Learning About Your Allies
Disclaimer: BtVS and SG1 are not, never will be mine.
Author's Note: A little exposition more than anything else. Some ranting / timeline explication in the postnotes.
Daniel turned the key to his apartment and walked in. The door he left open to allow his following guests in as well.
Not extending a verbal invitation was likely easier for him than it would be for his teammates on SG1, he mused as he set a pot of water boiling and turned on the coffeemaker. Training as an archaeologist required anthropology lessons, and being able to blend into the culture where you were working usually made things easier when dealing with the locals.
The Council's views on invitations into one's home was simple: don't say a word. Just step back and let them in, if they can.
"Coffee, tea, what have you?" he called out behind him as he checked the fridge.
Daniel got everything together and walked back into his living room. Two of his guests were already seated.
Rupert Giles was avidly inspecting the books on the shelves. Daniel smiled and arranged the cups. Rupert came back and sipped at his tea.
"So, what do you want to see us about?" Buffy asked. Willow sat a little forward in her seat, fingers twitching slightly.
Daniel was reasonably sure the redhead had just cast a mild spell of some sort. Very quiet testing had revealed, however, that whatever it was that allowed Daniel to ID Slayers on sight, it didn't work for anything else the Council could think to try. Honestly, Daniel would rather pass on the Slayer-sight too; it induced migraines far too easily for his liking.
"Room's clean," Willow reported. "I won't even have to fire up the "demons vs Goa'uld" glamour; no boom mikes in utility vans on the street."
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief at that. Bugging was an on-again-off-again problem for the SGC. He'd report it was off for the moment next time he saw Jack.
"Why didn't you tell me about the new team on base?" Daniel asked. "I thought we had an agreement about warning me ahead of time on new Slayers in the SGC."
Buffy sat up straight and traded confused looks with Willow and Rupert.
"What Slayer?" Rupert took the lead. "There are only five assigned to the SGC: Buffy, Rona, Talia, Stephanie, and Rachel. There are no others."
Daniel quirked a brow and pointed to his head. "The pain knows, and if that new Captain with SG-32 isn't a Slayer, she's got something that twigs the same way." He tilted his head. "Though less painful than even Talia, which was a surprise."
His guests' eyes narrow. More looks are traded. Daniel knows the signs: there are still some secrets that the Council will not share. Some though, like tonight would prove, get a limited pass.
"For your ears only, please, Doctor Jackson," Rupert says eventually.
"Agreed." There's no hesitation in Daniel's voice. Besides, he's already keeping the Slayer-sight from his team.
A few more traded glances, and Buffy begins. "Willow activated the Potentials in order to defeat the Turok-Han army. Every Potential in the world past a specific biological point was empowered with Slayer-level abilities."
"Biological point?" Daniel repeated.
"Menarche, the first menstruation," Willow took over. "A safety mechanism, we think, to make sure that only once it was occurring in a Potential's body could the Slayer abilities go active."
"In the aftermath of that event though," Rupert picked up the thread, "we learned rather more than the old Council had ever even thought possible regarding Slayers and Potentials.
"The old Council had always had what they believed to be the occasional Potential slip their radar as it were," he continued. "In actuality, we now believe that the old Council missed between two and three out of every five Potentials born."
Buffy. "Our spells are better, but we aren't kidding ourselves: some of them are slipping through the cracks. Maybe one in a hundred now, though, instead of forty to sixty of that same number. Bottom line, it is the considered opinion of the new Slayers' Council that Potentials are born at about the rate of three per month, worldwide."
Daniel felt his jaw go slack. Hundreds of Slayers in their teens, that would be, easily.
Willow. "In the two and a half years since the activation, we've pieced together what we believe happened. My activation wasn't really one; while every Potential past menarche got boosted to Slayer levels, only some retained most of the enhancement. For the remainder it was like a shot of adrenaline that wore off – well, mostly."
"Mostly?" Daniel interjected.
"Mostly," Buffy confirmed. "There are four different types of Potentials and Slayers now. First, the youngest: Potentials, newborn through just before their first period. We try to identify them so we know where they are and what's happening in their lives, but leave them alone otherwise. They're children. We let them be children."
"Second, Activated Potentials, Faith sometimes calls them slayers-in-training," Willow continued. "They're physically enhanced, a little, but not to the point that they'll draw attention. The majority of the Potentials I attempted to raise to Slayerhood reverted to this level. They are maybe a third to half again as strong, fast, and so on as they should be for whatever their height and weight. Depending on their location and the surrounding culture we sometimes make contact in the guise of an exclusive school for specific talents. But mostly we leave them be to live their lives."
"Third, Activated Slayers, more commonly called baby-slayers," Rupert took the conversation. "These are the slayer lines Willow activated, in quantity the total number of living Potentials within what turned out to be a specific distance from Sunnydale. This number is a closely guarded secret. Activated Slayers are six to seven times as physically capable as they should be for their height and weight. These we must, and do, visit. They receive the full briefing on the nature of their abilities, and what those abilities entail. We invite them to one of our training academies where they are educated not only in how to be Slayers but also more conventional lines. After a year of training they are given the choice of returning to their former life or continuing. Those that continue will receive another year of training with two other Activated Slayers, then a third year of training partnered with a Watcher, and if possible, a mage. After that, they are given a patrol area." A fire lit itself in Rupert's eyes. "And regardless of what age they Activated, they are eighteen before their group is permitted to patrol without another older group along with. No more children young as twelve dying in the dark alone."
"Fourth," and Buffy's voice faded a little, as though tired. "Chosen Slayers. Of which there are currently two – myself and Faith. As far as we can tell, my death won't Choose another, so when I die it will be back down to the Chosen One. Enough said on that."
"But you're saying that Captain Sam Finn is a Slayer?" Willow asked, trying to draw attention from her friend. Daniel let her.
"If we lined them up," Daniel said, "Buffy would be at the top. Rona, Rachel, and Stephanie are right beneath. Talia is next, and Captain Finn is less than Talia."
"Talia was a Potential found at birth and educated by a powerful, yet at the time regarded as eccentric, Watcher. She's highly skilled in combat both hand-to-hand and with weapons," Rupert said quietly. "She is also only an Activated Potential, though her skills make that less obvious."
Rupert looked first at Willow, then at Buffy. "We should have realized, that there is a fifth category: Potentials past the age of calling, who never were called or empowered."
"Sam Finn, an unfound Potential?" Buffy thinks for a moment. "It would kinda help explain why she was so gung-ho about fighting demons. But she was Peace Corps before that."
"Could it be possible that uncalled Potentials, whether or not they were found by the old Council, feel drawn to give assistance where they can? An instinct to fight, as it were, finding outlets in the world around them," Daniel offered.
Buffy traded looks with Willow and Rupert again before nodding.
"So, then," Willow spoke, suddenly impish. "When do we tell Riley and Sam what we've just figured out?"
Daniel looked, confused, from Rupert to Buffy. Rupert pulled off his glasses and began polishing the lenses.
Buffy groaned and dropped her head into her hands. "Let's not, please?"
Friendly bickering started between his three guests. Daniel sat back and deliberately shut it out. Trying to make sense of the conversation whenever any of these three or their other close friends got going was the only thing he'd found to induce headaches worse than watching a Slayer move. End
Author's postnote: so, yeah, exposition and very little action. I am still working on the story where they all meet.
Explanations: balance, and keeping it, seemed to come so completely out of left field for me but looking back through the story of Buffy seasons 1-6 I can kinda see what other authors have offered as instances of the balance getting screwy and the resulting re-balancing. In any case, the absolute worst thing I can imagine is for suddenly the world to be swamped with a hundred times the Slayer. The only thing to balance that would be a hundred times the evil-demon upswing…which would have completely blown the lid of secrecy, I feel. Hence, my vision of those Slayers Willow activated being not to the same level as Chosen Slayers (after the activation rush wore off) and most Potentials going back to being just that. Potentials born per year and all that completely my head making funny sounds. Menarche being a safety on Slayer abilities I have read in another fic but do not recall whose. Apologies for that, but it does make sense that you wouldn't want Slayer level physical abilities in a three-year-old.
They're dangerous enough already…
Timelines and rants on SG1: So, in my series, the Ancient experiment with other dimensions kicked off just over one million years prior. About a hundred thousand years later, they packed up and left. A few hundred thousand years more fighting and slowly losing and then about six hundred thousand years back the Slayer was first activated (at Activated Slayer Level) and the Antarctic tablets were written and sealed. The war was less a war by this point and mostly just a bunch of back-and-forth skirmishes for the next several hundred thousand years, until only about twelve thousand years prior present day (about two thousand years before the Ancients ditched out of Atlantis and came back to Earth) when the Shadowmen planned a new offensive against the dark and worked their ritual, infusing the Slayer with a demon spirit that had not been present before that, boosting the Slayer's ability to Chosen levels (figure three to five times Activated levels). Daniel's "Slayer-sight" is actually seeing the interaction between the long ago original creation and the demon enhancement done by the Shadowmen. Without either, Daniel would not have this ability. The Shadowmen infusion did succeed in their "new offensive" and by the time the Ancients came back two thousand years later only the mixed breeds remained; all Old Ones and true demons (as they were called in Buffy canon) were gone or asleep in the Deeper Well.
"Frozen." Stargate SG1, season 6 episode 4. A female Ancient frozen for four million years is found in the Antarctic, supposedly infected (and dying of) the same disease that drove the Ancients from the Milky Way in SG1 canon. Here's my beef: O'Neill, with only the Ancient database downloaded into his head, could use the same healing abilities demonstrated by the frozen Ancient – healing abilities that could cure that same disease! Merlin proved that the databases can be limited to specific sections of knowledge, though said same sections were still overpowering and potentially fatal to download, it wasn't the whole kit and caboodle O'Neill did on two separate occasions. So frozen Ancient chick, infected and infectious…and she starts going around healing everybody of the disease that was so dreaded the whole civilization packed up for another galaxy. No. It doesn't wash. Even though healing took it out of her, all you do is have a quarantine chain working: healers heal until they can't without irreparable harm to themselves, at which point they rest and recover in quarantine to prevent infection, return, and resume. Healer gets infected? Another healer heals them and the formerly infected healer gets routed to the cured population and a new healer is brought in.
In my canon, "Frozen" still took place as follows: female Ancient got trapped only one million years ago in the opening chaos of the experiment going nuts, while sick with something, and suspended herself until being unfrozen in present day. All other events of Frozen same as canon but all references to the disease being what the Ancients were running from excised completely.
Because, really, if you're running from a virus and the show demonstrates being able to completely heal said same virus… no. Just no.