Hero for a New World
Disclaimer: >Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Inc., Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Productions and 20th Century FOX. Stargate SG-1 is the property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
Summery: Buffy sacrifices herself to save the world but the Powers That Be aren't ready for her to quit the fight.
Authors Notes: The following apply throughout the story:
'...' denotes thoughts.
//...// denotes radio communication.
*...* denotes communication between host and symbiote
The sun was rising over Sunnydale, California. Two young women stood at the top of a makeshift tower overlooking the town while a pulsing vortex of energy was ripping open the barriers between dimensions. Lightning like pulses of energy emerged from the portal causing transfers between dimensions. A building was transformed and demons emerged from it as another flash caused a dragon to appear in midair flying above the town.
One of the women, a petite blonde, turned to a young brunette and said, "Dawn, listen to me. Listen: I love you. I will always love you. This is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles I... tell Giles I figured it out, and I'm O.K. Give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live... for me." With that, she turned and with a graceful leap off the tower, she dove into the vortex.
* * *
Early evening just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado was nice during the summer. As the train picked up speed to make its way over the mountains on its way to Los Angeles, metal fatigue caused the train to derail, causing enormous loss of life and widespread destruction. In the days to follow the locals and those who followed the news reports were stunned to learn of a lone survivor of one of the worst transportation disasters unrelated to terrorist activity in the past ten years. Many wondered at the survival of one Elizabeth Anne Summers, called Buffy by her distraught friends that were dragged before cameras and microphones, but especially the military doctors who cared for her at the U.S. Air Force Academy Hospital where she had been airlifted to after the derailment.
* * *
Buffy slowly came back to consciousness with the realization that she hurt just about everywhere. Her memories filtered back in and she groaned as she realized that she must have somehow survived her dive into the dimensional rift opened by that old man she had thrown off the tower before freeing her sister Dawn, the Key. As she ruminated on her last memories, she heard someone speaking softly to her right.
"General, if I didn't know better I'd swear she was a host. Her healing is phenomenal and I've never seen anything like it except in a Goa'uld."
A male voice rumbled in response, "Are you sure she's not a Goa'uld, Doctor?"
"Yes, we had to do full series of X-rays' and MRIs' on her just to determine her condition. There's no sign of infestation. Plus, since her healing has accelerated in the past couple of days we've taken blood samples and are sequencing her DNA. She appears to be human, no strange protein markers, no anomalous gene sequences, nothing. That's why we're double checking, there is no explanation for her rapid healing."
Buffy cracked open her eyes and saw a short woman in a white coat, obviously a doctor, and a stout, bald man in a military uniform near her bed. "Excuse me," she croaked. "Can I get something to drink?"
The doctor immediately turned in shock and reached for a glass of water while commenting, "Good morning Miss Summers. I'm very surprised to see you awake already. How're you feeling, hmm?"
After a couple of sips to ease the parchedness of her throat, Buffy replied, "Well, I kinda hurt all over. What happened, and where am I?"
"Miss Summers," the military officer answered. "I'm General Hammond. You're in the Air Force Academy Hospital in Colorado Springs. The train you were on derailed and you were rushed here for treatment."
"Train?" Buffy mumbled in confusion. "I wasn't on a train, I was on the tower with Dawn."
General Hammond turned to the doctor as she began taking Buffy's vitals and asked, "Amnesia?"
"Hmm, I don't think so." The doctor mused, "Miss Summers, you were on a train headed to Los Angeles when it derailed. Who is Dawn?"
"Dawn's my sister." Then Buffy blinked and looked at the General, "Did you say Colorado Springs?"
"Yes, the train derailed just west of town Miss Summers."
"Um, just Buffy is fine. How did I get from California to Colorado?"
The doctor and the General shared a quick glance before Hammond answered, "Buffy, you were on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. You hadn't reached California yet." He turned to the doctor, "Doctor Fraiser, please report to the base this afternoon and let me know how she's doing. I'm going to see what I can find out about her."
"Of course, General."
"Buffy," the General addressed the young blonde again. "We'll see what we can do about reaching your family and letting them know where you are."
"Thanks. Um, my Mom died a few months ago, so it's just Dawn and me. You can also call Rupert Giles and let him know. He's kinda like a father to us. He'll be able to tell my sister and help arrange things for me." Buffy paused for a moment before continuing on bitterly, "Not like you could reach my Dad anyway. He's probably still in Spain or Italy with his secretary."
"Is this Mr. Giles in L.A.?" General Hammond inquired.
"Oh, no. We live in Sunnydale. It's about 2 hours up the coast from L.A.," Buffy sighed tiredly.
"Alright Buffy, time for some more rest. You're very lucky to have survived that crash," Doctor Fraiser told her as she administered a sedative to her IV drip. "I'm sure the General will have good news for you later."
Buffy tried to reply but was soon lost in darkness as she dropped off to sleep.
* * *
General Hammond sat behind his desk in his office on Level 28 of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, which contained NORAD on the first 15 levels, and the lower 13 contained Stargate Command, which he commanded. He was flipping through a number of documents faxed to him, which contained all the information the government was able to collect on Elizabeth Anne Summers within a few hours time. Born January 21, 1981 in Los Angeles, California to Henry and Joyce Summers. Nothing really jumped out at him so far concerning her history except the fact that she didn't have the sister she'd claimed in the hospital. There was also no town called Sunnydale in California. She was a mediocre student, cheerleader, and Prom Queen. However, her SAT scores belied that airhead exterior. She had scored well enough that she was accepted into a number of prestigious schools and had chosen to attend Northwestern, majoring in Psychology. His attempts to find a Rupert Giles in southern California had so far come up empty. Frustrated, he sighed and looked up at a knock on his door.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, his 2IC and the CO of his best off-world team, leaned his head in and said, "General, Daniel says he needs your authorization to purchase some more musty, old books. He says an old friend who works for some museum is selling part of their collection and he wants whatever it is they're getting rid of." O'Neill stood in front of Hammond's desk waiting for his reply.
"How much does Dr. Jackson need and exactly what does he need this material for?"
"Well, he said it's some diaries and histories from the British Islands that might contain some information on Goa'uld activity during the 16th through 18th centuries. He thinks that a Goa'uld, maybe Sokar, was collecting slaves and hosts back then. It would explain that Christian village we found on P9X-3971," Jack explained.
"Yes, it certainly would. Ask Dr. Jackson to provide me with a manifest list of the items he wants to purchase, how much it would cost and a short memo justifying the outlay of funds." The General started to reach for his phone when he stopped and looked back up at O'Neill and asked, "Who is this friend we would be buying these books from?"
"I think Daniel said his name was Rupert Giles."
* * *
Buffy sighed when she became aware of a light surrounding her and noticed someone standing in front of her. "Who?"
"Hello, Buffy," the figure said before moving forward. A short humanoid figure dressed in outdated clothing and a small bowler hat.
"Whistler!" Buffy spat at her companion. "What the hell is going on? I jump expecting to die and then I wake up in Colorado being told I survived a train crash. Plus they were worried about something, Gould's or whatever it is."
"Easy, Slayer, that's what I'm here to explain," the balance demon told her while holding his hands up defensively. "You were right in guessing that the Key was created using your DNA as the matrix. When you jumped, you closed the portal and saved the world."
"And?" Buffy arched her eyebrow in irritation.
Whistler sighed and said softly, "You died. Your body came out of the portal and landed at the base of the tower. All your friends survived, including your sister."
Buffy muttered a heartfelt, "Thank God," before looking back up and asking, "So why aren't I dead?"
"Well, your existence ended in that dimension while in this one your counterpart died in the train crash. The Powers have been looking into this dimension recently and decided that there are some things that need to be done. So, needing a champion here, they drafted you."
"What?" Buffy cried out. "You mean I died and they still won't let me retire? Come on, won't they ever cut me a break?"
"Listen doll, I think it kinda sucks, too. However, you're alive here. As a bonus, there are no vampires or demons in this dimension and the Powers are letting you keep your Slayer powers for another fight."
"Wait, no vamps or demons? Then what do the Powers want me to fight?" Buffy inquired.
"Well, the big threat in this universe is an alien race of parasites called the Goa'uld. They burrow into the body and take over control. They have enslaved billions of people over half the Galaxy and are at war with this Earth," Whistler explained.
"Oh, so that's what the military guy and the doctor were worrying about. Hey! They thought one was in me? That's so gross."
Whistler smiled, "Yeah, it's your Slayer healing that made them think that. Anyway, the Powers have modified your powers a bit to fit this dimension. Instead of sensing demons, you'll sense the Goa'ulds instead. Your strength, speed, and healing are a bit boosted to compensate as well. Oh, you'll also be able to operate any Goa'uld technology. Normally you'd need to have some mineral in your blood, but the Powers decided to give you the ability to do so in addition to your other powers. This is the first time they tried something like that, so be prepared for some side effects. They've also modified the Slayer essence, since no single warrior could pose a threat to the Goa'uld. You've just become the first Goa'uld Slayer, mother of the line of Goa'uld Slayers. Congratulations, First Slayer! Any other questions?"
Buffy sat still for a moment before sadly looking up and asking, "What about my friends, are any of them still my friends here in this whatever? And Dawn?"
"A couple of them, yes," Whistler replied. "Some may become friends in the future. And you'll have new friends as well. But the Key has no form here, yet."
Buffy nodded sadly, as she tried to control her emotions. "And the military?"
Whistler looked up for a moment before responding, "The people here, the ones you'll be meeting over the next day or so, you can trust. They will be some of those new friends I mentioned and tell you what to look out for. Plus, the Powers are going to provide you with someone that will help you. Be careful kid and good luck."
Whistler faded from view; Buffy sighed as the light faded and she woke up back in the hospital.
* * *
Daniel Jackson, anthropologist and linguist, reported to General Hammond's office. Jack had called him while he was engrossed in translating the markings on an urn recovered from P3R-277 by SG-7 a few weeks before. The markings appeared to be in the Irish form of Gaelic and seemed to confirm his recent musings that a Goa'uld had raided the British Isles only a few hundred years ago. But important and interesting aside, when a General called, you hustled. Hmm... Jack should have mentioned the books to the General, so maybe it's about that? But they aren't THAT expensive... for several century old diaries, at least.' He knocked on the office door and stepped in to see the General waving some papers at Jack while his best friend seemed to be rolling his eyes. "General, Jack, what's up?"
"Sit down, Dr. Jackson. Colonel O'Neill told me about your request for funds to buy some materials from a friend of yours in Britain. He said the name of your friend is Rupert Giles, is that correct?"
Daniel wondered what his friend had done to warrant the General's interest but replied, "Yes, he's a curator with the British Museum. I worked one summer with him at a dig in Wales. He's an expert in the mythology of the Isles and is good with languages. He taught me quite a bit that summer and seemed to be open to things a number of our colleagues never were. In fact, if he were an American, I would have had him recruited a long time ago."
Hammond listened to Daniel's impassioned speech about his friend and made a snap decision. "If I were able to get clearance for him, do you think he would accept?"
Jack looked very puzzled at this while Daniel immediately stated, "Once it was explained to him, I think you'd have to tie him down to keep him from being here. General, why the sudden interest in Mr. Giles?"
"Yeah, the moment I mentioned his name you seemed to know who he was," Jack put in.
"Alright, Jack, Dr. Jackson, there is a young woman in the Academy Hospital. You heard about the train derailment? She's the sole survivor. The person she mentioned as contact was a Rupert Giles."
"What?" both Jack and Daniel burst out.
"Yes. However, she mentioned this man living in Sunnydale, California. The thing is, there is no Sunnydale in California or anywhere else in the US. We thought she might have meant Sunnyvale, but there are no records of her ever living there. Plus, she mentioned a sister that isn't mentioned in any records. She is also healing very fast, inhumanly fast, approaching Goa'uld fast from the sunny side. Doctor Fraiser speculated on Goa'uld infestation, but found nothing. DNA testing shows no irregularities, the rapid healing is something we can't explain. And on the heels of this information, Doctor Jackson just happens to know a man with the same name as her mysterious contact. You see my interest now?"
Daniel tossed this about in his head while Jack said, "I'd say it's just a coincidence, but I don't believe in them. Are you having her background checked further?"
"We seem to have all the information on her that the government has. She's a bright, athletic young woman who was a cheerleader in High School and is studying Psychology at Northwestern. She was on her way home for summer break until a train derailment landed her in the hospital. Then we find these peculiarities and are now very interested in them."
"General," Daniel began. "Would it possible for me to speak to her?"
"Doctor Fraiser is supposed to report to the base this afternoon and update me on her findings. When she returns to the hospital, you can go with her and talk to her if she's awake."
"Thank you," Daniel replied. "What's her name?"
"Elizabeth Anne Summers. However, she prefers to be called Buffy."
* * *
Buffy woke to find Dr. Fraiser and a nice looking guy in slacks and a polo shirt standing just inside her room, talking softly, and looking at her. When they noticed her open her eyes, they stepped forward, "Buffy, this is Doctor Daniel Jackson. He's a friend of mine and works for General Hammond. He'd like to talk to you, if you wouldn't mind."
"Sure," Buffy replied with a yawn. "Could I have something to drink first?"
"Certainly." She turned and poured a glass of water for her patient. "Here you go."
"Thanks." Buffy sipped at the water while eyeing Dr. Jackson. "So, what do you want to know?"
"Um, well, the General said you asked to have us contact Rupert Giles."
"Yeah, although I'm beginning to wonder if he's the same here," Buffy said, then winced.
"The same?" Daniel asked intently.
"Um, yeah. I think from what has been said that something weird is going on. I mean I'm in a train crash that I don't remember. I wake up in Colorado and am being cared for by military officers. That doesn't seem right. Plus, I overheard the doctor and that General saying something about me being a Goa'uld. What the heck is that supposed to mean," Buffy bluffed. "And what do you do around here? Are you a shrink?"
"No, I'm an anthropologist and linguist."
"Really? You'd get along great with Giles then. Do you wear tweed?" Buffy joked.
"Tweed? Um, not generally," Daniel answered while trying to get back on topic. "So you know Mr. Giles well?"
"Well, yeah. He was the librarian at my High School."
Daniel pursed his lips as he thought that statement over. He knew for a fact that Rupert Giles hadn't left Britain in over a decade. That he would have worked as a librarian in an American High School was ludicrous. However, the girl didn't seem to be lying. But, she had just survived a train wreck and might be a bit addled. "Um, well, I know Rupert Giles and he's a curator for the British Museum. He's never worked as a librarian, especially here in America. Plus, from what I've heard, the town you said you live in doesn't exist."
"What?" Buffy cried out. "No Sunnydale? That doesn't..." she trailed off deep in thought. It made sense in a weird sort of way; the mayor had founded Sunnydale because of the Hellmouth. With no demons here there couldn't be a Hellmouth, or a sorcerer turning into a demon. So there wouldn't be a Watcher's Council either, since there was nothing to fight. If there were no Watchers then there was nobody to dispatch Giles after Merrick's death. 'Oh my god, Merrick might still be alive!' That thought made her feel a bit better. Suddenly realizing that Dr. Jackson was looking at her like a particularly interesting specimen in a jar, she looked back up, and said, "I think there is something definitely weird going on here."
"No kidding," Daniel agreed. "How about you tell me about what you remember of your life and then we'll see what matches with what we've learned."
Buffy sighed as she thought that over. It would probably be the smartest thing to do, but it was so hard to trust someone with the story of her life, especially anyone connected to the military. After her experience with the Initiative, it was almost impossible. However, Whistler did say this was a different universe and she would make friends with these people as well as being able to trust them. Now did she trust Whistler? A very good question. Plus, she hated talking about her life as the Slayer. It almost made her wish she had Giles' Watcher Diaries about her. It would be so much easier to let them read about her exploits than to relate them personally. It still hurt at times to delve into some of the events of her life. "You're going to think I'm a nutball," she stated with reluctance.
"Not necessarily," Daniel replied. "I've seen and done lots of stuff most people would consider impossible. Besides, from what you've been saying it almost sounds like you're from an alternate reality." Daniel smiled slightly when her eyes widened and jaw dropped slightly. "Like I said, I'll believe you."
"Why?" Buffy asked with a bewildered tone in her voice.
"Because I've been to two myself," Daniel stated calmly.
Buffy just stared at him for a moment before finally relaxing back into her pillows and muttering, "Thank God." She straightened up and agreed to tell him whatever he wanted to know about her life.
"One moment," Daniel said as he lifted a briefcase from the floor and set a large tape recorder onto a table beside the bed. "Okay, this is just to record everything so I can refer back to it later rather than pestering you to repeat things."
"Thanks. Um, what should I start with?"
"How about just stating your name, date of birth, and a general accounting of your life," Daniel responded.
"Great, I should have brought my diaries along. Or forced Whistler to send Giles' Watcher Diaries here."
"Oh boy, I guess a lot of this is going to sound crazy. Okay, my name is Buffy Anne Summers..."
Daniel interrupted her, "Buffy, or Elizabeth Anne Summers?"
Buffy looked at him like he were crazy. "Why does everyone think that Buffy is short for Elizabeth?" She shook her head, and after a moment continued, "My name is Buffy Anne Summers, I was born..." Buffy began reciting her vital statistics and told Daniel of how she was born and raised in Los Angeles until that fateful day at Hemery High School when Merrick first approached her and informed her that she was the Slayer. She continued with her story telling of Lothos, her expulsion from Hemery due to burning down the gym full of vampires, her parents' divorce, and subsequent move to Sunnydale with her mother. When she mentioned Giles introducing himself as her new Watcher, she digressed a bit to talk about the Watcher's Council and their supposed place in supporting the Slayer, and how they failed rather badly. Buffy then continued her tale with her adventures and the forming of the Scooby Gang. After many hours and not a few tear-filled hesitations on her part, with concerned comforting on his, she finished her tale with her dive into the vortex to save the world as well as her sister's life, waking in the hospital and the dream or vision with Whistler informing her of her new destiny.
Daniel sat stunned at what he had heard. Gathering the tapes and sliding them into the briefcase, he paused to squeeze her arm and told her, "Buffy, I don't know what to say. I mean, the reality you must have come from sounds horrific at times. I can't imagine how you've survived." He sighed as he loaded the recorder back into the briefcase and turned back to her with a small grin, "However, if it means anything, I think those Powers That Be made a good decision on who to send."
"Thanks, Dr. Jackson. It just cheeses me off that they couldn't just ask if I wanted to help. Typical of them though."
"Sounds like it. Well, I've got a meeting with the General in the morning and I fear Dr. Fraiser will get miffed, if I stay much longer. And it's never a good idea to get a doctor's ire focused on you, especially when you can't transfer it to another. Oh, I almost forgot, we're trying to get Giles here."
"Giles, really?" Buffy perked up immediately at that news.
"Yes, but I've wanted him to come over here for some time and this is a great excuse. Besides, I can't wait to see his face when we introduce you to him," Daniel said with a grin.
Buffy slowly formed an evil smirk herself as she realized that while she knew Giles extremely well by now, the Giles of this reality didn't know her. This could be fun!!
* * *
The next morning Daniel gathered together the transcript of his talk with Buffy from the evening before as well as some information he had gathered concerning her friends, or at least their counterparts in this reality. The similarities and differences between them were astonishing. He was still somewhat reeling over the fact that vampires and demons really existed somewhere in the multiverse. And of course the Powers That Be, who seemed to be as close to god as anything could get. He felt that what they would learn over the coming days would reshape their understanding of reality. Quickly heading into the conference room, he poured a cup of coffee and sat down next to Jack. The entire team was here as well as Dr. Fraiser awaiting the General.
"So Daniel," Jack started off. "What did you learn from Miss Summers yesterday?"
"Well, I really think the General needs to hear this, too. It's just astonishing."
"Astonishing?" Major Samantha Carter, another team member, who was also a theoretical astrophysicist, inquired.
"Yeah, it's really going to knock you for a loop." Daniel smiled slightly as he envisioned how Sam might react to learning that myths here apparently existed for real in another reality.
"What do you mean, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c, the last and only non-human team member of SG-1, asked.
"Well, from what I can tell..." Daniel was interrupted by General Hammond's entrance into the room from his office.
"Good morning, SG-1, Dr. Fraiser. I wanted all of you here for this briefing concerning our curious Miss Summers. Dr. Fraiser, how's she doing?"
Janet Fraiser opened the folder in front of her containing Buffy's medical file and stated, "As of 0600 this morning she's pretty much healed of all the wounds she received from the train derailment and I would have no problem certifying her release by this afternoon. The DNA tests we conducted show no anomalies. I can find no apparent reasons for her extremely fast healing. All readings are normal though she has an unusually large number of T cells in her blood stream. I would like to run a complete physical workup on her, if possible."
"I see no reason why not, Doctor. When you return to the hospital, go ahead and run your tests. Also tell her that Mr. Giles will be arriving here tomorrow and that you will be releasing her to come here to meet him."
"Ah General..." Jack began.
"I've talked to him already, Colonel, and, after getting clearance from the President, invited him here to work with Dr. Jackson. He was a bit leery since I couldn't tell him what he'd work on, but agreed after I said Dr. Jackson requested his presence and that we'd take care of the paperwork," the General stated, before turning to Daniel. "So, what did you learn from her? You spent hours with her, so I'm assuming you have something to pass on to us."
Daniel grinned before passing copies of the transcript to everyone as he said, "Basically, Buffy is from an alternate reality."
"For cryin' out loud, Daniel. You get on this alternate reality kick again and..."
"I'm serious Jack. And she knows it, too."
"Explain, Doctor," General Hammond looked like he'd just bitten into a lemon and didn't like it.
"Well, back in her reality she had just jumped from a tower into an interdimensional vortex of energy that was opened and would destroy her world, and several other realities. Her jumping into it was required to close it. However, it also killed her." Daniel put up his hands to stave off the questions on everyone's lips. "It was opened mystically. In her world, magic is real. Also certain creatures exist, as well as portals to other dimensions."
"Creatures?" Sam asked hesitantly.
"Vampires and demons," Daniel answered promptly. "Read the transcript of her life story. It's fascinating. This poor girl was chosen by some force or being to become the savior of her world while she was a teenager. She became a warrior striving to keep her world safe from those creatures we call myth. In fact, they are mostly considered myths on her world as well. Although I found it interesting that the United States government in her world obviously knew about the supernatural threat and even had a covert operation studying them, until they did something extremely stupid and their facility was destroyed in a battle that Buffy participated in."
"Supernatural creatures and threats, Dr. Jackson? Do you know what that sounds like?" General Hammond asked as he started flipping through the transcript.
"Yes sir, however, the most relevant part of our conversation came at the end when she related that she had a dream or vision which told her why she had been sent to our reality."
"What!?!" Everyone's heads popped up to stare at him at this statement.
"Well, she stated that she's had prophetic dreams since being called. This was more like a visitation than a dream, though. Apparently, a balance demon named Whistler came and told her that her job was finished in her universe, she died, and that was that. However, the powers that chose her in the first place decided that an accomplished warrior like herself was needed here, in our reality, to fight the Goa'uld. Hence, her awakening here with the powers she had there," Daniel explained to their incredulous looks.
General Hammond thought this sounded like the biggest load of malarkey he'd ever heard, excepting her miraculous survival and phenomenal healing ability. "Wait a moment, are you saying she knows about the Goa'uld?"
"Yeah, she said that Whistler told her that she was now the first Goa'uld Slayer for this reality. Oh, there was a line she said came from an old book that explained about Vampire Slayers that might now hold for her here. 'Into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. To stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer.' Buffy also mentioned that when one Slayer dies, another is called. It's a mystical lineage that lasted thousands of years in her reality and she may be the first of a new lineage in this one." Daniel leafed through some papers in another folder as everyone contemplated what kind of destiny the Slayer was called to have.
"I don't know what's more horrifying, that it might be true or that it might not," Sam's voice trembled as she thought about it.
"Indeed, Major Carter. However, is it not also what you might call inspiring, that a being or beings felt compelled to empower a chosen person, as their personal warrior, to help safeguard the rest of your people?" Teal'c inquired.
"Woah," Jack sputtered. "Are you saying that this girl has suddenly been chosen by some god-like being to save us all from the Goa'uld?"
"Essentially, yes. These beings might even be the truth behind the monotheistic religions. The prophets described in the Bible sound a lot like Buffy described her visions. So the basis of Judaism may well be an earlier intervention by these beings against the Goa'uld."
"Dr. Jackson, I will fax this information on to the President. I really don't know how he's going to react to reading it, though. In fact, I'm not sure how to react," the General stated. "Be that as it may, it might be wise to hold off on discussing any of this outside this room for now. Do you have anything else for us?"
Daniel pulled out a sheet of paper and grinned, "I did a search for the friends she mentions in her account and found a number of them existing in our reality. Willow Rosenberg is currently studying computer programming and analysis at MIT. She was a friend of Buffy's in high school here as can be seen in these pictures from their high school yearbook. Alexander Harris is currently an Air Force Academy graduate who is home in L.A. on summer leave. He is also slated to be recruited for Special Ops and brought into the Stargate recruitment program this fall."
"You're kidding," Jack said.
"Seriously, I was surprised, too. There are pictures of him from the yearbook, too; I think they were friends as well. There is a great picture of the three of them sitting on a bench talking together. So, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to bring him in a little early. Sam, you might have Lieutenant Hailey talk to him."
"Yeah, that might make sense. We'd have to clear that with General Kerrigan first, though."
"I'll do that, Major," General Hammond said. "It would have to be authorized through my office anyway. Continue, Doctor."
"Yes, sir. Daniel Osborne is currently a guitarist for a band playing locally in the L.A. area, which is starting to get some recognition from local radio stations and clubs. Cordelia Chase is a fashion buyer for a Beverly Hills boutique as well as an aspiring actress. Tara Maclay is a student at UCLA majoring in feminist studies. None of them seems to have been a close friend in this reality, though that's hard to tell from official documents. We'll have to wait until Lt. Harris arrives to know for sure. There is no record of an Anya Jenkins, but from what Buffy said Anya was a former vengeance demon who became human and thus would have no counterpart here. Rupert Giles is a curator of the British Museum and an expert in the myths and legends of the British Isles. He is also an acquaintance of mine from a few years before I joined the Stargate project. In Buffy's world he was also her Watcher, who was a mentor and researcher who trained and supported the Slayer. Buffy and I both can't wait to spring that on him when he arrives." Daniel grinned again just thinking about it.
The General gathered the papers before him as he stood to go. "Very well. Dr. Fraiser, conduct your tests and bring her to the base with you tomorrow. I've been told to grant her an interim clearance to the base. We'll get her to sign the necessary clearance forms tomorrow." He sighed thinking of the phone call he was about to place to the President to explain the results of this meeting. "Dr. Jackson, I suppose you should be prepared to greet Mr. Giles when he arrives and escort him here. Jack, I want you and Teal'c to prepare quarters on base for Miss Summers and Mr. Giles. Major, as soon as I have clearance, I'll expect you to pass on to Lt. Hailey and General Kerrigan what we need Lt. Harris for. Let's move people."
Everyone rushed off to complete their assignments with images of vampires and demons in their heads.
* * *
Rupert Giles looked out the window of the airplane he was currently a passenger on, heading to his new job.
It had taken him a number of hours to pack up all the materials his old friend Daniel had requested as well as tender his application for an extended sabbatical to the head curator. Slowly taking his glasses off and polishing the lenses, he pondered his new job.
A call in the early evening from an American Air Force Major General offering him a position as a civilian consultant on a classified American project working with his old friend Daniel Jackson had really thrown him for a loop. There was also the fact that they wanted him badly enough to take care of all the paperwork as well as offer an exceptional salary as long as he agreed to sign their non-disclosure forms. While not as overbearing as the Official Secrets Act of Britain, he was still bound to never speak of what he might see and learn on this endeavor to anyone not cleared.
Well, he would learn all when he arrived. It would be great to see Daniel again after so many years. He had lost touch with him several years ago when Daniel dropped out of sight without publishing or apparently doing any field work as well until a sudden letter recently informed him that Daniel was working for the American government and was interested in some information pertaining to his own field. Rupert couldn't wait to find out how all this tied together.
He sighed and leaned back in his seat to try napping a bit before arriving in Colorado.
* * *
Buffy was getting really bored with laying around when she was feeling much better when Dr. Fraiser came to see her that afternoon and said she was going to do some physical testing. "Yay, I get to get out of bed for this. Right?"
"Yes, you get to get dressed in some work out clothing and we're going to test your strength and stamina to see how you're doing." Dr. Fraiser smiled at the cheerful expression on her patient. "Feel up to it?"
"Sure. I'm really bored just laying around." Buffy jumped up and practically bounced around the room in excitement.
After changing Buffy followed Dr. Fraiser down the hall to a large room filled with some major exercise equipment that seemed to be wired to a batch of computers near the far wall. Motioning for Buffy to step up to a treadmill, Dr. Fraiser told her, "Okay, what we're going to do is allow you to get a workout and let me see how much of your strength and stamina have bounced back after your stay here."
"Um, Doc, Daniel did tell you that I'm stronger than I look, right?" Buffy asked with trepidation.
"Yes, he did, and I have a copy of what you told him yesterday." Janet Fraiser was still unsure just how much of that story to believe.
"Oh good, so I can go all out?"
"Actually, I'd prefer that you do. That way I can get an accurate baseline on your condition and if you'll need any continued physical therapy for awhile," Janet said in a slightly challenging tone of voice.
Buffy's eyes narrowed as she caught the hint of disbelief in the doctor's voice and suddenly grinned ferally, as she stepped up onto the treadmill, and said, "Fine. Let her rip."
Janet activated the recording equipment for the workout room and then started the treadmill. "Now, let's see how your stamina is doing thus far. I want you to slowly build up to a steady jog." As she stated this she glanced at the indicators as Buffy started running. She did a quick double take as she saw Buffy's speed climb to nearly 15 miles an hour. "I said a jog, not a flat out run."
Buffy grinned back impishly as she replied, "I am jogging."
Janet's jaw dropped as she spluttered, "You jog a mile in 4 minutes?"
"Well, I usually don't do much jogging. Either I'm walking or running full out."
The silence was thick as Janet processed the fact that the young girl in front of her claimed to be able to jog as fast as most Olympic sprinters run. "How long do you think you can keep this pace?"
"Not sure, probably an hour or two." Buffy was really enjoying this now. It wasn't often she got to use her Slayer powers to really astonish people. This was turning into quite a bit of fun as well as letting her loosen up a bit after the long, boring bed rest.
As she continued jogging while Janet kept checking the machines diagnostics. Sam slipped into the room and, after Janet introduced her, leaned against a wall to watch the testing. Janet finally shrugged and looked up at Buffy and said, "It's astounding, your stamina must be incredible. I suppose it would allow you to run this fast for short periods of time."
"Um, doc, I'm just jogging. Remember?"
"Right, then I suppose we should see just how fast you can sprint." As soon as the words left Janet's mouth, Buffy started breathing deeply and increased her speed dramatically. The indicators quickly climbed to just over 40 miles an hour. Janet and Sam's eyes nearly bugged out of their heads as the Slayer ran full out on the treadmill while breathing deeply to keep the oxygen flowing to her lungs.
"That's not possible!" Sam shouted while Janet was again doing diagnostics on the machine.
"Sure it is," Buffy grunted.
The two Air Force officers finally had to admit to themselves that while it was impossible for a human being to run at 40 miles an hour for even a short period of time, Buffy Summers had been doing it for almost 5 minutes already. "Alright, I think that's enough," Janet finally said as she reached for a syringe.
"Oh man," Buffy whined. "Why is it that doctors always seem to take more blood from me than most vamps do?"
Janet just took a blood sample while trying to keep from laughing. Sam had no compunctions, she simply chuckled as she handed Buffy a towel. "Just how long can you run that fast?"
Buffy seemed to consider the question for a moment as she wiped the small sheen of sweat from her forehead. "Well, I've run all the way across town a few times, so I guess at least 10 or 15 minutes. I do get tired pretty quick when I do, though. Not good to get to a fight and be too pooped to really give a good thrashing to the bad guys." Buffy suddenly looked up and asked, "Did I just say thrashing?"
Janet and Sam nodded in response and Buffy pouted as she said, "I really hang out with Giles too much, I'm starting to talk Brit."
Janet labeled the vial containing the latest sample from Buffy and pointed over to a weight machine hesitantly as she remembered that Daniel had mentioned increased strength was another of the Slayer's powers. "Alright, now that I'm in shock from how fast you can run, let's see just how strong you are too."
Buffy climbed into the weight machine and gripped the handles as Janet flipped on the hydraulics. Slowly turning a dial that controlled the amount of weight that was being placed, her eyebrows began to climb as it became apparent that Buffy was lifting over twice her own weight and didn't seem to be straining at all. Looking over at Sam, she began to increase the weight. By the time Buffy started to buckle under the strain, she was lifting over two tons. By now both women had almost no more doubts about Buffy's physical abilities. This petite young girl was capable of feats no human or Goa'uld could match. Sam doubted that even an Unas would be capable of matching the Slayer's strength. Even with only the most basic combat skills this girl would probably be the deadliest warrior on the planet.
After taking Buffy out of the weight machine, Janet started attaching wireless sensors to her body to read her vitals for the next test. As she was doing that, she told her, "Buffy, we've been told that Mr. Giles will be arriving at the base tomorrow."
Buffy's eyes lit up as she chirped, "Really?" At a nod from both Janet and Sam, she grinned and observed, "Daniel said he's a lot like my Giles. I really hope so, I miss him and Dawn and..." The words tapered off as tears began forming in her eyes.
"What's wrong Buffy?" Janet asked with concern.
Buffy wiped her eyes abruptly and whispered, "I miss Dawn. It's just so hard to believe that I'll never see her again."
Both Janet and Sam tried to comfort the girl while realizing that it would take time for Buffy to be able to stop missing her sister so deeply. Sam did have a bright bit of news for her though. "Buffy, while you may not have a sister in this reality we've learned that you had many of the same friends. In fact, your friend Alexander Harris is an Air Force Lieutenant who was going to be approached about the program later in the year. We've decided to recruit him a little sooner and get him here to help you out. We know that you were friends in high school here, so after learning about our program he should be ripe for springing your story on him."
"We were? Thank god. I don't think I could make it without my Xander-shaped friend. Say, how about Willow?"
"She's a student at MIT. She's very good with computers and science, so I might be able to get her recruited for her technical skills. According to your high school yearbook, you were best friends."
Buffy sniffled and gave them a watery smile as she sighed in relief. "Yeah, Will's my rock. I really couldn't have survived without her. Well, her and chocolate."
Sam burst out laughing as she realized she had a fellow chocoholic in front of her. Janet flipped a few switches and studied the displays before turning back to them and giving Sam a thumbs up. "Okay Buffy, now I want you to do some stretching and then you and Sam are going to do some light sparring, hand-to-hand."
Buffy immediately looked worried as she glanced over at Sam and asked, "Are you sure? My last boyfriend left me because he couldn't keep up. I guess he felt inadequate when he realized just how much stronger and faster I was than him. I mean, he could fight and all, but he couldn't handle the fact that I was better."
Sam hooked her arm over Buffy's shoulder and said with a grin, "Don't worry. I've been trained to level 3 hand-to-hand. I'm pretty good and I definitely wouldn't feel inadequate if I get beaten by someone who could throw a car at me. Beside that, I'm nobodies boyfriend."
They shared a laugh. "You know, I wonder if I could. I mean, I lifted a car once but never tried to actually pick it up and heave it," Buffy mused before finally grinning slightly back while she wiped her face with the towel and started stretching.
"Hey, you're pretty limber," Sam commented as she watched Buffy stretching her legs up over her head and contorting herself in ways that Sam was sure would rip all her muscles into shreds.
"Well, I was a cheerleader and did gymnastics for years before I was called and the Slayer powers just seemed to keep me real stretchy. Helps in fights to be able to twist like that." Buffy finished her warm-up and faced Sam while settling into a combat stance.
Sam did the same before Janet clicked a stopwatch and said, "Begin."
The two warriors slowly circled each other warily looking for weaknesses in their stances before Sam abruptly started throwing some quick jabs. Buffy leapt over her and upon landing behind her, lashed out with a sidekick that threw Sam across the room. She rolled back into a standing position to find the Slayer already there. Buffy reached out and grabbed Sam's shoulders and tossed her across the room again. As Sam tried to get up yet again she stopped when Buffy's foot suddenly appeared in front of her face. "I yield!" she cried as Janet clicked the stopwatch.
Both opponents looked over as Janet checked the displayed data again. Sighing, she turned back to them, and said, "Buffy's breathing and heart rate didn't climb more than a few notches before she had you down. Within 3 minutes as well."
Sam grinned at Buffy as she mused, "I think you and I are going to set up some matches on base for money. I want to see how much we make from a bout between you and Teal'c."
"Yeah, he's a friend and teammate. He's also probably one of the best hand-to-hand and staff fighters on the base."
"Ooh, staffs?" Buffy asked with a gleam in her eye.
Janet and Sam recognized that look and promised themselves to bet heavily on the Slayer.
"Come on," Janet said as she started stripping off the sensors from Buffy. "I think you both should hit the showers before we meet in my office and talk about the tests."
* * *
General Hammond sighed after hanging up from his briefing of the President on the Summers girl.
The President's reaction was much different than he had expected. After reading all the documents Hammond had faxed to the White House, he had questioned the General closely concerning the Powers That Be that Buffy had said facilitated her being in this reality as well as the alleged vision with Whistler that explained things to her. Then the President had asked for copies of all of the girl's medical data and any other information revealed in further interviews be forwarded to him by secure e-mail (siprnet).
He also authorized the immediate recruitment of Lieutenant Harris and the Rosenberg woman into the program post haste. He also ordered the General to immediately set the Slayer up with her friends and with Lieutenant Hailey for use as an emergency SG team if needed.
While the General was still pondering this, the President also ordered that of the Tok'ra only Selmac/Jacob Carter was to be informed of any of the information on the Slayer.
He pulled a number of forms up on his computer and began implementing the President's orders. He had a lot of work to do and not much time to achieve it in.
* * *
Buffy sat in Dr. Fraiser's office with her and Sam Carter while they reviewed the results of her physical testing. "So, did I pass?"
Janet grinned and told her, "You know full well that it wasn't that kind of test, young lady."
Sam and Buffy both giggled in response when a knock on the door quieted them. Janet called out to whoever was knocking to come in. A young teenager poked her head in and asked, "Mom, is it all right if I go to the mall with Andy and Jennifer tonight?"
Janet mused that question while Buffy and the girl eyed each other momentarily. "Well, I suppose it's all right. Say, would you mind taking Buffy here along with you? I think she needs to do some shopping."
"You can use the car," Janet shamelessly bribed her foster daughter.
"You're on. Buffy?" she asked looking at the Slayer. "Hi, I'm Cassie. I can pick you up here at 6 o'clock if you like?"
Buffy quickly glanced at Janet to see a quick nod. "Sure, that's good for me. Thanks."
"Cool. See you then." Cassie immediately backed out of the room and raced down the hall.
Buffy then looked back at the officers and inquired, "Okay, what's this all about? And where am I going to get any money to do any shopping with?"
Janet reached into a small manila envelope and pulled out a wallet, which contained identification and other items that appeared to belong to Buffy. "These were found at the derailment site. Obviously, they belong to you. There was also a sum of money, probably your vacation funds. That still belongs to you. Now, I thought you'd like to get out of here for a while and having you accompany my daughter will ease my mind as well as letting you hang out with people closer to your own age. Besides, you need some new clothing before you get into the habit of just wearing fatigues like other people I know."
"Hey!" Sam barked out in protest, which had the other two women snickering in response.
After a few moments Buffy asked, "Well, we've talked a lot about me. It'd be nice to learn a bit about you, and your program."
* * *
"Alexander Harris?" the young woman at his door asked.
"Yeah. Who're you?"
"I'm Lieutenant Hailey, I have a new set of orders for you." Jennifer Hailey smiled slightly at the look on Harris' face when realization set in. "You're to come with me and report to General Kerrigan at the Academy right away. I hope you pack quickly, there's a jet waiting for us at Edwards."
"You're kidding, what's up?" Harris was perplexed to say the least. He just couldn't imagine what he was needed for so desperately that the Air Force had dispatched someone here to fetch him with a jet to report to the General commanding the Academy.
"It's classified, so the faster we get there the faster you learn why you have to come," Hailey grinned at him cheekily.
"Fine, give me a couple of minutes. Come on in while I get ready." Harris backed into the apartment and let her enter. "What uniform should I wear to report in?"
"Class B's are fine," Hailey responded.
"Right, back in a moment." He quickly went into his room and threw a few articles into his duffel as well as his toiletry kit. Pulling a uniform off a hanger in the closet he thanked his lucky stars that he hadn't really had much time to get settled and unpack. He had been expecting to meet up with a few friends the past couple of days and they had been worried when they learned that Buffy had been in a train wreck in Colorado. He felt a bit guilty that he had left only the day before the accident and could have been there for his friend if he had just tarried a bit longer at the Academy after graduation.
'Wait a moment, maybe I am being recalled because of Buffy. I am one of her few friends. Oh God, what if she isn't doing well? Maybe they need me there as a kind of family member. Willow isn't due to arrive in L.A. for a couple more days and with her Mom dead and Dad overseas somewhere, I am probably the closest to kin she has besides Willow and, maybe Cordelia.'
He smiled as he thought about the actress. The dinner they had shared last night had been nice, especially with her news that she had met a producer at some party and had been cast as the lead in a sitcom. He had faithfully promised to watch devotedly and to get their friends to do so as well as coercing as many people as they could to watch and help boost the ratings for her. The things he did for friends, he really needed more guy friends. Even at the Academy he usually ended up making friends with the female population among his fellow cadets.
Walking back into the living room, decked out in uniform and carrying the duffel over his shoulder, he looked over at Lt. Hailey as she stood and simply pointed to the door, "Ready?"
With that the officers left on their way back to Colorado.
* * *
Willow Rosenberg rushed back into her dorm room and dropped her laptop and purse on her bed. If she wanted to take a shower before heading to the airport for her flight home to L.A., she had little time to waste. So she started stripping down, but as she pulled her shirt over her head and began unhooking her bra the phone rang. She scooped up the receiver while throwing her bra onto the bed. "Hello?"
"Yes, this is she," Willow answered as she sat on the bed and began unzipping her jeans.
"This is Doctor Janet Fraiser at the Air Force Academy Hospital in Colorado Springs. Your friend Buffy Summers is a patient here and..."
"Buffy? Is she all right? I heard about the train, I so glad to hear she's okay. She is okay, isn't she?" Willow babbled.
"Yes, she's fine. In fact, she asked about you. Do you have time to visit her?"
"Of course, my classes are over for the summer. I was planning to meet up with her and some other friends for vacation. My flight was supposed to stop for a layover in Denver anyway. I'll go ahead and fly in and get a rental car and drive down there. I'll probably be there in about a day." Willow was already mentally adjusting her plans while the doctor gave her directions to the Academy Hospital.
"I'll call my friends in L.A. and let them know I'm going to be a few days late."
Dr. Fraiser quickly told her, " Lt. Harris will be here as well."
"Really, that's great. Okay, I'll see you tomorrow," Willow hung up and finished getting ready for her shower.
* * *
Cassie showed up at the Hospital at 6 pm. "Hey!" she called out as she pulled up at the front entrance.
"Hey back!" Buffy replied as she stood up from the bench she had been waiting on, gathering a small purse and hurrying over. Climbing into the passenger seat, Buffy asked, "I thought you had a couple of friends that were going to be coming too?"
"Yeah, they backed out at the last second," Cassie said with a snort. "I think Jen's mom is working late so they're going to go to her house and make out."
"I remember when I did that. Mom would almost always come home and catch me."
Cassie giggled, "Hopefully Jen's mom won't ground her again. We're supposed to go see a concert this Friday."
"Well, if it's just the two of us, what do you want to do?" Buffy inquired.
"Mom said you needed to do some shopping, so we can start with that and then grab a bite to eat before we decide what else to do."
"Sounds like a plan," Buffy agreed.
* * *
Back at the SGC, Sam and Janet had reported the results from Buffy's physical testing and explained that the girl was out with Janet's daughter on a shopping trip to the mall. General Hammond was as astonished with the results as they had been. After reviewing the data and video recordings of the tests, he was beginning to believe in the Slayer as much as the women were. "All right, I guess I can't refute what I'm seeing here. So, where are we with the rest of the plans so far?"
Sam handed a folder to him as she explained, "Hailey flew to L.A. and has already collected Lt. Harris. They are in the air and should be reporting to General Kerrigan in a few hours. He'll make the standard recruitment pitch and if Harris agrees, he'll be told to report here in the morning."
With that Janet handed another folder to him and said, "I've talked to Miss Rosenberg and she'll be arriving sometime tomorrow as well. She's just been told that Buffy is mostly recovered from the train derailment and asked for her to visit. Major Carter has been getting information from the professors at MIT and it looks like we can go ahead and make a recruitment pitch to her as well in the next couple of days."
"Yes, she'd be a fine addition to the base technical personnel. Also, she's apparently a bit of a prodigy when it comes to programming. She's been courted by most of the big software companies even when she was in high school. She has told them all that she wanted to further her education before she would think of signing on with a company. Myself, I think she is actually planning to start her own company upon graduation. She's already marketed a few interesting programs of her own design under another name. One of them is a security protocol we are using ourselves." She sighed and pointed out, "In fact, I would rather we had her working here anyway. I think she's also very good at bypassing security protocols on some computers anyway. The FBI has had her under surveillance for the past year under suspicion that she's a hacker known as Big Red."
"Hmm." The General looked at the FBI file and looked back up and stated, "If we do recruit her, be sure to let her know that under no circumstances will she be allowed to continue as 'Big Red' and that if we found out that she was doing so using government resources we would punish her severely."
"Yes sir," Sam answered.
"So, what are the plans for tomorrow?" General Hammond wanted to know.
Janet immediately stated, "I invited Buffy to stay the night with Cassie and I after their outing at the mall. So I'll bring her in tomorrow morning at 0700. You wanted to have her meet and talk with all of SG-1 at a briefing at 0800. We figured we would then set up a sparring match between her and Teal'c afterwards."
Sam leaned in and intently told the General, "Sir, this girl's unarmed combat skills are incredible. You saw the tape and when we mentioned staffs, she gave us this really feral grin, and so we decided to see how she would match up against Teal'c. He is probably the best staff fighter on the base, if not on the planet. It would be a fair test to see if her skills in this area are as exceptional as everything else we've seen."
"I see. And I take it you plan to take a little action on the side?"
"General, we..." Sam began to protest.
"Sam, put me down for a hundred. Just don't let anyone know."
Janet and Sam both grinned at this and started planning how much to take O'Neill for, while the General just shook his head and dismissed them for the evening.
* * *
Buffy and Cassie sat in the food court suffering over their mall food after a massive shopping spree that even impressed Cassie. She had no idea anyone could shop that hard without a break. She was in awe of her companion. "So, where are you from again?"
"California," Buffy replied with a mouth full of food.
"That explains your shopping skills," Cassie smirked in response.
"Hey, you think I'm good, you should meet my friend Cordelia. She would put me to shame for only spending three hours shopping like this."
Cassie sputtered in shock and then started laughing. "Well, until I do meet her, you're still the Queen of the Mall to me."
The two girls continued their lighthearted conversation as they finished their meals and slowly made their way towards the exit. Walking towards the car, a group of guys in jeans and hoodies made their way over and blocked the girl's progress. The leader of the group ran his eyes up and down their forms and slurred out, "Hey babes, looking for a good time?"
Cassie started backing away as Buffy snorted and said, "What, do we look retarded to you?"
As Cassie stopped and stared at her in shock, the lead punk's eyes narrowed as he spat out, "You think you're too good for us bitch?"
"Please, Lassie would be too good for you," Buffy commented as she slipped into a combat stance.
"Shouldn't have said that girlie, now we goin' to have to hurt you," the lead punk said as the other three punks moved to surround the girls.
"Bring it on chump," Buffy said as she leapt forward and kicked the leader in the face. He flew back about twenty feet and slammed into a light pole and slid to the ground unconscious. Two of the other punks tried to grab Buffy's arms as she dropped into a split and punched them simultaneously in the groin. Both dropped to their knees and began puking. The last simply looked at what this girl had done to his buddies in seconds and ran away.
Cassie stared at Buffy in awe and said, "Wow! I never saw anyone do something like that outside a movie. You're awesome."
Buffy blushed, picked up her bags, and slowly lead her companion towards the car as she mumbled, "It was nothing."
"Nothing? I never saw anyone move that quick before," Cassie gushed. "And that guy you kicked, he just flew across the lot like something from the Matrix!"
As the girls got into the car, Buffy slumped into the seat and muttered, "Great, I should be making movies."
* * *
As they drove away from the mall, Cassie glanced over at Buffy, who was scrunched down in her seat, and asked her, "Um, what do you feel like doing now?"
"I don't know, what is there to do here?" Buffy replied.
"Not much, it is a school night. Um, I guess we could rent a couple of movies and veg out at home with popcorn and soda."
"Now that sounds like a Scooby night," Buffy said nostalgically.
Buffy quickly focused on the teenager and sighed, "Yeah, the gang I hung out with was dubbed the Scoobies by one of us. Xander has a real addiction to comic books and cartoons."
Cassie started giggling and said, "What, did you all travel around with a dog and solve mysteries?"
That got Buffy laughing as well. "Naw, we were kind of like a neighborhood watch group, though. Patrolled the town on the look out for the baddies."
"Is that how you learned to fight like that?" Cassie inquired.
"Well, I had a couple of people who've trained me over the years," Buffy stared out the window lost in memories.
"Colonel Jack shows me stuff sometimes," Cassie commented. "Even though Mom always yells at him about it when she catches us."
"Really?" Buffy asked. "I always thought that teenagers should learn some defense skills. You know, for situations like at the mall."
"Yeah, makes sense to me, but Mom always wigs about it," Cassie remarked. Buffy suddenly grinned and Cassie's eyebrow went up in question.
"Sorry, just didn't think anyone outside of California talked like us."
The two girls looked at each other before they burst out laughing. Now relaxed, they headed into the video store, swiftly rented a pair of new releases, and headed back to Cassie's house.
* * *
The next morning after a fun-filled video fest, Cassie was in the kitchen with her foster mother and telling her of the previous evening's action while Buffy was taking a shower. "And then she tells them that Lassie is too good for them and they start to come after us. Then Buffy kicked one guy and he like just flew across the parking lot and slammed into a light pole. Then these other two jerks grab for her arms and she just does the splits and punches them both in the...um, privates."
Janet was listening in both maternal shock and intense scientific interest to the brawl her daughter had witnessed. "And what happened to the other one?"
Cassie took a bite of her toast before replying, "Oh, he took one look at his friends all over the ground puking and all and took off. Mom, I swear it was so cool. She took them out so fast. I bet she could beat up most of the SG teams."
"Just how fast did she take them down?" Janet asked with open curiosity.
"A couple of seconds. It was so cool how fast she moved."
"You said that," Janet told her as she hooked an arm over her daughter's shoulder. "Well, Buffy has to come into work with me today. She'll be meeting Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c."
"Really? Is she going to be joining the SGC?" Cassie asked breathlessly in excitement.
"That depends on whether she wants to. But I wouldn't doubt it."
"That's so cool," Cassie said, as Buffy entered the kitchen, dressed in cargo pants and a tank top.
"Is the squirt talking about last night again?" Buffy whined.
Janet laughed as Cassie snorted into her orange juice. "Yes, I'm afraid she has been. You two should have told me last night though."
Buffy sighed and gave Janet a pointed look as she said, "There really wasn't anything that could have been done. Besides, we're fine and I think those idiots will think twice before trying something like that again."
Janet had to admit only someone with a death wish would attack Buffy when she had that look in her eyes. Sighing, she grabbed her purse and gave Cassie a kiss as she and Buffy moved towards the front door. "Bye hon, I should be back around 7 pm tonight. We'll order some pizza and have a girl's night in."
"Is Buffy going to stay over again tonight?" Cassie asked in anticipation.
"Not tonight." Janet glanced over at the Slayer as she gathered her bags. "She'll be staying on base with some friends arriving today."
"Oh, okay," Cassie sulked a bit.
"Hey Cass, if it's okay with the General and your mom I'll see about hanging with you some this weekend. I'd like you to meet my friends, too," Buffy said as she noticed the teenager's long face.
"Great!" Cassie immediately cheered up. "See ya!"
As they pulled away from the house and began the drive to Cheyenne Mountain, Janet glanced over at her passenger, and said, "I really am glad you were there to keep Cassie from being harmed, Buffy. Although having to sit through her re-enactment was entertaining."
Buffy grinned, "Hey, it's kinda my job. Besides, I like Cassie. She kinda reminds..." As her voice faltered and her eyes became moist, she turned away and stared out the window.
"I'm sorry. I know no one can ever replace Dawn. But I am glad to see that you like my daughter. Even if she can be a pain sometimes," Janet said in an effort to cheer Buffy up.
"I know but it still hurts. You know?" Buffy whispered.
"Not exactly, but then again you might talk to Daniel about this."
"Daniel? Why? What happened to him?" Buffy asked in confusion.
"Well, you know about the Goa'uld and how they take a host?" Janet asked.
"Um, yeah, Whistler said they burrow into you and kinda take over your body."
"Basically. They wind themselves about the spinal cord and part of the brain, extending tendrils into it to assume control," Janet explained.
"Ewww, gross," Buffy commented.
"Uh huh, anyway, Daniel lived on Abydos for a year." Janet saw the questioning look that appeared on Buffy's face and continued quickly, "The planet the first team gated to. While there, Colonel O'Neill's team encountered the Goa'uld Ra and helped the Abydonians to overthrow his rule. The first night in Nagada, Kasuf, the tribal leader, gave his daughter Sha're to Daniel as a gift. They fell in love and he stayed behind as her husband when the team returned to Earth. About a year later, Apophis and his forces came through the gate on Abydos and kidnapped both Sha're and her brother Skaara. They were both taken as hosts."
"Oh my God," Buffy blurted out in shock.
"That's one of the reasons Daniel joined SG-1 in the beginning," Janet told her.
"SG-1?" Buffy asked.
"There are a number of teams that go off-world. They're numbered, so you have SG-1 thru SG-17. Colonel O'Neill, whom you'll be meeting today, leads SG-1. The other members are Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c," Janet explained.
"Teal'c is the guy Sam wants me to spar with, right?"
"Right," Janet answered. "Teal'c is a Jaffa. He grew up on Chulak and was once the First Prime of Apophis before he defected."
"Wait, you mean he's an alien?"
Buffy suddenly grinned, "Cool, my first alien. Is he weird looking, with ears or something?"
Janet laughed, "No, but he does have a pouch in his abdomen which contains a larval Goa'uld."
"No way!" Buffy exclaimed. "He's got an itty bitty bad guy in his tummy?"
"Well, his ancestors were human before the Goa'uld engineered them as a slave race to serve as living incubators as well as servants and soldiers."
Buffy scrunched her face up in thought before she said, "Now I kinda feel sorry for him."
"As you should. He and his people didn't ask for that to happen to them. But over the past few years Teal'c and other Jaffa have begun a slow rebellion against the Goa'uld with the ultimate goal being to free their people from their slavery."
"Wow," Buffy commented as she contemplated what she had learned. "Maybe that's one of the reasons the Powers That Be brought me here, to help these Jaafa..."
"Jaffa," Janet corrected her.
"Jaffa to gain their freedom," Buffy finished.
Janet mused on that thought for a moment before responding, "Possibly. They are capable warriors but not in your league from what Sam and I saw yesterday. In fact, that's one of the reasons we're setting up this match with Teal'c later. To show him what you are capable of and to win as much money off Colonel O'Neill as we can before word about your abilities gets out."
Buffy giggled at that comment and slyly eyed her companion. "So, how much of the take do I get?"
* * *
Jack ambled into the conference room early to find Daniel and Teal'c already sitting at the table with cups of coffee ignored in front of them as they were in deep discussion on the subject of one Buffy Summers. "Good morning campers. You're here early."
Teal'c nodded at him to acknowledge his presence as Daniel turned to him with a short wave and said, "Hey Jack. Yeah, we're just going over the transcript again and learning all we can about where Buffy came from. Teal'c and I both find it interesting. Imagine a world with vampires and demons actually existing. You have to wonder how something like that works."
Jack grunted as he poured himself a cup of coffee and took a donut to munch on. "I thought you said it was magic?"
"Well, yes," Daniel answered. "But you have to wonder how magic actually works. Her friend Willow is a witch and able to use magic while she couldn't. So there must be more than merely knowing the words of a spell, you need to have some innate ability to use and control such power."
Sam walked into the room during Daniel's conjecture and spoke up, "Buffy told Janet and I yesterday that you had to be born with the ability to use magic. Willow didn't even know she could until their junior year in high school. And while Buffy is a mystically enhanced warrior, she has no ability to use magic. She could feel its presence but explained that as one of her mystical senses, like detecting vampires and demons."
"Exactly my point," Daniel exclaimed excitedly. "It must be a genetic trait that is handed down. Something in a persons genetic makeup that allows them to feel and focus the power known in her world as magic."
"Yeah, okay, but not really germane to what's happening here," Jack commented.
"No, but it is intriguing. Plus, I have to wonder about all those demons and such. She said before that her hometown Sunnydale was situated over a dimensional portal called the Hellmouth that when opened would release demons and such from a Hell dimension into her own. Also, she told me that she had been in a Hell dimension once herself and that time flowed differently there. For 100 years that passed there, only a single day passed in her own."
"Really?" Sam asked, her own interest peaked. "So this Hell dimension followed slightly different laws of physics?"
"Yup, it was freaky," Buffy said from the doorway as she entered along with Janet Fraiser.
"Good morning all," Janet said as she headed for the coffee.
The door to the General's office opened and General Hammond walked in along with General Kerrigan. "Good morning, SG-1, Dr. Fraiser, and Miss Summers. Let's get started," General Hammond said. "Buffy, this is General Kerrigan. He commands the Air Force Academy and has been helping to train some of the best cadets for eventual assignment to the SGC. He will be meeting with Lt. Harris after this meeting to recruit him into the SGC. Afterwards, we'll have him brought here and then you can explain what you're doing here to him."
"Thanks General, um, Generals," Buffy blushed slightly. "It will be great to see him. I just hope he's not too different from my Xander."
"Her Xander?" General Kerrigan inquired.
"Sir," Sam said to get his attention. "Buffy is from an alternate reality. However, instead of merely landing in ours by chance, she was sent here on a mission to help us to defeat the Goa'uld."
General Kerrigan raised one eyebrow as he looked pointedly at the petite blonde sitting there looking harmless.
"You'll see what I mean later, sir," Sam said in reply to the look.
"Be that as it may," General Hammond said. "The President has authorized me to immediately offer Miss Summers employment at the SGC as a civilian consultant."
"General, do you mean the President of the United States?" Buffy asked in awe.
"Yes, I do. He has been fully briefed on everything that's happened so far and read the transcript of your life story. He ordered me to offer you this position and to recruit your friends as well."
Buffy sat back in shock. "Wow, the President knows who I am. That's so neat!"
Everyone grinned at her antics before General Hammond spoke again, "So, I take it you won't disappoint the President?"
"No way!" Buffy exclaimed. "Um, I mean I accept."
"Good, we've assigned quarters on base for you. Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter will show them to you later. You'll be issued appropriate clothing and an office..."
Klaxons suddenly went off and a large red light in the corner lit up and began to revolve as a voice came over the loudspeaker, "Offworld activation."
Everyone sprang to their feet and started down the stairs to the control room with Buffy following behind.
"Report!" General Hammond barked at the technician.
"Incoming wormhole, no IDC as yet, sir." The technician continued to survey the screens in front of him as Sam slid into the chair next to him. Suddenly one of the screens popped up a window that showed a code incoming. "IDC being received now, sir."
Sam turned back to the others after reading the code signal, "It's Master Bra'tac."
"Open the Iris," General Hammond ordered as they left the control room for the Gate Room.
Buffy hurried after them, after watching the metal Iris slide back and uncover the Stargate.
As the group arrived in the Gate Room, a single figure stepped from the event horizon and walked down the ramp. He stopped at the base and looked over before speaking, "Hammond of Texas, do I have leave to enter your facility."
"You do, Master Bra'tac." The General then turned to the various armed personnel and barked, "Defense teams, stand down." Turning back, he greeted the aged Jaffa warrior, "Greetings Master Bra'tac. What can we do for you?"
Master Bra'tac nodded in response before speaking, "I am merely here to visit with Teal'c and to share some intelligence on a Goa'uld who appears to be rising to System Lord status."
"I see, in that case, why don't we head up to the conference room and get our intel people to meet with you."
"Of course," Bra'tac said before he embraced Teal'c. "It is good to see you old friend."
"And I you," Teal'c responded. He then turned as Bra'tac nodded greetings to the rest of SG-1. "Good to see all of you as well. However, I don't believe I've met this young woman."
Buffy solemnly looked him up and down before she put her hand out in greeting. "I'm Buffy Summers. The Slayer."
"Slayer?" Bra'tac asked as he reached out to clasp her forearm. "Slayer of what?"
"Well, formally vampires and demons, now Goa'uld," Buffy answered as she felt him begin to squeeze to test her strength.
"Indeed." Bra'tac began to feel her answering squeeze and winced at the power this small female human was exerting against him.
"Yes," Buffy said as she smiled slightly at him as she kept squeezing.
Finally Bra'tac could sense that his arm was going to be crushed if he continued this contest. "I see that there is much happening here as well. I am honored to make your acquaintance, Slayer."
With that Buffy released Bra'tac's arm and watched him covertly open and close his hand to start the circulation flowing again.
* * *
Everyone filed out of the Gate Room with Teal'c leading Master Bra'tac to the off-world intelligence office. The rest of SG-1, along with the Generals and Buffy, headed back to the conference room above the control room. Buffy kept sneaking peeks towards the direction the Jaffa had gone in before her attention was brought back to the group when Janet tapped her shoulder lightly and raised an eyebrow in question.
"Um, I just got a weird tingle from that guy like I got from Teal'c when we came in earlier," Buffy explained.
"I'm betting you sensed their symbiotes," Janet told her. "You did say that Whistler told you that you would be able to."
"Oh yeah, the spidey sense got converted."
Janet shook her head in amusement as they seated themselves. "It's almost identical to the ability of a Goa'uld to sense another."
"Janet?" Buffy looked at the doctor with a seriously grossed out expression. "Please don't compare me to those icky things."
"Got it," Janet replied with a slight feeling of concern for her young patient before they directed their attention back to General Hammond.
"Miss Summers, Buffy, I need you to go through these and sign them before we get you settled in," Hammond said as he pushed a large folder full of papers over to her.
Buffy sighed as she opened the folder and picked up a pen. "And here I thought I wouldn't have to do homework."
Jack snorted in amusement and received a Slayer glare that had him choking to hide it. Daniel's eyes bugged out slightly at the impressive glare while Janet put her head in her hands. Sam quickly escorted General Kerrigan out while Hammond shook his head thinking that these two were either going to despise each other or become fast friends.
Quickly signing the large number of documents, Buffy was led out by Jack and Janet to be assigned an office and to be shown where her on-base quarters were.
* * *
After showing Buffy both the office and quarters assigned to her, they led her to the quartermaster so she could pick up her issued clothing and other essential items. Jack quickly left to find out what had brought Bra'tac visiting while the women gathered everything and took it back to Buffy's quarters. With that accomplished, they searched for Sam and quickly began organizing the betting pool for the sparring bout between Buffy and Teal'c. One look at the petite blonde and the heavy favorite was the Jaffa. Sam went to collect Teal'c while Buffy and Janet headed for the gym.
"You know, this is only going to work once," Buffy noted.
"Of course, which is why Sam and I made sure to introduce you to everyone as a civilian consultant. Once everyone saw you and came to the wrong conclusion, we secured their bet," Janet replied with a grin. "But try not to hurt Teal'c too badly."
"Well," Buffy nonchalantly answered, "I'll try."
The two women entered the gym to find a large number of the base personnel lounging in wait of the bout. A couple of technicians were setting up a remote camera unit to film the event as well. Buffy grinned in anticipation as Sam led the rest of SG-1 into the gym with Master Bra'tac as well.
"Buffy Summers, Major Carter said that you would like me to assess your battle skills with a staff. Is this correct?" Teal'c asked as he approached.
"Yes, if it wouldn't be too much trouble," the Slayer replied.
"No, it would not. We can use a pair of bashaak if you like," Teal'c said as he opened a cabinet and removed a pair of wooden staffs shaped like his staff weapon. He offered one to her as his teammates and mentor moved to the side. Both warriors noticed Sam and Janet holding money up to O'Neill in an effort to sucker him into a large wager on the match. Bra'tac merely watched this with narrowed eyes as he saw the Slayer take the staff and twirl it in a quick spin. He noted her ease with the practice weapon and began to watch her even closer to observe her combat style.
"This'll do just fine," Buffy stated as she accustomed herself to the heft and balance. "How do you want to go about this? Take downs or what?"
"I would prefer we continue until one or the other of us yields," Teal'c answered.
"Sounds good to me," Buffy said. "So, when do we start?"
Teal'c lifted his staff and bowed slightly. "Bow to me and then we'll step back one pace and then begin."
Buffy did so and then the two warriors settled into their combat stances. Slowly, they circled each other a moment before Teal'c moved to strike and disarm her quickly. Buffy ducked under his attack and spun about striking out and hitting Teal'c in the back. The Jaffa staggered slightly from the force of the blow before turning to catch her next strike with the edge of his own staff.
The two began trading blows with increasing speed and force. Buffy kept to the plan she and Sam had worked out beforehand and was only using just enough strength and speed to keep Teal'c from landing a blow.
Janet in the meantime was gathering more and more bets from the personnel watching and finally got Jack to make his own bet on Teal'c. Once she had secured it, she made a sign to Sam to let her know.
Bra'tac was closely watching the match and was gaining valuable insight into the Slayer's combat techniques.
Sam suddenly shouted, "Now Buffy!"
The Slayer suddenly thrust her staff at Teal'c pushing him away as she slowly grinned and sped her attacks up. Teal'c soon found himself retreating from her assault and became aware that she had been holding back more than he had realized. He tried to disengage and roll by her, but she thrust her staff at his hands and disarmed him.
He spun and tried to kick her staff away. She leapt over him and kicked him across the room. He rolled and came to his feet to find his opponent already thrusting her staff into his chest. He flew backwards yet again as her staff cracked and broke apart from the force of her blow. As he spun back to his feet, Buffy reached out and grabbed his wrist and monkey flipped him across the gym again, to the astonishment of the onlookers. As Teal'c tried to regain his feet again, the Slayer's foot came at him in a sidekick that propelled him back across the gym. She followed that up with a number of punches that staggered the Jaffa. The force of her blows launched him to the mat on his back. He looked up to see her cartwheel across the room, scooping up his staff along the away, and plant herself over him prepared to strike again. Teal'c immediately shouted out, "Yield!" whereupon the Slayer stopped her strike inches from his chest and swept the staff into a rest position.
The onlookers erupted in shouts of disbelief and astonishment at the fact that the petite blonde, who looked dwarfed by the Jaffa, had won the match. Janet and Sam began to wander the room collecting on the bets as Bra'tac walked over to the warriors and stood looking the Slayer over. He slowly gave Teal'c a hand up. Then both Jaffa nodded to Buffy as they said, "Tek Matte, Slayer."
Daniel coughed when he heard that and turned to Jack who was staring at Buffy in disbelief. "Jack, they both just acknowledged her as a warrior of respect."
Jack blinked and muttered, "Damn that was incredible."
Buffy was looking Teal'c over as she said, "I hope I didn't hurt you, Teal'c. I promised Janet that I wouldn't go all out. She didn't want any broken bones."
Jack found his voice then. "Do you mean to say you were holding back?"
Both Jaffa looked at her as she replied, "Well, only in the beginning. Sam and Janet wanted to milk the bets a bit."
"Hey!" Jack exclaimed. "That's why Sam yelled before you started throwing Teal'c all over the gym. She was waiting for me to bet with Janet?"
Buffy blushed and looked at her feet as she said, "Yeah." Then she glanced up with a grin and said, "Plus I get a cut of the pot."
Bra'tac laughed as he laid a hand on her arm. "Slayer, you are indeed talented. However, I believe that it might benefit you to learn how to fight using Mastaba."
"What's that?" Buffy had to ask.
"The fighting art of the Jaffa," Bra'tac replied.
"Cool," Buffy noted. "I'm always open to learning any new moves that might help me in a fight."
"Buffy Summers," Teal'c stated. "You are indeed a skilled warrior. I would be pleased to instruct you in Mastaba during downtime."
"Thanks, Teal'c," Buffy said with a smile. "So, what's next on the schedule?"
Daniel smiled back at her and told her, "I'm heading off to pick up Giles and we'll get him together with you this evening. In the meantime, I think the General wanted you to start learning something about the program from Jack and Sam."
Jack gestured towards the door motioning her to proceed while Sam threw her arm over Buffy's shoulder as they walked out.
The gym quickly cleared out until the Jaffa were left alone. Bra'tac asked Teal'c, "Why did you wait so long to yield to her? You must have known she was holding back in the beginning."
Teal'c glanced back at the door the Slayer exited through, before returning his gaze to his mentor, and stating, "She held back throughout the bout. I believe she is much more powerful than she showed us."
"Indeed," Bra'tac said as he contemplated this information. "I look forward to seeing just what this woman is capable of."
* * *
General Hammond sat in his office watching the video taken of the sparring match and again marveled at the incredible speed and strength, as well as martial acumen, the young woman possessed. He was also slightly troubled at the implications of the match, regardless of the fact he did make some money off the wagering. This young woman was more powerful and more skilled than a former First Prime to a Goa'uld System Lord. And if the physical tests performed by Dr. Fraiser combined with the report of what the demon Whistler had told Buffy was true, she was probably more powerful than any physical being the SGC had ever encountered.
He quickly uploaded the digitized video file into an e-mail for the President and sent it off with his impressions and appraisal of the match. He just didn't understand the President's quick acceptance of the appearance and supposed history of the Slayer.
Shaking his head to clear these thoughts away, he turned back to the stack of papers in front of him. A fax from General Kerrigan noted that he had spoken with Lt. Harris who had accepted the proposal to train for the Stargate Program. He was going to be brought to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex and to the SGC by Lt. Hailey for a meeting with him this afternoon. The General sighed as he made a note to have Miss Summers available for the meeting.
Dr. Jackson had already departed to pickup Mr. Giles from the airport, and transport him back to the SGC. He stacked the forms that Mr. Giles would be required to sign into a folder and put that aside to carry out to the briefing room when they arrived.
He glanced over at the briefing room to see two SF's cleaning the room up and preparing it for the meeting. He motioned to one of them to make sure the window's blast shield was down to prevent anyone in the room from seeing the Embarkation Room and the Stargate. When the SF nodded in response, he turned back to his paperwork and the logistics of running the first and last line of defense for the planet.
* * *
Rupert Giles clutched his carry-on bag and walked down the concourse leading to the baggage claim area. Daniel Jackson spotted him as he entered the room from where he was leaning against the wall. Hurrying over, Daniel clapped him on the arm in greeting as they went to claim his luggage.
"Hello Mr. Giles, I'm pleased to see you again."
"Hello Daniel. Please just call me Rupert, we've been friends too long now to worry about titles and such. Besides, you've earned your doctorate while I never finished work on mine. Just too busy learning more about the history and peoples of the Isles to find time to finish a dissertation and try to defend it."
"I totally understand, Rupert. Besides, I think that the work here more than makes up for it. Plus the fact that most of the community still regards me as a nutcase."
"Yes, and I'm sorry to say that's still the case for the most part. Bloody hidebound idiots who won't even check the evidence presented before making their pronouncements from on high that it is nonsense. I, for one, read your last paper and found it to be a concise and riveting presentation of evidence that I would say definitely proved your point. While you never did state who you felt did build the pyramids of Giza, you did show that the accepted ideas are completely false."
"Thank you, Rupert, you're one of only a handful of scholars who agree with my conclusions of the evidence," Daniel said with surprised gratitude evident in his voice.
Giles smiled at his companion as they grabbed his bags from the carrousel and started for the parking lot. "Only stating the truth of the matter. However, I am curious about one thing."
"What's that?" Daniel asked with trepidation.
"Why was there no information from the Langford Dig in 1928 in your presentation? I know it's difficult to find in most texts, but you should have been able to dig something up, only to make sure the information was as complete as possible."
Daniel laughed and responded, "Actually, I found almost no information on the dig except that it had occurred and a listing of the Swedish and American members of the expedition. However, right after the presentation I met Katherine Langford herself. You do know she accompanied her father on that dig?"
"Really?" Giles replied in surprise. "No, I didn't know that. So, is she the reason you dropped out of sight?"
"Well, indirectly," Daniel started to explain. "She offered me a job as a linguist working on some of the artifacts from that dig."
"Well now, that is quite a coincidence."
"Oh yeah, even better, it led to the job I am doing now," Daniel noted with a small smile playing about his lips.
"For the United States government? How do you go from translating artifacts from an Egyptian dig in the 20's to working for them?" Giles wondered aloud.
"Well, that I'll explain once we reach the base and you've signed the non-disclosure forms."
"Yes, about that Daniel. Why am I being courted so heavily by your government to aid you on a classified project, and what could it possibly pertain to that would need our kind of expertise?"
"As I said, that will all be explained at the base. Besides, there are a couple of people there I want you to meet," Daniel said with a grin to blunt the exasperation Giles felt at all the secrecy.
"Very well then. Let us proceed to your base post haste then. I'm not sure I can contain my curiosity much longer."
* * *
Buffy sat behind the desk in her new office, while Sam sat in one of the chairs before the desk, grinning back at the Slayer, while counting out some of the cash in her hand. "Here you go. The pot was eleven thousand three hundred sixty bucks, so your quarter comes to twenty-eight hundred and forty."
Buffy accepted the cash before glancing sharply at her companion. "Wait a second, quarter? Why don't I get an equal share?"
"You do. A quarter each for Janet, General Hammond, and the two of us."
"The General bet on me, too?" Buffy asked, starring wide-eyed at her co-conspirator and likely new friend. 'I wish I had more time to actually get to know these people, but there always seems something to do.'
"Oh yes," Sam replied with that self-satisfied smile. "Right after we had shown him the data from your physical testing and told him that we were planning to have Teal'c test your combat skills with a staff he realized just what we were up to and made the first bet."
Buffy laughed out loud at that comment and grinned in pleasure knowing the General was pretty darn canny. "Well, I guess I won't be able to get too many over on him."
"Definitely not. He's very sharp and a really good CG. Very moral and backs his people to the hilt."
Buffy thought about that for a moment and sighed, "Good, that means he's automatically better than the damn Watcher's Council was."
"Um, the Watcher's Council? Wasn't that the organization that supported your fight against the vampires in your world?" Sam asked.
"Supposedly," Buffy replied. "Just that they had been around so long they were mostly useless in the real world. Giles was great but Travers and his bunch were just behind the times. Of course, that changed when I was able to get them working for me when Glory showed up."
Sam shuddered as she recalled some of the details from Buffy's transcripts about her life. "That's just so eerie, that an actual goddess from some hell dimension tried to kill you."
"Yeah," Buffy whispered. "Just to use my sister to open all the dimensions in an effort to get back to the dimension she'd been exiled from. Didn't give a hoot that it would pretty much mess up all the dimensions, including hers. She just wanted to get back, beat her brothers down, and rule again. Stupid Bitch."
Sam's eyes widened at that comment and she patted Buffy's arm to comfort her. "Hey, you beat her. No worries."
"Maybe, but I'll still worry about Dawnie and how she's taking everything," Buffy said as her eyes began to tear up.
"Well, your friends are there to watch out for her and it sounds like they will try to take care of her the best they can," Sam noted.
Buffy forced the tears away and tried to look upbeat as she said, "Yeah, they will. Tara and Willow will spoil her crazy and teach her magic. Xander will continue to clown around and make her feel better, Giles will continue being the father figure for her, and I'm sure Spike will also look after and protect her."
"That really makes me wonder sometimes. A soulless vampire who cares that much for her? Weird."
Buffy laughed as she replied, "That's Spike. He's just a total contradiction. He helped me save the world a couple of times after he stopped trying to kill me. Heck, he even said he loved me. How wiggy is that?"
"Very, but now it's time to teach you about this world and the threats it contains. You said that Whistler told you about the Goa'uld, right?"
"Yup, along with some barfy images," Buffy replied. "So, how about you tell me about the Goa'uld and the major players here?"
"You got it. Okay, on the first mission through the gate Colonel O'Neill and his team met and defeated Ra. Ra was the most powerful of the System Lords at the time. Daniel can tell you more about him and what it was like on Abydos," Sam started tutoring her new friend.
* * *
Xander's head was whirling a mile a minute as he tried to assimilate all the information that General Kerrigan and Lieutenant Hailey had dumped on him today. An alien artifact that allowed star travel, evil alien worms that possessed people, and on top of that his friend Buffy was somehow now working for the government, specifically this top-secret project. It was a good thing he was such a sci-fi geek. It kept him from being overwhelmed by all of this. Still, he kept getting stuck on the Buffy is helping fight aliens thing. Heck, Buffy and Will used to groan whenever he broke out his prized collection of B movies from the 50's.
"You all right, Harris?" his companion, Lt. Hailey, asked as she navigated the streets of Colorado Springs, heading towards Cheyenne Mountain.
"Yeah, just trying to sort everything out in my head."
"Tell me about it. I flipped when I found out about the program. It just seemed so out there and yet once I was able to go over the math with Major Carter I could see how the Stargate could actually work. Just about pissed my drawers though when I first saw it activated."
Xander grinned at her before responding, "Just hope I don't do the same. Say, how did my friend Buffy get involved in all this?"
"No idea. Heck, I never even heard of her before today. I know that General Kerrigan met her, though. So what's she like?"
"Hmm, Buffy is a really great friend. She's pretty, blonde, and really short," he replied with a smirk at his even shorter companion. "She was studying psych at Northwestern and headed home for the summer break when her train crashed. I heard about it right after I got home. It was hard to believe. Plus the stories about her being the only survivor. Well, that's Buffy. Heck, when her Mom died we all thought she would break down, but after her Dad never showed we all just got together and helped get the funeral arranged, sold the house and got her finances straight. She just plowed ahead and got everything done with hardly any tears. Always been that way, whenever any of us had a crisis she was the one who saw us through. It was just right that we could do the same for her. Especially when our folks were real hands off emotionally and her Mom was kinda the den mom for the whole gang."
"Wow, sounds like you all liked her a lot," Hailey observed.
"Yeah, she was great. When we all got sick, we'd usually all plop down at Buffy's, and her Mom would take care of all of us. We went through thick and thin together. Will and I weren't all that popular, but Buffy was. Heck, she was a cheerleader. She made an effort to be friendly even when it threatened her own standing with the rest of the 'in' crowd. She basically told them that we were fun and smart and if they didn't like her hanging with us they could jump off the pier."
Both smiled at that as they arrived at the mountain entrance. "Alright, we'll check-in with security at the front gate and then someone will escort us down to the SGC," Hailey explained.
"Cool," Xander replied. He observed the soldiers patrolling the entrance and at the barbed wire everywhere. Unsurprisingly the place looked like it was better guarded than Fort Knox. It did house NORAD after all.
The two officers walked up to the Sergeant manning the security portal and presented their IDs'. "Lieutenants Hailey and Harris reporting as ordered. We are supposed to be meeting with General Hammond," Hailey told the sergeant as she presented their authorization papers.
After close scrutiny of the papers and IDs the Sergeant waved them over to a small room to the side. "Right, wait here for your escort." He then handed them a pair of visitor badges. "Wear these at all times and don't go anywhere without your escort."
"Thanks Sergeant," both of them answered as they retrieved their documents and pinned the badges on.
* * *
Daniel quickly parked in his reserved space as he said to Giles, "Well, here it is, Rupert. Cheyenne Mountain. Home to the North American Air Defense Command, as well as the place I work at."
Giles stared at the mountain and the well-guarded entrance to its bowels, before commenting, "Good Lord, you work inside a mountain?" He also noted that whatever Daniel was doing here was important enough that he rated a reserved parking space alongside some Generals and Colonels.
"Oh, I've got my office and some storage space for whatever I'm currently translating here. Come on, let's get you through security and down to meet General Hammond. He's a great guy and a very good boss. I think you'll like him."
They headed over to security and as Giles signed in the Sergeant turned to Daniel, "Doctor Jackson, I've got a couple of Lieutenants here that need an escort to General Hammond's office. If you wouldn't mind taking them down, it would really help me out."
Daniel looked over to see Hailey and a young man in fatigues sitting in the waiting area. Figuring that this must be Xander Harris, he nodded to the Sergeant, "Sure Eddie, I'm heading down to his office with Mr. Giles anyway."
"Thanks Doc, I appreciate it."
"No problem," Daniel replied as Giles pinned his visitor badge on.
Giles was impressed with the respect he heard in the Sergeant's voice as he asked Daniel for the favor. It seemed that the soldiers guarding this facility knew Daniel by sight and must talk with him often enough that he knew them by name as well. He joined his companion as he went to collect the two young people in uniform sitting in a little room next to the entrance.
"Lt. Hailey, welcome back to Cheyenne Mountain," Daniel greeted her before turning to the young man. "Am I correct in assuming this is Lt. Harris?"
"Yes Sir," Xander replied while he eyed the man in front of him. Slight, but obviously in shape, glasses hiding piercing blue eyes and portraying a scholarly air, and short medium brown hair. The man next to him was older, early forties maybe, in good shape as well, with generally the same looks and attitude. It was almost like looking at a before and after picture, except the older man was wearing tweed.
"Well, if you would all follow me, I'll take you to see General Hammond."
* * *
Willow Rosenberg quickly made her way to the gate for her connecting flight to Colorado Springs, hauling her laptop along. She continued to go over everything the doctor had said over the phone and was a little concerned about her best friend. All the information concerning the train derailment suggested that her best friend was probably in serious condition. Especially to warrant calling her all the way here on Buffy's request only. Willow only hoped that after all the problems Buffy had gone through, she wouldn't be permanently crippled or worse.
A loudspeaker announced her flights imminent departure as she arrived at the gate to make her connection. Willow boarded the plane and, after taking her seat, continued brooding about Buffy's condition.
* * *
Back at the SGC, Buffy herself was groaning at the large stack of folders currently occupying a corner of her desk; the mission reports the General wanted her to read and familiarize herself with. Sam started snickering at the look on her face.
"Come on, it isn't all that bad. Besides, once you've read them I can tell you all the little funny details that get left out of official reports."
Buffy picked up the first one and read the summary quickly; it was the report, appended a year later, on the first Abydos mission. "Like what for instance?"
"Well, the first night in Nagada at the feast Kasuf laid out in the team's honor, Daniel was the first to try some baked lizard thing and when he said it tasted like chicken, he started clucking and flapping his arms to illustrate it to the team and the Abydonians. The Colonel told me that everyone there stared at him as if he were nuts. Even Kasuf just smiled in puzzlement and went back to eating," Sam explained. "Not to mention the wild ride he had through the desert being pulled along by a mastage, a large cow-like animal, by his ankles."
"No!" Buffy chortled.
"Oh yeah, he's gotten into some of the funniest situations. Of course, we all have at one point or another. It's the different culture thing and what happens when theirs and ours intersects. Sometimes the Colonel seems to go out of his way to ruffle the feathers of some of the people we meet and other times the people just adore him. Anyway, read through them and you'll get up to speed on what goes on around here. Most of it, at least," Sam said.
"Gotcha," Buffy replied. "So, where is your office? I know that Daniel is down the hall there and that the Colonel is somewhere on the next floor down. Oh, does Teal'c have an office?"
"I have a lab on the next level up. I'll take you to see that when you're settled in. Teal'c doesn't have an office, he mostly stays in his quarters performing Kel'no'reem, in the gym working out, or hangs out with Colonel O'Neill. Except on Friday nights, we all get together at the Colonel's house and pig out on pizzas, watch videos, and try to teach Teal'c more about Earth."
"Cool. I'm gonna have to crash that party at least once. It sounds like some of the old Scooby parties," Buffy noted. "But I still think Teal'c should have an office. Say, I was wondering about the room next to mine. Is it being used for anything?"
Sam glanced over to the door leading to the next room and thought for a moment. "No, I'm pretty sure that it's only being used for storage at the moment. Why?"
"Well, I'm kinda used to having a workspace with a large table for research parties. I was wondering if I can get General Hammond to assign it, and the office on the other side, to Giles and me."
"Oh, I see," Sam said. "Mr. Giles gets the office on the other side and the two of you share the meeting space between you and possibly use it for Slayer-type meetings."
"Yeah, think he'd go for it?" Buffy asked.
Sam pondered that and grinned back, "I can't see why not. You do have the support of the President of the United States, you know."
Buffy grinned back when the phone rang. "Summers... Yes, sir... Major Carter is here with me... Right away, sir." Buffy turned back to her companion saying, "Giles and Xander are here along with a Lt. Hailey. The General wants us to come to his briefing room right away."
"Well, let's go," Sam chirped while dragging the Slayer out of the office.
* * *
Xander tried to keep from gawking too much as the group he was with entered an elevator and descended deep into the Earth. They then got off and went through another security checkpoint and into another elevator accessed by Dr. Jackson with a security key card. Another descent, which hammered home the point that he was now deep inside a very highly classified facility. It made the wild tales General Kerrigan and Lieutenant Hailey had told him feel more real.
Then the doors opened into a corridor with color-coded stripes on the floor to help the people stationed here to find their way. A short walk led them to a briefing room with a large table in the center of the room. There was a circular metal stairway leading down to another level. Beside the door was a glass window that looked into an office, which had a stout two-star General in it.
As Dr. Jackson pointed at the seats around the table, the General entered. "Good afternoon. Mr. Giles and Lt. Harris, welcome. Lt. Hailey, welcome back."
"Thank you, sir," both Xander and Hailey responded.
"Yes, thank you. I take it that you are General Hammond?" Giles questioned.
"Yes, Mr. Giles. I know you have a number of questions but we're still waiting for a couple of people and I need you to sign the non-disclosure forms we agreed on before we can reveal anything." Hammond passed the folder containing all the forms to the British scientist.
"Hmm, quite." Giles placed the folder before him and began to go through the forms within.
"Lt. Harris, I take it that Lt. Hailey and General Kerrigan have informed you of what we do here and had you sign the necessary security forms?"
Xander straightened up and replied, "Yes sir."
"Good." The General smiled slightly as he continued, "Miss Summers is on her way down from her office. I'm sure that after we complete our business here that you'd prefer to head out with her?"
"Yes sir, I haven't seen her for a few months."
While Xander and the General conversed, Giles started signing the forms in front of him. As he went through them, he noted that they also detailed his salary and share of research funds. He was astounded at the amount of money the U.S. government was spending here. Daniel seemed to have fallen into the proverbial pit of diamonds. As he finished, he straightened up and handed the folder back to the General.
Taking the folder, Hammond seated himself at the head of the table and waited for everyone else to sit as well, "Doctor Jackson, please inform Mr. Giles exactly what we do here."
Daniel grinned and proceeded to blow his friends mind.
* * *
As Buffy and Sam walked down the corridors heading towards the General's office, Buffy snapped her fingers in annoyance, "I forgot that I wanted to talk to Janet about arranging to hang out with Cassie on Saturday."
"Well, we can always swing by the infirmary later," Sam assured her.
"Yeah, oh wait, we're supposed to meet up with Willow this afternoon down at the Hospital. I can talk to her about it then." Buffy shifted her glance towards her companion. "So, what exactly would Willow be doing here, if you hire her?"
"Well, she's got an incredible gift for computers. I want her to work with the base technical staff on the programming. We might also train her as a control room technician. How's her grounding in the other sciences?" Sam asked.
"Well, my Willow was really smart at everything. Heck, she even figured stuff out that Giles couldn't with his fear of technology," Buffy replied with a grin.
"Get out, really?" Sam asked with a smirk.
"Oh yeah, called computers 'the dread machine' and stuff. It got a little better when he dated Miss Calendar..." Buffy suddenly trailed off with a pained expression.
"Miss Calendar?" Sam softly asked.
"Yeah, she was our computer science teacher. She was also a gypsy and was killed by a vampire. I was really snarky with her right before she died because she didn't tell us stuff and I felt betrayed. It was stupid really, but Giles snubbed her out of loyalty to me. They never really got to say goodbye before she died and it was my fault," Buffy explained with weary tones.
Sam regarded her young friend a moment before saying, "That's terrible, but I'm sure that eventually you'll realize that 20/20 hindsight doesn't make any sense. If you had known what might happen, you would have reconciled with her."
"No buts, young lady. It's not like you can tell the future."
Buffy stopped suddenly in the corridor with shock on her face.
"What?" Sam asked in alarm.
"But I can, sometimes. When I get the dreams. But I never saw one with her getting killed. The Powers never gave a hint about it."
"Well then, maybe it was her time," Sam observed before raising a hand to stop whatever Buffy was about to say. "Really, if these Powers wanted you to save her, wouldn't they have given you a hint?"
"Yeah, I suppose they might have. Still, it hurts that she had to die that way. Especially since she was about to do something for us. Something her people probably wouldn't have approved of. Plus it just tore Giles to pieces." Buffy suddenly shook her head to clear the sad thoughts. "Well, this Giles didn't go through that. In fact, from what Daniel says he's never even left Britain."
"True," Sam noted. "Say, have you had any dreams here yet?"
"No way, well, except for the whatever with Whistler."
"So far, so good then," Sam threw her arm over Buffy's shoulders as they continued down the corridor.
* * *
Giles stared at his friend wondering if insanity was contagious. The story Daniel had just related to him seemed to indicate he was unbalanced at the least. Looking over at the General and two Lieutenants, he noticed the General seemed to simply nod at points in agreement while the others were very engrossed with the tale, almost as much as he was. Well, that only made sense if they were only just learning about this program.
Shaking his head, he looked back at Daniel and said, "If it weren't for where we are right now, I would think you had gone insane." Daniel just grinned back at him sympathetically. "All right Daniel, I'm not saying I believe all this, but I'm willing to listen to what you expect me to do here."
General Hammond nodded once before stating, "Mr. Giles, I do understand how this sounds. You actually reacted better than the current President when he was first briefed on the project."
"Um, quite," Giles remarked as two women entered the room.
Xander grinned at Buffy before suddenly getting a slightly startled look on his face. Buffy held a hand up before he could say anything then turned to the General as Sam spoke, "General."
"Major Carter, Miss Summers. Please sit down and we'll continue here."
Both women sat, Sam next to Hailey and Buffy next to Xander who continued to covertly stare at her. She smiled at him while laying a hand on his arm.
"Now that everyone is here, Mr. Giles, we hired you for a couple of reasons," Hammond stated. "First, we wish you to work with Doctor Jackson making translations of the various artifacts that are brought back by the off-world teams. Since Dr. Jackson is on one of those teams, you will be the head of the base team without having to interrupt the work for off-world missions."
"Excuse me, Daniel is part of your off-world exploration teams?" Giles asked for clarification.
"In fact, Dr. Jackson was part of the first off-world team and lived on Abydos for a year before returning to Earth."
Giles glanced over at Daniel in shock while his friend nodded in confirmation. Buffy immediately piped in with, "Say Daniel, were you the one who taught the Abydonian kids to make moonshine?"
Daniel had the good grace to blush as Sam laughed aloud in delight. "Uh, yeah. Skaara was always after me to teach him once I mentioned it to him, once. He couldn't wait to try it out on Jack once he returned."
General Hammond shook his head in amusement after hearing that. He knew there were some things that never got included in the official reports and it seemed this was one more that only came out when his people teased each other. It was also good to see the newest member of the SGC seemed to already be fitting in with his best team. That might just save all their lives in the future.
Giles smiled at seeing Daniel blush and learning that he had finally found some place he belonged. Then he pondered the two women and spoke up, "Excuse me, but what do you two do here?"
The General answered for them, "Major Carter is a theoretical astrophysicist and a member of one of the off-world teams. Miss Summers was offered a position as a civilian consultant on combat matters by the President of the United States."
Both Lieutenants swiveled their heads in unison to stare openly at Buffy after hearing that. She blushed slightly before saying, "I guess he likes me."
"Wait a second Buff, combat matters? I thought you were studying psychology? And when did you ever meet the President?" Xander blurted out.
"Lieutenant!" Hammond barked.
"Miss Summers will explain that to you in a moment," the General ordered. "Now then Mr. Giles, do you think you can work with us and possibly help us learn more about how Earth's cultures have been spread across the galaxy?"
"Definitely, General. I can see numerous long-held beliefs are going to be challenged just from what you've already learned. In fact," he turned to face Daniel. "I'm betting that you've found the proof you needed to confirm your theories."
Daniel nodded. "Yes, we've learned that the pyramids were built as landing platforms for Goa'uld spacecraft."
"I see. Well, I can certainly say that you would have to lock me up to keep me from working with you here."
Daniel turned to the General and said simply, "I told you so."
Hammond laughed while Buffy leaned her head to the side and peered at Giles with a fond smile. Giles himself merely blushed slightly while taking his glasses off and cleaning them.
Buffy then looked over at the General. "General, I've noticed that the room next to my office is being used for storage and was wondering if I can get that cleared and a table put in to use for meetings and planning sessions? Also, the office on the other side could be assigned to Giles."
The General thought about that for a moment before answering, "Yes, I think we can do that. Are you still going to use the gym being set up on that level as well?"
"Ooh, a gym down the hall, too?" Buffy grinned widely in pleasure before responding, "Definitely! I take it you want me to assess Xander and Lieutenant Hailey's combat skills before they get sent to training?"
"Yes. If you can do that before tomorrow afternoon?" Hammond questioned.
"Let's see, get them up to date on me, meet Willow this afternoon with Dr. Fraiser, and then test them in the morning," Buffy thought out loud. "Yes, I can do that."
"Good. Major, get them all issued SGC passes and keycards. Mr. Giles, I'll meet with you again in the morning. Miss Summers, please send me a progress report tomorrow afternoon. Dismissed!"
With everyone scrambling up from the table Xander reached out and grabbed Buffy's arm to halt her. She grabbed his wrist and twisted slightly before he released in both pain and shock. "What?" he muttered.
"Xander, I'll explain later once Willow is here. Okay?" she asked with a pleading expression on her face.
"Sure. Wait, Willow is coming too? What for?"
"Willow is going to be offered a position with the base technical staff to work on the computers here," Buffy answered.
"Woah, really?" Xander said in wonder.
"Oh yeah. I think she'll fall in love with the toys they have here. Besides, I need my buds here with me," Buffy replied.
"About that Buff, how did you get involved with all this?"
Buffy thought about that for a moment. "Hey Sam, how about you get the passes made while I take the gang to the gym and show them what's going on?"
Sam looked at her impish grin before responding, "Sure thing Buffy. Just remember we have to collect Janet and head for the hospital in an hour."
* * *
Buffy led Daniel, Giles, and the two Lieutenants to the gym that had just been finished. "Okay, this is the new gym they installed just for me, apparently."
Xander glanced around before he understood that statement and squeaked, "For you?"
Nodding, Buffy led them over to a bench at the side of the room. "Okay, Daniel has seen some of this before. So, I want everyone to sit here and watch for a few minutes. If you have any questions, ask him, until I'm finished, and then I'll answer any that are left."
Everyone agreed and sat down. Giles leaned over to Daniel while the petite girl went over to a large weight set. "Daniel, what exactly is she..." he trailed off as Buffy lifted a barbell with the weights set at 500 pounds. "Good Lord, that's not possible."
Xander and Hailey both jumped up in astonishment as they watched the Slayer begin doing reps standing up. With a grin Buffy then shifted her grip until she was lifting the barbell with only one hand. Hailey suddenly blurted, "Oh my God, she's not human."
* * *
Buffy dropped the barbell in consternation at Hailey's outburst while Daniel hastily said, "Actually, that is incorrect. Buffy is human."
Xander suddenly started to put little things together in his head and asked, "But she isn't the Buffy I grew up with, is she?"
Everyone turned to look at him, while Buffy walked over to him, and patted his arm as she sat on the bench. Giles continued to stare at the young woman in astonishment before he comprehended the younger man's statement, "What?"
Buffy and Daniel shared a look over their companions heads, nodded, and Buffy explained, "You're right, Xander. I'm not the Buffy you grew up with. Say, how did you guess that so quickly?"
"Well, first, you must have grown your hair out pretty quickly since the last picture you sent me. Second, the scar on your shoulder is new to me, yet seems to be at least a couple of years old. Third, the super strength you just showed. My Buffy is pretty athletic and limber but not the strongest person around."
"Pretty good," Buffy commented.
"Wait, so are you like a clone or something?" Hailey asked.
Daniel grinned in anticipation of Buffy's answer as he saw the twinkle in her eyes.
"Actually, I'm her counterpart from an alternate reality," Buffy replied before turning to Daniel. "I got that part right, right Daniel?"
All eyes turned to the archeologist as he said, "Yes, alternate reality is the correct term."
Xander's thoughts whirled for a second before he blurted out, "How cool is that?" with a grin before he started following those thoughts to a morbid conclusion.
Giles sat forward with a pinched expression, "Daniel, that is impossible. There is no proof that alternate realities, or higher dimensions, exist, save for some mathematical theorizing."
"Actually," Daniel replied, "there is classified proof. In fact, I have traveled to two alternate realities myself in the past few years. We found an alien artifact that allows people to do that."
"Wait a second; you have something that could get me home and didn't mention it?" Buffy asked angrily.
"We don't have it anymore. After we learned some of the dangers involved with it, General Hammond ordered it destroyed."
"Oh," Buffy said quietly.
Hailey suddenly grabbed the Slayer's arm and asked, "So you're from another reality? Does everyone there have super strength? And how did you get here, if not through that artifact?"
"Whoa!" Buffy said, holding up a hand. "Um, okay, yes, I'm from an alternate reality. No, not everyone is as strong as I am, and I jumped into a dimensional portal to save my sister and ended up here."
Xander stared at her a second then said softly, "Buffy, you don't have a sister."
Just as softly she responded, with a grimace, "Not here. But back home, I do."
Xander put his arm around her as she buried her face in his shoulder and began softly sobbing. Hailey looked sadly on while she began running mathematical computations in her head that would explain the existence of alternate realities as well as an ability to travel between them.
Giles merely stepped away from the grieving woman as he motioned Daniel to join him. As soon as he did Giles whispered to him, "This is for real?"
"Yes. She apparently changed places with her counterpart in this universe a few days ago when the Buffy of this universe died in a train wreck. There's much more to the story that I can explain later," Daniel responded.
With a nod, Giles moved over to the young woman and hesitantly patted her shoulder in sympathy. He never expected her reaction, which was to throw herself in his arms and hug him within an inch of his life. Gasping, "Hmm, Miss Summers, I still need to breathe." He watched as she released him while a soft rosy blush came over her.
"Sorry Giles. I just really needed that."
"Hmm, well, of course. You're quite welcome," he replied, slightly flustered.
Xander was looking at her in shock from Daniel's pronouncement. "My Buffy is dead?"
The blonde flinched at his question before nodding slowly. She looked into his face, her despair and fear showing plainly, she asked, "I know this must hurt. To loose your friend and yet have a sort of copy in her place." She lowered her head as she mumbled, "I'd understand if you didn't want to be around me."
Xander contemplated that for a moment before he slowly reached out to take her hand and said, "Buffy, whether you're the one I grew up with or not, you're still my friend. It might take me awhile to get used to it, but I'll try."
"Thanks Xan!" Buffy cried as she hugged him tightly to her in relief.
At that moment Sam entered the gym with a handful of documents and noticed the emotions running through the group. "Hey, is everything all right in here?"
Buffy turned to Sam and with a watery grin and said, "Yeah, just can't seem to keep from crying lately."
"Well, I've got passes and keycards for all of you." She quickly distributed them. All looked down at what they were now holding. The passes had a small color picture with the SGC logo underneath with a small security disclaimer as well as pronouncing their security level above the picture. Giles and the Lieutenants had all been granted level six clearances while Buffy had been granted a level eight clearance.
"Geez Buff, you still got a higher clearance than us," Xander quipped.
Daniel and Sam grinned as she joked back, "See, having the President like you means something." Buffy turned back to Sam and asked, "Say, do I get to meet him sometime?"
"The President?" they asked in unison.
"Yeah, he seems to really want me to work here. Plus the General said he authorized having my friends recruited."
"Wait a moment, does friends also somehow include myself?" Giles asked with a sudden insight.
Buffy and the two members of SG-1 exchanged glances for a moment before Daniel said, "Tell you what Rupert, let's go see if your new office is ready for you, and I'll tell you about Buffy's life. If that's all right with you Buffy?"
"Yeah, let him read that transcript thingie. Oh, if they cleared the meeting room you can have everyone read it. I've gotta go meet up with Janet and fetch Willow."
As everyone started out, Xander stopped Buffy with a hand on her arm, "Buffy, no matter what universe you're from, you know I'll always be your friend. I just need a little time to get used to the idea that you're Buffy but not Buffy. Did that make any sense?"
Buffy hugged Xander and replied, "Thanks Xan. I know I'll always need my Xander-shaped friend and I'll give you the time you need."
Then Daniel led the newcomers to the meeting room to let them learn the strange and bizarre life of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
* * *
Janet put her uniform jacket on as she prepared to meet with Miss Rosenberg. Waving slightly to Sam and Buffy as they entered the infirmary, she walked over to join them in the trek towards the elevator. Looking down at Buffy's blouse, she saw the new pass pinned there. "So, you went ahead and joined the team?"
Buffy did a quick double take before glancing down at the pass and back up at Janet's smirk. "Yeah, when the President asks you to join the home team it's only polite to say yes."
Sam and Janet chuckled at the comment before Janet said, "Well, that will make Cassie happy. She was wondering if you were going to go to work for the SGC. I think she just wanted you to so you could visit and hang out with her."
Buffy's eyes widened as she asked, "Wait a second, Cassie knows about the SGC?"
Janet and Sam both grinned before the memories of how Cassandra had come to be with them dimmed the amusement. "Actually, Cassie is from a planet called Hanka; her people were wiped out by a Goa'uld named Nirti, who used a bio-weapon against them. It also killed an SG team that was living there. We had set up an observatory on the planet and established diplomatic relations with the Hankan people. Cassie was the only survivor."
"Oh my gosh, that's horrible."
"Even worse, Nirti then planted a Naquada bomb inside of Cassie in attempt to blow the SGC up. Wiping out the planets population was merely a ruse to have us bring Cassie back to Earth."
Buffy could hardly believe what Janet's adopted daughter had lived through. She felt a wellspring of protectiveness for the girl who had found a new home on Earth. "That's so sick and evil," she sputtered in rage.
"That's the Goa'uld," Sam said quietly.
"If I ever come across that bitch, she's toast," Buffy raged.
Janet and Sam both put a hand on her shoulders as Janet agreed, "We'll be there to watch and help."
Sighing, Janet bustled them into her car so they could meet with Willow. "Come on you slowpokes, we're going to be late."
As they began heading down the mountain in the direction of the Academy, Buffy leaned forward from the backseat, poking her head between the two Air Force Officers. "Hey Janet, is it all right if Cassie hung out with the Scoobies on Saturday?"
Sam gave her a perplexed look, as Janet chuckled, and responded, "Well, whenever she gets up. She's supposed to go to a concert with some friends Friday night."
"Oh yeah, I forgot about that," Buffy said. "Well, in the afternoon then. Please?" she begged while using those large eyes and best pout.
"Oh my god, you're worse than she is," Janet cried. "Just don't teach her that look."
Sam began howling in laughter as Buffy smirked in triumph. "Cool. Now that's done, any of you know what I need to do to change my name?"
"Change your name?" Sam frowned.
"Well, my name is Buffy, not Elizabeth. I can't stand the thought of always wearing a badge with the wrong name on it."
* * *
Pulling into the Academy parking lot, they exited the car. Buffy caught sight of a flash of bright red hair near the hospital entrance, began running towards her friend, and bellowed, "Willow!!"
Willow turned towards the bellow and saw her best friend running towards her. It barely registered that her friend was running towards her faster than humanly possible. "Buffy!" They slammed into each other falling to the ground in a mutual hug. "God Buffy, are you okay? What happened on that train? Why were you in an Air Force hospital? What are you doing running around out here? Are..."
Buffy laughed at her friends babble. At least that seemed the same in both universes. Picking themselves off the ground as Sam and Janet approached, Buffy placed a finger against Willow's mouth to quiet her, and made introductions, "Willow, these are Major Sam Carter and Doctor Janet Fraiser. Sam, Janet, this is my best friend Willow Rosenberg."
The woman shook hands, as Willow started staring at Buffy's hair, and reached out to stroke it, "How did you get your hair to grow out so quick?"
That caused Buffy and the Air Force officers to grin at each other before Janet spoke up, "I think we should all go into my office so we can talk. Buffy?"
"Yeah, in the office. Come on Will, I've got so much to tell you," she said, grabbing Willow's hand, and dragging her into the hospital.
* * *
After giving Willow the condensed version of her story, Buffy silently waited for her reaction.
Willow was sitting in shock at what she had learned. 'Buffy is from another reality where she was a superhero, and has been brought to this one, when she died, to be one here. Crazy, but it explained the hair. Wait a second, hair, schmair. Buffy's a superhero?' "Buffy, are you sure about this?" she asked hesitantly.
Buffy nodded as she looked over at the doctor and asked, "Janet, is it possible to use the gym discreetly to show Willow how strong I am?"
Janet plucked a set of keys from her desk and motioned for them to follow her. Leading them to the gym she checked the schedule on the clipboard next to the door. "We can use it for the next 15 minutes." Unlocking the door she pushed them in and relocked it after signing the board. "Hurry," she ordered.
Buffy immediately walked over to the weights and set them up with Willow watching. As soon as she had one set up with twice her body weight, she lifted it with one hand.
Willow's eyes bugged out and she walked around the Slayer to view this feat of strength from all sides.
"Wow!" Willow muttered causing the rest of the women to grin.
They quickly hustled out of the gym to return to the office. Willow kept staring at Buffy in something close to awe, which made her friend nervous. "Come on Willow, stop looking at me like that. You know, you took this a lot better in my reality," she grumbled.
That comment just made Willow stare harder for a moment, before she blinked and shook her head, "Sorry Buffy, but it's kinda like a dream. I just keep expecting to wake up or for you to say it was all a joke. Wait a moment. Are you saying that my best friend is dead in another universe and her superhero counterpart is here instead?"
As they settled back down in the office, Sam started, "Yes it's true. Buffy told us you two were best friends in her universe. I take it from what you just said that it's true here as well?"
"Yes. I mean, since we started High School."
"You went to Hemery High, too?" Buffy interrupted.
"Of course we..." she trailed off.
"Never mind that now," Sam said briskly. "We've learned quite a bit about you, Willow, in our efforts to learn more about Buffy. Well, the Buffy from this reality, anyway."
Both Buffy and Janet grinned at that comment.
"We know you're good with computers. In fact, we use SECNET 2.0 on one of our systems," she said, referring to a program Willow had created and sold to a software company to market. Willow smiled in satisfaction at the knowledge before getting a scared look in her eyes when Sam continued, "However, I've discovered an interesting line of code in the program that I had to remove. In fact, it almost confirms my suspicions that you're the hacker the FBI refers to as Big Red."
Willow began sputtering as she tried to deny everything, before Sam continued. "Normally, I would have passed that information on already. But I thought that with Buffy working at our base and all, you might want to go to work for us yourself."
"What?" Willow asked in astonishment.
"Yup, you come to work for us, and we forget that you are Big Red. That is, if you stay clean. The General won't allow you to use our facilities to continue your hacking."
"But, but, but..."
Buffy threw an arm over her shoulders and pulled her into a hug, "Come on Willow, I can guarantee that you'll forget about hacking once you see what you'll be doing and where you'll be working."
The red headed hacker kept her eyes moving between the three women as she silently debated with herself over the position she now found herself in. This Buffy's appearance had apparently brought enough scrutiny down upon her that Major Carter had found the backdoor she left in all her programs. And what project could the Air Force be working on that would have warranted having knowledge about alternate realities? Maybe they did have a crashed saucer from Roswell tucked away in Area 51. Now that would be interesting. Finally, Willow could make no other choice than to respond with, "All right, I'm in."
Apparently the right choice as Buffy immediately drew her into another hug. "God Will, I can't wait to show you everything. Ooh, Sam, are we going to be able to get her space near my office?"
Sam grinned as she merely said, "Why don't you just requisition the entire level for you and your friends?"
Buffy grinned back as she replied. "Now that's a great idea!"
The groans from the Air Force half of the room just caused her to grin wider.
"Buffy, just how alike are you to my Buffy?" Willow asked while scrunching her face in confusion.
Looking at her friend in compassion she said, "A lot from what I've learned as well as what Xander said."
"You've talked to Xander? I mean, my Xander?"
"Yeah," Buffy sighed in response. "He's a little, well, he said that it'll take time for him to get his head around it all but that he would still be my friend."
"Oh Buffy," Willow exclaimed as she hugged the blonde. "I'm sorry. I never thought what it must be like for you to be plopped into another reality and losing your friends and family."
Tears starting to leak from her eyes, Buffy returned the hug as she said, "See, you're just like my Willow. Always more concerned for your friends feelings than yourself. How can I not care about you?"
The two girls continued their hug as they bonded and both mentally pledged to take care of the other.
* * *
After returning to the SGC, Willow was quickly processed, and signed the disclosure forms necessary to begin her employment at the SGC. A quiet word of warning from General Hammond reinforced the unstated threat that she would be in serious trouble if she were found to be hacking using the SGC's facilities. He also stated that he was going to forward the information about the backdoor to the NSA. After that, she was released back into Buffy's care. The two women quickly got her organized with on-base quarters, an office next to Buffy's, and some lab space as well.
Buffy returned to her office to collect some materials for the meeting in her conference room with her alternate Scoobies, while Willow inspected her office.
A knock on the door to the conference room caught Buffy's attention as she was stuffing the transcript of her life's story into a folder, "Come in!"
The door opened and Xander poked his head in, "Hey Buffster, everyone is gathered except you and Willow." Looking around her office, he only saw her. "Um, Willow did come with you, right?"
"Yeah, she's in her own office getting everything set up. She'll be..."
A knock at the door leading to the corridor and a redhead poking in made her response unnecessary. "Hey Buffy, where is the meeting taking place?" She then noticed the other person in the office and squealed in delight, "Xander!" Willow rushed over and immediately hugged her best friend from childhood. "How are you?"
"Hey Will, kinda dizzy from all that's been thrown at me the last couple of days," Xander replied with a grin.
"Come on you two, let's go in, and get our Scooby meeting started," Buffy said as she grabbed them by the arms and pushed them towards the conference room.
As they filed in, Buffy noticed that Giles and Daniel were seated at one end with a number of papers and books in front of them as they excitedly conversed in what sounded like gibberish.
"Hey guys, no talking foreign stuff."
Both men looked at the grinning Slayer and blushed. Daniel spoke up, "Ah, we were just comparing some notes about some artifacts I've been translating the past couple of weeks and sort of started testing our fluency."
"Oh. Well, okay then." Buffy headed for the chair at the head of the table, before stopping a moment, and turning back, "Say Daniel, how many aliens actually talk English instead of alien?"
Daniel laughed, as the others looked first perplexed, than curious themselves. "Actually, almost none of them. However, many have learned English and other languages over the years, as they kept gathering slaves from Earth."
"They still do that?" Buffy asked angrily.
"Well, probably not in the past couple of hundred years, at least that we know of."
Willow interjected, "What about the Roswell crash? Was that aliens like everybody thinks or what?"
Daniel sighed and reached for another folder on the table. Opening it to show a number of pictures, including one of Thor when he visited the SGC. "The classic Roswell Grays are actually an alien race called the Asgard. They are the basis for the myths about the Norse gods. They are actually a highly advanced and benevolent culture that protects a number of less advanced worlds from the tyranny of the Goa'uld."
"Um, so the Asgard are good guys and the Goa'uld are bad guys?" Willow asked.
"Exactly," Daniel replied as he pointed to the pictures. "Thor told us that the craft that crashed in Roswell was a small surveillance vessel. Its power system was overloaded by a lightning strike when it was flying cloaked and observing the Roswell Army Air Field." He held his hand up to keep anyone from interrupting, "Remember, it was the site of the first bomber group to carry atomic weapons."
Giles started cleaning his glasses when he asked, "Thor?"
"Um, yeah. Thor is the Supreme Commander of the Asgard Deep Space Fleet. We met him a couple of years ago. He's been here a couple of times. The first time was to mediate the inclusion of Earth into the Protected Planets Treaty."
Buffy immediately cried out, "Whoa, Earth is a protected planet?"
"It is now." Daniel reached over to a bookshelf along the wall and pulled out an extremely thick manual. "This contains the entire text of the Protected Planets Treaty after Earth was included. Mostly it boils down to the fact that the Goa'uld are prohibited from trying to conquer or destroy Earth because the Asgard would retaliate."
"Wow, good thing we met them," Xander commented.
"I still haven't met one yet," Hailey muttered.
Daniel grinned and said, "Once you complete your training and are assigned here full-time, we'll see about getting you to meet an Asgard."
Hailey grinned back in appreciation. "Thanks, Doctor Jackson."
"So, I take it this treaty doesn't protect you when you're off on other planets?" Buffy queried.
"Exactly right, so we continue to confront the Goa'uld whenever we're offworld," Daniel answered in delight at Buffy's quick take on the matter.
"Okay, that makes sense. Plus I bet these Gould's are always trying to find ways around the treaty anyway. They sound slimy enough," Buffy said with a look of distaste.
Daniel nodded. "Yes, they have and will. They are not to be trusted in any way. They would as soon kill you or make you a host or slave. They firmly believe themselves to be gods and that everything and everyone in the universe belongs to them."
"Sociopaths," Willow noted.
The discussion continued as the newcomers were brought up to speed on the SGC and its mission. A few interesting thoughts emerged that were noted to be passed on to General Hammond for review before the group finally headed off to bed.
* * *
The Next Morning
While Willow was being introduced around the technical section, Buffy headed off to her gym with Xander and Hailey in tow.
"You aren't gonna throw us around the gym like we heard you did to Teal'c, are you?" Xander asked with a hint of fear.
Laughing, Buffy shook her head and escorted them inside. "Nope, the General just wants me to evaluate your combat skills. That means you try to throw me around."
Xander grinned, while Hailey lifted an eyebrow. "Oh yeah, throw the Buffster around."
After making sure the gym was clear, except for the airman assigned to maintain the Slayer's gym, who surreptitiously activated a bank of video cameras, standing to the side, Buffy motioned for the two officers to attack her. Both attempted to sweep her legs, which she jumped over. Landing, Buffy rolled out, and was back on her feet. Xander and Hailey turned and split up to make it more difficult for her to track them.
"Nice, you're working together already," Buffy commented.
Hailey immediately leapt at the Slayer with her foot leading in a sidekick. Buffy ducked under and elbowed the woman. As Hailey's breath whooshed out, Xander threw a punch. Buffy slipped the punch and shoved him in the back causing him to trip over Hailey. As the two officers looked up, Buffy slowly brushed her fingernails across her chest and blew on them while smirking.
Xander picked up Hailey and threw the smaller Lieutenant right at Buffy while kicking out, hoping to catch the Slayer when she ducked. Instead, Buffy leapt up and pushed Hailey aside in midair and as she came over Xander's leg, she smacked him in the face with her palm.
Both officers again looked up at the Slayer from the floor. Hailey gasped out, "Is it remotely possible for us to beat you?"
"Remotely?" Buffy mused. "Yes, but it's not likely." She reached down and gave both of them a hand up. "I once beat eight Special Forces soldiers and didn't break a sweat."
"Eight!?!" they both shouted.
"Yep, and I've grown better since. So you can see why it's unlikely you'd be able to beat me in a straight-up fight. Other than that, I think you both have good physical skills and you both were able to work together after only moments. That's very good. You'll both integrate really well into whatever teams you're assigned to."
"Thanks Buff," Xander said when his breathing calmed.
"You really think so?" Hailey asked.
"Sure, in fact, I want to spar some with you when you get back from training. Since you're actually somewhat shorter than I am, I can teach you some neat tricks for short women that guys always fall for."
They all laughed at that and headed for the locker room.
* * *
General Hammond reviewed the video from the Slayer's gym and again marveled at Buffy's speed and combat skills. Attaching the video clip to a siprnet email addressed to the President, he sent it off. The General still wondered at President Bartlet's intense interest in Buffy Summers, but put it aside as he tried to finish the never-ending paperwork that came with his job.
* * *
Buffy sat in her office typing up her report on Xander and Hailey's combat evaluation when Sam stopped in, "So, how did it go this morning?"
Buffy paused and pursed her lips before answering, "They're pretty good. I'm really surprised how well they worked together. They never met before a couple of days ago, which makes it even more surprising."
"Really?" Sam asked as she sat before Buffy's desk.
"Yeah, they did good. Plus, with Hailey being even shorter than I am, I can teach her some really cool moves that will catch any opponent off guard. They always think someone that small is no threat."
Sam cocked her head to the side as she contemplated that comment. "Okay, I can see where that holds true for you. I mean, you're so small. Lt. Hailey is a few inches shorter but is a bit more solid looking than you are."
Buffy grinned and replied, "Um hmm, but it's the shortness thing. I'm sure that while you're underestimated for being female, people don't mistake the fact that you can fight." Motioning up and down with her hand, Buffy continued, "It's the height thing. You're almost 5'9" or so, right?"
"Almost exactly," Sam agreed.
"Your opponents don't tend to be almost a foot taller than you." Leaning forward, she emphasized her words, "They don't look down on you."
"Ah," Sam grunted, as she finally understood Buffy's point.
Leaning back into her chair, Buffy nodded with satisfaction. "You see, it's the height thing. And it's very easy to use that against them."
Sam grinned, "I bet you've done that a lot, haven't you?"
Buffy finished her report and sent it to the printer before replying, "Of course. I wouldn't be here if I hadn't. Besides, most vamps are pretty arrogant anyway. They just can't believe that a slip of a girl can fight them as an equal."
"They're as strong and fast as you are?"
"Well, I'm a little stronger and faster. Not much but a little or I was before the PTB's pumped me up. It was enough to give me the edge as long as I didn't make a mistake."
"And have you? Made a mistake, that is," Sam wondered.
"Oh yeah," Buffy muttered. "Let a vamp get my own stake from me and he jabbed it into my stomach." She slowly raised her shirt to show the faint scar from where a vampire had staked her.
* * *
After dropping the report off for General Hammond, Buffy wandered up to the lab section where she found Willow and a couple of techs gathered around some weird gizmos. "Hey Will, what's up?"
"Oh, hi Buffy!" Willow pried her attention away long enough to acknowledge her friend. "What brings you up here?"
"Just finished some paperwork and thought I'd see how you're doing."
"Oh, I'm fine. You should see some of the gadgets the teams have brought back from offworld. I mean there's this one that..."
Buffy grinned at Willow's enthusiasm; it really made her feel better. After Willow finally trailed off, she asked, "I was wondering if you want to hang out with me and Janet's daughter this weekend. Maybe do a vidfest and pigout?"
"Sure," Willow responded. "Um, I haven't met Janet's daughter, have I?"
Buffy laughed, "Nope. But Cassie is pretty cool for a teenager and she knows about the SGC so we can talk about the base and stuff around her."
"Great, come get me when it's time. I have so much to see and the training is very intense."
"Sure thing Will, it'll be Saturday afternoon." Buffy left her friend and went in search of Teal'c.
A knock on his door brought out the sharp, "Come," from within. Buffy opened the door and found Teal'c sitting in the middle of the room with about a hundred lit candles.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were meditating," Buffy apologized with a blush. "I can come back later."
"It is all right, Buffy Summers, I had just completed my Kel'no'reem when you knocked. What may I do for you?" Teal'c asked politely.
"Oh, um, I was wondering if you were free to come down to my gym and perhaps show me some of that Musty stuff you and your friend told me about."
Teal'c looked puzzled for a moment before his expression cleared and he said, "Ah, you mean Mastaba." At Buffy's nod he continued, "I would be pleased to instruct you in the basics of Mastaba."
The two warriors headed for her gym neither realizing what a strange looking pair they made. The large Jaffa and the petite Slayer. Two completely different people with a common bond. Naturally, they were becoming friends.
* * *
Buffy spent the next few weeks working hard at becoming conversant with the Goa'uld and other races that the SGC had learned about. She was constantly reading mission reports as well as occasionally bugging Giles for any possible connections to Earth myths and legends. Plus her workouts continued to draw crowds when she used the main gym and consented to sparring bouts with the military forces that wanted to test her combat abilities. While she was listed as a combat consultant on the SGC's rolls, she had offered to help the SG teams with their martial training after a few sparring bouts. General Hammond had added the title of Martial Arts Instructor to her duties.
She also learned the use of firearms from Colonel O'Neill who had become a friend as well. Their constant sarcastic banter was often used to hide any feelings of friendship. She and Willow had also become regular visitors to the Fraiser household as well as a special friends to Cassandra.
Giles began his time in the SGC by helping Daniel work through the immense backlog of translation work. He also began a friendship with the Slayer that he would never have believed possible before meeting her. After reading the transcripts of her tale, he began to see a young woman with an immense responsibility thrust upon her at an early age and the strength of character to bear it. The scholar found it relaxing at times to be working on translations while sitting in the conference room between their offices while the Slayer was studying, often asking for his input into whatever she was wondering about. After a while, he realized that she had become a student of sorts and that he liked the feeling of passing on his knowledge to her.
Willow had joined the SGC technical staff and within a mere week had improved the base computer's speed and security. Plus, she came up with an interesting program that helped speed the conversion of the Abydonian cartouches into viable space-time coordinates. The SGC began sending teams more places than ever before. After learning of her background and education in various scientific disciplines, Major Carter decided to expand Willow's duties beyond just technical duties concerning the computer and had her begin evaluating off world technology for possible reverse-engineering and developing homegrown spin-offs.
Willow eventually decided on getting an apartment off base and convinced the Slayer to move in with her. The two women chipped in and bought a four-wheel drive SUV for traveling back and forth to the base. The Fraiser's and the members of SG-1 were often over as guests.
Lieutenants Hailey and Harris were off training at a remote location learning various special operations methods as well as survival in extreme conditions.
The Slayer was finally becoming used to the routine when she was summoned to General Hammond's office a few months after her arrival in this universe.
* * *
General Hammond was relieved that he had actually been able to procure the Atlas II rocket at Vandenberg AFB for Major Carter to use in her attempt to correct the spectral shift in the K'tau sun. While SG-1 was currently involved in that project, he had received a request from the Tok'ra for the SGC's help in requesting aid in a project from the Tollan. He knew that if this were brought to Colonel O'Neill's attention he would probably advise the Tok'ra to take a hike.
Sighing, he decided to ask Doctor Jackson to return from K'tau and help prep another SG team to accompany the Tok'ra to Tollana. In fact, he had decided that he might as well let Miss Summers accompany the SG team for extra security and get her used to gate travel.
A knock on his door interrupted his musings and he barked out, "Come!" The door opened and admitted the Slayer. "Miss Summers, good morning. Sit down please."
Buffy swiftly sat in one of the chairs set before his desk while responding, "Thank you, sir. Was there something wrong with that evaluation report on using that blast cannon that Teal'c brought back from P7S-441 for Gate Room defense?"
"Not at all," the General responded lightly. "I have a request from the Tok'ra for our aid in getting the Tollan to help them on a project in developing a safer method of extracting Goa'uld symbiotes from hosts. I've already recalled Doctor Jackson from K'tau to help brief whichever SG team I finally pick to go to Tollana. Probably SG-9. And I would like you to accompany them as additional security."
Buffy pondered that for a moment before replying, "Sure, General. It will at least get me away from all the studying for awhile."
Seeing the cheeky grin his combat consultant wore, he gave a small grin in return, "Of course. Plus, this will give you some real gate travel experience as well as introducing you to two of our more important allies. However, I don't need to remind you that you are not to reveal your identity as the Slayer to either race."
"Secret identity girl, that's me." Buffy's grin grew with that retort.
"Excellent. As soon as Dr. Jackson is back, I'll have SG-9 meet you two in your briefing room. And once all preparations are complete, we'll signal the Tok'ra, have their representatives come here to meet you, and then send you all to Tollana."
"Sounds good sir," Buffy said as she rose from her seat. "I'll go ahead and get the briefing room cleared out and ready for our meeting."
* * *
Daniel stumbled into the Scoobies briefing room with a large set of folders and a few binders a few hours later. He found SG-9 sitting at the table telling Buffy tales of their exploits on the other side of the Gate while the Slayer was asking pointed questions about the abilities of the races they had encountered.
Buffy looked up at Daniel's entrance and smiled as she greeted him, "Hey Daniel! Come on in and join the fun."
SG-9 rose as one in acknowledgement of him before reseating themselves as he joined them at the table. Setting his papers aside and then handing folders to everyone, Daniel cleared his throat before beginning, "Major Reynolds, Captain Preston, Sergeant Wilkinson, Sergeant Wood, nice to see you all again. Buffy, the General said you're accompanying SG-9 as extra security, right?"
Buffy nodded as the members of SG-9 all nodded or waved in response to Daniel's greeting.
"Okay, in these folders you'll find the Tok'ra request for us to travel to Tollana with a select group of them to petition aid for their project concerning the quick and safe extraction of Goa'uld symbiotes. While the Tok'ra can extract the symbiotes safely for the most part already, they have been experimenting, unsuccessfully, on methods of doing so quickly and safer for the host. The benefits of this process would be immediately apparent in the possibilities of removal in the aftermath of battles or in the event of the capture of a Goa'uld in places where it would not be safe to linger."
The SG-9 members began nodding in agreement while Buffy frowned slightly, "Wouldn't that presuppose that whoever is doing the extraction had one of those carrier things or are they saying remove the symbiote and kill it on the spot?"
Captain Preston gave Buffy a look of startled amazement, before turning back to Daniel, "Good point. Is this method they're working on merely to safeguard the hosts?"
Looking back at the proposal, Daniel replied, "It's not stated here but I think the idea is to be able to remove the symbiote and restore the host. As the host retains all memories of the Goa'uld, the symbiote itself is merely another threat. I think that the idea was to gain whatever intelligence they need from the host after removing the Goa'uld. However, as it's not stated as such here we can pretend otherwise if the Tollan' make some noises about the treatment of the symbiote."
Buffy snorted in derision causing SG-9 to smile. "Yeah, and if that same symbiote decided to jump inside them, would they be so high-minded?"
Major Reynolds said, "Probably not. However, we can sugarcoat this to make it more palatable to them if necessary." Turning to Daniel he asked, "Do we know which Tok'ra are going to be in the official party requesting Tollan aid?"
"No, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were at least two scientists as well as one council member." Daniel immediately starting praying, that Anise would not be one of the scientists involved. The briefing continued on as Daniel brought SG-9 and the Slayer up to speed on his impressions of the Tollan Curia as well as the individuals he knew personally, before they broke for lunch, and to await the arrival of the Tok'ra.
* * *
Major Reynolds, Buffy, and Daniel were all in the control room when Sergeant Davis announced the offworld activation of the Stargate. After the wormhole opened, the Tok'ra IDC was received and the Iris was opened. Stepping from the event horizon were four members of the Tok'ra. Daniel easily identified Anise as well as Jacob Carter and Aldwin. The last member was a woman Daniel believed he'd never met before. Major Reynolds on the other hand leaned closer and informed him that she was the Tok'ra Councilwoman Ren Au. General Hammond met the delegation and escorted them to his briefing room. Major Reynolds went to collect the rest of his team while Buffy and Daniel also went up the stairs leading into the briefing room.
As General Hammond bid everyone to take their seats, the Tok'ra looked up as Buffy and Daniel entered. "Dr. Jackson, Miss Summers, please take a seat. As soon as Major Reynolds and his team arrive we'll begin this meeting."
Jacob Carter leaned a bit closer to General Hammond and muttered, "George, thanks for taking this little proposal so seriously. By the way, who's the little blonde?"
Hammond grinned slightly when he saw Buffy's eyes narrow in Jacob's direction, indicating that she'd overheard his question. "She's a combat specialist hired by the President specifically for the SGC."
Buffy grinned back at Hammond after hearing his response. Turning her eyes back to Jacob Carter, she saw him obviously surprised by the answer and also thinking over what it might mean. He shook his head slightly as he looked her way again with a calculating look. She merely gave him a mild glare in return, before pointedly turning to Daniel, and quietly asking him, who the Tok'ra members were, especially the things not included in the official reports.
As he briefed her, SG-9 entered, and quickly took seats to fill out the table. General Hammond greeted them and began the meeting. "Councilwoman Ren Au, Aldwin, Anise, Jacob, welcome back to Earth. Your proposal has been reviewed by both the President's advisors and by SGC personnel and I have been ordered by the President to grant your request for our aid."
"Thank you, General Hammond," Councilwoman Ren Au stated. "We appreciate any assistance you may be able to provide us in this matter. We do not have formal relations with the Tollan and hope that your ties to them will aid us in gaining their support and aid in this project. Anise has been the lead researcher on this project with Aldwin as her assistant. We hope they will be able to convey the importance, as well as the feasibility, of the project's success to the Tollan Curia. While I would be gratified to accompany them on this mission, I must return to Revanna to continue overseeing other current operations against the Goa'uld. It has been decided by the High Council that Selmac will go as our official representative."
Both Hammond and Carter noticed the way Buffy's eyes narrowed and her hands clenched when Ren Au spoke. She leaned into Daniel and whispered, "Is that the way they all sound when talking?"
Daniel whispered back in reply, "Yes, when the symbiote is speaking. Although the symbiote can sound just as human when it prefers. Usually, they speak like that to denote it is the symbiote and not the host speaking."
"Ah," Buffy sighed, as she had to fight down an instinctive combat response to the sound. She silently thought to herself that it was almost the same way she felt when she sensed a vampire back home. Her instincts had shifted completely over to fighting Goa'uld, as Whistler had promised.
Hammond made a mental note to ask Buffy about her actions later, as he answered the Councilwoman, "Understood, Ma'am. I've decided to assign this to SG-9, our primary diplomatic team. Miss Summers will be accompanying the team to oversee security and gain some gate experience on a friendly world."
"Very well, General Hammond, we accept and thank you for your aid," Ren Au turned slightly to Jacob Carter. "Selmac, please do whatever is necessary to procure the aid of the Tollan Curia in our project."
Jacob looked down for a moment before raising his head and responding with glowing eyes and a resonating voice, "Of course Ren Au, I will do what I can to help the project move forward."
"Then I shall return to Revanna now. General, again I thank you for your assistance and hospitality."
Hammond rose and tilted his head slightly in respect as he replied, "You're welcome, ma'am. I'll have one of the SF's escort you to the Gate Room."
"Thank you, General."
As the Tok'ra Councilwoman left with her escort, Hammond turned back to his old friend, and said, "So Jacob, is there anything else I or my command can do for you before you head for Tollana?"
"Well, I was hoping to say a quick hello to my daughter, if I could."
Hammond sighed slightly as he replied, "Sorry, she's on an important offworld mission right now. However, Dr. Jackson will be returning to K'tau soon and can pass along any greetings to her."
Jacob grinned slightly and said to Daniel, "Could you tell Sam I said 'hi' and sorry we missed each other again?"
"Sure, but you may get lucky and see her upon your return."
"Great, I hope so."
Buffy looked at Jacob and she quickly asked, "You're Sam's dad?"
Jacob smiled slightly, "I take it she never mentioned her old man was a Tok'ra?"
"Nope, but then again, we've barely seen each other the past few weeks." Buffy thought back over her conversations with Sam but really couldn't remember her having mentioned that her father had a snake in his head. She really had to get caught up with the mission reports.
"Well, I take it that you are friends then?" Jacob inquired.
"Oh yeah, she and Janet were my first friends here. Plus, we enjoy working out together," Buffy added with a smirk.
"Great, then I'll be glad to have the opportunity to find out how my little girl has been doing," Jacob replied with an answering smirk.
Anise decided to interrupt the inane conversation, "Perhaps this can wait until we are on Tollana."
Both Jacob and Buffy snapped their attention to the scientist, before they sighed in unison, and grinned, as they both responded, "Sure."
Daniel chuckled while General Hammond snorted in amusement. Those two were going to get along great together. Hopefully they wouldn't drive Anise nuts with their banter before the mission was over. On second thoughts, that wouldn't be too bad...
Aldwin decided to step in, "When will we be departing for Tollana?"
Hammond responded, "At 1900 this evening which corresponds to early morning on Tollana."
"Excellent," Jacob commented while getting back down to business. "In that case we should make our preparations for departure."
"I agree," said Hammond. "SG-9 and Miss Summers, you have a go for 1900 hours."
"Yes sir!" they responded as the meeting broke up.
* * *
While SG-9 went to the locker room to prepare, Buffy headed back to her office to do a quick review on the Tok'ra members who would be going, as well as all the information on the Tollan that the SGC had. The Tollan sounded very much like a people who had the once burned, twice shy syndrome concerning their technology. Suddenly getting a weird idea from a couple of late night conversations with Xander in her universe, Buffy logged onto the Internet, and downloaded quite a bit of info from a couple of websites, hoping she could use it for an ace in the hole later. She then headed off to Willow's lab.
"Hey Will! How's everything in science land today?"
Willow looked up from the computer she was currently staring at, "Buffy! I'm just trying to figure out how to increase the power output from the Naquada generator for the X-302 project. I really think that there might be a way to..."
"Will, you know I'll never understand the technobabble," Buffy grinned. "Which is one of the reasons I'm here. Take a look at this and tell me if any of this is technically feasible."
"Hmm," Willow muttered as she looked at the printouts Buffy handed her. "Are you serious? Buffy, these are just sci-fi dreams."
Buffy laughed at the way Willow scrunched her nose disgustedly. "Yeah, I know it's just wacky, but I remember Xander going on about some of this stuff and I wondered if it would be possible with the technology you've got access to here. This is, after all, sci-fi land, well, mountain, at least."
"Well," Willow hesitantly began, as she looked closer at the material. "Most of these are pipe dreams. However, I suppose these would be possible with some of the technology I've seen since coming here. Say, look at the shield technology. If you supposed that the emitters could handle the power load, I would say that they would work just fine. But once you found the frequency that they operated at, you would be able to punch right through them."
"Ooh, like Borg shields on Voyager," Buffy commented.
Willow gaped at her best friend for a moment before dissolving into giggles. "Oh my god, Xander got you hooked on Star Trek."
Buffy joined her in the giggles. "Well, it did take him years to do it."
The two friends continued laughing as they went back to the printouts and Willow helped her to understand some of the principles behind the pseudo-science of television science fiction.
* * *
In General Hammond's office, he and Jacob Carter were deep into a conversation between old friends.
"Come on George, you've got to be kidding me. That little girl is a combat specialist? What's the President been smoking? She's what, 5'3"? Is she some sort of psychologist?"
Hammond beamed as Jacob walked right into his trap, "Jacob, she studied psychology at Northwestern. She came to the President's attention and he made a snap decision to hire her and assign her to the SGC. She's quite bright and very athletic. She's done a great job helping look over our security measures here as well as in the physical training for our offworld teams. She regularly spars with both Sam and Teal'c."
"Teal'c?" Jacob started in amazement.
"Yes, Teal'c. She's a black belt in numerous martial arts and she has been teaching Teal'c many Earth-based forms while he has been teaching her Jaffa ones. Quite interesting to watch. You'd think someone her size would have trouble but one of the forms she knows is Aikido and you should see her throwing all those big guys around."
Jacob smiled at the mental image of Buffy throwing the big Jaffa around. "Well, she definitely sounds interesting. So, is she supposed to be preparing the soldiers under your command mentally for combat situations?"
"Not so much, she's been mostly studying the various alien societies we've encountered. They and their motivations fascinate her. Dr. Jackson told me that when he walked into the meeting with SG-9 to brief them on this mission, she was busy picking their brains on the aliens they've met as well as their abilities." Hammond shook his head slightly in amusement. "She is really good at interacting with people as well. In fact, Master Bra'tac was here not long after she arrived and within a day had earned his respect. He, in fact, was the one who suggested that Teal'c teach her, um, Mastaba."
"Hmm, sounds like she ought to work out just fine then," Jacob mused while wondering just how that young woman had earned a Jaffa master's respect.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she won over the Tollan as well," Hammond added.
Jacob suddenly grinned at his old friend, "Well, I certainly wouldn't mind that. Anything that helps convince them."
* * *
Back in Willow's lab, Buffy suddenly had a thought, "Say Willow, you know the trip I'm taking to Tollana?"
"Yeah, and can I just say how jealous I am? I'm sitting here in the lab and you're off gallivanting around the galaxy," Willow smiled.
Buffy smiled in return, "If you can figure something out for me, I'll tell General Hammond that you should join me on Tollana."
"Ooh, deal! What do ya need?" Willow squealed.
"Well, this project of the Tok'ra is about removing symbiotes. Could you figure out a miniature containment thingie?"
Willow mused on that for a moment. "How big?"
"Well, I figure it has to be pretty small. Maybe about the size of a thermos?"
"I'll see what I can do, but I'm not sure I could get it that small."
Buffy grinned in relief and said, "Check with Janet on what the symbiotes would need to survive, and just make something really small."
"I'll see what I can do. Say, just how long are you gonna be gone?" Willow asked.
Buffy shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Not sure, however long it takes to convince the Tollan to help the Tok'ra. At least a week I'm betting."
"Okay, I'll talk to Janet this evening. I think Cassie wanted to come over for pizza and homework help tonight."
"Damn, I'm gonna miss all the fun. Tell Cass that I wish I could be there." Buffy pouted at missing out on an evening with Janet's daughter. She didn't even realize she had seemed to transfer her feelings for Dawn over to Cassandra.
"You bet!" Willow chirped.
* * *
At 1900 hours, SG-9 and Buffy arrived in the Gate Room with their packs on. Buffy had commented that it wouldn't be useful for her to carry weapons that the Tollan technology would disable anyway, so she had convinced the General to allow her to carry her own mix of weapons. A pair of knives as well as a sword strapped to her back. The sight caused the Tok'ra to do double takes while SG-9 smiled. It was still a popular pastime for the SG teams to watch Buffy doing katas with or without weapons. She had been adopted by every member of the offworld teams.
Jacob looked back up at Hammond in the control room, who smirked back at him. Sighing, he reached out to place a hand on her shoulder to get her attention when a knife appeared in her hand that was poking his genitalia.
"I know you're there General Carter," Buffy said in a flat tone. "What?"
As he found his voice, Jacob slowly withdrew his hand as Selmac was hissing in astonishment at the girl's speed and acumen with the blade in his mind. "Ah, I was just wondering about the sword."
"General, you know that the Tollan disable all weapons that we carry to their planet." Buffy slowly put the knife away as she turned her face toward him. "Blades are low tech and I doubt they can just take the edge off. Thus, they are still functional there."
"Ah, a very interesting point. Thank you for explaining," Jacob was very polite, while the feeling of pure threat the girl put out finally subsided, and Selmac relaxed in his mind. There was something very dangerous about this girl.
With a Kawoosh, the gate opened, and the Tok'ra followed SG-9 through, with Buffy bringing up the rear.
* * *
Buffy stepped from the Stargate onto Tollana feeling cold but with her senses hyped. She could feel the Tok'ra immediately in front of her clearly with her Slayer senses and SG-9 less so. There also were three men in dark clothing grouped in front of them. She noticed the tall, dark-haired man in front stepping forward with his hands open in front of him.
"Greetings and welcome to Tollana. I am Narim and will escort you to the Curia chambers."
Major Reynolds stepped forward as well and said, "Hello Narim, I'm Major Reynolds, in command of SG-9. These are the other members of my team, Captain Preston, Sergeant Wilkinson, and Sergeant Wood. These are the Tok'ra who wish to make their request to the Curia. Selmac, Anise, and Aldwin," Reynolds waved his hand in their direction as he introduced them. "And this is Miss Summers, she's an SGC member here to back up my team and gain some offworld experience."
"Greetings," Narim said as he bowed. "Welcome to Tollana. Please come this way."
With that, Narim and his two fellow Tollan led the way towards a large building off to their right. SG-9 immediately followed with the Tok'ra and Buffy right behind. They looked about as they entered and walked down a corridor. As they passed a small arch, a light scanned them. The Tok'ra all stopped to pull out Zat'nik'atel's and found them non-functional. Buffy merely grinned and patted her knives while looking at Jacob. He grinned back and started after Narim.
The group soon entered into a large airy room with a large control station on a pedestal facing the rest of the room. Behind the station stood another group of Tollan, two women, and three men. There were also two men, obviously security, standing just inside the doors. Narim walked up to stand in front of the station and spoke the people there, "High Chancellor Travell, Councilor Omoc, Councilor Feenor, Councilor Essa, Councilor Berl, permit me to introduce SG-9. Major Reynolds, Captain Preston, Sergeant Wilkinson, and Sergeant Wood. Also Miss Summers of Earth. Along with the Tok'ra Selmac, Anise, and Aldwin."
The distinguished looking older woman in the middle, who Narim had introduced as High Chancellor Travell, nodded to them and said, "I greet you and welcome you to Tollana. We received the message from Stargate Command that the Tok'ra had a request to make of us. Please, make your request."
Jacob stepped up beside Narim and after a moment Selmac said, "Greetings High Chancellor and Councilors of Tollan. I am Selmac of the Tok'ra. We have traveled here with our friends of the Tau'ri to request your aid in a scientific endeavor which we are currently stalled in. We hope that with your assistance, we can bring this project to a successful conclusion and use the results in our ongoing efforts in defeating the Goa'uld."
"And what project is this?" Travell asked.
"We are attempting to find a swift and efficient method of extracting a Goa'uld symbiote from its host. I know that you have a method of your own for extraction but that it is neither swift nor always effective in preserving the host's life. We hope, with your aid, to develop just such a method."
The Tollan looked at each other for a moment before the High Chancellor spoke again, "I see. Major Reynolds, what is your people's involvement in this project, and why have you traveled here with the Tok'ra?"
"Ma'am, we are here merely to add our voice to their request for your aid in their project. We feel it is a worthwhile endeavor and ask that you consider providing the assistance they request. There are too many people, all over the galaxy, currently enslaved by the Goa'uld, and we have a strong interest in gaining access to a way to free them."
"And Miss Summers, what is your function with this team?"
Buffy stepped up beside Major Reynolds and said clearly, "I'm here to backup SG-9 for security purposes, to gain some offworld experience, and learning to interact with an alien culture."
"Hmm, very well. The Curia will discuss this request. Narim will show you quarters you can rest at and await our decision."
With that, they were led from the Curia chamber.
* * *
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Willow sat at her desk sketching out components for the small containment vessel that Buffy asked her to design. She knew that it would have to be long enough to hold a fully matured Goa'uld symbiote as well as the fluid that would sustain it. Thus, she had the inner dimensions worked out. Now she merely had to figure out what else was needed to sustain the symbiote and work out how to fit everything into an outer casing. So far, it seemed like she could keep it to about the size of a thermos as requested. She had just started listing a few materials she might use to construct the casing when the doorbell rang.
"Coming," she called out as she rose to answer the door.
"Hi, Willow!" Cassandra bounced in carrying her backpack while her mother followed behind.
Willow waved her in saying, "Hi, Cassie, Buffy's real sorry she's missing out on tonight but they sent her with SG-9 today." She then turned to Dr. Fraiser. "Janet, how's everything?"
"Oh, not too bad considering."
"Great. Come on in and take a load off. I had a couple of questions I wanted to ask you while Cassie works on her homework."
Janet raised an eyebrow in question as she followed Willow into her living room. "What did you want to know?"
"Well, it's not so much for me as for Buffy."
"Okay, what did Buffy want to know?" Janet asked now really curious.
Willow led Janet over to her desk and showed her the sketch while explaining, "She asked me to come up with a portable containment vessel for Goa'uld symbiotes to get the Tollan to agree to the Tok'ra request. Buffy felt that if the Tollan felt that swift extraction methods would menace the symbiotes lives, they might refuse. So she thought it might be best to have this to show them that we are going to be willing to give the symbiotes back to the rest of the Goa'uld after extraction from hosts. I think it's kinda dumb, but the Tollan might require that from what Buffy said."
Janet thought about that a moment while she looked at what Willow had sketched. "I remember that when SG-1 went to Tollana for Triad, after they extracted Klorel from Skaara they sent the symbiote back to a Goa'uld world. So dumb or not, Buffy has a good point. From what I can see here, you just need to add a slight heating element as well as provide an electrical current for the symbiotes maintenance."
"Really?" Willow asked. "I thought there might be a need for more here."
"Nope," Janet replied. "The fluid to sustain the symbiote just needs to maintain a constant 98.6 degrees and you need a small current simulating the EM field of a human or Jaffa body. As long as it matches the conditions of the Goa'uld pouch, it will survive."
"Hmm, then adding a heating coil around the container and a small wire in the bottom to conduct the current with a battery in the base, and it's complete. Gee, it will be about the size of a thermos after all." Willow shook her head and then grinned, "Buffy will be so surprised when I show up on Tollana with this."
"What?" Janet and Cassie both blurted out.
"Oh yeah," Willow responded with a smirk. "She said that if I could come up with something to fit her requirements quickly enough, she'd convince General Hammond to send me through to Tollana to join her."
Cassie rolled her eyes and commented, "Oh sure, go hang out with her."
Janet and Willow laughed knowingly at that as they moved to join Cassie at the living room table. "Come on Cassie, I gotta go offworld at least once to see what it's like," Willow whined.
"At least it's to an advanced world like Tollana. I'd hate to see you having to go to some of the places the SG teams go to. Damn primitive conditions and to quote some people, no one else seems to have invented toilet paper," Janet responded.
Laughing, Cassie immediately piped in, "That had to be Colonel Jack."
With that, the apartment rocked with laughter as the women sat back to relax and enjoy their evening.
* * *
After showing them to their rooms, Narim inquired, "Is there anything you need?"
Buffy immediately spoke up, "Can you show me around the area?"
"Certainly," Narim responded after a moments thought. "Is there something in particular you wish to see?"
"Nope," Buffy replied. "Just want to get to know the layout."
Turning to SG-9 and the Tok'ra he asked, "Anything for the rest of you?"
"No thanks," Major Reynolds said as his team began stowing their gear.
"Thank you, Narim, but we'll wait to hear from the Curia," Selmac said as he eyed Buffy.
"Very well," Narim replied as he motioned Buffy to precede him out the door. "Miss Summers, might I ask about the weapons you're carrying?"
"They are primitive bladed weapons, correct?" Narim asked.
"Yes," Buffy replied. "Out of fashion but always functional."
Narim thought that response over for a moment before a small smile appeared on his face as they continued down the corridor. "Ah, you know that we have technology that disables all weapons brought here but correctly surmised that such primitive ones would pass through unscathed."
Buffy nodded as she continued to take in her surroundings, "Yup, Sam told me about those glowy things that turned off all the guns and stuff. So I figured that if I needed a weapon, I'd carry something so primitive that your stuff wouldn't deem it a threat. Besides, who carries a sword in this day and age?"
"Certainly no one on Tollana. I take it that no one does on Earth either?"
"Not for some years. For combat at least, though they are popular for martial enthusiasts. And there are a lot of people spending their time recreating scenes from the past for fun."
"I see. You said that Samantha told you about our weapons deactivator?" Narim asked with a hint of interest in his voice.
"Oh yeah, Sam's been such a good friend and a big help in getting me acquainted with everything involving the SGC and what's going on in the galaxy. Or better galaxies, we talked a lot about the Asgard."
"Yes, she is a remarkable friend," Narim noted. "She and the rest of SG-1 have done a great deal to help the Tollan people since we met them."
"Yeah, I read their mission reports." Buffy looked sideways at Narim as they walked outside. "You and one of those Councilors were in the bunch that they rescued from your old home world, right?"
"Yes," Narim replied. "We had almost completed our mission but failed to destroy the Stargate before succumbing to the toxic gases in the atmosphere. We were to do that and await a transport ship but fell right in front of the Gate. SG-1 came through and took the survivors of our group back to Earth. When a faction of your government tried to detain us, SG-1 devised a way to contact the Nox, and had them bring us to their home world. From there, we contacted Tollana and arranged to be reunited with our people."
"Yeah, I heard that the faction that tried to get its hands on you was the NID. Apparently they're a civilian group tasked with overseeing Top Secret programs run by the government and to make sure they are being run properly. However, from what I've heard from a few individuals in the SGC, the people at the top of the NID are power hungry wannabe dictators." Buffy shook her head, "I really don't like the sound of them. I hope I don't ever run into them."
Narim nodded in agreement, "I as well. They are precisely the type of people we wish not to associate with as they would attempt to gain and use any technology of ours against the other people on Earth."
Buffy snorted. "Heck yeah, they claim that they are merely being patriotic and attempting to gain the technology to protect Earth from the Goa'uld. At the same time they would either use it against our own people or sell it to our enemies. Idiots like that would sell their own mothers for a shot at power and wealth."
Narim stared at the petite young woman walking beside him in astonishment as he could almost feel her disdain for that type of person. She definitely was more than she seemed at first. "That is one of the reasons why the Curia will not agree to give your people any of our advanced technology, even though we do owe SG-1 our lives for saving us from an attack by the Goa'uld."
"Oh, I know what you told Sam about Serita. Even though you had the best intentions, they twisted what you gave them and destroyed not only their world but your own." Buffy looked up with a sympathetic look, "I can understand how that would influence any feelings about providing technological assistance to Earth or any other planet that hadn't reached your level. However, how many planets do you know of that have the sociological development necessary to meet your requirements that don't already have technology that is at the same level or higher than your own?"
Narim thought about that for a moment as they came around another corner of the building and reentered. "None that I can recall at the moment."
"See, it just might be that once a society develops to the point that they stop trying to destroy themselves that they can handle technology that can destroy them. Of course, there are arguments against that as well," Buffy waved her hand as if illustrating a point. "Earth has had the technological ability to destroy itself for decades but hasn't done so. I mean, we've got enough bombs to really wipe ourselves out a 100 times over and haven't yet."
"True, but what's to say you won't tomorrow if you had a clear superiority over your enemies on Earth?" Narim asked.
"I'm not sure but hope that the people we elected aren't that psychotic," Buffy replied. "I certainly hope not, anyway. But it is entirely possible it could happen."
Narim nodded as he said, "And that is why we won't supply the advanced weapons technology that Earth wants."
Buffy thought about that for a moment before saying, "Is there any technology that your people would feel comfortable providing to Earth?"
"I don't believe so, there are just so many ways to pervert anything we might provide," Narim answered.
Buffy nodded in acknowledgement and sighed, "And that means that there will always be a certain feeling of distance between our two peoples because you won't provide any technological assistance to us and we begin to resent it, feeling like you're acting like arrogant parental units telling us we're too young to be trusted."
Narim did a double take at that comment and asked, "Is that really how your people feel?"
"Well," Buffy said thoughtfully. "I don't but I'm sure that some of them probably do. It doesn't help when your people constantly refer to us as primitive. It would help if they would merely say less advanced or something more polite. That causes the feeling that you're arrogant."
"I see," Narim said. He remembered when Samantha herself had bridled at him when he had called the Tau'ri primitive. While he himself found her to be very intelligent, there was no mistaking that most of her fellow people were not even close to the level his were. Buffy's insights explained some of the comments he had overheard Colonel O'Neill and Samantha make when they had discussed the Tollan policy concerning their technology. And it shamed him that his people did seem a bit arrogant and elitist in their dealings with the Tau'ri.
As they came to the door of the quarters the Tau'ri and Tok'ra were sharing Narim said, "You've given me much to think about. I thank you for a pleasant walk and hope to speak to you soon."
"Me too. See you around Narim."
Major Reynolds and Jacob both came to join her as she sat in a large overstuffed chair in the corner. "Well, what did you see and find out?" Reynolds asked.
Buffy grinned and replied, "Narim's a nice guy. A bit stiff and formal but I have a feeling that all the Tollan are that way. We had an interesting discussion about the Tollan and their attitude concerning their technology and the way they treat other races."
"And?" Jacob chimed in.
"I think I might have made a point or two about the attitude." Buffy then wrinkled her nose as she continued, "I do have to say that I can see their point about not sharing technology. Not sure if there is a middle ground there. Anyway, we had a nice discussion and I got to see the entire outside of the building and noted all the entrances and exits. If we have to get out of here in a hurry, I can lead the way."
Both men were nodding as she spoke but her last comment stopped them cold. They smiled in appreciation for her completely open method of gaining information and headed off to continue their wait on the Curia.
* * *
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
General Hammond sighed in relief when he got off the phone with Doctor MacLaren after having convinced him to turn over the supply of HU-2340 that he had created and amassed in his university lab. All it finally took was allowing the Doctor a peek at the SGC and what use it would put the super heavy element to. At least that was now out of the way. He drafted a memo for Major Carter telling her of the acquisition. As he began to reach for another folder in his inbox, a knock at the door grabbed his attention.
"Come," he ordered.
Swiftly entering and standing at an approximation of attention in front of his desk, Willow pulled out a folder and laid it in front of him. "General Hammond, Buffy asked me to take a look at designing a portable containment system for Goa'uld symbiotes before she left for Tollana and said that I was to join her there, if I were able to come up with something quickly enough."
"Yes Miss Rosenberg, that is correct." Hammond opened the folder to see a set of sketches for a small device in front of him. "I take it that you were able to accomplish the task already?"
"Um, yes sir. With input from Doctor Fraiser, I was able to design a small containment vessel about the size of a thermos. With the proper materials and some uninterrupted lab time, I think I can have a couple of prototypes available by tomorrow morning."
"Well done," Hammond replied in pleasure. "I will go ahead and sign the authorization for you to draw what you need from the quartermaster."
Willow immediately pulled out another form and laid it in front of him as she nervously said, "Uh, I already took the liberty of printing out the form with everything filled in for you, General."
Whipping out a pen, he signed quickly in the appropriate places. "Excellent, Miss Rosenberg. Once you've completed your task, have Doctor Fraiser look them over. If they pass her inspection, I'll contact the Tollan and request permission for you to join our team."
Willow gave him a large, pleased grin and replied, "Thank you, General!"
Willow immediately took the folder and backed out of the room before rushing to the supply level. Once she requisitioned the authorized materials she set off for her lab and began crafting her devices.
* * *
The Tok'ra and Tau'ri contingents on Tollana got word that the Curia had adjourned without resolution and would reconvene the next day. Thus they decided to enjoy a meal together and get to know one another. The biggest source of the Tok'ra's curiosity was, of course, Buffy.
Jacob took the opportunity while peeling a fruit to ask, "So Miss Summers, why exactly did the President decide to hire you for the SGC?"
Buffy tossed her hair before replying, "Not entirely sure about that, General Carter. He obviously had a look at my transcripts and found a need for me. But you'd have to ask him yourself."
Jacob thought about her answer for a moment before asking, "So how did you come to his attention?"
"I assume someone told him about me," Buffy replied facetiously. "I do know that my psychology professor received research grants from the government and I believe that she brought me to someone's notice."
"Research grants?" Anise asked in puzzlement over the term.
"Oh, it's when scholars on Earth receive what we call grants, which is research funds from various sources," Buffy explained. "The researcher puts out a proposal detailing the subject they wish to study, avenues of investigation they plan to take, and an estimate of the costs involved in doing so. Then, there are groups in both the public and private sectors..."
"Public and private sectors?" Anise interrupted.
"The government and academic institutions are considered the public sector, while businesses and wealthy individuals are considered the private sector," Major Reynolds chipped in.
"Right," Buffy agreed. "Um, so these groups will study the proposal and, if they feel the subject is worthy of study, can possibly provide some return on their investment, and can be done for the estimated costs, grant the scholar the funds needed to carry out their research. In return, the scholar does his study and makes regular reports on the progress as well as accounting for the funds provided."
"I see," Anise said thoughtfully. "And if the funds cannot cover the cost of the research or if the research itself is unsuccessful?"
"Well, then there are a couple of things that happen. If the study is unsuccessful and the objective cannot be reached by the methods used, then the study is over and the scholar moves on to another project or modifies that one if another method looks more promising. Of course she can always apply for another grant to continue the study. If the original people who funded the first grant decide not to continue funding, the researcher can always write new proposals and apply elsewhere for funding."
Anise nodded as she commented, "An interesting and efficient system to keep researchers in funding." She turned to Jacob, "I had not thought the Tau'ri had developed such an advanced sociological system. You might have told us this."
Jacob smiled in amusement. "Anise, I was a career Air Force General. I had very little to do with procurement and funding of government research and no knowledge of the academic and private sector."
"Hey Anise, he's right. I really only know because I came straight from an academic environment to government service," Buffy said in his defense.
"You were recruited out of college?" Jacob asked.
Buffy nodded as she looked at Aldwin, "You don't have any questions?"
The Tok'ra scholar looked thoughtful before he spoke up, "I'm not sure but from some things I have overheard from other members of the Tau'ri, I was wondering about your development."
"Such as?" Buffy asked.
"I know from comments made by Selmac that your space program is in its infancy, but I've also heard that your people still use propeller-driven as well as jet aircraft. Just how long ago did you achieve heavier-than-air flight?"
Buffy looked thoughtful before she glanced at Jacob, who answered, "We do indeed still use propeller-driven aircraft. But they are limited to two very narrow groups. The first are small planes for private citizens who enjoy flying themselves, the second are military craft that are very long endurance, low stall speed planes." He then smirked at Aldwin, "As for heavier-that-air flight, we achieved that about a hundred years ago."
Buffy immediately brightened up and said, "Ooh, the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, right?"
"Exactly," Jacob confirmed.
"Wait a moment," Anise said loudly. "The Tau'ri discovered heavier-than-air flight only a hundred years ago and have already begun manned exploration of their star system?"
"Yes," Buffy, Jacob, and Major Reynolds all said at the same time.
"Impossible," Aldwin muttered.
"Nope, we landed on the moon about sixty years or so after we first flew."
The looks of the Tok'ra were priceless to Buffy and Major Reynolds. Jacob merely smirked as Selmac began looking through his memories to confirm what she had just heard.
"Ooh," Buffy chirped as she remembered something Willow had mentioned once. "Plus, fifty years ago our first computers took up whole rooms and now we have hand-held PDAs." Buffy held hers up in example.
The Tok'ra all realized that Earth's technological development was progressing at an astonishing rate. "I see," said Anise faintly. "With such an advanced system to spur your research, it is logical that your technology develops rapidly."
Sergeant Wood spoke up, saying, "Ma'am, you have to remember that we have a population of over six billion people on Earth. With that many people there are naturally a large number engaged in pure research. In fact, my sister is a grad student at MIT and is involved in some research into Ion Propulsion. They get funding from the university as well as NASA and Boeing. That is, from the government's space agency and from an established aircraft and spacecraft manufacturer."
"I thought Boeing is involved in the X-302 project?" Buffy asked.
"They are. I guess they want some unclassified systems, too."
"Makes you wonder how fast we'd progress if we'd reveal even half of what we have hoarded out at Area 51," Buffy lamented.
While the Tok'ra digested this information, Buffy decided she was bored with the discussion and turned to Major Reynolds, "Major, while it's still early I'm going to get some Tai Chi practice in. Would you and your team like to join me?"
"Sure," Reynolds replied. "Do you want to do it in here or outside?"
"Outside. It's nice and the fresh air would do us all some good," Buffy decided. She headed off to change into her exercise gear while SG-9 did the same.
The Tok'ra continued to talk amongst themselves about underestimating the Tau'ri. Jacob finally put a halt to it when Anise and Aldwin began repeating themselves. He wanted to watch that little blonde while she did Tai Chi.
* * *
Buffy led SG-9 outside, with Jacob following in their wake. As they left the building, Narim was walking towards them from the opposite direction.
"Hi Narim!" Buffy called out.
"Miss Summers..." Narim began.
"You can call me Buffy," she told him with a grin.
"Buffy," Narim replied with a nod. "Is there a problem?"
Buffy shook her head, "Nope, I decided to do a little exercise and the guys are joining me. Say, is there a nice patch of grass we can use?"
Narim thought for a moment before nodding and sweeping his arm out, "Yes, on the south side there is a large patch of lawn."
"Excellent," Buffy enthused. "Would you like to watch? I know that Jacob is curious as well."
"Certainly," Narim replied.
The little group reached the stretch of lawn that Narim had indicated and Buffy gave them directions to spread out. Jacob and Narim stayed on the pavement to observe.
"Okay guys," Buffy directed SG-9, "beginning of Tai Chi Chu'an." SG-9 set themselves in the stance mirroring Buffy.
They then began moving through the forms of the Wu style of Tai Chi Chu'an. Both Narim and Jacob noticed that while the personnel of SG-9 moved well, Buffy was gracefulness personified. Jacob had vague memories of seeing old men in Japan performing this art when he had been stationed there some years earlier. Narim, on the other hand, was fascinated by the slow movements and grace he was watching.
As the group moved through the forms, other Tollan began to gather to watch as well. A number of low toned comments began being exchanged as the group finally concluded the exercise. SG-9 moved to join Jacob and Narim while Buffy tied her hair back in a ponytail.
"What is this exercise called?" Narim asked Major Reynolds.
"It's a form of martial arts called Tai Chi. It helps to promote a high level of body control as well as increasing the powers of mental concentration. Buffy has been teaching all the SG teams for a few months now."
"It's quite beautiful," Narim whispered.
"Thank you," Buffy called out.
Everyone stared at her wondering how she had heard Narim. As they did, she pulled her sword and began a kata. Jacob leaned towards Reynolds and asked, "Is that Kendo?"
"No, I believe it's Shinto, but I can't be sure."
Buffy was slowly moving through her attack and defense forms with the sword, speeding up as she did. SG-9 began grinning as they watched the astounded looks on all of the onlookers. The girl was moving in a blur of speed and precision. The wind whistling by her blade was the only thing heard except for her little grunts. Finally she ended with the blade back in its sheath.
"Incredible," Narim said.
"I have to agree," Jacob noted.
"That's our girl," the members of SG-9 said proudly.
* * *
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
Willow carefully fitted the casing with a battery pack and sealed it. Sighing softly she laid the container on her workbench and wiped her forehead. Leaning back she stretched her back as a voice rang out behind her, "Hey Willow!"
Whirling around, she caught sight of Major Carter in the doorway. "Hi Sam. When did you get back from K'tau?"
"Just now," the astrophysicist replied as she entered the lab. "What's up?"
"Oh, just working on a little project for Buffy."
"What is it?" Sam asked.
Willow put her sketches down in front of Carter while picking up the container. "It's a portable containment vessel for Goa'uld symbiotes."
"Woah, that small?"
Willow grinned in pleasure, "Yup, Buffy said it would probably be used in battlefield conditions and needed to be as small as possible. We figured that it would be used to transport the symbiote to a facility where it can be put in a larger container."
Sam whistled. "Neat. I remember the one the Tok'ra used on Tollana. They needed two people to carry it."
"Exactly," Willow said. "If the Tollan consider helping the Tok'ra with the extraction procedure, we figure they might squawk about the life of the symbiote. This is just to smooth their sensibilities."
"That's a good idea," Sam said thoughtfully. "Plus, who's to say it might not come in handy for the Tok'ra themselves if a host was mortally wounded?"
"Yeah, it does make sense. Well, all I've got to do is finish assembling the second prototype and report to General Hammond."
"Is he going to send you to Tollana to join Buffy?" Sam inquired.
"Yes! I can't wait to see another planet," Willow gushed enthusiastically.
Laughing, Sam patted Willow on the shoulder and asked, "Want some help?"
"You're not busy?"
"Just waiting for the go ahead from General Hammond for the final components of the rocket to be sent through to K'tau. Then I'll head there to oversee the last stages of construction and fit the warhead with the Maclarium."
"Maclarium?" Willow asked.
"Oh, the HU-2340. I decided we should call it Maclarium after Doctor MacLaren," Sam explained.
"That's nice. Doctor MacLaren must have liked that," Willow observed.
"Yes he did," Sam said. "So, what do we need to do first?"
"Oh, hold this shell here while I wind the heating coil around it," Willow directed.
The two women quickly finished the assembly and inspected their work. Satisfied with it, Willow collected the prototypes and headed to the infirmary while Sam went back to the control room.
* * *
"I am still not sure about the ultimate goals of this technique?" Omoc grumbled.
Travell sighed before speaking, "They have stated that it would be used for interrogation purposes on the battlefield. I can also see it as useful if we have any other Goa'uld here on Tollana such as Klorel."
"Perhaps, but I see no provision for the survival of the symbiotes," Essa commented. "I, for one, would like to question the Tok'ra more on this point."
"Yes," Berl agreed. "I as well. We know that the symbiote cannot survive long outside of a host."
"Very well," Travell said. "We shall call the Tok'ra back in to question them on this and to find out how far they have carried this experiment along." She looked up at one of the security guards and ordered, "Have Narim escort our guests here."
As the guard turned to go, a tone sounded from the control panel in front of Travell. Reaching out to activate the communicator, Travell spoke. "This is Tollana."
//Tollana, this is General Hammond of Stargate Command on Earth.//
"Yes General Hammond, this is Chancellor Travell. What may we do for you today?"
A moment of silence followed before Hammond's voice continued. //Chancellor, one of my technicians has completed a project that impacts on the Tok'ra proposal to your people and I'd like permission to allow her to travel to Tollana to meet with our people, the Tok'ra, and the Curia.//
A quick look around got nods from all members of the Curia. "Granted, General Hammond. I will have someone meet your technician at the Stargate."
//Thank you, ma'am. Expect Miss Rosenberg to arrive within the hour.//
//Stargate Command, out.//
Looking back at the guard who had paused in the doorway, Travell amended her orders. "Have Narim escort the Tau'ri to the Stargate and collect Miss Rosenberg. Then have them and the Tok'ra brought here."
"At once, Chancellor," the guard replied as he exited the chamber.
* * *
Willow waited in the Gate Room adjusting the straps of her battle harness while Sergeant Davis dialed Tollana. She watched in fascination as the gate revolved and the Chevrons locked one after another. Finally the gate erupted with a Kawoosh and the wormhole formed. Looking up at the control room, she saw the General standing behind Davis.
"Miss Rosenberg, you have a go. Enjoy your stay on Tollana."
"Thank you, General," Willow replied. She turned and walked up the ramp stopping before the event horizon. A moments pause and then she walked through. After a dizzying moment with the illusion of light and motion she emerged onto Tollana. Standing before her were three men in dark outfits as well as SG-9, Buffy, and the Tok'ra.
Buffy smiled, "Hey Willow! Glad to see you could make it. I take it you finished our little project even earlier than you thought?"
Grinning as she hugged the Slayer, "Oh yeah. Sam and Janet were both impressed with your idea."
"See, and it's probably just in time, too," Buffy commented. "We just got word to meet with the Curia after greeting you. I'm betting you have great timing."
"Oh, well then we should go. Um, want to introduce me to everyone?"
Buffy smacked herself in the forehead. "Duh, sorry about that. You know the guys in SG-9. These are the Tok'ra; Anise, Aldwin, and Selmac. Selmac's host is Sam's dad, Jacob Carter. I haven't been introduced to Anise and Aldwin's hosts yet. And this is Narim of the Tollan and a couple of the Curia's security contingent. They haven't introduced themselves either."
Narim stepped forward and smiled. "Miss Rosenberg, I am Narim and these are Corin and Tremon. Welcome to Tollana." Narim motioned for her to precede the group. "If you'll come this way, we're heading to the Curia chambers. High Chancellor Travell and the rest of the Curia are awaiting your arrival."
"Thanks Narim," Willow grinned at him before falling into step alongside Buffy. "So, gotten into any trouble since you've been here, Buff?"
Playfully smacking Willow on the arm, Buffy grinned back. "Nope, been a good girl."
They continued talking quietly between themselves as the rest of the group watched them. The Tok'ra in puzzlement while SG-9 simply shook their heads in amusement and surrounded them. As they walked down the corridor, the disarmament devise glowed over Willow's form causing her to stop walking.
"What the heck was that?" Willow cried out.
"Oh yeah," Buffy said. "That's the Tollan doohickey that turns off weapons."
"Really?" Willow inquired. "I wonder if it's a dampening field or maybe..."
"Will, not really important right now," Buffy interrupted. "You can ask Narim later. Come on, let's not keep the Curia waiting."
They entered the chamber and again saw the Curia members grouped behind the control panel.
"Welcome to Tollana, Miss Rosenberg. I am High Chancellor Travell and this is the rest of the Tollan Curia. General Hammond said that you were here concerning the Tok'ra research proposal?"
Willow nodded as she released her backpack. "Yes, Ma'am."
"I see," Travell said. She leaned over and murmured to Omoc, who responded just as quietly. She then straightened up and said, "First, we wish to clarify a few points with the Tok'ra."
Willow nodded in response and stood quietly beside Buffy opening her pack to show her what was inside. Buffy peeked inside and grinned at Willow before directing her attention back to the Curia.
"Tok'ra representatives, the Curia has studied your proposal carefully and has a few questions."
Selmac stepped forward and said, "Of course, High Chancellor. I'm sure that Anise can answer any questions you may have."
"Thank you, Selmac. We would like to know just how far you have taken this experiment."
Anise stepped forward and answered, "Thus far, we have not gone beyond the theoretical model because we have been unable to find a way to counter the symbiote releasing it's toxic poison when threatened with extraction. We are looking into finding a sedative strong enough to knock out the symbiote immediately, without harming the host. We've not had much luck so far." Anise frowned as if it was a personal affront to her abilities.
Councilor Essa spoke up, "Yes, that would be a problem. I take it that you would like us to help you to find a sedative that would work as you desire?"
"Councilor," Anise answered. "It would be of great assistance in this project if you were to help us find the correct formula."
"As well, we see no provision for the life of the symbiote after extraction would take place."
Anise and Aldwin shared a look before she responded, "We haven't really given much thought to that as we were thinking more of interrogation of the host after it was freed from the Goa'uld."
"I see," Berl commented. "Than you plan to murder the Goa'uld symbiote instead?"
Buffy stepped up beside Anise and said, "Excuse me, but we of the Tau'ri did give that some thought."
The entire Curia stared at Buffy causing her to blush slightly. They looked amongst themselves for a moment before Omoc spoke, "The Tau'ri actually thought of this and have been working on it?"
"Yes," Buffy replied. "I asked my best friend, Willow," she nodded towards the redhead, "to come up with something to address that question."
"Miss Rosenberg," Travell said. "I take it that you were the one that Miss Summers asked to look into this matter?"
"Yes, Ma'am," Willow answered. "When she asked me about designing a miniature containment vessel to transport the symbiote, I consulted with Doctor Janet Fraiser, the SGC's CMO, sorry, Stargate Command's Chief Medical Officer, and we came up with these."
Willow handed Buffy the specifications as she held up the two prototype vessels. Buffy quickly laid the specifications out in front of the Curia. Essa and Berl looked at them closely with fascination as Omoc, Feenor, and Travell looked at the devices themselves.
Anise took one of the prototypes and peered at it carefully, opening it to study the inside as best as she could. Willow pointed out the features as she described their function.
"Interesting, this should function just fine for a portable containment vessel. I take it that you planned this design for easy carry to a more stable vessel?" Feenor asked.
"Exactly," Willow replied with pride. "This vessel will no doubt be uncomfortable, but it will keep the symbiote alive during brutal treatment of the container, as will happen in battle situations. Though the container can handle some abuse, we do not posses any material that could withstand staff weapon fire."
"Astounding," Anise said. "Are you saying it took you merely two days to come up with this design and build two prototypes?"
Buffy smiled and slung her arm over Willow's shoulder. "Yup, Willow is a genius for things like this."
Travell looked at the two of them and smiled herself. "Well, you've shown a good deal of foresight. And quickly came up with a solution as well."
The two women blushed and muttered thanks under their breaths. Selmac stepped over to them and stopped when Buffy twitched at his nearness. Jacob took over and said, "Thank you, ladies." He turned to Travell and asked, "Chancellor, as these young women have come up with a solution in answer to your question, is there anything else you want to know before giving us a decision?"
Travell looked back to her fellow Curia members and watched them all nod. "Yes, I believe that we have all the answers we need at this time. We will look over these devices that Miss Rosenberg designed. Then we will discuss whether to help you."
Motioning to Corin and Tremon she said, "Escort our guests back to their quarters while we will continue our deliberations."
* * *
Once back in their quarters, Anise took Willow aside to question her on her design for the containment vessels; Aldwin joined them. Buffy plopped down into a chair and plucked a fruit from the table and began munching on it. The members of SG-9 joined her in her little repast while Jacob sat opposite her.
"You really saved our bacon in there. Thanks," Jacob said.
Buffy grinned around a mouthful of fruit, swallowed, and replied, "You're welcome. Beside, I've the distinct feeling we'll end up using it more often than the Tok'ra. Anyway, you people should really have thought about it yourselves. Or at least realized that the Tollan might have some objections concerning the cold-blooded killing of any living being. Even Goa'ulds. You hadn't even any evasive comments ready!" Buffy scolded the General like he was a young child.
"You're probably right," Jacob agreed. "But then again, I wasn't attached to this project before the High Council decided to petition for Tollan aid with Tau'ri assistance."
"Ah, Johnny-come-lately, huh?" Captain Preston snorted under his breath while peeling something that looked like a purple banana while Jacob sent a minor glare at him.
"Don't worry about it, Jacob. Maybe you should be asking yourself why the researchers involved didn't think about it." Buffy glanced at Anise and Aldwin before returning her attention to Jacob. "But you probably think of the Goa'uld as an enemy to wipe out so you're not used to having to think of ways to preserve them. Then again, it only makes sense that this procedure might actually come in handy to your own people as well."
All of the Tok'ra suddenly looked at Buffy in puzzlement. "Oh come on, your numbers are falling all the time. Zero population growth, right?"
"Yeah, but..." Jacob began.
"Wait a second," Willow interrupted. "Why aren't there any more Tok'ra?"
"Miss Rosenberg, the Tok'ra are all descended from one Queen named Egeria about 2000 years ago. She broke from the Goa'uld and went to Earth to stop them from taking slaves through the Stargate. She was an advisor to the Roman leader Numa Pompilius before she was found out and killed by Ra," Anise explained.
"Rome?" Buffy asked. "I thought the ancient Egyptians buried the Gate somewhere around five thousand years ago?"
"Yes," Anise replied. "However, there was another Stargate operating on Earth until approximately six hundred years ago. We're not sure where or why it stopped operating."
"Ah, that would probably be the Antarctic Gate," Major Reynolds said.
"Antarctic?" Willow inquired. "Now how did you ever find that one?"
"Well, actually O'Neill and Carter found it by accident. However, they also found the frozen remains of a Jaffa there as well." Reynolds scratched his head for a moment. "We think that the Gate was in a valley that was somewhat protected from the weather until a geological shift caused the valley to become the floor of a great cavern, buried under the ice. Once it became clear the gate was buried, so to speak, the Goa'uld abandoned it. Still, we're not sure why they didn't just come and situate another Gate on Earth except that there was a particularly brutal factional war between the System Lords at that time."
"Correct, Major Reynolds," Anise said. "We're still unsure of why the System Lords stopped raiding Earth for slaves but we believe they were content to solidify the holds on their realms; and there are so many humans spread across the galaxy that there was no need for them to go so far in search of slaves."
"Hmm, is Earth that far off the beaten path then?" Buffy asked.
"It is on the far edge of what was Ra's holdings. The only Goa'ulds who held systems close to it were Apophis and Sokar," Aldwin commented. "There are a couple of minor Goa'ulds who rule planets nearby but they were not powerful enough to raid the holdings of System Lords."
"Not to mention the fact that the Asgard seem to be interested in Earth and maintained a presence in our part of the galaxy," Reynolds said.
"Well, that's interesting," Willow noted. "There are so many stories about aliens who abducted people for study and the descriptions match the Asgard. If a Goa'uld ship came near the Solar System, they might have encountered Asgard ships and merely turned tail and run."
"A reasonable explanation," Anise said.
"Okay, so you know how the Goa'uld holdings are spread out, even of many of the minor Goa'ulds. Could you provide us with a star chart showing how it's all spread out?"
"The information we have is incomplete, but not classified. I will propose sharing that information with the Tau'ri when I meet with the Council," Anise said.
"Anyway," Buffy said. "If a Tok'ra host were mortally injured on a mission but the symbiote might survive if there were a way to carry it to safety, don't you think this method might help your people?"
All three of the Tok'ra gaped at her for a moment before Anise started stammering, "Yes, that would be helpful. We just never considered it."
"See," Buffy gloated, "you've really gotta think outside the box sometimes."
"Miss Summers," Jacob snapped, "just who the hell are you?"
Buffy sighed and exchanged glances with Willow and the members of SG-9. "I'm a combat consultant to the SGC hired by the President of the United States."
"Yes, so everyone says," Jacob growled. "But I still can't understand just why a young woman just out of college who was studying psychology would have been recruited to the Stargate Program by no less than the President himself."
"General Carter, I suggest that you come back to Earth with us and ask him yourself." Buffy paused for a moment before continuing, "In fact, aren't you supposed to be Earth's representative to the Tok'ra?"
"Hmm, yet you seem to identify more with them than with the representatives of your own homeworld," Buffy mused. "Don't you and Selmac ever make sure to examine both sides of everything on the experiences of both her and yourself?"
Eyes flashing, Selmac responded. "Young lady, I am one of the oldest and wisest of the Tok'ra. My insight and knowledge gives us a better perspective than the limited experiences of your people."
Buffy clenched her fists in anger as she stood before the Tok'ra. "Really, that merely sounds like Goa'uld arrogance instead of a calm and careful examination of the facts."
"How dare you?" Selmac roared. "We are NOT Goa'uld!"
"So you say," Buffy bellowed right back. "However, you seem to have many of their vices. You had better learn sooner than later Selmac that us poor, pitiful humans have the numbers as well as the drive to better ourselves that your race, both Goa'uld and Tok'ra, doesn't seem to have. Both sides have continued to use equipment and technologies that were developed millennia ago by other races and have not really done any basic research into creating anything better. We've had electricity and flight for a century; half a century ago there were no computers and animals were a common means of transportation; we don't know about the Stargate for even a decade; still we sneer at so called Goa'uld weapons, our ground forces have been better equipped for sixty years, and we have inflicted more damage on them than you did in centuries; give it another decade or two, and the Goa'uld won't dare to face us in open combat! You claim to be morally superior to the Goa'uld but still have the arrogant way of thinking you're intrinsically better than the race that you use as hosts."
Willow reached over to clasp Buffy's arm to halt her tirade but the Slayer was on a roll, "Furthermore, are you not here asking for aid from another group of humans that have advanced far beyond yourselves?"
"That has nothing to do with..." Selmac began.
"Bull! It has everything to do with it. If Earth had not gone through the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome or if the great Library of Alexandria hadn't been sacked, we might be as advanced or more so than the Tollan today. Look at Jacob's memories and tell me that it isn't possible."
Selmac was quiet as she delved into Jacob's memories and was shocked to learn that Buffy was quite possibly right. As she did, Jacob quickly took control.
"I'm sorry Buffy, but I think that you are right. Selmac does know better but has a temper. I know better as well and maybe should have made more effort in convincing my fellow Tok'ra that their arrogance is unfounded."
Buffy took a deep breath and patted Willow's hand while noting that SG-9 were all gathered about the Tok'ra in blatant defensive positions. "All right Jacob, but I have a feeling that Selmac and I are going to have this argument often until the Tok'ra wake up and smell the coffee."
Wilkerson and Wood snickered at that while Reynolds rolled his eyes and Preston reached over and smacked Wood on the back. Anise and Aldwin looked back and forth between Jacob and Buffy in obvious distress.
Narim walked in and broke the tension as he declared, "The Curia is prepared to meet with you and inform you of their decision."
The group walked quickly to the Curia chamber and stood waiting for them to begin.
"The Curia has debated your proposal and has made its decision." Chancellor Travell glanced at her fellow Curia members once more before continuing, "We have decided that there is merit in the proposal. However," she said with a slight glare at the Tok'ra, "the final point in your favor was the containment devices that the Tau'ri came up with. Since there would be no threat to the life of any symbiote that would have this procedure performed on them, we will aid you in finding a formula that would enable you to sedate the Goa'uld and perform a safe and quick extraction."
"Thank you Chancellor," Selmac responded.
"We have decided that your researchers Anise and Aldwin may stay here on Tollana. We will assign space in a laboratory with some Tollan chemists who will conduct the research at their side."
"Agreed," Selmac said.
"Very well, Corin, please show Anise and Aldwin to the laboratory." Travell looked back at the humans. "Miss Summers, Miss Rosenberg, we thank you for your timely intercession. It was purely on your initiative and foresight that we agreed to help the Tok'ra in this project."
Both women beamed at the Chancellor while Buffy sent a minor gloating glance at Selmac who grimaced. "Thank you, Chancellor," Willow replied for the both of them.
SG-9 gathered about them as Narim escorted them from the chamber. Willow questioned him about the Weapon Deactivator as they collected their belongings from their room and headed back to the Gate. Selmac and Jacob were very quiet as they ruminated on the fact that they gained Tollan assistance only thanks to that infuriating woman and her friend.
Once at the Gate, Sergeant Wood dialed up Earth, as Captain Preston got the GDO ready. The gate opened and Preston sent the code. Once the green light appeared on the GDO, Selmac stepped through. SG-9 followed as Willow and Buffy said their goodbyes to Narim.
Suddenly, there was a blast of light and sound from the southwest of the city. The three turned to look as they saw bolts of bluish-white energy soar upwards. Buffy and Willow immediately understood what was happening and turned to Narim.
"Was that an Ion Cannon?" Buffy demanded to know.
"Yes, it was," Narim replied. "I have to head back to the Curia. Please, go through to Earth now."
"Sorry, no can do," Buffy said as she keyed her radio. "SGC, this is Buffy Summers. Come in please."
* * *
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
General Hammond was finishing up the paperwork dealing with the destruction of the rocket on K'tau and had drafted letters to the next of kin of the SGC personnel who had died in the disaster. He sighed in frustration at the senseless loss of life. Hopefully SG-1 would soon return with word on whether the attempt to seed the K'tau sun with Maclarium had succeeded.
Suddenly he was distracted by a Control Room announcement, "Offworld activation. Defense teams to the Gate Room."
Hammond headed out of his office, through the command briefing room, and moved down the stairs to the control room. "Sergeant, have we received an IDC yet?"
Sergeant Davis turned to the General and said, "Just coming in now, Sir... It's SG-9."
"Open the Iris," Hammond ordered.
The Iris recessed and the light from the wormhole shown on the troops gathered in the Gate Room. They watched as first Jacob Carter and then SG-9 came through and descended the ramp.
"Welcome back SG-9," Hammond said. "Debriefing will be in one hour."
Major Reynolds waved in his direction while his team turned to look back at the Stargate. The radio on the control console suddenly came to life.
//SGC, this is Buffy Summers. Come in please.//
"This is General Hammond, go ahead Miss Summers."
//General, Willow and I were about to come through the Gate when a Tollan Ion Cannon fired. We're going to remain and join Narim at the Curia to find out what's happening.//
Hammond thought quickly on this before responding, "Understood Miss Summers. Find out what's happening and if there is anything the SGC can do to aid the Tollan. We'll contact you again in six hours."
//Thank you, General. I'll talk to you in six hours. Summers, out.//
After Buffy finished, the Stargate disengaged, and SG-9 immediately sprinted for the control room. Jacob had arrived earlier and heard the last comment from Tollana.
"What's going on, George?" Jacob asked.
"Right after you came through, a Tollan Ion Cannon fired. Miss Summers decided to remain behind and find out what is happening," Hammond replied.
* * *
As Buffy and Willow walked along with Narim to the Curia chamber, they heard and saw more Ion Cannons fire into space.
"Is there a fleet of bad guys up there we didn't know about?"
"I would have to doubt that," Narim said. "But I can't think of another reason why our entire defense network seems to have opened fire. The Goa'uld know that they cannot penetrate our defenses."
"Um, Narim?" Willow asked hesitantly. "What if a Goa'uld came up with more advanced weapons or shields, would they attempt to test them against you?"
Narim mused on that thought for a moment before replying, "If they did, then it might explain the multiple firings. And the delay between the first shot and the follow up fire."
The small group was stopped at the door by Tremon who was still standing his post before the chamber.
"Narim, the Tau'ri were supposed to have returned to Earth."
"I know, Tremon, but as Buffy and Willow were about to enter the Stargate we witnessed the Ion Cannons' firing. They decided to stay and find out if there is anything they can do for us. I brought them back so they can extend that offer to the Curia."
"I'm sorry Narim but the Curia is in closed session. All I know is that a Goa'uld vessel appeared in orbit and that we fired upon it," Tremon said.
Buffy and Willow whispered to each other for a moment before Buffy spoke up, "We'll wait, Tremon. So what do you do for fun here on Tollana?"
Tremon smiled at the petite blonde. "Well, I belong to a group who like to play certain card games. In fact, a friend named Lorra learned a game called Poker from some of your people when she was on Earth with Omoc's group. Some people like to attend theater presentations or view exhibitions of new art works and such."
"Cultural stuff and games? That's all?" Buffy asked. "No dancing or just relaxing with friends?"
Narim laughed as he said, "Of course we relax with friends, and sometimes view entertainments but I'm not sure what dancing is."
Buffy looked at the Tollan with astonishment. "No dancing? Geez, we really have to send you some music videos or something."
Willow shook her head in amusement at Buffy's antics. "Dancing is merely moving along to music either by yourself or with a partner or partners. It's fun and is often a dating activity on Earth," she explained to Narim.
"Well, you'll have to show it to us sometime," Narim commented.
"Oh, we can so do that," Buffy gushed as the doors opened and Omoc stepped out.
"Narim, Miss Summers, and Miss Rosenberg," Omoc looked at them curiously. "May I ask why you're still here?"
"Councilor, we saw the Ion Cannons fire. We were wondering what was happening and if there was anything we and the SGC can do for you," Buffy stated.
"I..." Omoc began before Travell came out.
"Miss Summers, Miss Rosenberg, please come in."
The group entered the chamber and stood before the platform. One of the panels extended above the console showed a Goa'uld Ha'tak class ship in orbit.
"Did that ship avoid your Ion Cannons?" Buffy asked.
"No, Miss Summers, it did not." Travell frowned before continuing, "The ship's shields withstood multiple strikes. It is merely orbiting our planet and we've not heard from them."
"Oh crap, they've developed better shields?" Buffy burst out.
"It appears so," Omoc grimaced.
The display changed and a face appeared, "Tollan, I am Tanith. As you've seen, your defenses no longer protect you from us. If you wish to keep existing, you will provide a service for the Goa'uld."
"And what service would that be?" Travell asked.
"Why, to develop new weapons for us to use in our campaign to unite the galaxy, of course," Tanith stated blithely. "I will give you an hour to make your decision."
As the screen changed back the Curia members began muttering amongst themselves.
Buffy's face began getting red with rage before Willow laid a hand on her arm to forestall an outburst. Willow leaned close and whispered into her ear, "Buffy, this is terrible, but don't alienate the Tollan. We've got to find a way to help them so that they won't help the Goa'uld."
Taking deep breaths, Buffy visibly calmed herself down and nodded her agreement. "I'm okay now."
Willow watched her carefully before nodding in return. "So, what do you think we can do?"
"Well, I'm not sure," Buffy replied. "It's not like we..."
Willow looked at her friend as her voice faded away. "What?"
Buffy suddenly grinned, "Remember when we were talking about Star Trek technology back at the base? Didn't we talk about shields?"
"Ooh, yes we did," Willow perked up before turning to the Curia. "Chancellor, have you been able to scan the Goa'uld's new shields at all?"
Travell and the rest of the Curia turned to face Willow and Buffy while Narim stood to the side watching everything. "Yes Miss Rosenberg, we've scanned the ship and its shields. However, we have been able to determine that they can withstand even concentrated fire from our Ion Cannons."
"Yes, as they are currently configured," Willow agreed. "However, were you able to determine the operating frequency of the shields?"
"Yes." All the Curia members look puzzled by her question.
"Great," Buffy said. "Then Willow will probably be able to show you how to make your Ion Cannon fire effective again."
"What?" Travell blurted out, as Omoc snorted.
"Yes, if we know the operating frequency of the shields, we can determine the exact frequency needed to penetrate them."
"Impossible," Omoc grunted.
"Not necessarily," Essa ruminated. "The idea has merit. It's something like blocking a noise with another in counter phase."
"Exactly," exclaimed Willow. "We just need to recalibrate your Ion Cannons to fire their energy at the new frequency."
"Miss Rosenberg, Miss Summers, thank you for your suggestion," Travell smiled. "However, I am curious as to how you thought of this idea?"
"Well," Buffy began, "we have a friend that who enjoys speculative fiction and we were exposed to lots of it. One of his favorite programs was set in the future and dealt with lots of technology. Anyway, there was a bit about shields that we thought about and realized it might have some application here."
"Intriguing," Travell mused. "We will certainly have to discuss this in the future. For now, can you aid Narim and Essa in determining if this will work?"
"Of course," Buffy replied. "Come on Will."
* * *
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
Jacob paced about the briefing room occasionally darting glances down into the Gate Room. He was arguing with Selmac about the events that had taken place on Tollana, and the timing that caused them to leave their scientists, that woman, and her friend behind. Buffy Summers was of course a factor in that argument, considering her demeanor and martial acumen. She was a very large variable in his thoughts. George had retreated to his office to update the President and had little to say about his decision to allow Miss Summers to stay behind and assess the situation. As the door to Hammond's office opened, he quickly turned with questions in his eyes.
"Relax Jacob, I informed the President of the situation, and he felt confident in Miss Summers' ability to handle whatever she might encounter on Tollana."
"I just don't get that," Jacob muttered. "What could possibly have possessed the President of the United States to put that much trust in the abilities of that infuriating girl?"
Hammond smiled, "Jacob, that 'infuriating girl' as you call her is a combat specialist that he personally hired to help the SGC and its personnel."
"Why?" Jacob demanded to know, getting frustrated.
"Well," Hammond sighed, "if you really want to know, you'll have to promise that this information is for you alone. It is not to be shared with the Tok'ra. I must have both your and Selmac's vows to keep this information secret."
"I..." Jacob began before hearing Selmac agreeing immediately in his thoughts.
*Are you sure about this?*
*Yes Jacob, it seems to be the only way we will learn what we desire about Miss Summers. If this information in any way might pose a threat to the Tok'ra, we can decide in the future whether to divulge it as needed.*
*No Selmac, either you agree completely or we won't get that information. We simply cannot afford to go behind the backs of our friends and allies. If we did, they would never trust us again. And imagine what that would be like. Miss Summers might be a bit overconfident, but she was correct about Earth's technological development.*
*All right, Jacob, we'll follow your lead on this.*
Jacob looked up after his internal conversation and said, "Alright George, Selmac and I both agree to keep whatever you tell us to ourselves."
"You're sure?" Hammond questioned with a bit of amusement in his voice.
"Yes, we're sure," Jacob wondered about the amusement in his old friend's voice.
"Come in my office," Hammond insisted. "This information is known to only about a dozen people on this planet."
"What?" Jacob burst out as he followed Hammond into his office.
Hammond sat down behind his desk, unlocked a drawer, and pulled out a file folder that he handed to the Tok'ra.
Jacob glanced at the first page behind the cover sheet and read it:
Name: Elizabeth Anne Summers aka Buffy
Born: January 21, 1981
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Father: Henry (Hank) Richard Summers
Mother: Joyce Marie Summers (Deceased)
Education: Graduated from Hemery High School in Los Angeles, California. Completed two years of study at Northwestern University. Declared Major: Psychology.
"This is all very interesting George but it..." Jacob's voice faded as he had turned to the page revealing her marks in school. "Her SAT score was what?"
"Yes, it was rather high." Hammond grinned before continuing, "Did you also notice the evaluation of the Northwestern admittance board?"
"Yes, it says that Miss Summers often shields her intellect with a dumb blonde act," Jacob mused on that for a moment. "So basically, she portrays herself as a typical valley girl but is in fact quite intelligent."
"Right," Hammond replied. "Now, check out the newspaper articles in the next section."
Jacob flipped through seven articles concerning a train derailment. "Wait a moment, she was the only survivor of this train accident?"
"Yup," Hammond said noncommittally.
"Okay, so she's extremely lucky, too. So, how does that lead to the President hiring her as a combat specialist?" Jacob asked. "There's nothing here that warrants such an appointment."
"Right," Hammond commented as he slid another folder over to Jacob.
This one read 'Buffy Anne Summers'. Jacob looked at Hammond in confusion, then opened it. It contained the same data on Ms. Summers, legal documents of her name change, information about security clearances and signed non-disclosure agreements, and a very long transcript of the conversation between her and Daniel Jackson, finally followed by her achievements at the SGC. He sat back and read the transcript. He began frowning nearly immediately, and after only a few pages groused, "You can't tell me you actually believe this crap?"
"Now Jacob, would I show you that without proof?"
"Oh come on," Jacob argued. "There is no way you could have proof of any of this drivel."
With that Hammond swiveled the monitor of his computer towards Jacob and began running the video files of Buffy's first sparring match against Teal'c.
"Jesus H. Christ!" Jacob exclaimed. "That girl isn't human!"
"Actually," Hammond began to explain, "she's totally human. Doctor Fraiser did a complete medical workup on her, all known tests, and she states that Miss Summers is fully human. Her martial acumen, advanced strength, and improved healing were granted to her in her reality by a being or beings she called 'The Powers That Be'. When she was fifteen years old she was selected or 'called' as the most recent incarnation of a mystical warrior called the Slayer. When she sacrificed herself for her sister and world, these 'Powers That Be' exchanged her with her dead counterpart in this reality. Elizabeth Summers actually died in that train wreck, and Buffy Summers took her place. When we noticed her advanced healing ability in the hospital, I had Doctor Jackson talk to her, and that transcript in your hand is the result."
"It's unbelievable," Jacob murmured. "But what about her being hired here?"
"Well, that's still a bit of a mystery to myself as well," Hammond admitted. "I sent a complete report to the President including the video footage of her physical examinations. The President responded within hours by ordering me to hire her."
"Incredible," Jacob stated as he finished the transcript some time later. "Wait, she knew from this vision that she had been sent here to fight the Goa'uld?"
"Precisely. We have apparently been sent a mythic warrior to aid us in defeating the Goa'uld," Hammond declared.
"But she's so little," Jacob remarked quietly.
* * *
Adjacent to the Curia Building
Willow and Essa were quickly calculating the exact frequency needed to penetrate the Goa'uld's new shields while Buffy lugged a generator into place at the far side of the room.
"This good Essa?" she called.
Looking up, Essa observed where Buffy had placed the frequency generator for their tests, "Yes, exactly. How did you get it over there so easily?"
"Oh, just shoved it into place. I'm stronger than I look."
"Oh. Well, thank you. Can you attach the power coupling to it as well?"
"Um," Buffy said as she carefully looked the device over. "Does this plug here go into the side there?"
"Yes, that's it. It'll only fit where it's supposed to."
"No problem then," Buffy chirped as she began hooking the device up.
Essa watched her for a moment to make sure she was doing it properly. Nodding to herself, she turned back to the computers as Willow suddenly shouted, "Eureka!"
"Will!" Buffy snickered in amusement.
Seeing the puzzled look Essa was giving her and Buffy's amusement, Willow blushed, "Come on, the mad scientists in Xander's movies always say that when they find the answer."
Buffy walked up and slung an arm over her best friend and cajoled, "I bet you always wanted to say that. But I so hope that you're not mad."
Essa was looking back and forth between the two before deciding that she would have to ask later what was so funny. "Miss Rosenberg..." At a sharp look from the redhead, Essa continued with a slight pause, "Willow, have you found the frequency we're looking for?"
"Yuppers," Willow acknowledged cheerfully. "Now we need to test if this idea will actually work."
The women stood back as Essa fed the frequency into the generator, which was projecting a force shield in front of a steel sheet and set to the same frequency as the Goa'uld's shields. With the flip of a switch, the generator began humming and they watched as the shield shimmered.
Essa then fed the frequency the redhead had calculated into a modified ionized particle projector, a small tool that worked comparable to Ion Cannons. A little energy flash left the projector and scorched the metal, ignoring the shield.
"Yes!" Buffy and Willow shouted in glee.
"I believe we can call this a successful test," Essa affirmed. "We should inform the Curia immediately."
"Gotcha," Buffy said.
"Essa, I was wondering if we shouldn't try to create a device that could be added to your Ion Cannons that would automatically reconfigure the frequency of the ionized plasma they fire to match the shield frequencies of whatever ship threatened you from orbit," Willow mused.
"Hmm, something that would be linked to the planetary sensor net that would feed the correct frequency to the cannons." Essa thought for a moment before agreeing with Willow, "Excellent idea Willow. For now we should hurry to get an Ion Cannon modified to this specific frequency. Would you be amenable to helping me develop such a device before you return to Earth, though?"
"Of course I would Essa," Willow gushed. "I'm sure that General Hammond would be glad to let Buffy and I stay as long as needed."
Buffy chimed in with, "Of course he would. We'll ask when I report in later."
"Very well," Essa said. "Let's inform the Curia and install the modifications to the Ion Cannon nearest the city."
* * *
Essa and Willow hurried their modifications to the cannon as Buffy waited with the Curia for Tanith to demand their decision. As Buffy paced about she heard a chime and the panel again showed the face of Tanith.
"Tollan, this is Tanith. It is time to decide whether you will live or die. Will you cooperate?"
Travell looked about the Curia members before turning back to Tanith's image. "This is High Chancellor Travell of the Tollan Curia. We have decided, after much debate, that Tollana will not help the Goa'uld in their endeavor of enslaving the galaxy. Do what you will."
Tanith roared in fury, "Very well, you will die. But know that we will sift through the ashes of your world and take what we desire after you have been annihilated."
Buffy couldn't stop herself from quipping, "Right, as usual you snakeheads will kill and steal because you just ain't got the smarts to do it on your own. I've seen insects with more smarts than you."
Eyes narrowed as he carefully studied the diminutive figure standing to the side of the Curia. "Ah, one of the Tau'ri. What a pleasant surprise to find one of you here," Tanith gloated. "My master will be pleased to hear we exterminated at least one of your SG teams when we obliterate this planet."
"Yadda, yadda," jeered Buffy. "What master are you serving, jackass? I need to know whom to hunt after killing you, after all."
"My master's name is not for your ears," Tanith blustered.
"Really," Buffy sneered. "I guess he's too much of a coward then. I mean, if you're going to kill us all anyway, what's the harm?"
"Maybe I prefer you die with that question on your mind, human."
"I won't lose any sleep over it, buttface," Buffy commented.
Tanith's eyes glowed in rage at the insult from the little human. "You would not be so defiant in my presence human."
"Sure I would," Buffy grinned. "In fact, why don't you carry your butt down here and let me kick it? It's only your cowardice that keeps us from talking face to face."
The Tollan were glued to their places as their heads swiveled back and forth at each comment. Travell was starting to sweat but Omoc leaned over and whispered, "She's gaining us time. The longer those two argue, the longer Essa and Miss Rosenberg have to complete the modifications. If they have enough time, we can fire and hope that Tanith's threat will be over."
Travell nodded that she understood as she turned her attention back to the Goa'uld and that fascinating little Tau'ri.
"I could break you in half with a swat of my hand!" Tanith bellowed.
"Bull, I bet the only strong thing about you is your breath," Buffy countered.
Tanith turned back to the Curia with his face red in rage. "Tollan, you will immediately imprison that Tau'ri and wait for my arrival. I demand to have her turned over to me," he ordered. "If not, I will destroy your world now."
"No need for that," Buffy sneered. "I'll wait right here. You're the coward, after all, not me!"
Buffy grinned while the Curia shook their heads in astonishment as Tanith disappeared.
* * *
The Tollan Curia stood in shocked amazement at the actions of the Tau'ri in their midst.
"Miss Summers, are you entirely sure of your actions?" Travell asked.
"Of course," Buffy replied. "We've gained time for Willow and Essa to complete the modifications and lured the Goa'uld in command into a trap."
"What?" most of the Curia members exclaimed.
"Sure," Buffy assured them. "Once here, your security personnel can subdue the Jaffa guards he'll have with him. I mean, Big Bad's always have a retinue. Meanwhile I'll deal with Tanith."
"And just how would you be 'dealing' with Tanith, Miss Summers?" Omoc asked curiously.
Buffy gave them an absolutely feral grin with her response. "Why, hand-to-hand, of course."
Over the excited protests of the Curia, Travell said, "Miss Summers, there is no way a human can match a Goa'uld in physical combat. We can't allow you to throw your life away on such a futile gesture."
"Futile, shmutile," Buffy waved her hand as if brushing aside a fly. "I regularly spar with and beat a former First Prime. I think that Tanith won't make me raise much of a sweat. Besides, I do have a number of low tech weapons that would penetrate his personal shield."
"If those shields have not been augmented as well," Omoc pointed out.
"Hmm, yeah that's a valid concern," Buffy agreed. "However, there's no reason why I can't just beat his shields down."
"Miss Summers..." Travell began.
"No Chancellor, there is no time for anything else." Buffy paused for a moment to look over the Curia members before glancing towards Narim, "Say, do you think they'll land and enter or just ring in?"
Narim was startled. "I believe that the Goa'uld would 'ring in' as you say. We should clear the center of the room."
Buffy nodded, "Yeah. Those snakeheads are too lazy for anything else."
"And call in additional security personnel," Travell ordered.
"Right away," Narim and Tremon both rushed to obey the Chancellor.
* * *
Ion Cannon #4
Outskirts of Tollan Capital City
Willow and Essa were finishing the modifications when they were alerted to the arrival of a Goa'uld transport vessel above the Curia Building. Glancing at Essa, Willow observed, "I guess Buffy pissed off Tanith so much that he wanted to kill her in person."
"Whatever gave you that idea?" Essa asked as she aligned a circuit board.
Willow laughed. "Oh, she's good at pissing people off. Especially the bad guys. She's told me some..." Trailing off, Willow re-attached a power circuit while trying to keep from revealing Buffy's secret.
Essa noted her embarrassment but made no comment other than to note the modification was complete. She was still musing over the little oddities concerning Miss Summers and couldn't see how they connected. Shaking her head, Essa closed the access panel they had been working on and began to activate the targeting system. "Now we'll see how this works in the field."
Checking the targeting data, Essa pushed the large firing button and the two women watched the Ion Cannon fire into orbit.
* * *
Buffy stood in front of the control pedestal and the Curia as the rings appeared and Tanith, accompanied by two Jaffa, materialized.
The Jaffa immediately snapped their staff weapons into the ready position as Tanith strode forward commanding, "Human, kneel before your god!"
"Bzzt, wrong answer, demon. How about you kneel before me?" Buffy shot back.
As the Jaffa prepared to fire on the insolent Tau'ri, the Curia's security fired and stunned them. Tanith's personal shield flickered as they stopped the energy burst and he gloated, "You will die here human and I will destroy Tollana as you do."
"You are so wrong," Buffy replied as she whipped out one of her daggers and flung it at the control device on Tanith's wrist. It struck true, the device sparking as the shield fell. Buffy grinned as she thought back to a movie she, Willow, and SG-1 had watched a few weeks ago at Jack's place. "I'm here to chew bubblegum and kick butt. And I'm all out of bubblegum."
As Tanith tried to puzzle out what the little human meant, she leapt across the room and struck him across the brow. Tanith stumbled back at the incredible force of the blow as he raised the hand incased in a ribbon device. "Die, human!"
Everyone in the room watched flabbergasted as the energy wave Tanith unleashed rolled right over the Slayer, leaving her unharmed. Buffy grinned as she chambered her right leg and side kicked Tanith across the room. "If you're going to cheat, so am I. This is a hand-to-hand fight buttface. Time for a whooping."
Tanith's face showed his fear as Buffy advanced on him and proceeded to punch and kick the living daylights out of him. She used her blows to maneuver him about the room until he collapsed in the corner next to a potted plant with blood leaking from numerous cuts inflicted during his beating. Buffy paused as everyone heard an Ion Cannon firing nearby.
The panel that showed the Ha'tak class cruiser in orbit displayed the bolts of energy fired from the surface; to everyone's surprise the first blast missed completely, and so did numbers three, four, and six. But two, five, and seven sliced through the Goa'uld's shields as a knife would through butter. The ship exploded after three strikes and the Tollan looked relieved.
Buffy turned back to Tanith and hauled him up. "How the mighty have fallen," she said as she flung him into the center of the room. As she advanced on him again, he touched a button on his wrist and activated the transport's rings. As he flashed out of sight, Buffy howled in frustration. The two Jaffa left behind, disarmed but conscious again, shuddered at the bloodlust they heard in that howl while the Tollan were still too amazed at her performance.
"Miss Summers, thank you for your help," Travell was able to gasp out as Buffy's eyes were focused on the monitor showing Tanith trying to escape. Buffy reached for her radio and immediately spoke up. "Willow, this is Buffy. Tanith is trying to escape in that transport. Can you bring him down?"
//Essa and I are tracking him. You want him down but not destroyed?//
"That's right. Bring him down. I'd like to save the host."
The Tollan all smiled at that comment. While this little Tau'ri was a consummate warrior, she had mercy as well.
//You got if, Buff. Hang on a second.//
The Curia chamber was silent for a moment as they watched a low-powered bolt fire from an Ion Cannon and strike the transport's rear. The engines flared out and the ship fell from the sky.
//One transport downed as requested.//
"Thanks, Will, come on back," Buffy ordered. "Chancellor," Buffy spoke as she continued to eye the monitor. "Can you have your security personnel check that ship and restrain Tanith?"
"Indeed Miss Summers. Tremon, take care of it."
"At once, Chancellor," Tremon rushed off to follow the order.
Buffy then turned towards the two Jaffa. Thinking back over the reports she had been studying as well as talks with both Daniel and Giles, Buffy thought of what to do with them. "Jaffa, Kree!" she commanded.
Both Jaffa immediately kneeled before her in submission. Buffy grinned at the Curia before turning back to them. "You saw how easily I defeated the false god Tanith," she stated. "Who did he serve?"
"He served Anubis, Mistress," one of the Jaffa responded.
"Thank you. What are your names?" she asked.
Both Jaffa started at the softly voiced question. "I am Ramoc and he is Dawin."
Buffy nodded in acknowledgement before continuing, "And who did you serve before Tanith?"
"We served Apophis before he perished in the destruction of Delmak," Ramoc replied. "We were onboard Lord Tanith's ship when the fleet of Apophis was destroyed by the Tok'ra over Vorash, Mistress."
"Actually, it was SG-1 that caused Vorash's sun to go nova and destroy the fleet," Buffy commented. She noticed the Curia begin muttering amongst themselves at that revelation. "However, you've now seen one of the so-called god being beaten in person, and dozens die at Vorash. Doesn't that tell you two something?"
The Jaffa both looked at the other before Ramoc sighed and said, "Yes, Mistress; it seems that the Shol'va Teal'c is right concerning his rebellion against the Goa'uld." He looked again at Dawin who merely nodded back to him. "We desire to enter your service."
Buffy smiled at them upon hearing this statement. "It won't be my service but service to Stargate Command on Earth. If you truly desire to aid in our struggle to free the galaxy from Goa'uld domination, I think I can convince my people to give you a chance to prove yourselves. We did the same for Teal'c and he is a valued and trusted warrior for us now."
The Jaffa bowed their heads, "Thank you, Mistress Godkiller."
Buffy shook her head as she groused, "And stop calling me that. My name is Buffy."
"Of course, Mistress Buffy."
Buffy groaned but turned back to the Curia. "Chancellor, any word yet from the retrieval team?"
"Yes, Miss Summers; they found Tanith and one Jaffa in the craft. The Jaffa died in the crash but Tanith yet lives. We have taken him to a medical facility where we will extract the symbiote and help to treat the host."
"Excellent!" Buffy commented. "His host's name is Hebron. Please see that he is comfortable and you might want to have Aldwin or Anise see to him. He was meant to be a Tok'ra before Tanith got into him."
"Indeed," Omoc said. "And how do you know this, Miss Summers?"
"It's a long story but I do know that SG-1 was on Vorash when it happened. Teal'c has a real mad on for this Goa'uld," Buffy replied.
"A 'mad on'?" Omoc inquired in puzzlement.
"He really wanted to catch and kill Tanith for murdering the Jaffa priestess who carried him. He tricked her into thinking he desired to be a Tok'ra and then killed her. Teal'c figured it out and informed the Tok'ra who used him to send disinformation to Apophis for months. He escaped right before the destruction of Vorash and, from what Ramoc said, joined up with Anubis. We'll have to figure out where Anubis got the fancy new shields from, though. Hopefully Hebron will have some answers."
"I agree," Travell said. "However, for now we will do what we can for... Hebron and see to it that Tanith is put into one of the containment vessels that Miss Rosenberg brought with her. I should also like to discuss the modifications that you suggested. Essa sounded quite excited about them."
"No problem," Buffy replied. "Oh, it's almost been two hours since this all started. General Hammond is going to be calling anytime now to get an update on everything." Buffy looked at the Chancellor from under her lashes for a moment before continuing, "I would like to have the remains of the transport turned over to the SGC, if possible."
"I don't think that..." Omoc began.
"It isn't your advanced technology we're talking about here," Buffy noted. "We're talking about Goa'uld technology, stolen who knows where. We've gotten our hands on other examples before and it really wouldn't be of much use to you. So I figured that we could take it off your hands and save you the trouble of the cleanup."
Travell looked carefully at the Tau'ri before smiling and saying, "All right Miss Summers, we will allow the SGC to retrieve the wreckage. Say as a payment on our debt to you."
"Deal," Buffy said immediately. Turning to the Jaffa, she ordered them to follow as she departed the chamber alongside Narim. She just couldn't wait to blow the General's mind with her news.
As they left the Curia building, Buffy saw Willow and Essa heading their way. "Willow!" she called out as they hugged each other.
"Hey Buffy, who's the new goon squad?" Willow asked with a smile.
"Oh, this is Ramoc and Dawin," she introduced them. "They used to serve Tanith but since I kicked his butt, they are going to work for us. Guys, this is my best friend, Willow Rosenberg, and her companion is Councilor Essa of the Tollan."
"Greetings," Ramoc said as they both nodded to the women. Turning to the Slayer he asked, "Mistress Buffy, is your friend Willow Rosenberg also of the Tau'ri?"
"Yes, she is Ramoc," Buffy replied. "Why do you ask?"
"I was unsure, as I have never seen hair of that color before."
"Woah," Willow muttered. "Never?"
"No," Ramoc answered her.
"I have," Dawin spoke up for the first time. "On a planet called Kilshay. At least half of the population had hair of that color."
"Kilshay?" Willow mused. "Sounds like the population is descended from either the Irish or the Scottish."
"Ooh, if they're Scottish, do you think they all wear kilts?" Buffy gushed.
Willow laughed at her friend's goofiness while the others all wondered what they were laughing about. Taking pity on the non-Earth people, Willow explained the cultural heritage of the Scots people and their traditional costumes.
Buffy rolled her eyes as Willow went into lecture mode but enjoyed the moment.
"Come on, let's head over to the medical facility and check on Hebron and Tanith," Buffy finally broke in with.
The group found Hebron laying on a bed with Anise standing over him using a healing device on him. Buffy could see one of Willow's containment vessels on a nearby table and from the blinking lights on the end, could see it was active.
"So, Tanith is in the doohickey?" Buffy inquired.
"'Doohickey'," Aldwin asked.
"The containment vessel," Willow explained. "We never gave it a proper name and Buffy will always come up with nicknames until we do."
"Ah," Aldwin nodded in comprehension. "Yes, Tanith is in the 'doohickey' and the Tollan have agreed to let the Tok'ra take him to stand for his crimes."
"Oh, that's a wonderful idea," Buffy said as she clapped Aldwin on the shoulder. "After all, he betrayed your people to Apophis and murdered a number of Tok'ra before fleeing."
"Yes, we also find satisfaction that he will answer to us," Aldwin said with great satisfaction in his voice.
At that moment, a moan was heard from the bed as Hebron regained consciousness. The man looked up at the group around him before his head dipped down and he began to cry.
Everyone felt sympathy for the former host and Buffy immediately came to his side and embraced him. "It's over Hebron, Tanith has been removed and can no longer hurt you, or anyone else."
He sobbed as he buried his face into her shoulder and Buffy waved her hand to make everyone back off. She seated herself beside him and let him purge the grief and shame of memories of the atrocities committed while Tanith was in control. She recognized that her experience with Anya and Angel(us) would be many times more valuable here.
When his sobbing subsided and he fell asleep, she moved away and spoke quietly to Anise, "He's going to be very fragile and ashamed of the actions of Tanith for awhile. You have to reassure him that it was Tanith that committed those acts and not him. Also, you might consider allowing him to view the trial or whatever you give Tanith. It will give him emotional closure and help him begin his life again."
Anise nodded at the Tau'ri's suggestions and moved to sit at Hebron's side. The rest of the group moved back outside of the facility. As they cleared the doors, Buffy's radio sounded, //Miss Summers, this is General Hammond. Progress report, please.//
Keying her radio she said, "General Hammond, this is Buffy. Situation secure and have I got a story to tell you."
* * *
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
General Hammond stood in the control room looking down on the Stargate as his premiere offworld team, SG-1, came through from K'tau.
"Welcome back, SG-1; we'll begin debriefing in one hour."
Colonel O'Neill waved as the team moved to head for the locker rooms. As they were passing the control room they heard Sergeant Davis speaking to the General. "Sir, it's been six hours. Should we dial up Tollana?"
The entire team stopped and headed up into the control room. Sam saw her father standing towards the back and headed to him. "What's up Dad? Did the negotiations go alright?"
"They went fine, Sam," he said, as he hugged her. "But right after SG-9 and I came through, the Tollan fired their Ion Cannons. Miss Summers and Miss Rosenberg stayed behind to see what was happening," Jacob said with a sigh.
"They stayed behind?" Sam asked with a touch of fear.
"Believe me, I was wondering why until George and I had a little talk. And I had a long read."
Sam grinned at her father and simply whispered back, "Never piss off a Slayer."
Jacob frowned at her comment, but directed his attention to the front of the room as he heard the Stargate activate.
"Wormhole established," Davis noted.
Hammond nodded in acknowledgement and began speaking, "Miss Summers, this is General Hammond. Progress report, please."
//General Hammond, this is Buffy. Situation secure and have I got a story to tell you.//
"Go ahead, Miss Summers," Hammond ordered.
//Yes, sir. After we contacted you, we headed to the Curia and discovered that a Goa'uld Ha'tak class vessel was in orbit. The Tollan fired on it but it has new shields that withstood their Ion Cannons. Willow had an idea and the Curia agreed to try it. We modified an Ion Cannon to fire through the Goa'uld's shields.//
"What!?!" Sam exclaimed. "That's not possible."
//Hey Sam. Yeah, we just stole a page from Star Trek and matched the Cannon's firing frequency with the ship's shields. Or counter-phase, or something technobabble like that. Anyway there are still some timing problems, resulting in less powerful bolts, and throwing off the targeting software, but the modified fire went right through the shields and blew the ship away.//
Jack O'Neill snickered at the short woman's comments about technobabble, earning a glare from his scientist.
"Understood Miss Summers. Anything else?" Hammond asked, because he noted the amusement in Buffy's voice even over the radio.
//Well sir, the ship belonged to Tanith.//
Jack immediately patted Teal'c on the arm and said, "Easy big guy."
Teal'c responded with a nod as he listened intently to Buffy's report.
//Anyway, he threatened to destroy Tollana unless they made weapons for the Goa'uld. While Willow and Essa, one of the Curia members, worked on modifying the Cannon, I invited Tanith to come down and kill me in person.//
"Invited?" the General asked wearily.
//Oh yeah,// Buffy snickered. //He was boiling in rage after I sent my invitation. But I really need to pick Teal'c's brain for some more effective insults. I needed a whole minute to piss him off beyond reason.//
Everyone in the control room was shocked and Jacob laughed as he said, "Oh, I can imagine that. A minute must be a new negative record for you."
Buffy laughed at hearing Jacob's comment and continued, //Anyway, he ringed into the Curia's chambers with two Jaffa. Curia security disarmed them while I opened up a can of whupass. After I knocked him around the chamber, Willow and Essa completed the modification, and destroyed the ship. Tanith escaped by rings to the transport hovering over the building and tried to get away. Willow downed the transport and we recovered Tanith from the wreck. The Tollan removed him from Hebron.//
This caused smiles on everyone's faces. Jacob and Selmac both felt immense relief that Hebron had been freed from the evil Tanith.
//So now Tanith will be going to the Tok'ra to stand trial for his crimes, I've got two Jaffa who want to join up, and I got the Curia to agree to allow us to salvage the transports wreckage and bring it back to Earth.//
That caused a mild uproar as General Hammond was forced to ask, "Could you repeat that last Miss Summers?"
//About the Jaffa or about the wreckage, Sir?//
//As partial payment for saving the Tollan from Tanith and his master, we will be allowed to salvage what crashed. Oh, could you make sure that Sam comes over soon? We really need her help designing the technobabble module... ouch, don't hit me, Willow!// They couldn't understand the redhead's reply. //Right, we need her help to design the variable frequency something module for the Ion Cannons.//
"Sir?" was all Sam could say.
"Agreed, Miss Summers. I'll send SG-1 through in two hours along with a salvage crew. Is there anything else you need?" Hammond asked.
//Have Sam bring Willow's laptop, too. Willow says she's got some stuff there that she wants to show Essa. And send Jacob to pick up Tanith and Hebron.//
"Understood Miss Summers. Well done. Expect everyone in two hours. We'll talk to you then. Hammond, out."
SG-1 headed off to gear up for redeployment to Tollana as they heard Hammond ordering Davis to have a salvage team assembled to recover the wreckage. Hammond and Jacob headed back up to the General's office so Hammond could notify the President.
* * *
"Geez, they're already 10 minutes late," Buffy complained.
Willow grinned as she was explaining Star Trek to Essa and Narim. "I still think the best was the first series when it came to pure adventure and superior story writing. The technical stuff was better later, though."
"Willow, stop, we can always send them Xander and his video collection."
"Would we want to inflict the geek factor on them, Buffy?" Willow shot back.
"Hey, if they can survive us, they'll survive Xander."
Any further bantering was cut off as the gate activated. Once the wormhole was established, SG-1 came through. Following them was a large ad hoc salvage team.
Buffy stepped forward with the two Jaffa slightly behind as if to protect her. SG-1's eyes widened at the sight. "Hey guys. Narim and Tremon will guide the salvage guys to the wreck so they can inspect it and begin the cleanup." She waved her hands at the salvage team and motioned for them to follow the Tollan.
"Willow, here's your laptop," Sam said as she handed the computer to the redhead.
"Thanks Sam," Willow said before motioning towards another Tollan, "This is Essa, she's a Curia member and scientist. We were discussing devising a module to add to the Ion Cannons that would interface with the planetary sensor net and adjust the Cannon's firing frequencies as required once the sensors had scanned incoming ships and determined the optimum firing frequency to pierce the shields. We've pretty much worked out the timing issue already, though it'll require more extensive hardware modifications than we had hoped."
"It sounds like an intriguing idea. How do you plan to have it adjust the Ion Cannon's frequencies?" Sam asked.
"Ahh!" Jack interrupted. "You go play science with them outside of my hearing. Buffy, I need to talk to you and get a more in-depth report on what happened here and with Tanith."
The scientists moved off babbling a mile a minute while Buffy motioned Jack and the rest of SG-1 to follow her. "No problem, Jack. Guys, these are Ramoc and Dawin. They have come back to the Good Side."
Teal'c grinned slightly at the Star Wars reference. He nodded to the other Jaffa before speaking, "Have you decided to fight alongside the Tau'ri or would you prefer to join Master Bra'tac at his base?"
Ramoc and Dawin exchanged a look before Ramoc responded. "We wish to fight alongside Mistress Buffy."
A snort was heard from the petite blonde before she said, "Ramoc, what did I tell you about that?"
"Sorry, Mistress Buffy, we feel it is to honor your abilities as a warrior that we call you that."
"And you'll have a tough time breaking them of that habit," Jack put in.
Buffy glared at Jack for a moment before turning away. "At least Teal'c calls me by my name. Even if it's both first and last."
"I would call you by title but was told not to do so by General Hammond," Teal'c said.
"Yeah, gotta be secret identity gal again," Buffy sighed. "At least I'm not known the world over like back home."
"Really?" Daniel inquired.
Looking at the Jaffa, she shot a quick look at Daniel, and said, "Later."
They came to the medical facility Buffy had left earlier and she said, "Okay, Hebron is still sleeping but I think he'll recover if they don't push him too much. And that means no questioning him, Jack."
"What? I wasn't going to do that!" Jack said in a tone that implied chocolate wouldn't melt in his mouth either.
"Yeah, right," Buffy muttered just loud enough to be heard.
"Hey!" Jack complained.
* * *
"See Essa, this program would work just fine. We just need a way to get it compatible with your system," Willow said as she displayed a program code on her laptop.
"Hmm," Essa hummed as she read the program. "I agree, we just need to convert it to our systems."
"You have a system to read Goa'uld databases?" Willow asked.
"Yes, there are such programs."
"Great, then I'll convert the code into standard Goa'uld encoding. Or better give me the conversion specs to/from Goa'uld, then our systems can communicate directly." Willow started typing away on her laptop and began the program as Sam leaned over to watch.
"Where did you get a program that would do that?" she asked.
"Oh, it's an expansion of something I wrote in high school. When I hacked...um, I mean when I..."
"Willow, I know what you mean," Sam said kindly. "Wait a second, you wrote this in high school?"
"Yeah, there were some computers that I had to run some of my hacks on in non-standard encoding, but it takes so long to rewrite and compile programs for different systems sometimes that I decided to write a translation program. I could still use my hacking protocols most of the time but when I entered some big supercomputers I would use the translated hacks. I only needed to make a handful of modifications to have it speak alien."
"Willow," Sam started to ask in trepidation, "what supercomputers were you hacking?"
"NASA, NSA, occasionally I dropped in on the FBI to check on whether they had tracked any of my activity," Willow responded matter-of-factly. "They had lousy security for a law enforcement agency."
Sam couldn't get a word out because of the shock she felt. This young woman had hacked incredibly paranoid government agencies while in high school. No wonder they never caught her. Heck, if she hadn't noticed that line of code in SECNET v2.0, she would never have suspected Willow either. Shaking her head, Sam went back to designing an interface for the module. Then it hit her, "Wait a moment, when did you get access to the Goa'uld coding?"
"Uhhh, two weeks ago?"
"And you've already figured out a translation program converting standard Earth coding into and out of Goa'uld coding?"
The redhead just shrugged, "Come on, Sam. It wasn't that hard. Sure, you have to forget anything you know on how we would do it, and what we'd think logical, but it's pretty easy then..."
* * *
"Damn, it's interesting work, but very exhausting," Willow muttered, as she fell on her bed.
"You think it's worth it?" Buffy asked.
"Oh, yes!" Willow gushed. "They might not want to share technology with us, but I understand enough on the theory of Ion Cannons to actually build one myself."
"Theory, yes," Sam said. "But I'm not sure we can manage the engineering part."
"Yeah," Willow nodded. "That'll be hard. But it should be easier than the X-302. I don't know how yet, but there should be a way to build something like that." Willow frowned, dismissing another possible solution, "There has to be."
"Yeah, but it might be pretty costly," Sam said.
"Question is if it's worth it," Buffy said.
"Of course it is!" Willow protested.
"Is it?" Buffy asked. "You needed twenty minutes to calculate the penetration frequency on Tollan with Tollan computers. How long would ours need? Then there's the issue of multi-shields."
"Multi-shields?" Sam asked.
"Yeah, two shields with different frequencies online simultaneously. It would need some tradeoff in offensive fire power, but would make it invulnerable even to the improved Ion Cannons. Then there's white noise jamming of the shield frequency. Randomly changing shield frequencies. Deceptive jamming giving us incorrect shield frequencies. And God knows what else. To me it looks like it's past time for a new weapon system," Willow explained. "What will we tell the Tollan?"
"Nothing," Buffy said. "Not yet, anyway. We need more intelligence on Anubis first. Such modifications should take years, and it seems pretty clear that he didn't expect this move. He'll need time to adjust. I intend to catch him before he can."
"And what if he penetrates the Tollan defense before that?"
"Come on, Sam. I've seen how fast these guns fire. Simply launching a swarm of Death Gliders filled with explosives in Kamikaze attacks against the planet would overwhelm defenses. They don't need those shields, if they just want to destroy the planet."
"Another reason to tell them," Sam said.
"Or not. The Tollan have no experience designing weapons!" Willow said. "Look at the Ion Cannons. We'd have constructed them very differently. I doubt they could come up with a counter anyway."
"Will is correct. The only think it may do is freeze them into inaction. If they are to have an effective defense, we'll have to design it. Besides that, you should know that fixed defenses will always be vulnerable, and Ion Cannons are just that. I can't see the Tollan building a space fleet, so letting them concentrate on refitting Ion Cannons and developing the drug. Meanwhile you can look for a way to overcome the shields without using the frequency, or penetrating them by raw power. We'll inform them on potential weaknesses once we have a solution that won't turn into a complete waste of resources.
* * *
The Next Day
Buffy was back on Tollana after a short trip to the mall and spending a good ten thousand bucks of government money on entertainment for the Tollan, and now looking over the crash site along with most of SG-1, marveling at how fast the salvage team was clearing it out and hauling it to Earth when Tremon found her.
"Buffy, the Curia requests your presence."
SG-1 looked at her in shock when they heard the respect in the Tollan's voice. She merely shrugged that off and replied, "Sure thing, Tremon. How did you like the music videos?"
Grinning, Tremon responded, "I found them rather energetic. Narim said to tell you that he doesn't believe they are civilized."
Buffy snorted, "Of course they aren't. That style of music and dance comes from the primitive side of the psyche. I'll have to remember to send him some opera. Say Jack, can I borrow some CDs?"
"Get your own, you hate opera," Jack replied with a grin.
"That's because they all seem to be screaming in Italian."
"Tough, you put down my taste in music," Jack said in a snobby tone.
Buffy laughed. "This from the man who said my taste in music ranked up there with raw sewage. You'll get yours old man."
"Bah, bring it on kid."
"Will you two please stop arguing about music," Daniel whined. "I swear it's like taking a long car trip with kids listening to you argue. Sam and Willow are planning an intervention."
Both Buffy and Jack looked at him fearfully before asking, "Like what?"
Grinning, the archeologist replied, "Making you listen to Cassie's boy bands."
Teal'c chimed in with a slight grin, "Surely a punishment to fit the crime."
"Ack!" Buffy grimaced while Jack started gagging. "Enough, we'll behave," Buffy said.
They entered the chamber to see the entire Curia assembled, along with Willow and Sam.
"Thank you for coming, Miss Summers," Chancellor Travel said in greeting.
"Anytime," Buffy replied. "What can I do for you today?"
"Your salvage team should have the crash site cleared by noon tomorrow, so we were wondering if you planned to depart with them."
"I haven't heard anything to the contrary, Ma'am." Buffy turned to Jack, "Did you get word of anything different from General Hammond?"
"Nope," Jack said. "We are to be the last through."
"I see," Travell noted. "In that case, I would like to contact General Hammond myself and request that we open closer relations between our two peoples. Essa has noted while working with both Miss Summers and Miss Rosenberg that they have agile minds and often come up with unique solutions to problems. Also that Miss Rosenberg has an exceptional ability with technology and has many innovative notions that we would like to discuss with her."
Buffy studied the Curia for a moment before saying, "I guess it was really a good idea to get the DVDs."
"Yes. You'll enjoy them, once Essa has them converted," Willow added.
"Alright Chancellor, let's make the call," Buffy said.
General Hammond was contacted and after a bit of negotiation, SG-9 would be returning to Tollana as permanent diplomatic personnel until the United States could send an actual Ambassador and staff to take over what would become the first official Embassy on another planet. Everyone in the SGC decided to leave issues such as the copyright of music videos and DVD movies the Tollan made available to all their people for the diplomats to worry about. The Curia had also decided that they would like to station a two-person delegation on Earth as well. Essa had asked to be assigned to the Earth delegation so that she would have more opportunities to work with Willow and Buffy. It was agreed that the delegation would come to Earth along with SG-1, Buffy, and Willow.
As they stepped through the Gate, Buffy mused that the PTB's might have wanted things to work out this way. She had defeated a Goa'uld, gained some followers, quite possibly some highly advanced technology, and turned some iffy allies into firmer ones. All in all not a bad bit of work for a girl from another universe.
* * *