Well, finding some quiet time away from the gang had been tricky but damn, was he glad he had. They were going to freak out enough when he told them of this… side effect of Halloween without watching him destroy the Library as he practised, like he had destroyed this clearing. They would certainly have tried their damned hardest to bind his powers to ‘keep him safe and out of the fighting’ after that.
Especially after the first time he had tried to cast a polymorph…
Sheesh, all he wanted to do was turn into a Leet, easiest form to change into and one that was stealthy and fast as hell, even if you really didn’t want to attempt fighting in it.
But no, he had to fumble the nanoprogram execution and not in a minor way either. Well, at least he knew where reclaim was now, and unsurprisingly enough he was reformed into a new body at Ethan’s and had to reclaim whatever possessions he had on him from the shattered abandoned remnants of the Janus statue. That at least made a kind of sense; after all it was the statue and the shop that had been the focus for Ethan’s spell.
Bet Ethan didn’t expect this to happen though.
Pity his character hadn’t been wearing Carbonium armour, he could have done with the buffs, the skills boasts, in particular the NCU increase it offered, still beggars couldn’t be choosers and a full set of Cyber Armour was nice enough stuff.
Now he just had to figure out two… well, three things.
One: How to explain his new status as a nano-wielding Adventurer to the rest of the gang.
Two: How to deal with the judge… that guy registered as level 100 on his scope and that put him out of his league… not by much perhaps, he had hit level 92 after all, but he still wouldn’t want to face him on his lonesome.
Unfortunately, he might have too, Buffy, Willow and the gang didn’t have the ability to use nanoprograms and that left them far more vulnerable then he was. Whether they knew it or not, he was now the heavy hitter of the group, which led neatly onto:
Three: How to get the rest of the gang using nano-programs.
And Xander had to admit, he saw no reason they couldn’t use such programs, so long as he could get each of them equipped properly. After all, just because this universe hadn’t discovered the technologies didn’t mean it wasn’t possible, hell, he was proof alone that nano-programs worked here.
The rub was, packrat though his possession might have been, not ever throwing anything that might be useful out, a fact which left Xander with an inventory just groaning with masses of backpacks loaded with what some might charitable call junk, his supplies weren’t limitless. Yes, he had some spare armour, yes he had spare Nano-controlling units and yes he had spares of the essential Deck Component Belts, without which it was damned near impossible to use nano-technology, but did he have enough?
For that matter, what would happen once they reached the level where those spares he had would become constricting?
Xander sighed, for that matter, what about himself? He too would soon need new supplies and upgrades for himself and there was no way he could get them on earth, hell, there was no way to make most of the items without supplies, such as Notum, which plain didn’t exist on Earth. Notum, that essential ingredient for Nano-technology only existed on Rubi’ka and there was no way in hell he could get there.
Xander shrugged, jumped to his feet and without a backward glance at the ruined clearing, headed for the library. What would be would be after all, and maybe, just maybe, Willow would turn out to be a Meta-Physicist or Nano-Technician. If she did, she might just be able to combine the knowledge of Magic she already had with the knowledge of Nanotechnology he would teach her to find some way of creating new or replacement items for the team.
It never occurred to Xander that he had spent fifteen minutes thinking of how to help his friends for every one he thought for himself and it is a measure of the man that he was, that if anyone had pointed that out to him, he would most likely have shrugged it off as being the right way to do things.
It is perhaps a sign of his sense of humour however that his way of dropping the news was to run into the library in full Adventurer gear, rapidly executing his calming nano to keep the gang locked in place, then before their startled, angry, surprised and unwillingly locked gazes, run a ploymorphing nano on himself, turning his own form into that of a Dog. A two-headed Dog at that; then let them draw their own conclusions.
It didn’t take them that long, but he decided to quickly explain himself before the calmers run out. He really didn’t want to know if he could calm Buffy fast enough to stop her trying to kill him and frankly, he didn’t want to find out.
Xander smiled, his eyes still following Buffy’s tense form somewhat edgily. She hadn’t attacked him though, not yet, but she was still looking at him like she hadn’t made her mind up about whether the ‘new’ Xander was a threat or not. He could see it in her eyes though, Buffy said Friend, but the Slayer said Potential Threat. But then, that part of her was often the last to trust.
“Well… Good Lord”
Xander cracked a smirk at that one, “Seven ‘Good Lords’, I must be Good, even the Master didn’t rate that many”
Giles shot him a slight glare at that, and Buffy tried, unsuccessfully, to hide a smile. Good, Xander thought, she’s coming around.
“See thing is, if I can use nanotechnology here, I see no reason why you cant too” Xander added.
“Would be an advantage”
“Yes, quite Willow, but from what you have said you need certain items to use nanotechnology which Im afraid we will not be able to acquire, not in this universe at least though there are ways around that”
Xander’s ears pricked up at that, but didn’t think it was time to comment, they had the Judge to deal with after all.
“Well, I don’t have time to teach you how to use the nanotech now, we have the Judge to deal with after all, but…”
Oz shrugged at their surprised glances, “Lots of people in one place, no sunlight inside”
“He’s right” Giles replied, his hands working once more at cleaning his glasses, “it’s perfect”
“So we know where the Judge is going, how do we deal with him?”
Xander shrugged, waiting for the storm to hit, “You don’t… I do”
“You can’t! You’ll get killed”
“Gotta agree with Buffy here, even with your new powers, Xander death does seem in the offing here and Xander death? Not a happy thought”
Xander smiled reassuringly at his Willow, “Your right. If I face him alone I will die just like Buffy did when she faced the Master alone, and considering how the Judge kills, it might be permanent…”
“Wait, might be permanent?” Buffy interrupted.
Xander grimaced at the looks the gang were now sending him, he had hoped this wouldn’t come up, “I ended up at reclaim five times whilst trying to relearn all the adventurer knew about nano-technology”
Willow glanced at Buffy, and quietly replied, “Means he died Buffy”
Xander covered his ears, wishing he didn’t have such a high perception rating as the dismayed babble filled the room. Damn, he didn’t have time for this; they didn’t have time for this.
The babble stopped, and Xander glanced up to see the rest of the scoobies looking at him somewhat guiltily.
He sighed, dropped his hands and reached into his inventory; enjoying the looks on his friends faces as objects appeared on the table in front of him from apparently nothing.
“I don’t have time to teach you how to use nanotech before we have to deal with the judge so you are going to put these on, I will execute as many programs as I can onto you to assist you and then we leg it for the mall, understood?”
Mutely, they nodded and Xander began handing his presents out, “Willow, Blackmanes Belt Component Platform, normally No-drop so you cant give it away once you’ve got it, but from what I remember, this was hacked by a level 190 Engineer out for a challenge, the rest of you, T-100’s instead of Blackmanes, less capable I’m afraid but I've only got one Blackmanes and I want Willow to have that”
“What, do we just put this on?”
Xander smiled, “yes Buffy, you just put it on. Don’t worry about it clashing with your outfit either, they are designed to blend in”
“Right” doubtfully, Buffy put hers on first and then blinked as it seemed it vanish into her clothes, “neat”
Less reluctantly, the others put their belts on, followed swiftly by the Morphing Memories Xander instructed then to place inside the Belts to increase the number of Nano-programs he could execute on them.
Then, he had to dive into his archive of low level Nano-programs and began casting, starting with Armour Increase buffs and Damage Reflect Shields. For all bar Willow, he had to stop with just two programs. For Willow, with her better Belt, he was able to execute a much needed buff to her Blunt Weapons Skill too.
Xander had to smile as the belts went on, and the group one by one registered on his senses. Willow had turned out to be a Meta-physcist which didn’t have Xander surprised, it had been a toss-up between Nano-technician or Meta-Physicist because of her geeky tendencies, Nano-technician was a scientist type role which she was suited for certainly, but Meta-Physicist was more compatible with her interest in Magic.
Giles turned out to be a Bureaucrat and Xander had to stifle a chuckle at that, Giles would get miffed at that one, good thing he didn’t know how to check his own stats yet, but then he would soon enough.
Buffy showed up as a Martial Artist, another non-surprise. Her tendency to use her body as a weapon, plus her liking for Bows clued him in on that a while ago, but due to the Slayer part of her nature, Enforcer was always a possibility, there were after all fast brutal attackers, always in the front of the fight.
Oz got Adventurer and Xander was pleased about that, it was the profession most likely to be able to help him control the beast within. After all, no other profession got anywhere near the sheer volume of polymorphs or shape shifts that the Adventurers had available to them and the Werewolf was just an uncontrolled Polymorph really.
Jenny ended up as the Nano-technician and Xander had to grimace, he had suspected that but he had hoped for a Doctor to show up in the team somewhere. It seemed he and Oz would have to take up that role, after all Adventurers were second only to Docs for their ability to heal themselves and others, but when push came to shove, they were still just second best.
Still, they were ready, now to deal with the Judge.
Xander really really regretted being the Tank for this attack, getting hit with those blasted bolts hurt like a son of a bitch but he had no choice really, Buffy had a level boast thanks to the Slayer Spirit, and once she learned the basics of NanoTech he had no doubt she would be more then able to give him a run for his money but until then, he still had the edge, was still causing the most damage.
Of course, causing the most damage meant the Judge focused his fury on him allowing Buff to cause damage whilst he just struggled to stay alive, running his Self-Heal nano at every opportunity. Still, for now at least they were holding even, the vampire minions at least had been run off by the rest of the team and the Mall evacuated so at least no civilians were at…
Damn, that hurt.
Groggily, Xander slipped his hand into his inventory, quickly utilized a treatment kit to heal a lot of his injuries, and a nano-recharger to replace the nanos he had used fighting the judge, rose back to his feet from where the Judge had tossed him. Tossing off a Quick Team Heal to help his team with their injuries, he dived back into the fight, once again taking the Judges attention off a now battered Buffy.
“Surreal” Oz noted laconically.
Giles nodded; slightly agape as he tried to follow the fast flowing fight in front of him as Buffy, Xander and the Judge fought and had to agree. He knew Xander had Polymorphs, used to change form but up till now he had assumed they were cosmetic. He had to concede however that cosmetic they certainly didn’t seem to be as a Two Headed Dog, normally Buffy and a Sabre-Toothed Tiger, normally Xander fought with the Blue skinned demon that was the Judge.
“You know” Willow commented, “Someone abandoned a video camera over there”
Oz and Giles followed his gaze, the same thought crossing their minds. Jenny however got there first, and the camera started running.
There was a collective wince, “Did she just bite the judge… you know, there?” Willow asked and Oz and Giles nodded, perfectly in time with each other.
There was a collective ‘oh’ as the Sabre-toothed Xander clenched his jaws around the Judges head and squeezed.
“Headache” Oz commented, his hand dipping into the popcorn Willow was now casually handing around, showing no concern what so ever that Xander and Buffy might not succeed.
“I knew it,” Giles shared an exasperated glance with Willow as the unmistakable tones of Cordelia Chase filled the Mall, “I knew if anything freaky was going on you would be involved. Say, where’s Buffy and dweeb boy?”
“Buffy is the Two-headed Dog, Xander’s the Sabretooth” Willow answered, somewhat reluctantly.
Cordelia blinked, “That’s… actually cool. Why is it that if anyone else had said that, I would be questioning their sanity, you lot and I just say, oh, that’s cool?”
“Oh,” Willow added, a little off-put at the thought, “Xander said he had presents for you too”
“Yeah, like I would want anything that Dweeb boy was…”
“You may, lord forbid, end up able to do the shape shifting too”
Cordelia swiftly changed tacks, ignoring the muffled chuckles her switch brought, “Of course, I always love presents, especially from such a good friend as Xander…”
“Errmmm… arm” Oz commented, backing away as the offending blue appendage skittered to the floor at his feet.
“They shouldn’t take much longer” Giles commented.
“Good” Cordelia responded, “I want the presents you promised me”
Xander grimaced, and then shuddered, resisting the urge to clean his eyeballs with hydrochloric acid. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t…
But she was.
Damn, how in the hell had the Queen Bitch of Sunnydale ended up with that profession? She wasn’t exactly caring or even considerate and yet for whatever reason, her new nanocontroller had decided she was most fit to be a Doctor.
Cordelia, a Doctor.
Xander resisted the urge to whimper, but it was a struggle. Then, he remembered that he would have to tell Cordelia at some point and he gave up the struggle, and whimpered aloud.