Chapter 8: Trapped!
High Guards of the Multi-verse: Foundation Disclaimer:
I do not own characters or storylines from Buffy the Vampire slayer and (animated marvel feature) Doctor Strange, X-men, Andromeda TV show, Firefly TV show, Disgaea and Supernatural TV shows Summary:
Dressing as Doctor Strange has far reaching consequences for Xander. Especially when Doctor Strange decided to help Xander in his battle against demons. Crossover:
Btvs/multiple Chapter 8: Trapped! Reality 0 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer alternate verse
Giles’ suggestion to include Andromeda and Rommie in the venture of setting up inter-realities bases was not totally unexpected. Andromeda herself had realized the powerful potential of Xander’s unique ability once she had identified it with Rommie’s help. With the option of hiding out in other realities so that time would pass in the reality he had left, Xander would be able to see its ‘futures’ events happening in all the time that had passed since his departure. This particular aspect of Xander’s ability was the real game changer as he and those with him, could see all that would happen in a particular reality and prepare for pivotal events ahead of time.
Andromeda and Rommie had agreed to help out, which was why the group was now preparing for their trip back to Reality 2, the reality where they had went on a starship cruise. This time they were better prepared, with advanced technological gadgets from Andromeda which they could now use with their implanted knowledge, and more metal resources on their hand in order to set up a base for themselves in that reality.
Everyone was equipped with a High Guard Force Lance, a device that at first glance, looks like a metal rod approximately 30 centimeters in length. Capable of firing plasma shots and smart bullets, the weapon could also be extended to almost 2 meters and be used as melee weapon to disable or spar with opponents. Rommie had keyed each of their force lance into each of the group’s DNA, so that should anyone not authorized attempt to use those force lances, they would be incapacitated by an electric shock.
Rommie had taken a recording device as well so that she could record the ‘futures’ that had passed in their reality when they return, as well as a scanner which would probably be more powerful than anything in Reality 2. Joyce on the other hand had stocked up on medicine and a mobile medical nanites replicator. Willow had taken a portable fabricator and science kit, while Cordelia had brought along horticulture equipment that could be set up in a small room. Everyone had stashed their tablets, uploaded with different information and technologies that might prove useful on the trip, all were of knowledge which was not implanted inside their head.
The group was as well prepared as they would ever be, and this time round Rommie would be going with them. Rommie, Giles and Jenny would be transported to the planet Kerry in the reality there’re going to. Since Serenity, the ship Xander and the others had booked would be letting them off there at the end of its journey, Giles had thought it prudent that they have a base set up on the planet before Serenity reached there to drop everyone off.
Xander and the others would return to the ship, keeping up the pretence that Giles and Jenny were still on board in their rooms. Once Serenity was near the planet, Xander would use his reality travelling ability to transfer Giles and Jenny back to the ship. Hopefully by that time, they would have access to a place that they could use during their planetary stay.
“Alright everyone ready?” Xander asked as everyone gathered in the longue, with Andromeda in her holographic form seeing them off.
“Ready as can be.” Buffy said as she helped her mother carry the bulky medical kit.
“Good we’re off.” Xander said. Andromeda’s sensors picked up powerful space time distortion surrounding the group as they vanished. The A.I. noted the energy signature of Xander’s ability for future experimentations before focusing her senses on other parts of the ship.
There were still a lot of things to do before her old crew was cloned. For a moment, Andromeda contemplated just doing nothing since Xander’s going to reset time in this reality to the moment he left anyway. But her logic told her otherwise. If time passed faster in this reality and Xander never return for the next few years, there was no way she could live her existence in idle orbit over Venus.
Her logical analysis told her that it was better to continue with her already planned tasks to keep herself occupied. The only cold comfort she had was that if Xander really reset time back to the exact moment he had left, at the very least, to the new her in that resetted timeline, it would seem like no time had passed at all.
OoooO Realities Central – Seas of Realities
Entering the seas of realities invoked in Willow a sense of awe even after the first few times she had seen it. The endless stretch of colours flowing in an infinite sea, with each colour strand representing a different reality, it was an awe inspiring sight.
Under the golden shield bubble generated by Xander, they walked next to Xander as they proceed to the reality strand where Kaylee and the others were at. Opening the reality up, the group paused in shock as they saw Serenity parked in a hangar of sort somewhere, heavily damaged and painted over with splashes of disturbing red and brown. Wash, the ship’s navigator, was in the pilot seat… dead, with a long sharp object pierced through his head.
When Xander focused on Captain Mal, the scene changed and the group was treated to the sight of Captain Mal looking bloodied and haggard, in the middle of a fight with a dark skinned man with a sword, on a platform filled with high tech looking gadgets.
Focusing on Kaylee and everyone was shocked to see that she was in a barricaded corridor, heavily wounded. The rest of the crew were also with her. Jayne the rough talking man was now fully decked in guns, leaning against a crate in a weary state. Zoe the second in charge on Serenity looked grief-stricken. Inara, the Companion, was cradling the head of Simon, the young doctor, who seemed to have been shot. And outside the enclosed barricaded corridor, River, Simon's sister whom he had risked so much to save, was surrounded by hordes of savage looking men and women who were bloodied and snarling in animalistic rage. River had short swords in both hands, and the scene was frozen with her in the midst of battle against the savage horde.
Paling in shock, Xander had looked for Book, the preacher, who had been on board Serenity the last time they were on the ship. The image shifted to a countryside where a tombstone was erected, with holographic images of Book’s life playing on the vid-screen attached to the tip of the tombstone.
“Oh my…” Joyce was saying in shock. “What could have possibly happened while we were away? How much time has already passed in this reality?”
“Eleven months and five days.” Xander said grimly. The scene in front of them shifted once more, this time focusing on Serenity intact and whole, flying in space. Captain Mal and the others were now on board the ship safe and sound. “I’ve shifted the timeline back to the moment we left this reality. Rommie, get the video recorder ready, I am going to play back everything that has happened since we left. We’ll look through the recorded futures later to see how best we can change them.”
Rommie nodded as she began to fumble with her bag, she suddenly halted however, looking around them in shock as the scanner attached to her hip began beeping loudly. She snatched it up, staring at the reading in horror.
“Xander! The scanner is picking up massive energy fluctuations in our immediate area! It’s moving quickly towards…” Rommie never managed to finish what she was trying to say because a large glowing whale like being of some sort suddenly burst out of one of the strands of colours representing a reality near them.
The being glowed with a blazing white light one moment, and then a sickly green the next. It let out a high screeching sound that had everyone cupping their ears in pain. Then the enormous being which was almost three times the size of a grown man, smashed into the golden bubble shield surrounding the ground.
Xander’s eyes widened as he screamed in pain, his whole body began to spasm wildly. Golden glows of essence began emitting from the bubble shield around them, to be absorbed into the strange glowing creature that had appeared and began assaulting them.
“Xander!” Joyce cried out as she tried to move towards Xander, just as the golden shield that protected the group shattered.
Willow felt a piercing cold and then broke out into a scream of her own as everything around her vanished in a swirl of colours, and she had the sickening feeling of being flushed down a toilet bowl.
OoooO Realities Central – Seas of Realities
Hidden behind a swirling strand of realities, the tall blond haired woman watched as the strange group of humans came under attack by an Uóitarka, a low level beast that could transverse realities and feed on the energies of other reality travellers.
She watched as the young dark haired boy, the only reality walker in the group, managed to maintain his protections for a good long minute before the shield shattered under the strain of the attack. At the very last moment, the boy even managed to expel his remaining powers over his whole group, sending them to safety even as the Uóitarka infected him. The woman nodded approvingly, the boy indeed had very good instincts for a novice reality walker. It was just as well that he happened to be the same type of reality walker as her, a Gate Keeper.
It had been centuries since she had taken in an apprentice. After what she had observed of the boy during his few trips across realities, she noticed that the boy possesses very good control over his power, which spoke of a high level of Gate Keeper ability within him, the ideal pupil for someone like her, a Grandmistress of her own art.
Once fully trained, he would be a powerful ally, bond to her by the master-pupil contract. It was fortunate that her Netherworld allies had informed her of the existence of this boy before any of her rivals had found out about him. After the attack by the Uóitarka, the boy would be infected with the disruptive energies of the being, stripping him of most of his powers for the moment. It would be the ideal time to approach the boy, take him under her wing, and persuade him that he needed to be mentored… by her.
And once the master-pupil contract had been formed… the real training could begin.
OoooO Reality 2 – Firefly Verse
Buffy groaned, feeling hard metal floor against her face. She still felt dizzy after disappearing down a swirl of colours when the group was attacked by that strange glowing monster.
“…Hey, you guys alright?” A voice was saying as a hand shook her shoulder.
Buffy looked up, blinking as she saw the face of Jayne who was looking at her suspiciously. She turned around and saw her mother and Cordelia collapsed in one of the corridors of Serenity, their stuff strewn across the floor.
“What happened?” Cordelia said as she got up holding her head tenderly.
“You girls tell me.” Jayne said eyeing them with a glint in his eyes as her mother got up, seemingly dazed as well. “Heard a loud thump in the corridor, came to have a look see and here the three of you are… with your bags. You planning on going somewhere? Cause we’re still in space.”
“Did you see Xander and the others?” Buffy asked, beginning to have a feeling of dread as she thought back to the events of the last few minutes.
“Aren’t they in their rooms?” Jayne asked looking down at them sternly. He relented at last as he offered a hand to pull her mother and Cordelia up, Buffy scrambled up on her own. “You lot said you were going back to your room only minutes ago.”
“Then I guess that’s where they must be.” Her mother suddenly cut in firmly before Buffy could ask anything more. “Thank you for your help Jayne, we’ll be going back to our rooms now.”
“Hey wait a minute, you guys hadn’t say why you’re just lying on the floor like that.” Jayne interjected as the group began picking up their things. “Were you guys attacked or…”
“We tripped.” Her mother cut in with a laugh. “I am afraid I am very clumsy and I knocked the girls over. Anyway, I’ve got to go. Come on girls.”
Buffy quickly trailed after her mother as the older woman herded her and Cordelia back to their quarters on board Serenity. “Mom.” Buffy hissed, quickly scoping her mother’s bag of medical equipment from her. “What are you doing?”
“I am trying to get us back to our rooms so that we can figure out what’s going on, without looking too suspicious to everyone on board.” Her mother replied calmly as she pushed the girls to a fast walk.
“But how the hell did we appear back in Serenity?” Cordelia demanded. “And where are Xander and the others?”
“Xander must have sent us back here when the glowing creature attacked us back in the Seas of Realities.” Joyce reasoned as they reached the corridor leading to their quarters. “Check all the rooms, see if Xander and the others are inside.”
Buffy nodded as the three of them separated and began opening doors to the rooms the group had taken over. Aside from the things they had previously bought in this reality, the rooms were all empty.
“Xander and the others are all not here.” A voice said behind them. Buffy turned around and was shocked to see Rommie standing behind them. The android looked grim faced, the scanner she had brought with her was in her hands. “The scanner is only picking up twelve life signs on the ship. Based on your previous reports about this ship, they most probably belonged to the crew and other passengers. The additional life signs which would indicate the presence of Xander and the others are not available.”
“What? Rommie! Where have you been? How did you get here?” Her mother asked, rushing forward to hug Rommie gratefully. She pulled back to look at the android seriously. “And what do you mean Xander and the others didn’t came here with us. What could have happened to them?”
“I was sent here along with the rest of you. I recovered instantly when we first arrived on the ship.” Rommie explained as she gestured to one of the rooms which they quickly entered. “All of you were still unconscious, and when I heard footsteps, I quickly hid so that I have time to take out my force lance and prepare for an attack. After I saw that all of you recognized the man that had found you, I put two and two together. Tapping into the ship’s data core confirmed my suspicions. This is the Serenity that all of you were talking about. Somehow, Xander must have sent the four of us into Reality 2, into this ship, when we were under attack by that strange creature in the Seas of Realities. That Xander and the others are not here… it could be possible that they did not manage to escape.”
“Oh god!” Cordelia said in horror. “What if they were all eaten by the giant glowing thing? We’ll be trap in this reality forever!”
“Let’s not panic yet.” Her mother said, though it was obvious that the older woman was trying to stay calm. Buffy herself was gnawing on her lips worriedly as she wondered at the fate of Xander and the others. “Do we know anything at all about the creature that attacked us?”
“Unfortunately no, we’ve never seen any signs of life in the Seas of Realities until now.” Rommie admitted, looking down. “But I should have been prepared for it. I should have deducted that Xander might not be the only one that could transverse realities, that there could be other more nasty things out there.”
“It is something no one could have expected.” Buffy said, laying a comforting hand on Rommie’s shoulder. “You shouldn’t blame yourself.”
“Buffy’s right.” Her mother said firmly. “For all we know, that creature might not even eat… people. It seems like it was leeching energy off Xander’s golden shield back in the Seas of Realities. Maybe that’s all the thing did.”
“Then where’s Xander now? And Willow, Giles and Ms. Calendar?” Cordelia said seemingly about to go into hysteria.
“I don’t know.” Her mother admitted. “But now’s not the time to give up hope.”
“Joyce is right. Now’s not the time to fall apart.” Rommie said looking at everyone. “We have a more crucial problem at the moment. Xander seemed to have sent us back to a few minutes before all of you previously left this ship and reality. If they did not return by the time the ship lands at its next port, we’re going to have difficulties explaining where the others have disappeared to, and my own presence here.”
“With all that had happened on board the ship, it would probably make the crew highly suspicious about us. How did most of us disappear? Why is there one more additional person?” Joyce said wearily. “I doubt they will turn on us, the Captain didn’t seem like that kind of person, but one thing’s for sure, we’ll probably be chased off board as fast as possible and have our ties with them cut off.”
“All of us are carrying precious metals with us.” Cordelia said patting her bag. “We can settle down, start a comfortable peaceful life here until Xander comes to take us home…”
“Cordelia… you saw the future of everyone on Serenity.” Buffy spoke up hesitantly. “I mean we only caught one future, but it showed the preacher dead, and most of the crew surrounded by those savage looking people. The Captain must have let Simon and River stayed with him in the end because they were together. If we leave them, that future will repeat…”
“If we stay, we’ll get caught up in it.” Cordelia said looking at everyone in horror. “And you can’t mean that we could be stuck here for so long of a time. That future took place eleven months from now!"
“The truth is we don’t know.” Rommie answered gravely. “It is possible Xander might be dead, in which case, we’ll be stuck here forever. It is possible Xander might be injured but still alive. In that case, time might very well have passed in this reality before he comes to get us. Whatever the case, we’ll need to be prepared to make a new life for ourselves in this new reality.”
“We have to make a life that hopefully allows us to maintain ties with the crew of the ship.” Joyce said. “The future we saw for the whole lot of them is horrible. I don’t know about all of you, but I’d prefer if we can help to change it.”
“There might be a way.” Rommie offered grimly. “I will normally never suggest using the medical nanites in such a way, but it might be the easiest way out for us. The nanites technology Andromeda had, which you now possessed Joyce, was the pinnacle of our civilization during the time of its destruction… if we can alter the medical nanites, we can program them to manipulate certain parts of a biological being’s brain, and thus memories…”
OoooO Reality 3 – ? Verse
Pain pierced through his body, his nerves felt like they were on fire as the golden shield shattered under the attack by the strange creature. Reacting instinctively, he had gathered his remaining power, cocooning the small group as he tried to send them to safety on Serenity. In a passing second, Buffy, Joyce, Cordelia and Rommie were sent through to Serenity with he and the others following closely. That was when his remaining powers suddenly gave an erratic pulse.
a cold sensation coursing through his body as his power went rogue and split the group, sending him, Willow, Giles and Ms. Calendar spiralling into another nearby reality. He was helpless to do anything as his power burst out of his control. The most he could do was to try to guide the splintered group to somewhere safe, where help could be found
He felt the asphalt ground against his face first. Lying weakly on a grainy surface, Xander was unable to do anything as the world swirl all around him, pinpricks of pain arcing through his body. There were sounds of screeching tyres, shouts of alarm, slamming of car doors. Then a hand was shaking his shoulders urgently.
Xander tried to focus on the duplicated images before him. “Giles?” Xander slurred. “You have… triplets.” Turning, he thought he saw triple images of a dark haired scowling man with a gun, and a taller brown haired man standing before him. But the strain of the attack and the trip here was too much.
Xander gave a soft sigh as he fainted.
OoooO Reality 3 – ? Verse
Sam’s mind was wandering as he sat beside Dean while his brother drove his treasured Impala down the road out of Blackwater Ridge, where they had just saved a camper in the woods from a wendigo who had killed the rest of his friends. When he had seen the camper he and Dean had rescued, escaping safe and sound from the woods with his sister and brother, Sam had in a moment of weakness felt anguish at that fact that no one had been there to save Jessica.
Even now, the tormented face of Jessica, as she was stuck on the ceiling, blood dripping from her wounds, the fiery demonic fire which consumes her… those images kept haunting him. In the days since he had left with Dean to look for their father and get back into the family business after his girlfriend’s horrific death, he had not had a good night’s sleep.
His thoughts were shattered as a bright flash of light lit up in front of them. “Shit!” Dean cursed as he pulled the brake and the car gave a tortured groan as it came to a halt. As the light disappeared, Sam saw in disbelief that four unconscious men and women were lying on the highway in front of the car, on a spot which had been empty moments ago.
“What in the world?” Sam muttered as he stared at the four people who had appeared in front of the car. If Dean had not pulled the brakes, the car would have rolled over them.
“Get the guns Sam.” Dean said opening the car door quickly. “We don’t know what we’re dealing with.”
Sam quickly followed his brother out of the car. Quickly opening the car trunk, Dean pulled out a colt while Sam just grabbed a taser. The group looked human, even if they did suddenly teleport in front of their car, surely there was no need to actually get a gun and shoot them?
For a moment Dean looked as if he would disapprove Sam’s choice, then his elder brother shrugged. “Come on, let’s find out what is going on.”
Walking back carefully, the two brothers saw that three of the group had come awake. One was an older man, a woman, and a young girl. The one still unconscious was a teenage boy. In fact, if the four of them did not look so different, Sam would have thought they were family. The older man had been shaking the teenage boy when he saw Sam and Dean with their weapons. Sam tensed as the older man stiffened and dropped his hand into the bag lying next to him as if searching for a weapon.
“Giles?” The dark haired teenage boy had come awake, looking around him in a daze. He mumbled a bit before collapsing back to the ground in a faint.
“Xander!” The red haired young girl cried out in alarm.
Dean chose this moment to speak up, his eyes glittering with irritation, his voice projecting loudly and fiercely. “Alright, anyone mind telling me what is going on? And how did the four of you appear suddenly in front of my car?”