FIC: A Halloween Universe (9/?)
Snow drifted down to stick to the ground and to the thick green firs planted thick on the hillside. Wesley smiled as he stepped out of the forest in front of his target, a man of rare calm and potential.
“Well hello friend!” the man boomed, his nose wrinkling as he noted Wes’ clothing of sports jacket and casual pants. “Aren’t you a little under-dressed for the weather?”
Wes ignored the query in favour of crouching before the man’s pet wolf and allowed it to lick at his hand while petting the animal on its head. “Good boy, good boy,” he murmured before looking up, “have you ever wondered why you have such a good connection with Diefenbaker?“ He continued before the Mountie could reply. “It isn’t the wolf that’s special, it’s you.” Once again before the man could answer, he lifted a number of pebbles off the ground and sent them shooting towards him and the wolf only for them to bounce off a hastily pulled-up shield. “I could teach somebody with your potential to do this and so much more.”
The Mountie had to pick his square jaw up off the snow before answering. “Well thank you kindly friend, I’d love to join your group.”
“Excellent,” Wesley smiled as the wolf nuzzled his hand, the group would love a mascot.
Giles pursed his lips and shook his head as he examined their accounts. Building a co-operative, global network of demon hunters took a lot of money. Quite apart from the six figure sums they’d paid and demon database laptops they’d gifted to close a thousand independent operations across the world, they’d also paid eight and even nine figure sums to multiple of the bigger concerns to secure them on retainers, ranging from businesses like Monster Hunter International, to groups like the Judea Initiative, the Medjay, and the Romany clans. In total he’d spent close to a billion dollars on that little project in just under a month.
About the only organisation with a significant demon-hunting group attached that he hadn’t contributed to was the Vatican, and that was largely on the basis the Catholic Church had even more money than they did. And now that was completed and hopefully the world was just a little safer, they could turn their attention to investigating the wider universe.
Which reminded him, he had a meeting to attend.
“Thank you for coming here,” Giles smiled at the massed group, seemingly growing every day with the arrival of yet more changed people and defecting Watchers & Potentials, “I called you here to discuss what I’ve found out about the artefact we retrieved from the Antarctic.”
“One of your lectures, Giles? Well I’d um cross the street to hear that!”
“Yes Xander,” Giles shot the boy a wry look, thank god the changes appear not to have impacted on his companions’ personalities, “very amusing. First of all, the item is alien in design and construction, made of materials not from this world, and I believe it dates back fifty million years.”
“Whoa,” he heard Faith’s mutter, “older than his book collection.”
“And record collection,” added Oz.
“But sadly not his dress sense,” sniffed Cordy.
Giles ignored the ‘highly witty’ commentary on his lifestyle choices. “I believe it is a device that some alien culture used to travel from one planet to another.” Giles waited for the uproar that followed his revelation to calm down before continuing. “If you notice the gylphs and chevrons on the gate’s ring, the machine has thirty-nine symbols on the inner ring. I’ve discovered that each planet has a seven symbol address meaning with thirty-nine symbols there are close to two billion possible addresses. The first six glyphs indicate the address, the seventh is the point of origin.”
“There’s nine chevrons,” Jonathan pointed out, confirming his suspicions about the young man’s considerably enhanced intellect. “What do the other two do?”
“The eighth I believe allows you to dial different galaxies, the ninth I haven’t worked out yet,” Giles admitted.
“There must be a dialling device or something?” Warren queried, another very good question.
“I believe there was initially, but it appeared to be lost in the snow, and so I built a program on another homemade computer to dial planets,” Giles replied. “At first the planets wouldn’t lock, then I realised that I hadn’t accounted for fifty million years of planetary shift, so I I inserted an additional algorithm in the dialling program to do so.”
“How are you powering it?” asked Warren.
“I’ve built my own power source, a non-fossil fuel related one which provides more than enough energy,” Giles replied.
“And how does the machine actually work?” Wood asked, eyes intent.
“The ring creates a stable, artificial and temporary wormhole between itself and another ring on another planet, allowing near-instantaneous travel from the dialling ring to the destination but not the other way, attempting to go the other way will be fatal for the traveller. Once the wormhole has stabilised, a matter of a couple of minutes, travellers enter the event horizion which dissembles them at a molecular level for transport through the wormhole to be assembled on the other side-.”
“Not liking the sound of that,” Gunn rumbled.
“Oh it’s perfectly safe, the science is sound,” Giles assured. “The wormhole will remain open to a maximum of 38 minutes. Whoever designed the ring designed it to be incredibly durable, I doubt there’s a missile on earth that could destroy one. As I said, a standard seven-chevron address consists of six glyphs representing points in space, the seventh is a point of origin, a glyph unique to the home ring. I also believe for rings to access a destination outside of their galaxy, eight chevrons are used; the first six target a destination as normal, while a seventh glyph prior to the point of origin adds a distance calculation to the address, targeting a ring outside the galaxy as opposed to a local one.”
“Any idea who created these rings?” queried Faith.
“I’ve no idea, but given the design and construction, they’re reasonably advanced, not as advanced as say the time lords, but more advanced than many races,” Giles replied.
“So where did they go?” Faith followed up with another question.
“Again, I have no idea,” Giles admitted. “Although I suspect the answers are out there.”
“In space?” Xander queried. “You want to actually use this thing? If you actually connect it and what not, what’s to stop aliens or what coming through here? And what about the other ring in Colorado?”
“I’ve written a program that ensures our gate needs a code specific to us and our remote diallers to open, otherwise all Stargate traffic will automatically default to the other gate. In fact even as we speak the computer is randomly dialling potential gate addresses and storing in memory any that actually connect. Thanks to the stellar drift adjustment program, we’ve already found a handful of viable addresses.” Giles replied. “As for stopping anything coming through from the other side, I’ve created an energy shield that will be permanently in place over the iris until the specific code is received.”
“What about patrolling?” Kendra asked. “We have a sacred Calling.”
“Of course we’ll still patrol and the like, however look at our numbers and abilities now, we’d be wasted just patrolling this one town. Even if we’re troubleshooting for other organisations we’ll hardly be stretched, “Giles assured. “And besides, only a limited number of us will be off planet at one time.”
“How can we sure these planets seeded with these rings have atmospheres and climates that we can survive in?”
“I believe that the creators of these gates seeded the planets with people like us so to colonise the universe, therefore they have to have atmospheres and climates that people like us could live in,” Giles replied.
“Even if that’s right,” Tucker queried, “what about planets that have been destroyed by industrial accidents, natural disasters, or war?”
“Yes, I’ve thought of that, that’s why I’ve designed and built remote sensors that I’ll send ahead of any group to take atmospheric, climate, and mineral readings as well as audio and video recordings to ensure that anywhere people are sent is at least breathable,” Giles replied.
“So who will be going and who will be staying?” Faith demanded.
“Yes, a fair question and one I’ve been giving a fair bit of thought to,” Giles replied. “For the first few missions, either myself or one of the other time lords will accompany the teams until they get used to operating the ring. None of the teams will go on more than one mission a week, and unless in an emergency no more than two teams will be off-world at any one time. As for whose in the teams.” Giles paused to pull out a piece of crumpled paper. “Space Portal 1 will be Riley, Xander, Willow, Cordy, Jonathan, and Jenny. SP-2 will be Forrest, Jesse, Michael, Nina, Warren, and Daniel. SP-3 will be Graham, Charles, Amy, Winifred, Freddy, and Oliver. SP-4 will be Sam, Owen, Tara, Harmony, Lance, and Anne. SP-5 will be SP-5 will be Kate, Hogan, Angel, Aura, Tucker, and Groo. And finally SP-6 will be Robin Wood, Kennedy, Robson, Aphrodesia, Joy Adams, and Dana.”
“Hey!” Faith protested. “Maybe there’s some of the rest of us who’d like to boldly go where no man has gone before and all that crap?”
“Don’t worry,” Giles raised a hand in supplication. “We’ll all get our turns to go through the ring.”
“Good, girl don’t wanna be stuck in this one-horse town while everybody else gettin’ to go explore the galaxy,” Faith pouted.
“Of course, I can understand your attitude, but there will be plenty of opportunities for everybody,” Giles assured. “In addition, the Doyles will be assisting Wesley in running the Jedi Academy. The Potentials will be under the supervision of Mr. Zabuto and Mr. Robson, while Larry & Scott will be training them in unarmed combat, and Ethan will be training them in swordplay as well as other weaponry.” Giles paused. “Speaking of other weaponry, our science department, which includes myself, Ms. Dromer, Ms. Post, Mr. Wood, Tucker, Jonathan, Warren, Lance, and Freddy have been working on a few projects.”
Giles looked towards Percy and nodded. “The first was reverse-engineered from an idea of Percy’s. He calls it a bracer,” he showed the watching audience a bracelet, “this expands by thought into a physical shield that’s about the length and width of your average torso, and capable of blocking bullets, knives, and other kinetic attacks.”
Xander whistled and nodded as Giles demonstrated the device. “Very cool.”
“So glad you approve,” Giles smirked. “Next we have the wrist communicator.” Giles lifted what looked like a wrist watch. “Not only are the miniaturised communicators with their own encryption\decryption protocols, but I also reverse-engineered it so that like the TARDIS, they have an universal translator with several hundred dead and live languages capable of understanding written and vocal communications. Should you meet any aliens, it’ll also translate what you say into their languages.”
“And this,” Giles held up a full-length, silvery, spandex-like costume, “is a design of Tucker’s. They’re made of unstable molecules, so don’t tear, are flame, dirt, and ice resistant, and one size fits all. It also has a little of TARDIS technology, the concealment circuit, so it changes colour to blend into the background.”
“Good,” Cordy sniffed, “I hate the colour.”
Giles let out a long-suffering sigh before continuing. “Finally I have these devices, constructed by Jonathan as part of his Batman persona,” Giles nodded towards the youth in question. “Goggles that shade from the sunlight, are telescopic, x-ray, and night-vision as well as having a video recording feature inbuilt. An aerosol that sprays foamlike substance which can be remotely detonated for an explosion to demolish walls or hurt enemies. A miniaturised laser that can be used as a cutting tool. And finally stun, smoke, and thermite pellets.”
“I hate to be that guy,” Riley commented, “but what about weaponry?”
“I understand that would be a concern for some, so I’ve read up on weapons and have organised for a contingent of Glock 17s, Mossberg 590s, FN P90s,and H&K G36s through a number of shell companies and faked licences.” Giles smiled. “One of the basement levels includes a shooting range. There’s a number amongst you like the Jedis who have their own weaponry and others who might not want to use the equipment, that’s entirely up to you.”
“Huh Giles,” Graham raised a hand. “What about grenades or sniper rifles?”
Giles nodded. “Our extra-terrestrial expedition will be primarily exploration in nature, but I’ll want to be equipped for every eventuality. If you have a recommendation, bring it to me.”
Riley, Graham and Forrest exchanged looks. “When you called this meeting, we thought it might be about equipment, so the three of us got together a list, a wish-list,” Forrest said.
“We have the funds, so by all means,” Giles smirked. “But we warned, we’re funding no-one’s private air forces.”
“Hey G, ‘fore the soldier-boys get talkin’, what about us who prefer old-fashioned weaponry?”
Giles smiled at Faith’s question. “Don’t worry, we haven’t finished this building yet, but when it is completed, just as it will include a fully-equipped workshop and science lab, we’ll also have a fully-equipped armoury with not only modern weaponry, but also all manner of swords, axes, hatchets, knives, and bows and arrows. The tool for every occasion if you would.”
“Wicked,” the Bostonian nodded.
Giles looked towards the soldiers. “Please go on.”
“Well first there’s the weapons. What you’ve already ordered is great, but we need sniper rifles, grenade and rocket launchers, K-Bar knives, and grenades,” Forrest said. “And non-lethal weaponry like tazers or mace?”
“If you have any specific brands in mind, by all mean recommend them, we’ll have to be clever about how we get these things, but is there anything else?” Giles asked.
“Yeah, I notice how big the ring is, probably couldn’t get a jeep or Hummve through there, but how about trikes?” Riley suggested.
Giles pursed his lips and nodded. They were already getting a selection of jeeps and vans, but trikes might come in handy. “Anything else?”
Forrest pulled out a piece of paper and began reciting its contents. “Rope and grapple hooks, haz-mat suits, gas masks, bugs, compasses, first aid kits, rucksacks, all-terrain watches preferably ones including altimeters, compasses, and barometer, space blankets, tarps, survival matches, can-openers, padded gloves, handcuffs, tents, sleeping bags, canteens, flame-throwers, fire extinguishers, whistles, signal mirrors, blot-cutters, crowbars, door-breachers, saws, hammers, candles, sun-screen, and camp stoves.”
Giles took the list off the younger man and nodded. “Again, if you have a preference for a brand, tell me, and I’ll bear that in mind.” Giles looked around. “Over the next two weeks we’ll run drills on operating the ring, familiarising ourselves with the equipment, and in working in teams, then once we’re ready, we’ll start going through it.”