The battle against the First had changed them all in some form or another, but they finally grew up and away from the Hellmouth. Driving away from that sinkhole, many were choosing different paths for their future.
Dawn wanted to continue her studies with the Watchers while at the same time she was in charge of Xander’s online translation site. Spike had passed away in a blaze of glory, thereby saving the others and giving them a chance to get free from the collapsing Hellmouth.
Willow was headed for a coven in order to get some much needed magical healing. Andrew was following Dawn into the Watchers Guild. He hoped that he would be able to continue his own studies in merging some technology with magic in order to preserve the books, scrolls and other information that was still available in his new format of portable e-books via PSP.
Buffy was finally going to get her wish and be a normal shopaholic girl with the fighting of demons on the side. Faith was going to help set up training for the many girls that were called early into the Slayer service. Giles was going to oversee the reformation of the Watcher’s Guild and hopefully this time around things were going to be different.
All in all they were all going towards something they knew they could do for the rest of their lives, well, all except for Xander. He wanted no part of the Watcher’s Guild, no part of the hunting demons for the rest of his life, no part of slaying just to slay.
He wanted something more and he figured that the best part of losing his eye was that he could now choose something else. He had earned his Doctorates and he figured that there must be something out there that they would be good for, other than wall hangers.
He chose to go back to L.A. in order to make plans and make sure that his belongings were secured before the next step in his life. He just made sure that everyone knew where he was and what he was planning to do before something else happened.
They were very understanding of his request and they all knew that it was time for the past to settle itself in the past. There was nothing to hold them together anymore and truly they were all fine with their decisions. Basically nothing really changed because Xander had been away from them for a long while already when he was obtaining his Doctorates.
‘I think only Giles realized that there were two dissertations not just one,
’ he thought, pulling up into the driveway of his very modest house on the outskirts of the city. He sighed as he walked into the empty house and chose to brood for a bit to remember the ones that had passed away in the latest conflict before he moved on.
Daniel Jackson looked at the house that he hoped contained the web site moderator known to him as Xeno-Xan
. He was surprised that General Hammond was allowing him to get outside help for some of the translations that he was receiving from the various Stargate teams.
The house wasn’t that big, but there was something about it. “Well aren’t you even going to see if we have the right address?” Jack asked.
Daniel huffed. Of course the big bad Colonel couldn’t let him do this on his own. He just had to show up and stick his nose into this. It’s not like he didn’t know why the military man didn’t want to him to venture out on his own, but sometimes it irked him to keep all that secrecy stuff. This stuff was life changing and evolutionary. Hopefully they were not going to be told to go away without a hearing.
He was in the middle of all of this silent irking when the door was opened and both men were startled by someone with an eye-patch saying, “Well… What do you guys want? Are you selling something 'cause if you are I’m not interested.”
“No we’re not here to sell anything,” Daniel said walking up the walk to get closer. “I’m here because I was wondering if you…”
“Daniel that’s not how you do this,” Jack interrupted. Xander watched as the older man took charge. “We here from the Unites States Air Force and we would like to ask you a few questions,” he paused looking around and then clarified by saying, “In private.”
Xander looked them up and down noting that yes the older one was definitely military, but the other was much younger looking and looked irritated by the older man’s abruptness. Still there seemed to be a connection between the two by the way the younger one huffed, but didn’t complain about the way his quasi introduction was interrupted.
He shrugged and opened the door wider to let them in. He didn’t invite them in. They seemed to hesitate at the door so he walked away to let them come in on their own or else to leave and then he return to close the door.
Meanwhile he had to wrap up his chat
with Dawn and Andrew. He just sent them a quick note that he had visitors, telling them that he thought they were military and that he would let them know what was going on later. He had a bit of a wait to see what was going to happen, as the two men hovered in his doorway, uncertain about what to do.
In the end it was Daniel’s natural curiosity about the one-eyed man that let him come into the house without receiving an invitation to ‘come in
’. Jack was all for leaving, but once he saw that Daniel was already in there and looking for the man, he followed his archaeologist into the modest home.
Xander was in the kitchen fixing a pot of coffee. He heard them come in and loudly said, “Could one of you please shut the door? Coffee will be ready shortly. Make yourselves at home.”
Jack was surprised that the man was aware that they had walked in rather than walked away. He came into the living room was surprised at the number of books and references that were everywhere. He looked around for Daniel and found the man sitting cross-legged on the floor reading a book so old that it looked like it was about to fall apart in his hands.
He was bored, but found a PSP lying around, so he picked that up and fiddled with it. Turning it on Jack found that it didn’t contain any games, but a lot of media files. Curious he opened one up that was named ST Org – S2. There was a main menu to that file and once he chose S2 – EP 5 he found himself viewing to an old episode of Star Trek.
He was surprised to see that old show on the iPod machine. Curious about the whole thing, he stopped the episode and returned to the list of files, which scrolled through. After a few moments he had already figured out that ST stood for Star Trek and any name after it was linked to a particular series like ST- New Gen for New Generation, ST-DS9 for Deep Space Nine and the others. He saw names like Bab5 for Babylon 5, Dr.W BBC for Dr. Who the BBC version, FarS for FarScape and many others that Jack knew belonged in the science geek category of his brain.
Meanwhile Daniel was still sitting there reading a book that he had never seen before in his life. It looked like a book of fairy tales, but the language in it had him stumped for a long time. It wasn’t anything like he had ever seen. He strongly suspected that it might not even be human, but there was no way that he could mention that in front of Jack.
Xander came into the room carrying a tray with largish cups and a huge pot of coffee that pulled Daniel away from the book. This caused Jack to look up from his own stupefaction of a full PSP system that seemed to still have room for more files to be added despite the fact that the little system had a finite amount of memory to begin with.
The coffee smelled strong and therefore was greatly appreciated by the men who had arrived from their flight not quite ready to seek out the young man, but knowing that they were constrained for time. They had to convince this man to join them, because Daniel wanted this person’s knowledge.
‘What Daniel wants, he will get
,’ Jack vowed. It was hard not to want the best either and it was very clear to the Colonel that this man was one of the best.
Daniel paused to inhale the fumes wafting up. His eyes closed in bliss, while Jack was watching him enjoy the cup of dark glory. The older man shook his head and still couldn’t understand Daniel’s need to savour coffee so much.
Xander watched with his good eye and waited for them to tell him why they were here. He had taken a long swallow savouring the flavour too. He sighed and then said, “All right. Let’s dispense with the pleasantries. Why doesn’t one of you begin to explain why you’re here and how you found me?”
Jack chose to begin because it looked like Daniel was still buried in his coffee cup. “We work for a special department of the US Air Force and we are in need of competent translators for some of our projects. Daniel has been with the department since we delved further in our project, but he can’t do all the work alone. We do have a few civilians already hired, but we’re in need of more.”
“It’s mainly a translation job with some archaeology on the side,” Daniel said. “Only this one is more hands on then the online translating that you’ve been doing, which is how we found you. We need people who can decipher obscure dialects, as well as do direct on-site translations with a short timeframe.”
Xander just looked at one then the other. “How do you get to the places for the direct translations?” He asked, sensing that there was more to the picture than what they were painting. “I know that if the military is involved it can’t be anything good, so out with it.”
Jack didn’t like the tone of voice that this one-eyed man used when he said the word military. “There’s nothing wrong with the military,” he growled. He only got a rolling eye at that.
“Yeah right,” Xander said. “Secret military experiments in secret bases, sent to create super soldiers using foreign DNA. Founded in tiny little towns like the one I was born in and you’re telling me that there is nothing wrong with the military. That’s bullshit and you know it.”
“You’re wrong,” Daniel said. “They would never do that.”
Xander snorted and said, “Sure, sure and you want me to believe that the N.I.D., Area 51 or the Stargate don’t even exist. Don’t make me laugh. You’re here because you know
that they do and there is something that you want from me related to them. So what is it?”
Both men were very surprised at the derision and contempt that this man had for the military, but they were even more surprised that he knew about the Stargate. “How do you know about the Stargate?” Jack asked furious that there was a breach in protocol somewhere. “Who told you?”
Xander smirked and said, “Sucker, I wasn’t sure, but you’ve just confirmed it for me, so thanks.” He stood up and pulled the book out of Jackson’s lap and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you read this or any of the other documents that I have here. They’re from a very private collection and the owner won’t be happy to know that the military have had their hands on it.”
He tucked the book away and then he waved his hands with a couple of strange hand and finger wiggles. The men’s eyesight blurred for a moment and anything that seemed out of place before was now tucked away neatly. The iPod was out of sight and anything that had been lying around was gone.
“Now let’s begin again,” Xander said with a grim smile. “What does the military really want with me?”
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” Col. O’Neill yelled.
Daniel just blinked and then he asked, “Was that... magic?”
“True magic,” Xander said confirming it. “Now are you going to tell me or do I have to eject you from my house?”
“Wait Jack,” Daniel said before the Colonel could stand up and push the other man around for scaring him. “Think about it for a moment. If true magic did exist in the world, why would anyone openly admit to being able to do it, unless it was to hide from those that would use it, corrupt it and be corrupted by it?”
“The military would never…” Jack began.
“The military has sections and people in places to study these things,” Xander said. “Don’t be naïve. They’re already involved in some of those things and know about it, even if you personally didn’t know, they sure as hell do. You must have heard that the N.I.D. love this kind of shit and don’t tell me that they don’t exist either because I know for a fact that those bloody bastards
The two from the SGC had never seen a civilian so pissed off with the military or more specifically with the N.I.D. This made the men pause and consider that maybe this boy knew about the group, that maybe he had even tangled with them...
Xander nodded at the realization that hit the other two. “Yes,” he confirmed. “I have met
that was rumoured to have been linked to them.”
“We’ll have to review this,” Jack said. He looked at the boy and noticed that there was something dangerous about him. He was not a boy, but a man that has seen something of battle even though he wasn’t enlisted. “Daniel we need to go.”
“Can I see you tomorrow?” Daniel asked not wanting to give up this opportunity. “Just me, I would like to discuss your translations and how you come up with the correct interpretations...”
Xander sighed and nodded. “You can come here tomorrow, if you promise to leave your watch dog at home,” he said.
“Hey, I’m not a dog,” Jack said huffing at the implication. He hustled his Doctor out of there quickly and then left a parting shot, “That iPod of yours didn’t even have the best TV series out there. You should at least have the Simpsons on it.”
The door shut behind them after that leaving Xander to snort at the thought of the Simpsons becoming part of his collection. ‘No way it’s for geek material only
,’ he thought. ‘No cartoons unless related to the geeky fandom of sci-fi and fantasy, like Futurama
The next day Daniel was up early and out of their hotel room before the Colonel woke up, but his partner wasn’t fooled about him sneaking out. Jack knew where he was going and let him go without a word. He had his own investigation to do before he would return to that not so mild translator.
‘I think that Daniel spoiled us by giving us the impression that the geeks were mild,
’ Jack thought. ‘There’s no way that that man is unable to take care of himself.
Daniel took a cab back to Xander’s and hoped that the man would be able to answer his questions. He even had the forms for the man to sign in order to be able to talk to him about the Stargate. Sam had already run a security check on him and he had the normal stuff like unpaid parking tickets paid late or incident reports filed with the police.
There was nothing on file that stated he was a criminal or an actual threat to security. The guy even had a high enough level of security in order to be able to know about the Stargate Program and about Area-51. He was only hoping that the man was willing to join them because he really needed a solid backup translator.
He knocked on the door around ten in the morning and was greeted with the sight of a sleepy, messy haired Xander that didn’t look too bad in this light. He was shocked about the eye because it seemed like the man did not sleep with his eye patch.
‘Why would he?
’ Daniel thought. ‘It would get caught or tangled in his hair overnight if he did that.
Xander blearily looked at him and then he opened the door wide to shuffle away to the kitchen in order to start the coffee. “Shut the door please,” he said when he heard Daniel come in. “What are you doing here so early?”
Daniel was confused. “It’s ten in the morning,” he replied. “It’s not that early.”
“It is, if you were up all night translating and didn’t get to bed until six,” Xander mumbled.
“Have you finished or can I help?” Daniel asked curious to know just what he could have been translating.
Xander looked in his general direction, listening to the coffee perk. “I managed to finish it, but thanks anyway,” he said. “Help yourself when it’s done, just leave me about two cups. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Daniel watched him leave the kitchen in the general direction of a bedroom or washroom or one of the two he assumed. “I guess I was a bit early,” he said to himself going up to the counter, choosing a cup and taking some coffee before the pot finished its job.
Xander came back a few minutes later dressed in less rumpled clothing and wearing his eye patch. He grinned when he saw that the machine hadn’t finished and that the archaeologist was already drinking a cup of coffee. “You must like the stuff,” he said startling the other man. “Relax, please. Now tell me what do you want to know? What’s really going on here?”
“I need help,” Daniel said. “I need to build a solid base or resource of people to help me. I can’t do this alone and I need someone I can trust to do the job right and for the right reasons.”
“I get that, but why me,” Xander asked.
“You’re good,” Daniel said. “I’ve seen the translations that you’ve done and I’ve been using that web site for the longest time. I want the best and that is you.”
“Flatterer,” Xander said, causing the other man to blush. “Hey take it easy.”
“It’s fine,” he said. “It’s been a while since someone’s well… you know.”
“Yeah, I guess I can understand that,” Xander said. “Look I’m going to need some time to get this wrapped around my head for a bit. Is there a rush or timeline that you need my answer? Some end of the world thing or can you give at least two weeks to think about it?”
“You’ll consider, I mean really consider it,” Daniel said. “I brought the papers for you to sign in compliance with the National Security, secrecy and other stuff. That way if you look them over you’ll be able to ask questions.”
“I’ll consider it, but know that I might have some conditions of my own that will need to be acknowledged, if I do come back to you with a ‘Yes
’,” Xander told him. He was fully considering it because he knew, he just knew
that this had to do with that fabled gate of the worlds that was in a couple of the references he had and wouldn’t it be so cool to travel through and see new worlds.
“I’ll leave them here for now,” Daniel said. “Do you have any questions for me about my area of archaeological interests?”
“Absolutely,” Xander said. “Tell me about the last paper you wrote on the pyramids of Egypt and how they are older than the written documentation and how you came to that conclusion?”
Daniel blushed because he was basically laughed out of the academic community for his theories, but that’s what they were, theories. He looked at the man in front of him, noting the intense curiosity and sincerity in his request. Here was a man that would not laugh at him and he knew that he would be able to tell him more about the real truth, when Alexander Harris actually signed the documents.
“Well it began one day...”
Colonel Jack O’Neill, with two ells, was impatiently waiting for his team member to return from the house of one of the strangest men that he had ever learned about. He did his waiting by making several calls to different sections of the SGC in order to get someone to do the digging needed to find out about this mysterious Alexander Harris. He spent the rest of the day flipping through the T.V. Channels of his hotel room, waiting for Dr. Daniel Jackson to return.
His thoughts turned back to the time he was in the middle of a special black ops mission. He had the misfortune to encounter someone that had connections to what could only be described as ‘otherworldly
’. His job wasn’t to call that person’s abilities into question, but to obtain their aid with their mission to retrieve the object of their mission.
It was one huge fuck up from the start. His men didn’t believe that magic existed and they took their cues from their leader who had no use for hicks who believed in that shit. Needless to say their mission failed, but not without that person casting a prediction at him.
‘One day you’ll encounter something that you will not be able to explain and then you’ll wish that you had believed, because our mystical aid is not cheap,
’ the man had told him, just before he went up in flames.
On the other side of the street there were four more that did the same and that’s when he noticed that there was some kind of fire breathing creature aiming for the ‘supposedly
’ mystical people in the bazaar.
Jack couldn’t do anything about it. His team wasn’t able to defeat it, but they all noticed when one short girl not more than fourteen leap up into the air and slash at the thing with what could only be described as a sword. From the shadows a man was watching her technique and it didn’t take more than about twenty minutes and the creature was dead.
“What the hell,” Jack had said out loud.
“Never you mind these events young man,” the old watching coot told him. “Your limited mind will be your downfall and he was right.” He was pointedly looking at the charcoaled remains of the magician that Jack had been told to recruit for their mission.
“Our aid will cost you, if you ever chose to get your head out of your ass,” the man told him. “Watcher’s Council, Iraq division, here’s a card that will give you some answers, but whether they respond or not will be their choice.”
The shorter girl ran up to the man and as they were both walking away from the area the Watcher was commenting on her fighting technique and on ways to improve them.
Jack put the card away and never thought about it or the incident, until he had met Alexander Harris. He was a man that seemed to be like that old Watcher guy.
‘He knows something and I could lay a bet that he’d know about what that creature had been,
’ he thought with a sigh.
‘I don’t know if this thing is still valid.
’ He was playing with an old business like card that contain no name, but only a number. ‘I wonder if they would know about this kid.
Giles was sitting in the New Watcher’s Headquarters wondering why the ancient phone that was only supposed to be a display was suddenly ringing. Shocked and not sure what to expect, he answered it.
“Watchers Council,” he said, quite sure that that was the only way to answer that particular phone.
“I got this card years ago from a man in Iraq,” the man on the other end of the line said. “He was with this girl that kicked the ass of some creature.”
“I see,” Giles said. He looked one of the books located in the same area as this newly functioning phone. He opened the book and realized that it was a recording of nearly everyone that a Watcher had came into contact with. The purpose was to supposedly recruit those that have seen
unnatural events. “Iraq you say?”
“Yes,” Jack confirmed. “It was about...”
“Twelve years ago,” Giles confirmed. “American soldier, leader and...” Sunnydale’s old watcher chuckled and the rest. ‘Sceptic, pain the ass, disbeliever...
“...given a prediction about coming to terms with the mystical forces,” Giles concluded.
“Something like that,” Jack confirmed, as his memory replayed the events for a few more moments. “It was a bad mission that failed.”
“I see,” Giles said. “Has something changed your mind about wanting to know? Are you still working for your government?”
“Yeah,” Jack confirmed. “My name is Colonel Jack O’Neill, two ells.”
“I’m Rupert Giles, current Head of the New Watcher’s Council,” Giles told him. “May I ask what prompted you to call this number now?”
Jack told him. “I’m currently working on a special project on Deep Space Telemetry. My colleague needed assistance with his own project and was looking to get a Dr. Alexander Harris on board. Thing is I met this kid yesterday and he performed a bit of that mystical thing that you were talking about.”
“Oh, dear,” Giles said. “Could you hold a moment please?”
“Sure,” Jack said, as he was put on hold.
“DAWN, ANDREW” Giles shouted into the intercom of the building. “GET IN HERE NOW.”
He reconnected with Jack and said, “Colonel you’ve just given me something that I will need to look into before I can answer any further questions. My I have your phone number so that I may return you call. This should only take a couple of hours.”
“I see,” Jack said. “So there’s nothing that you can tell me about true magic
“Where did you learn that term?”
“The kid said that that’s what he used,” Jack told him. “My colleague, Dr. Daniel Jackson confirmed that the term exists.”
“I promise that I will call you back shortly,” Giles told the man. He received the number of the Hotel that Jack was staying at and promised one last time that he’d call back.
“I’m not going to hold my breath,” Jack muttered when he put the phone back in its cradle.
Dawn and Andrew nearly collided with one another as they raced to see Giles. The man sounded panicked and it just wasn’t like him to bellow in the intercom, he was English. The English did polite, quiet and they certainly did not bellow loud enough for the world to hear.
They ran through the door into his office and he only told them, “Get me all the information you have on Colonel Jack O’Neill, two ells, a Dr. Daniel Jackson and find out just what the last translation Xander did for someone in the American government. I need everything that you can give me in about an hour.”
Andrew and Dawn just looked at one another and ran out of the room, whispering to each other about their last communication with Xander. “I knew it,” Andrew huffed out. “I knew he was going to be recruited.”
“I’ll call him and get him to link up with his computer,” Dawn said. “That way he can tell Giles himself. You look up the other two and find out what it is that they’re really into.”
“You got it,” Andrew said taking off in the direction of his office, while Dawn ran to hers.