Ringworld is property of Larry Niven. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Lyrics to the song "Wheel in the Sky" is the property of the group Journey. Everything else belongs to me.
Mars was melting.
The Map-Of-Mars on the Ringworld was a one to one ratio map of the planet Mars. Imagine two hundred and thirty million square miles of Ringworld floor raised high enough into the atmosphere to simulate the low air pressure found on Mars. Water condensed and ran off the edge of the map in multi-mile high waterfalls.
It was all black now. The surface area the size of a planet was slowly starting to liquidly under an intense heat. High energy protons and gamma radiation baked the surface.
“The Ringworld spoke to me.” The Buffy-Protector thought.
She didn’t know what to make of her experience. She knew that the brain ran on electric sparks between synapses. This meant that consciousness itself was quantum mechanical in nature. The Buffy-Protector didn’t have time to think about it. The death of the world had her full attention.
Dawn walked up to her sister and put her arms around her.
“I know you’re figure out something Buffy. You always do.” Dawn’s voice was low and sincere. She remembered the time they both were trapped in a hole in the ground at the graveyard fighting monsters sent to kill them by a Willow high on magic. Buffy had made her a promise.
“I want to show you the world.” She had said to Dawn hundreds of years ago. And she did. Through Buffy Dawn had come to see and do more than anyone else she had known.
“I love you.” Dawn said to her.
“I know.” The Buffy-Protector said back. Her protector instincts were screaming at her now. At this moment Dawn and her descendants were the most precious objects in the universe to her. She would protect them by any means necessary.
The control room shook. Billions of tons of Ringworld material was shifting. The Map-Of-Mars was melting.
“So, what are you going to do?” Dawn asked of her.
The Buffy-Protector leaned over and whispered in her ear. Dawn’s eyes went wide.
“Get everyone into the ark.” The Buffy-Protector said suddenly all business. That’s what they called the indestructible Puppeteer ship Dawn had transferred her children into. “Even if everything is destroyed you will be safe.”
“Now!” The Buffy-Protector said. There was steel in her voice. By reflex, she had grabbed Dawn and without thinking, lifted her off the floor.
“I love you Dawn. I will always love you. Now get your family in the ark.”
“But, you’re family too.” Dawn pleaded.
“Remember what I told you at the tower build by Glory’s madmen after the Key had been activated?”
Dawn answered sadly. “You said be brave, be strong, live for me. That the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”
“That’s still true.”
The control room shook again.
Dawn and the Buffy-Protector walked over to the ark. The General Products ship was a sphere a thousand feet in radius. Dawn and her family looked very small and pitiful clustered near the center of the huge ship. Dawn and her husband watched the lonely figure of the Buffy-Protector walk away.“Are you ready now? Are you ready to do what is necessary?”
The Buffy-Protector heard the voice of the Ringworld in her head. “Why won’t you stop this?” She thought, thinking how could the Ringworld let things spiral so far out of control?“I am large. I embrace infinity, hence I contradict myself. There was one bright shining moment hundreds of thousands of years ago when I was a unity, a single consciousness that covered hundreds of millions of worlds. Parts of myself split off, and then split again. In me now are thrones and dominions, angels and demons and one who would assert his throne over mine.”
“What will I do?” The Buffy-Protector asked. “You will fight on the side of light.”
The Ringworld answered.
The Buffy-Protector took one last look at Dawn knowing that she would never see her again.
“Let’s do this.” She said.
The Buffy-Protector hit the switch activating the stasis field around the ark.
Where the ship stood was a blazing sphere of glowing silver. You could aim the entire mass-energy of the galaxy at the ship now and it wouldn’t so much as make a dent. The ship was wrapped in a bubble of no-time.
The Ringworld shifted it’s calculations. The matrix of particles known as the Buffy-Protector began to waiver as the information they contained found other passages through the fabric of space-time. At the quantum mechanical level there was no such thing as here or there. Everything was already connected to everything else and had been since the beginning of time.
An observer from the outside would have simply noticed the image of the Buffy-Protector flicker and then disappear.
She awoke falling down a corridor of light.
“Where am I” she asked.
“Inside me.” The Ringworld answered. “The energy pattern that constituted your mind is now being hosted by trillions of miles of superconductive mesh. We fall, always falling and flying at seven hundred and seventy miles per second around our star. “
The former Buffy-Protector saw ahead of her a glowing purple white spot.
“What is that?” she asked.
“One of Spike’s fires. Do you see the root of it?”
She looked closer squinting at it. Purple white tendrils ran deep into the body of the Ringworld feeding the shape of the burning bush. She could see huge rivers of anti-matter pouring into it.
“A simple particle spin reversal should fix it!” Buffy realized.
“Then do it. “ The Ringworld said. “You are connected to everything.”
Buffy exerted her will and the fire went out. She felt like a god.
“The rest won’t be so easy.” The Ringworld said to her. “They were created and are guarded by beings best described as mindless agents of destruction.”
“Yeah, back in Sunnydale we just called them demons.”
“Will you fight them to save the world?” The Ringworld asked.
The Buffy-Protector smiled as her scythe suddenly appeared in her hands.
“That’s what I do best.” She said.
Later, much later, after the ark had been returned to normal time and Dawn had surveyed the burnt and smoking landscape of the Ringworld far out beyond the Map-Of-Mars, after she had made sure her husband and children were safe she remembered what The Buffy-Protector had said to her during their last time together. She remembered the Buffy-Protector describing what she planned to do. Dawn was quoted as saying:
“My sister became a god. But I was the one who found love.”Ive been trying to make it home
Got to make it before too long
I cant take this very much longer
Im stranded in the sleet and rain
Dont think Im ever gonna make it home again
The mornin sun is risin
Its kissing the day
Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin
I dont know where Ill be tomorrow
"Wheel in the Sky"