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One Tin Soldier


Part Eight

"Gag me? Xander, you worthless piece of..."

Blake had the gag in the Slayer's mouth before she could finish that sentence. Xander turned away to hide the grin on his face. If looks could kill, he'd already be dead, laughing in Buffy's face would not be a good idea. "Jamison," he said in a choked voice, "tell me what's happening with Spike and Rom."

"Rom had been, uh, questioned before we arrived, Sir. Coffey checked him out, he should be fine in a week or so. I've checked Spike's chip, the programming is completely scrambled, but from what I can tell, he's still aware of what's going on around him. He just can't do anything about it."

"Can you fix the chip?" Xander said tightly.

"I'm sorry, Sir, the program they used is multi-layered and very precise, we need a real programmer, a good one, to look it over. Since we can't remove the chip, they're going to have to repair the data stream while it's active. That's not easy, in fact, it's damn near impossible. I don't know of anyone that can do it."

Xander nodded, keeping his expression neutral, "Very well, contact General Marshall and fill him in. Maybe he can pull a rabbit out of his hat."

"Yes, Sir, I'll get right on it, Sir."

Xander returned Jamison's salute and watched his Sgt. leave the building before casually pulling Riley's head up by his hair. Buffy let out a muffled shriek behind her gag and struggled against her restraints. Xander ignored her, focusing all of his attention on Mr. Finn. "Well, Riley, I know you're one of the people that kidnapped Rom and Spike from the hospital and wounded two guards in the process. I'm sure you're aware of the consequences of those actions, but know this, if we can't repair Spike's chip, you'll be charged with the murder of a special envoy from the government of the United Kingdom. I understand they don't take too kindly to that."

Riley's eyes grew wide, "Special Envoy? Spike?"

Xander grinned evilly, he'd always liked Riley, but the boy was way to easy to lead around by the dick. Riley needed to learn that listening to Buffy was a really bad idea, and Xander wanted to be the one to teach him. "When Spike agreed to work with us General Marshall made a few provisions, just in case. Lord Bloodwell, the Lord High Council of Parliment was more than happy to provide credentials for his however many times great Uncle. We'll just throw you in jail forever, they'll kill your ass. I just thought you might want to know. Of course, if Spike's Childe, Rom, gets his hands on you first... well, I don't think you're going to have to worry about the United States Army or the British Government."

Xander let Riley's head drop back down and turned to Sgt. Blake. "Sgt., remove the prisoners. Detain them at the command post. You can remove the hoods from the witches, but all other level one containment procedures are to stay in effect, no matter what. Am I understood, Sgt?"

"Yes, Sir. All right guys, load 'em up and move 'em out." Xander watched as the hood was pulled from Willow's head. Her big eyes welled with tears and she stared hopefully at her friend.

Xander shook his head, "Give it up, Wills. That doesn't work on me anymore. Put her with the rest of them."

Giles shook his head, "Xander, I had no idea you'd become this hard. What happened to you?"

"What happened to me? Don't even go there, G-Man. Willow knew where I was all along. The military keeps records on people that hack into their personnel database. She knew where I was, but couldn't be bothered to actually call me. Not even when she knew I needed her but didn't have any way to get a hold of her. So forgive me if I'm a little too busy to worry about her right now. She got herself into this, now she has to deal with it."

Xander stalked into the other room, leaving Giles to wonder just what in the Hell had happened to the smiling, cheerful teenager he had known.


Xander sat down on the floor next to Rom and waited patiently for him to acknowledge his presence. "Major. I can't reach him, it's like he's not there anymore."

"We're working on it, Rom. Jamison is trying to find a programmer now. I need to talk to you, Rom. Jamison said you were 'questioned', I need to know exactly what they did and what they wanted to know."

Rom shrugged and kept stroking Spike's arm. "The little blonde psycho bitch from Hell got a real kick out of pouring Holy Water into the hole in my belly. She wanted to know what we were up to on the base. I don't know how they found out about us, but from the questions they asked, these people are the ones that let the demon loose that bit me."

"Stay loose, Rom, we'll fix this, and they will pay. I promise you."


Xander climbed into the comms van and took the headset from Jamison's head. "General? We've been hacked, I think if you have the spooks do a sweep they'll find a trapdoor."

"Xander? Are you all right?" General Marshall asked, worried about his friend.

"I will be. They tortured Rom trying to get intel out of him. They poured Holy Water on his wounds. Wounds that they are more than likely responsible for. What options do we have?"

"You have a writ from the President, Major Harris. Use it. Since our Commander in Chief has declared war, their acts constitute treason."

Xander smiled slightly and Jamison got worried. Every time the Major got that expression on his face, somebody got hurt, and hurt bad.


For the next twelve hours, Xander divided his time between the Nexus installation and the field hospital where Rom and Spike were housed, waiting impatiently for the hotshot programmer General Marshall had dug up from somewhere. The spooks back at HQ had found the trapdoor and were in the process of chasing the link back to the source, Xander knew where it would end up, but he had to wait for the proof to come down.

He was deep in thought when Jamison came running into the Nexus control room. "Major, the programmer is here and ready to begin."

Xander followed Jamison back to the field hospital, ready to play nice with the civilian. When he saw the man waiting for them, he cracked up laughing. "Oz! Man it's good to see you!"

Oz gave Xander his characteristic half smile. "Xander. You've changed."

"Just a little, but so have you. Damn man, how have you been?"

Oz actually smiled openly. "Good man, I'm good. Got married a while back, got a couple of cubs too."

Xander gaped at his old friend, "No shit? So your wife is like you?"

"Oh yeah. She knocked me down and pulled my head out of my ass for me. Been together ever since. She and the kids are over at the hotel, maybe we can get together after I fix this little problem for you." Oz said casually.

"Oz, can you straighten out his programming? Cause if you can't, I'm going to stake him, he'd hate this, truly hate it. Jamison thinks Spike is aware of what's happening to him, I can't let him suffer if there's no hope."

Oz turned on his laptop and opened up several programs. "I'll get started right away, Xander. I should be able to give you an idea in a couple of hours."

Xander relaxed for the first time since Spike had been taken if anyone could fix Spike's programming it would be Oz. "Jamison, I'm wiped. If you need me for anything, I'll be in my rack. If the report comes in from HQ notify me ASAP."

"Yes, Sir."


Xander didn't even bother to open his eyes when someone knocked on his door. "Come!"

He heard the door squeaked slightly and then the sound of someone clearing their throat, "Major? We have the report from HQ."

"Let's hear it, Jamison. I don't think I can stand the suspense."

"Yes, Sir. The link was traced back to a computer owned by Willow Rosenberg. The computer has been confiscated and the techs went over the hard drive with a fine tooth comb. They located and retrieved over fifty files that were downloaded from the command database. Some of the files date back over ten years, Sir. They also found the command codes that sealed the containment cells, and the program that remotely controlled the release of the locks."

Xander nodded, still not opening his eyes. "Very well. Do we have any firm intel on exactly who took Spike and Rom out of the hospital?"

"Not yet, Sir, but HQ expects to have something soon."

"All right. Arrange transport for Ms. Rosenberg back to HQ. I'll inform her of the charges myself."

"Yes, Sir." Jamison said, and quietly left the Major's room.

Xander rolled out of his cot and put his uniform back on, he wasn't looking forward to this, but doing the nasty jobs was why he got the big bucks. Xander collected Blake and Sands on his way to the holding cells. He opened the door and flipped on the overhead light, waking everyone in the room.

In his most militarily correct voice Xander said calmly, "Willow Rosenberg. You are under arrest for the theft of classified government documents and illegal access to a classified military database. You will also be charged with the death of Sgt. Romulus Montoya. Your actions in releasing the locks on the containment cells directly resulted in Sgt. Montoya's death."

Willow's eyes grew huge and her face turned pale. Xander turned his back on her, "Gentlemen, prepare her for transport," he said as he turned to leave.

"Xander, wait." Giles called. "Would you please explain to me exactly what is going on here? I find Buffy and Riley with an unconscious Spike and a wounded vampire, then your men arrive. The next thing I know I'm being detained by the Army, held in a cell and now Willow is arrested for murder?!" Giles' voice rose higher and higher as he spoke.

Xander looked at the former librarian thoughtfully for a moment before nodding. "All right. Blake, release Mr. Giles. He'll be coming with me."

Giles rubbed his wrists after the cuffs had been removed and followed Xander into the cantina they had set up. "You want some coffee? I can probably find some tea if you'd rather have that." Xander offered.

Giles sank into a chair, "Coffee would be fine, thank you, Xander."

Xander filled two mugs and slid one over to the older man. "So, Giles, what would you like to know?"

Giles took a sip of the hot liquid. "Start with you leaving Sunnydale without a word and work your way up from there."

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