6. Stargate Command.
“We paid the electric bill,” General O’Neill announced as he walked along the corridor towards Dr Lee, “I checked.”
“The plant is in the walls,” Doctor Lee explained earnestly, “its interfering with the power and communication lines.”
“There’s no light in the walls,” O’Neill pointed out reasonably.
“I know,” sighed Lee, “but as long as any part of it is exposed to light its seems it can feed the unexposed parts.” Lee took a deep breath, “I’m recommending that we keep the entire base on minimal emergency lighting just until we get the problem under control.”
“How long is that going to be?” O’Neill had visions of having to abandon the entire SGC to the plant.
“Well, that’s a little hard to say,” Lee had hoped that the General wouldn’t ask this question, “because first we have to figure out how to get the problem under control.”
Lee sneezed as O’Neill turned his back and headed off in the direction of the control room.0=0=0=0Gate Control Room, Stargate Command.
“Where are we?” O’Neill sounded tired as he walked slowly over to Sergeant Harriman’s work station.
“The dialing computer’s off-line,” began Harriman.
“There must be a circuit board that got fried,” Sgt Silar’s voice came from out of the darkness behind O’Neill, “when we tried to restore power to the system.”
“Incoming wormholes will connect,” Harriman explained, “and we can still receive radio comms but…”
“The Iris?” O’Neill asked.
“Manual control, sir,” Harriman replied.
“What about dialing the gate manually?” O’Neill wanted to know.
“Um, that’s a problem, sir,” Silar called from his position half way under a control consul. “The inner ring seems to be locked. We tried disconnecting the control interface but…”
“There was a gate diagnostic running when the power went down,” Harriman took up the story again, “it could be something to do with that, sir.”
“Fine,” O’Neill sighed heavily, “find Colonel Carter see if she can get this thing up and running again.”
“Yes, Sir,” Harriman got up from his seat and walked off into the darkness to start his quest for Colonel Carter.0=0=0=0The Infirmary, Stargate Command.
“Doctor Brightman?” O’Neill walked into the infirmary, paused and looked around, the lights were on and for a moment he thought that Silar had got the power back on; only then did he remember that the medical facilities had their own back-up power system.
“Sir?” Brightman appeared silently by O’Neill’s side making him jump a little.
“How are our guests?” O’Neill asked recovering quickly.
“Surprisingly well,” Brightman gestured for the general to follow her, “considering their injuries they’re both recovering very quickly.”
Walking over to the far end of the infirmary’s small ward, O’Neill saw the two girls sitting up in bed looking bored with IV lines in their arms and bandages covering their wounds.
“How…?” O’Neill turned to Brightman for an explanation, the last time he’d seen both girls they’d looked as if they’d been in a train wreck.
“Well,” Brightman smiled then put her hand on O’Neill’s arm and guided him down to the other end of the ward, “apart from un-usual strength, reflexes, hearing, eyesight and god knows what else,” Brightman pursed her lips and shook her head. “It also appears they have accelerated powers of healing.”0=0=0=0
“Their talking about us,” Buffy whispered to Faith who was lying in the next bed.
“Yeah,” Faith admitted glancing over to the doctor and the general, “looks like…maybe you were right,” Faith admitted, “we’ve gotta get outta here.”
“Yeah,” Buffy pulled the IV from her arm and pushed back the sheets that covered her legs, “let’s get gone.”
“Yeah, why not,” Faith followed Buffy’s example.
The two girls swung their legs over the sides of their beds and jumped down onto the floor, Buffy stumbled a little as her feet hit the cold floor.
“You okay?” Faith was suddenly at her side a look of concern on her face.
“I’ll be okay,” Buffy insisted.
“Hey, B,” Faith still looked concerned and still hadn’t let go of Buffy’s arm, “that critter got you worse than it got me maybe…”
“No!” Buffy said firmly, “We’ve got to go now, who knows were they’ll send us next?” Buffy looked into Faith’s eyes, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life as a lab rat?”
Faith shook her head her dark curls bouncing around her worried face.
“Here,” Faith took a firm hold on Buffy, “let me help.”
“Thanks,” Buffy smiled weakly, “come on lets get out of here.”0=0=0=0
“Hey!” Brightman called as she noticed the girls trying to sneak out of the infirmary, “get back into bed this instant!”
“What the…!” O’Neill moved to intercept the girls as they headed for the door which stood open only a couple of yards away.
Pushing Buffy towards the door, Faith turned to face the general-guy just as her slayer senses went on overload, the monster was back.
“Look out!” Faith yelled as she pushed the general to one side and she felt the noisome weight of the bloodsucking creature land on top of her.
“FAITH!” Buffy held herself up by leaning against the wall, she looked around frantically for a weapon.
The monster or whatever it was beginning to become redly visible again as it started to suck Faith dry. Faith still fought on from under the creature but her struggles were already getting weaker and weaker by the moment, if Buffy didn’t do something soon her friend would be dead. As she searched for a weapon all Buffy could hear was the insane tittering coming from the creature as it sucked on Faith, she certainly didn’t hear the soldiers running down the corridor towards the infirmary in response to the alarm set off by Dr Brightman.
Staggering into a trolley, Buffy’s hand came into contact with the handle of a scalpel. Her fingers wrapping themselves around the weapon, Turning, she hurled herself at the creature. Landing on top of it she felt the strange sucker like appendages attach themselves to her and bite into her flesh. In reply she slashed at the creature eliciting a strange high pitched scream from its loathsome mouths. The creature turned all its attention onto to Buffy; she might have saved Faith but only at the cost of her own life.0=0=0=0
Standing in the doorway to the infirmary an airman pointed his Zat at the struggling creature on the floor. He couldn’t shoot for fear of hitting the kid that was slashing at the monster with what looked like a scalpel. Suddenly he found himself being pushed to one side and the Zat was snatched from his hand. Firing at the struggling mass on the floor, O’Neill watched as the Zat momentarily stunned the creature and knocked the two girls out completely.
“GET THOSE KIDS OUTTA THERE!” he ordered.
The SF’s moved in and dragged Faith from under the creature and Buffy from the creatures vile embrace. The creature lay and quivered as it wailed eerily. Once everyone was clear, O’Neill fired again and again. He had to Zat the creature four times before it finally disintegrated.0=0=0=0General O’Neill’s Office, Stargate Command, two days later.
Holding the sheet of paper in front of him O’Neill read over what he’d written;
“…and so I regretfully submit my resignation. And to be clear, the regret is not so much about the resigning part…but the fact that I was deluded enough to think I had possessed even one iota of the ability to fill your sizeable and shiny shoes.
He was just about to pick up his pen and sign his letter of resignation (which had taken him nearly three days to write) when there was a soft knock on his door.
“Come,” O’Neill called setting both letter and pen to one side.
The door opened to admit Colonel Carter and Doctors Jackson and Brightman, he gestured for them to take the seats he’d set out in front of his desk in preparation for this meeting. Once everyone had settled down and got comfortable he turned to look at Carter.
“Colonel Carter?” he invited her to speak.
“Right sir,” Carter gathered her thoughts for a moment, “First the Gate is up and running. Once we had the power back on line it was a simple case of rebooting the control systems and…” Carter hesitated; she’d been about to go into a more technical explanation of what she’d done but she could see the general’s eyes were beginning to glaze over, she smiled resignedly and changed the subject. “Doctor Lee got a handle on that plant thing,” she explained reminding herself to keep it simple, “something about weed-killer.”
“Weed-killer?” O’Neill asked puzzled; Carter just smiled and shrugged her shoulders, O’Neill gave a mental shrug and changed the subject, “And what about getting our two guests home to…”O’Neill paused, “to wherever it is they came from?”
“Well sir,” Carter shifted slightly in her chair, she hated to report failure, “you understand I’ve spent a lot of time trying to fix the gate, sir.”
“Yeah, yeah,” O’Neil gestured for her to get on with her report.
“But, even before that,” Carter hung her head for an instant before continuing, “to be honest I wasn’t having very much success. It sounds like they got here using something like, I can only describe as a…well, a Quantum Mirror Transporter.”
“A what!?” O’Neill looked up from his doodle pad.
“It seems obvious to me that they came from some alternate reality, but,” Carter paused for dramatic effect, “they’re not showing any signs of degradation from being in the wrong reality, sir. It’s…it’s like they’re clones of the originals made so they can exist in this reality.”
O’Neill raised an eyebrow inviting Carter to go on; or maybe he was only pretending to understand what she was talking about.
“It could be some sort of Ancient technology that we’ve not encountered before,” Carter shook her head in frustration, “or it could be magic…who knows?”
Letting the silence stretch for just a moment too long, O’Neill realised Carter had stopped talking, he turned his gaze onto Daniel.
“Daniel?” he invited.
“Um, yeah, Jack,” Daniel adjusted his glasses and took a deep breath, “I’ve spent several hours talking to both Buffy and Faith. They’re both still claiming that they’re actually young women in their early twenties and their present form is some sort of accident. I get the feeling that Buffy thinks this is somehow our fault.”
O’Neill was about to ask why the girl thought that but was silenced by a helpless shrug from Daniel.
“Their home reality,” Daniel continued, “would appear to be not unlike our own with a similar level of technology; however both girls claim a belief in magic, vampires and monsters in general…”
“That could be a mistaken belief that Extra-terrestrials are demons,” Carter pointed out.
“Ah yes,” Daniel held up a finger as he made his point, “I thought of that, but Buffy claims to have fought at least one Extra-terrestrial creature,” Daniel pulled a note book from a pocket in his fatigues, “she referred to it as some sort of demon. It’s really interesting, you see…”
“Yeah so how are the girls?” O’Neill turned to Dr Brightman before Daniel could get stared on a lecture about sociological development in similar societies or something.
“Surprisingly well, sir,” Dr Brightman smiled, “after I’d given them blood transfusions to replace that taken from them by the creature they appear to have recovered extremely quickly. The injuries they received in both their encounters with the creature are almost fully healed, and what’s more there’s minimal scaring.” Brightman laughed quietly, “I’d say that by tomorrow they’ll be making another escape attempt.”
“Yeah, what about that,” O’Neill turned back to Daniel.
“Yeah,” Daniel looked up at Jack, “Buffy doesn’t trust the military, she seems to think we’re messing with things we don’t understand and we should leave it to the professionals…”
“Meaning her and Faith?” Carter rolled her eyes.
“Um, yeah,” Daniel agreed, “Faith is much more relaxed about it…in fact Faith seems much more relaxed about everything…” Daniel paused and looked uncomfortable, “and if she didn’t keep making passes at every male that comes within a couple of feet of her…I think she thinks it’s funny, I’d say she was the more stable of the two.”
“So,” O’Neill looked at each of his officers and friends in turn, “what do I do with them?”
“Sir,” Carter was the first to speak, “You can’t be considering trying to send them home! First I’ve no idea how to go about it; second, we’d be missing a great opportunity to study them. Find out how they heal so quickly, what makes them so strong, what…”
The room grew silent as Carter stopped talking as she realised what she was saying.
“Sam,” Daniel turned to look at his friend and colleague, “if we did what I think you’re suggesting, we’d be no better than the Goa’uld.”
“With all due respect, sir,” Dr Brightman began angrily, “but Dr Jackson is correct, they’re just children, whatever they might claim. It would be immoral to use them as lab rats.”
“Okay,” O’Neill held up his hands in a placating gesture, “it’s my problem…but I’m not making any decision about anything until I’ve found out what Buffy and Faith want to do.”0=0=0=0The Infirmary, Stargate Command.
“What d’y’think?” Faith asked Buffy as she watched the general-guy leave the infirmary, “Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.”
Buffy said nothing, she just crossed her arms over her chest and frowned.
“Oh come on,” Faith pleaded, “think about it, it’ll be great.”
Still Buffy remained silent.
“Look,” a little panic was entering Faith’s voice as she saw an opportunity start to slip from her fingers, “you had a nice mom an’ dad, right?”
Buffy turned her head away from Faith for a moment.
“Okay, so your dad divorced your mom and disappeared off to Europe with his secretary,” Faith shrugged, “I just wish I knew who my dad was!”
Buffy looked back at Faith and her face softened…slightly.
“Hey,” Faith grinned, “you can’t tell me you’ve never thought about doing school over, but this time without all the teen angst…vampires, demons and old guys from the watchers council.”
“Angst?” Buffy raised an eyebrow.
“See,” Faith explained, “like I say, I’ve been trying to improve m’self…y’see I never went to school much after I was…well after I was the age I look now.
“I don’t know,” Buffy wriggled on her bed and tried to frown harder, but there was a slight smile forming at the edge of her mouth, “these military guys can’t be trusted…they want to test us…how can we be sure they’re telling us the truth about not being able to send us home?”
“Okay,” Faith was starting to lose her temper now, “yeah, they want to test us, but only once every six months or so. I mean wouldn’t you in their position?” Faith scratched her head, “As for not being able to send us back…do you know how we got here?”
“Yeah, ‘spose,” Buffy admitted grudgingly.
“We’d be the coolest girls in school,” Faith tempted.
“We?” Buffy grinned for a moment, her inner cheerleader coming out to play after nearly ten years, “Don’t you mean, I’d be the coolest girl in school?”
“Whatever,” Faith conceded the point, (but she had the tattoo, now how cool would that be?), “then there’s the allowance and the college fund,” Faith had never thought about going to college, she’d never actually wanted to but now she wasn’t so sure, “See, you’d be able to finish school an’ everything.”
“Okay,” Buffy nodded her head slowly, “you’ve convinced me, but…” pausing for a moment Buffy wondered if it was all too good to be true, “we stay together, we don’t let them split us up, but…we have separate rooms.”
“Cool,” Faith sighed with relief.
Buffy sobered for a moment and all thoughts of being able to do school and college again without all the crap she’d had to deal with first time round fled from her mind, “What about home?”
“They’ll manage,” Faith reached out and took Buffy’s hand in her own; it was okay for her she didn’t have family, but Buffy, “You’ll get over it.”
“Yeah,” Buffy sighed, “maybe…”0=0=0=0General O’Neill’s Office, Stargate Command.
It was nearly the end of the day, Carter was doing something ‘Carter-like’ in her lab. Daniel had gone off to talk with Buffy and Faith some more, and the two girls had agreed to be ‘adopted’ by a military couple. The plant thing was dead and Teal’c had thwarted a plan by Ba’al to plant a doctored ZPM in the Antarctic Base and blow up the planet.
Not a bad day’s work, he congratulated himself. Picking up his letter of resignation he read through it once more. Lifting his pen he hesitated for a moment before writing; Never mind.
, he signed it and placed it in his ‘out’ tray.0=0=0=0Lord Min’s Mothership.
Standing over the body of the false god Min, Nak’Aard acknowledged the cheers of his fellow Jaffa. The revolution when it came had been swift and decisive; although Lord Min’s forces had numbered slightly more than the rebels, they were slaves following their master. Nak’Aard’s followers were free Jaffa fighting for their freedom and the freedom of their people.
Now they could return to Phuk-ceet and liberate the Jaffa there, once Phuk-ceet had been freed the rest of Min’s dominions would capitulate and follow the cause of freedom. But first he had one last task that needed his attention. Acknowledging the cheers of his followers one last time, Nak’Aard turned and strode into what had been Min’s private chambers; on the floor knelt Tefen guarded by his brother Wel’Aard and two other warriors.
“Please don’t kill me!” Begged the very minor and extremely frightened Goa’uld.
“Why should I not?” Nak’Aard twirled the staff weapon in his hands and pointed it at Tefen’s head.
“Um,” Tefen thought very hard, harder than he’s thought about anything in his life, “um, well, ah…” Tefen hesitated before blurting out, “you need me!”
“Why?” Nak’Aard let the muzzle of his staff weapon point slightly to one side of Tefen’s head.
“Look,” Tefen gasped clutching at straws, “Min collected all sorts of weird tech stuff, most of it is useless but there’s some…”
Tefen left the sentence unfinished; he didn’t need to complete it he could see the calculating look in Nak’Aard’s eyes.
“I can get it working for you,” Tefen said softly, “I’m a lot better at this stuff than I ever let on to Min,” he lied. “If it hadn’t been for me, Min would have taken one of those Hoc’tar as his host and you’d have never won your freedom.”
Nak’Aard thought about this for a long minute, the Hoc’tar would have been more difficult to defeat and Tefen might have his uses.
“Indeed.” Nak’Aard said after a long pause, “You may live for now, but if you ever betray me or the Jaffa people…”
“NO!” Tefen cried, “All hail the Jaffa people is what I say,” Tefen was very good at gauging which way the wind was blowing, “I’ve always secretly been on your side Lord Nak’Aard.”
“Indeed,” Nak’Aard turned away from the Goa’uld and walked out of the chamber.
Of course he didn’t believe a word of it; it was the nature of Goa’uld to conquer and control. Tefen would take close watching, but until the day came when he tried to betray the Jaffa he would serve them. As Nak’Aard strode along the corridor towards the ship’s bridge, he wondered what had happened to the two Hoc’tar women Tefen had tried to acquire for his now dead master. He hoped they were safe and well, after all it wasn’t their fault they were going to be used by the Goa’uld system lord as his new host. Silently, Nak’Aard wished them long life and happiness.0=0=0=0Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, UK, Earth (the other one).
“Bloody hell!!!” exclaimed Giles, “Willow! Get them back…QUICK!”
Before Willow could do anything there was a loud *POP!* and the portal vanished along with Buffy and Faith. Willow and Giles turned to look at one another.
“Bugger!” they said in unison.
“Crap!” Willow started to search frantically through her spell books looking for something to help get her friends back.
“Hey, Willow!” Buffy’s voice called from the kitchen.
“Buffy?” Everyone looked in amazement at the kitchen door as Buffy came into view.
“You got anymore of these cookies?” Buffy held up the cookie in her hand, there were crumbs all ‘round her mouth, she grinned, “They’re really good.”
“Yeah and ask Kennedy where she hides the coffee grounds,” Faith called from further inside the kitchen.
“Here, let me,” Kennedy walked into the kitchen and took charge of cookie hunting and coffee making; Buffy and Faith might be veteran slayers but they were both a menace in the kitchen.
“You guys alright?” Willow asked slightly confused by this turn of events.
“Yes,” Giles stared at his two favourite slayers in bewilderment, “we thought you’d been sucked through the wormhole.”
“No,” Buffy looked at Faith to check that she hadn’t been sucked anywhere lately, “just felt, like pins and needles all over when we went through, that’s right isn’t it Faith?”
“Right,” mumbled Faith her mouth full of cookie.
“Weird,” muttered Willow.
“Indeed,” agreed Giles.THE END.