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Summary: The future is the present and the present is the past as we transverse time, space and planes of existence on new epic adventures with the Scooby Gang and the crew of the Enterprise… (NEW: Episode 4 is up with 4 new chapters (13-16))

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Trek > Star Trek - The Next GenerationJohnnySnowballFR1516135,06831210,93631 Oct 1021 Feb 13No

Death & Destiny: What's My Line Again?

Death & Destiny

- What’s My Line Again? -

08





Willow was aware that the U.S.S. Phantom wasn’t in the best shape. Electro had scrambled a fair few systems on its rampage through the small starship and she got the impression Picard wasn’t happy, and Geordi was fairly embarrassed. The Enterprise crew had possession of the Phantom barely a full day and were taking it home with more than a few dents in the fender. She thought Picard must be feeling like he’d borrowed his dad’s car for the day and wrecked it.

Once they’d caught Electro, and Buffy had felled the beast, it had taken La Forge and O’Brien just a couple of hours to get enough systems running to fly home.

They were on their way back to Earth’s Spacedock now, with one or two meetings on the schedule…



Willow walked into sickbay and found the holographic doctor was on staff again. The counsellor was there helping Riker to walk on his healed leg and it looked like the emergency doc was preparing to discharge the commander. In the three beds were Buffy and Hellström, both out cold after their surgery, and the alien officer with the large head. Buffy looked fine after her shoulder repair and Hellström still had wrapping over his face. Apparently he’d been severely injured.

“Soon they’ll both be up and running as normal, with just some tenderness in the effected areas,” said the holo-doc when he saw her hovering.

Willow forced a smile. She felt a little off talking to a fake person, even though he looked so real. But she knew he only had substance in this room. “I heard,” she replied. “I wanted to see if he was okay.” She pointed to the alien she’d helped on the surface.

“Lieutenant Schlatnak? He’s doing fine. He’ll be out of here by the time we reach Earth.”

Schlatnak perked up when he heard his name and looked to Willow. He was lying with his long-fingered hands over his damaged ribs. His alien thinness gave him a frail look.

She went over to his bed. “Hi. It’s me – Willow. I didn’t get to introduce myself properly on the planet back there with all the translator problems, so I thought I’d come say hey.” She made a little wave. “Hey.”

Schlatnak sat up. “Willow, friend,” he said enthusiastically. “Before, you kindness of I. I thank of you. Later, joyful action may think?”

Willow’s brain glazed over. “…Um…” she looked to the EMH.

“I see you’re unfamiliar with Monchezken language structure. He said thank you for being kind to him earlier and he’d like to know if you’ll spend some recreational time with him in the future.”

“Oh… sure. I mean…I’d like to… it’s just…” It wasn’t like she didn’t want to hang out with him or anything, she just wasn’t sure how she could make sense of his speech.

The doctor noticed her misgivings. “Monchezken is a very simplified language often following a noun-object-verb format. ‘Of’ represents an action taking place or that took place. ‘At’ represents an intention, which can help to identify a future tense pattern in most cases. But they have no future or past tense. You have to evaluate the context in order to decipher the grammatical tense intended. The words ‘before’ and ‘later’ were introduced into their language to make interaction with other species’ less confusing.”

She was none the wiser. “I thought the universal translator converted the meaning.”

“It’s not always possible to translate tenses from one language to another,” said Deanna. “Some languages, like his, don’t even use them.”

Willow looked back to Schlatnak with a pained expression. After everything, she was still no closer to communicating with him.

The Monchezken blinked his huge eyes and angled his head at her in sympathy. “Fast learning,” he said hopefully.



* * *



Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Rupert Giles entered the Phantom’s readyroom.

“We’ve reached a point now where decisions need to be made,” said Picard, pressing buttons on the replicator and taking two cups of tea. He handed one to Giles and sat behind the desk. “I can see that the supernatural element out there remains as great a threat as Rhamhal was to our universe. Something must be done, strategically, on our part to tackle this situation effectively.”

Giles took the guest chair and agreed.

“Starfleet PRD – the Paranormal Research Department – need someone like you to help them understand this world of yours. What you can teach them can be passed on to the future crew of this vessel as it hunts the remaining Demons.”

“Why not have me out here with Buffy where I can guide the Phantom crew directly?” asked Giles.

Picard strained. “Rupert, if this ship were to be destroyed, with your entire team onboard, all the combined knowledge you have of the supernatural will be lost. And the means to combat it along with.”

Giles couldn’t argue there. But the idea of teaching this ‘PRD’ everything he knew troubled him. “If today has taught me anything it’s that I can’t really be sure what I know. Memory is such a random database, full of snippets of information easily confused. If I’d had my books before going down to that monastery we would have known what we were dealing with and how to fight it. I don’t know what I can teach without those resources at my disposal.”

Picard considered the man’s words at great length. Indeed, if he’d had his books, those mythical and all-important books he was forever advertising, Worf might still be alive.

“Captain,” Giles said after a time. “I wanted to have a word with you regarding Spike.”

Picard pricked up his ears.

“I think the incident with his escape attempt today goes to prove that teaching him too much about how to survive here alone would be a mistake,” Rupert confessed. “If he’d known how to pilot that shuttlecraft of yours, he would have been gone before Buffy could have stopped him.”

“Yes,” said Picard with a slow emphatic nod. “Rupert, I’ve been considering the same thing. As long as he is dependent on someone else here he can be controlled, contained, observed.”

“Controlling Spike will not be an easy task by any degree.”

“I’d like you to be his custodian.”

Giles gaped. “Me?

“I feel I can depend on you, of all people, to be a judicious watcher.”

The term ‘Watcher’ had suddenly taken on a new and disturbing meaning. But he understood the captain’s logic. Still, now he wished he’d never mentioned Spike.



* * *



Deanna roamed the corridors of the USS Phantom, still reeling from the loss of Worf. He hadn’t just been a fellow officer and friend to her. A few years earlier they had almost started a relationship and now her feet were carrying her toward comfort. Toward another man that was close to her heart. She found Will Riker in the mess hall alone, sitting, staring at a metal cup she suspected had more than synthohol in it.

“Will? What are you doing in here?”

He didn’t look up. “There’s no space to think on this ship.”

His emotions were like a raging fire in her mind. Will was hurting and angry – inwardly angry. And afraid. …Imzadi

She sat across from him and gripped his hand in hers. “Missing the Enterprise?”

“Missing the way things used to be before spooks and monsters invaded our lives.” He rolled the liquid around in his tankard. “You know I didn’t really believe in them until that squid Demon got into my head on Trader’s World.” He shoved the drink to one side and sat back. “It turned me against Worf.” There was regret in his eyes, and in his heart. “One of the last things I ever said to him was that I’d kill him.”

Troi knew what such a threat would mean to a Klingon. “At least he didn’t take it seriously.”

“He punched me in the face.”

“He liked you, or you’d be dead. Worf understood the situation. Believe me, that would never have been his last memory of you.”

Riker gave in to her science of reasoning, leaned on the table and rubbed his bearded face. He huffed. “What are we going to do?” he asked her. “We live in a world of evil now. Real evil.”

“It’s also now a world of heroes,” she encouraged. “Heroes who’ll help us to adapt. With them we can fight the evil. We’ve already achieved great things together and stopped countless Demons.”

Riker wasn’t convinced by her optimism. “We’re going to pay a heavy price for every one of those creatures we bring in.”

She thought of Worf again, and said nothing.

“What’s that?” Will asked, pointing to a small padd in Deanna’s hand.

“Oh,” It took her a moment to recall what she was holding. “Something Willow asked me to pass on to the captain. You should probably review it first.” She offered it to him but he waved it off.

“You should take care of it,” he said, then realised he was being selfish and thoughtless. “Sorry… I know I don’t have a right to act this way. You were closer to Worf than I was. I’ll read it.” He took the padd from her.

She didn’t much like the surge of jealousy she was getting from him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Then there was guilt and the clear sense he was beating himself up inside. “Nothing. Nothing. I’m sorry. I’m just… I’m tired.” He got up, put a gentle hand to her cheek and kissed the top of her head. “Let’s talk later.”

He looked worn as he left her there in the mess hall. She didn’t follow him. Clearly he needed time alone. But not too much, she told herself.

She checked the tankard and smelt the contents. Her nose creased. It was strong – one of Earth’s spirits – whisky or vodka or something. Her Imzadi was going to need her.

She took the cup and emptied it down her throat.

She was going to need her Imzadi too.



* * *



“Do you know why I’ve called you here, Miss Rosenberg?”

Willow examined Picard’s face nervously, hoping she wasn’t in trouble for something. His expression was both warm and stern, so she decided to hope for the best. “Is it because of the recommendations I put forward?”

“Recommendations?”

“The ones I gave to Counsellor Troi,” she squeaked. The captain obviously had no idea what she was talking about and she couldn’t imagine what else might have given him reason to call her into his office.

“I haven’t received those yet,” he said.

She had a nagging feeling he was going to reprimand her for some reason and she nervously began reciting her recommendations; “Well…I was thinking…things really need to change around here if your people want to safely catch all the loose Demons. You need a supernatural database for starters – something anyone can access – with lists of Demons and their weaknesses, and spells and things. And I think there are gems and potions that could shield a starship from most paranormal attacks – like the Electro Demon. But that involves spells and charms and stuff that I don’t have. And I’ve been thinking; maybe there’s a way to replace your phaser guns with specially developed concusive energy weapons. There’s this spell, see, called a ‘deslavo’, I used it on…” she paused when she realised what she had to say next. “…On Worf…when I first arrived here. If I can just figure a way to package it in a gun so anyone can use it. It’d be more effective than the ones you have at least. And I think we need to have individual protection pouches for all away team members in future.” Picard looked interested in her ideas, but it was time for the bad news. “But I can’t do half this stuff without my spell books and supplies.” She stopped and Picard continued to regard her with that expression. She wondered if it was interest after all, or simply politeness. “…But…that’s not why you asked me here.”

“No,” replied the captain. “I’ve spoken to Commander Riker.” He seemed to rise up in his seat and his eyes were glowing. “Miss Rosenberg, today you showed an admirably professional affinity and rapport with Starfleet officers and civilians in the field. In a stressful situation you elicited trust and showed great compassion and understanding even when language was an impossible barrier. Your skills with computer systems – even ones as complicated as ours – is remarkable for someone of your time. I would like you to seriously consider a career with Starfleet. What you do is entirely your decision, but I foresee a great future for you. You have amazing potential. It would be a shame not to see it developed. Starfleet can offer you the chance to reach that potential, and to exceed it.”

Willow was stunned. She failed to hide her surprise and Counsellor Troi’s voice echoed in her head; Be all you can be!



* * *



It was late when Picard entered the mess hall and found only Beverly and Deanna there. The mood was sober.

“Finished all your meetings?” Beverly asked.

The captain collected a light meal from the food replicator and sat with them. “Until the one I have with the head of Starfleet Command. One I’m not looking forward to.” He couldn’t get one repeating thought out of his mind: I should never have let Worf go down there

“I’m sure it won’t be that bad,” said Deanna.

“A Federation Ambassador is dead because of my actions,” he said. “It was against regulations for me to send him into a hostile situation.”

“You didn’t send him,” Troi stated. “He volunteered. You needed a warrior, and Worf was that – above and beyond all else – including being Ambassador to Kronos.”

“He died the way he would have wanted,” Beverly pointed out. “For that, Worf would have thanked you.”

Their words gave him some small comfort. He certainly needed to hear that. It was just… “I doubt Starfleet Command will see it that way. Not to mention the Federation President.”

Beverly scoffed. “To hell with them.”

Picard played with a small square of seasoned chicken on his plate before dropping the fork. He wasn’t hungry after all. “We’ve lost so much now at the hands of these Demon creatures.” He sounded tired, and defeated. “We can’t continue facing them without knowing how to react to them and, if necessary, how to fight them. Something must be done to strengthen our position and improve our knowledge.”

Beverly sensed there was more to what he was saying. “What do you have in mind, Jean-Luc?”

His face soured over. “I’d rather not say. Something Starfleet Command probably won’t approve.”

The doctor’s eyes narrowed. “What are you up to?”

He looked back at her but remained mute on the subject.

“Fine.” Crusher wasn’t going to get his secret out of him so she gave in and stood up. “I should get back. I left the EMH in charge and I dread to think what he’s done with the place while I’ve been gone.”

“That reminds me,” said Picard, “I think we need to do something about the EMH program. He’s… very rude.”

“I think they rushed to finish the Phantom and just threw in an old EMH system,” said Crusher. “I’m putting in a recommendation for two doctors on this ship in future assignments.”

The captain thought about that. Taking the highly dangerous nature of the Phantom’s mission into account, it was a sensible idea. “With all things considered, I’ll back that proposal.”



* * *



Buffy was still numb. It was that same numbness she’d felt when they’d first arrived on this side of reality. Lost, helpless, trapped, and then numb. She didn’t feel worried about her mom and Dawn so much anymore, which told her that she’d accepted the fact that an identical version of herself really did reach Sunnydale. But the reality of having to spend the rest of her life here, never seeing mom, Dawn or Angel again (Oh, and Riley of course, she added mentally) was more than her constitution could handle. It felt to her like a death sentence. Or a terminal diagnosis. It weakened her. She had no idea how to survive.

She slowly began to notice that Giles was talking, like he was drifting towards her through a fog. She rubbed at her sore shoulder. It would be healed by tomorrow.

Tomorrow, she realised, was what Giles was talking to them about. The whole gang was there in the small conference room, the only place on the entire ship large enough for them to have a private meeting. Around the under-lit table were Buffy, Willow, Xander (who was peeling the gel patch from his healed hand and screwing it up into a ball) and Anya. Spike was perched on the table, at the far end, with his boots on a chair and Giles was standing (A little nervously, Buffy noted. Not a good sign.)

“The question we must ask ourselves,” Giles was saying, “is where do we go from here?”

Xander said; “I’d like to be the first to volunteer Spike for dissection.”

“Screw you, Captain Jelly-legs.”

What?

Spike started shaking his legs in mock fear. “‘Ooh, I don’t like space, I don’t like it, take me home, take me home.’”

Xander threw the balled-up gel patch at the vampire’s head.

Giles thought it best to be up-front and get the worst of it over with; “We can’t all stay together.” The reaction was as stunned as he’d expected. He explained; “We are the supposed experts on the supernatural. If we were to remain together and the ship carrying us was to be destroyed, who will be left to fight evil?”

The room seemed to fall into silent contemplation, as no one wanted to face the thought of not staying together.

Willow was the first to speak up. “I think I’m going to stay here. Starfleet’s gonna need help hunting the Demons, and I think I can learn a lot from them while we’re at it.”

Buffy had hoped they’d all be going to Earth for a vacation before going out together as the Space Scoobs. It was closer to the idea of home that she had in her mind.

She protested but Giles cut her down; “I think Willow’s idea is a good one, Buffy. They need someone out here on the frontline when they go looking for the remaining Demons. I…have agreed to go back to Earth and try to help the new Starfleet Paranormal Research Department build a database. They need to be aware of everything I know about Demons and their weaknesses.”

Buffy didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want to split up. They were each a part of a bigger machine that worked most effectively as one. She needed the company of Willow but she needed Giles too. And what would life be like without a Xander? In this universe they were stuck in, Demons were the only things they really knew - their only tie to home. How could they not fight them as a team?

“Buffy,” Giles went on, “I think you should be out here fighting. But it’s your choice. There is no Council here - no line of Slayers to replace you. It’s a chance for you to make a new life if you want one.”

“Doing what?” She shot back. “There a Doublemeat Palace chain here? I’m built to fight.”

“Well, you have some time to think about it. In the meantime, Spike, you’re coming with me to Earth.”

Spike choked. “The hell I am, old man.”

“You want to stay out here?” asked Rupert.

“…Well, no.”

“Unless you wish to be treated as a hostile, which I’m not opposed to, you need to stay with me. Call it a condition of your release.”

The Vampire couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Britman and his faithful ward? I don’t think so.” The idea of becoming a prisoner in this world really gnawed his goat.

“Well you are a dick,” Xander fired with the Batman & Robin reference.

Spike gave him dagger eyes and did the Captain Jelly-legs wobble again.

“Fine,” Giles said, “I’ll just let the men with laser guns know you’re an enemy.”

“Now, hold on. I didn’t say I’d made my mind up yet.”

“Believe me, Spike, I’m as thrilled at the prospect as you are.” They’d lived together briefly before. It wasn’t pretty.

The Vampire fell into a silent sulk.

“One other thing, Buffy,” Giles continued, “If you do decide to stay out here fighting, I’m afraid you can’t be on the same ship as Willow. For the same reason I mentioned before – it’s simply too great a risk to have you both in one place.”

Buffy, losing all ability to respond, stared blankly through the table.

“So,” said Xander with a heavy heart, “this is the breaking of the Scoobyship.”

They all went quiet.



* * *



Soon, the U.S.S. Phantom drifted casually into the Sol System, approached the planet Earth, and rolled into Spacedock.

Deanna Troi sent out an announcement to all personnel: A wake, or memorial tribute, would be held in remembrance of Worf at Spacedock’s main park (a Japanese Garden, which was fitting as Klingons have much in common with the Samurai of feudal Japan). All Worf’s friends and former workmates were invited to attend, and Worf’s parents would apparently be there.

The corpse of Baragnos and his electrically charged accomplice were transferred to Starfleet’s new Paranormal Research Department for study. Agent Hellström, still in recovery from his facial wounds, was transferred to the Spacedock medical bay, and the temporary Phantom crew were debriefed and released until their new assignments could be decided, as the Enterprise repairs were still a little way off completion.



* * *



Buffy had spent the last leg of the return trip watching vigil over Worf’s body. She didn’t know what else to do. It just felt right. When she first met him, well, after confusing him for a Demon and beating on him, she’d thought he was just some jock-type animal with as much depth as a saucer of off milk, and about as sour. But he’d become her second Watcher, her mentor, her guide. This world had torn her away from her home and family, and now it was about to tear her away from her friends. She was alone; knowing that Worf would have had guidance for her. He would have shown her a warrior’s path, probably using some elaborate ancient Klingon tall-tale as a benchmark. But, instead, she had nothing.

When they’d arrived at Earth’s space station, she accompanied Worf as he was neatly packed in a vacuum-sealed futuristic casket and moved to a storage facility on the station. It wasn’t long before a Klingon ship arrived and a handful of warriors came to perform their death ritual. The casket was opened, as were Worf’s eyes, and the Klingons had their howl. Buffy recognised Martok, the Chancellor.

Martok closed Worf’s eyes and stepped away. As Buffy understood it, they were done with Worf. His body was a pointless sack of dead meat to them now.

Captain Picard arrived. He took one final look at his fallen friend and joined Martok.

“I… I wish to express my deepest apologies, Chancellor,” Picard said with some difficulty. “Worf was a Klingon ambassador… and your friend. And he was under my care. I feel I am responsible–”

Martok interrupted; “Captain, may I ask a question?”

“…Yes, of course.”

“Worf died in battle?” Picard nodded. “Then he died with honour. That is all that matters. I will see that your superiors understand this.”

Two humans arrived next, and Picard spoke with them briefly before leaving. They were an old couple, both rather large. The woman was round with a bouffant of dark hair and the man was grey-haired with a long beard. They went to Worf and, as the woman broke down, the man held onto her tightly.

Buffy began to feel out of place. She went to stand beside Martok. “Will there be a funeral?” she asked. “I mean, do you guys do that?”

“There will be a ceremony on the Klingon Homeworld,” he explained. “There we will drink blood wine and remember a great warrior. The body will remain here.” He gave a nod to the mourning couple beside Worf’s casket. “They will have their human rituals and store his remains as if they are still part of him.”

She looked at the human couple again. “Who are they?”

“Worf’s adoptive parents are human,” Martok explained to her. He noticed the sadness in her as she frowned.

“I didn’t know that,” she said.

Martok introduced her to a young Klingon male. “This is Alexander. Worf’s son.”

“His son?” She really hadn’t known him that well.

Alexander gave her a very human shake of the hand. “The Chancellor told me great stories about you, Slayer,” he said. “You were close to my father at the end.”

“Not that close, apparently,” she replied. The boy had his father’s ridges and he looked about eighteen to her.

The human couple noticed Alexander at that moment and he went to his grandparents.

Buffy was left with Martok, who took a long look at her.

He had accepted the Slayer as an honorary Klingon, as Worf had wished, and he could see that, being stuck here in this reality, she was a warrior in need of a new home. “You must return with us to Qo'noS.”

“What? The Klingon planet?”

“You were Worf’s be'Hom. You battled alongside him when he fell. The ceremony requires your presence. You may honour his memory by recounting his final battle.” He savoured the thought of their celebration of Worf’s life. “Songs will be written that day so that all future generations of Klingons know the name Worf and all he has done for his people.”

That put a glow back into the Slayer’s eyes.

Martok didn’t tell her that there was no such requirement for her to attend. Nor that be'Hom was simply the Klingon for ‘small female’.



* * *



A large cityscape occupied the very top of Spacedock’s giant mushroom dome. Among the spiked spacescrapers were smaller domed units, one of which housed the Uchū Kūkan Space Garden – an expansive Japanese landscape of ponds, lawns, rice and tea fields, viewing mounds, rest houses, pine trees, shrubs and Iris plantations. Overhead was a glass dome where the stars could be seen, and hidden lights gave the park a warm glow. The local clock was almost at midnight and the garden was quiet, but for a handful of mourners; Deanna Troi, Will Riker, Captain Picard, Geordi La Forge, Doctor Crusher, Miles O’Brien, and Sergey & Helena Rozhenko.

They gathered on a small island of soft moss, rocks and trees on a crystal clear rock-bottomed koi pond. An arched bridge joined them to the mainland of the park. It reminded many of them of the day Tasha Yar had died.

“Thank you everyone for coming so late,” Deanna said, struggling. “We…are here to remember…Worf–” She cracked and began to sob. “I’m sorry…”

Riker went to her and held her as she cried. It hurt him to see his beloved in pain.

Picard stepped forward. “We are here to remember a great man,” he said. “An honourable man. An uncompromising man of great strength and integrity. A trusted colleague. Worf was a proud warrior, and he had much to be proud of. He was a father, a son, and a friend.” Picard too struggled against the welling tears in his eyes. “If anyone would like to share their thoughts and feelings…and memories of Worf…?”

Data spoke up. “I wish to adapt a quote that I believe is appropriate at this time. It is based on something Ambassador Worf said to me eight years ago.”

“Please do, Data,” said the captain.

“‘I am very happy for Worf. He has crossed over to that which is beyond. For a Klingon that is a joyful time. A friend has died in the line of duty and he has earned a place among the honoured dead. It is not a time to mourn.’” Data considered those words and added; “Though he will be missed, we must not be sad. We must honour his life. We must remember him.”

Picard smiled and gave Data’s shoulder a squeeze.

“I’ll never forget his growl,” Miles reminisced. “No matter how annoyed he tried to be, that grumble always came across more like reluctant laughter.”

“I’ll always remember his sense of humour,” said Geordi. “It was hard to see – he was so stoic – but it was there.”

“He played a good straight-man,” added Riker. “His poker face was legendary.”

Troi dried her eyes. “He could be so damn stubborn,” she said with a teary laugh at the memory.

“Worf had a thick head alright,” said Miles, “and it wasn’t just the ridges.” He paused, his smile fading. “He was a loyal friend. I’ll miss him. The universe won’t be the same without him.”

The others sounded their agreement.

Mrs Rozhenko was almost overcome with emotion. She managed to put a few words together in her Anglo-Russian tone. “I would just like to say… Worf was such a lonely boy as a child. We worried about his happiness often, and we feared that he might never fit in with our society. You can’t imagine what it means to us to see how loved he was.”

Deanna released Riker and went to share a hug with Worf’s mother.

The party stayed a while longer and shared their most memorable encounters with Worf, as the rest of the station cycled down into night mode.



* * *



It was almost 1am, Universal Earth Time, when Picard found himself looking out a viewing platform window at the Enterprise, half repaired, as she slept for the night. The expected date of completion was still 2-3 weeks away and he was eager to get back into his old command chair, though he feared that life, even on the Enterprise, would never be quite the same again.

“Captain.”

He turned to see Temporal Agent Hellström standing there in his black blood-stained uniform, his blond hair unkempt and his face still partly covered by a regeneration patch. “I didn’t expect to see you out so soon.”

“I discharged myself. I needed to speak with you, Captain, right away.”

“It can’t wait until morning?”

“It is morning.”

Picard gave a humph. “A few hours then?”

“No,” he said simply. “I don’t think so.” His face grew intense. “Something needs to be done about these Demons.”

Picard’s head tilted up at the man as he suddenly saw an opportunity he had not expected. “I see. Mr Hellström, I have a proposition I wish to present to your superiors. Perhaps you might lend your support?”

It was Hellström’s turn to be intrigued. “What kind of proposition?”



* * *



The next morning, as the Klingon Bird of Prey was due to depart and Worf’s parents were due to take him back to Russia, a group was preparing to be shuttled to San Francisco. Picard and Crusher were taking Giles to his new home. Willow, Xander and Anya were to stay in a temporary apartment nearby for the time being. Spike was to be held on the station under armed guard until the evening when Giles was settled in and the sun was set. Buffy was nowhere to be seen.

The remaining Scoobs had their bags packed, which didn’t mean much as they hadn’t accumulated much in the way of possessions since their arrival. Just a few items of replicated clothing. They were at the docking port about to board their transport; Willow looking back nervously, as a familiar figure finally appeared around the corridor.

“Buffy! We couldn’t find you. You didn’t pack?” Willow saw she was dressed in the Klingon costume again and her heart began to pound. She had a sinking feeling.

Buffy addressed her friends. “We need to talk…”



* * *



Onboard the Enterprise-F, 2418 AD:



“You guys were forced to split up?” Korotkin seemed to be leaning toward his captain so much that he was practically laid out on the table.

“Not so much forced as… unconditionally advised,” replied Captain Rosenberg. “It wasn’t the last time we were all together, but it was the first time we had to go our separate ways. In a way it was like admitting defeat. We weren’t going home,” she recalled sadly. “Giles went to Earth and tried to help the PRD study their Demonoid specimens. Myself, Xander and Anya were assigned to assist the Phantom. The Enterprise was still in for repairs and Captain Picard and Doctor Crusher helped Giles settle into his new place. As it turned out, Picard had other plans in motion.”

“What about the Slayer?” asked Crius, intrigued to know more about this female warrior of legend.

“Buffy… she went to Kronos with the Klingons to celebrate Worf’s life. She told me that Worf had been the only part of this world that she understood. She needed to be with other warriors to find meaning in her life. That was the beginning of her new destiny. Mine was on the Phantom.”

“How was it?” quizzed the young pilot. “Going from Enterprise to Phantom with a new crew and everything?”

“Strange. At first. But, I think the launch party set the tone for our Phantom days...”



(Disclaimer: Data’s quote is from the Next Generation episode ‘The Next Phase’, and was probably written by Ronald D. Moore.)
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