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The Call

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Summary: In the future, someone makes Xander a job offer he can't refuse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered
Literature > Horror > Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Stargate > General
poeFR1819101,33757292183,43917 May 0929 Jul 14No

The Stars in their Courses

A/N The end game is starting. As always, I have no claim on either BTVS, Stargate or anything else recognizable; darn it.


THE STARS IN THEIR COURSES

“Okay, so what is it that has you so freaked out,” Buffy wanted to know. They had made it back to Cleveland house and dealt with the fallout from Patrice’s death. Al had let Buffy take the lead on that, because he had stopped somewhere on the way back. He had needed information and so he had broken off and seen a friend. Leaving something like this to just Buffy was unusual for Al and the entire time she’d been counseling the girls and support people, he’d been absent, which only served to emphasize that something was off. Buffy hadn’t said anything publicly waiting to confront the Watcher when they were finally alone. Well now they were and she wanted answers.

For an answer, Alistair just waved the papers that he had recovered from the decrepit church. What little he had read had scared him, the scope of what seemed to be going on was almost unimaginable. He was also a bit nervous because he was anticipating Buffy’s less than overjoyed reaction to what was written there. “Most of these pages are in some sort of code and we will need to get cracking on figuring out what it all means, but there was a letter in straight English on the top and I saw some things there that required immediate answers.”

“So what’s there that’s got you so rattled?” Buffy asked; Al’s mood was scaring her a bit.

For an answer he picked up a piece of paper which was now in a plastic envelope and read. “The Key has been located in its final form. Its protections are currently beyond our abilities, what is the possibility of capturing the Sister for leverage?”

Buffy sat down abruptly; this was a new variation on an old theme. Usually the bad guys wanted to kidnap Dawn to leverage Buffy, not the other way around. All in all the feeling was a bit disconcerting. She looked up at Al, “Is there more?”

He just nodded and turned back to the letter. “The Key’s protectors must be eliminated at the earliest opportunity. The Order will not take the contract so alternatives are under consideration.”

So it wasn’t just Dawn and her who were in danger. Xander, Faith and Oz were also targets. She looked up again to ask if there were still more when Al’s phone rang. Shooting an apologetic look Buffy’s way, he picked it up.

“…………………..”

“Really, thank you for that.”

“………………………”

“Do you have our E-Mail address?”

“……………………….”

“Thanks Jerry, I now owe you one.” He hung up and looked over at Buffy. The question as to the purpose of the last call was clear on her face. “On the way home I stopped by The First District Police Station so that someone there could get a print off of the paper and tell me who was killed tonight.” He talked faster, hoping to stave off the eruption of Mt. Buffy. “It was something that we needed to know and that was our friend calling me back with the name and he even sent over a copy of the gentleman’s file.”

Buffy’s anger was derailed by her confusion, “Isn’t that kinda illegal?”

“Yes, but as we saved his two daughters about six months ago so he is willing to look the other way.”

“I just don’t like dealing with the police,” Buffy grumped.

Al knelt down in front of Buffy so he could look her in the eyes. “I know what you had to go through with the Sunnydale Constabulary; but this isn’t Sunnydale and the police are not as inclined to look the other way here. So we need friends on the force for our own protection and I just approached someone who owes us for a favor; that’s all.”

“I still don’t like it,” Buffy huffed, “but I can see where you’re coming from.” Her mood changed quickly, “So who was the priesty guy?”

“Robert Maynard,” Al replied after he sat down at his computer and opened up the file the police had sent him. “He was a banker until two years ago when his wife and son were killed.”

“Was it supernatural related?” Buffy asked.

“In no way,” Al replied, “it was a simple car wreck. A drunk ran a light and totaled their car.” He turned back to the file. “After that he seems to have dropped off of the grid, that is until tonight. Meet Robert Maynard,” Al said, turning the monitor so that Buffy could see the picture.

“That doesn’t look anything like the guy we saw,” Buffy burst out when she saw an old driver’s license photo of the man in question.

“I know,” Al replied. “Mr. Maynard is now about six inches shorter with a much larger nose as well as other deformed bits.” He started to go on but saw that Buffy was still staring at the pictured remains of the man. “What is it Love?” he asked.

“Glory,” Buffy replied in a voice so quiet that it almost went unheard. It hadn’t hit her at first but all too quickly she realized that the man that Al had killed looked like he was some sort of half-breed between a normal person and one of Glory’s scabby little minions. On the heels of recognizing that fact came the realization that all of the minions that she and the others had destroyed back in Sunnydale had once been human beings. Somehow being around Glory had changed them; mutated them to the point where they didn’t even look or act human. It was as though Glory had put out some sort of evil radiation that warped those who were too near her. And right on the heels of that came the understanding that the change in Mr. Maynard had been happening recently which suggested . . . Buffy whipped around to face her watcher, “Glory is dead, isn’t she?” Buffy asked in that same small voice.

Seeing his slayer in this state made Alistair want to lie more than anything. He knew from their conversations that Glory represented the absolute worst that it could possibly get for Buffy. Buffy’s death, her mother’s death, her resurrection and her self destructive spiral were all tied intimately to Glory. That memory still held a power over Buffy that was barely diluted by the time that had passed. He wanted to lie, but he refused to do so. “I don’t know Buffy,” he replied evenly. “There is so little that the Council knows about her, even now. Where she came from, where she had been all these years, where her power comes from; all of that is a mystery to us.” He thought for a second, “If I had to guess, then I’d say that she’s not back.”

“Why?”

“Because if she were back then she’d come right at you or more specifically, Dawn. I don’t think she’d be hiding in shabby churches and biding her time, do you?”

“No,” Buffy reluctantly replied. “You’re right, if she were back then she’d come right for us.” Her voice returned to something approaching normal tones. “Still, I’m gonna let Xander know what we’ve found and tell him to watch out.”

“An excellent idea,” Al said, pleased at how quickly Buffy had recovered her equilibrium.

Buffy gave her watcher a wan smile and picked up the phone and dialed Xander’s number. It was picked up soon enough, but it wasn’t Xander’s voice on the other end. “Faith?” Buffy asked.

“…………….”

“Is Xander alright?”

“…………….”

“Oh my god, is she . . . . .”

“………………….”

Alistair watched with some worry as Buffy just sagged into a chair, a look of pain on her face. “I’ll put the Council and the Coven on standby just in case,” Buffy said finally.

“………………..”

“I know, but it’s easier to stand down than get up to speed with no warning.”

“……………..”

“Why am I calling?” She sighed, feeling years older in just a few minutes. “We’ve got word that someone’s gonna take a run at Dawn again. So I thought it was a good idea to let you all know about it so you could take whatever precautions you think are needed.”

“…………….”

“It looks like some of Glory’s scabby little minions are still around and they finally seemed to have grown a spine.”

“……………..”

“You’re welcome, and keep me posted. I can be down there in a flash if you need me.”

“……………”

“I will, you take care too.” She hung up the phone and just stared out of the picture window. The leaves hadn’t started turning yet, but there was an unmistakable tang of autumn in the air. She sat and watched the grey bellied clouds drift by for a moment or two, processing everything she’d just heard. Finally she turned to Alistair. “Kennedy was killed earlier today and Xander’s down with Willow right now. Hopefully he can reach her again.” Her voice was dull and listless.

“Has she gone rogue?” Alistair asked.

“Not yet, but we ought to get everyone up to speed just in case,” Buffy replied.

“Certainly,” Alistair agreed. “And then we can get back to these papers and see what Mr. Maynard felt was so important.” Buffy just nodded but Alistair knew that doing something was better than just sitting and brooding. He hoped Buffy would agree.



No one was surprised when Xander showed up in the main room of Slayer House Rio. Nor was anyone surprised when he didn’t say a word to anyone but simply walked silently to what had been Willow and Kennedy’s room.

Dafydd Rhys-Davies was the resident magic user and Willow’s handpicked protégé. He was from Wales, where the old religion was still practiced in the ancient hills and he was versed in several very different systems of magic. It took a lot to intimidate the young man but what he felt coming made him shiver. He’d never met Alexander Harris face to face, and after this he never wanted to do so again. He watched the man come down the hall; the sheer focus and force of will he exuded were palpable. The older man stalked up to him, there was no other way to put it, and asked, “How is she?”

“Catatonic,” was the one word answer, he could not meet the other man’s burning gaze. Dafydd believed that if he kept his answers simple, there would be less trouble. As it was, the intensity pouring off the man turned to anger, an anger so intense that it was physically uncomfortable for Dafydd to be near him.

“I’m gonna try and wake her up,” Xander finally said after a moment or two of silence, as he brought himself under control. “Once I go in there I want you to put up the strongest shield you can around this room. That way if things go south then the damage will be isolated.” He turned to look directly at Dafydd, “Will that be a problem?”

“No,” Dafydd husked out, still unable to stand the intensity of the man’s gaze. The something occurred to him and he looked at Xander, confused. “Won’t you need me there when you go into her mind?”

Xander looked back at the man as though he were insane. “Into her mind?” Xander almost laughed, “I would never willingly inflict my mind on anyone,” he continued. “No, I’m gonna try something a little different so it will just be me in there,” he turned away from the man. “I don’t want anyone near here after that shield goes up,” he turned back to face Dafydd and the glare was back, “Are we clear.”

Dafydd just bobbed his head once, wilting again under that intense gaze. “Will there be anything else?” he murmured.

“Yeah, send everyone else out looking for the remnants of the Fyarl clan that went after Kennedy.”

Dafydd just nodded and started off to relay the instructions to the rest of the house, just happy to be away from the very scary man. He was halfway down the hall when Harris spoke again. “Make sure that at least one gets taken alive so that we can find out what exactly was going on.”



Xander stared at the door for another minute or so, psyching himself up for what he needed to do. When he heard the other man coming back he took a deep breath and walked through the door into Willow’s room. He froze as soon as the door closed behind him. She was laying on the bed, her body rigid and her eyes wide open; but there was nothing in them. No pain, no sorrow, no anger, Willow’s eyes were windows on an empty shell. It nearly broke Xander’s heart to see his oldest friend reduced to this, but the sight also served to strengthen his resolve to bring Willow back.

The air in the room shimmered a bit as the room was swathed in protective wards. Xander knew that the time to act was now. He eased himself onto the bed and leaned close to Willow so that his mouth was next to her ear. He’d only done what he was about to do once, and he could still remember the pain from that occurrence. Xander closed his eye, said a brief prayer and croaked like a frog right in Willow’s ear. He was poised to move, but the noise hadn’t produced a reaction, so he did it again.

Willow exploded off the bed, lightning shooting from her hands as Xander bailed off the bed onto the floor and was scrambling to get under the thing. It was difficult because one leg wasn’t working too well due to a near miss from one of Willow’s lightning bolts.

Willow’s dark gaze searched the whole room for the offending amphibian, but she couldn’t find it. As she hovered there, ready to barbecue Kermit, the memories of what had happened slammed back into her and she dropped awkwardly back onto the bed. She unwillingly remembered the fight that she and Kennedy had had and the bitter words that had been spoken and with the onset of these memories, the tears poured from her eyes as the grief rolled off of her in waves. Willow was sitting forlorn on the bed when she felt a strong pair of arms encircle her. She willingly sank into the embrace, not caring who was offering the comfort or why. The arms enfolded her, made her feel cared for and so Willow let out all of her sorrow and self loathing.

Only when she was cried out did Willow pull back a little to see who was holding her. It was a little awkward because the damp shirt was sticking to her face but eventually it let go and Willow gazed into Xander’s warm eye. “When did you get here?” she murmured as she rooted around on his chest for a dry place to lay her head.

“Not long ago,” he replied gently. “After finding out about Kennedy you went catatonic so they called me.” He pulled a dry part of his shirt around to the front and Willow promptly buried her head back into his chest with a small sigh of gratitude. Willow didn’t try to initiate any more conversation and Xander was content to just sit and hold her. After a while her breathing evened out and sure enough, she had fallen asleep. As carefully as he could, Xander laid Willow out on the bed and with a look of affection, smoothed out her hair. Then he picked up his phone and hit speed dial one and waited for it to be picked up. He smiled when it was. “Hey Faith,” he said.

“…………………”

“Everything went fine; you can pull everyone back from DefCon 1.”

“………………”

“She’s asleep right now and I was figuring to stay here a couple of days to make sure everything’s fine.”

“…………….”

“After that . . . . . well I had an idea but I’m not sure you’ll like it.”

“…………….”

“How do you feel about having a house guest for a while?”

“…………….”

“Yes, I’m serious.”

“………………..”

His eye closed briefly in relief. “Thanks babe,” he murmured. “I think a change of venue might be just what the doctor ordered for her.”

“…………….”

“Anything else?” he asked, there was something in Faith’s voice.

“………………..”

“Okay then, fill me in when I get home.” He glanced over and Willow seemed to be stirring. “Gotta run now, but I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

“…………….”

“Love you too,” he said quietly and hung up the phone as he moved back to the bed.

“So how is Faith?” Willow asked, her green eyes opening.

“She’s good,” Xander answered easily. “How you are would seem to be the question of the moment, though?”

Willow’s brows knitted momentarily in thought, “Well, I still seem to be in favor of the world still spinning so I guess that’s a good thing.” She paused, “Other than that I kinda just feel numb right now.”

“I understand,” Xander replied, laying back down and taking Willow into his arms. He paused for a moment as she got comfortable and then asked a question that he really didn’t want to. “I hate to ask Wills, but where do you want the service to be? Here, Cleveland, England or does her family have a plot somewhere?”

Willow stiffened a bit in his arms but then relaxed again. “England, I think,” she said finally. “Rio is lovely but it’s really not home, not for either of us. She’s never been to Cleveland for very long and her folks are a lot like Cordelia’s were. They really haven’t been a part of her life for a while now.”

“I’ll let Giles know in a bit,” Xander said after a moment of thought. “We’ll head over to England in three days if that’s alright with you?”

“That’s fine,” Willow murmured sleepily. “But just Sunnydale survivors Xander, no one else.”

“However you want it Willow,” Xander replied quietly. Soon his oldest friend was asleep in his arms again. The question he was now working on was what to do with Willow after the service. As he was laying there with Willow propped against him, Dafydd opened the door quietly and peered in. When he saw that Xander was awake he murmured a quiet, “Sir”.

“Yes?”

“The others caught up with the remainder of the Fyarl clan. There’s one left and we thought that you might wish to ask a few questions.”

“I do,” Xander replied, carefully disengaging himself from Willow. As he stood up he looked at Dafydd and said, “Sit with her please, just in case she wakes up.”

“Of course,” Dafydd replied and moved quietly to one of the chairs in the room. He was settling in but turned as Xander was leaving the room, “Sir”.

“Yes Dafydd?”

“Make it hurt.”

“I will,” Xander replied quietly. His voice was gentle but underneath you could hear the iron. He closed the door and moved down the hall. As he was mentally shifting gears a feral smile bloomed on Xander’s face. The alpha would avenge his fallen pack mate.



The service was low key and nearly every Sunnydale survivor had made it. Xander had invited Kennedy’s parents but they had been busy cruising the Mediterranean. Kennedy’s sister and her family had made it, however; so there was some family there. After the service Xander had backed off to give Willow some alone time. He was standing in the shade of a huge oak, arm in arm with Faith.

“You sure about this, babe?” he asked without taking his eye off Willow.

“Yeah, I am X,” she replied. “It gives her something to do that’s completely away from the slaying so she’s got a chance to process. Plus she doesn’t have to worry about where to go or anything.” She turned to look at Xander, “Sometimes you just gotta let others do for you.”

“Well, I hope she agrees,” Xander said with a bit of a grin.

“She will, Red’s no dummy,” Faith said quickly. “And if she’s looking like she might say no just hit her with the ‘Sad Brown Eye’, you know she can’t say no to that.”

“True enough,” Xander agreed and then he headed back to stand next to Willow. He stood there in silence for a moment with his arm around his oldest friend, sharing her grief. Then he said, “We’re gonna go get something to eat before we head back to Miskatonic.”

“I’ll miss you,” Willow said quietly.

“Why, didn’t you hear the part about going to Miskatonic? We includes you,” Xander said with a small smile.

“But I’ve got to . . . . . .,” Willow started but Xander over rode her.

“If you think I’m gonna let you go back to Rio by yourself and then pull an Angel and be mopey all the time then you’ve got no sense.” He turned and faced the witch head on. “We’re gonna get something to eat and then the five of us are going back to Miskatonic. You’ll be sharing an apartment with me and Faith for about a month and then you’ll have the place to yourself.”

“What, Why?” Willow started, not really understanding what Xander was saying.

“We’ll just be sharing for a month until Faith and I move into our new home. The apartment’s part of faculty housing so it won’t cost you anything, even after we leave,” Xander continued.

“Moving in with you and Faith,” Willow said, clearly confused. She paused and then started on a new track. “But how can I live there rent free, I’m not faculty?”

“Dr. Williams is an associate professor in the Computer Science department and he’s gonna be on medical leave in about three weeks. Dr. Sigerson, who’s the department head, agreed to let you fill in for the rest of the year.”

Willow just stood there spluttering at the onslaught of information. She had about a thousand questions to ask but couldn’t seem to manage to get any of them out. As soon as she tried to ask one, another would try and demand her attention. Finally, after about half a minute of standing there with her mouth opening and closing like a landed trout, Willow got herself under control and looked up at Xander with a wan smile. “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

“Of course,” he replied easily.

“And if I don’t want to teach Computer Science?”

“Well, that’s your choice but I doubt they’d find anyone nearly as good as you in the time they’ve got. You might want to be careful around Dr. Williams though,” Xander said conspiratorially.

“Why?” Willow asked, still slightly confused.

“He’s quite the fan of your earlier work; he might want your autograph; or maybe something a bit more personal,” Xander said with an exaggerated eyebrow waggle.

Willow chuckled as she slapped his arm. Both were weak but she sounded more like her old self. “I don’t really have a choice in any of this, do I?”

“Sure you do,” Xander said. “But be prepared for the mother of all guilt trips if you make all my carefully laid plans fall apart.” He leaned in, a look of concern suddenly on his face. “Sometimes you’ve got to let your friends carry you,” he said seriously.

Willow reluctantly conceded that Xander’s was probably the best course of action; that didn’t mean she wouldn’t get back at him in some small way of course, but she’d go along with his plans for now. “Okay Xander, you’ve got yourself a roomie and a teacher.”

“Great,” Xander said and gave the red head a hug. “Now that the boring stuff is out of the way,” he said as he put his arm around her and steered her towards the others; “Do you want Fish and Chips or Indian for lunch?”



They ended up at a pub called the Five Bells which was right down East Road from the cemetery. The group quickly claimed a table large enough for the seven of them and proceeded to order. While they were waiting, everyone kept the talk light, touching on subjects like the upcoming baseball playoffs and who they liked on the current incarnation of Dancing with the Stars. Xander and Willow fell easily into their old camaraderie despite all the time that they’d been apart. Faith was just a touch jealous even though she knew that Willow had always been and would always be a part of Xander; so she reined in the green eyed monster and let them catch up with each other’s lives. Especially since what Willow really needed now was a touch of normality, something Xander could supply in spades. All the conversations became subdued once the food arrived but it wasn’t until most of them were done that Al broached the subject that had necessitated them coming together.

“We’ve got a situation,” Al said as he slid a picture out into the middle of the table where everyone could see. “We hit a storefront church in Cleveland the other day. The only reason we were there was because one of our informants heard two rather scary things mentioning that it scared them, there wasn’t anything concrete. The name on the front said that it was the ‘Esoteric Order of Dagon’,” Al noted that most everyone started when they heard the name of the place, but they didn’t interrupt. “Anyway, we went in but lost Patrice to some sort of guardian that was summoned but we can discuss that later. Buffy and I searched the place and found that the only person there was this guy,” Al pointed at the pictured in the middle of the table. “Robert Maynard, he was a banker up until his family was killed, then he dropped off the grid until last night. When we found him he was trying to burn a lot of paper, fortunately he didn’t succeed and the eggheads back in Cleveland are working on decoding things right now.”

“All this is cool,” Faith said. “But I don’t see what the big deal is?”

Al still hesitated; he knew that this would change everything. “This is what Robert Maynard looked like two years ago,” Al said, indicating the picture yet again. “This is what he looked like when I shot him,” he flipped a picture onto the table as he was speaking. The reaction was everything he expected. Willow looked like she was about to faint, Xander like he was ready to kill, Oz and Faith looked a bit confused and Dawn had just whimpered and buried her face in Oz’s chest and murmured one word, “Glory”.

There was quiet pandemonium at the table after that one word was uttered. Finally Xander cut through the chatter. “There’s no way she could be back, Giles killed Ben,” he stated firmly.

“We don’t know that Xander,” Buffy said reluctantly. “I’ve been going over the records with Al ever since this happened and there’s just too much that we don’t know about her. I mean Ben wasn’t that old, so where was Glory before he was her host? Could she be something like the Slayer spirit and passed on from one host to the next? Was Ben an anomaly and the current host has her stored in their head safe and sound and we’ve got nothing to worry about?” She looked earnestly into Xander’s eye, “The sad fact is that we just don’t know enough about her to say anything with certainty.”

Xander closed his eye for a second and sighed. “I hear ya Buff,” he said and gave her a sad smile. “When we get back to Miskatonic we’ll check what we’ve got and see if there’s anything in our archives about the bitch or this ‘Order of Dagon’ bunch.”

“Thanks Xander,” Buffy said.

“If it’s any consolation,” Al said, as he looked towards Dawn. “I don’t believe that Glory is actually back.”

“Why not?” Willow asked.

“Patience was not exactly her virtue,” Al said with a smirk. “We feel that if she were back, that she’d be coming full tilt, head on. Not lurking back in the shadows and waiting.”

“Good point,” Oz murmured as he gave Dawn a reassuring squeeze. “But whether it’s Glory or not, there’s something out there with enough power to change humans into whatever these things are. And apparently it wants Dawn, that’s what we should be focusing on.”

“Yeah, but it’s not just Dawn that they’re interested in,” Xander said. “I . . . . spoke to the surviving member of the Fyarl clan that went after Kennedy.” Here he shot Willow a look trying to convey how sorry he was to be bringing the subject up. “Their plan was to capture Kennedy in an effort to get hold of Willow.” He looked around at the table, “My guess is that we’re all gonna be targeted by this bunch and soon.”

“So what should we do?” Faith asked after a bit of silence. She’d been in prison during the whole Glory thing and never had gotten the whole story as to exactly what had happened so she’d been reluctant to say anything up til now.

“Keep our eyes open and find out what we can,” Dawn said with growing strength. “Because even if Glory isn’t out there, something is; something that we don’t have a handle on just yet. There is something out there warping people in exactly the same way that Glory did and until we get a grip on it, we’re all in danger.” As she was talking, Dawn’s voice grew in conviction and she was no longer leaning so much on Oz. “And once we get a handle on who or what is pulling the strings, we all do what we’ve always done, find out where the Big Bad is and then punch their ticket to Hell.” Dawn sat there, glaring fiercely at the rest of the group, daring them to suggest that she go into hiding for her own good or something like that.

Oz put his hand on Dawn’s shoulder in a show of support and Dawn shot the Werewolf/Philosopher a smile of gratitude. Buffy, who hadn’t even thought of suggesting such a course, could honestly say that she’d rarely been prouder of her sister than that moment. The rest simply nodded their agreement and nothing more was said. The meal broke up soon after and the two groups went their own ways.



Stargate Command, Two Days Later:
She was tired and sore, despite her lack of corporeal body. It had been a long time since she’d been here, but Daniel’s office looked just the same as it always had. It was messy and dusty with all sorts of interesting things lying about and half completed translations on a chalkboard. She could understand why he wanted to come back here; she didn’t agree with him, but she could understand the desire for company, the craving to be around one’s own kind; it was a feeling she knew all too well. She was still standing, lost in thought when the door opened behind her. “Hello Daniel,” she said quietly.

“Oma,” he replied just as quietly as she. “How are you here?” he started. “Anubis . . . . .”

“We are still locked in our eternal combat,” she replied, turning to face the man. “But I do not need all that I am to contain him in his entirety.” She gave a slightly feral smile. “This fact allows me to send part of my spirit out for a little stroll every now and again.”

“How is that possible?” Daniel asked as he stepped further into his office.

“Remember Daniel, I was ascended for millennia before that glorified night crawler was even conceived. It is only logical that I should be the stronger of the two of us.”

“So why are you here now? Daniel wondered aloud, inside he wondered if what she was saying was true or simply boasting.

“A crucial time approaches and there are those who need information, information that I possess.”

“And what must I do?”

“You must bring them here,” she replied, more animated than before.

“Why can’t you go to them?”

“Being near a breach such as the wormhole allows me to do this,” Oma Desala reluctantly confessed. “To move further away would take too much energy, energy that I cannot spare.”

“And who is it that I need to bring here?” Daniel asked.

“Those who work with Major Carter’s uncle,” Oma said simply.

“Major Carter’s unc . . . .,” Daniel began but then his voice faded out when he realized who Oma meant. “Jack’s just gonna love that,” he muttered. Then he looked into Oma’s eyes, “When should I have them here?”

“In four days time at noon,” Oma replied, a note of command in her voice.

“And what do I tell them in order to get them here?” he asked, knowing that it would have to be something good to get that group to willingly come to Stargate Command.

“Tell them that the end of all things approaches and only knowledge will allow them to survive.” Immediately after she had finished talking, Oma Desala disappeared.

“This isn’t gonna go over well,” Daniel muttered to himself; then he picked up the communicator. “Walter, please tell General Hammond that I need to meet with him and the rest of SG1 in one hour in the conference room.” He paused, listening for a moment. “Yeah,” Daniel sighed, “tell him it’s going to be one of those meetings.”
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