"Who or what are reavers?" Xander asked, seeing a spaceship twice the size of Serenity hit the ground in what could barely be called a landing, jarring the charred and mutilated corpses chained to the hull, before they all rushed back inside the church once more.
"How do you not know what reavers are?!" Kaylee blurted out in disbelief.
"We need to alert everyone that they're here and organize a defense," Shepherd ordered, concerned for his congregation.
"Reavers are cannibal raiders," River quickly explained, "completely insane, can't feel pain, hard to kill."
"But just human?" Xander asked.
"If you call that human," River replied as the ship tried to lower a ramp, but it got stuck part way.
"So, this isn't a situation when they are to be taken alive?" Xander asked just to be sure, and from the looks he got at the question he knew that wasn't an option. He began calling up mana, summoning three T-800s at once, all dressed as Arnold was in the second movie and all equipped with shotguns and 45 caliber handguns. He'd like to have buffed them with strength enchantments, but he couldn't quite wrap his mind around summoning with them in place yet, and at the loud thud of the spaceships ramp hitting the ground, he realized they were out of time. "Incoming hostiles from the spaceship, terminate with extreme prejudice," he ordered.
"Affirmative," the three Terminators replied in unison, making the others jump, before they spun around to see who had spoken and stared as the three pushed through them to reach the street.
"Orders?" Cameron asked.
Xander pulled a large caliber handgun from his pocket with several spare magazines and passed them to her. "Hang back behind them and snipe targets of opportunity."
"Understood," she replied, checking the weapon with cold efficiency before ducking out the door, sticking close to the building to reduce her chances of being spotted.
"Where did they come from?!" Kaylee exclaimed in surprise.
"He's rich, or course he would have a private security team following him around," Simon quickly made an excuse for Xander.
Xander grinned and handed the ship's doctor a roll of gold coins, which he stared at in confusion for a moment before pocketing.
"I don't think four people are going to be enough, no matter how well trained they are," Shepherd warned, wondering how they'd managed to sneak up on him like that and cursing his fading skills and lack of practice.
"One of them could probably handle it," Xander assured them as gunfire broke out in the street along with the roar of the madmen attacking. "In fact, two is actually overkill, but I wanted the problem dealt with before someone got hurt or they set the town ablaze."
It only took a couple of minutes before the yelling and gunshots petered out.
"They are very good at what they do," Xander said smugly. "Problem solved."
"That took care of the first ship, but what about the others?" Shepherd asked dryly.
The sound of poorly cared for engines could be heard slowly increasing in volume.
"Reavers usually come in packs," River explained, "it's rare to see a single ship, that's what makes them so dangerous."
"In that case," Xander said, "I better send in backup." He created another trio of T-800s behind the group.
"Orders?" they chorused, startling everyone but Xander and River.
"How many do you have and why do they all look alike?" Shepherd asked, confusion in his voice.
"Incoming ships are filled with hostiles," Xander replied to the T-800s. "Search and destroy, protect the locals."
"Affirmative," the three chorused, before pushing past the group and out the door.
"They are cyborgs," Xander explained to the preacher, "and I have as many as I need."
"You turned people into machines?" he asked cautiously.
"He turned machines into people, or kinda close to it," River assured the older man.
"I wasn't even aware that was possible," Shepherd said, "but then I've been noticing a lot of things happening that I didn't believe were possible lately."
"So, how many ships are we looking at?" Xander asked, changing the subject.
"Reaver groups are typically four to six ships, but as many as a dozen have been seen together," Shepherd offered, while he peeked out the front door to try and get a look at how many ships there were. "I think we're looking at no more than five here, maybe less."
"Make sure none of the reavers escape into the forest," Xander ordered, just before Shepherd was pushed aside as several female T-800s slipped past him to join the others. "Where do they come from? I'm having a hard time picturing the people you describe building ships and raising families."
"No one knows," Kaylee said as gunfire rang out, "they just haunt the rim. Tales are either of people too far away from civilized space staring into the black until it drove them mad or them never having been humans in the first place. All I know is they're bad news and some of the people they've captured and not eaten have ended up joining them, driven mad by whatever they've done to them."
"Definitely targets for termination," Xander decided.
"Couldn't you… heal them?" Shepherd asked halfheartedly.
"I'm not that cruel," Xander told him. "They would commit suicide because of what they remember doing and the few that wouldn't are the type that would probably need to be put down for the sake of everyone else."
Enraged howls were silenced by gunfire in the moment of silence that had fallen while everyone contemplated what they would do if they had been restored to sanity after being a reaver.
"Yeah, that's probably for the best," Shepherd conceded with a sigh, already mourning the loss of life that was to come, even if it was among the mad and the damned.
"Well, this is uncomfortable," Xander said, "I think I'll take a walk."
"What?!" several people exclaimed.
"Yeah, I feel the need for some air," Xander told them as he created another trio of T800's in the back of the room to keep them safe, "I'll be back shortly." Rather than argue with them he vanished in a blur of speed, leaving them to stare at where he'd been standing for several seconds in stunned disbelief.
Appearing in the middle of the wide dirt road that served as main street, he quickly scanned the area. Seeing two ships in poor condition, decorated with corpses and vomiting out scarred and bloody figures screaming to the heavens, he summoned three more armed T-800s and sent them in one direction, before summoning a further three and sending them in the other. The reavers were attacking with knives and spears, ignoring any guns they had on them and were getting absolutely slaughtered by the T-800s before they could shift tactics.
Xander leapt onto the roof of a nearby building, searching for any civilians in danger and was rewarded by the sound of cussing and gunshots coming from just past the two ships to the north, close to where Serenity was parked. The few words he could catch were so foul that he realized it was probably Jayne, who'd stayed on the ship to catch a nap and act as guard.
Leaping across the rooftops, and probably leaving more than a few foot sized holes behind as while he'd learned to use chakra he was still a bit clumsy with it, Xander reached the north end of the street passing the two shops full of reavers fighting a losing battle against half a dozen T-800s, and landed on the ground near where they'd parked the Serenity only to find Inara and Mal fighting several reavers who had exited from the back of the ships, the numerous corpses littering the ground around the two a testament to how dangerous the pair were.
Xander summoned a simple chakra blade and attacked from behind, beheading two of them before they'd realized what was going on and while turning to deal with him the remaining reavers were gunned down by the two angry lovers. "I've got a dozen or two security agents taking care of the reavers," Xander told them, "you should stay inside until they've been dealt with."
"Is everyone okay?!" Mal demanded.
"No one's been hurt, we've managed to take out the reavers before they could hurt anyone," Xander assured him, absently creating another three T-800's behind them. "Thankfully just about the entire population of the town is out examining the surrounding forests."
"Did you or River seer out this whole thing?" Mal asked, thinking that was a rather large coincidence.
"No, just got lucky," Xander replied with a shrug. "I like causing a little chaos, but if I'd known this was all coming, I'd have made sure to have a lot more security on hand and maybe a fortified bunker or two."
"Incoming!" Inara called out, and pointed north of the landing area, where a massive reaver ship was making its approach from on high.
Xander flicked his hand up, pointing his palm at the ship. "Shatter!" he intoned, causing the ship to come apart in midair, scattering it and its crew for at least a quarter mile in every direction.
Mal and Inara turned to stare at Xander who whistled innocently, before clearing his throat and giving Mal an expectant look.
Mal shook his head. "Well… reavers aren't known for being good at ship maintenance and most accidents occur during take off or landing, I guess we got lucky."
Xander grinned and handed the captain a roll of gold coins.
"I have so many questions, but they're not important right now," Inara decided, before taking a deep cleansing breath. "Everyone is safe and the reaver problem is being dealt with?"
"Yes," Xander promised, creating another three T-800's behind the pair.
"Alright, then we should have a cup of tea and wait for things to calm down a bit before checking on everyone," Inara decided.
Mal looked torn, obviously wanting to make sure his crew was alright without a second's delay,
"Kaylee, Simon, and River are with Shepherd in the church," Xander told him, "I have three heavily armed security agents guarding them. Zoe, Wash, and Jayne are on ship, I'll be going to check on them as soon as I leave here. I have more than enough people to guard everyone while we mop up."
"Alright," Mal conceded, "I can see Serenity from here and it don't look like they got that far. I'm not going to feel like having any tea until I can see my crew's alright with my own eyes though."
Inara laughed softly. "I meant an actual cup of tea in this case, and I want to freshen up a bit, wash the blood out of my dress before it sets in."
"That's reasonable," Mal agreed. "Let us know as soon as things are safe, alright?"
"Will do," Xander promised. "Gather the reavers corpses and check to make sure the ships are empty," he ordered the half dozen Arnold units standing behind the two.
"Affirmative," the T-800s chorused, making the pair jump and curse.
Xander grinned and flicked the blood off his sword. 'I'll never get tired of doing that.'
"And suddenly a cup of tea is sounding like a reasonable idea," Mal said as he took Inara's hand and the pair vanished into her shuttle.
Xander appeared on the ramp to the Serenity only to feel a sledgehammer blow to his chest, blowing him back.
"Sorry!" Jayne called out from behind a row of crates, covering the open ramp with his rifle.
Xander tapped a couple of plains, the healing balm of white mana washing the pain away with the damage. He slowly got to his feet and coughed to clear his lungs of blood, spitting it to the side before calling out, "Yeah, my bad. I really should have warned you."
"Yeah, now get in here, we got reavers about!" Jayne yelled.
"Reavers are taken care of," Xander told him as he climbed the ramp. "Zoe and Wash alright?"
"Zoe is gearing up and Wash is getting the ship ready to leave atmo just in case," Jayne replied, cautiously coming out from behind the crates. "The reavers are really taken care of?"
"Yeah, I sent a couple dozen cyborgs about to wipe them out," Xander assured him. "Most never made it off their ships before getting gunned down."
"How many ships were there?"
"Three landed and one blew up due to poor maintenance," Xander told him.
"Oh," Jayne said, slinging his gun onto his back. He walked to the side of the storage bay and spoke into the intercom, "Reavers are dead, Xander's cyborgs wiped em out."
Zoe entered at a run, pistol holstered at her side and rifle in her arms. "Reavers are dead?" she asked.
"Reavers are dead," Xander agreed, he stopped to cough up some more blood and spit it to the side. "Sorry, still clearing my lungs."
"Run into reavers?"
"No, Jayne," Xander replied.
"He appeared out of nowhere so I tagged him," Jayne replied with a shrug.
"I heal fast," Xander told her before she could ask. "Simon, Kaylee, and River are with Shepherd at the church. Mal and Inara are at her shuttle."
"Really?" Zoe asked with a hint of amusement in her eyes that didn't show in her expression.
"They took out a good dozen reavers before I arrived, and I believe Inara mentioned wanting some tea," he told her. "Once Mal knew you were all safe he calmed down. I have a couple dozen cyborgs searching for any surviving reavers, but even though I think we got them all, it's best for everyone to stay inside until they've given the all clear."
"I still should check in with the captain," Zoe said.
"Fine, but take some of my security with you," Xander said, creating three T-800s behind her.
"Sure, where are they?" Zoe asked.
Xander gestured and the two turned around and jumped in shock, almost going for their weapons. Xander snickered. 'Yeah, that's never getting old.'
"Quiet things, aren't they," Zoe said dryly.
"You three, follow and obey her," Xander ordered.
"Acknowledged," the three chorused.
Zoe didn't respond, just turned and walked off with the three silently following.
Once the three were off the ship, Jayne turned to Xander. "You can make those robot things look like anyone, right?"
"Yeah, I've gotten pretty good at that," Xander agreed.
"Would you mind making me one?" he asked hopefully.
"Sure," Xander agreed, curious as to who Jayne would want it to look like.
Jayne grinned widely and took a locket off his neck, opening it up to show a faded black and white photo of a couple dressed in rough clothes, wearing fur lined hats and carrying rifles. "I need it to look like her. Photo don't show it, but she has red-brown hair, more red than brown and I'd like her to have a bit more up top, if you get what I mean."
"How much more curvy are we looking at?" Xander asked, as he accepted the locket, memorizing the woman's face and wondering if the man was Jayne or just a relative of his, as there was definitely a very strong resemblance between the two and the man looked to be at least half a decade younger than Jayne was now, so it might have been him when he was younger.
"Breasts like Inara and some cushion like Kaylee," Jayne said excitedly.
"Good choice," Xander told him, as he tapped the mana needed to create another T-800, equipping her with the same clothes Kaylee was wearing when they first met and adding a pair of 45's in holsters at her hips.
"How long is it going to take you to make her?" Jayne asked. "Do we gotta go to your lab or whatever?"
Xander pointed and Jayne turned around.
"Tee wuh duh pee-goo," Jayne said in stunned shock. "How? Wait! I have to make an excuse and then you hand me a roll of gold coins, right?"
"That's the deal," Xander agreed. "You give me a semi-decent excuse and we pretend it's the actual answer. In exchange for not asking questions, you get a roll of gold coins."
"Ohh," Jayne grinned, before stroking his chin and looking thoughtful. "How good an excuse does it have to be?"
"Just has to be a believable excuse for the moment," Xander told him with a grin.
Jayne nodded and smiled broadly. "Magic," he said confidently, "you're some kind of space wizard."
Xander laughed so hard he had to lean against a crate. "You have to come up with an excuse, something that seems logical," he said when he regained his breath.
"It seems logical to me," the merc told him, "I mean, ain't no way in the verse you can do all that without a heap of mojo. Ain't no rational way to explain it except for reality not being really real the way we think of it, ya know?"
Xander nodded. "Yes, but we are pretending I'm a somewhat normal guy and making an excuse for how a somewhat normal guy could do it."
"Oh," Jayne said with a nod. "That's easy. You read my perfect woman when you shook my hand and knew I'd be askin' for one from the questions I asked about em, so you sent a wave back to your lab and had them pop one out and snuck her on board to surprise me."
"I like that one," Xander said handing him a roll of gold coins, "that was completely believable."
"What's her name or do I get to name her?" Jayne asked as he looked over his cyborg with a leer.
"You can name her," Xander assured him. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have some bodies to dispose of and I'll probably have to do something about those ships before they irradiate the area or something."
"You have fun with that," Jayne said absently, before realizing Xander was leaving. "Oh hey, toss me my locket back."
"Sorry, forgot," Xander said handing it back to him.
Jayne smiled and put it around his neck. "Thanks, I never go anywhere without my picture of my parents."
Xander froze for a moment as he watched Jayne depart with his cyborg. "I'm not touching that with a ten foot pole," he decided, before quickly leaving to supervise the small army of T-800s he'd turned loose.
Beta by: Abyssal Angel and Mist of Shadows