She’d chosen the name Lynne Stark long before she’d decided to join the expedition from earth to colonize a little planet far away and start a new, better, society.
It was one of a group of names that she’d prepared for use some time in the future. She had quite a long future to plan for after all. It was a random name she’d pulled out of the air, as many of the last 15 or so had been. She’d done the cutesy ones, the homages to her original identity, the names of friends and family that had passed over a hundred years ago. She’d been literary characters, actors, porn stars and even an obscure American president once, but she was bored with all that a long time ago.
She’d laughed when she’d first heard of the scheme. Start a new society and hope it turned out better than those who came before. Had these over-privileged morons never read a history book? She herself had lived through 14 of these ‘Utopian’ fads, and then through their abject failure. People were people, and the tended to fall into the same traps over and over again. People, as a group, simply didn't change.
But then she’d heard about the vats. Human cloning was absolutely prohibited on earth, had been for hundreds of years this time. It had gone through phases, like certain drugs and alcohol, but then a rash of people stealing genetic material to create children without the consent of the donor, and then forcing them to provide child support for the offspring had put a nail in that.
But… she’d taken samples back when the technology was new, thinking that raising a child or two every so often might relieve her loneliness.
She’d never had the courage to go through with it though, legal or not. And she knew, deep down that they would certainly disapprove of something like that. Except Andrew, who’d volunteered when he’d caught her taking a sample from her dearest friend while she lay near death.
But this could be different. People were donating tissue samples to be frozen and then cloned later on this new planet. People who had no hope of buying their way onto the mission were sending pieces of themselves instead. It would take no effort at all for her to buy into the trip, she was rich beyond belief, and she would never, ever, risk dooming another to this endless existence. But, maybe it was time to let go. Maybe she should give her family their last shot and be done with it.
She ended up going anyway.
She couldn't resist the lure of something new in the end. And maybe she’d see them again in their new lives after all. So she bought her place, secured her place, snuck in the samples, with a wink and a prayer that they were viable after all this time, and disappeared from the planet Earth for the last time.
Besides the aliens, she was pretty disappointed with Harmony and Reason as a society. They’d barely landed before they were slipping back into their old ways. She’d cried when the first generation of Vat kids had been shuffled into menial labor, as a lesser class, and oppressed like the indentured servant class they were starting to become. She prayed again, this time that the samples were not viable. She wouldn't want her family to live through that.
She found people of like minds and great belief and fostered rebellion. She used the small influence she’d allowed herself to create a way to reach the Vats, or cloned humans as they were more politely called, and she tried to make a difference. She really didn't get very far, but she never stopped.
When the aliens showed up she had finally seen the ‘new’ she’d been hoping for. Not that odd looking species were new for her, but it had been a while and they’d seldom come from space.
But the ‘helpful’ but secretive Krozhets didn't sit right with her from the start, and then the Maugh came, and war came, and the Vats were the first to be conscripted. Then the rats and bats, with enhanced minds based on alien technology, were created. And things went downhill fast as far as she was concerned.
After all, not even the scientist who were creating the animal soldiers really understood the exact nature of what they were working with. That couldn't be a good thing.
She did like the accents though. The bats and their Irish tempers and brogues and the rats with their Shakespearean turns of phrase and lilts.
And so, the conspiracy continued, the plot thickened and, as her friend Sanjay was fond of saying, the world began to look like the Scottish play. Lynne didn't mind though, she got to be one of the three witches, and they were always her favorites.
The first time she saw a picture of Virginal Shaw she smiled for a week. Sanjay had confided to her years ago that the leading Shareholder family couldn't conceive and had turned to her to help them fake it. It looked bad that they didn't have a child yet and they really didn't care how they rectified that. She could have cloned a DNA match for them, but the mother of the Vats had felt like subversively thumbing her nose at the snobs, so she’d simply altered a donated sample to look a bit like them and passed it off for Mrs. Shaw to carry.
And Lynne knew that face.
All that had been changed was the eye color, the height and the hair color. She’d always pretended to be blonde anyway, so she’d probably have appreciated it. She would have appreciated the height too. Lynne took a tiny thrill of delight that she wore glasses, though. Nothing could be perfect.
A year later when her parents were killed and she was kidnapped behind the lines of their unending war with a race of creature who destroyed everything it touched, Lynne cried for an hour, but forced herself to remember that it wasn't really her.
Even when she resurfaced, saved by a single Vat soldier and a bunch of drunken and revolutionary animals with plastic brains she vowed not to get attached. She would not get personally involved or invested.
Chip Connolly broke her resolve in 10 seconds. He was so damn much like Xander that it made her cheeks ache to grin at him, but she suppressed it. It was easy to be his champion when he had once been hers.
And to see Ginny with a chainsaw break into a court martial to defend him…
Plus the whole revolt against the Krozhet manipulation and control, on top of destroying their entire governmental and societal structure in less than a month. That hadn't hurt.
Well, damn it, she was rooting for them.
She was rooting for everyone, but especially Ginny Shaw.
“Go get those bastards, Buffy, go get ‘em”
“Rats, Bats and Vats” as well as “The Rats, The Bats and The Ugly” were written by Eric Flint and David Freer and published by Baen Books. Both are available at the Baen Free Library at baen.com/library
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was created by Joss Whedon and produced by Mutant Enemy, distributed by Warner Bros.
I have nothing to do with either one. I wrote this for my own amusement and post it for no profit beyond shits and giggles.
AN: feel free to speculate on Lynne’s original identity. I honestly never exactly nailed it down myself. Could have been Dawn, or Willow, or Cordelia somehow, or even Harmony. That’s why I was vague.
I hope it’s not too incoherent, since I wrote it in the middle of the night, directly after finishing the second book.