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Sat Aug 16 11:47:13 PDT 2008


flower, eh? Pathetic really, when are you ever going to learn?"

"Willow, do you hear something? Kind of high pitched, rather whiny?"

"Yeah, I think it's Larry, behind you," She giggled.

"Oh? I guess I better find out what he wants then." Xander turned around and
looked Larry right in the eye with his usual grin. "Hi Larry, what can I do
for you?"

"You could die, but seeing as you're too much of a coward, why don't you
just leave the area?"

"Wow Larry, your vocabulary is really growing, that was a three syllable
word there."

"Don't piss me off Harris, I'm in a bad enough mood as it is. Just get out
of my face and I won't have to hurt you."

"Nope. Don't think so. Not today. In fact, I'll even give you a free shot.
If I even feel it, just a little, I'll transfer to another school, ok?
However, if I don't feel it, you leave me and my friends alone, got it?"
Xander sticks his chin out a little, "Come on, right here. Don't worry, I'm
not trying to trap you into anything, and you've got plenty of witnesses
that heard me make the offer, so now's your chance to hit me." 

At that point, Larry was obviously thinking it was a really good deal so he
stepped up, got ready to hit him, and swung as hard as he could, connecting
with Xander's jaw, and felt his hand shatter like he just punched a tank.

It took a second for the pain to register in Larry's brain, but when it did,
comprehension registered in his eyes that, yes, that's pain I'm feeling, a
whole lot of pain, and it really, really hurts. Larry of course started
screaming and clutching his broken hand. 

Xander looked at him kind of confused for a second before gathering his
wits, "Well Larry, I would have thought you knew how to hit someone better
than that, I guess you'll be leaving me and my friends alone now," Xander
grabbed his shirt and lifted Larry to eye level so that Larry looked into
Xander's eyes as they momentarily flashed blue and went pupil-less, "Won't
you?" he said menacingly.

Larry nodded, and tried to run away as quickly as possible, which Xander
allowed him to do. "Oh, and Larry? I'd suggest ice for that hand before too
long!"

"Done playing with the bullies, Xander? Can we go have lunch with Giles
now?"

"Sure, Will, I'm kind of hungry myself." He smiled at her and put his arm
around her as they walked off to the library and Giles.

 

***

Willow and Xander walked into the library to see Giles looking through a
stack of books, as though researching something rather intently.

"Yo, G-man! What's up with the Research Party?"

"Xander, please don't call me that." The older man replied with a note of
exasperation. "There was a previously unscheduled meteor shower that began
last night and has occurred over most of the globe by now. I am currently
doing what I can to ensure that there have been no references to it in any
prophesy that I have on record."

"Well, we came in to have lunch with you, and to let you know that my Dad
kicked me out of the house last night, so I at the least won't be stopping
by this afternoon as planned. Need to find a job and everything. I'm staying
at Willow's for the next two weeks while her parents are out of town on a
working vacation, but I'll need to find a place to live."

"I say, Xander, that's quite unexpected. Are you certain that he meant to
evict you permanently?"

"Even if he didn't, G-Man, I'm going to make the most of this opportunity,
and get out from under his thumb. I don't need to take their abuse any more,
so I'm going to choose not to."

Giles rolled his eyes at being called 'G-Man' again, "Xander, how many times
must I ask you not to call me by that infernal nickname?"

"At least once more."

"Then allow me to provide that 'once more' and ask you again to desist with
that nickname."

"Well, I did say 'at least' so it will probably take more than that, but you
never know."

"Xander, we had better get to class or we'll be late." Willow reminded him
as she snuggled up to him.

"Yes ma'am. See you later, Giles, and good luck with the research."

Giles noticed that the two had finally overcome their mutual barriers and
became a couple, smiling to himself and returning to his research. He hadn't
even noticed that Xander had finally called him by his proper name, not that
he would have believed that it would last long had he noticed.

 

***

Xander walked out of Marty's Pawn Shop, owned by a local demon, with a bit
over two thousand dollars in his pocket. He headed back to Willow's quickly
as it neared sunset, and he didn't feel like getting caught out alone. He
didn't think that any group of vampires would be able to take him at the
moment, but he also didn't feel the need to push his luck. Marty had given
him what the guns were actually worth as he had not included serial numbers
on the guns. He hadn't known about the serial numbers. He also hadn't known
how guns were traced, so the seven that he had sold would undoubtedly be
very difficult to trace or pattern match.

When Xander finally reached Willow's, he let himself in with the key she had
given him that morning and called out, "Willow, I'm back from Marty's."

With no answer from Willow, he checked the kitchen and living room before
finding her in her bedroom with her nose buried in a book, the Rifts main
book to be precise. Xander remembered that when they had played over a year
ago, Willow had always been "Magic Girl" often alternating between a Ley
Line Walker and a Techno-Wizard. Xander preferred Psionics, and Jesse had
preferred bionics. Amy, who had only played with them a few times, had
played mecha pilots.

"Hey, Will, research?"

Slightly startled, "Hm? Oh, Xander, you're back, did it go ok? Yeah, I'm
thinking about trying the box again."

"Went fine, Will. He said that the guns I sold him lacked something called a
serial number, so they were worth more than normal, so I got nearly two
thousand dollars from him. I told him I had some jewelry as well, but he
told me that he couldn't really move much of that, this being Sunnyhell and
all. Guns and other weapons, however, are always prime commodities, so I
worked out a deal with him. If someone came in looking for something
specific, he would call me and see if I had one, and I'd hop in the box and
bring it over to him. He'd give me two thirds of what ever he made on the
sale, and he gets a reputation of being able to get his hands on almost
anything, which in turn means more business."

"So you're in gun running now, Xander?"

"Sort of, I mean, I realized that I can't get a normal job, I'm just too
young. Labor laws, you know?"

"Well, I'm not happy about the guns, but I'll get over it."

"Good, so what were you thinking about doing with the box?"

"I was thinking a 15th level Ley Line Walker/ 15th level Techno-Wizard might
come in handy around the hellmouth. Lord knows we never played any
characters up that high, but if I just add those capabilities to myself,
well, it should work, and I can always revert back to this if it doesn't
work."

Xander picked up his copy of Psyscape and replied, "Cool, if it works out
alright, I'll add in the Mind Melter stuff."

Willow walked over to the machine and expanded it back to full size, placed
her hand on the palm print and started adding in the abilities from the
book, and the machine added in all the little details, as she pictured
herself as the most powerful magic user that would never walk the land of
Rifts Earth. Only certain races like dragons and Splugorth would have more
magical knowledge than she did in a few moments.

Willow stepped out of the box with a brand new backpack over her shoulder,
her favorite rifle from the game, the NG-P7, along with various other bits
of personal equipment that a character of that level might need.

They realized at this point that the box really was full service, and that
they were really lucky to get it. Now they were worried.

Xander took his turn at the control panel and entered in his desired
additions, including the psi-sword and psi-shield, and all the
telemechanical powers. After listing all the powers that a 15th level Mind
Melter received, he decided to scrap that entire idea as he remembered
something out of another book, sort of a super-mind melter. They were called
Neo Humans. Xander quickly grabbed the book that they were in and reread
their entry. Adding it to himself, he walked out of the box, and had to
suppress a chuckle at what he had learned.

Xander explained to Willow, "Well, the box, it's called a Morphic Adaptation
Unit, or MAU for short. It was invented by the Fwirthian race. This unit is
a Mark five, and was developed by their business people to include a
demonstration period, which we are currently in. Of course, they didn't
think to include a translation program so that people would know that the
box only works for 4 days. The machine requires people to pay 52,495 Fwirthi
Rakburs to continue to operate past the 4-day limit. I also did an object
read that told me that it wound up on Earth due to a fire fight between the
freighter that was hauling them from the factory to the distribution center,
and a very large cruiser. That the devices managed to be here at all is a
series of comical errors that could only be coincidence and blind luck. The
Fwirthi are terribly unimaginative, and how they came up with this device I
really have no idea."

"So, what can't the box do Xan?"

"It's coded so that it won't deliberately cause harm. It won't lower a
person's intelligence, and won't alter the body to a less fit state, unless
that is the way that person started. It basically takes what an individual
operator believes would be harmful and uses that as its guidelines. I can
re-program that out, but I'll leave it in for now, but I already removed the
time limit."

"Xander, can it turn Angel back into a human?"

"No, it can't create life, and Angel is already dead. We could probably
change him into some other kind of dead thing, but we can't create life. It
would be nice if we could simply turn all the vampires back into the humans
they were before they were turned, but I guess that would be too easy. I
don't know what it would do about the possession bit either, but I suppose
we could experiment."

"So what do we do now?"

"Well, I think it's time that we let others know what's going on. We know
what we have here, and I for one intend to use it for the greatest good. I
think we should also use it to protect the people we care about who would be
able to handle the existence of the supernatural." Xander paused for a few
moments and they both thought things through, "I think we should go over to
Buffy's tomorrow morning and talk with Mrs. Summers and Dawn, let them in on
the secrets around here, and let them use the MAU. I can imagine what Dawn
will try, but I've got no clue about Mrs. Summers."

Willow thought for a few moments before agreeing with him. After a brief
dinner and doing their homework, they snuggled up on the couch and watched a
movie before heading to bed. Willow enjoyed being held in Xander's arms as
they fell asleep.

 

 

 

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