Escape Velocity: Hellmouth
I do not own Buffy the Vampire, Stargate, or Escape Velocity nor have I been given permission to use them. This is written in the spirit of fanfiction.
The trio were meeting with Giles, in the aftermath of Halloween. The watcher, feeling concerned for the teens, had asked, “Have any of you experienced any lingering effects?”
Xander and Buffy shared a look. Willow blushed. “I keep walking into walls,” the redhead admitted.
“Buffy? Xander? What about you?”
Xander grinned sheepishly as he scratched the back of his head. “Well ... What do you know about a game series called Escape Velocity?” By Giles's blank look, Xander got his answer. “Right, you're the guy who's baffled by a calculator.”
Giles rolled his eyes. “Do get on with it.” Giles took his glasses off and began to clean them.
Xander and Buffy winced and shared another look, one of reluctance. “Alright, so there's this game. Escape Velocity: Nova. You play it on the computer. You essentially play as the captain of a spaceship, visiting planets and such. You can buy things, sell things, get attacked by pirates, pirate other ships, and so on. You’re in a universe fractured by different political factions, and as such you can play exclusive storylines that the player could fall into. Essentially a linear game, but with six main lines to attempt one of, and a few minor side-quests that don't really affect any plot, but they do award you with honors or special privileges.”
Gile stopped wiping his glasses. “While fascinating, what does this have to do with anything?”
Buffy spoke up. “He's getting there. We dressed as characters from the game. They were ... special.”
The gang were discussing costume ideas shortly after being gang-pressed into service by Snyder. “If I can find a wig, I want to go as my pilot from Escape Velocity,” Xander announced.
Buffy blinked. “Which one? The pirate fellow with the tricked out Starbridge?”
“Naw, I think the Vell-os are way cooler than pirates. They fly in mental spaceships! How awesome is that?”
Buffy smiled. “I do like my pilot. I can relate to Ory’hara. Hey, you know, if I can find some kind of sci-fi cat-suit, I could be a pilot too!”
“I’m going as a ghost,” Willow declared, feeling left out.
Xander nodded. “In the game, there are no sentient alien species, though there are a couple space critters. All of the different races are really just humans, some who went their own way millenia prior, resulting in dramatically different social structures and technology. When you play, the easiest story to fall into is for the Vell-os race. Their backstory is that a conclave of psychic humans, from India I think, pooled their mental powers to escape persecution by escaping Earth itself during the Middle Ages. Their spacecraft is actually a psychic manifestation of their will. If you play that plotline, your character is enslaved by an evil, undercover, government operation. They enslaved all of the Vell-os, long back story. But as you progress though the storyline, being forced to infiltrate and betray a rebellion that knows the truth about the Bureau of Investigations, hunting down spies, exploring Vell-os history, you gain in power. The player can manifest bigger and tougher spaceships, new weaponry, and psychic abilities. Being a game of space travel, the powers tend to deal with what a spaceship needs. Though in the dialogs, telekinesis and telepathy are mentioned a few times.”
“Good Lord!” realization stole over Giles's face. “Are you trying to tell me that for a little while last night, you were capable of spaceflight?”
Xander sighed. “I still am.” Giles and Willow sat up straight in shock. “I went as my character from the game, and I completed the Vell-os storyline with him; meaning he's suppose to be extremely powerful. He's capable of capital ship warfare using his mind alone. On the bright side, I can now laser beam a vampire into ash. I have telepathy, telekinesis, and if I so choose, I could go orbit the Moon or even Mars.”
"Buffy? And you?” Giles asked with a weak voice.
She smiled sadly. “I wasn't quite the fan as Xander is. He knows the game better. But the game has another character - a person mention in prophesy. One who would develop almost godlike powers along with mastering the art of combat – She flew Polaris ships, which means that they were alive - huge, icky bugs. I could relate to her.”
“Her?” Giles asked.
Buffy nodded. “When making a pilot at the start, you can choose a gender. So it could also have been a him, but for me it was a her. She was chosen by destiny to wield superhuman power and dedicated to overthrowing an evil government agency. We're so much alike, I am not surprised so much of her stuck with me.”
“Oh dear. Oh lord. Memories? Are you still you?”
The two nodded. “Yeah,” Buffy said. “We didn't get much by way of a new personality or memories. I mean, the game was more spaceship action than character development.”
“I think just the abilities,” Xander clarified. “Even the wig turned back to a wig and the implant back to a bottle cap. I'm implant free, but all of the mental skills remain.”
“I should have most of what Xander got,” Buffy chipped in. “But I think he got the psychic powers, and I got a real spaceship.”
“Are you sure? Everything else reverted to normal,” Giles reasoned logically.
"Why wouldn’t I get my spaceship if he got his? I bet it’s on the Moon.”
Giles hummed as he thought. “First, because his is mental instead of physical. Second, because the spell changed what existed instead making things from nothing. Finally, Why the Moon? Why not down here on Earth? Why not someplace in Sunnydale?”
“That was the last place, in game, I had visited.”
Xander cleared his throat. “If she has one, it’s a Kestral!” He was clearly, to the others, geeking out.
Buffy's cheeks colored, “Good thing too, Ory'hara ends the game in a Polaris Raven. A ship so huge ... though that might have been more due to the strange scale used in the game for the planets.”
Xander nodded. “At the very least, though, it ought to be comparable to the size of Texas.”
Giles's and Willow's eyes bugged out.
Buffy mused. “How big would a Kestral be? I sometimes got the sense the scaling was a bit wiggy.”
Xander and Buffy were planning their costumes. Xander pulled out some printer paper. “Here, I took the liberty of printing out our stats. I figure we could keep them in our pockets, make believe they're our ID or passport or some kind of official papers.”
Buffy caught a glimpse of Xander's character and ship stats. “That can't be right, I don't recall the T rating having negative levels.”
Xander smirked. “I may have installed some plugins to mod and cheat a bit. Mostly, to have more Vell-os storyline to play through.”
Buffy rolled here eyes. “Is that why it says you own a Harpoon? I'm pretty sure there are no ships of that kind.”
Xander shrugged. “The Vell-os get gypped. Only three ships? Dart, Arrow, Javelin. Everyone else have a much richer variety to draw from. At first, when you gain a new ship, you also gain a new weapon. But the last level up is a new weapon only. There should be a ship to go with it. Even if you need to win the Vell-os story arc to unlock it, T:0 is lacking a ship where the T:1 to T:3 ranks has them. I was just filling the gap. And then, you can't even put normal tech in a Vell-os ship because it's not a manufactured construct. It's just mental energy. Thus all the cool upgrades are off limits. How is that fair?”
“Gee, like the Vello-os aren't overpowered to begin with.” Buffy then teased, “The big bad mind-bender can't buy batteries or an antimatter reactor.”
Xander pouted. “It's the principle of the thing. You don't get to do as much customizing. Half the fun is seeing what combination of outfits work the best. Stock is only kosher when it comes to auto-racing. And only three ships? When other governments get closer to a dozen? Finishing the mission-quest and reaching T:0 ought to be rewarded with one more ship. So I made one. Well, I had help for the graphics. But I invented the specs. Thus the ‘Harpoon’. And the mod I found adds another storyline if you finish the Vell-os one. And the extra powers and T-rank ... er, that's a cheat I found. Also, another cheat ... I can, now, manifest a glowing blue psychic copy of any ship type in the game.”
Buffy shook her head. “Only you Xander. ... Wait, any?”
“Any.” Twin smirks blossomed on their faces.
The trio left their mentor, two of them promising to not use their powers unless in an emergency and Buffy promising that going to the moon to search for her ship was not a pressing emergency. Willow stared wide eyed at her friends. “Xander, Can you imagine how much you could aid NASA? Could you teach your skills to an adept?”
Xander stopped short. “Dear god, you're right. I could run a business. Cargo, cruises, you name it. Around the planet or out into space.”
Buffy grimaced and growl. “I ain't letting no one near my Slayer 7
“What are you going to do with a capital ship and no crew?” Xander questioned. “You know, I think your character gets a T:2 rank near the end. Though you didn’t seem to retain such power – maybe because you used it so little you did not associate it with your character – maybe you can be taught how to?”
Buffy shrugged. “I have been giving it thought. Giles is right. I have a duty here on Earth. I can’t very well go play in space.” Buffy frowned.
Willow tried to cheer up her friend. “But think of all the good it would do if NASA had such technology?”
Xander snorted. “And all the bad the government can do with it. It's like gifting a bazooka to a caveman.”
Buffy patted Xander on his arm. “Reliving your days as a slave to an evil bureaucrat?”
Later that night, the day after Halloween night, while Buffy was out patrolling, she stared up at the moon hanging in the sky. “What good is a spaceship to a slayer?” she asked herself in a sad, fatalistic voice. There wasn't anything out there she wanted to see and she knew her duty was here on the Hellmouth. But she wanted to see her ship up close, run her hands over its controls, walk its gangways. But when would she ever need to slay a demon in space?