Chapter 11: Knowing the Game - What Came Before
For Ratings and Disclaimer information, see the Prologue.
Chapter 11: Knowing the Game – What Came Before
Only his training kept Marcus from showing his shock. Xander had summarily dismissed Ambassador Kosh, and the Ranger was having a bit of a hard time getting his mind around that fact. Marcus watched his friend for a moment, noting how tired he still looked. Of course, considering everything that had happened in the short time since they’d met, complete exhaustion on Xander’s part would have come as no surprise to the Ranger.
Although, he did have to admit to a certain mental wondering that had nothing to do with his friend and a great deal to do with a certain Russian. As a consequence of being slightly lost in thought, he was a tad startled by Xander’s sudden chuckle.
“Nothing. Just appreciating a slight joke that was carried off in this room with no one the wiser… though I haven’t quite figured out why she went along with it.”
Marcus believed that he must have looked slightly confused, because Xander decided to answer the question the Ranger hadn’t had a chance to ask.
“I’m betting no one else in the room actually speaks Russian?”
“Just you and Sus… what was
she actually saying?”
Xander smirked at him. “Now,
somebody asks. It wasn’t actually anything that would… technically… constitute conduct unbecoming. But, if you want specifics, Marcus, you’ll have to ask her yourself. Just think of it as the benefits of my twisted sense of humor, which she – for some unknown reason – decided to indulge. I get the feeling that she has a liking for practical jokes, your Commander… as long as they’re not being played on her. Maybe her sadistic side took over for a second. It’s not for me to say one way or the other.”
For a brief second, a thought flickered through the Ranger’s mind that Xander’s sense of humor bore a slight resemblance to Entil’zha’s. That thought, almost too frightening to contemplate, quickly ran away and hid somewhere far deeper.
Several hours later, after Marcus had left the room to attend to his Ranger duties, and Xander had gotten some sleep, the misplaced Scooby turned his attention back to the file. That thing should really be capitalized. The File. Kinda like The Prophecy. Well, Xan, time to figure out just what kind of mess you’ve landed in.
He didn’t have to unlock the file again, and he wasn’t overly concerned that someone else would have looked at it without his notice, as he had always been a fairly light sleeper – now more than ever. Where to go first – letters or status reports?
Making a mental note to look at the letters when he wasn’t in a room with a view, he clicked on the first of the status reports – “Watcher’s Council Summary on Supernatural Activity January 2004 – December 2009.”
Opening a program on the mobile-comp that seemed to be for word-processing (the easier to make himself some notes), he started to read, and just let his running commentary go through his mind.Ok, general decrease in Hellmouthy stuff for the first few years, but – understandably – a dramatic rise in crimes perpetrated by adolescent girls. That would be – by and large – the ones with the shitty lives who thought to get some of their own back. A few of the ones who were better off and just thought these new powers were “kewl,” and figured if they had them, who the hell needed to be noble? They could do whatever they wanted. The ones who thought the powers made them better than the normal humans… and, oh joy, super powered Neo-Nazis. What a wonderful world I slept through.
Which begs the question… why didn’t anyone other than Kosh know about Sunnydale and vampires if there was this much trouble with the new Slayers?
Xander found his answer to that a little further down in the report. Certain Slayers who cooperated with the new Watcher’s Council formed an elite hunting unit, taking a hint from Angel and starting what appeared to be a Private Investigation/Security company that specialized in taking assignments involving ‘unusually strong/fast individuals.’ It was smooth. It was quiet. And it had the unofficial sanction of the President to do what needed to be done… whatever
needed to be done. Christ.
The necessity of the unit’s actions was no surprise to Xander. That Buffy and Willow had been able to see the need in the first place… that was a bit of a shock.
By and large, the majority of the new Slayers understood the “calling.” It’s simply that those few who decided to make trouble… did so in a very noticeable fashion. Suddenly, his old friends had seen report after report of teenage girls who decided to take apart anyone who had ever insulted them, one who had escaped from a mental institution and was hunting down children in an attempt to “save them” from the life she had had. Of course, in her mind, saving them and killing them had been the same thing, and that had presented something of a problem. Let’s hear it for the sarcasm.
In the end, it had seemed the special unit had been formed partially because the remaining core group of Scoobies had finally understood the monster they had all let loose… and partially because the rest of the supernatural community had come down hard on the new Council. Apparently, if the Council refused to deal with their mess, the rest of the supernatural world would do it for them. The rogue Slayers simply were drawing too much attention to the supernatural world.
Xander paused for a moment, thinking that something was a bit off, in that he had read of the unit’s formation in the middle of the in-depth explanation of the problem… then he realized he had somehow gone from page nine to eleven… and then back to ten. “You’d think if the file was so important, they would have scanned the pages into the file in the right order… weird, but it fits with the rest of my life right now.”
Having finished the Initial Summary, Xander moved on to the yearly reports, making notes and recognizing a few interesting – or disturbing, depending on point of view
– trends. None of the active Slayers ever had children. In and of itself, this was no huge surprise to Xander. Even though no active Slayer on record had ever been given the chance to become pregnant – given the hold the Old Council had over them – it didn’t make sense that the PTBs would allow such a blatant vulnerability in their Chosen One. Even Wood’s mother had only been a Potential when she had him. But, what was a vulnerability in active Slayers was nothing more than a continuation of the line in Potentials. And this
would be where a whole new problem started.
The disturbing part was that after the Spell… there were no more Potentials.
Xander took a deep breath and looked at his notes. Point A: All Potentials between puberty and menopause immediately became Active Slayers upon completion of The Spell and all younger Potentials became Active Slayers at the onset of puberty. Point B: No active Slayer is/was fertile, and as there were no Potentials of child-bearing age after The Spell, no children could be born to any Potential Post-Spell. Point C: No Potentials were born to any relatives of Slayers Post-Spell. More specifically, no girls **at all** were born to any relatives of Slayers Post-Spell (for an apparent duration of twenty-five years). Codicil: No Potentials were born to anyone – world-wide – relative of a Slayer or otherwise, post-Spell. This leads to Point D: Of the Army of Slayers, none lived what could be called a normal life (let’s hear it for the demon magnets), and when the last one died, there were no Potentials to take up the burden.
“Well, crap,” Xander muttered. “No Potentials. The Spell took us from Two Slayers, to an Army… to no Slayer at all. Which leaves us where in regards to the Demon/Vampire situation, exactly?”
Not seeing an answer to his question in his notes, he did the only thing he could – he kept reading.
Several hours and innumerable reports later, Xander finally figured out the ‘what’ if not the ‘why.’ The Demon and Vampire populations had declined at roughly the same rate as the Slayer Army, though whether they’d been killed or just plain disappeared wasn’t entirely clear. Regardless, when the last of the Slayers died… so did reports of demonic activity. The Hellmouths closed. The Watchers Council remained active, but – having nothing demonic left to watch – focused on the one remaining prophecy that might still have relevance… his. Oh, and while they were at it, they concentrated more on humanity’s darker side… the subtle demons of greed and power, as opposed to the obvious ‘Hi, I want to eat you’ variety. Of course, the Old Council used to be overrun by those ‘subtle demons.’ Wonder how the New Council ranks in comparison?
Tired and confused, Xander closed The File, leaving only his notes visible. So, now that I know ‘what’ happened, how do I figure out the ‘why?’
TBC with Chapter 12: Knowing the Game – Today’s Players