Kirk looked up as the doors to the tubolift opened and Buffy walked out. Buffy looked the captain over and his weariness reminded her of how she must’ve looked during the Eugenics War. His ship was stranded with a damaged warp core and he was in enemy territory, with no chance of backup or support from Starfleet. He was trying his hardest to keep it together, but it was clear to Buffy that everything was piling up. “Send a message to Starfleet. We’ve got Harrison in custody and are bringing him back for trial.”
Uhura nodded and turned to her communications station. “You summoned me, sir?” Buffy said, walking forward a step.
Kirk spun his chair around to face her, a contemplative look on his face. “Harrison admitted to not working alone. Is there anyone you think we should be looking for?”
Kirk’s stare was pointed, convinced that he already knew the answer. Kirk was suspicious of her. Buffy cleared her throat. “Admiral Marcus and John were close.”
Kirk’s surprise was evident by the way his eyes widened. “How close?”
“The admiral kept a close eye on John. He popped in every few weeks for dinner and talked about missions.” Every word was true, Buffy knew, but she was slanting it so it looked like Marcus was in on Khan’s plans. Kirk would be corrected when Marcus came to kill Khan, which he would as soon as he heard Kirk’s message. Kirk suspecting Marcus would stop him from suspecting her for the time being.
Kirk nodded, accepting her story. “Harrison hinted that we should open one of the torpedoes.” Buffy had expected that. “We are moving at maximum impulse to a nearby planet where we can do so. “I want you to join Dr. McCoy and Dr. Marcus, who will be opening the missile. They are your design and if there are any problems, you are more equipped to handle them.” Kirk gestured to two people, a man and woman both dressed in blue.
“Dr. Marcus?” she asked. “Any relation to the admiral?”
“His daughter,” Dr. Marcus said in a British accent that reminded her very slightly of Khan’s rich accent. Kirk had handed her better leverage.
“Alright. When do we go?”
“Are you ready to go now?” McCoy said. Buffy nodded. “Then right now.”
Fifteen minutes later, the three of them put the missile on the ground. “When I imagined myself alone on a deserted planet with beautiful women there’s usually no missile involved,” McCoy grumbled. Buffy smiled to herself. He reminded her of Xander. Both men would grumble and complain about things, but both were unflinchingly loyal and steadfast.
“The first thing we need to do is take off the casing. Then we can get to the warhead and disarm it,” Buffy said.
“That’s not how traditional weapons are built,” Dr. Marcus said.
“I’m anything but traditional. When I was younger I celebrated my birthday by defending myself against those who were trying to kill me for one reason or another. Tradition is nothing but an excuse to follow the herd. Be adventurous, Doctor.” Buffy carefully slid her screwdriver under the top panel and pulled, lifting it up. “Dr. McCoy, do you see anything happening under there?” Buffy asked.
McCoy carefully got closer to the missile and looked under the casing. “You’re not going to hit any traps. It looks like you’re free.”
Buffy, with Dr. Marcus’s help, slowly pulled up the casing and set it to the side. “There should be a bunch of wire twisted together on your side, Dr. Marcus. If you pull it out, the warhead will disarm.” Carol located the wires and pulled. There were two beeps, one low pitched followed by one of higher pitch and the detonator went offline. Both doctors were about to exhale in relief when a panel beneath the detonator opened, revealing a body, Anderson’s body.
“Is that what I think it is?” McCoy asked.
“Who is that?” Dr. Marcus said at the same time.
Both doctors looked at Buffy in accusation. “I didn’t put him there!” She wasn’t sure if they believed her.
They went back to the ship quietly, Buffy still wary of what the doctors would do when they returned to the Enterprise
, specifically if they would accuse her of knowing that there were people in the torpedoes. She needed to have a plan if Kirk accused her of working with Khan if she wanted to continue to work unencumbered. It wasn’t necessary, but she was the only one, between her and Khan, who was free and could help Willow and Otto to do what she wanted them to do. Buffy hadn’t explained the entire plan to her lieutenants, but now it was on her list of things to do when she got back. Freedom was too close to loose it to a minor mistake.
“Well, what did you find?” Kirk asked as McCoy and the younger Marcus exited the shuttle. Buffy followed, avoiding Kirk’s gaze.
“A body,” McCoy said. “The torpedo had a cryotube with a body inside.”
“It’s impossible to tell without a full medical workup,” Dr. Marcus said, “but if we’re going to judge age by the equipment, I’d say at least 200, possibly as late as 400 years.”
Kirk turned to Buffy, who did her best to ignore his gaze. “How did a body get hidden in the tubes? You designed them, you put them there.”
“I wasn’t the only one with access to the torpedoes,” Buffy reminded Kirk.
“John Harrison,” Kirk said, sighing the name with frustration. “This all comes back to him.”
“Let me come with you when you talk to John,” Buffy said. “I want to know what’s going on.”
Kirk nodded. “Let’s go then. Spock! You too.”
Khan’s head jerked up when he heard the door to the brig open. He got to his feet when he saw who was visiting. Kirk was striding up to him with rage in his face and anger on his lips, Spock and Buffy flanking him. “Why was there a man in that torpedo?”
“There are men and women in all of them. We put them there,” Khan said. His voice remained calm and level, never varying. The two slayers and one augment were still in the room, and now their attention had been grabbed. All three were paying close attention to Kirk’s conversation with Khan, with a clear understanding of what was going on. If Kirk accepted their story, there would be no need to do anything to the Enterprise
or any of her crew that weren’t in the sleeper tubes. If Kirk reacted negatively, every one of the awoken had their orders.
“Who the hell are you? I want straight answers, no more run around,” Kirk said.
Khan laughed softly, but the tone of his voice didn’t change. “A remnant of the long past. Genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others to peace in times of war. But we were condemned to live as criminals, forced into exile. For centuries we slept, hoping that when we awoke, things would be different. We thought wrong. About five years before Vulcan was destroyed, Admiral Marcus started becoming obsessed with militarizing Starfleet, building an empire. He found my ship while looking for resources. I was revived, along with one other, due to failing life support that has since been repaired.”
“I looked up John and Elizabeth Harrison,” Kirk said. He walked around Buffy, putting himself between her and the door. “Neither of you existed until eight years ago.”
“John and Elizabeth Harrison were modern identities that Admiral Marcus created the moment we woke up,” Buffy said, “a smokescreen to conceal our true identities.”
“My name is… Khan.”
“My name is Buffy Summers. Together we represent the true victims of the Eugenics War.”
“True victims? Really? I learned about those wars in school. Genetically modified supermen tried to take over the world,” Kirk said.
“Have you heard the adage, ‘History’s written by the winners’, Kirk?” Khan asked. “No one bothers telling the loser’s story because they are discredited by the winners.”
“Fine. Tell me your story.”
Buffy smiled. “It begins with one question: Are you ready to be strong? That was the question I asked a group of girls as we entered what could have possibly been our last battle. An evil greater than any anyone has ever faced before or since was destroying the only people who could defeat it. I was one of the only people who had a chance to stop it, so I changed the rules.”
“I don’t understand.” Kirk shook his head in confusion.
“Slayers, Mr. Kirk,” Khan said, and the way his British drawl made the word sound drew a shiver down Buffy’s spine. “Earth’s natural defense system against all things evil, all things supernatural.”
“There’s no such thing as the supernatural,” Kirk said.
Buffy nodded her head once in acknowledgment. “Not anymore. The Eugenics War and World War III convinced most of them to find another dimension to terrorize. The few that stayed got slaughtered, but we’re not talking about them right now. When my team Called every possible Slayer, turning them into Slayers, every girl who had the potential to become a Slayer became one. Before, it was one girl at a time, and she could only quit when she was killed.”
“I’m finding this hard to believe.”
Buffy shrugged. She was never good with telling the origin story, but it was a part of history that was near to her heart. She ignored Kirk’s comment and continued. “After the Potentials were called, my team took over as the leaders and guides of the Slayers and slowly approached each country for permission to train and control their Slayers. The US and Great Britain complied immediately, having encountered Slayers before and knowing what they could do. China, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and India, on the other hand, wanted to control their Slayers and didn’t appreciate us coming in and taking their Slayers to England or America to train. They started researching their own ways to make Slayers, or as close as they could get. The Augments were the result.”
Buffy glanced at Khan and nodded at him to continue. “I was one of the first successful attempts. I survived everything they did to me and my final test was to hunt and kill a Slayer. My target was the Queen of the Slayers herself. Instead of killing her, I joined with her. That’s what it took to get a target on my back. I changed sides. By then, other Augments were being ruthlessly killed because they refused to attack others without cause. I gathered my brothers and sisters and we joined the Slayers in trying to create a world where those who were different could live in peace. It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.”
Kirk snorted to himself. That much was obvious. “How are you different from normal people?”
“Slayers are stronger, faster, more agile, faster healers, and smarter than your average human, have a built-in sense of weapons and battle tactics, and are always female,” Buffy said. “That was one of the things that was changed for the Augments, most of them were male in hopes that they would be enticed to have children together. Only one couple decided to do that.”
“In short, we are better,” Khan said, a smirk on his face.
Kirk shook his head. “There’s one thing I still don’t understand. Why did you kill all those people in London, and again in San Francisco?”
“You think of your crew as your family, do you not? Our ship, the Botany Bay
held all of our family. Admiral Marcus held them as collateral, promising to let them live, unfrozen, as long as we did as he commanded. We helped him realize his dream of a militarized Starfleet, just not in time to fight against Vulcan’s destroyers. He punished us by making us think that he killed our entire fleet when he discovered us trying to smuggle them out using the torpedoes that are now on your ship. If he had killed your family, wouldn’t you try to avenge them?” Khan’s voice was filled with barely controlled rage. Buffy called his name and Khan calmed down, remembering that he was in the presence of four crew members and more were down below, safe and sound.
“It is illogical for Admiral Marcus to have acted like you have suggested. Why would he have violated every regulation he vowed to uphold?”
Buffy laughed dryly. “He likes to fight dirty, Mr. Spock. The Admiral sent you into Klingon space to shoot experimental weapons at an enemy planet, and rigged those same weapons to disable your ship, leaving you stranded in enemy space with no chance of backup, except for him. If the Klingons find you first, then Marcus will have the war he’s been preparing for for the last ten years.”
Kirk and Spock looked from Khan to Buffy. Kirk looked convinced, but Spock looked nonplussed. Kirk turned to Kristie, Joachim and Joanne. “Escort them to the Medbay for a full physical.”
“Yes, sir.” Kristie took Buffy’s arm and Joanne took Khan’s after Kirk lowered the forcefield. As they were leaving, Buffy heard Kirk get a call from the bridge and caught the words “ship” and “not Klingon”. The Vengeance
“How are things going?” Buffy asked as soon as the five of them were alone.
“Willow checked in right before you returned to the ship,” Kristie said. “Things are going well and are nearing completion. They await your signal.”
Buffy nodded her head. “Good. We’re almost ready. Our ship has arrived, now we just have to get on it and take it over.”
“We’ve got Kirk hooked. He values what Starfleet stands for, and Marcus has overstepped his bounds. Once he talks to Marcus, Kirk will be firmly on our side,” Khan said.
“Assuming that he doesn’t second guess our motives,” Buffy said. “Make sure that Willow has someone who can operate shields and weapons. If we can’t get them to lower their shields, we’ll have to do it.”
Two more security personnel arrived and the five of them became silent. A few minutes later they entered Sickbay and Khan met McCoy for the second time. “Hop on the bed,” McCoy said, throwing a PADD on a nearby sickbed and pointing to the bed in front of him. “Buffy, you’re on the other. I’ll do Khan first.”
Khan and Buffy sat opposite each other and their security detail stood around them. McCoy had just begun his examination of Buffy when Kirk’s voice sounded over the ship-wide intercom. “Hello, Admiral Marcus, you got our message?”
“I did,” Marcus replied, “and I’m a little confused. Why didn’t you kill Harrison instead of capture him?”
“He should be able to stand trial for his crimes. I had a personal issue with killing him in cold blood, even if he didn’t. I also had other things to worry about. Our warp drive is being interfered with and our resources are working on solving that problem before we tackle Harrison.” Kirk paused for a minute. “I know who he is. I know what you’re trying to do. It’s not right.”
Marcus sighed. “You spoke to him. Did he tell you the whole story? About how he and Summers are responsible for the brutal killing of millions of people before they ran away? They’re both war criminals. You need to kill Khan and Summers right away. If you won’t do it, then I will.”
“I’m sorry. I stand by what I said before. I’m not killing either Khan or Summers in cold blood.” Kirk’s voice had no regrets, however.
“Then you’ll hand them over to me and I’ll kill them!”
Kirk paused, apparently thinking it over. “They’re in Engineering.”
“Thank you, Kirk. You made the right choice.”
The ship-wide intercom went silent. Buffy glanced at Khan. His smile was predatory. Kirk hadn’t complied with his commanding officer, lied to him, in fact. It was a promising sign Kirk had believed them at least a little.
McCoy had finished his examination of Buffy when Kirk ran into Sickbay. “You’re mistaken if you think warp can save you,” Khan said in lieu of a greeting. “He’ll catch up, and he’ll be angry.”
“What can you tell me about that ship?” Kirk demanded, ignoring Khan.
It was Buffy that answered. “Marcus is captaining the USS Vengeance
. She’s dreadnought-class, twice as big, three times as fast and armed with every weapon the Federation has access to. She’s the Slayer of starships, designed to run on less than a skeleton crew.”
“Which of you designed it?”
“We both did,” Buffy said.
“Alright then. Which of you will help be board her and take Admiral Marcus into custody?”
Khan’s vicious grin made Kirk shudder. “I will.”
“Good.” Kirk turned to the security detail. “Put Summers in the brig and stand guard. Make sure no one harms her, or it’s your heads.”
Kristie, Joanne, Joachim, and the two Starfleet officers nodded. The two Slayers grabbed Buffy’s elbows and escorted her out of the room. Kirk turned to Khan. “You’re coming with me. We need to board that ship.” As soon as Kirk stopped speaking, the entire ship shook. “Report!”
“We were fired upon, Captain,” came the response from the bridge. “Our engines are out, and we’re stuck between Earth and the moon.”
Kirk glared at Khan. “Is there anything else about Marcus’s ship I should know about?”
“The admiral won’t give up until he has us and your crew is dead. He wants no witnesses who aren’t loyal to him to survive.”
The ship shook again with the impact of another phasor strike. Kirk ran out of Sickbay.
Faith looked up from what she was pretending to do as the door to the torbolift opened and the captain came onto the bridge. It was a pity that Kirk was just going to be used as a way to gain their freedom. He was twice as impressive in person than his picture suggested and she wouldn’t mind taking him for a spin. If ship wide gossip was to be believed, he would more than be up for it. “Report!” Kirk demanded.
The Asian manning the tactical station started speaking. “Captain, we’ve lost all engines. We have hull breaches on decks 5-16, though forcefields are holding. Transporters are down and the shuttle bays are inaccessible. We barely have shields. Things don’t look good.”
“Mr. Sulu, we must have something.”
“Let me talk to him!” A blonde woman in a blue jumpsuit rushed up to Kirk. “He’s my father. At the very least he owes me an explanation. Maybe he’ll be less likely to fire if he knows I’m on board.”
“Carol, are you sure you want to do this?” Kirk asked.
“I have to protect my family.”
Kirk smiled. “Hail the other ship.”
A woman in red nodded and turned to her station, pressing a few buttons. Faith kept an eye on what the woman in red was doing. Willow had sent her up here to see how the comm system worked and Faith didn’t want to miss it.
“Captain,” the now hated Admiral Marcus said when his face came onto the view screen. “Are you ready to give up Khan and Summers? Or are you going rogue and joining with them? You sounded pretty convinced by their story.”
“Father, is any of this true? Did you blackmail two people into helping you prepare for a war?” Carol Marcus said.
Admiral Marcus suddenly focused on Carol, as if he hadn’t noticed her until then. “What are you doing on board the Enterprise
“I’m standing with my family.” Carol looked closely at her father’s face. It showed no remorse or pity. “Of course it’s true. I’m ashamed to call you my father. I thought you’d know better.”
“Carol, you need to come over here.” Marcus made a sharp gesture with his hand and Carol was surrounded by a transporter beam. Faith didn’t even think. She dropped her PADD and took Carol’s wrist and Jim Kirk watched as Marcus kidnapped his daughter and one of his crew members, one he never remembered seeing before.
Buffy looked at the two security officers she, Kristie, Joanna and Joachim had knocked out. She was sorry to do it, but she wasn’t spending her time in the brig. She had something more important to do. The first thing Marcus would’ve done was kill the engines, followed by the transporter. The Enterprise
was dead in the water and her crew couldn’t leave, making it easy for Marcus to blow it out of the sky.
Kirk’s first goal would be to get onto the Vengeance
and arrest Marcus for war crimes, or whatever he was going to charge the admiral with. The only people he knows who can go across a debris field would be either her or Khan. Her bet was that Kirk would ask Khan, since he was the one who wasn’t sent to the brig. That meant that she had time before her absence was discovered. Buffy hoped that that absence wasn’t felt until she and her people were safely aboard the Vengeance
Faith grinned viciously when she materialized on the bridge of the Vengeance
. There were only two other people other than Marcus and his daughter and they were taken out quickly. Marcus turned his attention to her. “Who the hell are you?” he demanded, apparently forgetting that he was still onscreen with Kirk.
Faith didn’t answer. She punched him square in the jaw, using all of her strength. Marcus dropped and Faith turned to Kirk. “Your welcome.”
Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and the rest of the crew currently on the bridge of the Enterprise
picked up their jaws. “How did you do that?”
Faith shrugged, and put on a mysterious smile as she made her way tom the Comm station “You should’ve had the talk from Khan.”
Kirk stiffened and the surprise fell from his face. “You’re one of his?”
“One of his what, Captain?” Sulu asked.
Neither Kirk nor Faith answered him. “What do you want?” Kirk said instead, still directing his words to Faith.
“What we’ve always wanted, Kirk. Freedom.” Faith leaned over the chair and pressed a button. Let Kirk think that she was an Augment instead of a Slayer. It wouldn’t do her any harm. She pressed a few more buttons on the Comm station, bringing up an ancient signal that was no longer used in modern times, radio. “Lehane to Summers. I’ve gotten aboard Homebase. Over.”
“How did you manage to do that? Over.”
“Your big bad was attempting to kidnap his daughter so I hitched a ride. Over.”
“Quick thinking. Good. Lock down the bridge and hold tight there. Do you feel confident in getting the transporter up and running? Over.”
“Do you have something I can test on? Over.”
“Your cryotube is empty. Try that. Over.”
Faith pressed a few buttons, but was distracted by a sound behind her. The man who had manned the tactical station wasn’t as unconscious as she had thought. He had crawled back to his station and was pressing buttons. Faith hurried over to him, but the guy managed to lock onto the Enterprise
and send off a shot at the saucer section of the ship. “Shit!” Faith hissed. She punched the guy in the face and ripped a length of his uniform off and hogtied him. Faith quickly hogtied the other officer and the admiral before setting them aside.
“You can’t just attack people.” Faith looked up from her crouch. Carol Marcus was looking at her in surprise and a little fear. Faith had forgotten that Carol was there, that she was the reason that Faith had made it to the Vengeance
“The world is a scary place,” Faith said, walking around Carol and over to the science station. “If you’re not ready for it, it’ll kill you.”
“Is that what you’re going to do to me?”
Faith didn’t answer, she was busy looking at the readouts the science station was giving her. “The weapons didn’t fire,” she whispered, mostly to herself. “The guy fired, but the weapons didn’t go off.”
“Lehane, you still there? Over.”
“We’ve got a saboteur on board, Summers,” Faith said, hurrying back over to the comm station. “I’ll get back to you. Out.” Faith started fiddling with the controls, attempting to tune into the frequency that the saboteur was using to commuicate with the Enterprise
“… messed with the engines and weapons. They won’t be able to do anything for at least half an hour,” said a Scottish accent.
“Good going, Scotty!” Kirk said enthusiastically. “Our transporters are out and we need on that ship. You’re in more trouble that you realize. Any ideas?”
“You could fly through space in thruster suits, but you’re going to have to worry about the debris field from the Enterprise
,” Scotty said. “There’s a scantily guarded cargo bay down the corridor. If you get shot out of the garbage shoot, then you can fly into the cargo hold.”
“Stay near the work station you’re using, Scotty. We’ll get back to you.”
Faith found Buffy’s frequency after Kirk and Scotty said their goodbyes. “Lehane to Summers. We’re going to get boarded if we’re not careful. Over.”
“I trust you. Do it without the test. Put us all in the lounge on Deck 4. I’ll be there soon. Out.”
Faith nodded and quickly found the lounge that Buffy had talked about. She quickly made her way to the tactical station. A minute later, the Enterprise
’s shields dropped. Faith quickly pressed buttons, locking onto everyone who was awoken and everyone who was still asleep. She left the tubes with Enterprise
crew members in them and the tubes with the magicked people in them. Kirk could have those.
“What exactly are you doing?” Carol said.
“We are making a break for it,” Faith answered as she locked onto the tubes and people she wanted. “Earth hasn’t been a home for people like us since 2020. People and things have hunted me down since I was 16 and I’m tired of it. All we want is a place to call our own. Our people designed this ship with that in mind. The name is perfect. We are getting our vengeance, by leaving the Earth to itself, like it has been left alone for the past 300 years. Something’s coming and when it does, Starfleet might find that it alienated the only people who can help.”
“I don’t understand,” Carol admitted. “What are you talking about?”
Faith didn’t answer. She had barely completed the transport cycle when Enterprise
raised her shields. But Faith let out a sigh of relief when she got the confirmation that transportation was successful. All of the Slayers and Augments were now currently aboard the Vengeance
Faith walked over to the comm station and hailed the Enterprise
. Kirk looked back at her, only slightly surprised. “Still in charge, then?” he asked. “Where is Admiral Marcus and Dr. Marcus?”
Carol walked into the picture. “I’m safe. So is my father and the other two men on the bridge.”
“And they never were in much danger. At least Carol wasn’t. How the others are treated depends.”
“On?” Kirk prompted.
“On whether they agree to let us go,” Faith said.
“Khan has to pay for his crimes, and so does Summers.”
Faith laughed. “So many people have tried to bring Buffy down. Not one of them succeeded. What makes you so sure you can do it?”
“I already have her in custody.”
“I’m afraid that tales of my incarceration have been exaggerated, Captain.” Buffy walked onto the bridge, Khan at her side and several others trailing behind. The two of them looked powerful and threatening, but beautiful together. Khan might’ve been a head taller than Buffy, but the smaller woman’s presence drowned Khan’s with the current expression on her face. She was every inch the protective leader she had been 300 years ago and Kirk visibly shrunk back a little. “Faith, Paul, Dawn, take your stations.”
Dawn followed the mousy brunet Augment to the two stations in front and sat at tactical while Paul sat at navigation. Faith remained at communications.
“You understand why we’re doing this,” Buffy continued, her eyes never leaving Kirk’s. “All we want is to live free from the possibility of persecution, of being killed in cold blood for what we are. We never really cared where or when we lived. All it took was 300 years of sleep and ten years of patience. Lower your shields. We will transport every member of Section 31 over to your ship, including both Marcuses and your precious Commander Scott. In exchange you let us go.”
“How do I know that you won’t turn around and kill everyone in your path? How do I know you won’t come back and slaughter us all in our sleep? You hijacked the most powerful ship in the fleet!” Kirk stood up, Spock ever present at hi shoulder. Both looked concerned, even if Spock’s look of concern didn’t look much different from his normal expression.
“You don’t,” Khan replied instead. “Just as we don’t know if we’ll have to continue to run for the rest of our lives. We’re trusting you to let us be. We’ve got what we want, a fast ship and our people awake. How do you think Buffy got away from you? Your guards were Slayers and an Augment. Faith was a Slayer who snuck aboard your bridge. We infiltrated your crew and you never noticed.”
“Where are my people?” Kirk said, his voice as cold as ice.
“In cryotubes where the torpedoes were,” Buffy said. “Every last one of them. Now, do you want the former crew of the Vengeance
, or should we simply dispose of them another way before we leave?”
Kirk’s glare promised murder, but he relented. “Lower shields.”
“Dawn,” Buffy said with a small nod.
Dawn pushed a few buttons and the Starfleet officers were transported off the Vengeance
and onto the Enterprise
. Faith cut the comm feed at a signal from Buffy. “Get us out of here, before more Starfleet ships come,” Buffy said. “I’m not sure if I trust Kirk not to turn us in.”
“Kirk will have his hands full with Admiral Marcus, even if he does get reprimanded for letting us go,” Khan said.
“Where would you like us to go?” Paul asked.
“The general direction of Pluto,” Buffy said after a few minutes. “I don’t think I’ve gone over there yet.”
Buffy slowly made her way around the ship. It was massive, with 35 decks that were nearly two miles in circumference. She was inspecting every workstation for signs of tampering from either Mr Scott or any of the Section 31 personnel who were on board. So far everything seemed to be alright. She was interrupted outside of the botany lab on Deck 10 when she felt a tug on her arm. Buffy turned around and smiled. Karen, beautiful, graceful, lovable Karen, was behind her with her arms spread. “Hi, Mom!”
“Hey, baby! I’ve missed you so much!” Buffy pulled her daughter into a hug, smoothing down her dark hair. Karen had inherited her father’s curls and her mother’s coloring, but she had her father’s eyes. Buffy pulled away and pushed Karen’s honey brown locks out of her face and looked green eyes looked into delighted blue. “I can’t believe I forgot how big you are!”
“Mom!” Karen protested. “Does this mean that I’m now old enough to join in on Slayer meetings?”
“You were ten when you went to sleep, and you’re still ten. But as long as there’s nothing too important going on, you’re welcome to come.”
“Thanks, Mom!” Karen hugged Buffy’s waist as Khan walked around the corner.
“She’s just as wonderful as I remembered,” he said softly, as he wrapped his arm around Buffy’s shoulder and pulled her close.
“We did it,” Buffy said wrapping her arms around her family. “We’re free, everyone’s here and alive and we’re safe.”
“Until the next thing turns up,” Khan agreed, “and you know it will.”
“Faith’s keeping an ear out. If something strange is going on somewhere, we’ll hear about it. We may even be able to make a living out of helping solve other people’s problems,” Buffy said.
“We’ll draw the line at civil war,” Khan said.
“Of course.” Buffy leaned against Khan as Karen rushed into the botany lab to look at the plants. “It’s a brave new world, after all.”
Khan bent down and kissed Buffy deeply. It was time for a new beginning.
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