FIC: All Change At Halloween (23/?)
“Rupert, I have an idea.”
“Oh?” Giles looked up from his paperwork, a rueful smile etched upon his features. “And how much is this grand idea going to cost me?”
“You know how one of the first ideas of our new organisation was to positively affect the world as much as possible?” Wood queried.
“That’s why we’ve set up the science department and created a global network of demon hunters,” Giles agreed.
Wood nodded. “Yes, about the science department, I don’t think we’ve gone far enough.”
“Oh?” Giles reached an eyebrow. “And what do you suggest?”
“A global-wide academic scholarship program for the sciences at multiple universities\colleges around the world, twenty scholarships at each of the hundred best colleges every year.”
“To what end?” Giles demanded.
“Can you imagine a world where there’s two thousand extra scientists, doctors, and engineers being turned out every year? Forget the scientific implications, the sociological repercussions are too many to count.”
Giles pursed his lips in thought then nodded. “Put me together a proposal, costing analysis etc.”
Oz moved through the college library, finding it more difficult with each passing second to control the excitement, the anticipation at possibly having a new student to teach. Then he stopped, brow furrowing with puzzlement. Crouching, he picked up the hard-backed book lying there.
His puzzlement increased as he opened the book and found arcane symbols etched into yellowing pages rather than any language he recognised.
It looked like he was returning to Sunnydale.
“Ahhh,” Wood nodded slowly as he inspected the book Oz had brought them. “I see what it is, fiendishly clever in fact.”
“Care to fill the rest of us in?”
Wood started at Oz’s query. “Yes, of course,” he nodded. “Reciting from the text will open a portal and suck the speaker into another dimension.”
“Different dimensions or just the same one?” Xander queried.
Giles replied for him. “Wherever you read from the book, wherever you are when you read from the book, as long as you’re near a dimensional hotspot, it’ll take you to the same dimension.”
“And that dimension is?” It was Faith’s turn with the question.
“Place called Pylea, at least according to the text,” Giles pursed his lips as he looked towards his fellow Watchers, “does it ring any bells?” Giles grunted at their head shakes. “That is problematic. We’ll have to do some research before sending anybody to the dimension-.”
“Why?” Xander demanded. “I mean with our powers-.”
“You could walk into a dimension where you’re instantly burnt to a crisp or there is no air or is made entirely of poisonous gases,” Giles tersely replied. “Don’t allow your powers to make you fool-hardy, young man.”
Xander flushed and nodded. “Can I leave you to deal with this?” Oz queried. “Only I sense there’s another potential Jedi near-by and she’s close to falling to the dark side through fear and pain.”
Giles pursed his lips then nodded. “We’ll have to send another Jedi to this Pylea to find the recruit, but we have the personnel to spare.”
“Thank you,” Oz nodded before backing out of the library.
“Which books do we need for research?” Faith queried.
“No need,” Wood shook his head before speaking into his wrist communicator, “Joy, can you hear me?”
“Coming through loud and clear,” the technopath confirmed. “How can I help you?”
“I need you to look up dimensions and see what you can find out about a place called Plyea, spelt ‘P-Y-L-E-A’,” Wood requested.
“Give me a second,” everybody could hear the sound of Joy tapping at her computer’s keyboard. “Yeah, got several entries for Pylea, all describing it as a medieval-style dimension where humans are kept as slaves by the ruling demon class.”
“Jesus,” Faith snorted, “sounds awesome.”
“Slaves, huh?” Gunn got a hard, dangerous look in his eyes. “I just gotta get to this place.”
Wood silenced the students with a look then spoke into the communicator. “Anything else?”
“Yeah, breathable air, just like medieval Europe in atmosphere,” Joy paused. “There’s one problem, to get there you have to open a portal-.”
“We have the information -.”
“No, you don’t,” Joy snapped. “The problem is if more than one person goes through the portal at once, the group could be split up and deposited randomly around Pylea, miles apart from one another.”
“Thank you for the insight, Joy. We could try a binding spell before opening a portal?” Wood suggested.
“And spend the rest of our probably extremely short existence as several people melded into one?” Giles shuddered. “You’ll understand if I pass on that option.”
“How about a van or a car?” Xander reddened when everybody looked towards him. “It’d be like a Faraday Cage only for magic rather than electricity.”
“Faraday cages?” Giles couldn’t help but be impressed.
Xander grinned self-consciously. “Science last week, after being possessed by Nova I’m more interested in this stuff.”
“That only leaves us to decide just who to send and how to find a dimensional hotspot,” Jenny declared.
“The dimensional hotspot is simple enough,” Wood airily declared. “Given the Halloween spell, this town is dotted with places you can use to portal to another dimension.”
“Here’s another question,” Faith interrupted. “Is our priority to get the potential Jedi and get home? Bring everybody outta that dimension? Or just a complete revolution?”
Giles blinked. It was a very good point. “Well given that many of the humans will have been born there, I don’t see a mass exodus as feasible or perhaps even desirable in the eyes of native-born human Pyleans. The priority has to be getting our potential Jedi free.”
“So who we gonna send?” Faith demanded.
“At least one of us Watchers has to go, in case there is translation to be done, demon species identified that sort of thing,” Wesley said. “I’d be more than willing to volunteer. And we have to leave at least one Jedi behind to train any recruits that Oz might send us while sending at least one to Pylea to identify this missing Jedi.”
“I’ll stay,” Harri said.
“I’d love to see another dimension,” Veruca declared.
“If our group has to split up there should be a Jedi with each group,” Nina commented. “So I’m in.”
“So two Jedi, and a Watcher,” Giles mused. “Anybody else?”
“If things do get messy you’re gonna need at least one soldier,” Graham commented. “I’m in.”
Luke smirked. “Like I said, I can’t wait to help the slaves.”
Jesse shook his head then grinned. “What the hell, Sentinel Of Liberty, Captain America at your service!”
Giles nodded. “Then we’ll need to rustle you up some supplies, weaponry etc. Perhaps a van to act as your Faraday cage?” That last comment was accompanied with a smirk directed at Xander.
“How advanced we gonna go equipment wise?” Faith queried.
Giles pursed his lips. Faith was on a roll today with another good point. “We don’t want to destabilise or advance a growing economy, so I think it wise we limit technologically advanced equipment as much as possible, perhaps radios, medical equipment, but no weapons bar crossbows, daggers, swords, nothing too fancy.”
“Alright everybody,” Wesley nodded. “Give it an hour to get supplies together, then we’ll meet at the van and find a place to crossover.”
“Girl! Can’t you do anything right? You’re just like your mother, a dumb bitch!”
Oz stopped outside the dirty wooden shack, his eyes narrowing at the foul language and sounds of violence erupting from the ‘home’. It was times like this that made keeping a Jedi’s calm very difficult indeed.
He looked at the door and smiled as it flew off the hinges and crashed into the far wall, exploding into splinters as he strode through the now open portal to find a man stood over a teenage girl laid sprawled on the floor. The unshaven, lantern-jawed man with thinning hair looked up at his intrusion, his face thunderous. “Who the hell do you think you are coming into my home?”
The man raised a fist and stepped towards him. “Don’t tempt me,” Oz warned as he flung the man into the wall besides the ruins of his wrecked door. “Get up again and next time I’ll drive you through the wall,” he warned before turning towards the girl lying sobbing on the ground, his tone softening. “Tara, it’s Tara Maclay isn’t it?” The honey-blonde nodded between sniffles. “If you come with me-.”
“She’s going nowhere!” rasped her father from his position laid on the ground.
“I’m talking now,” Oz warned, eyes hardening as he put a Force gag over the man’s mouth, “and I don’t like interruptions.” He returned his gaze to the sprawled girl and offered her a hand. “If you come with me, nobody will ever hurt you again.”
“Okay,” the girl reached up, allowing him to pull her to his feet. “H…how did you do that?”
Oz smiled. “One day you’ll learn to do the very same thing. Even more importantly, you’ll learn when to do it.”