Chapter 17
A Family Thing

The year, 4504, Dawn and Spike have lived long enough to begin to see dramatic changes in the Human race. People have become so tall and thin that Spike and Dawn truly have to be careful. They now stand out, even when in a crowd. With disease and war and almost all of the things that tended to cause an early death now well in the past, except for accidents, people generally lived well over a hundred years. Although great strides had been made regarding aging, the great human demise continues to be the inevitable outcome.

Perhaps one of the greatest contributions to the field of medicine was the evolution of nanotechnology. These man-made microscopic “machines” all but ended the “cancer” threat as well as the threat of a broad number of physical anomalies.

Use of nanotechnology also found it’s way into other aspects of society. When babies are born into the world in this far future, personal identification is simplified by the insertion of a microscopic nanochip in an otherwise little used area in that mass of nerve tissue in the cranium, called the brain. So when anyone goes to buy anything anywhere, the unique signal given by this implant automatically charges the amount to the “account” for that person. Money, credit cards, etc. are ancient artefacts as there is no need.

Ironically, the chip inserted in Spike’s brain, centuries before, has become an asset to Dawn and Spike. Spike was pleased to learn that his “chip” gives off a like signal and when he goes in to “buy” anything the amount is automatically charged to his “account.” No one has figured out yet that his “account” doesn’t exist, because they don’t ever check these things…..there is no need. So, in this far future society, Dawn and Spike have found that they can easily obtain just about anything, within reason, no questions asked.

Another thing that exists is this far future are “replicators.” These were first used on space vessels travelling to other galaxies. The “star-drive,” allowing man to travel enormous distances was finally “invented” sometime in the late 3400′s. Followed by many other break-throughs, including the replicator. Although these devices were first discussed in the late 21st century, particularly in popular science fiction of the time, it wasn’t until 3508 that such a device actually became a reality. Now, they are used throughout the planet as well as space. Unfortunately, these also brought about what will be known for eons as the “Farmer Riots.” But, we won’t get into that right now.

It was at this time that a thought occurred to Dawn. She discussed this with Spike and after much consideration, he could see her logic. Dawn had decided to travel back in time to accomplish a dangerous, yet possible task. When it was time, and all was ready, Spike gave Dawn that raised eyebrow look,

“I don’t know what else there is to do. I guess we better get started.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Spike giving Dawn that side glance.”

“Yes, but hold me first”

Spike gave Dawn a long tender hug and a gentle kiss. “Let’s get to it then.”

They had obtained the use of a laboratory with a rather large replicator. At this point, Dawn now held three doctorates and a medical degree and was well known for some of her own theories. Some believed that it was Dr. Summers who actually invented the replicator itself. They were not far off.

Dawn and Spike travelled back in time to the point where her mother had just died due to the embolism caused by the removal of the tumour. She brought her mother’s body forward, replicated it and returned the body. Then they went back about an hour before, substituted the replicated body and brought her mother into the future lab and were able to successfully treat the tumour. To do this they had first had to cause Joyce to be unconscious. When she woke up, she found herself in a strange place with Dawn standing over her and Spike looking on from a distance.

“What, Dawny, what is going on, where am I honey?”

“Mom,” Dawn couldn’t help herself, she hugged her mother and wept, she then tightly and took her mother’s hand.

“Mom, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you are in the year 4504.”

Joyce’s eyes became big and round. “But how, why?”

“Mom, you died in your time, because of the tumour. Because I am The Key, I have not aged, neither has Spike.”

Spike stepped forward, came around the table where Joyce laid and took her other hand. “I am glad to see you again Joyce,” his voice cracking and with tears in his eyes.

Joyce looked at Dawn, and then at Spike and guessed. “You two are together now?”

“Yes we are, and I love Spike and he loves me. We, we have been together for over 2,000 years now.”

Joyce looked at them, “It is incredible. Neither one of you look any older.”

“What about, what about, Bu…”

“Hi mom!”

Out stepped Buffy, and Willow, and Tara, and Xander, and Anya, and Giles.

The scene that followed truly cannot be described.

The plan Dawn had discussed with Spike, was to go back and retrieve all of the Scooby gang, if they wanted to. They were each given a choice, except for Joyce. The entire “project” had taken several months due to the many trips back and forth to determine exact times of death and then to decide when to replicate, etc. The one thing that replication did allow, a discovery by Dawn, was that during the replication process, age could be reversed. In effect, Dawn had discovered a way for immortality to exist. She realized the implications of this discovery and had kept it a secret that only she and Spike were aware. She was fearful of what the implications would be for mankind if it were ever to get out.

All that she knew, is that she now had her “family” back.