DISCLAIMER: The concept of the Slayer is the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television and the UPN Television Network. This particular version of that universe is mine. The story is written for the pleasure of the author and readers, and has no lucrative purpose whatsoever. Please do not reproduce this story anywhere without the author's consent.
SPOILERS: ‘Chosen’ Sort of.
TIMELINE: Far, far future
The long fight was finally over. The last hellmouth was closed, and the last vampire turned to dust. Darkness had been driven from the earth. The warriors called to that long and arduous war laid down their arms and turned back to simpler things. The gift of the Slayer became a first a badge of honour and then simply an unwelcome echo of a less civilised time. Tales of horror and conflict were consigned to the history books.
Mankind stepped away from the sorrows of their past and looked to the stars.
Eager for new worlds, hungry for adventure, humanity reached out and took, first the outer planets and then those that circled the closest stars. Colonies were founded. New frontiers opened. The wonders of the universe unfolded, bright, and brilliant and beautiful.
But in the space between the stars, an ancient evil lurked. It had been sleeping, quiet in the endless darkness that it had made its own. It was old and it was cold and it was hungry for life. One day, the starships sent to explore the depths woke the beast - and whispers of evil, rumours of fear began to spread.
For a long time the authorities that ruled the star-ways refused to recognise the coming storm.
They were men of science, logical, rational beings, and they dismissed what they heard as mere fairy tales. The spoke of mass hallucinations, of mind control and ambitious rebellion. They sent diplomats. They sent scientists. They sent soldiers.
The darkness continued to spread.
Whole colonies fell silent. Starships vanished. Cruise liners sailed into the deep – and returned, stripped, desecrated, and haunted by wailing, weeping ghosts.
Fear seeped between the stars, and mankind shivered, crying out as night descended.
As the demons returned.
Desperate for answers, and frantic with fear, politicians and scientists finally turned to the men they had ignored and despised for so long. The keepers of the past. The scholars and the historians. The descendants of those long used to guarding ancient knowledge and keeping alive the faint flicker of magic that still remained.
It had been a long time. Much was lost, and much misunderstood. There were false leads and failures, fools that claimed to have answers and knew nothing. But, finally, one of the younger mages, a descendant of the last, true Watcher, found the key he needed – and unlocked the hidden vaults beneath the flooded ruins of old London.
It was there that they found the diaries. The spell books. The weapons and the artifacts forged to hold back the darkness.
It was there that they found the scythe.
The first woman to touch it evoked the power it contained. Energies held long dormant rippled out across the Earth, stirring ancient gifts, reviving talents buried by time. A new generation of Slayers woke and walked the world.
In the depths of space, the darkness shivered.
And the war began anew …
"Angel One to Warlock, Angel One to Warlock, do you read me?"
The Slayer’s voice held a hint of panic; she’d chased that last vamp into the tumble of asteroids, her systems had glitched and now her instincts were busy screaming red alert on every side.
"Angel One to Warlock, Angel One to Warlock!
Damnit, where are you? I need my Watcher! I got vamps swarming on my tail here."
The tiny starcraft jinked sideways as she pulled it into a tight turn, steering it past the looming bulk of a rock strewn iceberg. Normally she loved this kind of hunting; testing her skills and her reflexes against the cosmic currents, dancing among the scattered debris as she pursued her ancient foe. The vamps loved these kind of places too; lots of nooks and crannies to hide in, lots of opportunities to confuse and ambush the unwary.
She wasn’t unwary. But she was worried. This latest nest was proving much bolder than any they encountered before. They’d already lost several experienced Slayers; not even the best can survive becoming isolated and overwhelmed.Where are you?
The comms line crackled, a sudden burst of static that made her wince. The voice of her Watcher followed it, rich, warm, and reassuringly comforting. "I have you, Angel One. All systems are back on-line. Don’t panic out there, young lady. You’re the best there is. You can deal with this."
"Says you." The comeback was affectionate. She never felt complete without her Watcher on the comm, keeping track of her, monitoring her flight and ready to guide her home. He was her lifeline, her anchor – and when they worked together, there was nothing they couldn’t do.
"Didn’t get that, Angel One. Care to repeat?"
The Slayer laughed, twisting her fighter into yet another tight turn, skimming the surface of a passing asteroid. "Negative, Warlock. Just glad to have you back with me. Thought I’d lost you for a minute or two."
There was a slight pause, and then his voice came back, husky with static. "You will never lose me," he promised softly. "You know I’m always with you. No matter what."
She smiled, shifting a little in the flying harness, recalling the warmth of his hands against his skin, the gentleness of his touch. He’d been late in choosing a bond mate – waiting for her, he always said – and many had wondered if the match would take. But she’d known him instantly, the moment they’d met. As if they’d already done so, a long, long time before.
"Yeah. Love ‘ya too," she murmured softly.
A dark shape suddenly darted out from behind a tumbling rock, cutting across her trajectory. She cursed and slammed the fighter round, arcing back to avoid the attack. Another , and then another slewed into view. Within seconds she was surrounded by at least six of them, the sharp nosed menacing craft darting around her with deadly intent.
"Oh stake it! Gotta a crypt full, Warlock! And I don’t think they’re taking prisoners."
She tumbled sideways, avoiding the first raking discharge as it swept in her direction. Her wing clipped the edge of it, sending a tremble right through the craft and a sudden cold chill down her spine. They were firing leech lines.
They wanted to drain her and her systems dry.
"They won’t be," her Watcher was saying, sending her telemetry, his analysis of what her fighter was busy sending him. "The Captain’s confirmed: that missing freighter? It was taken and the crew turned. They’re looking for soul fire, not blood."
"Damn." She threw her ship into a determined dance, weaving in and out of the web her attackers were trying to draw around her. "I was looking forward to kicking butt up close and personal. Okay. Time to eat dust, guys. Slayer’s on patrol."
She thrust out her hands and engaged the combat harness. The ship juddered a little and then everything swung into smooth and fluid motion. The slim wings folded in, and the velocity guns pivoted out; the flight cradle disengaged, leaving her suspended inside the fighting sphere. From now on, when she moved, the fighter would move, like an extension of herself. She became
the ship, accessing every deadly weapon in its arsenal.
This was her life. This was her destiny.
This is what she lived for.
These vamps had clearly never met a Slayer before. They nosed nearer, probably assuming that her sudden shift from forward drive to ready state was a prelude to surrender. She let them drift in, waiting for the lead ship to come into close range. She liked to see the whites of their eyes – or would, if they had
whites to their eyes, rather than them being that weird red-gold colour all over. Somewhere at the edges of her concentration she could hear her Watcher counting them down, the way he always did. She didn't tune him out
, exactly. Rather she tuned him in, making his voice and his presence a part of her own vigilant awareness.
"Three at periphery, two in mid range, one in reach in four clicks. Three. Two. One
The Slayer powered into motion, unleashing her strength and striking out with lightning reflexes. Her port guns fired, cutting through the leading vamp ship as if it were paper. She followed the attack with a second burst, peppering the debris with thousands of hardwood micro darts. You didn’t waste energy weapons on a vamp; they had to be pulverised. Reduced to dust.
Otherwise they tended to come back and eat you, later.
One down. She somersaulted round to tackle the next. It was trying to arc away from her and she lashed out with both hands, feeling the satisfying surge of recoil as the guns pumped fresh ammo into the sky. Her target dissolved instantly into fragments.
"Oh yes! Dust to dust, dead guys. No more soul sucking for you
"Angel One! Focus. Concentrate
"I’m in the rhythm, Warlock. You just Watch my back and see me dance."
"I’ll see you ripped apart by demons if you don’t pay attention. Left side, high field!"
"On it!" She kicked and she twisted, throwing the ship round and letting the approaching vessel dive straight into her firing line. The whole thing peeled apart like an onion put through a ventilator fan. "Got it. Three to me."
"Two at your back. Turn and dive. Turn and dive!
She ducked, responding to his command with confidence. She was fighting on instinct here, feeling the demons as their corpse ships surged around her, throwing her fighter into a furious dance and avoiding the sudden flares of fire that began to discharge around her. A side slew took her out of the worst of the attack, but it also took her into one of the drifting leech lines. She gasped in pain as the mystic threads sliced through the hull and raked fingers of ice across her skin.
Her right arm went briefly numb. The ship jerked as the control systems responded to her shiver of agony. The vamp to her right immediately swung round and let loose a pulsing fireball; it hurtled towards her almost at light speed. There was no way she could avoid it, but she threw herself back all the same, letting out a furious howl of defiance.
It was drowned by the sudden exclamation from the speakers, the bark of incantation as it commanded power.
"Fiat a decrivi!
Light slammed out from around her, a glittering shield of magic that blossomed from the crystal she wore at her throat. The fireball struck – and was instantly dissipated by the spell, leaving only a whisper of heat to echo through the ship’s hull.
," the Slayer reacted, recovering her balance and dancing back to the attack. "Major to the mojo, magic man. Gloria in excelsis!"
"Quite," she heard her Watcher say, his voice hoarse and breathless with effort. "Now – slay the rest of the bloody things, will you?"
She smiled, feeling the lingering sense of his presence, the whisper of his soul where he had reached out to protect hers. "For you? Anything."
Her guns fired again. Vamps dissolved into satisfying space dust. The last of them made a futile attempt to turn tail and run – only to get a full salvo fired into him from behind. The ship exploded into a shimmering halo, through which the Slayer flew, her and the ship tumbling through a full victory roll.
She pulled up short before she hit the nearest asteroid, taking a moment to scan the sky.
"Clean and clear," she reported, regaining her breath and feeling the burn of adrenaline slide away. Her duty stint was nearly over. Time to report back, debrief and reload. "Give me a return window, Warlock."
"Confirmed, Angel One." There was relief in her Watcher’s voice, and it was good to hear. He was never happier than when she was coming home. "Well done. Sending you the vectors now."
She was feeling it by the time the bulk of the Starship loomed into view. Her muscles ached and her arm was tingling where the life leech had struck it. She’d have to review that maneuver; she didn’t want to get caught out like that again.
The majestic ship was a welcome sight. It had been home almost as long she’d been called and she was proud to have been chosen to serve among its crew. She could have been assigned to any ship in the fleet – to the ‘Alexander’, or the ‘Rosenburg’,
the ‘Maclay’, or even the ‘Wyndham-Pryce’ –
but no. She’d
got the carrier flagship, partner to the primary warcraft and pride of the fleet.
She could see the ‘Buffy Summers’ now, cradled against the belly of its guardian ship. She’d had dreams about flying her, about being the Slayer privileged to be at her helm. Which probably meant she that she would, one day.
Slayer’s dreams had a tendency to become true …
A sister fighting craft angled past her, rolling over to flash the underside of its wings in her direction. Another Slayer, heading out on patrol. She rolled back, acknowledging the pilot and wishing her luck in her hunting. It would take while to clean up this particular nest – but she’d done her part for today, and all she wanted to do now was get home, climb into a hot shower and relax.
"Warlock, this is Angel One. I have the home ship in sight. What say you to levering that cute butt of yours out of your pod and meeting me for debrief in the library?"
He laughed. "I’d say you’ve been reading the second Founder’s diaries again. Library
indeed. You’ve not made Prime Slayer you know. Not yet."
She keyed in the docking sequence and handed control over to the home ship. "So you think I will?" she teased, knowing that it was his greatest ambition. To see her promoted from patrol officer to senior duty. Perhaps even, one day, Captain of their ship. It was the move she dreamed of – and would be rather appropriate, in an odd sort of way. She had claims to the old bloodlines, after all.
Although not as directly as he
did of course.
"I know you will.," he said, starting the shut down sequence from his end. His parting words were his usual blessing, thanking the powers that be for her safe return. "For the last of the One, and the first of the Many."
She capped it with the traditional return, just as she always did. "May we always be Watched over, with love."
Automatic systems reached out and enfolded the tiny ship, bringing it and its precious cargo safely aboard. The depths of space might be dark and haunted but, between the shadows and the light, the Slayers would dance, making a stand against the vampires and the demons, protecting humanity, just as they’d always done.
And one weary Slayer gladly made her way back to her faithful Watcher’s arms, knowing that she was safe – once again – in the heart of the SS ‘Rupert Giles’ …