: So... I guess people do want to read this story, after all.
That's good. I was getting worried about how to make everything work, otherwise, just in terms of continuity. This story is really pretty crucial for explaining... a lot of things in this series. Past, present, and future.
Also, I really like the scene with Spike and the fire extinguisher, which is coming up later on in the story. That scene makes me laugh every time.
Thanks for the support! Hopefully, you'll keep reading and won't lose interest.
Joanna Harris and Carolyn McConnell are taken from the Doctor Who book "Vampire Science". Don't worry if you haven't read it, I tell you what you need to know.--000--August, 2004
Marianna Forlich stepped out of the government building that constituted her workplace, her briefcase tucked under an arm, already digging through her purse for her car keys.
"Dr. Marianna Forlich?"
Marianna turned, and smiled at the man who approached her. The tall man in the black business suit, youngish and quite handsome, in his own way.
"You must be Katherine's son," she said, extending a hand towards him. Her coworker had been talking non-stop the whole day about her amazing son who was going to be arriving that evening. "I've heard so much about you."
"And I you," the man said, not shaking Marianna's hand. "I wondered if you could help me. I have a problem, and I hear you're the expert."
"I'll do my best," said Marianna. "What's your problem?"
Marianna froze. The color fell from her face, and her hands shook a little. She turned away. "I don't do that, anymore."
"But you did," the man said. "Once, you knew everything about their biology. Everything about their minds. Once upon a time, you could even cure them."
"How do you know about that?" Marianna demanded.
The man's face twisted, fangs extending, eyes turning yellow, and he stepped towards her. Just as six others stepped out of the shadows, surrounding her, their hungry eyes glowing in anticipation.
And then they pounced, and Marianna knew no more.--000--
"I'm sorry," Carolyn McConnell told the woman at her doorstep. "Whatever you're selling, I'm not interested."
"Actually, I'm from UNIT," the woman told her. "I'm here concerning an incident you were involved in, seven years ago. An incident involving the Doctor."
Carolyn paused. "You mean… the thing… with the vampires?"
The woman cleared her throat. "Since this is a confidential matter," the woman said, "I don't think we should speak about such things in public."
Carolyn opened her door, a little flustered. "Oh, right, yeah," she said. "Come in. James is just watching TV, but… I'm sure if it's that important…"
The woman entered the house, a smile gracing her features. She was younger looking, Carolyn observed. Attired in military uniform, her every feature rigid and her hair pulled back. Just the same way the military officers at UNIT tended to look and act.
Funny that Carolyn had never seen this one, before.
"Is it true," the woman said, once she'd closed the front door, "that you know how to make the compound referred to, in the files, as 'Vamp-Away'?"
Carolyn laughed. "Sure, I know how to do it," she said. "I just don't think I'm supposed to." She'd created it inside the TARDIS labs, and she was fairly certain that several of the chemical compounds she'd incorporated didn't exist on Earth. Or not yet, anyways.
"But in a case of national emergency…" the woman said. "If the entire world were at risk…"
Carolyn frowned. "Is something going on?"
The woman gave a feral grin, as fangs extended from her teeth, her eyes turned yellow, and she grabbed Carolyn by the arm. "Just taking precautions," she said, and bit down on Carolyn's neck.--000--
"I'm dying, aren't I?" Joanna Harris asked the doctor who was examining her. "That's what happens to you when you're human. You get old and die."
Dr. Matford gave her a puzzled look when she mentioned being 'human', but was nice enough not to put in a call to the psych ward. Which was good for Joanna. She had enough problems to deal with.
"I don't believe that you're dying, Miss Harris," said Dr. Matford. "Your tests all appear to show that you're in perfect health. There is no physical reason for your recent fainting spells." He paused. "Perhaps… some psychological element…"
Joanna felt herself fuming. "Are you saying I'm making this up?" she demanded. "Or that I… want
to collapse in the middle of a public street, just because I think it's fun
"I think you should entertain the possibility that you're under stress," Dr. Matford replied.
"Of course I'm under stress!" said Joanna. "That's what happens when you repeatedly pass out for no discernible reason! You get stressed
And, as if doctors visits weren't bad enough, Joanna's day just kept getting worse and worse. Medical insurance issues, coworkers giving her advice that wound up being completely unhelpful, and then there was grocery shopping…
"Thanks Doctor," Joanna muttered, as she forked over the money to buy the food she now needed to survive. "Being human's just great, in case you asked."
Yep. Completely great. What with money issues, a wide range of emotions, having to deal with guilt again, being physically weak, aging, and… and… buying groceries!
She stepped out of the grocery store, her arms loaded down by shopping bags, trying to peer at her watch to see if she'd missed her bus.
Joanna turned around. And froze, as she spotted the man behind her. No, not 'man'.
(Oh, it made sense, now. The dizzy spells, the loss of concentration, the random fainting. Way, way too much sense.)
The grocery bags crashed to the ground, as Joanna turned, and ran.
Footsteps behind her. Not just that one vampire's. Lots of footsteps. A group of them. Chasing her — of course they were! And they weren't about to let her go. Not with what she knew.
She raced forwards, and tried to think of where she could run to. UNIT, had to go to UNIT. Find… Carolyn, or Marianna, or Becky, or…
No. Don't be stupid. They were probably already dead.
And just as she turned a corner, she felt a sudden terrible spinning in her head. Her heart pounded, rapidly, her breath came short, and she knew it was only a matter of time before she passed out, completely. Again.
Joanna staggered forwards, towards the street, just as a car pulled over. The driver rolled down his window.
"Get in!" he shouted.
Joanna didn't have to be told twice. She hurled herself towards the car, just managing to open the door and get inside before the vampires grabbed her. She smacked the door closed, crushing their hands, as the driver slammed his foot down on the accelerator and they escaped.
Joanna tried to keep herself conscious, as she glanced at the man who'd rescued her. A short guy with a black hat, and a black leather coat.
"Vampires, huh?" he said. "Not a very nice group to get chased by." His eyes flicked over to her. "Although I guess you already know that. Joanna Harris."
Joanna turned a sharp eye on him. Suddenly realizing that she'd trapped herself in a moving car with a complete stranger. "Who are you?"
"Call me Whistler," he said, with a smile. "Least, you can call me that as long as you're still conscious. What'd you do? Psychically link yourself to someone else, back when you were still a vampire?" He tilted his head to the side. "What's that process called, again? Oh, yeah! Bloodfasting. You got bloodfasted."
Joanna's breath became more gaspy, her world swaying in and out of focus. "How… how do you know…?" She paused, as a thought came to her. "The Doctor told you."
"Never met him, actually," Whistler replied. He adjusted his rear-view mirror, and frowned. Then looked over at Joanna. "The Doctor, huh? Now that's interesting."
Joanna saw dots dancing before her eyes. She opened her mouth to answer, but all that came out was, "Have… to… help…"
Then everything tumbled into blackness.
Whistler mused the situation over, a thoughtful expression in his eyes. "The Doctor…" he repeated. Then he flipped on his turn indicator, and changed course.
"Lucky for you," he said, "I've got an in with the one person who can help."--000--
"The Balance," Buffy said, leaning against the table in the front of the room. Addressing her students. "Between good and evil. It's your reason for living. And your reason for dying. You'll fight to protect it, and you'll die because of it."
All eyes in the room were fixed on her. Eyes of young girls who needed to know that the world wasn't a nice place to live. That being the Slayer didn't mean beating up everyone in sight, demon, vampire, or human being.
(Except if they messed with Dawn.)
"Whenever there's a wave of death and destruction, piety and goodness increases," Buffy said. "Sunnydale had twelve cemeteries and the Hellmouth. But it also had forty-three churches."
She rose, and walked to the other side of the table. "That's a lesson for you," she said. "You'll spend your whole life battling evil. Your goal will be to eradicate it. Make the world safe." She fixed her students with a steady stare. "Except you'll never make the world safe. As long as there are forces of good, there will be forces of darkness."
She noticed two girls not paying attention, giggling with one another in the back of the room, and raced forwards, slamming her hands down on their desks, snapping their attention back to her.
"You can slay vampires," she said, "defeat your enemies. But you can't defeat evil, entirely. Ever."
One of the girls, towards the front, tentatively raised her hand.
Buffy turned, and pointed at her. "Yeah."
The girl fidgeted. "Couldn't we… get around this balance thing? If someone finds a way to, I don't know, kill off all the vampires or something…"
"And if we destroyed the vampires, we'd get something else, instead," said Buffy, walking back to the front of the room. "Demons. Daleks. You name it. Evil's always out there. Always trying to take us down. It's our job to make sure it doesn't succeed."
Faith appeared in the doorway of the classroom, catching Buffy's eye. And there was something in Faith's expression that made Buffy… uneasy. Like Faith was trying way too hard to act cool and composed, and very obviously failing.
And considering what it took to shake Faith up…
Buffy excused her class, then waited as the students all left the room. Faith shoved her hands into her pockets, strolling over to Buffy.
"Giving another one of your inspirational speeches, huh, B?" she asked.
"No use sugar-coating the truth," said Buffy. She turned on Faith. "What's up?"
Faith looked away, giving an uncomfortable shrug. "Death's coming," she said. "And it just found our school."