Star . . . WHAT?!!
/Star . . . what?
“Careful, careful, careful, all right now gently put it in place!” Marco Sanchez supervised as several of the 'strong' types carefully used their various types of super strength in putting one of the support beams in place. Then the couple that were both super strong and had heat vision, or variations, began to weld it in place. “Nice job everyone!” Marco gave them some applause before moving quickly on to the next crisis that needed his supervision for the project that was the groups new home base.
“Marco,” Jake Berenson, Marco's best friend and 'Fearless Leader' called him over, “we need more excavation done if we're going to have enough room for this bottom-level bunker you've got here in the plans. We need Buffy and Robert for that though.”
“Well, there they are Jake,” Marco gestured behind him while he went over to get a drink of water from the 'ice fountain' the High Schooler known as Xander had made for everybody, “ask them. I'm not the boss, that's you.”
“Yeah, but I get the feeling they need to finish putting those supports in place, which is why I need you to figure out a way for them to finish that up quickly enough, please,” Jake retorted with good humor.
“Actually,” Marco said after swallowing his drink and looking over at the group, “it looks like they're almost done. Just two more needed, everything else has to wait until we get the wiring set up. And if you can get me the telekinetics from Ax and Tobias, I can give'em to you now.”
“I thought you kids were supposed to be building this for us?” Xander 'Iceman' Harris said as be passed by with a couple buckets of nails.
“We're supervising,” Jake and Marco replied in tandem, giving the teen teasing grins.
He grumbled to himself as he walked off.
“I'll see what I can do, but get those supports up as quickly, and securely, as you can,” Jake ordered as he walked off to the still-open area of the abandoned lot.
“Ax, Tobias,” Jake nodded in greeting as he joined them in observing Willow, Fred, Joyce, Amy and a couple of others as they attempted to fuse pieces of spare iron and metal into solid steel support frames shaped according to the design Marco had mapped out in the architectural design.
“Captain,” Ax greeted stiffly, while Tobias just grinned.
“Ax, don't call me captain,” Jake sufferably ordered.
“Aye Captain,” the Andorian replied.
“What's up Jake?” Tobias asked as he held up his tricorder, scanning for any defects in the newly completed support beam.
“Willow! Fred!” he called instead of answering immediately. To Tobias, he said, “We need to do some more excavating, and Marco needs our resident telekinetic psychics to take over for Buffy and Robert and Tim. Can you handle things without them for a few minutes?”
“Yeah,” the half-Vulcan answered, “they've just been bending and shaping the metal, mostly Joyce and Amy have been the ones that are actually making the materials. Speaking of which, we're just about out. I calculate we only have enough for one more supply of the smaller support beams, and those aren't being shaped yet anyway.”
“Hey Jake, what do you need?” Willow bubbled as she and Fred floated down, each covered in their respective colored auras.
“Actually, it's Marco that needs your help. We need Buffy and a couple others to go down for some more excavating, so would you and Fred mind helping with the support beams and welding them in place? Maybe even go over everything already done to reinforce it some more?”
“Not a problem,” Willow happily took to the air again, heading over to Marco's area “underneath” the part of the lot they had rebuilt and needed the support beams already in place for as the base was, eventually, going to be entirely subterranean. Fred, a beat behind the older teen, just smiled and nodded and, doing a few aerial acrobatics along the way, followed her.
“I'll see what I can do about getting us some more raw materials,” Jake promised. “In the mean time, check with Marco to see what we /need
/ before we can safely leave for the day, then ask Joyce and Amy, or rather Scott, if they can provide it. If not, let me know so I can think of something.”
“Will do,” Tobias promised.
“Aye Captain,” Ax dutifully replied.
“By the way, have you seen the girls?”
“Last I saw,” Tobias answered his friend, “they said they were heading towards the Clinic to work on a couple of the 'projects' that we're going to be needing here pretty soon. I'm going to do my best to finish the next computer core, but it's still a couple days away at best.”
“That's fine. I'm going to have to clock some of my own time on the Main Computer and the new phaser design. Although knowing my cousin, she's probably already got it finished and ready for production.”
Jake finished making sure that everything was running smoothly enough before jogging back over to a downward spiraling tunnel that had been started only that morning in order for the multi-tiered subterranean base to actually be constructed one level at a time. Fortunately, it seemed that the Fyarl's, the previous and rather unfortunate occupants of the cave system had already started a crude and rather basic beginning to this particular tunnel, they'd just . . . expanded it a bit. Unfortunately for the still growing group, the collapse and cave-in had collapsed a number of these already opened tunnels, hence the excavation.
Jake quickly caught up with the group of “diggers”, Buffy Summers, Robert Clarkson, Sydney Pierson aka Iczelion, Tim Smith, and a new member by the name of Courtney Rodson who had dressed as “Stargirl”, and lead them to the next area they needed cleared. It was roughly three “floors” down, and they only had to walk a further 10 meters into the cave before coming to the collapsed section. Thankfully, Jake had made sure to already have sufficient lighting this far down before even bringing anyone else, so they could see well enough. Still, between Buffy's crimson glowing eyes, Tim's glowing nega-bands, and Courtney's glowing cosmic rod, they had plenty of light.
“Any particular direction Jake, or just straight ahead?” Buffy asked the chosen leader, more for the fact that he was a natural leader as much as he had nearly a full lifetime of experience at being one.
“Give me a second,” he mumbled as he pulled out his personal tricorder and took some readings. After a bit, he nodded as he confirmed and then pointed at the direction he wanted them to blast. “OK, that wall is the thinnest point between here and the next chamber. Best to start with a small hole, prevent another cave-in if we can.”
“Still,” Courtney perkily pointed out, “between me and Syd, we can handle it if it does cave in, right!”
“Until we run out of air,” Tim countered.
“I'll go first,” Buffy interrupted before Courtney could respond.
Keeping her eyes locked on the point Jake had indicated, judging by instinct how much 'power' to use, the mutant Slayer let loose a powerful optic blast. Yet as they had already discovered in all their digging and building, stone didn't blast away as easily as soil and dirt did, so while Buffy made an impressive dent in the rock wall, after about a minute, it became clear it would take a bit longer or a bit more for her to break through on her own. Thankfully, she wasn't on her own.
When Buffy stopped to catch her breath, Tim stepped up to the plate, pointing both his closed fists at the dent and let loose with cosmic power into nega-blasts, which nearly atomized what remained of the rock as it was. Two more successive blasts and after the dust had settled enough, they could see they had broken through, but it still wasn't enough to make a passage through.
“Sydney?” Jake asked, “Do you or Courtney want to take the rest? I'm not sure I want to risk another of Tim's nega-blasts, and Buffy is running low on energy as it is.”
The armored warrior looked over at the other girl and shrugged. “Courtney can take this one if she wants. I've had my fun blowing up stuff today,” she giggled.
“Cool!” the blond teen crowed and stepped forward, pointed the business end of her cosmic rod at the hole. “FIRE IN THE HOLE!” she screamed and a bolt of devastating energy tore through the air and atomized what remained of the wall and even cleared well into the next chamber for several meters. Surprisingly, there was little dust from such an impressive explosion.
“Nice,” Jake commented with approval, checking out the new passage.
“Thank you, thank you,” Courtney bowed, soaking in the praise.
Buffy raced forward suddenly after they'd all stepped through into the new chamber. They called after her into the darkness, only their personal methods of illumination helping them to see in the new chamber.
“Jake!” the older blonde cried out.
Quickly, they all raced to where they saw the girl's crimson glowing eyes, and began asking all at once if anything was wrong. Instead of answering, she just continued to stare up at what she had found. A moment later, they all turned and looked as well, Courtney raising the illumination of her staff so they could all see, and Jake and Tim both pulling flash lights out from somewhere.
“Well,” Jake hesitated to say anything, “that, uh, that's . . . that's probably not a good sign.”
“What the hell is it?” Courtney asked brashly.
“Trouble,” Buffy answered. “Question is, for who? Us, or somebody else?”
The footsteps were quiet as they made their way through the dusty and cluttered floor. Once the figure had reached the center of the cleared area though, sharp, harsh laughter broke the peaceful silence.
The figure simply waited for the ugly laughter to end before reacting in any way, and even then it was simply to cross his arms before him, fitting his hands into the wide sleeves as he did so, giving the young man the appearance of a monk of some kind. Apparently, this only served to anger the source of the laughter as a sharp retort echoed through the empty building.
“Is this the best the stinking Jedi have to offer?”
“No,” came the calm reply from the youth out in the open, “in fact you might call me the weakest and most impatient. Are you saying you're the best of the Sith?”
The harsh laughter returned, though the young man's expression did not change from its calm appearance.
“Do you have what I demanded?”
In reply the youth simply unfolded his arms, yet surprisingly there was a metallic cylinder in his right hand now. Rather than do anything with it, he placed his arms by his side and continued to calmly stand there.
“So you Jedi aren't as useless as you pretend to be?”
Suddenly the youth grinned widely and with a violent movement, he threw the cylinder to the floor, where it almost shattered as the pieces broke apart.
“We may not be useless, but we aren't stupid either,” the young man the harsh voice called a Jedi replied.
“You FOOL! What have you done?!”
“Come out of the shadows Sith! Just because we didn't want to fight doesn't mean we're going to be your puppets! Now either come out to fight and end it, or leave us alone! All we want to do is learn to use the Force, we don't care about lightsabers and space ships!”
“Then you lot are even bigger fools than I mistook you for,” a shadow stepped forward out of the darkness.
The young man faced the shadow without fear, faced the darkness the shadowed figure represented. Then, slowly, confidently, a grin formed on the youth's face. “Whose the fool that the only back up he has is his younger brother and a megalomaniac in a tin-man costume?”
“You, who has no back up at all,” the shadowed figure snapped back.
“Boy, the movies weren't kidding when they said that the Dark Side had no real power,” the youth commented, tongue in cheek.
“What is that supposed to mean?” the other boy angrily asked.
“Reach out with your feelings,” the youth almost mockingly advised, yet the point became moot as suddenly at least ten other figures appeared in view behind the first, startling those still in the shadows.
“You didn't think that just cause we're trying to become Jedi, that we're actually stupid enough to do as you demand and come alone, did you?” the young man, pseudo-Jedi, remarked.
The pseudo-Sith just scowled in reply rather than answer, taking a step back further into the shadows. Silently, two figures could be seen joining him in support, one slightly smaller, the other could be seen wearing some kind of armor.
“You have your lightsaber,” the first of the strangers told the trio, “now leave us the hell alone. We owe you nothing, and you certainly don't owe anything to us, not that we would expect the /Sith
/ to uphold any kind of honorable debt. Contact any of us again, in any way, even second-hand, and we'll ensure that no such contact will happen again. Interpret that how you will. We're done here.”
Faster than one would think possible, the near-dozen group left the warehouse and disappeared with nary a trace, as though they'd never been there in the first place.
Silence reigned in the dark, shadowy building for several minutes, until finally a pale figure, all in black, stepped out of the shadows and bent down to pick up the shattered remains of the Jedi-constructed lightsaber. Right behind him, a smaller, yet just as pale, boy hovered right behind him, while another person, intimidatingly tall, and made large from the metallic armor he wore, sneered at the one on the ground, “Well, that worked out well, didn't it?”
“It took Andrew and I nearly three weeks to gather all the components we needed for two lightsabers,” the Sith retorted, making sure to get every piece of the futuristic weapon, “While I never expected them to give us a working model, whatever the could and did give us would be that much less time for us to waste on getting the rest.”
“Yeah, so leave him alone Warren!” the younger Sith that could only be Andrew, whined at the one in the armor.
“You guys do realize that it'll take me like all of ninety seconds to reverse engineer that and build you better and badder lightsabers than anything you could scrounge together from spare parts, right?” Warren sarcastically remarked.
“I prefer adding my personal touch to my personal weapon, Doom,” Tucker told his 'friend'. “In the meantime, we'll see what we can make of what's left of this. Then we can begin to make plans.”
“Plans, Master, I mean . . . brother?” Andrew blurted.
“What? You think we'd be settled with having a couple toys or some petty revenge against a bunch of teenagers?” Warren condescendingly snapped to the younger Sith, “We're going to take over Sunnydale. And then . . . the world.”
“And from there,” Tucker grinned evilly at the new Trio, “The Universe.”
/Future HSL Headquarters
“What is it?” Cordy asked, as everyone finished gathering in the cavern Jake and the others had just uncovered.
“That's what we're trying to find out, /your majesty
/,” Marco snipped before turning back to the array of tricorders and various sensors he had pointed at the artifact before them.
“I can tell you this though,” he spoke more seriously now, “it's made out of a material very similar in molecular composition to dilithium, but in metallic rather than crystalline form. There have been recorded instances of finding an element on various planets . . . uh, in the future, I mean, but I don't recall them off the top of my head.”
“Rachel,” Jake ordered, “pick one of the fliers, preferably whoever is fastest, and get the Main Computer here. I don't care how, just so long as it still works when you get here.”
“That would be me,” Sydney stepped forward, Iczel at her side. Nodding at her robotic partner, they transformed back into Iczellion, picked up the blonde teenager and shot out of the cave at nearly the speed of light.
“In the meantime,” Buffy stepped forward, her shades off and her eyes shining to provide further illumination in the dark cave, “lets see about getting a few of the supports down her and in the tunnel leading here. I'd really rather avoid having to dig this place out all over again.”
“Care to explain where we're going to get the materials for more supports?” Tobias asked, falling back on simple logic rather than any base emotion.
“Well, that's longterm,” Xander/Iceman stepped forward, “in the temporary, and since it's actually not that hot down here, I think I can take care of the support beams and stuff. Just point me in the right direction, don't want to make a whole bunch of useless stuff in the middle of everywhere.”
“Marco,” Jake grabbed his friend by the shoulder, “as fascinating as this no doubt is, there isn't anything you can do until Rachel and Sydney get back, and you're our architectural expert, so help out Xan, will you?”
“Yeah, yeah, sure,” the Hispanic teen agreed, distracted.
“So, uh, does /anybody
/ have a clue as to what this might be?” Erin of the Cordettes asked.
'It' was a massive device, at least ten feet high. It was half-buried into the far wall of the cave, but enough of it had been uncovered, either from the previous tenants, or from the diggers' actions, to see most of it. It was circular, like a giant ring, was silvery metallic gray except for a series of orange-red jewels placed symmetrically around the ring. Also visible were multiple symbols that didn't seem to prescribe to any known human language, one right after the other, all the way around the ring. What was more, they had further uncovered a pedestal-like device that seemed connected to the big ring, which had all of the same symbols, though arranged differently, and all around one much bigger red-jewel at the center of it.
“Hey, I know!” Prime exclaimed. “It's an alien portal that leads to other worlds that evil aliens, who kidnapped humans and seeded them to these other planets and they use their advanced technology to make all those ancient civilizations worship them as their gods!”
The cave was eerily quiet for several long beats as everyone just stared incredulously at the child-in-a-man's-body. “Or not,” he quietly shuffled to the back of the group.
“He could be right,” Cassie commented to Jake.
“Cass, please, aliens aren't evil, /you
/ of all people should know that, since you now happen to /be
/ an alien,” he argued.
“I'm a /fictional
/ alien Jake, from the Star Trek universe,” she argued back.
More silence, and Tobias shrugged and added, “Good point.”
“Yeah, but . . .” Jake began to argue back.
“Gentlemen, Lady? Please,” Willow interrupted, “Now is hardly the time for a philosophical debate. Now, while we wait for Marco and the rest of the Star Fleet kids to figure this thing out,” she addressed the entire group, “why don't those of us that can start clearing the rest of this cave out, maybe find some raw materials for Mrs. Summers and Amy to transmute into something usable. Anybody that needs to go back to the surface, or maybe get home to your parents, you're perfectly allowed to do that.”
“And miss out on finding more cool stuff like this?” Robert excitedly replied, quickly moving with his brother, currently Captain Marvel, to clearing away the debris and blasted boulders.
With that as example, everyone quickly got back to work. Moments later, Iczelion, with Rachel and the laptop that was the Star Fleet kids Main Computer. Amazingly, to everyone else, the computer was just your standard IBM laptop, that was until Marco grabbed it from the blonde teen and opened it up.
Instantly a giant sphere of light shot up out of the screen of the laptop and filled almost half the cave, until Marco made an adjustment and made the “screen” more reasonable in size and function. Once the flashy effects were no longer overwhelming everyone, they began to recognize exactly what it was they were seeing.
The sphere was actually a grid of a hemisphere of blackness and yellow and red lights. Inside each grid was packets of information, from images, to lines of code, to the complete literary works of every 20th Century author for their entire lifetimes. Nevertheless, Marco began to work the grid, which was obviously an interactive holographic interface, with an expert ease.
Shortly after, he pulled a cable from a pocket and attached used it to attach the tricorder to the Main Computer through a USB Port, and then quickly brought up the information he wanted. Working quickly and deftly, Marco accessed the complete 24th Century Database that Sigma Squad had brought back with them, so to speak, and began a comparitive analysis on the artifact they had just uncovered.
Minutes later, Marco’s jaw dropped in stunned disbelief.
“Marco?” Jake asked, concerned, “Everything OK?”
“It’s dilithium,” the Hispanic teen genius whispered.
“What?” the Star Fleet Kids all said together, while everyone else just continued to look confused.
“It’s dilithium,” he answered, louder.
“That is not possible,” Tobias stated.
“No shit bird boy!” Marco snapped back, clearly more disturbed by his findings than even his friends. “I knew I had heard of something like this once before. It was thought of as a fluke. Dilithium, processed /and
/ unprocessed, is pure crystalline in nature. But this . . . it’s metallic, it can be shaped, and worst of all, it has no obvious harmful radioactivity. I did an in-depth analysis and discovered that several of its isotopes have high-level dangerous radioactive signatures, but . . .”
“I don’t understand,” Xander interrupted, “Isn’t dilithium the stuff that Star Trek uses to power star ships and make anti-matter/matter reactions? That stuff’s just fiction, how the hell could a fictional element be made into . . . whatever the hell this thing is?”
“It’s more than that Xander,” Jake tried to explain. “Dilithium can’t be a metal. At least not without some kind of outside influence. I don’t suppose anyone’s a chemistry major?”
Most just shook their heads to the negative, then Buffy raised her hand and said like she was quoting from a book, “Solid metals are crystals formed from positive ions surrounded
by mobile electrons. This mobility allows electrons to absorb and reflect light in many wavelengths, giving the metals their typical luster. It also permits electrons to absorb thermal and electrical energy from the environment or neighboring electrons and transfer this energy to other electrons; in this way, heat and electricity can be conducted throughout the metal,” she paused and then turned to Jake and asked, “So why can't dilithium be a metal? Let alone a non-radioactive Transition Metal?”
Everyone stared, stunned, for several long moments before Willow finally pointed out, “Cyclops was a teacher as well as tactical leader of the X-Men.” That ended the stares.
“The reason it's impossible has to do with dilithium's electron field,” Marco answered, “And as much as I'd love to fully and avidly explain the finer points of the chemical make-up of dilithium, let's just end this discussion with saying it should not be possible.”
“And yet here it is,” Xander finished.
Marco nodded and turned back to the main computer and began working with it again, taking additional scans of the artifact and working to determine it's purpose. In the meantime, everybody else went back to cleaning up the cave and making it more stable to walk around through. The heavy lifters clearing away boulders, the telekinetics moving them away and fusing others into new columns to further support the cave, and the 'diggers' went back to expanding the tunnels that lead down to the cave, or branched off of it and had collapsed at some previous point.
Jake, Tobias, and Cassie however hung close around Marco, and waited until everyone else was occupied before the former Star Fleet Captain asked, “All right buddy, what aren't you telling?”
“It makes stable wormholes,” was the quick and quiet reply.
Rather than scream out loud at the impossibility of it all, the three other ex-Star Fleet officers just silently absorbed the information before Jake asked another question, “Origin?”
“Not terrestrial,” Marco answered the question he knew his friend was asking.
The kids all shared a look, Jake gulped softly before asking again, “Origin?” though it was an entirely different question, but Marco knew that.
Turning to look his friend in the eye, the young Hispanic boy confessed, “It's not in the database.”
Now Jake was beginning to sweat. The implications alone was enough to drive somebody insane with paranoia, but the facts remained. Star Trek Universe aside, there were aliens out there, they had come to Earth in the past and left certain pieces of their technology behind, and worst of all, none of them had any clue about who, or what they could be.
Unfortunately, in Jake's, and the others, past experience alien races, with the exception of humans, Vulcans, and a few other key members of the Federation, that come across inferior or rather 'less advanced' races typically viewed them as such. Inferior. And like the Cardassians, made them little better than slaves under their rule, or like the Ferangi, took advantage of them at every turn. Either way, and though this was real life and not fiction, it did not bode well for the future of the planet.
“Don't tell anyone about this until you know more. A /lot
/ more,” Jake ordered. “Then come straight to me. I want to know everything there is to know about before we doing anything. Stable wormholes?”
“Without turning it on, near as I can tell,” Marco just nodded his head.
Jake let out a heavy sigh.
“This is not what I signed on for,” he muttered, running his fingers through his hair before turning back to help with the excavation.
/Shortly after the Sith get their lightsabre
“They took it?” a voice asked, as the youth that had met with the Trio stepped into the room. It was spacious, one might think it used to have been used as a gymnasium or in-door sports arena at some point. Now though it was filled with furniture and other storage items, and thirteen people, including the one that had just stepped inside.
“They were more greedy for having and owning a working lightsabre than they were interested in finding out who I was,” the youth answered the one that had spoken.
“Hmm,” a smaller, almost child-like figure spoke, “Driven by their desires, the Sith are. Greatest weakness it is theirs.”
“I'm sure they'll bother us again,” another spoke up, “but they're no real threat. Not yet at least.”
“Maybe we should make sure they never have the chance to become such a threat. Maybe we should . . .”
“No!” the child-like figure croaked as it tried to shout. “To the Dark Side that leads. Child I may still be, but Yoda's wisdom I possess, yes? Leave them alone, we must. Attack, if they do, defend, we must. Attack, we do not. Defenders of the Galaxy, of the Republic, of the world, the Jedi are. And Jedi, are we? Hmm?”
“Not yet,” another voice spoke out, “but we want to be. That's the whole point of setting up with Council, isn't it? To help each other, and ourselves become /real
/ Jedi, not just Force-wielders.”
“So we leave them alone?” another asked. Everyone agreed.
“Besides,” the thirteenth person spoke up, and he was short with black hair that had white growing from his temples and was dressed rather outlandishly in red and gold, “there's something more pressing that I need to speak with you about.” Jonathan, the Dungeon Master, spoke late into the night with the Jedi Council.