Eighth Of November
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, MASS EFFECT, OR STARGATE SG-1. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER IS OWNED BY JOSS WHEDON. MASS EFFECT IS OWNED BY BIOWARE AND ELECTRONIC ARTS. STARGATE SG-1 IS OWNED BY MGM. UNDER SIEGE IS OWNED BY WARNER BROTHERS.
The Eighth Of November
-----From The Journal Of Alexander LaVelle Harris------
----January 26th, 2083----
If there is one species in the universe that I can say I hate worse than the Goa'uld, the Ori, or the Wraith, I would say it would have to be the batarians. The Goa'uld are just evil but I think that can be attributed to the corrupting effect that overuse of the sarcophagus technology can do. The Ori had been corrupted by thousands of years of being worshiped as gods which would corrupt anyone. The Wraith are evil simply because it is in their nature though it would be a disservice to them to call them evil. True, they did cull planets of their human population for food but they do that because they have to. Just as a shark kills a seal or a lioness kills a gazelle on the savannah, the Wraith cull planets because that is what they know.
The Batarians on the other hand choose to be evil. No one forces them to go after alien populations on other worlds and attack them. No one forces them to enslave sentient races. No one forces them to deprive people of the inalienable right to freedom. They do it simply because they want to. According to them, slavery is a fundamental part of their culture that should not be trampled upon. Gee, hypocrites much.
I can't say I've ever met a good batarian but I can't say there can't be one out there. Anything is possible no matter how slim the possibility is. The worst example of everything that is wrong with the batarians could be summed up in one person, Balak. Balak was an old enemy of Willow from her original time as Shepard. Apparently, he had tried to drop an asteroid on a human colony. It's an event that Willow told me was referred to as the 'Bring Down The Sky incident'. She managed to save the colony but Balak managed to escape after he used her sense of honor and hold the asteroid workers hostage long enough to allow for his escape.
Somehow, it seems fitting looking back on it now that it was Balak and the batarians who brought Willow back to the galaxy at large. It's said that all things come full circle and it seems in Willow's case it was true but I wish it didn't come at the cost to her that it did. We had all hoped that it would have been a few years before she would have to leave us to help rally the galaxy but that was being a bit selfish especially to Willow.
Too many people lost their lives that day due to Balak's hatred of Willow. Too many died in order for that bastard to try to satisfy that batarian's hatred for her. But it will be a day I will remember till the day I die. It was the day I met the woman I would spend the rest of my life with.
Balak gazed at the planet his small squadron of ships. It was all that he could manage to gather for this particular mission of his. Too many of his people were wanting to rebuild what had been destroyed and they couldn't see the greater threat. The truth that Shepard was too powerful a symbol to the Citadel races that the batarians were a weak people. That their culture shouldn't matter to anyone. Already, the krogans were attacking what few slaving raids any batarians were able to cobble together. This is all Shepard's fault.
He thought. She's the reason my people are so weak. While all the other races had been restored to their prior strength before the Reaper Invasion, the batarians had been left out of the miracle restoration.
Earth appeared to be the same way except for the small fact that it appeared as though all the technology on the planet was two centuries out of date. The scanners even detected what historical files he had available to him refer to as the Mir space station. Though the continued existence of the primitive space station was short lived as one of the squadron's gunboats opens fire on the station ending its existence in an instant.
Even on a single planet, homing in on a single human would have been like searching for a needle in a haystack. However, he had obtained a rather useful program from an information broker who obtained it from a quarian. The ultimate irony of this program was that the stolen program had been developed by one of Shepard's most constant team member, Tali Zorah vas Normandy nar Rayya. Apparently, she had developed the program as a covert means to keep track of Shepard.
“Do you have a location on Shepard?” Balak asked.
“We isolated her signal to a small settlement on the North American continent.” The subordinate replied. “Unfortunately, some sort of interference is detected at the location. We won't be able to detect the signal and home in on our target when we get with the range of the interference.”
“We won't need to.” Balak said. “Shepard will come to us.”
“I'll make her.”
Colonel Jack O'Neill ran into the control center of Stargate Command and saw his commanding officer and his team's second in command looking at a monitor. Alarms had been blaring for the last few minutes and he was curious what was wrong.
“Am I missing something?” He asked.
“NASA has lost contact with the Russian Space Station, Mir.” General Hammond informed his second in command.
“Okay, so maybe the Russians should stop shopping at Radio Shack for communication gear.” He replied trying to lighten the mood.
“It gets worse, Jack.” Samantha told her superior officer.
She entered a command onto a computer and a recording began to play. “Houston Control, this is Mir. I'm seeing something strange out here.” “Mir, this is Houston Control. Can you clarify?” “Houston Control, I am seeing five...Houston, I think I'm seeing five boxy ships. Whoever designed them didn't bother making them look good.” “Mir, what color are they?” “Houston Control, they're more of a metallic silver color but they looked like they've seen some use. Houston, why were you asking me about the color?” “Mir, just curious. Are they attempting to contact?” “Negative, Houston Control. They seem to just be sitting still almost as if they're trying to figure out what to do next. Wait a minute...” “Mir, what's wrong?” “Mir, I repeat, what's wrong?” “Houston Control, I think they just---” Static “Mir.” Static “Mir.” Static “My God, Joseph, please respond.” Static
“We're under attack.” O'Neill said.
“A few minutes after the destruction of the Russian Space Station, this unknown race began to destroy every military satellite we have in orbit over the United States.” Hammond informed him. “Before we lost our last one though, we were able to find out where they might be headed. A small town outside of Los Angeles called Sunnydale.”
“Damn, I have family there.” O'Neill replied.
It had been a few days since the torching of the Sunset Club and the Scooby Gang was in the library. Amalia had provided the group with omni-tools which everyone including Giles accepted. Giles was actually the most reluctant especially when it came to the fact that a chip had to be implanted in each of his palms in order to manipulate any of the holographic interfaces that the technology required. Willow laughed as she realized what game Miss Calender had found on the omni-tool.
“You're playing Angry Birds again, aren't you?” She asked the computer teacher.
The computer teacher turned off her omni-tool and blushed. “That game is addictive.”
“It almost caused an intergalactic incident when Grand Theft Auto was released on Palavan.” Willow told her.
“I don't doubt that.” Giles said. “After reading from that codex you gave me, a militaristic society with what was essentially a counter culture game in their midst. It must have ruffled a few feathers.”
Before anyone could reply, a shot rang out from nowhere. Jenny looked down at her chest as a dark spot began to grow against her clothes. She fell to the floor as everyone rushed over to her except for Willow. Willow was looking right at the shooter, a batarian in a combat green armor, who was pointed his pistol right at her.
“Looks like I get the bounty on you, Shepard.” The batarian said to her.
The dark purple indicative of biotics struck the batarian and pulled him away before another biotic attack slammed him into the floor. His attempt to get back to his feet was ended as Amalia fired three shots into his chest.
“I'm sorry.” Amalia said as Giles slowly stood back up. “I sincerely wish I could have gotten here sooner or even warned you via the comms but the batarians are jamming transmissions.”
“This is all your fault, you bloody bint!” Giles snapped at her. “If you hadn't granted Willow's wish...”
“Then everything would all be sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows but we both know that the world does not work like that.” Amalia replied. “The universe is a cruel place but people can make it better for each other.”
Willow's eyes never left the dead batarian and panic began to rack her body. Amalia saw that and went over to her. She knelt down in front of the teenager and forced Willow's gaze to meet her own.
“Willow...Shepard, this is not Mindoir and you are not the scared little girl who ran for her life as all she knew was destroyed around her. You are Commander Willow Shepard, the first human Spectre, the undisputed queen bitch of the galaxy.” Amalia said to her trying to gauge the reaction she was seeing on the redhead's face. “Sunnydale is the collective memories of Mindoir but it isn't your colonial home. You couldn't save Mindoir but you can save Sunnydale.”
Willow nodded to Amalia and stood up out of the chair. She walked into the book cage where she had been keeping her armor and weapons. A couple of minutes passed before she came back out ready for battle.
“You guys should stay here or better yet, find someplace to hide.” Willow told them.
“Willow, we're not going to just let you face those things alone.” Buffy said. “We're going to help.”
“Buffy, how many times have you told Xander and me to run when vampires come around?” Willow asked. “You are not a soldier.”
Buffy pointed at Amalia. “She isn't either.”
“No, I'm a powerful biotic and I have years of combat experience involving people shooting at me.” Amalia replied. “You are a sixteen year old mystically enhanced girl who's combat experience mostly consists of shoving wooden stakes into vampires chests. I suppose that could work provided the batarians don't shoot you first.”
“Buffy, I know that you're use to being the one charging in to fight the bad guys but this fight isn't one you know how to win.” Willow told her. “Let me do my job.”
The SSV Normandy SR-2 tore through space like a bullet fired from a Black Widow sniper rifle. Flight Lieutenant Jeff Monreau worked the controls of the frigate like an artist as he made corrections to the course he set faster than the Normandy's artificial intelligence and his girlfriend could. He knew he was probably pushing the Normandy past the ship's maximum rated safe speed and for once, he didn't care.
“Engineering, I need more power.” He said into the comm. “I'm givin' her all she's got!”
Before Joker could respond, an audible smack could be heard. “Gabby, why'd you smack me?”
Donnelly asked his girlfriend. “Who do you think you are, Montgomery Scott?”
Gabrielle Daniels asked him rhetorically. “He was the man.” “I thought I was the man.”
Ken said. “Please, Scotty is the ultimate engineer.”
“Not to break up this argument but can I get that power?” Joker asked. “Joker, we can't risk stressing the drive anymore than we are already.”
Adams said finally speaking up. “What would be the use of getting there if we can't get the Commander out of there?”
The original plan had been to sweep the school going room to room in a standard search pattern. After finding Principal Snyder with a hole in his chest that you could have drove a truck through as well as a black girl who she didn't recognize who seemed to have been killed by a biotic attack with a wooden stake in her hand, they found a group of batarians who had herded students into the gym.
“How do you want to handle this?” Amalia asked Willow in a low whisper.
“Well, we could go in there guns blazing and probably get half the hostages killed.” Willow replied. “Or, we could do this.”
Without waiting for a reply, Willow strolled into the gym and the batarians immediately reacted to her. Though the reactions of the batarians were varied, one of the reactions would be one she'd remember for a very long time.
“Oh shit! It's her!” A batarian yelled. “RUN! SHE'S GOING TO KILL US ALL!”
The batarian in question screamed like a little girl before leaping out the second story window of the gym. Willow looked over at the batarian who she assumed was the leader of this small group and smirked. The apparent leader seemed a bit ashamed.
“He's my sister's kid.” He replied. “She made me bring him.”
“My sympathies.” Willow replied.
The leader grabbed Harmony and held a pistol to her head using her as a shield between himself and Willow. Harmony, at best, seemed rather annoyed.
“Oh come on, you grab the one person in this room that she would should.” Harmony snapped at the batarian.
The batarian leader looked over at Willow. “Is that true?” He asked.
“Maybe a little.” Willow admitted. “Who's in charge?”
“It's a little insulting for you to not think I'm in charge.” He replied.
“Maybe but I know your type. You don't actually want to be here but someone else got you to come.” Willow said to him before her expression darkened. “Because you know my reputation and what I am capable of.”
The people being held hostage began to stare at each other bewildered about what they were hearing. Most of the students had known Willow for years and for these aliens to be so afraid of her was mind boggling.
“Saren, the geth, Sovereign, the Collectors, Cerberus, the Reapers.” Willow said glaring at him. “Do you really want to be added to that list?
“No, I told Balak that---”
“Balak, somehow I knew that bastard had to have been involved.” Willow said. “Look, you don't want to be here. I understand that. Let the hostages go and you can leave.”
“You're serious.” He replied.
“Once I give my word, I don't go back on it.” Willow told him. “But if I find out anyone has gone missing, I will hunt each and every one of you down myself.”
“Release them.” The leader said to his men. “We're leaving.”
“What about Balak?” One of his men asked.
The leader looked over to the man before firing the pistol he had been pointing at Harmony's head in the batarian's face. A hole was now between the questioning batarian's eyes and he fell to the ground.
“Somehow, I don't think Balak is going to be a problem.” He said.
The batarians filed out of the gym and once they were gone, Cordelia went over to her.
“What the hell was that?” Cordelia asked.
“I was being myself.” Willow replied.
Harmony looked as though reality as she knew it was coming to an end which was an accurate way to describe it. Willow was about to try to say something to calm down the former hostages when her omni-tool began to chirp indicating that a recorded message was being sent to her. She activated the message and a holographic image of her mother was projected. “What do you want from me?”
Her mother asked only for a pistol to appear in the projection and shoot her twice in the chest.
Willow fell to her knees and began to cry as she saw her father suffer the same fate. She continued to weep until the projection shifted to Balak who seemed to sneer into the camera. “Guess you can't save everyone, Shepard.”
Her hands went to her face as tears rolled down her face. She couldn't help it. She wanted to be strong. She wanted to say some kind of bad-ass line like “But who is going to save you?” but she couldn't muster any of that up.
Buffy led Xander and Giles down the hall towards the gym. Despite the fact she believed Willow knew what she was doing, she wanted to help. Now I know how Xander and Willow feel.
She thought to herself.
As they neared the gym, they saw a group of seven people approaching the gym as well. They appeared to be heavily armed and four of them were obviously alien. The three humans seemed to be quite comfortable with the four aliens and possibilities began to race through Buffy's mind. Everything from old enemies from her best female friend's old life to a mercenary group sent to kill Willow. Before Giles or Xander could offer any opinion, she charged towards the frog/reptile looking alien in white armor. She shoved the monstrous alien into the lockers and proceeded to kick the legs out from another alien with a scarred face holding a sniper rifle. The large tanned man with the military style grabbed her from behind only for her to slam the back of her head into the back of his nose. Buffy freed herself from his bear hug grip and readied herself to attack the blue alien chick who glowed with the dark purple that she associated with biotics when she saw the frog/reptile alien thing get back up.
“I AM KROGAN!”
Amalia and Cordelia tried to console Willow over her loss but both of them were at a loss for words. Neither of them had a similar experience. Amalia began to think of her own parents and while they had died over two hundred years ago. Her own induction into the ranks of D'Hoffryn's vengeance demons had taken place during the American Revolution when she had cursed her absent lover's luck. It helped the American Rebels as her absent lover happened to be on General Cornwallis' staff.
“I AM KROGAN!”
Willow's head shot back up as the loud yell seemed to shake her out of the depressed state she had been in. She jumped to her feet and bolted for the door that the yell had seemed to come from with her former comforters quickly behind her. Her gaze fell upon Grunt who was on top of Buffy. She saw her friend work her feet to plant them on top of the krogan's chest. Before Willow could react, Buffy used her mystically enhanced strength to launch the genetically enhanced super soldier krogan off of her. She quickly noticed Tali bringing her shotgun up to bear on her friend so Willow grabbed her pistol and fired it into the ceiling. This brought the fight to a standstill as everyone turned to look at Willow.
“Okay, why in there a little girl dressed up like the Commander?” James asked. “I mean she definitely---”
“Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl.” Willow replied in a slightly singing voice.
James Vega looked startled which made Ashley laugh. It felt good to Willow to see Ashley laugh. After all they had been through, it was good to see joy on her face.
“Commander Shepard. Captain of the Normandy. First human Spectre. Savior of the Citadel.” Willow said catching Ashley's attention as well as Garrus'. “You're looking at a god, back from the dead.”
Ashley's face was shocked as she tried to figure out how the teenager could know what was said on Horizon as she saw the teenager turn her attention towards Garrus.
“Garrus, you making any money off the vids yet?” She asked.
“No, they're still in production.” Garrus replied. “Good to see you again, Shepard.”
“You too, Garrus.” She said with a smile.
Tali was rather skeptical. “Garrus, how can you say she's Shepard?” She asked the turian. “She's the age I was when we helped Shepard defeat Saren and Sovereign.”
Willow turned to the quarian. “Tali, I have three words for you.” She said. “Emergency induction port.”
Tali stepped back and everyone could tell she was embarrassed by that as she fell silent and rubbed her hands together. Willow turned to Liara and was about to say something that would have proved to Liara that she was who she was when the asari grabbed her by the front of her armor kissed her lips. She pulled the asari closer to her as the kiss deepened.
“I think Liara's convinced that she's Shepard.” Garrus said with a slight laugh.
“Oh that's Liara.” Buffy said.
“Gee, you think.” Cordelia replied. “Willow only showed her a hologram of her a few days ago.”
“Aren't you going to question whether or not she is who we think she is, Miranda?” Garrus asked the former Cerberus operative.
“No need.” Miranda said as she deactivated her omni-tool. “I already checked her for the implants from Project Lazarus.”
Liara pushed slightly away from Willow but still held onto her. The asari knew there was something wrong.
“Shepard, you're crying.” She said.
Before Willow could answer her, Liara's gaze fell onto Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, and Giles. Anger surged in her as she readied a singularity to strike them down with but Willow knocked her to the ground.
“Liara, what the hell are you doing?” Willow asked.
“They aren't them, Shepard.” Liara said as she struggled to get out from under Willow's grip.
“Aren't who?” Ashley asked as she and Garrus pointed their assault rifles at the other group.
“Liara, it's not what you think.” Willow told her as she got off her alien girlfriend and helped her back to her feet.
Liara pointed at Buffy. “She was captured by the batarians at Mindoir.” Liara said. “You and Cordelia found her three years after you joined the Alliance military. A batarian had used her as his favorite 'toy' for years. She killed herself three weeks later. Why does this person look like your old friend Buffy?”
Buffy stared at Liara perplexed as the asari continued her big reveal of their counterparts' fates that Willow never told them.
“Xander was killed on Mindoir as he tried to protect you.” Liara said before nodding at him. “Thank you for that by the way and you and Cordelia hunted down and killed Giles.”
“Excuse me,” Giles said. “Willow failed to mention that.”
Garrus's brow furrowed and he looked over at Giles. “You actually call her by her first name. That's like an unwritten rule of the galaxy.” He said. “No one calls her by her first name except for maybe Liara but I think that's only in private. Even the Reapers didn't call her by her first name.”
“Everyone stop.” Willow exclaimed. “Liara, it's the same reason why I'm like how I am now. Amalia told me that when I was in the Crucible, I somehow restarted the universe but I somehow saved ours but I couldn't access it.”
“About sixteen years ago, Shepard was reborn as Willow Rosenberg. She didn't have any knowledge of her previous life until Halloween which a dark wish she made coupled with a spell cast by a chaos mage caused the 'save file' to load.” Amalia explained. “However, accommodations were made when you take into account the new worlds and species that were native.”
“Is that why you look like a Miranda clone?” Garrus asked.
“It is which I am very grateful for.” Amalia said as she looked at her own body. “I use to be as flat as a pancake.”
Realization dawned on Liara. “Your parents, I'm sorry.” She said.
“Don't be, Liara.” Willow replied as she turned her attention back to the members of the Scooby Gang. “Guys, please stay here.” “Shepard, I am detecting substantial activity around Sunnydale's City Hall as well as several destroyed vehicles.”
EDI said. “I believe this is where Balak is.”
“Thank you, EDI.” Willow said. “Anyone have any idea why the military hasn't responded?” “Sensors are detecting what we believe to be a powerful electromagnetic pulse emitter.”
EDI replied. “I believe it has been modified to emit a weaker than normal pulse that is capable of sending out a pulse every five minutes that reaches a distance of two hundred and fifty kilometers away.” “I guess that would put a slight impact on reaction time.”
“Joker, it's good to hear you.” Willow said with a smile. “Likewise, Commander.”
Joker said. “Really sucks that you're sixteen again.”
Buffy walked over to Willow. “Dawn went to City Hall on her school field trip today.” Buffy told her.
“Don't worry, she'll be okay.” Willow replied.
“What do you mean we can't get into the area?” O'Neill asked.
“Sir, everything within a one hundred and fifty five mile radius of Sunnydale is being hit with an electromagnetic pulse every five minutes.” Samantha replied. “We've received reports of riots, plane crashes, and emergencies of several types occurring throughout the area. Unless we go in on foot, we're can't get there.”
Feeling dejected, O'Neill walked away from the blonde haired woman and leaned up against a wall. He didn't like the feeling of helplessness that he was feeling over not being able to help his family.
“You are worried about your family, O'Neill.” Teal'c said as he approached him.
“My sister and her family live in Sunnydale.” He replied to the jaffa. “I can't help but worry about them.”
“If they are anything like you, O'Neill,” Teal'c said to him. “then I believe they will be just fine.”
“I hope you're right.” O'Neill said. “I hope you're right.”
Balak cursed loudly as his top three lieutenants were gunned down in an instant. He ducked for cover as two more of his men were taken out. One of his men took a shot to his left knee and fell to the floor. The man reached out for him begging for him to drag him to safety but another sniper round took his head clear off. Shepard is suppose to be the only one here.
He thought. How in the hell are there three snipers out there?
His wish was answered as he saw Shepard leap through the doors of the room he had the hostages in. He brought up his assault rifle as she rolled but his world ended as she proved that she was the faster shot. Four bullets went into each of his eyes and he fell to the ground.
Willow holstered her pistol and looked over at the hostages. She noted that the mayor was dead as well as the chief of police but the rest of the hostages seemed okay. Her eyes went to Dawn and noticed that she had on a bulky tan vest.
“Dawn, stay right there.” She said. “Everyone else, get out now.”
The hostages fled out of the hall as Willow ran over to Dawn. She activated her omni-tool and after a scan of the vest, she sent out a message.
BALAK STRAPPED BOMB TO DAWN DEVICE CONTAINS A PERIMETER ALARM KEEP EVERYONE BACK NOT ENOUGH TIME TO HACK DETONATOR
The locking mechanism proved to not be booby trapped and she was happy to be able to slip the vest off of her best friend's sister. Dawn looked up at her grateful.
“Dawn, run quickly.” Willow ordered.
Dawn did as she asked and ran towards the outside door. Willow took a look at the timer as it counted down in batarian numerals. She dropped the vest and ran towards Dawn. Willow wrapped her arms around Dawn and ran faster than she had thought she was capable of. She was almost at the door when the bomb detonated and...