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Fall of the Republic, Revised

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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Rise and Fall of Darth Mortalis". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Revision of original story by 'grd', based on 'Jedi Harris' and 'Terran Jedi' by Scribbler -- Two years later, Darth Mortalis lives on to continue his plans for domination.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Wars > Xander-Centered
Stargate > Xander-Centered > Theme: Halloween Memories
DarthTenebrusFR182578,40423214,07626 Mar 132 Feb 14No

Narrow Escape

Disclaimer by DarthTenebrus: I own nothing here except this chapter and the next one, plus any I decide to write in order to continue this tale…Any who might post a review or two here on this story, your comments are most welcome, and shall serve to enhance the reading experience manifold..
Giles made his way around to he main entrance of the apartment building, his Force senses on high alert. A second platoon of clone troopers had entered and deployed themselves by squads on every floor, anticipating a break in by the rogue Air Force contingent and the Watchers’ Council fugitives. What they didn't count on was an unknown variable entering the equation in the form of the Sunnydale Watcher. They had just lost contact with the sixth floor squad when he made his move.

At the same time, Jenny was placing well aimed shots on the seventh floor squad, which was still trying to gain entry into the sixth floor window. Out there, on the ledge of the sixth floor, they were easy pickings for her. The four-power scope on her E-11 blaster zoomed in on each target automatically and provided deflection and elevation information around the reticle. Had she been so inclined, Jenny Calendar could have engaged the squad of Stormtroopers from five times her distance to them. As circumstances were, however, white armor was soon perforated with each trigger pull; as each clone approached the window, Jenny’s unerring aim and precise trigger presses ended his life and sent him plummeting to the pavement.
The first floor squad was on high alert when Giles encountered them. They just as well were fighting a ghost, with all the speed and grace the Jedi displayed as he moved among them, blocking plasma bolts and using the Force to push them to the floor. Some he dispatched with his lightsaber when they got too close, their heads and limbs becoming a grim testament to the inhuman speed and agility that Giles displayed. And amazingly, no trace of Ripper was to be found in his heart. The sorrowful duty of a Jedi in a battle overrode his darker aspect which had summoned up Eyghon so very many years ago in his youth, but those thoughts never clouded his mind as he waded through the clone squad in less than a minute, then moved on to the next floor.
Jenny had taken out the last trooper trying to penetrate the sixth floor window, and came out from behind cover before assessing the area for any more potential threats. Finding none, she half crouched, half ran toward the front facing façade and snuck around to the front side to enter the complex. She was determined to back up her beloved….

Was that the right word for him? Jenny reflected as she vaulted up the stairs after him, glancing every now and then at the carnage in his wake. Remarkable, that a man can do all this, end so much life, and still hold no hatred in his heart for those unfortunate souls that stood between him and his friends. She found herself admiring the courage and determination of Rupert Giles all the more, with no thought for the new insight and powers gifted to him by the Force.

Yes, she thought, he was beloved to her. The conclusion lent speed to her steps as it warmed her heart, and it made her all the more anxious to protect him, laughable though the thought might have been to others. He would rescue the beleaguered rebels upstairs, but he would not be alone. And, more importantly, neither would she.

********

At the sixth floor, Giles was pressing his advantage against the remains of the clone platoon, ducking and weaving between deadly threads of red light as his own verdant plasma blade found its mark in one, then another suit of plastoid armor. Barricaded within the apartment, the Council team and SG-1 suddenly wondered why the clones had stopped shooting at them. The sounds of blaster fire could still be heard, but it was unclear how they would suddenly shift their fire away from their intended targets unless….

Unless someone had come up behind them and proceeded to give them what for. And strangely, among the blaster fire they were hearing another sound, one they swore they had only heard in the movies, just like the blaster rifles. The buzz of ionized air molecules left no doubt in the minds of the rebels. The pings of blaster bolts being reflected back into plastoid was just the icing on the cake.

Someone had come behind them, and was cutting them down like so much grass….with a lightsaber. It gave them hope, something they had not felt in quite some time, for who besides Harris would cut down their own troops?

Then all was quiet. The silence actually seemed louder than the firefight, and the SG-1 operators along with the Watcher’s Council team could hear a bit of tinnitus in their respective ears. The deafening quiet was so sudden, so intense, that they were startled by a voice at the door.

“Is everyone alright in there?” spoke a cultured British accent which belonged to a gentleman.

“Yeah, but we have wounded here!” responded O’Neil. He turned to Carter and Jackson and said, “Let’s go ahead and get this barricade down; whoever that is, he’s a friend.”

“There’s no time,” said the gentleman on the other side, “their commander is going to wonder how he lost contact with two platoons of clones, then he’ll send for a whole company. Just stand back.”

“And do what?” said Jackson.

Their eyes must have deceived them, because they swore they did not just see a lightsaber blade cleave its way through the door, the bookshelf, and the rest of the barricade like it was so much butter. In the next moment they then saw the destroyed furnishings move of their own accord away from the door, which was also moving as though it had decided to open itself. The ruined door parted to reveal a middle aged male of just over average height, wearing a tweed coat and slacks that seemed to be made of the same material. On his face was a pair of spectacles, and in his hand was the weapon that stood for courage, hope and peace. The blade was a verdant, living green, and it glowed and hummed with a life of its own.

He looked at the ragtag assemblage and noticed them staring at the lightsaber in his hand, then blinked as though he had just remembered something.

“Oh, my apologies,” he said, and thumbed off the weapon. The blade shrank back into the emitter housing with a hiss of indrawn breath. “Allow me to introduce myself. Rupert Giles, at your service.”

“Rupert?” said Wesley . “Is that really you?” gasped the young Watcher as he stood. He walked slowly toward the Sunnydale Watcher with hesitating steps, as if somehow wary that the perceived illusion would fade and he would find a demon in their midst.

“Hello Wesley,” said Giles as the corners of his lips turned upward in a smile. “I can see Cleveland suits you; you’re not such a pompous git anymore like you were in London.”

“Living on the Hellmouth changes you in a lot of ways, Rupert. But I can see you know this. A Jedi Knight, of all things?”

Giles shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Unbelievably, yes, that is what it seems I have become. A story, however, for another time when we can get some distance between ourselves and this town.”

Just then a pair of footsteps came running up the stairs. Buffy shouted, “Wes, they’re trying it again!”

“Get down, people!” said Colonel O’Neil as he readied his Zat and took cover behind the couch, which at this point resembled little more than a fancily carved Swiss cheese.

“Relax, everyone, it’s my friend, Jenny.” A woman came to the doorway with a blaster rifle in her hands. She looked at Giles and said “Ok, looks like you have everything under control, we ready to move?”

“As soon as they’re ready to move their wounded. Hmm,” he said with some degree of curious concern, “perhaps I can help with that,” indicating Faith lying prone on the low table.

Isobel continued chanting, finding it easier to keep her concentration now that the firefight was over. Giles moved over to the opposite side and laid his hand on Faith’s back, then closed his eyes and opened himself to the Force. Almost at once Isobel noticed the acceleration in tissue repair, and she nearly opened her eyes when Giles stopped her.

“Isobel, please keep your concentration. I can assist your spell with the Force, but you have to maintain it.”

“It’s alright, Rupert,” she said, finally acknowledging his presence, “she’s sufficiently healed now I think we can go ahead and bandage it, then we can prepare her to move. If someone will find me some clean linen, I think we can tape this closed and change it when we get to where we’re going.”

“I can find some,” said Buffy from near the door.

“Thank you, Buffy,” said Isobel. “Colonel O’Neill, can you go help her?”

“Yeah, why not? I always wanted to be the towel boy,” he replied with his usual sarcasm. “Daniel, Teal’c, see if you can’t find some tape of some kind. And grab whatever else we need for medical supplies.”

“Yes sir,” said Jackson.

“Everyone else, grab what we might need, but keep it light, we may have to walk a few blocks till we can get to where we’re going. Plus we may encounter more of Harris’ goon troopers on the way. Just saying, of course….”

********

Cody frowned at the total cessation of contact with the two platoons he had sent to apprehend and disarm the rebel fugitives, and he had just strode back into the command center near City Hall when the status display in his helmet blinked a high-priority code. He acknowledged receipt of the transmission and pinged back the authenticate code.

The return signal contained the following in plain text – Lima-Delta-Mike-442-Xray-Hotel.

Every clone knew that code. It was the code that announced the sender as Lord Darth Mortalis, their Lord and Commander In Chief. Lord Mortalis had sent Order 66 under that very same authentication code. It would NOT be questioned.

Cody opened the link on his end, and in his head-up display the holographic image of Xander Harris, AKA Darth Mortalis, appeared. His hooded visage lent no doubt as to what he was feeling, and it put Cody ill at ease, for if he feared nothing else, he certainly feared displeasing his supreme commander.

“Where are the Watchers’ Council fugitives and SG-1? Why are they not in custody?” growled the Sith Lord.

“My apologies, my lord, the units I sent to apprehend the fugitives have seemingly been wiped out. It would appear they had called in a support element that was far more combat capable than they were.”

“So it would appear, Commander,” reflected Mortalis. “The Force, however, tells me there is more here than the eyes can reveal. I will send Lord Maugrim to aid you in apprehending the rebels. He should find this a more interesting challenge than subduing a group of hostile aliens, don’t you agree, Cody?”

“I do, my lord. And how goes the shipbuilding project? My men are eager to engage these Goa’uld on their own ground.”

“When the first ships are ready to deploy, I will send for the first of your units that are scheduled to go off-world, and this time, they will have the pleasure of deploying to another world with all their combat equipment and support elements in place. Does that please you, Commander Cody?”

“It does, my lord. How soon will Lord Maugrim arrive? We still have a chance now to intercept the Watchers and their Slayer, along with SG-1 before they can leave the city.”

Mortalis smiled and said, “He will meet with you personally within twenty four hours. In the meantime, make every effort to apprehend the rebels. Do not fail me, Commander.”

“It will be done, my lord. And I look forward to meeting with Lord Maugrim when he arrives, sir.”

“Good. Now carry out my orders, Commander. I want those rebels alive.

Mortalis signed off and his image derezzed into oblivion. Cody switched to the standard unit frequency and sent out a coded signal authenticating his identity; then he called up his captains into conference. He had to plan a blockading operation, and for his sake and the sake of his men, it had to succeed.

********

Ten minutes later, Faith had come around to consciousness and was complaining about her back itching like crazy. Apart from that, she was one hundred percent, so SG-1 and Isobel had set about to bandaging her blaster wound and getting her on her feet. She had browsed over the assembled companions with an eye for man meat, and had to make a choice.

She could pick the archaeologist; he had a sort of innocent look about him, but other than that he had kept a trim figure and had decidedly blasted the old stereotype into thousands of pieces. He might even be fun in the sack with her, but she knew she’d rock his world full of dusty tomes till kingdom come.

Or she could take Wesley. Despite his youth he had plenty of knowledge, and he had held his own against more than his fair share of demons and their ilk before he had to trade photons with those Stormtroopers. He was dangerous, and he looked it. She liked it; it gave her a nice, moist feeling down there.

Then there was the big bald black guy. His cap had fallen off during the engagement, and she had gotten a full view of a stylized gold thingie in the middle of his forehead that looked like a snake in a circle. If he would just crack a smile or make a joke, show any kind of feeling at all, he might be a little more enjoyable in conversation. . He probably had never been laid before, which could probably account for his stern demeanor; if she ever got her hands on him, he’d probably never want to leave her side for as long as he lived. That thing of hers down there had that effect on men. It was her power, she knew it, and she enjoyed using it. As it was, though, she had still decided to give him the top rank of Salty Goodness.

She still wasn’t sure what his name was, but she knew it wasn’t Murray. No self respecting black man would call himself that, or allow others to call him that. And no self respecting black man would name his child Murray, either. That was practically anathema.

She had heard the Colonel call him something weird, and she was having trouble pronouncing it. Was it Teke? Tilt? She couldn’t be sure. It didn’t change anything, though. Faith determined that when she was fully healed, and she could get him away from them for more than five minutes, she would show him what he had been missing.

Damn, she thought, maybe I should just bone every one of them just to find out. Maybe she’d try out the Major, too. Her preference was men, but she didn’t mind women so much as long as they could give her the Big O. Fighting always gave her the Hungries and Hornys. And she was on the fast track to having a good sexy back again, so she was gonna need a double dose of the first H. Her Mama Isobel had worked some serious healing mojo on her to make her back heal faster. That meant her body was working triple time to get back up to snuff. Calories were no joke. And that Giles guy…

Did she actually hear him mention the Force?!

The whole world was going bat-shit crazy, she swore. First Harris shows up and mentions that the Armed Forces were undergoing a radical change. Then came the Stormtrooper clones and their friggin AT-ATs and Chicken Walkers. Then something about Order 66 and all the clones turn on our boys and girls, and then the government goes kablooey and suddenly this Kinsey weasel’s in charge along with Harris as Homeland Security Chief. And that’s when the shit really hit the fan.

Martial law for the duration of the “emergency.” Yeah, right, assholes, thought Faith. It’s a fucking Star Wars dictatorship in the good ole US of A, and Kinsey’s the Emperor.

Oh, fuckin’ wait up here!
She suddenly realized. Fuck Kinsey! He might be sitting in the Oval Office, but he ain’t shit! Harris….it’s gotta be Harris! HE’s unleashed this shit on us, and now here I am on the friggin run with my Mama Watcher, the Slayer and her boytoy Watcher, these assholes who tried to plug B, and these Air Force guys and girl, along with Salty Goodness and Giles and his lady running shotgun with that blaster in her hand. On the run from fucking Imperial Stormtroopers from the fucking movies, and here’s Giles who basically just gutted a hundred of those fuckers with a real live fucking LIGHTSABER! Does that mean he’s a real live Jedi?

Yep,
she thought, sign me up for the padded sleeper car, with the full staff of white coats to wait on me 24/7, because I know I just boarded the crazy train.

All this processed through her head in a split second, and Faith decided enough was enough. She got up as soon as Mama Isobel had finished bandaging her back, and she made a beeline for Giles. She got two inches in front of him, grabbed a handful of his hair, jerked his head down and ripped off his glasses, then shoved her tongue so far into his mouth it hurt. She held the kiss for a good five seconds, until O’Neill said, “Ahem, Faith?”
She looked out of the corner of her eye, never once releasing Giles’ hair or extracting her tongue, and she saw the Colonel.

“Uh, he’s turning blue, and she’s turning red. I give you about two seconds before she decides to separate you from him with extreme prejudice.”

Only then did she release her liplock. She looked Giles squarely in the eye and said “Just wanted to say thank you for what you did. Would have taken my Mama a lot longer to patch me up without it.” She winked and looked at Jenny.

“You’d better kiss him better than that, girlfriend, he needs practice.”

“Just stay away from him, you little slut,” was all she said.

“Damn right you are, Miss Goody Two Guns, proud slut right here,” retorted Faith with a big cheese eating grin. She looked around and saw red faces on everyone but Teal’c. Ah so, so that’s his name. Weird one, but at least now I know how to pronounce it. All he did was raise his eyebrow.

“If we’re all quite finished here,” said Giles, “I believe the good Colonel has a destination in mind?”

“That’s right, Mister, um…”

“Giles,” said the Jedi/Watcher.

“We need to head for the city limits, there’s a ride waiting for us that’ll take us anywhere we need to go. Now as we’ve stuffed our pockets plenty, we should still be able to get there quickly enough, but I want those with Zats paired up with whoever has a blaster. When we make contact, and I expect we will,” O’Neil said, looking at Giles as he spoke, “I want everyone to have a weapon in their hands, and I want you to use them; that includes you Slayers or whatever you call yourselves.”

“Aw, can’t we just make with the violence when we see the boys in white again?” quipped Faith.

“No, missy, you have a gun, you use the gun and move on. Don’t waste your time trying to see which of you is the more badass, you’ll just get yourself and the man or woman next to you killed.”

“These are clone soldiers, Faith,” chimed in Giles. “They are trained killers from birth; they will not hesitate to fire on you. Slayer instincts here are a liability, the weapons in your hands are not. Use them.”

“Now let’s get down there and out of here. Everyone here grab a blaster from one of those dead clones as you go. The more firepower, the better.”

“Rupert,” asked Jenny, “can you unlock the other weapons with the Force like you did mine? “

He blinked twice, having been startled out of some distraction. “Oh, yes, of course. I’ll pick up the other weapons and pass them out when I’m done with them.”

“Everyone good?” asked O’Neil one final time. Nods from everyone confirmed their assent. “Alright, let’s move.”

They allowed Giles to take point – he had the lightsaber after all – and as they descended the stairwell, he retrieved the weapons from the fallen clones and opened himself to the Force. A moment’s concentration with each one allowed him to neutralize the lockout circuits and enable the others to use them as needed. When they reached the main entrance to the building, O’Neil called a halt and had everyone circle in close.

“Alright, campers, we go out there and move in pairs by teams. One team covers, the other moves, and we leapfrog like that for about five blocks. That’s how far we need to go to get past the perimeter. Then we find some means of transportation and we get to our assembly point outside the city limits, where our real ride will be waiting for us. And keep your eyes open; they’re gunning for us now, so see them first, shoot them first, and cover your buddy’s ass so he or she don’t get shot.”

Giles spoke up at this point. “What the Colonel means is we want to get out of here safely, so the last thing anyone wants is a firefight. Stay under cover, and don’t get seen, move quick and quiet.” He turned to O’Neil and said, “I thing that about sums it up.”


Jack looked at each and every one of his charges, his team and the add-ons, straight in the eyes. All had heard and understood; there was no doubt in anyone’s mind. He nodded and spoke in his Air Force Officer voice, “Alright, saddle up, lock and load, let’s move out.”

********

Boston

Mr. Trick had been combing the sewers for at least twenty four hours, and he had yet to find a suitable lair for his master after the bombing. Since Kakistos’s dive into Boston Harbor, they’d had to make themselves quite scarce. The military hunters were nothing if not thorough. Trick would have to use his best tricks to find his master again without being detected or worse.

He was finally heading in what he hoped was the direction of the harbor. As vampires didn’t need to breathe, especially ancient ones like Kakistos, he could stay hidden in the water for quite a long time. In fact, Trick wondered why he hadn’t followed his master into the drink some time later. He wouldn’t have had to go looking for him now.

No matter, though. Time was on his side. He was a vampire, after all. As long as he kept himself fed, he was practically immortal. And with his blood he could make more of his kind. The attack on the warehouse cost him and Kakistos dearly in terms of manpower and resources. How the Army had made weapons out of Star Wars was a great mystery to him, but he knew he could replace all those loyal followers of his and his master’s. It would take time, but that was the one resource they continued to have in abundance.

He and Kakistos would rebuild their power base. And then they would have their revenge.

The tang of salt water in the air alerted Mr. Trick to the proximity of the Harbor. Urgency now compelled him to move faster through the rancid, rat-infested tunnel network, following the stream of foul-smelling waste water toward the sluice gate. He still kept his eyes up to the surface, to the manholes that led downward; more than once he had to go quiet and still to avoid the searchlights that occasionally aimed into the manholes, searching for him. Ten minutes later he saw the sluice gate up ahead, and he heard the roar of the breakers as they crashed into the shoreline. As soon as he could touch the gate, he tore it free from its mountings in the concrete tunnel wall, and then he leaped out into the water.

The cold felt like a million needles being driven into his flesh, wooden ones that pierced his skin and sought his fragile heart to penetrate it and burn it to ash. His chest felt crushed; had he breath in his lungs, it surely would have been driven from them. He did not worry, though; his heart and lungs had long ago ceased to function from the night he was turned. One of the advantages of vampirism was the constant preservation of his body by the demon that took up residence within his central and autonomic nervous system. So long as fresh blood was consumed on a regular basis, he would continue to function indefinitely in just about any environment, the sole exception being the presence of ultraviolet radiation AKA sunlight.

He looked around and saw a dilapidated shack on the shoreline nearly a mile distant, and he made his decision to swim towards it. Five minutes later he was walking along the sand, making a beeline for the shack, confident that his master was waiting for him there. And the timing could not have been better, for Kakistos or no Kakistos, the night was giving way to grey dawn; the sun would soon be creeping over the horizon, and he had no inclination to find out how long it would take before he ignited into flame. He opened the flimsy door and stepped inside before the sun’s first rays could touch him.

There he was safe. There he could wait out the day and plan his next move. Whoever owned this run down hovel would return by day’s end, he knew. Due to the condition of the structure he figured this was not exactly a person of much means, but blood was blood, and blood was life. The owner would surely not be missed, and a vampire’s life was, after all, one of discretion. He could sustain himself a bit longer, and he would have a place from which he could go forth and hunt without fear of detection; the place looked as if it hadn’t seen much traffic in years, save the sole owner.

“Ah, but you’d be a bit late for that one, my dear Mr. Trick,” said a voice in the shadows.

“Kakistos? I had thought to find you here, it seemed the most likely place after the Stormtroopers bombed our little warehouse,” Trick replied.

“And so you’ve found me. Oh, look,” the ancient vampire’s voice took on a pitying tone, “you’ve ruined that exquisite suit of yours. Such a pity; it was quite expensive, was it not?”

“Indeed, my master, it was. And yet I found my thoughts steered toward the notion of preserving myself in the face of discovery and termination on the part of the clones. Blaster bolts tend to burn deep and leave little more than ash on the breeze, I’m sure you’d agree.”

“Yes, Mr. Trick,” growled the Worst of the Worst, “as many of our brood have testified to that effect. But we will avenge them, my son. And then we will find my beloved Faith and her Watcher once again – and I shall have my way with them, slowly. You could have a new suit tailored from their hair, if you like.”

“Ugh,” cringed Mr. Trick, “much as I would enjoy the idea of watching your artistry with torment at work, my tastes in clothing tend to be more refined than that. I wouldn’t have a hat made from our dear Faith’s hair, let alone a fine suit. Besides, I have more means of acquiring the finer things in life…or its lack thereof,” he said, chuckling at the last.

Kakistos reflected on this with a knowing smile. His chief minion had always possessed a fine sense of decorum. He was a vampire of good taste. Plus, beneath the superficial exterior lay a calculating mind that had clocked centuries of survival in the supernatural world, and thus was a seasoned veteran of many brutal battles for dominance. It was the reason Kakistos had chosen him to serve as his chief attendant. Mr. Trick could plan, and he could counter the plans of others in his turn. He was also remarkably skilled at blending in among society after dusk. The mortal world would never suspect the dangerous predator lurking amongst them, seeking sheep for the slaughter. He preferred to hunt in society, where his targets had the most flavorful blood and the most money in their pocketbooks. The blood he drank, and the funds he deposited into his personal Swiss Bank account. Mr. Trick truly was a vampire of means and resourcefulness.

“The clones, Mr. Trick, will be a serious problem for us by themselves,” he said. “Their loyalty to their commander is absolute and unquestionable. Plus their weapons are useless to us since we cannot fire them. And they are VERY good at hunting in the shadows where our kind tend to lurk. I want you to procure for us a means by which we may leave this wretched city behind. I thirst for more mobile prey, my friend.”

********

They crept through the alleys, keeping to the walls and avoiding the lights where they could. O’Neil and Giles led the way looking for potential ambush sites, the former with his senses and knowledge of military tactics in urban terrain, the latter with the Force. Whenever Giles sensed the presence of a clone patrol, he called a halt and used his persuasive powers to convince the clones that no one was there, and that they should proceed on mission. The others followed behind in a staggered column formation that O’Neil had hastily explained once they crossed the street in front of their departure point at the apartment building. Hand and arm signals were passed down the column so everyone knew what was going on. A closed fist held up meant everyone must freeze in place and cease all movement. An open hand with fingers spread was a call to halt, and that meant seek cover and wait. When Jack or Rupert stood and signaled for everyone to resume moving, the standard “come this way” gesture, with an open hand scooping forward over its parent shoulder was used.

They had divided themselves into four small groups of no more than four persons each. Giles and O’Neil had Faith and one member of the Council Retrieval group, and their group moved ahead as the scout element, their job being to find the safest and most expedient paths to their destination, where Jacob Carter was waiting in a cloaked Goa’uld shuttle craft. In a pinch, the second group could call him to their position should there be contact with a significant element from the enemy. They and the third team would lay down cover fire while the others attempted to break contact and leapfrog to an alternate pick up point.

They all hoped though, currently, that that would not be the case. So they kept to the shadows, taking cover behind trash bins and streetlamps at every halt and listening for signs of enemy activity. If Giles felt nothing in the area, then they moved on. This continued for nearly four blocks on a straight line away from Wesley’s apartment building, with no contact so far. They began to breathe a sigh of relief when the first bolts spanged off a brick wall near Maybourne’s head.

“Contact west! One hundred meters!” shouted Jeremy Young from Team Two.

“Cover teams, get up there and lay down fire! All teams stand by to leapfrog back on my signal!”

Teams Two and Three took up positions on the corners of the closest buildings, using the brick and mortar facades as parapets for incoming blaster fire. Those that moved were helped to stay unshot by withering barrages of laser fire from the blasters of those already facing the enemy and responding. When they got in place, they began covering for the others by putting aimed shots down range.

“Selmak, this is SG-1 taking fire from clones one block from the release point, home in on our pos as soon as you’re in the air. Expedite, expedite!” yelled Carter into the transponder that her father gave her as they left the Tok’ra shuttle.

“Copy that, SG-1, coordinates received and laid in. Will land one block to the south, start making your way there now,” called back Jacob Carter from the shuttle.

“Colonel, ride’s landing to the south!” she called out to O’Neil. A trooper took the opportunity to aim his weapon at her head. Only the lucky intervention by Giles and his lightsaber kept her from becoming a casualty of the engagement.

“Thanks,” she said after he had reflected the errant plasma back to its source, where it burned a hole in the trooper’s brain, killing him instantly.

“No problem,” he replied as he moved on to another clone, and yet another.

“Outstanding, people, prepare to bound south by teams! Frag out!” O’Neil shouted as he tossed an M67 fragmentation grenade in the clones’ general direction. Giles reached out with the Force and fine-tuned the grenade’s trajectory where it would do the most damage amongst the troopers. The detonation took out at least four inside the danger radius. Two more grenades went out in the general vicinity of the clones, aided in their path by the Force once again, and their blasts took out nearly half a dozen clones in total.

“One and Four, go!” he called out before the dust began to settle. Teams Two and Three acquired firing angles and began to pour at least twice the volume of tracer fire onto the stormtroopers’ heads, with lightning blasts from several zats adding to the chaos. One and Four, with the exception of Colonel O’Neill, Teal’c and Giles then picked up and ran to the south faster than they had ever thought they could run. As soon as they were in position Maybourne called back, “One and Four down, come on!”

“Teal’c, shock out!” shouted O’Neill as several red lines streaked their way nearly two inches from his face. He ducked back reflexively as the light temporarily blinded him. He began blinking furiously, and his vision cleared in a few seconds, just to see the first several ranks of Stormtroopers go rigid and slump to the ground from the effects of the Goa’uld shock grenade. He then pulled the pin and thumb release from his M84 flashbang and sent that out to the rest. He and Teal’c then ducked behind the brick corners of their building and waited for the bang of six million candelas and 180 decibels. The echo from the opposite walls was nowhere nearly as loud, but it still left tinnitus in the ears as the concussion device detonated. He shook Teal’c on the shoulder and motioned him to move to the south, where the others were waiting.

O’Neill chased after the Jaffa toward the rest of the fleeing combatants as the first bolts from the clones’ second volley clipped him in the leg. Only adrenaline kept him from feeling the deep burning of the plasma as it consumed tissue and fabric in an instant. Still, he had to hobble somewhat as the lack of muscle tissue hampered his full capability to move. He was still able to dive back into his initial position within Team One when they began to fire on the clones once again.

“Cover me!” shouted Samantha Carter as she rose to her haunches in a position to move. Subsequently Faith, Jeremy Young and Eric West laid down a massive volley of suppressive fire toward several Stormtroopers who thought they’d routed the fleeing Watcher group and SG-1; the seeming tsunami of laser fire pouring their way convinced them otherwise as one fell from several smoking holes in his plastoid armor and another was blown backward by an M67 grenade that he hadn’t seen coming. Carter moved up while the fire went down range and dove down next to Colonel O’Neill.

“Colonel, I have Selmak on the com, he’s touching down at the end of this street, five seconds!” she all but screamed into his ear. Damn blasters weren’t even that loud and she thought she needed to scream like she was climaxing, O’Neill thought.

“They took a piece of my calf as I was bounding back, gonna have to flip flop the order to leapfrog. You’re in charge, OK Sam?”

“Don’t worry sir, we’ll make sure you get there,” she replied. Turning back to the rest of the group, she called out, “Teams Two and Three! Zats and flashbangs, on my mark! One and Four, stand by to haul ass!”

“I’ll stay back far enough to bounce back any stray shots as you move,” called out Giles as he took a white-armored trooper with the Force and flung him backward toward the rear of his own formation. Red bolts zinged his way and he raised his lightsaber in response to the Force’s whisper and reflected them back into the brick facades of the buildings around them.

“SG-1, this is Selmak making touchdown, get your people out of there now!” came the voice of Sam’s father, amplified by the effect of his symbiote Selmak within him.

“Throw ‘em! Flash out!” screamed Carter as she primed her M84, lobbed it overhand into the air as close as she could get it, then pulled out her zat and fired lightning blasts at each of the clones not affected by the brilliant flashesas several stun grenades found their marks and blinded multiple clones before their helmet visors hada chance to polarize. “Colonel, go! Go! Go!”

Everyone in Teams One and Four then picked up and ran like hell toward the waiting ramp of the now-decloaked Tok’ra shuttle at the end of the street. They barely noticed the two Free Jaffa that deboarded and leveled their Staff Weapons at the Stormtroopers on the other end. The blasts from their naquadah-enriched blaster ends cracked and scorched the pavement. Plastoid armor that took hits from the Jaffa weapons vaporized and left the flesh a smoking, charred ruin an instant before the trooper owning such flesh fell crying out from the agony.

Giles noticed the sudden arrival of the aliens and gave silent thanks to God and the Force that they were on his side and the side of the rebels. His aim with his lightsaber became more precise as he felt hope for the group emerging unscathed from this encounter. He called out to Carter and Maybourne to fall back as he opened himself up even more to the Force than earlier.

As they picked up and ran, the Free Jaffa blasting back the clone advance at the same time, he began to sense the minds of the clones. There was no malice, no taint of evil in them; their one purpose was to obey the orders of their commander. It did not help that he was an evil man that Giles once knew as Xander Harris. Along with the sorrow the thought conveyed into his heart came the deliberate intent to repel the evil from Xander in the end, no matter what the cost. The clones themselves were not evil, and yet, sadly, their duty compelled Rupert Giles to take their lives as he defended his team’s fallback maneuver. When the Jaffa told him to board the shuttle craft, he took that thought with him as he ran with a speed that belied his age and fitness. They then primed and cast their whole loadout of shock grenades as he boarded the shuttle, seeming to appear before the eyes of the fugitives, then he called back to the Jaffa to run like hell as their ordnance’s effect took hold.

The engines of the Tok’ra craft spun up as they touched the ramp, which then began to close even as the shuttle lifted off the ground. Jacob Carter armed the forward guns and began to spray destruction upon the last pursuing clones as they closed their distance with the shuttle. They quickly decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and took cover from the loud report of the naquadah cannons and waited until the shuttle lifted into the lower atmosphere. The first one to emerge called in to the Command Center.

“Command, Patrol One here.”

“Rex here,” responded the clone captain. “Report.”

“We’ve lost the fugitives and SG-1. They boarded a Goa’uld shuttle that touched down at this location and decloaked. We wounded their commander, a Colonel Jonathan O’Neill, but they recovered him, and we lost a lot of men trying to apprehend them. Request you send CR-20 support so we can continue the pursuit.”

“Stand by, Patrol,” he replied.

********

Cody was not pleased. His best captain, Rex, had told him that the Watchers’ Council fugitives and SG-1 had escaped, along with a Council Recovery Team that had apparently been sent to eliminate their Slayer, one Buffy Summers, and her Watcher, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, who topped the Terror Watch List stateside. This would not bode well when he reported to Lord Maugrim upon his arrival. The Sith Lord would most likely change and devour him for his failure. He had to go straight to Lord Mortalis with this, despite the risk. He opened the top command channel and sent a coded message to the Sith Lord asking for advice.

It always unsettled him whenever the Sith Lord appeared on his head up display. The man never looked like anything could ever please him. Had he never heard of professional discipline? Then again, it was not a clone soldier’s place to question the motives of his supreme commander.

“What is it?” Mortalis growled.

“My lord, the Watchers’ Council fugitives and SG-1 have slipped away on what was reported to me to be a Goa’uld light craft. My men on the ground have requested CR-20 support to continue after them.”

“Did your men see anything unusual among the rebels?”

“Yes, sir. Their helmet cameras recorded the engagement and streamed the footage to our local command center. It would appear there was a man among them, seemingly of British nationality, who killed many of my brothers with what would appear to be a lightsaber, much like yours.”

The Sith Lord’s eyes narrowed, and the corners of his lips turned upward in a slight smirk. If anything could amuse and interest him, this was it.

“The blade’s color was NOT red, I’m assuming?”

“No, my lord, the footage showed the weapon’s blade was green. He displayed abilities similar to yours, sir.”

Mortalis paused for a moment, seemingly deep in thought. At length he looked Cody in the eyes and smiled.

“Thank you, Commander. Your report has been most….enlightening. I will inform Lord Maugrim of your success before he arrives. He will give you further orders from that point.”

“Yes, milord. And the air support, what of our request to pursue the Goa’uld craft to its destination?”

“Let it go. We will watch and see where it goes. They will lead us to their headquarters. We will wait until they believe they’ve eluded us, and then we will launch an assault in force from one of the new Acclamators. Will that please you and your men?” he replied in a voice that left little doubt of Cody’s answer.

“Indefinitely, my lord. And once we eliminate the rebels, we can pursue the Goa’uld wherever they go. Nothing will stand in our way once we subdue them.”

“Those were Tok’ra agents in that Goa’uld craft, Commander. They do not align themselves with the System Lords, and their symbiotes do not take over their host bodies as the System Lords do. I have learned this from Lord Maugrim in his forays through the Stargate. Follow the rebels, but do not engage them until the time is right. They must believe we have lost them for good and all. You’ve given me much to think about, Commander. That is all. Carry out your orders,” said Mortalis. His image dissolved into static and finally faded from view as the connection was severed.

“Rex,” he called once he opened the officer circuit, “I’ll give you one Crate to follow the rebels. This has become a surveillance mission now; we are to allow the rebels to arrive at their destination, then wait until Lord Mortalis says otherwise.”

“Yes sir,” said Rex.

********

Darth Mortalis smiled to himself. The Dark Side had told him much that Cody’s report did not. The mention of the British lightsaber wielder resonated in the Force with familiarity and long forgotten acquaintance. In his mind, he pictured a tweed-clad gentleman who had a penchant for cleaning his glasses whenever he was under stress due to developments of grave portent.

And now it seemed he had returned. But from where? He chuckled to himself softly. The Watcher from Sunnydale had become a Jedi Knight.

“Welcome back, Rupert Giles,” he said to himself. “I look forward to our meeting once again.” The chuckle turned quickly into loud, maniacal laughter that echoed off the walls of his private sanctum.
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