Bay Towers, January 2376
Xander looked down at his trusty watch and smiled. Any moment now...
The door chimed dead on time.
The door slid back to show Dee in all her divine glory, her hair bouncing around her shoulders. It was against regulation really, but she did have some special dispensations after all.
Dee smiled, "Xander" she said, opting for the informal mode of conversation. "Are you ready to go?"
Xander smiled at her, "Of course. Are we walking?" he asked.
"I thought it would be nice. The weather is marvelous today." she told him with a radiant smile that made his knees want to knock.
"I can't think of a better way to get there." Xander said with a charming smile, then said to her in a conspiratorial tone of voice, "Transporters still wig me out"
Dee looked at him strangely, "Wig?" she asked.
"Weird me out. They're well alien to me."
"Oh I see" Dee said with a laugh, "I imagine they would be" she said. She knew all about him supposedly being from the past. It was an interesting cover for someone who may be from the future.
“So shall we?” Xander said with a smile again.
“Very well” Dee said dazzling him again with a beatific smile all of her own.
Xander was led in by Dee into a medium sized meeting room. In the room was Admiral Neycheav herself imposing despite her slight stature. Xander was very happy to see that Admiral Janeway was there as well.
“Admiral” Xander said to Neycheav with a nod. Then he virtually beamed at Janeway, “Admiral”
“Lieutenant Harris” Neycheav said in greeting and then turned her attention to her fellow admiral who was smiling widely at him.
“Xander” Janeway said trying not to be too formal, or friendly.
“So what can I do for you, Admirals?” Xander asked, his stance shifting into an at ease position.
Neycheav looked pointedly at Dee who smiled in response. “I will wait outside” she said to Xander then nodded to the Admirals, and took her leave perfectly by protocol.
“Computer; Seal the room Authorization Janeway Two Alpha” Janeway said in a calm voice.
“Computer; Also place a video blackout as per standing order Omega Black. Authorization Neycheav Three Delta Two.”
There was a suddenly dead feeling when a shield popped into existence around the room. Theoretically cutting any possible chance of listening devices being used.
Xander, who was actually used to this sort of thing, merely lifted an eyebrow and waited.
“Xander” Janeway said, apparently being the nominated speaker. Perhaps because she knew him better, or as practice. Whatever the reason, Neycheav was currently being silent and watchful.
“Cap...Admiral what's the matter?”
“We've got a few important questions for you, but firstly. I tried to contact you this morning and was unable to find you.” Janeway asked.
“I probably forgot to pick up my badge that morning. I'm still trying to get used to it” Xander hedged.
Janeway looked at him slightly askance. He had not had a problem remembering his comms when he was on-board Voyager. She could see no reason for him to suddenly start now. She did however let it slip. Being Xander it was highly likely that he ... was otherwise engaged, as in demons or the alike.
“Very well, you should try to remember that you are a full Lieutenant now Xander, we may need to contact you at a moments notice. Luckily I was just checking in on you, however...” she trailed off, making her meaning clear.
“I understand Admiral” Xander said with a serious expression on his face. There was however a slight glint of humor in his eyes. But then that seemed to be almost a constant for him.
“Then we'll get right to business. Admiral Neycheav and myself were talking about some of the work you were doing with Tuvok on the Voyager. We like the suggestions that you came up with and due to the state of the galaxy at the moment... Well, we want you to make a report based on your past experiences. With particular care paid to areas in which we could, if the need arose, be more aggressive.”
Xander frowned, failing to see how this was Omega Black priority yet. Also, surely the fleet had security advisors of their own. Add to that was the fact that Janeway knew enough about him to know he specialized in only one type of security as it were. “Have there been any attacks that we need to be particularly... aggressive with?” he asked. Hoping that Janeway would pick up the question hidden in his question.
Janeway shared a look with her fellow admiral who merely nodded at her.
One could wonder why they were trusting Xander with such matters. Unless they had seen the note that had accompanied Admiral Janeway Elder's Time Capsule.
“Indeed there is” Janeway told him. “We've begun to get reports in, from many of the planets of the Federation. Reports of attacks by super strong beings who attack with no mercy and no quarter given. Given your ideas while with Tuvok I thought that you would be able to ... give us a new outlook.”
Xander nodded, he was starting to get it now. Lucy really had gone and upped the stakes quickly this time. Xander had a feeling that this time it was all or nothing. He was damned to Lucifer's domain if he was going to let that bastard win. “I'd need to see reports. Possibly try to visit a few of the locations? That would help me a great deal actually Admiral.”
“We have a PADD ready with that information already” Janeway told him.
“Admiral; Have you consulted with some other security advisors?” Xander asked, “More than one head on this would be the better I would've thought.” he asked carefully.
Neycheav smiled slightly and nodded. Answering the question for her fellow admiral and drew a breath. “Due to the nature of the attacks this is a highly secretive affair. Needless to say however, specialists have been called in.”
Which told Xander all he needed to know about what Neycheav thought about him. It must be by Janeway's insistence that he was here at all. “I understand keeping secrets only too well; Sir.” he said using the protocol form of address for the highest ranking Admiral in the fleet. He really had no wish to be on a court marshal charge again after all.
“I'm glad to hear it Lieutenant”
“Use your Liaison if you need to meet with us again Xander. Also she can set up a debrief for you when you've done making your report.” Janeway said then frowned. “You'll also need to stay with her during any fact finding missions you go on.”
Xander lifted an inquisitive eyebrow so she continued. “Trust isn't an issue between you and me Xander, but this is bigger than that now. This is fleet security and some feel the need for you to be ... watched carefully”
Neycheav shot her a surprised look. Apparently, Janeway hadn't been meant to tell him that.
Xander smiled warmly at his ex-captain and nodded, “I thank you for your honesty Ca... Admiral” he said, flushing as he got it wrong again. He'd only just started getting used to calling her Captain too.
Janeway smirked, “Don't worry it's taking me some getting used to as well.”
Xander smiled at her, “I can only imagine. Sorry to hear about Voyager.”
Neycheav frowned slightly but refrained from comment. She was surprised to find out that this young lieutenant knew about the orders to split up the Voyager crew. They had actually only just been issued that morning. She'd have to find out how he knew that later.
Dee looked up from the PADD she had been idly reading while waiting for her charge to arrive. There he was, Black suit and pips, just as he had been before. The worst thing was that the highest ranking Admiral in the fleet hadn't even batted an eyelid at it. If she had tried that she would have been eviscerated on the spot. Neycheav had quite the reputation for being hard line and tough as it came. Plus a stickler for the rules. Yet here was this oddity from the 'past' that was wearing non regulation clothing and she'd ignored it.
This Xander just kept on becoming more and more interesting.
“Xander” Janeway said as he was about to leave to talk to his Liaison. She pulled him in close and whispered. “Be careful with her.” she said, the 'her' being obvious.
Xander looked his friend the Admiral in the eye and said in an equally low voice. “I know all about her; trust me.”
Kathryn Janeway eye's widened only slightly but she nodded her head. A slight smile appearing on her lips. She didn't want to have to deal with anything happening to Xander. He had become friends to many of the crew, herself included, since he'd arrived on her ship. She could think of one ex-Borg in particular that would be ... upset if anything happened to him. So it was good he knew what he was dealing with. Though Janeway wished she could find out herself what the hell Lt. Commander Dympna Amara was.
Her back story checked out and she appeared to be trusted by a few of the admirals in the fleet. Or at least that was how it appeared. Janeway just couldn't shake the feeling that there was something off about the woman. The fact she was also a very beautiful woman rang alarm bells in her mind as well. It COULD be coincidence, but she highly doubted it. Perhaps she should have Seven keep an eye on Xander, just in case. She knew Xander could handle himself, but she also knew that Seven would be protective of one of the few she called friend. That could be just what he needed right about now.
In Orbit, Aboard Judy
Seven sat in contemplative silence aboard a ship that in all honesty she shouldn't be anywhere near, or at least reporting. Which was one of about a million things that were wrong with her morning thus far. She internally winced when she realised it was in fact now afternoon on the planet. She could hardly believe how long she had been sat thinking. She wasn't normally quite so introspective, but then Xander had just taken her world and tipped it on its ear. Not exactly for the first time either. He'd been doing that pretty much since he had turned up in a Briori slave pod back in the Delta Quadrant. Only this time it was worse, because he had shown her something that made her blood run cold. A strangely accurate phrase for a physiological reaction to finding out that monsters existed. She may have already known, thanks to the collective, but to come face to face now that she was human was another thing entirely. Quite ... scary in fact.
Seven had been scared before but never quite as scared as she had been down on Earth a few hours previously. A vampire, brought to within five feet of her using some sort of technology she still didn't understand. The Klingon that Xander called 'Thrall had then dispatched it so fast as to be unbelievable with a stick of all things.
Xander sure as hell had a lot of explaining to do. He'd actually had the nerve to run off for an appointment with the highest ranking admiral of the fleet leaving her to ... stew. In fact, if she didn't know better, she'd say she was quite ... angry about that fact. The female Klingon had NOT been happy that Xander had left without her either, but Ethan hadn't been in the least bit worried. In fact weighing in to argue for Xander, which considering the way that Xander seemed to act towards him was a little surprising.
Still Xander seemed to have a strange effect on people. Most liked him, and he seemed to like most people, but the ones that didn't like him hated him, and likewise. He was an all or nothing sort of man apparently. A Demon hunter too, according to what he'd said. Which was just plain a huge shock. The collective had known that demons were wide spread, having found them on approximately 65% of the planets they had assimilated, but they hadn't known they were in this region. The fact that they had all but disappeared 300 years ago was also a bone of confusion. If such a thing existed in the order of the collective. It would be better to say it had been an interesting data collation that demon kind had apparently disappeared from all known home worlds of their kind at around the same time.
Now there was a man from the past who hunted them and he was from earth. Meaning that humans had known about them at least to a degree 300 years ago. At a time when they were still mostly warlike and technologically inept.
“How are you holding up” a familiar voice asked from behind her. Which was shock enough, but when she whirled to find it was Xander himself that was standing there. Her anger decided now was the opportune moment to show him just how annoyed she really was.
So she slapped him.
It would be hard to tell who was actually more shocked at the move. Both Seven and Xander had priceless expressions on their faces at that moment.
“Well” Xander said finally, “Not the answer I was expecting I'll grant you.”
“I'm...” Seven trailed off, honestly lost for words, possibly for the first time since she had been freed from the collective.
Xander lifted an eyebrow then rubbed his jaw where an impressive hand print was beginning to show.
“I'm angry” she stated flatly, with all of her famous emotional control now back in place.
Xander immediate response would've been 'no shit' but he decided that he'd had quite enough of being hit for the moment. So instead he remarked, “I had noticed. Can I ask why?”
Seven lifted an eyebrow. Which was apparently all the response she felt he needed.
Luckily Xander was now pretty well versed in brow-speak. “I'm sorry I shocked and ran. I had a very important meeting, but normally I would've stayed and been here. I'm really sorry for that.” he told her with his most charming smile.
Seven looked at him for a long moment before nodding.
“You have questions?” Xander asked.
“I have many.”
“Well, I've got to be there when Maria wakes up, but in the meantime, ask away.”
“Maria, let us start there. Who is she and why was it necessary for that display?”
“Maria is the last in the Giles line. That display activated a spell that was cast on her line shortly after I left Earth.”
“Who is this Giles? Also, how do you know of this 'Spell' if it happened after the Briori Abducted you.”
“Giles was a fellow hunter, had a great deal of knowledge that he has passed down via the spell to Maria. He was a special person who looks after a special type of warrior for the forces of light. I can't tell you about how I know about the spell yet.”
“Why not? And what is a spell exactly. Surely you are not talking about Magic I have seen in fairy tales.”
Xander smirked, “You've read fairy tales?”
Seven just lifted her eyebrow again. This one was for certain, 'get on with it'.
“Magic is as real as demons are. As for why I can't tell you it's a very long story and we just don't have the time right now. Plus I'm not sure how you'll take the news, or if you'll even believe me in the first place.”
“That answer is unsatisfactory.”
“I'm sure it is. It is, however, the only one I can offer you at this time.”
“How did you come to know of demon kind?”
“You realise they're not native to this dimension don't you?”
“Like Species 8471?”
“Sort of, but their dimension is known as Hell to humans.”
“That is unlikely.”
“So are star ships until you understand the principles behind them.” Xander told her “As for how I come to know about them. That's a long story that can luckily be made short. My best friend was captured and turned into a vampire. I had to kill him, the end of the beginning and the rest is best told over a lot of alcohol.”
Seven's eyes held a flicker of compassion for his loss, which was obvious from his expression and tone of voice. She was no master of human emotion as yet, but she knew enough to see that Xander still hurt to think of his old friend. “So you were not on the way to a costume party when we first met you then?”
Xander laughed, “No that, or this come to think of it, is how I always dress. I'm always prepped for an all out fight if I can possibly manage it.”
Seven looked at him for a long moment trying to decide what to ask next. He seemed to be remarkably open with her, apart from that one subject. She was fairly sure that at this moment she could ask him anything and he would answer her honestly. Which was a terrible thing to behold when one really came to think on it. Were there some things that she would be better off not knowing. That thought went pretty much against her entire way of thinking, but the still quite small emotive part of her was screaming at her to be wary.
Xander in the meantime took the opportunity to ask a question of his own. “I'm trying to get operational again and Seven, I would like your help. I'd like you to join me and help me fight demons. In this time and place there is a battle about to happen and it's all or nothing.”
Seven frowned, “Xander, how do you know this information?”
“I've got friends in ... high places.” Xander said then suddenly smirked to himself as if someone had just said something funny to him. Something Seven was coming to realise that he seemed to do a lot.
“This is a lot to process. I am unsure that I can give you an answer at this time.” Seven told him, retreating into formality in the face of a stranger than normal situation.
“That I can honestly say I understand only too well Seven. Take all the time you need. I'll understand if the answers no as well and I wouldn't want you to think I won't be a friend no matter what.”
Seven smiled slightly, a flash of emotion rare to her, “That means a lot to me; thank you.”
Xander smiled at her for a long moment then his eyes seemed to change, a cover sliding into place that screamed all business to her. “Now I've got to check on my new friend.”
“From the way you speak one could say you seemed to already know her.”
“Maria and I go way back, though she doesn't realise it yet.” Xander told her with another strange smirk.
Mrs (Divorced) Maria Michaels opened her eyes to come eye to eye with an attractive pair of blue eyes looking back at her. As her focus widened an elder distinguished looking face came into view. The next thing she knew she was standing over the mans body with her leg cocked back to kick him in the kidneys. She'd punched him with all her might and she had absolutely no idea why, or in fact how, she had done it.
“Well, it appears you're your old self ripper” the man said, coughing slightly. “I'd appreciate it if you didn't actually let loose with that dainty foot of yours though. I'm not a teenager anymore you know my kidneys are not quite what they were. It would be a shame to loose control of myself at inopportune times. Don't you agree?” the man said with a charming smile.
Maria backed off looking very confused, though, she did know this man. A name loomed in her memories. Memories you had never experienced flashed before her eyes in a rush making her feel suddenly sea sick. She backed off against the bio bed and almost fell over, but the man she had just downed caught her and steadied her.
“Steady there. This must all of come as quite the shock.”
“Ethan?” Maria asked slowly as if tasting the word as it came out of her mouth.
Ethan Raine smiled charmingly, “Why yes I am. The memories are integrating quite well then. Obviously knee jerk reaction is instilled already. I expect the rest of the memories will fully integrate within an hour or so. Until then I'd make sure you stayed sat down. You're about to have quite a few shocks to the system.”
Just then a door hissed open and one of the aforementioned shocks walked through with an attractive blonde haired woman. Maria felt a rush of emotion flood her system, shock, awe, love and respect all vied for a place as the top feeling. Eventually Love won out and she virtually dived into the strangers arms and hugged him forcefully.
Xander excepted the hug with a warm smile and rubbed Maria's back as she wept into his jacket.
Ethan rose his eyebrows and smirked. “Was there something about you and Ripper I should've known?”
Xander virtually snarled, “Back off Rayne. You've got a way to go until you can get away with that sort of joke with me.”
Ethan held up both hands and literally took a step back. “I'm sorry” he said.
In the meantime Seven found herself looking at the highly attractive woman in Xander's arms and wondering about her. She had shown no hint of knowing Xander before he had unveiled a vampire in front of her. Now suddenly she was clinging to him like a lost love. Love not lover, because there didn't seem to be anything non platonic about the way she was holding on to him like a life jacket. It was strange and highly illogical, but then things that happened around Xander rarely seemed to be logical at all.
Maria eventually backed off, “You, you're dead” she said shocking Seven to the core.
“No, I merely went away for a while.”
“But But Tara, she found your body. It was such a blow.” Maria trailed off and shook herself, “how do I know these things, what's happening.”
“Remember the watcher's council. Remember that once you were tasked with something other than books?”
“Yes, the Slayer” Maria said eyes bright, “Buffy Faith and then the rest.”
“The great awakening.”
“How do you know about that, it happened after you ... left.” Maria shook herself. “I was the head of the council after the first. Rupert Giles, was I mean, my ancestor. A spell to close the hellmouth for a while, it's been 300 years?”
“It has.” Xander said still gently rubbing Maria's back.
“You activated the spell.” she said, now beginning to sound much more calm. “The demons they are back.” she continued sounding stronger with each word.
“Yes Maria, that's right.”
“We'll talk about how you know what you know later Xander, and what you're doing here. But first we have to find the slayer.”
Xander smiled, “You'll like her, she's pretty amazing.”
“You've already found her.”
“It's what I do.”
“Yes,” Maria smiled, “Slayers were always your thing weren't they.”
“Slayers?” Seven asked.
“Who are you and what the devil is Rayne doing here?” Maria asked.
“That's Seven, a close friend of mine. Ethan has been included in our fight for his path to redemption.”
Maria snorted twice as Xander spoke. “A blonde, which figures with you. As for you Ethan I remember only too well about you.” she said removing herself from Xander's arms and poking a finger towards the currently hapless Ethan Rayne. “If you screw with me or my slayer I will do a lot worse than hit you and kick you in the kidneys.”
“There's the Ripper I know” Ethan said with a wide smile.