Here is a birthday fic for Quin. I would have done an Ancient Roman one for you, but nothing funny happened on the way to the forum; instead my mind went back to an earlier age and the Siege of Troy. BtVS/Doctor Who/The Illiad crossover, 1,000 words, PG.
“We have to avert an anomaly in the time-stream,” the Doctor told Spike, “that could have catastrophic consequences for the development of your civilisation. The wrong side is winning the Trojan War.”
“What, you want me to teach the Greeks how to build a Wooden Horse?” asked Spike. “Should get Xander for that, mate, he’s the sodding carpenter.”
“No, it’s not that part of the war, it’s much earlier,” the Doctor said. “The Trojans are winning on the plain around the city. The Greeks might be forced to lift the siege altogether. It’s got me baffled.”
“S’ppose the Trojans are a bit low tech to be affected by a sonic screwdriver,” Spike said. “Okay, mate, I’ll take a look.”
The Tardis took them to Turkey in 1194 BC. Spike and the Doctor watched as the armies of the Greeks and the Trojans engaged in a bloody battle.
“I’d forgotten that they didn’t use the phalanx,” Spike remarked, as he saw the chariots carrying the Greek and Trojan heroes across the field to engage in hundreds of individual combats in front of the mass of ragged and ill-equipped helots. “Bloody long time since I read the Illiad, y’know, and I’ve seen loads of crap movies about the Three Hundred Spartans and all that.”
“Your skills will still be relevant,” the Doctor said. “Greek didn’t change much between the Mycenaean period and the Classical age. You won’t be able to read here, though, unless you can decipher Linear B.”
Spike shook his head. “Can only read the alpha, beta, gamma stuff,” he said. “Still, not expecting to have to sit a written test. Let’s see what they’re doing wrong.”
Both sides were using identical tactics. The chariots would race along in front of the infantry lines, their crews hurling javelins, avoiding actual contact. When two opposing chariots came into proximity they would halt and the heroes dismounted. They faced off with spears, swords, and shields. The Trojan shields were wooden, rectangular in shape, and had scalloped edges. The Greeks bore shields entirely unlike the round hoplite shields Spike had been expecting. Some carried wasp-waisted figure eight shields, of wood studded with bronze, and some used large rectangular shields of wood or wicker. Both sides wore bronze armour; either bell cuirasses of beaten bronze or else leather hauberks with many plates of bronze fastened to them. The minor differences in equipment didn’t seem to be affecting the combats in any significant way.
Spike studied the fighting for a while and then snapped his fingers. “Got it!” he said.
The Doctor raised his eyebrows. “So, with the benefit of your century of combat experience, what mistakes are the Mycenaeans making?”
“None,” said Spike. “Oh, the tactics are crap, but they’re probably right for the gear they’re using, and both sides are doing it the same. Would take too long to train the Greeks to fight in phalanx and that would bugger up history anyway if they started doing it this early. No, it’s not the tactics. In fact I think the Greeks are probably a bit better trained when it comes to sword-fighting and, if everything else was equal, they’d be winning. Just, take a look at them, mate. The Greeks are all little blokes and the Trojans are a couple of inches taller. That’s all there is to it.”
“Hmm,” said the Doctor. “That’s not something that’s going to be easy to fix. Unless I go back fifteen years earlier and make sure that the Greek heroes get a high-protein diet as they’re growing up.”
“No need for that,” Spike said. “Little trick that Angel uses should sort things out. Let’s go and have a word with that bloke Odysseus. Should be able to come up with a Cunning Plan.”
As soon as it grew dark, and Spike could move freely without catching fire, the pair of time travellers paid a visit to the Greek camp. They consulted with Odysseus, the Greek mastermind summoned the craftsman Epeius, and Spike’s scheme was set in motion.
The Greeks avoided battle the following day, staying behind the wooden barricades that protected their camp, and ignoring the taunts of the Trojans. The next day, equipped with certain modifications to their sandals suggested by Spike, they sallied forth in strength.
This time things were different. The Trojans were shocked to find that they no longer had a height advantage over their opponents. The Mycenaeans, now fighting literally on level terms, won more of the individual combats than they lost. This gave heart to the helot infantry, who charged their Trojan equivalents and routed them, and the Greek chariots harried the Trojans as they retreated. By the end of the day the Trojans had been driven back behind the walls of their city.
“Well, it looks as if the course of history has been restored, thanks to your innovation,” the Doctor said to Spike. “I’ll take you back to the twenty-first century.”
“Right, mate,” said Spike. “Shame I didn’t get a chance to take a look at Helen of Troy. See if she lives up to the hype.”
“I’ve seen her,” the Doctor said, “and it wasn’t really her face that launched a thousand ships. It was another part of her anatomy that attracted the attention of Paris. She looks, in fact, rather like a younger version of Ilona Costa Bianchi.”
Spike’s eyebrows rose. “Definitely wouldn’t mind taking a look, then, mate. Sure we haven’t got time?”
The Doctor wagged his finger at Spike. “Naughty, naughty. That really wouldn’t be a good idea. You speak Greek, not the Luwian Hittite language spoken by the Trojans, and if you enter Troy they’ll execute you as a spy; especially if they recognise you as the designer of the new Greek sandals.”
“S’ppose you’re right,” Spike conceded. “Okay, mate, I’ll give Helen a miss.” He grinned. “Y’know, I’ve originated a whole new saying for the Trojans to hand down to the Romans and from them to us. ‘Beware of Greeks wearing lifts’.”