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Flight for Survival

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Happened Before". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: In the wake of the end of the worlds as they know them, the scoobies attempt to remake their lives, to some extent, on the refugee fleet fleeing the Twelve Colonies of Kobol for the promised land of Earth.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Battlestar Galactica > General(Recent Donor)ElessarNettFR1813,963061,42221 Mar 1021 Mar 10No
Disclaimer: I own neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor Battlestar Galactica.  I sincerely wish that I did, but I do not.  Such is life.  They belong to Joss Whedon and Ronald D. Moore.  Give them the credit.  The crossover is mine, but I have few, if any, rights to it.  Reminder - the events of Caprica do not occur in this universe.

The Cylons were created by Man
They rebelled
They evolved
They look and feel human
Some are programmed to think they are human
There are many copies
They seek the Key
And they have a Plan


Colonial One
Twelve Colonies Refugee Fleet
129.8 hours without sleep

Willow Canaan shuddered, rubbing her eyes as she leaned back in her chair, stretching, and touching her lover's hand.  Tara stirred while Giles, across the way, was on one of the telephones, trying to talk to someone on another ship.

Dawn was asleep, sort of.  Willow looked at her friend's younger sister sadly as Dawn twitched in her sleep, looking as though the slimmest of breezes could wake her up and push her to the floor.  Even asleep, she was still clutching her necklace.  Aurora.  Lord of the Dawn.

It sorta fit.

Xander and Anya were cuddled together, Anya on top, on a single chair.  Xander was pretending to be asleep.  Yeah, to many people, it would be hard to tell, but not Willow.  She'd known him for far too long.  Anya was lying on him, though, her head on his chest, her eyes open, staring, unblinking.

It was more than a little disconcerting.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.  I'm afraid we're at thirty seconds to mark.  We will be jumping momentarily.  Please brace yourselves for faster than light."

Buffy was actually alright.  By a normal person's standards, she was completely active, doing what she could to ease the suffering of those who weren't designed to run on no sleep for weeks.  Now she was standing on the other side of the ship from Willow, staring out a window at the blackness of space.

Giles had now hung up the phone, came over, and was sitting in his chair, staring forward as he cleaned his glasses.  He was taking this the worst of all.  Sure, he wasn't really old (despite the way Buffy teased him), but he wasn't a teenager or a twenty-something anymore, and it showed.  It showed on everyone, everywhere throughout Colonial One.

Willow had been doing what she could to help the President, but after she'd almost collapsed against a bulkhead, Buffy insisted that she sit for a while, at least.  Roslin agreed, and Willow couldn't fight Buffy off at the best of times.

Man, she wasn't even able to get a good babble going.  She needed rest.  No.  She needed sleep.  They all needed sleep.  Soon.  The human body is not designed for sleep deprivation, and even a slayer needed sleep at some point.

"All passengers, I'm afraid the Cylons have arrived.  We are jumping in ten seconds."

Willow closed her eyes shut, hard, as she listened to the captain's countdown

"Five, four, three, two, one.  Jump!"

Willow opened her eyes, a little nauseous, though less so than the last jump.  Or the one before that.  Or the one before that.

"Jump 236 complete," announced the Captain, "Clock is set at T minus thirty three minutes and," he stopped for a second.  "Mark.  Repair crews, begin taking down the FTL drive for recalibration and maintenance before jump 237.  Standing by."

Dawn groaned loudly as she rolled over from the way she had been asleep before.  Only the dead could sleep through an FTL jump.  Anya readjusted herself as she allowed Xander to sit up, somewhat begrudgingly, and they all sat silently, until Tara broke it with a question.

"S-so, did you find out anything?"

Everyone looked at her, with somewhat odd guises, before Tara elaborated.

"I-I mean Giles.  About other w-watchers in the fleet."

"Hmm?" Giles said, removing his glasses, again, from his face.  "Oh.  Right," he said, rubbing his eyes with his hand, sighing quietly, before replacing them.  "Damn," he said, quietly, before speaking more loudly, "Uh, well, it seems that a remarkable number of watchers actually survived and are on the fleet.  I've managed to speak with three of them, and, through them, know of a further four.  Between them, there are five potentials in the fleet, none of them having been activated."

"Potentials?" Tara asked, trying to keep up.  She looked around at the rest of the group for reassurance, not knowing if she was asking for common knowledge.  If she was, though, none of them showed any hint of annoyance.

"Um," Giles said, taking his normal role to explain, "Young women with the potential to be activated as the next Slayer.  As long as there are potentials, it means, um, that the Slayer line can continue.  Unfortunately," he continued, "We don't really know how the activation magic works, only that it does.  However, the existence of potentials would suggest that there is still a second Slayer.  Considering that the Colonies are, err-" Giles said, searching for a word.

"Blown to hell?" Dawn said, looking over at him, before continuing.  "Shot to smithereens?  Frakked up beyond all recognition?"

Willow could tell Buffy was tired by the fact that Dawn's language went unchallenged by her older sister.

"Quite," Giles said, uncomfortably.  "It is, err, highly unlikely there is anything of the human race left in the Colonies, as I understand it.  Which means that the new Slayer, therefore, must be in the fleet, an unrealized potential.  Rather like Buffy."

"Or in another fleet," Willow interrupted, looking at Giles, who then looked back to her before Willow continued, "I, I mean this can't be the only fleet, right?  This can't be all that's left, can it?"

No one was willing to respond one way or the other, and Willow's hopes, what she had of them, at least, sank.

Not too long afterward, Willow had gone, making her way to get back to helping President Roslin keep things moving on the government side of things.  Giles was trying to contact one of the watchers in the fleet while the rest of the scoobies discussed their situation.

"Yes, yes, I'm trying to get through to the Cybele," Giles said, speaking on the telephone as the remaining scoobies spoke.

"Willow's been running herself to pieces," Xander said, concerned.  "She's not going to be able to keep going much longer."

"She was down for two jump cycles," Buffy said.  "I don't think I can keep her down much longer than that.  You know Willow when she can't sleep."

"Yeah, I do," Xander said, trying to give a carefree smile, but only managing a slight upturn, "and it's not like any of us are getting any sleep, anyway. Of course, you'll keep an eye on her."

"Absolutely," Buffy said.

There was silence for a second before Dawn suddenly stood up.

"I have to go to the bathroom."

She said nothing else, and no one said anything to her as she walked away from them.

"Genette Willis!  It was my underst- no, she's on the Cybele!  I've spoken to people who've spoken to her on your ship!  I just need to- no, fine.  Fine!  I'll wait until the next jump."  Giles hung up the phone a little harder than he needed to, though not quite to the breaking point.

"Stupid git," he said, taking his glasses off and rubbing his eyes.  "Oh, no, well, we don't know if we have her aboard.  Well, we don't have time to check.  Well, I'm an incompetent arse who doesn't know how to go out of the cockpit and yell out a bloody name!"

"How are you doing, Tara?" Buffy asked, concerned, as she looked at the witch.

"I, I guess I'm okay," Tara said, quietly.  She quickly clarified, "I, I mean as okay as I really can be."

She did not need to elaborate.  No one needed her to

"And how are you holding up, Anya?" Buffy asked, turning to her.

"I'm tired!  And bored," Anya said, with a slightly less feeling.  "There's nothing happening and nothing we can do to stop it.  Every half an hour and they come back.  Cylons.  Do you know what Cylons can do?  Too much!" she said, gesturing widely, and almost yelling.  "Demons and vampires were just as slaughtered as humans in the Cylon War!"  Her voice dropped to a near whisper.  "We lost six vengeance demons!  Six!" she said, not caring about other people around, though Buffy, Xander and Tara looked back and forth making sure (and, fortunately, discovering) there was no one else around to hear.  "They just keep coming and coming and coming.  And who knows what's happened on the Colonies?  Demons can't survive nukes!  Or at least most of them can't!  Why can't the Cylons just be okay?  I mean, we weren't doing anything to them anymore!  And I, and I, and I, and I - dammit!" she said, tears now streaming down her face as Xander held her.

No one had the words to respond.

***
"Of course, we need to get a full census going," said Wallace Gray, one of Roslin's old political allies from Caprica City, "get basic information on everyone in the fleet."

"Agreed," Roslin said.  "When this is over, we're going to need data like that for food distribution, to get a gauge on what we have going.  Get some idea of everyone's mechanical skills."

"If I can," Willow said, interrupting, when they all looked to her, "Maybe we could get an identification card system going, like Libran or Picon.  Everyone has their basic information, and we keep files on that here.  That way, we have an idea who has abilities that can be used on each ship, like, hey, ship A needs a mechanic, well, there's a mechanic over there on ship X we can recruit."  After a moment of silence, Gray spoke again.

"That's actually an excellent idea," he said, looking from Willow to Roslin, "if we can get it going.  It'll take some doing, though they did have some industrial printing equipment on one of the ships, being shipped to Sagittaron."

"First things first," Roslin said, "We need to collate information on ships.  Willow, I need someone to contact all the ships and get the basic information about each one, more than just basic counting.  Then we can worry about all of this."

"Of course, Madam President," Willow said, yawning, before she opened a folder she held in her hand.  She pressed the eraser on her mechanical pencil several times to get the lead to extend before saying, "What information do we need?"

"Well, we need captain's names, cargo being carried, registry planet, men, women, age-" Roslin said, stopping as Willow was writing as quickly as she could, to catch up.  Roslin now looked up at the clock.  "You know what, do this after the jump.  It's alright."

"Yes, Madam President," Gray said, as Willow nodded as well.  She closed her file and made for one of the chairs, sitting and closing her eyes.  That did seem to help the nausea after each jump a good deal.

"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, our thirty three minutes are almost up once again.  Please prepare for our faster than light jump.  Thank you."

"Cutting it a little close, aren't we?" she could hear Roslin asking someone.

"Pilot says they've had to reboot the FTL computer again," Willow heard Billy, Roslin's aide, reply.

At the same time, Dawn was, for the second time this jump, holed up in the bathroom.  The only place you could get any privacy on Colonial One right now.  She finished washing her hands as thoroughly as she could, something meant to delay her having to leave the solitude, which really was kind of pleasant.  Funny, she usually hated being alone.

But there were too damn many people around.

She sighed, staring at herself in the mirror.  Gods, she needed sleep.  She wanted sleep.  Now.  She was almost to the point that she would give almost anything she had for a few hours of sleep.  Sleep deprivation was not of the fun. 

Though, she did have to look on the bright side.  The FTL jumps were barely affecting her at all, except forcing her awake.  Willow had thrown up a few times at the beginning.  And Buffy had this look on her face every time they jumped, one that Dawn knew - when she had a bad headache.

Jump.  She felt it.  A flash.  She could almost see it, in a way, the slight green flash every time there was an FTL jump.  It was jarring the first few times, but it was definitely a few orders better than puking or migraines.

She looked at herself in the mirror again, sighing again, before rubbing her eyes.  She turned around, undoing the locking mechanism of the bathroom and leaving.  No line to stare at her, thank the gods.  She went back to where the other scoobies were, except Willow.  She took in the situation they were now in.  Giles was on the telephone.  Again.  He just couldn't be separated from his duty to rebuild the Watcher Council, so much as he could.

Tara was staring out the window at the battlestar Galactica out in space.  Dawn hadn't known Tara long enough to really judge what was going on in her mind.  Buffy was sitting, now, next to Tara, cradling her head in her hands in the same way Dawn knew meant she had another migraine.  Damn.

Anya and Xander had walked away, where Anya was pacing back and forth, smoking, while Xander was clearly trying to calm her down, though they were speaking too quietly for Dawn to make out what they were saying.

Dawn settled in another seat, sighing, as she leaned back and tried to go back to sleep.  You know, before all of this, Dawn used to love space travel, the few times they'd gone on when she was younger.  She'd even - no, don't even think about that.  Could only start an argument with Buffy, especially after that mess.

Sleep.  Now.  Sleep.  Just.  Sleep.  Don't think.  Sleep.

***
"Colony?" Willow asked, tired, having been shifted to a new duty in the back of Colonial One.  While Gray had been assigned to get ship vital statistics, she was to get information on survivors on the ship itself.  It wasn't a completely bad job, and it needed doing, but, dammit, Willow was tired.

"Leonis," the man said, looking at his feet, "I, uh, also have family on Gemenon."

"We'll see what we can do," Willow said, with as much sympathy as she could manage, "Do they have your surname?"

"Um, no.  Their name is, uh, Braila.  My mother's nephews."

"Okay, we'll keep an eye out."

"Thank you, ma'am," he said, turning away and walking away from the table.

Willow wrote the date on the bottom of the legal pad sheet, folded it over the top and, without looking up, had one thought running through her head - how damn tired she was.  She shook her ballpoint pen as she spoke to the next person in line.

"Name?"

"Buffy Summer."

Willow jerked up and looked.  Oh, wow.  She was tired if she missed that Buffy was standing there.  Buffy was there, smiling slightly.

"Crap.  Sorry, Buff."

"No problem."

Willow started writing down Buffy's vital information.  Buffy Summer.  Mother's maiden name.  Date of birth.  Gender.  Hair color.  Eye color.  Dedication gods.  Colony.

"Willow?" she was interrupted by Buffy.  Willow looked back up directly.

"What?"  she said, snapping.  "I mean, uh, crap.  Sorry.  What is it?"

"My birthday is on Beletseri sixth, not Audumla," she corrected, slightly annoyed.

"Oh, brokh!" Willow said, rewriting the date of birth and, she could tell, flushing.  "I'm sorry.  Uh, do you have any family on other colonies to look for."  She said it like a statement, not like a question, but like a statement.  She just wanted to roll up in her bed at home and hug the pillow and get a nice long sleep away from all this, um, right, Buffy's talking.

"Dad's a Summer," Buffy said, obviously, "but I think he was living on Libran.  He might have gone back to von Sümernberg.  And Aunt Darlene's last name is, uh, Neall.  Caprica"

"Right," Willow said, nodding.  "Libran.  Von Sümernberg.  Neall on Caprica."

Buffy smiled slightly, "Thanks, Will."

"No problem," Willow said, with only a little more feeling than she had in her body.  Damn slayers with their damn failure to be sleep deprived.

Buffy walked away to a side inlet and looked back at Willow.  She was running herself ragged.  She was going to drive herself insane.  Buffy knew exactly what it was that was getting her best friend - she was feeling guilty.  She felt like, somehow, with her magic, she should have been able to save the world again.  Buffy felt the same way, sort of, though she'd forced those thoughts down.  She wasn't able to help in anyway, right now, anyway, except keeping people from going to blows because they were impatient.

"When's your birthday, again, Dawnie?" she watched Willow ask.

"Qasav the third, 21338," Dawn said, as Buffy watched her sister.  Dawn was crankier than usual.  More tired, too, but otherwise, adjusting rather well to space.  She hadn't seen Dawn get sick or anything during the jumps, which was something of the good.  Buffy was getting headaches like she hadn't gotten since she was a freshman.  That is, before she was the slayer. 

Fortunately, they didn't last very long.  The last one had lasted less than a minute before it started going down, and, what with slayer stamina, she was perfectly capable of ignoring it and keeping going, though this caused a bit more pain.  But lessening headaches were very much of the good - the best thing about being a Slayer was, very much, the end of her sometimes week-long migraines before that.

Dawn had wandered back from the table over to Buffy and, pretty randomly, suddenly hugged Buffy.  Buffy didn't resist, and firmly hugged her taller younger sister back, carefully so not to break any bones.  Dawn stopped, releasing Buffy and walking away. 

Okay... that had been pretty unlike teenager-Dawn.  Buffy didn't think about it, and went back to just watching for Willow as she took the information of the next person.  Someone had to make sure she didn't drop.

***
"What do you mean the Olympic Carrier's missing?!?"

Giles was tearing into the poor operator on the other side of the phone line.  Buffy felt sorry for them.  Whatever happened clearly couldn't be their fault.  The problem was that Giles was likely to blame himself for having let himself go to sleep - as much as he could, anyway - this cycle - since this just happened to be the cycle that the Cylons didn't come back.  Whatever mercy allowed that, well, thank the gods.  It had been over an hour since they'd had to jump, and Buffy was enjoying the break period.

Giles hung up the phone after a short rant, and came over, sitting down next to Buffy and sighing.

"What's up, Giles?" Buffy asked,

"Um, well," Giles said, turning to Buffy, "you remember what I said about the potentials and watchers that were on the fleet?"

"Yeah."

"Well," he said, "there were a number on a ship called the Olympic Carrier, a passenger ship from Tauron to Caprica.  It seems that there was a, a schism of some sort in the Council the day before the attack, and those watchers were coming to Caprica, to, to Sunnydale.  Those watchers and, uh, and their assigned potentials, they were on the Olympic Carrier.

Buffy sighed.  Of course they were.

"Do they know what happened?" Buffy asked.

"Of course not," Giles said, another sigh in his voice, "That would be too easy."

They sat in silence for a few seconds before Buffy had any response which, honestly, wasn't very creative, but pretty well said what she felt.

"Frak."

Giles looked to her, slightly in shock at the language, before shaking it away and, sighed.

"Indeed."

***
Well, they'd found the Olympic Carrier alright - or rather, it had found them.  And the Cylons were following it.  And the Galactica pilots had shot it down.  And down it went.  Boom.  Gone.  Poof.  Who knows how many lives lost.  And three girls - three girls with the potential to be the next Slayer, and their watchers.

"I'm afraid we should have seen it earlier," Giles said, guilt filling his voice as he spoke to the scoobies, almost a day later.  They were all actually relatively awake now, and able to process.  "The Cylons are, mystically, quite advanced, something they proved in the first war when they launched an interdimensional attack against T'fandor when Wolfram and Hart had attempted a mystical attack on their main battlefleet, and Anya's notation of their successful efforts against, er, vengeance demons."

He stopped cleaning his glasses, putting them back on.

"There is a rather simple spell for tracking a potential slayer," he said, sitting down, "While Slayers are almost impossible to track except at the moment of activation, potentials can be rather easily detected, for the most part, through a simple scan that the Council did annually on every world in the Colonies.  If sufficiently magnified, with the powerful signals that would be derived from three potentials on a single ship at once, it would be almost elementary to track the Olympic Carrier."

"So this is because of Cylon magic?" Tara said, shocked.  She'd never heard about this side of the Cylons.

"Unfortunately, yes," Giles said.  "They actively targeted the Watchers for repeated attack during the Siege of Tauron in the war, though they never quite managed to breach the wards while they were still at war with the Tauron militia in and around Aldwyss."

"I'm not really buying it, Giles," Xander said.  "If they're able to track the potentials, why can't they track Buffy?  Or the other potentials in the fleet?"

"W-well," Giles said, "I'm not quite sure.  Quite possibly it has a limited range, or, required the magnification.  Honestly, this is my own guess.  It could be one of those computerized devices on Olympic Carrier that they were tracking."

"But what about Buffy?" Willow asked, "Will the Cylons be able to find her?"

"Almost definitely not," Giles said.  "Even the Council, except at the very moment of activation, cannot track the Slayer."  Tara had gotten up and, sneaking past Xander and Anya, started walking away while Giles lectured.  "It relied almost entirely on the demonic... grapevine, as it were, and on their considerable information from within the Colonial government, to track the Slayer's movements.  Buffy may have noticed Mr. Merrick around Saloniki for some time trying to determine which girl at Hameri High had been activated as the Slayer."

"Can't say I did," Buffy said, putting down a cup of water.  "But it couldn't have been that hard.  I think I broke about ten faucets in the school before I had myself under control."

"Don't forget dad's car door," Dawn said, smirking slightly.

"Quiet you!" Buffy said, careful to smack the chair next to Dawn's ear rather than Dawn herself.  She still didn't trust herself after losing so much sleep.

Dawn flinched away from Buffy's wrath as Giles once again removed his glasses for cleaning.  Buffy was taking another sip of water as Giles continued.

"Err, yes.  As it is, then, we should be safe from hereonout, if the Cylons were indeed tracking the potentials."

"Yeah, I guess," Willow said, a note of sadness in her voice, before her voice turned up a bit.  "Uh, right.  Sorry!  Excuse me, I have to go to the, uh, bathroom."

"Oh, of course," Giles said, pulling his legs in so that Willow could slip by.

The remaining scoobies sat quietly, all of them thinking on the Olympic Carrier and her lost passengers.  Well, almost all of them.

"Did they just sneak away for orgasms?"

A sip of water shot out of Buffy's nose.

The End?

You have reached the end of "Flight for Survival" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 21 Mar 10.

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