Disclaimer: I don’t own either BtVS or SG: SG-1 and I am making absolutely no money off the publication of this story.
Overlap - Anomalies
Yet another story in the Overlap universe. While it’s not strictly necessary to read the other stories in the series, it would probably help.
BtVS: Post Chosen.
SG: SG-1: Post the season three episode “Fair Game.” This is AU for Stargate as Riley Finn has been involved with the SGC since the beginning of season two.
Riley blinked as he found himself staring down at Earth. Ordinarily he would enjoy the view, but since not three seconds earlier he had been walking through the corridors of the SGC, finding himself staring down at Earth from the inside of a spaceship was a little disconcerting.
“Greetings Major Finn,” came a voice from behind him.
Riley recognized the voice and turned to greet the alien, “Good afternoon Supreme Commander Thor. Did you miss and accidentally snag me instead of Colonel O’Neill?”
“I can assure you Major Finn, I do not make such mistakes,” Thor replied. “I wished to speak with you.”
“No offense,” Riley said. “But why me? Dr. Jackson knows considerably more about the new treaty and Colonel O’Neill is your designated representative.”
“This does not concern the Protected Planets Treaty,” Thor said. “Rather it is about some … anomalies my scans have detected on your planet.”
Riley paused in thought. “What anomalies?” he asked.
“During our observations of Earth the Asgard have detected several energy readings that we are unable to classify,” Thor explained.
Riley started to get an uncomfortable feeling, “And how does that involve me?”
“During the negotiations for Earth’s inclusion into the Protected Planets Treaty my chair automatically scanned each individual that came into range,” Thor replied. “You and to a somewhat lesser extent Captain Miller both show signs of exposure to those energies.”
“Are we in any danger?”
“I do not know,” Thor answered. “In our explorations of the universe the Asgard have encountered similar energy readings on two other worlds. One in our own galaxy and one in a galaxy at the limits our explorations reached before other matters forced us to contend with issues in our home galaxy.”
“Really,” Riley said. “What happened on those worlds to make you so interested in me?”
“Both worlds are now devoid of life,” Thor replied. “One entirely destroyed.”
“We do not know,” Thor replied. “Soon after the Asgard first ventured into space one of our exploration ships detected a large wave of energy emanating from a small solar system towards the edge of our galaxy. The energy wave had a destabilizing effect on space, several years passed before it was safe enough to travel to the source of the original energy wave. During that time we monitored what we believed to be several novas in that region of space. Even after the wave dissipated the distance was so great and our technology at the time so limited that it took our science vessel nearly one of your years to reach the source of the energy wave. When the ship investigated they found this world.”
A hologram of a planet appeared between Thor and Riley. It was a barren world. Massive volcanoes erupted across its face. Lava flows big enough to be seen from space flowed across the surface despite the large amounts of ash and soot that darkened the atmosphere.
“My God,” Riley gasped. “What happened?”
“The Asgard do not know,” Thor answered. “Our exploration ship was unable to gain much information as it was too dangerous to land on the surface and our equipment was not as sophisticated as it is now. Over the subsequent millennium we have determined that this world was once inhabited by a sentient species. Their technological level was approximately equivalent to your planet’s medieval period at the time of the cataclysm.”
“How many died?”
“We can not be certain,” Thor said. “Much of the evidence of this world’s civilization has been lost. Our scientist’s estimations range between 150 to 400 million.”
“And the other world?” Riley asked.
“Three thousand of your years ago the Asgard found a world that radiated a type of energy quite similar to that found on the world you see before you now,” Thor said motioning to the image in front of him.
“And what did they find?”
“An inhabited planet that was on the verge of developing industrialization,” Thor said. “We designated the world Draugrinn. Regrettably the war in our own galaxy began soon after this discovery and our exploratory vessel was recalled. It did leave behind several instruments to observe the planet.”
Riley nodded for Thor to continue.
“One hundred and nine of your years after the discovery of this world the instruments we left behind recorded this.”
In front of Riley a blue green planet appeared. Very much like Earth. The oceans were smaller, taking up only about a third of the surface. An enormous desert dominated the largest continent, a dozen Saharas could fit it that, Riley thought. It seemed a peaceful enough world. At times the image would zoom in to show a city or small village. Riley was struck both by how clearly alien the planet was and yet how easily he could pick up the rhythm of this world. Carts being pulled along roads by something looking vaguely like a giraffe with a turtle’s shell, large ships fishing in the ocean, a battle between what Riley assumed were two rival nations, signs of industrialization starting to pop up, something similar to trains starting to be used, it was amazing.
And then it happened. Riley saw the bright flash near the center of the large desert. A darkness appeared, initially covering hundreds of square miles. Lightning flashed along its edges.
“The anomalous energy readings began multiplying exponentially at this point,” Thor commented. “Our sensors were unable to penetrate the phenomenon. We did detect several dimensional fractures along its leading edges. Our scientists are still unable to explain their cause. The energy readings continue to defy our efforts to classify or explain them.”
Riley nodded as he continued to stare at the scene unfolding in front of him. The darkness began to spread across the globe. Occasionally the image would switch to what Riley assumed was a ground based sensor. He could see the darkness approaching. Lighting lashing out, destroying everything it touched. The aliens running in all directions in a desperate but clearly futile effort to escape. As soon as the darkness reached a sensor it failed.
On one of the images Riley was almost certain he saw at least one demon rampaging down a street killing indiscriminately as it went before the darkness consumed the sensor. He thought he saw others at the periphery of other scenes.
Soon only images from orbit were being shown. And then those went dark as well.
“The final recordings were made by the relay satellite we left at the edge of the star system,” Thor explained.
Riley watched what were clearly heavily magnified images of the planet, as the darkness completely covered the planet. Massive bolts of what looked like lightning erupted from the planet’s surface. After a few moments what Riley could only describe as a … rift appeared, seemingly slicing the planet in half. A sort of ‘black hole’ appeared in its center and the planet simply vanished. A few trace sparks of energy could be seen in the void left by the planet. And then that image went dark as well.
“The planets population at the time of its destruction was 1.5 billion,” Thor said. “Our scientists are unable to explain this occurrence. We dispatched a ship to investigate but it was unable to move any closer than five hundred light years from the planet’s former location. The area of space surrounding the phenomenon had become impassable in hyperspace. The probes we launched all failed before they could reach the center. As with our previous encounter with this type of energy wave, several stars in that region of space were destroyed. One supported a world with sentient life. It was destroyed.”
“Is the phenomenon still growing?” Riley asked.
“No,” Thor answered. “Our vessel again left behind sensors to monitor the situation. Over a period of two thousand years the phenomenon contracted in size until it disappeared entirely. There is currently no trace of the planet or what destroyed it. Our sensors do occasionally detect trace amounts of the anomalous energy readings where the planet once existed.”
“And you’re saying that your people detect similar energy readings here on Earth and specifically in me,” Riley said.
“And you’re afraid something like what we just saw could happen to Earth?”
“Again, Major Finn, that is correct,” Thor said. “This phenomenon defies all our efforts towards understanding. We have in the course of our studies of the knowledge left behind by the Ancients found indirect references to this phenomenon. They speak of great darkness and warn of danger should any effort be made to control such energies. My hope is that since you appear to have had some exposure to this energy you might be able to provide some insight into its properties or explain what happened to the other worlds the Asgard encountered.”
Riley nodded and began to think about what to say. The Asgard had just become Earth’s most critical allies in the war against the Goa’uld so alienating them was not a good idea. On the other hand what he knew was even more heavily classified than the Stargate program. Of even greater importance, Riley didn’t want Thor to start beaming demons or God forbid Slayers up to his ship for study. Still, from what he just saw and Thor’s explanations he felt reasonably confident he could explain to Thor why he should stay out of Earth’s other war. Besides if what he believed about those planets was true …
“I might know something about these energies you detected,’ Riley said. “Tell me Thor, can you show me where on Earth these anomalous energy readings are concentrated?”
“Yes,” Thor answered moving a crystal on his chair.
The scene in front of Riley changed again. This time Earth appeared. Several spots on the globe flashed a brilliant red color. Riley recognized the locations instantly. Sunnydale, Cleveland, a city in Germany … the Hellmouths and other places he knew supernatural beings concentrated. He noticed something else.
“Why is this dot flashing?” Riley asked pointing to the spot that marked the Sunnydale Hellmouth.
“Over the past one hundred years the energy output from that area has been growing at a steady rate,” Thor answered. “It has flared several times in the past ten years. Due to the nature of the energies involved our sensors were unable to gain any significant detail into the events. We feared Earth might be lost. However, for the past three years the energy readings have been declining sharply.”
“That sounds about right,” Riley said.
“You know of this phenomenon?”
“I think so,” Riley said. “And if I’m right I owe some people some very big ‘thank-yous’ the next time I see them. And if what I think happened on those planets out there is correct I also owe them some apologies for not always taking them seriously when they talked about apocalypses,” Riley shook his head. “They really have been saving the world.”
“I do not understand Major Finn,” Thor said. “Are you indicating that these energies pose a threat and that there are people on your world who confront this threat?”
“Pretty much,” Riley replied. “Before I go into explanations, is there some way I can contact General Hammond to let him know where I am and what I’m doing? Because this is going to take a while.”
General George Hammond was having a good week so far. The SGC successfully negotiated Earth’s inclusion into the Protected Planets Treaty and maintained its ability to use the Stargate. He could move direct invasion of Earth a step or two down his list of primary concerns. More importantly they had secured a powerful ally in the Asgard.
Things were going well.
So it should come as no surprise that Hammond was not all surprised (angry and concerned but not surprised) when Major Finn simply appeared in front of his desk without any warning.
“Major Finn,” Hammond said turning to face Riley. “How did you get here?”
“Actually Sir I’m not here I’m still there,” Riley answered. “I’m on Thor’s ship. This is a hologram. Colonel O’Neill is right, this is cool.”
“Major, why did Thor transport you to his ship?”
Riley glimpsed around making sure they were alone. “We have an Overlap situation Sir.”
“Major,” Hammond said. “This is second time we’ve had an Overlap in less than two months. What is it now?”
“The Asgard are aware Earth’s magic Sir,” Riley replied. “They have detected what they classify as ‘anomalous energy readings.’ The strongest concentrations correspond to the Hellmouths.”
“And why did Thor transport you up to his ship?”
“Apparently I show signs of exposure to that energy Sir,” Riley answered. “I assume from the time I’ve spent on the Hellmouth and with the Initiative. Thor believes I can provide some answers about what the energy is.”
Hammond nodded. “And you want my permission to reveal classified information to an alien.”
“Yes Sir,” Riley answered. “Sir, Thor showed me images of two other worlds where the Asgard detected the same type of energies. Both worlds were destroyed. You can see why the Asgard have an interest in learning what happened. And why it might be helpful for us to get their information on supernatural phenomenon.”
Hammond nodded. “I see. We can’t risk a rift with the Asgard this early in our relationship.” Hammond paused thinking the situation through. “Very well Major. You are authorized to inform the Asgard about the existence of magic and the supernatural. Use your best judgment but try not to compromise national security too badly Major.”
“Thank you Sir,” Riley said. “I should be back in a couple of hours.”
“Dismissed,” Hammond said as Riley disappeared from view.
Riley turned his attention back to Thor. “General Hammond has authorized me to reveal what I know about these ‘anomalous energy readings’.”
“Thank you Major Finn,” Thor replied.
“I should inform you now Thor,” Riley said. “Much of what I am going to tell you is heavily classified by my government. As far as the SGC is concerned only General Hammond, Captain Miller, Dr. Ambrose and myself have access to this information.”
“Your species tendency to restrict information from one another is very inefficient Major Finn,” Thor said. “But the Asgard will honor our agreement with your government and not reveal this information to other members of the SGC without your authorization. Is that acceptable Major Finn?”
“Yes Sir,” Riley replied. “The energy readings you’ve detected are what my people describe as ‘magic’ and that is quite literally what it is …”
And Riley began explaining his knowledge of the supernatural world to Thor. To his surprise Thor was far more open to many of the concepts than he expected the alien to be.
“During our travels the Asgard have encountered species capable of doing some of the feats you describe through the application of will,” Thor explained when Riley asked. “What your people would describe as telepathy and telekinesis. While we have never observed the transmutations you have described it is not unreasonable to assume similar applications of will can accomplish such feats. Asgard science can produce items seemingly from nothing with the proper application of our beaming technology and manipulation of molecules and atoms.”
Riley nodded in replied. “Among those species have you detected these same energy readings?”
“No,” Thor replied. “We can trace such abilities to definite regions of the cerebral cortex and higher brain functions. While difficult to quantify, such abilities can be explained within our understanding of the universe. You have indicated that this ‘magic’ exists outside of science.”
“Not outside per se,” Riley said. “Willow is convinced that magic can be explained through physics. She’s always maintained that magic is just another form of energy and follows the basic rules regarding energy. It can’t be created or destroyed only transformed or moved. However we don’t fully understand magic. We can use it, but not explain it.”
“Interesting,” Thor said. “I feel it would be most helpful to discuss these issues with one of these Champions as you call them and in particular this Willow Rosenberg.”
“I am afraid that won’t be possible at this time Supreme Commander,” Riley said. “At present, they have no knowledge of the Stargate program. General Hammond and I have discussed opening talks with them and possibly recruiting one or two Slayers for the SGC.”
“I understand Major Finn,” Thor said. “However I should inform you of something else the Asgard learned during our limited studies of these phenomenon.”
“When our exploratory ship first encountered Draugrinn they attempted to transport several items from the surface that radiated the anomalous energy readings,” Thor explained. “Once transported to our ship the energy readings, the magic as you call it, dissipated rapidly.”
“How rapidly?” Riley asked.
“The dissipation rate varied with time, distance and the amount of energy the object possessed,” Thor said. “The energies in your body are currently declining at such at rate on board this ship that they will be completely undetectable within two of your months. If we left this solar system that rate would increase. The energy would dissipate within ten to fifteen of your days. For items with a higher energy reading they effect might take as long as twenty of your days.”
Riley was stunned by the revelation. If confirmed what the seers the Initiative worked with told him when the Stargate was first discovered and General Hammond wanted to determine if his teams might encounter vampires or other demons off world. Their magic and indeed all magic found on Earth was in some way tied to the Earth itself. The theory was that Earth’s position was somehow unique.
It also explained why thus far they had not encountered anything supernatural out in the galaxy. Despite the fact that virtually all of the cultures thus contacted were clearly transplanted from Earth. And both his and Graham’s surreptitious questioning of Teal’c revealed no knowledge beyond legends of supernatural phenomenon.
It also meant that General Hammond’s hope of recruiting Slayers or witches for offworld teams were pretty much dead in the water. Having Slayer powers just disappear in the middle of combat was not something he wanted to see.
“That’s good to know Thor,” Riley said. “I don’t suppose you know why that happens?”
“No,” Thor replied. “As I indicated, the Asgard have had limited opportunities to study these energies. Our scientists theorize that these planet’s locations somehow connects it to an alternative dimension that serves as the source of these powers or perhaps some aspect of the planets nature is responsible for generating the energy.”
Riley nodded. “That fits in with our theories as well.”
“Your information has been most enlightening Major Finn,” Thor said. “I thank you for your time. But I must be returning to my own galaxy. I look forward to discussing these matters further in the future.”
“Of course Thor,” Riley said. “Just give me …” Riley disappeared with a flash.
And reappeared in the SGC’s main conference room, “… a little warn … Dang it.”
A/n – Yeah I know the endings a little abrupt but my stupid brain could not think of a cleaner way out.