Disclaimer: Neither Stargates nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to me. I claim no ownership of them and recognize that they belong to the various people and companies who own them. I do this solely for my own enjoyment and, should our interests mesh, the enjoyment of others. I have made no money off of this and do not ever plan to. Anything that even looks vaguely familiar (such as brand names, culture references, etc) also does not belong to me.
Series: Return to the Blood Lands
Story: The Spell
“Hey.” Chuck leaned back, frowning at the screen. “What’s this?”
“Move out of the way!” Rodney was being his usual charming self, as Elizabeth could see. You had to learn to respect the man’s intellect and tolerate his lack of social skills because there wasn’t enough calming tea in the universe to help you through the McKay Experience otherwise. John smirked at her, like he knew what she was thinking.
Meanwhile, Rodney had commandeered control away from Chuck. “Let the true genius through.” He looked at the screen and went silent, deeply frowning at the screen. “Huh.”
“Well, true genius?” John asked mockingly. “What is it?”
“I don’t know.” He said. Something in the rest of the control room’s various expressions made him turn red. “I mean, I don’t know exactly. What it APPEARS to be is a sudden energy signature on one of the planets that has what we think is an Ancient laboratory.” Elizabeth wondered what the significance of that could be. Would it bode well for them or do more harm than good?
Atlantis automatically tracked several planets like the one Rodney was observing, relaying information back and forth between their respective archives. Rodney had turned the ‘forth’ function off before the Wraith could wise up and follow the signal back to their base but he had argued fiercely against turning the information relay completely off, citing his need to keep an eye on Ancient technology on a planet they couldn’t visit because of the Wraith.
“I think something there has turned on.”
“I could have told you that.” Chuck grumbled.
“Insubordination?” Rodney straightened up a little, glowering at Chuck. “Just because you’re a fellow Canadian doesn’t mean you get special favors.” He pinched the air with his thumb and index finger.“Only very VERY tiny ones.”
“Do we need to check it out?” Elizabeth asked. She thought she must have been a school teacher in a previous life because it often felt like she was dealing with a bunch of children.
“No.” John said just as Rodney responded with a contradictory answer. They turned and gave each other wary looks. These two are the biggest kids in the entire playground. She guessed she was just lucky they tended to play nice with each other. Except when they didn’t, like now.
“YES, because there very well could be a ZedPM on that planet. We’re getting a powerful enough reading for one.” Rodney said with an expression of confidence that he had the winning argument. This didn’t bode well for Elizabeth’s headache.
“NO, because the Wraith are very active in that quadrant of the galaxy.” John said with the same expression, tinted with a hint of exasperation as he turned to his team mate. “The same reason why we didn’t check that planet out in the FIRST place, Rodney.”
“Ah, I see.” Elizabeth nodded, looking down. It was a rather easy decision then. She looked up, trying to express her apologies but still look firm about her decision. If Rodney sensed a weakness in her, he’d attack it without mercy. She was confident enough about her position to admit that CERTAIN senior officers in her command were VERY good at talking her into the most harebrained of schemes. “I’m sorry Rodney. The risk isn’t worth it.”
Rodney was crestfallen. “But we could very stealth-like!”
“Stealth-like?” John echoed.
“Fine. We’ll ‘fly under their radar’. Is that better, flyboy?”
“Yes, actually.” John tilted his head. “But still no.” Elizabeth very happily let John handle this. John had a bit more immunity than she did. Personally, she thought that the McKay Experience couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.
“Oh, come on. It’s a ZedPM we’re talking about here! We always need ZedPMs! Wouldn’t you like to power the shields, the weapons systems, and the stardrive all at the same time?”
“I would love to.” John crossed his arms. “The answer is still no. Since when has going in ‘stealth-like’ ever worked for us, Rodney?”
“You have a point.” Rodney backed down, defeated. He looked at John with a crooked smile, hopeful. “Do you think the SGC has access to ninjas?” Elizabeth couldn’t help but be a little appalled that John actually was interested, looking at her for a confirmation. The question was, did she work with men or did she work with children? Definitely children!
“No.” she said sharply. “Go back to work, gentlemen.”
There was nothing in this place but a long stretch of a horizon, a two sunned sky, and a graveyard of strange pillars and towers poking out of the dirt. There were broken bits of what looked like metal and plastic, half buried but smooth when he picked it up, like it had been melted off.
“Weird.” Xander muttered, letting it fall from his hand. Ever since he had appeared in this place, he felt a sensation of OTHER. Like there was something knocking on the barriers of his mind, pleading for him to pay attention but he just wasn’t ready to hear. “REALLY weird.”
Besides the graveyard, the place seemed completely barren. There were no trees and no hills. Not even the pale shadowy hints of a mountain in the far distance. It was just flat and empty. The only thing out of place in the empty terrain was some kind of altar several hundred yards away. His vision was slightly blurred but he could see it was a plain circle with some kind of etchings on it that he couldn’t completely make out.
It wasn’t like anything he had ever seen before but he would be the first to admit that there was a LOT of things in the world that he had yet to see. Mostly the fun things, like the Space Needle and Mount Rushmore. Or an IHOP that would make him a pancake the size of a tire.
Xander looked back at the altar again, the shape bugging him. Most altars were usually phallic. As funny as using the word ‘phallic’ was to describe anything, it was true. Why a circle shape? He gripped the sides of his head with a sigh, some vague part of his mind trained to research muttering something about the significance of a circle in a ritual, how many rituals and spells were based on circles, and what it meant- Ack, no, shut up. His brain subsided with a sulky murmur.
Ding dongs are circular. And twinkies are phallic. Xander patted his head, as if saying ‘Good brain’. Those were acceptable thoughts. He absolutely REFUSED to think like Giles when he was in a situation like this.
Xander didn’t have much choice but to wander around aimlessly. He called out for Buffy, Giles, and Willow, the habits of his nature hard to fight against because he was in trouble and wasn’t Buffy supposed to save him? Life worked like that, even when he didn’t want it to. Of course, he’d do his best to figure out where he was and how he could get back but that didn’t mean he didn’t anticipate Buffy coming out of nowhere, ready to take him home. Kicking and screaming, if she had to.
He didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that he hadn’t ran into anyone yet. According to his watch, it was nearly ten in the morning now but the suns (as in PLURAL. What the HELL?) were already setting, making him worry about having to fight off any nocturnal beasts. He’d be LUCKY if here, in this strange alien environment, all he had to deal with was a vampire.
Xander had SEEN scifi movies play out like this! Huge mutant centipedes and scorpions, or even something more terrifying could emerge from their hideout and feast on his flesh like the weak non-nocturnal day walking human he was. I don’t even have any shoes on!
It was starting to get dark. As it was, he couldn’t NOT notice the flash of light out of the corner of his eye. He turned, his attention shifting to it, realizing that it was the altar that threw out the bright light. It shimmered even at his distance, looking not so much a beacon of light as it did a puddle of glowing water.
It rippled one, twice, three times when something came out. Or was that plural too?
There was a low noise, somewhere between a scream and a hum of an insect. He could barely see it but whatever it was, the damn thing was FLYING. He looked up and could have sworn he saw a skull as it passed him by. There were two, maybe three of those things. He didn’t want to wait to figure out what it was.
Xander broke out into a run, freaking out when he thought he saw a wisp of something to his left, to his right, right BEHIND him- but that didn’t distract him from running. Light came down from out what seemed like nowhere, buzzing as it drifted over the ground, over the towers, then finally over him. For a nanosecond, his skin felt as if it was burning under the light.
He didn’t even have the chance to acknowledge, “Oh, well THAT was a bad idea.”
End of THE SPELL
Continued in the story WELCOME TO THE KEEP
AN: I’d like to thank everyone who read and reviewed this story. All I’ll say is some of your predictions are right and some of them are wrong. I’m glad you enjoyed this story!
If you'd like to continue, keep on the look out for WELCOME TO THE KEEP.