Sam and the Web Conference
A/N: See chapter 1 for disclaimer, spoilers, notes on AU, and why Xander has his eye back.
Sam was sitting at a conference table with Xander Harris and Jennifer Hailey. She and Jennifer had set up the webcams and the video screen and the omni-directional mike, so they were ready, as soon as Willow Rosenberg dialed in and established a secure comm channel.
It was only a few hours after Sam had learned the truth about vampires and demons and The Slayer. And now she was going to have a web conference with one of the most powerful ‘witches’ on the planet. It sounded insane. She could just imagine Jack yelling, “Fer cryin’ out loud!”
As soon as Xander had finished briefing them and had sent Harmony and Miss Fyffe-Davis on their way, he had called Willow to set up this conference. Then he had gone to the commissary with Daniel and wolfed down a ridiculous amount of spaghetti, followed by two enormous pieces of pie and two cups of the blue jello. After that, he had vanished into Anise’s quarters for over two solid hours. After which, Anise had apparently been unable to get up and get out of her bed.
Sam had to wonder if Carolyn had overlooked some sort of bionic implants in the guy. Or something.
Now Xander was back for the conference, looking like he was fresh out of a shower, although somewhat exhausted. Jennifer was looking at him like she wanted to ask if he gave lessons, and if she could sign up her boyfriend.
The screen shimmered from gray static to the picture of a pretty redhead sitting in front of a wall full of books. Sam watched the security sensors move from red straight to green with no intermittent yellow or orange lights, which shouldn’t have been possible. She had to wonder if Willow was establishing a secure communications connection using ‘magic’.
Xander waved, “Hey, Will! How’s Rio?”
She smiled, “It’s beautiful right now. Are you going to come out and visit? Ken says most of the girls are dying to meet you, only not literally dying, and not to meet you that way, but you know.”
Xander smiled, “Well tell Kennedy I said hi, and you can give her a hug for me after the call.”
Willow smiled wickedly. “I think I can manage that part.” Then she got serious. “Okay, I heard Plan ‘H For Harmony’ went according to plan, even if Evelyn was really cranky that you called her Evie in front of everyone.”
Xander said, “Yep. As often as I could. Once she gets the stick out, she’s gonna be really good as a Watcher.”
“Xander! You said it in front of them! Did they magic you into spilling the beans? Do I need to mojo you out of there right this instant?”
Sam unconsciously gripped her coffee mug. If this woman could teleport Xander from the SGC to Brazil on a whim, was there anything she couldn’t
do? Sam had a sudden mental image of a dozen Ori ships flying into the solar system, only to find a petite redheaded human could teleport entire teams of hok’tar onto each of their craft.
Xander shook his finger. “Doggone it, Will! What is it with you girls? Over-protective much? I didn’t tell ‘em. They figured it out all by themselves. In one night. Mainly through websearches, since The Initiative wouldn’t tell them anything, except they managed to get the personnel list and compare it to the casualty list and the survivors list. Which certain boneheads had our
Willow rolled her eyes. “I am so complaining to Riley and Graham about that.”
‘Riley’ huh? Sam made a small induction and said, “You might have to wait until Lieutenant Colonel Finn returns from his current Special Ops mission, to do that.”
Xander said, “See? I told you they were good. Major Hailey figured out what’s the what with Sunnydale, and that it really was vampires, in one night. With no physical evidence.”
Willow gave Xander a naughty smirk. “And so, what’s the deal with this woman you’re… seeing?”
Xander staunchly said, “Not a demon.”
“Really? Not a demon? Because you know that would break your streak.” Sam looked over at Jennifer and mouthed ‘break his streak?’
“And I… Hang on a sec.” She leaned back and turned her head. Then she yelled, “Ken honey? When did we have Xander breaking his demon dating streak in the pool?”
Jennifer looked back at her and mouthed ‘demon dating pool’
? She shrugged.
A young woman yelled back from another room, “This Christmas.”
Willow frowned, “Dammit, if Dawn’s won another pool, I’m gonna…” She must have seen the looks of alarm on the faces of the women sitting with Xander, because she hastily explained, “Oh no, no magical revenges. That way lies badness. Extreme badness. No, I was just going to sneak some methylene blue into her coffee so she pees blue for a week, and…”
Xander calmly said, “Will, they want to talk to you about magic and science, not fun uses of medical dyes.”
“Oh. Yeah. Right.” Sam watched as Willow typed, and the screen split. One half was still Willow, while the other half was a Feynman diagram. And Willow began lecturing.
It was amazing. Willow’s understanding of the process was astounding. Sam had been expecting lots of hand-waving and mumbo-jumbo. Instead she was getting the kind of lecture that normally only she and Rodney gave. Including a tensor analysis that Sam wouldn’t have believed Willow could have the physics background to do… < an hour and a half later >
“… and so from your viewpoint, it’s best to think of magic as merely another means of directing tiny amounts of macrocosmic energies so that small amounts of said energies are available for the practitioner to wield, in much the same way that someone who gets electrical power from a distant nuclear reactor can use that power to turn a frozen chunk of stuff into a tasty, hot veggie burger…”
Sam noticed that Xander’s eyes were glazed over, even before they got into a serious discussion about power sources and metamorphic processes. But Willow wanted to talk about power sources Sam had never even considered: theurgy, dark magic, white magic, green magic, and even necromancy. Okay, given the issues with the Ori, theurgy seemed pretty relevant. But Willow was just as willing to discuss the feasibility of transformations that tapped into the power inherent in zero point energy or superstring theory. Still, as Sam understood it, what put the label ‘magic’ on a transformation using a power source was the part about apparently doing something ‘impossible’ with the power. She just didn’t believe that it was magic. It was simply a more complex metamorphology using a less understood power source.
The incredible part was that Willow had used ‘magic’ to somehow give the Slayer power to dozens, maybe hundreds of girls all over the world, and then collapse the Sunnydale Hellmouth. That was power so far beyond what a Gou’a’uld could wield that it was terrifying. That was power that could take out the Ori.
On the other hand, Sam didn’t expect Willow to be impressed by her
. Willow started babbling about Sam’s text on wormhole physics. Xander had warned her about the Willow-babble issue, but Sam was looking at it as a way to get information that the NSAWC might not really want her to know, so she wasn’t stopping the redhead. “…and I thought it was super brilliant how you derived what the form of a stable wormhole would be, down to the unidirectional nature and the circular portal openings, which came from your initial conditions used to support the partial differential equations you worked out, and then your derivation was so clever, and oh my goddess you have to have your own wormhole already to pick those criteria, I never thought about that, and that’s what the astria porta has to be, it’s running on quantum mechanics not magic, it doesn’t go to other dimensions, it goes to other places in our own universe, oh my goddess, Xander they go to other PLANETS!”
Sam suddenly felt like the bottom was dropping out of her stomach. Again. Even Rodney McKay hadn’t instantly realized that her equations and initial conditions had been based on her prior knowledge about the Stargate. Just how smart was this girl?
Willow gulped and said, “But if it’s other planets… Xander, you’re having sex with an alien? Please don’t tell me you told Andrew. We’d never hear the end of it!”
Hailey smirked at Xander and said in the same tones Xander had used just hours earlier, “Hey, she’s a genius
! Can we offer her a job?”
Fortunately, Xander laughed. Then he looked at the screen and said, “Will, you’re not supposed to be able to figure that out just from reading her textbook.”
Sam looked at Jennifer and sighed, “I guess we need a couple more NDAs.”
Willow looked a little alarmed as she asked, “Xan, do they want us to sign in blood?”
“No, just ink,” Xander replied.
Willow said, “Wow, that’s not very sophisticated.”
Hailey asked, “What does she mean?”
Xander shrugged a little. “Umm, we have our own NDAs, with special pens. The pen magically extracts some of your blood for your signature, so you agree to a magically binding contract and literally cannot talk about our stuff. It’s way more effective than hoping someone respects a legal agreement. Especially considering some of the things we have to deal with.”
Sam didn’t say anything, but she had a feeling that soulless demons were probably even less trustworthy than Anubis.
Now all she had to do was start on her revised checklist, starting with organizing translation exchanges, getting copies of the NSAWC scrolls on the first defeat of the Gou’a’uld, and getting some Slayers onto SGC away teams. And maybe getting some help setting up some replicable studies so she could figure out how their ‘magic’ really worked…
A/N: Only the epilogue is left.