Holodeck Program Buffy 1 0 - 3 1 - 1 9 9 7
A/N: And now we get to the meat of the matter. After-all, why is it always Xander that everyone wants to give the big power-up to. Many thanks again to ReadsaLot for betaing this. I hope the changes I made in response to your comments made things better and not worse. ;)Holodeck Program Buffy One Zero dash Three One dash One Nine Nine SevenIn One of the Many Star Trek Universes – Several Years Previously:
It had started out as a what-if scenario. Xander, Jessie, Buffy and Willow had been relaxing in 'The Fire Pit', sipping synthehol cocktails when the PROMETHEUS' helmsman had started chattering about his latest obsession. Namely the late twentieth century fashion of horror as entertainment.
The security chief had laughed into her drink. “Xander, that has got to be the most insane fixation you've come up with yet!”
Willow noted that as soon as the battle of wits was joined, the others taking advantage of the lounge located in the forward most part of the ship began drifting closer, while leaving a moat of empty tables between themselves and the combatants.
“You might not think it so silly if you came to movie night.”
“I did. And I liked 'Aliens' much better than 'Alien'.” She gave him a slow grin. “Ripley kicked ass in the second movie.”
At the edge of the crowd, Chief Wells started a wave of laughter with a well-placed “Game over man!”
Willow joined the chuckles as Xander nodded in acknowledgment and re-engaged. “Ah, so you DO like the genre, but only the ones where the supposed victims are empowered to fight back.”
“Not much point to them otherwise.” Buffy was suddenly standing behind her chair, gesturing broadly and beginning to walk in a tight circle. “I mean really. Whaa whaa Freddy with fingers like your superhero fixation last year...”
“... terrified scream: ooo some anonymous guy in a plastic mask. Run away, it's some jerk with a primitive woodcutting tool. Eeek. A vampire...” Buffy's fists crashed into the table-top with a thud. “Shall I go on?”
Willow stifled the building laughter and looked at her security chief. “Eeek, a vampire???”
“Eeek,” Buffy deadpanned.
Xander's eyes bored into those of the two ladies at the table in turn as he thumbed his hairless chin thoughtfully. Twisting in his seat he looked across the table to his partner in crime. “Jessie. I know what we're going to do today!”~~~***~~~Aboard Klorel's Ha'tak:
“How long do you think?”
“I am uncertain, O'Neill. This ha'tak has been extensively modified. Apophis' nearest world is some month's travel by ship from your world. We appear to be moving significantly faster than that.”
The Colonel turned away from the window his team had stumbled across. As his eyes swept across Daniel, the team's archaeologist and linguist shrugged.
“At least now we know why we couldn't dial out. There is no origin point for hyperspace.”
“Okay campers,” O'Neill hefted his P-90 and resettled his pack. “More C-4 to place, more snakes to piss off.”
“At least there aren't any mosquitoes,” Sam groused as Teal'c slipped out the door to take point.~~~***~~~22:00 Hours – Friday, October 31st 1997– Sunnydale California
Captain Rosenberg staggered backwards into the post holding the roof up over the porch on which she was standing. Looking around she immediately noticed a large number of small creatures scattering across the lawn that adjoined the porch. Shaking her head, she tried to figure out where she was and how she had gotten there. One moment she had been in her ready-room, sipping a coffee and reviewing status reports. The next, she was standing in the middle of what looked suspiciously like one of her CON officer's more recent holodeck creations.
Again nothing. Surely she was on the ship? Tapping her comm-badge she tried a different angle. “Rosenberg to Harris.”
A moment of silence was thankfully broken. “Harris here Captain. Wherever here is.”
“Here looks a hell of a lot like your Vampire Slayer program.”“You're right Captain. However, there is no response from the ship's computer and if that's not responding then we should consider that the safeties are off too.”
Willow winced. “Agreed. We should link up. This looks like Summers' least favorite of your scenarios.”“What, just because I made her play the damsel in distress...”
“I'm at the ghost start position,” she cut him off. “I'm moving toward the soldier boy start position. Meet me there, if that's not where you are already.”“Yes Ma'am.”~~~***~~~
Andrew had no idea what whatever the thing truly was. All he knew was that it came out of nowhere, blindsiding the guy who looked like Petty Officer Jonathan Levinson. Though the other man, who was dressed in a beige tunic and brown, loose fitting breeches, had said his name was Jacen. The two of them seemed to have arrived wherever it was that they were at the same moment, blinking in confusion and dizziness. He had called the other man Jonathan, only to be strongly corrected almost as the thing
flew out of the shadows.
A quick shot from his phaser sent the creature fleeing into the darkness. Dropping quickly, he checked for obvious injuries, flinching when his hand came away from the other person's head sticky and wet.
Reaching up with his clean hand, he tapped his comm badge. “PROMETHEUS, Chief Wells. Medical emergency, two to beam directly to sickbay.”
“No crew are currently available to operate the transporter,” the ship's computer responded. “Please state automated systems override code.”
The Chief blinked. What the hell?!?
He was going to tear the duty crewmen a new anterior orifice for failing to be on station in the transporter room. “PROMETHEUS, authorization Wells Omicron Zeta Zeta Three Foxtrot Niner.”
“Override acknowledged. Initiating transport.” Bright light encompassed the two young men and then there was nothing but the amber glow of argon vapor lights and a blackish glistening spot on the pavement.~~~***~~~
“Xander Harris! If this is another one of your practical jokes you're going to learn to swim. In a vacuum. WITHOUT a space suit!”
The scream, clearly heard and understood from over a block away, echoed off of the buildings populating the charmingly rustic late twentieth-century neighborhood. Its volume and vehemence startled the aforementioned target out of his detailed study of the disturbing readouts on his tricorder.
“Lieutenant Commander,” Willow chuckled. “If you do have something to do with this, I think you should come clean. Before
we reach my security chief.”
Xander swallowed nervously. “Captain, it's not anything I've done. In fact, tricorder readings indicate that we are actually on a planet. There are no signs of force fields, modern materials, or higher energy waveforms in a detectable radius.”
“Then perhaps you can explain to me why someone would have built a real place based on a holodrama you and your deceased best friend cooked up several years ago? A holodrama that, to the best of my knowledge, has never been communicated to any other vessel?”
“Actually Captain, Jessie and I based it on a pre-warp entertainment program. However, I don't think this is the result of some nefarious plot against the Federation. If you would Ma'am, look up.” Xander pointed toward the sky above the eastern horizon.
Willow followed the line of his arm pointing toward a near vertical string of three stars with three dim ones depending southward from the one closest to the horizon, like a dagger hung from a belt.
“No!” Her voice serious with an unspoken 'way' drifting in the trailing silence.
“While the constellation Orion can be recognized from a number of Federation planets, the specific configuration of those stars in combination with the other patterns currently visible means that we are on Earth. An Earth that distinctly lacks our accustomed level of technology.”
Pulling out her own tricorder, Willow began rapidly reprogramming it to look for specific quantum signatures. “Damn!”
“What?!” The security chief asked, arriving in a loud rustle of silk and petticoats.
“Somehow, Commander, we're no longer in our own universe.” Willow handed Buffy the tricorder, pointing at the relevant readings.
“You mean we're actually in a universe where that stupid program of yours...”
“Is real, yes Commander.”
The three Starfleet officers stood under the amber streetlamp looking at each other, their jaw's hanging open as the implications sank home.“Captain Rosenberg, this is Chief Wells. I'm aboard the PROMETHEUS... and she is deserted.”
“Where the hell is everybody?!?” Andrew spun in a circle, taking in the empty sickbay. “Computer activate EMH!”
A lanky, blue-eyed young woman with long dark hair braided down her back, shimmered into existence in front of the Chief Medical Officer's office. “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”
Captain Rosenberg and her CMO had worked together to upgrade the Emergency Medical Hologram. During a particular nasty planetary evacuation, the EMH's acerbic nature had caused numerous problems amongst the evacuees when it had been activated to assist with the attendant volume of wounded. The result had been an upgrade known aboard as the Diagnostic Avatar With Nurturing Skills or DAWN S.
Andrew gestured to the young man who had been transported atop one of the diagnostic beds. “Head injury, DAWN.”
“Understood,” the holographic doctor nodded, moving swiftly to activate the diagnostic bed and begin treating the injured party.
With the immediate emergency now in capable hands, the Chief stepped into the CMO's office. “Computer, please identify the location of the ship's crew.”“Currently Chief Petty Officer Andrew Wells is the only crewmember aboard ship.”
'Damn.' Andrew stepped back out of the office. “DAWN, something odd is going on. I have to go to the bridge. “
“Affirmative Chief. If I need you I will contact you there.”
A jog down the corridor was followed by a turbolift ride that dumped him out at the port aft corner of the PROMETHEUS' bridge. Swinging around the doorframe, the young NCO threw himself into the seat at the first sensory station. “Computer, scan for Starfleet Communications.”“Sensors detect a small collection of comm-badges on the west coast of the smaller northern continent we are in orbit above. No other Starfleet signals are detected inside the present system.”
“Identify the Starfleet personnel to whom those badges are currently assigned and display list on screen.”
The Chief had to fight down the urge to panic. With a ship that had a normal crew numbering near a thousand, the sensors were only able to locate a mere handful of Starfleet personnel. Many of which were names he did not recognize. Luckily three grouped together at the top of the list were familiar.
A quick sequence of commands slaved the communication board to the station he was working from. “Captain Rosenberg, this is Chief Wells. I'm aboard the PROMETHEUS... and she is deserted.”“Chief, good to hear your voice. You say you are aboard ship?”
To his ears she sounded somewhat disbelieving.
“Affirmative Captain. Near as I can tell the ship is intact and fully operational. However, I am the only crewman aboard. I beamed up with an injured civilian who looks suspiciously like Petty Officer Levinson, though he denied it before he was injured. DAWN S is looking after him in the sickbay.”“Understood Chief. We appear to be on a pre-warp alternate Earth. React accordingly. My ship is currently in your hands. We appear to have a bit of an odd situation. I'm going to need you to transport any Starfleet personnel and certain other persons aboard shortly.”
“I'll be standing by in the transporter room in three minutes Ma'am.”“Rosenberg out.”
Andrew cursed a blue streak. Starfleet ships were highly automated, but they were not designed to operate with no crew. He needed help. “Computer, activate EHCC-3.”
Holograms shimmered into being at the helm, ops, communications and captain's stations. The EHCC-3 was the most complex of the Emergency Holographic Command Crew options. The four virtual crewmen each bore the short, balding appearance of the former EMH program from which they had been modeled. All were actually controlled by a single program but were able to access the dedicated functions of the separate stations more efficiently than attempting to operate the ship from a single console.
“Please state the nature of the command emergency,” the hologram at the Captain's chair stated.
“Currently there are only two corporeal presences aboard ship. Myself and an injured civilian. The situation is uncertain and the Captain is on the planet below,” Andrew briefed the hologram. “I am needed in the transporter room. Captain Rosenberg indicates that we are in a possible pre-warp contact situation. We must protect the ship's current status and maintain contact with those Starfleet personnel planetside while I retrieve them upon the Captain's orders. You have the bridge until relieved.”
“Understood Chief. Prime Directive and first-contact protocols.” Turning to his holo-clones the ECH began rattling off orders. “Yellow alert! Take the ship silent and dark. EMCON in effect. Reduce all communications to tight-beam only and douse all running lights. Modulate shields to minimize electromagnetic reflection. Helm, use thrusters to move us to the outer edge of transporter range.”
The turbolift door whooshed shut, cutting the Chief off from the litany of commands being issued by the ECH.~~~***~~~“Attention all Starfleet personnel. This is Captain Willow Rosenberg of the Federation Starship PROMETHEUS. Unknown events appear to have drawn a number of us out of our home dimension. Assume all first contact and Prime Directive protocols are in operation.”
Janna glanced at her companion, one of the rare human adepts of the way of Surak. His emotionless mien granted the joined Trill no hint of his thoughts or opinions. The two of them had awakened to find themselves seated at a wooden table surrounded by row upon row of shelves loaded with books. By their hands sat steaming mugs of Earth tea. A short exploration had shown them to be in the library of a primitive facility of learning. The message had caught them just as they had returned to the table.
Pulling out her medical tricorder she quickly made the same series of adjustments that Captain Rosenberg had earlier. A frown forming on her face she studied the readings before detaching the hand scanner and running it over herself and her companion.'Rash?''Yes petite?'
Janna fought down the smile her symbiote's pet name for her always seemed to bring. 'These readings.''Indeed. It appears that all would not be as it seems.' 'Note the waveform entwining with our quantum signatures.''Unstable, chaotic and breaking down.'
“Ambassador Giles,” the Trill handed him the tricorder. “Would you take a look at these readings?”
Looking at the readouts he arched his right eyebrow. “Katric waveforms?”
“That's what we thought too.”
The Vulcan trained human composed himself, suppressing the sudden need within to do extreme violence upon someone. “While theorized, this exceeds the abilities of the Federation's most advanced technologies. The imposition of an individual's essence upon another is ethically reprehensible. For it to be done in such a cavalier fashion that it is clearly breaking down...”
“So we are imprints upon someone else's form?”
Janna performed a quick calculation based on the rate of decay of the waveform. “Based on this, the overwriting of our hosts by the waveform will cease in approximately four hours.”
“Unless we take action to end this travesty sooner.” The Starfleet officer's eyes shot up at the unexpected tint of menace and anger from her companion.~~~***~~~
“What do we do now, Captain?” Xander asked, keeping a wary eye out for further encounters with the Sunnydale nightlife.
“Whatever brought us here is somewhere in this town. If it is anything like your little holodrama, then I would assume that this reality has a mystical nature, which means finding it will not be that simple,” Willow replied.
“Why not?” Buffy asked. “After-all, in the program, the Giles character just has to break the Janus bust at Ethan's to end the spell.”
A piercing scream interrupted their conversation, sending the three running, phasers at the ready. Rounding the corner onto Revello Drive they came across a well-endowed young woman wearing a leopard print cat costume being attacked by a humanoid canid. Low-power phaser shots sent the dog-boy running. Unfortunately, at the last moment the girl had been tossed in the path of one of the beams, stunning her unconscious.
“That settles it.” Willow growled before slamming her hand on her comm-badge. “Rosenberg to PROMETHEUS.”“PROMETHEUS here, Captain,”
the ECH responded.
“Put me through to Chief Wells.”“Wells here.”
“Mr. Wells, start contacting and beaming up the other Starfleet signals. Summers, Harris and I are going to attempt to put an end to whatever brought us here and I want everyone possible on-board before that happens.”“Affirmative Captain.”
“What about the civilian?” Buffy asked, pointing at the unconscious cat-girl, the hairband with the attached velveteen ears now crooked on her head.
Xander knelt down and waved the tricorder over her body. “We can't leave her out here, Ma'am. She'll be unconscious for hours.”
Willow looked around then pointed. “In the program, isn't that supposed to be Buffy's house?”
Xander and Buffy glanced over their shoulders then nodded.
“Then let's get her inside there. She should be safe while we try to reach Ethan's.”~~~***~~~
“Listen Lieutenant Mears. My Captain is senior ranking officer on scene. She has ordered all Starfleet personnel and Federation Citizens brought on board. This is non-negotiable. If you don't like it, I'll have you beamed directly to our ship's brig and held there until she arrives back from the surface.”
Andrew slammed his fist down on the console, breaking the connection. Looking over his shoulder at the holographic crewman he had activated to operate the transporter he shook his head. “Beam that pain in my backside directly to the Fire Pit with the rest of them.”
Looking at the list, PROMETHEUS Chief of the Boat made an executive decision.
“We don't have time to argue with anyone else. From here on, I call them and tell them they're beaming up.” He looked at the holo-crewman. “You energize as soon as their combadge gives a lock.”~~~***~~~
“Oy!” A lazy voice drawled from the shadows. “Well, if it isn't the little slayer and her tasty chewtoys.”
“Spike,” Xander snarled. “I shoulda known we'd run into you tonight.”
“So, what're you lousy bunch of ponces supposed to be tonight?”
“Starfleet officers,” Buffy snapped as she took aim and flambe'd the vampire's nearest minion.
Phaser fire lanced outward from the three of them, stunning the child-monsters while setting the vampires aflame. With a girlish scream, Spike dove behind a nearby dumpster. A scrape of metal followed by a loud clang indicated the completion of his retreat from the battle into the Sunnydale sewers.
“Come on,” Xander bounced to the end of the alley. “Ethan's is just a few more blocks.”
“ARRR! Hand over the wen...”
The phaser in his hands spat fire once more. “Give me a break!” Xander rolled his eyes as he stepped on
the now unconscious pirate.~~~***~~~
As a young man, still a teen even, Ambassador Giles had befriended the son of a Vulcan family on the colony world of Churchill. Life on the agrarian colony had been pleasant, even idyllic for the young man, with open fields and unspoiled woodlands in which to adventure. His imagination even managed to occasionally draw emotions from young Storic. Such moments of personal adventure were treasured, until the day the raiders came and attacked his town.
Rupert came home to find his parents and brothers slaughtered. Of his sisters there was no sign. On that evening rage flared in the former home of the Giles family. Anger burned bright and the Ripper was born. Many stories long circulated on Churchill of that night, of the boy with an axe and a bush knife who visited death upon they who took those he loved. Most of the stories were myth; embellishments by people who only saw the aftermath of a bloodied boy leading two young and no longer innocent girls into town at the dawn. Tales told by the party who found what remained of the raiders in their camp.
The girls, already witnesses to so much horror, never spoke of what occurred that night. Though they clung to him at times they also held themselves apart from him as well, a wariness that acknowledged their debt to and fear of their brother. Myths often have a grain of truth after-all.
The town embraced the three young Giles survivors but the boy knew in his heart that something terrible had changed within him. The Ripper was that something and it was truly terrible.
Through Storic, Rupert knew Vulcans. He knew that they were not emotionless but instead so deeply and passionately emotional that their emotions could only be held in check by the most rigid of disciplines.
So he went to Storic's family and he explained about the Ripper. The part of himself so hideous that it could never be allowed to again see the light of day. And that day he found that his beliefs of the Vulcans were true and he was embraced by them for having the strength of will to face down his own worst nature. That day he found love to fill the hole left by the raiders who took his kin. Storic's family agreed with him that his passion needed tempering and that his will, though strong needed steel.
Thus the Vulcan family returned to their homeworld, having adopted young Giles. Sponsoring him as one of the few humans to not only study the Vulcan disciplines but even to the beginnings of Kolinar. Studying the most sacred of Vulcan arts not as a means to understand the Vulcan people, but for the very reason that the Vulcan's themselves once took up the mastery of the art. For Rupert Giles' spirit was a Vulcan not born of Vulcan.
Giles glanced up at the sign above the door.
“Ethan's.” He read aloud. “The source of the katric waves is within?”
Once more Janna flinched at the growl that seemed to slip from beneath the ambassador's impassive expression. “Rash and I concur. The source is within the shop.”
Giving an uncharacteristic crack of his knuckles Rupert Giles gave slip to his tight emotional controls, letting the Ripper loose to kick open the shop's door. The violent crash startled a scream out of the tall man behind the counter counting the till.
“Where is it?” The Ripper growled.
“Why Rupert old bean... wait. Is that one of mine? Oh this is
In two strides the man in the long, embroidered and hooded robes crossed the floor, his right hand closing around the shopkeeper's neck and lifting him across the counter.
“Where is the abomination that is creating the katric waves?!” Feral hatred flowed freely from the ambassador's voice as the gleam of terrors yet to be applied shown in his eyes.
“Katric waves?” Ethan squeaked.
“The device that is over-writing our personalities onto these hosts,” Janna stated, her right hand resting on her phaser while she swept the room with her tricorder. Following the signal she stepped into the back room, the ambassador following, still holding Ethan off the floor by the throat.
The Ripper's fingers flexed eliciting another squeak from the salesman. “WHERE!”
“The bust,” Ethan coughed. “Bust of Janus.”
Janna swept her scanner all around the two-headed statue. “I'm not sure how but it is the source.”
Giles pinned Ethan to the wall beside the door. “How do we stop it?”
Ethan paled. The Ripper he had known had a dangerous side but never like this. “B-b-break it.”
Flinging the simpering wreck aside, Giles flowed to the table, looking carefully at the statue before taking it in his hands and raising it above his head.
Janna's comm-badge chirped. “Commander Kalderash. Prepare to be beamed aboard the PROMETHEUS.”
Giles' arms came down hard and fast. Simultaneous flashes of green and white light lit the room. The green moving outward from the shattered bust in a wave, lifting the possessions off of the affected people. The white light confined to a narrow circle around the person being beamed to the ship.~~~***~~~
In the front of Ethan's shop Willow, Xander and Buffy stood, each holding a prop phaser out as the wave passed beyond them.
“W-what's going on.” Willow asked.
“Dunno. How'd we get here?”
A crash from the back room drew their attention and Buffy rushed forward.~~~***~~~
Propagating at the speed of light the green wave washed outward in a sphere, reaching the PROMETHEUS and sweeping through her as the holographic crewman worked the transporter controls.
Feeling queasy, Andrew looked around the room. Then he looked around again. Squealing like a girl at a Backstreet Boys concert he promptly fainted.~~~***~~~
Joyce looked around the ultra-modern lounge she found herself in. Last she remembered was being at the costume party and hobnobbing with potential clients for her gallery. Now she was in this room, with about twenty other people. All of them wearing Star Trek costumes from various eras, hers being a rather well tailored gold and black two piece Next Generation uniform. A squeal from a young girl caused a rush of people to the windows.
Looking to her right, Joyce smiled at the sight of a three-quarter moon looking far crisper than she was used to seeing it under the October southern California sky. Looking to her left she saw a brilliant blue crescent Earth.
Staggering backward she collapsed into a nearby seat. “Oohh booy...”~~~***~~~
Light flashed in Jenny's eyes. One moment she thought she saw Rupert standing over a shattered piece of statuary in a dingy back room, then the next she was standing here in some kind of kitschy bar or lounge. Everyone else in the room was over by a row of windows, staring outward. Curious, she began to approach one of the others to ask how she got there.
That was when something shifted in her belly.'Well Petite, that was interesting.'
With a squeak, Jenny Calendar fainted.A/Endnote: Okay, so playing things a bit different, what with having the characters aware of the Buffyverse but believing it to be fiction. It's an approach I hadn't seen anyone take yet (not that I've read every Halloween fic). Remember, reviews are the currency by which we are paid. =D
By popular demand this is the link to the USS Omega specs in the TTH discussion 'Looking for an Angelfish'. and the USS Omega Plan Views'.