“It left dust behind when it exploded.” She thought. Buffy felt as if she was on to something. She remembered the analysis Andorra had performed. The dust was organic. It was decayed flesh.
“Yuck.” Buffy thought “I think I got some in my mouth.” The thought of her swallowing Willow’s dead flesh give her the willies. She could feel the ants crawling in her belly.
“But then again, I’ve already tasted her flesh.” Buffy wondered if the old legends were true.
“Hey Dora the explorer…” Buffy said over the com-link.
“That’s Andorra.” Said the Predator.
“Do your people believe that if you eat someone you gain their power?” Buffy asked. Andorra wondered if Buffy was serious. The question sounded obscene.
“No.” Andorra answered. “We know that living DNA can be ingested. It can survive the process of digestion.”
Buffy rubbed her stomach. The ants were still crawling around inside. She imagined each of them carrying a tiny bit of Willow’s DNA around inside her.
“We are who we eat.” Buffy thought. “What would happen if I ate a god?” She asked. Andorra was wondering where this conversation was going.
“That’s different.” Andorra said. “If you eat a god, you become a god.”
“That explains so much about vampires.” Buffy thought as she struggled to catch up with the predator. The cold white of the arctic was beautiful. Around her was a flat snow covered plane that lead to a mountain of the purest blue white ice she had ever seen.
“I’ve been having a lot of conversations with dead people lately.” Buffy said. Andorra looked at her. To the Predators dead was dead. The dead had nothing to do with the living.
“I hear her in my head.” Buffy said. “Willow speaks to me. So does the creature called Hive.”
“That should not be.” said Andorra.
“Tell me about it.” Buffy said.
“The dead have no voice. Why should they speak to you?” Andorra asked.
“I took the blood memories of the Plague.” Buffy said flatly. “I became the living memories of the galaxy made flesh.” Andorra was shocked. As Buffy said that she remembered something else, something old, something forgotten.
“The Old Ones were built by the Engineers. They were constructed. Their bones were made of magic.” She thought to herself then said. “No, their genes were made from the molecules of the blessed sands. The Old Ones were power made flesh.” That seemed important to her.
“I guess in their own way, the Old Ones were divine beings.” Buffy said. “Now they’re trapped in the deeper well.”
“We have a saying.” Andorra said. “You can’t contain the divine. You can’t put god in a box. It will find a way to break free.”
“Why are you here?” Buffy asked Andorra. “I mean you just showed up out of nowhere. I didn’t think you would have the nerve to…”
“Return to the cursed place after you killed thousands of members of my family?” Andorra said. There was anger in her voice. But as hard as it was to emit, Andorra had a grudging respect for the Buffy-Hive. She had seen for herself that Buffy was a cunning hunter.
“I was charged to return the flagship of the fleet. There were unexpected …complications. Aboard my brothers ship I ran into monsters. Something in me was awakened. It compelled me to go to the hellmouth.” Andorra said.
“I get like that sometimes.” Buffy said. “Sometimes I can’t sleep until I get a good hunt.”
“It was worse than that.” Andorra said. “I was compelled to come here. It was as if I was programmed to hunt the Old Ones.” Andorra scanned the horizon. Something black flashed in the distance. Andorra looked again. The black was gone. Still, every nerve in her body screamed at her.
“We’re not alone.” She said to Buffy. Buffy held her scythe in front of her. She had turned down the plasma weapons and cutting blades Andorra had offered her. Buffy watched as the Predator set blinking palm sized devices in the snow.
“Stand still.” Andorra said as she ran off into the snow.
“Why?” Buffy asked through the suit radio.
“Need bait.” Andorra disappeared behind a snow covered hill.
“WHAT!” Buffy screamed.
Buffy felt it before she saw it. She could feel the alien creeping up behind her. Black talons sank into the cold white snow as Illyria stalked Buffy. She turned slightly. Buffy could see something black at the edge of her vision. She brought up her scythe. She could feel the pure menace of the alien like a hot breath on her neck. She turned and slashed the air. The alien was gone.
“Too late.” She thought. She knew the monster was behind her. The alien leapt with mouth open. Teeth caressed her hair. A diamond laced net snapped out of the snow. The alien snarled. Black claws scratched at Buffy wanting to tear the flesh from her bones. She jumped back. The Alien shimmered. Diamond bonds shattered. The net exploded into dust. Buffy screamed. Out of nothing Andorra appeared. She grabbed Buffy and twisted as she lit the detonators. Her landmines exploded in a deafening roar of red and white fire. Buffy felt her ears ringing as the Predator lifted her up. Andorra tucked Buffy under her arms and ran. The word felt like a soft white haze. Buffy could hear voices in her head. She saw Willow floating next to her
“Are you real?” she asked.
“As real as you are.” Willow said. Her expression changed. She became serious. “Buffy, I need you to understand. I need you to understand about Messiah. We are very near its place of power now, its magics rule here.” Andorra dropped Buffy in a snow bank as she dropped and rolled away from her. The alien was in pursuit. The black form of the alien was only inches from her. Three foot long metal blades shot into the air. Andorra turned, leapt and stabbed downwards. Her claws broke against the alien’s skin. Pieces of bright metal flew into the air. Andorra didn’t slow down. Her shoulder cannon fired knocking the alien backwards. Buffy lay in the snow dreaming.