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One Tin Soldier


Part Eleven

Xander finally headed out for the Nexus site, formerly known as the Hellmouth. He left Giles and Maggie huddled over a pot of tea, while Oz and Rom were engaged in an indepth conversation about data rates, wave forms and vampire physiology that no one else could possibly hope to understand.

Xander hated leaving Spike in his current condition, but Oz said it would be hours before they made any progress dealing with the chip and Xander still had a job to do.

The install techs were standing by when he arrived. Xander looked over the data spilling from the computers and personally checked the placement of the crystals before he gave the order to activate the matrix. "Okay people, let's do it. All non-essential personnel clear the area, get behind the barriers and stay there." Looking at the warrant officer manning the power controls Xander asked, "Well, Chief, you ready?"

The warrant grinned and inserted his key into the data lock. "Ready when you are, Sir." Xander inserted his own key and the warrant began the countdown. "Turn on one. And three...two...one. Activate."

The two men turned their keys in unison and watched the monitor board light up. A very faint hum began to eminate from the crystals, increasing in pitch until it became almost painful. It finally went beyond the limits of human ears and Xander started to relax, the matrix had held, he'd been worried that the initial surge of power into the crystals would shatter them. Luckily they had held, now they just had to find the right frequency.


Six painstaking hours later, Xander was on the verge of giving up when the crystals started to glow. He wiped his sweating hands down the legs of his pants and very gently nudged the crystal rotation a single notch. The crystals' glow increased dramatically until beams of solid light shot from each and impacted the others. Faster than Xander could blink a complex weave of light formed over and around the Hellmouth, the pattern was so complex, not even a fly could make it through without being fried.

Xander let out a shaky breath and turned to the warrant, "Chief, start backing down the power input to the matrix. Let's see if this is going to work."

The levels on the power meters gradually dropped, but the beams of light never wavered. The warrant finally reached up and hit the kill switch on the generators. The constant background noise from the generators faded into silence, but the matrix held.

The two men exchanged triumphant grins, "Congratulations, Major. It worked."

Xander nodded and buffed his nails on the front of his sweat stained shirt, "Never doubted it for a second, Chief." The warrant was kind enough to keep his comments to himself.

Their exuberant mood was dashed when a call came over the radio. "Major. We have movement. Tracking 35...wait, 67 hostiles moving towards our location. Nine species identified. No friendlys spotted. I repeat, 67 hostiles moving in on our location."

"Understood. Fall back to secure locations and activate trackers. Deadly force is authorized." The warrant started the lock down procedures on the Nexus room while Xander got on the land line and called in the calvary.


Sgt. Blake slammed down the phone and started shouting orders. "Security force, stay on site. Lock down the prisoners. No one in or out. Delay transport of Rosenburg. All other teams...mount up. The Nexus is under attack by multiple hostile forces. Standard deployment on site. Deadly force is authorized. Trackers are active. Let's move people."

Sgt. Jamison ran into the breakroom and hustled Giles and Maggie into the infirmary with Oz and Rom. Once they were all inside he bolted the doors and took the safety off his Mac-11.

"Jamison? What happened?" Rom asked quietly.

"The Nexus is under attack, the Major called for reinforcements. We're going to stay here, in this room, until the Major gives the all-clear. You guys might as well keep working, this might take awhile." Jamison said calmly.

Giles felt his heart start to beat faster, this could be bad. "What about the others? I know Buffy. She'll use this opportunity to try and escape."

Rom and Jamison turned to Giles with matching grins. "She doesn't want to do that, Mr. Giles. Trust me, she really doesn't." Jamison said gleefully.

Giles raised a brow at the tone in the sargent's voice. "Do I want to know?"

Rom shook his head, "Probably not. She might be the Slayer, but I don't think even she can outrun a claymore."

"Oh good, Lord." Giles muttered. "They gave Xander explosives? What were they thinking?"

Jamison choked off a laugh, "The Major does have a habit of destroying things. But he always has a really good reason, Sir. Honestly he does."

Rom nodded his head emphatically, "Yeah. That hotel in Vegas? It was blocking his view of a nest of Farckle demons. It had to be leveled. There was no way around that one."

Groaning, Giles slumped down into a chair. Maggie patted him on the back, "Don't worry about Xander. He'll be fine."

Giles rubbed his eyes and sighed tiredly. "I'm sure he will. I wish I could say the same for the town."


Xander waved Coffey off irritably. "Coffey, I'm fine. See to the others first."

"Major. You need stitches. You're bleeding all over the floor. I really think you should let me take care of this before you go in there. It might be too much for Rom to handle." Coffey said.

Xander glared at her, but she held her ground. Rom had warned her about the Major and his dislike of medical treatment. He finally gave in, "Oh, all right." Xander saw a slightly smug smile cross Coffey's face. "Don't get used to it, Coffey. I'm just too tired to fight with you right now."

Coffey immediately became the consummate professional. "Of course, Sir. I wouldn't dream of thinking that you could be reasonable all the time."

Xander just shook his head and sat in the chair Coffey pushed towards him. "I can see that Rom has already been a bad influence on you. I'll have to watch that."

Coffey just grinned and got to work.

Jamison opened the door when the Major gave the all clear, and a very different looking man walked in. Xander's clothes were torn. He had a black eye, a large scrape across one cheek and they could see thick white bandages through the rents in his shirt.

"Major? Are you all right?" Jamison asked worriedly. It took a hell of a lot of force to cut through one of their armored vests.

"Yeah. I'm fine. Some of the local hostiles weren't too pleased about the Nexus. I told them they could get over it or die of it. They decided on the latter."

Jamison nodded, "Yes, Sir. Well, Sir? Did it work?"

Xander nodded as he sat on the edge of Spike's bed. "Like a charm. The Hellmouth is now permanently closed. Anyone that gets too close will be vaporized. And anyone dumb enough to throw a spell at it is in for a big surprise."

Giles' mouth fell open in shock. "Xander? What are you talking about?"

"Easy, G-Man. We set up a crystal matrix, tuned it into the resonant frequency of the Hellmouth and activated it. All the power of the Hellmouth is now fueling the matrix that guards it. The matrix can only be closed from inside, and there's no way to get inside. Even if something came up from the Hellmouth it would get cut into millions of pieces by the most powerful laser ever created before it got a chance to do anything."

Giles gaped at him, even Oz looked surprised. "What? Who?" Giles stuttered.

Xander shrugged, his face a little red. "A Bremal demon owed me a favor. He found the crystals for me. Chris and I worked on it for a couple of years, and then, well, I finished the design about a year ago. We weren't planning on activating it yet, but with what happened to Spike...the decision was made to go for it."

"Cool." Oz said quietly. "I've got a surprise for you, too," he said as he pointed to Spike.

Xander looked down and saw bright blue eyes smiling up at him. "We still have some work to do," Oz said, "but we're getting there."

Xander nodded absently, "Hey, Spike, how you doing?"

"Been better, Pet, been better." Spike said weakly. "You all right?"

"Yeah. Had to put the fear of God into some demons, no biggee. You need to get better fast, Spike. I've got Buffy and Riley locked in a room down the hall. You get up and walk and I'll let you harass them for a while before I cart them off to jail."

Spike smiled happily. "You're too good to me, Pet."

Xander shrugged and said with a grin, "Not really, I want to watch."

Maggie smiled as she watched the interaction between the two men. Maybe this wouldn't be as hard as she'd thought.

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