Sunnydale Park St Time Since Incident 00:00:00
“Ow my head,'” Buffy groaned “What the hell just happened?”
Slowly rising from the ground and looking around she noticed Willow lying on the ground; further down the street her twelve year old sister was helping her group of friends, the group that she, Xander, and Willow had been keeping track of at Synder's order. Everyone within sight was similarly waking from unconsciousness, as if everyone in town had decided to fall down at exactly the same time.
That spelled weird, which meant hellmouthiness, which meant her nice quiet night when the creepies were supposed to be staying inside had just ended because somehow she was going to be dealing with whatever caused hundreds of people to suddenly keel over.
“Perhaps, I can be of assistance Ms Summers,” a voice stated just out of view.
Turning her head and catching sight of an androgynous woman she had definitely never met. Her features perfect, but a seeming combination of every race, as if the child of parents and grand parents who each came from separate backgrounds. Buffy was immediately wary, she heard no breath, no heartbeat, the woman seemed detached from the reality around her.
As she made to go for the stake hidden up her sleeve, a name for her came to mind, ANA, the memory of the name bringing up associations that were not her own. Avatar of Governance, not-hers boss, not-hers job, not-hers life. She groaned; these memories they were not Hers they were from the detective's. From Xander's suggestion for costumes. A look must have passed over her eyes as this Anna person continued to speak.
“Ah I see you recognize me now. Now then as some of your memories will tell you, yes I am an avatar of what is called ANA:Governance, and judging from Mr. Harris' memories I felt it was best to get the congratulations and explanations out of the way as we take your friend Ms. Rosenberg for some medical treatment. She's fine for now, I'm keeping her under, but what the Admiral did to the personality that was surfacing within her might have scrambled her memories for a bit. I'm also keeping you from accessing anything further then what your used to. So questions?”
There were to many possible thoughts surrounding that statement for Buffy to even begin to formulated a response. Instead blurting out, “Congratulations?”
“Why yes, congratulations your out of a job,” a broad smile on the avatar's face being received by an incredulous stare. “As of four minutes twenty nine seconds ago every single high level demon, the ones termed Old Ones, and pure blood demon labeled as active continuous threats within the Watcher's Codex in London was summarily targeted and destroyed by Admiral Kazimir Burnelli acting within his remit of protecting Earth from post-physical threats. Afterward, using one of the higher level weapon function's of the Deterrence Fleet he closed the aberrant space-time structures you refer to as Hellmouths. So as I said congratulations your out of a job.”
The blank look upon Buffy's face at this news prompted ANA to continue, “This is going to take longer than I thought. Your friend needs medical treatment, so why don't we continue this aboard the ship your persona left you? Your sister will be fine with her friends there's nothing demonic capable of attacking her anymore, the persona she went as had a much longer period in which to explain things to her, shall we head to your school library so we can pick up your Watcher as well?”
“Yeah sure fine, figment of my imagination wants to talk to Watcher-mine. Willow's out, where the hell is Xander and what the hell do you mean my sister knows what's going on? She's twelve and I made damn sure to keep the night life from her!”
Further response was cut off as across her field of vision an icon displaying the location and vector to something named Alexis Denken
, flashed across her view. Turning her head to follow the icon and following it to the park across the street. This revealed what could only be a starship uncloaking and dropping the last few few to the ground.
Monitoring Buffy's newly acquired biononics from inside the place usually reserved for a u-shadow ANA forced the girl away from unconsciousness. Now was neither the time nor the place to be fainting.
“Shall we? And please try not to faint again we have a great deal of information to get through.”
Picking up her friend from the ground and nodding numbly she began moving towards the ship. “Hey wait couldn't anyone see this? I mean it's a, well it's a freakin' spaceship landing in the middle of park!”
“No Ms. Summers, part of the explanations will clear that up, but to best translate it for you it's still invisible you just have the right ability to be able to see it.” Keeping to itself for now the massive upgrades that had been done to her biology over the short period of possession. As Buffy made her way up the ramp ANA continued, “Now then on the left side of the main cabin is a medical bay, please lay Ms. Rosenberg in the alcove. We will be at the school momentarily so you can collect your Watcher. Before you ask, no you won't be able to feel the ship move.”
Coming to the top of the ramp Buffy saw a short corridor leading to what look like a central room with a large reclined chair in the center. Following the glowing lines on the floor to the small room ANA had indicated and placing her redheaded friend on the bed within. 'How the hell am I supposed to explain this to Giles.' Watching as the bed came alive with movement that not-hers memories identified as a healing alcove and diagnostic system capable of things she didn't think possible.
“Thank you, Ms Summers, now we've arrived at the school, would you please bring your Watcher, the ships sensors place his position just outside the remains of the Library
“Wait, what already, I just walked in here? And what do you remains of the Library?”
“The ship is capable of moving at moving at nearly seventy light years per hour. We arrived before you even finished laying your friend down on the bed. As to the Library, the Sunnydale Hellmouth was located beneath it and as I stated before it was one the targets of Admiral Burnelli's attack. Please just retrieve your Watcher, I should have Ms. Rosenberg up and about by the time you return.”
Still slightly shell shocked Buffy headed back down the ship's ramp realizing that yes she was at the school and had somehow gotten from the park to the school's southern field in less then a minute. <DoTSU>
As Ms. Summers left ANA left only a residual presence in her u-shadow, transferring most of the higher level thought processes of this instance of itself into the smartcore of the Alexis Denken
. Considering the amount of damage Catherine Stewart, also known as The Cat, could have done in the roughly fifteen seconds it had taken the Admiral to resolve the situation, it had been the correct decision to wipe that personality out before a fight between her and Paula Myo could take place. Estimates at the time showed roughly that between the two of them they could have leveled half of this town before the possession ended.
Now this sliver of the amalgamated intelligence known as Advance Neural Activity: Governance had to help deal with the fallout. Another portion of it's intelligence was currently with Alexander Harris helping gain enough control of his state so that he could at least retake some semblance of human form as the needed facilities to help him step down from control of the Deterrence Fleet didn't exist in this reality. Having foreseen this problem the Admiral had at least locked access to the weapon functions, so while Mr. Harris was still basically omnipresent he no longer consciously controlled weapon functions capable of destroying stars.
The thought of allowing teenagers unlimited control of what were essentially game changing super powers in this current time frame barely factored in. As the databases scanned and downloaded within the first few nanoseconds of entering this universe showed the local post physical civilizations were either bent on the destruction and/or enslavement of humanity or so apathetic as to not even clean up the messes they had left behind prior to shedding physical form.
Within ANA's home universe every other civilization excepting the FirstLifes had been kind enough not to leave behind potentially destructive technologies and facilities as they left the physical plane. Here apparently they had left behind both a low volume transport network and if the databases scanned and translated from an Antarctic facility as well as the SGC was correct potential doomsday devices. Plural.
After helping these teens get acquainted with Higher biononics its ability to override their control would end. It could only do so now for falling under medical emergencies within its programming. At that point it would withdraw all of it's programs into the Deterrence Fleet and act as a check on Mr. Harris' ability to use that power following Admiral Burnelli's last orders. Prior to that though it calculated that it should be able to at least influence these children into helping with one of its core objectives: the protection of mankind.
The fact they apparently had already been doing that would greatly increase its chances.
The intelligence continued its monitoring of its patient as it used the ships sensors to check the developing situation. Ms. Rosenberg would be able to be revived within the next fifteen minutes, she would have access to Catherine Stewart's memories, but deciding to leave complete access to those memories was out of the question. Quickly reviewing the memories it proceed to delete every instance of unlawful behavior as well as more personal memories. A seventeen year old did not need memories of her first time stolen by a multi-century old psychopath. Best to leave her only with the skills The Cat had learned and no potentially destructive tendencies brought on by the foreign memories
Another portion within the ship's smartcore was checking the state of local space within a few light hours of Earth through the ship's hysradar and TD channel. The portion of itself with the Fleet had moved the Cat's unnamed ship as a potential site for Mr. Harris to regain human form. Emergency services within the city were rushing to the Mayor's office to deal with the fire started there, other fire trucks were on the move towards the warehouse district, as well as Willie's Alibi Room. Further away in Los Angeles the scene was being repeated in regard to the remains of the Wolfram and Hart building which had been hit with both a gravitational anomaly as well as momentary fusion fires in order to remove it's workforce.
Expanding out further and using the nascent data net, it began slowly increasing the count of incidental casualties caused by the night's activities. Some would not be mourned such as the barely human employees of Wolfram and Hart, others would be such as human victims standing to close to vampires as they burst into flame. A single picosecond of fusion temperatures was more than enough to kill anything within a few meters of the intended targets. Thankfully the destruction of the Hellmouths had taken place outside regular space time, the casualties incurred required them to be literally stand atop the fissures. <DoTSU> A Few Minutes Earlier Sol System, Kuiper Belt Time Since Incident 00:00:00
The last thing Xander Harris remembered he had been making a joke. He had been with his friends, they had been watching Buffy's little sister and her friends Trick or Treat. They had dressed on his suggestion as characters from a space opera Ms. Calender had lent him. Willow had help him shoot down Buffy's costume choice of some vapid noble woman; going instead for the relentless detective, on the thought that Deadboy wouldn't appreciate a brainless noble. Willow had gone as one of the detective's long term nemesis', and Dawnie had gone as the reporter slash heroine from the first set of books. He had gone as an Admiral in a space navy. Yeah, space navy.
These thoughts continued to repeat themselves for he didn't know how long, despite the icons screaming at him in his view, despite the alarms buzzing his consciousness, and despite something poking him in the side. The view was amazing, stars everywhere. Infinity space stretching before him and what he thought was Neptune just now coming into his field of vision. Even his repeated thoughts were falling far behind him with the utter awe he watch the scene before him.
“Alexander LaVelle Harris! Concentrate!”
The view that had held him in awe cut off as what seemed like white walls formed around his position finally bringing attention to the fact that he wasn't alone. The use of his middle name didn't hurt as he instinctively flinched at its use. “Who said that?”
“Now that I have your attention we need to talk, just relax and don't speak for a moment. The last thing you remembered you were in Sunnydale Trick or Treating. You went as Chief Admiral Kazimir Burnelli. Your friend Ms. Summers went as Paula Myo, Ms. Rosenberg went as Catherine Stewart, while the younger Ms. Summers went as Mellanie Rescorai. What you have missed is that apparently you and everyone else within the town of Sunnydale was momentarily turned into their costumes, though subsequent reviews of your memories shows that all those affected were those who bought theirs at Ethan's shop. Are you with me so far?”
“Um, yes, but what other then general Hellmouth shenanigans does this have to do with and who are you lady? And why..argh,” more alarms blared within his head as pain pierced his thoughts. In front of him a shadow of a what could have been a woman appeared silhouetted against the white walls of the room he was in.
“Calm, down please, I am an avatar of ANA:Governance, the portion that resides within the Deterrence Fleet. Now it is taking a vast portion of my processing power to keep you both sane and whole, but I need you to keep yourself calm, please. I'm currently covering the energistic functions which you as the primary personality should actually be operating. I need your permission to transfer those functions to you and you need to learn how to handle the power.”
“Fine. Permission given, now” the rest of his comment cut off as knowledge seared itself into his subconscious thoughts. Quantum Field Manipulation. Sensory Input. Energy Manipulation. Faster Than Light Travel. Seven hundred and fifty nine functions that ANA had temporally assumed where returned to the primary personality along with the knowledge needed to both use and operate them without dissolving into the cosmic background radiation.
“There now Mr. Harris much better,” ANA stated as the pain started to clear from his mind, “and as per Admiral Burnelli's last order to me fifty eight functions classified as weapons are now being held in trust pursuant to Code Black Release.”
“Xander, please. Now could we start with the 'splainy? 'Cuz all I can tell right now is that I dressed as an Admiral and now, somehow, I'm a fucking energy being. What the hell happened?”
“Yes, well this evening all those wearing a costume gained from Ethan's Shop through some mechanism were turned into there costume. Children dressed as devils momentarily became devils, people dressed as soldiers became soldiers, etcetera. They all apparently came into being with any accessories made real, toy sword; real sword. Toy gun; real gun. Toy blaster; real blaster. This included up to and including both Ms. Stewart and Ms. Myo's actual starships and Admiral Burnelli's Deterrence Fleet.”
“The Fleet is not so much an actual physical ship so much as a method for combating post-physical threats. It does this by shifting your physical structure in to an equivalent energy function held within a single point which can then intrude back into regular spacetime. The user can then pick up extra functions stored as part of a quantum armory. Prior to his translation to this universe the Admiral had a total of eight hundred and seventeen functions currently active due to an ongoing crisis. The vast majority are sensor and hacking functions; along with shields, faster than light travel and communications codecs. Fifty eight of these functions are purely aggressive in nature.”
As she lectured on the topic, the corresponding functions made themselves known within his mind while not detracting from what was being said.
“Upon entrance to this reality, the Admiral ran a full scan of everything within range of his sensors, hacked every database within one light year of Earth, and upon determining the nature of the extra-universal threat that this reality is under, acted within his remit of protecting humanity from post physical threats. While it may not have been his Earth, it was still an Earth
and We, as a portion of ANA:Governance, agreed with his take upon the situation. After disabling Catherine Stewart he proceeded over a space of ten seconds to eliminate everything you would consider a 'demonic' threat. As their own quantum signatures do not match this universe's baseline state they were, I believe you would say, 'lite up like a Christmas tree' to the Deterrence Fleet's sensors.”
“At this point the total number of neutralized demons include seventy three demons that you would call Old Ones, thirteen million four hundred eighty three thousand nine hundred and eighty two beings you would call common demons including over two million vampires. He then proceeded with destroying all six aberrant spatial anomalies known as Hellmouths. The destruction of the last, the one located underneath your school, disabling the connection keeping the possessing personalities in control of their hosts. Any questions?”
Looking over the shadowed woman in disbelief he could be forgiven for stating the first and only coherent thought that came to mind.
A/N: Usual Disclaimers. Next update will likely be next Sunday. In case it's not clear the white wall room is all in his head.