Disclaimer:Buffy the Vampire Slayer
is owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, 20th Century Fox Television and others.EVE Online
are owned by CCP GamesStargate SG-1
is owned by MGM Television, Double Secret Productions and Gekko Film Corp.Betas:
Allen Baker, Greywizard and S.D. Cambron. They really helped.Note:
I had to rewrite minor parts of chapters 10 and 11, I didn't like the errors I made, and direction I was going.
Kinsey had been at it all night; shredding papers and then dumping the resulting strips of paper on the fireplace in his office. The simple home office shredder was never designed to handle the vast volumes he tried to pour into it, and as a result it had jammed frequently, slowing down his progress, while fuelling his irritation.
The mind numbing task had given him plenty of time to think about his latest misfortunes, and of his wife and daughters, whom he had all but ordered on a trip to visit his in-laws, taking most of his private security detail with them. If they came for him now, there was nothing his security could do to help him anyway. The Secret Service were all but untouchable, so his guards couldn’t do anything without making matters far worse. Should the TRUST come for him, he doubted anything would make a difference.
Besides, he was certain the TRUST would never attack him at home, they preferred more...covert means.
It all came back to the emergence of those two ships orbiting the moon. That is when it all started.
That’s when everything ended.
Decades of planning, and of collecting material to further his career in politics. Material he had spent the past 5 hours destroying, in the vain hope that he could destroy it all, before it could be used to destroy him instead.
What galled him the most though, was that he couldn’t even be certain his involvement had been exposed. But the mere risk that the two failed NID operations in Colorado Springs and Sunnydale, could be linked back to him meant that he had to act on the assumption that they would.
Rising from his chair, he briefly had to fight a bout of dizziness, the result of having been sitting down for far too long. Finally he stepped over to the pile of papers, to pick up yet another stack to be shredded.
He eyed the secure radio sitting on top of one of the stacks. He had let it run through the night, on the off chance that he’d receive some encouraging news. It had remained silent throughout the night, though, and now it would remain that way, since the batteries had finally run out.
Picking it up, he turned it around in his hands for a few seconds before, in a fit of anger, he threw it hard into the roaring fireplace. It shattered with a finality that gave him just a few seconds of satisfaction.
Shaking his head, he picked up the next bundle of papers, and placed them on his table next to the shredder, before walking to his liquor cabinet. He had already had enough coffee to last him the rest of the month, he needed something a little more potent to get him through rest of the night.
He had just poured two fingers of 30 year old Single Malt Scotch, or three, when he heard it; A buzzing sound like he’d never heard before.
He edged towards the window, peering around towards the sky, then onto his lawn below. There was nothing to see. He was about to leave his office to check the front of the mansion, when the doorbell rang.
Swearing loudly, he hurried to open it. What he found was the very last person he expected to see. Mostly because he could not be here. Should never be here.
“Maybourne, what the hell...” was as far as he got before the Colonel stumbled into his foyer, into the light.
Kinsey was shocked at the Colonels appearance. He had a wild expression on his face. Almost haunted.
Maybourne’s attention was drawn to the glass of whiskey Kinsey was still holding in his hand, reaching for it, Kinsey gave it to him, and the Colonel downed it in a single go. After a few moments Maybourne took a deep breath, and seemed to collect himself, if only a little.
Kinsey closed his door, and led Maybourne into the living room, seating him before he collapsed again.
“Maybourne.” Kinsey snapped, “What are you doing here?” he repeated his previous question. “What happened in Sunnydale? Last I heard was that you were about to pull out, then nothing!” he added.
Maybourne looked at him. “A royal Charlie Foxtrot, that’s what happened.” he finally said.
“Speak English damn it.”
“We screwed up, badly. The alien artifacts were protected. There were only three of them that I could tell, and they took us all down in seconds. And then there was...” Maybourne trailed off, collecting his thoughts, and nerves. “I thought you had most of this already. One of the artifacts got away. I saw it.”
“No. The last thing I heard, was you telling me you were about to pull out, with the last convoy.”
Kinsey reeled at this. Maybourne was not supposed to have that bit of information, but there was a good reason he had hired the man in the first place, he was after all one of the best covert ops and intelligence people he knew.
The implications of this were not to be underestimated either. He was exposed now, and as such the TRUST had no use for him any longer.
Maybourne broke the silence, when he continued, “They wanted to give you a message.”
“Who did?” Knowing the answer, didn’t make it any easier to hear.
Kinsey sat down, heavily. Shocked to the core. That he hadn’t expected. “Wha... What was the message?”
“You, and the NID, are to back off, and leave them alone.” Maybourne looked at Kinsey, “And you are to stop destroying evidence. That you are to turn yourself in, assist in the investigation into the NID, and the TRUST, though they didn’t name them, they know the NID was operating with a civilian contingent in Sunnydale.”
“And if I don’t?”
“That you are to step outside, and look at your wife’s prized rose garden, but don’t approach it.”
Kinsey blinked. That demand made no sense. At all. “You are coming with me,” he then demanded, as he got back on his feet.
Maybourne slowly rose as well, looked at the empty glass in his hand, “I hope you have more where this came from. I’m afraid we are going to need it,” before placing the glass on the table next to the very comfortable chair he had just been sitting in, before following Kinsey to look at his garden.
A few kilometers away, Xander was overlooking the rear of Kinsey’s mansion, waiting for him to come out. Buffy had reported in that she was ready, almost ten minutes ago.
They had parked the MCC in orbit, cloaked, and taken one of the smaller shuttles down, while Buffy headed back to her Nyx to pick up the destroyer they’d decided to use for the strike.
Though, with the shuttle being over 50 meters in length, small was a relative term. Jack had complained about that. Loudly. “Don’t you people do anything
small?” was heard a few times.
Willow had shown Jack a picture of an odd looking vessel. An Apocalypse class Battleship, she’d called it. When told that it was well over 1.5 kilometers in length, he had commented that it had been perfectly named.
The realization that the main weapons were still clearly visible, even at this scale, had sent him into a brief state of catatonia. She had to explain that while it appeared to have sixteen turrets, eight on either side, the turrets were symmetrically paired and power could only flow to one in a pair at a time, effectively limiting a broadside to just eight turrets.
While equally shocked, Sam had been slightly amused, and explained that Jack had a - sometimes - unhealthy obsession with obtaining ‘big honking space guns’.
Finally the door opened and revealed not only Kinsey, but Maybourne as well. It was show time.
Xander tracked and painted a target on the flowers they had agreed on, and sent the signal to Buffy.
Five seconds later all hell broke loose, in a thundering explosion of dirt, and purple roses.
Kinsey looked at the rose garden in the center of his lawn. His wife’s pride and joy. And he had to admit, it was really beautiful. Suddenly a group of light beams appeared, quickly moving in on the flowers, homing in really, with an ominous buzzing sound, as the air around him seemed to be electrified. A few seconds later a flash of light streaked straight down from the sky, and he, along with Maybourne were blown back into his house, amidst the dirt and debris from the flowers. It took him a few seconds to get back on his feet, and was shaking his head, trying to get rid of the ringing in his ears, and the nausea.
He finally managed to stumble back to the door, it was still raining dirt outside, and a large crater, perhaps twelve meters in diameter had replaced the flower bed.
Kinsey immediately turned around, facing a wide eyed Maybourne, only to stumble as the nausea overcame him, his jaw hurting badly, and he had trouble breathing. The last thing he heard before passing out was Maybourne muttering, “An orbital strike?”
Outside, Xander was more than a little shocked. The devastation inflicted by the strike had been a little more energetic than he had counted on. Still, the house was intact, that was all what mattered.
Jack, sitting next to Xander, couldn’t help himself from muttering, “You want to do it again? I’m not sure you used enough the first time.”
Xander groaned, while he was watching Kinsey appearing in the door again, only to see him collapse, grasping his left side. “Call 911, he’s having a stroke!” he yelled.
Before he could get up and start towards the mansion, he saw Maybourne appear next to Kinsey, immediately starting on CPR. There was nothing else they could do but hope. He hadn’t brought the Medical Unit with him this time.
They waited till the Emergency services arrived, before they pulled out.
The operators at NORAD, watching over the US air space, were having what could be loosely referred to as an interesting night. Word had come from the Air Force that they would be testing something new, and that certain corridors and areas should be kept clear of air traffic. The latter was not really a problem, since the areas were mostly military, or too high to matter, anyway.
The problem was the sheer magnitude of the test.
“Sir, there it is again, heading west this time,” one operator suddenly exclaimed.
The manager was fuming. Normally, the Air Force had the common decency of giving them prior notice about upcoming tests. Not so this time, where this - thing - had appeared well before word had come down the wire about it.
If it was a new stealth technology they were testing, they had failed magnificently, since the radar return off this thing suggested a vessel about fifty meters in length, but moving far faster than anything that size should be able to. Earlier the radar return had suggested a vessel exceeding 200 meters in length, moving just as fast.
Furiously, he noted the sighting and data in the secure logs, before purging it from the main memory.
Hammond owed him for this.
It was several hours later, when SG-1, along with General Hammond, Major Davis and Doctor Fraiser finally gathered at the SGC briefing room.
Prior to this meeting, Hammond had been in a lengthy meeting with just the SG-1, aided by Davis and a group of lawyers from the JAG.
The end of that meeting had been ringing ears on just about all parties involved, as well as a firm order to lay low, and let the JAG assist in getting most of this mess sorted out. The JAG had wanted to know everything they could tell them about the events Sunnydale. Whether any of it could ever be cleared below Top Secret, was anyone’s guess at this point.
General Hammond started, “Where are they now?” He didn’t have to specify who he was referring to.
“They said they had a few things to take care of, so when they returned us to the SGC, they took off, and mentioned that they’d be back in a few hours, sir. Last I was informed, they just arrived, and are currently being escorted to one of the NORAD conference rooms,” Jack replied.
The General turned to Fraiser. “Doctor, if you will please start by telling us about Senator Kinsey.”
“We haven’t been able to obtain much information, but with what we do have, it is clear that he suffered a massive stroke. His condition is still critical.”
Hammond leaned back in his chair. “The Secret Service has not been idle either. Between the suspicions about the level of his involvement in running the NID, and how they came to be operating outside their charter, and how much, and this … mysterious explosion at his home, they suspected foul play of some sort.”
“How astute of them,” Jack muttered.
Hammond glared at his second in command, silencing him before continuing, “We haven’t been told anything, but I have received a report from a source of mine, that the NSA along with the FIP managed to use these events to obtain a warrant, and have apparently found a lot of documents there, and what appears to have been an attempt at destroying a lot of classified or incriminating papers.”
“What are we telling them, sir?” Carter asked.
“So far, nothing. You weren’t there. The flight manifest, filed by SG-3 appears to have you onboard the C5, returning with them from Sunnydale, at the same time this explosion happened in DC.”
Hammond looked around the table, “On a slightly different topic. You would not believe just how much trouble these people have caused, in the impressively short amount of time we’ve known about them. Still, The message - order really - from the White House, after having briefed the President, is to help them, as their technology alone is not something we want to miss out on. But we also have to impress upon them that their current actions in Sunnydale are not appreciated.”
“The President is not amused,” Jack quipped.
That received a stern glare from Hammond, which slowly changed into a slight smile. “I may have to use that one later, if only to break the ice.”
“To be honest, General, I think that is going to be less of a problem,” Jack added. “I think it’s safe to say, that they have achieved what they wanted, for now, and they did moderate their initial response at our request.”
“There is still the issue of their missing pod, sir,” Carter added, “And considering what little I’ve been able to find out about the Scrambler pistols we’ve received from them, their technology level is almost frightening.”
“There is nothing ‘almost’ about it, Carter. What they did at Kinsey’s house was...” Jack was thinking, looking for a fitting word.
“...A cause for concern. The President’s words, not mine.” Hammond finally finished the sentence for his Colonel.
Jack nodded slowly.
“And I don’t like that they moderated their response, to what they called their smallest caliber.” Davis pointed out. “How sure are we of their actual capabilities?”
“In short?” Sam asked, “We literally have nothing. They could be bluffing, and this is all they have. Though what they have shown us so far is more than enough, but they could also be telling the truth, in which case they probably do have the ability to ‘glaze over’ a large portion of the planet. Their words, and based on an offhand comment this Xander made to the Colonel, about dropping several tons of hypervelocity antimatter rounds from orbit.”
“And this strike on Kinsey?”
“My guess, based on some of the remarks I heard, is on a single ten inch shell, a KKV only. Probably iron and tungsten,” Sam answered. She had no need to expand on what KKV meant, they were all well aware of the theoretic applications of the so called Kinetic Kill Vehicles. Or as one NASA engineer once described it, precision dropping a crowbar from space.
They all sat in silence for a few moments, contemplating the logistics and implications of what they had seen that morning.
“By the way, I don’t know if Carter has been told yet, but I think it is worth to note, that those small pods, escape pods really, actually contain a fully functioning warp drive.” Jack broke the silence..
“They did mention that. I was talking to Willow on the way to Washington, and she was fairly free with the information she had, though I’m sure their larger ships are far more capable,” Carter answered. “I’ll be brief, but the small pods do indeed have a warp drive, capable of the equivalent of 3 AU per second. Apparently, the trip to Jupiter from Earth took barely ten seconds; at the moment, that distance is just under 5 AU. They also have what she called a Directional Scanner on board, which, in a matter of seconds, can determine what is inside its range. A range that she claimed exceeds 2 billion kilometers, or 14 AU.”
Everybody sat quietly, again stunned. Even Sam was going over the numbers once again, making sure she hadn’t made a mistake.
“All the more reason to see if they are willing to help us,” Hammond answered.
“What else did the President have to say?” Daniel asked, shortly after silence had descended over the room.
“A lot of things. And, to be honest, very few nice ones at this time.” Hammond looked around the table, giving everyone a stern glance. “One being his deep concern about what has been happening in the government. Another, a civilian oversight committee turning out to be the very thing they were set up to avoid happening elsewhere. A Senator who, it now looks like, is so deeply corrupt that the President is referring to some third world countries, by name, as shining examples in comparison. A Senator who apparently had designs for the Oval Office, using some highly illegal support from a yet unknown and unnamed entity, which, based on their apparent capabilities and involvement, is suspected to consist of defense contractors and/or other civilian corporations.”
Jack was about to say something, but Hammond’s glance told him not to. He wasn’t done yet.
“Another concern is what happened in Sunnydale. What the NID was doing there in the first place is not known.” Hammond leaned forward as he continued, “And then there are the shootings. There is no telling what the press will make of it once they get a hold of it, and if they didn’t pick up on the fighting, they are bound to notice the wrecks of that convoy the NID tried to get out of the town.”
“Finally, there are those three... teenagers. Who are they, where do they come from, and are they going to cause more trouble than they already have? Trouble on a massive scale, judging on what they have already done.” Hammond looked at Major Davis, “Do you have anything to add?”
“Yes, sir, I do. The message is pretty clear, if not official. Make our visitors understand that they are requested to offer a few restitutions in return for our help in Sunnydale. The pistols seem like a good place to start,” Davis replied, “but we are also to shield them, somewhat, from the interest their presence and existence are bound to generating from factions in Washington, in part looking for a scapegoat over what is happening to Kinsey, and to obtain the possible power they might represent. Kinsey still has a lot of friends in DC, and they are not going to like the explanation we’ve come up with. Officially, the explosion at his mansion was caused by a gas leak.”
“Yeah, that’ll only take care of half his ‘friends’ in the senate,” Jack muttered. At the looks he received, he felt he had to explain, “Only idiots would believe that story.”
“Let’s call this meeting, and meet up in the NORAD conference room at 1400?” Hammond finally said, as he rose from his chair. “Get some sleep people. That is an order.”
“I wonder what the wait is for?” Buffy idly muttered, while she was pacing the floor.
They had all changed out of their armor, and were wearing clothes similar to the style their New Eden Alter Egos would have worn casually.
Xander stretched and yawned, then looked longingly at Willow’s sleeping form at the end of the table, envying her ability to sleep so easily in just about any spot. He finally returned his focus on Buffy. “I don’t know.”
Buffy looked at him. “When did you last sleep?”
He didn’t have time to answer as the door opened, and General Hammond and Major Davis, both of whom they had met briefly earlier, walked in.
“Please be seated, and please wake up your friend,” Hammond started. “This shouldn’t take more than about half an hour, and then I suggest we all catch some sleep and meet back here, later. It has been a long day for most of us.”
They agreed, they had been up for the past 24 hours, going more or less non-stop from action to action for the past twelve hours.
“For starters, I have a message from the President,” Hammond started. That got the teens’ attention, “He is, quite frankly, not amused. Not with the NID, and not with you three.” He looked at the three sternly. “And to be honest, neither am I. You have no idea of the amount of paperwork your reckless actions tonight have caused us all. Dropping that ship into the atmosphere over Sunnydale didn’t help our relations with the people here at NORAD. But starting a shootout, with what you had to assume was the US military, in a quiet little town, really takes the cake.” Hammond had barely raised his voice through the tirade. Which made the impact of those last words that much more pronounced.
Buffy was reeling from the accusation, almost to the point of being speechless.
But only almost.
“But they were stealing our pods,” she started.
It was Xander who interrupted her. “They are technically, and probably legally, right, Buffy. We were the ones to initiate actual hostilities. While the pods were on public land, the NID certainly didn’t make sure they had been there for the prerequisite...” Xander looked at the two people on the other side of the table, “72 hours, is it?”
Davis nodded, “That is what I’ve been told.”
Xander continued, “Well, we know that the NID hadn’t been at the caves for more than 24 hours.” He knew it was a bit of a stretch, but from what Willow had initially seen, they certainly hadn’t discovered the Pods before she witnessed it.
“That may be; however, since alien artifacts aren’t specifically covered by the law, there is some room for interpretation on the subject. A precedent had been established previously, that if it is deemed as important for national security, the government can get away with taking such items.”
“Roswell?” Xander just had to ask.
Davis smirked. “No, a Russian fighter jet.” He then continued, “Besides, this may have been an NID operation, but they don’t have your third pod.”
“They don’t?” Buffy asked, “Then who does?”
“We don’t know, and we are going to try and find out. We can’t really have that kind of technology floating around, unchecked.”
Willow took over. “In the short term, that may not be a problem. Even if they could gain entry into it, they would not know where to start on reverse engineering anything they find, I’m certain of that. However, it is a risk we would prefer to neutralize as soon as possible.” She looked around the table, and as no one seemed to have anything to add just yet, she decided to continue. “Sadly, for us, it is not possible to initiate the self-destruct remotely. Where we are from, the technology in a pod is commonplace, so the self-destruct of the pod is merely focused on triggering the transfer, removing the pilot from harm’s way. The pod’s systems are probably not sufficiently destroyed to prevent a reverse engineering effort.”
“We’d still prefer if you would dial down the response, if you find it. There is a reason we are trying to keep this secret. And you are not making it easy for us.”
“Your Stargate?” Willow asked.
“I’m not happy that information got out, but you are correct. It is our opinion that the world is not ready to know about aliens, just yet. I’m hoping we can persuade you to keep that knowledge to yourself,” Davis finished.
All three nodded, and voiced their acceptance of the agreement.
“I think we have most things covered so far. There is one thing I have to ask though,” General Hammond stated. “We’ve been asked to strongly urge you to provide some form of restitution for the trouble you’ve caused so far. Though it was phrased as a request, not an order. We know that there were causes, but the fact remains, you did initiate the hostilities.”
“You mean, apart from supplying you with various versions of the scrambler pistols, for your off world teams?” Xander asked.
“Those are a very good start,” Hammons agreed, “But Carter seemed to think the shuttles you have would make a great difference for us, if you can spare one.”
Buffy leaned forward a little. “That is not the problem. They are cheap enough to build, but they are built for a Capsuleer, there is no room for a regular pilot any longer.” Buffy looked at Xander and Willow.
“I think we can figure out how to de-convert them from Pod use, but it will take a little while,” Xander finally answered. Looking back at Hammond, he asked, “Would two of them be sufficient for now? Provided we can figure out how to replace the Pod interface.”
“Two? I definitely think that would be enough. I have one last request, though it is merely a friendly one, and is not contingent on anything we have discussed so far”
“What is it?” All three Scoobies asked at the same time.
“Please consider giving the SG-1 a tour of your ships. As a sign of good faith, and a hope to continue cooperation.”
“I don’t see a problem with that. What about you two?” Xander asked the girls.
Both nodded their acceptance. “We can do that,” Willow agreed.
Smiling, General Hammond started to get up, then looked at the teens. “We are planning on meeting back here at 1400. We can set aside some quarters for you, if you like. Though I have to warn you, it’s a four bed quarters, normally used by the guards of the base, though there are none in there now.”
The three teens looked at each other, and it was Willow who provided the answer. “I could sleep in a trunk, right now. I’m that tired.”
“We noticed earlier,” Xander joked.
“I’ll talk to you later, then. Sleep well.” Hammond shook their hands, before turning to Davis, “Could you arrange that, if you don’t mind?”
Davis just nodded, “I’ll do it myself, sir. It is just down the hall.”
“If you’ll please follow me.”
They walked in silence, and once in the room, said their goodbyes, and almost immediately crashed on the bunks, not even bothering to take off their clothes. But not before Buffy placed a small device on the floor in front of the door.
*****Earlier, in Sunnydale.While they were talking, Giles had been looking up their location on his maps. His fingers started to go numb, and he was forced to sit down, when he finally realizes just where his wayward charges are, “Xander, please tell me you didn’t decide to land a spaceship in...”“Yup.” Xander replied, laughing.“Oh. Dear.”
Example of their outfits: (Image displayed at 50% size)