: This is, of course, where you can see why the Doctor was so masterfully brilliant in choosing Buffy to teach Seo how to responsibly time travel.
The speech that Buffy gives Seo, in this chapter, is one that no one else could ever give her. Not even the Doctor.
"What do you mean, the ship had
to crash?" Seo asked, when Buffy had managed to drag her away and back into their own time ship.
Buffy thrust the book in front of Seo.
Who stared at the page. Stared at the photos of destruction, in the crashed ship's wake.
"The people in the city mostly survive, because of those emergency systems we saw, earlier," said Buffy. "But the ship definitely was supposed to crash. It's written here, in black and white."
Seo opened her mouth to say something, but… words escaped her.
"Look, you're the one with the fixed-point sensing skills," said Buffy. "You tell me. Did we just screw this up, or not?"
Seo looked up at her mom. And it was pretty clear from the look on her face… exactly what the answer was.
"Oops?" she tried.
Buffy clapped the book shut. "What I want to know," she said, "is why you keep changing things you know shouldn't be changed." She threw up her hands. "If only just to pass the test!"
"Sensing fixed-points isn't instinctive or anything!" Seo protested. "I mean, yes, I can sense them if I check. I just… sometimes… forget to check."
Buffy wanted to hit her head on something.
"Well… well… you've got senses telling you if there are vampires around!" Seo challenged. "Don't tell me you never forgot to check in with those senses, back in Sunnydale."
She'd done that particular screw-up a lot
Seo raced for the central console. "It's over, we can't take it back, so… let's go somewhere else!" she said, frantically. "Somewhere really far away from here. Like…!"
"No!" Buffy shouted, jumping forward and tackling Seo to the ground before she could launch the ship back into the vortex. "We're staying here, missy. Until this whole screwed-up time thing gets fixed."
"But… but…" Seo spluttered.
"Those people were supposed to die," said Buffy. "Now they're alive. You can't say that's not going to change anything."
"So what do you want me to do?" Seo demanded, wrestling herself from Buffy's grip, and leaping back to her feet. She spread her arms open, wide. "Grab up a machine gun and start mowing down survivors? I'll admit I mucked this one up. But those people are alive. And I'm
not going to be the one to kill them."
Buffy bit her lower lip. Damn. Good point.
"Okay, okay, let's just… think this through," said Buffy, hands in her hair. "I mean, if this spot's all fixed-pointy, there's a reason, right? Some super chain-reactiony thing that happens because of that ship crashing."
Seo cringed. "I… suppose."
"But that history book didn't have anything chain-reactiony happening as a result of Twirlfeen being destroyed," Buffy continued. "Which means that the ship crashing stopped something else from happening."
Seo didn't answer.
"So we just go out there and patrol around for whatever super-huge thing changed," Buffy decided, planting a confident look on her face, "so we can catch it and stake it while it's still small, before it grows up and blood-sucks the universe!"
Seo quirked an eyebrow at Buffy. "It's a glitch in time and space. Not a vampire."
"My point is," Buffy continued, pointing at the door, "you're going to get out there. And help with the nitty-gritty, every day stuff. You're going to fill out all the paperwork and answer all the questions and do all the boring things you usually bail on, back at Torchwood. Until you figure out where time went wrong. And fix it."
Seo's jaw dropped. Her eyes looking utterly betrayed.
"You… you can't do that to me!" she shouted. She scurried back, trying to retreat into her ship. "That's… cruel and unusual punishment. I know my rights!"
"Seo," sighed Buffy, "saving the world is only half the job. Take it from me. The apocalypse prevention is show-offy and impressive. But the nitty-gritty, day-to-day stuff — that's where you really make the difference."
A look of utter horror crept across Seo's face.
Yep. She was her father's daughter, all right.
"Okay, fine!" Buffy said, throwing up her hands. "Think of it this way, then, Seo. Your father gave you a test. And you just failed it. Big time."
Seo bit her lower lip.
"So if you ever want this time machine of yours to work, again," said Buffy, pointedly, "you better get out there and try to earn some partial credit. You got that?"
Seo thought it over a moment. Then, with a bitter look on her face, eyes fixed on the floor, she trudged back out of the ship. Slamming the door behind her, loudly enough that the bang made Buffy jump.
Buffy glanced back at the central console.
"I dunno about her, Doctor," Buffy said to it, a smug smile on her face, "but I'm pretty sure I deserve some kind of medal for all of this."
"Who is she?" asked Eron Halstor VII, behind his desk. He leaned back in his chair. "I was told by the engineers who looked over my ship that there was no possible way we could have landed it. But that girl managed to pull it off. Easily."
"I've run a DNA scan," said Mr. Trandon, the black-suited man with the attaché case and file folder. "The supposed 'mother' had DNA we could—"
"Not her," Halstor cut in. "The girl! Who is the girl?"
Trandon hesitated. "Unknown."
"Unknown… everything, sir," Trandon admitted. "No fingerprint identification. Retina scans turn up nothing. DNA is untraceable. She called the woman 'Mom', but we've found no evidence of that. Even the name she gave — Seosyrae — turns up a blank in our records."
Halstor's face grew dark.
"We… know one thing," said Trandon. "The girl isn't human. And, according to Mr. Xilgro, she appeared out of nowhere in a… glass pillar."
Halstor took this in. All darkness dropping away from him, in an instant. He leaned forward, suddenly intrigued. "Did she, now?"
A small smile tugged across Halstor's face. "And that would make the woman…" He jumped to his feet and grabbed the file folder out of Trandon's hands, flipping through it. "And there she is. The last one. The last surviving member of the Sompters family."
Trandon stared at Halstor, a little baffled. "The DNA readings are true?" He shook his head. "But I thought the Sompters family died out with—"
"Farox Zeno Sompters," Halstor said, throwing the folder down onto his desk. "That suicidally heroic nitwit. Almost as arrogant a President of the Slayers as their current one — the witch."
Trandon nodded, slowly.
Halstor gave a bitter sigh, leaned back against his desk. "No wonder that Von boy took such an interest in them," he muttered. "I wonder. How much does he really know?"
"Sir?" said Trandon.
The smile returned to Halstor's face. "I want those two shadowed. Men set in position to separate them soon as possible." He paced towards the window, looking down over Twirlfeen. "Moment I say, place their glass pillar into my secure vault, and take the women."
Trandon nodded. "Understood, sir."
Halstor continued to look out the window as Trandon left. Musing it all over in his head, his eyes on the traffic, below. "The Lost Sompters' heir," he muttered. "And the thief. Finally. I've found them."