Disclaimer: Not mine, these things, these characters and shows. Why this should be, nobody knows.
“That should do it,” Willow said as she tightened the last screw and smoothed the artificial skin back in place. “I’ve transferred her loyalty to us and Dawn and tried to get rid of some of the creepier sex stuff with Spike. It’s only a patch job, though. I doubt it’ll hold.”
“As long as it can fight and at least pretend to be me, that’s all I care about,” Buffy said. “It’s not meant to last a long time.”
Buffybot opened her eyes and said, “You’re me.”
Buffy ignored the chirpy robot and said, “Make sure it gets a full charge before this evening.”
“Already charging,” Willow said. She pressed a button and the robot went into sleep mode.
“We need to get your bald friend out of here,” Buffy said. “He’s already seen more than I’m comfortable with.”
“Lex saved my life,” Willow said defensively. “He’s promised to pay for some expensive spell components that are going to make things a little easier when we hit the big one.”
“This isn’t the place for him,” Buffy said. “He’s got no powers; he’ll just get hurt.”
“I don’t see Xander or Giles walking around with powers, and they are in the middle of all of this,” Willow said. She frowned as she realized she was sounding sulky.
“Xander has been doing this for five years,” Buffy said, “And Giles has a lot of training and experience that we need.”
“It’s his home. Doesn’t everybody have a right to defend their own home?”
“He’s going to be locked out of his mansion for one more day max. After that, either way it won’t matter.” Buffy shook her head and stared at the robot.
“He’s an expert fencer,” Willow said.
“Clark doesn’t want him there.”
“Since when is Clark the boss?” Willow hated the petulant sound of her own voice.
“Since we came into his home town and put every single person he’s ever known or love at risk,” Buffy said. “If any of them dies, it’s because of what we decided to do…what I decided to do.”
Buffy was silent for a long moment. “We need him, and this doesn’t seem like too much to ask.”
“Fine,” Willow said flatly. She didn’t see what the big deal was, but she’d used up a lot of her capital in going after Tara instead of helping with Glory, and she knew better than to push too hard.
Sitting at the kitchen table, Clem shifted uncomfortably. Three of the humans kept staring at him, as did the other, human looking demon. Clem wasn’t sure what he was, but he stank of power, and it made him uneasy.
“Don’t worry, mate,” Spike said, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “This lot just hasn’t seen a real live demon before, other than yours truly.”
Clem smiled and said, “It’s ok. I don’t spend that much time around humans either, other than the occasional warlock at kitten poker.”
“Kitten poker?” Martha Kent asked faintly.
“Well, you see…”Clem began, and then noticed a sharp shake of the head from Spike. “Uh…it’s not important.”
“Clem here is proof that not all demons are bad,” Spike said. “He spends most of his time doing odd jobs and rooting around in trash bins.”
“I recycle,” Clem said proudly. “You wouldn’t believe the kind of things people throw away, and there are people in the demon community who can’t pass nearly as well as I can. They appreciate the odd couch or hand me down clothes.”
“Are there a lot of demons?” the bald man asked, leaning forward expectantly.
“More in the big cities than places like this, I guess. It’s easier to hide in a crowd,” Clem said. “Most of the decent demons just try to get by.”
“There are demon bars and demon barbers in the big cities, if you know where to go. Butchers who offer a little pigs blood and don’t ask questions. There’s a whole underground economy,” Spike said.
“Spike,” Buffy said, entering the room. “I’m sure they aren’t interested.”
“But we are,” Martha Kent said. “I had no idea any of this even existed.”
The bald man nodded. “It’s fascinating really.”
Willow stepped toward the bald man and spoke quietly. “Could I talk to you?”
Clem watched this closely; in his experience it was always prudent to watch human witches and warlocks closely; they tended to be unpredictable and things could get very bad fast.
The bald man nodded, and they stepped away.
The Buffybot woke; according to her internal chronometer it was only a few minutes after Willow had powered her down, and her systems were still only partially charged. She ran an internal diagnostic, but was unable to find what had caused the break in protocol.
She was in a room she didn’t recognize. Scans of her surroundings indicated the likelihood that this was a boy’s room; the football memorabilia and masculine color schemes were a big clue, although Spike always said American football was for pansies.
Something called to her, and for a moment she hesitated as her systems ran through one thousand, three hundred and twenty three possible scenarios. N0one of them seemed to apply here, and she was surprised when she felt herself unplugging the power cord and smoothing her skin back into place.
Rising to her feet, seemingly not of her own volition, the Buffybot reached the dresser and opened a drawer. The drawer was filled with socks, neatly folded. Underneath these were underwear, and beneath those was the object she was searching for.
The octagonal piece of metal didn’t match any object in her databases, and the symbols upon it made even less sense, but the Buffybot felt a strange warmth in her torso as she took it in her hand.
She turned and walked down the hallway.
“Hi Buffy,” Anya said, barely looking at her as she emerged from the bathroom.
The Buffybot could have told Anya that she was Xander’s girlfriend and an ex-demon, but she didn’t. Anya simply ignored her and moved down the hallway in the other direction.
She made her way down an unfamiliar set of stairs. The others were engrossed in a conversation with a demon. For a moment she considered slaying the demon, but realized that she didn’t have her stake. The other Buffy was standing beside the other demon anyway and probably intended to slay it soon anyway.
She was outside before any of the others noticed, and then she was walking around the building, heading for a darkened basement. She snapped the new lock on the basement doors and opened them.
Stepping onto the stairs into the darkness, she switched to wide spectrum night vision. Unlike the original, even bright light wouldn’t blind her, and it made her more efficient at sex games if she could see what she was doing with Spike.
She shook her head. She continued to have random thoughts that didn’t seem to have anything to do with what she was doing, and she wondered if there was something wrong with her programming.
Without knowing how she knew, the Buffybot stepped forward and placed the octagon in the machine before her. This was strange, as she had no idea what either the piece of metal or the machine was, and she had no programming to tell her what to do.
It was strangely liberating, to do something she wasn’t programmed to do, and she wondered if this was one of those emotions the others seemed to talk about.
The object in front of her began to levitate and glow and she stood impassively, waiting to see what it would do.
The machine intrigued Jor El. It had taken a hundred thousand years of technological development for Kryptonian scientists to create even an Artificial Intelligence as well developed as himself, much less one like Braniac.
This device was far more primitive than either of those devices; it seemed as though it had been cobbled together out of preexisting parts using this culture’s primitive technologies.
Yet his growing wireless link with the machine astonished him as he realized that it had the beginnings of true sentience. It was a seed only, buried deep beneath inefficient and sometimes contradictory layers of primitive programming.
Somehow, the sum was more than the sum of its parts.
“Why am I here?” it asked, cocking its head.
“My son Kal El is stubborn. I need an avatar to use among the humans. I have been asleep for too long.”
Even as he spoke, Jor El was already inside it’s system. It could have taken over a human avatar, but this tended to be hard on the host and was more likely to be noticed before he was prepared.
“I’m Buffy,” the robot said. “I help the other Buffy and Spike and Willow. Spike is very strong.”
“I’m sure he is,” Jor El murmured. He searched through thousands of pages of programming and began to eliminate some of the more inefficient pieces and modify others.”
He found a node he couldn’t identify, and he pushed forward.
Unfortunately for him, Warren had taken shortcuts in his design of the Buffybot. Modern technology really wasn’t up to the design challenge of creating an AI that would think and learn and adapt.
Warren had been forced to cheat, using magic to accomplish what he could not through off the shelf technology.
Sometimes, when magic and technology clashed, it was magic that was the winner.
Jor El was shocked as he felt the primitive robot’s program entering his mind. He struggled to eject the virus, but his code and hers were becoming somehow enmeshed. He wasn’t sure where he began and she ended.
The transfer stopped and all was silent in the basement for a minute, then two. It took this long, which was ten thousand times longer for computers than for human for Jor El to pull himself back together.
Somehow, the machine had taken on an identity in the endless seconds he floated silently. It had become a she, and she had become Buffy.
Buffy was a beautiful name, Jor El realized.
Emotions weren’t part of his design, and so Jor El had no word to even describe what he was now feeling. It took a scan of the Buffybot’s drive before it realized what it was feeling.
“Hello Beautiful,” he said.
“Wow,” she said. “You are really big and strong. I bet you are even bigger and stronger than Spike.”
“I know I am,” he said.
For a moment it was almost as though he heard music when he looked at her, but Jor El decided it must be a sensor echo.
There was no reason at all that every time it looked at the Buffybot it would be hearing human love songs.
Sitting in the darkness, Glory waited. She was ridiculously close to her Enemy, as well as Buffy and the others. Her enemy was the only one who mattered, of course. None of the others stood a chance, and as soon as she dealt with him, the others would fall quickly enough.
She was tempted to simply plow through the doors of the Kent home and start killing, hoping that her Enemy was still incapacitated enough for her to kill a few of his loved ones. She didn’t dare take the chance though, not this close to freedom.
This would have to do.
That her Enemy had an entire room devoted to his worship didn’t surprise her at all; it was only proper for immortals and gods to be idolized and adored. The worm who had lived between the walls had given her some ideas for her own temples, once her worship was restored to its former glory.
She smirked to herself, even as the sound of insects rustling in the background became louder. It was her madness rising to the surface, nothing more, but no matter how long she told herself that she couldn’t make herself believe it.
At the sound of the front door opening, Glory leaned forward and smiled.
One fact she had gleaned from the information in the room of worship was that Clark had one great weakness. Using that, she’d be able to cut his legs out from under him.
Her smile widened as Lana Lang walked around the corner and stopped. She smiled brightly and said “Hello, sunshine.”
The problem with true love among mortals was that it was so easily snuffed out.