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*A Chondrichthyes out of Hydroxylic Acid
“Why did we think this would be a good idea again?”
“Because that cute little Reader of yours read my mind and verified that I was on the level,” you answer. “Now, are you going to help me or not?”
“So, what is it?” Mal asks, staring at the contraption which lines the cave wall.
“This is what we have been playing Indiana Jones for. The twister, constructed by Rebecca Sparrow in 2234, shortly before her disappearance.”
“Indiana Jones?” Mal asks.
“A legend from Earth-that-Was,” you explain, “like Davy Crockett or Al Gore. He would hunt down all sorts of lost artifacts.” Outside of the Core, it seems, no one has a decent sense of history.
“Hmm,” says Mal, not taking his eyes off of you. “And what exactly does this thing do?”
“Well, that’s the thing,” you answer. “”No one knows.” You reach out to it, and suddenly your world is blank.* * * * *
You wake up in pain.
You’re outside, completely naked, and surrounded by a large crowd of people, all of whom are staring right down at you. Well, except for the one who seems to have dug her teeth into your thigh and is busy sucking your blood.
As a Companion turned con artist, you are prepared to adapt to any number of situations. In this particular circumstance, you choose a response almost immediately.
Your shout, being at the top of your lungs as it is, nonetheless sounds tinny in the open night air, but something suddenly distracts the gang which surrounds you. A pair of women breaks through the crowd, punching and kicking the others as they go. They’re in the mid thirties, maybe, and their dark hair is streaked with grey. They are followed by three more women, girls really: teenagers. Two are blonde and the third is a redhead, and like the older women they are attacking and being attacked by the throng which surrounds you. One of the blondes grabs the neck of the woman who is sucking your leg and plunges a wooden stake into her back. All of the sudden, the woman explodes into dust and your thigh is now bleeding profusely.
All five of the newly arrived women have stakes, you realize, and the number of the gang members is dwindling significantly as more and more of them turn to dust or run away. Eventually, they are the only ones left, and you realize that you are in some type of cemetery, surrounded by gravestones.
“That’s an ugly-looking wound,” one of the women says, kneeling down next to you. “We better get her to a hospital.”
“Well, we can’t take her through Cleveland buck naked,” one of her companions says, and suddenly your stomach clenches up with dread. Cleveland
“Oh my God,” you say, as you suddenly realize what has happened. “I’m on Earth, aren’t I?”* * * * *
“So let me get this straight,” one of the brunettes asks. “You’re from the future.”
“Not necessarily your future,” you explain. They have bandaged your wound and taken you back to what they inform you is a school. They’ve also given you clothing to wear, a plaid skirt and a white blouse, an outfit that you recognize as a common uniform for schoolgirls of this era. “But in my world, Earth is destroyed. We—we used it up.” How do you describe the complicated processes leading up to the Collapse to someone who is standing on the green hills of Earth thinking it’s the most normal thing in the world—because it is, to her?
“Stranger things have happened, Faith,” the thinner brunette replies.
Faith nods. “We should tell the Padre.”
“Wait,” you say, surprised. “You believe
me?” This is unexpected.
“I don’t not believe you,” answers Faith. “Not yet. But that doesn’t mean I believe you either. Tamara, your roommate’s a Wiccan, right?”
The red head looks up, surprised. “Yeah,” she says.
“Go wake her up,” the woman orders. “We’re going to need someone who can check out her story. Ken, go wake up Father Marcus. I’ll keep an eye on our visitor.”
Tamara and Ken both leave. The two blonde girls flank the door on each side, to make sure you don’t get out. Faith stands in the middle of the room and stares you down, never taking her eyes off you. It’s unnerving.
“Erm, I’m a little hungry,” you say, testing the waters. “Do you think I could get something to eat?”
Faith stares at you a moment more, than crosses the room to the fridge and pulls out an orange and lobs it at you. It comes down in a gentle arc right in front of you, and you catch it. Not having anything else to peel it with, you use your finger nail.
Tamara reenters the room followed by a girl in a white nightgown. A few minutes later Ken returns as well, followed by a man dressed in black and what you recognize from history as a Roman collar. A shepherd, or whatever the contemporary equivalents were called.
“Do you have everything you need, Roja?” the shepherd asks.
Roja shakes her head. “I don’t need anything, Father. I just need to look at her to know she’s telling the truth. Her aura is just screaming that she is from another dimension.”
“So how did she get here?” Faith asks. “Some sort of portal?”
“I don’t know,” Roja answers. “You could induce a Cloutier trance and check for a magical signature, but I doubt you’d find one. My guess is that magic doesn’t exist in her world.”
“I don’t think it does,” you say, and you’re pretty sure. No one could keep something like that a secret, could they? Certainly not from you.
“What time is it in London?” Faith asks, and the shepherd glances at his watch. “Almost nine,” he answers. “Someone should be in at the Watcher offices.”
Faith nods and crosses the room, picks up the phone. She pushes several buttons then waits for a moment, listening. “Don’t give me that password shit,” she says. “This is Faith, and I want to talk to whoever’s in charge there right now. Yes, Miss Summers would be perfect. Good.” She pauses for a moment, presumably waiting for Miss Summers to get on the other side, then says, “Dawn? Well, I don’t know if I would call it a problem, exactly, but it certainly is interesting. You see apparently a woman from another dimension was dropped naked in a Cleveland cemetery. Would have been vamp food if we hadn’t been there. Do you really think that’s necessary? Okay. You’re the boss. We’re in the faculty lounge, if that helps.”
She hangs up the phone. “She’s going to teleport here,” Faith says. “Have the coven send her, so she won’t fall unconscious the moment she gets here.”
“I heard that,” a tall brunette woman said as she entered the room. “Faith, Kennedy, Father, it’s good to see you all.” She looks right at you. “Is this our mystery woman?”
“I’m Michelle,” you answer, although you suppose it doesn’t matter. None of your other aliases should be able to catch up with you here. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Dawn sizes you up before taking your hand in yours. “Let me talk to Michelle alone
“Who are you?” you ask before she can say anything. There’s no reason why she should feel like she has control of the situation.
“Dawn Summers,” she answers. “I run an organization called the Watcher’s Council. We train and guide the various Vampire Slayers whose duty it is to stand against the vampires, the demons, the forces of darkness—you get the drill. Those two women by the door are Slayers.”
You look at the two Slayers at the door, then at Dawn Summers, then at the gold ring on the ring finger of her left hand. You remember what that symbolizes; there are planets where the custom still exists. Or will exist, or—whatever.
But still the fact remains that there is one skill that you can rely upon when all else fails, that cannot be taken away from you. There is one thing for which you were trained on Sihnon above all others. And since sex is the only weapon at your disposal at the moment, you will use it. You begin to unbutton the blouse you were given, and as they hadn’t given you any undergarments your breasts are revealed as your shirt falls open.
There’s not enough cultural diversity in America during this period to convince her that you’ve somehow married, but it’s not the only trick in your bag. “I’m in a big new world that I don’t understand,” you tell her, stepping towards her. “I need someone who can show me how things work in your world.” You’re right in front of her now, and it doesn’t take much movement at all to bring your lips to her. Almost immediately she opens her mouth to make room for your tongue.
Apparently when the time twister thing got rid of your clothes it also removed the lipsick from your lips, because Summers doesn’t collapse to the ground. Perfectly willing to do it the difficult way, you go in a quick and fluid motion for the knife hidden in the waistband of Summers’ skirt and hold it to the neck. “One movement and I slit her throat,” you inform the Slayers.
There is a standpoint, everyone waiting to see what will happen next, when suddenly Summers twists around in your arms and forces you to drop the knife. Another move and you’re on the ground, Summers pinning you down. You’re about to throw her off when the Slayers are suddenly standing on either side of you, and you realize you’ve lost this battle.
“I’m in charge here,” she says, looking down at you as you lay under her. “It’d be best for you to understand that.”
That said, she leans down for another kiss.