On that fateful night...
Author note: A while ago, as I was trying to move around my block on the original version of this story, I realized I had not put enough thoughts on the universe’s background. Then I decided to modify a little the series I used, replacing Lost Universe and Grendizer with Full Metal Panic. I also reorganized a little the chapters of the ‘pilot episode’ and expanded on some of them. So, please discover this new (and hopefully improved) version of the Traveller’s Chronicles.
NB: This story also considers true the possibility that Sunnydale replaces Santa Barbara
Because of site rules, I had to place the character list in a series page here DisclaimerSummary :
YAHF. As a cosmic entity from another reality meddles with Ethan’s spell, history changes its course for the Sunnydalers. Fandom I do not own anything of :
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki (including elements from GXP and Okuta Manga)
Ghost in the Shell (manga)
Battle Angel Alita (including Last Order)
Once Upon a Time… Space!
Space Adventure Cobra
Leijiverse (as usual with the Harlock universe, any attempts at continuity is futile. I will mainly base myself on Endless Road SSX/My Youth in Arcadia, but elements of other Harlock shows will appear.)
Full Metal Panic (1st anime series + most of Fumoffu for questions of timeline)
Elements of G.I. Joe, RG Veda and Slayers are used, but without a real inclusion of the fandomRating :
“The things I do for my daughter and granddaughters…”
He looked at his reflection in the mirror. The uniform wasn’t too bad, even if putting on something that wasn’t US Navy felt a little uneasy for the rear admiral. At least the costume wasn’t ridiculous, not like those Star Trek pajamas. He knew a little about the person he was supposed to be on that Halloween night: a good officer that had to make a lot of difficult decisions in a war-torn world, betrayed by paper-pushers who thought more about covering their own asses than making the right choice. Her daughter knew him too well. He would not object to be that captain for a night.
Besides, commanding that ship… it would be a welcomed change for him. After spending most of his career playing sub games with the Soviets in North Atlantic, he was now in command of an office in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a crew of bureaucrats. Spending his time planning new tactics had interest, but… something was just missing.
He took the two last accessories, a marine cap and a pipe and went to the living room. His daughter and son-in-law were dressed too, in uniforms of the same fictional army. Even if he was happy to have grandchildren so soon, he had always thought she should have gone to Annapolis. Seeing her in that formal dress only reminded him of her lightning reflexes and how she would have made a wonderful pilot.
Not that she had completely renounced it. Her husband and she loved to fly, owning a pair of gliders. Tonight, they had decided that the family would dress as characters of the same show. They even went as to be characters who were a family in the show, except for him. No, that wasn’t completely true. The man he was supposed to be tonight had married them after all.
The Rear Admiral Timothy Benjamin Carrington answered to his daughter’s salute, thinking it was funny how green hair suited her. Amused, he looked as Marlene elbowed her husband Max Dillon before he could even make the beginning of a funny statement. He even had the right first name to go with the blue hair and glasses.
On the couch, Aphrodisia was trying not to pout. On one side, she loved her grandfather and it was too rare that he managed to come from Washington to visit them. On the other side, Cordelia would certainly tease her a lot about how she abandoned her friends tonight, especially with the bet she had been forced to do with the dweeb Harris. She had one hope, though. Her grandfather was one of the few people able to intimidate the School Queen.
She got up, arranging a lock of her own green hair, dyed just the same color as her mother and looked at the pink hair of her kid sister, who was currently petting a kind of toy furball.
Buffy was finishing dressing up, putting her gloves in place. It was her sister’s fault of course. If she hadn’t distracted her at the shop, she would have managed to get the dress she wanted, for Angel. Instead, she was stuck in that strange outfit, having finally to resort to Xander’s ‘theme’.
She arranged the cyan wig and made sure her golden contact lenses were right in place. It was… not so bad after all. The character was her kind of woman, strong and independent. She went to the room where Willow was finishing to dress.
“It’s so… tight.”
“Nonsense, you’re magnificent.”
The shy redhead turned, trying not to look too flustered in her skintight outfit. Pink and black jumpsuit with skull-and-bones symbol on the throat: check. White gloves and boots: check. Cosmogun pistol in her belt holster: check. Blonde wig: check. She closed her eyes, trying to channel a little of the Kei Yuki’s confidence. Tonight, at last, Xander would notice her.
She finally managed to smile, thinking about how Xander tricked Cordelia to use a certain costume. The question was not the costume in itself, but the fake scar the person wearing it was supposed to place on her left cheek and nose. Xander had publicly challenged her, saying she wouldn’t dare it, out of fear for her lovely face. Stuck between her pride and her vanity, the resident School queen had chosen to preserve the first.
“How many do you think will go with our flow?” asked the redhead turned blonde.
“Dunno. If Partytown hadn’t burn, I think we would have seen a lot of more classical costumes but with only Ethan’s…”
It was just a case of bad luck that the other costume shop was victim of an accident with defective fireworks two weeks before… The pleasant Englishman owning the other shop had even lowered his prices so to lessen the rumors it caused.
“He packed a lot in Japanese cartoons… Not that I mind… and Xander’s ‘Space Pirate’ theme is great. Any idea of what the others took?”
“You already know for Xander and my family and… I don’t think Giles will put on a costume.”
“It will certainly depend on Miss Calendar.”
Buffy had a smile. Her favorite stuffy British librarian was slowly falling in the nets of the beautiful computer science teacher.
“I don’t know for the others…We shall see…You know, if Snyder didn’t draft us to accompany the little monsters, I would gladly have stayed at home, watching old movies and eating ice cream…”
The teenage girl had a good reason to be upset. Halloween was a kind of holiday for the monsters she was hunting the other nights. As the Slayer, mystically empowered warrior burdened with a sacred duty and promised to have a short and eventful life, she had little rest. It was something else she had in common with her costume’s character: a destiny filled with blood and destruction.
“It’s not so bad. An hour and a half and… Bronze.”
Buffy sighed. Willow was right. The ‘community service’ the school’s principal inflicted on them wouldn’t last long and the children would perhaps be… No, not with her twelve-year old sister among them. Still, she managed a little smile. If she wanted to keep in line with her costume, Dawn would have to be cute and polite, not bratty.
“I pity I can’t do like my character and drown all of this in sake.”
“Buffy, Willow, are you ready?” asked a voice from beyond the door.
“Yes, Mom, we’re coming!”
They went down. In the living room, a blue-haired girl was holding a plush toy looking like a cross between a cat and a rabbit.
“You look just as bad as the real one, Buffy,” said the young girl. “And you’re great too, Willow.”
Buffy sighed. She really, really needed a cup of sake, or at least ice-cream.
In the kitchen, Joyce Summers, mother of the two girls, was finishing to place the candies in a plate. In a way, she was happy that she had to cancel her trip to Los Angeles at the last minute. She checked in the mirror that the red wig was in place. Funny… the way the small locks on each side on my head… It looks like a crab’s legs.
From what she had understood of the show her younger daughter was crazed for, she was supposed to be a scientist and the mother to the character her other daughter was disguised in. Dawn had explained to her that the person she was tonight usually looked like a child, but her real form was adult… and quite sexy.
The door rang and she saw a dark shape standing behind. She opened to reveal a lanky young man in a black cape, an eyepatch on his right eye and a fake scar on his left cheek. She quite liked the view. Her daughter’s friend had, at least in that costume, a dark roguish charm.
Behind her, Buffy was rather looking flabbergasted. She was trying to reconcile what she saw with the goofy and quite real Xander Harris, the cape with his normal attire, composed mainly of loudly-colored Hawaiian shirts. The creepy thing was that he made a convincing space pirate captain.To think I didn’t believe him when he said to me he would out-brood Angel…
Drusilla was not a happy vampire. A few months earlier, her Spike and she had come to this small town because the Hellmouth fell energy would help her heal. She needed it, after being tortured by religious extremists in Prague. I avoided true death only by chance…
A small part of her wondered if she did not deserve to be killed. Vampires normally did not have anything even vaguely resembling a conscience… but she was Drusilla the Mad and a new facet of her madness was trying to rise. Daddy’s childes have always been special for this… Spike also has it, even if he doesn’t know…”
She looked at him. He was watching images one of their minions took in town, images of the Slayer. Her Spike was so obsessed with finding a way to kill her... No, he was obsessed with her, plain and simple.
She knew a normal vampire would only have felt rage and the will to ascertain her claim on her childe… but what she felt was quite different, freaking the demon in her. She was sad, as she was, just as her Spike, able to feel an emotion normally forbidden to her kind. She would find a way to make him understand, to make him see that she truly loved him.
The vampire woman felt that the burning sun had finally come down and she opened the curtains, looking at the first, sparkling stars. They were so familiar and often told her stories... She started to listen and she smiled.
“I’m going out for a while, luv.”
She turned her head, watching the blonde vampire, her love.
“Come back soon, Spike. The stars are singing tonight.”
He listened attentively. He knew that his lover often had visions that appeared to her as stories told by imaginary friends, like her dolls.
“Not Miss Edith?” he asked, saying the name of her favorite doll.
“No, love, Miss Edith is afraid, because she heard the stars’ song like me and she realized they are all suns. But she’s wrong, it’s so joyful! Can’t you hear it, Spike? The galaxy is calling me, calling all of us! She tells me not to fear her, that we will dance with her and everything will be changed… Oh it will be so amusing!”
He smiled as she pointed her hand to the starry sky, like if she was trying to grasp the Milky Way. It was good to see her so lively.
“Oh, yes, Spike! I can see her coming for me… Blue blood and swords, standing with Arthur, the Fata Morgana and Merlin, fighting that kitten with razor eyes in Camlann… so much death that day… Leviathans thrashing madly as Venus and Jupiter battle in the sky! When we dance together, I will be finally whole!”
He retreated as she danced, singing softly. It was rare she had a vision this strong. He stopped as he deciphered the words.Looking at the purple panorama of the galaxy highway, a shooting star pierces my heart… Why are you suddenly singing in Japanese, Dru?
As he closed the door, he saw her take the plastic Chinese swords she retrieved from her victim, the night before.
She had looked at that reality for a while now. In the galaxy known for some as the Milky Way, things were moving. A group of warriors of a rather primitive planet had managed the impossible a few months before: to kill one of the most powerful System Lords, Ra himself.
Of course, that power meant little to her, who was older than that universe. She set her eyes on the home planet of the warriors, that little mudball they called Earth. The place looked as it was almost ready to explode, riddled as it was with dimensional rifts, leftovers of an old civilization attempts to save itself, millions of years ago.
Didn’t she make an experiment; create an abnormality here a long time ago? Yes… it was still here, in a small town sit right at the top of a major rift. It had been a disappointment, unable to reach… She smiled. Finally, it had reached sentience! It was thinking to be an ordinary human girl and… it was dressed just like her sister’s current vessel.
She felt power gathering, coming from one of the lesser powers of this reality, a young being called Janus. She quickly analyzed it and… Yes, it was time for another experiment.
The cosmic entity known in another reality as Lady Tokimi snapped her fingers.
In his costume shop, Ethan Rayne was putting the last touches to his spell. Almost all of his costume supply was gone, of course, and he had made sure to sell or rent disguises of both sides of each of the cartoons or comics he considered. Now he only had to watch the beautiful Chaos unfold…
The energy of the god he called upon, the ancient Janus, swept the town as a tidal wave. Ethan didn’t notice the small crack that appeared on the idol that was the focus of his spell, as somewhere else, someone snapped her fingers.
“Obviously not in Okayama anymore… let’s see what we can see…”
She held her hands before her and a ghostly plate of dark glass materialized under her fingertips, its keys lighting as she started to type. Looking at another plate where symbols were dancing, she frowned.
“Dimensional frequency is off… my aura is also pasted on another… possession, but powered with enough to replicate my abilities… I receive the gems’ signal. Fascinating, it shouldn’t be possible to copy them… Ah! Found it! A local source has been changed to mimic their abilities… Guess there is a red gem of power in this reality too…”
She turned her head towards the door, having heard a familiar sound. A small creature, looking like the cross of a cat and a rabbit had just phased in the house. Seeing her distress, she accessed the cabbit’s mind and frowned deeper. She called her daughter through their telepathic link. Ryoko, take Sasami to me now!
Right, Washu. I’m…
”…here”, said a cyan-haired young woman as she materialized in the room, a small, unconscious girl in her arms. She laid her carefully on the couch.
“Any idea of what’s happening, Washu?”
“In short, we’re possessing people from another universe and bestowing them our abilities.”
“That explains the madness in town… but?”
“The spell is gathering too much energy. ‘Your’ gems, Tsunami’s power through Sasami and at least two other local sources I have yet to identify.”
“I have to get back in town… people are dying there and…”
“Go, my daughter. My computer has identified the spell’s signal and I will see how I can fix this mess.”
“You want me to go find the dumbass who cast it?”
“No. The spell is already past critical energy density. Stopping it would only release the gathered power without any control…”
“Okay… with the levels I’m sensing, definitely a bad idea. Ryo-Ohki, you stay here and protect Sasami and Mom.”
“Mia!” said the cabbit, nodding.
The red-haired scientist smiled as she saw her daughter disappear. She had become such a fine woman lately… and was finally starting to use her brain. She got back to her computer and started to type again.
“Time to do some hacking…”
Ethan was observing the town on a TV he bewitched for the occasion, enjoying the show. Suddenly, he turned his head as symbols of scarlet light circled around the bust of Janus, forming an expanding tube. The way they’re expanding upwards, adding new lines of… code?
Easier than I thought… Let’s go.
Washu punched the enter key of her laptop. In another part of town, scarlet light erupted silently from a bust, bathing Sunnydale.
In a maternity in Geneva, a little girl was being born precisely at the time a wave of scarlet light bathed Sunnydale. Had her eyes been opened, it would have been noticed that they had flashed red for a second.
Later, the baby fell asleep, listening a little to the whispers in her head, as all the other babies born on Earth at the same time as her.
The young woman in the trench-coat suddenly stopped to yell. Something wasn’t right.
“What is this? Another of your simulations, Nova?”
A minute earlier, she was on the road, leaving the Granite Inn for good and she had run over a child… a child, rather a killer android stuffed with explosives…
“At least I’m fully ope… Geez, I’m in my berserker body.”
Around her, the place was so mad it had to be a virtual reality right out of the deranged mind of the Tiphares scientist called Desty Nova. At least, this time, she was thinking clearly. She really had to finish with this mission, so that she could go see Figure and tuck herself in bed with him.
She looked for some sanity and saw a red-headed woman with a scar on her left cheek that was protecting some children from a monster. She started to move, finding again the old reflexes that came with this particular cyborg body, but quickly noticed that the monster was only a mindless beast, while the redhead was a superb epeeist.
“Need a hand?”
“Gladly,” answered the redhead in a cold voice.
“By the way, I’m Alita,” said the cyborg, sweeping the monster’s legs.
“Emeraldas,” answered the redhead, stabbing it in the heart.
The cyborg looked at the children. Two little girls had a strange pale blue skin, green hair and full black eyes. Other… well five out of seven didn’t look human.
“Eh… Emeraldas, these children?”
“You did not see any non-humans before?”
Alita quickly shook her head.
“Strange for a machine person such as you, but let’s get in one of these houses first. I want to keep the children safe.”
The children, be it the lithe blue girls or others that looked… cat-like wasn’t the exact term, neither…
“I’m a Wau, Madam. It’s true there are only humans on your planet?” asked a little girl with white fur.
“I’m not really sure. I’m Alita. What’s your name?”
“Erma, Madam. Where do you come from?”
“Mars, I think.”
The cyborg had a stray thought. Perhaps that Nova was trying to trap her in the simulation with duty rather than the illusion of a peaceful life this time. Perhaps killing the children and the red-haired woman with the skull and bones hairpin would free her… No… If that’s it, then Nova has won. I fought too hard to regain pieces of my humanity to destroy it on an ‘if’.
She saw one of the Wau children looking through the window with round eyes, at explosions in the street. Someone was playing with plasma, there.
Immediately, the Wau children cuddled together. Alita looked, sensing a terrifying ki emanating from a flying woman. She was battling a giant cyborg… Without even thinking, she jumped in the street to join the fight when she saw the weapon coming out of his fingers, a powered, razor-edged lash known to her as a grind-cutter.
“Makaku, remember me?”
Sosuke Sagara made a quick summary of his tactical situation. The group of children was safe in the house’s basement with the adults taking care of them. He would think later about the fact that some of them were probably aliens. For now, they were just civilians in a hostile zone. His immediate concern was Chidori-san, who seemed to have another of those spells where she delved too deep in the Whispers. He wished he knew what to do.
He only had limited weaponry, but he was wearing his Bonta-kun armor when he suddenly appeared in that American town and that was good. He saw an indicator on his tactical display. The firewall of his armor had been probed. He cut the wireless connection, only letting the regular radio on.
“Urzu-2 to Urzu-7, do you copy?” asked a well-known feminine voice on his radio.
He verified that his armor computer was correctly ciphering the communication.
“I am in a house with Angel,” he said, using the Mithril codename for Chidori Kaname. “I also have a group of nine civilians, some may be… aliens. Angel is… wounded.”
“Understood, Urzu-7. I am sending you a vehicle and escort. We have organized defense in a warehouse three hundred meters from your position. Can Angel be moved?”
“She is muttering nonsense in several languages, mainly in something I think is Latin.”
“Understood. Over and out.”
In the warehouse, Sergeant-Major Melissa Mao looked at her superior.
“What has hit the Captain also touched Kaname, Sir. But she does not have her training and…”
“And the Captain is in no shape to help her now,” answered a severe-looking, grey-haired man.
“I may have a solution, Commander Kalinin” said a weary-looking young woman in a Japanese Self-Defense Force Lieutenant uniform.
“Yes, Lieutenant Tamaki?”
“I don’t have enough spiritual strength left to do more than ward this place, but my astral projections revealed a telepath of tremendous power with Major Kusanagi’s group.”
Andrei Kalinin looked at the young lieutenant. He had seen enough not to be too disturbed by the fact there was a Japanese Bureau of Spiritual Affairs that had been training and employing psychics for centuries, under one name or another. He held his chin as he considered what he knew of the dangers on the way from this warehouse to the high school.
“Batou, Knute” said Kalinin to a big man with mirror eyes and a small tanned, blonde girl in armor. “I want you to take a van as well as Max and Conan to evacuate Sagara and his group. Then Knute and Sagara will get back here with the civilians. Max, Conan and Batou will continue to the school with Angel using ECS. Saito and Weber will cover you as long as possible. Any questions?”
“I don’t like this,” said Washu.
She started to type on her floating keyboard, scanning once more the readings of the transformation spell. Redistributing the energy was not enough. The dimensional rift under the town, the gems’ local equivalent and the pan-dimensional aberration inside Sasami’s host are creating a harmonic resonance in the spell field. I have to decrease the energy level… and quickly.
“Mia, Miaaa?” asked the cabbit.
“No, Ryo-Ohki, I can’t just release the energy, it would vaporize half of the planet, if we’re lucky… Matter, of course! I am really a genius!”
She started to type furiously again, grinning maniacally and hacking further in the energy structure someone else in this town called a spell. She had to take advantage of its nature. Materializing some things that came from the same key universes should not be…
“Yes!” yelled the self-proclaimed greatest scientific genius of the universe. “I did it!”
Above the mess that had become Sunnydale that night, light started to solidify into huge shapes, as, on the floating computer’s screen, gauges started to lower out of the red zone.
“Report, Lieutenant” asked a purple-haired woman to a young man whose grey haircut reminded her of an owl.
“Perimeter secured, Major. The Doc is settling a campaign infirmary in the library, but I have no idea of what we do in twentieth century California or why there are ships floating above us, one of them looking awfully like the old SDF-1. You think we’re in a VR?”
“Possible, but the level of complexity… Could your enemies have designed this?”
“Difficult to say, the Protodev… and here’s another one,” said the man as he eyed two shape shimmer into existence.
“No need, Lieutenant,” said the purple-haired woman. “They’re friends.”
He looked at them, feeling a little better as he recognized robots using a kind of holographic camouflage. At least, they were something he was familiar with. Two blue, spidery silhouettes were driving skillfully between the burning cars.
“Major!” exclaimed one of the car-sized robots, lifting his front arms.
“Good to see you, Max.”
The robot abdomen opened, letting out a blonde colossus with mirror eyes.
“No welcome for me, Major?” said the man.
The Major Motoko Kusanagi had a bemused smile as she waved her hand in the man’s direction.
“Batou, Max and Conan, meet Lieutenant Gamlin Kizaki of the thirty-seventh long distance colonization fleet,” said the Major, pointing the grey-haired man. “He’s helping me and a few others defend this school. Lieutenant, these are my old comrades Batou, Max and Conan. I understood you have a wounded civilian?”
“Eh… Major,” said Conan. “About Chidori-san… It’s strange, it’s like she’s ghosthacked, but she does not have a cyber-brain.”
“Open your hatch,” said the Major as Gamlin radioed the infirmary to be ready to receive a patient.
The robot turned to present his abdomen which opened to reveal a rather cramped cockpit. The Major looked inside, discovering a blue-haired teenager in a schoolgirl uniform. She was muttering, switching irregularly between languages.
“I promised Sergeant Sagara I would keep an eye on her, Major,” said Conan. “He was really unhappy to let her go…”
The Major was touching the teenager’s head, letting her internal sensors inform her on the electrical activity in her brain. She should be dead, her brain fried with such levels…
Then she felt something, a contact and… It was familiar and unknown at the same time. The sensation reminded the cyborg woman of accessing the Net. Except it’s a whole different network, with different rules, a realm of ideas, but… It feels familiar, like if… yes! It’s what gave birth to the Puppeteer, when this network intersected the Net in a cosmic accident!
“Let me help her, Motoko,” said a calm voice near her.
The Major nodded as a serene Indian woman in an orange and white jumpsuit took the girl in her arms.
“I have to set her somewhere calm, so that I can help her build her barriers… Conan, come with me, please. I wouldn’t want you to break your promise.”
The think tank followed, radio chatting excitedly with his brethren about the kind lady who just treated him like a person.
“It’s operational, Captain?”
“Yes, Sir, but…”
“I know, southern California isn’t supposed to exist anymore, not in 2025. And this one… is not supposed to look like this anymore too.”
He was pointing to the huge shape floating above the city. He got into the Star Goose they discovered half-crashed in the cemetery. He trusted his best pilot to be able to fly it for a short mission.
“Sir, I managed to access the central computer. We have to get up there fast.”
“The space fold generator… it’s reacting to a sub-space tear situated under the city. It’s charging.”
Old images came to the mind of Admiral Global, images of the botched inaugural launch of that particular ship, and what happened afterwards. Just as he feared, an intense light emanated from the ship, taking in a zone several kilometers in diameter.