Prologue: Deus Ex Machina
Prologue: Deus Ex MachinaDisclaimer:
BtVS does not belong to me. SG does not belong to me. For more details see the series introduction.Author's Note:
This story was stored on my hard drive for almost a year without any new content being added. I have the next 5 chapters done and I will post it slowly. Hopefully the reviews will motivate me to finish this one. The story is planed down to smallest details, I just seem unable to write the actual words. Also, a sequel (or rather a sequel of a sequel) is mostly outlined with the prologue mostly written. So the only thing missing is motivation.Note:
This was not beta read for grammar or plot errors. Comments and betas are welcome.
Millions of years ago, in a distant galaxy
The room was dark and untidy. Books were lying everywhere, as were abandoned experiments, strange devices, the notebook full of just created wormhole physics. Inside the drawing of a device to control them.
“We cannot hide our ways any longer” a robed man said.
“Nor should we. The Ori have amassed armies and move to destroy us. Everything we believe, all we are, is an affront to them. They will stop at nothing to destroy every last shred of evidence that opposes their fanaticism” someone answered.
“We have no choice. We have tried to argue reason” a woman responded.
“We can fight. Use what we know to oppose them” someone else proposed.
“We are so few compared to them” said a man.
“The Ark can change everything.”
“Is forced indoctrination really the answer? You would deny the Ori the very essence of self. It is no different than the murder they propose” a woman protested.
“The only moral way to change someone's mind—make them see the truth, as you put it—is to present evidence” agreed a man.
“We believe in the systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation, through argument and debate, but, most of all, freedom of will. I will not compromise the fundamental tenants of my devotion in order to preserve it” agreed also one of the women.
“We acknowledge the incredible potential of the technology of the Ark…” said one of the man.
“And the danger such power presents…” continued a woman.
“It will not be used as a weapon against the Ori. The debate on the issue is closed” and a man closed the discussion.
And another man closed the Ark. And it was never opened again.Four years ago, somewhere in California
The group stood in front of a great crater, sinkhole, the only remainder of a town they just left. Sunnydale.
“There’s another one in Cleveland” Giles said. As everybody groaned he didn’t add that there were a few other Hellmouths around... and so was a vague prophecy that now, with the First destroyed, had its first sign fulfilled.
“Not to spoil the fun...” he began, but stopped suddenly. Maybe not the first sign. There was one more before the banishment of the First. But the other signs were not easy to understand. He would have to research now, maybe look up some old books, if any were left in England. One was clear – it would all start boiling down now. Soon. Too soon.Cheyenne Mountain Complex
“Yes, Da-aniel?” he stretched his name, anticipating a complicated question.
“What do we know about Sunnydale? You know, the sinkhole. Could it have been Anubis?”
“No, Da-aniel. We had a team investigate the scene, as well as several other agencies. It was a perfectly natural whatchamacallit” he would not admit that he knew the exact wording of the geological report from the area. He had to keep up appearances after all. And in the beginning he was worried too.
“Oh, all right. It is that I remember, when I was Ascended, there was something about California. Well, probably the tectonics then...”
“Or the meteors in LA a few months back...”
“There were meteors in Los Angeles while I was gone?”
“Yep, scorched a whole lot of town. It was kind'a sudden, no signs of the thing earlier, we thought it was Anubis, but then there was no real damage done, planet wise. Only hit the bad movie studios...”
“Heh, that's probably it then. Thanks, Jack...”
“Well, come to think of it there was a lot of natural disasters in California, lately. Like that cloud cover that effectively blocked the sun for the entire city for... a week or so.”
“Uh, oh... Still think that had not been Anubis? He's part-Ascended after all. Maybe this WAS it...”
“Nah, Daniel, it was completely natural. Carter can probably fill you in on the techno-babble” or Jack would himself. He knew it was the city smog being hit by the El Nino current as it bounced back after the tsunami in South Pacific. Still, he would not admit he knew.
“Heh, right, Jack. Bye.”Three years ago, Washington
“Our FA-22s and ABLs are all in the air, but so far there's been nothing to intercept. Since the battle group was destroyed, the Goa'uld haven't fired a shot” General Jumper reported to President Hayes.
“Why not a city or two, just to prove his point?” the security advisor said bare moments before the lights flickered and went dim.
A hologram of Anubis appeared in the center of the Oval Office scaring all the occupants and bringing in the Secret Service guards from behind the walls. As they fired, the bullets shredded only the walls, driving the point of it being only a hologram.
“Hold your fire! It's a hologram” someone shouted at them and they stopped firing. Temporarily. Secret Service agents had twitchy fingers and this was not a typical intrusion after all.
“I AM ANUBIS” the robed figure proclaimed in the booming Goa'uld voice.
“You've got to be kidding!” answered the President, stepping towards the intruder.
“YOU ARE THE LEADER OF THIS WORLD.”
“Henry Hayes, President of the United States of America, one nation among many.”
“NO MORE. BOW BEFORE YOUR GOD.“
“I don't think so! However, I am willing to discuss your surrender.”
“IF YOU POSSESSED WEAPONS MATCHING MINE, YOU WOULD HAVE USED THEM.”
“Don't let the suit fool you, fella. We're gonna fight you.“
“YOU BRING DESTRUCTION UPON YOURSELVES.“
“Never going to happen...”Cleveland
All the young slayers were nervous, something was happening. The electric grid went down, but before it happened there were some disturbing news of a meteor shower hitting a fleet of US ships. Something was in the air and the slayers all felt it. A new Hellmouth opened somewhere on Earth and it felt much more powerful than the one just a mile away. After 10 minutes of darkness Xander decided to call Buffy. But the phones did not work as well...
They were alone. With no means of stopping the apocalypse…Somewhere over the southern hemisphere
“Shields are down. Weapons are expended.”
“The next hit's gonna take us out. “
The situation looked grim. Anubis forces were orbiting Earth and the Prometheus was mostly crippled after the skirmish over Antarctica. Still, General George Hammond saw only one possible course – forward.
“Hold your course” he declared. ”Brace for collision. If we go, they go.”Rome
Buffy thrashed in her bed, a Slayer vision interrupting her otherwise peaceful - and even romantic - dreams. But in her current one a Champion once again stood against the forces of darkness. For years he had struggled against the evil incarnate and being only human, not immortal – and certainly not the Immortal - his hair was now gray. There was no reward, only struggle. And then the threat became so immense the Champion had no other way to stop it, but to sacrifice his life – getting a demon into his head, slayer-like. As he began slowly losing his mind, he also learned of a weapon the PTBs had hidden eons ago for just that emergency. In his last days, he undertook a journey, a quest – through the demon dimension with lots of lava (Buffy's favorite) to a desolate, arctic location of the weapon itself. There, as the forces of good fought the evil ones – something Buffy felt as sinister as the First – he used the weapon, unleashing the hidden magic of ages past...
Suddenly Buffy opened her eyes. She was somehow sure – it was all happening now. Somewhere on Earth, powerful magic was unleashed. She silently got up and opened the window to look out. The city was dark with apparently no electricity around, but the sky was ablaze – wave upon wave of bright magic crossed the sky and occasionally exploded in a terrifyingly beautiful spectacle. Buffy looked southward, where the unknown Champion battled the darkness...Two years and eight months ago, Cheyenne Mountain Complex
“Anubis is still here” the words, said by Daniel Jackson, hung in the air.
“Daniel, he can pass through walls. He's welcome to leave the base at any time” General O'Neill said finally, responding with his usual attitude to any problem.
“He has to go through the Stargate, otherwise he's trapped on Earth.”
“Yeah. Well, there's not much we can do. Can't kill him.”
“Can't catch him.”
“We let the Ancients deal with him.”
“Yes -- because they've always been so helpful.”
“If he uses his powers as an Ascended being, he's breaking the rules. They will take action. We just have to, uh, take away his other options.”
“Uh-huh. I assume you have a plan?”Colorado Springs
The original Scoobies had followed the new Hellmouth, the new moving Hellmouth, all the way from Russia to United States. From where the last Space Station crew landed, all the way to Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. NORAD.
After first few months of terror they have reached a consensus and partial understanding - the new Hellmouth was in outer space, orbiting Earth somewhat higher than most artificial satellites. Which was still frightening, but something they did not think would require their handling. They had more important things to do, like setting up the new Council, locating new Slayers and erasing all tracks of their existence.
But then the location of the new orifice changed (not that it wasn't changing while orbiting the Earth at 20000 miles per hour, as Willow explained), it had come to Earth with the last crew replacements for the Space Station. And then followed them to Moscow. Which could have meant only one thing – one of the Russian astronauts was now most probably a Big Bad. One powerful enough to feel like a strong Hellmouth to all that could sense the dark magic. Maybe not as powerful as the First, but still. Then it crossed the sea and made its way to Colorado Springs and the nearby military base – and that meant that the mysterious IT was in fact one Colonel Vaselov, a highly decorated Russian astronaut. Not that there was much choice in the matter at that point – there being only a limited crew on the station.
The thing had entered the base and spent some time inside, long enough for Scoobies to catch up and monitor the situation from the town.
And at some point the Big Bad apparently made its move, as the NORAD facility had been locked down, closed to outside interference. Military trucks were seen arriving at the location and troops deploying in secret around the facility. Somehow the Scoobies were sure what it meant – the Initiative once again...
But then the Hellmouthy feelings disappeared, its influence not noticeable anywhere on Earth. The military must have dealt with the threat, but how? That remained a mystery. And led to the Council establishing one of its branches in Colorado Springs – even if it was otherwise supernaturally dead – and to Willow erasing all computer data about the first Initiative. If a new Adam were to be created – the military would have to start from scratch.Two years ago, Cheyenne Mountain Complex
The Earth Stargate was activated along with all other Gates across the galaxy and soon a wave of energy passed through and expanded, destroying all the Replicators in its wake. Visible only as a slight ripple, the wave traveled all over the world in just under a minute.London
Dawn screamed and held her hands to her head. Something was wrong, interfering with the Key properties. And coincidentally, with Dawn's well-being. Somewhere a most powerful mojo in her short life was going on – she did sense a bit like that on Glory's tower, but this was so much more. It was no simple magic – black or white, good or evil – it was magic in its purest form, the same as the Key itself. Something big was going on, somewhere....3 days ago, Dakara
Using his brush, Daniel Jackson slowly uncovered the markings on the large metallic chest, half buried in the ruins of Dakara.
“Teal'c” he called after reading the inscription. He turned around to see the large Jaffa approach and mentioned to him to help lift the object. Personally, Daniel Jackson trembled with anticipation. This could be it – the very solution to the Ori threat.
Once the chest – the Ark, he hoped – was on the solid surface, he took his brush again to continue uncovering the markings on it. As he turned back to the object, he saw a crowbar going down to hit it. A crowbar held by a very annoyed and bored Vala Mal Doran.
“No!” he shouted, but it was too late. The crowbar already hit the lid of the chest and it crumbled into pieces. Daniel wanted to shout at Vala, but as he looked at the object he hoped to be the Ark, he saw only some documents inside...
Maybe she had a point after all. He would have lost a lot of precious time studying the chest without opening it, when in fact the real clues were hidden inside...Now, Cheyenne Mountain Complex
“The manuscript we found is the story of the Ark, the artifact we have been looking for lately” Daniel began his briefing. “Unfortunately it mentions the Ark itself being destroyed about ten thousand years ago.”
“So we can look for more valuable treasures now, right?” Vala interjected.
“Well, actually, no. The Ancients, upon having the Ark destroyed, had something better, an actual weapon created in its place. Now, if I may start from the beginning…” Daniel put on a slide on the screen, showing a drawing of the Ark.
“The original Ark of Truth was built by the Ancients even before they left the Ori galaxy, but they never decided to use it. Instead they moved to the Milky Way, bringing the Ark first to Dakara and then to Earth” Another slide went up, showing Atlantis.
“When the Ancients moved to Pegasus, they left the Ark behind, hidden in a secret sanctuary here on Earth. Once they returned, already decimated by the Wraith, they found a new enemy already on Earth.“ A new slide presented a distorted figure of a man, his head slightly reminiscence of the Unas.
“While I originally thought this to mean the Goa’uld, further study had shown it to be some other aliens. What is confusing is a lot of Ascension mentions in those paragraphs, seemingly those aliens were guided by an Ascended being called Decain, or First Ascended. From I could have gathered it was an Ancient, as the name says, one of or the very first to actually Ascend. And unfortunately, evil. So, for all we now know, an Ori. The humans, who have already evolved on Earth, had been divided and not really acknowledging the existence of the threat that was keeping them as slaves – a few thousand years before the Goa’uld even arrived on Earth. All due to some unknown mind control device.” Next slide showed just that, distorted figures keeping people as slaves.
“The only choice the Ancients had was to use the Ark on us, to show us the truth of our predicament and to unite us against it. But just before they used the Ark, the First destroyed it. That was what lead the rest of the Ancients to Ascension – they had no hope left here on Earth, as it was basically overrun by those unknown aliens. But as the First used his ascended power directly here on Earth, the Ancients – those already Ascended and big on Non-Interference - decided to retaliate in kind. Here the story becomes vague, as it was written by ancient Sumerians, not Ancients themselves. The Ascended decided to grant certain individuals specific power, available only to other Ascended beings, basically move them forward on the evolutionary path – to make them Hok'taur. The document mentions leaving behind instructions that would allow access to some more advanced mind powers to humans already further ahead on the evolutionary scale... Colonel Carter suggested that these instructions were in fact directions to certain medical labs left behind by the Ancients – as we learned from the Atlantis expedition it is possible to move someone forward using a certain device, one of which was actually activated by Dr McKay some time ago...”
“Anyway, soon after granting their power to humans, a war erupted between us and the alien occupiers. The First was banned from interfering directly – he could do it only through his followers, by also granting them some powers. The war raged for years, until a group of so called Shadowmen – Hok’Taur or even de-ascended Ancients themselves - captured one of the alien leaders and used him… it to create the Chosen. Don’t ask me how…“ A picture of three robed men forging something.
”This artifact supposedly led to throwing the alien forces in retreat and they are never mentioned again in any other document. But I did a small cross-check and it appears that the Chosen was also a key to defeating the Goa’uld five thousand years ago and was left to protect Earth from their return. Which means it is here, somewhere, on Earth…”