The Twisted Skein

2009 -- Broken Storm

The woman known as Selene Morgana Lilith Perdita X Windflower (or "Selene" to her friends, when she had them) looked around with a frown which quickly became an angry expression. "All right," she snapped, "I don't know who you are, but this isn't funny. Take me back, or I'll come after you and burn you to a crisp."

The grey room she had awoken in remained silent. With a sigh, the DOGA Agent strode over to the only door and tugged on the handle. Locked. She scowled at it, and her eyes began to glow red.

"You can't break it, I'm afraid," a woman's voice said behind her. Selene whirled round, eyes still burning. The suddenly-appearing newcomer was tall, dark-haired, with a Chinese cast to her skin and, apparently, a liking for black clothes. In short, she looked almost identical to Selene herself. Far too identical, in fact.

"Great," the vampire muttered. "Doppelgangers." Without any further thought, she lifted a hand and unleashed a brilliant bolt of lightning from somewhere near the ceiling. It struck the other woman, or at least presumably it did, because she was enveloped in a cloud of...

... bats?

The bats flew screeching to the other side of the room, where they flooded together. Before Selene's eyes, the other woman reformed, shaking a bit of dust off her sleeve. She looked up at Selene. "That wasn't nice."

"... who are you?" the Pyro asked warily. The other woman smiled and adjusted the scarf around her neck.

"Selene Windflower," she said.

"Yes, that's me."

"It's me, too. No," she said, holding up a hand as Selene's eyes flared up, "don't bother. I'm faster than you are. Let's talk."

"Talk about what?" Selene inquired. From what she'd seen, the other woman was right about her speed, so the PPCer decided to go along with it for a while.

"About you," a third voice said, and Selene turned to see another woman very similar to herself. She sighed.

"You've got it wrong, you know," she announced. "I can't turn into one bat, let alone hundreds."

"You can't," the first newcomer said. "I can."

"Bats are so old-fashioned," the latest arrival said with a sniff. "And you call yourself a vampyr."

"No," the first said snippily, "I call myself a vampire, unlike you magpie-obsessed freaks."

"Freak yourself!" the other screeched. "You keep on calling yourself that ridiculous name -- I suppose you think it sounds spooky, do you?"

"It's better than Sandra," the first sneered, and looked at Selene. "Can you believe she gave up our name for something that sounds like, sounds like, I don't even know what!"

Selene glanced between the two of them, and then folded her arms. "Explain," she said firmly. "Now."

"Well, 'Selene' wasn't very-"

Selene gritted her teeth. "I meant, explain what is going on here," she ground out.

"Oh, it's simple," a fourth voice said, as another Selene look-alike stepped into her view. "You've gone mad. We're alternate versions of you."

"Speak for yourself," the one called Sandra muttered.

"Quiet. We're all vampires, of course, but not all the same type."

"You don't look like a-- oh." The newest arrival's face had suddenly shifted, showing enhanced ridges and distinctly pointed teeth. Just as suddenly, it reverted to normal, and she adjusted her glasses. "I see. Buffyverse. And I suppose you're called Selene too, just to rub it in."

The newcomer shrugged. "I go by Fung Ying, mostly," she said, "but that's not important. What's important is that now you're here, you need to open the door."

Selene blinked. "But the door doesn't open," she pointed out, and gestured at the first of the other vampires. "She said so."

Fung Ying shrugged. "If you can't, you stay here forever," she said bluntly. "I'd recommend trying."

"Ooh, yes!" a fifth voice spoke up. The four turned to look at yet another Selene clone, this one with a far bigger smile on her face and a generally perkier look about her. "You don't want to be trapped in here!"

"..." Selene looked at the others. "That isn't me."

"She calls herself Sellie," Sandra whispered. "That's going a bit too far, in my opinion."

Selene kept staring, horrified. "You're... you are a vampire?"

"Uh-huh," Sellie said with an eager nod. "I can do really cool stuff, too!"

"... like what?"

Fung Ying groaned. "Oh, you had to ask."

"Like this!" Sellie replied. Lifting one arm she snapped her fingers, and a ball of fire enveloped her hand. Fung Ying and Sandra flinched back, and even Selene, Pyro though she was, felt unnerved. Vampires and fire didn't go together too well - almost as badly as vampires and stakes.

"All right, put it out," the other Selene said patiently. "You don't need to show off." As the flames flickered out, she looked apologetically at the PPC agent. "Apparently she was an arsonist before she was changed," she said, by way of explanation.

"... so?" Selene shook her head. "What 'verse is she from?" The other four looked back at her blankly, and she grimaced. "I guess you're not with the PPC. Well... is there anything else she can do?"

"Oh, no," Fung Ying said in an undertone. "Anything but this."

The second Selene looked at her pityingly. "Sorry, Fung Ying," she said, "but she wants to know... Sandra, could you open the skylight, please?"

Sandra blinked. "Me?" she squeaked. "But I'm... I'll... no, right, positive thinking. Sunlight cannot hurt me. Sunlight cannot hurt me. That which does not kill me makes me strong. Sunlight is my friend." Continuing this litany, she crossed to a handle on the wall (how had Selene not seen it before?) and turned it. Up on the distant ceiling, a section of the grey rolled back, letting a beam of bright sunlight fall on the floor in the middle of the room. Fung Ying crouched as far back in one corner as she could, her arm thrown across her face. Sandra cowered slightly, but seemed okay. Both Selenes looked on with folded arms, but vastly different expressions. Sellie... sparkled.

"No," Selene Morgana Lilith Perdita X Windflower said in a hollow voice. "No. She's not a vampire."

"I'm afraid she is," the other Selene said. "It just happens in sunlight, apparently."

"She. Is. Not. A. Vampire."

"But I am!" Sellie said, and scampered over to Selene's side. "Maybe you'll sparkle too!" she exclaimed, grabbing the DOGA agent's hand. "Come on, come and see!"

Selene's eyes blazed with red fire. "Not! A! Vampire!" Raising both hands, she screamed an inarticulate scream of rage, and unleashed the storm.


Agent Hazelhead shook his head slowly. "I don't know, sir," he said. "I've been assigned to watch Agent Windflower for the last two and a half years, ever since the Black Cat invasion, and this was just... out of the blue."

I understand, the Bonsai Mallorn said sadly. Can you give me any idea as to when she will be ready to return to duty?

Hazelhead stared at the little Tree. "Er, sir, I don't think you fully understand the situation," he said. "Agent Windflower is completely insane. This isn't a flamethrower incident, this is the real thing. Doctor Freedenberg has looked her over himself, and there is nothing anyone can do. She's gone. Snapped. Not coming back."

The Mallorn sighed a vegetable sigh. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I lost her, too, it said. Thank you, Agent Hazelhead. It paused a moment. Before you go, can you tell me... how much damage did she do?

Hazelhead grimaced. "One Agent dead, six injured, and about a dozen canons needing the attentions of Medical. Apparently she had it in for them - they were all vampires, from various continua. The dead Agent was a new recruit, from, mm, Twilight, I think." He frowned. "Given that, I don't know that we'll ever make sense of what she was shouting as she went."

And what was that? the Bonsai Mallorn inquired quietly.

"'Not a vampire.'"

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