Chapter Seventeen by Genuka
Short chapter. Had a lot of trouble coming up with something appropriate...
Edited by Manchester!
Jack scowled, leaning back against the inside of the double doors that served as an entryway into the conference chamber. He continued to grimly watch the solemn proceedings in which Quentin Travers was stripped of everything that the Watchers Council had even the remotest authority over and royally tore him a new one. The Air Force colonel already hadn't liked Travers, due to what Xander had told SG-1 about that man during their airplane flight to London, but O’Neill’s loathing was now approaching the level of detestation he felt towards other enemies, such as Kinsey and Apophis.
Xander had done his best to keep Jack out of the room when he’d reported on the disastrous state of affairs at Sunnydale in his home universe to the appalled Council. The teenager wanted Travers tried and convicted before Jack started planning to make this idiot "disappear" in as painful a fashion as possible. The only reason why Jack had agreed to wait in the Head of the Watchers Council’s office with his friends was on the condition that he afterwards be given a complete transcript of the entire proceedings. While quite unhappy with this stipulation, the Council reluctantly agreed, as part of the price for finding out exactly where their Head Watcher had gotten to after vanishing from their headquarters.
Another thing which further got the Watchers’ backs up was the fact that some military idiot had thought it was a good idea to try and re-open the Demon Gate formerly under their guardianship. From what this organization let slip, they’d been thoroughly occupied at the time by fighting off a serious invasion by a demon army from another dimension. The Watchers Council had won, but it’d been a Pyrrhic victory, with a great many casualties taken by them. Among the dead Watchers were those specifically responsible for keeping an eye on the Demon Gate, so it’d been literally years before the rebuilt Council realized this had been removed from Egypt and lost to their ken.
The current Council administration still weren't pleased at all about the situation with the Stargate under Cheyenne Mountain, but they grudgingly agreed not to contest the issue provided they were immediately brought into the project as a full partner and were allowed to both provide personnel as well as monitor the situation. In turn, Jack had agreed to pass on this unyielding condition to General Hammond and up the chain of command, to the President if necessary. Helping this along would be the Council’s resigned promise to provide everything they knew about the Demon Gate and the Goa’uld, with these records in some cases reaching back well past the Bronze Age.
Daniel Jackson had actually started to drool a few discreet drops of saliva from one corner of his mouth over hearing this.
Back in the conference room, Jack’s temper was fast approaching the danger zone. "Look at that. The bastard isn't even sorry about what he did, all of it. He honestly thought that they'd put him back in power," Jack muttered in disgust, waving his hand toward Travers.
"You know what I wish?" Jack idly asked under his breath, not specifically to anyone on his team while his fierce glare continued to increase at listening to the ever-lengthening list of criminal offenses.
Teal'c looked at him, face blank and responded in a perfect deadpan. "I do not."
"Even if only for all those girls he kidnapped and brainwashed, I wish that bastard Travers had to live through everything he put his victims through and then had to spend a couple of years as a Goa'uld's plaything before he finally took a short walk out of an even shorter airlock in deep space." Jack wistfully told them all.
Teal’c naturally gave no sign of his feelings, but Daniel and Sam couldn’t help nodding in agreement, sending their own dark looks at where the prisoner was having his entire future destroyed.
Across the room, Quentin Travers stood stock-still in the center of the room. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. They were accusing him, HIM! of misuse of council resources. Of putting more lives in danger than they already were, and generally trying to lose this damn war against the demons. Soft-handling of the Slayer would not keep them alive. The Slayer was a weapon, not a girl, a weapon! They would get nowhere without treating her as such, as the tool of war she truly was.
Why couldn’t they see that? There were men and women now seated at the table who’d listened with actual interest while Travers had argued this very point. What changed their minds?
It never occurred to the egotistical man being prosecuted by the Council that there was an enormous difference between several of his former colleagues being sympathetic for their own reasons to Travers’ rigid beliefs and then learning of what the actual horrible consequences of these judgments had lead to in another dimension. Though, during his description of how everything had gone to hell in a handbasket at his home universe in a private meeting with the Conclave only just yesterday, Xander was challenged by one of Quentin’s supporters over that exact detail.
This Senior Watcher had argued that however dreadfully the other Quentin Travers had acted, making a mockery of the Council’s sworn goal of supporting and protecting the Slayer, this didn’t mean the same man in this dimension should be blamed for it. Xander responded by using a simile suggested earlier by Ethan and discussed further among SG-1 during their flight: If after losing a devastating war, one of the wounded veterans of this conflict, a real hero, had joined a political party solely to spread his fervent views on how to make sure that the next war would this time be won by their country, would that be bad? Well…yes. Especially when twenty years later, Adolf Hitler would commit suicide in the ruins of Berlin after starting World War II.
At that point of their debate, Maurice Whitby noisily cleared his throat, to then rumble he’d heard enough. It appeared there was now sufficient evidence to order a vote on conducting a full Council investigation upon Travers, using every scanning spell of veracity they knew about to satisfy all here the truth of Alexander Giles’ claims. Those same spells, which by the way, this lad had successfully endured without showing he’d spoken a single, solitary lie.
A few minutes later, the vote had been taken and it’d passed unanimously. Significant looks had been traded around the table then, with the occasional glance of bemusement also sent towards a number of blank-faced Senior Watchers well known for their acquaintance with Quentin, not to mention sharing at some level his same opinions on how to best deploy the Slayer. A while later, several delicate discussions were held with these conservative Watchers by a curious colleague as to why they’d joined in the vote to move against Travers. In the main, it was tersely revealed however his ideas might be applicable, Travers’ failings were quite known to the pragmatic Traditionalists. While they’d occasionally had their feelings ruffled by Ethan Giles’ forward-thinking directives and leadership, that Head Watcher was genuinely devoted to both his task and the Slayer. He’d done them proud, and over the last decade that had eventually won over to a certain degree the old-fashioned Watchers.
Plus, Quentin was without question a conceited prat, who well deserved to be taken down a peg or two. And if there was indeed truth to anything which might come up during the Council’s investigation, that damned fool could rot in hell, for all they cared. The Watchers Council had been led before by the occasional villain, but at least these scoundrels were in all accounts bloody well competent
at their knavery!
Not knowing just how his fate had been decided the day before, Travers hadn't said a word since they started listing the crimes they were putting him on trial for at the moment. Not a whisper, not a peep, no political bluster, no protest, nothing. He stood there stone-faced, listening as his heart sunk into his stomach. The only good thing about all of this was that they hadn't found...
"Quentin Thaddeus Travers, you also stand accused of numerous more serious breaches in Council protocol. These include, but are not limited to, dealing with hostile demons in an attempt to circumvent and eliminate Council personnel as well as for personal power and gain, embezzlement of Council funds, attempts to manipulate and blackmail Council personnel and assets for personal power and gain, and actions leading to an increase in Council personnel deaths including the repeated misuse of the trust the Slayer has in this organization. What say you to these charges?" The nearly out of breath bailiff finished reciting his indictment, during which he’d been glaring at that vile man.
Right about then, the "betrayal clauses" in the aforementioned deals with hostile demons started to kick in, one after another depending upon their age, complexity, and importance of the deal to each demon clan. Travers clutched his gut for a moment before dropping to the ground while screaming at the top of his corroding lungs. His blood began to slowly boil, and his skin started literally crawling and writhing independently of the rest of his own bodily movements. The man’s exposed flesh changed color to pasty whiteness, ripping apart to reveal flashes of muscle, bone, and sinew.
"Geezus!" Jack cursed while SG-1 raced from guarding the entryway to Travers to try and keep him stable. Everyone else in the room just sat back and watched in shock. The moment Sam reached out to touch Travers, SG-1 as a whole was blown backward away from the screaming man. A moment later, Travers was swallowed by a blast of purple light. When that burst of illumination faded away, the Senior Watcher had completely disappeared from existence.
"Now, that’s a truly nasty betrayal clause." Ethan shakily commented from his own seat. "And this, people, is why you always read the fine print, especially when it comes to deals with demons of the more malevolent sort."
"You knew?" Jack groaningly huffed in disbelief from where he was sitting on his aching ass on the floor, blown almost completely across the chamber.
Shaking his head sadly, Ethan informed both the colonel and the rest of the room, "No, but I've had similar clauses snuck into my own work contracts once or twice. Luckily, I either never triggered them or knew the counter spell."
"I think I'm going to be sick." Xander warned, appearing like he actually would.
Ethan ruthlessly told him, "Good! You never want to get used to something like that." The Chaos mage went on equally without pity, "And taking a life shouldn't ever be easy, be it demon, human, or other. Needed? Maybe. Easy? Never! When you've stopped being bothered by causing death, you need to start to worry, even more so if you start to enjoy it."
Xander breathed in and out slowly, trying to keep his nausea in check. He finally looked over at Ethan and asked his soon-to-be teacher, "Alright, so what do we do now?"
"We'll decide tomorrow." Ethan replied. "For now, we'll just enjoy the fact that that wanker isn't a problem anymore..."
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Remember reader input is always welcome! Flames will be used to make roticery pork chops and chicken!