Hammer & Steam

Author: Cyclone <cyclone[at]citynet.net>

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966 or http://fanfiction.net/~cyclone

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Chosen.

Disclaimer: Some of the characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while. The rest belong to me.

Summary: In a wartorn land, a carpenter from another world tries to survive.

Author's Note: This comes courtesy of my gaming muse, who is trying very hard to fill in for Rander.


Kira ran through the streets, her fiery red hair, streaked with white, whipping in the wind.

The attack had been swift and sudden, and even now, she almost couldn't believe it was happening.

But it was.

Raging infernos throughout the city lit the night sky as shadows of those monstrous flying contraptions obscured the moonlight and starlight. She heard something shriek past and involuntarily flinched away as the rocket struck near her, throwing dust and gravel across her.

She skidded to a halt when she heard something tromping around the corner, and she bolted into the nearest alley.

Kira sucked in a breath as the mechanical warrior stomped past... and stopped. It was a support model, that much she could tell, and it looked like it was out of rockets. One of the glider wings on its back was shredded, and the other wasn't fully retracted.

It must have gotten separated from its squad.

She swore when it turned and shouldered its way through the debris. The tiny eyeslit revealed the orcish pilot's greenish skin and yellow eyes as it raised its worn and blood-stained battleaxe.

Kira raised her staff and struck the ground. An arcane word sped from her lips as lightning arced from the ornate globe on top of her staff toward the war machine.

It stumbled and fell, and Kira fled.


High above, aboard the Imperial skyship Dread Claw -- a massive dirigible held aloft through a mixture of sorcery, hydrogen, and steam-powered fans -- Warleader Drayguss smiled. He was a tall orc, standing a good seven feet tall. His greenish skin rippled with muscles, and his yellow eyes hinted at the sheer, raw intelligence lurking within.

He threw his head back and laughed.

His troops had tasted blood, and they had emerged victorious. If this was the best this weak Republic could offer, than the continent -- and vengeance -- would easily be theirs.


Below decks, a one-eyed man sat. He had heard the battle below, knew that he must be near the enemies of his captors.

Knew that this was the time to escape.

Chapter 1

Kira held herself still as puzzlement crossed her face. The war machine was clearly a command model, yet the pilot moved carelessly, sloppily.

She had seen it depart from the largest of the dirigibles, and it seemed to have overestimated its altitude, crashing headlong into the ground and tumbling over several times.

What was going on?

Her eyes widened, and she readied a spell as the machine turned and approached her. Her staff out, a spell rested at the tip of her tongue.

Then, the occupant spoke.

"Uh, hi?"

Kira stiffened. The voice sounded... human.


The guard was walking past Xander's cell when he struck.

His arm snaked out between the bars and caught the guard across the throat. He curled his arm around the guard's neck and yanked him against the bars. Adjusting his leverage, he snapped the orc's neck.

Grabbing two things from the guard's belt, he let the orc slump to the ground. He examined the Drahk'Nar autopistol and racked the slide before fumbling with the keys and opening his cell door.

Stepping out cautiously, he tried to remember where the hangar was from here and prayed to God -- assuming He even existed on this world -- to get him out of this alive.


Xander counted his blessings. There were few guards on the Dread Claw -- it was, after all, the flagship -- and he'd managed to make it to the hangar bay.

It was different from when he'd been brought on board. The cavernous space was two-thirds empty, the rest occuped by gearsuits, gearwalkers, and a pair of air skiffs. It also appeared they were transferring cargo, for the hangar was open, and they were loading crates onto one of the skiffs. His gaze swept across the available vehicles.

He glanced at the autoloader he'd appropriated from the guard and looked around. A plan began to formulate in his mind when he saw the unattended crate of whole cloth...


Bonecrusher was an ogre. He'd fought well in the conquest of the New World, but now, his injuries had relegated him to cargo handling. He was fine with that. It lacked glory, but it would help the slaughter of the ones who'd banished his ancestors from their home.

He heard something and raised his head quizzically. He barely had a moment to turn when the exploding hydrogen engulfed him.


Xander dropped the bundle of cloth and ran. Wrapped around the pistol, it had served as a crude and inefficient sound suppressor. Still, it was enough that the wind outside and the thrum of the skyship's engines drowned it out.

He popped the hatch of the gearsuit and clambered into the rounded steel body. It took a moment to warm up the furnace, and he didn't waste any time. He barrelled past the burning air skiff and took off.

"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit," Xander muttered. "How do I deploy the wings?!"


With a jerk, his fall slowed considerably, and he sighed in relief. It looked like he had gotten away scot-free. He steered for the edge of the ruined city, shaking his head in disbelief at the amount of destruction wrought upon the place.

Suddenly, he realized he was awfully close to the ground, and he struggled to pull up, swearing profusely.

"God damned f***ing psycho preacher!" he snarled as the gearsuit slammed into the ground, digging a furrow in the dirt and tumbling ass-over-end.

When he regained his senses, he struggled upright and sighed.

"I really miss my eye."

He turned his head and cursed softly. Aside from the eyeslit, it was difficult to see anything. He sighed and turned the entire gearsuit, then smiled as he finally saw a human face.

Xander stepped toward her and called tentatively, "Uh, hi?"