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Mutare A Tempus Linea

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This story is No. 6 in the series "Prometheus-Verse". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: PVerse 06 - Things are about to go farbot. All aboard for a new type of ride, Story six in the Prometheus-Verse

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Trek > Multiple SeriesLucifaelFR18129,848186,00922 May 0422 May 04Yes
TITLE: Mutare A Tempus Linea

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: Things are about to go farbot. All aboard for a new type of ride, Story six in the Prometheus-Verse

FEEDBACK: All Feedback is gratefully received and I do listen

DEDICATION: To Vincent, my son. May Gene Roddenberry's vision come true so that you may see humanity, as it could be?

KEYWORDS: BtVS, Star Trek TNG, Voyager, DS9

CATEGORY: Adventure/Crossover

WARNING: Character Death's

RATING: R

DATE: 28/01/04 - 02:51:58 PM

WORD COUNT: 29,772.

BETA READ: Merlin The Enchanter + Technobimbo.

AUTHORS NOTES: This story has more kinks than a slinky, please bare in mind that there is more to come.



Mutare A Tempus Linea

"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 here.

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 his 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"



CHAPTER 01

A swish of wind swept through the large building. Two large doors were either ends of the warehouse, thus creating a virtual wind tunnel. The floor used to be immaculate; pristinely clean as all things Federation seemed to be. Now there were several piles of dust lying around ruining the pristine look. They were the after effects of a battle that had cost several demonic beings their foothold on this plane.

Xander looked around at the men surrounding him and smiled. The security team had tracked him onto the planet he had to give them that at least they were good trackers. Of course he'd only be with them for a few more minutes. Six men were arrayed around him all wearing the security colors and holding compression phaser rifles pointing at him.

They had trapped him in this warehouse, luckily they had only found him after he had dispatched the vampires and cleared house. Currently Zandra was waiting for him on Judy. It had all started because they had heard about a new vampire raising hell on Mars. So he had picked up Zandra and they had hunted down the vampire. Unfortunately it had taken more than the usual amount of asking around and that, it appeared, had been the error.

"What are you smiling about?" The team leader asked, at least Xander assumed he was he'd certainly done all the talking.

"Not much" Xander said still smiling in a most unnerving way.

"No really, tell us I know the guys and I could do with a laugh, right" he said looking around at his goons.

Xander groaned as the security team all nodded in agreement. It wasn't bad enough that the guy was standing way too close to a prisoner he was holding he was trying to engage him in conversation. Well, it was lucky for him at least.

"Well, it's like this buddy. You see in less than thirty seconds I'm going to be walking out of here"

The large man laughed, "Oh really, do tell"

Xander kept his smile in place, "Well, I'm going to start with you, then that guy there" he nodded at the man on the left, we'll call him 2, the leader being 1, "is going to help me knock out that guy there" he nodded again, at idiot number 3 to the extreme left of 1, "Then I expect you'll be shooting at me, so I'll have to break that guys arm" Number 4, standing just behind number 1. "Then I'll take the rifle and hit him", Number 5 just behind Xander on the left, "over the head with it. Then that guy there", Number 6 standing behind Xander and to the right, "Will shoot you. Then I'm, going to moonwalk out of here" Xander's smile got even brighter. He'd always liked that movie.

The team leader let out a guffaw, "Oh really. So you're cuffed with state of the art cuffs with an ankle bracelet on that will shut your central nervous system down as soon as I hit this button" the man lifted a tricorder.

"Oh, that's because he" ... Number 3 ... "Will shoot it off"

"And the cuffs?"

Xander smiled, and brought his hand around sans the state of the art device. "What cuffs?"

The security team to their credit only boggled for a moment but it was time enough for Xander to bolt out of his seat and smack the tricorder out of number 1's hand. The other team members all armed their weapons and Xander ducked away from number 1 quickly stamping on his foot and driving his head upwards knocking him cold.

Xander dived at number 2 as a hail of stunners rained around him and nearly caught his shoulder. He hit the other man in the mid section, lifting and throwing him at Number 3 both went down in a tangle of limbs. Xander didn't pause as he wheel-kicked Number 4 in the face grabbed the rifle, there was a brief struggle but Xander used an arm lock and the leverage of the rifle itself to break Number 4's grip on the rifle and his arm in the process.

Not having time to turn the phaser round he ducked around the barrel of the rifle and triggered the heavy stun, taking out number five. He then swung it and himself round and caught a quick bead on number six, stunning him and ducking a beam himself. A few quick taps on the control pad of his rifle and he reconfigured it for a heavy stun on a wide aperture. He stepped back slightly and fired knocking everyone left conscious out.

He walked over to a nearby table that held his weapons and stuffed them into pockets and sheaves around his body.

Xander looked down at the anklet, and shrugged "Oh well can't have everything" he said and tapped the rifle again this time a high fine beam emerged and he carefully cut the anklet away. He tossed down the rifle and smirked. Then moon walked out backwards to the door.

He grabbed his crouch with one hand, twisted his feet round swiveling his body in the process and stabbed the air with a pointed finger, "OW! I'm bad"

In Orbit Around Mars

When Xander arrived in the Transporter room he found that Zandra was waiting for him her arms crossed, a foot tapping and an annoyed expression on her face.

"What?" Xander asked with a smile.

"We watched the whole thing using thermal imaging, was the dancing really necessary?" Zandra demanded.

"Oh hell yeah, it wouldn't have been possible otherwise" Xander said shooting her a smirk.

Zandra shook her head, "Will you ever grow up?"

"Oh god, I hope not," Xander said walking out of the transporter room with Zandra hot on his heels.

"You just had to tell them what was going to happen didn't you?"

"I didn't" Xander said.

"We heard you, Judy opened your comms, we heard that ridiculous little speech about 'Moon Walking out of there'"

"Well, I didn't completely manage it. You would think that since I told them what I was about to do that they would have known what to do?" Xander said with a frankly confused expression that was as false as it was insincere, "I expected better of them"

"You're taking to the life of a fugitive far too easily" Zandra accused, "If I didn't know better, no scratch that, I KNOW that you're enjoying it"

"I am not" Xander shot back, "I'm just..."

"Yes"

"Brightening up an otherwise boring day"

Zandra rolled her eyes, "Are you trying to get yourself killed"

Xander didn't answer her and walked into his quarters, "Look, Zan" he said as he stripped off his jacket and started on his shirt. Underneath Zandra saw he had an ugly bruise running from his shoulder down to the small of his back.

"Ouch, that vampire really got you didn't he" she cut in.

Xander frowned, "What?"

She walked over and ran her hand down his back tracing the bruise causing Xander to wince slightly, "That"

"Oh, that, actually not sure how I got it"

Zandra rolled her eyes again; she seemed to be doing that a lot around Xander lately, "Well, duh! Do you think it was when that vampire threw you off of the catwalk onto those boxes?"

Xander nodded with a smirk, "Could very well be," he said in a doh, tone of voice. "Anyhoo! I was going to say before you sexually assaulted me..."

"I did not!" Zandra said angrily.

Xander turned and winked at her, "As I was saying, Zan..." Xander paused just in case, "I'm not doing anything more risky than say; oh I dunno, fighting vampires and demons. So I really don't understand what the problem is"

Zandra smacked his bare shoulder half-heartedly and stomped over to the door, "You have people that care for you Xander, is that such a terrible thing?"

Xander smiled softly, "No, it isn't"

"Well, then don't complain when someone shows some concern for your welfare"

"Sorry Zan." Xander said earnestly then he got a glint in his eye, "Come ere give us a hug"

"Eww, no way you're all sweaty; not to mention half naked"

Xander shrugged, "Lost your chance" Xander said walking into the bathroom.

Zandra glowered after him, "Pig!" she called out and stormed off.

Xander smirked and let the sonic shower wash over him and ease away the muscle tension from his exertions, "Oh man that hits the spot"

He allowed himself a few minutes before stepping out of the cubicle and dressing into a clean set of clothes that were identical to those he had taken off.

Then he loaded up; three stakes in special sheaves either flap of his jacket. One wooden Dagger on the left, a silver and blessed one the right went in. His katana was sheaved into the back of the jacket, the handle sticking out next to his head. He checked his boot to find that the cricket phaser was still there as was the communicator and drugs. He also placed an auto recall transporter transponder there and one into the cuff of his jacket. Then he looked into a mirror and flicked his hand through his hair. He frowned and tried again, but there was still a little piece of hair sticking up at an odd angle, finally he shrugged and gave up. He walked over to a table and pushed two stakes into the special wrist supports one either arm. Then he shrugged purposefully a few times to make sure he was secure and smiled.

Whistling a jaunty tune he walked out of his quarters and made his way down the hall to the small bridge. He hadn't bothered getting a crew, Judy was more than capable of running herself and holographic projectors were all over the ship. As long as a human was onboard to deal with an emergency that she was unable to deal with she was fine. As such Xander had spent a lot of time alone in the small ship and found that he liked it that way now. Judy herself was good company and never tired of talking about just about anything. So he was fine. Sometimes he had Zandra join him for missions such as this. Sometimes he had Jacinta along instead, although Gabriel was also present for those trips. It wasn't that Gabriel didn't trust Jacinta with Xander or vice versa, it was more that the two were virtually inseparable.

He arrived on the bridge to find two female forms waiting for him in almost matching poses, one hand on cocked hip eyebrow raised with annoyed expression.

"What did I do now?" he asked with a jovial voice but his eyes glittered slightly dangerously. There was only so much mollycoddling that he would allow, as much as he really enjoyed it.

"The same" Zandra said, "We're worried about you"

"Ganging up on me now are you?"

Zandra changed tracks, "Talked to Seven lately?"

Xander's eyes were now defiantly dangerous, "Can't say I have," he said his posture stiffening.

"She misses you, you know"

"I know" Xander sighed the anger receding, "I miss her. I just can't see her right now, she reminds...reminds me about Dee"

"That's not her fault" Zandra said Judy nodding along with her.

After chuckling Xander shot Judy a lopsided smile, "Zan is not a good role model Judy"

"Hey" Zandra said, "And hey, I'm talking to you"

"I know but she's copying you, it was funny" Xander smirked.

Zandra counted to ten, "Just talk to her"

"What Judy? I just did" Xander said

Zandra just looked at him.

Xander looked into her eyes and she saw, just for a glimpse, some of the pain just under the surface from Dee's death and his self-imposed guilt. "Look" She said, "I didn't like her and as such I didn't know her that well, but I KNOW that Dee would've hated to see you like this. Because we all do"

Xander breathed evenly for a few minutes, "Ok, soon, I promise"

"You're taking me back to earth right now aren't you?" Zandra said with a dazzling smile.

"You are terrible," he told Zandra with a smile and a shake of his head.

Judy beamed at him, "What am I?"

"You're the best Judy" Xander said with a smile. Gabriel had found a little time last time Xander was on earth to give him a few tips on how to deal with Judy. She was the most advanced ship of her kind; able to deal with just about any situation but personality wise she was still childlike. Her avatar may be of a thirty year old looking woman, but her mental and emotional responses were still very child like. It was one of the things Xander liked about her and found endearing as well. So he treated her a little like a child, but not so she would notice, lots of encouragement was important Gabriel had told him and so Xander did what he did best. He made friends with the ship, encouraged her when she was down and joked around with her when she was up. Unfortunately she also had a very individual sense of humor that easily competed with his.

Judy beamed even wider.

"Yo'm aquí Yo dyod Yot"

The Head Quarters had moved after Xander's enforced exile, they had moved all the way across the town around the bay well away from Starfleet in Gabriel's home. It was a large house, not big enough to be called a mansion but big enough to be called big. Looking out onto the bay Gabriel had thoughtlessly given all of them rooms in his home, his retreat away from the madness that was his life. The house itself was called Yo'm aquí Yo dyod Yot, Gabriel's idea of a joke. Translated it meant "I'm here; I did it"

He eventually ended up calling it "Yo-Yo" for short, for two reasons, one the full name was one hell of a mouthful and lastly because he used to be up and down to space from there like the proverbial.

He was currently sat in his spacious living room with Jacinta at his side talking to a worried looking Maria. "So Admiral Neychaev is somewhat manic about finding Xander then" Gabriel asked.

"She is, and it appears that Admiral Cove has jumped on the band wagon, trumpeting that old bunkum about Xander being an enemy of the federation, dangerous individual etc" Maria spat out her eyes flashing, "How they can go from loving him to hating him I just don't understand"

"He crossed the wrong Admiral in disappearing like that, Neychaev is well known for her hard line tactics she's just doing it with Xander now, before even Picard has suffered" Gabriel told her, "She may calm down when the facts come to light but I'm guessing that Cove has disavowed all knowledge of any action against Xander or Dee"

Maria nodded, "That he has"

"How goes the UCW" came a familiar voice from the hallway. Xander walked into the lounge wearing his now ubiquitous uniform of black and sword. Zandra was at his side looking a little annoyed.

"Luckily it is, still going that is. I had worried that without you we would have difficulties but Neychaev herself has assured me that she still wants to keep going"

"I'll bet. She probably wants to make sure that the slayer's are at least within the fleets grasp if needed. She needs your expertise to do that" Xander said walking over to a chair and flopping down into it. He reached over and grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl on the coffee table, "You mind?" he asked Gabriel.

Gabriel shook his head "Go ahead, by my guest..."

Xander bit into it and grimaced.

"...If you like wax" Gabriel finished with a large smile.

Xander smirked at him, "Thanks for letting me know," he said ironically.

"How's Judy" Gabriel asked whilst Maria was frowning in thought.

Xander smiled, "Missing you Captain Masters, but I'm trying to convince her that you're not worth it"

"Oh, thank you I am so pleased" Gabriel drawled with a smile. Xander was one of the few men he actually liked anymore.

"My pleasure" Xander told him cheerfully.

"If the UFP and the fleet really want to control the slayers, when do you think they would cut in as it were?" Maria asked her tone thoughtful.

"Oh, I didn't mean it like that, the UFP isn't like that, Neychaev is just hedging her bets" Xander shrugged, "It's a good plan"

"Oh, good" Maria said in relief then she frowned again, "What if she isn't?"

Xander pursed his lips then grimaced and pushed a lump of wax out onto his lip flicking it off with a finger, then he regained his thoughtful look, "If Lucy gets things moving soon I would expect her to move in then. For now she'll just sit back and let you do all the work. It wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan"

Maria favored him with a dazzling smile, "Xander..."

"I'll ask Judy, but I'm sure she'll be okay with the idea" he said looking inquisitively at Gabriel who nodded his agreement.

"Good, that's one down. That is if you don't get yourself caught"

"Not even close to happening" Xander said with a cock sure smile.

Zandra cleared her throat and glared at him.

"You want to get some water for that throat" Xander drawled laconically then he sat bolt upright and clapped his hands, "I'll have to love you and leave you, things to do"

"Oh no, wait right there buster"

"Too late" Xander before his atoms were recalled to Judy.

Zandra stomped a foot, "Damn that...That... Man!"

"What is it?" Maria asked.

"You've been busy so I doubt you've noticed," Jacinta said, "But Xander's not...Xander"

"How so" Maria asked worriedly.

Zandra sighed and perched on the arm of the chair next to her sister slayer, "He's reckless"

Maria smirked, "Oh, that sounds like Xander to me"

Zandra smiled, "Okay, maybe you're right but he's more reckless than normal and if you try to show him any concern..."

"... He blanks you" Jacinta agreed. "Or fobs you off with false platitudes"

"I knew that alphabet soup would help" Gabriel said with a cheeky smile. Jacinta elbowed him in the ribs and stuck out her tongue at him.

"And then there's Seven" Zandra continued.

"What about Seven, you know I haven't seen her in a while. I must visit" Maria said

"Well, you and Xander both, he avoids the topic like the plague but I nailed him down with the help of Judy earlier. He says that Seven reminds him about Dee. Not of, just about" Zandra said heavily.

Maria was thoughtful, "I wonder how Seven is taking it?"

Bay Towers

He appeared in a twinkle of lights outside the door to number 5 and fidgeted nervously. Then Xander reached out and hit the door chime. His scan of the room from Judy had shown that Seven was alone. He was still taking a risk as her Borg Chamber tended to put off even Judy's sensors but he decided it was time and he had a pattern enhancer with him just in case.

The door slid back and Seven looked at Xander in wide-eyed shock, "Hi" he said.

"You must go," she said in a hiss.

Xander frowned, "Sorry, I just thought we could talk, I'm sorry" he said his face falling as he got the wrong end of the stick that Seven was showing him.

"Hello Lieutenant" Janeway said appearing at Seven's shoulder.

"Ah!"

CHAPTER 02

Bay Towers

Xander's hand flicked slightly. Janeway caught the movement and held up a hand, "Wait, don't do anything stupid Xander"

"Like What?" Xander said about to trigger the recall.

"Like think I'm going to turn you in" Janeway told him frankly and even Seven looked at her in surprise, "You better come in"

"Don't do that Admiral, I could've been a vampire" Xander told her relaxing slightly.

"Xander, its daylight out there and I think you can start calling me Kathryn again, in the circumstances" Janeway said with a smile.

"Daylight isn't the deterrent it once was" Xander said stepping into Seven's apartment, "There's no Chakotay lurking in here as well is there? A security team or two?"

Janeway smirked, "I think you have already shown your talent for evading capture"

Xander smirked right back at her, "Heard about that did we?" he said taking a seat.

"Heard about what?" Seven asked taking a seat next to him and closer than would normally be considered friendly space.

Xander lifted his eyebrows at Janeway, "Just a little incident with a frankly crap security team"

"Crap?" Janeway repeated, "Your penchant for profanity aside they were not our best they were just lucky to be in the area, you can bet your life that my fellow admiral will send better next time"

Xander gave her a devil may care smile, which considering he might, "Good, I need the workout"

Seven cocked an eyebrow at him but refrained from comment.

Janeway mimicked her expression, "Don't be arrogant Mr. Harris" Xander winced, "It will be your undoing"

Xander nodded, "It's killed me actually, but there you go"

"What happened exactly" Seven asked

"Xander escaped from being cuffed, anklet fitted and guarded by Six Security guards, and I've been meaning to ask, what the devil is Moon walking?"

Xander chuckled, "A dance step, you look like you're going forward but are actually going backwards"

"Why did you find it necessary to 'dance' away?"

Xander tilted his head and smiled at her just lifting his brows.

"I never took you for a show off Xander" Janeway admonished him, "That sort of behavior will not keep you out of custody"

Xander's eyes died, "I'll die before they take me in. I cannot allow anyone to think they have a hold over Q through me, one they're wrong and two, if there're not it would be a waste of his time and Q has important work to do" he said cryptically.

"You've had contact with him?" Janeway asked, "Did he tell you about his talk before the federation council and Starfleet command?"

"He did" Xander said, it was true that he knew what had happened and that Q had told him, but he hadn't actually seen Q recently, just spoken with him. "I fully accept his mantle, like I said to Lucy I choose to be a champion for anyone who needs one"

"Then why risk yourself?"

"If I die, I die" Xander said shrugging and removing his own importance, "I'm only a pawn in this, not the queen" he chuckled, "Despite what Commodore Williams, thinks"

Janeway threw him a confused look but decided to ignore the flippant comment, "Lets cut to the chase, I am not with my fellow admiral on this, I don't want you to be caught because it will take you out of the game completely and I believe what Q says, at least this time. He was far too serious not to. Captain Picard agrees with me on this and we're slowly but surely bringing a few of the other high-ranking fleet officials around to the idea. You just need to stay out of custody for a little while longer. You've made some powerful enemies Xander"

"Compared to Lucifer himself you mean," Xander said with an unbelieving look, "My day's are already numbered Ad...Kathryn. A bunch of old farts in fleet command don't worry me at the moment, just my mission" he gave a sigh, "But I have no intension of being caught either. For my own mission"

Janeway nodded, "Frankly your attitude worries me"

"You and everyone else I know, even Judy's getting in on the act"

"Judy?" Seven asked.

"A new friend, if you're lucky I'll introduce you later. That is if you're not still mad at me?"

"Mad, I'm not mad at you," Seven said in confusion

"I put your boyfriend through the ringer and I said..." Xander trailed off pain flaring in his eyes. Janeway watched forgotten as Seven and Xander look at each other. She felt sorry for her friend and ex First officer, because eventually he was going to loose Seven, one-way or the other; If not to Xander then because of him. "Anyhoo, I should go, mission to run and all that stuff" Xander finished.

Janeway held up a hand, "Talking of Mission. Ambassador Troi is searching high and low for you. She wants to talk to you and has been ripping through the fleet like an enraged elephant"

Xander smirked, "I don't think Lwaxanna would like that description very much" he said before becoming serious, "Is she on Betazed?"

Janeway nodded.

"I'll go to her straight away, Sorry Seven I've got to go" Xander said standing.

Seven looked panicked for a moment, "Want some company?" she asked suddenly.

Xander looked at her, "I don't think Chakotay would like that"

Seven glanced at Janeway pleading in her deeply blue eyes. "I'll cover for you, a fact finding mission to Betazed sound alright," Janeway said with a smile, "Besides Chakotay has been stolen from me by Neychaev and is leading the team to find you. She believes he doesn't like you very much"

"She's not wrong" Xander said his tone flat.

"Actually, she is" Janeway corrected him, "You and Chakotay got off on the wrong foot and it degraded from there. He is a good man Xander, give him a chance and he'll prove it"

"Then he should never have held..." Xander cut off and looked at Seven, "Was he telling the truth?"

Seven nodded, Janeway frowned wondering what they were talking about; the details of the last few moments in Xander's apartment were sketchy at best. It appeared a lot more went on than she had thought.

"I'll think about it" Xander said his tone still level and giving away nothing, "I owe him that at least for what I said" he cleared his throat, "Alright grab anything you'll want and we'll be gone"

"I'll be ready in a moment," Seven said moving to gather a few things for the trip.

"How will you be getting there, I know Captain Zepicary would take you, he and the Draconian are currently patrolling around that area. Did you hear by the way the Draconian got that demon?" Janeway informed him.

"Wow, good on you commodore, if you see her and can, tell her congratulations that was no mean feat. Any damage?"

"No" Janeway said even she was impressed at that fact.

"Wow"

"About that lift? I am sure I can arrange it"

"Nah," Xander smiled a smile of secrets, "I've got my own ride"

Janeway narrowed her eyes at him, "How?"

"Ready?" he asked the returned Seven ignoring the Admiral.

"How?" Janeway repeated.

Xander pulled Seven into him with a sudden movement and smirked at her, "I have my ways" he told her winking as his pocketed hand triggered the recall and he and Seven were pulled up to Judy in orbit.

Janeway smiled and shook her head, "That young man is certainly one of a kind," she said with a throaty chuckle. In Orbit

They rematerialized in the damp feeling transporter room and seven cocked her eyebrow at Xander, "Why is it so humid?"

Xander smiled, anyone else would wonder where they were or, how they had got here, seven cut through all that and got straight down to business, and asked something that he himself had only think to ask a few days ago. "Its to give the ship a feeling of being anything than what she really is"

"I do not understand"

Xander stepped down off of the Transporter pedestal and bowed deeply, "Welcome to Judy. The one and only Judas class ship ever created by the Fleet and seconded to Section 31 where she was then stolen by a very good friend of ours."

Seven nodded a few things finally clicking into place, "Gabriel. So it was the same Judy you spoke of"

"Come and meet her"

"Meet her?"

"Oh yes, she's going to want to talk to you" Xander said with a wide smile, "I may as well go to bed, because I'm not going to get a word in"

Seven cocked a perfect brow at him. Xander smiled like a giddy schoolboy and grabbed her hand almost dragging her out of the transporter room and into the more normal corridor. It was still dark but the hues were something Seven had grown very used to, Federation styling usually of pastels or grays. In this case the manner of decoration was certainly Federation but done in darker gray's and black. There was a lime green running light at floor level and black LCARS panels were spaced out along the way. It was like Voyager but not. For one thing the corridor itself was smaller, just enough room for two to walk astride without knocking shoulders, but only if they were slender humanoids. The lights were dim, just enough to see by for a normal human and Seven noticed as they walked down the corridor the lights turned off behind them. It was slightly unnerving.

"Why are the lights turning off?" Seven asked.

"She's running in low power mode at the moment, all non essential equipment is off to lower risk of detection. We also are running without a crew so there is very little point in leaving everything on."

"Detection?"

"We're running cloaked, sort of"

"Like the Romulans use"

"No, tell you what, ask Judy yourself when we get to the bridge" Xander said.

"Is it far?"

"No, we're here, she's not large but she's nimble and pretty. Seven meet Judy" Xander said with a flourish and walked on to the holographic bridge, Judy was standing in the centre of the bridge with a wide smile at Xander's presence.

"Welcome home Xander"

"Thanks' Judy, meet Seven, she's coming with us on a little jaunt. Seven taught Zandra and Jacinta how to fight"

"I have heard much about you Seven, it is a pleasure to meet you" the holographic avatar smiled in greeting.

Seven returned the smile slightly in awe of the sophistication of the hologram in front of her, but then one of her first tutors had been the EMH of voyager, so she was used to photonic life forms. "Likewise"

"You were asking about my cloaking device?"

"I was"

Xander smirked, "I'll leave you ladies to chat, Judy set course for Betazed, about Warp 8 should do it for now. We'll go up to max later 'kay?"

Judy smiled; "Of course" the small ship changed shape on the outside slightly before leaping into warp. "We're underway"

"What is your maximum speed?" Seven asked as Xander walked out of the door. He just caught Judy's answer before the door closed behind him and Sevens repeating the answer in interested but subtle excitement.

"Warp 9.9999975?"

Bay Towers

Chakotay walked in to the apartment of his lover using the pass code she had given him to do so. He walked in tossed his communicator down and unbuttoned his top button before turning and finding his old captain smiling at him from her place on the sofa.

"Hello Chakotay" Janeway smiled

"Kathryn, Admiral" he corrected himself quickly.

"That's alright Chakotay you can call me Kathryn off duty. How are you?"

"I am well, thank you" Chakotay said slowly, "Where's Seven?"

"Running a little errand to Betazed for me"

"Betazed?"

"Yes, she's liaising with the Betazoid Ambassador"

Chakotay nodded, "I see, so how are you?" he asked, something didn't seem to ring true to him about this errand, Neychaev had been becoming increasingly suspicious of her fellow Admiral of late and whilst she hadn't said anything to Chakotay it had filtered down to him.

"I'm not so bad, being an admiral isn't all its cracked up to be" Janeway told him with a chagrined smile.

Chakotay smiled at her, "I can imagine"

In Orbit Around Betazed

Xander opened his eyes and stared up at the bulkhead. There was nothing very interesting about it; there were no changes in brushstrokes or anything so mundane as that. Yet he still stared up at it like it held the answers to the universe. Maybe it did, perhaps he was just unable to discern the subtle patterns of light that would reveal their secrets to him. Who knew, he'd have to ask Q. He felt a snort in the back of his mind and smiled; since he Q had talked to the fleet on Xander's behalf and had received nothing but scorn they had maintained a sort of mental link. Nothing spectacular, just a way to communicate, it had been suggested after Xander had told Q about Lucifer's little chat. Xander had proclaimed himself a champion for any that needed him and Q had taken him up on it. It appeared that in the treaty Q was allowed to protect his champion, to a certain extent. So that was what Q had been doing, just keeping an eye out for trouble.

It was not for the first time Xander was part of something so very much larger than himself.

The door chime to his quarters stopped his contemplation of the bulkhead, "Yeah"

"Xander, are you decent" Seven's voice asked through the door.

"Not if I can help it, but don't let that stop you Seven" Xander replied with a smile.

The door slid back to reveal Seven in all of her stunning beauty and Xander soaked up the sight of her like a starving man. "We are in orbit around Betazed"

Xander smiled, "Pretty init" he told her, "Last time I was here I had my mind read and my secrets spilled" he said contemplatively, "Wonder if it will be half as much fun this time?"

Seven surveyed him for a moment in slight confusion, she was no empath, but the she didn't need to be to know that something was wrong with Xander. He was just a little off centre with everything he'd said and done. She had not had any contact with him or the Slayer sisters in sometime and the changes wrought in the man she once knew well worried her.

Xander pulled back the sheets on his bed and got up, clad only in a pair of boxer shorts Seven almost gasped. It wasn't his body she was interested in at that moment. Not that he didn't look good to her, it was the large amount of bruises on his body, one ran down from his shoulder to the small of his back, a strange mirror to the scar the other side. Bruises disappeared within seconds in this century and she knew that Xander knew that. What really bothered her was the fact that Xander could not be bothered or didn't think it mattered to just run a medical device over it.

Xander had never been particularly bothered about his own self, but she had also noticed a lack of his usual spark and that bothered her. Xander wasn't quite Xander at the moment.

Xander turned back to her a lopsided grin on his face that was also lacking something, "caught you looking" he quipped.

Seven blushed slightly but didn't look away and Xander's smile changed a little to become challenging. He started to get dressed ignoring the beautiful women in his room as he loaded up weapons into just about every available orifice of his clothing.

"Are we expecting trouble?" Seven asked he eyebrow cocked.

Xander turned back and looked her in her big blue eyes his own brown ones serious as a grave, "I Always Do" he walked out of the quarters with Seven following behind in his wake, "Now" he added in almost a whisper.

Seven cocked another brow at him her cool facade ruined by the worried look in her eyes.

Troi Mansion, Betazed

Lwaxanna sat back in a chaise lounge a cool compress on her head her dark eyes closed against the migraine that was threatening to tear her apart. Since she had not been able to find Xander she had resorted to going out with Am'Ritha herself.

Not a good idea for a woman of advancing years despite her formidable mental prowess, she like most of her race was not ready for the sort of violence a vampire could dish out.

There was a strange pricking sensation in her body and a strange sound assaulted her senses. Then she felt a new presence in the room and was up in a flash. Just because Betazoid's weren't used to fighting did not mean that they couldn't learn how, or that they didn't have their own arts. Lwaxanna had some of those Martial Arts hammered into her when she was younger. So because of the fight or flight mode she had been in for so long, her foot was traveling towards the presence she had sensed before her eyes had registered that there were in fact two people in the room.

Xander's hand snapped out and caught Mrs. Troi's slender foot before it could make contact with Sevens face. He also had been in fight or flight, but for a much longer time than Mrs. Troi, or even Seven. So his reactions were a shade faster than the Ex-Borg's. Seven was only a fraction behind him and had dropped back into a stance.

"Mrs. Troi!" Xander admonished with a smile, "I had heard you were a most gracious hostess, do you attack all your guests?"

"Only you my boy" Mrs. Troi said with a smile. Xander released her foot and she lowered it to the floor.

"Nice reactions there by the way" Xander said with an approving smile, "Not bad form either. We'll make a hunter out of you yet"

"I do hope not" Lwaxanna said shuddering, "I would hate for that to happen", she regained her composure and her wits with a short breath and a long one, "Mr. Homm"

The ubiquitous Mr. Homm arrived apparently out of thin air, "Drinks for our guests" Mrs. Troi said.

Mr. Homm left, as was his way, seeming to disappear into the wall, or floor, just away basically. Xander eyed him, "What race is he?"

Lwaxanna raised an imperious brow, "I haven't the faintest idea" she told him in a disinterested way, "What race are you?"

Xander frowned, the question had been directed at him, "Urh, Human, but then you know that Mrs. Troi"

"Xander I've told you before to call me Lwaxanna" Mrs. Troi told him with a piercing look.

"Yeah, and I told you I would but I can't pronounce it. What's going on here Mrs. Troi?"

"I can't feel you Xander, that gives me some pause, as I always used to. So you'll excuse me if I worry"

Xander fished out his cross, "Not a vampire, that help"

"Yes I suppose it does" she told him filing the information away for later review, she glanced at the attractive human looking woman that Xander had with him, "Who is this, One of your ever present female companions?"

Seven lifted a brow and turned to Xander with a slight smile, "Ever Present?"

Xander shrugged, "Mrs. Troi, meet Seven, Seven, Meet Mrs. Troi. Mrs. Troi is under the impression that I am unable to go more than a day without having a woman around in" Xander cleared his throat, "Some fashion." Then he smiled disarmingly at the Betazoid Ambassador, "But she should know that she's the only one for me"

Lwaxanna laughed lightly, "Oh but Xander, you know I'm old enough to be your... Older sister, or very young aunt"

Xander quirked a smile, "Talking of beautiful Troi women, how is your daughter"

Mrs. Troi beamed her eyes lost focus for a second then she tuned back into the room, "She's fine"

After few seconds of Xander's strange contemplation of Mrs. Troi a new voice entered the room, "But she has missed her favorite patient"

Deanna Troi walked into the room wearing an off duty looking outfit that did nothing to detract from her exotic looks.

Xander cursed a hand going into his pocket but the smile on his face was genuine. He maneuvered himself over next to Seven so they were touching slightly. "Hi Deanna, Its good to see you again, is the Enterprise with you? Or Commander Riker?"

Deanna smirked a little, "Yes Will is here, and upstairs in fact, no the Enterprise is not. No, I'm not going to turn you in," she said appearing to read his mind.

Troi, the elder reached out and touched daughter's mind, "Can you sense him?" she asked nonverbally.

Deanna concentrated and shook her head slightly. "No" she sent.

"Nor I" Mrs. Troi protected back with a confused tone in her mental voice.

"Hey, that's rude" Xander said out loud smiling at their shocked expressions. He had no idea what they had been saying but he damn well when someone was talking about him, "Out loud for the poor normal humans here hey?"

The mother and daughter exchanged looks "Do not fear Xander we were discussing nothing of importance to your concerns" Deanna told him.

"Well, whatever, I heard your looking for me" Xander said to Lwaxanna and looked at her his eyes intent.

Lwaxanna nodded, "I am, was" she glanced at Seven.

"She's with me, Deanna knows her history and I'll vouch for her" Xander put in.

Mrs. Troi nodded, "Very well, I believe I have found a Betazoid slayer"

Xander nodded, "I'm sorry for you then"

Mrs. Troi cut him a sharp look, "I'm sorry?"

"That means you have a Hellmouth, dimensional tear to the demon plane, and that is never good. Just as a matter of interest what makes you think she is a slayer?"

Mrs. Troi smiled, "Why don't you meet her for yourself and you'll see"

Xander shrugged, "Sure, but as you can understand I need to be a little careful who sees me and where. I don't want to get you in trouble" he glanced at Deanna, "you should really just turn me in"

Deanna shook her head, "Not likely. I heard what happened and what Q said about you afterwards. In his own way Q has never actually lied to us." She smiled, "Oh he's dissembled, bragged and ignored a question, but never actually lied"

Xander smirked, "Sounds like Q"

[Well, I can't tell you everything; now can I? Where's the fun in that?] A voice said in Xander's mind's ear.

Xander chuckled slightly causing everyone in the room to look at him, the chuckle coming a little late for Troi's humor to have been the cause. "What?" he asked.

"Why are you laughing, and at what?" Seven asked.

He glared at her for a moment; another nail in the coffin as far as Seven was concerned, "Just had a funny thought" he told them with a shrug.

"Care to share?" she asked.

"Not really" he told her bluntly, "So what's the what on this pretty planet?" he asked the Troi women.

Deanna narrowed her eyes at him, as did Lwaxanna, He was totally off from what they knew of him. Darker, moody and sharp with his anger than he ever had been and Troi had seen him angry before. A shared thought passed between mother and daughter, that Dee's death had hit him harder than they had thought. What shocked Deanna was that Seven wasn't getting through to him, she knew the hold Seven had over her young friend. Xander was highly attracted to the beautiful ex-Borg; love wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination, so just what was wrong with him.

CHAPTER 03

Star Fleet Headquarters

Admiral Cove looked at the report in his hand with a small trickle of fear snaking down his back.

"When did this happen?" he asked the lieutenant standing before him.

"Yesterday Sir"

Cove blew out a long breath, "I see"

He brought up another picture of the badly beaten and mutilated corpse, "You say that this was Doctor Manheim's Assistant?"

"Yes Sir" The lieutenant said feeling nervous at talking to such a powerful man.

"Very Good, you may go" Cove snapped out.

The Lieutenant turned smartly on his heel and walked quickly out of the room, breathing a sigh of relief as the door slid to a close behind him.

Admiral Alexander Cove slid back in his seat looking at the details of the brutal attack. He should warn Manheim, but if he did the weak scientist was likely to panic. Cove couldn't afford for that to happen.

*****

Chakotay shifted in his chair slightly and looked at the slender blonde admiral, "I'm sorry I'm not sure I understand the question?"

Neychaev breathed out an annoyed breath, "I believe you do Commander, so please, do not insult my intelligence. Do you believe that Admiral Janeway was lying to you?"

Chakotay was torn between his sense of duty and honor and his friendship to the woman that had got them all home. In the end there really was only one answer he could give, "No, I do not" he said his voice firm. He and the entire crew of voyager, as well as several planets, owed Janeway their lives. What is duty and honor compared with that?

Neychaev glared at him for a long moment, "I do, however"

"I see" Chakotay said carefully.

"I believe that Admiral Janeway knows where our young ex-lieutenant, is. I further believe that she has sent Seven to him, for some reason"

Chakotay bristled, "I do not..."

"... I do" Neychaev cut it, "Furthermore I want you to go to Betazed and find out"

Chakotay cleared his throat, "If the admiral was lying, then she could also have lied about that," he pointed out.

Neychaev flashed a thin smile, "The best lies are those with a healthy dollop of truth in them. I believe that you will find Seven of Nine on Betazed. I also believe that you will find Mr. Harris also"

Chakotay nodded, "How am I to get there, admiral?"

"The Prometheus is leaving in a few hours, be on her. She will drop you off on her way to join the Draconian"

Chakotay nodded his stomach twisting in guilt, he felt like he had just betrayed his old captain, but he wasn't sure how.

Troi Mansion Lwaxanna flicked off the View screen and turned back to the others, "She will be here in a few moments" she graced them with a smile, "She is such a good girl"

Deanna rolled her eyes, she knew that was some sort of side handed remark at her, but then she was used to it by now. She looked at Xander to find that he was watching the proceedings with dark eyes, there was humor there, but Deanna hoped she would never she the day that there wasn't. However, that said, it was a darker type of humor. For as long as she had known him, Xander had always tried to keep things light, cheer the people up around him. Now, he just didn't seem to care. At his side was Seven, she was darting furtive glances at him. It was obvious from both her body language and the 'read' that Deanna was getting from her, that she was concerned. It was also obvious that her feelings went beyond friendship. Deanna smiled softly at that thought perhaps given time the two would be able to heal each other. Her smile slipped when a voice in her head reminded her that Xander did a dangerous job, one slip could be one too many.

Deanna scowled at her mother; she hadn't actually needed reminding of that rather depressing fact.

Lwaxanna smiled at her daughter knowingly.

Xander gave a sigh, "Say what time does it get dark on this planet anyway"

Deanna smiled at him, "Shortly"

"Good, I'm getting itchy feet sitting around, I'm not good at that anymore" Xander said unbuttoning his jacket and making himself more comfortable

Lwaxanna's eyes widened as she saw the array of weapons stashed about his person, "I don't allow weapons in my home" she said coldly.

Xander met her gaze unflinchingly, "I'll just leave then shall I? Where I go the weapons do. I'm never getting caught again," he said.

Mother and Daughter exchanged a worried glance, "Are you all right Xander, do you want to talk" Deanna said softly.

Xander snorted, "What about?"

"What did you mean about getting caught?" Seven asked her heart in her throat.

"Without protection or unawares, you know" Xander said offhandedly.

Mr. Homm arriving with a new guest interrupted them. She was blonde, not as long as Jacinta's hair and more of a honey tone to it. She was also curvaceous, her dark eyes expressive. Basically she was gorgeous.

Xander smiled standing up, "Oh yeah, she's a slayer alright"

"Am'Ritha!" Lwaxanna exclaimed with a smile, "So good to see you"

Am'Ritha smiled at the woman she had come to trust implicitly. "Mrs. Troi, it is an honor as always"

Lwaxanna Troi smiled fondly at the younger woman for a moment. Am'Ritha's eyes slid over to study the strange new comer that was standing next to a blonde female and looking at her with a lopsided smile on her face. She found herself somewhat drawn to him. A strange connection that she couldn't quite understand she felt herself blush slightly, which for her was not that unusual. "Am'Ritha" Mrs. Troi said snapping the slayer's attention back to her. "I would like you to meet a very good friend of mine. This is Lieutenant Xander Harris"

Xander winced slightly, "Actually, these days I tend to go by just Xander" then he smirked slightly, "and it's Captain, now"

Mrs. Troi quirked an eyebrow at him, "Captain?" she asked then shrugged and turned back to the young slayer whose gaze was locked onto Xander, "Xander can help you with your calling Am'Ritha"

Am'Ritha's concentration on the other man etched up another notch, "Really?"

Xander nodded, "I suppose you could say that I've known a fair few slayer's in my time"

"How many?" Am'Ritha asked she was very interested in learning of others of her kind.

"Uh, about eight I think" Xander said offhandedly then nodded, "Yeah there was Buffy, Kendra and Faith from earth back in the day, Then Jac and Zan, then there was Kae'Farl from Bajor, K'Thall from Kling and now you; Eight" he smiled widely at Sevens confused glance, "Q" he said in answer to her unasked question.

Seven nodded slightly and went back to looking at the latest slayer. She moved well, not as well as Zandra or Jacinta but Seven guessed that she had not had the training they had. She caught Xander's eye and saw that he also was gauging her fighting form from her stance and noticed that he was not happy about what he saw.

Xander glanced around the room gauging the area available to them and then smiled widely, "So, slayer hey, how's that working out for you" he asked as he started forward.

Am'Ritha smiled self-depreciatingly, "It is an honor..."

Xander's snort cut her off, "...Honor?" he asked with dark amusement glittering in her equally dark eyes.

Am'Ritha nodded a little uncertainly, "Of course, to be chosen to protect my planet in such a way is of course an honor"

Xander noticed she kept darting glances at an approving Mrs. Troi. He stilled his forward motion just in front of the new slayer and looked down into her eyes, typically dark as were all Betazoid's. "It can be a curse" he said quietly, "One that will dog you to an early grave. Yes, it is a great thing to be able to protect people. Yes, you could see it as an honor" he continued looking down into her eyes as he delivered his speech in a quiet voice, just above a whisper. "I've watched many of my friends, people I've loved more than my own life, die because of it. I'll bet that my well meaning but clueless friend over there was been filling your head with great deeds and what a privilege it is to be a slayer, am I right?"

Am'Ritha nodded, totally captivated by the strange man looking into her eye hypnotically.

Lwaxanna stiffen subtly but Deanna noticed, "He means no harm" she thought at her mother.

"I am worried that I have totally misjudged him. Is this really the well meaning young man whose thoughts were so open, so full of life even through death?" Lwaxanna replied.

Deanna paused before replying watching Xander looking deeply into Am'Ritha's eyes seemingly using his height to intimidate the smaller woman. She decided that this had to have some point, a lesson. "Just wait" she urged her mother, "There is a point to this I think"

"What do you really feel; knowing that you have to go out, night after night and that any one of them could be the last?" Xander asked after a moment's silent contemplation.

Am'Ritha's lip trembled slightly and Xander held out his hand for her to take, "I thought so. Okay. Rule the first," he said as she took his hand without a seconds thought. Xander smiled widely, "Don't Die"

Am'Ritha smiled back slightly.

"Do you want to know what being a slayer really means?" he asked

Am'Ritha nodded again with no uncertainty this time.

"What I said about a curse still holds but you know what..." Xander said still smiling and looking into her eyes again, "Its one that you can turn into a blessing. I've fought with the longest surviving slayer in earth's history. She was..." he paused as he tried to pin a phrase down, "... A force of nature, yeah that sounds about right. At first the weight of what she had to do dragged her down, that's the curse-part of being a slayer, you have the life of a planet in your hands and that can drag you down to death if you let it. But there are advantages but it took her a while to find them. One, you're not alone, you never need be either, Two you really are helping people and yes, that is both an honor and privilege. Three..." Xander smiled slyly, "Well three is all about how you look at the world. As a slayer you are a champion for good against evil, you will fight things that haunt peoples nightmares and if you remember why you're doing it, you'll succeed. Of course you need to train as well but if you don't have the right frame of mind then the curse will stay a curse no matter how long you train."

Xander's eyes seemed to look into her soul and Am'Ritha felt herself becoming uncomfortable under his unrelenting scrutiny, "As a slayer" he said suddenly smirking, "You can sense every living thing around you, you can hear the heart beats of every single person in this room and smell what I used to bathe in this morning. Your sense of taste is stronger, your mind is built for fighting and as such reflex's are faster. You can make up fighting strategies off the cusp and you'll be able to out fight and think just about any form of demon in the universe." Xander leant into her and whispered into her ear, and for her hearing alone, "I'm reliably informed that sex as a slayer is mind blowing," he gave a deep and throaty chuckle, "It certainly is from the other side" he leant back away from her with a wink, "Those are just a few advantages of being a slayer" he smirked widely at her shocked and embarrassed face

"Rule the second..." he said an evil glint in his eye.

She managed to meet his eyes through her embarrassment as she waited for him to speak and suddenly found herself airborne as he used her held hand to judo throw her onto her back.

Xander landed atop of her and continued to smirk down at her, "...be ready for anything"

Am'Ritha couldn't help it a slight hitch in her breath that showed her interest in this strange man and the blush that flowed up her cheeks from her neck caused Xander to smile even wider but by this point she was too far gone to worry about him noticing. She cracked a wide smile up at him, "I'll do my best to remember that" she said challengingly, a slightly out of character move for her. Since becoming a slayer, however, she had found that certain parts of her were more predatory than they had been; she wasn't the shy girl that she had been. Xander sat back and held out his hand to help up the Betazoid slayer, she accepted it warily and Xander nodded slightly to himself, she was a fast learner.

"So, now that its almost dark I think you and I should go for a stroll, let me see how you work" Xander said as he helped up the slight slayer. He glanced over at Seven, "Coming?" he asked her.

She nodded once signaling her wish.

*****

Stars glittered in the night air, hanging in an attractive display of light. Xander took a moment to look up and admire the view for a moment. Betazed was an extraordinarily beautiful planet even the city area they were currently in was pleasing to the eye. There didn't appear to be that many vampires around just yet, but then if the hellmouth had only just started to open properly then it wasn't all that much of a shock to find that out. Xander had a feeling that Marshall had been unusually fast in building up the numbers of vamps in the San Francisco bay area. From there they had spread like the plague they were.

He looked back at his companions with a slight smile, so far there had been no surprises with Am'Ritha, she had shown the flair and skill he had become accustomed to when dealing with even a freshly called slayer. She was certainly a sterling example of Betazoid beauty and that also fitted in well with the slayer package. His gaze rested on Seven for a long moment as he just enjoyed the view of her fighting alongside the slayer her fighting form, as ever, was perfect and she didn't even appear to move before a vampire burst into dust. As she turned Xander noted with a strange pang in the lowest part of his abdomen that a few strands of hair had escaped her 'Do' and he wanted nothing more than to go over there and put them back in place. She shot him a smile that melted his heart a little and he returned it without thought before slamming back his emotion control. Her smile disappeared quickly when she saw his flicker away and froze out from his eyes.

She noticed something moving behind him, but before she even opened her mouth a stake had appeared in his hand and then into the vampires chest. The demon disappeared with a flash of dust and Xander turned back to watch over the slayer and Seven.

Seven was slightly shocked at the suddenness of the move; Xander had always been a good fighter his only 'failing' was that he never seemed to take anything seriously. Now he seemed to be much more serious, that staking was a fine example. The vampire had been staked with not a blink, nor with a quip, as he was wont to do.

Seven turned her attention back to her own battle and staked a vampire of her own. She was about to stake the next in line when suddenly she felt a crushing sensation in her mind. She gave an involuntary cry of pain and sagged to her knees.

Xander was moving before he even consciously registered Seven's cry. His Katana appeared quickly in his hand and he brought it up to fell the vampire now standing over his love.

The vampire focused his mental abilities on Xander and was shocked to find that they had absolutely no effect on the human. It had time to shift its face into an expression of shock before it was dispatched into the after life. Xander then went into an almost berserker rage. He quickly cut through the remaining vampires his blade flashing out over and again felling demons. He even took out Am'Ritha's vampire mid-fight. When he had cleared the field he stood for a moment and looked around. Once he was sure that the area was clear he bent to his knees and took the groaning Seven's head into his lap. He tenderly brushed her hair back and checked her over for injuries.

Seven's eyes snapped open and fixed onto Xander's, there was a charged moment as their gazes were locked that seemed to stretch to eternity before Am'Ritha brought them back with a polite clearing of her throat.

Xander glanced up at her with a slight smile, "Hey how you doing?"

Am'Ritha frowned slightly, "I'm was doing fine until you decapitated my sparing partner"

Xander just shrugged, "Sorry, needed to clear the field as quickly as I could, ya know."

Am'Ritha's eyes flickered down to Seven who was still comfortably pillowed on Xander's lap. "Is this your life-partner?" she asked.

Xander smirked slightly but it was a slightly dark expression, "No" he stated flatly. "Why do you ask?"

Am'Ritha once again blushed, she was a rather shy young woman often shunned by her fellow students because of her lack of anything resembling mental powers. Her only saving grace was virtually impenetrable mental shielding. It was that single talent that had given her the chance against the telepathic vampires.

Xander looked back to Seven knowing he wasn't going to get a sensible answer out of the Betazoid slayer, "So what happened?" he asked.

Seven frowned slightly, "I am unsure... I felt a powerful pain in my head and a sudden sense of loss, or inevitable death"

Xander nodded grimly, "Well it makes sense that a telepathic race would have telepathic vampires"

"You were unaffected?" Seven asked still pillowed on Xander's lap, she was quite comfortable and had no wish to move.

Xander smirked slightly, "No, because I haven't got a brain to affect I suppose"

Seven's frown deepened, "Do not do that," she said her voice soft.

Xander frowned, "What?"

"Do not belittle yourself, I... I... I do not like it" Seven said looking deeply into his eyes.

Xander was caught by her expression he felt the sudden desperate need to meet his lips with hers. He quashed down the desire ruthlessly, he had made seven a promise and he had no intension of ever breaking it. Besides to a certain extent he was still grieving for Dee. He may not have loved her in the truest sense but he was starting to despite his very real feelings for Seven.

Am'Ritha missed the silent by-play between the two she was itching to get back to the safety of Mrs. Troi's residence and to find out more about how this strange human could help her. "Should we perhaps go back?"

Xander glanced up at the sky gauging the time by the position of one of the two Betazoid moons, "Sure, sound's like a plan."

Troi Mansion

Lwaxanna Troi was sat in her lounge area with her daughter and her fiancé when the demon-hunting trio finally returned from their night's hunting. She was up in a swirl of her robes as she quickly checked on the girl that had become like a daughter to her in a very short time.

Xander actually gave a very real and very genuine smile for the first time since Dee's death. It was heartening to know that there was someone to care for and look after the slayer on this planet. Furthermore he was happy that it was Mrs. Troi. She had treated him well, if you discount the invasive mental snooping she had done and did on a regular basis. Now of course there was no way that she would be able to get into his private thoughts, there was already someone there, someone who's very presence created a mental shield that guaranteed that a mere human had little chance of penetrating.

There were a couple of advantages to being a champion, something that had not even entered his mind before accepting Q's countenance. As Q's champion he was protected, to a fair extent from Lucifer, and from others. Q could not and would not directly protect Xander from, a vampire for instance. That was his role as a champion, to fight the 'good' fight. So if he died like that it was part and parcel of the calling. Q was only able to protect him from other powerful beings, Q being Q took that to mean what ever he wanted, such as telepaths.

"I am well Mrs. Troi" Am'Ritha assured her own personal mother hen.

Mrs. Troi nodded, "I just wanted to be sure my dear," she said with a smile turning back to the room. "Won't you take a seat, I'm sure we have much to discuss."

Xander eyed Riker with hesitation, he wasn't that worried and he was now confidant enough in his own abilities to be sure of an escape if one was needed. He was also fairly certain that he needn't be concerned. Deanna smiled at him slightly from her place next to Riker and Riker himself smiled widely and charmingly. He got to his feet smoothly showing that Starfleet still had one of the best personal fitness regimes.

"Xander" he said warmly taking the younger man's hand in his own, "It's good to see you"

Xander smiled himself, the emotion was somewhat forced though, "Good to see you was well Commander"

Riker smiled, "I think that you can call me Will, or Riker now if you want. We are friends after all"

Xander's smiled became a little warmer, "Thanks, Will"

Riker nodded his eyes warm and friendly, "So, I hear you've been having fun at the expense of a fleet security team?"

Xander rolled his eyes, "That sure as hell got around quickly" he said with a slight chuckle.

Riker nodded, "It did, but then not many people can get out of a pair of Starfleet cuffs and Anklets take out an entire security team and escape" he said with slight boyish admiration in his eyes.

The females in the room all rolled their eyes with the exception of seven who cocked an eyebrow archly.

"It was a ridiculous stunt that could have got him killed" she commented icily.

Xander shot her a slight glare; his eyes were dancing with dark amusement "So?" he shrugged. "It didn't did it, I got away and Neychaev didn't get her hands on me or Q"

Seven frowned, "If you die there will be a great many people who will suffer because of it. Do you really want to inflict pain on those you call friends" she said stalking towards him with anger in her eyes.

Xander's own eyes lost any hint of humor and became dangerous, "Perhaps, they would be better off without me?" he asked rhetorically. The others in the room were suddenly forgotten in the heat of their anger. Seven walked up closely to Xander an inch away from his face.

"You arrogant ass" she said her voice low but passionate.

Xander looked into her angry eyes and his lips twitched slightly, "You know you're beautiful when you're angry" he commented but before she was able to make comment out of that he continued, "My friends are all in deadly peril because of me, I'll not lose another one because of me" his voice had a hard edge to it that caused seven to blink several times.

"It was not your fault that Dee died"

Xander snarled slightly and stepped back away from the beautiful ex-drone his expression now closed, "Either way, she's dead"

He looked around the room suddenly remembering the presence of so many people. "We'll continue this another time Seven, right now we have a slayer to discuss"

Seven muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, "him and his precious slayer's."

Xander's smile flickered back into existence piercing Am'Ritha with his gaze, "You need more training, I suspect that Mrs. Troi will be able to supply it via a friend, or a friend of a friend" he trailed off looking at the aforementioned Mrs. Troi inquisitively.

Lwaxanna shook herself slightly trying to get into the sudden shift of topic and conversation, "I can," she said.

"I'd suggest that Seven take her for a few sessions just to bring her up to scratch in the mean time, I'll take the patrol's by myself" Xander said.

"Now wait a minute" Am'Ritha began but Lwaxanna cut her off with a look that screamed, 'I'll explain later'

Xander nodded, "Then we'll need to find someplace to stay..."

"You can stay here" Lwaxanna said immediately, "of course"

Xander smiled tightly, "I was about to say for Seven, I will stay aboard my ship, it's...safer that way"

Seven's eyes narrowed, "Then I'll stay with you" she said stubbornly.

Xander just looked at her for a second, "I'll be back tomorrow at dawn to start the training. In the meantime, Sleep Well" he said as his molecules lost cohesion and he was dragged back to his hidden state of the art ship.

Seven glared at the wake of the transporter effect and growled.

Riker's normally humor filled expression was now tight, "What the hell happened to him"

"Too much too soon, I think" Deanne said, "I'm no longer able to get any read off of him, but from observation..." she trailed off for a moment thinking it through, "Post traumatic stress disorder"

"Shell shocked?" Riker asked using the vernacular.

Deanne nodded, "I believe so" she looked at the visibly distraught Seven, "Has he been like this long?"

"Since Dee died" Seven said, "From what I'm told"

Deanna frowned, "Sorry?"

"Myself and Xander have only been back in contact for a day. Before that time he refused all attempts to get him to contact me"

"Why?" Deanna asked shifting into her councilor mode.

Mrs. Troi led off a confused Am'Ritha so that Seven felt she had some privacy from strangers but Seven was more worried about Xander than she was about her privacy at that point.

"I believe he felt guilt"

"For Lt. Commander Amara's death?" Deanna asked.

Seven shook her head her eyes becoming clouded over with tears, "No, because he told me he loved me and because of that he was unable to tell her he loved her. Her last words to him were to say that she loved him." Seven chocked back a sob, "It...It has affected him deeply"

"He feels guilty because he wasn't able to offer her his love on her deathbed"

Seven nodded despite it being more of a statement than a question, "The worse thing is..." Seven trailed off unable to continue her line of thought for a moment.

"What?" Deanna pressed sharing a quick look with a silent and watchful Will Riker.

Seven took a deep breath, "I love him!" she said clearing her eyes.

In Orbit

Xander appeared on the transporter pad and sagged his face falling in on its self. The determined and focused anger that he had been displaying was now replaced by his true feelings, at least for a while.

[She's right you know] a disembodied voice reached through time and space and told him.

"I'm not so sure about that" Xander replied out loud his voice heavy with grief. "I should've have made her leave"

[Rubbish, it was her by her own freedom of choice, would you really want to take that away from another living being?]

Xander gave a long sigh, "No, no I suppose not"

[Well she chose to stay, it is not your fault she died, besides we both know that there was another involved, he may not have pulled the trigger...]

Xander's eyes flashed brown fire, "Oh yeah, don't worry I've not forgotten" then he barked out a laugh, "Shame you can't do what you did for Riker"

[What?] Q's voice asked confused.

"Make me a Q, I'd go for him in an instant, make him wish he'd never been born" Xander said his voice full of the ancient and powerful force of vengeance.

Q chuckled into his mind and appeared in the dark and dank transporter room in a flash of light, "Really"

Xander was used to his sudden appearance's now and merely continued, "Yeah"

Q smirked arrogantly, "You'd, what, just wink him out of existence?"

Xander snarled slightly, "Yeah maybe, but I'd prefer something more painful"

Q smiled an edged smile, "You'd torture him, and kill him slowly over the fire of a nova?"

"Sounding good"

"Then stretch his atoms through a black hole into an alternate dimension?"

"Getting better"

"So you'd do all that to him?"

"Yeah" Xander said his eyes flashing with pure hatred.

"So you'd go against the treaty and all it bind's leaving the creator no choice but to step in and let demons rein free?"

"What?" Xander said caught in the left field.

"Because that is what would happen if you broke the treaty so flagrantly and as a Q you WOULD be bound by it. Demons would then spread across this universe killing all of your friends, Jacinta, Maria, Zandra, Riker, Deanna, Picard, Janeway and of course Seven herself. You'd do all of that to gain a slight feeling of satisfaction and relief from your own self enforced guilt?" Q said his voice mild but the words were lancing Xander's very soul.

"Oh god" Xander said suddenly collapsing onto the floor, "I'm as bad as he is aren't I?"

Q smiled warmly a surprising look on him, "No, you're just human and have all of the baggage that comes with it"

Xander chuckled slightly, "Man, sometimes I..." he trailed off shaking his head, "You know what... I don't know what sometimes I?"

Q sat down on the transporter pad next to his young champion, "You are carrying a lot of grief for one as young as you are. You need to slow some of that off. Dee died protecting you, whether Lucy slowed time to allow it or not, she died so that you may live. Are you really so willing to throw that back in her face? To dirty her memory in such a way." Q paused thoughtfully, "She loved you Xander, she knew that you were 'falling' for her, and that it was just a matter of time before you loved her back. She was willing to wait; I know this. I also know that the thought of you dying prompted her to replace you with her to make sure that you could continue to fight against demons and Lucy. Don't let her sacrifice be for naught"

Xander by this point had large tears running down his face. He was only able to cry and finally allow some of the guilt and grief he was feeling to overwhelm him for a while. Q did something that anyone who knew him or of him would be shocked to find. He placed a comforting arm around Xander's shoulders and let the human man cry himself out.

From her non-corporeal home inside of herself, Judy watched with a figurative tear in her non-existent eye.



USS Draconian

Commodore Arial Williams stood on her bridge looking at her view screen in shock, before her was the single most frightening thing she had ever seen. She had faced hordes of Klingon's, Cardassian's, Jem'Hadda even the Borg and a whole host of alien species that engendered fear among their enemies. She had faced them all with a cool mind and a steady hand, but now she was truly scared.

On the view screen arrayed across the expanse of space that it was able to view; was the source of her fear. This very ship had taken down one of the largest demons ever to exist, however, it wasn't THE largest. It had also been alone.

Ahead there were a hundred mammoth space faring demons, they looked the legendary Phoenix's of earth, made seemingly out of fire itself with blazing forest green eyes. They were easily three times the size of the 'Zarth' demons. She watched in horrified silence as one of the creatures broke off from the others and approached a G2 type star. Her entire bridge crew watched in flabbergasted silence as it dived into the sun itself. It flickered out of view for a moment before flying out of the other side gulping down plasma from the large fiery ball.

"Our weapons, they are no match for that" her captain and sometime friend said in shock. Any being that could survive flying through a sun was obviously far too well shielded for any torpedo or phaser to touch.

"I agree, but there has to be a way to kill it. There always is" the commodore stated firmly. "Record everything we have on them, I want a full scan across the board, go to active scanning now. Prepare a buoy; have all of our data duplicated there and most of all, be ready to move as soon as they notice us" she ordered her tone crisp and professional. Her long years of command and experience not allowing her to show the fear she felt.

Then her crew leapt into action, far too late.

One of the phoenix demons seemed to disappear and reappear directly in front of the ship the proximity alarms suddenly started to blare across the board, but they were silenced as it spread its wings. Then there wasn't even time to scream as the demon leapt into them as the other had to the star. The mightily Starfleet vessel didn't stand a chance, the shield flared and failed almost simultaneously. The SIF was forcible overloaded, the energy content from the demon blowing every single system in the ship. The crew was atomized within a nano-second. The warp core was exploded upon contact but even the power of the antimatter/matter mix did nothing to the demon. It appeared the other side of the Draconian as it was virtually winked out of existence. All it's might, all of the commodores military thinking, the science and the technology contained within were for naught as it was destroyed in a cataclysmic explosion. CHAPTER 04

DS5

Doctor Manheim looked behind him; fear plainly written on his face. He had bolted out this far when he had heard about his aide's fatal and messy end. He was running for the Gamma quadrant if he could possibly make it. So far he had remained undetected. Now, he was 't so sure. That strange and indefinable instinct that humanoid species all have, that danger sense was currently making itself known as a trickle of ice down his back.

As he darted a glance behind him he saw a large heavily built man with a long leather jacket that swept the floor as he walked. The good doctor put a spurt on of speed but whatever he did that baldheaded man seemed to keep pace with him.

In desperation Doctor Manheim dived down a side corridor, one that lead into the very heart of the station. Realizing his mistake he turned to walk back the way he had come, only to come face to face with the large man.

"Excuse me" Manheim said with false cheer. After all this man may not be after him.

The bald headed man just stared at him.

Manheim stepped to the left to go around, as he did the other man blocked his passage. Manheim tried again, this time to the right. Again he was blocked.

"Are you Doctor Manheim" Marshall said his deep voice reverberating in the narrow corridor.

Manheim darted a glance around him, to no avail. He had effectively shepherded himself out from the general publics view. "Y.y.y.yes" Manheim stuttered.

Marshall Boyd smiled his face shifting into a demonic one as he did so. Fangs seemed to slowly grow out of his upper jaw as the doctor watched horrified. Troi Mansion

Xander appeared directly in the main lounge of Lwaxanna Troi's home. Allowing himself a slight smile as he formed into a solid human he watched Seven taking Am'Ritha through a few moves testing the depth of her skill and generally giving the slayer a run for her money. Seven was the perfect person to do this training. She wasn't a human, just an enhanced human that could go toe to toe with a slayer and come out on top, why, because she was just that good. It was a shock to a slayer's system, they tended to come to believe that they were the tops of the food chain; it was good to remind them that they weren't. Arrogance had no part in a slayers survival strategy, or if it did then it was seriously flawed.

Lwaxanna was the first to notice his arrival and glowered at him. That was the first sign that he was in serious trouble, but then he was used to being in trouble with women, it seemed to be his single greatest talent.

"Good Evening" Xander said cheerfully.

Seven stopped her sparing and training session with Am'Ritha by way of a simple gesture. To her credit the Betazoid slayer stopped dead, half way through a wheel kick. Seven had found that she was a remarkably disciplined individual. "Xander" she said walking over to him.

"How goes the training" Xander said with a slight smile and a nod to indicate Am'Ritha.

"It goes well, how are you?" Seven asked with a slight smile.

Xander smiled into her eyes for a moment then cast his eyes down, "I'm better, I'm sorry for the way I behaved last night"

Seven's eyebrows rose in concert with each other, "Apology accepted" she told him. As if by it's own volition her hand reached out and took his cheek into her hand and lifted his face to meet her eyes, "I understand"

Xander smiled a genuine smile for her, the two of them still locked together via their gaze. "I'm still sorry though" Xander said eventually, "I've been... angry, mostly at myself, but it's been spilling out onto my friends. It shouldn't have done"

"Perhaps not, but you're only human" Seven told him with that sparkle in her eye that showed she was yanking his chain. He liked seeing that twinkle and had missed it.

"So, I've had Judy do a scan" Xander said after another moment, "We can't track the vamps per say, but I played a hunch"

Seven let her hand drop down to her side and tilted her head inquisitively, "Go on, what is your 'Hunch'".

"Well, the vampires don't show up on our scanners, right"

Seven nodded

"So, I've had Judy look for any abnormal blank patches in the scans. Now it's only a guess and it could be some other sort of shielding but those blank spots are likely to be..."

Seven smiled, "...The vampires" she finished for him, "That is good thinking Xander"

"Thanks, seven, I thought you, me and Am'Ritha could pay a visit to one of the blank spots tonight, I'll have Judy beam us to it"

"Why, can we not walk to it?"

Xander smirked, "It's in the middle of a friggin jungle"

Xander felt, rather than heard Lwaxanna coming up behind him and turned to face her with a smile, "Mrs. Troi" he said by way of a greeting.

"Mr. Harris" she said formally causing him to wince.

"I'm sorry to you too, for the way I acted last night," Xander said looking contrite.

Lwaxanna regarded him thoughtfully for several moments; it was strange to her not to be able to get a 'read' off of him. For one thing she had done so before. So she used her knowledge of people in general to read him instead. To her eyes he did indeed to be genuinely sorry so she bathed him with a gracious smile, "That's quite alright Xander, just don't do it again"

Xander smirked, "I'll try not to" he said chagrined. "Say, where are the lovely Deanna and Riker?"

"They are making preparations for their ceremony of joining" Lwaxanna said with a smile.

"Huh?" Xander said.

Seven nudged his shoulder and leaned into him, "A Betazoid wedding ceremony" she whispered.

Lwaxanna smiled at the pair of obviously in love people and wondered briefly if they would realize it any time soon.

Xander gave a large and very happy smile, "No shit, those two. That's seriously cool"

Lwaxanna looked perturbed by his language, and not the profanity, for a moment until she figured out his words, "Yes, those two. Finally"

Xander looked at her askance, "Didn't you oppose them getting together?"

Lwaxanna shrugged expressively, "It is a lady's prerogative to change her mind, after all" she smiled secretively and leaned closer, her voice just a whisper, "Besides, I prefer him to that Mr. Woof"

Xander laughed at that; feeling lighter than he had since Dee's death. For once, the thought of Dee didn't make him feel too sad either, after his discussion with Q last night he had done a lot of thinking, crying too, but thinking also. He had decided that Q was right and that he should live, not allow him to die inside. Dee had been to him anyway, about life and living it. They had extracted a great many good times out of each other and that is what he would remember. Not that his dreams wouldn't be haunted by her final words or the circumstances in which they had happened.

In Orbit, Around Betazed

Judy watched the heavy cruiser pull into a geosynchronous orbit not too far from her position and changed her course to avoid detection. She then read a transporter signature and her incredible advanced computer brain immediately put two and two together.

"Xander" she called across the distance of space down to the planet.

Down below Xander felt the vibration in his pocket and immediately pulled out his communicator. "Judy"

"The USS Prometheus has just entered Orbit with me"

"Are you safe from detection?" Xander asked immediately

"I am, you however, may not be for long. There was a transport near your Co-Ordinates as soon as they arrived..." she cut herself off as the advanced ship suddenly left orbit and jumped to Warp. "...The Prometheus has just left orbit again and run off at Warp 9.975"

"I see, thanks for the head's up Judy. Kept an eye out, I'll be careful so don't worry" Xander said terminating the connection. He turned to is friends with a grim smile, "It appears we have company" he looked at seven in specific, "I'll give you three guesses who was beamed down and the first two don't count"

Seven nodded, "Chakotay"

"Bing, give the woman a prize" Xander said but his mind was on other things. Just then a door chime sounded.

Troi Mansion

Chakotay looked at the impressively sized door with a slight smile. He had heard of Mrs. Troi and read about her dealings with the Enterprise and her work for her planet and the federation in general. Lwaxanna Troi was an impressive figure in the society of the Federation. She had several Admirals so in awe of her that just the mention of her name sent them running. Even the legendary Jean-Luc Picard was said to be nervous of her.

Needless to say he wasn't particularly looking forward to this meeting himself. However, orders were orders.

The door opened and Chakotay looked up, and up and up until finally coming to rest on the ashen face or Mr. Homm. "Good afternoon, I am Commander Chakotay, I'm here to see Ambassador Troi"

Mr. Homm just nodded his head slightly and made a follow me type hand movement. Lifting his eyebrow and creasing his tattoo Chakotay followed.

He was directed into the main reception room, where Seven and Mrs. Troi were at a large table; the tablecloth draped down to the floor. They were both bent over a data PADD together. At their side was a honey blonde haired young woman who glanced up at him as he arrived.

Mrs. Troi glanced at her and with a nod of her head the young woman pointed Chakotay out. "Hello?" Lwaxanna enquired sounding as regal as she knew how.

"Ambassador Troi" Chakotay began, but was cut off.

"What are you doing here Chakotay" Seven said her eyebrow lifting, "I was unaware that you were coming to visit?"

"I'm following up a lead as to Lieutenant Harris's location" Chakotay said to both Seven and Lwaxanna.

Seven's eyebrow rose and Lwaxanna looked confused, "Xander?" Lwaxanna asked confusion in her voice, "Why would he be on Betazed"

Chakotay narrowed his eyes at her "You did put out a system wide call for him"

"I know that commander" Lwaxanna said her voice dripping ice, "But he never answered the call. So I cancelled it"

"I see, so you've not heard from Lieutenant Harris then"

"I have not heard from Lieutenant Harris" Lwaxanna parroted. She stood and pulled herself to her quite impressive height and glared at him, "So if the interrogation is complete, I have business to deal with"

Chakotay nodded, "Apologies for the inconvenience. Perhaps you could contact me if Xander gets in touch" he glanced at Seven, "Could we have a word, perhaps just for a moment" he said to her.

"Seven Of Nine is currently helping me with some very important Betazoid matters of technology. I would prefer it if we were disturbed for no longer" Lwaxanna said her voice highly annoyed.

"Later perhaps" Chakotay said, his voice soft and diplomatic.

Seven shook her head, "This will take some time, perhaps if you had called first. As it stands I believe I will be busy here all day and well into the night" she told him. Since finding out just how Chakotay had held Xander under his command, no matter how much of a bluff it may have been, she knew that he wasn't the man she had thought he was. She did still love him, but she wasn't sure that she was 'In love' with him anymore. It wasn't the only reason of course. There was another one, that reasons was currently sat under the desk tickling her knee.

Chakotay looked hard into her eyes for a moment and knew, just knew that she was covering for Xander. He couldn't fault her and at the end of the day he was going against his better nature to hunt the man down. It did however hurt to have her lie to him. With a sharp nod of his head he turned on his heel and beat a retreat from the house.

Once Mr. Homm indicated that the Commander had left the building and they were once again secure Seven suddenly let out a belt of laughter.

"Mr. Dear, what ever is so funny?" Lwaxanna asked.

"Xander, Xander, stop that" Seven said her voice filled with humor.

Xander crawled out from under the table and smirked at her, "I wondered how long you could stop yourself from laughing"

Seven regained her composure and glared at him, "That was most unwise. You are lucky that the Borg enhanced my body to allow better control. If they had not, you would have been discovered as would we"

Xander winked at her with a lopsided smile spreading across his face, "Who's to say I didn't know about the enhancement thing?"

Seven narrowed her eyes at him, "You are reckless, even now"

Xander stood up still smiling, "Not reckless, never that not again. I do believe in having as much fun as possible though. Besides" he said his smile turning wolfish, "You've got a sexy laugh"

As Seven blushed and Am'Ritha chuckled, Lwaxanna watched Xander look at the door that Chakotay had just left via with a thoughtful look on his face.

DS9

Captain Benjamin Sisko stood at ease in front of the large docking door waiting for his latest visitor to arrive. He had received a call from Admiral Neychaev herself telling him to treat this visitor well and to clear visiting rights to the Kae'Farl down on Bajor. He was being forced to use his privileges as the Emissary far more than he liked. Orders, however, were orders.

The door rolled back to show an attractive man in his middle years, bright intelligent blue eyes shone out from under black hair. He had an almost tanned complexion and as soon as he spotted the Station commander a wide smile that flashed white teeth appeared. "Captain Sisko I presume, I'm Reginald Wyndham-Pryce"

"Mr. Wyndham-Pryce, it's good to meet you" Sisko said laying on his best diplomatic smile.

"Likewise old chap, likewise" Reg, as his few friends called him, looked around the station with a smile, "Nice place" he said dryly. During his time as a watcher he had seen most of the mainline quadrant planets. This station had to be the dreariest that he'd ever seen.

"Thank you, we try our best. It's a little difficult considering that this used to be a Cardassian Mining Station"

"Yes, never did like the Cardassian's, well the men anyway. Always were trying to get me killed" Reg commented with a strange smile.

"Well if you'd like to follow me, I can take you directly down to the planet. Kae'Farl will have just finished her nightly patrols. During that time she usually takes some time to get to sleep."

"Lead on, Captain, lead on" Reginald said with a charming smile.

Betazed, Near Janaran Falls

Xander wiped his sword on some cloth, clearing it of the last of the vampire's dust. He glanced over to where Seven was just placed a stake back in her backpack and smiled. The fight had been long and hard, the vampires had been feeding off of he local wild life. For what reason they were here Xander didn't know, although he could take a guess. The master vampire of this world must have a plan afoot that would no doubt mean something bad for the humans.

Am'Ritha had been badly hurt during the fighting so Xander had called Judy to beam her directly back to the Troi mansion. The young slayer was not quite ready for clearing out a nest the size of this one. As such her inexperience had caused her to be hurt fairly early on. Luckily both he and Seven had a lot of practice with clearing out nests, even one that was forty vampires strong. That and they had arrived just before darkness had fallen so the sleeping vampires had been taking by surprise for the most part.

"You ok?" Xander asked walking up behind Seven.

She whirled on him her eyes flying open in shock, "Whoa, what's up" Xander said stepping back slightly his hands up.

"I am sorry, you startled me"

Xander looked at her with surprise, "Really, cool, must be getting better at my creeping"

Seven cocked an eyebrow at him, "No. I was merely looking at the falls" she paused as if embarrassed, "They are lovely"

Xander walked closer to her and stood at her shoulder. Arrayed before them was a vista of outstanding natural beauty. The falls dropped from a hundred feet above the basin. Clouds of water vapor swirled around them causing a miasma to form. The leafy palms drooped under the weight of it. The thunderous roar of the cascade filled their senses as the last vestiges of sunlight cut down into the sink.

Xander glanced at the amazing sight before him. It was great but the woman who he was standing closely to was filling his senses in a far more interesting way than the waterfall. To him, the sight of Seven, her hair frizzed slightly in the wet atmosphere and with a dirty smudge on her cheek; well that was truly a natural beauty.

Seven felt his closeness keenly and turned her head slightly to find that their lips were only an inch apart. Her eyes lifted from his lips and looked into his dark brown orbs, the look within them captivated her. The next thing she knew she was reaching around for him her lips meeting his in an explosion of passion.

Xander felt an incredible rush of emotions assault him, and just for a moment he was swept up in them. Then he regained his sense enough to gently pull Seven from him. "Seven..." he started.

Seven cut him off by putting a finger to his lips. Then starting directly into his eyes she smiled softly, "I want this, I wanted this in Deep Space Nine's sickbay. I was too afraid to allow myself to feel again." She paused her eyes filled with emotion.

"And now?" Xander asked softly.

"I am no longer afraid!" Seven said once again capturing his lips for a deep kiss.

They kissed each other finally allowing the emotions to pour from one to the other their passion building in the idyllic location. The birds giving a last call before they went to their roosts the sun dipping slowly behind the horizon and all the while the thunder of water dropping into the basin at their side.

DS5

Marshall's movement finally stilled his rage spent. Around him the once beige corridor was painted in blood. At his feet the remains of Doctor Manheim settled into a pile. His entire body was covered in blood so much so that he looked to be wearing red clothes, an not black. His vampiric countenance shifted slowly back to his human guise. His breaths coming in ragged pants as Marshall Boyd finally got his temper back under control.

Once he had fully controlled his breathing he pulled out a communications device and flipped it open. "Vinny" he said his voice was ragged.

"Yeah Boss" Vinny's calm East London accent came back from the 'Dripping Fang' and her hiding place nearby the station.

"Beam me out"

There order was acted on immediately and Marshall's body was taken from the station and deposited on the bridge of his ship. The vampires all looked at him with fear, the humans as well. He was a truly awe inspiring sight as he stood still trickling blood onto the immaculate Star Fleet Beige carpet.

"Earth, take me to earth. I want Cove next"

Vinny nodded straight away he put his master's order into action. He turned back with a slight smile as Marshall went to sit at the captain's chair, "You staying like that?" he asked.

Boyd glared at his Aide-De-Camp for a second, "What of it?" he said roughly.

Vinny shrugged, "You're dripping on the carpet" he said a slow smile spreading across his face.

Marshall, just for a second, looked about ready to murder his second in command before throwing his head back and barking out a laugh.

Kae'Farl's Compound, Bajor

"No!" the diminutive brunette said her foot stamping down, "I won't do it"

"Kae'Farl..." Bal'Mar tried to placate her.

"No!" Kae'Farl said her eyes flashing.

Reginald Wyndam-Pryce looked between the two with a look of slight confusion on his handsome face, "What is the problem here?" he asked, "I was led to believe that you would be willing..."

"We are" Bal'Mar said slowly, "It is just that Kae'Farl believed that our ambassador for want of a better word would be Xander Harris"

Reg laughed, "Ah yes our very own patron saint of Slayers"

Kae'Farl glared at him, "What's that supposed to mean"

Sisko watched the ongoing conflict with growing amusement, until the name Xander Harris had been mentioned, "Lieutenant Harris has been discharged from the fleet and is currently part of an ongoing man hunt" he filled in, despite his own personal dislike of the young man, he did feel for his current predicament. After all he also had lost someone he loved to enemy action of a sort.

"No!" Kae'Farl said her face dissolving into shock, "No!" she repeated slumping down into a chair

"Why?" Bal'Mar asked.

Pryce held up a hand to still the Captains explanation, "Perhaps I may explain?"

Sisko nodded his balding head wondering what the watcher would make of the story.

"Xander has been charged with a trumped up charge" he said gaining a glare from Sisko, "and is currently unavailable, I am sure that once that is clear it could be arrange that he would visit" he said looking Kae'Farl straight in the eye, willing her to get his silent message.

Bal'Mar was about to speak when Kae'Farl cut him off, "That will be fine," she said earning a surprised look from the Bajorian watcher.

"In the meantime, would you be willing to deal with me?" Reg asked with a charming and disarming smile.

Kae'Farl appeared to think long and hard on the matter before finally just nodding her head, once sharply.

Sisko looked from her to the human man with suspicious thoughts bouncing around his mind. 'That was far too easy' he thought, 'what the hell is going on?'





Troi Mansion

Xander appeared in the lounge area with Seven at his side, very close to his side. The two of them had spoken briefly and had laid it all on the line before each other. That had taken the better part of the night. Now well into the night day so it was a frantic Slayer that greeted them.

"Where the hell have you been?" Am'Ritha demanded.

"Sorry, been busy" Xander said with a secret smile.

Lwaxanna Troi looked between him and a faintly blushing Seven and a smile spread across her face. "Am'Ritha, be a dear and practice your movements in the back garden for me please" she said cutting across the blonde slayer's tirade.

Am'Ritha battled with herself for a few moments before finally nodding and moving to do as she was asked. "Yes Mrs. Troi"

Once she had departed Lwaxanna smiled at the new couple, "I'm very happy to see..." she trailed off as memories hit her from Seven whose normal composure had been split wide open. Her smile only grew, "Well, Well, Mr. Harris you do surprise me" she said with a wink.

Seven tried to blend in with the crimson curtains.

"Mrs. Troi, that ain't nice" Xander admonished her gently, "You shouldn't go digging around in peoples minds, you might find something out that you didn't want to"

Lwaxanna just smirked at him, "That's a risk I'm willing to take, the benefits far out way the disadvantages," she told him.

Meanwhile Seven gained control of herself and smiled, it wasn't her usual reserved smile. It was an expression full emotion and happiness, "Now that you know, I hope you do not mind me stealing your toy boy" she quipped.

Lwaxanna smiled widely again, "You see, already you are loosening up"

"Okay, enough of the fun stuff, we need to talk business" Xander said with a laugh.

"Tut.Tut. If you wish" Lwaxanna said

"Well first off, have you found anyone to train Am'Ritha?"

Lwaxanna nodded, "Yes, as a matter of fact I have. There is an ex-Starfleet man, one of the many men that were stationed here during our trouble with those snake-like aliens. He stayed after the trouble passed married one of my friends as it happens. So a man by the name of Roger Tang will be training her, Riker suggested him actually. Apparently he has the relevant fighting experience"

Xander nodded, "Good, that's really good actually, now." He paused and pulled a pad out from his jacket pocket and punched at it for a few seconds. Then a tricorder joined it, the 'corder had an unusual attachment that caught Seven's attention.

"What is that?" she asked pointing to the device.

Xander smiled at her, "Never seen one of these Seven?" he teased "I'm surprised"

Seven cocked an eyebrow at him that clearly said, 'Cut it out'

"It's a sophisticated Holo-emitter that Judy designed. She's configured it to work with a tricorder and project images much the way she does on the bridge" Xander triggered the device into action and a form appeared. "Isn't that right Judy?" he said smiling at the photonic life form.

"It is Captain," she said professionally, but she was smiling widely, pleased at the praise.

Lwaxanna rolled her eyes, "Another woman I note"

"Yeah, Yeah, So Judy; show us what you've got" Xander said

Judy held up a hand palm facing upwards, a screen appeared that showed the planet in its full glory. "This is Betazed" she seemed to blink and another image was interlaced over the planet, "These are what ancient Terrans called lay lines, they are in fact lines of demonic influence caused by the hellmouth. Using this method I've found the sight of the Betazoid hellmouth." A blot appeared near the center of the major landmass of the planet. The same landmass they were standing on at that point in time. "As you can see," she said as the view shifted and showed a map of the area. The blot reappeared showing the location of the hellmouth to be ten miles away from them, "The hellmouth is nearby"

Xander nodded as the images and the holographic Judy faded away, "Judy and I figure that the Master Vampire of the world will be as close as he can be to that hellmouth. So all we need to do is go there and take them out"

Seven looked at him askance, "Really?" she said incredulously.

"Well, I realize it's a bit more complicated than that" Xander said with a grin.

"We need reinforcements," Seven said succinctly.

"Yep, Judy is on her way back to Earth right now" Xander said.

Seven looked at him in shock, "When did you get chance to plan all of this?" She blushed slightly, "We were... Busy for most of the night"

Lwaxanna covered a laugh with a cough, "I'm sorry, a little dusty in here isn't it"

"I don't sleep too well" Xander admitted with a mild glare at Lwaxanna, "Besides I did some of this the other night"

"Who is coming?" Seven asked moving on.

"Jac, Gabe and Maria"

"Is that not a risk to Earth?"

Xander shook his head, "Not until Cove dies"

Seven frowned at him, "I'm sorry"

"Marshall is gunning for Admiral Cove, that's why I left Zan behind to protect her dad. In the meantime there is minimal risk to earth. Betazed on the other hand is being attacked by psychic vampires, you do the math"

Seven had to concede that point, "I take it you have warned Admiral Cove?"

Xander looked away from her, "So once they arrive we can go for it. I figure we do some scouting and find the lair tonight"

"Xander, you did tell Admiral Cove didn't you?" Seven asked

Xander met her eyes his own hard, "No, I didn't"

"Xander!" Lwaxanna said in shock.

Xander held up a hand to forestall any comment, "I did warn Zandra though" he clarified, "I figured that if I talked to Cove, I'd kill him myself" he took a breath, "I've also contacted Frank and he will be backing up Zandra. I know it's not perfect but it was the most I could bring myself to do."

"The Major, was he not with the Draconian when it left?" Seven asked Xander with a lifted eyebrow, a sure sign of confusion with the ex-drone.

"No, he and a my trainees stayed behind on that mission to protect the head quarters from any more attacks. They are training others whilst there as well, more demon hunters are well on the way to being here"

"Is this Major trustworthy?" Lwaxanna asked confused.

"He seems to think he owes me his life, apparently that out weighs my fugitive status" Xander said with a shrug and a smile. "So yeah, I'd say so"

"It appears that a great many people 'Seem to think they owe you their lives'," Lwaxanna said with an affectionate smile at the young man before her, "Myself included"

"Just doing my job" Xander said turning to face the returned Am'Ritha, "hey Am'" he said with a smile.

"My name is Am'Ritha" she said annoyed.

Xander just smirked back at her. Seven hid a smile at his antics, he certainly liked to annoy slayer's, god only knows why.

The door chimes choose that moment to sound off again. They all looked at each other for a moment, "The table again. Want to hide with me?" he asked her with a wink.

"No, go upstairs to the room at the end of the corridor, Seven will have to stay with me. It is commander Chakotay" Lwaxanna said hustling the young man out of the door towards the stairs, "Stay up there until we're finished"

"Okay, Okay, I'm going" Xander said holding his hands up in surrender.

Mr. Homn led a slightly annoyed looking Chakotay back into the room. The annoyed expression cleared when he saw that Seven and Mrs. Troi were not working, "Good Afternoon" he greeted them.

Lwaxanna nodded to Mr. Homn who bowed deeply and left the room.

Am'Ritha glowered at Chakotay for a moment, "Do you want me to leave again?" she asked in an aggrieved tone.

Lwaxanna glared at her mildly, "No, that's fine Am'Ritha dear, come; sit with me. I believe that the good commander actually wishes to speak with my guest?"

Chakotay nodded and shot her a grateful smile.

Lwaxanna led the slayer by the hand out of the room leaving the ex-Borg and current Starfleet commander staring at each other.

CHAPTER 05

Troi Mansion

Chakotay stared at his girlfriend with a sudden sinking feeling in the depths of his stomach. He wasn't sure how he knew, be it her body language or the look in her eye, but he knew that he and she were no longer.

Sven looked at the man she supposedly loved and a wash of guilt flowed over her. She had been carried along by her emotions but she had still cheated on him, essentially. "Chakotay" she began her voice failing her for a moment.

"Seven" Chakotay said his own voice thick with emotion, then he gave a long sigh, "Where did we go wrong... It was Xander wasn't it, you love him don't you?" he stated/asked her.

Seven felt a strange combination of pity, anger and guilt. She pitied the man she was about to hurt, anger at herself for hurting Chakotay and guilt for what she had done with Xander. However, she had not had that feeling of being dirty that she had experienced after being with Chakotay that first time. She supposed that she had felt dirty and wrong because she knew even then, where her heart lay. In fact, all told and said and done, she had loved Xander for a long time. His courageous heart and loving nature were hard combination to resist.

"I'm sorry" she said finally her eyes filling with tears. She damned her weakness for a second.

"I understand Seven, I think I really do. I just wonder what would have happened had I not have gone on that mission?" Chakotay said feeling tired and very, very old suddenly.

"I can not tell you that" Seven said carefully, "Perhaps things would have been different. Perhaps I should never have had the doctor perform my operation. Life, it appears, is full of what ifs"

"For a newly awakened human, that is a very wise thing to say" Chakotay said with a slight smile. "I'm sorry Seven, I truly am. In an alternate universe, you and I could have been something special"

Seven's tears stared to flow, "We were, even in this one," she said choking back a sob.

Chakotay nodded but didn't trust himself to talk. He had his emotions as much under his control as he was able, but it was still hurting him beyond his capacity to hide it fully. It showed in the dark tone of his eyes, the slight slouch in his posture. Chakotay was a hurting man.

He decided that what he really needed to do was get back to business, his posture righted itself and he cleared his throat, "Seven" he said his voice now holding his command persona.

Seven noticed the changes wrought in the man in front of her and likewise got a hold of her self, "Chakotay?"

"Tell Xander, to get off this planet, and soon. I have all the security forces on this planet looking for him." He held up a hand to cut her off, "I know he's here Seven, so don't try that with me. I'll give him until tonight to clear out, after that I'm coming for him"

"Xander will be grateful," Seven said softly.

"I'm not doing this for Xander" Chakotay told her and turned on a heel. He walked out of the Troi Mansion himself without looking back. If he had, he would have seen Xander watching his disappearing form with a slight frown.

Starfleet Headquarters.

Zandra was passed quickly through the multiple levels of security leading up to her father's office. This was a route she had often walked before, on various visits from her home on Mars. She had always known what her father did, but she didn't realize until recently just what his work entailed.

She wasn't overly happy about the thoughts that crossed her mind after finding out about Dee. She hadn't liked the woman, which was obvious to one and all. However, she hadn't deserved to die like that, especially when her blood was on her father's hands.

She hadn't talked to her father since that day, hadn't taken any of his calls; she hadn't even allowed him to visit. The pain of that had gotten to her juts as it had Alex Cove. Now, with his life in danger it was time to break down the walls she had built between them. She wanted to keep her father safe from the Master vampire, to do that she had to be with him. For that to happen, she needed to mend a few bridges.

Then she arrived at the door to her fathers office, His attractive personal assistant passed her through with only an obligatory glance. Zandra was well known to all of the staff under Admiral Cove's direct command. She wasn't someone easily forgotten or confused with another. Still, Zandra decided, that she was going to have a word with her farther about the lax security around him. He was after all a powerful figure within the fleet and the Federation. She could be a founder, or worse still and vampire. Her face shouldn't be clearance enough. Her ID had been given only a cursory glance and a smile had distracted the guards quite easily considering that they were all fleet trained. No, she wasn't happy at all.

The door slid open and she stepped through allowing it to shut behind her. For a moment she stood and just looked at the man that was her sire. His head bent, from this angle she could make out the first glimpse of the bald patch on his head, the flashes of silver at the side of his head, the wrinkles on his face. Her father was growing old. She could remember once long ago when his hair had been obsidian, his face smooth and handsome, not that he wasn't still a handsome man, but in his younger years he had been stunning.

His desk was arrayed, as it always had been, a picture of her and an antique fountain pen off to one side. The strange affection a gift from her many years ago, he had written a paper on the tactics of the Romulan Empire that had been critically acclaimed and was used in the academy to this day. The pen had been her somewhat joking gift to him, yet here it still was nearly ten years later.

"Daddy" she said finally.

Admiral Alexander Cove's head shot up and when his eyes landed on his daughter a large beaming smile split his face for an instant, until he saw the worried look that she had on her face, "Darling... What is it?"

"You're in danger, daddy and a lot of it" she said her voice small.

"Why?" he asked her his eyes narrowing.

"Marshall Boyd is coming for you. He'll kill you daddy"

"Darling" Cove said a warm smile appearing on his face.

"Don't darling me daddy, I know what I'm talking about, he is a master vampire. You won't stop him, those guards out there won't stop him." She took a deep breath, "Only I can, and some friends of mine"

"Darling, I'm in the middle of Starfleet Headquarters in the middle of the day. I am perfectly safe"

Zandra sighed, "No you're not. Marshall can get around during the day"

"How do you know this, how can you protect me."

"I know because Xander gave me a head's up as he called it. He has talked to Marshall, during the day, and has warned me"

"Why didn't he tell me himself?"

Zandra chuckled but it was a strange echo of a laugh, totally lacking in anything resembling humor, "Daddy, you killed his girl. She may have been a b..." she cut herself off, she wouldn't speak ill of the dead, "operative, but she didn't deserve to die. It took some fast talking from Admiral Janeway to stop Neychaev from carrying out her threat, you do know that; don't you"

"I had nothing to do with Lt. Commander Dympna's death" Admiral cove set his jaw setting.

Zandra puffed out a breath of annoyed air, "Rubbish, even I know you signed the order to have Xander killed, Dee just got in the way. No you may not have ordered her death, but you are still responsible"

Cove paused the platitude he was about to say, the denials he had been preparing died on his lips. He bowed his head, the stresses of the last few months hitting him like a ton of bricks in the face of his daughter. There was one thing that Alex Cove cared about and that was his daughter. To have her tell him face to face that he was a murderer was too much for his weary soul to bear, "Is that why you wouldn't talk to me?" he asked finally.

Zandra just nodded her head, "I knew what you did, and I thought it was to worth it to protect the federation and the people of it. But Daddy, what's the point if we end up worse than the things we are protecting against."

Alex Cove was struck dumb by her words so Zandra pushed on, "Come with me, and let me protect you"

Alex looked up at her with weary eyes, "How?"

Zandra took a deep breath, "Daddy, I'm a slayer"

'The Dripping Fang'

Marshall Boyd was sat slouched in his chair watching the rush of stars whiz past at Warp 9.9 the maximum rated speed for the SteamRunner class. He was pushing the engines as hard as he could, the Por'aanian Engineering team working overtime just to keep the engine at maximum efficiency for such an extended period. They had been flying twelve hours already and the engines were supposed o be slowed down at this point. Marshall had ripped the Por'aan engineer that had told him to shreds with his bare hands.

Since then the engineering crew had worked without complaint, in fear for their continued existence. The Master Vampire had but one purpose, one immediate goal. He was going to kill the man who had ordered the tests performed on Carmel, the man who had indirectly killed her. He'd already killed the doctor, and had gleaned some satisfaction in knowing that he had died at his hand.

Once the admiral was dead he would once again feel complete. Carmel had been a loss to him so great that it had eaten at his long dead soul. Once that was complete, he was going after Xander Harris, just because he wanted too.

"No, you won't" a voice suddenly said derailing his thoughts.

"What?" Marshall said before his world was turned into shades of red and black, pain storming though every pore of his system.

Lucifer knelt down beside the bucking and screaming Marshall and smiled, "Is that anyway to speak to your master"

Marshall was in no position to talk at that point.

"No, I have a much more important task for you, I'll deal with Harris myself" he said his eyes dancing with the fires of hell.

Storage Unit 3a, Betazed

Xander stood with, Gabriel to his left; Seven to his right and on Seven's right was Jacinta and next to Gabriel was the new slayer Am'Ritha. Standing just behind them was Xerx a friend of Lwaxanna's that had been enlisted to help them with the slight problem of shielding. Xander didn't need it, nor did the native slayer Am'Ritha, however everyone else did.

His team had arrived earlier that day; Judy was in orbit with Maria who was sending information to them. He and Seven had scouted out this particular warehouse as the Master's lair earlier that day. So now all that remained was to do the deed.

Xander smiled wolfishly, "We loaded for bear?" he asked.

The natives of that century turned a confused glance in his direction but they got the general idea.

"Ready!" they chorused.

"Alright, let's hit it" Xander said his Katana appearing in his hand with a flurry of movement. The long coat he worn for the occasion sweeping down to the floor. The wind picked up at that exact moment causing it to fan out behind him appearing just like a cloak.

As one they stepped forward, Xerx, a young but very powerful projective telepath hung back from them Judy had a constant lock on him, just in case. His briefing had been interesting to say the least and the people that he had been introduced to were impressive. He was only just out of his teenage years and the band of people he had just met reminded him of a Holonovel he often played. Hero's every one of them, the women were beautiful, the man handsome. In fact the honey blonde had rather caught his eye. He promised himself that he would keep a particular eye on her.

The walked up to the warehouse doors slowly, none of them in a particular hurry. There was a tangible feeling of anticipation in the air as they stopped in front of the wide doors.

Xander's smile turned predatory as he pulled out a small cricket phaser. His team all did the same thing pointing the device at the doorway. The sun blazing at their backs they took a collective calming breath and let it out slowly. As they did the firing studs on their weapons were depressed and 5 beams of light lanced from them and thundered the door. It held for a microsecond glowing a bright angry red before it was atomized out of existence.

The sunlight flooded in through the now open door and caught several vampires in its furious embrace. They were flambéed instantly, their corpses turning to ash piles and floating down to the floor.

Xander glanced at seven and smiled for her then turned his mind back on his work. They troupe stepped forward into the relative gloom of the storage building.

"Welcome" a voice called to them in greeting. It sounded almost friendly.

"Yo!" Xander said back, "You forgot to pay your taxes, we're here to collect"

"Are but how are we to pay" the amused response floated back. Just then Xerx felt and alien in his mind and erected his shields instantly. Then with the skill of a true prodigy he enveloped Jacinta, Gabriel and seven in it as well. He knew from his briefing that Am'Ritha and Xander would be fine.

Frieal balanced his powers took careful aim and once again attacked the invading demon hunters; yet again Xerx foiled his attempt. Frieal glanced down from his place standing at the top of a stair way, a feral smile lit up his features for a moment, "Hell Xerx, good to see you" he said. "I see you've been working on your shielding skills"

"Enough chat fang face, lets get to the fighting part," Xander said in a bored tone of voice.

"Fang Face!" Frieal actually chuckled, "Oh my dear boy, if that the best you can come up with; very well, I suppose I should say something typically clichéd at this point like; GET THEM!"

Bay Towers

Zandra sat with one leg tucked under the other; she and her father had just spent a full 24 hours getting to know one another again. Outside the door, there were three marines. Inside and just behind her was another three. Next to her was Major Frank as he'd told her to call him, and next to her father was yet more Marines.

Xander had told her to use his old apartment, the deeds were still in his name after all and he figured that Marshall had no idea where he lived, if he had then surely they would've been attacked by now. Plus it was a private home and as such he would have to be invited in.

"He did what?" Frank asked his face incredulous.

Zandra favored him with a perky smile, "He moon walked out, apparently it's a dance step, your going backwards but it looks like your going forwards"

Frank titled his head, "Why?"

"Because he's a cocky bastard" Zandra shot back with a grin.

Alex cove laughed out loud, "I now wish that I had met him"

"You will daddy, you will; once this mess with Admiral Neychaev is sorted out he'll be free to come and go as he pleases"

"Yeah..." the major cut himself off, his instincts suddenly roaring at him, "DOWN!"

They dived to the floor just as a projectile came flying through the window with a smash of sound.

It burrowed itself into the opposite wall and twisted round.

Frank James knew only too well what that device was for, "OUT! EVERYONE OUT NOW" they all jumped to their feet and dived out of the door only to find the three Marines posted there dead already.

Behind them the projectile suddenly spiked out phaser beams in a hundred different directions all at the same time, it was a room clearance device, designed to kill everything within a 270-degree arc. There was very little way to avoid that sort of firepower and get out alive. The best way was just to remove ones self and that is exactly what Frank had done and unwittingly played straight into Marshall's hand.

"Well Hello There!" Marshall said stepping round the corner of the corridor with a large smile on his face. A dozen vampires fanned out around him as best they could and another dozen came up from behind them; holding their position. At their head was Vinny who was holding a compression phaser rifle.

Storage Unit 3a, Betazed

Xander cut down the first vampire that came within the three-foot reach of the Katana, the blade leaping out and taking the demons head.

Seven dropped down swirling round in a flurry of motion and chopping a vamp's legs from under him. As it dropped her stake lashed out, another dusting.

Jacinta amped up her reserves of strength and just went for it. She tapped into her slayer essence and soon was almost walking through vampires. Gabriel took a moment to grin at her stupidly before a vampire's fist brought him back to life in the most unpleasant way possible. He came back from the blow swinging and with a powerful punch jarred the vampires jaw. Then his sword came into play ad there was one les demon. He was by no means a master of the sword but Xander had taught him a thing or two. For a human a sword, particularly the Katana, was the ultimate leveler when fighting vampires. It had a good long reach; the blade was light, strong and very, very sharp.

Am'Ritha was somewhat in awe of her sister slayer and did her level best to keep up unwittingly tapping into her own essence to do so. As she drew more strength from her Slayer Spirit so her speed was increased, her skill sharpened, her aim perfected. She started to stab out with her stake so fast that her arm was a blur. With every downwards plunge another vampire exploded into dust.

Bay Towers

Zandra shifted her stance, making sure to keep her father to her back her fists came up in a loose stance and she smiled winningly at the powerfully built master vampire.

Marshall chuckled slightly as she made a come hither motion with her hand and slipped into a stance of his own. The fighting arts were not normally his bag, but he knew a few of the more explosive styles, kickboxing had been very useful when building his criminal kingdom.

His eyes locked with Vinny's for a moment that nodded slightly; he could trust Vinny and his childer to take out the fleet people and get him the Admiral. He would deal with the slayer personally; he hadn't had a challenge for, well ever.

The two combatants in an ages old battle, natural foe across the millennia moved towards each other. That was the signal for pandemonium to rule as the remaining Marines, all first generation trainees with Major Frank James, the survivor of hundreds of battles, leapt into the fray.

Admiral Cove looked around him in shock; during his time in the fleet he had seen his fair share of violence and battles. This was a whole new playing field.

Storage Unit 3a, Betazed

Xander cast a lightning glance around the room taking a head count and making sure that his people were all accounted for which they were. Then with a grim smile he set to work. He stepped away from the others; he and Am'Ritha had a greater arc of movement due to the lack of shielding from Xerx. His blade a sliver of quicksilver in the gloom of the warehouse he made his way towards the stairs.

Seven glanced around and saw what he was doing and sent a silent prayer to whatever gods may be listening that he would be alright. She had no wish to loose him, not after having just found him.

Xander ducked a vampires flying kick his sword lashing out to remove the leg, as the vampire landed in a heap with a howl of pain he turned to finish the job, thumb, whoosh was the sound the vampires head made as it was removed from its torso.

Frieal watched the battle with a growing sense of urgency. The sward below was cutting through his childer as if they weren't there. Some demonic sense told him that there were two slayers down there and the taller blonde woman may as well have been. They showed a skill and flair that was crippling his horde of vampires and thus him. Frieal wasn't the usual master vampire that thought with his fangs. He was a thinking vampire and his intellect was telling him one thing. It was time for him to leave, if he lived he could easily build his army back up once the hunters had left town. Decision made he leapt over the railing of the stairs and dropped straight to the floor below. His demonically enhanced physiology making light work of taking the brunt of the fall he was running the second his foot hit floor.

Xander saw his leap and tracked him as he landed, then with a determined expression he set off after him.

Frieal ran straight into the sunlight his status as THE master vampire of Betazed allowing him this luxury. Xander almost stumbled to a stop, he had thought that it had only been Marshall that could pull off that trick, he would have to warn the other slayer's before it was too late. Slayers tended to keep the same hours as the things they fought, if a master such as Marshall or Frieal caught them napping... Xander didn't even want to finish THAT thought. Shaking off his shock Xander took to his heels and chased the master out of the storage unit.

Frieal looked around desperately, he knew that the young brown haired human was after him and had no wish to meet the man on a level playing field. Just then he eyes came to rest on some speeders and a feral grin spread across his face.

Speeders were the 24th century equivalent to a motorbike and were very popular with the youth of most of the federation worlds. They had in fact been banned from Vulcan controlled planets due to their emotional connotations.

Frieal didn't care he just jumped onto one, his hands flying across the computer system and initiating the flight controls. Speeders didn't run on wheels.

The speeder lifted off and hovered five foot off of the floor just as Xander arrived. Frieal smirked at the younger human before his hand twisted the throttle control and the bike like vehicle rocketed away at great speed.

Xander spied another speeder near the next building and ran for it. As he reached it he noticed it appeared to be locked out, unlike Frieal's own machine. He set to work on it using all of the tricks he had learned from Data and Seven.

Bay Towers

Zandra flowed into her attack with the grace of a striking serpent. Her slender fists belied the power of her blows as Marshall blocked only to be sent flying backwards anyway. He immediately 'vamped' out.

Zandra smiled cockily at the master before slipping back into her stance with ease.

Marshall smiled at her and inclined his head to her. Then he attacked; Zandra hadn't been ready for the brutality of his attack and was almost overrun with it. His fist powered into her sternum stealing her breath and a kick nearly broke her leg before she backed away gaining space for herself. Then inclining her head back at the Master Vampire she changed her tactics. She changed her entire fighting style on a hairpin. Her arms flowed around her like a windmill for a second and her legs taking an almost awkward looking stance. Moves from a fighting style that literally only a handful of people knew any more, not counting the Borg who had assimilated it in the first place.

Zandra moved in a blur attacking with a side thrust kick that Marshall knocked away to the side. He countered with a simple punch that came all the way up from his legs and could have decapitated a human. Zandra simply moved out of the mighty blows way and her own fist snaked out to impact on Marshall's side. There was a sudden crack as she completely shattered the rib under her petite fist.

Marshall let out a roar of pain his already yellow vampiric eyes shifting into a more demonic red for a moment. Then his demon healed the wound with another almighty crack. He took a second to center himself again, knowing that anger would lead to his defeat he focused his rage into a knifepoint and unleashed it upon the slender brunette in front of him. Zandra took his first punch her enhanced body ignoring the blow; she slipped in under his guard using that same style and her foot lanced out in a sidesplitting kick to the same rib.

There was yet another crack and Marshall roared in pain yet again, this time he didn't stop his press forward and used his greater weight to knock the woman to the wall. She hit it at such force as to crack plaster and she slumped for a second almost hitting the floor before regaining her senses. Marshall was still moving toward her his demonic face set in an expression of pure hate.

Zandra forced herself back into a standing position in a flash. Her leg rocketed out in a powerful side thrust kick.

Marshall suddenly found himself being kicked straight through the metal plated door and into the Xander's now ruined apartment.

The still active room clearance phaser sending out beams of death all around him, his body intersected with a beam.

Storage Unit 3a, Betazed

Xander smiled in triumph as he bypassed the speeders security protection and the muscular engine came to life as a hum of power. He swung his leg over the seat and gave himself a quick lesson in piloting it. Then his own speeder lifted into the air and he was off.

The wind rushed around him as his speed built and his grin spread into a genuine smile of pure enjoyment. He caught sight of Frieal speeding around a corner and set his own course to match.

The two speeding vehicles flashed across the industrial district. Xander's eyes fixed on the back of Frieal as the master vampire used his enhanced reflexes to pilot the speeder at more than break neck speeds. The speeder seemed to have an impulse like drive that was pushing them both along at extreme speed. Xander banked around a corner his legs actually having to run along the wall of a building for a moment as he brought his steed under control. He didn't have the advantage of enhanced reflex's, just his very sharp human ones.

Frieal led him in a loop around a warehouse in an attempt to splatter him against the wall but Xander kept his head and used his instinctive piloting experience to stay alive. His lifted his speeder over a rubbish bin and almost crashed into a shield. The bike banked upwards in an almost 90-degree change of direction as Xander's battle hardened instincts saved him once again. Frieal turned in his seat sure that Xander would now be a red stain across the shield. His smile died as he saw that not only was Xander still alive but he was also catching up to him.

Frieal cast around for a way to kill the human and smiled when an idea suddenly occurred to him. He knew that Xander would have the same weaknesses as any other humanoid, something that a demon had no qualms about. He turned his speeder towards the populated pedestrian district of town, an area of town that, at this time, would certainly be full of people.

Xander whooped with joy as he wheeled his 'bike' around in midair causing it to turn on both axis and speed off after the vampire. The air rushed past him whipping his long coat and causing it to snap and dance in his wake. Then he noticed the direction the demon was heading and the smile disappeared from his face to be replaced by a mask of concentration. Things were about to get hairy.

Bay Towers

Orange and red fire spat around Marshall every hit that stuck him was dissipated by a glowing force field that seemed to spring up out of nowhere. He lashed out with one large fist and crushed the device against the wall turning it off in the process. The beams weren't hurting him but the light caused when they struck him was blinding him.

Zandra smiled a feral smile of her own and walked into the room calmly as if she owned the place. Then it occurred to her that Marshall had not been invited, she didn't have time to ponder that thought as Marshall moved back on the offensive.

His own leg leapt out in a thrust kick that Zandra sidestepped and captured, Sevens training coming to the fore she used an elbow to attempt to shatter his knee cap. Marshall interrupted her move with a fist to her face that caused her to drop the leg. Then he followed up with another fist to her stomach that folded her in two and sent her flying backwards over a couch.

Zandra hit the floor and rolled with the force slapping her hands down on the ground with such force that she sent herself back into a standing position. Then she slipped into yet another style, this one from the delta quadrant and from a species that had been utterly whipped out by the Hirogen, apart from the remnants that remained in the Borg hive mind that is. She jumped up and back over the couch her leg flicked out to nail Marshall in the chin and send him flying into a wall.

Marshall allowed himself a smile as he whipped blood from his chin and beckoned the brunette slayer forward with one hand as he adopted a boxer's stance.

Out in the corridor Frank ducked a vampire's clumsy haymaker and slapped his stake home with brutal efficiency. The demon dusted before his eyes and another stepped through, only this wasn't a vampire this was Vinny.

"Alright Mate" Vinny said with an edged smile. "Shall we rumble?"

Frank frowned in confusion, "What, rumble, you hungry or something pal?"

"Bloody yanks" Vinny said and launched a devastating punch.

The highly trained Starfleet Marine Major took the blow on using an upward block and his face lapsed into surprise, "You're human"

"Yep" Vinny said pulling out a knife, "So?"

"You're working with a vampire, man... That's just sick" Frank said with an expression full of disgust and pulling out his blessed dagger.

"To each their own" Vinny said as his eyes narrowed his world now consisting of just he and the Major. His blade leapt out in a flash speed borne of many such knife fights.

The blow easily blocked by the major who smirked, "Give it up son. Go now and we'll talk later"

Vinny shook his head, "Can't do that mate, I've got orders"

Frank gave a heavy sigh, his blade left his hand in a flash. Vinny had fought many humans in his long career even some Aliens, but he had no hope of matching Major Frank James's experience. Frank had faced Klingon's, Andorian's, hell he'd even gone hand to hand with the Borg before now. Vinny was no competition; as such the major ended the fruitless combat as quickly as he could, the blessed dagger embedding itself into Vinny's heart. The human had just enough time to shot him a surprised look, chuckle slightly and say, "Well Fuck Me" before keeling over.

Major James shook his head sadly for a moment and then like the professional he was turned his attention back to the main battle.

Storage Unit 3a, Betazed

Gabriel Masters stilled his motion his long bladed sword hanging in mid air as he finished the movement that decapitated the last member of Frieal's brood. Then he pulled back up into a standing stance and looked around. He was unsure just how many vampires they had fought but the floor was awash with dust. AS he walked it was kicked up into small eddies around his booted feet.

"Are you alright?" he asked Jacinta as he approached her.

Jacinta pulled her hair back into the pony's tail that it had fallen from and smiled up at him, "I'm good" she said with the slight leer that he had come to know and thoroughly enjoy.

He glanced over to the Betazoid slayer, "And you?"

"I am tired," she admitted with a smile.

Jacinta turned to her, "How many did you get?"

Am'Ritha smiled, "I lost count after the first ten"

"I got about 15 I think, what about you Gabe?"

"Seven-ish?" he guessed.

"What about you seven?" Jacinta asked the blonde ex-drone.

Seven smiled warmly, "16"

"Damn!" Jacinta said with a pout, "What about Xander?"

"He only got five," Seven said, "But then he did chase the Master out of the building early on in the battle"

"Wonder if he's got him yet" Jacinta said thoughtfully.

"Lets find out" Gabriel said pulling out his communications link to Judy

*****

Frieal smirked demonically as he dodged past a throng of people at 100 miles per hour the speeder's drive knocking them over in its wake. Xander was at his heels now; his face was set into a mask of pure concentration as he matched the Master Vampires move for move, only without hurting people.

There was a general cry of look out as they whooshed past a group of elder Betazoid's all shaking their fists at them. Xander was sure that if he was susceptible to their mental broadcast's that he would be suffering, luckily he wasn't as Q's vague presence in the back of his mind blocked all telepathic attack benign or not.

Frieal darted into an open ended Café sending tables and customers flying. Xander didn't hesitate or pause to consider his actions he immediately put on a burst of speed and was the other end of the café in a flash. He managed to pull his speeder to a halt and settled back to wait the few short seconds it would take for Frieal to cause his mayhem and emerge from the other side of the building.

Chakotay spat out his drink when he was suddenly nose-to-nose with the very man he was hunting. He had taken refuge in this quiet restaurant come café to think for a while. He had just left the Troi Mansion where he and a security team had searched the place to no avail. He had been good to his word and had allowed Xander the time he had told Seven. Once he got there though he had found that Seven was also suspicious in her absence. He had the distinct impression from Mrs. Troi's chilly demeanor that Xander was still around and that seven was with him, until now that is.

Xander suddenly noticed just who he was right next to and smirked, "Hey Commander, how's it going?" he said with a friendly smile.

Then Frieal's speeder exploded from a window above them and Xander lashed out with his Katana. Made from a newly discovered alloy the blade was much stronger than the ultra light ground speeder, the edge sharp enough to cut through almost anything it made short work of Frieal's speeder. The blade passed straight through the side of the speeder's body and cut straight through to the other side; rendering a long gash as using the speeder's own do so. As the blade passed through the bodywork it also severed several crucial lines of power, the insulated handle of the Katana protecting Xander from their power. The system shut the bike down in an instant. The field keeping the bike aloft cut out with a sizzle and gravity took over. Xander managed to withdrawn his blade as Frieal let out a roar realizing his predicament.

Frieal's speeder turned end for end rotating in the air on both axis's it throw Frieal from his seat and sent him careening into a solid wall of metal. The metal bowed upon impact stealing only a little of the force, Frieal's body taking the brunt of the impact. He dropped down to the ground with a sickening crunch of broken bones.

Xander cocked his leg swinging it over the speeder and dismounting, his jacket whirling around him. He left a dumbfounded Chakotay behind him as he stalked towards the already healing Frieal.

Xander looked won at the crumpled vampire master his eyes dark.

Bay Towers

The marines came to a halt as Frank killed the last vampire himself. They all looked at each other with no small amount of surprise, out of the six marines there were four left. Only two men lost to a far superior number of foes. It was quite an achievement. Major Frank James allowed himself a grunt of pleasure as he had survived yet another battle intact, sometimes he wasn't even sure himself how he managed it; this was one of those occasions. He glanced to find that two of his marines were protecting the Admiral with their own bodies; one of the men killed was at their feet.

Inside of Xander's apartment Marshall stepped back from trading blows with the exhausted slayer and smirked at her, "It's been fun" he said before running and diving straight out of the second story window of Xander's apartment.

Zandra ran over to the broken window in shock only to watch as Marshall's body was snatched by a transporter beam before it had chance to hit the floor. With a heavy sigh she dropped to her knees totally spent.

Frank walked in behind her with her father in tow. Admiral Cove ran over to his daughter and pulled her into his arms. "Baby, are you alright?" he asked touching her bruised face tenderly.

"Yeah daddy, I'm... I will be fine"

Cove smiled genuinely for the first time in a long time, "Thank god, I tried to get to you but they wouldn't let me"

"Damn straight" Frank cut in, "If we had Zandra would've handed us our butts in a sample bag"

Zandra smiled up at him, "Never, your butt is far too cute for that" she said her eyes twinkling.

"Kid, I'm old enough to be your... eldest brother" Frank shot back with a twinkle of his own.

"I always did like older men" Zandra said pouting playfully.

Alex Cove mock frowned at her, "Can you not flirt in front of your dear old dad, hey. My heart won't take the strain"

Betazed

Xander's eyes remained impassive even as he felt Chakotay approaching him from behind, "Stop right where you are Commander, this could get mucky" he said when Chakotay was within two meters of him.

"I'm going to have to take you in Xander" Chakotay said sounding like he really didn't want to.

"I have to deal with this" Xander said matter of factly.

"What do you mean deal with, I won't let you murder another man" Chakotay said, "He's seriously hurt and no threat"

"Vamp" Xander said flatly

The aforementioned Vampire jumped to his feet already in game face. Xander's katana flashed into action taking the vampire's head with no more difficulty than it had cleaved the speeder with. The vampire seemed to undergo a form of radically enhanced aging for a few moments before gradually changing into a mummified version. The mummy's skin then dried rapidly before finally turning into a dust statue. When the statue didn't move Xander leaned forward and blew on it gently. The movement of his breath set off a chain reaction that caused it to explode into a cloud of dust. As the dust surrounded him Xander reached into his pocket and triggered his auto-transport to Judy.

Chakotay ducked away from the cloying vampire dust only to turn back a short moment later to find Xander gone.

He chuckled slightly at the empty space that had held Xander, "Well, I'll be damned"

CHAPTER 06

In Orbit Around Betazed

Xander dusted himself off as he stepped from the transporter pad chuckling as he went. Within her non-corporeal home Judy noticed his arrival and immediately set about letting her friends know that the man was fit, well and above all safe.

Then once she was happy that was done she appeared in her photonic form with a huge smile on her face. She leapt into Xander's arms and gave him a very sloppy holographic kiss on the cheek, "you're safe" she exclaimed.

Xander smiled at her, "So I am" he said looking around, "Where's the watcher lady?"

"Maria is in her quarters receiving a communication from Reginald Wyndam-Pryce"

"Who?" Xander asked in confusion as the transporter whirred into life behind him. He turned to watch several forms take shape into solidity as Judy answered him.

"He is a watcher on the council, and a 'CLOSE' personal friend of hers" Judy answered him smiling the entire time.

Xander smirked at her the turned to greet his team, "Guys, how went it?"

Seven stepped down only to be engulfed in a hug that turned into a passionate kiss from Xander. She didn't feel the least bit like reminding him of decorum and returned the kiss with interest. A polite throat clearing jarred them from their clinch.

Jacinta beamed at them, "At last!" she said excitedly, "So when did you two finally stop messing around and get together?"

Xander just smirked at her and exchanged an amused smile with Gabriel.

Seven took in upon herself to answer him, "It is a... Recent development"

"Well, it's a very welcome one" Jacinta said, "It's good to see you both happy"

Judy tilted her head to one side, "Sorry to interrupt but Maria wishes you to join her in her quarters"

Xander looked to his team pausing only to ask, "Where are the Xerx and Am'Ritha"

"We took them home, Am'Ritha was beat and Xerx was dead on his feet, the strain from keeping up our mental shield had worn him out" Gabriel filled in.

Xander nodded, "Let's walk and talk, what happened?"

"The team set out towards the end of the ship and to Maria swapping their war stories as the went.

Bay Towers

Alex Cove sat next to his worn and war torn daughter with a thoughtful face. Zandra watched him, as he appeared to be totally lost in thought his handsome face creased in indecision. What decision was causing him pause she didn't want to hazard but something was going on in there.

Suddenly the creases disappeared to be replaced with a determined expression, "I've made a decision." Admiral Cove said turning to his only daughter

"What?" Zandra asked curiously.

Alex Cove took a very deep breath, held it for a full second and let it out slowly, "I'm quitting Section 31"

Zandra's jaw dropped, "What?"

"I've had enough, you're right, I think we're loosing our way in the dark and I feel that the section needs new leadership. As such I'm going to resign my commission and step away from the fleet. I'm tired, after all I've been in service all of my adult life. I think its time I took some time out, spend some of my retirement with my radiantly beautiful daughter if she'll allow?"

Zandra's face split into a radiant and happy smile. Deep Space 9

Captain Sisko turned off his console with a thoughtful expression, He had just watched his guest the watcher break about a dozen federation laws and contact a known felon and call him to the planet.

With a sigh he flicked open his comms, "O'Brien, get me Commander Chakotay"

"Aye" was the terse response.

Once that unpleasant task was complete he turned his mind to an even more unpleasant task of planning how to best make use of his windfall of information. Bringing in Xander was not the happiest duty he had ever performed but he had his duty to the fleet and Xander was a felon.

Bajor, Aboard Judy Three Day's Later

Xander was awoken by the Seven's gentle shake to his shoulder. He rolled over and smiled at the vision of beauty that was the ex-drone and smiled at her. Seven smiled back and for a moment Xander was sure that he was dreaming. Despite his relationship with Dee, that could have become something more, it was Seven who had first stolen his heart in this time.

"Hey beautiful" Xander said the sleep only just starting to leave his voice.

"Good Morning to you" Seven replied with a smile.

"What's the what?" Xander asked pushing himself up into a sitting position.

Seven cocked an eyebrow at him, "Sometimes I wonder if you are indeed speaking the same language as I"

Xander replied with as raspberry and a cheeky smile, "I do apologize, what is our status"

Seven rolled her eyes at him before answering him, "We are in orbit around Bajor, our cloak is operational and we are just awaiting our fearless leader"

"Oh, sarcasm hey" Xander said with an evil smile. The next thing she knew Seven found that she was pulled down to the bed and then kissed passionately.

*****

Sometime later Xander and seven finally made it to the bridge and were greeted by knowing smiles and a laugh from Jacinta.

"Nice sleep?" Gabriel asked tongue in cheek.

"Yeah, yeah, Yuk it up" Xander said and turned to Judy, "What's the status of DS9?"

"They are scanning the surrounding area" Judy replied. "It is although they knew that we were coming?"

Xander looked thoughtful for a long moment, "Has Reggie contacted us?" he asked.

"He hates being called that" Maria put in, "And no, he has not"

Xander shared a smile with Judy and walked over to the captain's chair.

Gabriel found it felt strange to have someone sitting in that chair. He was so used to being the one that normally was positioned there. Xander caught his eye just before he sat down and pointed to the chair, "You want it?" he said

Gabriel smiled at him, thankful for the thought, "Judy works with you now" he stated.

"For old times sake" Xander said now standing fully and smiling.

Gabriel nodded and took the chair gratefully, Okay Judy my darling, let's go to Blue Alert and take us down"

"Aye Captain Blackheart, sir" Judy said smirking at him.

Gabriel shot Xander a look, "You realize that you have totally ruined her sense of humor, don't you?"

"Hey, it's not my fault that my humor is superior to yours" Xander shot back with a laugh.

The ship shuddered slightly around them as Judy lowered herself into the upper atmosphere of the planet.

"Why are we going down ourselves?" Jacinta asked, "Won't she been seen as we sink down"

Gabriel and Xander shared a smile, "Not on blue alert she won't" Xander stated.

"Why?"

"Because in Blue Alert we are invisible even to the eye" Gabriel filled in.

"What about our wake as we enter the atmosphere?" Maria asked curious despite her lack of knowledge of technology.

"The shield are configured to absorb the heat and reroute it into power systems, the designers of Judy wanted a stealth craft that could deploy a torpedo directly down the throat of the enemy if they wanted. Judy, is a very special ship" Gabriel fielded that one; his knowledge of Judy far outstripped Xander's.

"I thought you said that the Judy was not invisible in the way that Romulan and Klingon cloaks are?" Seven asked her head titled slightly.

"She's not normally, but the cloaking system does allow for that ability; its just there is actually a higher risk of being detected due to the engine omissions. The full cloak is harder to maintain so we have to remain at a higher power output, thus risking sensor detection" Xander said drawing a shocked look from them all. "What, I listened"

The sleek ship sank through the atmosphere of Bajor without leaving so much as a ripple slowly sinking through the layer's of the planets 'sphere's until it was almost ready to touch down on the ground.

"Now; where to park?" Xander said thoughtfully. DS9 Ops

Chakotay turned to Miles O'Brien for the tenth time in the last hour, "Any sign of them?"

Mile shot him an annoyed look, "No" he answered "Sir" he added belatedly.

Chakotay resumed his pacing. To his knowledge and calculations Xander should have made an appearance by now. He theorized that he had his own ship and that it would take them around three days to cross the system. He himself had arrived that morning on the Prometheus, one of the fastest ships in the fleet. He'd had Captain Zepicary rant the engines all the way here. After his close shave with catching Xander on Betazed admiral Neychaev had been mad as hell and had ordered that Xander to be caught no matter the cost. Then a call had come in from Captain Sisko like a prayer answered. Not that he was particularly hot to catch Xander for himself, he wasn't happy about this duty at all. But he had learnt, under Janeway, that Starfleet was more important to him than he had ever thought. He loved his career now and was happy that it was finally back on track. He didn't regret joined the Marquee, but in retrospect he decided there could have been a better way. But then Hindsight is always 20-20.

"Sir!" O'Brien said his voice tense suddenly.

"What is it chief?"

"There is a strange quantum flux on the other side of the planet. I bounced a signal off of the moon and there it was; I think we have a cloaked ship out there"

"Got you" Chakotay said

Beneath UC San Francisco

Marshall appeared in a flash of light, beside him was his lord and master, Lucifer himself.

"We're ready?" Marshall asked, "The equipment that Harris and his clan fitted is down?"

Lucifer smiled widely, "Don't worry my little demon, all is ready for our triumphing moment"

Marshall snarled slightly, "Good, they can all go to hell for what they've done"

Lucifer laughed, "Yes, that's the general idea"

"You changed their magic and rendered in ineffective, right?" Marshall enquired.

Lucifer's expression darkened, "Be careful boy, I may have a shield to block Q around us, but that doesn't mean he hasn't found a way to listen in on what we are saying"

Marshall smirked at his master, "You seem scared..." he was cut off by the blinding pain that exploded across his entire body, "AHHHH!" he screamed as he dropped to Lucifer's well polished boot.

Then as quickly as it had begun the pain stopped, "I am scared of nothing little demon, best you remember that"

Marshall fought his way back to his feet as Lucifer walked around the hole in the ground that signaled the Hellmouth's maw.

"Once we have laid down the ceremony and I empower you to perform the rest of the spell, then; then the key will be opened and we can really start to have some fun"

Bajor, Kae'Farl's Complex

Kae'Farl ran out of her quarters and jumped into the air towards the Dark haired man that he had entered their home so suddenly and without any warning.

Xander ducked under Kae'Farl's flying kick and smirked as she flew straight over his head. She landed with the grace afforded to her by her calling and was about to go again when she recognized the face of her wood-be attacker.

"Xander?"

"Hey Kae'Farl, are you like this with all your visitors is it just me?"

Kae'Farl's face split into a wide smile "You came"

"Of course I did; can't have you thinking that we don't care now can I"

Kae'Farl's face suddenly became deadly serious, "I thank you for coming, but you should not have done so; it is very dangerous for you here"

Xander held up a hand, "I've got it in hand. Believe me, I don't want to have to spent any time in a federation pen."

Kae'Farl allowed herself to relax slightly, "That is good; should I get Bal'Mar?"

"I would, and do you know if Reggie is around?"

"Reggie, oh the earth watcher. We have not seen him in several days"

"Oh?" Xander said thoughtfully, a niggling feeling of worry starting to crawl up his spine.

DS9, Habitat Ring

Reginald Wyndam-Pryce was as bored as he could ever remember being. Firstly he was being held, pending charges of treason against the Federation; well that wasn't boring but it wasn't fun. The boring bit was the holding. Three days sat in a very small guest quarters of the station with reduced LCAR's access and nothing better to do than count the rivets in the wall. Bajor, Kae'Farl's Complex

Xander flicked out his comms equipment, "Judy, guys come in"

There was a slight pause.

"We are here Xander, is there a problem?" Gabriel said.

"No, and yes. I think that Captain Sisko may have our watcher in custody. I need you to take Judy and have a look for me"

There was another, much longer pause and then it was Seven who spoke, "That is a very bad idea Xander"

"Don't worry so much. Just check it out; I'll hide out here until you get back"

Seven's voice didn't sound convinced as she said, "This is a bad idea Xander" again.

"Just do it Seven; I'll be fine" Xander said smiling into thin air as he imagined her face. "Just be as quick as you can, okay"

"Very Well" Seven told him sounding more than a little annoyed/worried.

Xander flipped his controller closed and watched as Bal'Mar and Kae'Farl approached.

His eyes narrowed at their strangely stiff motions then he found out why as Chakotay and a security team came out behind them with phasers trained on them.

"Hey Commander, nice day is it not" Xander said his hand going in his pocket. He just about managed to keep the frown from his face when the Transporter recall did nothing but click and twinkle at him.

"Its good to see you again Lieutenant" Chakotay said with a genuine smile, "Please; don't do anything foolish come quietly and we'll get everything straightened out"

"I can't do that commander. Neychaev wants to use me to get to Q. I can't allow that, and you know it"

Chakotay nodded, "I do Xander; I truly do. Come with me and we'll prove to her that she can't"

Xander glanced around looking for a way out. The compound was surrounded by very high walls and had a very long drop at three sides. It was a fortress that would be as difficult to escape from as to break in to.

"There is no escape Xander" Chakotay said, his security team fanning out to surround Xander. "Your transporter recall is blocked, oh yes; I learn from my mistakes as well. Although for a second there I really did think you could do magic" Chakotay said with a smile.

Xander shrugged, "Sorry about that"

"What was that you killed anyway?" Chakotay said talking so his team could get into position properly.

"A master vampire" Xander caught Bal'Mar's eye, "The masters can go out in the day" a slight widening of the mans' eyes told Xander that he had gotten the message.

Kae'Farl glanced either side of her to find that there were two security guards within reach of her. She shared a quick looked with her watcher and friend and a silent communication was passed between them. Then with a shared smile, they exploded into action.

As they went to work Xander got moving grateful to his friends for the opportunity. He ran flat out towards the back of the compound a vague plan starting to come into shape in his mind.

Beneath UC San Francisco

Eldritch power flowed around the two powerful beings as Marshall and Lucifer balanced amazing amounts of power. Their aim was the total destruction of all life on the planet and demon kind running unchecked across the universe.

Lucifer tapped into the waves of energy built up around them and sent it spearing down into the mouth of hell. The energy fed the gateway and a tear became visible in mid air, one side darkness the other Earth.

Lucifer smiled at his Master Vampire and nodded, "It has begun"

"How long?" Marshall asked with glee

"Not long" Lucifer smiled, pausing a moment, "Just long enough for me to be rid of a thorn in both our sides. Then Little Demon, you and I will have our way with the universe"

Marshall smiled a feral smile and his strange barking laughter echoed around the cavern. Lucifer left in a blaze of red light and Boyd watched, as the tear became a gash, tentacles starting to snake through the gap.

Bajor

Xander ran up the stairs leading to the rear wall taking them three at a time. Around him there was the pop and hiss of phaser fire as he zigzagged as much as he was able on the narrow staircase. He vaguely heard Chakotay cal for a cease-fire and the hiss/pop stopped. Why Chakotay had stopped the fire, he didn't know or care. He just kept his legs pumping all the way to the top.

Chakotay was already moving as he called the cessation of fire and ran up the stairs behind Xander, also taking them three and sometimes four at a time. He couldn't allow Xander to get out side of the Transporter inhibitor's field of influence. If he did that then it was back to square one.

Xander reached the top of the stairs and balanced of the wall. Then he carefully but as quickly as he could ran around the edge of the compound itself.

Near DS9

Seven and Judy worked in concert checking the sensor reading working as quickly as they could. Neither had any wish to draw this out any longer than was absolutely necessary. They wanted to find Wyndham-Pryce and get back to the surface and pick up Xander. Or better yet just grab him with the transporter and leave as quickly as they could. Upon leaving the Earth's atmosphere Judy had immediately noticed that the USS Prometheus itself was docked at the station. That meant that Chakotay was onto them, somehow.

"Got him" Seven said suddenly, "He's in the habitat ring, sector 12 room 4"

"Can we transport him out?" Maria asked concerned for her friend and her young friend also.

"We cannot" Seven said with an annoyed groan.

"What about Xander, perhaps we should just pick him up now?" Jacinta said.

"Good idea" Gabriel said triggering the recall.

Nothing happened and Judy suddenly straightened up her eyes wide, "There is a transport inhibitor in pace around the compound and I am detecting phaser fire"

"Damn it, take us back down!"

"I cannot" Judy said after a moment, "Engines are not responding to my command!" her voice sounded strangely betrayed. Bajor

"Stop, or I'll shoot" Chakotay said taking a bead on the young man

Xander stopped dead bringing his hands up. He knew that a stun at this point could kill him as he toppled to his death. He turned around slowly taking care not to wrong foot himself. He had been running along rock for the last few seconds where the wall merged into the living rock.

"Just stop" Chakotay said with a sigh as he caught his breath, "I don't want to hurt you Xander"

"I know" Xander said shocking him, "I've been made aware of a few things about you Commander. It's a shame you tried that trick on me. If you hadn't...." he trailed off with a shrug.

Chakotay pulled out a tricorder noticing that they were outside of the transport inhibitors influence, "Come towards me please Xander," he said

"Why?" Xander said his hand snaking down into his pocket and triggering his recall. Nothing happened, "Huh?"

Chakotay checked his tricorder again, "That shouldn't have happened" he murmured in shock then covered it, "Towards me Xander, and no more tricks."

Xander was about to take a step when suddenly he found that he wasn't standing on solid rock any longer. His foot slipped out from under him and he flew over backwards.

Chakotay ran and jumped to the very edge of the rock face trying to snag Xander's hand.

To no avail, Xander twisted in mid air and watched the rocky bottom of the valley speeding towards him at a hundred miles per hour until finally, a second or three later he hit the ground with a sick bone crunching thump.



:::: The End ::::

The End

You have reached the end of "Mutare A Tempus Linea". This story is complete.

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