Notes: Still before the epilogue in part 2. Cheyenne still hasn't moved out there yet. That will happen in arc 3.
The Incidences of The Blippy Dohickey 2: New Geek Day.
Xander looked at the people waiting on him. "Before I begin, I'm going to apologize. I do not usually do any public speaking. This is not my area at all. In fact, doing this scares the crap out of me but Radek was busy with a problem and the military guys said it's my job." He started the slideshow he and Radek had created. "All right, how many of you know why we're here?" Everyone raised their hands. He grinned.
"Thank you. I am Xander Harris. I am the geek-to-military liaison on Nila, the city we're here talking about, and her docking station. For you guys, it's all about the docking station. The city is for the project that holds us safe." A few nodded at that. He got into the slideshow. Evan had added some music that he turned down. "Sorry, Evan put on the music."
He pointed. "This is Nila and her docking station." He changed slides. "This is a better view of the docking station from the atoll's side. We have Nila parked right next to a small atoll. Right now, I have a good garden I nagged the botanists into planting. We also have some odd plants there that a huffy botanist threw when she wasn't feeling special enough."
One woman raised her hand. "Strange?"
Xander smiled and got into the picture files on his computer, pulling up some. "This is...." He looked. "Dark green so it's Pubert. He's on the base but two of my plants mated to create him. He's got his daddy's teeth." He grinned.
"Um, sir, is that like a Venus Flytrap?" one guy in the back asked.
"Something like that. His momma's a tentacle vine with suckers on them. She's a maneater," he said with a smile. "His daddy's got a bulb like him and he'll eat everything but graphite most of the time. I've used him to sharpen pencils in the past when no one was conveniently offering him fingers. He *really* likes fingers." He flipped pictures. "This is his older sibling Pugsley. I have him and Wednesday on the city in Botany. Their parents are planted in my garden. They came from the same place the city was."
He flipped pictures. "This is one we ran into on the original place." He beamed. "Notice the people standing next to it?" They all stared, a few looking scared. He turned that off and went back to the slide show. "For reference, I'm the head linguist on Nila, plus I temp in Botany and sometimes help Radek in physics. Nila was originally a prototype city. The people who built her used her to figure out the building methods they wanted to use for a bigger city. So far we've had to do some wire fixing when they weren't strong enough for the draw we use." He smiled.
"Nila's now fixed very well and most of the labs that had problems are also permanently fixed. Radek's using this time to finish repairing the temporary fixes that we found." A few shuddered. "There's no risk of sinking for the docking station. The people who built it for us did a *very* good job." He grinned. He flipped back to the slideshow and found the slide he wanted. "These are the labs we have. Any of you who're geneticists, yours is going on top of the medical center that's being built last. Nila had a few structural issues that had to be fixed first and they had to finish the docking station."
The same woman raised her hand. "Why would geneticists need their own lab, Mr. Harris?"
"Because the people who built Nila coded some things to a certain genetic sequence that only one percent of humanity has." Her mouth flopped open. "They're finding a way around it for those who don't have it. We do have work-arounds for most everything and those that we don't, there's someone in each lab that does have the sequence." He smiled. "I have it, a few others have it. They'll be working on a better work-around and how to make it more applicable."
He shifted, looking at his new minions. "It's not hard work but things are different than what you've been exposed to so far. That's why so many of us had a sudden bout of publishing recently." He grinned and flipped the slide. "Our organization chart. In charge of the whole thing is Colonel Cam Mitchel. He's a nice guy, a great guy. A bit sarcastic now and then but still pretty decent. He's used to working with us geeks. The military guys protecting the city and docking station are all from the same project he's from.
"On that side, the military is run by Major Evan Lorne. They're basically there for our protection. We've only had one group that thought they should have the city. We've stopped a few groups that thought they should destroy the new information on the city but we don't have to worry about them. On the docking station side, we have Doctor Radek Zelenka. He's the head of science for us and the secondary head of science for the part of the project that covers us. His technical boss shows up now and then when we need major fixing, like we did with the wires. That would be Doctor Rodney McKay." A few shuddered and he smiled. "Rodney's still loud but we all work very well together."
One of the other women raised her hand. "How much fixing needs done, Mr. Harris?"
"First, call me Xander. I hear it yelled alllll day long whenever something goes on. As for wiring problems in the labs? We've got everything working but the city itself is about a century beyond where science is at this moment." They all gave him an odd look. He pulled something out of his pocket. "Nila?" Atlantis showed up. "What's going on with Nila? Um, this is a different AI that we sometimes see on Nila."
"Xander, the scientists in my labs are not being nice," she told him. "They need you to come scare them."
"I can do that after this, dear." He smiled. "These are the new scientists working on Nila's labs."
She smiled at them and bowed. "I hope you get as wonderfully frustrated and excited as mine do."
"I'm sure they will," he agreed. "It'll be a few hours."
"Of course, Xander." She disappeared.
Botany appeared. "Xander, that mean botanist is back."
Xander called Radek's phone. "Botany is here saying that wench is back?" He listened to Radek swear and go fix that. He grinned at her. "Radek's going to look for her, Botany. Guys, this is the other independent AI on the docking station. This is Botany." A few waved weakly. She beamed and bowed. "I think three of these are going to be yours."
"Wonderful! I'm sure they'll have a lot of fun with the plants that got thrown onto the atoll." She faded out.
Nila showed up with a huff. "I want that wench gone, Xander."
"I know, Nila. Radek's going for her."
"Good! That Carter woman is not nice!"
"Oh, it's that wench. Well, Radek can pretend to be Rodney and drive her off." She beamed. "Or bring her here. She can help me talk to these nice scientists who're going to be on your docking station soon."
She squealed, clapped like a schoolgirl, and beamed at them. "I'm very pleased to meet you." She bowed and a few bowed back. "I hope you all are going to have much fun in my labs." She beamed at Xander. "Do you think I should?"
"Make sure Radek agrees." She nodded and disappearing. "That was Nila. She's the city's independent AI. She was alone for a very long time," he told them, looking serious. "She's getting used to new people but she's very friendly and she will show up on the docking station to talk if you want to. I do have to tell you to be polite because she can throw you off the docking station and into the water. She has had problems with female scientists in the past because her main designer and creator's wife cheated on her husband on her decks often." That got a few nods. "She's a very intelligent, caring, sentient AI. I was one of the first to find her and we've talked all this time. Anyone who disrespects her, she has my permission to throw off the city or docking station." They all nodded at that. He smiled. "She's very friendly though."
"She's fully sentient?" one man asked.
"Yes. Fully aware, passed the Turing test a few times. Has an IQ of about 160." The man gaped. He smiled. "The first one you saw has the same qualities. Botany's been out a bit shorter amount of time. She's still getting used to modern life and modern people. She's also very nice and very concerned about her plants." He grinned. "Botany's a real sweetie. She and Nila are very happy to hang out together.
"They were watching movies over the chemists' shoulders the other night during their movie night. They had no idea why Rocky Horror was that way and asked a lot of questions to Radek the next morning that made him confused until *he* went to watch it so he knew. Then I got to explain it to all three." That got a few giggles. "So, anyway," he said with another smile. "Welcome to our wonderfully frustrating lab. Anyone have any serious questions?"
One man raised his hand. "A few of us are social scientists. What do we have waiting on us?"
Xander started a video he had copied from Atlantis' memory. "This is the last child born from the people who made Nila." He let it run. "She was wandering down the labs being cute." He could tell the social scientists. They were staring in awe. He grinned at that man. "There's a lot of those. Their records are in another language that I've been working on translating. All three of the AI's speak that language, and so do I, so we've been working on their English over the last few years."
"I heard about a paper on a language someone was calling Ancient," one woman said from the back.
"I did that one," he admitted. "That was part of the major paper push before we let scientists outside the project onto the city. That way people would know and be able to work up from there." He smirked. "We've got most of it translated. Now and then we find a few new records and things like personal journals."
"Wow," that woman said. "There's a lot of those?"
"Some personal journals, other things that we've seen. There's a lot of tape of her because the first AI loved to watch her grow up." He leaned on the lectern. "The personal journals range from diaries to construction notes to technical notes. I've gotten about eighty percent of the personal, non-technical notes done. A few of my linguists are working on the more technical ones. Some of those words are a bit different so they're going slower. We're having to work with Rodney on those." That got a few nods.
One man stood up. "I noticed you're not a doctor."
"No, I learned languages in the field. I learned botany the same way. Technically I'm horrible at school-based learning. I learn better by doing instead. A few of them I got dropped in among them and had to learn or else I couldn't ask where the bathrooms were." A few women giggled at that. "I speak and read a lot of languages. I read at least 30." A few nodded at that. "Speak most of them." He grinned. "That paper I had help from one of the top social scientists on the project to straighten it into academic language."
"The others?" he asked. "Doctors mostly?"
"We have an international crew of doctors who work in every single lab. Radek is Czech. Rodney is Canadian. The botanists I know really well are two Americans and one Russian. Physics is Radek and three others, two Brits and one American. I work in those labs most of the time. The others I'm on casual status with and getting to know more. Especially the days we have to geek wrangle. Too many of our people get involved and forget to do things like eat, take breaks.... go to bed." That got a few nods as well. Apparently they knew that state.
He flipped the slides. "This is the inside of engineering," he said. "This machine," he said with a point. "Is still being fixed so it works. We have no idea what it does so far." A few moaned. "The one next to it is broken on purpose because it draws a lot of power to make little tiny seed crystals. A lot of the tech runs on turning crystals, nav crystals, those sort of things. Unfortunately it takes about a nuclear power plant hooked directly to it to make a day's output of new crystals that then have to grow and be turned into the new ones we might need."
One woman moaned. He flipped a picture. "Doctor McKay recently released a paper on this subject, a Zero Point Power Module." She whimpered. "This is what the one that is on the city, which runs the city, looks like." He looked at her. "Those of you in that field will get a chance to talk to him about those. He'll see what we can do about getting people near them to look them over. He's been working on this for a few years and nearly managed to make one. Unfortunately the system went wrong and destroyed the lab and a lot of other real estate."
That woman shuddered. "Exactly." He smiled at the rest. "We do everything we can to minimize anything that might go wrong. Every month we do disaster drills, evacuation drills, all that. Your first week on the docking station will be those actually. I help run them with Evan. I ran them before for everyone. They used to be more like boot camp." He grinned. "We've loosened up some." That got a few nods. "Now, there are a few things. Our medical facilities are presently airlifting people for about three more months. If you have constant medical needs, like diabetes or seizures, you may want to come in the second wave. We'd hate to have that happen but we don't want to have anyone unsafe working conditions."
"Why is it being built last?" the woman up front asked.
"Because we had to finish stabilizing Nila where the multiple construction techniques made problems. Like the wiring issue we had. We spent two days doing emergency wiring twenty-two hours at a time." She shuddered. "Otherwise she would've sank again. Not the docking bay but the city itself. The docking station got built first for the labs that were spread around in various countries. That had to come first and the medical situation we could handle until we could get it built. We have ways of getting people to medical care within minutes so that wasn't a priority."
"Are they starting on it?"
"It's roughed out but not more than framing walls." Nila reappeared. "She got thrown off?"
"She was captured and given to Evan so she could be beaten." She smiled. "Do I need more fixing?"
"I believe that your structures are sound and they're only fixing that one viewport window, and then they're going to concentrate on medical. Why?"
"The President is looking over my insides saying it's very bare."
He rolled his eyes. "He's an asshole," he told her, making her giggle. "You can quote me that you're beautiful and the places that the bare structure shows are impressive and reason for engineers to want to stare and take notes."
"Thank you. I'll tell him you said that." She disappeared.
Xander smiled. "Higher ups are sometimes idiots," he told them. They all nodded at that. "I don't play politics and I hate attention from the higher ups. I tend to get mean when I get it." He flipped slides, showing another video. "Ah! The tea celebration. This is how they relaxed in the lanar, which I have rebuilt and repopulated with things." He let them watch it. The social scientists were engrossed. The others were staring oddly. "This is what they did when they were stressed and wanted relaxation. Sometimes at home at night after work. The lanars are social places. Meant to sit, talk, relax, all that."
One man in the back raised his hands. "Accommodations?"
"There are some. They're tiny because they're meant to be temporary. After the med center they swear that we're getting bigger quarters. So about three, four months after that. Until then we have small rooms that have full sized beds, an individual bathroom with a shower stall, toilet, sink, and towel bar. A small wardrobe." He grinned. "It's getting better. There's sixty open rooms. They swear up and down that the new ones will at least meet military standards for a single apartment." That got a few laughs.
"The present ones are decent but tiny. I won't lie about that. The caf is great. We get fresh food shipments every two weeks and the garden is very good. We can get enough out of it to feed everyone for a week if we have to. There'd be more room but that one huffy botanist that had to be captured earlier threw a bunch of dangerous samples on the atoll. The garden takes up a third of it, the dangerous things a bit more. The other three/fifths is used for the weekend parties, those things. The construction guys have one every Friday night and we're invited out if we want to go. They're fairly nice guys. A few are a bit rough but mostly nice guys. Radek makes hooch so it's always a loud party."
"Where was Nila before?" the man in the corner asked.
Xander smiled. "Unfortunately that part of the project is still classified."
"We know Nila can fly," he said.
"Yes, she can. You saw that during that problem in LA."
"That wasn't the same city. That one was bigger."
Xander smiled. "That's classified as well."
"Oh." He nodded. "So there is one that they built after her?"
"Still classified, dude. Sorry. For that, join the program instead of the labs on the docking bay."
"Fine." He smiled. "Publishing rights?"
He found that file and opened it. "Oops, not that one. That's Radek's rules for the blatantly stupid." He found the right one and opened it to show them. "We search it for classified information we don't think people are ready for yet. Otherwise, you're going to be dealing with things that are literally years ahead of where current science is. Some things people aren't ready to hear yet. We're working on moving people toward that. That's part of what you're here for." They all smiled, understanding that. "Beyond that, you all have good clearances, good histories, all that stuff that got you invited." He leaned on the lectern again, looking over at a twinkling. "Hey, Armand. Tired of playing with Harry?" Armand roared and pounced him, getting cuddled and petted back. "This is my baby."
"What is it?" one woman asked, getting up to come closer.
"This is Armand. I call him my baby dragon." He grinned, letting Armand stare at her. "Introduce yourself. He's very smart. He knows good people from bad people. He has his favorites that he begs too. Exobiology has seen him a number of times. They all love him and some botanists love him because he craps on plants that they want to grow." He looked at what he had and let him eat a pencil, getting a look. "You're not going to have the tummy troubles soon so you can have some wood now. It's a special treat." He grinned at her. "He can eat nearly anything but sometimes when he eats wood it'll upset his stomach."
"Oh, my." She petted him. "I'm Doctor Sarth." He snuffled her and let her pet him. "You're adorable."
"You should see Mira. Her daddy is Doctor McKay." He grinned. "She's got wings and a bit of deer-like fur."
"Wonderful." She beamed. "We have x-rays and things?"
"Yup, they took full CT's and all that to see what he was."
"Excellent. Hopefully I'll get to look them over." She sat down again. "Where is he from?"
Xander smiled. "Someplace you'll probably never end up because I ended up there by accident." She giggled. "Seriously." He petted him, letting him sniff the computer. "I know that's Radek's. Mine's broken again," he told the dragon. "Any other questions?" No one said anything. "Then I look forward to geek wrangling you guys for a while." He beamed and turned off the computer, putting it back in his bag. "We'll see you soon." Cam walked in. "Ah! Our beloved head, Cam."
"Thanks, Xander. We're bringing them over tonight."
"Cool!" He beamed at Armand then at Cam. "I'll warn the caf if you haven't."
"I have. They put out more coffee too. By the way, that botanist? Don't worry. She's pouting in a closet until Sheppard comes to get her. He's being held up yelling for the other AI."
"Even better. Means I don't have to beat her ass for trying to destroy my plants." He smirked at them. "The city is much like a family. We hope to adopt you guys too." A few smiled at that. "I'll see you guys later. Let me and Armand head back now." He walked out and got beamed to the main base. "Yes, General?" he asked since they were waiting on him.
"You brought your pet?" he asked.
"No, Nila sent him to me a few minutes ago."
"Ah. Anything go wrong?"
"One asked some classified questions and I told him that. He realized it wasn't Nila at the invasion. I told him to join the project if he wanted those answers."
"That's fine." He petted the dragon on the head. "You have a list of begs in your inbox." Xander put Armand on his shoulder and got into it from his phone. Teal'c, who was in the room, petted Armand for him. Xander grinned at him for that. "Most of those are base capable?"
"No. Not hardly. Unless we can get daisies for someone's birthday?"
"No," the general complained. "But we're presently confined to base by Presidential order."
"I told Nila to tell him that the exposed beams were beautiful."
"She did. He freaked out."
Xander snickered. "Yay him?" He shrugged. "Politicians aren't my forte and I have no patience with them, General." He looked at Teal'c, and Vala, then at him. "He's going to try something NID-ish?"
"I'll make sure they can hide."
"They can go to Atlantis."
Xander snorted. "He knows it's there too, Landry. Hell, Buffy could use a new shopping buddy and someone she can spar with."
Landry smirked. "Even better suggestion. They'd both fit in very well there."
Xander nodded. "Let me blip off for this stuff. I'll be right back." He looked at Armand, then handed Teal'c his backpack before heading out. He came back twenty minutes later with a few bags and to guards with guns. "Put it down before I make you fuck it," he told one, who flinched and moved away from him. "Okay, General, all those errands for my geeks and military boys are done with. Let me head back."
"Freeze," one said. "That is an alien being."
"No, Armand isn't."
"Yes, sir, he is."
Xander punched him. "No, he's not." He looked at the other two. "I'm now Canadian and if you touch me I'm going to throw such a fit with higher weapons you'll wish for the sight of hell coming out to eat your ass," he told them. "I don't play nicely and anyone who threatens my family gets it." They backed off. He saw the president behind them. "Including you!"
"I heard about you, Mr. Harris."
Xander smirked. "Does that mean I need to find hell week photos of you as well?"
"Please don't," he said with a wince. "Though I was never that stupid."
"Pity." He stared at him. "Anything else you want to know?"
"These two are our enemies...." he started.
"No, they were our enemies and came to us to help us. If you can't see the benefits of that, clearly you've never even played D&D."
"You don't salute?" he said snidely.
"I'm not military." He smirked. "I'm under contract and I only swear allegiance to the good of the world. Not the leaders that fuck things up." Landry moaned. "By the way, I'm not the nice fairy." He handed Teal'c the bags and Vala Armand, making her coo and pet him. "Thank you." He grabbed them and took them to Nila to drop things off, and then to Buffy. "Here, guard them. NID-like weenies want them. Teal'c is a massive warrior, trained for over a century. Vala is a shopping buddy," he said bluntly. He went back to the mountain alone. "There." He smiled. "Now there's no conflict."
"Son, that could be seen as treason," the president said.
"I can open the hellmouth and let it eat everyone in this country," he countered. The man flinched and backed away from him. "I can do it from Mars. Hell, I could've opened it from Pegasus. So I don't really care about your petty politics, your irrational fears, or anything like it. Because I've dated a Roman Emperor and he was more than you'll ever be."
"How?" he asked weakly. Xander just smirked. "Oh, time travel?"
"Unwilling time travel."
"Xander has always been very good about keeping the timeline intact, sir," Landry said, shooting him a glare. "Calm down."
"Let him leave me alone," Xander shot back. "And Teal'c and Vala and all our other people." He shrugged. "You aren't going to learn anything new from them since I'm sure we debriefed them horribly when they showed up."
"They were," Landry agreed. "You've also added to our knowledge of where the Ori started." Xander nodded. The president whimpered. "He's traveled extensively, sir. We like Xander for that and how he helps us, plus how he solves some problems. He's never given us any problems outside of a few times when he lost his temper and went into a battle rage."
The president stared at him. "That was you?"
"Yeah." He nodded, sitting down casually. The guns got pointed at him so he banished them to the armory. The phone rang and Landry groaned. "That's the armory master," he said dryly. He looked at the president again. "Any other questions? I'm being polite today."
"You're an ass, Harris."
"Yeah, I'm often an ass when I'm threatened." He stared at him. "You find many combat veterans are an ass when they're threatened." The president shuddered. "I can always quit and move to Canada or Wales. Work with Torchwood. Or hell, set up a research network."
"You were born American," he said, sneering.
"Yes, and then the last president pissed me off so much that I switched. Blackmail got heavy," he told the soldiers, who backed away another step. "You're going to run into the bookcase, kid," he told one.
"I'm older than you, Mr. Harris."
"I'm over seventy centuries old, kid. Shut up and have someone change your diaper." He looked at the president again, who was pale. "Anything else we have to discuss today?" He pasted on his 'I'm listening' look. "Because if not, I have a botanist who showed back up for some reason that I have to beat the hell out of. I have to make sure the new geeks coming get put into the adaptation classes that they need for working on Nila's labs. Then I have to spoil my family."
"Mr. Harris, you've threatened the President of the United States," he said bluntly. "You won't be going back to Nila or anywhere."
Xander snickered. "Did you think I got beamed then?" The president went pale. "Maybe you should talk to your predecessor, sir. There were a few times he got to have the talk he wanted over the phone in person." The man shuddered and backed away, tripping over a chair. He looked at Landry. "Did we actually vote him into office?"
"The Supreme Court said he won."
"The VP is worse," he said quietly.
"Extra pity." He stared at him. "You hindering us doing our job means that we lose when the Ori show up, Mr. President. Did you want to bow down to a fanatical religion that thinks it's okay to burn whole cities that won't convert?" The man shook his head. "Then perhaps we should check for an infection. Or an infestation." The man's eyes lit up and he rushed Xander. Xander kicked him back and then knocked him out.
He looked at the soldiers. Their eyes lit and they tried to move. "Do not fuck with Tias Diamalan." They backed away looking scared. "I'm not the being to fuck with." The gou'ald on the ground whimpered, staring at him. He stared back. "Yeah, I dated SiSi. Yay me. He was better in that incarnation. I still kicked his ass when he showed back up. So, let me guess, Trust agents?" They all moaned. "Landry?"
"Let me get the doctors down here to remove those. Hold them only, Harris." He made that call.
Xander stared at them. "So what was the big idea since the major Gou'ald Empires are now dust?"
"We can claim this planet and make our own," the president said, standing up. "Ones such as you cannot stop us. The traitor and the alien wench will be useful."
"You know, I could be mean and put an Ori priest among you guys." They all glared. "That way you take out each other. Saves me work after all." The medical team rushed in. "They're not real old," he told them. "Or real bright." The doctor glared at him. He stared back. "I don't care what sort of asshole he is and what position he holds. I didn't vote for the man. No one I know voted for him."
"Enough," Landry ordered. "Get them free asap." The medical team walked them off with the guards. "Harris, he is our leader."
"No, he's your leader. I'm Canadian and if the PM up there is snaked, I'd be the same way."
"You knew when?" he demanded.
"When he was staring at Vala like she was tasty. I recognized the look very well." He settled into his seat. "Armand is safely grunting at Radek since he was eating."
"Thank you. I did warn Sheppard and McKay that he wasn't happy about things."
"Sir, to be honest, I don't care who's not happy about anything except those in my family. The higher ups just make me want to puke or retaliate most of the time."
"Have we talked about anger management for you yet?" Landry asked sarcastically.
Xander smirked. "Make them leave me alone. Then the problem's solved."
"Can you really open the hellmouth?"
"All the way from up there?"
"Definitely." The man swallowed. Xander smirked. "Aren't you glad I'm not the evil me?"
"Yes, I am," he decided. "Hopefully we never see the evil you."
"Well, there is that alternate universe where I was turned," he offered dryly, making the general shudder. "But I'm told I got staked."
"Thank you for letting me know that."
Xander smirked. "Though that's probably not the only alternate me out there. Who knows what sort of alternate mes there are." He grinned as the President stomped back in. "No, he's safe," he told Landry when he stiffened. "No snakiness about him now."
"Harris," the president said, staring at him. "You came damn close to insubordination."
"Still not military."
"Whatever. You could be tossed in jail for that."
"Then I have a home world I can go live on," he said dryly. "As I proved before." The man shuddered. "Thankfully, sir, I'm not American so I'm not your problem."
"Good point. Why?"
"The last idiot in your job tried to blackmail me into his camp idol." He smirked. "He wanted me to take press attention and get notoriety and do press conferences to make him look good. I hate press attention, I hate medals, I hate all that. He couldn't see that though. Even after I got rid of that one senator using his mistress."
The president squeaked. "That was you!"
Xander nodded. "Were they leftover Trust snakes or other snakes, sir?"
"Trust. How did you know?"
Xander stood up. "That was me too." The president flinched. Xander stared. "I'm a problem solver. Right now, my problems are my geeks on Nila. Any other problems I have to solve I'll consider and deal with as I see best for the world at large. I have a slightly higher calling thanks to my service in Sunnydale."
"I can see that," he said, calming himself down. "You scared the crap out of that snake."
Xander nodded. "You should see the Priors." He shrugged then grinned. "They started it though."
"That's fine. I won't be starting it or anything else, Harris."
"Thank you, sir." He beamed. "I like that idea."
"Were your parents in service?"
"No, my parents only serve the bottle."
"Oh," he said flatly. "So you're .... why did you jump in?"
"Friends got taken and eaten." The two guards came back in. He shrugged and grinned at them. "Feel better, guys?"
"Much, sir," one said. "Mr. President, are you all right?"
"Yes, now that I'm rational I'm much better." He looked at Harris. "You knew."
"I recognized the look you gave Vala. I've seen it on a few ex's in the past."
"Oh," he said with another shudder. "A Roman emperor?"
"Yeah." The man stared at him oddly. "I ended up back then and he thought I was pretty." He shrugged. "Not the first on that trip I took."
The president moaned, shaking his head. "I don't want to know."
"Frankly, sir, you don't need to know. So therefore you won't."
"Even better," he said. "Go back to Nila and rescue them from wherever you put them."
"Buffy needed some encouragement. She's feeling old." The president gave him an odd look. "She got called at fifteen."
"Ooh," one guard winced. "The tiny blonde girl at the invasion?" Xander nodded. "Poor woman." He shook his head. Xander nodded and disappeared with a wave at Landry. "Sir, is he dangerous?"
"Only if you piss him off," Landry assured him. "Sir, we do need to find out what the snakes knew and might have passed on."
"Of course." He sat down and let Landry debrief him. "Do you like O'Neill?"
"Yes, sir. Jack used to run SG-1 under Hammond." The man shuddered. "I take it you saw those files?" he asked dryly, smiling some.
"He saved this world a lot of times, sir. We like him for that much even when I can't stand his sense of humor or the Simpsons."
"That's fine. Then I'll leave him where he is. What are you going to do about this semi-leak of classified materials you had?"
"Sir, they didn't leave Xander alone either and that's how that leak happened. Members of the Watchers Council went looking and found it then leaked it from their person on the IOA board." The president nodded. "We don't like the Council at all for the way they treat their warriors. We hate them for how they treat the girls actually."
"Two?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. Two. The other is on Atlantis."
"Oh, I see. Good." He nodded. "Probably helpful from what I learned about the wraith. I heard Summers had a sister?"
"She's with Torchwood."
"Even better. I heard they're gay."
"Yes, so is Xander."
He nodded. "Does that cause your people problems?"
"Sir, when you've met alien cultures, you're not going to be homophobic and we don't allow people like that on our project because they cause problems on diplomatic missions," he said bluntly. "Frankly, since we're an international project, DADT regs only apply to a quarter of our staff. Most of my colonels won't take a complaint even if someone makes one and the one that will is uptight and by the book, but gets the job done most of the time."
The president considered it. "You think this project should be exempt?"
"Yes, sir. We've seen cultures that are nudists, that age their whole lives within a day, that have polyamorous and polygamous marriages, that don't have a formal marriage, that accept gay and lesbians. We have staff from many countries that don't care as long as it's not a child. Frankly, I don't care as long as it's not a child. Xander is dating one of the scientists from another country and he's not covered because he's not military, now is Canadian, and could care less."
"I hadn't thought about the multi-national nature of your project, General Landry. How do you handle it when they have problems?"
"A few have more problems with their egos than anything. Most of them don't get huffy. If we have a problem scientist we often deal with them and then send them home after making sure they can't bring classified information. That's how most of the science leaks of alien tech happen. They might not be able to bring anything home but we can't block memories."
"I see." He considered it. "Would you think that outing the project is going to be better?"
"Someday soon. Right now, we're getting other scientists used to the idea of higher levels than they knew before. Within a year we can open that can of worms farther."
"Huh. I'll think about that." He shifted in his seat. "What about funding? This is a very expensive program."
"Actually, sir, we halfway fund ourselves at the moment. Now, building new ships is expensive but that comes out of the military budget. So do most of our expenses since we are technically a military project."
"Good point." He thought. "UNIT wouldn't take over?"
"No, sir, we work well with UNIT. O'Neill and Harris made sure of it. They both have contacts over there so when something happens we can merge and work alongside them. The same as Harris has contacts at Torchwood if we need to work beside them."
"Do other countries have their own versions?" one of the guards asked.
"I think Spain is trying," Landry told him. "They can't get anyone to agree on anything. The French as well. Russia actually had a gate at one point in time, but that was relatively soon after the Wall fell so they're mired at the moment. Britain would like to form their own group that wasn't Torchwood, more military based. They can't seem to get things together at the moment either."
"So we'd need to share information with them," the president said. Landry nodded. "Would we share science and tech plans?"
"We'd share ship plans," he offered. "Science is being leaked out at an acceptable, spoon-fed rate so people realize that there's higher out there and we've been hoarding it. Actually, one botany finding being released could fund us forever." He accessed the files and let him see them. "That happened on Atlantis. Twice thanks to the last president."
He read it over, snickering. "They were overcome?"
"For four days, sir."
"Do we have any plants left?"
"Yes, sir, seventeen baby plants in stasis here and another two at Harris' greenhouse in Wales."
"He has a greenhouse in Wales?"
"Miss Summers' sister watches over it for him."
"Ah." He nodded once at that. "Selling that plant would help the drug makers."
"According to the plant's files, the leaves make an acceptable pain killer if brewed down far enough. Too far and it's addictive but it would be about aleeve strength. The roots are edible certain times of the year, and the spores... well, they're meant to make people breed."
"So, possibly a fertility treatment, or another version of viagra," he decided. Landry nodded. "Huh. I'll think about that."
"We have some other hybrid vegetables that we were going to release as well. They kept Atlantis fed for years, sir."
"Even better. They might like that." He stood up.
"Oh, that's right." He sat down again and let Landry ask more pressing questions. They really had to finish the mop-up on that situation. The president would assign some people to help them since the military couldn't really arrest people.
Xander showed back up, staring at everyone. "Okay, the president doesn't like me and decided leaving me alone is great," he told Cam, who groaned and shook his head. "Teal'c was *real* stiff next to him by the way." Cam stared at him, one eye twitching. "Fixed." Cam relaxed. "Buffy has Teal'c and Vala." Cam went to call her to make sure she knew she had to give them back. He went to check on things, finding Evan running the first few drill lessons. "Did we get rooms assigned and all that?" he asked him.
"We did," he agreed, smiling and handing over Armand. "He's making new begging slaves."
He looked at his dragon. "Keep it up and you can't go tease Ianto with petting you this weekend." He walked off. "I'm going to my office."
Evan smiled at the scientists. "We're fairly informal around here." They snickered. He got back to showing them how to do what in case of natural disasters like really bad storms. At least he didn't have to teach this group of geeks how to shoot. He'd calm Xander down later.
Cam came back from the main base's meeting, glaring at Xander. "You mouthed off how much?"
"In proportion to the crap he was spouting." He stuffed his mouth. "The same as I did the last one." He ate another bite. "Why?" he asked once he swallowed since he was still being glared at.
"The man hates you."
"Good! Then he won't try to use my ass."
"Good point," Cam admitted, seeing it from that side. "Unlike the last guy." Xander nodded. "Fine. Write an apology letter for being such an ass. Landry said so." Xander muttered but nodded. "Thank you. We made sure Buffy gave them back already. She pouted but wanted Teal'c and Vala to come back someday soon." He sat down across from the group. "You scared the hell out of him," he said quietly.
"Good. Me looking weak means he might try something again."
"Good point," he sighed. "I had forgotten about that too. Most of the time I look at you like you're normal."
"I am normal," he said, scowling a little bit.
"Most of the time," Cam said. "Sometimes you're exceptional. That's when you get scary." He stared him down. "Back down from the Tias Diamalan point, Xander." He nodded, slumping some. "Thank you. It was good work. Landry agreed with that. They even set out a timetable for getting us more in the open." Xander smiled and nodded. "Now, how are your new geeks?"
"Complaining about the room sizes."
"We all do," Cam agreed. "Speaking of, I'm bumming your massive tub at home later. My back's kinked."
"I can do a mean massage."
"I might let you after I soak." He smirked. He looked back at the feeling of something climbing up him. "Hi, Mira." She nuzzled his ear and gave a petite roar. "Where's your daddy?" She nuzzled him again.
Radek's phone beeped. "Waiting on reports due yesterday." He refilled his tray and walked off to go to his office. He'd calm Xander down later.
Evan sat down with a sigh of relief. "They're all settled in, ready for Xander to geek wrangle in the morning."
"I'm going to be up all night with the new stuff that Atlantis found in her memory core." He ate another bite and looked at him. "You're pissed," he sighed.
"No. Upset that the higher ups think that you're a toy again."
"The president now hates him and is a bit scared," Cam told him.
Evan smirked. "Less chance of him being used then. Good."
"He has to write an apology letter."
"I'll draft it later while I'm working. We think it's technical specs for the engineers." Xander finished up and got another glass of soda on his way back from dropping his tray off. "Anything happen because of the cranky bitch earlier?"
"No, we caught her before she could do more than try to spike a tomato plant with lye," Evan assured him.
"Cool." He smiled. "I'll send over this one once I've got to decoded as much as I can. Anything else I need to do tonight, Cam?"
"Just write that letter, Xander."
He nodded, going to his office/lab area to work on that. His three linguists had a meeting room with a large table and a few blackboards. He really had to get them their own work space. Before someone needed the conference room.
Two days later, Xander grunted at whoever walked into his office. "What?" he said from behind the pencil between his teeth.
"You haven't bathed or eaten in two days," Cam told him. "Go eat. Take a nap."
"Three more words." He got back to it, groaning at what he was seeing. "I hate technical words." He wrote down what the root of the word was, what it meant, and what sort of ending it had. He'd pass that up to Daniel to see if he could decode those words. Cam hauled him up and walked him off, shoving him in the caf. "Ooh, food." He went to get some and sat down to inhale it, then yawned and wandered off to the portal to his house so he could sleep for a while.
Cam shook his head, gathering the papers up so he could send them to Jackson. "I don't think he realized it had been days, even after I told him."
"I've seen him in that state before," he admitted, smiling as he took them. He looked it over. "Hmm, some technical words I don't know either." He went to look them up in the other reports to see if anyone had decoded them. If not, maybe Rodney could write a decoding algorithm. He had in the past for another language. The rest of the notes were very nice and clearly not what Rodney was hoping for since it looked like construction notes for Atlantis. Nila appeared, reading over his shoulder. "Nila, do you know what these words mean?" he asked, pointing at them.
She hummed, a bad habit she had picked up off Radek. "That one is an element of metal." She highlighted it for him. "The next one is another type of metal so probably a metal blend." He nodded, making notes on that. She went over the rest of them with him. She smiled. "Did I help?"
"You helped a lot. Thank you." She beamed at him. "Is there a problem?" he asked since she didn't disappear.
"I'm bored. No one will come talk to me."
He nodded. "Xander's probably asleep." She nodded, smiling at that. "Well, there are the new scientists to talk to."
"Are they allowed on me?"
"Not technically but you can go talk to them in their labs or anywhere else on the docking area." She sniled and went to do that. He smiled and finished those notes, sending them to Rodney to see if they helped him any.
Buffy paced around her living room, cellphone to her ear. "Xander," she sighed when he answered. "I need you to come check something out. I think it's a you guys problem and my two replacement yous are acting all freaky and stuff." She listened. "No, some funky demons opened a really old temple out on the cliffs. Then suddenly all the guys are acting all freaky. Thank you!" She hung up after he promised he'd get dressed and be over in a few minutes. She didn't know how he was doing it but that was fine. Xander appeared in a small flash of light. "Magic?" she guessed.
"Yup." He stretched up and then twisted some. "Sorry, work induced nap." He looked around. "Just us?"
"Even Giles is acting freaky and Mom's asleep."
"Cool, let's go." Dawn appeared, smiling happily. "Not a good time, Dawn. We're going to investigate something freaky."
"As opposed to the usual freaky?" she quipped. "Hell, I'm trained for the field." She checked her outfit, then Buffy's. A change into sneakers and they left together. "Xander, are the witches acting funny around you too?" she asked.
"Nope. Though I don't hang with them really. None have shown up at the house when I'm there. I think Nycom threw a fit about the fussing and bitching some were doing." He grinned. "You're welcome to come over you know."
"I know but we've been uber busy. Again." She shook her head. "I don't know why but it sucks badly. I haven't even gotten to have sex recently."
Buffy looked at her. "I never get that much even with a boyfriend around."
Xander smirked. "No comment." The girls groaned. "How far out do the funny reactions go?"
"They usually happen if any guy walks by the music stores. Definitely by the lingerie store and the whole college is full of males in drool mode over someone but I can't find out who. It's like the other women don't really exist to them."
Xander looked at her. "Why didn't your guys call it in?"
"Because they're out at the college drooling with them."
He and Dawn shared a look. "We know what this is." Dawn nodded. "Call Sam Carter?"
"Gladly," she quipped, dialing as they hiked. "Hi, Sam, Dawn. No, major problem that can't wait. No, not girl problem. We're in Sunnydale and we have a whole lot of men acting really weird over a few women. Yeah, like one of them," she said dryly. She snapped her fingers and pointed. "Xander?"
He looked at the two guys staring at them. They were the SG guys that had replaced him. "Hi, guys."
"She will not see you," one told him. "She has told us this."
Xander stared at him. "Guys, do you know that I dated one of them? I'm going to visit my ex's friend for him." They were so stunned by the pheromones that their minds weren't working so they nodded and left them alone. He took the phone. "Sam, Xander. Yeah, it's them. Clearly. The two that got sent to replace me were gotten." He listened. "Cliffs. Yeah, there. Buffy's with us." He hung up. "So," he told Dawn. "How's Owen?"
"Good. Too busy for our own good but good. For some reason the rift has been really busy."
Buffy nodded. "So have we and it's the wrong time of the year."
"I'll take a magical reading, see if anything's going on," Xander promised them. They both smiled at him. He snapped his fingers, dialing someone. "John, I need Faith in Sunnydale now, and no male escorts. Because we've got queens." He hung up. Atlantis would send her to him directly. The cliffs were about a mile off so they could make it there in time. Faith got there before they could start the climb down one of the cliffs to the temple. "Hey."
"John told me," she said, pulling back her hair. "This is totally sucktastic since it's my night off."
Xander grinned. "Buffy and Dawn have both said that their dimensional rifts are overactive again."
"Yay," she said flatly. "We'll see if I can go help D with hers since Buffy's going to have you."
"I'm going to read both areas to see," he told her. They got down the cliffs and found the temple easily enough. Inside were three handmaidens taking care of a new queen. She had to be new, they had graduated with her. Xander looked at the girls, who backed him up. He walked forward.
The queen looked up. "Xander," she purred in her gou'ald voice. "It has been a long time since any of us have seen you."
"Not really. I shot SiSi a few months back," he said dryly. He stared at her. "This is totally going to suck but you're on a dimensional rift. Do you know what sort of problems you can cause?"
She got up and walked down there. "There are many things to learn from places such as these." She ran a hand over his cheek. "Why do you not worship me?"
He snorted. "Because I like my boyfriends?" She growled, glaring at him. He smirked and punched her. The handmaidens attacked but Buffy and Faith had them while Dawn guarded them and looked for other helpful things. "Don't touch the jars," he ordered. She attacked again and he dropped into fight mode. He was a bit light headed from the smarmy feelings she was putting out but oh well. He'd fought with worse. The plague came to mind.
He heard a jar break and looked. "Faith, watch the snake unless you want to end up like her." She stomped on the thing's head and it died. Xander kicked her back against the altar and she shrieked in anger, rushing forward again to claw him. He sighed, grabbing her and twisting her neck until she was unconscious without breaking it. He heard another jar break and looked. Dawn had one thrown at her. The snake was on her. Then suddenly she glowed and the snake shrieked in pain and died. "Huh," he said. "Don't tell anyone about that."
"I'm not." They helped get Buffy knock out the freak of nature. Faith had gotten the other one down. Then they all turned to look at the last handmaiden but she was shot by Sam Carter. "Hey," she said with a happy smile.
Buffy looked at her. "How do we keep this freakiness from going on? Even my present boyfriend wanted her more than me."
"They put out pheromones," Sam said as she walked in, looking around. "The queen?" Xander pointed. "Nicely knocked out. Thank you, Xander."
She looked at him. "Why aren't you affected?"
"Not fully human, Sam," he reminded her dryly. "Mermaid taint, time travel...." She groaned, shaking her head. "While you're here, I need to take a reading on the hellmouth. Buffy said it's active for no reason."
She nodded. "Okay." She waved the team she had gathered. "Pack the jars for the base. Gather up things." Doctor Lam came in to look at the gou'ald since they could free them. "Carolyn?"
"They can be saved," she promised, standing up.
Xander pointed. "Unless they bred true, she's incredibly old. She looks just like the handmaiden to Athena that was visiting when I was dating SiSi."
"Okay, we'll keep her captive for now," Sam decided. "Maybe she was in stasis." She looked around with Dawn's help. "How's Torchwood doing?" she asked as they looked.
"Annoyingly busy, like here."
"Going there after I take that reading," he assured her. "Then I'll come back and make a report." He helped the doctor tie up and gather the beings. He looked at Buffy then up, starting a gentle rainstorm outside. "That should help wash away some of the pheromone stink in the air. People might get a bit funky but that's all." She smiled and nodded.
Dawn's cellphone rang. "What's up?" She listened. "No, Gwen, I'm in Sunnydale helping with a major issue out here with Xander and my sister. I can be back in about a half-hour unless it's an emergency. Well, tell Jack that for me then." The phone got handed over. "We had a queen gou'ald here, Jack. I'm helping them clean up since I popped back to bitch at my sister about how active we've been and to check on the hellmouth to see if it was over-reacting too." She nodded. "Half an hour. I'll bring Xander with me since he's here. Maybe Faith too if we need her." She hung up, shaking her head. "We haven't had a few hours of peace in weeks," she told Sam.
"Us either," Buffy sighed, looking at Faith. "Wanna stay for a few days?"
"Definitely." Buffy beamed and hugged her. "Hey! No mushy stuff!" She got free of the slayer octopus, earning a tired laugh. "C'mon. Ladies, we're going on patrol." They nodded. Sam grinned at her. "Be back soon." They left, finding the stairway down that led to the small beach then it was a short hike to the other, more normal beach. They ran into vampires on the way so it was about usual for Sunnydale.
Xander got them all back to the base and took Dawn back with him to the old high school. He sighed when he saw the new building. "Cute."
"Eww," Dawn complained. He shook his head. "They've got to have problems like yours did."
"Yeah, probably." He walked closer and the hellmouth nearly leapt to reach him. "Calm down," he complained, working on the closing spell. It wasn't open though. "One of the other realms is going critical mass," he sighed. Dawn stared at him. "This is bad. Let's see if we can guard the rift." They left together, going to the old Torchwood building, where the rift was. He concentrated. "Linked to the same spot." He worked the closing spell and it helped some. Then he did something, opening it for a second to relieve pressure then reclosing it. It went almost mute. They both sighed in relief. They turned to find Jack glaring. "There's a realm going critical mass."
"There," Dawn said with a point. "I can feel it better here than I can in Sunnydale."
Xander nodded. "Sunnydale's might explode. It's leaking from it. It's fully closed but that's going to cause a problem."
"How soon?" Jack demanded.
Xander shrugged. "Without going there, I don't know why it's going critical mass. If it's an explosion, could be within minutes. If it's a magic explosion it could be slowly echoing in waves. No clue yet."
"When can you know?" he asked.
"I need to get back to Sunnydale. I'm still in tune with it. Dawn can keep this one closed, Jack. You might have to let it open slightly to relieve some pressure." They shared a look. "Use the vials. They're a weavil weapon." He left, leaving her there.
"He did get the retrovirus weavil killer done?" she asked.
"Few weeks ago." They took new readings and went back to the new hub. "Xander figured it out. There's a realm on the other side of the Sunnydale rift that's going critical and pushing more energy all the other rifts' way. He's not sure how long but Dawn can keep us mostly closed."
"There's how many other rifts?" Gwen asked, looking a bit pale.
"Eight known hellmouths, probably three more that the watchers didn't know about. Rifts like ours are about ten total?" Dawn asked Jack.
"No, we have two here in town."
"Nine cities," Jack said. "Let me call Martha and warn UNIT. You guys figure out how to monitor the smaller rift in case of a surge." They nodded, getting together to figure that out while Dawn called Sam Carter. Jack gave her a look. "Who?"
"Oh. Good idea. They'd handle the US ones." He went to make that call in his office. This was not a good thing.
Xander reappeared, looking around before linking into the hellmouth again. He sensed the vampires around him and put up a shield, then delved a bit deeper to see if he could find the reason. Yeah, there it was. He sighed and released his searching, then turned to look at Spike and the two minions. He dusted them with a cutting spell and looked at him. "There's a realm going spastic thanks to a mega magical war."
"Figures," he snorted. "Solve it?"
"No, I can't. I can't get there. It's locked off." He called the phone the Doctor had. "It's Xander. I'm pre-reporting a major timeline and dimensional rift issue." He listened to his complaint. "Because one of the closed off realms is going to blow due to two god-like powered people having a fight. Sunnydale's closed and leaking majorly. The rifts in Cardiff are up too. We're going to have it backlashing." He listened to the instructions. "I can't do that, Doc. Because Sunnydale has people." He hung up and looked around. "Get Buffy. Meet me in an hour somewhere. Have her call to tell me where." He disappeared, landing in front of the higher authority he had. "Jack, we need help in Sunnydale."
Jack O'Neill flinched. "That bad?"
Xander put up an image model of what he saw. "This one has two Powers fighting. They've already destroyed theirs in a flash of fire and energy. It's working it's way toward us. It will open Sunnydale in a way we can't close. It'll also probably force some energy through the other hellmouths and rifts. Cardiff has been too active and they have two."
Jack nodded at that. "Okay. What do we need?"
"I need Sunnydale cleared until we know but I can't figure out when it'll go. It's not a standard progression. It's working both ways and we know this isn't my area."
"Get McKay, have him figure it out." Xander went to Atlantis to steal him from his lab, bringing him back. Xander expanded what he was seeing, including how strong things were. Rodney had been working on a way to monitor Sunnydale's radiation since some of that didn't get picked up on sensors. He sat down to work on that. Jack nodded at the eventual 'three days' answer he got later on. He got up and put on clothes instead of pajamas, letting the boy take him to the base with him and McKay. "Get the general up," he ordered when he appeared. Walter phoned immediately. "Where's Carter?"
"We had a queen renewing in Sunnydale," Xander said. "They should be back here somewhere."
"Why?" Jack complained, looking at him.
He shrugged. "No clue. She was inhabiting someone I graduated with so the denial problem will happen for her at least." General Landry showed up looking pissed off. McKay showed him what they had figured out. Carter groaned when she joined them. This was not going to be pretty.
Xander appeared back in Sunnydale at dawn. He saw the two tired, sore looking slayers. "We have two and a half days to clear the town for something that could sink it within three days to a month."
Buffy stared at him. "What?"
"That openness? It's another realm. Their Powers are battling."
"Shit," Faith said, staring at him.
"The early estimates Rodney worked up said three days from last night." They nodded. "Faith, appear in City Hall. They still live on the Mayor's words." She grimaced but nodded. "You're getting help," he told them, smiling slightly. "Jack was not happy to be gotten up. Tell Giles to tell the bitches in England that the others are probably going to spew some too." She nodded, calling him. He looked at Faith again. "I'll warn Angel's crew. Be safe and I'll be here if you need me to. I have to geek wrangle for an hour. Rodney's on base." He disappeared, going to tell Radek that since he was probably up. Then he went to the coven's building. He whistled loudly, getting a few irrate witches. "Sofat is going to explode soon. Within days." A few whimpered. "It's spewing through dimensional rifts, people. We've got an all-hands." They nodded and went to prepare to help. He went to LA, running into Wesley and Fred. "Bad news."
"Of course it is," Wesley said with a smile. "What is it beyond that?"
"Sunnydale's being evac'd."
"That's more an apocalypse," he pointed out dryly. "Why?"
Xander put up the diagram. Fred would understand it. She was brainy that way. She whimpered. "Earliest estimate is three days from last night. Longest is a month." They nodded. "So fair warning." Wesley reached for a phone and Xander went back to the base. "I'm handling the hellmouth," Xander said when he ran into a fight about how to do things. "Evacuate it citing radiation spikes." They nodded and the generals got to work on that plan. "Dawn has Cardiff. Jack's probably called UNIT by now. I warned LA's guardians that they were going to have problems. I warned the coven so we'll be seeing some of them around the rifts."
"Good," Jack agreed. "Get us a detailed map of Sunnydale, kid." Xander turned to the computer to pull one up. "Is there any chance it'll only minorly flash? Just spit instead of explode?" he asked Rodney.
Rodney shook his head. "Not that I can see."
"If the hellmouth opens, the kraken is coming out," Xander told him simply. "It won't matter because we can't close it until that's back inside." He handed over the map he had printed. "Even if it'll only flash in the other areas that aren't as open, Sunnydale will have problems. It's already got enough going on."
"Good point." He bent to look at it. "Where is it?"
"High school." Jack glared at him. "Right underneath the library." He grinned. "Where we used to meet."
"You guys were insane," Jack told him, bending over the map again. "How far will the spew go if it does explode, McKay?" He came over to figure that out. They could plan how to evacuate people in an orderly fashion instead of in a panic.
Faith walked into City Hall and found the emergency button. Wilkins had told her about it. She pushed it and waited. People came running, staring at her in awe. "The hellmouth is going to open in a major, unstoppable way," she said calmly. "Sometime between two days and a month from now." That got a few nods. "It may not be able to reclose this time." That got a few whimpers. "Xander said we're moving."
"Harris?" one demanded. "We're trusting that fuck up?"
"Yo, X?" she called. He appeared in a flash of light. The people all stared and a few bowed. Xander nodded with a grin. "Anything new?"
"You're getting help evacuating. They're making calls now because it'll spray past the limits."
"There's a shield to keep that inside the town," one told him.
"I need info on that," Xander ordered. "Any energy sinks are all good but anything that could hype or draw more energy out to make it worse goes today." Faith nodded at that. "I'll be back later with my bosses." He left.
Faith looked at them. "Today, people. We need everything and everyone out by tomorrow morning." They nodded and went to order that. Faith gathered Buffy from the coffee shop, taking her cup of breakfast to sip on the way to the demon club. Willie's would be closed but the club was all hours. They walked in and the demons screamed. "Stop it!" she shouted. They quieted. "We have to evacuate the city. You have two days. Get everything and everyone out."
Buffy finished her coffee and tossed the cup out. "We're not sure if it'll be safe to come back yet. We won't know for probably at least a week." The bartender nodded, making a call. "So scoot and be safe. LA's team got warned so they can handle any problems with the fleeing in terror."
One tiny demon walked over. "What is going on, slayers?"
"Another realm is going to go off," Faith told him. "Permanently destroyed."
He nodded. "Then it is best." He walked off. He had to gather all his clan.
"Make sure every being in town hears, including the vampy-vamps," Buffy ordered. "Down to the mice and kitties, people." They nodded and left. She looked at the bartender. "Faith was at City Hall." He nodded and moved on through his calling circle. They went to tell her mother so they could get her out first.
Xander reappeared on Nila and weathered the cleaning beam she used on him. "Sorry, Nila." He went to find Cam. "Guys, Rodney McKay needs geek support on energy flow issues asap. He's on the general's phone number." A few went to call him. He looked at Cam. "We need to be on alert. One of the hellmouths is in Asia and might cause a small earthquake, which could produce some higher waves here."
He nodded. "I'll get with Sheppard. What's going on?"
"Sunnydale's going to explode."
Cam shuddered. "Are they working on it?"
"O'Neill has it being evacuated. I'm going to be there for when it goes so I can hopefully reclose it."
"Hopefully?" he asked, looking sick.
Xander nodded. "Yeah." He got breakfast and walked off to change clothes into something better to do major spells and fighting in. He had a thought. If that shield kept Sunnydale and hellmouth radiation inside, and they were spewed on, would it keep them? He considered it and packed some emergency supplies in his pack. Including a tent and a backpack he had shrank down, plus some food. He petted Armand, getting a dragon scowl.
"I'm going to Sunnydale. It's not dangerous, just energy. I promise, Armand." He petted him with a smile. "I'll be back in a few days. Take care of Evan and Radek for me." He nuzzled him and left. Armand tried to follow. He took him with him and the dragon nearly went spastic so he brought him home. "I told you so." He let the dragon go bathe.
"Don't leave the water running," he called after him, going back there. He called the base. "Generals, I'm on site and the town is starting to evacuate." He went to find his girls, finding them resting. They'd make sure the evacuations went easier later. He got the house packed and in a manageable form for Joyce, who pinched him on the cheek and took it to the U-Haul.
The girls got up to help later on and he went on patrol until they joined him. The college was not evacuating. Xander found one of the cops scowling at someone. "It's going to hit the college too and with the old base underneath it, it'll collapse." The officer moaned, making that call back to his boss. They moved on and made sure others were leaving. Xander got to compel his parents to leave. They were fighting and he didn't really care if they lived or not but he wasn't going to let it take the time from helping the others out to beat the crap out of them.
Master Nycom appeared in a flash of light, looking around with a grimace. "That really is a bad leak."
"I tried the reclosing last night and it's not open," Xander told him, shaking his hand. "Ladies, this is one of my teachers, Master Nycom. He's the teaching head of the order." He nodded at them, smiling some. "The other rifts?"
"Russia is in bad shape but it's in a city. Anywhere with people will cause more problems."
"Asia's?" Buffy asked. "Giles said there was one where they had a lot of earthquakes."
He considered that. "I hadn't considered that implication."
"I told Nila's commander so they can compensate," he told him.
"Excellent idea, Xander." He patted him on the cheek. "Let me check on them." He looked around. "This town may be a total loss." He disappeared.
Xander looked at his women. "I told the coven too so the witches and others could be in close proximity to the other rifts."
"You're talking like Radek," Buffy pointed out with a smile as they walked on.
Xander grinned back. "It must've transferred during all the fantastic sex I get," he quipped, making the girls laugh. It was going to be a long few days. Thankfully falling back into apocalypse mode was easy.
Xander watched as the hellmouth exploded in a light show that they could probably see from space. He worked the closing but there wasn't any stopping the energy shooting out. He drained some of the energy into two new blipping bracelets he had prepared. When it weakened he tried to close it again. He got it to a smaller nozzle but now the kraken was recovering from being blasted and tentacles were coming out. Behind him, someone fired a RPG at it, blowing the tentacles up.
Xander glanced back. "Thanks, John." He worked on the closing again. Smaller. And again, making it even smaller. Then they felt the earthquake. They hung on but Xander felt the wrongness. "Get ready to have us beamed out," he ordered calmly. He sighed and tried something he had barely researched, closing the stupid thing by sucking ground into it. He turned it into a void portal instead. It stopped the earthquake but the suckage was going strong. Xander ended the spell when the spewing finally stopped. They were three miles closer to the hellmouth than they should be. Xander panted, looking around. "Shit," he said in awe. Another earthquake but the hellmouth read as null and fully closed, no more leakage.
John touched his earpiece. "Beam us out." They got beamed out and Xander flopped down in a free chair to watch the satellite feed of the town. Another earthquake. Half the town fell. He slumped, shaking his head. John patted him on the back. "You ended the problem permanently. It was the only solution," he said quietly.
Ellis looked at them. "What's going on with the other weak areas?" They got put up on view screens. They had been cleared around when they had found them thanks to Giles, Jack, and Martha. One wasn't near anyone so it was only causing a few minor earthquakes. He winced at the one in Pakistan.
"We warned Nila's people so they can compensate if it causes further problems," John assured him, getting a nod back. Cleveland now had a bare area that had been a park. The spewing energy had taken out all the living things within a mile radius. Cardiff had opened fully but Dawn had closed it somehow without too much damage. Just the building on top of the old hub falling in. He glanced at Xander, who shook his head. He'd be able to feel if Jack and Dawn weren't all right. They relaxed when things stopped going and by the morning everything had spewing, leaking, and being a problem. Those two and Ellis went to the main base to report in. "It's done, general," John reported.
Landry looked up. "I heard. Thank you. Harris, need a time out in the infirmary?"
"Nope. I'm good. Going to check on Dawn." He disappeared, landing behind her and Owen, who were cuddling on top of her building. "Everyone good?"
Owen jumped, looking at him. "We're all fine. She got them out of the hub before it went down."
"I closed it from the plaz," she assured him, giving him a hug. "You smell like ozone."
"I ended up shutting Sunnydale permanently."
She nodded. "I'll do a searching later to find the new one." She grinned. "Have a happy nap, Xander."
"Hopefully, if nothing too bad happened on the cities." He nodded and left. Landry was giving him a dirty look. "Dawn's fine. The old hub is gone though."
John patted him on the back. "Good. She with her dad?"
John grinned at that. "A lot of people celebrate emergencies ending."
"I used to all the time," Xander agreed with a smile. "Anya made sure of it." John snickered, nodding. They looked at the generals. "The higher ups?"
"Scared of where will be next," he admitted.
"Dawn said she'd do a searching later to find out."
"Thank you. Let me know when you do." Xander nodded. "Go rest, boys. You did good." Xander took John home then went to his own to crawl between his boys. Landry called the president. "Sir, it's done with. Torchwood will figure out where the next open hellmouth is today sometime and let us know. They're fine as well. Harris checked on them." He smiled. "Probably celebrating the end of the emergency. I would be." He nodded. "That's fine, sir. We'll meet about Sunnydale with the two slayers later? Excellent news, sir. Thank you."
He hung up the red phone and used the normal one to call Buffy's cellphone. "Miss Summers, General Landry. Sunnydale is officially closed due to that incident that happened. Your sister will tell us where the next one is later. The president wants to meet later. Thank you, Miss Summers. Rest and calm down today. We'll see you later tonight." He hung up and relaxed as well. Having Sunnydale officially closed was one less worry he had. Now if they could close the one in LA he'd be a happier guy. Though he was very thankful that it hadn't leaked through the gateway and the new hellmouth wasn't here.
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