11.Still inside the Moon.
Walking up the great, wide flights of stairs, Cavor looked around in wonder. Once again the chamber was huge, the ancient moon-creatures who'd built everything didn't seem to have understood the concept of 'small'. The stairway was perhaps twenty or thirty yards wide and appeared to go up forever. Although the stairs must have been built uncounted eons ago they showed no sign of ware or accumulated damage. On either side of the stairway were great outcrops of the multi-coloured crystals the same type of crystals that grew through-out the moon-creature city. Behind the crystals and looking between them were hundreds perhaps thousands of the smaller moon-creature workers.
Climbing the last long flight of stairs towards the glowing ball of blue energy, Cavor paused in his assent and looked upwards. Once again there was no sign of lights, how the moon-creatures lit their chambers as bright as an Earth day was beyond him. Letting his eyes drift back to the energy ball that sat like a throne at the top of the stairs, Cavor could see the different hues of blue swirl across its surface while it pulsed like the very heart of a great animal or indeed the city. By the time he'd reached the platform where the blue ball glowed, Cavor was out of breath and his heart was racing.
“First of Earth-men,” came a strange breathless voice, “welcome to Mihegszig.”
“Mihegszig?” Cavor repeated before realising that the word must be the moon-creature name for the moon.
“I am here before you,” the voice came from the glowing blue globe.
As he turned to look at the globe, Cavor was shocked to see a figure appear inside the sphere, it was another moon-creature, but this one had a head even larger than the 'scientist' moon-creatures he'd spoken to earlier. The moon-creature 'King', as Cavor thought of the creature, reminded him of something and it took him a moment to remember what.
“Of course,” Cavor said softly as childhood memories flooded back into his mind; the 'King' reminded him of the Mekon, the evil bad-guy from the Dan Dare stories in the Eagle comic.
“Your Earth is the centre of our orbit,” explained the 'King', “tell us of its life, how it differs from ours.”
“Well, I don't know where to begin,” Cavor began; he thought for a moment and took a deep breath, “Man,” Cavor pointed to himself, “lives on the surface of Earth in protective structures.” Again Cavor paused as he tried to get his thoughts into order to properly explain what he wanted to say, “Not unlike your underground chambers but on the outside. We call them cities, towns...”
“That would explain the areas of light on the Earth's surface when its night side is facing us,” agreed the King in his dry whispery voice. “Does not the sun blind you living on the surface?”
“No,” Cavor shook his head, “no, you see we've evolved something called an iris that protects the eye.”
“Come closer,” ordered the King, “I wish to see.”
Obediently Cavor walked towards the globe only to have a bright light shone into his eyes.
“AAAGH!” he cried more in surprise than pain, “Please stop, that hurts.”
The light went out and Cavor found himself standing close to the globe and able to see inside it quite clearly. He could see no controls or emitters that would explain how the globe worked; his thoughts were interrupted by the King's next words0=0=0=0Meanwhile back at the workshop.
Passing control units and supplies up to Willow who was hanging half out of the airlock, Kennedy paused for a moment.
“Will,” the dark haired girl called softly, “do you think we might be wrong about the moon-creatures?”
“Wrong?” Willow frowned, “What do you mean wrong?”
“You know,” Kennedy shrugged uncertainly, “that they might not actually be evil, that it could just be us just thinking they're evil,” she finished passing the box of packed meals up to Willow, “You know, we're so used to seeing evil that we might be seeing it when its not there.”
“Oh, I get it,” Willow paused for a moment thinking about what her girlfriend was suggesting. “What are your slayer instincts telling you?”
“Weeeeell...” Kennedy screwed up her face in indecision, “...they're telling me that they're different and they can't be trusted and...”
“You're worried that you want to destroy them all just because they are different, right?” Willow asked.
“Uh-huh, something like that,” Kennedy nodded.
“Well don't worry,” Willow smiled, “my on board 'evil detector' is telling me these things are evil and need to be destroyed.”
“Wow,” Kennedy smiled with relief, “just for a moment there I thought I was going to be like Buffy and all her soul searching that she does before she goes out and kills whatever.”
“Buffy's soul-searching is one of her best features,” Willow pouted.
“It is?” Kennedy replied surprised, “I thought it was just something that would get her killed one day...”
“Is there much gear left out there?” Willow asked changing the subject.
“No this is about it,” Kennedy reassured her, “do you think you'll be able to get this thing to fly again?”
“Yeah, no problemo, honey,” Willow called as she crawled backwards into the capsule, “like I say, its all modular and I just have to screw the right units into the right holes.”
“How long?” Kennedy asked as she jumped slowly from the ladder to the surface.
“Thirty, maybe forty-five minutes,” Willow guessed, “I mean we only really need the flight controls connected up to the engines to get us out of here.”
“Okay, lets call it an hour to be safe,” Kennedy pondered what she had to do, she picked up the sword that she'd left lying close to hand. “I'm going back to find Cavor.”
“To do what?” Willow asked, her head sticking out from the hatch again.
“Whatever needs to be done,” Kennedy told her, “I'll try to be back here no earlier than forty-five minutes after I leave so you better get this thing flying...” Kennedy took a deep breath, “...and if I'm not back in an hour I won't be coming back...”
“No, baby!” Willow cried, “You'll be back, say you'll come back...”
“Will,” Kennedy sighed sadly, “you know there's always a chance I won't come back...if the worst happens don't go all Darth-Willow. Get home and warn Buffy and the others, okay?”
“Okay,” Willow replied miserably.
“Yeah, I promise.”0=0=0=0Back at the Audience Chamber.
“...you say men cling to different tongues and outmoded beliefs?” the King sounded truly puzzled,
“is there no one ruler?”
“No,” Cavor shook his head as he paced up and down in front of the 'throne', “Every so often some tinpot despot tries, but up to now no ones succeeded for more than a generation or two.”
“Does this not lead to confusion?” the King wanted to know.
“Yes it does,” Cavor replied earnestly, “and worse...starvation, hostility, even war...”
“Tell me of war,” the King leaned towards Cavor not wishing to miss a single word.
“Tell you of war?” Gasped Cavor, “What can I say...” he thought for a moment before saying, “it usually starts with a whacking great explosion...”0=0=0=0
Peering between two great crystal columns, Kennedy watched as Cavor spilled his guts to the weird, extra, big-headed moon-creature in the glowy ball. Before leaving Willow she'd stripped off her space suit and changed back into her normal clothes. She'd reasoned that as she'd lost her helmet somewhere the space suit was useless, plus her normal clothes were much better to fight in. Hefting the sword in her hand, Kennedy glanced impatiently at her watch. There was still twenty minutes or so to go before Willow would have a chance of getting the sphere near ready to fly. For the time being she'd have to just sit here and wait until it was time for her to act.0=0=0=0
“...and yet to fight in a war is considered an honour,” Cavor explained as he sat on the floor in front of the King, “It's difficult to explain, but men who are killed in battle are heroes...that's odd isn't it?”
“Men enjoy to make war?” the King wanted to know.
“NO!” Cavor climbed hurriedly to his feet, “No, they detest it!”
“Then if they make war,” the King said slowly, “they must be defective.”
“Well...” Cavor didn't know how to answer this question and he'd not liked the way the King had said, defective
, it was starting to occur to him that the moon-creatures weren't all sweetness and light. “We're not perfect, mankind is still evolving...there are men of peace.”
“My concern is with the men of violence,” replied the King, “the men who...kill!”0=0=0=0
“Pacifist swine,” Kennedy muttered darkly at Cavor, “it's people like you who start wars!”
Glancing at her watch Kennedy saw that she'd still have to wait a few more minutes before she could do anything to save humanity from the moon-creature threat.0=0=0=0
“Soon others will be coming from Earth,” the King said slowly, “Our galleries will be strewn with dead.”
“There needn't be any others,” Cavor shouted, “I'm the only one who knows the secret of the gravitic motors...”
“Yes you and your secret will remain with us and help us devise a means of striking at Earth before they destroy us,” the King informed Cavor0=0=0=0
“Time to move,” Kennedy told herself.
Jumping from her hiding place she cut down half-a-dozen moon-creatures as she floated over their decapitated heads. Within seconds of her appearance the audience chamber was reduced to pandemonium. Moon-creatures rushed about in disorder as they tried to interpose their bodies between Kennedy's bloody blade and the Moon-King. Hacking left and right, she cut a bloody path to where Cavor cowered on the floor near a crystal outcrop.
“Come with me or I'll kill you,” Kennedy told the frightened scientist, she'd never had any problem about killing humans; unlike Buffy who'd whine about it before she killed them anyway.
Grabbing hold of Cavor's arm, Kennedy hauled him to his feet. Turning to drag him towards her escape route she was met by a horde of moon-creatures blocking her way. Once again her sword rose and fell, cutting down the creatures and sending their limbs in slow motion, bloody, cartwheels across the chamber. Falling back the moon-creatures revealed a group of creatures trying to set up one of their energy guns. Moving as quickly as she dared, Kennedy hurled her sword at the blue glowy thing, before using her hands and feet to smash her way to the energy gun and its crew.
Quickly slaughtering the crew, Kennedy picked up the gun; it was overly big and clumsy, but her slayer instincts told her how to fire it. As her sword bounced harmlessly off the blue globe, she triggered the weapon and cut down tens of moon-creatures. They fell in untidy, smouldering heaps before her as she played the flashing green beam across their packed ranks.
“Noooooooo!” Cavor wailed as he tried to wrestle the weapon from Kennedy's grip.
As they struggled for possession of the gun, Kennedy fired wildly in all directions. Beams cut down moon-creatures in uncounted numbers or blasted great lumps of moon rock from the cavern walls. Eventually pushing Cavor to the floor where he sobbed uncontrollably, Kennedy found herself free of attacking creatures for just a moment.
The King and his glowy blue ball had vanish as had the 'brain-bugs'. What she was left with was what looked like thousands of moon-creatures who were massing to attack only fifty yards away, she also saw other creatures trying to set up more guns. Firing a long burst of energy into the mass before her, she turned and once again grabbed hold of Cavor and made for her escape route.
“If you want to live,” Kennedy told him in a voice that contained no mercy, “don't try and fight me or I'll kill you where you stand!”
Dragging Cavor along with one hand and firing a few bursts with her gun with the other, Kennedy headed for safety as the moon-creatures rushed after her in wild pursuit. Once they'd made the crystals at the edge of the stair way, Kennedy discarded the gun, it was too big and it would never fit down the tunnels she intended using for her escape. Free of the cumbersome weapon she was able to grip Cavor in an unbreakable hold and drag him through the narrow tunnels back to the workshop.
As they moved, Kennedy pulled them through the tunnel much like a diver making his way through a narrow opening in a wreck, she could hear the urgent chirruping of the moon-creatures behind her. Not far now, she told herself as the chirruping got closer. By now, Cavor had been reduced to a blubbering wreck after watching the destruction of the moon-creatures and his own forceful rescue. Coming out from between two huge crystals, Kennedy saw the sphere standing in the middle of the work shop. It looked very much as she'd first seen it and she hoped that Willow had got it repaired by now.
“Come on you,” Kennedy almost lifted Cavor off his feet as she dragged him towards the sphere, “WILLOW!?”
“Hi, sweetie!” Willow's head appeared in the hatch of the airlock.
“Are we ready to go?” Kennedy asked as she reached the foot of the ladder leading to the interior of the craft, she glanced over her shoulder to see the first of the moon-creature horde appear in the chamber behind her.
“All ready,” Willow gave the moon-creatures a worried glance, “just waiting for you, honey.”
“Okay, here I come!” Kennedy jumped intending for herself and Cavor to land on the little platform in front of the airlock.
However, as she jumped, Cavor managed to twist himself from her grip. As Kennedy floated upwards he floated towards the floor.
“DAMN IT!” Kennedy shouted; she looked from where Cavor lay to where the moon-creatures were advancing towards her, “Too close!”
Leaving Cavor to the mercy of the moon-creatures, Kennedy crawled inside the sphere and closed the airlock behind her. Clambering into the ship she scrambled up into the control capsule and started to strap herself down onto the couch next to Willow.
“One minor point about our escape plan, Will,” Kennedy said as she buckled up the last of the safety straps.
“What's that?” Willow was too busy switching switches and balancing power levels to look at her.
“It sorta occurred to me that we're underground,” Kennedy said without any hint of panic, “How do we fly out of here?”
“Already thought of that,” Willow replied with a smug grin, “we fly down that big tunnel,” she nodded with her head to the tunnel in question, “then we go up through one of those light shafts and smash through the lens at the top.”
“Cool!” Kennedy sounded impressed, “With luck all the air will rush out of the place and kill everything.”
“Cavor?” Willow glanced over at Kennedy.
“We're better off with him dead...” Kennedy replied.
“Okay, if you say so” Willow replied pragmatically as she rested back on her couch and took the flight controls in her hands, “hold on tight!”0=0=0=0Slayer Central, about two weeks later.
“Wow!” Buffy said quietly as Willow came to the end of her story; they were all sitting in the garden of Giles' cliff top house. “So what happened next?”
“Somehow I managed to fly us home,” Willow explained, “unfortunately I crashed the sphere off the coast of umBonga in East Africa. It's lost at the bottom of the sea now.”
“Pity,” Buffy sighed sadly, “having our own anti-gravity space ship would have been totally cool.”
“This Cavor fellow,” Giles spoke up as he sipped his tea, “what about him?”
“Back on the moon, I suppose,” Willow shrugged before picking up her own teacup, “whatever happened to the moon-creatures happened to him...”
“So we can't be sure if he's dead or alive?” Giles asked.
“Nope,” Willow shook her head.
“And you're sure that these moon-thingies were evil?” Buffy wanted to know.
“As sure as I can be,” Willow agreed.
“Darn,” Buffy remained silent for a moment before speaking again, “so...we have a probably hostile race of moon-creatures who may, or may not have all been destroyed. Working to attack Earth with the help of this Cavor guy,” Buffy looked directly at Willow, “do you think he could build more of the sphere things?”
“Probably,” Willow replied miserably, “it depends if he has access to the right raw materials.”
“Could you build one, Willow?” Giles wanted to know.
“Maybe, if I worked at it for fifteen or twenty years,” Willow replied with a frown.
“So we'll just have to wait and see what happens,” Buffy replied slowly.
“There might be something I could do magically, but...” Willow's voice died away as they all looked upwards at the moon as it hung in the night sky.Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.
Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.THE END.