This is the last chapter of "The Message" and is probably one of the most revealing chapters yet. This is just beginning to line up the universes that I've been manipulating within my writing. There are at least four more books to be written in this series, all of which are going to be much, much longer and more in depth.
A couple of things:
- I've gotten this far relying on only my own editing skills. I'm looking for a volunteer beta. This ride is far from over, and only people who have the time or inclination to work with a long series should respond.
- I know there are a few gaps--I left them there on purpose, so further conversations could be held.
- The next book with be a crossover with Stargate and West Wing, and will thus be found in the Multiple Crossover section. Actually, the rest of the series will be found there.
Thanks for reading!
It’d been a busy couple of months for the Scooby gang; ever since their surprise visitors the compound had been going non-stop. New slayers were arriving daily, some of the others were leaving, heading home after choosing to not participate in the fight. Half the time Dawn wasn’t even sure where Buffy was, let alone the rest of their crew.
Sighing to herself, Dawn entered the bedroom she shared with two of the newer slayers--none of them had expected nearly 200 girls to be called back in Sunnydale, and with new recruits arriving faster then Willow and Giles could hack and steal the council’s money, the compound ended up housing most of them. Right now the house was beyond full capacity with 87 slayers, 14 of whom had asked to be relieved of their power but wanted to stay on in an watcher capacity.
The local high school Dawn attended was practically quivering with fear that more girls would be placed within their hallowed halls--already three new English as a Second Language classes had been opened up, just to accommodate the new slayers. Dawn could still remember the day Buffy walked into the registrar’s office, asking who she should talk to regarding signing a few new students up. “Hello?” Buffy called out into the small office building. Dawn stood beside her, along with some of the older new slayers from Sunnydale.
“Yes?” A woman’s voice answered. Buffy stepped inside the small office, and motioned for Dawn, Rona and Chao-Ann to stand outside. The interior of the office was cluttered, with papers piled everywhere and boxes in the hallway.
“Hi. I’m Buffy Summers. I was wondering if you could tell me who to talk to regarding signing up some new students for the upcoming school year?” Buffy held out her hand and the older women shook it.
“I’m Mrs. Helenski. Welcome to Cleveland High. And actually, you’re in the exact right place to sign new students up.
Buffy smiled nervously and ran a hand through her golden hair. She’d dressed appropriately, wearing an outfit that had once been in the ‘mom approved’ section of the closet. “Um, this is going to be a bit unusual.” Buffy explained, “You see, I just moved her from Sunnydale.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry my dear. I’m glad you made it out of that town. Can you believe it? A sinkhole opening up so randomly!” Mrs. Helenski shook her head, auburn hair fluttering around her shoulders.
“I know, it was completely unexpected. And its since created a lot of problems. You see, in Sunnydale I was involved with a new non-profit group called Council International. We work with people throughout the world on securing education and training for underprivileged girls. We were just about to open a dormitory in Sunnydale when the sinkhole occurred.”
“Oh, that’s perfectly awful. I trust your organization was able to regroup, survive?” Mrs. Helenski questioned, leaning forward for a tidbit of gossip.
“Yes, well, we’ve relocated to Cleveland. Some of us had family here that were able to help us out.” Buffy explained. “And well, we can’t delay the start of our organization, unfortunately. Visa’s have already been applied for and received for nearly 100 girls, and they’re all set to start arriving here in the next couple of weeks.”
Mrs. Helenski nodded, then reached for the phone. “I’m going to have to call the principal in on this conversation, if that’s alright Ms. Summers. I can see where this conversation is going.”
Buffy nodded and quietly stepped outside while Mrs. Helenski made the phone call. A short time later she was called back inside the small office, which now housed three people--Mrs. Helenski, an older gentleman, and what looked to be a secretary.
“Hi Ms. Summers--I’m Principal Towns,” the older gentleman introduced himself. “I heard from Colleen over here that you have quite a few students you’re going to need to enroll in our school.”
At this Buffy nodded and smiled. “Principal Towns, thank you for meeting with our organization so quickly. I understand that this is going to create a huge problem for the school district, we just aren't’t sure exactly what we can do to avoid it.”
The principal nodded and gestured to a free seat. “I saw that you brought a few of the new students with you--would you like them to join in this conversation? They’re probably scared to death, waiting to find out exactly what’s happening.”
“Sure, if that won’t be an imposition.” Buffy stood and walked outside; a short time later the three girls followed her in and sat quietly on the floor surrounding the chairs.
“Principal Towns, Mrs. Helenski, this is Dawn , my sister; Rona, one of the students mentioned--she’s actually from within the country; and Chao-Ann from China. Chao doesn’t speak English, so we’re kind of stuck while we try and sort translators out.” The two adults nodded and smiled.
“How many more students are arriving at...” Mrs. Helenski glanced at the notepad in front of her, “Council International before the start of the school year?”
“We’ve expecting roughly 87 to 123 new students, all female, to be arriving within the next few months. Most of the visa’s have already been issued, there are a few girls trapped in unfriendly governments--we’re in the process of negotiating within this government for sponsors.” Buffy smiled, charmingly.
“87 to 123 new students?” Principal Towns asked, incredulously.
“I know it’s a lot to take in, and we appreciate any help you’re willing to give. The principal of Sunnydale High had agreed to take all the girls that qualified for the program. In fact, he was so interested in this program that he traveled with us to Cleveland and is now helping to set up and secure funding to build better dormitories for the students.”
“Really?” Mrs. Helenski asked. “This does sound like an intriguing program. How many of these new students would need to take English as a Second Language classes?”
“At this point, nearly 70% of the girls know English. Some of the girls are already being tutored in English at our headquarters, and still others have translators that are accompanying them to the states.” Dawn answered. “I’m actually tutoring Chao-Ann here in English, although my Cantonese is very basic. It’s not going all that well.”
A short time later all the paperwork had been handed over to Buffy so the scooby gang could fill it out. “I must ask you, are there going to be this many new girls entering the high school every year? Are other plans being made to secure their education?” Principal Towns asked. He wasn’t sure if the small school could afford an influx of nearly 100 students every year. As it was at least three new teachers were going to have to be hired, and a couple new portable classrooms secured before the start of the school year.
“Ultimately we plan on becoming an accredited private boarding school, probably within the next five years. We were well on our way in Sunnydale before the sinkhole occurred. Private tutors are being secured to help bring the new students up to grade level, and to provide outside support during the transition to life in Cleveland, and eventually those tutors will become live in faculty. We’ve even named the school The Joyce Summers Institute for Girls--after our mother.” Buffy explained. “And when this happens, we would love to partner with Cleveland Public Schools to provide additional classes for exceptionally gifted students.”
“I have one last question, Ms. Summers.” Mrs. Helenski noted, “earlier, you mentioned education and training as two distinct entities within your organization. What specifically are you training these young women in?”
Buffy frowned inwardly. Astute people were always so much harder to fool. “A lot of different areas, actually. One of our main focuses will be self-defense and leadership training. Our selection process identifies girls that have the necessary traits to become natural leaders within their society. By providing education and formalized training in specific areas our organization hopes to repopulate the world with intelligent female leaders. As part of that we will have further training in local customs, politics, conflict resolution...”
Dawn jumped in, “Pretty much we’re a girl power type deal. By identifying and training future international leaders we hope to one day end up with a peaceful world. We’re focusing specifically on females because historically there hasn’t been much education for females in less developed nations. It will be a gradual realization process, and in the meantime we’re furthering the livelihood of people who wouldn’t have had these opportunities in their home community.”
Dawn smiled leaned back in her desk chair. Trying to come up with a cover story to explain how nearly (at this point in time) 147 females were being entered in the local public school system hadn’t been easy. The Watcher’s Council didn’t have the funds or influence anymore to have the girls trained in their own country, but with Riley’s help they’d been able to secure visa’s and travel documents without any real problem. Xander, Willow and Giles had gone on the foraging expedition to locate the new girls. Willow teleported the three of them from location to location, and they offered each girl a choice within the current council structure.
Buffy and Dawn weren’t entirely sure about removing the girls from their families, but there simply wasn’t time to come up with a more effective solution. As it was there were girls sleeping on every available surface within the Victorian house (and the two neighboring buildings that they’d recently secured). Dawn had nick-named the buildings “The Compound” in a moment of boyband love--she’d been reading an article about how one of the boybands called their home-base “The Compound” and the name had stuck. Xander had drawn the line at naming the individual buildings after specific bands--he didn’t want to be housed in building N’Sync.
The trilling of her cell phone called out as Dawn stopped her introspection. “Lo, Dawn here,” she answered her phone, laughing slightly.
“Hi Dawn, it’s Joan.” Joan had become a nearly regular presence during the past months, as well as Dawn’s friend. She didn’t often have messages from
G-d but her initial introduction to the group, and Dawn specifically, had made her a friend for life.
“Hey Joan.” Dawn greeted her friend, “you totally saved me from the evilness that is English. I’m supposed to be writing an essay about my future career plans,”.
“This isn’t a social call, Dawn.” Joan replied, her voice shaking. “I know it’s been a while since the last time I needed to pass some information on, but well, it’s been two months.”
“Okay. Want me to bring anyone else into the conversation, or can I relay the information?” Dawn questioned, turning serious.
“It should just be the two of us, for now.” Joan answered, “I have some information that you can’t pass on to the others, at least not yet.”
Dawn began to grow nervous. “Nothing bad is going to happen, right?” she questioned. “Buffy’s fine. Tell me Buffy’s fine.”
“No, no. Buffy’s totally healthy. This isn’t a bad phone call.” Joan responded, “it’s just, well, Buffy’s going to have to disappear for awhile, get somebodies attention the old fashion way, and well, it’s going to be hard.”
“Could you be any more cryptic?” Dawn joked. “Seriously, just spill. It’ll be easier for everyone concerned and you know it.”
“Okay hun. First of all, G-d said to tell you that your mom is perfectly happy in Heaven. She’s looking down on you guys all the time, and she really liked the dress you wore to the dance last weekend.” Joan always tried to start with happy messages, when she had to relay any messages at all. It made the whole situation a tad-bit easier to handle.
Dawn breathed deeply and smiled. “Thanks Joan. It’s really good to hear that.”
“Now, onwards. Buffy’s got to go to Colorado. Alone.” Dawn painstakingly wrote Colorado on the pad of paper in front of her. “Once in Colorado, she has to travel to Colorado Springs and wait around. The situation will find her and she’ll be drafted, although she will be stuck for an undetermined length of time unable to communicate.”
“How long? Why?” Dawn immediately questioned.
“I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have all the questions. You know that.” Joan answered. “The rest of you need to keep doing what you’re doing, with the training and the school. G-d thinks the whole situation is being handled marvelously. Well, I said marvelously. He said it was under control. I figured praise where praise is due, ya know?”
Dawn nodded and then verbally agreed. “Anything else to report, your messengerness?” She joked. It was easier to cope with the idea of talking to G-d if it could be treated with levity. Actually, most situations were easier to deal with if people could laugh. Chao-Ann’s first day of school had certainly been one such situation.
“Yeah, one more thing.” Joan said, whispering. This was the part of the conversation that she hated, the part where she felt closer to dirt then before. “There’s a situation brewing out in LA. You can’t interfere. None of you can. Even if Angel calls asking for your help you can’t go. G-d sees how the fight is going to go down, and it will be won, but we can’t afford to lose any of the scoobies or slayers in it.”
Dawn gulped. “How bad is it going to be?”
“Bad. There’s going to be some notification of the supernatural to the outside world. That’s why the Slayers can’t be there--you must remain off the radar. With the First gaining power however slowly, you can’t risk it finding out about how strong you now are.”
“We’re all going to have to disappear soon, aren’t we?” Dawn replied. “Anyone in Sunnydale is going to have to go someplace different, someplace separate. The First has to think that we’re weak and divided. He has to think that only the girls who fought in Sunnydale are now slayers--Willow will cast a spell to block anybody from detecting the compound, and the rest of us will run to ground.”
Joan sighed. “Ultimately, over the next couple of years, yes. You always were too smart for your own good.”
“That’s why we have you. If you can tell us what’s coming, when. Or rather, give us an impression of what’s going to happen, when, we’ll be able to be out of communication and still building allies.”
Joan was quiet for a moment before she spoke. “Ultimately, The Compound will have to become exactly what it appears to be on paper, a school that is preparing to train future female leaders. The rest of you will have to spread yourself out amongst different fights, gaining allies when you can. Willow will even have to put a spell on people to prevent legilimency from being performed.”
Dawn was silent, shocked. “This battle--it’s going to be bad. Worse then everything else combined, right?” She questioned finally.
“It’s going to be the literally Armageddon,” was Joan’s quiet response. “And soon I’m not going to be able to help you guys out as much, either. We can’t let The First know that there’s any type of plan in the works.”
Dawn was shocked at this statement as understand began to flood her mind. The Sunnydale battle had been just that--a battle. Now they were preparing for war, and it sounded like the war was going to be difficult.
“Anything else?” Dawn finally asked.
“Yeah, you’re going to have a pop quiz tomorrow in History. G-d thought you guys could all do with a warning.” Joan replied, hanging up the phone on that note.
Dawn sat at her desk for a few more minutes before calmly writing down as much of the conversation as she could remember. She didn’t know why Joan had chosen her to be the bearer of bad news, but that didn’t matter. She had a scooby meeting to call.