1,704 (2 of 4)
Feeling the now overly familiar aftereffects of the knockout gas their unseen captors used, Buffy stayed still and kept her eyes closed while listening for any movement. Having learned the hard way that her eyes would be overly sensitive for at least an hour after being dosed by the gas, she used her other senses in an attempt to gather information about her surroundings.
Discovering that this time she wasn't lying down, she reluctantly opened her eyes. Moving her head, she had just enough freedom to see that her arms and legs were clasped at wrist and ankle with large, thick, metal manacles. Holding her in place, at a slight vertical angle, was another large metal band around her waist.
Must be the Evil Overlord gloating at the helpless heroine portion of the kidnapping, Buffy decided, feeling a faint breeze against her bare skin. And apparently it was going to be clothing optional for some of the participants. Buffy sighed, hoping Dawn and Bonnie, who'd refused to say more than her name so far, were still safe, relatively speaking, in their cell.
"She's one of my proudest achievements," a high pitched voice said to her right.
Turning her head, Buffy watched, dismayed, as a section of wall moved back to reveal a short, geekish looking woman in a lab coat standing next to an unconscious Dawn, who was similarly bound, naked, to a large vertical table.
"What are you doing with my sister!" Buffy demanded.
"Sister?" The woman giggled. "She's not your sister."
"Yes she is!"
"No, she's your clone," the woman said. "Made her myself."
Buffy stared at her in horror. "She's not a clone!" Buffy objected.
"She's not one of those cheap, expendable clones," the woman said absently. "Those monks wanted the best, they got the best." She stared intently down at Dawn. "They still owe me, actually," she mumbled to herself.
"They're all dead," Buffy told her.
"Which is why the two of you are here," she said, grinning cheerfully. "It's time to pay."
"Pay?" Buffy stared at the woman, a number of escape related thoughts running through her head. "I'll have to call my bank," she said. "If you could hand me my phone?"
"No, not money, silly. I've decided on a more appropriate payment," she told Buffy.
"The Bebe's had an interesting proposal," she said. "You see, they're looking for a queen. Their last candidate didn't work out. Too temperamental, and of course there was the Kimberly issue," she muttered.
"You haven't met?" She chuckled at some private thought. "Well, they wanted a clone of their last candidate, I did mention I do wonderful clones?"
"Yes," Buffy said, gritting her teeth, wondering when she would get to the point. Dawn liked to hear the 'Big Speech' from the kidnapper of the week and critique them on her blog thing, but Buffy always found them a bit tedious.
"I convinced them they could do better than that," she said giggling. "Why not grow your own queen, I told them. Take an egg from one queen and add it to theirs."
"Grow?" Buffy had a disturbing thought. And not just about the egg.
"Yes, grow," she said, grinning. "Some things," she held up an acorn so Buffy could see it. Opening a large door she placed it inside, "can be tricked into growing very quickly." Throwing a few switches and turning several dials, the woman winked at Buffy before pressing a large red button. After a few seconds worth of flashing lights, Buffy caught a very faint whiff of ozone. Pulling on large gloves, the woman opened the door and carefully lifted out a small tree.
"No way!" Buffy blurted out in surprise.
"Plants are easy," she said. "Changing living things, like animals, isn't so easy. Unless you're me," she added, giggling again. "People? You can speed things up a bit, but the faster you grow a clone the more unstable they are." She shook her head, muttering something under her breath that Buffy couldn't catch even with her slayer enhanced hearing.
"What about my sister?" she asked the obviously mad scientist. The woman had wandered over to her sister again. Her back to Buffy, she was looking down at Dawn. "How long does she have?" Buffy asked.
"How long?" she looked back up at Buffy in surprise, as she'd forgotten she was there. "Long enough."
"How long is that?"
She frowned. "A century or two? It's hard to tell. The monks made a few changes when I finished with her. Magic doesn't mix well with genetic science. The results can be unpredictable."
"Oh." Buffy sighed in relief. She watched the woman puttering around, humming to herself for what felt like hours. So far she didn't seem to be your typical overbearing 'Ending the World' megalomaniac.
The long silence was broken by the sudden appearance of a feminine looking robot, moving at a speed that would make a slayer jealous, carrying Bonnie. Stopping in front of the woman, it tilted its head slightly, as if in question.
"Thank you, deary. You can put her here," she said, pointing at an examination table at waist height. After putting her down, the robot stared at her for a moment before leaving,
moving at an even faster speed.
"What was that?" Buffy asked, more to break the silence than anything.
"The Bebe's are robots?" Buffy asked, surprised. "Why do they want a queen?"
"Does it matter?" was the dismissive answer. "They at least pay their bills."
"What are you doing to her?" Buffy asked, keeping her voice calm with some difficulty as she watched the woman run several strange machines along Bonnie's torso. She didn't really know Bonnie but something about her set off Buffy's protective instincts.
"Measuring progress," the woman said.
"Of the babies," she said.
"I explained it earlier," she said, giving Buffy a puzzled look.
"No you didn't," Buffy protested.
"Didn't I?" she giggled, a sound that was starting to annoy Buffy, whose patience was already extremely thin after being held captive at such an uncomfortable angle for so long. "It's really simple. Much easier than making a clone."
"So, no clone?"
"No, just a little DNA magic," she said. "A little bit from her, a little bit from you, and a little bit from her," she pointed first at Dawn and then Bonnie as she spoke, "Mix them together, speed things up a little, and you get cute cuddly babies."
"I thought you said people couldn't be sped up," Buffy said. "The growing part, I mean."
"I'm positive I didn't say that." she frowned at Buffy.
"Yes, you did," Buffy said.
"No I didn't," she retorted, glaring at Buffy.
"What do you get out of it?" Buffy asked, deciding to take another tack.
"A baby," she said.
"You couldn't adopt?" Buffy asked snidely.
"Oh my, no," she said. "You never know what you'll end up with."
"And those Bebes? What about them?" Buffy asked. "Why are you helping them with a test tube baby?"
"Test tube? They aren't clones," she said.
"Isn't that how you do it?" Buffy asked.
"No, we're growing them the old fashioned way," she waved at Bonnie. "It works out so much better."
"So we're all pregnant?" Buffy asked, her jaw dropping.
"No, just Bon-Bon here. Twins," she added proudly.
"Twins? How does that work?" Buffy asked. "There are three of us. And no guys."
"If you have DNAmy," the woman said, pointing at herself, "you don't need any nasty sperm donors. I took an egg from you, the so called slayer queen," Buffy could hear the air quotes, "and an egg from Bonnie, the former Bebe queen, and made one fertilized egg. Then I took another egg from Bonnie, and one from your perfect clone to make another perfect fertilized egg. And now they're here." She gently patted Bonnie's stomach. "Normally, we could safely double the growth rate but with twins it would kill her so she's going to have to go through the whole thing."
"Both of them? That doesn't seem fair," Buffy said, her mind boggled at the whole idea.
"I tried but it didn't work the other way," the woman told her, shaking her head. "It must be the magic again. I don't think slayers or their clones can become pregnant, no matter how good I am or the quality of the ingredients. Not that you'll miss them."
Buffy forced her features to go blank at DNAmy's unexpected pronouncement. She would think about it later, after she'd rescued them, and after she talked with Willow and figured out what to tell Dawn. She hadn't expected to live long enough to retire and have children anyway, even if there were a lot of mini-me's running around ruining her hunting. But she'd expected to at least be an aunt.
"So, what's the plan for Dawn and me," Buffy asked. "You gonna let us go?" She didn't plan to abandon Bonnie to such a fate but it would be easier to rescue her if one of them could go for help.
"I haven't decided," DNAmy said. "Might still need you if something goes wrong."
"For nine months?" Buffy asked.
"Don't worry," she said, giving Buffy a small grin. "I've borrowed several hibernation chambers from a friend. You'll all sleep through the whole thing. Just need a couple more days to make sure it's working first."
"Someone will notice we're missing," Buffy protested.
"No," DNAmy said, "they won't. We're inside a giant time bubble. Time moves much faster here. You've only been gone for a week, out there, but you've been in here for four months."
"What," Buffy squeaked, her mind not quite able to grasp the whole thing. Time bubbles, and hibernation and twins? Maybe Dawn could explain it, once she woke up.
"Don't worry your pretty head about it," DNAmy said, coming over to the table Buffy was manacled to. "You won't remember a thing when it's all over." Pulling a small spray bottle out of a pocket, she sprayed Buffy in the face with a familiar smelling gas.
As she felt her consciousness slipping away, Buffy struggled to get free to no avail.