Story Title: Master of the Orion
Crossover: BtVS/MoO2/ Multiple
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV shows and comics, nor anything from the Master of Orion I and II PC game. This is a work of fanfiction.
Summary: End of BtVS S2. In an alternate world, in order to save Buffy from ending her life together with Angel, Xander made the ultimate sacrifice. Now he is trapped in another reality where 1,000 years is but 10 years in his world…
Chapter Two: Remnants of a dying race
“To me! Alpha to me!” Buffy half screamed, half shouted as she lifted the Slayer scythe and swiped it in an arc in front of her. Two Delhati demons choke out their death cries as the weapon cut cleanly into their necks.
Behind her, Squad Alpha or more commonly known as Buffy’s squad push forward through the tide of demonic army, to get to Buffy’s side.
“We mustn’t let them get to the fort.” Buffy screamed as she saw her slayers finally arriving behind her. She grunted as she pushed back a horde of Wortha demons, small goblin like buggers who were a mere nuisance compared to the more powerful demons she had already fought and killed.
“Well, it’s a good day as any to die.” Roni, a Mexican Slayer said with wryly humor as she reached Buffy’s side, fighting with a pair of swords.
“We only need to hold up another half an hour more. The sun is raising soon. When it comes out fully, the vampires would have to scramble for shade, and that’s more than half of the current army gone.” Andrew’s voice spoke up, through the receiver each of the Slayers had in their ears.
“Then we will hold out.” Buffy shouted into the mic attached to the side of her face. “Tell Riley that his squad of solders had better not chicken out.”
Shooting a quick look behind her, Buffy gave her weary and bloodied looking girls a firm look. “We hold, until dawn!”
“That’s the last of my power.” Dawn panted as she leaned against the short concrete wall of the fort. Calling it a fort was more of a mockery of the name. But it was an apt description. The semi circle of concrete wall surrounding the entrance leading into the Ballistin mines was the entry point to the last refuge of mankind and non-humans, a polite way of talking about non-aggressive demons. It was protected by a team of armed individuals, and they knew better than to disturb Dawn while she was working.
It was the sole standing ‘fort’ that still contained humans and several clans of non-aggressive demon races who had came to the Slayers for help. The city of Shanghai, the second last refuge for humans on Earth had fallen two months ago. Billions had died in the demonic incursion. According to Willow’s spell, there were currently only two thousand humans left on the demon infested Earth, and all of them were living in cramped conditions, deep in the Ballistin mines located in what used to be southern Scotland. Of the other places on Earth, there were no longer any living human beings.
Willow stood beside Dawn, holding her up, guiding her to a corner, away from the eyes of the current team of armed defenders on duty. She gave Dawn a smile, a sad look in her eyes. “The barrier will hold off any of the demons that managed to get past the hunting teams. I am sorry to ask you to bear the burden for the warding spell.”
“We are the only two active witches remaining powerful enough to cast the spell. You need to save your magic in case some demons actually managed to get through, and the Coven… there’s only eight of them now, and they are drained using their magic everyday to grow barely enough food to feed everyone.” Dawn said shaking with exhaustion. “And Andrew and the rest of the non-human mages who dabbled in demon summoning and dark magics… they are practically useless now, especially with all eight Hellmouths on Earth fully opened. I know some of the non-humans have those spirit magic, but they are useless in combat.”
“They know what’s at risk.” Willow said weary, nodding in agreed. “No one could use dark magic now, not without being over taken by a demon lord. The dark energies on Earth are too strong now. The white magic that the rest of us draw from is getting weaker and weaker. If this goes on any further, you might be the only human spellcaster left.”
Dawn knew what Willow meant. When the war had started and all of the Hellmouths had opened, sending an outpouring of demonic armies to Earth, Dawn had been taught to use magic. They had discovered shortly that unlike most magic users, Dawn had been able to tap into an additional source of magic, the very essence of what made her a Key. That had been two years ago… and humanity had lost to the demons. Now the remnants of the humans race and several non-aggressive demon races were barely surviving, protected by an army of Slayers who were getting fewer and fewer in numbers with each causalities, protected by the witches whose powers were getting weaker and weaker.
“We are going to lose this war in the end aren’t we?” Dawn said, whispering the words that hang in everyone’s hearts.
Willow stiffened, her eyes refusing to meet Dawn’s. “Where there’s life, there’s hope. And even if we’re going to die in the end, at least we’ll all go down fighting.”
A grin tugged at the side of Dawn’s lips at Willow’s words. “You’re right Wills, as long as we have hope…”
Bright light sparkled around her, a strange sensation passed through her.
“… we can… What the hell!” Dawn cried out her voice lost in the vast numbers of shock cries of alarm as a large number of humans found themselves reappearing from wherever they were to a large white tiled hall of some sort. Even as Dawn watched around her in shock, more and more people were appearing in the hall with their belongings amidst a shimming sparkle of white lights. Dawn realized belated in shock that all these people were from the fort. Many were ordinary citizens hidden deep with the mines.
Willow grabbed Dawn’s arm in assurance even as magic poured out of her, ready to be used as a weapon against whatever threat that had brought them here.
“Quiet down everyone.” A clear male voice cut through the loud noises in the hall. The loud voice seemed to be coming from speakers hidden somewhere in the walls. “I mean you no harm. You are saved from the demonic threats now. My people will now take all of you to quarters assigned to each of you. The facilities here were only meant to support nine hundred people, I am afraid many of you will have to share rooms with each others.”
At the edge of the hall, a portion of what Dawn at first took for a part of the wall slide open to reveal people… humans dressed in uniforms waiting outside. The human refuges who had been living in shambles gave cries of relief that their horrors were now over, convinced of the words of the mysterious speaker once they saw the people at the door.
“Wait…” Willow said in a loud voice, her magic amplifying her voice. “They are not humans.”
“You’re right they are not humans. They are all androids under my command.” The mysterious voice said over the speakers.
There was a shimmer of light in front Willow causing her to tense up, before a tall human looking male stood in front of her, an unreadable look in his eyes. Dawn gasped as she recognized the man, she had seen him before many years ago, when he had looked much less world weary, when he had been Buffy’s friend… before he vanished.
“Xander?” Willow said stepping backwards as if in shock. Her face rapidly paling. The red-haired witch lifted trembling hands to her lips as she stared at the man in shock.
“In the flesh Willow.” Xander said grimly, a dark look in his eyes. “What happened Willow? What happened when I was gone? How did Earth fall?”
Willow opened her mouth but was unable to speak, words trapped in her throat as tears streamed down her face. There was movement in the crowd and someone pushed through. Buffy, stinking of blood and sweat stood in front of Xander, her scythe pointed towards him.
“Who are you? What are you? You’re not human.” Buffy said in a voice of steel. “And you’re most certainly not Xander.”
“You honestly think I would have fallen into Acthala’s portal and survived unchanged?” Xander said looking at Buffy calmly. “I was trapped in another reality Buffy. It took me this long to find a way back.”
“It is really you Xander?” Buffy said faltering as Xander talked about Acthala’s portal, something only the core Scoobies would know.
“Yes it is me. And we need to settle down these two thousand over people and five hundred over demons, which I am guessing are the nicer variety of demons, since I found them living with the human survivors in the tunnels.” Xander said wryly looking at Buffy and Willow who was still sniffling. “Who is in charge of all of you? We need to get everyone assigned to separate living quarters as soon as possible before we talk.”
“I am.” A firm male voice said as a figure stepped through the crowd who were looking at the group with awe and curiosity.
Xander turned to look at the man and smiled. “Hello G-man, long time no see.”
There was a long heart wrenching moment before a smile creaked across the older man’s tired face. “And now I know that’s really you. No one else called me by that infernal nickname… not since… you were gone…”
They were in space, in a starship. The survivors had found out that fact shortly when they were lead through corridors to their rooms, which had windows looking out to space. That one simple fact had sparked the excitement of everyone. Each of the survivors were divided into groups of twenty to thirty, with three human looking androids assigned to each group to take care of their wants and needs. The androids were also instructed to teach the humans or non-humans they were assigned to, the basic instructions in using some of the equipments on board, equipments such as the replicator units in each of the assigned living quarters, which could produce food and other items. For the first time in two years of hiding, the disillusioned survivors at last had hope that they might now have a better life.
Due to space constraints, ten people have to share a room meant for two. In some of the larger rooms, more people were squeezed in. But none of the humans, even the non-humans were complaining. Freed at least from the looming threat of the demonic armies, they at last have a chance to heal and grieve for those that were lost. When it was discovered that the starship had large crafted natural habitats, several non-human clans had given up their living quarters to the humans, stating that they would rather live under trees and plants than being trapped in a steel walled room.
The core group, the ‘government’ of the last human survivors, were given shared quarters larger than most of the survivors, which according to Xander were living quarters for commanding officers. However, none of them were resting at the moment. Leaving senior slayers Vi and Amanda in charge of the Slayer groups, the core group, all fourteen of them were called to a large conference room, after all the refugees had at last settled down.
Buffy, Willow, Oz, Cordelia, Dawn, Andrew and Faith sat at one side of the large table, forming the Slayer group headed by Giles. Cordelia herself was staring at Xander as silent tears leaked from her eyes. Across them sat Riley, who lead the last surviving group of soldiers, Angel with his group consisting of Wesley, Illyria, Connor, Lorne and Spike. The blond haired vampire had gotten an incredulous look from Xander when he entered, and Xander had demanded an explanation from Giles about why Spike was with them. Apparently when Xander had ‘beam’ them up to his ship, he had done it with the help of his ship’s A.I. deciding who are the hostiles and non-hostiles. He had not had a look at everyone who was transported to his ship.
“… So what you are trying to tell me is that Spike became one of the good guys, and after Buffy’s second death, Willow resurrected her… with dark magic, allowing an entity called the First to cross over. To deal with the threat, the Sunnydale Hellmouth was destroyed and Willow found a way to activate all Slayers at once. Then Angel and his group led an attack on an evil law firm with you guys helping and you discovered that The First Evil was still on Earth, through a deal with the demonic law firm. The First Evil exposed the secret of the Slayers to the world, found a way to turn all the humans against the Slayers while it secretly worked to open all eight remaining Hellmouths…” Xander said trying to comprehend what Giles had told him. Giles had already gone over the early years of Sunnydale after Xander disappeared. Xander was still surprised that Angel was somehow mysteriously brought back to his home reality, while Xander had to rely on his own wits and intelligence to return. Of course Buffy’s new sister Dawn had also given him quite the shock. Then there was also the matter of Cordelia becoming an active demon hunter when she thought Xander was lost forever, and was now one of the few well regarded Watchers looking after all the activated Slayers.
“Yes.” Buffy said, remembering what had happened three years ago with barely concealed grief. “Hundreds of Slayers were killed by government agents when the world learns about us. A handful suffered worse fates, cut up in government labs. On the supernatural end, demons were banding against us and it was all we could do just to survive. When the Hellmouths began opening and the armies of demons started pouring out, everyone realized we are not the real threats, but it was already too late… far too late…”
“Cities fell one by one.” Giles continued in a heavy voice, his eyes filled with pain. “During that time we were already hiding from the governments in the mines, so it became a fall back position. Angel managed to round up a group of survivors from the West Coast and guide them to our base. We received a warning from Amy, whose body was possessed by a fallen Power a few years ago and have Ascended to become one of the younger Powers. Her warning about the subsequent fall of civilizations provided us with enough time to gather all the magic users we still remained in contact with, just before the demonic armies made its first decisive strike on the world. Britain fell in one night, followed by much of Europe and Asia. Throughout that time we rescued whatever survivors we could. The last batch of survivors we received was lead by Oz when the city of Shanghai fell. He managed to secure several planes and guide the refugees to our base two months ago. All of us knew we’ve no way of defeating the demonic armies already on Earth, that our deaths were already pre-determined, but none of us wants to go down without a fight. Many of the civilians trained with the Slayers and the few soldiers we had in preparation for our last fight. That is… until you came and save us.”
Xander nodded. He had already given the group a very condensed version of what had happened to him. They knew that a very long time had passed for him compared to their ten, but not how long, and what he had been through.
“How did you get this starship Xander? You never exactly explained it to us.” Angel spoke up, a suspicious look in his eye.
“I lived in the other realities for many years. Saved up and build this ship with the technologies they had in that reality.” Xander said simply. “The trip through Acathla’s portal changed me. I am… immortal now. I cannot die. Which meant I had time in that other reality to do what I needed to before returning home. I am just sorry I could not return sooner.”
“How long were you in the other reality?” Willow asked in a soft voice, there was a different air around this new Xander, his eyes seemed so old… and wise, something she would never have linked with her goofy shaped friend.
“I’d rather not talk about it. I’ve returned and that’s enough.” Xander said, not wishing the group to find out that he had already surpassed a thousand years of age. Though his memories of his friends were still clear as day due to his perfect recall, the maturity and experience he had gained through his long life told him that his friends would not take his real age very well.
“But…” Willow began, only to be interrupted by Angel.
“Willow, I am sure Xander has reasons for not telling us his reasons of his stay in the other reality.” Angel said, surprising Xander. He had not expected the vampire to defend him. “Even now I have not told anyone what had happened when I fell into that hell dimension, and I still have nightmares of it. Let Xander have his privacy.”
“I must admit the dimension and reality I landed in was thankfully not a hell dimension. But I would rather not talk about what was past.” Xander said looking at everyone. “Right now, we need to decide what to do. Andromeda is carrying passengers that are way past her safety limits. Life support systems are now working at maximum just to support the ship with enough breathable atmosphere. The ship’s Thorium Fuel cells are powerful and renewable in nature, but they can only output a certain amount of power before each renewable intervals. With a large chunk of the power channeled into life support, ship shields and other ship necessities now that it’s supporting maximum crew, it means that I have to regulate how much ‘power’ is being assigned to everyone in the ship each day when they use the replicators. Living in Andromeda is a short term solution, we’ll need to find a long term one. I am already instructing Maria the ship’s A.I. to scan this galaxy for any habitable planet.”
“You are abandoning Earth than.” Giles said wearily, his shoulders sagging.
“Giles, my scans show billions of demons swarming across the surface of Earth and more are pouring out of the Hellmouths. There’s no way for me to get rid of them short of glassing the planet.” Xander said patiently, his mouth tightened grimly.
“I know. Willow did a spell two days ago. The only surviving humans left on Earth were those holed up with us in the mines.” Giles said in a voice of understanding. “But even if we left Earth and settle down on some other habitable planet, I am not sure we would be able to escape The First, since it now has a foothold in this reality.”
“What do you mean?” Xander asked narrowing his eyes.
“The First is a non-corporal entity who is older than the Elder demons.” Giles said looking very old and tired. “I am not really sure what the full range of its power is, now it has full access to our reality. Even if we settled on another planet, it might be able to get to us.”
“I see…” Xander said in a musing voice. “What about other realities? Can it cross realities easily?”
“Well not exactly. The First is like a vampire in certain aspect. It can’t cross a reality unless it is invited in, and unless there is a great unbalance between Good and Evil, Order and Chaos in the reality itself. But then it’s not as if we have a way to cross realities…” Giles said before seeing the smile on Xander’s face. “But you managed to cross realities to return to us…”
“Yes I have the knowledge to build technologies to cross realities. In fact this ship comes equipped with a dimensional drive. Which is how I get back to all of you.” Xander said in confirmation. “It will take me a half an hour to get ready. But I can safely say we have our next destination in mind now… we’re getting out of this place, out of this reality.”
They had made the announcement by ship comm only ten minutes ago, and already Maria was detecting through the ship’s androids the relief that the survivors felt that they would be leaving Earth behind as a bad memory and start a new life somewhere else. Xander already had a destination in mind. In the five hundred plus years he had spent in the other dimensional before he found the location of his home reality, he had scanned through billions of coordinates to billions of other realities using a series of powerful computers. With his perfect recall, he was able to call back on those memories and choose a reality for them to go to.
The reality chosen was a place where an alternate Earth just entering space flight exists. The plan was to choose a planet close by to colonize. And if fate wills it, they might meet with the humans in this alternate Earth in the future.
“Dimensional drive has been powered up. Awaiting your orders Commander.” Maria said as the core group and Xander gathered at the command deck for this momentous event. The glass like windows of the command deck had been replaced with a crystal clear view of their doomed Earth, which was already taking on the colors of a sickly brown.
“Prepare the Stellar Converter Maria, notify when ready.” Xander said as he instructed the A.I. to prepare the ship’s most powerful weapon, one which could destroy planets. “Plot target as Earth, adjust the firing solution accordingly for total destruction.”
“Firing solution complete. It will take five shots of the Stellar Converter to the planet core to annihilate Earth.” Maria said in a calm voice. “Stellar Converter is prepped and ready for fire.”
“Good. Well, who will like to do the honors.” Xander said with wryly humor as he looked back to the battle weary group standing behind him.
For a moment, all fourteen of them looked at each other, seemingly uncomfortable at being the one to end Earth which had been the home of humanity. Then Giles stepped forward with a grim look.
“I’ll do it. I am leading all these people now. It is something I have to do before we take the next step to a new life elsewhere.” Giles said, as Xander gave him an understanding look.
“Go to the fourth console on the left of the room, and press the red oval shaped button five times.” Xander said motioning to one of the consoles in the command deck.
Giles took a deep breath and made his way quickly to the console Xander had pointed out. Quickly and decisively, he pressed the button five times. On the glass screen, five golden orbs of light descended onto Earth.
“Maria, get us out of blast range.” Xander ordered. The Earth on the screen began receding as the ship began to move away from Earth. But even then, all saw the moment as the five bolts of enormous energy disappeared into Earth, as Earth began glowing red and orange, as it shattered into billions of smaller chunks, tore apart as the energy bolts pierced into the planet core.
The ship shuddered slightly from the blast wave, before Maria’s voice came over the comms.
“Earth has been annihilated.” Maria said to the silent and wide eyed group. “Awaiting further orders.”
Xander made his way to the Commander’s console and began to key in several coordinates.
“Activate the dimensional drive and feed it these coordinates.” Xander said looking at the screen showing an asteroid field where Earth used to be. “We are leaving this reality.”
“Dimensional drive activated. Dimensional warp in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” Maria announced as the ship moved forward in space smoothly. A dimensional window swirled into form in front of the ship, a door way to their new reality as the ship moved forward.
Xander turned to the others with a smile. “This is it guys, we’re on our way to a new reality…”
“Commander! Detecting high energy beam from the direction of Earth.” Maria suddenly cried out as the ship’s alarms began sounding throughout the ship. “Impact in 5 seconds! Brace your…”
Maria’s words were lost amidst the screams that followed as something struck the ship tossing everyone around roughly as the ship shuddered.
Trying to get back to his feet, Xander lifted his head to the view screen just in time to see a dark beam of energy struck the dimensional window in front of the ship just as Andromeda entered into it.
The ship began rocking violently as it entered a disrupted dimensional warp. Xander’s last conscious thought was that things had gone to hell as he and a few others were thrown and impacted against the ceiling of the command deck.