Conversations with Scooby People
Buffy looked up at the shrinking helicopter as she fell back to earth.
She knew that maybe Glory hadn’t been permanently stopped, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t saved Dawn. Buffy closed her eyes and prepared herself mentally to accept the inevitable-urk!
Buffy’s body shook with a horrendous jolt as she suddenly ceased motion, an action that would have killed a normal human from the sudden reversal of the g-forces. She looked back up at the helicopter in surprise as the shrinking seemed to have reversed.
“See, Dawnie, Buffy knew that I could just catch her,” Willow said with a reassuring grin to the panicking younger Summers as she helped pull her friend inside the helicopter's cabin. The girl in question had latched onto Tara like a hammer swimmer clinging to a liferaft.
“Right,” Buffy lied semi-successfully. “That’s exactly what I had in mind.”
“Yes, Buffy, it’s good to see you well,” Giles said, feeling just as upset as Dawn on the inside, but being very British on the outside. Buffy pulled him into a big hug.
“Don’t tell Dawnie,” Buffy whispered into his ear, “but I didn’t think I’d live.”
“I know,” Giles said, patting her gently on the head.
“Soooo….” Lindsey said. “Where are we going? And why hasn’t the pilot freaked out?”
“To answer your last question, first,” Ellie Sattler said. “The Pilot was singing Costa Rican folk-pop at the top of his lungs until we pounded on the door to take off. I don’t think he even knew what was going on.”
“As for where we’re going,” Buffy said. “Just gonna pick one of the Five Deaths. That's what the islands there are called, you know. I have dinosaurs there. They’re big and eat people, except for, you know, not the people eating ones." Her friends and family took a metaphorical step back at the sudden ditzy-ness. The blonde woman then looked around with a slightly manic expression, said, “Sleepy now,” and promptly fell over in a heap, her eyes rolling back into her head.
“Buffy,” Giles asked her later as the girl began to join the ranks of the living. “How are you feeling?”
“Just woken up with a side of migraine,” she replied, attempting to get up off the couch she awoke upon. Her watcher held her back down.
“Rest. You’re body’s had a terrible shock,” he said. “Rest up. Your body will heal, but we still have a couple of hours before we get there.”
“Dawnie?” Buffy asked.
“I’m fine, Buffy,” Dawn said with a dark tone. “You heal and never think of doing that ever again.”
“Do what?” Buffy asked with faux confusion.
“I do believe she’s referring to your bountiful amount of self sacrifice you showed earlier,” Ethan said, eating yet another apple. Buffy looked at Giles.
“Why is that here?”
“I’m not entirely clear on that myself,” Giles said, sending a dark glare at his former friend. Ethan just smiled and waved. “He just appropriated a seat for himself, although his use of the Golem was useful in the battle with the Knights.”
“I stole a couple of their magic horsies,” Buffy said with a giggle.
“Yes, you did. And we are taking you to a doctor just as soon as we land,” Giles informed her. “Because you are clearly more addled than we assumed at first. Hopefully, you will heal up and not remain in your current state.”
“I think that’s a good idea, but all the same, shouldn’t we be talking about what to do when Glory gets to the island?” Lindsey asked. Heads whipped around to face him. He shrugged defensively. “Now that she knows Dawn is the Key (thanks for filling me in on that, by the way. That was sarcasm -- I had to fill in the blanks myself.) Now that she knows Dawn’s the Key, she’s not going to give up. She might be a ditz, but it was pretty blatant that we’re all connected to InGen. Think about it. Buffy flew off in an InGen helicopter, she was using an InGen armored car door as a shield and Dawn had one with her when Glory caught up to her.”
“Lindsey MacDonald,” Willow said. “Who are you, really?”
“Sorry if I hid the truth, but this isn’t my first exposure to the supernatural,” Lindsey said. “I know about magic, even cast a ritual or two myself. Never had much talent for it. Demons, vampires and the like drive me nuts. I don’t know who Glory is, but between what the Knights said and what was hinted here, her getting her hands on Dawn is not in anyone’s best interest.”
“She wants to use me to open a portal to get home,” Dawn said. “But it will open up a portal to every world. Or so these guys say.”
“Yes, that would be bad,” Ethan said flatly. “There’s a much bigger problem. Does anyone know the legend of the islands we’re approaching?” Willow and Tara shook their heads. Others just looked back blankly. Ethan looked over at Buffy, who seemed to be resting again. “They're called 'The Five Deaths,' or Los Cinco Muertes, in the local tongue. Legend has it that there was an Indian warrior who had to suffer a new death on each one. There are temples to each form of execution on each one. Everything I read says that it’s a place of power.”
“So basically, you think it’s a bad idea to go there,” Ellie said.
“Well, it’s a sight better than paling around with ole Glorificus, I’ll tell you that,” Ethan replied.
“And now, for the first time in many years, I find myself agreeing with you,” Giles said. “What do you know about the temples?”
“Not much,” Ethan said, relaxing. “Sites of Human Sacrifice. I don’t know how many are even left. I have little faith that Buffy’s Grandpa would have left them intact.”
“What happens if the temples are destroyed?” Ellie asked in a tone of voice that sounded as if she did not want to know the answer.
“I suppose it depends on the true intent of the builders,” Giles said. “Temples had different reasons for construction. Some were to honor beings, others were built to ward off evil forces. Others still were built to call them to the users.”
“We had a small temple in Sunnydale where a frat was worshipping a demon that granted them wealth, power and good health,” Buffy said, her eyes closed as she leaned back on the seat. “All they had to do was sacrifice virgins several times a year. The temple was in the basement.”
“Yes, one example of calling forth powers,” Giles said.
“What happened?” Ellie asked.
“I killed it with a chain,” Buffy replied. “They lost everything.”
Lindsey suppressed a light snort at the comment. The others looked up at him questioningly. “Sorry, it just seems ironic that people so obsessed with power tie themselves to one creature that can die so easily. Putting all their eggs in one basket, so to speak.”
“Well, yes,” Ethan said. “This, I do believe, is a case of someone not putting all their eggs in one basket: five temples, five islands, and five forms of execution. I highly suspect that sacrifices have to take place at all of them for it to work.”
“Are you suggesting that we do human sacrifice?” Ellie asked, scandalized by the prospect.
“No,” Ethan said, perhaps a little too quickly. “I’m saying that these islands could either be the best or the worst place for the Key.”
“How so?” Willow asked.
“It’s either a place where a certain sacrifice can bring out her power, or a place where she would have to be sacrificed five ways,” Ethan replied. “There’s only one Dawn. She can only die once.”
“Let’s not talk about me getting dead,” Dawn said quietly.
“Yes, let’s,” Buffy said, her eyes still shut.
“So what do we do when we get there?” Tara asked.
“Ethan, Tara and Giles,” Buffy said. “You’ll research the temples. From what I read of my grandfather’s notes, he hoards everything. He had his secretary transcribing his laundry list into his computer. There will be something in his offices, and you can be sure he’s got a private office on the island. Take Xander with you. I bet he’s been itching to get out and about.”
“What about you?” Giles asked.
“I’ve got dinosaurs to see and projects to handle. Dawnie’s coming with me under the guise of helping her get involved,” Buffy said. “Instead, we’ll be looking for safe places to hide. And not so safe places.”
“What powers the island?”
“Geothermal generator,” Willow said. “Pretty genius, actually. It’s a volcanic island, with constant release, meaning that it isn’t too likely to blow. On the other hand, it’s constantly putting out heat. Parts might need replacement, but they’re pretty independent when it comes to power. All vehicles are electric as well, plugged in at the end of their use.”
“Do we know where the temples are?” Ellie asked. She still wasn’t too sure about all this, but she’d seen enough to know that it was possible, even if she wasn’t feeling that comfortable with the sudden paradigm shift.
“There are supposed to be one on each island,” Ethan said. “Other than that, I don’t know.”
“We’ll find them,” Buffy said confidently. “Willow, Lindsey and Ellie are with me. We need to do double duty as we’re gonna be running things and keeping an eye out. Dawnie, you stay with at least two of us at all times. Spike stays with you at night, no matter what, and that’s on top of the two others.”
“SPIKE?” Lindsey hissed. “You’ve got that
thing working with you?”
“I assume you’ve heard of the Scourge of Europe,” Giles said flatly. “Spike, or William the Bloody, was chipped by the US government in an attempt to control his actions. Presently, the chip keeps him from attacking humans, but nothing else.”
“But-“ Lindsey said, cutting himself off at a look from Buffy.
“He’s the only one of us who can fight at my level,” she said. “He could have ratted Dawn out before. Glory tortured him for information. He never gave it up.”
Lindsey looked at her like she was crazy.
“Truth,” Dawn said, plopping herself down next to the lawyer. “I’m still of the living.”
“I’m guessing by your reactions that this Spike isn’t human,” Ellie said.
“He’s a vampire,” Tara informed cheerfully. “But a nice one.”
“Tara, I love you,” Willow said. “But Spike would stake himself if he heard you say that.”
“I know,” she said with a grin and a quick peck to her girlfriend’s cheek.
“So,” Xander said, prompting a rolling of the eyes of everyone in hearing range. “When are they getting here?”
“Mr. Harris, we told you,” the radio operator said once again. “They will get here when they get here.”
“But that doesn’t help me at all,” Xander said. “I need to keep busy. I need busy-ness.”
“I’m pretty sure that isn’t a word,” the operator replied.
“Sure it is,” Xander countered. “I just said it, hence, word.”
“That doesn’t count,” she replied. “Am I going to have to call your girlfriend again?”
“Hey, just because Anya has an overly precise manner of speech, doesn’t mean she reads the dictionary,” Xander replied. The woman rolled her eyes. “It makes sense, not being her first language and all.”
“What was her first?”
“Norse, I think,” Xander said, pondering the ponderous ponderings.
“Isn’t that a dead language?”
“Well, she’s older than she looks,” Xander admitted. He paused a moment and visibly tried not to look over his shoulder. To make up for it, he spoke up in an overly loud voice. “But she still looks great.”
The radio operator looked at him like he was nuts.
“Sorry, normally when I say something like that, people walk in and take it out of context,” Xander explained. “Far too often, it’s a woman who shouldn’t hear such things out of context. Also far too often, said woman can kick my butt.”
“Sounds like a reasonable survival response,” she admitted.
“Oh, you have no idea.”
“WHERE IS MY KEY?” Glorificus bellowed at the top of her lungs. The force was so loud the windows shook on the buildings across the street. She pulled an InGen employee up with one fist. “I really want to know. It’s very important to me.”
“I told you before lady, I’m just a driver,” he said frantically, trying to wiggle out of her grasp. “I don’t know anything except the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar.”
“Where is that?”
“It’s an island in the pacific,” he replied. “I’ve never been there.”
She growled in frustration, literally ripping the man’s body apart. She turned to the next unfortunate employee. “Look what you made me do,” she said, holding up the parts. The man squealed and blubbered. “I’m just trying to get home. It’s not much. The Slayer stole my Key. I just want it back. It’s not that much to ask. Really, it isn’t. You can tell me where the island is, right?”
The man continued to bawl and roll back and forth in fear. Glory grabbed his chin and forced him to look at her. “Where is the ISLAND?”
He started nodding amongst his sobs.
“You’re gonna tell me where it is?”
He nodded in agreement, still bawling. He watched as Glory’s scabby minions pulled over a map of the country. Feebly, the InGen office worker pointed out the Isla Nublar location. Glory grinned and patted him on the cheek. “You’re such a good little boy,” she commented in her most patronizing voice. “I suppose you’ll make a good snack then.”
His sobbing increased as Glory sunk her fingers into his brain. After that it didn’t really matter. Nothing did.
“We’ll be landing soon,” announced the pilot. Everyone settled back into their seats and buckled in. The Sunnydale girls looked out the windows as they passed over the island. Watching as dinosaurs cared for their children and hunted game stocked by the company.
“Why are they eating sheep?” Tara asked.
“What’s the matter with them eating sheep?” Buffy replied, a little confused by the question.
“Sheep carry some diseases,” Tara replied. “I worked a semester at the zoo. They don’t feed sheep or pork to most animals because they get sick.”
“Huh,” Buffy said.
“So the fangy dinos could get sick?” Dawn asked, watching a T-Rex family teach a young one how to hunt.
“I-I guess,” Tara said, a little unsure at being put in the spot light. “I’m not really an expert.”
No one said anything until the helicopter settled down and the rotors stopped spinning. A uniformed employee ran up and opened the door.
“Ms. Summers?” he asked. His English was slightly accented, but his actual nationality was slightly ambiguous.
“That’s me,” Buffy said, becoming more used to hearing that as a form or respect. Not long ago, the only one who called her that was Snyder and a few others, almost always as a sign that detention was coming.
“There’s been a problem at the mainland,” he said. “The offices were attacked.”
“Let me guess,” Willow said bitterly. “Blonde woman, the same one that attacked the police.”
“It is as you say,” he replied. “They are waiting for you in the Command Center. If you would please enter the jeeps, we will drive you there momentarily.”
Buffy nodded. She waited until everyone else had settled in, but noticed Ellie Sattler holding back. “What’s the matter?”
“Sorry,” the scientist said slightly ashamed. “The last time I was in one of these we were attacked by a T-Rex.”
“I bet there’s less of a chance, this time,” Buffy assured her.
“I suppose you’re right.”
Willow and Buffy were caught in a massive Xander-Hug™ the instant they walked into the building. A moment later, Dawn, Tara and even Giles got a similar treatment.
“I’ve missed you guys,” Xander said. “So, bad stuff to talk about.”
“Yeah,” Buffy said. “Glory’s on her way.”
The employee led them to a conference room where a split screen had them talking with the San Jose and Palo Alto offices. London was voice only and represented by a black screen with white letters stating so.
“Ah, Miss Summers and company,” the senior partners of Cowan, Swain, and Ross nodded. “Thank you for joining us.”
“We got here as soon as we landed,” she said. “What exactly happened?”
“San Jose is in an uproar,” Ross said. “There are some that are ready to blame you for what has happened.”
“She can’t be held responsible for what a psychopath does,” Lindsey said.
“In a major incident, you’ve got thirty five people dead in San Jose,” Swain read off a report, “thirteen missing employees, millions in property damage to both the San Jose offices and the heliport. That’s not even including the-“
“That doesn’t matter,” Buffy said, cutting him off. His face reddened in anger. “What matters more is that the one responsible or at least some of them responsible, are coming here.”
“Why would they be doing that?”
“Because they’re religious fanatics who think Dawn Summers is a reincarnation of either the devil or the holy spirit,” Lindsey said, easily spinning the lies. “If the offices were attacked and InGen employees kidnapped, it means they are attempting to gain access to Site B.”
“If this is personal, then we’ve made a serious error by working on Summer’s behalf,” Cowan said.
“If this is about money, you can go stuff it,” Buffy said. “This is about lives. If you don’t care about that, I can find other lawyers.”
“You dare to threaten us?” Ross asked, truly flabbergasted.
“I told you not to underestimate her,” Lindsey said.
“Anya, you there?” Xander asked.
“Yes, my little orgasm machine,” Anya replied. Without Scooby influence, the public talk/bedroom talk barrier had become a little blurred in her mind.
“How’s things up there?”
“I’ve found several ways to cut spending without cutting jobs,” Anya said. “But we need Dawn safe even if that hell goddess wants to sacrifice her.” The Scooby gang made various sounds of nervous displeasure at the comment. “I do not understand. If the crazy person wants to attack her, she needs to get there, but the company will make much more money if both Dawn and Buffy are alive. Also, we need mammoths.”
“Mammoths?” Ross asked, completely confused.
“Yes, they are essential to my financial security plan for the next ten years,” Anya stated. “I also anticipate at least one more economic bubble, which will burst in the latter part of this next decade. With proper preparations and if we ignore stupid lawyers who work on emotion, InGen should become very wealthy.”
“Ahn, I’ve missed you so much,” Xander said honestly.
Buffy looked towards the research and science department heads. “So, go make me mammoths.”
“Getting back to the other situation…” Giles said. “How many people know the location of Site B?”
“Everyone involved in travel to and from,” the operations director stated. “Peter Ludlow and his cronies. The senior office staff at San Jose and Palo Alto as well as several others in London.”
“I think we can ignore the California and London groups for now,” Giles said. “We should concentrate on who was taken from San Jose.”
“No one who was cleared for the location of Site B,” the operations director replied. “Most people who even knew about it, only knew it was in the pacific off the coast. It takes three days to get here from the mainland by our normal supply ship, but a faster one could make it here in a day.”
“What kind of security do you have here?” Willow asked as she frowned and checked the scenes displayed on the various monitors.
“Primarily, we’ve got video on most sites around here,” he replied. “This includes nesting sites in the pens, as well as the helipad and the dock. It’s hard to get in except by the dock because of the caldera. Only a series of eroded tunnels lead to the ocean.”
“Why is everyone assuming that these people will know where to go?” Swain asked.
“Because the big bads always find out the info at the worst possible moment,” Xander explained patiently. “And right now, we’re stuck on an island with only two ways off. Pretty much anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
“Wonderful,” Ellie muttered. “He’s like Ian, but without the math.”
The discussion went on for quite a while. Ethan never went in the conference room, choosing instead to take a gander at some topographic maps of the island. He looked up at one of the other workers. “Where is this island’s temple?”
“The temple of the five deaths,” he explained. “There should be one on each of these islands.”
“I don’t know about any temples,” she replied, a little confused. “Of course, I just transferred here a few months back. Let me ask Marv.”
Ended up, Marv did know about the temple.
“Yeah, that thing,” he nodded. “Didn’t even know it was there until we started trying to build the pens. Pretty much completely covered in trees and plants. We built around it, so the Rex pen ended up almost twice as large as we originally intended. Rexes like it though -- goats cleared the plants out early on and now use it for a playground. Rexes like eating the goats. Damn things soaked in blood practically all the time.”
“And yet I am not surprised,” Ethan said with a grin. “You wouldn’t happen to know about the other islands, would you?”
“So that’s the plan,” Willow said cheerfully.
“I must say, it’s a slight bit better than most we’ve had,” Giles admitted.
“It’s just ensuring that Glory knows that Admiral Akbar is always right,” Xander said. Most of the others just looked at him confused. Lindsey grinned.
“It’s a trap,” the lawyer explained.
“Well, yes, it certainly is,” Giles agreed. “I just hope it isn’t for us.”
“What could go-wumph” said Ellie. She glanced about and realized that four people had their hand over her mouth.
“Ellie, my dear, it is never a good idea to tempt fate,” Giles cautioned. She nodded and they took their hands away. “Ethan says he has found the last temple.”
“The last temple? He already saw the other four?” Xander asked. Giles sighed in agreement.
“Well, if we’re quoting Star Wars,” Lindsey said, “I gotta say, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“What was it we just said about tempting fate?”
“So what’s the first step?” Buffy interrupted before an argument could break out.
“We remove all non-essential personnel from the island,” Giles suggested. “That should keep them safe and remove any other possible targets for Glory’s insanity.”
“I vote we call it brain sucking,” Xander suggested. “She does suck, after all.”
“I would like to say that we’re all happy Anya wasn’t here to hear that,” Dawn said, raising her hand. Other hands joined her in agreement. “Now, doesn’t that make the rest of us MORE likely to be targets?”
“When we’re ready, hopefully you’ll all be on other islands,” Willow said. “I have to stay here with Buffy, but you’ll all have to do the conjoining rituals.”
“What is the ritual supposed to do?” Ellie asked. Willow and Tara squirmed.
“Uh, sorry,” Tara said. “We’re not going to tell you.”
“The less people who know, the safer it is,” Buffy elaborated, “for all of us.”
Four weeks later, having taken a detour to Isla Nublar, the Beast Glorificus arrived at the island.