Prologue - First Round Draft Choice....
Disclaimer for Entire Work - will not be displayed in subsequent chapters: This is only a rough attempt to do a crossover with the movie
"Event Horizon." If I don't quite get the spirit of the film I apologize in advance. As for ownership rights, Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, the movie Event Horizon belongs to Paramount Pictures and its respective owners and creators. I only claim ownership of this story. That said, let the terror commence!Event Horizon – The Second MissionBy DarthTenebrusThe year is 2061, four years after the final disappearance of the USAC Event Horizon and the ship sent to investigate her, USAC Lewis and Clark. As the missions of both ships had been classified above Top Secret SCI, life in the known Solar System has gone on pretty much like normal.
The walk to the headquarters office of the United States Aerospace Command in Houston was a dreary one. Buffy had no idea why she had suddenly been commissioned as a Captain and sent here, but she bet her immortal California butt that she would not enjoy what she was going to hear. The heat wouldn't have bothered her so much were it not for the oppressive humidity that was endemic to the Texas Gulf Coast The mosquitoes were nothing -- her Slayer abilities allowed her to heal instantly from a mosquito bite, so for the most part she learned to ignore them. Plus she was immune to any diseases they bore so most Houstonians wondered why she wasn't swatting them left and right, and why she didn't carry any repellent. The rain was just a welcome change from the tedium of perfect California weather.
What bothered her was that she had been called off an assignment on Daylight Station in low Earth orbit and summoned to the Watchers Council, only to be informed that USAC needed a Slayer to follow up on an old report from a crewmember of one of the ships they lost four years ago. They had told her that the vampire infestation there could be handled by the remainder of the team she led up there, and that they were more than capable of accomplishing the mission in her absence. And they wouldn't listen to her, despite her vociferous objections to the contrary.
They said it came straight from the top. They said this took top priority. Then they made her a USAC Captain for this operation.
They had refused to say more, and send her to Houston with orders to report to Admiral Bayfield and take charge of the investigation they had started since they lost the Lewis and Clark
. Four years and they had no leads, only some vague references and confusing reports in the Clark's
final burst transmission. References to another dimension.
A Hell dimension.
Buffy wasn't the least bit surprised that the report came from off planet. Nowadays most supernatural activity occurred off planet, especially Mars. Before Buffy was told to clean out the Daylight nest she had been on assignment at the Utopia Planitia resort community, investigating a claim that some Fyarl demons had been terrorizing some of the retirees there, causing quite a few heart attacks and paralyzing the remainder of the populace into inaction.
She was directed by the staff duty officer to the top floor, where the Admiral’s office was located. A brief five minutes and she was standing before the massive ornate double doors, waiting to be announced in typical military fashion. Though the United States Aerospace Command was chartered as an exploratory organization, they still adhered to the old custom of using military command protocol, including the use of rank and title. Another wait commenced. Really, gentlemen,
she thought to herself, I have no time for these mindless rituals…
Suddenly the doors opened, and a woman who looked, at least to Buffy’s eyes, like a junior officer looked at her pointedly.
“The Chief of Staff will see you now,” she said in a clipped London accent.
“Thank you,” Buffy replied.
She stepped through into what could have been mistaken for a London flat, having seen and resided briefly in one for the past five years or so. She almost had an urge to call out for her old Watcher Rupert Giles, and then caught herself as she remembered that he had died some twenty-five years ago in office. Being Head of the Watchers’ Council since Sunnydale sank into the California desert, she reflected, had really taken a toll on his overall health, but someone had to take the reins of the organization and supervise the ongoing conflict with the supernatural world. Slayers needed their Watchers, after all, and Rupert Giles was indisputably the best there had ever been due to his tutelage of Buffy Summers. He practically rewrote the Slayer Manual with his experiences training her and concurrently learning from her. Because of him Slayers now had not merely one Watcher to guide them in the fight, but a handpicked support team that researched with her and also went into combat with her. Because of Giles Slayers now had access to the most advanced weapons that had ever been produced by human hands or otherwise.
She hadn’t felt that she deserved his inheritance, but he had had no other family other than a dim brother back in the days of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, who had squandered his inheritance on cheap theatre, alcohol and one-night stands with whichever female he could get his greasy hands on at the time, most of which ended badly for him. He was not worthy of the Giles fortune, so it went to Buffy, who promptly began using her new-found wealth to fund the expansion of Slayer activity throughout the known Solar System.
“Ahem. Captain Summers?”
Suddenly the Slayer broke out of her reverie and looked to the aide, who had graciously cleared her throat to alert her.
“He’s waiting for you, Captain.”
“Oh, uh yes, thank you Ensign.” She strode into the inner office of the Chief of Staff and saluted.
Admiral Thomas Bayfield, a slightly balding man in his mid-fifties, stood up from his desk and walked over to the petite blonde, then extended his hand in greeting. When Buffy did not drop her salute he grudgingly returned it and then tried again. This time the two hands connected, and for a moment the Admiral winced as he experienced Slayer strength for himself.. He quickly recovered from that intense exchange and dropped his hand. Motioning to a chair next to his ornate desk, he went back to his chair and directed her to sit.
“Thank you, sir,” she proffered.
Bayfield looked her squarely in the eyes. “I’ll have you know this is the first time I’ve heard anything about this Watchers’ Council of yours, let alone all the things that supposedly go bump in the night,” he said. But I had time to review the mission logs from Event Horizon
and the Lewis and Clark
myself, and they paint a very bizarre picture." He picked up a tablet computer and handed it to her, then he continued speaking. “Now as you will see, everything went right; it was a textbook launch, and then they were clear to engage their main engines. Now this included an extremely classified technology that our scientists in the government had been working on for decades, and around 2046 they thought they had finally made a breakthrough with the help of a quantum physicist named Doctor William Weir. You see, Captain, they had finally found a way to make a physical object travel faster than the speed of light.”
“You don’t say…” said Buffy as she slowly tilted her head askance.
“Laugh all you want, Captain, but that was what they had thought at the time. So a year later we commissioned our first faster-than-light vessel, the Event Horizon
. The technology for her FTL drive was based upon manipulating gravity, essentially creating a singularity to open a wormhole from one point in space-time to another. Weir’s idea was to fold space until the origin and destination coordinates existed simultaneously in the same space and time, so as to get around the Law of Relativity.”
“And the Law of Relativity prohibits faster-than-light travel. Got it, sir…”
“Well, the crew of the Horizon
got their authorization to open a wormhole to Proxima Centauri as soon as they reached minimum safe distance. The wormhole opened, the Horizon
went through, and then there was nothing. Not even background radiation.”
“How did you keep all this quiet? The official USAC report said that Event Horizon
was a deep-space research vessel that exploded just after its launch.”
“Multiple encryption algorithms, plus a hefty dose of misinformation. You know, Captain, the usual government stuff. Can you imagine the fallout that would result from the general public learning that we had achieved faster-than-light space travel? People would be chomping at the bit to get their first crack at seeing the outer solar system for the first time; it would bankrupt the government overnight. The R and D work almost did…”
“I get it, it wasn’t just increased defense spending…this was something important enough to hide from the whole world. So Event Horizon
disappears from the radar for about seven years, am I right, sir? Then, all of a sudden, with no warning, she just reappears. What convinced you it was your lost FTL ship?”
The question provoked some feelings of discontent in Bayfield, because he had seen the recording of the first transmission from the Horizon
since her reappearance. His sudden hesitation betrayed those feelings quite clearly on his face, while Buffy’s Slayer hearing picked up just the faintest increase in his heart rate. Her accelerated hearing picked up the slight wavering in his breathing. And while she was no trained interrogator, she was inclined to believe he was telling the truth in the way his eyes refused to dart to one side or the other. Rather, they seemed to lose focus and assume the aspect of the well-known thousand-yard stare, a common thing to all combat veterans and those who have seen many disturbing things in their lifetimes.
At length the Admiral regained his composure and looked the Slayer directly in the eyes as he answered. “I want to refer you to the first transmission that went out from the Horizon
after she reappeared. There is no time stamp on the file, as it seems to start right at the end of the farewell report from Captain Kilpack, the ship’s commanding officer. But it was very disturbing to hear, at the very least, once LBJ passed it through all their filters.”
Buffy then looked at her tablet computer and brought up the file, playing it with a touch of the screen. At first there was the introduction of the crew by Kilpack, followed by his farewell message, just like the Admiral had stated only a moment before, then she heard something that she never thought she’d hear coming from so far out in the Solar System.
Unearthly shrieking and howling filled the air in the office for the next thirty seconds. Except for Buffy, not one person in the room thought those sounds could come from a human being. At the end, there was a recognizable voice. It was the voice of Kilpack, speaking Latin.
Then the sound ended, and for a minute silence reigned. Buffy looked at the Admiral, who was unsurprisingly pale from hearing the audio file. At length he spoke in a slightly wavering voice.
“You heard that, right, Captain Summers?”
She nodded her head in affirmation. “Yes, Admiral, that I heard. The shrieking and howling indicate a lot of torment and agony on the part of the crew. What you didn’t hear, but I did, was that the crew inflicted this torment on each other. After sixty years and change of Slaying, a girl tends to pick up on this sort of thing. Something else I heard was Kilpack. You heard him say ‘Liberate me,
“Yes, we did. You recognize the language?”
“Latin, sir,” she said with a nod of her head. “But what you might not have heard, and what I did, was not ‘Liberate me
’ – ‘Save me’. He actually said ‘Liberate tutame ex inferis’
” inquired the Ensign that had admitted Buffy into the office, with understandable confusion. Apparently Latin wasn’t a required course at the USAC Academy.
“Yes, Ensign,” said Buffy.
“Not sure I like the sound of that,” she said, the confusion in her expression turned now to apprehension.
The Slayer looked the USAC officer dead in her innocent, unknowing eyes with her own, that had seen more misery and horror in nearly seventy years than any living human had any right to.
“You shouldn’t. It doesn’t mean ‘save me
’. It means ‘save YOURSELF…from HELL