Unexpected Paths 3.0 Sudden Chaos
Unexpected Paths 3.0; Sudden Chaos
**** Disclaimer: I own none of the characters. No copyright infringement intended.
Robert Makepeace swore, turned on his heel and kept on cursing.
The Scoobies watched the ex-Marine pace in front of the gold coffin with open amusement. Buffy turned to Willow with a smirk. “I think that means the box is bad.” Willow giggled.
Faith chuckled, “I’m impressed.”
Robert switched to Russian and continued his creative tirade.
“As am I,” said Giles.
Spike laughed and Xander learned.
Robert calmed down enough to stop swearing a blue streak. He had to look away from the sarcophagus to do so. He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. This sarcophagus represented his old life and his old screw-ups. He so did not need this now. This was trouble and the last kind of trouble he had expected in a cave, under a village, in middle of the Belize rainforest.
Buffy interrupted his train of thought. “Hey Robert?”
“On the Scooby Badness Scale, is this apocalypse-bad or vamp nest-bad.”
Robert thought through the stories he had been told. He hated being crass but he needed to get his point across. He looked Buffy in the eye, all the while trying to ignore the sarcophagus in the background. “This is screwing-Angel-to-get-Angelus bad.”
Direct hit. Every member in the underground chamber sobered. Spike growled. Buffy blanched at the thought. She glared at the sarcophagus. “So we blow it up somehow.”
Robert shook his head. “We can’t. An effective explosion would take out the village up top.” Buffy lost even more color.
Giles cleared his throat. “Can we insure the coffin remains, well, benign?”
Robert shrugged. “We need to make sure it stays shut.”
As if cued, the sarcophagus started to open. The Slayers jumped into motion. Positioned on opposite sides of the sarcophagus, they pushed against the opening doors. Spike stood at the foot of the coffin and reached out to find hand holds on the doors. The doors slowed, then stopped, and then the extreme strength of the three warriors won against the machine. The gears screamed in protest but Pandora’s Box was temporally closed.
Now to keep it that way. Robert started barking out orders. “Willow, you and Oz take a flashlight, go further down the main cave, try to find anything that we can wrap around the sarcophagus to keep it shut.” He turned to the rest of the group. “Dawn and Xander look down that hall. Don’t touch anything that doesn’t pertain to your mission. Giles and I will go this way.” He gestured down a third hall. Robert looked to the three champions holding on for dear life. “You guys, just what ever you do, don’t let the sarcophagus open.”
Spike looked stressed in his vulnerable position. “And if we have no choice?”
“Behead it before it can jump into one of you.” It was an option that Robert knew would kill the Go’uald and that would be familiar enough to the Slayers for them to carry out.
“And if it gets one of us?” Spike just had to ask the worse case scenario.
“This world will be destroyed.”
“Peachy.” Said the souled vampire.
Robert turned and followed Giles down a hallway. This was not a fun vacation.
Robert leaned against the wall with a sigh. This crisis was adverted. It was somewhat disturbing watching Faith and Buffy take a steal support beam that Xander and Dawn had found and maneuver it like a twist-tie. But it worked. There was no way the Go’auld was getting out of that coffin. Willow had already cast one spell and was researching through the books Giles had brought for light reading for another spell to safeguard against any human tampering. She gave up trying to find what she needed and improvised her own solution. Placing her hand on the seam between the two doors, she muttered a Latin phrase and the two sides melted together.
Robert raised an eyebrow. That was impressive. “Now for the hard part.”
“The hard part?” Giles echoed.
Robert looked to the Watcher. “Yes, now we have to get the sarcophagus and all the other artifacts from this cave to Colorado without anyone stealing them or activating them or leaving any fingerprints on them that could be traced back to us.”
Giles hmmmed, took off his glasses and cleaned them with a handkerchief. “Willow?”
The red witch looked up, “yes?”
“Weren’t you telling me about some spell that prevented the evidence of fingerprints?” Giles asked.
Willow nodded, starting to get excited. “You mean I get to try it?”
Giles smiled. “Yes, please. Erase all our fingerprints and prevent any more from being attached to the artifacts.” Willow bounced a couple of times, then turned, grabbed Buffy and hurried to the surface for supplies.
Robert was awed. “Well, that takes care of one problem.”
Giles smiled. “Oz, Xander, Dawn, can you three please go into town and see what you can find in the way of crates and lumber?” The trio nodded and meandered toward their goal. Giles turned to Robert, a knowing smile on his face. “I’ll find Andrew, and use his phone to find some Watcher contacts. I should be able to have a plane ride booked by the time you have all the artifacts crated up.”
“O-kay,” Robert drawled out the word. “That sounds great. Could you send Andrew down here with his digital camera? I’d like to send them pictures of the wall art.” Giles raised his eyebrows but offered no comment. “Spike and Faith and I will started pilling up and separating the rocks and junk so that no one can accidentally get hurt.”
All it took was a day and a “do-not-notice” spell. It amazed Robert Makepeace, it really did. What could have been a hundred thousand painful deaths, an egomaniac alien on the loose and the NID on their tail, was a peaceful plane ride back into the United States. It was anti-climatic, but good. He had not even had to tell the Scoobies what it was they were transporting! He had explained to them that it was classified like Dawn was classified, ie it was not his secret to tell, and that he promised that he would not undo all the Earth-saving hard work they had accomplished in the past few months. Giles would demand an explanation later, but the others were more concerned with constant stream of apocalypses they had to prevent. Now the only chore left was to place all these treasures in the hands of someone who knew what they were and treated them with the care and respect of a nuclear bomb.
There was only one team that Robert knew could take care of it; Colonel Jack O’Neill and SG1. The more Robert considered the situation, the more he realized that he could take advantage of the problem and mess with O’Neill’s head at the same time. Robert dearly wanted to make Jack O’Neill uncomfortable and if the girls were game, he had the perfect plan.
Colonel Jack O’Neill had been sleeping, actually he’d been dreaming of a certain blond Major. The dreams hadn’t exactly been G-rated either. Then the dream took a rather vivid and sudden twist. There were three very young girls in his bed, a blond, a brunette and a redhead. The brunette crawled up his body and sat on his stomach. She weighed more than a dream but that was okay. They were all wearing black leather pants, but that didn’t surprise him. After all black leather and motorcycles go together like . . . oh boy. The brunette just took off her silk shirt to reveal a lacy tie-up thing and a curvaceous figure. Jack was certain he knew the real name for the lingerie, but would anyone expect him to remember it in a situation like this?
“Colonel. Oh, Colonel?” They were talking to him. Do dream girls talk during sex? He hadn’t had a dream with this much cleavage since he married Sarah. The redhead wore a corset and the blond wore a sweet little tank top number. What was it with him and blondes in tank tops? All three wore black gloves past their elbows.
“Colonel Jack?” Jack winced. That’s the name that the kids at the elementary school called him. Really, he wasn’t that much of a pervert. His subconscious was laughing at him; it must be with three females young enough to be his daughters in his bed.
Jack finally answered them. “Wha?”
The girls chuckled and Jack could feel the vibrations up his chest and then down lower. He didn’t realize he could dream in Technicolor and SurroundSound.
“We’re here to deliver a message, Jack O’Neill.” The blond said.
“What are you, the ghosts of Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler?”
“Does this feel like a ghost, Colonel?” The brunette grinned and then ground her hips into his. Whoa Baby! Jack bucked trying to throw her. He didn’t like this dream anymore.
His dream didn’t like him either. The three girls effortlessly pinned Jack to his bed. They were laughing at his discomfort.
“So Colonel,” the redhead teased, “you awake now?”
Oh yeah, Jack O’Neill was definitely awake, and he was very unhappy. “Who sent you?” If it was Feretti, Jack swore the man would be cleaning the Gateroom with a toothbrush for an eternity. There was such a thing as taking a practical joke war too far.
The blond answered him. “We’re friends of a friend.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.” Jack said.
The blond shrugged, “Wasn’t supposed to.”
With a twist of her hips, the brunette grabbed his attention again. “Do you want the message, or can we just skip it and do the dirty?” Her grin was absolutely predatory.
“The message please.” Jack tried to sink into his mattress. Why had he preferred the super firm anyway? Who cares if it helps his back?
“We left you a present,” said the redhead.
“You’re not it?” asked Jack. Ah Crap, Jack should really learn when to keep his mouth shut.
The brunette showed Jack her teeth. Lazily, she started untying her top. She leaned down and whispered, “I could be a present if you want me to. I could stay behind and let you unwrap me. A reward for you if you’re good.” She gently bit his neck, “or I could reward you if you’re really, really naughty.” A gloved hand trailed down Jack’s chest.
Jack shielded away from the hand as best he could. “The message, the message please?”
“I so love making a man beg.” Those brown eyes were twinkling.
“We left you some gifts in the bed of your truck.” The blond spoke as if the brunette’s by-play had not happened. “Please see that they get safely to the SGC and that the NDI don’t get their hands on them.”
“The NID,” Jack and the redhead absently corrected the blond. Jack looked to the redhead. She seemed the most informed of the vixens. Okay, any reason not to look at the brunette and her barely covered chest. “What did you put in my truck?”
The redhead patted his shoulder. “You’ll find out in the morning. Now sleep.”
Jack suddenly could not keep his eyes open to save his life. If a squadron of Jaffa stormed his bedroom . . . he . . . ah . . .
Colonel Jack O’Neill was sound asleep.
The brunette pouted, “Ah, Red. I could have had a lot of fun with him.”
Buffy hauled Faith off the comatose Colonel and handed her her shirt. “We don’t have time to play.” In spite of her stern words, the three girls looked at each other and burst out giggling.
Willow picked up the camera on her way to the stairs. They hurried down the stairs and to the front door. They had left their shoes there, so as not to track all through the O’Neill house. While Willow was waiting for Buffy to lace up her boots and Faith to lace up her brassiere, she reprogrammed Colonel O’Neill’s security system. The Slayers watched the new message scroll by. They giggled more. Light-hearted, they closed and locked the door behind them.
Colonel Jack O’Neill was pissed. That message had been passed through the grapevine before the colonel had told the lieutenant that he would park his truck on sub-level 11. No if, ands, or buts about it.
Jack O’Neill had yelled at four other guards to get his truck that far under the mountain. By the time Colonel O’Neill had placed eight guards around his truck and was heading down the elevator to speak with General Hammond, the General was heading toward the elevator himself to have a little discussion with his 2IC.
Having been informed by a hurried Major Ferritti of Colonel O’Neill’s odd behavior, Major Carter and Daniel Jackson joined the crowd that met the man at the elevators. Colonel O’Neill took one look at all the loiterers and rolled his eyes. Spying General Hammond, he waved. “Sir, I’ve got something you want to see.”
General Hammond stepped on the elevator. Daniel and Sam slid on behind. Colonel O’Neill snarled at the brave airman who tried to join them. “Get the next lift.”
The doors to the elevator had not fully closed when everyone heard, “Colonel O’Neill. What the hell’s going on?”
In the enclosed space, Jack winced. He dug a hand into his pant’s pocket. “Sorry, Sir. This was taped to my steering wheel this morning.” He passed his CO a crumpled note.
General Hammond glared at O’Neill as he tried to flatten the paper. Once it was rather legible, he silently read:
“Colonel Jack O’Neill,
Sorry for the rough wake-up call last night. If it’s any consolation the blond, the redhead and the brunette all agreed that you were well built for a man your age. Please, keep the sarcophagus closed; it’s inhabited. Please keep the rest out of NID hands. We found the lot in S. America. I took pictures of the wall art; it’s in one of the crates. Thanks for taking this problem off our hands.
General Hammond noticed that the handwriting changed significantly on the postscript.
“Ps. I said that you were well hung, not well built. Though you are both. If you ever want a good f--, I’d be more than willing to do you.”
The General looked back at his 2IC, who appeared to be a little flushed. “Is this for real, Colonel?” He asked.
Jack nodded, “Afraid so, sir. Whoever they are knew me well enough to leave a claw hammer on the largest crate so I could open it up and see for myself. It’s definitely a sarcophagus, sir, though it’s smaller than normal. Until that point, I had hoped it was a horrible practical joke. I knew it hadn’t been a nightmare when my security alarm pad said, ‘Good Morning Colonel, did you have pleasant dreams?’” Jack mocked the message and then shuddered.
Daniel and Carter exchanged confused looks. Daniel finally spoke up. “May we please read the note?”
General Hammond was in the midst of passing the paper when Jack snatched it out of his hands. “Sorry, Sir. It’s just that, uhm, now that I showed you can I burn the damn thing?”
General Hammond was not surprised with Jack’s embarrassment. “Sorry Colonel, but we need to check the handwriting.”
“Then can I burn the postscript?” Jack pleaded. “I promise you that I’ve never seen the brunette before.”
General Hammond frowned. “How can you be sure who wrote the postscript, Colonel."
“Trust me General,” Jack shuddered again. “The brunette wrote the postscript. I promise you.” Jack’s voice was so passionate that General Hammond nodded.
“Okay, Jack. You can separate the notes but you can’t destroy the postscript. We might need it later to verify an accomplice.”
“No worries, General.” Said Jack. He tore the postscript off the note and stuffed it back into his pocket. “There’ll be no mistaking the brunette if I ever see her again. Which by the way, never is too soon.” He handed the original note to Daniel. “Here, witness my humiliation.”
Daniel and Carter read the note, smirking at the appropriate parts. The elevator doors opened and Colonel O’Neill led the way to his truck. Quite a crowd had gathered. Noticing familiar faces, Jack realized that some people really had to hoof it on the stairs to be part of this audience. “Hey,” Jack yelled. “If you don’t have work to do, I am in the perfect mood to invent some!” The room cleared out in a hurry. Jack O’Neill grinned at his general and rocked back on his heels. Jack’s world might be caving in but he could still intimidate most of the base. General Hammond chuckled; that was definitely his second-in-command.
Jack stripped off the tahneau cover with practiced ease to reveal one long crate and a half dozen smaller ones. Jack dropped the tailgate and climbed into the bed of his truck among the wood. “Hey, Danny, do me a favor and get me the hammer that’s in the cab.”
General Hammond had been thinking. “Colonel, I have a better idea. Drive to the service elevator, go to sub-level eighteen and park your truck in isolation room four. That has big enough doors to accommodate your truck and is closer to the labs. Major Carter, ask SG2 to meet us there. They can help unload.”
“Yes, sir.” The two chorused.
General Hammond turned back to the eight soldiers charged with guarding the truck. “Return to your duties.”
Jack O’Neill was scratching his head. He looked from the crates on the floor to the bed of his truck and back again. Sam Carter and Daniel Jackson were digging through the scattered crates like kids at Christmas. Everything had been packed very neatly, wrapped properly for long travel, taking up as little space as possible.
But still . . .
“Mary Poppin’s carpetbag,” Jack muttered. He motioned to Lou Ferritti, SG2’s CO, who had been dragging the sarcophagus crate toward the door for disposal. “Ferritti, bring that over here.”
Ferritti stumbled with his load. “Colonel, are you sure?”
“Yes Major, help me put it back in my truck.” Jack ordered.
“What’s wrong, sir? Do ya want to use it at your place to help organize?” Then Lou Ferritti smirked. “Or maybe you want to cover all the windows and doors so that the hot blond, brunette and redhead can’t get in your house again?”
Jack scowled. He had no idea how Lou had found out about the three girls. He looked to Daniel who ducked his head. Motormouth. “I never said that they were hot, Ferritti.”
Lou chortled, “ah, so they were hot.”
“They were young enough to be my daughters,” Jack snarled.
“Doesn’t mean that they weren’t hot. They thought that you were hot,” teased Lou. Jack growled. Experience warned that he had pushed just as far as his CO would allow, so Ferritti shut up and helped Jack heft the empty crate back into the bed of the truck. Then the two career soldiers stood back and scratched their heads.
“That can’t be right.” Lou muttered. The crate was three feet longer than Jack’s bed and did not fit between the wheel wells anymore. “Maybe we put it back together wrong.”
“Go ask one of the guards to bring us a tape measure.” Jack ordered Ferritti. The major hurried to do his bidding.
Daniel joined Jack at the foot of his truck. Daniel tilted her head. “Did the sarcophagus fit on your truck?”
Jack laughed. “Yes Daniel, everything on the floor we pulled off my truck.”
“It doesn’t fit anymore.” Daniel stated.
“That doesn’t matter.” Jack raised an eyebrow at Daniel’s pronouncement. Daniel handed Jack a brightly wrapped package. “This was in one of the crates. Sam thinks that somewhere in one of the crates is the reason why everything fit on your truck in the first place. She’s been hypothozing like crazy but cannot find anything yet.”
Jack turned the package over in his hands. It sported a gaudy bright red bow and a nametag reading ‘To: Dr. Daniel Jackson, The wall art. Enjoy.’
Jack handed the present back. “You gonna open it?”
Daniel looked surprised. “You think I should?”
“Might as well. If they were trying to kill us or somethin’, we’d all be affected by now. ‘Sides, the note mentioned pictures. Only makes sense to address it to you,” said Jack.
Daniel nodded and then tore the wrapping paper. Inside was a CD case. Jack gestured to the computer by the far wall. By the time Daniel had the computer booted up and inserted the CD-R, Jack had dragged the sarcophagus crate back out of his truck and handed it off to a lieutenant for disposal. Jack peaked over Daniel shoulder and then wished he hadn’t. There were pictures upon pictures of some cave and the writings in it. Daniel was quite excited.
Jack rolled his eyes to the heavens. He was looking to escape Daniel’s impromptu lecture when he realized that Carter was going after his truck with a screwdriver and a very determined look on her face. Apparently she had not found an explanation for the ‘Mary Poppin’s carpetbag’ phenomenon in the crates and was about to take his truck apart looking for an answer.
Jack made a promise to himself as he intercepted his major. He was going to make someone pay for this. Someone was definitely going to pay for this whole situation.