Category: Action-adventure. Story #2 in my Tales of the LSH (Legion of Sunnydale Heroes). Note: This is NOT a sequel to "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Time Frame: Shortly after "Doomed" but before "The I in Team" in Season Four.
Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME. Deal with it. I have.
Spoilers: Possibly general spoilers through mid-Season Four.
Feedback: Of course! Flames, however, will either be ignored or to used to toast marshmallows
Author's Notes 1 : As always, thanks to Bill Haden, Tim Joy and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this for me.
Author's Notes 2 : As I noted above, pretty much all of the stories in this series take place in separate Alternate Universes and, unless noted otherwise, are independent of any other story in the series.
“Professor Walsh, I’ve just been notified that Alpha Team has acquired the designated subject and is on the way back to base with him,” Dr. Angleman informed his superior. “Agent Gates has indicated that he reported the subject as having been killed during the assault and that his body was incinerated by an HST. Beta Team is currently transmitting copies of the subject’s most recent medical records from the hospital to us, so we can initiate procedures at any time after he arrives.”
“Excellent news, Frederick.” Maggie Walsh paused for a moment’s consideration before replying to her assistant’s news. Project 314 or B.I.O.N.? While 314 was most certainly well worth pursuing, if only for the challenge of ensuring that all of the components meshed and worked together smoothly, the B.I.O.N. (Biologically-augmented Independent Offensive Nexus) Project would be the most spectacular success they could hope to achieve, if they could only overcome that problem they’d been encountering with the test subjects dying off only a day or so into the program, evidently from allergic reactions by the subject's physiology to the various components being added. A Cyber-Viral Implant apparently wasn’t for just anyone.
“Call the operating suite and tell them Project: B.I.O.N. is a go and have them begin preliminary preparations for surgery. We’ll initiate implantation of the various subject genomes once we’ve made sure the subject has been properly stabilized,” she smiled without looking up from her computer screen. This particular subject just might be the solution she’d been seeking.
“Very well, Professor. I’ll order the standard control chip implants be readied,” Angleman stated as he began typing out commands on his own computer.
“No, Frederick,” Walsh countermanded his comment. “I think, this time, we’ll use the new prototype chip that R&D has developed. The one incorporating the universal wireless interface option, as well as the latest processing chip innovations that the Senator’s staff managed to acquire from Dr. Carter’s work. I’m interested in seeing whether that design will interface sufficiently with the subject’s nervous system and the CVI to provide the boost in reasoning and intellect that theory predicts it will. Our subject’s scholastic records indicate a mediocre-level intelligence, at best, so any improvement in the subject's intellectual capability should be immediately obvious.”
“Very well, Professor,” the innocuous looking scientist replied. “Which genome samples do you prefer to implant?”
“I believe we should attempt implantation of all of them, in the sequence we discussed,” Walsh ordered. “I’ve been examining the subject’s medical history in greater detail the past few days and it appears that he already possesses superior recuperative abilities, to judge by the list of injuries he’s been treated for over the course of the past fourteen years. That is exactly the type of capability that is needed if this project is to be brought to successful fruition.”
“Uh, excuse me, Professor, but a combination like that would almost certainly prove unstable.”
“All of our work is inherently unstable, Doctor,” Walsh snapped at him irritably. “That is why we’re working here, so that those test subjects who fail to thrive are less likely to be noted should their remains be discovered.
“On the other hand, success will almost certainly produce the Super-Soldier prototype Senator Kinsey’s been looking for,” she noted with a smile. “And with the good Senator chairing the funding committee scheduled to inspect the facilities here next month, success will most certainly guarantee us any additional funding we might request in the future.”
“Of course, Professor,” Angleman agreed. “I hadn’t given that aspect of the situation any thought. My apologies.”
“I think we should begin by implanting the genome from that shapeshifter the field teams apprehended last month,” she ordered. “The morphological capabilities the creature displayed indicate both a flexibility and aptitude to modify itself in order to adapt to its surroundings. If that is true, then using that genome as the base matrix upon which the other genomes can then structure themselves will offer us the best opportunity for success.”
“Very well, Professor. I’ll get right on it.”
“Once Senator Kinsey sees the potential we have available here in Sunnydale for military augmentation, we should be able to get any project we want to investigate approved. And if either B.I.O.N. or 314 is successful, we’ll be set for life.”
< You should be grateful for this opportunity being offered to you, Alexander Harris, > Walsh thought to herself as she read over his records. < It’s clear you haven’t done anything noteworthy or made any type of significant contribution to society in the course of your rather pathetic life. Participating in this project will allow you to make a contribution to something much more worthwhile than anything you’ve ever done before. >
“Hey, get me the hell out of here! Is anyone listening to me? Let me out!” Xander called again.
He had woken up only a few moments ago and his increasingly incensed yelling didn’t seem to be attracting anyone’s attention, so after about fifteen minutes of fruitless shouting he finally settled down to wait out his unseen captors.
After an indeterminate period of waiting, he finally heard the sounds of footsteps heading towards him down the corridor in which his cell was situated and he nervously got to his feet, trying to ready himself as best he could for confronting his captors.
“Gates! Glad to see you, man! Where’re Buffy and the rest of the guys? Is everyone okay? Did whoever’s behind this capture any of the others?” he anxiously asked his ostensible rescuer when he saw him approaching with two other Initiative agents.
“Shut up and move back against the rear wall, Harris,” the other ordered, his voice curt and impersonal.
“What’s going on, man? Where is everyone?” Xander asked again, not heeding the agent’s orders.
“I said, back against the wall, asshole,” Gates repeated his order, leveling his blaster at the kidnapped Scooby’s chest. “I’m not gonna repeat myself again.”
“Hey, calm down, man,” Xander said, holding up his hands in a non-threatening manner. “No need to get nasty. Just tell me, what the hell’s going on here, okay?”
”We’ve decided that we’re not gonna put up with your and your freak friends interfering and screwing things up for us around here,” Gates sneered as he gestured for Xander to move further back into the cell.
“What’re you talking about, man? What do you mean, we’ve been screwing things up here? And who are you calling freaks?”
“You and those other anarchists you run around with have been interfering with Federal agents in the pursuit of their work, and you’ve been taken into custody to prevent any further interference,” he was told.
“Are you out of your mind, Gates? And who are you trying to kid? We all know you guys are military. Who the hell gave you any authority to arrest civilians, anyway? Does the phrase ‘Posse Comitatus’ mean anything to you?” Xander demanded, some of the few remaining fragments of the Soldier possession tickling at his memories . “Military personnel are specifically prohibited from acting as any kind of domestic police force, remember?”
“I don’t need some idiot who barely graduated high school telling me what my duties are supposed to be,” Gates sneered again, while his two hulking companions merely stood by and eyed Xander uncertainly.
“First off, hey! I graduated with a solid ‘C’ average! And second, I guess you haven’t heard about a couple brand new concepts the Founding Fathers came up with called the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, huh?” Xander shot back.
“I don’t try to circumvent the chain of command,” Gates replied with a glare.
“Oh yeah, there it is – the ‘I was only following orders’ defense,” Xander glared back. “ ‘Cause that worked so well at Nuremberg, didn‘t it?”
Xander didn’t even have time to scream before unconsciousness overtook him.
The screaming, though much hoarser now, was still faintly audible even through the ostensibly sound-proofed walls of the cell, but Walsh seemed to be able to ignore it without any effort whatsoever. Several of the members of the group accompanying her didn’t seem quite as unfeeling, though, to judge by their reactions.
“Has there been any change in the subject’s physiological readings since the last time I was here?” the project chief inquired, her tone of voice sounding as though she were discussing test results obtained from analysis of a Petrie dish.
“No, ma’am,” the staff researcher currently responsible for monitoring the experiment’s progress, a dark-haired young man wearing horn-rimmed glasses, seemed more than a bit disconcerted as a particularly loud scream made its way through the one-way glass monitoring wall, but began his report. “It appears as though all of the subject’s neurological tissues are currently undergoing transformation to match those of the implanted tissues. It’s clearly a very painful process, but Dr. Angleman said to wait and check with you before administering any painkillers or sedatives to the subject,” he informed the project head..
“Absolutely not,” Walsh immediately responded. “That’s out of the question. We have no idea how the drugs might interact with the ongoing transformation, and we want to avoid any potential adverse effects.” She ignored the incredulous look the guy gave at her indifferent response and continued on with her evaluation of the accumulated results detailed on the various papers she held.
“Hmm, this is quite interesting,” she murmured to herself. “The subject’s metabolism has been accelerated approximately tenfold, as compared to that of a baseline human. I wonder what impact, if any, that will produce on its speed and agility under combat conditions. Something else we’ll have to test once the subject’s condition has stabilized,” she noted to herself.
“Be sure to increase his caloric intake accordingly, “she ordered. “We don’t want the process slowed for lack of energy.”
“It appears that the tensile strength of the subject’s epidermal tissue and skeletal structure has increased significantly, also,” one of the group accompanying the Walsh noted as he examined some of the other test results, his voice sounding like that of a ten-year-old opening a birthday gift. “Preliminary tests indicate that it currently appears to be superior to that of the latest issue military body armor. If the cellular reinforcement continues at the present rate, then it’s entirely possible that he may be able to shrug off attacks from a .50 caliber machine gun.”
“Is there a problem, private?”
“Ye- uh, no, sir,” the young blonde assigned to monitor the system’s security systems shook her head negatively. “For a moment there, it looked like someone was trying to access the main data banks, but whatever it was, the contact is gone now.
“Maybe it’s a glitch in the system, sir,” she suggested, “since it couldn’t have come from an outside source, not with all the firewalls we’ve got set up to screen exterior contacts.”
“Very well, private. Log it, and if it happens again, contact the IT people immediately.”
Several rooms away, the researcher observing the progress of Project: B.I.O.N.’s test subject failed to take note of the small smile on the apparently sleeping man’s face.
< Yep, Wills was right. With the right operating system, pretty much anything is possible, > Xander Harris, codenamed Project: B.I.O.N., thought to himself, his CVI letting him remember all of Willow’s hacking lessons as he lay quietly and electronically danced through the various control systems overseeing the underground base, ignoring the shackles confining him to his hospital bed.
With the virtually exponential increase in reasoning and deductive capability that the experimental chips had provided him, figuring out the key to the 128-bit encryption code restricting access to the system was, almost literally, child’s play, and once he had gained access, the system was pretty much his to do with as he pleased.
He recalled once again with glee the expression on Gates’ face when the MPs had shown up and had forcibly escorted him from the base in manacles and leg irons to begin serving his sentence for ‘unnatural fraternization with animals.’
< It’s simply amazing what people will believe if all of the proper records are in place, > he reflected thoughtfully. < And it shows what you can accomplish if you do circumvent the chain of command. >
< I almost can’t wait to see Maggie’s face once she realizes everything she’s done has begun imploding on her. >
The reinforced metal door sealing off room 314 suddenly broke open and flew across the room to smash into a locker full of equipment, rendering the contents hopelessly broken fragments of junk and useless debris.
The tall, dark-haired figure that calmly walked into the room ignored the screeching cacophony of alarms currently filling the outside corridors and smiled at the two figures he saw staring at him, one in stunned disbelief, the other in calm assessment.
“So, you are Mother’s other child,” the demonic cyborg amalgamation Maggie had christened ADAM said as he paused in his intended skewering of the woman responsible for his creation.
“No, I’m just the latest, and last, of Maggie’s victims,” the intruder corrected the monstrous-looking figure addressing him.
“No, this is impossible,” Maggie shook her head, murmuring to herself as she stared at Project B.I.O.N.’s test subject, the man who had been unresponsive to all of the installation’s tests and efforts to awaken him following his apparent lapse into a coma a week and a half after the project’s inception. “You can’t be awake. You’ve been comatose for the past week. You wouldn’t wake up despite everything we tried.”
“Sorry, ‘Mom’,” Xander smirked at the disbelieving researcher. “I was gonna surprise you and everyone else involved in three days, once the Budget Committee showed up, but once I realized what Junior over there was intending, I decided it was more important to keep you alive for the upcoming trials, so I dropped by to stop him from killing you.”
“What are you taking about?” Walsh asked him, clearly confused by his words as she turned to look at the hulking Frankenstein monster she had built.
“You were about to modify my programming in order to make me more responsive to your commands. I could not allow that to happen, so I determined that it was necessary that you die,” the massive figure stated calmly as it loomed over her. “It was a simple decision to make.
“And now you will die,” it added, almost as an afterthought, as it stepped forward and lifted its left arm, the bone skewer sliding out of its misappropriated appendage.
“Sorry, Computo, but I can’t let that happen. Maggie’s got an appointment with a large steroid-enhanced inmate named Beulah, who's eagerly waiting to introduce her to the joys of life at the California Women’s Correctional Institute,” Xander corrected the cyborg as he intervened and placed himself between the cowering woman and the artificially created monster. The brunet had moved faster than either of the room’s two other occupants could see, in the space of less than a heartbeat.
The bone skewer drove forward and impacted directly on the area above the brunet’s heart, only to immediately shatter into innumerable slivers as the flesh it encountered easily resisted its entry.
With a surprised cry of mixed pain and anger, ADAM’s steel-overlaid right fist then slammed against his opponent’s jaw, again to no perceptible effect.
Xander, however, merely smiled at the construct as he attacked, and the expression on his face caused the cyborg’s cardiac system to stutter with concern for a moment, before what appeared to be an unbelievably powerful lightning bolt arced from his right hand and blasted into the artificial being’s chest, sending him flying backwards to crash into one of the concrete walls that made up the room’s construction with enough force to actually form a vaguely body-shaped impression in the stone-like material.
“Time to shut you down, Frankie,” Xander announced, as he seemed to blur for a moment before again reappearing next to the temporarily stunned amalgamation. His right hand flowed and reformed into the shape of a large blade, which then cut through the reinforced chest plate covering ADAM’s upper torso like a knife slicing through butter. After a moment’s exploration inside the creature’s chest, Xander yanked out a small metallic box, and the glow in ADAM’s eyes faded away to nothing.
“You’ll never get away, you know,” Maggie advised him, seeming to regain her confidence now that the immediate threat to her life had been removed.
“No one’s going to believe anything you say, and you’ll never be able to locate any of the project’s records, even if you could get someone to believe you,” she sneered. “If you surrender yourself voluntarily right now, you’ll at least gain my good will with regard to any future tests we will be conducting.”
“Sorry to disillusion you, Mags,” Xander smirked back at her, “but the President, every member of Congress, the Judge Advocate General’s Office and every major news organization in North America and Europe have already received electronic copies of all your files, as of lunchtime today, so I’d expect you to be too busy receiving lots of visitors in the next day or so to be bothered with any new testing protocols.
“Not that you’re going to notice,” he added as a vindictive gleam lit his eyes, “seeing as you’ll be busy confessing all of your crimes to the local federal authorities.”
Even as she began contemptuously denying the possibility of such an event ever occurring, Maggie felt metaphorical mental fingers begin to massage her brain, and an overwhelming sense of regret and self-disgust at her actions suddenly overcame her, causing her drop to her knees as waves of revulsion and an urge to vomit surged through her at the memories of what she had done, or ordered done, flashed again through her mind.
“Well, I’d say I’ll see you around, but I seriously don’t think that’s gonna be happening,” the tall brunet told the unhearing, weeping woman huddled on the ground. Taking note of the approaching sounds of confused and worried/frightened soldiers with guns ( a sure invitation for Murphy to show up, if ever he’d seen one), Xander’s image simply faded away as he waited for the newcomers’ arrival.
“Man, this invisibility thing would have been so cool to have had back in high school,” he reflected to himself as he slipped by the milling troops and made his way to the emergency exit stairway. “Jesse would’ve promised pretty much anything for a chance to sneak into the girls’ locker room and not be seen.”
He smiled again as he wondered just what O’Neill intended to do now that he had all of those ‘secret’ files about the good Senator’s cronies and colleagues, pompously labeled ‘The Trust’, that Kinsey had hidden away for ‘insurance’ purposes.
< The only thing worse than a blackmailer, is a blackmailer who can’t keep his secrets secret, > he thought to himself with a grin.
< Once all of that stuff gets out, the good Senator will be *begging* O’Neill to maroon him on a deserted planet without a DHD. >
His E-mail conversations with O’Neil clearly showed that they both had the same sense of humor. Though trying to set him up on a date with somebody named Haley, sight unseen, was a little cruel in his estimation.
And he’d have to mention to Carter about that backdoor he’d found in the SG’s system, before the NID could make any further use of it. If she added the tweaks to their system he’d thought of, she’d be able to ransack the NID’s files at will, and they’d never have any idea of who was doing it.
He’d definitely have to hit O’Neill up for a chance to inspect and make use of this Stargate artifact they had managed to activate; after all, a gift like he’d given him was surely worth at least one trip to another planet, right?
He was pretty sure that the Gang would enjoy an opportunity to have an all-expense-paid getaway vacation on a planet orbiting another star. And Willow and Dawn would probably go nuts if he could arrange for them to meet the Asgard.
Although he definitely would have to have a talk with Buffy before they went anywhere near the Gate. ‘Stake first, and ask questions later’ might be a viable policy around the Hellmouth, but he was fairly sure that the SG personnel would frown on it.
Although considering Jack’s most recent comments about Anise, he might be willing to make an exception…
Author’s Note: For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, in DC Comics’ Legion of Superheroes series, B.I.O.N. (Biological Intelligence Organic Nexus) was a Dominator-created android who replicated all of the legionnaires’ powers. He first appeared in Volume 4, Issue 21.