Harry Maybourne closed the file folder on his desk and rubbed his temples. This was getting more and more complicated by the minute.
His agents, sent to tail a suspected Goa'uld host, had indeed discovered one – a listening device planted into the home of a Joyce Summers had recorded her speaking with Goa'uld distorted voice. It had quickly become clear that there were a number of people, teenagers mostly, who were aware of the alien's presence, even species. However, nothing indicated the humans worshipping the Goa'uld, something the evidence from Seattle indicated to be a signature behaviour for the Goa'uld there. Furthermore, some of the conversations Maybourne's men had listened into when following those who knew of the alien suggested that they
were the ones to rout the cult in Seattle. This seemed to be confirmed by the fact some of those people were seen carrying Goa'uld weapons, mainly Zats, and using them occasionally during the night hunts.
At least the oddities about the targets of those hunts had been explained by the incomplete Inititative files one of his contacts had provided. Hard to believe as they were, his own men's observations matched the data gathered by the old DRI over the decades. Although it was a bit odd that none of the files he'd seen contained any information about the teenagers his men were tracking. Was this because those setting up the whole thing hadn't bothered to acquire up to to date information about what was going on, seeing that neither the existence of the creatures, nor the fact they seemed to be drawn to the place were exactly something that changed over the decades the DRI had existed., or simply his contact didn't have access to those files? Maybourne hoped it was the latter, for blundering into what was essentially a war zone without proper information about what was going on, or the potential allies smacked at either arrogance, or idiocy. In war, both meant things ending up going FUBAR in no time.
Maybourne sighed and opened another folder, this one containing printouts of what seemed to be lessons in Goa'uld science the alien was giving to one of the teenage girls who knew of its existence. He hadn't been able to make heads or tails of it, but the scientists working for the NID who had seen it had been very excited about it. Only what the Goa'uld was doing made absolutely no sense. Not even the so – called “good Goa'uld”, the Tok'ra, whom the do – gooders of Stargate Command had recently met were willing to share. So why was this
Goa'uld doing so? Was it influenced somehow? The members of the group his men were tracking were speaking of magic as something normal, mundane thing, and he supposed it wasn't too much of a leap of faith to take them seriously – after all, he'd seen evidence they were dealing in demons on daily basis. Were they keeping the Goa'uld under their control?
The NID colonel leaned back into his chair, considering his options. At this moment, retrieving the Goa'uld was pointless – it was clearly no threat to the humans around it, and there was no guarantee it could be made to continue sharing its knowledge once captured. No. it was better to keep watching and listening, at least while the Goa'uld was sharing. Then, or when they learned how were those children were making the parasite talk, he could strike.
A sigh of relief escaped Xander Harris' lips as the shell around his newest creature cracked, and he felt the psionic pulse emanating from it. The experiment had been a success. Once again, he had a creature that would actively suppress the mutation - inducing Hyper – Evolutionary Virus he was releasing in the environment with his every breath. (The first one had been turned into an organic soup by the accidental psionic blast released when he'd woken up.) This creature, however, was five times larger than the first, as its purpose was to suppress the Zerg mutation from occurrence the entire planet, a
s well as serve another purpose, one he had no intention of telling anyone about, as they would be about as comfortable knowing the thing was designed to affect him as they would have been if they were to find out why he needed it to affect him. Namely, to cancel out the nearly overwhelming urge to infest Buffy or Faith. Because of the it, he had avoided the two Slayer ever since waking up after the armor – incorporating mutation.
The hybrid grimaced. He still didn't completely understand exactly how much he was changed by that mutation. His psionics had received a serious boost; He could now launch thirty successive psionic blasts, each sufficient to make a hole into a tree a foot in diameter, without a noticeable drain occuring, and had done eighty without a headache setting in. (He hadn't destroyed eighty pieces of wood; he had just kept firing blasts of the necessary power at a large rock.) Unfortunately, it wasn't the only thing to receive a noticeable upgrade... and with it had come the first piece of evidence that his mutation possessed something fundamentally different from Kerrigan's, as unlike her, he did not need to experiment to find out how compatible his potential human targets were to the infestation process; once he had assimilated their DNA, he could tell. The hybrid believed it was this ability that had boosted the normally easy to suppress desire to infest the living things around him to nearly uncontrollable level, as something within the Slayers' DNA was making it extremely easy to alter, something that was somehow exploited with magic to give them their powers. He could also tell the others had a varying chances of success at achieving advanced infestation, like the one he had himself been essentially subjected to. The only one that couldn't be infested in any form different from suicide bomber was Miss Calendar. Not that he planned to infest anyone who wasn't an enemy, ever.
Focusing on the matter at hand, Xander glanced to his side, where in a small chrysalis matured several Queen parasites, for the Gang to contact him should it became necessary. He made a face. Thanks to the Goa'uld upgrades on them, they could be used for mental communications. But those same upgrades meant that if someone took one inside their heads, all they knew would become accessible to him. This meant that he would be, for all intents and purposes, cut off from what was going on in this place once he and Egeria left, unless there was a very serious problem.
Like the one he planned to become for the System Lords. Oddly enough, whoever was the one owning the base and the Ha'tak he had destroyed some time ago still hadn't retaliated to the intrusion. Which was irritating, as the whole point of it had been to draw a response, s he could see exactly how much power was needed to destroy a fully armed Mothership, as well as get a first hand look on their tactics. But so far, the only thing the Goa'uld would send were several groups of Jaffa. Hardly a challenge.
Amy was nervous; in a few minutes, she would become the new host of Egeria. And although the young woman was confident she knew enough about the alien, having listened to its thoughts for a while because of being infected with the aspect of a demon a while ago, she couldn't help but have a flashback of her own mother, during the time the two had switched bodies.
It didn't help that by agreeing to become a host, she had in essence agreed to leave the planet, possibly never to return, in order to throw herself in a galactic war. Egeria was confident that at least some of the children of the original Tok'ra Queen would have survived, and would accept them, but still, the teenager couldn't shake the feeling they were well over their heads here, even with Xander's help.
Xander... now that was another thing that creeped her out. She was Ok with the hybrid himself; the way he was acting, it wasn't too difficult to get over his frightening visage. But the ease he manipulated living creatures, altering them on a whim made her skin crawl. He had promised to keep them safe to the best of his ability, but she wasn't sure how well she could take being near to Zerg creatures or structures – Xander had made no secret of his desire to make war on the Goa'uld, and in his case, it meant recreating the species in this universe.
The Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet was becoming more and more confused as he read through the data given to him by his people's lead geneticist, Heimdall.
The scientist had done a preliminary study of a creature discovered in orbit above one of their protected worlds, a creature reported to have arrived there through an odd, low energy faster than light pathway. The creature had died after several days in orbit, a which point the Asgard who had discovered and was tracking it had picked it up and brought it to the researchers.
The information gathered so far left no doubt that the creature possessed a remarkable regenerative capabilities. Heimdall had asked for a live speciment to be captured, to determine if it was possible to copy those capabilities and incorporate them into the Asgard clones. The geneticist believed that if it could be done, it would greatly extend the life expectancy of the clones, giving the species the much needed time to deal with the genetic degradation that was slowly destroying them... if the Replicators didn't destroy them first. A/n: I suppose some explaining is in order here for those who have read the other version of this chapter. It's quite simple, actually. While I would always welcome an opinion on any of my stories, the truth is, my six main reviewers haven't written a single word about them :) They are the ones living in my neighbourhood, one of whom I blame for introducing me to the Stargate series :D For fairly obvious reasons, those are the people who I discuss my stories with the most. And the chapter I removed... let's just say that what they thought about it defined the term flame. After a lengthy discussion, I was offered an idea that will replace what I had in mind when I wrote the original chapter 17. The straw that broke the camel's back was the realization that I had little to no chance to portray the victim properly, thus, the plot had to go.