This post is part of the series Ringworld
Other posts in this series:
Title: The Wheel in the Sky
1. Chapter One
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me. This story was orginally written as a "To Boldly Go" challenge but alas it was not to be so. This is the first story in the "Supersymmetry" series which is a crossover with "Ringworld". "Wheel in the Sky" copyright Journey.
Winter is here again oh Lord, Haven't been home in a year or more, I hope she holds on a little longer, Sent a letter on a long summer day, Made of silver, not of clay, Ooh, I've been runnin' down this dusty road
Ooh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', I don't know where I'll be tomorrow, Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', I've been trying to make it home, Got to make it before too long, Ooh, I can't take this very much longer, no I'm stranded in the sleet and rain, Don't think I'm ever gonna make it home again, The mornin' sun is risin', It's kissing the day
Ooh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', I don't know where I'll be tomorrow, Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', Whooa... My, my, my, my, my... For tomorrow
Oh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', Ooh, I don't know where I'll be tomorrow, Wheel in the sky keeps me yernin', Oh, I don't know, I don't know, Oh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'
Ooh, I don't know where I'll be tomorrow, Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', Ooh, I don't know, I don't know, I don't knowohoh, Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', Don't know where I'll be tomorrow, Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', Ohh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin', Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'
Journey, "Wheel in the Sky"
It was two o’clock in the morning. Buffy and Willow crouched behind a dumpster in an alley in the crappiest part of town. For two days they had been looking for Dawn who somehow managed to get herself captured yet again by the forces of darkness. Buffy was desperate and running out of ideas. She had managed to beg Willow into performing a locator spell.
“Not real happy about the magics.” Willow had said to her as she succumbed to Buffy pleading. “I can do a simple locator spell. All I need is a drop of blood.”
“Thanks Wil. You’re the best.” Buffy said relived.
Willow pricked Buffy’s finger and set the blood amid the rune stones.
“I need something that belongs to Dawn and since you and she have the same blood…”
The drop of blood began to glow a soft white color tinged by orange streaks.
“”This is called a bloodline.” Willow said. “The magic creates an actual physical line in the air that we can follow. This is better than GPS.” Willow smiled.
Buffy’s blood sparked. A thin red line rose up from the center of the rune stones. It snaked like a living thing. The blood line hesitated then split in two. One half of the blood line curved around the corner pointing to a rundown warehouse. Buffy’s suspicions were confirmed.
Willow did not look too happy. The other half of the bloodline shot upwards disappearing into a star crowded region of the sky.
“Is it suppose to do that?” Buffy asked not really caring. Willows use of magic was not the most precise. Any number of things could have gone wrong.
“Uh, Buffy..” Willow said with real concern in her voice. “According to this, Dawn is also in the general direction of the galactic center.”
Buffy looked up following the path of the bloodline as it disappeared into the sky.
“Well, let’s check this planet first, ok?” Buffy said.
“Right with you.” Willow replied. Buffy pulled out her stake as they headed towards the warehouse.
The next day in the magic shop Willow performed the spell again. She realized she was a novice but the results she got last night were insane. How could she screw-up such a simple spell? The runestone she used last night still had Buffy’s blood on it. Willow sat in the upstairs section of the Magic shop where she could have a clear view of Dawn and Buffy as she performed the spell again. Sure enough, the bloodline split. One half of it went directly to Dawn. The other half pointed downwards this time.
“Well, this is new.” Willow thought. For nearly an hour she watched the downward pointing bloodline slowly shift a few degrees as if it was tracking a moving source.
“Of course!” Willow thought. “If it’s tracking an object in space it’s going to shift as the Earth rotates.”
“Hey, Willow!” Buffy yelled from below. “We’re going to the bronze. Wanna hang?”
“In research mode.” She answered. “I’ve got to troubleshoot this spell.”
“Have fun.” Buffy replied sarcastically. Buffy, Dawn and Xander left the magic shop.
Willow watched the shifting bloodline. A thought occurred to her. Whatever it was tracking would be over the horizon in a few hours. She grabbed her laptop and punched up some “Sky and Telescope” star maps. She was glad she had talked Giles into installing a wireless hot spot. She located a GPS unit behind the counter and got her precise latitude and longitude.
“I can’t wait.” Willow thought impatiently to herself. “If I measure the rate of angular displacement I can predict when whatever this bloodline is tracking will appear above the horizon. Willow did the math. Sure enough the object was on the celestial equator.
The celestial equator is a great circle on an imaginary sphere in the same plane as the Earths equator. It is a projection of the terrestrial equator out into space. As the Earth rotated everything in the sky moved at the same speed.
Willow brought up pictures from the Hubble telescope to see what it was that the bloodline was tracking. She reviewed the images on her laptop. Nothing special stood out. Then she got an idea. Willow connected directly to the images database on the NASA computers after a few minutes of careful hacking. She came across the typical series of encrypted classified photographs. None of them held her interest. However, she located a new series of jpegs with a “.mil’ tag.
“.mil” is the Internet domain for the military.
“Come to me my sweeties.” Willow carefully hacked the jpegs in a few seconds. She didn’t want a repeat of last time.
What popped up on her screen was a high definition image of a blurry G2 star with a ring around it. Willow enhanced the image. The jpeg was generated by the Hubble telescope. The picture size was well over twenty thousand by twenty thousand pixels. Willow examined the ring around the star and squeaked.
She was fairly certain the ring was solid.
2. chapter 2
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
Buffy threw her books to the floor and dove onto the bed in her smallish dorm room. She had returned to her room right after receiving her midterm test results. The results were terrible. She was basically failing most of her classes. It was unfair. She had saved the world several times over now she this close to flunking out of school.
“Why can’t I get extra points for slaying?” She thought then smiled. “That would be cool.”
After a moment she said to herself “Maybe the double meat palace has a management program.” She wiped the tears from her face as she turned over on her back. “What’s wrong with me? I studied for days. I guess I’m just stupid.” Buffy beat herself up. Then a thought occurred to her. She leapt off the bed and began searching through the magic books Willow kept in the room.
“There’s got to be something here that can make me smarter.” After thirty minutes of searching Buffy found what she was looking for.
The next day
The mystery of the bloodline had Willow stumped. She didn’t like that. She came to the magic shop to think and to do research. That was now impossible. Somehow she had gotten talked into helping out behind the counter.
Buffy walked into the Magic Shop looking dejected. She took one of the magic books off of the shelf and began to go over it.
“You ever thought in a million years you would miss the school library?” Xander asked her.
“Someone put a spell on my Mom. Something to make her look like she’s sick.” Buffy replied.
“That’s a new kind of nasty. Any suspects?
“Got the list narrowed down to just under infinity. “
Anya and Willow were arguing about something at the counter. Willow held up a badly wrapped package.
“Does this look right to you?” She asked Anya.
“Sure, if you wrapped it with your feet. “ Anya replied smartly. “You know Buffy there used to be this French sorcerer back in sixteen-
“Cloutier?” Giles injected.
“So cute in his little knickers but he had this one spell demons just hated called “Tirer la Couture.” Anya said.
Buffy attempted to translate. “Rotate many foodstuffs?”
“Pull the curtain back” Willow corrected.
“A spell to see spells. Well, a trance to see spells, but, you get the idea. Try that”. Anya went back to wrapping the package correctly.
Willow got an idea. Something had fudged the bloodline spell she performed on Buffy the other night. This “Tirer la Couture” sounded like the perfect thing to find out what was going on.
That night Willow entered the trance and found her way over to the Summers home. She felt like a stalker as she peeked through the living room window. Buffy had obviously gone home and performed the trance herself. She was having some sort of argument with Dawn. That wasn’t what she came for.
Sure enough, she could see that Buffy was under a spell, actually multiple spells. Buffy was a slayer so she was under the slayer spell all the time. Willow could see that as a constant blue glow. But there was a second spell at work that grew stronger the further away she was from Dawn. Willow watched Buffy for several minutes. The other spell would actually grow stronger the further away Dawn was.
“The key is energy… We had to make sure the slayer would protect it with her life.” A voice came out of nowhere and spoke to Willow. “Dawn?” Willow puzzled to herself. Willow watched. Every time Dawn walked away from Buffy the glow from the second spell grew stronger.
Willow put the pieces together. “Buffy’s under a mystical compulsion to protect Dawn!” she thought.
This didn’t help her solve the mystery of the bloodline. Willow trudged her way back home.
Willow watched the stars on her laptop. The ringed star was nearly two hundred and fifty light years from Earth. That meant she was seeing light that was at least two hundred and fifty years old. Why had the bloodline spell gone wrong now? She had performed the spell many times in the past with no strange effect. What had changed? Her eye caught something funny in the way the nearby stars looked in the jpeg. Their spectrum was warped as if something huge and powerful was warping space nearby.
“A wormhole?” She thought. “Wait a minute. Wormholes warp space and time.” Then it hit her. She was not looking into the past. Thanks to the distortion of space-time caused by the wormhole, she was looking into the future.
3. chapter 3
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
The spell kicked in the next day.
While Buffy was taking her makeup exam in ancient history she had a breakthrough. The test question was “Discuss the war strategies used to expand the Assyrian state during the first millennia.” At first, she just stared at the paper hoping something would pop into her head. It had never worked before but she kept hope alive. Buffy chewed on her pen and day dreamed as her brain worked on the problem. It took her brain five seconds to recall and organize the information that had laid dormant in her synapses.
“Of course, King Ashurnasirpal II use of inland raids to provide supplies allowed for extended warfare and the expansion of Assyrian forces. "That much is obvious." Buffy smiled to herself. The test became easy almost elementary. Her next makeup test was introduction to calculus. She was well on her way to solving the “Twin Prime Conjecture” and solving one of the oldest unresolved problems in mathematics when the bell rung. She hoped the teacher would give her extra credit.
Willow watched Buffy enter the Magic shop. She could tell Buffy was happy.
She watched Buffy skip her way into the store. Buffy put her books down on the counter and began describing to Giles her success on her makeup exams. Her hands were animated and she did a little dance around the counter. Buffy looked up at Willow with a toothy million dollar smile. Willow could feel her joy from where she sat in the stacks.
“Glad somebody’s having a good day.” Willow thought to herself. She went back to studying the image on the screen. The ring itself was almost a million miles wide with a surface area of three million Earths. It was spinning with a surface gravity of about one gee. Willow switched to the infrared view. The ring had a regular checkerboard pattern of hot and cold areas almost like a day-night cycle. Someone engineered this thing to be livable. It was not that hard to do the math. There could be trillions of people living there.
“What’cha looking at?” Buffy asked. She had sneaked up on her. “Porn? Are you looking at filthy lesbian porn? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Buffy took a peak at the laptop screen.
She saw the ringed star and her breath went out of her. She instantly knew it was an artificial world.
“What the…” Buffy said under her breath. “Wil, can you enhance the area around the star’s corona, let’s say a million miles out.”
Willow tapped the keyboard. Military grade image processing software instantly brought the image of the star into sharp focus. Buffy saw the thin black line that cut across the face of the star.
“Shadow squares.” Buffy said. “To recreate the feel of night and day.” A terrible idea was forming in her head. ‘Wil, where did this come from?”
“Remember the locator spell I did a few days ago? Remember how it split into two sections and one of the sections went towards the sky? I think this is what it was pointing towards.”
“It’s massive.” Buffy said in awe.
“It’s mass is about equal to the mass of the planet Jupiter.” Willow added. She looked at Buffy for a moment. “How did you know there would be shadow squares?” she asked.
“Seemed obvious. Once I realized it was built to be inhabited. Because, you know, the ring’s distance from the star places it in the green zone, that zone around a star where water can remain in a liquid state. That being the case the diurnal cycle works out to be similar to Earth’s.” Buffy said without hesitation and somewhat casually.
Willow was staring at her open mouthed.
“When did you become so smart?” Willow asked. She remembered the magic books she had left in their dorm room.
Buff ignored Willow. Her mind was working furiously.
“Willow, tell me about the locator spell you used. The one that went all wonky.”
“It was a standard locator spell.” Willow responded.
“How do locator spells work?” Buffy asked with urgency in her voice. In the back of her mind, she already had an answer that disturbed her deeply.
“Remember I said I needed something that belonged to Dawn in order for it to work? The spell is basically pattern matching. It takes an object then finds another object that is similar to it.” Willow was trying to understand where Buffy was going with this.
“You used my blood, right?” Buffy asked.
“Right.” Willow agreed.
Buffy thought hard for a moment. The monk had told her that Dawn was made from her, that essentially Dawn was a mystic clone of her. Yet, the bloodline had split.
“I know what happened.” Buffy said with trembling in her voice. This ringworld, it is full of Dawns children, her descendants. There must be hundreds of billions of them there.” Buffy felt an overwhelming compulsion to protect the children of Dawn. Something in her screamed to be their protector.
“There may be a problem here.” Buffy said staring into the Ringworld image. “I’ve done the math in my head just now. The ringworld is unstable.”
4. chapter 4
Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
She decided to tell them about Dawn.
Buffy had already informed Giles of what she found out about Dawn from the monk who died in her arms. Now with this new information about the ringworld she had to tell everyone about the true nature of Dawn and about the real reason Glory was here. She wondered how they would take the news that Dawn was the mother of billions. It became even more important that Dawn be protected now. More than one world depended on her living a long and fertile life.
In the back of Buffy’s mind those billions of lives called out to her. She felt as if she was under a compulsion to leave Sunnydale and fly out to them which was ridiculous. How could she care about people she had never met. It was then that she thought about the endless commercials on television showing starving dark skinned people in Africa. She had never cared about them past the sense that their suffering was an inconvenient intrusion into her happy world view.
“Why do I care about people I’ve never met?” She thought to herself. She had the answer before she knew it. “It’s because I feel connected to them.”
“Buffy?” It was Xander. “You called this meeting.”
Buffy looked around. Everyone was there and they were staring at her.
“A few days ago I went back and investigated the warehouse where I found the sphere.” She said.
“Yes, I remember.” said Giles.
“That’s when I met Glory for the first time. Let’s just say I barely got out alive.” Buffy paused for everyone to perform their typical show of concern then she went on. I met someone there, a monk who claimed that Dawn was an artifact. That she was actually a green ball of energy that was molded into the form of a young girl. They gave her to me to protect.”
“Yeah, Buffy but I remember that time Dawn and I…” Xander was about to say.
“False memories.” Buffy said abruptly. “The monks altered local reality
“What about all the times I babysitted?” Willow asked.
“You have never babysitted Dawn in your life. Dawn has been in this world for less than a month.” Buffy’s tone was sharp. “The monks changed all of our memories. It’s obvious really.”
Willow had never known Buffy to be condescending. Just how smart had Buffy become?
“Now there’s this other thing.” Buffy looked over at Willow for support. She was about to tell everyone about the ringworld and Dawn’s billions of descendants.
“The other night Willow performed a locator spell to find Dawn. The spell indicated that somehow she was in deep space in the general direction of the galactic core.” Buffy waved everyone to silence. “Hubble images from that region of space showed a G2 star surrounded by a solid ring of matter. The sunward side of the ring is terraformed. That ring could easily hold thirty trillion people.” Buffy could feel the sheer weight of that number. She now had the intelligence to understand and that made her anxious.
“Why now? Giles asked. “Willow’s performed locator spells before but they have never indicated anything skyward?”
“We think it’s the wormhole.” Buffy answered.
“So now there’s a wormhole?” Xander muttered.
Buffy smiled over at him.
“The monks didn’t think it through.” She said. “They didn’t appreciate or care about the future effects of forcing Dawn into this reality. And now thanks to a cute little warp in space-time the future is now.”
“Other than being cool, what possible effect of knowing about the ringworld would have on anyone here?” Xander was curious.
“I can feel them in my heart.” Buffy said with sadness. “The monks gave me a fierce compulsion to protect Dawn and that was ok as long as there was just Dawn.” Buffy paused a moment to choose her next words. “Now that I know about the others, about her descendants, the compulsion is stronger, much, much, much stronger.”
Buffy looked at them with tears in her eyes. “I don’t think I can stay on Earth much longer. I’m going to take Dawn and move to the ringworld.”
The Scooby gang was in stunned silence.
5. chapter 5
They were all over her in the magic shop. After she made her announcement that she wanted to leave the Earth and take Dawn to the ringworld. The Scoobies had erupted with howls of protest. Giles reminded her of her sacred duty to protect mankind and the ongoing threats from the hellmouth.
She didn’t give a damn about the world. Her blood was screaming for the ringworld. She could feel the pull of the billions of lives it was now her duty to protect. The well-being of Dawn and these strangers were now her top priority which made no sense to her because of one simple fact.
The ringworld was unstable.
The ringworld spun at seven hundred and seventy miles per second creating the feel of gravity by the centrifugal force. This made the ringworld very stable along its axis but highly unstable in the plane. A strong solar flare could push it off course. Buffy had viewed a series of sequential images of the ring world. Its shift was minute, but she could tell it had less than a year until it brushed its sun killing trillions.
Buffy had fled from the magic shop to get away from them. She was upset and the only thing that could calm her down was the presence of Dawn. She was making her way home as quickly as possible. Her mind reviewed what the monks had done. Dawn had been in the world less than a month. She appeared right after Buffy had met the legendary count Dracula. Dracula had tasted her, had sampled her blood.
Buffy couldn’t believe she didn’t get the connection until now.
The monks had used Dracula to get a sample of her blood in order to create Dawn! The monk’s accent was eastern European. Wasn’t that awfully close to Transylvania?
“I was blind but now I see.” Buffy said to herself as she waited for the light to change at the intersection. “Everything the monks did is obvious to me now. I've been extremely slow to see the bigger picture. It’s a miracle I haven’t died more often.” Her cell phone was ringing constantly. She did not want to answer it. The light changed and she crossed the street.
“If mom was here…” Buffy’s thoughts trailed off. Her mind leapt lighting quick to an awful conclusion that just seemed obvious now that she had her enhanced intelligence. Joyce had often told her that the memories that a mother carries of her child are not just stored in the head. The memories are stored in every cell of her body. But Joyce was not Dawn’s mother. Dawn had no biological mother. When the monks changed the world their magics had to make Joyce conform to the lie that she had carried and given birth to Dawn. The memory of the truth had fought back against the lie. Joyce was killed for trying to cling to a truth that was in every cell of her body. Instead of giving birth to Dawn, she had conceived a tumor that killed her.
“They killed my mother to make the world conform to a lie.” The revelation stunned Buffy and stopped her dead in her tracks. ‘They killed my mother!”
When she entered the house her eyes were red and puffy from crying. She saw Spike sitting in the chair across from the couch, across from Dawn. Buffy dropped her purse and leapt across the room. She slammed into him knocking him off the chair. She rammed the meaty part of her palm into his nose breaking it. She was trying to send bone fragments into his brain to kill him. She wasn’t thinking clearly. She was running on pure rage. Spike rolled her over to the side and scrambled to his feet. His eyes were wide in surprise but his instincts were true. He managed to land several punches on Buffy without the slightest hint of a headache. Buffy recovered and managed to catch him in the throat with her elbow. Spike staggered backwards. Buffy grabbed an iron poker from the fireplace and rammed it through his chest. Spike fell down. Buffy grabbed her battle axe from her war chest near the back of the toppled chair and approached Spike. She was going to cut his head off.
Dawn stepped between them.
“BUFFY!” She screamed. “What the HELL are you doing?!”
Buffy stopped. She still had the axe in her hand. Her breathing was deep and heavy. Her eyes were glassy and defocused. Buffy looked at Dawn. Dawn did not recognize the furious thing staring back at her from behind Buffy’s eyes.
“Spike, get to the basement, now!” Dawn said. She didn’t take her eyes off of Buffy. Spike wasn’t moving. The tension was still thick in the air. “The basement now!” she said again with an edge in her voice. “Or I can let Buffy buy you a ticket to dust city.”
Spike scrambled to his feet. He pulled the iron poker out of his chest with a grunt. He dropped it to the floor as he made his way to the basement. Dawn watched him go then turned to Buffy.
“Have you gone mad?” The anger was evident in her voice.
Buffy remembered how to talk. She spoke in a low emotionless voice that forced Dawn to take a step back.
“Vampires are evil monsters. They are a threat to you.” Buffy tilted her head and stared at Dawn with intense and empty eyes. “I must keep you safe.” She said.
In the basement Spike was confused. Buffy had tried to kill him! She was serious. Spike rubbed his chest where she had skewed him with the poker. He was healing but it still hurt. Buffy had tried to kill him, for real this time. That thought echoed around in his head. But that’s not what he was confused about. He had hit Buffy several times and felt no pain. Either the chip in his head had stopped working or Buffy wasn’t Human anymore. Spike smiled and considered his options.
6. chapter 6
“Go over it again Willow.” Giles asked. He was still in the magic shop frantically trying to reach Buffy on her cell phone. So far there was no answer. “Tell me what’s happened.”
Willow blew air through her lips while she organized her thoughts.
“First the monks create Dawn from Buffy using her blood. To make Dawn fit they changed reality to give Dawn a background cover. They even went so far as to change memories so that we wouldn’t question Dawns existence.“ Willow said giving a general outline. “And to make sure Buffy would protect her, the monks gave Buffy a mystical compulsion to protect Dawn.”
“I understand so far.” Giles said as he dialed Buffy’s cell phone number again.
“This is where things start to go wrong. The monks bonded Buffy to the biology of the construct. Buffy is bonded to the blood not the person. They were rushed. They never had time to review “Elements of Logic” or such. It never occurred to the monks that Dawn would live long enough to reproduce.
“So let’s say we get out of this, we live and Glory is gone. Apparently the monks never came back and uncreated Dawn, never put reality back the way it was. Dawn grows up, has kids, those kids have kids and those kids have kids until at some point in the future billions of them are occupying the ringworld. Normally it wouldn’t matter. The protector spell on Buffy would have never been affected by those descendants if the wormhole had not created a short cut in both space and time alerting the protector spell that billions of little Dawns exist out there. The sad fact is that most monks never really study advanced physics. Sure, they sign up for the classes but most of them just drop out during the first few weeks.” Willow was trying to be funny.
Giles pocked his cell phone. Buffy had not answered.
“I’m sure Xander will catch up with her soon.” Giles said. “Does Xander have a cell phone?”
“Yes.” Willow said as she held it up for him to see. Giles rolled his eyes. Willow continued.
"The problem is not that Dawn exists. The problem is that Dawn persists. She interacts with the universe in ways the monks never considered. The monks never considered the effects of a variable like the ringworld. Here’s an allegory. The ringworld is to Buffy as a full moon is to a werewolf. As long as the mystical compulsion in Buffy is aware of Dawn’s descendants through the wormhole she will feel the pull to protect them. As soon as the wormhole drifts out of position things will return to normal. Buffy can go back to obsessing only about Dawn.”
Willow thought about the cute purple umbrella they had given to Buffy with the plaque that read “Class Protector.” Buffy was way past that now.
“Any idea of when the wormhole will drift out of position cutting the protector spell’s connection to the ringworld?” Giles asked.
“Not a clue.’ Willow said. “The wormhole is relatively close to the ringworld and the ringworld is hundreds of light years away. That’s one stable wormhole. I need to research more to determine how long it will take the solar system to drift out of the cone of its influence.”
“In any case, Buffy’s not leaving the Earth. What is she going to do? Hijack a spaceship?” Giles said.
“Or build one.” Willow mumbled.
“What?” Giles couldn’t believe what he had just heard.
“Didn’t I tell you? Buffy’s a genius now.”
7. chapter 7
Buffy turned off the gravity generator. It had served it's purpose. She had contacted the earlier version of herself and awakened her inner Protector. The hum of staggering energies began to fade from the particle accelerators that covered thousands of square miles of the Ringworld surface. Beneath her were the forces needed to create and vibrate a quantum singularity and twist it into a wormhole. The hard part was getting it to rejoin space-time at the right point in the past. All she had was her memories to guide her and hundreds of years of personal experience.
The first part of her plan was complete. She had created an artificial wormhole to push her along a path that ended here. The Buffy-Protector fondly remembered the sequence of events that occurred. She had no choice. The ringworld was unstable. Dawn's descendants were in danger.
Her keep was under the Map of Mars. It had been long abandoned by the intruders Louis Wu and the Kzin Chmeee. She had no idea where the Hindmost was currently. After the Fringe war, after the battles for the ringworld throne she waited for the Humans of Known Space to abandon their search for the ringworld and then she conquered the ringworld and build a device to communicate with the past for reasons that were so compelling that after hundreds of years she still could not think of an alternative plan.
Buffy watched them on the high definition monitor. She spied on the activities of millions of Dawns descendants from cameras mounted from the spill walls and elsewhere. The stupid monks never came back and uncreated Dawn. So here she was, five hundred years later, the oldest human in the universe, driven by a mystical compulsion to protect her blood. Buffy never once felt sorry for herself.
She was not like the Pak Protectors. They were only driven by a biological need to protect their own. They were xenophobic and dangerous. Buffy killed them all with a bottle of perfume. Of course, the perfume was crafted to mimic the pheromones of each particular protector’s clan. In a fair fight, Pak Protectors are no match for Slayers. She regretted killing any natural being. But she had to do it. They could have gotten in her way.
She was the first person they had seen with gray hair. She said her name was “grandma” as more of a joke than anything else. The name stuck. The descendants that knew her called her that. She had waited fifteen years after she arrived on Ringworld before taking the tree of life. Six months after emerging from her coma Buffy came across her first vampire of supernatural origin on the ringworld. She killed it. She was still a Slayer and now also a Protector against threats both secular and divine.
Buffy brought up the smaller picture-in-picture video. It expanded to fill the huge three hundred inch monitor in front of her. The display showed the light from the braking drives of hundreds of general products ships. The Puppeteer assault fleet had finally arrived.
“Time to go to work.” The Buffy Protector said.
Xander entered the summer’s home. He gingerly stepped over the broken furniture. His eyes landed on Buffy and Dawn. It looked like they were having a heated discussion, a heated discussion with battle axes.
“Buffy I hate to axe you this but have you eaten your crazy flakes today?” Xander said as he made his way into the living room. The main chair was turned over and there were signs of a struggle. The fireplace poker had blood on it.
“Was glory here?” Xander asked. His voice was full of concern.
Buffy looked at him. She looked preoccupied as if she was making plans.
“Glory has to be handled but she’s not the main threat.’ Buffy said. She sat the axe on the sofa and got her purse. Buffy pulled out her one and only credit card. She still had a few hundred dollars of available credit on it.
“Xander, I need you to pick up some items from the hardware store. I’ll make a list.” Buffy wrote down a list of items and handed it to Xander.
Xander read over the list.
“An AC relay, receiver actuator, pressure regulator, air mass relief valve, 3 way valve, quick release fitting for an air line, solenoid, vacuum pump. What are you building? A pneumatic gun?” he said.
“Also I need twenty ping pong balls and a hypodermic needle. “ Buffy said.
“Seriously?” Xander didn’t know if he could get everything.
“Seriously.” Buffy said matter of factly. “Go!”
Xander went without looking back.
“You think you’re going to stop Glory?” Dawn asked. She folded her arms and stared at Buffy in defiance.
“I’ll deal with Glory in due time but she’s not the real threat.” Buffy said. “The real threat is Willow. She could kill us all with her magics.”
Buffy removed a stake from the battle chest and grabbed her battle axe from the sofa.
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Spike in the basement.” She said as she brushed past Dawn.
Dawn stood helpless. She didn’t know what to do.
8. chapter 8
Dawn watched Buffy walk towards the door leading to the basement. She knew Buffy had murder on her mind. This was not the first time Buffy had gone crazy. She had attacked her friends before. Dawn frantically searched her mind for some way to save Spike. She liked him. He never talked to her like she was a kid. The solution came to her in a flash. Dawn grabbed a pair of scissors off the living room table and ran out the front door. When she reached the sidewalk, she yelled as loudly as she could.
“Hey, Buffy! I’m running with scissors!” Dawn waited for Buffy to notice that she was outside and then ran directly into oncoming traffic. Buffy dropped her weapons and launched herself after Dawn. Dawn kept running long after she reached the other side of the street. She hoped to lure Buffy away from the house long enough for Spike to escape. She didn’t think this plan would have any problems. Buffy ran like a girl. Unfortunately, so did she.
Willow finally found the spell. She had returned to Buffy’s room looking for the spell Buffy used to increase her intelligence. After searching through a few books she finally came upon a book that had certain paged folded and highlighted with a yellow marker.
“This is how you treat the ancient books of knowledge?” Willow muttered under her breath. Willow reviewed the details of the spell and was shocked. The spell drew upon the source of all secular knowledge. It made reference to a being of great intelligence that gained enough of an understanding of the universe to attempt to build his throne above heaven. The Jewish writers referred to him as the “Day Star” or the “Son of Dawn.” Others called him Lucifer.
“That’s a disturbing coincidence.” Willow thought. “The monks could have named her anything, why Dawn? This is not good.” She thought. She tried to remember as much of her Jewish history as possible but she was Jewish by birth not by practice. She never even had a Bat Mitzvah! Willow gathered the books and headed to the nearest synod. She had to get a clarification of some of the terminology.
“Buffy is going to become smart, scary smart. I can’t lose her to the darkness. If I lost someone that close to me I would just go crazy.”
Willow thought about losing the people closest to her, Tara, Xander, Buffy and her stomach clinched. She closed the door behind her lost in her own thoughts.
They returned after dark. Buffy had spent the last three hours chasing Dawn all over the neighborhood.
“Three hours wasted.” Buffy thought. She desperately wished she could wrap Dawn in a stasis field. At least the girl wouldn’t wiggle around so much. Buffy held a iron grip on Dawn’s arm as they walked through the door of the Summer’s home.
“You’re cutting off my circulation!” Dawn yelped.
Buffy gave her a look that could have melted steel. As they entered the living room they saw Xander kneeling down next to a stack of boxes.
“I got everything Buffy. Funny thing, none of the stores asked me to show any I.D. I guess I look like a Buffy.” Xander said.
Buffy released Dawn into the living room and locked the front door behind her. The door to the basement was wide open.
“Surprise, Spike is gone.” She said with dry sarcasm. Buffy turned her attention to the boxes stacked in the living room. She looked the boxes over and was pleased. However, she was not so pleased at the way Xander looked at Dawn. Xander was a loyal friend but he was still male. She was not nearly ready to protect Dawns descendants yet.
“Upstairs, Dawn!” Buffy commanded. “Don’t try running away again. I found you once I can do it again.” Buffy turned to Xander. “Alright, let’s start putting this stuff together.”
The next day Glory found the Summer’s home. Buffy saw her approach and readied the weapon. Glory raised her right hand to knock on the front door. That’s when the door exploded. A ping pong ball filled with frozen water and launched from a pneumatic gun punched a hole in the door a fraction of an inch from Glory’s head. It was traveling at well over two hundred miles per hour. Buffy chambered the next round and fired again. Splinters of wood were jammed into Glory’s skin but that didn’t stop her. Glory grabbed the ball in mid-air shattering the bones in her hand. The third ball was on target. It hit her square in the forehead fracturing her skull. She fell backwards unconscious with a hairline fracture. As she fell she changed.
“Never come between a girl and her gun.” Buffy said to herself smug in her victory. She reached the front door expecting to find the prone body of Glory. Instead, the intern Ben lay on the porch bleeding. Bone protruded from his hand.
“What the hell?” Buffy thought.
9. chapter 9
The Buffy-Protector readied for war.
Things had not turned out the way she hoped. Over a hundred years ago she had arrived on the Ringworld, killed the reining protectors and secured a place for billions of Dawns descendants. The Machine and Night people were not a problem. The vampires were something else. Turns out there were humanoids that had evolved to drink blood but they were not supernatural in origin. They were just people. As long as they stayed away from the children of Dawn she would stay away from them.
She had been on the ringworld twenty years before she met her first real vampire. It was right after she had taken tree of life. Her intelligence, already high, became laser like in its focus. A routine surveillance scan of the ringworld had revealed vampire activity. She watched helplessly as a small pre-industrial village was decimated. Forty seven people were killed right before her eyes. She recognized the attackers’ body language from her days in Sunnydale. The Buffy-Protector watched the bodies for three days hoping she was wrong. On the third day, the bodies began to move. The newborn dead began the hunt for more victims. She franticly scanned the ringworld and found many other instances of vampire attacks. She did the math in her head. The numbers came out to well over one hundred million vampires on the ringworld and growing exponentially.
The thought of hunting them down one by one was insane. Their numbers were exploding. She needed to kill them all, everywhere and at once. She had the answer before she finished conceptualizing the question.
Three weeks later the Buffy-Protector moved the shadow squares and exposed the ringworld surface to constant sunlight.
Shadow squares were the inner rings that provided night for ringworld. She waited until the dead stopped burning and then waited some more. The Buffy-Protector returned the shadow-squares to their rightful place and returned to her surveillance. She reviewed the distribution pattern of the vampire attacks and came to a conclusion that stopped her cold in her tracks. The vampire attacks all originated from the same place.
Thousands of years ago a moon size asteroid had collided with the ringworld. Where the asteroid hit, the ringworld floor had been pushed clean out of the atmosphere. From the ground level it looked like a giant fist was pushing itself up through the ringworld floor creating a mountain. They named the mountain “Fist-Of-God.” The Buffy-Protector analysis showed that the vampires originated from there.
Apparently, the “Fist-of-God” Mountain was now a Hellmouth. She didn’t know why.
That wasn’t the worst part. The Puppeteers knew about her and were terrified. They were sending an assault fleet to kill her and take control of the ringworld.
The Buffy-Protector readied for war.
If a single demon got back to the Fleet of Worlds it would be all over for trillions of sentient beings. They had no defense against the things she fought against. The Buffy-Protector was the only thing between life in the galaxy and total darkness. She gathered her equipment and headed to the control room under the Map of Mars.
“Help me Willow.” Buffy looked at Willow. Her eyes were moist. “I’m out of control. I may have killed someone.” After using her pneumatic gun against Glory she was surprised to find Ben lying in a pool of his own blood on her front porch. She didn’t call the police. She used the house phone to call Willow and Giles.
Willow showed up fifteen minutes later with some healing herbs and first aid. Giles was still dazzled by the blasted door.
“Isn’t he the intern from the hospital?” Willow asked. She knew she’d seen his face before.
“I don’t know how he got here.” Buffy said. “One minute I was fighting Glory and when I went to check he was laying there.”
Giles stared at the prone bloody body of Ben. “So are you saying, there is some connection between Ben and Glory?”
“I don’t think so.” Buffy said. “Wil, I’ve been so out of my mind. I must have imagined it was Glory.” Buffy looked desperate. We’ve got to do something about that protection spell. We’ve got to turn it down at notch.”
“The protection spell is not the problem. It’s there for a purpose.” Willow said as she worked her healing magic over Ben.
“We’ve got to get him to a hospital. Mojo is no match for a CAT-Scan.” Giles said. Willow agreed. Buffy and Giles took Ben to Giles car.
“I’ll take him in.” Giles said. “I want you and Willow to talk this out.” Giles placed his hand on Buffy’s shoulder to comfort her. “We’ll work this out.” He said. Giles jumped in his car and drove away.
Continue reading this series:
The Mirror Effect