"So when are we getting this show on the road?" Buffy asked, and looked around at the mix of soldiers and civilians that were milling around the start area. They had all been tested individually on their basic understanding of military command structures, the rules governing the SGC and gate travel this morning. Buffy expected a passing grade, albeit not a stellar one. It seemed the return and intermingling of her old memories with her new ones had cost her a bit of her focus. Now they were going to be tested in groups, working together to pass through an area guarded by several SG teams. Buffy had overheard that fact from Jack and her mom by accident a few minutes earlier.
There were only a few airmen and two members of the Marine-staffed SG unit around, so Buffy figured the rest were already in the field. Knowing how SG teams were trained and experienced in wilderness combat, tracking, and improvisation, Buffy expected she could get in trouble, depending on how her team was put together. Jack, in a field uniform with his new shiny star on the shoulder, walked up and called out, "Listen up." Major Davis and her mom walked over to stand behind Jack.
"Your task today is to complete a long march. It will be hard and you will be under constant threat of attack. Each team has to complete this exercise as a group. Teams will be assigned randomly by drawing a piece of cloth from that bag," Jack said, and pointed to a bag held by her mom. "You will be given the standard field equipment assigned to your designated posting, as well as a simple aerial photograph with your objective on it. The teams in the field have been assigned stun weaponry, as you will be. The enemy out there will be hunting you to the best of their ability. Finally, each team will be given one piece of information: should you get caught, you must not reveal this information. This exercise ends in 48 hours, or when you reach your objective. Now step up as your name is called."
Buffy wondered why Jack hadn't fired off some wisecrack, but he had seemed a bit more grouchy ever since he had been made general. She hoped his promotion hadn't killed his sense of humor. But then again, she couldn't complain: her mom, Janet and Cassie had all commented on how different she had become. ‘Tightly wound,’ Cassie had called her last night when they had gone out for a movie. Buffy was aware of that, too, but she still felt confused at times, and it was almost as if she was mourning the loss of her friends and Dawn. She was having a hard time, but the reason for it was also what kept stopping her from opening up and telling her mom about it. She wasn't sure how her mom felt about her old life and friends. Sometimes, a part of her hated that it had all gotten so complicated.
"Buffy Anne Summers Carter," Jack said, and Buffy realized he had called out her name twice. Buffy blushed, before quickly making her way to the front. She felt self-conscious with everyone staring at her. She walked over and got ready to reach into the pouch.
"No," Jack said whispered.
"Miss Carter here is not a regular SG team member, but a mission specialist, and for her special role she requires a challenge. Miss Carter, turn around, please, so everyone can see you," Jack said with a wicked grin to her. Buffy did as she was told.
"Miss Carter here is an infiltration and combat specialist, and because of that and other things, it has been decided that she will not be operating on a regular team. Look carefully at Miss Carter: if you see her again during the next 48 hours and you're not marked as a casualty after the exercise, Miss Carter will be docked in points. Also understand that you're not to render any aid to Miss Carter. She is a rogue element on the field and is not your ally. Miss Carter's orders are to advance to the objective at best speed, taking out any and all opposition she encounters on the way. That includes you people, as well as your enemy. Now I hope you'll all gain something from this little camping trip," Jack said.
Buffy was feeling a bit angry. Sure it would be easier for her to get through the test on her own, but she had actually hoped to meet a few of her future coworkers and gain their trust. Now she'd remain an outsider. "Thanks for singling me out, Jack," Buffy whispered.
"That would be General Jack to you, and don't thank me. The idea came from the Pentagon. They think you're the perfect candidate for an SG team more oriented toward intelligence gathering, and wanted to see if you could do it," Jack replied out of the corner of his mouth, while her mom smoothly took over distributing the cloth strips that identified her enemies.
"I wanted to work with people, not become the Pentagon's Miss Buffy Bond," she said.
"I know that, and you will, but we're still picking the people we want to be infiltration specialists, and I have to say you're a strong candidate. You're smart, speak the language, can survive on your own, and you can't be snaked," Jack replied.
"Jack, I suck at undercover. My solution to information gathering was usually to go to the bad guys’ HQ and attack until I was done. Ok, maybe that is oversimplifying things, but seriously, whenever I had to keep my secret identity, it slipped out. Being superhumanly strong is kind of hard to hide in the long run, and worse, I'm not that good an actress, either," she countered.
"No one said you should be doing Tok'ra work, even if I am planning to have them train you and any other people we pick. I want you as an infiltrator, saboteur and all-around general Goa'uld-slayer, not undercover in some Goa'uld court where you'd tear the balls off the first thing that hurt a human or a Jaffa. This is the work, Buffy, and you wanted it," Jack said with finality, "Now, focus. I think your reputation back at the SGC might suffer if these guys stun you at the first whistle, so you'd better get ready."
Buffy was about to retort, but Jack was right. She had to pick up her gear, whatever it was they had picked out for her, get the map, and then figure out how to read it.
"See ya at the finishing line," she told all three officers.
"What are those?" Jack asked as he watched Buffy walk towards the start area wearing a forest camouflage uniform, heavy black boots with steel toe caps, a light pack, a heavy pistol in a thigh holster, a Jaffa staff weapon and heavy-looking gloves. She was only face paint and a helmet away from looking like a real soldier, but she was just wearing her hair in a ponytail.
"What?" Carter replied, seemingly less nervous than he had expected from a mom watching a daughter going on a training exercise -- but then, Sam Carter had a special daughter and wasn't really the nervous type to begin with.
"The gloves," he said.
"Oh, combat gloves; they work almost like a set of brass knuckles, but they're also usable for everyday purposes, and Buffy thinks they'll prevent her from scratching up her hands and breaking her nails. She had a manicure with Cassie yesterday, so she asked me to make sure she got to wear them today," Carter explained.
"Figures," he replied, and walked over to the start line. He could have delegated this entire thing to Carter or any one else of his officers, but the SGC was being rebuilt to fit its extended role and roster, and only a few teams were off-world currently, so he had decided to come and view the people who wanted to join his command and judge their fitness himself.
"Ready, Team Green. Go!" Carter called out as she read from a chart. They'd all get released at staggered intervals, finishing with Buffy. Jack watched as team after team -- all of them trained to work together but having never met their team members before -- still seemed off-balance at first. Later on, the teams would be put together using psychological evaluations, a method recommended to him by the Russians, but for now he wanted to see if they could rally, even without being trained together. Besides, all the fake enemies and traps in the field were later on in the march, to give everyone time to get to know one another as they struggled to make the near-impossible objective. Personally, he expected very few actual arrivals at the finish line, but that was all part of the plan.
"Ready, Buffy. Go!" Carter said. Jack watched as the currently very anti-authoritarian Buffy walked away from their camp as if she was going on a stroll: she took the time to wave goodbye and even stopped to pick a flower. He guessed it was just something she felt she had to do. He understood the need behind it. The need to seem in control of one's own life, especially if it felt out of control. He wondered what, if anything, Buffy was hiding behind her behavior. Of course, it could be that it was just how her old personality had been.
"Sir, look at this," one of his men said and waved him over. Colonel Walker headed over and studied the footprint. It was from a boot, but a tiny one, one only fit for a girl or small woman.
"Do we have a trail?" he asked. Ronald didn't know Sam Carter very well -- the SG-1 guys kept to themselves a lot of the time -- but he had heard the stories about her daughter and seen the strange kid train with Teal'c, her supposed adoptive relative.
"Yes, it leads towards that fresh water spring and that cave we spotted earlier in our patrol. My guess is that whoever left this is there and taking a rest before moving on," Lieutenant Michaels explained. "Sir, I recommend caution. I've heard that the kid can be pretty devious."
"Buffy Summers, right?" he commented, realizing they both expected the footprint to be hers. They weren't expecting the other teams before late in the night. She had obviously made good time.
"Yeah," Michaels said.
"Agreed, let's proceed with caution. I'd like us to try and snipe her, if possible. Let's not rush anything, but remember that if we get her, the General has promised to pay for a steak dinner for any team who tags her. But then, he boasted that he'd never have to actually do so," Ronald said.
The four-man team moved carefully through the leafy undergrowth of the forest. It took them ten minutes to get to a good position with a view of the spring they had looked for. "Sir, maybe she's moved on," Michaels whispered.
"Sergeant Keogh, see anything?" he asked the trained sniper.
"Nothing, sir . . . Wait, there is something at the mouth of the cave; looks like a Jaffa staff. I think I have a target," his sniper reported.
"When you have a shot, take it," he ordered. Everyone tensed, and the forest seemed to be silent except for the noise of trees and leaves moving in the wind. Walker thought he heard something. He turned his head, and all hell broke loose. Keogh fired the stun blast into the cave. Michaels yelled as he was picked up and tossed into the forest.
Ronald struggled to get his gun around, but before he could, a fist sent him flying into a tree. He got up and saw the blond-haired figure jump impossibly high into the trees. There were two loud bangs, and a stun weapon discharge. There was a shuffle and another shot. All he could see was smoke. The girl had attacked them, gotten off some grenades, and the white residue from the training weapons already marked his entire team as dead. As the smoke faded along with the tears from his slightly irritated eyes, he saw the girl in the distance staring at them -- to see if they were okay, it seemed. She gave him an apologetic look and a wave, before retrieving her staff and leaving. He looked at his team. Just like himself, Lieutenant Michaels had been killed by a grenade, while Keogh and Han had been shot and now lay in the undergrowth. He went over to get them back on their feet, as well as get Han's radio. He needed to report in.
Jack smiled into the night. The exercise had gone on for nearly eight hours. They had just gotten the final objective camp set up, and the reports had started flowing in. Buffy had taken out the new Colonel who had taken over for Hernandez in SG-5 -- a nice guy named Walker -- two hours earlier, and according to the latest encounter had made the same sort of mince meat out of SG-3. She was less than four hours from finishing, if she kept up her speed. "She's not in any hurry," Carter commented.
Jack looked at Carter, a bit bewildered by her comment, "She’s gonna complete a 36-hour march over rough terrain in a third of the normal time, if she keeps up her pace."
"Jack, she isn't encumbered or wounded. Buffy could have finished by now, if she had been running. I know her limits: we tested them on Vindgloed," Carter explained.
"Really," he replied, not recalling any stories about tests in the stories Carter, Teal'c and Buffy had told, or in the reports Carter had filed.
"Yeah, Thor was curious about her at one point, so he convinced us to let him test her, but his interest didn't last more than a week. Buffy can lift about 1 ton, but when she punches or attacks people that strength varies. It's almost like her strength is slightly variable, depending on the situation she's in, but it is not consciously controlled," Carter explained.
"Sir, we have a report on Team Red: they were caught by SG-5 and are being transferred to the interrogation site," Walter explained.
"Thanks, Walter," he replied. "I'd better go get on the radio with SG-3 and 5," he told Carter and walked away.
"Don't gloat too much,” Carter called out as he walked away. “SG-3 were up against my daughter, after all. We expected them to lose."
"Spoilsport," he mumbled.
Sam watched Buffy walk out of the night, making nearly no sound. Buffy looked tired and maybe a bit displeased. "Congratulations, Buffy, you've made it," she said.
"Buffy Summers, reporting in: I encountered light resistance, mostly from a branch that tore up my ugly ... errr, I mean ‘pretty’ new uniform. Oh, and I kicked much ass," Buffy said.
"Captain Maynard, take over here," Sam called out and gestured Buffy towards the APC she and Jack were using as their command vehicle.
"Yes, Colonel," the soldier called out and ran to his post. Sam tried to keep from smiling at the use of her new rank. She had advanced quickly for her age, but given her posting to what was essentially a war-front position she felt like she had earned it.
"Take off all that gear, honey. Did you take care of your feet?" she asked, her mind easily slipping over into mommy mode.
"Uh-huh, I kept them dry and the boots tight. I think I might still get a blister on my right big toe, though," Buffy said and affected the tones of a much younger child.
Sam was thrown for a minute. Was her daughter channeling her younger self and expecting her to help? Or was it the more sarcastic -- even cynical, at times -- older Buffy she was talking to? Even with their continued talks the rift Buffy's old memories had caused hadn't completely disappeared. Sam decided to follow her instincts and care. Then, at least, all Buffy could do was roll her eyes at the extensive mothering. "Let me see?" she asked.
Buffy smiled and sat in the lighted room in the back of the armored vehicle, lifted her foot out of her boots, and peeled off the sock. Sam studied the foot but saw only a small red area on the toe. "It looks okay. It might become a blister, but I doubt it. Your healing will get rid of it soon, if you keep off the foot for an hour or so," Sam caressed the arch of Buffy's foot, making it twitch as she unintentionally tickled her daughter.
"That tickles," Buffy said and pulled her foot back without any real malice in her voice.
"I noticed. So, did everything go okay out there?" Sam asked.
"Yeah, I guess. I think I was maybe a bit rough with some of the guys I encountered, but I’m pretty sure no one was seriously hurt. I'm a bit miffed, though. Does this mean you want me to run around on alien planets all alone?" Buffy asked.
Sam felt her stomach hollow out at the very thought, "God, no! This really wasn't our idea. Jack and General Hammond do want to put you into the mission specialist group so you won't be permanently assigned to any specific SG team. Instead, they'll send you out when there is infiltration, or combat work, or we need someone to talk to the Tok'ra or Free Jaffa. They all seem to like you anyway. General Hammond told me that the Pentagon is planning to spend what resources we can spare on helping our allies, because without them we'd be totally alone. Besides, it pays to have friends, and you have a knack for making them with people none of us really think of."
"I can be every bit as annoying to perfect strangers as Jack is, sometimes. A lot of people will hate me the first time they talk to me. Back when I was in my universe, I might have been the leader, but that was more out of habit than any actual ability of mine to lead groups. I was good at planning, but I would never have been the big damn hero, if I hadn't had my friends," Buffy countered.
"Oh, I understand that. But be honest, Buffy: your friends were all special people, and you made friends with them. We don't expect you to be our diplomat. The Tok'ra like you because you made them see the error of their ways on Revanna. The Jaffa like you because you're a warrior. Neither of them expect you to lay down treaties. And neither will we. Just be you, when you're out there. Besides, it’s worked for us -- as in ‘SG-1’ us," she explained.
"Yeah," Buffy agreed and looked out into the night. Sam busied herself packing away what gear her daughter had dumped on the floor.
"Mom, we're not really back to normal are we?" Buffy said.
Sam looked up and noticed the piercing look in her daughter's eyes. "No," she agreed.
"I can't figure out what it is," Buffy said.
"Be honest, you know what it is. I do," Sam suggested.
Buffy looked uncomfortable for a moment, then agreed, "Maybe I do, too."
"It's not simple, is it? You've remembered who you were, all of it. And, well, that makes you different. I keep getting jarred by the differences, even when you're so much like before," Sam said, dreading for a moment how Buffy would react to that revelation.
"I know. It's weird for me, too. I used to take things so much easier. Now, my brain is constantly churning out thoughts, and I have all these feelings, memories and knowledge that weren't there before. I'm younger again. I can't be myself," Buffy paused, and then whispered, "I think I miss being just your Buffy."
"We have to deal with what's in front of us. We'll just have to keep working at it. We both want to stay a family, right?" Sam asked.
Buffy immediately nodded, "I miss it."
"Me too," Sam said. Buffy jumped over and gathered her in a nearly bone-breaking hug.
"Cute. Don't think hugging me will heighten your scores, Summers," Jack said, stepping into view.
"I can't hug you, Jack: old people are too fragile for Buffy hugs," Buffy said, and the hug lasted almost defiantly a few moments longer.
"Carter, why don't you drive the other Carter home? There won't be anyone arriving for another twelve hours, at best, and that’s if anyone makes it that far," Jack said.
"Oh, cool -- bed time! I am actually tired for once," Buffy said.
"See you later, sir," Sam said. Soon she drove an already asleep Buffy back to her house. Buffy had been given permission to live with her off-base, even though on paper she was no longer just her daughter but a Jaffa guest on Earth. Sam felt that maybe they’d finally make it. She had been so confused about what Buffy wanted, ever since the return of her memories. Maybe that corner had finally been turned.
Nearly a month passed after Buffy had been accepted and cleared for Gate travel. She had yet to step through it on a mission, because of the lull in SGC activity while they rebuilt a large section of the base. Her mom seemed to get even busier by the day, as the mega-brained scientist got involved in the planning of the production series Battle Cruisers that would follow the Prometheus and which were being redesigned to add both Asgard and Tok'ra innovations to the mix. Still, she had been warned that her first mission could be coming any day. Buffy hoped that was a fact -- especially given that her last week had been occupied with a course in the paperwork she had to fill out to get anything done or after she went anywhere. Growing up had never seemed less fun than after that course.
"Summers, I want you in the briefing room in ten minutes!" Jack yelled as he dashed by. Buffy couldn't help smiling: it looked like her wait was finally over. She also didn't mind that Jack called her by her other last name. Carter or Summers: both were fine with her.
"I'll be there!" she yelled back. She watched him disappear at a pace that told her some bureaucrat had to be dogging him with paperwork. Sure enough, one of Hammond's aides walked by, looking like he was searching for something. Appreciating Jack's pain, she pointed in the direction he had gone. It was time Jack paid for the snide comment he had come up with during the weekend, about the pretty, pretty shoes she had bought and shown off for SG-1’s visit to her mom's house.
She quickly ate her apple, then headed for the briefing room, which like much of the area around the gate room hadn't been touched by the remodeling of the base. She walked into the room, where her mom and Teal'c sat while Jonas was pacing near the TV screen. It seemed she had been called there to help with an SG-1 mission. 'Very cool,' she thought.
Both Jack and General Hammond walked into the room and sat at the table. General Hammond seated himself at the end of the table, Jack at his right hand side. A few moments later Colonel Reynolds and Colonel Walker walked up from the gate control room and went over to sit down as well. "Ok, Mr. Quinn, you've presented it to us earlier. Please tell everyone what you've discovered," General Hammond suggested.
Jonas seemed to weather the sudden interest well, as everyone in the room including Buffy herself focused their attention on him. "Well, yes, I believe I have translated the tablet that we found on Abydos," Jonas said, leading his presentation with the big news.
Buffy saw both Sam and Teal'c give Jonas congratulatory looks and smiles. She did them one better, feeling she also needed to keep up the tradition of smart remarks, as Jack still hadn't come back to full form after his promotion. "So, it really is the Ancient's yellow pages?" she asked.
Jack smiled, while Jonas looked confused for a moment before he said, "I don't think so. Any way, I finally figured it out just a half hour ago. I had translated the tablet wrong, so far. That's why I couldn't figure out where the city was. It wasn't the Lost City, because how could the Ancients lose a city? And why would they then call it ‘the Lost City’? They would call it by its name, right?"
"Right," her mom agreed.
"So you discovered a gate address, Jonas Quinn?" Teal'c asked. Buffy had chosen to seat herself next to him, trying to hint at the fact that she was there because of her Jaffa alliance. As she thought about it, she realized she had to convince Teal'c to bring more Jaffa symbols into their uniforms, to remind everyone that they weren't US Air Force officers but Jaffa warriors on loan to the SGC.
"Not exactly. While I was translating the tablet I remembered something I’d read in Doctor Jackson's notes. He had found a reference in the library of the four races referring to Vis Uban, a city that was supposed to become the jewel in the crown of the Ancients' realm, but then the plague hit and the construction was never finished. Four years ago, when General O'Neill had the Ancients' Repository of Knowledge downloaded into his mind, he put in a lot of new Gate addresses into the SGC computer. How many did he put in there, Colonel?" Jonas looked towards her mom.
"Well, enough. We've been sending probes and cataloging them as fast as we can. Anything interesting shows up, the planet goes on the mission list," her mom replied.
"Exactly, and how many have actually had probes sent to them?" Jonas continued, apparently knowing the answer already.
"Less than a quarter," her mom answered.
"And could there have been some sort of order to the gate addresses the General entered into the computer?" Jonas continued smiling, while Buffy thought her mom was beginning to look irritated.
"Maybe," her mom replied.
"Then if Vis Uban wasn't finished by the time the entire Ancient civilization fell, it might be the last one on the list, or at least one of the last ones," Jonas finished with a smile.
"It's sounds a bit maybe-ish," Buffy said.
"We sent a UAV probe before we called this meeting. It spotted ruins that look old enough to be from the Ancients," Jack said, "I've decided to send SG-1, SG-3 and SG-5 to scout the planet. We've decided to bolster SG-1 with Buffy, for now."
Buffy's head was nearly spinning as those words reached her ears. Buffy being under her mom's command was something she had never expected to happen. She wondered if that would work out alright. And maybe, she decided, that was what everyone else was wondering, as well.
"Move out, people," Jack said, but didn't look too happy for a moment. It seemed it was finally dawning on him that he couldn't just go off with SG-1 anymore. It would, after all, be the first mission they went on without him.
Buffy secretly liked the fact that she almost felt like gate travel was normal. It had been a part of her new life so long that it didn't feel strange -- even if it seemed to keep its magic, because every time she stepped through it another adventure might await her. She grasped the assault rifle they had told her to bring and moved in behind the SG teams, mimicking their movements. She was still a bit unused to the guns, and her old memories returning kept making her look for a sword, axe or stake half the time.
"Alright. SG-5, secure the area around the gate in case we need to withdraw. SG-3, follow us to those central ruins," her mom ordered.
"Buffy, please scout out the area between the gate and the ruins, then come find us," Teal'c added, as he was her commander.
Buffy nodded. "I'll be back," she said and ducked her head low before jogging off into the undergrowth. She was growing to like walking around in the wilderness, but seven years of life in this universe filled with training, running and hiking, combined with all her memories of an adult life of responsibility as the leader of the Slayers, was just enough to trump the tiny voice of ancient history in her mind, the voice of mallrat Buffy.
After reaching the tree line she let her senses range and she really took in the world around her. It was a lot like a warm version of an English forest. She remembered walking through one, back when they had gone to the old Council estate after Sunnydale. They had met and talked for days about how they'd organize themselves. She had fought with Kennedy, but in the end the entire gang had mostly made up and headed for each of their future posts. She had never been able to get the gang back together before she had gone to Paris, and that was eight years ago. Given the lives they’d led in her former universe, it was less than likely that most of her friends had survived unharmed.
Buffy decided that from where she was she'd circle around the area behind the gate, and head towards the ruins from there. That way, she felt she'd cover more ground. Having patrolled Sunnydale as randomly as possible years ago, she felt she knew how to do that, at least.
Buffy came upon a small river and followed it upstream for a while, when she heard leaves rustling and three people talking in what sounded like English but with a strong accent. Buffy ran over and leaned against a tree, staying out of sight. Three figures, humanoid-looking and dressed in blue-colored clothes, walked into view from the tree line. Buffy spotted a well-worn path that led to a shallow part of the riverbed.
The three people were discussing if they should go back to some sort of main camp or head for another village nearby for dinner. "I think we should go back to our camp: they would be worried if we weren't there for the evening meal," the voice of a man said.
It sounded like someone who was dearly missed.
"Daniel?" Buffy asked, and left her hiding place. The three men turned towards her and looked a bit frightened by her appearance. The leftmost member of the group looked like a carbon copy of Daniel. She had seen or felt nothing of the ascended scientist ever since her return from captivity, and given that Jack and her mom expected that the other Ascended were punishing Daniel for his involvement on Abydos, she had stopped expecting him to show up, at least for a while.
"Do I know you?" the Daniel copy asked.
"Oh, crap, the amnesia strikes again," she said, realizing from the look on his face that Daniel had no idea who she was. Her senses told her that it was him: he felt exactly like he should have. The loss of Daniel had been relegated to the past for her, but she remembered her feelings and grief from long ago, and even with the regaining of her old memories, what she felt made her dash forward. She grabbed Daniel in a hug before he could draw away.
"Oh, Daniel, I missed you, Space Monkey," she whispered. She took a breath, and again the scent she breathed in made it clear to her that it really was the long-lost man who mattered so much to the people central to her life. Those words swirled in her mind, together with all her talks with her mom, Teal'c and Jack.
And that was when she accepted it. That was the fact of her life that had troubled her for months. This wasn't her old life. Her old wounds were there from her old life, along with the memories, and for the most part she had been focused on the negative memories. But if she was honest with herself again, the old wounds were no longer open. She was a new person with a new life, as much as an old one. The feelings she had as she left the involuntary hug with Daniel had finally gelled it in her mind, and she allowed her old life to fade a bit and her new life to regain its importance.
"Space Monkey?" the slightly perplexed man asked.
"Oh, an old joke, I can promise you'll hear about that later. Jeez, Daniel, it is so good to see you. I have to take you to see my mom, right now," Buffy said and grabbed his hand.
"Wait a minute!" Daniel said and tried to wrench loose from her grip.
Buffy let go and turned to face him. "Ok, I don't want to waste too much time on this amnesia business. I promise: confronting the issue is much better than hiding from the past. I should know -- I lost my memory, too, until I got it back."
"Listen, I don't know you. Who are you and where do you come from?" Daniel asked.
"We came from Earth... Through the Chappa'ai. Your name is Daniel Jackson, we all thought you had died, but it seems you ended up here, and am I right you don't remember us, do you?" Buffy blurted.
"He does not remember anything. We found him lying naked in the fields one day. But could you slow down your speech? You are not making sense, woman," one of the other guys said.
Buffy took a breath and put on her most winsome smile, "Please, couldn't we talk about this back at your camp? It's in those ruins over that way, right?" Buffy gestured towards the area where her mom and the rest of the SG people had gone.
"We could. However, we were considering whether to go to another village instead," the same guy continued. She decided to name him Turban Guy, because he wore one.
"Ok, Turban Guy, from what I heard you hadn't decided, and those who came with me are there. They can confirm that I'm not crazy, and I am sure you're thinking that. They will tell you the same that I just did. That man is Daniel Jackson, and we need him to remember his life so that he can help us," Buffy explained.
"Help?" Daniel replied.
"No worries, it's not all death-defying stunts, giant space battles, and firefights with the Jaffa. Sometimes we get to really have fun," she replied with a teasing smile. She noticed Daniel's eyes widened for a moment and his mouth opened, then closed, as if he had been about to say something to correct her. Maybe it wouldn't be too difficult to awaken some of his memories. Feeling even better about an already good day, Buffy convinced the three guys to go with her back to their camp. She was sure that everyone would forgive her for not completing her patrol, in the face of what she had found.
Sam didn't want to admit it openly, but leading her first large deployment of SG teams without Jack around was a bit unnerving -- not because of fear, but because she was stepping out of her comfort zone. She was in command, and that meant all the decisions she made had to be just right. They had found a settlement of humans, apparently descended from escaped Goa'uld slaves, in the ruins. Jonas swore that the buildings were of Ancient origin, but they had not spotted anything remotely technological yet.
"Colonel Carter," Teal'c called out. Sam looked at the Jaffa, who pointed with an astounded look on his face towards the entrance area of the plaza the humans had settled. She turned and looked as well. Her mouth fell open. Buffy was leading a man that looked exactly like Daniel towards them.
"Daniel?" she said, completely shocked.
"Look what I found. You think we should keep him?" Buffy said with a blazing white smile on her lips.
"Arrom," Shamda the village elder said. She had just convinced him, a few minutes ago, that they weren't enemies. He had tendency to talk in parables, which was a bit strange.
"Arrom?" Sam asked, trying to recall the word from her Goa'uld lessons.
"Naked one," Buffy said and stopped next to her. The Daniel look-alike stood right in front of her.
"That is how he was found. He lay naked in the field, without clothes or knowledge of his past, after a thunderstorm. We feared he was from one of the other villages and had just been struck by lightning, but none there recognized him, either," Shamda said.
Sam turned towards what she was absolutely sure was Daniel: the eyes, the look, and currently the anger at being confused all so reminded her of him. "Daniel?" she asked again and reached out to touch him. Daniel took her hand before she could reach him. "Daniel, it's me: Sam," she said, but he just dropped her hand and walked off.
"Daniel Jackson," Teal'c called out, "do you not remember us?"
With a shake of his head Daniel ducked into a nearby tent. Sam turned towards Buffy, "He just showed up?"
"Yeah, he was on a stroll with his friends over there," Buffy said, after securing her rifle on her back, apparently deciding there was no danger on this planet for now.
"Good job," she told her daughter. "Anything else to report?" Sam remembered to ask.
"Nada. There were a few smaller ruins, but this large clump here looks like it was the city. I'd have to find higher ground to see anything further. I saw no suspicious beasties, traces of Jaffa, or Anubis lurking behind a tree," Buffy reported.
Sam smiled and nodded, "Head back through the Gate and tell Jack about Daniel. He'll want to come here if we can't get Daniel to go back with us."
"Sure," Buffy paused in thought, "Don't you think we should try and see if we can find something, and maybe talk more to Daniel, before we get Jack to make a mad dash for the gate?"
Sam thought it over, "Ok, you're reporting this back to Jack, if we can't convince Daniel to come with us today."
"Dealio," Buffy remarked, "So, who gets to take the first jab at Daniel?"
"I'll go," Sam said and headed for the tent, while taking off her hat.
Sam stepped into the gloom of the tent, where Daniel was sitting, staring at the tent wall. "Please leave me alone," Daniel asked.
"Listen, I'm Samantha Carter, and barring some cosmic accident I'm pretty sure you're Daniel Jackson," Sam replied.
"This tent is all I know, these people and this area is all I remember. Before I woke up in that field I might have been someone else, and I might even have been your Daniel Jackson. I've tried to remember. Sometimes I think I've even felt my memories floating right in front of me, just out of reach. But when I try to reach them, there is nothing. I've stopped trying," Daniel explained.
"You're a friend of mine, part of the team I work in. We're called ‘SG-1’. We lead extraordinary lives," Sam said.
"Extraordinary lives?" Daniel asked, his eyes showing more interest than before.
"The world we come from by traveling through the Chappa'ai, the Stargate, . . . we're its explorers and guardians. We struggle to keep it safe. You opened the way for us," Sam explained.
"Huh, I did?" Daniel asked.
"You're a scientist, a linguist and archaeologist. On our world, the Stargate had been disabled. We got it back up, powered and ready, but we couldn't figure out how to use it. You did. You opened up the entire galaxy for humanity," Sam paused while she considered her words, and then decided: "But it wasn't all good times. The galaxy is a dangerous place, and we've struggled ever since. A little over a year ago, you seemed to die from severe injuries, but we learned that you had instead been able to survive by ascending to a higher state of being. The last time I saw you, you went to fight against a being named Anubis," she said.
"Anubis?" Daniel asked.
"The most dangerous of the enemies we and all who want to be free in the galaxy share. He is a Goa'uld that attempted to infect that higher state of existence you went to with his evil, but failed. Now he’s our problem, and he seems to be growing more powerful by the day. We've been able to stay a step ahead of him, but sooner or later he'll be coming for Earth, and we're not ready to face him or his armies," Sam explained.
"Why am I here now?" Daniel said and looked towards her.
"Why are any of us here? Honestly, I had no idea you were here until my daughter brought you through that city gate. I don't know if you can, but I hope you'll trust me. You're Daniel Jackson. Besides, why else would you be here? The galaxy has thousands of planets; we chose this one by accident. I am sure you were put here for us to find," Sam said, and added in her head that maybe Jonas had even been nudged along to choose this location for Vis Uban.
"So you think a higher power had a hand in putting me here?" Daniel said.
"I think one of the Ascended put you here. I hope they qualify as a higher power, but my daughter says she doesn't think so," Sam replied. Buffy had related her mental experiences during her captivity with Thoth, after a lot of prodding, and although a part of Sam hoped that Buffy hadn't really been made the Chosen One of a different universe, she also trusted Buffy's sanity enough to believe what she had been told.
"That would be the blond girl, who brought me here," Daniel remarked.
"Yeah, but you wouldn't remember her like that. As I said, we struggle, and things have happened that changed her and me a little, although I supposedly look much the same as before," Sam said, thinking about their four year sojourn on Vindgloed.
"What do you want, Samantha Carter?" Daniel asked.
"I want you to consider coming with us. We need you, and we can help you remember. Please, if it fails, we can return you here," she promised, while mentally swearing that they'd get their Daniel back before that would happen.
"I will consider it," Daniel said. Sam nodded and left the tent again.
Outside, Jonas and Teal'c had departed, leaving only Buffy and one of the guys from SG-5, who was watching while Buffy happily chatted in a mix of English and Goa'uld with a few native women, who seemed fascinated by her. Buffy ended the conversation politely and walked over.
"Teal'c and Jonas went off to help look for anything useful in the ruins. Jonas told me to tell you that he's found texts that confirm this is Vis Uban. So, what did Daniel say?" Buffy asked.
"He is a lot more closed off than I remember Daniel being. I don't doubt it’s him, though," Sam replied.
"It's hard not remembering things. I remember how lost I felt. But you were always there to listen and make sure I was okay. I am grateful that you're my mom, okay? I don't think I tell you enough how much I love you, so there. I love you so much," Buffy said.
Sam felt her heart warm for a moment, then looked back at the tent, "I don't know if I convinced him."
"Teal'c didn't give me any orders. I could go in and try talking to him," Buffy offered.
"Tag. You're it," Sam said and caressed Buffy's chin before her daughter went into the tent.
"Can I come in?" Buffy asked, and studied Daniel. He had gathered his belongings, but he still looked unsure and maybe even a bit lost.
"Sure," Daniel said and looked up at her. "What was your name again?" he asked.
"Buffy Anne Summers Carter, but you usually called me Buffy," she replied, "So why’re you still sitting here in the dark? When I had lost my memories, I jumped at the first chance I got at finding out who I had been before."
"Yeah, well, I-I . . .," Daniel stammered.
"I don't understand why you're not, like, totally dying to know all about who you are," Buffy said.
"I am... And I'm not," he answered.
"You're afraid of what you'd find out. I can totally relate. After I found out a little bit, I decided in my own head that I didn't want to know more about myself. I was afraid that I might've been a really bad person. But now that I have my memories back, I think I am getting that I was just a person, with good and bad in me, like other people. You can't tell anyone this, but I am beginning to like who I was and am, no matter how arrogant people think that makes me," Buffy said.
"So, you've tried this," Daniel said, his voice carrying the hints of the curiosity that Buffy had always admired in her friend.
"Yeah, and I am okay. You don't have to be afraid of who you were, or that you don't want to be that person. I was afraid, too, in the beginning, but I understand now that it was just natural. I mean, what if I had been some horrible person? Which was a real possibility. But you don't have to be afraid. I know all about you, and you've got nothing to be afraid of," Buffy explained.
"Really?" Daniel said, sounding hopeful and even more curious.
"Look, you were... you are brilliant. One of the most caring, compassionate and driven people I've ever known. You're the kind of guy that will do anything to help another person, even give your own life for them. You always went for diplomacy and reason before violence. I admire that. I'd even say you had a gift for making the people around you better persons. When we thought we lost you, everyone at the entire place where we work mourned you. Now, that can't be a bad person to remember," Buffy said.
"What kind of person did you find after you remembered?" he asked.
"Just a girl," Buffy said, but couldn't help smiling mysteriously.
"Please come back with us. Then we can show you who you are, rather than just telling you," Buffy asked.
"I'll think about it," Daniel promised. Buffy studied Daniel and watched his eyes looking at his possessions more decisively. She felt sure he'd come. She got up and started leaving.
"Buffy?" Daniel asked. She stopped and turned around, studying him. "Thank you." Daniel said. Buffy just smiled and left.
Sam watched a smiling Buffy walking over. She had hoped her daughter's undeniable charm would work on the amnesiac Daniel, and from Buffy's expression it must have done. Teal'c and Jonas came walking out of an alley.
"We sent up another UAV," Jonas reported.
"The ruins are quite extensive," Teal'c added. Sam nodded. "What of Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c said.
"He's going home," Daniel said and came walking out of the tent. Sam and Buffy smiled at each other.
Jack studied the Stargate and wondered why Carter had asked for permission for SG-1's return but that the exploration of the ruins should continue. She had been deliberately vague in her radioed report. He was expecting some sort of surprise. The surface of the gate rippled. Buffy and Teal'c walked out of the event horizon, Buffy talking and Teal'c listening as was so often the case with those two. Then came Jonas, and finally Sam stepped through the gate with another person. Jack felt his jaw drop; then his surprised expression became a wide grin.
He walked up the ramp quickly and grabbed his old friend in a bear hug. Then, as he released a surprised-looking Daniel, he said, "Welcome home, Space monkey."
Behind him he heard Jonas groan as Buffy said, "You owe me one unspecified favor, Jonas."
"Why did I bet you?" Jonas moaned in the background.
"I believe that was a sucker bet, Jonas Quinn," Teal'c agreed.
"You didn't warn me," Jonas said.
"Buffy is Jaffa -- I will not stand in the way of her good fortune," Teal'c replied.
"Who are you?" Daniel asked.
"Buddy, it's me: Jack," he said and cast a glance at Carter, who was shaking her head.
"Amnesia?" Jack asked.
"Yup," Buffy replied from the bottom of the ramp.
"Let's get you all checked out by the doctors," Jack said, and the team handed over their weapons and headed for the exit, including a slightly overwhelmed-seeming Daniel. "So, you don't remember me at all?" Jack asked.
"No," Daniel said, looking uncomfortable.
"It'll come back to you. Just don't take as long as Summers did," Jack said, which in turn made Buffy roll her eyes at him.
"By the way, you don't remember this, but you owe me, like, 50 bucks," Jack said as they left the gate room.
"Well, sir, he's in perfect health, except for one small exception," Janet said and handed Daniel his glasses. Sam watched as he was at once impressed and bewildered when he put them on.
"Wow, what a difference!" Daniel said.
"You recognize me now?" Jack asked.
"Was your hair always like that?" Daniel replied. Sam saw Buffy grin, and she tried to hide one, as well. Jack's hair had gone completely gray over the last years.
"What way?" Jack asked and gave all of them a warning glance.
"Never mind," Daniel quickly said. Sam moved off. She considered if she should return to the planet right away, or if she'd have enough time to have a look at the results of the engine test-run the research department had done on the X-305 earlier in the morning. They were testing a few Tok'ra-suggested improvements, before gearing up for production. Just a week earlier, the Pentagon had approved the F-302 for production and deployment. They were going to produce 48 of the F-302 within the year, and the final plan was for hundreds of each model to be produced before the next design cycle.
Sam noticed Buffy and Janet talking about Buffy's first time on an official mission. Sam had to admit her daughter had done well in the field, although this time around it had been a simple and uneventful recon operation. She had read the ideas the Pentagon had for the infiltration people, and she wasn't sure she liked the level of danger her daughter would be in, but a voice in her head told her it was only natural.
Buffy had made a return trip to Vis Uban to help with the natives and arrived back at the SGC late in the night, so she had slept on the base. Now, as she shuffled into the new and bigger cafeteria, she found Daniel sitting there eating, together with Teal'c. "Hi, guys," she said as she sat down with her tray.
"Daniel Jackson recalled his wife last night," Teal'c confided in her.
"Hey! Congratulations, Daniel. I never met her, but I think I would have liked her," Buffy said.
"It's a good thing," Daniel agreed.
"And it's confirmation," Buffy added. Daniel nodded.
Buffy had been called to this conference blind. They had been scouting the ruins of Vis Uban for nearly five days, and they had found nothing. She guessed this had to be the capitulation declaration from the archeology department. There would be no superweapons for Earth's defense. Jonas had been talking about the ruins and the things they had learned about Ancient social structures and life, but she could see on the faces of Jack and George that neither had patience for a lot more of this from Jonas.
"At this point. we believe we've mapped the full extent of the ruins," Jonas said.
"And there were no big space guns, planetary shields, or anything cool to be found," Buffy said, ignoring the fact that it hadn't been her turn to speak.
"We've only completed our preliminary analysis, but . . . ," Jonas paused as Daniel was guided into the conference room by a guard.
"I'm sorry I'm late," he said, but Buffy knew he hadn't been invited.
"Daniel, you're not ready for this, yet. Besides you haven't been given clearance for this, yet, either," Jack said.
"The guard mentioned that. But listen, guys, I felt I needed to be here, and I will remember everything faster if I could help out. Look, I can't give you a solid reason, but I really feel I should be here," Daniel said.
Jack and George looked at each other, then George nodded. "Good enough," Jack agreed, and pointed at an empty chair.
"Besides, who could I tell? I mean, I don't know anybody but you," Daniel reasoned.
"Good one," Jack nodded, and looked back at Jonas.
"Thanks, Jim," Daniel said, but Buffy noticed from the look in his eyes that it had been a joke, not a mistake. Jack gave Daniel a look and probably saw the same thing, since the general only smirked.
"Oh, so . . . there are extensive writings that we have recorded -- all of them in the oldest Ancient dialect known to us. We have yet to translate them, but so far we've found no indication of any power sources, weapons or items of use. The original name of the place is really Vis Uban, which translates to ‘Place of Great Power’, but there is no indication that there are any means there of defeating Anubis," Jonas concluded.
Buffy noticed Daniel had been studying the brief and the stone tablet which Jonas had brought to the meeting again. Daniel looked up and said, "And you're not going to. That is not the Lost City."
"How do you know?" Jack asked.
"Because, Jonas translated ‘Lacun’ to mean ‘of the Lost’," Daniel said.
"Yes, but that was how we found..." Jonas said.
"The wrong place," Daniel finished.
"But your notes -- the translations in them . . . ," Jonas said.
"Were also wrong. I was way off," Daniel admitted.
"Well, how do you know that?" Jonas said, hinting at Daniel's lost memories.
"I can read the tablet easily now. I don't know how, but I look at these notes and I look at the tablet, and it's clear. I was wrong. It really is the Lost City," Daniel explained.
"So, the Ancients lost one of their cities?" her mom said, echoing the disbelief in Buffy’s own mind. The Ancients’ technology seemed so close to magic that it was hard to imagine them being so . . . careless.
"No, they did not lose it; they made it lost. So that other people that might try to find it couldn't. I'm guessing here that they've camouflaged it, or something," Daniel explained.
"So the lost city is still lost?" Jack said.
"If I understand the tablet correctly, it was the last and greatest collection of Ancient technology that the Ancients assembled before the plague killed them all. It was a gift to the future. The tablet doesn't indicate whose future, though. If someone else had found it, everyone in the galaxy would probably have felt the effects already," Daniel explained. Buffy could see the concept of the city and the alien race of the Ancients really intrigued Daniel.
"You told me to give Anubis the Eye and take that tablet, instead. Now, we're back at square one, with no clue about what to do next," Jack said.
"Anubis is expanding his territory quickly. The Tok'ra and Free Jaffa believe he will come to dominate the entire galaxy within a few years, unless he is stopped. Anubis is a central leader to his armies, and should he fall his empire would disintegrate within days," Teal'c said.
"If I said that, Jack, then I-I hope that it's true, but all I know now is that the place you're searching right now is not it," Daniel explained.
"Right, then were is it?" Jack asked.
"Didn't I just say, ‘all I know’?" Daniel asked and looked straight at Buffy. She nodded.
"Everyone, turn away; I want no witnesses," Jack warned, but he didn't do anything else, except make Daniel wince.
"I have an idea," Jonas said all of a sudden.
Everyone, including Buffy, looked at Jonas. "If I understood everything you said on Abydos, Doctor Jackson, then the Ancients tried to send Anubis back to our level of existence. They failed, and now he's trapped in between," Jonas said, obviously thinking out loud.
Buffy looked at Jonas and wondered for a moment what he was on about. Jonas continued, "Then -- and I am just thinking out loud – when you returned to human form, your memories of that time and your knowledge was removed, but you were still able to read this tablet. We know that Anubis seems able to use any form of Ancient technology, and a lot of his advantages over the Goa'uld and us come from that. So if he sees the tablet, he is not gonna make the same mistake I did."
‘He wants to make a trap for Anubis’, Buffy guessed. A replacement tablet, a few rumors placed by the Jaffa and Tok'ra, Anubis recovers a tablet, and then . . . what? She had no idea what exactly Jonas wanted to do after.
"We make a replica of the tablet. We could change what it says, with your help," Jonas told Daniel.
"Why?" Daniel asked, and Jack agreed.
"Well, I am not sure, but knowing where Anubis is going to be at a given moment must be useful, somehow. Maj... Colonel," Jonas turned towards her mom, who looked a bit taken aback at first, then surprised everyone by saying, "I might have an idea."
The days that followed had been intense, with Daniel, Jack, Teal'c, Jonas and her mom running hither and fro, and no one really making it clear what they were up to. Buffy had been off-world once, to slip into a Jaffa town and deliver a small message from Teal'c to someone who could get in touch with another Jaffa she'd never heard of. When she got back, Teal'c had been gone and hadn't returned so far. Then, this morning she had been called into a big conference room, not the one they usually used. She had been watching as the brass from the Pentagon and all the SGC department heads listened to her mom present the plan to take down Anubis. Buffy had taken a seat next to Jonas and Daniel. Jack and Hammond were sitting with a couple of Tok'ra, who looked about as tired as her mom. Her mom pressed the remote, and a new video was shown of Anubis' actual ship.
"As you all know, we've had little success with using Naquadriah to power the small F-302 hyperspace generator. And while new research indicates we'll have the problem solved in time, we can't currently open a stable hyperspace window for any length of time. However, a precise short burst has been theorized and proven in simulations to be possible. This would bypass the mothership's shields and allow a ship to make an attack run," her mom explained.
"If your calculations are incorrect, then what?" Jack asked. He had seemed annoyed all morning. Something about all of this was making him uncomfortable.
"Then the 302 would either bypass the mothership altogether, impact the shields, or worst of all re-emerge within the matter of the ship. But let's not go there, right now," her mom said, sounding very defensive. Buffy guessed that meant her mom and Jack had already discussed the plan and Jack didn't like it.
"Yeah, let's not ‘dwell’," Jack muttered.
"Now, uh, according to intelligence provided by the Tok'ra, the power core of Anubis' new weapon has severe cooling issues and requires its own separate cooling system, with a ventilation shaft on the exterior of the ship. If that can be targeted and destroyed while the weapon is powered, the crystals will overheat and be destroyed, along with a majority of the firing mechanism. We believe it will not destroy the ship. However, the damage might spill over into the central power core enough to disrupt regular systems aboard for a short period," her mom explained.
"Where is the shaft, exactly?" Jack asked with a barely disguised glint in his eye.
"As the General has been made aware, we do not know where the shaft is," her mom said. Buffy was getting a bit annoyed with Jack's haranguing of her mom. This was like presentation sabotage.
"Our operatives in Anubis' ranks have been unable to get aboard the new ship, and we have only been able to glean a limited working knowledge of its systems, as Anubis keeps many of his most important records in the Ancients’ language and our translators have great trouble translating it all. Anubis protects all his systems with elaborate ciphers in the oldest Ancient dialects. We have been unable to crack them, even with the help of the SGC," Magra, the current main Tok'ra agent at the SGC, explained.
"Which is why Jonas Quinn, Daniel Jackson and an infiltration specialist have to go onto Anubis' ship and access the computer systems. They should be able to translate the information and radio it out," her mom explained.
Buffy leaned forward. She would love to get the position as the combat specialist. Anubis was the Goa'uld behind her torture and was to blame for a lot of badness. She'd relish the chance to show him the error of annoying the Slayer.
"We have devised an injectable substance that will hide operatives from the type of sensors that Anubis uses on his ships. It has proven highly efficient, but only lasts for eight hours," Magra cautioned.
"They'll decipher the codes and relay the location of the target to Major Mitchell, one of the X-302 test pilots who has been seconded to us for this mission, and myself, who will be in a F-302 and who'll then attack the ship," Sam explained.
"No problem, right?" Jack asked.
"Sounds easy to me," Jonas said, and Daniel at her side gave Jack a grim ‘thumbs-up’. Buffy studied her mom, hoping to catch a hint at what her role would be.
"Good. Anubis' ship will be destroyed, and we all live to save another day," Jack said in a tone which clearly indicated that was not what would happen.
"As the General is well aware, and as I said, the F-302 attack will not be sufficient to destroy the ship. However, our primary goal is to destroy Anubis' super weapon. It's his decisive advantage, and without it the balance of power between the System Lords and Anubis will become less skewed. Now, we have a second plan that could mean the destruction of Anubis and his ship. Teal'c has sent word that Lord Yu has agreed to field the System Lords’ ships against Anubis, provided he comes to Vis Uban's orbit. It might not work out, but we believe -- given shared interests -- the Goa'uld won't betray us, for now," her mom explained.
"Okay, everyone who thinks this is an absolutely insane plan, raise your hand. Come on, be honest," Jack said. Slowly, everyone except Buffy and General Hammond had their hands in the air. Buffy didn't, because she had a feeling that it was the only way to go, and so would not put down a plan just because it was a bit wild. She had created her share of plans based on insane ideas before. She smiled at her mom's raised hand, though.
"Keep them up, people, because the next question is who going to make it happen anyway," General Hammond said, and Buffy noticed Jack looking a bit annoyed for a moment. Jack seemed to have no faith in the plan at all.
"It would take us at least a week to relocate the inhabitants of the ruins," Jonas said, and Buffy nodded. Thankfully, Shamda and his people were travelers by nature and had no problems moving on, if it was to another peaceful place.
"Which will give us time to build a makeshift runway and get the 302 parts through the gate for assembly," her mom explained.
"Then we'll have the Tok'ra plant the fake tablet, and -- with any luck -- lure Anubis to the planet," Jonas said, earning a nod from both her mom and Magra.
"Make it happen, people," General Hammond said, and exited the room, together with most of the other officers, leaving only Buffy and SG-1.
"Look, I realize I wasn't the most supportive voice in the room," Jack said.
"Sir, we all know it's an extreme long-shot for it all to work, but given the problem of the weapon, we have to do this," her mom said.
"Well, my big problem isn't really with all that. Anubis' defeat depends on us trusting a Goa'uld. Doesn't anyone else have a problem with that?" Jack asked.
"Of course, Jack. But, honestly, as mom said, it's not about that: it’s about the weapon. Killing Anubis is just the cherry on top," Buffy said.
"Right, just for the record, though: this is the wackiest plan we've ever come up with," Jack said.
"Wackier than strapping an active Stargate to the bottom of the X-302? Wackier than blowing up a sun?" Her mom asked, and Jack nodded every time. Then, as a guy waved him over -- it looked like some sort of blond guy with Major rank insignias -- Jack left.
"What am I doing in all this?" Buffy asked her mom. Jonas and Daniel looked expectantly at her mom.
"You could stay here. Teal'c hasn't left any orders for you, and this is all incredibly dangerous," her mom suggested. Buffy kept silent. "Fine, Jonas asked that you help him and Daniel get around on the mothership safely. This is a request, not an order," her mom said.
"I'm going. Besides, how could I not? These two book-nerds need a combat-geek to help them," Buffy said.
“‘Combat-geek?’" her mom inquired.
"Well, I am supposedly a genius at combat, right? And I like it a lot, to the point of getting giddy over seeing a new type of sword. Hence, ‘combat-geek,’" Buffy argued.
"Right, well, if you're helping, why don't you go see if the Tok'ra could use a hand with something? Jack said he wanted you to handle them, as you're one of the people they seem to be honest with," her mom suggested.
"And I speak Goa'uld. Or is it ‘Tok'ra’ when it's them? Ugh, now I gotta think about that, too," Buffy said and left to find Magra.
Buffy waited in the ruins. Somewhere nearby, her mom and a pilot with the call-sign ‘Shaft’ were getting ready to take off and meet Anubis' ship up above. Jack, who had insisted on leading this operation, which was one of the largest coordinated actions by the SGC to date, was probably going crazy at being unable to go up with her mom for this battle. She heard the hum of an arriving matter stream, and a large contingent of Jaffa arrived. They bore the marks of Anubis. She looked across the plaza, to where Daniel and Jonas were hiding. She looked back at SG-5, who were there to open the way for them onto Anubis' ship. She nodded.
SG-5 jumped up, armed with zats, and started firing. There were no staff blasts in return. "Clear!" Colonel Walker called out. Buffy followed Jonas and Daniel to the rings, while the Colonel headed for the lead Jaffa, to activate the rings.
"Thanks, guys," Jonas said.
Buffy was not loving what she had to do next. She took out the Tok'ra stealth substance and took a deep breath, before injecting it. It hurt and felt warm for a moment. She pocketed the injector and leaned back, so that the three stood back-to-back at the center of where the rings would arrive. She readied her weapons.
"Good luck!" Colonel Walker called out, and the rings appeared from above. The white light arrived and whisked them away.