All characters from the Dune Universe are property of the Frank Herbert Estate. All characters from the Buffyverse are Property of Joss Whedon. Everything else belongs to me.
“Everything in the Universe is Holy because creation itself is a divine act. But the divine cannot tell us who we are. We have to discover that for ourselves. Accepting our true nature is the last act of creation.”
- Paul Muad'dib, “The Last Sandworm”
A small group of humans stood at the rear landing area of the Arrakis chapterhouse. Buffy Summers stood between Abd and Trinity. Basilah stood in back of them. Trinity looked fragile. Her eyes were sunken and haunted. The doctors cleared her for travel. She looked more like a specter than a young girl. Abd stood on the other side of Buffy. He was both elated and terrified beyond belief. His research trip to Arrakis had turned up more information about the secret history of this world than any of the thousands of academic papers he had read. Abd always felt that history was myth but only now did he realize how mythic reality could be. As discussed earlier between them, Abd kept his recorder handy. The Ixian device recorded a total environmental view. Buffy was tired of secrets. She’d promised him that he could publish papers on anything he found interesting.
“I just want to warn you.” Buffy had told him. “We are definitely through the looking glass here. What feels like a million years ago I met a group of people who thought they could take the initiative against the supernatural. They were wrong. They paid for their arrogance. I pray that we don’t.” Under the shaded reinforced concrete overhang Abd turned and spoke to Buffy.
“How do we get there?” He asked. “All of the flyers are damaged.”
“No problem.” Buffy said. “We’ll take my ship.” Buffy pressed a button on something that looked like a small keyring. She placed the device back into its compartment. Buffy was still ruffled that it took almost two hundred years before she found the pockets on her white armor suit. Minutes later a black shape fell from the sky. It was over three hundred meters long. The skin of it was oily and black. Its surface bristled with offensive weapons. Abd was fascinated by the ship’s shape. His eyes grew big as he recognized it.
“That’s a slayer
ship!” He said. Abd’s studies of Leto’s slayers had shown him images from the first Slayer- Fish Speaker War. He’d recognized that Buffy’s ship was from that era almost immediately. He remembered something else about her ship.
“That ship was built by the machines of the synchronized worlds!” He exclaimed.
The Slayers, after scattering from Dune during the Fish Speaker occupation had returned from the dark places of the galaxy with ships created by the same thinking machines that once tried to exterminate the human race. It was only after Liam had come into his power that the Slayer ships executed commands hidden within billions of lines of command code. For twenty years the overmind of the machine worlds had studied the physiology and pathology of the slayers. When they could no longer wait, the ships of the slayer fleet turned against their masters. Liam was able to stop them by shutting down every single slayer ship in the galaxy simultaneously after he had stopped the flagship of the fleet from incinerating the Arrakis capital city with a stream of antimatter.
“I ripped out its brain a long time ago.” Buffy said. “It’s perfectly domesticated.” The “Liam Atreides” touched down in the desert sand. They waited until the dust had settled then made their way towards the ship. Minutes later powerful engines sprang to life as the black ship leapt into the sky.
After the ground had fallen away from them they could see the deep black of space. The “Liam Atreides” skirted between darkness and the world.
“History records that after the death of Leto II came the great scattering. “ Abd said. “Humans scattered to nearly every star in the galaxy and beyond. No single catastrophe can destroy us all. Yet you’re telling me these “Old Ones” could eradicate all life in the galaxy?”
“The Old Ones are like nothing you have ever encountered before.” Buffy said. “They are not bound by the rules of nature. They corrupt and destroy everything they touch. They are monsters.”
“You sound judgmental.” Abd said.
“I’m a slayer. I hate them.” Buffy replied. Abd found her responses interesting.
“What is a slayer?” He asked. Buffy looked for the words that convey her life’s experience.
“The slayer is the hand of a force beyond the world.” Buffy realized how lame that sounded. “I fight monsters.” She said. Abd didn’t understand. Buffy clarified. “I am compelled to fight evil by any means necessary.” Abd found the use of the word “evil” to be quaint. As a respected academic, he found the use of such a word a sign of an unsophisticated mind. It was his experience that “evil” was simply what the winners called the losers. Buffy spoke of it as if it was a force like gravity or magnetism.
“Do you have any choice?” Abd asked. “Have you tried not
being a slayer?” Buffy almost laughed. Her mother had asked her that thousands of years ago.
“We are what we are. Accepting our true nature…” Buffy remembered Paul Muad’Dib speaking those words to her aboard “Her Graceful Measure.” She nearly drowned in the wave of emotions that overcame her. A tear formed in the corner of her eye.
“No moisture for the dead.” She thought. She could feel the hands and touch and laughter of everyone she had lost over the last five hundred years. She missed Surayya and Moto, and Lisa and Liam. Dracula was gone. Even the father of her son no longer spoke to her. Because he was Kwisatz Haderach, Muad’Dib had come to her in more than just her dreams. She never accepted until now just how lonely she was. Her Bene Gesserit training kicked in to compartmentalize the pain. All Abd saw was a shiver move up Buffy’s spine.
“No.” Was her answer. “I don’t have a choice. I am what I am.” Buffy stole a glance back to Trinity. She wondered if the impossible girl had any say in what she would become. Buffy switched topics.
“Old One’s didn’t have genes.” Buffy said. “They were created whole. They’re pieces of the Destroyer seduced to the dark side by the Senior Partners. So what the hell are they injecting into these young girls?” Buffy remembered hearing the rush of water and the sounds of worlds unseen.
“Whatever they are, they have access to higher spatial dimensions.” Buffy thought. “Could they have found something in the multiverse?” That possibility hit her with a certain terror. “They could be using anything.” She thought.
“Well, Basilah?” Buffy asked. “Is there anything you want to tell me? Was my son’s cells used for this? Do not lie.” Basilah looked at Buffy with hints of pure hate. She chose her next words carefully.
“All I know is that there is a laboratory beneath the sands. I have no idea of what they did or what you will find.” She said.
“Nice use of ambivalence.” Buffy thought. “Ignorance is a shield used by those who do not wish to take responsibility. She knows something.” Buffy knew she would have a confrontation with the Bene Gesserit later. For now she needed the information she had locked inside of her. Buffy looked down at Trinity sitting in the seat next to hers. Trinity looked pale and very fragile.
“Poor kid never had a chance.” Buffy thought. Trinity looked up at her.
“Neither one of us had a choice.” She said. Buffy agreed.
The ship landed in the desert a few yards from the smoking pit. It hit the desert floor with a slight thump. Everyone got out. Buffy lead the way. She peeled a line of steel cable from her ship. She threw it down the pit. Buffy gave everyone gloves except Trinity. Buffy hoisted her on across her back.
“I’ll go first.” Buffy said. “Abd you follow. Basilah will bring up the rear. If you try to run the “Liam” will cut you down with a pulse terawatt laser. Basilah noticed for the first time a small glowing dot on her back. Buffy looked into the abyss for a moment.
“Let’s go.” She said as she led the way.
They moved through the darkness past viles of glass and liquid potions, past chambers that smelled of dust and age and darkness. They walked on floors of stone and steel both wet and sticky and smooth and dry. Buffy led the way lighting the darkness with a soft blue-white glow emitted from her hands. They were an hour into the pit when they found the bodies. They entered a room brightly lit by hidden generators. The glow of the florescent bulbs gave everything a dead green tint. Four bodies lay slumped across separate worktables.
“Looks like the Andromeda strain has been here.” Buffy muttered to herself. She looked around. She didn’t spot any biohazard signs. “What nastiness have they been cooking up here?” Buffy wondered. They continued walking past the bodies into the next room. Abd recognized some of the equipment in the new room. He was on his way to get a better look when Buffy stopped him.
“That’s definitely Bene Tleilax equipment.” Abd said to Buffy. “Appears to be gene splicers and genetic storage devices.” Buffy looked at him.
“Genetic storage devices?” She said.
“Thousands of years ago humans figured out a way to store information in DNA. Even with their primitive equipment they could store thousands of terabits of data.” Abd looked over the equipment in the room. “This is massive.” He said as his hands over the glowing dials and readouts. “Whatever scale of information is stored here, I have to invent new words to describe.”
“Anything here ring a bell?” Buffy asked Basilah. The Bene Gesserit nodded in the negative. Buffy looked around the room. She noticed huge barrels of sand.
“That’s weird.” She said. “You’d think they would be trying to keep the dust out but they bring barrels of sand into the lab.”
“Unless they were experimenting with the sand.” Abd said.
“Or on the sand.” Said Buffy. She remembered her son killing the First. As the First fell into the infinite volume of the multiverse bolts of mystical energy burned the planet. Buffy put the pieces together.
“They were trying to extract the mystical energies of the First!” Buffy exclaimed. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t notice Abd had already walked over to one of the consoles. He was gesturing at something on one of the monitors.
“That’s a Holtzman drive!” He said excitedly. “It can push a massive Heighliner through hyperspace. It folds space itself at the quantum level.” Buffy pushed pass him to get a closer look. She noticed runes scribed into the surface of the drive.
“This is not good.” She said. She recognized the writings as a prayer to Eyrishon the Endless One. “They opened a portal.” Buffy thought. “Those damned idiots opened a portal to the multiverse.” Buffy felt Trinity standing next to her.
“In the void of formless time Eyrishon awaits.” She said. Her voice was a soft lisp. “And in strange eons even death may die.” Buffy looked at her sharply. Trinity turned to look back at something moving in the darkness.
“I hear something.” Trinity said. They all looked around. A low shuffling sound came from the darkness behind them.
“We walked through that.” Buffy thought. “Everyone get behind me.” Buffy said. They moved behind the slayer.
They emerged from the darkness. The four bodies laying dead at their console shuffled towards them. Strips of mangled flesh hung off of their rotting bones.
“Zombies!” Buffy thought. “This is so Wolfram and Hart.” The lead zombie turned and noticed her.
“I’ll kill the first one that mentions brains.” Buffy made sure everyone was behind her. “These guys are slow as dirt. What harm could they do?” The zombies flicked. They shot across the room faster than the eye could follow. Dead hands pulled at Buffy lifting her off her feet. They tossed her into the air. She crashed into the wall on the other side of the room. Rotting teeth bit at Abd. Basilah grabbed the zombie by its throat and pushed it back. A small blade appeared from her bodice. A second zombie made a grab for Trinity. Basilah stabbed down then across severing an arm. The zombie fell back. A dead arm swept across Basilah’s face slamming her head backwards. Ragged fingernails tore at her skin. Trinity screamed. A blast of green white fire came out of nowhere incinerating two of the zombies. Buffy walked through the expanding ash. She came up on her toes and in the Prana-bindu way of muscle control taught to her by the Bene Gesserit she brought her leg up a lashed out decapitating a third zombie with the tips of her toes. Abd was mortified. He hung on to Trinity. He planned on keeping the young girl safe. The last zombie suddenly appeared before him. It grabbed at Trinity. She screamed. The zombie jerked as Buffy’s foot slammed into its spine shattering the vertebrate. The zombie dropped her. Like a deadly ballerina, Buffy pivoted bringing the flat of her foot down across the back of the zombie’s head. She pinned it face first to the wall. There was a moment of silence as shock overwhelmed Abd and Basilah. Buffy inhaled sharply filling her bloodstream with oxygen. She pushed forward crushing the zombie’s face into the wall. It slumped to the floor. She looked down at Trinity. Her eyes were wild, monstrous. It took her a moment to remember how to be human. Buffy lowered her leg.
“Let’s see what else we can find.” She said. Buffy gestured for the others to follow.
They walked along a white hallway that opened up into a huge cavern. Basilah’s arm had stopped bleeding. She walked with a slight limp. Abd had a furrowed look on his face that Buffy recognized. If he had a pair of glasses he would have polished them by now. Buffy spoke with Trinity.
“What did you mean about Eyrishon, sweetie?” Buffy asked her. Trinity looked up at her with a puzzled expression. The slayer should already know this by now.
“Eyrishon is the all space, the connecting point between the universes.” She said. “Eyrishon is but one aspect of the Kwisatz Haderach.” Buffy stopped cold.
“You’re not telling me…” Buffy said. Trinity cut her off.
“The Kwisatz Haderach cannot die.
” She said. “It is beyond time, it exists in strange eons where even death may die.”
“No.” Buffy refused to believe the implication. She pushed that horrible hope out of her mind and focused on the thing before them. The white hallway ended in a cavern. In the center of the cavern was a pit nearly a kilometer wide. There were bubbling monstrous sounds coming from the pit. The width of it was covered by a dead grey fog lit with blood red light from beneath.
“This is the great work.” Trinity said. She walked towards the pit without fear. She felt at home here. Buffy heard the roar from below.
“What is that?” Buffy asked.
“We’ve awakened it.” Trinity said.
“What? What have we awakened?” Buffy asked.
“The part of myself I’ve left behind.” Trinity looked up at Buffy her eyes wide with a strange and alien wonder. “I am a twin.” A deafening roar came from below. The room shook. A bubble of black rose in the fog. Tentacles hundreds of meters long slithered out of the pit.
is coming.” She said. Buffy pulled Trinity close to her. The cavern shuttered as something massive crawled up from the depths of Arrakis. A wall of shimmering gelatinous black heaved itself up and out of nowhere rings of light appeared around it. An army of machines appeared and spun a web of light around the huge mass. There was thunder, and then they were gone.
“They took it.” Buffy thought. She recognized the machines. She knew what she was up against.
“We’re not ready.” Buffy said. “Time to go.” Everyone looked at her with relief. On their way out of the pit she noticed a living sample of tissue in one of the labs.
“Analyze that.” She said to Basilah. The Bene Gesserit took a sample and placed it in a hand held device.
While she was fighting, Buffy’s mind was working. The part of her trained as a mentat shifted through the facts. This project, whatever its original goals were had changed directions several times.
“Somebody high jacked this project.” She thought. “Whoever started off examining the mystical sands did not engineer the monster in the pit or open a portal to another universe.”
When they were back aboard the “Liam Atreides” Basilah had her results.
“I’ve finished the analysis of generic material you found.” Basilah said. “Best match makes it human from a five hundred year old sample cross referenced to Leto’s Slayers. It belongs to a Willow Rosenberg.” Buffy looked at Basilah surprised.
“Yes, we sampled her too.” Basilah said. “You can add that to our list of sins.” Buffy did.