DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters belong to Fox Studios. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and is copyright (c) 2000 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.
"Please help me." The young woman being menaced by the vampire held out her arms to Christine. "Please save me. You're the only one."
Christine raised her stake and advanced toward her.
"No, save me." A middle-aged man trying to hold off another vampire appeared to her right. "I need your help."
Christine looked from the woman to the man. How could she choose?
"You have to help them." Christine spun to see who spoke. Behind her a mist had appeared. Two young women, a tiny blonde and a barely bigger brunette stepped out of it.
"You have to help them," the blonde repeated.
"But you can't save them both," the brunette pointed out.
"How do I choose?" Christine looked at the woman and man who were still calling to her. "How would you choose?"
The brunette shrugged. "I always chose wrong. Ask her."
The blonde scowled at Christine. "Something's wrong. You don't know these people."
The brunette laughed. "That's easy to change. There, how's that?"
The blonde smiled approval. "Perfect. Now choose."
Christine looked back. The strangers were gone. In their place were Uhura and Kirk. "No!"
The brunette made an exasperated face. "If you don't care, then it doesn't count."
Uhura was in the grips of a large vampire. He was preparing to bite her. Kirk was grappling with another vampire. He was trying to go hand to hand but was beaten and bloody. Just as Uhura screamed, Kirk was thrown to the ground and the vampire's deformed face neared his neck.
The blonde woman smiled at her. "Choose now." She began to fade out.
The brunette stalked closer to her. "But choose only one." She disappeared in a sudden burst of flame.
She heard both voices, ghostlike, hissing at her, "Choose."
"No!" Christine jerked awake.
Someone touched her and she struck out automatically. Then she heard Spock's voice and forced herself to stop fighting. Waking up next to him was still so new. She wasn't used to anyone being in her bed, much less Spock.
He was leaning over her in concern. "Christine. You called out. Are you all right?"
She nodded, realized that she was breathing heavily, as if she'd been in the fight of her life. She tried to center herself, to get her bearings.
'Choose,' they had said. But who were they?
"Christine?" Spock's normal patience appeared to be wearing thin.
She sat up suddenly in the bed and reached out to touch his face, to make sure he was really there, that she was really there.
"Christine, what is wrong?" He eased her back down and stroked her hair off her sweat-dampened face, pulling the sheets she had kicked off back over them. "Was it a nightmare?"
She could not stop hearing the voices of the two women. "A dream, yes."
He looked at her curiously. "A bad dream?" When she did not answer, he continued, "Christine, I have noted that when you evade the subject it generally is slayer-related. Tell me why you do not wish to discuss this dream."
She smiled ruefully at him. Falling for a Vulcan had its downside, she thought. He always seemed to know when she was lying. "Okay, you're right. This could be a Slayer's Dream. They tend to be more than just nightmares. They are prophetic. But it's tough to know if that's what they are. Most of the time, they just seem slightly more vivid than regular dreams or nightmares."
"What was this one about?" Again she did not answer, and he looked at her disapprovingly. "Judging from your continued reticence, I would say it was unpleasant."
"Stop playing Sherlock, Spock. I'm not ready to talk about it. Not until I'm sure it was more than just a dream."
He caressed her face. "Very well. But do not expect that I will allow you to shoulder this burden without my help. You are no longer alone."
She pulled him down to her, kissed him tenderly. "I know, Spock. And I am so very happy about that."
His face was mock stern. "Then it would be logical for you to demonstrate that happiness, Miss Chapel."
Banishing the dream temporarily from her mind, she smiled and pushed him onto his back. "With pleasure, sir."
McCoy pulled up a chair next to Christine's desk. She looked at him curiously.
"Something's been bothering you all day, kiddo. Spill." Ingenuous blue eyes met her suspicious ones. "I'm not leaving until you tell me what the hell is going on with you."
She gave him the most disarming smile she could muster. "Nothing is wrong, Len."
He sat unconvinced. She tried to keep her expression even as they engaged in an impromptu stare down.
Finally he pushed his chair back and walked away. He hadn't made it four steps before he turned and angrily paced back. Thumping his hands down on her desk and giving her his 'don't bullshit me' look, he said, "Here's what I want to know, Chris. What went on while I was away last week at my seminar?"
"Len, nothing hap--"
"--Save the crap. Ever since I got back I've heard nothing but these strange stories about vampires, and fights, and tunnels, and you. Always you. So I think to myself, 'Well, that's damned odd.' I check the logs and find a report that has fewer facts than I've ever seen coming out of this ship's command crew. So I ask the Captain about it. He tells me to ask you. Well, I'm asking you, Chris. What the hell is going on around here and why do you look like you haven't had a good night's sleep in a month?"
Christine sighed. A part of her wanted to tell him. "The mission was strange. It was very dark and we were fighting things that acted like old-time vampires. They were awful. There were so many dead that I was very busy. So everyone saw me there. That's all." She paused to rub her eyes. "As for the sleep part, I've been having some odd dreams since the mission. Haven't been sleeping well at all."
His suspicion gave way to concern. "Dreams? Could be physiological. Let me do a quick scan."
She nodded and let him lead her to the diagnostic bed. She'd already done a full reading yesterday when he was at lunch and sickbay was empty. She knew he would find nothing to explain the dreams.
"Your adrenaline levels are way up. Dopamine and serotonin are also very high."
Christine swore silently. She hadn't just come from being with Spock the last time that she did the readings.
McCoy continued his scan. "Everything else normal but if I didn't know better I'd say you were having the time of your life…a lot."
The intercom took that moment to interrupt them. "Spock to Nurse Chapel."
She hopped off the bed and answered the com. "Chapel here."
"I believe I will be detained for lunch, I will see you at our exercise session."
Christine saw McCoy's eyebrows threaten to lift off his forehead as he took in Spock's casual tone and her complete lack of surprise. "No problem. Chapel out."
She turned to find her friend and colleague beaming like a proud father. "Well, I'll be damned."
"Go back to work, Len," she said firmly.
It was only as he was walking back into his office that Leonard McCoy realized he had never seen Christine in the gym, let alone working out at a level that would suggest she should be there with Spock. I will get to the bottom of this, he vowed.
Christine was almost glad that Spock couldn't make lunch. She needed to do some research and she preferred that he not be here to take part. Not that he wouldn't have been helpful, but she wanted to keep him out of this as much as possible.
"Working," came the harsh metallic response. Someday, she thought, they really need to get a better voice for these things.
"Computer, this is Chapel, medical clearance level three. I need to do some name traces. Some quite old. How far back do your records go?"
"For level three medical, existing records go back to Federation founding. Partial records are available for earlier dates."
"I need visual images and brief bio details. I only want the visuals from ages 16 to 30. If no images from that age range are available, please detail what is in the database."
She tried to picture the two young women. This was not the first dream they had been in. The brunette looked familiar. "Computer, call up Denise Carden."
"Working." A second later, the visuals hit the screen. Five images of her direct predecessor. A young brunette, all right, but not the same brunette.
Christine tried to recall her slayer lineage. "Computer, find Catherine Gadeaux."
"Working." Again a brunette, but not the right young woman.
Christine continued back 25 slayers. Finally, in disgust, she picked a name from her head. In desperate jest, she asked for the most famous slayer of all. "Computer, visuals for Buffy Summers."
"Working." And the visual popped up.
"Oh my god." Christine looked at the photo from the woman's official identification card. It was the blonde woman in her dreams. Then who was the brunette? The two seemed to know each other. "Computer, how many images of Buffy Summers are available?"
"There are 25 visuals available."
Christine thanked all the gods that Buffy hadn't kept a low profile. "Computer, display all images, enlarge to fit one visual per screen."
The computer began to spew them out. Christine saw several of the slayer alone, but most of the time she seemed to be surrounded by the same people. According to legend, these people fought with her against the vampires and demons. What would that be like? Christine wondered. To always have someone you could count on?
She found a brunette in the first few photos, but she was not the one from the dream. When she finally came across the right person, she nearly missed it, the woman was just one of many in a group. "Computer, identify the person standing to the left of Buffy Summers."
Damn. "Computer cross-check this image against all database holdings from the same date, plus or minus five years."
"Working." This time the screen went dark as it began processing. Why was this slayer haunting her? What could it mean?
Many minutes later, the computer broke her concentration. "One match found."
"Display," she ordered. There she was again, the same girl. It appeared to be some sort of criminal activity report. The girl's name was unknown, but she was wanted for murder and some other nasty crimes.
Christine knew who she was. How could she not, after all? She was descended from her line. It was during Buffy's time that the one slayer in all the world idea got a little fuzzy. CPR that could bring back a seemingly dead slayer and the medical establishment's ability to keep a severely injured slayer alive long enough to heal had played havoc with the old system. As time went on, there were many more splits, as more and more slayers were called while the previous slayer was not really dead. There was a whole branch of the watcher's council dedicated to keeping track of these so-called bloodlines. Christine was descended from Faith's line. Kendra's line, she reminded herself. Roger had tried to drill it into her that Kendra was the real "mother" of her line, but everyone, Christine included, gravitated toward Faith, the infamous rogue slayer who at the end had found redemption. Christine had never seen an image of her but had always wondered what she looked like. So know I know, she thought wryly.
A quiet tone began to sound from the alarm she had set to prevent her from getting too engrossed in her research. Lunch was over.
As she made her way back to sickbay, she wondered at the appearance of these two in her dreams. Buffy and Faith. What could it mean? Maybe next time they show up, I should just ask them? she mused. She resolved to do just that when they appeared again.
When Christine entered the gym after her shift, she was surprised to see Kirk warming up with Spock. He turned as she entered. "Hope you don't mind me horning in. I need a good workout and since Spock has been a little preoccupied these days…" He ignored his friend's raised eyebrows. "The only way to get some time with him is to take you on too, Chris. What do you say?"
"I say you're nuts. But it's your neck." She smiled evilly at him and caught the warning glance Spock shot her. Oh, I'll hold back, Spock, she thought. But the Captain won't want to know just how much I'm pulling my punches. "Why don't you both take me on?"
Spock nodded. "An efficient use of our time. If that is acceptable to you, Jim?"
Kirk nodded. "Go get changed, Chris. We only have the gym for an hour."
She hurried toward the locker room. For a moment she thought she heard a noise up in the stands but when she stopped to check it out she could see nothing there. Shrugging the feeling off, she went in to change. Moments later, she was back out, ready to go.
Spock and Kirk initially took turns attacking her. After a few too many hard kicks into the mats, they joined forces. Christine found herself working much harder to keep the upper hand. So much harder that she almost missed the movement in the stands. A familiar voice rang out.
"Will somebody please tell me what the hell is going on here?"
Christine was already turning to look at the speaker. Spock and Kirk nearly caught her off guard but managed to stop their blows as they took in the unexpected observer.
"Well," McCoy continued. "I'm waiting."
The other men looked to her. She cursed softly and shook her head at her boss. "We've got to shower. You can skulk up there a few minutes longer. Then we'll explain."
"Well, this oughtta be good." McCoy retorted. "And I wasn't skulking."
When Christine got to the dressing room, she called Uhura and asked her to come down to the gym. I've owed her an explanation since this started, she thought, may as well tell them both at once. She grabbed a quick sonic shower then dressed and went out to join the others. Kirk and Spock were already there, and McCoy had joined them on the mats. Christine saw all the men react in guilty surprise when Uhura came in.
"It's all right. I asked her to join us." She looked at McCoy. "You aren't the only one that deserves an explanation."
Kirk nodded at her words. "I suggest we use my quarters. I don't think this is a conversation we want to try to have in the common areas."
Christine gratefully fell in behind the captain and her two bemused friends. Spock's hand on her arm caused her to stop and turn to him.
"You have not talked with Uhura about this, yet?" He looked surprised.
She shrugged with seeming nonchalance. "There really hasn't been time."
He studied her face. "You appear to lie frequently, Christine. Is that a slayer trait?"
She felt her face flush with anger and embarrassment. "I'm not lying. When has there been time? I've been with you or at work."
"Christine, I am not criticizing you. I am merely trying to understand why you have still not told your closest friend the truth." When she began to protest, he continued, "There have been plenty of opportunities to tell her. You have just not wanted to avail yourself of them."
"Are you two coming?" Kirk waited at the end of the corridor with the others, watching them impatiently.
"Yeah, we're coming," Christine said, moving quickly away from Spock. His words had stung her and she felt hurt warring with anger that he would frown on her choice. As Spock caught up with her, she threw an angry glare his way. He barely appeared to notice, which only made her more irritated with him.
They rode the turbolift in silence and followed Kirk into his quarters. The captain busied himself with making drinks for everyone. Spock declined, of course. Christine, although she was not much of a drinker, almost ordered a double of something strong just to annoy him. Her rational side convinced her that this was a conversation best conducted sober. At least for her. Uhura and McCoy might need a few drinks before this was over.
Once they were all comfortably settled with their glasses, Kirk slouched into his desk chair and looked at Christine. "It's your show, Chris."
Four pairs of eyes stared at hers. Calm black and amused hazel provided contrast to confused brown and blue ones. I hate this, Christine thought suddenly. Why couldn't this all have just stayed my secret? She found that her agitation was making it impossible to sit calmly. Rising to pace the small room, she tried to find the logical starting place. But the words would not come.
"Christine is a vampire slayer." Spock's voice was calm and matter-of-fact.
She spun to look at him. He cocked an eyebrow at her, and she felt gratitude replace the anger she had felt for him earlier.
Uhura had a slight confused scowl as she processed this information against what she had seen during the mission.
McCoy, on the other hand, stared at Spock open-mouthed, then turned to her. "And what in the Sam Hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that I slay vampires. That's what I do. And that's what we were up against on this last mission."
McCoy looked at her as if she'd lost her mind. "Vampires? Like Dracula? Crosses, garlic, no reflection, those vampires?"
"Those would be the ones."
Kirk interjected, "I saw them. They do exist. And I saw her fight. She is what she says, Bones. I know it's hard to accept, but there it is."
Uhura spoke up, "Are you human?"
Christine knelt in front of her, took her hands. "Of course I'm human, Nyota. I'm the same Christine you've known all this time. I just couldn't tell you, couldn't tell anyone."
She could barely hear Uhura's voice, as she whispered, "You could have told me. I'm your best friend. You should have trusted me." Her voice was hurt, but her expression was strong with support.
Christine let go of her hands and rose, turning back to McCoy.
"You're stronger than Jim? Than Spock?" he asked.
"I've run scans on you a million times. I would have noticed something off."
"There's nothing to find, Len. The strength, the skill, everything I have that is slayer related isn't a physical difference per se. It is mystical."
"Mystical?" he repeated.
"Mystical. I have a tall, strong body. But there have been slayers that were tiny. Size doesn't matter. Once we are called, we are given what we need to fight the evil things that our destiny says we must battle."
She spent the next hour trying to explain what she was and what she had done before retiring. She answered the questions honestly. Spock sat silently, backing her up only when McCoy seemed on the verge of disbelief. Uhura seemed to be accepting it far more calmly, but then she had seen Christine and Spock prepare for battle with Markosius.
"So, does this explain the dreams?" McCoy asked in sudden insight.
Spock turned to her. "You have had more than one? I thought the one that woke you last night…" he trailed off as he realized what he had just said. An embarrassed and amused silence followed his words. "I mean…"
"I think they _all_ know what you mean now, Spock." She smiled at him gently to take the sting out of her words.
"Yes, well"--he paused to gather the shreds of his dignity around him before continuing--"you did not tell me you that these disturbing dreams were happening on a regular basis."
"I didn't want to worry you." She met his concerned expression with one of studied non-concern.
Uhura broke in, "I take it these aren't normal dreams?"
"They’re nothing to worry about."
McCoy snorted. "I may be new at this, but somehow I doubt that."
"You're trying to protect us, aren't you?" Kirk studied her. "It's a little late for that. We're involved now. If there is trouble coming, I need to know about it. We all do. We can help you."
Spock looked at her in surprise. "You are still determined to do this alone? Look around you, Christine. These people are your friends. They are concerned for you. They will help you. I have fought by your side. I will do it again when the need arises. You are not alone."
Christine turned away in frustration. "You don't understand. Slayers are alone. The chosen _one_, remember?"
"Why?" McCoy asked simply.
"Because that's the way it is, the way it always has been," Christine said more loudly than she intended.
"Are you sure?" Uhura faced down Christine's fierce stare. "You mentioned one Slayer that had friends to resuscitate her. Maybe these friends helped her in other ways?"
Spock nodded. "They fought with her." At Christine's look of betrayal, he stood and walked over to her. "You told me that they did. Why are you resisting our help? You are not alone, Christine. We are here."
She had a stubborn urge to argue with him but realized she would not win. "It doesn't matter anyway. The likelihood of us running across another vampire out here is pretty slim. Now, can we talk about something else for a while?"
McCoy, sensing that she was at her limit, launched into some anecdotes from his medical seminar. Christine gratefully sank down into a chair and sipped the iced tea Kirk had given her.
It's not like I'm ever going to have to involve them in this, Christine consoled herself. I'm a retired slayer. Why does everyone but me seem to forget that?
The meeting broke up slowly. McCoy and Uhura left together. Spock sat talking with Kirk, and Christine got up to leave them alone. Breaking off mid-sentence, Spock bid an amused Kirk goodnight and followed her out. He walked her back to her quarters and seemed prepared to follow her inside, but she stopped him with a touch.
"I think I need to be alone tonight."
He took a long breath. "You do not ever need to be alone. But for some reason you think you have to be."
"I'm not in the mood to argue, Spock."
He reached out and touched her face briefly. "But you are in the mood to fight. And we have come too far to ruin it in one night."
Christine suddenly found herself fighting back tears. His tenderness always took her by surprise. "I'm sorry. I don't know what is wrong with me." She moved out of his way. "Come in."
He passed her and when the door was safely shut, gathered her up in his arms. "Change is hard, Christine. It is stressful. You have carried this burden alone for so long. You ceased to believe that anyone could possibly help, much less want to. You must give it time."
She pressed her face into the hollow of his neck, felt his strength and certainty fill her. "I'm sorry, Spock."
"Shhh. You have already said that." He kissed her gently, tousled her hair as if she were a child. "It is our gift to be there for you. It must be your gift to let us."
She smiled at him sadly. "So much has happened. I guess somewhere along the line, I forgot how to trust."
He pulled her gently but firmly into the bedroom. "Yes, I know. And trust takes time to build."
"Help me build it?"
He unfastened her uniform, pulled it over her head. His own soon followed. She wrapped herself around him and they fell into bed. His fingers found her face, his voice warm in her mind as he initiated the meld. *We will build many thing together, Christine.*
"Well, that took a whole lot longer than it needed to." The blonde sat on a large rock, filing her fingernails.
"I don't think she's as smart as she thinks she is," the brunette agreed. She threw a knife at a tree trunk. It landed next to two others. Dead center of the makeshift target.
Christine walked over to them. "Buffy. Faith."
"Ooooh, score a point for the tall depressing one." Buffy inspected the nail she had just finished and moved on to the next.
"Took you long enough." Faith retrieved the knives then walked past Christine who followed her. "Do you mind? You're blocking my tree."
Christine moved aside and studied the slayer she had always secretly worshipped. Her face was sweet, or would have been if it had not worn the street-tough expression.
"What is your deal?" Faith let a knife fly.
"I'm descended from you. I've always wanted to meet you. I guess I wondered what you would think of me."
Another knife sailed through the air. "Yeah, well, that's great. I'm real proud of you and all. And as long as you don't go getting all mushy on me, we'll be five by five."
Buffy looked up. "I really hate it when you say that. What does that mean anyway?"
"It means loud and clear on the old radio communications scale." Christine realized both slayers were staring at her.
"Look who's suddenly knowledge girl," Buffy said, going back to her nails.
"Bet she's a real guy magnet," Faith agreed, letting another knife go.
"Spock happens to appreciate my knowledge of trivia." Christine mentally shook herself. She could not let herself get distracted by these two. "Why are you here?"
Buffy gave her a puzzled look. "Gee, maybe because you want us to be? This is not the most happenin' place you know."
"I want you here?"
Faith launched the third knife. "Like we'd just hang here for the wicked thrills?"
"What?" Christine wondered what language these slayers were speaking.
Buffy translated, "We have places we'd rather be. But you need us. So here we are. But you don't want to listen to us."
Faith turned to her. "I was like you. I kept everybody out. Didn't allow anyone to care for me."
"Well, except for the Mayor. You seemed to really like him, even though he turned into a big ugly snaky demon thing."
"Can we stay on track here, B?" Faith turned back to Christine. "You can't do this alone. Or you can, but not for long. Buffy taught me that."
Buffy pouted. "Actually it was my boyfriend that taught her that."
"He wasn't your boyfriend at the time and he only wanted to help me."
"Oh yeah, like you didn't like him, even a little bit?"
Christine watched her ancestors in something akin to horror. These were the two greatest slayers of all time?
Buffy jumped down from the rock. "Well, we've gotta go. Time to book. I think you've got the basic idea anyway."
Faith took Christine by the shoulders, gave her a hard shake. "Just remember what we said."
"But you didn't say anything," Christine said desperately.
"Pretend we did." Buffy suggested.
"You'll figure it out. It's been real." Faith turned back to Buffy and as they slowly faded out, Christine heard them start to argue again, apparently about angels.
"So what now?" she wondered, just as the alarm woke her up.
The next few weeks passed uneventfully, so Christine used the time to try to repair relations with her friends. She and Uhura fell into a routine, meeting for occasional dinners after work. McCoy spent the first few days asking her everything he could think of about slayers and the undead. But when it became clear that she was still the same Christine, he seemed to relax around her.
She and Spock spent nearly every night together. His quiet affection seemed to soothe the wild part of her that still raged deep within her. And his unexpected passion thrilled her. As their relationship matured, she felt herself beginning to trust him as she had no one since losing Marcus.
As Christine walked to sickbay, she noticed a subdued air of excitement among the crewmembers she passed. McCoy looked up and grinned at her as she entered his office. "Can you believe we get to go home?"
"Some mandatory refits. Every ship in the fleet has to report to the closest spacedock. Ours just happens to be orbiting Earth!"
"Earth." She found herself less than pleased at the notion of returning. Her memories of the planet were ones of heartache and fighting. Space, despite all the associated hazards, had been ultimately so much more peaceful for her. "How long will we be there?"
"Long enough for shore leave." He gave her a lascivious grin. "I can't wait to get back to Savannah for a little R&R."
"I bet," she said, as she left his office.
He followed her out. "Hey, you and Spock going to spend the time together?"
"It's conceivable, Doctor."
He laughed. "You're starting to sound just like him, Chapel. Better watch that." He headed back toward his office, loudly humming the strains of 'Georgia on my Mind'.
Earth. Would Spock want to spend the time with her? And where should they go? Christine busied herself with her work in an attempt to stop her mind from worrying over this. At lunch, she joined Spock and the captain in the mess hall.
Kirk was beaming as she set her tray on the table. "So you heard, I expect? Earth! I haven't been home in too long."
She forced a smile. "You have plans for the time?"
"Yes, indeed. I plan to look up an old friend that I haven't seen in quite a while. What about you two?"
Christine looked at Spock uncertainly. He gave her a reassuring glance then answered, "If my parents were not on Vulcan, I would reacquaint Christine with them. Since they are not here, I assume I will be accompanying Christine wherever she wishes to go."
"Where's that, Chris?" Kirk looked at her curiously.
She shrugged. "I haven't even thought of it." She looked over at Spock. "Perhaps we should discuss it."
"A logical suggestion. We do have four point eight days to decide."
Before she was ready for it, Christine found herself back on Earth, walking down a crowded street with Spock. They had decided to go to Sedona. Christine wanted to go someplace she had never been and Spock thought the hot, dry air would remind him of his home planet. So far the town agreed with them both splendidly.
Spock was reading out loud from a tourist brochure as he waited for Christine to finish her lunch. "Sedona is one of Earth's rare mystical sites, similar to Machu Picchu and Stonehenge. Ley lines are thought to connect at this spot, lending the area an environment of healing and balancing power." He crumpled up the glossy paper and shoved it in his lunch bag. When Christine looked up in surprise, he said, "Ley lines are not scientific. This brochure is full of fantasy and bedtime stories. These things do not exist."
She gave him an amused smirk. "Like vampires don't exist?"
"You may have a point," he responded, retrieving the brochure and flattening it out. He continued reading it quietly, then crushed it up again. "No, my original thought was correct. This is fit for nothing but the trash."
"Millions of people have visited this place because it does make them feel better, feel recharged. Who are we to say that all those people are wrong?"
Before Spock could answer, a shadow fell over their table. They both looked up to see an elderly man watching them.
"Do you need assistance?" Spock asked kindly.
The old man's strong voice belied his apparent frailty. "I would have words with the Slayer. Alone."
Spock looked at her in concern but she waved him away. "Why don't you go to the museum? I'll catch up with you." She could tell he did not want to leave her but after studying the old man for a moment more, he got up and left them to talk.
"What do you want?" Christine's voice was deliberately abrupt, just shy of rude. She knew that this man could only be from one place.
"You slayers are all the same. Show a little respect for your elders." The man sat down in the seat Spock had vacated. "My name is Colin Monroe. I'm from the Watcher's Council."
Christine took a swig of juice before she responded. "I know where you're from. I asked you what you wanted."
"I'm here to help you."
"I don't need your help. I'm retired. And even if I wasn't, you don't look like you are in any shape to be my new watcher."
"I have information you need."
"What could you possibly have to tell me?"
"Your lover...Marcus. He's not dead. He's a vampire." Monroe leaned forward, as if anticipating her shock. When she did not react, he frowned. "You already know this?"
"I pretty much found out that he wasn't dead when I killed him. About a month ago."
The old man reacted strongly to her words. "Killed him? But you were nowhere near the moon."
"And neither was he. His henchmen screwed up. He ended up on a planet halfway across the quadrant." Christine watched him take this in. He was clearly surprised. "Why did you think he was on the moon?"
"We captured some vampires. They boasted of sending their master to the dark side of the moon. From there, they said, he would bring about the expansion of their species."
Christine looked at him. "Well, he never made it there. But something has been happening on the moon, hasn't it? That's why you thought it was Marcus."
Monroe nodded slowly. "But if it isn't Marcus, then who is up there?"
Christine found herself following his gaze to the part of the sky that the moon would appear in. She felt anger boiling up inside her. Kicking her chair back, she rose abruptly.
The old man looked at her in shock. "What are you doing?"
"Didn't you hear what I said? There is at least one vampire on the moon."
She leaned in close to him. "I'm only going to say this once, old man." She practically spit each word at him. "I don't care."
"You're a slayer. You have to care."
"I'm a retired slayer. Go send one of your other girls. I'm done killing vampires."
"No. I'm finished. Don't bother me again." Christine grabbed her lunch bag, threw it violently into the trashcan, and stalked off. She heard Monroe calling her. I'm retired, she ranted inside, I don't do this anymore!
By the time she reached the museum, she had walked off most of her immediate rage. She found Spock midway through the first exhibit. "Sorry about that," she said as she joined him.
He gave her a careful look before asking, "Is everything all right?"
She nodded. "That old man just made a mistake."
He studied her, clearly not believing her, but apparently deciding to let it drop. They moved off together to see the rest of the museum.
"You again?" Faith looked at Christine. "Why can't you leave me alone?"
"I didn't call you."
"Well, you must have or I wouldn't be here."
The blonde suddenly appeared. "You couldn't let me sit this one out?" She looked up at the sky. "Oh, can we say 'Ewww'?"
Christine followed her gaze. A huge moon hung over them. Blood dripped from it.
"Mighty gross," Faith observed. "Must be hell to know that you could have stopped it…"
Christine backed away. "It's not my job. Not anymore."
Buffy looked at her sadly and faded away. Faith just shook her head. "Don't be so sure of that. These things have a funny way of working out."
"I won't do it! I won't."
Faith shrugged, as she too started to fade. "We'll see, I guess."
Christine woke from the dream slowly. Spock lay beside her, still asleep. She could not get the picture of the blood-swollen moon out of her head. Damn that crazy old man. She was being stupid letting him get to her. She tried to go back to sleep but found that she could not relax. Getting up, she padded over to the window and looked out, letting the curtains close behind her. The moon was barely at first quarter and it showed no trace of blood. See, she scolded herself, you are just being silly. Nevertheless it was several hours before she could bring herself to end her vigil and go back to bed.
As the curtains closed, something moved from behind a rock. Pulling a communicator out, the vampire said, "It's her. It's the slayer you've been looking for." He listened to instructions from the voice on the other end, then snapped the communicator shut and stood immobile as a transporter beam caught him up and took him away.
The next morning, Christine and Spock were setting out for a hike in the desert and had just reached the outskirts of town when they saw a group of people huddled over something on the trail. Must be an animal, Christine thought as they approached.
She glanced over as they passed and stopped in shock. It was not an animal. Lying crumpled and very pale was Colin Monroe. Christine pushed her way in. One of the bystanders warned her not to touch him. Whoever had killed him had left a message. On what the previous day had been a crisp white shirt someone had written in blood, "This is for Marcus, Slayer. Who will be next?"
Christine backed away, felt Spock take her arm and pull her along the trail until they were out of sight of the body. Her mind was racing, trying desperately to identify the assailant. She looked at Spock frantically. "I killed them all. All the ones that were involved with Anticles. There's no one left to do this."
"Perhaps it is some other vampire. Some code of honor."
She shook her head. "They aren't like that. They barely work together, let alone avenge a strange vampire. No, this is personal. It has to be. How else would whoever this is know about Marcus? The identity of our assailant on the planet wasn't in the report the captain sent. But somehow this thing knows. How?"
Her communicator rang out, startling them both. "McCoy to Chapel."
"Chapel here." She suddenly had a very bad feeling. "Len, what is it?"
He didn't waste any words. "Is Uhura with you?"
She looked at Spock. His eyebrow lifted as he took in her concern. "No. I thought she was at her parents?"
"She planned to spend the first couple of days with them, then join me last night in Savannah. But she never showed up. I called her house. She left on schedule, but she never got here."
Christine thought back to the message. No, she pleaded with whatever god listened to ex-slayers, please don't let Nyota be next.
Spock took the communicator from her. "Dr. McCoy, Christine and I will investigate and join you shortly. Where can we find you?" McCoy gave him the address of his hotel, which Spock promptly assigned to memory. "We will be there shortly. Spock out."
Christine pulled herself out of her panic. "She's not dead, Spock. Whoever is doing this wants me to suffer. I have a feeling they'll keep Ny alive until I am there to witness her death, or worse, personally." She felt despair threaten. "At least I hope so."
Spock took her arm and wrapped it around his. They looked like any other couple out for a stroll. But as they made their way back to the hotel, she realized that he was using the physical contact to bolster her with all of the strength and support that he could give.
When they neared their room, she pulled away from him gently. "Thank you, Spock."
They packed quickly and checked out. Spock used his standing to get them beamed over to Los Angeles station, where Uhura was supposed to have left from. Christine didn't wish to alarm Nyota's parents any more than they already were, so she did not call them to get more details. She didn't need to. One of the vendors remembered Uhura. She had bought some whiskey from him and they had talked a bit about Georgia. The merchant looked concerned. "Then a guy came up to her and they went over to the transporter. I thought it was odd because she had been talking about going to Georgia and then she used the off-planet transporter."
Christine hurried over to the off-world pad. It was tucked into a corner of the station. The operator was busy and she had to wait for him to beam out several loads of people before he would talk to her. She could tell he didn't want to give her the information.
She gave him her best smile. "Please. This is so important. Please tell me where Lieutenant Uhura beamed to." When the officious man started quoting privacy regulations to her, she snapped. Her hand was on his collar and she had pushed him up the wall before Spock could move to protest. The man's legs dangled as he started to choke. Christine leaned in close and hissed, "Maybe I didn't make myself clear. This is somewhat urgent. Where did my friend beam to?"
The man gestured up. He gasped out a word.
Spock repeated it, "The moon? She beamed to the moon?"
The man agreed frantically. Christine let him down. As she straightened up his collar, she asked, "Now you wouldn't happen to know where on the moon she went?"
The man edged away from her. "She went to Outpost 5. Now leave me alone, you psycho!"
Spock moved in front of her. "I would suggest you refrain from making her any more angry than she already is." The man's eyes widened. Spock leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "This conversation never happened, do you understand?" As the man nodded quickly, Spock hurried to join Christine at another transporter pad. They had only a short wait before they were beamed to the Savannah station.
McCoy answered their knock promptly. Christine suspected he had been pacing ever since he had called them.
"You didn't find her." His voice was flat with disappointment.
"No. But we know where she went." Christine watched his face light up.
"Well, let's go get her, then." He watched her face, then turned to Spock. "What's wrong? Where is she?"
Spock responded evenly, "We have reason to believe that she was taken by someone that has a grudge against Christine. If that is the case, we will have to consider carefully how we attempt a rescue."
Christine turned to him. "_We_ aren't attempting anything." She saw his face turn stony. "No, Spock. Whatever this thing is, it wants me. And it will use all of you to get to me if it can." She had a sudden chilling recollection of one of her dreams. She turned to McCoy. "Is the captain okay?"
McCoy looked confused. "Jim? I don't know. He went to New York."
Spock pulled out his communicator. "Commander Spock to Starfleet duty officer."
A woman's voice answered, "This is the Officer on Duty, Lieutenant Carlsen. How can I help you, Commander?"
"I have an urgent message for Captain Kirk. Do you have a shore leave address for him?"
"Yes, sir." She gave him a number in New York.
As Spock thanked the woman, Christine moved quickly to the communications console and dialed the number in. An attractive redhead answered. "Can I help you?"
"I'm sorry to bother you. I serve with Captain Kirk. I was told he was staying with you?"
"That jerk?" The woman's face twisted in anger. "I don't know where the hell he is."
Spock moved up to stand next to Christine. "I do not understand. Did the two of you have an altercation?"
"No." The woman's words were bitter. "I ran out last night to get us some ice cream. When I got back, he had packed his stuff and was gone."
Christine felt despair flood her as Spock apologized for bothering the woman. Not Kirk too, she prayed.
Spock was already back on his communicator with Lieutenant Carlsen. He explained that he thought Kirk might have used the New York transporter and he needed to know where he went. Lieutenant Carlsen agreed to find out. About ten minutes later, she had an answer for them. "He beamed with an unknown civilian to the Moon."
Christine watched Spock's face grow even stonier as he asked, "Outpost 5?"
"Yes, sir. Do you need anything else, Commander?"
"No. Thank you for your help, Lieutenant."
Christine dropped to a chair and thought furiously. The dream. What had the dream been trying to tell her? How was she going to save them?
Spock knelt in front of her. "You can't save them both."
She started as she heard Faith's words in his voice. "That's what she said in the dream...but I have to try..."
"You misunderstand me, Christine. _You_ can't save them both. But _we_ can." He saw understanding dawn and continued, "The two of us."
McCoy put his hand on her shoulder. "Make that the three of us." When both Spock and Chapel looked at him curiously, he said, "You don't think I'm going to just stand by while some psychopathic creature of the night kidnaps one of my best friends and the woman who means the world to me?"
Spock turned to Christine. "It appears that you are not the only one with secrets."
She looked at McCoy. "So it would seem." She studied her friend. He would not be very useful in a fight. But he was smart and he cared. Maybe that was all that mattered. "Okay then, you're coming with us."
McCoy let out his breath, as he realized he wouldn't have to fight her on this.
She turned to Spock. "You need to explain how to fight a vampire to him.'
Spock nodded. "We will also need wood to fashion stakes and crosses."
McCoy was already ahead of them. "Gardens are big business here. There is a nursery down the block. I bet they have some wooden garden stakes, or fence posts or something we can use."
Christine nodded. "Perfect. Go see what you can find. I need to contact someone."
Spock shot her a questioning look. Christine smiled bitterly. "I think it is time that I got some answers from the Council of Watchers."
He nodded slowly, then he and McCoy left in search of weapons.
Christine gathered her thoughts before punching in the number she had for the Watcher's Council. A young woman appeared on the screen. "Meta Connectivity, how may I direct your call?"
"My name is Chapel. I was the last person to see Colin Monroe alive. The last human anyway. Direct my call to whoever sent him out to Sedona."
The receptionist didn't miss a beat. "I'm not sure what you are talking about. If you don't have a name, then I really can't place your call."
Christine fought the irritation she had always felt when dealing with the Watchers. "Okay, in simple terms so you can understand them. Slayers, watchers, vampires, blood, poof, am I making my point?"
"One moment, please." The screen went dark as she was transferred.
"Can I help you?" The man looked up as he spoke. "Oh, it's you. How long has it been Ms. Chapel? Five years since you deserted us?"
"Kevin Silver. I wish I could say it was a pleasure to see you but…"
He nodded. "Yes, well. Now that we have traded insults perhaps you will tell me what you want?"
"Colin Monroe is dead."
"Yes, I heard that. If that is all you called to tell me…"
She spoke before he could break the connection, "Whoever killed him did it to get my attention."
Silver stared at her in distaste. "What do you want, Chapel?"
"I'm going up to the moon. Whoever is up there has taken two of my friends. I intend to get them back. But I need to know what you know. Or even what you suspect. Tell me who you think is up there."
"We thought it was Marcus, until Monroe called in to tell us you had killed him. We really don't know who is up there." His tone became very sarcastic. "I can't tell you how reassuring it is that you will be going up there to nose around. Do check back in if you make it out alive." He gave her a false smile as his hand reached to break the connection.
"Silver, so help me if you cut me off…" The connection went dead. Damn the man, she raged. He had always disliked her, now he appeared to actively hate her. She didn't have time for this. Think, she ordered herself, who else would have heard rumblings?
Her fingers were dialing in a number before she even realized she had remembered it. A beautiful older woman came on the screen, her voice bored as she repeated what must have been the standard greeting. "Candide's Pleasure Parlor. Your wish is our…Christine?"
"Nasturas! It doesn't look like you."
The other woman smiled. "Yeah well, you know when I'm on phone duty the bosses like me to look human. Some customers get turned off by demons. So, what are you doing calling me?"
"You remember once you told me if I ever needed a favor?"
Nasturas nodded. "You saved my life Christine. Whatever I can do for you, I will."
"I need to know if you've heard anything odd. Rumors or hints that something big is going on in the vampire world. Anything you've heard about paranormal activity on the moon."
Nasturas checked around her before she leaned into the viewscreen. "There's something big going down. A vampire, very old, is up there. Wants to take over. Wants to rebuild her dynasty and forge a new empire. Everybody is sort of spooked. I mean this chick is loco, you know?"
Christine frowned. "What do you mean?"
"I mean she is a bonafide nut case. And has been for centuries, if what I hear is true."
"You said she's old. Does she have a name?"
Nasturas looked uncomfortable even whispering it. "Her name is Drusilla."
"That's impossible," Christine retorted vehemently.
Nasturas backed away from the screen in reaction. "Hey, I just know what I hear from my customers. The vamps all call her that. That's all I know." A voice rang out in the background. "Listen, Christine, I have to get back to work. Do you need anything else?"
"No. Thanks, Nasturas. You've been a big help." Christine broke the connection. Drusilla? It had to be a new vamp that had taken the name. Drusilla had died after the Eugenics Wars. Or had she? What if she hadn't? Christine realized she needed to know more about this particular vampire. And there was only one place to get the information.
Silver was even less pleased to hear from her a second time. "What now, Chapel?"
"I know who is up there. I need all the data you have on Drusilla."
He rolled his eyes. "Drusilla is dead."
"I don't think so. I don't know how but I think she is alive and leading this take over."
"And you expect me to just make our resources available to you? Why would I do that?"
Christine lowered her voice to a dangerous purr. "Because if you don't, you sorry piece of refuse, I will personally organize every slayer I can find. Think of it, a Slayer's Union. Every time a Slayer is called I'll be there with the Union welcome packet." He didn't look totally convinced. "And I will also give the press one hell of an interview." He looked even less convinced. "Silver, dammit. I know that we have never gotten along. But in all this time have I ever betrayed the secrets I know? I retired but I did so quietly. Now my friends are up there on that moon. From what Monroe said, you want this little situation taken care of before it becomes a Starfleet problem. Our interests dovetail here. All I need is some information…information that you have."
He thought for several seconds before he turned to an old-fashioned keyboard console and typed in a command, then another. Christine saw data begin to stream in on her end. She let out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. "Thank you, Silver." He nodded and ended the call as soon as the data was transmitted.
So, thought Christine, just who is this Drusilla? She put aside what she already knew about the master vampire and tried to read the Watcher's Council files as if the vampire were a totally unknown quantity. Drusilla had been made a vampire in 1860. Bad luck had brought her to confession on a day when Angelus, a particularly cruel vampire, had killed the priest and so had heard her admit to having visions of the future. Initially just intrigued with her psychic abilities, Angelus soon became obsessed with the innocent and devout young woman. He slowly killed off all of her family in order to isolate her. When she joined a convent to escape him, he let her think she had won, even allowed her to take her final vows, then turned her that night.
In the process, Drusilla went mad. She kept her prescient abilities, and learned some new ones. She was an excellent fighter but rarely had to use that skill as she had a rare vampire ability that allowed her to mesmerize her victims. She could control them and make them see whatever she wanted. It was Drusilla that had killed Kendra, the originator of Christine's line. Since that time, she had killed three other slayers. After prospering greatly during the chaos that was the Eugenics Wars, Drusilla had allegedly been killed by a slayer named Connie Niemann. There had been no sightings of her since, so the Council had closed her file. Three weeks ago, it was reopened and the latest entries were rumors and references to her activities. That bastard, Christine thought, Silver knew it was Drusilla the whole time and wouldn't tell me. But if it was really Drusilla, then how did she know Marcus? And could Christine win against a vampire this old and capable? I have to win. We have to win, she corrected herself. She closed the files and waited for Spock and McCoy to return.
Spock and McCoy came in about an hour later, loaded down with wooden stakes and short dowels. McCoy pulled a large ball of twine out and handed it to Spock. At Christine's quizzical look, Spock explained, "To make crosses." He cut a dowel in half, then laid the pieces together, the horizontal one about one quarter of the way down the length of the vertical. He began to wrap the twine around them like an ojo-de-dios. "Rudimentary but they should work as well as something more elaborate I think."
Christine smiled at his ingenuity. "They're perfect."
McCoy reached into his pocket again. He pulled out a resealable beverage container filled with clear liquid. Christine looked at him puzzled. He smiled wryly. "Spock made us stop at the local Catholic church. He distracted the priest while I filled this up."
She laughed in understanding. "Good thing you are a Methodist, Len. You might be excommunicated for that."
"Don't much care." He shrugged. "If it helps get Jim and Nyota back, then it would be worth it."
She nodded in sympathy. "We'll get them. I've been busy too. I know who is up there. The master vampire anyway. Her name is Drusilla; she is very old and very powerful."
Spock looked up from his cross making. "You said she was dead?"
"She is supposed to be. But it looks like she isn't. I don't know how. Nobody does. But I'm relatively certain it is her."
Spock asked, "How does she know Marcus?"
"I don't know. I guess that is something we'll find out when we find her. We have to go up there, I'm afraid."
Both men nodded. She smiled grimly. "We might not make it back. You know that?"
Spock looked at her serenely. "We try our best. If our best is not sufficient to the task, then we will not succeed. But until that moment, we will keep trying."
McCoy nodded his agreement. "We have to try, Chris. They are our friends."
She felt a flush of pride in these two. Such valiant hearts in the face of danger. "Okay then. We need to get up to the moon and see what we can find out. I suggest starting on the daylight side, just to be safe. We can see what they've heard up there about Outpost 5."
Spock concurred. "A good idea. And right now the daylight side will be half the near side and half the far side."
McCoy looked a bit confused.
Spock hastened to explain, "As you know, Doctor, there is no true 'dark side' of the Moon. There is the side that is always facing Earth and the side that is never facing Earth. Humans used to believe that the side facing away from us was always in darkness."
McCoy looked surprised. "But the moon has phases. The part that is showing to us is only all in light during the full moon, maybe three days or so, the rest of the time the far side gets sunlight according to its location between the Earth and the sun."
Christine smiled at them. "We know that. But Drusilla might not have. She is from a time when only scientists understood that there was no constant dark side. She may have gone up there thinking that she would never have to deal with sunlight again."
Spock continued, "A fact she doubtless found out was not true."
McCoy looked confused. "So why stay up there?"
Christine explained, "The Moon takes 28 days to complete a rotation, which is much longer than the Earth. Even if she were to find herself in the direct path of the sunlight, she could simply outrun it. It may not be always dark, but it is much easier to find the darkness, and its duration must seem like paradise to a creature that needs it to survive. I just want to beam up to the daylight side so we don't have to worry about vampire attacks while we are starting our investigation. Once we hit the current dark side, there will be no sunlight to help us out."
They all pondered that for a moment, then Christine continued, "Marcus said something about stealing a starship. And my sources talked about expansion of the vampire species. I think that the moon is just a staging point for Drusilla. I doubt that she is planning on staying forever at Outpost 5."
Spock frowned slightly. "She may not be using Outpost 5 at all. She may have moved on to another hiding place."
"You're right, she may have. But Drusilla made sure we knew that she took them there. So we'll probably have to visit it eventually." She smiled wolfishly. "That doesn't mean that we have to just walk right into the trap, or at least not empty-handed."
They all looked at the pile of weapons. McCoy grabbed his travel bag and dumped it out. Then he began to fill it with stakes and completed crosses. "This should be slightly less conspicuous then those bandoleers Uhura told me you were wearing the last time."
Spock finished wrapping the last of the crosses. He had made a dozen of them in a very short time. Christine smiled at his efficiency. McCoy took the cross and the holy water and placed them in the bag, then closed it up. Spock took it from him, lifting it easily as he stood.
"Well, are we ready?" McCoy asked.
"Some flame-throwers would be nice, but I doubt we are going to find any on such short notice. I guess we are as ready as we're going to be," Christine responded. "Let's go then."
As the three of them walked to the transport station, Christine pulled Spock aside and they talked quietly while McCoy gave them some privacy. When they got within sight of the building, they caught up with McCoy and made their way into the building together. Savannah did not have a dedicated off-planet pad, so they had to wait in line for the single outgoing pad. When they finally stepped on the pad, the transporter operator looked up in alarm. "I'm going to have to see what is in your bag, sir."
Spock gave the young man his best offended-Vulcan look. "Why?"
The transporter operator stammered, "I'm s-sorry, sir. But you are carrying very strange cargo in that bag."
Spock raised his eyebrow. "If you mean that it is full of wooden stakes and dowels, you are correct. It is for a private botany project. I am looking at the effects of long periods of sunlight on the growing cycles of plants. I have postulated that the near-constant UV bombardment will result in increased growth spurts as well as dynamic fecundity…"
Christine had to stifle a laugh as she watched the transporter operator's eyes glaze over. Spock was warming to his subject and soon she lost the thread of what he was saying. The young man didn't stand a chance. The next time Spock took a breath, which was at least a minute later, the operator hastened to reassure him that everything was fine after all.
"If you are certain?" Spock asked with a hurt tone. "Are you sure that you would not like to hear about my other experiments?"
The young man frantically played with the transporter switches. As the dissolve-out began, Christine heard him say, "Absolutely positive, sir!"
Christine and McCoy both broke out laughing as soon as they materialized on the lunar transport pad. It must be stress, Christine rationalized. In a few seconds they recovered their composure and trailed quietly in the Vulcan's wake.
McCoy muttered to Christine. "Not that I mind just walking aimlessly around a lunar arrival station, but what exactly are we doing?"
"We're looking for someone."
"Oh. And how will we know when we've found them?"
"We won't. They'll find us," Christine said.
McCoy looked bemused until suddenly he noticed a young man had joined their little group.
Spock glanced back and slowed down to let them all catch up. They continued on in silence, the young man acting as if he had always been part of their group. Finally Spock turned them off the main corridor into an empty resting area.
"Judging from the amount of tweed you're wearing you could only be from one place," Christine offered sarcastically.
"No need to go on the offensive, my dear. I'm here to help you get to the bottom of this."
"And you are?" McCoy looked at the newcomer in suspicion.
"Oh heavens. Where are my manners?" He stuck out a hand to the group. McCoy was the only one that took it. Pumping the doctor's hand vigorously the young man continued, "I'm Peter Wyndam-Pryce." He turned to Christine. "I don't believe we've ever had the pleasure. I'm somewhat new at this, although the watcher tradition is quite strong in my family."
Ignoring the man's babbling, Spock turned to the seating area and found some chairs in a far corner.
Wyndam-Pryce continued unfazed, he turned to Christine, gushing this time. "I couldn't believe it when I heard that _you_ were coming up here. I have a particular interest in your line, you know. A distant ancestor of mine was Faith's watcher."
Christine looked dubious. "Was this before or after she went rogue?"
"Well, ahem, the Council holds him somewhat to blame, but I actually think that his role in that has been slightly overstated. And he certainly made up for it later. All those years helping Angel…of course there was that little affair he had with that woman from Wolfram and Hart, but look how that turned out..."
"Ok, we get the picture. What is it you wanted to tell us?" Christine waited as he looked at her in confusion.
"Oh," he cried. "Oh yes, that information. How silly of me, I do tend to go off on tangents, don't I?"
Spock looked irritated, even for a Vulcan. "Sir, you are wasting our time here. The information please."
"Quite right. Well, Silver called me, told me you were coming up here." He leaned in conspiratorially and whispered to Christine, "He really doesn't seem to like you. Don't quite understand why he asked me to help you." Then in a normal voice he continued, "He asked me to round up anything I could on the sudden increase in vampire activity up here. Things were relatively quiet till three months ago. I mean, we've had the occasional vampire that stowed away on a shuttle and ended up here. But they were easily killed. We always thought we were safe since it was nearly impossible to transport a vampire. But that must have changed because they appear to be beaming all over the place now with no difficulty. I spoke with someone that did actually observe one transporting. He had a small pin on his shirt, we believe that it is some sort of beacon that delineates a field of some sort around the creatures allowing them to transport easily and safely."
Christine had to admit that Wyndam-Pryce, foppish though he may be, did seem to have some excellent information. "Go on," she urged.
"We've tracked the vampires to several sites, mostly on the far side of the moon." He began to chuckle. "Apparently a few of them found out the hard way that there is no dark side of the moon." He became serious again quickly. "As far as we can tell, there is one person in charge."
"Drusilla," Christine supplied.
Wyndam-Pryce nodded. "Quite right. She is utterly mad, you know. Silver told me he sent you the file, so you know as much as we do. From the eyewitness accounts I've collected, I'd say she has at least 17 vampires working with or for her."
"Are they feeding off the lunar population?"
"No. There have been no missing persons reports or murders. This population is quite close-knit. If someone disappeared, we would hear of it. The vampires appear to be hunting and eating on Earth. The only exception is Drusilla; she never leaves this place. So they must be bringing captured prey up to her."
McCoy looked puzzled. "Why doesn't she leave?"
Christine answered, "She's extremely old. She won't need to eat as often as the younger vampires."
Wyndam-Pryce agreed, "Yes, that is what we surmise as well."
Spock leaned forward. "The question at hand is how do we find these vampires? They don't show up on sensors."
Christine nodded in frustration. "We were lucky the last time, we knew where they were. And Marcus was overconfident in his skills. But Drusilla knows how to hide; she's been doing it for the last 200 odd years. Finding her nest before she wants us to find her may be impossible."
McCoy sat up excitedly. "Maybe I'm missing something here but didn't you say they were all wearing little beacons? Couldn't we look for some odd-looking signals?"
Christine and Spock both stared at McCoy. His shoulders dropped in frustration. "Well, I'm sorry if it's a stupid idea."
"On the contrary, Doctor, it is an excellent and quite obvious idea." Spock looked at Christine, who found herself wondering how many other obvious things they had missed. Maybe it really was better having more minds working on the problem?
"Now we just need to find a free terminal to access the sensors," McCoy offered.
"Well, I just happen to know an auxiliary room in the station that has terminals and a transporter and some communications devices. I have access to it, not in a precisely legal sense, mind you, but sometimes the duty of a watcher takes him outside the law."
"I'm sure it does. And legal or illegal, it sounds good to me." Christine gestured for Wyndam-Pryce to lead them to the room.
They all sat around the monitor in the auxiliary room Wyndam-Pryce had opened for them. He and Spock had searched for an hour before they had isolated an unknown signal that seemed to be from the beacons worn by the vampires. For the last two hours, they had been watching the signals go back and forth between Outpost 5 and a seemingly empty shuttle pad.
"What the hell are they doing?" McCoy had muttered.
"Whatever it is, Doctor, they are not just waiting for us to show up."
"You're right Spock." Christine leaned over him and watched as he tried to search for Kirk and Uhura in the mess of other signals. "They wouldn't be moving around at all if their main motivation was lying in wait for us."
Wyndam-Pryce pointed at the readings. "Might I make a suggestion?"
They all turned to look at him. "There does seem to be an inordinately large number of these signals moving around. More than the 17 I was led to expect. I'm not sure how much longer they'll be wearing those beacons."
Christine smiled evilly as she saw where he was going. "You know Peter, I just may come to like you after all this."
He fairly beamed at her. "I volunteer to go outside to see what happens. If it does turn out to be just humans, they will be annoyed with us but none the worse for wear when we send them back to work. But if it is vampires then…"
"They'll be toast." Christine finished for them. "Go, now. Len, go with him. I think you need to see this. You need to see them."
The two nodded and hurried out of the room. A few minutes later McCoy signaled them on the communicator. "We're in position."
She looked at Spock, who worked for a moment isolating the signals then gently pulled the transporter controls down. "Energizing now."
McCoy had left the link open so both she and Spock heard him say, "Oh my god! What the…whoa!" Then there was a loud crashing sound as he apparently dropped the communicator. A moment later they heard him pick it up. "Wow! They were disgusting looking. For a minute I thought we were in serious trouble with that crowd of uglies. Then they all just went poof and they were gone."
Christine laughed at his wonder. "Amazingly tidy, isn't it."
"You can say that again! We're on our way back in. McCoy out."
A moment later he and Wyndam-Pryce entered the room.
Spock looked over at them. "There may still be more vampires with Drusilla that weren't wearing the beacons, but if my calculations were correct, I transported 25 of them. That should make a dent on her operations."
Before the other two could confirm the number, the intercom came to life. A woman's voice, strangely accented, filled the room. "That wasn't nice, children." Her voice had a strange singsong quality to it. "You're going to have to make amends for that. Or maybe your friends will."
Christine snarled, "Leave them out of this, Drusilla. It's me you want. I'm the one that killed Marcus."
"I know you. I felt you every time I fed on him. But once he was one of us, I didn't have to feel you anymore. Did he tell you that I made him my lover and we owned the world together?"
Christine fought the anger the woman's words were causing. "Gosh, no, your name never came up."
"It is true. I was there. He did not mention you." Spock raised an eyebrow at Christine as she looked at him in surprise.
The woman laughed, a little tinkling sound completely at odds with her evil nature. "You two think you can get me mad so I'll do something stupid. But I'm already mad, didn't you know?? Pssst, pssst, pssst."
McCoy's head cocked as he listened to her intonation. He looked at the other three, raised his finger to the side of his head, and nodded as he made the 'cuckoo' gesture.
"Aren't you supposed to be dead, Drusilla?" McCoy asked.
"That's what that silly slayer thought when she killed the little vampire that looked just enough like me in the dark to satisfy you bloodthirsty tarts. She told the rest of her little friends that I was dead. Since there's no evidence when we die, she assumed she had killed me, which gave me time to rest up and get well." They heard her whimper. "Sorry, I got lost for a moment remembering the War. I got hurt in that. That's why someone else had to die. So I could get better without your kind after me. And look at me. Well, you could, if I didn't have this on audio only. You could see how strong and fit I am." She made a growling sound like a panther.
"We want our friends back, you bitch." Christine said trying to anger her again.
"Then come and get them, dearie. You know where they are." The intercom went dead.
Christine walked over to the bag and opening it began to hand out stakes and crosses. The holy water she shoved into her pocket. She looked at Wyndam-Pryce. "Will you help us? Will you stay here and wait for my signal? When we get our friends, you'll need to beam them and McCoy back here." At McCoy's outraged look she said, "They may need medical help, Len. She is a sadistic creature."
Wyndam-Pryce met her gaze steadily. "I would be honored to be of service."
She smiled her thanks then turned to Spock, who was watching her with approval. "So, you want to help me fight vampires, Mr. Spock?"
He gave her an ironic bow. "It would be my pleasure, Miss Chapel."
She had to fight the urge to throw her arms around him in a desperate embrace, instead just stepped closer and said softly, "If we don't make it out of there, Spock, I want you to know that being with you has meant everything to me."
He nodded, his expression tender. "To me as well. We will make it back together, Christine, or we will both die in the attempt. I will not leave you."
She smiled at him lovingly. "And it'll be a cold day in hell before I leave you there."
McCoy looked at them, for once without a smart quip. He just said simply, "It's time."
Christine had Spock and McCoy stand with their backs to hers and nodded to Wyndam-Pryce. "I guess we're going to Outpost 5, gentlemen. Crosses up, stakes ready. It’s showtime."
They materialized in the main square. Once upon a time, Christine thought, this had all had a survival bubble on it, before terraforming gave the satellite atmosphere and a more normal gravity. Would have been a lot harder to fight in that environment. Speaking of fighting. "There they are! Give yourself some fighting space but don't turn your back on them! Len, concentrate on protecting our backs, and use your crosses to do that, don't try to stake them."
Most of the vampires ignored them, too busy carrying cartons out of the main residential building and toward the empty shuttle pad. Only it wasn't so empty. The opening of the cargo bay of a ship appeared in the middle of the empty space, and vampires were carrying cargo up a ramp and disappearing through the hatchway. Cloaked, she realized. Drusilla's ship was cloaked.
She heard a growl as a male in full vamp face charged her. She had the stake up and in his chest before conscious thought took control. He blew into dust. She saw Spock raise his stake and also impale a vampire that had attacked him.
They waited but none of the working vampires stopped what they were doing.
McCoy called over his shoulder, "Call me stupid, but I somehow thought there would be more action?"
"Something is not right." Christine replied.
"Oh nonsense, duck." Drusilla's voice wafted out of the main house. "Everything is on schedule and now here you are. It's like my birthday, only less bloody." A delicate figure appeared in the doorway. "Your friends have been waiting. Why don't you come in?"
Christine studied the vampire. She was quite beautiful in a very fragile way. Dark lustrous hair framed a narrow face. Huge gray eyes dominated her face. Eyes that weren't quite sane. Eyes that called out to her.
"Don't look at her eyes," Christine yelled to the other two. It was too late. Spock and McCoy were standing still with enthralled looks on their faces. She reached over and slapped them both.
"Ow," McCoy yelled. He looked over at her. "Oh."
"Don't look at her eyes. No matter what." She glanced at Spock. "She affects you?"
He nodded in concern. "She is much more powerful than Marcus was."
Christine swore silently. "Great."
Drusilla laughed merrily. "Come in, the party can't start without you." She turned and disappeared inside the building.
Christine followed her, approaching the other vampires cautiously. When it was clear they were ignoring her completely, she hurried after Drusilla. Spock and McCoy followed behind. The sight that met them stopped them cold. Separated by the length of the room were Kirk and Uhura, both chained to pegs in the floor. Uhura seemed unharmed, but Kirk was lying on the floor, beaten and bloody.
Drusilla walked over to the captain, pulled his head up and stroked his face gently. "This one wanted to play rough. I wasn't in the mood really, but since he insisted…" Kirk shuddered at her touch. She let his head drop back down to the floor. "He's got some secrets, he has." Her voice changed and she got a distant look in her eyes. "In the sky, fire touches and never burns. On the ground, blood transforms but doesn't kill. All around, magic hidden, one day revealed." She sighed as she shook herself, then reached down to touch his hair gently, almost reverently.
God, Christine thought, she might turn him.
The vampire walked over to Uhura. "This one I didn't want to hurt." She ran her hands over Uhura's shoulders. "I had a doll like her once. I lost her." She chucked Uhura under the chin. "Pretty, pretty." Uhura shivered at her handling.
She'll turn them both if she can, Christine realized.
Drusilla let Uhura go, then, clapping her hands sharply, she walked to an ornate chair set up on a raised platform. Two vampires set down their boxes and made their way out of line to stand in front of her. She gestured to the prisoners and the vampires took up a position, one stood behind Uhura, the other knelt behind Kirk.
"What am I going to do with you, slayer? First you kill my lover. Then you come here and kill half my crew."
"Crew. Surely you didn't think I'd be content with this little rock when there are whole worlds to conquer? I have a ship."
"A cloaked one," Spock noted.
"You are a diabolical looking creature. You remind me of a demon I once knew. I might just keep you." Drusilla gave him a terrifying smile. "And yes, my ship is special. I had dinner with a scientist that was working on the cloaking device that you and this one"--she pointed at Kirk--"stole. Actually the scientist was dinner. But he told me so much before I killed him. So much about the lovely little replica he had made. Worked just like the original. I took it with me. Then I found a ship. Brought it here to this place, so perfectly deserted."
Drusilla's voice was beginning to really irritate Christine. "So you are going into space? Do you have any idea how dangerous it is?"
The vampire looked at her with amused fondness. "Are you worried for me? No need. I used to dream of the stars. I used to talk to them and name them. Now they will be mine." She laughed again, that dreadfully innocent sound. "It is always nighttime in space."
Spock corrected her. "Technically it is not. It depends on how close one is to a stellar system. Some areas of space are quite bright."
"Enough!" Drusilla eyed him in distaste. "I don't like you after all. I don't want you anymore."
Christine had had enough. "Good, because you aren't going to get him."
Drusilla laughed again. "But I already have him. And the other one as well."
Christine turned in shock. Both the men were standing mesmerized again. How in the hell did she do that? Christine cursed.
Drusilla called to them. "Come up here, boys. Stand back here where you will be out of the way." They both moved away, stopping when they were between Uhura and Drusilla, leaving Christine alone. Just like the dream, Christine thought in despair, always alone.
Drusilla's voice rang out. "You killed Marcus. He was my lover."
Christine shot back, "He was my lover first."
"A technicality. Now I'm going to take something away from you. I'm going to make you feel like I did when I felt him die. I was so busy getting things ready here that I couldn't help him. I had to make a choice and I chose to stay here. So now you have to make a choice. You can save one of them…"
"But not both," Christine finished for her.
She watched as the large vampire grabbed Uhura, his deformed face moving toward her neck. The other vampire pulled Kirk up to him.
"Choose," Drusilla said softly. "Choose which will die."
Christine looked over at Spock. He had said he would never leave her alone. She knew he had meant it. Once they had been in a situation very like this one. She was the one going under and he was the one still in control. And he had reached her. With his mind. And his tenderness.
She started moving toward Kirk, hearing Uhura gasp in terror as the vampire neared her, as she realized Christine was not going to choose her.
Christine threw every bit of slayer will into a silent scream, *Spock! I need you! Help Uhura!*
She did not stop to see whether it worked. The vampire had his teeth in Kirk's neck. Clutching her stake she threw herself across the room, knocking them both over. The vampire broke Kirk's fall, but the captain still cried out in pain. When the vampire pushed him off roughly, he hit the floor hard and lay still. Christine launched herself again and before the vampire could get up, she had fallen on his chest. His hands reached out to stop her, but the stake was already in motion. It connected and he exploded into dust.
She turned toward Uhura. The vampire holding her was laughing. "Too late, slayer," it hissed, failing in his excitement to hear Drusilla's shout of warning. He blew into dust as Spock brought the stake down through his back and out through the chest.
"Damn," Christine marveled. "I've never been able to do that." Of course, she thought wryly as she ripped Kirk's chain off the peg and stalked toward Drusilla, I'm not an enraged Vulcan who's been repressing that emotion for way too long. She saw Spock free Uhura from her peg.
Christine walked up to McCoy and clapped her hands in front of him. He shocked awake. Seeing Uhura free and alive, he ran to her and they embraced tightly. "Get them out of here, Len. The captain is hurt." McCoy and Uhura ran to Kirk. Christine heard McCoy call Wyndam-Pryce, then the familiar hum of the transporter filled the room.
Drusilla looked at her angrily. "You think you've won? Not while I still have my pretty little ship."
As Christine and Spock moved toward her, she called four of the vampires out of the work line. They immediately rushed to put themselves between their leader and the two mortals.
"Doesn't leave me with much of a crew, but it will have to do. I can always make more." She blew Christine a kiss and ran out of the room. The vampires closed ranks around Spock and her.
Can't take them all, she thought, not with stakes anyway. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the holy water. Unscrewing the cap she let the water fly. She only managed to splash the two nearest ones but it hit them in the face. As they screamed and clawed at their eyes, she and Spock both attacked. Almost before the vamps were aware that they had been staked, they were gone.
The other two charged. Their anger made them strong, but Christine and Spock were stronger. In the end they too were dust.
Christine and Spock raced in the direction that Drusilla and the other vamps had gone. There was no one there and no sight of a ship. But a roaring overhead told them they were too late.
Spock pulled out his communicator. "Spock to Wyndam-Pryce. Beam us over, please."
A moment later they were in the auxiliary room again. Christine walked to where Uhura was standing, grabbed her friend in a tight hug and whispered, "And you had the gall to chide me for keeping secrets?" Uhura smiled sheepishly and hugged her back. Then they separated and walked over to where Spock was watching McCoy work on Kirk.
McCoy looked up. "For heaven's sake, Spock, quit glaring at me that way. He's going to be fine. A little work on my part and lots of rest on his and he'll be good as new."
She saw Spock's shoulders relax as he took in McCoy's words. Uhura joined McCoy, helping him with the emergency medical tools he had found.
Christine walked over to Spock. He turned to her and, in front of everyone else, pulled her into his arms. She was stiff with surprise for a moment, then she relaxed.
His voice sounded deep and husky in her ear. "You did it."
She whispered back, "No, _we_ did."
He squeezed her tightly and as he released her she felt his touch in her mind. *My heart.*
She smiled back at him, *Never alone.*
He nodded and moved back to watch McCoy work on Kirk.
She walked over to Wyndam-Pryce. She stuck her hand out and he took it gently. "Thank you, Peter. If I still needed a watcher, I'd want you to be it."
She saw his eyes fill, and he blinked rapidly to clear them. "Oh, oh my. I seem to have something in my eyes." He rubbed at them for a moment. Then gave up. He smiled happily at her. "And I thank you, Christine. It has been an honor working with you. And just for the record, I plan to tell Kevin Silver that he is a boorish fool!"
She laughed. "If you do, you'll never get assigned back to Earth." His face fell and she laughed again. "Don't tell him anything, Peter. I think it's more important to have a watcher like you back on Earth." She surprised herself by giving him an impromptu hug. "Now get out of her before you get in trouble."
He smiled gratefully at her and left the room.
Christine reached for the communications console to call the Starfleet emergency number, but before she could connect the console sprang to life. She heard the voice she had come to loathe, "Ta-ta, dearie. Until next time." She looked at the viewscreen. A very smug Drusilla stood smiling in that privately mad way that made her more untouchable than any other foe Christine had faced. She locked eyes with the slayer for a moment then cut the connection. Somewhere above them, the vampire's cloaked ship sped away.
Good riddance, Christine thought. But she knew that this was not her last encounter with Drusilla. Someday, somewhere, she would face her again. And next time, she vowed, I'll win.
"Christine?" Spock came up to her, touched her gently on the shoulder. "Let's go home."
She turned back to him. Yes, back to the ship, with him, with these reckless and brave and constant people who were her friends. She touched his hand softly and nodded. "Yes, let's go home."