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.
----From The Journal Of Alexander Lavelle Harris---
---January 28th, 2083---
The media proclaimed her a hero that day. She was a young teenage girl who sacrificed her life to stop a group of disguised terrorists who were attacking her hometown. She was the new All-American Hero. Hasbro even began to release a new GI Joe action figure based on her. Damn, Sunnydale Syndrome at its finest.
Regardless, we let it slide because the truth would have been too strange for them to understand at the time. Maybe her uncle and her grandfather might have understood at the time but we couldn't take that chance.
The reality was that it would have been a lot worse if Willow's old team hadn't shown up when they did. When Willow talked about them, everything she said about them made me want to actually meet them but when I was speechless when it happened.
Garrus looked like a fun guy to be around. He had a cool confidence that made me glad that Willow had considered him to be one of her best friends. Apparently, it was almost a Butch and Sundance type of relationship. He had been with her since the beginning from hunting down Saren to fighting the Collectors to fighting for the entire galaxy in defeating the Reapers. Loyalty like that was commendable.
Ashley was hot. There was no other way to say it. Willow had told me that Ashley use to slightly anti-alien partly due to her family history. I can't blame General Williams for what he had done and it wasn't fair for his family to be blacklisted because of it. Fortunately, Willow mentored Ashley while they hunted for Saren and Ashley became a Spectre herself during the Reaper War. I guess that must mean that Willow was her Obi-Wan.
James Vega was one big dude. Another fun guy who looked like he could be cast in any of the old Arnold Schwarzenagger movies as Arnold's old part. The man was a walking tank. Willow said that James was another guy she wouldn't mind having at her back and I believed her.
Miranda was another hot woman. She's someone I feel like I owe a debt to for bringing Willow back from the dead when she did. She's also the person who Amalia dressed as for Halloween so that makes me scared of her.
In a lot of ways, Tali reminded me a lot of the pre-Halloween Willow. Many of the qualities each of them shared were too similar to ignore. There was something about her that drew my attention to her.
Now, Liara T'soni was a good reason to bitchslap any 'xenobiologists'. Liara was and still is one beautiful asari. I didn't believe at first how deep the relationship between Liara and Willow was at first but as I got to know the asari more and see how much they cared for one other; Helen Keller could have seen it.
Senator Robert Kinsey couldn't believe this trip had to be made. He had heard the news of the Sunnydale incident and was heartbroken. His son, though he had been so estranged from him that his son went to the effort to completely change his name, and his family had been reported dead in the attack. While he hadn't spoken or even been in contact with his son for years, it had been through the efforts of his granddaughter, Willow, that he kept up with current events concerning them.
Willow had even acted as an unofficial political adviser at times through letters and phone conversations they had. She was smart as a whip and there were many times he had cursed himself for not seeking custody of his granddaughter from his son by using his political career as an excuse. There had been too many tear jerking letters where she had expressed her loneliness.
But now she was gone but she had apparently chosen to go out in style. He knew he had to give her credit for that. According to all reports, his granddaughter had fought off the attackers and saved countless lives. She had died a hero.
To say that he was pissed would have been an understatement as he pulled his car into the parking lot of Lawson Mechanics. He had gone to the morgue to get Jenny's body only to find out the body had been released to Amalia. It was surprising when he had reached the corporation that it used to be the former CRD facility but for some reason it appeared as though it had been like it was for months. He entered through the front door and was surprised when the receptionist greeted him by name.
“Doctor Giles, Director Lawson is waiting for you.” The smiling bright eyed receptionist said. “Please proceed to the medical wing.”
She activated her omni-tool and sent him a map of the facility including a 'way point' that he could follow to get there. He was glad to be away from her as he managed to get away from the receptionist. Though he wasn't comfortable with using an omni-tool, the one thing he had liked about it had been the omni-blade, the map was extremely valuable. It didn't take him long to find Amalia.
“Good, you're here.” Amalia said before she turned away from him. “Follow me.”
“Now see here, I want to know what you've done with Miss Calender's body.” Giles exclaimed. “You had no right to take her.”
“Shepard would want her to have the best medical care.” Amalia told him. “Didn't I tell you to follow me?”
“She died.” Giles reminded her. “You don't get better
from that without magic.”
“Shepard did and look where she is now.” Amalia replied. “Oh, and Rupert, you might want to remember Clarke's Law.”
“Her name is Willow.” Giles told her.
“To you and the denizens of this small town, she is, but to the rest of the galaxy as well as myself,” Amalia said. “she is Commander Shepard. She is the hero of the entire galaxy. Besides, I thought you were concerned about Miss Calender.”
“Where is she?” Giles asked as he followed the woman down the hall.
Amalia stopped in front of a door that she opened via a panel on the door. “In here.” She said.
Giles entered the room to see Jenny laying down on a hospital bed. She appeared to be breathing normally. His righteous rage went out like an extinguished fire as he went to her side. She opened her eyes and looked up at him.
“You bosh'tet.” She said before a perplexed expression formed on her face. “Why did I say that word?”
“While you were sleeping, there was activity in the part of your brain related to memory.” Amalia replied. “It's possible that your death and subsequent resurrection may have unlocked memories you may have had from your counterpart. It would be safe to assume that your counterpart wasn't human but a quarian on her pilgrimage.”
“Her counterpart could have been human.” Giles said. “Just because she knows a quarian word doesn't mean anything.”
“True but when you take into account other factors, a quarian is the only thing she could have been.” Amalia said. “There was the body of a young female quarian found on Mindoir identified as Janna Kal'Derash nar Qwib Qwib.”
At the mention of the name, Jenny stiffened slightly from the recognition of the name. Giles assumed that it was from her alternate's memories but that wasn't the case. She had a feeling that Amalia knew the truth about who she truly was.
“And what about me?” Giles asked. “Liara mentioned that Willow and Cordelia hunted me down and killed me.”
“Your counterpart sold the Mindoir Colonial Defense codes to the batarian slavers who attacked Mindoir. It took several years but eventually, they found out where you were and hunted you down on Omega. According to the files Miranda Lawson had access to, Shepard fed your body to vorcha.” Amalia informed him noting the look of disappointment on his face. “You did ask.”
“I know but...” Giles replied.
“You expected your counterpart to be similar how you are. I'm sorry to tell you that isn't the case.” Amalia said. “I do have a spell that can give you your counterpart's memories but you'll end up remembering everything that has happened.”
“No, thank you.” Giles replied.
“I was shot in the heart.” Jenny said trying to understand how she was alive.
Amalia rolled her eyes. “I have the memories and knowledge of the person who was the director of Project Lazarus.” She explained. “A bullet through the heart would have been considered minor damage in comparison to what the Project had to deal with. I used a little bit of bio-synthetic fusion to repair your heart.”
“Thank you.” Jenny said.
“There is no need to thank me, Miss Calender.” Amalia replied. “You are among the people who are precious to Shepard. I'm required to do my best to keep all of you alive.”
“Willow wouldn't have held it against you.” Giles told her.
“Perhaps, but Shepard would.” Amalia quickly informed him. “You are members of her team and that is the closest thing she ever had to family. During the Reaper War, the salarians tried to offer her a back-room deal that would have greatly aided in the war against the Reapers and possibly saved countless human lives but she refused them.”
“Why?” Jenny asked.
“There were three reasons. Doctor Mordin Solus, Urdnot Wrex, and Urdnot Grunt.” Amalia replied. “They were three members of her team at various points in her career as a Spectre. Wrex fought by her side against Saren. Mordin and Grunt helped her take down the Collectors. Shepard needed to get the krogan to help the turians fight the Reapers on Palaven and Wrex's condition was that the genophage would be cured.”
“Genophage?” Giles asked.
“A bioweapon developed by the salarians and released by the turians during the Krogan Rebellions.” Amalia informed him before she pinched the bridge of her nose with her right thumb and index finger. “Why am I explaining this? Did you even bother reading the rather complete codex I uploaded into your omni-tool just as I did every other omni-tool? Even Xander who by his academic records could be considered a mediocre student at best has almost memorized the damned thing. Granted, he's more worried about the galaxy in which his childhood friend is most familiar with but it's the overall principal of the thing.”
“Something's troubling you.” Giles said noting Amalia's disheveled appearance.
Amalia let out a breath. “I've been reviewing Sunnydale residents and matching them against the colonists on Mindoir at the time of the batarian attack.” She said. “I've noticed...irregularities.”
“Irregularities, like what?” Jenny asked.
“I went with the theory that whatever happened on the Crucible used Shepard's memories as a partial blueprint for the new universe. There are several people in Sunnydale who fall through the cracks of this idea. One of which is Buffy's mother.” Amalia continued to explain. “I went to her gallery yesterday to purchase some art for my office. As a standard precaution, I slipped on my sunglasses which I have charmed to 'reveal souls'. Mrs. Summers stood out as her soul wasn't human. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say it was that of an asari matriarch. Mrs. Summers' counterpart had died giving birth to her second daughter leaving Hank Summers to raise both of them on Mindoir.”
“I take it you have another guess to make.” Giles said.
“If you want me to make another guess,” Amalia replied. “I would hazard a guess at that the soul was that of Matriarch Benezia T'Soni.”
Cordelia leaned up against her locker still not believing that the school board had chosen to reopen the high school after what had happened. It seemed 'Sunnydale Syndrome' was in full effect. People had began to go about their activities though there were plans for the entire town to turn out to the funeral of Willow Rosenberg otherwise known as the heroic young woman who sacrificed her life to save her town from the costumed terrorists. Only a few people actually knew the truth and she wondered if anyone else realized it to. None of them realize that their hero is still alive and in a hospital light years away from Earth.
Cordelia thought. If they knew the truth, they'd probably run screaming into the streets.
“I heard Amalia did something to give you back your counterpart's memories.” Xander said to her as he approached her.
“Something involving water from the river of Memory and a lot of magic.” Cordelia informed him. “It ended up doing more than what she expected.”
“How so?” He asked.
“I had been under the impression that I was a soldier like Willow.” She said. “I'm not. Actually, I was an engineer. I hacked computers, did field repairs, and tech attacked people a lot.”
“You were a nerd.” Xander replied not believing her.
“Hey,” Cordelia said with a smile. “I could set you on fire with my omni-tool or freeze your ass. I was a bad ass nerd.”
“Think Amalia might be able to reinforce the things I remember from my Uncle Casey?” Xander asked.
“Didn't you say your uncle was a Navy cook?” She asked.
“Yeah, but that was just to finish up his career. He was a Navy Seal.” Xander replied. “He's been referred to as the best there is.”
“Good to hear. From what I hear about Shepard's normal choice in teammates, your skill set will be more useful than mine.” Cordelia said. “She won't have much use for me considering the quarian and the unshackled AI. It's not like she's not going to want another engineer when she has them.”
“I'm sure Willow will want you to come with her.” Xander said trying to console her. “Why are you suddenly calling her Shepard? She's still Willow.”
“No, she's not. The person we knew as Willow Rosenberg is gone.” Cordelia replied. “She's Shepard now.”
“She's still Willow.” Xander simply said.
“No, it's like an unwritten rule of the universe.” She said. “No one calls her by her first name...ever.”
“Even people who are trying to kill her call her by her last name. People who've known her for years only use her last name.” Cordelia replied. “It's just the way things are.”
Cordelia and Xander cut off their conversation as the 'Cordettes' walked over to them as if they were on a mission. Harmony was leading the group on their approach.
“Okay, all of us know Rosenberg isn't dead so where the hell is she?” Harmony asked.
Xander was about to attempt a lie when Cordelia spoke up. “The crew of her ship came and picked her up. She's being taken care of by the best doctors in the galaxy.” She replied to her friend. “She's now light years away from Earth.” They're not going to believe that.
Xander thought. Even if it is the truth, they're going to be suffering from Sunnydale Syndrome.
“That's good.” Aura said.
“What can we do to help?” Harmony asked.
“Why?” Xander asked.
“She saved us from those weird four eyed ali-”
“Batarians.” Cordelia interrupted her. “They're called batarians.”
“Okay, she saved us from the batarians and then disappeared.” Harmony said. “So, why is she listed as dead?”
“Because, Harmony, the truth would scare the living crap out of people.” Cordelia told her.
“People are smart.” Harmony replied.
“A person is smart.” Xander said. “People are dumb, ignorant, and fearful. They wouldn't want to comprehend multiple alien races out there.”
“But we want to help.” Harmony said. “We know you're planning on helping her. We want to help too.”
“Consider yourselves drafted.” Cordelia replied. “I hope you know what you're getting yourselves into.”
“And now, Willow's grandfather, Senator Robert Kinsey will speak.”
“What the hell?” O'Neill quietly asked as he saw his nemesis take the podium and begin to speak to the crowd.
“Jack, did you know that-”
“No, I didn't.”
Slowly, her eyes opened and she looked to her right to see a familiar view of the Presidium. A smile formed on her face as she felt safe where she was.
“It's good to see you're awake, Commander.” A familiar voice said to her as the voice's owner came into the room. “How are you feeling?”
“Like a bomb hurled me through the air, Doctor Chakwas.” Willow replied.
Chakwas let out a laugh. “You never cease in trying to give me more work, do you Shepard?” She said. “It's good to see you again.”
“Same here, Karen.” Willow replied. “How bad am I hurt?”
“Enough to warrant emergency surgery at Huerta Memorial with Miss Lawson assisting myself and Doctor Michel.” The elder doctor said. “You had more broken bombs from the impact than Joker receives in a month.”
“Well, I always aim to impress.” Willow replied wincing slightly. “So, how long do I have till I can leave?”
“A few weeks at least.” Chakwas said. “I am clearing you for visitors however.”
“I recovered that quickly.” Willow said surprised.
“Possibly not but I fear for my life if I try to keep the highly trained individuals who seem to gather around you out of this room for too long.” She replied. “Why couldn't you get a normal friend?”
Willow laughed and winced soon after. “I do have normal friends.” She said defensively.
“Though how many of them are willing to accompany you to the places that you normally go to?” Chakwas asked.
Willow stared at her. “Oh please, I do not count as normal.” The doctor informed her.
“Well, I didn't want to be the one to tell you.” Willow said. “It's always better if you realize it yourself.”
“O'Neill, you identified the dark haired young man as one of your niece's best friends.” Teal'c said. “He is not acting as though he is in grief.”
O'Neill looked over at Xander. He had met him several times before today and he knew how much of a friend he was to his niece. The young man seemed to be simply acting as though he was grieving but to O'Neill's trained eye; it was fraudulent. As he watched the teenager, he tried to rationalize Xander's apparent lack of grief as one of the stages of grief but it became clear that wasn't the case.
“He knows something.” O'Neill said as they left the graveyard.
“Unfortunately Colonel, General Hammond just called.” Carter said. “He wants us back at the SGC immediately. A situation has developed.”
The door opened and Liara walked into the hospital room. She looked over to the bed where the woman she loved lay and regret stabbed at her. Thoughts ran through her mind of whether or not she could have done anything to have lessened Shepard's injuries or even prevented them in the first place. It was much like when the original Normandy had been destroyed only with one upside this time. Shepard was still alive.
“Hey, Liara.” Shepard said to her.
Liara walked over to her and held Shepard's right hand. Every fiber of her being told her that despite Shepard's current apparent age, she was still Shepard.
“I hate seeing you like this.” She said to her. “I feel like it's my fault.”
“Liara, is Dawn okay?” Shepard asked.
A smile crossed her face as the question ensured her further on the identity of the person she was speaking with.
“She's fine. You took the brunt of the blast for her.” Liara replied. “Though it wasn't easy convincing Buffy to let us take you here, Xander was the one who made her realize that late twentieth century Earth medicine wouldn't be enough to completely heal you. Though Giles tried to say that we didn't have the right, Amalia told him to be quiet or else risk the wrath of an asari maiden in love.”
Shepard laughed at the thought.
“Shepard, how is any of this possible?” She continued. “None of this makes any sense. The Citadel appears as though the Reapers never attacked as well as the other worlds except for the batarian worlds.”
“I don't know, Liara.” Shepard said to her. “The last thing I remember was sitting down next to Anderson after the Illusive Man shot himself.”
“You talked him into shooting himself, didn't you?” Liara asked rhetorically. “That is definitely something you would do.”
“Liara, you can call me Willow.” Willow said. “You know that.”
“I know.” Liara replied. “I'm more use to calling you by your last name though.”
“Wait a minute, my mother didn't dress up as anything for Halloween.” Buffy said to Amalia. “How in the hell could she have the soul of this Benzeenie woman?”
“Benezia, and I believe it has to do with Shepard's reboot of the universe.” Amalia replied. She walked over towards the center table of the library. “I don't have all the details and I doubt anyone does but that doesn't matter. Your mother's soul is that of Matriarch Benezia T'Soni and she needs to be told what to expect or else the situation would get worse.”
“How could it get worse?” Buffy asked.
“I don't know how Shepard could standing being around you.” Amalia said as she brought her hands to the side of her own head. She rubbed her head for a moment before she lowered her hands. “Buffy, what do you think will happen when your mother begins to remember the life of an alien woman who has lived for hundreds of years?”
“She's gonna go nuts.” Xander said.
“What's an asari matriarch?”Buffy asked.
“It's the third stage of life asari go through as they age. The first stage, maiden, is generally like their teenage years would be for us. The second stage, matron, is when they settle down to raise a family. The third stage, matriarch, is when they're considered great advisors and great leaders. Some asari matriarchs act as diplomatic ambassadors.” Cordelia said. “Benezia was one of the most respected matriarchs up until Willow killed her.”
Everyone looked over at Cordelia who shrugged. “What? I'm the closest thing she had to a friend in both universes before...Akuze.”
Cordelia rubbed her stomach as Buffy turned on her. “And how do you even remember that?”
“I have a ritual which calls upon the waters of the river of memory to restore obviously lost memories.” Amalia explained. “The ritual not only restored Cordelia's memories but also the genetic enhancements she received in that universe as well.”
“But my mother can't know about this.” Buffy pleaded.
“How else is it going to be explained that she has the soul of a woman who was nearly a thousand years old when she died?” Amalia asked her. “Without any explaination or help of any kind, your mother will be in danger of losing her mind. If that happens, the Watcher's Council will step in. I can't let that happen.”
“Is that a threat, Miss Lawson?” Giles asked.
“A promise, Doctor Giles.” Amalia replied. “I can't let anything happen to Shepard's friends.”
Hours later, Amalia sat at her desk looking at files on her computer as a dark-skinned bald headed man walked into her office. A jagged scarred cut ran down his face coming from just above his left eye down to his jawline. He was dressed in a dark blue suit.
“So, spent some times with the kiddies again, Miss Lawson?” He asked her.
“Yes, I did, Elias.” Amalia replied. “It didn't go very well.”
She shifted her attention to the man that she had hired as the head of security for Lawson Industries. “You read the file I gave you on Shepard.” She said. “What do you think her reaction would be if anything happened to one of her friends?”
“Miss Lawson, I have fought battles on five different continents for fifteen years against what most would consider impossible odds.” Elias said. “That being said, after reading what this Commander Shepard has done; I'd be trying to find the quickest means to get out of the country. Barbados is nice this time of year.”
“How are your men handling the new weapons and armor?” Amalia asked.
“Half of my men are wanting to stay on because they're hoping you have better weapons in 'the back'.” Elias informed her. “Half of the other half of my men are wondering what your gameplan is.”
“And the remaining quarter of your men?” Amalia asked.
“They don't care.” He replied.
“There will be some action very soon. The slayer's mother will begin to remember Benezia's life which may cause her to become unbalanced.” Amalia said as she rotated her computer monitor around showing floorplans to a complex of some kind. A question nagged at the man.
“Miss Lawson, why don't you use more advanced technology?” He asked.
“Camoflauge, Mister Kingston.” Amalia replied. “As Lawson Industries becomes more prominent, I can upgrade with more advanced technology that will leave my competitors in the dust.”
He turned his attention back to the floorplan. “What am I looking at?” He asked.
“The headquarters of the International Watchers' Council.” Amalia replied. “I plan on killing every man and woman inside before removing the library, looting the vaults, and planting a one kiloton nuclear device in the council chambers with Travers handcuffed to the bomb along with the rest of the senior council.”
Elias smiled. “You don't fuck around.”
“In what I am charged to do, I don't have the luxury to fuck around, Mister Kingston.” Amalia said. “How long will it take you to get your men ready to do what needs to be done?”
“Provided those Kodiaks of yours are used, I'd say seven hours.” Elias replied. “I take it that you will be coming along.”
“I need to make sure.” Amalia said.
Her hospital room doors opened again and she watched Garrus walk into the room. He sat down next to the bed.
“Come back from the dead, restart the universe, what is going to be your next trick, Shepard?” He asked her with a smile.
“Hell, Garrus.” She replied. “I was going to try walking on water.”
“Actually, that one's been done.” Garrus said as he saw Shepard raise an eyebrow. “Back when I was in C-Sec, I saw an asari do it with her biotics. I heard a few humans nearby say it was sacraligious.”
“It's good to see you again, Garrus.” Willow said. “We have to stop meeting like this.”
“I don't know,” Garrus replied. “some of my best adventures have been meeting up with you after you returned from the dead.”
“Garrus, I know you and everybody expect me to suddenly be the big badass Spectre that you all know and love but...” Willow said.
“I don't expect you to suddenly be the hero of the galaxy, Shepard.” Garrus replied. “That place that you regrew up had an...I guess the best thing I could say was that it had an evil spirit inhabiting the place. What was with that town anyway? That town makes Omega feel like Mayberry.”
“You've watched Andy Griffith?” Willow asked.
“Blame Vega.” He replied. “You didn't answer my question though.”
“Sunnydale seems like your average California town but it does have one key landmark that wouldn't appear on any travel brochure.” Willow said. “The high school lays on top of the Hellmouth.”
“That doesn't sound good.” Garrus said.
“Vampires and various other demons swarm Sunnydale and the only person who can stop them---”
“Is you.” Garrus interrupted her.
“No, actually.” Willow said. “She was the one who took you, Grunt, and James on back on Earth.”
“So, she's magically enhanced.” Garrus said as the hospital room doors opened. He turned to see Miranda standing there. “Miranda, what's wrong?”
She said nothing as she walked over to Willow's bed. The dark haired biotic leaned down and captured Willow's lips with her own. Garrus' jaw dropped as he tried to comprehend what was going on it front of him. After a few more moments passed, Miranda pulled away from Willow.
“I'm pregnant, Shepard,” She said. “and according to the DNA results, you're the father.”
A shocked look formed on Willow's face. “Oh...” She said. “...boy.”
She promptly fainted.