I, Moloch...You, Willow.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Family Guy belongs to some other Guy. Seth MacFarlane and Fox Broadcasting Company. BTVS belongs to Joss Whedon.
Sunnydale High School, Computer Lab.
Buffy comes into the computer lab. She walks over to Dave.
"Dave? Hey there, Dave. Anybody home?" says Buffy to the oblivious student.
He jumps in his seat when she puts her hand on his shoulder.
"Oh, what do you want?" he asks.
"I wanted to ask you something if you have a minute." says Buffy.
"What is it?" he asks again.
"Well, you're a computer geek... genius, and, uh, I sort of have a technical problem. If I wanted to find out something about someone, i-if someone e-mailed me, could I trace the letter?" Buffy explains what she's after.
"Well, you could pull up somebody's profile based on their user name." says Dave.
"But they write the profile themselves, right? And so they could say anything they wanted." asks Buffy.
"True." replies Dave.
"Wow! I had knowledge! Well, is there a way to find out exactly where a letter, an e-letter came from? I mean, the actual location of the computer?" Buffy asks the computer geek... genius, again.
"That's a challenge." says Dave "Why don't you ask your brother for help? You're Stewie's sister aren't you?" he asks.
"'Cause, you see, Willow's got this boyfriend, Malcolm, and I don't want to bring Stewie into this..." says Buffy
"Leave Willow alone." says Dave interrupting her.
"What do you mean?" Buffy asks Dave.
"That's none of your business." insists Dave.
"Dave, are you Malcolm?" asks Buffy jumping to the wrong conclusion.
"Of course not." says Dave as he turns his back on her. He goes back to typing on the computer.
"Dave, what's going on?" asks Buffy.
"Look, I'll talk to you later, okay? I've got work to do." he replies.
She gets up and leaves.
"So do I." she says as she leaves.
Fritz watches her go as she passes by him.
Sunnydale High School, Library.
Buffy follows Giles down the stairs to the counter.
"I'm telling you, something is going on. It's not just Willow. Dave, Fritz, they're all wicked jumpy." says Buffy trying to convince Giles that there was something going on.
"Those boys aren't sparklingly normal as it is." replies Giles.
"Giles, trust me." says Buffy insistently.
"I-I do! I-I-I really don't know how to advise you. Things involved with a computer fill me with a childlike terror. Now, if it were a nice ogre or some such I'd be more in my element. Well, I-I suppose you could, um, tail Dave, see if he's up to something." he suggests.
"Follow Dave? What, in dark glasses and a trench coat? Please. I can work this out myself." replies Buffy.
Buffy, wearing dark glasses and a dark coat, watches as Dave gets into his car, starts it and drives off.
CRD Building. The Loading Dock.
Dave drives up and gets out. Buffy had followed Dave on foot. She looks in through the fence. She sees Dave talking to a technician. After a moment Dave and the technician go inside.
Buffy slips through the fence and into the building. But unlike Stewie, she's unable to bypass the security. The security camera follows her movement and sends the information to Fritz.
"She's too close. What do I do?" Fritz asks for instructions.
"Kill her." appears on the monitor.
"Party." he replies.
Sunnydale High. Library.
"Whatever Dave is into, it's large." Buffy tells Giles.
"What was the name of this place?" asks Giles.
"It said CRD. But, I couldn't get close enough to see what it was."
"Calax Research and Development. It's a computer research lab. Third largest employer in Sunnydale till it closed down last year. What, I can't have information sometimes?" asks Xander.
"Well, it-it's just somewhat unprecedented." says Giles.
"Well, my uncle used to work there. I-in a floor sweeping capacity." explains Xander.
"But it closed?"
"Uh-huh." Xander confirms.
"Looked pretty functional from where I stood. I don't have a clue what they were doing." she says.
"That's because I just finished buying the place. They're getting it ready for me. Looks like there's mice playing in my domain. Something will have to be done about that." Stewie says walking into the library, with Harmony at his side.
"What's she doing here?" Buffy asks her brother.
"She's keeping me company." he tells his sister. "Isn't that right Harmony dear?" he asks the girl next to him.
"Uh huh. Whatever you says Stewie." says Harmony.
"Oh. My. God! What did you do?" Buffy asks horrified.
"Yeah, besides improving her intelligence. I've never seen her this coherent before." says Xander.
"Bite me. Loser." snaps Harmony.
"Now, now dear. We don't snap at our new friends." he instructs her.
"Never, he's not my friend. He's Loser Harris. I'm Harmony Kendall..." she says.
"I knew it. Definite increase in the old grey matter. She knew her own name." says Xander interrupting her.
"...I don't associate with his kind of loser." she declares.
"For me..." asks Stewie.
On Harmony's face the conflict to comply with her master's command struggles against her deep hatred for the Harris thing. "Nope sorry. Can't do it honey bunny." she tells her master.
Stewie takes a moment to analyze the situation before he tips his hand. 'There's something going on here that I'm missing. Either her conditioning is faulty, or it's one of those quirks that con only be corrected, by totally rebuilding her core personality. No. I don't think it's worth the effort. At least this give the appearance that she's her own person. I'll leave this for when I have a lazy afternoon. As long she keeps doing as she's told, where it matters, she'll do just fine.'. "There you have it. I tried. She doesn't like you. Move on." Stewie tells Xander.
"Thanks. That's a load of my mind. Oh look at that new pair of shoes." Xander says pointing at corner.
Both Buffy and Harmony look.
'Oh no. That's about to backfire.' he thinks as Buffy realizes she's been had.
"Hey!" she says, as she gives him a swat.
"Sorry." he apologizes, giving her a sheepish grin.
"I don't get it. Where are the shoes?" asks Harmony still looking.
"Forget it dear. I think Xander was day dreaming." explains Stewie.
"Well, okay. I do that a lot myself. Dream of shoes." she explains.
Buffy catches herself nodding in agreement. Both Xander and Giles catch her at it. Stewie doesn't care. He already knows about her shoe day dreams.
"Very well back to the subject at hand. Since you're the new owner, this will be a lot easier to investigate." says Giles steering the conversation back to the topic at hand.
"Yeah, so Dave. Something about computers, right? I mean, he is off-the-chart smart." says Buffy.
"We still don't know an enormous amount. Whatever is going on there may be on the up-and-up. Stewie, do you have a contact with someone that can tell you what's going on?" Giles asks.
"I don't think so. I mean you didn't put any adds announcing a 'Grand opening.' did you?" Xander asks Stewie.
"No I have not. I don't think I'll be opening this facility to the public." Stewie explains. "I need the room. The basement's getting cramped. It was cheap, it's in the area. It's the reason I bought the place in the first place."
"Besides, I can just tell something's wrong. My spider sense is tingling." Buffy tells Stewie.
"Your... spider sense?" asks Giles.
"Pop culture reference. Sorry." says Buffy.
"Well Spider Girl. It looks like we're visiting my new lab a little early.
"Yes. We're breaking in!" she says, as she slides off of the table.
"Do you have the keys?" Buffy asks.
"Uh... no." says Stewie. The place is his, but the management company he hired to get the place ready still had a couple of days to go, before they were done.
"I'm free tonight!" chips in Xander.
"Oh no. We're not breaking into anything." complains Stewie.
"Tonight it is!" says Buffy ignoring her brother's complaints. This was going to be good. she'll get back at him for the time he turned her Barbie collection into a robot army and had them take on each other as gladiators.
Giles tries to dampen their excitement, but neither Xander, or Buffy were listening. Too busy plotting.
Ms. Calendar enters the library.
"...data into the file so the book will be listed by title as well as by author." says Giles changing the subject.
Harmony was still looking for the invisible shoes. Stewie left her to her own devices.
"I just came by to check your new data base, make sure your cross reference table isn't glitching. 'Cause I'm guessing you haven't gone anywhere near it." says Ms. Calendar.
"Uh, I'm still sorting through the chaos you left behind you." replies Giles.
"Hmm. (to Buffy and Xander) You're here again? Kids really dig the library, don't cha?" says Ms. Calendar.
"We're literary!" says Buffy.
"It's the place to be, or not..." says Stewie.
"To read makes our speaking English good." tries Xander.
"We'll be going now." says an embarrassed Buffy. She grabs Xander leaves.
"Come along Harmony." Stewie says ignoring the adults.
"...But the shoes" she whines.
"I'll buy you a new pair." he replies.
Miss Calendar looks at Stewie and Harmony as they leave the library. "What an unusual pair." she comments.
"Which..." begins Giles.
"Both." says Miss Calendar, cutting him off.
Sunnydale High School. Computer Lab.
Willow is online chatting with Malcolm.
"I've never felt this way about anyone before, Willow." Malcolm tells her.
"I know what you mean. I feel like you know me better than anyone." replies Willow.
"I do." confirms Malcolm.
"Do you think we should... meet?" she asks hesitantly.
"I think we should soon." he responds.
"I'm nervous." she confesses.
"I'm not. Isn't that strange?" says Malcolm.
"That's what Buffy doesn't understand, how comfortable you can make me feel." she tells him.
"Buffy just makes trouble. That's why she got kicked out of her old school." Malcolm tells her trying to sow the seeds of doubt.
Willow is puzzled and pauses for a moment. "How did you know that?" she asks.
"It's on her permanent record." Malcolm informs her.
She doesn't respond, still puzzled.
"You must have mentioned it." types Malcolm trying to cover up his mistake.
"I guess." types Willow not sure when she ever brought up the subject.
"Let's not worry about her anymore." types Malcolm.
"I have to sign off. I'll talk to you later." types Willow.
"Don't." he replies.
"Bye." she types before leaving.
She turns off the monitor, gets up and leaves.
Sunnydale High School. Library.
"You're a snob!" says Ms. Calendar in exasperation.
"I am no such thing." replies an incredulous Giles.
"Oh, you are a 'big' snob. You, you think that knowledge should be kept in these carefully guarded repositories where only a handful of white guys can get at it." declares Ms. Calendar.
"Nonsense! I simply don't adhere to a, a knee-jerk assumption that because something is new, it's better." says Giles defending himself.
"This isn't a fad, Rupert! We are creating a new society here."says Ms. Calendar continuing her offensive.
"A society in which human interaction is all but obsolete? In which people can be completely manipulated by technology, well, well... Thank you, I'll pass." says Giles from his defensive position.
"Well, ahem, I think you'll be very happy here with your musty, old books." she says, as she opens Moloch's book.
"These musty old books have a great deal more to say than in any of your... fabulous web pages." Giles says trying to mount an offensive.
"Hmm. This one doesn't have a whole lot more to say." she says as she pages through the book.
Giles stares at the empty book.
"What is it, like a diary?" she asks.
"How odd. I haven't looked through all the volumes yet, I didn't, um..." he stops not sure what she's talking about. He closes the book and sees the etching of Moloch on the cover.
"What is it?" she asks.
"Uh, nothing, um, a, a diary, yes. I imagine that's what it is. Well, it's been so nice talking to you." he says, as he heads to his office with the book.
"We were fighting." she tells him with an amused smile.
"Must do it again sometime, yes... Bye, now." he says absently.
Sunnydale High School. Outside.
Buffy comes walking out of the school. Dave comes up to her.
"Buffy!" says Dave trying to get her attention.
"Dave! How're you doing?" she says when she sees him.
"Okay. Uh, look, I'm sorry about yesterday. I haven't been getting much sleep lately, y'know?" he explains.
"Don't sweat it." she tells him.
"Willow was looking for you." he lies awkwardly.
"Good, I need to talk to her. Do you know where she is?" she asks.
"She said she'd be in the, in the girls' locker room." he replies.
"Great. Thanks." he says. She lingers for a moment before she leaves to find Willow.
Sunnydale High School. Girl's Locker Room.
"Will?" Buffy says out loud trying to find her friend.
"Willow?" she tries again when there's no response.
"Will? You taking a shower?" she asks, when she hears the water.
She walks into the shower, and sees that it's on, but no one's there.
"I guess not." she says. She walks into the shower to turn off the water.
"This is how droughts get started." she says, as she turns off the water.
"Buffy! Get out!" shouts Dave, trying to warn her.
She turns to see Dave and notices the exposed electrical wires. They begin to spark. She leaps out of the shower. An arc of electricity follows her for an instant. She lands on a changing bench and rolls off onto the floor. Dave runs from the locker room. She sits up and looks over toward the showers.
"Oh No! My shoes." she says sadly, as she looks at the soles of her smoking shoes.
Sunnydale High School. Library.
Buffy sits at the table while Xander paces.
"I'm gonna kill Dave!" Xander promises.
"He tried to warn me." she says trying to calm him down, before he does something rash.
"Warn you that he set you up?" he asks. "Giles is she gonna be okay?" he asks the Watcher.
"She was only grounded for a moment. Still, if you'd been anyone but the Slayer..." he says as he sits next to her and gives her a mug.
"Tell me the truth: how's my hair?" she asks the most important question on her mind at the moment.
It's great! It's your best hair ever!" Xander tells her with a smile.
"Uh, oh, yes." Giles agrees.
"I just... I don't understand what would make Dave do a thing like that." says Buffy.
"I think perhaps I do." says Giles. He goes over to get Moloch's book from the cage. He comes back holding it up.
"Does this look familiar to either of you?" asks Giles.
"Yeah, sure. Looks like a book." says Buffy
"I knew that one." agrees Xander.
"In the dark ages the souls of demons were sometimes trapped in certain volumes. They remained locked within the
book, harmless, unless the pages were read aloud. Unless I'm mistaken, this is Moloch, the Corrupter. A very deadly and seductive demon. He draws people to him with promises of love, power, knowledge. Preys on impressionable minds." Giles explains.
"Like Dave's." says Xander.
"Dave, and who knows how many others." replies Giles.
"And Moloch is inside that book?" asks Buffy.
"Not anymore." says Giles, as he opens the book.
"You released Moloch?" asks Xander.
"Way to go!" Buffy tels Giles.
"I didn't read it! That dreadful Calendar woman found it and, and it was already blank." says Giles.
"Okay, so a powerful demon with horns is walking around Sunnydale, and nobody's noticed?" asks Buffy.
"I-if he's so big and strong, why bother with Dave? I mean, why didn't he just attack Buffy himself?" chips in Xander.
"I don't know. And I don't know who could've read that book. It wasn't even in English." replies Giles.
"Where was it?" asks Buffy.
"Uh, in a pile with others that were, um, uh, scanned." replies Giles.
They look over at the computer.
"And that released the demon?" asks Xander.
"No, he's not out here." says Buffy. She points to the computer, "He's in there."
"The scanner read the book. It brought Moloch out as information to be absorbed." guesses Giles.
"He's gone binary on us." says Buffy, showing she knows about computers, than she's letting on.
"Okay, for those of us in our studio audience, who are me? You guys are saying that Moloch is in this computer?" asks Xander.
"And every computer connected to it by a modem." explains Buffy.
"He's everywhere." adds Giles.
"What are we gonna do?" asks Xander. "Stewie. Let's get Stewie. He'll fix this." he declares.
"Willow scanned him into her file. It may be... a futile gesture, but I suggest we, um, uh, delete it." says Giles, showing that he too knows more about computers than he's letting on.
"No! No Stewie. At least not just yet." she tells Xander, as she gets up and walks over to the Computer.
"Don't get too close." Xander warns her.
She ignores Xander and sits down in front of the computer. "Okay. Okay." she says turning on the monitor and booting up the computer. "So which file do you think it is? Willow?" she guesses, as she starts typing. "That's probably it, right? I'll just delete the whole thing." she says, as she drags the file icon to the trash bin, and inhales in fright when Moloch's demonic face appears on the monitor.
"Stay away from Willow! It is none of your business!" warns Moloch's computer image.
The monitor returns to normal.
"So that's what Malcolm looks like." says Buffy.
"So much for delete file." says Buffy
"This is very bad." agrees Giles.
"Are we overreacting? He's in a computer! What can he do?" asks Xander.
"You mean besides convince a perfectly nice kid to try and kill me? I don't know. How about mess up all the medical equipment in the world?" explains Buffy.
"Randomize traffic signals." adds Giles giving away more information about his knowledge in this area.
"Access launch codes for our nuclear missiles." continues Buffy.
"Destroy the world's economy." Giles chips in.
"I think I pretty much capped it with that nuclear missile thing." gloats Buffy.
"Right, yours was best." Giles tells her sarcastically.
"Okay, he's a threat, I'm on board with that now. I don't know what can we do about it? But I know a certain little evil genius who probably does." says Xander.
"Later. I think the first thing we do is find Willow. She's probably talking to him right now. God, that creeps me out!" says Buffy.
"What does he want with Willow?" asks Xander fearing for the safety for his Willow.
"Let's never find out. Okay, I'm gonna check the computer lab, and you guys call her home." Buffy says getting up from the computer and going to the Computer Lab.
Sunnydale High School. Computer Lab.
Buffy comes in and looks around. It's dark. "Willow?"
All the computers suddenly come on, startling her. She backs further into the room while looking around more. She turns around and jumps as she bumps into Dave. He's hanging from the ceiling with the note pinned to his shirt.
Sunnydale High School, Library.
Xander is on the phone trying to reach Willow. He gives up. "No answer." he tells Giles.
"Damn it!" replies Giles.
"Well, it wasn't busy either, so she's not online." he says hopefully.
Buffy comes back into the library.
"She's not home." Xander tells Buffy.
"What did you find?" asks Giles.
"Willow isn't..." begins a worried Xander, but Buffy cuts him off.
"Dave. He's dead." she says.
"How?" asks Giles.
"Well, it looks like suicide." replies Buffy.
"With a little help from my friends?" asks Xander.
"I'd guess Fritz. Or the other zomboids from CRD. Okay, (to Xander) you and I are gonna go to Willow's house. Giles, you need to come up with a way to get Moloch out of the 'Net." guesses Buffy.
"I, I have records of the ceremonies, but, but that's for a creature of the flesh. Th-this could be something completely different." says Giles.
"Then get Ms. Calendar. Maybe she can help you." she tells him.
"Well, even if she could, how am I gonna convince her that there's a demon on the Internet?" Giles asks her.
"Okay, fine, then you can stay here and come up with a better plan. C'mon." Buffy says to Xander.
"I don't get it. Why don't we get Stewie? I'm sure he'll know what to do." says Xander.
Sunnydale High School, Empty Class.
"How dare she? She keeps asking all these amateurs for help and ignoring me her brother. What am I chopped liver?" Stewie asks the empty class room, as he continues to monitor the library from his laptop.
Willow unlocks the door to her home and walks in.
"Mom? Dad?" Willow says to the empty house.
She closes the door. goes up to her room. She dumps her book bag on the bed and opens it.
"You have mail." chimes her computer.
Willow looks at her computer. The mail icon is active. She goes over to her desk, logs on, clicks on the icon and opens the new message folder.
"No more waiting. I need you to see me." says the content of the message.
She turns off her monitor and goes back to her bag. The monitor comes back on by itself again.
"You have mail." proclaims the mail program.
Willow stares at it in disbelief. The doorbell rings, and after another look at her computer she goes to answer it.
"Dad, did you forget your keys again?" says Willow as she opens the front door.
No one's there. She turns to go back in. As she starts to close the door behind her Fritz reaches around her head with a
cloth splashed with chloroform. After a brief struggle Willow loses unconsciousness.
"No more waiting." says Fritz.
Sunnydale High School. Computer Lab.
Giles is researching and listening to the radio.
"A spokesman for the archbishop denied the allegations, blaming computer error for the apparent financial discrepancy." says the radio.
"Binding rituals..." Giles says out loud.
"In Washington D.C., the FBI today reported that all of its serial killer profiles have been mysteriously downloaded from its
central computer." the radio reports again.
Ms. Calendar knocks on the door. "Hi. I got your message. What's so urgent?" she asks.
Giles turns off the radio and gets up. "Um, thank you for coming. Uh, I need your help." he laughs nervously "But before that, um, I need you to believe something that, um, you may not want to. Uh, there's, uh... something's got into the, um... i-i-inside, um..." he takes a breath and lets it out. "There's a demon in the Internet."
"I know." says Ms. Calendar.
Giles is surprised by her words.
Buffy and Xander arrive and find the door open. "Willow?!" shouts Buffy.
"This isn't good." Xander says from inside the house.
"Willow?!" Buffy shouts again.
They go in, and head for Willow's room.
"Willow?!"Buffy shouts yet again.
They walk into the room and there's no Willow around.
"Okay, any thoughts?" asks Xander.
Buffy looks around and sees the message on the computer.
Buffy sees the message on the computer screen. She reads it. "'No more waiting, I need you to see me'?" she turns to Xander and asks "See him how? Where?"
"What about CRD?" Xander suggests
"The research place? That's Stewie's. I don't want to play in his sandbox uninvited." she says.
"I'm guessing at this point, that's Moloch central." he tells her. "We need to call him in." he says desperately.
"Guessing that's our best lead. Let's just hope Stewie and Giles can back us up." she says as they leave Willow's house.
Sunnydale High School. Computer Lab.
Giles unfolds his arms and gets up from the table. "You already know? How exactly is that?" he asks Miss Calendar.
"Come on, there've been portents for days. I mean, power surges, online shutdowns... You should see the bones I've been casting. I 'knew' this would happen sooner or later. I mean, it's probably a, a mischief demon, y'know, like Kelkor, or..." Ms. Calendar explains, but Giles corrects before she goes on.
"It's Moloch." he says.
"The Corrupter? Oh, boy." she exhales "I shoulda remembered, I just don't..." she says
"Uh... You don't seem exactly surprised by... Who are you?" Giles interrupts her again.
"I teach computer science at the local high school." she tells him.
"A profession that hardly lends itself to the casting of bones." says Giles.
"Wrong and wrong, snobby. You think the realm of the mystical is limited to ancient texts and relics? That bad old science made the magic go away? Mm. The divine exists in cyberspace same as out here." she explains.
"Are you a witch?" he asks.
"Mm. I don't have that kinda power. 'Technopagan' is the term." explains Miss Calendar.
Giles lets out a chuckle.
"There are more of us than you think." says a peeved Miss Calendar.
"Well, uh, you can definitely help me. Um... What's in cyberspace at the moment is less than divine." he says.
They go out into the main area.
"I have the binding rituals at hand, but I'm completely out of my idiom." Giles confesses.
"Well, I can help! I think... I hope, I mean, well, this is my first real... Do you know how he got in?" she asks
"He was, uh, 'scanned' is the term, I believe." he replies.
"And you want him back in the book?" she asks.
The phone rings. Giles goes to get it. "Buffy!" he says into the phone.
"Yeah." Buffy answers from a phone outside of CRD.
"Willow?" he asks.
"Not at home. It looks like she was taken somewhere." she reports.
"Where are you?" he asks.
"CRD. Whatever Moloch wants Willow for, it's probably in there." she says.
"Ms. Calendar and I are, uh, working to get Moloch offline." he says.
"Here's a tip: hurry!" she says as she hangs up. "You guys ready?" she asks Xander and her brother.
"Point me at him." says Stewie. 'He's so going to be my latest aquisition.' the grin on his face was a thing of pure evil.
Buffy shudders and Xander almost whines, but he's the Alpha. True. Alpha minion, but still Alpha. And Alpha's don't whine.
To be continued...