“Carter.” Samantha Carter answered the phone, not looked away from the readings she was entering into her computer.
“Colonel, would you please come to my office.” General Hammond requested.
“Yes, sir.” Sam straightened unconsciously. “I’ll be right there.”
She hung up the phone and stared at it curiously for a moment. She still wasn’t used to her new title. After the battle in Antarctica, President Hayes had paid a surprise visit to the SGC to personally promote Earth’s heroes. She had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given command of SG-1, who had been grounded temporarily to give them time to recover from that last mission and give her time to find a fourth member. Even though he was still in stasis at the Atlantis Outpost, Jack O’Neill had been promoted to Brigadier General, and would be given command of the SGC when he awoke. General Hammond had been promoted to Major General, and would resume command of the Prometheus when O’Neill took command of the SGC. Janet had been promoted to Major and received a medal for nearly dying on P3X-666. Finally, she saved her data and left her office.
“Hey, Sam.” Janet nearly collided with the blonde as she came around the corner. “I was just on my way to get you for lunch.”
“Um, sorry, Janet.” Sam apologized. “I’ll have to meet you there. I just called to General Hammond’s office.”
“Is something wrong?” Janet asked, reversing direction and walking with her friend.
“No idea.” Sam sighed. She rarely got called into the General’s office and she couldn’t help but be a little unsettled. “And that has me a little worried.”
“Well, come to my office when you’re done.” Janet offered. “I’ll bring something for you to eat.”
The two friends split up at a hallway intersection. Sam got on an elevator and continued on to the General’s office a few level down, going through various possibilities in her head. Knocking on the door, she waited for the summons before entering. Her confusion grew when she saw Major Davis. Usually Colonel O’Neill, General
, she reminded herself, was brought in for anything serious enough to bring the Major to the SGC.
“Sir?” Sam asked.
“A situation has arisen that requires your attention.” General Hammond stated. “I do not know the details myself, as Major Davis is under orders to discuss this only in your presence.”
“Approximately 10 hours ago, a random satellite imaging test discovered that the town of Sunnydale, California was collapsing in on itself.” Major Davis hand a copy of the photo in question to the General. The image showed the sunken section in the center of town, as well as buildings obviously collapsing. What caught the General’s attention, however, was the body caught mid-jump between two buildings, heading for what looked like a school bus. Major Davis tried to hand one to Sam as well, but she had gone pale and was leaning weakly against the door.
“What?” She whispered in disbelief. “How? When?”
“Colonel Carter?” Hammond said, a little worried by her reaction.
“Recon was dispatched for verification, and have reported that the entire town is now nothing more than a large crater.” Major Davis continued, taking not of her reaction. “What we could not find, however, was a cause. There has been no seismic activity in that area, nor is the town on any fault line or any underground instability. Through a nationwide search, we discovered that almost 95% of the townspeople had slowly evacuated, on their own, several weeks before the collapse, leading us to believe that they somehow knew, or at least suspected, that it was coming. During that search, however, a name red-flagged in our systems, which is what has brought me here today. Colonel Carter, do you have any idea why your daughter would be in our systems under Presidential Classification?”
“Is she all right? Did she make it out?” Sam asked frantically. “What about Joyce and Dawn?”
“I'm sorry, Sam.” Major Davis flushed lightly. “I should have said so first thing. Buffy, her sister and her friends were all recently sighted in a bank in Los Angeles. As for the mother, Joyce Summers, she died a few years ago.”
Sam sagged in relief, then her jaw dropped in disbelief. “Joyce is dead?”
Davis nodded. “According to the death records, she died of an aneurysm following the surgical removal of a malignant brain tumor.”
Sam moved on shaky legs to collapse in one of the seats in front of the General's desk. Joyce had been her best friend when she’d found herself in college at the young age of 15. It was that reason that she'd trusted the woman with her daughter after Sam had found herself pregnant after a rare drunken one night stand following a badly botched mission that had nearly cost her and her team their lives when bad intel had them flying directly into an ambush. “Why wasn't I notified? I have shared custody of Buffy. And what about her ex-husband, Hank?”
“We are not sure. A notice was placed in her file, but for some reason, it never went any further than that. There is nothing listed for a Hank Summers. Ms. Summers had been supporting herself and her sister since her mother's death.” Major Davis told her. “I'm sorry, Colonel, but I really must have the answer to my previous question before I divulge anything else.”
Sam thought back until she recalled his earlier question. “No, I have no idea why she would be classified in a military database. Joyce kept me informed of the pertinent events in Buffy's life. She was accused of burning down her high school gym in LA and institutionalized. When I found out, I went to LA and tracked down some of the people who were there until someone finally admitted that they had been attacked by a gang in Halloween masks and Buffy started the fight back when she was attacked by the leader of the gang. She was cleared and released from the mental institution and soon after, Joyce divorced Hank and moved to Sunnydale with Buffy. The last letter I received from Joyce was to tell me that Buffy had graduated high school and started college.”
“Did she give any explanation for the attack on the high school dance when she was institutionalized?”
Sam nodded. “Joyce told me that Buffy said she was approached by an Englishman and told that she was a mystical warrior called a Slayer. She told Joyce, Hank and the police that the dance had been attacked vampires and the Englishman had been killed by the leader, a Master Vampire named Lothos. After I got the confessions from the other students, she eventually retracted her story and admitted that her attackers may have been wearing masks.”
Major Davis studied her closely for a few minutes, then began speaking again. “What I am about to tell you is under a need-to-know-only classification. Meaning, no one outside this room needs to know, not even the other members of SG-1. Is that understood?”
Both Sam and the General nodded.
“Colonel Carter, I have both good new and bad news regarding your daughter.” The Major sighed. “The good news is that Buffy Summers is neither crazy nor a liar, nor has she ever been. The bad news, is that everything she admitted to which led to her institutionalization, had been the complete and honest-to-God, truth.”
Sam looked confused for a moment, then paled. “What are you saying? That’s impossible.”
Major Davis shook his head. “Monsters are real. Demons are real. A war has been raging under the cover of darkness since the beginning of time and, according to our sources, your daughter has been fighting on the front lines for at least the last 7 years.”
“No!” Sam denied vehemently after a moment of shocked silence. “What you’re implying isn’t possible. I read the report that Buffy gave. There is no way that the human body can revive from blood loss of that magnitude, nor can a person survive on blood alone. There is no way a body will burst into dust by stabbing a piece of wood into it’s chest. There are no such things as demons, and there is no way a fifteen year old girl would be fighting a war on our own soil that the US government doesn’t know about!”
Suddenly, Major Davis looked uncomfortable. “Well, unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.”