Buffy: Online II
My note: I don't own the characters or concepts. This is mostly just for fun and I'm not sure how far I'll end up taking it. Time moves differently in cyberspace. The rate is roughly one to fifty.Buffy: Online II
Two days later, Buffy was still stuck in this weird, techy-computer place. She'd managed to find something she could passably call "food" and she'd done just about everything there was to do here. Mostly, that consisted of reading and stuff.
Buffy was beginning to doubt her friends were coming for her. She knew her best bet was to wait around, but there was only so much waiting she could do, before she gave up hope.***
"What?" Giles said, after Willow and Xander recounted the entire story. He had his glasses in his hand and he was polishing them vigorously. It had taken them thirty minutes to walk back to the school, and another twenty minutes to explain what had happened. Or what they thought had happened anyway.
"There was this flash, a-and then Buffy was gone and the demon died," Willow said.
"We think," Xander added. Giles gave him a look. "I don't know how to take a robot's pulse, do you?"
"A-and you think that Buffy and, and Moloch may be trapped in, in that infernal machine?" Giles stammered.
"I-it makes sense, doesn't it?" Willow asked. "They were fighting at the time a-and..." She trailed off.
"Well, I-I suppose i-it's possible," Giles said. "Bloody technology," he muttered darkly. "I'll need to, um, to research this a bit more."
"We should get Miss Calendar in on this," Xander added.
"Good idea," Willow said. "Maybe she can help with the computer science side of things. A-and I'll get on the web, see what I can find."***
A week. She'd been in here a week now. At least, she thought it was a week. This place... There was no sun here, no stars, and no moon. Everything stayed the same. It was hard to figure out how much time had passed, but it felt like a week.
Anyway, Buffy couldn't wait around any longer. She'd just have to find her own way out of here. She couldn't wait around forever. There just had to be a way out.
Buffy set off into this weird new world. She'd figure things out. If a demon from the dark ages could figure this out, then she sure could. After all, Buffy was a modern California girl.
Moloch managed to get online, right? That meant there was some kind of connection and---
There! There was a bright light. Buffy glanced over her shoulder, hoping to see some sign that her friends were coming for her, but after a week... If they were going to do something, wouldn't they have done it by now? Buffy couldn't wait anymore. It was up to her to get herself out of this.***
"She's not here," Jenny Calendar said, her voice worried. As soon as Rupert had told her about the situation, Jenny had checked through the files on the computer's hard drive. She'd checked three times, looking for some sign that Buffy was somehow trapped in the machine.
Jenny knew she'd recognise it, if she saw it, some irregularity that stood out. She'd seen the signs when Moloch had been in the computer.
"W-what?" Rupert asked. He was polishing his glasses again.
The demon had quickly spread, almost like a virus, consuming data from all over the internet. Moloch didn't know the difference between trivial stuff and important secrets.
"I thought it would be like Moloch," Jenny said. "But the same signs aren't there. She's not in this computer." She showed him the wire in the back of the computer. "This computer's hooked up to the net. She could be anywhere."***
Ten years. Twenty. Buffy stopped trying to keep track around fifty years. She was sixty-six years old, but she still had the face and body of a teenager. Which, y'know, wasn't a totally bad trade-off. She didn't seem to be aging at all, or at least, not at the same rate as the years, which kept piling up.
Buffy started to forget things as the years went by. Memories became hazy and indistinct. It wasn't all that noticeable at first. She forgot what her room looked like. Was it pink? Had she grown out of pink yet, before she was here? What did the rest of her house look like? What did the street she lived on look like?
Before she realised it, Buffy started to forget things. Important stuff. She forgot her friends' faces. Sometimes, she could almost picture them in her head, but then... Eventually, she forgot their names too.
Buffy wandered from network to network, from computer to computer. She looked for a way out, but after fifty years --- a hundred maybe? Two hundred? Longer? She didn't want to think about that! --- Buffy couldn't really even remember the "real" world.
And what was real, anyway? She could see and hear and touch and feel this world. She could interact with it any way she wanted.
Buffy wasn't lonely or anything. The internet was impossibly big and it wasn't empty at all. Programs took on the personalities --- and appearances! --- of their programmers. Buffy didn't understand it, but she could talk, and joke, and laugh with them, just like they were "real" people. Heck, they were more real to her than people she only half-remembered anyway.
And interacting with "real" people wasn't so fun in here. She had some bad experiences, with chat rooms, and online games, and just other people in general. It just felt so impersonal.
And then one day, she wandered into a new system, a new world for her to explore...
There was a sense of order to this system. It was almost like it had been designed for programs, built like a futuristic city. It was sleek, all clean, artificial angles and glowing blue-green lights. There were streets, all shiny and clean, but there were no vehicles, nothing to indicate that they were actually used at all. Like the rest of cyberspace, there was no sun here; the city glowed with a light of its own.
"This is new," Buffy said to herself, with a wistful smile.