Tess got away from it all; some just keep coming back. Crossing with the 4400 and Firefly (implied).ResurrectionsDisclaimer
: The characters and ideas of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The 4400, and Firefly belong to their respective owners. I am not one of these people.Note 1
: Takes place in the future, very post-S7 of Buffy and very post-S3 of The 4400. This is a direct continuation of Chapter 2, "The Escape."Note 2
: This will be the last chapter in this particular story, though I may write another story in this continuity in the future.
Buffy, Willow, and Dawn waited until the colony ship they were on had left atmosphere and all the other passengers were safely in cryo-stasis before opening the door of the storage closet they had crammed into and climbing out.
The journey to humanity's new system would take decades with the conventional propulsion systems being used—recent developments in near-light and faster-than-light drives had been put aside in favor of the greater reliability and safety of the tried-and-true methods—and there wasn't enough room for supplies to feed that many active humans, let alone provide a viable society to allow them to live their daily lives, so everyone got put on hold for the ride.
None of the three remaining Scoobies were faced with those limitations, though, and they couldn't bring themselves to take up three spots that they didn't need. Tickets had been sold to correspond to stasis chambers, but Buffy had been able to use the remaining influence of the Watchers' Council to find out that there was, in fact, another class of non-stasis ticket, and Willow produced three of them that were able to pass for real.
The main problem they had was that they had no idea who had the real tickets and where they were staying on the ship. Hopefully, they would be able to figure it out soon.
Willow's hair shimmered green as she took Dawn's hand and whispered a guiding spell. Two glowing green sprites appeared in front of them, slowing hovering down the hall while waiting for them to follow.
"There must be two of them," Willow said. "The spell I cast was set to look for anyone who wasn't in cryo." Willow's magic, she had found, was much more reliable now that she was working with the Key. Even at the height of her connection with Gaea, there was still the chance that a less-than-reputable power source could sneak under her radar and turn her roots black again. The Key was much more possessive and wouldn't let her use any other magic than its, which didn't really bother Willow as she couldn't possibly utilize even a twentieth of the power it possessed without incinerating herself instantly. The only downside was that, because the Key was anchored to Dawn, she couldn't use magic if she was too far from the younger Summers. Even when she was standing a few feet away, having to channel a piece of the Key through their bond made Dawn dizzy, so except in cases of dire emergency she and Willow were joined at the hip as far as spellcasting went.
Buffy started walking down the corridor. "Come on, guys, green glowies to follow here," she said. Willow and Dawn started after her, all three arriving at the control room after only a few turns.
They were stunned to see Jordan Collier, the man who was thought by half of humanity to be their savior and by the other half to be the veritable Antichrist, standing beside an old woman who was fiddling with the navigational equipment.
Before any of them could speak, he noticed their arrival. His eyes focused on Willow, and he said, "Rosenberg?"
Both Buffy and Dawn turned to Willow. "Will, how does Jordan Collier of all people know who you are? And why is he calling you Rosenberg?"
"How could I forget her?" Jordan interjected. "She's the one who resurrected me."
"Uh, hey, let's not be hasty here," Willow said, putting her hands up to fend off the questioning glares of her companions. "I learned my resurrection-spell lesson the hard way. Once is enough for this witch."
Jordan blinked, pausing for a moment as his memory clarified. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize," he said. "It was your granddaughter Rowan, not you, who brought me back in the future." He thought for a second. "Well, it was the future once."
"Rowan Rosenberg?" Willow's expression was one of distaste. "My daughter named her daughter that?" At this point, the continued use of the word "daughter" caught up to her. She looked down at her belly, placing her hand on it. "This is still flat, right?" she asked Dawn.
"Looks that way to me," Dawn confirmed.
"It was a possible future," Jordan clarified. "The people who sent the 4400 back to 2004-era Seattle took my body after my assassination so they could put me back into their game. I allowed everyone to think that it was their superior medicine that resurrected me; the truth, that the future had merged science and mysticism in ways no one had thought of, would have had far too great of a destabilizing effect."
"So the promicin that generates 4400 abilities…" Willow began.
"—is derived from the unique mental pathways that are created when witches such as yourself channel the supernatural," Jordan finished.
"That's amazing," Willow said. "Do you know how they were able to isolate and duplicate that? We've had… experience… with an organization trying to do the same thing, but their success was of the unstable-skin-grafts-and-drug-cocktails variety."
As Willow and Jordan discussed mystical physics, Dawn again noticed the woman at the controls. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to place the fade; despite the woman's age, there had been a flicker of recognition. "Maia?" she said finally. "Maia Skouris?"
"That's me, Dawn," Maia replied. "I told you we'd have visitors, Jordan."
"How do you know each other?" Buffy asked. "And how did she know we were coming?"
"I met Maia when the Council sent me to the 4400 Center to make sure they didn't have their fingers in any demonic pies," Dawn replied. "Not that we had any indication of that at all, but you know the bureaucrats, they like everything in triplicate. She was my age then, and she gave me a special tour of the Center. Her ability even saved me from falling for the next Watcher applicant I was scheduled to interview when I got back; he was the one who turned out to be a vampire cultist, remember?"
Buffy nodded; she still didn't understand how a smart, handsome—okay, gorgeous— young man could have been taken in by a vampire cult and still had enough sense left to almost fool the entire Council, but it certainly stuck out in her memory. "So she can see the future?"
"Yes," Maia responded, "and I'm here to make sure that everyone else gets to see it, too. Though," she added wryly, "sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in this whole fleet with shortened telomeres."
"But, wait," Willow said after a moment of Buffy and Jordan rolling their eyes, "You're not going into cryo at all? How will you survive the journey?"
"I won't," she admitted. Before Willow could volunteer any magical solutions, she held up a finger and added, "Yes, I've seen when I die, but I've seen past that, too. It's not as horrible as it sounds."
"So what… what did you see?" Buffy asked quietly, her thoughts on her own heavenly experience.
"We get a clubhouse," Maia replied. "Psychics, that is. Cordelia can't believe you're wearing that to the end of the world."
"Your afterlife has Cordy in it?" Buffy said with disbelief. "Not what I remember Heaven being like."
Maia chuckled. "It's very difficult to set up a blanket emotional state that will be convincing to psychics; we're more connected to the outside world, even in death, so there's always an element of cognitive dissonance. This way, we're still free from most of life's perils, while at the same time being able to help guide the present into the future — which we'd want to do anyway." Her eyes unfocused for a moment, and then her hands flew over the keypads, inputting another course correction.
They all looked outwards into the black, as if trying to detect the change in direction, and were suddenly glad that none of them had to take this long journey alone.
A few weeks later, the quintet had all but pinned up posters on the walls in the control room. Jordan had found some makeshift furniture, as well as a cabinet filled with board games and playing cards. They spent their time sleeping, trading stories, and exhausting the entertainment value of rummy and Scrabble.
Maia motioned for them all to be quiet. "It's almost time," she said. "Willow, Dawn, come over to me. I want you all to see what I see."
Willow took the seer's hand as the vision came to her and she typed in the final correction. Suddenly, all of their minds were filled with the sight of a system with dozens of Earth-like planets, many already habitable and others within an acceptable range to be made so. "Goddess," Willow exclaimed softly. Maia breathed out one last time, and the vision vanished as her head slumped to one side.
As Buffy walked over to the chair to pick up her body to bring it to a stasis chamber, Maia's essence reformed as a younger image of herself, hovering slightly above the floor. "Star Wars much?" the Slayer quipped, even as her eyes misted over. She knew that her friend wasn't gone, but she would cease to be a constant presence in their lives as she had been recently, and so Buffy allowed herself to mourn.
Her friends came to her side, walking along with her and sharing in her grief. Maia followed, to see herself off and to say her goodbyes. Of all of the sacrifices that had been made to get to this point, Maia more than anyone had brought it home to them with hers. The image of the human race's new hope remained in the hearts of the four survivors, a literal vision of the future to propel all previous dreams and promises. Maybe now, away from the nexus of dimensional and cultural conflict that Earth had become, humanity could truly reach its potential.
Dawn just hoped that someone had thought to screen the passengers to keep out vampires...