Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Short Story: Where No Wicca Has Gone Before

Well, it's finally here. I've slaved over this piece, sweated, cursed, lost sleep . . . Just kidding. To start, I would like to say I have never written "fan fiction" before (is this what this is called?) so I'm not sure how this story turned out (I guess you will be the judge). And I've never read any fan fiction either - my bad. So without further delay, here is my crossover fanny fictiony tale where Willow does indeed meet Picard.


Where No Wicca Has Gone Before (Part-1)
by Paul Darcy


Willow And TaraSeated across from each other in lotus position, Willow and Tara breathed deeply and held hands.

"Are you excited?" Willow asked, her eyes were swimming with mischief.

"I think so," Tara replied, but her look spoke caution and Willow could read it as easily as a billboard sign.

"What' the matter?" Willow said, shock suddenly apparent on her face. "Did we forget a spell ingredient? I think the Magic Box is still open."

"No," Tara said smiling, "it’s just that, well, we’ve never both traveled the outer planes together. It’s really dangerous."

"But we’re ready, right?" Willow asked. "I know we can do this. Can’t we?" Miss Kitty Fantastico meowed sweetly from the candle lit recesses of Tara’s place as if to assure them everything was okay.

"I think we can try it."Tara said in her best reassuring tone. "We have the orb of Tribblesh. It will ground us to this spot and guide us back here." Tara took one small breath. "I’m ready."

With girlish joy, Willow’s smile lit up the room like a search light and basked Tara in its glow. "Okay," Willow said, eager to begin.

In unison the two Wicca started chanting, "Hecate, hear my call. Open the ways between and offer us safe passage to your realm. Oh Hecate . . . "

***

Lieutenant Darcy tapped his Starfleet communicator. A trilling beep indicated that it had been activated. "Captain. I’m ready to beam up the medical supplies."

"Proceed," said Picard without hesitation. His voice, powerful and reassuring, always made Darcy feel as though he were doing a quality job, even while performing as menial a task as this one. One day Darcy would make commander, maybe even a Starship Captain like Picard.

"Aye sir. Energizing." Darcy ran his hand vertically over the controls and watched the readouts on the buffer arrays. His trained eye could spot any irregularity. So far so good. He had been assigned to transporter duty for the past three weeks, but was due for assignment reallocation, maybe even a promotion.

The familiar transporter sound permeated Transporter room three and the golden shimmer of its effect began to appear over the receiver arrays. Suddenly the sound of the buffers changed and the readings spiked. Darcy looked down, unsure of what was happening. The transporter had been working flawlessly a moment ago.

"Mr. Darcy," came Picard’s voice over his communicator, "is there a problem?"
It would appear the captain was monitoring the transfer. Darcy scanned the controls, interpreted the readouts.

"Ummm, sir," Darcy said making some buffer adjustments, "I’m losing the lock on the medical supplies. Adjusting . . . No good. Wait, what the . . . "

"What is it Mr. Darcy?" Picard’s usual cool voice took on a suddenly different quality. "We need those supplies for the outbreak on New Giles Colony."

"Yes sir, but I can’t regain the lock." Darcy’s eyes opened wide. "Ummm, sir. Not sure how to report this but the medical supplies suddenly transformed into two life forms. Humanoid."

"What?" Picard’s voice held annoyance, but not for Darcy. "Explain."

"Well sir," said Darcy, "I’ve lost the lock on the medical supply, but the signal jumped over to some place in subspace, as best I can tell, and I now have a lock on two humanoid life forms. Should I beam them aboard?"

"No wait. Let me contact this planet’s senate first. Mr. Worf and a security detail will be down to greet our guests. Can you hold them in transit until he arrives?"

"Yes sir. Their signals are strong and stable."

"Good. Picard out."

Darcy looked over the buffer array readings again. He logged the exact coordinates in subspace the two humanoids appeared to have originated from. From analyzing their signatures he could tell he had locked onto two human females, but one of their readings was abnormal. So much for menial, regular tasks. And he had lost the medical supplies. So much for a promotion a well.

***

"I wonder how Willow and Tara are making out searching for clues about Glory on the machine?" Giles asked.

"You mean machine, as in computer right?" Buffy said.

"Yes that." Giles said. "I phoned, but there was no answer. Strange, isn’t it. Willow or Tara always answer. I can’t imagine . . ."

"Maybe they’re busy. You know, early stages of love. Oh, and you did say ‘Willow and Tara are making out’ in a sentence . . ."

"Yes, I get the picture," Giles said. He removed his glasses and began to clean them off.

"Well, we could just go over there. They have a door. We could knock." Buffy suggested.

"Perhaps we’d better," said Giles.

Buffy managed to hold her tongue while Giles put his new car in neutral, then quickly back into drive on their way to Tara’s place. Glory was making her crazy and apparently having her effect on Giles too. It was no fun being overpowered by another, especially when she was wearing nicer clothes.

Giles cleared his throat and knocked on the door of Tara’s place. A few seconds passed, then some more.

"I don’t hear any clothes scrambling?" Buffy said innocently.

Giles knocked again more loudly. "Willow? Tara? Are you in there?"

"Still no soundage," Buffy said.

"Thank you Buffy, I can hear."

Buffy reached over and tried the door. "It’s locked. What if something happened to them?"

"Behind a locked door?" Giles asked.

"Well, maybe something came in through the window and did something bad?" Buffy offered.

"Just open it, Buffy."

"But who’s gonna pay—"

"Never mind that. I’ll have the locks replaced, don’t worry."

With one twist of her wrist Buffy snapped the door’s lock and pushed the door open. "I hope they are not in there sleeping. Remember, you asked me to do it. And you are my watcher, so I obey your orders."

Giles shot Buffy a stern English glare.

"Sometimes," Buffy said.

Giles pushed past Buffy into Tara’s room. "Willow? Tara?"

He spent a moment looking around then headed to the center of the room where a faint glow of candles shed some lights. "Hello, what is this?" said Giles.

Buffy coming in behind Giles could see candlelight and heard a faint meow. "Looks like the cat is the only one home," Buffy said. "And those two biggy boxes of whatever."

On the carpet were two large white boxes, between them was an arranged series of markings and candles. The candles had burned down quite low.

"Well inspector Giles?" Buffy said.

"I don’t believe it." Giles said.

"What?" Buffy said.

"The orb of Tribblesh! Oh dear god, both of them." Giles paced the room looking shaken.

"Isn’t ‘orb’ singular?" Buffy asked. "If there were two shouldn’t it be orbs?"

"Not now Buffy," Giles said looking irritated, "Tara and Willow are traveling in the outer planes. Very dangerous and very foolish of them."

"Funny," Buffy said looking around, "I don’t see any brochures. What are these box thingys anyhow?"

"I don’t know," Giles said looking down at them.

"Maybe they are coolers for Wicca ingredients. You know, the ones with due dates?"

Giles knelt down in front of one of the two boxes. "There are symbols on the side. Medical if I am not mistaken. What is Starfleet?"

"You got me there. And Wiccas need medicine? I thought they would just do spells or something."

Looking over the setup, Giles counted the candles, examined the orb while Buffy looked on and waited.

"Well?" Buffy said.

"While they are on another plane the orb will ground them here and guide them back, as long as the candles burn." Giles stated. Both Giles and Buffy looked at the low candles.

"And that would be how long exactly?" Buffy asked.

"Another hour, maybe two." Giles stated. "We must try to recall them. Buffy look for a book with the orb on the cover and I’ll set up here."

Buffy went over to the bookshelf and began to search. Giles got busy on the floor creating more symbols.

***

"Energizing," said Darcy. A security detail of two neckless officers stood behind Mr. Worf in the transporter room with phasors drawn ready for action. Worf’s expression only showed annoyance. But then again, his natural expression was annoyance.

As the tranporter effect shimmered two female forms materialized on the transporter pad. They were seated, facing each other and holding hands.

Worf and Darcy looked at the duo. Their clothes were colorful and loose fitting. They had their eyes closed. Worf took a step towards them when one of them spoke.

"Ummm, Tara?"

"Yeah?"

"Are we back in the apartment?"

Tara rocked from side to side slightly. "I don’t think so. No carpet."

Willow opened her eyes and squinted at the brightness of the transporter room. Tara opened hers as well.

"W- we definitely aren’t b-back home," said Tara. It looked to Willow like some kind of x-ray room in a hospital, or part of the Initiative complex. Something had gone terribly wrong. Giles was going to choke on a scone over this one.

Willow and Tara stood up and faced a large figure coming closer. Their eyes were still adjusting from the transition.

"Who are you?" bellowed Worf in his deep stentorian voice.

Willow and Tara stood close together holding hands. "Ummm, don’t need to yell, demon." Willow said with bluster. "Back, or I’ll cast you into the abyss." Leaning forward but still holding Tara’s hand, Willow threatened the demon and was prepared to unleash a spell. Demons had to be spoken to that way.

The large figure snorted with derision, then spoke again, louder if that were possible. "I am not a demon!" Then in a slightly calmer voice, "Now please, tell me who you are."

Tara began but couldn’t quite get the words out so Willow spoke. "I’m Willow, and this is Tara. Who are you?" Willow’s eyes were adjusting to the light now and she could see the large individual addressing them. He certainly looked like a demon with his bumpy head and all.

"I am Worf. Please, follow me." Worf turned and Willow and Tara, able to see where they were now, stepped down off the transporter pad and hesitantly followed the looming figure. To either side of him were two other men and they held funny looking guns.

Willow said to Tara, "Wharf? Like an ocean dock? This must be a demon dimension."

Hearing Worf growl with annoyance, Willow and Tara followed him into an antiseptic hallway through an automatic door which made a high pitched swishing noise when it opened and then closed behind them.

In the corridors Willow suddenly noticed the clothes Worf and the other two were wearing. They were tight fitting, mustard and black colored, almost military in their uniformity. Where were they? Willow couldn’t tell but she was pretty sure this wasn’t Sunnydale.

What sounded like an electronic bird chirp interrupted Willow’s thoughts and Worf swatted at his chest. "Worf here," he said.

"Report Mr. Worf," came a strong authoritarian voice.

"I have the two humanoids in custody."

"Do they appear to be a threat?"

Worf looked back over his shoulder at Tara and Willow. "I don’t believe so, sir. Shall I put them in the brig?"

"No," ordered Picard "Please escort them to my ready room. Mr. Data and Dr. Crusher are here as well."

"Aye captain," said Worf who stopped in front of another automatic door, but this time it did not open.

"Captain," Willow said to Tara. "Are we on some kind of ship? I don’t feel any wave motion, or hear seagulls, or people vomiting - okay, that was a little gross."

Turning around again, Worf faced Willow. "You are on the Enterprise."

"Well, that explains everything then," said Willow. Realization suddenly showed in her expression.

"The Enterprise?" Tara said quietly to Willow. "We are on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier? I don’t’ understand how that could have happened."

"Oh. Those things are huge," Willow said. "That’s why we don’t feel the waves, and I hear military types don’t throw up much."

"I’m not so sure this is an aircraft carrier though?" Tara said.

"I’m sure of one thing," Willow said. "We’re in trouble."

Suddenly the automatic door opened and Worf stepped aside indicating that Willow and Tara should proceed into the small chamber revealed.

Tara and Willow proceeded inside ready for the death rays, but all that happened was Worf and the two non-communicative gun toting neckless guards joined them. It was more spacious than it first looked.

Once they were all in the door swished closed. "Bridge," Worf said. All Willow and Tara could do was wait. Willow couldn’t get the card game out of her mind now. Demon’s played bridge? And they probably played for cats.

Willow could barely feel the motion of the elevator they were on and wondered who the electrician was who had wired up the strobe lights. Willow was trying to see if the lights flashed in any kind of pattern when they slowed down and suddenly the door opened again, presumably onto the bridge.

A tall dark haired man with a beard wearing a red uniform turned and faced them as they exited the lift. "Mr. Worf," he said.

"Commander," Worf said in return. Willow and Tara followed Worf, but the two security goons remained in the elevator. The doors swished closed. The bridge was very large and modern looking, like something out of a science fiction movie. Willow noticed a young man seated at one of two control stations in front of a jumbotron television. He smiled over at her as Tara and Willow passed him following the demon Worf towards another automatic door.

The floor was sloped downward but had no steps. Must be for wheelchair access Willow thought. Maybe this captain is really old, even older than Giles.

"In here," Worf suddenly instructed as the door swished open near the bottom of the ramp to the left.

Tara and Willow passed beyond the portal and walked into the room where several others were waiting. One, a bald headed man in a red uniform, sat behind a desk, obviously the boss. Another, gold skinned and with strange yellow eyes was wearing a mustard uniform and standing with an artificial grin on his face to the right of the desk while another, a woman with long red hair wearing a blue uniform, smiled at them all motherly like. She was holding a large cell phone or something in her right hand.

"Welcome to the Enterprise," said the man behind the desk. He rose, pulled his uniform top down snugly and smiled. Willow didn’t trust him and remained silent. " I am captain Jean Luc Picard, this is Dr. Beverly Crusher and this," the captain indicated the gold skinned demon, "is Mr. Data my second in command."

After a slight pause he continued, "It appears," Picard said, "that we have a bit of a problem."

***

"You found some new candles?" Giles asked.

"Uh, huh," said Buffy looking pleased with herself, "four, just like you asked. I found them in Willow’s underwear drawer. They’re scented. The underwear, not the candles. And you really didn’t need to know that, did you?"

"Yes, well, I don’t really think that detail is going to help us right now," said Giles. "Bring them here will you and seat yourself opposite me between the medical boxes."

Buffy seated herself down and handed Giles the candles. "This is going to work?" she asked.

"I certainly hope so," Giles said taking off his glasses, again, and wiping his forehead off with a small piece of cloth he had found on the floor.

"Ummm, Giles?"

"Yes, what is it Buffy?"

"I think that," she indicated the small cloth, "came from Willow’s panty drawer too."

Giles pulled away the cloth, took one sniff of it, put his glasses back on and realized the truth of Buffy’s words.

"String type," Buffy said, "probably scented as well?" She sniffed the air. "Mango?"

Giles tossed the panties onto the floor, his face flushing. "We have no more time to waste. The old candles are nearly exhausted."

"Okay," said Buffy, "So what do we do?"

"Well, we chant the words from the text while holding hands," Giles explained, "quickly light and replace the candles, then we center our attention of the Tribblesh. And hope the contact with Willow, Tara and the Tribblesh remains intact."

Buffy looked at the layout of the Tribblesh, Giles and the boxes. "I hate to be the big foil in your plans, but how do we light candles if we are holding hands?" Buffy said making a face.

Giles expression suddenly changed as well. "Damn. I have no idea."

"Okay," said Buffy, "looks like plan A just collapsed. You have another alphabet lined up and ready to go, don’t you?"

Suddenly there was a knock at the door, "Willow, you in there?"

"Xander!" Buffy and Giles said in unison.

Pushing open the door, Xander strode in and looked over the situation. "Hey, not Willow and not Tara. Why was I not invited to the Wiccapallooza slumber party? My publicist is going to hear about this." Xander did a double take, "and is that a pair of panties on the floor beside Giles?"

"Dear god, let this nightmare end," Giles said. "Xander, please do us a favor. Ask no more questions, make no more comments. Just come over hear and light these four candles when I tell you to."

"So," Xander said looking at Buffy, "nothing kinky involved?"

"No," Buffy and Giles said together.

"A guys gotta ask," Xander said feigning hurt feelings.

Giles tossed Xander a book of matches. He caught it and came over to where Buffy and he were sitting. "So what’s the real story here?" Xander asked.

"Tara and Willow have traveled to another dimension or something and we need to help them get back," Buffy explained.

"Just let me know when to ignite," Xander said.

"What if this doesn’t work?" Buffy asked.

Giles stared off into the candle lit room and spoke softly, "then they will be lost."



Tune in next week (August 31st) for the gripping conclusion . . .

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