Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs) wrote,

Ficlet: Six Thousand Miles

There is a discussion currently ongoing at the Twisting the Hellmouth forums which is supposed to be about how a single Slayer could possibly protect the whole world, especially in the ages before air travel, although it has wandered off-topic somewhat. I’ve always espoused the idea that the Slayer is Called where she is most needed and that’s why I’ve written this story.

It's 1883, and the Council of Watchers learns of an impending Apocalypse-level threat, but the Slayer is six thousand miles away from the danger spot and they only have five days to save the world... PG, 1,000 words.

Six Thousand Miles

“A telegram from Anstruther, sir.”

“Anstruther?” Sir Archibald Travers raised an eyebrow as he accepted the message.

“Our man in the East Indies, sir,” his assistant said.

“Ah, yes,” Travers said. “George Anstruther. Has that rather promising Malay Potential, if I recall correctly. What was her name, Perkins? Sock Tongue?”

“Seok-Teng,” Perkins corrected him. “The telegram has already been decoded, sir. Professor Dawson says it’s rather urgent.”

“Oh?” Travers scanned the document. “Awakening a volcano god? Sounds dashed unpleasant.”

“Indeed so, sir,” the assistant agreed. “Professor Dawson was rather... perturbed.”

“I dare say,” said Travers. “Send the Professor up to see me right away, Perkins, there’s a good chap.”

“I took the liberty of anticipating your wishes, sir,” Perkins said. “The Professor is just outside.”

“Capital show,” Travers said. “Send him in.”

“Well, Dawson, what’s all this about?” Travers asked, after Perkins had departed and the Professor entered. “Some blighter is planning on waking up some volcano god, I gather. Didn’t really follow all the academic jargon. Explain it to me in straightforward terms, old chap, if you’d be so good.”

“Certainly, Sir Archibald,” the Professor said. “The demon Rangda plans to awaken Agung, the god of volcanic fire. You will recollect, no doubt, the eruption of Krakatoa in August?”

“Read about it in The Times, of course,” Travers said. “Dashed impressive show, I gather. They say the explosion was heard as far away as Australia.”

“That is correct,” the Professor confirmed, “and it would appear that it was not, after all, a natural event. Anstruther has discovered that it was caused by the second ritual to rouse Agung.”

“The second ritual?” Travers raised his eyebrows. “That sounds rather ominous. I take it there is to be a third?”

“Indeed so,” said Professor. “According to what Anstruther has discovered there are three rituals necessary. The first makes Agung stir in his sleep. That, apparently, took place last May. The second causes Agung to cough. That was carried out in August and, as a result, the island of Krakatoa blew itself to pieces.”

“And the third?”

“Is to be carried out at the next full moon.” The Professor produced a diary from his pocket. “Next Wednesday.”

Travers’ eyebrows climbed. “I suppose we can expect some rather, ah, violent volcanic activity?”

“Without doubt,” the Professor said. “There are rather a lot of volcanoes in the East Indies. I suspect that the awakening of the god will cause most, if not all, of them to erupt simultaneously.”

“Hmm.” Travers raised a hand and fiddled with the tips of his moustache. “Just how bad would that be? A purely local disaster, with a few thousand brown native chappies killed by tidal waves and a lot of mud huts buried by lava, or something bigger?”

“A lot more than merely local, I’m afraid, Sir Archibald,” the Professor said. “It would be pretty much the end of the Dutch East Indies, for a start, and I fear the Straits Settlements would suffer severely too. There are more than a hundred volcanoes in the area. They say that Krakatoa killed sixty thousand people. If they all erupted hundreds of thousands, even millions, of natives would perish. On top of that the clouds of smoke from the volcanoes would block out the sun perhaps for many years.”

“Hmm.” Travers stroked his moustache again. “This Rangda chap wouldn’t be a vampire, would he?”

“She, actually,” Professor Dawson said. “Yes, indeed. Rangda is the Queen of Vampires in the East Indies.”

“It sounds quite the catastrophe,” Travers said. “We’ll have to stop it. Do you think Anstruther and his Potential would be able to manage if I arranged for the Governor of the Straits Settlements to put a gunboat or two and a regiment at their disposal?”

Professor Dawson shook his head. “Rangda is a remarkably formidable vampire,” he said. “Absolutely impervious to bullets and, I gather, to stakes as well. She can be slain only with a kris, a type of dagger, which has been blessed by a holy man called the Pemangku. Luckily Anstruther is on good terms with the current Pemangku and obtaining the blessed kris won’t be a problem.”

“Dashed good show,” said Travers. “So, young Sock Tongue takes the kris, stabs naughty old Rangda, and Bob’s your uncle.”

“If only it was that simple,” Dawson lamented. “Rangda is an exceptionally dangerous fighter. No mere Potential, no matter how well trained, will be able to overcome her. They need a Slayer.”

“A Slayer, in the East Indies, by next Wednesday.” Travers scowled. “Damn it! Why couldn’t Anstruther have found this out two months ago?” He stood up, came out from behind his desk, and paced the room.

“Damnably awkward, Dawson,” he said, pausing beside one of the portraits that hung on the oak-panelled walls. He gazed up at the bewigged man in the painting. “I know what old Lord Coningsby did, when he heard about that mad Russian cove who was trying to bring back Baba Yaga, but I had hoped never to be in the same situation myself. Telegraphs, railways, and steamships, all the miracles of the age, and none of it helps. Well, apart from the telegraph.”

“The current Slayer is in Sweden,” said Dawson.

“I know, I know.” Travers once more stroked his moustache. “Dagny Faltskog. Bright girl, I’m told, performed admirably at her Cruciamentum and has an impressive Slaying record. Damn it, I wish there was another way.” He returned to his desk and rang a bell.

“You rang, sir?” Perkins hastened into the room.

“Job for you, Perkins,” Travers said. “There’s only one way to get a Slayer to Anstruther in time to avert an Apocalypse. Take a message, get it encoded, and send a telegram off to Doctor Grunhagen in Stockholm straight away.”

“Of course, sir,” Perkins said. He produced a notepad and a pencil. “Ready, sir.”

“It’s only three words,” Travers said. He sighed heavily. “I really wish there was an alternative. Tell Grunhagen ‘Kill your Slayer’.”

Epilogue: An Inconvenient Truth

Disclaimer: the Watchers’ Council is not mine but is being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original BtVS episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television show. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.

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