Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Short Story: Where No Wicca Has Gone Before (Part-2)

And now, the conclusion . . .


Where No Wicca Has Gone Before (Part-2)
by Paul Darcy

Dr. Crusher got off of the captain’s desk and held out the cell phone device she was holding. "Do you girls mind if I scan you?"

"Yes," Tara blurted out. Dr. Crusher stopped her advance.

"And we are not girls," Willow said eyes glaring, "we are powerful wicca, and, and not to be trifled with. So, there will be no scanning, please. Or probing. We just need to get back home. So if you could do whatever you did only in reverse, we can leave now."

Dr. Crusher closed the lid of the phone and took a step back.

Willow, satisfied for the moment took a good look at the windows. "And what is with the outer space themed window pictures?" she said, "Shouldn’t there be ocean out there?"

"Ocean?" the captain asked. "Why do you say that?"

"Enterprise," said Tara, "is an aircraft carrier. And this isn’t that Enterprise, is it?"

"If I may, captain," said Mr. Data.

"Go ahead," Picard said.

"I believe Tara is speaking of the USS Enterprise, a naval war vessel from the late twentieth century Earth," Data explained.

"But that was over three hundred years ago," said the captain now looking at Tara for further enlightenment.

"Not to us," Willow said looking as perplexed as the captain. "It’s still in San Francisco harbor, or Hawaii or doing a tour in the Pacific or something."

"Maybe it would be best," said Picard, "if you were to just explain where you are from. I’ve checked with this planet’s council and none of their citizens are unaccounted for."

"We are from Sunnydale," said Tara.

"That’s right," added Willow. "Now, can we go back please. Giles will not be happy with us, if he finds out."

"Sunnydale," said Data tilting his head to one side, "is either an orbiting science station around Rigive Seven, one of thirty named settlements on various Federation planets, a —"

"Yes thank you Data," said Picard. "Perhaps it would be best if Tara and Willow elaborated for us instead."

"Sunnydale," said Tara, "as in Sunnydale, California." Seeing the reaction of Data she continued, "Earth. You do know Earth? I hope. The year 2001?"

"You are from Earth?" Picard said more as a statement than question. "But we are more than twenty six light years from Earth, and this stardate 43 . . ." Seeing the befuddled look on Tara and Willow’s faces, Picard trailed off.

Picard rubbed a hand over his chin, "Mr. Data?"

"The captain was going to mention the year in stardates, but using the old system we are currently in 2366. And the only recorded name of Sunnydale," explained Data, "on Earth was from a town long disappeared. It was indeed located in California."

"That’s the one," Willow said. "What do you mean disappeared? And 2366, ooh."

"Though the records I have are not complete, it would appear Sunnydale suddenly stopped being a place of residence." Data tilted his head again. "I have no more information."

"You mentioned a Giles?" Picard asked. "Do you know of the Giles New Colony?"

"Is it full of stuffy British settlers?" Willow joked. "Sorry, no. We do know a Giles though. He is British. Stuffy. Not helping?"

"Sorry no," Picard said. "As to the starfield behind me, well that is easily enough explained. We are in orbit around—"

The floor of the ready room suddenly lurched and an explosion sounded somewhere on the ship. Red lights flashed and emergency lighting cast a dimmer glow.

"Captain to the bridge," came a loud voice. "You won’t believe this, sir."

"On my way Number One"

***

Xander knelt down with the pack of matches while Buffy and Giles repeated over and over, "Hecate bind the ways."

Buffy who was looking at Giles and holding his hands suddenly got the visual clue almost disrupting her concentration for the chant. She flashed Xander wide open eyes and a head bob.

Immediately, Xander began lighting the new candles and replacing the old ones. It seemed to take him ten minutes, but in the end all candles were replaced. Giles stopped chanting.

"Did it work?" Buffy asked.

"They are all lit and in place," Xander added unnecessarily.

"I don’t know," was Giles response.

"You are the watcher," said Buffy, "weren’t you watching? And aren’t you are supposed to know these kinds of things?"

Giles let go of Buffy’s hands and removed his glasses. "Well I hate to burst your bubble about my supernatural abilities," began Giles.

"Go ahead Buffy," Xander said, "pop him."

"But," continued Giles, "I am not a powerful spell caster and can’t really sense if the link between the Tribblesh and Tara and Willow is intact."

"Well, what do we do then?" Buffy asked.

"We could get for food," suggested Xander, ‘maybe chocolate?"

Giles looked over at him. "Not a bad idea, really."

***

"Captain," Data said, seated now in the right control station in front of the jumbotron, "the approaching vessel matches no know configuration. They are on an intercept course and continuing to fire."

As if on cue, the Enterprise rocked again as a lance of light shot out from the alien vessel and impacted on the ship.

"Mr. Worf?" Picard said.

"Shields are holding," he reported, "but as the ship gets closer the energy from those blasts increases as well. We will begin to deplete shields soon."

Willow and Tara watched the drama unfold on the jumbotron. A ship, roughly arrowhead shaped, was turning point on towards them and continuing to fire green bolts of laser fire? Each time one hit the ship the deck beneath Willow’s feet rocked.

"Mr Crusher," Picard ordered, "evasive maneuvers. Worf, hail them again."

"Aye sir," came two immediate responses. Willow was impressed with the speed and professionalism shown. But the big bad ship was still scoring hits and getting closer.

"Captain," Worf bellowed above the red alert sirens, "our hails are being answered."

"On screen," the captain said moving between the two forward stations.

The jumbotron filled with the head and shoulders of a masked, or rather helmeted, individual. "Rebel scum," came a deep and throaty voice, "prepare to meet your doom." Deep mechanical breathing sounded across the bridge originating from the strange black garbed individual.

"Your actions are unprovoked," Picard said, his face showing open defiance. "If you do not stand down your weapons we will be forced to defend ourselves."

A bright flash of light appeared on the bridge and the communications were broken. "Mon Capitan. He won’t back down."

Picard turned around, irritation apparent on his face. "Q! I should have known. What is you part in this?"

"Nothing, unfortunately." Q, dressed in the same uniform as the captain, strolled leisurely down the sloping deck and stopped before Picard.

"I don’t have time for your games, Q." Picard said.

"Oh, but you must," Q insisted, "and they are not my games. Even I couldn’t have thought up something as twisted as this. And I can’t even blame you either. The Continuum is doing all it can right now to hold this universe together. No, the real culprits of this little episode are right there," Q spun around and pointed directly at Willow and Tara, "and unless they go back to where they came from this whole universe we inhabit will come undone, despite our best efforts."

"Then why don’t you send them back," Picard said. "End this right now." The ship rocked again from another impact.

Q, a look of disgust on his face snapped his fingers. "That’s much better," he said. The red alert ended and th lighting went back to normal. "I would if I could, but I can’t."

"Sir," said the ensign seated on the left from control station, "the hostile ship is gone."

"You are such a bright boy," Q said with derision, "what are you still doing here on this ship anyhow? Oh, never mind."

"What happened Q? And why can’t you send Willow and Tara back?" Picard said tugging down his uniform harder than usual.

"I sent the ship and its disagreeable leader into Borg space. If it’s fighting he wants, I’m sure they will supply it for him. As to sending our visitors back, I’m afraid we Q can only affect things in this space-time continuum. They," Q said nodding his head in Tara and Willow’s direction, "are outside of it and will need to find their own way back. And quite frankly we don’t know what that is. I do hope you can help them for all our sakes."

"Sir," began Data, "I have scanned the subspace channels for information. It appears that a large reptilian dinosaur-like creature over one hundred feet tall is ravaging Tokyo, the outpost around Jupiter is reporting the sudden appearance of a huge black monolith in space above Europa and a great number of unidentified ships are being reported in various sectors of space by the Federation Fleet."

"You do see what you little joy ride is causing don’t you," Q said looking directly at Willow and Tara. "Hasn’t anyone ever warned you that playing around with magic is dangerous?"

"Ummm, we didn’t mean to." Willow offered in defense. "And hey, it was him that brought us here anyhow," she glared at Picard who was taken aback. "We were just doing a bit of traveling," continued Willow, "minding our own wicca business when, poof, here we are."

"Yes," said Picard, "this is all very interesting. But how do we fix it? Q?"

"Don’t look at me mon Capitan," Q said.

"Chicken feet!" Willow suddenly said.

"Yeah," Tara agreed, "fresh chicken feet."

A stunned silence filled the bridge and all eyes focused on Tara and Willow. Tara hid behind her hair, but Willow, bolstered by the idea got excited and began to explain. "If Hecate can hear us from here, with a fresh pair of chicken feet, we can complete a spell which should reconnect us with the Tribblish back in Tara’s apartment. Only problem is we are not packing any chicken feet, and this ship doesn’t exactly look like a coop."

A flash of light and Q was holding a pair of chicken feet. "Will these do?" he said.

Willow approached him and took the feet. "They are still warm."

"You said you needed fresh," Q said looking annoyed.

"We still have a problem on New Giles Colony," Picard said.

"Not any more," Q replied. "The Q have taken care of it. You see if Willow and Tara had not dropped by you would have completed that mission. And don’t think of it as a favor, Picard. It is necessary to keep this universe intact until they leave."

"So what do we do then," Picard asked, "with the chicken feet?"

"Take us back to the transponder room," Willow said, "and Tara and I can set up."
"Agreed," said Picard wondering if he should correct Willow. Transponder? How odd, but then these two ladies were unique. He could see that.

***

"You call this tea?" Buffy asked.

Giles looked perturbed. "It is very good tea thank you very much. I get it specially imported from India."

"Maybe you should get them to fly it over instead of letting the currents carry it? The scones are pretty good though. You always keep some in the car?" Xander asked.

"Look, if you don’t like —"

"Hey, what’s happening?" Xander said. The starfleet medical boxes were suddenly shimmering gold.

***

"You are sure about this?" Picard asked Willow who was now seated across from Tara on the transporter pad.

"Yep," Willow said curtly a playful smile curling her upper lip. "All you need to do is send us back exactly where you picked us up and we should be able to take it from there."

"Well," Picard said, "it goes against all my better judgement, but the situation is getting quite out of hand. Very well."

"Coordinates set, sir," said Mr. Darcy behind the transporter controls.

Picard pursed his lips, tugged down on his tunic. "Please," he began addressing Willow and Tara, "don’t do this again."

"We won’t,"they said. Willow and Tara smiled back, mostly from the relief of knowing they were going back home. This trip, while sort of fun, was not something they ever wanted to repeat. Maybe Giles was right when he said playing around with powerful magic was dangerous.

"Hecate, hear my call," Willow and Tara began to chant together.

"Shall I energize now, captain?" Mr Darcy asked.

"Make it so," Picard responded and watched as the two wicca disappeared in a shimmer of light.

***

"We are back," Willow squeaked opening one eye and seeing the familiar apartment.

"About bloody time," Giles yelled from the darkness.

"Busted," Tara said.

"Giles ordered me to do it," Buffy’s voice said from the darkness as well.

Xander walked over to them, "do you know what time it is young ladies?" a big goofy smile played across his face.

Willow and Tara stood up and Giles and Buffy came over too. Buffy hugged Willow. Tara looked embarrassed, like they had been caught playing with matches in a fireworks factory.

Giles, face doing its best stern British impression, said to Willow, "I am not impressed. Do you have any, urggg, cough,"

"Giles?" Willow said, "you okay?"

"He’s old enough for a heart attack, isn’t he?" Xander said with mock concern.

Giles waved his hand indicating he was okay. "Jus, jus," Giles cleared his throat as best he could, "just a bit of," he coughed again, "scone caught."

-The End-

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