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Just the People I Wanted To See – Not!

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Scooby-Gate Command". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: The SGC decides to sell the Stargate to someone they feel can be trusted not to abuse it.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Xander-CenteredGreywizardFR13111,30186018,74524 Aug 0824 Aug 08Yes
Disclaimer: The Scoobies belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME, and the Stargate people belong to Jonathan Glassner, Brad Wright and MGM, too, I think. Deal with it. I have.

Timeframe: Approximately eight months after Season Seven's "Chosen" for the Scoobies, and the beginning of Season Two for Stargate SG-1, with the SG timeline unchanged except that the Season One episode, ‘Solitudes,’ never happened, so the existence of the Ancients’ Antarctic base was never revealed. Other Stargate information and history will be massaged as I feel necessary to fit in my own personal universe.

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: Maybe later if you're good.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Lori Bush, Tim Joy, Bill Haden and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this story.

As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

~~~

A Senatorial meeting room in the Hart Building
Washington, DC.

January 15, 2004


"I'm sure you understand that we're all only trying to look out for the best interests of the American public, General," Senator Robert Kinsey declared piously as he spared a glance across the table at Stargate Command's commanding officer. "After all, the Stargate Program has already cost this country over two point three billion dollars in overall expenses and has provided nothing substantial in the way of return on our investment.

"I also think it's become clear," he continued his carefully constructed speech as he then turned his attention to the other members of the carefully chosen Congressional caucuses he'd invited to attend this meeting, "that Stargate Command has repeatedly failed to grasp some of the finer nuances that the Stargate program can offer our country as far as opportunities to advance its goals by offering both the benefits of democracy and the prospects that conditional alliances with some of the other races, both human and otherwise, with whom the SGC has interacted can provide to all parties involved…"

General George Hammond tuned out the rest of Kinsey's speech, realizing that this dog-and-pony show being orchestrated by the Senator from New Jersey was merely the latest attempt to seize control of the program on behalf of himself and his backers, so that they could then use the Stargate Program to rape and pillage the galaxy in their pursuit of power. The Senators and congressmen in attendance were either in Kinsey's pocket or rabid anti-military doves that would give Neville Chamberlain a run for his money.

And judging by the nods of agreement and smiles he saw as he glance around the table, it would appear that Kinsey just might be able to accomplish the transfer of responsibility this time around. The NID being under congressional, rather than executive, control because of their nominal oversight role made even the doves almost salivate at the possibilities.

{ Looks like I'm gonna have to seriously consider the President's suggestion much sooner than I thought I would, } Hammond reflected.

{ At least I know I can trust *those* people not to abuse the power that comes with controlling the Gate. }

~~~

The Giles Estate
Surrey, England

January 15, 2004


"Hey Giles! There's a guy on the phone who wants to talk to you. He says someone named Hank Hayes told him to give you a call."

Hammond reflexively pulled his phone away from his ear as the young woman at the other end of the call neglected to pull the receiver far enough away from her mouth as she yelled her summons.

"Thank you, Dawn. I greatly appreciate your shrieking like a banshee while summoning me, since it would be clearly impossible for me to hear any normally voiced request from my position in the adjoining room."

The dry, restrained sarcasm and gentle reproof in the British accented voice that issued from his phone apparently washed over the first speaker unnoticed, Hammond noted wryly, as he heard the young woman respond with a "No problem, Giles. Glad to help."

A barely heard sigh preceded the Englishman's greeting, Hammond also noted with the smallest hint of a smile, as he next heard, "Rupert Giles here. How might I help you?"

"Good evening, Mister Giles. My name is George Hammond, and I am sorry to have to disturb you at so late an hour, but a mutual acquaintance of ours, President Henry Hayes, suggested that I speak with you, as the current head of a group he described as possessing the highest levels of morality and integrity, as well as the courage of your convictions, regarding a possible solution to a problem of some significance that I am currently being forced to deal with," he replied politely. "If it’s not too much trouble, I'd like to explain my current situation in greater detail before I get into exactly why I am calling.

"First off, I am a General in the United States Air Force, overseeing a highly-classified program called Stargate Command. President Hayes has given me permission to inform you, in detail, about the program and I was hoping that I could arrange for you to be flown here to the states so that I could provide you, and whichever members of your staff you feel appropriate, an in-depth briefing concerning the Stargate program…"

~~~

A subterranean cave
Inside Mammoth Cave National Park, KY

January 17, 2004


"All right, people, the job's almost done, now. All we have to do is make a final sweep of the mess here to make sure we haven’t missed anybody or anything and we’re homeward bound.

"A home where, I can assure you – unless Andrew has decided he really doesn’t want to keep all of his body parts intact and still functioning properly – the ice cream freezer has been refilled with gallons upon gallons of double fudge chocolate chunk, rocky road and a half-dozen other flavors of the best ice cream available," Xander Harris announced with a bit of a grin as he took a break and surveyed the area around him, resting his axe on his right shoulder.

The Gorshandi demons formerly inhabiting the caverns had recently taken to supplementing their diet with a random sampling of the inhabitants of the various small towns and vacation homes dotting the area, and the Center for Anthropological and Sociological Research (also sometimes referred to as ‘The Council, Mark Two –This Time We Know What We’re Doing’ by some pundits within the organization) had decided to inform the clan, in the strongest terms possible, that their behavior was completely unacceptable and needed to stop, post haste.

The fact that the demons had decided to disagree, forcefully, with the message delivered had led to the subsequent carnage currently littering the subterranean complex, compliments of the three teams of Slayers and their support elements who had dropped by to ‘visit’ earlier that evening.

"I’m not sure whether Faith will be happier to find out that Andrew did remember to restock the ice cream so that she can pig out and eat as much as she wants, or that he didn’t remember so that she can follow up on her threat to remove some of his favorite body parts," Rona Masterson commented with an evil grin as she headed towards the tall brunet, giving an approving look at her team’s handiwork.

"Yeah, I can see where she’d find that choice a lit–"

Xander’s reply was interrupted by a low humming sound as approximately a half-dozen silver rings suddenly materialized around him, glowed with an ethereal light for several seconds and then disappeared, taking the gore-splattered young man with them.

"What the hell?" Rona exclaimed as she stared blankly in disbelief at the now empty spot where her boss had just been standing a moment earlier and her hand arrested in the middle of her Slayer-fast quick draw.

An instant later, her HK-45 pointed into the shadows, she was calling out a series of commands to her fellow Slayers and other Council members scattered around the battleground, the throat mike she was wearing transmitting everything she said back to Command Central.

"Code Red! Attention, all strike team members! Code Red! Captain Kidd has just disappeared under suspicious circumstances! I repeat, Captain Kidd has just disappeared under suspicious circumstances!" she announced calmly, her voice not conveying any of the barely-hidden apprehension and fear for her friend that was filling her at the moment.

“All team members, report in sequentially and immediately commence return to Recovery Point Alpha!”

{ Oh shit! } she then thought to herself in a brief moment of self-pity as additional ramifications of the Prime Scooby's disappearance struck her. { Buffy, Willow and Dawn are all gonna be MEGA-pissed if we can't find him and get him back in time for Buffy's birthday party Monday night. }

~~~

Star Gate Command
Colorado Springs, CO

January 17, 2004


"O'Neill."

The voice of the small, child-sized grey alien that appeared amid the sparkle of lights in the SGC gate room sounded more like an announcer one would hear on a public service radio station than someone or something resembling a potential guest on a future X-Files episode.

"Dammit, Thor," Colonel Jack O'Neill said, the tone of his voice indicating that he was somewhat less than overjoyed to see their visitor.

"You've gotta stop just popping in like that," he semi-complained as he turned to face their newly-arrived guest, waving down the SF's before they could do anything rash. "It's kinda annoying.

"And please tell me you're here because you guys lost the recipe for blue jello, and not because you just found out about some possible apocalypse is heading our way. Please?"

"No, there is no apocalyptic-level event occurring inside any of the regions with which we are familiar, O'Neill," the Supreme Commander of the alien species currently known as the Asgard announced to the personnel gathered in the room, his large black eyes blinking in what might be termed confusion as bets were grudgingly paid out to the winning parties.

"However, we have only just determined within the last two planetary cycles of your planet that one of our geneticists has apparently returned to the vicinity of your planet for the purpose of resuming unauthorized experimentation on human subjects," the diminutive grey alien continued in an apparently unperturbed voice as he regarded the various personnel frowning at him upon hearing his news, as money again traded hands, with technician Walter Harriman easily pocketing a month's pay.

"The Science Council first discovered that he had been performing unapproved research on human subjects approximately twenty-three of your years ago and forced him to stop all of the projects they discovered he was conducting, but it appears that he has returned and resumed his projects.

"We are also currently unsure whether he may have managed to abduct any subjects for experimentation since his arrival."

"Dammit, little buddy, are you telling me that we've got some little grey Asgard Doctor Frankenstein-wannabe maniac out there doing experiments on people?" Jack groused, even as he was looking over at General Hammond for official authorization to handle the potentially explosive situation that had just been dropped in their proverbial lap.

"As I just said, O'Neill, we are currently unable to determine whether Loki has begun actual experimentation on any human subjects he may have abducted, but it would appear that that is, indeed, the purpose of his return," Thor nodded his reluctant agreement with Jack's question.

"Colonel O'Neill," Hammond immediately nodded his permission even as he semi-scowled to himself at the thought of the paperwork this unexpected interaction with their putative allies was going to generate, "take SG-1 and coordinate with Commander Thor's group with regard to this latest – situation.

"And make sure that any civilians that may be involved as a result of this Loki's interference return to the base with you for proper debriefing."

"Yes sir, we certainly will," O'Neill threw Hammond a sloppy salute as he headed towards the door opening onto the main corridor and their equipment lockers. "Okay, guys, let's saddle up and get moving! We've got some little grey alien butt to kick, and we're not getting any younger!"

~~~

Unknown location

January 17, 2004
Several hours following Xander's apparent kidnapping


With a swirl of iridescent light and the faintest whisper of displaced air, a small group of a dozen people, armed with a variety of weapons that spanned the ages, appeared in the middle of a large, well-lighted chamber filled with equipment looking like it had been salvaged from the various sets of a half-dozen 1950’s and ‘60's science fiction films.

"Where the hell are we, Wills?" the petite blonde holding a nasty-looking axe asked curiously as she and her companions looked around their arrival point with a mixture of concern, surprise and mild disbelief. "This looks like a set for a Channel 57 sci-fi Saturday morning flick, not someplace the demons who grabbed Xand would live."

"I'm not sure, Buffy," the redhead with the currently faintly glowing luminescent eyes answered uncertainly as she, too, looked around at their arrival point with some bewilderment. "But this is where the energy trail of whatever it was that grabbed Xander originated. He should be around here, somewhere."

"Shit! Dweeb-Boy's gonna be mega-pissed you wouldn’t let him tag along, once he hears the girls talking about this place, B," Faith Lehane noted with a grin as she cast an appraising eye over their surroundings while still keeping both the sword in her right hand and the Council issue HK-45 semiautomatic in her left ready for immediate action.

"The little nerd'd probably go into a geeker-gasm thirty seconds after he got here."

"I'll worry about Andy's whining later, Faith," Buffy Summers replied absently as she, too, examined their surroundings, the narrow-eyed glare in her eyes seeming to portend less-than-auspicious consequences for who- or whatever was unfortunate enough to be the next subject of her displeasure.

"Right now, I just want to find Xander and make sure he's okay," she stated as she began cautiously heading towards the closest doorway and the corridor visible through it.

"Hey guys, what’s doing?"

The unexpected voice caused all twelve members of the rescue party to spin around in surprise, weapons at the ready, to face the tall brunet who was standing in a now-open doorway behind them with a familiar grin on his face.

"Xand?"

Buffy's somewhat uncertain question as to the brunet's identity was easily understood by the rest of the group assembled to their companion's rescue, since the man standing before them clearly possessed two functioning eyes – something that the missing Scooby they had come searching for lacked.

"Yeah, it’s me, Buff," the brunet nodded as he smiled at the group of well-armed warriors and held his arms out and away from his body in the universal sign of non-aggression. "It's good to see you, guys, but I gotta say, it took you long enough to show up. What'd you do – stop off at Dairy Queen to check out the Mega-Chocolate Brownie Delight on the way here?

Seeing the doubtful expressions all of the members of his rescue team were wearing, he tried to smile reassuringly as he told them, "Not to worry, I can explain the new eye and some other stuff that's happened very easily.

"Well, maybe not *that* easily," he added after an moment's consideration, "but if you'll just give me a chance –"

"I think that before you try to do anything else, first, you need to prove you really are Xander Harris," Buffy interrupted his explanation with a narrow-eyed frown even as she and the others continued to maintain their guard.

"Okay, that's reasonable," the man who had identified himself as Xander Harris, nodded his agreement. "Just give me a minute to think about how to do that, okay?" he asked.

A moment's consideration brought a wide grin to the guy's face, Buffy noticed, an occurrence which immediately made her decide she almost certainly wasn't going to like whatever proof he was about to offer them as verification of his identity.

"Okay then, you want me to convince you that I really am Xander Harris," he stated as he looked directly at the petite blonde leading his rescue effort.

"Remember, back in junior year, that gift that you wanted to give me for Valentine's Day, when that spell Amy cast went all wonky, Buff?" he asked her, and her stomach instantly fluttered with a mixture of mortification and a bit of what might be called excitement as she recalled exactly what he referring to.

"I could describe it for you – in detail – if you want," he offered, with a grin that he must have stolen from Faith.

"No! That's not necessary," the diminutive blonde immediately exclaimed, even as she felt her ears heating up as she reflexively flushed with embarrassment. "I believe you're you, Xand!"

"I don't know, B," Buffy heard Faith chime in a second later from off to the side. "You got me kinda curious now – what exactly what was it you wanted to give the X-Man, here?" she asked, a lascivious smirk on her face.

From the corner of her eye, Buffy could see the remaining junior members of the retrieval team now all glancing between her and Xander with a mix of puzzlement and curiosity, while Willow’s lips were tightly pursed together and her body seemed to be shaking slightly, almost as though she were repressing laughter, while Dawn was merely rolling her eyes again what seemed to have become a habitual gesture with her, and she tried to nonchalantly dismiss Faith's questions as she said, "It's really not that important, Faith. We can discuss that later.

"Right now, Xander needs to tell us what happened to the demons that kidnapped him and how he got free, and exactly how he got his eye back," she asked, as she narrowed her own eyes and focused one of her best glares on the unrepentantly grinning man in front of her.

“Right, Xand?”

"Sure thing, Buff," he agreed with her, his survival instincts apparently finally belatedly kicking in, although the wide grin he was wearing remained.

"Come on back in here and we can do the whole 'Show and Tell' thing-y, okay, guys?" he said as he gestured towards the room behind him and led the way into an adjourning chamber.

The room appeared to be set up to look like a 1950’s mad scientist’s laboratory, complete with various panels bearing gauges and or metered scales inscribed with undecipherable symbols, several large glass cylinders, several tables resembling morgue slabs and what appeared to be some sort of massive steel sarcophagus, complete with the apparently requisite one foot square glass or crystal aperture inset into the lid that allowed any onlookers to determine whether the metallic case was occupied which took up most of the center of the room.

Fortunately, the metal casket seemed to be empty of anything other than what looked to be several small clouds of the apparently also requisite semi-foreboding puffs of smoke or mist. All in all, it was approaching very low-budget-y sci-fi.

“So, what happened to the demons who grabbed you and brought you here, X?” Faith asked as she looked around curiously, trying to figure out exactly that this place was and quietly hoping like hell that it really wasn't what she thought it was.

'Cause, if you asked for her opinion, it sure as shit looked like the kind of place where the stereotypical, B-movie psycho mad scientist in charge conducted their crazy-ass experiments on anyone or anything unlucky enough to be brought here. And damn it, Boytoy's ass belonged to them! Not some freakin' demon!

And the fleeting expressions she'd glimpsed on B's, Baby-D's and Red's faces as they looked at the box made her think that none of them were the tiniest bit pleased to see the room, either.

"Well, near as I can tell, there was actually only one 'demon,' involved, Faith," Xander replied, making air quotes with his fingers as he walked up to one of the control panels and began tapping a series of buttons on the rightmost keyboard type thing.

"And because it was stupid enough to stick me in that thing there," he indicated the sarcophagus in the center of the room with what looked to be a rather feral smile, the brunette noted with interest, "it's now currently stored in the deep freeze section of the building."

"So where, exactly, is this deep freeze area you're talking about?" Buffy asked, her eyes narrowing in a frown as she looked around the chamber.

"Because I'm thinking I want to meet this demon you've been telling us about and show him just how well the Scythe here can slice and dice demons," she went on, small gestures of her hands indicating just what she intended to do to Xander's abductor.

"Uh, not that I don't fully agree with the whole demon-chopping idea, Buffy," Willow took a moment to interrupt as she paused in her examination of the room and its contents and glanced over at the clearly angry blonde and her other companions, "but after seeing all this stuff here, I'm really thinking we might want to try and talk to this demon, first, before you start with the slicing and dicing.

"'Cause I can't recall reading about or hearing Giles even mention any kind of demon group that's ever used technology very much before, let alone one that might've come up with stuff like what's here in this room," she explained as she gestured around at their surroundings.

"All of this stuff here looks like it's some kind of very advanced technology, and I'm not picking up any kind of aura or even any kind of hint of residual magic from any of the equipment here, so I'm thinking we should probably try to learn as much as we can about whatever kind of demon it is that kidnapped Xand, and we do it as fast as we can, because sending Slayers into a fight with demons and finding out that they're using some kind of unknown technology, and not magic like we were expecting them to use, would be a really, really bad thing to happen," she elaborated, a frown of disquiet marring her normally serene features.

"I'm kinda inclined to agree with Wills, here, Buff," Xander stated as he folded his arms across his chest and casually leaned back against one of the consoles.

"But before I say anything else about what happened after I got here, I think you and I need to talk. Privately," he added before anyone could respond.

"Okay," Buffy instantly nodded her agreement with the suggestion.

"Uh, is there anything the guys need to be watching out for, while we talk, Xand?" she asked as she glanced around the room again, the suspicions generated by the room coming to the fore.

"Nope. Everything is cool, Buff. You might even say it's copasetic," he grinned.

"We can talk in here," he said as he indicated a small alcove set into one of the walls and waited for her to join him before heading off towards the room indicated.

Once there, Xander closed the door behind them to ensure their conversation would remain private – what with Slayer senses being as sensitive as they were – and then turned to face the diminutive blonde with him.

Ignoring the rather large second chamber's contents after a quick glance around to verify that they were alone, Buffy stared up into the two chocolate-brown eyes focused so intently on her and half-whispered," Do you have any idea of how worried I was about you?" before throwing her arms around him and burying her face in his chest.

"Yeah, I think I've got a fairly good idea, babe," Xander replied as he locked his own arms around the petite form clinging to him.

"I've been the one on the other end of this sort of situation a time or two, remember?" he said as he bent his head to speak softly into her ear.

Wordlessly, Buffy turned her head to look up at him for an instant before cupping her hand around the back of his head and pulling him down to press her lips against his, trying to convey to him the plethora of raging emotions filling her at the moment.

Xander returned the gesture for a moment before reluctantly pulling away, eliciting a small moan of protest from Buffy. He gently put his finger across her lips to silence any further objections as he said, "There's something really important that happened that you need to know about before we do anything else, babe, because it could potentially cause some major problems for us."

Seeing the puzzlement, worry and concern in Buffy's eyes upon hearing his words, Xander let her go and took a half-step back, then held out his arm out in front of himself and in her general direction and said, "Bend my arm, Buff. Try to force it towards the floor."

An uneasy expression on her face, Buffy did as he had instructed and carefully pushed down on Xander's.

A small frown marred her features as his arm remained motionless and she pressed a bit harder, gradually increasing the power she was using before realization suddenly lit up her eyes and she abruptly relaxed her grip and looked up at the expression of carefully-hidden apprehension she could see in the brunet's eyes.

"When did it come back?" she asked quietly as Xander noted with quiet relief that, while she hadn't released her grip on his arm, she had shifted position so that her hand was tightly clasping his in a gesture of concern and support.

"It's not back," he told her. "Not really. Despite what it may look like," he reassured her. "And I think we might as well sit down, since this is probably gonna take a while to explain," he said as he indicated they take possession of a couple of comfortable, if oddly styled, looking chairs.

"Like I was saying outside there," he began, indicating the outer chamber where the remainder of the rescue party was waiting with a thumb, " this place isn't something that some mysterious bunch of demons put together.

"It's something completely different than anything any of us could have expected…"

*** Flashback ***

" – a little difficult to – Whoa! What the Hellmouth is going on?" Xander exclaimed as the flashing rings with the scintillating lights that had been encircling him faded away, leaving him staring at his surroundings in confusion.

"And who the hell are you?" he demanded as he noticed the small, grey-skinned being with the ginormous eyes staring at him from his position behind one of the futuristic-looking consoles filling the room.

"My name is Loki, test subject-designate Kappa-seventy-eight," the little demon said, apparently addressing him as it stared at him in a very unnerving manner – sort of like it was inspecting a new pet it had just picked up for any kind of defect or something.

"You are injured," it observed in what could best be described as a dispassionate, almost analytical tone of voice as it seemed to be cataloging the various relatively minor cuts, bruises and abrasions he'd received during his teams' assault on the Gorshandis' lair. "It appears that you have also suffered severe damage to your left eye some time prior to the event from which you were just retrieved. What were the circumstances surrounding the incident responsible for the damage and when did it occur?"

"Uh, first off, little grey guy, my name isn't 'test subject-designate Kappa-seventy-eight,' it's Xander – Xander Harris, to be exact, although I would've kinda expected you to already know that, seeing as how you kidnapped me and all, with the bright, spin-y kind of lights and everything," he noted as he glanced around, trying to figure out where he might've ended up after that rather freaky ride he'd just taken on the Demon Ring-Thing Teleport Express.

"And where are we, and why did you bring me here?" he asked, not at all confident that he'd enjoy hearing the reason he'd been brought here to face a mini-demon that looked more like it belonged in some Disney theme park ride featuring its buddy, E.T.

Actually, this 'Loki' mini-demon looked like he'd fit in perfectly standing around any of the numerous Roswell/Area 51 tourist traps Andrew had talked the Gang into visiting this past October, Xander decided after a moment's additional thought. And it didn't have anything that even remotely resembled any kind of weapon on it, he thought to himself with a bit of relief as he noted the complete lack of any space blaster or phaser-type gun.

Although, maybe after everything here was taken care of, he'd bring the little guy home with him to Council headquarters in Surrey for Buffy's birthday party, he thought to himself in a moment's idle reflection – once he'd subdued the little guy and contacted HQ for a pickup, that is, he decided as he nonchalantly tightened his grip on his axe and glanced around again, to make sure that there weren't any more mini-demons hiding in the wings, ready to swarm out over him when he took this guy down. He didn't bother to check the HK pistol at his hip, as he knew he'd given his last magazine to Faith prior to the final assault back in the caves.

After all, he reflected with a grin, Buffy would probably really appreciate having someone that short around – it'd make her look that much taller to anyone seeing the two of them together, he decided as he casually took a step closer to his ostensible abductor.

"We are in an abandoned Ancient research base which I recently discovered, and I transported you here because I need to examine you, in order to determine how successful the in vitro fertilization techniques I had previously utilized during your creation were," his 'host' informed him as he reached down to pick up some scientific-y looking device off the console in front of him. "I also need to compare your development with that of your clone sibling, to determine whether the time your zygote spent in stasis had affected your development in any significant manner."

The thing that Roswell had just picked up gave off a low whine as it seemed to unfold into some kind of 'Z'-shaped blue-grey Rube Goldberg tinker-toy device, Xander noted as he casually took another half-step forward, preparatory to his leaping over the console and bashing Roswell in the head with the flat of his axe blade to knock it out.

Before he do anything further, however, the little grey demon lifted the tinker-toy up, pointed it in his direction and then there was a quick flash of light and darkness took him over.

***

He awoke some indeterminate time later, to find himself lying in darkness. And when he tried to sit up, he discovered that he was in some kind of box with barely any room to move.

Barely restrained terror surged through him at the thought that he was in a coffin and he began yelling and screaming and pounding against the walls surrounding him.

"Let me out of here! Let me out!" he screamed as atavistic fears that he had been buried alive filled his mind and he hammered his fists against the unyielding metal walls.

"Calm yourself, Commander," an unseen voice responded to his panic, the speaker clearly trying to sooth his fears as a low-level of illumination immediately lit the chamber, reassuring the youth somewhat.

"You are in no physical danger and are currently in a Mark Nine Mo'obarke'rii Regeneration Chamber for the purposes of repairing the rather extensive amount of damage you have sustained to various parts of your body. Once the regeneration processes have been completed and you have been restored to the optimum physical condition your body is capable of attaining, you will be released."

"Who are you? Why are you doing this to me?" Xander demanded as he forced himself to calm down and regain control. He and the rest of the Gang had been in far worse situations a whole lot of times before this, so all he had to do was keep his wits about himself – what few he had, he reminded himself ruefully – and he could probably get out of this with at least most of his skin intact.

He hadn't really been expecting any actual answers to his questions, but the unseen voice that had already spoken to him immediately responded with a reply that left him momentarily speechless.

"You may call me Bran, Commander," the voice informed him. "I was the Commander Pro Tempore of the Ca'alt'icha Medical Facilities of this Base until the appearance, nine days ago, of the A'ersga'ert who is currently waiting outside your regeneration chamber for the completion of your treatment. Upon his arrival, the A'ersga'ert identified himself by the name Loki and assumed command of the medical complex section of these facilities after providing a valid command key sequence, which allowed him to assume limited command of the non-military sections of the base. After your arrival here via ring transport, he subdued you using a zat’n’ktel and then transferred you into the Mo'obarke'rii Regeneration Chamber you are currently occupying, where it is intended that you undergo standard regeneration treatment for the various injuries you have incurred up to this point in time in order to enable you to achieve your optimum physical potential."

"Why are you bothering to do that? And why are you calling 'Commander'?"

"To answer your second question first, Commander, I initially began your regeneration treatment because Loki directed me to do so after transporting you here, as he is currently the head of the medical complex, as I noted earlier," this 'Bran' character informed him.

"However, after verifying what preliminary diagnostic scans had indicated – that you are, indeed, of Anqueeta heritage – I have contacted you to determine the feasibility of transferring authority over the base to you, since existing protocols require that, in the absence of properly authorized command personnel, any Anqueeta present in any Anqueeta Confederation installation be provided the opportunity to assume control of the installation in lieu of any non-Anqueeta who currently may be exercising authority over the base or any portion of the base in question," the voice went on.

"Wait a minute," Xander interrupted, as he tried to make sure that he was properly understanding what he thought he was hearing. "Are you saying that you're offering *me* command of this base installation thing-y we're in?" he asked, hardly daring to hope that that was, indeed, what he thought he'd heard this Bran character say.

"And that's why you're calling me 'Commander'? Because that little Roswell demon that zapped me really shouldn't be in charge of this place?"

"Yes, Commander, that is correct," Bran affirmed. "As I indicated earlier, due to the absence of any properly authorized personnel to assume command, your being of Anqueeta lineage automatically supersedes any non-Anqueeta personnel with regard to control of this base, unless you should order me to allow the existing situation to continue."

"Uh, just how long has it been since any 'properly authorized command personnel' have shown up round here, uh, Bran?" Xander asked, not wanting to chance possibly pissing off any Anqueetas who, based on the way things generally happened around him, were probably gonna show up about two minutes after he accepted command of this base he was being offered.

"It has been slightly more than 29,486 standard years since the departure of the last Anqueeta citizen from this complex, Commander," was the answer he received – one which left the First Scooby both speechless and thinking furiously for the next few minutes.

"Huh. So, based on what you just said, I'm guessing now that you're not really a flesh and blood type person, but are actually some kind of electronic intelligence type of person, instead, eh, Bran?"

"That is correct, Commander. I am an Energy Sentient, or an E.S., to use the most commonly accepted nomenclatures of the Anqueeta culture," Bran replied politely.

"Cool. Glad to meet you, Bran," Xander said semi-reflexively as he began considering the potential advantages being offered him.

"And I am pleased to meet you, Commander," Bran replied with what sounded like the hint of a smile in his voice. "Will you be accepting the option I am offering you to assume command of this installation, then, sir?"

"Well, considering that the choice is between me and the Roswell refugee out there, I guess I'm gonna have to say 'yes', Bran," Xander replied with a somewhat wan grin after a moment's additional consideration.

"I am very glad to hear that. Congratulations on your assumption of your new command, Commander."

"Thanks, Bran. I guess," Xander replied thoughtfully.

A moment later, as his Hellmouth-trained paranoia kicked in, he then added, "Oh, yeah, if any more visitors happen to show up, check with me before you let them know you're sentient, okay? And if they do know you're sentient, unless they're some of these 'properly authorized command personnel' you mentioned earlier, don't do anything they might try and order you to do, until you check with me first, even if they are other Anqueetas."

"Certainly, Commander," Bran immediately affirmed. "Do you have any additional orders for me?"

"Uh, you haven't said anything to this Loki character out there about this whole chain of command thing, have you?" he asked a moment later.

"No, sir. To the best of my knowledge, the A'ersga'ert is not aware of the command authority chain of succession requirements," was the reply he received.

"Excellent!" Xander quoted as an exceedingly feral grin took possession of his face. "Let’s not spoil the surprise for him, okay?" he then directed.

"And to get back to what you were talking about earlier, you were saying something about healing all of the various injuries I've received," Xander turned their discussion back to what most people would consider a medical impossibility, if he had interpreted what this Bran guy had said to him properly.

"What exactly did you mean by that?" he asked.

"Simply that the cellular regeneration treatment that the A'ersga'ert, Loki, had ordered me to initiate on you in order to repair the rather extensive damage you have sustained, in addition to healing all of the current injuries you currently exhibit, would also regenerate your left eye, sir," was the answer he received.

"You can replace my eye?" Xander didn't realize that his voice had dropped to a near-whisper as he almost fearfully asked that question. "Really?"

"Yes, Commander," Bran affirmed his earlier statement. "I can.

"Given the medical facilities I have available here, it is not a particularly difficult procedure to accomplish, particularly when initiated in combination with the accelerated cellular regeneration treatment normally used," the voice added.

"Prior to initiation of the regeneration treatments, however, I have several questions that need to be answered," Bran continued.

"My preliminary examination detected what appear to be residual traces of several different energy patterns that apparently have been superimposed atop your basic cellular structure at various times in your life, as well as indicating the presence of several different piscine gene sequences not normally found in any of the standard Anqueetan chromosomal structures with which I am familiar," the unseen speaker informed him.

"In addition, my initial analysis of the residual energy patterns present in your body tentatively identifies the first pattern you experienced as similar to one recorded in my files as belonging to an energy-based species known to be capable of either temporarily possessing, or in some cases forming a long-term symbiosis with, matter-based life forms, while the second oldest energy pattern most closely resembles the results of an external attempt at imposition of alternate engrams on an uncooperative test subject," Bran stated with what Xander thought sounded like surprise and possibly even a bit of disbelief in his voice.

"The third and most recent energy trace, which I would estimate you experienced approximately nineteen months ago, local time, appeared to be composed of several differing energy frequencies superimposed upon each other, and evidently was simply incompletely absorbed by your cellular structure and used to destroy the various tumors growing throughout your body as a result of the incomplete integration of the piscine genetic sequences I mentioned I had detected earlier," Bran managed to say before being interrupted by Xander's panicked shout of "What? What tumors are you talking about?!"

"Excuse me, Commander, but I was of the belief that you were already aware of the widespread existence of cancerous tumors proliferating throughout your body, and that you were undergoing the regeneration treatment in order to deal with that problem," Bran calmly replied in answer to the other's horrified yell.

"You're telling me I have freakin' cancer spread throughout my body?" Xander demanded, trying to quiet the panic threatening to overwhelm him again.

"Yes, Commander, I am," Bran replied. "And I'm also informing you that the regeneration treatment I can provide you will remove both the tumors and the imperfectly integrated gene fusion responsible for the cancers," he added reassuringly.

"Oh. Okay. That's definitely of the good to hear, Bran," Xander declared as he let out a long sigh of relief.

"Getting back to my initial questions, Commander," Bran said after a moment, evidently in an effort to allow Xander a moment to regain his equilibrium, "I wanted to determine whether you wished me to emulate the first two energy patterns you had previously experienced, once the regeneration treatment has been completed and, this time, properly integrate them with both your own engrams and your core cellular structure.

"The resulting amalgamation would provide you with whatever benefits you had been looking to achieve when you initially attempted the fusions previously," he pointed out.

"Well, first off, you're gonna have to tell what an engram is, Bran, before I can decide whether or not I want you to emulate whatever it is into my cellular structure," Xander replied, as he also reflected on the undeniable benefits of having the Primal Spirit abilities integrated into him during the course of the regenerative treatment.

"Of course, Commander," Bran immediately replied.

"Engrams are the neurological equivalents of holographic memory matrices, which most physical sapients utilize to store their memories," the E.S. explained.

"My preliminary analysis of your neurological structure would indicate that you experienced an unsuccessful or only partially successful implant when the engram was attempted," he continued, "but I am confident that I can not only reconstruct the engram in question and rectify whatever problems you might have experienced, but can successfully integrate it into your neurological structure without any problems.

"Would you like me to do so?"

"You're saying you can give me the Hyena's power and Soldier Boy's memories back without either of them taking over and shoving me off to the side this time around?" Bran was somewhat surprised to hear the brunet ask with a somewhat bitter laugh in response to his question, but the E.S. refrained from any additional inquiries as the youth's subsequent words then indicated his acquiescence.

"Sure, man. To quote the infamous Jack T. Chance, 'Give me the juice'," Xander said, before relaxing back onto the padded platform he was currently lying on.

*** End Flashback ***

"So, you're saying that this Bran guy – who's really this whole base installation building around us and who's probably listening in on our conversation even as we talk –" Buffy noted parenthetically, "not only used the medical facilities here to heal up all your injuries and give you back your eye, he also returned the Hyena powers and Soldier-Guy's memories, while leaving you completely in charge this time, and also made you Commander of this whole nifty-looking base, huh, Xand?"

"Yepper. That's pretty much exactly what happened, beautiful," Xander nodded agreement, watching her carefully so as to not miss any reaction she might have to the revelations she'd just received.

"That's cool," Buffy judged after a moment's deliberation.

"And so are we," she then immediately added, squeezing his hand reassuringly as she got up from her chair and moved to sit on his lap, giving him a quick kiss to set his concerns to rest as he curled his arms around her waist.

"You know, waking up inside the regeneration chamber made me realize how you must have felt waking up inside your coffin when we brought you back the second time," Xander then said, his eyes focused intently on her as he spoke.

"I know we all said we thought we could imagine how disturbing and upsetting it must have been for you doing that, but now I know for sure that we really didn't have any idea of just how freaksome it really was," he went on.

"And all I can really say is that I'm so very, very sorry that you had to go through something like that, darling," he half-whispered as he leaned his forehead against her own. "I'm just so, so sorry."

"All that stuff's in the past, Xand," Buffy shook her head. "We've all made mistakes, but we're all getting ourselves straightened out now, what with Giles insisting that everyone talk to Dr. Crane, and there's no point in dragging any of that stuff back up again.

"We're good, and we're making things better everyday with what we do, so let's not talk about this anymore, okay?" she suggested/ordered.

"Okay," Xander agreed, with what he admitted was a small, somewhat cowardly sigh of relief. "We can do that.

"Thanks," he said, as he leaned in and kissed her lightly again. "For everything," he noted as they cuddled together for a moment.

"You know, once we tell Willow and the others about all this, everything that's happened to you, she's *so* gonna freak and she's gonna want to have the coven check you out, once we get back, so she can be sure that everything's okay, you know," Buffy pointed out thoughtfully from her position leaning against his chest. "And then she's definitely gonna want to come back here, probably with Andrew and the rest of his Nerd Squad, and check out everything to do with this base.

"And we're also gonna need to see how you do, fighting wise, and see exactly how strong and fast you are so we can figure out the best way to integrate you into the teams," she added after an additional moment's consideration.

"Yeah, I kinda figured all of that out already, Buff," Xander agreed with a small sigh of resignation as he envisioned all of the tests their friend would undoubtedly insist on running once they returned to Council headquarters.

"And I'm also thinking, once we get home, I'm gonna have to check you out tonight, too, to make sure that everything's still working properly," she added with a lascivious grin. "That's probably gonna take several hours at least, I'm guessing."

"Even more, if we do it right," Xander agreed.

"Well, it's best to be as careful as we can be," Buffy told him with an innocent expression, as she hugged him again. "Maybe we should plan on spending all day tomorrow seeing just how extensive the changes are, hmm? Stamina's really important, remember."

"Sounds good to me, beautiful lady," he agreed. "But I'm thinking now that we better get back to the others before Willow's curiosity about the base her makes her head explode."

"Yeah, I suppose so," Buffy agreed as she moved in even closer and gently kissed him again. "And Faith's not exactly noted for her patience, either."

"Yeah, you got that right," he nodded and smiled at the diminutive blonde as he turned and opened the door to the outer chamber.

"Oh, and Buff? You probably won't believe this, but I think I found the perfect birthday gift for you here while I was wandering around, waiting for you guys to show up."

"Oh, really?" she asked, her face brightening as she moved up alongside him as they moved to rejoin the rescue team.

"What is it?" she eagerly demanded, practically dancing with anticipation as she followed him.

"I can't tell you right now. You'll have to wait and see when you unwrap it Monday. That's why it's called a surprise," he smiled at her, enjoying the almost childish delight she was projecting at the thought of her present. "If I told you what it is now, then it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?"

Before either of them could say anything more, Bran's voice interrupted as a muted klaxon began sounding and Bran's voice echoed through the halls along with it.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, Commander, but I've detected an attempt to beam a group into the base by an A'ersga'ert cruiser currently orbiting the planet. Shall I allow them access?"

~~~

Unknown location

January 17, 2004
Approximately forty minutes after Thor's arrival at SGC


Jack stared in dismay as he and the rest of the team materialized, along with Thor, in what appeared to be some kind of holding cell, similar to those the Goa'uld typically used, judging by the barely visible floor-to-ceiling shimmering covering the seemingly absent fourth wall of the room they found themselves in, as well as the absence of anything in the room except a couple of bunks and a sink situated next to a small swinging door that most likely led to toilet facilities, if his guess was correct.

He cautiously tossed his cap in the direction of the shimmer and saw it bounce back towards him, just as he had expected, while also reflexively noting that all of SG-1's weapons were missing.

"What the hell's going on, Thor?" he demanded as he bent and retrieved his cap. "I thought you were beaming us down to wherever it is that Loki's holed up?"

"That was where I intended for us for us to arrive, O'Neill," the Asgard replied, as he, too, examined their arrival point, his large eyes blinking in what was most likely confusion.

"Impressive. It would appear, however, that the transfer beam was intercepted and redirected to this point," he pointed out somewhat superfluously.

"Yeah, we kinda noticed that already," Jack snarked, trying to damp down on the unease he was currently feeling at the realization that they appeared to have been captured either by Loki or some other, currently unidentified, group, before they'd even had a chance to arrive at wherever it was they had been intending to go.

Carter, Danny and Teal'c, he noticed with the slightest bit of team leader-ly satisfaction, were all calmly examining their cell, too, looking for any potential methods of escape.

His and the others' attention was refocused an instant later, however, as a tall, dark-haired youth, dressed in what looked to be some sort of navy blue fatigues, walked up to stand outside their cell and stare at them with a mixture of annoyance and amusement.

"So, I'm guessing you guys aren’t all that big on the ideas of privacy and private property," the kid – he didn't look like he could be any more than twenty-one, maybe twenty-two, at most, Jack decided as he looked at the newcomer – declared after a moment or so spent looking them over and giving them the evil eye.

"Uh, actually, we were expecting to find someone else entirely in charge," Danny blurted out in a semi-embarrassed voice.

"Danny!" Jack barked out what was clearly a 'Shut up and let me do the talking' tone of voice.

"Sorry, Jack," the archaeologist replied apologetically, then looked a bit chagrined at what might possibly be considered an additional breach of security.

"Let me guess. You were expecting to find Short, Grey and Silent's twin brother waiting for you?" the youth stated with a frown, the accuracy of his guess eliciting surprised expressions from both Danny and Carter, Jack noted to himself with another frown.

"Look, kid, if you could just give a call to whoever's are in charge here, and tell them we'd like to talk to them about the reasons we were beaming down, I'm sure we can get everything straightened out fairly quickly," Jack said, giving the brunet a low-powered version of his 'Annoyed Commanding Officer' look.

"You are, huh?" the kid replied. "Well then, I guess it must be your lucky day, my man, since I'm the guy in charge of everything here," he said as he gave Jack what anyone not under O'Neill's command would describe as the equivalent of his most irritating smartass grin.

"You gotta be kidding me," Jack reflexively exclaimed, regretting the words issuing from his mouth the instant he heard himself saying them.

"No, actually, I don't," the kid smirked at him, before abruptly shifting into what was unmistakably a military command posture.

"Let's get a couple things straight here, people," he said, the expression on his face that of an irritated officer.

"You tried to enter this base without either permission or authorization, which makes you, at best, trespassers and, at worst, spies and potential saboteurs," he declared. "However, seeing that you're in the company of an A'ersga'ert, who have generally been considered allies in the past, I'm willing to overlook this infraction, this time.

"And since I'm also guessing, based on what your guy over there said about expecting to meet up with someone else, that you were probably looking for another unwelcome visitor we've had the distinct non-pleasure of having show up here, so I'm going to hand him over for you to deal with, rather than waste time that I could be spending on things of much greater importance," he informed the somewhat bewildered and unsure-of-exactly-what-was-happening SG-1 team.

"You have our most profound apologies for disturbing you, Base Commander," Thor chose that particular moment to join in the conversation. "The Asgard were unaware that you had returned to this galaxy, and were of the belief that your people had either all Ascended or that you had left this galaxy for reasons of your own.

"If you have indeed returned and are intending to re-establish your presence here, the Asgard would be most desirous of re-establishing formal relations with your people," he declared, offering a small bow when he finished speaking.

"Okay," the youth nodded, apparently a bit surprised at Thor's speech. "I'll keep that in mind.

"But for right now, let's go with what I just said, okay?" he continued.

"Bran? Send over the package we discussed earlier, okay?" he said, addressing his remarks to what seemed to be either thin air or whoever was observing them remotely.

"As you requested, Commander," an unseen voice answered, and a fraction of an instant later, a steel cylinder approximately seven feet tall and three feet in diameter shimmered into existence.

"Here's that person I mentioned earlier," the youth informed SG-1, "and this is the portable stasis unit I stuffed him into because he was annoying me.

"And for your information, once it's been opened, it's set to automatically transport itself back here," he said, looking over at Jack. "I'd rather not find any bugs or other doodads inside it when it comes back.

"And I'd strongly prefer not to find anyone showing up at my front door and hoping to find out just what it is I might have stored here on base," he added.

"I'll make a point of telling my bosses all of that," Jack nodded his understanding of the 'don't disturb' warning they'd just been given.

"That's about all I can really promise will happen," he offered, thinking about the potential problems that could result if Kinsey and his cronies or the NID decided to try and infiltrate this base to see what goodies they might be able to salvage in the name of 'National Security.'

"Good," the brunet nodded. "And you can also tell your bosses, we'll get in touch with them when we feel it's the proper time."

Before he could say anything further, the semi-familiar sensations of a transporter grabbing hold of him abruptly washed over Jack and a moment later, SG-1 and Thor found themselves back on the Asgard ship orbiting above.

~~~

"Uh, Xander, you do realize, don't you, that you just gave several members of what looked like a United States government military team and their demon friend who was with them the distinct impression that you're the commander of whatever kind of base thing-y it is that we're in here and that you're also a member of some unknown species that apparently left our solar system thousands and thousands of years ago?" Willow semi-squeaked as she stared at him in wide-eyed disbelief as he rejoined the Council rescue team in the lounge area where they had waited for him while he dealt with the second group of intruders to visit the base within the past several hours.

"Yeah, Will, I do," Xander nodded agreeably as he ignored the equally wide-eyed expressions of mixed amazement and incredulity on the faces of the younger Slayers present.

He also noticed that Buffy was watching everything going on with a small grin on her face and that both Dawn and Faith were staring at him with narrow-eyed looks of suspicion, as though they were expecting him to announce some sort of prank or joke.

"As it happens, what I had just finished telling Buffy, and which I was about to tell you guys before we were so rudely interrupted by those bozos beaming in, is that I actually am the Commander of this base we’re in," he informed his friends with a wide smile on his face.

Seeing the looks of disbelief on everyone's faces (except Buffy's, of course) at that statement, he launched into a quick summation of everything he'd already explained to Buffy and which he hoped wouldn't have his listeners deciding that he should be committed to the nearest asylum upon their return to headquarters.

***

"…and so, since that Roswell refuge who kidnapped me had taken command of the Cal Tech Medical Facilities here, Bran, who is the Energy Sentient previously in command of the base here, began analyzing my gene sequence in order to initiate the regeneration process and noticed that I possess the 'Anqueetan heritage' needed to assume full authority over the base, offered it to me and I accepted it, and here we are," Xander finished up his mini-soliloquy.

"Cal Tech set up medical facilities here?" Faith asked, a skeptical look on her face.

"I know they're in the habit of setting up satellite campuses all over the place, but I think unless this place is actually just outside Disneyland, it's probably a bit too far for most people to commute to," she snorted.

"Actually, Miss Lehane, despite his best efforts, the Commander mangled the proper name of the medical facilities," Bran's disembodied voice broke into the conversation, a trace of humor evident in his voice as he spoke.

"The proper designation is the Ca'alt'icha Medical Facilities, not the 'Cal Tech' Medical Facilities," he informed his listeners. "And since he is the first person of verifiable Anqueetan heritage to enter the complex since the previous command staff left 29,486 years ago, existing protocols required that he be offered the opportunity to transfer command authority from the A'ersga'ert who was currently overseeing the complex."

The Energy Sentient's unexpected participation in their conversation was yet another surprise in what was turning out to be a long series of unanticipated revelations occurring in the wake of Xander's kidnapping, and even the more jaded Scoobies were taking a moment to adjust to the prospect of interacting with a non-physical, non-organic entity apparently older than any they'd had to deal with previously, although after only a few moments, they were conversing with him just as casually as if he were a newly recruited member of the Council's workforce.

It was Dawn's incessant questioning of Bran regarding the base's history that eventually led to the most stunning revelation, though.

"You know, you never did say exactly how big this base complex is, Bran," the Key noted while discussing some of the base's various capabilities with the E.S. "Or where it is, exactly, either."

"Those subjects were never specifically addressed, Dawn," Bran replied, "but there is no reason precluding the release of general information regarding this base's general dimensions or capabilities such as we have been discussing.

"And in answer to your questions, we are currently located on the floor of the Arctic Ocean, in the area which geographers refer to as the Eurasian Basin, and are approximately 5,300 meters below the ocean surface, proper, using the terms of measurement you are most familiar with. The base itself is approximately five point seven four miles in diameter, and extends upwards approximately half a mile above the sea floor and approximately one point six five miles downward, in a general cone-shape beneath the sea floor, with the power generation facilities located approximately three-quarters of a mile directly below the primary command complex," he continued.

"The base currently maintains accommodations suitable to comfortably house approximately twenty thousand inhabitants and can accommodate a significantly larger increase in that figure, should the situation arise. The base can also generate a defensive force shield around the base's exterior surfaces, as well as being able to independently relocate itself within the confines of the solar system via a standard gravitronic stardrive propulsion unit, should the necessity arise. Should extreme circumstances arise, this base is also capable of hyperspace travel, including intergalactic transits, although I would strongly recommend against such travel until a full inspection of all transport systems has been performed.

"Actually, the designers intended that the Atlantis complex be capable of traveling to wherever the military command staff manning the complex desired and, after arrival, of functioning as a small self-contained city at those destinations for an indefinite period of time," he finished.

"Excuse me?" Dawn started coughing raggedly as she half-choked on the glass of orange juice she had been drinking and the rest of the group stared in wide-eyed astonishment at Bran's monologue on the history of the complex.

"What did you just call this place?"

"The base-complex? Atlantis. Why? What seems to be the problem, Dawn?"

~~~

Star Gate Command
Colorado Springs, CO

January 17, 2004


"Thor, you mind telling me just what the heck happened back there, wherever 'there' was, and exactly why you were apologizing to whoever you thought that kid was?" Jack demanded semi-irately, once the final tickles of the Asgard beam transport faded away.

"I am unaware of the precise identity of the commander of that city-complex we beamed into, O'Neill," the diminutive Asgard immediately replied.

"What is of significance importance, and something about which I must immediately notify the High Council, is that it appears that at least one group of Ancients have returned to this galaxy.

"Since the commander did not indicate how long the duration of their stay might be, I feel it is imperative that the rest of the High Council learn of their return as soon as possible, so that any debate that might ensue concerning requests for Ancient assistance on several issues of the most pressing concern to the Asgard race be accomplished as expeditiously as possible," Thor elaborated further.

"Uh, exactly who are these 'Ancients' you're referring to, Thor?" Danny asked somewhat hesitantly, clearly edging Carter out for the chance to ask that particular question.

"They are the forebears of your own species, Doctor Jackson," Thor informed him before turning to address Jack again.

"As I have said, this information is of the utmost importance to my race, O'Neill, so I must leave for Hala immediately," he declared, his normally impassive features somehow managing to convey a sense of both urgency and wonder.

"I will return as soon as I can," he said, before then seemingly dissolving in a shimmer of lights.

"Okay, little buddy," Jack nodded reflexively as he stared at the spot the Asgard had been occupying a moment earlier.

"See ya around."

~~~

Star Gate Command
Colorado Springs, CO

January 21, 2004
0900 hours Central Time


"While I can certainly understand some of your concerns about the feasibility of turning over responsibility for the Gate to an international group of civilians, Jack, I think you have to evaluate the situation in the context of exactly who it is we would prefer to see have control over an artifact with this level of power," Hammond said as he and the SG-1 team waited for Major Davis to escort the group representing 'the Council' (that mysterious and enigmatic group whose head he'd spoken with just a few days ago) down to this level and to the conference room where they'd provide the necessary background on the Stargate program, followed by an actual demonstration of the 'Gate in operation so that the Council's reps could get a real grasp of what the SGC oversaw.

"The President has had nothing but praise when speaking about this group of people we'll be meeting and, frankly, I would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pick someone more likely to abuse the potential for power the Stargate offers its operators than Senator Kinsey and his cohorts," the general declared, and Jack found the entire team reflexively nodding their heads in agreement with the sentiments his boss was expressing.

"Well, sir, it's just that I think that we're going to have a problem getting these people the President wants to sell the gate to, to begin to even understand the level of technology behind the gate's operation in order to allow them to use it properly," Jack paused in his response as the door to the conference room opened and Davis entered, followed by a somewhat distinguished- and professorial-looking older man (who evidently had some knowledge of Colorado winters, since he was wearing a tweed jacket and vest over his shirt and tie), along with several younger people he assumed were members of the guy's staff, since they pretty much looked like a bunch of graduate students who'd been grabbed to act as gofers while the older guy and Hammond negotiated.

And despite the fact that both the redhead and the tall, brunette walking in after the professor definitely had the focused, semi-crazed look he'd noted Danny wore a lot of the time when he was huddled over his books, he couldn’t remember all that many female graduate students who looked half as hot as the petite blonde or the smirking, self-confident brunette who followed the other two girls in.

Although the wide-eyed, gawking, blond-haired kid tagging along after the two babes was a techno-geek with a capital 'T' and 'G,' no question about that, he smirked to himself before barely preventing his jaw dropping halfway to the floor when he saw the tall dark-haired youth who'd followed the geek in and pulled the door closed behind himself, all the while genially complaining about having to carry other people's briefcases for them.

"Or maybe we won't," the Colonel summed up his evaluation as the kid's smile seemed to freeze in place as he looked over the various program personnel seated around the table and his eyes locked with Jack's, exhibiting a surprised, almost deer-in-the headlights expression.

"Oh crap!"


FIN


Author's Note: Before anyone starts screaming – yes, there will be at least one more story following this one; I just don't know when it/they will be appearing. My muse has finally returned from wherever she went on vacation, and I'm just doing what she says, so as not to piss her off.

The End

You have reached the end of "Just the People I Wanted To See – Not!". This story is complete.

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