A thunderous rumble then shook the entire city of Sunnydale, forcing virtually every Potential in the park to their knees. The Slayers easily maintained their balance, keeping those people closest to them on their feet. For Buffy, it was her sister, and Faith also grabbed hold of Giles and Willow, with that witch firmly keeping her grip onto Kennedy. The Teds didn’t even budge, and Andrew held tightly onto his park bench, while a massive cloud of smoke and dust now billowed upwards from the spot where the Sunnydale High School was located.
That past tense form of grammar only became even more apparent, when the ground under the shattered buildings there began to collapse, as the incandescent walls of the cavern that a few moments ago had contained a presently-vaporized army of Turok-Han vampires slumped inwards, slowly bringing down thousands of tons of rock and soil and dirt, intermixed with a California higher-education facility and various other structures, that finally filled up to the very brim this large underground hollow.
In due course, the even-bigger dust cloud created by that unnatural geological catastrophe blew away, leaving the small group upwind of this in the park to at last see for themselves what was now before them all. A wide, deep crater consisting solely of earthly rubble now covered at least a dozen city blocks, with there being no sign whatsoever of any houses or other buildings that had previously been standing in that location. Including a certain high school.
A few minutes later, a swaying man on his bench was being badgered by incessant questions from the people currently surrounding him. Their present behavior might have been considered a wee bit ungrateful by any neutral observer, except that simply by looking at him, all there could easily see that Andrew was going to conk out any second now, and unless they wanted to wait during the next several days for him to finally wake up from his forty thousand winks, they’d better get their answers now.
“--possibility of radiation, Andrew?” anxiously asked Willow.
Blearily glancing over at where seemingly to him there were two redheads holding two young girls in their arms, Andrew mumbled, “It was designed to be a clean blast, just heat and light. Any outgassing should be contained by the upper topsoil. Besides, when I personally finished off the first Teds and then had them start building each other, I put a few of them with radiation detectors fairly close to the estimated crater edge, and they haven’t found anything--”
Faith butted in on the geek-talk, as that brunette demanded what she really wanted to know instead. “Never mind that! What ‘bout the fuckin’ First Asshole?”
“Uhhhh,” burbled Andrew, peering through his nearly-closed eyelids that felt as if they weighed a ton apiece, and trying to identify the pair of knees that were apparently addressing him. “I constructed a phase inverter that suspended valences in that entity’s level of reality, immobilizing quanta at the dimensional quarkian plane.”
The abrupt silence caused by everyone’s sheer incredulity over that incomprehensible statement was soon broken by Dawn’s admiring comment, “Hey, Andrew that has to be the finest piece of technobabble I’ve ever heard, worthy of a real ST-TNG episode. Geordi would be so proud.”
Buffy felt like her head was about to explode in utter annoyance, with the pulsing of the veins in her temples only increasing at seeing the pleased smirk appear on the cracked lips of the young man on the park bench due to being approvingly compared to one of his television heroes. Just barely keeping her temper, that Slayer gritted, “Can you be a little bit more clearer?”
“Well, it’s so much easier to use mathematics rather than actual language in order to explain it. If you could give me a whiteboard and a couple of colored markers--” Andrew hastily stopped in his enthusiastic lecture, since he actually managed to sense through his total exhaustion the fangs and claws beginning to protrude from the female-shaped blur over there.
After discretely tightening his lower sphincters, Andrew tried again, in the most basic words that would allow his tongue to keep from being ripped out of his mouth. “Um. Ah. Okay, then. It’s gone. It’s stuck, both wherever it is, and what it’s like now. I, uh, invented something that….froze the First Evil in its current form, which you saw, right after the robot Katrina used my machine built inside her to also become exactly intangible and then grabbed it just before I ordered her to jump off the cliff with it.”
Ignoring the others there who hadn’t been in the Hellmouth cavern and were now intently listening as they learned more about what they’d recently been told in various confused explanations, Buffy warily asked the most important thing, “Is it dead?”
“It wasn’t exactly alive in the first place-- Ah, no. I couldn’t think of any way to end its existence, really. The best I could do was to, um, stick it down there, since as long as my robot is in the, lessee, presence of the First Evil, the phase inv-- gadget working inside her will keep it from teleporting anywhere else, and it can’t change into another form.”
Giles then spoke up, an evident note of worry in his voice. “Andrew, do you mean that the First Evil is contained only as long as your, er, device keeps operating? How long will that be?”
Andrew jerked up his head that had wearily fallen forward, making his chin bounce off his chest. Straightening up as much as he could in his tired slump, as the young man then respectfully answered someone he admired very much. “Oh, I built Katrina from the most durable materials I could find, Mr. Giles, and she’s got the biggest cold-fusion power cell that would fit inside her, completely topped up. Best I can figure, with a couple of decades either way-- Four hundred years. After that, it’ll be somebody else’s problem.”
Everyone on their feet in the crowd around Andrew sucked in their breaths at that welcome news, but right before anybody could actually begin to express their absolute delight, an husky voice urgently said, “Hey, wait a sec, alla ya!” Faith stared at where Andrew was beginning to tilt over in his seat, and she rushed through her hurried question. “Look even if that shit can’t get free, turn inta anybody else, or get help from anyone, it’s still got one helluva mouth on it. What if it talks your robot into lettin’ it go?”
Faith, Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Giles, Kennedy, and the others now blinked at the quietly-triumphant smile slowly appearing on Andrew’s drained features, as he then said the last coherent statement to come from him for the rest of the week. “Nope. A minute after I started reciting pi, Katrina also began calculating that irrational number, and the robot’s hardwired to keep doing this instead of anything else until she reaches the end, which won’t ever happen. So, even if I somehow find her again and order her to stop -- or if someone who looks and sounds exactly like me does that--”
The cumulative yell of victorious glee from all there over that final bit of insurance against their intangible enemy reverberated throughout the Sunnydale park. Relieved hugs were traded among everyone, including an ordinarily reserved Englishman, who’d decided that for once he’d bloody well celebrate, along with the quick appearance of a few tears among themselves, as people there remembered those who couldn’t be with them at this proud moment.
A solemn Dawn was one of those, as in their embrace together, she pressed her damp cheek against Buffy’s to then whisper into her sister’s ear, “Buffy, what are we going to do now?”
As Buffy fiercely hugged Dawn back, the Slayer opened her lips to begin her answer, only to be promptly cut off by a truly unique din, as the excruciating sound of something best described as a buzz saw slicing through a working set of bagpipes now vibrated through the flinching air.
The entire group in the Sunnydale park abruptly froze in their various celebrations, as they then stared in astonishment at where a certain young man was now limply stretched out upon his back on the park bench, eyes firmly closed and mouth wide open, his slobbering tongue lolling out the side of his face, all while the slumbering geek snored at his full, window-shattering volume.
Taking a deep breath, to then say something she’d never thought possible, the older Summers sibling told Dawn, “I dunno, sis. Why don’t you ask Andrew over there? He seems to be running things now.” Buffy finished off her last words by idly waving an indicating hand towards the snoozing form of Andrew Wells, hero.
Author’s Note: The following is presented, even if none of you unappreciative bastards figured them out and sent the answers to me in your reviews. Dammit, I’m still sulking about this!
Andrew’s passcodes into the lair:
00110001 00110111 00110000 00110001 = 1701
00110101 00110010 00110101 00110111 00110111 = 52577
“Ást ok líf
Af dauða er dýrð
Faðir, vér nálgask
“Love and life
From death, glory
Father, we come