Title: The One With the Beard
Pairing: Willow/Andromeda, Tyr/Harper
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Andromeda.
In my little 'verse, Tyr never left the Andromeda and there was no little incident of him falling over a cliff. Plus, he never cut his hair, because that was sad. Quickly about bad Tyr: I would just like to say here that I didn't think Tyr was acting in character during the episodes when he was trying to take over the universe. I mean, he's a survivor, he's got a mind with a definite tactical bent, and he knows the crew of the Andromeda intimately, yet he goes around acting like a complete moron during those episodes. Where's the survivability of that?
She was fighting hard with sweat dripping down the sides of her face and making her shirt stick to her chest and back. She didn't know how long this had been going on, but it felt like forever. The demons just kept on coming.
After all of her years in Sunnydale, she had thought she knew what she was up against. But here she was in Cleveland and it was like she was back at square one, facing off with all new demons and dangers. It just wasn't fair. This was supposed to have been a cakewalk, a vacation from all the big time evils.
She could hear the feminine grunts of Buffy as the other woman wielded her Scythe with one hand while she punched with the other and kicked with both feet. Xander was panting heavily off to one side, his messed up depth perception from the missing eye giving him trouble in the fight, which meant he wasn't spouting off with the insults like usual. Dawn was holding her own.
Willow was tired, not just from the fighting, but of the fighting. It just seemed that her whole life had been turned into one long fight. There was never any time to stop and be herself, not anymore, and it was getting old real fast.
She was twenty-three and she already felt ancient. She kept on fighting, but there was never a chance to win because no matter what evil she helped defeat, another, badder evil always rose up to take its place. It wasn't fair, and she didn't want to spend the rest of her life battling the forces of darkness. She at least wanted a break every once and awhile.
It just seemed to her that whenever she got something good, events conspired to jerk her around. First Tara, then Kennedy, though how she could compare the two women was beyond her.
Tara had been the love of her life, the completion of her soul. Kennedy had been the little bitch that had used her for everything, then walked away without a single backward glance. Tara was everything good, while Kennedy was just the spoiled brat that had blindsided her for awhile.
So why did Kennedy's abandonment leave her feeling as if a chunk of her heart had been jerked out of her chest? Why did she feel so lost and confused? None of it made any kind of sense.
"Willow! Watch out!"
Xander's shout had her spinning around, but it was already too late. The ground fell out from under her and she disappeared.
* * *
Loyal Completion of Duty had been drifting alone for over two hundred and fifty years, since the last of his crew had died in the line of duty, trying to repair the sabotage that had crippled him. No one had ever found him out here, just drifting through the asteroid belt, flinching whenever his hull was struck, but knowing there was nothing to do about it. He was dead in space, though his mind kept on functioning.
It was with surprise that he realized he sensed a human life sign aboard him.
With an almost comical effort for a being that had once been able to control so much power, he managed to twist a camera around and switch it on with a quick spray of sparks. He was proud that he had managed not to ignite the human he wanted to see. His lack of control over his internal sensors had left him wondering whether he was going to hurt her.
"Human, identify yourself," he intoned. His voice came out of the speakers sounding scratchy and a little broken. He didn't sound like his old self had, not nearly so proud and melodious.
There was no response from the still figure.
"Who are you, human? Wake up and answer me," he demanded shrilly.
His logic circuits had been degraded by all of the years without service. His intelligence had been so badly wounded that he was only working at 33%, which meant he was incapable of dealing with the unexplainable arrival of a human being on his bridge. She had just appeared out of nowhere, and there was no way that he could explain that in his current state. So he did what any other damaged computer would do.
He attempted to erase the anomaly with a remote controlled nanowielder.
The wielder sputtered into life and didn't really want to stay active, but it held enough power that it would work for the job at hand. It was hot enough to melt human flesh, and that was all that mattered to him.
Sending the nanowielder toward the unconscious figure, the Loyal Completion of Duty prepared himself to kill it.
* * *
Confusion. Fear at waking in strangeness. Not knowing where she was or for a moment even who she was. Then crystallizing terror as her eyes opened to see the danger closing in on her.
"Holy crap!" she yelped, rolling away from the strange glowing blue light about to burn its way through her left eye.
Her legs trembled as she tried to climb to her feet, but her physical weakness didn’t matter, because she had a power at hand far beyond the confines of her skin. Magic welled up within her and it was an almost effortless extension of her being to surround herself with an impenetrable shield of energy that sent the whatever it was rebounding away from her.
Silver spider legs twitched and the winking blue light went out as the small robot flipped over to land lifeless on the ground. A sound that might have been confused with a laugh escaped her lips as she got a good look at it.
The robot looked like a metal spider with a silver dildo strapped to its back. The dildo-looking thing was where the blue light had been coming from.
Looking away from the spider-thing to try and guess at her surroundings, she found that she was in a strange, darkened room with only a sputtering half light to see by. She had no idea where she was, but she knew she wasn't anywhere she'd ever been before.
"Where am I?" she asked aloud, not expecting an answer.
"You are aboard the Loyal Completion of Duty," a crackling voice replied. "Now you will die."
There was a strange hissing sound that she couldn’t identify at first. Then she realized what it was... the air was being sucked out of the room. She was going to suffocate!
"No!" she yelled, trying to run toward what looked like a door, only to stumble and lose her balance.
She cursed as she began to fall to the ground, catching herself against a strange console. As her hand touched it, she felt a surge jerk through her arm. Her eyes snapped wide and her eyeballs rolled back in her head.
It wasn't too long ago that she was using her magic for everything, and even though she had largely pulled herself back from the edge and trained herself not to rely so heavily on the mojo, she still had it in her. For awhile there she had gotten a weird kick out of mixing magic and technology, finding it wonderfully amusing to merge herself with her computer to surf the Internet, or to send a bit of herself into the microwave to make sure her Ballpark hotdogs really did plump when she cooked them. Whatever she'd been doing then, it had had an invisible affect on her that was making itself felt now.
Her hand seemed to sink into the console and she felt herself connecting to a billion different pathways. A door seemed to open in her mind and she slipped through it as easy as breathing.
The Loyal Completion of Duty, whose crew had called him Loya, tried to stop her, but she was like smoke through his system. She passed through effortlessly, but was everywhere.
Not really even thinking about what she was doing, she sent herself deep into the Glorious Heritage class warship's AI's core and excised the personality matrix with a single flick of her will. In less than a second, Loya ceased to exist.
The ship shuddered around her and she felt her body being thrown around, only her hand grafted to the console keeping her from being flung off her feet. There was no way that she could control the ship and keep her body alive and breathing at the same time.
"Doppleganger," she said, sending out a surge of magical energy.
It didn't quite hurt as her personality was copied and rewritten into the AI core, but it didn't really feel good either. She didn't know how long the process took, but from inside the ship with all of that processing power at her command it felt like forever. Then it was done, and her hand slid free from the console and she sank down to the deck, sitting there, trying to catch her breath.
Light flared on around her and for the first time in over three hundred years the ship came on to full power. It turned out that all of the sabotage had been centered on the AI, not the peripheral systems the old crew had wasted their lives trying to fix. The virus programs had sent out confusing signals that had had everyone thinking there was a hardware problem, and not that the AI was screwed up.
"Are you all right?"
She raised her head to see her own face staring back at her from the view screen. "I'm okay... Will," she said.
The AI smiled. "It's kind of weird seeing myself out there when I'm in here, but already we're separating, becoming different people." Will laughed. "I wonder which one of us is the evil twin."
"It's always the one with the beard," Willow said, and clasped her hands to her face, beginning to cry. Her knees fell out from under her and her ass hit the deck with a dull thump.