Faction Xander

Author: Alan Podjursky <alan.p[at]orcon.net.nz>

Web: http://www.fanfiction.net/~mercva

Pre-Fic Comments:

You can find some information on Red Faction here: http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/redfaction/review.html and http://www.redfaction.com/characters.cfm

This is my first story-post to XanderZone. Be kind :-)

Summary: This Buffyverse is about fifty years or less into the future compared to the norm. Xander is a miner on Mars during the Red Faction rebellion.

Crossover: Red Faction (the PC game)

Okay, there are some music tracks here. Format of markers is as follows:

<< "Song Name", Band Name, Album Name >>

If a song is by a particular person in a band or group, then the 'Band Name' field will be as follows:

Person Name/Group Name

˜This is telepathy.˜

Latest addition

Chapter 1

"Hey, Vampire, you hear about the Nail?"

Xander looked up, wishing he could wipe away the sweat through the faceplate. He'd acquired the nickname telling the rest of his barracks about the Hellmouth one night, when they were playing a game to pass the time.

"Don't call me that, Eos. And no I didn't, what happened?"

The red-black hardsuited figure grimaced at Xander.

"The guards say he contracted the Plague," Eos said. She gave the word 'contracted' a special twist.

Xander sighed, then continued his work.

"You mean he isn't going on a trip to the Bahamas? No, no. Really bad joke, sorry."

"I'm going to miss his singing. Even if he did get depressed, and bring us down too," Eos said.

"Amen," one of their shift said over the intercom.

"I heard that he didn't get sick, that the Ultor docs are experimenting on him," another miner said.

"Careful what you say," Xander muttered under his breath.

Xander was working for Ultor as a miner on Mars. After he had graduated high school, he wanted to get some perspective and make cash. Ultor promised 'High Risk, High Adventure, High Pay!' in their advertising campaigns. He had been kicking himself ever since -- six months, now.

On the trip over, the other newbies on the shuttle had vomited on blast-off, unused to the sensations. Xander Harris hadn't, but it had floated around in the zero-gee environment in space. Once they were landing on Mars, the putrid liquid had fallen to the ground -- and the people between it and the ground. And it didn't get much better from there on in.

The miners were in appalling conditions. The bunks were timeshared with two other shifts of workers, the guards showed little to no consideration for the well being of the miners, and rebelliousness of any sort was not tolerated. Recently, the Plague had appeared. Your workmates could drop dead where they stood, not having shown a symptom beforehand. The bodies were cremated, the hardsuits reused with the new shipments of workers.

The only outlet the miners really had was the occasional ration of liquor, and the athletic events that Eos had managed to wrangle from Gryphon, Ultor's Deputy Administrator. Xander's barracks was fielding the Red Faction team, of which Eos was the leader. While not a jock, Xander had joined the team. It was a somewhat prestigious placing; participating in the athletics was the only real method to achieve fame in the miners' world.

The Red Faction was a front for Eos' band of rebels. So far, there were 23 of them and a few possible recruits. A lot of planning for the future took place couched in sporting terms.

"I still recall the taste of your tears," Eos softly said. "Echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears..."

The rest of the shift proceeded in silent work in the red tunnels as they followed the vein of moachite.


As the airlock cycled from barely anything to full atmosphere, Xander popped his helmet. Around him, the rest of his work-crew did likewise.

"Another day, another dollar," Xander said. "Can't wait to get out of here."

"I heard that almost no one gets back to Earth," Storey said. "Apart from Ultor management and guards."

"We're going to beat this," Eos sighed. "Tell the others -- Red Faction meeting in half an hour. We have to discuss the shot put event."

The shot put was a code for the automated missile defenses.

"Sure thing," Xander said. "When are the Games happening?"

Eos gave him a look sideways. "In a few days. Tanner only needs a few more baseball bats, then we're set."

The Games was the uprising, and the baseball bats were assault rifles. Cricket bats were shotguns.

"Need any help taking your 'suit off, Eos?," a thickly built white miner asked the tough female. She paused as she took off the left leg of her hardsuit.

"If I do, I'll be sure not to ask for it," she cooly replied.

"Hey, I'm just being friendly," the miner said.

"She said she wasn't interested," Xander interrupted, putting his arm inbetween the two.

"It's cool," the miner replied quickly. "I'm moving, I'm moving."

Eos gave Xander a look. "I can handle my own battles, Vampire."

Xander winced. "Don't call me that. I don't like assholes like that, that's all."

Storey grinned. "Hey, Vampire, That's why we call you that."

Lyss, another female member of their team, smirked. "After an epic story like yours, would anything else fit?"

The ex-Sunnydalian groaned, inwardly smiling as he cheered up his teammates.


"Okay, Orion, have you sorted out the play with the baseball team?"

The thin miner looked up from the floor. "Sure, I've told them the strategy, and I've made sure that they set up the field right."

Eos nodded, satisfied. "Okay, we can beat the other barracks in the Games, people. How're our cheerleader's progressing?"

The cheerleaders were in actuality in charge of distributing leaflets and spraypainting "Ultor Sux!" on walls.

"They'll make us proud," Storey said. Before he'd decided to take up mining, he'd been in newspapers.

"There's a slight problem with the basketballs," Xander said. "The M9 barracks don't have any."

Basketballs were not orange bouncy things, but submachine guns.

"Okay, we can work around that," Eos said. "No problems?"

All present members of the Red Faction shook their heads.

"Okay, let's knock 'em dead, people!"


Xander, aka Vampire, grinned behind the faceplate of his red and black hardsuit. They'd taken out the guards in their section easily, and were now moving to the other sections. The bomb in the security barracks went off without a hitch, as Eos hit the Alert button outside the cafeteria. They'd killed six guards with the initial blast, with ten more injured.

Xander was in charge of directing the miners in M9 to hook up with Red Faction members from M4, Xander's own barracks. He had had an easy time of it so far.

Buffy's White Knight still wished he was back in Sunnydale, only having to deal with demons and vampires. It was better than having to kill humans, far away from those you loved. He reloaded the assault rifle, and checked the heavy machine gun he had slung on his back.

He spun as he noticed something move in the rocky tunnels, then relaxed as a red-suited miner appeared.

"Hi. I'm part of the Red Faction," Xander said. "Your friendly neighbourhood watch."

"Parker," the miner said. "Who're you?"

Chapter 2

Xander and Parker had come a long way from the mines of sector M9. To Xander's surprise, Parker was good at this stuff. Together, they'd destroyed the geothermal power station. He wouldn't not call Xander 'Vampire', though.

That Hendrix guy wouldn't knock it off either. Geez, tell one group of people about the Hellmouth and you're marked for life.

At the moment, they were in the Trash Disposal Facility. They were escorting Gryphon, deputy head administrator, to the Red Faction -- the politician had information for Eos. Xander and Parker met the Red Faction team for the handover.

"Good to see you, monkey boy," Orion said. "Ah, ah. You two get to go on ahead."

"But I've been a good little boy," Xander whined.

"C'mon, Vampire. Eos needs someone she can count on for a mission. You know how it is," Orion said.

The group of miners and Gryphon ran off, the immense doors closing behind them.

"Looks like it's just you and me again," Xander joked. "Let's look for a way outta this popsicle stand."

Xander took the higher part of the Trash Disposal Facility to search. He walked through the large corridors, but almost all of the large doors were locked. The only parts he had access to was the huge incinerator that Parker was checking out, and this door. He opened it.

"Oh. My. God."

An Ultor Suppression Combot. It was about the size of three elephants, and had more guns than was really healthy for the White Knight. Xander legged it to the incinerator -- anywhere away from the monstrosity aiming the rockets at him!

He ran to the large room, the Combot behind him. Climbing the ladder to the control room, he looked at Parker. With no instruction needed, Parker opened the incinerator doors remotely, then activated the fan to push the Combot down towards the firey pit.

Hilarity ensued.

"Okay, that was a little closer than I like my apocalypses," Xander gasped, catching his breath.

"Hendrix says that there's a passageway down the pit," Parker said, climbing down to the incinerator floor after deactivating the fire.

"Great," Xander said. "I bet it's an airvent."


The two had ended up in the Medical Complex, and were sneaking around. They'd managed to avoid guards, and were looking for an entrance to the scientist Capek's lab. Eos had heard that the old man had a cure to the Plague, and the Vampire and Parker were to check it out.

"Here we go," Parker announced as he opened the final door with the security card.

"Vampire, Parker, how nice to see you. I must thank you for starting this little dive rsion. It has made my work so much easier," the short scientist announced. He was on the other side of the large room the door opened onto. "My sincere thanks for telling me about the undead as well, Vampire."

Xander lifted his head. "What does that mean, you freak?"

"These... trumps have given me the perfect excuse to accelerate my experiments. Who will notice a few more vanishing miners in this... confusion? And as for the undead, well. You are under constant surveilance."

The miners moved closer. The scientist was old, short and bald. He was dressed in an ornate robe of some sort, and had an optical implant of some sort.

"To hell with orders! Die, Capek!," Parker yelled. He unloaded a clip of ammo from his pistol into the diminuitive man.

They bounced harmlessly off a purple forcefield.

"Congratulations, Parker. You're the first to see my nanotech shield in acti on. Now I must return to my work. Enjoy what little time you have left...you an d your friends," Capek said calmly.

He levitated off the floor and left as Parker continued to unload ammo into the forcefield. Xander was thinking about something.

"Capek... Capek... yeah! Now I remember!"

"What?," Parker asked. "You know that half-mutant freak?"

"Sure," Xander said. "He's my great-uncle. Even my parents think he's a weirdo."


Parker paused to catch his breath. He was in great shape -- physical labour will do that to a body -- but he was nowhere near as good at running as the Vampire.

They were moving towards Capek's research labs. The labs were not connected to the main complex, and were reached via some rocky tunnels. Mutant mice of some sort, and giant spiders populated the tunnels. Parker was heartily sick of Mars and it's weird wildlife. They were better than the miners that Capek had introduced to the nanotechnology though -- they resembled dead zombies more than humans.

He continued to move. Up ahead, the Vampire was wading through a waist-depth pool of water. The liquid had absolutely no chance of penetrating the hardsuit which was designed to seal against the vacuum of space. Their guns, however, would not work underwater except for the USP-16 Ultor semi-automatic pistol. Capek was just ahead of them, taunting them.

"Come now, are you so eager to join your friends in my experiments?"

The Vampire (Parker had to think hard to remember his real name, Xander) just moved faster at this. The two dived into the sinkhole at the end of the pool, quickly moving towards the end of the water.


Moving to avoid being hit, Parker quickly killed the guards overlooking the holding chambers. The miner killed the once-human lumpen forms. He could still hear their moans...

He moved past the holding chambers, reloading the heavy suppression machine gun.

Where was the Vampire? They had split up to cover more ground in the complex, sure, but he should have met up with the Californian by now.

Parker started searching the processing laboratories, killing the guards and sending the scientists running for their lives. He started looking systematically through the labs -- Capek was bragging of his experiments; it was more than likely that the short man was working on them.

In the third room, he stopped at the door, letting the scientists run past him like water.

Xander Harris, also known as the Vampire of the Red Faction, was unconscious on the operating table. A drip was slowly leaking grey nanocells into his bloodstream.

Chapter 3

<< "Risingson", Massive Attack, Mezzanine >>

Drift... dream on... dream on...

The world softly moves from side to side, steel grey waves gently swaying.

Red stains blur at the edges, debris on the floor appearing as mere lumps of colourful material.

A sharply soft pain in the wrist, developing into warm fuzz at the outer extremities in a slope of change.

Body feels warm overall, reclining position.

The lassitude... someone pulls on the other arm... cool, man, with the flow...

Dream... dream on...


Parker looked around. He was about halfway through the complex, and had just reached the operating rooms and monitoring cells. Here was where the experiments took place, and where the aftermath was observed. He had already put down nine zombie-like once-miners. The air, even filtered through the hardsuit, was thick with the tang of blood, shit, and another smell that he couldn't identify.

He'd discovered Vampire, the Red Faction man who he had been accompanying until they'd split up to explore Capek's research laboratories. The other miner was on a table in a monitoring cell, a bag of nanocells being slowly fed into his bloodstream by a drip attached to his wrist.

Xander was obviously drugged with some form of sedative, as his eyes wandered across the room, a spaced-out grin on his face. Shit. Parker hated sedatives.

Parker dragged Vampire from the operating room. He'd removed the drip from the Vampire's arm, but he didn't think that Xander would be any help to anyone until whatever he was on wore off. The miner moved back to a part of the complex he'd cleared out -- the holding cells. All that were there were cold bodies. Until Xander woke up, there'd be no one to try and kill him.

He left the Vampire next to some longhaired corpse in a suit, messing up the design drawn around the long dead dude.


<< "Inertia ?", Massive Attack, Mezzanine >>

Xander woke up. It was one of those wakings where you pause, wondering for a moment where you are, then utter and complete panic when you realise just where you are. Blood splattered from his wrist, where he saw a puncture into his artery. Xander doubted it had been a vampire; he still had a pulse and vampires either killed or turned you into another vampire.

He looked around, finding a dry, rotten corpse to his left. Shaking badly, he scrambled away, drops of blood from his wrist flying onto the long dead man. What he wouldn't give to be back in Sunnydale instead of running around Mars...

Getting up, he found a hardsuit in some nearby lockers in the cellblock. He put it on, as the medtechs had stolen his clothes and hardsuits. Xander had been in his dacks for... however long. A brief scavenge turned up a 12mm pistol and an automatic shotgun.

He turned around, to see that the dead guy he had woken next to was now looking at him. Xander popped his helmet and got out the cross he had around his neck.

"Stay back! I faced down Angelus, and I'm not letting any vamp get me," Xander yelled.

The man grinned. "Angelus? That pathetic Aurelius vampire?"

He moved across the room, taking the cross out of Xander's hands and caressing it for a moment before getting in Xander's face. The once-dead guy put a hand on the wall just to the left of Xander's head.

Xander pointed the pistol at the vampire's head, making sure that the safety was off. "I serve no one! I am not submitting to a vampire!"

"Are you well, Hellsing?," the vampire asked Xander. "I am at your service and await your command."

Chapter 4

Previously, on Faction Xander:

Xander pointed the pistol at the vampire's head, making sure that the safety was off. "I serve no one! I am not submitting to a vampire!"

"Are you well, Hellsing?," the vampire asked Xander. "I am at your service and await your command."


The Red Faction miner reached for the shotgun with his free hand.

"Sorry, but I don't trust vampires that easily. And my name is Harris, not Hellsing."

The vampire grinned. "Your grandmother, the one your family doesn't talk about? She was Integra Wingates Hellsing. I serve the Hellsing family as the garbage disposal facility."

Xander cranked a round into the shotgun. The vampire's lassitude was either a very good sign, or a very bad one. Either he was very stupid, or very sure that the guns couldn't hurt him.

"Grandma... Integra?" Xander vaguely remembered her, the same way as he remembered Capek. "Okay, so my name is Hellsing, too, but I still don't trust you. Why have you decided to serve me, and not Capek? What's your name, anyway?"

The tall vampire sneered. "His blood is rotten. I am Alucard, No Life King."


Parker reloaded the assault rifle, sacrificing the two rounds left in the current magazine in favour of 64 fresh rounds. He burst through the final door, diving behind a pillar to pick off the men in the large, two storey room.

To his relief, the door opened again to show the Vampire, with a stranger behind him. Parker figured him for a mercenary changed sides. It was weird, though -- the guy looked familiar for some reason.

"Vampire! Gimme a hand!," he yelled. Both men looked up at this.

"Don't call me that!," Xander yelled.

Alucard just strode over, picked up an assault rifle dropped by a dead guard, and started blasting away, completely ignoring the numerous shots going through his flesh.

By the time they had killed all the guards, Eos had arrived through the back door to the laboratory complex. Alucard was covered in his own blood like a man who had gone swimming in his clothes.

A panel in the ceiling revealed Capek. The short scientist had his forceshield activated, and was levitating above the group.

"Ah, together again. This time, I shall not be so merciful," Capek spat.

"Capek! Give us the antidote for the Plague and we'll let you live!," Eos shouted from the door.

"Alas, my dear, you have no say in who lives or dies here," Capek said.

"Hey, Uncle! Good to see you too!," Xander shouted at the figure, hate staining his voice.

The group opened fire. As bullets and shot spanged off the purplish shield, Capek started throwing fireballs at the group, trying to weaken them.

After a while, it became painfully obvious that the aging man was starting to weaken.

"Fools! You cannot begin to understand the forces I control!," Capek shrieked.

They poured on the firepower, Alucard grinning like mad.

Eventually, of course, the shield broke. Capek fell to the floor, a line of blood descending from a corner of his mouth. Eos and Parker rushed to him.

"Parker, stop. Don't kill him," Eos commanded as the miner drew his pistol.

"Don't kill him? He's killed hundreds of miners!"

The hardsuited miner was in no mood for mercy.

"And hundreds more will die unless we find a cure for the Plague, we can't save the miners who are dead already but we might save those who are dying. He's their only hope," Eos sighed.

"Hope? Who has hope? If you have hope, you just don't understand yet. All my work... all gone...," Capek snarled. He coughed, a spray of blood lightly painting his robes.

"Capek, the Plague! There has to be a cure!"

"It's simple, really. Stop the replicators."

"But how? How do you stop the replicators?," Xander asked, walking up to the fallen researcher.

"Antidote, of course."

"C'mon, Eos. Let's finish him off and get out of here," Parker growled. He had seen too many friends die of Plague.

"We need that antidote, Parker. If you're not going to help, shut up!"

The tension, and Parker's demands were starting to weigh down on the Red Faction leader.

"Where is the antidote?," Xander demanded.

"Why... help you? I hope you all die!," Capek said, gaining strength with the last phrase only to lose it almost immediately afterwards.

"Damn! The formula has got to be in his computer files," Eos thought out loud. "Maybe Hendrix can help. Parker, Vampire, whoever you are, get out of here. One of us has got to survive!"

"No! I'm not going to leave!," Parker said, Xander nodding with him.

"There's no time to argue. Go out the way I came in," Eos instructed. "Someone's waiting outside for you. There's something you guys need to do for me. He'll explain -- I don't have the time!"

The three men made a break for the door, Xander grabbing a hardsuit for the vampire Alucard on the way. He didn't trust him, but he also didn't want him away from where he could keep an eye on him.

Chapter 5

Once outside in the canyons of Mars, a Red Faction man in an ATV greeted them. He had a disc with a message for the Earth Defense Fleet, and orders from Eos to take them to the back entrance to the Comms Facility. The three stopped for a brief planning session.

"Okay, the Red Faction still has to take out the missile defense grid, the mercenary base, and contact the Earth Defense Fleet," Xander said, outlining what had to be done. "There's also a slight problem of lack of Twinkies, but that can wait."

"I'll send the message," Parker volunteered.

"Okay. Shrike, take Parker to the tunnel," Xander ordered. "Alucard, come with me. We'll get to the space station orbiting Mars, and take down the defense grid. I'll contact you afterwards, Parker and we'll all take down the Mercenary base together."

Shrike drove off in the ATV, with Parker as the gunner. Xander started walking towards the Spaceport.

"Shit, I should've begged a ride," Xander realised.

"Why do they call you Vampire?," Alucard asked.

Xander sighed. "I told them about life on the Hellmouth. They didn't believe me, so it's a joke to them."

The tall vampire started pulling off the too-short hardsuit, throwing the armoured environment suit onto the dusty red ground. Under the hardsuit, he was wearing a leather bodysuit with lots of straps on it.

"Hey!," Xander yelled. "You can't... breathe... er, ignore me."

Alucard grinned at his new master. "Really, Master. Have some faith in me."

=Vampire, Alucard, I've cracked the spaceport's network,= Hendricks said over the comms network. =A shuttle is leaving for the space station in ten minutes. If you get moving, you should make it.=

"Great," Xander muttered. "Let's hear it for time limits."


Once up in the space station, Xander paused to listen to Hendricks.

=Okay, Vampire, you'll need to find the escape pods before you blow the reactor,= the security cracker said. =They'll be locked, so you'll need to break into the security section first.=

"Right," Xander said.

The low-gravity space station was difficult to navigate, and fight in. Alucard was finding that, without the magnetic boots the hardsuit provided, it was almost impossible to fire his precision rifle or machine gun without being thrown backwards into the wall by recoil.

So he settled for ripping the guards apart with his bare hands.

Xander, on the other hand, could stand and blast away at the Ultor security guards.

They found the switch to unlock the escape pods, throwing it to the unlocked position. Xander stopped by a poster glued to the wall in the guards' cafeteria.

"Check this out!," he yelled to Alucard. "We're famous!"

The poster had black and white photographs of himself, Eos, and Parker with warnings underneath. It felt kinda good to be feared by the other side for once, rather than someone else getting the 'Run!' reaction.

"Congratulations, Xander," the vampire said. "You've just got your first piece of notoriety."

"Let's blow this popsicle stand," Xander said. "Get it? Blow? Reactor?"


In the escape pod, post-destruction...

"Ow! Get your cold, dead, toes out of my face!," Xander yelled.

"Get your warm unfeeling elbow out of my guts!," Alucard yelled back.

"Damn vampire!," Xander shouted, trying to blow some of Alucard's long hair out of his mouth. He was unable to move at all.

"Damn Master!," Alucard grumbled, trying to move the butt of Xander's precision rifle so that it wouldn't keep hitting him in the head.

It's a shame that escape pod was only made for one person.


Once back on Mars, a miner was waiting for them.

"Come on, we need help taking the mercenaries base!," the man yelled, taking off with Xander and Alucard behind him.

They hadn't gotten more than ten meters into the tunnel leading to the base before their guide was killed in an ambush. This pretty much set the tone for the journey there.

They'd encountered mercs with rocket launchers taking potshots at them, numerous snipers and a few assault mercs, all now thoroughly dead.

Xander felt faintly sick at the fact that he didn't feel sick at all as he killed those men.

The front airlock to the base was guarded by two turrets and a shotgun guy. Xander easily destroyed all three with a few fragmentation grenades.

The two waited inside the airlock for the outer door to close, then Xander hit the button to cycle the air and open the inner door.

Rather than air, a noxious green gas rose from the floor, knocking Xander unconscious.

Chapter 6

Xander was starting to see how having a vampire as a servant could be a good thing. If Alucard hadn't been there and on his side, then the mercenaries would've thrown him in gaol and that would have been that. He would have also lost his rail driver, which he was getting fond of. The powerful rail driver's scopes could see warm bodies through walls, and the slugs could drive through a hundred walls and still have enough energy left to kill anyone in it's path.

They'd met up with Parker there. The angry miner seemed to have worked off some of his aggression towards Ultor since Xander'd last seen him. He'd taken a lot of joy in telling Xander about how he blew up Ultor's missiles in their silos (with Hendrick's hackerly help), and about how he had sent the distress signal to the Earth Defence Fleet.

Xander, Parker and Alucard had then escorted Hendricks to the control room in the barracks, where a trap in the consoles had killed the skilled security cracker. The three were currently moving towards Eos, and the bomb that the mercenary commander Masako had set up to cover her escape.

"Vampire! Got any more 7.62 belt ammo?," Parker yelled, frantically reloading his HMG. He was sure that he wasn't using correct military terminology. Heck, he doubted that any of the Red Faction knew the right words.

"You mean me or Alucard?," Xander yelled back, before he handed over his last box of 7.62mm rounds. He was taking a lot of joy in trying to ditch the 'Vampire' nickname.

"Ha ha, very funny," Parker grumbled. "Where's your friend gotten to?"

"Alucard? He's gone ahead!," Xander said. He knew that the old vampire could take care of himself perfectly well, and functioned best when he could cut loose.

They got to a large room with two lifts on the other side. A small flyer with Masako inside rose into the air, the servo's whining as the heavy machine gun mounted on the nose and the rocket launchers moved around to aim at Xander and Parker. Xander could only guess that she had missed Alucard's passing because of the vampire's room temperature body.

"We're gonna need a bigger boat," Xander joked. Parker gave him a dirty look before he started strafing around the flyer, unloading the remainder of his 7.62 ammo into the small ship before moving back to the 5.56mm assault rifle. Xander quickly joined him, using his assault rifle on automatic.

Eventually, of course, the ship exploded. A purple shield sprang into view around Masako, much like the scientist Capek had had.

"Dammit!," Parker shouted. "Why does everyone except for me get the cool powerups?"

"Where the hell has Alucard gotten to?," Xander asked Parker. They were down a gun without the vampire.

"I dunno!"

Masako's shield failed as the nanotech crumpled under the barrage of lead.

"Maybe I'll visit your parents when I get back to Earth. They won't even have a body to sob over. You and the rest of the scum will be vaporized in the blast!," Masako screamed at the two miners.

Right before Xander switched to his rail driver and put a metal slug between her eyes.

Parker ran down to the room below the current one, where Eos was tied up next to the bomb. They found Eos and Alucard leaning against the large (and most importantly, disarmed) bomb.

"What... how did you know how to disarm a bomb?," Xander asked Alucard.

The longhaired servant grinned at Xander, before taking mercy on him. "I learnt from Hellsing's gunsmith."

"Vampire, Parker, the Earth Defence Fleet should be here soon," Eos said. "We've won."

"What are you doing after this?," Parker asked the air. He was going to try doing what his parents wanted, and go to Harvard. He'd come to Mars to rebel against their perfect plan for his life, and made his point.

"I dunno," Eos said. "I'm not staying on Mars, that's for sure."

"I'm going back to the Hellmouth," Xander said. "It should be fun, fighting people who don't have guns and grenades."

"Then that's where I'm going," Alucard decided. "Oh yes, Master, Elizabeth wants to speak to you."

Eos shrugged. "Unless I feel like something else, I might as well tag along."

"Elizabeth?," Xander asked his servant.

"You might know her as Queen Elizabeth II," Alucard expanded, a smirk growing on his face as Xander looked gobsmacked.

Chapter 7

<< "Place In Line", Deep Purple, Who do we think we are >>

Xander picked up the shot glass, watching the light shine through it. The amber coloured liquid spilt as he slammed it onto the bar, undrunk. He downed half his mug of beer instead.

"You going to drink that?," Eos asked him.

They were back on Earth, in Sunnydale. Xander had searched, but to his dismay the only bar open was Willy's Place. Such is the way the bus service works on the Sunnydale routes. Alucard had gone out on his own to go sightseeing. All three of them were wearing trenchcoats they'd nicked from Ultor.

"Hey, kid, if you don't want that it's still gonna cost ya," Willy said.

"I know," Xander said. "You can have it, Eos."

"Your loss," the shorthaired brunette said. She knocked back the scotch, tasting it before swallowing it. Then she drank some of her glass of water.

"This is gonna be fun," Xander said. "I can't wait to go back to killing vamps."

"You trying to convince me or yourself?," Eos asked, perceptive as always.

"Myself, mostly," Xander admitted. "I'm worried about the miners who want to stay back on Mars."

"They'll be fine," Eos said. "Orion and Storey are staying there to oversee things."

A vampire, inebriated on vodka spiked blood, made his way to the bar.

"Who do you think you are?," the ugly undead asked. "This's our bar, ain't for you type."

Xander pulled his UAS-10 from his coat, shoving it up the vamp's nose. "Want a shotgun decapitation?"

The vamp backed off. "'S cool, man, always said we needs more unnerstanding..."

"Where were we?," Xander asked Eos.

"Talking about... shit, I've forgotten," Eos mumbled.

"You've had enough," Xander decided. "We're going."

"You gotta pay," Willy said. "No tab. Not in this town."

Xander handed the rat-like human a twenty, then hauled Eos to her feet. The woman had once had a great tolerance for alcohol, but a long period of enforced abstinence on Mars had decimated it to almost nothing.

<< Music stops. (Hey, they left the bar and the jukebox.) >>


Alucard put his hands in his coat pockets contentedly. He'd managed to find his Casull and his Jackal that Walter had done for him, although he didn't have any blessed silver rounds. He was wandering through a graveyard at the moment, taking in the ambiance.

How pathetic. An Aurelius vampire. The thin, wiry thing was leaning against a crypt, smoking a cigarette. Alucard sneaked up on the bleached vampire just for the hell of it.

"BOO!," the tall vampire shouted in the other vamp's ear.

Spike screamed, dropping his cigarette on the ground and jumping in the air about three feet. Alucard started laughing and couldn't stop for a while.

"Shit, mate, don't do that!," Spike said, clutching his chest. "You almost made my heart start again!"

"Pathetic," Alucard sneered. "Where is your master?"

"You better not hurt me," Spike said. "I know the Slayer, I do."

"Tell her that Alucard is here in the service of Lord Hellsing," Alucard told Spike.

Alucard vanished into the shadows.

Spike drew out another cigarette with shaking fingers, putting it in his mouth and lighting it up with cupped hands.

"Hope I don't see him again," he muttered. "Worse than the Master, he was."


The next day found Giles doing inventory. Since Buffy was now no longer in school, he had to find a job that meant he could fit in somehow. The only things Giles really knew about were books and how to kill vampires.

So he opened a bookstore.

"Let's see... five copies of the Keys...," he mumbled as he wrote down his count.

The shop bell jingled.

"Hey, G-man!," a familiar voice said.

Giles's head shot up. "X-Xander! How good to see you again! We were somewhat worried that with the... troubles on Mars t-that you would be... unavailable."

"Can't keep the Xanman down," Xander grinned.

Eos was with him, looking around the small bookstore. She picked up a book, then shuddered at the woodcuts and put it down.

"Who is your friend, Xander?," Giles asked.

"This is Eos," Xander replied. "Eos, this is Rupert Giles."

"Nice to meet you," Giles said, shaking her hand.

"Likewise," Eos said. "Look, I know about vampires and demons. Xander and I are here to kill 'em."

Giles gave Xander a sideways look that had a bit of the Ripper. "You told her? Xander--"

"Giles, ease off," Xander retorted. "I trust her, and the rest of my workmates."

"Oh well, then, that makes it perfectly fine."

Giles put down his clipboard, then started cleaning his glasses.

"Hey, did I mention that apparently I'm Lord Hellsing or something?," Xander said, timing the moment perfectly.

Giles dropped his glasses on the floor, stunned.

"You what?!"

Chapter 8

Xander grinned. He was used to taking his amusement where he could, on Mars, and the habit had held.

"Yeah," he confirmed. "I'm Lord Hellsing. Grandma Integra named me her sucessor. Had a chat to Queen E and everything."

Giles picked his glasses from the floor slowly. "Good Lord."

The ex-miner picked up a strange looking bone from the counter. It looked like a really tiny rib-backbone-rib type of bone, from a serpent. He turned it over in his hand while he waited for Giles to mentally catch up.

"Don't touch that," the British man commanded absently.

"What is it?," Xander asked. A sharp point on it stabbed into his hand, drawing blood. "Ow!"

"It's an unknown relic," Giles said resignedly. "Buffy took it from a cultist last week, and we've been trying to identify it. Do try not to damage it."

Xander sucked the wound. A strange taste of liquorice accompanied the familiar coppery tang of blood, but he chalked it up to those weird nanites that Capek had experimented with, back on Mars. He still couldn't believe that he was related to that little bastard... then again, given Xander's parents...

"Oh, okay," Xander intelligently replied. "Where is the Buffmeister and Willow?"

"Currently attending college," Giles said proudly. "There has been a noticeable dearth of Big Bads while you have been away."

"Great, wonderful," Eos interrupted. The leader of the Red Faction looked distinctly bored. "I need somewhere to stay. So does Vampire, here. Know a place?"

"Vampire?," Giles asked bemusedly.

"They started calling me that after I told them about Sunny D on a bet," Xander explained wearily.

"Place, stay?," Eos repeated.

"Er, you may stay in my apartment for the time being," Giles offered. After a moment, he added, "as long as you stay on separate beds."

"Thanks," Eos said. "Now, cultists? Are they good or bad?"

Her staccato manner of speaking threw the Watcher off his stride for a moment. "Er, they seem to be attempting to open the Hellmouth, as per usual."

"Can't we have any cults or demons coming here to offer me twinkies and coca cola as sacrifices?," Xander complained goodnaturedly.

Giles smiled for a moment, before the shop door was thrown open by a short, blonde Slayer.

"Giles! Giles!," she screamed.

"B-Buffy?," Giles asked, thrown off his stride by Buffy. She hadn't been this worried for... well, a long time.

"We've got a BIG problem," she said.

"Yeah, we just got filled in about that cult," Xander said. "Twinkies and coke ahoy!"

Slayer Summers paused, goggling at Xander. "You're back! Me and Willow were so worried that you got killed on Mars!"

"Yeah, I was worried that I'd get killed too," Eos said. "But, hey presto, here we are. What's the new problem?"

Buffy gave the woman a flat look. "Who are you?"

"She's Eos," Xander said, giving the brunette woman a quick hug. "She's good people."

"Er, Buffy, problem?," Giles asked, starting to get exasperated.

"Oh, yeah. Some new Master vampire turned up. He scared the crap out of Spike, and I can still feel him with my Spider sense."

A suspicion formed in the back of Xander's mind. "Was he dressed in a blood red coat?"

"Yeah, that's what Spike said," Buffy agreed.

"His name's Alucard. He can do this really neat trick with... okay, shutting up now."

Giles pulled out a heavy concordance of Watcher's Journals. "Alucard... Alucard..."

The shop door's bell rang as someone opened it like a normal person. All four people looked up, to see the vampire that Giles had just looked up.

"Hi, Alucard," Xander waved. Eos just nodded.

Giles pulled out a loaded crossbow from beneath the counter of the bookshop, and Buffy got out Mr Pointy. Xander stretched, and settled down on an armchair. The Red Faction leader just leaned against a set of shelves.

The ancient vampire smirked at the Watcher and the Slayer, showing off his two long fangs. He arrogantly strode into the bookshop, his sheer presence and powerful aura stunning the Slayer. Giles, far more self possessed than the Californian girl, shot the vampire through the heart with his crossbow.

"I ruin more shirts that way," Alucard complained, still smirking. He turned to Xander and bowed. "Order me, my Master."

Silence ensued.

"Xander, you gots some splaining to do."

Chapter 9

"Xander, you gots some splaining to do," Buffy ordered.

"Who, me?," Xander asked. "Naaah."

The Slayer pointed her stake in the direction of the red coated vampire. "Why is this vampire calling you 'Master'? And is he all soul having, like Angel?"

"There's this real funny story behind this," Xander hedged. "There were these really nasty mercenaries -- ran by this Colonel Masako -- who tried to gas me and--"

"I don't care about the gas," Buffy interrupted. "I want to know why this vampire isn't dusted."

"Fine. The reason I'm not buried six feet under on the Red Planet is because he saved me," Xander snapped, exasperated. "I owe him."

"M-Might I enquire as to why you are w-walking around in direct sunlight?," Giles asked. "Also, why did my bolt not affect you?"

Alucard tossed the bloodstained projectile to the Watcher. He had no intention of telling a Watcher anything. "That's a secret."

"I really must know," Giles commanded, growing more sure of himself. "I thought we had sent the Gem of Amara to Angel."

"Deadboy?," Xander asked. "Yeah, we met him. He didn't seem too keen on some piece of jewellery, I dunno. Man, you should've seen him when he met Alucard. The room didn't smell too sweet after that."

And Xander was gonna stop talking about it right after the Devil moved to Australia for the beer.

"Er, what?," Buffy asked, feeling as if she was losing control of the conversation. She turned to Alucard. "Okay, if you're so powerful, you can help us against this cult, like Spike, or the other vamps'll start calling you 'Dusty'."

Alucard yawned in her face, long canine teeth prominent. The Slayer saw red and attacked.

Eos pulled out her shotgun, then was stopped by Xander.

"Why'd you stop me?"

"We want to stop her, not kill her."

Alucard wasn't really having a lot of problems dealing with Buffy. For every attempted punch, he blocked or dodged her. For every kick, he swept her other leg from under her. Eventually, he got tired of the game and punched her lightly in the chest, winding her.

"Master, this Slayer is only good for killing Aurelius vampires," Alucard complained.

Xander paused to think while Giles berated him and Alucard. Ignoring the British man, he said, "Okay. Seras should be arriving soon. Who wants to go wait for her?"

Eos raised a hand from where she was paging through a demonic bestiary.

Alucard inclined his head, still grinning.

Giles gave up on trying to control the ancient, blood red coated vampire.

"Sorry, Giles, but we have to go get someone," Xander said. "See you at dusk?"

"Alright," Giles said, admitting defeat. "But if your tame vampire kills someone, you will have to deal with me."

A bit of Ripper shone through that last statement.

"Sure thing," Xander waved off. The shop bell rang as the three left. The sound of a car starting, then driving off made itself known audibly.

"I'm not sure I like this new Xander," Buffy complained.

"He does seem rather self-assertive," Giles agreed. "At this stage, I doubt we can do anything about it."


"What do you mean, I can't have them?"

"Look, buddy, rules 'r rules. I can't let big packages like these two beauties go until my supervisor signs them off."

Xander sighed, rubbing away the beginnings of a headache. "When does your supervisor start his shift?"

"Three hours."

"I don't have time for this," the ex-miner grizzled. "Alucard, come do that hypno-eye thingy."

The vampire sauntered over to the office, pulling off his yellow tinted shades. He established eye contact with the office worker, then slowly spoke. "There. Is. No. Problem."

A stupid grin sprouted on the man's face, as he repeated the phrase. Luckily, he was still lucid enough to sign the release forms for the two large packages. "There... is... no... problem... there... is... no... problem... there..."

"I think you broke him," Eos observed.

"My heart bleeds," Xander continued complaining. "He should do his job and let people take their mail. He'll be fine in an hour or two. Alucard, I'll take one end, you take the other."

A low rumble made itself known as a trolley appeared with two packages on it, stacked one on top of the other. Alucard winced at the somewhat uncouth treatment. The packages were both plywood boxes, more than two meters long and half a meter deep and high.

Xander whistled as he grabbed one end of the long, plywood encased item. Alucard took the other end, and they carefully walked (or shuffled, in Xander's case) over to the Ford Escort they'd... acquired... in LA. He put his end on top of the car, letting Alucard push it the rest of the way onto the vehicle.

They repeated the process with a second long box, then tied them on with a lot of rope. Xander and Alucard did not want them shifting about or, God forbid, falling off.

Eos clambered into the backseat of the car, while the two men got into the front. The woman pushed a bag of dirty clothes to one side, as it threatened to fall over onto her.

"Guys, we're going clothes shopping tonight," she announced. "That is to say, Seras and I are shopping and you two are doing laundry duty."

"Awwww, Eos, if you're going shopping for new clothes, we won't need the old clothes so I won't need to wash them," Xander joked. "Problem solved."

"You're washing them, Xander."

"Darn. It's a shame that that excuse didn't wash."

"A rather lukewarm attempt, yes," Alucard slyly commented.

"Very punny," Eos groaned.

Chapter 10

Willow hummed happily as she pushed open the door to Giles' bookshop.

"Hey, Giles," she yelled.

"I am in the same room," the British man said dryly from where he was continueing his inventory. "And we have some... good... news. Of a sort."

"Really?," the redhead asked. "Cool! What've we learnt about that cult?"

"Diff thing, Will," Buffy said, from where she was sitting on the counter, cleaning under her nails with one of Giles' slayage knives. "The Xanman is back, with reinforcements."

"Yesss!," Willow said jubilantly. "I knew he wouldn't get killed in that miner rebellion! Well, I hoped really hard, anyway. And it was true! Who came with him?"

"Eos, the leader of the Red Faction from Mars," Buffy said. "And he liked me having Angel around so much that he picked up his own vamp."

Willow pulled a face. "Gross!"

Vampire on human action had been bad enough when it was just Buffy -- now her old friend Xander was a necrophilliac too?!

"You said it," Buffy agreed, thinking to herself that the only good vampire was a dead one.

Willow picked up the snake bone, the only bit of hard proof they'd been able to retrieve from the cult. One of the ends of the bone was stained red, with fresh blood.

"Who cut themselves on this?," she asked.

"Xander," Giles sighed. "Not a minute back and already he's put his oar in."

"He did help run that Red Faction," Buffy pointed out. "He might not be totally incompetant, now."

"He's certainly not totally poor anymore," Willow smiled. The miners on Mars had received hefty compensation from Ultor Corporation. Ultor had not wanted to pay out; the Earth Defense Fleet had amassed enough evidence from Capek's laboratories and confessions from guards that they had had no other option.

"Er, speaking of Xander, it would appear that the man in question has returned," Giles pointed out, gesturing out of the shop window.

The Ford Escort was back, with two large plywood boxes tied to the top. Willow watched as Xander got out, along with a tough looking woman -- Eos, obviously -- and a pale man dressed in a long coat with pronounced canines. Gross times two -- Xander was with a guy vampire?!

Xander whistled as he picked up one end of a box, Alucard holding the other end up. The shop bell tinkled as he walked through it, Eos holding the door open.

"Hey, G-man, Buffster, Wills. Can I stash this in the back? Thanks!"

The witchly hacker watched in bemusement as the two put the box in the large training room behind the shop, then went and got the other box, storing it too in that room.

"Don't I get a hug, Xander?," Willow asked. She was going to reserve judgement on him until she learnt a bit more about his situation.

"Sure," Xander said, giving her a quick, brotherly hug. "Good to see my favourite witch along with my fave Slayer and G-man. Wills, this is Eos. Eos, Wills. And this vamp is Alucard."

Willow looked at the vampire, head slanted. "Why... how is he walking around in sunlight like that?!"

She wished she had some of her spell components here. Giles refused to let his precious bookshop get sullied by a smell other than that of paper and ink.

"I don't know, and he ain't tellin'," Xander shrugged. "Look, we learnt about that cult thing, can you tell us anything about it?"

Willow bit her upper lip gently, her eyebrows bunching together cutely. "Uh, they seem to have some kind of snake fetish, don't go in for the random vampy killing, and they're really good at hiding."

"That's it?," Eos asked, disbelieving.

"Pretty much," Buffy said, feeling left out.

"Don't you know what the name of the cult is, their goals, anything like that?"

"We only just found out about the prescence of the cult recently," Giles stammered. "As Willow said, they are vexingly able at hiding."

Alucard knelt before Xander, who was currently leaning against a bookshelf.

"Order me, my Master."

Willow's mouth dropped open.

"ALEXANDER LAVELLE HARRIS! You're a gay necrophilliac pervert that's into S&M all of a sudden?!"

Xander blushed red. "W-w-w-what?! He's a servant to my family! I don't know why!"

A few seconds passed, before he felt the need to add something.

"And I've never seen him without that suit on!"

"Like, ew!," Buffy said, mental images blooming. "I so don't want to know."

"Come on, guys! I swear it's not like that!"

Chapter 11

Willow gave Xander a hard look. "Are you certain that you're not doing the Buffy-Angel tango, mister?"

Giles smirked from where he was carefully continueing his inventory, staying out of the whole affair.

"Yes!," Xander groaned.

"Anything else? No? Good," Eos said, getting tired of this dancing around. "Mr Giles, thanks for letting us crash at your place, but we need to find a place of our own."

"Speaking of us'es and ours'es," Xander began, "we really should let Seras out."

"Seras?," Buffy asked. And some people said she had a weird name.

"Back in a moment, G-man," Xander said. He and Alucard disappeared into the back room. The sound of breaking plywood made itself known.

"Er, what've you got in those boxes?," Buffy asked Eos.

The brunette leader smirked slightly. "The dead bodies of the slain. You know, a few Ultor guards, a few politicians."

"Major ewww!," Willow complained. "I can't see Xander doing that!"

The door to the back room opened, revealing the two men and also a short woman with blonde hair and red eyes. Not bloodshot, but red irises.

Buffy realised it wasn't just Xander's vamp that was setting off her spider sense. "Who's the new vamp, Xand?"

"I'm Seras," the vampiress said, holding her hand out to Buffy. "Seras Victoria."

Buffy looked as if she was not going to shake the vampiress'es hand any time soon, and Willow was still slightly mad at Xander for the whole misunderstanding, so Giles took the female's hand and shook it.

"Seras Victoria of the Hellsing Institute?," he asked. "I have heard many good things about you from the Council liason officer."

His statement had a noticeable effect on Buffy and Willows' attitude towards the short woman. Eos yawned.

"We've been on the go since... before the rebellion, I think. Homecoming Party time?," Xander asked. "I want a treat. I need a treat."

Giles' lips twitched, holding back a sadistic smirk. "I'm afraid that the only treat we have for you is a research party."

"Aw, man!"

"No rest for the wicked," Willow smiled.

Seras gave Alucard an exasperated look. "Maaaaster!"

"No, Willow, not like that," Xander sighed, cutting off his old friend's growing expression.


Later that night, Giles finally gave in to Xander's pleas.

"Alright. Here is the key to my flat," the British man said. "If I find it in less than pristine condition when I return, you will--"

"Gotcha," Xander said, smiling gratefully. "I'm - *yawn* - too pooped to poop."

"There's no way I'm letting you drive," Seras argued as the quartet left Giles' bookshop.

"Hey! My driving is perfect in all conditions, as am I!"


The next morning found Xander stumbling into the bookshop with Seras. A nights sleep had done him a lot of good. Eos had gone shopping for new clothes for the four of them, dragging Alucard along as a packhorse.

"Jeez, you still at it?"

Giles was still poring over a book. This one was written in strange glyphs that writhed under Xander's gaze.

"Er, yes," Giles admitted. "I found a fascinating section about-- Good Lord, Xander, what happened to your eyes?"

"What?," Xander asked, genuinely puzzled.

Giles snatched up an 'Authentic Thousand Year Old Artifact, Made In China!' mirror, holding it up to Xander's face.

Xander slowly took the mirror from Giles' hands, looking at his reflection. His two irises had changed colour to a deep orange, and the pupils were starting to flatten into ovals. Around his eyes, the skin was starting to darken and harden into scales.

"What the hell?," Xander asked, genuinely alarmed. "Is this anything to do with that weird bone, or am I getting Mayor possession pangs?!"

Chapter 12

Xander rubbed his eyes, feeling the smooth scales that were forming. He couldn't believe this!

Ow! And now his teeth were ganging up on him too?! Ow! Ow! Ow! Major doubleplus ungood OWWWWW!

Of course, this came out to Giles and Seras as "AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!"

After a minute or two, the toothache from hell subsided, and Xander poked around his teeth with his tongue.

Hold on.

Something strange was going on.

He poked out his tongue, looking at it in the mirror. Thin, forked?!?!


Giles' eyebrows were lowering in thought. "Xander, open your mouth?"

He obediently did so.


He had two long fangs, replacing his thirty-something normal, human teeth.

He bet that Alucard had done this in revenge for the garlic laced toothpaste last night.

"S-Sir?," Seras asked. "Your scales are spreading!"

And they were. Already, most of his face was covered and the hard black scales were spreading down his neck. His stomach and the rest of his guts were starting to feel strange, too. The ovals that his pupils had formed into had sharpened into a pair of vertical slashes down his irises.

The shop bell rang. Alucard's voice rang out. "Master! I escaped from Eos!"

Xander looked up to the ancient vampire, the vengeance of Hell burning in his eyes. "Alucard! This is going too far!"

He paused, then moved over to the vampire. "Uh... Alucard, joke's over. You can move now."

"Master!," Seras scolded. "Master, wake up now!"

Giles opened and shut his mouth wordlessly, as a large spider vacated his bookshop, running out the front door. He ducked and shut his eyes and Xander turned around.

"G-man, you got any idea what's going on?"


"What?," the confused ex-miner asked. "Okay, you're the boss."

Seras took a bandanna out of a pocket and tied it around his head, covering his shut eyes. "Done."

Hang on a cotton-pickin' minute. "Er, this might be a stupid question, but have my arms gotten shorter all of a sudden?"

"It would seem so," Giles said. "Well, we, er, I, have a very good idea of what that bone fragment does."

"Don't hold out on the rest of us," Xander grumbled, Seras nodding.

"Well, taking into account the fleeing arachnids, the scales, fangs and killing gaze... Xander, you're changing into a Basilisk."

"A what-il-isk?," Seras asked.

"The King of Serpents," Giles said, taking refuge in routine. "The Basilisk is a large serpent, black in colour, with orange eyes. To look at a Basilisk in the eyes is death, although a reflection or refraction may instead incur petrification."

"I don't get it," Xander said, confused. "If I'm a Basilisk all of a sudden, how come Alucard there didn't die and dust when he looked at me?"

Giles sighed. Even after a year... "Er, Xander, he's already dead."

"Oh. Yeah."

Seras gave Xander a very dirty look. It was therefore kind of a shame that he couldn't see the look.

Hang on, considering the Basilisk thing, maybe it wasn't a shame.

The shop bell rang again. Buffy and Willow wandered into the bookshop.

"Hey, Giles," Buffy said.

"Er, hello Buffy," Giles said in return. "Shouldn't the pair of you be at lectures?"

"Free morning," Buffy said. "We thought we'd come see our favourite donut-boy."

"Don't look me in the eyes," Xander said grumpily. "It's bad for your cholesterol level."

Willow's mouth opened and closed a few times, before she found breath. "Xander Harris, after--"

"NO, WILLOW!," Giles and Xander yelled. Okay, maybe Giles wasn't as loud as that.

"Ewww, Xander, like what's up with your skin?," Buffy asked, trailing a finger across the scales.

Giles took his glasses off and began cleaning them. The two living girls turned to look at him.

"What's going on, Giles? Why isn't Tall, Dark and Gruesome over there moving, and why isn't Xander looking Xandery," Willow asked.

The Watcher gestured at the bone fragment still resting on the counter. "That. Don't touch it at all."

"Still not getting it..." Buffy trailed off.

Giles pulled a thick bestiary off a shelf, opening it to the B section.

"There. Basilisk. The purpose of the bone fragment is to transform."

Chapter 13

Buffy, who had been chewing some bubblegum, stood there with her mouth hanging open.

"Transform? Oh my God, you mean that Xander's going to turn into a snake?," Seras asked. While she had no real concern about him beyond duty, Xander was her Master's Master.

"Er, so it would seem," Giles said evasively.

"This is so bad!," Willow complained. "What if Xander is stuck like this? He'll lose his arms and his legs and his hair will fallout and he won't be Xander-shaped! Giles, we have to find those cultists and make them reverse it!"

If Eos or Alucard were around, they probably would have said 'Breathe, girl!' at this stage and, in Alucard's case, gotten hit for it.

"It issn't a bunch of rosess for me, either," Xander grumped. "My God, my essesss!"

"Xander, please stay still for a moment," Giles commanded.

The British researcher pulled out a clean sheet of paper, quickly sketching a vaguely snake-like creature on it and writing down estimates of Xander's length. So far, the former human was three meters and growing, thinning visibly.

"Is it me, or is he changing faster?," Seras asked nervously. Already, the blindfold was starting to loosen around Xander's shifting skull. His arms were about a quarter of a meter long now, and shortening rapidly. His legs had fused together.


Willow's mouth was now wide open, and she was the one who was speechless.

"Xander Harris!," Buffy exclaimed. While no stranger to swearing, it came as a shock when her safe male friend used strong language.

Giles took his glasses off and started cleaning. "Ah, girls, while the language may be inappropriate, he has spent a year with miners. And he is undergoing excruciating pain while the bone surrounding his brain shifts and flexes."

Seras was crouched by the Red Faction member, running a finger along the scales. They now covered all of him. His jeans, underwear, socks and shoes had been pushed off and ripped as his legs had fused together, but his privates had been sucked inside his body.

"Xander, can you still hear me?," Willow implored. "Xander?"

He shook his head muzzily. Exhausting. A patch of white scales appeared on the top of his head, strongly contrasting with the shiny black. The White Knight fell into merciful unconsciousness as the transformation continued relentlessly.

Buffy and Willow looked at Giles expectantly. Seras shook Alucard's shoulder, trying to get him to wake up.

"Well," Giles said, drawing Seras' attention as well, "sometimes, there is only one word for it."

"Bugger," the Englishman said with feeling.


"Where is the missing bone?!"

"Brother Sal has tracked it down to the Slayer, and the Watcher."

"We must retrieve it, unharmed!"

"We're doing our best, Father, but at the slightest hint, given the Council's tendencies, they'll smash it..."

"Send in one of the holy messengers."


Seven hours later, Xander had still not awoken. Giles had strong doubts as to whether any questions would supply an understandable response. So little was known about basilisks...

The ex-miner was now completely transformed. Now five meters long, the form that the bone had forced on him was surprisingly slim, resembling a large python more than a thick-bodied anaconda.

Giles sighed. Xander's coils were spread all over the floor in a way that made him wince just looking at them. He was sure that there was no problem; it was mainly his own experience with sleeping in bad positions that pricked at his conscience.

"Come, Buffy, let's make him more... comfortable. Ah, Seras, please re-tye the bandanna over his eyes, first?"

"Why does she get to do that?," Buffy asked belligerently as the vampiress tightened the square of cloth. "I'm the Slayer, not her!"

Giles took off his glasses, forgoing cleaning them in favour of pinching the bridge of his nose in an attempt at staving off an impending headache. Willow, good girl that she was, answered for him.

"If she sees his eyes, then she'll only be paralysed, because, well, vampire! But you're still human, and we don't want you to die in an accident," the Wiccan redhead said.

The emotion of the situation finally caught up with Willow. She'd worried a long time over her best friend, only survivor from her primary school cadre of friends. She'd been so overjoyed when he'd come back to them all safe and sound, but now... now his life was screwed up! As she began to sob, Seras put a cold arm around her, comforting her. Willow had never thought before today that she'd accept something like that from one of the undead, but she sat there with the vampiress.

Under Giles' direction, Buffy carefully coiled up Xander's body, being careful not to bend the coils too far. She hoped that she didn't break anything -- even though he was stuck in a monster's body, he was still Xander, the boy who had stood beside her and defended her in his way all through high school, even though he hadn't had any superpowers himself. She owed him that much -- she'd been so happy when he'd left Sunnydale to work as a miner for Ultor, thought he'd be safe away from La Boca Del Inferno.

Buffy repressed the strange twist of emotions, shoving to the back of her mind where all things of that nature were kept. She was the Slayer. She couldn't afford to appear weak. Not to her friends, not to the public and especially not to the vampires, demons and ghouls.

Giles cleared his throat. "Well. I'll, ah, just put the kettle on."

As the Englishman disappeared to the bookshop's back room, Buffy sat down on the side of Willow opposite to the vampiress. The Slayer decided to ignore the undead in favour of helping her best female friend for the time being.

Chapter 14

"Thank you, Holy Messenger, for bringing this part of Her back to us."

˜You're welcome, although there were... complications.˜


˜One of them pricked themselves on it.˜

"Did something happen?"


"Holy Messenger... we need to knoooow..."


"He kinda turned into a Basilisk?!"

˜Yes. Well, I'm done, see you later!˜

With that, the messenger made a dash for it.

"We've set up the circles around the mouth. We just have to array Her and do the ceremony."

"Have we got the sacrifice?"

"Yes -- one of the Messengers volunteered."

"Good, good... what about the safety measures? I want demons around about as much as I want a hole through my head."

"Triple checked, then we had a third party check them."


Xander woke up, shaking his head from side to side. Man... what did they drink last night? He thought he'd sworn off alcohol after that last post-victory hangover.

He saw blackness, and moved to correct that when he went rigid. Arms. Where where they?

"Guys?," he asked out loud. It came out as a hiss.

Okay. Now was the time to start panicking. Maybe not panic, but certainly heavy worryage.

Moving around a bit, he felt that someone had coiled his new body up, with his head resting on top. This snake gig was going to take a bit to get used to. He sincerely hoped he changed back quick enough that he wouldn't have to get used to it.

"Xander?," he heard Buffy's voice ask. Well, at least he wasn't at the mercy of the Slayer.

He hissed a greeting, which the humans and the vampire completely failed to understand.

"We can't understand that," Willow said. "Raise your head once for no, and twice for yes. Do you understand?"

The ex-miner, neo-snake raised his head twice to indicate yes.

"I will forgo the insensitive comments on consequences, and cut to the chase," Giles said. "We need a sample of your poison from your fangs to create the necessary potion to un-petrify your vampire. Is that alright with you?"

Heck yeah! He opened his mouth, feeling his long fangs flick into position. Xander resisted the new instinct to bite whoever it was, as they held a stick against the back of his fangs to stop them folding back or biting them.

"There," Giles said. "Willow, if you would do the honours?"

He heard the sound of a glass rod stirring something in a beaker.

"Well, it's changed colour to green like the book says," Willow's voice said. "Buffy, Little Miss Slayer, you get to administer the cure."

"Why me?"

"Vampires like you. What if Gruesome is mad at us?"

The sounds of liquid draining into something floated across the room.

"She almost dragged me into-- what?"

The sound of the tall, coated vampire getting up.

"Master? Seras, where has Master Hellsing gone?"

"He kinda got turned into that by that bone thing," Seras said quietly.

The old vampire laughed, long and loud. "Oh, Lady Integra would have my fangs out for this! She'd have me flayed undead! The Lord of Hellsing, a monster! Hahahaha!"

Xander didn't really appreciate the levity, and hissed at the vampire who supposedly served him. "Shaddup!"

"I don't see why I should shut up!," the vampire hissed back.

Chapter 15

Xander blinked. Or he would have if he had eyelids right now, and if his eyes weren't closed.

"You can sspeak ssnake?," he hissed in Alucard's general direction. Being blindfolded sucked, even if it was necessary.

"Of course, Master," Alucard said, a note of laughter in his deep, deep voice. "I am Class A."

The sound of Giles dropping something heavy thudded into Xander's ears... or whatever the heck passed for them now. "Class A? Dear God in Heaven... I had heard something from the Council..."

"Is that bad?," Buffy demanded.

"Buffy?," Giles said quietly.

"Yeah? Badness level?"

"Never annoy this vampire," Giles whispered quietly. "He defeated Incognito, who was possessed by a God. He could squash you like a bug."

The vampire's grin grew widely, showing some of his fangs.

"He can't drive, though," Seras piped up.

"I'm learning," Alucard said defensively. "I am infallible!"

"Only because you can't actually die or be permanently maimed if you crash!," Seras shot back.

"Guys? Cure?," Xander hissed.

"You know, that's real creepy," Willow observed. "I mean, giant fifteen foot long pythony Basilisk, hissing. But it could be worse, I guess. I don't know how, but it, it could."

"He wants to know about a cure," Alucard conveyed. "How was he touched?"

"I assume by touched you mean infected with whatever caused this transformation?," Giles asked.

"He pricked himself on some snake rib bone," Eos said. "They got it from some cultists they're after."

"Cultists?," Alucard asked. "What sect are they?"

"Er, according to the Slayer's reports," Giles began, "they are clad in quote funky black dresses with hoodies unquote, with scaled skin, talons, and a snakelike cast to their features."

Buffy blushed at Giles' verbatim portion of the explanation.

"One of them didn't have a gold medallion on?," the ancient vampire asked.

"The lot had 'em. It was practically Mr T convention time," Buffy confirmed.

"They were so scary," Willow recalled. "It was like one of those rattlesnakes leaping out of the bushes."

Alucard began to chuckle, then went into fullblown laughter.

"Master?," Seras asked. "Are they good?"

"They're very good," Alucard said as his laughter started to slow. "Slayer, you've been hunting Slizath priests!"

"The what-ath?"

"Oh. Oh dear," Giles said, grabbing a thick tome from a shelf. "I vaguely remember something..."

"These guys can help?," Xander hissed. He didn't have a problem understanding English, but speaking it, no way.

"Yes, Master," Alucard hissed back. "Assuming that Siz is around."

"So why would these guys be on the Hellmouth?," Buffy asked.

"It can't be anything good," Willow chimed in. "Because, hey, Hellmouth. Mouth of Hell. Badness comes through it."

"Have you asked them?," Seras enquired.

"Ah! Here it is," Giles said, laying the book down on the counter. "Slizath: a race of serpentile beings who have a strong sense of honour and abhor... undead..."

Alucard muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'boneheaded watcher.'

"Okay, you be Research Guys," Buffy commanded. "I'll go find these bozos."

She left the bookshop, absolutely sure that the Faction Crew would obey her, much like the Team Sunnydale.

"All those in favour of blowing her off and searching for these snake guys ourselves?," Eos asked, raising her hand. "Motion passed. Come on, Alucard, Seras. Alucard, bring Vampire with you."

"Seras and I are vampires," Alucard complained as the three twolegged people and one no-legged person left the shop. "Lord Hellsing hasn't even died!"

"Doesn't matter..."

Giles sighed as the door closed, causing the little bell above it to chime. "Well, Willow, it looks like another stunning afternoon with my books."

"Have fun," Willow said.

"Surely you're not planning on hunting out those... Slizath, are you?," Giles asked, an eyebrow raised.

"No. Lectures. I am in Uni, you know."


Xander thought about the whole thing while the Faction Crew cruised Sunnydale. Eos and Seras were in the front (with an almost unanimous vote putting Seras behind the wheel), with Alucard in the back with Xander coiled around the headrests and draped over the seats.

Fortunately, the windows were heavily tinted, so that the two undead were not discomforted, and so that the police didn't pull them over for having an unrestrained reptile in a moving vehicle. Or something.

"We've looked through the warehouse district, the poor part of town, and the swank part of town," Eos complained, "and poof, no snakemen. No snakewomen. No snakes. Alucard, is your magic nose working?"

"Yes," Alucard said, stung. "The Hellmouth gives off a lot of noise, but there aren't any concentrations within fifty meters."

"Would they be using the Hellmouth for some ritual thingy?," Xander hissed.

"Probably, Master," Alucard replied.

"We should probably go look there, yeah?"

Alucard rolled his eyes. Hiding in plain sight, yeesh.

"What?," Seras asked.

"The Hellmouth," Alucard said. "They're hiding near it."

"Okay, fine," Eos said. "So they're hiding near this Hell thing. Where the hell is the Hellmouth?"

"I know," Xander said. "I made Deadboy take me there at crosspoint four or five years ago. They're in the tunnels, in the sewer system."

"Lord Hellsing can take us there," Alucard smirked. "In the sewers."

"Great," Seras complained. "Garbage."

"Hang on," Eos said. "He can't see. If he does, boom. Dead Eos."

"So he goes in front, and doesn't turn around," Seras said.

"Oh. Right."

Chapter 16

Xander turned his head slowly, looking around the sewers. Man, they sure looked different from down on the ground. It took him quite a few meters before he got the hang of this slithering thing, and every now and again he screwed up and had to start moving again.

He was pretty sure he was on the right track, though. They'd just gotten past the brick tunnels, and into the natural cave system.

"Master," Alucard said softly, "the Slizath are up ahead."

"Okay," Xander hiss-sighed. "Make with the blindfolding."

He submitted to the bandanna with good grace -- he had no intention of hurting or killing anyone by accident.

"E-Excuse me?," Seras said tentatively to the figures up ahead. "Are you the Priests?"

One of them turned around, tensing before recognising that they were not that psycho slayer. The tallest of them stepped into the tunnel from the chamber containing the Hellmouth.

"Yes," the figure hissed. "Might I ask as to who you are, and what you might want?"

"I'm Eos, he's Alucard, she's Seras, and snakeboy there is Xander," the female ex-miner snapped. "Pleased to meet you. We want to know if you've got a cure for whatever happened to Xander there."

The tall priest lifted two clawed and scaled hands to it's hood, lowering it to reveal an amalgamation of serpentine and humanoid features. "We ourselves are regretfully unable to render assistance to Lord Hellsing--"

"They know about us?," Seras asked.

"--but She will be able to help him in any fashion required once She has regained her former glory. I am Tzath."

Alucard sauntered over to the entrance to the Hellmouth's cavern, looking over the giant circle drawn on the floor. "You're planning a resurrection?"


"Are you waiting for the stars to be right before you can begin your spell?," Seras asked.

"Waiting for mystical forces untold millions of lightyears away to affect the astral leylines, and the Hellmouth? Of course not," Tzath said. "We're waiting for Brother Halth to get back with a Bic lighter. My Zippo ran out."


Buffy marched into Giles' bookshop, then stopped short when she saw that Giles was the only person actually researching there.

"Where did everybody else go?," the Slayer asked.

"I'm afraid that Xander and his colleagues left to find the cult members themselves, and Willow left for her classes," Giles said, pushing his glasses back up his nose.

"They left?," Buffy asked in disbelief.

"I'm afraid so," Giles said, paging through the book in front of him. "Oh, look at this, apparently--"

"Giles," Buffy interrupted, "what if they're collaboratorying with the snake guys?"

The British ex-librarian looked up in annoyance, his brow furrowed. "Really, Buffy, the Slizath have a long history of helping to exterminate the worser element of--"

"What if they've changed?," Buffy interrupted again. "I mean, Xander had his vampire buddies. We can't trust him."

Giles sighed, taking off his glasses to clean them. "We will have to wait and see, then. If they come marching in through the door in the next minute demanding our blood, then I will admit that an American teenager is right and that centuries of scholarship have proven themselves wrong."

The Englishman looked at the door expectantly. Hordes of homicidal snake people failed to erupt through it in an angry tide, wanting to murder him and his charge.

Buffy blushed. "They could be bad. We don't know."

"I suggest, then, that you attempt to find them and ask them for yourself," Giles said, deciding to pass the buck.

"I'll do that," the Slayer said, grabbing a short sword from under the counter and stomping out of the bookshop.

Giles didn't bother stopping her; with Hellsing's Abomination (as the Council called Alucard) to help him, Xander was in absolutely no danger of being harmed in any way.


After Eos volunteered her lighter, the priests got to work on their ritual. Tzath lit a taper, which the acolytes lit their tapers from to light the numerous candles placed at intersections of the Great Circle. In the exact center of the cave, right where the Hellmouth was, a peculiar skeleton was arranged on a clean piece of linen cloth. It appeared human, except for the hands and head. Claws were on the tips of the fingers, and small, long spines grew out of the skull where hair would be on a normal human.

"Vlad," Tzath asked Alucard, "would you care to help?"

"Of course," Alucard smirked. "Asiz is an old friend."

Chapter 17

Xander was getting thoroughly annoyed. He had no idea what was going on, beyond what Seras and Eos told him. He wasn't trusting Alucard's reports. He was halfway to certain that the Hellmouth hadn't spat out a Tribble.

"Okay, they're chanting," Seras said, "lines of red energy are flowing from Master and from the priests, and omigod!"

"What?," Xander hissed. Neither of the two women understood him.

"Flesh is growing on that skeleton," Eos continued. "Starting from tendons and growing upwards and outwards. You're lucky you can't see, Vampire --it's like a train wreck. You're horrified, but you can't tear your eyes away.

"Okay, flesh growing, eyes just inflated," Eos said. "The hair isn't actually hair -- it's a bunch of snake tails. The things keep moving. Creepiest thing I've seen in awhile. Skin is growing -- ohhhh, it's a girl! Keep pushing, baby!"

The Red Faction leader lapsed into morbid humour at the last sentence as the unworldliness of the rite got to her.

"The acolytes are blowing out the candles now," Seras reported. "Master and Tzath are helping the lady up now."

"And now I wait," Xander commented. "Kinda like the rest of my life."

"Would the poor baby like to be changed back?," an unfamiliar voice hissed in the manner of the serpent. "Awww..."

"Yes," Xander hissed. "I would very much like to be able to look at people again."

"Very well," the unfamiliar voice said in English.

Xander felt a strange sensation of bones cracking, and muscle flowing like water. The bandanna fell from his eyes as his head changed shape. He quickly closed his eyes, not wanting to risk an accident.

"Your faith in Her is overwhelming," Tzath said acidly. Xander tentatively opened his eyes a crack, opening them the rest of the way when no one was adversely affected.

"Thanks!," he said with a wide grin to the new person. True, she was very odd looking, but Xander was considerably happy. "I'm back to my God-ordained Xander-shape! Twinkies and Mars Bars beware, Xander is back on the hunt!"

Eos laughed out loud at this. "You're just happy you can go back to killing vampires, Vampire."

"You, too, hunt the Demons?," the lady asked.

"Why, thank you for introducing yourself," Alucard smoothly interrupted. "Xander Harris, Lord Hellsing, this is Asiz, Goddess of the Slizath. Eos the Red Faction Leader, Police Girl, and of course myself."

There was a protest of "Hey, Master!" before Alucard wrapped his hand around Seras' mouth.

"Quiet, Police Girl," he laughed nervously.

"Her name is Seras Victoria," Eos said tiredly.

The lady, Asiz, smiled. "Wonderful. Good to meet you again, Alucard. Lord Hellsing, Eos, Police Girl, I'm glad to make your acquaintance."

"HEY!," Seras complained loudly again. Both Asiz and Alucard smirked at her.

Xander was thankful to the two for lightening the mood, even if he hadn't gotten a chance to join in.

"How has the war progressed while I have slept?," Asiz asked, skirting the issue of her obvious death.

"Sadly, without Your intervention and inspiration," Tzath began, "numerous agencies have attempted to open the Hellmouth. Many times, the Slayer and her team have been the only ones present to stop them while we have been trying to merely exist."

Asiz nodded slowly. Her face twisted with distaste. "Slayers. I would almost like them, were it not for the Watchers."

Xander shrugged. "G-man isn't too bad. But he's the only one who isn't too bad."

"He was the old guy from the bookshop, right?," Seras asked.

"That's the G-man," Xander confirmed. "Slayer of Mysteries and Hoarder of the Knowledge."

"There are exceptions," Asiz equivocated.

"THERE YOU ARE! Xander, I *knew* you were working with demons!," a short blonde stridently shrieked from the entrance to the cavern.

A panting sound announced that someone else was trying to follow her, and wasn't quite up to her speed. "Buh, Bu, Buffy, I really, must, insist, that you, stop and listen!"

"That's G-man," Xander said, listening to the sound of someone that he couldn't see yet.

"Wonderful," Eos sighed. "One homicidal wacko, coming up."

Chapter 18

"Homicidal?," Buffy asked, her voice rising towards an impressive shriek as she drew a short sword. "Homicidal? I got your homicidal right here!"

She charged towards the group of acolytes protecting the priests and Asiz, only to be knocked down as a priest struck like a coiled cobra, nailing her in the forehead and knocking her out.

"Well, that's one down," Eos said. "How 'bout you, Rupert?"

"Please, call me Giles," the Englishman said. "And I wish to state that the Council has a strict nonviolence standing order towards the Slizath."

Alucard arched an eyebrow. Despite his bangs of hair hiding his forehead, and his wide hat, the expression stood out.

"That makes a nice change, then," Tzath commented acidly. "Care to collect your attackgirl?"

Giles sheepishly picked up Buffy, dragging her by the armpits to the edge of the cavern.

"Now, My Lady, I have sad news to report to you," Tzath began. "Without Your blessing and inspiration, life in the safehouses have not been very happy."

The snakelady nodded. "I must leave immediately for the nearest one, then."

"Los Angeles," Tzath supplied.

"I just got my car back," Eos volunteered. "It's fast, I could get you there in no time."

"I'm going with you to keep an eye on you," Buffy slurred from where she was beginning to wake up.

"You're only keeping an eye on her if you get a glass one," Xander ruled. "Seras and I will sit in the back seat, and Alucard can keep an eye on things here."

"Really?," Giles asked, eyes lighting up. "Come, come, the Council and I have long had some queries we've wished to ask you..."

"Master!," Alucard said accusingly, as the mortal Watcher somehow managed to drag the immortal Vampire along by the wrist.

"Come on," Eos said.

"Can I get some new clothes while we're in Los Angeles?," Seras could be heard asking as the four wandered down the tunnel back to the sewers.


"Eos! You never told me you have a car as sweet as this!," Xander protested.

They had gotten to the house they were renting to find a very nice car sitting in the driveway, the garage door shut. It was jet black, with a chrome bumper.

"Hop in," Eos said, holding the left door open and moving the front seat forwards. Seras got in first, followed by Xander. Asiz let herself in, sitting on the passenger seat like she was the owner and not Eos.

Xander spotted a badge on the dash, on the passenger side. 'Z/28'. A Camaro, then.

"What year is this?," he asked.

"'69," Eos replied, as if it were no matter.

The brunette twisted the key in the ignition, and the engine obediently started. A loud roar woke up the neighbours, as Eos tested out the loud pedal. The 427ci engine became less audible as Eos shut her door, then regained it's prominence as the two women up front wound down the windows.

"Who wants to listen to some music?," Eos asked, pushing a cassette tape into the stereo anyway.

Xander had a dopey grin on his face.

"I Feel So Good! I Feel So Numb, Yeah!," Rob Zombie yelled from the speakers as Eos shifted the musclecar into first gear and the tyres bit down into the concrete, lunging out onto the blacktop. The Red Faction leader absently twisted the volume knob all the way to 'high', and they could all feel it as the kick drum was pounded.

Combined with the vibrations and the sound of the engine, it was mindblowing.

"This is insane!," Seras yelled.

"Ain't it cool?," Eos yelled back. "I would have taken the shark, but that's a two seater!"

Xander gave a wild yell of enjoyment, as the old car accelerated quickly to over two hundred kilometers an hour with blatant disregard for the Sunnydale PD, who spilt their coffee on themselves as the black car sped past them on the way out of town.


Chapter 19

"The Enemy has just left Sunnydale. We were unable to apprehend her."

"Acknowledged. Transportation?"

"1969 Camaro. Hellishly quick, insane driver."

"Thank you. We'll take over from here."


Xander yelled as he held onto a handy metal bar. He did not scream.


"Why?," Eos asked over the music, turning it down slightly.

Seras, who was hanging onto Xander as well as anything she could find, shuddered as Eos slung the car around a hairpin bend sideways, gunning the engine as the tyres bit down and it shot off down the road at a merry two hundred kilometers an hour.

"If you kill me, I'll haunt you for the rest of your life!," Seras screamed.

"Police girl, you're a vampire," Asiz laughed. The two in the back seat were not reassured by her mirth. "You can't die. Well, again, anyway."

"Great," Xander heard Seras mutter. "I'll just be in a lot of pain until I get out of the wreckage, then."

"Something's wrong," Eos said abruptly, turning off the stereo.

The sound of the big block engine took dominance in the car as Xander began to worry even more. If Eos was about to say that the brakes didn't work, he'd kill her.

"There," Asiz said, pointing out the windshield. "Nutcase with a rocket launcher."

"Oooh, can I use the little red button?," Eos asked eagerly, shifting to the top gear.

"What's the little red button?," Xander asked in tones of dread.

"Nitrous," Eos replied lovingly.

If Xander didn't know better, he'd swear that this was Eos's twin sister, and not her.

"Hit it," Asiz said right as Xander yelled "No!"

Eos ignored Xander and held the button down. The car, already travelling at Ludicrous Speed, accelerated even more.

"He's fired," Asiz said. "It's coming right for us. Swerve... now!"

"Do you know how fast we're going?," Eos demanded. "I don't do swerve!"

"We're dead, then," Seras said morbidly.

"Too late," Xander teased absently, his knuckles going white as he held onto the roll bar for dear life.

Asiz leant out the open window, and Seras hurriedly grabbed the snake goddess' feet so that she didn't fall out onto the road. Her hair rasped, as the scales flicked against each other in the wind. A lance of scintillating red fire shot forth from her cupped palms, hitting the rocket mid-air and causing it to explode.

"What about the guy who fired that?!," Xander demanded.

"He's gone," Eos said.

Seras pulled Asiz back into the car, and the now-shaking goddess wound the window up. Eos wound her window up, as well.

"Okay, that's over the top even for you," Xander said.

Eos began to laugh.

"Road! Road! Eyes on the road!," Xander panicked, spotting the speedometer needle hovering above Ludicrous Speed.

Xander took a deep breath and began to try and calm down. "Eos, slow the car down."

"Why?," Eos asked.

"Eos, stop the car," Xander said in a hard voice.

The brunette woman shrugged, gently slowing the car to a halt at the side of the highway. The two women up front got out, and Xander climbed out of the car as well, and sat down on the dusty ground.

"Why'd you want to stop?," Eos asked.

"Seras, check the boot," Xander ordered.

The blonde vampiress got out after pulling the trunk release. "What're you after, Vampire?"

"Don't call me that," Xander complained. "Anything look like it could go off?"

"No, it's all still secured," the former police-woman reported.

"Well, at least you're still a saner driver than Shrike," Xander observed.

"I'm not as good as him, though," Eos admitted. "Say, didn't he say he was going to Los Angeles?"

Xander nodded. "Him, Quill, and Alias. Asiz, where do you need to go?"

"Caritas will be fine," the snake goddess said. "LA's demon bar, one of my followers will be there."

"Should we drop in on Dead Boy?," Xander mused out loud. An evil grin grew on his face. "I think so."

Chapter 20

"Shall we leave, then?," Asiz asked. "I need to get to one of my safehouses as soon as possible."

"I just need to make a phone call," Xander said.

"Don't take too long," Eos commanded.

Xander pulled out his cellphone, hitting one of the speed dial buttons.



"Hi, Alucard? Xander here."

"Don't call me that!"

"Gee, thanks. I guess your sense of humour is as dead as the rest of you. Hey, I'm calling to let you know that you can take care of any bad, evil little demons or vampires you come across."

"Yes, that's an order. Consider it a standing order -- don't kill any good guys, though. Listen, Grandma Hellsing called ahead to the hospital, so you just need to bag it from there, okay?"

"Sure. Call me if you have any problems."

Xander pushed the end call button.

"Done yet, Vampire?," Eos called out.

"One more," Xander yelled back, hitting another speed dial button.


"Hi, Grandma Hellsing? Xander here."

"Thanks, and it's good to hear from you as well. Is Walter doing okay?"

"Could you send me a car? I need a way of getting around, and I don't want to have to impose on my friends all the time, you know?"

"Thanks. Once I've caught up with stuff here, I'll come visit you."

"Are you sure? You don't have to..."

"Great! So, tomorrow, the docks? Okay, bye."

This time, the call was terminated by the other end. Xander put his cellphone back into his pocket as he walked back to the Camaro.

"What was that about?," Seras asked.

"Just calling Alucard, and asking Grandma to send me a car," Xander shrugged. "No big."

"Okay, let's go, then," Eos said, pulling out her Rob Zombie cassette tape. She flicked a tape labelled 'Oasis - The Masterplan' into the stereo, then twisted the ignition.

<< "The Swamp Song", Oasis, The Masterplan >>


Once they arrived in Los Angeles, they pulled up outside an empty lot that Asiz indicated.

"Uh, hate to break it to ya, but there's a distinct lack of anything there," Xander pointed out helpfully.

"That's alright," Asiz said, smiling. "Don't worry, I can make my way from here."

"If you ever need help with anything, just give me a ring," Xander offered. "Uh, I'll just write down my phone number..."

The snake goddess held his hand still. "Don't worry about that. You'll know."

Smiling secretively, she swayed off to the empty lot. As she crossed the perimeter, she vanished.

"Shades of the Shadow!," Eos said, surprised.

"Where are those friends you wanted to meet?," Seras said, as Xander climbed into the front passenger seat.

"Good question," Xander said. "One that Eos, hopefully, knows the answer to."

"Sure do," the Red Faction leader nodded, gunning the engine briefly. "Down the road and around the corner."

"I think I like this town," Xander said conversationally.

"Why? Because of Hollywood?," Seras asked.


"Uh... girls sunbathing?"

"Nope. City limits, so Eos can't speed and get away with it."


"Truth hurts. Hey, tomorrow I need a ride to the docks district, to pick up the car."


The Camaro pulled up outside a small pub.

"We're here," Eos announced.

"And still in one piece, even," Xander nodded. "Very impressive."

"Keep it up," Eos threatened, "and you're gonna be walking back to Sunnydale."

"Ah," Xander said, "but I have a plan!"

"What is this plan of yours?," Eos asked, as Xander held the door open for the two women.

Xander let the door swing shut after them, and made a bee-line for the man with blue hair, a blue goatee, and playing cards tattooed on his upper right arm. Tiger stripes decorated his left arm, from his shoulder to his wrist.

"Hi, Shrike," Xander called out.

"Vampire!," Shrike smiled. His voice sounded British. "Good to see ya again."

The two sitting with him looked up. One was a slim reddish-blonde haired woman, clad in grey pants and a tight grey tank top. A long black case sat by her feet. The remaining person was a brown haired man, dressed in jeans and a red t-shirt.

"Alias, Quill," Xander greeted them. "I've got an offer for you guys, if you want work."

"Senator Sopot is looking for people, at the moment," Quill stated, looking at Xander through her unnatural golden eyes.

"I can beat any deal he could offer," Xander continued. "Can I sit down?"

"Sure," Shrike agreed. "Eos, good to see you too. I'll get you a few pints, my shout."

Eos sat down at the table, along with Xander and Seras. "I still owe you guys a debt of gratitude."

Alias shrugged. "As it turned out, Masako tried to get the three of us to evacuate with the rest of the mercs. We just stalled, didn't have to go against orders."

"What?," Seras asked.

"Who's she?," Quill demanded.

"Seras Victoria," Xander introduced. "Also known as Police Girl."

Seras glared at Xander for that.

"Seras, these three were under Colonel Masako's command on Mars," Eos explained, pausing as Shrike returned with a few jugs in hand. "They were on the Faction's side."

"I didn't join her company to shoot people just trying to live," Quill said, drawing patterns on the table with beer foam. "There's no challenge to potting miners, and Ultor tried to welch on it's deal with us."

"They did?," Xander asked. "I hadn't heard that."

"The UN forced Ultor to pay up," Shrike said, pouring the three newcomers a beer each. "Now, what's this about a deal you have for us?"

"Well," Xander said, "the world is far older than you know..."

Chapter 21

Quill laughed. "You're joking."

"Wish I was," Xander said. He lazily gestured towards Seras. "Wanna pick up someone here, Police Girl?"

The British vampiress got to her feet and picked up Alias, chair, armour and all. "Like this, or the other sense of the word?"

Quill, Alias, and Shrike looked unsettled at this.

"Uh... could you put me down?," Alias asked.

"Sure," Seras smiled.

"Now, you'd be working under Integra Hellsing, rather than me," Xander continued. "At the moment, I'm a problem solver rather than a commander."

"Lady Hellsing?," Shrike asked incredulously. "Long blonde hair, blue eyes, steel rimmed glasses, suit?"

"Not so much on the blonde anymore, but yeah," Xander agreed.

"What's the deal?," Quill demanded. "Shrike?"

"Well, you and Alias won't be short of work," Shrike said, shaking his head. "Listen, Vampire, we're willing to check things out more."

"Don't call me that," Xander complained.

"Great," Eos shrugged. "God, what's in this beer? Cat pee?"

"Either that or dog shit," Xander said, peering at the bar through the haze of smoke. "What's with the case, Quill? Looks new since I saw you last."

The orange haired women cleared a space on the table, then laid the long black case on it. She opened it to reveal a long, lethal looking rifle.

Seras drew in a sharp breath. "Beautiful... custom job?"

Quill nodded, smiling, as she drew a finger along the smooth metal. ".50 calibre, range from here to infinity. One shot from this will put anything down."

"Here we go," Shrike sighed. "We won't get anything useful out of her for the rest of the night."

"Thank God there wasn't room for Police Girl to bring her gun as well," Xander muttered. "There'd be some serious inadequacy complexes going on at this table."


Alucard laughed. This town was so pathetic! Flea-like vampires crawled all over it, pretending they were the best thing since... well, him. He turned, feeling an Aurelius vampire approaching the mouth of the alley.

"You!," the vampire snarled. It had white hair, and wore a black leather coat.

"Me," Alucard smirked, turning. He pulled out his Casull. "Run."

Normally, Spike wouldn't be worried in the slightest about a capgun like that, but with that evil smirk... he ran.

Without bothering to check his sights, Alucard fired.

Time slowed down for Spike, as he heard a click, a bang, then a faint whistling as the blessed silver bullet spun through the air. Damn, damn, damn...

"Oh, bloody hell!," Spike exclaimed half a second before he dusted.

Hellsing's monster put the pistol away, exchanging it for a bag of medical blood that he sucked on amusedly.

"Halt, HST!," he heard a crisp voice call out. He really must thank young master Hellsing for bringing him here.

"What do you want?," Alucard asked the man dressed in some manner of military outfit. "What is an... HST?"

"Hostile Sub Terrestial, you're coming with us!," the man snapped.

"How very clever," Alucard shrugged. "This town is under the protection of the Twelve Conventions, as per the Agreements of 1956. Leave, now."

The old vampire could feel several of the man's underlings trying to circle him.

"I don't know what you're talking about, but you're coming with us," the man growled, abandoning words for weapons as he brought his gun up to...

Weird. Where'd the HST go?

And what was it going on about, with those Agreements and Conventions? Maybe Walsh knew.


Xander scratched his back idly as he finished his cup of tea. Walter, Hellsing's butler, gunsmith and servant, had gotten him used to the stuff. He blearily looked across the table at his friends. Morning sucked in his opinion.

"Eos, can I get a ride to the docks?," he asked.

"I thought you didn't like my driving?," Eos silkily said.

"I don't, but I need a ride," Xander said.

"I'll give you a ride," Shrike said. "C'mon."

Xander followed the Brit out the door of the hotel, and then got a really, really bad feeling as Shrike approached a midnight black 1979 Corvette.

"Er, Shrike, is that yours?," Xander asked.

"Yeah, beautiful ain't it?"

"Can you try and not get a speeding ticket?"

The tattoo'ed speed freak grinned widely. "I've never gotten a ticket in my life -- they've never managed to catch up with me to give me one!"

Xander got in on the passenger side, then paled further as Shrike shoved a tape in, and fast techno music began playing as the bluette shifted the car into gear.

<< "Unreal ][/PM", Purple Motion of Future Crew >>

A wail of "I don't wanna dieeeee!" could be heard as the Stingray tore out of the parking lot.


Xander fell out of the car as it slid sideways to a stop, and began kissing the pavement.

"Man, I don't think you wanna be kissing that," an amused voice drawled. "That's LA pavement."

"It's nice pavement," Xander said fervently. "It doesn't travel at three hundred miles per. It doesn't even get up to one mile per hour. I like this pavement."

The wide, tall door to the warehouse that Shrike had stopped by opened, showing a whitehaired old man with a monocle perched over one eye.

"Walter!," Xander grinned. "Hi! This is Shrike -- him and his buddies are interested in work with Hellsing."

"Please, come in," Walter gestured. He shut the door after Shrike drove his car in. "Just there will be fine, Mister Shrike."

"Nah, just Shrike'll be fine."

"Alexander, Integra sent her TVR for you to use, as the Aston is being repaired at the moment," Walter said, gesturing towards a sleek car. The bonnet was long, and the windows were tinted. It oozed speed. "I also finished customising your weapons."

"Sweeeeet," Xander grinned. "Any trouble?"

Walter picked up a wooden case, opening it to reveal two chunky Ultor USP-16 pistols. "They should be far more reliable now, and more efficient. They're still chambered for a 12mm round."

"Great," Xander smiled. "Hey, can I test out the TVR?"

"I thought you were petrified of going fast?," Shrike blinked.

"No, it's just other people going fast that terrifies Alexander," Walter smiled, closing the case and handing it to Xander as well as some car keys.

"Okay, I'm going to try out this baby," Xander decided. "Uh..."

"I'll talk to Walter 'ere," Shrike said. "Go on."

Chapter 22

Walter looked over at the open warehouse doors as a TVR slid sideways through them to an abrupt halt, the passenger side almost kissing the midnight black Corvette.

"HEY!," Shrike yelled. "You break it, you bought it!"

"Walter, thanks for getting this fixed," Xander said as he climbed out. "This car is way more fun than my Uncle Rory's old Bel Air."

"You pranged it?," Shrike asked, annoyed that Xander had been taking chances with his 'Ray when he parked his car.

"Nope, Alucard did," Xander said, picking up the two Ultor pistols. He then paused. "Ahhh..."

Walter held up an arrangement of straps. "I took the liberty of bringing a combat harness for them."

"Thanks!," Xander said. "Got any silver bullets in twelve mil?"

Hellsing's gunsmith nodded, smirking slightly. "Yes. These ones are... special."

"That sounds promising," Xander brightened up.

"An... acquaintance of mine, Sergeant Becerra, suggested them to me," Walter said modestly.

"Don't think I've 'eard of 'im," Shrike said thoughtfully.

"Retired US army," Walter said. "He's a fairly capable gunsmith, and very knowledgeable about certain matters."

Xander nodded. "So, what's the thing with these bullets?"

"Hydraulic, in principle," Walter began. "They begin life as blessed silver hollowpoints, which are then filled with holy water. The tip is then capped with lead, while the holy water is still inside. I'd strongly advise you not to use them unless you need to, as they're not simple to make and do quite a bit of damage."

"So, do I still need to strike silver Hellsing fear into the hearts of the undead?," Xander asked. "Or can I get away with striking their livers or kidneys instead now?"

Walter simply smiled.

"Does Grandma have any missions for me at the moment?," Xander asked. "Might as well start earning my keep."

"As a matter of fact, there is a small problem to be taken care of," Walter said. "A murderer has been broken out of a British prison, and we require someone to find him and apprehend him."

"Correct me if I'm wrong," Xander said, "but isn't that why cops get paid? Besides as a way of subsidizing restaurants and donut shops, of course."

"I'm afraid that, since Sirius Black is a wizard, he's quite a bit beyond the capabilities of Scotland Yard," Walter sighed. "Less than a master vampire, more than a common criminal, he should be a good outing for you."

"Okay," Xander said. "I'll do it."

Walter gave Xander two thick manilla folders. "Here. The first is a dossier on Black, the second is one of Hellsing's reports on the magical community in Britain."


Xander pulled his cellphone out, embarrassed. "You mind if I take this?"

Walter indicated to go ahead.

"Thanks," Xander muttered, hitting the 'answer call' button. "Hi, Xander here."

"What're commandos doing in good ole Sunnyhell?"

"Errr... 'Cardy, I didn't think that the US of A knew about vamps and demons."

Xander pulled the phone away from his ear as the person on the other end yelled at him.

"Why not? Cardy. Anyway, I'll tell Walter, okay? Bye."

With that, Xander hung up, chuckling.

"Pissed someone else off now?," Shrike asked.

"Hey, it ain't my fault if he still hasn't grown a sense of humour," Xander parried. "Walter, apparently some commandos are running around the Hellmouth capturing, or trying to capture, demons and vampires."

"They shouldn't be," the old man frowned. "The American Government signed an agreement to let Hellsing and the Vatican handle the supernatural threats present in North America."

"Looks like Her Majesty needs to do some talking to someone else then," Xander observed. "Well, I'll gather Alucard, Alias, Quill, and Seras, and meet you back here in a couple days to go to Britain, okay?"

"That would be satisfactory," Walter agreed. "I must ask, however, that you do not look like a tourist in Hawaii on the plane back."



"Aw, c'mon, Wally," Shrike whined. "Hawaiian shirts are cool!"

"Considering that you have blue hair and tiger stripes tattooed on you, your judgement in matters of fashion is suspect as well!"


Alucard was getting bored.

He'd already killed anything that was a threat in Sunnydale (well, a threat to normal people). He couldn't annoy Alexander -- the annoying man actually managed to needle him back! The so-called Slayer was thicker than two short planks, and her Watcher was pathetically easy to wind up.

He felt the commandos approach him. Entertainment!

"HST, turn yourself in before we're forced to hurt you!," the lead one said.

"Oh yes, woe is me," Alucard said dramatically, laying the back of his hand on his forehead. "I, older than Christ, have been defeated by someone barely out of diapers."

He then pretended to collapse, and was picked up by two subordinate commandos.

Getting caught by the Americans, then busting out of their labs was sure to infuriate Integra-sama, would annoy Alexander, and would give him something to do!