chakotay said just before Xander disappeared in a swirl of lights.

Star Fleet Headquarters

Xander reformed in the grounds of Star Fleet Headquarters, "Don't bet on it" he said the words that had been forming as the transporter had grabbed him. He noticed that he'd landed in amongst his trainee's and Major James.

Xander snapped of a salute, "Reporting for Duty, Sir!" he said crisply the commodores voice had left him in no doubt of a dire situation. "What's the Sit Rep?" he asked. The last few days had allowed he and the Major to come to a surprisingly easy working relationship. Fighting Demons tended to build bridges fairly fast and the two very men had found grounds for mutual respect.

"We've got... Dogs really big dogs" The Major said with a pained expression

Xander frowned digging around in his memory, "Black and grey, red eyes about yeah high and nasty?"

The major smirked, "Sounds about right"

"Hell hounds, shit, how many sir"

The major held up a PADD showing a flood of black and grey heading towards them. Luckily the grounds had been cleared save for them, "Shit!" Xander said his brain sliding into gear with practiced ease he glanced around.

"OK here's the Sitch, they're easy to kill, try phasers they should work but use a damn high setting. They move damn fast and eat brains, so you guys will be Okay"

A short chortle rose from the Marine Squad who had also come to respect Xander and likewise

"Every kitted up with a blade?" Major James called out. Everyone called an affirmative, "Know how to use one of these" he asked Xander as he tossed him a phaser rifle, Xander nodded with a grim smile, "OK Lets go; Form up and roll out men" the Major called the charge.

They moved forward as a cohesive unit each looking out for the other as they made two lines against the incoming flood. The first beasts were soon upon them and phasers unleashed their force hitting the demonic pups full on and vaporizing them. There was no time for celebration however as the gab made by the atomized animals was filled with more ravening beasts.

Xander drew his sword and hefted the compression phaser rifle. Popping off a few shots and picking off animals as they ran at him. Then he stepped back a little and quickly tapped something into the control panel. "Fire in the hole" he called out, he heaved it through the air into the centre of the beasts. A few seconds later and the whine of a phaser overload built up. "Down" Xander called, and the Marines took cover. The wall around him was splattered with gore as the animals on the outer rim of the charge were blown apart. Only the ones at the centre had been atomized. Xander elevated his sword to an en-garde and walked back round the wall with a nasty smile. He had some issues to work out.

The perfectly manicured lawn that the hounds had been swarming across was nothing more than a charnel ground now. He moved forward and started killing the wounded animals quickly and cleanly. The overcharge had virtually obliterated the demonic dogs and only a few were left and being picked off by sniper perfect shots from the Marines as Xander culled the wounded.

Once he had finished he walked back to the Major with no expression and covered in gore and guts.

Major James looked him in the eye for a long moment, "You know they're taking the landscaping cost out of your pay right" he said a smile threatening.

Xander smirked, "You get paid?" he asked

James slapped him on the shoulder, "Good thinking Kid"

"Thanks" Xander said eyeing the scene for stragglers, "But I dunno, this just seems kinda weird"

Frank frowned, "How so?"

"The phasers worked on them, which is fine as they are even lower than Vampires on the scale, but there were a hell of a lot of them. If we hadn't been around..."

Frank James winced, "Yeah, but we were"

"Yeah, I suppose" Xander said he just couldn't shake the feeling that this was just the start of the trouble, "Just in case though I think you should suggest to the Commodore that she lends Kathryn some Marines"

"Good Idea, I was thinking the same thing myself, only I thought Admiral Janeway" Frank said with a smirk in his voice.

"Oops" Xander said uncaringly. He shrugged, "What can I say I knew her as Kathryn before I was joined up"

"Rotten grammar there kid" Frank said.

Xander smiled. "No I meant it that way" Sector 22101

The Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h stilled itself in space dropping out from its demonic warp bubble into normal space. Before it was what could only be described as a Dimensional Tear. The gargantuan hovered as silent and still as a statue. An ancient instinct told it to be ready as it watched the fabric of space and time itself bulge. Then a long elongated beak appeared followed by an enormous head with two eyes of deepest forest green fire appeared.

If it could the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h would have certainly smiled as it watched the emerging monster; and it would most certainly have been an evil one.

CHAPTER 06

Bay Towers

Xander sat back lounging on his sofa his legs propped up on the arm and his lips wrapped around the mouthpiece of a Trombone. He played a sad blues piece that frankly he had no idea that he knew but he was enjoying it all the same, to music was blasting around the empty apartment and spilling out of the open window into the bright summer's day. Down on the street people paused for a moment in their day and listened to the soulful tune before smiling and moving on.

In the apartment next door, who also had their window open there was a man starting to become more than a little fed up with the noise. "I swear he does it on purpose. I get a day off, from him and he stays in all day playing that damn horn. So I can't enjoy some piece with my lovely Ex-Borg girlfriend" Chakotay said the last part with a smile.

Seven's deep blue eyes smiled at him for a moment with humor in their depths. In was a twinkle that Chakotay was quickly coming to know. He suspected that this was her you're funny twinkle, or he hoped it was. If he'd been Xander he would have known for a fact, that it was the twinkle that said, you're amusing me. Subtly altered interpretations with a vast gulf of difference of meaning between them.

"Where'd he learn to play anyway, he doesn't seem old enough to have picked up that much of a repertoire" Chakotay asked in bemused annoyance, "He's been playing nearly all damn day"

Seven frowned in thought, "Xander believes that as he was given Riker's skills he learnt the specific pieces as well, his theory is that each piece of music once learnt and committed to memory is essentially a skill of its own and as such that was how he came by the compositions as well as the ability"

"Seems to me that he owes Riker a lot" Chakotay said thoughtfully.

Seven smirked, "Xander believes so, but not for his skills, more that he pulled him out of some trouble whilst he was on the Enterprise. Then of course the Enterprise crew feel they owe Xander more"

"No, I meant that Xander hasn't learnt anything, Riker did all the hard work and learnt all the skills, Xander is just reaping the benefit. Essentially he doesn't deserve his commission" Chakotay said off handily.

Seven stiffed and pulled herself out of Chakotay's grip, "I know Two Admirals, a Commodore, Two Captains, A Major and several other officers not to mention the entire crew of the Enterprise who would disagree with you. Xander is both brave and loyal. He may not have gone through the normal channels but he earned the respect and gratitude of some very powerful people. He deserves his commission as much as any other," Seven told him her eyes flashing.

Chakotay looked at her sadly, "You love him don't you" he said flatly.

Seven didn't show any of the inner turmoil those words invoked she just shook her head, "Xander is my friend," she said.

Chakotay smiled sadly, "Of course he is he has obviously earned your respect as well"

Seven paused sitting down on the edge of the sofa, "He helped me, befriended me when I needed someone, he didn't care that I was an Ex anything, he only cared that I was Seven, that was enough for him."

"Seven is certainly something to like" Chakotay said warmly earning himself a smile.

"Thank you, since then I have learned many things from Xander, one of which is how to deal with people around me. It has made my transition on earth much smoother, without him I fear I may have pulled away from Starfleet, perhaps moved away"

"Then I also owe him a debt of gratitude," Chakotay told her earnestly.

The musical sounds from next door were cut off with a somewhat surprised sounding blast. Seven and Chakotay looked at each other, "Thank god for that" Chakotay said thinking that he had merely just stopped playing.

*****

Xander looked at the darkly dressed figure in shock, "What the hell are you doing here" he hissed.

Lucifer looked around the apartment with a critical eye, "Not really my taste, I do however like the view"

"Great, decoration advice from hell" Xander said, he wanted to prepare himself for what he was almost certain would be his death, to fight but he knew it was an exercise in futility to try to do anything, so he just placed his Trombone back to his mouth and belted out a quick funeral march.

"Oh very drool" Lucifer said with a devastatingly handsome smile.

Once he had played a few bars Xander took the Trombone away from his lips, "So what do you want Lucy?"

"I see you've been spending far too much time around Q"

"Well, why not he is my friend"

"Is he? Is he indeed?" Lucifer said arrogantly

"What do you mean?" Xander asked suspiciously.

"Surely you must know that the Q in general are no friends of your barbaric races"

"Yeah, but Q himself is" Xander stated flatly

"Really, do you know that he has tried to end earths existence several times?"

"Yep, on orders"

"Were they, are you sure" Lucifer said with that damnably arrogant smile.

"Even if they weren't, even super beings have to grow up. Maybe you should give that some thought? Lucy"

Lucifer's eye's narrowed, "You're being a bit cock sure of yourself aren't you. Considering you existence is a mere blink of the eye to me I would just as happily squash you as you would a fly"

"Go for it Lucy, if you dare. I don't think the powers would be happy"

"Oh really and why is that."

"Well, I'm no champion but they are allowed several champions under the treaty are they not. As such I choose to be a champion, right here and now for life, for any race that wants or needs me. Freedom of choice, it's a bitch isn't it" Xander said standing with his Trombone and moving to the window he sat on the edge and put the Trombone to his mouth.

Lucifer growled at him, "You'll die human, your life is a worthless effort, even if I can't just kill you, if you die in battle then the treaty is fine with that"

Xander shrugged, "I'm mortal, dying is part of that and it holds no fear for me. It's you that is afraid of death because you don't think you can" Xander lowered the Trombone and turned his head and looked Lucifer right in the eye, "but you can, and will and I'll be there, I'd like to be the one who did it, if not I'll be happy to watch. Without you how long do you think your precious demons would last against us? What five minutes or maybe six"

Lucifer smiled a deceptively friendly smile; "You underestimate them at your error"

"No, I don't; it is you how underestimate us. We've kicked you off earth once before and we are more than able to do it again. Humans have evolved, one day we'll be able to meet beings like you on a level playing field. Enjoy your arrogance while you can Lucy, we're catching up to you and we will overtake."

Lucifer sneered, "Monkey, you'll never be more powerful than I"

Xander shrugged again, "Perhaps not, but power isn't everything. Just look at David and Goliath" Xander lifted his Trombone again and starting to play the cheeriest and most uplifting piece of music that he knew. It wasn't jazz Xander wasn't sure even what it was it just seemed to fit.

There was a flash of red light and Lucifer left with two parting words, "You'll Pay"

Next-door Chakotay groaned as the music continued at an even louder volume

Secret Station Near Uranus II

Cove stepped off of the shuttle ramp and cricked his neck slightly. The four-hour flight on the specially converted and shielded shuttle had not been the most comfortable journey of his life. In fact he could say it was the most uncomfortable, not that it really mattered because he was here now. Here, was a specially converted Ice mine that was over a century old. It had been put up in orbit around the ice rings of the 7th planet from the sun when a special gas had been found contained within the ice. The gas itself had been used for some of the older propulsion methods but 105 years ago had been deemed as too costly and too dangerous to Mine; Warp was a much better method anyway. So the station had been shut down. The Section director of the time had then taken the mine for Section and had painstakingly converted it into a science station. From the outside the station itself was a wreck and looked to be deserted. However it was still in a perfect orbit that had not decayed, if the station was discovered there was a wealth of defences to make sure it wasn't reported. The inside of the station was state of the art, even now and had some of the most advanced Exobiology technology and Scientists in the UFP.

"Doctor Manheim" Cove greeted the shabby looking doctor with a frosty smile. He didn't much like the doctor and knew tat the doctor himself was growing tired of his research and wanted to retire. Cove didn't have a problem with that but due to the doctors peculiar field of expertise he was just too useful to let go whilst there was a new and unknown threat to the Federation.

"Admiral Cove, if you'll follow me?" the doctor said moving across the small shuttle bay with a long stride, "We have some rather exciting things to show you" the doctor told the admiral with an unusually excited voice.

Cove quirked a slight smile, 'The ignorance of protocol is a sure sign of a scientist in the middle of a discovery' he thought wryly. He then followed the excited man into the main body of the station and was led through a rat's maze of corridors and security clearances. They finally arrived at the doctor's personal lap.

It was white and bright in the room. There was a host of lab equipment arrayed around the place with a large Biobed placed in the very centre. Cove could hear the buzz of several high power force fields. He was then doctor led through each stage with a measure of respect for the careful mind that had put them in place.

Then he saw the reason for the care. Lying on the Biobed strapped down with large bounds was a very beautiful woman. She looked to be of Latin decent of some form or another long dark hair cascaded down her shoulders and a set of perfect red lips was set serenely on her face.

"Doctor, I thought I told you to examine a vampire?" he asked confusedly.

The Doctor turned and smiled at him, pushing his glasses back up his nose. A strange affection since no one in the 25th century should require glasses. "This is a vampire, in their guise as the host. The host herself was around 32 and in very good shape. When she was turned all ageing stopped"

"I see" The admiral said. He wasn't about to let the scientist start experimenting on normal humans; even Section wouldn't do that.

"She's dormant at the moment because they are very strong. I've had to introduce a large amount of drugs into her system, however I've timed this so she should awake any second now"

"Why?"

"I wanted to you to see this" The scientist told him and tapped a control.

The vampiress was shocked with a large charge of electricity that caused her to awaken in anger. Her face shifted into her demonic form and she struggled against her bindings cursing them in Spanish fluently.

"Feisty isn't she?" the doctor said with a smile. "I've found that she is four times stronger than her muscle tone and mass indicates. She is also fast very fast at around five times faster than her size and mass would normally allow her." The doctor frowned, "We had some trouble at first, none of the scanners would pick up her signals, but I managed to tune the frequencies. There is a field surrounding her body when she is in her demonic form. It seems to protect her from just about everything I've thrown at her and scans just don't get through it. Even a phaser at setting 16 didn't get through. In her human form I can scan her using the modifications. I haven't tried the phaser because I think it may work at that setting but I'm really not sure so..." the doctor trailed off and shrugged

"I understand doctor, we have many more tests to do I take it"

The doctor beamed at him, "Yes we do. However I took some blood whilst she was asleep, come and see" the doctor said he was like a child at Christmas.

Admiral Cove nodded with a slight smile, he hadn't seen the scientist this excited in his work for some time, perhaps the retirement worries were not so much of a worry at this time.

The clear screen they were watching the Vampire through turned to black and a standard LCARS system screen was shown. The doctor reached out his hands flying over the controls. The viewer off to one side came up showing two blood samples, "The one on the left is mine," he explained as he tapped more controls. "The vampire blood is deficient in several key genomes and watch what happens when I allow it to spread to the second sample" the screen shifted to a close up view of the two samples. The right hand sample's containment field was released then the left, the blood on the right seemed to pour across the intervening inch of space and 'attack' the second sample. Cove watched in horrified silence as the doctor's blood was systematically processed by the vampire's blood. Eventually the two samples appeared to be one even the data streams along side the viewer indicated the same thing.

"Amazing isn't it" the doctor said with awe in his voice.

Cove just looked at him with shock on his face, "What happened there?"

"My blood was eaten for want of a better word. All the missing genome's are incorporated into the vampires blood, but they don't last long something about the blood, something I've been unable to identify so far is 'using it up. Look here" the doctor shifted the view again to the cross section of what looked to be a canine tooth, "This is one of hers, it grew back within five minutes" he said, "Notice the small muscles and pipe work at the base of the tooth and the tube within it. I estimate that a vampire could drain an average sized humanoid within minutes because of it"

"Is there anything we can USE doctor" Admiral Cove snapped, finally boring of the doctors excitement.

The doctor became serious, "To kill them?"

"Yes"

"The blood itself burns under Ultra Violet light. That lends me to believe that the old stories are true"

"Yes, I know that Doctor, is there anything else we can use, some way that we can make a larger weapon, something along the line of a bomb?"

The doctor paused then his hand snapped out and tapped several controls. A video of the Phaser test showed on the screen and the doctor paused it when the beam hit the vampire and enlarged the picture. "You see that field"

"Yes, what of it" the admiral asked.

"I don't know what it is, I can't scan through it, round it or even identify the source. I have some of the most sophisticated scanning equipment known in this lab Admiral. It appears to be impenetrable to our technology. You want a bomb, I'm sorry I don't know of anything to get rid of that field, if you find it, then just about anything should in theory do the job. Its just that field"

Admiral Cove let out an annoyed breath, "I see"

University Campus of San Francisco

Jacinta sometimes envied her sister slayer. Zandra didn't go to university, she didn't work, and she didn't have to do anything that Jacinta seemed to have to do. In Jacinta's option it wasn't fair that she had to fight back the forces of darkness every night and then go to school the next morning. Especially since she didn't even have Xander along looking as bleary as she was anymore. He had stopped university after it was shown that he would have to miss too much, besides he had his commission now. So it wasn't like he would ever have to worry about a job or something to do. Jacinta wasn't allowed to quit; her parents who were already worried about her had not liked the idea of her stopping university and had been very forthright about their views. Maria had told her that she could carry it off and Xander himself had told her that she needed to do something other than slay, or go mad.

So because she respected him and the others as well she did as she was asked. But on days where she had double mathematics with what was possibly the most boring teacher on the face of the planet, she just wasn't into it at all.

She leaned into a friend of hers, more a study buddy than the type of friendship she had with Maria, Zandra or even Seven, but still she was as bored as she was. "What you doing after school" she asked the other blonde woman.

Lavinia grimaced, "I've got to go to the library and study late for my test tomorrow, Physics"

Jacinta smirked, "Thank god I don't have to do that" she glanced at the window where the waning sun was turning a nice shade of red and her smirk slipped. It wasn't like she had something that was more fun to do. Then she perked up a bit, at least slaying was more interesting than physics.

University of San Francisco Library

Lavinia Turner looked up from her PADD with bleary eyes, she had now spent more than four hours studying and she was sure that she hadn't actually learnt anything. She glanced at the chronometer on the Libraries wall and let out a strangled sigh, "Four hours" she said in shock. She looked at a window and noticed that it was pitch black outside. With another sigh she gathered her things quickly vowing that she would drop physics she ran out of the door into the night.

It was a cool night, but not too cold so she slowed her walk a little. She decided that she needed to catch a breather and relax a little as she was still wound up after so long studying. The night sky was crisply displaying winking stars, pinpoints of light in the inky blackness of space. It was strange to think that so many of those stars were dead, that some had life around them whilst others were in face suns blazing balls of molten fire larger than the entire Sol system.

There was a growl from behind her and she span round. Standing there was something from humanities worst nightmare. At least Seven-foot tall bright yellow with gleaming orange eyes it had long dripping fangs and hands that were more claws than hand. A thrill of terror ran through her body and she screamed and started to back away in frightened shock. The monster moved in a flash of motion and the last thing Lavinia knew was the things fetid breathe filling her nostrils and the terrifying sight of its teeth lowering down towards her. Then there was only pain.

Jacinta ran at the sound of the scream she arrived just in time to watch the large demon rip into a blonde haired woman. Its teeth tore through the woman's neck and the demon was bathed in dark red arterial blood. There was a terrible crunch as the demon bite town through the spinal cord and the body went limp. Jacinta hadn't stopped running and launched herself at the thing just as Zandra reached her. Behind her were half a dozen marines all looking tired. The sight of the bloody corpse lying on the pristine pathway galvanized them into action. The Marines and slayers then ripped the demon to shreds for its act and after a short but brutal fight the demon was turned to goo. Jacinta's furious axe blade bit deep enough into its neck to kill it and release its demonic energy.

The fight over Jacinta kneeled down beside the gory corpse and her face turned stricken as she noticed the identity of just how had been attacked, "Lavinia" she whispered a feeling of guilt and sadness tearing at her gut.

Zandra put her hand on the now crying slayer's shoulder, "Jac, what is it"

Jacinta sobbed out, "I knew her".

Zandra nodded a determined expression on her face she turned to the marines and pointed to the only one she currently trusted, "Major, take her back to Xander. I'm going to try to find if there are anymore of these" she waved her hand at the goo patch, "Demons" she spat.

Major James nodded, "Yes Ma'am" he said with no hint of sarcasm and slapped his commbadge.

Bay Towers

There was another startled Trombone noise as the still playing Xander had some sudden visitors. He had played all day, trying to ease some of the heavy feelings from his heart. Lucifer's visit had not been welcome. He spotted his blonde haired slayer with the salt and peppered haired Major and the Trombone disappeared and he was on his feet in a flash, "What's wrong?" he said.

"There was a demon, it got to someone before we could get to it. It got someone she knew, that's all we've got" Frank James said, his voice was sympathetic, he had lost many friends during his life and knew how she felt.

Xander nodded and smiled at him, "Thanks for getting her back here"

The Major nodded and stepped away, "I'm going back out, you'll be ok?"

Xander nodded distractedly. The major was whisked away in a transporter field and he barely noticed. Xander kneeled down next to Jacinta and gathered her crying form into his arms, gently rocking her. He briefly toyed with the idea of talking but soon dismissed the idea. He knew how she felt better than anyone, having lost his best friend to the darkness; he also knew something that Frank didn't. Jacinta being a slayer felt responsible for the death and would soon be berating herself for not getting there on time. So he didn't say a word just holding her and offering what comfort he could and he waited for the anger to come ready to deal with it when it was necessary.

The Diablo

Marshall tore through his old office like a tornado, "WHERE IS SHE" he shouted at his lieutenants, and only Vinny was able to meet the yellow and red eyes of his master.

"We don't know boss. We tracked her to Marseilles and then" Vinny made a explosive movement with his hands, "Gone, nothing. I think she may have..." he trailed off shifting uncomfortably.

"No, she's not dead" Marshall said in a more normal voice and his face rearranged itself into his human guise, "I'd know!"

"Then I'm sorry boss, we scoured the Marseilles and the whole damn planet now, we can't find her not even from space" Vinny said straightening his back and waiting for the deathblow he knew was likely.

Marshall growled, "Then try again, I'll try to get us some help" he said and swept out of the room. The Council Chambers, England

Maria looked down at the PADD in her hands, she was dying to get back to her slayer's but council business and the formation of what could possibly be the biggest form of the council ever was taking up a lot of her time. Then there was the PADD in front of her; it contained some data that she did not like on little bit.

She turned to her fellow council members her voice grim as she reached a logical conclusion that chilled her bones. "My fellow watchers, the Hellmouth has become. It has finally reached the most dangerous time and I expect to see far more activity across the galaxy. We must find a way to try to at least tone the activity down"

A distinguished looking man on the other side of the council chambers held his chin thoughtfully, and then he held up a hand.

"The floor recognizes Reginald Wyndam-Pryce" Maria said with a faint smile at him.

"Could we not use the same spell that was used before?" he asked.

Maria shook her head, "No for two reasons, one there is no practitioner powerful enough to even attempt the spell. It has become apparent that there is a lack of magical potency in this plane that I am at a loss to explain. Secondly, there is no remnant of the spell left"

"Damn" Reginald Wyndam-Pryce said expressively.

"I agree"

He pursed his lips in a thoughtful pout, "You're memories are quite complete though are they not, more so than any of ours for instance. Can you remember any part of the spell?"

Maria mirrored his thoughtful pose, "I am unsure what that would archive Lord Wyndam-Pryce"

"If we can garner enough of the spell we could extrapolate the rest, or perhaps create another, perhaps less potent spell that would force the Hellmouths activity down?"

Maria smiled at him her face lighting up the dreary room, "I like it" she said, "I will Endeavour to recall the details, I believe that you yourself are a practitioner of Hypnotism"

The handsome man nodded, "I dabble"

Maria smirked, from what she heard he did a damn sight more than dabble, "Perhaps some memory regression would prove fruitful?"

Reginald Wyndam-Pryce shot her a charming smile, "If you don't mind I don't mind digging around in your head"

Bay Towers

Gabriel appeared in a twinkle of light and found a sight that could have turned his blood into a boiling torrent of anger. However, he knew the people involved and knew it wasn't what it appeared. Xander was standing with Jacinta cradled in his arms gently rocking her.

"I got your call" Gabriel said his voice low and calm.

Xander met his eyes and as the other man came towards him he passed the teary slayer off to her, "She needs you" Xander said simple, "Take her somewhere, she has the day off so make it somewhere nice"

Gabriel smiled at him and still hugging her triggered the automatic recall to the Judas class star ship still in concealed orbit above their heads.

They disappeared in a buzz of sound and Xander found he was standing alone feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. His first instinct was to go to Seven and talk as he had many times before. There was however a problem with that, Chakotay was there. Xander looked around his empty apartment and suddenly it wasn't so nice to be alone for a while as it had been that morning. Now it felt lonely and repressive and he didn't like the feeling at all.

He felt the loss of Seven more strongly than ever before as the sounds of laughter floated up from the street below his window still open. Xander walked over to it and jumped up onto the ledge. He looked down at the laughing couple that turned out to be Seven and Chakotay and felt his guts twist.

He looked up into the starry night wishing that he was up there, anywhere but here. He swung himself around the window and latched onto the wall. The brickwork allowed him good firm hand and foot holds due to the design so he scaled the wall. There was only one floor between him and his goal and he past the darkened flat with out pause. He hauled himself over the edge of the roof and turned and sat on the edge. He swung himself round and led on the ledge itself looking up into the void of space.

After a few minutes there was a click as the doorway to the roof was opened and for a moment Seven was silhouetted in the wash of light. Xander turned his head to watch her walking towards him her face a study of concern. For some reason he couldn't identify it hurt him to see that look, it was friendly and despite loving his friends he didn't want to see it from Seven.

"I saw you," Seven said as she perched next to him on the wide ledge, her thigh by his head.

"Did you?" Xander asked his voice neutral showing no emotion one way or the other.

"We did, I was worried. You only ever come up here to think, although normally you use the stairs," Seven said with a slight smile curling her lips.

"Fancied a change," Xander said letting out a breath, that 'We' had placed a dagger of ice in his heart.

"It was certainly a new route..." Seven paused, "Xander, what is the matter?"

Xander blew out a breath, "Oh just had a bad day. Jacinta lost a friend tonight, not easy for her."

"Where is she, is she alright?" Seven asked in concern.

"She's with Gabriel, I thought it would be better for her if he looked after her for a day or two. It hurts to find a friend dead"

"Yes" Seven agreed, "How are you?"

Xander shot her a grim smile, "You know me and my 'Precious Slayers' they hurt I hurt"

Seven frowned slightly, "You said you had a bad day. Then you said Jacinta found someone tonight. What else is wrong?"

Xander smiled up at her enjoying her beauty for a moment allowing a moment to enjoy the feel of her so close, just a short moment. There was another click and the roof was bathed in light. Seven's head whipped round and frowned at whom she saw there. Chakotay was there. Xander turned his head and let out a bitter chuckle.

"He really doesn't trust me very much does he" Xander said.

"I do not know if it is you or I he doesn't trust" Seven said the first creeping of anger in her voice.

Xander tapped her leg, "Hey, its ok, he loves you its right for him to worry. Don't be mad at him for that"

Seven glanced down at Xander her eyes soft, "Sometimes it is possible to worry too much"

Xander smiled up at her, "Go on, go to him I'll be fine, I mean it, shoo"

Seven smiled and stood, "If you promise to talk to me tomorrow, I'm always here for you Xander" she said and moved away at his nod. She joined Chakotay in the doorway and the light was cut out. Xander knew the door had closed and let out a breath, "If only" he breathed out. He then thought of Dee and his burgeoning relationship with her and felt like a complete bastard.

"I'm a shit aren't I" he asked at least his computer didn't here him to answer, this time.

CHAPTER 07

The Watchers Council, England

Maria finished writing with a slight smile. The sessions with Reginald Wyndam-Pryce had proven to be fruitful. She couldn't remember the entire spell but as was suggested she was able to extrapolate parts and she had come up with a much less powerful form of the spell that she hoped would allow her to at least calm the Hellmouth down. All they had to do now was to find the damn thing. None of their location spells had worked and the search for a single witch to carry out the spell had proven to be worryingly bare. She could work spells, others on the council could do the same, but the spells themselves were much weaker than they should be. No one on the council could call himself or herself a mage or witch. There also seemed to be very nearly no power to draw upon. Maria was at a complete loss to explain it and it was worrying in the extreme.

Magic had been a major tool in the past, with it, it was possible to kill vampires, work curses and protect the warriors. Without it they were suffering from a distinct disadvantage, as demons seemed to be able to draw on their own form of magic that was tied directly into their demonic entity.

However, she hoped that she had the power to do this simple spell and she knew that she would be able to draw on the spirit of the slayer in part to power it. Then the Hellmouth should calm down for a while, give them a little more time to prepare.

The council of watchers was not what it had been in Xander's time, after the defeat of the first, Giles had taken it to the next level and they had been a benevolent force for good rather than a sometimes-grey hindrance. Now, they had the potential to be a force for good again and all of the council wanted to o the right thing by the slayers and whatever champions for good eventually showed up. They had networked with the Federation and a deal had been beaten out that would allow the council to reach out across the galaxy and attempt to make alliances with other worlds.

The first on the list was Bajor, where their seemed to be a Watcher like protection for their slayer already. Then Maria and the council wanted to reach other aligned races and find the slayers for that planet or planets. If there were already a system in place they would connect with them, if not the council would try to set up a diplomatic relations and then a system to train and protect the slayer.

This would all take time, time that would be scarce if the Hellmouth on earth became fully activate before the lines were drawn and set in the sand.

Maria leaned over her desk and tapped the console bringing up a roster and playing with its settings. Then she smiled and called her secretary to arrange her transport.

USS Prometheus

The sleek craft cut through space at full warp the bridge was tense and even Captain Zepicary was upright and alert in his seat. They had received a distress signal from a small pleasure cruiser. The Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h had been spotted coming towards them.

Cap turned to his first officer, "Have we got battle stations"

"All stations report readiness Captain" Olaria said her tone clipped and professional.

Cap turned to the beautiful woman on his left, "Are all systems prepared?"

Lieutenant Commander Dympna Amara nodded her dark locks dancing around her head, "All systems green"

"Any words of wisdom from your boyfriend" Cap said with a smile prompting a chortle from Treaze behind him. Cap hadn't even bothered to ask the Andorian if the ship was weapons' hot, she always was when Treaze was on duty.

Dee smirked her dark eyes dancing, "I'm guessing Xander would say something along the lines of 'Facere Non Alea'"

Cap shot her a confused look as Olaria who was a student of all languages given her unusual nature chuckled slightly.

Dee shot him that amazing smile again that made even his knees knock; figuratively speaking at is. "Do Not Die"

Cap smiled laconically, "Can't get better advice than that, but what about weaknesses"

Dee became all business, "The Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h are what the legend that Earths dragons are based on. I did a little digging and it is said that a dragon has a venerable spot on the underside of its stomach. If we try to get in close and strafe its body continuously then we can hope to hit it. Phaser fire does hurt them, the craft that picked myself and Lieutenant Harris off of Caltair III hurt it cap, so I'm guessing we can too"

Cap smirked, "I'd love to know who you manage to pronounce that, I'm just going to call it a Zarth, Okay. So lets try to tickle the Zarth's belly and see what happens"

"T Minus Three Minutes To Contact" Olaria said her voice once again tense. Bay Towers

Xander's eyes snapped open and looked up into the bright Californian sky wondering where his roof had gone. Then the memories from the evening and day before settled down in his head and he grimaced. Then as he hauled himself upwards he grimaced again.

"Man, I shouldn't sleep on walls" Xander glanced around, "Especially next to thirty foot drops" he said with a smirk.

He heard a heel crunch the gravel that was all over the roof and was up and round in a flash of motion.

"Commodore?" he said in shock as Commodore Arial Williams smirked at him.

"You're right, you really shouldn't sleep on the roof, I could've been an assassin, you sleep like the dead, and I could easily have killed you"

Xander smiled at her, "Many have tried Commodore" he said then the smile became a little dark as he realized just how true the flippant statement was, "Its kinda sad that that's true"

"Just exactly why were you up here?" the commodore asked indicating the wall.

Xander shrugged, "Came up her to think, fell asleep, Ma'am. Why are you up here?"

"I tried your apartment but a somewhat bleary eyed Zandra didn't seem to know where you were. I was directed up here by your next door neighbor and commander Chakotay who for some reason were both in your apartment"

Xander smiled, "If you're not a demon anyone is welcome in the apartment"

"I see" Arial said, although she wasn't sure she was.

"What can I do for you today, Commodore?" Xander asked brushing himself off.

"I just came to thank you actually"

"What for?" Xander asked in confusion.

"You seem to have impressed the Major and all the Marines I talked to are very happy with your training, you were also very prompt and quick witted in the Hellhound action. I wanted to thank you."

"Just doing my job Ma'am"

"That doesn't mean that I can't thank you," Arial said with a slight smile.

Xander smiled back, the commodore was a bit of an odd duck to him. She was all about the rules, but her crew loved her, she was mostly stern but when she smiled she was stunning. He was only now starting to see why her crew were so fervently devoted to her. She obviously cared about them and what happened to them. Her simple statement before was a sign that there was much more to her than rules and regulations. He just couldn't get a handle on her, "Well, In that case I thank you Commodore"

Commodore Williams who was well aware that she was confusing the lieutenant before her just smiled enigmatically, "You're a strange one Lieutenant Harris"

Xander frowned slightly, "I am?"

"From my discussions with Major James I've found that your 'Slayers' seem to be devoted to you and you to them. You and I quote the Major here, 'Fight like a lioness protecting her cubs' and his report of that vampire who had the gall to hurt Zandra was very interesting. Yet your also irreverent, you completely ignore the chain of command and you sleep on the roof in an obviously idiotic risk of your life"

"Eh, was any of that a compliment or am I being told off for something" Xander asked in confusion.

Arial laughed, "I'm glad you're not under my command Lieutenant, I think you would drive me mad. I pity Commander Chakotay"

"Chakotay isn't my commander" Xander spat bitterly, "He just has a hold over me"

Arial looked at him, studying him for a long moment before she finally spoke, "I know Commander Chakotay from before he left. We were briefly on the same ship during a conflict with the Cardassian's. The man I knew would only use a ploy like that if he had no other option Lieutenant. So tell me this, did you give him another option?"

Xander sighed, "I doubt it. Sometimes I tend to be a little hot headed. When I don't like someone I'm not generally very nice to them"

"You don't like Chakotay?" Arial asked, she wasn't that fond of the man herself, but she respected the man, even after he turned renegade, but that was the reason she also wasn't fond of him. She disliked any of the fleet men and women who had left the fleet so understaffed and turned against them. She understood the need to look after your home planet or friends. She also saw the big picture, and the Marquis to her were a bunch of rank amateurs who had made a fatal mistake in fighting both the fleet and the Cardassian's. She wasn't happy with the federation for the treaty or the DMZ either, but she knew that they were at least trying to stop war. It may not have worked, but they had tried to avert loss of life and the DMZ was the cost.

Xander smiled grimly, "No"

"Why?" Commodore Williams asked, honestly interested in why the personable young man she had heard so much about from her Major didn't like someone who was basically a likeable man. The Major had been quite enthusiastic in his praise for the young lieutenant even going as far to say that he would have him in his unit in a flash. He had also said that he, Major Frank James, owed Xander his life. Not many men could say that, it was generally the other way around.

Xander blushed slightly and Arial smiled, "I see. You find him attractive" she said her tone dead serious. After all this was the 25th century, sexual tension was very akin to dislike in some instances.

"WHAT! No!" Xander said his voice involuntarily cracking; "No" he said his voice much deeper. "Damn that Larry" Xander said under his breath.

Arial lifted a brow.

"No seriously, I'm not gay"

Arial's other brow joined its sibling and a look of polite confusion entered her eyes. "Gay?"

"Gay, Homosexual"

"Oh I see, so what is it then"

"Seven" Xander said in both answer and, combined with the nod of his head, a greeting.

Commodore Arial turned hiding her reaction, "Good morning" she greeted the other woman.

"Commodore Williams, I see that you have found him," Seven said

"Yes, I was about to be invited for coffee" the Commodore said with a smile.

Xander chuckled, "Commodore, please do us the honor of joining us for morning coffee"

Arial smiled widely, "Why thank you Lieutenant Harris I believe I will"

USS Prometheus

There was a collective gasp as the Prometheus left Warp just in time to watch the Zarth rip into the Sydney Class passenger ship. There was an explosion as one of the nacelles exploded but the demon seemed unfazed and chomped into the star ship.

Cap stood up his face a mask of anger, "I really don't like that thing" he said, "Red Alert, Shields up, prepare for combat. I want a spread of torpedoes and a volley of Phaser fire. We're going to run at it at full impulse and dip at the last moment, I want to strafe this thing with everything we've got." He paused as the bridge exploded into action.

Once he was satisfied those orders were ready he sat down and gripped his chair, "All Hands, Brace yourselves. Engage" he called out. The computer routed his voice through out the ship and the last galvanized the con officer into action. Course laid in the ship burst forward all hands holding onto anything they could. They ran straight at the titan and at the last possible moment dipped down. The beast's jaws snapped out only to miss the ship by a short distance of a few meters as it suddenly dived. When the powerful ship reached the demons stomach Cap shouted out, "Now Treaze!"

The blue skinned security officer then tapped in the pre-programmed pattern of fire and watched the program run its course. A spread of photon torpedoes lashed out and smacked square into the demons hide causing it to squeal in pain. Then another and another, four salvoes in total slammed into it, quantum detonations blew chunks out of the creature but had no real effect. All the while phasers were lancing through space and stabbing it but they had the effect of a needle on an elephant.

They came out from the other side of the demon that was crying out angrily. It whipped its long tail around and slammed into the ship, sending it careening off course. Everyone in the ship was thrown around the deck and into walls as the direction was suddenly changed. Emergency sirens called out as force fields came into action across the ship.

"Captain, we've been hit" Olaria called out across the din.

"No shit" Cap said with feeling, "How bad is it" he said his eyes glued on the demon as it turned and ran from the fight. He smiled, "At least we hurt it"

He turned and looked down at Dee. He held out his hand and smiled, "Well done Lt. Commander I think you may have been right"

"It didn't work"

Treaze snarled, "Oh but it did. We just don't have enough to throw at it" He tapped his controls and a spectral image came on the main viewer that was popping and hissing. "We've hurt it. No one else managed that," he said as they viewed the image of the Zarth demon that Treaze had managed to snag just before it went into warp.

"It went into Warp" Dee said in shock.

"That's something else we didn't know" Cap said his voice firm, "I'd say we did a good job here, well done Treaze"

"Thanks Cap" Treaze said smiling.

"Captain, there are systems down all across the ship. We have warp but only up to warp four." Olaria informed him, having done her systems check and collating the reports from various departments across the ship.

"Where is the closest Starbase" Cap asked.

"Earth" Olaria answered without hesitation, "We're going to need extensive repairs and Star base 16 isn't up to the job, we need Utopia Planetia"

Cap nodded, "Set course to Earth, Warp four, Damage control teams to the critical systems. Get them to the rest to patch up later"

"Yes Sir" Olaria said and set to work.

"Captain? What about the Draconian, they have more firepower than we do" Dee suggested.

"Good idea Commander, call Admiral Janeway, lets see if they'll send them in" he paused shooting her a smile, "That is if you're boyfriend has finished torturing Marines"

Dee nodded with a smile and set to work working the communications equipment herself as the communications officer was on the ground unconscious.

Cap looked around the bridge, "Emergency Medical team to the bridge" he ordered moving to do some first aid himself.

In Orbit

Gabriel and Jacinta were sat in the middle of a summer's day, the sun blazing down on them. Around them was an idyllic wooded park with birds chattering in the trees and in the middle distance there was the splash of water licking the sides of a large lake. Jacinta was leaning back into Gabriel's loving embrace her eyes closed enjoying the moment and the peace it contained.

"Feeling better now?" Gabriel asked her his voice low and intimate.

"Oh yeah" Jacinta told him with a smile, "I just..." she trailed off.

"I know" Gabriel told her looking deeply into her eyes, "I know how you feel. I lost my family because of something I did, something that was in fact my fault. You lost a friend because you couldn't get to them in time. It happens my darling, you can't help everyone you must see that it isn't your fault"

Jacinta was looking at him with a strange sort of half smile on her face, "What did you say?" she asked.

Gabriel smiled at her, "I said that you couldn't help..."

"... Not that" Jacinta cut in, "The bit before"

Gabriel leaned down his lips millimeters from hers, "My Darling"

"I like that" Jacinta said smiling happily; Gabriel captured her lips in a searing kiss that spread into eternity.

"I'm glad," he said once they had broken apart, "You'll be hearing it more often from now on"

"How can I, you're always off chasing after your next haul, Yo ho-ho and all that stuff" Jacinta said with a playful pout

Gabriel smirked, "Not any more"

Jacinta frowned at him, "Why not?"

"I let the last of my crew go today, he wasn't happy about it but he went away a rich man"

"What... What are you going on about?"

"I'm retiring; Going straight" Gabriel told her. "Of course Judy is pissed"

Jacinta pulled herself out of his embrace, "Alright, I've had enough teasing, you and Xander have been teasing me about this Judy, who the hell is it? And what is she to you?"

Gabriel smiled a little sadly, "Judy is my most trusted friend, she looked after me for a very long time through some very dark times. She is someone I would like you to meet actually; I think you'd like her. Because she refuses to leave me to find another captain she'll be there at our wedding, WON'T you Judy" Gabriel called out.

"She's here, I thought this was just us" Jacinta said angrily.

"Judy is everywhere" came a soft feminine voice, "Because you are in Judy"

Jacinta jumped up and round with all the grace afforded to her by her calling and was faced with an attractive female form who appeared to have a tear running down her cheek from one big blue eye.

Jacinta stopped her rant before it even began. She suddenly got the jokes about great lines and how she was the perfect woman, or when Xander was feeling particularly amusing a fast woman. Judy was the ship. She didn't pretend to understand how or why, but she saw a fellow being in obvious pain and did what was natural to her. Jacinta walked forward and gathered the holographic avatar into a hug.

Judy had a shocked expression on her face but returned the hug gently the appreciated the thought behind the action and truth be told the thought if not the physical comfort helped her heal her hurting holographic heart.

Gabriel watched the two most important women in his life bond with a smile. The worrying thought was in his head though, just what was he going to do with Judy. She couldn't just stay in orbit, he had no jobs for her to do and he knew that eventually she would become depressed, as she was quite capable of becoming. Without someone there to look after her he was afraid for her sanity and continued existence.

He just wished she would find another captain, someone to care for her as he had. Bay Towers

The coffee made a glugging noise as Xander poured the brown liquid out of the coffee jug into five sets of espresso cups. Then he smiled at his guest and friends alike, "Okay, dig in and help yourselves to cream and sugar."

Arial Williams nodded her thanks but took the coffee black sipping the scorching liquid and smiled with a nod, "Excellent" she complimented.

"Thanks, its Kathryn's favorite isn't it Seven?" Xander said smiling at the blonde haired ex-Borg sat next to the dark native Indian commander.

"Kathryn?" Arial asked.

"Admiral Janeway likes this blend of coffee's specifically" Seven filled in.

"Oh I see"

"Sorry I keep forgetting, I met her before I was in Starfleet" Xander told her before she objected to the disrespectful way of address.

"That makes sense, just try not to do it on duty or in the presence of her peers. You may find yourself up for court- marshal" Arial told him with a slight smile that Xander was just starting to notice meant she was pulling his chain. The commodore seemed to have a very intricate sense of humor that was also very subtle.

Xander smiled at her since he saw the joke, "That's not the first time that's been threatened" he said his eyes flicked to Chakotay with a look of dislike lurking in their deep brown depths.

Chakotay shifted in his chair, "I've said before I hope we can work past that, Lieutenant"

Xander saw Seven shifting slightly and curbed his tongue for possibly the first time in his life. "Lets start by you calling me Xander, at least when I'm off duty, which I am. Commander"

Chakotay shot him a slightly shocked but pleased smile, "Certainly, you may call me Chakotay"

Xander smiled a thin smile devoid of anything even close to his usual emotion, "Certainly Chakotay, so Commodore what's next for that amazing ship of yours"

Seven virtually leapt for joy, she knew Xander well enough to know that that smile had been forced and that he was doing it for her sake, but at least he had done it. She turned to find that Chakotay was smiling slightly as well and she became slightly worried that he was reading too much into Xander's grudging pleasantry, after all the commander didn't know him like she did.

"Pass the cream" Zandra said to Seven elbowing her slightly to get her attention. Seven reached out and grasped the cream passing it to the dark slayer without a word or looking at her, she was so deep in thought that she didn't see Zandra smirk. Seven's eyes were now fixed on the dark haired and fairly handsome man talking with the attractive commodore. Zandra wondered if she was jealous or just thinking about the little show from before. Zandra didn't have the depth of Seven knowledge that Xander did and as such had no idea what was going through her mind. Chakotay on the other hand she could read well, despite his closed expression she knew that he'd caught Seven looking at Xander and didn't like it. She pitied the man, she also hated what he had done to Seven but that had been explained to her. She still didn't like it, now she just understood it.

The Commodores Commbadge chirruped and she slapped it in the automatic response that all Starfleet personnel soon picked up. "Report" she said her tone once again the clipped caliber of command.

"Admiral Janeway requests we get under way to cover for the Prometheus. She's been hurt in battle and we're to replace them on patrol." Came the heavily accented voice of Captain Francois Do'blay

"Beam me up" The Commodore ordered she nodded a quick goodbye to the group and was free floating quantum particles in a blink of an eye.

Xander was on his feet in a flash moving quickly towards what he now called his office, which used to be a closet. The door slid back behind him and Chakotay turned a bemused glare after it, "What is he doing in a closet?"

"That's his converted office, I would imagine he's making sure the B... Dee is alright," Zandra said tripping over her words slightly. Seven smirked at the almost admission.

The door chime went off startling all of them Zandra quickly made her way over and triggered the lock. The door slid back and a smile appeared on the dark slayer's face. She hugged the visitor "God its good to see you Maria, are you back now?" she asked hopefully.

Maria smiled and hugged her back, "I am, but not in the best of circumstances"

"Oh?" Zandra said walking backwards and allowing the watcher entrance. Maria walked in used to the strange protocol.

"Yes, where is everyone?"

"Seven and Chakotay are in there, Xander's in his office. Jacinta is with Gabriel and I'm right here"

Maria nodded, "We think we've found the Hellmouth," she stated.

Zandra's eyes widened in shock at the proclamation, "I'll get everyone here"

Bay Towers



A table had been erected in the centre of the main room and once every one had arrived they all stood around it viewing the map that Maria had brought. The council had been fighting to find a way to find the Hellmouth and had finally tried such a simple piece of magic that even they could do it. A Divining Crystal over a map and the correct thought to link you to the object to find and hey presto the crystal will show the way. In the case of the Hellmouth it had driven through the map and out of the table the other side. The refracted demonic energies of the Hellmouth itself overcharging the simple magical trickery and making the crystal into a small missile.

There had been a collective kicking of selves in the council chambers after that. The spell so simple had been overlooked; normally it was used for finding lost items. Well they had lost the Hellmouth but now it was found, right in San Francisco under, in fact, the University Campus of San Francisco itself.

"Damn" Xander said expressively, "Right under my damn feet"

Jacinta shuddered "And Mine" she said quietly.

Xander cleared his throat, "OK, then Starfleet" he glanced at Chakotay, "Can get some motion sensors and constant surveillance in there, maybe it will work if we shield the equipment itself. That way we can get a heads up if some demon tries to open it"

Chakotay nodded, "That's a good idea. I'll talk to Admiral Janeway"

"Good" Xander said curtly, then he looked to Maria, "What about that spell you were talking about?"

"We need to do it as soon as possible" she answered him her voice lending the urgency of the situation to the statement.

Xander nodded and looked at Jacinta, "It'll have to be you" he stated flatly, "You're earths slayer I'm guessing the spell will only work with you"

Jacinta nodded her jaw set but obviously worried, Gabriel laid a hand on her shoulder, "I'll be there with you" he told her. She flashed him a grateful smile and Xander nodded at him.

"Zan, Seven and I will guard the perimeter" he said his command persona slipping into place. He started to point out positions on the map they had made "I'll go here, Seven here, I'll be here. Maria and Jacinta will need to be near the centre of this circle here" he glanced at Maria for confirmation and once he got the nod he continued, "Then Gabriel you go here" he pointed to the map again showing a position near Jacinta, "You can't be right next to her or you might put the spell off" he said off of Gabriel's inquisitive glance.

Chakotay cleared his throat, "And I will be where?"

Xander almost growled at him, "If you had come on patrol, you'd be on perimeter as well, since you didn't and I don't know or trust you. You'll be getting the equipment from Admiral Janeway and bringing it to us after the spell has been performed and I call you"

Chakotay's eyes narrowed. Xander held up a hand, "Don't test me on this Chakotay, you're an unknown to me, I won't take you into a possible combat situation, that's final, no matter what hold you have over me. Besides" He flashed his trademark lopsided grin at Seven, "Seven will kill me if anything happens to you. Alright, that's it move out"

Chakotay gave a grudging nod and allowed the team, for that is what they were, Gabriel to leave. Chakotay was not a bad man, he was a fair man and he knew that Xander had a point. He had not yet been on patrol with the others preferring to try to build some sort of communications protocol with Admiral Janeway and Xander. So far he had managed the protocol with Janeway that he immediately started to follow as he set about doing as Xander had asked. Under UC San Francisco

They had arrived quickly, so far only a few scant demons had been encountered and about thirty weak vampires had crossed them but there had been no real defense of the dimensional tear.

They had performed the spell with Maria drawing on Jacinta's slayer essence to power the spell. The deep hole in the ground at their feet had flashed and spat fire around but essentially nothing very impressive happened.

The chanting had stopped with a display of lights and Jacinta had sagged down only to be caught by Gabriel. Now there was nothing. The battle-hardened crew had expected some sort of retaliation, or that some demon would be there to stop them. There had been nothing and that worried them more than the alternative.

Xander walked over to Maria and his look contained a question. Maria read it easily and nodded, "It worked, I'm sure of it"

Xander frowned, "OK Lucy, what the hell are you up to know?" he called out but there was no answer. The dark cavern was silent.

Xander shrugged, "Ok, well, I guess he doesn't care right now." He frowned again, "But why?"

That was a question none of them knew how to answer. The only was who did was sat in the corner of the room on a plush armchair, invisible to anyone else as he was no one knew he was there. He had a wide smile on his face and saluted Xander with a cigar and a brandy snifter. "I love it when they do me a favor" he said, his words lost in the wind. Only Xander felt something off and as he was the last to leave he turned back and glared into the room, trying desperately to find whatever was making his back tingle.

Once outside he felt the tingle again and he searched the area to no avail, again. He knew he could feel someone watching him now, he was just certain of it.

In the shadows Dimitri Dennisoff watched like a wraith of the night unseen as his prey walked out and greeted a Starfleet commander. His target seemed to some of the strangest things, but then from his record he was a demon hunter. That in itself was strange. Soon it wouldn't matter thought because Dimitri was nothing if not excellent at his work. He was hired to kill Xander Harris so Xander Harris would most certainly die.

CHAPTER 08

Marseilles

A call is all it had taken and Xander once again found himself waiting for someone in Marseilles Space port. In fact it was the very same someone he was waiting for. Of course this time, it wasn't shore leave she was on. This time her ship was being repaired after scoring a fairly good hit on a giant demon. Xander didn't think his life was strange, at all, really.

His face split into a wide smile when he saw Dee appear just in front of him in a shower of lights. The moment the transporter let go of her she tackled him into an embrace that he returned with interest. "God, I've missed you" he said feeling surprised at the depth of emotion flowing through his body.

"There's no need to sound so surprised" Dee said with a challenging smile.

Xander smirked at her, "Well, I am. You know my backs only just straightened after blast time"

Dee narrowed her eyes at him, "You're going to pay for that," she said linking arms with him. They bickered all the way out of the port.

Dimitri stepped out of the shadows that seemed to form wherever he happened to want them and spoke into his sleeve, "Target is leaving the Port now. Initiate plan"

*****

Surprisingly, Dee and Xander had not gone straight to the hotel this time. They had walked around until they had found a pleasant bar, the female bar owner had smiled at them and given them a private table winked at Xander and left. The bar itself had a good feel to it, homey in a strange sort of way but the large pool table in the centre of the bar was busy and seemed to have a haze of smoke over it, just like back in the 21st Century. Xander gave it only a cursory glance as he smile into the eyes of his female companion basking in her beauty.

"What?" Dee asked her eyes dancing.

"Just looking at you my darling Dee" Xander said with a soft smile.

Dee blushed slightly and dipped her head, a totally out of character move for her but she was suddenly feeling bashful under his intense and frankly appraising eyes. "What are you looking at exactly, should I slap you" she finally asked her blush gone.

Xander bobbed his eyebrows at her, "If it floats your boat"

Dee reached out and slapped him, very, very softly across the cheek, more of a caress than a hit, she pursed her lips, "No, I don't like the rough stuff"

Xander smiled softly at her, "So, what happened"

Dee smiled, "With what"

Xander rolled his eyes, "The ship, I heard it took one hell of a whacking"

"Yeah" Dee said letting out a breath, "It did at that. From the Zarth demons tail"

"Zarth?" Xander asked, that was a demon he'd not heard of

"That's what Cap calls a Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h" she told him with a smile, "He can't pronounce it for some reason"

"Yeah, Zarth, I like that. Go on, so the tail got you, how?"

"We went at if full impulse then dived down its flank and Treaze let rip with everything we had. All along its stomach, because after you told me about the legend link I did a little digging and apparently that it a weak point. As it turns out I was right but we just didn't have enough to permanently damage the thing"

"Wow, good thinking Dee I'm impressed." Xander quirked a smile, "So Treaze behaving himself with you?" he asked with the ghost of a smile.

Dee smiled, "Yeah, he's just a big ole bear really"

Xander let out a guffaw, "Oh man, that's rich. If he gives you any trouble, remind him about his antennae"

"Antennae?"

"Weak spot on Andorian's, it hurts like hell if you hit them there" Xander said with a smug grin.

"You didn't" Dee said in a shocked voice.

"He dived at me when I arrived on the bridge, I'm no match for an enraged Andorian"

"No shit" Dee told him, "You hit Treaze and your still alive?"

Xander nodded, "Barely"

"Now, I'm impressed" Dee drawled her eyes turning smoky.

Xander returned the look and they looked into each other's eyes for a long time.

Xander cleared his throat, "Wonder if that hotels still got rooms. Think we better check?" he asked with an innocent expression.

Her perfect lips twisted into a smirk, "Oh hell yeah" she said slowly.

Bay Towers

Chakotay was more than a little confused. Xander had left for a few days to meet with this ex-Section agent the relationship with whom he still didn't understand. Seven was antsy, the only word that came close to explaining her current mood and Chakotay was left to sit in Xander's apartment wondering what he'd done wrong. Seven had just blasted him out for a glib comment and it just wasn't Seven, or at least the Seven he knew, to do so.

Zandra was sat nearby in embarrassed silence trying to think of something to say to make any excuse to leave but so far she was coming up a blank.

"Who is this Dee person exactly?" Chakotay finally asked.

"Dee?" Zandra said noncommittally, hoping he would give up and stop talking to her so she could leave.

"Commander Amara, what's going on with her and Xander?"

Zandra let out a slightly annoyed sigh and resigned herself to the situation, "She is the section 31 agent sent to extract information from Xander"

"I know that, just how did she end up getting away with it"

"Xander knew, he knew what she was"

"Go on" Chakotay prompted

"Alright, look he met her shortly..." Zandra trailed off and changed course, "On DS9 before her mission started as far as I can tell. He was a bit down and she was bored, they talked for a long time before she left. Nothing exactly happened but then she gets to earth and finds out that he is her mission. She met up with him in the club we go to, you know the Diablo?"

"No, sorry" Chakotay said, "Wasn't much into clubs when I was on earth last, let alone now"

"Fair enough, not everyone's cup of tea, but we liked it. They danced and well it was a bit of a celebration for us and she ended up getting invited along. Maria had a medallion thingy for Xander to read, he reads ancient Sumerian and a few other dead languages you see"

"Okay, I didn't know that, impressive" Chakotay admitted, "Ancient Sumerian..."

"Yeah, well he read it aloud, a big no-no with that sort of thing. He triggered the spell and some of them got transported to a demon dimension called Pylea. They got split up and Xander ended up with Dee. Well, he's a man and she's admittedly not bad looking" Zandra said grudgingly, "So he fell into her trap and they had sex. He must be good because afterwards she wasn't able to do her job properly. Something about him treating her like a lady or some crap like that"

"You don't believe her"

"I'm biased"

"You like Xander?" Chakotay asked bluntly.

"No, uh, I mean well yes I do he's cute and has... well yeah I would but that's not the reason"

"What is?"

"Just leave it, I just don't like her. Anyway like the big softie he is he gave the information to her willingly he said they could've just asked but he gave her the info anyway. Blah, Blah cut a long story short he ended up joining the Prometheus crew on a rescue mission to Caltair III"

"Oh god" Chakotay said, "Caltair III, he went there"

"Yeah" Zandra said smiling, "He did, and they saw the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h right up close. Anyway they got away and Xander put his neck on the block to save her, but she didn't want to be saved by the fleet until Xander promised her something"

"What?"

"We're not sure but what ever it is he was limping when he got back here after last time and he looked REAL happy"

"What's this got to do with Seven?" Chakotay wondered out loud, even though he was worried he already knew.

"Seven? She was here with me at the time but she doesn't trust The B... Dee anymore than I do, but I think and I think Seven does too that Xander is falling for her and as his friends" Zandra coughed slightly, "Sorry, it was cold in that cave, well, as his friends we care about what happens to him"

Chakotay frowned, "Friends?"

"Uh-huh" Zandra told him with absolutely no expression on her face.

His commbadge saved her from any further questioning, he tapped it and she took her chance to escape. "Chakotay"

"Commander" the voice of Janeway floated back over subspace to him.

"Admiral" Chakotay smiled.

"Is Lieutenant Harris with you?" she asked.

"No, I'm afraid he isn't"

"Do you know where he is?"

"Not exactly, something about Marseilles"

Janeway chuckled, "I see, Commander Amara is on leave again"

"I'm still a little fuzzy on her" Chakotay said knowing that he was now alone and as such free to talk.

"Lets just say that she is important to us but not as important as she is to Xander"

"I'm starting to gather that. Is there a reason you wanted Lieutenant Harris?"

"Yes, could you find him and come to my office, tell him it won't take long but there is the small matter of the Por'aan that I need to discuss with him. I've not been able to reach his comms"

Chakotay's gaze cast around the apartment until it alighted onto the shiny metal of a commbadge, "That's because he has left it behind"

"Tsk, Tsk" Janeway tutted and it came clearly over the airwaves, "I'll have to remind him about communications protocol"

Marseilles

Xander rolled onto his back and let out a happy sigh, "Oh man did I ever miss you"

Dee snuggled into him, "I missed you too" she said her voice quiet.

Xander looked down at the top of her head, "I meant it you know and it's not just about the sex, which I have to admit is amazing" he smirked slightly but hugged her to his side. "I really missed you Dee. I like being around you and you're one of the few people I can relax around"

Dee's eyes shone with unspent tears of joy and a large smile spread over her face. All of which was hidden from Xander's view because of their position. She gave a content sigh, "Yeah, me too" she said.

They lay there for sometime enjoying the feel of each other's naked bodies the after glow of sex warming their bodies as their words warmed their hearts. Both suddenly not feeling as lonely as they had been. Dee may have fallen first but Xander was quickly catching her up and Dee knew it and it made her happy to be alive for the first time in a very long time.

The Diablo

Vinny stood with his hands folded into each other behind his back a blank expression on his face as he looked down into his boss's angry eyes.

"I'm very disappointed in you Vinny" Marshall said his eyes not leaving the man stood before him.

"I'm sorry boss, but she's not on the planet"

"Then where is she?"

Vinny's expression softened slightly, "Maybe..."

"No, I told you, I'd know" Marshall spat, "I know when any of my childe are killed"

Vinny nodded, "We could use the Por'aan, search on other planets"

Marshall snarled, "I don't think so Vinny, they aren't that bright"

"I don't know what else to suggest, did you get help from the master?"

Marshall nodded, then he suddenly screamed out in pain slumping down into his chair. Vinny dived around the desk and caught the much larger man before he fell off his chair, "You Okay Boss?"

"I HAVE FOUND HER LITTLE DEMON" the telepathic voice of the Z'a'r'th'a'aot'h called through space.

Marshall with the help of his lieutenant hauled himself back into his chair, "I'm good Vinny, Thanks" He turned his attention inwards, "Where?" he mentally asked.

"THE GREEN PLANET OF GAS ON THE OUTER RIM OF YOUR SYSTEM SEVENTH OF THE CHAIN"

"Thank you" Marshall thought at the demon and reached up to wipe the blood from his ears. Then he frowned, "What's the Seventh planet of the system, Vinny?"

It would seem like a strange question to anyone else, and an even stranger question to ask the apparent hard man, "Uranus boss" Vinny said in a split second

Marshall quirked a smile, "If that's some sort of a joke" he trailed off still smiling.

Vinny returned the smile, "No boss it's a planet, its got ice rings if that helps, kinda green looking because of the gas's contained within its Gravity well. They used to do ice mining on it for Uranius IV"

Marshall frowned, "What the hell is Uranius IV?"

Vinny's eyes lost focus as he accessed his photographic memory, one of the many assets that made him such an important man to Marshall; "Uranius IV is a type III propulsion gas that was used in some of the older drives before Warp drive came along. They stopped mining it because it was expensive and kept blowing away the miners"

"Thanks Vinny, Thanks a lot, you may of just saved me some time and money on bribes" Marshall said with a feral smile.

"No worries boss. Has that gert bird found her then?"

Marshall laughed, "Gert?"

Vinny shrugged, "I AM from London boss"

"Yeah, well whatever, yeah a friggin great birdie told me" Marshall said with a manic smile, "Now; find out what's around that planet and where they would hide my girl. That 'Gert Bird' doesn't understand what an exact location is"

"Right away boss" Vinny said and left a still smiling Marshall Boyd behind him.

"I'm coming for you Darling, don't you worry" Marshall projected to his lover. Hoping that she could hear him with one of the many strange gifts she had picked up when she had changed. Marseilles

Xander and Dee walked along hand in hand along the seaport with the many pleasure craft moored in it. It could've been any time in the 21st century for the look of the many boats and ships in port. They may be a little flatter, sleeker than the ships of Xander's time, but they were essentially the same. The people had that same browned look of sailors everywhere and the locals apart from their dress were still flamboyantly French.

Xander turned stopping in his tracks, "Fancy a drink?" he asked, "Or a bite to eat?"

Dee smiled at him from under hooded eyes, "Ok, you'll need your strength after all"

Xander smiled back at her and led her into a small courtyard type café and called over the waiter, "Two coffee's and a menu please"

The waiter nodded and walked stiffly away. Xander looked around to find the courtyard was almost empty only a few people were milling around, the patrons of the café sat at their chairs and a violinist in one corner was plying his trade with gusto.

Classical music washed over them from his efforts and Xander found Dee's eyes captivated him. They moved slowly towards each other their lips parted.

There was a strange sound like ripping silk as something past nearby and they both felt a great heat source. Xander reacted to the sound quickly dropping down and throwing Dee and himself to one side as the sniper readjusted and fired into where they had been just seconds before.

"Jesus" Dee swore, "A girl can't get a break" she said reaching into her boot and pulling out a phaser. Then her eyes widened as she saw Xander twisting the heel on his own boot and retrieving a similar phaser.

Xander caught her look and tossed her a smirk, "What?" he asked with all innocence.

"I'm not even going to ask. So action boy now what?"

"Well we have two, no three" Xander amended as he looked around, "Goons closing in on us, MOVE" Xander roared as a phaser beam hit the table they were hiding under and it started to glow. He got to his feet and pulled Dee up with him. They moved away from the table just as it atomized and the beam hit their old location. Then he turned and nailed one man with a stun shot and caused another to have to dive for cover. Then the third man caught a bead on him, catching his arm with a blast.

He and Dee dived around a corner as the square erupted into panic. Xander was grimacing in pain, a phaser shot much worse than a bullet. He pushed Dee forward in front of him covering her body with his own.

"Go quick, get in that alleyway" Xander directed her. Dee followed his directions and they turned into a small alley and sprinted down it.

"Ok, so did you piss someone off, or did I?" Xander asked with a smile as they turned another corner.

Dee turned to him slightly and smiled, "I'm betting it was you, because I'm far to nice"

Xander snorted, "Yeah, right"

"You don't think I'm nice" Dee mock pouted, "Maybe I should go back to the ship" her eyes widened, "Of course" She said and slapped her comms, it tweeted at her but nothing but static came back, "Damn jammed, its got to be Section"

Xander nodded, "Yeah I recon, which means its me"

"How so, I would have thought it would be me" Dee said in confusion dodging some tourist types as they scampered through the slender streets.

"Oh, no trust me, Neychaev put the fear of god up Cove, there is no way they are after you. In fact you should split get to safety"

Dee shook her head causing her luminous locks to dance, "No chance babe, you and me are in this together get it"

Xander frowned at her back; "There's no need to risk you for me Dee"

Dee stopped dead and turned back to him she caught his face between her hands looking directly into his eyes, "There is" she stated her voice full of emotion.

Xander smiled into those dark eyes that had been only an hour ago so dark with passion and now with love?

A beam lanced out and blew out a window just to Dee's left and Xander spun crouching down as he did so. The remaining two attackers following behind were now visible. The third apparently still out for the count. Dee's phaser lashed out at the same time as Xander's and they hit at the same time, one to the head the other to the heart. Xander's was a stun, but Dee's wasn't.

"Oh Damn" Dee said with much humor, "I forgot to reset the level"

Xander looked up at her with a slight smirk, "Oh really, come on, set to stun lets run"

Dee smiled at him her eyes dancing merrily, "Hey, a poet"

"And I didn't know it" Xander shot back with a matching smile.

Dee rolled her eyes just as another shot hit Xander's other arm, "AGHHH!" he screamed out in both pain and frustration. They quickly turned and ran.

Bay Towers

"Sir, I can do that but I should warn you that we no longer have a lock on Lieutenant Harris" a male voice answered.

"Thank you chief, just the last one will do for now" Chakotay said as he exchanged a puzzled glance with Seven's worried one. He had been trying to get hold of the dark haired man for some time, he'd eventually given up calling him and called the Prometheus limping around the earth in orbit as it waited its turn in the Mars Space dock.

Their bodies changed into energy and were shunted up to the USS Prometheus in orbit, then through her pattern buffers on transporter room 3 and shot back down to the planet. As the annular confinement beam let them go they could see the square was in a riot of chaos. Chakotay saw the still form of a man and moved to help him. Seven grabbed his arm stilling his progress. Her eyes were locked on a corner; there was blood on it. They took off at the same time both running flat out. The sounds of phasers reached there're ears and they tracked drops of blood down an alleyway. Then out into another square, there was a larger puddle of blood just past another body. This one was dead as Chakotay's quick check found.

"He's dead" Chakotay informed Seven.

Seven glanced at the dead body a surge of relief that it wasn't her friend. "Come on" she said pointing to another pool of blood with drops leading away from it.

Marseilles

They ran round a corner and pulled up to a dead stop. There was a dark haired man his blue eyes boring into Xander as he raised a phaser. He'd perfectly planned this down to the last detail, why run around after you prey. Study them; learn their reactions and then you can anticipate where they would end up. The only thorn in his side was that the foolish goons that he'd been lumbered with had not managed to split the girl away. It didn't matter to him he was after all a crack shot.

To Dee and Xander time slowed as if mired in syrup suddenly, they watched the phaser lift the sound of the button being depressed seemed awfully loud. Dee started to move before any thought had past her mind. She moved as if all the world depended on her, and in a way it did, but as she stepped into the path of the snail like progress of the phaser beam Xander started to move as well, he tried to move his arms up and round to move her away and out of harms reach. Then time sped up them beam set to tight beam didn't atomize her, it was set high enough to drill through her jumpsuit, through her flesh and then her ribs. The heat scoring her flesh peeling it away from its searing intensity, the beam hit the heat causing it to swell almost instantly and explode. Then it was over as quickly as it had begun and Dee sagged backwards into Xander's arms.

He looked down into her luminous eyes still holding on to a flicker of life. He pulled her into his embrace. She leaned forward as best she could her last wish would not be denied as she managed a chocked whisper.

Xander leaned down to her as she repeated herself knowing that the words hadn't got much past her lips. With his ear virtually a millimeter away from her lips Dee finally admitted to him, what she had admitted to herself early whilst watching him sleep in the after glow of gloriously expended passion. "I Love You". Then her body became limp in his arms.

Xander's eyes suddenly became flooded with salty tears. Then the moment left him her last words in his mind, "I Love You" she'd said, "I Love You", she said "I Love You". "I Love You" "I Love You" "I Love You" "I Love You" the words rebounded around his skull and he felt wrong, he felt dirty and he felt paint he like of which he had never contemplated because he hadn't loved her back and she'd died for him before he had chance to try. A great rage surged through his body.

Dimitri looked down at the heart rendering scene with no interest no emotion showing, or indeed felt. "When your quite finished" he said with a polite cough. Xander's head turned and Dimitri felt something other than pleasure of the kill, something alien to him since the Romulans had finally beaten and drugged it out of him. There was death in those twin brown pools of hate and Dimitri suddenly felt fear. He then mercilessly crushed it down into his subconscious to be examined later.

Xander's arms were bleeding and had felt weak suddenly had infinite strength. He allowed Dee to roll out of his embrace and his legs coiled like a tigers and he leapt.

Seven stumbled to a stop and held her arm out as the stumbled upon a scene of death. It hung in the air, the smell of burnt flesh. Chakotay looked from the once gorgeous and vivacious woman to the struggling men. He drew his phaser and took steady aim.

Seven was wishing that she had a compression phaser rifle with which the blast at the man who'd killed her friend's lover. She knew Xander better than anyone and she knew that right now he would be in a rage that would tower above anything she had seen or even heard about.

Xander saw Chakotay out of the corner of his eye and moved both he and Dimitri out of the phasers beam. Then he punched Dimitri hard causing him to stumble backwards. Before Chakotay could take aim, Xander's own hand swung round and nailed Chakotay with a stun blast from his cricket phaser. The Native American man dropped to the ground but Xander didn't see it, he was already turning back to the dark haired man who had recovered. Dimitri had seen Xander stun the Fleet man and he smiled even as blood spilt from his split lip.

"Xander, what are you doing" Seven cried out shocked even as she ducked down to check on Chakotay.

Dimitri smiled and answered for him, "Vengeance, how lovely, how very emotional" he sneered. He then snapped out a blindingly fast kick that took Xander in the stomach causing him to almost drop. Xander refused to drop even as Dimitri leveled a levy of blows onto him using all of his killer training; none of the dangerous blows landed as Xander systematically turned them to the side.

Xander slowly managed to straighten up taking blows on just about every part of his anatomy only blocking the deadliest ones in order to reserve strength. As his head finally came level and he found himself looking slightly up into Dimitri's cold blue ones he smiled. It wasn't the warm, loving or even the full of humor lopsided smile that people knew and associated with the young man, it was as cold and full of teeth as a shark's.

"Just as a matter of interest, me or her?" he asked starting to focus his blocks more his voice strained and concentrated.

Dimitri paused, "You" he answered he moved to strike again, but he'd taken the bait and now had to take the hook as one of the left and painful variety staggered him with its force. Then another and another as Xander wound up and unleashed his rage in a focused beam of energy. Dimitri tried to push through the barrage but suddenly found himself in a neck lock.

Xander started just ignoring the blows from Dimitri's fists and not blocking his every move. The smiling face of Dee went across his vision, her face as she orgasmed that morning, dirty and blooded on Caltair III and the vision of her moving on top of him on Pylea. Those images and more crossed his vision before it went white, not red; red is several grades below how mad Xander was right at that moment. One final image of that morning and the memory of their conversation and the feelings that had flushed through his body hit him and finally he snapped.

He jumped up and round slightly forcing Dimitri round to face Dee's body then with all the strength he had in his body he jerked his arm upwards and away to the side while he held Dimitri's chin. There was a resounding SNAP. Dimitri's already dead eyes lost what little life they held instantly. Xander let go of the body and let it dump down to the ground like a puppet whose strings were cut, permanently. It wasn't the first time he'd killed but it was the first time he'd done it because he wanted to.

He turned around to find that Seven had roused Chakotay who was now looking at him in shock. Chakotay raised his phaser, "Lieutenant Stop There" he said.

Xander's dark eyes met his and there was nothing left in them of the man who Seven had fallen for, the man who'd befriended the Enterprise or saved slayers. He was Xander the hurt not Xander the brave. He stood still looking like a wounded animal with his breathing rough sounding and his eyes flaring occasionally, then he took a step forward.

"I said hold Lieutenant, Just wait a moment, calm down before you get hurt or you do something you'll regret. Xander, please" Chakotay said.

Xander smiled, it wasn't a pleasant smile, "Why should I listen to you any more Chakotay. You're hold over me died when Dee did" the last two words were spat with venom.

Seven turned to give Chakotay a stunned looked that was totally lost on Xander as he brushed past the Commander and walked into the gathering dusk over Marseilles quickly loosing himself in the lengthening shadows.

Chakotay made a move to go after him but Seven held him immobile, "Seven what are you doing, he's obviously a danger at the moment, he needs to calm down"

Seven glared at him, "He will, without you around it will go much quicker. Now what did he mean about having a hold over him?"

CHAPTER 09

Uranus Station

The attack when it happened was quick and brutal. Marshall's forces appeared out of nowhere, he used the Por'aan cloaking technology and had, had it combined with the new Romulan cloak. He had an almost perfect cloaking system on the SteamRunner class Dripping fang. He'd retrofitted several of the more interesting Por'aanian weapons and his small ship was now a deadly weapon in the new war. So he didn't have to drop cloak even when a cloaked shuttle left the ship, a large runabout class that he had stolen especially for his vessel.

The thirty vampires on board were loaded for bear and some of Marshall's best. There was also Vinny and Marshall himself was present.

The shuttle bay was not shielded as that would show up on sensors so they slipped straight into the base.

They slipped out of the shuttle wearing the latest Por'aan armor, only a few suits had been made so far, it was a similar suit that P'tra had used to steal aboard the Dripping fang originally. It was a shift suit that worked the same way as a cloaking device to hide them from sight. The suits themselves were rare, it took a very long time to get them to work as each suit had to be keyed into a different frequency and then tinkered with for almost a year before it was ready. Due to the unusual fields used they couldn't be replicated and as such there was simply no way to mass-produce them. It made them unviable for most things, except spying and infiltration of a small unit. Which was the way that Marshall had put them to use now.

The guards fell quickly, suddenly jerking strangely; two holes appearing in their necks and then slumping to the floor lifeless eyes staring into the darkness of oblivion.

Keys were lifted from their dead bodies and the doors opened. The vampire rescue team swarmed into the unaware station.

Several corridors away Doctor Manheim turned to his victim, sorry experiment, with a grim smile, "I think it's about time we tested this don't you"

"Fuck You" Carmel spat her trademark madness was gone replaced with anger and fear. "When My Marshall gets here, you are going to be a tasty treat for me human scum" she spat at him, "Not even Vampires treat their prisoners the way you've treated me"

The Doctor wiped the spit form his eye, "Then perhaps your kind will think of that before attacking the federation, Section will do whatever is necessary to remove your threat, this is just the start I can assure you."

"Bastardo" Carmel spat as the doctor tapped a control on his PADD and a shock went through her, her game face slipped away despite her anger. "What have you done to me?"

"Nothing much, I just found out how to switch your demon back to its dormant state" Manheim said.

He picked up a phaser tapped the controls and pointed it at her, "This is setting 16" he said more to the recording devices in the roof than to his captive audience, "If I'm right you'll be dead within a blink of the eye, if not," Manheim smiled, "Then we'll try something else"

"BASTARDO" Carmel screamed at him spitting and trying to claw at him, but still her game face wouldn't come to the fore.

Manheim took careful aim and unleashed the force of the phaser on Carmel Grace, girlfriend of a gangster, then lover of Xander and finally Girlfriend of a Master Vampire the like of which the universe had ever seen. The field around her stood up to the blast as Xander had seen in battle and had shown the marines, but in her human guise the field was burned away in seconds. Then with an abortive scream Carmel Grace was removed from this plane of existence in a flash of light.

Manheim gave a grimly satisfied smile and loaded the data from the experiment into his PADD and walked away to catch his flight.

He was beamed out a few seconds before a vampire team got to him.

Across the station at the very moment of Carmel's death Marshall fell to his knees with a cry of agony that shook the very walls around him. Vinny dropped down next to his boss, "Boss what is it, BOSS!"

"They killed her" Marshall said standing his face set into a grim stony expression he looked into his lieutenant's eyes, "Kill them, kill them all. I want every single being in the place DRAINED" USS Draconian Sector 00124

The goliath vessel slipped through space at maximum warp, 8, chasing towards a call for help. They were seconds away at best, but already Commodore Arial Williams knew they were too late. The video feed from the distress call was shut off in a rush of static and she winced. For her it was a sign of extreme anger. She stood with the grace of a dancer and paced the bridge checking on the status of the ship. Then she tapped her Captain on the shoulder; "I want my little boy ready for battle. This ends" she said with finally.

"Oui" the Frenchmen said simply and with a nod he pushed out of the chair and set to action. A few hand gestures were all that was required to prepare his crew for the mission and the filed into the turbo lift after him.

The giant ship dropped out of warp just in time to watch the Zarth eat the transports warp core in a single gulp.

Commodore Williams sat down in her chair her eyes hooded as she looked at the screen. "Hail it" she said.

Her command was carried out with military efficiency but the Comms officer turned and shook his head. Very little was said on the Draconian bridge, very little was needed to be said and Arial abhorred waste of any kind.

"Captain, are you ready"

"Qui"

"Of you go, and make sure you bring him back in one piece this time." Arial said her tone light but her eyes were grave and still glued to the monster hanging in space.

"Get its attention, Fire Phaser one, 100%," Arial said, Phaser one was the first of the three huge planetary defense Phasers mounted on the ships hull.

There was a slight pause as the huge weapon charged and unleashed the fury of the federation upon the Demon.

The Zarth screamed in agony as the beam went straight through its wing. The planetary phaser so powerful that it cut through the leathery skin of the beast's wings with only a slight pause. It turned towards the source of the beam and paused. This was a truly huge craft and the demon sensed that unlike some of the gargantuan transports that it had consumed, this vessel was no garbage scow.

The tiny form of Draco dropped out of the Draconian belly and set off on its course; using thrusters only it angled out well away from both of the battling giants. Another beam distracted the Zarth from Draco's escape and the huge space faring beast dived towards the larger ship anger leaking out of every pore. It prepared to unleash its fire.

Arial stabbed her finger at the screen, "NOW!"

The large ship titled with the grace of a ballet dancer moving to one side as the Fire tore into its last position. Then Arial called out, "Pattern Omega One Niner"

The Conn Officer didn't need to confirm the order; Arial knew that he had heard her she knew everything that happened on her ship down to the smallest tit bit of gossip about her second officer's latest love affair. The ship started to dive around space dodging bursts of fire from the Dragon like demon.

The Zarth was at a total loss to know how the ship kept avoiding its fire; it shouldn't be able to do that. Nothing that large should be able to move that fast. For the first time in millennia it felt a stab of fear. Then angry at its own weakness it redoubled its efforts.

"DIVE" Arial called out and the Conn reacted without thought sending the ship in a downwards dive, downwards of course being completely relative in space it was in fact heading straight down the beast's body"

"Captain"

"We are ready commodore"

Arial smiled for the first time that day and it wasn't a friendly one, "Now!"

The two ships started to move in a synchronized ballet around the Zarth. Draco had worked its way around the fighting creature while the larger ship battled with the Zarth it had positioned behind and just below the beast. On Arial's command the Draconian was diving fast and unleashing every thing it had, which was more than most planetary defense system. The Zarth screamed and twisted as it was simultaneously strafed from bottom to top and top to bottom. The two powerful ships using Quantum Torpedoes and TYPE X torpedoes, the most destructive weapon known to the UFP ripped into the Zarth's abdomen blowing huge chunks out of him. The Zarth cried out in agony as the smaller Draco started darting in through its actual body and started attacking it from the inside out.

The Draconian flew out past the Demons tail dodging left and right finally seeming to halt in space and turning on its axis it went back for another run. Draco flew out of the beast's mouth backwards firing the entire time finally scoring a hit right into the Zarth's Eyes.

The Zarth bellowed in agony. Then it knew real pain as the Draconian really went to work on it using precision shots at the already raw areas. Draco darted forward in a daring and hair rising move it flew down the demons throat and blew its way out of the thorax area.

The Zarth shuddered once, twice, three times and started to go limp as the great beast finally started to succumb to the beating it was receiving. Then out from the Draconian's belly flew nearly a hundred one man fighter craft loaded with a single Quantum torpedo each they flew in formation along its flanks. The Torpedoes were dropped like bombs a special program guiding them down on to the demons belly and attaching them to it.

Then just as the Zarth thought it was about to die, the attacks stopped. Draco flew back with the fighters and re-entered its mother's womb. The Zarth turned a confused glare at the ship hanging some way back in space. It was just sitting there watching.

Commodore Arial Williams smiled again and even a vampire would have no trouble with calling it a truly feral smile, "Do it"

A hundred charges went off at the same time; triggered by subspace receivers it was instant. The Zarth shuddered under the explosions until finally the sheer explosive force of that much power going off on its skin blew it apart and exposed its fiery core. The dragons fire was then turned on itself as the protective casing around it was blown away and allowing the fire to be unleashed on the beast itself.

The resultant explosion whited out the Viewscreen on the Draconian for a moment rocked everyone aboard.

"Get the damn viewer back" The commodore snapped out, but the screen came back of its own accord gradually fading back to show nothing but space with a few fiery chunks of demon floating around and being deflected off of the shields harmlessly.

Arial allowed herself a satisfied smile, "Mission accomplished!" she said.

She looked around her bridge and her smile grew, "Well go on, I know you want to" she said.

A loud and rousing cheer went up on the dark bridge and was relayed across the thousand strong crewmen and women.

Arial allowed the cheer to continue for a moment and then cleared her throat. IT was like she screamed for silence as the bridge dissolved once again into the paragon of military perfect that it normally was, "Set course back to the shipping lane patrol and get me Admiral Janeway, when you have her put it through to my office, I want to tell her personally" She stood and walked to her office door where she paused, "Well done, all of you" she said and walked through the door.

Starfleet Headquarters

Janeway's jaw dropped, "What?"

"I said that Lieutenant Harris was attacked" Commander Chakotay repeated. He had traveled from the south of France via the Prometheus still waiting in orbit. The journey had been a fast one, but not a pleasant one. He felt the death of a fellow officer, no matter what their original deeds, deeply. Seven was stood silent at his side and had been silent since he had told her just exactly what Xander had meant about having a hold over him.

"Who has the gall to attack a Starfleet lieutenant in broad daylight, no don't answer that I think I already know" Jane pushed a control on her desk, "Get me Admiral Neychaev, urgently"

The admiral's voice floated back over the Comms, "Yes Admiral"

"Admiral Neychaev would you join me for a moment, please" Janeway said her voice tense.

"I'll be right there Admiral" Neychaev said her own voice growing as tense as Janeway's.

"Is he ok?" Janeway asked

Seven stepped forward, "No, but he is unhurt"

Janeway frowned, "I think you had better wait for the Admiral and then I want you both to tell me exactly what happened"

As it turned out they didn't have to wait more than thirty seconds before the diminutive admiral arrived. She was shown straight through to her fellow admirals office and the door sealed behind her.

"Admiral" Janeway greeted her.

"Admiral" Neychaev greeted back, "What's the emergency"

"Lieutenant Harris has had a run in with Section, I believe. I wanted you to hear the whole story so we waited," She nodded towards the tired looking commander, "Chakotay, if you please"

"After your call to me Admiral I finally used the Prometheus to track Lieutenant Harris down. Seven and I then transported to his last known location to find a battle had taken place. We tracked him using spots of blood until finally we came across a fight. Nearby we found a dead man, and at the scene we found Lieutenant Commander Amara dead. Lieutenant Harris was battling the attacker as we arrived and he managed to over power, and" Chakotay trailed off not sure how to continue.

"Go On Commander" Neychaev snapped.

"Lieutenant Harris then killed the assassin. I was unable to detain Lieutenant Harris because short of stunning him I don't think he would've listened"

"Then why didn't you stun him?" Neychaev asked sharply, "Harris is too important a resource to allow him to do himself damage"

"We then transported Commander Amara's body to the Prometheus where the doctor confirmed her death as a high frequency and narrow band phaser shot to the heart." Chakotay went on solidly and carefully ignoring the annoyed Admirals question. "We then reported directly here"

"You didn't answer my question, Commander" Neychaev said in a dangerous tone of voice.

"Because I had no wish to gun down a man who had just lost his...important other" Chakotay said stiffly, "Nor did I relish the idea of stunning an unarmed man when he had done no wrong"

"He killed a man, Commander you said yourself?" Janeway asked thinking that she already knew the answer.

"Self-Defense, and I would testify to that fact," Chakotay said stolidly.

"I see" Neychaev said, "Where is the lieutenant now?"

"Back at his apartment, he arranged a transport at the port. Seven checked herself"

"I see" Neychaev repeated. She tapped her commbadge, "Neychaev to security, go to Apartment 4 Bay towers and arrest Lieutenant Harris for suspicion of murder" once the security chief had confirmed her instruction she turned back to the shocked faces of all present, "Just a precaution and we need to be seen as following the law to the letter. I want Mr. Harris somewhere we can keep an eye on him for a while at least"

Seven narrowed her eyes at the Admiral, "Admiral, that is a very bad idea..."

"... Don't presume to second guess me young lady" Neychaev shot her down, "I know what I am doing" with that the admiral nodded to her peer and left at a fair clip.

"Why Seven?" Janeway asked.

"Xander will not take kindly to it, he is angry and hurting I know Xander he'll end up telling them to go to hell"

"Oh lord" Janeway said rolling her eyes, "You better get there first then" Bay Towers

Xander sat his Trombone in his hand staring at the wall not a muscle moved not an expression crossed his face as internally he was in utter turmoil. He'd killed a man true, but that man had killed Dee the woman he had just started to love and the woman that had declared with her dying breath that she loved him. Tears were forced out of his eyes as he heard her saying those fateful words. He ran the scene over and over in his head. He watched with clarity as the phaser pieced her body, he watched as the blood was choked out of her mouth. He heard the sizzle of burning flesh and the aroma of it still filled his nostrils.

Xander went into a blind rage in the blink of an eye. He lifted it over his head and smashed it into his coffee table spraying glass shards around the apartment. He beat it against the metal frame of the table until it was nothing more than a totalled tangled ball of tubular metal. Then he threw it at the window with all the force he was able to muster. It smashed into the tough durable plastic and sent a large crack from top to bottom. Xander then picked up the table not noticing its weight and spinning once threw that as well. The window became a spider web of cracks but still it didn't break. In his rage Xander took that as a personal challenge and started ripping his flat apart and sending it careening into that window until finally a chair did the trick and exploded out of the window narrowly missing the security team entering below.

They redoubled their efforts and arrived at Xander's door to find it already open a sofa sticking halfway into the hall. The team leader peeked into the flat to find that Xander had sunk to the floor in amongst the wreckage of his home.

Seven and Chakotay arrived in a blaze of light just in time to stop the team from entering. Chakotay turned to the door and held up a hand, "Stand down, we'll handle this"

"I'm sorry sir, I'm acting on the orders of an Admiral of the fleet"

"Just let us handle this and he might come quietly," Chakotay told the man.

The Security team leader battled internally for a moment, "We'll give you five minutes but we're coming in to make sure he doesn't get away, deal Commander?"

Chakotay nodded, "Deal Commander"

Seven meanwhile had walked slowly across to the strangely quiet man, "Xander" she said her voice soft, almost scared as she surveyed the carnage that he had wrought on his apartment, "Xander, are you aright"

Seven backed away slightly as Xander started to chuckle. It wasn't a nice sound, it was devoid of all traces of humor leaving a hollow and haunting death rattle in its place. "She said she loved me Seven. You know she came right out and said it. She wasn't scared to admit it"

Seven winced at his tone.

"I was though, I couldn't say it even as she lay dying in my arms, and I couldn't say three little words that have been bandied around for time in memoriam."

"She deserved only the truth, especially then" Seven said touching his shoulder.

"She deserved better than me. Just ask the computer, I'm a shit aren't I"

"Affirmative" the computer voice told him.

"See even it knows Seven, it knows that I'm as worthless as I was always treated by my loving parents, guess why Seven, can you guess?"

Seven moved around and looked into his dark eyes, "Why?"

"Because I love you Seven, Its you I love. I couldn't tell her because I already loved you" Xander said bitterly.

Seven opened her mouth but Xander stood quickly causing the security guards to level their weapons at him. He stuck his hands in his blood soaked jacket and stared at them, "Hello Commander" he brought out his hand and tossed something at Chakotay, "You wanted those before, now you can have them. I hereby resign my commission at the fleet. You can all go to hell" The hand went back in the same pocket. The security guards flinched.

"I can't allow you to throw away your life over this Xander" Chakotay said, the anger he felt at Xander's declaration of love for Seven was muted by her lack of reply, and the situation that Xander himself was now in.

"Oh yes, but you hold nothing over me now do you. Starfleet broke its promise and Section Killed Dee. So you can all go fuck yourselves. I don't like you Chakotay but I think I would've respected you, if you hadn't made that threat"

Chakotay sighed, "It was a bluff Xander, I, we, would never do something like that, not really. I was desperate to try to gain some control over the situation, I talked with Admiral Janeway and we came up with that, we knew it was a bad plan. We both hated it but you left me with no choice. You ignore the chain of command, that can destroy an army"

Xander let out another hollow chuckle, "Yeah, you say that now. Well either way it doesn't matter" he turned to the security guards as if noticing them for the first time, "What the hell do you want?"

"You're under arrest for suspicion of murder?" the team leader said.

Xander lifted a fist knuckles facing up and then he smiled. The middle finger flicked up as the other hand triggered the small Emergency Transporter Recall that took his quantum-displaced body far away up in space into the waiting arms of Judy.

Starfleet Head Quarters

Janeway walked into Neychaev office angrily, "What the hell did you think you were doing?"

"I'm sorry, what are you talking about Kathryn?"

"Xander Harris, you've sent a team to arrest him for murder, why? What do you possible hope to accomplish?"

"Take a seat Kathryn" Neychaev said her voice sharp.

Janeway flopped down on one of the desk chairs and settled an inquisitive glare onto the admiral.

"Mr. Harris is our only link to Q. We could not allow him to just leave."

"I'm not some lap dog that comes and goes at Xander's beck and call you know" the aggravated voice of Q said as he appeared in a flash of light, "I like him and I would come if he called, but I assure you that I wouldn't just do what he asked like some mindless automaton!"

"Q!" Janeway said her voice not quite disappointed to see him.

"Hiya Katie" Q said with a wink, "Oh, I do like that Admirals uniform on you, very flattering. If I wasn't with Q now, I'd still be chasing you"

In Orbit

Gabriel had stepped into the transporter room to find Xander sobbing his heart out. He had virtually carried the man to the bridge and piece-by-piece had dragged the story out of his friend and one of the few men he respected.

Finally Gabriel sat back on his haunches and looked at him, "So now you have no way to get to your slayer's and you're a fugitive from federation law?"

Xander nodded miserably, he had managed to control his depression long enough to talk to his friend, "But I kinda hoped you might help me out?"

Judy materialized beside Gabriel and smiled, "You know what we were discussing?"

Gabriel nodded a little shocked.

Judy beamed, "I've made up my mind, I want him"

"You'll help?" Xander asked still a little out of sorts he wasn't sure just what Judy was saying.

Gabriel smiled, "Oh I think we can do better than that"

Starfleet Head Quarters

"Stop this nonsense at once" Neychaev snapped finally angry.

"No!" Q snapped out becoming angry himself, the room appeared to warp around him suddenly he looked to be much, much larger than he was and the lights dimmed in the room. Suddenly he wasn't funny or a figure of scorn as both Picard and Janeway had occasionally seen him. He was a virtually omnipotent being and he was angry. "I think it's about time I filled you in on a few things, you idiotic woman, and I really think you should write this down" he snapped his fingers.

Neychaev found herself holding an old fashioned quill over a sheet of antiquated parchment, "Testing, Testing" Q said and Neychaev was forced to commit his words to the pad.

His eyes grew dark and he snapped his fingers again. Suddenly to room was gone and they were in the large award hall, Picard was there looking around in shock as were all of the admirals in the fleet. The room once again seemed to warp and Q was centre stage. Neychaev now sat in an old-fashioned school desk complete with ink well.

"Now look here Q" Picard started.

"Shut up Picard, I'm talking, and I want you here to witness it. You can thrown your insults at me afterwards, deal?" Q snapped.

Picard frowned but knowing the being as he did he kept a hold on his tongue and waited.

When Q spoke Picard quickly found that he was captivated by the tone of voice and words Q used.

"Across thousands, millions and trillions of googolplexes of space I searched for the one. The one that could help to turn back the tide of demonic kind and draw the flailing strings of the army of light together. I sifted through a number of alternate realities that would make you puny human minds explode in effort just to hear it. I tried creating situations that would lead to the creation of the one. I tried everything in my power to find a single being capable of joining together the forces for light. In my frankly impressive power even I nearly failed for the first time.

But then, I didn't, and then I finally found him. Oh and the real screamer, he's a human. He has one of your little brains that can barely cope with the act of standing up straight yet and your arrogant assumption over the other creatures of your planet. He's not even one of your greatest diplomats, for what they're worth. He's not an explorer like dear Jean-Luc. He hasn't got a brain like my darling Katie, nor has he the strength of the Macro headed Worf. Yet he has the qualities that make your pathetic race worthy of a being like mine's attention.

He has bravery and compassion. He will fight against insurmountable odds because he believes in the cause, yet he won't get out of bed early on a Saturday. He's one of your less good-looking members yet he still attracts women that others crave. He's a man amongst men, oh what's the phrase, admired by men and loved by women. That's the one, that's him to a tee. He's far from perfect, but then you all are. He has your race's arrogance, a temper worse than a drunken Klingon and he can hold a grudge better than a Romulan, but then he likes my sense of humor so I can forgive him those minor flaws.

You want to know something really funny, he was shunned by your kind for being different, small beings that you are. He was made fun of because he was gawky and wore bright clothing. Called a geek, whatever that is and still he protected his friends against the bullies of the school, often taking the punishment himself. But he was used to it by then. Its funny to think that the man who was beaten by his drunkard parents to near death on more than one occasion is the one that may well save your pitiful race.

Then he fell in love with a girl, head over heals you could say. He panted after her like you humans tend to during your 'adolescence' if you ask me you never really grow out of it. Bah, you humans are so stupid; you look at only the surface never truly understanding what is beneath it. If you did perhaps that girl would've seen what was underneath the geek clothing and really rather funny jokes, (I like them). But she didn't she went for a good-looking vampire. Oh wait, I almost forgot. He lost one of the friends that he had always protected and as such he felt guilty and responsible for his death. Our hero himself killed the thing that inhabited his friend's body, but he didn't stop there. He continued to fight, even when others were pushing him away from the fight. He then, single handed, saved your tiny ball of soil from the demons, did anyone thank him. Puh, not for nearly three hundred years he wasn't.

Sometimes I don't know why I bother with you I really don't, but still, I did. Our hero came to the moment of death because he became arrogant and stupid. A drunk stabbed him and I took my champion and I set him on the way. Then he really showed his colors and gave me hope for your pathetic race and all of the humanoid races across the universe. He stepped up to the mark and showed his heart, taking on the mantle of my Champion like something much more impressive than most humans. He made friends with some of the most powerful people in the galaxy and reached out and reached the champions for light starting to pull together the threads of this intricate tapestry.

Being human, he's made mistakes, and he'll make them again. And being humans you won't understand what he is trying to do until it's too late. I can only say that without cohesion the enemy will divide and conquer quickly and your race with die with a thousand more, perhaps even more than that as the demons swarm across the universe like the plague they are. But then, I've already told you too much.

So be it, I don't care, I'm Q. I don't have to care. I'll be here after your sun has become a red dwarf and I'll still be here to watch it dwindle as it looses all of its power. In fact, I'll still be here when the galaxy finally collapses in on itself once again and the whole show begins anew with new players on my board. So even if the demons do overrun the universe, I'll be here. But demons are so boring, they only want to pillage, rape and destroy. Even though you too are a party to such things, at least you build. Demons have no Picasso, no Shakespeare, and no Gilligan's Island. Without that I'm not sure that I will want to still be around.

Make no mistake, I've seen you fail, I've seen what happens if you don't listen, if you push my champion away for ever I know exactly what will happen. So I am here to tell you, don't do it. For once, listen to some advice infantile humans. Listen to your betters and your elders. I've watched this show and I don't want to watch it again. It was boring...

I will say one more thing though, and make no mistake, be careful what you do with my champion, for he is MY champion, or you'll face me and well, you don't want that. Unless of course you want to spend eternity inside of a gas giant or perhaps a black hole I'll think of something suitable to the crime trust me on that.

So look after The One, My Champion, take good care of the human known as Xander Harris. Or watch as your nation falls, the seas turn black the sky red and showers of lightning fell your tallest buildings, because I assure you this is the run up to Armageddon"

:::: The End ::::

CHAPTER 10, EPILOGUE

Set Two Weeks After Chapter 09 P'Trallian System

The main planet of the P'trallian system is the largest and the eldest planet in the system. It is also the one of the oldest in the quadrant, a fact unknown to many, as they do not know that it even exists.

It was once covered in lush vegetation, tall grasses spread as far as the eye could see and a form of animal evolved on the planes of P'Trallier to become the dominate species of the system spreading across the planets quickly.

Only one planet in the system had a dimensional tear known as a Hellmouth and as befitted it status as one of the eldest planets, it was a very large and powerful one. Not as powerful or as large as the key, but then none were. It was however one of the last to be activated. The spirit of Vampirism left the safety of hell and was cast into the air to find a host.

Across the other side of the planet at that very same time a female tossed and turned in her sleep as sudden nightmares plagued her sleep.

Unlike the males, Female Por'aan have no antler, they are smaller and have a much softer skin than their male counter parts. They are still dark skinned with the haunting purple eyes of their race; their faces are less angular but still striking in appearance. This female would be considered a great beauty among her kind and many other races would find her attractive as well.

A spirit was imbued into her sleeping body and set to work enhancing her body giving her great power, the power to hunt the demons, the vampires and to protect her world. Thus the Por'aanian slayer was called.

Star Fleet Headquarters

Janeway sat with Neychaev at her side her mind racing with a million thoughts. Two weeks had passed in a blink of the eye to her. The Admiral at her right had only just gotten over her humiliation at Q's hands. Neychaev was a proud woman and hadn't taken the beings acts well at all. The speech that Q had given to an enforced assembly of the might of the fleet and Federation had fallen on deaf ears. It had been laughed off as a joke from the god of lies. No one had taken it seriously bar two of the people present, the two that had fought long and hard over the intervening two weeks to get the others to believe. The two that had dealings with Q before and knew him only Janeway and Picard had believed him and taken him seriously. They knew the jokester Q and they knew the earnest Q. What they had seen was the deadly serious Q and it had scared both of the hardened officers to the very depths of their soul.

Armageddon was indeed coming and Xander was indeed important in the up coming war. Q himself had told them but their attempts had also fallen on deaf ears.

Now Neychaev seemed to be on some sort of witch-hunt. Xander had become the galaxies most wanted in an instant and Neychaev herself was leading the hunt.

"Have you seen Mr. Harris at all in the last two weeks" Neychaev demanded.

Mrs. Maria Michaels stood firm her eyes flashing fire at the Admiral, "I have already told you, no" it was the truth she hadn't seen him and didn't expect to for some time. She had of course seen Gabriel and knew the full story from him.

"Have you had any contact with Harris at all?" Neychaev also demanded.

"No" She hadn't at least not directly, she knew that the Betazoid standing nearby would read her as telling the truth and she had half a dozen Transponders attached to her body relaying her bodily actions to a tricorder in the hands of a fleet doctor. So she was being very, very careful what she said and thought. She was a well-read woman and she was currently signing loudly in her head to put the telepath off.

"What of Jacinta Bali or Zandra Cove?"

"Disappeared about a week ago, I don't know where they are either. I am tiring of this Gestapo interrogation, I am well aware of my rights admiral and I am finished here" Maria finally snapped.

"You refuse to co-operate" Neychaev accused her.

"I have already answered all of your questions twice, this is the third time round. I tire of it" Maria snapped back her ire flaming. "I've co-operated quite enough"

Neychaev nodded, "Very Well Mrs. Michaels, then you may leave, if you do hear from Mr. Harris I expect to hear from you"

Maria gave her a thin smile, "That's nice" The Golden Gate Bridge

A man with dark hair stood leaning over the rail on the pedestrianized Golden gate bridge. His hands were in a steeple in front of him. He wore a long dark jacket with dark trousers and dark boots. Dark glasses covered his eyes hiding the brown orbs that had often glinted with humor.

Two weeks had passed since his sudden fugitive status and Xander wasn't much enjoying the life of a pirate. Not that he had actually done any privateering he had mostly stayed hidden, the only thing he had stolen were his two slayers Jacinta and Zandra as well as some supplies from his apartment and books from Maria. He hoped she still didn't know about those otherwise he was in real trouble. He had become acquainted with his ship. Gabriel had reaffirmed that he was going straight, that he was tired of revenge and had lost the taste for it. He just wanted to settle down a little, enjoy time with his girl and not have to worry anymore. Gabriel it turned out was a wealthy man in the only true currency left in the system, Gold Pressed Latinum.

So Xander and Judy had spent a lot of time talking together and he found that he liked the ship and the ship liked him, Judy herself might look like a knockout woman was totally unlike any woman Xander had met and as a true AI she didn't exactly had a gender as such but the programmer who had created her had found it necessary to make her a woman, something about maternal instincts.

The footfall of a boot alerted him to an interloper on his thoughts and he turned with a smile, one hand flicking slightly and placing the Transporter Recall into his palm.

"Well, Well, Well, Look who it is Vinny" Marshall said with a smile, "If it isn't lover boy"

Vinny smiled, "Hello Lover Boy"

"Oh great its dumb and incredibly dumb" Xander drawled leaning back on the rail with an uncaring pose, "What do you two want?"

"Actually, nothing I was just out for a walk, I do so love the sun you know" Marshall replied moving and leaning next to Xander in a mirror image of his pose.

Xander turned to the vampire, "How's it going" he asked even as his mind was screaming at him that this was dangerous not to mention surreal.

"Not bad, not great either. Come to think of it you can give you fleeter friends a message for me" Marshall snarled, "I'm gunning for them now"

Xander smiled laconically, "Why?"

Marshal lost the snarl and strangely looked saddened, "They killed my girl"

"Carmel?" Xander asked in shock.

"Yeah" Marshal said simple.

Xander let out a long breath, "Yeah, mine two"

Marshall's eyes flicked over to the human in surprise, "What?"

"Section 31 did it, both I guess"

"Section 31 hey, thanks for the info"

"No problem, they're scum feel free"

"I'm going to gut them and string them up" Marshall informed him.

Xander shrugged, "I don't give a shit"

Marshall looked at him, "What?"

"I said, I don't give a shit" Xander spat out his face angry and a snarl on his lips, "I may just beat you too it"

"We on the same side all of a sudden" Marshall turned to his lieutenant, "He read like a vamp"

Vinny pulled out a tricorder, "No human"

"Could've told you that"

"Damn" Marshall said with obvious glee

"We're not on the same side asshole so don't get your knickers in a bunch. I'm still going to kill you as well"

Marshall let out a genuinely amused laugh, "Damn Lover Boy, I think I actually could've liked you"

"I don't care" Xander replied.

Marshall laughed again, "That's why"

"Tell you what you can tell your boss something for me"

"Sure" Marshall said with a shrug.

"I'm going to kill him" Xander said.

Marshall barked out a harsh laugh, "Yeah, right!"

"I mean it Marshall, I really, really mean it. I know that somehow he got Dee killed and for that, I'll kill him. I don't know how he did it, but I've run it though my head over and over again. There is no way that Dee should've been able to get in front of that shot"

Marshall half frowned, half pursed his lips in thought, "Well, I'll pass it along, going to do the same for me"

"Hurt any of my friends and I'll kill you as well Boyd, but yeah what the hell I'll get the message to them"

Marshall smiled, "Good talking to you man"

"I can't say the same" Xander said standing straight and turning away.

"I could kill you right now, you know that right" Marshall called to his retreating back.

Xander replied but Vinny couldn't make it out, "What'd he say boss"

Marshall turned his smile onto Vinny, "He said, 'I don't give a shit" Marshall let out a fully-fledged belly laugh that continued for some time. Betazed

A slender man one of the close personal friends of the redoubtable Mrs. Troi herself looked into the eyes of a terrified young girl, "Hello Slayer" he hissed he face contorting into the guise of a demon.

"Frieal! What the hell are you doing?" called out Lwaxanna as she walked around the corner of the diplomatic party.

"Frieal is dead" Frieal answered and hissed at her before running away.

Mrs. Troi watched the slender young woman slump down the ground in a heap.

"Mr. Homm, if you please" she said imperiously and the ubiquitous manservant appeared and picked up the limp girl.

"Take her back to the house, I'll just say good by to Wyatt and I'll be along"

The tall man nodded not saying a word, as was his way.

From a nearby tree the slender and somewhat unusual vampire that had been Frieal looked down at the scene and sighed, "Nearly had her" he said with a smile. He turned his abilities and talents to scouring the area for a new meal latching onto a weak- minded young girl and smiling.

He dropped out of the tree to the ground and walked towards his prey. As he grew near the lone woman turned to face him with a faint smile on her face that became strained the nearer he came. He reached out and grasped her around the neck smiling into her eyes. As soon as his skin reached hers her eyes started bleeding and a line of deep crimson blood ran out of her ear. Frieal leaned forward and licked a line of the life liquid and vamped out.

Then he looked up with a smile and in a flash sank his fans down into sweet flesh and the blessed refreshing liquid poured into his mouth bringing with it the copper taste he so enjoyed since becoming a vampire. Then he delivered the final blow as he drained her body he drained her mind.

The Troi Residence

Lwaxanna Troi looked into the typically dark eyes of the young women lying on her couch and brushed her mind with hers, "What happened" she asked.

The girl looked at her with big frightened eyes, "It was terrible. I had so many nightmares about creatures like him. I saw others like me younger I think. They fighting terrible monsters killing and often being killed by them as well, it was so horrible to see one of my nightmares made flesh"

Lwaxanna Troi nodded and patted the young woman's hand, "What is your name little one?"

"Am'Ritha"

"Well Am'Ritha I am Lwaxanna Troi"

"Daughter of the fifth house, holder of the sacred challis"

"Well done dear" Mrs. Troi smiled.

"It is an honor to meet you Mrs. Troi"

Lwaxanna Troi smiled in reply, she knew just knew what was happening. It took her a moment to realize the source of the knowledge. Her mind had touched dark memories on a ship. The Enterprise and her daughter and Xander Harris she had helped her daughter work out if Xander was a danger to the federation. He knew what was going on here, or he would if he knew.

Lwaxanna reached out and tapped her LCARS panel, "Get me Captain Picard" she demanded of the machine. She knew just who to call to get in contact with Xander, his old captain.

"What are you doing?" Am'Ritha asked

"I'm calling in an expert my dear, he will help you have no fear, and it's a young man about your age actually. He saved my life you know"

"Really?" Am'Ritha asked her voice hopeful.

Mrs. Troi smiled warmly, "Yes Really, if anyone can help he can"

"Is he a Captain?"

"No, that's just the first step in finding him"

The image on the screen danced for a second and then clarified into the handsome face of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, "Ambassador Troi, what an unexpected pleasure"

"Of course it is" Lwaxanna Troi gushed, "But isn't it always Jean-Luc"

"Something like that Ambassador Troi, what can I do for you"

Lwaxanna narrowed her dark eyes at him for a moment before the curious expression was replaced with a smile, "I'm looking for that delightful Xander, do you happen to know where I can lay my hands on him?"

Captain Picard shifted in his seat, "No I'm afraid I don't"

"You're lying to me Jean-luc" Troi said with that same narrow eyed look, "I may not be able to read you from here but something funny is going on I can see it in your face"

Picard grimaced at her, "I am unable to talk Mrs. Troi at this time"

Troi once again narrowed her eyes, "Very Well" she said and the screen snapped off.

"Curiouser and Curiouser" she quoted.

"What is it Mrs. Troi, will this Xander be unable to come?"

"I don't know dear, I really don't know" she tapped the control, "Get me my daughter"

The image was almost instantly available and her daughters face was full of worry.

"Whatever is the matter Deanna?"

"Its Xander, Admiral Neychaev has put out an order for his arrest"

The End

You have reached the end of "Oh There You Are!". This story is complete.

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking