Bajor, An Hour Before Sunset
Kae'Farl as she had come to be known was getting to that time of day where she was impatient to be out, hunting the unclean. She had come to her holy duty later than the Kae'Farl before her, or so Bal'Mar had told her. That didn't mean that she didn't share the traits that her sisterhood had shown. She was strong and fast, decisive in battle and was able to pick up a weapon and use it with little to no training. She was quite small of course, but that didn't seem to make a difference to the power of her blows, in fact it appeared to be an advantage over the often larger and lumbering unclean ones.
But tonight, she had another reason for being anxious. She had some visitors due. This was a somewhat unusual occurrence for her as her mentor Bal'Mar tended to like her to concentrate on her training and her duty. Yet tonight, she was apparently to have guests while carrying out her holy duty.
Why she was receiving these visitors was a bit of a mystery to her. There was something about them being with a special federation unit and a lot of other things that she just didn't really care enough to listen to. Then as the doors to her compound opened she suddenly wished that she had taken more notice. For some reason, even though there were 7 people in this group of visitors, it was the man at the head of the crooked arrow head that caught her attention. Something about him screamed familiarity to her and she just couldn't place her finger on what that thing was.
For his part Xander was looking at Kae'Farl with a strange feeling of bittersweetness. It had been this very compound where he had been snatched from the jaws of death. From there he had ended up in this time track and away from what was more than likely the love of his life. None of this, of course, was Kae'Farl's fault, she just reminded him of something he would rather forget. He quickly banished the feelings to the back of his mind where he'd deal with them later... possibly. He had come here tonight with a very specific aim in mind and he wanted the people with him to come through it in one piece. That meant he had to get his head in the game one hundred percent.
Bal'Mar walked out to greet them with a friendly smile on his face and interest in his lively intelligent eyes. “Welcome to our humble home. I am Bal'Mar it is a pleasure to have so many guests here.”
“It's a pleasure to meet with you Bal'Mar” Xander responded. “I'm Commander Xander Harris. To my right is Captain Zepicary, then Treaze and Olaria. To my Left we have K'Thall, Lt. Commander Amara and Lieutenant Hansen.”
Seven rose an eyebrow at her introduction but otherwise remained quite as the round of quick introductions were made.
“And this is Kae'Farl” Bal'Mar said finally, indicating the dark haired slayer off to one side.
“It's a pleasure” Xander said with a charming smile. “So you're the local hunter then?”
“We are.” Kae'Farl said with a nod and a slight smile, still somewhat fixated on Xander.
“Good, we've heard you've got a nasty Master Vampire in these parts. We're here to take him out.” Xander said matter of factly.
Kae'Farl cocked her head to one side with a frown.
Bal'Mar was also frowning, “We are quite capable of taking out a master vampire.”
“I realise that, and normally I would be happy to go on my merry way, but this one is ... Nasty. So I've been sent with my team and a few observers for a couple of reasons. The biggest being that we can honestly help you out here. There aren't any competitors in this business are there? And Pride is as dangerous as the vampires in this game.”
“This isn't a game” Kae'Farl told him shortly.
“I realise that.” Xander said with a smile, “It was merely a turn of phrase and I assure you that I'm not trying to step on anyones territory here. Perhaps by working together we can save more lives is all I'm saying.” Xander told her. #This diplomatic crap is for the birds# he said inwardly.
#Not your strong suit is it# He snarky best friend replied.
#I'll freely admit that. I still think Admiral Janeway is a nut for this#
“We can surely come to an arrangement in that regard” Bal'Mar said not noticing Xanders lack of focus for a moment.
“I'd want proof that your 'team' is capable of handling the unclean” Kae'Farl said stepping up closer to Xander.
Xander just moved. One second he was standing with a slightly far away expression as he quipped back and forth with Q then next he had Kae'Farl on her back and grabbed her nose in a light grip. “Got your Honk” he said before letting go and quickly stepping out of her reach.
Kae'Farl leapt to her feet with an annoyed growl. But before she could retaliate Bal'Mar stepped forward, “I think the Commander has proved his point Kae'Farl.”
Kae'Farl stepped back on her aggression but stuck out he chin stubbornly. “I still want to make sure this 'team' of federation people can handle themselves in a fight against the unclean.”
Xander sighed and nodded, “That's fair” he said gaining a slightly surprised look. “I wouldn't want anyone unproven at my back either. Perhaps a little demonstration?”
Cap, Olaria and Treaze all perked up at this. They wanted to see what was so special about this special unit. Treaze was fairly impressed at Xander's turn of speed, despite his pointless action when he'd had his foe at his mercy. Olaria was generally interested because of the secrecy surrounding the Vita Force and Captain Zepicary, whilst not showing any real hint of it, was interested to see what all the fuss was about.
“With your permission?” he asked Bal'Mar, who nodded at him so he continued, “Seven, K'Thall. Care to show our hosts what you can do?”
K'Thall smiled a truly ferine smile and Seven just merely nodded her acceptance. The two women walked over to the training ring in the main courtyard as the rest trailed behind them.
Once they had stepped into the ring both faced each other and weighed up the opposition. K'Thall was all fire and unrestrained ability while Seven was reserved and cool skill. The tableau held for a moment then predictably K'Thall moved on the offensive.
Xander leaned back on a nearby post, his eyes intent. He had seen both Seven and K'Thall in action of course, otherwise he would never have matched them up this way. Seven's cool use of logic would make a good counter for the Klingons furious fighting style. He wasn't mistaken as Seven parried a fast paced blow from K'Thall and slid away to the side like a feather. K'Thall immediately switched the direction of her blow into a reverse elbow strike that Seven wasn't there for it to hit. Then Seven kicked out at the back of K'Thall's knee. The slayer lifted her leg to remove the power of Sevens blow and backed up a little.
“Enough” Xander said stilling the battling femmes. He turned to a slightly wide eyed Bajorian slayer and smiled, “Good enough for you?” he asked with no hint of sarcasm in his voice for a change. The fight may not have lasted long but it was enough for the local slayer to see that indeed Xander's team had what it took to go one on one with vampires and come out on top. The strength behind the Klingons blows in particular had seemed on a par with her own, if indeed not more powerful.
“Indeed it was, excuse my rudeness” Kae'Farl said slipping once more into the more quiet side of her personality. She was normally quite a reserved young woman, there was just something about this human commander that inflamed her.
“Then perhaps we could all have ourselves a sit down and discuss how we're going to find this Master?” Xander said with another dashing smile. He turned to Bal'Mar, “Sound good?”
“Of course, this way Commander.”
Xander winced slightly, “Please call me Xander.”
Bal'Mar smiled in a friendly fashion, but then his face seemed to lend itself to it. “We've had a few reports of his activities via one of our sources.”
“Perhaps we could contact this source while we are out tonight?” Xander asked taking a seat at a fairly rough hewn table as his team and Cap's sat around as well. Zepicary for his part had instructed his team to observe closely but make no real effort to interact. He wanted to wait until he had more information before he truly made up his mind about this team commander. Thus for the most part he and his team would remain silent. Only if he thought Commander Harris was either messing up or overstepping his bounds would Cap speak up and step in. He was confident that his team would be able to make sure the other team followed orders. Though he was slightly worried if it came down to a physical fight. The level of skill that had been displayed was fairly awe inspiring. Measuring up to some of the specialists that Cap had come across in his life in the fleet.
“That would be acceptable. He runs a bar down on the water front. It is a some what disreputable place but the man himself is friendly to our cause.” Bal'Mar told him.
Bal'Mar shook his head, “No, a few have sprang up but we leave them alone for the most part. It keeps a few off of the street. This is a more criminal element, you have to be careful who you annoy in there.”
“Sounds like just my kind of place” Xander said with a big grin. “How long till sun down?”
“About an a hour and a half now.” Bal'Mar glanced at Kae'Farl who nodded her agreement.
“We'll leave then and go straight to the bar, then perhaps we could run through some of your patrol paths before picking up the trail?” Xander said, “That way we can show our observers what they have come to see, then really get to work on the Master. I want to take this bastard down tonight or tomorrow.”
Bal'Mar's brow rose, “That would be quite an achievement.”
“Nothing I haven't done before.” Xander told him. “But I'd prefer” he said turning to Cap as he did, “That you and your team were not around for a Master Vampire fight. I know you and your team is highly capable but this is what we do and you are a valuable resource to the Federation” Xander smiled, “Otherwise you wouldn't be a captain.”
Cap smiled slightly and nodded, “Depending on what you show us here Commander I think I can agree to that. As long as our host has no objections of course.”
Bal'Mar was already shaking his head, “That is perfectly acceptable to myself and Kae'Farl” he said having had a quick unspoken chat with Kae'Farl. The two had been working together for long enough and closely enough to have formed that sort of bond.
“The only thing is, I don't think the patrons of the bar will appreciate a bunch of fleeters in their establishment. So I propose that just Seven and I go with Kae'Farl and Bal'Mar before coming back to meet up with you all again. We'll have to get a change of clothes as well.” Xander said with a slightly worried look.
“I was about to suggest that.” Cap admitted with a slight smirk. “I have no objection to that either.”
Xander smiled at him, “Excellent”
Xander sat with Seven at his side and watched Bal'Mar and Kae'Farl interact with the bar tender who apparently was also the owner. The general ambiance of the bar was one of smoke and beer stench. It wasn't the most modern of establishment's and could have been taken straight out of the middle ages. Except for the replicator behind the bar and the modern looking crockery.
He and Seven were dressed in casual clothing and melding in as well as could be expected for a man from the past and an ex-Borg. In other words they were drawing the occasional look but there was enough of a variety of species that it was nothing more than mild curiosity. “What are we waiting for?” Seven asked curious as to what was going on exactly.
“Bal'Mar and Kae'Farl are the ones that are known here. It's better for them to find out the information on this Master vampire. We'll go from there. We don't want to cut them out of the loop if we can help it. They are after all the ones that look after this planet.”
“That seems to be a most unfair task for two people.”
“Well these two are special, but I agree. They will need more of a support team across the planet. Given time these hunter groups will spring up on their own. As happened on earth in the past. Though frankly I would rather not have to wait for that. I don't see any other plan of action for the minute though. Eventually it would be a good idea for the federation to have teams made up of locals in a fast response fashion all over the planets of the UFP.”
“I agree, if the threat is as wide spread as you indicate.”
“I can back up my claims with hard data which I'll show you when we get back to the ship if you like.” Xander said, mildly insulted that she was questioning him.
“I would appreciate that.” Seven told him, but gently put a hand on his arm, “It's not that I disbelieve you Xander. This is for my own ... peace of mind.”
“I can understand that.” Xander said with a smile. Then he noticed that the two Bajorians were walking over to them and nodded at them. “Any luck?”
“Yes, I think we have a lead on his likely whereabouts” Bal'Mar told him in a soto voce.
“Okay, then I say we go pick up the observers and the rest of the team and check out some of your normal patrol routes. If that's okay with you guys. Then we'll think about the best way of hunting this master.”
Bal'Mar glanced at his charge and then nodded, “That's fine with us.”
The ground was covered with a mild mist on what appeared to be the Bajorian equivalent of a grave yard, though it was cleaner and tidier than most of the graveyards that Xander had encountered before. With each step eddies were created around their feet and there seemed to be a strangely dead feeling to the air.
Xander glanced to his right and saw K'Thall looking around with a wary gaze. To his left he had Seven doing much the same thing, but Seven didn't have the advantage of a vampire early warning system like 'Thall did. So it was her that Xander took the most notice of, her and Kae'Farl of course. They both moved with the precise fluid movements of predators and almost feline grace that was afforded to them by their calling.
In between smooth granite looking gravestones there was a flicker of movement here and there, but for the most part nothing seemed to be stirring. Which is one of the things that was concerning Xander in the first place. That and the flickers of movement. He knew though that Vampires at least couldn't suddenly become invisible and attack them without some warning they were coming. Though they sure as hell could be stealthily when they wanted to be.
Xander decided that caution was the way to go and reached into his jacket.
At that moment he happened to be being watched by no less than three seperate people though. Dee watched in amazement as he pulled out the long gleaming blade of his Katana which shone in the moonlight. Also Cap and Seven noticed the arrival of the blade and each wondered how he had managed to keep it on him and just where the hell he had drawn it from. Xander wasn't so much worried about their reactions though as the strangely quiet graveyard. Something was raising the hairs on the back of his neck and he was more interested in knowing his blade was to hand immediately than having to worry about the draw time.
“Somethings not right” he whispered to 'Thall.
“I agree X'nder, there is something on the wind tonight.” she replied equally as softly.
“Be ready for anything.”
“I always am.”
Xander smiled at the reply, but kept his entire being focused on the area around them all. “Guard the observers.” he said after a moment. “Seven, Kae'Farl and I will do point.”
“It is you who I am tasked with guarding.” K'thall said with some annoyance but she still did his bidding.
#I suppose your wife thinks it is funny for me to get my very own body guard#
#She must have a reason for assigning her and only the creator would pull her from her death to do so#
#You think Alice is mixed up in this?#
#I'm sure of it, and I wish you wouldn't call the divine being that!#
#I can't help it, that's who he looks like to me.#
#Me too now I am forced to perceive things as you....Wait to your left, what was that?#
Xander's focus shifted to his left and there appeared to be a shadow out of place. #Something that's for sure#
#We are surrounded# Q told him.
#I thought you could only perceive what I can#
#You can sense it well enough, but I am better at analyzing what you see and hear. For now at least#
Xander brought the Q sword into a ready position and looked around as gleaming yellow eyes appeared out of the gloom of the night. “Hello boys” he said calmly, “Come for the party?”
Around him he felt his entire team and Cap's come to full attention as they sensed them just a moment after him, apart from the two slayers of course. From a few feet ahead of them a moderately tall man with a widows peak hair cut and sharp features loomed out of a bank of mist. “Actually, it is you who has joined my Party. Though I do wonder why you have decided to crash it. I'm only here for Kae'Farl. You do not need to become involved.”
Xander smiled thinly. “That SO isn't going to happen.”
“A pity, but nonetheless I will have what I came for. I can't have anyone standing in my way of my future plans for the Bajorian people and the holy war against Cardasia.” he said softly spoken but with a weight behind the words that was filled with fury.
Xander hefted Q in his hand, “Well, this isn't the demonstration I had planned. Captain I suggest you and your team beam out around about now.”
“I don't think so” Cap said, training his phaser on a few vampires.
“That won't do you any good captain, remember the briefing we had before coming down to the planet.” Xander said watching the still unmoving vampires.
“I tire of this. Get them.” the B'Thar said
“Never anything original” Xander said moving to strike out at the first vampire that came in range. It exploded into dust and he heard Cap murmur in surprise behind him but then the battle was on and he didn't have spare concentration to go around.
Three vampires came at him as one and he ducked under a punch, side stepped a kick and used the pommel of his sword to hit the last in the face hard. As it staggered back he jumped and span executing a spin kick to another vampire's face and landed easily stabbing out with Q and catching the third in the gut. It doubled over in pain and in full game face roared at him. Xander smirked and with barely a flick of his wrist took it's head off.
As he battled so did the rest of the team, observers and Vita force alike. Cap targeted the nearest vampire on stun and fired only to stumble back slightly as it ignored the phased energy. A strange looking shield leaping up around it for the duration of the shot. He promptly dropped his phaser and pulled one of the stakes he had been given and prepared to go hand to hand.
Dee had watched this happen and as a vampire got close enough to engage she already had stake in hand. Her hand lashed out with brutal efficiency and the slender stake found it's target. One vampire in dust later she was already moving on. Her professional slanted view to killing allowing her a plunge and move on attitude.
Seven ducked around a vampire that charged her and without a backwards glance swung around her arm and staked it in the back.
Kae'Farl and K'Thall were walking through vampires with all the grace of their shared abilities. Each sparing a glance for the other and then a smile as they staked to the left and the right with quick brutal movements that left the other's behind.
Xander landed on the ground from another spinning kick and let his momentum take out the legs of a vampire. As it landed he grabbed a spare stake from his pocket and threw it into the undead creatures heart. It had dusted long after he had already moved on to the next vampire. Who happened to be the Master B'Thar.
Which pulled him up short, “You fight well for a mortal.”
“I guess Lucy is concentrating on informing only those he considers important to his game plan then.” Xander said, confusing B'Thar somewhat.
“Your master obviously hasn't told you who I am has he?”
“Why would HE bother with such an insignificant mortal such as yourself.” B'Thar goaded.
Xander just smirked in reply, goading the master into the first move. It came so quick that Xander barely had time to move out of the blows way, but he did so, his sword cutting a gash alongside the vampires stomach. “I'm not the insignificant one here vampire.” he said in a low voice and a nasty smile. “Bajor is small fry for your master. The hell mouth here really isn't that old considering.”
“You lie!” B'Thar said diving at Xander only to be rocked back by a simple side thrust kick that sent him THROUGH a gravestone.
Xander glanced to his right to see K'Thall looking at him with a half smile, “This is much fun X'nder. We must celebrate as proper warriors should.”
“Perhaps we should concentrate on killing this blood sucker before we make party plans.” Xander remarked. Knowing full well the way she wanted to party.
“One would think humans did not have sex the way you carry on X'nder!” she said stalking the dazed master vampire.
Xander laughed slightly, then tossed her Q. “Finish him off 'Thall. Then we'll get roaring drunk. That do you?”
A feral smile was her reply. She hefted the strange, to her, weapon in her hand and felt somehow the pent up power of the blade in her hand. Then she took a step forward and unleashed it on B'Thar. “You will not threaten one of my sisters again little vampire.” she told the rapidly forming dust statue. As it's head fell of and the rest of it followed the head to the floor whereupon it exploded into a cloud. She hefted Q again and passed the weapon back to Xander. “I hope you know what it is you have there X'nder.”
“Of course, he won't let me forget.” he said confusing everyone present apart from K'Thall.