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The End of the Beginning

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Summary: Buffy dies again (sort of) and has to deal with her new life elsewhen. One shot crossover with the movie “Millennium.” Pairings: Buffy/OC, Xander/Anya.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > MillenniumtrinfanebFR1513,8830282915 Jul 0415 Jul 04Yes
The End of the Beginning




This story contains small spoilers from pretty much the entire run of Buffy, but especially for
"Chosen" and for the whole "Millennium" movie. You shouldn't need any knowledge of the
movie to appreciate this story.

All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this
story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis. I welcome free distribution of the
story, but please let me know if you are going to do it. trinfaneb at yahoo dot com.




&&&&




"It is not the end. It is not the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning." - Sherman
the Robot




"My New Beginning," by Buffy Henderson--Summers, exclusive to the Lost Horizon Times.




A beginning is a delicate time......Sorry readers, I've just loved that quote ever since I watched
"Dune" a couple of years back. No new movies being made here yet, so you have to find the old
gems. If you've read through my other articles about my time as the Slayer, then you know how
that story ends. Let's start up the Way Back machine and travel to Sunnydale, California--May
2003.

Willow activated the Potentials and the Slayers deactivated many of the Turok-Han, but Spike--
dear Spike--won the day for us. He began to course with light and power and I lingered. I told
him that I loved him. He said, "no, you don't. But thanks for saying it." I never loved him more
than at that moment. I knew I should have gotten out of there, but I started to think about losing
him and then I saw the faces of all the Potentials who had fallen in the war against the First and
that lead me down the slippery slope to mom and Kendra the Slayer and then all the Hellmouth
victims I hadn't been able to save in my seven years as Slayer.

I was paralyzed. Not as bad as when Glory cleaved Dawn away from me, but bad enough. Spike
was screaming at me to leave and I finally left, pausing only to steal one last look at his
disintegrating form. But it was too late. I couldn't catch up to the bus and make it out of town
before it collapsed into the earth. Still I ran through and over the school hallways and into the
street until I saw Xander a block ahead running with Anya in his arms. Somehow I knew she
was dead. He must have lingered too.

Then a big blue ball of energy and light opened up in front of me and a woman stepped from an
opening in it. She looked to be around 40 and had bushy platinum hair that made her resemble a
member of the 80's pop band "A Flock of Seagulls." She had some silver do-dad in her hand that
looked like the noisy cricket gun from "Men in Black." I heard the school being swallowed up
behind me as she pointed the do-dad in my direction and I tried to dodge and then nothing. And
then I woke up.

"Oh great, I died again," was my first conscious thought. I was laying on a table. Laying naked
on a table. Laying naked on a very chilly metal table. I sat up and immediately went into a short
coughing fit. Then put my feet on the freezing floor and promptly lifted them up again. I saw a
bundle of clothes at an end of the table and grabbed them like a drowning woman would a life
preserver. I slipped on some white panties and was snapping a utilitarian bra closed when I
noticed there were other people and tables around me. Many other people and tables. Thousands
of other people and tables.

There was a pimple-faced teenager looking at me from the next table. It was evident from his,
ahem, bearing that he was very happy to see me. I looked the opposite way and put on the rest of
my clothes and a pair of sneakers. Very plain clothes. No designer labels for whoever had
captured me.

It was then I noticed the announcements that obviously had been playing over some kind of loud
speaker the whole time. The voice told us to calmly and orderly follow the rest of the people to
the gate, wherever that was. I saw a long line begin to form at other end of the huge hall and,
having no better plan, I began to walk towards it. There were tremors, some kind of earthquake
going on. And it felt like it was getting worse. I hoped the building would hold up.

I got in the line and it moved steadily through hallways and then into a large open area which led
to a huge building which in turn took us to some kind of big chamber with scaffolding and
gantries across it. It occurred to me that I should do something about my situation, but for the
life of me, I couldn't think what. I didn't see any bad guys to beat up and I couldn't go back the
way I came, because some kind of wall of energy was slowly following the last people in line.
We were being herded. I would find answers at our destination. I hoped.

I looked closely at the other people for the first time. I saw a few that were dressed in viking or
roman type costumes, but most people were dressed in clothing you could find in any discount
store. I saw a lot of really funky haircuts, but strangely no obviously bad teeth or body or facial
disfigurements. Usually in any random crowd of thousands you saw some poor soul with some
obvious physical aliment, but these people looked pretty healthy.

And pretty placid. I didn't hear any arguing or complaining, in fact no talking at all. Everyone
just looked straight ahead and walked. It occurred to me that I was taking all this remarkably
calmly. I began to suspect that we had all been drugged or put under some kind of mind control.
Another thing to put on my growing list of mysteries.

I reached the scaffolding and could see some kind of golden light ahead. Our destination,
obviously. I began to flex my muscles in anticipation of a fight. Didn't get my usual rippling
sensation of strength, so I tried again. Still no juice. Damm, my Slayer power was gone. I
wasn't exhausted like I had been on my eighteenth birthday, I was just not strong. Like I was
before I had been called. That was so long ago, I had almost forgotten how it felt.

In spite of my calm state, I was starting to get anxious. I got closer to the light and saw people
walk through it. It reminded me of when the woman emerged from the ball of blue light, but
only in reverse. I saw some kind of rust-colored robot ahead. This wasn't anything like
Warren's creations, but more like something out of one of those crappy old black and white sci-fi
movies I would see Xander watching sometimes on that show where they have the annoying
silhouette people talking during the movie.

The scaffolding was about to buckle from the tremors and right before I got to the light, I looked
to another part of the walkways and saw a lean older man with a beard talking to a woman.
Talking to the woman with the winged hairdo who had shot me with the cricket gun! I tried to
find some way to reach the woman and the robot gently, but firmly, grabbed me and pushed me
into the light.




&&&&




Of course you all know what I found on the other side of the gate. A paradise as luscious and
green as any pleasure planet featured on "Star Trek." We all walked around for hours afterwards,
just exploring and talking to other people and eating some of the food that had been left out for
us. Every person I talked to told some story about being in some kind of accident or near death
situation and then waking up on a table. Many of them had seen a woman or sometimes a man
carrying one of the silver stunners. A large number of the people had been on airplanes before
blanking out. I didn't consider it at the time, but now its obvious that some kind of translation
machinery was in operation if I could understand everyone, even the people who said they
weren't from the United States.

I was starting to feel depressed and lonely when I caught sight of the back of a familiar black
haired head. My heart soared and I ran and almost knocked down Xander in my excitement.
Then I saw Anya-alive! We group hugged and talked into the night until we finally wore
ourselves out and went to sleep on the cots in the tents that had been laid out for us by the robots
we sometimes glimpsed as they scuttled around doing some kind of task. The robots wouldn't
tell us anything. They said to wait until the next afternoon and all would be explained.

Sure enough the next afternoon word passed around and we all gathered in a bowl-shaped
depression that formed a natural amphitheater for the thousands of us. A bandstand had been
erected at the low end of the bowl and a robot went to the podium, announced his name was
Sherman the second and then introduced the main speaker, a woman named Louise Baltimore. A
woman with big platinum hair.

Judging from the looks on many other people's faces, Ms. Baltimore was a familiar figure.
Xander hadn't seen her, but a redhead and a dark haired woman had dropped out of the sky and
herded him to the gate that lead to another time-1,000 years to the future we eventually learned.
Xander had almost made it to the bus and then gone back to look for Anya. He'd broken down
when he saw her body. He couldn't accept her death. So he tried to carry her away. But he
knew he was as doomed as she had been. But as it turned out, we all escaped our fate.

For Louise Baltimore told us that every person in the audience had been rescued from death--
certain, unavoidable death. We had all meet some kind of tragic accident, mishap, or mayhem
that killed us. And we had died in such a way that the rest of the world hadn't actually seen our
death. Most of us had been on airplanes, ships, or trains which had suffered terrible accidents
with very few survivors. Only we hadn't died.

Because Louis Baltimore and others like her had traveled back in time past the point where any
living person had seen us, but before we actually died. If we were on an airplane that was going
to crash, then Louis and other temporal operatives would sneak in from the gates and replace one
or two of the stewardesses first. They would be wearing the right clothes and wigs and would
even have cometic surgery if needed. And they would have implanted basic knowledge of the
time period they were operating in so they could pass as a native for a short period.

Once they had lured all the stewardesses back to the kitchen area, they would stun them and push
them back through the gate to the future. Then they would go down the aisles and work their
way through every seat, leaning over to ask the passenger if they needed something and then
stunning them and covering it up by giving them a pillow or blanket.




Usually at some point someone would realize what was going on and raise an alarm. But the
temporal operatives were ready and would go into high gear stunning people as fast as they
could. The passengers shouldn't have weapons to fight back with and more operatives would
come through the gate until everyone had been subdued. The flight crew would usually be left to
die in the cockpit because the black box with the cockpit voice recorder would survive the crash
and ultimately reveal any attempt to save them.

Then the passengers would either be herded or carried to a gate and sent to the future. And a
body would be sent back through the past to take the place of the live passenger. The bodies
would be cosmetically and dentally altered to perfectly match the person they were replacing,
fingerprints and everything. After DNA testing become commonplace at the end of the 20th
century, an operative would be sent back days or years before the time of the accident to collect
DNA samples of the future victims so that perfectly matched bodies could be grown for them.
Ships and trains and other places were handled in somewhat different, but effective ways.

One of the many outbursts from the audience that day concerned the fate of the bodies that took
the place of the living. We were outraged that other people were sacrificed to save us. But it
turns out those people were called grubs and born in a vegetive state. The people of the future
had suffered terribly from conventional, nuclear, and biological warfare as well as from
ecological collapse. Very few of the people could even bear children and most babies who came
to term were mindless grubs. Louise's own first child had suffered that fate. The future had
fallen apart.

That's why they had raided the past. They needed to collect healthy, uncontaminated bodies to
reboot the human race. They used their time machine to collect news stories and scan for any
people who could be snatched without notice. They could only visit a particular moment once,
so if they screwed something up, they would have to go back to some time before or after the
event to try and fix it.

The final screw-up had occurred on a commercial plane in1963 when one of Louise's team had
lost her stunner during a snatch where they'd had to subdue a passenger with a gun who was
looking to hi-jack the plane. Susan, the operative, had pulled the gun to her mid-section and
taken a fatal bullet in the stomach rather than risk having the cabin depressurized. They didn't
realize until too late the stunner was missing. Louise had gone back aboard the plane to find the
stunner, but had to give up when the gate had to be closed and the explosive they left behind to
simulate a bullet going through the cockpit window had exploded because it was time for the
plane to crash.

Bill Smith, the man I had seen Louise talking to before I went through the light, had been the
only survivor of that flight. Mr. Smith had seen Louise and the stunner before he was rendered
unconscious. He grew up to become a lead investigator of airplane accidents with the National
Transportation Safety Board and found another stunner left behind on a flight in 1989. Louise
Baltimore made a trip to the past to try and prevent him from discovering it in a pile of wreckage
collected in a hanger at the airport, but she failed and he began to guess what she was. She
finally did get the stunner back after he stunned himself with it, but they didn't realize that he
still had the initiator piece. He could not forget the night of passion the two of them had spent
together in his hotel room and the suspicious events surrounding the plane crash. He tried to
convince his superiors that something fishy was going on. His behavior was seen as erratic and
he was fired.

But Dr. Arnold Mayer believed Bill Smith. Dr. Mayer was a Nobel prize winning scientist who
had also noticed some funny things about plane crashes. And Dr. Mayer had come into
possession of the 1963 stunner, minus initiator piece, some years before, but didn't know how to
activate it until Bill Smith visited him and gave him the initiator piece. Louise dropped in from
the future and tried to prevent Dr. Mayer from using the stunner. But he activated it and got a
shock that sent him into a fatal cardiac arrest. He'd had a heart condition.

Now a paradox had been created because the action of someone from the future had caused
someone in the past to die at a time when they weren't supposed to. Dr. Mayer would have done
world changing work before he died. This caused a force infinity time quake that got
progressively more powerful as it reached the future. The future was doomed to be wiped from
existence, so it was time to activate the plan to reseed the human race in an even more distant
period. Therefore all the sleepers were awakened and herded towards the gateway.

Bill asked to go back to the future with Louise and she let him. They helped herd people to the
gate until it was only a couple of minutes until the time when the full impact of the time quake
would reach the future and destroy it. Louise told Bill he couldn't go to the distant future with
him because all the people and objects from her time would be wiped out. But then her personal
robot Sherman informed Louise that she was pregnant with Bill's child. That connection might
allow her to survive. Sherman told her to take a chance and they both stepped through the light.

And now she was here she was explaining things to us. Sherman couldn't come with her, but she
named her new robot after him. The materials used to make him, the other new robots, and the
other objects the survivors were now using had been stolen from earlier time periods and thus
hadn't been wiped from existence. I didn't get many of the full details of Louise's story until a
year or so later, but she and Bill became natural leaders. The whole community was deeply
saddened when she died a few years later. But her and Bill's child had been delivered
successfully a couple of years before and is healthy to this day. Louise was one of the most
robust of the future people, but she'd developed a particularly nasty genetic disease that killed
her within two weeks even with the advanced medicine we had available. That advanced
medicine had saved Anya from a state that the early 21st century considered dead.

As most of you know, Xander became a very important person with his construction background.
There's always something that needs to be built. And eventually the tools and the robots the
future people left for us are going to wear out, so Xander is hard at work on the effort to make
tools from local materials and to establish schools and apprenticeships to pass that knowledge
onwards.

Anya also became an influential person. At first she was disappointed at the lack of money in
our new society, but then she remembered the early socialists and their beliefs and founded a
trading post based on a complex, but workable barter system. She and Xander had a simple
wedding and a year later had a baby girl. They are very happy.

One of the biggest reasons they are happy is because magic and demons don't exist in this world.
The future people left powerful computers for us that have visual and auditory records from the
lives of most of our loved ones. I could look on the holographic screen and see how Dawn,
Willow, Giles, Angel and the others had passed their days. I was so happy when I saw Spike
resurrected. They were all instrumental in leading the fight that eventually banished demons to
other realms for all time. They saved the world-my friends, my family.

I miss them, but now I have a family of my own. My Mike went down on the Hindenburg, but
ended up here, in my arms, my non-Slayer strength arms. We have a baby boy and now we're
living a normal life, or at least as normal as you can get after you've been through what we've all
been through. I work in the garden some and do other necessary chores and look after the
neighbor kids occasionally. And I also write these articles for the paper. Having to compete with
the likes of Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa, who would have known that people would want to
hear my stories. But you do, and I thank you.

I miss my past loved ones so much sometimes. Its comforting to be to able to see snippets from
their lives, but I wish I could talk with them. Xander and Anya don't watch the past that
often-they are too caught up in the now. Xander tells me that our society could have working
time travel in three or four hundred years. He's already working with others on developing the
strictest guidelines for when that happens. We are going to live well beyond the average 20th
century life span, but we won't be around to see the time machine.

But we will be able to leave messages. I suspect that one of the messages I leave will get
through. For each time I look back on my friends on the past, I see at least one of them with
some kind of sign or saying the words "we love you Buffy."




The End of "The End of the Beginning."




&&&&




Afterword: Most of the "Millennium" stuff is taken from the movie, but a couple of things like
Louise's first child are taken from the book that John Varley wrote to accompany his screenplay.
His book goes far beyond the call of a novelization and is the best entry in that genre this side of
Orson Scott Card's book of "The Abyss." Varley was commissioned to write the screenplay
based on the premise of his "Air Raid" short story, which is generally recognized as one of the
best ever. I realize that the wake-up tables aren't in the movie, but they worked so well in the
first draft that I wrote before I re-watched the movie. And I like them better than the force field
thingy the movie has. Also in the book, life in the far future beyond the gate is briefly described
as being very hard, but I thought Buffy deserved a break. The "annoying silhouette people talking
during the movie" refers to "Mystery Science Theater 3000."

At first I had intended to put in a bit about the 911 terrorists aboard the plane that crashed in
Pennsylvania being executed after being tried in a court presided over by Judge Crater, but then I
realized it didn't fit in well with the tone of the story. I believe that the temporal operatives
would have left the other three planes alone because they wouldn't have wanted to crash the
planes themselves after subduing and replacing everyone on them because so many people they
couldn't save and retrieve were killed on the ground. The thought of killing was abhorrent to the
future people.

The End

You have reached the end of "The End of the Beginning". This story is complete.

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