Dark Heart of the Galaxy
Faith in the Force
by Philip S.
Summary: Sometimes the purest are corrupted by evil. And sometimes only those who have known evil personally can fight for good.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and associated characters are property Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. All things Star Wars belong to George Lucas and 20th Century Fox. I own nothing but the idea for this story.
Chapter 1: Dark Heart of the Galaxy
Faith had little attention to spare for the two crimson-red guards that were walking on either side of her. Oh, she was acutely aware of them at all times. Her Slayer senses were fully active and had already taken their measure. They were quite tough, but she could take them down if the necessity arose. Right now, though, they were taking her exactly where she needed to go, so there was no need to hurt them. Yet.
The long passageway they were walking through was all grey metal, dark and foreboding. More than the ominous colour scheme, though, there was an atmosphere to the place that sent chills down Faith’s spine. The end of the corridor, the chamber beyond, was steeped in darkness. And she wasn’t talking about the lack of proper lighting.
“You should hire an interior decorator,” she punned, more to distract herself than anything else. “I’ve stayed in some shitty dives, but you’re really pushing it.”
The guards said nothing, just kept on walking. Faith didn’t say anything else, either. Punning had never been her thing, after all. She’d always been more into innuendo and sexual jibes. So she kept on walking as well, her boots creaking on the cold metal floor.
Finally they reached the end of the corridor and a large, reinforced door slid back to reveal the giant chamber beyond. She’d been told that it had once been the office of the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, right next door to the Assembly Chamber of the Republic Senate. There was no more Republic, though, and no Senate. The walls between the two rooms had been torn down and everything converted into what it was today. A throne room.
Faith almost stumbled as she stepped inside, the air was so thick with... evil. There was no other way to describe it, really. Every single molecule in this chamber seemed suffused with darkness and malevolence. Her Slayer senses were screeching in her head, every inch of her body was tensed as her eyes flashed this way and that, looking for the source of all that foulness with the intent to slay it as quickly as possible.
She’d been told what the source of all this evil was, but she hadn’t believed it. Not until now.
“Welcome, Faith,” a voice filled with dark amusement rang out. “I’ve been expecting you.”
Faith’s eyes travelled up the many steps that led to the simple black throne standing before the giant picture window that made up the far side of the chamber. A figure was rising from the throne, dressed in black robes that hid how tiny the person wearing them actually was. Not that her lack of stature lessened her in any way. The power radiating off her more than made up for that. Faith was looking at the Empress of an entire galaxy.
And her face was quite familiar.
“B,” she whispered, not ready to believe what she was seeing.
Dark green eyes peered out at her from underneath a black hood. The Empress slowly moved the hood back, a brief shake of her head causing a cascade of blond hair to settle more properly on her shoulders. She was beautiful, a terrible beauty that made men and women all over the galaxy beg for mercy. Laughter rang out from her blood-red lips, every sound tearing into Faith like a knife edge as the very air around seemed to shiver in abject terror.
“I do miss that old nickname,” the Empress said. “But I believe it would be more proper if you addressed me by my new name, Faith.”
The Empress that had once been a girl called Buffy Summers walked towards Faith and the dark-haired Slayer had to suppress the violent urge to either flee or attack this... this dark thing before her.
“I am the Empress Sumar,” the blonde said, her eyes darkening. “And now you will kneel before me.”
Two days earlier:
Faith refused to believe it. No way could they be telling the truth. They were talking about B of all people. Ms. Goody two-shoe herself. The blonde, perky defender of decent folk and puppies everywhere.
Sure, she’d been through more shit and pain than most other people. Then again, Faith herself hadn’t had a good life and she had taken her own spill into darkness, only to come back out and back to the right side of things. She had to admit, though, her situation was quite the reverse of Buffy’s. Faith’s life had been shit and becoming the Slayer had made it better, no matter that it had taken her quite some time to get a handle on herself. For B, though, just about everything bad that had ever happened to her had been directly linked to being the Slayer. So many sacrifices in the name of an uncaring world.
If it was true, could the Powers actually be surprised that she had finally gone bonkers?
The Powers’ messenger boy, Whistler, had warned her about this place she was sent to. A galaxy far, far away, he’d said. A place of Science-Fiction type technology and stuff, but also a place possessing its own kind of magic, which was different from the stuff they had back home on Earth. This different type of magic - this Force as it was called - was sharply divided into a light and a dark side. And the dark side sang to those who gave in to their emotions.
“Are you sure you picked the right girl?” she asked the person next to her. They were standing on the bridge of a star ship. A fucking star ship. The big view screen in front of her showed nothing but stars upon stars.
“You can feel it already, can’t you?” her companion asked.
Faith looked over him again. His name, she’d been told, was Obi-Wan Kenobi. Once he had been a kind of champion of this place. What had they called it? A Jedi, right. Something like a Slayer, but with more high-tech weapons and without that stupid ‘one-girl-in-all-the-world’ rule. Okay, there were thousands of worlds here that needed protection, so maybe it actually evened out to one per world at the end.
“Yeah, I can,” she answered his question.
It was this stupid Force he was talking about and she could feel it quite well. This whole place stank of magic, it suffused every living thing around her. And she could hear the siren song of what they called the dark side, too. Give in to your rage, it seemed to whisper to her, and you will be given power beyond belief.
As little as five years ago she would have done so without too much hesitation. She’d been angry at everything, the entire world, and mostly herself. Self-hatred, despair, uncontrolled rage, these things had defined her. Sending the girl she had been here would have been like throwing a lit match into a bucket of gasoline.
She was no longer that girl, though. Time had changed her. She just wondered if it had changed her enough.
“We don’t need a goody two-shoe,” she remembered Whistler saying when he sent her here. “We tried that with blondie and it blew up in our faces like nobody’s business. We made the same mistake all those old Jedi made. The dark side can’t be defeated by someone who has never tasted it. Only someone who has gone through the darkness herself can do that. Someone like you.”
“This is a mistake,” Obi-Wan said, tearing her out of her memories. “If you go to her now, you will not survive.”
“Maybe,” Faith admitted. “But I can’t do it any other way, Obi. You’re telling me that B, the best fighter for good we ever had, is now the big bad around these parts. I don’t believe it. I simply can’t. I have to see it with my own two eyes. I just have to.”
Obi-Wan nodded, not in agreement, but in understanding.
“She is no longer the girl you once knew, Faith. The good woman that Buffy Summers once was is dead. She became Darth Sumar.”
His eyes locked with hers and she felt a chill all the way down to her soul. “And for sake of all worlds, yours and ours, she must be brought low.”
End Chapter 1