Planning for the Future When the Future Is Now
It's been a couple of hours since we got to the rest stop but unlike most of the others I've been unable to go to sleep. It's not just that the bus is terribly uncomfortable --I've slept in worse places than this-- it's that there are too many things swarming through my mind, foremost is the fact that we need some sort of plan. We survived, we defeated the First but Sunnydale is gone and we have nothing but the clothes on our backs and maybe a couple of credit cards to keep gas in the tank. That thought reminds me of Anya and of the fact that we lost more than things, a lot more. We need to regroup, count our losses and decide where do we go from here.
I know Buffy's first reaction will probably be to head for L.A. That would seem the natural thing to do but I don't think it would be such a good idea... at least not for the core Scoobies. Perhaps once things settle down a little we could send some --if not most-- of the new Slayers there. I am the first one to admit that Angel can at least offer them some sort of structure and a place to stay, which is more than we have now, but I cannot go with them and I don't think it's safe to send Buffy or Willow there either.
The truth is that while in the past there was an army of Watchers to look after one --or exceptionally two-- Slayers and a number of Potentials, this battle has reversed that proportion. There's now a whole army of Slayers but only Wesley and I survive from the original Council... and I suspect a considerable number of our former colleagues are now turning in their graves at the thought. The thing is that with the Watchers all but wiped out and virtually all our records destroyed, all that remains of that once vast body of knowledge is what we've learned, what we remember, and that means that Wesley and I cannot afford to be in close proximity to each other for prolonged periods of time. It would be too dangerous. Another thing is that while the Slayer line is now safer than it's ever been, Buffy's reasoning when she told Angel to leave Sunnydale in case a second front became necessary still holds true.The destruction of the Council was a painful reminder of just how vulnerable a centralized operation will always be. That is one mistake I don't intend to repeat.
So what do I know? I know that L.A. is not an option because the fight against darkness cannot be a centralized operation. I know there is a Hellmouth in Cleveland which may become more active now that the one in Sunnydale has been permanently sealed. I know that the balance of power that existed for millennia before the battle against the First has been shattered and a totally different strategy will become necessary. I know that we need to find a place from which we can try to reclaim our lives.
The need for a different structure in the fight against evil and the Cleveland Hellmouth can probably be dealt with together. We have a distinct lack of Watchers but we have a surplus of Slayers who can be organized into teams of two or three... at least when it comes to the most experienced new Slayers. The others could be sent to L.A. to complete their training and assigning Faith and a couple of new Slayers to the Cleveland Hellmouth should be reasonably simple. By establishing a system of teams of Slayers we would hopefully be creating a structure that would allow them to watch themselves --something that's going to be necessary for at least a generation-- while at the same time it would almost certainly increase their chances of survival.
As to the idea of giving Faith a Hellmouth of her own, well, she has shown that she's ready and I really think she can handle it --and it's time for her to step away from Buffy's shadow-- but before doing that we need to establish some sort of network so that we can stay in touch and operate as a cohesive unit. I'll have to rely on Willow and Dawn to take care of that but I remind myself that establishing such a network may take a while... until we have settled somewhere. The computers were destroyed along with everything else and even I know that we can't set up a network without them so that's one of the first things we'll have to replace. Which brings me back to the issue of where do we go from here. We just can't keep on driving around aimlessly forever.
I'm aware that we can't go to L.A. and I know England would not be practical, especially considering that all of our identity documents were in Sunnydale which means that international travel is out of the question for the time being. So far I have managed to rule out the two most logical choices and then I remember our other option: Cascade. Even after more than two years it still doesn't feel like a natural possibility in my mind but Blair is there and I think we are going to need his help, and Jim's. They can provide us with a different perspective and Jim's military background would probably be an asset as we rebuild the Council... plus Cascade is in Washington. Even though the idea of being close to my son is what made me consider it as an option in the first place --what provided me with a basic starting point-- the fact is that the more I think about it the more sense Cascade seems to make.
It looks like we'll be heading north...