`So, anyway. P4X762 looks like a Goa`uld stronghold. Or rather, it was. The MALP brought back images of abandoned cities, what looks to be a half-built goa`uld mother ship. And then there`s this.` Daniel clicked his remote control, and another picture appeared before them.
`That`s.a woman.` Sam announced, frowning at the picture in front of them. It was a stone carving, one that looked to be many centuries old. `What`s that she`s kicking?`
`I believe it to be a demon.`
`Aw, c`mon Danny!` Jack objected. `You want us to believe in demon`s now?`
`Well. I don`t mean a demon as such. But rather an ancient inhabitant of earth. Well before we, as humans, colonised the planet.` Daniel sounded exited. `Two weeks ago I came across this volume of history, called the Omega Codex. It was amazing. The whole history of our world as we know changes, if you take what this Codex says as true. I`ve been studying what it has to say about our history, and it`s very much an eye-opener.`
`Ahh..Daniel? What has this to do with P4this planet?` Jack waved his hand at the brief in front of him.
`Sorry, got a little distracted.`
`We`d noticed.` Jack assured him dryly.
`This female that is battling the demon in this carving has a name.`
`They know who she was?` Hammond sounded disbelieving.
`Not exactly, Sir, no.` Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose. `It seems that there were a lot of these women, throughout the planet`s history. From what I`ve been able to translate, she and the others like her, were all called Slayer.`
`Descriptive.` Jack observed.
`There`s a detailed inscription below this carving, and it tells the story of these women. I`m paraphrasing here, but it looks like they led a concerted effort to rid their world of the goa`uld threat. Succeeded as well, by the look of it.`
`I have heard of this Slayer.` Teal`c announced, studying the photo.
`Indeed, Daniel Jackson. It is ahorror story told to all Jaffa.`
`You guys seem to have a lot of those.`
`We do indeed, O`Neill. Many. It is told that any Jaffa child found misbehaving in any manner will be sent to this planet, for the Slayer to deal with. Many who have been sent in past times have never returned. It is a valuable key in keeping our kind in line.`
`Can`t imagine why.` Jack muttered behind his hand, pretended to scratch his cheek. Sam smiled in reply.
`What has this. Slayer got to do with us, Doctor Jackson?` Hammond got the briefing back on line.
`Well, I was curious about this Slayer woman. Or women, rather. I`d never heard of her, but I wanted to see if anyone else had. If it was something that had evolved on P4X762, or had come from earth when they were taken there. I put out an e-mail to some contacts, here and in England, just to see what would happen.` He held up his hand, forestalling Hammond`s objections. `It was discreet. Just the question `anyone heard of a Slayer?`. I figured, if anyone had, they`d respond to the e-mail.`
`And did anyone?` Sam was intrigued. Daniel grinned.
`That`s what`s got me so stunned. I was expecting to wait weeks, months even, before I got a reply, if at all. But within two days, I`d had two replies. One from an institute in England. And another from a young woman in California. Here`s the copies of the e-mails.` He handed them out, sitting down beside Teal`c to allow them to read the e-mails.
We are aware of the word Slayer, and would like to take the opportunity to deny any such woman exists. This is a myth propagated by unstable minds that needs to be handled with the utmost care. The existence of vampires or any other such creature of the night is purely fictional, brought about by over-imaginative minds and the desire for the strange and out-of-this-world. Please, refrain from investigating further in this direction, as it will only reflect upon your scientific reputation.
The WC Institute, London.
Dear Dr Jackson.
I have indeed heard of a slayer. My best friend is one. She told me I wasn`t to reply to your e-mail, To just delete it and forget, but it was so weird. I mean, DR JACKSON, linguist and all round genius, e-mailing meWell, not me, but it got here eventually.about my best friend. A brief history on the Slayer she`s only one born in every generation. Okay, so there`s two right now, but that`s an aberration. Normally, just one. Buffy (that`s my best friend, the first Slayer in this generation) just doesn`t know when to give up. Look, I have to get to Psych 101 now, but e-mail me back. This is just too weird! I gotta tell the Scooby Gang! (Oh, just so you don`t think I`m completely insane, that`s my friends, Buffy`s helpers).
`Friendly girl.` Jack put down his copies and sat back, his hands behind his head. `Although a little imaginative.`
`C`mon Jack. Give it some thought.`
`Oh, I haven`t dismissed it completely from thought. I was referring to her calling you a genius. Long way from the truth.`
`What did you put in the out-going e-mail?` Hammond asked, studying the copies once more.
`Here.` He handed Hammond a copy of his original e-mail.
Just a quick query to knowing minds. Received a book that mentions the word Slayer as if it`s a person. Any one heard of a Slayer? Can you forward this on, as I`ve lost contact with quite a few people?
`That`s all I sent.`
`That was all, Jack.` Jack picked up the copy from the London Institute.
`Any one notice their initials?`
`I wasn`t going to say anything.` Sam said quietly, suppressing a grin.
`I do not understand, O`Neilll.`
`In all house plans, or even any blue print of a building, the initials WC stand for toilets. Sorry, abstract thought. Anyway, what I was going to say is that it`s a rather over the top reply to such a simple query. You didn`t even mention vampires.What the hell has vampires got to do with this Slayer girl?`
`More importantly, is this going anywhere, Dr Jackson.` Hammond queried.
`I think so.` Sam sat forward. `Sir, if this Slayer was able, almost single handedly, to defeat the goa`uld on P4X762, why can`t she help here?`
`Exactly, Sam. Or at least, we can find out more about her. Obviously there is some major history that we`ve not been aware of. I`d like to talk to them, her. Maybe get her cooperation, or at least her input into how me may defeat Apophis and his friends.`
`One girl?` Jack scoffed.
`One girl who managed to defeat the entire goa`uld population on P4X762. She just may have some answers we`ve never thought of. Besides, from what I`ve read, this is her destiny, if you will. It was what she was born to do. If nothing else, we can talk to her.` Daniel had turned from pleading with Jack to pleading with Hammond, his big blue eyes earnest in his face. Hammond hesitated, then nodded.
`All, Dr Jackson. You may contact this.Buffy. But I want the Stargate kept out of it. For now! Until we have time to check her and her friends out, I don`t want any mention of the SGC, is that understood?`
`Yes, sir.` Daniel said, a trifle reluctantly.
`So, who`s this tutor you managed to get for me, Will?` Buffy asked, opening the door to her dorm.
`Oh, he`s a professor. His name`s Daniel Jackson. He`s brilliant. He did this thesis on aliens existing and influencing our civilisations. It was so.Oh, he brought friends.` Willow stopped short, seeing the four people scattered around her dorm room. One of them stood up, his glasses pushed snugly against his nose.
`Willow Rosenburg?` He asked, coming forward. `I`m Daniel Jackson. These are my.friends. Jack, Sam and Teal`c.` He pointed them out one by one, the older man, standing with his arms crossed, leaning against the window, the women with blonde hair and a lovely, bright smile. Then there was the last man.he was big. Really big. Bigger than Angel and Adam combined. Willow smiled at him, enchanted. He nodded back, his face impassive.
`Will, what is this?` Buffy demanded.
`Oh! Sorry. Um, Dr Jackson, this is my FRIEND, Buffy.` They all heard the emphasis on friend. Buffy stepped into the room, then froze, her spider sense tingling madly. Without thought, she thrust Willow behind her, grabbed a stake from the table next to the door and scanned the people in her room intently. The woman looked surprised, as did the young man. The older one by the window merely lifted his brows. The black manhe was the danger.
`Who the hell are you?` She grated. Then looked closely at him. `Or should I ask, what are you?` She jumped forward and grabbed him by the throat, the stake pressed against his chest. He struggled, his hands around her wrists. He was strong, but she was stronger.
`Teal`c? Break out of it.`
`Icannot, O`Neill.` The black guy said formally. The older man sighed and came forward, intent on releasing his friend. Buffy turned her head and snarled.
`Back off, old man.` Jack continued forward, not taking her threat seriously. She dropped him with a swift back kick to the solar plexus, then turned back to the black man.
`Buffy!` Willow finally reacted. `Let him go. He`s a friend.` Buffy hesitated, then backed down. The woman had helped the older man to his knees. He was fighting for breath. So was Teal`c.
`Willow, what the hell is going on in here?`
`Buffy, sit down. Everyone, just sit down and calm down. God, I so don`t need this today!` The six of them sat, albeit reluctantly. `Now. This is Dr Daniel Jackson. Linguist and historian. I don`t know who his friends are, but they`re not vampires or demons. They wouldn`t be in here if they were. Remember? They have a no-welcome sign outside. Dr Jackson, this is Buffy. She`s a little gun-ho every now and then, but she`s normally really nice.` Willow sat down with a huff.
`Why are they here?`
`Daniel?` Jack wheezed out, waving a hand. That girl kicked hard.
`About three weeks ago, we came across some.carvings that depicted a woman and demon fighting. I translated the script below, and the word Slayer was mentioned. I put out a query and your friend answered it.`
`Dammit, Willow! I told you to ignore them!`
`But this wasn`t some crack-pot no-hoper. This was Dr Jackson. That`s different.`
`No it`s notNever mind.` Buffy sighed. `Surely hundred of other people responded. Why didn`t you talk to them.`
`Actually, I only had one other response. From some institute in England. Initials were WC.`
`Watchers Council. God! They never leave anything alone, do they?`
`How did you sense there was something different about Teal`c?` The blonde woman, Sam, asked.
`What, aside from his enormous build and pretty little tattoo on his head?` Sam nodded. `My spider sense was tingling.`
`I do not understand.` Teal`c told the room.
`Pop-culture reference. It refers to Spider man knowing about danger when his body started tingling. Really?` Jack looked at Buffy, eyebrow`s raised. She nodded back, silently.
`So, what`s so different about your friend here?` They hesitated, looking at each other. `What, is it a state secret or something?` They looked guilty. `Oh! Well, I`ve been privy to the Initiative. I`m sure I can handle whatever you`re into. Trust me, I`ve got a pretty big imagination.`
`We haven`t been given.` Jack started, but Teal`c ended the stand off by opening his shirt and showing off Junior. `Dammit, Teal`c. You`re supposed to warn people when you do that.`
`Eeuw!` Buffy recoiled as thething emerged from the cross like split in the black man`s stomach. `Can I kill it?`
`NO!` The four of them yelled. `If you kill it, Teal`c will die as well.` Daniel continued. There was a bussing from someone`s pocket. Four of the six went diving for their own mobile`s. It turned out to be Jacks.
`Yes, sir?.YesRight here, sirright away, sir.` He hung up, then looked at Willow and Buffy. `How to explain this quickly? We have a doorway that lets us go to other planets and visit other people. There`s this race of mature thems.` He pointed at Teal`c`s stomach. `That want to kill the Tau`ri. That`s us. Earthlings. They`re on their way here right now, big ships, little ships, lots of weapons. Kill, maim, destroy. We need you to help. Got any friends?` Buffy looked at them, their serious faces telling their own story. They weren`t lying. She made a fast decision.
`Willow, get on to Giles, get him over here.` She turned back to the four military people in front of her. `There`s my group. And another, in LA. Look for Angel Investigations. Tell him that I need all of his group. There`s also a girl in jail for murder one. She`s a slayer. Name of Faith. Get her.` They hesitated. `You said you needed my help? Well, they`re my help. Without them, I don`t function half as well. Trust me, they`re trustworthy. Oh, and the guy, Angel? He`s a vampire. Can`t walk in the sun. Remember that, will you?`
`A vampire?` Daniel repeated.
`Yes. There`s` A knock on the door prevented her from explaining further. Willow opened it to see a flustered Giles, arms piled high with books.
`Buffy! Where have you been? I`ve been trying to contact you for hours. There`s something coming. Something bad. We need to prepare.`
`Hold on, Giles. We already know.`
`Oh..` He finally looked around, noticing how full the room was. `Hello. Buffy, who are these people?`
`My name is Colonel Jack O`Neill. This is my team, Major Samantha Carter, Dr Daniel Jackson and Teal`c. We here to.talk to Buffy about her..results in her latest round of testing. Yes, that`s what we`re here for.`
`Ahh. I`m a..lecturer of hers.` Buffy was smiling, trying not to laugh. Their lies were obvious, both trying to hide their own secrets.
`Guys, before you delve even further into the black web of deceit, they`re both safe. You don`t have to lie. Badly.`
`I don`t lie badly.` Jack objected.
`Please! My sister can lie better than you just did.` She waved her hand, dismissing it. `Never mind. People, this is my Watcher, Rupert Giles. Whatever you tell me, you tell him.`
`Your Watcher. As in Watcher Council? The Institute that denied your and vampire existence in an e-mail to us?` Daniel clarified.
`Uhuh. But he`s a good Watcher. He doesn`t go by the rule book. So, what do you need us for, exactly?`
`Ahh. Can we explain on the way? Time`s running out.`
`So long as we pick up Xander, not a problem.`
`Then we do that. Carter, get on the horn, get Simmons to pick up this.Angel Investigations lot and thisFaith in LA. Teal`c, Daniel, help her pack up. Ten minutes, people.` There was abrupt movement, and Buffy watched in amazement.
`Now, why doesn`t that happen when I issue instructions?` She complained in an aside to Willow.
`Cause we`re not in the military, Buffy. We`re democratic.`
`Can we change?`
`Girls. I think the Colonel wants you to pack up your things.` Giles reminded them.
`Okay, okay. We`re doing it.`
`Who the hell are you?` Gunn grunted, staring at the uniforms in the hotel foyer.
`My name is Colonel Makepeace. This is Captain Fraser. We`re with the USAF.`
`Kind of figured that out, what with the blue uniforms emblazoned with USAF.` Cordelia pointed out.
`So what do you want with Angel Investigations. You lost Area 51 again?` Cordelia grinned at Gunn, then looked back at the stiff Col-on-el Makepeace.
`We`re here to take you and your team members with us to Colorado.`
`I beg your pardon? Since when do we answer to the Defense forces? I would have remembered joining up, wouldn`t you?` Gunn looked at Cordelia
`I`m sure of it. All those trim, fit men in uniform. Undoubtedly remember that. And I don`t.`
`We have a national emergency that requires the assistance of yourself and your employees, Angel.`
`Oh! I get it. You think I`m Angel. Hate to tell you this, Colonel Makepeace. My name`s Cordelia. Angel`s asleep at the moment. He should be up soon, though. Wesley`s just gone to get him.` Clumping coming from the stairway indicated the return of Wesley and Angel.
`Morning, Boss!` Cordelia said brightly. Angel nodded absently, heading for the coffee machine. It was a ritual. There was no benefit out of drinking the caffeine drink, but it made him feel more human. He sipped the coffee, turning to take in the two uniformed humans standing with Gunn and Cordelia.
`Can I help you?` He asked politely.
`We require your presence in Colorado.` Makepeace announced firmly.
`I beg your pardon?`
`See, told you! He`s not going to jump, either.` Cordelia was gloating.
`We have a national emergency that requires your presence.` The woman held up her hand, stopping the Colonel.
`You`re not getting anywhere, Sir. Angel?` She asked, identifying the tall dark man. He nodded. `I was faxed this letter over, and told to give it to you if there was a problem.` She held out the fax, which he took hold of and read quickly.
`Gear up, guys. We`ve got work to do.` He put down his coffee and strode over to the weapons cabinet. Gunn followed, and Cordelia stood back, eyes wide.
`Why are we going with this lot?` She jerked her head towards the two USAF officers.
`Read this.` He handed the letter to Cordelia and started pulling out weapons.
Saddle up. There`s another world threat. These guys need our help. See you in Colorado.
`That`s it. You`re just going to drop everything and do what she says? I thought you`d gotten over that compulsion.`
`Cordelia!` Angel snapped. `You can stay behind, but I`m going. We don`t just take on the easy jobs, you know.`
`Fine. Can I pack some clothes?`
`You have ten minutes before we have to leave.` The female officer told them.
`So it`s going to be a quick pack.` She dashed up the stairway. The doorway to the hotel opened at the same time.
`Colonel, Sir!` The man barked, getting Makepeaces` attention.
`We have the prisoner. She`s in the van.`
`Prisoner?` Angel asked, coming forward. `What is this all about?`
`We will explain shortly. The prisoner is a girl named`
`Faith! You`ve got Faith!` Angel peered through the daylight, seeing the tell-tale black curls of hair. `Why do you have Faith?`
`She`s on consignment to us. Buffy Summers recommended her to us.`
`She did?` He sounded surprised. He was still for a moment, thinking. `It had better be a good reason.`
`As I said, we will tell you everything when we are in transit.`
`Fine. Gunn! Wesley! Pack a few clothes. We`ve got somewhere to be.` He ran up the stairs, followed by the Brit and black man.
`These people are very disorganised.` Makepeace observed. `I just hope that Dr Jackson knows what he`s doing. We`re wasting time gathering these bumbling idiots, when we could be preparing for Hathor`s advance fleet.`
`You have to trust Daniel. Besides, have a look at those weapon`s he`s put out. They`re not fancy living room display weapons. They`re things that have been used regularly and violently. And there`s a lot of them.` Makepeace grunted, unconvinced.
`Cheyenne Mountain.` Wesley read, pulling aside the blackout curtains in the back of the helicopter, as it touched down on the road in front of the complex. `Lookssecure.` He noted, looking at the pacing guards and their loaded weapons.
`For a reason.` Dr Frasier replied, reaching forward to open the helicopter door.
`Ahhh. I can`t go anywhere right now.` Angel told them, looking at the sunshine bathed roadway.
`We`ve taken that into account. In about two minutes, the sun will set behind the mountain, and you`ll be safe to cross.` They heard, as Janet Frasier finished speaking, a whop whop behind them and turned to see another helicopter land a few hundred yards away. The doors opened immediately, and out jumped a petite blonde, followed by two tall men and a small red head.
`Buffy.` Angel said involuntarily. Cordelia groaned.
`So that`s the infamous Buffy, huh?` Gunn watched as she came closer. `Man, she`s tiny!` The blonde had spotted the people inside the helicopter and was heading in their direction.
`That`s the Slayer?` Makepeace muttered. Angel darted a look at him.
`You`ve heard of the Slayer?` He demanded.
`Dr Jackson translated a tablet on a planet they`d visited that mentioned the Slayer. Or rather, several Slayers. Somehow I thought she`d be bigger. You know, more Xena like.`
`Take it from me, she`s all muscle. And she packs a pretty hard punch.` A man from just outside said, and Angel looked to see a man with grey hair and a twisted smiled standing on the road. `Doc, what`s the hold up?`
`The sun is still up, Colonel. Angel cannot cross daylight.` It looked like the man was going to say something to that, but he was pushed aside by Buffy, who grinned up at them.
`Hello Angel. You haven`t changed a bit.` Angel grinned back. It was a delight to see her, and see her so happy. She`d obviously gotten over her mother`s death and Riley`s departure.
`You okay, Buffy?` Faith asked, sitting forward.
`Faith.` The smiled dropped off her face as she regarded the other Slayer. `They got you out. Good. We need your help.` She looked behind her, at the now darkened roadway. `Right, we can go in now, can`t we?`
`Why am I even here?` The Colonel complained, throwing his hands up in the air.
`Sir!` The blonde woman objected. By this time, both helicopters had emptied out.
`I think we need introductions.` The man with glasses announced. `I`ll start. This is Jack, Sam, Teal`c. I`m Daniel. That`s Janet and David. We`re obviously all USAF.`
`Or not.` Jack pointed out, looking sardonically at Teal`c.
`Fine. I`m Buffy. This is Xander, Willow, Giles, Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Faith and ah..`
`Gunn.` The USAF contingent braced, looking for danger. `No, my name is Charles Gunn. Two `n`s.` They relaxed their stance. Jack checked his watch for the second time.
`We need to be underground now. Thor`s on his way.`
`Thor.` Buffy and Angel repeated in chorus. `As in Viking God of war?` Angel continued.
`As in Asguard fleet commander.`
`Asguard.` Giles made the word a question.
`Alien species.` Jack sighed in frustration. `Let`s go, kids.` He marched off, in the direction of the mountain opening.
`Angel?` Buffy noticed he`d stopped at the doorway to the elevator. They`d already come down one elevator ride, and were entering into another. He looked at her, his eyes hard.
`I can`t enter here. It`s a dwelling.`
`Does someone want to help our claustrophobic person into the elevator?` Jack demanded, holding the elevator open with his hand.
`He can`t cross until he`s invited in.` Cordelia piped up from the back.
`He`s a vampire, Jack.` Daniel reminded him. `The stories must be true. We live here, and he can`t enter without invitation.`
`Really?` Sam stepped forward, looking at the standing vampire. `I wonder how that happens. I mean, what forces are involved with denying a living creature access to a place.`
`Wonder later, Carter. What do we have to do to allow him in?`
`Just bloody well invite me into the damned elevator!` Angel yelled, annoyed.
`Oh. I invite you in.` Daniel obeyed.
`Thank you!` Angel stepped inside, thoroughly embarrassed. He hated having his condition thrust into the open like that. The doors closed and they descended further.
`So how far under the surface are we right now?` Willow was watching the numbers light up and extinguish as they passed by.
`Level 29 is about 2 kilometres below surface. We try not to think about it, though.`
`Can`t imagine why.` Wesley muttered, looking up longingly at the elevator roof.
The doors opened and they emerged into a concrete world, full of passages, tubing and overhead vents.
`Pretty.` Buffy announced, looking around.
`It`s an old Missile Testing facility. Which is why it looks so old and run down. This way.` Sam lead them off into one of the passages. Angel briefly hoped she knew her way round, because one passage looked remarkably like another to him. She led them up a flight of stairs, and into a conference room, overlooking some sort of ring in a large room, with a ramp heading up towards it. The Extended Scooby gang glanced at the view briefly, then turned to the bald man sitting at one end. He was staring at them impassively.
`General Hammond, this is the group we retrieved from California.`
`Thank you Dr Jackson. Who is the Slayer?`
`I am.` Both Faith and Buffy replied. The General glanced down at some paper work before him, then looked at the women again.
`You`re Buffy Summers and Faith Wilkins. A convicted murderer and a Uni student. These two are supposed to save earth from Hathor? Dr Jackson, what is the meaning of this?`
`Wilkins?` Buffy asked Faith in an aside.
`He did actually adopt me. Hey, it`s a surname, right?` Buffy grunted, then looked back General Hammond.
`General Hammond, missy.` He reprimanded her. Buffy raised an eyebrow and walked forward. Angel groaned, as did several others. Taking that kind of tone with Buffy never got anyone anywhere. She leant forward on the table, still several feet away and stared at the bald man.
`Understand this, General Hammond. I am not one of your officers. I have no interest in the Air Force. Except for the cute butts in uniform, that is.`
`And we all here you there!` Willow piped up.
`I am here at your request, but at my own volition. You do not command me. Or my friends. You start to even look like you think you do, and we`ll leave you to defend against thesealiens all by yourself. Have you got that?`
`I don`t appreciate your tone, Miss Summers.`
`I don`t like yours, either. We`re even.`
`Ahh, if I may interrupt.` Daniel coughed.
`When we`ve all finished flexing our muscles, it would be nice to recognise the fact that Thor`s arrived.` He pointed at the corner, where a little grey being was standing, watching the proceedings with an impassive face.
`Thor! Buddy!` Jack went forward and greeted him.
`Greetings, O`Neilll. Samantha Carter. I am here as requested.` He looked at the strangers across the room, noticing the two women.
`Slayers. There are two of you.` The women stared back, their mouths open. The dark one nodded.
`She died. Came back. But I was called. So, two!`
`I am Thor. Fleet commander of the Asguard. It is an honour to meet you.` He glanced past them to their friends, and noticed the tall dark haired man.
`But you are also human. You possess a soul, like these.` He put out a thin hand, indicating the humans.
`Yes. I was human about two hundred years ago, but I was made vampire and cursed with my soul.`
`Ah. Vampirism. It was once the scourge of goa`uld civilisation, until they found a cure.`
`A cure?` Buffy repeated. She shot a look back at Angel, then moved forward, towards the alien, Thor. `What kind of cure? Can we get it?` Thor looked from her to the vampire and back again.
`You wished to be cured of this demonic disease?`
`Are you kidding?` Cordelia cried. `It`s all he`s wanted for years now.`
`After the meeting, I will endeavour to get you the cure. It should not take much.`
`Speaking of meetings, can we have ours now?` Jack complained. They all took seats, scattered around the oval table. Thor remained standing.
`In front of you, there is a brief history on the SGC and our expeditions to other planets. You may read that later. Right now, you need to understand where and what is happening. Major Carter?`
`Yes sir.` She stood up and went over to a clear board, marked with black dots. `This is an image of our galaxy. In relative terms, the Milky way is actually a long way from anywhere. The main Goa`uld threat right now is coming from one called Hathor.`
`She was the mother of all gods in Egypt, wasn`t she?` Angel queried, earning a grin from Daniel.
`Right. Well, all the Egyptian gods have a base in reality. Or rather, the Goa`uld took on the gods personna and melded it to their own desires. So, Hathor has just entered the Horse Head nebular and is on her way here. We`ve predicted that at the rate she`s moving, she should be here within approximately two days.`
`From the horse head nebular?` Willow breathed. `But that means she`s travelling`
`Faster than light. Yes. We are fortunate that she has only got older ships. Otherwise she would be here now, and there would be no chance for us to defend against her.`
`She`s in an older ship? How fast.I don`t want to know.` Willow held up her hands.
`She has four Goa`uld Motherships with her, along with several attack ships.` Sam turned on the lite-pro and turned off the lights with a remote she was holding. A picture appeared of what looked to be a very large pyramid, surrounded by some sort of stone-looking material.
`What is that?`
`That is a Mothership. Kind of like the Deathstar of the Goa`uld amoury.` Jack told them all.
`Oh.` Xander looked closer at the picture. `They look like flies.` He pointed to some shapes surrounding the ship.
`Those are the attack vessels. They stand approximately as high as the pyramids in Egypt.`
`The flies? As big as Egypt pyramids..` Xander compared that to the size of the mother ship.
`Oh boy.` Wesley said for all of them. `Tell us the ships are hollow. Please.`
`Sorry. They`re very solid. Full of Jaffa.`
`Jaffa?` Giles picked up the foreign term.
`Jaffa are the slave army of the Goa`uld lords. I was once one.` Teal`c told them.
`Are they all as big as you?` Willow asked, staring at him.
`Indeed. Some are larger.`
`Oh boy.` Wesley echoed. Sam had been flicking through the images, showing them various angles.
`Let me get this straight.` Buffy was holding her head. `These ships are going to be here in about two days. With lots of big him`s.` She pointed at Teal`c. `Running around destroying things. And you`ve recruited us to help you defeat them?`
`That`s about it.` Jack confirmed.
`Nothing like a challenge.` She was staring at the space-ships. `Could we do that trick like they did in Phatom Menace. You know, take out the mother ship, and all the others fall down?`
`Each ship is run autonomously.`
`Well, that`s not very nice!` Xander blurted.
`What about Independence Day? I can do that speech. Today we celebrate our Independence Day!` Willow grinned.
`They each have their own defense mechanisms.`
`May I remind you that this is not the time for jokes?` Hammond said angrily. `We have a large alien force descending on earth, and we need productive idea`s. Not movie titles.`
`It`s the way they work, General Hammond.` Giles told him. `Just give them time to go over the details you have, and hash it out. Trust me, they are very effective.`
`And when was the last time they faced the destruction of earth?` Makepeace asked sarcastically.
`Last Wednesday for me. Angel?`
`I think two weeks yesterday.`
`No, that was Jhera`s world. It was three weeks next Monday. We had that Kelsor demon, remember?` Cordelia reminded him.
`That`s right. Three weeks next Monday.` He smiled sweetly, then went back to reading the information inside the folder.
`They cannot be serious.` Makepeace objected.
`We often aren`t. But when it comes to saving the worldwell, as Oz once said. Check it out!` Buffy smiled at the offensive Colonel, then turned to Willow.
`Hate to ask, Will. But can you shut them up, for just a second. Do some magic or something. We need to have an objection free talk.`
`Angel, Faith. Giles.` Buffy walked to the other side of the room. The others followed. `So, Giles. What`s this about another Slayer on this other world of theirs?`
`I`ve been thinking about that. The only thing I can think of is that the Slayer was taken with others, and set up shop, as it were, on this new planet. More than likely, the forces at work that bring a new Slayer when the old one dies still worked on this world, so that it was like a mirror of earth that way.`
`So there`s been another group of Slayers with a completely different history?`
`Essentially.` Buffy nodded in reply.
`So. This is a little bigger that we`re used to. How are we supposed to defeat this kind of force?` Faith got down to business.
`But this time, it`s not just us. We have this whole facility of trained killers at our disposal.`
`True. Look, we`re not going to get anything sorted in the next few minutes. I think we should end this meeting and re-convene in a more comfortable surrounds.`
`Check it out. Giles is plan-man.`
`Thank you, Faith.` The two of them headed back, unconsciously giving Buffy and Angel time alone. Buffy said what was on both their minds.
`There`s a cure.`
`We don`t know if it will still work, Buffy. Don`t get too excited.` Angel remained stoic.
`Stuff that. It`s going to work. This guy`s an alien. How can it not work? They`ve got major technologies, I`m sure of it.`
`I just don`t want you getting your hopes up, only to be disappointed.`
`Me? Or you?` She asked quietly. Angel didn`t respond. She turned to go, but he grabbed her arm gently.
`Buffy. I just wanted to say that I`m sorry about your mother. I wanted to come to Sunnydale, but I was having problems of my own just then.`
`That`s okay. Come on. We have work.` She walked back to the group, and he followed silently.
`There`s something between those two.` Sam watched them talk. Jack turned back to her.
`She said they were old friends. But there`s more to it than that.`
`Carter, it`s none of our business. They`re just here to prevent Hathor from making Daniel her love slave again.`
`Hey!` Daniel called from the other side of the table. `No fair. So I was a little under the influence of her pheromones. At least I wasn`t made a Jaffa.`
`And what is wrong with Jaffa, Daniel Jackson?`
`Ahhh, nothing at all, Teal`c.` Daniel stammered, not noticing the glimmer of amusement in the Jaffa`s eyes. The Slayer and Vampire had come back to their end of the room, Jack noticed.
`So, Miss Summers. What`s the plan? How are you going to defeat Heather?` If there was a slight challenge in the tone, the room ignored it.
`Not sure just yet, Colonel O`Neilll. And please, call me Buffy. I always feel like I`m about to get grounded when I`m called Miss Summers. We need some time to think this through. Hash it out, Scooby style, see where we end up.`
`Do you have any information on theseGo.` Giles came to a stop.
`Goa`uld. Right. Any legends, books, histories on these things?`
`That would be Daniel`s area.` Jack looked at his friend, who was looking at Giles like a long lost friend.
`They`re in my office. I`ll go and get them.`
`Danny! Bring them to the common room. It`s roomier than here.` Jack yelled as Danny raced away. A wave from the retreating figure told them that he`d heard.
`Shall we re-locate. If that`s okay with you, General?`
`Fine, Colonel. Keep me updated.`
`Yessir. This way, kids.` Jack headed out, followed by the rest of the group.
`A moment, Vampire.` Thor said. Until now he had remained silent. Angel stopped, letting the others pass. Buffy hesitated, looking at Angel. `Just Angel, please, Slayer.` Thor told her. She kept going, her head turned back to watch them until she rounded the corner. `If you would take my hand, Liam.` Angel jumped at the use of his original name. `Do not fear, Liam. I merely wish to transport you to my ship, the Carter. We will endeavour to rid you of this infestation there.` Without warning, the conference room around them blurred, and in an instant, he was in another place. He looked around and saw shining metal surfaces embossed with some sort of fabric that glittered in an unimaginable array of colours. Beside him, Thor stood, waiting for Angel to get his breath back.
`Wow.` Angel had caught site of a large window in the side of the ship. Below them was a stunning vista of earth, from a long way up. He watched as the clouds swirled slowly across Russia, seeing glimpses of land beneath. While he was watching, another Asguard approached, holding out a small implement that looked like a thick bracelet.
`Please excuse my invading your privacy, Liam.` Thor grabbed hold of his arm, clasping the bracelet around it. It snapped shut with a click. He felt a slight sting, then a cooling rush through his hand, making it`s way up his arm.
`Hey!` He objected.
`Relax, Liam. The effect you feel means that the cure is working. You will need to sit down, however.` Angel sat, his legs suddenly jelly beneath him. His whole body felt ice cold, frozen in place.
`Whwhat`s ha.happpening?` He stuttered through stiff, cold lips.
`A mechanoid parasite has been injected into your blood stream. It is combating the demon DNA within your genetic make-up, ridding your body of it`s influence.`
`A mmmechanoid pp.pparasite?`
`I believe Samantha Carter calls themnanobots.` Thor watched as the vampire grew pale, then white, his eyes rolling up into his head, and slowly the man collapsed onto the floor.
`Odin! Fetch a heating coil. He will need some external heat for a few minutes.` The other Asguard turned to do as he was told. Within minutes, Angel was coming around, shivering and shuddering with cold. He felt something draped across him and relaxed almost immediately as he felt it`s warmth.
`The cure has worked. You are now free of the demon influence.`
`Is that why I`m cold?`
`In part. It is also the lack of sustenance in your body, and the ship environments. Our kind deals much better in lower temperatures. This is quite warm for the Asguard people. I will send you back once the mechanoids have expelled themselves.`
`How do they do that?` Suddenly Angel sneezed. `Ahh, never mind. I think I just figured it out.`
`Please inform O`Neill and Samantha Carter that we will await their instructions from up here. Also, tell them that if they succeed, they will become the Fifth Race in truth.`
`Ok..ay.` Angel ended his word in Colorado, still curled up, but this time on a table in the middle of a heated discussion.
`I just want to be able to go out and get a Pizza for crying out.`
`Angel!` Buffy yelled, seeing him appear before them. The room froze.
`Cc-cold.` He was shivering still, but could feel the heat of the room start to penetrate his bones. `Coffee.` Cordelia jumped up and got a cup of coffee from the bench behind her, running around to give it to him. He grabbed hold of it, swinging around, the blanket curled around him. His hands were shaking so that the coffee spilled. Buffy leaned over and helped him steady it. He sipped and jumped. He had taste buds.
`Mother of God! That`s bitter!` He exclaimed, curling his nose. `Warm, too.` He took another sip, this time managing by himself.
`Bitter?` Buffy repeated. `Angel? You can taste?` Half of the room comprehended what had happened immediately.
`Uhuh. I think I`m hungry. Any food around?` Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley went into overdrive, searching the common room for food. After finding none, they turned on the SGC members.
`We need food! Now!` Wesley told Jack.
`Angel`s hungry. He needs food.` Cordelia repeated the demand.
`Now hold on a second. We don`t just jump at you people`s commands here! We`re a military operation. We have set times and set ways of doing things.`
`Oh, Can it GI Joe. This man hasn`t eating in two hundred and fifty years. We need to get him some food. Now.` Cordelia pointed to the door.
`I`ll go down to the Mess and see what`s up.` Daniel offered.
`Quickly.` Daniel heard Angel say from the coffee table. He nodded and dashed out. They all turned back to see Buffy staring at Angel intently.
`What happened?` She asked softly.
`Thor took me up to his spaceship. The Carter.`
`Cool. I got one named after me!` Carter grinned at her team-mates. Jack just grunted.
`And he put this bracelet on me. Said something about nanobots and demon DNA. Wasn`t really paying that much attention.`
`Of course! Vampirism, from all accounts, is spread just like aids or any other virus. Bodily fluid contact. In this case, blood. The nanobots could find this virus, the demon DNA, and attack and kill all forms of it.` It looked like Sam was going to go into one of her long winded, big worded explanations, but Jack just looked at her and she shut up. `Sorry, Sir.`
`He told me to tell you two something. That they`d wait for instruction just outside orbit. And that if you succeeded we`d become the Fifth Race. That was it.`
`Wow.` Sam breathed. She would have said more but Daniel came in, piled high with food.
`Iahdidn`t know what you liked. So I brought everything.`
`And the kitchen sink.` Jack added.
`I don`t know what I like. Chocolate and peanut butter. Other than that, no idea. This smells interesting.` He picked up a taco, loaded with lettuce and cheese, and bit into it. As always, it cracked and leaked toppings all over his lap. `Dammit!` He leaned forward.
`It is nothing to worry about, Angel. That is what`s supposed to happen.` Teal`c informed him loftily. Angel nodded, continuing to eat the taco. It had an interesting, spicy flavour. He was looking at the pile of food, trying to select something else.
`I`d give these a go. They`re probably ideal for you.` Sam pushed a bowl of vegetable soup towards him, holding out a spoon. `It`s got a lot of nutrients in it, and I have a feeling you`re going to need them.` There was silence, all of them watching him eat.
`So that`s it?` Buffy asked finally.
`What?` Angel said, looking up from the empty bowl. His stomach had a full feeling, and he was finally warm again.
`That`s it. You`re human again?` She waved her hand around. `Just five minutes of their time, and you`re done, fixed. Cured?` She sounded angry. He frowned at her.
`Buffy, what are you trying to get at?`
`I just can`t believe that after years of trying to become human again, it took five fucking minutes!` She yelled. `You`ve spent years, YEARS! Trying to become human again, and it all happens at the whim of some little grey Roswell alien?`
`Now, hang on a second, Buffy.` Angel stood up.
`Ahh, people?` Jack started, but Cordelia put a hand on his arm.
`Don`t stress. This is the ubiquitous fight. They can`t go a meeting without having some sort of argument. Just ignore them, they`ll finish eventually. You might want to get rid of any sharp things, however.`
`We don`t have time for this.` Jack complained. He looked over at the two arguing, their arms waving, heat flying from their eyes.
`Hey!` He yelled over them. `Oi, you two. Shut up for a second, will ya?` They were quiet, albeit reluctantly. `What the hell were you two fighting about?`
`Sir, I think they were fighting because he was made human too easily.` Sam said from beside him.
`Made human too easily?` He repeated. Sam nodded. Daniel joined in the conversation.
`There`s a human trait that relishes suffering and torment, relies on it, even, to exist.`
`And you think Buffy`s got this trait, and can`t accept that Angel`s cured?` Willow piped up, staring at her two friends, who were now silent, considering. `That`s actually not a bad theory, Dr Jackson. It would make things a hell of a lot clearer about their relationship.`
`We don`t have a relationship.` They both blurted.
`Right. You`re just friends.` Jack agreed sarcastically.
`I wouldn`t call it that.` Angel said cautiously. `However, she does have a point.`
`Of course I do.` Buffy beamed. `What is it, again?`
`The only proof so far that I`m not a vampire is that I`m hungry.` He looked around. `Anyone got a mirror? Cordelia?`
`What? What would make you think that I have a mirror in my bag?`
`Because you normally do?` Wesley responded.
`So? Fine, here.` She reached into her oversized bag and pulled out a compact, handing it to her boss with a slap. Angel opened the makeup case slowly, afraid that he wouldn`t see anything. But as the mirror rose, he saw his jumper then his neck. Finally his face was framed by black plastic, and he looked for along time at his reflection.
`Buffy. Cross, please.` He said, still looking at his face in the mirror. Buffy undid the chain around her neck, handing back the gift he had given her all those years ago. They all watched as the cross lay in his palm, quiet and gleaming in the harsh overhead lights,
`Looks like it worked.` He said, looking at everyone. Wesley and Cordelia beamed back at him. Gunn just looked happily broody.
`Now can we get on with the whole, world in danger, Goa`uld army descending on us part of this reunion?` Jack asked the room.
`Already doing that, Captain.` Xander saluted him.
`It`s Colonel. And don`t salute me. It`s scary.`
`We`re already in research mode. See, Giles has books. We read them, we make with the funnies. Buffy thinks things through. Argues with or kisses Angel, depending on what relationship they`re having this week. I torment Cordelia. Willow goes on the net. Buffy comes up with a plan. We go and hide while she kills the bad guys. Of course, we have a few more cast members this week, so who know`s what you`ll be doing.`
`Jack and Sam will be flirting. I`ll be trying to help Giles with his research and history development. Teal`c will be watching TV and doing his eyebrow arching exercises.` Daniel replied, grinning. He liked this man.
`We do not flirt!` Sam objected, flushing slightly.
`Sure you don`t.` Daniel agreed, hiding a smirk.
`What is flirting, Daniel Jackson.`
`Ask Cordelia. She`s the queen of flirting. I do believe she was named, most likely to marry more than once in highschool.` Xander told the big black man.
`I was not!`
`Cordelia, Xander. Please shut up.` Giles and Wesley caroled. Giles had brought in a pile of books and scrolls, collected from P4X762 and other planets on SG1`s explorations.
`Ahh, research mode.` Xander rubbed his hands together. `I love doing research. Really, I do.`
`Take this.` Giles shoved a book in his hands. `Read it.` Without realising it, the group fell naturally into research together.
`So, what exactly do we know?` Buffy asked the group at large.
`I know that you really shouldn`t wear leather pants.` Faith replied. Buffy poked her tongue out at the other Slayer.
`What? You know how it goes, I`m the bad Slayer. So I get to wear the leather and shit. You`re the goody-too-shoes slayer. You wear floral dresses and go to church.`
`Not quite, Faith.` Buffy said, but she was smiling. Faith had come a long way, and as bizarre as it sounded, jail had been good for her.
`We know that the Goa`uld were pivotal in ridding the earth of the majority of demons.`
`That`s one thing I do have to thank them for. It`s made our jobs a hell of a lot easier.` Angel shut his book, leaning back in his chair.
`We also know that the Goa`uld have to have been extremely hard to destroy, given that the demons were so afraid that they ran to another dimension.`
`Which means it ain`t that good for us.` Gunn added.
`But there has to be something. Some kind of weak spot. This other Slayer on P.`
`P4X762.` Sam supplied.
`Thanks. Can`t we call it something easier to remember?` Giles was frowning.
`See!` Daniel cried. `I`ve been telling them that for the past five years.`
`How about Kendra?` Willow supplied. `She was the second Slayer before Faith.`
`That`ll do. Easier to remember, anyway. So, this slayer on Kendra managed, with a very undermanned, technologically challenged force, to rid themselves of a substantial Goa`uld force. Without anyone off world hearing about it until it was too late.`
`Don`t forget the Jaffa bed-time stories.` Wesley reminded him.
`Right. So then, instead of shooting off to destroy the slayer on Kendra, they delete the address from their network and threaten little boys and girls with banishment to Kendra if they mis-behave.` Willow raised her hand.
`I`ve got a question.`
`You can put your hand down, Willow. We`re not in class.` She flushed, but continued.
`What happened to the people on Kendra? Where`d they go? I mean, they`d beaten the Goa`uld, right? So, where`d they go? What happened to them afterwards, that there`s no one left on the planet?`
`From what we could understand of their histories, and the empty cities, it`s looks as though there was an illness. Perhaps it was engineered by the Goa`uld. Perhaps it was a stroke of fate. But approximately 400 years after their victory, their civilisation crumbled and collapsed. There`s nothing left but the skeleton of the Goa`uld mother ship and the abandoned cities.`
`So, I repeat. What happened?`
`I think I know.` Buffy said slowly. The room as one, turned to watch her. `Demons` originated on earth, right? And vampire`s are demon-bred. We all know that. So, once the Slayer had rid this world of the Gold threat.`
`Goa`uld.` Daniel corrected.
`Once she got rid of this threat, the Slayer wasn`t needed any more, and her role was..`
`Made redundant?` Willow offered.
`Yes. Exactly. But obviously something happened, perhaps just a breakdown in society. Or maybe another demonic threat. We won`t know. By the look of the photo`s in the brief you gave us, the cities were abandoned quickly. And there was no major death toll otherwise there`d be bones scattered over the city.`
`So, what do you think happened?` Angel asked her.
`I think a Gold finally got the courage to go to Kendra, see what it was all about, and took the people as slaves.`
`Goa`uld.` Daniel repeated.
`Don`t bother, Dr Jackson. You`ll never get her to pronounce it correctly.` Giles told the linguist.
`Have you actually been to this planet?` Angel asked, seeing where Buffy was headed.
`No. We only did MALP readings.` Sam told them. Buffy looked at her group, sizing them up.
`I want to go to Kendra.`
`What?!` Several people exclaimed.
`No. There`s no way that we can let civilians through the Gate. No way, no how.` Jack denied it outright.
`Hang on, Jack.` Daniel held up his hand. `Why do you want to go to Kendra, Buffy.`
`The truth?` She shrugged. `I don`t know. I just have this feeling.` She was about to continue when Cordelia yelled out, her hand going to her head.
`Vision!` Wesley, Gunn and Angel called, rushing over to support her. `OwDamn, they hurt.` She opened her eyes, reaching out for the cup and panadol Wesley was handing her. `Thanks, Wesley.` She gulped down the pain killers gratefully.
`What the hell was that?` Jack demanded.
`That was a very painful vision.`
`Of what?` Angel asked, kneeling in front of her.
`Us..All of us. And a really big pyramid. Or it looked like a pyramid.`
`The demon? Did you see a demon.`
`I didn`t see anyone. Not one person. Just a city.` She closed her eyes, resting them.
`Okay, that decides it. We`re going to Kendra.`
`Whoa! What decides what? Does someone want to clue us in?`
`Cordelia gets visions sent from the Powers That Be.`
`The Powers that Be?` Sam echoed.
`Indeed. They show her a vision of the future, or a danger. Tell us where to go, or what to look for. It just showed her a picture of Kendra. Therefore, we need to go there.`
`Says who?` Jack grunted.
`You obviously weren`t listening. The Powers That Be.` Cordelia replied.
`For Crying out loud. You guys are a bunch of new age freaks, you know that? One of you thinks she`s a witch. Can do all these spells. Another thinks she`s got the sight. Can see things sent from the Powers that Be. Then there`s a vampire. A VAMPIRE, for crying out loud. And these two `warrior` women. I`ve had enough of tiptoeing around these psycho`s. We can handle this by ourselves.` He stormed over to the telephone on the wall, but didn`t reach it. He felt frozen in place.
`Thanks, Will.` Buffy said quietly. She walked over to the Colonel, and stood in front of him. `I resent and am hurt by your mistrust and disbelief. We have honoured your story, about a wormhole through space and time, and other planets. And these Goa`uld creatures. Yet, when we want you to believe in our abilities, you scoff and decide to throw us out. Well, guess what, USAF Colonel? You can`t.`
`The PTB have decreed that we need to be involved.` Angel continued, walking up to stand slightly behind and to the side of Buffy. `Whether you like it or not, Jack O`Neill, we are involved, and we will go to Kendra. That`s not a threat, merely an observation. We can show you our abilities. Willow can let you breathe, for instance. Or she can turn your hair bright purple. She can trace any demon or other entity that you desire, because she has a handle on the Other world. Buffy and Faith are part of that otherworld, as am I. And trust me when I say, nothing you do is going to stop us from destroying this latest threat to our world.`
`What makes you think that you can do anything? What makes you think that we can`t? We`ve already saved the planet from one invasion.`
`That`s super, Sam!` Faith said enthusiastically. `But you guys have no idea who you`re dealing with. Forget about me and the Scoob`s here. My man Angel and B are the main act. Between them, I have no idea how many time`s they`ve saved the world. And they`re so good it makes your teeth ache. But it works for them.`
`Ahh, Faith.` Cordelia started.
`Can it, Cordelia. I was talking. Like I said. These two have saved the world and therefore, your asses more times than you`ve had hot dinners. So why don`t we just stop comparing the size of our dicks and get on with busting some serious alien butt?` Willow unfroze Jack, figuring he wasn`t going to boot them out right now.
`She`s blunt, she`s brutal. But she has a very good point.` Wesley admitted. Angel and Buffy backed down, looking a little sheepish.
`The word you`re looking for, B? It`s baa.` Faith offered. Buffy smiled back, then poked her tongue out.
`I would like to ask one thing, though.` Daniel said after they`d all calmed down.
`What`s that, Oh master of the universe of language?` Xander set about breaking up the remaining tension.
`Why does Buffy want to go to Kendra?`
`Well, while everyone was.talking.` Giles substituted for Faith`s analogy. `I was thinking. It could be that Buffy may well be able to learn something that you missed when she goes there. Something that only a Slayer would understand. Or even feel.`
`More spider sense stuff, Giles?`
`So, G-man. Why don`t I feel this urge to visit other planets?`
`We`ve been doing some re-gressing and Slayer study since you last visited, Faith. Buffy`s been getting in touch with the dark side of the force.`
`Darth Buffy?` Faith grinned. `That`s wicked.`
`Not wicked, as such. Just understanding her nature. We can help you, if you like.`
`Giles, I think I pretty much got my dark side covered. I`m looking for a little redemption right now.`
`And that`s where I`ve got it covered.` Angel told them. `Update later. So, Colonel O`Neill. Do we have a deal?`
`Huh? Oh, you remember our presence, did you?` Jack was at his sarcastic best.
`Sir.` Sam chided. `I think they have a point. Whatever they have going for them, whatever it is that gives them their edge, we need to use it. Hathor is descending on us, and we need to use all that we have.`
`Fine!` Jack threw up his hands. `I`ll go talk to the General.`
`Remember, folks. If there`s the slightest sign of danger, I want you back here, pronto. These are civilians, and therefore under our protection.`
`Protection?` Buffy started, but Angel quietened her with a hand to her arm. They were standing in the Gate room, all dolled up in cams and equipment. They looked decidedly uncomfortable. Buffy shifted slightly, getting her pack settled on her back.
`I have no idea how Reilly could enjoy this.` She muttered, then dismissed her commando ex from her mind. They watched and listened as a voice called over a PA.
`Seventh ChevronLocked.` Suddenly the ring in front of them burst open, a rush of water like liquid approaching them rapidly. Several of them stood back, stunned.
`It`s okay, people. That`s the event horizon I was telling you about.` Sam told them as the wave sucked back on itself, and glimmered as a flat surface inside the ring.
`Wow.` Gunn breathed for them. They`d decided not to take everyone. So it was just SG-1, Buffy, Angel, Faith and Giles going through. The others were just there for moral support.
`Have fun, guys!` Willow told them, staring in fascination at the Stargate.
`Okay, kids. Let`s hussle.` Jack called, walking up the ramp and stepping through. Teal`c and Daniel followed. Sam stayed behind to urge the first timer`s through.
`It`s fine. Just step in and hold your breath. You`ll be out the other side before you know it.` Buffy and Angel stepped forward together, their hands clasped without their knowledge. The exited the other side in a stumble, clattering loudly down the metal stairs. The other three followed quickly after them. SG-1 had already scanned the immediate area, securing the room.
`Sir?` She answered, walking over to him.
`Stay with them. We`ll take point.` She nodded and obeyed her commander. The room was long and narrow, with a large double door at one end. Teal`c and Jack skulked at the doorway, peeking through. Then they walked out, allowing the others to follow. They followed for a while, scanning the foreign city. Parts of it looked familiar, like the glass inside the buildings, and the graffiti embedded into the pavement below them. It wasn`t concrete. It look harder and more metallic than concrete. But it served the same purpose. There were tree`s scattered here and there throughout the city, their leaves dropping onto a pile of mulch below them. The sky was an off-blue. Almost a green colour. But that was the only sign that this wasn`t earth. Everything else looked remarkably earth-like. Buffy was walking past what looked to be an older styled building.
`We go in here.` She told them, heading that way. Teal`c and Jack, who were a few metres down the road, cursed and trotted back.
`What are you doing?` Jack asked, his gun pointed upwards.
`We need to go in here.` She pointed. Her skin was tingling all over.
`Spider sense.` Buffy told him shortly.
`Danny?` Jack called his friend over. `She wants to go in here.` He cocked his head at the building. Daniel turned to look at it, then nodded.
`That makes sense. It looks like a gathering place. Perhaps a place of worship, or remembrance. We`ll probably find some sort of information there. A history of this place, perhaps.`
`Note, I`m not happy with this.` He followed after his team, grumbling.
`Buffy?` Angel called her name. She held up a hand, asking for him to be quiet. She opened the door to the building, pushing it right around, allowing the light from the sun to penetrate inside.
`What`s.` Giles started.
`Shut up, G-man. Somethings up.` Faith told her ex-watcher. She didn`t know what, but she could feel something. Buffy walked inside, the others following. They approached a door at the opposite end of the room inside. Buffy opened it, ready to go inside. Unfortunately, something else wanted to come out.
`People!` Jack barked, his weapon coming up. The creature was already on Buffy, struggling and growling madly. Buffy, after a seconds surprise, dropped to the ground with the creature, pushing her legs up into it`s stomach and propelling it over her. It landed next to Angel, who swivel kicked it right back to Buffy. She`d, by this time, gotten back to her feet in a rolling movement. She threw a couple of punches, looking for an opening. The creature came for her again, screaming and drooling at the mouth. It stank to high heaven and was over seven feet tall. It was strong but slow. It rarely got a land on the Slayer. Angel and Faith stood back, watching.
`Need any help, B?` Faith called.
`Nope. Got it, thanks Faith.` Buffy replied, shoving her fist into the creature`s face. Jack and Sam continued to follow the fight with their rifles, waiting for a chance to fire. Eventually, Jack got tired of waiting.
`Buffy, back off.` He barked.
`No.` She replied shortly, without her usual witty reply.
`Slayer!` Jack called again, hoping her title would get her attention. It didn`t. But it got the creature`s. It paused, the five eyes on it`s head staring at the girl.
`Ssssssslayeeer?` It rasped deeply.
`My God!` Angel and Giles breathed simultaneously.
`Jack, thatthing can speak.` Daniel announced.
`Ya think?` Jack replied as Buffy stood back, stunned.
`Sssssslayeeer?` It repeated. Buffy nodded her head hesitantly. The thing whimpered, and dropped to it`s knee`s. `Rrreleeassssse me!` It cried, reaching out to touch her foot. Angel jumped in front of her, shaking his head.
`Back off.` He growled. He was stunned to hear the vampiric snarl in his voice. So was Buffy.
`Ease down, Big Guy.` Faith told him.
`Rrreleeassse me!` It begged again. `Sssssslayeeeer, pllleassse!` Giles and Daniel came forward and squatted down beside it. With this many warriors surrounding them, they both felt safe enough to approach the creature.
`Release you how?` Daniel asked, trying to figure out which set of eyes to look at.
`You`re trapped?` Giles guessed. The creature nodded it`s large, lumpy head.
`Trapped here?` Daniel gestured to the building. The creature shook it`s head, then thumped it`s chest with a large, meaty hand.
`You want us to kill you?` Buffy sounded stunned. The creature roared, scared.
`It`s okay!` Daniel told it, his hands out in a gesture of peace.
`I suggest you do not mention that again, Miss Summers.` Teal`c advised Buffy. She shook her head in mute agreement.
`Rrrreleaasssse me!` It cried again. Jack sighed, about out of patience.
`What are you asking, pal?` He yelled at the creature.
`Trrrrapped innnn bodddy.` It roared, it`s head thrust back. Jack lost his temper then, and stormed away.
`Hang on a second.` Giles said slowly. `I think I know what it`s saying.` The creature looked at Giles, it`s body shivering in hope. `Were you human?`
`And you were imprisoned in that body?`
`Mother of God!` Jack breathed. Sam and Daniel stood, opened mouthed. The others looked horrified.
`Was it a spell? Witchcraft? Magic?` Giles continued.
`Yesssss! Rreeleeassse me!` Giles turned to Jack, suddenly in command.
`We need Willow. Now.` Jack opened his mouth, but Giles cut him off. `You want to stop this? I think this person can help us. But we need to free him from this body first. Get me Willow.` Jack hesitated, then nodded.
`On my way, sir.` She replied, then ran out of the building.
`Malutoi. Saruse di upiom. Malutoi.` Willow threw dust at the creature as she spoke. Her eyes glowed yellow in the dark. There was a shudder in the air and all went dark for a brief moment. Then, before their eyes, the creature warped and twisted. In seconds, a small dark haired naked woman stood before them, cowering and shivering. Angel rushed forward, his coat out. He put it around her, covering her nakedness instantly.
`Slayer?` The woman whispered, her eyes tearing up. She was staring at Buffy like she was a god.
`Actually, there`s two of us now.` Faith announced.
`Two? Slayer be one!` The woman announced.
`Long story. What`s your name?` Buffy stepped forward.
`Melinda. I amwas High Priestess.`
`Of?` Daniel asked.
`Of Watsercoun. It was the religion here on Nosfera.`
`What happened?` Sam came forward, and Melinda cowered away from the people surrounding her.
`Okay, give her some air.` Jack told them, drawing back his people.
`Melinda, can you tell us what happened to this place? Do you remember?` Giles asked, after they`d all given the woman some room. She nodded.
`II need to sit down.`
`Why don`t we set up camp and feed this woman. Get her some clothes. Then we`ll talk.` Jack suggested. Camp was set up amazingly fast. Food was on the fire before Angel and Buffy knew what was happening, and the woman was clothed and warm within half an hour. The others sat down, and they all ate some of the stew that Daniel and Teal`c had quickly made.
`I will take first watch, O`Neill.` Teal`c announced, standing up with his staff weapon. Jack didn`t say anything, as years ago he`d found it a waste of breath.
`I will say me story now.` Melinda announced, getting everyone`s attention. `We were brought to Nosfera centuries, millennia ago. Many many turns of the world around the sun. The Goa`uld brought us here through the ring of water. In the beginning there was but a few of us. Perhaps a thousand or so. But the Goa`uld continued to bring more through. Or so it was told. One such that he brought through was called Slayer. She was a warrior. She was one born in every generation.`
`Been there, heard that.` Buffy muttered to Giles, who smiled back.
`The first Slayer helped us battle against the Goa`uld. She tried to face them front on, in a direct attack. But they were too powerful for the first settlers. After that, when the next Slayer came, we tried what she named.I forget. It was one person, most effect.`
`We call them surgical attacks. As much damage as possible, very little risk.` Jack supplied.
`Yes. We nibbled at the Goa`uld forces, continued to harass them. But never enough to warrant our being exterminated. Then, many centuries after our colonisation of this world, a Slayer was born that had the knowledge to defeat our false God.`
`May I ask who it was? The God, I mean.`
`It went by the name of Ta`uma. She loved to take strong young women as her hosts. She decided to take the Slayer as her knew host. The Slayer agreed. When she was taken, we lost hope. For a Slayer cannot rise until the previous one is dead. With the Slayer as a host, there was no chance. But we did not realise the strength of our Slayer. She overcame the Goa`uld and killed it, then preceeded to destroy Ta`uma`s forces. Within days, we were free. For four hundred years, we were free. The Slayer died, but no other came to take her place. Society was devastated. The Slayer was revered in our culture.`
`To the point of worshipping her?` Daniel wanted to know.
`No. The Watsercoun do not worship. We guide and train the Slayer. Or we did.`
`Watcher`s Council!` Giles announced. `It`s a mangled Watcher`s Council.`
`And Nosfera must be a slightly shorter Nosferatu.` Angel added.
`So, after four hundred years, what happened?`
`The Goa`uld returned. Through the ring of water. They quickly captured my people and took them back through the ring. There was no time to mount a defensive strategy. I was cursed by the Goa`uld to remain here to warn off other Goa`uld. And to be testament to the Go`auld`s bravery and superiority. I have been trapped in that creatures body for over seven hundred turns of Nosfera around the sun.`
`That`s close to a thousand years, our time, sir.` Sam told Jack in an aside.
`Can you describe the Goa`uld that took your people, Melinda?`
`Her name is Hathor. She is a Queen - .`
`No need to tell us any more. We`ve had the pleasure.` Jack said sourly.
`She still lives?` All the air seemed to go out of Melinda, and she slumped in her chair. `I had hoped that the Slayer was called back when the Goa`uld came. But now you are here!` She remembered, staring at Buffy.
`Both of us.` Faith reminded her.
`Indeed.` Melinda said absently. `Are you here to free my people?` She sounded so hopeful, Buffy didn`t want to hurt her.
`Not really.` Jack said for her. `We`re actually here to save our people. We were hoping that there was some sort of knowledge here that could help us defeat Hathor. But it doesn`t look like there is. Dammit.`
`Jack.` Buffy said slowly. Angel caught her drift again.
`NO!` He yelled at her. The others stared at them.
`Here we go again.` Willow murmured to Giles, who nodded in agreement.
`It`s a good idea.` Buffy told him, sitting calmly while he stood up and paced.
`There`s got to be a better idea.` He appealed to both of the Slayers.
`Well, don`t look at me, Lover. I haven`t got the nature to sacrifice myself.` Faith told them.
`Any one understand them?` Jack complained.
`They`re talking in Chosen speak. Buffy wants to become Hathors host, so that she can defeat the Goa`uld and destroy the army. Angel won`t let her because he still loves her and doesn`t want to lose her. Faith won`t do it because she`s afraid she`s not strong enough. Did I get everything?`
`Well summarised, Willow.` Giles congratulated her.
`You are not putting yourself in danger like that, Buffy.` Angel told her in no uncertain terms.
`Since when do you tell me what to do?` Buffy stood up, incensed.
`Well, if you go around making stupid plans like this one, I have every right to tell you what to do. The world can`t afford to loose you.`
`Hate to tell you this, Angel. But it can, has before and will again. I`m a Slayer, Angel. That means that I will die young. Better it be for an end-of-the-world cause than a bus running me over. Besides, there`s a chance I could survive. I think this is what I came here for. This piece of information.` Angel growled, then grabbed her arm and took her to the other side of the clearing, away from the others.
`Now what?` Jack asked, watching their sillhouetted bodies.
`Well, generally they fight for a while.` Faith told the USAF explorers.
`Then, going on past fights, they`ll declare they love each other and would die for each other.` Willow added, as they watched the two sillouhettes waving their arms and using very angry body language.
`Then, depending on what the fight was about, they`ll make out for a few minutes.`
`Or just hug and make plans for saving the world.` The body language had calmed down. The taller of the shadows now reached out and touched the smaller`s face.
`Here comes the declaration of undying love and devotion.` Faith said in a snarly voice. Giles heard the sense of whistfulness underneath. Angel had come a long way with rehabilitating Faith.
`Followed by the small, brief flare of anger over who would die for whom the most.` Willow continued.
`And there`s the make out session!` Faith declared triumphantly. The two shadow`s blended into one.
`Should we be watching this?` Daniel asked, shifting uncomfortably round.
`They`ll be back in a minute. Besides, I`ve been in prison for the past five years. This is refreshing. Seeing a man and woman. Rather than.Never mind.` The two shadows broke apart.
`This is pointless, you do realise?` Jack told them.
`Because we have no way of getting onto Hathor`s ship.` The other two returned, quietly.
`So, you two resolved your differences?` Sam asked, a slight smile of her face.
`No.` Angel scowled at Buffy, then relented. `If given the opportunity, she`ll take Hathor as her symbiote. But I don`t like it.`
`You don`t have to. Just back me up.`
`Buffy, it`s obsolete anyway. There`s no way for Jack and his people to get you on board her ship. We have to find another way of defeating her.` Giles informed his Slayer, who looking a little disappointed.
`Well at least we now have a Plan B!` She said brightly. The others grunted, then silence fell over the group. The fire cracked, Daniel cleared his throat. Otherwise, there was a deafening silence.
`I can get you there.` Melinda spoke up. The group turned to her as one, blank faced.
`To Hathor. I can get you there. Or at least, I can get four of you there.`
`Four of us?` Jack repeated, straightening up. He`d been leaning against the wall close to his 2IC.
`Four of you. Hathor left it here so that she could visit periodically, check up on the area, as it were. It can transport herself and three Jaffa guards. The transport goes both ways. But only once in a moon.` She smiled, grimly. `Ironically, the transporter is run on luna power so for the Goa`uld it`s unique. Being nature friendly.`
`Four of us.` Buffy looked at the group surrounding the fire. `Four of us can go. Who?`
`I don`t think so, Mr Gun-toting-but-I`m-not-the-Slayer.` Willow told Jack. `This whole thing will only work if the Slayer goes. She can control the Goa`uld. Destroy it. If SG-1 go, then who`s going to take the symbiote?`
`She has a point, Colonel.` Sam muttered to her CO.
`So, who goes?`
`Me, Angel. Sam and Teal`c.` Buffy announced.
`And that would be, why?` Jack lifted an eyebrow.
`Well, Angel and I are suited to this sort of thing. Looks like Angel still has some supernatural ability, even after the vampire virus was removed. Me, being the Slayer. Teal`c and Sam because of their unique experience with the Goa`uld. Teal`c has one. Sam was one.` Jack opened his mouth, then shut it again. Sam grinned at Jack`s flabbergasted expression.
`Sir?` She tried to suppress her amusement. If there was one thing Jack hated, it was being out strategised. If that was a word.
`Fine. Do that. We`ll get back to earth, and let them know what`s going on there.`
`When do we do this?` Angel wanted to know.
`We`ll go back, get you some better clothes, something that will blend in with Hathor`s other servants. Sam, can you and Daniel?`
`Sir.` Sam agreed, standing up. She went over to Teal`c, spoke briefly to him, then she and Daniel took off at a trot, towards the building where the Stargate was held.
`Meanwhile, back at the lab.` Willow muttered. `I`ll create some auto-spells that may just help you.` She pulled out her back pack and opened it up, fishing inside for some occult goodies.
`Auto-spells?` Jack asked for several of them.
`As in, all you have to do is drive. You throw this at someone, and whoompa! He`s blind. Or this one hides you from video or recording. You cannot be seen as a facsimilie.`
`Really?` Jack raised his eyebrows. Several uses for that kind of spell popped immediately to mind.
`I`ll give you guys a few of those, plus some general all around blow em up and fly em away stuff.`` She looked to the Watcher. `Giles, I could do with your help with a few of them.` Giles nodded.
`And I`ll just stand here and look important.`
`You do it so well, Colonel!` Buffy cheered. Jack grunted.
`They`re doing what?` Xander cried when the Major told them. Hammond echoed him.
`It`s a sound plan, General.` Sam replied to her Commanding officer.
`I don`t care what it is, Major. They`re civilians.`
`I know that, Sir.` Sam tried to placate him. `Teal`c and I will be going with them, and it is a sound, strategic plan.`
`I don`t like using civilians in military operations, Major.`
`What about Dr Jackson?` Wesley asked from a chair on the other side of the room. `He`s a civilian, isn`t he?`
`And trust me, Angel and Buffy are far more warrior suited than Dr Jackson when it comes to fighting. And subterfuge.`
`I`m not that bad!` Daniel objected. The lack of support from his work-mates was telling, however.
`Sir, we can trust them to do the job right, I know we can.` Sam continued. Hammond hesitated for a long time, thinking it over.
`Only if you and Teal`c go with them, every step of the way.` Hammond finally agreed. The others grinned, pleased with their success. Until they realised where that success was leading four of the group. Into enemy territory, a long way from home.
`Right. Go to stores, get some supplies. You`ll leave in an hour.` Hammond left the room, and silence prevailed.
`Colonel?` They heard Sam call as she entered the building. Jack stood up and turned to watch his 2IC come towards him, loaded down with clothing. `General Hammond said we`re to leave at 0800 hours, and co-ordinate our attack.` Jack nodded in reply, remaining quiet. It always unnerved him when he saw Sam in clothes other than her SGC uniform. It reminded him that she was not just his second in command, but a woman as well. He shifted, trying to move his thoughts.
`Co-ordinate our attack. Co-ordinate the exact moment I`m supposed to overcome this snake thing and start killing people. Pressure, much?`
`It`s not like we have much choice, Buffy.` Angel said quietly.
`Aside form that, by 0800, Hathor will be on the outskirts of our solar-system. That`s not much time before she get`s here. There. To Earth.` Jack sat down again, looking away from the large expanse of skin Sam was showing. Why in hell did the Goa`uld have to go for those skimpy little outfits? Why not a track-suit. Better yet, a snow suit, with big gloves and a big hat. Balaclava even.
`Okay, guys. Here`s your clothes. Angel, Buffy.` She silently handed Teal`c his outfit, and left them to change, going over to sit beside Jack.
`What time, sir?`
`Pardon?` He jumped slightly, then relaxed. `Oh. Five hours should do the trick. If you haven`t been found by then, make yourselves found. We`ll make itlet`s say 1400. Set the plastic for auto-detonation by 1900. If we haven`t succeeded by then, that should damage her pretty badly.`
`Sir.` Sam confirmed his plan. While they were letting this Slayer and her boyfriend try to do it their way, Jack wanted a back up plan. Just in case.
`Well?` Angel heard Buffy ask from behind him. He closed the shirt, tying it off. It reminded him of the clothes he used to wear when he`d been human. Very simple, leather pants with a soft cloth shirt, tied with a leather thong and the chest. The boots didn`t quite match, but they`d do. The weren`t called General Purpose boots for nothing. He turned and almost swallowed his tongue when he saw Buffy. He was covered almost from neck to toe in clothing. She.wasn`t.
`Hathor has to be gay.` Was the first thing that came out of his mouth.
`What!?` Buffy laughed. `What makes you say that?`
`Buffy, have you looked at what you`re wearing? A bikini has more cloth than that outfit.`
`Don`t exaggerate, Angel. It`s bad for your health. So it`s a little revealing. I`ve worn worse.`
`If you have, I don`t want to know about it. Can you fight in that get up?` She nodded, looking down at her clothes. Okay, so there was some cleavage showing. And her tummy was pretty much bare. And her legs. And back. Okay, it was more than a little revealing. And tight. She looked back at Angel, who`s cheeks were flushed with colour. But if it gave Angel a reaction like that, it was worth it. She smiled evilly, and swaggered away, knowing his eyes were following her. A curse behind her made her smile grow into a grin.
`Girl, you are evil.` Faith grinned at her. Buffy raised an eyebrow in innocent inquiry.
`Oh, please, B! I know better than that. You`ve got that ex-vamp panting after you. And you love it.`
`Maybe a little.` Buffy admitted, smiling at the other slayer. She hesitated, looking at the dark-haired slayer before her. `Faith, I never apologised for`
`Can it, B.` Faith checked her watch. `Little Miss Muffet counting down from seven three oh.`
`What?` Buffy sat down abruptly. Memories flashed before her, of the Mayor, and her battling Faith to the death. Angel, drinking her. Big snake demon. Fire, bad. Tree pretty.
`It`s seven thirty. You`re leaving in half an hour. Don`t you think you`d better talk to Angel?` Buffy looked at her blankly. `Look, B. The chances of you all making it out of this alive are pretty bloody slim. Don`t you think you should sort things out, say what you need to say to Precious before it`s too late?` Buffy turned her head to look at Angel, who was standing to one side of the group, staring out into the abandoned city. She stood up slowly and walked over to him. She grabbed his hand silently and led him out of the building, leaving the group behind.
`Oi!` Jack yelled, when he saw them head out. Sam put a hand on his arm, silencing him.
`They`ll be back in time, Sir.` She told him quietly, not studying how she knew this too closely.
`Buffy?` Angel said softly, when they left the building. She hadn`t led them far. Just out of sight and ear-shot. She turned back to him, studying him closely.
`Angel. Are you sure you still have supernatural abilities?`
`Buffy.Yes, I`m sure. Thor said that it would just rid me of the demon, but not the abilities.`
`So, you`re still immortal?`
`No. The demon was immortal. Not me. I retained the abilities, but not the aspect. Immortality was an aspect. Like a tail.` He grinned. `Or telepathy.`
`Shut up.` She replied good naturedly. She stared past him, looking out on to the empty street.
`Buffy?` He repeated again, even softer than before.
`You were right, you know.` She whispered, closing her eyes tightly.
`I always am. About what?`
`The world needed us both alive. Fighting the good fight.` She stepped forward slightly, bringing them together, and curled into his chest, burying her nose in his neck. He hugged her, knowing the words were familiar, but unable to pin them down. He held her, not worrying. Until the memory struck him like a block of wood to the back of the head. The day flashed before his eyes. He`d held the memory tight for five years, giving him comfort when he was at his lowest. Time and again.
`Four years ago. I was in a bad place. Mentally. Dawn, my sister, was about to be killed. My mother had died. Giles was badly injured. Tara, Willow`s other half, had gone mad. Thanks to Glory. I`d fallen into a catatonic state. Willow eventually got me out of it. But before she did, I saw the day we had. Lived it again. It made me remember why I was fighting. Not for me. Not even for Dawn. But for everyone else out there who didn`t even know they were in danger. That`s what I meant by you being right.`
`I didn`t know. Didn`t think you knew what had happened.`
`When we last saw each other, I didn`t. I was angry for a while, thinking you`d done it again. Made a life changing decision without consulting me. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised there wasn`t any other choice. Not for us. Not until now.`
`What do you mean, until now?` Angel leaned back, staring down at her.
`We don`t have to do this. We can let Jack and Sam and the others deal with this. The Goa`uld have nothing to do with us. They`re not demons. Not vampires. We can go home, and hope like hell that the SGC succeed.`
`That`s not an option, Buffy.` Angel said flatly. `Not in my world.`
`I didn`t really think it was. But we had to think about it. We may die today.`
`Or we may not. We may survive this invasion and get hit by a falling airplane tomorrow. Or choke on a meatball.` Buffy smiled at the imagery.
`So we go.`
`We go. There was never any other choice. Not really. Much as I hate to admit it, your plan is the best one.`
`In that case, I need to tell you something.` She stood back and looked at him gravely. `I have every intention of winning today. Killing Hathor and coming back to earth as a big-time hero. But after that. When we`ve done all we had to do to stop her. Next Wednesday, maybe. I want to feel like I did that day.`
`I believe I saidlike a normal girl. Falling asleep in the arms of her normal boyfriend.` She took a deep breath. `I`m Twenty-five, Angel. You`re..older than that, granted. But your mortal now. Don`t you think it`s time we started living? You gave me up, so that I`d have a chance at real love. A real life. It didn`t happen. The only serious boyfriend I had became a pin-cushion vamp junkie. Not real good. I figure that the PTB were trying to tell me something. You got so confused and depressed you screwed your old sire.`
`How did you know?` Angel was astonished.
`Cordelia told me while you were off being cured about that time. All of it. But that doesn`t matter..well, aside from the side of me that`s going eeew, it doesn`t matter. Just don`t ever bring her up again. But can we say, next Wednesday, we I don`t know.go on a date or something? Start again.`
`You know about Dar-`
`I said, don`t ever bring her up again. I really don`t want to have that mental imageshit. Thank you, Angel. Just what I needed.`
`A chimpanzee in a clown outfit always works for me.`
`Think of a chimpanzee in a clown outfit. Any other image goes right out of the head. I use it whenever I think back to then. It works wonders.`
`A chimpanzee in a clown outfit..It does work. Good. So, do we have a date?`
`If we`re not in hospital.` He finally agreed. She smiled, then nodded. Checked her watch.
`We have to get back now. But remember what I said. I`m going to win today.`
`I know you are. But hang on a second. I need to do something, first.` Buffy looked up in query. His grin announced his intentions. As did the lowering of his face. Buffy answered the grin with one of her own.
`I like that suggestion.` She started, but shut up quickly as he leant lower.
`Are you sure you`re going to be okay with this, Carter?` Jack asked for the fifth time.
`Sir.` Sam sighed, smiling slightly. She knew that Jack was just worrying, but it still got a little repetitive.
`Sorry. Okay, how does this work?` He asked Melinda.
`The four of them stand here.` She pointed to a black painted area in the middle of the building. `Rings come down and then they disappear.`
`That`s it?` Jack asked. `But that`s just the way the normal rings work.`
`These ones must be like homing rings. That`s why they need the power of the moon. It gives the rings a point to start from, so that they can navigate. Like homing pigeons.`
`Great.` He stared hard at Melinda. `You sure this is going to work?`
`It has for the last seven hundred passes, Colonel O`Neilll.` Melinda replied indignantly.
`Let`s do it. Remember, Carter.`
`Yessir. 1400 hours, and caboom.` Jack nodded and stepped back. Angel and Buffy joined Teal`c and Sam on the black circle, standing close by them.
`Good luck Buffy!` Willow yelled as the rings descended. Buffy smiled nervously. The rings covered them and they vanished. The rings lifted again. No one was left in the circle. Jack looked at the empty space for a long time, then turned away.
`Right. Back to the Stargate, kids. We have work to do.` He picked up his pack and watched the other pick up the rest of the gear.
`Wow.` Buffy breathed as the rings disappeared.
`It`s a little disconcerting the first time, I agree.` Angel muttered back. Sam and Teal`c had already taken point. Sam turned to glare at them. Urging them to silence.
`Don`t worry. There`s no one around. I can`t smell anything, or hear anything.` Angel said absently, staring at the room around him.
`We are in Hathor`s apartments, Major Carter. I suggest we leave this area immediately.`
`Seconding that.` Buffy piped up. She pulled her zat-gun, O`Neill had called it, closer to her body. All this new technology. All she wanted was a trusty stake. Maybe a few of them. Angel`s zat-gun was still holstered. He wasn`t being cocky or arrogant. He just felt that with three armed people, he`d have enough time to draw if the time came. He watched as Sam made some sort of hand signals to them all, then pointed forward. He figured that meant they were supposed to leave now. He followed the big black Jaffa out of the Egyptian styled room, followed closely by Buffy. Moving quickly through the corridors they eventually came upon the power source of the craft.
`Teal`c, set the timer for 1400 hours.` Sam checked her watch. `That gives us 5 and a half hours for you to be captured, taken as host and then kill Hathor.`
`Well, why don`t we go and get caught now, and you can follow us later?` Buffy suggested, eyeing the large amounts of explosive Teal`c was pulling from his backpack.
`Good. Go.` Sam turned to help her team-mate.
`Absorbed, isn`t she?` Buffy observed to Angel. He nodded back then they ran lightly to the main corridor and started walking down it, loudly and in plain sight. It didn`t take long.
`Cree!` A booming, echoing voice called out. Buffy looked up to see a troop of..horse-headed men in front of her, one with glowing eyes.
`Hi! Can you tell me where room 301 is? We`re a little`The rest was lost in the blast of a zat gun at close range, knocking both of them out.
`Well, that wasn`t particularly enjoyable.` Angel heard Buffy say as if from far away. He slowly opened his eyes, wincing at even that movement.
`Pain.` He grunted.
`Got that.` Buffy agreed. She was sitting slumped against some sort of table.
`Silence!` A woman growled in a hollow voice. Angel turned to see who it was, then regretted the movement as his whole skull vibrated loudly. `I command you to be silent.`
`Shutting up any time now.` Buffy uttered, unable to help herself. The woman struck her across the cheek. Buffy moved with the hit, then turned back, and eyebrow raised in silent derision.
`Who are you? How can you be conscious so soon? I demand that you tell me. What are your names?`
`You tell me yours, I`ll tell you mine.` Buffy replied.
`You have no knowledge of Hathor, Queen of the Goa`uld?` A man asked in a stunned voice.
`Of course we have.` Buffy stood up, looking down to Angel, who was getting up, albeit reluctantly. `Hathor, pleased to meet you. This is Angel. I`m the Slayer.`
`Slayer? She is dead. I killed her eons ago.`
`Well, there`s more than one of us, now isn`t there?`
`Silence!` She turned to look at Angel, finally getting a good look at him. She oozed up towards him, smiling seductively. She leant in close.
`And you are Angel, are you not?` She breathed, letting her unique pheromones waft out over the tall man. He nodded back, his eyes blank. She reached up and touched his chin softly, her eyes going soft and glazed. `Our children will have my eyes and your strength.` She drifted off.
`I beg your pardon?` Buffy stood straighter. Angel snapped back, his eyes widening in shock.
`He will be my new mate.` Hathor crowed. `He is strong and beautiful. Smart with a hint of danger. I believe he will father good goa`uld.`
`Not while I`m alive. Angel? Object, will you?`
`He cannot. He is mine now, as all my men are. You are alone.` She was gloating again. She was shocked when Angel turned away from her. Slowly, difficultly, but away from her. Towards the Slayer.
`What are you doing?` Hathor cried. Now is was Buffy`s turn to gloat.
`See, Queenie? He loves me. Now, you want to tell me what is going on around here? Or are we just going to play Angel in the middle?`
`What a tempting idea.` To Buffy`s horror, Hathor seemed to contemplate that thought for a few seconds, then the Goa`uld shook her head, regretfully. `There is no guarantee that you would cooperate.` She studied the man before, who was staring at Buffy with soulful eyes. He was under Hathor`s spell. The Queen knew that. But somehow he was managing to circumvent the pheromones and ignore her. She was seething that this man could do that. She looked at the tiny blonde before her, her mind working quickly. This man was obsessed with the human, to the point of overriding Hathor`s power. Yet, he was still infused with it.
`Guards!` Hathor barked roughly. An idea had sprung in her mind. This human specimen was one of the finest she`d seen in a long time. For too long, all the consorts she`d had to choose from were small, lean humans. This man was a warrior. He had a warriors body, a warriors mind. A warriorsstamina. Hathor stepped forward, her hand outstretched towards the blonde human. She drained the human of strength, hearing her moan in pain and terror. That was a sound she could bathe in. The warrior stood by, trying to approach the two of them, but conflicted as to whom he should help. Hathor smiled in glee at his confusion.
`Hold her.` She commanded her servants. Two guards darted forward to hold the woman in place, her head flung back, eyes rolling around in her head. Hathor knelt beside her, her mouth open slightly. The man behind her started to object slightly.
`Silence, man. I`m going to give you what you want. Both of us.` She cupped the blonde`s face in her hand, looking at the features. `I haven`t been a blonde before.` Hathor started jerking violently, her head snapping back and forth. Without warning a winged snake-like creature erupted from the woman`s mouth and squealed, darting towards Buffy. The body of Hathor crumpled into a pile. Angel watched in dumb horror as the goa`uld rushed towards the Slayer, screaming the whole way. Buffy, in her pain, managed to look up at Angel, her eyes pleading with him. The goa`uld slithered up her knees and rushed around to her back. Buffy`s body arched forward in pain, her cry echoing in the room. Then there was silence.
`Oh, God.` Angel breathed. Somehow, without a plan, they had managed in the space of half an hour of getting on board this ship, to find Hathor and infect Buffy with the goa`uld. He just hoped she was strong enough to fight it. He shook slightly as the pheromones wore off. It was a little difficult to concentrate, but he managed to remember to pretend that he was under Hathor`s power. The servants/soldiers were watching Buffy with sharp eyes, waiting for their Queen to rise. The blonde before him opened her eyes slowly, rolling her head slightly to get the feel.
`Help me rise.` She commanded in a deep voice, holding out a hand regally. Angel felt his heart drop when he heard the voice. Buffy hadn`t won yet. `Come, my love.` She motioned to Angel with one hand. He debated for a brief second, then walked forward, hating the pretense. He stopped in front of her, eyes downward so that she wouldn`t see the free will in him.
`Crotack, how far until we reach our destination?` She asked in that hollow voice, looking off towards a Jaffa.
`Less than a day, my Queen.` She nodded slowly, then turned back to regard Angel.
`Is the weapon prepared?`
`It is, My Queen. Your people have been working around the clock to ensure your victory.`
`Excellent. I would like to congratulate them and see my weapon.` She turned around suddenly. `Now.` She said, her eyes flaring. Two Jaffa nodded and dashed out of the room. Hathor turned back and placed her hands on Angel`s chest, rubbing him through his clothes. He almost shifted, uncomfortable. This was Buffy, but not.
`So, Angel. Where do you come from?`
`Earth.` He replied, knowing she would have received this information from Buffy.
`You are Terrin, yes? Good. Strong stock there. This host, she was weak.` She walked away to look at herself in a mirror, studying the new hosts` body minutely. She smiled at herself, pleased. She walked back to Angel and pulled his head down, kissing him thoroughly. She pulled back and looked at the remaining Jaffa.
`You will leave us.` She commanded them. They left without objection. The second the door closed, Hathor collapsed. Angel grabbed her instinctively.
`Oh, God. Angel! She.she`s killed so many people. Planets full of them.`
`Buffy?` He whispered, stunned. `Where`s Hathor?`
`Gone. When she tried to merge with me, something prevented her. I think it was the healing strength of the Slayer. Or something. All I know is that I got her memories, I got her powers, but she`s not here.`
`I hate to be cynical, but how do I know you`re you?` He wanted to believe that defeating the Queen was that simple, but couldn`t.
`Ask me something only I would know.`
`Buffy..If you`re Hathor, you would have received her memories. There`s nothing I can ask you that she wouldn`t know.`
`No.` Buffy shook her head. `We get memories, but not feelings. Just images. Carter explained it to me. Memories of feelings dilute and fade with time. Something to do with chemicals stores inside the brain. I don`t know. Look, just ask me a feeling question, Angel.`
`I think I know. Something that you would know, but Hathor wouldn`t. If it`s just images, then she wouldn`t have an image of me. Your understanding of me. When you were 18, you sent me to hell to close a portal.`
`Alcathus, acutally. Three months later, I came back. I saved you from a Jekyl and Hyde kind of guy. How did I feel when I got my memory back, and then you killed me?` There was a knock on the door, and a Jaffa announced his presence.
`Cree! Hold there.` Buffy called, then turned back to Angel, heart in her eyes. If this was Hathor acting as Buffy, she was doing a good job of it. `You were hurt, bewildered, stunned. But after, when you were in that other dimension, you understood. You realised that I had no choice. You forgave me for damning you for eternity. Accepted your fate as just punishment for your crimes as Angelus. That`s what banished you from that dimension. Your acceptance and resignation to the horrors.`
`Why did I need punishing?` Angel tested her. Hathor would not understand why he felt the need for atonement. Buffy would.
`You didn`t!` She objected, and his heart solidified. It was Hathor. Then she continued. `It wasn`t you that committed those crimes. It was the demon, Angelus. I always felt that way. It was your desire to atone for 150 years as Angelus that led you to that belief.` He grinned, relief lifting him up and pulling her with him.
`One more. How did Giles feel on your 18 birthday?`
`Like a traitor.` She said shortly. `He never wanted to give me that test, and the Council made him.`
`Good enough for me. Why are we going to look at a weapon? Can`t we just turn this ship around and point it back the way it came?`
`That won`t help the slaves she has. Had. Whatever. Besides, there`s one that stands out in her memories, that I`d like to have a look at.` She moved her head, and they headed out. Angel put on the blank, adoring face that he needed to convince the Jaffa that he was under her influence.
`You have served your Queen and Goddess well.` Buffy spoke to the crowd of dirty, tired slaves. It hurt her to see them so weak and demoralised. But she needed to be strong for just a few hours more. She scanned the crowd, looking for one person. Catching a glimpse, she strode forward, the Jaffa moving ahead of her, moving people out of the way. Their faces looked bleak. There was no hope for these people. Buffy stopped and pointed.
`Bring that one to me.` She commanded her First Prime. He strode forward and grabbed the slave and dragged her back to his Queen. The slave was silent, but glared at the woman in front of her.
`Back away, Klinat.` She said to the Jaffa.
`ButMy Queen` He objected. Buffy looked flatly at the Jaffa.
`My new love will watch over me. He is strong. Brave. And he does. Not. Talk. Back.` She ground out, her voice lowering and her eyes glowing. It was a cool affect. Klinat backed away quickly. Buffy turned back to look at the woman in front of her.
`Slayer.` She said quietly. The woman jerked, her eyes widening briefly. She hid her shock quickly, however. `You are the Slayer, aren`t you?`
`My Queen, I do not know what you speak of.` The woman whispered. Buffy muttered under her breath.
`Listen, girl. I`m a Slayer too. I`ve defeated Hathor. I want to free you people. Send you home again. But I need your help.`
`My Queen, no one could defeat you. You are a Goddess. You are immortal.` It sounded like rote learning to both Angel and Buffy.
`How the hell are we going to convince her of this?` Angel asked.
`Something Slayerish? How about that lesson Giles has hammered into me over the years? Into each generation a Slayer is born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen One, one born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires.` The woman continued the lesson.
`With the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil. You know of us?`
`Listen, will you? I am you. Well, not you. But a Slayer. From Earth. Where you guys originally came from.Never mind that now. What is your name, anyway.`
`Okay, then. Borkia, in about.` Buffy checked her watch, glancing around at the same time to see what the guards were doing. They were standing, staring off into space. Good. `In about two hours things are going to happen. Big things. Blow-up and destroy things. I want you to have your people ready to evacuate. Got that?`
`Yes, My Queen. But please, what is an hour?`
`Shit. Um.` Buffy looked to Angel for some help.
`When you hear the first explosion, gather your people and run for the Queen`s rooms. We`ll be there and ready to get you guys out.` Borkia nodded her head, her eyes glinting in her dirty face. Angel recognised that look. Buffy held it most nights. She stepped back, holding her head high.
`Klinat!` She called to the Jaffa. He came running. `In reward for their excellent work, I decree that they will have half a shift to enjoy themselves. However, I do not wish to be distracted, so close these doors and leave them.`
`Do it, Klinat. I am feeling generous today.` She leaned against Angel, giving them the reason why Hathor was acting so generously.
`Yes My Queen.` Klinat bowed as she left, Angel in tow. Back in the room they`d awoken in, Buffy turned to her Jaffa soldiers.
`Beloved`s. We are but a short time away from the annihilation of the Tau`ri traitors. We would like some time alone with our new love.` Buffy crooned, stroking Angel`s cheek. She could feel the memories she`d gained from Hathor, and followed in a similar path. `He will father strong children for us.` She turned and glared at the others. `Leave, now.` She barked. They exited, quickly. The second the door slid closed, Buffy pulled back slightly, putting a hand to her shoulder to open the com-link.
`Buffy?` Sam replied after a second. `Where are you guys?`
`We`re in Hathor`s main chamber. I`ve managed to be infected with Hathor. Angel and I are holding off the Jaffa by.pretending to be mating.`
`That sounds like Hathor.` Sam replied, tongue in cheek. `We`ve planted Plan B, set to go off in 30 minutes.`
`What!` Buffy and Angel squeaked. `You`re kidding, right?`
`No. That`s our schedule.`
`Dammit! We must have been out for longer than I thought. Sam, we`ve got slaves here. People from Nosfera. The Slayer is there. We need to get them up here, into this chamber ASAP. Thor isn`t going to take them, other wise.` Buffy broke off communication for a second, thinking madly. `Sam, you and Teal`c make your way to Level 28, to the slave decks. You`ll find Borkia. Angel will meet you there. Get them up here as soon as you can.`
`What about you?`
`Never mind about me. Buffy out.` She disconnected then turned to Angel. `See you later.` Angel nodded and left. Buffy walked across to the console looking out into the stars ahead of her. She let her mind wander and finally remembered the sequence to bring up the communication ball. A man appeared in front of her, tall and dark with a beard that was pitch black.
`Hathor!` He looked surprised. `How can I server you, my Queen.`
`Saros. I find that I am earger to destroy these Tau`ri traitors. However, I wish to lay the first strike myself. I demand that you and the others stay behind at the sixth planet and await my instructions. I wish to surprise these primitive beings. Link up with the others, so that you form one mass behind the planet`s orbit. I do not need to communicate with each of you separately. It wastes my time.`
`Understood, my Queen. It will be as you command.`
`Good. Convey my wishes to the rest.` She disconnected the ball.
SGC was buzzing with life. Troops were running to and fro, looking harried and tired already. Willow, Giles and Xander watched from the boardroom as continuous streams of people exited to the secondary site, somewhere else in the galaxy. Ministers, Senators, scientists. The best of the best. Faith had disappeared with SG2 off planet to talk with some other allies. Jack and Daniel were downstairs with Hammond, drumming out the final points. They were all busy being busy, trying not to think about the other two team-members.
`This is a lot bigger than our normal saving the world budget.` Xander commented. Willow smiled.
`Just slightly, Xander.`
`Hey, guys. We got our marching orders!` Gunn announced, striding in with Cordelia and Wesley following.
`And?` Giles asked, watching as the Stargate closed down and started dialing up once again.
`Umpa Lumpa man..`
`Gunn!` Cordelia chided.
`Fine. General Hammond wants us to stay here.`
`Why?` Xander sat down on the desk.
`The last time Earth was invaded, they came here first.` Daniel said from the doorway.
`The last time?` Cordelia replied for all of them.
`In a different reality, Earth was invaded about four years ago. They first landed here. If they follow form, and I don`t see why they wouldn`t, they`ll land here again. If that`s so, we need your.unique skills here.`
`However, General Hammond would like you to sign this indemnity contract.` Jack said, striding in.
`An indemnity contract?` Willow was stunned. `We`ve never had to sign one before.`
`No. But this is the military.` Xander smiled sarcastically. `Wouldn`t want to blame them for anything, now would we?`
`Xander.` Giles said softly. `Let me read it.` Giles held out his hand for the contract. He read quickly, nodding his head every now and then. `Okay, sign it people.` Instant obedience.
`Here!` Angel barked softly, catching Sam and Teal`c`s attention. They turned and ran quietly towards him. He opened the door and let them in. Inside, the room was bustling with activity. Borkia had done her duty. Sam was breathing hard, holding her side.
`Major?` Angel asked, stepping forward. Sam shook her head.
`I just got hit a little bit by a staff-weapon. I`ll be fine.` Angel looked unconvinced. `We need to get these people out of here. Who`s this other Slayer?`
`That would be me.` Borkia said from behind them. `You are Tau`ri, yes?` Sam nodded. `And this Jaffa?` She pointed to Teal`c. `He is our prisoner?`
`No. He`s on our side. His name is Teal`c. I`m Major Carter. And we need to be gone.`
`We`re working on it. We`re missing a few people. But I`ve got the others out looking.`
`Missing people?` Angel and Sam chorused. Borkia nodded.
`I`ve been sabotaging things here and there, doing what I can to stuff things up for the Queen. The team was already out when the other Slayer came in. They should be back any second now.`
`Fine. But we need to get the rest of you out now. I`ll stay back and wait for the others.` Sam declared. Borkia shook her head.
`They don`t know you. I`ll have to stay behind.` She turned her head and called out. A tall blonde man came jogging over. `This is Jarod, my mate. He`ll help you guide the others.` The man hesitated, then nodded, staring intently at the alien Slayer. She smiled back, then turned away. Sam and Jarod walked away, talking intently. Jarod gestured and men and women came running. Within minutes, the slaves were organised and ready to leave.
`Major Carter!` Angel grabbed the woman`s attention. `I`ll stay here with Borkia.`
`Is that a wise plan, Angel?` Teal`c walked over to them.
`As far as the Jaffa are concerned, I`m Hathor`s consort. I can bluff my through, if needs be. You two need to get these people to Buffy.` Sam looked at him carefully, then nodded.
`You`ve got fifteen minutes before it blows.` Sam turned away.
`Major? If I.tell Buffy. Never mind.` Morbid thoughts were banished to the back of his mind.
`I will.` Sam smiled grimly, then she and Teal`c led the main group of slaves out of the room. He sent a prayer with them. A lot of slaves, not a lot of places to hide. Borkia leant against a wall, content to wait for her team to return. Angel copied her, unable to do anything else.
`Nurok!` A voice bellowed. The Tokra turned around, waiting for a report. `The tau`ri weapons have been planted as instructed.`
`Good. Get in your flyer and prepare to disembark. We have little time left. What of Britak?`
`He is coming, Nurok. He said he had something to fetch first.` The other climbed up and closed the flyer. Nurok followed him, and they sat waiting for Britak.
`Report, sir!` Simmons cried, coming into the command room.
`Yes, Simmons?` Jack and General Hammond replied.
`Britak and the other Tokra have escaped. Three other mother ships have been destroyed whilst orbiting Mars.` Jack sat back, relieved. He turned to the red-headed witch sitting across the room.
`Seems that your spells worked.`
`Of course.` Willow beamed. `Translocation spells are easy, once you get the hang of them.` She put a hand to her nose. `Of course, there`s the bloody noses to deal with, but I`m used to them now.`
`Have we heard from Thor yet?` Daniel pushed his glasses up, emerging from his research.
`Not yet. But I have faith in the little guy. He`ll be here on time.`
`Buffy!` Sam whisper-called. The door opened silently, and the slaves hurried in. Buffy stood back to let them come.
`Problems?` She asked Sam and Teal`c.
`A few. But the spells Willow and Giles prepared dealt with them. Quietly, too, I`m glad to say.`
`We have done a few sneak attacks before.` Buffy was looking around the room, searching for a tall, dark head. `Where`s Angel?`
`He stayed behind with the other Slayer to wait for some of her men.`
`He stayed behind? We`ve only got minutes to go!` She rounded on Teal`c and Sam. `What the hell were you thinking?` She demanded. An older woman had approached them, and was watching curiously. With her was a tall blonde man.
`Slayer?` The woman guessed. Buffy turned round. `You are the other Slayer aren`t you?` Buffy nodded, frowning. `I am Sally. This is Jarod. I am high Waser. Borkia is my charge. This is her mate, Jarod.` The man bowed his head.
`How did you know.`
`You have the same..feeling as Borkia. And the same voice. Your mate and mine will be alright.` Jarod replied.
`Feeling?` Sam and Buffy echoed. Jarod reached up and tapped his head.
`In.` The room wavered in front of them. `Here.` He continued. Then noticed that they weren`t in the same place as they`d been a second before. Teal`c and Sam recognised what had happened.
`Thor! There`s others to come!` Sam yelled.
`We are aware of their presence. They will be picked up by the ship Tau`ri.` Thor pointed a thin hand to the screen in front, where another, larger Asguard ship hovered in view. There was a thin bright light that stretched out of view, then it vanished.
`The Tokra and your other friends are now safe.` The image panned across and Hathor`s mother ship was now framed. There was a flash of light, then the ship shrank slightly before exploding outwards in a flash of colour and flame. The crowd of newly freed slaves oohed at the sight, then proceeded to cheer. Loudly. Buffy stood back and watched, feeling pleased with herself. They`d managed to prevent the world from being destroyed by an insane alien. And freed a few hundred slaves into the bargain.
`Major Carter!` Teal`c yelled as he caught the feinting blonde. He picked her up, looking worried.
`What`s wrong with her?` Buffy asked, coming across.
`She was hit by a staff-weapon. I believe she falsified her condition. She needs medical treatment.`
`Thor!` Buffy yelled.
`Go! Now!` Britak yelled, running through the door, a young boy following behind him. Nurok fired up his flyer and left the hanger, knowing the older man would make it out. Britak lept into the closest flyer, reaching down to help the boy.
`Come on. Your father will never forgive me if I let you die!` The boy scrambled up, his blonde hair, so like his fathers, flapping into his eyes. He thrust the boy into the back and closed the top. Firing up the engine, he looked around.
`Jackson, I need you to hold on tight to your seat. This will get bumpy.` The boy nodded, wide-eyed. Britak released the flier, and they shot out into the blackness of space.
`Two to go, sir!` Simmons cried out, studying the data coming through from the sattelites. `One.` The SGC collectively held their breath. `They`re gone, sir!` Release and go nuts. Hammond sat down, eyes closed. Another world threat diverted.
`What about the others?` Jack asked after a minute. As a whole, Daniel, Jack, and the seven from California turned to the sattelite read-outs, as if it could tell them how their friends were doing.
`Thor, we need to get Sam topside, now.` Buffy told the little alien. He nodded slowly. He never seemed to do anything quickly.
`I am aware of the urgency, Slayer. We will be there soon enough.`
`Soon enough for what?` She asked. Jarod came up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder, gently drawing her away. He was surprised when it worked.
`That`s just what Angel would have done.`
`I think that you both have chosen similar men.` Sally said quietly.
`Well, when you`ve got a good thing going.` Buffy grinned, then turned to watch Teal`c holding Sam gently. `We need to get her to a doctor.`
The gate room was abruptly full of people.
`We need a doctor!` Buffy yelled, startling the guards.
`Get the Doc!` Jack barked, then saw who was injured. `Sam!` He belted down the stairs, Daniel hot on his heels. The crowd cleared and Teal`c was there, Sam held gently in his arms. Without thinking, Jack took his 2IC from the Jaffa, holding her to him gently.
`What happened?` Janet asked, coming forward with her medical team and a stretcher. Jack reluctantly put her on the portable bed, holding on to her hand gently.
`She was struck by a Staff-weapon.` Janet nodded, then she and her team exited with Jack in tow.
`Buffy?!` A voice yelled.
`Jarod?!` Another cried. The two in question smiled.
`Here!` They both cried.
Giles watched as the four people below met, hugging closely. He sighed softly. Finally, his Slayer was due some happiness. The other woman was strangely familiar. She was hugging a blonde man tight, mouths locked. Another slayer, he finally guessed.
`Who are all these people?` General Hammond sounded stunned and bewildered.
`Refugees, I would guess.` Wesley replied. He was standing next to Giles, watching his boss smile down at Buffy, his heart in his eyes. This time, there was no fear in Wesley as he watched. There was no curse to take his soul if he was happy. Cordelia came up and looked down, putting an arm around Wesley, the other around Gunn.
`We were pretty much obsolete, weren`t we?` She said.
`Isn`t that a good thing? No danger this week.` Gunn replied.
`Mmm. Okay, I`ll go with that.` Cordelia grinned.
`Thought you would.`
`Doc?` Jack asked, sitting close.
`She`s got some internal bleeding. A fractured rib. And concussion. But she`ll be okay in a few days, Colonel.` Janet Fraser took off her bloodied robe, putting it into the sanitary bin. `I closed off the bleeding and couldn`t find any other damage. She`ll come round in an hour or so.`
`Thanks, Janet.` Daniel said for them all. He was standing behind Jack, a hand on his shoulder. Hammond came in quietly, getting an update from Dr Fraser. He looked over to the SG1, gathered around the bed. He was loathe to interrupt them, but he needed Jack.
`Sir.` Jack answered, not looking up.
`We need you and Jackson in the gate room.`
`Yessir.` Jack replied, not moving.
`Now, Colonel.` Jack got up reluctantly.
`I will watch over Major Carter, O`Neill.` Teal`c declared, taking his place.
Bratac was standing with his team-members in the gate room, close to a young boy who was looking about with sad eyes.
`Hey, Bratac!` Jack yelled, striding forward with a grin on his face.
`Colonel O`Neill!` Bratac bowed his head in hello. He then bowed to Daniel.
`Who`s this?` Jack asked, looking at the boy.
`This is Jackson.` Bratac answered, hiding a smile.
`Daniel?!` Jack looked at Daniel in shock. Daniel looked as stunned.
`Not Daniel.` Bratac was grinning, his scarred face gleaming.
`Huh?` Jack and Daniel sounded as confused as they looked.
Bratac pointed at Jack. `Jack.` Then he pointed at the boy. `Son.` He then put a hand to the boy`s head. `Jackson.`
`Now hang on a second. My son is dead.`
`This isn`t Charlie, O`Neill. This boy is from an alternate reality. He was sent through to here when his Earth was destroyed by Goa`uld.` The boy was watching on, his face full of fear and confusion. `The mirror was in the ownership of Selmak when Jackson was thrust through. You and his mother were on the other side. You asked that he be given to you to raise. Then the mirror shut down. But not before Selmak saw Goa`uld enter the room and shoot you and the boy`s mother.`
`Do I dare ask?` Jack sounded waspish.
`Sam.` Bratac replied, his teeth showing.
`Oh, for crying out loud!` He threw up his hands. A small sound from the boy stopped his rant in it`s tracks. There were tears running down his face.
`Dad?` The boy whispered, then flung himself at Jack, who grabbed him awkwardly. Jack hugged him hesitantly, letting the boy cry.
`What is he doing with you?` Daniel asked Bratac.
`We were on our way to you when the spell hit, informing us of what the Tokra council had decided. There was no time to object, and I couldn`t leave the boy where we were, so I took him with us. He has been safe.`
`I wonder how Sam`ll take it?` Daniel muttered, hiding his grin from Jack. Maybe this would push them along.
`You`re kidding, right?` Sam asked, looking at Daniel in disbelief. He shook his head.
`He watched as the other you and Jack were killed on his world, then was taken into the heart of a Goa`uld mother ship. He`s a little frail right now.`
`Where is he?`
`Jack`s outside with him now. Trying to warn him that while your Sam Carter, you`re not his mother.` Daniel stopped, hoping.
`Daniel, you bring them both in here right now.` She commanded, incensed. `That`s my son out there. Whether I birthed him or not, he`s still mine.`
`Yes, ma`am.` He opened the door and gestured for them to come in. Jack came in first, checking quickly over the Major to make sure she was awake and looking better, he smiled when he saw she was, then in came Jackson. The boy looked at his mother, then walked slowly forward, his small feet pattering on the linoleum floor.
`You okay, Sam?` Jack asked as she held the boy. She nodded, her cheek resting against his hair. She looked up at him with solemn eyes.
`We have to take care of him, Jack.` She whispered. `We owe it to our other-selves.` Jack took her hand in his, eyes grave.
`I know.` Daniel left quietly, allowing this new family time to adjust.
FOUR YEARS LATER
`Come on, Dad!` Jackson yelled, running forward. Jack and Sam walked slowly after their son, who was racing towards the group of people on the other side of the park. Daniel was ahead of them, walking quickly towards his new wife. Willow looked up and beamed. They`d all been off planet for a few weeks, and the newly wed`s hadn`t seen each other in a while.
`So how was it?` Jack asked.
`The whole not going off-planet with us?` Jack grinned down at her.
`Just way too bizarre.` She rubbed her engorged tummy. `But worth it. Six months down time, and I`ll be back, Jack.` She grinned at her husband of 18 months.
`Hey, you two! That`s enough of that.` Cordelia yelled when the two Colonel`s locked lips. `We get enough from Buffy and Angel.` She pointed at the other couple, who just grinned back, unrepentant.
`Who`s for food?` Xander cried from the BBQ pit. The smell of burnt meat wafted towards them, making mouths drool. Salad was heaped onto plates, meat and sauces too. There was a noisy silence as people sat down to eat. Jackson was running around after Sarah, Angel and Buffy`s small toddler. She was giggling and squealing as she held on to her cooling sausage.
`God!` Gunn grunted, leaning back. `I can`t eat any more!`
`Know that feeling.` Wesley agreed, wiping his mouth with a napkin. Angel just grabbed another cob of corn, dripping with butter.
`I hate that.` Cordelia snarled, watching her boss eat.
`What?` Daniel asked, curled up with Willow.
`He can just eat whatever he wants, and he doesn`t need to worry about weight, or cholesterol. Nothing.` She looked back to Willow and Daniel. `I`m surprised you guys actually came. Considering the amount of time we`ve seen you this last few months. Been imitating rabbits, have we?` Cordelia grinned evilly.
`Cordy!` Gunn chided her. Daniel ignored her, watching as Sam rubbed her belly.
`Has anyone thought about the fact that you two could be having another Jackson?` He asked them. Sam looked at her team-mate and smiled.
`We did. But it`s a girl. So no double ups there, which is probably a good thing.`
`He`s got way too much energy.` Jack agreed, watching his son run after the blonde toddler.
`Give it another ten years, and they`ll be the other way around. She`ll be chasing him.` Willow prophesied.
`You think?` Giles asked, starting to clear away the paper plates.
`Please! Of course she will. This is my son we`re talking about. He`ll be irresistible.` Jack gloated. The women erupted, laughing loudly. Sam included.
`I will take the children to the play area, O`Neill.` Teal`c announced, standing up. Sarah and Jackson darted over to him. They moved off quickly, eager to play.
`He`s a good father.` Giles watched the large alien walk off with his Slayer`s daughter.
`Indeed.` Jack agreed, using a Teal`c-like voice.
`I`m pregnant.` Sam blurted out. Jack grinned at her.
`We kind of guessed that, Sam. Considering you have a tummy the size of a water melon.`
`NoI mean. The baby`s coming.` Sam sat up, her eyes widening. `My water just broke.`
`Daniel!` Jack barked, a panicked look in his eyes.
`Going.` Daniel replied, darting for the car park and his car. He drove it across the park. Literally. There was a grassy trail from the tires.
`We`ll meet you there, Jack.` Buffy called as the Colonel poured his wife into the car.
`A girl.` Willow sighed, head resting against Daniel`s shoulder. `What a sweet name. Marissa.`
`You wanna go home?` He asked, putting an arm around her shoulder.
`What? What about the others?` Willow looked around. `Where`d they all go?`
`Home. About an hour ago. You were blessing Marissa at the time.`
`We`re meeting up next month in Sunnydale.` Daniel told his wife quietly, leading her out of the maternity ward. `You can tell them to good news then.`
`Good news?` She was still a little out of it. The spell had taken a lot of energy.
`The baby. Remember.`
`That`s right. I`m pregnant, too. Forgot about that.` She grinned up at him. `Thank you, papa Rabbit.`
`No problem.` The door swung close behind them.