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The Creators

Author: Willowfan
A/N: I have had this story in the works since I read the challange. I have a beta reading it over and everything, but real life stuff is really working them over....I have decided to post anyway with that in mind. I hope you don't mind any unbeta'd material, but I have heard from them and they say it's good stuff!! I hope you agree...
Disclaimers: The characters herein are copyrighted to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, The Sci-Fi channel and other people that can order my death with a phone call…what I’m trying to say is, please don’t. I’m just gonna borrow ‘em, use ‘em for a bit, and put ‘em right back…I promise.
Pairing: W/T, B/Sh (Friendship), others as the mood strikes…or not.
Setting: Response to Dawns “Slayer Creation Myth” challenge (#390 on www.tthfanfic.com site). Set After S7 Buffy and During S1 SG: Atlantis. Give me some playing room on the timeframe. Buffy is about to graduate with a PhD and not even Willow could pull that one off in only 4 years…so SG Atlantis is gonna start a little later than scheduled ;-) And since Buffy left in S3, Tara didn’t die, because it wasn’t Buffy that faced *him*. It was Faith, and she put up with *him* for about two seconds before bitch-slapping his worthless ass into a jail cell. And the First was never awakened, cause Buffy didn’t die in S5, so Willow didn’t disrupt the line by bringing her back in S6. Dawn went right to Buffy, in Chicago, and Glory never found her in time.
Spoilers: By this time…I hope not. Maybe some Atlantis stuff..

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Chapter 1: The Creators

Buffy Summers sat in the cool breeze under the tall trees lining her apartment complex, scanning the book in her lap and chewing on her pencil. It was almost dark out and she had to hurry with the passage before her ride showed up. Looking down at the notes she had scribbled on the pad, she grinned. Quickly turning back to the book, she scanned the page until she found what she was searching for. Scribbling furiously in her notebook, she bit her bottom lip and scowled. “Well this doesn’t make any sense…” she muttered, closing the book and turning back to the generous stack she had before her. Picking out another, she flipped through the pages and came to a stop, reading the passage she had marked ahead of time.

“Ok. I understand that.” She muttered, looking back at the newest book in her collection, the one she was trying to make sense out of. “But that, doesn’t go with that.” She said, holding both books up and frowning. “So one of them is wrong.”

“Buffy!” a voice split the night air and Buffy immediately jumped up, reaching for her stake. It had been eight years since she left the Hellmouth to the new slayer, Faith, but old habits died hard. Realizing she wasn’t in any danger, she grinned at the redhead that ran up to her, almost tackling her in a hug. “Buffy! I can’t believe it! You graduate tomorrow!” the redhead squeezed her best friend and danced happily.

Buffy smiled warmly and made a small wave to the blonde trailing behind Willow. “Hey Tara. I’d hug you to, but I may need an oxygen tank after Will’s here squeezes the life outta me.” Buffy grinned.

Tara smiled and nodded. “I’d say she misses you.” The blonde Wicca said.

Willow let Buffy go and stepped back. “Hey. Sorry, I’m just so happy and excited for you! You have worked so hard for eight years…I mean, you’re gonna be Dr. Elizabeth Anne Summers.” She said.

Buffy smiled. “That’s Dr. Buffy to you, Wills.” She said, grinning. “Or should I say Dr. Rosenberg. You graduate tomorrow to you know.” She smiled.

Willow shrugged. “Yeah, but I only have one doctorate, you have history and cultural anthropology!”

Buffy shrugged. “Basically the same thing. One is what happened, the other is why.” She smiled.

Willow rolled her eyes. “A little more complicated than that, don’t ya think?” she asked.

Buffy shrugged. “Technically, yes. But Dr. Henson said that was the most succinctly put comparison he had heard in a long time. So I’m sticking with it.” She said. “Funny. When I left Sunnydale it was to find out more about the Slayer, about what I am. Of course everything they had on the subject was in either a two thousand year old dead language or carved on a cave wall…” she shrugged.

Willow grinned. “And so getting an education was the way to go, huh?” she smiled.

Buffy nodded. “Yep. And to think that I found all this stuff so boring in high school.” She sighed.

“You were kinda fighting to save the world…over and over. But now, well I think we need to have a party. A ‘Goodbye-school-we’re-finally-graduating’ party.” Willow said.

Buffy looked at her books and frowned. “I really should finish this.” She said at first, and then smiled. “But I guess I do need to chaperone you two.” She said.

Willow and Tara exchanged looks. “Uh-huh. I don’t recall Tara or I dancing topless at a frat party our freshman year.” Willow grinned.

Buffy covered her face. “Beer is bad. Remember that lesson, girls. Beer Bad.” She moaned as Willow and Tara laughed. The trio moved off to her apartment to stash her books and then headed out to waste the night away. None of them noticed the janitor sweeping the same spot for almost twenty minutes, or the garbage collector emptying an already empty can.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

The shrill alarm clock chirped incessantly in her ear as Buffy slowly opened her eyes. She wanted to stake the clock, but couldn’t bring herself to lift her arm. So instead she just stared at the red digits and groaned. She was therefore very surprised to see a slender arm reach over her head and shut the alarm off.

“Time to wake up.” She heard a very familiar voice whisper in her ear.

Buffy slowly sat up and turned to see Willow smiling at her. She also noticed Tara snuggled contentedly behind the redhead. Buffy made her best fish-out-of-water face, her moth opening and closing as she tried to form words, but she couldn’t put anything together so she settled for scrambling back and falling out of bed, landing on the floor with a dull thud.

Willow raised an eyebrow and grinned. “You ok?” she asked.

Buffy noticed for the first time that she was wearing an old Sunnydale High t-shirt and panties. She also noticed Willow wearing even less. Willow wasn’t wearing a shirt.

“W-Willow…what happened last night?” Buffy stammered.

Willow grinned and stretched out, a sound almost like a purr escaping her throat. “You don’t remember?” she asked. “Buffy I’m hurt. If I wasn’t your best friend, I’d actually be really mad.” She said, her eyes twinkling. “We all came back here after consuming a vast quantity of alcohol…your idea, by the way…and you proceeded to show both me and Tara what being a slayer meant in terms of stamina.” She said as Buffy’s mouth fell further open.

“I…we…me a-and you…and Tara?” Buffy gasped.

Willow turned to look at the blonde wicca behind her and sighed. “You tuckered her out, poor thing.” She sighed.

Buffy failed to notice Tara shaking as she tried hiding her laughter.

“B-but…I, I mean not that it’s bad, but I’m not…I don’t think I…cause Angel…and Mark…Ryan…” Buffy sputtered.

Willow couldn’t hold it in any longer. She burst out laughing and that set Tara off. “Oh…goddess Buffy…the look on your face…” she laughed, pulling the sheets up over her head as Tara laughed so hard she fell out of bed.

Buffy, clearly still confused but starting to put things together, stood up. “So we didn’t…” she pointed between Tara, Willow and herself.

Willow shook her head. “No Buffy. We all came home last night after consuming a vast quantity of alcohol, that part was true. But you said we should all just stay here and go to commencement from here since Tara and I live over ten miles away. We were gonna sleep in the living room, but you said the California King was big enough, so we slept here.” She said, wiping her eyes.

Buffy rubbed her face and growled. “Ohhh….I’m gonna kill ya Rosenberg.” She said, chuckling between her fingers.

Willow stuck out her tongue. “That’s Dr. Rosenberg to you, Dr. Buffy.” She said.

Buffy jumped at Willow, tickling the redhead mercilessly as Tara wisely watched from the doorway.

Shaking her head, Tara grabbed the overnight bag she and Willow had packed and headed for the shower. Entering the bathroom, she started the water and took out her favorite soap and shampoo. She didn’t use them very often because they were very expensive to make, but she figured today was special. She had just wet her hair when she felt another presence in the bathroom. The curtain opened behind her and the lithe figure of her lover slipped into the shower behind her.

“Hey baby. I missed you.” Willow said softly, her arms snaking around Tara’s waist as she laid her chin on Tara shoulder.

“I’ve only been in here for a few minutes.” Tara said, leaning back into Willows arms.

“Yeah. Two whole minutes without Tara snuggles.” Willow said, caressing the nape of Tara’s neck with feather light kisses. “It was like torture.” She whispered huskily, letting her hands slowly roam over Tara’s wet body.

Tara gasped as Willows hands found all of her most sensitive areas. “T-torture?” she gasped. “How can I make that up to you?” she asked, a whimper escaping her lips as Willow teased her.

“I’m sure I can think of something.” Willow whispered.

Tara grinned as she turned in Willow’s embrace. “I just bet you can.” She said, leaning forward to capture Willows lips. “Vixen.”

Willow moaned into the kiss, her body reacting to Tara’s touch. She hoped Buffy wasn’t in a hurry.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

“Dr. Elizabeth Anne Summers.” Buffy walked across the stage as her name was read. “Double Doctorate in both History and Cultural Anthropology.” The Dean said, shaking her hand as she paused in front of him and then made her way across stage, shaking the hands of the Board of Governors, the various Administrators and finally, the Governor herself.

Buffy looked out into the crowd and spotted her friends immediately. They were the ones with the banner that read “We Love You Buffy!” in foot high red letters. Giles, Faith, Xander, Anya, and Dawn were all there, cheering for her.

Buffy got off of stage and went to stand at her seat until the other graduates finished their processional. She tried to be patient, but her shaking was so bad now that it threatened to topple her, she was so excited.

The Dean finally announced the last name and looked out at the students. “It has been an honor, and a privilege, to know each and every one of you. I know I speak on behalf of the Administration, the faculty and Board when I say congratulations Northwestern class of 2007.” He said as the class erupted with cheers, hat throwing and congratulatory commotion.

Buffy made a beeline for Willow and Tara who were themselves besieged by their friends from Wicca group. Buffy had to squeeze in and was immediately rewarded with a bone crushing hug from a teary eyed Willow. “We did it Buffy, we really did it!” she cried, holding Buffy close.

Buffy felt herself tearing up and decided to just go with it. “We sure did Will’s. I love you so much.” She said, hugging Willow, and snaking her arm out to Tara, who was smiling at the duo. “I love Tara too.” She cried, pulling Tara into the hug. A form collided with the trio as Dawn moved through the crowd.

“Buffy!” Dawn called, slamming into the girls. “You guys did it! You’re guys so amazing!” she said, gazing at the three of them. She was starting at Northwestern herself in the Fall. “Come on, Giles has a whole surprise party thing he wants to throw…so act surprised.” She said, tugging on the girls.

Buffy looked at Willow, Tara and Dawn. Her life was so good now, and she had everyone to thank for it. She scanned the crowd; looking for the person she owed the most to. “Ok Dawn, act surprised…got it.” She said, frowning when she couldn’t find the person she looked for. “Surprised. Got it.”

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Major Anthony Parkinson quietly took out his cell phone and dialed the number. Waiting for the line to pick up he smiled. “Sir. Yes sir. I believe she will do fine. Yes sir. I’ll approach her sir. Yes sir.” He said, hanging up the phone.

Looking over at his team members, he nodded and four figures walked out after Buffy and the group.

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Buffy was taken back to her apartment and looked surprised when she was led to the party, she laughed at the stories, she smiled at all the right times and because she did this, no one was able to discern that she was getting upset. She kept looking for the one person she wanted to see to thank for all of this, but she couldn’t seem to locate her. Finally, after everyone had left leaving her, Willow, Tara Xander, Anya and Dawn, Buffy found her. She managed to creep up and bump the leather clad hip playfully, turning on her 1000-watt smile. “Hey there.” She said.

Faith turned, munching on a carrot and nodded. “Hey there grad.” She said, grinning.

Buffy took Faith’s hand and pulled her from the table, Faith frowning and gazing longingly at the buffet. “Faith. I just…I can’t even begin to thank you.” Buffy said, her eyes misting.

Faith frowned, confused. “Uh…B. It’s not like I did your homework.” She shrugged.

Buffy shook her head. “I never would have been able to do this if you hadn’t taken over for me in Sunnydale.” She said. “If I had stayed…I don’t know what would have happened.” She said. “I owe you more than I can ever repay.” She whispered. Buffy took Faith’s hand gently, pulling the speechless dark slayer into a hug. “I love you so much, Faith. You are like the sister I never had.” She whispered. From the corner, she heard an indignant squeak from Dawn. “Ok. The sister who’s a slayer I never had.” She said.

Faith stood stiffly for a second before lowering her defenses and hugging Buffy back. “Well, you have Little D to take care of, plus you did die once.” She shrugged. “Love you to B.” she said softly, holding onto Buffy.

Willow, who had watched the entire scene, suddenly burst into tears, wrapping her arms around Buffy and Faith and was soon joined by Tara, Xander and Dawn. Giles, who stood in the corner cleaning his glasses, coughed politely and sighed.

“Bugger.” Giles muttered, joining in the group hug.

“Ok. Somebody has their hand on my ass.” Faith said from the center of the group, breaking the silence with everyone laughing.

The group dispersed and Buffy smiled at Faith. “Wanna do a quick patrol? Like old times?” she asked.

Faith grinned. “Could do.” She nodded. “But after I eat.” She chucked her thumb backwards towards the buffet.

Buffy nodded. “I’ll change.” She said as she happily headed to her bedroom.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy and Faith said their goodbyes and headed to the door when a crisp knock came from the other side. Buffy opened it and her eyes widened when she saw four military uniforms. She cocked her head to the side and grinned. “Are you guys strippers?” she said, looking accusingly at first Willow and Tara, and then to Faith. All shook their heads.

Major Parkinson reached into his pocket and pulled a card out. “I’m sorry Miss…I’m sorry…Dr. Summers. But we are not.” He handed her a card and smiled. “I’m Major Anthony Parkinson, and I’d like to talk to you about a career.” He said.

Buffy smiled. “Uh…no thanks. I don’t look good in fatigues. Makes my hips look big.” She shrugged. “Plus, I can never find a hairstyle to compliment them.”

The corner of Major Parkinson’s mouth curled into a slight smile. “No ma’am. I’m not asking you to join the military. I’m here to ask you to work for the military.” He said. “We’d pay for your school as well as a generous salary.” He said. “I have all the information right here.” He said, holding out a manila envelope.

Buffy reached for it but Major Parkinson yanked the envelope away and shook his head. “I’m sorry. It is classified. I’d need you to sign this non-disclosure statement. And you’d have to read it alone.”

Buffy frowned. “You’re joking, right?” she smirked. Major Parkinson didn’t smile. “So…if I read it and decide not to work for you, what then?” she asked.

The Major shrugged. “We go our separate ways and if you mention this to anyone the United States government will sue you for every penny you have and then put you in jail forever.” He said, straight faced. Buffy just stared. “That was a joke.” He finally said.

Buffy rolled her eyes.

“We would just ask that you keep the contents to yourself.” The Major said.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy read the papers again and frowned, settling onto her couch with a hot cup of tea, something she blamed Giles for. Flipping through the dossier, she couldn’t make sense of half the pages because they had black lines crossing out most of the page. She had one paper that was totally blacked out except for her name.

Sighing, she picked up the phone and dialed the Major’s number. “Major Parkinson please.” She said to the operator she got talked to. “Major, this is Buffy Summ…” she paused as the Major asked her a question. “I don’t know if it’s a secure line or not.” She answered, getting irritated. This was beginning to stink of The Initiative, the military organization that Faith had to deal with in Sunnydale a year after Buffy left. She would have make sure to get Giles call that Riley Finn guy and see if he can make sense of anything. She paused while the Major put her on hold.

“Can you meet with me tonight?” Major Parkinson asked, coming back on the line.

“I guess so.” Buffy said, checking her watch. “I’ll have to call someone to come over and watch my sister.” She said.

“Meet me at Wilkes Park, under the North Gate Bridge.” The Major said. “Say in an hour?”

Buffy checked her watch. It was eight o’clock and she bit her lip. “Eight is fine.” She said.

The line went dead and Buffy turned the phone off, then back on, dialing Giles’ number.

“Giles. It’s me. Can you come over and watch Dawnie for about an hour or so?” she asked.

“Buffy, she is going to be a freshman at University in the Fall, you do realize that, don’t you?” Giles asked jokingly.

“And I still remember all the things in the night that want to make a name for themselves by taking me out, and going after Dawn has happened more than once.” Buffy said.

“Of course. I shall be over in ten minutes, will that be alright?” Giles asked.

“Thank you Giles.” Buffy smiled sweetly and hung up. “Dawnie!” she called, standing and walking to her bedroom to change.

“Yes, Dr. Summers?” Dawn asked, poking her head out of her own room, her hair wrapped in a towel from the shower.

“I’m gonna go out for awhile, Giles is coming over, ok?” Buffy said.

“Don’t you think I’m a little old to have a baby sitter?” Dawn asked, frowning.

“Not when there are things that want to kill me and aren’t afraid of using you.” Buffy smiled. “Remember the Chaos Demon fiasco a year ago, and before that there was a Master Vampire, and before that there was a Fyeral Demon attack…” Buffy said, counting on her fingers.

Dawn just shook her head. “And you think Giles is gonna be adequate protection?” she grinned, knowing full well that where Giles went, Faith was sure to be close by.

Buffy shrugged. “Just promise me you’ll behave.” She said.

Dawn rolled her eyes. “Of course I’ll be good…I’m not twelve anymore.” She said, hugging her sister. “You be careful, ok?” she said softly. It still worried her when Buffy went outside after dark.

“As always. I’ll bring back some ice cream, ok?” Buffy smiled, hugging her sister back.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy sat silently at the table, staring at her coffee and pushing the remains of a partially eaten piece of pie around a small plate. It had been almost an hour since she got here and there was no sign of Major Parkinson to be seen. Just as she was about to leave, she heard the chimes above the door and saw the Major walk in. He was not in uniform and was flanked by two other men, also without a uniform, who just screamed ‘MARINES’ to her.

She smiled pleasantly as Major Parkinson sat, tossing a file onto the table. “I take it you’re trying to look inconspicuous?” Buffy asked.

The Major smiled slightly. “Trying. Is it working?” he asked.

Buffy shook her head. “Not really.” She looked at the folder in front of the Major. “I called because I had questions.” She said, staring at the folder the entire time.

Major Parkinson followed her gaze and smiled as well. “I brought this because I figured you’d have questions.” He said, folding his hands in front of him and resting them on the folder.

“I guess the first question I have is how am I supposed to make a decision on anything if I have a few pages of material, and most of that is blacked out so I can’t read it?” Buffy said.

“I have the un-edited versions here.” Parkinson said, tapping the folder. “Hence, the two inconspicuous guards.”

“Ok. I’m getting a strong military, ‘Top Secret’ vibe here.” Buffy sighed. “I’m wondering what it has to do with me.” She said.

Parkinson opened the file and extracted one sheet and slid it over to Buffy, along with a pen. “This is a non-disclosure form. I’ll need you to sign it before we can proceed.” He said.

Buffy slid the paper back. “I already signed one, remember?” she said.

Parkinson slid the paper back to Buffy. “That was for the contact packet, not this. This is very serious.” He said, his eyes begged no debate from her.

Buffy frowned, but signed the paper and slid it back. “Ok. Now can I see it?” she asked.

Major Parkinson slid the folder to Buffy and waited. After a few seconds of scanning pages, looking at photographs and reading missions briefs, Buffy Summers had an glimpse of the most secure base on the planet; Stargate Command. She continued to read and swallowed hard when she got to the Atlantis proposal.

“I still can’t understand why you want me.” She said softly.

Major Parkinson flipped through a few of the pages and pointed to some medical data. “You have the genome to operate the equipment left over from The Ancients.” He said. “And since you are a Doctor of Cultural Anthropology, the programs director decided to approach you.” He said, pausing.

“How long would I be gone?” Buffy asked.

Major Parkinson sighed. “That’s the hardest part.” He said softly. “We’re not even sure if you would ever be able to come home.” He said softly. “Hence, the generous salary. You’d never have to wonder if your family was taken care of.”

Buffy looked at Major Parkinson, frowning. “There’s more to taking care of a family than money, Major.” Buffy checked her watch and sighed. “Can I think about it?” she asked.

Major Parkinson nodded. “There’s nothing set in stone yet, Doctor. We aren’t even sure if there is a departure date yet. This is all still tentative.”

Buffy nodded. “Ok. Well…I’ll think it over.” She said, standing. Buffy looked around and sighed. “Why are we meeting here to discuss a top secret project?” she asked, suddenly aware that the patrons in the restaurant were the same ones from over an hour ago. And all of them were very studiously ignoring her.

Major Parkinson smiled. “Some of our people are much better at being inconspicuous than I am.” He said.

Buffy only nodded. “Oh.” She said softly, before turning to leave. She had a lot to think about.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Giles heard Buffy’s front door open and closed the book he was reading and turned to Buffy. “Everything alright?” he asked.

Buffy sat on the couch beside him and bit her bottom lip, thoughts turning over in her head. She reached beside her to a small book she was reading several days ago and opened the marked passage. She cleared her throat and began to read: “The City is gone now and I am alone. One girl in all the world, left to fight against the oncoming darkness. I shall try to pass on my line, pass on my gift, but there shall always be only one.” She finished reading and turned to Giles.

“That sounds very much like the Slayer prophesy.” Giles said, reaching for the book. “I can’t make out the language.” He muttered.

Buffy was staring at the wall, her limbs heavy. “It’s supposed to be Atlantian.” She muttered.

Giles chuckled. “Buffy, Atlantis is a myth. There is no lost city.” He said, closing the book.

Buffy turned to Giles. “This book was recovered in Athens and said to have been a copy of hand written texts made by Plato himself.” Buffy said. “Plato wasn’t known for his fictional works, Giles.” She said, standing. “What makes this text so unique is that it’s not a dialogue, like the rest of Plato’s works on Atlantis. They were taken from various sources, including the Egyptians. This isn’t a dialogue, it’s like an interview, or memoirs.” She said. “And it sounds so like the story of the Slayer line its almost scary.”

Giles pursed his lips. “Alright, let’s assume it’s genuine.” He said, removing his glasses. “How is it that you can read it?” he asked.

Buffy lowered her head and muttered something.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” Giles asked, trying to meet her gaze.

“I said, because I found instructions.” Buffy said softly.

“I’m not sure I follow you.” Giles said, suddenly worried.

Buffy headed into her bedroom and came back carrying a large suitcase. “Remember that archeology dig Willow and I went on three years ago?” she said, sheepishly. “The one in Egypt?”

Giles closed his eyes. “Dear lord.” He muttered.

“What ‘dear lord’?! I haven’t even gotten to a ‘dear lord’ part yet!” Buffy squeaked indignantly.

Giles looked at Buffy. “If you are about to tell me that the two of you pilfered something from an archeology dig than, yes, that is most defiantly a ‘dear lord’ action.” He said. Staring at the suitcase, he sighed. “What did you find?” he said softly.

Buffy smiled. She opened the suitcase and pulled a small, stone tablet from the case. It was barely a foot and a half long and a foot wide. It was covered in small script, and separated into sections. He saw five distinct alphabets. “Oh dear lord.” He said again, taking the stone. He recognized the supposed Atlantian script, but also saw Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Grecian Alphabet from around 340 B.C., Sumerian, and the other language, he couldn’t make out.

“I could read the Grecian and Sumerian, the text was the same, so I figured this to be sort of a Rosetta stone.” Buffy said.

Giles pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “And you took this without sharing, why?” he asked. “And how did you manage to get it out of the country?”

Buffy shrugged. “Willow magicked it to here when I found it. Just read it Giles.” She said.

Giles put his glasses on and began to scan the text, the Sumerian text, anyway. His eyes widened and he nearly dropped the stone. “Oh dear…”

“Lord.” Buffy interrupted. “Yeah. That’s what I said.” she finished.

“This is the most important discovery in the entire history of the Slayer line.” He said. “And I am remarkably surprised at how accurate it is.” He said. “There is very little distinction.” He said, shaking his head.

Buffy nodded. “I noticed. The biggest difference I found is here…” she pointed to the text. “Where it says ‘ She Alone Will Stand Against the Demon-Gods…’ Doesn’t your version just say ‘‘ She Alone Will Stand Against the Demons…?’” Buffy said, sitting down.

Giles nodded. “Yes, very much so. I wonder what it could be referring to?” he asked.

“Those were dark times, I’m betting. Demons would love to set themselves up as gods, Giles.” She said.

Giles nodded. “Indeed.” He ran his hands over the surface of the stone. “What type of stone is this?” he asked. “I’ve never felt it’s like before.” He said.

Buffy shrugged. “I dunno, neither does Willow. She said its unlike anything she has ever seen. She could barely get a scraping to test.”

Giles turned back to Buffy. “You’ve shown this to Willow?” he asked, clearly hurt. “Why didn’t you show it to me?” he asked.

“Cause you’d get all ‘dear lord, you took this from a dig site?!’” Buffy said.

“Well, yes, I suppose so. But Buffy, this is an amazing, enormous discovery.” Giles said.

“And it belongs to me.” Buffy said. “I mean, me and Faith. We’re the slayers, Giles. This predates the council, so we’re the inheritors.” Buffy said, clutching the tablet to her chest.

Giles sighed softly. “May I at least have a rubbing, to see if anything shows up on the other two languages?” he asked.

Buffy smiled, reaching into the suitcase and handing Giles a disk. “This has a scan of the tablet, a scan of my book and a translation, made by me and Willow using the tablet.” She said. “I never meant to keep you out, it’s just all this school has taught me to wait until you have enough proof to present your case before you make a stand. So I waited.” She shrugged. “Besides, I think we need to talk about something else now.” She sighed, looking over at the contact packet she got from the Major.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Giles sat in stunned silence, holding the last of the papers in Buffy’s packet in his hand. He couldn’t read the blacked out sections, but Buffy filled him in on what they said. He was trying to process everything when there was a knock at the front door.

Buffy stood and crossed the room, peeking through the peephole. She unchained the door and waved slightly. “Hey Faith. How’s Chicago treating you?” she asked, smiling.

Faith shrugged. “A little colder than Sunnydale, but I grew up in Boston, so I’m adjusting.” She said. Turning to Giles, she began rifling her report. “Michigan Avenue underground is clear. I caught some vamps around campus too, so they’re toast. I’m gonna head back to the hotel if that’s cool.” She said.

Giles waved absently. “Yes. That would be fine. Thank you, Faith.” He muttered.

Faith shrugged. “Catch ya later kiddies.” She said as she left.

Buffy closed the door and sighed. “I wonder if I should tell everyone about this. I mean, it affects everyone.” She said softly.

Giles leaned back, removing his glasses. “Well, Major Parkinson did say that nothing was definitive yet.” He said. “Perhaps we should wait?”

Buffy shook her head. “No. He said nothing was definitive right now, but who knows, maybe tomorrow night I’ll get a call or a letter saying I have 48 hours to make a decision. That’s only two days to get everyone used to the idea of me going away, possibly forever, if I decide to go.” She said. “That’s not long enough, Giles.”

Giles smiled softly. “I’m afraid that two days or two years won’t make a bit of difference. They…we…will not ever be ready for you to leave us.” He said softly.

Buffy sat down and sighed. “Are you saying I shouldn’t go?”

Giles shook his head. “I won’t say this is not a remarkable opportunity, for both you and I. The creation of the Slayer line is shrouded in half-truths and legend. You could possibly find the key to solving an ancient puzzle.” He said. “The question is, are you willing to possibly find nothing and never return home?”

Buffy was staring at Dawn’s closed door. “If I go, I will want provisos.” She said.

Giles laughed slightly. “I can only imagine.” He said. “All I can say is, bring them up. As for telling everyone…I think it should be up to you.”

Buffy sighed. “Well…everyone is here.” She said. “It’ll be like old times.”

Giles nodded. “Indeed.”

Buffy looked at Giles. “Tomorrow? Say at one?”

Giles stood, hugging Buffy. “One it is.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy looked at the assembled group sitting around her living room. Willow, Tara and Dawn sat on the couch with Giles and Faith each sitting in the two easy chairs. Xander just stood, leaning on the doorframe leading to the kitchen. Buffy was standing in front of her balcony door, pacing back and forth.

“What’s the what, B?” Faith asked, leaning forward. “Giles says you have news that could affect all of us. What? You win the lottery and wanna share?” she teased, grinning.

Buffy tried to smile, but the emotion never reached her eyes. “Not exactly Faith.” She said softly. She leaned over and picked up the small suitcase at her feet and opened it, pulling out the stone tablet.

Willow straightened quickly and looked at Buffy. “What’s that? Whatever it is, I don’t know anything about it.” She said rapidly, glancing at Giles.

Giles shook his head, grinning. “She’s already told me about it Willow.” He said softly. “And under the circumstances, even though what you did broke several international laws, several natural laws and indeed may have even broken one or two confidences, I can say that I agree with the outcome.” He sighed. “I just wish you had told me of it sooner.” He said sadly.

Tara furrowed her brow. “What is it, baby?” she asked Willow.

Willow sighed, looking at the tablet. “Well. Remember the archeology dig Buffy and I went on about three years ago? The one in Egypt?” Tara nodded. “Well. We found something.” Willow sighed, remembering the day as if it was only yesterday.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Flashback-Giza Plateau, 2005

Willow wiped the sweat out of her eyes and leaned back over, gently swiping the thick-bristled brush over the foot or so of sandy rock she had been assigned. Another centimeter of sand was cleared away and she smiled. The Egyptian government wanted extreme caution in this dig because of the proximity to the Pyramids. Several weeks ago, when she and Buffy were looking over the sonogram that was taken, they chose to dig because there was defiantly something here. Others chased similar shadows, but Buffy felt certain that there was something of great importance here, so they chose this spot.

Every day since then, they painstakingly cleared the sand away, only a foot or so a day, and now Willow was sure they were getting somewhere. She had surreptitiously used a small spell to push sand away, making the small patch much deeper. Their dig foreman had at first been upset, saying that they had gone to deep to fast and may have missed something. After he checked the sand Willow had piled very laboriously he had to admit that she didn’t miss anything and she was free to dig again.

Buffy gingerly slid into the hole, handing Willow a bottle of water. “Here, drink first and dig later. And it’s time for more sunscreen.” She said, pulling the small bottle from her belt pouch. “Tara will kill me if you get sun stroke.” She said, squirting the thick white lotion onto her hand and rubbing them together.

Willow rolled her eyes and pulled the covering and her hair away from the back of her neck. “Tara doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She wouldn’t hurt you. Besides, you’re the slayer, remember?” she said, lowering her head as Buffy rubbed the lotion into Willow’s disturbingly red skin. “That’s so cold!” she squeaked.

“And you are as red as your hair, Willow.” Buffy said, deciding to apply another coat. “I think it’s time you retired for the day.” She said, seriously worried for her friend.

“I’m fine. I’ve been working a little mojo to make the sun a little easier on me.” She said quietly. “It’s like getting hit by only half the rays.” She said.

“And what would Tara think about the use of power?” Buffy asked, knowing Tara didn’t like to use magic for trivial reasons.

“She’d be fine with it and probably would have done it earlier than I did. I’m not harming anyone, using the protection only when I need it and also, it’s not very strong because you’ve been coating me in sunscreen every four hours.” Willow said. “I’m not abusing any power, and I am using my own strength, not coercing any other power sources.”

Buffy grinned. “Alright. How much further?” she asked, kneeling down and handing Willow the sunscreen. “The other teams have all found something and Professor Milkin is thinking about moving us.” She shuddered as Willow rubbed the sunscreen over her bare shoulders and exposed back.

Willow shrugged. “About another three or four inches. I’m just being careful.” She said. “Wanna speed up?”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah, since I’m not worried about you missing something.”

Willow closed the bottle and handed it back to Buffy. “Than let’s get to work.” She said, taking her small trowel and began to carefully dig a little faster. It wasn’t long before she and Buffy cleared an area deep enough to make out an outline of something. Taking her brush, Willow swept it over the flat expanse of the stone tablet they had reached. It was smooth and cool, despite being in the hot sand.

“What is that?” Buffy asked, pointing to a carving in the stone.

Willow leaned closer, trying to sweep sand off of the symbol. She shrugged. “It looks like it may be hieroglyphs, but I can’t remember ever seeing anything like it.” She said. The carving was of a simple pyramid, with a small circle about an inch and a half over one of the points. The entire face was smooth except for that. “Wanna call the professor over?”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah. We found something.” She grinned excitedly.

Willow stood and climbed out of the hole, heading for the professors tent.

Professor Milkin was a short, round, compact man. His eyes always darted around, sparkling with intelligence and good humor. He enjoyed his work, his students and making archeology fun. He was happy, fun and very popular with his students. Many went to lengths to keep in touch with him over the course of their lives. He quickly scribbled his name over a page he was reading and flipped it over, writing a large ‘A’ on the top and setting the paper aside, reaching for another. The strong scent of coconut hit him and he looked up as Willow stepped into his tent. “Ahh, Miss Rosenberg. How can I help you?” he asked, grinning.

“I think we found something.” She said, smiling brightly. “Are those our tests?” she asked, looking at the stack of papers on his small table.

Professor Milkin laughed. “They are indeed. Would you like to know what you got?” he asked, flipping through his Gradebook.

Willow bit her lip. She was very nervous about this test. Instead of studying, she and Buffy had been tracking and killing a Vercosian Sand demon. She was not nearly as prepared as she should have been. “Sure, I guess. If it’s not to much trouble.”

The professor shook his head. “Nonsense. You are never a trouble. Here.” He held the book up, his hand covering the other student’s grades’. A bright red ‘A’ was marked in the little box next to her name.

Willow smiled brightly. “I did a lot better than I thought!”

“You always do very well, Willow. I am not nearly as surprised as you seem to be.” He said, closing the book. “Now. You and Miss Summers have found something?” he asked.

Willow nodded, startled she had almost forgotten. “Yeah! It seems to be a tablet, but I can’t make out what kind of stone it is.” She said.

“Stone, you say?” the professor said. “Not clay?”

Willow shook her head, opening the tent flap as they passed through. “No clay I’ve ever seen.” She said, leading the professor to the dig site she and Buffy shared.

Buffy, in the meantime, had cleared the edges of the tablet away and bug a little deeper. The edges of the tablet were clearly visible and seemed to be only about an inch thick. She was about to try lifting the tablet out when a shadow fell across her hands. Looking us, she beamed at Willow and Professor Milkin.

“Remarkable.” He said, squatting down and placing his hand on the edge of the hole, getting ready drop into the hole. He dropped, landing surprisingly light for a man of his size. “Truly amazing. I don’t recognize the symbol. Are there any other markings?” he asked.

Buffy shook her head. “None on this side or the edges, not that I could see. I haven’t lifted it yet.” She held out the small rubber spatula she was going to use to lift the edge of the tablet with.

Professor Milkin shook his head. “Oh no, Miss Summers. I trust you can lit it all by yourself.” He smiled and stepped away from the tablet. “Have you been recording?” he asked, pointing to the small palmcorder on a tripod that was aimed at the tablet.

Buffy nodded, kneeling again and working the spatula under the edge of the tablet, millimeter by millimeter. Suddenly, the tablet popped slightly and was free from the dirt. Buffy carefully took the sides with her gloved hands and lifted it gently. The stone was remarkably strong and she turned the tablet over. Handing it to Willow, she took the palmcorder and handed it to Professor Milkin. She climbed from the hole and went over to where Willow was setting the tablet down on a folding table, along with several other instruments. A small pan with water was on the table, along with several brushes with varying bristle strengths, a small canister of compressed air, a small squeeze bottle with a needle-like nozzle and some dry, absorbent cloth towels.

“Excuse me. Ladies.” Professor Milkin called. Buffy turned back and dropped down. “Sorry Professor.” She said, reaching for his hand.

“Quite alright, Miss Summers. I am eager to see this myself.” He said, taking her hand. Having been her professor for almost an entire year at the site, he was not as amazed with her strength as he had first been, but was still quite shocked when Buffy nearly lifted him from the hole. “Now…let’s see what we have.” He said, smiling brightly and going to the table. He turned the camera on and looked at the LCD display, nodding at Willow.

“Ok. I have already cleaned off most of the loose sand by hand. I’ve labeled the bag with the date, time and GPS coordinates.” She said, looking at the professor, biting her lip.

“Yes, Miss Rosenberg?” he asked. He knew she was worried about something. He had gotten to know all of his students faces, especially the ones that said ‘I want to ask something, but am to afraid to because it may sound stupid.’ So he always prompted his students when he saw it.

“Well. I was wondering if we shouldn’t use foil. I mean, I don’t think it’s charcoal, but it’s also not your typical stone either. What if the plastic has chemicals that could harm it?” Willow asked.

Professor Milkin smiled. “Foil would be fine, I’m glad to see you are being cautious.” He said. Foil was often used to wrap any kind of charcoal because the chemicals in plastic bags were often harmful to charcoal.

Willow opened the small box to her left a pulled out several sheets, arranging them on the table. “Should I use water?” she asked, holding the small squeeze bottle.

“Did you test the stone?” Professor Milkin asked.

Willow nodded, pointing to a bottom edge where she placed a single drop. There was no sign of reaction.

“Very well.” the professor said.

Willow carefully squeezed, letting the water rinse most of the sand away. She took a towel and patted the surface, never wiping, and soaked most of the water up. There were no visible markings on the tablet.

“Very good.” Professor Milkin said. “Now, turn the piece over and tell me what you see.” He said.

Willow turned the tablet over, carefully, and set it down. “I’ve never seen any writing like this, so I am going to say it’s not script. I’ve also never seen hieroglyphs like this. The triangle looks to be perfect, as does the small circle.” She pointed at the circle. Reaching for the small box again, she carefully made several measurements and nodded. “They are perfect, as far as I can tell.” She said. “Maybe it’s a geometric measurement?”

Milkin nodded. “Perhaps. But a measurement of what?” he asked. “That’s the question.” A chirping on Professor Milkins belt made him start and he reached for his beeper. “Ah. Dinner.” He said, smiling. “Secure the piece, be sure to measure which layer you found this piece in, and then let’s head back. Very well done, both of you.” He said, smiling at Buffy and Willow both. “Very well indeed.”

Buffy smiled and moved to help Willow. She was happy she had finally found something.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

End Flashback

Dawn furrowed her brow. “That doesn’t look anything like what you said you found. What happened?” she asked.

Willow sat back and gestured to Buffy. “She can take it from there, all I did was cast a spell.” She said.

Buffy sat on one of the dining room chairs she brought into the living room.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Flashback-Giza Plateau, 2005

Buffy went back to the site where she found the tablet and began digging again, carefully, of course. Willow was going to be running tests for the next few hours and she was also going to try to determine what the mystery symbol was. So she was more than surprised when the redhead dropped into the dig alongside her. “Willow? I thought you were busy with the tablet.” She said.

Willow just paced back and forth in the small hole, her hands clenching and unclenching. She was quite upset. “It’s gone.” She said. “Professor Milkin and I were busy cleaning it, and trying to get a sample for dating when four goons from the US Air Force came in and took the piece. They had letters of consent from the Egyptian government and a signed authorization from the President.” She said, kicking the side of the hole.

Buffy just shook her head. “What? They can’t do that!” she was getting upset as well. “What in the world could the US Military want with the tablet?!”

Willow shook her head. “I don’t know. Professor Milkin said we both get ‘A’s’ for the term. I can’t believe this.” She said, dropping down to sit. “We get an ‘A’ and I’m not even happy.” She sighed.

Buffy looked at the sight she was digging at and frowned. “Great.” She grumbled, jabbing the ground with her trowel. She and Willow both stared at the ground when the trowel hit something hard. Both girls began to dig and found another tablet. This one, however, had actual writing. “Willow. That’s Sumerian, and that’s Greek.” Buffy said, pointing to two of the different text’s.

Willow peered over Buffy’s shoulder. “Can you make it out?” she asked.

Buffy just stared at the tablet, her eyes wide.

“Buffy?” Willow asked, looking down.

“Into each generation a Slayer will born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen One, one born with the gifts to hunt the vampires, the demon-gods, and to stop the spread of their evil. Her power shall be forever until the coming of the next. She shall forever be the protector of humanity.” Buffy said slowly.

Willow furrowed her brow. “I don’t think that’s how it goes.”

Buffy pointed at the tablet. “That’s what it says, Willow.” She said softly. “You have to send this to my place.”

Willow shook her head slowly. “Buffy…that’s breaking a lot of laws, and I don’t think I can anyway.”

Buffy took Willows hands. “Willow, please! This is exactly what I have been searching for, exactly what I left Sunnydale for. This has to be ancient, Willow. Ancient!” she said. “Please.”

Willow frowned. She rested her hand on the tablet and began chanting something in an ancient tongue. The tablet flared for a second and then the light died out. The tablet was gone and Willow began to shake her head, trying to clear it. A wave of dizziness washed over her and she felt her eyes roll back and the earth under her fall away.

Buffy caught Willow as she collapsed. “Willow? Willow!” she yelled, holding her best friend. “Are you alright?! Willow!”

Willow fluttered her eyes and smiled, drunkenly. “What was that thing made of?” she slurred. “Never…felt anything like that…weird.” She said, smiling at Buffy.

“Are you alright?” Buffy asked softly. “I’m getting a doctor.” She said, standing and reaching for the emergency walkie-talkie.

Willow grabbed Buffy’s hand and shook her head. “I’m alright. I’m just dizzy.” She said. “The tablet is at your place…I hope.” She coughed.

Buffy shook her head. “I don’t give a damn about the tablet! Are you alright?!”

Willow smiled. “I’m fine. Just…whatever that stone was…it was weird.” She sighed. “I’m gonna sleep now. Ok?” she said before closing her eyes. Willow woke up several days later in a hospital in Cairo, she and Buffy then flew to London and then back to Chicago. Buffy terrified for her friend, who was still dizzy.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

End Flashback

Buffy clasped her hands in front of her and waited. Finally, she looked around at the gathered faces and shrugged. “Don’t everyone speak up at once.” She said softly.

Faith shrugged. “Just taking it all in, B.” she said. “You found a totally new version of the slayer prophesy.”

Buffy looked at Giles, who silently urged her on. “I found a lot more than that.” She took out the tattered, well-worn book she spent the last few years trying to translate. “I found this.” She handed the book to Faith.

Faith took the book and opened it, glancing at the pages. “Uh…no idea what this says.” She said, looking at Buffy. She handed the book to Tara, who also looked confused.

“It’s not any l-language I’ve ever seen.” Tara said, turning to Willow.

Willow only smiled sheepishly and looked at Buffy.

“It’s Atlantian.” Buffy said softly.

Xander coughed as he tried to take a drink, looking at Buffy. “Atlantian? As in, Atlantis? The city that sank into the ocean?” he said.

Buffy nodded. “Yep. And what is even more interesting, Is this book. It seems to be a sort of history, but not entirely of the slayer. It reads almost like a journal left by someone thousands and thousands of years ago.” She sighed. “Apparently, she was Atlantian.”

Faith was just nodding. She was a vampire slayer and as such had seen some pretty freaky stuff, so the fact that Atlantis existed, and they were apparently good guys, didn’t really shock her.

Xander just stared a hole in the wall before he shrugged. “Ok. Cool. Atlantis was real.” He said. “Are you gonna get rich off of the discovery?” he asked, reverting to his humor to cover the unease he felt.

Buffy shook her head sadly. “No. It turns out I have an opportunity to learn so much more, but I didn’t discover it.” She looked at Giles.

Giles coughed lightly and stood up. “Buffy has been asked to participate in an expedition to explore Atlantis, however, there is no guarantee she will return.” He said softly.

Faith laughed. “Please. You can trek anywhere on this planet and make it back, B. Even dying hasn’t kept you down.”

Buffy closed her eyes, feeling tears coming. She couldn’t leave them without knowing, she couldn’t leave any of them without telling them the truth. No one had to know. They all had secrets, and they kept hers…for the most part.

Giles reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Perhaps, if we told them?” he said softly.

Buffy looked at Giles. “I can’t Giles. They would get into so much trouble…and so would I.” She whispered. “Serious, going to jail and getting out when we were 90 trouble.” She said.

“Perhaps Major Parkinson can…extend the clearance? This is your family, for gods sake!” he said sharply, feeling angry the Buffy was once again forced to keep a huge secret from those closest to her. Being a slayer was supposed to be a secret, but as it turns out having Willow and Xander by her side was an asset that even The Watchers Council had to admit was huge…after several years of arguing, of course.

Buffy shook her head. “Not until I know for sure.”

Dawn, who had been watching the whole talk suddenly stood up. She looked scared and angry at the same time. “You’re leaving.” She said softly. It wasn’t a question.

Buffy looked at Dawn. “I might. I haven’t decided yet.”

“Well. I’m 18. I’m a big girl now and I can take care of myself.” The teen said, trying to sound mature about it. But no matter what she said, how she made it sound, it came out like she was going to loose her sister, the last of her real family.

Willow and Tara each reached for Dawn at the same time. They knew how scared Dawn was of loosing Buffy, and they knew how many times the teen had woken in the night screaming, afraid that Buffy was gone. It happened the most after Dawn came to live with Buffy after Joyce had died, Dawn was afraid that Buffy was gone too and she was all alone. They thought she had gotten past it, but it turns out she was just really good at hiding it.

“Dawn, I haven’t made a decision yet. I’m going to go to some kind of…explanatory briefing in a week. They said I can wait to make my decision.” She said softly. “I swear to you, I will not make this decision lightly. You mean everything to me, you know that.” She said, cupping the teen’s face. “I love you.” She whispered.

Dawn just glared at Buffy. “Than the decision shouldn’t be that hard. Don’t go.” She snapped. “You’re saying that you could go and never come back…ever. That you may walk out the door and I would never see you again.” She said, shaking her head. “I hated that feeling when you would patrol and I hate it now.” Dawn stood up and headed for her room, slamming the door so hard the walls shook.

Buffy started to go after her when Giles caught her by the arm. “Give her time, Buffy.” He said softly. “She’s just scared.”

Buffy lowered her gaze. “What about the rest of you?” she asked, looking around.

Xander, Willow and Tara all looked at each other. Willow finally broke the silence. “Buffy. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I am OK with this, because I’m not.” She said. “I will miss you more than I can ever say if you never come back, but I also understand, sort of, why you feel you need to do this.” She said. “Over the last eight years I have seen you grow so much, explore so much and change from the girl who had trouble in English Lit to a woman who holds two PhD’s. This is why you went after them, why you went to school. This chance came to you and no one can blame you if you explore it.” She said softly.

Tara nodded. “Don’t worry about Dawn. I’m sure she will always have a home to go to if she needs it. Willow and I, Xander, Mr. Giles…even Faith…we’re her family.” She said. “And so are you. Whatever you decide, we’ll support you.”

Xander just nodded in agreement. “What they said.”

Faith was looking at the gathered group and finally stood up. “Can’t say I agree with the life you chose. Me, it’s about the slaying. I love it, always have.” She said softly. “Guess that’s why I wasn’t all broken up about you leaving. You wanted out, I showed up and you got the chance.” She said. “You know my motto, B. Want. Take. Have.” She said. “Go for it.”

Buffy looked around the room. She felt bad, really bad, about leaving such critical information out of the conversation, but she knew that they might have a different opinion if they really knew the truth. She thought she would too, but she would see in a few days.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Chapter 2: Your who?

Buffy stood and grabbed her small carry-on bag from the overhead compartment. The plane had stopped and she exited, walking quickly to the baggage claim. After she was sure everything was ok, she left and hailed a cab. The address of the hotel was clearly written, courtesy of Major Parkinson and a military driver would shuttle her to the base where she would see first hand how they were going to get to Atlantis.

Buffy sighed. “Even in my head, I sound nuts.” She muttered. She paid the driver and checked into her room. She had barely settled into her room when the phone rang. Picking up the receiver, she spoke tightly. “Hello.”

“Dr. Summers?” a female voice asked.

“Yes.” Buffy said, really hating the cloak and dagger routine.

“Please hold.” The voice said again. A quick set of beeps came over the line and the voice returned. “A driver will be taking you to the base. Please pack everything you brought, there has been a slight change of plans. You and the others will be staying at the Mountain.”

Buffy frowned. “What others?” she asked.

“The other candidates for the mission. The car should be there now.” The woman said. The line went dead before Buffy could say anything more.

“Ok. Nice talking to you too.” Buffy muttered as she hung up the phone and grabbed her bags, heading downstairs.

Quickly spotting the two SF’s standing in the lobby, she walked over to them and stopped. They just looked at her. “I’m Dr. Summers. Are you here for me?” she asked.

One of the men nodded. “Yes ma’am. We’re just waiting on one other person.” He said.

Buffy nodded. “Who is it?” she asked.

“That would be me.” A voice came from behind her. “Dr. Daniel Jackson.” He said, extending his hand.

Buffy’s eyes went wide. “No way!” she said, taking Dr. Jackson’s hand and shaking it quickly. “I’ve read a lot of your work, I even used it in my dissertation.” She said excitedly. “While I don’t necessarily believe your theories, I do hold that not everything is as…vanilla as people think.” She said.

Dr. Jackson smiled. “Yeah…I read your piece. Your ideas are quite fascinating. ” He said. “I was going to come to your Doctoral board, but I was occupied.” He said. “I heard it went well.” He said as the SF’s loaded Dr. Jackson’s and Buffy’s bags.

“Yeah. I passed and everything.” Buffy smiled.

“Well, I hope you keep an open mind with this project.” Dr. Jackson said. “We can use someone who can actually form an opinion of their own instead of just regurgitating a lecture they heard in history 101.” He smiled.

“I have a very open mind, doctor. Very open.” Buffy said, getting into the back of the black Chevy Blazer. “You guys know this whole ‘Black SUV’ thing just screams conspicuous, right?” Neither of the SF’s even smiled.

The ride to Cheyenne Mountain was quick and the first security checkpoint moved along quite rapidly. Buffy was walking down into the complex when she bit her lip at sight of the second checkpoint. There was an X-Ray machine and they were searching bags.

“Next.” The guard said, pointing to Buffy.

Buffy set her bag on the table and watched the guard run it through the machine. Nothing beeped or blinked, so the guard handed the bag to another guard next to him. Doctor Jackson handed his bag to the guard that just finished with Buffy’s.

“It’s just standard procedure. Nothing to be concerned about.” Dr. Jackson smiled at the blonde as the airman opened her small bag and began to search through it. He didn’t even blink as he lifted the several bras and skimpy pairs of panties she had. He was searching for weapons and he looked like he took his job very seriously. Buffy however noticed and was turning an almost unhealthy shade of red.

“Daniel.” A friendly voice sounded over Buffy’s shoulder and she turned and saw a man walking towards the inspection table, trying to out maneuver a small man following him. “So good to see you again. How was everything at the conference, I want to hear all about it!”

Dr. Jackson raised an eyebrow. “You would?” he asked, unconvinced. “Jack, the last time you wanted to know about one of my conferences, you almost fell into a coma as I was talking.” He said, grinning.

Buffy smiled and took her bag from the guard who was holding it out to her. “Step into the archway and stand immobile for fifteen seconds please.” The guard said.

Buffy stepped into the archway and a blue beam of light moved from the tip of her head to her toes. As she left the machine a guard handed her a new, and still warm, ID badge and a dossier. “Follow the red line to the elevator. You will be with a guard as you are given a tour of the base. Welcome to Cheyenne Mountain, Dr. Summers.” The guard said, pointing to the floor.

Buffy nodded and mumbled thanks as she began to follow the red line to the elevators, softly humming the Wizard of Oz song ‘Follow The Yellow Brick Road’. She had just entered the elevator when Dr. Jackson and his friend hopped onto the elevator and began to hurriedly press the ‘close door’ button. Buffy watched as a disheveled young man, the one that Daniel’s friend was trying to avoid, hurried to catch them before the doors closed. He didn’t make it in time.

Dr. Jackson leaned against the wall and shook his head. “A whole week?” he asked.

His friend nodded. “I swear, I think he even knows when I took a shi…” he stopped when Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Uh. Hello.” He said, looking at Buffy.

Buffy just grinned. “Dr. Summers.” She said, holding her hand out.

“General O’Neill.” Jack said, shaking Buffy’s hand. “So…Atlantis?” he said, remembering her name from the mission report Dr. Weir was gathering.

Buffy nodded. “Yep.” She said. “You’re O’Neill?” she asked.

Jack nodded. “Afraid so.” He said. He was still trying to find his niche as CO of the SGC.

Buffy nodded her approval. “Cool. I was afraid I’d get an uptight military guy who thinks he knows more about everything because he has a few jingly medals.” She sighed.

O’Neill raised an eyebrow. “Dealt with the military before?” he asked.

Buffy shook her head. “A friend of mine did. She hated them. She said their answer to a problem was to blow it up until it went away.”

Daniel chuckled, quickly turning it into a cough. He remembered well the first mission to Abydos and Jack’s order to nuke the site if there was any sign of hostility. “I think you’ll find that Jack can be a very reasonable person. He’s actually been on the project from the beginning and has traveled…” he was cut off by a cough from O’Neill. Daniel rolled his eyes. “She’s gonna find out anyway.” He muttered.

O’Neill shook his head. “Daniel.” He said, warning laced in his voice.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “It’s ok. I can wait. I am a very patient person.” She smiled.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy paced back and forth in the room they gave her. She was getting impatient. She had been here for a little over three hours and she hadn’t seen or heard from anyone since she was led here. Just as she was ready to kick the door off it’s hinges, she saw it open.

A blonde haired woman poked her head in and looked at Buffy. “Dr. Buffy Summers?” she asked.

Buffy nodded. “That’s me.” she said.

“Come with me please.” The woman said, smiling and trying not to appear threatening. Buffy could tell though that this woman knew her stuff and would even be a match for her...well ok, not her, but any other normal person.

“Another spartan room I have to wait in?” Buffy asked.

The blonde shook her head. “No. I’m taking you to the briefing room where you will meet Dr. Weir, the head of the Atlantis Project.”

Buffy nodded. “Finally.”

The blonde smiled. “Don’t like waiting, huh?” she asked.

Buffy shook her head. “Nope. I have a sister at home I am trying to take care of and my friends have all come into town to celebrate my graduation. I kinda want to spend time with them.” She said.

The blonde nodded. “I understand.” She said as she opened a door. Buffy was let into a room that had about six other people in it. Two she recognized; Daniel and General O’Neill. The rest were seated around the table looking through a folder.

“Colonel. Thought maybe you forgot the way.” General O’Neill said, smiling disarmingly.

The blonde smiled apologetically. “Sorry sir. I had to try to pry Dr. McKay away from his lab. He should be here shortly.” She said as the door burst open.

A man with close-cropped hair and a smug, superior air stumbled in and tossed several folders, charts and maps onto the conference table. “Sorry. I’m here. We can start now.” He said, sitting down and sorting his massive pile into several smaller piles.

“Gee. Thanks doc.” General O’Neill said. Buffy sat next to Dr. McKay and peeked at some of his stuff. He had an open notebook with several symbols on it and also a small bit of the Atlantian language. He had the translation wrong, but she wasn’t about to point it out. The guy reminded her of Faith’s old watcher, Wesley Whyndem-Pryce, except she could tolerate Wesley. She wasn’t sure if she could stand this guy. “Dr. Weir.” The General nodded to the woman sitting at the head of the table. She was wearing a grey and red coat and her hair was a short, conservative cut. It was practical.

“Thank you General.” Dr. Weir said. “Dr. Summers, Dr. Wilmington and Dr. Frost.” She gestured to Buffy and two other people. The gathered group all glanced at the three as Dr. Weir introduced them and smiled. “I’d like to say welcome to the Atlantis project, and I hope you find this as exciting as I do.” She said. “I am sure you all have a ton of questions and we will get to them in time. But for now, I just want to outline what it is we are going to be doing, why the government is involved, and why this may be a one way expedition.” She said the last with a serious air that told Buffy that this was something that was to be very seriously considered.

Dr. Frost raised his hand. He was a small man with brown hair and a piercing blue gaze. When he spoke, his voice was anything but sure. He was, Buffy could tell, thinking he was seriously out of his depth. “I-I’m sorry. But what do you mean by…never come back? I mean…isn’t that a little melodramatic.” He said.
Buffy raised an eyebrow at this. Didn’t he read the packet the military gave him?

Dr. Weir looked at General O’Neill. The General nodded.

“We aren’t going to be going on an expedition on this planet. We are heading off-world and will be exploring a place in the Pegasus Galaxy.” Dr. Weir said.

Dr. Frost and Dr. Wilmington both stared at Dr. Weir, mouths agape at the news. Buffy found this to be a little unnerving. Was she the only one who received the information about the Stargate program and the recent battle in Antarctica with the…what was he called…Goa’uld Anubis?

Dr. Weir looked around the room and her eyes landed on Buffy. “Dr. Summers. Do you have any questions?” she asked.

Buffy bit her lip and scanned the pages. “Nothing I want to ask in the middle of a crowded room. Can I see you in private later?” she asked.

Dr. Weir looked at Jack, who stepped forward.

“I’d have to be there, is that alright?” the General asked.

Buffy nodded. “That would be fine.” She said. She was debating whether or not to tell them that she could read the Atlantian script or not. She would almost defiantly get into trouble.

Dr. Weir looked around the room and nodded. “That concludes the main part of the day. The rest of the time here will be spent in groups familiarizing yourself with the technology and operations protocol in the SGC since we will be transplanting most of those protocols to the Pegasus galaxy.”

The group dispersed and Dr. Weir walked to the end of the table, taking a seat next to Buffy with general O’Neill sitting on the other side of the table. “I suppose you’re wondering why you got the major portion of the mission before everyone else?” she asked.

Buffy nodded. “Among other things, yeah.”

Dr. Weir nodded. “It seems you have the genome in your DNA that allows you to control Ancient technology. Of all the people going on this little expedition, you are one of a very few, perhaps a dozen.” She said.

Buffy looked up at Dr. Weir and then over to General O’Neill. “How exactly do you know that?” she asked, furrowing her brow before waving it off. She gave up trying to figure out secret government agencies…she’d leave that to Faith. “I also have a question…a favor.” She said softly. ‘And since I did kinda save the world…twice…I should get some compensation from the government…but I digress.’ She said to herself.

“And what would that be?” General O’Neill asked, although he was sure he knew.

“I wanna tell my family. I understand that’s not standard procedure and all, but we are very close and I really don’t like the idea that I may never…” Buffy started quickly before General O’Neill interrupted her.

“Granted.” The General said.

“…they will never understand unless I tell them…what?” Buffy looked up and furrowed her brow.

Dr. Weir looked up as well. “What?”

“I said, permission granted.” The General repeated. “The President has given clearance to…” he flipped open a folder. “Your sister, Dawn, a Dr. Rupert Giles, Dr. Tara Maclay, Dr. Willow Rosenberg, Mr. Alexander Harris and Miss Faith Wilkins.” He said. “And your husband has also been given clearance as well, Dr. Weir.” He said. “There are a few more people on the list, which I now turn over to you to inform the appropriate people.” He said, sliding the folder over to Dr. Weir.

Buffy beamed at the General. “Mind if I ask why they got clearance?” she asked.

General O’Neill smiled. “Let’s just say that the President of the United States appreciates everything they do for their community after dark and leave it at that.” He said.

Buffy chuckled lightly. “Would asking the government for a salary be going to far?” she muttered under her breath.

General O’Neill scratched his chin. “Probably, but if Dr. Rosenberg needs work, I’m sure we can throw some her way, as well as Dr. Maclay. I’m sure Danny would love the help with translations.”

Buffy just stared at the General. “Are you serious?” she asked. She had been joking, but if the General were serious she would defiantly pass the offer on.

“I’ll have someone draw up confidentiality papers for everyone to sign, and I’ll extend an official invitation for an interview for the two doctors.” O’Neill said as he walked out of the room.

Dr. Weir was looking at Buffy with her eyebrow raised. “Anything you want to share?” she asked lightly.

Buffy pursed her lips and thought about things. They were laying all of their cards on the table, shouldn’t she? “It’s gonna sound nuts. Completely insane.” Buffy warned.

Dr. Weir cradled her chin in her hand and leaned on her elbow on the table. “We’re going to another galaxy to look for the ancient lost city of Atlantis, which belonged to an ancient race of aliens.” She smiled. “Try me.”

Buffy inhaled a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Ok. But I warned you…and I would appreciate it if this stayed between us, at least until General O’Neill says otherwise.” Dr. Weir nodded and Buffy continued. “Imagine if every scary tale you’ve ever heard was true. All the things that go bump in the night are actually real…vampires, werewolves and all the other demons and ghoulies…. well, into every generation, there is a chosen one…” and Buffy began relating her tale to Dr. Weir.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy lay on her bed and looked at the ceiling. Dr. Weir had taken the news much better than Buffy had thought. I guess when you deal with ancient technology to go to another side of the galaxy on a regular basis, demons and vampires seemed…well, not normal, but within the realm of acceptance. The next few days strained even Buffy’s sense of what crazy was. Ok, the Stargate she could process. Traveling to the Pegasus galaxy, she could deal. But the fact that the world was under eminent threat of attack by the Goa’uld, in fact it was a direct attack by the Goa’uld Anubis that led to the discovery of Atlantis. Turning over and looking at the red LCD of her alarm clock she sighed. She had been home for almost a full day now and she was dreading the next task. She had to tell Dawn about Atlantis and that she may never be able to return. For some reason, being lost on an expedition on Earth was more acceptable to gating (a term she picked up during her stay at the SGC) across the Galaxy to die.

Buffy flipped the covers back and sighed deeply. This was going to be the most difficult thing she had ever done. Helping Faith and the gang with the hell goddess Glory was simple when compared to this. Trudging into the bathroom, Buffy hoped a hot shower would help screw her courage up to a point where she would be able to spill her guts. “Ugh…why does it always have to be guts with the slayer.” She muttered to herself.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Giles sipped his tea and nodded his appreciation to Buffy. Looking around at the assembled group, he had no desire to be Buffy right now.

Xander sat with Dawn and Faith on the couch while Tara cuddled with Willow on the love seat. Giles was seated in the large Lay-Z-Boy. Buffy stood in the middle of the room, biting her lip nervously. “Ok. Has everyone signed their paper thingies?” she asked.

Everyone nodded and Buffy closed her eyes, already hearing their protestations. “I was asked to join in an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis.” Buffy said softly.

Xander grinned. “Atlantis. Cool. She’s hot, gets cool super powers and she goes searching for ancient and, supposedly, mythological civilizations. She’s the complete package.”

Buffy frowned. “And this is how I am going to do it.” She said, handing Xander, Willow and Giles a manila folder. Tara read over Willow’s shoulder while Dawn read over Xander’s. Faith just looked like she would have rather been patrolling.

Buffy waited nervously while her friend’s, her family’s, faces went from surprise to denial. Dawn was the first to react. She stood slowly, fear and anger mixed in the teens eyes. Dawn walked past Buffy and went into her bedroom, slamming the door hard enough to knock several pictures from the wall, two frames shattering as the fell to the floor.

Willow looked up, tears glistening in her eyes. The redhead stood, moving in to the kitchen; her sobbing could be heard as Tara moved to comfort her girlfriend, sending a sympathetic eye to the blonde slayer.

Xander just stared dumbly at Buffy, his mouth open as if he was trying to speak but couldn’t find the words. Faith, finally moved to curiosity, took the folder from Xander and began reading.

Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. “The Scotch?” he asked softly.

Buffy pointed to the small cabinet beside him. Giles opened the cabinet and pulled the bottle out, opening it and drinking straight from the bottle.

“Damn, B.” Faith said, looking up. “You don’t do nothing small do you?” she asked, shaking her head.

“That’s it, in a nutshell.” Buffy said. Willow and Tara returned from the kitchen and sat down quietly, Willow still not looking at Buffy. Dawn was still in her room.

“W-when you say you may n-never return…” Tara asked, leaving the question open.

“It means that there may not be anything on the other side of the gate. The legends did say Atlantis sank into the sea.” Buffy said.

“But, that was the tale from Plato. And didn’t the report say…” Willow slipped into research mode and flipped through the pages in the folder. “Here…the weapon used against Anubis was found in Antarctica. Maybe that’s what they meant. Maybe Antarctica was liquid back then.”

Buffy shook her head. “They found gate coordinates in the outpost, which is all it was, an outpost. Atlantis is somewhere in Pegasus.”

Willow looked at the report again, desperate for something that would keep Buffy here. She found nothing. “Don’t go.” She finally whispered, her voice cracking with emotion. Willow looked into the eyes of her best friend, tears rolling down her cheeks as she begged Buffy.

Buffy felt her resolve weaken to near shattering at Willow’s plea. “Willow…I, this may be the link to the origins of the Slayer.” She said weakly.

“To hell with the origins of the Slayer!” Willow yelled, sobbing openly. “Buffy, you’re talking about leaving and probably never returning! I can live without knowing why you are the Slayer, what I can’t live without is my best friend!” Willow turned and buried her head in Tara’s neck, her body shaking as she wailed.

Buffy felt tears stinging her eyes, leaving molten trails down her face. “Willow….” She started, and then turned to Xander. “Xand.”

Xander shook his head. “I can’t deal right now, Buff.” He said softly. The heart of the Scooby gang stood, grabbing his coat. “I…I just can’t.” he muttered, walking to the door.

Buffy watched him go, closing her eyes. “Faith?” she looked at the Dark Slayer.

Faith inhaled deeply and closed her eyes. “B. As long as I can remember, you’ve been…hell, you’ve been a legend. The Slayer. I was just a knock-off.”

“Faith, that’s not…” Buffy shook her head.

“Let me finish.” Faith held up her hand. “I was just a knock off, but I am a Slayer too. And while I am damn curious whether or not little green guys are responsible for you, me and a hell of a lot of dead teenage girls over the span of hundreds, hell, thousands, of years, even if you found definite proof of the origins you may never be able to return to tell any of us about it.” She sighed. “That’s a lot to take on…well…faith.” She shrugged.

Buffy knelt in front of Faith and rested her hand on Faith’s knee. “Faith, first off, you know you aren’t a knock off. You aren’t second fiddle and since I’ve been doing the school thing, you are in way better shape. You could even take me, so enough with the second fiddle thing, ok?”

Faith nodded.

“Second, while it’s true that I may never return, with the Stargate it is only a matter of time until someone reaches Pegasus and finds…whatever. I could leave something…records, books, journals…Hell, I could carve it into a wall. As long as the knowledge is found…” she shook her head when Dawn’s voice cut into her speech.

“If it’s only a matter of time, let someone else go. Let some other time come and when we can be sure you will come back, than go ahead and go.” Dawn spoke in a clipped tone through clenched teeth. Her arms were folded over her chest and she glared at Buffy.

“Dawn, I can read the language. I have the training to explore dead civilizations and I am a Slayer.” Buffy said softly. “I have to do this.”

Dawn shook her head. “Fine. Go.” She said, turning and going back to her room. Before Buffy could follow, Dawn came back carrying a large duffel bag. “But I’m going with you.”

“Oh no you’re not!” Buffy shook her head.

“The papers say you can bring one personal item.” Dawn said.

Buffy closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. “Dawn. That’s for things like…a favorite movie, a stuffed animal…my favorite stake.” She muttered the last under her breath.

“I’m not real. I’m the Key.” Dawn said defiantly.

“You are my sister. You are Dawn Summers. I thought we covered this.” Buffy said, her anger rising.

“That was before you were going to go to another Galaxy and leave me here alone.” Dawn finally broke down, shaking her head as tears began to fall.

Buffy gathered her sister in her arms and held her as Dawn sobbed hysterically.

“Please…Buffy don’t leave me…please!” Dawn choked out, gasping for breath as she clung to Buffy.

A knock at the front door interrupted the scene, Giles stood and moved carefully around the girls. “Bloody hell, Xander. It’s not…” Giles opened the door and stared at the five men at the front door. “…locked.” He finished.

“Hi. Does…” the man at the door looked at a slip of paper in his hand. “Buffy Summers live here?”

Buffy looked up, not able to see out the door yet.

“Good lord.” Giles muttered softly.

“Mr. President will do, thanks.” The man said. “Mind if I come in?” he asked.

Giles shook his head and muttered his apologies, stepping aside.

The President smiled and looked at Giles, waiting for a reply. He smacked himself lightly on the forehead as he remembered something. “That’s right. Vampires. You won’t invite me in.” he said, stepping across the threshold, followed by four Secret Service agents. “See. I’m not a vampire.” He smiled.

“Good lord.” Giles muttered again.

“Whoa. The Prez himself.” Faith smiled. “I voted for you.”

“Thank you. I won.” The President smiled.

“Wicked.” Faith grinned.

“Um…you’re the President.” Willow said.

“I am.” President Hayes answered. “Did you vote for me, too?” he asked.

“Um…” Willow bit her lip and looked down.

President Hayes chuckled. “Well, don’t worry to much about it. Maybe I can change your mind for re-election.” He said.

Buffy stood and opened her mouth to talk, but nothing came out, Dawn was still clinging to Buffy and glaring daggers at President Hayes.

“I’ll get right to the point. Dr. Summers, Atlantis mission is a go.” President Hayes said. “They leave in 48 hours.” He said.

Giles coughed lightly. “And you are going around and personally informing everyone involved?”

President Hayes shrugged. “Dr. Summers is a special case. Ever since that whole…Initiative debacle, when the U.S. government found out that Slayers existed, we’ve been keeping tabs on you all.”

Buffy glared at the President. “What?”

President Hayes held up his hands. “Just to make sure you were doing alright, I swear.” He said. “Believe me, we learned our lesson. You take the monsters, we’ll stick to easy stuff like aliens and the deficit.”

Giles spoke up again. “And the reason you think a recent graduate would be an ideal member of your team is?”

“Well, other than the fact that she carries the gene needed to control the ancient technology we also know that you feel the origins of the Slayer line lies with the ancients. It’s a win-win situation.”

Buffy cocked her head to the side. “How did you know that?”

President Hayes shrugged. “Dr. Weir spoke with me about your theories about the Slayers. It was then I decided to take a personal, pardon the pun, stake in your spot on the team.”

Faith furrowed her brow. “Why?”

President Hayes sighed. “I owe you guys…actually, girls.” He sighed.

Giles raised his eyebrow. “Why is that, exactly?”

President Hayes smiled. “New York City, 1977.” He sighed. “I was attacked on my home from my office. There were three and I thought I was being mugged. Turns out, I was gonna be a snack food. That’s when I met her. A Slayer. She tore into them and saved my life. It’s because of her that I am here today.”

Giles raised his eyebrows. “That would have been…Nikki Wood. She was the Slayer in New York City…well, the only one since the early nineteen-hundreds.”

Buffy looked at her friends and then at Dawn. “I…Mr. President…”

“Dr. Summers. I’m gonna be frank.” President Hayes shook his head and brushed Buffy’s comment aside. “I want you there. Dr. Weir wants you there. General O’Neill wants you there. You are the right person for the job. What do you need to make this happen?” President Hayes asked.

“I go with her.” Dawn spoke up quickly.

“No. Absolutely not. Dawn, this isn’t a game. You can’t expect him to just…” Buffy began, getting upset.

“Done.” President Hayes said.

“…say…huh?” Buffy turned and looked at President Hayes. “What do you mean, done?”

“Just what I said. I’m the President. I’m making an executive decision.” President Hayes smiled. “Look. If Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Maclay work at the SGC, you take you’re sister with you, that means I just have to make sure that…uh…” President Hayes looked at the paper again. “Mr. Alexander Harris, Mr. Rupert Giles and Miss Faith…uh…well, Miss Faith, are happy with the arrangement.” He said.

Giles took off his glasses. “I don’t believe that you have that sort of power.”

“Did you miss the President part?” President Hayes asked.

“Be that as it may, I still do not believe you can ever make us all happy with the possibility that Buffy may never return.” Giles said.

“True enough. Just like you could never guarantee that she would return from each apocalypse she averted. Or from every patrol.” President Hayes sighed. “Look. I’m just saying, with Dr. Summers there, we have a chance, a real chance, at unlocking the technology that created the Stargate, the technology of the Ancients.” He said. “And from what I understand, it may be the key to unlocking the creation of your Slayers.”

Giles sat down. “There may be nothing there.” He muttered. “She could end up in the middle of nowhere, dead before a scream ever escapes from her. There are simply no guarantees…”

“In anything, Mr. Giles. There are no guarantees in anything. But the opportunities far outweigh the dangers.” President Hayes said softly.

“For you. Losing Buffy for you would be…just a girl. She’s our family.” Willow said.

President Hayes looked at the redhead and frowned. “Is that really what you think?” he asked. “That I would carelessly authorize something like this if there wasn’t a real possibility of success.”

Willow looked down and shrugged. “Maybe.”

“The reason it would possibly be a one way trip is because the power needed to activate the gate to go that far would use the last bit of power in the ancient power device.” President Hayes said. “There could be one on Atlantis, or on a nearby world. Remember, it is nothing definite.”

The front door opened and suddenly the four Secret Service agents had their guns drawn and in front of the President, blocking the person entering from harming the President.

“Hey, there’s a big honkin’…limo…outside…” Xander said before stopping and raising his hands, a box of doughnuts dropped to the floor.

“Hey, got any jelly-filled?” President Hayes asked, reaching for the box.

“The President?” Xander stared in near shock.

“Yep. That’s what it says on my stationary.” President Hayes said.

“I voted for you!” Xander bounced excitedly, stopping quickly when he noticed the Secret Service agents still had their guns drawn on him. “Uh…Buff…wanna tell them I come in peace?”

President Hayes smiled. “They’re just doing their jobs. You understand.”

Buffy cleared her throat and raised her eyebrow.

“Alright, alright…check him and let him through before he wets himself, George.” President Hayes sighed. “So…now that we’re all friends again, what do you say, Dr. Summers?”

Buffy looked at Dawn. “Dawn. This is crazy. Nuts. You’re due to start college soon.” Buffy tried to reason with her sister.

Dawn raised an eyebrow. “I’ll be traveling to another galaxy with some of the most intelligent people on the planet. I can’t think of a more conducive learning environment.” Dawn folded her arms across her chest. She wasn’t budging.

“I must be insane.” Buffy muttered. “What about you guys?” she asked, looking at Willow, Tara, Giles, Xander and Faith.

Willow was still frowning. “I don’t like it. But he’s right. If Tara and I are working for them, we can make sure that they keep looking for ways to bring you home.” She looked at Tara, who was nodding.

“I’ve got a job to do here, which is why you were able to go off in the first place. I’m five-by-five.” Faith shrugged.

“I am Faith’s Watcher. She needs me more than you do…at least right now.” Giles said softly. “And it is a rare opportunity.” He said, looking Buffy in the eyes. “But I would like a channel of communication with Willow and Tara the entire time. Not the Council…but myself.” He added, looking at President Hayes.

“I think something could be arranged.” President Hayes said.

Buffy looked at Xander. “Xand?” she asked softly.

Xander smiled. “You know me Buff. Whatever you decide, I back you up. It’s what I do.”

Buffy closed her eyes. She turned to Dawn, brushing a lock of her sister’s hair out of her face. “Last chance to get off of this crazy ride.”

Dawn shook her head. “You promised you would never leave me. I’m holding you to that promise.”

Buffy hugged Dawn close. “I love you.” She said softly.

“I love you too.” Dawn answered, hugging Buffy tightly. “I guess we’re packing?”

Buffy looked at President Hayes. “Yep. Looks like we’re in.”

President Hayes smiled broadly. “Glad to hear it.” He said, biting into a jelly filled donut.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Chapter 3: Wakey Wakey

Buffy adjusted the pack on her shoulder and looked over at Dawn. Her sister was looking at the Stargate with a huge smile on her face. Buffy rolled her eyes and nudged her sister. Dr. Weir was in the middle of speaking, telling them that the MALP would go through first and see if there was a breathable atmosphere. If there was one, they would be going through immediately. With the limited amount of power that the ZPM, the Zero Point Module, had in its store they would only have enough to make this trip once. It was up to the Atlantis team to find another source of power in order to come back. Dr. Weir was elaborating on that fact now.

“If anyone wants to back out, the time is now. No one will think any less if you do.” Dr. Weir said, looking at the assembled group.

Buffy looked at Dawn and took her sisters hand. “Last chance.” She said.

Dawn squeezed Buffy’s hand and smiled. “I go where you go.”

Dr. Weir saw that no one had shown any interest in backing out and smiled. Looking up at the window of the control booth she nodded.

General O’Neill nodded and Sgt. Davis initiated the dialing sequence.

After the gate opened, Buffy looked at Dawn, then back over her shoulder to see Willow and Tara smiling down at them from the control room. “We’ll come back, Dawnie. I promise.” She said.

Dawn smiled and waved at Willow and Tara. “I believe you.” She said softly as she and Buffy headed for the event horizon. With a breath, she and Buffy stepped through the wormhole.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy stared out the window in wonder. It was incredible. The entire city was under water. Even in the murky depths of the ocean, she could make out spires and buildings spreading out around the city. It was amazing.

“This is so cool!!” Dawn said excitedly. “I mean…this really, really beats any field trips I have ever been on…all of the field trips I have ever been on!”

Buffy only nodded.

“I mean, sure the planetarium was cool, and the museum totally rocked, but this…” Dawn continued, her arms flung wide as she spun, trying to encompass everything in her sweeping arc. “Buffy, this is amazing!”

“But does it have cable? That’s the real question.” The voice asked from behind Buffy and Dawn.

Buffy turned and grinned. “Like that matters. Two hundred channels and nothing decent to watch. Give me a jaunty trip to another galaxy any day.”

Dawn raised an eyebrow and coughed lightly.

Buffy turned to her sister and raised an eyebrow. “What?”

Dawn opened her mouth with an indignant squeak.

“Oh. Sorry. Dawn, this is Major John Sheppard. He’s second in command of the military personnel for this little trip. Major, this is my sister, Dawn.” Buffy introduced the two.

“Pleased to meet you.” Major Sheppard smiled, shaking Dawns hand. “I hear that the President himself gave you clearance to come?”

Dawn nodded eagerly. “Yep. I guess he really wanted Buffy on this trip. I said that was the condition and he said ok, just like that.” Dawn said, snapping her fingers for effect.

Major Sheppard looked at Buffy and then at Dawn. “Just like that, huh?” he asked.

Dawn smiled and nodded.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Yeah. She’s like a rash…maybe a fungus.”

Dawn narrowed her gaze at Buffy and then shot John a glare when he tried to stifle a chuckle. “Keep laughing. You’re a long way from home.” She said, shaking her fist at the Major.

That was the final straw and John openly chuckled. “Yes Dawn. You are an intimidating presence.” He said, his face becoming serious for a split second.

“Oh, you haven’t seen her in the morning yet. She is a very scary person.” Buffy grinned at Sheppard and then turned to Dawn. “You have your schedule?”

Dawn nodded. “Yep. I am going to like this a lot better than school. I have my own class with my own teachers. It’s actually kinda scary that they volunteered like that.”

Major Sheppard raised his eyebrow. “Class?”

Buffy nodded. “One condition on Dawn coming was that she would earn college credits while she was here. She has classes with…” Buffy looked at Dawn.

“I have Political Science with Dr. Weir, Microbiology with Dr. Beckett, Physics with Dr. McKay and then Advanced Latin again with Dr. Weir.” Dawn rattled off. “And then Colonel Sumner said I could join the troops every morning for their workout and Dr. Weir said she it would count as a credit in Physical Education.”

Major Sheppard nodded. “Well, that’s pretty cool. And how about you, Dr Summers.” He said, turning to Buffy. “Will you be joining us Offworld or will you stay tucked up in your lab?”

Buffy grinned. “I am so going to be going Offworld. I can’t risk something being missed or overlooked by people who don’t know what I need to look at.” She shrugged. “No offense.”

Sheppard smiled. “None taken. Takes the pressure off of me. I’d think I was bringing you something important and it turns out to be an alien cultures version of the TV Guide.”
Buffy laughed and was about to say something when an out-of-breath Dr. McKay came skidding to a halt. “You have to come and see this…I mean…really!”

Sheppard, Buffy and Dawn followed the doctor into a secluded room where Dr. Beckett was watching what appeared to be a hologram speaking about The Ancients and how they came to the Pegasus Galaxy.

“This is my second time through.” Dr. Beckett said, grinning as Dr. Weir showed up on the heels of Buffy and the group. “It’s amazing. They left Earth and traveled here, but she says they left one of their own; one they ‘gave the power to defend the world’. She was supposed to pass her power on to another after she ascended so Earth would always have a protector.” He said excitedly.

Dawn raised an eyebrow at this and looked at Buffy who was gazing intently at the holographic Ancient.

Buffy stared wide-eyed at the hologram and stepped forward to ask a question, but then remembered that this was a message left over ten thousand years ago. That last statement, though, sounded like a lead on the creation of Slayers. Did this mean that the Ancients knew about the existence of demons? If so, why would they leave? Did ascending mean that they no longer cared about anyone else who wasn’t ascended? She had a lot of questions and no one to talk to about them.

Dr. McKay was busy studying the hologram when one of the Atlantis team scientists came into the room and hurried over to Dr. McKay, whispering something in his ear. Dr. McKay went pale and turned to the hologram and then rushed over to Dr. Weir.

“We have to shut it down! Everything, hurry!” Dr. McKay said, running over and shoving Dr. Beckett off of the trigger pad. “This is Dr. Rodney McKay! All teams, all personnel, report to the Gateroom immediately. I repeat, all personnel, return to the Gateroom now!” he called into his radio.

“Dr. McKay, care to explain?” Dr. Weir asked. She wasn’t mad. Dr. McKay may not be the most pleasant person to deal with, but he was also not prone to irrational panics…usually.

“I would love to explain, I will even use little words for the military, but I will have to do it in the Gateroom, which is where we should all be going right now.” Dr. McKay said hurriedly, earning a narrowed gaze from Major Sheppard.

The group filed out of the hologram room and headed to the Gateroom, meeting up with a host of other teams now trickling back from exploring the immediate city. Once the last team reported in, it was Colonel Sumner’s group, Dr. McKay pulled the senior staff into one of the side offices and reported what his team had told him. “The city is waking up.” He said.

Dr. Weir raised an eyebrow and looked around the room. Dr. Beckett, Dr. Zelenka, Colonel Sumner and a hand full of other scientists were all looking at Dr. McKay with similar looks. “Isn’t that a good thing, Dr. McKay?” she asked.

Dr. McKay shook his head. “We know from the initial exploration that the city has a central power station that is powered by three Zed PM’s. We also know that two of them are depleted with the third is well on it’s way to maximum entropy.” Looking around the room and seeing raised eyebrows McKay rolled his eyes and continued. “They are running out of power. When we arrived, the city began using power to activate systems all over the city. This would be a good thing if we weren’t under water and the shield holding the ocean back wasn’t losing power due to said power being diverted to the awakening systems.”

Dr. Weir nodded as she started to understand. “So, what you’re saying is…”

“The shield holding the ocean back is failing. We have about twenty minutes before the ZPM is drained completely and it fails, letting the ocean in to drown and/or crush us all in a massive rush of water.” Dr. McKay said.

Major Sheppard frowned then sighed. “Well…that sucks.”
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy stood with Dawn next to all of their things and wondered what the senior staff was talking about.

“So what’s going on up there?” Dawn asked, echoing Buffy’s thoughts.

“I don’t know Dawnie.” Buffy said softly. She had been trying to listen, but they were just to far away.

“What do you think about that hologram? Maybe it had something to do with the slayer?” Dawn asked, trying to get Buffy to talk, if only to ease her own worries.

“Maybe. If so, they heaped a lot of stuff on one girl. They could have at least left some weapons or some advanced technology for us to use.” Buffy said. “Imagine what we could have done to the Mayor with a big honkin space gun.” She grinned as she repeated General Jack O’Neill’s fondest dream.

Dawn smiled. “You didn’t do to bad. Plus…you got to blow up the high school. That’s every students dream.”

Buffy was about to respond when klaxons began to blare around the Gateroom. “Great…what now?” she muttered.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Dr. McKay growled in frustration and looked at the rest of the senior staff. “The shield is failing.” He said simply.

“Can’t we gate Offworld?” Colonel Sumner asked.

“The ZPM doesn’t have the power to light a room much less power the Stargate.” Dr. McKay answered. “We’re stuck here.”

Dr. Zelenka quietly waved his hand while he stared at the screen in front of him.

“What about the naquadah generators we brought?” Dr. Weir asked, now grasping at straws.

Dr. Zelenka waved his hand again, looking up.

“They won’t work. They put out enough power to operate most of the systems, but nowhere near the level needed to power the shield.” Dr. McKay said.

Dr. Zelenka coughed and waved his hand harder.

“Can we use them to power the Stargate?” Colonel Sumner asked.

“Not without finding the power relays, isolating them and then trying to interface the technology we have with ten thousand year old Atlantian technology.” Dr. McKay said, looking annoyed at Dr. Zelenka, who was now waving both arms and coughing loudly. “For god’s sake, what is it?!” McKay snapped.
“The shield is failing, and power is being diverted from all systems to power the clamps.” Dr. Zelenka said. “They are releasing their hold.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy and Dawn stood on one of the balconies overlooking the city. As the city lost the power to keep the shield intact, the clamps holding the massive structure to the ocean floor released and the city rose to the surface of a beautiful world, as far as Buffy and Dawn could see. Dr. McKay and Dr. Weir were all fluttering about, taking readings and exploring, now that they had four naquadah generators hooked up. The city had power to run almost all of the day-to-day systems, but even with the four generators in place and running at 100%, they didn’t have enough power for the shields to function, or for them to dial Earth for more than a second.

“It’s pretty.” Dawn said softly.

Buffy nodded mutely. The water was a very clear, deep blue and the air was really sweet and refreshing. She almost missed the smog…almost. “I wonder if we’re alone?”

Dawn suddenly grinned. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we found some other people? It would be like Star Trekâ, making first contact and stuff.” Dawn bounced excitedly.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Dork.” She smiled, hugging her sister close to her. In truth, she was also very excited. This could be what she had spent the last eight years finding out. All they had to do was find a way to power the gate to get back to Earth, which required a ZPM, which they didn’t have. Dr. Weir had said that there was a computer full of gate addresses and they would start exploring, looking for a ZPM, tomorrow. Buffy could hardly wait.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Earth-SGC

Willow looked over the mission reports that were stacked on her desk. She and Tara had been assigned to different teams, her to a scientific team and Tara to an archeological one. They both found that their respective teams weren’t used unless there was a very good chance that the Goa’uld would not show up. The SGC liked things nice and safe for their non-military personnel. As a result, they had almost four years of mission reports each to catch up on, as well as personnel profiles to read concerning their team members. Willow was enthralled by everything she read and absorbed the facts like a dry sponge dropped into a bucket of water. Tara was enthused by the cultural focus of her team. She had found out that hers was a first contact team and she would have chances to work directly with SG-1’s Dr. Jackson on some instances.

Glancing at her watch, Willow stretched and closed the latest file. She was astounded to learn that Earth had a space going vessel that wasn’t the shuttle. The Prometheus, also known as the X-303, as well as the X-302’s, the smaller fighters that were stationed on the Prometheus as well as a few squads around the globe sounded amazing.

Heading towards the cafeteria, Willow stopped at Tara’s office and knocked softly. “Tara? You ready for some dinner?” she called, opening the door.

Tara glanced up from one of the files she was reading and beamed a smile at her. “Sure. Let me finish this part.” She said, glancing back down.

Willow nodded and looked around the small office. It had a desk, a chair and a small couch; bookshelves lined with a few tomes from Tara’s own collection as well as copies suggested by Dr. Jackson. On the wall were a few framed photos of Tara with her, of the scoobies, one of Tara and Faith who, much to Willows surprise, were very close. ‘I guess it’s true about opposites.’ Willow mused.

“Ready?” Tara asked softly, wrapping her arms around Willow and resting her chin on the redheads shoulder.

Willow leaned back into the embrace. “Yep. Let’s go choke down some military cuisine.” She said softly. Neither one moved from the embrace, reveling in the comfort they shared.

Tara sighed. “We’re moving now, right?”

Willow grinned. “Any second now, I’m sure.”

Both of them stayed in their spot for a few more minutes before untangling, very reluctantly, and heading for the cafeteria.

Willow and Tara walked in and noticed Colonel Carter sitting at a rather large table by herself with a veritable mountain of paperwork around her. After getting their food, both grabbing chef salads over the meat-like substance drenched in the thick, brown gravy, and headed over to join the Colonel.

“Mind if we join you?” Willow asked excitedly.

Sam looked up and smiled tiredly. “Sure. If you don’t mind me spending most of the time going over these readings.” She said apologetically.

Willow and Tara sat and began eating. After a few minutes, Willow’s curiosity got the best of her.

“What are you working on, if I’m allowed to ask?” the hacker asked, glancing at the documents.

“The computer readouts from the Atlantis expedition’s gate Offworld.” Sam sighed. “The ZPM still has a small charge, and it should have been drained. I’ve found that when the last few people went through, there was a sudden energy spike, almost like a power source outside of the ZPM was powering the gate.” She sighed. “So far, I haven’t been able to find out what happened.”

“How much power is left in the ZPM?” Tara asked. “Can we contact Atlantis?”

Sam shook her head. “No. There’s nowhere near enough to do that. We could power the Ancient weapon one last time, briefly, or power all of the homes in Colorado Springs for almost a month.” She smiled. “It’s all relative. The ZPM packs a huge charge, but it take a huge charge to power the Ancient’s technology.”

Willow nodded her understanding. “So what are we gonna do with it?” she asked.

“It was sent back to the Antarctica base, in case of another Goa’uld attack.” Sam said, sighing.

“Need any help? I’m about finished with the mission reports.” Willow offered.

Tara nodded. “She’s really good with the sciences.”

Sam smiled. “Sure. I could always use an extra hand.” She smiled. “Thanks.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis Gateroom

Buffy looked at Colonel Sumner and Major Sheppard, as well as the rest of the team. Lt. Ford was calmly checking his weapons, Dr. McKay fussed with his vest and the bag that held his laptop and the rest of the squad was busy checking each other’s gear. She sighed. This was the first trip through the gate to a world in the Pegasus galaxy and she was hoping that they wouldn’t give the wrong impression showing up armed to the teeth.

“Are you ready, Colonel?” Dr. Weir asked from the control room.

“Yes ma’am, we are.” The Colonel answered, anxious to get the show started.

“Remember, Dr. McKay and Dr. Summers are in charge of the contact missions, with the military escort there for their protection only. If things get hostile, Colonel Sumner takes command, no arguments.” Dr. Weir directed the last remark to Dr. McKay, who nodded dutifully. “Good. You have a go.” She said, smiling.

The gate, which Buffy noted was very different to the gate back on Earth, dialed an address. The symbols lit up and the gate engaged much faster than the Earth gate did and soon they were on their way.

“Where are we headed again?” Buffy asked John.

John shrugged. “Offworld.” He said. “We don’t get to name them, as much as McKay and Ford would like to.” He grinned.

Buffy nodded. “Cool. I hope we find some interesting stuff. I’d hate to have come all this way to find a TV guide.” She grinned at Sheppard.

Sheppard just shook his head. “Had to open my mouth.” He mumbled as they walked through the event horizon.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Athosian Village

Buffy had jumped into the bushes as the beam passed down the road, passing her. The four villagers she ran with were not as nimble. They disappeared as the Wraith culling beam passed over them. “Summers to Colonel Sumner!” Buffy grabbed her radio and called into it.

“Sumner!” came the crackled reply.

“Sir, the villagers are disappearing fast, sir! We need to get out of here!” Buffy called, looking around. The Wraith Darts were swarming over the village and the surrounding area, searching for anyone to take.

“Fall back to the gate! If you can get any villagers to follow you, do it! We’ll sort things out at Atlant…” Colonel Sumner’s voice was cut off and the radio went dead.

Buffy triggered her radio. “Repeat that sir?” she called into the radio. Silence came from the radio. “Say again, I didn’t hear you!” she called. Growling, Buffy stood up and darted for the gate. “Dammit!” she cursed as the Wraith Darts flew over her head and screamed for the Stargate. She saw the symbols on the DHD light up as she ran. “They’re dialing the gate!” she called into her radio.

“I see them! Should I fire?” Lieutenant Ford’s voice crackled over the radio, cutting Buffy off.

“Negative! They have the Colonel, burn those symbols into your brain, Ford!” Buffy heard Major Sheppard’s voice cut through the line.
“Yes sir!” Ford returned as Buffy ran up on his position. They looked at each other and then sighed as the Darts flew through the event horizon in the Stargate. The wormhole collapsed and Buffy stared at the large, open Stargate.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis Control Room

“So now can our naquadah generators supply enough power to the shield for defensive purposes?” Weir asked as McKay delivered the news about the teams lack of finding a ZPM.

McKay smiled tightly. “Not even close.” He sighed.

Sheppard ran a hand through his hair and growled. “On the surface without a shield? We’re target practice for those…things.”

McKay nodded. “I’m acutely aware of that, Major, but thank you for reinforcing it.”

Sheppard rolled his eyes. “When can we figure out what happened to Colonel Sumner and the others?”

McKay shrugged his shoulders. “Even with the six symbols Lieutenant Ford provided there are still hundreds of permutations ...”

“Seven hundred and twenty.” Sheppard growled irritably.

“Yes. I knew that of course. I’m just surprised you did.” McKay said, letting a little surprise in his voice.

“Look. It’s simple. Try all the combinations. When you get one that locks, send a M.A.L.P” Sheppard said.

Dr. McKay opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it and turned to go back to his work.

“May I have a word with you Major?” Dr. Weir said, turning on her heel and stalking out onto one of the verandas overlooking the vast ocean.

Sheppard shook his head. “Here we go…” he muttered as he followed her.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy waved her hand over the door panel and stormed into the room assigned to her and Dawn. She saw her sister trying to add a touch of home to the spartan quarters and waited for the doors to shut before turning to her sister. “Weapons?” Buffy asked tightly.

Dawn pointed to one of the large bags they brought and Buffy went over and rifled through it, pulling free a sword.

“Trouble?” Dawn asked quietly. She saw the thunder in her sisters eyes and stayed back, for once not arguing or trying to confront her sister.

Buffy closed her eyes and took deep breaths. “Isn’t there always?” she said softly, tucking the sword safely into a duffel bag and setting notebooks and smaller tomes onto it, trying to hide it.

“Slayer stuff?” Dawn asked, trying to remind her sister that she wasn’t the slayer anymore, that she was Dr. Buffy Summers.

Buffy nodded and zipped her bag up. “It will be.” She growled dangerously as she walked out the door.

Dawn let a small grin of pride cross her face. Yes, she was scared of losing her sister. Yes, she was also scared of whatever had gotten her sister so rattled. But she was also proud and relieved that her sister was there to protect them all.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis Hanger

Dr. Weir stared as she saw the ship shimmer into sight in front of her.

“You said you want a tactical advantage?” Major Sheppard’s voice crackled over a radio.

Dr. Weir shook off some of her amazement. “Alright, so you can fly that thing. It doesn’t mean you can pull off a rescue.” Her voice held a large amount of respect and awe.

“Doctor, this is why you brought me here.” Major Sheppard said quietly. “I fly things, this is what I do.”

Dr. Weir felt a small smile slip into place and shook her head in amazement. “Major. Get a team together. You have a go in half an hour.”

Major Sheppard saluted and grinned, landing the small ship.

Atlantis Control Room- ½ hour later

Dr. Weir looked at Dr. McKay. “Are we set?” she asked.

Dr, McKay shrugged. “I have no idea. This technology is so far beyond us, I haven’t clue what we’re dealing with. For all I know, we could ...” he stutters off at Dr. Weir’s look and nods. “Yeah, ready.”

“Flight. This is Puddlejumper, ready for launch.” Major Sheppard’s voice crackled over the radio.

“Er, this is Flight. I thought we were going with Gateship?” Dr. McKay said dejectedly into the comm.

“I don’t think so, Doc.” Major Sheppard said.

Dr. McKay looked as if he was about to argue but waved it off in annoyance. “You’re clear…Puddlejumper.” He mumbled.

The small ship lowered from the hanger bay above the Gateroom and turned, the viewport facing the control room.

Dr. Weir leaned over and talked into the radio. “I’m still not sure you should be going, Dr. Summers.” She said into the microphone.

Buffy stepped into the cockpit and tapped the radio on the console. “No one on this ship has a chance of understanding any other people we come into contact with. I’m a cultural anthropologist, Doctor. And I can handle myself.” She said, grinning slightly.

Dr. Weir nodded. She alone, with the exception of Dawn, knew what Buffy was capable of. That she was the Slayer. But it didn’t mean she had to like sending the young woman into the jaws of the enemy. “Alright. You have a go.”

Sheppard looked at Ford and nodded. The Lieutenant dialled the decided sequence on the remote keypad in the jumper and the Stargate activated. The Puddlejumper turned slowly and zipped through the gate.

“Be safe.” Dr. Weir said softly.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

“Get down!” Sheppard yelled to Buffy as the Wraith guards shot more stun shots at them. Leveling his P-90 at the three advancing guards, he squeezed the trigger pumping five rounds into each target with a practiced ease. They dropped and lay on the floor for a few seconds before clambering to their feet again and continuing their advance.

“Oh come on…” Sheppard muttered. “Any luck on that door?” he called over to Buffy.

Buffy shook her head. “No. It’s stuck.” She growled. ‘Screw it!’ she thought to herself and stood, spinning and letting loose a savage kick at the hard mesh door. It exploded inwards, much to the surprise of the occupants. “Everybody out! Come on!” she yelled, herding people and directing them down the hall where Ford was waiting.

“They have taken Colonel Sumner.” A woman, Teyla, Buffy recognized her from their mission to Athosia, said.

“Summers, you and Ford get them out of here. I’ll go after Sumner.” Sheppard said, tossing a grenade down the hall. In the explosion, he heard the spattering of flesh falling onto the floor and smiled grimly. “Bout time…” he muttered and ran off.

Buffy felt the adrenaline coursing through her veins and bolted after Teyla and the others. She felt very alive and also enraged. Something about this place, about the Wraith, was forcing the slayer to the surface, demanding to hunt and destroy them.

“That was an impressive display.” Teyla said, running beside the blonde.

“Thanks. I work out.” Buffy grinned and sped up to stop beside Ford. “Get them back through the gate.”

“Where’s the Major?” Ford asked.

“He went after Colonel Sumner.” Buffy said, turning to sprint back into the ship.

Teyla caught the slayers arm and turned her around. “Major Sheppard said to get back home. I am sure he meant you as well.” She said, concerned for the blonde. She was about to do something foolish; Teyla just knew it.

“I have to try to get them, I’ll be back.” Buffy said.

“You cannot fight the Wraith alone!” Teyla argued.

“Yes I can…it’s what I do.” Buffy said sadly.

As the blonde headed into the ship, she almost ran over Major Sheppard. “Whoa!” she skidded to a halt. “Where’s Colonel Sumner?!”

Sheppard just shook his head, his eyes now had a haunted look that Buffy knew all to well. He took the pilots chair and engaged the ships drive, taking the refugees into space why the Stargate was waiting. “Dial it up, Ford, we’re going home.”

The Stargate activated and the jumper flew towards the Stargate after Ford received confirmation of the Iris deactivation. Sheppard sighed as he scanned the now awakening Wraith ship. “God…what have we done.” He muttered to himself and flew the ship into the event horizon.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

SGC-Earth

Willow skimmed over the report as she headed to the conference room. She had been working on the power problem they had with trying to gate to Pegasus on her spare time. She had a theory, but she needed Colonel Carter’s input. Suddenly the klaxons blared announcing an unscheduled Offworld activation. Willow looked up and jumped to the side of the hallway as several Marines sped by, heading to the Gateroom.

Willow followed, ducking into the lower level of the control room and climbing the spiral staircase where she met General O’Neill.

“Receiving IDC.” Sergeant Davis announced, checking the encrypted code. “It’s SG-11.” He said, looking up.

General O’Neill furrowed his brow. “They’re not due back for three days. Open the iris.”

Willow’s eyes went wide. SG-11 was Tara’s team.

Sergeant Davis placed his hand on the palm scanner and the Iris on the Stargate opened, the computer automatically sending confirmation to the SG team as soon as the way was clear. Three members of the archeology team ran through, the fourth stumbled through backwards, holding her hands up. It was Tara.

“Shut it down!!” One of the members called up to the control room.

The gate deactivated and Tara crumpled to the deck.

“Medical team to the Gateroom!” General O’Neill called into the mic before following a now running Willow into the room.

Willow ran through the door, pushing past the lingering SF’s and dropping down next to Tara. “What happened?!” she yelled frantically.

General O’Neill looked at Colonel Markson, SG-11’s team leader. “Colonel?”

“Goa’uld sir. They dropped right out of orbit and started landing several drop ships filled with Jaffa. We bolted for the gate and barely dialed it up when we started taking fire.” Markson looked down at Tara, seemingly hesitant.

“Colonel?” O’Neill raised an eyebrow.

“Sir…uh…well, Dr. Maclay just spun as we dialed the gate and held up her hands…” Colonel Markson frowned.

Willow closed her eyes. She knew exactly what Tara had done now.

“Well, the Jaffa started firing and…the staff blasts never reached up. They hit a barrier, or a shield in front of Dr. Maclay.” Colonel Markson said, staring at his fallen team member.

General O’Neill raised an eyebrow and then glanced quickly at Willow, Tara and the medics. He pulled Colonel Markson to the side and whispered quietly to him. “You think she may be Goa’uld?” he asked.

Colonel Markson shook his head vehemently. “No sir, I most assuredly do not.” He snapped. “Sir.” He muttered afterwards, realizing that sounded a little to disrespectful.

O’Neill nodded. “Well how do you explain it?”

Colonel Markson sighed. “I can’t sir. I just know that if she hadn’t done…whatever it was that she did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

O’Neill paused and then nodded. “Alright. Debrief in half an hour.” He said.

Colonel Markson nodded and ushered the rest of his team out of the Gateroom as the medics continued to work on Tara. Casting a glance at the young blonde he frowned. ‘God, please let her be alright.’ He silently preyed before leaving the Gateroom himself.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Gateroom-Atlantis

“What do you mean?” Dr. Weir asked, frowning slightly. This story had several very bad endings.

“I mean, she said that all of them were waking now.” Major Sheppard replied.

“Our history tells us that when the Wraith awaken it is only a small portion of their number, and only to feed and then return to slumber.” Teyla offered.

Dr. Weir nodded. “And how many are there?”

Teyla shook her head. “There is no record of their number.”

“I see.” Dr. Weir said softly.

“There were thousands on the hive ship, and presumably there were…several…hive ships.” Major Sheppard said.

“Define several.” Weir deadpanned.

“Hundreds. Spread throughout the galaxy.” Sheppard said.

‘And there’s the bad ending to end all bad endings.’ Dr. Weir said to herself. “Maybe…we can negotiate with them.”

“I do not believe it to be possible. The Wraith live to feed and to them, we are simply a food source.” Teyla said.

“But still, we can try…” Dr. Weir said before McKay cut her off.

“It’s like a cow negotiating with a butcher.” McKay snapped. “All they care about is that we are a tasty treat and after the long nap, they’re going to have the munchies.”

Dr. Weir sighed. “And you know this for sure?”

Teyla nodded grimly.

“Alright. I suppose we had better prepare.” Dr. Weir said.

As the group broke up, Dr. Weir stared out over the waters surrounding Atlantis. ‘How exactly do we prepare for this?’ she thought to herself.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Chapter 4: Maturity and Old Freinds

Buffy walked into her quarters and dropped her bag onto the floor and started to unpack. She slipped her sword into the weapons bag she brought with her and winced slightly. It had been a long while since she had done anything slayer like and her muscles were protesting the fact that she went on a hunt cold.

The door opened and Dawn entered, frowning. “Why did I come all the way out here?” she pouted.

“Cause you wouldn’t let me come unless I brought you.” Buffy replied.

“I came to learn. Get a much better education than I would ever have gotten at any school on Earth, personally tutored by the smartest people we have, right?” Dawn said, flopping down on her bed.

“Sure.” Buffy said, stretching her arms above her head and trying to alleviate some of the tension.

“Dr. Beckett has me looking at slides.” Dawn said. “Slide. Of cells. Red blood cells.”

Buffy shrugged. “So. He’s your biology teacher.”

“There is a Wraith arm he is studying and he has me labeling the parts of a red blood cell.” Dawn said.

“He also has a PhD in biology, an MD, and is one of the smartest microbiologists on Earth.” Buffy returned. “He is a bit more qualified to study it than you are.”

“It still sucks.” Dawn whined, rolling over and grabbing her physics book. “I’m off to Dr. McKay. Maybe while I’m studying physics in an ancient, yet vastly superior, alien city in another galaxy, he’ll make me drop something so I can see a practical demonstration of gravity.” The teen said, sarcasm dripping from her voice.

“Have fun.” Buffy said as Dawn left the room. “Brat.” She muttered, a grin on her face. She started to pull her laptop out of its case when the door chimes sounded. Rising, Buffy opened the door to see Dr. Weir standing there.

“May I come in?” Dr. Weir asked.

Buffy just stepped aside, and shrugged silently when Dr. Weir stepped through the door. “Sorry. Old habits and all.” She said.

“No problem.” Dr. Weir said. “Dr. Summers, I have a job for you.”

Buffy smiled. “Cool. What is it?”

“I want you to start deciphering the Ancient database.” Dr. Weir said.

Buffy stared blankly at Dr. Weir before coughing lightly. “Um…excuse me?” she asked. “I thought I was going Offworld with Major Sheppard’s team?”

“That was the original plan, yes.” Dr. Weir said. “But I have changed it.”

“Why exactly?” Buffy asked. Deep down, she was getting very angry but decided to at least offer a chance to explain.

“Three reasons. Number one, you have a better understanding of Ancient than anyone else on the base, Dr. McKay and myself included. Second, you have the ancient gene, which happens to allow the technology react to you far better than anyone else here other than Major Sheppard.” Dr. Weir paused and took a deep breath, composing herself before she went on. This part was the hardest. “And third, I have decided to put Teyla on Major Sheppard’s team.”

Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Why exactly?” she asked again.

“Teyla has a working knowledge of several of the planets in the gate system. Her people have traded with more than a few and she has a better understanding of the cultures we are likely to run into.” Dr. Weir answered.

Buffy furrowed her brow. She did indeed want to go through the gate on missions, but Dr. Weir was right. She did read and understand Atlantian better than anyone, and she did notice that of the few that came with the expedition, she and Major Sheppard seemed to be able to more easily activate and control the technology. Nodding, Buffy stood up. “I’ll start first thing in the morning.”

Dr. Weir raised an eyebrow. “That’s it?” she asked, ready for the other shoe to drop. “I expected a little more than that in the way of an argument.”

Buffy shrugged. “Five years ago I would have put up a hell of a fight, pouting included, but I guess I have matured…dammit.” She grinned. “Besides, would it have made a difference?”

Dr. Weir shook her head. “Not really.”

Buffy smiled. “Than why bother fighting. The team reports anything interesting then I can check it out. Until then, I can be of more use translating the database.”

Dr. Weir smiled and stood up. “I’ll assign a team to you and give you some room to work. Thank you very much, Dr. Summers.”

Buffy opened the door and shrugged. “No big. See you tomorrow.”

Dr. Weir left and went back to the control room, leaving Buffy to try to rest. Tomorrow, the young doctor would have a staff of twelve working on beginning to unravel the secrets of the city.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy dropped to the floor and avoided Dawn’s foot as it sailed over her head and lashed out with her own kick.

Dawn jumped and spun the staff over her head and snapped it down.

Buffy jumped up and blocked Dawns staff with her own. The two sisters then circled each other.
“So. How are your classes coming?” Buffy asked, snapping her staff forward, probing Dawn’s defenses.

“Ok I guess. Dr. Beckett is happy, he says I should consider being a doctor.” Dawn said, trying to keep an eye on what Buffy was planning.

“And Dr. McKay?” Buffy spun, knocking Dawn’s staff aside and snapping her foot out catching the teen in the chest, sending her back against the wall.

Dawn quickly stood and narrowed her gaze. “He’s an ass.” She growled, launching into a full out offensive. She moved faster and faster until they were a blur, neither gaining an advantage. Dawn then tossed her staff at Buffy, who was shocked by the maneuver. It was all Dawn needed. Dropping to one knee and sweeping her foot, Dawn caught Buffy off balance and tripped the blonde slayer.

Jumping up, Dawn snatched Buffy’s staff out of her flailing hands and pressed the tip against Buffy’s chest, right over her heart.

Buffy smiled. “You’ve been practicing.”

Dawn nodded, helping Buffy to her feet. “I work with Major Sheppard every morning and then after that I usually get some time in with Teyla.”

Buffy nodded. “I’ve seen her work out. She is very good. I was thinking about asking her to spar.”

Dawn nodded eagerly as they gathered their things and headed out of the workout area. “That would be so cool. She’s been worried that you’re mad at her for bumping you on the team.”

Buffy shook her head. “Nah. That was what…two months ago?” she shrugged. “We’ve uncovered a ton of stuff in the database since then. Mostly history and philosophy, but it’s all very interesting.”

Dawn smiled proudly at her sister for a second.

“What?” the slayer asked.

“You’ve grown so much.” Dawn wiped a pretend tear from her eye.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Yeah. But at least I get along with my team. Sounds like you and Dr. McKay are having troubles.”

“I told you…he’s an ass.” Dawn shrugged. “Doesn’t mean I don’t listen. He may not be mister personality, but he is a genius. He knows what he’s talking about.”

Buffy nodded. “So no friction?”

Dawn shook her head. “Nope. As long as he’s fair and as long as he’s right when he’s trying to drill something into my brain, I can deal with him being arrogant.”

Buffy nodded. “Good.”

The sisters continued to chat as the casually strolled through the city, heading back to their room. They stopped when Dr. Weir’s voice came over the comm. System.

Buffy dug through her bag to get her radio. “This is Dr. Summers.”

“Dr. Summers, could you come to the briefing room in an hour.” Dr. Weir asked.

“Can do.” Buffy responded and looked at Dawn. “I swear, if they want me to change the format of my reports again, I’m gonna scream.” She growled.

Dawn just laughed. “Someone needs a vacation.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

SGC-Earth

“General O’Neill. May I have a word with you please.” A terse voice caught Jack’s ears as he headed to the commissary.

“Just one word?” O’Neill sighed, turning to face the ambassador.

“Am I to understand that the new crews for Persephone and Zhuan Xu will be composed of primarily American service personnel?” the Chinese ambassador asked, beginning to walk with General O’Neill.

“For the shakedown cruises, yes. It’s just a quick hop over to see Thor, where he will install Asgard shields, beaming technology, hyperdrive and weapons. Why?” General O’Neill asked as they headed into the commissary.

“This is unacceptable. The Zhuan Xu is a Chinese built and Chinese manned ship…” the ambassador tried to argue.

“No, actually, it isn’t.” O’Neill cut him off. “Your government footed the bill, your government footed the labor and resources. Just like the European Union did for Persephone and just like we did for Prometheus. And as we all agreed, those ships are Earth vessels. Not American, not European and not Chinese. Look under the articles of the agreement.”

The ambassador glowered at General O’Neill. “I have read the articles, General. It clearly states that the country of origin is responsible for maintenance and crew.”

“And you will be. We, the United States, the European Union and the Russia have all agreed that it would be best if a majority of the staff that goes on the shakedown and refitting cruise be those with the most experience in deep space and the technology that will be put on board. We got a gaggle of recruits for Prometheus and have divided their old crew between Zhuan Xu and Persephone. When Russia gets their butts in gear and gets Anastasia off the ground, that will also make the trip and it will also be staffed with a mostly American crew. What are you complaining about, anyway? Your crew will be going along to learn how to use the technology and systems.” General O’Neill sighed.

“Systems and technology that will be under direct control of the American forces on board.” The Ambassador said.

“Until they return, yeah. They will be. Until they learn how to use the systems, until they are trained…yes. Then, the ship is handed immediately to the new crew. And instead of green, raw recruits, you will have veteran crews ready and able to defend the planet should the Goa’uld get an itch to attack us again.” General O’Neill said. “You have to learn to trust people, ambassador. We’re fighting a war that’s bigger than the United States, Russia, China, England or France. We need to come together and this is the closest we have ever come to unity on our planet.”

The Ambassador narrowed his gaze and took a deep breath. “What you say is true, however I and my government will still be wary until Zhuan Xu is staffed by our people.” He said and then turned to walk away.

“That’s what I’m trying to say…it is. We gotta stop thinking of ourselves as separate. We’re human…all of us. We better start acting like it.” General O’Neill said, shaking his head.

The ambassador stood in the doorway, his head glancing slightly over his shoulder as he considered O’Neill’s words. He nodded his head once and walked away.

General O’Neill sighed and looked down at the food selection. “Oh, jello.” He smiled and grabbed a serving, piling it onto his tray and went to sit down.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

SGC-Earth-Infirmary

“You’re all set. Thanks, Dr. Maclay.” The phlebotomist said, bandaging Tara’s arm after drawing a small tube of blood.

“Thanks.” Tara replied softly, hopping down and heading for the door. She was better, but they still treated her like she was made of glass. She headed to get some food and was almost knocked over by Dr. Jackson as she turned the corner.

“Whoa! Sorry Tara…didn’t see you there.” Daniel smiled. “You ok?”

Tara rolled her eyes. “I’m fine.” She almost growled. Ever since she came back from P3X-912 people had been doing this.

Dr. Jackson raised an eyebrow. “Ok…just making sure.” He said.

Tara closed her eyes. “I’m sorry. It’s just…I’m not made of glass. So I passed out, I’m better now.”

“You passed out for almost a week.” Daniel said softly. “Willow was terrified.”

Tara nodded. “I know. You should see her before I go Offworld now.”

Daniel grinned. “You should see her while you’re Offworld.”

That prompted a smile from the wicca. “She just worries.”

“We all do.” Daniel said. During their time at the SGC, Willow and Tara had been accepted easily. Both were very likable, but there was something about Tara that had seemingly made everyone on the base more protective of her.

Tara nodded. “I know. But sometimes you can protect something to death.”

Daniel nodded. “I know the feeling. It took forever before Jack would let me move around Offworld without Teal’c shadowing me.”

Tara grinned. “So what happened?”

“I died, ascended, and came back.” Daniel shrugged. “Plus, I learned how to fire every weapon in the armory and began training with Teal’c. I’m not a soldier, but at least I know which way to point a weapon now.”

Tara smiled. She had made it clear that she felt very uncomfortable around guns and it had taken almost a month for Colonel Markson to get her to carry a simple 9mm sidearm. “Well…what if I carried a Zat? Would that make everyone feel better?”

Daniel shrugged. “It’s a start.” He looked around. “Where’s Willow?”

“Offworld. They think they have a location on the remains of an Ancient outpost. They went to investigate.” Tara said.

“When are they due back?” Daniel asked.

“A week.” Tara replied sadly.

“Well Sam, Teal’c and I are going to Jacks this weekend for a little get together. You want to join us?” Daniel asked.

Tara thought about it for a minute and nodded. She was going to use the downtime to catch up on some paperwork, but she had to admit she was feeling a bit lonely. “Sure. If it’s ok with General O’Neill?”

“If what’s ok with General O’Neill?” Jack’s voice asked from behind the blonde.

“I invited Tara to join us this weekend.” Daniel said.

“Sweet. You like to fish?” Jack asked.

Tara shrugged. “I’ve never tried it.”

“Cool. I get to break her in.” Jack said. He saw the Chinese ambassador at the end of the hall and hastily backed away, keeping Daniel and Tara between him and the ambassador. “See you this weekend…bye.” He hurriedly said and ducked down a side hall.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Conference Room-Atlantis

Dr. Weir looked at the assembled group. They didn’t have the personnel to make a Pegasus version of the SGC, but they had a functioning Offworld team. Dr. McKay, Major Sheppard, Lieutenant Ford and Teyla comprised the group. They had been Offworld several times now, and she had to admit that the prospects weren’t good. The Genii, The Wraith, weird bugs that reminded her of the Wraith, and still no sign of a ZPM.

She had Dr. Summers scouring the Ancient’s database for gate addresses and anything that could remotely be an outpost like the Terra Atlantus on Earth. Since Buffy’s team began, they had three possible locations. The first two were fruitless. The third, however, was interesting. That’s what the meeting was all about.

Buffy walked into the conference room and smiled sheepishly. She set her laptop and folders on the table and set her computer up, trying to hurry while staying inconspicuous at the same time. It was hard to do with five pairs of eyes watching her. “Sorry. I had to grab some things.” She said, sitting down.

“That’s quite alright.” Dr. Weir smiled. The blonde had made a lot of progress over the last few months, ever since her team started the task of translating and archiving the Ancient database. In terms of shear volume, they had barely scratched the surface of the data. But they also knew that it was very possible to, eventually, have the database translated.

“So why are we all here?” Major Sheppard asked, looking at Dr. Weir. “We’ve gone through the list Buffy gave us. No ZPM’s.” he said, shrugging an apology at Buffy.

“That’s what we don’t know for sure.” Dr. McKay said. “There is still one planet we haven’t checked.”

Major Sheppard raised his eyebrows. “Hoth?” he practically shouted. “You want us to go to Hoth?!”

Dr. Weir grinned. M4X-392 was a frozen wasteland as far as the MALP could determine. The temperature was nearly –90 degrees Celsius in what little sunlight there was. It dropped to almost double when the gate side was rotated away from the light. That was -180 degrees celsius. Using starcharts, they determined that the plant, now being called Hoth by Major Sheppard due to the fact that it reminded him of the ice planet from The Empire Strikes Back. Everyone agreed that it was much to dangerous to try sending a team, even in a Puddlejumper.


That all changed when the MALP sent back data. They were receiving a feint energy signature from somewhere within the MALPs sensor range, which was fifty kilometers. The energy signature matched a ZPM.

“Yes. I think that there is sufficient evidence to warrant an expedition.” Dr. McKay defended his position. “If there is a ZPM there, we can use it to power weapons, shields and the Gate to get us back home if needed.”

“Yeah, but the place is a barren wasteland. Negative ninety in the light, damn near negative three hundred in the dark! We would never survive.” Major Sheppard argued.

“We have plenty of protective gear packed. We could last longer than you think, especially since the Jumper would be shuttling us from the gate to the front door of whatever outpost the ZPM is at.” Dr. McKay said, rolling his eyes. “We should be just fine.”

Major Sheppard shook his head. “It’s suicide. The coldest temperature recorded on Earth was negative eighty-nine degrees Celsius. This is going to be a lot colder.”

Buffy watched the two go back and forth before raising her hand.

Dr. Weir smiled. “You don’t have to do that, Dr. Summers. You have a question?”

Buffy nodded. “Why exactly did you need me here?” she said.

“Because I am authorizing the mission. Take a jumper, scout from the air and see if you can find the location of the base. If you can, come back and we organize another mission to get into the base to retrieve the ZPM.” Dr. Weir said, watching as Major Sheppard closed his eyes and shook his head. “I realize the dangers, Major. That’s why this mission will be by volunteer.”

Buffy looked at the members of the team. “I’m going.” She said softly. They needed that ZPM, especially since the Wraith were awakening at an increased rate.

“I shall go as well. My people have an interest in seeing Atlantis prevail against The Wraith. If we are living here, we shall endeavor to assist in it’s defense.” Teyla added.

Dr. McKay folded his hands in front of him and sighed. “I guess I’m in.” he said softly. “If for no other reason than to make sure there actually is a ZPM.”

Sheppard and Ford looked at each other and sighed. They nodded and Sheppard looked at Dr. Weir. “I guess we’re all going then.” He said. “I’ll prep a Jumper.” He said, standing up. “Ford, I want every bit of non-essential gear replaced with sub-zero survival gear and plenty of first aid.”

Ford nodded and headed to the infirmary.

Dr. Weir smiled. “You have a go.” She said softly as the team filed from the room.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy sat in the Jumper seat and as the gate dialed. The blue symbols on the surface of the Stargate lighting up as they engaged made Buffy grin. When she and Dawn first saw the new gate, Dawn broke into a huge grin.

“It’s digital!” the teen had said.

Buffy nodded in agreement. “The one at the SGC is like an old rotary phone.” She said sagely. “It’s still functional, but the new ones are touchtone.”

The gate engaged, bringing Buffy out of her reverie. The Jumper lowered into the Gateroom and they sailed through the horizon. Everything went south from there.

The window on the front of the jumper froze over almost instantly. Major Sheppard swerving as his vision was obscured. There was also a noticeable drop in temperature inside the jumper. She could see her breath as she breathed.

“Dammit!” Major Sheppard swore and slowed the jumper to a hover, engaging the cloaking device. Not that anyone was going to be out looking in the blizzard they caught a glimpse of before losing visibility. Concentrating on defrosting the frozen front viewport, the window began to clear, the edges glowing faintly. “I think I can give us some visibility, but this is damn hard work. I can’t do anything about the environmental controls, though.” He said, starting to fly off in the direction of the feint energy signature they had detected.

"The jumper can travel in space! Why can't the controls keep up here?" McKay snapped, grabbing a blanket.

"Because in space, the temperature is based on how well something can absorb radiation and what heat sources are nearby. We're on the thirteenth planet from the sun, doc. And we are very far from a heat source, in fact, we have to generate our own. The elements outside are working a hell of a lot harder to freeze us than the jumper is working to keep us all toasty. The jumper just isn't able to keep up wth producing heat, searching for a faint energy signature, flying in a gale force wind and keeping the window from instantly freezing." Sheppard said. "I think we're stabalizing, though. The temperature isn't dropping any lower than this."

The group all muttered non-commitally and huddled closer together. Buffy, Dr. McKay and Teyla did anyway. Ford and Sheppard were left in the front two seats.

“How far from the signature are we?” Sheppard asked after about ten minutes. They were flying against gale force, freezing winds and progress was slow going.

“Should be almost there sir.” Ford replied. Even his voice sounded like it was freezing. Soon, they all realized, they would have to go out into this mess and see what they could find. Sheppard was trying to narrow the search area as tight as possible before he would land and venture from the relative safety of the jumper, however.

The small, bundled group suddenly jolted around as the jumper tipped almost vertically, shooting upwards, the engines groaning under the effort.

“What the…?!” Dr. McKay started, and then looked out the front bay window. They were traveling, possibly only a foot over, a large spiraling structure.

Major Sheppard leveled the craft as they reached the tip of the spire and looked over at Ford, narrowing his gaze, obviously annoyed.

“We’re here.” Ford said sheepishly.

The structure wasn’t large, really. It was just the spire, which was tall, no doubt, and a smaller, squat structure below it. There was no visible lighting on the exterior and no writing they could make out. In all, it reminded Buffy of a solid Eiffel Tower.

“I’m reading a faint signal from that thing.” Major Sheppard said. “This thing is a docking pylon.” He said. “We can probably dock and head right into the structure.”

The group made a collective sigh and sat back, waiting for their pilot to dock. They were all anxious to see if there really was a ZPM they could use.

“There…” Sheppard pointed out the window.

“Where?” Dr. McKay pushed into the cockpit. “I don’t see anything.”

“It’s there.” Sheppard said, bringing the jumper around again.

“Are you sure?” McKay asked, skeptical.

“Pretty sure, yeah.” The Major replied.

“And if you’re wrong?” Dr. McKay asked, rolling his eyes.

“Than we bump into the pylon, realize I’m wrong and keep looking. Stop asking so many questions…you’re distracting me.” Sheppard said, shooing McKay into the back.

Dr. McKay sat down and glanced at Buffy and Teyla, both huddled together with their teeth chattering and their bottom lips quivering as they were turning an interesting shade of near-blue. “We’re going to dock soon.” He said reassuringly.

The ship stopped and suddenly began backing up. A small bump was felt before the engines powered down and the window froze over again. The diverted power, now that the engines and defroster were no longer fighting the elements, was sent into life support and the temperature increased to a much warmer setting.

Buffy and Teyla, along with the rest of the crew, took an unusually long time to change into warmer gear and ready themselves to see if the door would actually open. None of them would admit they were basking in the delicious heat.

“Ready to do this?” Sheppard asked.

None of the crew moved, instead they just stared at him.

He smiled and turned. “Ok.” He sighed, keying the door.

The ramp lowered and instead of stopping as it hit a flat wall, continued to lower into a small alcove with a small door at the end. The alcove, they were very pleased to find, was also heated. Sheppard walked into the small room and lights came on in recessed tracks in the ceiling and floor, just like on Atlantis.

“I’m liking the chances even better now.” Sheppard turned back to McKay and smiled.

Walking up to the door, which was barely five feet from the floor to its top arch, Sheppard waved his hand over the sensor. The door groaned once, no doubt from a few millenniums of inactivity, and slid up. The passage inside was dark, but they could see there was significant damage on the inside. Ceiling struts lay broken and mangled on consoles. Smashed screens lay dormant and black as they cautiously made their way through the ruined hallway. No recessed lighting illuminated their way.

The hallway stopped at another door. Sheppard waved his hand over the sensor and the door hissed open. The small room inside would barely fit all five of them as they crowded in.

“It’s a transporter, like on Atlantis.” McKay muttered.

“So where are we going?” Sheppard asked, looking at the digital display on the screen in front of him. He’d ask McKay later why some systems were working and others were offline.

“I’d say the only way we can go…there.” McKay pointed to the only other dot on the small map. It was directly below them, but a good two hundred feet down.

“Works for me.” Sheppard muttered. “Just be ready.” He said and touched the small dot.

Nothing happened.

“I knew that was gonna happ…” Sheppard started to say when a bright light enveloped them and they were gone.

“…en.” Sheppard finished, looking around.

Buffy looked around. They weren’t in an enclosed transporter alcove. They were in the middle of a lab, from the looks of things. There were several consoles spread around the very large room and about twenty-five or so long, cylinders lining the far wall. Several screens hung from the ceiling and they were all lined with criss-crossing markings. Upon closer inspection, everyone realized they were fractures in the crystal screens.

“Ok. Lets see if we can lock down the readings. Ford, you and McKay see if you can get some computers running, try to access some sort of log. Teyla, you and Buffy look for anything hard copy, it’s a long shot, but humor me.” Sheppard said. “I’m gonna check the perimeter and see if there are any other doors.”

The team nodded and began their tasks. Sheppard figured the room was almost ninety feet across to where the cylinders were and almost twice that in length. As like in the hallway upstairs, there was debris scattered around the massive room and almost no lights were coming on. Those that did would glow faintly, illuminating no more than five feet around them.

‘Not enough to be of any real help, but just enough to give me the creeps.’ Buffy thought to herself as she and Teyla headed across the room. Buffy stopped at the wall with the cylinders. They were on a raised catwalk and she climbed the stairs and tried peering inside but it was like trying to look into darkness. Glancing around, she saw a small dais in the center of the catwalk. Walking over, she placed her hand on the screen on the surface and heard a hum of energy. Turning, she saw that one of the cylinders was lit up.

Looking over at Teyla, Buffy shrugged.

Teyla merely nodded, raising her weapon.

Buffy walked up to the Cylinder and wiped a layer of thick frost from the glass cylinder. Her eyes went wide and she looked at Teyla. Grabbing her radio, Buffy quickly hit the call button. “Major. You should come over here…now.”

“On my way.” Sheppard’s voice crackled over the radio.

Buffy looked at Teyla and took in a deep breath.

“What is…that?” Teyla asked, gesturing at the cylinder.

Dr. McKay and Lieutenant Ford came running up and skidded to a halt when they saw what was in the cylinder.

“Oh my…” was all McKay managed to say before Sheppard came up.

“What’s the big…” Sheppard was asking before he trailed off, looking into the cylinder.

“This place isn’t an Atlantian base.” Buffy said, looking at the dais and scrolling through the information. She glanced at the small, thin and frail looking occupant in the cylinder. “And according to this, he’s alive in a stasis field.”

Sheppard looked at Ford and McKay, smiling. This might be just what they needed.

“I do not understand. You know this…creature?” Teyla asked.

“You could say that.” Sheppard said. “Can you wake him?” he asked Buffy.

Buffy bit her lip. “I can translate, but I think Dr. McKay should be the one up here.” She said, stepping aside as McKay climbed through the railing and rubbed his hands together.

McKay punched a few digital panels on the dais and a soft hum was heard from the cylinder. The glass raised and everyone coughed as stale air wafted out of the tube.

The figure did not stir for a very long few seconds, but finally, he turned his head slightly, groaning. Opening large, orb-like black eyes, he looked at the group. He took a tentative step forward and tilted his head slightly. “I am Tyr, of the Asgard. Who are you?”

Buffy smiled. Stepping forward, she knelt and peered into his eyes. She resisted the urge to hug him, barely. “Have we got a story for you.” She said softly.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Chapter 5 : Bad to worse

“And I guess that’s about the time we found you.” Buffy said, looking over at McKay and Sheppard, who nodded.

“I see.” Tyr said softly. “And you say that you awoke the hive ship the Wraith were on?” he asked Major Sheppard.

“Looks that way, yes.” Sheppard said, sheepishly. “It’s not like we…” he started before a deep rumbling shook the complex. Looking around for any sign of an attack and finding none, he turned to McKay. “What was that?”

McKay was already checking the small screen in front of him. “Uh….” He stammered, mumbling to himself. “It was….a quake….” He shook his head.

“How bad?” Sheppard pressed.

“I’m not sure. Give me a second.” McKay replied, sliding a small, white half-globe crystal over the ancient computer.

Another quake shook the room, causing ice and debris to rain down.

“We may not have a second, McKay.” Sheppard said.

“Well I’m sorry, but my Asgard is a little rusty. If it was in Ancient…” McKay trailed off, shaking his head.

“My Asgard is very good. May I?” Tyr asked, stepping up beside McKay.

McKay nodded quickly, stepping aside.

“There is a significant shift in the gravitational forces in this sector. I am attempting to isolate the source.” Tyr said. After a few second, more machinery whined to life and more lights came on.

“Well?” Sheppard asked. “Can you find out what happened?”

“The sun in this solar system is reaching a critical stage in its life.” Tyr said. “I am dialing Atlantis now.”

“What do you mean by ‘critical stage’?” McKay asked nervously.

“It is going to go nova at any moment.” Tyr replied calmly. “When it does, this world may be destroyed.”

“But it’s the furthest from the sun, isn’t it?” Buffy asked.

“This is true. While it will most likely not be incinerated, the new gravitational shift may very well tear it apart.” Tyr answered. A small beep chimed and Tyr looked at his console. “The Stargate has opened. It is using a significant amount of power to keep it open. I can teleport four people at a time to the platform, which I have shielded from the environment.” Tyr said. Sheppard, Teyla, McKay and Ford suddenly vanished in the nimbus of an Asgardian transport beam.

“We’re next, I presume?” Buffy asked, gathering the small laptop and what few things she had brought.

“Yes. I have to make one stop, however.” Tyr answered before they vanished in a bright flash.

Buffy blinked and looked around. There were no doors or any other openings around the small, compared to the other room, area. “Are we at the gate?” she asked, looking at Tyr, who was walking calmly towards a massive computer bank.

“No. I am gathering my research on the Wraith, as well as making a copy of the Ancient repository I was given.” Tyr replied, taking small crystals from the computer.

Another shockwave shook the room, making the power flicker.

“Fast would be better than slow.” Buffy said, trying to hurry the overly calm Asgard along.

“I am finished. I would now ask a very large favor of you, Buffy Summers.” Tyr said, holding out a pale white stone.

“What’s this?” Buffy asked, taking the small stone and slipping it into her bag.

“That is me.” Tyr said. “I have made a copy of my mind in case I do not survive.” Tyr said, handing Buffy a small, metal box that contained the crystals he collected from the computer bank.

“I thought you guys could only do that if your bodies were dead?” Buffy said.

“We can make any number of duplications, however, we limit the process to right before our deaths so we lose no memories up to that point. This is a copy I made from right before I beamed us down to this room.” Tyr answered. A klaxon blared and the room began to shake violently. “We must hurry.” Tyr said as he touched the panel next to him.

The room disappeared and Buffy looked around. She still didn’t see the gate. “Uh…Tyr?” she began to ask.

“We are right outside the docking port, the environmental shield must have collapsed, shifting the transport here. We should take your vessel to the Stargate.” Tyr said, moving forward and opening the door to the small docking room the jumper was at.

“Ok. But I’ve never driven one of these things before.” Buffy said, moving into the jumper and sitting in the pilots seat. The console lit up bright and alive the second she touched the controls. Tyr sat in the seat next to her. “Hang on.” Buffy said, closing the ramp and disengaging the docking clamps. Ice shattered and the engines groaned slightly as the frozen jumper pulled itself from the docking pylon and headed for the gate.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis

“Offworld activation.” Grodin said, looking at his computer. “Receiving IDC. It’s Sheppard, Dr. Weir.” He said, looking at Weir as she watched the gate.

“Turn off the shield.” Weir replied.

Grodin reached over and touched the control panel, shutting the force field covering the event horizon of the wormhole inside the Stargate.

Four figures stumbled through the horizon, which immediately shut down. Dr. Weir walked down the stairs from the control center to the gate floor.

“Major. What happened to your ship, and to Dr. Summers?” Weir asked.

“They should be coming any second.” Sheppard said, handing his P-90 to the marines that came over to the group. “We found something very, very interesting.” Sheppard smiled.

Dr. Weir nodded and turned her attention back to the Stargate, waiting for it to activate.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Hoth

“The gate shut down!” Buffy cried as the jumper passed through the now inactive gate.

“The gravitational shearing must have been to strenuous to maintain a connection. I shall attempt to redial.” Tyr said, dialing the Atlantis coordinates. Pressing the last chevron, they both turned their eyes to the gate and saw…nothing. The connection would not go through.

“This is bad, right?” Buffy asked, looking at Tyr.

“It very well may be.” Tyr replied. The sensors beeped and a screen appeared on the HUD.

“Oh boy.” Buffy said. The HUD showed a picture of the solar system, with a substantially larger sun. What was once a solar system with thirteen planets now held only eight. It also showed a large shockwave heading outward. One by one, the remaining planets were disappearing.

Tyr began racing his small hands over the computer controls. “I have found a planet nearby in the network. I am attempting to dial now.” He said, touching the dialing crystals. The gate activated, but flickered.

Wasting no time, Buffy accelerated towards the flickering gate. “Hang on to something!” she yelled. The shockwave was down to two planets…one…and Buffy flew through the open gate.

The jumper passed through the Stargate just as the event horizon shut down, taking a few feet off of the rear of the ship. Luckily, the gate was a planetary one, but the speed and inertia of the jumper caused a serious blowback effect as the rear of the jumper simply disappeared. Buffy shut the cockpit doors and looked at Tyr. “Let’s not do that again.” She said, taking the jumper up and away from the gate. The inertia from the speed they were moving at was carrying them pretty fast and Buffy didn’t want to risk any more damage by breaking their speed and banking to sharply.

“I agree.” Tyr answered.

“Where are…” Buffy began when alarms began to sound. The controls were becoming sluggish and they began to list slightly. “I think we lost something important.” Buffy said.

“Guidance, stabilizers and inertial dampeners are all offline. We are going to crash.” Tyr said, looking over the damage report.

“Wonderful.” Buffy muttered. “Anything else?”

Tyr looked at Buffy and nodded. “We passed over a Wraith scout ship as we came through the Stargate.”

“I had to ask.” Buffy replied as she tried to control their decent into a copse of trees, roughly fifteen miles from the gate.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis

Sheppard, Weir, McKay, Ford and Teyla watched the inactive gate silently.

“Any second now.” Sheppard said quietly.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Jumper 3

“Hang on! Here we go!” Buffy said as the ground raced up to meet them. The jumper smashed through trees, vines and underbrush before skidding through great mounds of earth and stone. Skipping once, the jumper leveled out before slamming to the ground again, skidding sideways and then rolling over and over, coming to rest upside down against a tree. Electrical shorts and smoke were visible through various cracks, breaks and holes in the ship. It was clear that Jumper 3 would not fly again.

Buffy groaned as she looked around. She was wedged into the small space between the seat and the flight console. “Tyr?” she called softly, her voice cracking. Reaching out, Buffy felt her head and pulled her hand away, smeared red with blood. Clearing her throat, Buffy looked around. “Tyr, are you ok?” she called again.

“I am not.” Tyr’s voice called back. There was very little light in the cabin, just whatever filtered through the scarred, filthy front window.

Buffy allowed a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Being a slayer, she could see almost as well in the dark as she could during the day. Spying Tyr on the floor below her, which was actually the ceiling of the ship, Buffy nodded. “I see you. Hang on, I’m gonna pull myself out of this…” she said, pressing the seat that held her pinned in her small area. Metal protested and finally groaned as it bent just enough for her to slip out. Buffy fell to the ceiling, landing on her shoulder next to Tyr. “Ok. Gravity works.”

Tyr looked at Buffy and nodded. “I am pinned.” He said, pointing to the detached console that had his legs pinned down.

Buffy stood up and looked around. “Ok, hang on.” She said, grabbing the edge of the console and began to lift. The twisted frame of the flight computer looked light, but was indeed just the opposite. Buffy strained , her hands almost slipping as she lifted the wreckage far enough to clear Tyr’s legs before tossing it aside. Looking down, Buffy gasped. “Oh god, Tyr!”

Tyr looked at his own legs and knew what she saw. His fragile form was no match for the console that had buried him. His legs were crushed.

“Oh god. We have to get back to the gate, get you back to Atlantis.” Buffy said hurriedly. Looking around the small cockpit, Buffy saw the manual release for the cockpit door and pulled. The doors hissed and opened a few inches. It was all she needed. Wedging her hands through the opening, Buffy pushed the doors apart and surveyed the damage. The rear compartment was a disaster. Supplies were strewn everywhere, what little there was that didn’t get sucked out of the crippled ship as they sped over the distance from the gate the crash.

“The Wraith will no doubt send a patrol to investigate.” Tyr said calmly.

“Than we had better move it.” Buffy said, grabbing the first aid kit. “I’ll have to rig something to carry you in, but we have to move fast.” She said, opening the kit and frowning. Lots of supplies for cold weather survival and very little in the way of anything she could use. Buffy settled for the meager supply of bandages and grabbed some of the branches to try to splint Tyr’s shattered legs.

Wincing every time she touched him, Buffy finally managed to get his legs set and used the mesh cargo nets to make a workable backpack. “Gotta remember to thank Xander for making me watch Empire Strikes Back with him.” Buffy muttered. Buffy grabbed the small bag of Asgard crystals and settled them over her shoulder.

Looking at Tyr, Buffy sighed. “This could jostle you a bit, if it does, I apologize now.” She said.

Tyr nodded weakly.

Buffy reached down and grabbed the emergency rig and twisted her arms, allowing them to slip through the straps, slinging Tyr onto her back like a backpack. Testing his weight, Buffy nodded satisfactorily. Grabbing the remote hand device from the small compartment by the remains of the pilot chair, she sighed. “Are you in a lot of pain?” she asked over her shoulder.

“Yes. A considerable amount.” Tyr answered calmly.

Buffy just nodded. “I’m sorry, but it might get a little worse.” She said and headed out of the wreckage. The palm device showed the way to the gate, the distance (24.14 km), and the fact that there were twelve Wraith life signs on the way, split into four groups of three. Pocketing the palm device, Buffy headed out into the forest.

Chapter 6: Home and a Call

Atlantis

Sheppard slammed his hand on the table in front of Dr. Weir. “What do you mean no?!”

Dr. Weir shook her head. “Just like it sounds, Jon. We are evacuating. The storm Dr. Zelenka found is massive. It is heading right for Atlantis and we have to evacuate.”

Sheppard shook his head. “Just one jumper. That’s all I ask.”

Dr. Weir sighed. “For what? We tried dialing the gate six times already. The wormhole wouldn’t connect.”

“So you’re gonna just write her off? Just like that?” Sheppard snapped.

“No. But I do think that the lives of everyone in this city far outweighs the life of one woman.” Dr. Weir said. “Now. If we manage to make it back here and find the city salvageable, then we can send search parties. Until then, we have to think of our priorities!”

“I’m thinking of my sister.” Dawn said, looking at Dr. Weir. Since Buffy hadn’t come back, she and Major Sheppard had spent their time tag teaming Dr. Weir whenever they could about a rescue operation.

Dr. Weir looked at Dawn and her eyes softened. “Dawn, I promise you. After the storm we will dedicate all of our resources to finding your sister. I promise you, but I have to consider everyone else in the city as well.”

Dawn closed her eyes. She refused to cry. “She could be dying right now. Broken, bleeding and waiting for the gate to open and for someone to step through it.”

Dr. Weir sat down. “The gate wouldn’t engage, Dawn. You saw that. We tried.”

“Then try again.” Sheppard pressed.

“To what end? What is going to make the seventh time any different than the first?” Weir asked. “Dr. McKay and Dr. Zelenka have found the closest gate to M4X-392. When the storm passes, we will send a jumper through to that gate and you can fly there while we try to keep dialing.” Dr. Weir assured both of them. “But it has to wait until after the storm passes and the city is out of danger.”

Sheppard shook his head and was about to continue the argument when Dr. McKay and Dr. Zelenka rushed in. “We have something!” McKay said.

Sheppard just stared at Dr. Weir. “This isn’t over.” He said before pushing past McKay and Zelenka as he and Dawn stormed out of the office.

Dr. Weir sighed. “What did you find?” she asked softly.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy walked through the forest, checking the palm device again. She had been walking for almost an hour and had managed to evade the Wraith so far, but she wasn’t sure how long she would be able to hold onto that small bit of fortune.

“Dr. Summers.” Tyr weakly called, causing Buffy to stop.

“Yeah, Tyr?” Buffy asked.

“I have resumed bleeding. My bandages are soaked through.” Tyr said.

Buffy cursed. “Tyr, you should have said something sooner.” She said, hurriedly settling the makeshift pack she carried him in onto the forest floor. “Oh god…” she said as she surveyed the bandages. Tyr had had both of his legs crushed and the injuries came complete with punctures, lacerations and bones protruding through his skin. All Buffy could do was try to set what she could, splint the legs and wrap the wounds.

“I did not wish to alarm you.” Tyr said, his eyes looking tired.

“Tyr, you’re the one that is injured. I’m fine.” Buffy said.

“You were also injured in the crash, were you not?” Tyr asked.

Buffy looked at the bandages on her arm and smiled. “Yeah. But I heal really quickly.” She said, pulling the bandages off and showing Tyr all that remained of the deep lacerations. Only two angry, deep pink lines stood out where before there was a gaping wound.

“Extraordinary.” Tyr remarked. “Your people have improved greatly since my last visit to your world.” He said, groaning slightly as Buffy changed his bandages and tried to stem the bleeding.

“When was that?” Buffy asked.

“By your reckoning, it was several thousand years ago.” Tyr said.

“Yeah. We’ve advanced some in that time.” Buffy smiled. “But this isn’t from anything we’ve done. I just…I have always been a fast healer.”

Tyr studied her for a moment before nodding. “It will be dark soon.” He said.

Buffy grinned. “Nice subject change.”

“Thank you.” Tyr remarked.

“I guess we can make a cold camp here.” Buffy said. “I can try to clean this a little better, maybe find us some food.” She said.

Tyr nodded. “I have seen several plants that I am able to consume.” He said.

“Cool. Where?” Buffy asked, looking around.

Tyr pointed at a blooming shrub. “The flowers are edible.” He said.

Buffy went over and gathered the flowers and looked around. “I haven’t seen any sign of water, so I’ll have to ration our four canteens full.” She said. “We’ll have to use one to clean your wound.” She said.

Tyr nodded. “I agree.”

Buffy went to work setting up a crude lean to and slid Tyr against the back, placing herself between the frail, injured Asgard and the rest of the forest. After grinding the petals of the flower, she added a small bit of water and made a small bowl of bright orange paste. She spent the next two hours feeding Tyr, who swallowed the primitive meal as best he could.

Buffy was about to try a small bite when she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Standing and grabbing the palm device, she cursed. A Wraith patrol was almost on top of them. She was seeing phantom images used by the Wraith to flush their prey from hiding.

“Tyr. We have company.” She said, placing foliage around the front of the lean to. “I’ll deal with them, you stay quiet.” She said.

Tyr’s eyes went wide and he gasped. “Behind you!”

Buffy instantly rolled to one side and came up in a crouch as two stun blasts whisked over her head and into the forest. Narrowing her gaze, she saw two Wraith soldiers storm from the underbrush, their featureless faces scanning the area and finally zeroing in on her. They raised their weapons as Buffy sprang into action.

Charging forward, Buffy ducked another blast and sent a palm right into one of the Wraith, knocking him back several feet into a large tree. The second Wraith swung at Buffy, missing her as she ducked. Spinning on her crouched leg, Buffy snapped her other leg out, sweeping the soldier off of his feet. Jumping up, she turned and looked at the first Wraith standing up. “Let’s see if I remember how to do this.” She muttered before launching into a seemingly erratic attack, pivoting on her feet and landing strike after strike on the staggering Wraith. A fist, foot, palm, fist, fist, foot and leg sweep sent to soldier onto his back where Buffy grabbed a broken branch from the forest floor and plunged it into the Wraith’s chest.

Standing, Buffy watched as the Wraith jerked violently in a severe spasm and finally, with a sickening gurgle, stopped moving. Buffy brushed off her hands and smiled. “No poof, but I’ll take it.” She said, turning to find the second soldier. As she turned, she was caught off guard as a back hand sent her sprawling.

Standing over her was a pale figure, razor teeth filled a hissing mouth and white hair hung loosely from the creatures head. It studied her before reaching back and slamming its palm hard against her chest. The Wraith began to feed on her.

Buffy screamed at the same time the Wraith did. Clutching her chest, Buffy looked on as the Wraith that had caught her by surprise stumbled back, clutching its body. After a few seconds, it shook its head and glared at her.

“What are you?” it hissed.

“I’m Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. And you are?” Buffy replied, remembering her trip to Los Angeles and her adventures as Anne.

The Wraith sneered and charged Buffy, swiping at her with its fist and the fight was one. The Wraith pressed, swinging its fists and catching Buffy every once in a while, sending her stumbling back. Its speed and strength were amazing, but she had fought worse.

Jumping forward, Buffy snapped her foot out, catching the creature in the stomach and lifting it almost a foot in the air before spinning and kicking it in the head, flipping the Wraith over backwards. Jumping onto the prone creature, Buffy punched it over and over in the head before it threw her off and began its assault again.

Buffy blocked many of its blows, but they were taking their toll. Seeing an opening as she dodged an attack and the Wraith overextended itself, Buffy moved behind the surprised creature and wrapped one arm around the front of him and gripped the back of its head with her other. In a quick, savage jerk Buffy heard the snap and stepped back as the Wraith’s head turned nearly 180 degrees. She saw the Wraiths now lifeless eyes as it fell away from her.

Turning, Buffy saw the other soldier standing and looking at its fallen leader. Buffy growled and charged him. It never had a chance.

Tyr watched the battle and found himself in awe as the young woman defeated three Wraith in under two minutes. He saw her come back and reached out a hand, touching her gently on the shoulder as she crawled into the lean to. “A most impressive display.” He said.

Buffy was quiet and sighed. “Guess no matter where I go, I’ll always be me.” She said, seemingly to herself.

“And who are you, Buffy Summers?” Tyr asked.

Buffy laid down and looked at the palm device. The other three patrols were gathered at the crash site and weren’t moving. Turning to face Tyr, she sighed. “Guess I can trust you not to tell…” she said. “Into every generation, there is a chosen one…” she began softly, telling Tyr the story of the Slayer.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

A soft beeping woke Buffy up and she jerked, looking around and finding the source; the palm device. It was daylight. Grabbing the device, she looked at the display and saw that the Wraith were once again on the move. They were heading right for her and Tyr.

“Tyr. We gotta move. You ok?” Buffy asked.

“My bandages are secure. Are you alright?” Tyr asked.

Buffy looked at her shirt and the area where the Wraith had tried to feed off of her. It was completely healed. “I’m good. Lets move.” She said, gathering their meager possessions and lifting the harness Tyr was strapped to. Tyr winced and softly cried out as Buffy hoisted the harness onto her back. “Sorry.” She apologized.

“I am fine.” Tyr said.

“Liar.” Buffy replied, checking her palm device. She almost jumped for joy as she noticed something. “Tyr…I think lady luck is smiling on us.” She said.

“Why is that, Dr. Summers?” Tyr asked.

“All of the Wraith I can pick up are behind us. It’s a straight shot to the gate and there are no Wraith there.” She said.

“That is most fortuitous.” Tyr said.

Buffy nodded then froze. “Damn.” She muttered.

“What is it?” Tyr asked.

“Tyr, I can’t run to the gate. The shaking would be to rough on you.” Buffy said.

“If I was secured, the jarring would be lowered.” Tyr suggested. “I am more worried about the distance to the Stargate and your well being if you attempt to push yourself.”

Buffy checked the palm device. It was a little over 20km. “If I secured you, really good, would you be alright?” she asked.

“Yes.” Tyr answered.

“Would you tell me if you weren’t?” Buffy asked, remembering him bleeding through before he said anything.

“Yes.” Tyr answered.

Buffy checked her device again and nodded to herself. “Alright…let’s do this.” She said, taking the harness off and setting it down. Looking around, Buffy sighed. “What kind of forest doesn’t have any vines.” She grumbled. Biting her lip, she pulled absently on her shirt. “I’m never gonna live this down.” She said, ripping the material of her shirt, turning the full t-shirt into a half shirt. She then ripped the piece into several strips and tied Tyr to the harness even tighter. Buffy secured his arms, wrists, waist, ran pieces under his arms and over his shoulders and finally across his forehead, securing him tightly.

“Is that to tight?” Buffy asked when she was done.

Tyr tried to move and found himself securely anchored. “It is fine.” He said.

Buffy grinned. “Than lets make some tracks.” She said, lifting the harness and securing it on her back, testing its weight and her freedom of movement. “Let me know if it gets to rough.” She said.

“I shall.” Tyr replied.

Grabbing their supply bag and looping the around her neck, Buffy took a deep breath and started to run. She was at a steady, fast pace when she leveled off and maintained the speed, jumping over rocks, logs and other obstacles. They were going to get out of this alive.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis

Sheppard had Kolya in his sights and narrowed his gaze. “I’m not aiming for her.” He said coolly and squeezed the trigger. The bullet whizzed past Dr. Weir, whom Kolya was using as a human shield and slammed into the Genii soldiers’ shoulder, spinning him into the open gate. “Jackass.” He muttered.

McKay sighed and then ran to the control room. “Two and a half minutes!” he called down.

“It’s always something.” Sheppard muttered, looking at Dr. Weir. “You ok?” he asked as they headed for the stairs.

“You shot him.” Dr. Weir said.

“Yeah.” Sheppard grinned.

“What if you would have hit me?” Weir asked.

Sheppard shook his head. “Dr. Weir…I’m a United States Air Force Major who has had several thousand hours of training in small arms combat. I was aiming at Kolya.”

“Yes, but he was holding me in front of him.” Weir pressed as they climbed the stairs.

“Not in front of all of him.” Sheppard shrugged.

McKay looked up and rolled his eyes. “Could we discuss this after the impending tidal wave?”

Sheppard looked at Weir and shrugged. “Sure.”

Weir nodded in agreement.

“Ok…here it comes….” McKay looked at the shield generator power bank. There was no charge. Lightning hadn’t hit yet. A sudden bolt struck a rod and energy raced through the corridors. The charge was about half full.

“McKay?” Weir asked, looking at the city display and seeing the tidal wave getting closer.

“Just a minute…” McKay said, hand hovering over the shield activation switch.

Another bolt struck, sending more energy along the corridor.

“NOW!” McKay said, hitting the controls. The shield generators came to life, extending the shield over the city just as the wave washed over, rolling off of the shield. McKay watched as the energy readings dropped and then checked the city display. The tidal wave had broken and was no longer a threat.

“Nice.” Sheppard said, smiling slightly at McKay.

McKay nodded. “I know.” He said.

Weir rolled her eyes. “The storm is clearing. Lets recall all personnel.” She said.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy had been running for almost the entire day, and she was feeling it. She was exhausted, her muscles hurt and her legs felt like they were on fire. Her breathing was coming in deep, ragged breaths and her lungs were demanding still more. Sweat was rolling off of her in sheets and she felt like she would drop any second, but she knew she had to hold on. They had covered an amazing eighteen kilometers.

“Dr. Summers.” Tyr called.

Buffy stopped almost instantly, reaching for her water supply. “Sorry…Tyr…are…you alright?” she gasped out.

Tyr coughed lightly. “I require water…please.”

Buffy nodded wordlessly and lowered the harness off of her back. Dropping to her knees, Buffy took the canteen and tipped t to Tyr’s mouth. “Slow…” she said as Tyr drank small sips.

After a short rest, Buffy looked at the palm device. The Wraith were far behind them. “Can you handle another twenty minutes or so?” she asked, feeding Tyr small bites of his orange mush.

Tyr nodded, or tried to, and settled for speaking instead. “I can. You, however, are quite fatigued.” He sounded very concerned. Buffy had told him of the Slayer, of her strength, stamina and healing abilities. They were amazing, but even she had to have her limits.

“I’ll have plenty of time to rest after I make it to the gate and back to Atlantis.” Buffy said, her breathing was still very deep.

“Do you promise to stop if you cannot go on?” Tyr asked, mirroring her question to him earlier.

Buffy nodded. “I promise.”

“Than I can handle more travel.” Tyr said.

Buffy nodded, picking the harness up and settling it onto her back. She began to run again and smiled. They were almost home.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A
Buffy knelt in the foliage and felt tears forming in her eyes. She was within throwing distance of the gate, but it was being guarded. She cursed and looked around for something to punch. She didn’t know where they came from, but about three kilometers ago the palm device began to beep. Checking it, she saw that there were eight Wraith at the gate.

She couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t fight them all, protect Tyr, dial home and make it through after the run she just had. A twenty-kilometer sprint taxed even her considerable stamina.

“Got any ideas?” Buffy asked over her shoulder to Tyr.

“The palm device.” Tyr said.

“What about it?” Buffy asked.

“Can you link with the Ancient ship?” Tyr asked.

Buffy picked up the device and tried. It worked. “Yeah. The computer is operational.”

Tyr coughed before continuing. “Use the computer in the Ancient ship to dial the Stargate to Atlantis…”

“And then sprint through them before they can figure out what’s going on.” Buffy finished the thought.

“Yes.” Tyr said.

Buffy scanned the palm device searching for the link to the remote dialing computer on the jumper. As if reading her thoughts, which she had learned the palm device as well as the jumper pretty much did, the dialing display came up. “Hang on. As soon as the gate opens, I’m gonna sprint for the gate and dial the GDO on the way.”

“I am prepared.” Tyr said.

Buffy dialed Atlantis and glanced up, seeing the Wraith looking around to see what was going on as the gate began to dial. With a ‘whoosh’ the gate activated and Buffy was off. It was about fifty yards from the treeline to the gate, and Buffy punched in the GDO code as she ran. She passed the first line of Wraith as she sprinted, punching at any that tried to stop her on the way. They second line were a little more organized and fired at her as she blurred by them. None hit her. As she dashed up the steps, she felt a sudden burning in her leg. She had been shot with a stunner. Using the last of her consciousness, Buffy dived for the gate, hoping that the iris was open.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis

“Are you sure?” Weir asked Grodin as she looked over his shoulder.

“Yes ma’am. The entire solar system was decimated.” Grodin said.

Sheppard, Teyla, Ford and McKay walked into the control room fully geared up for the search and rescue operation. “We’re ready.” Sheppard said.

Dr. Weir looked up and sighed. “Major. I have bad news.” She said. Before she got any further, the Stargate began to dial in.

“Unscheduled traveler.” Grodin said, checking the computers. “Receiving an IDC code.” He called, checking the computer. “It’s Dr. Summers!”

“Lower the shield!” Dr. Weir ordered, staring at the gate.

The shield flickered off and nothing happened for a few seconds. Then, the filthy, sweat covered form of Buffy Summers dove through the gate, carrying something on her back. She slid almost to the steps on her stomach and lay unmoving as the gate deactivated.

“Dr. Beckett to the Gateroom!” Dr. Weir called into the city PA.

Sheppard was smiling as he watched Buffy begin to move. “Damn, that is one tough lady.” He said, reaching over and pressing the comm. Panel on the computer. “Dawn, this is Sheppard.” He said.

“What?” Dawn responded over the comm. System.

“You may want to come to the Gateroom.” Sheppard said as he watched Dr. Beckett and his team rushing Tyr off to the medical ward and trying to get Buffy to lay on the gurney, with very little success.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Almost a week had passed since Buffy’s return. Tyr was doing a little better, but Dr. Beckett said all he could do was set Tyr’s legs and bandage the other wounds. He didn’t know nearly enough about Asgard physiology to try anything more.

Buffy, however, was a different matter. She wasn’t even in the infirmary a full 24 hours before she was declared fit enough to leave. Dawn, Tyr and Dr. Weir seemed to be the only ones that weren’t surprised by this.

Right now, she and Dawn were busy spending time with each other, at Dawns insistence.

“And then I told him everything.” Buffy said, looking out over the city from one of the balconies.

“What did he say?” Dawn asked. Buffy had been telling her about the time she and Tyr had spent on the forest world. Specifically, when Buffy killed three of the Wraith and told Tyr about her being a slayer.

“Not much. I think he fell asleep.” Buffy sighed. “Giles tells it better than I do.”

Lieutenant Ford chose that time to walk onto the balcony. “Hey. Guess what!” he said.

Buffy smiled. “What?”

“Dr. Weir says to tell everyone to record a message to send back to Earth.” Ford said.

“What?!” Buffy and Dawn both exclaimed at the same time.

“Dr. McKay says that he can activate a wormhole to Earth for about a second and a half. He has some program that can compress all this data into a stream and send it through in that amount of time.” Ford shrugged.

“All what data?” Dawn asked.

Ford smiled. “Everything. All the stuff we found, all the video files, recordings, reports on what we found here, and everything we have on the Wraith including a personal message from everyone on Atlantis.”

Buffy looked at Dawn and smiled. “That’s great!”

Dawn nodded eagerly.

“So…what do you guys want to say?” Ford asked, holding the camera up and hitting record.

“How about we record it and give you the camera when we’re done?” Buffy asked, reaching out and shutting the camera down.

Ford looked apprehensive for a second and then smiled. “Sure. Private stuff. I get it.” He said. “Just remember, we have to get everyone, so hurry up.”

Buffy and Dawn nodded as they walked back to their room. “We will.” Buffy called.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Dr. McKay looked at Buffy and nodded. “Yeah, we can easily handle a message for the Asgard.” He said.

Buffy nodded. “Good. Tyr hasn’t been home in a long, long time.” She said. His recovery wasn’t going that well, either. Dr. Beckett was a genius with human physiology, but the anatomy of the Asgard was beyond him. Without exploratory surgery, he just didn’t know what was what. Sure, he could take X-Ray’s, MRI’s, CAT scans all he liked, but if he didn’t know what he was looking at, he could very easily hurt the organs or tissues far more than he helped.

Frankly, the doctor was surprised Tyr was still alive.

Dr. Weir walked into the command center and looked at McKay as his sure fingers flew over the keyboard. “Are we all set?” she asked.

Dr. McKay and Buffy looked up. “As soon as I finish this last message.” McKay said, closing the message and marking it ‘FOR THOR OF THE ASGARD ONLY’. He looked up and nodded. “All set.

Dr. Weir looked over at Grodin and nodded.

Grodin began the dialing sequence and entered the eighth symbol. Power around the base was all diverted to the Stargate and the wormhole formed. The computer, sensing the open connection, shot the data stream in an instant. A full two seconds later, the gate closed.

Dr. Weir looked at Dr. McKay and raised her eyebrows. “Did it get through?”

McKay checked the computer and smiled. “It shows that the data stream made it through the wormhole. If the SGC is there, the computers got it.”

Dr. Weir smiled. “Good.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

SGC

The wormhole opened for a split second, actually two seconds, and then shut down. Sgt. Walter Harriman looked over at the blonde Lt. Colonel who was also the head of SG-1 and the recent redheaded addition to SG-7. Both were studying the small screen in front of them.

“What was that?” Walter asked.

“It was defiantly a wormhole.” Willow said, scanning the small screen.

“Oh my god.” Sam said softly, pointing at the information on the wormhole’s origin.

“It’s from Atlantis.” Willow said. “Look, there was a data stream. Very tightly compacted. But it’s huge.”

Sam nodded and used the decryption program she and Willow had been developing. The data was opened and extracted. There was indeed a massive amount of data in the packet. As the data finished unpacking, a program in the data stream activated and one of the smaller files opened, flashing a message on the screen. Sam and Willow read it: ‘CONTACT ASGARD- MESSAGE #512’

Sam scrolled down and looked for message #512. She found it and read the tag. ‘FOR THOR OF THE ASGARD ONLY’. Sam turned to Walter. “Call General O’Neill to the control room.” She said.

Walter reached for the mic and paged the General.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

General O’Neill finished signing off on the requisition forms and looked around his desk. He raised an eyebrow and pressed a button on his phone.

“Yes sir?” Came Walters voice.

“Am I done?” O’Neill asked.

“Sir?” Walter asked, sounding confused.

“The paperwork. I’m out.” O’Neill said.

“You have all the daily reports and the mission reports filed. Shipping files, personnel reviews and field reports. If you have the requisition forms done, then yes sir. That’s it for the day.” Walter said.

“Sweet.” O’Neill said happily. “Thank you sergeant.”

“Yes sir. Enjoy your weekend sir.” Walter said.

Jack had been looking forward to a quiet two days of fishing for the last month. He quickly gathered his things and headed for the elevator, looking around for any distractions and trying to avoid them.

“General.” Carter’s voice rang out behind Jack.

Jack quickened his pace.

“Sir.” Sam said, reaching out and tapping his arm.

Jack sighed. “Carter. Weekend. We’re done unless the world is under attack.” He paused for a moment then furrowed his brow. “We’re not, are we?” he asked. “Under attack, I mean?”

Sam grinned. “No sir.”

Jack reverted back to his protesting. “Weekend.” He said, turning back to the elevator.

“Yes sir, but I just wanted to get your signature on this.” Sam said, holding out a clipboard.

Jack glared at Carter before snatching the clipboard. “I’m not buying you a house, am I Carter?” he asked, scribbling his name across the bottom of the form.

“No sir.” Sam said happily. “These are the orders from the Pentagon regarding the Zhuan Xu and Persephone.” She said.

Jack stopped and turned. “They’re ready?”

“Yes sir. A full month ahead of schedule.” Sam smiled.

“Cool.” Jack smiled brightly, swiping his card through the reader on the elevator. “That means that we can send them to the Asgard a whol..ly GOD!” O’Neill yelled as the elevator opened and he was about to step on.

“Greetings O’Neill.” Thor said from inside the elevator.

“Thor.” O’Neill waved, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” he asked.

“I am not.” Thor responded, walking out of the elevator. “You have contacted the Asgard. How can we be of service?” he asked.

Jack smiled. “Actually, it’s the other way around. It’s us who are gonna help you.” He said.

“I see.” Thor said. A moment passed before Thor looked up at O'Neill. “Help us do what?”

“We got some mail for you.” Jack smiled.

Thor tilted his head to the side a bit. “Intriguing.”

“Come on. I’ll show ya where it is.” Jack said, whistling as he walked, Thor beside him.

Entering the debriefing room, Jack gestured to one of the chairs while he walked over to the stairs. “Siler!” he yelled over the railing.

A loud crash was heard from control room beneath them followed by a few muttered curses.

“Sir?” Siler’s voice came up.

“Have the message for Thor piped up here.” Jack said.

“Yes sir.” Siler replied.

Jack turned and saw Thor seated in his command chair from his ship. “Our chairs aren’t good enough for ya?”

“They are fine, O’Neill. However, I could not see over the table.” Thor replied.

Jack paused and nodded. “Ok.” Picking up the remote control, he turned on the monitor. “Four days ago, we had an Offworld activation.” He started. “It was from Pegasus.” Jack said.

“Pegasus galaxy?” Thor asked.

“Yep.” Jack smiled.

“I see.” Thor stated darkly. “I assume you kept the iris closed?”

“We did. It turns out that it wasn’t really necessary. The wormhole lasted only a couple of seconds.” Jack said. “We did get a transmission, though.” Jack said, clicking the remote again. An image if Atlantis came up onto the screen.

Thor leaned forward. “Atlantis?!”

Jack turned and smiled. “We found it.”

“You sent people to Atlantis?” Thor asked.

“We did. They found the city, it lit up like a Christmas tree and they’ve been there ever since.” Jack said.

“Most impressive.” Thor said. “This transmission was from them?”

“Yep. And there is a message from you.” Jack said, clicking the remote again. The screen changed again to a black background with flashing red script. ‘FOR THOR OF THE ASGARD ONLY’.

“What does it say?” Thor asked.

Jack looked at the screen. “Uh…for Thor of the Asgard only?”

Thor looked at Jack. “I meant what does the message say.”

“Oh. We don’t know. We didn’t look at it.” Jack said. “It’s addressed to you. It’s a federal crime to tamper with the mail.” He smiled, handing Thor the remote and heading out of the room.

“I thank you.” Thor said. Raising the remote, he keyed the button to play.

The screen changed and a young, blonde haired woman came on. “Is it on? Ok.” She said. “Hi. I’m Doctor Buffy Summers of the Atlantis expedition. This is for Thor of the Asgard.” She sighed. “We found something, and someone, out her in Pegasus that you should know about. An Asgard, he says his name is Tyr.”

Thor opened his mouth in shock.

“He is hurt really badly and our doctor just doesn’t know much about Asgard physiology, so the best he can do is patch the wounds and try to keep him comfortable. I know you’re fighting a war right now, but Tyr is my friend. Can you come, or send someone, to help him? Or to take him home?” Buffy said. “I guess that’s all. General O’Neill has the coordinates for the base. Thanks.” She said. The screen flickered and went dead.

Thor set the remote on the table and pondered what this meant. Tyr was a brilliant military leader and an exceptional scientist. Ten thousand years ago, the Asgard and the Ancients parted ways, the Ancients leaving this galaxy. Tyr went with them as a liaison. The last Thor had heard, the Ancients were in a war and most had fled from their galaxy and came back to Earth. Tyr and a handful of Ancients had stayed behind to try to find a way to fight this new menace. Tyr was never heard from again. Thor stood, his chair beaming back to his ship, and headed through the door into the hallway. Jack was waiting.

“Mind if I ask what it was about?” Jack asked.

“A Dr. Summers has found an Asgard we had thought long dead. He is injured. I am going to go to Pegasus to retrieve him.” Thor said. “Dr. Summers said you had the planets coordinates?”

Jack nodded. “Yeah. I’ll have Siler bring them up.” Jack said. “Say, could you do me a favor, since you’re going that way?”

“What would that be?” Thor asked.

“Well, we stocked them up pretty good when we sent them, but they may never have another chance like this so we wanted to send some supplies. We don’t have the power to open the gate, but I figure you’re going by ship, right?”

Thor nodded once.

“Got room for a couple of tons of cargo?” O’Neill asked.

“The Daniel Jackson has sufficient cargo room.” Thor said.

“That a yes?” Jack asked.

“Yes.” Thor replied.

“Sweet.” Jack said. “Come on, let’s get your coordinates.” He said as they walked down the hall.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Atlantis

Buffy stood next to Tyr’s bed, looking at how frail the venerable alien looked. As a member of the Asgard, Earth’s greatest allies against the Goa’uld, Tyr represented the greatest hope they had against the Wraith. But Buffy wasn’t thinking about what Tyr’s knowledge of the Ancient’s could mean to them. She was busy praying, every second, that he would take just one more breath. She saw his fragile looking chest rise and fall again and once again, she thanked whatever god or goddess was listening and began her small prayer again.

Dr. Weir stood in the doorway of the infirmary and watched the scene. Dr. Beckett walked over to her and sighed, looking at Buffy.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was willing him to stay alive.” Beckett said softly. “She has barely left his side since we sent the package back to Earth.”

Dr. Weir nodded. “Thank you doctor.” She said, walking over to Buffy’s side.

Buffy looked up when she saw Tyr take another breath. “Hi.” She said to Weir.

“Buffy, when’s the last time you had something to eat? Some sleep?” Dr. Weir asked softly.

“I dunno.” Buffy said, turning back to Tyr. “Come on…” she muttered.

As if on cue, Tyr took another breath.

“Do I have to make taking care of yourself an order?” Weir asked, placing a hand on Buffy’s shoulder.

Buffy shook her head. “Can I eat here?” she asked.

Dr. Weir looked at the monitors hooked up to Tyr. It didn’t look good. She was still waiting on the report from Buffy on what happened while they were gone.

“If you also get a laptop and make out your report.” Dr. Weir said.

Buffy nodded and squeezed Tyr’s hand gently. The Asgard’s chest rose and fell again.

“I’ll have some food sent up. And I’ll ask Dr. Beckett to have a bed made up for you.” Weir said, turning to head out. “Buffy, I know you’re worried, but there’s nothing more you can do.” She tried reasoning.

Buffy looked at Dr. Weir. “I can make sure he knows I’m with him.” She said.

Dr. Weir nodded. “I’ll have the meal sent up, along with your laptop.”

Buffy nodded and turned back to Tyr. His chest rose and fell again.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Peter Grodin looked at the screen again and shook his head. “Dr. McKay?” he called.

McKay walked over, munching on a cookie. “What?”

“Well sir. The computer started showing this…image about five minutes ago.” Grodin said.

McKay looked at the screen and furrowed his brow. He studied the image for a second before his eyes widened. “Dr. Weir to the control room!” he said into the microphone.

Dr. Weir was walking up the stairs when the call came. “I’m right here, Rodney.” She said, making him turn.

“Look at this.” McKay said, gesturing towards the screen.

“Ok.” Weir said, looking the screen over. “What is it.” She asked after a few seconds.

“I have no idea.” McKay said.

“Uh-huh.” Weir said before picking up the duty roster.

“But I have an idea.” McKay said after a few seconds.

“And?” Weir asked.

“Well, it looks like the normal scanners we have for the city displays, but on a much bigger scale.’ McKay said. “I think it may be a…a sort of long range scanner.” He said.

“So…what are we looking at?” Weir asked for clarification.

“A long range scan, possibly encompassing the entire system.” McKay said. “And this…” he pointed to a small blip on the screen. “This is a vessel of some sort.” He said, realizing that he should have mentioned that a long time ago.

“Wraith?” Dr. Weir asked.

“I don’t think so.” McKay said.

“Why not?” Weir asked.

“Because…huh…” McKay said, scanning the print appearing at the bottom of the screen.

“Dr. McKay?” Weir asked again.

“Because the computer says it’s Asgard.” McKay said. “The…that’s not fair.” McKay muttered, frowning.

“What’s not fair?” Weir asked.

“It’s the Daniel Jackson.” McKay said.

“Can we contact them?” Weir asked.

“There is no need.” A voice said from behind them.

Weir and McKay spun, jumping slightly at the sound.

“Thor?” Dr. Weir asked.

Thor nodded once.

“Welcome to Atlantis.” Dr. Weir said, reaching out her hand.

Thor merely watched, not taking Weir’s hand. “I understand you have an Asgard here?” he said, his form flickering.

“Ah…it’s a hologram.” Weir said quietly, pulling her hand back. “Yes. He’s in the infirmary.” She said.

“I shall be arriving within a minute. I have supplies from General O’Neill I will begin transporting when I arrive.” Thor said.

“Good. Will you be staying?” Dr. Weir asked.

“Unfortunately not. I must get back home to continue the fight with the Replicators.” Thor said.

“I see.” Dr. Weir said.

“I have begun transport.” Thor said, his image fading out then a golden flash flaring in the spot where he stood, transporting Thor’s form to Atlantis.

Thor looked around. He walked over and reached out a hand to Dr. Weir.

Weir smiled and took the hand. “Welcome to Atlantis.” She said.

Thor nodded. “Thank you.” He said. “I do not mean to rush, but I need to see Tyr.”

“Of course.” Dr. Weir said, gesturing to the stairs.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy looked up as a small alarm chirped on the monitor connected to Tyr. “Dr. Beckett!!” she called, watching in horror as a shrill, constant tone echoed throughout the infirmary.

Tyr opened his eyes, turning to see Buffy. “Cr…Cr…Crystal…” he stammered.

Buffy dived for her bag, tearing through it and pulling out several crystals. As she was rummaging, Dr. Beckett ran into the room, pushing an emergency cart. He and several nurses began to clear room around Tyr.

“Buffy, I need you to leave.” Beckett said.

“Not yet.” Buffy said, looking for a specific crystal.

“Dr. Summers…” Dr. Beckett said again, trying to hurry her out of the room as he worked.

“Not yet!!” Buffy yelled, grabbing the crystal and jumping up. Buffy ran to the bedside, trying to squeeze in.

Tyr raised one weary hand, barely a few inches. “My…head….” He said softly.

“What? Does you’re head hurt? Are you in pain?” Dr. Beckett asked.

“He’s talking to me, doc.” Buffy said, bodily shoving one of the nurses aside. She placed to crystal against Tyr’s head and watched as it glowed brightly for a moment and then went back to normal.

Buffy stepped back, cradling the crystal as if it was the most precious thing in the universe.

Dr. Beckett began CPR as Tyr’s heart stopped and he fell limp.

Buffy stared as Tyr’s large, black eyes stared at her and pinned her in place.

“Thank….” Tyr began before he closed his eyes and exhaled a deep, shuddering breath and fell silent.

A large, wet tear fell down Buffy’s cheek and she fell to the ground, landing hard on her butt, still staring at Tyr. She had felt him. Buffy could swear that she felt him die. Covering her mouth, she felt hot tears streaming down her face as she watched helplessly.

Dr. Weir walked into the infirmary along with Thor just as Dr. Beckett was covering Tyr’s body. “Oh god.” She muttered softly. Dr. Weir looked at Buffy and rushed over. “Buffy? Buffy, are you alright?” she asked.

Buffy simply stared over at Tyr’s lifeless form, crying.

Thor walked over to the body and pulled the sheet back. “He is dead.” Thor said quietly.

Buffy stood and walked over, kneeling beside Thor. “I have this.” She said, handing the crystal to Thor. “And I have…” she reached over and, with shaking hands, tried to find the crystal that held all of his work. The scattered crystals, however, were merrily dancing away from her trembling hands as she tried to grasp them.

Thor looked on and cocked his head. Reaching out a hand, he placed it on Buffy’s head.

Buffy turned and looked at the Asgard Supreme Commander and tried to say something. No words were forthcoming and she felt a dam burst inside of her. Buffy reached up and touched Thor’s hand, shaking nearly uncontrollably. She slowly reached up and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close and releasing the pain she had been carrying since they crashed on the forest planet.

Thor simply stroked Buffy’s hair as she knelt in front of him.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Major Sheppard looked at the small alien sitting in the raised chair that he had beamed down from his ship. It was his first contact with the Asgard and he was nervous. Sure, he had read about them and knew they were the good guys, but this was the first time he had actually seen one. And it was Thor, no less.

“I have finished with the transporting.” Thor said quietly.

Dr. Weir nodded. “Well, thank you very much. We really appreciate everything.”

Thor nodded and looked over at Buffy. It had been a day since she broke down in the infirmary. When she recovered she had told Thor and Dr. Weir everything that had transpired on the forest planet. And she apologized profusely for not being able to save Tyr.

“You aren’t a doctor, Buffy.” Dr. Weir had said. “Well, not that kind.” She said.

“He lives yet, Buffy Summers.” Thor had added. “You made sure of that.”

Buffy shook her head. “His mind, yeah.” She said. “But I watched him die. I felt it.” She said.

Thor cocked his head to the side. “What do you mean?”

“I felt him. The moment he died…I felt him.” Buffy said.

Thor moved a crystal on his chair and looked at the results and then looked at Buffy. “Dr. Summers.” He said softly.

Buffy looked up and walked over to Thor. “Yeah?”

“Do they know?” Thor asked.

Buffy smiled softly. “Dr. Weir does. I’m keeping it a secret for now.” She said, turning and looking at the questioning looks of Sheppard, McKay, Ford and Teyla. “Or at least it was.”

“Why are you here?” Thor asked.

“To find out where I came from.” Buffy said, looking down.

Thor nodded. “And what have you found?”

“That the Ancients have got a lot of really big computers and they hold a lot of information.” Buffy sighed.

“I suggest you begin here.” Thor said, taking a crystal off of his chair and holding it out to Buffy. “Once you understand this, you will understand why they needed you so.”

“Thank you.” Buffy said.

Thor nodded and looked at Dr. Weir. “Do you have a message for General O’Neill?” he asked.

Dr. Weir smiled. “Thank you and we hope to make you proud.”

Thor nodded. “Farewell, Dr. Weir. And to you as well, Dr. Summers.” He said before a beam of golden light enveloped him and in a flash, he was gone.

Dr. Weir and McKay looked at the scanner and watched as the Daniel Jackson jumped into hyperspace and was gone.

After a few moments, Sheppard broke the silence. “So…what was he talking about?” he asked. “What don’t we know?”

Buffy sighed and looked at Dr. Weir.

Weir shrugged. “It’s your call.”

“Come on. This is a long story.” Buffy said, moving towards the conference room.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~

Chapter 7: Guests and plans

Major Sheppard had been in the service a long time. He had flown everything from transport copters to the most advanced ships he had ever seen. So he was able to take a lot on faith when someone told him things. He was, after all, on an alien world in another galaxy by going through a gateway invented by a group of aliens over ten thousand years ago. So he thought he had an open mind. But he still found himself scoffing at Buffy’s story.

Dr. McKay wasn’t quite so quiet.

“Are you kidding me?!” McKay blurted when Buffy finished. “You call me in here for story-time in fantasy land? I have work to do.” He said, shaking his head. “And you call me in here for this?”

Buffy smiled softly. “Yeah. I wish I was making it up.” She said. “I wish that I didn’t have to face what most people simply refuse to believe exist.”

Lieutenant Ford swallowed hard and looked around the table. “I…I think I saw one once.” He said softly.

“Lieutenant?” Dr. Weir asked, looking over at Ford.

“A vampire. Once.” Ford said, looking at Buffy. “I was coming out of a bar, we had just finished basic and I was out with some friends.” He said. “There was an alley. I saw a couple of guys in the alley, the one looked right at me.” He said. “I kept walking cause…well, it’s none of my business, don’t ask, don’t tell, right?” he swallowed. “But the guy looked at me and he looked terrified. The other guy was…I thought he was giving him a hickey or something.” He said. “But I never seen anyone scared over a hickey, not the way that guy was scared.”

Buffy smiled softly. “People rationalize what they see so they don’t have to face the truth.” Buffy said. “The monsters are real. Vampires, witches, magic, werewolves, ghosts, demons…all of them are real.” Buffy said. “And I was the one chosen to fight them.”

“By who?” Sheppard asked. “I mean…who decided that it should be you?”

Buffy shrugged. “India Cohan.”

“Who is that?” McKay asked.

“She was a young girl who died twelve years ago.” Buffy said sadly.

Dr. Weir furrowed her brow. “How did she decide that…” she stopped, realization setting in.

“She was the…Slayer…before you.” Teyla said softly.

Buffy nodded. “And when I was sixteen, I died…drowned and brought back by CPR…but it was enough to cause another slayer to be called. Her name was Kendra.” Buffy felt chills run through her body. “Kendra was killed and Faith got the job.”

Major Sheppard shook his head. “What a system.”

Buffy nodded. “Yep.”

Dr. McKay looked at Sheppard, Weir, Buffy and then Ford. “Are you all serious? You really believe this…pile of crap?!”

Buffy looked at McKay and shook her head. “You want scientific proof? Evidence?”

McKay glanced around nervously and straightened. “Well…yes.” He said softly.

Buffy shrugged. “What would convince you? Wanna go to the gym and watch me work out? I think I’m almost up to 800 pounds that I can lift now. How about I take on Major Sheppard’s squad? I can have all nine unconscious or on their backs in about forty-five seconds. I mean, what do you want?” Buffy asked.

McKay had paled. “Eight hundred…pounds?” he asked softly.

Buffy nodded. “I’m a little out of shape. I took eight years off for school. Faith could probably break the half-ton barrier.”

McKay swooned. “That’s…that…how…the muscle density alone needed…” he tried to find a scientific reason to explain Buffy’s claims.

Weir interrupted him. “It’s true. I’ve seen her work out.” She smiled. “It is nothing short of amazing.”

“Ok. So what do we do now?” Sheppard asked.

“What do you mean?” Buffy furrowed her brow. “I have a lot of work left to do on the sections I am translating, we still don’t have any idea where to find a ZPM and as far as I know, there’s still a bunch of planets left to search.”

“Yeah…but you…” Sheppard started.

“Are a brilliant young woman with two PhD’s hired to help translate Ancient and explore Atlantis? Buffy said.

Sheppard raised an eyebrow. “Right.” He said.

A knock on the door interrupted the meeting. The wall turned in sections, opening to admit a very frantic looking Dr. Zelenka.

“Rodney. You’d better come and look at this.” Zelenka said.

The group all stood and hurried to the control room. Zelenka tapped on the terminal that McKay found out was the long-range scanners. “We got this about fifteen minutes ago. We were hoping they were passing through, but the computer says they are headed straight for us.”

The large screen flickered to life and the gathered group all turned to face it. Three large blips were showed at the edge of the screen.

“What are they? The Asgard?” Weir asked.

Zelenka shook his head. “Afraid not, Dr. Weir.”

Buffy looked at the writing in Ancient scrolling along the side of the blips.

“Wraith.” Buffy said, along with McKay.

“Wraith hive ships.” McKay said, looking at the screen. “Dr. Summers. Here…does that say what I think it does?” McKay asked, turning to look at Buffy as she walked up to the screen.

“Yeah.” Buffy said. “They’ll be here in two weeks.” She said.

“Well.” Sheppard said, looking at the screen. He exhaled a breath and ran a hand through his hair. “Crap.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~

Buffy stared at the screen in front of her and sighed, rubbing her eyes. She was a Slayer, yes, but even Slayers couldn’t stay up for nearly sixty-three hours without sleep and not feel the effects, no matter how many cups of…really bad coffee they drank. Buffy looked at the empty cup she held and shook her head. She had a problem and they were counting on her. She could sleep later. “After the apoc…” Buffy started to say, but stopped herself.

It wasn’t an apocalypse. It was an attack from space by very pissed off aliens. She sighed. Apocalypse did sorta fit. She walked over to the pot on the small burner and tilted it over her cup. Nothing came out. “Well…darn.” She muttered softly. She looked at the curled up form on the couch in her quarters and smiled softly.

Dawn was asleep on the couch with several pages of printed out data as a blanket. Actually, it was the latest bit of information she was working on with Buffy about the weapons systems the city had. Buffy was supposed to have it translated for the briefing tomorrow, actually today, and Dawn was helping.

Buffy shook her head and picked the papers up and set them aside, pulling a blanket off the back of the couch and covering her sister up. It had been a week since the appearance of the ships and they were steadily coming closer. They weren’t in any hurry. Buffy had found out that in addition to the formidable shield the city had, there were also weapons satellites and weapons emplacements all around the city. However, they kept running across the same problem; power. There was no power for them. The shield, the weapons, all of it was just useless unless they found a source of power for the systems.

Dr. McKay assured them that even if the somehow hooked up all five naquadah generators were hooked up to even one of the systems, it still wouldn’t be nearly powerful enough. So Sheppard’s team had been searching for a ZPM, following leads they had gotten from, of all people, Dr. Weir. It was a whole time travel thing that Buffy really didn’t understand. She knew Languages and Anthropology, not temporal mechanics. So she was left trying to find if there was anything anywhere in the database about outposts that a ZPM could be found, like Terra Atlantus on Earth or Proclaroush Taonas, where SG-1 found the ZPM used to defeat Anubis. So far, she had nothing. Buffy leaned against the wall and sigh. She wished that she could call Giles. Sure, he probably wouldn’t have a clue what to do in this situation, but just hearing his voice would make things better. She hoped he liked the message she had sent…Buffy looked up and blinked rapidly. “That’s it.” She said softly. Buffy set the empty coffee pot down and went to the door. Opening it, she turned and smiled at Dawn. “We’re gonna be ok.” She said softly, before running out the door and sprinting to Dr. Weir’s quarters.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~

Major Sheppard really, really hated Kolya. Really. The annoying, loathsome and spiteful man, and he used the term 'man' loosely, was really grating on him. He swore, the next time he saw Kolya would be the last. Kolya may be a human being who is looking out for the best interests of his people, but so was he, dammit. So, next time Kolya popped his vile head up, he’d get it blown off. Sheppard fumed as he stormed down the corridor towards Weir’s quarters. Yes, she was probably asleep, but he had to make a report. “Why yes, Elizabeth, we found a fully charged ZPM, but we didn’t get it because some nutjobs decided it was a religious artifact and they are holding it until the Ancients return to claim it.” Sheppard muttered as he came to Weir’s door. He tapped the small crystals next to the door over and over until the door opened and a fully dressed Dr. Weir glared at him.

“Major?” Dr. Weir asked. “Something you need?”

“Yes. Permission to return to Dagan in force.” Sheppard growled.

“Why?” Weir asked, stepping aside so he could enter.

Sheppard walked in and ran a hand through his hair. “Because they have a fully charged ZPM that we found but they are claiming as a holy relic and are holding until the Ancients return to get it back!”

Dr. Weir raised an eyebrow. “You know how I feel about situations like this, Major. We do not just take what we want and say to hell with the rest of the galaxy.”

“Oh come on, this is nothing like the one we found on Keras’ planet. These people aren’t even using it, they’re holding it for a race of beings that are never coming back!” Sheppard protested.

“They hold it as sacred and holy to them. Their entire belief structure is built around the Ancients and a promise their ancestors made to them. It has been passed down from generation to generation with little or no deviation with each telling.” Buffy said, coming into view from another room, holding a small, Atlantian data pad. She held it up and smiled. “Just reading Teyla and Fords reports. From what I gather, just taking this ZPM would completely shatter their society.”

Sheppard smirked. “Actually, it would only shatter a handful of people. Their religion is going the way of the dodo, being replaced by science and reason. They majority of them no longer believe the Ancients were gods.”

Buffy raised an eyebrow and walked over to Major Sheppard. She reached up and pulled the two chains he wore around his neck from under his shirt. One held his dog tags and the other had a small, silver cross on it. Buffy held it up in front of him. “Just because science and reason are becoming affluent doesn’t mean they don’t believe.” She said softly.

John sighed. “Well, that was the last planet on the list. I’m out of ideas.” He said, shaking his head.

“Well, Dr. Summers has one but we need to ask McKay if it’s possible.” Weir said. “We’ll have a debriefing in an hour, alright?” she said.

Buffy and Sheppard nodded.

“See you then.” Weir said. “And Major…” she said as Buffy and Sheppard were leaving. Sheppard stopped and looked back. “We can try to open negotiations with the people on Dagan to see if we can use the ZPM. After all, we are in the city of the Ancients.” She said.

Sheppard nodded. Although he and McKay already tried to explain that, the people made it clear that it did not matter. The ZPM was for the Ancients alone.

Buffy walked in silence next to Sheppard, neither really ready to begin a conversation. For Buffy, it had been nearly seventy hours since she had slept, and for John Sheppard he had just lost the single thing that could save the city, the people in the city and perhaps, by a stretch, the Galaxy, from the Wraith. So they just walked.

Buffy stopped and placed her hand on John’s shoulder. “Major, wait.” She said softly.

John stopped, but didn’t turn to face the petite blonde. “What is it Dr. Summers?” he asked.

“I didn’t mean to dismiss your claims back there.” Buffy said softly.

“Yeah. You did.” Sheppard said. “And I guess you’re right.” He sighed, turning and smiling slightly. “It’s just so damned frustrating.” He said. “Here we are, in another Galaxy, in a city the has ALL of the technology we could ever want, and the one thing, the ONE thing, that we need to unlock everything we need is literally just a step away. We could go through that gate and take it. Technologically, we have them beat, it wouldn’t even be hard work.” He said.

“So than why don’t we do it?” Buffy asked softly.

Sheppard ran a hand through his hair and shook his head. “Because then we’re the Goa’uld.” He said.

Buffy smiled. “I knew you were more than just a pretty face.” She said, linking her arm in his and resuming their walk.

“Yeah.” Sheppard said. “I passed the Mensa test and everything.” He said.

“Really?” Buffy said happily. “Wow. Looks and brains. A dangerous combination in a man.”

Sheppard smiled. “Yeah. Not to safe in a woman either.” He smirked. “Luckily, your just really smart.”

Buffy gave an indignant scowl before they got to Dr. McKay’s lab.

“Hey, McKay. Weir wants to see us at a debrief in an hour.” Sheppard said, ignoring Buffy.

“Oh. Good. Because I have absolutely nothing better to do.” McKay said, typing on his laptop.

“What are you working on?” Buffy asked, seeing that he was searching through a part of the Ancient database.

“Well. We need a ZPM.” McKay said.

“Yeah?” Buffy asked.

“The Ancients built ZPM’s.” McKay said.

“You think the plans are in there somewhere?” Buffy asked, kicking herself for not thinking of it.

“Well, the two repositories SG-1 found, and then lost to the Asgard, were supposedly complete databases holding the entire sum of their knowledge.” McKay said. “It only makes sense that the knowledge of how to build a ZPM would be in there.”

“And you’re thinking of this now?” Sheppard said.

“So very sorry. I’ve been busy handling every little problem that you can’t solve with a gun.” McKay snapped.

“Now, boys. Am I going to have to separate you?” Buffy asked.

“Here. What does this say?” McKay asked, ignoring Buffy’s remarks. He pointed to a passage on the screen.

“Uh…” Buffy scanned the page. “Just telling about the uses of a ZPM.” She said.

McKay nodded and tried narrowing his search. He was using a program that Buffy had gotten from Willow, one that could search computer records for keywords in different alien languages. The SGC had signed her almost immediately just to get their hands on that program. “So, what’s the meeting about?” McKay asked, as an aside while the computer searched the massive data archive.

“Partially about what we found on Dagan, and also I believe that Dr. Summers had something as well.” Sheppard said.

“Tell me, Dr. McKay, do you think we have enough power to open the gate one more time? To Earth?” Buffy asked.

Dr. McKay stopped his scanning, stopped his typing and just stood there. “No.” he said after a few seconds ticked by and he dropped back to reading and typing.

“What?” Buffy asked.

“The last time we did that, we had linked all five of the naquadah generators together.” McKay said. “That barely gave us enough power to open the gate for 1.3 seconds.” He said.

“Yeah? And?” Buffy asked.

“What would this be for again?” McKay asked, annoyed.

“To send a message through to Earth, let them know we are in serious trouble.” Buffy said.

“And why would that matter?” McKay asked.

“Because they have ships equipped with hyperdrive engines that could be here in roughly two weeks.” Buffy said.

McKay stopped typing again and looked up. “Than shouldn’t you have thought of this two weeks ago?!” he said, scrambling around the room. He dashed out the door leaving Buffy and Sheppard to wonder what just happened.

Dr. McKay popped his head back inside the room and looked at the two. “Well! Go and get the generators!” he said before running off.

Buffy and Sheppard both ran from the room, separating in the hall and heading towards different reactors.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~

Chapter 8: A Private Party

Buffy glanced at the computer readout one last time before turning and nodding to McKay. The power from the five generators would now be used for one purpose and one purpose only; to power the Stargate and open a wormhole in another galaxy…for approximately one second. That would be enough time for Dr. McKay to send a message and help might arrive in time.

“All set here McKay.” Sheppard said at a nod from Buffy.

“Dialing Earth.” McKay said, starting the dialing sequence. The chevrons engaged, one by one, until the eighth symbol locked on the Stargate. “Wormhole established. Package…” he was cut off by the wormhole deactivating a second later. “Package was sent.” He said.

“Now we wait…and hope they got the message.” Buffy said softly.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

“Incoming wormhole!” Sgt. Harriman said, closing the iris.

“Any IDC?” General O’Neill asked.

“No sir.” Harriman replied. Suddenly, the wormhole died.

“Weird.” O’Neill said.

“Sir, we have a compressed information packet.” Harriman said, bringing the file up on the computer. “It’s from Atlantis, sir.”

“Let’s see it.” O’Neill said.

Sgt. Harriman opened the file and O’Neill read the text portions first.

“Contact the Asgard. Ask them when the Persephone and the Zhuan Xu will be ready for combat.” O’Neill said. “As soon as they are ready, have them head for Pegasus.” The General said, his face stoic.

“Yes sir.” Sgt. Harriman said.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy sat in front of the massive window looking out over the ocean. She smiled softly, thinking of how much Willow would love it here. It was beautiful.

Buffy knew she would be giving up a lot to come here, but it didn’t stop her from missing her friends.

“Hey.” A soft voice said over Buffy’s shoulder.

“Hey Dawn.” Buffy said, recognizing her sister’s voice.

“What’s up?” the tall brunette asked, standing next to her sister.

“I need to ask you a favor.” Buffy said. “I need you to search the Ancient database searching for any weapons systems this city has.”

“Why me?” Dawn asked, curious. Her sister normally kept her away from the database.

“Because aside from Dr. McKay and I, you are the only one who can read Ancient with any sort of ease.” Buffy said, smiling softly.

“Oh…” Dawn said softly. “You know about that, do you?” she shrugged sheepishly.

“I know you have a flair for languages. And this one was just to big to pass up.” Buffy said. “Dr. McKay will be prepping the city for evacuation and destruction, if it comes to that, and Major Sheppard is going to be teaching me how to pilot one of the puddle jumpers.” Buffy said.

Dawn furrowed her brow. “You already know how to pilot them.” she said.

“Not in combat.” Buffy said softly.

“Like…fighter pilot combat?” Dawn squeaked.

“Yeah.” Buffy said. “And before you object, I have to do this. The equipment responds quicker and easier to Major Sheppard and myself, by leaps and bounds, than it does to anyone else. We have five jumpers, and Sheppard has three other pilots that are even close to us on the genes reactive capabilities.”

“Yeah, but five jumpers against an entire Wraith armada?!” Dawn protested.

Buffy smiled weakly. “Kind of like ‘One girl in all the world’ huh?”

Dawn swallowed and turned out towards the ocean. “I still don’t have to like it.” She said, leaning her head on Buffy’s shoulder.

“Neither do I.” Buffy said softly.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Major Sheppard walked into the Atlantis hanger bay and looked around, finding his group of pilots. He also found Buffy, sitting cross-legged on the ramp of one of the puddle jumpers. He walked over, looking down at the laptop she had opened up. It had three separate windows depicting the languages of the Ancients, Asgard and English on each of the open windows.

“What are you looking at?” Sheppard asked.

“Tyr’s data on the Wraith and the weapons systems the Asgard and the Ancients were working on together.” Buffy said, typing commands into the windows.

“What did you find?” Jon asked, sitting down.

“That two of the most advanced races in the universe that we know of were driven out of the Pegasus galaxy by the enemies we are sending five puddle jumpers out to face.” Buffy sighed, closing the laptop.

“Good thing we’re to dumb to realize that, huh?” Sheppard smiled.

“Good thing.” Buffy nodded.

“Are you ready to do this?” Sheppard asked.

“As ready as ever.” Buffy said.

Sheppard stopped and turned to Buffy, scratching his head. “You know…I had a visiter this morning.” He said.

“Really?” Buffy asked, as innocently as she could.

“Yeah. It was Dawn.” Sheppard said. “She said, and this is a quote, ‘if anything wiggy happens to my sister, you will wake up on fire.’”

Buffy smiled. “Than I guess you better make sure nothing wiggy happens.” She grinned as she walked away.

Sheppard shook his head. “That is one scary family.” He muttered, turning to the other three pilots. “Let’s mount up people. We have a lot of ground to cover.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy veered left and dropped into a controlled dive, or a semi-controlled dive, and looked over her shoulder; she rolled her eyes and shook her head. This wasn’t a car, or even a jet, where she could see the person behind her. Her radio crackled to life as she righted her flight path.

“That’s another kill, Buffy.” Sheppard’s voice said over the radio.

“I know, I know.” The blonde muttered.

“Let’s call it a day.” Sheppard said. “Back to Atlantis, people.”

The five puddle jumpers pulled into a formation and headed back.

Buffy was not a happy pilot.

As the last of the jumpers settled in it’s docking cradle in the hanger bay, Buffy still sat, looking at the floor and shaking her head. “Give me a weapon, any weapon, and I can use it in seconds. I have strength, speed, a ton of martial arts skill and I still can’t drive.” She sighed.

“Buck up, Buffy.” Sheppard said, walking over next to her. “All of us are fighter pilots, you’re a linguist.” He said. “I bet we’d all fall flat on our faces if we were put in front of any one of the number of languages you speak.”

Buffy shrugged. “I’d find a replacement for me real soon, John.” Buffy said. “More training time the better.”

John nodded. “Don’t worry. You can be a part of the team that runs the ground defense.”

Buffy nodded. “Hand-to-hand…that I can do.” She smiled.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

The attack wasn’t going well. Buffy furrowed her brow as she watched the Wraith darts skimming over the surface of the city, beaming people up. She shook her head and looked over at the marines that were ‘protecting’ her. They all looked shaken by the darts.

“Summers come in!” Sheppard’s voice crackled over the radio.

“Go ahead.” Buffy said into her radio.

“Buffy, McKay says that the sensors are picking up Wraith life signs in the city.” Sheppard said.

“Locations?” Buffy asked.

“McKay is patching all of the teams hand-helds into the main sensors, you can track them that way.” Sheppard said.

Buffy looked over at the now serious marines. One looked at the hand held computer and nodded.

“Ok, we got it. Good luck Major.” Buffy said.

“You too, Summers. Sheppard out.” John said, shutting the connection off.

Buffy turned to the Marines and pulled the set of fighting sticks she had gotten from Teyla from her back sheath. “Alright, let’s go hunting.” She said, narrowing her gaze. In the months that would follow, none of the Marines that went with Buffy would admit that her gaze had made them very, very glad that she wasn’t hunting them.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Major John Sheppard looked at his view screen and shook his head. The puddle jumpers were outnumbered nearly a hundred to one. Yes, they were better ships, with better technology and some damn good pilots to fly them…but a hundred to one odds?! This is why the Ancients lost and had to retreat. This is why a race that was not as technologically advanced as the Ancients were able to drive them out of the universe. Sheer numbers.

“Ok, the only way we are gonna see any sort of victory is to take out the hive ships, everyone engage stealth mode and we’ll throw everything we have at one.” Sheppard said, watching as the remaining three puddle jumpers cloaked. Suddenly, his computer was beeping.

“Major, we have three hyperspace jumps coming in, we’re being flanked!” a voice crackled over the line.

‘Damn it!’ Sheppard cursed to himself. Turning the jumper around, he headed right into the coordinates that the gates were opening up in. He was about to attack when he heard a voice crackling over the radio.

“This is Colonel Harriman of the Earth ship Persephone. I repeat, this is Colonel Harriman of the Earth ship Persephone. Hostile forces, you are to break off your attack immediately and withdraw to a neutral solar system.” The voice said.

Sheppard grinned, staring at the three ships filling his screen. Two were most defiantly Earth origin ships, but the third was an Asgard battle cruiser. “Atlantis jumpers, head for the city and start cleaning up the darts.” Sheppard called over the comm.

“This is Colonel Hai of the Zhuan Xu. Is that a private party or can anyone join?” he asked.

Sheppard smiled. “The more the merrier, sir.”

The two Earth vessels opened their hanger doors and released a total of thirty-two F-302 fighters, each swarm breaking into squads of eight and forming on the four remaining puddle jumpers.

Sheppard smiled. “Now were cooking.” He said, speeding back to Atlantis.

Colonel Harriman turned his attention to the three hive ships and narrowed his gaze. “The hive ships are our primary targets, but if you can take our some of the cruisers on the way there, go ahead and do it.” He said. “Zhuan Xu take the starboard flank and we’ll take the port. Asgard Vessel?”

The holographic image of an Asgard appeared on the bridge. “Yes, Colonel?”

“Take the middle.” Colonel Harriman said.

The image of the Asgard faded out and Colonel Harriman began issuing tactical orders.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy walked carefully down the middle of the corridor, scanning with her eyes as well as with the Ancient hand held. She stopped suddenly and held up her hand. She didn’t have to look to know her entire squad was stopped. Flicking her wrist, she spilt her squad, sending half of the marines to go around, ready to flank the Wraith coming up the dim hallway.

Suddenly, a shot rang out and Buffy was hit squarely in the chest with a Wraith stunner, knocking her off her feet. As she turned her head to the side, she heard gunfire echoing through the hall and her vision began to cloud. ‘Oh, not good.’ She thought to herself before the hall began to get darker.

Chapter 9: THERE'S GOT TO BE ANOTHER WAY

Buffy felt the darkness enveloping her and shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs. She felt consciousness snap back, complete with the sound of crackling gunfire. Jumping up, Buffy quickly took her surroundings in. “Ok. So much for the bait tactic.” She muttered to herself, ducking under a stunner blast. “Captain! Fall back to the doors, I’ll handle these two.” She said.

The marine nodded, signaling his men to begin their retreat. He had seen Buffy in her sparring exercises with both Major Sheppard and Teyla…and nearly everyone had heard of her exploits on the planet where she pulled the Asgard Tyr from.

Buffy turned and saw the two remaining Wraith step into the narrow hallway. “No matter where you go, there are always dumb minions.” She muttered before jumping into action. Both of the Wraith raised their stunners to target the small blonde now charging them, but it was a futile effort.

Buffy dropped low and swept her leg out, catching the first Wraith and causing him to fall backwards into his partner. Slipping the small sword she had strapped to her back, Buffy pulled it back and brought the blade level with her eye, staring at the scrambling minions over the edge of her blade. “Let’s see what you’ve got.” She said.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Dr. Weir watched the screen and tried to make sense of the readings. She could understand some things, of course, but at the rapid pace everything was going, she felt it better to just leave the relay of information to the ones who could actually understand everything going on. So she sat and stared, monitoring comm traffic and helping where she could…basically she was sitting back and letting the experts do their jobs.

“Incoming wormhole!” Dr. Weir spun and looked at the gate and then at the tech.

“Shield in place.” Weir said quickly.

“Receiving IDC.” The tech said after the wormhole engaged. “It’s SG-1!”

Dr. Weir couldn’t help but let a large smile spread across her face. “Lower the shield.” She said.

The shield over the gate winked out and three figures stepped through, moving away from the gate. Several people followed them through carrying crates.

“Dr. Weir. We have something for you.” Dr. Jackson said, looking at Colonel Carter.

“Don’t ask how we got it.” The Colonel said, grinning as she pulled her backpack off.

Dr. Weir and Dr. McKay both hurried down to the Gateroom.

“Major Carter, what a pleasant surprise.” McKay began.

“Later Rodney.” Weir said, cutting him off.

Dr. Jackson tried covering his laugh.

“So, what brings you to Pegasus?” Dr. Weir asked.

“More importantly, how did you get to Pegasus?” McKay asked.

Carter grinned. She opened her backpack and pulled out a familiar glowing object.

“A ZedPM!” McKay rushed forward and grabbed the power device. “Where…how…what…” he began sputtering.

Dr. Weir cut him off. “Go! Weapons and shields!” she said, pushing McKay as he marveled at the device.

Dr. McKay hurried away, still studying the device.

“So…catch you at a bad time?” Dr. Jackson asked.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Major Sheppard fired another volley, watching as four drones sped from the ship and impacting four Wraith Darts. He also saw two missile streaking by, hitting another Dart.

“Good shot, pilot.” Sheppard said over the comm. His was the first wave to make it back to Atlantis, and while he was grateful for the help, they were still outnumbered about sixty to one. He didn’t like the odds. He was about to order another pass when his alarms went off. Checking the screen, he smiled. “All groups, this is Sheppard.” He said. “All F-302 interceptors, stay with your Atlantis head and lets make another pass at Atlantis, really cut loose.” He smiled. “And don’t worry about collateral damage. I doubt we’d even dent it.” He grinned. His reading indicated the city’s shield was powered up to full capacity and the automated defenses were making quick work of the few Darts still in the dome.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Colonel Harriman felt the ship rock under the assault of the weapons of the Wraith battle cruiser and looked at his conn officer. “Report!” he said.

“Shields holding at seventy percent.” The officer said. “Returning fire!”

Weapons blazed from the fore of the ship, Asgard pulse cannons firing at the battle cruiser. The cruisers shields failed in seconds and the ship exploded.

“Target destroyed.” The officer said.

“Good work, head towards the Hive ship.” Harriman said.

The Persephone turned and made it’s way towards the massive hive ship when an explosion sent shockwaves from the middle Hive Ship. A hologram of the Asgard Commander shimmered onto the bridge. “The Hive ship has been destroyed. I am moving to assist the Zhuan Xu.” He said before fading out.

Colonel Harriman looked at the conn officer.

“The Zhuan Xu is fighting two cruisers as well as the hive…” the officer paused. “Make that one cruiser and the hive ship.” He said.

Harriman nodded. “Stay on course.” He said. “Full power to fore shields and prepare weapons.” He said.

The Persephone moved on towards the Hive ship, shuddering under the weapons fire raining down on the shields. The ship didn’t waver and opened up it’s own volley.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy ducked under the swing of one of the faceless Wraith and sprang back up, landing a vicious uppercut, snapping the Wraiths neck and sending him sprawling across the floor. She wiped her mouth, wincing at the touch. She had finished two guards when four more came around the corner. She ran to the door and sealed it, stopping the Captain from coming back in the room.

Turning back to unseal the door, she gasped as a hand grabbed her around the neck from behind, lifting her from the floor.

“Who are you, that you are so able to defeat our warriors?” the Wraith holding her hissed into her ear.

Buffy, dangling a few inches off of the floor, wrinkled her nose. The stench of his breath was nauseating. Reaching up, she grabbed a finger holding her and jerked, smiling inwardly as she heard bone snapping.

The Wraith cried out, dropping her. Clutching it’s hand, it glared daggers at the blonde. “You are strong. Stronger then the others.” He said, narrowing his gaze. “I wonder how you will taste.” It said, slamming it’s palm on her chest and anchoring it’s feeding claws into her skin.

Buffy cried out, the pain of inch long claws burrowing into her was never pleasant. Then she grinned. “Hands off, mister grabby.” She growled, kicking the Wraith away from her. Buffy balled her fists, cracking the knuckles and settled into a combat stance. “I’m not that kind of girl.” She said.

The Wraith looked at her and for the first time felt fear. “What are you?!” it snarled, standing and rushing forward raining blow after bow, each one blocked as it moved faster and faster.

Buffy blocked each blow, moving to match the creatures speed. She grabbed one of its fists and threw it to the side, kicking it around so it faced away from her. Grabbing the sides of the Wraiths head, Buffy paused. “I’m the Slayer.” She said.

The Wraith’s eyes went wide. “Imposs…” it sputtered as Buffy snapped its neck, dropping its limp body to the floor.

Jogging to the door, Buffy keyed the panel and the door slid open. She stopped suddenly, jerking back as six P-90 machine guns snapped up all aiming at her. “Just me.” She said, holding her hands up.

Captain Adrian Conner sighed and lowered his weapon, signaling the others to follow suit. “Dr. Summers.” He said, looking over her shoulder. He grinned. “Didn’t save us any?” he asked.

Buffy shrugged. “Sorry.” She said. “But I’m sure there are more we can hunt.” She said.

The Captain looked at the man behind him, the one who held the hand unit. The soldier nodded.

Buffy smiled. “See.” She said. “Let’s go.” She said.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Colonel Harriman watched as the Hive ship he was fighting exploded, taking a cruiser with it. He looked at his conn officer and nodded.

“Shields are down to eight percent, sir.” The conn officer said. “Weapons are all offline, we’re working on that now.”

“And the ship?” Harriman asked.

“Deck breaches on decks nine, ten and eleven and on decks fifteen through twenty-one.” The officer replied.

“Let’s work on getting weapons and shields in better shape.” Harriman said. “This is Colonel Harriman calling Colonel Hai. Do you read me?” he asked, talking into the communications board. Static came back. “I repeat, this is Colonel Harriman of the Persephone, calling Colonel Hai. Do you copy?”

The line was dead for a few more seconds when the static broke. “This is Lieutenant Has. Can you read, Persephone?”

“This is Colonel Harriman, Lieutenant. What’s your status?”” the Colonel asked.

“Shields are gone, weapons are only functional about half of the time, sir.” The Lieutenant said. “Sir, please advise.”

Harriman was about to send a reply when a bright flash brought his attention to the front viewscreen. The last Wraith hive ship exploded in a brilliant flash of weapons fire. Harriman looked at his conn officer. “That from us?” he asked.

The officer shook her head. “No sir.”

“The Zhuan Xu?” Harriman asked.

Again, the conn officer shook her head. “No sir, and not the Asgard either.” She said, cutting off his train of thought. “Our sensors are reporting that the weapons fire came from the planet, Atlantis specifically, sir.”

Harriman smiled warmly. “Way to go, Sam.” He said. Pressing the communications button on the board, he spoke into the board. “Atlantis, this is Colonel Harriman of the Earth ship Persephone, do you read?” he asked.

The radio crackled to life. “This is Dr. Elisabeth Weir, thank you for your assistance.” She said over the radio. “How are things up there?”

Colonel Harriman looked at his conn officer and then sighed. “Well, the Wraith are gone, but we aren’t doing to well. The Zhuan Xu has no shields and sporadic weapons, and the Persephone has only eight percent shields. Our weapons are still left offline and as for the Asgard…” he trailed off.

“My ship is damaged, but still well within battle conditions.” The Asgard broke into the communications line.

Dr. Weir came back on. “Tyr?!” she said, surprised. “Is that you?”

“Indeed it is, Dr. Weir.” The Asgard replied. “Are you well?”

“We’re fine now, Tyr. Thanks to you guys.” Dr. Weir said.

Harriman broke back into the conversation. “Well, the thing is, we didn’t exactly come with all the backup we need. We came straight from the Asgard home world. Permission for the Persephone and the Zhuan Xu to land and begin repairs?”

“Permission granted. Atlantis out.” Dr. Weir said, smiling. Turning back to the people in the control room she sighed. “So.” She said. “Where did you guys find a working ZPM?” she asked.

Colonel Carter looked at Daniel and smiled. “That’s a long story.” She said.

“One I’d very much like to hear.” Dr. Weir said. “Come on, let’s see how the security teams are doing.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy ducked under another Wraith stunner blast and brought her fist up, connecting with the drone soldier in front of her. Grabbing its head as it stumbled back, she wrenched it to the side, breaking its neck. Looking around, she saw her team putting the last Wraith lieutenant down. Walking over to Lieutenant Jacobs, she took the hand unit. “Looks like that’s all in this section.” She said.

Captain Conner nodded. “Good thing. With the amount of ammo we have to pump into one of these things we’re almost out.” He said, taking stock. He had a full load for his 9mm but the ammo for his P90 was down to one spare clip and eight in the one he had in.

Buffy smiled. “Good thing the fight is over.” Buffy said, holding up the hand held. “We’re supposed to report back to the Gateroom.”

Captain Conner nodded and looked around at his team. “Alright. Let’s move out!” he called, turning to Buffy as they walked. “So, what are you a doctor of, anyway?” he asked.

Buffy just shrugged. “Cultural Anthropology and Ancient History.” She said. “And I can speak five languages.” She said.

Captain Conner nodded. “I’m gonna have to rethink having a big brain on my excursion team.” He said, looking back over his shoulder at the Wraith patrol they had taken down. He and his four Marines had taken down the lieutenant and two drones, while Buffy had taken out three drones by herself. “Especially if they can all fight like you can.” He said.

Buffy smiled. “Most can’t, but having more than a military presence could come in handy on any team.” She said. “Force doesn’t solve everything.” She said.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Colonel Carter looked over the reports from the Persephone and the Zhuan Xu and nodded her approval. The Persephone was ready to go and the Zhuan Xu was slated to be finished in two days. Tyr said he would handle the repairs on his ship himself. Checking her watch, she gathered a stack of folders and headed for the briefing.

It had been a week since their arrival and everyone had agreed to put off an in depth briefing and general information swap until repairs to the ships and city as well as tending to the wounded was done. Carter was nearly ecstatic about the news she had.

Walking through the doors of the conference room, she looked at the gathered group. Daniel and Teal’c were present, as well as Dr. Weir, Dr. McKay, Major…no Colonel Sheppard, Teyla, Dr. Summers and Tyr. She set the folders down and turned on the LCD screens behind her. They displayed a ZPM as well as the technical readouts that came with the very sophisticated power device.

“Thank you all for coming as well as for your hospitality while we are here.” Carter started, addressing the group from Atlantis.

“It’s been our pleasure, Colonel.” Dr. Weir said.

“As you all know, the distance between Earth and Atlantis spans nearly two galaxies, making travel between them impossible without a either a space craft with an intergalactic hyperdrive or a Stargate powered by a ZPM.” Carter began. “Well, back on Earth, SG-1 found one that still held nearly a full charge.” She said.

Dr. McKay raised his hand to interrupt. “But if you found one on Earth, how did you manage to gate to Atlantis and give it to us?” he asked.

Carter smiled. “While the plans for the Zero-point module are no doubt in the database contained here on Atlantis, at the current level of human technological development it would take nearly one hundred years to construct one.” She said. “However, as we all know the database on Atlantis is not the only one there is.” She said.

“The Ancient repositories found in the Milky Way galaxy.” Buffy said. “They are supposed to be complete as well.”

“Right.” Carter nodded.

“I still don’t understand.” McKay shook his head. “I know we haven’t spent the last one hundred years building one.”

“No we haven’t.” Carter said, barely containing her excitement. “However, I said at the current level of human technological development.” She said.

Everyone in the room pondered the last statement before comprehension set in and they all turned to Tyr. Carter grinned.

“The Asgard are the ones responsible for removing the data from General O’Neill’s last two encounters with the Ancient Repository devices left in our galaxy. And as a result, they have two complete sets.” Carter explained. “And they are much more technologically advanced.”

“Are you saying that you can build ZPM’s?” McKay asked Tyr.

“We can.” Tyr replied. “While the construction process consumes not only time but resources, the eradication of the Replicator threat has left the Asgard deeply indebted to Earth.”

“How time consuming is it?” Dr. Weir asked. “Because I know that the city has a power grid that can take up to three ZPM’s to completely operate the city.” She said. “While we do not have the manpower to staff it I am hoping that someday we might.”

Tyr nodded. “It takes on year to manufacture one ZPM.” He said. “We have had the database for seven years.”

“So you have seven ZPM’s?” McKay asked excitedly.

“We do not.” Tyr said.

“But you just said..” McKay began.

“He just said they’ve had the database for seven years. They’ve been kinda busy with the Replicators, remember?” Buffy cut in.

“Right.” McKay muttered. “Sorry.”

“There are four modules.” Carter said. “Two are on Earth. One is at the SGC. It powers the base completely independent of the Colorado Springs power grid. All power in the base is completely self-contained.” She said.

Dr. Weir nodded. “I bet the bureaucrats love that.” She said. “When I was going over the annual budget I noticed that the power use of the SGC alone was a seven digit number.”

“They do, believe me.” Carter said. “The second module is at the Antarctica base to power the Ancient weapon there in case the Goa’uld decide to try another attack on Earth.”

“What about the other two?” Buffy asked.

“Well, the one we brought was the one found on Earth so that isn’t one of the manufactured ones.” Carter said. “We are installing the third on the Russian manned ship Anastasia. The Chinese have raised a lot of protest, but since the UN Security Council voted four to one on the issue, it was decided to go ahead.”

“I thought any member of the Security Council had a veto power?” Buffy asked.

“They do, however the Chinese ambassador realized that the only reason the Anastasia was getting the ZPM was because its power systems were not installed yet and that as soon as we get more, the other vessels will get ZPMs as well.” Carter shrugged. “We made the concession that the Zhuan Xu would get the next module.”

“I thought there were two module left? Why can’t you put the forth into the Zhuan Xu?” Dr. Weir asked.

“The forth is in the new Asgard battle cruiser BuffySummers.” Tyr answered.

Buffy whipped her head around and stared at Tyr. “You named a ship after me?!” she asked, stunned.

“We did.” Tyr replied. “It is the most advanced warship ever created by the Asgard and it is also the deadliest. The shield strength is almost double that of the DanielJackson-class and it has significantly more powerful weapons systems.”

Buffy was still staring at Tyr. “You named a ship after me?” she asked again.

Tyr only looked at the blond and nodded.

“Why?” Buffy asked.

“You did rescue me from certain destruction, and then from the Wraith inhabited planet at great peril to yourself.” Tyr answered. “The information I was working on was vital to not only Asgard weapons and shield technology, but I was also working on the Asgard genetic deficiencies with the Ancients before the outbreak of the Wraith war.”

“Has the research helped?” McKay asked.

“Indeed it has. Heimdall says that the research provided by the Ancients has advanced his research by almost a century. Now, the Asgard have even greater hope of breaking the cycle we are in.” Tyr answered.

Buffy smiled and nodded. “Then I’m glad I could help.” She said.

“So, what we’re saying now is that Earth and Atlantis can connect by both Stargate and ship?” Colonel Sheppard asked.

“Essentially, yes.” Carter started. She was interrupted by alarms going off.

Dr. Weir tapped the communications panel on the table. “This is Dr. Weir, what’s going on?” she asked.

“Deep space sensors show Wraith hive ships heading for Atlantis.” A voice said over the channel.

“How many?” Dr. Weir asked.

“Five.” Came the reply.

Dr. Weir looked up at Carter.

“The Persephone is ready to go, but the Zhuan Xu is still two days from being done.” Carter said.

“What about the…” Dr. Weir looked at Buffy and grinned. “What about the BuffySummers?” she asked.

Tyr vanished in a flash of light that everyone recognized as the Asgard beaming technology.

“I guess that means it’s ready?” Dr. Weir asked. “This is Dr. Weir. Prepare to launch the Persephone and prepare the city defenses.” She said.

“Yes ma’am.” The reply chipped in.

“Can’t we all just get along?” Buffy grumbled, standing up as the meeting broke up. She wanted to go to the command deck and see what was going on, but the defense of the city just wasn’t her area of expertise. If they wanted her to patrol a section looking for Wraith, she would, but right now she had to meet Dawn. The teen was excited about something she read this morning and Buffy had told her she would see her about it at the end of the meeting. Whatever it was, she hoped it would help.

Chapter 10: Discoveries a-plenty

Dawn reread the section and checked her notes again. What she had possibly found would really make Buffy’s day. Sure that her translation was correct, she noted it and moved on with her reading. While her sister was out saving the day, she had been hard at work on the translation of a small portion of the database Buffy had earmarked.

The door to her room opened and Dawn raised the crossbow at her side in an instant, aiming it at the figure in the doorway. Dawn sighed and lowered her weapon. “World saved?”

Buffy shrugged. “For now.” She said. “There are five more hive ships coming, but we’re sending the Persephone and the…get this…BuffySummers, the new Asgard Battle Cruiser, out to meet them.” She said, sitting next to Dawn. “What did you find?”

“Well, apparently the Ancients are also known as the Alterans.” Dawn started. “And they did not originate on Earth, but in another galaxy altogether.”

“Here in Pegasus?” Buffy asked.

Dawn shook her head. “No, apparently in one a long, long way from here.” She keyed her laptop and showed Buffy the first bookmarked section. “There is absolutely no Stargate access from anywhere in Pegasus or in our galaxy. They came here in ships.”

“Any mention of where they may have left a few?” Buffy asked.

“We have at least five hangers that I know of full of them.” Dawn said.

“I’m not talking about jumpers…wait…five hangers?!” Buffy looked at the schematics on Dawns laptop.

Dawn nodded her head. “I found a city schematic and a running inventory of sorts. It labels labs, power hubs, hanger bays, city maintenance tunnels, computer bays…lots of stuff.” She said as she tapped the keys. Highlighted on the screen were four bays similar to the one they had in the main spire they were using. “And get this…” she tapped again and the view changed. “When there is sufficient power and materials, the hanger bays will begin to construct lost ships automatically. At full capacity, the bay can construct a new jumper in about a day.”

Buffy bit her bottom lip. “What kinds of materials?” she asked.

Dawn searched the data and a list came up. “Lots of stuff that we have on hand, plus a few exotic materials that we don’t.” she said. “But, the Ancients had a list of sites and addresses that had the materials.”

Buffy nodded. “Mark this and we’ll send it to McKay and Weir.”

Dawn nodded and tapped the commands. “And then I was looking through the medical database that you marked, looking for anything that even remotely resembles something like a…” Dawn stretched back, reaching for one of the many stacks of paper that littered the area. “Here it is…a sarcophagus.” She said. “I got nothing. It seems that the Ancients developed the ability to heal most diseases and wounds using their own innate power. And what little stuff they did research, like that box found by Dr. Jackson in South America, was the end of it.”

“So, what do you have to show me?” Buffy asked.

“They were developing a way to combat the Wraith.” Dawn said, typing the commands on her laptop. “And what they came up with was amazing.” She said, turning the screen towards Buffy.

Buffy took the laptop and began reading. “They did more genetic engineering?!” Buffy said. “What, they didn’t learn the first time?”

“What they did was a little less aggressive than what they did with the Wraith. And it was a lot smarter, too.” Dawn began as Buffy read. “They started with one of their younger citizens and they accelerated her genetic potential. She was, faster, stronger, healed a lot faster…” Dawn stopped and looked at Buffy, who had stopped reading and was staring at Dawn. “You’re picking this up, then?”

“She was a Slayer?” Buffy whispered.

Dawn nodded. “Yep. From everything I could see, she was built to fight them. The Wraith couldn’t feed off her; something in her genetic make-up soured the milk, so to speak. And she was an amazing warrior.” Dawn gushed. “She would take out entire platoons of foot soldiers while the Ancient battle ships were fighting in space.”

“So she was the infantry General?” Buffy asked.
Dawn shook her head. “Buffy…she was the infantry.”

Buffy raised her eyebrows and stared at the screen. “Wow.”

Dawn nodded. “Yeah. Wow.”

“So what happened to her?” Buffy asked.

“Although she was phenomenally successful against the Wraith, there were just too many of them, so the Ancients decided to head back to Earth.” Dawn said. “And here’s where it gets all wonky…”

Buffy raised an eyebrow.

“Well, the only gate in Pegasus able to reach Earth is in the Gateroom here in Atlantis, right?” Dawn asked.

Buffy nodded. “Right.”

Dawn shook her head. “Wrong.”

Buffy furrowed her brow. “What do you mean wrong…the computer says so.”

“Think about how the Stargate works.” Dawn said.

Buffy paused for a moment and pursed her lips and after a few seconds she shook her head. “I don’t know.”

“If the Wraith towed any of the orbital gates in this galaxy into orbit around this planet, then they would be able to reach Earth.” Dawn said. “Or any of the other planets in our galaxy.”

Buffy’s eyes went wide. “Are you saying they followed the Ancients?”

“Sort of. They sent several darts through filled with a few of their own genetically enhanced drones.” Dawn said, typing on the keyboard and pulling up another database. “This is a copy of the database that we got from the Asgard.”

“How did you get that on the laptop?!” Buffy asked, knowing how massive the data file must be.

“It’s a link to the copy in the main Atlantis database.” Dawn said. “Here…” she said, turning the screen to Buffy.

Buffy read and sighed. “Now this looks familiar.” She said.

Dawn nodded. “I thought it might.” She said.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

The BuffySummers rocked under the fire that the Wraith hive ship sent at it and Tyr calmly keyed in the commands to strengthen the already immensely powerful shields while targeting the Wraith. He surveyed the battle again and watched as the Persephone sent volley after volley of missiles at a Wraith battle cruiser. The onslaught was finally to much for the Wraith ship and it exploded, sending pieces rocketing through the battlefield. He tapped his console and felt the power relays charge, hold and then fire their volleys at the hive ship.

If Tyr had eyebrows, they would have raised to the top of his forehead. He watched as the energy raced for the ship and then dissipated against shields. Tyr watched as his sensors fed data back to the main computer. The shields were a variant of old Ancient shield technology.

“This is Tyr to the Persephone.” Tyr spoke into the open channel.

Colonel Harriman answered. “Go ahead Tyr.” He said.

“The Wraith hive ship is protected by Ancient shield technology.” Tyr reported, recalibrating his weapons array. While the shields were of Ancient design, they were a design that was over ten thousand years out of date. Tyr was in the process of upgrading the shields that came after this design, among other things, when he was forced to go into his cryogenic sleep.

“Understood.” Colonel Harriman replied. “Relaying the information to Atlantis now. Do we stand a chance against it?”

“No.” Tyr replied. “Concentrate your efforts on the battle cruisers and the smaller craft.”

“And what will you be doing?” Colonel Harriman asked.

“I shall concentrate on the hive ship.” Tyr said.

“I thought you said we would be ineffective against it?” Harriman replied.

“I did. That is why I said for you to concentrate on the battle cruisers.” Tyr said, a hint of black humor touching his voice.

Colonel Harriman grinned. “Right. Gonna take them down a peg?”

Tyr nodded. “That is my intent.”

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Buffy read and re-read the passage, making sure that the program got the translation right and then reading the page in the original Ancient, translating in her head. When she was sure, she looked up at Dawn. “She was the Slayer. The first Slayer.” She said.

Dawn looked up from her books. “We know that.”

“No, not the Slayer, like me.” She said, turning the laptop to Dawn. “Remember how far above the evolutionary ladder they were compared to us.” Buffy said. “All that power, all of the tweaking they did to make her able to fight the Wraith was too much for the human body to handle, so we only got part of the gifts.” She said. “We got strength, stamina, speed and the healing but the Ancient version could do so much more.” She said, pointing to sections in the text. “They could heal others, they had telekinesis, telepathy, and their expertise with weapons went way beyond what I have, they could use all of the weapons of the Ancients, the Asgard, almost literally everything they would run across they knew how to use, instantly. They were the perfect weapons against the Wraith.”

“And the Ancient Slayer went to Earth with the rest?” Dawn asked.

Buffy nodded. “And she defeated the Wraith that followed, but not before this.” She said, tapping the screen.

Dawn read the passage and her eyes got wide. “The last Wraith mixed his blood with that of a human. Right before it tried to flee back through the Stargate.” She said. “Like the texts say about the last demons.” She looked at Buffy. “The Wraith created the first vampires on Earth.”

Buffy nodded. “And the Ancients, when they ascended, passed the Slayers power onto humans to help defend them against the vampires the Wraith created.”

Dawn looked at Buffy. “Buffy, this is exactly what you have been looking for. This is the origin of the Slayer line.”

Buffy looked up and nodded. “It certainly seems to be.” She said softly. The klaxons sounding caused the blonde slayer to jump and turn, facing the door. “Incoming wormhole.” She said. “Stay here, keep the crossbow handy. And don’t be afraid to run away screaming.” Buffy ordered, heading for the door.

Dawn nodded and rolled her eyes. Keying in commands on her laptop she looked up and saw a small flicker over her door. “Or I can put up the shield.” She muttered.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

Tyr watched as the Wraith hive ship sent volley after volley of intense, high energy plasma weapons fire into his shields. His instruments recorded the data and the analysis was as he thought. After such intense bombardment, their shields would drop in power for a span of several seconds. It seems that while they were very adept a stealing Ancient technology, they were grossly inept at implementing it properly into their systems, such as power distribution. As the Hive ship opened up again, Tyr keyed the weapons console. The barrage stopped and a bright lance of yellow energy lanced out of the main batteries of the BuffySummers. The shields held for a few seconds but the tremendous burst of energy drained the shields to entropy and the beam finally pierced the shield and ate through the massive ships hull.

Tyr nodded his satisfaction and keyed another switch. “Now.” He said simply. Four other ships leapt into the area from different vectors, each from a different hyperspace window. The four DanielJackson class battle cruisers opened fire on a different hive ship, implementing a massive burst of weapons fire in one point of the Hive ship’s shields. The Wraith ships returned fire, strafing the new threats as they glided away from Atlantis and opened up a hyperspace window, jumping away from inevitable defeat.

Tyr nodded in satisfaction. “This is Tyr to Atlantis, the Wraith are retreating.” He said.

“Good news Tyr, but we have a new problem.” Dr. Weirs voice replied.

“What is the problem, Dr. Weir?” Tyr asked.

On Atlantis, Dr. Weir looked down into the Gateroom and watched as the single point of contact on the energy Iris flared even brighter and then glanced at the power readings. The Iris would hold, but the power drain was massive, even in only 38 minute intervals she figured that the Iris would collapse in a few weeks, tops. It was a siege.
A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A

SGC-Earth

Willow looked over at the table next to her and Tara and frowned as the marines all tried to now look everywhere but at the two. Word of Tara’s display of power had spread on the base and all of the members of SG-11 had been in fights over the incident and Tara’s sudden, newfound abilities.

Tara looked at Willow and followed her gaze. “Relax, sweetie.” She said softly. “There’s nothing you or I can do.”

Willow poked angrily at her salad and brought the bite to her mouth. “I know. I just get…grrr.” She said, tearing into the lettuce.

Tara smiled. “Tell me about the Ancient outpost.” She said. “I read the report, but I want the juicy stuff.” She said.

Willow smiled. “Well, Dr. Jackson was in his lab drooling over things for a few days before they went to Pegasus. I also happen to know that he has a small black ledger he writes all of his findings is before making nice, neat copies on the computer for the brass.” She said, grinning.

“And you know where he keeps this book?” Tara asked.

“I might.” Willow smirked, setting the mentioned book on the table. She giggled at Tara’s wide eyed look.

“Willow Rosenberg!” Tara shook her head, reaching for the book. “You little thief.” She grinned.

Willow nodded, seemingly disappointed. “I am a bad, bad witch.” She said. “So, what does he say? Did he decipher the coordinates on the wall?”

Willow had found a partially damaged computer terminal that still had some power while at the outpost. While she didn’t have anything compatible with the ancient technology to download the information, she did have the camcorder, which she used to film all of the data that flickered over the screen. The last bit of information that scrolled across the damaged screen was a number of gate addresses, seven to be precise. And the last two had eight chevrons. Willow recognized the last as Atlantis, but the other six she didn’t know off hand and Daniel had confiscated the recorder as soon as the got back.

Tara looked up and just stared. “Yeah, he made some progress.” She said. All of the gate addresses had a designation next to them, but one also had a name. The fifth address was P3X-774 and written and underlined next to the designation was one word. Nox.

Willow raised an eyebrow. “I found the Ancient version of a Rolodex?”

Tara shook her head. “I don’t think so. None of the other addresses have names.”

“And those two have eight symbols.” Willow said. “One is Atlantis, but the other one…I know it’s not Asgard, so who is it?”

Tara skimmed the book and shook her head. “He doesn’t know either. It doesn’t match anything in their database.”

Willow sighed. “Well, back to work, I guess.” She said, nodding as a man in a lab coat poked his head into the cafeteria and tapped his watch when he got Willow’s attention.

Tara smiled. “Have a good day, sweetie. I’ll see you tonight.”

Willow nodded and waved as she headed for the door. They didn’t kiss because, while they didn’t agree with the military rule and they weren’t military anyway, they didn’t want to make any new ripples that had to be dealt with.

A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A~~~~~A
Atlantis

Dawn frowned and skimmed the passage again. Buffy had told her of the newest attack and since then, every 39 minutes an announcement for an incoming wormhole was made. It was starting to get annoying. But what she found was truly amazing. It turns out that the Ancients had not been the first to experiment with genetics on humans. The Asgard had been doing it as well, though they never altered a human like the Ancients did Slayers. But what shocked her was that another of the alliance of races had; the Nox. While the Ancients had done it with technology, the Nox were far more subtle. It took several tries, and several thousand years, but there was finally a breakthrough. A human was starting to develop along the same lines that the Nox had; they used the natural energy of a planet by harnessing it with their mind and reshaping it as needed, energy and matter being very malleable.

Dawn snorted. “Malleable my butt.” She said. “Anyone who tried to alter a form of energy from one thing to another had a load of work ahead of them.” She said, shaking her head. “The same for matter.” She sighed, looking at the clock. She still had a few hours before she could sleep. Looking back at the text, she saw what were called early examples. Primitives turning fire to ice, or making things defy gravity without the use of technology…Dawn suddenly sat bolt upright and rapidly re-read what she just read. “Fire to ice?” she remembered a story about Willow Buffy told her once, from high school. About burned bed sheets. Dawn reached for the radio and quickly asked the tech for Buffy to come and see her as soon as possible.

Dawn shook her head as she read the passage again. “The Nox taught early humans Magic!” she said as she scanned through the passages. One other thing kept popping up here and there, in the same context the Wraith had in passages about the Slayer. As Dawn read she couldn’t help but wonder what an Ori was and why had the Nox been asked by the Ancients to unlock this power in humans?

TBC

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