Interlude - Lost File Recovered
Sorry this took so long, folks. I knew from the start that I wanted to have occasional interludes in the non-game world, but this first one was a real bear for me to nail down. Hopefully, they'll get easier as I go along.
See chapter 1 for disclaimers. Keep reading if you already figured out that we don't get paid for this stuff.
Needless to say, the disappearance of the Inner Circle of the Scoobies was met with some consternation back in the real world. It took some severe convincing on the parts of the baby Slayers to prevent Giles from having all computers banished from the dorms.
With the peer group of the leadership (and Andrew) being unwillingly annexed, there was a strong impulse among the Slayers to panic thoroughly. This was quelled when Amanda and Vi stepped up to keep the Slayers in training occupied enough to maintain some semblance of calm. In order to fill the void left by the vanishing of both Buffy and Faith, Kennedy was called in from where she’d been stationed. It was something of an interesting conversation…
“Yes, Kennedy?” Giles stammered, the last day or so having been extremely trying, “We appear to have a small problem. …nono, Willow’s fine. Or, we assume she is. It would seem that they were playing a computer game, and…”
Afterwards, it was judged by the more experienced Slayers that it was the most impressive Kennedy-tantrum to date, even surpassing the one that was thrown when she and Willow had been separated due to Council needs. (And that one had involved a great deal of drywall requiring the Xander touch for repairs.) With Kennedy needed to cover an area of vampiric infestation, and Willow needed at headquarters, it did not exactly make for a happy Kennedy. (And that one had involved a great deal of drywall requiring the Xander touch for repairs.)
However, once Giles got her closer to some vague semblance of calm, Kennedy agreed to head back to the dorms, with the mysterious proviso that she had one stop to make before she could arrive. Thankful that the handset hadn’t exploded from the sheer decibel level of the Slayer’s screeching, Giles agreed and hung up, post haste.
His other phone call was to the Devon coven, and the leader thereof, Althenea.
“Rupert!” She exclaimed delightedly, “It’s wonderful to hear from you again!” Althenea seemed chronically incapable of giving anything but a warm greeting, even in what boiled down to the middle of the night for them in the UK.
“And you as well,” Giles greeted tiredly, “However, I’m afraid this isn’t simply a social call, much as I wish otherwise.”
Althenea made an interrogative sound, prompting Giles to continue. “You see.. there was a demon that we had been tracking, and when we found him, he’d been utilizing a computer. After he was vanquished, the lot of us came home to unwind, and the proposed activity was a computer game-“
“World of Warcraft, right?” Althenea voice radiated amusement, “You wouldn’t believe how many people are playing that blasted thing, even around here.”
“Yes, well.. that’s not the odd part. As they were getting started, there was a flash of light and they all.. er… disappeared.” Suddenly, there was nothing but silence from the other line. “And since there is
a trace residue of magical energy in the room, we thought you might be able to send—“
“I’ll be out as soon as I can,” she replied simply, “But, I can only help with the mystical end. I never got to fully embrace computer technology. Too set in my ways, I’m afraid.”
“We should be able to at least provide baseline computer knowledge from the younger girls here. If it needs anything further, well.. we shall have to cross that bridge when we come to it.” Not for the first time, Giles lamented the premature passing of Jenny Calendar. Though missing her for this reason did seem a touch more selfish. The witch and the Watcher said their goodbyes, and there was nothing to be done but wait.
As it turned out, there wasn’t much to be done after she arrived a day later, either. The younger Slayers, while some of them were fairly computer literate, it wasn’t much beyond the level of a moderately competent user of a PC. There simply wasn’t anyone with Willow or Andrew’s technological ability living in the dorms, or among their local contacts in Cleveland.
“We can try to analyze the particulars of the residual energy that was used to transport them away,” Giles was saying, “And perhaps extrapolate from there how to proceed. Whether we need components, or—“
“But without someone that knows the inner workings of these things, it’ll take ten times as long to find the solution. Even with someone, it’s not going to be quickly resolved,” Althenea protested heatedly, “The magical and the technological aren’t, as a rule, meant to mix!”
Giles was about to raise the objection of ADAM and the Nerd Herd, when a voice chimed in behind them, “Hey! I think I got someone that can help.” Kennedy announced, having just arrived. She stepped aside, where a shorter man with black fingernails and presently black hair waved a hand that was wrapped in assorted Tibetan charms.
“Hey,” Oz placidly greeted the room at large.