Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, or universes depicted herein. Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon. Bleach belongs to Kubo Tite. Stargate belongs to MGM. Gundam belongs to Bandai. I am not making any money off of this story.
Buffy Summers stared intently at the television, her right hand scribbling furiously at a worn notebook. Every so often, she would look down at her work to make sure that it was eligible before staring at the television even more intently. Slowly her brows drew together into a tight knot on her face. With a horrific scream, she launched the notebook at the television before rushing toward the phone by her bed.
She paused as she held the receiver to her ear unsure of whom exactly she should call in a situation like this. Her first inclination was to call Giles, but in her mind, she was already piecing together exactly what the paternal figure in her life would say. No, she needed somebody who would listen without second-guessing her on this. Xander, her adorably naïve friend, was right out as he had decided to take a summer road trip to all fifty states. Secretly she wondered if she would have thought of him at all if she hadn’t thought to take him off the list immediately.
Ignoring her traitorous thoughts, she quickly dialed Willow’s phone number. After what felt like an eternity to her excited mind, she heard her friend whisper a breathless hello as she picked up the phone. “Yeah, hi to you too Willow. Look, I know it’s…three in the morning, but I need you to come over right now. See you when you get here.”
Without waiting for her friend to give a reply Buffy hung the phone up before glaring at the television one final time. As she marched down the stairs, she failed to hear the closing remarks on the man she had been studying so intently. She’d watched this particular show enough in the past that she had no real need to hear the ridiculous catch phrase. Not that she understood much of what he was saying at any rate.
There were very few times that Jack O’neill felt as angry as he did at this moment. He had effectively been sitting on his ass as a little girl fought for her life. He contented himself, if you could call the mixture of shame and rage he now felt content, with the fact that there had been absolutely nothing he could have done to help her at that time.
Unconsciously his hands tightened into white knuckled fists at the thought of another child he was close to dying. It was worse then the time his son had accidentally killed himself. At least his son hadn’t suffered. The doctors, braver men than any of the troops he had ever known, had told him in their too calm voices that even if Charlie had lived through the ordeal then he would have been brain dead. At the time it hadn’t mattered much, it was only one more infuriating thing for the universe to throw in his face. Now though, after years of dealing with it, it was a blessing. His son hadn’t felt anything after the bullet ripped into his cranium and tore out a large section of his brain.
Cassandra, as near as he could guess, had been alert for the entirety of the attack. She had probably screamed for help as whatever the hell had done it began to tear into her. The hopelessness of her situation had probably driven her to point blank depression. How she had ended up at the hospital was something that they were going to have to investigate.
Taking his eyes off his fists Jack looked to the stars for some form of guidance. What he saw instead was a white speck disturbingly out of place floating near the roof of the hospital. The distance made seeing what it was exactly a little hard, but Jack had long since decided that coincidence didn’t exist in his universe.
His first instinct was to spring to his feet and rush up the stairs to the roof and prove to the universe that his rage wasn’t impotent. It lasted only seconds, instinct swept away by a wave of discipline honed by a near lifetime in military service. Instead, he calmly and slowly took the cell phone out of his pocket and dialed his commanding officer. “General Hammond…”
“Buffy, I would like to congratulate you for proving, beyond a shadow of doubt, that three o’clock in the morning exists. Before your call nobody had been quite sure it was real, much like Shroedingers Cat,” Willow said as she stared at her friends ceiling. “So, thank you for providing quantum mechanics with yet another example of the uncertainty principle. Does three A.M. exist, or indeed time at all, until it is observed? If time is, merely something that is observed what happens to all of the unbelievers. There would probably be a war between the two. I should probably kill you were you stand to prevent such an atrocity. They might even give me a metal.”
Willow stopped herself before she could go into full on babble. She had assured herself that Buffy would never do this to her. She had expected an emergency of apocalyptic proportions and had come as prepared as she was able on such short notice. Instead, she and Oz had been regaled with five hours of taped Japanese television. Fire would not be enough to cleanse the taint from Buffy’s soul.
“Jeez Willow cranky much?” Buffy asked from where she sat leafing through her notebook. She quickly pulled the notebook up to hide herself from the furious gaze of the witch.
“You’re going to hell, but not just any ordinary hell. You are going to a special hell. Where…where people who kick puppies and spit on any holy person of your choosing go,” Willow snarled at the slayer. Her brain was a little fuzzy with the effort of following what had been happening on Ghost Bust, which was as unfortunate a name as she had ever heard, and having woken up at three o’clock in the morning.
Buffy gave a startled squeak from behind her notebook at the threat. “But…look I’ve got a list.”
For the first time that morning, Oz decided to make an actual comment rather then the pained grunts he unleashed during the Ghost Bust marathon. “Where will you get that much coal though?”
Both women turned glares onto him, Buffy’s just a little more pointed then Willow’s glare. “Okay, all the silly stuff aside will you hear me out now?”
Both of her friends gave her nods of acquiescence. The slayer laid the notebook on the bed in such a way that both of them could easily see it. Then she quickly bound back towards the VCR before impatiently rewinding the first of the tapes. “…damned, dirty tapes,” she muttered under her breath before pressing play. “Okay, see when Don does that strange thing with his staff? Now look at the dirt by his feet.”
Willow pressed her face right up to the television. “It’s a…handprint?”
Oma watched as seven green ships slowly drifted toward Edora. They were…in the short term, they would be a boon against the Goa’uld and the Replicators. That much was certain. It was their long-term plans that had the ascended anxiously wringing her ‘hands’ and fretting about what she should do.
Ideally, she would have simply diverted them off course, preferably into the heart of a star. Unfortunately, that option had flown out the window the second that Dead Ones had learned of their continued existence. There were too many anxious eyes glaring at each other from the shadows for her to be able to intervene personally.
No, she would have to find the time to have a chat with Daniel. She only needed the opportunity. It was the only way. The newcomers would crush everything they had built in a generation.
Janet scrubbed her hands furiously under the kitchen sink. She kept her eyes down to limit the chances of her accidentally looking into the backyard where a slew of forestry agents and police officers were looking for signs of whatever had attacked Cassandra. She would scream bloody murder if she saw even one more of them shake their heads stupidly.
She shook off those thoughts and stalked down the hall to her room. Quickly and quietly, she slipped out of her civilian clothes before slowly donning her Class A‘s. It was a soothing action to her mind. Janet Frazier, mother of a horribly injured adopted daughter was replaced by Janet Frazier, major in the United States Air Force. It hurt to admit that at the moment her obligation to her duties as a doctor and officer in the military were more important then those of a mother. Cassie was stable though, and the doctors expected her to make a complete recovery from the attack.
In any other circumstance, Cassie would have been bundled off to a military hospital so quickly it would have made a person’s head swim. Cassie had non-Earth native minerals in her blood, and while a steady supply of big macs had helped to bring the right levels up it was by no means a cure all. A decent doctor with a lot of prep time and a sizeable lab might find something out by accident.
Unfortunately, she had already been in surgery by the time that Janet, and the Stargate program by extension, had been notified. SG-1 had been all for playing the heavy hand and simply bullying their way in, but General Hammond had quickly told them to back off on that front. The NID would love a chance to investigate them on that front. They were, and it was physically painful to admit this, a legally sanctioned group that held jurisdiction over them. Which was why it was a damned shame that they had all the brains of an inbred Pomeranian and the morals of an alley cat?
Wakefulness came slowly to her, and for one single instant, all was right in the world. The ceiling was strange, but there was the comfortable smell of disinfectant that she had come to associate with Janet. Then it had been ripped from her when she felt her ribs ache in acute pain.
Her memories must have been jumbled. It was the only reason she could think of for the image of huge hands clawing at her. The very kind doctors had told her that yes the bear that had attacked her must have had very large paws indeed. She had attempted to correct the man, but found that what little energy she could muster crumble under a happy little tidal wave of lethargy brought about by whatever drugs they had given her.
Of course, the doctors were right. Doctors were very smart people, just like her mother. If they said that she was in shock and imagining things then it must be true. Besides that there was no way that anything even remotely human could have hands that big. Janet had spent a few weeks going over the various animals that lived on the earth to get her better acclimated to her new home. Some of the animals were incredibly different from anything she had seen on Hanka, and some of them were incredibly deadly.
She was broken from her thoughts when the door to her room opened and Samantha Carter strode in. In the confused girl’s mind, she couldn’t help but wonder why she was seeing Sam and not her mother.
“How are you doing Cassie?”
The currently bed ridden teen gave the older woman a look that she hoped conveyed exactly how silly of a question that was. The drugs hadn’t killed any of her brain cells, only made them happy. Of course, she wasn’t okay. She had been mauled by a wild animal in her own backyard. The drugs were helping with that though. They were helping A LOT. “I’ve felt better,” she finally managed to say.
For her part, Sam was trying desperately not to think about the ugly wounds on the girl’s torso. She sighed when she heard Cassandra ell her that she was okay. It was obvious to her that the girl was doped up to the eyeballs by the way that her head kept falling back onto the pillow. Unfortunately, now the real ‘fun’ could begin. “Cassie, how did it happen?”
“Well, you know how Mom had to drive me back home after she got that call?” Cassie questioned her friend hoping to get some juicy SGC gossip, and praying that Sam would be more forthcoming if she thought she was two seconds away from singing the ditty to The Simpsons. She was understandably a little put out when all Sam did was nod her head brusquely. Sighing, Cassie continued on with her tale. “Well I decided to call a friend and see if we could do something since I suddenly had all this free time. I walked outside to check on the grass, because Mom was worried about this one spot, when I felt something hit me. Then things were a little jumbled. What ever it was had big hands though.”
“It had big hands Cassie? It wasn’t a thing with paws?” Sam asked urgently.
“It could have been paws. It probably was paws. I could only see the things because my blood was all over them.” Cassandra answered in only the way that a person on pain medication could. The stuff worked faster then it had any right to. “The doctors are sure it was some kind of animal.”
“Cassie, this could be…big. There was a situation,” and Sam was really hoping the girl caught the insinuation in her voice, “at Jack’s house. It was why Janet had to take you back. There was an unexpected visitor. I think that your attack and the visitor might be connected.”
Flashes of memory hit Cassandra at that moment. There were images of her home speeding away into the distance superimposed on top of a set of claws gleaming with blood. Then she was being lifted into the air and speed. She was being sped down the streets at a velocity that should have torn her apart. Her brain, addled with painkillers and beginning to get confused about a great many things, latched onto that thought.
She should have died. Something had attacked her in her own backyard and yet she hadn’t died. The only sounds had been her whimpers which none of the neighbors could have heard. Why hadn’t she died? “Sam…”
Jack knew that he would have to approach this situation calmly or his target would likely disappear again. He also knew that being clam was the furthest thing his mind wanted to be now. Silently he watched as Daniel slowly rose from the opposite side of the roof. Deciding that now was the perfect time to open up the questions to the…being. “So, do you come here often?”
Instead of Jack witnessing what should have been the worlds longest face plant to a gruesome death; he was rewarded with the sight of the man simply falling to the air as if it were the floor. Perversely Jack wanted to congratulate himself for getting back at least little bit at the being for the humiliation that he had thrust upon him.
Almost immediately, the figure righted himself before casting a frustrated, glace at Jack. “For the love of…it’s the pervert!”
Goodbye Calm, hello righteous indignation.
“Now you listen here, whatever the hell you are! I did not mean to touch you…there.” Jack was sure it was a new record in interplanetary negotiations. Ten seconds and already the situation had gone to hell in a hand basket. It had already been disastrous from a first contact point of view; this new situation would only add fuel to the fire.
The being slowly descended the air all the while keeping his hands firmly locked over his genitals, or at least where they should be on a human male. Dealing with aliens was always a gigantic pain in the ass.
“So, what do you want?” the being asked still with his hands firmly protecting his genitals.
“Oh you know the usual stuff. How did you get here? What are your plans? Do those plans have anything at all to do with harming or controlling the populace? The usual stuff.”
“I want to go home. That’s all I want.”
Laira watched as the man in the red suit inspected each of her people as if they were the choicest cuts the butcher could provide. He had arrived during the fire rain speaking of a better life for the whole of Edora. At first, they had scoffed at him believing that his words were tricks meant to help him in trade. He had quickly dismissed that notion when he showed them exactly what it was he used for a personal craft. He could have crushed them all easily, and yet he hadn't. She herself had seen him beg the people not to follow that particular road to ruin. “I could conquer you as easily as I breathe,” He had told them, “but instead I offer you the hand of friendship. Do not cruelly spurn us. We mean you no harm; we only offer you the chance for a better life. We can help you. I have machines at my disposal that can easily plow your fields, find fish in areas that you would never have dreamed of, or dig for minerals in the deepest pits.”
The people had capitulated almost instantly when they had seen that he had more of the massive machines in which he arrived. It was only later that they learned that a few settlements had refused his generous offer. The only things left were smoking craters and an odd heaviness to the air. The man had taken them there himself and wept openly when he told them that they had attacked his men. One of those men in question, they all saw for themselves, would never be able to walk again.
The man finally finished his inspection of the people before striding off toward his giant red machine. She felt a cheer bubble up from her throat, “Sieg Zeon!” It was a cheer quickly taken up by the rest of the people.
Author's Notes: Sorry for the long delay. I've been going to an occupational therapist and it's an exhausting experience.