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Adjustment Phase

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Scoobies & Stargates". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: When Willow joins the SGC, you might think they'd ease her in a little. But no, she's pushed into the deep end with an Atanik bracelet. And it's not until after that that things start getting really strange.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Willow-CenteredEnergyBeingFR133964,81428444,4822 Sep 123 Feb 13Yes

Chapter Twenty-Seven

People tend not to move closer to vampires of dubious virtue immediately after they've been shot and pulled someone through a window. It wasn't until Spike stood up and grunted, then headed to the bathroom muttering about needing to get a pair of tweezers that anyone moved.

Jack and Teal'c gently led Spike over to a chair, telling Giles to get the aforementioned tweezers and any medical supplies he might have, while Daniel and Oz went over to the shaken Willow to comfort her, with Oz glaring at Daniel as he did so, and Daniel, having taken a dislike to Willow's ex after the fiasco that had been yesterday's breakfast, glared at him too.

Buffy heaved Riley onto the bed, formulating a plan to find out exactly what was wrong with him - it would have to involve breaking into the Initiative - when Jack came over, not particularly wanting to see Giles rummage around with a pair of tweezers in Spike's stomach, and Teal'c was doing an admirable job holding the vampire down, for all that their strengths were more or less equal.

"He's suffering from withdrawal symptoms." said Jack, gesturing at Riley's body lying prone on the sofa.

"Really? Withdrawal from what? And how do you know?" asked Buffy.

"Well, some kind of drug, obviously. I'm guessing that the Initiative must've been pumping him full of some kind of drug, but that stopped when Walsh died. It looks a little like what happened to Daniel a few years back." Jack answered.

"Thanks Jack, just take the thing entirely out of context, why don't you?" said Daniel acidly.

"You were taking drugs a few years ago? I wouldn't have thought you were the type." said Willow with a frown.

"No, no, I've never taken drugs. A few years ago, we were captured off-world, and the princess took a liking to me" Willow suddenly looked thunderous, and Jack snorted saying "Yeah, after you stopped her from committing suicide and she rewarded us by forcing us to work in the mines." Daniel glared at him, then said "As I was saying, she took a shine to me, and she convinced me to try using a sarcophagus - a kind of Goa'uld healing device - over and over again, and I got addicted to it."

"Well, alien addicts. Who would have thought it? I guess going to other planets isn't exactly a barrel of laughs after all." said Buffy with a sidelong glance at Willow, who coughed something that sounded suspiciously like "Subtle".

"Um, military people? Would you mind coming over here for a moment?" said Giles in a preoccupied voice.

Jack and Daniel (although he wasn't strictly military, Daniel thought that Giles' summons had been general enough that it could include him) and they saw that Spike had been bandaged around the waist - Daniel vaguely wondered how he had managed that so fast. He wondered if vampires need stitches - and that Giles was examining a secondary wound in Spike's shoulder.

Giles didn't even look up, he just said "Is it normal for a bullet to flash in this manner?"

Jack made his way round the table to examine he wound, but he was already pretty sure about what he would see. He wasn't disappointed, although he wished he was. "It's a tracker. You need to get it out and away from here as soon as possible."

"Yes, thank you, I never would've realised." said Giles, but the exasperation in his voice robbed the words of any sting. Jack guessed that Giles spoke that way to the Scoobies a fair amount. Then Giles closed his eyes briefly, then said "Willow, third bookcase from the right, first shelf from the bottom, fourth book on the left, page 628. If you could read the spell there, I'd be most grateful."

"You have a photographic memory." stated Daniel with interest.

Giles shook his head before continuing trying to get the tracker out of Spike's shoulder. Oddly, that was harder to do than to get a bullet out of his stomach. Giles suspected that this was because there were a lot more bones and nerves and things in the shoulder to get in the way. It's a good thing that Spike would heal no matter what he did. "No, I just remember what I read."

Willow, having found the spell, said dubiously ""A spell to ignite the atmosphere?" Are you quite sure that that's a good idea, Giles?"

"Yes, yes, it will ionise our surroundings which should diffuse the trackers signal." said Giles in a hectored voice.

"Giles, how is it that you despise computers and everything to do with them, yet you know that?" asked Buffy curiously.

"Because I am not entirely uneducated. Now, if you would be so kind, please shut up, I'm literally in the middle of a delicate operation here." snapped Giles while Willow started chanting.

~*~

As soon as Sam had landed at Sunnydale Airport, she had attempted to call Jack to inform him of her plan (in the end, Hammond had proved intractable and was refusing to allow Hailey to enter the Initiative under any circumstances, so Sam had had to tell her that this was a drill to ascertain her suitability for another program, when she was older of course) but the call wouldn't go through. In fact, none of the calls she made to anyone in Sunnydale went through. Sam thought that this was ominous, given that the last time (and, admittedly, the only other time she had been in Sunnydale) that had happened here was because Caelus had been about to break free.

Anyway, Sam was ignoring Hammond's orders - Jack would congratulate her and say she didn't do that nearly enough - because, unlike on other worlds where failure in a mission, whilst never a good thing, probably wouldn't lead to the end of the world (at least, the end of the Earth. Destroying an alien planet was all too frequently a possibility), the Scoobies dealt with apocalypses on a regular basis, and allowing whatever had escaped from the Initiative to stay and cause havoc would be a very bad thing, and worse, it would be her world that it was causing havoc to. And Sam very much didn't want that to happen.

So Sam told Hailey that this was a drill, and conscientiously told herself that she would later tell Hailey exactly what she had done. "So, you're to go in, find every file on something called 314 that you can, hack if you need to - and don't pretend you can't, Cadet, because I know the kind of things clever people get up to these days - and get out. Is that clear?"

"Yes ma'am!" declared Hailey, executing a perfect salute. She was clearly brimming with excitement at the thought of a mission - even if she thought it was only a drill - and Sam began to feel some qualms over using a young girl in her plans. Perhaps it wasn't the best of plans, if she had had more time - and more sleep, for that matter, and a couple of less stressful days...

But Sam quashed these doubts as Hailey hopped out of the car and mingled with a group of scientists (which, despite being a fair amount shorter than them, Hailey was still more or less of an age with them, and so mixed with them surprisingly well. Sam supposed that the age of the scientists had to do with the fact that the base was below a university, and the scientists could no doubt pose as students should the need arise) heading towards one of the Initiative's many entrances - because what self-respecting secret base had only one entrance?

~*~

Hailey knew that this wasn't a drill. She wasn't stupid. She didn't know what it was for, besides the fact that Sam had told her that she might see some pretty strange things, but she knew that whatever 314 was, it had to be important and also highly classified.

Which was fun.

It was surprisingly easy to get in, despite the guards who one might expect to check for ID (which Hailey didn't have) but they seemed preoccupied with something else and just waved people through. Hailey wasn't to know that, with Walsh dead, the Initiative was more or less falling apart.

So, she was in. Now she needed a computer, because yes, Sam had been right, Hailey most definitely could hack computers.

But it couldn't hurt to look around first, could it? Especially when there was an extremely interesting knot of people all huddled around in a corridor. Hailey couldn't resist going to find out what it was that had them so interested.

Of course, the fact that they were all gathered around a sign with 314 written in bold above the door for all to see - which led Hailey to expect that this wasn't so classified a mission after all - only made it more interesting, Hailey thought as she wormed her way through the crowd.

Hailey soon wished she hadn't. She had no desire to see what looked like bloodstains covering the floor, and what were certainly several limbs of what really had to be some kind of animal. Really, it had to be an animal. What else could it be?

Hailey glanced around the room to distract herself, and caught sight of a portable hard-drive, which someone named Adam had considerably labelled with both his name and 314. Jackpot!

Surprisingly, it is pretty easy to steal something when there are a lot of people around, as long as they are making a lot of noise and not really paying a lot of attention to what anyone else is doing. Fortunately, that was the case right then, and Hailey took the opportunity to take the drive and run with it (well, wormed her way back through the crowd and walked away calmly with it, because everyone knows that there is nothing quite so suspicious as someone running away).

~*~

Sam was mildly surprised when Hailey came back out so soon, and was even more so when she saw what Hailey had found. Sam just hoped that the hard-drive was everything it seemed to be.

Now Sam just needed to get it to the Scoobies, and they would be well on the way to solving the mystery they had on their hands.

Of course, Sam didn't know where they were right now, and given that she still couldn't get a signal - she wondered whether it was some kind of local phenomenon, although it was more probably just bad luck - she couldn't exactly ask them. So she decided that she would drop Hailey off at Giles', because at least some of the Scoobies almost always seemed to be there, and she would go on to Willow's house to see if the rest of SG-1 were still there.

~*~

The ionizing spell had begun to wear off just as Giles managed to remove the tracker from Spike's shoulder, much to the disappointment of many who found people's hair sticking straight up to be hilarious, which to be fair was pretty much everyone. Daniel consequently took the tracker from Giles and washed it down the sink.

The doorbell rang, and Oz, the nearest, opened it.

Upon seeing someone dressed as an Initiative scientist, Willow, who had noticed a spell on the page opposite to that which she had used to ionise the atmosphere, which knocked people out. It was a surprisingly short spell, despite being in a language that played merry hell with her tongue, and Willow had been memorizing it in case there was ever a time when she was once again held at gunpoint by a crazed Riley.

So Willow cast the spell, and the woman crumbled to the floor, and had little flickers of electricity dancing over her unconscious body. Which Willow was pretty sure wasn't meant to happen.

Giles, who as a result of his misspent youth, knew the knockout spell that Willow had just used (although it was darker magic than he liked to use nowadays) and also knew what happened when the spell was combined with electricity, such as one might find in an ionized room. He and Ethan and their gang had even made use of it, by going on a spree of breaking and entering houses, and if caught they'd use a combination electricity and knockout spell.

As a result, anyone hit by the spell would wake up with absolutely no memory of the past few days.
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