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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-CenteredEnergyBeingFR133964,81428545,9902 Sep 123 Feb 13Yes

Chapter Twenty-Nine

While Jack waited for the rest of the gang to turn up to examine the disassembled plane - well, in all honesty Jack couldn't really call it 'disassembled', given the fact that what was left was basically just the shell. The engine and the dashboard had all been removed, evidently by someone with a good working knowledge of how to take apart a plane - he wondered what should be done about Hailey. He had about fifteen and a half hours to go until she woke up, and Jack thought that it would definitely be a good thing to have her well away from here by then. He thought that Sam's decision to bring her here in the first place certainly hadn't been the most well thought out plan ever.

Unfortunately, that meant that someone would have to drive her there, because there wasn't a chance that Hailey could make it through a commercial airport unconscious. Furthermore, Jack was almost certain that it would end up being him that drove her - Sam was needed here to do science-y stuff, Teal'c had never gotten the hang of driving (he couldn't seem to get his head around the idea that the aim wasn't to push all the other cars off the road) and Daniel in a car was marginally slower than a speeding snail. And Jack highly doubted that Willow or any of her teenage friends would be up for a lovely ten-hour drive across states, and he had seen Giles' car. He was surprised that thing managed to move at all.

Still, Jack didn't need to deal with that until the others arrived.

~*~

"Do you have any idea what happened here, sir?" asked Sam, as she examined the gaping hole where the engine used to be.

"Nope." Jack answered shortly.

"Is it not evident that someone has taken necessary components for the flying of this object?" asked Teal'c.

Xander laughed, but when Teal'c turned to regard him coolly he quietened and said "Oh, you were serious."

"Yes, Teal'c, that's exactly what happened. There's nothing left here that would allow a plane to fly. Now we just need figure out who took it and why." said Sam, either ignoring or not noticing the fact that that was obvious.

"Ooh, that rhymed." said Willow. Sam, without looking, reached over and punched the redhead lightly on the shoulder "Hey, what was that for?" Willow said indignantly.

Before Sam had a chance to answer, Daniel - who, being both totally uninterested and completely unknowledgeable on all matters related to the internal combustion system of planes, had wandered off towards the nearby woods - called out "Guys, you might just want to come and see this."

Everyone hurried over to see what Daniel had found. For those who weren't familiar with the process of tracking someone - which, strangely enough, was only Willow and Daniel, everyone else knowing it by dint of either being a soldier, having vague memories of being a soldier, had been a vengeance demon who had occasionally tracked subjects of a wish to watch the wonderful havoc they caused, was an upper-class Englishman who had often gone hunting (whether he wanted to or not, due to an exceptionally strict father), was a werewolf or a Slayer, already knew - saw only a large, barefooted footprint.

To be fair, that's what the people who were more familiar with tracking saw too. They just noticed that it was considerably deeper than it would've been if they'd taken their shoe off and put their foot on impressionable soil. Which meant either someone was running barefoot, or was very, very heavy. Given the fact that this footprint was largely hidden by foliage, and only the keen observational powers of a bored Daniel had noticed it, and that there were no other visible footprints nearby, the more experienced military mind of SG-1 came to the conclusion that someone very, very heavy had recently walked by here, and covered its tracks as it went - and had only missed this one because either it hadn't noticed it, or because something had distracted it.

What this revealed was that the mechanical component of the plane enabling flight had been taken by a single, exceptionally dense humanoid. While Giles could have enumerated countless numbers of demons that fit that description, the fact was that even he was more inclined to believe that it was the work of the creature fashioned in the Initiative by one Maggie Walsh, whose military designation was 314.

But also went by the name of Adam.

~*~

Meanwhile, Spike was blissfully unaware of any of the discoveries that the Scoobies had made. He was busy crushing up some of Giles' sleeping pills - although, for someone who spent a great part of his nights awake, Spike wondered what exactly Giles had them for - so that he could give them to Riley, because he didn't particularly want to deal with the crazy soldier suffering from withdrawal, and with the chip in his head Spike unfortunately couldn't go for his favourite method of knocking someone out - hitting them over the head.

While Spike was doing this, he was listening to the news on Giles' television, if only because he was bored and he knew how much it annoyed the stuffy Watcher when he used it.

Although Spike was barely listening to the news, he was listening well enough that he heard something that he was certain the Slayer and her clique with added military would be interested to hear.

Unfortunately for Spike, it was still daylight, and he didn't feel like turning himself into a crisp - besides, he was pretty sure that someone should keep an eye on Riley, even if Spike was the last person Riley would ever want to see.

Which meant that Spike had to call them, which meant he'd have to use his new-fangled mobile for the first time, which meant that he'd have to call the one person he had the number of. Sam. Spike wasn't any too keen on calling her, after the fiasco of a date that they'd had, despite Jim's amazing cooking. Still, this was important. He had to.

Oh joy.

~*~

"What lies over there?" asked Teal'c, pointing in the general direction that the owner of the footprint should have been heading for.

"I'm going to hazard a guess and say the woods." said Xander, somewhat flippantly.

"You mean you don't know?" said Daniel with some surprise. "I thought that this was your home town."

Xander shrugged. "Yeah, it is, but do I look like the kind of person that spends a great deal of time exploring the great outdoors? I've always been a stay-at-home kind of guy, until Buffy came along, and then I was a nearly-get-killed-in-cemeteries-in-the-middle-of-the-night kind of guy."

"Yeah, we kind of stayed in the town." said Willow. "There's enough cemeteries there to deal with without wandering around in a forest."

"So you don't know what's out there." said Jack with a sigh. So much for that.

"That's pretty much the size of things, yes." Willow acknowledged.

At that point, Sam's phone rang. Upon seeing that it was an unknown number, she almost didn't answer, but then thought that as her number was unlisted, it was unlikely that it would be something like someone trying to sell her double-glazing. So Sam thought that she might as well answer.

"Sam? Sam, are you there?" came a voice - Spike's - blaring down the line.

"Yes, I'm here. Just a moment, I'll put you on loudspeaker." Sam answered, holding the phone a little distance from her ear. She didn't want to be deafened by a shouting vampire.

Sam pressed a button, then said to the assembled group "It's Spike."

"I know it's me, I'm the one who's calling." grumbled Spike.

Willow sighed "Spike, she wasn't talking to you, she was talking to the rest of us. Now, what did you want?"

"Oh. Anyway, have you heard the news?" Spike asked.

"No, we're out standing in a field, Spike. We haven't heard anything." Sam replied impatiently.

"What are you on about, woman? I know you're outstanding in your field, that's why you're in your job, but why are you telling me?" asked a very confused Spike.

Xander burst out laughing, but promptly shut up when Sam glared at him. "No, Spike, that's not what I said. We are in a field. As in countryside. Now, what did you want to tell us?" said Sam, her impatience now giving way to exasperation."

"Oh, okay. Anyway, some little child has been killed. Brutally, too. Hung up by a tree and opened right up, like those rats people dissect in Biology lessons. said Spike matter-of-factly. Willow, Xander and Daniel all retched at the image.

"Okay. Oh, Spike, would you happen to know-" Sam began, but Spike cut her off.

"Got to go, Soldier Boy's waking up." he said, ending the call abruptly.

"Sometimes, that guy really gets on my nerves." mutters Buffy.

"Come on, it's Spike. He gets on everyone's nerves." Xander said jovially, which was somewhat undermined by his slightly green face.

Sam didn't say anything, just stood looking at the phone.

"Well, I suppose we should get back to Giles'." said Jack decisively.

"Oh, do let's." murmured Giles.

"Yeah, we kind of need to figure what to do about Riley. And Hailey too, I suppose." said Daniel, gesturing to the unconscious figure of the young cadet.

"I suppose I'd better drive her back to Colorado." said Jack, morosely. When no one else came up with a better idea, he bent to pick up Hailey again, but Teal'c put out a hand to stop him.

"I will carry her to the vehicle." Teal'c said authoritatively. Jack nodded. He could live with that - and his knees would certainly prefer it.

~*~

When the gang made it back to Giles' house, minus Jack who had reluctantly decided that he had better make a start on things, they were welcomed by the unpleasant vista of a wide open door, which was something that no one ever wants to see.

The sight inside was just as unpleasant, if not more so. Spike was lying unconscious on the floor, the shattered remains of a plate lying near his head and some kind of white powder gracing his already pale hair. Then there was the armchair that was so much firewood, with bits of rope still attached to it.

Apparently, Riley Finn had escaped, and was loose once again, capable of terrorizing all he met with his horribly wrong-sided ideas. Buffy guessed he would've gone straight to the Initiative, which meant they had to go there too, if only to stop Riley from doing something that would get him shot.

Oh joy.
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