Title : Just Popping Back
Author : Booster
Rating : PG-13
Summary : The aftermath of the Scoobies first visit to Stargate Command.
Disclaimer : Buffy and the gang belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. The Stargate people belong to Gekko Productions, Double Secret Productions, MGM/UA, Showtime/Viacom.
Setting : Sequel to Just Passing Through. I really didn’t think there was a sequel in it, but so many people asked, and then I started getting evil ideas….
Distribution: Twisting the Hellmouth, FanFiction.Net, if anyone else wants it, just email and ask.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Special Thanks : Laney, a very special beta reader and encourager.
General Hammond sighed, and finished signing the last papers for that particular round of paper-pushing. At least now, all the repairs from the recent incursion could be completed. The changes he’d requested to the Armory would take time, but he’d been assured that the committee responsible for design changes were considering it carefully, and would report back in a mere two months or so.
He sighed again.
Physical repairs to the base were one thing. The damage done to the personnel was quite another. Oh yes, there were no deaths and no real injuries (other than Colonel O’Neill’s arm). But their morale was gone. Put up against a wall and shot, he morbidly mused. The entire base had been taken out by just six people. He was no misogynist himself, but four of the intruders being women (and young women at that!) just didn’t sit well with some of the troops.
It was almost as through his troops would have preferred casualties. When looked at in one light, it was insulting that they hadn’t cared enough to kill their opponents. Teal’c, in particular with his warrior code, was upset. He hadn’t actually said anything, but Hammond had noticed a certain tilt to the eyebrows that indicated deep shame. He made a mental note to mention this to Colonel O’Neill at their next private meeting.
The General stiffly got up from his desk and collected the papers to pass to his clerk. Too much time sitting in airplane seats for all those panicked meetings in Washington. At least they were finally taking the situation seriously, despite slapping as many security ratings on what they were calling “The Incident”. Though some of the troops were starting to refer to it as “Butt-kicking Day”. Hammond snorted, startling his clerk. Colonel O’Neill was alternating between “the Female Furies” and “The Day We All Fell Down”. Daniel Jackson, on the other hand, just blushed a lot and muttered something about “hubris”.
Still, he decided, at least it was all over now.
Which, naturally, was the point that the alarms went off.
Arriving in the control room as quickly as he could (running with one arm in a sling was an acquired knack), Jack O’Neill took one look out of the window at the Stargate and started swearing.
It was green.
Not the normal shimmering deep blue of a connection to another planet, but green.
He hadn’t seen it himself (too busy unconscious at the time) but he’d bet his fishing rod that it was the same as what Carter had reported. Well, maybe not his best fishing rod….
"Carter? By any wild chance is this what you saw last time?”
Major Samantha Carter looked up from the panel she was poring over with Sgt. Stiller and nodded. “Yes sir” she confirmed. “But this time we’re getting some readings on the energy being utilized.”
“Because of course, that is the important thing here, Carter” he drawled. “Any idea of when it’s gonna open? Who’s coming through? And why exactly isn’t the Iris closed yet?”
Shooting him one of those exasperated looks he seemed to get so often, Carter straightened up from the instruments and approached O’Neill. “It is, sir.” she said, pointing to the Iris operation panel. “This energy or whatever it is, has formed just in front of the Iris. We can’t stop it from opening, sir”.
General Hammond, followed closely by both Teal’c and Daniel, entered the control room just in time to catch Carter’s last remark. “Stop what, Major?” Hammond asked, just before taking a look out of the window.
“Ah, Sam? Would that be by any chance our recent visitors coming back?” asked Daniel, blinking at the green light coming through the windows.
“The Iris is ineffectual, sir,” said Carter saluting the General. “But it does suggest that the recent incursion might be about to happen again.”
Jack moved closer to the General. “Sir, I’ve already got the Gate guards moving into position. With your permission, I’ll join them now.”
“Denied, Colonel. For one, your arm is still in a sling. You couldn’t even point a gun properly.” Hammond said, turning back from the windows. “Given that this is not the normal type of Stargate energy, Major… how long till it opens?”
Carter looked uncertain and almost shrugged. “It’s impossible to tell without a baseline reading, sir. Last time, no readouts remained. We don’t even know why they’re returning, sir.”
Jack frowned. “I don’t think they left anything undone last time, Carter. Ransacked the computer system, took a couple of zats, assaulted the entire garrison, and left stage left using the most secret equipment in the US Air Force. Oh yes, and BROKE my arm.”
Teal’c raised an eyebrow. “You do have two arms, Colonel. Perhaps they simply wish to complete the set.” Jack slowly turned his head and glared at Teal’c. Sometimes, he thought the damn Jaffa was adjusting to Earth far too quickly.
Hammond turned and looked at SG-1. “Major Carter, continue with the analysis for now. Colonel O’Neill will stay with me for the moment. Teal’c and Dr Jackson… I would like you two to join the troops below and prepare for the coming arrival. Hopefully, we won’t have too long to wait.”
Teal’c nodded and started moving towards the stairwell. “It is, as they say, a good day to die.”
Jack yelled after him and Daniel as they left “That’s it! That TV set is definitely being confiscated!”
Daniel Jackson, oddly enough, was not worried.
Sure, his jaw was still a little sore from their last visit, but they hadn’t struck him as well… bad people. Admitally, some of the people he’d met on his travels with SG-1 had initially seemed friendly and later turned out to be right bastards. But still….they’d finished his translation.
No one bad would have done that.
He pushed his glasses back up his nose and squinted at the green glow. Was it getting greener? Or was it his imagination?
The green energy rippled just like when they went through a Stargate and a small blonde woman stepped through. All the soldiers around him tensed and pointed their weapons at her. Unconcerned with the sudden noise of all the safety catches being released, she just looked around her and smiled. Then waved at the control room gallery “Hi!”
Daniel blinked. Jack was just going to love that. Well, since she was making no hostile moves to start with, the ball was in his court rather than Teal’c’s. Mentally crossing himself, he moved forward and drew her attention.
“Hello. Welcome to Earth again.” Was that a smirk just crossing her face briefly there?
“Hey yourself, Doc. You have to be that guy that Dawn kept going on about.” she smiled at him. “Yeah… sorry about last time. We were in a bit of a hurry, you see… Partly why I came back.”
Daniel blinked and pushed his glasses up again. An apology? He certainly hadn’t been expecting that. “Ah… right…”
She looked down at her feet. Was she… blushing? “And… um…. Giles says I have to give you your zattie thingies back…. I’m very sorry I took them with me.”
O….K…. This was definitely not going the way he’d been semi-expecting. “Ah… that’s very kind of you” he said, mouth on auto-pilot. “Is there anything else that we could do for you?” he continued on. As the words came out of his mouth, he could almost hear Jack’s disgusted cry of “Daniel!!” in the control room.
Buffy relaxed a fraction.
No-one was shooting yet, which was always a good sign when dealing with the military.
She hadn’t been too sure about this, but Giles had insisted. And when he got that certain Ripperish tone in his voice, she’d prudently agreed to the plan. At least Willow had provided her with a nifty little anti bullet spell. Ooo.. That reminded her to check back in.
“Hold on a moment, ok?”
Turning around, she stuck her head through that green glowing field of Dawn’s and looked back at Scoobie Central. Everything looked all right. Let’s see… Giles with his tea, Xander and his beloved donuts, Willow fussing over the magic components and a pissed off Dawn. Yup, everything was normal in Casa Summers.
“Hey guys! No shooting yet, but they don’t look too happy.“ Uh-oh… Dawn looked like she was building up to something, and that bleeding arm of hers wasn’t going to help matters. “And guess what? I’m talking to that guy who must be the cute fossil guy you mentioned.” Aha… that did it. Dawn’s face changed immediately to an interested one.
“If it’s Dr Jackson, then you know perfectly well that he’s an archaeologist, Buffy” admonished Giles.
“Yeah, Buffy” spluttered Xander through a mouthful of donut. “Indiana Jones, y’know? He got his whip out yet?”
“Neverless, Buffy, I’m glad you’re dealing directly with someone’s who’s not immediately in the military framework” Giles said, placing his tea down on the side. Crossing over to the nearby table, he picked up the zats. “Now, would they like to have their property back or not?”
“Wait a moment, they haven’t actually said anything about that yet. Hold on.” Buffy pulled her head back through Dawn’s field. Turning around, she noticed that whatshisname (Dr Jackson?) looked even more disturbed than before.
A two-way connection? That just couldn’t happen, could it? Casting his mind rapidly through all he knew about the Stargate and their network, he blanked. Wait…. she was saying something to him.
“So do you want them back or not?”
“Um… yes, please. We don’t have a great many of them here.” Focus, Daniel, focus! “I assume your planet doesn’t have that many either?” Oh, smooth move!
“Ha! No, no…. no zats here.” she giggled. At that point, an arm came through the energy field at about her head height, holding two zats.
“Well, maybe a couple” she said. Almost snatching them off the hand holding them, she stuck her head back through the energy field. Odd – it didn’t disturb Daniel quite as much this time. Mind you, Sam was probably going nuts upstairs. He looked again at the girl. Her body language seemed a little annoyed. The arm withdrew and she turned back out of the field and gave him the zats.
“Well, I’m very very sorry for taking your zats and I won’t do it again.” She said, looking very young suddenly. “And Giles says I should apologize for the first time round as well. It was just that well, we only had a limited time to get back to our universe, and you were the only means of transportation we could reach in time.”
“Universe?” Daniel repeated dumbly. A little lightbulb was blinking at the back of his mind, trying to tell him something.
“Yeah – we thought this was the one without shrimp at first, but then Willow figured it out from the Earth’s feel and well, we had to get through fast.” She gestured to all the soldiers around her. “And I’ve worked with the military before in college, so I knew that we just couldn’t roll up and ask to borrow the Top Secret transportation device.”
Aha! The lightbulb was almost blinding him! “The Quantum Mirror!” he blurted out.
“The whattie what?” she said, almost doing a double take.
At the back of his mind Daniel noticed a brief tinge of satisfaction that he’d finally brought her down to his level of confusion. Suppressing that for the moment, he tried to answer her. “You’re from an alternative Earth, aren’t you?”
Her turn to blink. “Wowzer, good guess. Cute and fast thinking. Definitely gonna have to keep Dawn away from you.”
Stunned somewhat by the possibilies, he continued on. “We’ve had some experience with visitors from other Earths. And they could only stay on this Earth for a limited time before dying.” He stared at her “That was why you couldn’t wait, wasn’t it? From the moment you arrived, you were on the clock….”
She shrugged. “We’ve had worse odds against us. In some ways, you were a nice change. No claws, fangs, scales and definitely no icky goo that just doesn’t wash out.” She looked him straight in the eyes. “You fight for this world in your own way, and we do the same.”
Daniel found that he’d lost his wary air around her. She felt almost like Jack in his mind, somehow. She felt like…. A veteran of some kind. A fellow fighter that they were walking along with for a moment. “I wish you luck in your fights.”
Her mouth twitched “And you in yours.” With that she turned around and walked through the green energy, which promptly disappeared behind her. Daniel was left there, staring at the closed Iris, holding two zats.
He recognized that look in her eye right at the end. He’d seen it in a lot of the soldiers around the Stargate project. A mixture of steely determination, and the knowledge that there were things out there. Things that everyone else had to be protected from. He wished good fortune their way indeed. Still, there was just one thing that bothered him…
Epilogue : two weeks later.
Another alarm going off.
Another green glow in the Gate Room.
And a voice, soaring out over all the assembled soldiers
“Yoo-hoo!! Giles was just wondering if he could borrow one of the books he saw on Dr Jackson’s shelf ?”