Chapter 2: Making a Home
Chapter 2: Making a Home
(No, really…she’s making a home!)
A/N: Small edits in chapter one to reflect the new name change for Buffy.
Warning: Some violence, but not too graphic. Same with the language.
Challenge: #1096 ‘Go to Hell’
Thanks to my betas: satsuma, Odin, zigpal and NeverTooOld.
Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Stargate characters belong to Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright / MGM and Gekko. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Buffy was fascinated by the gleaming – albeit eerily quiet – city. When she looked out one of the windows, she was surprised to find it was underwater. It made her think of the Earth legend, Atlantis. Maybe this was Atlantis. After all, ‘Lantia’ sounded pretty close. It could just be this dimension’s lost city.
Which begged the question: was this her
dimension or the one Angelus was trying to open? The whole demony feel of the last place made her think yeah, but this place made her wonder. Maybe it was just another kind of Earth.
Speaking of which…Oh, she was going to feel so stupid if she was wrong here. “Lantia? Do you talk?” she asked hesitantly.
Luckily, the city answered her in a smooth tenor voice, “Yes, Viraga Custa. Can I assist you?”
A little startled that it worked, Buffy stuttered, “Uh…sure. We are on a planet, right?”
“Yes. This is the planet the Alterans designated Proclarush Aqua, which means ‘Lost in Water’,” the voice explained.
“They lost their city?” she blurted out, wondering how that ever happened.
She swore she could hear a hint of humor when Lantia replied, “Another way to translate it would be ‘Hidden in Water’.”
Buffy nodded. “Oh, that’s right! I forgot the ship already told me this. Is there anyone here but me?” she asked, seeing how dark everything was around her.
“You are the only Alteran on the planet,” he, it, whatever
answered. She so needed to find some humans to talk to or she really would go crazy!
She bit her lip, worried about her old ‘friends’ from the previous planet. “What about those demons from the last place I was? The freaky ones that kept sticking their hands on my chest for some reason,” she explained, hoping the city would understand what she was talking about.
Which Lantia apparently did. “Those were the Wraith. The enemy that forced the Alterans to retreat from this place,” he – Buffy decided that it was a he, and just hoped that he wasn’t like Moloch – told her, this time sounding a little sad. Could he be lonely? Weird!
“So I only have you and the ships to talk to here?” she inquired, hoping she wouldn’t offend him/them.
Lantia’s response convinced her that he had some kind of personality because she knew she could hear the smirk in his voice, “Until you learn to speak to the other sentient beings on this planet.”
And that made her wary. “What kind
of sentient beings?” she asked cautiously. She could feel the punchline coming.
“Mainly the creatures that live in the water that covers most of the surface.” And there it was – talk to the fish? He had to be kidding!
But she refused to give him the satisfaction of asking anything more about those creatures. “Does that mean there is land somewhere?” she inquired instead.
“There is a small land mass,” Lantia hedged. Obviously, the term ‘small’ was subjective, so she guessed that he meant in comparison to the water surrounding it.
“Can I live there?” Then she realized how that must sound and quickly added, “Not that you’re not great or anything, but I think I’d feel a little claustrophobic living underwater for very long.”
Lantia seemed to understand though and offered, “The city can rise to the surface if necessary. However, that would make it vulnerable to the Wraith,” he warned.
Buffy didn’t want to do that. But he reminded her that he knew something about the demons. So, it was research time. Only she liked this version ‘cause she could just ask instead of looking it up in musty books, “Now, what’s their deal? Why did they keep putting their hands on my chest? It wasn’t like they were copping a feel or anything.”
There was a brief silence before he replied tightly, almost like he was trying not to laugh, “The Wraith use the energy that other beings have to sustain their lives, and races similar to their physiology provide the most efficient nourishment.”
She sighed, “Great! So now I have to deal with alien
vampires? Can they turn Alterans or anyone else into a newbie Wraith?”
“No. They procreate to increase their numbers,” he answered.
“That’s a relief. Even if it’s a shudder-worthy image.” She shook her head to get rid of the mental picture, then inquired, “Back to the land thing, though. Is it safe for me to live there?”
“There are some dangers, but nothing unmanageable. The greatest danger – apart from the Wraith – is the planetary storm. It occurs every 50 cycles. But if you return to the city, you would remain safe,” he recommended.
Buffy thought about that for a moment. “Cycle…is that like a year? Umm, one planetary revolution around the sun?” she clarified.
“Yes. One cycle would equal one year,” Lantia replied. “The next storm should occur during the sixth cycle after the current one is completed.”
“Okay. I’m guessing that if nobody lives on the land, it’s pretty overgrown with plants and stuff. Is there equipment I can use to clear it? Also, do you have any books on home building? Like ‘Building for Dummies’?” Buffy pleaded, inadvertently sticking out her lower lip in a pout. Like it would have any effect on a city.
“There is equipment, and instructions on how to construct shelters,” he said. Then he suggested, “It would be best if you explained precisely what you wanted in your shelter. That way, there would be no waste of time or materials.”
“Cool. Let’s get brainstorming then. Uh, share ideas back and forth.” Suddenly she felt a certain stirring and asked shyly, “First things first, though. Where are the bathrooms and do you have something I can eat?”
“Bathrooms? Do you mean the cleansing chambers where the Alterans clean their bodies and get rid of their bodily waste?” Lantia attempted to understand her strange wording.
Buffy laughed silently. It was almost like having a Giles around. That thought made her tear up, so she pushed it away. “Umm, yeah. Those rooms.”
“Follow the lights along the walls. Once you have taken care of those issues, the lights will take you to the water reservoir. There are several forms of aquatic life-forms you can choose from for your protein intake,” Lantia instructed her. “It will also provide purified water for you to drink.”
“There aren’t any of those sentient beings in the reservoir, are there?” she checked. If he was serious about that, she didn’t want to eat them.
He reassured her, “No. The trawlers that capture the food are programmed to release any sentient being. There is a store of emergency nourishment packets available as well.”
Seeing how quiet the city looked, Buffy asked cautiously, “How long have they been sitting there?”
“Approximately 10,065 years,” the city estimated.
“And they’re still good?” she said in disbelief. Food couldn’t stay good that long, could it? Maybe these Alterans were better at this than humans, though. Really, really better.
Lantia hesitated for a moment. “I will check.…The preservation of the packets has held, therefore the nourishment is still sufficient,” he said. The way he put it made her think she should try to avoid eating them if she could. They really didn’t sound tasty if all he was worried about was the nourishment.
Buffy watched ahead of her and behind her as she walked through the city. The light was just enough for her to see 20 feet in either direction, then shut off after that. She asked Lantia about that.
“It is an energy-saving strategy,” he explained.
She nodded. “How do you get the energy for this place, anyway?” she wondered out loud.
Lantia explained about ZPMs and other methods used. She kept talking to the city as she settled in for the night, day…whatever. She couldn’t tell underwater anyway. Except for when she was in the ‘cleansing chambers’; she refused to talk – even to a city – while she was in there.
Over the next several months, Buffy spent her days clearing the land and preparing the foundation for her home. Her nights were filled with either building plans or learning about her new home dimension. She rotated through the transport ships to get to and from the city. If there were any mechanical problems with them, Lantia would walk her through the maintenance.
When Buffy came back from the mainland those first few days, Lantia tried to tell her that there were more efficient methods for preparing the building site. However, Buffy explained that she needed the physical labor to tire her out since she wasn’t fighting for her life on a semi-daily basis anymore. He didn’t have an answer for that, so he let it go.
Plus, if she did things the ‘new-fangled’, human
way, she would have the necessary natural materials to hide her home when it was finished. Though she doubted that the Wraith would drop by, she didn’t want to risk detection. To further help with that goal, Lantia suggested using the planet’s geothermal energy to provide power for her dwelling, saying that it would minimize the risk of being ‘seen’ by any sensors.
They agreed that the home should be expandable. ‘Cause once she was done building, she would need to start visiting the other planets for materials. It was likely that she’d come across an innocent or two that needed safe haven from the Wraith. So, she created a series of connected rooms: her bedroom, a kitchen, a ‘cleansing chamber’, and finally, a living/workshop room. Part of it would be for resting and the other part for her studies in Alteran technology. When it was complete, Lantia dubbed it ‘Viraga Arx Aedes’ – the Guardian’s Fortress Home.
After a while, Buffy complained that she didn’t have music to listen to. Lantia inquired what she meant; the former inhabitants had music that was available. Buffy just arched an eyebrow and replied that it wasn’t her kind of music. So Lantia offered to do a memory search on Buffy and re-create the music from Buffy’s past.
Since Buffy couldn’t get him or the ships to call her by her Earth name, and she refused to be called Viraga Custa all the time, they compromised on the nickname of Vira – pronounced ‘Vera’ in English. But he made up for some of her loneliness by appearing to her as a hologram when they talked. It kept her from feeling totally alone.
On the one cycle anniversary of Buffy’s arrival in the city, Lantia surprised her with a collection of movies and pictures of her past to go along with the music he already made for her months earlier. Now she really had a way to unwind in her living room. She cried and thanked him profusely for his kindness.
A/N: I know that the ‘v’ in Latin is pronounced ‘w’, but I like the way it sounds this way. Sorry if that offends anyone. The name was helped along by NeverTooOld – as was the name of Buffy’s home on the mainland. I decided to keep the name of the planet as it was. Again sorry for anyone who’s upset by it.
A/N: Next…Moving forward.