Title: What's A California?
Beta By: Starway Man«»0«»CHAPTER TWO«»0«»
With another day over with, a quiet one for a change, I hit the substation building to grab a shower and get my stuff. After getting all the dirt and grime off me, I went up to my locker and stuck my card in the slot.:Alexander Harris, ID confirmed.:
the robotic, female voice said, before the locker door popped open.
As I started to pull my stuff out, I heard the same voice for the other guys go off again and again. It was crazy how different this world was, considering I was living in what amounted to a high-end, Third World country...«»0«»::Approximately three years ago::
When I woke up, I was in the middle of what I later learned was an imulsion pumping field. I was in the exact same spot where Angel's mansion, and for that matter the entire town of Sunnydale would have been, if the stuff hadn't been discovered.
It felt - wrong. There was no trace of the Hellmouth; there was just row after row of pumping machines the size of two-story houses, and piping everywhere. If this was Hell, then it was a lot different to what I’d been expecting, namely fire and brimstone and everything else a teenage guy like me was waiting for - after growing up on a diet of TV, movies, and comic books.
It had taken me almost an hour to reach anything even remotely civilized. All the while, I was expecting some demon or something to jump me. When I found a small, concrete building, I knocked on the door and hoped the people inside could point me the way home.
Since the place didn't look like what I thought Hell would be like, I figured there was a chance I was simply in another part of the country, or even a different country in the world. Kinda naive, I know, especially with the way my luck usually ran, but a guy can dream, right? Anyway, a large, older man answered the door, his eyes bulging with anger.
"How did you get in here?!" he screamed, before pulling out a baton. "Fucking Starchies, you never know to stay the hell out, do ya?!"
He swung the baton at my head, and I easily ducked it, before putting my fist into his fat belly. I didn't know what a 'Starchie' was, but after fighting Angelus himself in his mansion a couple of hours ago, I wasn't gonna let this asshole beat me up over a simple case of mistaken identity.
As the man gasped for air, I put my foot on the back of his left leg, and brought him to his knees. Seconds later, a younger man in his twenties appeared in the doorway, and he looked startled at the sight before him.
The fat man was on his knees, with my knee in his back. I had my left hand around his throat, the other was trying to wrestle the baton free from his grip.
"H-hey man, you don't want to do this," the new guy said nervously, a baton in his hand as well.
I glared at him, he acted like this was my
fault or something. "He called me a 'Starchie' and attacked me, what the hell was I supposed to do?!"
"Get him, you asshole!" the fat man choked out through my grip.
"Uh, Bull, he doesn't look like he's on the starch," the younger man replied in that nervous tone. "I mean, he doesn't look all messed up like they usually do."
He was cut off, as I wrapped my entire arm around his throat.
I may not be Willow-level smart, but I was still able to guess that ‘Starch’ was a name for some street drug around here, and ‘Starchie’ was the same as 'crack-head'. "I'm not a fucking Starchie, James," I told the man, noting the name on his tag.
"How’d you get here then, were you a hostage or something?"
Now I had a chance, maybe I could bluff my way out of this mess and get home. "Yeah, they were hoping to use me as some kind of human shield, but I managed to get away. There's three of them running around here somewhere."
"Okay, look. If you'll just let Bull up, we'll try to find them. You can stay here until we get back," the young guy told me, motioning to the doorway behind him.
I pulled away from Bull slowly, and took a couple of steps back so he could get to his feet. "No hard feelings?" I asked him with a grin.
He just growled at me, and picked his hat up off the ground. "Get inside, asshole, and don't touch nothing."«»0«»
An hour later, after being not-so-nicely escorted off the property, I quickly learned a few things about where the heck I was at. I was still in what should have been the state of California. I even got a nice girl at an imulsion, think gas, station to show me where on the map we were.
This California was a lot different to the one where I had come from, especially since it didn't exist. The United States of America didn’t exist either. The continent consisted of four different countries, kinda like what you’d find over in Europe.
From Maine to Illinois, and down to Florida, was the country of 'Penn York'. From the Canadian border to Oklahoma, and to half of Utah was the country called the 'North State'. From Louisiana to half of Arizona was the 'Republic of Texas'. And the rest was known as 'Oregden', named after the Oregon Treaty of 1846, and the Gasden Purchase of 1853.
With nowhere else to go, I managed to hitch a ride south to what, surprisingly enough, was still called Los Angeles. I didn't have much of a choice, since when I asked about Sunnydale? Nobody had ever heard of it.
The day, month and year were still the same, 05/13/98, so it didn't take much brainpower to realize that wherever I had landed after being spit out of that portal, it sure as hell wasn't home.
It quickly dawned on me that since Sunnydale didn’t exist - had never existed - then anyone born in that town wouldn’t exist either. Sure enough, I found out later that the Harris’ and my mother’s side of the family were nowhere to be found. Neither was Willow and her family, and Jesse and his family; and lemme tell you, after I found that out I was fairly sure that in a way, this was
Hell for me.
I'd still had hopes for Cordelia, Buffy and Giles, though, because they weren’t born in Sunnydale. The G-man was from the land of bangers and mash, the Buffster was an LA valley girl born and bred, and my girlfriend was originally hatched in New York before her parents moved to the Hellmouth when Cordy was two.
But like I said; no Hellmouth, vampires and demons in this world. Which meant no Watchers Council, and no Slayers. Giles had died in combat after enlisting in the equivalent of the Royal Air Force when he was eighteen years old. I remember Buffy once saying he’d wanted to be a grocer or a fighter pilot when he was a little kid. Buffy herself had been killed when she was fifteen; a group of Zoomer's had ripped her, and a number of her friends apart.
And as for my Cordy? I had no idea whether she’d even been born in what was called Penn York here, it was impossible to access their birth records from Oregden. Hell, you may as well try getting classified information from North Korea just by asking politely!
Nope, I was all alone. Seventeen years old, and what’s more, in the eyes of Oregden law I didn’t exist. Had never existed. If the Imperials suddenly decided to pick me up for anything
, food rioting, preaching without a permit, even jaywalking
- I was in deep shit, because they’d lock me up straightaway for being an illegal alien, or even worse, a spy.
You don’t want to know what I had to do for that first year or so, until I had enough money to buy a fake birth certificate and officially register myself on the grid. No power on this Earth - or any other one, for that matter - will ever loosen my lips about that, either.
Just suffice it to say, I wasn’t a virgin anymore by the time I was eighteen years old...«»0«»END