Chapter 3: Tok’ra
“That was not smart,” Xander commented, his expression a mixture of amusement and malicious glee as he watched Buffy stalk a suddenly pensive looking Anise.
“”Not smart?” O’Neill replied back, his eyes dancing, “little bit of an understatement don’t you think?”
“Well,” he shrugged, “she did basically say to Buffy’s face that she was dressed like a skank whilst wearing an outfit I would expect to see briefly attached to a pole-dancer.”
The Colonel had to choke back a laugh at that and a muffled chuckle from the direction of the senior Carter made it clear he hadn’t been the only one to hear that comment.
Not that Xander had made any effort to lower his voice.
“What is a pole-dancer?”
The somewhat high-pitched question from Anise broke O’Neill’s barriers down and for a moment he found himself laughing aloud before he brought it back under control. Not that he didn’t think it was funny and he didn’t give much of a damn about Anise’s feelings but Hammond wouldn’t appreciate it and that was reason enough to hide his amusement.
“Still think we have nothing to offer you Anise?” he asked, raising his voice.
“I still do not believe it is possible that primitives like yourselves managed to remove Apothis from his host. If we, with the superior knowledge and intellect of the Tok’ra have not been able to manage such a feat in thousands of years of trying, how could you?”
“Superior intellect hah!” Buffy snorted, “at least we can make implants that don’t look like flotation devices.”**
The room feel deathly silent for a moment, then “implants?”
Buffy glanced down pointedly and Anise frowned, then her face went white, fury rose in her eyes and she sharply raised her hand, revealing a smaller version of the hand device.
One second later she found herself with her back against the floor, arm still out raised, no hand device and no memory whatsoever of how she had ended up there.
Though Buffy’s foot resting on her stomach might have been somewhat of a clue, it certainly was to General Carter, who eyebrows narrowed, found himself reassessing the strange civilians O’Neill had introduced him too.
“I see these new friends of yours…” Carter paused and O’Neill didn’t even try to hide his grin as he turned his gaze from the shaken Anise to the other Tok’ra.
Carter shrugged, “well, they’re skilled, deadly, mouthy and unwilling to take any bullshit. Did you get cloned or something Colonel?”
“Hey!” Buffy interrupted, “enough with the crazy talk. Me no clone, don’t have any man-bits thank you…”
“Man-bits?” the Colonel choked out, tears of mirth hiding in the corners of his eyes. Even Anise had to choke back a laugh, a task that became somewhat easier when a suddenly blushing Buffy was none to careful as she removed her foot from the woman’s stomach, giving her what to a male would have been an extremely painful kick. As she found out it was not too pleasant for a female either.
“Compliment,” Oz noted, a smile hinted at in the curve of his lips. He caught the General turned Tok’ra’s eyes and gave a slight nod, more of acknowledgement then actual thanks.
Xander frowned as he considered this for a moment, and then shook his head, puzzled. Buffy caught the expression, “Carter respects and trusts O’Neill, comparing us to him is therefore a compliment.”
He nodded, accepting the response as O’Neill and Carter exchanged shrugs.
“So,” O’Neill shook his head, “crazy people, what say we get back to the subject at hand?”
“Which subject would that be?” Buffy replied, sending a glare at Anise as she cautiously pulled herself up from the floor.
“The removal of Apothis from his host,” Carter replied swiftly, then his head dipped.
“Indeed,” Selmac noted, “If you have managed such a task you have managed to best the Tok’ra and many more besides. It would certainly help us to maintain the alliance and prove its worth to some of the doubters within the Council.”
“Well,” Xander shrugged, “it’s been done. The Doc’s who did it are currently tucked up nice and quiet till the morning with Guards at the door to ensure they aren’t disturbed.”
“You’re a little early,” O’Neill noted.
Selmac shrugged, “a report such as yours was not something to be ignored. If we have to wait, then we have to wait. I don’t suppose a meal would be out of the question?”
Shrugging, the Colonel gestured towards the door.
“You know,” O’Neill noted mock idly as he chewed on a chicken wing, “the brass is asking me to… suggest you send some examples of your nanotech to one of their research labs again.”
“Really?” Xander replied dryly, “Can’t imagine why that would be. Tell me, by any chance would the research lab in question happen to be linked to the NID?”
The Colonel snorted, “Is now given the source of the requests.”
“Wait,” Selmac asked sharply, “the technology you are talking about, which you used to remove Apothis, this is not Earth technology?”
Xander shook his head in reply, “yes and no. It was developed on Earth but has never been under the control of the US military.”
The Tok’ra narrowed its eyes, the answer sounded like complete truth and total evasion at the same time. Curious…
“Perhaps you would care to elaborate?”
He considered this, then simply, “No,”
Eyebrows raised, Selmac turned her gaze to O’Neill who just shrugged in reply. Leaning back in her chair she considered this, her mind definitely not on the meal in front of her.
“Do you think they’ll ever learn?” Xander asked, turning his attention back to the Colonel.
“No,” he replied, not even needing to consider it, “you’ve got a power and technology they don’t and that is not allowed.”
Xander shrugged, “after their first attempt, you would have thought they would have got the message.”
“Worse in your case,” O’Neill noted, “You’re an American citizen, that gives them a degree of legal control over you, even if it isn’t much.”
“Also an advantage should we have to deal with them again,”
“Hopefully it won’t come to that,” O’Neill replied.
“NID?” it was General Carter who was asking now, an interested and somewhat malicious gleam in his eyes.
“Oh yes,” Xander replied, grinning.
Hiding from an Adventurer wasn’t easy, having some of the highest natural perceptions in the Anarchy Online game and a very decent set of buffs for the skill as well, if an adventurer set out to find you then you would be found. This just took longer if it was a fully buffed agent you were trying to find.
The idiots currently registering on Xanders perceptions weren’t fully buffed Agents however, they were normal if skilled humans and as such, a minimal threat. In fact, whilst he had noticed them and had been following them for almost twenty minutes as they broke their way into the compound and headed towards the building which contained the Sunnydale Org, they had yet to notice him.
This meant they never knew exactly how they went from one second being in a stealthy advance on target to being in a guard room, stripped off all their weapons and possessions.
This also meant that, when Maybourne arrived at their base of operations five hours later to find out why he hadn’t gotten a response from the team, he never noticed the small tracker being placed on his back.
He did notice however the ‘Utter Bastard’ sign that was placed on his back, but not until three hours and two full coffee shops later.
** - one of the best lines in fanfiction ever and definately worthy of quotage