Celebwen Telcontar: Alright, this fic has several major spoilers up until the end of Season 4, maybe some of Season 5, and has major spoilers for the Techno-mage novels, the Psi Corps novels, and perhaps a bit from the Centauri Prime novels. Please do not read this fic if those spoilers will get to you. If these offend you, please leave now and look at some other fic. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Celebwen Telcontar: This is a Babylon 5-Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover. The inspiration for this project was that Willow is a Wicca, and that both the Geek Trio (Warren, Andrew and JonathanBtVS) and Xander Harris BtVS again watch Babylon 5, read the novels, in at least Xander's case collect plates, and the four of them also are pretty regular Sci-fi fanatics; i.e. Xander knows the written/spoken form of Klingon, which, while being Star Trek and not Babylon 5, is still pretty hard-core sci-fi.
Balrog: Speak English, please. Or at least some language we all speak. Like the Black Speech. I know that.
Celebwen Telcontar: I know that you know the Black Speech, but I don't. It hurts my ears as much as the Elven tongues hurt yours. Now anything else?
Balrog: Why make Willow a Techno-mage?
Celebwen Telcontar: She's already a Wicca, why not make her something a bit more powerful? Now on with the story!
Balrog: Wait, wait, wait! Do you own anything Buffy? Or anything Babylon 5?
Celebwen Telcontar: No, I don't. Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. Babylon 5, sadly, belongs to J. Michael Straczynski and Babylon Productions. Now, on with the story! And please leave a juicy review!
Balrog: Alright, people. This is the key to understanding the fic. English, Lenn'ah (Warrior caste Minbari), Adaronto (Religious caste Minbari), Italian, Standard
The young-looking woman sat in the wheelchair, allowing her elderly companion to push her along the sidewalks of the very congested city of Rome. Another person was trudging behind, a young man carrying a backpack and grumbling in a different language. His fur coat and shaggy brown hair made him stand out, and he sent death glares at anyone attempting to examine him more closely.
"Umbra-letum, when is the house you spoke of to come close?"the old man asked in the tongue they all knew, but the populace did not.
"It should… be a large… house, with… large and extensive… yards. Women will be… sparring in the… yard and… possibly under the… guidance… of a woman… with brown hair… or one… with blonde hair."
"Do not speak so much, Umbra-letum. You are wasting your energy. You should have just said "soon" rather than making that huge sentence."
"Beryl, you… are not my… father, nor… my keeper."
"I am glad that I am not your Keeper, Umbra-letum. To think of that nastiness…"
"Beryl, you … are insufferable."
"As are you, Umbra-letum. Now quiet, I see the house."
Beryl pushed the wheelchair a bit farther to the place where he saw a massive mansion, probably once the mansion of a Roman senator or an auspicious General. A group of women were training, Slayers, Beryl knew they were called.
"Zathras wants to know when Zathras reaches destination," the baggage-boy grumbled to Beryl.
"Soon, Zathras. Now remember, you are Zachary, I am Beryl, and Umbra-letum is Willow."
"Zath—Zachary knows. Zachary does not understand, but Zachary will do."
"Hello? How may we help you?" a woman asked in Italian.
"Erm… We do not speak Italian well. We speak English."
"Ah! Good, we speak English as well. I'm Sonja. Come on in, and we'll see if we can help you."
"Sonja," a woman called as soon as Sonja had led the threesome into the house.
"Buffy, there's a group of three people here who look as if they need help."
"Alright, Sonja. Let me see… Willow!" Buffy rushed forward.
"Buffy… I cannot… I am not… I am not well, Buffy."
"What? What happened, Willow?"
"I… was poisoned."
"By who? Listen, you, if either of you poisoned my friend, you are going to be in big trouble. Understand?"
"Perfectly," Beryl said in English, looking directly into Buffy's eyes.
"Uh… are you Human? You have red eyes," Buffy said.
"Er… Family trait," Beryl improvised.
"Hmmm. I want to see you in my office as soon as Willow is comfortable."
"Don't worry… Beryl. She's… nice… to non-demons… and you… are not a … demon, just… a Narn."
"A very old Narn at that, Umbra-letum,"Beryl chuckled. "Alright, I'll agree to this."
"You also have to bring your friend with you."
"My… Zachary. Of course."
"Is he a bellboy?" Buffy asked. "He's carrying around your stuff."
"He's not a bellboy, to be exact, he's someone that… Willow and my mutual acquaintance trusts to be taken with us, while Willow recovers."
"Why did you wait before saying "Willow"?"
"Because Willow is no longer her name any more. It is Umbra-letum."
"I see. Shadow-death. How appropriate."
"You have no idea," Beryl grumbled. Umbra-letum smiled fleetingly before a rather disturbed expression came onto her face. "Umbra-letum, she'll be safe, let's hope."
"I know… Beryl. It's just… he's so… he's so angry right now… I can't break… through his shields…and Delenn's life… is on the line."
"She'll be alright, Umbra-letum. Marcus is a good man, and he's powerful. Do you expect anyone who is trained by Durhann to just step aside and let him take over the Anla-shoc?"
"Will Marcus survive?"
"I doubt it, but he's good."
"Good… does not mean… that he… can survive… against something… far more powerful… than he could… ever be."
"It's too bad, I was fond of him."
"So was I… Beryl, so was…I. Rarely… do you find… such a… mind…, so old… yet so young… so like the Ancients… so like the… myths… and legends… we were… raised on. I almost… expected… him to yank… a handy… sword from… a nearby stone."
"Indeed. You have told me of your King Arthur, yet I do not entirely understand it. You can tell me the nuances later."
"I'm sure… that Giles… could tell you… better than… I could."
"And where is this 'Giles' friend of yours?"
"He should… be here… he's Buffy's watcher… after all."
"Rest, Umbra-letum." Beryl took her into the room that Buffy had signaled out could be used for Umbra-letum.
"Willow," an old man said, coming into the room. "It's great to see you back here!"
"Giles… it's good… to be… back."
"What kind of poison was it? We may have the antidote here."
"No… the closest… place… to find… the people… who poisoned… me is… on Mars."
"Mars?! You were poisoned by aliens?" Giles cried.
"Yes. Giles… meet my friend… and mentor…, Beryl."
"So you are Giles. Umbra-letum has not stopped talking about you. I was told that you are a good source on myths and legends?"
"Yes, I am, Mr. Beryl."
"Just Beryl, please, I forfeited my surname with my first name when I became Beryl."
"What sort of person are you?"
"A sorcerer, you could say." Zathras entered the room, carrying their baggage, and placed it near the dresser. The alien looked up and gave Beryl a small grin, and went out, possibly to find something to eat. Beryl let a small bubble form, and filled it with glowing flame. Giles' eyebrows went up. "Umbra-letum, do you need anything?" Beryl asked in Lenn'ah.
"No. Just… some rest. Thank you… for coming with… me, Beryl."
"You are welcome, daughter-of-my-heart." Beryl bowed slightly, his hands clasped on his chest. Umbra-letum smiled gently, and watched as Beryl placed her opaque blue crystal staff on the side of the wall, resting against her headboard. She closed her eyes and fell into a deep, healing sleep. She was conscious of Beryl pulling the covers up to tuck around her and then leaving, closing the door behind him.
"So, what happened to Willow, and who are you?" Buffy asked Beryl, over a plate of spaghetti and Swedish meatballs. Beryl took a bite of a meatball, and his eyes popped open. He stared at the plate, rolling the food around with his fork, then began eating with far more gusto, and closing his eyes in bliss after every bite.
"Breen! Where in the Universe did the Humans find Breen at this time period?!" Beryl cried in joy and bafflement.
"What was that? Apparently, you like the Swedish meatballs. We'll buy some more for you later, if you stay. Alright, who are you and what do you have to do with Willow?" Buffy asked.
"I am Beryl, her mentor. She's in a new form of magic now, not her Wicca Magyk that she uses from time to time, that is what is keeping her alive."
"What do you mean, Beryl?"
"She was poisoned by a man who works for an ancient evil, and the poison was made to completely shut down the technology that we Techno-mages have in our bodies to make the magic that we do. The Wicca Magyk that Umbra-letum uses has blocked the poison, but it does not completely stop it. So she has lost her ability to use Technomancy, but her Wicca Magyk is full power."
"Good. How much of a chance of survival does she have?"
"Very good, since she is still lucid. Hopefully she will not have a relapse. That is why we came here. If the Shadows ever found out that Umbra-letum is not at full power, they would take all their power and destroy her, and whatever planet she was on."
"Wait, wait! Isn't Earth in danger now?!"
"No, because we went back in time to do this. The Shadow's worst enemy is gone from that timeline now, and so she will recover, then return to our timeline and destroy the Shadows as best as we can."
"Alright… so you have gone through time, you're not a traditional witch or warlock, but use technology to make magic seem real, and Willow is a hunted woman."
"In a nutshell," Beryl said.
"I can tell that you've been staying for a long time with Willow. Alright, let's go. I'll get you a room. Now, I don't fully trust you yet, but I trust that you wouldn't hurt Willow."
"Of course I won't. Now, how about some more of that lovely dish?"
"What, the Swedish meatballs? Go ahead, no one else likes them!"
Xander stepped into the mansion, dragging the huge bag of food with him.
"We really need a bellboy," Andrew muttered, bringing in a large cart full of different supplies behind him.
"Yah. No kidding, 'Drew."
"It's Andrew, Alex," Andrew said in reply. "Hey, whose wheelchair is that?" Buffy rounded the corner.
"Hey, boys. That would be Willow's chair. Here, Xand. Hand me that." Buffy took it in a swift swing, and carried it effortlessly into the kitchen. Andrew and Xander entered, to find a white-haired man, mostly bald, and aged and in odd clothing, gobbling up the Swedish meatballs as if they were the best food on Earth.
"Is he actually eating the Swedish meatballs?" Xander asked in wonder.
"Yes. I interrogated Beryl about an hour ago, and he devoured the plate of meatballs."
"Huh. Interesting, no one else likes them. At least we've found a use for them."
"If he stays long, we may need to buy more of them," Buffy put in.
"Ah, you must be Alexander Harris. Umbra-letum… er… Willow has told me a great deal about you."
"So you're Beryl. Who are you to Willow?"
"Her mentor. If I had not taken the post, someone else would have."
"Huh? I'm not going to electrocute you."
"Xander, be careful, he's a sorcerer. Better than I am," Giles said, entering the room and looking through the refrigerator.
"Ah. Oh, Andrew, speaking of magic, did you finish those novels I loaned you?"
"Yes, I'll get them to you tonight. They're good," Andrew said.
"Good. I'm glad you liked them. Now for our friend, Beryl." :Giles, are you sure that he's Human? He has red eyes,: Xander commented telepathically.
:He says that they are a family trait. I'm not so sure, though,: Buffy replied.
:Red eyes could be a portent to demonism, Xander. However, though this is relatively unlikely, Narns also have red eyes, and they love Breen, which is a food that tastes remarkably like Swedish meatballs, so I've been told. Ko'dan, when he was speaking to G'kar in… I think it was Season 2, maybe 3, ate some Swedish meatballs and wondered how G'kar was able to import Breen so far from the Narn homeworld.:
:He's a demon if he's not Human, Andrew. Babylon 5 is a TV show,: Xander replied to Andrew's comment. :Besides, not everyone has to hate Swedish meatballs. Also, I've seen a few people with purple eyes, why not red?:
:And have red eyes and a taste for Swedish meatballs in the same person? I wouldn't be surprised if he has red skin.:
:Please speak of things we all know, boys. I don't know what this Narn thing is, but he's a very powerful magician.:
:What sort of spells does he use?: Andrew asked Giles.
:He made a ball of fire, without any outside support or seemingly using any exertion to create it, even speech.:
:Definitely like a Techno-mage.:
:Andrew, not everything has a link into Sci-fi!:
:If it helps,: Giles put in sheepishly, :Willow, or as Beryl and their bellboy call her Umbra-letum, was poisoned by an alien. She said that the closest of the life forms that poisoned her is on Mars.:
:Most likely buried! She was poisoned by the Shadows!: Andrew mentally yelped. Xander glared at him.
Umbra-letum stood slowly from her seated position, swinging her legs off of the bed and stepping carefully onto the floor. She reached for her crystal staff, using its support to pull herself up to stand. She groaned with the effort, and placed a hand on her temple. Her tech was throbbing and burning, and she closed her eyes against all sorts of imagery as it flung her mind hither and yon. She reached for her tech to soothe it, and wound up technocasting nothing.
Suddenly, her tech burned wildly. She yelled as her heart throbbed and stumbled, and she felt a gentle warming sensation seeping into her body from her tech. It soothed her gently, and then she felt a rabid curiosity. The tech wanted to know everything, and it sent her life to her with no particular order, showing that it knew what was happening and that it knew her and wanted to be with her. Golden light coalesced about her, and she gasped at the beauty that it showed.
"I guess that even though the Shadows gave the tech to techno-mages that the tech is not evil. It's just curious. Maybe Lorien is right, the Shadows have simply forgotten to ask, and are answering their former questions with answers of their own making. The Vorlons are doing the same thing, I suppose," she whispered to herself. The warmth and glory went away to be replaced by a kind and supportive feeling, constantly there. She thought about moving, and before she could cast the spell of movement, she rose in the air and moved to the bathroom, obviously propelled by the tech. The door opened, and Beryl stepped in.
"Hello, Umbra-letum. How are you?"
"Better than I have been. I managed to merge with the tech."
"You what? Merged with the tech? How? Was your policy, much like Blaylock's, getting to you? Did you use control to—"
"Beryl! Calm down! I simply cast nothing, and it merged with me. I am the tech. It is me. It is all I ever hoped for, and all that I ever wanted. Blaylock would love this."
"I'm sure he would,"Beryl replied, looking enviously at Umbra-letum. She smiled warmly, then her smile fell as she decided to check her probes.
The man slept peacefully in the Medlab bed. His black hair and beard was stark against the brightly starched and bleached linens, and his injuries were not obvious. How he had survived Denn'sha with Neroon was anybody's guess. He shifted lightly, as if he was trying to get more comfortable, but he did not let a sound escape his bearded lips.
"Marcus, you fool,"Umbra letum whispered as she saw him lying on the bed. "Hopefully you did not kill Neroon. You're too damned noble to pull a stunt like cheating, but still if Neroon's dead, I will not be happy."She checked another probe, this one in the Ingata, Neroon's ship, and saw Neroon standing on the bridge, a contemplative expression in his fathomless eyes. Umbra-letum smiled slightly, letting a tear find its way down her cheek.
"Umbra-letum, are you alright?"
"I'll be fine. There's nothing wrong with me. You'll be glad to know that both Neroon and Marcus survived Denn'sha."
"How?! That makes no sense! Denn'sha is a fight to the death, not to when one or the other passes out!" Beryl cried. He was pacing the room, his Human guise having fallen and he was now as he had always been in Umbra-letum's eyes: an elderly Narn. The edges of his spots were graying, and his red eyes were beginning to be covered by a very thin film, obscuring his sight. Wrinkles covered his face, as if he had become too small for his skin. The sight made Umbra-letum recall when she had first seen the aged Narn, soon after she had met her younger brother.
Willow stood on the bridge of the ship, her eyes glaring at the brown-haired man.
"How can you be so cold?!" Willow demanded. Bester simply smirked at her. "Why do you need to have Lieutenant-Commander Ivanova with you? Commander Sinclair won't go for the Telepath excuse. She may be a telepath, but she isn't strong enough to make any fuss over. For Gaea's sake, she's not even a P1!"
"But she's a telepath," Bester replied.
"Al, please, for me? Don't let your greed for more telepaths in Psi Corps overcome your love of life, your love for Kathryn, or your love for me. I still love you, big brother, but you don't seem to see that. If you can't control your greed, then I'm going back to Earth, in the 21st century."
"Alright, Rhiannon. I won't go after her. Happy?"
"Yes. Well, more than I was." Willow smiled slightly, and hugged her brother. Being a Psi Cop herself, she knew that Susan wasn't supposed to be there, but she was having her own misgivings about the Psi Corps. They seemed very controlling, and not very helpful for telepaths outside of the Corps. After the Ironhart fiasco, she had begun to realize that they would do anything to increase the power of their telepaths and stabilize the mentality of their telekinetics. With her Wicca abilities, Willow would be all but forced to be raped by who-knows how many P12's, P11's, or even as low as P10's. it was sickening how corrupt the Corps was. As they said, the "Corps is mother, the Corps is father", but this was going too far. She was going to get out of the Corps, whether her brother liked it or not.
The Omega-class ship turned as Al headed back to Earth and the Corps. For her, he had abandoned the chase, but for how long?
Another ship approached, a relatively small triangular vessel that seemed to leak darkness into the air.
"Great, techno-mages," Al grumbled. He obviously wasn't too happy with the situation. The ship was floating dead in space, and Willow let a tendril of thought touch whatever was inside of it.
:Are you in need of help?: Willow asked.
:Who are you?: the mind thought back, not necessarily telepathically, but just a thought.
:Willow Rosenberg—er—Bester—er—Rhiannon Dexter, I suppose I could say.:
:The child of Fiona and Matthew Dexter? I thought that only Alfred Bester was the Dexter's child.:
:Al is my brother. As for you, are you a techno-mage?:
:I am, and I need help, desperately. Even from an Omega-class ship from the Psi Corps.: Willow demanded that Al turn the ship around and help the stranded techno-mage, and soon she had the aging Narn in some quarters while she used her Wicca to work on the ship. "I'm Beryl," the Narn said. "Once Ki'don, now a techno-mage."
"I'm Rhiannon, formerly named Willow. I'm a Wicca, which means I'm a witch."
"A witch, hmm? You could make a very good techno-mage, I'm sure."
"I'm sure I couldn't. I know that it is very strange work, and…"
"Rhiannon, I know that I desperately need an apprentice. My daughter, Na'leer, died two cycles ago, and you fit her spot perfectly. You need someplace else, I can tell, and I need an apprentice. Please, Rhiannon?"
"A-alright. I'll go, and if I decide to back out later, you won't come after me with a hatchet?"
"Of course I won't," Beryl chuckled. Willow smiled, and knew she was not going to regret her choice. This was a new life for her, away from the Corps, away from the crazy Vice-President of Earth, and everything else. She could be herself again, only Willow, and not Willow: P12 telepath, not Willow: the Wicca attached to the Scoobies of Sunnydale, California, not Willow: the grief-crazed Wicca intent on destroying the world. Just Willow, just herself. No one else. The thought was intoxicating.
Umbra-letum stopped daydreaming, and placed a hand on the conjured chair that held her. The ancient leather supported her and she softly stroked the velvet-covered arms. It was sheer extravagance, but it was a luxury she would have until she died. Having conjured the chair out of her Wicca magic and using a flying platform beneath it to make it float, she could make herself look rather imposing, especially if she decided to make her hair glow a sheer white, her eyes a magnificent ebony, and her skin a brilliant gold.
"You will have to tell them sooner or later, Umbra-letum,"Beryl said softly.
"I know. It's not easy to say that I've been in the future and not simply missing. It's also not that easy to say that I've been on other planets, and that I'm in love with a Minbari warrior who is to marry a woman who is not exactly kind or generous."
"Dharrema is going to be mated to Neroon, and that's that. You can't go and mate a Warrior who is already betrothed."
"I know. It's hard though."
"It always is. Do you think that I wasn't hurt when Na'leer was killed by the Centauri after deciding to put herself up to be killed by them?"
"No. I don't. That was hard on you, I'm sure."
"And then you came and became my new daughter. You will live, I know that."
"Yes. Everything will be alright."
"Besides, he hates Humans."
"And I'm not Human, well, not technically. He knows me as a friend."
"Of course he does. And he's right to do so. Look, Umbra-letum, I know how much you love him, but he's a Minbari, and you're Human. There couldn't be anything there."
"Valen was human, in fact he was Commander Sinclair."
"That's reincarnation, not marriage!" Beryl snapped. "Besides, how would you two mate? Minbari females menstruate much differently than Humans do, besides, he's not your species."
"True enough,"Umbra-letum sighed. She let her chair fall slowly to the ground and let her feelings of hopelessness out, weeping on her mentor's shoulder.
Days became weeks, weeks became months, and finally the months became a year. Umbra-letum became a Wicca, still using her tech when she needed to. Zathras became the mansion's bellboy, often doing menial repairs and shopping. The Slayers, Xander, Andrew, and Giles tried to help, but they couldn't. Beryl became older and older, his illusion making his hair fall out slowly, until he had a very thin horseshoe of translucent hair about his head. He did not often join in with everyone else, and became less than he was. One evening, Buffy, the Slayer who was working the North end of Rome, found a chipped and still very insane Drusilla, whom she promptly brought back. Again, the group had a chipped vampire living in their bathtub.
"Hey, Umbra-letum," Xander called. A ringing cry alerted Umbra-letum that Drusilla wanted some more blood.
"Yes, Xander?" Umbra-letum asked.
"Where were you when you were gone? And Zachary and Beryl, where did they come from? You guys keep avoiding our questions, so we can't know where you came from."
"Look, Xander, there's something I've got to tell you. There's a whole bunch of worlds outside of our own. Not dimensions, necessarily, but entire planets, whole civilizations."
"So we're not alone in the universe?"
"Absolutely not. One of my friends just so happens to be a Human who had been an alien before he was reincarnated."
"Oh, sort of like Valen/Sinclair."
"WHAT?! How do you know of Valen?! And of Jeff?! I thought that very few people knew that Valen had been reincarnated as Jeffery Sinclair, and now you're saying you knew it all along?! Do you know where G'Quon is now? What about the first Centauri emperor?!" Umbra-letum yelped.
"Oh my good macaroni and cheese! Babylon 5 is real?! It's really real?!"
"The space station? Of course it's real. It went operational about 5 years ago."
"Five years after the station became operational… so you must know of Marcus, and Talia was removed, and Lyta is in her place. Sheridan is Captain, and Susan is now the Commander instead of the Lieutenant-Commander."
"In Valen's Name…How did you learn of the station?"
"Did you just say 'In Valen's Name' in a Minbari language?"
"Lenn'ah. But that's not the point—"
"You know the language of the Minbari warrior caste?!"
"Of course I do! And the religious and worker castes! Minbar is my place of power!"
"Oh good grilled cheese… you're a techno-mage!"
Celebwen Telcontar: This is the end of the first chapter of the BtVS/B5 crossover.
Balrog: And what will Willow/Umbra-letum say when she hears that Xander knows what a techno-mage is?
Celebwen Telcontar: She will react the way she will react. Wait for the next installment before clamoring about cliffhangers! And please review!