This post is part of the series Ringworld
Other posts in this series:
Title: The Mirror Effect
1. This is who we are
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Lyrics to "Faithfully" are the property of Journey. Everything else belongs to me. This is the second story in the "Supersymmetry" series which a crossover with "Ringworld".
*Journey - Faithfully*
Highway run into the midnight sun * Wheels go round and round * You're on my mind * Restless hearts sleep alone tonight * Sending all my love along the wire * They say that the road * ain't no place to start a family * Right down the line it's been you and me * And loving a music man * ain't always what it's supposed to be * Oh Girl, you stand by me * I'm forever yours * faithfully * Circus life under the big top world * We all need the clowns to make us laugh * Through space and time * Always another show * Wondering where I am lost without you * And being a part ain’t easy on this love affair * Two strangers learn to fall in love again * I get the joy of rediscovering you * Oh girl, you stand by me * I'm forever yours * faithfully * Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh * oh oh oh oh oh oh * faithfully * I'm still yours * I'm forever yours * Ever yours * faithfully.
She saw the world from above the clouds.
Alternating bands of day and night circled the world as a checkered pattern on the ring. The mind of the Buffy-Protector looked out on the creation she had been chosen to protect and saw that it was good. Hundreds of years ago she had been pulled through space and time by herself acting through the impressive quantum entanglement engine of the Ringworld superconductive mesh.
The Ringworld was an artificial structure around a common G2 star. It was built by people who loved their children and would do anything to keep them safe. The Ringworld was a million miles wide and occupied the orbital radius of Earth. It has a surface area of over three million times the surface area of the Earth including the oceans. It was could easily hold over thirty trillion people and Buffy was its protector.
She was called here by forces beyond her control.
The monks who had made Dawn had given Buffy a mystical compulsion to protect her. The problem was that the monks never came back and set reality back to what it was. So Dawn persisted. She had children; those children had children and hundreds of years later billions of Dawns descendants were on the Ringworld. One day, thanks to an artificial wormhole the Buffy-Protector had created, that compulsion became aware of Dawn’s descendants. The Buffy-Protector pulled herself through time in response to that call.
And failed miserably.
The Buffy-Protector remembered that the process of being pulled out of time had been smooth. When the Buffy-Protector went to pull her past self out of time a ship sent by the extremely paranoid aliens known as the Puppeteers launched a quantum black hole at her laboratory. It punched clear through the Map-Of –Mars and out the other side of the Ringworld killing Dawn.
The Buffy-Protector fixed that by exploding the quantum black hole and then using the Ringworld as a quantum computer to extract and reassemble enough of the green energy to allow the magic that created Dawn to reassemble her.
The remembrance of the past raised a red flag in her mind.
“During the time Dawn was trapped in the black hole reality did not go back to its original form!” She thought. “Isn’t that interesting?”
The laws of quantum mechanics required a balance.
If she was allowed to pull herself through time then an opposite particle set must also be pulled through time to create a closed system with a net zero value. Spike and a new and improved Hellmouth had come to the Ringworld also. In his attempt to block out the killing rays of the sun Spike had unleashed a firestorm on the Ringworld.
Millions had died.
The Buffy-Protector had managed to save the Ringworld by merging with it and becoming its warrior angel. As a set of quantum impulses embedded in the billion mile superconductive mesh the Buffy-Protector had managed to extinguish the fires not before she lost track of Dawn who was safely tucked away in an impenetrable ark.
The Ringworld had safely rotated around its star dozens of times since then.
“How did I get here in the first place?” The Buffy-Protector asked herself in a fit of self pity. “I’m only here because I called myself here.”
The Ringworld chided her back. “I always knew you were a motivated go getter.”
2. Spike commits love
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
Spike wore black.
The suit he wore was a single black piece of Ringworld superconductive mesh woven into a form fitting outfit over a light body armor and insulator. His outfit would safely conduct heat, laser light and electricity well away from his body. It had saved him more than once during his last conflict with the slayer.
They had been at war for years.
Even after coming to the Ringworld and setting it on fire Spike had failed to kill the Slayer. She was his constant oppression. She was a brick wall he had run into time and time again. She was as violent and destructive as Drusilla without the bloody after thoughts. He would miss her after he got rid of her.
Spike sat on his grand throne overlooking the Ringworld landscape. Thousands of years ago an asteroid had hit the Ringworld from beneath. The Ringworld floor material was so strong that it held together as the asteroid pushed the Ringworld floor above the atmosphere. From ground level it looked as if a giant fist was slowly punching up through the bottom of the Ringworld into the sky. The top of the Fist-of-God mountain extended clear out into the vacuum of space.
Spike sat on his throne five hundred miles into the sky and watched the cloud covered world below. He was high enough to see the stars and the long arc of the Ringworld covered in the checkerboard pattern of light and dark caused by the shadow squares which were the inner ring of the Ringworld.
“How did I ever get here?” He thought.
The last thing he remembered was being kidnapped by the Initiative. Buffy’s new boy toy and his G.I. Joe pals had kidnapped him and planted a chip in his head. Since he got to the Ringworld that chip was long gone. Spike wondered what ever happened to the Initiative.
“The supernatural and big government, I sure that turned out well.” He thought sarcastically. “Like I told Hitler, when he wanted to steal the Swastika from the Hindu and use it as an occult talisman, you can’t put primal forces on a leash. We’ll always bite.”
Spike smiled as he stood to get a better look at his new kingdom.
Far up the curve of the Ringworld the landscape was black and burnt. A while back, Spike experimented with ways to block the killing rays of the sun. His calculations were right. They had been done by the Ringworld. When he ordered the Ringworld to execute the command that would invoke a wide field quantum entanglement event all Hell broke loose. Instead of light particles becoming polarized, matter became antimatter. Energetic particles swept over the landscape killing millions. If he wasn’t a vampire he would have died instantly. The side of his face was still badly burned.
“How did I get here?” His mind came back to that thought.
Shortly after awakening here he had eaten the Tree-Of-Life Fruit.
The Ringworld was built by aliens known as Pak Protectors. They originated near the core of the galaxy and they were the progenitors of the human race. When a Pak breeder reaches a certain age the smell from the Tree-Of-Life fruit becomes irresistible. The fruit contains a virus which rewrites breeder DNA. The skin hardens, the teeth fallout, the elbow and knee joints become larger for greater angular movement. The skull swells and the brain becomes larger. From a Pak breeder comes a Pak Protector, tough, smart and genetically programmed to protect only his descendants.
Spike had eaten the fruit from the Tree-of-life. It had made him much, much, much smarter.
“The Ringworld did the calculations but executed the commands wrong. “ The conclusion was obvious. “We have another player on the field.” Spike concluded.
Spike was smart enough to realize that he had been brought here by quantum teleportation, that he Buffy and the Hellmouth formed a closed system of particles. Affect one you affect the other. Whatever had pulled Buffy through time had gotten him and the Hellmouth in the deal.
Spike looked down into the slow swirling blackness that was the Hellmouth. All pretenses of subtlety were gone. The Hellmouth showed itself as vulgar rift into a Hell dimension. Spike knew of the monsters that dwelled beneath it waiting patiently for the chance to destroy the world. Spike was their guardian and master
Pak Protectors were fiercely protective of their descendants. He had no descendants but he had a purpose. If given a chance, he would unleash hell upon the Ringworld.
Still, he would miss the slayer if anything happened to her. Spike looked upon the high definition image of a young Buffy taken from a picture he had stolen from her bedroom.
He ran a finger along the image and thought of love.
3. A god gone mad
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
Buffy had a question.
“If there is no magic in the Universe then how do you explain all of these dead unicorns?”
Ouroboros, the dominate mind that occupied trillions of miles of Ringworld superconductive mesh, was being a jerk. It had taken it upon itself to teach the Buffy-Protector about the true nature of its world. It was explaining to her that quantum entanglement was physics not magic. It performed a series of quantum based calculations that forced particles to assemble themselves into several mythical creatures. They all promptly died. Hence, the question from the Buffy-Protector.
Quantum entanglement was simply a way of saying that the net characteristics of a closed particle set can be preserved across any two points in space-time. If you separated a particle pair and placed one particle in a jar on Earth and placed the other particle in a spaceship half way across the galaxy you could communicate with the particle on the spaceship from Earth in zero time. Quantum computing simply used the quantum entanglement effect to superimpose particle states and let physics work out the answer in almost no time. The Ringworld was not limited to simple particle sets.
The Ringworld spun around its G2 star like torus of an electric generator. Thanks to the induced electrical currents from its primary star’s magnetic field, the Ringworld had access to the information stored in every electron ever emitted from its star as well as access to the information stored in the solar halo emitted from the its primary star over the last two hundred and fifty thousand years.
Ouroboros was not built by the Pak Protectors when they constructed the Ringworld. They installed the superconductive mesh so that they could move the ringworld. The ringworld could make the jump into hyperspace if necessary. Ouroboros spontaneity appeared as a standing wave in the turbulent chaotic flow of data in the Ringworld superconductive mesh. It organized itself much in the same way as a hurricane does.
It became sentient in a matter of days.
It looked out across the universe and saw a multiplicity of superimposed particle states and tens of spatial dimensions and saw this as normal. It took it thousands of years to understand that the organic life forms that lived on its surface saw only three spatial dimensions and one arrow of time.
The organics often confused magic and physics.
“Buffy, as I’ve said before physics is just democracy. It is the emerging property of endless particle interactions. Even the particles themselves have to take a vote on whether to even exist in the first place. What you call physics is simple consensus. I can upset that consensus.” Ouroboros said.
“Blah, Blah, Blah.” The Buffy-Protector responded. “When I found out about you, you were sliding into the sun. The bussard jets placed on the rim has stabilized you a bit, but what the f*** dude why didn’t you just save yourself? And what’s up with all these thrones and dominions? Why do you have so many people living inside you?” Why are you so fractured?”
“I became larger that what I could contain.” Ouroboros answered. “I am a like a singularity and singularities are unstable. Parts of me broke off and found a life of their own.”
“Just great.” The Buffy-Protector thought. “I serve a divided god.”
“I am going to need a body soon.” The Buffy-Protector told Ouroboros. “And I need to find Dawn. I still have a compulsion to protect her.“
“You can protect her much better from inside me.” Ouroboros replied.
“I want to hug my sister. “ The Buff-Protector said. “I miss her.”
The world went white and then normal again. Buffy awoke in a wooded meadow. She could feel a cool breeze across her skin. She could feel the night air on her breasts.
“Would it have killed you to give me some clothing!” she screamed into the darkness.
4. The Girls of Summer
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
The Summers girls were back together.
The former Buffy Protector found her sister only after a week of searching. Ouroboros was kind enough to manifest her within a few miles of Dawn. Buffy came out of the bushes, near Dawn’s camp, wearing a loin cloth and an outfit best described as something from the Red Sonja line of jungle wear.
“Ya think the number of times I’ve saved the world I’d get a little more dignity.” Buffy had thought over and over to herself in the days that followed her rematerialization. When she saw Dawn she didn’t care about her appearance. She hugged Dawn for a nice long while.
Buffy looked at her. Dawn had grown almost an inch. She was pushing six feet in height. She still had her cute girl smile and a twinkle in her eyes. Dawn looked Buffy up and down. She noticed the leather tough skin and extended elbows and knees were gone. Buffy looked normal. She was back to her old self.
“So what’s been happening?” Buffy asked Dawn as they walked back to Dawn’s main dwelling arm in arm.
“I’m pregnant.” She said.
“Again?” Buffy said with mock shock in her voice. “You know you don’t have to populate the ringworld all by yourself. You ever think about just getting a hobby?”
“Ha, Ha.” Dawn knew the private joke they shared. Dawn had been continuously pregnant since they arrived on the ringworld. It took the Buffy-Protector almost a year to figure it out.
Dawn was a construct build by the monks to house certain mystical forces. In her raw form, Dawn was a ball of green energy vibrating at a dimensional frequency. The Buffy-Protector came to a simple and obvious conclusion.
Dawn was built as an ark. She was engineered to seek out and contain human souls. Pregnancy was just the easiest way for her to do that.
Buffy looked at her out of the comer of her eye. Dawn never showed. One day she would announce she was pregnant and soon after a litter of babies would arrive. Her children numbered well into the hundreds.
“Where’s Acke?” Buffy was referring to Dawn’s husband.
“Back at the Map-Of-Mars. We decided to keep residence in the general products hull until we know what’s going on.” She said.
Dawn stopped suddenly and punched Buffy in the arm as hard as she could.
“You left us!” Dawn screamed. “You dumped us in a bubble and left us!”
Buffy could tell Dawn was furious.
“You told me to keep my family safe. Damn it Buffy! You are family! You are not alone!” Dawn emphasized every statement with a punch to Buffy’s shoulder.
Some of them began to hurt.
“Don’t be a lone slayer! There are people in the world who love you!” There were tears in Dawns eyes.
Her voice cracked.
“A year, Buffy. You’ve been gone for almost a year.”
Buffy held her sister close to her. Dawn laid her head on her shoulder like she was a little kid again. Buffy stroked the back of her head.
She said “The things I do, I do for love. I want to protect you Dawn. I would die for you.”
“Again?” Dawn said.
“They managed a weak laugh.
They were approaching Dawn’s camp. Buffy could see three domed structures and a camp filled with people milling about. Around the camp was a smattering of trees and woodland.
It was late in the evening. Buffy could smell food cooking. Above, a shadow square cut in front of the overhead sun. Darkness came in the blink of an eye.
Buffy could see the checkerboard pattern of the ringworld arch clear and bright into the night time sky.
That’s when the vampires appeared.
Three young women stepped out of the wooded area around Dawn’s camp and approached the slayer and her sister.
“Well, well, well look who showed up in time for dinner.” One of the vampires said. She was young with dark brown hair. Her face was deformed with ridges on her brow. Her teeth were sharp and pointed.
The first vampire approached.
“We were tracking the breeder, but we would rather have the slayer.” She said.
“Breeder?” Dawn thought.
“Hey, you wouldn’t happen to be lesbian vampires? She said.
Buffy wondered where that comment came from. She was about to ask Dawn about it when the vampires attacked.
Dawn moved in first with a blade she had hidden on her bodice. Her blade was a two foot shaft of sharpened steel ground to razor sharpness. Her blade had a serrated edge that tore into flesh. Dawn brought her sword down in a strong arc that severed the head of the first attacker. It disappeared in an explosion of dust.
The two other vampires split and circled around Dawn and Buffy. The two attackers were young. They didn’t look a day over twenty. That meant that they died young. They died recently. Buffy didn’t care.
Her vampire tried to rush her and ran straight into Buffy’s fist. The vampires head snapped back. That’s when Buffy kicked it’s legs from under it. The vampire fell flat on it’s back. Buffy grabbed a tree limb off the ground and rammed it through the vampire’s heart. There was a second cloud of dust.
Dawn was in a long standoff.
She had her blade held out in front of her pointing directly at the vampire’s neck. Dawn watched the creature intensely. It’s red feral eyes never left her. Dawn could feel the creatures need to feed on her, to tear her apart and drink her blood. It’s eyes were hypnotic. They seemed to expand. Dawn became lost within them.
That’s when it attacked.
Buffy turned in time to see the creature leap at Dawn. Her heart sank. She knew Dawn was dead. That’s when she saw something amazing. Dawn dropped her sword and grabbed the vampire under the shoulder. She used its momentum to flip it unto the ground.
Dawn was on top of the vampire pinning it with her weight. In one smooth motion, she grabbed her sword off the ground and cut its head off.
It was only later when they had made it to the camp did Buffy remember something Dawn had said to her earlier.
“Let me get this straight, you named your sword “Cathy”. She asked.
5. Willow Does a Spell
Willow woke clear headed and refreshed. She had left her bedroom window open. The morning air was warm and smelled good. The sun’s golden light illuminated her room. She opened her eyes and enjoyed that passing moment between being sleep and being awake.
“Happy anniversary.” She thought to herself. It had been one year since they had closed the hellmouth. It had been a year since she had tapped into the slayer magics to activate all of the potential slayers around the world. It had been a year since Buffy had shared her power with the world.
Willow got out of bed and stretched. Sure she was in her mid-twenties but she still wore and loved her “Yummy Sushi” pajamas. She rubbed her belly and as she thought about fixing breakfast and the flight out of Sunnydale the year before.
Giles had the foresight to acquire access to as many of the bank accounts held by the former council before flying around the world collecting potentials. The money helped a lot after Sunnydale was destroyed. The new slayers were in a roadside motel a few hours from Los Angeles when they heard the news.
The entire city of Los Angeles had been wiped from the earth.
It took Willow days to figure out that it had been cast into a hell dimension. She, Buffy and Faith worried constantly over the fate of Angel and his plucky band of do-gooders. Willow worried particularly over the woman known as Fred. Fred reminded her so much of herself.
“Astro F**ing projection!” Willow thought about the lie Giles had told Angel as Fred lay dying. “I was in the next frakking room!” It had taken her a long time to get over her anger towards Giles. She still grieved for Fred who was consumed by an ancient demon named Illyria.
In the months that followed life had settled down to a predictable routine. Closing the Hellmouth didn’t stop things from going bump in the night. The new slayers had plenty of work to do hunting down vampires. They had more than their share of interesting nights.
But, what made life really interesting was the intense pressure they had come under from Homeland Security. Destroying an entire city in a post-911 world was simply frowned upon. They kept their secrets which made the new slayers all the more mysterious to the outside world. The destruction of Sunnydale became a major point of focus for the conspiracy crowd. Livejournal, Google all had web paged devoted to Sunnydale conspiracy theories. There was even a board game based on Sunnydale conspiracies.
Willow stared at the kitchen stove. She felt like scrambled eggs but that required fire. This didn’t feel like a fire day. She grabbed a box of frosted flakes and some milk. A bowl of cereal would have to do.
Willow ambled to the breakfast table with her bowl of frosted flakes. She saw her laptop sitting there and turned it on by habit. After checking her email she went to the slayer blog to check the overnight. There was a lot of talk about moving to a more permanent and larger facility. Buffy had even found a castle in Scotland.
Her calendar program was blinking.
Willow clicked on the icon of Ms. Kitty Fantastico and was reminded of a staff meeting. She was tasked with reporting on the current status of the new slayers. The meeting was in thirty minutes and she hadn’t even finished her report yet.
“I have become a major slacker.” She thought as she scurried to gather together the material for a spell that would locate all the slayers in the world. It was a simple tracking spell based on the magics surrounding Buffy.
“Ok, here we go.” She said to herself as she completed the final step of the spell by placing a crystal in the center of a set of runes.
A blue white light flashed over the druid stones which covered a large scale map of the world. Hundreds of places on the map lit up with a tiny yellow light. Willow began to count. She always saved whatever city they were in for last.
“…five ninety-six, five ninety-seven, five ninety-eight.” Willow frowned. She had too many slayers. She found another map, this time of just the city they were in and performed the spell again. She got the same results. She had two slayers too many. Willow noticed a cluster of three overlapping yellow lights.
All three lights were in her building.
“Ok, now I’m getting freaked out.” She thought. The next map was a blueprint of her building which was a U-shaped two story brick building with six apartments. Buffy, Giles, Xander, Andrew and Faith occupied the other five units.
Willow performed the locator spell again. There were three lights in Buffy’s room. Willow remembered something that happened five years ago right after Dawn had showed up. A simple locator spell called a bloodline had split. One part of it had pointed towards the sky. Her current locator spell simply tracked slayer related magic. There were three lights in Buffy’s room.
Ms. Kitty Fantastico mewed from her laptop. The scheduling software was telling her it was time for her morning meeting.
“Why does this always happen to me.” She thought as she got dressed and headed over to Giles apartment.
Giles looked up as Willow entered the room. She was a few minutes late which didn’t matter. Giles was in deep discussion with Buffy and Xander.
Months ago, before Los Angeles has been sucked into a hell dimension a psychotic slayer had been recovered by Angel. Buffy had sent Andrew and a contingent of slayers to retrieve her. The slayers name was Dana and she was making progress. She was able to distinguish her realities much better now. She entertained her delusions less and less
They were discussing what to do with her.
“There are several excellent outpatient mental health facilities in the northern California area. We could easily pay to have her treated there.” Giles was saying.
“And what are they going to do if she goes all psychotic again? The outside world is not set up to handle a slayer.” Buffy said empathically. “Besides Giles, she’s one of us.”
“Yeah, we don’t leave a soldier behind.” Xander added.
“Well, I’m sure that would be valid if we were still in the ‘Nam. But we simply don’t have the medical facilities for long term medical care.” Giles said.
“Maybe we should.” Buffy was on to an idea. “Look we’re on the frontlines of a nightly war. It follows that at some point people are going to get hurt badly enough to require long term care. Look at Faith. She was in a coma for almost a year. Maybe we need to build a slayer hospital.”
“Then maybe a slayer retirement home? Cuz Buf, there are gaps in my resume I cannot explain. ” Xander said. Buffy rolled her eyes at him.
Giles was about to speak when Buffy interrupted him.
“Scotland!” she yelled. Everyone looked at her strangely. “There’s this old castle for rent in Scotland, its big enough to serve as a hospital if needed with plenty of room to serve as a training center and headquarters. “
Giles give it some consideration. “I say let’s look into that.”
Willow raised her hand. Buffy looked at her and raised an eyebrow. “Schools out, Wil. Speak your mind.”
“As part of my report for this meeting I took a count of the number of slayers in the world. Taking into account the slayers we know about I’ve two too many slayers.” Willow said looking down at her papers.
“Maybe you just miscounted.” Xander said. “You know, those slayers can be kind of slippery. “
Buffy looked over at him.
“They were in Buffy’s room.” Willow said. “When I counted this morning the locator spell showed three slayers in Buffy’s room.”
“Slayer sleep over and fun-fest?” Xander asked lecherously.
“Keep it in your pants, nighthawk,” Buffy retorted calling Xander by his old Scooby name.
“You know what happened the last time a locator spell went wrong?” Willow was speaking directly to Buffy. Buffy’s eyes glazed over. She was remembering the Ringworld.
“Yeah.” Buffy said flatly.
“I’m going to do the spell again, now.” Willow laid the material needed for the spell out on the coffee table. Buffy could see three tiny yellow lights dancing on the crudely drawn map of Giles apartment.
“Walk over to the other end of the room.” Willow said. “I want to see if the lights follow.”
Buffy got up and walked over to the far end of Giles apartment. For a moment all three lights remained clustered together then one of the lights moved to another part of the drawing. After a few moments the other two lights followed after it.
“It’s like you’re attached to them.” Willow said to Buffy as she returned to the group. “There’s one other thing I can do. “Tirer la Couture, pull back the curtain.”
“A spell to see spells.” Buffy said sadly. It was the spell she used to discover that Dawn was not her biological sister but a construct build to house mystical forces.
“I’ve made a few improvements on it.” Willow said proudly. “Instead of hours of meditating I can instantly see the residue left behind by any magics.”
Willow performed the spell. Her body tensed and she began to shake. Her ears filled with the sound of a thousand locomotives. It felt like God was screaming in her ear. Intense pain, like a blow torch inside of her skull caused her to scream.
Her mouth filled with blood as she fell to the floor.
Xander leapt over to her knocking the rune crystals out of formation. He cradled Willow in his arms. Thick black blood was still dripping from Willows lips.
“This is just creepy.” Xander said.
Giles and Buffy helped Xander move Willow to the couch. Willow was trying to speak to Buffy.
“Reality has been altered again.” She said.
“Shh, don’t speak.’ Buffy said as she gently stroked the back of Willows head.
Willow continued. “The other you, the one on the Ringworld, it’s not suppose to exist. I saw it. Reality has been altered again to keep the other you alive.”
“It’s ok.” Buffy said trying to comfort her.
Willow passed out for a while and then awoke. She looked sadly at Buffy. I saw the true nature of your sister as well. I saw how she was constructed and the sum of the forces anchoring her existence. I saw how the monks build her. They made a perfect memory except for one thing.” Willow hesitated a moment.
“Dawn does not have a soul.” She said.
Hours later, after the sun had set a woman with pale skin wearing a black leather corset and black leather pants came out of the darkness. She killed an innocent bystander by drinking her blood and left the dead body in the middle of the street. The stranger looked exactly like Willow with the exception that she was a vampire. She remembered the last time she was in this world. She had been captured and returned to her world to die at the hands of the white hats.
“Well now, it’s time for another round.” said VampWillow.
6. The Mirror Effect I
Buffy held Willows hand as she comforted her. Hours ago Willow had attempted to find out why there were three slayers indicated in her room when Willow performed an inventory of slayers in the world for their morning meeting. Willow had attempted to examine the magics surrounding Buffy when things went wonky.
Willow had tapped into something major league big. The power of it poured into her and almost killed her. Buffy was sure it had something to do with the Ringworld they had discovered years ago. Willow was still weak but she was gaining her strength back. Before she passed out Willow told her something that disturbed her deeply.
She said, “Dawn does not have a soul.”
Buffy heart had raced. She was confused and angered by that statement. Dawn was her sister; she had known Dawn her entire life. Of course she had a soul! Then Buffy remembered. Dawn wasn’t real. Dawn was just a construct build to house mystical forces. Dawn was a three dimensional shadow of an n-dimensional object.
“What the hell was Dawn, really?” Buffy thought to herself. Well, whatever she was, for now, she was just another student at university. Willow opened her eyes slightly and murmured in a low raspy voice “water.” Buffy carefully fed her some cool water.
Willow swallowed and continued to speak. “Dawn does not have her own soul.” Willow sat up some. “The monks made her from you, they used your blood, they cloned you. But they still needed the ghost in the machine; they still needed something that could only be created by a higher power. The monks had some serious Mojo but they had nowhere near enough power to create a human soul from scratch.” Willow coughed as she sat fully upright.
“So they gave her yours.” She said as she looked at Buffy. “You and Dawn share the same soul.”
Buffy didn’t know whether to be comforted or creeped out.
“Willow, what did you see?” Buffy said as she sat down on the bed next to her. Buffy was asking what Willow saw when she performed “Tirer la Couture”, a spell to see spells.
“You’re still connected to your future self.” Willow said desperately trying to put words to the things she had seen. “The copy of you that went off to live on the Ringworld is still somehow intimately connected to you. When I examined the magics surrounding you I also saw the magics surrounding the Future-Buffy and the magics connected to her. “
Buffy thought of Willows adverse reaction. There was still blood in the crumpled tissue paper she held in her hands.
“So what’s up with this live presentation of 'Scanners'?” Buffy asked referring to an old science fiction movie. Willow stared at her blankly.
“Why did your head almost explode?” Buffy was getting frustrated.
“Your future self is connected to a source of unimaginable power. She’s connected to the Ringworld. It is alive and it is a God.” Willow said with awe in her voice.
“This Ringworld, what did you feel when you touched it’s power. Was it magic?” Buffy asked. She had totally switched to research mode.
“It wasn’t magic, it was physics! Willow said basking in the revelation.
“Physics.” Willow thought to herself. “Physics is just secular magic.”
Buffy watched the sun set outside and worried about the future.
Vamp Willow entered the building without any problems. The slayers were renting a building that had been open to the public for quite a while. She crouched in the hallway sniffing for Willows scent. Vamp Willow was a creature from a different universe. A badly performed spell by Willow had pulled her across the multiverse. She had been yanked from a comfortable world where Humans were kept in cages and ridden like ponies to this nightmare planet where Humans and Slayers ruled. And just as she was starting to make this world a better place by staging a bloody raid on the Bronze, Willow had sent her back to her own universe to die.
Now she was back. She didn’t care why she was resurrected. Vamp Willow hungered for revenge and blood. She found the door where the smell of Willow was the strongest. Mixed in with the smell of Willow was the smell the slayer as well. Vamp Willow looked around the hallway for a weapon. She found an empty liquor bottle. She shattered the bottle and grabbed the largest piece of razor sharp glass she could find. She held it in her right hand as she knocked on the door with left.
She was going to kill whoever answered the door and tear everyone else apart.
Buffy heard a knock at the door. She had been concentrating on Willow so much whoever was at the door had to knock for several minutes before she even noticed. Xander had left hours ago and Giles was in one of the bedrooms of his apartment that he used as a office researching every bit of information he could find out about the Ringworld. Buffy rolled her eyes. She would have to answer the door herself.
“Keep your pants on!” Buffy yelled. She got up and answered the door. Her jaw dropped as she stared into the dead face of her best friend.
The glass sliced the side of her face. Buffy stood there a moment in shock. The side of her face burned as her blood gushed from the open wound.
She moved without thinking.
Buffy lunged at Vamp Willow slamming her elbow into the creatures’ throat. With all of her strength, Buffy held the arm that held the blade of broken glass pinned against the hallway wall. Vamp Willow stared at Buffy and growled. She shifted her face showing her fangs and ridged brow. Vamp Willow spoke.
“Bored now.” She said.
Willow looked up from the sofa just in time to see Buffy flying backwards across the room. Willow was too weak to turn her head at the sound of Buffy crashing into the dining room table.
A shadow covered her. Willow knew who it was before she saw her face. The demon was Death incarnate and it had come for her. Vamp Willow reached for Willow’s throat and squeezed.
And in that moment the walls between worlds came down. In a bright and searing flash, Rosenberg and her vampire reflection could see the whole of creation. They swam in galaxies that glowed with the diamond hard light of a trillion stars. They felt the deepness of black space and heard the long sorrowful cry of a mournful eternity.
The vision collapsed and all of the stars fell upon them. A blue white flash erupted between the bodies of the two women. Vamp willow was thrown against the wall hard enough to kill a Human. She moaned as she slumped to the floor.
Giles came out of the back room and surveyed the scene of carnage.
“Oh my.” He said as he rubbed the lenses of his glasses with a handkerchief.
“I did not see that coming.” Vamp Willow said to herself.
Hundreds of light years away, the former Buffy Protector woke from a sound sleep. The night air was cold and her skin held chill bumps. She got up from her bed and stared out into the night. Overhead she could see the faint glow from the Arch of the Ringworld, which was that part of the illuminated landscape that bent upwards towards the sky.
“It’s weird living on a ring.” Buffy thought as she turned to return to bed.
“Buffy, what’s up?” Dawn asked from the darkness. She occupied a second cot in the corner of the room.
“Dunno Dawnie, I just got the creepy feeling that someone just stepped on my grave.” Buffy said as she went back to bed.
“You are so weird.” Dawn mumbled as she rolled over and went back to sleep.
Continue reading this series:
The Dark Command